Monday, April 14, 2014

The ship of death

Emdad Rahman meets a survivor of the stricken Costa Concordia ferry 

Frencen Fernandes has a harrowing tale to tell. The 23 year old Portugese national, originally from Goa was on board the stricken Costa Concordia - the Italian cruise ship which sank after it capsized at Isola del Giglio, Tuscany, on 13 January 2012, with the loss of 32 lives.

Frencen was a crew steward for three and a half years. He had finished his evening shift and was retiring to his room when a startled colleague urgently told him to go to the upper deck as something was wrong: "At first it was felt that it was engine failure," he told me. 

"The size of the Concordia mixed with uncertainty amongst almost 5000 people meant that the majority of us did not have a clue as to what was happening and what lay in wait."

It was only after Captain Francesco Schettino ordered everyone to abandon ship that a bewildered Frencen and those around him realised that something was seriously wrong. 

"I was seriously scared," said Frencen. I have a brother and my parents back home in Goa. My Dad still works to help support the family but I worried if I would ever see my folks  again."

It was the dithering Schettino who tore a 160ft hole in the hull of the Costa Concordia while attempting a “sail past” at Giglio. 

4,252 people were aboard the ferry cruise  around the Mediterranean Sea, starting from Civitavecchia in Lazio. During a salute to local islanders near the shore the underside of the ferry became damaged after striking something hard on the sea bed. It caused a blackout and flooding and after an hour of drifting the bungling Captain Schettino who is now dubbed "Captain Coward" ordered an evacuation. He is alleged to have fled to shore, leaving thousands of people aboard the ferry as it keeled over in the shallow waters. 

Schettino is currently on trial for manslaughter and abandoning the 114,000-tonne ship to its fate.

During a six-hour evacuation, most passengers were safely brought ashore but the search for the missing continued for several months, with all but two being accounted for. The ship was uprighted on 17 September 2013 and on 24 October 2013 it was reported that DNA analysis of one body found earlier in the same month confirmed it was the body of missing Italian passenger Maria Grazia Trecarichi. 

Frencen, who is now a waiter at Spice Lounge in Canvey Island and thirty six passengers escaped in a life raft: " it was confusing and the aid was full of fear. We had little idea of the real horrors and there were lots of hearsay and rumours as people were bewildered. 

"I'm grateful for being amongst the survivors and I will make every day a productive day. 

"The scenes and panic still disturb me and I pray for the souls of the people we lost."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Incredible Reds boosted by ninety six

Liverpool 3-2 Manchester City

Summerbee, Book and Corrigan with a floral bouquet
Twenty five years since that awful day
Anfield resplendent out in gold and red
Football remembered the ninety six dead

Left, right, goal, and the Sterling jive
For Kevin Williams and the ninety five
Skrtel swivelling that chrome head 
Football remembered the ninety six dead

So many had it wrapped by half time
Sylva lining twice upset this rhyme
Coutinho spinning like a rotor head 
Football remembered the ninety six dead


© emdad rahman

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Lisbon Lions - Celtic FC

The Lisbon Lions who ran and ran
Jock Stein's men put on quite the show
Matching Inter man to man
All from the borders of Glasgow

Cappellini felled as Craig got intense
Mazzola fired in the pen 
Inter retreated into a cocoon like defence
As it looked much like boys versus men

Gemmell levelled from Craig’s lace
Murdoch shot for Chalmers to score
The crowd bayed for the countdown race
As the Lions got ready to roar

History! hold on to that ticket stub
Bhoys joyous in Lisbon town
Becoming the very first British club 
To lift that coveted crown

© Emdad Rahman

#lisbonlions #celtic #monthehoops #jockstein #championsleague #parkhead #brotherwalfrid #billymcneil #jimmyjohnstone #scottbrown #scotland #neillennon #glasgow #football #youarefootball #lisbon #uefa

London Lions 73-98 Worcester Wolves

Taylor top scores as Wolves gain capital win

Emdad Rahman: The race for fifth place becomes more of an uphill task after Worcester Wolves beat hosts London Lions at the Copperbox Arena. 

Cheshire Phoenix are now in the driving seat after skipper Alex Owumi, Zaire Taylor and Will Creekmore inspired the Wolves to a 73-98 victory. 

Despite the score line the game was pulsating and free flowing. At the ten minute mark honours were even at 18-18 with the lead changing five times. Owumi and Creekmore, who were influential throughout the game contributed fifteen points between themselves. 

Before the half time break of play Owumi scored two three pointers leading to a 44-33 double digit lead for Wolves. 

The third period revived a fightback for Vince Macaulay's men and the Lions restored the lead deficit to four points (50-46) with Jason Davis scoring six in a row. Wolves though fought back with a vengeance, solidifying their dominance and extending their lead to 64-49.

It was enough for Paul James' team to comfortably play out the fourth quarter in style to ensure an important win. 

Wolves guard Zaire Taylor completed the game as top scorer with 22 points, Will Creekmore scored 21 points, and Alex Owumi added a further 20 points. 

For the Lions Michael Martin achieved a team-high 19 points, Jason Davis collected 14 points, and Chez Marks and Adrien Sturt shared 10 apiece.

London Lions 73 (18,35,53) (Martin 19, Davis 14, Sturt 10, Marks 10)

Worcester Wolves 98 (18,44,69) (Taylor 22, Creekmore 21, Owumi 20)

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Stepney FC say goodbye to the Haileybury Centre

Stepney Football club bid a brief goodbye as they played their very last game at the old Haileybury Club. The venue has served and hosted the local community since the 1960's. 

Coaches Afazul Hoque, Ripon Hussain and Emdad Rahman oversaw the final game and medals where distributed by Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman and Guildmore Developers who will now build a new state of the art community hub alongside residential homes. 

Stepney Coach Ripon Hussain said: "It's sad to lose a place which has given the team such fine memories but Mayor Lutfur Rahman and the developers will hopefully in a years time provide us with the best facilities of this kind in London. 

"We are really excited about the future."

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Team Legend visit Kenya

Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The best house among the Muslims is the house in which orphans are well treated. The worst house among the Muslims is the house in which orphans are ill treated. I and the guardian of the orphan will be in the Garden like that," indicating his two fingers.

Team legend visited Kenya and part of the travels included a visit to the Madrasatul Manzoor orphanage school in Kenya. 

We had called on some close people to assist and the lads supplied a job lot of stationary to the orphans. The six of my friends who travelled said that the radiant smiles of the children captured the hearts of the team. 

This is my favourite pic. Just take a look at those beaming little faces. 

Team Legend was coined when a group of our childhood friends climbed Ben Nevis last year for Syrian Orphans. The name has stuck since. 

"One hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, how much I had in my bank account, or what my clothes looked like. But the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child." 

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Reds Iron out the creases

West Ham 1-2 Liverpool

Penalty and penalty
From Red hot Stevie G

For a ninth successive victory

Carroll fouled to set up Guy
Who then tapped  in from three

Red men see off a late flurry 


© emdad rahman

A Glimpse Into The Horrors Of Human Trafficking

Exclusive Interview with Stela Brinzeanu – Author of Bessarabian Nights


EMDAD RAHMAN gains a fascinating insight into Moldovas culture, and its struggle against human traicking


Bessarabian Nights is the powerful debut novel from Stela Brinzeanu, who hopes to shed light on Moldova’s plight of human traicking. 


This is the debut novel of the Moldovan who has lived in the UK for over a decade, following a decision to escape the stifling environment of her home country, where superstitious and predetermined attitudes are rife.


Brinzeanu conducted extensive research in order to write Bessarabian Nights, and travelled back to her home country to speak with many women who have lived the nightmare of being forced into human traicking and prostitution.


Narrated from the perspective of the ghost of the country, the novel oers a unique angle on the culture clash between East and West, giving critical insight into the culture of Moldova, the author’s home country and a place that is as fascinating as it is disturbing. Moldova, despite being the gateway to modern Europe, is still mired in medieval superstition, where ingrained customs and irrational beliefs can make or break someone’s day and an unyielding fatalism dictates destinies.


Bessarabian Nights probes issues which bedevil contemporary Moldova, a country largely ignored by Western media. The book incorporates powerful themes of identity crisis, displacement and insanity.


During a night out whilst on holiday in Milan, Ksenia is drugged and abducted by a traicking gang who force her into prostitution. When Ksenia’s best friends, Larisa and Doina, hear she is missing, they vow to find her, no matter what.


The three girls’ friendship goes back to early childhood, growing up together in a rural village in Moldova. As girls they were inseparable, but following an incident with the village voodoo witch, Larisa leaves for the UK, full of resentment for her home country and branding her people superstitious, old-fashioned and fatalistic. Doina later joins her in the UK, searching for a better-paid job in order to help support her paralysed brother.


As the Moldovan police give up looking for Ksenia, her best friends travel back and forth from Italy to Moldova to continue the hunt. While Larisa searches high and low, she witnesses first-hand the misery of her own people abroad and their struggle to survive in an alien world.


The girls’ persistence, love and dedication eventually pays off and, two long years after her abduction, Ksenia is rescued from her traicking ordeal and repatriated to Moldova. However, she faces further hard times as her family and community fail to support her rehabilitation process. Their lack of empathy for her traumatic past leads her to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, sent to an asylum, and then taken to a monastery to help unburden her of her inner demons. Tragedy soon strikes the trio, and those left in the wake of the unthinkable must re-appraise their views on culture and identity, and of Moldova itself, before making life changing decisions in order to move forward with their lives.


Stela was born in Moldova and aged 18 she moved to the UK where she studied media at Westminster University. Stela engaged herself in TV production and a Diaspora magazine for European Moldovans. She joined Channel 5 as airtime management and left in 2012 to complete her novel.


Stelas’ inspiration for writing the novel stems from a distinct childhood memory. “As a child growing up I remember a local girl who was five years older than me. She was lovely, sociable and pretty and inspiring. Then just like that, one day she disappeared.


“There were plenty of false and malicious rumours circulating and she was criticised by the majority of our locals. Nobody bothered to look into the situation and the family did not speak about the matter.


“The girl herself had been polite, a regular churchgoer but her single mother was a heavy drinker. She received little or no sympathy or support there. So she suffered in silence and never talked to anyone. She absorbed the sniggers, the whispers and the barbed comments.”


Stela was hurt by this, “It was painful for me and I told myself that things should not be like this. Although at that young stage of my life I didn’t understand everything I knew something was not right. The memory has stuck with me.”


Stela tackles the morose issue of human traicking in Moldova: “In my homeland there is an NGO called the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) which helps young girls and women who return to Moldova after being traicked  I was surprised that many of them refuse to go home. The shame is just too much for them, they are shunned by their communities and even their family members. They have to put up with lies and false rumours about their character and they don’t have many who befriend them.


In their overview of Moldova the IOM states that “widespread poverty and lack of job opportunities has caused many Moldovans to look for employment overseas. In addition, the high number of irregular migrants has allowed criminal organisations to exploit an already vulnerable group.


“Moldova has, by far, the greatest number of victims of trafficking in the region. The government is trying to improve migration management through enhancing the development impact of migration, ensuring protection of migrants' rights and combating trafficking in persons.”


Moldova is sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania and is one of Europe’s poorest countries. The country is split between ethnic Moldovans and ethnic Russians. Domestic violence is rife in Moldova,” say’s Stela. “It is not reported and victims have little confidence and support.


According to a 2011 World Health Organisation report Moldova’s per capitaalcohol consumption "is the highest in the worldMoldova also has the fourth highest rate of smoking in Europe.

Stela has written this encapsulating novel to “get people talking.”


“Young girls are often traicking by those they trust the most, family members, relatives, friends and partners.


“I want to generate debate and get the ball rolling on this issue. In Moldova, people always blame external forces for problems such as this. Our people are very superstitious in their culture and it’s time we took full responsibility for actions related to such heinous crimes.


Stela spoke of the Parliamentary elections in November. “We have a strong Russian presence but wish to be a part of the EU and we need highly visible economic projects in Moldova. Projects need to be funded to tackle Domestic Violence and alcoholism. Above all, education is the key to changing attitudes and raising awareness. We have a heavy drinking culture which needs to be curbed for the prosperity of the nationals as well as the country.


Stela has more interesting writing projects. She hopes to complete novels on the exploitation of men and also the “trend of eastern European women seeking rich husbands for financial gain.”


Stela is dedicating herself to helping those who have faced the horrors of human traicking and sexual exploitation. Her message to victims is: “It’s not a shame, come out, speak out and get the help you deserve.”    


When Stela doesn’t write or bake polenta cakes, she’s likely to be practicing kryas or skipping or – most probably – cleaning her flat. She is currently working on her second novel. The book is published by Lightning Source, RRP £8.99 paperback, RRP £3.99 eBook) and is available from 20th March 2014 online, at retailers including and can be ordered at all good bookstores.


International Organization for Migration

Cruel words

do we envision 
the crush of a cruel scream, on
a person's esteem?

© emdad rahman

I took this iPhone pic whilst walking near the Blue Bridge, Isle of Dogs...

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Red All Over The Brown

The next issue of Red All Over The Land is due out at the Manchester City game.
Copies can be purchased on line at where subscriptions can be taken.  
This issue contains an interview with Andy Burnham who has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Justice Campaign and the trips to Old Trafford & Cardiff.

An evening with Human Relief

Thanks to you all I have reached my target to find 300 cataract operations. 

One can only be as good as their back up team and I'm incredibly fortunate to have a pool of friends who come rain or shine, are their to support my causes. 

Khoyrul Shaheed from Human Relief ensured the evening ran smoothly. He plays a huge part in drawing me towards Human Relief Foundation's excellent causes. 

We had a very good turnout for the evening. My brother made an appearance after leaving early from work. My nephews Dinaz and Ashraf were there till the end along with my son Talha, my gorgeous niece Aqeelah and my brother in law. Mok was fashionably late again with Zainab and Tas. 

Robin was in fine fettle with Councillor Humayun Kabir, who gave us a nice speech. The legendary Peter Gaunt was on top form. 

Guru Shamim Haque came for an hour too and I thoroughly enjoyed showing him off to the guests. 

The restructured Hunter & Bloomfield with Hamid, Shahel, Abu and Khaled have been my chief supporters for many years and the team turned up in full to offer their backing. 

My sponsors are A class Events and apart from taking care of all the event set up they provided a delicious cake for us all to savour. 

Here's a poem written by Tayibah to be read out on the night. 

Human Relief

God gave us money
Not everyone has as much
We buy food like honey
But some don't get a touch

Are you grateful for what you have?
Will you give to the poor?
Is your heart full of love?
Generosity will open that door

People need our donaton
Be it a Pound, Dollar, Yen, Lira
The needy will greet with elation 
And pray for your akheera

© Tayibah 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Stepney Football Club reach 2014 Mayor's Cup Final

Emdad Rahman: Stepney Football Club have reached the final of the prestigious Mayor's Cup 2014

The Tower Hamlets based club beat East One FC on penalties in a nailbiting semi final and their opponents will be Tower Hamlets FC in the final.

Team Manager Mujibul Islam said: "We were not firing on all cylinders and I know how much better we can perform. But a win, is a win, is a win and it is a sign of our character that we can dig deep and churn out results.

Goalkeeper Sham Zaman said: "The Mayor's Cup is an annual highlight. Stepney FC is always hungry for success and we're all very happy to have made the final. We will try our very best to bring the trophy home.

The final takes place at Mile End Stadium on Sunday 7th April. Tickets to attend are free on the day and kick off is at 3pm.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

LIS holds track & field selection day

Emdad Rahman: LIS students took part in a training day to select team members to participate in the upcoming United Madrasah Championships. 

The students were put through their paces in a day of gruelling track and field events. The successful athletes will be notified after the Easter break. 

Avenue Property Construction Limited have very generously agreed to sponsor the school's P.E Department for the academic year. Managing Director Bokul Hussain said: "We are proud to sponsor the P.E. Department. 

"We consider the school and students to be a rich asset to the community and feel we have found an extremely and worthy cause to support."

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Relentless Reds destroy Spurs

Liverpool 4-0 Tottenham

It's now eight wins in a row
The title march returns to full flow
Brenda's unit adding to Sherwood's woe
As the Reds put up quite the show

Eriksen failed to snuff the Johnson threat
Younes Kaboul put through his own net 
Michael Dawson sloppy with his armour
So Suarez just buried it in the corner

With no sign of Spurs summer spree
Coutinho struck one beautifully 
Hendo's free kick for another big heave
Now the fans can dare to believe

© Emdad Rahman

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Lions maul Surrey

London Lions 102-78 Surrey United

London Lions 102 (30,61,82) (Marks 20, Sturt 16, Brown 11)

Surrey United 78 (22,39,51) (Freer 20, Kucinskas 19, Tate 12)

By Emdad Rahman

British Basketball League: A comprehensive 102-78 win over Surrey United sees the London Lions strengthen their hold on fifth spot.

Prior to the game Lions centre Adrien Sturt said: "Our main challenge for this weekend, although Surrey have added players making them better, is on us as a unit playing our game, our way and playing hard for 40 minutes, as a team."

And play as a unit they did. In a scintillating first half display Chez Marks' 20 points was the difference as the Lions built up a healthy lead. He was matched on points by Surrey's Nick Freer. 

The Lions were swift as a three from Marks helped boost an 8-6 lead into a 22-11 advantage. 

Blayne Freckleton's three took the score to 25-13 for the hosts before Julius Joseph stretched the lead to 27-14. Surrey rallied but right on the buzzer a three from Rob Brown gave the Lions a 30-22 advantage. 

The second quarter saw the Lions score a further 31 points. Surrey hit back with 17 but the home team went into the half time break with a 61-39 advantage over the visitors. 

The third quarter started with a three from Joseph to propel the lead to 78-44.

Surrey battled hard but the Lions finished off their opponents with a decisive finale to send their supporters home happy. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tony Benn

he strove for peace and
though tony benn is gone, his
truth goes marching on

© emdad rahman

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Reds far from purrfect

Liverpool 2-1 Sunderland 

Gerrard strikes a free kick
Sturridge with a second double quick
Surely the home side had it all nailed?

Cattermole struck the bar 
Ki with a diving header 
But the title pursuit was not derailed


© emdad rahman

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bangladesh Independence Haiku

human rights tossed and
three million lives lost, for
freedom at great cost 

© emdad rahman

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ambassadors Football helps Dads beat the offside trap

Emdad Rahman: Ambassadors football  is an international organisation that since 1990 has been working alongside children, youth and adults through the universal language of football in order to build trust and enable positive life changing decisions.

Spurs fan Gareth Haddow has been running the weekly sessions with the Father's of local Tower Hamlets school children for a number of years with weekly training and football matches taking place at Stepney Green AstroTurf and Millwall Park. 

It's a great initiative so I decided to pop over during my break to meet Gareth and his back-room staff as well as catch a glimpse if the boys in action. 

"What stands out is their enthusiasm," said Gareth. "There's great camaraderie and banter with a lot of positive new and beneficial friendships being formed from our sessions."

Ali has been attending from day one: "this is a treat for us local lads. We meet once a week and have a through workout. It's really nice catching up with my mates and thanks to Gareth we have something really exciting and productive to do and look forward to once a week. It's a great escape."

Gareth, an FA Level 2 coach further explained the activities of the group: "Apart from football we have a monthly evening out for dinner as a group. The group love it as we relax, enjoy the company and savour a hearty meal. 

"Once a term we have a tournament and the next one will be in July."

At Ambassadors Football the passion is football, sharing faith and bringing about a better future for individuals.

Ambassadors Football want to invest in people and communities by training, resourcing, equipping and supporting individuals and other organisations, to empower them to see positive change in their community through football.

Homeless Haiku - Food Parcels

"Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."

Martin Luther King, Jr.
American Civil Rights Leader  

If anyone local wants to send food over to the Whitechapel Mission I'll be happy to collect and drop off if you're having problems delivering. Just drop me a message.
#poem #poetic #poetry #haiku #homeless #needy #cardboardkingdom #roughsleepers #bed #bedforthenight #whitechapelmission #help #humanity #desperation #depression #depths #charity #homelesscharity #breakfastchallenge #sleepingrough #homelessness #shelter #eviction #homelesslondon #london #stmungos #singlehomelessproject #food

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pistol's hatrick destroys Bluebirds

Cardiff 3-6 Cardiff

Hail Pistol, double player of the year
Does anyone even come any near?
Yes, Sturridge, attacking with no fear
Gerrard and Hendo providing the steer

A brace from goal machine Skrtel
Bluebirds rally with Mutch and Campbell
Solskjaer's men are fast taking the tumble 
Blue scarfed home fans defiant yet humble

Yet pistol is the supreme goal prowler
First to reach twenty five since Fowler 
Silver shadow is the ultimate toiler
With the engine and class of a Roller


© emdad rahman

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Red All Over The Land

Issue 198 out March 22nd. 

My review of Simon Bird's Red Machine: Liverpool in the 80's. 

If you wish to pay by Standing Order email for details. Payments by cheque or bankers draft. 

Subscribe To Red All Over The Land -

#redallovertheland #lfc #liverpool #anfield #fanzine #anfieldroad #jft96 #reds #youarefootball #fans #writers

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sleeping rough in London

I took this pic at London Bridge...

Aly Cissokho at Old Trafford

Thank you for taking out a few minutes for us. You're the first Red I've met and I'll treasure this #legend

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Reds demolish United

Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool

Taunts at the skipper from the Stretford End
No teacups or flying off the bend
Just a spot kick before the half term rush
Theatre of Dreams reduced to a hush

And there's yet more horror for Moyesie
No, it can't be another penalty?
Jones bundling Allen down hard 
It's all about Steve Gerrard, Gerrard

No, it can't be another penalty?
Missing Jan Molby and Old Trafford history 
But there's still time for a late goodbye 
El Suarez wrapping up with a bow tie


© emdad rahman

Saints in the Red

Southampton 0-3 Liverpool

Pistols' first goal in six 
Sterling sugar coats the mix
Two nil to Brenda's stunners

Icing from Steven G
A well placed penalty 
Reds leapfrog Arsene's Gunners


© emdad rahman

Monday, March 03, 2014

Lois On The Loose

The books, adventures and general escapades of Lois Pryce

Emdad Rahman

Lois Pryce is a travel writer and broadcaster, best known for her books of her solo motorcycle journeys through the Americas and Africa. She is also co-founder of the Adventure Travel Film Festival.

In 2003 Lois left her job at the BBC to ride a 250cc trail bike 20,000 miles from Alaska to the tip of South America. Upon her return she wrote the book of this trip, Lois on the Loose, which was published around the world. 

Itchy wheels struck again and in 2006 she rode the length of Africa. Her book of this awesome adventure, Red Tape & White Knuckles is the nail-biting, rip-roaring tale of Lois' solo African adventure, riding and crossing the vastness of the Sahara desert, the lawless jungles of the Congo and the minefields of Angola.

In 2013 she made a solo motorcycle journey around Iran, which was the subject of her talk at this year’s Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show. I was there to here her stories of life on the road in the Islamic Republic and surprised at what she discovered.

Her month-long journey took her across mountains and deserts, from remote villages to the death-defying traffic of Tehran – home of the world’s most dangerous drivers!

Lois found herself welcomed by the Iranian people wherever she went, despite their surprise at finding a lone female motorcyclist in their midst. Above all, Iran proved constantly surprising – a sophisticated land of warm, friendly people, and a world away from the images of flag-burning, extremists that we so often see. 

If you’ve ever dreamed of escaping the day job for a life on the road, Lois on the Loose is for you.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Lions beaten as Riders revive title hopes

London Lions 71-99 Leicester Riders

Emdad Rahman

London Lions (13, 37, 49) 71

Brown 18, Marks 17, Ikhinmwin 12, Joseph 6, Knutson 6, Davis 4, Martin 4, Lawson 4, Irish, Freckleton, Sturt

Leicester Riders (16, 43, 76) 99

Hassan 27, Couisnard 25, Downing 17, Sullivan 11, Calvo 7, Anderson 6, Gamble 2, Washington 2, Wanless 2,Lamble, Levi, Okoro

A pulsating game at the Copperbox Arena saw Leicester Riders beat the London Lions to rekindle their Championship aspirations. 

The third quarter saw both teams still in close contention to win the game but for Rashad Hassan's influence on the game. 

With the scores close and both defences influential it was Hassan - easily the best player on the pitch, who orchestrated proceedings as Leicester romped to a 99-71 away win. 

Hassan added 27 points with Jay Couinard contributing a further 25. 

With the Lions playing away in their next fixture Manchester Giants are the next visitors to the Copperbox on Sunday 9th March.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Red waves on the Swansea

Liverpool 4-3 Swansea

Sturridge and Jordan a brace 
Reds heat up the title race
Hendo a shoe in for the World Cup

Applause for Jonjo Shelvey
Another two for Bony
Reds back line needs a shore up


© Emdad Rahman

Saturday, February 22, 2014

UWT at Sainsbury's Whitechapel

Today I'm here with the amazing UWT team who are taking part in a Sainsbury's Whitechapel fundraiser. 

Volunteers will be at Sansbury's Whitechapel to raise money for Syria till 11 pm today. 

There will be:

• Bucket Collections
• Bag Packing For Charity
• UWT Stall & Goodies
• New Clothing Bank & More


Sainsbury's (Whitechapel)
1 Cambridge Heath Road, London
E1 5SD

80,000 people go through the doors at Sainsbury's Whitechapel every week and I spoke to deputy manager Amjad who said that Sainsbury's were happy to support local community charities. 

"I've been really impressed with the way the volunteers have gone about their business and were really pleased to lend our support," he said. 

"A lot of our Whitechapel team are local and were all really pleased to be a part of local community initiatives that do their but to improve the lives of those less fortunate."

Abdul Mukith from UWT said: "were very grateful to Sainsbury's for their support. Their generosity has led to similar offers from big organisations and we wish them greater success with their future business ventures. 

"I've just returned from Syria and the lives of the people affected is indescribable."

Please pop along and donate. Do speak to volunteers to listen to first hand experiences of the tragic humanitarian situation in Syria. 

You may also bring along unwanted clothes and deposit it at the UWT clothing bank in the Sainsbury's car park level 1. 

Donate online:

For more information please contact the local UWT Rep on 07951694115

Friday, February 21, 2014

Ekushey February

basha andolon
stoic resistance holds sway, for
mother language day

© Emdad Rahman

In 1999, UNESCO declared 21 February as International Mother Language Day. 

The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bengali, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

#ekusheyfebruary #languagemovement #internationalmotherlanguageday

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rome Homeless Haiku

human traffic passed
news from rome caught his eye, out
came a mournful sigh

© Emdad Rahman

Monday, February 17, 2014

Red Machine: Liverpool FC in the '80s

The Players' Stories

Emdad Rahman: During the 1980s, Liverpool Football Club dominated English football, winning six league titles, two European Cups, two FA Cups and four League Cups. 

In Red Machine, Simon Hughes interviews some of the most colourful characters to have played for the club during that period. The resulting interviews, set against the historical backdrop of both the club and the city, provide a vivid portrait of life at Liverpool during an era when the club’s unparalleled on-pitch success often went hand in hand with a social scene fraught with rows, fights and wind-ups.

Bush fighter Grobbelaar relates the story of how he broke Steve McMahon's nose in one night. A back up spell to Phil Parkes under the eye of ex Liverpool trainer Tony Waiters proved beneficial for the Jungleman's career before a certain Bob Paisley came calling. 

Grobs welcome to Anfield was hardly worth a shout. Phoning Paisley from the airport he was asked if he knew where Manchester Victoria was and to get there. Phoning Anfield again he was asked by the club secretary if he knew where Liverpool was and told to make his way there. The young hopeful got the message and was rebuked after asking a Liverpool taxi driver if he knew where Anfield was. 

Grobs earned £45 a week and soon after breaking into the first team was blamed for successive European cup exits to CSKA Sofia and Widsew Lodz. 

Grobbelaar's choice for the 80's finest keeper goes to Peter Shilton and says the boldest was John "Budgie" Burridge. Graeme Sharp was his fiercest opponent whilst the craziest was none other than the fabled Welshman Pat Van Den Hauwe. 

"Toxteth Terror" Howard Gayle was Liverpool's first black player. The reputation of his neighbourhood was summed by Robbie Fowler who said: "Toxteth is the bogeyman of all inner cities."

Gayle's dad was from Sierra Leone and his mother from the Ethel Austin family. The union was a big no no and the couple were excommunicated by the community, ending up in Toxteth. Gayle was a wayward youth who found an outlet through his football skills. 

After impressing during his trials he recollects seeing Moran, Fagan, Bennett and Paisley smiling whilst talking to themselves. 

It took a push from Phil Thompson before Gayle mustered the courage to ask for a pro contract. 

A common theme in the book is the range of sentiments expressed towards Graeme Souness.

Gayle, who claims to be one of the first to shout out Kenny Dalglish for the vacant Blackbun Rovers hotseat is complimentary: "Souey symbolises what the club is about and why it achieved so much success and his attention to detail and helping younger players was fantastic."

Guardian reader Michael Robinson, affectionately knows as Robín in Spain, first visit to Anfield was in 1963 when he went along to watch Liverpool. At Brighton he played with Mark Lawrenson who he joined up with at Liverpool. Robinson didn't stay for long but he shared good rapport with "Kenneth" (Dalglish). 

Robín who says that says that "Margaret Thatcher had the same charm as the bubonic plague," narrates an interesting story of the bedrock defensive partnership between Lawrenson and Hansen who he described as the next stage of Franz Beckenbauer. The Irishman compares the duos contrasting styles: "Lawrenson was never on his feet and Hansen never needed to be on his bum. Lawrenson was brilliant but Hansen was a genius."

The European Cup winner is Spain's most famous TV star. He writes, directs and presents El Día Después (The Day After). Robín has never managed but did once have a very interesting job offer from notorious Club President Jesus Gil, who wanted him to assist the fabled Raddy Antic at Atletico Madrid. 

Mackem David Hodgson was a sub during the 1985 European Cup final. He was seen by some as the long term replacement for Kenny Dalglish. They were different as players: "he was cleverer than me but I was faster than him. They saw me as a creator rather than scorer. Hodgson, who describes himself as an idiot left Ayresome Park to join the Reds on £450 a week.

The Sunderland supporter feels Souness was the biggest fish of all: "Arrogant but that's just him. He's Graeme Souness for Christ's sake. He's one of the greatest players of all time."

The Gateshead man walked away from a career as a sports agent after the Dan Gosling switch saga to Newcastle. 

John Wark, who tells a funny story of being mistaken for Souness, was the ultimate exponent of arriving late. The Glaswegian's greatest football regret was that he didn't play for Rangers although he nearly signed as a schoolboy for Celtic. Wark's favourite player was the iconic John Greig followed by Willie Johnston and Colin Stein. 

Wark enjoyed an amazing adventure with Ipswich Town, pushing the club to amazing heights - "We feared nobody, except Liverpool." The Escape to victory Star had attracted interest from Old Trafford after speculation that Bryan Robson was rumoured to be on his way to an Italian club. Wark felt he would have more of a chance of first team football at United but with Captain Marvel's transfer turning out be just a rumour "Johnny on the spot"  joined Liverpool on £851 a week. He made a goal scoring debut at Watford. 

Wark said that the players felt sick in the tunnel after hearing of fans dying at Heysel prior to kick off. In the end the game went ahead and the players felt it would be a "testimonial" for those who had lost their lives. The game itself was a haze for Wark, who remembers Gary Gillespie tripping Juventus' Zbigniew Boniek and Michel Platini scoring the penalty winner to secure the trophy for the Old Lady.

There's a mention of Steve Nicol's strong Ayreshire accent which led him to pronounce "chops" rather than "chips." Nicol is also described poetically by Wark as the clubs biggest eater as well as the biggest buffoon. 

I greatly admired Kevin Sheedy and always envied him in a blue shirt. Howard Kendall signed the youngster from under the Reds noses and he became an important component in the rampaging Everton team. Sheedy played with Southall, Ratcliffe, Stevens, Steven, Gray, Sharp, Bracewell, Van Den Hauwe and Adrian Heath. He oozed sophistication but was considered too casual to replace the buccaneering Ray Kennedy at Anfield. 

An abiding memory is when he gave the Kop the V sign after scoring a glorious free kick at Anfield in 1987. Despite arguments that Sheedy was serving his own tribute to Ted Rogers ala 3,2,1, Sheedy admitted to the Blue Kipper fanzine in 2002 that emotions had got the better of him : "It was just the way I felt at the time, it was a great free kick and being at the Kop end it just seemed the thing to do. It got me into trouble though."

Fellow Irishman Stevie "Stan" Staunton was one of my favourite Anfield full backs. during his first spell the ex Dundalk star had even played up front after Kenny Dalglish had insisted he could cut it, scoring a pre season hat trick. 

Staunton was culled by Souness after receiving a 1.1 million bid from Ron Atkinson at Villa. Under FIFA's foreigner rules the Rep of Ireland star was deemed to be of foreign status. Souness had two English full backs in the squad and with clubs limited to a quota if foreigners Stan became surplus to requirements. 

Stan admits that he was so devastated that for years he didn't bother to follow the Liverpool match scores. As a young fan I was gutted to see him go but was delighted when he return under Roy Evans. They say you should never go back and when Gerard Houllier became co- manager Staunton's days were once again numbered. 

"I was crap mate," says Skippy Craig Johnston. At Ayresome Park he was labelled by Jack Charlton as "the worst player I've ever seen," and being told that it would be in his best interests to "f*** off."

Johnston rang his mum in Australia and to spare her the heartache he told her that Jackie had said that he "was one of the finest footballers he'd ever seen in his life."

Despite the ruthless remarks Johnston agreed with the World Cup winners assessment. He asked himself how he would become a better footballer and started to watch and take an interest in Graeme Souness during training in order to develop himself. 

It led a to a turnaround in form to the extent that Brian Clough called to sign Johnston for Nottingham Forest. Twenty minutes later another call - this time from Bob Paisley. It seemed Liverpool were in the market as they were on the verge of selling Jimmy Case. The rest is history. 

Johnston has found a niche as a photographer but hopes to manage a club too. 

Skippy is a Liverpool icon. He describes Dalglish as "the leader in the dressing room" and fell out with Joe Fagan.  He wrote "The Pride of Merseyside" which came fourth in the charts. Johnston also wrote, paid for and did the video for the "Anfield Rap." He is the brains behind the Predator boot worn by David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane and Steven Gerrard. Reebok and Nike rejected him but Adidas snapped him up. Not appreciating the boots true potential Johnstone sold the idea for a mere 2% of the total action. 

Southerner Spackman played 63 times for Liverpool. When he said he would always support Liverpool a section of Chelsea fans lobbied for the removal of the "Spackman hospitality entrance."

He was replaced at the bridge by Hazard - Micky not Eden. At Liverpool there were midfielders aplenty and things were tough, however the fans took to the smex Chelsea man and drew parallels with Gotham's caped crusader - "D NaNaNaNaNaNaNa Spackmaaan" the Kop screamed. 

Spackman's greatest memory is Stevie Nicol's antics and the 5-0 whitewash of Nottingham Forest in 1988. Steve McMahon's tackles are described as so Machiavellian that only the deceased knew he'd been done. 

He was hotheaded and after Ronnie Whelan skipped ahead of him in the pecking order in 1989 his request for a transfer was granted and subsequently joined QPR before moving onto the Souness revolution at Rangers. Spackman rekindled  fond memories - "Souness turned them into Liverpool by playing the Liverpool way" he said. 

Ronnie Moran also offers a unique insight to this exciting time in the club’s history. 

The book finishes with a chapter on "genius" John Barnes who felt that being from a middle class background and being educated at the reputable Marylebone Grammar left him more sheltered from racism in general. 

Barnes justifiably feels that he wasn't given enough time in management and speaks of the Watford heydays under Graham Taylor. The Maracana genius thrived under the total chaos regime at Vicarage Road. 

After his move to Liverpool Barnes went up another level in form. He was described by Bobby Robson as the "greatest enigma" but It was obvious that the styles in play were the primary reasons for this. The Reds played to his strength passing the ball out left at any given opportunity. With England the number of passes declined. Barnes' contribution was needed but not sought as much. There was also the equally talented Chrissie Waddle on the right to accommodate too. 

Barnes has been in the managerial wilderness for a long time and surely deserves another crack at the helm of another football club. 

Red Machine is an enjoyable read for all football fans alike. It doesn't include the obvious big names but it's nice to read about the smaller voices in the dressing room. 

The players candid, ribald and sometimes scathing recollections provide an antidote to the media-coached, on-message interviews given by today’s players.

Red Machine: Liverpool FC in the '80s: The Players' Stories
Simon Hughes

Published by Mainstream Publishing, part of Mainstream.