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Lancashire Cricket Board - To be or not to be that is the question
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To be or not to be that is the question

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Bit of a literary theme to this blog

For this first blog of 2013 I want to focus on a theme – “Balloons”.


First of all I was delighted to see that Mr Lionel Messi won this year’s Balloon Door or Balon D’or as en francais. This is now his fourth and exceedingly well deserved. I watch a lot of Spanish football on winter weekends as this is the only time I gain access to our television. He is possibly one of the greatest footballers ever, never mind just now. What I particularly like about him is that when he has had seven bells kicked out of him he simply gets up, dusts himself down and whacks the free kick into the net. Whenever he scores a goal he celebrates quite sensibly avoiding such excesses as dancing with the corner flag or blowing kisses into the camera at the rear of the goal. He does of course get mobbed by his team mates but notice there is no snogging with him.


You know I do believe we have some of the most spoiled, over paid footballers at the moment who must spend most of their spare time thinking how they can outdo the latest infantile way of celebrating. Two things really get me more than others. One is the no brainer of whipping the shirt off to show a manly shaved chest – and then earn a booking, and the other is the snogging that now goes on weekend after weekend. This is where my theme of “Balloons” comes in. Football seems to have its share of players who “have a slate or two loose” as my good lady puts it. There are some who are practising to be “Balloons” but there are a few who have reached “Five Star Balloon” status. Of course this is not restricted to football. What about the antics of Mr Warne (Shane not Nigel) the other day.


The Oz 20/20 competition lovingly called the Big Bash witnessed some amazing antics from our Shane. After his resultant fine and ban he tried to explain that the “emotions” got hold of him. What a “Balloon”. Mind you he was out trumped by the Cricket Australia chap who did not condone what Warnie had done but said it would work wonders for the profile of the Big Bash.


Turning back to football I have to admit at the moment the top two places for the Balloon Door for Stupidities must lie with Messrs Bolotally and Soorarez. How is it that you can have such incredible skills and talents locked in the body of a balloon. The way things are going this season Mr Suarez could run our Lionel close for the Balon D’or although RVP might have a sniff. I fear that Luis’s antics will not endear him to the judges however. Mario had a splendid Euro 2012 but he has now gone backwards.


I mentioned earlier that my Good Lady who has just spent 60 Million Gold Coins on a massive Zoo Extension often uses the old Lanky expression about people having a few loose slates. Well I reckon there are quite a few sporting people around at the moment who have no slates at all.


We refer to them as sporting personalities now. Back in my sporting prime we called them characters. Can some of my older readers recall some of their names? I know I have just been going on about a famous leg spinning Aussie well there used to be one around in my time called Cec Pepper. I learned some of my first swear words from him, and that was just as a spectator at Radcliffe. The Shakers had a right winger called Greg Farrell who was a past master at winning penalties – he would have been brilliant in this latest X Factor type diving show with Tom Daly. We certainly had our share of characters in County and Test Cricket – perhaps Fred Trueman was one of the best. How therefore have we switched from viewing certain individuals today as not being normal rather than regarding them as characters – maybe it’s the TV after all that has created the “Balloons” of the moment.


Enough back to my literary theme. I went into Headquarters today to see the Mighty Titch to cast an eye over the Under 10 to 15 Boys Fixture List. We have a meeting on Thursday night where I hope we can begin the process of handing over this said Fixture List to the Sage of Liverpool and someone I will from now on refer to as the Scarlet Pimpernel. This latter individual was expected to be in residence at the LCB Office today but …. “They seek him here, they seek him there. Is he in heaven or is he in hell that damned elusive Pimpernel”.


The Sage and the Pimpernel will meet with me hopefully next week to look at assigning grounds for the games to be played in Lancashire. This will leave me to work on other matters as the season of 2013 approaches.


Enough of literacy although it is possible this theme was hatched due to the number of books I have read since the early part of December. The fact that I now possess an Amazon Kingle may have something to do with it. I do have to be careful though about how much I spend on any book I download from the massive zillions that Amazon have available or the Mrs will reduce my weekly spending money. It is so easy to click on download and the book is there in seconds and the credit card account has been lowered as well. I have been rather good so far in that the only book which has cost me more than 77 pence was the Tom Clancy one and that was £14 less than the printed version. The last two I read cost 20 pence and nothing respectively. Mind you the latest – an American thriller was worth what I paid for it – nothing.


This weekend marks the start of the County Squad Sessions beginning with the Under 13 Girls on Friday night. The Under 13, 14 and 15 Boys plus the Under 15 Girls all begin on Sunday starting at 10.00 and going through to 6.00pm. We do have a slight problem to contend with on Sunday as at the other Old Trafford United are taking on Liverpool with a 1.30pm kick off. I have just emailed all the boys to let them know which gate to use to park for the Indoor Centre and to watch the times carefully. I am on Grandad duty with Tom due at 10.00am until noon and Sophie there from 4.00pm. Tom should provide few problems although there will be people parking up no doubt as we arrive and the Indoor Centre Car Park will be filling up by the time we leave. Sophie will be a different problem though as at the time we would normally be arriving some 80,000 souls will be trying to get home. My plan at the moment is to get there by no later than 3.15 before the end of the Big Match – or could it turn out to be a Big Bash. At least when Sophie concludes her session then we should be reasonably clear to get home.


This past weekend was a matchless weekend for the Shakers – that is they did not have a Fixture. We should have been playing Sheffield United but they were still in the FA Cup. Number One Son was teed off with this match being off as he had managed to wangle some tickets from Messrs Thwaites which were going to get the Senior and Junior Heaton’s into the Executive Lounge for a pre-match nosh plus drinkies. This was a special day as he was celebrating his latest birthday – another one nearer to fifty. As it turned out there was no collective celebration at all as I was incapacitated by a bug of some sort or other which meant not venturing too far from the whatsit.


If the above game had been played then we would have had a tidy crowd with a multitude from Sheffield. The resultant gate proceeds would have enabled the club to pay off the loan to Gordon Taylor and the PFA, and we could have made an audacious bid to Barca for our Lionel. To make matters worse after the matches on Saturday came the draw for Round 4 on Sunday and if we had progressed through instead of Southend we would have had the juicy possibility of taking Chelsea to the cleaners at Gigg Lane. The proceeds from that tie plus an away fixture against United in Round 5 would have moved little Lionel even nearer. The stuff of dreams.


I mentioned Gordon Taylor in that last paragraph. I once invited him to be my guest at a Hayward Lever Presentation Evening – and he accepted. He had just become Secretary of the PFA. He also had a spell at Gigg Lane as well. He spoke very well that evening. Mind you I did tell him he was second choice. When he heard Bobby Charlton was first choice he forgave me.


The previous Head at Hayward Lever had gone over to a school in Sale. I remember meeting him some time after and he was telling me about one of his governors at the time. Now he knew almost nothing about football but he said he thought this governor was a well known footballer in the area – he most certainly was – Bobby Charlton.


I was a great fan of Bobby and still cherish the moment on the final day of the last Ashes match at Old Trafford when he came out on to the Committee Balcony and sat next to me. In so many ways he played soccer just like our Lionel Messi does now. Bobby got kicked from pillar to post when the opposition could get hold of him, and he never shot up after being tripped or kicked and threatened to headbutt anybody. He simply got up and smashed the ball into the opponents net.


Finally. I am still concerned there are too many copies of the only Book I have ever written available for sale and actually going nowhere. It was not the Christmas Hit I thought it would be and to date 2013 has not produced a single sale. Now if Bob Dearden said it was superb so it must be. I need to drum up some interest. Over the past weekend while contemplating my delicateness I have been looking more and more at Twitter. There is still so much I do not understand and when anybody mentions hashtags I go dizzy. Today before heading off to Headquarters I spent a swift half hour looking through my connections – or those I am following. I have just opened up my Kingle to have another look.


Of the people I follow there are a number of famous LSCA past players. Bumble spends a fair amount of time tweeting but is some distance behind Ronnie Irani. I note the odd tweet from Athers but a multitude from Phil “Fizzer” Neville. Gary gets more than his share and then we have Glen Chapple, Mark Chilton and Warren Hegg. I have a total of 40 people I follow – including Mr Warne (Shane not Nigel). If you fancy bumping up the rather sad number of people who follow me – currently  numbering just 9 then my tweet address is “@JohnHeaton70”. It would be great if we could spread this list far and wide across the county to drag in many of the past players – not many of whom have bought a copy of My Book on the History of LSCA.


So come on – just checked who I am following and I can see @flintoff11, @McIlroyRory and @Wayne Rooney.


What is this I see before me - @greenmountcc – “Sky Sports have been to the Log Cabin today.  More developments in due course.”


Now I just happen to know why Sky Sports were at the Log Cabin. I suspect this may have involved said @GNev2. I was asked by Chairman Dave to let him have a copy of the Greenmount team that won the Under 18 Bolton League Cup in19’whatever it was.  


I wonder if Gary is considering a return to the Mount. That will get the Bolton League all of a work.


#All excited


#Time for a Tesco Moment


If you are puzzled as the identity of the Pimpernel he used to be “Robin” to John Williams “Batman” and was hopeless with the reverse sweep.


Signing off now - @JohnHeaton70


Tweet me – NOW and buy a Book as well.


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