vol. 4 #8 â€“ 12 April 2011
The Sentinel Amsterdam
Integrity, heart, humour
WILY FOX travel
trinidad & Tobago Carnival of colour perspectives lifestyles TRENDs CARTOON Technology SPORT CLASSIFIEDs
In this issue FEATURE
p. 03 lifestyles P. 08 travel P. 10
Amsterdam or bust
Wily FOX’s hidden agenda
‘Get out of my beloved Amsterdam, which has turned into a cesspool of corruption and crime’
p. 23 sport
‘I met yet another genuine Dutch 10° N 61° W person, willing to help you out at any time with some information’
p. 26 more:
The Gold Room
‘I’m pretty sure that I’ve never had one in my whole life’
review Le Grande Almandier
technology TechBit: Sio-Bytes
FILM REVIEW Room 2C CARTOON
p. 24 p. 24
TRENDS p. 25 Things and trend spotting
ColoPHon The Sentinel Amsterdam e-mail: email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editors – Gary Rudland & Denson Pierre Design, realisation and form – Andrei Barburas & No-Office.nl Webmaster – www.sio-bytes.tumblr.com Webhost – Amsterjammin.com
Contributors – Miranda van der Pol, Alina Croitoru, Simon Owusu, Maureen Kamp, David King, Colin Bentley & Dirkje Bakker
Wily FOX’s Hidden Agenda By Miranda van der Pol
‘The percentage of the total population which has ever used cannabis is 40.3% in the United States and only 22.6% in the Netherlands’
‘It is no secret that FOX loves to ride the wave of public sentiment and foster a culture of fear’ Recently, I contacted my friends in Mokum and urged them to get out of my beloved Amsterdam, which has turned into a cesspool of corruption and crime; everything is out of control and it is complete anarchy! Apparently, every questionable person in Europe heads to Amsterdam and organised crime is controlling the city.
The scary thing is that more than a few Americans are getting all their news or infotainment through FOX, and that is a worry. It is no secret that FOX loves to ride the wave of public sentiment and foster a culture of fear. Even though Franklin Roosevelt already warned his fellow Americans that “the only thing to fear is fear itself,” decades later FOX still hasn’t learned.
In fact, the FOX staff is trained to give a conservative spin to each news story. At least that’s what some former employees have claimed. Anything to turn Americans against I had seen it on a news channel, so it had to be true, right? the Democratic Party and towards the Republicans. For inWrong! stance, at the height of the healthcare reform debate, Bill Sammon, Fox News’ controversial Washington managing The news channel in question happened to be FOX News editor, sent a memo directing his network’s journalists not and the programme was called the O’Reilly Factor. Despite to use the phrase ‘public option’. Instead, Sammon wrote labelling themselves as ‘fair, balanced and accurate’, the that Fox’s reporters should use ‘government option’ and world according to FOX is of course far from that. It is similar phrases – wording that a top Republican pollster skewed, and not just a little bit.
‘Fox’s reporters should use ‘government option’ and similar phrases’
‘I was constantly asked what it is like to live amongst the ‘coffee shops’. The truth of the matter is that it is exactly like living amongst any other shops.’ had recommended in order to turn public opinion against the Democrats’ reform efforts.
shops. Apart from the obvious tourist trap that was (or is) the Bulldog, I never really noticed. And speaking of the Bulldog, it is a bit sad that most Aussies who ‘do’ AmsterWhy pick on Amsterdam, though? dam seem only to remember the inside of the Bulldog and get so wasted there that they skip all the great things that Of course there are a lot of misconceptions about the Mokum has to offer, like the wonderful museums, canals Dutch drug policies and what they mean for Amsterdam. and fantastic bike rides. Most of them never meet a single When I first moved to Sydney, I was constantly asked what Dutch person! it is like to live amongst the ‘coffee shops’. The truth of the matter is that it is exactly like living amongst any other
‘Most Aussies who ‘do’ Amsterdam seem only to remember the inside of the Bulldog and get so wasted there that they skip all the great things that Mokum has to offer’
‘If it is up to FOX, Americans should skip Amsterdam during their Contiki tours’ But at least they make the effort to come, together with the scores of other tourists from around the globe. If it is up to FOX, Americans should skip Amsterdam during their Contiki tours; too dangerous! However, the funny thing is that the facts tell a totally different story. A witty little film surfaced on YouTube recently (http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=x8bc_ZyORbM). In it, the Dutch maker offsets the item broadcast on the O’Reilly Factor with actual facts.
I’ve done some digging and have come up with some more interesting facts (see table below), admittedly comparing 2003 data (total data, not percentages) from US cities of comparable size to 2005 data from Amsterdam. So, if anything the rates in Amsterdam might have gone up since 2003, making them worse in comparison to 2003 US figures, but at least I’m honest! It is also interesting to note that the total number of murders (201) for the entire Netherlands is lower than that of Baltimore alone!
For instance, the percentage of the total population which has ever used cannabis is 40.3% in the United States and only 22.6% in the Netherlands. Drug overdose cases per million inhabitants: US 38, Netherlands 2.4. Homicide rates per 100,000 inhabitants: 5.8 in the States versus 1.2 in the Netherlands.
So, if you are an American residing in the US who happens to be reading The Sentinel, go! Visit Amsterdam! Be fair, be balanced, be accurate but more than anything, be your own judge! All other readers, check out the YouTube film and have a laugh….
The film must have hit a raw nerve with FOX. Rather than letting it go and counting their losses, O’Reilly himself felt compelled to respond to this YouTube hit. It almost backfired on him though, when a brave female reporter – who obviously hadn’t yet received her spin training – raised these facts with Mr O’Reilly. FOX wouldn’t be FOX if they didn’t duck and weave and so Mr O’Reilly responded by saying that the Netherlands has a much smaller population base and that “they do statistics differently there”. I thought statistics were the same everywhere in the world, but maybe that’s just me… Painting a picture of Amsterdam as a dangerous city is nothing new, as we all know. In 1998 one of the Dutch Embassies abroad responded to (again) US media accounts by publishing verifiable facts on their website. Needless to say, the O’Reilly Factor did not provide any actual figures, or sources, just statements based on thin air.
Sources: http://www.sharethisurlaboutglennbeck.com/2011/02/foxnews-makes-things-up-and-programs.html http://mediamatters.org/blog/201012090003 www.cbs.nl www.os.amsterdam.nl www.cityrating.com http://www.ukcia.org/research/DutchPolicyAndCrimeStatistics.php Regionale Veiligheidsrapportage Amsterdam-Amstelland (2002) (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Centre for International Crime Prevention); UNICRI (United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute). 2002. Regionale Veiligheidsrapportage Amsterdam-Amstelland http://www.elsevier.nl/web/Nieuws/Nederland/63900/ Laagste-aantal-moorden-in-Nederland-sinds-1992.htm Miranda van der Pol holds a masters in American Studies and currently lives in Sydney, Australia.
San Francisco, CA Austin, TX Columbus, OH Baltimore, MD Jacksonville, FL Indianapolis, IN Memphis, TN Boston, MA Amsterdam
69 27 109 270 92 107 126 39 33
3065 1251 3332 4339 2344 2828 4297 2759 2647
215 226 615 204 213 420 438 262 412
2376 1649 2159 6370 4080 3714 5436 4113 7679
5784 7240 14650 7789 8910 10062 16900 4344 8598
© Aart Eertink
Amsterdam or bust By Alina Croitoru
‘The compartment in which i found myself was empty’ One recent Friday, I found myself thinking about a friend from college, who now lives in Utrecht, and decided to pay her a visit. It took me about an hour to get my plan into action. As soon as I stepped out on to the train station platform at Utrecht, we hugged and greeted each other, noisily and carelessly, just like back in college. Shortly afterwards, we got down to business: ﬁ rst, my favourite pancakes at Oude Muntkelder, plus discussions about research assignments, jobs, future plans, home sickness and common friends; next, checking out different toy stores (my friend’s favourites), plus hunting for the latest discount bargains in the SALE season; ﬁ nally, serious coffee topped with less serious conversation, plus urgent promises of farewells.
Returning to the train station, we quickly figured out that I was supposed to get on the train to Amsterdam from platform 7. At the last moment, however, a different train arrived there. The train heading to Amsterdam Centraal was apparently nowhere, but seeing as though everybody who was waiting around platform 7 moved across to platform 5, we followed. Just as the conductor was blowing his whistle to announce the imminent departure of the train, I victoriously jumped on, in stark contrast to everyone else. Before I’d finished congratulating myself for making it in time, I realised that such a typical movie scene might form part of a different genre of film than I had in mind... The compartment in which I found myself was empty. “Must be first class,” I told myself. I proceeded to the next one: definitely second class, but still empty! Something was starting to smell fishy. I tried to call my friend, but had no luck: she was unreachable and my battery was almost dead. Damn it! I felt my pulse accelerating as I tried to block out the whole suite of nightmarish scenarios that was filling my mind: an alien abduction on a spaceship disguised as an Intercity train? A ghost train with zombie passengers devouring any poor unlucky lost traveller? Terrible thoughts!
‘i tried to guess if she might be in cahoots with the other four passengers in being a veteran zombie-hunting squadron leader’ Fearful, but somehow excited, I set foot in a third compartment. There, five people were sitting around in perfect silence; among them a young lady with a very chic, vintage air about her. I sat down in the seat opposite and asked if the train was headed to Amsterdam. She smiled and after about five seconds, time she spent gathering words (during which I tried to guess if she might be in cahoots with the other four passengers in being a veteran zombie-hunting squadron leader), she explained to me in clear English that the train was definitely not headed to Amsterdam. Honestly, I don’t even know today where that train was headed, because from that point on I felt embarrassed and hopeless. Outside, the night was so black you could cut its darkness with a knife and I was on the wrong train with my phone critically low on battery life and with little cash. My chic companion probably saw my face developing into a grimace of despair, since she told me with a very encouraging voice: “Don’t worry, I also go to Amsterdam and I also got the wrong train. We can get out at the ArenA station and take the metro. We can go together, if you like.”
At that moment, I felt like dramatically embracing her but I didn’t want to look like some absurd character who jumps on someone, joyously suffocating them with affection. I opted to smile nicely, thanked her kindly and then texted my friend to let her know I was okay. At the Amsterdam ArenA we switched to a metro train and between there and Centraal Station the Dutch girl and I even managed to have a little conversation. Through this opportunity, I met yet another genuine Dutch person, willing to help you out at any time with some information; even if she does not declare herself your lifelong buddy after half an hour of conversation or give you her full address so you can visit her the next day (we Romanians have these dangerously friendly habits). With a delay of about an hour, I finally made it back home. Frozen, tired, but with my lesson learned: don’t jump on trains until you’ve double check its destination. Ask the train conductor, the information desk or at least some other passengers. Without taking these precautions, simply wait for the next train – they’re as frequent as anything and if it happens to be late, a large order of ‘Patate Frites’ (you can find them on just about any platform) can help to make the wait more pleasurable.
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Dasheen pie & salty air By Denson Pierre
A dream stay at Le Grande Almandier, Grande Riviere, Trinidad & Tobago If only more family-run ventures were as unique as this one, there would be much less talk of troubling times for the international hospitality industry, as even more locals would simply book to stay at the James’ business during the tourist low season. Very few resort or accommodation concepts anywhere in the world offer such a laid back, yet intensely dynamic, short-stay option as Le Grande Almandier. This is admittedly being written by a Trinidadian, in his 23rd year of exile in Europe, who experienced the resort’s wonder and hospitality in the company of his Dutch wife, on her virgin visit to ‘sweet T&T’, so I will list just a few of its special treats and hope you experience and enjoy at least half as much goodness as we did: - The rhythmic concert of waves that ceaselessly roll in off the Caribbean Sea on to the beach just outside your bedroom window. - The other-worldly peace and quiet, disturbed only by activities linked to the tides and fishermen going out and
returning daily in their pirogues. - Authentic and delicious Trini cuisine turned out by chef Jason James, to taste. - Lush Trini ‘bomb’ cocktails, as made by resort manager and local icon, Cherry-Ann. - Accepting and informative chats with the James’ about this remarkable part of the world. Crowning most of this, you have the chance to be stirred from your sleep to walk a mere 40 metres to observe, under red and infra-red lights, the nocturnal activities of magnificent giant sea turtles that nest here seasonally Getting to Le Grande Almandier involves one of the most stunning drives you could ever wish for, through villages and along rugged, cliff-rimmed coastlines. A trip to Grande Riviere to stay with the James’ comes very highly recommended to travellers with a sense of classy adventure and eco-righteousness. N.B. On the day of our departure, the scheduled (2x daily) bus was clearly going to be oversubscribed for its early morning run back to the main regional town. With no panic or fuss and with true Trinbagonian ease, Ms James simply arranged a lift for us with her service driver, to retrace the scenic splendour. For more information, visit: www.legrandealmandier.com
18 firesheep 1
‘Please don’t use any wireless networks to access websites that contain personal or confidential information without HTTPS’
TechBit: Sio-Bytes My Social Net works By Simon Owusu
As a Master of the Universe, I regularly save people from themselves. With people spending insane amounts of time on the ‘Information Super Highway’ (the internet, for the uninitiated), it is my duty to guide humanity through the perils of online interaction. I am indeed better than He-Man in this respect (Prince Adam only recently got a mobile phone and I had to teach him how to send text messages). Yet, somehow the powers that be decided to make a cartoon series and a movie based on his life, not mine! There is a wealth of personal information on social networking sites. Even the most basic of profiles usually has enough information for identity thieves to create false identities for nefarious purposes. Unknowingly to most users, profiles on these sites can be ‘hijacked’. The ease with which this can be done is astonishing and a plethora of tools is available to any amateur computer enthusiast who wants to accomplish such a task. One popular tool is FireSheep, a Firefox extension (software plug-in for the web browser) that allows anyone to hijack social networking profiles from computers on the same wireless network. FireSheep displays in a sidebar the profile names and photos of those connecting to a social networking site. By double-clicking a hijacked profile, FireSheep allows the user to login as the person whose profile has been hijacked. This gives the hijacker unlimited control and access to the personal details on that site. How? Basically your login details are being sent unencrypted over the wireless network, so FireSheep is able to look into the packets of data and sniff out the login details using a technique called packet sniffing. With your login details, the hijacker can become you. Given how ubiquitous Wi-Fi is these days, the probability of such an attack is extremely high. Just remember, the next time you make that quick status update or send a hilarious tweet, you could be unwittingly exposing yourself. HTTPS is one of the many options available to prevent this.
The ‘S’ in HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol…) is not named after me, but stands for something similar: Secure. Its presence in a web address means that the information exchanged between your computer and the website is secure. HTTPS is mainly seen on banking websites where they cannot allow your information to be compromised. HTTPS is a point-to-point encryption, meaning that information passing between your computer and the website is encrypted and cannot be hijacked. The good news is that Facebook, Twitter and a few other social networking sites have started to introduce this as a security measure. However, these options are not enabled by default, so you will need to enable them yourself to be protected. To enable this option for Facebook, click the Account link at the top right corner of the page and then select Account Settings from the drop-down menu. On the next page, expand the Account Security section, check the box for ‘Secure Browsing (HTTPS)’, click on ‘Save’ and guess what? Bobs your Uncle (or Bart if you are Dutch) – you are protected. For extra security, you can have Facebook e-mail you every time your account is accessed on a new device. This is a great feature because you will know if someone else is accessing your account from somewhere else. Facebook will show you the latest date, time and location when a particular device accessed your profile. An added bonus is that, if you forget to log out of a public computer or device, you can click on ‘End Activity’ to log out of that computer or device. To turn on HTTPS for Twitter, once you have logged into your account, go to your Settings and check the box next to ‘Always use HTTPS’ in the bottom half of the screen. Easy, right? I did not even have to put on a cape, helmet or anything to protect you! Lesson of the Day – For the love of Grayskull, please don’t use any wireless networks to access websites that contain personal or confidential information without HTTPS. Other forms of social networking contraception are available, but those lessons will be for another issue.
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A famous Irish welcome awaits football fans from all over Europe as the people of Dublin look forward to hosting the UEFA Europe League Final on May 18th 2011. The city of a thousand welcomes will do everything to ensure that your stay in the Republic of Ireland’s capital is a fantastic experience. The only thing they can’t guarantee is that the team you support wins the match!
Visit Tourism Ireland’s website for ideas about how you and your fellow fans can get the most out of your stay in Dublin. Once you’ve ﬁnished reading, why not enter our competition? You could be the lucky winner of 2 tickets to the ﬁnal, Aer Lingus ﬂights to Dublin, two nights’ accommodation and a Dublin Pass. See you at the ﬁnal next month – may the best team win and may everyone have a great time!
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Stud marks By Maureen Kamp
El Chicharito (Little Pea) In all honesty, I’m not much of a gardener and usually go and fold some laundry or do stuff on the computer when ‘Gardener’s World’ is on (especially now that boring Monty is back). But today I feel the need to write something about peas. I just found out that it’s a perfect time to plant them (FebApril), so if that was on your to-do list and you forgot, get on with it! And speaking of fresh peas, I’m pretty sure that I’ve never had one in my whole life! It’s just one of those veg that always comes frozen or in a can, jar or bag (these days) of soup with sausage, yum! Anyway, it isn’t a vegetable at all, but part of the legume family of fruit. A little research tells me that people have been eating peas for centuries (long, long before potatoes). They are full of vitamins and other healthy stuff and oh, yes, they’re good for potency. They should be quite easy to grow, since they thrive in a moderate climate. This brings me to my own little green eyed pea that I planted at the very start of the season (yes, slightly too early, I know): Javier Hernandez. And if he does well in a moderate climate then Mr Ferguson, with his experienced green fingers,
‘This brings me to my own little green eyed pea that I planted at the very start of the season: Javier Hernandez’ should soon be able to harvest big time! So, in honour of El Chícharito and in memory of Compost Corner, I’ve added a special Mexican pea recipe. And remember, potency. Fuente Mexicano Ingredients (serves 4) 300g mince 1 red pepper Taco spices Cayenne pepper 300g frozen (or fresh) peas 400g can of sweet corn (drained) Large bag of taco chips Crème fraiche 150g grated cheese Corn oil Preparation - Defrost the peas (if necessary), slice the red pepper, and preheat the oven to 200˚C. - Fry the mince in a little oil with 1tbs taco spices and a pinch of cayenne pepper. - Briefly fry the pepper slices and mix these with the mince before transferring to an oven dish. - Mix the defrosted peas and corn together and spread out over the mince. - Spread with crème fraiche and scatter some more taco spices and 100g grated cheese on top. - Cover the dish with taco chips and garnish with the rest of the grated cheese. - Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Buen provecho!
Room 2c film By David King
The Thing (1982) Take 12 scientists stranded in Antarctica, add a bodyassuming alien, mix well with Kurt Russell and you have the recipe for a super sci-fi horror that will scare your booties off. A claustrophobic setting helps create a sense of danger around every corner and the added challenge of hunting down a beast who may well be your trusted companion really does take the tension levels into the frightosphere!
Cartoon By Colin Bentley
bobby charlton heston blumenthal
‘Sex can and will sell anything!’
Things and trend spotting By Dirkje Bakker
Sometimes, I just can’t help but notice things, even though I’m not sure whether it’s a trend, a habit or just a freak incident. One of these uncategorisable but commonplace things is ‘students’ trying to earn some extra, easy money by harassing people (in a nice way) during their ‘relaxed’ Saturday shopping trips. I’m not sure if this is regulated by some Dutch law or regulation, or whether it’s a coincidence, but in Amsterdam you find these overly cheery, ‘witty’ young people almost exclusively at the HEMA, Albert Heijn or the market (it doesn’t matter which one, except Albert Cuyp has multiple ‘stops’, whereas Ten Kate only provides one feeding area). It so happened that I was out trying to buy a plunger, which proved more difficult than I remembered from the last time I set out on such a mission. Blokker was sold out (evidently, an everlasting trend in Amsterdam is cloggedup sinks and shower drains, so just wait until Queens Day when the complete citywide drainage system becomes clogged by left-over frying fat). The previously reliable HEMA has removed plungers from its range, making for a trend-heavy Saturday. As it happens, this is not the only item recently cut from HEMA’s previously quite perfect and all-encompassing assortment of goods for the general household. I recall a trip for greaseproof (baking) paper last weekend ending in similar disappointment. Seriously, this is an issue that should be addressed before it’s too late and you know who (Albert Heijn) completely takes over HEMA’s place in Dutch tradition as the place to go when you need anything.
Finally, at the local hardware and paint shop I was greeted with an enthusiastic smile saying, “of course, a plunger, one of our biggest sellers”. I quickly put one and one together, in the spirit of the everlasting trend of Johan “as long as I am in the news in a controversial manner, I am still alive“ Cruyff, and concluded that Blokker being sold out of this item says a lot about Amsterdam’s drains. Back to the possible trend that I spotted in the first place. At the HEMA, an attractive Cliniclown student donation salesgirl had (finally?) adopted a successful marketing technique. A great idea for spring and also, I would think, a great positive impulse for this charity. Because, yes, sex can and will sell anything! Maybe it could also give a fresh impulse to HEMA or even the whole of the Kinkerstraat. Hopefully, it will turn into a full-blown trend, as I suspect. Finally, no more boring looking guys in wind-resistant jackets trying to act as if they are just striking up a conversation, instead of selling you a newspaper subscription for the next few years… Is it just a dream based on a freak incident, as I fear, or actual progress? More to follow on this subject...
the gold room By Denson Pierre
With just two EPL teams left with a chance of playing through to the last day of the season the time is NOW to ﬁ nd the wonder player(s) from the pack to provide bundles of points in the face of injuries and the tactical ineptitude of the other fantasy managers. It is only a surprise to the inexperienced to realise how many points are still on offer between now and the end of the season, in seven weeks time. This is the time when consistent scoring can really make a difference and ﬁ nding the right balance, based on previously expressed factors, typically allows the better assembled teams to surge once again. Indeed, having a few reserves remaining is properly priceless, too. There will be more injuries and there is no time left for any favoured player to miss matches, rehabilitate and return to heavy point scoring before the season’s end.
In order to provide a couple of options on players so far not being used, or who have outperformed all expectations in the FFG-CL from teams outside those in the latter stages of the Euro competitions, I give you three midfielders in a season of midfielders who tend to score and are very worthy of special mention before the end of the season: charlie Adam (Blackpool): Can lay claim to being the key ‘joker’ player of the season. While you might expect main and bulky scoring from players at big clubs with extra matches, Charlie has simply been quietly deadly for the pleasure beach team. We will undoubtedly have to pay a much larger share of our budget to secure his services next season and there remains a good chance that his ultimate contribution will determine the game winner. Ashley young (Aston villa): Brilliant. Should really have already moved to a team involved in European football. Ought to be one of the first names to enter into your 20112012 FFG-CL team. chris Brunt (west Bromwich Albion): Surely ‘Small club Roy’ has a player here to bring in some substantial pennies at the end of the season, or at least one to coach to even greater levels. A goal scoring, battling and ever present midfielder; every team needs at least one.
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