Category Archives: Andrew

The Sound of Football: Burton Albion (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

Burton Albion

Nickname: The Brewers

Ground: Pirelli Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 6,912

Song: Tom Hark

The town of Burton has a history of football clubs that have struggled on and off the pitch.

Burton Swifts were formed in 1871. It was a founder member of The Combination League before switching to the Alliance League. These may sound like rebel groups from Star Wars, yet they were real football league names. The Swifts didn’t last long – it folded when it amalgamated with Burton Wanderers, who are notable only for looking like a misspelt version of Bolton Wanderers. The newly amalgamated club was Burton United, which was ironic, as they weren’t united, and separated in 1910 after just nine years together.

The town had no football team for 11 years. In 1921 a new club called Burton All-Saints was formed but, only for three years, when it changed to Burton Town. It managed to keep playing until the Second World War but went on an indefinite break. After the leagues resumed, the team did not. Finally, in 1950, Burton Albion was formed. The hardest task for the new club wasn’t getting entry to a league but finding a name that hadn’t already been used.

Equally, the club has struggled to find a song. For the 2013/14 season, the club asked fans to choose new goal celebration music. Among the suggestions were Bohemian Like You, High Ho Silver Lining, We Will Rock You, Chelsea Dagger, Locked Up, Chase the Sun, Just Can’t Get Enough, Born to be Wild and Free, Woo Hoo, Mr Brightside, The Boys are Back in Town and Hot Chocolate’s Everyone’s a Winner. Sadly, everyone wasn’t a winner. Only one song was chosen, and that was Tom Hark by The Piranhas, a song used by many clubs, including Arbroath and Burnley.

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Celtman Low Level Route – Support Running (Andrew)

As a supporter, it’s important to believe in your athlete and offer unwavering support. You don’t want them to waiver and doubt, you want them to remain strong and resolute. Saying that, I had no doubt that Iain TwinBikeRun would not be running the final 13 miles of Celtman and I trained accordingly as his support running. I.e. I didn’t train at all as I thought even with no training I’d still be faster than him – and I was right. But, after a 3K swim, 120 mile ride and difficult steep eight mile run to make the 13 hour cut off time, he was entitled to take it a bit easier.

Top tips for supporting

  • You can start running with your athlete from either T2 or from T2A, about 10 miles into the course. I joined at T2A and you need to be mindful of traffic on the Kinochewe to Sheildaig road. As a supporter you can only drive east to west so make sure you spot the transition as you won’t be able to turn around and drive back. This may have happened to me…
  • There is a car park to unload at T2B, about a mile and half down the road. You can stop here too. If you see it. I may have missed it too…
  • At T2A transition, to save time, you can check your bags before your competitor arrives. This is also useful if you miss something and need to quickly find a replacement. Luckily, this didn’t happen to me.
  • The first couple of miles from T2A is along the main road so watch out for traffic.
  • After two miles, you switch to the low route around Ben Eighe and towards Torridon. Wile this may be the low route, it is not an easy or flat route. It is still a serious mountain trail with a lot of climbing and technical trekking. Watch out for your footing, a couple of tricky stream crossings and plenty of scrambling left and right to find good places to walk/run. Don’t be surprised if it takes 40 minutes to walk one mile.
  • This is an exposed part of Scotland. As the 2022 race showed, the weather can be brutal with strong winds and constant rain. Make sure to follow the race kit instructions and to wear/bring more than you think you might need. Don’t just bring a waterproof running jacket, bring seal skins. Don’t just bring a hat, bring a hazmat helmet. Think diving bell, rather than summer stroll.
  • The low level route doesn’t finish along the shore, like the high level route. Instead, thankfully, it’s a straight walk through Torridon to the finish line at the village hall. I thought we still had three miles to walk around the village and I was very happy to find out it was only 500 metres.
  • Get a buffet ticket for when you arrive at the hall, the hot food is essential after many hours in the mountain.
  • Think about how you’re getting home. I have to admit I don’t know how other competitors/supporters arranged to get back if they didn’t stay in Torridon. I would share what we did – but I’m not sure it was strictly allowed…

The Sound of Football: Burnley (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

Burnley

Nickname: The Clarets

Ground: Turf Moor

Stadium Capacity: 21,940

Song: Tom Hark

Being a Burnley fan is special because the best-supported side in England isn’t Manchester United, Liverpool or Chelsea; it’s Burnley. Burnley holds the record for the highest attendance ratio of people attending a match mapped against the town population. This is either a remarkable show of dedication or a clear lack of adequate public transport at the weekend.

Burnley was one of the 12 founder members of the Football League and is one of only three English league clubs to have been champions of all four professional league divisions, along with Wolves and Preston. More infamously, Burnley’s the reason why clubs who finish bottom of the league are relegated automatically.

In 1897 clubs took part in playoff games to decide who was promoted from the second to the first division. By the time it got to the last match of the series, both Burnley and Stoke City needed a draw to ensure they would both be promoted.

Perhaps not surprisingly, both clubs were due to play each other in the last game of the season. You will also not be surprised to hear that the match ended 0 – 0 and became known as ‘The Match Without A Shot At Goal’. Both teams were promoted, and the Football League immediately withdrew the Test Match series in favour of automatic promotion and relegation.

While the Royal Family usually keeps their sporting affiliations to themselves (however, see Arsenal and Aston Villa for the Royals suspected affiliations); one family member has admitted publicly that he’s a Burnley fan. Prince Charles declared his love of the town and club at a ceremony for the British Asian Trust:

A consortium of my charities, including the British Asian Trust, has been working in Burnley. Hence, some of you asked this evening whether I support a British football club and I said ‘yes – Burnley’. And people have responded ‘Burnley? Oh yes, because Burnley has been through some very challenging times and I’m trying to find ways of helping to regenerate and raise aspirations and self-esteem in that part of the world.”

It’s only fitting that Prince Charles supports Burnley: every time Burnley scores, you’ll hear ‘Tom Hark’ by Elias and His Zig Zag Jive Flutes. The song was partly based on a 1927 melody which sang about dancing with a girl who had danced with the Prince of Wales. And the current Prince of Wales is… Prince Charles.

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The Sound of Football: Bristol Rovers (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

Bristol Rovers

Nickname: The Pirates

Ground: Memorial Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 11,626

Song: Goodnight Irene

Rod Hull was a children’s TV presenter during the 1970s and 80s. He was famous for his puppet Emu, which he used to ‘attack’, in a light-hearted way, children and celebrities. Rod was a popular presenter, and many were upset that he had been killed in 1999 by… Manchester United.

Rod was watching United play Inter Milan in the Champions League when he decided to improve his TV’s reception by climbing onto the roof of his house to adjust his aerial. Tragically, he slipped and fell from the roof and through a greenhouse.

If only Rod had watched Bristol Rovers instead of Manchester United. Bristol was Rod’s favourite team, and there’s little chance of seeing them play in Europe. The only major cup competition the club has won was the 1972 Watney Cup. A competition held before the start of the season was contested by the teams that had scored the most goals in each of the four divisions.

The closest the team ever came to playing in a European competition was the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1992/93. While the club played in the group stages in England, when it came to playing the games in Italy, Rovers lost out to West Ham United. After both finished, a coin toss was held over the phone with the same points and goal difference. West Ham won the toss and played abroad in Rovers place.

In 1974 Rod Hull and Emu recorded ‘Bristol Rovers All The Way’ and the B-side ‘I’d Do Anything’ with the Bristol Rovers squad. Normally, the football players are tone-deaf in a song, but this one has some of the most off-key singing since Cheryl Cole tried to sing live. It’s not played today.

The club’s official nickname is ‘The Pirates’, reflecting the maritime history of Bristol. The local nickname of the club is ‘The Gas’, from the gasworks next to its former home, Eastville Stadium.

The Gas started as a derogatory term used by Bristol City fans against their rivals but was affectionately adopted by the team. In 2001, the club honoured the fan’s support by awarding them number 12 in the squad to recognise them officially as the club’s 12th man.

The club’s official song is ‘Goodnight Irene’, an American folk song from the 1930s. The lyrics tell of the singer’s troubled past with his love, Irene. Several verses make explicit references to suicidal fantasies, making it appropriate as a football song as losing games can make fans suicidal.

It was first sung at a fireworks display at the Eastville Stadium the night before a home game against Plymouth Argyle in 1950. During the game the following day, Rovers were winning quite comfortably. The few Argyle supporters present began to leave early, prompting a chorus of ‘Goodnight Argyle’ from the Rovers supporters – the tune stuck and ‘Goodnight Irene’ became the club song.

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Celtman 2022 – Swim (Iain)

That’s me at the bottom of the picture. I’m trying to run away!

The day before the race I visited the swim location as the organizers had arranged a social swim. The conditions were pretty brutal. It was wet, windy and there was allot of choppy waves. The organizers shortened the swim distance and asked everyone to just do a 100m swim in a slightly less blustery section.

The water wasn’t as cold as I had expected but it was a struggle in the wind. I did 200m and then got out. That was enough to give me a feel of what it would be like on race day.

Race morning arrived and the alarm went off horribly early (0230). I got up and I eat a bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes getting my wetsuit on. I’d packed the car the night before so I there would be nothing to do in the morning other than drive to the start.

We arrived in Sheildaig around 0330. I racked my bike and picked up my dibber and GPS unit. Sheildaig is a long town so give yourself plenty of time to walk the length of it. There was allot of people about and I could feel the race atmosphere.

There was a bit of hanging about when I got to the swim start. A band played music and some fires were lit but I’d rather have just got in the sea and started swimming. I hate hanging about for races to start.

I entered the water towards the back of the field, deliberately trying to limit my time in the water before the swim start. The sea tempreture was 13C-ish. Normally I wouldn’t bother with vest, gloves and socks at that tempreture but I didn’t want to take any chance that I’d get cold so I wore them all.

I quickly got into my rhythm and focused on staying relaxed and breathing every couple of strokes and sighting every 30s or so. Up until the second island I saw the odd jelly fish and I wondered what the fuss was about. I then reached the second island.

I’ve never seen so many jellyfish. It was like swimming into a massive wall of jellyfish. They were everywhere. Every stroke would result in me punching a jellyfish out the way. This lasted until I came to shore.

I emerged and my brother helped me to transition 1. I checked my watch and saw it had taken less than my goal time of 70 minutes. So i was pleased with that.

I saw other competitors shaking from the cold, but I felt perfectly fine. The extra layers had made all the difference. With the help of my brother I started to change into my cycle gear. He gave me a drink of Pepsi as I got changed. It was a sugary hit!

At one point I started to put on my sun glasses. My brother said “you won’t need them” He was right….

Celtman 2022 – Pre-race (Iain)

Extreme triathlons tend to take place in beautiful remote locations. Celtman is no exception. It takes place in Torridon. A tiny village enclosed by mountains and sea. But there is a downside to the location. It can be very difficult to get accommodation near to the race.

If I’m interested in an event I try to book my accommodation before I get a confirmed place. That way I beat the rush of other people looking for accomodation too. I was able to sort out a house 45 minutes from the start. Which for this part of the world counts as being close by.

The place I booked was https://www.booking.com/hotel/gb/the-wee-coolins-strathcarron.html

It wasn’t cheap but nothing here is. But it was clean and comfy. It was a good base for the weekend. There is a local supermarket just 5 minutes away. They had a good choice of local food and mainstream brands.

The accomodation

I’d booked the accommodation from the Thursday to the Sunday of the race weekend. I headed to it on the Thursday. I like to arrive two days beforehand so that the Friday is not a rush. Andrew, his wife and his daughter were due to arrive too but he phoned to say they’d all come down with a sickness bug.

Which was a slight worry as they were my support crew. But I was confident they’d make it up so I didn’t let it worry me.

I got a good nights sleep. I’d brought my own pillow to ensure that I did sleep ok. I learnt that tip from the Tour De France. The riders also bring their own pillow as they don’t know how good their bed will be each night.

On the Friday I went to the social swim. This is a small gathering in Sheildaig were you can do a practice swim in the sea. The conditions were abysmal. There was big waves in the sea so the organizers shortened the course. I quite enjoy swimming in waves so I went straight in and did a quick loop. The water temperature wasn’t too cold (12.5C) and it boosted my confidence that I wouldn’t have to worry about temperature the next day.

In the afternoon I had to register. They are very strict about the mandatory kit. I had a baseball cap with me but they deemed it not good enough as a cap. Thankfully my brother had turned up by this point and he had a spare beanie cap he could lend me.

I would argue the baseball cap was a better cap than his beanie but its the organizers who have the final say.

I asked them what most people get wrong and they replied “Bringing toy whistles instead of proper whistles.” If you do the race, don’t skimp on your whistle!

After the kit check I sat for an hour listening to the race briefing. By the end of the hour I had a very sore bum! That is why its an extreme triathlon, normal triathlons would have supplied chairs.

After getting back to the accommodation there was time for a last check of the kit and then a photo. I was in bed by 1930 in the hope I’d get a decent sleep before the race…

Celtman 2022 – Training (Iain)

When I look back at my Norseman training plan https://twinbikerun.com/2018/08/28/norseman-training-plan-iain/ this statement stands out.

” I couldn’t have done much more, based on the time I had available and the desire to still have a life outside of training.”

So that was my key goal for training for this race – still have a life outside training.

To remove the anxiety of knowing whether i was training enough I decided to buy a Celtman training plan. I got it from https://www.tmrcoaching.com/

I had to purchase a training peaks (TP) account to use it. It was an interesting way to train…..I will write a separate blog about it.

SWIM

The training plan advised two or three swims a week. I did one session a week. Swimming is my most time consuming exercise as it involves at least an hour round trip from my house to my pool. I didn’t want to spend my time driving too and from swimming when i could be biking/running instead.

Thankfully my swim technique is pretty good so I decided all I really needed to do was work on my swim fitness. I did one 2.2K swim a week. And that was fine for me.

I’m also pretty confident dealing with cold water so I didn’t feel the need to overly practice swimming in it. I did a couple of pre-swims just to remind myself what it would feel like. That was also fine for me.

My view of swimming in triathlons is that if you are not looking to win the race then spend your time training the parts that will actually make a significant difference to your time – biking/running.

BIKE

The key sessions for the bike were a shorter faster set on a Tuesday and a longer bike ride at the weekend.

I mostly used Zwift until about April. It was the most time efficient way to train as I could do it in my house.

From April I tried to do the longer ride outdoors BUT I mostly did it on a mountain bike. Yes – a mountain bike. I don’t really enjoy long rides on my road bike. I find it a bit boring. So instead I would head off on my mountain bike and find interesting roads and tracks to ride.

I also (maybe mistakenly) thought that these rides would be better for me as the bike is heavier and therefore it would need more effort to ride it. I hoped this would mean that when I finally did get on my road bike it would feel easy.

My longest pre-race ride was 6 hours. Which I did a couple of times to ensure that I was used to being on a bike for a long period of time.

I only rode my road bike three times before Celtman. And that was mainly to check it still worked.

Run

The running schedule was a shorter hillier run on a Thursday and a longer run at the weekend.

I enjoy running so this was easy enough to follow. It was actually slightly less than I would normally run.

The only issue was that I developed an achilles injury at the start of April. This meant I choose to only run once a week. Which was enough to keep my running fitness but not enough to make my injury worse.

I’d have liked to have done more but I think I made the correct decision to ensure that I made it to the start line of the race,

Outdoor Swim Review: The White Loch Revisited 2022 (Andrew)

I’ve covered the White Loch before – see here – and for parking see this previous review. For 2022, I’d add that you should check which route you plan to use to drive to the White Loch. There’s a lot of road work in the south side including on the main roads at Giffnock and Newton Mearns (including access to the A77). On Saturday, there was a diversion in place which required an extra 25 minute drive so factor that into your plans before you go.

Water Quality

In previous years, I’ve mentioned that you might feel a slight sliminess after you swim. This is due to peat and nothing to be alarmed about even if you might feel like the Creature of the White Loch Lagoon when you come out of the water. Currently, the water is clear and I felt clean when I came out of the water.

Last year the loch was ‘closed’ due to a blue-green algae infestation. This can occur after a long period of warm weather. Check out the Southside Swimmers Facebook group for the latest updates to confirm if the loch is safe to swim.

Swim Quality

Excellent location for different lenghts of swims. If you just want a dip then a paddle round the entrance is nice and shallow. If you want to complete a full lap then it will be around 1000 – 1200 metres. You can aim for the opposite bank at 4, then a bright and obvious life buoy post at 2 then a wind turbine at 3 before coming back to the start.

I’m told that some people experience a slight pull in the water around the dam at 1 so keep away from it.

Other people

At least one person every time I’ve been. If it’s been sunny then I’ve seen 10 people here, including swimmers, paddle boarders, a canoe – and one dog swimming laps after it’s owner. It’s a busy place.

Overall

A great spot for a swim – but also a very well known one so expect to see other people particularly at weekends, evenings and if the weather is warm and sunny.

Celtman 2022 – Intro (Iain)

Celtman is my local extreme triathlon. It’s extreme because it’s colder, longer, hillier, windier and more jellyfishy than a normal triathlon.

I’m the one in the pink cap

You can see what I mean by watching this video

I was supposed to do the race back in 2020 but it was understandably cancelled as the jelly fish refused to socially distance from the swimmers. My place was deffered to 2021 but due to a family bereavement I didn’t have the time or motivation to go through with the race.

The organizers then announced a new Celtman race called Zero Point Five. A shorter less colder, less longer, less hillier, less windier but with the same amount of jellyfish than the big race. Lets call it baby Celtman.

It sounded great so I entered it. Then a few week later I won a place at big Celtman. I hadn’t planned on doing the big race, I had only entered to increase my chances of getting in at a later date.

The races were scheduled to be one week apart. How difficult could it be to do an extreme triathlon and then do another tough race a week later?

The fact the celtman zero point five number is tattered and broken is a visual spoiler of what happened…

The Sound of Football: Bristol City (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

Bristol City

Nickname: The Robins

Ground: Ashton Gate

Stadium Capacity: 21,804

Song: One For The Bristol City

Most teams have just one song. Bristol City has two: one that celebrates the club and one that celebrates the fan’s favourite drink – cider.

Bristol City is one of two football league clubs in Bristol; the other is Bristol Rovers. Although the clubs are rivals, they have rarely played each other as they’ve seldom played in the same division. The last time they played each other in the league was in 2001 – and the less said about the last time they met in a cup, the better. That was in 2013 in the first round of the Johnston’s Paint Trophy. The match was overshadowed by a pitch invasion that left 50 arrested, many police officers injured, and a result that no one remembers as every supporter has, your honour, a cast-iron alibi that they were somewhere else that day…

Bristol’s the sixth biggest city in England, but the two sides have always underachieved. During seven years from 2006, there wasn’t a single weekend in which both football teams and the city’s only other team (a rugby side) all won a game. It should not be a surprise that when City do win a match, they like to celebrate with a drink and a drinking song – ‘Drink Up Thee Zyder’ by the Wurzels.

The Wurzels were originally known as Adge Cutler and The Wurzels until Adge was killed in a car crash. The other band members recorded under their shortened name and had several hits. Their songs have a unique style because they’re all sung in an exaggerated West Country accent, even though one of the Wurzels was Scottish.

The club plays in red shirts, giving them their original nickname ‘The Garabaldians’, on account of the red shirts worn by the followers of the Italian revolutionary Garibaldi. This makes them the second club linked to Italian revolutionaries after Nottingham Forrest.

With a red shirt on the player’s chests, Bristol City is now known as The Robins, and you can hear ‘When the Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along)’ at Ashton Gate.

The club’s second song is ‘One For The Bristol City’ (described on the single sleeve as ‘the official Bristol City FC song’).

‘One For The Bristol City’ was also recorded by The Wurzels and was released in 1977, the year after Bristol City had been promoted to the first division. The song is based on the Wurzel’s 1976 single ‘Morning Glory’.

The song was re-recorded by the Wurzels and re-issued to celebrate The Robins’ promotion from the First Division to the Championship in 2007. It charted at number 66. Although it didn’t crack the Top 40, it was a huge achievement for the band as it was the first time they had two songs in the charts in the same year since 1976. Earlier in the year, they also charted with ‘I Am A Cider Drinker’, which they had re-recorded with DJ Tony Blackburn to raise money for charity.

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