Friday, August 06, 2004

6 August 2004: Eastleigh

Went to the Saints-Eastleigh game last night at the gloriously-named 'Sparshatts of Botley Stadium'. Sparshatts of Botley is, despite its promising name, not a medical condition related to eating too many curries, but instead a rather boring (read 'large') car dealership out the other side of Hedge End. They sponsor the "stadium" where Eastleigh FC play their home matches in the Vesuvius Athritic League or whatever it is. There have been all manner of exciting developments at the Sparshatts - a new main stand holding at least fifty people, the old "main stand" (a large piece of iron that looks like an oversize bus shelter) being moved behind one of the goals, a paved car park. The announcer (who also did a spot of karaoke for us, sadly) said the stadium was the envy of many conference teams. Why? Do conference teams particularly want to charge six pounds for access to standing room behind a goal to watch a team featuring Wayne Shaw, the chubbiest 'keeper since Bill 'Fatty' Foulke last played for England?

Anyway, Saints reserves won 2-0, and featured (among others) Darren Kenton, Paul Smith and Neil McCann, who despite scoring both goals (yes, he tapped in the second, it was about six feet away from where we were standing) must think that his appearance in such a reserve team is pretty ominous considering the proximity of the coming season. He stank against Plymouth Argyle, he stank last night too. The prospect of him on the left wing and Telfer on the right wing just makes me shudder.

Most worrying, though, is the rumour that former Argyle boss Paul Sturrock, now in charge of Saints, has been given only seven matches to prove himself. Rolled in with this is the additional rumour that a lot - a lot - of the players just don't like him. Motivation could be a factor here. Given the transfer window closes at the end of the month, Luggy will be stuck with these players until January and frankly, if they're not interested, it may be too late by then. Which is a shame, because he is a very shrewd manager, a good judge of players, and excellent tactician and has enormous ears.

Finally, off to Penn State on Wednesday to sort out this Citeseer thing. It's dragged on so long (we were supposed to get the data at easter!) that I'll simply be glad when it's over. Then the real work can begin - trying to figure out how Kurt Bollacker's summer project became the huge internationally-renowned Science Paper portal that it now is! And maybe doing some Semantic Web stuff too.

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