vol. 5 #8 – 27 March 2012
The Sentinel Amsterdam
Integrity, heart, humour
RETURN OF THE DRAGON TRIPPING DAYS
The Secret Rivals CULTURE TRAVEL PERSPECTIVES LIFESTYLES OPINION REVIEW TECHNOLOGY FILM TRENDS CLASSIFIEDS HEALTH & WELL-BEING SPORT
In this issue CULTURE
P. 04 PERSPECTIVES
P. 26 TECHNOLOGY
Return of the Dragon
Housing yourself in Evil by stealth Amsterdam ‘Don’t Be Evil‘
‘A roaring celebration lasting for weeks and steeped in tradition’
‘I have moved house about fourteen times’
Of Myths and Monsters
P. 54 MORE:
The Gold Room
‘They can even prove that Thor and Zeus really existed.’
TRIPPING DAYS Trinidad & Tobago
CAFÉ/BAR REVIEW Cafe Hegeraad
RESTAURANT REVIEW Incanto
SPOTTED P. 46 Where is this in Amsterdam? FILM REVIEW Room 2C
HEALTH & WELL-BEING GOH for it!
COLOPHON The Sentinel Amsterdam e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.thesentinel.eu The Sentinel Amsterdam does not intentionally include unaccredited photos/illustrations that are subject to copyright. If you consider your copyright to have been infringed, please contact us at email@example.com.
Editors – Gary Rudland & Denson Pierre Design, realisation and form – Andrei Barburas & No-Office.nl Webmaster – www.sio-bytes.tumblr.com Webhost – Amsterjammin.com
Contributors: Sharmin de Vries, Valeria Scimia, Antonia Egon, Simon Owusu, David King, Dirkje Bakker-Pierre and David Billy
RETURN OF THE DRAGON
Lunar New Year Singapore-style
‘The Chinese are great believers in prosperity and financial advancement’ By Sharmin de Vries
The most hotly anticipated cultural feast in Singapore is beyond a shadow of doubt the Chinese New Year. Since approximately 80% of the population is made up of ethnic Chinese, you can expect a roaring celebration lasting for weeks and steeped in tradition. After years of travelling to the Lion city, I finally had the opportunity to immerse myself in the biggest and most significant event of the year. The festival usually starts on the first day of the first month in the Chinese calendar and ends on the fifteenth. Chinese New Year is not only a public celebration, but it also brings people like family and friends together for reunion dinners, accompanied by various offerings. Symbolically, houses are cleaned to get rid of any ill fortune and make way for good luck. The Chinese are great believers in prosperity and financial advancement, so when visiting a Chinese family during the Lunar New Year, make sure to bring two oranges symbolising gold and thus wealth. You will end up leaving with even more oranges yourself, so the money can start rolling in. If you’re a single Chinese female, this is the season to go shopping, because you will traditionally receive little red envelopes containing an ‘ang pow’ (money) left, right and centre. This year marks the year of the dragon and is considered extremely important. The dragon is the most powerful zodiac creature and in Singapore, where birth rates among the ethnic Chinese are known to be low, a real baby boom is expected. Dragons are believed to be natural born leaders and have an insatiable desire for success, so they should fare well in a meritocratic society like Singapore’s. The dragon was certainly roaring its head off all across Singapore with Chinatown as the centre of all the celebrations. Singapore’s Chinatown is, in my view, a very gentrified, touristic version of what a Chinatown should look like and ticks all the boxes for those seeking a ‘civil’ way to enjoy Chinese culture, thus making it utterly uninteresting for the discerning traveller. For Chinese New Year, however, it was absolutely bursting with action. Market stalls, selling everything from weird looking dried fruits to sweets, oranges and the like, were littered all along the
streets and the crowds flocked in like nobody’s business. On the eve of Chinese New Year, spectacular fireworks were expected. However, as I stood there huddled in the rain, clutching on to an umbrella while the floodgates opened, I was unsure whether New Year would receive the kick-off it deserved. It was still rainy season, after all. True to form, thunder set in and the fireworks lasted a mere ten minutes. So, the ‘big bang’ came and went in a split second, but the days that followed were marked by cultural offerings and symbolic gestures that were a feast for the eye. From a theatre in one of Singapore’s largest shopping centres, Vivo City, offering a splendid and colourful acrobatic performance by Mongolian dancers every night for almost two weeks, to beautiful ornate dragons made from flowers on Singapore’s theme island, Sentosa, to lion dance performances all over the city. Lion dances again represent a sign of prosperity and wealth, and throughout Chinese New Year businesses, like shops, hotels and clubs, hire lion dance performers to bless their premises and bring good fortune. Good custom for onlookers, who are treated to a free performance, is to feed the lion an ‘ang pow’. Now, since Singapore is known as Asia’s food capital, one cannot leave the isle without devouring one or more yusheng meals. In the Chinese tradition, this seven-coloured dish should be eaten on, or from, the seventh day of Chinese New Year. In Singapore the dish is a colourful mix of salad with raw fish slices. It is topped off with pieces of crispy cracker, representing money, since yusheng is viewed as a symbol of prosperity and abundance. Although a bit too sweet, I quite enjoyed my yusheng meals, until I was on to my fourth, although I was quick to pick out all the crispy crackers for good fortune… I mean good measure. In a country where economic prosperity and meritocracy are founding principles, it will come as no surprise that the prosperous, wealth-seeking customs of Chinese New Year are brought to the fore. However, Singapore manages to retain all the cultural customs that are a true part of Chinese New Year and make it one of the most exciting times to be in the Lion city.
‘I finally had the opportunity to immerse myself in the biggest and most significant event of the year’
‘The dragon was certainly roaring its head off all across Singapore’
â€˜Thunder set in and the fireworks lasted a mere 10 minutesâ€™
Trinidad &Tobago The Secret Rivals By Denson Pierre
Many years spent focused on highly profitable petroleum and natural gas exports has meant that the twin island Republic of T&T has only now started looking towards properly diversifying and enticing a wider cross-section of tourists to visit the islands. We went on walkabout over a period of three and a half weeks during February and here is a photographic selection of some of our experiences in this truly vibrant, naturally lush and friendly place.
Red-billed Tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus
Housing yourself in Amsterdam ‘The majority of people I know have decided to buy a property’
‘Amsterdam offers many ‘onderhuur’ (sub-let) spaces where you cannot register and the owners seem to have the right to kick you out whenever they wish’
By Valeria Scimia
Who doesn’t know the phrase ‘home sweet home’ or has not felt the warmth and cosiness of their own special place? How beautiful is the sensation of having a home to which to return after a long day’s work or a holiday? Unfortunately, Amsterdam doesn’t always offer this luxury to its own inhabitants. Anyone who has tried to find a place to live in this city can confirm the absurd difficulties the housing situation regularly presents. Personally, I have moved house about fourteen times in the past thirteen years. The majority of people I know have decided to buy a property to bring the cycle to some kind of conclusion, but here are some experiences and tips for those who do not have this option.
simply trying to find a place to settle down. Newcomers beware and trust your intuition on this!
Let’s say you finally find a place to live but you have to share the house with other people. This is okay if you know the other people concerned but it isn’t always the case, which can lead to problems. I personally had a distasteful experience that led me to decide never to share a place with anyone else, unless it’s someone I truly know. I was living in this cute place on a canal (the location was the deciding factor in choosing it), there was a contract involved and the landlords were aware of who they were renting to. I thought this could be the safest way to share, as all tenants had some rules. One morning, though, I went to shower and saw something I will never forget: the floor was covered with dead lice with a little comb next to them. The scene was so revolting that I immediately complained to the other tenant, asking him to please clean up the insect cemetery while I ran out to buy a disinfestation kit. The flatmate wasn’t shocked and nor were the landlords, One of the greatest challenges of renting an apartment is who said we should sort this out between us. Dead lice on the floor? I don’t think there was anything to sort out, finding a place at which you can register, with a contract apart from the fact that someone who does this should not that offers some security and legal rights. Unfortunately, be allowed to live in shared facilities. I was disappointed these are few and far between. Amsterdam offers many ‘onderhuur’ (sub-let) spaces where you cannot register and about the lack of interest and responsibility of the landlords and soon moved out. This may sound funny when the owners seem to have the right to kick you out whenretold years later, but it also serves as a warning to always ever they wish, even with just one day’s notice. You can check who you are going to live with. imagine the paranoia when working every day of going back home to possibly find ‘your’ room locked and your belongings removed. This has happened to people I know The bottom line is to prepare yourself when you come to live here. I am sure that other world cities present similar and it is actually not that uncommon. issues, because everyone wants to live within the city ring Other unpleasant and costly situations can also occur. Not and not outside. Finding a nice place outside of Amsterdam so long ago the newspapers reported on how a number of is, of course, easier, cheaper and safer, so it’s always a choice one could opt for. youngsters were swindled by someone claiming to rent them an apartment. This person had made many copies With patience and by taking your housing situation of the keys, showed the place to many potential renters, took the first month’s rent as a deposit from each of them, seriously, this city offers very unique and beautiful locations. One tip is not to despair and to make friends with gave them each a set of keys and told them they could landlords and anyone with whom you have a nice living move in on the first day of the following month. On that experience, because you never know when you’ll need help day around one hundred people showed up at the door finding another place and they may be the ones offering claiming rights to the place. It didn’t take them long to work out that they had been scammed. So, not only is the it to you. Amsterdam housing situation problematic but people also take advantage of it by scamming poor souls who are
‘Not only is the Amsterdam housing situation problematic but people also take advantage of it by scamming poor souls’
Café/Bar Review Café Hegeraad
‘An authentic ‘brown’ Amsterdam Café in which time has stopped moving already a long time ago’
By Denson Pierre
Noordermarkt 34 Amsterdam
One of the great things about Amsterdam is its great diversity in cafés and bars, which means you never get the feeling that you’ve seen it all. This, combined with the mix of different cultures and age groups that frequent the different drinking locals, makes it entertaining and pleasant to visit a different one every now and again. Today I am off to Café Hegeraad, an authentic ‘brown’ Amsterdam café in which time stopped moving a long while ago. The café is located in the heart of the old Jordaan neighbourhood on the Noordermarkt square; a place worth visiting in itself for its beautiful, picturesque Amsterdam architecture and, of course, for the great markets that take place on it.
In this case, I wish I could give ten points for atmosphere and audience alone. It is about as an authentic experience you can possibly get in this city. The café looks like three individual ‘old’ Amsterdam living rooms, complete with Persian rugs on the table, a grandfather clock and antique wallpaper. The regulars (and there are a lot of them) seem to be all at least sixty years of age and they are not shy about letting you know how happy they are to see some young people in there. They seem slightly worried about what will happen to the café and who may succeed them there. There are many welcoming nods and the locals are keen to strike up conversations or make loud, drunken jokes. Honestly, I’ve never before felt so welcome in an Amsterdam bar. All present are otherwise chatting at their tables as the grandfather clock makes its signature loud noises on the hour. It is actually how I like to see and experience Amsterdam. Rating 5+
The lady behind the bar didn’t seem to be in the best mood that evening but the regulars are well worth it and are the most engaging and open crowd I’ve come across in some time. Unfortunately, this is not something you will experience in bars filled with young Dutch people, but the older generation appears to be as warm and welcoming as anywhere I’ve visited in the world. It did remind me of Ireland, where older folk also take pride of place. Rating 5
In the third and final room, which also doubles up as a smoking room after 10.00pm, there is a widescreen television on which they show Dutch football for those interested. I would say this is more of a service to the regulars and not meant to entice international football lovers. Rating 3
For the Jordaan/Amsterdam centre the prices are just about reasonable, with a vaasje costing h 2.40 and an apple juice or fresh mint tea h 2.20. It is sadly consistent that the closer you get to the centre of town, the higher the prices become. Rating 4
There is no music at all, which is a lot better than bad music and also a nice change. Rating 3
Smoking area provision
There are comfortable wooden benches with great views of the Noordermarkt and soft cushions outside for smokers. The back room turns into the smoking area for those who don’t feel like venturing into the cold at night. Rating 5
Total rating: 25/30
(Ratings from 1-5, where 1 = Very poor and 5 = Excellent)
‘I’ve never felt so welcome in an Amsterdam bar in my life’
‘The older generation appears to be as warm and welcoming as anywhere I’ve seen in the world’
By Antonia Egon
‘A gorgeous old wooden staircase leads upstairs through a very rustic but crisp-feeling hallway’ ‘The best Italian restaurant in Amsterdam with a champion view’ At the beginning of March, a very good friend and I ventured out to try some of the Italian cuisine at Restaurant Incanto. The restaurant is located just around the corner from Maoz Falafel (opposite the Munt) on the Amstel River. The entrance is inconspicuously integrated into a street featuring a very Amsterdam centre-type arrangement of coffee shops, an Irish pub, snack bars and other nondescript businesses. The heavy, sparklingly clean glass door stands out due to its very understatement (no neon signs at this particular entrance). A gorgeous old wooden staircase leads upstairs through a very rustic but crisp-feeling hallway, featuring bare brick walls, a number of black and white photographs, and very impressive-looking framed documents in Italian.
‘Antique wallpaper and furniture are tastefully and thoughtfully combined with comfortable modern pieces’ After a friendly and warm welcome, we were led a good table with very comfortable chairs and one of the best views of Amsterdam I have encountered: the Munt, the busy intersection filled with trams, tourists and the Amstel River as a backdrop. A fascinating view out on to the busy city, of which you hear absolutely nothing from within the pleasant restaurant space. The stylish details of antique wallpaper and furniture are tastefully and thoughtfully combined with comfortable modern pieces and the tables are covered by heavy, white and pristine tablecloths.
The purity and authenticity of the dishes demonstrate a true love for food and a respect and knowledge of beautiful products. The only remark I have at this point is that it was just slightly too salty for my taste, which can be easily forgiven and forgotten. The risotto was followed by dish called Gnocci with fresh lobster. The tiny, soft, silky, handmade gnocci were surrounded by a thick sauce that reminded me of a concentrated lobster bisque. It contained chunks of fresh, perfectly cooked lobster and was literally heaven on a plate, and I am not even religious.
My friend enjoyed an Italian Prosecco as an aperitif which brought a smile to her face. I was not drinking alcohol and so was recommended a Crodino, which I remember from 1990s commercials but had never tried before. I actually rather enjoyed it. An amuse bouche, consisting of a rustic, handmade, fried ravioli filled with black Angus beef, was very enthusiastically served, while they quickly cooked up a fresh Insalata Caprese for me (I don’t eat meat) with some gorgeous mozzarella and fresh tomatoes. For a moment it was as if I was back on Sicily, which I visited only last year.
For dessert our very patient and friendly Italian waiter recommended the dessert of the day. I think he used the words, “echt heel lekker” (really really tasty) to describe numerous dishes from the menu that evening and he was right every time. Since I am not really a dessert lover, it needed to be something pretty special to grab my attention and keep it. The freshly made pannacotta with saffron, the macaroon filled with caramel and mint, the freshly made coconut ice cream, the tiny but oh so tasty leaves of anise, the crispy pistachio nuts, the handmade cookie… well, it was just perfect!
The Antipasti di mare was a big treat featuring many different mini-dishes. The bakkeljauw croquette was a highlight, the smoked eel sumptuous, the langoustine fresh like the sea and the squid juicy and peppery. There was also soft-shell crab which was pleasantly crispy on the outside and soft and tasty on the inside. What a delicious adventure of a dish! It felt like a journey to 20,000 leagues under the sea, taking you from one amazing taste sensation to another. The simple and pure use of quality products was a delight to the eye and taste buds, and did I mention that there was Vongole, too? For a second course I ordered the restaurant’s signature dish. This is a daily risotto and on that particular day it was a creamy adventure containing fresh radiccio and red onions, which pile additional flavour into an innocent looking plate of food.
Along with the tea we chose to drink afterwards (real Italians drink espresso of course) came a delightful plate of deliciously sweet Italian candies as an encore, just as we thought it was all over. The price tag for a full four-course evening for two at Incanto was about €200 (you can eat there for a lot less by choosing the daily set menu, fewer courses and less pricey dishes). But with the extremely friendly staff, who make you feel right at home, and the truly tasty food, it feels more like you’ve actually been on a luxury holiday to Italy. Incanto means enchantment, by the way, and that is exactly what it delivers. It was such a delight that I can truly say I will remember it for a long time or at least until the next time I eat there. I rate the offering at Incanto at 9.5/10
‘It felt like a journey to 20,000 leagues under the sea, taking you from one amazing taste sensation to another’
‘It feels more like you’ve actually been on a luxury holiday to Italy’
‘Google proclaimed, “You can make money without doing evil”’
EVIL BY STEALTH TechBit: Sio-Bytes By Simon Owusu
The ‘Don’t Be Evil’ manifesto was coined by Google as its informal corporate motto to take jabs at its morally ambiguous rivals. Google believed that its rivals would always exploit their users for short-term gain to maximise their profits and revenues at any cost, so long as it fell within the limits of the law. To set themselves apart from the ‘evil empires’ like Microsoft and IBM, Google proclaimed, “You can make money without doing evil”. Google painstakingly and at every opportunity pointed out to all who would listen that it would always take the moral high ground through honest decision-making, while putting the trust and wishes of its users above everything else. This ideology was reinforced in its Initial Public Offerings (IPO) statement, which read, “Don’t be evil. We believe strongly that, in the long term, we will be better served – as shareholders and in all other ways – by a company that does good things for the world even if we forego some short-term gains”. All that posturing took place in 2004. Today, in 2012, there has been a spate of ‘evil doing’ going on at Google, which has attracted much criticism of the company, as well as a critical review of whether a huge global corporation can
claim to ‘not be evil’ while looking after its bottom line and increasing its profit margins at every opportunity. By taking that stance in its early days, Google was always going to be setting itself up for huge controversy whenever it made strategic decisions that alienated some, if not all, of its user base. Without the informal motto, the following transgressions could have easily been seen as normal corporate practice for a company intent on making money.
‘Censoring of its search results was one of those concessions’ Case 1 - The Google Support Centre page used to state that Google “...does not censor results for any search term”. This was removed in 2006, as Google made a strategic move to enter the Chinese market. To be allowed by the Chinese government to operate as a search engine within a country of potentially 1.3 billion new users, Google had to make some concessions. Censoring of its search results was one of those concessions and this started a long line of strategic decisions that went against its altruistic philosophy of foregoing short term gains. The good of the world was very easy to overlook when 1.3 billion users were at stake. A huge factor in Google’s change in stance was the fact that
sharing of this information. If you do not want to share your information across all Google’s services, your only option is to stop using the services completely. Under pressure to deliver better targeting to advertising agencies, it seems as though Google has decided to relegate the wishes and privacy of its users below those of the capitalistic pursuits of advertisers. From a business point of view, these actions cannot be considered pure evil, but just Google capitalising on the potential to generate more business and accelerate growth. However, there have been other cases we have yet to mention that can be considered evil and we will examine these in our next issue. We will also examine the threats that have arisen over the last few years that have caused Google to make these changes in their strategy, while quietly setting aside their motto ‘Don’t Be Evil’.
‘Its purpose is to deliver more targeted advertising for Google’s real customers: advertising agencies’
Where is this in Amsterdam? Answer to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Room 2c film By David King
The Cincinnati Kid (1965) Poker games don’t come bigger than when the ‘Big Man’ comes to town. The Kid (Steve McQueen) wants to take on the master (Edward G. Robinson) in a no-limits card game to enhance his already growing reputation, but trouble is lurking around every corner. Blackmail and match-fixing, along with wanton women, lead us to one of the most suspenseful endings to a film I have ever seen.
Room 2c film By dpmotions
Westworld (1973) Nothing is as attractive as a serious, quiet type; or is it? Yul Brynner plays the role of a rogue and murderous android in a vast, futuristic, amusement park. Enjoy the exciting pacing of this entertaining and gently thought-provoking classic. Admire the sexiest gait seen on a male actor in film history, as city-resident thrill-seekers run for their lives through ancient Roman gardens, halls of heraldry and the Wild West... This movie works on all levels.
The perfect pair of shoes according to one of the editors of style.com
I actually saw one of these magical creatures once while diving
‘What is perfect for one can be thoroughly insignificant to another, especially a significant other’
Of Myths and Monsters This week I stumbled upon an article about giant squids, which made me think about myths, rumours, fairytales and stories. Giant squids, the Loch Ness monster (Nessie), the Bermuda Triangle… I am sticking with the water-based theme here, although there are also many myths, religions and legends based on land and in the heavens. And, if you watch the History Channel, somehow they manage to find scientists who say they can even prove that Thor and Zeus really existed (this particular trend I will look into more deeply in the next issue). Back to myths. I mean, is the perfect pair of shoes a myth? Some suggest it is. I think not! Really, once in a while they just appear, as if conjured from thin air. First there was nothing and then... It is a completely personal affair, personal taste, that is; what is perfect for one can be thoroughly insignificant to another, especially a significant other (eyes roll). But, yes, the perfect pair of shoes is out there. You will not find it when you are looking for it; you will accidentally stumble upon it, just at a moment when you are least expecting it and not busy shopping for shoes at all (if this is possible). It might happen when you are having a bad day. The clouds open up, rays of sunshine break through, you hear the ethereal sound of an angelic choir singing and you are in the moment. The shoes calls out to you, they are perfect.
And when it happens, you either recognise the moment right away and act confidently on your intuition, or if you are distracted or busy with other things, it is possible to miss that moment. And then the next day, all of a sudden, you remember and cannot get it out of your mind until you submit to the inevitability of the situation and go back to buy them (I am avoiding the possibilities of closed shops or the shoes being sold out) and are filled with instant gratification and ultra-happiness. A tear might roll down your cheek but you wipe it away quickly so no-one notices. They might be given a special place on the mantelpiece for you to feast your eyes on the visual treat that is your idea of perfection. Shoes are not just to wear, but to contemplate, to covet, to be yours and yours alone. Apparently, giant squids have the largest eyes of all creatures, relative to body size. Comparatively, their eyes are ridiculously big and bigger eyes, apparently, don’t help them see small things but they can possibly help in seeing big things (even if they do live thousands of metres under the sea in pitch black water). They help the giant squids to spot their natural enemies: whales. If you ever have to explain finding a pair of mythically perfect shoes to your boyfriend or husband or any other male friend who is not gay (first of all, they will think the shoes are ugly anyway, but squids are not the prettiest thing in the world either), tell them that having them feels just like Jacques Cousteau would have felt if he had seen a giant squid in real life, fleeing a whale to save its life. I’m not saying this will help but who knows? It might be worth believing in this particular theory and it might possibly work and if it doesn’t, don’t worry, there are many more myths where this came from.
HEALTH & WELL-BEING
HEALTH & WELL-BEING
for it! By David Billy
First off, I would like to thank The Sentinel for inviting us to pioneer its new section on Health & Well-being. My name is David Billy and I am a registered physiotherapist and qualified trainer with experience in the fitness industry stretching back more than fifteen years. During this time we have all seen people regularly throwing their money away on gym memberships as they struggle to stay motivated. Within the regular gym system there is too little emphasis on goals and very little assistance in attaining goals without spending extra money on personal trainers and dieticians. It can all seem a little overwhelming for those who have big goals and no support. Basically, if you join a gym to attain a specific goal, such as losing weight, getting toned or gaining better condition, and you don’t achieve your results within a reasonable period of time, due to a lack of knowledge, motivation and the right tools, then the gym has failed in its purpose!
That’s why we’ve created the GOH Concept™. The Goal Orientated Health Concept is an all-in health concept designed by a team consisting of a physiotherapist (me), a personal trainer (Peter) and a nutritionist. Its aim is to motivate and help you attain your individual health goals, while simultaneously giving you the skills and confidence to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s a concept that strips away the cost and complications of achieving your goals, while the unique, holistic approach of personal coaching, training and diet-advice is a foolproof system to make sure you achieve real results. You set your goals and we nurture you through to achieving them. The Goal Oriented Health Concept represents affordable, contract-free, foolproof and motivational coaching. So GOH for it! Contact details: Tel: +31 (0)626 2363 70 Family Gym Tweede Kosteverlorenkade 132-135 1053 SE Amsterdam
David Billy Physiotherapist
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The Gold Room By Denson Pierre
Who would have thought that, at this stage, the Premier League’s sole remaining representatives with the ability to score vital, competition-securing points in Europe would be Chelsea players? If the FFG-CL’s (http:// thesentinel.eu/ffg/Latest-FFG.htm) leading teams have not yet maximised their Chelsea allocations, it appears that they will now have to do so to resolve the tight race for the title over the following weeks. Graham Maywood and his MOFU Gooners have positioned themselves nicely and now simply need to deploy another two or three well-timed, killer substitutions to make the crown theirs. It is very close and a lot can yet happen to influence the outcome, but I feel Graham has the experience and players to, if not win it all, at least take it to the very last day of the season, when the decisive points could be scored. MOFU Gooners
MID: David Silva (Manchester City) 5.5m – Dropped away dramatically from the impressive levels of performance shown in the first half of the season, but still managed to get to this stage as the second highest-scoring midfielder. Rating 9.0 MID: Clint Dempsey (Fulham) 4.0m – The highest scoring midfielder! Not a conjurer but one who possesses a very good shot with both feet, runs hard, fights and wastes little time regularly unleashing on goal. Understands the maxim that to score you must shoot. Rating 9.05 MID: Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur) 5.0m – Preseason expectations were that this would be an even more dynamic one than that of 2010-2011. Instead, approaching the final period of the season as part of the Tottenham team under Harry Redknapp, Bale is again suffering from his team’s catastrophic loss of form, in terms of positive results, just when it all truly matters. This is clearly a deficiency in the technical direction of the team but Bale, himself, has still managed to score on par with the top 5% of midfielders. Rating 9.0
GK: Tim Krul (Newcastle United) 1.5m – Outstanding. Has transformed from a seemingly shy, lanky, schoolboylooking reserve keeper into an imposing, spectacular and controlled rock, all in one year. His low price makes up for the lack of European matches in here. Rating 9.0
MID: Juan Mata (Chelsea) 3.5m – Has blown David Silva out of the water overall and is now involved in the superglamour stages of this season’s Champions League. Great news for him and Spain as they look towards streamlining their squad in preparation for the European Championship. Rating 9.10
DEF: Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United) 2.0m – Based on price, a surprisingly strong presentation in the first quarter of the season and his role as captain, his has been a noteworthy effort. Rating 8.5
MID: Leon Britton (Swansea City) 1.0m – A price tag that does not begin to reflect his influence and contribution to the phenomenon that is Swansea City in 2011-2012. Rating 8.75
DEF: Jose Enrique (Liverpool) 2.0m – Managed to keep his starting position throughout but Liverpool’s season has been so very erratic that there was never really a chance to impress beyond their diminished standards. Rating 8.25
FWD: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) 5.5m – Was the FFG-CL newcomer pick-of-the-(pre)season and has not disappointed. Maybe he has even improved and outperformed expectations. Rating 9.10
DEF: Ashley Williams (Swansea City) 1.5m – Arguably one of the top three defenders in the league, based on performances this season, and playing in the ‘new’ team of the season. Articulate, confident and assured, while carrying a price in here which will surely be tripled next season. Rating 9.0
FWD: Robin van Persie (Arsenal) 7.5m – The Player of the Season. Rating 9.15 Ratings total (maximum 110): 97.90 Likely final position: Champion
Clint Dempsey - Fulham
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