Thursday, May 24, 2007


Apparently, hard-core liberals and conservatives make life harder for all those "tolerant" people in between. The two extreme groups are happier than those in the middle, and one explanation is that those in the middle are sick of the intolerance of those at each extreme.

I think I certainly count as a conservative, as a conservative Christian, given that Christians are generally seen to be more conservative than the rest of society. But what is intolerance?

Is being intolerant of intolerance intolerant? If so then those in the middle are intolerant too.

Is it intolerant to believe something is wrong, to hold a particular view? Surely about the only tolerant person is someone who believes everything is ok? Because the moment anyone says the thing someone else is doing is wrong, they are called intolerant right? Christian says homosexual behaviour, and heterosexual activity outside marriage is wrong, therefore intolerant. But aren't those saying that basing their beliefs on a book, the Bible, is wrong, also intolerant for the same reason?

Anyhow, I'm not a philosopher. Just got asked how many golf balls there are in the UK and I've come over all philosophical, and I can't think of anything else other to do than to read other peoples' blogs and respond...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Season over...

...something which wasn't overly surprising really, given Blackpool's form and Oldham's form going into the play-off matches played last week. Blackpool scored five goals (and could have had more), compared to Oldham's meagre two. Although Oldham did have two disallowed, and could ask about a number of handball appeals, the truth is Blackpool were the better team. It's incredible was confidence and form does for a team.

If Oldham fans feel bad, one wonders how Nottingham Forest fans feel. It's been a pretty humbling season for them. Thrashed 4-0 by Scunthorpe at home, 5-0 by the Latics, they lost 5-2 at home to Yeovil to tumble out of the play-offs on Friday.

The usual things are coming out of the City Ground, or at least out of the body of supporters of Forest. The chairman and manager are to blame, they must go or be sacked (who sacks the chairman and board, out of interest?!). Does that solve problems? In the article I read (on the BBC, here), it seemed no contradiction was noted between the fact Forest have had seven managers in five years and dropped a division, and not escaped League One in two attempts, yet still the author calls for another manager to be sacked! How does that work?

Blackpool fans were calling for Simon Grayson to be sacked after 11 games of this season. Now they're 90 minutes, and odds on favourites to be promoted to the Championship! There's absolutely no difference between that situation and the situation for Forest. Man U fans called for Fergie to go, over a year into his tenure, and probably still weren't entirely convinced by that first FA Cup win. No difference again.

I wonder if football supporters will ever learn that success requires patience.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007


It's the business end of the season, which is a big distraction from my Ph.D thesis write up, but thankfully my thesis is almost there.

So today sees the Premiership conclude, but more importantly for me, it sees Oldham play Blackpool in the first leg of the play-off semi-finals in League One. Blackpool fans are confident, and rightly so: Blackpool won their last seven league matches, including a 6-3 demolition of Swansea on the final day. But Swansea have lost against play-off sides all season, and the high-scoring match was because Swansea had to go for the jugular to try and displace Oldham in the play-off positions.

Nonetheless, Blackpool are clearly a very good side. They also won 1-0 at Boundary Park in the league earlier in the season, and Oldham have won just once in the twelve most recent matches between these sides - I don't like the sight of Blackpool much! But Oldham raise their game against the better sides, so let's see!

The now fail-safe model (haha) suggests that Oldham are actually favourites for the first leg, perhaps surprisingly, with a probability of 37.8%, which translates to decimal odds at 2.64. Not far from where Betfair is currently at, with Oldham favourites at 2.57. Goes somewhat against a strong statement here, that Blackpool are "firm favourites". Perhaps the Blackpool fan here ought to check out the bookies before making such assertions.

Nonetheless, any betting man fancies Blackpool over the two legs for sure. Hopefully the underdog tag will help the Latics. For the first leg, the draw has probability 31.2%, and Blackpool a surprisingly small 30.9% chance. Let's hope these numbers reflect reality - they reflect the model estimated over the season, but that's not today!

As for scorelines, a narrow 1-0 Oldham win is the most probable scoreline, with a probability of 14.8%, closely followed by a 0-0 draw, at 14.2%. So suggestions are for a cagey and tight match this evening. The 1-1 draw has a probability of 13.5%, and a 1-0 Blackpool win, a repeat of the league match, is at 12.9%.

In the absence of Finktank bothering to predict this one, I imagine these odds are similar to what the post, because generally they are.

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