A popular winner

Sebastian Vettel. Youngest ever F1 pole sitter. Youngest ever F1 race winner — and a popular one at that. It is an amazing result for the team that were once Minardi. As a Minardi fan, the last time I can remember enjoying a race result was Minardi’s points at the shambolic 2005 US Grand Prix — this by far tops that.

Radovan Karadžić arrested

Just a short one.

Top news today is that former Bosnian Serb war leader Radovan Karadžić — wanted by the International Criminal Court in the Hague on charges of war crimes — has been arrested in Belgrade after 13 years on the run.

What use does this do? On the surface it’s a boost for Boris Tadić’s government in Serbia and a step closer to possible EU membership. Tadić can also use this to show proof that his government is actively working to arrest these men.

Well, if that’s the case, why did it take 13 years? And more importantly, where’s the war general Radko Mladić? Until General Mladić is arrested, I’d venture that nothing has changed.

Israel and Iran: posturing or something more sinister?

So, Israeli shows off its fighter jets. Iran responds by test-firing missiles twice. Israel unveils new spy plane.

Is this just posturing between old enemies, or is this a very strong warning from both sides that we could be on the brink of a new war, one that involves two states? Does Israel, or does Iran, have anything to gain from war?

The answer, to my mind, is no. A definite: Iran will not strike first. If they do so, I think they immediately lose any support they could hope for from Moscow or Beijing. As for Israel, an attack would make life very difficult for Washington, which is opposed to military force as the first solution in dealing with Iran — and it would give John McCain, and perhaps moreso Barack Obama, headaches.

It would probably scupper plans of Senator Obama’s to talk directly, without preconditions, to President Ahmadinejad of Iran — he would lose Jewish support (or whatever is left of it, since he’s still stressing he will speak with Iran) in a hurry. The U.S. would support Israel at the UN, probably reluctantly, but they can’t afford to be seen as leaving their allies in the lurch.

As for the current standoff, this has already triggered new conflict between Washington and Moscow, over Washington’s planned missile defence systems in Poland and the Czech Republic. Washington says Iran’s test proves the need for them to protect their interests in Europe; Moscow says Iran’s test proves that their missiles do not have the range to threaten Europe and the U.S. shield is an aggressive act against Russia.

In the world of tense relations between two great superpowers — and between two Middle Eastern states each of the superpowers back to an extent — I think the answer is, you’ll never know what is going to happen until it happens.

Rangers fans’ behaviour following UEFA Cup final

I may be a Liverpool fan, but when it comes to the game north of the border, despite Liverpool’s close ties to Celtic, I am partial towards the blue half of Glasgow. What occurred last night following the 2-0 loss to Zenit St. Petersburg in the UEFA Cup final in Manchester was unacceptable.

Some Rangers fans — it is important to stress that a majority of Rangers fans were not involved — behaved rowdily, drunkenly, and unprofessionally, dragging the club’s name into mud. A pack of 200 fans allegedly chased police officers — who needed to call in police dogs — and one officer was badly injured in the violence.

Rangers, credit to them, have come out and condemned the behaviour of these fans — who cannot be called that. UEFA has praised the city of Manchester’s handling of the event and subsequent trouble. I cannot beg to disagree. A number of MSPs — from both Scottish Labour and Scottish Conservatives — have called for an inquiry into the use of police force.

It seems as though this was necessary for the officers to protect themselves.

Rangers will go back to Glasgow defeated. They will also go back to Glasgow with shame on their name thanks to these idiotic people who rampaged through Manchester. If Rangers can identify any of these fans it would be in the club’s best interest to ban them from Ibrox Park to serve as a warning to the rest of their travelling support not to misbehave at such a big event.

On a related note, Celtic legend Tommy Burns passed away today at 51 after losing a battle to cancer. Condolences to his family and Celtic during this difficult period.

Chelsea through, we’re out?!!

I feel like punching the ref.

The ref gave every major decision to Chelsea after the disallowed goal. We should’ve had a penalty when Drogba brought Hyypia down in the first minute of the second half of extra time.

Just what was Benitez thinking taking Torres off?! Just what?!

Drogba — what a cheat! Went down after 30 seconds!

Cardiff approved for UEFA Cup

The Football Association have approved Welsh Championship side Cardiff City to represent England in the UEFA Cup next season should they win the FA Cup (or lose it, assuming Portsmouth finish sixth or worse in the league).

Furthermore, the FA have announced that the Welsh national anthem, Land of My Fathers (Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau), will be played prior to the match.

What absolute tosh.

It’s the ENGLISH FA Cup final, not the WELSH. Play only the English anthem and let only English clubs in. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Cardiff KNEW this situation might arise when they chose to stay within the English league system with regards to European qualification, and should suck it up and accept it.

As for the anthem, even a supporters’ club has voiced its opinion that the Welsh antehm should not be played. It’s ridiculous to hear an anthem of a different country at a cup final for England. Next thing you know they’ll be saying play the anthems of the countries of all the players taking part in the final.

Justice for the 96

Nineteen years.

Justice for the 96.

When you walk through a storm,
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm is a golden sky
And the sweet, silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Tho’ your dreams be
Tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart, and
You’ll Never Walk Alone
You’ll Never Walk Alone

Justice for the 96

Today, at 3:06 pm BST (10:06 pm SST), please pause for a moment’s silence to mark 19 years since the tragedy.