My Top 10 Songs

It’s currently half past two in the morning and I’m incredibly bored so I thought I’d post my ten favourite songs of all time.

Now these songs may not go well together in the same playlist but individually, these songs mean a lot to me. I hope you enjoy!

10. Closing Time – Semisonic

This song is on the list just for one line, ‘Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end’. It’s just a simple but amazing line that everyone can relate to in one way or another.

9. (What a) Wonderful World – Sam Cooke

I first heard this song on an advert whilst in cinema and I instantly had to find out what the song was. It is such an underrated song from its era but every time I hear it I can’t help but sing along.

8. I Am the Resurrection- The Stone Roses

This one is just an absolute classic to sing along to, when I’ve heard it at an indie night it always gets everyone up with their arms in the air. I could’ve thrown many Roses songs on here but this is the one I went for.

7. Boxing Champ – Kaiser Chiefs

Not one of their more well known songs but the piano just gives this song a lovely feel to it compared to the usual style of the Kaiser Chiefs, I was gutted they didn’t play this live when I saw them at the Scarborough Open Air theatre.

6. Disco 2000 – Pulp

This song was a real eye opener to me when I started to understand what it meant. Cocker tells the story of how he fell in love with his childhood friend but she is much more popular than he is and he’d love to meet up with her again. I just think its a weird feeling to think that people who meant so much to you during your childhood could end up playing no part in your future life. Also it’s an absolute tune.

5. Caravan of Love

The song of Hull. The Housemartins are probably the best known act in Hull, shown by how many people turned up to their gig in 2017 at Craven Park. The song just is an absolute anthem wherever it is played and can be sang with different meaning depending on who you are. It’ll always be a special song to me.

4. The Worlds Greatest – R Kelly

R Kelly made a song which many find inspiration from with ‘The Worlds Greatest’ and it’s clear to see why people are inspired. It’s a song I can imagine people looking in the mirror and singing to themselves to when they need some motivation to reach that next level.

3. Fade Away – Oasis

Fade Away may not be one of the cleanest songs ever written but the meaning behind it is quite powerful. The song to me, is about how whilst we’re children we have so many dreams and ambitions but we never chase them because we’re too busy living our life day to day in a bubble. I can relate because whilst at school and college I was always scared to really push for my dreams incase I was judged as journalists aren’t exactly the most liked people in the world but luckily for me I’m following my dreams and studying sports journalism at uni. But for many, a dream is just a dream.

2. Tender – Blur

Tender, what a classic song, this song means a lot to me because when my mum was 8 months pregnant with me, this song was at its peak in the charts. When Damon Albarn sings ‘Oh my baby’ my mum used to sing ‘You’re my baby’ and she still does to this day. I’ve always been a mummies boy so when I feel alone at uni I put this song on to make me feel closer than a 3 hour train journey away from her.

1. The Gambler – Kenny Rogers

This song is number one because whenever I feel down, this is the go to song. The meaning behind the song is amazing and really makes you forget about your troubles and look forward to the future. It makes you want to stop worrying about any problems and just get on with life and deal with what it’s given you. This is another song which is always heard in pubs as a lot of people can relate to the feeling. So if you’re ever down don’t dwell on it, a time will come when you can be happy and appreciate what you have.

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The Season So Far

We’re seven rounds into the Super League season, most teams have only played six games due to the weather but here’s what I have thought of the season so far.

1st – St Helens

It’s great to see the Saints returning to their best with Ben Barba running the show for them at the back. If he carries on ruining defences like he has been then he has to be a contender for the Man Of Steel award. The Merseyside outfit have suffered in recent years but it finally seems like the good times will be coming back as long as no disasters happen.

2nd – Wigan Warriors

Many people thought Wigan would struggle this season due to the loss of Micky McIlorum and having to rely on a relatively young side but they’ve looked strong in every game they’ve played, even the 16-10 loss at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. The only reason I worry about Wigan is that I think the Australia trip could come back to haunt them in the long run when fatigue starts to kick in. Whilst the trip was successful, I think it could bite them.

3rd – Wakefield Wildcats

Wakefield have proved the doubters wrong once again with scintillating attacking rugby. Tom Johnstone earned himself a call up to the England squad with some fantastic finishes this season. If the Wildcats can hold off any offers for the youngster they really have a star of the future on their hands.

4th – Leeds Rhinos

Brian McDermott’s team have looked very impressive this season with just one loss to Widnes. They have class all over the park and their youngsters are really starting to blossom. I believe we could be seeing the start of a new era at Leeds, the two new stands and multiple future stars really make for exciting times at Headingley.

5th – Warrington Wolves

Warrington are the only team to have played all seven games and they’ve had some mixed results. Their opening fixture against Leeds showed much promise and the signing of Bryson Goodwin could be the difference for success if he stays injury free. The acquisition of Josh Charley should leave the Primrose and Blue fans watering at the mouth to see him in action. It shouldn’t take him too long to adapt back to Rugby League.

6th – Castleford Tigers

The Tigers have been hit hard with cancelled games this season and have only taken to the field four times. They seem to have got their heads together after a disastrous opening night against St Helens and have beaten Widnes, Hull FC and Salford. Daryl Powell leaving the England set up can only mean good things for the club and it shows he has confidence that he can get another chance at the national team job through success at Wheldon Road. The backlog of fixtures could hurt them towards the end of the regular season as they will have to squeeze in two games against Wigan and Hull KR so a cup run may be off the cards if they’re to aim for Old Trafford.

7th – Widnes Vikings

Widnes have shown glimpses of the talent in the team in their wins against Catalans and Leeds, in fact even in defeat at Castleford they looked strong. Their loss to Wigan was a big psychological blow as they should’ve held onto the lead and their recent loss to Huddersfield wasn’t very impressive at all. Considering the teams budget, they’re doing ok but I can’t see them escaping the middle 8s come July.

8th – Hull KR

The newly promoted Robins were most people’s pre season favourites to finish bottom due to many people feeling they lack the ability within the squad to compete week in, week out. So far they’ve performed well in four out of the six games they’ve played, they’ve beaten the Catalan Dragons and Huddersfield Giants comfortably, scared the Rhinos at Headingley and controversially lost to the Dragons away from home. The other two performances were below par and I’m sure Tim Sheens will use the space on the salary cap to make sure those results are few and far between.

9th – Hull FC

We cross the river to West Hull to look at the Black and Whites, the Challenge Cup holders lost Mahe Fonua and Gareth Ellis in the off season which are big blows. They’ve suffered injuries to Houghton, Kelly and their new signings Paea and Faraimo which haven’t helped. Many weren’t surprised to see Liam Watts be allowed to leave the club to join Castleford Tigers due to disciplinary issues. Despite only winning twice, the Airlie Birds will come good once their star players are back and they should be pushing for the top four if they don’t leave it too late.

10th – Salford Red Devils

Many people anticipated Salford would struggle after the money tap was halted with Marwan Koukash’s departure. The only success the Red Devil’s have had this season has come against the two Hull teams with convincing victories against both. The fact that the Gareth O’Brien was allowed to leave to join Toronto Wolfpack is worrying for the fans as Ian Watson stated that they wouldn’t be bullied into selling players. The middle 8’s beckons for the club unfortunately.

11th – Huddersfield Giants

After Jermaine McGillvary turned heads at the World Cup, many people expected him to light up the league with Huddersfield this season if he found that form. Neither the player or the club has found a spark this year and their recent loss to Hull KR at home made a lot of people question what is going on behind the scenes. The team is full of international standard played but they don’t seem to have clicked this year.

12th – Catalan Dragons

After they escaped relegation in the Million Pound Game, many thought it would be a wake up call for the French outfit. But how wrong could they be. The Dragons have only won once this season, in a match many people thought they shouldn’t have won due to McIlorum deliberately throwing the ball at a player to earn a penalty to win. Steve McNamara must be playing with borrowed time and if things don’t change soon, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him be the first to get the sack.

Unpredictability of Super League

After watching the Saints versus Leeds match I just had to sit back and think to myself, what a competitive league we have.

This weekend has already seen three underdogs all defeat the fixtures favourites, Hull KR handed Huddersfield a good hiding, Salford wiped the floor with a woeful Hull team and an injury hit Leeds team ended the unbeaten run of Ben Barba’s St Helens.

If just one of these results had happened we would’ve been shocked, but to have all three, what a round for the league. With three games still to play we have Hull KR sat looking down on their ‘big brother’ rivals from across the river, Warrington and their big names struggling for the second season in a row, Widnes proving doubters wrong again, Wakefield are placed right up there despite having the smallest budget in the league, what an amazing league we have.

Being a betting man can certainly not be fun this season with anyone being able to beat anyone. Hull KR had a 12 point head start against Huddersfield which now looks ridiculous.

There aren’t many leagues in the world where the majority of games are hard to call. The Premier League has a top six which are light years ahead of the travelling pack. The NFL has the Patriots who have dominated the past ten years. Our little old Super League seems to be one of the last remaining leagues with a level playing field for most of the clubs since we have a salary cap in place.

The unpredictability of the league excites me this year as we could potentially have the seventh different league leaders shield winner in the past 7 years. I for one can’t wait to see how the rest of the year unfolds.

Appreciate what you have, not what you want.

Whilst working the other day, the same two homeless men who come into the shop everyday popped in. They seemed like they were in good spirits, it was fairly warm outside and the previous weeks of bitterly cold winds had disappeared.

I had been feeling a bit down in the few days previous for one reason or another and seeing these two just really made me think to myself, why am I actually feeling so down? I have a roof over my head, I’m studying a degree in the area I’ve always dreamt of working in, I have a job which I enjoy, a group of mates who I know would be by my side, why don’t I appreciate what I have? Too many people concentrate on the things they don’t have in life and this is why so many people are unhappy.

These two homeless men are genuinely just happy for a free cuppa or a free spin on the games machine, if they can be positive throughout their tough times then why shouldn’t we through our less tough times? They’ve taught me a lot about character and how you shouldn’t think too much about what isn’t yours.

A great song that reminds me of this situation is Kenny Rogers – The Gambler, it’s always a classic in pubs as many people can relate to the song. It brings out the best in people and teaches them that even if life hasn’t dealt them the best hand, they’re going to go out smiling and making the most of it.

It really made me think about the things that matter in life, the things we have, not the things we don’t. I’m not saying to not aim for things you don’t have but whilst you’re trying to reach your goals, appreciate the things you do have.

Time for a new video ref system?

Leeds Rhinos battling Hull FC has produced some fantastic contests over the years, so I was left feeling rather disappointed that the game was overshadowed by the man in the middle yet again.

Robert Hicks is now one of the most experienced officials in the British game and whether you like him or not, he’s one of the best we have. Despite this, I can’t help feeling that we are becoming too reliant on the video referee for televised games and it is causing inconsistencies for non-televised games.

The first half lasted almost an hour, mainly due to several decisions sent upstairs by Hicks, this shouldn’t be happening as it can push away casual fans if there are too many stoppages. Rugby League is known for being hard hitting, fast paced and an all-round entertaining game, but whenever a try is scored teams can’t celebrate because they’re unsure if they have been awarded the try or not. The system really needs reviewing as we can’t carry on having the referee not having to be assertive during live matches but then must decide on the spot for a non-televised match.

Cricket operate the best review system as each team can review the umpire’s decision and if the decision is overturned then they get their review back. Why can’t we have something similar? It seems to be very rare that the decision is overturned so this would possibly shorten the length of halves by ten minutes keeping people interested.

If the RFL can’t afford to have video referees at every Super League game then this would make sense as it means the referees would have to make their mind up on the spot in every game they officiate, not just non-televised games when they can’t shy away from making a decision.

The product we have to offer has so much potential, but we just aren’t utilising it to the best of our ability.

One positive I can find from our match review system is that it is much better than the VAR nonsense going on in football at the minute. One reason video referees do work to an extent in Rugby League is because it can add excitement to games if it is used when needed, everyone watching the big screen hoping that their team have grounded the ball and T-R-Y will appear. But VAR in football just leaves confusion as no one who is watching knows what’s happening apart from the referee.

Hopefully when the new RFL chief executive is announced we will see some changes to keep the game moving forward and bringing in those TV ratings.

Alcohol Addiction

Recently I’ve been thinking to myself, is alcohol worth the affect it can have on peoples lives? The substance has torn my family apart and when I was home at the weekend I saw the full front of what it can cause. Just so you’re aware, I’m not the person this is about, I just witnessed it.

The past few months since I moved to university I’ve been down an awful lot knowing what goes on at home, three hours on train away, knowing I can’t do anything to cheer my mum and sister up and make things right. I’ve taken my anger out on the wrong people and because of this and lost the person I was closest to. I felt weak talking about my problems to others but you shouldn’t.

Alcohol doesn’t just affect the primary victims, it can cause secondary victims as well even if it’s not directly through alcohol consumption itself.

Ever since I was a little nipper I’ve been exposed to it one way or another and I always thought that alcohol was a good thing and its weird not to want to drink whenever you do something. But hearing my little sister say, “Why can’t I have a normal life like all of my friends?” really hit home for what its done, it changes people, maybe they’re more jolly for a few hours but what happens when it becomes an addiction? I honestly think more people are addicted to alcohol then they think and its scary. Alcohol causes so much aggression in people and one mistake whilst drunk and angry could change your life forever.

After hearing my sister say those words I’ve decided to really limit how often and how much I drink because I never want to be in a position where I’m addicted, and my family cannot be around me anymore. The past few days I’ve really hit rock bottom with my life and couldn’t feel any lower, to cheer myself up I bought a couple of Bulmers from the shop next door but when I got home I couldn’t drink them because yeah, it may make me forget my problems for a couple of hours but what about after that? Am I going to buy some more beer to make me forget about it? And then when I’ve drank them what happens?

I’m not saying I will never drink again because in limitations it can be a laugh, but this country really has a problem with alcohol consumption levels and I never want anyone I love to not be able to stand me because I drink too much. In a short period of time I’ve learned that there are better ways to channel problems, the past few weeks I’ve started eating healthier and doing exercise again and whilst it doesn’t solve my problems it has helped me change my focus instead of sitting inside the same four walls wanting to just forget about it. I just wish the person this is about had realised the drinking isn’t the answer.

Don’t let alcohol ruin what you have because me and my family have possibly been mentally scarred for life by it. The person who has possibly lost the family loves because of alcohol didn’t mean to become addicted and I’m definitely sure they didn’t mean to scare their family away but they have. Alcohol isn’t the answer to problems, if you’re ever down talk about it with people you know you can trust, don’t try drinking away any issues because you’ll lose the people you care about.