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Why I blog… or more importantly, why I WILL blog!

fuck, sex, wank, bollocks, damn, blogSomeone asked me the other day what, if anything, was the point of a blog.

Now admittedly, the person concerned isn’t the brightest of buttons and so it was pointless my trying to explain the complexities of social networking and eBook marketing so I simply said ‘it’s a giggle.’ An answer which met with one of those grunts which suggested that I’m a pretentious self-important git. Which could be considered to be a fair point.

However, as I reflected on the conversation later, it struck me that I have actually kind of lost sight of why I actually do blog. Because as the blurb on the right of this screen says all too clearly, one of the primary aims of this exercise was to provide a platform for me to let off steam. Or in other words, to rant.

I then realised that if that was my mission statement, I’ve recently been failing miserably. For instead of blogging when something pisses me off, I’ve taken to writing about it on Facebook which all too often results in my being dragged into debates with people who, in far too many cases, shouldn’t be allowed unsupervised access to any kind of electronic device let alone the internet.

But then I realised that there is another reason. And with it comes an admission.

You see ever since I started writing, I’ve held back. Not in my books obviously, but whenever I’ve written anywhere else. In addition, I’ve refused point blank to speak about certain subjects on either radio or TV and have similarly declined requests to provide quotes or interviews for newspapers.

The reason is that I’ve been scared. Scared of damaging any hope I might have of a career in the media by saying something that someone sitting in an office somewhere judges to be too far over the line. In short, I’ve been something of a coward.

I was discussing this at football yesterday with my mate Neil and it suddenly struck me that my cowardice has backfired. Not because if my move into the media mainstream was going to happen it would surely have happened by now, but because I have been letting myself down. Equally, I have been letting other people down.

For over the last couple of years, one thing I have come to realise is that whilst my opinions on everything from life generally right through to the state of the country might not sit well with the liberal left who rule the media, they do reflect those of the vast majority of people I talk to. Be they in the street, at games, within my own family and even, bizarrely, at a British Film Institute event!

In many cases, those people are frustrated. Frustrated because their opinions are not simply being ignored, they aren’t even being aired. And as someone who shares that frustration, surely I, as a writer with a profile of sorts, should be the one giving those opinions, my opinions, that voice.

Of course I bloody should!

So from this point on (or at least from when I come back from my holiday), I promise that when I blog, be it related to anything from poppy burning filth, racist footballers or useless lying politicians, I won’t hold back. If I think it, I’ll write it. And more frequently.

Even making this statement, I feel cleansed. More importantly, I feel unleashed.

Be warned.

violence, racism, racist, anal sex, oral sex, bum,
The Crew. Still #1 even after a whole year!

Finally…. just a quick word on the subject of books. Thanks to everyone who continues to keep The Crew and Top Dog so high in the charts. The success of The Crew in particular has stunned everyone but then again, it is a bloody good read.

If you haven’t read it, it’s still free so why not give it a try. You have nothing to lose… other than the £2.50 it will cost when you buy Top Dog afterwards. Which of course, you will! Won’t you!

If Carlsberg wrote book Reviews…

fart, sex, love, anal, "bodily functions" penguins, vibrators
The Art of Fart – still a bargain!

There has recently been a great deal of discussion amongst the publishing community about the subject of reader reviews and in particular some of the unsavoury practices being employed to exploit them to promote books . These range from the appalling practices of paying for them through to unscrupulous authors who use fake names to slag off their opposition.

Now when it comes to selling books, especially self-published books, reader reviews are vital. They are after all, the nearest thing the electronic world has to word of mouth which is and always well be, the best selling tool of all. That’s why we authors cajole, bully even beg readers to write them.

Generally speaking however, reader reviews aren’t written for us they are written for other readers and no author worth their salt would consider them in any other way. We read them of course, all of them, and any mid-lister who says they don’t is a liar. But any author who responds to a reader review, especially a negative one, is not only a fool but is marking themselves out as the amateur they obviously are. They are also opening themselves up for a whole world of pain from the review Mafia who trawl the web looking for authors who behave badly and when they find one, latch on to them like a dog with a bone.

As writers however, reader reviews do have more uses than promoting books and polishing our ego’s (or not as the case might be). In fact they are invaluable. For not only do they provide us with excellent feedback on what we’re doing but they can be fabulous pointers toward what we should be doing. As an example, as a direct result of reviews left for my books I know that there are eager readers desperate for sequels to both Top Dog and Billy’s Log and so next year, I’ll be writing both.

But there is another benefit to the reader review and it is one which is rarely spoken of. Primarily I suspect, because they come along all too rarely. I speak of those reviews which actually take our work and add to it. I received one such review today and it’s the sole reason why I’m sitting here writing this blog when I should actually be putting the finishing touches to my next book! Because reviews like this are what it’s all about. Or at least they are to me.

It relates to my most recent book The Art of Fart (a book which is as different from my normal output as it is possible to get) and was posted on Amazon UK this morning. Not only does it perfectly sum up what the book is about and why I simply had to write it, but it made me roar with laughter.

Read it and weep.

5.0 out of 5 stars A look at the dark bottom arts, 28 Sep 2012

By Mr. B. A. French “bazzafrench” (Witham, Essex, UK) – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Art of Fart: The Joy of Flatulence! (Kindle Edition)
The short and amusing books, as the name suggests, explores the dark art of farting.

I think everyone has a fart which they are particularly proud of (or ashamed, depending on your school of thought). I remember mine vividly. Goodness knows what I had been eating the night before, because if I knew I would eat it again tonight. I was stood in the small and confined kitchen at work happily brewing a cup of tea, when suddenly I felt something escape through my sphincter and drop down my trouser leg. It was none of my business and just kind of happened.

The smell was unbelievable. You know it is a bad one when your own brand makes you eyes water. The kettle couldn’t boil fast enough as I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Just as I thought things couldn’t get worse, my boss walked in. My boss then was a crabby 60 something stuck-up bitch. Ironically, she always wore an expression on her face as if she had a fart permanently under her nose.

Nearly gagging, she asked was the smell was. I was about to come clean and say I had a bad stomach (a boring, but safe excuse) when she opened the fridge door and started sniffing like the old dog she was. Thankfully, she thought something had gone off in the fridge and completely cleaned it out – and I mean everything. She chucked everybody’s lunch away and sent a snotty email saying she’d take the fridge away if people didn’t maintain it. Several people went hungry that day and I had nearly condemned an innocent kitchen appliance to the scrapheap all because of my noxious arse.

It still brings a smile to my face even today. My brother once farted so bad it made a mate of mine sick. I was proud to have out trumped him so to speak.

If you think that I am a vile and distrusting human being, then I’ll be honest with you, this book is not for you. However, if you would like to shake my hand as a genius, then I suggest you download it now.

Happy farting people.

.

PS: If you visit my Facebook page, the legend that is Barry French has posted an additional and equally hilarious farting anecdote.

violence, racism, racist, anal sex, oral sex, burlesque
The Crew. Still #1

Thanks to everyone who has downloaded my novel The Crew and as a consequence, have kept it at the top of the Amazon UK free sports book download charts for over a year now. That’s some record although it seems to have gone largely unnoticed by pretty much everyone outside of my readership. Anyway, you’re all legends.

As I say, the third book in this series is on the way!

If Carlsberg wrote book Reviews…

fart, sex, love, anal, "bodily functions" penguins, vibrators
The Art of Fart – still a bargain!

There has recently been a great deal of discussion amongst the publishing community about the subject of reader reviews and in particular some of the unsavoury practices being employed to exploit them to promote books . These range from the appalling practices of paying for them through to unscrupulous authors who use fake names to slag off their opposition.

Now when it comes to selling books, especially self-published books, reader reviews are vital. They are after all, the nearest thing the electronic world has to word of mouth which is and always well be, the best selling tool of all. That’s why we authors cajole, bully even beg readers to write them.

Generally speaking however, reader reviews aren’t written for us they are written for other readers and no author worth their salt would consider them in any other way. We read them of course, all of them, and any mid-lister who says they don’t is a liar. But any author who responds to a reader review, especially a negative one, is not only a fool but is marking themselves out as the amateur they obviously are. They are also opening themselves up for a whole world of pain from the review Mafia who trawl the web looking for authors who behave badly and when they find one, latch on to them like a dog with a bone.

As writers however, reader reviews do have more uses than promoting books and polishing our ego’s (or not as the case might be). In fact they are invaluable. For not only do they provide us with excellent feedback on what we’re doing but they can be fabulous pointers toward what we should be doing. As an example, as a direct result of reviews left for my books I know that there are eager readers desperate for sequels to both Top Dog and Billy’s Log and so next year, I’ll be writing both.

But there is another benefit to the reader review and it is one which is rarely spoken of. Primarily I suspect, because they come along all too rarely. I speak of those reviews which actually take our work and add to it. I received one such review today and it’s the sole reason why I’m sitting here writing this blog when I should actually be putting the finishing touches to my next book! Because reviews like this are what it’s all about. Or at least they are to me.

It relates to my most recent book The Art of Fart (a book which is as different from my normal output as it is possible to get) and was posted on Amazon UK this morning. Not only does it perfectly sum up what the book is about and why I simply had to write it, but it made me roar with laughter.

Read it and weep.

5.0 out of 5 stars A look at the dark bottom arts, 28 Sep 2012

By Mr. B. A. French “bazzafrench” (Witham, Essex, UK) – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Art of Fart: The Joy of Flatulence! (Kindle Edition)
The short and amusing books, as the name suggests, explores the dark art of farting.

I think everyone has a fart which they are particularly proud of (or ashamed, depending on your school of thought). I remember mine vividly. Goodness knows what I had been eating the night before, because if I knew I would eat it again tonight. I was stood in the small and confined kitchen at work happily brewing a cup of tea, when suddenly I felt something escape through my sphincter and drop down my trouser leg. It was none of my business and just kind of happened.

The smell was unbelievable. You know it is a bad one when your own brand makes you eyes water. The kettle couldn’t boil fast enough as I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Just as I thought things couldn’t get worse, my boss walked in. My boss then was a crabby 60 something stuck-up bitch. Ironically, she always wore an expression on her face as if she had a fart permanently under her nose.

Nearly gagging, she asked was the smell was. I was about to come clean and say I had a bad stomach (a boring, but safe excuse) when she opened the fridge door and started sniffing like the old dog she was. Thankfully, she thought something had gone off in the fridge and completely cleaned it out – and I mean everything. She chucked everybody’s lunch away and sent a snotty email saying she’d take the fridge away if people didn’t maintain it. Several people went hungry that day and I had nearly condemned an innocent kitchen appliance to the scrapheap all because of my noxious arse.

It still brings a smile to my face even today. My brother once farted so bad it made a mate of mine sick. I was proud to have out trumped him so to speak.

If you think that I am a vile and distrusting human being, then I’ll be honest with you, this book is not for you. However, if you would like to shake my hand as a genius, then I suggest you download it now.

Happy farting people.

.

PS: If you visit my Facebook page, the legend that is Barry French has posted an additional and equally hilarious farting anecdote.

violence, racism, racist, anal sex, oral sex, burlesque
The Crew. Still #1

Thanks to everyone who has downloaded my novel The Crew and as a consequence, have kept it at the top of the Amazon UK free sports book download charts for over a year now. That’s some record although it seems to have gone largely unnoticed by pretty much everyone outside of my readership. Anyway, you’re all legends.

As I say, the third book in this series is on the way!

The real Olympic legacy?

oral sex, anal sex, football, sportOK, I’ll admit it. I’ve been consumed by Olympic fever. Not just because of the fantastic spectacle the games are providing (and I think the Paralympics are going to be just as amazing) but because of the impact they are having on the nation.

We’re ‘up’ again. Everyone’s having a great time, everyone’s happy and everyone is actually talking to each other. I love that, love it.

And as someone on Radio 5 said the other day, that should be the true legacy of these games. The fact that Great Britain has stopped being consumed by anger and distrust and has suddenly remembered how to be kind, helpful and friendly again. Oh that it continues. Indeed, I think we should all as individuals take it upon ourselves to ensure it does.

We can’t moan about people being grumpy bastards when we’re acting no better ourselves and as my wonderful old nan used to say, manners cost nothing.

Of course the great hope is that the games will leave all kinds of legacies on the country ranging from a swell in Patriotism (please god!!!) to increased participation in sport (amen to that!) but there is one legacy increasing numbers of people are hoping for and that relates to football.

For decades now the great game has been untouchable at the pinnacle of British sport. It’s the great spectacle, the great passion, the great love. The result being that it has achieved a level of importance which is totally out of kilter with reality. The status afforded to those involved coupled with the money some of them are being paid brings new meaning to the word ridiculous.

At some point that has to stop, or be stopped. After all, all of the money swilling through the trough that is football ultimately comes from our pockets. Be it in gate receipts, TV subscriptions or any one of a million ways the game uses to part us from our cash. Too much of that goes out of the game into the tax-avoiding bank accounts of players who aren’t actually worth a tenth of what they get paid and agents who are little more than villains.

But we all know that. We’ve always known that.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my football and I have a great deal of admiration for those who play it (even if I think as individuals, some of them are lacking in pretty much everything) but comparatively speaking, the great game is lacking way behind in all kinds of things. Perspective and morals being just two.

Yet because it is ‘the great game’ we not only continue to stand idly by while these things go on but we actually grant those at the centre of this scandal elitist status within our population. And with that status secure, there has never been any need let alone desire to reform.

Now, thanks to the Olympics, that may finally change because football’s position at the top of the sporting tree isn’t so secure anymore.

The atmosphere, so long one of the major USP’s for football, has been matched if not surpassed at pretty much every Olympic event and better still, it’s been devoid of any hatred. The TV coverage has been unsurpassed, customer service exemplary and best of all, the desire for tickets to attend even previously unheard of sports has bordered on fanatical.

But most importantly of all, to see sportsmen and women competing for the joy of competing as opposed to being consumed by anger and greed has been a revelation. Answer me this. Who would you rather have dinner with? Ashley Cole or Sir Chris Hoy? I rest my case.

So if the Olympics leave one legacy behind, it’s the hope that people finally accept that there is an alternative to football in terms of spectacle and that there are other sports out there which can be as, if not more exciting than the great game. And those sports all without exception, provide value for money to those who go to watch them live.

That’s my hope. Not least because it might finally give football the long overdue reality check it so desperately needs.

*

fart sex love anal "bodily functions"
The Art of Fart – Bargain!

My new comedy novel Wings of a Sparrow is currently being rewritten ahead of release (standard practice sadly) but should be ready to download fairly soon.

The tale of a football fan who inherits his local rivals, it’s best described as Brewsters Millions meets Fever Pitch and has been great fun to write to I hope you’re going to enjoy it.

Indeed, thanks to everyone for what’s going on book wise at the moment but for those who don’t know, I’m currently dominating the football book download charts of both Amazon and iTunes with books at #1 on both free and paid charts. On top of that, of the top 36 soccer books on iTunes, 8 are my titles.

However you look at it, whatever I’m doing, is working!

Thanks folks.

The real Olympic legacy?

oral sex, anal sex, football, sportOK, I’ll admit it. I’ve been consumed by Olympic fever. Not just because of the fantastic spectacle the games are providing (and I think the Paralympics are going to be just as amazing) but because of the impact they are having on the nation.

We’re ‘up’ again. Everyone’s having a great time, everyone’s happy and everyone is actually talking to each other. I love that, love it.

And as someone on Radio 5 said the other day, that should be the true legacy of these games. The fact that Great Britain has stopped being consumed by anger and distrust and has suddenly remembered how to be kind, helpful and friendly again. Oh that it continues. Indeed, I think we should all as individuals take it upon ourselves to ensure it does.

We can’t moan about people being grumpy bastards when we’re acting no better ourselves and as my wonderful old nan used to say, manners cost nothing.

Of course the great hope is that the games will leave all kinds of legacies on the country ranging from a swell in Patriotism (please god!!!) to increased participation in sport (amen to that!) but there is one legacy increasing numbers of people are hoping for and that relates to football.

For decades now the great game has been untouchable at the pinnacle of British sport. It’s the great spectacle, the great passion, the great love. The result being that it has achieved a level of importance which is totally out of kilter with reality. The status afforded to those involved coupled with the money some of them are being paid brings new meaning to the word ridiculous.

At some point that has to stop, or be stopped. After all, all of the money swilling through the trough that is football ultimately comes from our pockets. Be it in gate receipts, TV subscriptions or any one of a million ways the game uses to part us from our cash. Too much of that goes out of the game into the tax-avoiding bank accounts of players who aren’t actually worth a tenth of what they get paid and agents who are little more than villains.

But we all know that. We’ve always known that.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my football and I have a great deal of admiration for those who play it (even if I think as individuals, some of them are lacking in pretty much everything) but comparatively speaking, the great game is lacking way behind in all kinds of things. Perspective and morals being just two.

Yet because it is ‘the great game’ we not only continue to stand idly by while these things go on but we actually grant those at the centre of this scandal elitist status within our population. And with that status secure, there has never been any need let alone desire to reform.

Now, thanks to the Olympics, that may finally change because football’s position at the top of the sporting tree isn’t so secure anymore.

The atmosphere, so long one of the major USP’s for football, has been matched if not surpassed at pretty much every Olympic event and better still, it’s been devoid of any hatred. The TV coverage has been unsurpassed, customer service exemplary and best of all, the desire for tickets to attend even previously unheard of sports has bordered on fanatical.

But most importantly of all, to see sportsmen and women competing for the joy of competing as opposed to being consumed by anger and greed has been a revelation. Answer me this. Who would you rather have dinner with? Ashley Cole or Sir Chris Hoy? I rest my case.

So if the Olympics leave one legacy behind, it’s the hope that people finally accept that there is an alternative to football in terms of spectacle and that there are other sports out there which can be as, if not more exciting than the great game. And those sports all without exception, provide value for money to those who go to watch them live.

That’s my hope. Not least because it might finally give football the long overdue reality check it so desperately needs.

*

fart sex love anal "bodily functions"
The Art of Fart – Bargain!

My new comedy novel Wings of a Sparrow is currently being rewritten ahead of release (standard practice sadly) but should be ready to download fairly soon.

The tale of a football fan who inherits his local rivals, it’s best described as Brewsters Millions meets Fever Pitch and has been great fun to write to I hope you’re going to enjoy it.

Indeed, thanks to everyone for what’s going on book wise at the moment but for those who don’t know, I’m currently dominating the football book download charts of both Amazon and iTunes with books at #1 on both free and paid charts. On top of that, of the top 36 soccer books on iTunes, 8 are my titles.

However you look at it, whatever I’m doing, is working!

Thanks folks.

Dear Daily Mail, an open letter from an ex-reader.

A genuine role model
Amen!

Dear Daily Mail,

Re: the photograph on the left.

As I type this, Britain is enjoying what will surely go down as one of the great events of the modern age. Coming 12 months after the world saw the very worst this country has to offer being conducted by the very worst our society has to offer, we are now seeing Britain at its very, very best.

Our nation is full of joy and optimism, our athletes are quite simply astonishing and each day brings things we never thought we would ever see. And as if that isn’t enough, we have the Paralympics to come. Surely as wonderful an example of the triumph of the human spirit as anyone could hope for.

You look at all that, all this and it’s clear, Britain really is Great. Despite the best efforts of Labour it always was and always will be. TeamGB, that sums it up perfectly.

Yet the truth is that this is the tip of the iceberg and that iceberg has been gently drifting along for decades driven by the quiet resolve that is middle England.

From our amazing troops to the women of the WRVS and a million points between , this country of ours has always been full of hope, goodness and inspiration. And this brings me to my point.

Why is it that you feel the need to ignore these good people and their amazing stories and instead feed us a daily dose of crap? Why do you assume that anyone has any interest in page upon page of PR spin about airheads who have contributed little or nothing to the fabric of this country?

Yet every single day you dish up a diet of bullshit about The Only Way is Essex and Big Brother as if the people involved are somehow important. Newsflash: they aren’t and they never will be.

Furthermore, why do you assume anyone cares about Imogen Thomas, Sophie Anderton, Katie Price or any other of the myriad of nomarks who fill your ‘news’ paper every single fucking day? Most of them might as well be names in a phone directory for all the meaning they have to me and I’m certainly not going to waste time reading about them in an effort to find out who they are because chances are I won’t care anyway.

And why this fascination with the Kardashian family? From what I can tell all they are is a bunch of good looking dysfunctionals who have somehow managed to manipulate the media into thinking they have some kind of value. Manipulation which you have clearly fallen for because they actually don’t. They are only a story because you make them a story!

The Daily Mail was once a great news paper. Sadly, thanks to a seemingly fanatical desire to avoid listening to its readership, it has become little more than a down market version of OK magazine and you should be ashamed.

Look at the photo to the top left of this post because it says everything the people of this nation feel. When we are in positive mode, we are untouchable and as you may have noticed, we like being in positive mode.

If you follow that message and give us positivity, maybe I and the many thousands of others who have deserted you will come back.

Respectfully yours.

Dougie Brimson

 

Thanks to everyone for what’s going on book wise at the moment but for those who don’t know, I’m currently dominating the football book download charts of both Amazon and iTunes with books at #1 on both free and paid charts. On top of that, of the top 36 soccer books on iTunes, 8 are my titles.

However you look at it and whatever I’m doing, it’s working!

Thanks folks.

My miserable blogging performance.

Grovelling apologies for my lack of blogs lately. I could throw myself on your mercy and beg forgiveness but if you know anything about me, you’d know it wouldn’t be sincere anyway so I won’t bother.

Suffice to say, I’ve been snowed under finishing off Wings of a Sparrow which is now scarily close to completion and looks awesome. I just hope you lot like it because as I always say, my readers are the most important people of all. Without you guys buying books, I don’t eat!

 

On which note, heartfelt thanks to everyone who has kept The Crew at number one for pretty much 9 straight months now.

crew, violence, racism, racist, anal sex, oral sex, necrophilia,
The Crew. Still #1 after 9 months on the Amazon charts!

I’m staggered and not a little humbled by this success as well as by the equally brilliant performance of Top Dog. As a consequence, as soon as Wings of a Sparrow hits the marketplace I’ll be starting work on the third book in the Billy Evans series.

I already have an idea for the story and trust me, it is an absolute cracker. And yes, there will of course be a huge twist at the end!

In fact I’m already excited at the prospect of getting to know Billy again. He really is a naughty boy! 🙂

Tax-payers of the nation unite.

tax, sex, tories, ebooks, anal, oral, Our inglorious leader David Cameron has recently been on the offensive with ideas to slash the benefit budget and in particular, has targeted the long-term unemployed and the provision of housing benefit for those under 25. Now as people who regularly read my blog will know, I’ve been a Tory voter all my life but for various reasons, that came to an end when Cameron walked into number 10. But on this he has my full and total support. Indeed I’d actually say ‘about fucking time’ because like many tax payers in this once wonderful country of ours, I’ve had enough. Enough of propping up people who’s idea of contributing is to society is to vote on X-Factor, enough of supporting some lazy bastard with no interest in working, enough of funding the lifestyle of some addict who can’t be arsed to take the help being offered to him and enough of being the sole provider to an unmarried mother with three kids by three different blokes. That’s not where I want my hard earned taxes to go and it’s certainly not what the benefit system was designed for. The liberal left of course would argue the opposite but then again they would. It’s what they do. Yet what they fail to see is that because of the scroungers who have come to infest our society, the people that the system was actually built for are being squeezed as hard as anyone. How for example, can it be right that someone who has worked hard and saved all their life has to sell their home to pay for care which is provided freely to someone who lives on benefits? How can anyone argue for a system which requires that? It’s a national scandal. The left inevitably avoid such questions and instead argue that rather than attack the benefit system the government should instead be going after those who avoid paying tax. And whilst I certainly agree with that, it is for a totally different reason. They want it because in their world fairness is an alien concept and if we take more money from the rich it would allow us to continue along the ‘funding the feckless path’ they seemingly so admire. I meanwhile, want it to help rebuild the damage done by labour and ease the pressure on the already struggling working people of this country. But I also know that if you have a financial problem, the first thing you do is not try to increase your income, it’s to reduce your outgoings and in that sense what Cameron  has said is not only a wake up call for the government, it’s a wake up call for the tax payer. As a consequence, not only should we be backing Cameron, we should be demanding that he go further and take a long hard look at every benefit from Job Seekers to Motobility. Both of which are horrifically abused and which cost us billions every year. And that’s the key word; us. Never forget that as tax payers we are the ones who fund this country and it’s about time that those who steal from us, be they rich or poor, were dealt with in just the same was as any other thief. After all, as I have said many times before, if someone came into your house and stole £65 a week from your wallet you’d be onto the Old Bill like a shot. What pray tell, is the difference?

Why today is the real test for EURO 2012.

Come on England!

So, it’s underway. Thus far the games have all been great and thankfully we’ve seen barely any of the racism that was so feared pre-tournament.

What we have seen however, are sporadic incidents of violence but of course that was always going to happen wasn’t it. After all, why else are we seeing so many riot police on the streets of the host nations?

And this of course begs the question; why so much talk of one potential problem and so little of the very real one? After all, there have been thousands of inches of print and hour upon hour of television expended on racism whilst the very real threat of hooliganism has received barely a mention in comparison despite the fact that far more people are at risk of being caught up in violence than of being racially abused.

The reason of course, is that the pre-tournament media needed to fill space be it on paper, on line or on air and racism fits the bill perfectly. It is in many ways, the perfect story because we all understand it to be wrong which means that they can say pretty much whatever they like and hype it for all it’s worth sure in that there is no one to provide any kind of contra argument let alone complain.

Conversely, no one cares that some Ukrainian nutter is spewing forth dire warnings of what might happen should any Englishman dare step onto their soil because we all know that such threats are laughable, the media more than most. But they are also well aware that going into hoolie-mode might well attract the wrath of both the FA and the government and why risk that?

No, hooliganism is only news when something happens and then it’s suddenly big news. Occasionally, very big and very bad news.

In many ways, that’s why today is the big test for this tournament. We talk a lot about the Poles, the Ukrainians, the Russians, et al, but thanks to history and our domestic football culture, the English will inevitably always be at the centre of any discussion about hooliganism. They will also be the target. Not just for the local hooligans (and for ‘local’ read Poles, Ukrainians, Russians, Croatians, etc, etc) but for those who seek to soil our nations reputation and undo all the good work that has been done to change the negative perception of our travelling support.

That to me is a real worry. Let’s face it, there are plenty of journalists who would be happy to do whatever it takes to hand Mr Platini our collective heads on a plate and there are certainly enough policemen out there willing to help them do the job. With UEFA hardly being our biggest fans, finding ourselves standing in the dock in front of them is not an attractive proposition.

Don’t get me wrong and make no mistake, England might not travel abroad looking for trouble these days but there are plenty of lads amongst their number who won’t back away if it kicks off. However, those lads are also old hands who know the score and they are well aware of the bigger picture. They know better than anyone how to read an atmosphere but the problems arise when they are placed in a situation where backing off or chilling out isn’t an option left open to them.

As I write this, the majority of the England fans are in place, the sun is shining, the beer’s already flowing and the Police are twitchy. As the day progresses, it may well get more nervy and with our game over early, the fans will have a long evening ahead of them.

Oh yes, tonight is the first real test for this tournament. It’s also a huge test for our reputation. Let’s hope everyone passes it.

Chelsea FC – The Samantha Brick of football.

chelsea cheating
Same old Chelsea, cheating again.

Not for the first time, the great game finds itself dragged into the news for all the wrong reasons.

Thanks to Ashley Young and his shameful theatrics for Manchester United we have calls for retrospective punishments for cheating –something I have always championed and fresh cries for goal line technology in the wake of yet another goal that never was. This time for Chelsea at Wembley.

Now both of these cases have two specific things in common. The first is that they resulted in goals and the second is that they involved cheating. In the Young case, it was disgustingly obvious but at Wembley it was less overt but equally shameful.

Post game and to their credit, both Frank Lampard and John Terry did the decent thing and admitted that the ball hadn’t crossed the line for the second goal. A fact that was proven by the numerous angles provided by the media. Yet if they knew that, why did they not point it out to the referee at the time? Indeed if Terry knew it wasn’t a goal, why was he actually seen claiming it?

Yes, I know there is an element of ‘win at all costs’ and like many football fans, I’d happily take a dodgy goal be it for Watford or England. But these were two former England captains remember and so is it that unreasonable to expect that they would have some concept of the idea of fair play? Especially since like all footballers they would have been instrumental in the establishment of the FA’s laughable ‘Respect’ initiative.

Of course having given voice to this ideal on Twitter I have now been accused of having an anti-Chelsea agenda which is exactly what happened

shove it up your arse
Enough said.

when I wrote about John Terry and the charges of racism levelled against him. Indeed, whilst I admire their spirited defence of their club and their captain I am always bemused by the reaction of Chelsea fans to anything said against them.

In many ways, the West London giants are the Samantha Brick of the football world. They have long considered themselves to be a cut-above the rest and always believed that not only are we all jealous of them because of their former status as the ‘glamour’ club but that these days we should all love them because of their achievements. However, what they have never understood is that it’s their very arrogance which is the reason so many people dislike them.

Liverpool are another club in danger of following the same path. Their refusal to play on the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster is understandable in many ways but the petulant way in which both the club and the fans have acted in recent weeks has been uncomfortable to observe. Not least because if they insist on marking the anniversary of the death of 96 lost souls in this manner, why not the death of the 39 at Heysel? Were they any less worthy?

Equally, does this infer that the deaths as a result of the Munich air crash or the Bradford fire were any less important because those clubs do not refuse to play on the anniversary of those tragedies?

Let’s be honest here, football is in desperate need of a bit of positive PR at the moment and to have a top flight player actually playing fair during a show-piece game at Wembley could well have been it.

It certainly wouldn’t have done either Chelsea or John Terry any harm either. Who knows, maybe those of us who follow other clubs might actually have begun to start liking them again.

My next book Wings of a Sparrow is coming along nicely with a planned ebook release early in June 2012. Full details can be found on the official Dougie Brimson website. Just click on the link.

The Crew. A thriller by Dougie Brimson
The Crew.

In the meantime, if you haven’t read it yet, why not download The Crew. It’s been at #1 in the Amazon soccer charts for over 6 months now and is totally free so what do you have to lose?

And finally, could I respectfully ask everyone who has read a book and enjoyed it to take a few moments and post a review on either Amazon or iTunes? They really are important and are a great way to let us authors know that we’re doing an OK job! Or as someone else put it recently, a fabulous way to say thanks!