I’m sure many readers will have been to the beautiful city of Barcelona and if you have, almost certainly you will have visited the incredible Basilica of La Sagrada Familia, designed by the quite brilliant architect Antoni Gaudi. As well as the church his very distinctive design style can be seen all over the city eg at Park Guell, Casas Mila/Battlo and loads of other places. It’s so easy to label people as a genius these days. Christ I’ve seen the description applied to the likes of Simon Cowell, Jose Mourinho and even Benny Hill. Smart, confident, funny perhaps but geniuses? Do me a favour. But in Gaudi’s case, it is completely justified.
Yesterday I read an interview with ex-pro Tony Adams in the Independent. I think it was his way of putting himself in the shop window but unwittingly I think it underlined why no chairman has thought it worth offering him a managerial job in the English football system more significant than boss of Wycombe Wanderers and a short spell at Portsmouth when they were on the slide. He spent some time criticising the salary policy at Arsenal arguing that their parsimony over wages (this in the week that Theo Walcott has been awarded a new contract worth around £20m over 3.5 years) has led to the exodus of key players. His key thought was that all the money that Arsenal received from their run in the Champions League last year, around £25m, should have been paid to Robin van Persie to encourage him to stay at the club. You’ve gotta think that club Chairmen might look at that and think ah here we have an intelligent and forthright man of the game whose first instinct is to channel all of a club’s revenue into the pockets of already overpaid current footballers. Hey let’s give Tony a call and see if he fancies managing our club. It’s not going to happen is it?
It’s a while since I did one of those lists of things that really inspire me (I can hear the groans out there already) but a new book bought for me by my daughter S and son-in-law I has got me sharpening the old list pencil again. The book is ‘1001 Buildings You MUST See Before You DIE‘. It’s one of those cliched and improbable titles – I imagine it would take many years of travelling the 7 continents just to take in all the buildings listed, let alone all the other things people think you should see whilst still breathing (sports stadia, works of art, great views, classic hotels etc). It’s also a bit of a stretch – I’m not convinced that I really can’t meet my maker until I’ve been to visit either Preston or Dublin’s Central Bus Stations or the Park Hill housing estate in Sheffield or the former zeppelin hangars which have been converted into the rather ugly Central Market Halls in Riga, Latvia. But there are some stunning buildings around the world which I’ve been lucky enough to visit and many, many more I’d love to see before that bucket gets kicked.
A bit late this posting following last night’s strangely muted affair at the Nou Camp. Man U come away with a 0-0 draw which is ok I guess. Ronaldo missed a penalty and had another valid claim (in my view) denied. It could have been 2-0 away and tie over but that would have been more than unfair. Man U were pretty horrible to watch last night. And as for Barca they played some really attractive approach play – Deco was particularly effective – but they only created a few chances themselves. 0-0 seemed fair even if it was less than decent fayre on display. Continue reading