August 16, 2012

RVP - boon or bane?

So it’s official. Robin Van Persie is coming to Old Trafford which will bring together last season’s top 2 strikers in the Premier League. A strike partner of Rooney & RVP sounds devastating but was he really needed at Manchester United?

The guy is 29. Not everyone is a Giggs or a Scholes to last well into their thirties.
He cost £20m+ along with high wages.
He has a terrible injury record.

Would it not have made more sense to sign a younger striker like Robert Lewandowski or Fernando Llorente who would last longer at the club?

Would it not have made more sense to add a central midfielder to add more depth to the midfield?

And what must be going through the mind of Danny Welbeck? He is reportedly on the verge of signing a new contract but no official confirmation yet.

This decision of Sir Alex Ferguson perplexes me. Probably it was to make a statement after missing out on Eden Hazard & Lucas Moura. Probably it was the fear that RVP would go to Man City. Probably it was because Ferguson wants quick relief & turnaround from a disastrous season. Whatever the reason, it is a huge gamble.

If I was an Arsenal fan, I would not be worried at all. The deal is great business for Arsenal & in Arsene Wenger, they have a master in the transfer market. With the money, he could discover a couple of next RVPs.

Problem is, I am a Manchester United fan & I feel the money has been spent on the wrong guy.

March 2, 2011

My Emirates ID ordeal





All throughout my life I have filled up numerous forms, stood in long queues, was at the receiving end of bad service etc etc etc …..but applying for the Emirates ID has been by far the worst experience till date. Here is my sad story….

23rd December 2010
When the media started reports of the 31st December deadline for the Emirates ID, a lot of people panicked and thronged the typing centers to apply for their Emirates ID. I was one of them. Early morning, I stood in a line for 1 hour just to deposit my passport for the form to be filled. After paying the amount required, I was told to come in the evening to collect the form & passport, which I did. Now I would await the SMS from the authorities with an appointment date.

31st January 2011
I get a SMS with an appointment scheduled for 30th January at 8 pm!! I desperately felt the need of a time machine to turn back time.
I called the number in the SMS to change the appointment date but the automated message played for around 5 mins. I called again after some time but again the same thing.
I registered a complaint on their website.

1st Feb 2011
No news yet on the complaint nor even an acknowledgement. I tried calling again and this time held on for around 10 mins!! Still their ‘representatives’ were busy. Then I called the 600 number but they expressed their inability to help and informed me that that I HAVE to call that center number to change the appointment.

2nd Feb 2011
No news yet from our ‘busy’ friends. I try calling again but again they are busy. I give up.

3rd Feb 2011
Finally I get a SMS ‘We apologize for the inconvenience. A new appointment will be sent within a week’

14th Feb 2011
A get a SMS for an appointment on 17th Feb, even though it is declared a holiday. They realized their mistake by evening and I got a call & a SMS with a new appointment for 21st Feb.

21st Feb 2011
I head to the registration center in Rashdiya at the given time. There is a problem. I had filled up the form in December and in January I applied for a new passport. They inform me that I have to go back to the typing center & change the passport details, as the form had the old passport details. All they had to change in the form was the passport number & the passport expiry date. Just for that, I have to go back all the way. It’s hard to think that any system nowadays is not equipped to make these small changes.

I head back to the typing center in Deira who say they cannot make any amends and I’ll have to fill up a new form & pay the entire amount of AED 370 all over again!

Someone advises me to go to the Karama center & I thought I’d give it one last try. I explain the whole situation to the person at the reception, who surprisingly listens patiently. There are some good men after all. He speaks to his Boss and advises me that the process will take a long time and my file will be on hold for a while. I agree without any hesitation. So finally after going from Deira to Rashdiya to Deira to Karama in a span of 5 hours, the necessary formalities are done. The guy who took my fingerprints told me I will get the card in 2 months, while the guy at the reception earlier had said that I will have to come again to make my passport changes.
I’m quite confident that my ordeal is not ever yet.

July 2011 (don't remember the date)
I called the helpline and told them its been 6 months and I still havent got my card. The tele executive informs me that it is in the courier and will reach me soon.

6th September 2011
I call again and this time they tell me that the card is printed and will be dispatched soon. So I'm waiting for it.
I keep reading about fines imposed by the authorities for missed appointments, delayed applications etc etc..What about their delays? Who is fining them?

21st November 2011

Fed up of getting the same answers on phone, I decided to visit the registration centre in Karama. I explained the whole thing to the lady at the reception who replied "From February?? Too much time! ".... I am directed to customer service, who checks records and advises me that I'll get the card in 2 weeks. I try to politely tell her that I've been hearing '2 weeks' for the last 4 months !! I get advised that there is a problem with the barcode and it will be sorted out soon.... I get told again.... 2 weeks.

10th January
After a relaxing vacation back home, one visit to the Emirates ID 'Customer Service' was enough to screw my mind! Nobody still knows what the problem is I get told that a request has been sent to the authorities and they would call me once they get a reply.
18th January
No call as yet (nothing unexpected). So I decide to spoil my morning sleep again and remind them of their job as customer service. The status hasn't changed and they will 'get back to me'....Their attitude is summed up by this statement "Don't worry, there are a lot of people with this problem"...It's like a doctor telling a patient " Don't worry about your disease. Lot of people are suffering from it."
Disgusting people.
Out of frustration, I sent emails to all the leading newspapers in the UAE. Frankly, I wasn't expecting much.....at the most, I was expecting they would publish it in the 'Letters to the Editor' section. But a reporter from Gulf News, Mr. Binsal Abdul Kader (God bless him!) took it up with the Emirates ID authorities and the very same day he got a reply from them requesting for my application number. What I couldn't do in almost a year, he did it in a day! The power of media.
25th January
I receive a call from a senior officer, media & communication with an apology.....yes an apology! The delay was due to the fact that I had ticked 'new card' instead of 'renewal' in my application form. And it took them 1 year to notice that & sort it out !!!

I was promised that the card would be personally delivered to me on Sunday, 29th January and indeed it was!
FINALLY - it's over!
Sincere thanks to the Gulf News reporter. I cannot thank him enough and am looking for a nice gift to send over to him.
All is well that end well. :)



July 14, 2010

Fergie, it’s time to go shopping!

The World Cup has ended and with that a lot of people who had just woken up to football must have gone back to sleep by now. But for true fans, football never stops.
The new season is right around the corner but before it starts, the even more interesting & exciting part is the summer transfer window. Last year, while the whole world was supposedly drowning in recession, the football world set new heights with a world record transfer fee for Ronaldo and the lavish spending by Real Madrid & Man City.

Now to the crux of this note…..MANCHESTER UNITED. Is the squad good enough? Will there be more signings? Will Fergie splash the cash? We don’t know….and we will never know what goes on in his head.

Last year when Man Utd lost Ronaldo & Tevez, I thought they were still good enough. But I was wrong. I never lamented Ronaldo’s loss and in fact I was happy to see his back. He’s just a selfish individual who can’t be a team player. But Tevez was one of my favourites and was a big loss to United and I wish he would come back to United.

So here is my verdict on the current squad and where Man Utd. need reinforcements.


Goalkeepers
Old is gold, and the evergreen Van der Sar is a classic example. At 39, he still has the reflexes and was brilliant last season. Kusscack has been a good back-up whenever he has been called upon. So this department seems just fine to me.


Defenders
Ferdinand & Vidic were at one time considered as one of the best pair of central defenders in the world. But I think Ferdinand spent more time in the clinic last season than on the field, giving a chance to Johnny Evans to shine, which he has grabbed with both hands. Even if Ferdinand was fully fit, I would pick Evans over him. At left back, nobody can take Evra’s place !

Which brings me to the problematic position..right back. Gary Neville is clearly over the hill and Rafael needs more time to mature, which showed in the Bayern Munich match. A signing is required !!

Sergio Ramos will fit in perfectly. He was brilliant at the world cup, which might just push his price upwards. But if Real sign Maicon, then Ramos will be pushed on the bench and feel unwanted, which is when Fergie need to make his move.

Brown & O’Shea are good backups with their versatility to play at different positions, while new signing Chris Smalling will be one to develop for the future.

Midfielders

Ryan Giggs & Paul Scholes will still be important members of the squad though one cannot expect them to perform in every match. Anderson, Park & Gibson have shone in patches, and I think it’s time for Carrick to pack up.

When Ronaldo left, everyone said the void will be too huge to replace. But I think Antonio Valencia has fitted in just fine and for me he was Man Utd’s best player last season. A major chunk of Rooney’s goals have to be attributed to his hard work on the right wing. Nani sprang to life towards the end of the season and I hope he continues that form. I’m also tipping Gabriel Obertan to evolve into an important player this season.

Darren Fletcher is a very integral part of the squad but there is a need for a creative attacking midfielder to partner him in the middle. Some candidates….

Chile’s Alexis Sanchez caught my eye at the World Cup. He’s a livewire on the field and as per reports he has shown interest in joining Man Utd. He will be a great signing and one for the future.

We all knew the qualities of Bastian Shweinsteiger, and at the world cup, he showed his class. Bayern won’t let him go easily and if they do, he will come at a heavy price.

Another player that has come out to the fore is Giovanni dos Santos. Has already been loaned out to 2 clubs since his arrival at Spurs but gong by his performances at the World Cup, Redknapp will be keen to hold on to him.


Strikers

Well to be frank, I’ve never been a fan of Rooney but I don’t think anyone can knock him off as long as he & Ferguson are at United. Berbatov has been a disaster, Owen can never get back to his old self and Macheda, Diuoff are still raw & inexperienced. Javier Hernandez had a decent world cup but I won’t put him in the first 11.
Last summer, Man Utd made their move for Karim Benzema but were priced out by the free spending Real Madrid. Ever since, he has been warming the benches at Real and even though he has said he’s happy at Real, I’m sure he must be yearning for first team football.

Luis Suarez scored 49 goals for Ajax last season and followed it up with some good performances at the World Cup, though most people will remember him for the Hand of God. There will be a heavy price tag on him and if Man Utd can afford him, the goals will keep coming.

Another good signing would be Sergio Aguero, though he will also come at a huge price.



So finally here is my ideal first 11 to play Newcastle United on August 14











June 8, 2010

Please stand up…it’s the World Cup


It’s been ages since I wrote anything, and my blog has been dormant. And what better occasion to write on then the football World Cup.
So…..a four year long wait and finally the World Cup is upon us. Predictions, prediction all over. But do they really work in football? Who had predicted that Greece would win Euro 2004...or France would reach the finals of WC 2006.
But this year, I would think that Spain are clear favourites. They have a star player in almost every position. A midfield consisting of Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas and a forward line of Torres & Villa is very very scary. They also have a decent defense and three of the best goalkeepers in the world. An almost dream team, I would say.
I’ve been reading a lot of reports about Brazil being the front runners to add to their record of 5 world cup titles. But personally I do not think they have enough firepower this year to go all the way. Kaka has been out of sorts all season but I’m tipping Robinho to hit form. Leaving the experience and skill of Ronaldinho at home can come back to haunt them.
Argentina has the best attack among all the teams…Tevez, Milito, Aguero, Higuan and…..MESSI. I am also a great admirer of Angel di Maria and I hope he comes to Man Utd. this season….But can attack win the tournament for Argentina?…I don’t think so. Maradona may be one of the best players in history but if Argentina doesn’t do well, he could probably go down in history as one of the worst managers.
Then there is England, my favourite team. England’s best chance of winning a world cup was in 2006. Like Spain this year, they had a star studded team then. A major chunk of that team are still there this year…just 4 years older ! Everyone’s talking about Rooney but I personally never liked Rooney even though I am a Manchester United & England fan. For me, Theo Walcott could have been the star along with Aaron Lennon, but Walcott isn’t even in the team! Some real howlers by Capello I feel….dropping Walcott & picking Heskey & Carrick, who have been in woeful form for their respective clubs. I would love to see England lift the cup, but I don’t see it happening. At the most they will get to the semis.
I’m very surprised that Holland is not considered among the favourites. Van Persie is one of the best strikers in the world today, and Sneijner is among the best midfielders. And in my opinion Robben is THE best winger in the world. I’m tipping them to go far, but a lot will depend on Robben’s fitness.
Australia, my other favourite team besides England, has been drawn in a tough group and if somehow they do get out of the group, a potential clash with England will await. Sad but true..
Finally, for MY prediction… I will go for Spain winning their first World Cup, edging Holland in the finals. Spain have long been termed as underachievers, but after their Euro 2008 win, the world cup is an opportunity for them to finally cement their place among the dominant football nations.
But like I said earlier, predictions never work in football. Let’s just enjoy what the beautiful game has to offer us in the next one month.

January 5, 2009

A few awkward lines

Wake up to a new day
The sun’s brighter than yesterday
Wake up to a new life
As the tears slowly say goodbye

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Dark clouds always hover around
I’m lost, will my soul ever be found?
As the day comes to an end
I see my life slipping out of my hands

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One way track one way train
Passing thru the streets of sadness & pain
As the world shuts the doors
I think about the paths I choose

December 31, 2008

Indian Rock - Rockin Hard

The 2 years I spent in Mumbai brought a few good things. One of them was it made me a fan on Indian Rock fan. Being in Goa, we used to hardly get a chance to listen to quality Indian rock bands. Just wait for ‘Happenings’….once a year. And considering that I got into rock only after college, I missed the earlier Happenings rock shows…….Brahma, Pentagram, Parikrama.Indian rock has come a long way from the Indus Creed/Rock Machine era….some still consider them the best Indian Rock band ever. I would beg to differ.
There are a host of better bands today with a lot of talent to make it big……..like………Zero, my favourite band & arguably India’s best rock ba
nd today. Their 3 albums speak about the quality of this band. After Warren left, Zero kinda went into a downslide and didnt really manage to get a apt replacement. And considering that Warren played a major part in the song writing(who can forget Spitleaf and his beautiful guitar solo in Áyaya’), not much new stuff after that….… Now that they have disbanded, their music is all we Zero fans have.....Like Abba said "Thank you for the music"
Then there is ‘Them Clones’ from Delhi. Heard them live once in Mumbai & then again when they came to Dubai…they just kick ass. I think they will be one of the best Indian rock bands very soon. Take a listen to ‘Bomb Song’ and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Right now, the most talked about Indian band is ‘Junkyard Groove’, cos they opened for Desert Rock 2007 in March…….for Iron Maiden, COB, Prodigy, Incubus etc…..They got this opportunity after winning ‘Shamal’, where they beat off competition from 7 other bands from UAE, Iran, Egypt & Saudi Arabia. Incidentally, Pin Drop Violence came in 2nd ! JYG's album has been long delayed and its getting very frustrating for them as well as their fans...Let hope 2009 brings out the long-awaited album.
Next up-Pin Drop Violence……the best live act I’ve even seen…..i don’t listen to kind of music they play(nu-metal/trash). But the moment they take stage, everyone’s heads automatically start going up & down…..it’s great to be at a PDV live show..
Parikrama…….seems to have disappeared. Haven’t heard anything about them for quite a while now. But I would rate ‘But it rained’ among the all time best Indian rock songs.
The Superfuzz - These young guys from Delhi have a bright future for them. They've won quite a few competitions including Campus Rock which gave them an opportunity to open for Bryan Adams. They followed it up by winning Launchpad...Watch out for them as well.
Cyanide - Another Delhi band. Thier originals are simply awesome. Take a listen to Tomorrow, Untold Mystery, Holding Cell and My Bitch. These guys r the future of Indian Rock along with bands like Junkyard groove and The Superfuzz.
Pentagram – I hate them after the Mosh Mania 2005 incident. For those not in the know, here’s what happened……They were headlining after just returning from playing at sum UK music festival..think it was Glastonbury..so they expected extra respect from the crowd but they got a few BCMC chants. So Vishal(the egoistic ass) threw the mike stand in the crowd, where a couple of people were badly injured…wat the f@#$....how can anyone support a band who don’t know how to respect their fans?? Anyways, Vishal’s sold out to Bollywood now, wher he’s a shitty music director……screw him & screw Pentagram…Lots of other bands…..Demonic Resurrection, Helga’s Funk castle, Tripwire, Sceptre, Joint Family, Amid the Chaos, Prestorika……the list is endless. With the numbers of bands & the quality of music increasing by the day, the future of Indian Rock looks good……Hopefully some band makes it big internationally………maybe a Grammy?????? I wud love to see that before I die……..then I can rock in peace…..

October 2, 2008

Origin of Band Names

I have always been fascinated about band names and how these guys really decide on a name. So thought I would write on the band origins of some of my favourite bands.

GREEN DAY
· The band got really stoned and watched an episode of 'Sesame Street', where Ernie said 'It's going to be a Green Day.' Before that, the band was called 'Sweet Children'.
· In numerous interviews, including Alternative and Kerrang, Green Day has cited the meaning of their name. While Billy Joe and Mike were still in High School, they referred to days when they would sit around and smoke pot as a 'Green Day.' They honored these days like the sabbath - refusing to do work or move from the couch for fear of interrupting the trails of potato chip crumbs on their Sex Pistols TShirts. The song titled Green Day off the "39/Smooth" release was written to reflect Billy Joe's first experience with marijuana.

CREED
· They got the name Creed when Jesus came to Scott in a dream and said "Spread my word. Spread my Creed." Then Jesus gave him the lyrics to "Higher"
· Scott Stapp originally wanted to name the band Naked Toddler, after a newspaper clipping that he kept in his walet. Brian Marshall was in a band called Marshall's Creed, and as they were tossing out names they decided to go with Creed, as it is a strong belief in something, and they believed in what they were doing, the music they were making, and it all being about the super jackpot.

BREAKING BENJAMIN - The lead singer of the band, Benjamin Burnley and he ex-drummer of the band, Jeremy Hummel, founded this band. When performing at a local show, Benjamin broke the microphone after he finished singing. Thus, the name came up. 2 members from Lifer joined the band. Then it changed its name to Plan 9. It didn't work very well, and Jeremy Hummel left the band and slapped a federal lawsuit on the remaining band members claiming that he wasn't paid for the songs he helped write. The band then changed their name back to Breaking Benjamin.

STAIND-Started out life as "stain", but they found out there was already a band with that name. So they added just the "d" without the "e" to be unconventional.

ALTER BRIDGE-The name comes from a long-standing bridge near Mark Tremonti’s childhood home in Detroit, which was often regarded as a boundary to the children in surrounding neighborhoods; beyond it was uncharted territory

METALLICA
· There was a music magazine called "Metallica". Lars just liked the name, and that's where they got it.
· It's a combination of the band's favorite things: Metal and Liquor. Hence, Metallica!

NICKELBACK- Nickelback originally couldn't think of a band name so Chad Kroeger, the lead singer asked his brother for a name and he worked at a coffee place and the coffees cost $1.95. He always had to get a nickel back! So he said nickel back and so on and so forth.

LINKIN PARK- The band Linkin Park's name (before the addition of Chester Bennington) when they first formed in 1996 was Xero, at that point they had made a four track demo tape. They had later (after the adittion of Chester Bennington) changed their name to Hybrid Theory and recorded the Hybrid Theory EP. Due to legal conflict with the British electronic music group Hybrid, they changed their name to Linkin Park, a name paying homage to Lincoln Park, located in Santa Monica, CA.

3 DOORS DOWN -They were playing a gig and an old building had an old sign that most of the letters had fallen off leaving "doors down." There were three members at the time and they became known as 3 Doors Down

OASIS - Noel was the roadie for a band called the Inspiral Carpets. They played a show (among others) at a club in Swindon called Oasis, and Liam had a promotional poster for this gig on his bedroom wall. Liam joined a band called The Rain that already featured Bonehead, Guigsy and Tony McCarroll, as their singer. They changed their name to Oasis for whatever reason, taking it from Liam's poster. The band was already called Oasis when Noel joined them.

GOOD CHARLOTTE- They took their name from a children's book, which the identical twin brothers Joel (lead vocals and guitar) and Benji Madden (lead guitar and backing vocals) used to read when little, called "Good Charlotte: The Girls of Good Day Orphanage" by Carol Beach York.