Monday, June 20, 2016

All change England get second place

Slovakia 0-0 England

There was a gaffer called Roy
With Slovakia he changed his ploy
He took Wilshere to France
Drinkwater stood no chance
With the return of golden boy

Stade Geoffrey Guichard, Saint-Etienne

20 06 16

Welsh Dragons win Group B

Russia 0-3 Wales

Coming into this game in Toulouse
Russia had won the last three
All fears are duly banished
When the ball falls to Aaron Ramsey

It was a 66 World Cup qualifier
Wales last beat the USSR
Two goals to one for the Dragons
Ivor Allchurch with a late clincher

Chris Coleman is in dreamland
His proud nation is loud and merry
Bale deflects for Taylor to score
With two bites of that cherry

In Welsh Pirlo Joe Allen Xavi
There's more woe for Leonid Slutsky
Bale makes it a resounding three
Left foot finish from Ramsey

Stadium de Toulouse

20 06 16

© emdad rahman

Saturday, June 18, 2016

One Third Soup Kitchen bring in the kids

Tonight at Booth House I was joined by youth from the Splash Life Skills Project - Better known as Amzy's Angels. 
They were total stars the lot of them and straight after my briefing finished each took to their roles like ducks to water. 
'They're like Angels, they don't judge and I don't feel bad or embarrassed looking them in the eye when they give me food,' said Sharon, one of our homeless guests. 
She's right is our Shazza. Young people are easiest to work with - they're not prejudiced and rarely have hang ups. They get on with it. They don't stare. These kids chose to be here and it was really interesting to watch them. They were polite, full of beans, smiled and engaged in banter with ever homeless guest who graced us with their presence tonight. All I could do was tell them they were amazing and had done so much to break down barriers, misconceptions and stereotypes. 
Anyway, I met a Rangers and Celtic fan tonight. With me wearing the famous hoops it wasn't difficult I guess. We had a chat about the season ahead and how Rangers presence back in the top flight will liven things in the Scottish Premiership. 
The biriani was gone in no time and the youngsters served juice, soft drinks and cakes. We are all very grateful to Emma Coles for the delicious cup cakes. If I hadn't been fasting I would have caved in and devoured one pronto. 
Thank you Jamie, Tahmina, Shahel, Niyaz, Mahib, Sadi, Abid and Hamza for your fantastic help tonight. A special one is reserved for my compadre Amrana for arranging all the food. 
If you'd like to support us in person or by providing good for a shift then please get in touch - Twitter @emdad07

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Lions and Dragons

England 2-1 Wales

Showtime in Lens
No doubt a treasured tale
England boss the first half
Then fall behind to Bale

It's kitchen sink time
Roy goes mental gung ho
Vardy sweeps one back
Rashford is the last throw

Linking up with Vardy
Connecting with Delle Alli
Sturridge nicks it in injury time 
And England lead Group 3

15 06 16

© emdad rahman


Monday, June 13, 2016

Piqué leaves it late

Piqué leaves it late

Spain 1-0 Czech Republic

The best thing about Spain
They do take away your breath
And typically in the first half
They passed the ball to death

Morata told to play up top
La Roja lack a number nine
Aduriz with an overhead kick
Fabregas took one off the line

As the game entered sunset
'A goal' screams Del Bosque
Iniesta's perfectly flighted cross
And a fifth for Gerard Piqué

Stadium de Toulouse

13 06 16

© emdad rahman

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Poland get first ever Euro win

Poland 1-0 N Ireland

The Irish are in town
And there's not a single frown
Michael O'Neill's men create a din

Milik gets the fame
With the only goal of the game
Poland get a first ever Euro win

Stade de Nice, Nice

12 06 16

© emdad rahman
Team DFB on the march
Germany 1-0 Ukraine

The world champions hit Lille
Kroos puts the ball on a sixpence
Bluenose Mustafi steams in for one nil
Ghosting through the Ukraine defence

Kroos bosses, Khedira goes close
Boateng off the line with the ball
Khacheridi comes close from a corner
But there's Neuer the German brick wall

As the clock runs down
Low unleashes Schweinsteiger
Ozil tees it perfect
Clinical is the old warrior

Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille Métropole

13 06 16

© emdad rahman


Modric missile earns Vatreni win

Croatia 1-0 Turkey

Srna and Perisic struck the wood
Corluka's head don't look good
Modric strikes an absolute missile

Rakitic and Turan compete
Fans pound the drum beat
But Turkiye just lacked the guile

Parc de Princes

12 06 16

© emdad rahman

Sonali Othith 40 plus football moves the game forward

Emdad Rahman: I'm currently reading a book called 'Retired' (review coming soon). It's written by Irish stand-up comedian Alan Gernon and talks about the pitfalls faced by footballers coming to the end of their careers. It's a fascinating read and splits opinion right down the middle. I met the Author at the launch of Fleet Street Sport & Media Group, which amongst many services also promotes the health, wealth and welfare of footballers and their families.

Football as a sport has a big impact on mental health and affects self-esteem, identity and many relationships. I have read a study where one in for fans claimed that football was one of the most important things in their lives. This year I had the pleasure of participating in the Sonali Othith 40 years plus veterans tournament 2016 for Dawatul Islam, who I had played for as a youth footballer. Thirty years on and it was nice playing with the boys again. Reaching 40 has served a timely reminder of just how popular football is in the community.
The summer league had six teams participating and the enthusiasm all round was great to experience. It made me think about aspects of our lives which Gernon highlights in his book. Let's look at the phenomena of the retired footballer. One day the world is their oyster and then they retire, sudden or after years of service, and the world comes to a standstill. Apart from a handful, who go into TV, punditry, coaching and maybe business, many have to retrain for a new career Or find something to keep themselves ticking over. Quite a few can’t handle being out of the limelight - no selfies, adulation, autographs, invites. Some turn broke within a very short time, whilst others suffer with major social issues, marital break ups, bankruptcy, alcohol/drugs dependency, gambling, which they struggle to overcome.

Although the lives of all the veterans participating at the Sonali Othith 2016 Masters differ vastly from their professional millionaire superiors there can be parallels in what happens after these people reach a certain age when they have to step away from the level of the game they have played for so long. Most vets I know hold down a job or have business or family commitments they take care of on a daily basis. Football is a release for them which provides physical and mental stimulation. My friends and I play football at Mulberry Leisure Centre on a Friday and although WhatsApp is good it's the only time we actually get to meet physically as a group. The experience is one we look forward to with great gusto. It's a treat at the end of a hard working week and sets us up for a productive and relaxing weekend ahead. This is not unusual. The Leisure Centre has pockets of bookings, all mates getting together for a football social on a Friday night. This happens all over the city, in fact the country, continent and planet. Do you get my drift? It's not just football is it? In fact football improves life quality.

In 2010 the Mental Health Foundation said that for people with depression, “Comparative studies have shown that exercise can be as effective as medication or psychotherapy”. Football helps everyday people and helps break isolation and depression.
Which brings me back to the 5 a side tournament. Poplar were worthy winners of the 2016 40 years plus showcase with Masud Miah a worthy recipient of man of the tournament. Dawatul Islam were the surprise package and raised many eyebrows to finish second. Shagor showed great character to finish in third place on the last day, and Shadwell, CAG and Ocean contributed to a successful tournament. Every player was an ambassador and each team served to remind us of how important it is to remain active at an age where many lapse into a retirement mindset.

The team at Sonali Othith for years have been at the forefront of promoting sports amongst the older generations. It keeps a section of the community active and productive. It helps people feel significant, relevant and in touch. It promotes a feel good factor which is good for overall wellbeing. Sonali Othith remains active in the field and recently also held the Friendship Cup, comprised of senior members of various UK welfare organisations, and which was won by the greater Lamakazi Welfare Association.
I've spoken to Dawlath Khan and Faruque Ahmed and there's some exciting projects planned. With the interest shown I can see a walking football tournament coming soon to accommodate the interest shown. In fact such has been the demand that Sonali Othith are now in the process of setting up a similar league for the winter. Then there is also the 8 a side Masters tournament in August which should be another exciting day out. In fact Sonali Othith may go further and even arrange a cup format for 45 year olds and above. This is testament to not only the hard work of Sonali Othith but also the positive mindset of a community that looks to increasingly keep active as the years roll on.

Sonali Othith means golden past but that doesn't mean that this is a place where golden oldies reminisce the good old days. It is a platform from which participants look at the past to ignite the future.
Football is a great medium to bring people together and promote an active and healthy life and I hope Sonali Othith will continue to engage with hard to reach individuals using the beautiful game to reach out and make contact. As they say, sports for all, sports for life.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Welsh Dragons get a first ever Euro win

Wales 1-0 Slovakia

Land of My Fathers belts out loud
With magic moments from Marek Hamsik 
Sheer heroics though from Ben Davies
The Spurs man right in the thick

Gareth Bale with a scorcher
Wales' first on target shot in the game 
The Falcons don't like the Welsh dragon
Ten years ago he'd done the very same

Slovakia toiled and it soon paid off
Duda put his team back in the fray
Of course Skrtel celebrated hard
The last to score against Wales was Pele

But they end up dancing in the valleys
Chris Coleman can't hide his delight
Hal Robson-Kanu scuffs a winner
And Welsh eyes tonight shine bright

Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux

11 06 16

© emdad Rahman

England held in Marseille

England 1-1 Russia

Whilst violence flared in Marseille
Roy's boys looked like they meant it
And then came the breakthrough
The free kick from Dier exquisite

Injury time and for some is a tragedy
Though not quite Macbeth
A lifeline for Leonid Slutsky
As Berezutski loops one at the death

Stade Velodrome, Marseille

11 06 16

© emdad rahman

Swiss clip valiant Eagles

Albania 0-1 Switzerland

The brothers Xhaka lock horns
It's historic sibling rivalry
Shaqiri's whipped corner so clean 
More so than the shorts of Behrami

Early delight for the Swiss
Hoffenheim's Schar with the goal fix
Blow as the skipper sees red
Lorik Cana straight into the mix

6 could have played for Albania
10 could have joined the Swiss
The Eagles should have won it
But La Nati seal it with a kiss

Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens Agglo

11 06 16

© emdad Rahman


Ramadan 2016 with One Third Soup Kitchen

Emdad Rahman: It takes merely minutes to make a positive change I told wide eyed Inaya.

It's Ramadan 2016 and Kam and I had a new team with us today. We really enjoyed serving and mixing with our visiting guests. It was quick and effective.

In fact nowadays I advise volunteers on our soup kitchen to keep the engine running. Our guests are all ready and waiting. We set up, chat, catch up, serve, clean up and leave. It's a very quick system. The volunteers can then get back to their usual Saturday night after making a very positive difference to someone's day. It all fits well within the hustle and bustle of our modern day lives. The chicken biriani from Aysha and Ashraf was so popular it was gone within 35 minutes. Thanks to Farida for the introduction.

There is a mind-set that homeless citizens are somehow different to us. It's not at all easy accepting a plate of something from a complete stranger. They are in that position because some calamity or misfortune has befallen them. We at One Third don't judge - It could have been us receiving the hospitality. We want to use this level of outreach to help change perceptions about homelessness.

The only downside was a security guard. He was downright rude, offensive and aggressive. He made us move our table. I explained that we would be done in 30 minutes and pointed out that the roof above our heads provides shelter from the elements. I won't go into details because I don't want to give this waste of space any publicity. (I may write about this separately). I did however point out that he is nowhere to be seen when smokers and rowdy drinkers block the entrance, and when visitors feel threatened by the presence of aggressive pockets of people congregating at the entrance. But... Priorities are priorities for them I guess and these soup kitchen volunteers are a real bunch of hellraisers. He's always rude is that one - I don't know - maybe he needs a plate of the good stuff. Maybe I'll offer the 'big man' one next time.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Les Bleus win as Euro 2016 kicks off

France 2-1 Romania
Grand opening just a tad lame
A garish ceremony
We settled down for the big game
Stade de France, St Denis
Home joy and elaborate fanfare 
As Giroud's scores eighteen in fifty 
Stancu's penalty makes it all square
For the boys from Micul Paris
Romo defence do their thing
Les Blues just couldn't unlock it 
Time's up, the bell about to ring
Payet launches that rocket
10 06 16
© emdad rahman

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Former First Citizen joins One Third Soup Soup Kitchen

"We rise by lifting others"

My team mate Rahel had arranged Chicken Biriani, which I collected from All Seasons in Mile end. 

This was my first soup kitchen where my own kids joined me. Two of my boys helped me collect the food, set up the table, put up the banner, serve and take pics. I was very pleased with their presence and this served many purposes. 

Firstly, it got them out of the house, away from their damned consoles. 

Secondly, they proved they had the ability to carry out tasks independently. 

Thirdly, the interaction with vulnerable and needy fellow humans was educational and uplifting. You can't ever buy such a life experience. 

Fourthly, they met a real celebrity. We were fortunate to be joined by Mizanur Chaudhury, Tower Hamlets youngest ever Mayor and the borough's first official speaker. His presence alone was another lesson for the kids. They were inspired that an individual of such standing had the time and the inclination to roll up his sleeves and help serve homeless guests. Mizan lives around the corner, and just like myself, he knew most of the vulnerable people we served at the soup kitchen. 

And that brings me to my conclusion. Volunteering isn't just about benefitting others. The benefits one gains personally are far greater. 

If you'd like to help me at Westfield, Stratford or Booth House, Whitechapel then Tweet me - @emdad07

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Niall Quinn: “We want the opportunity to nurture players and help them avoid potential pitfalls”

Former Sunderland player speaks at launch of Fleet Street Sport and Media Group

Emdad Rahman: The Earl of Shrewsbury DL and The Lord Ouseley hosted a lunch reception in the Cholmondeley Rom and Terrace, House of Lords to celebrate the launch of the Fleet Street Sport and Media Group, an iconic group for an exciting new concept in sports media and consultancy.

After an introduction from the Earl, Lord Ouseley said: “It’s a sports venture that has an important role to play in the lives of many people and I wish the group success, especially as the services offered will benefit so many people who need help, guidance and advice.”

Former Arsenal, Manchester City player and Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn, Harry Harris (the award-winning sports journalist and author of 74 books), and former Sky news journalist, editor and producer Jem Maidment along with several others have joined forces to form Fleet Street Sport & Media Group in conjunction with several household names in the world of sport and media.
The aim of the group is to provide an all-inclusive offering in sports consultancy.

Former Republic of Ireland star Quinn, who is the chairman of Fleet Street Sport and Media Group spoke about retirement and life post football - an aspect of the game that often draws attention. He said: "Part of the support services we offer is that we concentrate on the well being of the person and look at prevention as a cure. It's very important to focus on the rest of one’s life before the end of one’s playing career. In that sense players can be prepared to deal with the challenges that lie ahead after they retire.

"We want to reduce the number of cases of depression, divorces, dark periods and bankruptcy. To better prepare for what lies ahead, we want the opportunity to nurture players and help them avoid potential pitfalls that are waiting after they retire from the game.

"What we see in the public domain from time to time is only the top of the iceberg. The real issues are hidden and are far more grim. We work with clubs, boards and agents and hope to offer our support to prevent such sad situations."

Quinn read a passage from a book titled 'Retired' - What happens to footballers when the game’s up. It’s the first book by Irish stand-up comedian Alan Gernon. The Dundalk and Manchester United fan said: “I had an idea to write this book when I thought about players around my age retiring. On average the football retirement age is around 35 and I asked myself what happens next? Most of the people I know don’t retire with bags of money and live happy ever after with millions in the bank.
“Although some become managers and pundits, we don’t know what happens to the majority.

Transition from the game to ‘normal life’ is often very difficult and the cause of several problems – divorce, mental health and financial issues among other things.

Stephanie Moore MBE, the widow of the late Bobby Moore, the only man to lift the football World Cup for England, and the founder of the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK applauded the launch of the group and the wider support it offers. Since the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK was set up in 1993 mortality rates have fallen 30% and over £22 million has been raised for research. She said: "There is a need to be involved earlier in footballer’s careers, although the simple matter of resources has to be taken into account, especially as someone needs to be allocated to look after footballers and their welfare.

"Paul Gascoigne is an example. He was ok until Terry Venables moved away and then he was clearly rudderless and really struggled. That could have all been avoided if he had a really good mentor. Lots of footballers live away from their families, friends and they're trying to make it big whilst living in digs. I welcome any extra support. It’s really hard out there."

Sky news pundit Paul Walsh won the league title with Liverpool and the FA Cup with Tottenham during a 17 year career with Charlton, Manchester, QPR, Luton and two stints at Portsmouth. He said: "I have bought my Dad along and he’s really excited - This is his very first time in the House of Lords and Parliament.”

Walsh, who won 5 senior caps under Sir Bobby Robson, was a member of the triumphant England team at the 1980 UEFA European Under-18 Championship in East Germany is not surprised by the emergence of Leicester City as a force in the Premier League: “Everyone says that I must have always rooted for Tottenham but at the end of the day Leicester have simply been fantastic all season. Leicester were simply the best team. They were great, exciting, and different, and each and every squad member has a great story behind how they got there."

Jimmy Carter played with Teddy Sheringham, Tony Cascarino and Terry Hurlock at Millwall before high profile moves to Liverpool and Arsenal. The match day host and commercial executive at Millwall feels education is a must in supporting footballers during and after their playing career is over: "As a player you only focus on your tasks and delivering on the pitch and getting the right results for your team. It's difficult to put the onus on clubs as players are not always in one place and move on to different clubs during their career. However, I do agree that education is important to prepare players on how to manage their lives during and after their career."

1991 FA Cup winner David Howells made his Tottenham debut at 18 and scored in a 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday. The midfielder played 277 games for Spurs and scored 22 goals. Howells is supportive of what Fleet Street Sport and Media Group are trying to achieve: "It makes sense whichever way you look at it. Planning one’s life is always the best option. Saving for a rainy day and being prepared to being out of work are all processes which are part and parcel of our lives.

"It's difficult after retirement, especially as it's all you've done since playing football on the streets as a youngster and all of a sudden at 33 or 35 years of age you have a gap. So the next challenge is to find something that enriches and adds fulfillment to the next stage of your life."

Former Swiss international and Tottenham, Celtic, Watford and Grasshoppers centre back Ramon Vega is grateful for the opportunities offered to him by football. In October 2015 Vega considered standing as a candidate for the FIFA Presidential race. He said: "I am the son of immigrants and I understand how difficult it is being out there on your own and how hard one has to work to make a success of their lives. The opportunities are out there but it takes a great deal of hard graft and commitment. All these footballers in this very room – each and every one had to work hard to make it on the pitch. Some would say that they had to work harder to make it off the pitch and their stories should inspire others who will follow.

"Remember, not everyone is rich, even though the modern day football pay is out of this world. Many don’t save, invest badly or give it away. Before they realise it their careers are over and they are struggling to pay basic bills.

“The question always is what one will do after retirement? What next? It's scary. Some may have something saved, others may not have a cushion to fall back on and that's difficult. There's not a great deal of help so any mentoring, guidance and advice for players whilst they are playing would always be very useful in preparing them for life after their playing career ends. What Niall (Quinn) has spoken about is a great system of support.

“Thankfully I have had a successful business and football career and I'm enjoying life since retirement. I have developed a taste for football politics through my interest in the FIFA Presidential race it is something I would like to be more involved with in the future.

Guests attending the launch included former Arsenal vice chairman David Dein, Osvaldo Ardiles, Ricardo Villa and Martin Tyler.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Human Relief exhibition game raises staggering 3k for charity

Emdad Rahman: Charity was the winner as the Human Relief Foundation hosted a charity exhibition game at Mile end to raise money for important humanitarian causes. 

The HRF Blue and Yellow teams took to the field to support the construction of water wells and cataract operations to help the most vulnerable people in some of the world's poorest locations. 

The game was played in glorious London weather by a host of veteran and young footballers, and a very entertaining spectacle saw the spoils shared as both teams hammered in 7 goals apiece. 

As a testimony to the charitable nature of the game, a penalty shootout to settle an overall winner was declined, as the players agreed to share the glory. Captains Akik Miah and Emdad Rahman lifted the trophy in a joint post match ceremony. 

Blue team player manager Jalal Uddin said: "Congratulations to both teams on providing such a great spectacle. We played in unity and it is fantastic we have raised awareness for such needy causes."

Yellow team manager Khoyrul Shaheed added: "I would like to thank all our donors for the amazing support. Additional thanks to our local coaches Shah Rahman from Limehouse Marina Elite club, Abdul Hannan from Brawlers and also Abdul Hannan from Hunter & Bloomfield Property Services for their support and presence today."

Veteran Zoinul Abedin, who scored a crucial goal in the second half said: "It has been special playing alongside everyone today. Well done to all our players on such a magnanimous team effort and the impact of our game today will inspire many others to do the same."

Match official Alan Hill added: "It's been a really enjoyable game to referee. The spirit was tremendous and it's great that we have all done our bit to help our fellow humans. Football is a game that has the ability to make such a huge impact as we have witnessed. Congratulations, everyone's a winner today."

The Human Relief Foundation is a charity which provides emergency relief and assistance to people caught up in extraordinary, life-threatening situations. 


Lokuj Jaman (2), Zoinul Abedin, Mamun Rashid (2), Akik Miah (1), Afazul Hoque (2), Shakil Rahman (2, 1 OG), Emdad Rahman (2), Talha Rahman, Mirza Baig Shipu


Jalal Uddin - Player manager - Khoyrul Shaheed - Player manager - Zoinul Abedin - Akoddus Taju Ali - Rongu Miah - Mamun Rashid - Hamid Yusuf - Mohsin Ahmed - Riad Shaheed  - Dawud Abdullah Shaheed - Mirza Baig Shipu - Lokuj Jaman - Ridwan Rashid - Mohammed Shipu Miah - Abdal Ahmed - Abdul Munim - Talha Rahman - Shakil Rahman - Afazul Hoque - Akik Miah - Emdad Rahman

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A barrel of laughs!

NPICC to host an evening of fun and laughter
Emdad Rahman: The Newbury Park Islamic Culture Centre (NPICC)  is presenting a side splitting family comedy night in aid of the charity. 
The show is expected to be a sell out and is titled 'Not Just A Laugh.' The funny show is taking place on Saturday 14th May, 7-10 pm at The White House, 281 Barking Road, London E6 1LB. 
Attendees are required to be 14 years of age and above. Tickets cost £10 per head, which includes food and drinks. The venue will also host stalls with cosmetics, clothes, arts and crafts, and bespoke goods. 
Confirmed stars on the night are Prince Abdi, Sajid Varda, Omar Hamdi, Aatif Nawaz, Bilal Zafar and Shaikh Jalal Ibn Saeed. 
Dr Jahangir Hussain from NPICC said: "We have put a lot of thought into arranging this event. I can say hand on heart that there will be a lot of laughter and smiling faces on the night. 
"We have a whole host of funny men on the bill and there will be plenty of food and drink. On a serious note, the funds raised will help NPICC tremendously. I look forward to seeing everyone on the night."
Book early to avoid disappointment. 
Contact Jahangir Hussain on 07515 945 392 for tickets.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

One Third Soup Kitchen call in the youngsters

We were joined by fresh new talent today at the soup kitchen as Amira and Adam joined Uncle Elas to take their places in the first team squad alongside Kam and I at Stratford City.

The youngsters kept us fully on our toes. It was a refreshing experience and both took to their roles like fishes to water. They rallied round with great ease, smiled and chatted with our guests with absolutely no hang ups. It's fantastic what you can learn from kids. Amira helped pack takeaways and serve food to guests. Adam served and did the water run. With such sterling service the adults just took it easy.

To top it all off the food was provided by their amazing mum who cooked up a delicious chicken biriani. We've never had so many takeaway requests as we had at the soup kitchen tonight.

Billy was on top form and his gags every two minutes kept us in fits. Just as well as it got very chilly after thirty minutes or so. Amanda showed off her swanky new BMX. We are going to encourage some of the youngsters to join us and serve on the soup kitchens from now. The experience is something you can't replicate in any classroom in the world. I hope one day these youngsters will appreciate that for an hour and a half we were all just one community, friends catching up, enjoying good food, sharing banter and departing till next time. We had one thing in common - we're all human at he end of the day. Stratford is a great starting point as Newham has to be the most diverse area on our planet!

If you would like to join the volunteer team please get in touch with me directly. If you want to provide a pot of food we would be happy to accept too. We receive no funding so any support is much appreciated.

Till next time!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Europa League pandemonium at Anfield

Liverpool 4-3 Borussia Dortmund 

Solemn silence for the ninety six
Anfield faces are shining bright
Anticipating Klopp's bag of tricks
It's going to be a memorable night

Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang 
Swift breaks with the defence on a hike
Anfield Road in full voice the Kop sang
Origi with a second half strike

Surely Reus kills it with a crisp finish
But Coutinho pegs another back 
Sakho sharp as a swordfish 
Eiffel Tower is bullish in attack

Added time and all hands on deck
Milner pings a prize ball
Lovren cranes that bull neck
And Dortmund are reduced to a crawl

Four shots on target all game
Four goals the final toll
Last four spot the Reds claim
Klopp's Red Army are on a roll

Liverpool win 5-4 on aggregate

14 04 16

© emdad rahman

Saturday, April 09, 2016

My friend Mohammed

During my Moroccan adventure I met Mohammed Janati from Larache and was introduced to him by Moroccan Mascherano (Mustafa) and my Stepney FC team mate Rachid.  

Mohammed is 58 years of age and works from dawn to dusk as a fish boat labourer. 

He has a severe inguinal hernia and lifted his shirt and showed me his stomach. There is a growth on the side of his belly equivalent to a mini football. 

Mohammed's job is to lift the fish off the boats when they arrive in port and then transport them to the warehouse and prepare before the arrival of the purchasing market traders. It's a role that requires serious energy and physical exertion.  

His Doctor has strictly forbidden him from working but it's not as straightforward as that. There is no welfare system to fall back on. Mohammed is a proud and hard working man. There is no other option. He has eight children of which two are married and independent of his support. The rest are very young. "I have to work, I have no professional skills to take an office job. I have to support my family. I never complain as there are people far worse off than me. I'm grateful for the treasures I have. But it's hard and my only regret is I'm so busy being a breadwinner that I don't have time to guide and spend time with my children. My health restricts my movement greatly but I will carry on."

I could do nothing but hug him. As I did this I felt a warm current flow through me and I've made myself a lifelong connection. 

The fisherman's hand has hooked and reeled me in. 

An operation for Mohammed will cost £580.00. God willing I hope to have this sorted within a fortnight. All I request is your encouragement and prayers. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Tower of London welcomes the first black Beefeater in history

Emdad Rahman: The Tower of London has just welcomed the latest Yeoman Warder or 'Beefeater.' 

Yeoman Warder Lawrence Watts recently started at the Tower in this iconic role. He becomes the newest Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London, taking up the unique role after 23 years of distinguished service in the Army and is also the first black Beefeater in history. 

He's had a busy morning and I enquire about how many selfies he's had to pose for. "Today it's early in the morning so I would say not more than a hundred," he laughs. 

Speaking about his exciting new role at the Tower of London Watts said: "It's fantastic to be honest. For myself it's a bit of a dream come true and at the moment it's still sinking in and I'm coming to terms with the opportunity I've been given. 

"I completed 23 years service with the army. I finished in 2014 with the forces and then started working within the security industry within Canary Wharf before taking up this post here. Yeoman 

Warder Watts, 41, was born in Lewisham in Southeast London and grew up in Basingstoke. Before joining the Tower of London, he served with the Royal Corp of Signals in Northern Ireland, Germany, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. After leaving the army he worked in security before joining the Tower of London. 

Outside of work Yeoman Warder Watts enjoys formation sky diving, boxing and mixed martial arts and is a keen photographer. He is aware of his position as a role model. "I think it will mean quite a lot to young people in the local area, especially east London and this place. There are very few positive role models out there. The media and press quite often concentrate on people who I would not necessarily regard to be positive role models. It's fantastic for me to stand here and show people that regardless of your background, regardless of where you come from or what your start might be, the opportunities are there if you push hard for them." 

Over the next few months Yeoman Warder Watts will learn word-for-word the ‘Story’ - the script of the famous Yeoman Warder Tour - before being allowed to lead a tour himself. He will also become familiar with each of the 21 separate duties that the Yeoman Warders conduct each day, such as answering historical questions, helping visitors and having their photograph taken. He will take part in various traditional ceremonies such as the Ceremony of the Keys, which has been conducted each night without fail for at least 700 years. 

It's a tough role but Yeoman Warder Watts is up for the challenge. "My role is to help members of the public, educating them about the Tower of London, about the history of the United Kingdom all the way back to 1066 and William the Conqueror and really just helping them enjoy their day at the Tower. I'm a role model for the City of London and I'm enjoying myself." 

Yeoman Warder Watts joins 36 Yeoman Warders who live at the Tower of London with their families. The Yeoman Warders are descended from the ancient band of warders who guarded the gates and royal prisoners, early in the Tower’s history. Modern Yeoman Warders are still Extraordinary Members of the Queen’s Bodyguard. They are all former warrant officers from Her Majesty’s Forces with an honourable service record of at least 22 years. Today they combine their traditional ceremonial role with a love of history to make the past come to life for visitors. It's a tough job and one that requires constant attention in the spotlight. 

Can Yeoman Warder Watts remain productive under such a powerful glare? He smiles, "There is a toast that Yeoman Warders make during our oath and when we are sworn in: 'May you never die a Yeoman Warder,' which essentially means we keep this role as long as we can physically do this job and then we take ourselves away and move on before we finish." 

This is a dream job for Yeoman Warder Watts and he has sound advice for those wishing to follow his lead. "The advice to everybody is this. Everybody is aware what's right and what's wrong. Stay focussed on what you want to achieve. There's lots of people, groups, organisations out there that can help young people no matter how bad their situation might be. So get out there, ask for the help, take the advice, keep focussed and work hard. “I’ve always been fascinated with history, in particular military history. In my first week at the Tower of London I’d already learnt a thousand things I didn’t know before! Now I’ve got the mammoth task of learning over 900 years of the history of the Tower. Very few people have a chance to be a part of living history so becoming a Yeoman Warder really is a dream job.”

Saturday, March 26, 2016

One Third Soup Kitchen at Whitechapel

"A homeless guy came up to me on the street, said he hadn't eaten in four days. I told him, "Man, I wish I had your willpower." 

There was a torrential downpour just before our soup kitchen this Saturday night. I must say I was worried but Tee and I weren't going to miss out. 

Apart from the food it's a whole lot more this soup kitchen provides. It's the chats we have, the catch ups and all that. 

As we entered Booth House I spied someone hiding their face. My curiosity made me walk up to get a closer look. He was an old primary school class mate and was now living in a homeless hostel. I didn't need to say much, he's a mate after all. All I said was I never wanted to ever see him hide his face from me like that again. I told him his gesture embarrassed me. This geezer always had a devilish streak but was a total brain box. As a youngster I envisaged him working for a blue chip company and living the high life. He had a taste for everything that glittered and if he'd had better luck he would have been there. 

Unfortunately his fate was decided otherwise and fast forward 3 decades he's now on and off the streets. I told him it could have been reversed and been me or Tee he was serving today. He gave me a pat on the shoulder and walked off. He wasn't shaking from the cold weather, his priorities were otherwise. 

We met a few more familiar faces that evening. To me the dark outside seemed darker. The shine from the East London Mosque, 100 yards opposite to our right gave us some light. 

Tee and I went into the common room to get our gear. The lads were getting ready for Germany v England. "2-1 England win and Kane and Vardy to score", I told Terry. In the end I wasn't far off as Roy Hodgson's men pulled off a great comeback win in Berlin. 

Booth House staff had told us that the guests had just eaten barely two hours earlier. We'd braved the rain to get there and weren't about to just leave. We would serve the homeless guests. It just might take longer as most were supposedly full. 

The food was donated by our friend from The Curry Bazaar in Brick Lane. How wrong the staff were. One whiff of the delicious chicken biriani and we had a long line. Elas had joined us and we finished serving within thirty minutes. We even turned two guys away. 

Not bad at all.