Liam at 7 weeks

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Here’s Liam at 7 weeks. He is just beginning to smile.

And here is Dylan at the same age and wearing the same outfit.


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Liam John Teare

OK, we have now decided on his name. Liam John Teare. Much thought went into this grin

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New Baby Boy

Well, for all my friends at SuperNova here is a decentralised announcement from a central location – my weblog.

Gené – my wife – gave birth to a 9lb 2oz boy at 1.54pm Pacific today. He is 20.75” long. unbelieveably the hard part – pushing – took only 20 minutes. No name yet – we’re sleeping on it.

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More pictures at my Gallery site

New Baby

Well, Gené is going into Lucille Packard [children’s hospital] tomorrow to be induced for our second child. No doubt there will be news sometime during the day. Which means – of course – that I will miss SuperNova. Still some priorities have to come first grin

Manchester United 2 Arsenal 0

From today’s Sunday Times [UK]. How nice to see the youngsters of Manchester beat the unconvincing Arsenal team.

December 08, 2002

Hugh McIlvanney: Bitter Wenger loses the Old Trafford plot

Sir Alex Ferguson will have enjoyed the sight of Arsenal’s manager reacting in such an irrational fashion to this defeat

NOTHING about yesterday’s momentous victory is likely to please Manchester United more than the sourly irrational reaction of Arsène Wenger. According to the Arsenal manager’s comments at the end of the enthralling hour and a half, the league leaders were beaten by opponents who took an undeserved lead through an illegal goal and then concentrated almost exclusively on stubborn defence. It was, to say the least, an idiosyncratic interpretation.

In fact, Wenger’s view of events was too eccentric to be explained by the bias that is the prerogative of anybody in his position. There had to be a suspicion that his usual intelligent urbanity had been marginalised by angry disappointment over the 2-0 defeat. He sounded like a man who had been rattled.

The jolting effect the result had on him may have had less to do with the intensification of pressure at the top of the Premiership than with the identity of those inflicting the setback. United and Sir Alex Ferguson obviously rank among the adversaries to whom Wenger least enjoys yielding and after the home-and-away double his men achieved in the league last season this scoreline was bound to hurt.

Yet the extent to which Wenger re-wrote the narrative of the game was remarkable. He may have been justified in suggesting that the first goal was a turning-point, though it was struck by Juan Sebastian Veron as early as the 22nd minute, and he had undeniable grounds for complaining about how Ruud van Nistelrooy helped to control the ball in the build-up by employing his right arm. But the criticism of United’s performance that Wenger constructed on his resentment of that goal was a strangely extravagant edifice. Amid sarcastic musings about whether footballers should be allowed to indulge in a little basketball, he said bluntly of the opposition: “I can’t say I was impressed by their offensive game today. They defended well. After they got the first goal — and there was a definite handball — they could afford to concentrate on defending and that made things easier for them.”

He did acknowledge that United were “more aggressive and more committed than we were at important moments of the game” and that they “won more 50-50s”. Still, the tone of disparagement that ran through every mention he made of United’s approach was particularly noticeable when he argued that the Old Trafford crowd had been showing signs of turning on their favourites just before Veron scored. The idea that such an abandonment of traditional loyalties would have occurred so soon in such a crucial confrontation was bizarre in the extreme. And the peculiar thinking from Wenger was sustained when he hinted that the crowd’s support for the home side’s defensive activities had been vital during the rest of the match. The Highbury manager’s summing up was equally grudging in relation to the winners: “I think we got a good warning about how much teams want to beat us.”

The warnings the day held for him had rather wider implications. This was Arsenal’s fourth loss in their last eight Premiership engagements and that is not a statistic that sits comfortably with the quality of talent that overflows in their squad. Facing Ferguson in the throes of what he considered the worst injury crisis he has ever had to endure in nearly three decades as a manager, Wenger’s reigning champions should have been favourites to succeed even on hostile terrain. But Arsenal’s assumed superiority lasted only as long as the comparison was confined to lists of names on the programme.

They had most of the individuals with heavyweight reputations and such as Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Thierry Henry, Sylvain Wiltord and Dennis Bergkamp (a late substitute) should have been encouraged by not having to line up against the likes of Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand and Nicky Butt. However, the discrepancy in reputations did not mean much once the team sheets had materialised into flesh and blood entities. For United, the stoutness of the hearts pumping the blood became decisive.

Since the ignominious defeat by Manchester City on November 9, the cold fury of Ferguson’s response and the implacability of the demands communicated to the players have stirred an extraordinary response. The depth of combative spirit generated was conveyed yesterday by the fact that Veron was as ferociously competitive and influential as anybody on the pitch and that his fellow midfielder in red, Phil Neville, performed with such tireless appetite and effective zeal that he was named man of the match.

Though few would begrudge Neville the accolade, many felt that other candidates had claims at least as convincing: Paul Scholes, scorer of a memorable second goal; practically everyone in the splendidly resistant back line; Veron for having perhaps his best 90 minutes in the colours; and Van Nistelrooy, who led the attack boldly and skilfully and easily emerged ahead in any measurement of impact involving himself and Henry.

How could all this excellence manifest itself amid the negativity recognised by Wenger? The answer is that it couldn’t. The United obsession with defence existed only in the Frenchman’s imagination. The truth is that the core of Ferguson’s policy was to attack Arsenal high up the pitch, to challenge them everywhere and deny them the luxury of settling into their rhythm. Of course United defended wholeheartedly, and often brilliantly, when required. But they did not resort to a containment strategy after taking the lead and indeed when they scored their second with 17 minutes left they were so committed to aggression that Scholes continued to operate almost as an auxiliary centre-forward.

The essence of this occasion was that Arsenal were outfought. But they were also outplayed.

Back

Well, I am now back from a 2 week family reunion in Mallorca, Spain. First time many of the 18 people have seen each other for 4 years. Great fun.

…And on my return I can confirm that Internet Keywords were switched off on 28 June. Try typing any well known brand in the browser and you will be presented with a Microsoft interstitial advertising page. Direct navigation from a name to a page is gone. This really sucks as a user experience. Apart from the end of direct navigation the results are totally inconsistent. Sometimes MSN has a “top pick” that is the right destination [not very often if my early experiments are anything to go by], sometimes there is an MSN top pick delivered by LookSmart, often there is no good match at all. Yuck! It makes no intellectual sense that this is their alternative to RealNames so there are only 2 possibilities. One, something more will emerge over time, or two, the search guys at MSN really believe their own hype – that this is a good user experience.

9:36:48 PM

Vacation

I am on vacation with my family 14 June – 30 June. Light postings should be expected.

12:27:16 AM

England! Yes :-)

Can’t resist posting this. 4am start was well worth it.

SVEN’S MILLENNIUM MAN COMES GOOD IN THE DOME

Another date with destiny

Argentina 0-1 England
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World Cup, Group F, Sapporo

Group F | England | Argentina 
Minute-by-minute anaylsis  
Min-by-min text only
Picture Gallery
England reaction | Argentina reaction

Scott Barefoot reports

In a city twinned with Munich, England produced their finest performance since that famous 5-1 mauling of Germany – and David Beckham finally got his World Cup revenge.

On an amazing evening for England, Beckham’s 44th minute penalty rejuvenated their Far East campaign, as a display of guts and gusto earned them their first win over Argentina for 22 years.

A scoreline 22 years in waiting

The spotlight was always going to be on Becks after his red card four years ago turned his world upside down.
But with backing from the boys from Banbury, Birmingham and Brentford in the crowd, he hit back in the perfect way, wiping the St Etienne slate clean under the Saporro Dome.

He wasn’t alone in his heroism, however. Rio Ferdinand got rid of any doubts over his big match temperament, Ashley Cole was unbeatable on the left and Michael Owen scared the tournament favourites senseless. David Seaman’s safe hands were also faultless.

Politics and passion aside, Sweden’s victory over Nigeria earlier in Kobe turned up the heat on Eriksson’s men. But the three points hoist them up into second in Group F and right back in the equation. A point against Nigeria will see them reach the last 16.

The momentum gained from this electrifying win could take them much, much further though – maybe even force them back in the fray to make the final. And who would have thought that after Sunday’s mash-up against the Swedes?

The performance wasn’t as classy as the 5-1 win over the other old foe, but the determination and sheer desire to win was mountainous. Passes were strung together, but it was the rock-solid platform that, at times, took the breath away.

Argentina contributed but this wasn’t their day. They made the pace early on and Javier Zanetti warmed Seaman’s hands with a long shot on five minutes and Gonzalez lashed just wide of the keeper’s right post soon after.

The bench are up as Becks hammers home

Batistuta set up the chance with a backheel but he soon blotted his copybook with a late tackle on Ashley Cole that earned him an early yellow card. He nearly gained a quick second when he elbowed Beckham in an aerial challenge.

England’s revised 4-4-2 system was jolted out of its stride before it had even opened its legs. Owen Hargreaves, a victim of misfortune rather than foul play, had to depart after 19 minutes and on came that member of the international jet set, Trevor Sinclair.

But the change didn’t seem to disadvantage England, as Sinclair grew into his role of emrgency rescue man. On 22 minutes Owen twice had Argentina on the back foot with runs from deep in what was a pregnant spell for Eriksson’s men.

First Owen wriggled free of Walter Samuel as he broke into the box and after appearing to let the opening escape him, slapped the post with a low shot across the keeper’s face. He then nearly got the chance to do the same a minute later.

After a cautious start, England finally got to grips with the match as well as the occasion. Argentina, though, were potent on the counter and Gonzalez smacked a volley just over the bar after Ortega had swung a cross to the back post.

England’s movement and use of the ball was ten times better than five days earlier in Saitama. But for all their poise and pressure, there was still no real goal threat. But they surged into a lead on 44 minutes – thanks to that man Owen’s hoodoo over the Argentines.

Rio and David are delighted

Owen collected Scholes’ pass just inside the left of the box and seized the moment as he found himself one-on-one with Mauricio Pochettino. The Liverpool striker dipped to his left and moved to his right, foxing the hesitant defender.

Pochettino flicked out a leg, Owen went down, Collina pointed to the spot and Beckham blasted down the middle. England, of course, had a half-time lead over Sweden and failed to hold onto it. But this time they came up trumps.

Juan Veron continued his misery with all things English and was withdrawn at the break after a poor 45 minutes. Pablo Aimar, his replacement, took 20 seconds to get the pace and his shot from distance after a one-two with Batistuta worked Seaman.

But England looked comfortable on the counter and Owen nearly got the goal his all-round display deserved when he rolled Diego Placente and got a yard of space. His shot went wide of the far post but the danger signs were still there.

On 54 minutes, Beckham exploded out of nowhere and got ahead of Placente to collect the busy Sinclair’s ball into space, but his admirable poke went wide. Pablo Cavallero then stopped Teddy Sheringham’s volley from claiming the goal of the tournament award.

After a few more changes from coach Marcelo Bielsa, his side romped back into the game. Lopez spun the stoical Danny Mills and got a testing cross in that Seaman plucked from the head of Juan Pablo Sorin’s head. Aimar then went over from 20 yards.

Beckham: four years of hurt over

Sheringham’s flick from Beckham’s 69th minute free-kick teased the massed ranks of England fans as it drifted in and then outside of the far post. Their nerves were already fraught after watching England’s defence hang around their own box.

The pressure was beginning to tell when Pochettino’s flick went just wide and sub Claudio Lopez skinned Mills before his cross was bundled out by the Leeds defender, who had made a speedy recovery. Ferdinand saved England soon after at the near post.

The game turned to attack versus defence for the final 20 minutes. Blue and white shirts, camped in the red half, knocked on the door time and time again. But Seaman saved Pochettino’s knock-down and then snatched off the head of Lopez as he attacked a bouncing ball. But they did it. Somehow they did it.

Eriksson said on Thursday that he ’will know whether we are a big team after this game’. He now knows the answer. The celebrations on the team coach may not be as spectacular as Argentina’s four years ago, but he will know.

MAN OF THE MATCH: FERDINAND (ENGLAND)
Sentiment says Beckham, but Ferdinand’s performance was too big to ignore.

Argentina (3-4-3):12-Pablo Cavallero; 4-Mauricio Pochettino, 6-Walter Samuel, 13-Diego Placente; 8-Javier Zanetti, 14-Diego Simeone, 11-Juan Sebastian Veron (16-Pablo Aimar 46), 3-Juan Pablo Sorin; 10-Ariel Ortega, 9-Gabriel Batistuta (19-Hernan Crespo 60), 18-Kily Gonzalez (7-Claudio Lopez 64)

England (4-4-2) 1-David Seaman; 2-Danny Mills, 3-Ashley Cole, 5-Rio Ferdinand, 6-Sol Campbell; 7-David Beckham, 8-Paul Scholes, 21-Nicky Butt, 18-Owen Hargreaves (4-Trevor Sinclair 19); 10-Michael Owen (14-Wayne Bridge 80), 11-Emile Heskey (17-Teddy Sheringham 56)

Match referee: Pierluigi Collina (Italy)
Linesmen: Hector Vergara (Canada) Mohamed Saeed (Maldives)

 

8:36:04 AM  

Vacation

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to one and all.

My family and I are leaving for a well-earned break until Monday.

 

 

4:00:51 PM