Archive for Liverpool

End of Season

Posted in Football with tags , , , , on May 13, 2019 by telescoper

After the cold spell we’ve had for the last week or two it’s a warm sunny and generally rather lovely day today. It’s also very quiet on campus here in Maynooth because lectures are over. There are students around, especially in the library and other study spaces, but there’s none of the usual rushing about in between lectures. After rushing about myself a bit this morning I thought I’d take a coffee break and reflect on the weekend’s football.


A picture of a football

Yesterday saw the last round of matches in the Premiership, where the focus was on which of the two leading Midlands clubs (Liverpool or Manchester City) would win. After a brief glimmer of excitement when Brighton took the lead against Manchester City and thus gave Liverpool a chance of the title, normal service was resumed when Manchester City regained the lead and eventually won 4-1. Although Liverpool won their game too (against Wolves) they ended up in second place by one point. It’s quite a remarkable feat to finish on 97 points and not win the Premiership, which is what Liverpool have done. I suppose they will be seeking some meagre consolation by winning the UEFA Champions League..

Earlier last week there were two remarkable matches in said UEFA Champions League. Liverpool, 3-0 down to Barcelona after the first (away) leg of their semi-final, managed to win the home leg 4-0 and thus qualified for the final. I wasn’t going to watch this as I thought it was a foregone conclusion that Barcelona would win, but I eventually wandered into the pub (McMahon’s) for the second half when it was 1-0 and saw two more goals. The closing stages of the game were very exciting, as even at 4-0 Barcelona only needed one goal to win. There was huge support for Liverpool among the locals too, which made it very enjoyable to watch.

Obviously Liverpool benefited from a much tougher game last weekend against Newcastle United, who made them work hard for a 3-2 victory. A difficult work-out like that made their job against less distinguished opponents Barcelona relatively straightforward.

The next day Tottenham had a 1-0 deficit from their home leg against Ajax, who I thought were going to clean up (Geddit?) especially when they scored two early goals. In another remarkable turnaround, Spurs then scored three goals away goals which took them through when the aggregate score finished at 3-3. Amazing stuff.

In the interest of full disclosure I should admit that I put £50 on a double that the final would be between Ajax and Barcelona. You can’t win ’em all.

Oh and both Arsenal and Chelsea have qualified for the Europa League final (whatever that is). They will play each other in Baku (wherever that is) for a place in next year’s Eurovision song contest.

More importantly than all this, Newcastle United won 4-0 yesterday away at Fulham to finish 13th on 45 points. It hasn’t been a marvellous season but at least there was no last-minute nail baiting. They secured Premiership status some weeks ago. They are indeed fortunate to have Rafa Benitez as manager. He is an excellent coach, but his contract is up this summer and it’s not obvious he will stay. Next season will be difficult without him.

Already relegated Cardiff City managed a win against Manchester United: Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s bright start in charge seems to have come a cropper in a disappointing last few games. At least Cardiff City went down with guns blazing.

And finally back to Brighton who, I have just learned, have sacked their manager Chris Hughton. That’s not a  very nice way to thank someone who got them promoted, and kept them in the Premiership. It’s a great shame for Hughton for whom I have a lot of respect. Football is a brutal game sometimes, especially off the field.



EWASS in Liverpool

Posted in Football, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , on April 4, 2018 by telescoper

I’m back in Maynooth with teaching to do after the Easter recess. The Flybe schedule having just changed for the summer, I took a 7am flight from Cardiff to Dublin this morning, which meant getting up at stupid o’clock, but I got here safely enough to Maynooth at about 9.40am.

Anyway, had I not known that I would be here in Ireland I would probably have planned to visit the English Midlands in order to attend EWASS (European Week of Astronomy and Space Science) which takes place this week in Liverpool. This meeting, which is in a different country each year, this time incorporates the Royal Astronomical Society’s annual National Astronomy Meeting making it one of the biggest astronomy conferences ever held in the UK.

Sadly my teaching commitments meant I couldn’t attend EWASS2018, but I thought I’d take this opportunity to wish everyone there all the best for an enjoyable and productive week.

I’ll also mention that various short videos of press briefings etc are coming out on Youtube with little snippets from the conference, including this one about Ariel (which I blogged about recently):

You can find other videos by searching for EWASS on Youtube. I’m sure more will emerge over the next couple of days!

P.S. The event in Liverpool has clearly been planned with football fans in mind: Liverpool play Manchester City tonight, in Liverpool, in the UEFA Champions League..(UPDATE: the match finished 3-0 to Liverpool, which presumably pleased the locals).

The Train and the River

Posted in Biographical, Books, Talks and Reviews with tags , , , on May 12, 2012 by telescoper

Well, here I am back in Cardiff after my little trip to Merseyside. The weather behaved itself and so did the trains in both directions, so it was quite a pleasant travelling experience. In fact, going there yesterday I managed to make a technically impossible connection at Crewe, owing to the train from Cardiff being a minute or two early and the train to Liverpool being a minute late.

I stayed last night at the Jury’s Inn at Albert Dock, shown on the left here. There’s a sort of Ferris Wheel thing next to it. These contraptions seem to be popping up all over the place. Next thing you know there’ll be one in London! The hotel was of its type, generic but reasonably comfortable. Brings back memories of STFC panel meeting; the Jury’s Inn there is a standard place to stay in Swindon when sentenced to hard labour. Unfortunately the one I stayed in was booked up by multiple stag and hen parties and was ridiculously noisy all night. I didn’t really get any sleep until well after 4am. Grump.

Anyway, last night we had a very nice dinner at the Clove Hitch restaurant/bistro (which I definitely recommend) preceded by a pint at the famous Philharmonic Pub. Thanks to Phil and Sue for looking after us so nicely.

My talk opened the proceedings at the Merseyside Astronomy Day, which was held at Spaceport on the Birkenhead side of the Mersey. Here’s a view of Liverpool’s impressive skyline taken from there, with a nice sailing barge on the Mersey.

The small auditorium – usually used for Planetarium shows – was pretty full and I think my talk went quite well, although it’s not really for me to say. They did actually record everything so if I can get hold of a copy I might post it. Anyway, after my turn there was a fascinating lecture by Prof. Peter Read of Oxford University about the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn.

After a quick lunch we used Liverpool’s excellent public transport to zip back to Liverpool Lime Street and I had a relaxing and punctual journey back to Cardiff, albeit with no miracle change at Crewe this time. Dozing on the train I quite startled to wake up near Shrewsbury to find a vintage steam locomotive in sight:

No doubt there’ll be someone out there in internetshire who will tell me all about this train through the comments box but for now I’m going to make some dinner and take it easy as I’m rather knackered.