Eclectic Blue

No room for bullies

0 Comments 15 September 2018

“Lots of people hate your daddy,” said anarchist Ian Bone to Jacob Rees-Mogg’s young son. “Do you know that?” With which Rees-Mogg acted like every good dad should, protecting his son from any chance of danger. Is the little boy ‘fair game’ because of who his father is? No, he bleeding isn’t.

Do I hate Jacob Rees-Mogg, the MP for the 19th century? Two things. I don’t know the bloke and hate is a very strong word. So, no I don’t hate him. Do I hate the system that allows those of great privilege to reach the commanding heights of society? Yes, I do. And do I hate – and I repeat, hate is a very strong word – what Rees-Mogg is trying to do to our country by supporting a hard, cliff-edge Brexit. Yes, of course. Christ, most Tories think like that, never mind soggy, liberal mainstream Labour voters like me.

We are talking about ideas, aren’t we? That’s different from talking about people. Granted, I hated, really truly hated, Margaret Thatcher – in fact, her death has not changed my feelings about her one iota – but it’s the ideas we should be challenging, not the young child of a right wing politician with ideas and views that would, if implemented, have devastating effects on the poor bloody workers.

And to see Rees Mogg’s family accosted by a worthless anarchist is as bonkers as it gets. Mr Bone does not believe in anything the rest of us believe in. He doesn’t believe in elections, or the very idea of democracy. He believes in anarchy which as philosophies go is more than a little loose and vague.

As well as being an anarchist, Mr Bone is a loud-mouthed bully and I hate – that word again – bullies. I hate bullies whether they are in the playground, whether they belong to the Football Lads Alliance, whether they the mafia-like thugs of the Labour and trade union movement or whether they are a one hit wonder band like Chumbawumba who think politics is enhanced by chucking a bucket of water over a genuinely working class deputy prime minister.

I was pleased that Rees-Mogg stood up to Mr Bone, as I was pleased when Rees Mogg stood up to the middle class luvvies at the UWE who recently tried to shout him down. He’s no hero. He’s upper class and proud of it, he’s a hypocrite who stores his money abroad to protect himself from the worst ravages of Brexit, he wants to extend the class divide, not close it. All of these things might appal your average Joe or Josephine but that’s the way life is and the only way to challenge these things is through argument, through debate and if they don’t work, by punching the other bloke’s lights out. I don’t really mean the last bit, there, but here I am in Jacob Rees-Mogg’s corner. And certainly his son’s.

Eclectic Blue

HOT, HOT, HOT!

0 Comments 15 September 2018

“It’s over 40 degrees,” said the sweet barmaid. “Did you hear that?” asked the silver-haired Scot to his wife. “Over 40 degrees. Didn’t expect that in September but it bloody feels it.” A cursory glance at one of my many weather apps told a very different story. Luz, today, reached 28c and it was bloody hot. The thermometer was directly in the sun. This is not how you measure temperature.

I have experienced, only once and then only briefly, temperatures exceeding 40c. We had landed in Corfu one July morning and as soon as the air stewardesses opened the plane doors, we emerged into a furnace of kerosene, the local fauna and the hottest Greek sun I had ever known. The journey to our resort and the afternoon that followed was quite literally unbearable. It was way too hot to lie in the sun so we did the only thing we could do: go to the nearest bar.

It is easy to forget what ‘hot’ means. We arrived in Praia da Luz in around 24/25c and even this was pleasant, very warm if you will. My partner and I agreed that this kind of temperature would be “just right”. In our first week, the temperature has gradually climbed. The difference between 24c and 28c is vast.

Surprisingly, just off the Atlantic Ocean, it’s incredibly humid, like one of those days in England when the skies turn from bright blue to jet black in half an hour and the following storm washes away the humidity. This is not going to happen in Luz.

Going away in September can be such a gamble weather wise. Some years ago, a friend went to Corfu on my recommendation. To my horror, it rained incessantly for the best part of a fortnight and it was generally cool. Every year since – and I am making up this bit to make myself feel better – September has been a glorious extension of September, with the thermometer regularly hitting 31/32c. That’s bloody hot for the height of summer, never mind autumn.

And when we get back home, it will be an almighty shock to the system, what with the Luz night time temperatures exceeding the Bristolian daytime ones. I might have to wear some jeans or even a coat. Which is why I am not complaining about these last five and a bit days. As ever, the second week is flying by compared to the leisurely first and next week will feel like winter, which to me it will be until next March.

Eclectic Blue

Topless sunbathing

Comments Off on Topless sunbathing 10 September 2018

One thing you – well, I – notice these days is how few women bathe topless. It used to be the norm for ladies to reveal their breasts in public. Those who didn’t appeared to be in the minority. No more. Now, modesty prevails. Except with men.

I admit to a certain bias here but I do believe that the male body is far less attractive than the female. Unless you are Daniel Craig, it’s best to hide many of your bits from view. This is not a view shared by an awful lot of men. Or a lot of awful men.

Polishing off my lunch today, I am in a snack bar near the pool. There are two older men with no shirts on. It is wrong on all sorts of levels.

Quite apart from the fact it looks terrible, it’s rude. Despite this being an establishment next to a swimming pool, it’s still somewhere you eat. You just wouldn’t dress, or rather undress, like that in somewhere, shall we say, more formal. Then why do it here? It doesn’t look nice, it’s dirty. Oh, and did I mention it doesn’t look nice. And one of them is singing along with Rod Stewart’s Maggie May.

I am no prude. I have been on plenty of naturist beaches in my time on this earth. But there is a time and a place for everything and indeed nothing. Put simply, I do not want a man’s breasts in my eyeline when I am eating my lunch. Okay? Put them away.

Eclectic Blue

Juices Flowing

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Six days under the Portugal sun have done wonders for my creative juices. They’re flowing beautifully once more. Lying on that sun bed, you see, gives you time to think, to let your mind wander, to think about that next major writing project. (Major in my life, I hasten to add, not necessarily in the wide world of writing.) The not long-awaited follow-up to my worst selling book ‘Corfu, not a scorcher’ is now a seed.

No plot spoilers from me in this brief blog. This is for a very good reason: there is no plot to spoil. There are vague ideas of how this one is going to develop and I am putting these long hours in the sun to good use, at least when I am not at the bar or falling asleep on said sun bed.

This writing malarkey is not easy, though, If it was, I would be far more successful than a blogger of approaching 3000 pieces in four years, not to mention a former programme contributor at Bristol Rovers from 1999 to 2018, albeit with some years missing along the way. That’s an awful lot of writing with precious little success along the way and certainly very little money. But surely that’s not the point?

Well, actually, it is the point. I refused the Bristol Post’s approaches for years to write a Rovers based column every week because they wanted me to do it for nothing and I declined to continue to write for the excellent local magazine Bristol 24/7 for the same reason, although I have been flattered that they have occasionally run pieces from my blog. I got to a point when – and this is going to sound so pretentious – I considered my writing to be my work. Yes, it is a pleasure to write stuff for not that many people, sadly, but like every other writer, artist, musician, actor, it’s what I do and it’s what I wish I did all the time.

That I am rarely paid for my work is mainly down to one thing: no one thinks my work is worth paying for. I leave it for others to decide whether no one thinks it’s worth paying for because it is so crap, although I am not frightened of negative criticism, or indeed deterred by it. I certainly don’t get upset if someone says my stuff is rubbish although I’d rather they said it was good.

Perhaps there is also an element of modern times in that no one wants to pay for anything these days. Sales of newspapers are plunging because people can get their fix of news on line. By and large, younger people don’t bother with newspapers. Join me in the queue at my local Co-op if you don’t believe me, as my fellow customers pay for their Daily Express, a bag of Werthers originals and the latest issue of People’s Friend. These people have a lot in common with me, except for the bits about the Express, Werthers and People’s Friend. We’re all old.

It is not just newspapers where the chances to earn money from writing are disappearing. When I was younger, I bought as many as five, sometimes six, music magazines a week. That’s a lot of music writing to be done, all of it paid. Now there are literally no weekly magazines that you have to pay for. Even the once great NME is now a tiny, glossy freebie that is little more attractive to look at than the latest ad sheet from the local Pizza store and Curry House. It’s the same in everything. In Bristol, we had a fortnightly magazine called Venue which covered everything from music listings to restaurant reviews. It’s no longer sold in newsagents (ask your parents’, kids, if you want to know what a newsagent is) and those journalists had to go somewhere. Or perhaps they went nowhere and stopped writing? In which case, as Ian Dury put it so well, what a waste.

So, the best I can do is self-publish another book and simply be happy that I’ve done it and not worry whether anyone actually buys it. If I don’t make it as a writer, it won’t be for lack of trying and if my best shot isn’t good enough, so be it.

Eclectic Blue

Praia da Luz

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For many people, the name Praia da Luz means only one thing. The disappearance in 2007 of a young girl. At that time, the Ocean Club complex was part of the luxurious, upmarket Mark Warner chain. Today, many of the apartments, including the one in which we are staying, are privately owned and leased to Thomas Cook who now offer the accommodation to package holidaymakers.

There was no sense of the macabre when we booked to stay here. Portugal has been, for many years, at the top of out bucket list and having done our homework on both the complex and the resort, we were content that this was for us. And it is.

Arriving at Faro’s chaotic airport, we expected to be boarding a bus that would make umpteen stops along the way before arriving at our room in a time slightly longer than our two and a half hour flight. Not so. In fact, it appeared that we were the only people headed this way as our fellow tourists boarded buses to the more ‘lively’ resorts. So, a straightforward transfer along the toll road was all it took. Our flight left Bristol at 7.00am. By 11.30 we were unpacking.

The Ocean Club complex is a bit of a misnomer. It’s traversed by roads and pathways. For all the world, it looks like lots of different complexes. The buildings are uniformly white, the apartments are all shuttered and there are regular warnings to keep the shutters down at all times. Our ground floor apartment has two small balconies and below them a small area with a table and chairs. We have a large living room, a kitchen with industrial levels of facilities and cutlery, a decent bathroom and two bedrooms. It is well beyond our expectations. I write this in the early evening on the main balcony, drinking a lovely glass of Sagres, looking out on a well maintained garden area and the sea. A gentle breeze gently shakes the leaves on the trees, distant gulls wheel above us, Thundercat plays from my mobile music system and if there was a God (and may I remind you, there isn’t) he would be in his heaven.

We unpacked and decided to explore the complex and the resort. Lowering all the shutters and locking the triple locked door, we turned left, went along a short path, which opened onto a cul de sac and then a road. And there it was. Apartment 5A. We walked through the entrance to the pool and there was the former Tapas bar, now a snack bar. You know the rest.

I’ll be honest and say it was one of those “blimey, there it is” moments. We did not dwell, or take selfies, or anything crass like that. However, there was no escaping what was there and what happened there, whatever it was, and that we would be spending a considerable amount of time in this vicinity over the next two weeks.

What struck us immediately was the lack of people staying in the complex. It wasn’t just the overcast weather which greeted our arrival. The man at reception said it was “quiet”. He wasn’t kidding. We walked down the road in the direction of the beach, passing a number of bars and restaurants, as well as the obligatory Spar.

Luz is a very small resort, albeit one with a big name. There is a significant elderly migrant (expat) community here which speaks entirely in English. Some of the streets are a bit scruffy and dusty; most are flanked by holiday properties. The beach is long and sweeps towards the cliff that stands over Luz. To be fair, the beach is busy, too, with various watersports taking place.

The children have all gone home now and it’s mainly mature (old) people who are here. For them – and us, at least one of whom fits the ‘mature’ criteria, at least in age terms – it’s a leisurely regime of reading books, drinking beer, port, wine and pretty well anything else we can get our hands on. And eating.

Luz is not cheap. Part of this is undoubtedly because of the collapse in the pound since the UK voted to raise the drawbridge to Europe. The Euro is pretty well the same in value to the pound these days and it could get even worse. Last night, for example, we visited a ‘pub’ called ‘The Bull’ which purports to be British, but despite its largely British menu of roast dinners and fish and chips, appears to be entirely Portuguese run. A pint of San Miguel and a G&T came to a jaw-dropping €12, which is £12 in British money. Worse still, everyone smokes inside the pub. The old Brits love it!

Today, we sunbathed at the far end of the pool and I became aware of people stopping to take photos of the pool area from the road. Why would you do that? You don’t need me to explain anything else, do you? But, I suppose, they are only thinking what I am thinking when they gaze across the area. You can’t help it. I don’t want to speculate or theorise, at least not today, because Luz has had enough of it.

If you had arrived here from space, or had awoken from an 11 year dream, you would simply never know what happened here, as we say, whatever it was. For all that, I love it here and right now would not want to be anywhere else.

Eclectic Blue

The expat community

Comments Off on The expat community 03 September 2018

I’m always intrigued when I read about the ‘expat community’. “There’s a thriving expat community in Costa Del Watneys,” says Albert Scroggins, a retired old person from England. “We arrange all sorts of events, like we did in England and can always head to the coast where there are mile upon mile of unspoiled English bars.” There are ‘expat communities’ all over the place. So who and what is an expat?

An expat is an expatriate is a person who is living, temporarily or permanently in another country. In other words, a migrant. They go over there, don’t integrate with the community, don’t bother to learn the lingo and cling to the traditions ‘back home’. This is presumably an acceptable form of migration because these people are usually white. As Nigel Farage and others showed during the ugly EU referendum campaign, the migrants the leavers hated had dark skins. Funny that.

So, we now know that expats are migrants, just like the migrants that have come here to work from Europe, except that the vast majority of the migrants we send abroad are retired and largely inactive. And you know what I say about that? Good luck to them.

My loyal reader will know that I am in favour of free movement across the EU. It has benefited our economy, it has benefited many of our citizens who wanted to chase the sun in old age. I would not change that for the world.

Some friends of a friend live in rural France. They have been told that in the event of a no deal Brexit, their health insurance costs will rise from about €120 each per month to between €500 and €600 each per month. Each. Having made the decision to go to France for good, they are facing the grim possibility of having to return to England. They are not alone.

There are people – because I know them, personally – who voted to leave the EU, yet have long held ambitions to retire to Spain. They love the lifestyle, they love the climate, they have many friends in Spain; all expats. My hope is that Britain will get a deal with the EU that will enable them to join their friends, but it’s all up in the air now. They’re worried. They’ve got a lot to be worried about.

The point is that we seem to have good migrants and bad migrants. We see Brit expats abroad as being good migrants but we see European expats as bad migrants. It’s bonkers, but don’t worry: if we lose free movement, it will be much harder to live abroad, wherever your abroad is. Pulling up the drawbridge to Europe will affect us every bit as much as it will affect those wretched Europeans. And what makes it worse is that it was the older generation that took away the free movement they enjoyed from their children.

Expats, migrants – the same thing. I have no problem with free movement in Europe. Sadly, I’m in the minority on this one.

Eclectic Blue

There’s always one

Comments Off on There’s always one 02 September 2018

Just up Upper Maudlin Street, by the new children’s wing of the Bristol Royal Infirmary stands one of the Gromit characters, next to the long closed Sea Horse pub. I know so many people who have had a wonderful time finding all the Gromits. It’s been uplifting, it’s been strangely moving, too. In these dark and dismal times, it has provided some welcome relief. Let’s do it every year.

Watching families in general and young children in particular posing with the figures has been life-affirming. It’s the stuff of legend. Then, I drove past said Gromit on Upper Maudlin Street and I could not believe my eyes.

At this part of the road, Upper Maudlin Street merges with Colston Avenue. Traffic lights keep us safe, until an idiot with a huge 4X4 decides to park halfway on the pavement, halfway on the road. It’s a double yellow line. As traffic merged from Colston Avenue onto the two outward bound lanes on Upper Maudlin Street, they had to slow down and stop because there wasn’t enough room. Worse still, pedestrians were, at the very same time, having to walk around the 4X4 onto the busy road because so many people were taking pictures of their children. On a busy road, next to the childrens’ wing of the BRI. It’s like I made it all up.

“What the flip do you think you are doing?” I didn’t shout, as I waited by the lights. “What are you thinking about? If you carry on like this, the odds of you putting a child in the hospital the Gromits’ support are increasing. You are an idiot.”

And what were they thinking about? There is a reason why there are double yellow lines by the BRI. This is not rocket science. But in their photo album tonight, there will be lovely pictures of their kids with Gromit. Hopefully, there will not be photos in the newspapers showing people injured and killed by cretins parking where they shouldn’t park. Selfish, stupid people.

Happily, the vast majority of folks who follow the Gromits are the best people out there. The people I saw today were the unthinking worst.

Eclectic Blue

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right

Comments Off on Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right 02 September 2018

Plenty of media talk about the possibly setting up of a new centrist political party. With Labour hurtling towards the hard left and the Tories bended at the knee to the resurgent hard right, what of those of us who aren’t hard left and hard right? Set up a new party, some are saying. Sorry, though, comrades. If it’s a centrist only party, then count me out.

I don’t know what a centrist party will be like. It will be for and against everything. For private health and for the NHS. For private schools and for state education. For fairness and equality and against it. By its very nature, it can’t be a particularly reforming party. Lots of people, for all kinds of reasons, are part of the centre ground. It’s complicated.

I’m not trying to suggest we are all left or we are all right. Huge swathes of the country, defined as the centre ground, can swing elections. I am not of the centre. I would describe myself as mainstream Labour, as much a social democrat as a socialist; someone who believes in a genuine meritocracy, a properly funded NHS, dignity in old age, genuine opportunity for all. That lot makes me indisputably left of centre. I don’t want everything nationalised except the railways and, in due course, the utilities and I quite like a fairly regulated competitive free market, at home and abroad. So, a rootless new party offering something for everyone won’t work with me.

Having said all that, the Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn, Seumas Milne, John McDonnell, Derek Hatton, Len McCluskey, Chris Williamson, Diane Abbott, Owen Jones and Mark Serwotka simply cannot be my Labour Party. My version of Labour was represented by Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson, Aneurin Bevan, Neil Kinnock, Gordon Brown and, above the lot, Tony Blair. The Labour Party has deserted me, not the other way around.

The Liberal Democrats are toast and have been since they took jobs in David Cameron’s hardline, austerity heavy Tory government of 2010, condemning the very poorest people to the scrapheap. They haven’t said sorry, they probably never will. In any event, they were all things to all men and women. They were the sort left alternative to Labour in the south and the sort right alternative to the Tories in the north. No more. They are nowhere thanks to Nick Clegg and his friends, most of whom were given knighthoods by Cameron in part payment for propping him up. So, what’s left?

The answer is nothing is left for me. Corbyn offers the same reheated Bennite garbage from the 1980; he has never had an original idea in his life. He has spent a lifetime avoiding power and responsibility, whilst at the same time cosying up to tyrants and terrorists. Under his pathetic leadership, Labour now finds itself deep in the sewer of anti-Semitism. I lent Corbyn’s Labour my vote in 2017. Never again. The Lib Dems are a busted flush, I despise the Tories and will until my dying day. There is nowhere to go and a new centrist party will not replace the Labour I once held so dear, the party that was set up for working people and is now in the hands of hardline extremists.

Politics in the UK is in a very dark place. It’s only going to get darker.

Eclectic Blue

Money makes the world go around

Comments Off on Money makes the world go around 02 September 2018

I’ve seen some tosh on the internet. In fact, I have been responsible for much of it. Nothing prepared me for some of the stuff I have been reading, particularly on social networks, about TV coverage of certain sports moving to different platforms. For example, Eleven Sports have gained the rights to show Spain’s La Liga, Eredivise in the Netherlands and Serie A in Italy. Eleven Sports is not your traditional cable or satellite channel. They stream stuff to your computer. People aren’t happy.

Golf fans – the few that remain – saw the US PGA mover to Eleven, albeit for free, and for that reason, hardly anyone knew it was going on or cared particularly. The same sort of thing is happening with the US Open tennis championships which have been bought up by Amazon and shown only to subscribers to their Prime service. This is where some people kicked off, blaming each and everyone, but mainly Sky for not showing it. You couldn’t make it up.

I would suggest that those who refuse to subscribe to any pay TV companies have reason to be at least a little smug. For years, they have had to put up with the majority of sport being syphoned off to the big cable companies Now, even the subscribers are, kind of, getting a taste of their own medicine. And don’t think these forays into TV sports rights by the likes of Eleven and Amazon won’t happen again.

On the contrary, we are at the beginning of a new era where sports rights will become more widespread than ever because, as Sky has proved, there’s plenty of money to be made, directly through subscriptions and, increasingly, pay per view events, not to mention advertising. The likes of Amazon, with pretty well unlimited wealth and power stand, potentially, to make more money still, by way of all the above methods and by cross-advertising its products, as Sky does now in conjunction with the newspapers which are wholly owned by Rupert Murdoch.

We know, too, that eventually the big clubs in the Premier League will demand a bigger share of the broadcasting rights, as already happens in Spain, for example. I suspect that sooner rather than later, individual clubs will be selling their own pay per view ‘tickets’ to on-line customers (I am loathe to call armchair fans like me supporters). Why allow the likes of Burnley and Brighton to earn as much as the big clubs when their supporters are generally confined to their home towns? Not my argument, you understand, but the supposedly democratic, almost socialist, make-up of the Premier League cannot survive in the long run. (Of course, the Premier League is anything but socialist but I am trying to make a point here which is that currently the owners want a competitive league, within reason, to make it an attractive thing to buy into.)

If you thought the days of a nation enjoying a collective experience watching sport on telly were nearly over, you were right. Oh, we’ll have the World Cup and Olympics for a good while yet, but eventually money will talk. That’s because the sports authorities put making money way ahead of anything else, hence their reckless decisions to sell the rights to sports like cricket and golf to minority channels, despite an alarming fall in levels of participation in both.

People aren’t happy to lose what they once considered to be theirs, but lose it they will. It’s progress, you see. Not progress as we know it but this is the world where money is the only thing that matters.

Eclectic Blue

Never say never again

Comments Off on Never say never again 01 September 2018

There are TV shows and there are TV shows. Once in a blue moon, you are privileged to watch greatness, more often you’re treated to something you’ve all but forgotten about pretty well before it’s finished. Yes, Minister and its successor Yes, Prime Minister undoubtedly fall within the former group.

For all its high comedy, there was a strong element of truth to the show. The main characters, whilst exaggerated for dramatic purposes, nonetheless had the ring of believability to them. And the writing was so good, some of it is etched on my mind and has, indeed, influenced the way I have thought and the way I have written. Take the brilliant episode when Jim Hacker, the minister for administrative affairs, actually becomes PM. This section is particularly brilliant:

Bernard Woolley: [Discussing possible reasons for the Prime Minister’s early retirement] Minister, I’ve heard something quite different.
James Hacker: What?
Bernard Woolley: That there is £1 million worth of diamonds from South Africa in a Downing Street safe, but of course it’s only a rumour.
James Hacker: Is that true?
Bernard Woolley: Oh, yes.
James Hacker: So, there ARE all those diamonds in Downing Street!
Bernard Woolley: Are there?
James Hacker: You just said there were.
Bernard Woolley: No, I didn’t.
James Hacker: Yes, you did! You said you’d heard this rumour, I said is it true, you said yes!
Bernard Woolley: I said yes, it was true that it was a rumour.
James Hacker: You said you heard it was true!
Bernard Woolley: No, I said it was true that I heard it!
Annie Hacker: I’m sorry to cut into this important discussion, but do you believe it?
James Hacker: I believe I heard it. Oh, about the diamonds. No.
Annie Hacker: Is it impossible?
James Hacker: No, but it’s never been officially denied. First rule in politics: never believe anything until it’s officially denied.

Two things stand out for me. The classic misunderstanding about a rumour and the first rule of politics. Rumours range from pure guesswork and speculation to evidence based suggestions. And in life, never mind just politics, you never believe anything until it’s been officially denied. Both are certainly relevant to football.

Take Bristol Rovers. Please. Anyone. For months, rumours have been out there about various takeovers and/or investment coming in. A few weeks ago, Radio Bristol’s Geoff Twentyman interviewed Rovers president Wael Al Qadi about all the rumour and speculation and all we got was slippery evasion. I’m sorry to say that because Wael has been a perfect gentleman every time I have met him. But I’d be lying if he came across as open and straightforward. He didn’t.

My royal reader will know that I have fallen out of love with my club. It’s been a long process, for sure, and this season I decided to stop going altogether. A large part of the reason for not going was to take the negativity out of my life. Under the chaotic and vindictive ownership of Nick Higgs, I lost the passion. Under the Al Qadi family, I started to see the heart being ripped out of the club as much loved and hugely respected, and above all, hugely talented people stepping aside. Whilst others saw a more professional outlook at the club, I saw little or no evidence. I decided a long time ago that Bristol Rovers would be a far better place without the current owners.

I have no hard evidence that anything is going to change in BS7. Rumours abound like they have always abounded. I no longer follow forums so I expect there are even more rumours on those. Who to believe? Nothing has been denied yet, so it could be true, but then maybe nothing has been denied because there is nothing to deny.

What if it’s all true and there are people out there who want to buy the club? I can’t believe the Jordanians will go without getting their money back, so what’s the deal, say, with the ground? Is the UWE project back on and if it is, will Rovers own it or be tenants? And who will ask the supporters, who remain, the last time I looked, the owners of the club’s spirit? No one did when Higgs took over, no one did when the Al Qadis arrived.

Quite rightly, no one will give a toss about whether I go to more games or not, but, hey, this is my blog and if meaningful change occurs, who knows what might happen. I have put an awful lot of hate behind me in the last year and I look at the world through brighter, fresher eyes right now. I’m happy enough being away from the club the way things are, but never say never.

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