Sunday, 27 December 2015

A River Runs Through It

+Johanna Howard-Cofield​, +Anya Howard-Cofield​, +Leo Howard-Cofield​ and I spent the day helping the clear up in Littleborough following yesterday's floods.
I'm really proud of the kids giving their day up and humbled by the way the community - farmers, publicans, electricians, plumbers, off-duty firemen, faith and community groups of all creeds, everyone - all came together to help those whose property had been flooded.



An even bigger area was affected just a few miles further up the valley with Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd (among others in the North) all suffering - just three years since the last big flood which prompted new defences being put in place. Naturally, the reaction has been the same, with people coming from miles away to lend a hand.

(For my cycling friends, to help place the area, Mytholmroyd is where Cragg Vale, the "longest hill in England" begins).

We returned tired, hungry and dirty - but happy that we could at least come home to a hot shower and some comfort. It could be a while before some of those affected, whose furniture and belongings were carted off in skips today, can do the same. Hopefully it won't be too long.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

A New Regular Column

I started writing a new regular football column for Betwire in September. Betwire is a network where users can access real-time information, news and social interactions tailored to their betting interests.

Topics tackled so far have been:


The football transfer window madness: Football's Transfer Roulette Wheel Set to Keep on Spinning



Thursday, 10 September 2015

Soccerex Global Convention 2015

The early part of this week was taken up with a visit to the Soccerex Global Convention 2015 in Manchester.


Soccerex is the world's largest football business event. It brings together the global leaders in the business of football to debate, network and do business. I was lucky enough to be able to attend most of this year's event.

Workshops and lectures attended included Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein discussing the fallout of the FIFA corruption allegations, a trio of “super-agents” (including Gareth Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett) on the role of player representatives and “intermediaries”, and a review of the recent transfer market by PrimeTime Sports.

Some of my reports from Soccerex can be found on Betwire: http://www.betwire.com/articles/fifa-presidency-prince-ali-tells-soccerex-delegates-to-stay-tuned and on grumpyoldfan: http://grumpyoldfan.net/manchester-united-never-an-option-for-bale-says-agent/ - with more to follow.



Thursday, 13 August 2015

Tipping My Hat to Cycling Bib Shorts

"Chapeau! is a brand conceived and developed by cyclists who yearned for great quality products that came complete with a touch of class."

I recently wrote an article for the brand which they have used to promote their range of bibshorts.



For every stick-thin, head-down, shaven legged racer speeding across the tarmac there is a sandal-wearing, bearded randonneur. For every cafe-run pootler, there is a mountain biker heading for the trails.
Contrary to Thomas Jefferson’s famous quote, all men are not created equal. Young or old, male or female, we are as individual as our fingerprints.
However, each person reading this does have one thing in common: our love of life on two-wheels.
Bearing in mind both these facts, the full range of Chapeau shorts have been created to celebrate our differences in both gender and riding styles.

For the full article, please see: http://www.chapeau.cc/blog/classic-or-pave-what-short-is-right-for-me/


Saturday, 25 July 2015

A Busy Week

An extremely busy week began with me appearing - as editor of the Fanfeud blog - on the Weekly Fantasy Football Show as a guest.

The reason for my appearance was to discuss some new changes to the Fanfeud game and describe how the rich content on the blog gives added value through with its hints and strategies.

It was thoroughly enjoyable, if a little daunting. The fellow guests were true fantasy football experts that left me thinking on my feet quite a lot!

Have a listen and let me know how you think I did!

Friday, 19 June 2015

The Weigh-In

I am currently dipping in and out of a book called The Tour de France - to the bitter end. I am also watching a lot of cycling, and doing a lot of cycling.

In the book, there is an interview with Sir Bradley Wiggins from 2009. He spoke of some of the difficulties he faced swapping track cycling for road racing and grand tours - weight loss, illness and team tactics among them.

When Chris Froome produced an exceptionally powerful performance in the final stage of the Criterium du Dauphine last week it brought Wiggins' words to mind. Such strength shown by so slender an athlete. It also brought me back to my biggest ride to date which was at the Tour de Yorkshire sportive. I appeared to lose an enormous amount of weight in one day, much to the concern of my family.

You can read my musings here > http://replacewithblog.com/weighty-matters/




Thursday, 18 June 2015

Goodbye to The Upright

Just before Christmas, I was invited to become the editor of a sports site called The Upright which was aiming to do something a little different.

The site featured a host of talented writers telling stories about sport. The idea was that there was to be no breaking news or transfer gossip - but also no word limits. No sport was excluded. Neither was fiction.

We took flights of fancy through Basketball, Cricket, Football, Gaelic Games, Cycling, Rugby - you name it. Sporting culture and science were discussed and book reviews offered.

Although long-form writing was preferred, we also trialled "flash features" - sporting moments described in 300 words or less. Later, "flash fiction" appeared on a similar basis. If it was sports-related, we considered featuring it.

The real quirk with The Upright, though, was its weekly publishing burst. We aimed to be part of your Sunday morning reading.

It was really rather good.

Sadly, all good things come to an end. What we believed were the site's stand-out points and strengths were also weaknesses. Without gossip and breaking news, and with a weekly publishing schedule it was difficult to gain traction.

I'd like to say thanks to all who contributed - it was a pleasure to read and edit your words.

Before it disappears, please do take a look. www.theupright.ie


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Le Tour de Yorkshire Ride Report

The Tour de Yorkshire is a legacy event established as a thanks to Yorkshire for the grandest of Grand Departs in last year's Tour de France.

Once again, thousands of spectators lined the roads of Yorkshire to cheer on the competitors as they sped by.

Earlier in the day, at a slightly more sedate pace, around 6000 cycling enthusiasts had braved grim conditions to ride on the same Stage 3 roads as the professionals. I was one of them.



The Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride was largely based on the full stage route, it would involve a number of tough categorised climbs and many other sharp ramps that, despite the official categorisation, would certainly have many pairs of legs screaming for mercy.

Although it may not seem far to most keen cyclists, 142km (or 87 miles) was (un)comforatably longer than any ride I had previously completed in my 12 months or so of mid-life crisis. To prepare myself, training plans were pored over, scrapped and modified.
...
A full ride report can be read here -> Le Tour de Yorkshire Sportive Ride Report
The final bend into Roundhay Park brought warm sunshine and more emotion flooding over me amid a cacophony of noise; hoardings were drummed and whistles blown. By now, I could barely muster the power to spin my legs but the encouragement from the sides pulled me across the line. People of Yorkshire, I salute you – Chapeau!

Still grinning inanely—despite 7 hours 33 minutes in the saddle and the toughest ride I could ever have imagined—I received hugs from family members and picked up a rather fetching medal. My ordeal was over.



There then followed the sight of the police outriders milking some unexpected adulation and the professionals flying across the line to even louder shouts of joy.

Rather than be jeered at, revved, or beeped at. Rather than be attacked by waterbombs, heckled from car windows or even mooned, I had entered a bizarre alternative reality where both policemen and cyclists were celebrated and cheered.



A year ago, I was procrastinating about whether or not to buy a road bike as a means to build my fitness. Now, I commute regularly by bicycle and enjoy weekend spins to places I probably would never visit in the car.

And for one day, I lived Le Tour.



A full ride report can be read here -> Le Tour de Yorkshire Sportive Ride Report

I rode the Tour de Yorkshire sportive in aid of Sheffield Children’s Hospital who are raising funds to buy a pioneering 3T MRI scanner that will make the hospital a world-leader in the treatment and removal of brain tumours. For more information and to see how the fundraising is going, please click here.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Featured in Cycling Active Magazine - May Issue.

Cycling Active is one of a plethora of excellent UK magazines dedicated to cycling, perhaps aimed more at those who are new to the two-wheeled world and wanting to take their interest further.

An article of mine features in the latest May issue of the magazine in which I tell of my own journey back into the saddle, complete with a cartoon version of me that actually bears a resemblance...




With the words, “You’re in for a rough couple of weeks!” I was ushered out of the Doctor’s surgery through the back door, taking my newly acquired chicken pox—a gift from my daughter—with me.

Summer had arrived and I was to be stuck inside, hiding my blisters from the neighbours. What to do for the next week or so?

Idly flicking through the channels on TV, my finger paused as I spied the glorious overhead view of rolling fields. A fast-moving torrent of brightly coloured fabrics poured down a country lane, determinedly chasing a breakaway droplet. The Tour de France was in full flow. I was hooked.




Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Manchester City vs. Barcelona: City's Love-Hate Relationship with Europe Continues

Manchester City’s Love-Hate Relationship with the UEFA Champions League Continues.

Last night, I had the pleasure of being in possession of a press pass for the UEFA Champions League fixture between Manchester City and FC Barcelona at the Etihad Stadium.

In the vernacular of one wizened old hack at the end of the match, it was a “cracking game of football” lit up by some fine performances, not least from Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta. FC Barcelona ran out 2-1 winners thanks to a brace from Uruguayan number nine and public enemy (outside of Liverpool) number one Luis Suarez.

In a rather belated return of favour, I wrote an on-the-fly piece about the game for my good friend Christoph Wagner, author of the website “An Old International”. Below is an extract from the piece but please do click through to read on!

Stuart.



Rumours circulated on Monday that the Manchester United Museum and Tour experience had sold out completely over two whole days. Purportedly,  this was due to the influx of FC Barcelona supporters into Manchester for the UEFA Champions League game against cross-town rivals Manchester City.

This fact will not bother City supporters in the slightest…

***
Fresh from a 5-0 home drubbing of Newcastle United, City manager Manuel Pellegrini insisted in the programme notes that he was sure that everyone watching would see his side “trying to play in the same way we did against Newcastle and in the second half at Stoke.”

Barcelona are not Newcastle United, though. And there is the added complication of the tie being played over two legs.

Pellegrini was true to his word from the off. His line-up and formation (4-4-2) spoke of confidence. The first half proved that confidence to be misplaced.




Wednesday, 4 February 2015

A Place To Call My Own

Freelance Writer - Guest Blogger

I write for many different sites and publications therefore, if someone wants pointing in the direction of my work, it can often be difficult to keep tabs on where everything is or even decide where to send them. Pre-built portfolio sites are fine - and often look beautiful - but do not appear to offer a satisfactory way of collating the work into categories.

And so, I have created this space. A place to call my own. The site might be a little more basic from a design point-of-view but hopefully now, if someone wants to ask about my work, I can say that this is me.

Grumpyoldfan.net and replacewithblog.com will still continue to host any words on football and just about anything that are not easily placed elsewhere.

Like life, it is still a work-in-progress. Links will be added and updated frequently and I aim to record updates of current projects here.

For all enquiries, please get in touch through the contact form or the google+ links on the homepage.

Thanks,

Stuart.