Some linky goodness

I know that I need to tell you about Plettenberg Bay (as promised here), but all in good time. In the meanwhile (what’s a meanwhile?) here are some interesting stories for your perusal.

This is not to be confused with a Wednesday Ephemera post, despite the obvious similarities.

Fracking news: In a post that is more about the disgraceful hounding of the late Tony Twine than our energy reserves or whether or not we should be extracting them, comes the (repeated) news that there’s LOADS of gas under the Karoo and even if we can get at just a bit of it, it will have a HUGE effect on the country.

The potential was so mind-boggling Twine tried to tone down expectations. He ran his econometric model on just 10% of what the US’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) had published as the Karoo Basin’s “recoverable reserves”.Even at this conservative level, the model concluded shale gas would create 850 000 jobs and, for a minimum of 25 years, generate annual economic growth equivalent to 9.6% of 2010’s GDP.

In a country so bogged down by youth unemployment, a frankly terrifying economic outlook and widespread pessimism WHY ARE WE STILL WAITING to move on this?

Things which are connected to Fracking news: While the US economy continues to recover, use of clean shale gas instead of coal has assisted in reducing that country’s carbon emissions to levels not seen since 1994:

Last year, the US saw its lowest carbon emissions since 1994, continuing a downward trend that began in 2008 during the economic crisis. It marks the second year in a row that carbon emissions have dropped despite a growth in gross domestic product. Prior to the last few years, economic growth had been closely tied to increased carbon emissions.

Other fracking related posts on 6000 miles… 

Today’s bizarre story of the day: A man who forgot to book the venue for his wedding decided that rather than admitting this to his wife-to-be, he’d phone the place just before the ceremony and claim that there was a bomb on the premises.

…as she got dressed on the morning of the wedding he slipped out of the house, went to a phone box and, disguising his voice, told the receptionist at Liverpool Register Office, which is part of St George’s Hall:

“This is not a hoax call. There’s a bomb in St George’s Hall and it will go off in 45 minutes.”

The call, 11 days after the Boston Marathon bombing, provoked “terror” and the building was immediately evacuated and emergency services called. He was given a 12-month jail sentence after admitting making the hoax call.

And yes, they’re still together. Awww.

Bascule Bar at the Cape Grace is now a bit rubbish: According to this post, anyway. I haven’t been there for years, but they do (did?) stock Tamdhu, which is my whisky of choice when I have a spare £9 to drop on a shot. Would it be worth putting up with the (allegedly) rubbishy chairs, the lack of soul, the poorly motivated staff and the thieving prostitutes though?

What is worse is that prostitutes are camped out at the bar. I’m not naïve – Bascule is at The Cape Grace Hotel, a superb 5 star property. Ladies for hire are a fact of life at many 5 star hotels in tourist cities.  But at Bascule, they have taken over. There are many stories around of customers being robbed and accosted by the women. A few Friday evenings ago I went with an old friend – someone who at one stage shared a wine locker with me… That Friday it resembled a seedy pool bar, without the pool tables. There was a 19-year-old prostitute at the bar – and she left with an elderly German tourist. Another woman at the bar stole a bottle of cider – slipped it into her handbag. There was not a glass of whisky in sight.

Actually, I think it probably would. Especially if they get some pool tables in.

Nigel Clough is the new Blades manager: a little over 20 years after United ended his Dad’s managerial career with a 2-0 win at the City Ground (Glyn Hodges and Brian Gayle the scorers, if memory serves) in a game that he played in, Nigel Clough has been announced as the new Sheffield United manager. The board at the club have said some lovely things about him:

Nigel was the clear, first choice of the board. He brings an approach to the game that is well suited to what we are trying to achieve at Sheffield United. Nigel has enjoyed managerial success in the game. He knows how to inspire first team players to give their all and has a proven track record of making an academy a key ingredient to the club’s success. We count ourselves lucky to have Nigel aboard.

Just as they did about David Weir a few months back:

We are thrilled to appoint David and the three-year contract emphasises the fact that he will assist in a change in club culture. I have stated before that the club needs to act differently and David is young, has a great pedigree and will bring a new vision and leadership to the club.

Weir was rubbish and lasted just 13 league games.
So what of Nigel? We’ll surely keep you informed.

Dismay, Dispiriting, Disunited

Here’s one fan’s view on the issues around the Ched Evans verdict on Friday.

I’m not getting drawn into this one. Evans was found guilty and, while I understand that he is appealing the verdict, there is no excuse for what he has done and no excuse for anyone to defend his actions or to question the judgement.

However, Ian does make some valid points with reference to the the way that the inexcusable behaviour of a few idiots has been taken to be representative of the whole club.

This case isn’t anything to do with Sheffield United. It is nothing to do with football. It is about a sexual assault.

Those in charge at Sheffield United FC have dealt with the matter very well. At the minute you cannot say this reflects badly on the club, but now we have the danger of a negative media frenzy thanks to the actions of a vocal minority.

The Sky cameras will be focused even more firmly on United and the supporters on Saturday. A spotlight intensified by the ferocity of comments from some of our support alongside the reported tweets of current and former players. Please don’t let yourselves down. Please don’t let the club down.

And he’s absolutely right. But I feel that his appeal will fall on deaf ears. The vocal minority will continue to be vocal and the media will jump all over it.

Thanks Paul

Club Statement


Gary Speed MBE
8 September 1969 – 27 November 2011

Having been away from all radio, internet and cellphone contact this weekend (try it, you might like it), I was hugely shocked and saddened (as I’m sure many others were) to hear of the apparent suicide of Gary Speed – footballer, Wales manager and – more pertinently for me – ex-Sheffield United player and boss.

Here’s the statement from the United website:

Everyone at Sheffield United Football Club is shocked to hear of the death of former player, coach and manager Gary Speed.

Gary made his debut for the Blades on New Year’s Day 2008 in a 0-0 draw against Wolves. He retired as a player in the summer of 2009 but continued his career in the game by taking up a coaching role at Sheffield United.
Three games into the 2010/11 season Gary replaced Kevin Blackwell as manager before moving to manage the Wales national team in December 2010.

Sheffield United director Scott McCabe said: “This is devastating news. All the thoughts and prayers of the board of directors and staff at the club are with Gary’s family at this very sad time.”

Former playing colleague now player coach with the Blades, Chris Morgan: “I just cannot believe that Gary has died. He was extremely popular at Bramall Lane both as a player and in a managerial capacity with all the lads. His death is a very sad loss.”

All too often when someone young (Speed was just 42 years old) and well-known passes away, the grief athletes come out in droves and lament their death as if they were a saint. I’m usually rather more emotionless and rational, but in this instance, I find myself sad at the passing of a man who appeared throughout his career to be a genuine, honest and down-to-earth guy.

RIP Gary Speed.

When we were top the league

Yes, Sheffield football is currently suffering, but I was recently reminded by a friend on Facebook that there was a time – however brief – when my beloved Sheffield United were top of the Premier League league – and Man U were bottom:

Fans of the Manchester club may want to look away rather than watch that YouTube clip as Brian Deane and the Blades tear through Gary Pallister, Steve Bruce and Peter Schmeichel et al (see line ups below) on the way to a memorable 2-1 victory which I still remember.
And while – 19 years on – the Red and White Wizzzzzzaaaaaaards find themselves in unhappier times, it’s somehow reassuring to note that some things never change with a (slightly younger) Alex Ferguson er… blaming the ref for the defeat.


That season we beat (amongst others) Liverpool (1-0), Chelsea (4-2) and Spurs (6-0) at Fortress Bramall Lane, finishing in 14th place overall with 52 points. Brian Deane ended the season alongside Hughes, Cantona and Le Tissier with 15 goals.

Happy days.

Sheffield United 2-1 Manchester United
Bramall Lane, Sheffield
15th August 1992

Goals: Deane (5) 1-0; Deane pen (50) 2-0; Hughes (61) 2-1.

Sheffield United: Tracey; Gage, Barnes, Gannon (Hartfield, 86), Beesley, McLeary, Bradshaw, Lake, Cork, Deane, Hodges (Bryson, 68). Substitute not used: Kelly.
Manchester United: Schmeichel; Irwin, Blackmore, Bruce, Ferguson, Pallister, Kanchelskis (Dublin, 68), Ince (Phelan, 7), McClair, Hughes, Giggs.

Referee: B Hill (Kettering).