Here’s a a cute little fellow that my friend Chris and I happened across on one of our country walks in Nottinghamshire just recently. As you can see, this youngster has designs on speed and is just about to cross the central white line of Gonalston Lane between Hoveringham and Gonalston.
Just recently whilst sweeping leaves out of the garage, I unfortunately came across a deceased hedgehog which was sad to see. I can report however that our friend here’s immediate plight was a happy and safe one as Chris placed him into a ploughed field next to the road. Let’s hope he doesn’t attempt that particular crossing too often.
This article was inspired by an the excellent archived article Things The Arena Generation Will Never Know… from the original hard copy fanzine version of The Cat’s Whiskers website
It’s reproduced from an article I wrote for that excellent site and is a list of twelve different memories from the original Nottingham Ice Rink located on Lower parliament Street, Nottingham, which part of the modern Nottingham Arena now stands on. The memories and nostalgia travel right back to season 1980/81 when The Nottingham Panthers were reformed and brought back to The Lace City.
The man who made it all possible. Gary Keward, Coach and reformer of the modern era Nottingham Panthers.
Whilst the memories itemised here and mostly positive one, It’s important to add that not all my experiences were as savoury when visiting the old barn. I could probably wax less than lyrical on that subject though that’s probably another article entirely. In the meantime, here are a dozen of the best that come immediately to mind. I’m sure any fan of the Black and Gold, and a good few visiting fans will find pleasant memories jogged by the following.
1. The tiny little tuck shop with the sweetie jars as you turned left after the front foyer. Always a friendly face or two peering out from the little store on game night. None of that ‘concessions’ nonsense.
2. The life-size cardboard cut out figure of the ‘new’ hockey hero Mario Lemieux in the old skate shop in the foyer. We were thrilling to the exploits of ‘The Great One’, Wayne Gretzky and watching the powerhouse Edmonton Oilers on all-to-rare an occasion on our British TV screens when ‘The Magnificent One’ came along. Just like having the real thing…
Scanning the online news last evening I viewed with some dismay the sad story of Notts County’s Manager and former playing hero, Ian McParland.
I’m pretty well disposed towards ‘Charlie’, I watched him from the Meadow Lane terraces on many occasions when his hugely impressive goal-scoring output made him an enigmatic and revered figure to the black and white faithful. Those days brought him many plaudits in local football of the era – not least when Brian Clough attempted to sign him for the high-flying Nottingham Forest of the day. Notts County vetoed that career move for the man from East Lothian and it seems that history now repeats itself in the way they treat this man with the blood of the game running through his veins, as they unceremoniously dump him from the Meadow Lane managerial role.
I have to confess here, I’m a little angry about this decision. I follow Notts these days as merely a (slightly intrigued) observer but I feel a wrong has been done here. I also feel that Sven and/or whoever has made this crass decision may have misread the public’s attitude towards what they are attempting to achieve at Notts County and the methods they are employing in going about that.
This year’s Robin Hood Beer Festival came and went and was a roaring success in respect of visitors – even more than ever. I visited Nottingham Castle for the event on the Friday evening with a friend, arriving to join the long queue at around 8.30pm. A reasonable time of around twenty minutes or so elapsed before we were through the gate and into the thick of things.
Ten pounds was the standard deal and this included admission, a commemorative half pint jug and two beer tokens to initially whet your whistle with. The first job therefore was to locate more beer tokens, each reasonably priced at £1.25 and entitling the owner to a half pint of beer or cider.
On entering the huge main marquee the fist noticeable thing was the huge amount of visitors crammed in under the canvass. The festival was seriously busy with the equally serious business of drinking beer. My friend and I picked our way through the thickly packed crowd to the area selling the cider. We managed just one glass each, in my case of ‘Perry’s sweet cider. It was a refreshing and tasty start to the proceedings which left me thirsty for more. Unfortunately plans had to be modified as from that point – and indeed for the entire rest of the evening – the cider tables were besieged with frantic customers standing three and four people deep in a desperate attempt to get served. The judicious use of elbows seemed to be a pre-requisite too. Slightly crestfallen, I settled on plumping for a real ale or two – very much a second choice for me.
Today: The third and final part of the trilogy attempting to compare and contrast Hibs’ lauded team of the 1970s’ with a selection of all-stars from the decades since. The respective managers take a hand too – one that is more than a little influential!
Striker: Jimmy O’Rourke (9) v Steve Archibald (9)
Jimmy is many people’s favourite Hibee and it’s not hard to fathom why. There was a certain spell when he couldn’t seem to stop scoring hat-tricks though a certain Edward Turnbull at times seemed blind to these deeds. Jimmy O’Rourke was a predatory natural scorer and with him buzzing around up front…well anything was likely to happen.
Stevie Archibald came along to a few fanfares direct from Barcelona and was maybe one of the most outright classy players I’ve witnessed in the green and white. Slightly imperious and dismissive of attitude at times, one had to accept this of ‘Archiegoals’ has he was a player who knew his own worth! He came along in an interesting time at Hibs when a few headline-making signings were being committed to the Hibs cause. It didn’t last but it was a heck of a good watch while it lasted.
Striker: Alan Gordon (9) v Keith Wright (8)
Alan Gordon was an intelligent footballer as his manager famously noted and was also a pleasure to watch the way he fulfilled his striker’s role. Like so many players under the spotlight here, it was difficult to hurry Gordon in to a move he didn’t want to make. His play was based around the way he wanted to play and let go the kind of shot or pass that he determined was the right one at the right time. At times it appeared somewhat languid. Alan Gordon was certainly one of those players who had the uncanny ability to be able to ‘hang’ in the air when rising for a header in the box. Of course we all know that this ability is all about split-second timing and it’s perhaps this that gave the Tornadoes striker such a feared reputation as an aerial threat.
Continuing with the quest to compare the great Turnbull’s Tornadoes team with an XI selected from players gracing the green and white of Hibernian FC since those halcyon days. Today I look at the midfield contenders with some classic match-ups and confrontations derived from the last four decades.
Right midfield: Alex Edwards (9) v Des Bremner (9
Another complete contrast in styles but operating in the same area of the field. Alex Edwards was all about creativity and displayed a near-genius for spraying the ball around to his teammates all over the field. Sometimes accentuated and occasionally hindered by his naturally abrasive character, opponents would often key on this strength/weakness in Alex’s game. With a man like Alex around though something was always happening – usually another penetrating attack set off by one of his sublime passes.
I’ve gone back almost to Tornadoes days to delve and find a worthy competitor in this area of the team and it’s the superb Des Bremer who has been pulled out of the hat. Perhaps Des’ greatest moments were with Aston Villa in winning the League and the European Cup but he was a great and consistent performer at Easter Road. Des’ trademarks were his surging, driving runs down the right wing and his tireless tracking back and work ethic on behalf of the team. Perhaps one of those types of players who tends to be a little overlooked by more showy performers, it’s no surprise to me that Aston Villa manager, Ron Saunders saw him as the man to tend his great Villa team’s right flank through their successful years. You knew what you got with Des Bremner. What’s more you’d get it every week too.
It’s the eternal football argument – comparing the best of yesterday with the best of today. Along with the glittering and famed ‘Famous Five’ side, Eddie Turnbull’s famed ‘Tornadoes’ were arguably Hibs’ greatest XI. Can more recent players compare? In the first of three articles I examine and compare players since that time, man for man, with Eddie Turnbull’s exceptional side
Many of us long-time Hibs supporters enjoy a nice stroll down memory lane, recounting tales and waxing lyrical about Hibs’ superb, fluently talented team of the 1970s’, ‘Turnbull’s Tornadoes’. I often wonder how the younger generation feel about this, and consider how their own heroes would stand up to scrutiny and comparison with that much-lauded team. In fairness it can be a little galling hearing time and again about a ‘great’ team from a previous generation – especially when one considers how much football has changed over the decades. It’s perhaps important in the case of this debate to remember the argument that, in spite of seemingly limitless talent, the Tornadoes achieved relatively little by way of silverware in that very entertaining era. A contributory reason for that is the fact that they operated at a time coincidental with one of the great sides in Scottish football of all time, Jock Stein’s Celtic.
So how do the Hibees of more modern generations compare? It’s tempting to say ‘not too well’. I must of course firstly admit to my personal bias towards Eddie Turnbull’s magnificent team. I was ‘that age’ in their heyday – an age when footballers seemed like gods. I hope to however select a team here that would provide a stiff challenge to those talented men in green. It’s an eleven selected from every team since those halcyon days of the 1970s’ and I happen to think would provide one heck of a football match.
The teams are formed into a 4-4-2 formation and whilst I’ve attempted to match individual for individual, that’s of course not always a fair or apt comparison. Bear with me though as we take an enjoyable and fun tour through the skills of some of the greatest modern-day Hibs players. Undoubtedly Hibs fans out there will have their own opinions on this one – I welcome your views!
It’s National Poetry Day today with the theme of ‘Heroes and Heroines’.
Whilst being very much a reader and hopefully an appreciator of good quality writing, I’m not particularly a person that reads poetry so much. some of it leaves me a little confused or even underwhelmed. I was however brought up on Burns, Byron and a little Shelley, Keats and Wordsworth etc. for good measure. I still appreciate some of that wonderful work.
As a young teenager I discovered, amongst others, Dylan Thomas. I loved much of what he wrote and one poem in particular that really ‘spoke’ to me.
I’d like to offer this as my favourite poem for National Poetry Day today. Do others, whilst not being necessarily that interested in poetry, have a particular piece of verse that they enjoy, that means something to the them personally maybe? Perhaps a little piece of earthy verse from the great Robert Burns for any fellow Scots out there? Even a ‘Boy stood on the burning deck’ limerick! It all counts.
Here’s mine anyway. By Dylan Thomas:
Well October is already well-aired and it seems such a while since I saw the Hibs play. When I say ‘play’ I mean in the flesh – actually watching from the seats at good old Easter Road or elsewhere. Watching on the television – and these days via the Internet, while a handy substitute, does not really cut it for me personally. I’d rather watch one live game than twenty on a screen.
It’s been a summer of revision of course. Erstwhile hero and former manager Mixu Paatelainen has left the club to be replaced by John ‘Yogi’ Hughes and big John has brought with him from his years at Falkirk, a rather large new broom to the club.
I have to confess that in the past, John was never a man I would have chosen to run the team I love. There were things I appreciated about his style sure, but I was quite a fan of the perhaps more sophisticated approach of John Collins, though I’m certain there will be many dissenters with that view. The point is that I hoped for a similar ‘modern’ manager at the helm and John Hughes with his apparent, rough around the edges approach to the beautiful game and life in general didn’t seem to fit my criteria.
I’m not sure how the city of Nottingham compares creatively in the sphere of blog writing with other similar cities. Save for Edinburgh perhaps, I haven’t the time to scour contemporary towns and their respective blogs and observe how they stack up against the output from The Lace City. I have a hunch though that Nottingham is pretty well served by it’s blogging and writing talent generally.
The Tears of a Clown is not necessarily a ‘Nottingham Blog’ by any means. I tend to just write about the subjects that interest or amuse me and the experiences I have. Nevertheless any visitor browsing through this site will come across plenty of Nottinghamshire content and I like to maintain the site’s partly local identity. In doing this I often browse around to see what my fellow Nottingham based bloggers are saying and am seldom disappointed in what I come across.
I initiated this blog site after formerly running my own regular website and posting articles on there. In June 2007 I attended a lecture at the Lowdham Book Festival given by Mike Atkinson. What I heard that day in a most entertaining and hugely informative talk by Mike, prompted me to initiate The Tears of a Clown. It’s only fitting then that I begin by linking to his own blog, troubled diva.
‘Without a doubt, drivel is Mike’s forte’
Don’t be fooled by the tag line, Mike Atkinson’s piece of the Web has pretty much all the things you might enjoy about a blog experience. Great content, quality writing, humour and information. Although going through a hiatus or two due to professional writing duties, it remains a vibrant and fun read, particularly if you enjoy reading about music. Features including the highlighting of other interesting articles from around the Net, Twitter and a well-populated comments section keep up the interest.
‘News, views and musings from the great city’
I haven’t been reading Alan-a-dale’s blog for too long but what I see I like a lot. Lot’s of local content expressed in an individual and very readable and personable style.
‘Fun, frivolity and assorted moaning about England’
Brookes, Alberta’s Rob Cutforth who bills himself as ‘A Canadian in New Basford’ is one of my favourite bloggers and whilst not hugely prolific his articles are always worth the wait. Rob no longer lives in Nottingham having moved to Manchester but posts excellent and hilarious items on the superb LeftLion website, and hard copy newspaper, here in Nottingham. Read more »