Dark Days For English Football May Very Well Return…

Originally posted on Sport Witness.

Yes, before you all ask, it still hurts. My chest aches and I can’t bear to look at the papers. City have really hurt me. I am very tempted to use some rather foul language, but hey, this is a family blog. Supposedly…

Well what a week it’s been for the Premier League! Shocks galore, big wins, small wins – not to mention a few naughty words used on a pitch somewhere in West London. A club suspend a player, whilst another player threatens to sue the manager. Carlos Tevez anyone?

So yeah, it’s been a little wild, and it’s been difficult to try and keep up with it all. The prima donnas we all adore so much are rebelling and becoming rebellious teenagers all over again, believing their actions won’t get them in trouble. As proven over the last week, it really can.

I don’t want to sit and write about John Terry’s supposed racist comments, as these are yet to be proven, and it could just be a big media frenzy for nothing. What’s new, I hear you ask… Instead, I want to talk about this situation it has left us in.

Back in 1993, the ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out Of Football’ campaign was launched, and was sent very mainstream in 1997. The campaign really picked up, all 92 league clubs got behind it, and it was introduced at grassroots level in order to maintain this level of equality that was being emitted both on and off the pitch.

Then these accused events happen this weekend, the print and online media pick it up, it goes viral, and suddenly we have a big racism case on our hands. Involving the England captain – supposedly the model footballer of all young English kids up and down the country, and the man every English player wants to be. Proving we really do still have a big problem with race and colour in this country.

It wasn’t just this isolated incident, though. Anyone who is on any form of social networking site, in particular Twitter, will have seen the vulgar comments being directed at black footballers and commentators from fans and people alike. This wasn’t just a few words on a pitch, this was a thousand words online too.

It’s a very sad situation – we’ve come a long way as a nation to ensure this kind of incident doesn’t happen, and a lot of investment within the Kick It Out scheme has led to plenty of positives coming out of games where racist abuse has been heard.

At the end oft eh day, nothing has been proven as yet. But we could be returning to the very dark days of English football if we’re not careful.

Agree with me? Want to add your tuppence worth? Follow me on Twitter – I’m @Adam9309 – or find me on my own blog!

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F1 Set To Confirm New Jersey GP For 2013

Originally posted on General Musings of an Idiot.

As many of you know, I write for several different places across the internet, notably about sport. There’s Stretty News, Sport Witness, Back Page Football, 19 Times and That’s A Fact, and the others – here, and there’s a few fairly private blogs too. And if you ever find them on the world wide web, I promise to buy you a pint. Trust me, you won’t find them.

Most of what I write is in some way sport-related, and unfortunately for you sport fans, this post will be no different. Yes yes, I know, I haven’t written a GMOAI Sports Thoughts post for a good few weeks, concentrating on Apple, blogging, and of course, pie. As you do.

But there was a story that caught my eye this morning that I had to write about. And bearing in mind Tuesday is GMOAI day, it will end up on here. So I sincerely apologise, but hope you choose to continue reading. If not, thanks for your time and hopefulyl see you next week. Maybe.

This morning, plans were announced for a New Jersey Formula One race, to begin in 2013. This may not sound particularly interesting, but think about it – a road race round one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with the Manhattan skyline as a back drop. A four mile circuit along the Hudson River that will change how many people perceive F1.

And the fact the US GP makes a return to the calendar next year at the newly-built circuit in Austin, Texas, means we may be seeing millions more fans tuning in to such a wonderful sport.

Now there has been no confirmation whether or not Texas and New Jersey willalternate as hosts of the US GP, or whether they will both be added to the calendar as separate races, taking us back to the 1980’s with the US GP and the US West GP.

Counter in the fact that in 2014, we’ll also see the new circuit at Sochi in Russia added to the calendar, and we have the potential of 23 races on the calendar in 2014. Clearly, that’s far too many, and some will either be placed on rotation or scarpped altogether, but there’s plenty of interest in F1 again. Qatar, Estonia and Croatia are all in talks to hold a GP, as are South Africa, and there’s even talk of Argentina getting involved.

F1 is growing again, and it’s brilliant to see. Let’s just hope the fans are put first and not the money. As usual.

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The Manchester Derby: Through Red Eyes

Originally posted on Back Page Football.

I usually try and wait till Monday afternoon to write anything about the weekend’s game – it give some time to collect my thoughts and consider what actually happened. Today, I won’t be doing anything of the sort.

As a Manchester United fan, Derby Day is always the best game of the season. Until today. The 6-1 drubbing, at home, against Manchester City is the worst result I have seen in my 18 years on this planet. I’ve lived the glory days at Old Trafford – a season without a trophy is a disappointment to me. And seeing my beloved team getting crushed like that makes it even worse.

Already, the media is asking what significance this game has on the title, and the footballing power shift in Manchester. In reality, one game won’t change history, but certainly one game can feel like it. We are all being far too hasty in considering the influence of this game, but what happened on that pitch this afternoon certainly gives us a good idea on where this Premier League is heading.

I said at the start of the game that I was scared and terrified of this derby. I remember my first derby – February 2003, and after nine seconds on the pitch, Shaun Goater headed in from a corner to give City a 1-1 draw. I also remember the 4-1 drubbing we received a few years back, and having to trudge into school the next day to have every anti-United kid take the mick in the playground. Playgrounds can be cruel, can’t they?

Today is the worst defeat I’ve ever witnessed. There was just so much wrong with the team that it became quite hysterical. I’ve said all season that with Anderson in midfield, there is no midfield. When we played with Cleverley, we had a static midfielder very similar to the role played by Paul Scholes – spraying balls up and down the pitch, attempting to attack and always winning the ball back. Without Cleverley, or the experience of Michael Carrick, playing the attacking-minded Anderson in that static role is catastrophic, and our midfield has been non-existent since.

The reason City bossed the midfield today was because United didn’t actually have one. For forty minutes in the second half, Darren Fletcher had to play at right-back, with Anderson being our only midfielder, trying to play against the might of Yaya Toure, James Milner, Gareth Barry, and arguably the best signing of the summer, David Silva.

Not only that, but our defence just dissolved into the background. Rio looks like he’s well past his best – slow, lethargic, and actually, as one of the most experienced players we have in the team, not loud enough. As someone who has captained the team on many occasions, he should be the one organising, moaning and ensuring the team play to their best. Instead, he was quiet and willing to blend in, and that’s why we had no structure. Jones should have started, Smalling had a shocker at right-back, and the less said about the immaturity and the youthful nature of Jonny Evans, the better.

Rio also has a car waiting to take him to the NFL game this evening at Wembley. If he chooses to go to the game, I am of a firm belief that that would spell the end of his Manchester United career. Already, we see him rested for big games and being left out of squads, and he’s been linked time and time again this season with a big-money move to the States. Factor in all the newspaper allegations against him, and it’s no wonder his head is all over the place. He deserves everything he gets if he chooses to go the game later.

What makes me worry the most, however, is Nemanja Vidic. He was fit today, and prepared to play, yet he didn’t even feature on the bench. As club captain of the team, does this indicate not all is as it seems? Since the Norwich game in early October, United have been poor – not quite themselves. Are there things going on behind the scenes that no-one wants us to know? Or are we going to see movement in January that could lead to big defensive changes? I hope not.

Tactics today for United were poor, but spot-on for City. Give them their due, Balotelli was inspired today, and Dzeko put in a shift in the last 10 minutes that every United player should have attempted to replicate. Silva was the player every fan hoped he would be – quick, intelligent, energetic, and skilful, and it was a joy to see. Defence was well organised, and the whole team was structured well whenever, on those very rare occasions, United attacked. Vincent Kompany as captain knows exactly what to do, and he could be their catalyst for trophies and that coveted Premier League title.

It does make you wonder what kind of an impact Wesley Sneijder would have had on that game. The transfer that never was this summer could have made all the difference. Early performances from Anderson, Cleverley, Carrick and Fletcher indicated that we didn’t need him, but boy do we need someone with an attacking mind, and proven ability now. It’s a scary proposition that it’s only October, and we play like that.

City didn’t even play to their best – they just had a great day, whereas United had one of the worst in recent times. The only positive United can take from that is that it can’t get any worse from here. An absolute thumping to our arch rivals, at home, which could potentially decide the new home of the Premier League. The worst thing you can do now is to write off United – how many times have we been in this position in the past? A few bad performances, a lack of goals and a sinking position in the table…

Make no qualms about it – City are by far and away a force in Europe, and they will win trophies in the future, and will reignite football. Today felt very reminiscent of the Champions League final last season against Barcelona – a footballing masterclass. Everything that could have gone wrong did, and we felt the wrath of that. But heads high, brush ourselves down and take it on the chin. And let’s see where that takes us.

This probably comes across very biased, but I feel that actually, we deserved everything we got today. Nothing hurts more than a defeat to a rival, but such a big defeat doesn’t hurt. Two or three goals is embarrassing, four or five is humiliating, but six proves there’s something more to it; something deeper. Fergie has a lot of work to do with this team in order to place us back where we need to be. A faultless performance from City today, and a destructive one by United. I just hope that whatever these issues are are fixed quickly, easily, and out of the eye of the media.

Agree? Disagree?! Contact me on Twitter – I’m @Adam9309, or use the official site account – @bpfootball!

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Will The Stadium Samba Subside Through Travel?

Originally posted on Back Page Football.

Late Thursday night saw the schedule for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil released to the public for the first time, and the extent of the travelling for each team was unveiled alongside it. And it’s not a pretty sight.

The second team within Group A, alongside Brazil, will have a 2,000 mile trip from their first game to their second – from the south-east city of Sao Paulo to the northern city of Manaus. The travel will have a massive impact on fatigue and fitness throughout the tournament, and FIFA have tried to combat this by instigating a plan for four days between matches for teams with long-distance travel.

For UK viewers, games will be at awkward times too – kick-offs vary from 5PM, 8PM, 11PM and 2AM, with the knock-out stages being around the 9PM mark. Gone will be the early morning starts at school to watch the game, or the online streaming of matches at work in the hope the boss won’t see.

But my question is this – will the World Cup in Brazil be ruined by the distance between stadia?

In short, yes, of course it will be. What makes the World Cup so great is the spectacle, and the fans – all those people who travel from around the globe in order to see their nation attempt to become the best footballing nation in the world. A massive drive, flight or ferry trip across the country will stop most fans from appearing at several games, and the fact FIFA have stopped the initial plans of keeping countries in smaller areas of the country, in order to keep the travelling to a minimum. This will have a great effect on the atmosphere at games, but the Brazilian people will of course fill up the seats and create a party round the pitch, which could be absolutely fascinating to see.

The stadia could pull it round, however. This will be the first World Cup to use 12 different stadia – six are brand-new, four are being upgraded, one is being rebuilt, and the other is the Maracana. Arguably the best stadium in the world.

What I have noticed with the stadia, however, is that eight of the announced designs or existing stadia are circular. Whether this will make a difference to the atmosphere, I don’t know, but the Maracana has proven time and time again that some of the most incredible crowds can be found in a round arena. This may be the fans, but it could be the way the stadium has been built – we’ll have to wait and see.

The likelihood of the tournament being a flop is very, very small, yet the distance each team and their fans will have to travel is monumental, and could have a distinct effect on how Brazil 2014 is remembered in years to come.

Agree? Disagree?! Contact me on Twitter – I’m @Adam9309, or use the official site account – @bpfootball!

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Would NFL Europe Succeed This Time Around?

Originally posted on Sport Witness.

This weekend, we see the pomp and circumstance that is the NFL return to London to play another game at Wembley, this time between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Chicago Bears. And with it comes the hope from the NFL franchise owners that a big pay day in Europe will become an even more regular thing.

The NFL began to bring one regular-season game to the UK back in 2007, and has done for the last five years. This Sunday’s game is the first time the match has not sold out – the NFL citing the poor ticket sales being down to the fact the match was only confirmed last month, after the player lock-out during the summer.

In reality, all 32 of the NFL franchises are scrambling for the golden ticket to Wembley each year. They know it’s an opportunity to gain more fans, and thus more money, from a trip to Europe. The Buccaneers were here in 2007, and have come back this year, this time bringing their own home game, showing quite how big a game this can be.

But it’s very reminiscent of the MLS – a sport that attempted to move elsewhere to a massive potential market, failed miserably, and had to start again, leading to what the MLS looks like today. A big dip in popularity in 2002 led to the league facing imminent closure, but a sudden growth and interest in football after the 2002 World Cup led to bigger crowds, new teams, and David Beckham, obviously. A change in rules, allowing for bigger international stars to play for the teams, more media output, and the agreements between the US and Mexico introducing the likes of the SuperLiga gave a bigger audience an opportunity to watch football, and get interested. The imminent expansion to the 20th team looks to take football to a bigger area within the States, and interest from another 10 different cities to take an MLS license could even lead to a second division being created.

So why am I giving you a history lesson in Major League Soccer? Well, as many of you may remember, the NFL did used to have an arm here in Europe – called, very imaginatively, NFL Europe. Originally known as the World League, it included 10 teams from the US, Canada, the UK, Germany and Spain, and over the 50 games during the season, pulled in over a million people in attendance. Relatively expensive tickets and a lack of big TV coverage scuppered that plan, but the NFL launched NFL Europe in 1995.

A steady decline led to the league being cancelled in 2007, however, since then, another resurgence in the sport here in the UK has started again, bringing viewing figures back to the 1980’s heyday. A re-launch on Sky, and the BBC picking up some rights, and showing the SuperBowl, has brought American Football back to the homes of millions, reigniting the passion of many, and inspiring many younger and new fans of the sport – myself included.

So would a relaunch of NFL Europe now succeed, and become part of everyday life? My view is yes – it’ll work. Sell franchise licenses at small prices to increase interest, and limit the licenses to two or three per country. Allow it to start small, with small stadia to ensure sell-outs, and get a big TV deal across the continent to ensure maximum fan bases. Sow the seeds and allow it to grow – very similar to the MLS.

The world’s biggest sport comes to London this weekend. Possibly, soon enough, the world’s biggest sport will come to London every weekend.

Agree with me? Want to add your tuppence worth? Follow me on Twitter – I’m @Adam9309 – or find me on my own blog!

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Is Becks Still A Prized Asset?

Originally posted on Back Page Football.

If you wade through all the media articles, the big billboards, the magazine adverts, the fragrances, the shirt sales, the fashion range, the big PR bubble surrounding him and all those multi-million pound endorsements, there’s still a very gifted footballer. And his name is David Beckham.

That shy schoolboy from Leytonstone pulled on the red of Manchester United in 1993, and hasn’t looked back since. He has grown into the world’s most famous footballer, becoming a global sensation, and having every move tracked by the media.

Stints with Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and AC Milan have led to him becoming even more well known across Europe and the Americas, and he’s now the richest footballer of all-time, worth an estimated £135m. And that wealth just keeps growing, too.

His $6.5m a season contract with the MLS, licensed to LA Galaxy, expires at the end of the year, and Beckham will have to make a decision on his future at the end of post-season on November 20th. Then he has a choice of staying in LA, moving back to England with the possibility of Tottenham or QPR, or, as reported today, a chance of ending up in France, joining the revolution at PSG. All of which will more than likely be just as lucrative as his current contract.

But is Beckham really worth it? At 36, he’s certainly past his prime, but does that mean he’s not as good as he once was?

22 games, 2 goals and 14 assists – yeah, he’s still alright…

David Beckham is still one of the most talented and gifted players around – he’d still make it into the starting line-up of the majority of Europe’s biggest clubs. He’s still an international player – very rarely is a player of 36 still playing top football for his country. He’s also quite likely to lead us to the Olympics next year, too – indicating just how good a player he still is.

Still, nobody can pass a ball better than him. Nor can they cross better, or take set-pieces as well. He truly is a one-of-a-kind player, and lucky enough for the England team, he plays for them. Without him, they’d have been half the team they were between 2000 and 2006.

To answer my original question, yes, he most certainly is a prized asset. The likelihood of any team turning down David Beckham is very slim. It is testimony to him that Sir Alex Ferguson would have him back to Manchester United. He is an inspirational figurehead for the Beautiful Game.

Agree? Disagree?! Contact me on Twitter – I’m @Adam9309, or use the official site account – @bpfootball!

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The End of the Road for Rio?

Originally posted on Stretty News.

So for the second Champions League game running, we see Rio Ferdinand omitted from the squad and he will play no part in tomorrow’s game with Otelul Galati.

This comes after rumours appeared of offers for Rio to play in the MLS, most notably with Chicago Fire, and even a few whispers of a comeback to Upton Park, with West Ham supposedly making a cheeky loan bid.

Does that indicate tha Fergie believes he may be ‘past it’? Or is this reminiscent of the Tottenham philosophy with Ledley King, and keeping one of our best defenders fit for crucial games?

Personally, I think it may be the sign that Rio is close to either leaving the club, or retiring. I believe Fergie may choose to keep him as a squad player, like that of Gary Neville, but equally, he can be used in necessary situations.

We have two of the best young English defenders in our ranks, in Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. Equally, we have Nemanja Vidic who will built a steel curtain if he needs to to sop the ball passing him. The continued interest in Raphäel Varane after the signature of Phil Jones was confirmed shows that Fergie was, and is still shopping around for a world-class young central defender. Obviously, with Varane’s move to Real Madrid, it won’t be him, but there’s still plenty of rumours floating around.

Rio was affected by his injuries last season, and seemingly this is still affecting him this season too. Writing him off would be the wrong thing to do, but not catering for a team without him could be catastrophic. Our defensive frailties have been displayed over the last few weeks, and therefore strengthening is needed. But who knows if, or even when that will come….

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For Those Non Technical Peeps Baffled about Apple iOS 5

Originally posted on Best of Hitchin.

Apple released the long-awaited iOS 5 yesterday afternoon, including a host of new features for your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The new operating system brings extra functionality across all your devices, and ties together all the new software released by Apple over the last few weeks and months.

iOS is the term given by Apple to their operating system for their iOS devices – basically, any touch-screen Apple device. The update is a big one – 774MB, but depending on your internet speed, it can download in anything from 10 minutes to over an hour. Unfortunately, you have to download the software for each device you own, so if you have an iPhone and an iPad, you’ll have to update both separately.

There’s a few big features that you’ll notice on upload – Newsstand is a new app that allows you to subscribe to magazines and newspaper which are downloaded with every new issue – iBooks for the print industry. iMessage is another new feature – an instant messaging service across all iOS devices, allowing you to send text-like messages from an iPhone to an iPad, or from an iPod Touch to an iPhone, and so on and so forth. It’s very similar to Blackbery Messenger, but so far, without any crashes…

Notification Center gets rid of those annoying pop-up notifications that appeared all the time with new texts, emails, or updates from apps, and places them in one very easy-to-read screen accessible from swiping from the top of the screen. Reminders is also a new feature, giving you access to a ‘To Do List’ type feature, but incorporating new geo-fencing technology. For example, if you set up a reminder called ‘Feed The Dog’, and make sure it is set to remind you at ‘Home’, the moment you walk in your front door, a notification will be sent to remind you to do so. A very clever concept.

There’s plenty of other smaller updates – changes to Mail, a re-designed Messages, tabbed browsing in Safari, Twitter integration, Wi-Fi synchronisation to your iTunes library…. The list goes on. But this will be the last time you make such a big update – Apple are moving to Delta updates for their iOS software. That means you’ll only download and update what’s changed within the software, as opposed to the whole package. Quicker, easy, cleaner, and a lot more user-friendly.

Don’t be too daunted by the update – its very simple to do, and nice and easy to get your head around. Just plug your device in to your PC or Mac, and click ‘Download and Update.’ You won’t be able to use your device when the update starts, so make sure you’ve got a bit of downtime when you plug in, but it’s completely worth it.

Don’t forget – if you have any problems or troubles, you can ask Parc Computers for help on our Facebook page, by Tweeting us, dropping us an email, ringing us on 01462 434082 or even pop in to our store on Hermitage Road in Hitchin!

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Sebastian Vettel: The Best and Worst News for Formula One?

Originally posted on Sport Witness.

Today, I’m going to write about my second sporting passion – Formula One. And how Sebastian Vettel has not only completed the sport, but is also well on the way to potentially dominating, and ruining it too.

That will probably come as quite a big shock to the majority of you – slagging off a man at the very top of his sport isn’t something done very often. But what’s happening to F1 is going to affect the sport for the next decade, and will certainly destroy some fans’ belief and devotion.

We’re now fifteen races into the 2011 season, with four to go between now and the end of November. With the World Championship all wrapped up, and Red Bull only needing two wins in the next two races to win the Constructor’s Championship too, their dominance for a second successive season has led to some of the teams beginning to settle for second place.

As a Business Studies student, it reminds me very much of the cola market. With Coca-Cola having a near-dominance of the market, Pepsi have decided that their corporate objective is to ‘remain as the second biggest brand in the cola market’. Hardly high aspirations for such a large company, but with the strength of the competition, there’s nothing they can possibly do about it. And Formula One is moving in exactly the same direction.

Don’t get me wrong, without Vettel, F1 would become very dull. He puts in the fastest laps of all twenty-four drivers, and still strives to beat his own time. He starts on pole, and is disappointed with anything but a first place finish. He is always looking to beat not only the best, but his best too, and that has led to his success. His nine wins already this season, of which eight came from pole position, have proven he can, and probably will be teh greatest driver the sport has ever seen. Forget Schumacher, Senna, Prost, Villeneuve, Fangio, Lauda, or even the great Sir Jackie Stewart – Vettel is soon to become leading man. At the age of just 24, he is already a Double World Champion – and doesn’t show any sign of stopping.

But is that dominance just going to prove far, far too much? Here in the UK we’ve seen a resurgence of the sport thanks to the rather excellent coverage presented by the BBC – over six million people are regularly tuning in to the race on a Sunday afternoon, which hasn’t been seen for over twenty years. This will, of course, all change next year with the BBC-Sky partnership, but the point still stands – will this resurgence continue if one man dominates the sport, or is it the competitive nature of the sport that has brought new fans to their TV screens?

Here in the UK, viewing figures of the sport dropped considerably when Schumacher dominated the sport, and the main Sunday race was struggling to even gain 3m viewers on ITV. Now, thanks to the introduction of KERS and DRS in encourage overtaking, the more competition in the field, and the depth and strength of the drivers available to the teams, six million fans watch, and well over 9m people have watched the final race of the season for the previous four seasons, on both ITV and the BBC.

Will it change again? Yes, I believe it will – the fans want to see competition. I know full well that if I could predict a race winner week in, week out, I would never have started watching the sport. It will become dull, repetitive, and all those news fans of the sport, allowing for Bernie Ecclestone to expand into new territory, will begin to drop off.

Next year, we see the new track in the US join the schedule, alongside the rescheduled Bahrain GP. In 2014, Russia joins the party, and there’s talk of Qatar, South Africa and Croatia joining over the next few years. The sport continues to grow, and more and more people are taking note. A fan base in new countries is growing, and the last thing we need at this moment in time is a complete dominance from one driver, and one team.

I just hope and pray that I am totally and utterly wrong.

Agree with me? Want to add your tuppence worth? Follow me on Twitter – I’m @Adam9309 – or find me on my own blog!

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Blogging About Bloggers Blogging On Their Blogs

Originally posted on General Musings of an Idiot.

There are so many blogs on the internet. Millions and millions of people writing daily about what happens in their life, what their job is, and what their mission in life has become. There’s an infinite plethora of info on the internet of people, places, groups, cults, companies, choices… The list goes on.

But we all have our favourites. Hopefully, the fact you’re reading this indicates you quite like what I write, and that’s a very humbling thought. But if not – welcome aboard lovely internet person. Or foreign search engine.

I have my favourites – I have a list of blogs I check on a daily basis for updates, or changes – and that’s because they entertain me, they inform me, and they make me feel better. Some may call it an addiction, but for me it’s now just part of my daily routine. So I figured I’d blog about my favourite five bloggers who blog about their blogs. Or something like that.

Poppy Dinsey – What I Wore Today

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My favourite blog in the whole wide world is ‘What I Wore Today’, by Miss Poppy Dinsey. Poppy blogs about her daily outfits, and her New Years’ Resolution became an addiction. And is now her job.

You see, Poppy now runs What I Wore Today as a fashion social network. She’s made a name for herself, and she’s now very successful because of it. She even has an iPhone app – kind of an ultimate goal for me…

She’s become a sort of cult hero to me – she gave me a different outlook on blogging, and having followed her all the way, it makes sense to only keep following her journey, and continue to watch her career blossom and become incredibly successful.

I’ve followed Poppy’s blog for coming up two years – it was February 2010 when I first heard about her, and now she’s an up and coming star of not just the fashion world, but the media world too. It says a lot when even my Business Studies teacher last year had heard of her – he was hardly a die-hard fashion fan, put it that way…

You can find What I Wore Today right here, or follow Poppy on Twitter by clicking on this one. Or even follow WIWT on Twitter too. Clever.

Alice Harold – More Than Toast

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If it wasn’t for What I Wore Today’s social networking re-launch, I’d have never heard of Alice, and I’d certainly never have found More Than Toast. MTT is Alice’s little spot on the World Wide Web, with all her musings and bits and bobs going on in her life. It’s strangely addictive.

The thing with blogs like this is you enjoy reading them, but by the time you start telling people about them, you feel like a stalker. I know Alice has a husband called Will, and the most gorgeous daughter called Elfie. I know Alice is pregnant again, and the baby is due in May. I know she has a bit of an unhealthy obsession for Apple products. (don’t we all?!) I know she has 98 things left on her Life List, and then she’ll be satisfied. And that’s all from reading her work…

Her blog is a bit of calm away from the storm, to be honest with you. I love reading about happy things, and everything that appears on Alice’s blog is happy, and smiley, and always leaves me chuckling by the end. Anyone who announces their pregnancy with ‘I’m knocked up again!’ or calls their unborn baby ‘Foetus’ automatically gains ‘Legendary’ status to me. She’s just one of those human beings you can only love. And I’ve never met her. *feels stalkerish again…*

If you have five minutes, go have a look at More Than Toast – you really won’t be disappointed. And then go follow Alice on Twitter too, and smile even more.

Natasha Henry – So Natasha Says.

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Like myself, Natasha wants to be a sports journalist. Admittedly, she’s a little further on than I am – training as we speak, and already writing for some of the biggest sports blogs on the net, but her blog is a different look on football. It’s a fresh take from a fresh mind on what goes on. So Natasha Says is just a great little blog.

She may be a Gooner, but don’t hold that against her – she’s already suffered enough this season… Her writing is very inspiring in a way – it’s quite thought provoking and does make you consider your own views. It’s a fantastic way to discover what’s going on, and her look on it all is great.

Throw into the mix that she’s also a really quite lovely person, and willing to help with anything. I have a bit of a soft spot for Tasha, and she’s one of my favourite people on Twitter too.

So, go see So Natasha Says, and follow her on Twitter too. I promise you it’s worth it.

Callum Winterford – Student Daily

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As you will be aware by now, there was a time where I was going to university, in particular City Uni London. That rather wonderful ‘school administrative error’ scuppered those hopes this year, but there wasn’t a hope in hell I was missing out on a year’s worth of writing and learning. And having had a few Google searches and a quick Facebook page scour, I came across this.

Callum is studying Journalism at City, and is in his first year. We would have been on the same course had my life taking a slightly different path. But Student Daily is really quite a brilliant blog – a different perspective on the events going on in our world.

Informative, witty, and interesting, Student Daily ticks the box of every aspect a good blog should be. It’s a really decent read, everything flows nicely together, and it’s a bit different to all the other student blogs trying to inform and entertain on the web.

Not only that, but Callum wants to be on Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports. I rest my case – it’s a winner.

If you get the chance, you can read Student Daily here, or follow Callum on Twitter too. I just have. So now it’s your go.

Angie Dudley – Bakerella

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I have a few passions in my life. One is for football – in particular Manchester United. Another is technology, and embracing what new products are brought to the table. I love to write, and I love to continually be inspired. And I love to bake.

Baking is one of those things I have always loved to do. From a child licking the cake bowl, to leaving bread dough to prove and just being so tempted to start kneading it again, to making intricate birthday cakes for friends to eat alongside their company. It’s what I’m passionate about.

I will guarantee that Bakerella will inspire and ignite your passion, too. Angie has built up her blog of cakes and all sorts of sugary goodness, and soon releases her own cookbook on cake pops. It’s becoming a bit of a phenomenon.

Whether it’s a recipe you’re after, or a little inspiration, or even just to admire the beautiful images strewn throughout her posts and pages, you need to have a bit of Bakerella in your life.

I mean, everybody has a baking memory, don’t they? A special brithday cake, or your wedding cake, or that one moment in your life where the realisation kicked in over a biscuit. Okay, that last one was clutching at straws, but you get my point…

Angie’s blog is so wonderfully inspiring, and it’s always worth checking, and seeing what is going on in her cake tin world. It’s a beautiful blog, and you’ll certainly find something that will get you wanting to get in the kitchen.

Bakerella can be found here, or you could follow Angie on Twitter here.

Blogging has become a part of our society, and has allowed normal, bog-standard people to have their say on any subject known to man. It’s become a platform for people to have a say, just like I’m doing, and just like the five people above do too.

And if I can take a little bit from all five of those blogs, and put them into my big pot of inspiration, then this place will become a little bit better, and a little bit brighter. Lovely stuff.

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