Turning Japanese…I don’t think so

2002 is probably my favourite World Cup for a number of reasons.  Four years after I had attended my first tournament in France I was determined to not miss this one.  I had never been a fan of Asia as a region, although I have to admit I do have a penchant for far eastern ladies.  My mother, the original CMF once said at a family meal that she didn’t like anything in the Far East because of all that “Plinky plonky music”…Yes, my mother thinks that life in Japan, China and Korea is accompanied by some medieval Musak.

In 2001 I got the “best job in the world”.  Somehow I managed to blag a role that essentially saw me have to fly around Europe, first class all week, collecting air miles in return for a very fat salary and the occasional report on how certain sales teams were doing.  This was the second coming of the Internet bubble and you could not do better than working for a US internet company who literally threw money at everything.  In fact they were throwing too much money at everything and as 2001 became 2002 everything started to unravel.  The signs were quite evident…offices suddenly closing, doors being locked from the inside in others to stop the bailiffs and then wages not being paid. Continue reading

Football, Futbol, Futebol

Many thanks to Paul Whitaker for providing the following article.  It can be read in detail at our sister site Budget Airline Football here.

tickets_to_utopiaI know many football supporters (myself included) are prone to spinning yarns when regaling friends and family with stories from their latest football trip abroad. The local constabulary were ‘baton-happy’ in Rome. The hostel in Barcelona was so rough I could have been paid for my room by the hour. So when I told my partner I had finally discovered my football utopia, she rolled her eyes, shook her head and sighed “didn’t you say that after Istanbul”?. OK maybe I did, but this time I really mean it. I’ve have just returned from a city……

………. where twelve, yes that right twelve of this major football country’s top football clubs are all located within a train, taxi, or bus ride of my hostel. The football clubs’ close proximities to each other ensures a large number of “local derbies” will be played during any typical weekend fixture

………… where television’s influence on football there is a force for good for the visiting football traveller. With the league fixture spread out over the Friday , Saturday and Sunday, you had the opportunity of not only attending 2 to 3 football matches over the weekend, but with staggered kick -off times varying from 5pm to 9pm, it was possible to attend two football matches in one day!. If live football three nights a week is not enough for you, why not check to see if any of these twelve clubs here are playing any Copa Libertadores or Copa Sudamericana fixtures between Tuesday to Thursday?

……….. where many of the young players on show in the football league there have both the technical skill and natural flair that will eventually propel them to the promised lands of the Camp Nou, San Siro and errrrrrr Eastlands

………..where you can stand in a packed football terrace participating in some of the world’s most passionate match atmosphere and all for the distinctly un-english premiership price starting from £6-10. The cheap prices continue outside the stadium, where a post-match steak dinner, away from tourist areas will set you back about £6.

…………where even if you arrive to find its football league fixtures have been suspended due to hooliganism (well I told you they were a lively lot over there!), you have choice of at least two other countries in this part of the world who can boast as many exciting football fixtures and an equally rich football history, great players, famous clubs, iconic stadiums and charmingly lunatic supporters.

Read more here.