Adam Bird

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Saturday, 26 August 2006

Emirates and Updates

Is it really only ten days that I posted my last blog? Work has been incredibly busy over the past two weeks, so being able to post a blog during work-time has been impossible, and by the time I get home the last thing I want to do is to switch the computer on!

(If anyone is in interested in what I have been working on check out the Ferrari Panamerican 20,000 tour!)

On Wednesday evening I was lucky enough to have been asked by my friend Stuart to go with him the brand new Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal Football Club. His brother in law was a season ticket holder and had a couple of spares. Keen to keep my tally of football grounds going I could hardly say no!

Having kept an eye on the Arsenal website throughout construction of the stadium I was quite looking forward to actually seeing it in person, even if I was not too fussed about seeing the Gooners themselves, much to the jealously of my Arsenal supporting mother!

We walked to the stadium by going down the Holloway Road from the Highbury and Islington tube station, past various takeaway eateries and boarded up shops, taking a swift right and down a street lined with Victorian three floored houses.

Almost as the street ended it opened up and the Emirates Stadium presented itself; a glowing mass of concrete, shiny smooth lines of metal and neon. It looked as if a space ship had landed and buried itself within a North London Park.

Walking around the ground trying to find our bearings and the elusive block "S", many others were doing the same. I was told of the bloke moaning as he walked past saying how it was a stupid stadium and that at least with Highbury he knew where he was going!

As we entered the "Emirates" I was looking forward to the best part of visiting any new stadium - walking through the doorway from the concourse to the seating area. You get your first look at the pitch (which always looks better under lights), and the mountains of seats that surround the action.

It was without doubt an impressive sight. Old Trafford and Anfield had been the same, but the Emirates was different, which I think was a lack of familiarity. We were not used to seeing the stadium on the television every week, so we were unsure about how the stadium really looked.

The game itself presented me with a few "firsts"; First time I had seen a European Cup game, first European Cup game at the Emirates and the first time Arsenal had played under lights at the Emirates. It was also the first time I had seen a foreign team in action. The support of the Dynamo Zagreb team was amazing. Two thousand people making more noise than the other fifty six thousand Arsenal fans. They chanted non stop for ninety minutes, all clapping simultaneously, all the men with their shirts off and waving scarves around their heads! They must have been knackered by the end of the evening!

Although I was incredibly comfortable in my seat, which was padded, and had more leg room than if I was at home sitting on my sofa, I felt uncomfortable in my mind. It didn't feel quite right, I was watching Arsenal, but I wasn't at Highbury, which to me IS Arsenal. I was in the future, in a ground that was brighter than anywhere I had been before, the pitch was greener, it felt artificial, it didn't feel right. I don't know how the Arsenal fans feel about the new stadium, but for me, some places are sacred, and Highbury was one of those sacred footballing cathedrals.

If and when Liverpool are relocated it is going to be one hundred times worse. Liverpool playing somewhere else other than Anfield, it's not right! It's like blue grass and red oceans, all wrong! Maybe I am just a stick in the mud that cannot move on!

Check out some of the photographs from the night.

Monday, 14 August 2006

In the pipeline

Coming soon to the site (hopefully by the end of the week) will be news on a great event that five of my friends are taken part in.

On Saturday 16th September they will be attempting to row 22 miles down the River Thames in the annual Great River Race event to raise money towards the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society.

More details on the race, including a full description of the "magog", which is the boat they will be rowing, rower profiles, and further information about the Ankylosing Spondylitis Society will be added soon.

They will be rowing under the name of "Oarsome 4Some", (although I preferred "4 oars and a cox"), and Skipper William Buckby will (hopefully) be keeping everyone updated via the newly installed blog which can be found (empty at the moment) at http://www.adambird.co.uk/oarsome.html.

Tuesday, 8 August 2006

Is be One Big Damn Puzzler

Mum started it all off when I was a kid, making sure that I was always reading, encouraging me and giving me different books to read.

One of the best things about my new job is that I can sit on the train for an hour a day (on my way home) and read to my hearts content.

Since starting in April, I have probably read about 12 different books! The Waterstones just outside Charing Cross station is doing a roaring trade out of me!

I have just finished a book called One Big Damn Puzzler which I recommend to anyone reading! It is without doubt the funniest book that I have ever read! Sitting on the train with someone asleep next to you as you are laughing out loud is not a comfortable experience, but I had to do this for total of nearly six hours. The people I sat next to during these times must have thought I was mad!

I won't write a book review as the synopsis on the above link in all the information I had to go on before hand, and sums it up better that I could. But if like me, you like reading, grab a copy of this and I promise you will enjoy it!

There is be one other Big Damn Puzzler too before I go. Gillingham's first game of the season! We actually looked quite good and held a lot of promise for the forthcoming season! I am not going to say too much too soon as it is still incredibly early days, but if we continue to show the effort, commitment, pace and general performance that was evident on Saturday, then we will have a good season.

Friday, 4 August 2006

Return to the promised land?

And so it all begins again!

Millions of football supporters at work today will be sharing the anticipation and excitement that comes on the dawn of a new footballing season, every fan expecting this season to be the one that their team gets promotion, wins a cup or gets into Europe.

For me as a Gillingham fan I am dreaming of a promotion campaign back to the so called 'promised land' (which most people know as the Championship). The 'promised land' was so called because Gillingham had spent all of there first 100 years of existence playing in the bottom two division and only nearly making the step up on a couple of occasions.

After our five season stay, which the first three were magic (13th, 12th and 11th placed finishes), we find ourselves facing our second campaign plotting out return.

As a club we find now ourselves fairly settled after a chaotic and sometimes shambolic 'transitional' period. Ronnie Jepson is now the man at the helm and for me, so far so good.

I have been impressed with his comments in the media and on the official Gillingham Website, and think that he is the type of manager we need right now.

So dreaming of a promotion campaign, but what of the reality? The reality is that Gillingham are a club on a very tight budget and a small squad of young and hard working players who are capable of a top half finish. Ronnie Jepson will make sure that we are a tough team to beat this season, and not many teams will enjoy coming down to Priestfield.

I can see Bristol City and Nottingham Forest having a good season, and one of the promoted teams from League Two will continue the momentum they built up last year.

My only worry is a lack of goals in the side, Mulligan works incredibly hard and the new lad McDonald looks quite tricky, but neither have 'goal poacher' written all over them.

However, still imbedded in the back of my mind is this Wembley theory of mine! My friend Glyn joked with me at the end of the season by saying, "Ad, you know why Wembley is still not ready? The Gills weren't. Next year, when they are, so will Wembley!".

Que Sara Sara

Thursday, 3 August 2006

One for Reaso

Anybody watching the F Word last night with Gordon Ramsey would have seen the feature with the giant Jaffa Cake.

Giles Coren, the "posh food critic" had stumbled across a website called Pimpthatsnack.com, whereby people had been attempting to make extreme sized replicas of famous snacks or sweets. We were then shown the efforts he went to in order to produce a huge Jaffa Cake, which he had given the name "Jaffa Quake".

On the website itself you can see how people have tirelessly replicated a giant custard cream, a giant scotch egg and a huge cola bottle just to name a few!

I thought that this would be a perfect challenge for Reaso, who famously ate a desert made for four people in order to secure a discount off the final bill! Incidentally he was ill for hours afterwards and felt the effects of the sugar rush for at least three days.

Tuesday, 1 August 2006

Firefox CSS Problem - Solved!

I posted a blog on the 21st July about problems I had been having making sure that the blog feature looks the same in Firefox as it does in Internet Explorer.

This is one of the big problems right now facing website designer/developers. The reason being is that Firefox adheres to strict conventions as laid out by the W3C and Internet Explorer doesn't!

Anyhows, after days of trying various things, the problem has now been fixed, thanks to finding posts on forums across the web from people posting similar questions to the one I had!
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