Tag Archives: prophet

Nostradamus Apologises to Leeds Fans for “Bad Day at the Office”   –   by Rob Atkinson

Nostradamus in happier days

Nostradamus in happier days

The post-match press conference for Brighton & Hove Albion‘s 2-0 victory over an “off the pace” Leeds United was enlivened by the unexpected and unscheduled appearance, from beyond the grave, of Nostradamus.

The 16th century French prophet, whose ancient prediction that Steve Morison would score in a Leeds win against Brighton had received some publicity this week, appeared out of thin air, looking slightly sheepish, but otherwise in pretty good form for a man dead these many years. This was, in fact, the first interview Nostradamus has granted since his death in 1566, and he was keen to emphasise that things had changed for him in the almost five centuries since then.

Speaking before the Brighton and Leeds coaches gave their post-match reaction, Nostradamus got straight to the point. “Yeah, man – I know I’m gonna get hammered for that Morison thing. It was a bad day at the office, a real bitch of a day, really. But you gotta remember that quatrain was written something over 450 years ago, well before League football had even started. You gotta cut me some slack, man. None of us is perfect, not even Don.”

So, now that he’s broken his 449 year silence, will he be maintaining an interest in the game?

“Hell, yeah man – I’m not that dead! I’m a big football fan and I have been since the 1870s. There’s quite a few of us up there, and we have some pretty lively discussions, let me tell you. I’m an Arsenal fan myself, big French influence there, which is pretty freakin’ cool.”

We can expect more predictions, then? Nostradamus was slightly more cautious on that score. 

“Weeeell – it’s not impossible, let’s put it like that. It’s difficult to know how to go about it after all this time. You may have noticed, I’ve kinda left the mediaeval French vibe behind – too inaccessible, man. Since I’ve been up there, I’ve had the chance to talk to people like Warhol, Lennon, Oscar Wilde – he’s quite the Brighton fan, actually, so he’ll be tickled pink tonight.”

Many Leeds fans in the football afterlife fraternity?

“For sure. A lot of the real individual types, the movers and the shakers, they tend to be Leeds. They’re proud to be different and not to take the easy path. So, you’ve got the likes of Thomas More and a lot of those mediaeval martyr guys. Then there’s Lord Nelson – NOT a Pompey fan as you’d think. Einstein, he’s Leeds, there’s Archimedes, Galileo, guys like that. There’s even – well let’s just say someone who was really big a coupla millennia back. He asked me not to mention his name, though, reckons he’d get crucified in the press. And General George Custer, he’s a massive fan – but then he always did tend to be up against it and he certainly fancied the odds against him.”

Any Man U fans? There’s a lot of speculation over who they have following them…

“Nope, you never see any of them. I don’t wanna be too specific, but those guys ended up, y’know, elsewhere.” 

So is Nostradamus at all embarrassed at the failure of his Steve Morison prediction?

“Noooooo, not really. As I said, it was a long time ago. I don’t even do the old-style quatrains any more, couldn’t tell you myself what they mean these days. It may even be that the Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything guy misinterpreted it. I am sorry if I raised the fans’ hopes though. That really sucks, and you can believe me when I say I regret it. All I can tell you as of now is that Morison will score, and sooner rather than later. Just, y’know, watch this space, man.”

At this point the coaching staff from the two clubs came into the Press room and Nostradamus felt it was time to go. With a cheery wink and a very passable Leeds salute, he promptly de-materialised – having agreed to deliver our best wishes to the LUFC faction in the great beyond.

Leeds next game is another tricky one, at home to Watford. At this stage, no predictions are available – from this world or the next.

Nostradamus is 511.

 

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Can Steve Morison Really Score Tonight, Vindicating Nostradamus? – by Rob Atkinson

Nostradamus - not the actual bit that says Morison will notch on Tuesday

Nostradamus – not the actual bit that says Morison will notch at Brighton tonight

An ancient verse of the mediaeval soothsayer Michel de Nostredame, better known in modern times as Nostradamus, has startlingly been interpreted as a firm prediction that Leeds United’s Steve Morison will score a goal for the club away at Brighton & Hove Albion tonight.

The nailed-on prediction will come as good news for hard-working striker Steve, who has not notched for Leeds for almost two years now – despite enjoying an extended run in the team lately. Morison himself has always remained confident in his ability and has stated in the past that it’s just a matter of time before one of those half-chances goes in. “I’ve been busting a gut, ploughing a lone furrow up front in the best interests of the team,” insisted the formerly prolific marksman, “and the Boss keeps telling me I’m doing my job, and that’s good enough for me. It’s a shame about the goals though – so I’m really glad to hear I’m guaranteed to score at Brighton. If selected, obviously.”

The verse in question – technically known as a quatrain – is reproduced below. As can plainly be understood, the ancient prophet has seen in the stars at least one goal for Steve at Brighton, together with a Leeds United victory.

“Northern wind will cause the siege to be raised / Nearby the path of the hollowed mountains / Two great beasts, one will oppose and one assail / Drinking by force the waters of the Chalice triumphant.”

The mention of “hollowed mountains” nearby – a transparent reference to the Channel Tunnel – gives away the precise location. The two great beasts are, of course, Sol Bamba and Morison himself – one a defender (opposing) and one a striker (assailing). “Drinking by force the waters”, etc …. well, I’ve told you enough already. Got to leave you something to work out for yourselves.

Leeds manager Neil “Redders” Redfearn is delighted to see his faith in Morison paying off. “Well, y’know, it’s a vindication of, y’know, the 4-3-2-1 system in’tit, which has served us well since we, y’know, ditched that bleedin’ diamond,” said the United coach, fluently. “And, y’know, Steve’s been doing great, really, just great. But, y’know, it’s good to know for sure, like, that he’s getting a goal tonight cos, y’know, if the boy Nostradamus has been that clear about it, y’know, we’ve got to be a bit optimistic, like. It’ll, like, y’know, give Steve a fillip and, y’know, boost the lad’s confidence a bit, and that has to be good for, y’know, Leeds United.”

Brighton, for their part, are not convinced about the authenticity of this supposed ancient prophecy. “We’ll be keeping an eye on Morison, certainly,” confirmed a club insider, “but we’ve made no special plans. Goals are coming from elsewhere in this Leeds team and we can’t afford to create more space for them by doubling up on Morison just because of some mouldy old verse. Besides which, we’ve seen another quatrain from the National Library, and that clearly states the one you’ve got is bollocks.”

Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything, however, is utterly convinced by the prediction and is prepared publicly to endorse it. Steve Morison will score at Brighton tonight – count on it. Even put money on it, if you like*. Some blog readers have already declared their solemn intent to “lump on”. So you can take our word for it. Steve to score. Definitely.

* Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything can accept no responsibility for money lost in wagers, bets, flutters, accas or wild-eyed punts. Sorry.

The LUFC Prophet on “Why Moyes Never Stood a Chance at Man U” – by Rob Atkinson

Ta Ta, Taggart

Ta Ta, Taggart

As a Leeds United fan, I don’t get many chances to say “I told you so”.  I’ve made two football bets recently, and I’ve paid out twice – a fiver to a Newcastle fan who told me to my disbelief they’d lose at home to some Premier League no-hopers (and they did), and a bar of Dairy Milk chocolate to my Barnsley-supporting postman who bet me we’d beat them at Oakwell. I didn’t mind paying out on that one.  My only chance of coming out ahead now rests on a tenner I have with a mate which says Arsenal will win the Cup.  Fingers crossed…

But in matters Man U, I was a prophet of peerless foresight as long ago as July last year – when I forecast that David Moyes was doomed to failure at the Theatre of Hollow Myths.  I reasoned that the brooding presence of eminence grise (avec le nez pourpre) Alex Ferguson would do Moyes no good as he sought to make his own influence the guiding light at the Pride of Devon.  I figured that he would be hampered by the proximity of the ex-boss – just as happened before, 40-odd years ago, when Busby stepped down but refused to go away.

Well, I did tell you so – and lo, it has come to pass.  Whatever now happens to the fallen champions-turned-also-rans, it should be noted that some of us out here saw months ago that there’d be tears before bedtime round Salford way. I might be accused (accurately) of wishful thinking – but the logic behind my prediction has, I feel, been shown to be impeccable.  Below is what I wrote on July 7th, 2013 as Moyes was setting out his stall as Man U manager.  I will not gloat over his downfall – but the fact that he has brought the club I detest down with him is extremely amusing and satisfactory.

-o0o-

There are worrying signs already for the inheritor of the poisoned chalice that is the Old Trafford hot-seat.  David Moyes has been gathering his own people about him as he sets forth to put his own stamp on the Man U machine – but Moyes will be grimly aware that The Ghost of Alex Ferguson Past is the least of his worries.  The man himself will be there all too often, all too real and large as life, in the flesh and walking the corridors of power down Trafford way.  It’s the presence of the former boss that is likely to make an already difficult task that bit less easy for the 50 year old heir to the throne.  If you know your history, you’ll be aware that Wilf McGuinness, the successor to Matt Busby, had to go about his work with the Busby factor still about the place, the old man still visible backstage, the players saying “Morning, Wilf” to McGuinness – but “Morning, Boss” to Busby.  He didn’t last long before the sainted Matt was back to try and steady a sinking ship. His successor, Frank O’Farrell, didn’t do much better.

You might hope, for Moyes’ sake, that Ferguson will have the forbearance to stay away from the training ground and the stadium when the day-to-day business of running the club and the team is going on.  Perhaps he will, but media pressure is already a clear and present danger for Fergie’s successor. The press don’t want to let Fergie go; he’s been a rich source of copy for them for so many years that many hacks who have covered all matters Man U can hardly remember a time when he wasn’t there – and they want to stay snug in their Fergie comfort zone, with their cosy old stand-bys of the hair-dryer and the stop-watch.

The signs were there even at Wimbledon this past week.  Fergie took his place in the Centre Court dignitaries’ enclosure to support his compatriot Murray, and the commentary box fizzed in a fever of ecstasy as that familiar purple face gazed o’er the scene.  The cameras lingered lovingly on those craggy, ravaged features and many were the cutaway shots of Fergie’s reactions as Murray laboured to his victory.  Afterwards, the desperation to lever S’ralex into the post-match interview was as cringingly embarrassing for the viewer as it was perplexing for Murray, who perhaps naively expected tennis questions.

The message was resoundingly clear: Fergie is still The Man as far as the press are concerned.  Reports of Moyes’ early press conference at Old Trafford leaned heavily upon comments such as “Fergie would have approved of Moyes’ flash of temper”, “Moyes displayed a Fergie-like tenacity” and so on and so forth.  There are clear indications that every word Moyes utters, every decision he takes, will be viewed in the light of “what S’ralex would have said/done” – and clearly, this is bad news for anyone wanting to to make the job his own and do it his own way.

It might even be interesting to speculate on whether Moyes would perhaps quite like to be portrayed in a different light to that which has shone on the Man U manager this past 27 years.  Moyes seems a sensible and modest chap after all, any similarity to his predecessor appearing limited to the accent and the obsession with the game.  A departure from the arrogance and overbearing nature that has characterised the club during Fergie’s reign might be welcome to such a relatively pleasant bloke, but it appears unlikely to be allowed judging by the tone of some of the press quotes from this preparatory phase of the season.

We are given to understand, for instance, that late last season Moyes was honoured with a personal visit to his home from The Fergie Himself.  “I thought he’d come to tell me he was taking one of my players”, said the ex-Goodison boss, to an unheard and incredulous chorus of “What the hell…?” from Evertonians everywhere.  So this is how the Old Trafford club have been used to operating in the transfer market?  Hmmmm.  But instead of airily notifying a “lesser club” of an impending transfer swoop, Fergie was there to tell Moyes he was the next Man U boss.  Not ask, tell.  Moyes’ eager compliance was taken as read.  The Man U brand of arrogance, it seems, will take more than a change of manager to eradicate.

I’m not particularly worried about the prospect of Man U being less successful in the next few years, and of some of their legions of fans being seduced to supporting clubs closer to home, such as Torquay or Spurs or Nagoya Grampus Eight.  I’d be quite happy with that; I have no love of the Trafford-based franchise or the way it operates.  But I am slightly concerned for Moyes himself, who seems a decent cove, and who I can see going the same way as McGuinness went; a proper football man crushed by the weight of recent history and cowed by the long shadow of his immediate predecessor.  For Moyes’ sake, I hope that doesn’t come about, but all the signs are already there that it might.  Only Fergie himself can decide to remain in the background, the media are far too much in love with the myth they have created to let him go easily.

Perhaps, though, Fergie will actually do the decent thing?  I somehow doubt it.