Portsmouth 2 – 0 Manchester United

Another dire performance today. Despite Fergie only making a single change to the starting lineup, there was a marked difference in attitude from last Sunday’s game. I think there’s a serious motivation problem with some members of the squad at the moment who only seem to raise their game when playing top-class opposition. 😐

Although I’m never one to criticise the likes of G.Neville, Ronaldo and Scholes, they weren’t at their best today. Giggs looked completely uninterested, as he has done all season. Keane is sadly no longer the force he once was.

Or, dare I say it, maybe the problem lies with the manager and coaching staff? There wasn’t much passion to be seen on the bench either. Fergie’s post-match comments make me wonder if we’ve been watching the same game.

Whatever the reasons, it’s been going on for too long now. In our last 28 Premiership games, we have totalled just 39 points – that’s mid-table form. πŸ™

It’s the derby next weekend: a “massive” game. Although I’m sure we’ll be up for it on the day, half of me thinks it would be a good thing to get a real pasting. Maybe that’s what it will take to prompt a clear-out of all the overpaid has-beens and mediocre midfielders we’ve acquired. πŸ‘Ώ

Manchester United 2 – 0 Arsenal

It was common knowledge, at least to those who visit United websites like Red Issue or Red News, that there was going to be a huge anti-Glazer protest before today’s game. Very funny it was too – thousands of reds walking at a snails pace at the top of Warwick Road, waving their Not For Sale banners, holding up traffic, handing out leaflets and singing their hearts out. There were just four mounted police trying to control the crowd – so much for criminal intelligence. πŸ™„

The protest continued down Sir Matt Busby Way and ended in a mass “flashmob” of the Megastore – dozens of protesters playing five-a-side inside the shop, singing, handing out anti-takeover cards and throwing merchandise on the floor, etc. It was supposed to be a peaceful protest, designed to gain publicity and bring the issue to the attention of United’s major sponsors, but it kicked off outside and there were a few arrests. It seemed to have the desired effect though: TV crews covered the whole thing and, after the game, the megastore was closed and surrounded by hundreds of police.

The game itself was a tense affair. Arsenal came for a draw, it seemed, and were happy to let the clock tick down by wasting time and arguing after every single stoppage. Phil Neville was thankfully preferred over John O’Shea in central midfield and didn’t let us down. Heinze and Ferdinand, in particular, gave it everyting. The Greatest Player in the World Γ’β€žΒ’, Thierry Onrrreeeeeee, on the other hand was anonymous throughout. πŸ˜›

Apparently the penalty decision was a bit iffy, but the referee had been shocking all day and he really spoiled the flow of the game. Ruud Van Nistelrooy stepped up to make amends for last year’s missed penalty – no mistake this time, sending Lehmann the wrong way. The crowd went mental, urging the team on, but 20 minutes is a long time to hang on to a one-nil lead.

We should have been awarded a second penalty a few minutes later when Ronaldo was hacked down in the box. Smith came on for the last 15 minutes and gave it 100%, tracking back, challenging for everything – take note Ryan Giggs. Smith’s unselfish layoff allowed Rooney to make it 2-0 in stoppage time. πŸ˜†

The heavens then opened and we were absolutely drenched by the time we got back to the car, but at least we were happy on the way home, listening to Wenger’s comments and the bitter Arsenal fans ringing in to whinge about how they were robbed of their unbeaten run. πŸ˜€

Edit: It looks like the protest has had the desired effect.

A day off

I’ve got a day off work today. 😎

I’m waiting for the Sky engineer to come and repair our Sky+. There’s a problem with the second input, so it’s not possible to record programmes at the moment. I suspect it’s a faulty LNB on the dish, but I wouldn’t fancy climbing up a ladder in this rotten weather.

This is the ninth or tenth time they’ve been called out since we bought Sky+ last November. We’ve had four replacement boxes so far. It’s a very flaky system, but when it works it’s the best thing since sliced bread.

Last time we had trouble with it, I wrote a nasty letter to Sky’s head office and they refunded five months worth of subscriptions. πŸ˜‰

I’m also chasing Ringway Airparks, the incompetent airport car parking company. They now claim that they haven’t received my second letter and the two estimates, so I’ll fax everything over to them tomorrow and also send another copy by recorded delivery. They’re messing with the wrong person here. 😈

Walking

Sara and I have started walking in the evenings in an effort to get fit before we go off on our travels. We usually walk around Dovestones Reservoir in Greenfield, but this week we’ve been to Strinesdale Reservoir in Waterhead and Piethorne/Ogden Reservoir in Newhey for a change.

It must be nearly twenty years since I had last been to Strinesdale and it has really changed – the council or water board have made it into a little country park with proper gravel paths and picnic benches. It’s really quite pleasant, considering where it is.

Likewise I’ve driven past Ogden Reservoir dozens of times over the years, but never knew about Piethorne Valley. There’s some magnificent countryside right on our doorstep, but we’ve never really taken advantage of it. 😯

Sparta Prague 0 – 0 Manchester United

The third nil-nil draw on the trot. 😑

I can understand the decision to rest Roy Keane for Sunday’s big game, but – as I think I’ve already mentioned – John O’Shea is not a worthy replacement. Liam Miller looked busy on the right but is he United quality? I’m not sure.

Roy Carroll was our best player tonight, which tells the whole story. πŸ˜₯

Evil Genius

What a great game this is. 😎

Evil GeniusΓ’β€žΒ’ is a tongue-in-cheek take on the spy thrillers of the ’60s, offering you the unique opportunity to play the villain as you control a secret island fortress complete with powerful henchmen, loyal minions, ice-cold beauty queens, and a host of hilarious gizmos.

It’s basically a revamped version of Dungeon Keeper 2 where you play the part of a typical James Bond villain.

I’ve just wasted an entire Saturday on it. Sara is not impressed. πŸ˜•

Bloody Foreigners

Not those kind of foreigners! I mean jobs you do for people outside of work. πŸ˜‰

As the resident computer bloke around Grains Bar, I seem to end up repairing/upgrading PCs for friends and family all the time. Nine times out of ten you know what you’re letting yourself in for: it usually involves modems (with no driver disks), dial-up connections (with no user details), removing viruses/spyware and the good old “it just won’t switch on”.

Although you do get fed up with it, especially after a long day at work, you know that what goes around comes around. Who knows when you’ll need someone’s help with something they are good at?

Anyway, last night we wined and dined at the local with the compliments of the grateful landlord. Cheers, Steve. πŸ˜€

Work stuff

My office PC has had a full reinstall today. It’s been playing up for a few weeks, probably due to the fact that I install and uninstall all sorts of things on it whilst we’re testing new applications. I finally bit the bullet today and did a full rebuild.

Installing from the RIS image meant plugging myself back into a 100Mbps socket, which is a real bind when you’ve become used to a 1Gbps connection. It took about an hour and a half to re-image the machine and install the basic software suite. I then spent another hour installing various drivers, client software and applications that I need on a daily basis. πŸ™

Everything feels really snappy following the reinstall. I wish I’d done it sooner, rather than putting off the inevitable. πŸ™„

CISCO

I took the final CISCO exam today and passed with a score of 86.3%. πŸ™‚

The last exam was quite tricky – 55 questions to be completed in 1 hour 15 minutes, covering the whole range of topics that have been tested in the 13 previous individual exams.

I’ll see whether I’m allowed to enrol early for the next Semester. It would be really useful if I can complete that before the end of the year.