Today’s 1 – 0 loss to local Devon rivals Exeter City mean that Argyle’s destiny is not in their own hands. If Walsall draw or win their final game of the season, Argyle are relegated; and/or Dagenham & Redbridge win their final game of the season, Argyle are relegated, it’s that simple. Plymouth do have a game in hand over all the other teams in the relegation battle but today’s game was crucial to Plymouth’s survival bid, even if Argyle can win their final two games, survival is unlikely. I can not tell you how much it saddens me to say that having supported my home town club since five years of age. I have no complaints about the result today; Exeter City was the better side and deserved the win. I do wonder what relegation will bring for Argyle; being a League 2 side will certainly dilute the club’s value and might scupper any potential buy out and the club may not be around to play in League 2. The club is in the hands of the creditors right now, if they don’t agree to take less than one pence per pound owed, the club is effectively gone as it seems that preferred buyer James Brent isn’t willing to pay the total debt of the club to take ownership.
In other football news, I am going to utter a phrase I thought I never would say, here it comes; c’mon Chelsea! If Chelsea beat Tottenham Hotspur (currently 1 – 1 at half time), and Liverpool beat Newcastle tomorrow, the Reds will move into fifth place in the league which means Europa cup football next season if Liverpool can maintain that advantage until the end of the season.
Yesterday I went out with my mother-in-law to buy some equipment to stream Netflix wirelessly throughout her house and ended up buying two Roku XD boxes, one Sony BDPS580 BluRay player and a Linksys E1000 wireless N router to pull everything together. The Linksys router works absolutely fine as I knew it would as we have an older version of the router ourselves and never had a problem. I set up the router first as nothing will work without that which was fairly painless as I have setup numerous Linksys routers in the past, set-up security so the neighbours couldn’t take advantage and moved onto the Roku box. The Roku box initially had some trouble connecting to the router despite being the closest to the router, a quick reset of the router fixed that issue though. Then I get a code (which admittedly I didn’t read the message) and try to input that code like I did on the PS3 and Insignia Blu-Ray player we have at home and of course it didn’t understand the code as it was intended for Roku.com which I realised when returning to the Roku box. So I signed upto Roku.com and inputted the code then it asked for credit car details or a paypal account, just in case I wanted to order movies on demand. I find it unacceptable that you can not just use the box for Netflix without adding card details into a service you don’t want to use. Anyway once that part was done, I could get the code I needed to insert into Netflix.com to add a device. The Roku XD box works well enough, a little slow in reacting to input but once the programme is streaming it works absolutely fine, the video and sound quality is good on the 19in HDTV in the kitchen so overall it’s good but annoying to have to input card details to use the box.
The Sony BDPS580 is a good BluRay player, the interface looks and feels like that of the PS3 and the NetFlix streaming is great, good signal from the wireless built into the unit; four out of five bar signal strength on a completely different level from the router, streaming HD at 5.5Mbps so performance wise it’s good. Haven’t tested the Blu-Ray as yet as there wasn’t any Blu-Ray discs available as it’s my mother-in-laws first Blu-Ray player. The unit is connected to a 60in Sony DLP TV which isn’t the best quality by today’s standards but it does the job connected via a component cable capable of 1080i resolutions. But again the annoyance is having to sign upto SonyStyle.com to be able to get the thing working before I could add the device to Netflix, we didn’t need to add card details this time but it’s an unneeded step to complicate matters, all that should be needed is a device code for Netflix. The player itself as well as streaming Netflix has DLNA steaming from a local DLNA network resource, which is something I wanted myself for our bedroom but at $200 it’s too much for such a feature as we already have a player that streams Netflix to our bedroom!
While on the subject of Sony; I got an Email yesterday from the Japanese electronics giant saying I am one of the 77 million people that have had their details stolen from PSN including name, city, state and zip address details as well as Email address, PSN username and password. The most annoying thing is that it took over a week to notify me of this; I knew what was happening as I have been keeping upto date with the news on this issue as I have been effected by not being able to use PSN since the hack. Well done Sony, not only have you not protected privileged information but you fail to tell people of this rather huge security breach. I had never inputted card details into the system and definitely will not in the future as my data is clearly not safe on your network!
Now the royal wedding is over and done with and the clear up has already begun; I say just one thing; how much did this unnecessarily lavish wedding cost the taxpayer with all the police and security alone? In this time of financial need, the royals needed to wind their heads in and have a wedding that reflects the current financial struggles of the millions they claim to represent!
Plymouth Argyle are now only three points, that’s just one win away from league survival; many included myself wrote off Argyle’s chances of survival after being deducted 10 points by the league for entering administration; I am very happily eating my words right now! I can not possibly criticise the Argyle squad in the last few games, talk about total commitment from the team; this is even more amazing as these players haven’t been paid by the club for coming up to four months. The game wasn’t pretty but who cares about pretty football when your back is against the wall like now. Simon Walton scored the only goal of the game with a long range effort from outside the box that found its way into the back of the net. It could have been 2 – 0 near the end but Yannick Bolasie had his shot tipped onto the crossbar. Overall a great team performance, it seems these Argyle players are truly proud to wear the green jersey of the Pilgrims judging by the heart and soul put into their recent performances, I really couldn’t praise them any more!!! So three points away from safety and have one game in hand over all their immediate rivals, the great escape is most definitely on, three more games, Exeter away (let us win this one, local derby n’all), Southampton and Leyton Orient at Home Park, nail biting end to the season for Argyle fans! Swindon Town are the first casualty of the year; being relegated to League Two after defeat at Hillsborough, I am so thankful that I am not writing that about Argyle at this time of the season, I now have high hopes of survival this year after the worse year in the club’s long history! Let’s hope that the administrators, potential buyers and creditors can sort something out so the Green Army can march on to another season of League One football!
Liverpool’s hopes of European football is alive and well after beating Birmingham City 5 – 0 in front of a packed Anfield as Tottenham could only manage a 2 – 2 draw with West Brom. Spurs are now only three points away and Manchester City are only four points away, European football whether it be Champions League or Europa Cup is definitely on the cards with Liverpool playing Europa Cup hopefuls Spurs in the penultimate game of the season. Although Tottenham and Man City do have one and two games in hand respectively over Liverpool. In the game at Anfield yesterday; Maxi Rodriguez netted three times while Dirk Kuyt and Joe Cole grabbed a goal apiece. Liverpool were in total control of the game finishing the first half two goals to the good; and stepped up their performance in the second half once the Reds had a good cushion. The football that Liverpool are playing right now is worlds apart from the lacklustre performances under the Hicks/Gillett administration, the future looks good, the future looks red. In December it never looked like Liverpool would achieve anything this season, then came new owners NESV and Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish as manager and suddenly the Reds are on the verge of European football!
Sony’s Playstation Network is still down after five days; despite their claims that they are working 24 hours a day to fix the issue. The last status update was on the 22nd, which is three days ago. I know it’s a free service but Sony has based their advertising around the online capabilities of the PS3, and of course without PSN, the game updates can not be obtained and other PS3 applications are also inaccessible. Some members on the Playstation forums have been saying “give Sony a break”; I don’t think we should; many of us bought a PS3 for it’s online capabilities and Sony don’t seem to be in any rush to get the problem fixed; it’s been down for five days now and as today is a holiday, we won’t see any progress until Tuesday. Other’s have said that the downtime is because of the Japanese earthquake; again I believe this is a no go; the earthquake happened over a month ago and if the initial quake and tsunami didn’t take the servers down, the aftershocks wouldn’t have and I don’t believe the servers would have been located near the disaster area!
Plymouth Argyle kept their League One survival hopes alive by beating Dagenham & Redbridge 0 – 1 at Victoria Road and even better news; the Pilgrims are off the bottom of the league table. Plymouth are now upto the heady heights of 23rd and just five points away from survival with four games remaining, still tough going but very possible; two wins out of four can make it happen. But today’s result is the big one as it’s the only game against another relegation threatened team, the next four games are against top 10 teams. Today Rory Patterson was hero of the day scoring the only goal of the game but also managed to get himself sent off near the end of the game for a second bookable offence. It was a fairly even game from what I understand, it could have gone either way but Plymouth had the luck today; which makes a nice change, can I have some more sir?!
Despite the win; there is a down side for Argyle today, actually this news came yesterday; Administrator Brendan Guilfoyle has given creditors an ultimatum; either accept the offer or receive nothing as the club will be put into liquidation by the 6th May; one day before the end of the season for Argyle. The offer would mean that all the unsecured creditors accept 0.77 pence per pound owed. The way I see it; the creditors have no option as if the club is liquidated they will get nothing as profits from liquidation will go to the administrators and the three secured creditors. The club now has debts of £17.7m which includes wages owed to players and staff.
In tech news; it’s not been a good couple of days for Amazon and Sony. Let’s start with Amazon; the giant online retailer’s cloud computing system, EC2 went offline taking many well known websites with it; the network was down for much of the day yesterday. Also Sony’s Playstation Network was down all day yesterday and so far unavailable today meaning millions of Playstation owners are unable to log into their PSN accounts meaning that online play is… well OFFLINE. The former doesn’t really affect me as I don’t use the services hosted on the EC2 network. But not being able to log into PSN is a hassle as I have to login to PSN to access NetFlix; after several attempts to log in and getting the message that it’s down for maintenance after yesterday’s error message, NetFlix finally loads but it’s still annoying and of course Sony are very hush, hush!
The Plymouth Argyle players have turned down an offer of 15% of their April wages from administrator Brendan Guilfoyle saying they would rather see the money go to the backroom staff who have gone without pay since mid January. You don’t see that sort of generosity in the game these days, I have to give respect to the players for their actions, it just goes to show the solidarity between the players, manager and backroom staff. Without the squad playing for free and the backroom staff still coming to work despite no pay the club would have stopped functioning; this just shows the passion for the club and it’s survival! I really hope that some sort of deal can be done between the creditors and potential buyers, if the club goes under; everyone loses; but the lack of news is becoming increasingly worrying, I don’t believe in the philosophy of “no news is good news”, I want to know what is going on with my home football club, the club I have supported since five years of age; sadly I don’t see a deal happening before the end of the season!
In other random football news; Manchester United striker Michael Owen is bemused at being booed by Newcastle United fans in the scoreless draw between the Magpies and the Red Devils. I think that Newcastle fans have a right to boo the former Liverpool striker after seemingly abandoning the club after they got relegated to the Championship in 2008/09 season. He could have signed on for an extra season to help the Magpies gain promotion to the Premiership; a feat that the Tynesiders achieved without his help, but he elected to move to United on a free transfer, the interpretation is that he didn’t want to suffer the indignation of playing for a non-premiership club, or maybe he didn’t want to take the pay cut! We don’t know the full reason behind his move and he isn’t willing to tell his former club’s fans his reasons, maybe they’d understand if he had done so. Don’t be surprised about being booed by a former club when you can’t be bothered to explain your reasons. Take it on the chin instead of bitching on Twitter!
Formula One news; Rupert Murdoch and Carlos Slim are supposedly in talks to buy Formula One Management, a rumour that Bernie Ecclestone who runs Formula One on behalf of CVC who Ecclestone sold the commercial rights to in 2005 has strenuously denied. I personally don’t see this happening as I believe that the only way Bernie Ecclestone will release his grip on F1 will be in a pine box. Of course, CVC could sell the sport without Bernie’s approval as they own the sport; not the F1 supremo. There are all sorts of other issues; for example the Concorde agreement between the sport and the teams which state that it must be shown on free-to-air TV stations, I can’t see that Murdoch will want that as he owns a third of BSkyB, the British satellite broadcaster.
Chocolate teapot; glass hammer, handbrake on a canoe… all phrases I use to describe government departments, doesn’t matter what side of the Atlantic you’re on, they are always useless. This time comes from the Supplemental Security Income system, initially we were awarded $674 to help with Conner’s therapies for his autism, recently that amount dropped to $348 because they hadn’t been taking our child support into account until March 2011, five months after we initially submitted the child support information. Now we have to pay back nearly $800; so we will be down to about $280 per month because they will be taking almost $70 per month out of that SSI income. It really is a joke, it’s not our fault they overpaid us; we provided them with all the information they requested, it’s hardly our fault that their inept department takes five months to process that information. I recently started to look more intensively for work; the SSI payments are too erratic, we need a steady income to make plans for the future. The problem is that because Conner needs three to four therapy sessions per week and if both Erin and I are working full time, there won’t be time to take Conner to his appointments. Speaking of Conner’s therapy appointments; we should be able to start those again tomorrow as we have been granted assistance so the session cost has dropped from $95 per session which is almost impossible to manage for us to $19 per session; that’s five sessions for the price of one session. But we still have a debt to Heartspring now because for the past two months we thought our medical insurance was covering the cost; where in reality the insurance was covering 0% of the cost of the therapies.
I got the new Iron Maiden album “Final Frontier” yesterday and I have to say that I am massively disappointed. It took me a while to warm to the last album “A Matter of Life and Death” but it’s a reasonably good album after a few listens if different from previous Maiden outings; nowhere near what I have come to expect from Maiden though. This new album is pretty poor with the exception of the final track “When The Wild Wind Blows” which is one of Maiden’s trademark epic songs, redeemed the album a little, but still nowhere near the great epics of the past, I fear that if Maiden keep on churning out albums like this; I can see their normally loyal fan base stop buying their albums, by Maiden standards this album really isn’t good enough after 30 years of top tunes.
Liverpool who beat Manchester City 3 – 0 at Anfield last Monday could only manage a 1 – 1 draw with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. Liverpool seems to prefer to sit back and soak up the pressure and attack on the counter which didn’t pay off even with the Aerial threat of Carroll, the former Newcastle man could not reproduce the goal he scored against Arsenal earlier in the season while playing for the Magpies. I have to say that both defences were fantastic so a draw is a fair result although it does somewhat ruin Arsenal’s chances of beating Manchester United to the Premiership title. Speaking of United; they lost 1 – 0 to local rivals Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium to be knocked out of the FA cup. City will now face Stoke City in the FA Cup Final, Stoke demolished Bolton 0 – 5 at the Reebok Stadium. Back to the Liverpool Vs Arsenal game; both goals came in second half injury time, Jay Spearing brought down Cesc Fabregas in the 98th minute and Robin van Persie duly converted; I’m sure that Arsene Wenger was sure of three points but it wasn’t to be for the Gunners; Emmanuel Eboue fouled Lucas Leiva in the 102nd minute and Dirk Kuyt found the back of the net from the spot to give the Reds a share of the points. Liverpool still remain in sixth place four points away from Spurs in fifth place but the London based club have two games in hand, Liverpool will have to be exceptional to claim fifth spot given Tottenham’s form this season but you never know, Liverpool have the quality to do it; all they need now is a little bit of luck. And Manchester City are only a further three points away; so it’s not impossible to finish in the top four; there’s still 15 points up for grabs this season.
Plymouth Argyle on the other hand lost 2 – 1 against Peterborough at London Road. Carl Fletcher toe poked Argyle into the lead from Simon Walton’s free kick in the 38th minute. The Pilgrims held that lead until 15 minutes after the half time break when Ryan Bennett headed past Argyle keeper David Button from Grant McCann’s cross. Craig Mackail-Smith put the home team into the lead in the 70th minute. In the 93rd minute; Ryan Bennett almost went from hero to villain when he fouled Stephane Zubar to give Argyle a penalty. But Luke Summerfield failed to find the back of the net, Posh keeper Joe Lewis was equal to Summerfield’s spot kick to save Bennett’s blushes and give the home side all three points. Argyle manager Peter Reid believes that Argyle were the better side and I believe what he says as he is very much a man that calls a spade a spade; if he team played poorly he’ll say they played poorly. A point could make all the difference come the end of the season; sadly Summerfield’s missed penalty meant that point wasn’t forthcoming. Argyle are still stone last in the league and the gap to safety increases with three less points on the table, it’s getting increasingly tough for Argyle to avoid relegation to League 2. Meanwhile there is still very little news from Home Park concerning the takeover of the club, from what I can gather, despite a new buyer entering the ring there still seems to be deadlock between what potentials buyers are willing pay creditors and what the creditors want. Administrator Brendan Guilfoyle had urged creditors to accept the deal from the Akkeron Group led by James Brent. Two weeks have passed and still no break in the deadlock it seems, so the players and staff remain unpaid; although I know that the players have been bailed out by the PFA; but what of the background staff; have they received money from somewhere; surely they are in more dire need than the players.
Lewis Hamilton came back from sixth place to win with a fantastic drive to take the chequered flag, overtaking Button, Alonso, Rosberg, Massa and finally Vettel in the final dozen laps of the race. Jenson jumped Sebastian Vettel off the start to lead the race until the first pit stop but messed up his pit stop by driving into the Red Bull pit box with Vettel charging in behind him before sprinting forward one box to the McLaren pit box but the lost time cost him the lead as Vettel led Button out of the pit lane. Button has admitted that he wasn’t quick enough in the third and fourth stints and didn’t look after his tyres well enough which ultimately cost him a podium. Driver of the race for me was Mark Webber who had a disastrous first third of the race dropping back after initially making up some places at the start. The Aussie finished on the podium after starting 18th on the grid with an inspired drive in the final third of the race; at times Webber was three seconds faster than the race leaders, well done Mark Webber, never gave up on getting a result! Button finished in fourth place after being overtaken by Webber in the last two minutes of the race, Button must be gutted after leading the race into the first pit stop. Fifth is a good result for Mercedes GP and Nico Rosberg, it could have been a podium if he didn’t need to enter fuel saving mode near the end of the race. Sixth and seventh were the Ferrari duo; Felipe Massa finished ahead of Fernando for the second time this season; will Ferrari put all their eggs in the Massa basket should this trend continue; I suspect not! Michael Schumacher, Vitaly Petrov and Kamui Kobayashi rounded out the points scorers in eighth, ninth and tenth respectively. It seems that the KERS, DRS and new Pirelli tyres have improved the spectacle; I was sceptical after Australia and Malaysia but I have been somewhat converted after today’s race in China.
After today’s result; Sebastian Vettel still leads the drivers championship with 68 points, Lewis Hamilton moves back into second place, 21 points behind the German. Jenson Button slipped back to third place; a further nine points behind his team mate with Mark Webber on his tail just one point further adrift after his heroic drive today. It’s too early to call who is going to win the title this season; it still looks very open right now. If Red Bull can resolve their KERS problems it might be hard for the rest of the field to get wins unless the Red Bull drivers slip up or have a mechanical failure! But we know that McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes will never give up the chase!
The situation is Libya is getting ridiculous; many countries are talking about giving aid to the rebels to overthrow Col. Gaddafi. The UK is to send “non-lethal” aid to the rebels in the form of body armour, the US hasn’t ruled out sending arms to the rebels despite the arms embargo on the country and British MEP William Hague has suggested financial aid for the rebels, and a new international group on Libya has called for Gaddafi to stand down. Do they really think that words will force Gaddafi to walk away from power? The Libyan leader knows that as soon as he steps down, he’ll be arrested and tried for war crimes, the only way he’ll leave power is in a wooden box. Despite the atrocities; it’s still an internal matter, the UN and/or NATO shouldn’t be there in any capacity other than as peacekeepers providing humanitarian aid, funding the rebels and/or supplying arms is above and beyond the resolution as set out by the United Nations. And it seems to me that it’s the rebels that are calling the shots; commanding the NATO forces, I’m constantly reading about rebel commanders saying NATO must do this, NATO must do that, the rebels want the NATO forces to win the war for them, something that should not happen according to the UN resolution. Frankly this has turned into a huge mess and all the millions spent on “helping” the rebels could have been better used in the respective countries involved. The US has a huge deficit to make up; the government was going to be shut down a few days ago before being narrowly averted, sort out your own countries issues before interfering in other countries affairs.