Manchester United 2-1 Newcastle United

Ruud van Nistelrooy was absent from today’s teamsheet, fuelling recent newspaper speculation that he’s off to Spain at the end of the season. Fergie refused to comment on the matter and would only say that Smith and Rooney were starting up front today in a 4-4-2 formation. At last, 4-4-2! 😯

Any credit for that decision was lost when he announced a team that included Phil Neville, Quinton Fortune and Darren Fletcher in place of Silvestre, Scholes and Ronaldo. 😕

Expecting another tedious nil-nil draw I didn’t bother having a bet today. It looked like I might be proved right until a poor Tim Howard clearance gifted Newcastle a goal midway through the first half. To make things worse Gabriel Heinze, one of the few positive things to come out of this season, was stretchered off ten minutes later and looks very doubtful for the remainder of the season. 🙁

The whole atmosphere of the game turned around early in the second half when Wayne Rooney scored a brilliant volley from outside the area. Here’s the video clip for those of you who didn’t see it. From our seats in the Lower East stand we could see it was a goal as soon as it left his boot – Shay Given had no chance, it was absolutely unstoppable. 😎

Alan Shearer was substituted with half an hour to go, allowing Old Trafford to rise and wish him well as he left the pitch. 😉

Kleberson came on to replace the ineffective Fletcher, who once again showed no signs of being the player Fergie tells us he is. United then started to create more half chances and the game was finally settled when Wes Brown popped up to score from a corner fifteen minutes from time.

Currently Listening To…

I’ve just reintroduced the “Recently Played” feature in the blog’s sidebar, so you can see what I’ve been listening to recently. 😎

You’ll notice that it now displays the album covers too, which is nice. If you didn’t know better, you might even think that I had bought these CDs. 😉

Clicking on an album cover should take you to Amazon and, once I’ve figured out how it works, if you actually buy something as a result of following my link I will earn about ten bob. 😀

F.A. Cup Semi Final

Arsenal will be our opponents in the F.A. Cup Final if we succeed in beating Newcastle in tomorrow’s semi at Cardiff.

I won’t be at the game tomorrow. As a season ticket holder who has attended every home game this season I was entitled to a ticket, but I just didn’t want to go. 😐

I don’t see the point of using the Millenium Stadium for games like this: there are plenty of other neutral grounds the F.A. could have used. Using the same stadium for the semis and the final takes something away from the occasion when you get through. It’s bad enough having to go to Cardiff once, never mind twice. 😡

I still bought my ticket, of course, but someone else will be having it tomorrow. I’ll be watching the game at the Bull’s Head over a few pints of Timmy Taylors. 😯

This week at work

This week has been quite busy at work, but enjoyable:

  • We carried out some load-balancing to improve network performance in busy locations. We introduced additional fibre-optics in some areas, ensuring that no more than 48 users share a single gigabit link. There are still one or two buildings which need further attention, but the increase in performance has already been quite dramatic – in some cases it has halved the time it takes to log on to the network. 😎
  • I started to investigate the possibility of splitting the College network into a number of VLANs. By segmenting the network in this way it would reduce the number of broadcasts that echo around the network at the moment. I set up a small test lab and carried out some testing to prove the theory, but we didn’t have enough spare Layer 3 switches to go very far with it. 😐
  • I learned that Paul, the only techie at our main partner site, has handed in his notice. Management had decided not to replace the other techie several months ago, leaving Paul to look after over 300 PCs on his own, so his resignation will leave them with absolutely no I.T. Support at all. Since they have completely ignored my warnings that this situation could be on the cards, I am not going to any great lengths to help them out now. 👿
  • My team are due to have their performance appraisals next week, so I prepared all the paperwork and drew up some possible work targets for the next few months. I’m doing everything on paper initially because our expensive computerised staff development system is absolutely dreadful. 🙄
  • Unfortunately I had to have a bit of a crackdown on office conduct. Whilst everyone enjoys a relaxed working environment, things had definitely gone a bit too far and I had to remind everyone about acceptable behaviour. There have been a few long faces in the office this week, but I’ve never seen so much work cleared. I’m sure a happy medium can be reached over the next couple of weeks. 😕

I’m quite pleased that I’ve had a chance to do some hands-on technical work for a change. It’s important to keep your skills up to date. 🙂

Spam Karma

I’ve just installed a new WordPress plugin called “Spam Karma“. It’s already identified and disposed of over 40 false comments in the last hour alone. 😕

I’ve re-enabled the ability to post comments without requiring moderation, so we’ll see how things go over the next few days.

Norwich City 2 – 0 Manchester United

Another terrible performance from United this evening, beaten 2-0 at lowly Norwich City. Despite Fergie’s promises before the game there was, once again, no real goal threat. 👿

Keane wasn’t named in the team today, allowing Kleberson to start for the first time in several months. Wayne Rooney stated on the bench, giving Alan Smith a rare start. Van Nistelrooy was also rested as Louis “Sicknote” Saha made his return after a long lay off – predictably, he went off injured within 20 minutes. 😕

With the game scoreless at half time Fergie took off Quinton Fortune and brought on Wayne Rooney, who gave away the free kick which led to Dean Ashton scoring Norwich’s opener. United chased the game, bringing Ruud on to replace Kleberson with half an hour to go, but were caught on the break soon after as Leon McKenzie extended Norwich’s lead. 😥

Ronaldo and Rooney had a couple of tame long-range efforts but there was no way back for United, even with 5 minutes of injury time. 😯

With Arsenal and Chelsea edging further ahead, it looks like we’ll have to settle for third place in the league again this year. Ah well, maybe we’ll get an interesting draw in the Champions League qualifiers next season. 🙄

Today’s silly bet was a £1 “Yankee” which I thought was an absolute certainty when I placed it this morning:

  • Manchester United to beat Norwich City (we lost)
  • Chelsea to beat Birmingham City (they drew)
  • Arsenal to beat Middlesborough (they won)
  • Liverpool to beat Manchester City (they lost)

My horse fell half way through the Grand National too. Hmm, guess I can’t give up the day job yet. 😐

New Logo

I’m not going to make too many changes to the default WordPress layout, but I thought it was time this blog had a proper logo. I found this great image of the Manchester skyline which, with a bit of editing, fits the bill perfectly. 😎