I picked up the GDN this morning and whilst flicking through the sports pages suddenly spotted a short story headlined Ex-Athletico coach Antic dies.
I knew Raddy Antic.
He wasn't the easiest man to interview as his English was dreadful but he was one of the many characters who welcomed me into the crazy world of football reporting.
I worked as a young journalist on the Milton Keynes Mirror and Mirror on Sunday, a 'newly-created English 'city' in Buckinghamshire, and was assigned the task of covering Luton Town, one of the nearest professional football teams, 20 miles down the M1 heading south.
The alternative was covering Northampton Town, heading north up the M1, and at first I was worried I'd picked the short straw (or straw hat, I'll explain later).
Luton were in the second tier of English football and the first home game I covered they were thrashed 3-0. It looked like it was going to be a long season.
In those early 1980s, footballers weren't multi-million superstars with flash agents. I interviewed the players in the dressing room after the game, played pool with them after they had showered and changed, regularly called into goalie Jake Findlay's home for coffee and a chat as he lived in Milton Keynes, and coach David Pleat was warm and welcoming and always made a bee-line to say hello, especially when I travelled to away games.
The only 'special one' was Raddy Antic. He drove a really flash executive limo to the training ground, much better than the ones owned by the other players and probably the board of directors too. There were rumours he was 'well connected' with certain families from Eastern Europe with a nod and a wink.
After that first loss, the Hatters, as they were nicknamed because of the town's historical connection with the hat making trade and a variant on the now rarely seen straw-plaiters, rarely lost a game again.
An incredible run of victories saw them promoted to the top league. It was an amazing footballing journey.
And the Serbian, who played for Yugoslavia internationally, famously kept Luton Town in the top flight with a goal against Manchester City back in 1982/83, the last game I covered before my career in journalism took me on to daily newspapers.
The goal sparked scenes of utter elation as Pleat danced jubilantly on the pitch, one of football's most endearing moments.
Man City only had to win or draw the game to stay safe. The loss saw them relegated instead of the Hatters. Hard to imagine that happening nowadays!
Antic joined the Hatters in 1980, playing more than 100 games for the club.
Incredibly, he later went on to coach Spanish giants Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
Luton tweeted: "We are devastated to learn of the passing of a Town legend".
RIP Radomir 'Raddy' Antic, thanks for the memories.
Since moving offices to Sanad, I must say how impressed I’ve been with the amount of people exercising along the Al Istiqlal Walkway.
It appears that many have taken notice of the growing concerns highlighted on GDNonline about the obesity crisis in the country (big news, if you pardon the pun, before Covid-19 took up all the news space).
However, in recent weeks a plethora of food trucks, if that’s the correct collective term for such entities, has appeared within a short trot of the track.
You can now tuck into Dutch-style French fries (work that one out!) or find out how life is 'better with burger' ... and should you suffer a heart attack from all that fast food, just across the road is a hospital and health centre!
Must run ...
Most people born on Leap Day - that's February 29, on years that are divisible by 4 - call themselves leaplings. They've also been referred to as Leapers, Leapsters, and Leap Day babies. The odds of being born on February 29th are 1 in 1,461, or . 068 per cent.
If you're a leapling please share your birthday photographs on your own social media platform GDNlife so that the whole of Bahrain can join in your celebrations on Saturday!
Check out www.gdnlife.com
KEEN writers in Bahrain are being offered the chance to publish their work on Bahrain’s sensational new social media platform in an exciting GDNlife prize competition.
Adult wordsmiths will compete for a monthly BD25 prize and one talented child will walk away with a pair of movie tickets. Both winning stories will also be published in print and online, in the GDN and GDNonline respectively.
Winning stories, of no more than 800 words, will then compete for an annual GDNlife Short Story of the Year prize trophy … and even entries that do not win the judges’ approval could still walk away with an accolade - The GDNlife People’s Choice Award - for receiving the most views and likes.
GDNonline editor and GDNlife administrator Stanley Szecowka said: “All writers dream of having their work published and our community platform offers a unique opportunity for them to shine and win prizes!”
Winners will be announced on the first day of every month and the winning entries will be published on the first Saturday following that date (for example, our first winners will be told on April 1 and will see their work published in print and featured online on April 4).
All entries submitted will be considered, so if your entry does not win this month, it may take a prize in the future.
Please choose an image to highlight your words and title your piece Short Story Entry with your name and age.
Get writing … you could be a winner!
For more details email email@example.com
The ‘me too’ movement now has a comic book heroine on the big screen to champion the cause that women will no longer tolerate being put down by men, or are willing to remain a punching bag for testosterone-filled tyrants.
No-one messes with the female warriors of this film who smash, bang and wallop all the dastardly dudes who get in their way with a clear message that if the fairer sex unite they cannot be defeated.
The first reactions to Birds of Prey are in, and it appears many praise the film’s fight sequences, Margot Robbie’s performance as the lead character, and its overall creative flair.
That’s hard to dispute as there are strong performances by all the female characters. But, on the downside there were some unnecessary stomach-churning moments too, one broken leg episode, for example, is particularly sick in the old-fashioned sense.
In the Warner Bros Pictures film, Margot Robbie returns as Harley Quinn, alongside Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, and Ella Jay Basco also stars as Cassandra ‘Cass’ Cain in her feature film debut with a warming ‘orphan Annie-style’ delivery and she was certainly my favourite character.
Poor Harley, in the midst of an abusive relationship with the Joker, finds herself kicked out on to the streets and a target for all those fellas she’s upset in the past and a few more besides who wouldn’t touch her for fear of her connection with the arch villain.
After growing up as an unwanted child, getting beaten up at school by nasty nuns, hearing tales of the broken-minded as a psychiatrist and falling for a lunatic, it’s not surprising to find that she ends up as a psycho too.
And, perhaps it’s inevitable that she would team up with a cop, songbird and mafia princess, all damaged by men in one way or the other, of course, be it career-wise or through violence, to rescue a child thief who Gotham’s bizarre skin-peeling villain, crime lord Roman ‘Black Mask’ Sionis (Ewan McGregor), and his zealous right-hand, Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina), want to capture.
Some of the plot is hard to swallow though. For example, when Harley, worse for wear after drowning her sorrows, looks about to be molested and is rescued by Black Canary in fearsome style, the scene is ruined by the consequence of the action. After watching her fighting, instead of hiring her as extra muscle, Sionis recruits her as a ‘driver’. I don’t get that.
That’s a poignant moment too when the one man Harley relies on prefers the fast buck than loyalty and she almost slips and puts self before sisterhood, but it’s a comic book drama, so obviously all’s well that ends well.
I thought I’d hate this, and had the tables been turned and it was a gang of men beating up women, I would have walked out of the cinema (I’m waiting for the barrage of abuse now from women, saying, that’s reality not fiction) but I kind of warmed to the entertainment as such.
It’s not going to win any Oscars but I wouldn’t mind nominating the canine that played Harley’s pet hyena, now that’s a character with plenty of bite.
I suppose it was only a matter of time before I would be targeted by an online thug. I’ve had a few near misses and once stupidly paid for a popular toy from a social media advertisement and found it was all a big scam.
I actually paid the money into an account opened at my own bank and when I complained, was told it had been emptied with no forwarding address. The bank refused to offer any recompense.
This week someone wants me to pay hush money because they say they’ve broken into my Mac’s webcam and have taken images of me in front of the screen and plan to merge them with some naughty videos.
The fiend also claims to have installed a software programme to uncover my entire contacts list and is threatening to share the work with them unless, of course, I pay a tidy sum to have it erased.
The amount being demanded as a ‘reward’ is $1,559. I wonder why he, or she, has come up with this particular amount. Why not round it down to 1,550 or up to 1,600? What’s a dollar between enemies? It reminds me of a special car dealership or supermarket marketing ploy, the customer will never pay $1,600 but we’ll get him for $1,559!
A former colleague was once the victim of a cyber-hate campaign with her face being doctored on to the bodies of scantily-clad models and her email address being forwarded to perverts preying on women.
She reported the matter to the police, who took down details and investigated and, although the creep appears to have disappeared, she still gets occasional calls today from desperate men who find her name listed on deviant websites.
I only hope whoever has captured my image manages to doctor my body too. Please superimpose my head on some Hollywood hunk’s frame. I quite fancy going viral and becoming an internet sensation as Schwarzenegger Stan.
Whoever is responsible had better be warned though. The last person to try it on ended up serving a six months prison sentence, although it was well before the internet exploded and was at a time when answerphones were about as high tech as it got.
The man who had inundated my old newspaper with a torrent of abusive, threatening and racist telephone calls eventually pleaded guilty to charges of racially aggravated harassment when it came to crown court.
He had admitted leaving abusive and threatening messages on my office answerphone. Police scrutiny of his phone line found he made some 60 calls to me, though only 28 were the subject of the charge.
Initially, he told police he hadn’t made them. His solicitor, however, said he later admitted the comments were “foul, abusive and offensive”.
The bully first came to my attention more than two years earlier when he started abusing colleagues so I decided I would handle all future calls. The first conversation I had with him was quite amicable but then he started to take out all his frustrations on me.
Some of the calls were really sick and evil. He threatened to attack my teenage daughter with broken glass and when he said he was going to lob a brick through my window I had to move my younger son to a room at the back of the house.
The case was protracted, leading to me spending five days in court, but you have to be persistent if you want to tackle this kind of menace.
Today’s online criminals may hide under a more devious cloak of anonymity but it won’t be long before technological advances catch them out. See you in court one day, sucker.
AS a parent I’ve always wished there was some kind of wonder drug you could inject into the brains of children when they reach their teenage years containing all of your life experiences… so that they could make informed decisions.
I’ve made my fair share of dumb mistakes in my time and although I have regularly tried to highlight some of the pitfalls encountered to my own four children I’m sure most of it has gone in one ear and out the other.
But there are two life experiences that I continually hammer home to them, one in particular to my two sons, and the other to their sisters as well.
Firstly, if you take a girl out make sure you bring her home safely, no matter what happens, no matter what row you have on the date and no matter how your feelings get hurt.
I took a former girlfriend to a concert. The magnificent Freddie Mercury and Queen were in town and I had a couple of VIP press tickets. She was vivacious and, although she hated it, a man magnet.
I was young and immature and hated it even more. I was so jealous of the attention she was getting from guys, lost my temper and went home.
At 4am, I was woken by a knock on the door. The police asked me to follow them to the station as my girl had been raped as she left the concert. She was crying. They thought it might help if I was by her side.
I will never forget her howls of anguish. I will never forget the look of disgust on the face of her grandmother when she asked: ‘Why did you leave her?’ I will never let a son of mine repeat my mistake.
Secondly, don’t drink and drive.
A close Bahraini friend and her family are going through a traumatic time at the moment. Her sister was a passenger in a car driven by a young man who had enjoyed a good night out in Adliya.
He probably thought he was indestructible and a few drinks wouldn’t impair his judgment. It did. He wasn’t paying attention and when he sped over a speed bump the car catapulted in the air, smashed through a barrier and landed in a crumpled heap.
All three in the car were hurt. My friend’s sister was the only one left unconscious. Apart from concussion she suffered a dislocated elbow, broken collarbone, a chest fracture, cuts to her head down to her feet and, worse of all, serious spinal injuries.
The student may now have to undergo spinal surgery which could involve an air ambulance to specialist medics in the US.
The foolish driver faces a likely lengthy spell in prison once the court case is heard and, but for the grace of God, it could have been me.
Aged 17, I had just passed my driving test, was invited to report on a nightclub opening and took a friend with two of her pals.
I thought I was indestructible and a few drinks wouldn’t impair my judgment. It did. I wasn’t paying attention and when I sped round a tight corner the road went one way and my car went the other.
My beloved VW Beetle spun out of control on two wheels, missed a lamppost by millimetres before righting itself.
We were lucky. I drove the girls home in silence, thinking how could I tell their parents, in different circumstances, that I had killed or seriously injured their daughters?
I will never let a child of mine repeat my mistake.
McLaren says it has ‘rewritten the rules of modern Grand Touring’ and I can honestly report that the company has remodelled my memories of the joys of driving a glorious GT.
OK, I admit, my first experience was at the wheel of the now defunct MGB GT in the 1980s, which was a shade more comfortable than my soft-top MGB which used to blow a gale across my fringe (when I had hair) and leave my nose as icy as the windscreen.
With this BD90,000 McLaren GT you’re talking a totally different driving experience. It was the fifth McLaren model I’ve had the pleasure to test drive and my favourite to date. It has everything a man of my maturity could possibly desire.I try to keep fit with a morning jog, but getting in and out of a normal sports car with my dodgy knee and aching Achilles can be somewhat ungainly and undignified. But not so with the McLaren GT. This car was made to measure.
It’s easy to slip in and out of … and once you’re inside the fit is insanely pleasurable.
Practical for everyday use, from a driver perspective it’s a lot more comfortable and better tailored for our roads because the ground clearance has been much improved too. It’s an ‘every day car’, perfect for driving to and from the office and on the occasional trip to the golf club, of course.
It’s not a track car, it’s everything a grand tourer should be, designed to take you across the causeway for an adventure to the UAE with ease with an incredible amount of power, but more of that later.
Positioned alongside the established Sports, Super and Ultimate Series families, this is a new McLaren for a new audience and provides an alternative to existing products in an expanding market segment, the company says.
A bespoke MonoCell II-T monocoque body structure – the T denoting ‘Touring’ – incorporates a carbon fibre rear upper structure that adds minimal weight but allows the creation of a 420-litre luggage area below the front-hinged, full-length glazed tailgate. The tailgate has a soft-close function as standard and can be optioned as electrically powered as part of the Premium Pack version I drove.The low height of the engine and positioning of the exhaust system has allowed the volume, shape and usability of the luggage bay to be optimised. A golf bag, for example, as well as luggage, can be carried with ease, while a further 150 litres of storage at the front means the new McLaren GT can accommodate a total of 570 litres.
It seemed only fair to throw my irons, sand wedge and putter in the back and head off down to the Royal Golf Club and call into a few of my favourite haunts on the way.
At almost 4.7 metres long, the new McLaren GT is longer than any of the cars in the McLaren Sports or Super Series. The front and rear overhangs also extend further than is traditional for McLaren, but the 10-degree front approach angle (13-degree with vehicle lift engaged) allows the new GT to cope with the most aggressive traffic calming measures; in combination with underbody clearance of 110mm (130mm with vehicle lift) this ensures the car is eminently usable in all urban situations, competitive not only with all rivals, but in ‘lift’ mode the equal of mainstream sedans.
That proved handy when we approached the fort near Seef and drove over numerous speed bumps. Within seconds of parking up, the car was besieged by onlookers grabbing images and taking selfies alongside it.
That’s because it’s a good looking beast.
There are two levels above the standard specification – Pioneer and Luxe – and beyond this the opportunity to choose options from McLaren Special Operations (MSO), at the soon-to-be-open regional centre in Sakhir, for both interior and exterior enhancements, including even lighter carbon fibre components and 14 MSO defined paint colours.
This is in addition to the 16 colours available within the McLaren GT palette, five of which – Black Ingot, Viridian, Amaranth Red, Burnished Copper and Namaka Blue – are newly-introduced for this model.
The width and stance of the car are emphasised at the front by the signature ‘hammerhead line’ that runs horizontally across the nose and draws the eye to the sides of the vehicle, while at the rear an integrated fixed rear wing, large diffuser and substantial exhaust tailpipes reinforce that this is a grand tourer with supercar performance.
A new 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged engine produces 620PS. Designated M840TE, it further expands the family of McLaren V8 engines. Bespoke to the new GT, it has the immense power and torque and superior exhaust sound quality that are the hallmarks of a true Grand Tourer.
Peak torque of 630Nm is produced between 5,500rpm and 6,500rpm, with more than 95 per cent available from 3,000rpm to 7,250rpm.
The new engine is mated to a 7-speed SSG transmission to deliver linear, seamless and relentless acceleration.
With a launch-control function optimising acceleration from a standing start, 0-100km/h is achieved in only 3.2 seconds, and 0-200km/h in just 9.0 seconds. The maximum speed of the McLaren GT is 326km/h although, of course, I’d never dream of driving that fast on our highways.
Within a blink of the eye, however, videographer Fardan and I, were pulling into Riffa Views.
* Check out our adventure here (VIDEO link below) and for more details, contact McLaren Bahrain, visit the showroom in Tubli, or call 80007878.
I recall how embarrassed I was as a Brit abroad when Heathrow Airport’s new Terminal 5 opened in 2008 with much fanfare only to descend into chaos, with its new baggage handling system suspended and dozens of flights cancelled.
What was supposed to be a day of glory for British Airways, sole occupant of the mammoth terminal, built at a cost of $8.6 billion, turned into a shambles as problems worsened. The airline was finally forced to restrict passengers at the terminal to hand-luggage only.
At one point, a British Airways flight left without any of its baggage in the hold, embarrassed airline officials conceded, making a mockery of an earlier claim that the new state-of-the-art baggage system would work well from Day 1.
Things are a lot slicker nowadays and the technology worked a treat when I checked in after a festive break with the family for my return flight back to Bahrain.
I did feel slightly uncomfortable having to put my own bag on the conveyer belt, print out the label and attach it myself. Perhaps I’m just lazy and like someone-else doing it. But I managed it OK although I couldn’t help feeling that aging parents of expats planning a visit might find it a tad intimidating.
I enjoyed the couple of hours before boarding in the Inspire Lounge for a hearty breakfast and refreshments until the time to head on down to the gate was highlighted on the big screen. There was a longer than usual wait, probably around 40- minutes, before we were invited to jump on the bus to take us to the aircraft.
The post-Christmas flight was jam-packed and I spotted more than a few acquaintances and their families lining up patiently with their families in the queue.
As soon as we climbed on board and settled in our seats the captain informed us that they’d been a repair carried out on a cargo bay seal, hence the delay in boarding, and the work had been carried out to his satisfaction and take-off would commence shortly once the paperwork was sorted.
For the next three-and-a-half hours the embarrassed crew profusely apologised for the continuing delay explaining how the said paperwork apparently had to travel from BA HQ to the Civil Aviation Authority, back to base and on to Heathrow.
I can just imagine the scenario.
The chief seal repair director who needed to sign the form had left for lunch and would be back in an hour. Unfortunately, the CAA’s executive seal repair authoriser had popped to the shops to exchange her New Year party dress because her stupid husband had bought her the wrong size skimpy frock for Christmas (she’s no longer aged 23 or a Size 8) and no-one else had the authority, or wanted, the responsibility of signing it.
In reality, it was probably much more boring … just bureaucracy.
We sat on the plane and waited. I received several texts from BAeServices, one offering light refreshment vouchers which could be collected from the customer service desk, another advising me that the engineering repairs had been completed sooner than anticipated so we were going to stay onboard and another apologising for the delay.
One would have thought that in this high tech world of instant communication – I regularly transfer funds across the globe and even signed mortgage agreements using my mobile device – surely the airline and the government entity responsible could do likewise.
On the upside, I am told the delay may bring some compensation, which will go towards my son Stan Jnr’s flight to Bahrain in February to celebrate his 17th birthday. Hopefully he’ll arrive in time for the party.
Stanley Louis Szecowka
Editor/Journalist & Blogger, Restaurant & Motors Reviewer, FinTech Writer, Manager, Trainer.
Website Designed by Ahmed Khan.