It’s out! And you ought to grab it!

Stadium Chase
A mad man on a bike doing great things

Yes the literary event of the season is here!

Stadium Chase by Adam Faiers and Dan McCalla is now available in all good bookshops called Amazon.  Just to recap on the story if you’re not familiar:

Last season, an absolutely insane friend of mine Adam Faiers decided to do something absolutely insane. He decided to cycle to all of the away matches for the whole season for charity. Just in case the hugeness of that doesn’t quite sink in, that includes such delightful trips as Yeovil, Hartlepool and Carlisle and in total he cycled 2975 miles. Cycled!!!!

In doing so, Adam raised more than £8,000 which will be split between the Redway School and the Dons Sports and Education Trust – I applaud you sir!

To maximise the fundraising, Adam and another friend of mine Dan McCalla have written a book about the project and again, all of the proceeds go to the same charities. You can buy the book in paperback or kindle version from Amazon (I’ve bought both!) and if you could possibly spare the cash, then please think about buying a copy.

The paperback can be bought from here:http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1482723549/

and the kindle version from here:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stadium-Chase-ebook/dp/B00FM2WTLE/

Please share, like, tweet, retweet or anything else that you think might help increase the money raised.

Thanks all.

If you can read, then read this

And if you can’t read, the you can look at the pictures. Two longstanding members of this Parish have only gone and written a book.

Adam Faiers went mad last season and cycled to loads of away matches. Including Hartlepool. Seriously. Dan McCalla took the more sensible option and helped Adam write it down.

I’ll talk more on this when I get my hands on a copy, but for now, you can register with Amazon to get them to email you when it’s available by clicking here:

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Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Nordsted

A tattoo spelt correctly earlier today
A tattoo spelt correctly earlier today

Fortune just smiles on some people – really it does!

There are many rules that you have to adhere to if you want to be a proper fan.  These are generally unwritten, passed on from father to son over generations, ensuring that each new generation receives the wisdom of the many who came before.

We do things differently here of course, and in recent years one man has surpassed all other men in his attempts to educate lesser supporters and to encourage them into the inner-circle of the true supporter.  That man is Richard “Bootsie” Nordsted.

Started back in the mid-naughties in this very parish, ‘Bootsie’s Guide to Being a Real Fan’ has provided guidance and enlightenment to wannabe proper fans and seasoned supporters alike, and has provided valuable instruction such as:

Is this you?
Is this you?

Rule 1.1 – To be granted real fan status, a fan must attend at least 75% of away matches in any season. Anyone attending less will be officially certified as plastic (see rule 17.2 for full details of plasticity).

Rule 2.27 – Thou shalt have a tattoo and it shall be spelt proper

Rule 2.14 – If your face ain’t on the Ring of Steel, then your fandom isn’t real

Clearly the man knows his stuff.

Today, Bootsie will show his commitment to his own rules by adhering fully to one of the fundamental pillars of proper fandom:

Rule 1.42 – If thou must get married, then make sure it’s to a woman who loves The Dons as much as you do

Is this them?  I'm hoping so - if it's not, then consider it ironic...
Is this them? I’m hoping so – if it’s not, then consider it ironic…

Much has been written of the romance between Bootsie and Lambchop, and it’s well known that they first ‘met’ online.  It’s often the case that we’re drawn to people we meet online, and if that online meeting ever moves on to become a real-world meeting, it’s often a terrible disappointment.  In this case, it was different.  Lisa, like pretty much everybody else from that day to this, found Bootsie’s online persona really bloody annoying, so when they actually met in the real-world, he really couldn’t fail to be more attractive in person.  It’s a good strategy, and one that online daters could learn a lot from.

To be serious just for one very brief second, I was on the same coach as them for the Stockport match, and they looked like they’d been together for years – they just looked right together.  That’s a good sign.

To be more serious for a few seconds longer, there’s one real sign that the relationship is truly blessed, and that’s that they managed to get away with breaking one of the most critical rules of all:

Rule 1.43 – If thou must get married (to a woman who loves The Dons as much as you – see Rule 1.42) then these criteria must be applied to ensure that you don’t miss a match.

  • The wedding shall take place in the months of June or early July so the playoffs are over and the pre-season friendlies haven’t started yet
  • The wedding shall take place in an odd year, so you won’t clash with a world cup or european championship
  • The wedding shall not take place on a Saturday
  • The wedding shall take place early in the morning
  • Or late at night

How many of those rules have they broken?  Pretty much all of them.  They choose a Saturday, in September, in an odd year and it’s in the afternoon?

And what happens?

The match they would have missed gets switched to a lunchtime kickoff so Bootsie at least won’t miss it!  The gods of football are looking down and smiling on you both.

You’re lovely people, and I wish you all the best for the future.

COYD!

 

Happy new year etc

Well happy new year. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you – how’s the wife etc?
It’s Saturday 12th January 2013 and we’ve just drawn a terribly dull and freezing cold match at home against Bury. I’m sitting on my sofa wearing a new and rather glorious “Heel of God” T-Shirt and have just realised that I’ve not posted anything since before ‘that’ game.  So perhaps I should.

Jon Otsemobor will forever be a legend. No ifs or buts. It matters not what he does from here. If he never plays for us again, he’ll forever be a legend. If he plays terribly every match between now and the end of time, he’ll forever be a legend. If he walks out for today’s match stark naked except for a bobble hat with an “I Love Thatcher” motif, punches every single fan in the face and scores a hat-trick of deliberate own-goals, he’ll forever be a legend. If he sleeps with the wives of the rest of the team, he’d still be, well you get the point.

That match was glorious for so many reasons that it would be a shame not to list them all. So lets do it.

First of all, the way the club, the supporters association and the supporters handled themselves throughout the media build-up was exemplary. Calm, patient responses, not rising to the bait and simply allowing the Kingston lot to show the world what they really are. The whole media buildup was fascinating to watch, but there were four significant elements that I’ll remember the longest:

  1. My beloved BBC letting itself down terribly.  They invited a member of our SA to join them in their Manchester studio on the morning of the game, and were good enough to offer accommodation the night before.  Good offer as it was, it didn’t make sense for anyone to be up there on that morning (it was a lunchtime kickoff in case you’ve forgotten) but our guy explained that if a local studio or a telephone interview could be arranged, they’d love to take part.  The BBC replied with “we’ll get back to you”.  Nothing more was heard, until the programme on the morning, where the Kingston representative was interviewed from London, and the phrase “nobody from the MK Dons Supporters Association was available for comment.  Disappointing and genuinely surprising, but a real eye-opener into the workings of the media and how stories get created.
  2. Repeated radio interviews where the representatives from Kingston made themselves look petty, aggressive and just plain weird.  Whenever they were interviewed on their own, they would have sounded relatively sane, at least to anyone not well-versed in their methods.  What changed everything was when they were interviewed alongside one of our guys.  That was when they were shown up time and time again to be relying on such a twisted interpretation of events, and that they were devoid of any sense of perspective.
  3. Robbo talking about the match a few days before at a fans forum that was broadcast live on three counties.  I couldn’t get to the ground in time, but listened live, and found myself standing to attention and cheering at the radio as he spoke.  Someone asked him whether the players were truly up for the match, and his reply was inspirational.  He took time to explain just how much the match meant to the team and to him and to the chairman, but then he said the line will always have him down as a legend in my book.  He said that as much as it might mean to them, he understood that they were essentially bit-part players in the match, and that it was really about our fans.  I was screaming “he gets it – he really gets it” at the radio.
  4. My friend Paul instigating a conversation about football.  This might not seem to be that weird, but that’s because you don’t know my mate Paul.  Paul is the person least interested in sport on the entire planet, and that applies more to football than to any other sport.  I’ve known Paul for nearly thirty years, and in that entire time we have never discussed sport.  I tried to get him interested for a number of years, but it’s just not his thing.  He’s not interested.  At all.  Yet a couple of days after the match, we went out for a drink and the first thing he said was “I couldn’t believe how biased the coverage in the build up to that match was.  I shouted at the telly”.

The next glorious thing about it all was simply that so many of them turned up.  I ended up feeling ever-so-slightly sorry for the few who actually stuck by their principles and stayed at home, as it was clear that they had never considered that their fan base would turn up in such huge numbers.  All those years of requesting that supporters of other clubs boycott our games, with many doing so, some of whom had proudly not missed a game in years.  All those years of decrying anyone who acknowledged us as a club, and yet at the very first opportunity to boycott themselves, despite all they’ve said over the years, they brought more than five times their usual away attendance.  Let’s just say that once more shall we?  At the very first opportunity to adhere to the same standards that they’d asked so many others to follow, their hypocritical fanbase turns out in droves.

Perhaps the funniest part of the worst boycott in history was WISA waiting until it was clear that they were going to bring thousands of fans and then proudly announcing that they wouldn’t be calling for an official boycott and that it would be left to individual fans to make their own choices.  After thousands of tickets had already been sold.  That was then followed by the Kingston club arranging a deal with a ‘now to be considered as dead’ chain of bookmakers whereby fans who had bought tickets would not only get their money refunded by the bookies, but they would also make a donation to the club as well.  They couldn’t even bribe their own fans not to come to the match.

Having failed to persuade their own fans not to come, and then having failed to bribe their own fans not to come, the next plan was to make sure that we got none of their money (other than the ticket price of course) so it was widely announced that fans attending would not be spending money in the concession stands or buying programmes.  You all know what happened of course – the concessions did a roaring trade, even with prominent supporters standing by the concession stands encouraging people not to buy.  Watch the tv clips of their fans invading the pitch after they’d equalised, and you’ll see a glorious shot of someone on his knees in front of the cameras, programme clutched tightly in his sweaty, hypocritical little hand – we sold lots.

Some of the behaviour of their fans on the day was laudable, some was laughable, and some was just disgusting.  Those who came and got behind their team would have rightly had the respect of the footballing world (as long as we ignore the hypocritical stance they’d taken by turning up of course).  Those who smashed up the toilets and those who defecated on the floor deserve exactly what you’d wish on anyone who did that anywhere.  That’s not the disgusting part though.  What was truly disgusting was that some of their fans had strayed so far from the path of normal behaviour that they felt it was appropriate and acceptable to spit in people’s faces.  I don’t have the words to describe just how much contempt I feel for people who have sunk so low that they can casually spit in the face of a fellow human being and deem that to be acceptable behaviour.  That’s the serious side of this.  That some people have allowed themselves to, and to be brutally honest, have been encouraged by the media and elements of the football world to, see themselves as incapable of doing anything wrong and for any behaviour on their part to be justified by what has gone before.

There was one thing that was genuinely funny about the media coverage of the match, and that was how it all ended.  The weeks and then days and then hours during the build up to the match were met with an increasing media whirlwind that increased in strength as kick-off grew closer.  And on the final whistle, it all stopped.  Dead.  Because we won 🙂  Had we lost, it would have continued unabated for some time I’m sure, but as we won, it immediately stopped.  There was no longer a story.

So back to Mr Otsemobor and the actual game itself.  It’s still impossible to watch the winning goal without feeling that same sense of excitement, of sheer bloody elation and of vindication.  At that moment, it all felt worth it.  We have it on Sky Plus here, and it’s moved from being watched daily to once a week or so, although at 11:58 on New Year’s Eve my wife cued it up and we saw the New Year in together with the Heel of God.  It couldn’t have been written any better, and if it were a film script, then nobody would believe it possible.  The casual flick of the heel that culminated in celebrations that I’ve not seen the like of in more than thirty years of watching live football.  I’ve never celebrated like that before, and I’ll probably never celebrate like that again, sad as that may be.

I left the ground that day with an overwhelming sense of pride in the club, pride in the chairman, pride in the manager, pride in the team, and most of all, pride in the fans.  We’re in the process of creating something wonderful here, and I’m immensely proud to be a part of it.

Come On You Dons!

Brando.

Stand Tall and Stand Proud

My beloved fellow Dons fans, this Sunday will be a momentous day.

There are many amongst our visitors who have used the build-up to this match to try further their own agendas.  There are many who have used it to attempt once again to exert pressure and influence over our club.  The friends that they have in the media, though not as many as before, are still numerous, and together they are a formidable force.  They have much power, and we have none.

But this day will not be about them.

This day will be about us, and what we have created together, in spite of the venom and bile that has been directed towards us.  This will be a day for us to stand tall and strong as we unite together, beaming with pride at all that we have achieved. From a club in freefall to league survival against all expectations, promotion back to League 1, the glory of victory at Wembley, three League 1 play-off semi-finals and praise thoughout the footballing world and the wider community for our club, both on and off the pitch. Perhaps more significantly, the building of a fan base strong enough to withstand anything that has been, will be and indeed, ever could be thrown at us.  A fan base that continues to grow stronger by the day.

Some of us followed the Dons here from London, some rediscovered a love of live football once the Dons arrived, and some have discovered a love of live football for the first time.  No matter how we got here, there is one thing that unites us, and that is our love for the Dons.

The people who have demonised us for ten years know nothing of us.  They know nothing of the bonds that have developed between us throughout their attacks, nothing of the camaraderie that connects us to each other and to our club, and they know nothing of the depths of the passion that our club stirs in us.

They wanted us to die yet we live.  They wanted us to falter yet we grow stronger.  They wanted us to feel shame yet we feel only pride.

On Sunday, as you walk towards the stadium, if you see visiting supporters, smile at them.  As easy as it would be to mock our visitors for their hypocrisy in attending a match against us, having asked so many to boycott before, we must not.  We must see the positive side of this, shake them by the hand, thank them for coming and thank them for changing their minds. Let them know how pleased we are that they’ve come to view us in a more positive light, and let them know how much we appreciate their money.  Welcome them to the home of the Milton Keynes Dons.

Once inside the ground, stand tall and stand proud – stick your chests out and sing, shout, whistle, clap and scream your lungs out in support of the Dons.  May not one single one of us go home without making themselves hoarse. Win, lose or draw on the pitch, this day can be nothing other than a victory for us, so enjoy it.

This is our club.  This is our team.  We are, and will always be, The Milton Keynes Dons.

Come on you Dons!

That KISA statement in full

http://www.wisa.org.uk/cgi/l/articles/i … how&id=63

The Kingston Independent Supporters Association (KISA), is naturally disappointed that AFC Kingston will have to play Milton Keynes, because it forces us to deal with the contradictions between the stance we’ve asked others to take in the past, and our current desire to attend this match, however hypocritical that might make us look.

This fixture does however, demonstrate the phenomenal successes of AFC Kingston in the past ten years and proves unequivocally to those in Milton Keynes that with bile, vitriol, a ready-made fanbase, someone else’s ground and those all important media contacts, that a football club can be taken from the lower levels of non-league football into or back to the Football League, even if that’s just for a couple of seasons.

After careful consideration of the fact that large numbers of our fans have already decided to take the hypocritical path and attend the match, KISA has decided not to formally request a boycott of the fixture by Kingston supporters. It would be a bit daft really when all is said and done. KISA asks Kingston supporters to individually reflect on the history of our Club, our achievements and the reasons why we asked everyone else to boycott the Dons, before making their own informed individual decisions about how they should act at the first opportunity they have to do the same.   This way we can take the credit for those who don’t attend, while not publicly criticising those who do. Frankly we’re disgusted at you all, but we won’t say it publicly. Keep an eye out for the upcoming registration of afcafckingston.com though. Turncoats.

KISA would like to thank all football supporters, who from 2002-2007 supported the WISA and Football Supporters Federation (FSF) boycott of games played by the  Milton Keynes Dons, a sacrifice that we have clearly forgotten, which is the only possible reason why so many Kingston supporters will, at the first opportunity, be attending a game played by the Milton Keynes Dons.

KISA welcomes the statement by AFC Kingston and supports the initiatives that they have put into place, to ensure that those hypocrites that want to attend the match against Milton Keynes Dons are able to do so in a safe and organised manner. KISA also welcomes the fact that the Directors of AFC Kingston will not be accepting hospitality at this fixture, as they’ll be receiving various forms of relief from our friends in the press before the match, and lets be honest, turning down a burger will really show the Dons that at least our hypocrites have some principles. Just not any that actually matter.

Chorlton Wheeler, Chair of KISA said:

‘This is a fixture that very large numbers of Kingston supporters want, as not only are they hypocritically queuing up to attend, they’re also bringing large numbers of friends with them, which will ensure that the MK Dons will receive the maximum revenue possible.  This fixture is a result of MK Dons continued growth and success over the last eight years, and while it is incredibly embarrassing for us that so many customers from Kingston will be involved, we don’t see this fixture as a big grudge or rivalry match, but as one that everyone who has ever boycotted or even heard of them before should attend with us. Though we’re really not sure why.

For ten years now, KISA has been campaigning to keep our name in the media, with particular reference to airbrushing the fact that we perhaps jumped ship a little early from the history books.

In recent years, KISA has repeatedly asked that Milton Keynes Dons drop ‘the Dons’ from their name. KISA believes that it has the right to call for the name of any club to be changed if it contains any of the letters that are in our name.  Proceedings will be beginning soon against every club in the football league soon. Probably.

Chorlton Wheeler, added:

‘Why are those involved in that Club, so proud of the name Milton Keynes that they use it in the name of their football club?  Why haven’t they altered their name to one that would better describe a town outside of their local community? That’s what we do after all, and we’re the future of football!  Why do they continue to brandish Dons around when they know that it’s very inconvenient for us?  Its a tag which is associated with the move of Wimbledon FC to Milton Keynes, and accurately describes the history of the club, so obviously it should be dropped at once. It is of course amusing that the frenzy that Pete Winkelman promised might finally bear fruit at this long-awaited match. And we get to be part of it!!!!

The irony has not been lost on football supporters across the land that Winkelman is not prepared to allow a bunch of hypocrites who are too full of their own self-importance to change the name of his football club, yet is being criticised for this by the very same people who keep going on about the importance of the fans.  It’s as if I don’t realise that the crap I keep spouting might just be applied to me as well. Oh bugger. I guess I’m just as much of a hypocrite as those who are going to the match. Can you save me a prawn sandwich Winkie?’

For further information, please contact:

Chorlton Wheeler, Chair

chair@kisa.org.uk

Walsall Away – 8th September 2012

Well that’s not how it was supposed to happen

Walsall – always one of my favourite aways, and always one that I look out for when the fixture list comes out.  We usually take quite a few (for us of course) we usually do ok there, and with the possible exception of the time when they bricked our supporters coach, they’re usually pretty good hosts.  The sun was shining.  It was relatively close, so we didn’t even need to leave home till gone 1 and even Mrs Brando seemed relaxed and happy and looking forward to the trip.  Nothing could go wrong.

Except for the match of course.

It wasn’t a bad match to be honest – it was entertaining, if a little frustrating, but it wasn’t the feast of football that we’d like to become accustomed to, and that on occasions we look like we’re about to start delivering.  We started brightly and had a few good chances early on, but it needs to be said that this is the best Walsall side I’ve seen in recent seasons, and they defended fantastically throughout the match.  We had something like 20 shots, and while the keeper had to make a couple of saves, we really didn’t trouble him enough – everything we threw at them was blocked by a guy in a red shirt throwing himself in front of it.

We’re still working out our formation and I’m not sure Robinson knows what his best side is just yet, but I think we’re starting to settle as a team.  It’s difficult not to be a little bit nervous at our lack of threat up front, but we’ll have to trust in Robbo – we scored loads of goals last season (more than at any time in our illustrious history 😉 ) and that was without the standard 20 goal a season striker, but it’s the lack of clinical finishing in matches like this that could prove to be critical come the end of the season.

Anyway, the best way to sum up the match is as follows:

  • We huffed and puffed a lot but didn’t often look likely to score
  • Even though we had loads of shots
  • and hit the post
  • The ref was, imho remarkably one-sided.  We picked up five yellows and I’d suggest that most of those challenges wouldn’t have been worthy of a card in most matches, and it seemed to my admittedly biased eyes that similar if not worse challenges were going unpunished from the Saddlers

I’ve come away from the match nervous about Charlie McDonald’s state of mind – he looks nervous of the ball, and seems so scared of making a mistake that he’s playing like another midfielder, looking to create chances for others rather than looking to shoot.  If we’re going to be playing with just the one up front, then he needs to get his confidence back before we play him again.  This is one of the downsides to not having a reserve side anymore – we can’t stick him in the reserves until he’s got a few goals under his belt, so perhaps a stint out on loan to a lower division club might give him what he needs.  It was a strange decision to bring Lowe off to replace him with Charlie in a like for like swap – I’d have rather we switched to 4-4-2 at that point and played them both together, or brought Jabo on – he’s got a good record against Walsall, so I was surprised he didn’t get on the pitch.  It was really only once we switched to 4-4-2 that we started to look like scoring, and that was primarily due to Alan Smith throwing himself into everything like a madman.

On a more positive note, I’ve come away from this match recognising David Martin for the genuine entertainer that he is – his walkabout in the first-half was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in years topped only by the sheepish grin he had on his face when the danger had passed.  The fact that he did it again in the second-half, albeit less dramatically, makes him all the more special.  With him and Jimmy Bullard together in the squad, we’re looking good for the season :-).

Things I noticed this week:

  • The hill up to the away carpark is looking tatty – I have no idea why this is relevant
  • Something really upset my stomach this weekend, and I’ve got the pre-kickoff pasty as a prime suspect
  • Robinson needs to learn to shut up about referees – they’re hardly going to be looking to give us the benefit of the doubt in any situation if he’s off calling them all bastards at the end of each match
  • David Martin is a comedy genius
  • I love the Walsall accent
  • The guys in the programme aren’t as funny when they’re not taking the piss out of us

We should be looking to pick up points in matches like these, but a much improved Walsall side deserved the points.  Bring on Yeovil.

Brando

Carlisle at home – 1st September 2012

Well how delightful was that?

My first proper match of the season due to me sunning myself in beautiful Kefalonia for a couple of weeks, and I get a two-nil victory, and had it been three or four, it would still have been a pretty fair result. While I was away, we had a man sent off in every league game, yet when I’m back, there isn’t even a yellow in sight – I don’t want to take full credit for it, but that’s some pretty compelling evidence right there.

Some things I noticed today:

  • The cladding on the Saxon street side glistens in the sunlight
  • The traffic lights by the main entrance have been replaced with men.  Whatever next?
  • It seemed to take much less time to get out of the car park
  • All the club need to do to get people to stay behind and clap the team off is get a tosser to stage a one-man pitch invasion after the final whistle
  • Our stewards are actually pretty good at dealing with tossers.

On the pitch, I thought we played some great football, particularly in the first half.  When you consider that we had a few key players out through suspensions and injuries, I came away feeling positive, fluffy and to be completely honest with you, rather content.  We were strong defensively, creative in midfield, and created a lot of chances.  Stand-out performances today from:

  • Chicksen – it’s great to see him getting some matchtime in his proper position, though I’m sure he’ll be back fighing for a place one Lewie’s back off of the naughty step
  • McKenzie – solid as a solid thing that’s been taking night classes in getting even more solid
  • Otsemobor – looks solid and creative in equal amounts
  • Chadwick – a man possessed in the first half, and deserved his goal
  • Powell – whatever we’ve done with him over the summer, it was a great idea.  I’ve always been a fan, but his first touch has improved beyond recognition, and he looks great – this could be his season
Great to see Lowe get a goal, and great to see him following in on Powell’s shot.  Slightly surreal to see Jimmy Bullard in a Dons top, but hilarious to see the reaction to him – every touch greeted by cheers and willing him to shoot.
It’s obviously early days, but I’m feeling quietly confident about what I’ve seen so far.
COYDs.

Brando.

Revived?

Revived’s a strong word

To describe a few blog posts

But it’s close season 🙂

The MK Dons Site that just makes stuff up – Tis our way

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