Movie – Africa United

During international tournaments, I especially enjoy the opportunity to watch the African football teams. Yes I’m keen to know how their skills are improving but I especially relish seeing their determination, the team work and their patriotism. They seem to want the win and to do their counties proud more than any other nation. They have the hunger, literally no doubt at some point in their life, unlike a large proportion of their European prima donna counter parts.

So I like the idea of Africa United just from the title. The fact that I learn that it’s about a group of kids who journey thousands of miles to get to the 2010 world cup just adds to the appeal.

It starts with a safe sex message, delivered by one of the young stars of the film but done with such humour, we can but smile.

We follow this young ‘football manager’ across Africa, guiding his gifted and well to do best mate who has been invited to audition for the footballing opening ceremony. Along the way, they make new friends and lose others.

The film tackles child soldiers and sex workers as well as the aforementioned HIV clinics. Despite all that is put across their path, the children’s journey is peppered with humour, camaraderie and above all warmth. It is a message-filled movie, as one would expect and as such has sad moments and those that had me on the edge of my seat with frustration but overall, I came out with a smile.


Smile factor 9/10


Gratitude – August

Wow, it’s a hard month to be grateful but alas, there is always something:

  •  5 days in Glasgow for book writing & getting to 32000 word target
  • Meeting the lovely & talented Marsha Moore
  • Having a light work month so more time for writing
  • Match of the Day is back!

12 things I don’t get but everyone else loves

1. Glee
2. The GaGa woman
3. Reality TV, especially when it features famous people I have never heard off
4. Wanting to be famous for no apparent reason; ’Stars’ spawned from talent shows: Jedward, JLS et all. Talent shows are great for comics, magicians and variety show entertainers but I like my rock n roll via the traditional ‘practised for years in the back bedroom’ route
5. Slebs I have never heard of (i.e. the ex-spouses of slebs I have barely heard off)
6. Harry Potter
7. Gok Wan and the like. Why do so many suddenly need help with what they wear? Everyone wants to be on TV, even the badly dressed and supposedly lacking in confidence but going on TV to tell the world, they can do that no problem.
8. Cheryl Cole
9. British cupcakes. They are fairy cakes with more cream. Lovely as they are and eat them I will, but they are not cupcakes. Can’t we just leave something British?
10. Vampire shows
11. Watching football in pubs. I need to watch it on my own and without discussion or shouting at the man in black. I also want to watch it sober and when there is a major match on, no man is more important than the 22 on the pitch.
12. iPhone / iPad I love gadgets and new technology so if a new & improved version of the iPad comes out that doesn’t show up finger prints on the screen in a couple of years, no doubt I’ll be forced to buy one. Similarly if the iPhone manages to reduce it’s seemingly 1000s of apps so that the battery lasts more than the reported 37 minutes of continuous use, that would be a deal maker too.

Best football songs ever

For music Monday during the world cup, this is the first sports related list; the best footie songs ever

3. Three Lions (Baddiel & Skinner and The Lightning Seeds

2. Nessun Dorma – Pavarotti

1. World in Motion – EnglandNewOrder

Book – Giggs, the Autobiography. By Ryan Giggs

As my all time favourite United hero, this was a must read, although it took me nearly 3 years to pick it up. (I know, my priorities have changed now, honest!)

I always believe the word ‘hero’ is over used but not as much as ‘legend’. I don’t think you can really be a legend until after you’ve gone, or at least after the age of 75 (I’ll regret saying that when I reach 74)

Hero = brave man, conqueror, champion, idol

Legend = fable, myth, fairy tale, marvel, prodigy

To me, a hero is someone who most of the time, does the right thing and inspires others to do the same.

In any case, Giggs has mostly been compared with George Best. 2 words more often than not followed by another 2, ‘United Legend’. Not something I agree with although I‘m aware I’m in the minority. As far as I can see, GB did the right for about 5 minutes, the rest of the time he did not although by my own definition, I guess he was still an inspiration to some.

Giggs is so much more of an all round nice guy and a gifted footballer much like one of his own favourite United player’s, Eric Cantona. ‘Gifted’ is another term I find difficult to associate with football. Talented maybe, but surely as David Beckham will testify, it takes practice, dedication, practice, patience, practice, training and practice. Talent can come with practice. With the ‘arts’ gifted can come into it but not really sports. Having said that, Springsteen’s E Street Band are the most gifted group of musicians I’m aware of but isn’t that where 20-30 years of intense practice gets you?

Talking of hero’s, my main football inspiration is undoubtedly Sir Alex Ferguson. The only other person to put the fear of God into me, other than my own Dad. There’s no way I would say ‘no’ to either. Ever.

Having said that, the likelihood of either asking anything of me is nil.

I have the utmost respect for Fergie, not that I would ever call him that to his face. It would be ‘Sir’, even before the Knighthood.

My respect for him is as a manager. As a ‘determined, won’t take second place, only the best will do, type of manager.

He is up there at the top of my list of business inspirations along with Dale Carnegie, and Richard Branson. None of these can be described as conventional in their time.

I wonder if Fergie would be on the list if I wasn’t a United Supporter but in the end, I’m grateful that I have had the opportunity to learn from the ‘Gaffer’.

While Dale Carnegie inspired my lifestyle choice as well as my management style, Branson inspired me to market well and use brands and not to care what others think. Also, that you can start a business from a shoe box. (That’s what they call spare rooms in Milton Keynes).

Ferguson taught me attitude; Think only about being the best. It’s the reason the picture of Old Trafford hands above my desk, not the team, but the ground. It represents the winning attitude during Fergie’s long reign that has made the team what it is.

Giggs book was a great, easy read. I love people who punctuate with ! to make a point! I do it but I’ve been told that it means the sentence wasn’t good enough! I’m going to do it anyway! Lots!

He talks about Ferguson and the times he did go against orders. He’s not the goody two shoes we think but he is but he is a dedicated footballer, team member and family man who likes to have fun, like the rest of us. He talks about winning and losing but more about winning. He talks about Cantona, ‘the best United footballer I have ever played with’, the famous boot incident with Beckham, marking the start of DB’s exit from Old Trafford.

I felt privileged to be on the inside of his story or at least the parts he is happy to share.

I look forward to the updated version that I trust will come with his dreaded but inevitable retirement from the beautiful game and the best team in the world.


Inspiration Factor 9/10 (It couldn’t be any less)