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Easily the best of the survival horror style games, the Resident Evil series has entertained and scared gamers since its inception on Playstation 5 years ago. Now we have the next generation version with the arrival of Code Veronica X on PS2. Code Veronica was originally released on Dreamcast, but it has now been ported to Sony?s wonderbox and is looking better than ever. Resident Evil (if you don?t know) is based on several characters over a series of games, in this episode we take Resi 2?s Claire Redfield on a quest to find brother Chris. Following a stunning cut scene intro, we are presented with the game, and true resident evil fans will be instantly at home. It looks great, gone are the pre-rendered backgrounds of previous games, and we now have a fully 3D environment, meaning the camera is no longer fixed and backgrounds are more interactive. The characters are now smooth and well animated, and the actual gameplay resembles the cut scene quality of the PS1 games, it really does look good. It is very dark, even for a horror game but the dim lights add to the excitement. The whole thing is very polished and the cut scenes are outstanding. Soundwise there isn?t a lot of music, but the effects and what score there is makes for a chilling atmosphere and the sound effects are very realistic. The voices are crisp but acting poor. The gameplay has altered little since the original games, run around, solve puzzles and kill monsters. However in CV:X the game is a lot harder with ammo and health harder to come across and some really hard monsters. With the lack of change come the old problems that stop the RE series being perfect, control of your character is still a little tricky and aiming can be a hit and miss affair, however the refined 180 degree turn has helped. The item boxes are still in evidence and while they help the game a lot they are unrealistic. The weapons are meaty but will have to be used s
paringly if you are to see the finale. As usual there are characters to interact with, and control and even an old friend to meet up with from RE1. The game world is huge and offers a very big challenge., The game itself is packed on 2 discs due to its size (or at least it was on DC, I forget about my PS2 copy.) The environments are vast and well detailed, and clues are often found by searching remote places. The voice acting is still pretty dire but this is almost a tradition on RE games. The PS2 version also comes with a demo disc of Capcoms upcoming Devil May Cry. Resident Evil is by far and away the best survival horror series, and this is the cream of the crop. Looking, playing and sou8nding better than ever, with a bigger and harder game and loads of extras to find exclusive to PS2, this is a great purchase. Make it now!
Red Faction is a first person shooting game for the PS2 in the vain of the excellent but ageing Half Life on PC. The plot follows Parker, a miner on mars who is treated like all other miners there, badly. Slowly a rebellion is looming, and Parker is in the thick of it when it all kicks off. Seeing his friend killed by a guard starts the riots, and soon there is an outbreak of rebellion on the colony. So onto the game itself, any first person shooter veteran will feel right at home, the familiar viewpoint and movement will make them feel right at home. Graphically Red Faction is pretty damned good, the frame rate is fast and allows the action to flow and there is little evidence of pop-up or fogging, effects used on older consoles to hide their graphical inability. There can be lots on screen at once without slow down and what is on screen looks excellent. The characters are well animated, the scenery looks real and the explosions are very lifelike. The movement is realistic and can even induce a little motion sickness. Red Faction also introduces us to Geo-Mod technology. This is a feature of the game that allows you to blast away at anything on screen, walls, vehicles the lot and see the results. Can?t find the key? Destroy the door! This adds a tactical element to the game as it presents you with different routes and different tactics to employ. Whilst this Geo-mod part of the game is a neat idea it isn?t really used to its full extent, it can?t be used to destroy every wall, and therefore the game still has linear properties, but it does make a difference to the usual puzzle like parts of these games. Weapons wise there is little new here, shotguns, rocket launchers and a few high impact weapons are pretty much it, but the range is good and weapons can be used tactically as well. The game starts at a pretty hectic pace and doesn?t let up, it is fairly difficult and will present a challenge to even
experienced gamers. The levels are varied and can be completed in various ways, but it is more of an ongoing story a la Half Life. Red faction has the honour of being one of few FPS games to be designed specifically for console, as opposed to the usual ports from PC. This has meant a relatively new control system as the game was designed for the PS2 pad and not for a mouse/keyboard combo. It can take a few goes to get used to but after a while it becomes second nature and the game gets progressively better as you go. With the ability to use vehicles as well, the gameplay lasts a while and with the obligatory multi player mode this is a game all PS2 owners should try, and it will last a good while. Until Half Life and the new Bond game appear, we have little to go on on the FPS world on PS2, but this does a decent job of filling the gap.
Such simple premises have often been the most entertaining n the world of video gaming. The finest example remains Tetris, never has dropping blocks been so much fun, and that game has been released on just about every PC, console and mobile phone ever! Bust a Move is a game that continues that tradition, in a new way. Older and seasoned gamers like me will fondly remember the great Bubble Bobble game, and it is Bub and Bob from said game that this idea was originally based around. Your task is simple, to shoot coloured bubbles up into the game screen and try to align 3 or more of the same colour, the effect of which will be the destruction of all the bubbles in that link. Clear the screen and you?ve done it, but beware, the roof is dropping and as time passes you will find your work area getting smaller and smaller all the time. Super Bust a Move is the first incarnation of this series for PS2, and little has changed from previous outings. There are the usual game modes and ideas, but a few tweaks have meant a few small changes. The solo player mode is a simple task of traversing a series of screens until you clear them all, the screens get harder and more complex as they progress, and there are many routes to the games end you can choose. There are hundreds of screens to attempt so there is plenty of variety. The other one player mode sees you taking on a computer opponent in the same style as the 2 player game (but without the friend) The 2 player game involves you versus a mate, each with a screen to clear. It?s a simple race to clear the screen, but as you pop bubbles you will add to your opponents screen, it all gets very hectic and the infinite number of screens makes the 2 player mode very long lasting. There are several characters to choose as your bubble shooters but they don?t affect the solo mode, however in 2 player mode each has different ways of hurting the opponent so learning their patte
rns is a must. As well as the standard coloured bubbles there are also special bubbles that can help you along the way, cannonball bubbles clear a path, star bubbles destroy all bubbles of the colour to hit it and rainbow bubbles help you make great chains. Add to this screen things like conveyer belts to change the bubbles direction, indestructible blocks to halt you and even arrows that can move your shooter and you have a varied set of screens indeed. Graphically BAM2 is hardly pushing the PS2 to its limits, but it does get the job done and the animations are particularly good. The sound is adequate but the cheesy music is sure to really annoy after a while, far better to mute the TV and have a CD on. In one player mode it soon gets a little repetitive and becomes a once in a while game, but in multi player mode it can last ages as there is always a different screen. And lets face it, seeing your mate squirm as you shoot a load of trouble their way is always fun. Bust a Move 2 is great fun and for £20, as long as you have mates who?ll play it is well worth the cash.
So England have made it, David Beckhams fantastic last gasp goal sent Svens boys to Japan and Korea and condemned (ha) the Germans to a Ukranian play off. So next summer will be awash with hopes and dreams of seeing Becks and the boys emulate the heroes of 66 and win the trophy. Can they do it? Yes. Will they do it? No. That?s my view, England are rapidly becoming a force again in world football, and as they showed in Munich they can demolish anyone on their day, but they are still young, still learning and still have flaws. Given a few more years this team can certainly go on and win trophies, but I feel the 2002 World Cup is coming just a little too fast. However with players like Owen and Beckham playing as they are, it is not impossible and there is a chance that England will win in 2002. But there are plenty of other contenders. My tips are Argentina, they have marauded through their qualifiers to make the finals, and boast the worlds most complete midfielder for me, Juan Sebastian Veron. Veron is a player capable of controlling and turning any game, he helps out defensively and is as complete an attacker from midfield as there is in world football. Along with the likes of Batistuta, Ortega and the rest the Argies have a great chance. Brazil will also be a threat, despite a poor run in the qualifiers they always play well at World Cups and 2002 will be no exception. With silky skills from the likes of Rivaldo and Denilson you can expect a good challenge from them. There are other threats too, the Spanish are due a good tournament, and the French have to be considered among the favourites. With the likes of Zidane and Henry they can?t be discounted, but look out for the Portugese. Sad that Holland won?t be there but well done to the Irish for that, let?s hope Mick?s boys make it. The tournament itself should be a success, it is being hosted in a soccer mad country (well 2 of them) and this w
ill ensure decent turnouts even for the likes of Iraq vs. Egypt and so on. Passionate crowds and some tremendous looking stadia seem to be setting the trend for 2002, and as long as it doesn?t rain much we will be in for a feast of football. The security issues have been highlighted in recent weeks, but I?m sure that the security will be of the highest level and fans needn?t worry. So my dream is for the following, England winning the cup with a last gasp Gary Neville shot (as if.) The thing to go off without incident and for the English fans to behave, and that one I rank as the least likely to happen. Of course the location also means early kick offs all over the place, so let?s see how many sickies get pulled and how many pubs open early. The World Cup is a marvellous event, and I can?t wait for this one. Come on England!!
Horror films are the cornerstone of movies, they combine the best elements of action, drama, suspense and often a little humour in one film. There are many great horror films, but there are some that have helped define or redefine the genre. So here they are in no order whatsoever. Halloween The masked maniac known as Michael Myers goes on the rampage after Jamie Lee Curtis, one of the all time great horror films, its masked villain has been often imitated but rarely bettered. Sad to see it spawned so many sequels that have for many devalued the original. Nightmare On Elm Street No kid slept after a glimpse of Freddie Krueger, truly Robert Englund?s claw fingered monster is among films legendary bad guys, and the suspense added with the film makes it a horror legend. Again ruined by so many sequels. Scream Totally redefined the horror genre in 1997, and set the way for teen slasher films. A marvellous ,mix of mystery, suspense, humour and drama ? Scream eventually became a great trilogy and provided they don?t get silly and make a few more it will go down as a classic series. Paved the way for the ?whodunnit? style of recent films in the genre as opposed to knowing the killer ala Freddy. Blair Witch Project Love it or hate it the BWP was certainly original, and if you saw it without seeing the hype (as they in the US did) I believe it was truly scary. Superb concept and some excellent acting, also spawned as strange a sequel as ever was made , personally I liked it but I think I?m the only one who did. Alien Set the style for sci-fi horror films, with Sigourney Weaver excellent as Ripley, battling the ultimate creature. Spawned a stunning firepower driven sequel and then 2 poorer films, Alien 5 is on the way. Nosferatu Old but classic, the story of the vampire may not be as scary nowadays but the acting and quality at the time was amazing. Day Of The
Triffids Mum told me to put this in, says it scared her witless when she saw it so I?ll settle for that. Psycho Everyone knows Psycho, the music, the shower scene and the Bates Motel. Classic slasher horror which still outshines its recent remake. The Shining One of Jack Nicholson?s finest and a truly scary film taken from the Stephen King book. A great performance and a real sense of suspense make this a great horror film. It remains one of my favourite films. The Exorcist Not so much pioneering as pushing back the boundaries. Scenes of blasphemy and so forth were unseen in the cinemas before this film, and despite its hammering from people who felt its morals were bad this was one of the scariest films ever. It may not have the same effect today but some scenes are still as bad as ever.
Gary Neville. One of the easy targets for criticism in recent times from opposing and even England fans. Firstly he plays for the ultra-hated Man United (my team) and of course he is prone to the odd error. This means that he and his brother Phil take a lot of stick, but in the last year Gary has matured into a much better player and is now starting to shut the critics up. Neville first came into the United team back in 1995 when they realised David may was as effective at right back as Ghandi would be. Neville started to display some solid tackling and provided a useful overlap on the right behind Andrei Kanchelskis. Since then he has gained experience as a player, winning Premiership titles, FA Cups and the Champions League with United. Gary had become one of the better right backs in Europe, but fate was to deal him a hard blow. His 1999-2000 season saw him go from bad to worse in his form, despite finally scoring the odd goal, his mistakes (particularly in Rio in the World Championship) were to see him branded as a poor player and that stuck for a while. Of course as is, what affects one brother affects the other and as Gary?s form declined so to did that of Phil. At Euro 2000 Phil became a figure for hatred himself when his poor tackle cost England a penalty and ultimately a place in the knockout stages. So the Nevilles became a target for the boo boys, both at club and international level. They have received stick both fair and unfair, but recently Gary has started to look like the player we all know he can be. His defending in terms of heading and tackling is right spot on again, and he is developing into more of a leader figure, however there is one major flaw in his game that he needs to sort out ASAP. Offside, if there is even a question of offside then Gary will stop dead, raise his arm and yell. It has cost United dearly over the last few years, I don?t mind the appeal but he needs to keep running bac
k, he also suffers in a team playing a deliberate offside trap. As we saw recently Greece scored against England as Gary had held back, but in another game he ran out but the other defenders stayed, leaving his man to score. If he sorts this out he will be a solid defender but I will get very upset with him if he keeps it up.
With its photo realistic graphics and awesome sound, GT3 has been heralded as one of the best racers ever created. Released a while back on PS2 as the follow up to the original Gran Turismo games on Playstation, this is a fully updated and polished version. The game (if you live on Mars) is a racing game in which you can either race flat out or enter the season mode and try to upgrade your cars, and unlock secrets into the bargain. GT3 has more features than I could ever list here, there are loads of cars and they all handle differently, but realistically and they all look the part. Add to that lots of tracks (as well as more to be unlocked) and the variety of the game is not in doubt. The playability is superb, the cars are easy to handle at lower levels but get a high powered sports car and you will need to be a pro to manage it, therefore we have the GT3 training mode, where you can learn those skills and become a better driver. The arcade mode allows for simple races, time trials and the awesome 2-player mode (split screen) where you can take on a mate. You can really get some practice in here, as all the cars and tracks you have unlocked will be available to you, so you can perfect them before trying the GT mode. The Gran Turismo mode is where you compete in races to win cash, with the cash you can buy new cars or upgrade your current motor, making it a better car. As you progress more tracks and cars will be unlocked, and they can then be used in the arcade mode too. GT3 looks amazing, the backgrounds are photo-realistic, and the cars look so polished it?s untrue. The damage on the cars may not show, but that?s the only weakness. With a challenging and varied one player game and an amazingly addictive multi player mode GT3 is a game that will keep you going for ages, it?s certainly a show game for the PS2 but it has depth as well. Try it with a steering wheel for the ultimate in
driving fun....roll on GT4!
Has the Internet changed society ? If so, in what way has it done this, and is it for better or worse. There is no doubt that when used properly the Internet is as valuable a tool as currently exists, with it we have seen revolutionary changes in the way we bank, shop, do business and even socialize. These added benefits have had a big impact on society. But when the Internet is abused its position in our society can be queried. Paedophiles hide behind screens, people are victims of credit card fraud, or false identity problems. However it is the impact on society that we look at here, and personally I don?t think we can fairly judge it yet. Too few people have proper access to the Internet from home. The cost is still high, not just of accessing the Internet but also of buying the equipment able to do so. Things like digital set top boxes with Internet abilities have helped, but these only touch the surface of the Net. Until every person has home access to the net, we will not be able to judge its effects on society, whether it will turn us all into social outcasts by keeping us in chat rooms, or whether the trend to learn will develop a new breed of techies will be seen in time. Will the net develop social skills for the shy, and allow them to express their views easier, or will it simply teach us that face to face social and business things are a thing of the past, and not to be used anymore. We must wait and see how the Net affects society in the long term, the effects will be mixed in my view, some people will find great benefits in the Net in addition to their daily lives, whilst others may recede behind it and become social recluses. Time will tell.
A.I. is one of those films. It looks absolutely brilliant in the trailers, but when you see it you realise that the best bits have all been used in that 50-second synopsis. The story follows the near future, where the polar ice caps have melted and drowned half the planet, intelligent robots have been created to help humans out in life. They are lifelike, smart and have the ability to learn, but are still mechanical (and therefore known as mechas.) However the mecha aren?t revered by all, and have either to be licenced, or destroyed. In the midst of all this, the original creator wants to make a mecha child, capable of loving its parents. He does this, and David (Haley Joel Osmont) is ?born.? David is placed with Henry and Monica, 2 parents whose own son Martin is in a coma. After a while they take to David, and ?program? him as their own son. However when Martin awakes from his coma, David is rejected, and must fend for himself. To say any more about the plot would start to give away secrets, so I?m stopping there. The plot itself however for me goes from the sublime to the ridiculous, and it becomes more and more clear that Steven Spielberg directs this film. Originally a film of Stanley Kubrick?s, I left the theatre wishing he had finished it alone before he died, as Spielberg?s intervention has left a poor mark on it. The cast are for the most part very good, and in little Osmont?s case exceptional. And the idea behind the film is a good one, but the plot veers away from all the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence, and the final 20 minutes are truly as daft as films have ever been. It?s a shame as this had the potential, and the cast to be a great film ? there are so many questions to surround this topic. However whilst the Kubrick bits seem desperate to address them, Spielberg has wiped them out in favour of a soppy storyline and overdone E.T. like finale. The effects are tremendous, and the f
ilm looks great all the time, but this is another example of effects not making the film. Shame, I was looking forward to this, but it was a very poor film indeed. Starting out slowly, it could have gone 2 ways, one would have been towards brilliance in the examination of A.I. in a futuristic world, the other (chosen) was to eek out a story and ignore so much of the possibilities in favour of a basic finale.
Vandalism. Something we have had in our country for a long long time, but recently it seems to get worse. From petty vandalism like graffiti and smashing bus shelter windows, up to the destruction of shops, stealing and burning out of cars and even vandalising peoples homes, there are many forms of vandalism. One reason I feel it is on the increase in both number and seriousness is the lack of respect taught to many children nowadays. I teach primary kids and their lack of respect for property that isn't their own is frightening. They simply don't care about things as they are used to getting an instant replacement, and for this reason they treat items as expendable. Sure in the school I work at it's nothing more serious then snapping rulers, pencils and the like and tearing books. But this is the start of something bigger. Our school was broken into recently and absolutely desecrated by the perpetrators. Nothing was stolen, they just made a bloody good mess, and it turned out they were ex-pupils of ours. I felt horrified. Another reason I think vandalism is on the up is the lack of real power the police have to do anything. If they see an act of vandalism being carried out, they can arrest, but never get a decent conviction, or the people doing it run and the police can't really chase as they aren't allowed to touch. It's a joke. But for me it's the lack of respect issue that has made vandalism such a problem. Kids need to be taught young to respect other people and their property, but even if we all (teachers and parents) started that now, it would be many mnay years before the message got through. Just make sure you teach it, as one day it'll be your letterbox they drop burning paper through, or you getting a soaking when thr bus shelter has no windows.
You know the feeling. The change slowly accumulates over days and months in your pocket, 1p?s, 2p?s and even the little 5p?s are making a bulge in your wallet. What to do with them? Annoy shopkeepers by paying with them over a period so long that the queues build up behind you? Save them in an old sweet jar until you take it to the bank, only to realise there?s about £1.27 actually saved? You could do that, or you could use them at Asda in their superb new machine, Coinstar. Coinstar has one job, to convert any amount of loose coinage into vouchers, simply pour the change you have into the box, it will be counted and returned to you in the form of an Asda voucher. The voucher isn?t for so much off when you spend set amounts, nor is it the silly buy one get one free on stuff you never use. It is hard cash, if you have enough just pay for all your shopping with it. There are no limits or minimum as to what you can use, and if the voucher is bigger than the bill Asda will actually give you cash change. I?m pretty sure the machine takes coins of any value and it claims to count at 600 coins per minute, which means there will be no queues for it. The idea is a masterpiece, personally I always end up with loose change ranging from 10p pieces down, and I usually save them in a tin and pay them in at the bank, but it means counting them, bagging them and then queuing. The new Asda machine means I can simply walk in, pour my change in and then leave with a voucher to be used on my shop. I figure that in a month I can easily accumulate £10 in change, as I get a lot of it, so my shopping bill has a nice little reduction now. The idea will I?m sure catch on elsewhere, but for now this is at Asda only as far as I can see, but that?s no bad thing as Asda seem to do lots of decent deals and offers, as well as being reasonably cheap. They have a great clothes range (where you can also use the voucher) as well as good entertainment sec
tions. And the takeaway Chinese (Char Sui Pork especially) are excellent in taste and value. Well done Asda, one of the smartest moves in years (and makes up for the removal of the Reward Card)
Not so long ago I strolled the streets of Manhattan, taking in the sights of Times Square, Broadway, Liberty and of course the twin towers of the Workd Trade Centre. Now, after the most despicable act of terrorism in history they no longer stand, taken down in 99 minutes by two suicide jets. I also visited Washington, and saw the Pentagon from the bus. This has also sustained massive damage. I was riding my bike from work when I first heard about it, I pulled over with tears in my eyes. I couldn't believe that such an event had actually occurred. I raced home to put the news on and caught the videos of the second plane smashing into tower 2. I cried again, for the Americans, the passengers and maybe for us all. This act, now officially labelled an act of war by President Bush has us all scared, and fearful for the future. But somewhere down the line, after the mess has cleared and the dead are remembered, we must ask how and why this attrocity ever occurred. Blame must be established, and we MUST get that decision right, and then action must be taken. Bin Laden looks the most likely suspect, and if so proved then the strike must happen, and it must be decisive. With the promised help of China, Pakistan and the UK (and NATO) the US has a major advantage and would win any war ewaged with some ease. It has the opportunity to send out a deadly message to would be terrorists, and while the terrorism will never stop, maybe we can drive it to much better levels. In the meantime it is up to the people of the world to unite and show these monsters that we will neither be stopped nor scared by these terror tactics. Let us carry on our lives and remember the dead in ways that show these bastards we will not be beaten. Let us also offer great praise to the rescue workers, aid workers and all involved in NYC's rescue effort, thei dedication has surely set the levels we would wish, and they are an in
spiration. As the paper says today we are now all Americans, united by grief, and we must stand together to defeat the terrorists. God Rest the dead, save the living and punish all responsible.
Should the Old Firm be allowed to join the FA Premiership? It’s a big question on a lot of lips at the moment. Why are people saying this should happen, mainly because Rangers and Celtic have become too good for the Scots Premier League (SPL) and feel they would be better suited to the Premiership down here. In truth, no-one knows how they would cope until they actually arrive, yes OK Celtic did beat Man U 4-3 in a friendly, but that was hardly the same as a full blooded Premiership game. However the argument is not would they cope, but should they be given the chance. In my opinion – no they shouldn’t. Just because they have done very well in their own league doesn’t give them the right to up sticks and leave for a better league. I can name sides from all over the world who dominate their leagues, Madrid and Barca, Bayern, PSV and Ajax. Should we invite these sides in too, thus making a European super league? At the end of the day it would be bad for the lesser Scottish clubs who rely on the revenue generated by fixtures with the Old Firm, and it might well spell the end for them completely. On the other side of it, I don’t think rangers and Celtic have any privileged right to the Premiership, if they do want to come to England, join the Conference. Work their way up, sure they’d be up in 5 years but at least it would be the proper way. This idea that they should join our league as they are always winning their own is a poor one. It is simply because their league is inferior, and they know that joining the Premiership would enhance their abilities in Europe. Personally I don’t think Rangers would make the top 5 and Celtic would make the top 3, just.
I have just returned from a fortnight in Kavos. It was extremely different to what I had expected. Kavos itself is at the bottom of Corfu, which is a reasonably sized island just off the coast of mainland Greece. We stayed in the Calypso apartments, which like all apartments on the island were pretty basic. There was no air conditioning so we hired a fan, and the pool closed early evening. Kavos itself is mainly situated along one long road, with a mixture of pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels mixed together on it. These bars stay open till 4 in the morning, and provide just about every form of music and entertainment you could want. From clubs with hardcore music to cheesy bars playing 70's stuff there is something to suit everyone. However there is a bad side to Kavos, and indeed a lot of Corfu. The sewage system has not been updated and this means all the puipes in the town are very narrow. This means not putting toilet paper in the loo (use the bins instead) and as a result of all this the town smells of raw sewage. It was quite disgusting and really off putting. Fortunately it wasn't present everywhere but anywhere with a wheelie bin stank, and the smell was enough to make you sick. The people in Kavos are lovely, as are most Greeks, and the entertainment on offer there is pretty good. But the smell and intense noise till the early hours were not a good point for me, the place was filled with idiotic 18-30 groups who just run around drunk on a few vodkas and think they own the place. I'd recommend Rhodes over Corfu anyday, cleaner, quieter and cheaper too.
So the Charity Shield is here again. the traditional curtain raiser for the season, and this years match in question (Man U vs Liverpool) bought back a fond memory for me. It was the 1990 Shield game between the same 2 teams, United as cup holders and Liverpool as League Champions. Liverpool were of course a great, great team then whilst United were just about to start their decade of glory. I managed to get a ticket to go see the game, and i must say it was very entertaining. Obviously the fans were hassling each other as there is no love lost between the 2 sets of supporters, but on the pitch it was quite a friendly affair. I know United scored first, but I can’t remember who got it for the life of me, and Liverpool equalised via a penalty before half time. At full time it was still 1-1, and so we prepared for extra time. But wait a minute, what was this...? The teams were getting jackets on, swapping shirts and the like, and then it was announced, the shield was to be shared between the clubs. Seeing as how it was called the CHARITY shield this seemed like a very appropriate gesture, and one that I thought went a long way in showing that football can still be a friendly affair. I returned to Wembley for the 1993 Shield game, with my beloved United there as Champions at last and facing Arsenal as cup winners. Again United scored first, a mark Hughes volley bettered by a later Ian Wright wonder goal. Again we had a 1-1 draw, and I awaited to see the 2 captains go up together and receive the shield, then it was announced...penalties!!! There was to be a winner, and my heart sank. Although we won, and there was the usual celebrations I felt the shield should have been shared, surely this was the Charitable thing to do in the event. I couldn’t believe that there had to be a winner, and I wonder how much of that was down to SKY TV covering the shield live for the first time. Since that day we have been
involved in another Shield shoot-out, again after a 1-1 draw with Chelsea, and again I wish they’d shared it, again even though we won. With people questioning the friendliness in football, even in “friendly” games, it seems like the Shield provides a chance, in the event of a draw, to show that winning isn’t everything. I’d be more than happy on Sunday to see the 2 captains share the Shield should a draw occur, but the fan and TV mentality of getting a dramatic winner will overshadow the event. As for the game itself I do think it will be good, Liverpool will probably win it, and be declared Champions before the League starts and then watch United go! Just as in the last 3 years, lose the Shield and win the league. I’d settle for that.