Category Archives: Andrew

The Sound of Football: Derby County (Andrew)

Every fortnight we cover the best and worst football songs from every club in the UK from our book ‘The Sound Of Football: Every Club, Every Song’. You can buy it here

Derby County

Nickname: The Rams

Ground: Pride Park Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 33,502

Song: The Derby Ram (also known as When I Go To Derby)

The world series of baseball is misnamed. It’s the championship of the major-league baseball teams in the United States and Canada only. The rest of the world doesn’t get a look in despite the sport’s popularity in Japan, Latin America and Cuba.

Although baseball’s a minority sport in the UK there was, for a short period of time, a British Baseball League. In the 1890’s a Derbyshire businessman, Sir Francis Ley, wanted healthier and more productive workers and he constructed a baseball pitch at his factory in Derby.

Sir Francis organised a team to enter the British league, a four-team professional circuit, which he would have won but the other teams complained about his lack of sportsmanship – he’d bought American players to bolster his squad. Even in the nineteenth century, money could buy sporting success.

Although the league was short-lived it did leave one legacy. Sir Francis Ley’s baseball ground became the Baseball Ground, the second (of three) stadiums for Derby County.

Derby County’s one of the original twelve founding members of the Football League and one of only ten clubs to have competed in every season. It also holds a number of other records, most of which are unwanted. During the 2007-08 Premier League campaign it equalled the league record of just one win in a season; it had the least home wins and the least away wins; the most defeats; the least number of goals and the worst goal difference.

Perhaps Derby is cursed? When the club moved to the Baseball Ground in 1895 there was a story that a group of gypsies was forced to move their camp to make way for the Baseball Ground. Legend has it that they put a curse on the ground preventing Derby County winning the FA Cup. It wasn’t a very good curse – Derby won the FA Cup in 1946.

Derby has one record that’s unlikely to be matched. It’s the only club to have had three home grounds host full England internationals. Once at Derby’s original ground The Racecourse Ground in 1895, secondly at the Baseball Ground in 1911 and lastly at the current home, Pride Park, in 2001.

The club also had the first ever club mascot – a ram named Rammie. Rammie is a full-time employee of the club and works to maintain the club’s links with fans through charity and community work.

The club has a ram as its symbol to represent it’s link to the First Regiment of Derby Militia. The militia took a ram as its mascot and used the song, The Derby Ram as its regimental song.

As I was going to Derby,

All on the market day,

I spied the finest ram, sir,

That ever was fed on hay,

And indeed me lads,

It’s true me lads,

I never was known to lie,

If you’d have been to Derby,

You’d have seen the same as I

(Source: trad)

No one knows the song’s exact origin. It has been around for at least 200 years with reports that in 1796 the first US president, George Washington even sang The Derby Ram to a friend’s children. 

In 1855 the first Regiment of Derbyshire Militia adopted a ram as its regimental mascot, a tradition which continues to this day through the Mercian Regiment of the British Army. Lance-corporal Derby, as the current mascot is known as presented to the Mercians by the Duke of Devonshire. Derby is paid £3.75 a day, draws his own rations, and, as the Derby Telegraph reports, he even has to have his leave card with him when he takes his annual holiday on the Duke’s Chatsworth estate. 

American country and western star Merle Travis once recorded a version entitled Darby’s Ram. Identical twins the Kossoy Sisters recorded a version titled The Darby Ram on their 1956 album Bowling Green. And in 1963 the New Christy Minstrels released Down to Darby, an adaptation of the Derby Ram on their album The New Christy Minstrels Tell Tall Tales.

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Beware The Boot Button (Andrew)

At the weekend, I discovered that if you press the ‘boot’ button on the key fob for my car, it will open the boot (which I already knew) but, if you then close the boot, the car will lock itself completely. The ‘boot’ button doesn’t leave the doors open. 

I wouldn’t have minded learning this fascinating fact but the key fob was still in the boot when the car locked…

And I was in a layby near Kinlochard…

In the middle of nowhere…

In shorts and tshirt, after running up Ben Venue…

With no mobile reception…

And my spare key was also in the car…

And my spare spare key was 50 miles away in Larbert… 

How was your weekend? 😊

Medically Certified (Andrew)

I have a big nose. My dad had a big nose. Iain TwinBikeRun has a bike nose. You could say that, wait for it, here it comes, big noses run in the family! Boom! Boom!

I thought a big nose would give me an advantage when it came to getting a throat scan last month. I had an appointment with an ENT consultant and he asked if it was okay if he could check my throat by sticking a camera down my nose. I didn’t rush to say “yes” so he tried to reassure me.

“It’s okay,” he said, “I’ve tried it on myself.”

That didn’t sound good. Or reassuring. Or within acceptable medical guidelines.

He made it worse: “I had a go when the kids were out. I thought why not see what it’s like so I just stuck it down and had a quick look at my tonsils”.

While the kids were out? Unless his kids worked as nurses or doctors, he must have done this at home. It’s not reassuring to think that your doctor is conducting self-experiments at home. And it’s really not reassuring to hear that he waited until his kids were out. If it was so are and normal, why did he wait until he was alone?!?!? Could he not have done it during the evening meal. Hello, darling. Hello, children. Don’t mind me, just like an Instagram influencer, I’m just taking a video of my meal – except I’m doing it from the inside!!!

He then undermined all his comforting words by adding “it may hurt a bit as it goes in”.

I said “I’ll be okay, I’ve got a big nose, there’s plenty of room in there”.

He didn’t;t contradict me. He didn’t say “oh, you shouldn’t say that, you’ve got a petite hooter.” he just laughed and then tried to stuff a an optical cable down my nostril.

“Damn”, he said, “it’s very narrow, it’ll be a tight squeeze so let’s try the other nostril.”

“Damn,” he said again. This nostril is also narrow.”

I was scared of what he might say next. “Oh well,” he’ll say, “if we can’t stick it in your schnoz then we’ll just need to stick it up your bum. But don’t worry. I had a go when the kids were out!”

But he didn’t say that. He didn’t offer a self assessed bum probe, he just said: “You know, medically, you have a small nose.”

And he just pushed harder. But I didn’t mind, through the pain, all I could hear was that I now have a medical opinion that I have a petite conk, a small hooter, a normal nose.

The Sound of Football: Dagenham & Redbridge (Andrew)

Every fortnight we cover the best and worst football songs from every club in the UK from our book ‘The Sound Of Football: Every Club, Every Song’. You can buy it here

Dagenham & Redbridge

Nickname: The Daggers

Ground: Victoria Road

Stadium Capacity: 6,078

Song: The Digger Dagger

Bands dream of one day performing in the O2 in London, the world’s most popular music venue. But not Dagenham-born ex-England manager Terry Venables. He dreamt of performing on the O2. In 2010, he made history by becoming the first singer to perform on top of The O2. He sang the Elvis Pressley song ‘If I Can Dream’, released to support England on its South African World Cup campaign. The song raised money for both Help for Heroes, and Malaria No More UK.

It’s not the first time El Tel has appeared in unusual musical circumstances. He was also on the cover of ‘Dagenham Dave’ by Morrissey, released as a single in 1995. It was only the second time Morrissey had not appeared on the cover of his own song. Instead he picked a picture of Terry Venables sticking his tongue out. Morrissey might have written some classics but this one is clunker. It was reviewed in the weekly musical paper, the NME, and it was described as “piss-poor old crap” and a “tune-impaired three-minute drone.

Dagenham & Redbridge was formed in 1992, making them only three years older than ‘Dagenham Dave’. It was formed after a merger between Dagenham and Redbridge Forest.

Redbridge Forest was also an amalgamated club having been created from Ilford, Leytonstone and Walthamstow Avenue. so the full name of the side should really be Dagenham & Redbridge & Ilford & Leytonstone & Walthamstow FC.

Dagenham is the setting for the film and musical ‘Made in Dagenham’ which chronicles the 1968 Ford sewing machinist’s strike. This was a landmark labour-relations dispute that led to the passing of the Equal Pay Act 1970. The women who were skilled workers walked out when they found out the plant was downgrading their pay to a lower category than the equivalent male worker. It seems an unlikely idea for a musical but who would have thought that a barber who kills people and turns them into pies would be a huge success. What next? A bunch of cats singing songs? Madness!

Dagenham’s nickname is the Daggers for reasons which are self-evident. And the club’s anthem is based on this nickname and Chelsea’s ‘Zigger Zagger’.

It’s a simple call and response: one fan leads and everyone else shouts the reply.

Lead: Digger Dagger, Digger Dagger

Crowd: Oi Oi Oi

Lead: Digger Dagger, Digger Dagger

Crowd: Oi Oi Oi

Lead: Digger

Crowd: Dagger

Lead: Digger

Crowd: Dagger

Lead (faster) :Digger Dagger, Digger Dagger

Crowd: Oi Oi Oi

(Source: fan chant)

The ‘Zigger Zagger’ has a long history. It’s thought it was derived from the Cornish “Oggie, oggie, oggie!” chant. An oggie was Cornish slang for a Cornish pastie. Legend has it that this was called out by Cornish woman to make their menfolk aware that they were about to drop the freshly baked pasties down the tin mine. The original chant was adopted locally by the navy and later used at rugby matches. Famous Chelsea supporter, Mickey Greenaway (see Chelsea for more on Greenaway), is said to have introduced the ‘Zigger Zagger’ version in the early sixties. With his booming voice, he would bark out the call and the crowd would reply with an “Oi, oi, oi!”. It quickly spread to other clubs, including Dagenham & Redbridge.

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(Not A) Race Report from the Loch Leven Half Marathon 2023 (Andrew)

My throat is not the most important part of my body, when it comes to racing.

I’d pick my feet first, then legs, then arms and hands to pick up any water as I run. If I have feet, arms and legs, then I have the basics to be a runner because I never really think about the other parts of my body, except when they hurt. 

Over April and May, I couldn’t call myself a runner as I, unlike Danial Day Lewis, didn’t have a left foot. See last week’s entry. But, as my foot healed, I was looking forward to running the Loch Leven Half Marathon last weekend. It’s one of my favourite races and I’ve covered it before here and here

This year, in the run up, I was able to test my foot and, with no reaction, I was hopeful of running it again. 

Except my throat gave in. 

And, while I know, in theory, a throat is a vital part of running – and of living! – as we need to breathe through it; it’s not a part of my body I give much thought to when preparing to race. Perhaps, I should have. Last week, I had a niggly cold, decided that there’s nothing wrong with some outdoor swimming, and managed to swap a cold for a full on Vin Diesel impression (minus the baldy head, my hair didn’t fall out). 

So, for this year’s race report, I offer a spectator’s view only as Iain TwinBikeRun took part and I gave him a lift to the start.

And my report is one which can be summed up as: Kinross has a very nice EV charger. This year the race was held on closed road so it wasn’t possible to view the race while it was on. I charged my car instead in a park and ride. In terms of EV charging then I would give the Loch Leven Half Marathon 10 out 10. And in terms of starring in Fast & The Furious, I’d give my voice 10 out of 10. But, in terms of racing, I’d give my race 1 out of 10 and I look forward to coming back next year with a properly working set of feet, legs, arms and throat. 

Break It Like Beckham (Andrew)

David Beckham is famous for many things. Whether it scoring from the half way line; getting sent off against Argentina; wearing pants for cash; starring in ads about Qatar for cash; or just being David Beckham (and not Sir David) for cash, he’s done so many things it’s hard to pick out just the one thing to remember him for. 

However, if I had to choose, the one thing I remember about David Beckham is that no one ever broke a foot until David Beckham broke his foot. Which is strange. He plays FOOTball. He’s a FOOTballer. He kicks the ball with his FOOT. But, until he broke his foot in the run up to the 2002 World Cup, no one had ever heard of the word “metatarsal”, yet, afterwards it become a common football injury and every club has a player with a broken metarsal, which, if you don’t know, is the bones that go from the base of the toes back towards the arch of the foot. The metatarsal bones form the weight-bearing part of the foot.

So, thanks, David Beckham, you not only married a Spice Girl, you also invented a whole new field of sporting injury. It should really be called the Beckham bones, in honour of the great man himself.

I say all this because last month I had an emergency visit to Hampden Sports Clinic who confirmed that I was just like David Beckham. “One of the most handsome men on the planet?” I asked. “No,” they said, “you have a metatarsal injury.”

I’d been on holiday and had missed my long run on Easter Sunday and had ran instead on Easter Monday. I’m training for an ultra marathon in August and have been gradually increasing my miles run each week. Last month I was running 12 miles as my longest run of the week, which I did, only to find myself unable to walk a few hours later.

Every time I tried to place weight on my left foot I could feel a dull pain stretching from my middle toe around the left hand side of my foot and down to my heel.

I did what all athletes do in these circumstances. I walked three miles to try and walk it off. 

It didn’t work. 

So I tried my back up plan. I left it overnight and then tried walking three miles again. That didn’t work either. Onto plan C. Speak to a specialist. 

I booked into the Hampden Sports Clinic to speak to a podiatrist. And he confirmed that I was on the right track – as he made me walk back and forth along a corridor, which was shorter than three miles, but he did say “this is to see if it still hurts”.

He then made me run on a treadmill. “Does this hurt?” He asked. “No,” I said. So he turned up the speed until it did. 

Then he poked at various points on my foot again asking “Does this hurt?” and I couldn’t help thinking it would be much nicer if he said “Is this okay?” to confirm a positive rather than a negative. But medical professional prefer to know when they’re causing pain rather than when they are helping. Dicks. 

After an hour he proclaimed that I had a stress injury, that it was unlikely to be muscular or a fracture and that I should stop running or two weeks and then try again to see if it hurts. 

Two weeks was frustrating but better to take two weeks off than to develop a worse injury later. And, thanks to David Beckham, I have a far cooler sounding metatarsal injury rather than the old fashioned and very uncool name of “tippy toe injury”.

The Sound of Football: Crystal Palace (Andrew)

Every fortnight we cover the best and worst football songs from every club in the UK from our book ‘The Sound Of Football: Every Club, Every Song’. You can buy it here

Crystal Palace

Nickname: The Eagles

Ground: Selhurst Park

Stadium Capacity: 26,309

Song: Glad All Over

In 1851, George Jennings invented the public toilet. Unfortunately, the toilets were found in the Crystal Palace exhibition hall. It was called Crystal Palace because it was made out of glass. And, you would think, it would be the last place you would have a toilet as it had clear walls and ceilings. This led to the short-lived proverb: ‘folk in glass houses should not throw stones… or go to the toilet’. More accurately, it also led to the phrase ‘spend a penny’ as George Jennings charged a penny to use the facilities.

Although the hall was originally built in Hyde Park to house the Great Exhibition of 1851, it was moved to Sydenham in south London after the exhibition finished, an area which then became known as Crystal Palace. In 1905 workers at the hall formed a football team and named it Crystal Palace.

The exhibition hall, the area and the football club share more than just a name. Both club and hall suffered from financial difficulties.

In 2010, Crystal Palace went into administration. In the 1850s, the company that built the original hall also failed to pay its debts. It had made a fundamental mistake. Most people worked six days a week with only Sundays off. The hall was only open six days a week, and it closed on a Sunday. Even a candidate on The Apprentice can spot the flaw in this business model. Most people could not visit without taking time off work, and when they did, it was pounds, not pennies the builders needed.

Unusually, Palace’s great rival is not a London side but one that is over 40 miles away – Brighton.

The rivalry with Brighton had simmered for several years but ‘officially’ started in 1974 when Palace was in the third division. Both sides had many away supporters, regularly taking 12,000 to each other’s grounds.

An FA Cup match saw the rivalry boil over after Brighton was awarded a penalty. Brighton scored, but the referee ordered it retaken as a Palace player had crept into the box. The second penalty was missed, and Palace went on to win 1 – 0.

Alan Mullery, the Brighton manager, was enraged and, as he marched off the pitch, he encountered trouble in the tunnel.

As I was walking up the tunnel,” he told The Guardian, “a load of boiling hot coffee was thrown over me by a Crystal Palace supporter. So I pulled a handful of change out of my pocket, threw it on the floor and shouted, ‘That’s all you’re worth, Crystal Palace.’” 

Mullery added further insults, and gestures involving his fingers, before storming into the Palace dressing room to confront his old Tottenham Hotspur teammate and then Crystal Palace manager, Terry Venables. It was reported that Mullery threw a fiver on the floor and told El Tel he wouldn’t pay that much for the entire Palace team, which was true if 36 years too early. In 2010, following administration, he could have picked the whole team up for nothing.

Crystal Palace adopted the Dave Clark Five song ‘Glad All Over’ as its anthem in the 1960s. It was released in November of 1963, and it got the group their first-ever number one in January the following year.

Unlike other football songs, the transition from chart to terraces was instant. Usually, it can take several years before a song is widely accepted as tradition, but in the case of ‘Glad All Over’, it had easily caught on within the year and was a matchday tradition by the end of the decade. Since then, the song has been sung before, during and after matches (providing Palace win). 

Perhaps part of its success in crossing over was how the Dave Clark Five wrote and recorded their songs. Their live shows were famous for audience participation, usually led by Dave Clark ‘conducting’ the crowd and getting them to stomp their feet in time to his drumming. Dave Clark has said: “I’d pay somebody 5 Pounds to go switch all the lights on and off in the ballroom, in time with the stomps. That’s what gave [us] the idea for ‘Glad All Over,'” whose chorus featured a “boom boom… Glad all over!” chorus. 

The song’s link to the club was reinforced in 1990 when it was recorded by the squad and released for the club, reaching the FA Cup final. Unfortunately, Palace lost the final after the match was replayed following a 3 – 3 draw at the first attempt.

The song has been adopted by Blackpool and other English Football League teams such as Rotherham United, Port Vale and Swindon Town.

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Glentress Winter Trail Half Marathon 2022 Race Report (Andrew)

A couple of weeks ago I talked about how important it was to check the race route before running an event. The Glentree Winter Trail Half Marathon was one week after the Jimmy Irvine 10K and yet I hadn’t learnt my lesson at all. I didn’t check the route for this race either. I had assumed it would be the same as before. Big mistake.

There are two Glentress trail races. One in November and one in February. Both races have different routes. The November race involves six miles of climbing and then six miles of running back to the start. The February race involves NINE miles of climbing and then a steep three miles back to the start. I had assumed this race would start going downhill from 6 miles onwards, instead it kept climbing and climbing… the route had changed, and this was the same as the February race!

I don’t know why they changed it but, when you’re expecting to go downhill and have to climb another three miles, it’s not a fun realisation that you should have checked and prepared for it. My mistake. I can’t even say I wasn’t warned as I knew from the previous week that race routes can change. D’oh!

As for the race, it was slower than previous years as I was still running after illness and injury. I was pleased to finish in under 2 and half hours but I would have been a whole lot happier with six miles of climbing instead of nine.

For details on the race see these previous reports: Glentress and Glentress

How to film a YouTube stretching/Yoga/pilates video (Andrew)

After a month of watching YouTube flexibility videos every day for my 31 day stretching challenge I learned not only that I need to bend and twist and stretch more but that there are certain things you need to do if you’re going to film a video yourself. Here are my top 6 tips for filming a YouTube Yoga video.

1. Get a lazy dog

Yoga with Adrienne is the leading example of having a dog in your video that is neither downward or upward but actual and real. Crucially the dog must be sleeping and rarely move. You wouldn’t want my dog – Barney The Schnauzer – as he would see the camera, consider it an invasion of his privacy and start barking with all the manner and force of a football hooligan.

2. Get a pot plant

If you can’t get a dog then get a pot plant. It’s like a dog but without the threat of peeing on your foot during a sun salutation. Even better, why not get five plants and just scatter them randomly around your floor? Bonus points for having a plinth.

3. Find an empty room

The emptier the better, just remember it should look calm and serene in it’s emptiness and not like it’s been stripped by a serial killer and doubles as your Yoga Studio/kill room.

4. Take your top off

While many videos feature instructor in appropriate clothing there is a sub-genre where the instructor strips to the waist to, I can only assume, help you see the muscles they are stretching. This is not a genre of video that you ever see from a fat bloke – and you tend to find these videos are also accompanied by other videos called “Get MASSIVE guns in three easy move” and “You are using barbells wrong, you WIMP”.

5. Take almost everything off

The less said about near naked Yoga the better. I once went to a Hot Yoga class where the man in front of me was wearing just a pair of white Y-fronts. It wasn’t sexy then, it’s not sexy now. No one wants to see your barely concealed bits doing a squat.

And, no, I’m linking to any videos!

6. Forget the voiceover

You can get some videos with no voice over or instructions. Instead all instructions are in text on screen, which is handy, unless you’re in the middle of a headstand, in which case you need to turn your iPad upside down too.

The Sound of Football: Crewe Alexandra (Andrew)

Every fortnight we cover the best and worst football songs from every club in the UK from our book ‘The Sound Of Football: Every Club, Every Song’. You can buy it here

Crewe Alexandra

Nickname: The Railway Men

Ground: The Alexandra Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 10,066

Song: Standing Together

Crewe Alexandra has released two songs. One a cover of ‘Blue Moon’, more famously known as the anthem of Manchester City. And, the other, a song called ‘Standing Together’. A soft rock classic with an obligatory guitar solo.

‘Standing Together’ is an appropriate title for a song about Crewe Alexandra as the town of Crewe is best known for its railway junction. The junction also gives rise to Crewe’s nickname – the Railway Men.

What’s less known is the town’s link to the most famous cartoon character in history: Mickey Mouse. The town was the birthplace of Jimmy MacDonald, who, for thirty years, was the voice of Mickey.

Both Mickey and Crewe have helped produce young talent. In America, The Mickey Mouse Club was a TV variety show that launched the career of several artists such as Justin Timberlake, Brittney Spears and Christina Aguilera. At Crewe Alexandra, the focus on youth development has produced notable players such as Neil Lennon, David Platt and Robbie Savage. Though describing Robbie Savage as talent may be stretching the definition of ‘talent’ too far.

It’s unclear where the Alexandra in Crewe Alexandra originated. One tale states that it took the name ‘Alexandra’ from a local hotel used by the club. Another tale states it was after Princess Alexandra of Denmark, who married Queen Victoria’s eldest son.An unusual feature of Crewe’s stadium is the absence of dugouts. However, they don’t stand together; instead, teams sit in a section of seating at the front of the main stand. The most famous part of the ground is known as the ‘Popular Side’; this is a single-tier stand where the away supporters are housed. We suspect it’s called the ‘Popular Side’ because other name is the ‘Ice Cream Van Stand’. 

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