10 August 2013

Greatest Managers, No. 1: Sir Alex Ferguson

It's April 2003, and Real Madrid are in town. Manchester United trail 3-1 from the first leg and are looking to the Champions League to save their season. They're chasing Arsenal in the league, the Gunners have already knocked them out of the FA Cup, and, just one month previously, Liverpool beat them in the League Cup final in Wales. Sir Alex Ferguson, according to one BBC journalist, "must sometimes wonder if he did the right thing in changing his retirement plans."
Clive Mason/Getty ImagesSir Alex Ferguson's greatest gift? An innate ability to man manage in a way that no one else could.
And then, to the astonishment of everyone, Ferguson drops David Beckham. The golden boy of English football, the man who sent England to the last World Cup, the free-kick maestro, the really, really, ridiculously good-looking superstar, is forced to sit on the bench with a face like a slapped bottom.
United give everything they have and win the match, but they can't overturn Madrid's lead. Beckham arrives late in the game and lashes home a free kick before adding another from close range in injury time. He walks off the pitch believing that he has made his point. In fact, it's Ferguson who has made his: No one is bigger than the club.
It is a theme to which Ferguson returned many times in his long period at Old Trafford. Time and time again, footballers foolishly allowed themselves to believe that they were invulnerable. Time and time again, they realised too late that they were not.
In Beckham's case, Ferguson was increasingly concerned with his lifestyle. As a single man, Beckham was focused, a model professional. As one half of celebrity couple "Posh and Becks," he was distracted -- and a professional model.
Two months earlier, after a home defeat to Arsenal, Ferguson had kicked a stray football boot in rage and it had hit Beckham in the face. Beckham, ever the PR man, responded by arriving for training the following Monday with his hair held up by an Alice band so that the photographers could see his butterfly stitches. The relationship was breaking down.
The very idea of selling Beckham was, from a business perspective, quite insane. There was no product in the world that the club wouldn't have been able to sell if they'd stuck a picture of Beckham's face on it. In 2003, English football was on the rise, gaining ground on Serie A and La Liga, while Beckham was Manchester United's very own Royal Mint, clanking out money morning, noon and night. But from a football perspective, Ferguson felt that he was undermining the team, and Ferguson's word was law. Beckham left that summer.
There were many reasons for Ferguson's extraordinary success, not just with United, but in Scotland, too. His ability to stay ahead of a changing game, his forceful personality, the siege mentality he fostered every season -- all of it was all critical to his success. But nothing was as important as his ability to make the big decisions for the sake of the team, not the individual.
In 1986, as caretaker of Scotland, he left Liverpool's Alan Hansen out of his World Cup squad because of lingering doubts about the centre back's attitude. In 1990, he dropped goalkeeper Jim Leighton after a poor performance in the drawn FA Cup Final against Crystal Palace and played his understudy, Les Sealey, in the replay. In 1995, he sold the engine room of his midfield, Paul Ince, after, among other things, the former West Ham man insisted on being called "The Guv'nor" by his teammates.
Jaap Stam was sold in 2001 after his autobiography broke the omerta of the dressing room, though Ferguson would later insist that it was a football decision. In 2005, Roy Keane was released after eviscerating his teammates in a scorching interview on in-house TV station MUTV. Prolific goalscorer Ruud van Nistelrooy's inability to get on with Cristiano Ronaldo cost him his Old Trafford career in 2006.
On every occasion, public opinion said that Ferguson was wrong. On every occasion, Ferguson told public opinion where to go.
But he wasn't simply a dogmatic disciplinarian, robotic in putting club before player on every occasion. Sometimes, very rarely, there were special cases. Sometimes, Sir Alex had to know when to let the leash slacken. Eric Cantona's idiosyncrasies were quietly indulged, Roy Keane's dressing room outbursts were -- until they were made public -- absorbed and Wayne Rooney's 2010 machinations were brought to a halt with the application of a very generous contract.
John Peters/Man Utd/Getty ImagesThirteen Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues studded an impeccable career as Man United manager.
This was the side of football management that can never been replicated by a computer game and that no coaching course could adequately teach: the careful, but decisive, management of men. Some players need to be cuddled while others need to be clouted, but, at a certain stage, they all grow old or truculent and need to be moved on.
It was fitting that one of Ferguson's last acts as Manchester United manager was to drop Rooney from the match-day squad for his final game at Old Trafford. Despite playing for much of the run-in with all the elegance and finesse of a man wearing wellies, Rooney never believed that he might be deemed surplus to requirements. Ferguson simply dumped him, told the press that he'd asked for a transfer -- something Rooney strenuously denies -- and then moved on. Another superstar put firmly in his place.
Football is not a simple game anymore, not now that scouting networks are expected to cover more than a 30-mile circle around the club and that you need a degree in accountancy just to work out a player's contract. But some things will always remain the same: The ball is round, the pitch is green and fortune favours the brave.
Ferguson’s greatest weapon was his fortitude (grit, courage, defiance, etc). No public opinion could sway Sir Alex, no celebrity profile could impress him. Right to the end, as the song they played for him on his last day at Old Trafford said, he did it his way.

07 August 2013

Kuwait City one of the World's Unfriendliest City

American magazine Condé Nast Traveler’s latest survey of ‘The Friendliest and Unfriendliest Cities in the World’ listed two Gulf cities (Kuwait City at #5 and Riyadh at #15) among the top 20 least attractive to visit. The rankings are inspired by various factors including location, political perception, size and language barriers, and may not be due simply to the rude behavior of the people of those cities. 

Well with the recent political turmoil happening in this country and also with the huge number of deportations and harsh actions against expats, I'm actually not pretty surprised to see Kuwait in the Top 5, let alone Top 10.

The full list of cities in the rankings is listed below:

Friendliest cities
1. Florianopolis, Brazil

2. Hobart, Tasmania
3. Thimpu, Bhutan
4. Queenstown, New Zealand
5. Charleston, South Carolina
6. Paro, Bhutan
(=6). Margaret River, Australia
7. Mandalay, Burma
9. Kilkenny, Ireland
(=9). Ubud, Bali
10. Chiang Mai, Thailand

Unfriendliest cities

1. Newark, New Jersey
2. Islamabad, Pakistan
3. Oakland, California
4. Luanda, Angola
5. Kuwait City, Kuwait
6. Lome, Togo
7. New Haven, Connecticut
8. Detroit, Michigan
9. Atlantic City, New Jersey
10. Tangier, Morocco

13 December 2012

Up and Close with Peter Schmeichel

I'm back... AGAIN... I just realized the last post I made was way back in March and the one before that close to 2 years now. Thinking why I started in the first place. Anyways, after meeting with fellow blogger BananaQ8, I thought it's time I get back to blogging. Let's just say, at least for now....

Two days back, there was an event organized by Alghanim Automotive at the Classic Cars Museum where fans get to meet  the legendary Man Utd goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel. He was in Kuwait part of the Manchester United Legends Tour. Being a die-hard MAN U fan myself, I was pretty pumped up when I came to know that I got the chance to meet him and somehow made sure I didn't miss it. 

Well, for those of you who don't know Peter Schmeichel, he was the goalkeeper of Man Utd and their captain who helped them complete THE TREBLE in 1999 and was voted The World's Best Goalkeeper for two successive years in '92 and '93. You can get more info on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Schmeichel 

He's apparently a big fan of vintage cars and I guess that's the main reason this event took place there. Speaking of the venue, its a museum for heritage cars (yeah i know the name tells it; didn't find anything else). Frankly, am not car freak at all and for the same reason I don't have much to say about the place. But you should fancy a visit if you are fond of cars. Once thing I noticed was the Aston Martin DB4 and even the Aston Martin DBS  that was showcased at 360 Mall if am right -- they have those now at the museum. Around 10-12  Vintage cars were formed as a semi-circle around the stage with the DJ playing out the club anthem along with popular Manchester Club songs. After a small tour of the museum, we got the chance to meet and click a snap with him.


The most funniest (at least for me or should I say most of them) part of this event was when a guy wearing a Barca shirt went to meet and click a snap with Peter he was like WTF (in a good way tho)??. It was hilarious, even for Schmeichel. I bet he was little embarrassed or pissed as his face showed the same (actually just right after this picture) and didn't see him long after that. BananaQ8 managed to get this pi and I've shared it below for your viewing.

Ohhh you Barca Fan... You made your point... Now get the hell out...  
Overall the event was well organized and hope to see more RED DEVILS coming over here...

Thanks to BananaQ8 for making this happen.

25 March 2012

1-minute Chocolate Cake

Being jobless - and i mean really bloody jobless - makes you feel like doing something; even if it's not your kinda THING... So 2 days back, me n B were so jobless that we decided to make this 1-minute Chocolate Mugged Cake she read about. Yupp...1-minute cake... Its really simple and can be gone by any DICK N HARRY i guess... So here's how you go with it...

Things you need (Serves 1)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar + 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp oil
All you got to do is put all the ingredients together in a bowl and whisk it well. Pour the mixture to a mug - make sure its microwave safe - and microwave at full power for 1 minute (we used the bowl itself cause our mug was too small and the other being we were not sure if it was microwaveable... hehehe).

Depending upon the strength of your microwave and shape of your cup or container, you may need to cook the cake longer in 15 second increments until done. We kept it for another 15 seconds after the minute, just to make sure it was fine. 

Your 1-minute Chocolate Cake is ready to eat. Scoop some ice-cream on top of it, if you like it that way or just eat it the way it is.

Our Cake Review: It was good for a first-time trial but the sugar was less and the cocoa was more (thanks to B). Got to try it in the mug next time with some ice-cream on top.

If you got some other crazy 1-minute dishes, send it in.

21 January 2011

DJ Earworm - 2009 : Blame it on the PoP

2009 actually produced some of the best tracks. This mash-up by DJ Earworm is a really great way to summarize the best of 2009. It was de year, the industry and lovers celebrated with music and dance.

With that, take peek at Blame It On The Pop.....
  • The Black Eyed Peas - BOOM BOOM POW
  • Lady Gaga - POKER FACE
  • Lady Gaga Featuring Colby O’Donis - JUST DANCE
  • The Black Eyed Peas - I GOTTA FEELING
  • Taylor Swift - LOVE STORY
  • Flo Rida - RIGHT ROUND
  • Jason Mraz - I’M YOURS
  • Kanye West - HEARTLESS
  • The All-American Rejects - GIVES YOU HELL
  • Taylor Swift - YOU BELONG WITH ME
  • T.I. Featuring Justin Timberlake - DEAD AND GONE
  • The Fray - YOU FOUND ME
  • Kings Of Leon - USE SOMEBODY
  • Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West & Ne-Yo - KNOCK YOU DOWN
  • Jamie Foxx Featuring T-Pain - BLAME IT
  • T.I. Featuring Rihanna - LIVE YOUR LIFE
  • Soulja Boy Tell ‘em Featuring Sammie - KISS ME THRU THE PHONE
  • Jay Sean Featuring Lil Wayne - DOWN
  • Miley Cyrus - THE CLIMB
  • Drake - BEST I EVER HAD
  • Beyonce - HALO
  • Katy Perry - HOT N COLD
And here's the video....njoy!!!

20 November 2010

The Rescues and The Cheapmunks

The Rescues is an American Rock Band formed in 2008. All the members sing and play instruments. They did their cover on Katy Perry's Teenage Dream. Its just an amazing song, specially with the female voice being extremely good. I'm still checking out songs from their album Let Loose The Horses which was released in June.

The Rescues - Teenage Dream

The other artist was The Cheapmuncks. They are a Pakistani band (yet another one) but haven't published any albums officially yet. They were promoted by a Pakistani FM Group and was brought to the Internet mainstream by "In The Loop Video Department. Both the females have a really good voice and, I'm hoping, we can get to see more of them in the future.

The Cheapmunks - Oh Hum Dum/Say My Name

The Cheapmunks - Love the Way you Lie/Bewafa

Hoping to hear more of these artists in the near future....