Tuesday, July 11, 2017

General Election 2017 - the final election comms count up

Nobody really expected the election last month to go the way it did, least of all Theresa May and all I really want to say about that is HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA what a mess you made of it!

Anyway, I'm concluding my survey of the election leaflets for 2017. We had no Green or UKIP leaflets in the final count, although Ian the Plaid Cymru chap did tell me he had a leaflet from the Greens delivered not too far away from our house. Not sure why we missed out.

I'm kind of glad about the absence of UKIP. Their local campaigner in our street seems to have stopped. Maybe he finally saw through all their lies about the Utopian departure from the EU. Or maybe after his side "won" he doesn't feel the need to campaign any more.

On to the final count, we had four more missives from Labour after my second post about electoral bumf. Labour were really shoring up their vote. None of the leaflets mentioned Jeremy Corbyn, so the media narrative that Jez's messianic emergence among da yoof swung the election doesn't really hold true in Wales. If you relied on Labour communiques you wouldn't know who he was.

I've updated my graph to include both the Welsh Assembly elections last year and the latest General Election. This means I now have 10 years worth of election leaflets recorded, with more bound to come soon. We are having elections at least every year at the moment. Roll on 2018.

Huge Labour spike... in leaflets

Sunday, July 02, 2017

2016-17 football season review

As we are now into the 2017-18 European competition qualifiers I felt I should probably get round to publishing my season review for the 2016-17 season. Seduced by the success of the Wales team at Euro 2016 I bought a "season ticket" for the 2018 World Cup qualifying  campaign that hasn't exactly reached the heights of expectation but means I have started watching international football again after a break of several years.

As per previous seasons, here are the overall stats:
Season: 2016-17
Total games: 14
Most goals in a game: 4
Fewest goals in a game: 0
Total goals seen: 26
Number of football grounds visited: 6 (3 of which I’d never visited before)

This year I saw 8 games at Cardiff City Stadium - 4 Cardiff City, 3 Wales and the UEFA Women's Champions League Final.

The games:

Cardiff City 0 v 2 Queen's Park Rangers

The mopey mascot just about sums it up for Cardiff at this point, as they were desperately poor. I was in the away end with Steve, my QPR-superfan friend. Two second half goals did for City

Weston-Super-Mare 0 v 0 Poole Town
Steve is also a Poole Town fan and persuaded me to go with him to Weston on a Tuesday evening to see the Mighty Dolphins take on the Seagull Army. (I didn't take much persuading.)
In case there was any doubt about the Seagull Army, they have a banner.

Second half we were right behind the Weston goal and I saw the keeper pull off probably the best ever save I've seen live, from point blank range. He was a nice guy too, having a chat to the fans about the various grounds in the league and who we thought were the best teams.

Cardiff 0 v 1 Reading
This game was notable for two reasons. Firstly, both sides were shambolically bad. Secondly, Reading were in a high viz yellow kit which meant the away end looked like it was packed with safety stewards.

Wales 4 v 0 Moldova
The first home game for Wales after the Euros and a trouncing for the weakest team in the group. Gareth Bale won a penalty at the death to make it more flattering than Wales really deserved. When Moldova decided to actually play they made life a bit more difficult for Wales, but they were trailing by then anyway. This game was my third of the season at Cardiff City Stadium and I was in the third different stand.

Cardiff 0 v 2 Derby
Derby's manager, Nigel Pearson, was relieved of his duties the day before this game, while City boss Paul Trollope was grimly hanging on. Grim was the operative word. I said to my friend Sara, who I was standing with at the back of the Canton Stand that they would get relegated.

Wales 1 v 1 Georgia
This was a massive let down. Wales took the lead, then lost momentum and let Georgia back in to throw away two much needed points.

Wales 1 v 1 Serbia
For the second match in a row Wales let a lead slip and this time against some of their main rivals in the group.

Poole Town 0 v 2 Ebbsfleet United
This was a long road trip with Steve, but I got to see Poole at home for the first time. I particularly liked the idea of the fundraising cheese that was on sale, although I didn't buy any.

The Poole mascot is Danny Dolphin. Amusingly he joined in the team handshakes at the start of the game.

Cardiff v Ipswich 3-1
Another Cardiff game, and another viewing angle. This time I was in the family stand with a friend who wanted to take his daughter to a football match but had never been to one himself. She loved it. He conceded at the end that it was much more enjoyable than he thought it would be.

She particularly liked it when Cardiff scored (naturally) but also when Cardiff missed and the whole crowd went 'OOOOHH' at the same time. It made me remember how much I enjoyed being part of the crowd when I was a kid at football matches. You're this tiny part of this huge organic thing and as much a part of it as anyone else.

Cardiff were much improved, having ditched Paul Trollope shortly after the Derby game and appointing veteran manager Neil Warnock. He's a bit of a marmite manager, with most people detesting him, but the turnaround at Cardiff in terms of team shape, tactics and spirit was very evident.

Shrewsbury 0 v 2 Bolton
I finally got to a Shrewsbury game for the season. Bolton were a horrible team of whinging cloggers. The game wasn't much better. There was supposed to be a minute's silence at the start but it turned into a minute's applause. The mascots joined in. I'm not sure how I feel about mascots at minute silences. It seems a bit frivolous.

Bristol Rovers 2 v 0 Shrewsbury
A game ruined by a referee who sent off a Shrewsbury forward for nothing and gave the home team a duff penalty. The rumour afterwards was that the ref went into the changing room after the game and apologised. Rovers have half a ground and we were sat under a tarpaulin roof.

Shrewsbury 1 v 0 Southend
Three points that meant Shrewsbury were almost guaranteed to stay up, which was a minor miracle given they were bottom in October when Paul Hurst took over as manager. The players did a lap of honour after the game as it was the last home game of the season - although technically they hadn't won anything, so it should probably have been called a lap of survival.

Ton Pentre 1 v 1 Port Talbot Town
Another new ground for me, this time in the Welsh League. The view around this ground, of blue grey mountains and hills is spectacular. The ground is basic, but fun. Tea served in proper mugs, and boy did we need it despite it being May. The pitch was the bounciest pitch I've ever seen. At one point a ball bounced into the stands and I swear it bounced higher off the pitch than it did off the concrete. I don't think player needed to wear studs.

I went at the invitation of my friend Ben who was playing for Port Talbot. Here's a picture of him in action.

Olympique Lyonnais 0 v 0 Paris Saint-Germain (aet) - Lyon won 7-6 on penalties
My eighth match of the season at Cardiff City Stadium. My full review of the game is here. It was the first ever women's football game I'd been to. There was a lot less diving and rolling around than in the men's final a couple of nights later.

It also contained the most amazing conclusion to a penalty shoot out, with one goalie missing and the other scoring to win the trophy. Not a bad way to end the season.