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Fairwell Sandro-Spurs Unlucky Midfield General

This January transfer window finally saw the end of Sandro Raniere’s career in British football as he moved on a free transfer from QPR to Turkish side Antalyaspor. With it fell the curtain on an injury plagued period in which Sandro never reached the heights that he promised early on in his time at White Hart Lane.

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Sandro at his unveiling at Antalyaspor

After commanding the midfield in Internacional’s  2010 Copa Libertadores win, Sandro arrived in North London with the promise to change Spurs reputation of having a somewhat flaky midfield. Early on he starred for Tottenham, dominating the midfield in crucial Champions League ties against Inter and AC Milan, breaking up the play in front of the back four. He appeared to be the answer to Spurs fans prayers, a player capable of adding steel to a team that all to often looked lightweight in the middle, earning him the nickname ‘beast’ amongst the fans. Yet these two performances were to be the pinnacle of his career to date, showing glimpses of a world class defensive midfielder.In 2013, Sandro picked up a knee injury, putting him out for the majority of the 13-14 season. This was to become a regular occurrence for the rest of his career in English football, lengthy rehabilitation periods punctuated with rare uneventful appearances.

 

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Sandro snapping into a tackle in perhaps his finest performance in a Spurs shirt against AC Milan.

In September 2014 Sandro joined Queens Park Rangers after falling down the pecking order at Tottenham due to his persistent knee injuries. His time at QPR displayed little of his best form, suggesting that the knee injuries had a lasting impact on his game. In January 2016 he joined West Bromwich Albion on loan for the rest of the season, but he barely featured for Pulis’s side and they didn’t take up the option to make his loan move permanent at the end of the season. At the end of the season QPR made it apparent that  Sandro was no longer wanted at Loftus Road, as they wanted to shift his considerable wages off their bulging wage bill. Over the summer, a move to Sporting Lisbon got to the stage of a medical, only for Lisbon to back out of the deal due to Sandro failing the medical because of his knee problems. This outcome is disputed by Sandro, who claims that the medical report was insincere and that he was actually fully fit. This angered Sandro, who understandably saw the potential move to Lisbon as a real opportunity to play at the elite Champions League level many felt he belonged. As the summer transfer window slammed shut, he was forced to remain at QPR and barely feature until his recent January transfer to Turkish team  Antalyaspor. This saw the end of Sandro’s frustrating career in English football, in which he never fulfilled the promise he showed in the first year of his Spurs tenure.

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Sandro at his time at QPR.

In many ways Sandro represents a change of direction for Spurs, with them moving towards stronger, more dynamic centre midfield players. With Moussa Dembele, Victor Wanyama and Eric Dier currently battling for defensive midfield positions at the Lane, it can perhaps be attributed to the early performances of Sandro that displayed that a bit of bite in the midfield could lead to increased returns for the Lilly-whites. For that and the great memories and attitude that Sandro brought to Tottenham, we should be thankful for his short English career and hope that he can succeed in Turkey and rise again to the top level of European football in which it once appeared he thrived.

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Nick Clegg-Between the Extremes: Book Review

In ‘Between the Extremes’ Nick Clegg offers readers an insiders guide to the coalition government and provides a convincing argument for a centrist path in the future. He stresses the need for rational debate following the divisive EU referendum campaigns.

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Clegg starts the book by providing an overview of his spectacular rise and fall, from the hero of the inaugural leaders TV debates (aka Cleggomania) to the Cenotaph, the day after his party were trounced in the 2015 general election and he was forced to resign. Following the TV debates Clegg was heralded as the face of a new centre-left politics, gaining legions of fans and bringing a swell of support for the Lib Dems, leading them to form the coalition government with the Conservatives in 2010. The Lib Dems entered the coalition full of optimism, yet its clear that this experience paved the way for a frustrating experience for the party. Here Clegg is particularly sincere, explaining the mental and physical tole a leadership role takes on an individual. After this begins a section of Clegg justifying his political decisions whilst in office, with particular attention paid to the student tuition fees issue. Here it feels relatively self indulgent, with him often claiming that events were completely out of his hands. It appears that narratives of his lack of power seem all too convenient. This section feels politically motivated and is out of character with the more objective stance taken in other parts of the book, wherein he is candid about the naivety of his party. In this section you get the sense that Clegg is trying to right the wrongs of the coalition. He persistently states that the sentiment that future will look back on the coalition far more positively, but if the last five years proves anything, it is that this is not the case, where the Liberal Democrats appear to ignore the coalition years entirely.

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Clegg and Cameron at the Rose Garden

Clegg then presents his vision of a centrist political future, wherein politics is dominated by compromise. Indeed, Clegg feels that in the future coalitions will be far more regular, forcing intra-party concessions. As a result he see’s the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition as something of a game-changer in the UK. Clegg foresees the fragmentation of politics as a reason for coalitions as the rise of third parties continues in the form of UKIP. Clegg then makes a compelling argument for electoral reform to combat this new political environment and better reflect the voting choices of the electorate.

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Clegg was forced to resign following a dismal result in the 2015 general election 

A large portion of the book deals with Europe from Clegg’s pro-European stance and the issue with the EU referendum campaigns. He explains how the discourses created in the campaigns are dangerous and that the divisive messages were damaging to British politics. Here he argues that there is a need for more rational debate in the political sphere, which was missing in the EU debates. Here is Clegg at his idealistic best, arguing from his Rationalist-Liberalist beliefs but it seems fairly far removed from the reality of contemporary political discourses. Clegg’s analysis is thus an counterpoint to modern political campaign strategies and offers a reasoned critique of the way that political communication is going.

 

To conclude, Between the Extremes is a candid and timely autobiography that provides an insiders look at the coalition years. The book provides perspectives on the future of politics and critiques of the increasingly partisan political system. If you are looking to understand the Lib Dems role in the coalition or feel that post-Brexit politics is alienating you, it is definitely worth a read.

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Theresa May Brexit Speech – Snap Reaction

Today Theresa May finally provided a substantive picture of the governments Brexit plan.

The headline news is that May plans to take Britain out of the European single market, breaking a 2015 Tory manifesto pledge. This further questions the legitimacy of her mandate and renders arguments of ‘taking back control’ something of a damp squib.Her message of wanting a positive relationship with the EU seem rather dependent on a ‘they need us more than we need them’ logic, which I fear is rather a false supposition that aims to quell fears rather than provide practical answers on the future of Britain.

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Yet she has also stated that Parliament will get a final vote on proposed Brexit plans. This is a tacit acknowledgement that the ongoing high Court case is petulant at best. This provides some kind of democratic mandate to Brexit which is much needed. It is up to a largely anonymous opposition to challenge what’s been put forward and push for a Brexit that works for all.This landmark speech provides evidence that we are heading for a hard Brexit, so lets strap ourselves in, it’s sure to be an intriguing course at least!

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An Introduction To Me

For my first agenda I would like to give a short introduction to myself, my interests and what you can expect to see here in the future. 

To give you a bit of background my name is Joe and I’m a 20 year old marketing student living in Cardiff. I grew up in a small seaside town in Somerset and I went to school in the beautiful village of Cheddar. 

Throughout my young life I have always loved sharing my opinions and openly discussing anything and everything. So this is why I’m writing this blog, because it is enjoyable to express my opinions on all that entertains, intrigues and excites me. 

My interests are diverse and not particularly stereotypical. I’m a big football fan and I support Tottenham Hotspur. I played football when I was younger, retiring at the age of 20, with hopes of ending my retirement sometime soon! 

I love music and have a varied music taste that includes ska, punk and rock with a sprinkling of soul and blues for good measure. My favourite band is The Clash hands down. 

I’m also a proud home baker with my speciality being any type of bread. I often find that there is nothing better than a good knead culminating in a hearty loaf to dip in some soup. 

A further passion is computer games, which occupy far too high a percentage of my time. I enjoy a vast array of computer games from Fifa to Bioshock. 

TV shows also peak my interest, personal favourites are Breaking Bad and Mad Men, with trashy TV like Storage Hunters being my less intense choice. 

To satisfy my thirst for all of these things and more I shall be analysing my experiences and reviewing the latest cultural happenings, from games, music, films and TV. I’ll also be giving my opinions on the latest sporting events. If I ever produce a bread that’s good enough I’ll also be sharing that. So I hope you enjoy reading my future posts and that it will open up some areas for discussion with you readers.

Keep on keepin’ on,
Joe

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