Friday 30 April 2021

#Stoponlineabuse - Barneteye to boycott Twitter and Facebook to support the campaign

From 3pm today until Midnight on Monday, Football will be observing a social media blackout on Facebook and Twitter to oppose racism. The Barnet Eye will be participating in this. (We will continue to publish blogs on the Blogger platform as this is a publishing platform, rather than an interactive Social Media platform).

For the duration of this period we will not engage at all with Twitter or Facebook. We are following the example of football clubs, such as Manchester City FC.

On line abuse has been a particular problem in Mill Hill over the last two years. Once again, we have been contacted by locals, with concerns about the subject. We tweeted this response today, as the necessary actions are clear and simple

We apologise for any inconvenience caused to regular readers. We will not be running our popular Tweets of the week this week. For us, this a very inconvenient time. I am standing for Edgware ward in a Barnet Council By Election next Thursday and social media would normally be a massive tool for engagement. However, there are bigger issues in society than my campaign. If we can't set an example, why should anyone support us. 

There is no place for racism in our society. I was contacted by Mr Romel Miah, a well respected local restaurant owner, who has been targetted by a racist and islamaphobe Mill Hill Twitter and called the Day of the Raj an "extremist takeaway" on Twitter yesterday.  To imply that Mr Miah is an extremist, solely because he is a Muslim is a truly vile slur and a complete misrepresentation. Mr Miah was absolutley furious to be targetted in such a way. I advised him to report the account to the Police and Twitter. We will see if any action is taken. 

I have known Romel for nearly 30 years. His father opened The Day of the Raj in Mill Hill in 1985. Romel is one of the most decent people I know and has recently won awards for community work. When we arranged a multi faith religious service for local Hindu shop worker Vijay Patel, who was killed in his shop by thugs, Mr Miah donated a buffet spread free of charge. That is not the work of anyone other than an honest and genuine community hero. 

I urge everyone in Mill Hill to shun any account that uses such language to describe anyone. For the record, Mr Miah is not a member of the Barnet Lib Dems. His restaurant has hosted meals for Tories, Labour and Lib Dems (and all three following a hustings debate at Hartley Hall a few years back. 

Facebook and Twitter need a detox. We need to see people who post islamaphobic, anto semitic and racist tweets banned. We need Twitter to enforce their own community rules. We need Facebook to take down hate sites. I believe in Free Speech, but not incitement and slander. That is why I will not be looking at Twitter or Facebook until Tuesday morning. I don't think my weekend will be any worse for that. 


Roger Tichborne is the Liberal Democrat Candidate for Edgware Ward in the May 6th By Election. Roger has run Mill Hill Music Complex sudios since 1979. He attended Orange Hill School and as a teenager lived in Warwick Avenue, in Broadfields.

This article was published and promoted by Roger Tichborne on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, 29 Millway, London, NW7 3QR

Thursday 29 April 2021

All booked up for my second vaccination!

For the first time in ages, I am feeling pretty cheerful. As a Manchester City fan, I had a very pleasant evening last night. After an awful first half, City put in an amazing performance in the second half. There is a reasonable possibility that the final will be an all English affair, with Chelsea also getting a great result. The country feels like it is on the up after a torrid year

It has been a pretty full on day. The studios have finally picked up and  we've had 24 sessions today. This is good because it means I'm busy all day and don't have too much time for blogging. As 11 of our fifteen staff members are furloughed, I have to do most of the work, but we are bringing one back tonight and are hopeful that after 17th May, we can bring most of the team back to work. We've had some pretty legendary artists in this week, with eleven no 1 singles between them, all starting to get ready for shows next month.  Our business relies on professional musicians working, so this has to be an excellent sign.

I was just sitting down for my lunch when I got some great news. A text pinged up from the Millway Medical Practice telling me that I can book my 2nd dose of the Pfizer vaccine. I immediately called them. After a long message, I was told that I was in a queue and they'd call back. About 30 mins later, I was called and I am booked in for the 7th May. I could not be happier to have the second dose. 

I am sure that I am not the only person to be totally cheesed off with the current restrictions. I am also sure that most of us are awaiting the chance to sit inside a pub/club/restaurant with friends and just chill. It is not too long now. All I can really do is urge everyone to get vaccinated when it is offered. It really is the best way to ensure the restrictions are lifted. For the first time since 17th December, I will also be playing five a side football at Powerleague tonight. My knee has been playing me up, but over the last two days it has been fine. I won't push it, but I really feel the need to get out and do some proper exercise. I just hope I don't regret it later. 

Wednesday 28 April 2021

The past is done. Lets fix the future

I can sum up what I am going to say in this blog in two words. Saint Pancras. When we learn a language, we learn that there are three tenses - past, present and future. The past is fixed. The present is an instant, that slips into the past and becomes fixed before you can do too much about it. It is only our future that we are the master of. I was discussing education with my Father once. I was failing badly at school and he tried to give me a pep talk. He said "Your past is your toolkit, your present is your canvass and the future is your artwork". I didn't really understand what he was on about, much to his annoyance. I have come to appreciate his words.

When lockdown ended, the first thing we did was hop on a Thameslink train to St Pancras, for a walk around the area. We were lucky to find a table at the Lighterman pub, after a walk around coal drops yard. Every time I walk through St Pancras, I have a sense of deep wonderment. People always think of the Sir Gilbert Scott's mock Gothic hotel, which is the facade. To me this is not the impressive bit. The really impressive bit is Barlow's engine shed, painted in Midland blue. When the sun shines through, it really is the most glorious building. A suitable place to arrive from Paris. Together they make up what I believe is one of the finest buildings in London, worthy of a visit on its own merit. 

But it was not always so. Back in 1977, I did a school project on the building. I had a tour from an elderly BR employee, a few months off retiring. The station was caked in grime. What is now the magificent hotel was then a store for Travellers Fayre coffee. There were signs of its former magnificence all around, drenched in decay. British Rail had wanted to demolish the whole thing and build a nice new modern station along the lines of Euston. Sir John Betjeman lead a campaign to save it. BR lost, but as they often did, exacted an awful revenge, letting the station rot. Betjeman recognised the magnificence of the building, but could do nothing about the blinkered people running our railways.

My tour let me see the amazing intricacy of the tiles, wood and stone carvings, the iron work in the hotel. I also learned that Barlow's train shed was the largest cast iron single arch structure in the world when it was built. The station also had an undercroft. Originally used to store goods, especially beer from Burton on Trent. In the 1970's it was used for valeting taxi's. My guide told me that sooner or later, the BR board would find a way and an excuse to knock it all down. It seemed like a terrible shame. The photo's in this tweet captures the run down magnificence of St Pancras in that era.

Neither my guide nor Betjeman could have forseen what actually happened. The channel tunnel was build and St Pancras was transformed into a station without parallel. Barlow's shed roof was repaired, renovated and repainted. WIth cleaned glass and a repaint, we now apprecaite its magnificence. A century and a half of soot was removed, to reveal truly impressive Victorian ironwork. Scott's hotel was renovated and returned to use as a five star hotel with excellent restaurants and bars. The undercroft, formerly used to wash taxi's, became a thriving shopping mall. A statue of Betjeman was erected, looking up in wonder at the shed roof. The longest champagne bar in the world was installed next to the platform where impressive Eurostar trains arrive. The line to France is the fastest in the UK, the only purpose built high speed railway line in the UK. A fitting terminus for our only railway line to a foreign land. 

So what has all this to do with the past, present and future? Well St Pancras is the perfect illustration of how you can take the past and transform it into an exciting and magnificent vision of the future. A casual passenger with no idea of the history of the station will simpy arrive and see a well used, well designed, impressive transport hub.  The huge, bright expanse of space may be missed in the excitement of the start or end of a journey, but many look up in wonder at the amazing Victorian Architecture and appreciate how well it has been adapted to the purposes of 2021. The whole area around the station has received a huge lift, formerly it was a sleazy space frequented by drug pushers and street walkers. There are some amazing buildings, that previously people would not bother looking up to appreciate, due to the oppressive nature of the area that are now once more being properly appreciated.

Over the course of lockdown, I've been doing much housekeeping. Digitising my fathers old color Kodakchrome slides, listening to dusty old vinyl, researching the history of our locality, doing walks to look at crumbling edifices of a bygone era's. At first I enjoyed the opportunity to indulge in such activities, immersing myself in the past. There was not too much else to do. Now however, things are opening up. We need to start refocussing on the future.

There are two ways we can approach this. There is the approach of the old BR management, who wanted to knock down the magnifence of the past and build a new future, that will look great for a few years and then look tired old and dated, as Euston does now, with people forever bemoaning the loss of heritage and the failure to appreciate and adapt it. Or we could do what the people who put the Eurostar project and the Coal Drops yard development have done. They took the tool set that was bequeathed to them and the canvass in their hands and have combined old and new, preserving the best of the old and refreshing it with a big dollop of new.

Locally, The Railway Hotel in Edgware presents just such an opportunity. We've been campaigning to save it for the best part of six years. 

There is no doubt that the current owners are sick to death of a grade II listed building. Like the old management of BR, they see it as an encumberance to their plans. I cannot believe that they cannot see the potential of such a magnificent Mock Tudor lodge. There is no doubt that the hospitality trade has changed since the heyday of the Railway in the 1980's, when people would travel from far and wide for a carvery and to use it as a wedding and party venue.

But there is still a huge demand for nights out in an amazing setting. People will pay a premium for such a wedding and party venue. I know all about renting space out. I own a music studio. An ever growing section of our business is based around parties, weddings an Bah/BatMitzvah's. Bands preparing music for them, relatives recording songs and making videos. This is a huge market in North West London and the Railway Hotel could be at the heart of it. At weekends and evenings, there should be  a vibrant market for such a space. At other times, there is an opportunity to use function room space for all manner of other purposes, community groups, scouts, guides, self help, seminars etc. I believe that the modern hospitality industry winners are those who can get people in when the traditional drinkers and party goers are not around. Reuse the space, put in some low cost flats for key workers, to help make Edgware affordable.

This is just one example of one building. We have to be more imaginative. Barnet Council has become obsessed with the construction of luxury flats, that do not meet the needs of local people. We need more imaginative developments, but ones that make our enviroment better. If we have great facilities on our doorstep, that cuts the requirement for car journeys and pollution. In Kings Cross/St Pancras, there has been an emphasis put on making space for people. In Barnet we are cramming as many people as possible into every available space. Whilst this delivers short term profits for builders, it does nothing for the longer term goal of building sustainable communities and preserving good mental health for residents. 

The bottom line is that the past is done, we cannot change it, but we can build a better future. We can either take our lead from exciting, well thought our developments that mix the best of old and new such as Kings Cross/St Pancras  area or we can build a drab, soulless monoculture which will destroy our communities and mental health. If we want the former, we need good communal spaces, facilities and community organisations on our doorstep. These need space, good quality space where people feel comfortable. That is my vision for the Railway Hotel in Edgware and for the rest of Barnet. That is how we will deliver a future we can be proud of.


Roger Tichborne is the Liberal Democrat Candidate for Edgware Ward in the May 6th By Election. Roger has run Mill Hill Music Complex sudios since 1979. He attended Orange Hill School and as a teenager lived in Warwick Avenue, in Broadfields.

This article was published and promoted by Roger Tichborne on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, 29 Millway, London, NW7 3QR

Tuesday 27 April 2021

Why I will not be voting for Sadiq Khan or Shaun Bailey next Thursday

By Roger Tichborne,

Firstly, let me quickly brief those of you unfamiliar with my back story on where I stand politically. I was a Labour Party member from 1981 until 2009. Under Blair then Brown, I completely lost faith in the organisation that is the Labour Party. I have total respect for the ordinary members, but the people in control of the party have no regard for them. The Labour govt of 1997-2010 had a huge majority and could have done many things that myself and all of the members would have fully supported. Electoral reform, abolishing the House of Lords, renationalising British Rail, giving the UK a proper constitution are just a few of the open goals they missed. The sleaze of Mandelson, the illiberal home office regime of Alan Johnson, the lies of the Iraq war all contributed. I was persuaded to join the Lib Dems, to try and maintain a presence in Mill Hill, where the Lib Dems had councillors from 1994-2010. I stood as a councillor, didn't win and when the coalition was announced was very pleased. I didn't sign up to prop up a Tory government lead by David Cameron. I left the party after a year, with no fuss. I just couldn't support Nick Cleggs party as they imposed austerity on the nation.

I felt homeless. In the May 2016 Mayoral election, I was not a member of any party, but I supported Sadiq Khan, as I was appalled by the racism of Zak Goldsmith and felt that it was important to take a stand. I delivered leaflets for Khan, although not being a member. In June 2016, the UK voted for #Brexit. I felt that this was a terrible mistake. To my horror, Labour took no stand. Only the Lib Dems took a positive anti #Brexit stand. Some people have claimed that opposing #Brexit after a referendum is anti democratic, but I believe that in a democracy, we have the right to change our mind, especially if it is clear the public have been mislead. The #Brexit campaign was based on a whole stack of lies. I rejoined the Lib Dems as they were organised to oppose Brexit.

Over the five years of Sadiq Khan's Mayoralty, it is clear to me that he is not the man I had hoped. He is a divisive figure. He has a deep loathing of all things Conservative. As the London Borough of Barnet has a Conservative council, Khan has wasted no opportunity to give the Tories a kicking. Sadly this has been at the expense of the ordinary residents. Controversial and unpopular developments such as Pentavia and the NIMR were passed in the teeth of local opposition. It was clear that this was payback for the idiotic local Tories passing a motion calling Sadiq Khan an 'enemy of the people'. As someone who cares passionately about my manor, I could not possibly support a Mayor who has no regard for the ordinary people of Barnet. Khan's antagonistic approach to politics has resulted in him being at loggerheads with the Tories. He claims it is standing up for London, but in truth he's simpy grandstanding for the Labour party faithful. I know that Boris would never give a Labour Mayor an easy time, but Khan has made it inevitable that London will get as raw a deal as possible. 

Perhaps the worst indictment on Sadiq Khan is that under his tenure, London saw one of the worst disasters in living memory. When Grenfell Tower burnt down, London was shocked. Four years later, thousands of Londoners are still living in death trap towers. Many leaseholders are stuck in flats that have massive repair bills, are unsellable and are unsafe. Khan hasn't done a thing for them. He comes out with the odd platitude, but clearly doesn't care. For us in the Borough of Barnet, this is a massive problem. Buildings such as Premier House in Edgware are still clad in deathtrap panels. What will it take for something to be done in London. I shudder to think. 

As for Shaun Bailey, I've listened to a couple of debates, most recently last night on BBC Radio London. The harsh truth is that he's a lightweight, who has no real ideas. He seems to have discovered a magic money tree. He's promising 10,000 extra police, reopening of countless police stations and a shared ownership property scheme. Having stated that Khan had bankrupted TFL's finances, my jaw hit the floor when he said he'd pay for this with a raid on TFL's finances. Apparently there's half a billion quid he's going to nick from TFL in unused Oyster card balances. Bailey has failed to give a single credible reason to vote for him. As for the Tories attitude to the Cladding scandal, Boris whpped his MP's to deny leaseholders justice. I cannot believe any fair minded Londoner would vote for them. 

So who will I vote for. As a Lib Dem, it won't surprise you to hear that I will be supporting Luisa Porritt for Mayor. I'd urge you to have a proper look at her policies at her website - - Luisa's four main policies are Jobs, Homes, Clean Air and Policing. She has performed well in the few debates she's been allowed to participate in. 

My second preference will go to the Green candidate Sian Berry. Like Luisa, she has done well in the few debates she's been allowed to participate in. I was actually quite outraged by the patronising tone of Sadiq Khan towards her in one debate. He thanked her for her support on several initiatives, then said "I'd urge all green voters to give me their first vote and Sian their second preference".  To me this was disprespectful to both Sian and Green voters. There is no electoral reason for not giving Berry their first vote. I think that the Greens are a force for good in London and the UK and they have a huge role to play in keeping environmental issues on the agenda.

This will be the sixth Mayoral Election. Ken Livingstone won the first as an Independent, so there is no reason why the Mayor has to be a Tory or a Labour candidate. We have never had a female Mayor. To their shame, neither big Party has bothered to pick a female candidate. It seems to me to be a total no brainer that a Lib Dem or Green Mayor would do better than either Khan or Bailey. They would have to build a consensus and would have to work with all sides. People keep saying to me that they would vote for Porritt or Berry but it would be a wasted vote. This is not true. Give them your first preference if you think they are the best candidate. You have a second preference vote that you can give to another candidate if they are not in the top two. Use this wisely. I genuinely believe that if Londoners voted for who they really wanted, we'd get what we wanted, rather than someone who clearly isn't up to the job. 

I will be giving Luisa Porritt my first vote and Sian Berry my second. I want to send a message to the BBC and everyone else that they should be getting proper airtime and inclusion in debates. Whoever you vote for, please use your vote and use it wisely. I have sat down, done a lot of soul searching and write this with a heavy heart. Please do the same. Please don't simply vote for the bloke that isn't the other bloke. The Mayor has real power to change things and make them better. Has the current incumbent done that? Will the person you want to vote for do that? Make sure you are happy that you can say yes to these questions before putting your X next to them.



Roger Tichborne is the Liberal Democrat Candidate for Edgware Ward in the May 6th By Election. Roger has run Mill Hill Music Complex sudios since 1979. He attended Orange Hill School and as a teenager lived in Warwick Avenue, in Broadfields.

This article was published and promoted by Roger Tichborne on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, 29 Millway, London, NW7 3QR

Monday 26 April 2021

Why I want to save The Railway Hotel in Edgware

By Roger Tichborne,

If you have seen the appalling state of the Railway Hotel in Edgware, you have a unique opportunity to do something about it. Let me explain 

There is a by election for the vacant role of local councillor in Edgware, on the 6th May, the same day as the elections for the GLA and London Mayor. I have the privelige of having been selected for the local Liberal Democrats. I put my name forward for one reason.  Over the last five years, I've been actively involved in a campaign to get the Railway Hotel, a site that used to be the Jewel in the Crown on Edgware High Street restored to its rightful place on the High Street. It has been allowed to go to rack and ruin. Last January, I made a film with local historian Mark Amies detailing this. 

This video has received nearly 5,000 views. Mark Amies recently started a petition to get Barnet Council to take proper enforcement action. This has attracted 700 signatures, which considering the situation with Covid is a huge number to attract via a social media only local campaign with a pandemic going on.

A question I've been asked many times is "But what can you do?". The answer is simple. The council should issue enforcement action agains the current owners. If this does not result in the pub being properly restored, then the council should start proceedings for a compulsory purchase order. When this has been done, a community trust should be formed to run the pub. As a former hotel, there is also space for low cost flats for local key workers. A lot of good could be done with the space, I would like to see it be used as a community space during the day. 

Just in case you are wondering, I am not a "single issue politician". I care passionately about many of the issues that affect Barnet, London and the UK. I am not frightened to speak out about these, if you see my blog history, you will know this. Let me mention a few other issues that are as important, if not more so than the Railway Hotel.

If elected, I will campaign tirelessly for justice for victims of the cladding scandal. We all know all about the terrible Grenfell fire. What is not so well known in Edgware is that Premiere House is clad in the same material and is a death trap and an accident waiting to happen. Boris Johnson has used a three line whip to prevent Conservative MP's from following their consciences and getting justice for the victims of this scandal. There was a fire in Edgware recently right next to Premier House, fortunetly this didn't catch fire. Will we be so lucky next time.

Barnet has a social housing crisis. When I discussed this with a local Conservative supporter, they said "Good luck with that, there are no votes in social housing in Edgware" with a broad smirk. I believe he is wrong. Many people in Edgware are strugging. Many are being forced out. Where do we expect our trainee teachers, NHS workers and other key workers to live. Without these, we have no community. It is all very well putting up ever more luxury flats, which are marketed to people with no association with Edgware, but where is the affordable housing for our young people, who are just starting out on their journey. Barnet council has a huge waiting list for council housing and no plans to fix this. I believe that the citizens of Edgware want a fair and just community, where no one is forced out. That is why I believe that proper social housing is needed. 

I also want to see the Green Belt preserved and maintained. The Barnet Council Conservatives have a proposal to put solar panels on many of our parks. To me this would be criminal. There are many council buildings, schools, libraries, offices etc that they could use to mount these panels on. Why they want to destroy green spaces is beyond me. 

Barnet Council are working on a local plan for Edgware. This seems to be written purely to make a lot of money for large developers. I will work tirelessly to see that the needs of the current residents of Edgware are put at the heart of this plan. I was appalled that the consultation was done during the pandemic, when no one could attend consultation sessions. I would seek to have the consultation re-run with proper engagement. The people of Edgware are full of talents, I'd like to see this brought into local planning.

Another major issue affecting people in Edgware is the need for a step change in accessibility for local transport. The introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourghoods has been an unmitigated disaster across London. Such measures only work when local communities are onside. Millions has been spent, only for schemes to be abandoned. Low Traffic neighbourhoods only work if people can still go about their business. Sending cars on wild goose chases burns more fuel and generates more pollution. We should be looking at technology to make such schemes work. What no one is talking about is the way that developments such as Uber and Deliveroo, as well as online supermarket shopping have added huge numbers of car journeys. I'd like to see these services forced to use non polluting vehicles. Many local fodd deliveries could easily be done using bicycles and electric scooters. This would remove cars from the road and reduce pollution. 

If you are wondering why there is a local council election in Edgware, the election has been called because Brian Gordon, who was elected in 2018 sadly passed away. I used to get on quite well with Brian, we are both Ex Orange Hill and we'd gossip about our former teachers. Brian was a few years older, but most had taught us both.  Just in case you are unfamiliar with the workings of the local Council, Edgware has three councillors elected every four years. Three Conservatives were elected in 2018. These were Brian Gordon, Sarah Wardle and Linda Freeman. Whoever wins the election will serve until next May. The outcome will not affect the make up of Barnet Council as the Conservatives have a large majority. Barnet currently has two Lib Dem councillors. I am aiming to become the third. I believe that anyone who knows me, will recognise that I will work extremely hard for the people of Edgware.

I have to be honest and confess that the Campaign has not been easy. With the pandemic, it was impossible to put in the groundwork necessary. Political parties have only recently been able to actively canvass, and when your party came third last time, this may seem like an insurmountable mountain. However, I believe that Edgware is a special case. I believe that the local Conservative councillors have taken the voters for granted.

On Saturday, I went for a walk around Edgware and spoke to many local families. What surprised me was that everyone told me the same thing. Most were unaware of the by-election, but held strong views on the Mayoral Election. It seemed that everyone was singing from the same sheet. Sadiq Khan has no interest in the outer London Boroughs and is only concerned about the Labour heartlands. He has no interest in protecting the Green Belt and in an area like Barnet, there is a feeling that he wants to clobber the motorist and impose schemes that simply add expense and don't work. What was surprising was that they would then say that the Conservative candidate was a lightweight with no credible policies. I told them that I will be givin the Lib Dem candidate Luisa Porritt my vote and giving my second preference to Sian Berry, the Green candidate. Luisa hs run an excellent campaign, has genuinely innovative ideas and would be a breath of fresh air. Sian Berry, the Green candidate performed also very well in the recent Mayoral debate. The Greens have some excellent ideas for London and I would not be upset to see her pick up a lot of Lib Dem second preference votes. I genuinely believe that Sadiq Khan has not served the Borough of Barnet well as Mayor. 

As for the GLA assembly, this is one of the few political structures that has a fair system of PR to elect members. It is essential that the Mayor is held to account. I'd urge everyone to look at the work done by the Lib Dem candidate Marisha Ray before casting your vote. Please also cast your vote for the Lib Dems on the list preference (this form asks for you to select a party). 

Edgware needs a councillor who will not let the council officials rest until action is taken and who will be proactive in engaging with the owners. If you want to see the decay halted, then please support me. If I let you down, you can kick me out next year. 


Roger Tichborne is the Liberal Democrat Candidate for Edgware Ward in the May 6th By Election. Roger has run Mill Hill Music Complex sudios since 1979. He attended Orange Hill School and as a teenager lived in Warwick Avenue, in Broadfields.

This article was published and promoted by Roger Tichborne on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, 29 Millway, London, NW7 3QR

Sunday 25 April 2021

The Tweets of the week in the London Borough of Barnet - 25 April 2021

 How has your week been? What a week it's been. When I wrote this column last week, little did I suspect that we'd see the birth and death of the European Super League, the sacking of Jose Mourinho from Spurs, joint protests on the streets of North London with Spurs and Arsenal fans joining together against their club owners. I didn't suspect that the Sundays would be full of Dominic Cummings turning on Boris and I most certainly didn't expect that people would be stupid enough to equate covid passports to the holocaust, which is the current thing trending on Twitter. It just goes to show that a week is a lot longer period than we sometimes think. 

But with all that excitement, what has been tickling the fancy of our wonderful local army of Tweeters?

1. Lets start with Mark Amies petition to Save the Railway Hotel. That is now up to 690 signatures as I write this. The campaign is continuing to build. Several people raised the matter with me when I was out and about in Edgware.

2. And on the subject of local pubs, it seems there is some good news.

3. Our local wildlife correspondent Samuel Levy has been on fire recently with some amazing wildlife tweets. This week is no exception. The secret to getting picked here is to post amazing tweets and I have to say this is one of Samuel's very best

4. Looking for something to do for our amazing community today?

5. Just in case you didn't know. I don't normally use this to self promote, but your truly is the Candidate for the Lib Dems in Edgware.

6. The season is finally over for Hadley FC after losing on penalties to Binfield. A great run and a tad unlucky. Hats off to Hadley for making one young man's day

7. If you've been wondering how progress is going with the new Brent Cross West Thameslink Station, here is the latest update

8. Robin Moss rather likes wandering around taking pictures of rather lovely places such as Friary Park, we are rather pleased that he does.

9. Remember indeed!

10. Rock and Roll Music from Planet Mill Hill!

That's all folks

Saturday 24 April 2021

The Saturday List #305 - My ten requirements for a location to live in

 I live in Mill Hill, in North West London. I have no plans to move. A few friends have talked about relocation recently. I was surprised to learn that they'd not really sat down and worked out what they wanted from a location. There was a general desire to downsize and 'live somewhere nice'. I well recall my mother doing the same thing in 1987 when my Dad died. She sold me the house, as she wanted to live 'somewhere nice'. She bought a semi in Christchurch, near Bournemouth. Withing a year she was back, she'd loved it for three months, then got bored. She realised that for all its faults, Mill Hill had everything she wanted in walking distance. She lived here until she died in 2008. 

But what do I need?

1. Good access to central London. Music is my first love, I also love good food, theatre and pubs. London is full of all of these. There is nowhere better in the world. On Thameslink I can be in central London in 25 minutes and the trains have a loo, so if I need one on the way home, I can have one. I would never dream of driving to anything I want to enjoy.

2. A local music studio. As a musicians, this is so important to me that I built one on my doorstep. My life would be empty without my band.

3. Great places to walk my dogs. Around Mill Hill, Edgware and the Totteridge Valley there are some amazing walks, the equal of anywhere and all walking distance. 

4. Somewhere to play five a side football with my mates. We have Powerleague. I am currently nursing a damaged knee, which is driving me mad, as I want to be back out on the Astroturf.

5. A great local Indian Restaurant. Mill Hill has the Mill Hill Tandoori, which is my second home when we can do such things. The venue of choice for our football nights out. We also have The Day of The Raj if you want a great takeaway. 

6. Somewhere to have a proper, grown up pint. Mill Hill is not blessed with great pubs, but it has the Mill Hill Services Club, where you can have a proper, reasonably prized pint, with your mates. 

7. A great, friendly, local non league football team within walking distance. We have Hadley FC, who I will be watching in the FA Vase Later this afternoon. Again I can't wait to get back on the Terraces.

8. A local music festival to give me something to look forward to. There will be no Mill Hill Music Festival this year, but we will be back next year. I really cannot wait. 

9. A house with a garden and a pond. I am lucky, I have a house a garden and a pond. It gives me a sense of tranquility, even though it backs onto the M1. If it wasn't for this, I'd probably buy a flat in Soho.

10. A local network of friends, to catch me when I fall. I am lucky, I have that in Mill Hill in abundance. Believe me, sometimes I need catching. 

Friday 23 April 2021

The Friday Joke - A tool joke

As is the tradition at the Barnet Eye, we always try and start your weekend with a smile. Here's hoping that it will be a beautiful weekend.

A screwdriver goes into a coktail bar. The bartender eye's up the screwdriver and  says, “Hey buddy, we have a drink specially named after you!” The screwdriver beams with a wide smile and say “Well in that case I'll go for the Phillip!”

Pic courtesy

Have a great weekend!

Thursday 22 April 2021

Citizens of Planet Zob - Unite against this grave injustice!

As  it's #Earthday.....

 Are you a citizen of Planet Zob? If the answer is no, you may wonder what this is all about. You were clearly interested enough to read up to here to find out what the grave injustice was. This means one of three things. The first is that you have an interest in the extra-terrestial, the second is that you care about injustice or the third is that you are a malignant soul who is hoping this is a sign that my mental health has deteriorated and I am living in a fantasy world. 

You may be interested to know that I have an interest in all three things. I am fascinated by the concept of extra terrestial life. This started with an obsession with 60's / 70's Sci fi series such as Dr Who and UFO. I also have a mild obsession with comics, probably due to the fact that I'm dyslexic and I find comics and graphic novels more palatable than books. I went through a phase of collecting all manner of British Sci Fi publications. One of the best was a serialisation of the Jeff Hawke comic from the Daily Express in the 60's and 70's. One of the premise's that the series operated under was that humanity was a fairly unsophisticated race and that the aliens who came into contact with Hawke were often grotesque in appearance, but far more intelligent, kindly and benevolent than us. Unlike the Daleks and the Aliens in UFO, they were not out to enslave or murder us.  As Wikipedia notes 

"The plots of Jeff Hawke turned around the seemingly endless, baroque diversity of aliens and their worlds, their contacts with humans, and the ability of Hawke and his friends to manage relationships with so many different entities. The subtle wit of Patterson made the creatures and the plots revolving around them as fascinating as they were amusing, whereas the highly expressive Jordan drawing style fully captured the strangeness of the various worlds and creatures. The aliens were almost always much more technologically advanced and wise than humans, and often the plots were highly critical of various "primitive" aspects of the human race, like pollution."

Of course we have no idea whether there really are aliens, whether they would be belevolent as predicted by Sydney Jordan or malevolent as predicted by UFO and Dr Who. I have been thinking about this with the footage of the Mars helicopter this week, this blog would have appeared earlier had the ESL story not got in the way. If, as seems very unlikely, there are Martians, and they are keeping an eye on the rover and the helicopter, it is worth bearing in mind that we are the intrusive aliens to them. If they were a benelovent peaceful race, what would they make of us? If they are monitoring our news channels, I'd be very wary if I were them. The news this week of the conviction of the killer of George Floyd demonstrates how we treat people with even minor differences in skin pigmentation. For an alien who we may see as grotesque, it does not bode well.

I am intrigued that whenever I read any MOD/Pentagon commentary in regards to UFO's and Aliens, it is always discussed in terms of threat. There is never any discussion of the opportunity for advancement. If just one UFO from the tens of thousands of reports is really from another world, it means that there is life out there which has developed technology far beyond our own. By definition, should they wish to pose a threat, it would be fairly significant. If, however they are simply curious, I can't say I would blame them from keeping their distance.

As to injustice, the George Floyd case has thrown this into sharp contrast. I wonder what our casual benevolent alien would make of it all. Assuming they were signed up to the concepts of rule and law and justice, I can only assume they'd find us very barbaric and primitive in our application of law, given that under the US constitution Mr Floyd had the same rights and protections as anyone else.  I suspect that they'd be even more baffled by our nationalistic view of covid. If you look at the BBC website, there are two stories. One is that covid is no longer the biggest killer in the UK, which is great news. What is not such great news is that India, a country with a Space program of its own, had over 300,000 new cases of covid. For us, this is  a major threat. The more people globally that have covid, the more likely that there will be a mutation. A vaccine resistant mutation would put us right back to the start. When you think about it logically, universal justice, be it over vaccinations or human rights is enlightened self interest. Ensuring access to vaccines for poor nations is the best way of stopping mutations. Ensuring that Police forces act fairly is also in our interest, as when people feel disenfranchised and discriminated against by the system, they see no reason to follow the law. This puts us all at risk. back in 2012, we had riots in our own cities following the death of a Black citizen in a Police Station. We are always far closer to complete anarchy than we realise. What keeps it at bay is when people feel that they will be treated fairly by the system.

Which leads nicely onto the final topic I raised. That of mental health. This is a very misunderstood issue. I had serious issues as a teenager when I was 12/13, enough to be referred to a pediatrician and to be put on Vallium. I had always thought I was depressed, but having dug more deeply and found that the problem was anxiety, which makes a hell of a lot more sense. I suspect that I'd suffered PTSD when I was around eight and my mother nearly died of stomach cancer. We had a period of six months where she had several operations and it was very touch and go .Daily visits to see her looking awful, wired up to machines and being fed by drips. Children are extremely sensitive and in hindsight it is clear that it had a terrible effect on me. By the time my mother was fully recovered and given the all clear, I was a teenager. In this period, my siblings had left home and my parents had decided to concentrate on enjoying themselves. I reacted by immersing myself in a fantasy world, driven by the comics I loved, which were the only thing I really enjoyed reading. 

The core of my problems, were that I wanted to emerse myself in a fantasy world to escape the day to day stress that life had become. My life at home was one where getting dinner was about the extent of what my Parents managed. As a dyslexic, school was a nightmare, a daily exercise in humiliation and fear. The one escape was the friends in my road, who probably pulled me through without even realising. My Dad built me a shed in the garden that was my space. I was lucky. We'd sit down there, on chairs recovered from wrecks at his car business and feel safe. 

I was thinking about this and the George Floyd situation. The defence team made great play of Floyd's drug usage, claiming he was about to keel over and drop dead anyway. I can't help but wonder what demons in George Floyds life lead him down the path of drug usage. A society without justice, a society where there are no even breaks. A society where the Police are not the number you call when you are in trouble. A society where the colour of your skin defines the quality of your justice. 

So you might wonder, what is this long, rambling blog actually trying to say? Well as I mentioned above, I have marvelled that as a race, we can put a helicopter and a rover on another planet. I've also mused on what the occupants, if they exist, of that planet may make of us and the way we conduct our business. I've discussed how real, stressful events in my own life affected me and identified that, difficult as they were, many people have far more difficult and unresolvable situations, in circumstances where the authorities simply add to the stress rather than offer a way out. I talked about how we might perceive that which is alien to us. How the makers of films portray that which we percieve as alien to us as dastardly and us as heroic. But what really is alien? 

Have you ever, for one second wondered, whether the equivalent of David Attenborough of Planet Zob might have made a documentary about human beings? Maybe all of these UFO's were just the film crew coming to do a 'fly on the wall' documentary. If such a being/person exists, how do you think we'd come across? If such a thing does exist, I'd love to see it, with suitable subtitles. I suspect it may be a very difficult thing for us to watch. I do hope that the Zob Attenborough manages to identify a few redeeming features. I suspect that our portrayal of them via Hollywood Blockbusters is a grave injustice. I just hope their documentary makers don't do a similar hatchet job on us! Just remember when you watch Independence Day part XIII - maybe it's us that are really the Aliens! Over the last year, we've found that the world is a very different place to what we'd perceived it to be before. 

Here's a little song I wrote last year on the subject of Injustice. Please have a listen.

Wednesday 21 April 2021

European Super League - How to get it completely wrong

 I've no idea what the combined book value of the clubs who announced the founding of the European Super League was, but it is tens of millions. The turnover of the clubs is huge, all are global businesses and revenue from turnstiles is now no longer the main income for the clubs. Ever rising TV rights, merchandising, business sponsorship and image rights are an ever rising percentage of the balance sheet. 

When I read that the ESL founders had a guaranteed place for 23 years, I had a look back at the league tables from 1998. In that year ESL founder member Manchester City had just been relegated to the third tier of English football. Blackburn Rovers, now languishing in the Championship were a top six club. Spurs haven't won a league title in the intervening years and are miles off a Champions League place were in the club, whereas Leicester, who are top four currently and who have, were not invited. Although I am biased, the only English club to have qualified for the Champions League for the last ten years is Manchester City. As a fan, I am proud of this achievement, but should they get it wrong and finish mid table, as Arsenal will, I would feel embarrassed seeing them qualify for anything. 

Yesterday Pep Guardiola stated that if you don't have to win, it isn't Sport. One can only wonder what words were said behind closed doors. Manchester City employ Pep Guardiola as he's the best manager in the world and that is the only real way to ensure success (get a good manager and back them to the hilt). If there is less competetion, it won't be long before the bean counters start to query whether a club like City really needs such people. There has been much criticism of Manchester City's millions. The amount the owners have put in to 'buy success' is roughly equivalent to the money taken out of Manchester United in 'dividends' for the owners. United is run as a business by a bunch of American businessmen, with no real love of English football. Their approach has meant that United have failed to mount a serious challenge for the league title for nearly ten years. There is a feeling that players are sometimes bought for non footballing reasons or as short term fixes. This season, they are mounting the nearest thing to a serious challeng for the title since they last one in 2012 under Sir Alex Ferguson. A cynic may say that this is as much to do with the implosion of Liverpool as a masterplan coming together. Unless Manchester City suffer a similar implosion, they will end up as runners up, creditable but not what the fans would expect. It is a classic example of what happens when cash is king in sport. 

I mention this, purely to demonstrate what happens when a club is run purely to keep greedy owners bank balances topped up. These are the people who thought up the European Super League. I am sure that teams of accountants produced glowing forcasts of projected profits from global audiences, all of which would moisten the juices of the moneymen. What puzzles me is that whilst they got all of the forcasts to show such a compelling case, not one of these people gave a thought to the PR effect this would have.

I've been involved in countless launches of various things over the years and perhaps the most important aspect of any launch is planning the PR campaign. Whilst I understand that with something like this, secrecy was vital to those putting it together, there are plenty of product launches, where PR firms keep far more sensitive things secret. This has been an unmitigated disaster. Not one club or official of the new league has been able to give a single compelling reason why a genuine fan (or legacy fan as we are now known) will benefit. For a well run club like Manchester City, the fans would  expect the club to participate in the tournament on a regular, if not annual basis. For the fans of a less successful club (in recent times) such as Spurs, do they really want to be in a tournament which they don't deserve to be in, will have no incentive to improve to stay in and may end up just being cannon fodder? It is interesting that City and Chelsea were first to break ranks and ditch the idea, as these have been the two most successful clubs of the last decade and the clubs least likely to need automatic entry. They also have owners who are more committed to success than profits. 

One has to assume that there was an assumption, clearly wrong, that the fans of these clubs would think "Wow, we will be guaranteed great football every year, what is not to like?". This may be true for armchair TV fans, who don't go to games and don't really get it and have fluid loyalties, but for the fans who actually stand on the terraces, they are far less wrapped up in the concept of success than many of the money men realise. I have friends my age who are Man Utd fans. They consider the fact that they stuck with the team when they were relegated in 1974 as a badge of honour. They recognise that the achievements of Sir Alex Ferguson were demonstrably special as there had been a long list of managers before him who failed to win the league, going back to the day Sir Matt Busby left. 

Many of us recall Nottingham Forest winning the European Cup under Brian Clough. That created a huge amount of interest in Football. Clough exemplified the pre Premiership era of English domination. Forest, Liverpool and Aston Villa more or less monopolised the trophy. Sadly the holliganism of the era put paid to this golden age. I can remember people saying that the only way to stop football violence was fences and bans. In fact, it was the Taylor report that really sorted it out. Taylor made football address its worst aspects, the current success is based on a perception that it is a family sport. Whilst the truth is that on the terraces you still hear words the Vicar wouldn't say, you don't expect to get your head kicked in. Stadiums are all seated and safe. There is a move back to 'safe standing' but this won't be like the old swaying crowds on the terraces. This is the foundation of the current success of football and has nothing to do with the FA. It is telling that it took an outsider such as Taylor to put football back on its feet. 

Football has the greatest product of any spectator sport. The negatives have largely been addressed, the experience of going to a match is special, be it in the Premiership or in the ninth tier (both of which I do regularly). Anyone owning a club is the custodian of that club and it's traditions. They owe a huge debt to the loyal fans. It is true that fans really don't know what they want. They want to watch great players, giving their all, week in and week outm, who engage with them. They want to be safe on the terraces, but not totally insulated and sanitised from the banter that makes being in a crowd fun. They want  a pie and a pint to be served quickly at half time. Most would love to be able to take a pint of warm beer with them to their seat and if they did, most would behave impeccably. Most fans will pay the TV subscriptions and recognise that the cost supports the infrastructure that makes it all possible. But if you said to a fan "We've set up a system where your team is guaranteed a trophy every year" most would laugh at you. I don't know any fans who enjoy watching the dead rubbers in the Champions League qualifiers. The first thing I thought when I head about the ESL was "Oh no, more dead rubbers". If no one can be relegated and only one team can win, by half way through the season, half of the games would be irrelevant. 

My second team, Hadley FC, of the Essex Senior League are on a record breaking run in the FA Vase. I watched the game on a stream on Saturday with 47 other viewers. The commentary was done by a couple of amatuer Sutton Common Rovers fans, one of whom turned up at half time as he'd missed the bus. The other hadn't got a clue who the players were. I enjoyed it more than the sterile match between Chelsea and Manchester City, which had the most appalling first half of any match I've seen. I've always said I'd watch a three legged dog kick a ball around Watling Park if there was nothing else on. The bottom line is that for  'Legacy fans' like me, football is a curse. I'd go along with whatever, as I need my fix. But the excitement that got me hooked is diminishing all of the time. If these greedy businessmen really wanted to think about the future of the sport long term, they would be moving to make it genuinely more competetive and open. One of the things that makes ties between English clubs and the likes of Real and Barcelona so special is that they don't happen all of the time. Intense rivalries only happen because of geopgraphy or success. The only reason why a Real vs Man City game would ever become a classic would be because both teams had a long period of success,where they viewed each other as bitter rivals. The bottom line is that with a sixteen club Super League there will only be three or four genuinely competetive clubs. That is the Achilies heel of the proposal. I can't believe that so many rich people, controlling so much of our favourite sport, could miss that and get it so wrong. 

Tuesday 20 April 2021

Ten things I'd never have expected to happen back in 2019

 Back in 2015, I wrote a blog called 10 things I never thought I'd see in 1999. It was a list of things that you'd have won a lot of money had you put a fiver on it at Ladbrokes. It took 16 years for the list to be compiled. Time seems to have speeded up. In the past two years, we've probably had a couple of decades worth of news. It made me think. How the world has changed.  Whilst the 2015 list was recogniseable events etc, this list is a lot more subtle, but displays a wider truth. 

1. That I'd be sitting here in 2021 and not have done a gig with The False Dots for over a year,despite all of us being in relative good health. Our last one was on Friday 13th December 2019. I will never do another gig on a Friday 13th again. It was also the day after the election that delivered us Boris. 

2. That I'd have no plans to go on holiday abroad in 2021. Normally we book our holidays a year in advance. We haven't even speculated about a holiday abroad this year or next. 

3. That I've not have been in a record shop for over six months.

4. That, as a Londoner, I'd be jealous of people in New Zealand for their thriving hospitality sector.

5. That I'd not have been to see any live music for over a year. 

6. That all of my kids would be living at home with me (They are 25,24 and 20). 

7. That people I would have considered sane and rational seem to prefer medical information from bonkers websites and you tube channels than medical professionals.

8. That I wouldn't have been to the pub once in six months, despite still drinking and still having money in my pocket. 

9.  That I'd think Gary Neville and Marcus Rashford were the good guys. I am a Manchester City fan, they are United legends, but last year Marcus Rashford became the conscience of the nation, putting the politicians to shame. On Sunday, Gary Neville spoke for every football fan in the country in opposition to the proposed European Super League.

10. Donald Trump to be forgotten so quickly by the rest of the world. He only stepped down three months ago, but it's almost like he was never there. I know that the Republican party is still at war over him, but no one here seems to remember that just three months ago, his finger was on the nuclear button.

Of course if I'd died or been in a coma, some of these may have been predictable, but sadly for many, despite a dodgy knee I'm fine.

Monday 19 April 2021

Football - why my love affair with the game is on life support

 Ok, the headline is an exaggeration. I will always love Football. I will always love the club I support, Manchester City (unless they cease to be Manchester City and the franchise moves). But I have never felt more disilllusioned with the club, the top echelon of the game, the owners of clubs. As a City fan born in 1962, I saw my fair share of relegations. I've been at the ground for a couple of them. When they dropped down to the Third tier, I thought it was one of the most depressing days of my life. But not for a second did I think "Maybe I'll support United or Arsenal instead". I just felt sick, drew the curtains and waited for the challenge of a new season. And when that season came, it was difficult. I remember playing York City, with 3,000 City fans there, giving the opposition a huge cash bonus. It seems ironic now, but I remember being on the terraces at Fulham. I was sitting with Big Dave Watson's nephew, who'd got me a ticket (he worked as an engineer at the studio). Mohammed Al-Fayed was the owner of Fulham and they were taunting City with chants of "We've got loads of cash". Fayed had invested heavily, whilst City had more or less stuck with the team that got relegated. The home crowds at City in the third tier were higher than the previous season in the second tier, but the campaign was not the instant, easy promotion City fans expected. They ended up in a play off final. 

I took my eight year old nephew, who wasn't quite sure whether to follow my lead and support City or my brothers and support United. I explained that United was an easy gig, you had trophies, you had amazing players, you had glittering European ties. But with City you got something different, something better. You got a perspective on life that would prepare you for anything. You may never see them win a trophy, but that didn't matter. When you were on the terrace at the Kippax, or at Fulham on a freezing cold day in winter, you'd get genuine excitement. The lows would hurt and ruin your weekend, but the highs, few and far between, would be so much more delectable than for a United fan, who would consider a season where the FA cup was the sole trophy to be a failure. Success for fans in football is like being a heroin addict. There comes a point where you don't enjoy the hit of success, but it stops you feeling down, which you do, even when things are relatively good. 

At 89 minutes into the game, Gillingham were 2-0 up. The Gallagher brothers from Oasis had flounced out of the stadium. I am not sure what was going through my nephew's head, but I suspect it wasn't "This is great". I just kept telling him "Keep the faith". In the 90th minute, Kevin Horlock scored. It seemed too little, too late. Then the injury time was announced. There would be another six minutes. In the fifth minute, Paul Dickov equalised. The Gallaghers, half way down the old Wembley way, started to sprint back. 

It seemed inevitable that City would prevail in injury time. Gillingham were devastated, but no. They rallied. The match went to penalties. Unsurprisingly, Horlock scored. Gillingham missed their first penalty. We relaxed. Up stepped the hero of the 95th minute, Paul Dickov. He missed. The Gills scored. It seemed like City were destined to put a dagger through our hearts. But they slotted away the next two and when Nicky Weaver saved Butters penalty, City were back. My nephew now knew what supporting City meant. United won the treble, but nothing could compare to what we'd seen. 

I dreamed that maybe City would eventually get back into the Premiership and maybe win the League cup, possibly occasionally beating United, to allow me to wind my brother up. Little did I dream that within ten years, the petro dollars would arrive. I never saw the Agueroooooooooo moment coming. That was another game that put us through the mill. Against QPR, sat with my 10 year old son. QPR on their way to relegation, City just needing a home win. Zabaleta scores in the first half. It all looks so easy. The Rangers score 2. Yet again, it goes to the wire. Fergie and Man Utd are celebrating after their win at Sunderland. The noisy neighbours have been silenced. But then Edin Dzecko equalises and as Fergie waves to the fans, the ultimate maverick Ballotelli to pokes a ball to Aguero, City score and take the title. Fergie, hearing the groans, realises what has happened. He stops waving. As a City fan, that scene was almost as good as Aguero's goal. Those two moments will forever be remembered. 

But as any primary school RE teacher will tell you, when you sell your soul, there is a debt to pay. It seems that the debt is being collected today. The 'Big Six' have decided to shaft the rest of English football. The bottom line is that City have become everything I depised United for being when they set up the Premiership, with other greedy top level clubs. 

On Saturday, I watched two games. Just as I introduced my nephew to City, three years ago he returned the favour and introduced me to Hadley FC. The oldest football club in the Borough of Barnet and my nearest proper non league club, being based in Brickfield Lane, opposite the Gate pub. They are currently in the Essex Senior League. To my amusement, when I started going, my wife thought that meant they were a bunch of old codgers. I found a few old mates from School were fans, it has been great to catch up. I bought a season ticket, this meant I could get a local fix of footie, when I wasn't making the Pilgrimmage to Manchester. I've always loved lower league football. My Dad sponsored Edgware Town in the 1960's through his business. In the 1980's and early 1990's I didn't watch much football as I used to play for Hendon Old boys in the ASA on a Saturday. In the mid 1990's I started to go again, watching Barnet FC at Underhill and being a guest Wrexham fan when they played in London, as one of my best friends was a supporter. 

When Barnet moved from Underhill, I found it strangely underwhelming and lost interest. Hadley re-ignited this. This season, they are on a record breaking run in the FA Vase. Their match was live streamed from Sutton on Saturday. I paid a fiver to watch this before the the City vs Chelsea cup semi. Due to Prince Phillip's funeral, the times were moved, so I only caught the first half and 10 minutes of the second. It was a superb game. Both teams committed and trying to play football. I switched over when City started, with Hadley at 1-1, having just scored a penalty before the break.

They went on to win 1-3 and continue the run.

 I wished I hadn't. Hadley got £1,000 for winning and a couple of hundred quid from the streaming fees. That probably paid for a minute of one of the City players time. They were awful in the first half, disinterested and lazy. It was only in the second half, when local lad Phil Foden came on that there was any spark. I can take lazy, lack lustre performances in cup semi's, God knows I've seen some awful games, but to follow this by supporting the ESL proposal has strained me to almost breaking point.

I know that I will be at Hadley when fans are allowed back in. I know I will always be a City fan. But I do not feel the same. I have often wondered what would have happened if Dickov hadn't scored. In a sliding doors world, City would still be yo-yo'ing around the divisions. Someone else would be one of the big six. I'd be ranting and railing against it on this very blog. But it is not the fault of the fans. None of us want it. In truth, this moment has been coming for decades. What happens next is what matters. If Football moves to a franchise, no relegation, no promotion ESL, then I think it will end up declining in the UK. We love the underdogs. We loved it when Wimbledon beat Liverpool. When Wigan beat City a few years back in the FA Cup, my feelings were tempered by the feeling that at least the loyal Wigan fans had a day they will remember of ever. Like the Leicester story, it showed there was some heart left in football. Today feels like the day that heart has been ripped out. 

The soul of Manchester City isn't dead, it will never die whilst people who were at Wembley for the Play Off win over Gillingham are still around. People who expected Aguero to ballon that over the bar. I just hope that football see's sense and moves away from this concept that all football is for is to be a cash cow for billionaires to fleece those silly enough to support a top flight club. That Leadership won't come from the clubs. Sooner or later, if fans really care, they will take action. For me, the place to start would be a boycott of the TV companies. They are where the power really is at the moment. Although I fully expect them to be shafted by the clubs, when they set their own streaming services up for this new ESL. I wouldn't like to see a fan boycott of the terraces, because to me, being on the terrace is what it is really all about.