Hartlepool. It’s a town on the… grrooOOooww.

Ah, it’s not the first time I’ve ripped off a Simpsons quote for a blog title, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’m feeling a bit of a commoner today. I’ve been out and bought tickets to one of those footballing match things. You know, where grown men go around and kick a bag of air around for 90 minutes, whilst slack-jawed on-lookers shout things like “poppycock” at the referee, and question the poor man’s eyesight. Suddenly we’re all opticians, are we?

Of course, I jest, but it does seem a bit odd for me to actually plan in advance to go to a football match. It’s something that’s only happened three times before (we won 1-0 against Brentford in the 1991-92 season), lost against Oxford in… some other season, and lost 5-1 to Newcastle United in a friendly. So, I’ve got a 2-1 loss record on seeing Hartlepool play. It’s not looking good.

You see, the reason I bought the tickets, is that it’s a pivotal time for the club, and the town as a whole (not discounting the tickets were only a fiver). The match is Hartlepool V Doncaster, and it’s pivotal for both clubs, and the mathematics goes something like this…

If Hartlepool win, and Newport lose, Hartlepool stay in the league. If Doncaster win and Plymouth lose, they become League Two champions. In three days time, Hartlepool might be out of the English football league for the first time in their entire history. There’s been some squeaky bum moments in recent years, but I think this is the greatest yet.

Now, don’t quote me on this (bit hard, seeing as this is a blog), but I have a sneaking suspicion it could finish the once proud club off if the worst were to happen. Imagine if they go down to the conference, the club would be worth less, yet the area of land that the ground stands on is prime real estate, and with only a large car park behind it, a leisure centre well past its use-by date, and a great little pub, I can see the land being sold off to developers, and the whole area being yet another great big retail park. Which is something the town is crying out for, he says sarcastically.

So, Saturday evening could see a load of grown men cry. In fact I cried today, after they charged me £1.50 surcharge for using my credit card to buy the tickets. Robbing gits.

Being John McCririck for the day

Following on from my absolute disaster yesterday, I almost never put a bet on today. If I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.

Still, if you want to flush a fiver down the toilet, without the effort of going upstairs, you can’t go wrong by putting a bet on these…

grandnational

Good luck! You’ll need it!

UPDATE: If you backed any of those, even each way, you’d have came out penniless. Oh well. Here endeth my Aintree updates. And now, back to stony silence for another several months while I think of something to post about.

Aintree pt2: Well that was a complete disaster…

I did intend to just post an update on the previous post, but I went on a bit longer than I intended.

As expected, my fiver went down the pan. Thankfully, my horse in the Topham chase made it all the way round, unlike two poor horses who may, or may not have left Aintree on the back of a dog food lorry. Admittedly, it wouldn’t have been so bad if the Grand National is based in France. Any horses that get put down can just get shipped off to the local butchers.

It did leave to one of those “Oops” moments on Channel 4 though. Naturally, the fall looked rather nasty when it happened, and so Channel 4 omitted Becher’s Brook during the in-depth replay that they have.

Someone in charge of the slo-mo tape machine must have got their fences mixed up though, as when they said “And onto Valentine’s”, they cut to a close-up of the fatal incident. Whoops.

Takes me back to memories of the 1989 Grand National, where the late Julian Wilson commented that they were omitting Bechers Brook due to a “dead horse”. Let’s hope they go and quickly do some training before tomorrow.

Usually, I don’t watch the Grand National itself while in the house. Last year, I was in a random pub in Manchester. Unfortunately, this year, it looks like that isn’t going to happen. I shall be watching the race in front of the telly, and I presume the laptop. I’ve yet to pick out my horsies. I’ll probably do that in the morning. I think I’ll just go for a random five.

Oh, and because it’s not exactly necessary, but I’ve already uploaded it, here’s the worst betting slip in history.

bets2

My stupid Aintree idea…

It’s that time of year, now that spr…. hang on, haven’t I said that before?

But yes, it IS springtime, and it IS the Aintree festival. The time of year where I take a week off work, and the only time of the year where I line the bookmaker’s pockets.

I’ve just realised that I’ve put a tenner in my bookies’ account, instead of the minimum deposit (a fiver), so I have a little more cash in there than what I was expecting. Now, I could put it all on the big race tomorrow, but where would the fun be in that?

Let’s put a £1 bet on the five live races on Channel 4 today. But, I officially know nothing about racing. There have been times where I’ve won sweepstakes, but that’s luck of the draw.

How else would I pick the horses? Randomly? No, I have a system.

Long-time troll, Chad, used to live on our street, until almost two decades ago when he moved to Japan to take up teaching, drinking foreign beer, eating tomatoes, and presumably a secret career in professional karaoke. For some reason, his old telephone number is embedded in my brain, despite the fact I don’t think I ever rang him. After all, he was only five doors away.

So, I thought I’d use this otherwise-wasted 6 “bytes” of information in my brain, and put a bet on with the first five numbers (they’re only televising 5 of the seven races) of his telephone number. After all of the shite he’s given me over the years, it’s about time he gave something back. Therefore, todays betting slip looks like this…

bets

Well, I’d have only spent that fiver on crap records and beer anyway.

UPDATE: Well, the Topham Chase is next, which is the one over the big fences. So far, I’ve had a faller and 2 2nd places. It’s not looking good.

1980s ITV Athletics theme…

Some of you may remember this. Many of you won’t. I could probably copy and paste the following from many other articles I’ve written about my love of obscure themes, but I won’t.

Back in the days when ITV actually had some athletics coverage, they used a guitar/piano type theme, which as a kid, I adored. I instantly knew I was in for an afternoon / evening of… erm, athletics.

ITV revamped their coverage for the 1990 European Championships in Split, and this awesome theme was dropped. Unfortunately, no video exists of the introductions that use the theme on youtube, or anywhere else for that matter, except for a realplayer video I have. It’s 35 seconds long, and 655K in size. You can imagine the quality.

I’d never heard this music anywhere else (except in an advert played once on the radio when going down the A19 when I was about 7 or 8).

In a series of mind ramblings involving Shazam (that mobile phone app that attempts to guess which song you’re listening to), and its inability to name this particular track, I typed into Google, “ITV Athletics theme”. The first few results were for the newer theme (which I’ve already got), but one hit was from Amazon…

http://www.amazon.co.uk/ITV-Athletics/dp/B002X3LOB6

I took one look at the ‘CD cover’, and the generic name / artist of this track, and thought “Yeah, Okay. This is going to be an awful re-recording of something”.

I pressed play on the sample. The wallet flew out of my pocket quicker than what a Shearas Punjabi Wrap flies out of my body the morning after a night out. It’s amazingly the very same track!

For anyone with access to Spotify, here’s the link to the full track:-
http://open.spotify.com/track/744rOmSP7eujHk5EbSy0hZ

For the record…
00:00-00:30 seconds was never played
00:30-01:00 was the main theme
01:00-01:10 was the bit Jim Rosenthal used to talk over.

NOTE: The timings above are entirely wrong, as I failed to notice a subtle edited loop in the original theme, despite listening to the track constantly for around an hour.

The rest of the track was rarely played, but occasionally edited for random purposes such as viewer competitions, etc.

I thought for many years it was by Argent/Van Hooke, as they knocked out many themes for ITV around this time, but no, it’s actually by the same guy who did the famous 1970s-2000s Grandstand theme, Keith Mansfield.

Right now, I want to be stood in the middle of an athletics track, in the pouring rain, looking slightly pissed off and uttering those immortal words… “Hello, from Brussels”…