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SticMan
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    • Philips DVP5960 / DVD Player / 31 Readings / 28 Ratings
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      12.07.2007 21:31
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      Top quality player.

      The Philips DVP5960 is a top player which will suffice for most people looking for an affordable but advanced DVD player. There is a growing trend for DVD recorders and these will slowly replace VHS Recorders. However this DVD doesn't have the capability and thus is catered to a different market. With Phillips you know you are getting a superior product and it is worth paying the few extra quid rather than a non branded or inferior brand, which through many reviews sometimes cause problems for different people.

      The best features of this DVD player are:

      HDMI Upscaling: Basically this gives a high definition view of your current DVD's provided you have a HD television. Of course this doesn't give the same quality as the new HD DVD's but it certainly is a mark up from playing DVD's on your HD set, because you do seem to get some pixelation. I would say it is similar to those who have played PS2 and PS3 on their high definition television sets. There is a significant difference, HDMI upscaling acts as a middle-way between the two qualities at a fraction of the price of both HD DVD player and HD DVDs. A word of caution in that you will require a HDMI cable to upgrade DVD quality movie to the desired level, this doesn’t come with the player and thus it will result in an additional cost and perhaps a change of mind on the purchase if you are on a budget. There remains a concern on some DVD’s of viewing screen of 4:3 and 16:9 (widescreen) and some may not configure to your ideals.

      DivX compatibility: This for me is the best feature. DivX has become a very important video format in recent years, generally you can you use it to reduce the size of a DVD (up to 4.7gb) onto a CD (700mb) and the loss of quality is not that appreciable. Nowadays many television programmes are available on the internet (both legal and illegal content), of course for the legal content it is preferable to many to download programmes off the net and use the USB feature of the DVD to transport the video file and watch in on a television. It certainly beats sitting infront of a computer for over an hour. I have yet to fully test this feature and for the non-techies it maybe an irrelevant feature because they may not even know what DivX is, let alone what to do with it but for some it is incredibly helpful. The USB feature may be misleading to some as not all files will be able to be played. Indeed only those which are coded by the DivX format will play. The most popular files mpegs, wmv etc.. will not automatically play and certainly the low quality video files available on the net will leave the user disappointed.

      The DVD player is aesthetically pleasing, like most models available today it is slimline and doesn't occupy to much space. The player is not a mutli-region one, however like most DVD players available there is a method of changing this should this be required with the information freely available on the net. There isn’t too much wrong with this player and for those looking for a DVD player which is cheap but still has modern features then you can’t go wrong with this.

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        10.07.2007 21:14
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        The positives and negatives of the PC world.

        Political correctness is perhaps one of the most fiercely debated topics of our time, particularly by the press and although being a misunderstood topic often polarises debates. Firstly the term means different things to different people, to the proponents of political correctness it exemplifies courteous and responsible behaviour for all people in positions of authority. This tends to be, although not exclusively a position for the political left. For the political right, political correctness is often a dirty word and shows a limit on free speech. The term is commonly known to be abused by the far right as a guise to hide behind racist views. Usually minorities, or discriminated groups in society often use political correctness to shut down controversial debate. Getting the right balance is always very difficult because political correctness often enters in the most controversial of debates be it race, culture or gender.

        There are many positive aspects of political correctness which perhaps slips under the radar and is not recognised as such, a simple example is that of a sports commentator, you will now see that commentators rarely speaking about controversial political matters even when they may legitimate in sport. Recently during the cricket world cup, the situation of the Zimbabwean cricket team arose, it was clear for all those listening to the BBC’s cricket coverage that Mugabe and the political situation was a proverbial ‘elephant in the room’ in that all the commentators where aware of the problem but were highly reluctant to speak what they thought was be correct. This is clearly a case for political correctness and to be fair it was perhaps warranted because an organisation like the BBC, which is broadcast worldwide has a duty not to politicize a sporting event.

        There are often many negatives aspects of political correctness, those who speak on controversial topics such as racial problems or social degradation are often criticized for using harsh or unpolitcally correct terms or references. This they argue is a censorship placed on them by those criticized, basically shutting down debates. There is quite a lot of evidence to support this may be the case, over the years Britain has sleepwalked into a segregated society according to one prominent figure and this brought up the debate on whether critics of the past were indeed marginalised because their speeches were no politically correct. Of note, Enoch Powell and Norman Tebitt come to mind but the difficulty comes in the political opinion you stand upon, often the right think both were correct, whilst the left often describe them as veiled racists. Consensus always seems to be changing, at times it seems British society an in particular governmental institutes are too politically correct and then at other times we feel political correctness allows us to handle controversial topics in a dignified manner in particular when compared to other nations, the self imposed reserved and tolerant nature perhaps works well.

        As much as minorities may try to exploit political correctness (say by branding critics as racists, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic etc…) there are those who wish to exploit the term and portray themselves as marginalised but justified critic. Such tactics are often used by sensationalist press headlines, with the ‘PC gone mad’ brand firmly attached to the Daily Mail. In light it has been often shown that so called stories of abuses of political correctness are often fabricated or at least exaggerated to a high degree. Thus credibility for such stories is undermined. It is often prescribed that Britain has developed a ‘PC culture’ and stories such as ‘minorities offended by Christmas’ etc.. often baffle and anger the populace. Yet when such stories are thoroughly investigated it is often either exaggerated or due to an misjudgement on behalf of a manager. The idea that white middle-class managers are going out of their way to pander to minority groups often breeds resentment, but conveniently supports the political agenda of such newspapers.

        It is fair to say political correctness is here to stay, no doubt it is a big hindrance if misused and sometimes freedom of speech is curtailed but because it is not controlled by any part of society it will be impossible to stop. In time we will slowly realise this and also question those who try to abuse political correctness, i.e. by really questioning those who cry discrimination at every opportunity but also the tabloids which run ‘PC gone mad’ stories are often ridiculed and this trend may continue. It is clear that we are living in a different world than a generation ago, globalisation whether forced or not is the way of the progressing world nations and immigration on a big scale is a big part of this. Of course with so many people from so many various countries and cultures has its positives and negatives. It has become PC not to openly criticize immigration policies and a recent survey showed this to be a major concern. However an alternative point of view argues that it is simply human nature for even immigrants to either look down upon or resent newer immigrants. Political correctness acts as a stop gap between this and it often means people feel like they will be portrayed as racists if they take an alternative stand point. However it becomes clear that a well researched and balanced approach to immigration for example is often taken seriously thus a by product of political correctness is perhaps to ignore those who make ill informed and divisive stances.

        That is not to say political correct infringes upon every aspect of life in Britain. Indeed there is a great and what appears to be growing respect for un-politcally correct figures. To mind Boris Johnston comes to mind, at the height of political correctness, he was widely criticized for many of his opinions (including people from Liverpool). Yet as time has gone on many have grown to respect and understand his comments and they are less likely to take offence.

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          11.06.2007 15:05
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          One of the most difficult jobs in football.

          The ultimate job in English football or so we are lead to believe but given recent history the job has more often than not become a poison chalice to all that have embraced it. How many ‘successful’ England managers have there been, well Sir Alf Ramsey comes to mind for winning that trophy however after that there have been very few who have come through with their reputation intact. Records shows that there have only been 3 managers who have come close to Sir Alf Ramsey in terms of their record, Greenwood, Hoddle and yes Sven Goran Eriksson. Also Terry Venables tenure which consisted of a semi-final appearance in his single tournament and no qualifying campaigns was relavtily successful. The rest all seem to have fallen short, though some have been greater failures than others and some have inherited better or worse teams than their predecessors.

          What stands out though with an England manager job is expectation and the fact that real success can really only take one form, a trophy and given that there are only two available to any England manager (The World Cup and European Cup) occurring bi annually, the chances of success at regular intervals is perhaps more wishful thinking than reality. What seems more acrimonious with England managers recently is expectation management and the all important media relationship. Indeed nearly all managers towards the end of their reigns as manager come under heavy criticism which usually involves some scandal, controversial statement or shocking decisions. Very few managers have escaped this curse. Do they all deserve it? Well the answer is no, Sven Eriksson comes to mind, after relative success during his first few years which included the memorable 5-1 victory over Germany, he like the other managers endured a barrage of criticisms and the calls for his head came with every under par performance. Yet it can be seen that he progressed the England football team enormously. Keegan’s England team was pretty shambolic and had difficulty competing with even decent European nations (Romania, Portugal etc..). The actual hope of winning a tournament was still a distant memory at this particular time. Sven changed this and qualification for major tournaments became the norm. Yet he was unable to progress the team further, in fact from Euro 2004 the team probably had transgressed despite having more experienced players.

          Football mangers across the globe now know the full ramifications of becoming England manager. Media intrusion into the managers private life is now expected to be part of the job, former managers and players used to be more discrete in their criticisms of the manager. However even this has begun to change, during Sven reign we had many ex-pro’s publicly criticizing the manager in the strongest terms (Ian Wright in particular comes to mind). Another thing managers know is that expectation can rarely be fulfilled. England have reached the semi final of two competitions since the 1966 win, even this has been seen as failed attempts amongst some critics. Therefore it is not particularly surprising the problems the England manager will find themselves and likewise for any future manager.

          ======================= Played...Won...Drawn...Lost...Win Percentage===
          Alf Ramsey (1963-1974)...................113......69.......27......17......61.06%
          Don Revie (1974-1977).....................29........14.......8.......7........48.27%
          Ron Greenwood (1977-1982).............55.......33.......12......10.......59.99%
          Bobby Robson (1982-1990)...............95.......47.......30......18.......49.47%
          Graham Taylor (1990-1993)..............38.......18.......13.......7........47.36%
          Terry Venables (1994-1996)..............23.......11.......11.......1........47.82%
          Glenn Hoddle (1996-1999).................28......17........6........5........60.71%
          Kevin Keegan (1999-2000)................18........7........7........4........38.88%
          Sven-Göran Eriksson (2001-2006)......67......40.......17......10........59.70%
          =======================================================

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            25.03.2007 14:29
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            Best boxing game available on the PS2.

            Boxing games aren't exactly flavour of the month, in fact the sport itself seems to be a continual decline, yet EA Sports always has an uncanny knack of producing highly enjoyable and addictive games for all to enjoy regardless if you are knowledgeable in that sport or not. With Fight Night Round 3 it seems they have done it again.

            Normally boxing games suffered from the acute case of button bashing which virtually renders them as arcade 'beat em ups' ala Street Fighter. Fight Night 2004 changed all of this by introducing 'Total Punch Control' system, this was subsequently enhanced in the follow up version , Fight Night Round 2. Rather than have each button enable a specific punch, the game took full advantage of the controller's dual analogue sticks. One analogue stick was designated to the use of the fighter's legs and body movement, while the other was specified to various punches and combinations. This created the indisputable champion of boxing games.

            Fight Night Round 3 builds on the success the its previous versions, obviously everyone was looking and expecting additional improvements to the game, to a large extent they delivered on this but there still remained features which stayed distinctly unchanged. I suspect that the versions due on the Playstation 3 will attempt to improve upon these flaws, however there is a suspicion with EA Sports that they never release a flawless game, cynics say this is intentional, nevertheless you can still console yourself with the fact you have an exceptional game in what they have delivered.

            The game features 36 professional fighters, the vast majority legends of the ring such as Muhammad Ali, George Foreman and 'Sugar' Ray Robinson. In addition to this there is a 'create your own boxer' section. This is vastly improved on the last game, and the face morphing ability resembles games like 'Smackdown vs Raw', overall its gives you a lot of flexibility in physical features of your created boxer.

            The Career mode is where all the fun is at though, you take your boxer as a complete amateur barely making a few hundred dollars a fight, through rigorous training and ever increasing difficulty of opponents. Finally you have the chance to lift the World Championship belt in your own division as well as in higher/lower divisions. There are many titles and awards to aim for during your career and these include undefeated spells, punching accuracy awards and defence accuracy. This all keeps you motivated and improves different aspects of your game.

            In terms of the in-ring action, technique is all important. You wield explosive knock-out power in both gloves thanks to the new "power punch system.". Haymakers are key in this game and not only do they spice up the action, but also make one-sided matches more competitive, and offer out-matched competitors "a puncher's chance."

            True boxing fans will appreciate the fact that a greater emphasis has been placed on boxing strategy. You no longer can continue a barrage punches disregarding the condition/ability of your opponent. Having a good defence is essential when you come up against the big punchers and you must also adapt your style to counter your opponents strength. Thus patience is required, if you attempt an explosive first round knock-out you quickly find that your boxer will fatigue and will be vulnerable for the rest of the fight.

            Overall this is an exceptional boxing game, even if you are not a fan of the sport you will still enjoy this game on some level. For hardened boxing fans, some aspects may not be up to scratch. But boxing games are still in the development stage (unlike the Fifa Series say) and what EA Sports have produced is head and shoulders above any other boxing game. A slight improvement could be in the number of boxers available in particular in the recent era. For example the like of Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson are nowhere to be seen. There are however plenty of legendary boxers to satisfied. I would recommend this game to all boxing fans and those who sports fans looking for something slightly different.

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              16.03.2007 13:13
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              Fine exhibitions of the game and a chance to see the best players and teams.

              After the debacle of the Ashes 2006/07 we have the ICC Cricket World Cup. Unlike it’s football equivalent and the Olympics the cricket world cup often slips under the radar in terms of popularity, media coverage and as a general conversational topic. We are often told that cricket has minority following, played only amongst the commonwealth nations, and at first glance that may be a correct analysis. Yet, it’s popularity is far greater if we are to believe some. The world cup is expected to be televised in 200 nations with an expected television audience of two billion. In some parts of the world cricket is the number one sport and greater than football. In England it started without a whimper, many still oblivious of how and what cricket is. Yet for the fans it is potential to be a great tournament, one of the most open and competitive in years.


              The Hosts
              ===========

              The 2007 Cricket world cup is being hosted in the West Indies, this first time they have hosted the tournament and this in itself creates a very unique feel about it. It becomes a true cultural event as the climate, conditions and atmosphere varies enormously across the cricketing world. The West Indies naturally has a reputation for being one of the great cricketing nations, a legacy of great players and a inimitable and joyful atmosphere. Hosting the event in different parts of the world is perhaps one of the best features the cricket world cup has. Yes all other major sports do the same, but in cricket there is a big difference in the style of cricket that can be played depending where you are in the world. The West Indies has smaller grounds, lower bouncing and slower pitches. It promises to be beneficial tournament for those who like big hitting, great for the likes of Freddie Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen.

              Groups and Format
              ===============
              There are only 16 teams in the tournament, 8 of the teams are considered major cricketing nations the other 8 vary from valuable contenders to no hopers. Seeding in brackets

              Group A:
              Australia (1)
              South Africa (5)
              Scotland (12)
              Netherlands (16)

              Group B:
              Sri Lanka (2)
              India (8)
              Bangladesh (11)
              Bermuda (15)

              Group C:
              New Zealand (3)
              England (7)
              Kenya (10)
              Canada (14)

              Group D:
              Pakistan (4)
              West Indies (6)
              Zimbabwe (9)
              Ireland (13)

              The groups are rather interestingly designed, each one containing 2 of the major cricketing nations and so it is pretty much a for gone conclusion which teams will reach the next stage. The match up between Australia vs South Africa will probably be the most keenly anticipated match, as they are number 1 and number 2 rank teams in the world and amongst the favourites for the World Cup. The next stage after this is the super 8’s, where all teams play each other once apart from the team already faced in the group stage. So in effect each team will play 6 games in this phase of the tournament. This stage promises to be the best part of the tournament, all the sides will compete and presumably in need of a win and there will be plenty of interesting match ups. Amongst these should be a repeat of the Ashes match in Australia vs England and the always fiery and keenly contested India vs Pakistan match. Here 4 teams will go through to the semi finals and then 2 to the final.

              Major Contenders
              ==============
              Australia : They were overwhelming favourites for the tournament a few weeks ago but the defeats to England and New Zealand in VB tournament showed vulnerability of the team and the don’t posses the invincible allure. Having said that, they sheer quality of the team still re-enforces their favourites tag, Ponting, Hussey and Gilchrist make up an impressive batting lineup. Bowling is slightly suspect with Warne retiring, Lee injured and McGrath playing in his last tournament. The fielding as you can expect is exceptional and with their intensely competitive attitude it is hard to see many teams defeat Australia and they should make the final, if not win it for the third time in a row.

              Sri Lanka : The dark horses of the tournament and most peoples biggest threat ouside Australia and South Africa. They have talented batsmen and bowlers who crucially will love the conditions in West Indies. The small grounds should suit the likes of Jayasuria and the turn bring Murali into the game. They do have a habit of failing to live up to their potential often. They have improved immensely and can give any team a hammering but will they be consistent enough to get their way to the final, it remains to be seen.

              New Zealand : Never really considered amongst the favourites, they always seem to have some good players but you feel they lack match winners. Things may be slightly different in this tournament they have Shane Bond and Jacob Oram who look star quality. 1992 was their best chance of winning a world cup, they have reached the semis since then but still will be one of the outsiders.

              Pakistan: Probably the most unpredictable sides in the competition, posses some amazing talent yet many times do not deliver. They have the capability to beat any team in the competition but consistency maybe their major downfall. They have a fast bowling reputations but they will miss 3 of their main bowlers and it will definitely affect them. Biggest hope lies in the middle order of Younis, Yousuf and Inzimam. They will need strong performances outside this and have players like Afridi who can win a match on his own. Not a team you like to back because of their unpredictable nature but would be the last team to write off.

              South Africa: If the world cup was being played in green climes such as England, Australia at their own home, South Africa would be the favourites to reach the final. They have developed an extremely strong side, which has depth and is powerful in batting, bowling and fielding. Spin may play an important part of the tournament and this is not the South Africa’s strong point. There batting is the strongest on paper and so they may be able to minimise this loss and with Nel and Pollock as an opening bowling line-up they will be a threat to all teams. Should get to the semi-finals at least, in the past they have never gone further than this. If they can develop the big game mentality there is no reason why they can’t win the tournament.

              West Indies : The hosts are quite erratic and will focus much of their chances on home support and performances of key players. Namely Brian Lara, Gayle and Chanderpaul, outside this there is not a lot of star quality however there is a lot of talent and the world cup is known to transform many a talented player into a superstar. Bowling is no the most imposing but is tidy and efficient and they will hope consistency holds throughout the tournament. Many are tipping them to go far in this tournament, but no side has won the tournament on their own soil and it is hard to see West Indies overcoming many of the bigger sides consistently enough to win the tournament. They did reach the final of the Champions Trophy and will draw upon that for inspiration.

              England: Over the last few years , decade even, England and one day cricket have not gone hand in hand. A few weeks ago they would have ranked as outsiders in the top 8 teams. England have found it difficult to build a competitive one day side and their record over the last few years has been poor. However there does seem to be a glimpse of a revival and the underdog tag could work well for them. Previously England didn’t focus enough on developing specialist one day players, leaving them behind many other nations. Many players were tried but failed and it seemed like another world cup failure was on the cards. Recent success in Australia in the 50 over game meant renewed confidence. They will rely on a few players in particular, Pietersen, Collingwood, Flintoff will be key players you feel. Fielding is quality and the bowling is also developing with the likes of Panesar, Plunkett and Mahmood. Still a lot of luck required if they are to progress even to a semi-final stage, but prospects look a whole lot better than a few weeks back. Pressure will also not be as much as the football side.

              India : Have developed a strong side over the last year which is strong in batting and increasingly so in their bowling. The top order will be their backbone, with Ganguly, Tendulkar and Dravid amongst those who will pose problems for the oppositions bowling. There is a lot of pressure on the side and expectation to do well, often in these conditions India have faltered in the past, it would have been better for them to be underdogs like in the 2003 tournament. Yet if they can hold their nerve they have the potential to go far if not win it. Major games will be against Australia and South Africa against both nations whom they struggle against. Slow bowling like the other subcontinent sides will be a strong point they have plenty of options in the bowling.

              Players To Watch.
              ============

              This tournament is a last hurrah for many great players in the game, Brian Lara, Inzimam, McGrath, Jayasuria will have their last tournament and many other leading players are in the same boat. As always though, new stars are likely to emerge from this world cup aswell as some enhancing their reputations. Here are 8 that are likely to do well

              Ricky Ponting :
              The new bradman as he is dubbed, has a thirst for getting big scores and the big tournaments. Had his reputation marked with his 140 in the final of the 2003 tournament. A bit of an obvious choice, but will again star in this tournament. Can dominate even the best of bowling line-ups and has no obvious weakness, favourite for the top scorer title surely.

              Kevin Pietersen:
              The linchpin in the England batting line-up, although interestingly England managed to win the their last odi tournament with him injured. Will be one of the most feared batsmen and the main target of the opposition team . He has an unorthodox, aggressive style which is very effective and keeps bowlers under pressure. Small boundaries will suit him, with his frequent lofty shots for 6.

              Shane Bond:
              Perhaps the most dangerous fast bowler in the world cup with Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee injured. Has the ability to single handily skittle a side out by himself, clever varieties make him more dangerous and the stats show he is one of the top odi bowlers for a generation. Only problem is injuries and there he hasn’t gone too long in his career without them.

              Mohammad Yousuf:
              Has had an amazing record breaking year in test cricket, which has galvanised him from a good player to one of the top 3 batsmen in the world. His odi game is based upon impeccable timing rather than big shots and most totals for Pakistan revolve around his innings. Very hard to dislodge once he gets in.

              Mahendra Singh Dhoni:
              A talented wicketkeeper who amazed world cricket with his 183* in his first year in odi cricket. A dangerous big hitter, mainly he sixes are clean of the middle of the bat and aim down the ground. Will cause a lot of headaches for the opposition bowling if he is allowed to settle.

              Kumar Sangakkara:
              Another wicketkeeper, more of cultured and orthodox and has the ability to bat his way through the innings. Very versatile and his timing is immaculate, will help form a strong middle order for Sri Lanka.

              Chris Gayle:
              Lazy elegance is perhaps the best way to describe Gayle. Can effortlessly lift a fast bowler for 6 at the top of an innings. Never fears to throw the bat and often pays off. He can be found in the field with his shades on and has a very relaxed approach to cricket it seems. But don’t let this beguile his talent as he is dangerous with both bat and bowl and is one of the world’s premier all rounders who could perform even better on home soil.

              Makhaya Ntini:
              A dangerous fast bowler, who will trouble all batsmen, can be expensive at times but has that wicket taking ability that will scare most sides. He has Pollock to support him at the other end and so there will be no let up for batsmen.

              Verdict
              =======
              This World Cup looks very difficult to predict simply because there are so many teams in with a chance. Australia are still favourites for the trophy, which will be their 3rd in a row should they win. Yet the nature of odi cricket particularly in the last few years means that any team can be beaten on the day. After all it was only a year ago that South Africa managed to chase down a world record 438 against Australia. With the grounds being small, it opens it up to some daring batsmen to become a match winner in a short space of time. The pressure on the players will be quite high and it wouldn’t be surprising to see some low scoring matches with close finishes, perhaps determined by exceptional piece of fielding.

              Amongst the other contenders, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand should fancy themselves to make it to the semi-finals at least. West Indies, England and Pakistan will hope to perform well under lessened expectations. Momentum will be key and thus it will not be surprising to see any of the top 8 nations get to the final. The tournament is pretty open and this makes for exciting viewing, it could be one of the best tournaments in years.

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                09.03.2007 15:12
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                Great idea and potential to buy almost anything, but fradulant behaviour could ruin the experience.

                Think of auctions on the web and you think of Ebay, it has truly grown into a marketplace for the world and an enormous business venture for the creators of the site. It started out as a small American company trading simple and random items. Yet the simplicity of the idea made it ever more popular and famous. It appealed to so many people, buyers and sellers alike. Those wanting goods and less than high street prices, those looking for rare collectables and sellers of items that they no longer required but still had a value to some. It was a perfect idea and very profitable also.

                Yet as always seem to happen, where there is big business and a lot of money exchanging hands, there will always be fraudsters out there attempting to exploit the vulnerability or perhaps ignorance of consumers wanting a cheap deal. Of late the amount of stolen, fake or falsely advertised products on ebay has rocketed and even promoted a watchdog investigation. The investigation attempted how the owners of Ebay at fault, as they were ultimately responsible for all people selling items. They were accused of not doing enough to stop fraudsters. A simple question maybe, why wouldn’t ebay want to stop fraudsters surely integrity is one of the most important business assets. Well there is a more sinister motive, according to some and which in part I agree with. For every item that goes on sale, ebay attain a slight share of it, hence it is in their benefit to get as many people selling and buying items as possible.

                There are a number of factors though that need to be considered if we want to assign blame. Yes it is annoying that so many people are attempting to con buyers (and also sellers) out of their money. Much of this is sheer criminal stuff, including phishing and other fraudulent money transferring scams. You will this in all walks of life and it is not a surprise that it is happening on ebay anymore that there are people attempting to steal our money on high street cash machines. There are many protocols laid down by ebay and if people follow them, then there really shouldn’t be too much problems. I have not experience anything even remotely close to such problems. If people openly go against ebay advice, such as paying for things with cash or inputting bank details in e-mails requesting such information then the possibility is there of losing your money. On the whole I would class this as ignorance on behalf of the consumer, there is always going to be a battle between companies like ebay and the fraudsters at out-doing one another on such issues.

                Where I mainly get disillusioned by ebay is when they allow people to sell clearly fraudulent stuff. Ebay always say that they can’t look at every item and that people should inform them of sellers of fake or falsely advertised stuff. This however is an easy cop out. There are many products though that repeatedly have fakes listed. At any time of the day if one looks to buy football shirts for example, then at is fair to say that at least 50%-80% will be fake. It is clear that there is a problem, there are many products which have the same if not worse problems but yet it is surprising that ebay don’t stop this. Most of the fakes are easy to spot and the mainly originate from similar locations (e.g. far east for football shirts). Slowly but surely the complaints are growing though, I have seen ebay introduce more advice and protection, so it is to be hoped that they make a firm resolve to eliminate such blatant fraudsters. Perhaps taking much harsher punishment with those who have lower ratings.

                A part of me though is far more cynical and think that ebay probably will decline in popularity, in particular for high end products. I think more and more people will decide against bidding for rare items such as autographs, designer watches, brand new computer parts simply because they don’t trust the item to be what it seems. Many people have complained they have been duped but on the other hand people still buy cheap designer products despite the fact they know it to be fake. For them it maybe the fact that it looks close enough to the original product and at only a fraction of the price. This however only encourages fraudsters to operate. The problem doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon and it maybe that things get much worse before they better. My advice would be to stay clear of most products and only bid for those which you have thoroughly researched.

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                  31.01.2007 23:29
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                  Controversial but the only effective method to control traffic in London.

                  Introduced in February 2003, the congestion charge introduced a fee for most motorist who entered central London during the working week. The fee was initially £5 which was then subsequently raised on in July 2005 to £8. The congestion charge only effects central parts of London, where traffic has come to a standstill over a number of years. Traffic problems were beginning to have drastic effects on the lives of drivers, productivity of business and ease of tourists. Though many were wary of the financial implications of the congestion charge, there is little doubt that many wanted some sort of solution to the traffic chaos from Mondays to Fridays.

                  London was the first major city in the world to adopt the congestion charge and its relative success means that it is likely to be copied elsewhere in the world. In particular Manchester were in an advanced stage of implementing the charge in their city centre. Organisers of the charge are TFL and the mayor Ken Livingstone was a major back of the scheme, its increase in price and increase in area from which the zone reaches. There has been much debate over the relative merits of the charge. Some felt it was just another stealth tax designed to make money. However the studies showed that traffic bottling was occurring en masse across the capital and all trends suggested that it would indeed get worse with time. When the charge was introduced traffic fell in a short space of time by close to 30%. After the initial fears where over and the results of the congestion charge were visible many grew to the idea and it was generally well accepted.

                  Overall it has made a necessary contribution to the flow of London. Before the charge there was wide scale problems on a daily basis, but the need to reduce the number of unneeded traffic saw was enough for most to accept the charge was required. With the economic welfare of the London growing, with increased jobs, and more visitors than at any time in it’s history there was always little doubt that sooner or later strains would be placed on its key infrastructures. Transport in major cities is always one of the biggest dilemma’s for any major city in the world. London still is one of the busiest in particular in the city. Much of the problems occur at fixed times during the day, i.e. start of the working day and the end. It was at this time where the build up of traffic would cause the most problems. It is almost inevitable that many would have been late to work on a daily basis, were overcharged for a taxi fair and suffered from increase stress because of the traffic problems. Shortly after the charge, traffic however seemed to creep back up and thus the need to raise prices further.

                  An argument many were making at the time, was that if the congestion charge was to price travellers off the roads, they would only find alternative methods of travelling across London and hence the congestion would simply be shifted elsewhere. Indeed many of those people chose to travel on the underground, which has seen increased passengers but yet very little improvement in service. Many drivers found the charge unfair and felt it discriminated the poor rather than the rich. Some experts argued that a non monetary form of taxation should implemented so that it would be fair for all visitors of London. Yet the general consensus was that there was little alternative to using a financial charge and that non of them would prove as effective.
                  There has been many criticisms of the congestion charge. Many people have gone on protest that they would not pay the charge at all, running up hundreds of pound of unpaid fines. The main economic effect has been to the many businesses which are enclosed inside the congestion zone. Of course with a reduction of car journeys in central London has also meant a reduction of consumers in many high street shops, particularly smaller ones. However it is probably more likely that the overall economic benefit to the capital outweighs the few problems faced by some shops.

                  The congestion zone area is due to be increased in the near future with much of west London to be included in the zone, again there has been a lot of scepticism amongst the residents and businesses in the area. It seems as though pay as you drive policies will spread throughout the U.K and perhaps to many other major cities. Economic prosperity has many benefits to the lives of millions across the world, however there are of course draw backs and with more and more people able to afford cars and more importantly owning more than one car it is inevitable this trend will lead to problems. Throughout the capital higher and higher private parking charges are being used as space is a vital commodity.

                  Personally, I think that Congestion Charge is the only viable solution for London's traffic problem for the foreseeable future. London is one of the major cities of the world and financial centre as well as one of the most visited cities in the world. For it to remain so, the previous traffic problems needed a major rethink. One the whole it has been accepted and generally had the desired effect. Ken Livingstone can see this as one of his most successful policies and the fact that it is set to be copied elsewhere in the world reflects its success. So although it might be not universally popular, Congestion Charge is effective and is here to stay.

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                    22.12.2006 17:04
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                    Would mainly appeal to die-hard fans of the series or those who would like something different

                    Smackdown vs Raw 2007 was scheduled to be a release on the PS3, however due to the console being only slightly less delayed than Wembley Stadium, THQ decided that they would have to suffice with just the PS2 version of the game, something that will disappoint some fans. As a result you immediately feel they haven’t unleashed all their ideas on this game and are saving them for the PS3 release. They have changed it enough to entice fans who can’t wait, but a closer look at the game and you will see that virtually everything remains the same bar a few adjustments, additions and removals.

                    The main change introduced in the 2007 game is the control system. It has finally become fully analogue, so much so that the D-pad has been rendered close to useless. Having had a similar control format for many years, it is difficult at first to get used to the new style of playing and sometimes it does feel like you are repeating the same maneuvers over and over again. For a long term player of this game, this change may either be welcomed and a innovative new addition or like I feel, a needless complication in a part of the game that was already functioning very well.

                    As you can imagine, the few updates that have taken place concern the match types and the roster. One or two awful match types have been taken out and have been replaced by some slightly improved match types. Money in the bank is a new concept and the match differs from those that previous existed, but in effect is a rather updated version of a ladder match except that there are 6 opponents vying for one single suitcase of money hovering above the ring. I found this match very difficult to win, not because the opponents where difficult but the fact that out of the six opponents there was always one, who at any given time could stop you from climbing the ladder and reaching for the suitcase. The roster has once been updated, bringing a some new faces who have only recently been part of the WWE. On such person is the Great Khali, although his overall stats in the game seem to be pretty poor.

                    The ultimate control system, is a good new feature allowing you to choose from a number of complex moves all emanating from a strong grapple position. This includes suspending your opponent in mid-air for a few seconds before deciding to drop him at your will in a designated position. There is also a new ‘crowd hotspot’ where you can take your opponent and continue fighting in an environment full of weapons right next to where the fans are stood. This is not all too different from the end of the ramp fighting that existed in previous versions of the game but mysteriously got phased out. Also the disappearance of the backstage environments, such as the boiler room has been a mistake in my opinion, it at least provided a credible alternative to constantly fighting inside the ring.

                    The main queries with the older additions was the A.I of the opponents you were facing. You often felt that the computer controlled character was mind numbingly stupid on easy mode, an effective zombie, if you will. In contrast on the difficult mode, the opponent was like a ravenous robot and reversed out of every single attack you would throw at it. However the 2 middle modes, provided a happy medium of both. This in sense has remained true in the 2007 version of the game also. What really required improving was the how the opponent would react to different situations in a match. In some way THQ have progressed as they have included a smart reversal system whilst when you were holding a weapon. However there are numerous times when holding a weapon leads to no change in the strategy of the opponent and they are quite prepared to take a few chair blows to their head and be none the wiser the next time you chase after them with a ladder. Tag-team matches can be awfully infuriating at times also, the AI has not improved that much and means that I tend to stay away from such matches.

                    What they have incorporated is an extended season mode of the game and as this is what most players will spend their time doing, it is a good thing that a greater level of sophistication has been reached in season modes. No longer are you thrown into random matches with little or no say, the storylines are more developed but perhaps a bit extreme in their nature. GM mode was a new addition to the 2006 game and it generally very successful and a different dimension to the game. The GM game for 2007 has been improved and is now more strategic. You can’t really complain about the types of matches you and the different challenges that you can play, it definitely is something that you can play for a long time, there is simply no question about that. For long term players, it is always what the game has done you feel, that is more important than what is. For a PS2 release though, THQ probably have taken this game as far as they can. Of course they could improve the game, however that development will take time and there are very few games which have in fact mastered A.I, in particular of a game such as this. For someone who has already purchased the 2006 version of the game, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this game to be on top of your wishlist. However for someone who has little or no experience of the Smackdown vs Raw series of games then this purchase would be well worth your while.

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                      15.12.2006 18:39
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                      A Growing problem that needs more responsible input from gamers and manufacturers.

                      Computer game addiction is simply a part of a much wider modern social problem that exits with new and exciting technologies. Yes true this addiction has a familiar and stereotypical victim, young male students but now much research has indicated that it is a bigger than once thought and effects adults as well as even younger children. There is no doubt that games are very enjoyable, stimulating and can be used as an escapist route to free yourself from temporarily from everyday stress. However as with many ‘modern day‘ problems, it can have a long lasting effect on health, social and educational effects. These effects are slowly but surely taking place before us today and all signs show that things will get worse before they get better. Growing levels of obesity, poor ‘classical’ educational standards (i.e reading, writing, numeracy), addictions and domestic family problems have all arisen and though it would be very foolish to blame ‘computer games’ it is no doubt that they do form a part of the problem.

                      Now for many people, that opening vision maybe incredibly pessimistic and I myself question the whether something such as simply as a computer game can lead to so many problems. The majority of people (myself at most times) realize the nature of computer games and that it should be used sparingly so as to provide a healthy work/life balance. There isn’t too much problems amongst adults of the current generation with regards to the computer games. In fact it has become more common to find them playing games and much of the prices and gaming content has become tailored to meet this more lucrative market for game developers.

                      As I see it there are two types of problems that seem to resonating from an addiction to computer games. With one the blame lies heavily on the manufacturers and developers, whilst the other with the young game players or perhaps more accurately their parents. There are people who become particularly obsessive when it comes to games, and in many situations it is generally school children who use it to pre-occupy their time outside school. To some extent it is natural that someone would look for something fun to do and in moderation isn’t much of an issue. The problem comes when the child begins to get older and has more educational demands upon them, many simply can’t get out of the need to play and suffer from concentration problems. Many parents use non-purposeful methods of trying to create a balance, by offering the child the opportunity to play games after a sufficient period of work has been completed. Many psychologists agree that this significantly reduces the effectiveness of the studying period for the child as the motivation to learn is greatly outweighed by the motivation to play games. With this mentality it simply becomes a counting down procedure for many children and clearly highlights the choice between working and playing, with the playing coming out the winner. I’m not aware if any study has been done, but it would be interesting to see a research between the levels of educational success and number of hours that are preoccupied in playing computer games.

                      The main problem I have with computer game is the growing trend of targeting vulnerable youngsters with games that are more extreme in nature. Many older gamers maybe be able to differentiate quite comfortable between the escapist fantasies of say the ‘Grand Theft Auto’ games however some gamers may find an uncomfortable parallel between the game and their perceived everyday reality. It may seem this problem can be solved by sticking an ’18’ tag on the game but the reality is that top selling games such as this are even more likely to be sort after with an 18 rating. The computer game industry is a multi-billion dollars one and it is no surprise that developers spend a lot of money on research and part of the becoming successful in the market is the requirement to induce the gamer into playing a game repetitively. Indeed nearly all the games at the top of the charts today are part of a line of established games (GTA, FiFa, Pro Evolution, Sims etc..). The developers have every incentive to produce games that are addictive to play. The games developed are more and more detailed, have a greater number and variety of challenges and less focus upon a ‘completion stage’ so that in effect are infinitely playable. However from another point of view, it is the gamers themselves who wish to have more ‘realistic’ games, which have greater longetivity and greater sophistication of computer A.I. Developers may argue that in effect they are simply reflecting the needs of the individual gamer, giving them more enjoyable games to play.

                      So in conclusion, computer games can be addictive and many of us (myself included) have found the hours roll by one the promise of ‘just one more game’. For most people though, it is like any other addiction relating to new technologies, they eventually find a way of accommodating it seamlessly in their everyday life. However there is a danger that the addiction levels may stray out of control and it is in effect a product of our need to play better games and the manufacturers to maintain our interest with more and more daring games.

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                        28.11.2006 14:04
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                        The List of My Top Ten Sportsmen.

                        My top ten sportsmen, not in any particular order. Ideally it would have been good to choose 5 men and 5 women, but given the reality that in nearly all sports the men’s section has been had a longer established structure and also the fact that it is unfair comparing different genders, I have decided to focus on choosing only the top ten male sportsmen.

                        1) Muhammad Ali

                        One of the greatest sportsmen of all time, not simply because of his record but because of his personality and character. A showman and entertainer with his famous post and pre match press conferences. It was his boxing ability that won over most people, he didn’t only talk the talk but he could back it up in the ring. He beat every major challenger he faced, when the calibre of opponents far exceeds that of today. They included Liston, Joe Frazier and George Foreman. The way he came back from defeats showed he was a true champion.


                        2) Michael Jordon

                        Jordon was more than just a sportsman, (no not talking about the movie career). Easily the first person that comes to mind when basketball is mentioned. He won 6 MVP (Most Valuable Player) awards in his career and has the highest points per game average in NBA history. An ESPN survey ranked him the greatest sportsman in history. Although I think this is perhaps too high an adulation, for a sport not as mainstream as say football. He is always the benchmark for up and coming basketball players and his ‘Air Jordan’ trainers are always top sellers.


                        3) Tiger Woods

                        Normally, I would hesitate to put a golfer amongst the top sportsmen that ever existed. There are far more physically and mentally challenging sports that push athletes to the limit. However, sport is more than just physical endeavor and the reason why I believe Tiger Woods has earned his place in the top ten is the impact he has had on the golf and the wider sporting community. True, he has been heavily supported by merchandising companies, attempting to exploit his talent (Remember those Nike, ‘I am Tiger Woods ads, and endless EA Sports games) . He has however earned that respect and ultimately it is his success which had made him the highest paid athlete in sport today. He has been the no.1 in the golf ranking for years and as with all great sportsmen, he saves his best for the big tournaments. His majors record already puts in him in the top ten list and with many years ahead of him, there is always the chance he could top it.


                        4) Maradona

                        Quite simply the most talented footballer ever to grace the pitch, from a young age doing multiple kick-ups with an orange (probably not to wisest thing to try at home). He mezmorised defenders like no player had done before, control, technique and vision were outstanding and he was very much a big match player. His reputation was sealed in the 1986 World Cup, where England found out his genius and ingenuity. He not only conquered international football, but also reached the pinnacle at the top of club football with Barcelona and Napoli. The drugs issue, was a drawback on his career. However a huge array of personal and team awards show him to be one of the greatest.


                        5) Pele

                        By most people he is regarded at the greatest footballer that ever lived, his contribution to the footballing game across of spheres is outstanding. Not only was he a great ambassador on the pitch, playing football with mesmeric skill, thought and enthusiasm but since his retirement he has campaigned for football across the globe. He has the record to prove it as well, few will come close to his achievements and success. He is the only player ever to have won three world cup winners medals and is often garnished with the praise of scoring ‘1000’ goals in his career. A careful analysis of this statistic shows it to be inaccurate (included non-competitive goals) however his goal scoring record was phenomenal. My only criticism would be that he never played in Europe and tested himself against the best club teams, however there may be a number of factors why this was not possible and his record in International football, showed he would have succeeded wherever he played football.


                        6) Don Bradman

                        Far and above the greatest cricket player that lived, it is a shame his profile was established before the days of the media frenzied adulation that follows even the remotely talented sportsmen of today. Although not a large amount footage and admires still remain, his statistics are all that are required to show his brilliance. In the days of uncovered pitches and virtually no protection for batsmen he averaged just a shade under 100 (would have been greater than a 100, except for a last innings duck). To put that figure into context the next best average belongs to the South African Grahame Pollock at just over 60. Amongst cricketers of all generations there are very few who dispute the ranking of ‘The Don’ as the best cricketer ever produced and this is rare to find in any sport.


                        7) Lance Armstrong

                        Has there ever been a sportsman that has had to come through so much adversity and yet achieved so much in a sport. 7 consecutive ‘Tour de France’ titles (previous record was 5) put him at the top of the Cycling elite but it is the fact that he did so after overcoming Testicular cancer, including brain and testicular surgery and many rounds of chemotherapy. He did have many natural physical attributes, including a heart size 30% bigger than the norm and was accused of drug taking, (he was cleared of this charge) this still did not take back from one of the most inspiring sporting athlete that the world has witnessed.


                        8) Steve Redgrave

                        One of the greatest Olympians and although we only saw him once every 4 years as a sportsmen, his ability to be best over such a long period of time surely showed his commitment and dedication to a low profile sport across the globe. Some may argue that the competition did not exist, however to win the gold medal for 5 Olympics in a row, surely negates this argument.


                        9) Michael Schumacher

                        One of the more controversial sportsmen, who wasn’t universally popular amongst his peers nor opposing fans yet no one could deny his genius behind the wheel despite some obvious character flaws. Statics are all that are required to convince you of his brilliance. 7 World titles, including a period in which he won 5 titles back to back. He transformed the Ferrari team from sleeping giants to the no.1 Formula One team. After the death of Aryton Senna, few envisaged the a driver to reach his level in the near future. However, Schumacher consistently proved that he is a relentless force, with an insatiable appetitive for victory. Many times he overstepped that mark and was penalized and this of course lost him some fans. However there have been few who have seen more completive competitor in any sport. By what whatever means he chose, he was in the end a winner.


                        10) Michael Johnson

                        Now the face of BBCs athletics coverage, it wasn’t long ago (much to dismay of his rivals) that he on the track breaking record after record. Such was the ease of his display and utter dominance that you could think that he had a chance of winning any race running backwards. One event was simply to little for him to dominate and he conquered all before him in the 200m and 400m events. For both he holds the world record and it is difficult to see anyone beating either record in the immediate future. 5 Olympic gold medals and 9 Championship medals. His style of running was unique maybe slightly comical but in full motion it was such a mechanized routine that you would be fooled to think he was computer programmed. It would have been interesting to see what effect he could have had on the 100m if it raced it regularly, but this wasn’t really required as he had already proved that he was the best athlete in his generation.

                        Other notable candidates for the top ten:
                        Babe Ruth, Roger Federer, Valentino Rossi, Stephen Hendry

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                          29.10.2006 20:53
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                          Incitiful documentary on a memorable sporting duel.

                          When We Were Kings is a documentary by Leon Gast, focusing on one of the most epic, controversial and unprecedented sporting duels in history. It was the 1974 boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, the fight aptly dubbed the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ which was held in Kinshasa, Zaire. The documentary makes a specific effort to focus on the magnitude of the fight and circumstances of how it came about rather than the contest itself. This has the effect of enticing the non-boxing fans to this documentary as well as giving an extra dimension to those who may have already have seen the fight.

                          Much of the focus of the fight is on Muhammad Ali, perhaps the most famous of all sport’s stars their has ever been. The history of the fight as well as his persona always meant that Ali was going to be a the center of attention. Ali (then named Cassius Clay) burst on to the boxing scene in 1964 as a 22 year old who was loud, arrogant and confident but nevertheless was a huge underdog in his fight against the formidable champion Sonny Liston. Much to everyone’s surprise except his own he defeated Liston, he was thrust into the limelight and the subsequent years only served to increase his fame and the controversy surrounding him in equal measure both inside and outside the ring. The next three years saw a conversion to Islam and a change of name amidst an impressive sequence of title defending victories against all notable challengers that there were in the heavyweight division. Ali’s press conferences themselves virtually came box office events and he courted publicity like no other sportsmen, let alone boxer had previously. To some this seemed as bravado and arrogance to others it was seen as confidence and part of a clever psychological game plan.

                          One of the most distinguished moments of Ali’s career then came in 1967 when his refusal to fight in the 1967 Vietnam War lead to led to his title being stripped and a ban on boxing for the next three years. The incident put much public focus on him and gathered more hostility rather than favourability towards him at the time. In 1970 he managed to overturn the decision and he was allowed to box again. Muhammad Ali always had his critics, whether they were in boxing experts, the media or politicians and many where sceptical on whether he could make a comeback in boxing having not fought for so long. Soon though, he began focusing on his boxing career and left much of the political controversy behind him and in 1971 was the supposed ‘fight of the century’ between then two undefeated champions Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali. In a gruelling fight Ali lost and the critics seemed to have proven right about him. A few fight later Ali broke his jaw during his defeat to Ken Norten and many by then had written Ali off becoming the dominant boxer in the heavyweight division again. However rematch victories against both Norten and then Frazier again propelled Ali as a credible challenger for the Heavyweight title. This leads us to the match up against George Foreman, orchestrated by the infamous Don King.

                          The documentary charts the lead up to this fight with a brief history of Muhammad Ali with the use of short interviews/statements with experts, commentators (both for and against), family and friends as well as archived footage. We are shown how the unusual location of Zaire comes about, much was due to the workings of Don King. He had promised both Ali and Foreman $5 million each, the only problem was where to get that amount of money. Up stepped the President of Zaire, who offered the money as he felt it would reflect well on his country and himself. When asked about this Ali said ‘countries go to war to get their name on the map and wars cost much more than $10 million, which may or may not refer to the US war in the Vietnam.

                          We see a number of interviews/press conferences from both Ali and Foreman . Ali is usually in full flow with witty comments and single sentence punch lines but occasionally is more philosophical in his approach and chooses to preach a positive message to children rather than simply berating his future opponent. Foreman on the other hand, appears to be more quietly confident of his ability to defeat Ali. At the time he was undefeated, more highly rated and fully 10 years younger than Ali. Whereas Ali had both lost and won against Frazier and Norten, Foreman had destroyed both opponents and many of Foreman’s fights lasted no longer than the time it takes to grill a burger in one of his famous machines nowadays. Foreman was seen by many as the overwhelming favourite and it was alleged that the remarks Ali was making against him was a sign of his fear rather than confidence. Foreman’s interview were brief and to the point, Ali on the other hand brought in all sort of political dimensions to his interviews, again this was welcomed by some and frowned upon by others.

                          The location of Zaire took upon extra significance as Ali portrayed it as some sort of homecoming, he regarded Africa to be his ancestral home. Home much he actually believed this to be true is unknown, after all Foreman was also a black boxer but nevertheless it gained Ali the advantage of overwhelming support from the Zaire natives. To his credit Foreman also attempted to gain support and we see him making comments such as ‘Africa is the cradle of civilization, everybody’s home is Africa’. Some of the documentary focuses upon the plight of the Zairian people, black and white integration and positivism despite poverty. In total Ali and Foreman spent 6 weeks in Zaire and this huge contest thrust the nation and it’s issues upon the American public and it is shown to have a great effect on the average American on the cultural understanding of the roots of African American people. In the light of much tension and civil rights movements for black people it was a significant fight which encompassed more than just a boxing clash.

                          The documentary drifts between issues with Zaire to refocusing upon the actual fight itself and in particular the build up itself and the contrasting nature of Ali and Foreman. We are shown how both trained and the dedication they showed to reaching their peak physical condition. Ali often shown making use of his lightening speed and Foreman of his devastating power. Much time is dedicated to showing Ali mixing with the Zairian people, which was made more possible because of the delay of the fight. In particular the chant ‘Ali boom ayah’ which in English to ‘Ali Kill Him’ and was chanted by masses of fans. Foreman on the other hand preferred to stay amongst his own group and didn’t want to politicize the fight anymore than just professing his appreciation of Africa. Of course there was nothing wrong with this approach, it was highly professional however on this occasion he failed to encapsulate the Zairian public at large and lead to less support in the run up to the fight and in the fight itself.

                          During the brief delay in the fight, Don King used the situation to increase his fame. He was the person that brought the fight together and was instrumental in promoting it. The documentary displays the views of Don, he was shown as the opportunist whose always seized upon the chance to gain from fame and exploit boxers to benefit his goals as well as being an articulate person, who would quote Shakespeare in the mist of press conference.

                          The documentary finally moves on to the fight itself. The majority opinion was that Foreman would take apart Ali just as he had done with all his previous opponents. Even some of Ali’s own camp didn’t believe he would win this fight. Ali of course said that this was the same opinion people held before the Liston fight, yet many people still doubted whether that analogy could stand since Ali was 32 now and not 22 like he was against Liston. Interestingly enough the fight took place at 4 o clock in the morning so that it would coincide with US prime time. The next part of the documentary shows long round by round highlights along with expert analysis of the fight and crucial strategic game plans by the two fighters. For the boxing purists this would be highly interesting but for the average fan many will be simply enthralled at the approach taken by Ali to the fight. He was up against an opponent who was much stronger and physically imposing than him and therefore a straight battle of strength would play in to the hands of Foreman. Muhammad Ali, initially attacked in the first round and this results in numerous counter attacks by George Foreman. The result pretty much seemed clear to all those at ringside, it was looking to be just as the experts had predicted, a resounding victory for Foreman.

                          Enter the second round and an abrupt and strange change of tactics and that baffle those at ringside and in part Foreman as well. Ali began by inciting the crowd towards him by chanting ‘Ali boom ayah’ and then spent the whole round leaning back against the ropes and defending and blocking a barrage of punches from Foreman. Most people saw this as a suicidal move as most people would be left completely devoid of any sense after taking such hefty blows from Foreman. Yet what most people hadn’t realized was that Ali had been training for months to take such body blows and conditioning himself to feel such impact upon his body. Ali attempted to negate as much as the blows as possible by ducking and weaving but it was pretty clear that he was willing to risk his body in order to box his strategic way.

                          The next few rounds witnessed similar pattern to the second, Ali would assume his position on the rope and Foreman would attempt to punch him into submission almost. Yet Foreman became increasingly desperate as his blows didn’t appear to hurt Ali as much as he intended and by the 5th round Foreman had most of his energy sapped in exerting himself so much. It was then that Ali sensed a weakened fighter and the opportunity to fight fire with fire. He came off the rope and attempted to use his speed to rattle Foreman and he succeeded. Foreman’s punches became weaker and weaker and in the 8th round Ali once again flurried off the ropes and delivered and devastating array of quick punches to send Foreman to the ground and the fight was over, Ali against all odds had beaten George Foreman.

                          Up until that point it was to be noted that the fight was still even, even though Foreman couldn’t knock out Muhammad Ali, he was still bossing the fight and many thought it would just be a matter of time before Ali would be knocked out. Yet the defeat was a shock to the media, commentators, experts and most of all Foreman himself. It was stated that he suffered from depression for a long time afterwards. It was a defeat from which in the long term he learnt a lot from and can be seen today with his light hearted and honorable personality. For Ali, it was a defining moment in his career, perhaps more than any other. As a boxing match it was strategically one of the best fights ever conducted by a boxer and overall one of the best sporting contests that has been witnessed. As an event, it had a much greater and more far reaching impact upon the sporting and political worlds in that the accomplishments of an individual and all that he stood for triumphed through so much adversity.

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                          • Top Five Jokes / Discussion / 60 Readings / 58 Ratings
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                            21.10.2006 14:52
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                            Funny and memorable quotes from football managers.

                            We’ve had the ‘Bushisms’ and as funny as they were they have eventually run their course except for maybe some unreported or future idiotic but on the whole comical quotes. The good news is though that there are other prominent figures that also have the ability to make people laugh with their speeches/interviews. There are one group of people who have a habit of this more than any others : football managers.

                            Most football fans are likely to attribute Gordon Strachan, current Celtic FC manager with this quality, here are some memorable quotes or probably better named ‘Strachanisms’:

                            *Gordon Strachan on Wayne Rooney (after he had been called up to the England Squad for the first time):
                            “Its an incredible rise to stardom. At 17 you're more likely to get a call from Michael Jackson than Sven Goran Eriksson.”

                            *Reporter: Gordon, Do you think James Beattie deserves to be in the England squad?
                            *Strachan: I dont care, I'm Scottish

                            (When asked about an AWOL Delgado)
                            *Strachan: I've got more important things to think about. I've got a yogurt to finish by today, the expiry date is today. That can be my priority rather than Agustin Delgado.

                            *Reporter: This might sound like a daft question, but you'll be happy to get your first win under your belt, won't you?
                            *Strachan: You're right. It is a daft question. I'm not even going to bother answering that one. It is a daft question, you're spot on there.

                            *Reporter: Bang, there goes your unbeaten run. Can you take it?
                            *Strachan: No, I'm just going to crumble like a wreck. I'll go home, become an alcoholic and maybe! jump of a bridge. Umm, I think I can take it, yeah."

                            *Reporter: There's no negative vibes or negative feelings here?
                            *Strachan: Apart from yourself, we're all quite positive round here. I'm going to whack you over the head with a big stick, down negative man, down.

                            *Reporter: You don't take losing lightly, do you Gordon?
                            *Strachan: I don't take stupid comments lightly either.

                            *Reporter: So, Gordon, in what areas do you think Middlesbrough were better than you today?
                            *Strachan: What areas? Mainly that big green one out there....




                            Ron Atkinson will always be remembered for his sometimes controversial but generally hilarious quotes whilst as a football manager and then as a commentator.


                            “You can see the ball go past them, or the man, but you'll never see both man and ball go past at the same time. So if the ball goes past, the man won't, or if the man goes past they'll take the ball.”

                            “On another night, they'd have won 2-2” (commenting on a Valencia-Liverpool Match)

                            “Well, Clive, it's all about the two M's - movement and positioning.”

                            "The substitute is about to come on - he's a player who was left out of the starting line-up today. There were others as well."

                            "The game has gone rather scrappy as both sides realise they could win this match or lose it or draw it even."




                            The biggest mouth in football today is Jose Mourinho, he can be funny, serious, angry, philosophical, humble and arrogant normally within the same interview/press conference. One thing is for certain he is never shy of a word or two and here are some of the more funnier of them.

                            Talking about Arsene Wenger’s comments regarding Chelsea FC.
                            “I think he is one of these people who is a voyeur. He likes to watch other people. There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea.”

                            Talking about Manchester United, after Chelsea had won the league title. "I saw their their players and manager go for a lap of honour after losing to us in their last home game. In Portugal if you do this, they throw bottles at you!”

                            “Everybody was waiting for Chelsea not to win every game and one day when we lose there will be a holiday in the country. But we are ready for that. “

                            “We have top players and, sorry if I'm arrogant, we have a top manager.”

                            “Please don't call me arrogant, but I'm European champion and I think I'm a special one.”

                            “Anyone can be clever, the trick is not to think the other guy is stupid.”

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                            • Transfer Issues / Discussion / 56 Readings / 54 Ratings
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                              03.10.2006 15:38
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                              Soccer is simple, but it is difficult to play simple....Johan Cruyff

                              Bungs, tapping up, dodgy transfers initiated by dodgy agents in order to line their own pockets and any manager greedy enough to help them. For a long time it had seemed too controversial a topic to tackle in football, better it be swept under the carpet rather than face ignominy in the nations favourite sport. The football authorities have woken up and attempted to confront the problem head on. It is a problem they know exists, they fear it is widespread but hope it is limited to a few ‘bad apples’ that can be aptly rooted out and reputation restored. However optimistic this view may be the F.A certainly have a tough time on their hand. Firm action is now demanded by vested parties in football, the fans and the media.

                              The current furore was aroused by the recent Panorama expose of transfer bungs and tapping up players which it alleged was rife in football. Although the programme delivered less than it promised their was sufficient evidence to make everyone sit up and take note. In particular the managers have become incredibly defensive and at the same time appearing open to resolve the problem. That is not too surprising, in an age in which the media has the power to effectively ruin the career of a manager, the ones which have no wrong doing against their name will be hoping they do not become falsely indicted. This may or may not be the case for Sam Allayrdce, who central to the Panorama programme and was alleged to have taken bungs indirectly by three agents questioned. He of course, along with the agents have denied the accusations. This has of course had a ripple effect on to other senior and some less so senior managers. All of whom know that similar difficulties could befall upon them, the reaction has been mixed and approach likewise. Some have attempted to dodge the issue, speaking little or nothing about it hoping their reputation does not become tarred with such skulduggery or conversely because of their guilt. There some managers who have spoken out openly to crack down on the issue, interesting they are mostly the newer faces to management.

                              Leading the case to expose such heinous acts in football has been Luton manager Mike Newell. It was his comments back in January that set the ball rolling in the bungs cases.

                              “I will do that, absolutely no problem. I have no fear…. I have no problem substantiating what I have said - and I have no problem digging people out .… I can back up everything I have said, and I can sleep well at night”

                              Asked whether he had himself been offered a bung his response was a simple but striking “Of course I have, I wouldn't even entertain the idea - never”. Although many newspapers reported the admission in glowing terms, there was much scepticism that this was another sensationalist story fabricated by the press and coming from a lower league and low profiled manager the issue was taken as seriously as it should have. At this stage there was little to suggest of widespread bungs paid to football agents, but these claims were widely dismissed by the Football Agents Association as “without foundation”.

                              While the issue was less in the spotlight the F.A. decided to set up an inquiry led by Lord Stevens to tackle this issue. At the time it began, few were expecting anything drastic and it was widely believed that this was just simple procedure conducted by the F.A. to silence the critics on their soft approach to bungs. The fact that the bung arguments have steadily grown over the last 7 months has meant that the issue has become the number one talking point amongst the cricketing fraternity.

                              At the press conference released by Lord Stevens implicated in particular 39 transfers involving Premiership clubs over a period of 2 years. At this time there have been much speculation but no specific information has been garnered over which transfers are in question. However it has been revealed that there are 8 unnamed Premiership clubs which will be looked at with further scrutiny. The following two months will be very interesting and even more so if it happens to be a top club in question.

                              How likely is bungs, in my point of view? Well the stand taken by some managers and some notable agents seems to suggest at least there are some managers and agents who are involved in bungs. In the already pressurised world of football managers, the managers themselves are unlikely to increase the pressure on them by making accusations in which they unlikely to gain benefit. The panorama programme did seem to back up the accusations made by Newell, yet it failed to show at least hard evidence on any wrong doing. There were many that were talking and suggesting it, but the problem with this kind of evidence is that it can be easily dismissed as ‘only joking’ as has subsequently been done by all involved. One also has to question the motives of Panorama in light of this important issue. Many of times recently that have scripted their programmes to show wrong doings in the relevant subject that have been investigating only for their to be no real credible evidence given. This has been a regular occurrence amongst recent shows and the programme doesn’t have as much credibility as it previously did.

                              There is certainly history that shows bungs have gone on in the past and I would be amazed if this was restricted to a few certain individuals. Sir Alan Sugar prompted the first F.A investigation back in 1993 when he left the role of chairman at Tottenham Hotspur when he alleged that corruption was widespread. In 1995, the FA found that George Graham took more than £425,000 in illegal payments from a Norwegian agent to sign Pal Lyderson and John Jensen, which ended his Arsenal managing career. However this does seem to be just token a gesture to show that issues of this sort are being dealt with. There have been progressively more tighter rules regarding agent fees, with all fees now having to be paid by the F.A. Even this can be sidestepped by the agents/managers involved., it seems a very difficult job for the F.A. to police and they will no doubt be in the firing line no matter what results the Lord Stevens investigation produces.

                              Ideally all football fans would like a thorough expose of all in the wrong in the transfer bungs issue and measures put in place so that such practices can not go on. Realistically this will be difficult as football is no different to any other highly paid industry, in that many people want a cut of the money. It is difficult for football itself to regulate itself in such a way, and there will need to be changes in the way transfers work in order to prevent such practises in the future. However the concern always remains of the usual sweep under the carpet approach to investigations such as this. What happens if several top managers are implicated in this affair. Are the F.A. likely to take the bold approach and deal justly with these managers. It is pretty reminiscent of recent affairs in Italian football, where match fixing was found amongst top clubs. At first the measures taken by the Italian football authorties was a very tough approach and resulted in three clubs being demoted a division and titles being stripped of Juventus. In reflection the punishment was lessened, nevertheless it seems to have done much damage to the short term future of Italian football. Firstly the national game has lost of reputation within the country and overseas, the league itself doesn’t seem to be as strong and the grandeur of Italian football certainly has taken a knock. Given this, would the F.A. take a similar approach should many of the top clubs be implicated, no doubt the financial impact would be pretty severe for the short term.

                              There doesn’t seem to be an easy way out of this transfer bungs issue, the F.A. seemed to be caught between a rock and a hard place, although they were just much responsible for getting there. The important thing will be to take actions which help football as much as possible in the long run. Football fans may not be too concerned at the technical aspects of all football transfer or contract for that matter, however they will want to be confident that the players which represent their team are the best players available to the club and there on merit and not because the manager earned a profit on the transfer. Much will depend on Lord Stevens investigation, If nothing is found then accusations of a cover up will be widespread. If there are a few individuals all of who are not highly powered within the game, then the F.A. may have the chance to set an example and bury this issue with a heavy punishment and making it clear that football doesn’t tolerate corrupt managers/agents, yet given their past record with all things controversial, one can guess the F.A will take the most face saving action. The real issue will come if any top managers are implicated in the Lord Stevens investigation. Will The F.A. have the fortitude to implement just as harsh a punishment, I won’t hold my breath.

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                              • Manchester United F.C. / Discussion / 69 Readings / 61 Ratings
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                                23.09.2006 19:34
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                                Season will either be a triumph or a failure.

                                Manchester United

                                ===================================
                                Background Information.

                                Formed in 1878 (as Newton Heath FC) Manchester United Football Club has gone on to establish itself as one of the most famous and successful English football clubs. Their home is the 75,000 capacity Old Trafford Stadium. Nicknamed the Red Devils, they are reported to be the best-supported football club in the world. They have won 15 League titles, 11 F.A cups and the Champions League on 2 occasions. The club has enjoyed two periods of dominance in English football. The first was under Sir Matt Busby from 1945-1969. The second period, under Sir Alex Ferguson was between 1991-2003. Manchester United has been home to some of the most talented footballers of their generations, these have included Sir Bobby Charlton, Dennis Law, George Best and Eric Cantona.
                                =====================================

                                The 2006-07 team appears to be a team in an indeterminate state, wedged between two phases in Manchester United history, the end of an old generation or the beginning of a new one. Optimists see a new generation of young players who are slowly but surely catching Chelsea in the pursuit of Premiership dominance. Pessimists however see the current team as the dying remains of the of the legacy developed by the all conquering team of the nineties . Which ever view you hold, most people have to accept that since Jose Morinho took over at Chelsea, Manchester United have ceased to be the number one team in England and in Europe they are no longer considered one of the favorites anymore. However many refuse to believe that Man United are a team in decline, such as Liverpool were once the glory days of the seventies and eighties ended.

                                There is much that can be learnt by Manchester United from the decline of Liverpool in the nineties, although they were never far from the top and were often involved in the hunt for cup trophies, it took Liverpool many years to admit failure in the previous system which had served them well and recognize that football had changed and their team needed to also. It can be seen that Liverpool refused to change their ‘All things British’ approach to football where team around them in particular Manchester United were attempting to blend home grown talent with quality foreign singings. It is interesting to note that Liverpool have virtually gone full circle on that approach with the vast majority of players being foreign players, complemented by a few top home bred players. It is an approach that seems to be serving them well over recent years although they have yet to recapture the Premiership trophy. It was in the 1998 season, when Liverpool were in the middle of an almighty slump that the board and the club in general decided to make a drastic step and reverted to a foreign manager and a all new philosophy, following in the path of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal side.

                                What relevance is this to Manchester United, I hear you cry. Well there are always lessons that can be learnt from history and not necessarily your own history. Manchester United hasn’t won the league title since 2003, and in reality they haven’t even come close to challenging it on the most part. Why has there been such a decline? For one the quality of the opposition has increased. When Manchester united were winning the title in 2000 and 2001 there was no team to challenge them. Now Liverpool and Arsenal have better teams and Chelsea have an open chequebook to sign players at will. Secondly and more importantly Sir Alex Ferguson doesn’t seem to be the imperious character as before. He has had failings over the past few seasons and many are wondering whether it would be a wise option to look for a new and fresh face. A European alternative has been touted, Chelsea have gone Portuguese, Arsenal have been French for a while Liverpool went a Spanish Manager. There was speculation that Manchester United would go Italian and hire World Cup winning Fabio Cappello. This didn’t appear to be the case and Ferguson was given the full support of the Manchester United board.

                                The key thing to assess is the necessity of changing managers . Football inevitably has a tradition in which you are only good as your last game and if it was based upon fan opinion, then most managers would last more than a year. However after 3 years lacking success Sir Alex Ferguson will be under huge pressure to deliver trophies this season. He has been doubted before of course, not once but many times and has always come back and answered his critics. However since he began winning the Premiership he had never gone more than two years before reclaiming the title. Now we see a situation where it has been 3 years without the title and also it has been 7 years since the Champions League success.

                                Is Sir Alex Ferguson on borrowed time? Well there is certainly a strong case for change. There have been a number of criticism aimed at him, a lot of which has been justifiable. Firstly it has been the transfers, Ferguson success in the nineties was dependent on grooming the young generation but also in making key purchases at key times. There are many examples of this, Schmeichel, Keane, Cantona, Yorke, Solskjaer, Van Nistelrooy and many more all proved to be key signings and pivotal to success. However in recent years he has made a number of poor signings. The most famous of these was perhaps Juan Veron who never found a place in the Manchester United setup despite his quality. The most publicised of the failed signings was perhaps Diego Forlan, the striker who can not stop scoring goals except when he puts on a Manchester United shirt. There have been many other less notable ‘flops’ these include Kleberson, Djembe-Djemba and the constantly changing goalkeeper situation. Even the other signings over recent years, although not failures but they haven’t fufiled the quality expected of a Manchester United player in many people’s eyes. These players have generally been young players for the future, yet none has yet to deliver. They include Alan Smith, Park Ji Sung, Patrice Evra and Nemanjda Vidic. In truth the difference between the Manchester United team now and that one a decade ago is the lack of world class players in the line-up. They are still looking for a replacement for Roy Keane, the newest acquisition Michael Carrick doesn’t seem to be the same type of player.

                                Another worry for Manchester United fans is the number of ‘run ins’ Ferguson has had with top players over the years. Ruud Van Nistelrooy was the current player who fell out with the manager and as Beckham, Stam and Yorke have found out in the past once that happens there is no way back. Van Nistelorooy’s value to the team could not be hidden, in particular in Europe were he was simply prolific. Many may question that this may be the reason why many top players have failed to come to Old Trafford in recent seasons. After all Manchester United were linked to many top players over the summer, yet nothing concrete materialised.

                                The last criticism could be one of tactics. Normally Ferguson has been an acute tactician but there have been a number of failings in recent seasons many of which have been highlighted in Europe. When Manchester United won the Champions League they were known as an attacking team which would always trust their instincts to score important goals and important times. However after a number of failings Ferguson has seemed to abandon that style of play in favour of a more defensive one. Often he has played only one striker up front. This resulted in a lack of goals by Manchester United in particular from the previously prolific midfield. The central midfield role has been a problem which Ferguson has not been able to resolve for a while, Roy Keane had become ineffectual and his replacements did not fare any better. A lot of criticism came when he attempted to convert players into the central midfield slot this has included Alan Smith, John O Shea and Ryan Giggs. However it was the latter two’s performance at the back end of last season which help Manchester United to second spot and once again it had seemed that Sir Alex had got the better of the critics. Nevertheless it is very noticeable to see that opposition teams find it much easier to play their game against Man Utd than before. Previously, at Old Trafford in particular most teams would be on the back foot for most of the game under siege from United’s attack. This doesn’t appear to be the case anymore with Ferguson preferring a more counter attacking approach. It hasn’t always proved successful.

                                Despite the growing criticism concerning Ferguson, the board and many fans have backed his case to continue. Surely he deserves more time to turn things around after all that he has done for the club. There are certainly some factors in his favour and often this is ignored. For one the home grown talent which is produced today doesn’t appear to be the same as the young generation which included the likes of Beckham, Giggs, Scholes and the Nevilles. There isn’t many young players coming through the ranks at Man United in recent seasons. Whether they are not being given the opportunity is not known but certainly no one has excelled except for Richardson in parts and the promise of Rossi. Transfers have also become an issue for Manchester United which can’t be entirely blamed on Ferguson. The likes of Ferdinand, Rooney and Carrick have had over inflated transfer prices and it goes some way to show the reluctance of clubs to part with their top players unless it is for top money. Ferguson had previously benefited from attracting unknown players at good prices, now it doesn’t seem possible as all clubs are looking to secure their future with protracted fees.

                                It seems 2006-07 will be a make or break season for Manchester United and in particular for Sir Alex Ferguson. Many hoped he would end on a high but given recent seasons it may take a disastrous season for him to finally admit his time is up. On the other hand, Ferguson has gone through a lot in his career and will not be prepared to settle for mediocrity. No doubt the United players will be aware they are playing for their own reputations this goes in particular to some of the established players like Ferdinand, Rooney and Ronaldo. The problem however may come later in the season when the games come thick and fast. Usually nearly all teams go through some mini injury crisis. This is where Manchester United may falter this season. Already the failing this season was to secure a sufficient amount of top replacement players over the transfer window. Up front things looks particularly thin with only Saha left as the out and out striker. An injury to him and goals could be a problem, if that is the case then certainly the fingers will point at Ferguson. After all it was his decision to let go of Van Nistelrooy and then deciding not to replace him. Midfield options do not look so great either, with Scholes and Giggs both nearing their end of their careers. There will be a lot of pressure on Rooney to be the pivotal figure around which the team is developed.

                                One thing that is known, Manchester United under Ferguson can never be written off and the end of last season when they suffered many injuries but yet still forced their way into second position is testament to that. However as general trends go there is sufficient evidence that shows Manchester United team no longer have the consistency to win on a weekly basis for a long period of time. The standards set by Chelsea have raised the bar considerably for the chasing pack and none have been able to respond.

                                Europe will provide another challenge to Manchester United this season, for the first time in 10 years they failed to progress beyond the group stage in 2004-05. Such failures particularly in light of their economic impact will not be tolerated one feels by the Board who are still in the process of restructuring their debt. Lack of goals in Europe was an important factor last season and with Van Nistelrooy missing this will again be the main concern. The draw has been pretty favourable with no major European clubs in their group.

                                2006-07 could turn out to be the make or break season for Ferguson, another failed season and rumours will be rife with speculation that he could be axed or himself resign. This would be sad ending for such a great manager and one hopes this situation doesn’t arise. It is apparent thought they change that is required at Manchester United if they are to be successful. The team needs leaders and inspirational players. Of course a lot of people will be looking at Rooney for inspiration but this may come in the form of the older generation as well, Scholes and Giggs have now more responsibility in the team and although they have past their peak they still remain class players. With the defence being generally solid and the goalkeeping situation resolved, a championship title is not beyond them. An interesting season awaits and it will be one which is pivotal to the future of Manchester United Football Club, which could lead to them have a new manager for the first time in 20 years at the end of it.

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                                • More +
                                  23.09.2006 11:47
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                                  It's difficult to improve on Perfection as Konami are finding out.

                                  <<<<<<<<<<< Introduction >>>>>>>>>>>>>

                                  Every year in October we await a battle, the football season has barely got underway and two juggernauts come head to head competing for number one slot. No it's not Eastenders vs Corrie, rather it is a far more important and rather more enjoyable battle. It's Pro Evolution Soccer vs Fifa. For years now we have witnessed a one sided contest. The Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) series of football games has comfortably established itself as the premier football game on all formats (be it PS2, Xbox, PC )


                                  <<<<<<<<<<<< Gameplay >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                                  Year upon year, PES attempts to improve it's already nearly flawless game. If Konami had simply updated PES 4 with new physical features, squad lists and teams kits many people would have been content but no this isn't your annual EA Sports Fifa release. You can tell that Konami put in a lot of effort to improve their game on a regular basis. The movement of the players is realistic, with fatigue and the weight of the player affecting how the ball can be controlled, basically every part you can think of is done very well. Ball control in particular looks very sharp, especially chest control from the likes of Ronaldinho. Shooting and tackling and player animations have all been changed as well . It is now easier to place the ball past the oncoming keeper when in shooting position. Passing now isn't a case of pressing the button and the ball automatically goes to the feet of intended recipient of the ball, balls in transit are now prone to being intercepted and you will be punished for sloppy play. The attention to detail is what makes PES far greater than Fifa in this respect, the AI of the players is very accurate and realistically portray a football match. You can play against a partner in exhibition mode as usual as well as a normal match against the computer or another person. There is also a new a memorable match mode where you can play a series of games against an opponent with all the results recorded.

                                  Pro Evolution Soccer has always been more realistic than Fifa when it comes to match outcomes You don't tend to get wildly inflated score lines and in general only a maximum of 3 or 4 goals can be scored and against good opposition the match is normally settled by the odd goal. Of course this makes things more realistic but it is difficult to beat a poor team by 5 or 6 goals. The goalkeeper at times can be exceptional and this more than anything helps keep the score line down. Set pieces are notoriously difficult to score from and the free kick setup is vastly different to the one in previous years. It is difficult to get a hang of and generally the ball either hits the wall, goes over or ends up harmlessly in the hands of the keeper. PES4 had a much better free kick setup. However training mode is available to hone these skills as well as other parts of the game. Strength seems to be a much more important attribute in the PES 5 no longer can weaker player out muscle the strong defenders and this adds a greater amount of realism to the game. Defending can be difficult to begin with, players which are used to holding the light pressure button are likely to find that this results in fouls a lot of the times.


                                  <<<<<<<<<<<<< Graphics >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                                  Graphically PES 4 may not be up to the standards of Fifa. Although it maintains the trademark mix of the rough and the smooth. Satisfactory character models, woeful crowds and sublime animations combine to create a look you either love or hate. The smallest details are covered, from the straps around the players wrists to the puff of smoke coming out of players mouths when it is cold . The players are accurately represented and can be easily edited in the edit mode. The shirts of licensed teams are wonderfully realistic, with detailed badges and creasing. Of course Konami haven't secured all the licensing to the leagues represented within the game. In particular this applies to the English Premiership and it means that all the kits are the official ones. It is a small detail but nevertheless something that can be improved upon. The stadiums look maculate but many do not have their original names, another slight drawback. Of course you can manually change the names yourself but this is rather tiresome.

                                  <<<<<<<<<<<<< Sound >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                                  Realism is required for all football games and that naturally extends to various sounds within the game. The sound of Pro Evo 5 really creates the atmosphere, but the best sounds of the game come from matches. The crowds cheer and sing (and occasionaly boo) depending on what's happening in the match. There is the commentary of course, Peter Brackley as always with his wise words, Trevor Brooking on the hand should be considered replacing. It's slightly annoying at times but is still a great feature that you miss when turned off. We have phrases like 'What was he thinking'. The main theme is Kasabian's Club Foot, however other tracks are not of the same standards.


                                  <<<<<<<<<< Game Modes >>>>>>>>>>>

                                  The Master league returns and you also can play in cups as well as the various European leagues, such as Premiership, Serie A and Bundisliga. There are also the usually continental cups, which are rather mundane effort at recreating different continental and World Cups. There is training challenges that you can hone your skills at and of course the Master League, the meat of the game play apart from 2 players. Largely, is still the same Master League as PES4. There are three parallel leagues, you meet them only in a competition that resembles the Champions League. You could buy and sell players and of course develop them. This is by no means a managerial game so all of this is pretty basic and simple. They had fixed areas such as ridiculous reborn (players age and retire then they reappear), and change off-season training. Is still a very fulfilling mode for those who play by themselves.


                                  <<<<<<<<<<< Longevity >>>>>>>>>>>>>

                                  As with all PES games, you can play match after match after match and only stop because your fingers can't take anymore. Of course this is not something I would personally recommend, but does happen especially when playing against another player of similar ability. It is very much a game you would come back to frequently, possibly one of those that stays in your console for the longest amount of time. You probably will not return to any other modes as is chore really, but you might try out some of the weaker teams as a challenge.


                                  <<<<<<<<<< Weaknesses >>>>>>>>>>>>

                                  Of course in any game, improvements can be made. PES 5 suffers from something that the rest of us football fans have been suffering from for a long time: bad refereeing syndrome. The referee blow their whistle to often for meaningless fouls. This is poor and should be changed. Also licensing also needs updating. The premiership would be a good licence to get. Of course you can get the updated teams from various websites, but this is rather complicated and tiresome for most fans of this game.


                                  <<<<<<<<<< Summary >>>>>>>>>>>>>

                                  There isn't much to say that hasn't been said before, PES 5 is the best football game available and easily puts Fifa 2005 into the shade. New animations, a slicker graphical performance, and game play that's more compelling and involving than ever mean that PES 5 is the only simulation that any true football fan could want. I will be looking forward to PES 6, and no doubt there will some more features but rest assured it will be another compelling game that will lead to countless hours of action.

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