2014 in review

Tuesday 30th December 2014

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,100 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 52 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


2013 in review

Wednesday 1st January 2014

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,400 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


England v Moldova

Friday 6th September 2013

I watched the documentary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uW0ebsf7ZRs earlier on in the day, documenting one of the worst England managers in history, as he failed to qualify for USA 94, despite having players like Shearer, Gazza, Seaman, Ince, Platt etc

Watching Graham Taylor flounder in a situation of his own making was embarrassing at the time in 1993, but watching it 20 years on hasn’t made the spectacle any easier to stomach or easier to forgive. Taylor really had no idea what he was doing…and we made him the NATIONAL team manager!

Later on in the day, I went to watch England play a world cup qualifier, and the parallels were shocking…Roy Hodgson is Graham Taylor. As clueless as each other, and getting similar results. I suddenly go the feeling that not only will England fail to qualify for Brazil as group winners, but if they do get through the play offs, it will be a shambles even greater than South Africa…despite Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney, Ashley Cole, etc


Annual Supporters Dinner at Liverpool FC

Sunday 7th July 2013

In April, 4 of us travelled from the Middle East to have dinner with supporters groups from around the world and meet some of the old players. It was a really great night, and LFC produced this short video about the evening.

http://www.liverpoolfc.com/test-pages/supporters-dinner-video


Everton @ home, 5th May 1330 KO

Sunday 5th May 2013

Thanks to http://www.tomkinstimes.com – Grown-up views & intelligent discussions on Liverpool FC

LOCAL NEWS
Bahrain – the fans will be meeting in Tracks to watch the game. It might be slightly early to get away from work, but its a big game so please support the venue with your presence.
Qatar – because of the early kick off, we will be watching in the tapas restaurant in the new building. We have invited some of the blue noses, so make sure you wear your red shirts.
Oman – hopefully the signed LFC Muscat Reds shirt will be hanging up in the Hyatt by this game.

MATCH PREVIEW
Liverpool host Everton in what will be the 188th Merseyside derby in the league. Merseyside meetings certainly have a reputation for fireworks, with the on-pitch tempestuousness regularly belying its “friendly derby” label. No Premier League fixture has produced more red cards than the 20 in this game.

The two sides drew 2-2 in the derby at Goodison Park back in October, with a Leighton Baines own goal and a strike from Luis Suarez putting us 2-0 up before goals from Osman and Naismith leveled matters before half-time.
Following that draw, Liverpool occupied 12th place, six points behind the Toffees who sat in 5th. 26 games later and the Reds are five points and one place below Everton who sit in 6th with 59 points.

Premier League record since the two clubs met back in October:
Liverpool – P: 26 W: 12 D: 8 L: 6 F: 55 A: 28 GD: +27 Pts: 44
Everton – P: 26 W: 11 D: 10 L: 5 F: 35 A: 27 GD: +8 Pts: 43

Since the two sides shared the spoils back in October, the Reds have picked up one point more than the Toffees, despite scoring a whopping 20 goals more than Moyes’ men and despite keeping 12 clean sheets compared to Everton’s
seven. The last time Everton won at Anfield was 1999 when Kevin Campbell beat Sander Westerveld in a 1-0 win.

TEAM PREDICTION

Goalkeepers: Reina
Defenders: Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Enrique
Midfielders: Lucas, Gerrard (c), Henderson,
Strikers: Downing, Sturridge, Coutinho

With a weeks rest and no injuries, the team should be very similar to the one that started against Newcastle. However, the key will be how the team lines up against their opposition. Coutinho had a man of the match
performance against Newcastle, but it is fair to say he will not be given the freedom of the midfield this time. Fellaini operated in a deeper midfield role last week against Fulham, and it is likely he will do the same
this week. Big, powerful and hairy, Fellaini loves a physical battle, and will be charged with stopping Coutinho and Henderson from feeding Sturridge. Equally Lucas will face Everton’s creator Pienaar. Piennar scored the winner last week and Lucas has made a tackle more frequently than any other player – every 15 minutes. Expect that average to come down on Sunday!

How much support and recycling the back 5 will be able to perform will depend in part on Jelavic. He is fast and will likely to give Carragher a hard time during his 735th match for LFC. However, Jelavic has only scored 7
this season. Or it could be Anichebe, the Nigerian who was overcome injury problems and starting to show his promise. At the other end Sturridge will face Jagielka. Two players in great form, but Jagielka lacks acceleration,
so Sturridge could find an edge in exploiting the lack of mobility. The biggest clash will come in the middle between Gerrard and Osman, both local lads, and both committed players.

Finally, the most interesting tactical battle will come between Downing and Baines. Baines has more assists than any full back, and so Downing will have to ensure he is diligent about tracking him back, as he can’t afford to let
Johnson get double teamed. However, going forward Downing should be able to give Baines just as much trouble, using Johnson in support…

STATISTICS

Liverpool’s overall league record against Everton:

Total – P: 187 W: 72 D: 58 L: 57 F: 256 A: 220 GD: +36
Home – P: 93 W: 40 D: 30 L: 23 F: 142 A: 103 GD: +39
Away – P: 94 W: 32 D: 28 L: 34 F: 114 A: 117 GD: -3

Liverpool’s biggest victories and defeats v Everton at Anfield:

Biggest home win (overall): 6-0 (7/9/1935)
Biggest home defeat (overall): 0-5 (3/10/1914)
Biggest home win (Premier League): 3-0 (13/3/2012)
Biggest home defeat (Premier League): 1-2 (18/11/1995)

TRIVIA

Ian Rush has made the most appearances and scored the most goals for Liverpool against Everton with a whopping 25 goals in 36 appearances. From our current squad, Steven Gerrard with eight goals from 28 appearances is our top scorer while Jamie Carragher has made the most appearances with 29. Neville Southall is Everton’s record appearance holder against us with 41 appearances. Dixie Dean with 19 goals in 17 appearances is the Toffees’ top scorer in this fixture.

19 players have left Everton to join Liverpool, with 17 of those joining prior to the swinging 60s when Liverpool stamped their authority on the city. More recently Nick Barmby was signed for a fee of £6m back in 2000 and
Abel Xavier joined for £750,000 in January 2002.

Nine Liverpool players have departed Anfield for Goodison with the last player crossing Stanley Park in January 1992. Gary Ablett joined the Toffees for a fee of £750,000 halfway through the 1991/92 campaign but it is Peter
Beardsley who is probably the one player most Reds wished hadn’t move to Everton. The diminutive Geordie spent four successful seasons at Anfield and was a Kop favourite but Graeme Souness wasn’t a fan and promptly sold him to
Everton for £1m in August 1991.

ODDS

Home win 50%
draw 25%
Away win 25%


Interview with Going Solo Adventures

Sunday 5th May 2013

http://goingsoloadventure.blogspot.ca/2013/05/q-with-arab-adventure-nabs-al-busaidi.html

Who is Nabs Al-Busaidi I was born in London, and lived there for most of my life, although I have also lived 14 years in Bahrain, plus time in Oman, UAE and Ireland. I am originally a Zanzibari Omani, but I probably feel more international than any particular nationality. I went to Bath University UK for a math degree and a masters in management. I got university colours for playing football and American football, and I also played rugby for Bahrain and Muscat. In 2001 I went to the British Biathlon Championships and raced 3 years

Q, Can you place your expeditions in order of difficulty.
That is easy! By far the hardest thing I have ever done is row across the Atlantic. Perhaps the best way to try and explain why, is to express it mathematically. The top 3 expeditions were physically tough in ways beyond normal comprehension. But whilst climbing Everest, we would have to trek or climb 3-6 hours a day. Whilst walking to the North Pole, we would have to trek 8-11 hours a day. But whilst going across the Atlantic, it was 12 hours a day, 2 hours on, 2 hours off, every day for 43 days. And that doesn’t even take into account the 5 days of constant vomiting from sea sickness at the start, the cramped living quarters, the inability to sleep…but I did have a great crew, and we kept each others spirit high, and so in some ways, it was also the most fun!
 
Atlantic Row
 
Magnetic North Pole
 
Mt Everest 
 
Mt Vinson, Antarctica – two exceptionally tough days, one getting up to high camp, and then summit days. Dangerous terrain, terrible conditions and physically tough work.
 
Mt Kilimanjaro – compared to the others, a gentle stroll for a few days.
 

Q, Prior to your expedition to the Magnetic North Pole did you have any idea that you would turn your life into an adventure that inspired thousands around the globe?

Nabs Al-Busaidi – Well, one of my aims in walking to the magnetic North Pole, was to try and inspire the youth of the Middle East, and to try and create a positive image of Arabs in the Western media. It is a sad fact that if you tried to use word association, the first words that come to mind when you hear the word “Islamic” is to think the next word will be “terrorist” or “fundamentalist”. I used to joke that I wanted to be the first Arab to famous for not blowing something up! Unfortunately, I don’t think I quite managed to achieve what I set out to do, but I do school visits every month and try and inspire kids through my example.
Q, In 2009 what grabbed your attention to inspire you to walk too the Magnetic North Pole, it’s not something most people would think to do.
Nabs Al-Busaidi – It wasn’t what I initially set my mind upon. In fact, I was thinking about Everest, and spoke to the only person I knew personally who had done major expeditions. He had walked to the magnetic North Pole and rowed across the Atlantic, and he pointed out that nearly 4,000 people had climbed Everest, but only 400 had ever walked to a pole. So not only would it be more unique, I would also be the first Arab. And whilst you can break a record by being the fastest, youngest, oldest, longest etc…tomorrow, someone will come along and beat your record. But when you are first, no one can ever beat that.

Q, Sadly during your attempt to climb Mt Everest at 5500m you had a nasty accident resulting in two severely damaged ankles and a crushed reproductive system, do you have any plans to revisit the highest mountain in the world and beat the beast?

Nabs Al-Busaidi – Crushed reproductive system! hahahaha! I think that suggests a state of permanant damage that I thankfully managed to avoid, although, at the time, I probably felt that way! I was descending from 6,200 metres after summiting Lobuche East when some ice broke under my crampons. I fell only about a meter, but my ankles were twisted, and my full body weight managed to tear, break snap everything inside both joints. I ended hanging upside down, with parts of my reproductive system underneath the harness, which was supporting my body weight. Three years to the day, I am still limping as my right ankle has not healed, so I still dream of getting back to Everest, but at the moment, my biggest dream is just being able to walk again without pain.
 
Q, And how do you go about dealing with post expedition depression after something like the ending of the Everest trip, I can’t even start to imagine how.
Nabs Al-Busaidi – Unfortunately, I still do not know the answer to that. I dealt with it badly, and it affected everything. Friends, family, work, fiancée. It was probably the worst 2 years of my life, not so much the failure, but the injury, the change in expectations, the change in lifestyle from hyper active to stuck in bed for 2 months, loss of income, sense of purpose etc Each failure fed the others, and it was a vicious circle. Luckily, I did have a few great friends, who were understanding, and supportive, and helped me get back onto my feet.

Q, I have to admit you are the first Arab Adventurer I’ve had the pleasure of researching, have you noticed since you started off life as an adventurer in 2009 there has been a new increase in fellow Arabians exploring more on great adventures and following in your footsteps?

Nabs Al-Busaidi – As we speak, there are 7 Arabs trying to summit Everest this month, and in Oman where my expeditions have been covered daily by the radio and newspapers, there has been a lot of people going to the Alps, Kilimanjaro, etc. I can’t say that they are following in my footsteps, but prior to my trek to the pole, there was virtually no one doing these things, and now it seems fairly common place.
Q, In 2011 when rowing the Atlantic Ocean how did you handle the extremely confined space in which the Britannia III had for housing 14 people?
Nabs Al-Busaidi – I have no idea. Even now, when I try and explain what we did and how, people flat out do not believe me. They insist that we must have had a supporting boat with beds and a kitchen, and that I must be lying about the lack of support or the conditions we faced…and I don’t blame them. It does seem unlikely. I think the only factor in being able to cope with the cramped conditions was that we were so tired. Once our shift was over, we would head into the cabin, find a place to sleep, and be gone within seconds. With the boat rocking and the conditions so cramped, we frequently ended up sleeping intertwined, but we had no energy for arguments or personal space…plus the guys on my shift were some of the best human beings I have met, and we are still the best of friends to this day.


Q, I’m assume most days as sea there wasn’t too much going on around you to distract your mind while rowing, but can you recall back the most amazing thing you had the pleasure of seeing and experiencing as you rowed away?
Nabs Al-Busaidi – I have to say there is one moment that really stuck out for me. I had no interest in fish or views, or nature, or the sharks or the dolphins. But when we were doing our royal yachting association ocean master qualifications, we had to learn a lot about astral navigation. Learning how to use the sun and stars to pin point our position. As a mathematician it was interesting. But on the actual boat we didn’t have the astral tables let alone a sextant. We just used the GPS! But as we rowed each day, the sun would set behind us, and the moon would in front of us. Each day the moon would rise a little earlier as we traveled west, until one evening, they sun set at the same time as the moon rose, and you could see both orbs hanging on the horizon.
Q, If you were to row the Atlantic Ocean again this time on a 4 person vessel and you had the choice of 1 famous Adventurer, 1 celebrity and 1 rugby player – who would you pick for your dream rowing team? 
Nabs Al-Busaidi – What a great question…well, I have to preface my choices by saying that the most important ingredient in keeping me sane during the previous row was my team mates. The experience is enough to send some people over the edge, but we survived unscathed through camaraderie. And so if I had to choose, I would choose people I think would be able to keep each others spirits high. Unfortunately I don’t really know the personalities of the categories you have mentioned, so I am going to guess according to reputation. 

Q, Your Top 5 bits of kit for any adventure?

 
Nabs Al-Busaidi – Assuming all the most obvious bits of safety equipment and required gear is covered, these are the bits of kit that I found to be the most conducive to comfort and sanity.
1- ipod – through hours of constant trudging through the wilderness with your own thoughts, this was wonderful for keeping me entertained with music and motivational speeches on the row and North Pole…kindle – I do not own one, so I ended up carrying a book, and after hundreds of miles you see the value of a kindle. Light and full of books…iphone – I had one loaded with videos on Everest, and during the long hours of acclimatising, we were able to entertain ourselves whilst conserving our energy…and all of these could be combined into an ipad or smartphone now, hence I have grouped them all together.
2- Hand warmers – I do not think I would have survived the North Pole without the life saving heat these gave my frozen hands
3- Sat phone – I had to call the radio station in Oman every night during the trek to the pole, and those conversations helped keep up my spirits. Text messages from friends, being able to talk to someone. Invaluable.
4- Solar panel and capacitor – With all those electronics, power is a problem, but a solar panel keeps you top up, and the capacitor stores up energy like a battery ready to recharge when you need it.
5- Baby wipes!!!
Q, and finally what wise word would you give to someone who wishes to follow in your footsteps to climb great mountains and row vast oceans?
Nabs Al-Busaidi – My standard answer is don’t do it…it’s not worth it. That might seem odd, but if they get put off by a couple of words, then they will never survive a full expedition, but if they persist, then I give them all the help I can. The best advice I can probably give at that point is have a vision, a clear idea of what you want to do in your head, and why. If you can have several reasons that are bigger than just personal ego, it will help, because when it gets really tough, you question your reasons for doing it, and climbing a mountain or rowing an ocean for your own satisfaction is never enough. You have to do it so you don’t let people down, to prove people wrong about you, to raise money for charity, because people are depending on you. And you should have several reasons why you want to succeed, and several why you must not fail, and use them to motivate you in your darkest hours, when your brain is constantly telling you that no reward is worth the pain your are going through.

Newcastle away, 27th April KO 1730 BST

Saturday 27th April 2013

Thanks to http://www.tomkinstimes.com – Grown-up views & intelligent discussions on Liverpool FC

LOCAL NEWS
Bahrain – will be holding their 3rd match gathering at Tracks with free snacks and 20% off
Muscat – will be getting an LFC shirt with “Muscat Reds” lettering and signed by Jan Molby, Alan Kennedy, David Fairclough, and Jimmy Case for display in the Anfield lounge.
Doha – keep a look out for 2 ex Reds currently in Doha, Harry Kewell and Djibril Cisse!

MATCH PREVIEW
Liverpool travel to St James’s Park to face relegation threatened Newcastle United. The Reds lost the corresponding fixture 0-2 last season thanks to a brace from Papiss Cisse, in a game that also saw Pepe Reina sent off. Despite that defeat, three of our six wins at St James’ in the Premier League have came in our last six visits there. The two sides shared the spoils at Anfield earlier this season with Luis Suarez equalising Yohan Cabaye’s opener for the Toon, who also had Fabricio Coloccini sent off.

Newcastle – who finished 5th last season with 65 points, 13 points more than us – sit just six points above the relegation zone in 16th place, 14 points behind the Reds who occupy 7th. The Geordies have lost 15 times in the
league since the two sides met back in November but their tally of nine home wins has only been bettered by the current top four and Everton, while their seven defeats at St James’ Park is the joint third most in the division with only Aston Villa and Wigan – with eight home defeats apiece – having lost more home games in the league this season.

Liverpool’s record of five away wins is the sixth highest in the league and our total of five away defeats is the joint third lowest in the division. However our tally of seven draws away from home is the joint second highest
in the Premier League with only Everton – with eight draws away from home – having drawn more.

The match-day official for this fixture is A. Marriner

TEAM NEWS
Fabio Borini (shoulder), Raheem Sterling (thigh), Martin Kelly (knee) and Joe Allen (shoulder) are all ruled out for Liverpool while Luis Suarez is banned for ten matches with immediate effect.

Goalkeepers: Reina
Defenders: Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Enrique
Midfielders: Lucas, Gerrard (c), Coutinho, Henderson, Downing,
Strikers: Sturridge,

Without Suarez, it will be interesting to see what Rodgers has as a plan B. LFC have been totally reliant on LS7 this season, so it would be nice to know if the other players can step up their games to contribute more to make up for the absence of our star player.

STATISTICS
Liverpool’s overall league record against Newcastle Utd:

Total – P: 153 W: 73 D: 38 L: 42 F: 267 A: 191 GD: +76
Home – P: 77 W: 51 D: 15 L: 11 F: 176 A: 78 GD: +98
Away – P: 76 W: 22 D: 23 L: 31 F: 91 A: 113 GD: -22

Liverpool’s biggest victories and defeats v Newcastle Utd at St James’ Park:

Biggest away win (overall): 5-1 (28/12/2008)
Biggest away defeat (overall): 2-9 (1/1/1934)

TRIVIA

Ian Callaghan has made the most appearances for Liverpool in this fixture with 27. From our current squad, Jamie Carragher (23 appearances) Steven Gerrard (23 appearances and seven goals) are in joint 5th. Michael Owen’s tally of 14 goals from 11 appearances make him our top scorer in this fixture. Ian Rush with nine goals from 14 appearances and Roger Hunt with eight goals from ten appearances are next on the list.

Liverpool have signed 11 players directly from Newcastle United including our most expensive player in the club’s history in Andy Carroll (£35m) and five players who all made a big impact at Anfield during their time at the
club: Albert Stubbins, signed for £12,500 in 1946), Terry McDermott (signed for £175,000 in 1974), Alan Kennedy (signed for £330,000 in 1978), Peter Beardsley (signed for £1.9m in 1987) and Dietmar Hamann (signed for £8m in
1999). Jose Enrique was another signing from the Geordies.

Eight players have left Anfield for St James’ Park including legendary Reds Terry McDermott (sold in September 1982 for £100,000) and John Barnes (released in August 1997).

ODDS
Home win 40%
draw 20%
Away win 40%


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