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Issue 1, November 2010 dummy issue

there are more than a trillion web pages online

yes, a trillion pages. no wonder most of us don't read newspapers anymore.

we could easily be online all day everyday

but alas, sometimes we must part with the virtual world.




is not a newspaper

who knows what it is, or what it could become it IS a concept. each issue will be different

each article is a discovery from one of those trillion pages.

the result is that of an old format, revitalized with the innovation of the new

online now appears on paper

we don't want to write the news

the_timeless is here so that you can. FREE

the_timeless about

Issue 1 - November 2010 - dummy

Welcome to the first issue of the_timeless It has been a long time coming but here it is, finally printed, after many hours of hard work. As you will notice, this is no ordinary publication. What we aimed to achieve here was something genuinely new, something that would ultimately change the way people perceived printed media.




is not a newspaper

Here’s how and why it happened: Let’s start with a little context. Traditionally, the news publishing industry has hired journalists to produce content, then edited it, organised it into a newspaper or magazine, and presented it to the public as news. For centuries this has been the way that people found out about things. Then along came the Internet. Soon we were all doing it. Surfing the web, blogging, social networking, emailing, IM chatting, the whole lot, basically immersing ourselves in everything and anything the cyber world had to offer. The World Wide Web became our home from home. We'd found new friends there and they were more fun. They were creating their own content based on their own interests. And from working with nothing but the desire to create, people filled the internet with their own ideas. Ever since those days began, more and more people have been ditching their family friend - the newspaper/ magazine - in favour of accessing infomation online. In reaction to this the media industry collectively thought “let’s put our content on the web and people will read it there.” In effect, what they were doing was putting an old media format onto a new media platform. Much like recording to vinyl before converting to MP3. The problem we at the_timeless identified with this model was that most people don’t want to get their news from just one place. They want more than just one opin-

ion, one point of view and have turned to a variety of online sources to get their daily dose of news. Be it sports, gaming, fashion, cooking, science or just good old fashioned fun, we all have our favourite site, blog or forum that specialises in a subject matter close to our heart. We like them because they are unique, independent from mainstream media, created by like-minded hobbyists and enthusiasts. We may even consider their contributors as friends, people we feel actually know us or who simply inspire us. This trend got us thinking. Why should a publication attempt to compete with the Internet? Can it not embrace it?

Why can’t we switch the print-Internet relationship around? Maybe we can change things. Instead of striving to create something better than what people already enjoy reading online, why not just take that, print it out, then give it away in places where they enjoy reading offline. We could take the best bits of the cyber world, mix them with contemporary design and print it on a format everyone recognises - the good ol'fashioned newspaper. To return to our musical metaphor, we'd be utilising the benefits and innovations of digital recording before putting it back on vinyl. So the idea went full circle from internet to paper and back to the internet. In summary, what this long winded story is trying to explain is this: we at the_timeless want you to write the news! We'll collect it, organise it, print it and give it back to you so you can see what a good job you have done.

We hope you enjoy it



the_timeless events

Issue 1 - November 2010 - dummy




The British Music Experience is an exhibition dedicated to 60 years of British pop. The exhibition is apppropriately located in the O2 Bubble, under the same roof as The O2 Arena, home to many of London's biggest gigs. You'll find gems like the tassled outfit worn by The

Who singer Roger Daltrey at Woodstock alongside well known British artists like KT alongside Mick Jagger's Ossie Clark-designed Tunstall, Amy Macdonald and The Magic 1970s jumpsuit. It's not just about looking Numbers. To top it all, there's a full-blown five at famous rock star gear and guitars though. minute concert to finish, with acts like The The emphasis is on the interactive experience Beatles, Oasis and the Sex Pistols projected too. You can play electric and acoustic guitars around the room for the finale.

The British Music Experience @ the O2 Bubble

The pioneering British photographer Eadweard Muybridge, best known for his portrayal of subjects in motion, is the focus of a major retrospective at Tate Britain. Muybridge studied photography in Britain and built his career in America. This exhibition brings together

around 150 works, showing how Muybridge broke new ground in the emerging art form of photography. Alongside examples of his revolutionary motion-capture techniques and well known images of animals and humans moving and running are less familiar landscapes and

images of life in America during the later nineteenth century. Hugely influential, whole generations artists, including Francis Bacon, Marcel Duchamp, and Douglas Gordon have acknowleged their debt to Muybridge and his time-stopping images.

Eadweard Muybridge @ The Tate Britain

Gauguin as storyteller is the artist we discover ognised household name, this is the first major in Gauguin: "Maker of Myth", an exhibition at exhibition in London to be devoted to his work Tate Modern which brings together over 100 in 50 years. It features is iconic works through works by the famous Post-Impressionist artist. which he explored ideas around religion, fable, Surprisingly, given that Gauguin is such a recmyth and tradition. Prominent pieces include

Vision of the Sermon, inspired by his early years in Brittany, Martinique and Arles. In addition, rarely-seen illustrated letters, sketchbooks and memoirs, enabling visitors to learn more about Gauguin the man.

Gaugin @ the Tate Modern John Pawson @ the Design Museum Minimalism is the trademark of British architect, John Pawson, whose designs on paired down living are displayed at the Design Museum in his first major UK exhibition, which looks back on his a 30-year career. Projects vary widely, from Calvin Klein's flagship store in Manhattan to steel cooking pots, and from

the Sackler Crossing at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew to the Cistercian Monastery of Novy Dvur - the only monastery of the Trappist Order in the Czech Republic. His luxury condominiums at 50 Gramercy Park North for Ian Schrager are a prime example of his dedication to simplicty - the New York

Times question, "can you find the microwave", giving a good indication of the paired down approach Pawson is known for. His work is celebrated through specially commissioned photography and short films, large-scale models and a 1:1 installation designed for the show.

Ice Skating @ the Natural History Museum The Natural History Museum's annual 100-square-metre rink for youngsters, a stylish icing-over of its gardens returns in November balcony cafe/bar (open to all) where you can with the arrival of a 1,050-square-metre rink warm your hands and insides on vin chaud or surrounded by 76,000 glowing pea-lights hot chocolate and a classic fairground caroudangling from the overhanging trees outsel. Big-foots amongst you will be pleased to side Alfred Waterhouse's imposing buildknow that skates go up to adult size 15, five ing. Additional attractions include a smaller wheelchair sessions are also available while


marshals are on hand to offer tips and advice during every session. New this year, there are even a load of special penguin stabilisers to help children skate with more confidence. The ice rink and cafe bar are available for private hire too for a minimum of 150 guests.

the_timeless opinion

Issue 1 - November 2010 - dummy

YAY/NAY or both ?

Balanced Arguments Are More Persuasive

Every argument has at least two sides, even if sometimes, we're not prepared to admit it. But in the heat of battle many people present their own side of the argument as though there's no alternative. You don't have to go far online to find numerous examples of just that; take your pick of the issues from climate change to the Middle East. The instinct is to avoid drawing attention to weaknesses for fear of undermining our own point of view.

Counter-arguments Over the years psychologists have compared one-sided and two-sided arguments to see which are the most persuasive in different contexts. Daniel O'Keefe at the University of Illinois collected together the results of 107 different studies on sidedness and persuasion conducted over 50 years which, between them, recruited 20,111 participants. The results of this meta-analysis provide persuasive reading. What he found across different types of persuasive messages and with varied audiences, was that two-sided arguments are more persuasive than their one-sided equivalents. There's one big proviso to this: when pre-

senting the opposing view it's vital to raise counter-arguments. Two-sided arguments which don't refute the opposing view can be significantly less persuasive than a comparable one-sided argument.

O'Keefe found no evidence that people with lower educational levels are more persuaded by a one-sided message.

* Advertising messages: this is the one exception to the rule about refuting the other side's arguments. O'Keefe found that it This is probably where the common fear of raising opposing arguments comes from. We doesn't matter whether advertisers bring up instinctively understand that the safest course counter-arguments or not, it makes little difis to present only our own side, otherwise we ference to audience persuasion. Perhaps this is because we still know it's advertising, so we risk losing traction with the audience. ignore the advertisers attempts to present a But if we bring up opposing arguments, then balanced argument. shoot them down, not only is the audience more likely to be swayed, we also see a boost Triumph of reason in our credibility. Overall this is a nice conclusion, in that not In his paper Daniel O'Keefe looks at whether only is a balanced argument more appealing there are exceptions to this general rule of us- morally, it is also more persuasive. And it ing a two-sided argument in persuasion. doesn't matter whether counter-arguments are introduced at the start, the end, or mixed * Sympathetic audience: it was thought in; as long as they are refuted, we are more that one-sided arguments are more effective likely to persuade the audience. if the audience is already sympathetic, i.e. when preaching to the converted. O'Keefe So, no matter how hard-line you are on a found no evidence for this; even a sympaparticular issue, remember that people aren't thetic audience is more convinced by a twoidiots, they know there are two sides to every sided argument. story and they'll discount your message unless you acknowledge and counter the other * Low educational level: nowadays this side. would be called 'dumbing down'. Again



the_timeless technology

Issue 1 - November 2010 - dummy

THE GOOD Best-in-class touchscreen 1 Plugged into Apple's ecosystems Tremendous battery life Convertible form factor netbook 2 Comfortable keyboard Basic design

The good, the bad and the tab 2011 will be the year of the tablets. Apple may have validated the tablet market with the successful launch of the iPad, but the competition won't simply cede that space to Cupertino. From the Samsung Galaxy Tab and a host of other Android-based products, to HP's ethereal Slate and rumored WebOS tablet to a potential "BlackPad" from RIM, everyone wants a piece of the tablet market.

fROM engadget. com

If you haven't bought one already, here's a short list of what you can expect to find on the market at the moment.

Attractive touch interface capacitive 3 Responsive touchscreen Stellar chiclet keyboard Thin and light design Built-in kickstand Nice video playback


Apple iPad

Asus Eee PC


Archos Home Tablet

screen 7 Large Solid build Flash support Thin design and solid build 8 Attractive, app-packed Windows 7 touch layer Great HD playback Very responsive touchscreen facing webcam and 9 Front lots of ports Accelerometer Good selection of ports of the first Win 7 10 One slates out there Built-in 3G module option Nice size for a e-reader / tablet 11 Access to Barnes & Noble e-book store Decent for visiting websites Compact and extremely solid quality 7-inch, 12 Great capacitive touchscreen Two cameras

No multitasking Web experience hampered 1 by lack of Flash Can't replace a laptop Resistive touchscreen Comes with Windows 7 2 Starter edition Touch layer isn't very polished Awkward battery hump 3 Too thick Sluggish TouchSmart software No accelerometer Runs outdated version of 4 Android Resistive touchscreen

HP Touchsmart

Expensive Windows 7 touch layer 5 doesn't add much Sad battery life

Comparatively thin and light capacitive 5 Responsive touchscreen Built-in accelerometer Solid manufacturing quality form factor 6 Dualscreen feels like the future Very portable


Joo Joo

Nav 9




2 Tega V2

ExoPC Slate






2goPad SL10

Galaxy Tab





Runs Windows 7 with very limited touch software Fan noise is loud and 6 insanely distracting Lasts only two hours on a charge Buggy 7 Unintuitive UI Full screen Flash video stutters Touch layer missing features Less than four hours of 8 battery life Troublesome viewing angles Thicker and heavier Windows 7 skin is lackin 9 and sluggish Poor battery life Poor battery life Resistive touchscreen, ter- 10 rible LCD quality Uses older Atom processor Sluggish performance Interface not all that 11 intuitive Resistive touchscreen Not all apps scale to the screen No decent video calling 12 software Little support from Google


the_timeless fashion

Issue 1 - November 2010 - dummy

Cases & Scribbles


flash fever

Holidays are coming, so says Coca Cola, DFS, Currys/ PC World and anyone else who wishes to instill in me a sense of X'Mas spirit in products that err... aren't all that festive at all. I'm also starting to get the "Would you like to compile gift guides for your readers?" emails that come like clockwork bang on the beginning of November. I try to Bah Humbug the lot of it each year, but specifically for the blog, I've decided not to deny the spirit of consumerism that comes over us as we whip ourselves up into frenzies over pressies. I'll try to keep the "Hey, buy this seeing as I'm an arbiter of good taste...!" chat to a minimum. How the hell does a gift guide work anyway? Especially when everyone has such specific and exacting needs for their beloved ones...? Perhaps the "What I might like to receive" approach is best if not a little selfish. Then again... err...when HASN'T this blog been self-indulgent... Anyhow, I've failed to notice that in the past few months, Eley Kishimoto has quietly opened up its online store offering up a selection of the NUMEROUS collaborations that Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto have put their hand to because beyond being pure fashoin designers, they quite rightly are 'surface decorators'. Their latest surface decoration takes to Noble Macmillan's fabric print and leatherbound journals. The fashion meets stationery wave has struck an inner bug within me to want to scribble furiously with Uniball Fine Eye UB-157 (only with these EXACT pens can I write coherently...) onto a fresh notebook, instigated namely by Holly Fulton's recent collaboration with Smythson. Eley K's natural collab with Noble Macmillan gives us a mini lizzie (as in lizard),tapestry, bubbles, zebra and ropey print. Hah... curiously, ropey is my favourite one... Eley K's Flash print adorns a big fat chunky leatherbound journal as well the Incase laptop, iPhone/Pad cases, a yukata as well as a Ben Wilson collaboration flat pack chair that needs to go hand in hand with the flat cut-out board behind it. I'm also loving the A/W 10-11 'Old Jumper' print which are on tees, hoodies as well as a collaboration with Old Curiosity Shop (do DO check out this Holborn trove that makes handmade weathered leather shoes). Speaking of all things Flash print, I've taken to carrying around my growing collection of laptop cases, including the Eley K x Incase hot pink number, not with an actual laptop inside, because I've not crossed over to the Macbook contingent yet and have an irregular sized laptop. Instead I find it useful to bung press releases, Blackberry, Oyster, lipbalm, keys and have change jangling around too. I also like hugging it to my chest like how I used to carry uni books.


(Eley Kishimoto x Incase laptop case with vintage stripey top, Sou Brette bracelet, vintage embroidered skirt)

(Eley Kishimoto x Incase laptop case with vintage stripey top, Sou Brette bracelet, vintage embroidered skirt)

(Eley Kishimoto x Incase laptop case with vintage stripey top, Sou Brette bracelet, vintage embroidered skirt)

when hasn't this blog been self-indulgent?

the_timeless fun

Issue 1 - November 2010 - dummy

" let's settle this like adults "

ROCK. PAPER. SCISSORS. serving the needs of decision makers since the dawn of time

A little bit of background Contrary to what you might think, RPS is not simply a game of luck or chance. While it is true that from a mathematical perspective the 'optimum' strategy is to play random- ly, it still is not a winning strategy for two reasons. First, 'optimum' in this case means you should win, lose and draw an equal number of times (hardly a winning strategy over the long term). Second, Humans, try as they might, are terrible at trying to be random, in fact often humans in trying to approximate randomness become quite predictable. So knowing that there is always something motivating your opponent's actions, there are a couple of tricks and techniques that you can use to tip the balance in your favour.

fROM worldrps. com


the_timeless fun

Issue 1 - November 2010 - dummy


how to win every time



In RPS circles a common mantra is "Rock is for Rookies" because males have a tendency to lead with Rock on their opening throw. It has a lot to do with idea that Rock is perceived as "strong" and forceful", so guys tend to fall back on it. Use this knowledge to take an easy first win by playing Paper. This tactic is best done in pedestrian matches against someone who doesn't play that much and generally won't work in tournament play.


When in doubt and all seems lost, go with Spock. It's unexpected and highly illegal, but also impossible to counter.

The first known proto-RPS game was playes widely by early Homo-sapiens around 5000 B.C. They used it to resolve food and mating disputes. Yet Rock Paper Scissors as we know it today was actually seen in the 18th century, in Japan, under the name of Jan-ken-pon!



The second step in the 'Rock is for Rookies' line of thinking is to play scissors as your opening move against a more experienced player. Since you know they won't come out with rock (since it is too obvious), scissors is your obvious safe move to win against paper or stalemate to itself.



Don't know what to do for your next throw? Try playing the throw that would have lost to your opponents last throw? Sounds weird but it works more often than not, why? Inexperienced (or flustered) players will often subconsciously deliver the throw that beat their last one.


When playing with someone who is not experienced at the RPS, look out for double runs or in other words, the same throw twice. Why does this work? People hate being predictable and the perceived hallmark of predictability is to come out with the same throw three times in row.





When playing against someone who asks you to remind them about the rules, take the opportunity to subtly "suggest a throw" as you explain to them by physically showing them the throw you want them to play. ie "Paper beats Rock, Rock beats scissors (show scissors), Scissors (show scissors again) beats paper." Believe it or not, when people are not paying attention their subconscious mind will often accept your "suggestion". "You can go for..


Haven't a clue what to throw next? Then go with Paper. Why? Statistically, in competition play, it has been observed that scissors is thrown the least often. Specifically, it gets delivered 29.6% of the time, so it slightly under-indexes against the expected average of 33.33% by 3.73%. Obviously, knowing this only gives you a slight advantage, but in a situation where you just don't know what to do, even a slight edge is better than none at all.


and it's highly likely that they will.

As your opponent prepares to throw, watch his fingers carefully. Fingers will move or tense depending on the form they are about to throw.

29.6 %

all fingers are tense all fingers are loose only the top two fingers are loose

35 %

35.4 %

SO YOU SEE... Rock Paper and Scissors is a game of true athletes, both physical and mental. Playing RPS probably won’t make you rich and famous.

Chances are good you won’t win an Olympic gold medal. And it’s not likely to improve your physique, maximize your sex appeal,

jump-start your career or expand your memory. Many players have found, however, that studying RPS gives them a greater understanding

of how gaming relates to human behavior. In that sense, RPS can help you find success in other areas, but only if you have the determina-

tion to work hard and think hard – not just in RPS, but in every area of your life.


Issue 1 - November 2010 - dummy

the_timeless music


a star is born at a glance 1. Jessie J - a singer Island are wisely chucking a load of money at. 2. First single is 'Do It Like A Dude' which is very good. 3. Video is very exciting if a bit "haven't we seen this somewhere before". 4. Looks a bit like she will seduce you then eat you but we are sure is a lovely girl really. 5. MySpace:

We've been writing about Jessie J since last September and evidence of star quality has not exactly been on short supply but the video for 'Do It Like A Dude' is the moment when a singer becomes a popstar. We have also been listening to Jessie's album sampler a lot over the last few weeks. Here is what it looks like. Those of you who just rolled your eyes at the 'Do It Like A Dude' video - and to be fair there are a handful of 'yes we get the idea thanks' portions - will be pleased to know that the album is not all "ooh look at me swearing in a curiously sanitised crack den with loadsalezzers 'n' musicvid-friendly 'freaks'". In fact there are some fantastically straightforward songy moments and a lot of it veers very much in the direction of another (very successful) British singer whose bigger hits we enjoyed a great deal. We will not reveal that other singer's name because it is a name that may put some people off and we want you to like Jessie on account of her being super good.



the_timeless gaming

Issue 1 - November 2010 - dummy

fROM VG247.coM



KINECT PRE-ORDERS CAPPED BY RETAILERS M2 Research Analyst, Billy Pidgeon, has aggressive, to the point where these had to told IG that Kinect pre-orders were so high, be capped to allow for sufficient stock.” retailers had to cap them. Last Wednesday, Microsoft upped its proPidgeon said, “I think Microsoft will sell jected christmas worldwide sales numbers of as many Kinect as can be produced and Kinect from 3 million up to 5 million. shipped this holiday season. If five million Kinect are available at retail in North After its US launch on Thursday, Kinect America and Europe, five million will be launches on Wednesday in the UK and sold. I understand that pre-orders were very Europe.

Modern Warfare 2 becomes top selling UK game... EVER!

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit reviews go live

Chart-Track’s confirmed that Modern Warfare 2 is now the biggest selling British game of all time.

The first couple of reviews have gone live for Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit ahead of a flood later today. Consensus for the Criterion reboot is that it is, as thought, amazingly awesome. * Eurogamer – 9 * IGN – 9 * CVG – 9 * – 8 * – 9 * – 9 * NowGamer – 9.2 (PS3), 8 (360) Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit launches next Friday in the UK for PS3, 360, PC and Wii.

The Infinity Ward shooter achieved the feat this week, 41 weeks from launch. The game has spent only three weeks outside the top 10 since releasing in 2009. MW2 has stolen the UK crown from Dr Kawashima on DS, which took around 36 months to overtake the previous holder, GTA: San Andreas on PS2, Xbox and PC. As ever, no firm figures were released by Chart-Track. Suffice it to say, Modern Warfare 2 has sold “a lot”.


Sony: 60% of move-fanciers already own a Wii

Releasing a handy, easily quotable infographic on the PS Blog, the company said that 60 percent of those interested in buying Move already own a Wii. This is presumably to answer critics of the device, which have constantly claimed the PlayStation motion controller merely apes what’s come before with Nintendo’s machine. More than 1 million Move units were sold in North and Latin America in its first 30 days on sale. Sony also said that 15 more games will join the 24 it has planned for release this Holiday before the end of the company’s financial year in June.

SSX: Deadly Descent domains registered by EA

EA has been spotted registering new domains in relation to SSX. The snowboarding franchise – which has been, quite frankly, long overdue for a sequel – was last seen with Blur in 2007 for Wii. Domains found include: * * * * * It was rumoured that Criterion Games were developing a new title in the series earlier this year, but the developer strongly denied it on Twitter soon after.

the_timeless sport

Issue 1 - November 2010 - dummy

brief history

1891 : Richard J. Mecredy (Ireland) invents bike polo 1897 : Polo club in the USA & The Bicycle Polo Association (BPA) of Great Britain are formed 1908 : Bike polo is featured as a demo sport in the London Olympics WWI stops polo 1938 : The BPA of Great Britain has 170 teams in 100 clubs with 1000+ players WWII stops polo 1946 : Bike polo has a new start in Aquitaine, Paris area, Normandy and Pyrénées 1994 : Creation of the Bicycle Polo Association of America 1996 : First International Championship of bike polo (USA): India, Canada and USA compete 1999: Hardcourt bike polo is played for the first time in Seattle 2000 : Hardcourt specific mallets were made out of bamboo and a street hockey ball was used 2002 : Hardcourt bike polo spreads to Portland 2003 : Tournaments pop up all over the West and Midwest 2004 : Hardcourt bike polo spreads to New York 2006 : Hardcourt bike polo spreads to London 2009 : LHBPA forms 2009 : European championships held in London (EHBPC 2009)

present day

Bike polo has moved on from its grass roots and is now spreading rapidly. In June 2008 there were around 50 cities playing hardcourt bike polo as we now know it. There are now over 220 cities, with an average of two new cities registering a new bike polo scene every week. We estimate there are currently over 4,800 dedicated bike polo players globally with around a further 20,000 players that play bike polo less frequently (last updated: June 2010)

BIKE POLO, YOU SAY? what you need

To play bike polo you essentially need a bike, a mallet and a ball. You can play polo on any bike (one that you feel comfortable riding is the best place to start) and there are usually spare mallets courtside that you can borrow. The balls we use are high density Franklin street hockey balls, again you don’t need to worry about bringing a ball if you’re just starting out. It might be a good idea to invest in some gloves that will help cushion the impact of any falls though.

the rules The basic ruleset: • • • • •

Teams are made up of 3 players. To score you have to use the end of your mallet (hitting with the side is called a shuffle). Don’t put your foot down (if you do, you must tap out at the side of the court). Any contact must be ‘like to like’ (mallet to mallet, bike to bike, body to body). First to five points wins (or whoever has the most goals when the time runs out).


tips for beginners Your first few games: Watch a few games before playing to see how the players move around the court, this will help once you’re part of the action. Use your mallet to “tripod” so you can keep your balance more easily when you’re not moving (but watch for others trying to hook your mallet out from underneath you). When you first start off you will often find yourself in the way of others and may get the feeling that the ball is being very elusive. Try to keep moving into space so that you’re in a good position for a pass and try to intercept any passes that the other team make. Try to avoid t-boning other players (when you collide with another player without playing the ball). T-boning is not acceptable and can be avoided by using obstruction and slowing techniques instead. Make and master your own mallet… using the same mallet and bike setup allows you to improve quicker, if you need help making a mallet then just ask. The more time you spend on the court the better you’ll get at bike polo. Your fellow polo players are also a great source of information and will keep pointing you in the right direction. If none of the courts listed in the where we play section are convenient for you, then get in touch with the LHBPA and we’ll help you find new places to play polo in your area.

When? Where?


Check the London Hardcourt Bike Polo Association website ( for more information on meetings and locations.

the_timeless sport

Issue 1 - November 2010 - dummy

Who was greedier: Hicks and Gillett or Liverpool fans? fROM

thearmchair sportsfan.


was it them?

As a forty-year old Arsenal fan who grew up as part of a generation in which Liverpool were the dominant force in both English and European club football, a significant number of my friends are devoted fans of the Anfield club. Many of them are sober and intelligent people, other than that one obvious aberration, and all of them are considerably more knowledgeable about the ins and outs of both the court proceedings and the tumultuous 44-month reign of Hicks and Gillett than I am. I won’t comment further on these particulars; they are comprehensively covered elsewhere on the web and in the mainstream media. However, I would like to pose one question – okay, three – if I may. Has Hicks and Gillett’s behaviour been any worse than that displayed by (some) Liverpool fans over these past few years? Have they really been the only party guilty of the deadly sin of greed? And is the situation really as straightforward as the old spaghetti Western staple of the bad guy in the black hat versus the good guy in the white one? Defending the indefensible Watching from a safe distance, I have been surprised by the media-fuelled reaction to the former owners’ various legal attempts to prevent the deal with NESV from going through. After all, the sale was negotiated and agreed by the rest of Liverpool’s five-man board without their knowledge or consent

as owners – and it is a deal which stands to see them lose around £140m in the process. If you were in their shoes, wouldn’t you be a bit peeved, and do everything in your legal power to prevent someone from burning a very large hole in your children’s inheritance? Or, to put it another way, if you fell behind on your repayments and someone was sent to repossess your car, would you hand them the keys with a smile and offer them a cup of tea first? Some of Hicks and Gillett’s claims in court were patently weak, and the injunction they took out in a Texas county court was clearly little more than one final attempt to buy some time to explore every last avenue open to them, but it is all too easy to swallow the line about their actions being spiteful or lacking class. They were merely the acts of two desperate men whose biggest mistake was to make a business investment which they hoped to profit from, only to see it go horribly, horribly wrong. Were they greedy? Yes, but no more so than you or I when we buy a lottery ticket. (Remember, folks, the value of your investments can go down as well as up, and history is no guarantee of future performance. Here ends this public service announcement.) Attacking the ‘innocent’ fans So what about Liverpool’s fans, or at least the subset of them whose eyes lit up those 44 months ago when they naively thought their new American owners were Roman Abra-

movich, Sheikh Mansour and Bill Shankly all rolled into one? Were they in some way culpable? Are they now? It’s difficult to say. Certainly in some quarters expectations were raised unreasonably high. Former manager Rafael Benítez was given plenty of scope to play the transfer market initially, although not to the same extent that Chelsea and Manchester United, and more recently Manchester City, have been able to. It didn’t take long before the mutterings started from both Benítez and some supporters about needing more money to compete at the highest level. Hicks and Gillett – who never claimed to be fans before being businessmen – refused, and so the downward spiral began, culminating in this week’s acrimonious events. But were those complaining Liverpool fans being reasonable in demanding the owners increase their investment and jeopardise their by then already constrained opportunity to turn a profit? Of course, fans want the best for their club, but were those expectations – fuelled by a long, proud and successful history, and with pride wounded by the inexorable rise of the hated Man U over the past two decades – an expression of passion, frustration or simple greed? As an individual, if you put money into an investment and it starts to turn sour, the last thing you are going to do is throw even more money at it. Hicks and Gillett were not being stingy, they were acting just as any other sensible investor would do. In some ways, their biggest crime

was merely that they just weren’t big enough fans of the club they owned. With the former owners now dismissed, how will Liverpool fans now perceive NESV? They turned around the Red Sox – like Liverpool, a proud club with a great history but little recent success – through a sensible, measured business plan rather than by injecting the kind of immediate and massive investment which took place in the case of both Chelsea and City, for instance. Will that be enough for the fans? Or will they grow quickly impatient if a return to trophy-winning success is not immediately forthcoming? Are (some) Liverpool fans greedy? In truth, only time will tell. But before the Anfield masses start to fidget impatiently in their seats in the Kop, they would do well to remember the salutary lesson of the last four years, set aside their emotions for the club and look at the situation through rational eyes. Where does passion end and greed begin? I know, I know, it is easier said than done, and football – like all sports – appeals to the passion in people rather than their rational nature. But it is an interesting conundrum nonetheless, and it brings into question whether it is fair to paint Hicks and Gillett as ‘the bad guys’ with such unseemly haste. If Liverpool fans look at themselves in the mirror for a minute, they might not like what they see.


The Timeless - UNI work  

Newspaper Concept / Business proposal. 2011, University of Westminster