Ched Evans: a decision

Finally. It’s taken far too long quite a while, it’s been fraught and it’s been wholly unpleasant. But finally, Sheffield United have come to a decision regarding Ched Evans:

Following the statement dated 11th November and after ongoing and extensive deliberation, Sheffield United Football Club has decided to retract the opportunity for its former player, Ched Evans, to use the Club’s facilities for training purposes, as was previously intended.

And, I suppose that means (although it doesn’t actually say so) that he won’t be playing for us again either. And as Paul Heaton pointed out last week, that’s probably a good thing:

I firmly believe that Ched Evans has the right to rebuild his career in football but rebuilding a career should not involve walking straight out of prison and into the shirt of the club he so badly let down.
I believe he needs to move away and move on…

United remain defiant in their statement though:

As noted in previous statements from the Club, the legal system of this country provides for both the punishment and the rehabilitation of every person who has been found guilty of a crime. Sheffield United will not be used to promote the view that professional footballers should be treated differently, as has been the want of certain sections of the media and various commentators. In addition, we remain disappointed at some of the inaccurate reporting, misinformed views and commentary, as well as the actions of a minority of individuals on social media. Professional footballers must be treated as equals before the law.

And yep, I agree with all of that.

But the fact is that this was always going to be a no-win situation for the club. While there obviously isn’t going to be the widespread, media-driven condemnation of this decision as there was with the original training thing was announced, there are a large number of “true” Blades fans who don’t agree with it. They see it as the Board “bottling” it – the local term for running scared or giving way under pressure. They cite (correctly too, I think) the fact that the vast majority of negative comment came from individuals who had and have nothing to do with Sheffield United. Whether that makes those people’s opinions less valid (I think it probably shouldn’t) or less influential (I think it probably should) is still up for discussion.

And supporting that opinion that they buckled to social media pressure, the Board seem to admit that they are nursing a bloodied nose and bruised ego:

During this whole period, we have been served a timely reminder of what we have been throughout our history: Sheffield United is a Family and Community Club that, even in times of adversity, will remain strong and grow from its experiences.

How these “true” fans will choose to react to this decision also remains to be seen, but it seems that as far as Sheffield United go:

The Club will not be making any further comment on this issue.

…it’s case closed.

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Nice choices, Mike

500px – the photo sharing site for proper photographers or “Grown Up Flickr” as I call it – has a new feature: a Guest Curators’ Choice page. This is where they get a top photographer, who acts a s a Guest Curator (who knew?) and picks his or her favourite photos from 500px. And first up is Michael Shainblum from San Diego in California. Here’s his 500px page, featuring amazing stuff like this:


And here are his choices, including a couple of his shots and some from other photographers.
I particularly like this one:

11 which, as you can easily see, is by Erin Babnik. It’s called “Getting Close”, and it took some taking:

I must have gone through every position in the Kama Sutra with that tripod trying to get its feet secured around me, but to no avail. The solution involved lying prostrate on top of the boulder to get my face low enough to see the back of the camera, which was not the most elegant position I’ve assumed in the course of getting a shot, but it got the job done!

The softness of the flowing brook, against the sentinel peaks of the Dolomites  behind and the fresh, vernal light.

Nice shot, Erin. And nice choices, Mike.

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I missed out on going to see the yachts from the Volvo Ocean Race when they were in town this year. As you might have noticed from the lack of quality and quantity of blogging lately, I’m chaotically busy with trying to fit in experiments ahead of the the Christmas and summer break and trying to fit in everything else before we head up to the UK “soon”.

But the footage of the teams leaving Cape Town and heading the 8000 odd miles to Kochi in India was stunning:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

That’s the corporate package – if you want the technical detail, you can watch the full, 85 minute version of the start here.

The stopover in Cape Town was supported the the tune of R750,000 by the city council, and while the maths still needs to be done, it looks like a sound investment, given the number of people going to see the yachts in port (not me) and seeing the city on TV and – increasingly – on the internet.

The event will be televised to an estimated 1.8 billion people, and the publicity will help position the city as a desirable investment and tourist choice.

Worth every cent then…

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Almost ran out of time to blog today, so here’s a last minute smoky sunset:


The fire on the mountain above Fishhoek might not be good news for the mountain above Fishhoek, but it did make for an interesting sunset this evening.

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Holiday Snaps

Not mine, you’ll be pleased to hear. No. These are from the Rosetta holiday mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. There’s nothing particularly remarkable about these photos, save for the fact that they were ever even taken at all.


You can surf through a couple of hundred pics, all the while marvelling that you’re looking at images taken on a piece of space rock moving at thousands of kilometres an hour, some half a billion kilometres from Earth.

It’s all rather humbling.

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