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kushiro last won the day on 15 December 2017

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  1. Shinji v Shinji in the All-Aragon Promotion Race I'm sure everyone's checking the Segunda Division updates by the hour but just in case you're not, Shinji's team Huesca lost a key game in the promotion race - 2-1 at Deportivo - but somehow came out of the weekend in a stronger position, with one of their main rivals for the second automatic promotion spot Real Zaragoza losing both their games in the last few days, and the other, Almeria, also losing. So Huesca are level with Zaragoza on points but ahead of them due to their better head to head results, with Almeria a point further back. For reasons I'm not sure of, Okazaki was just a sub at the weekend. Was he rested? Surely not dropped afer his winner last time out. He did get on for the last twenty minutes (bit of a reversal of his Leicester experience). Zaragoza and Huesca are actually local rivals - the two professsional clubs in the Aragon region of Northern Spain. A Huesca fan seems to have been busy on the region's wikipdeia page recently, where it tells you they are 'currently the best team in Aragon', quite a bold statement to make when they're only ahead of their rivals in the table on a technicality. The other Japanese Shinji (Kagawa) is in the Zaragoza squad - though he's been struggling to make the starting line up recently. Kagawa's another member of the 'Japanese players with a Premier League winners' medal' club of course - membership of which has recently stretched to three with Minamino at Liverpool. Looking at the remaining fixtures Huesca seem to have a great chance - two at home and two easy looking away games - one against a club already relegated (Santander) and another one with nothing to play for (Gijon). A promotion race is a new experience for Okazaki - every season until this one he's played in the top flight, whether in the J League, the Bundesliga or the Premier League. Would be great to see him in the top flight in Spain. Huesca's next game is tomorrow - home to Alcorcon. It all climaxes a week earlier than the Premier League - we'll know the final outcome shortly after our game at Spurs on July 19th.
  2. Shinji could be in the Spanish top division next season. Yesterday his winning goal left Huesca in second place in a really tight race for promotion. Two go up automatically, the next four into play-offs: Cadiz 37 63 Huesca 37 61 Zaragoza 36 61 Almeria 37 60 Elche 37 52 Girona 36 52 Here's his goal yesterday. Worst marking ever, but who cares. It cheered me up.
  3. Hawkeye at the Holte End. Nice memories...
  4. His biggest tournament victory was the Mercantile Credit Classic in Warrington in January 1985. He beat Steve Davis 9-8 in the semi-final on Friday then beat Cliff Thorburn 13-8 in the final over the weekend. This is from Gary Lineker's column in the Sports Mercury, January 19th: As soon as our match against Stoke last Saturday came to an end, I drove north (to Warrington) to watch him, stayed overnight, then returned the next morning for a light training session...which lasted only ten minutes! Back I went, just so I could be there to see Willie's triumph. I know Cliff Thorburn very well, but I was obviously rooting for Willie to win, and it was a marvelous occasion. I probably enjoyed his win over Steve Davis more than the final because it was a very special atmosphere that night. Everyone seemed to be on Willie's side so it was a popular win. I reckon I must have traveled more than 1,000 miles over the three days, but it was cetainly worth it. This letter appeared in the Mercury: What exciting news about Willie Thorne. It has brought great honour to the city. It's amazing how fortunate Leicester is to have so many famous sportsmen representing it. The England rugby team is being skippered by Paul Dodge, David Gower is leading the England touring party in India, Willie Thorne's best friend Gary Lineker looks like bringing great honours in the soccer world. We must also not forget the boxing world with Sibbo and co. Leicester folk must be the envy of the country. The letter prompted this effort from the Mercury cartoonist:
  5. Most of the highlights are on here already - see pages 21 and 22. I'll have a look if there's anything else worth adding. One revelation from the book he put out the following year was that his eldest son is, would you believe, a Spurs fan. Look at this from the title celebrations. Under the Leicester shirt it looks like something he might have picked up in the Spurs souvenir shop.
  6. After our title win in 2016 Shinji published his diary of the season in Japanese. You might recall I put some English translations on here (see pages 21 and 22 of the thread). People were asking me to translate more sections but I said at the time that I was reluctant because some parts were very personal and seemed targeted at a Japanese audience only - making them more widely available seemed almost like an invasion of privacy. I thought that maybe after he'd left the club I'd go back and put a bit more on here. Well, as it's May 15th - four years to the day since we rounded off the season at Stamford Bridge, here's what Shinji's diary said after the game: Damn! Right to the very end the frustration continued. May 15th. The last game of the season, at Chelsea. I was dropped. Not for Ulloa, but for Andy King, who came in to make a three man central midfiled. 'He's still not given up the 4-3-3...'. Like before, the formation didn't work. Chelsea were in control in the first half, and I was already being told to warm up. As I thought, my work rate was important for the team. I came on for the second half. I wanted to get out there, put myself about and run all over the place. Gradually the game changed. We started putting Chelsea under pressure. I'd pick the ball up, turn, lay it off, then lose my marker and ask for a return pass. Midway though the second half, I was in space behind Vardy and shouted to Drinkwater to play me in. The pass didn't arrive. 'Hey, Drinky! Get your head up and look for me when I make those runs!' This was his reply: 'Calm down, Shinji. Leave that to Vardy. You come and help me back here'. Vardy and Mahrez are the golascorers, you do the job you've been given. I'm originally a striker - but I've been put in this role so my views aren't heard. In the end, that's how it's been for the whole year. I kept trying to get into goalscoring positions because that's what I am - a goal getter. If I don't get goals my place in the team and my reputation are at stake. I wanted to get into double figures for the season but in the end I only got five. In the second half of the season I could see the way the team was set up so we could go for the title, and I played my part in that to the full, but I had no clear achievements to show. Drinkwater's long shot meant the game finished 1-1. At the end, we went to the away end to salute the fans who'd come down to London. I went up to Christian Fuchs and started telling him what kind of cross I wanted him to put in for me. This wasn't planning ahead for next season, I was just thinking I need to say this now. All my teammates were smiling at the season finally being over, but I didn't feel that way. I couldn't hold it back. I looked up at the sky and just let out a sigh. I knew I should have been smiling but I couldn't. Inside me were anger and frustration. Leicester had done something great, but I had achieved nothing.
  7. Just been reading a lot about him after he passed away. Seems like he was such a fantastic bloke. The bit in this about Graziani is one of the most moving things I've ever read about a footballer. https://www.lfchistory.net/Articles/Article/3872 He also says in that interview he was 'conceived in Leicester', while on his wiki page it says he was born in Leicester. Would love to know more. In another piece he said his dad, Arthur Robinson, was a publican at the time, before the family moved to Blackpool to run a guest house. Which pub in Leicester?? Any idea?
  8. This is the oldest one I'm aware of, from 1907.
  9. kushiro

    Corona Virus

    Amazing interview on Sky News this morning with Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific advisor, who was defending the government's response. He seemed very reasonable, but there was a phrase he used which was very revealing, which I've highlighted: Patrick Vallance: It is the case that if you completely locked down absolutely everything, probably for a period of four months or more, then you would suppress this virus. All of the evidence from previous epidemics suggests that when you do that and then you release it (the lock down) then it all comes back again. So the other part of this is to make sure we don't end up with a sudden peak again in the winter which is even larger which causes even more problems. So we want to suppress it, not get rid of it completely, which you can't do anyway, not suppress it so we get the second peak, and also allow enough of us, who are going to get mild illness, to become immune to this, to help with the sort of whole population response which would protect everybody. Sky: That herd immunity, I know you talked about it yesterday when you were appearing with the Prime Minister. In terms of building up a herd immunity within the UK, what sort of percentage of people need to have contracted the virus? PV: Probably about 60% or so. We think this virus is likely to be one that comes back year on year, like a seasonal virus, and communities will become immune to it, and that's going to be an important part of controlling this longer term. Sky: 60%? PV: 60% is the sort of figure you need to get herd immunity. Sky: Even looking at the best case scenario, you were talking last week of half of 1% to 1% fatality, that's an awful lot of people dying in this country. PV: Of course we do face the prospect, as the PM was saying yesterday, of an awful lot of people dying - that is a real prospect. This is a nasty disease. For most people it's a mild disease. It's important to note that we don't know yet what proportion of people who have this are completely asymptomatic. The only cases at the moment are largely people who've had symptoms. That means that estimating the death rate from this is quite difficult.
  10. I'm grabbing any bit of good news I can get at the moment - and what better than seeing Shinji smile after scoring with a diving header - something that has happened in his last two games for Huesca. The diving header was always his party piece - he scored a load in the J-League, in Germany and for Japan. Strangely, it never happened once in his four years at Leicester. He's on a a bit of a hot streak at the moment - with three goals in those last two games (the other one also with his head).
  11. That photo of The Nest is so evocative. Did Leicester ever play at that amazing little ground? That's what I've just been trying to find out with help from Of Fossils and Foxes. With the last match at The Nest in 1935 I wasn't sure if the two clubs would have been in the same division before then. Actually it was so close - the day of the last League game at the ground, May 4th 1935, was the day we were relegated to join the Canaries in Division Two. The first League game between the clubs was the following September at their new ground - Carrow Road. So no Leicester games there? We'd never met in the Cup before then, either. But how about friendlies? Back to the ever helpful Of Fossils and Foxes. which, incrediby, lists every friendly match we've ever played. And there on the list we find 'Norwich away, April 1906'. But then a quick wiki check tells me that in 1906 Norwich were still playing at the Newmarket Road ground and wouldn't move to The Nest until 1908! Drat. But wait - there was one more friendly in Norwich - in May 1927. There may not have been any Leicester fans at the game, but in the 'Norwich Hospital Cup', the score was Norwich 1 Leicester 4, with goals from Arthur Chandler (2), Ernie Hine and Hugh Adcock. So we did play at The Nest. But what on earth is the 'Norwich Hospital Cup' ?? - well, if you google it you find that, while for us it was just a friendly match, for Tottenham it was recently named on the club's website as part of their official list of honours! Something they got a lot of stick for: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-6519705/Fans-ridicule-Spurs-including-long-list-minor-trophies-honours-club-website.html
  12. Fancy a bit of youtube wallowing while things are quiet? I totally love the guy, but I had no idea until recently that Maritn O'Neill had scored a whole load of amazing goals in his playing career. If you look in some of the more obscure corners of youtube you can find some real stunners. Here's a few of them. I'll leave out the Forest goals, of course. Well, apart from this one... December 1971 Martin, aged 19, had just arrived in England from Irish side Distillery. Forest are struggling in 20th place, and go to Old Trafford with United top of the League. United are 3-1 up and manager Matt Gillies (yes, him) decides to send on sub O'Neill to try and salvage something.... Fast forward to April 1983. Norwich are playing at Anfield, where Liverpool can seal the title with a victory. Martin has something to say about that: Martin then signed for Notts County and scored a great goal at Filbert Street in the first game of the 83/84 season - I remember watching it from the Main Stand Enclosure - a direct free kick from 30 yards past Mark Grew. No footage of that one, but here's another rasper from later that season: And he could do it for Northern Ireland, too. This is from a World Cup qualifier v Romania in 1984. Someone with more tech know-how than me ought to string these together into a single video. Something Martin could use in arguments like this one:
  13. With the Liverpool game coming up, time for a bit of history. Which team were known as the Ice Kings in 1963? Most people would say 'Leicester' but in fact Liverpool were given the same name around that time - because they went on a similarly incredible run during that long, bitter winter. But then, on March 2nd, the two sides came face to face. Going into the game at Anfield Leicester were on a run of seven straight wins, while Liverpool were unbeaten in twelve, winning nine of them. Something had to give. Leicester won 2-0, and the 'Ice Kings' crown was theirs. But Leicester didn't just win, they mesmerized Liverpool and especially Bill Shankly with their progressive football. This was how the game was reported in the press: 'Gentlemen! The toast is Leicester City, the most complete side in the Football League today. The Leicester players were numbered apparently merely to fill in the blank spaces that might otherwise have been left on the backs of their jerseys and in the programmes, for with few exceptions the positions they occupied bore no relation to the numerical cue. There were times when one felt almost tempted to make a check on the number of players in Leicester's blue, for the illusion was there that the sides were not evenly matched'. Shankly was so impressed by the performance that he started to model Liverpool's play on the same system. This development forms one of the key passages of David Peace's great book about Shankly, 'Red or Dead', in which he uses a prose style that mimics the rhythmic relentlessness that took Liverpool to so many titles in the following years. Here's the passage in full: In the house, in their kitchen. In the night, and in the silence. At the table, in the chair. In the night and in the silence. Bill stared at the bowls and the plates, the salt and pepper pots, the jars of honey and marmalade. Bill picked up the bowls and the plates., the salt and pepper pots, the jars of honey and marmalade. Bill moved the bowls and the plates, the salt and pepper pots, the jars of honey and marmalade to the edges of the cloth, to the sides of the table. Bill picked up the four forks and the four knives and the four spoons. Bill held the four forks and the four knives and the four spoons in is hand. Bill stared down at the tablecloth. Bill placed one spoon on the cloth. Banks. Bill placed two other spoons in front of the first spoon. Sjoberg, Norman. Bill placed three forks in front of the spoons. McLintock, King, Appleton. Bill placed the four knives in front of the three forks. Riley, Cross, Gibson, Stringfellow. Bill placed the last fork in front of the four knives. Keyworth. At the table, in the chair. In the night and in the silence. Bill stared down at the three spoons, the four forks and the four knives. And the three spoons, the four forks and the four knives began to move. They began to turn. And the three spooons, the four forks and the four knives would not stop moving. They would not stop turning. The three spoons, the four forks and the four knives spinning and swirling before his eyes. Like cogs. Moving and turning, spinning and swirling before Bill’s eyes. Like gears. Moving and turning, spinning and swirling. Never pausing, never stopping. Only moving, only turning. Like cogs. Always spinning, always swirling. Like gears. At the table, in the chair. In the night and in the silence. Bill felt nauseous. Bill felt sick. Bill dropped the last spoon on to the kitchen floor. Bill rubbed his eyes. At the table, in the chair. In the night and in the silence. Bill stood up. Bill walked back out of the kitchen. Bill walked back into the other room. Bill walked back over to the other chair. Bill picked up his book from the arm of the chair. His book of names, his book of notes. Bill walked back out of the room. Bill walked back into the kitchen. Bill sat back down. At the table, in the chair. In the night and in the silence. Bill stared back down at the three spoons, the four forks and the four knives. Bill took out his pen. His red pen. Bill opened his book. His book of names, his book of notes. And at the table, in the chair. In the night and in the silence. Bill began to write. To write down names, to write down notes. To draw squares, to draw arrows. To make diagrams, to make plans. A few weeks later the teams met again in the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsbrough and Leicester won that one too, though Liverpool dominated the match. At that point Leicester were chasing the double, but of course they ended up with nothing. Liverpool's domination of English football began the following season. It's still a matter of debate whether Liverpool fans first started singing You'll Never Walk Alone following that FA Cup semi-final, or later in 1963 when the song became a hit for Gerry and The Pacemakers. But when we hear that song tomorrow we might reflect on the fact that without that great Leicester side of Matt Gillies (ably assisted by coach Bert Johnson), history could have been very different.
  14. Apparently there's a salary cap system and Shinji's wage demands would have taken Malaga over the limit.
  15. According to reports in Japan his most likely destination now is another Spanish Liga 2 side - Huesca.
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