Monday, 28 February 2011

Lent Bumps - Day 0

(Apologies in advance to the people who read this blog who have no interest whatsoever in rowing and/or the goings on of DCBC - it's going to get very rowing heavy this week)

Tomorrow is the first day of Lent Bumps, the main event of the term for the rowing calendar in Cambridge. The various head races and regattas of the term so far are forgotten; this is what we've trained for. I am ridiculously excited, as I'm sure most of the rowers in Cambridge are, but especially so at Downing just because of the expectation and anticipation of fantastic results and headships. There's no motivation required any more. We just need to give it everything we have, and short of any catastrophes or huge surprises, we should be reaping the seeds we've been sowing since January and even before that.

Token Inches video:

Any chance of our confidence coming down merely to arrogance, naivety or over-estimating our own ability has been somewhat taken this week by the BumpIt predictions. Out of the 64 predictions at the time of writing, 40 have Downing M1 down for headship. The predictions for the women are even more confidence-boosting, with 41 out of 46 predictions touting Downing W1 to go head (and out of the remaining five, four of them were people claiming their own college would finish on top).

I wouldn't look too hard into BumpIt results, but it's somewhat comforting to know that it's not just some sort of self-driven club frenzy that we're quite possibly going to get a double headship. The majority of my predictions are just a result of me randomly clicking around (aside from Downing W1, the top of the M1 division, and the boats around and including M2). The men should really get headship, and it's likely that the only difficult test will be holding off Caius M1 on the final day, which relies on the fact that they'll go up every day and won't get screwed around by FaT moving down, or any other shenanigans in the racing. The women are pretty unrivalled this term, and frankly I can't see much stopping them besides something going horribly wrong on the final day (a huge crab, equipment failure, etc).

For M2, I think blades are pretty damn unlikely. I do however reckon that we can place ourselves as the highest M2 boat by the end of the week. I see the most likely scenario being that LMBC M2 aren't quick enough on the first day, get hit by Caius M2, and force us to row over. FaT M2 are almost certainly too slow to hold off Sidney Sussex (who are reasonably quick) and any chance of an overbump will vanish pretty quickly. The double overbump (lol) would be on St. Cat's, which is definitely not going to happen because they're rapid this term. Having rowed over the first day, I reckon we'll be able to bump LMBC M2 and FaT M2 as Caius send them down, and then on the final day we'll be able to have a proper crack at Caius because they should have a quick crew in front of us.
This all said, it's bumps racing, and pretty much anything can happen. If we go out hard enough and LMBC II turn out to be more resilient than we'd given them credit for, then we could well go up on the first three days and then see where we're at on Saturday. Or we could fuck up, as we did in Pembroke regatta, and get hit by Jesus M2. We'll just have to wait and see.

I'm not really sure how quick W2 are compared to the boats around them, mostly because they've not raced a huge amount, and neither have most of the boats around them. They're fairly far down the start order, so it'd be nice for them to go up a few places, and you'd think that they should really. Newnham II will almost certainly be too fast for them, but they should hopefully keep a clear margin in front so that our W2 have always got something hittable in front of them.

I we bored/excited yesterday evening and this morrning, so I made myself a desktop background, which I'll update throughout the week, and because it's on Dropbox in theory the image in that link should update as well (the one below won't - it's just there for posterity).

Something that amuses me slightly over the last couple of days, along with the Cambridge rowing messageboards was the new paint job on the A14 "motorway" bridge, courtesy of Newnham College:

Painting of the bridge is usually seen as something of a statement of dominance of the river, which is why it's a bit weird that Newnham have bothered to paint it. Their W1 haven't actually won anything on the Cam this term (except the late Fairbairns, as a Newnham rower has pointed out to me, which I guess sort of should count for this term) - Downing W1 have pretty much swept up every race there was to win. Painting it before bumps also strikes me as being very much a case of counting chickens - I'm aware that this blog post is mostly "rar rar double headship", but painting a whole bridge is very much more of a statement, and they're setting themselves up for a fair amount of stick and embarrassment if they don't have two or three crews getting blades.

The final thing is that they're bloody far down the start order - they're nowhere near headship, and they're not close enough to the top for getting blades to actually be much of an accomplishment, even if they manage it. Getting headship is a big achievement, and getting blades from sixth or seventh up the start order is also a reasonable show of speed, but getting blades from thirteenth in the start order is hardly an exceptional display of prowess.

Still, it ain't my bridge, so I'm not particularly fussed about it. If anything I'm somewhat impressed just because it's a pretty damn big bridge, and it's hardly a trivial exercise to go paint it in club colours and write the name of the college on it. The spacing is a bit dodgy, but it's far better than the previous shambles of a paint job by Queens':

The photo doesn't really do the untidy, drippy aspect of the paint job justice. The Christ's before that was even worse. As much as I don't want to praise something done by First and Third, the best one I've seen was the "BACK WHERE WE BELONG" before it got the shitty half-wash of red paint over it:

If Downing take both headships from First and Third, and if we decide that parading a boat through town and burning it on the paddock isn't quite celebration enough, then I'd want us to at least do as good a job of it as that (and if we wanted to be ironic and rub it in a little more, then we could even paint the same message). Because if you're going to paint a frigging huge bridge, you might as well paint it well.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

StarCraft II

I've been pretty epicly busy this week. There was a project deadline, which went fairly smoothly, but also 6am outings on the river every single morning, and about four fansub projects suddenly got to stuff I had to do (because for some reason fansubbing comes in waves) and I spent four hours yesterday doing typesetting for Kimi ni Todoke, with a fair amount of other QC stuff left. In the midst of all this being busy and having shit to do, for some unfathomable reason I decided I'd buy StarCraft II.

I bought the proper disc on Amazon, rather than the Blizzard digital download. This isn't for some sort of weird quirk of having to have a physical copy (though I prefer to, usually), but more the fact that Amazon was £28 and Blizzard's digital download was £45. Which makes no sense whatsoever for me. I buy from the developer, and I get a digital file, and I have to pay more than buying from a third party and them actually mailing something out to me? Heck, once I've activated the serial code I can just throw it away and I've basically got the exact same deal but for £17 less and a few days of waiting to arrive.

StarCraft is a series I'd always dismissed, and I'm not really sure why. I guess the fact was that I thought it was something different to what it actually was, and what I thought it was didn't appeal to me. I played the demo, discovered it was actually pretty awesome (it's basically Age of Empires + space + crystal meth), and hence bought the game.

What was immediately most striking about the gameplay and some of the strategy is that it actually ties in to the MET course a surprising amount. An awful lot of the gameplay and skill is based around micromanagement of unit manufacturing and resource control and management - basically what I've been having lectures on for the last two terms. It sounds somewhat ridiculous, but it is actually true. I'm not going to start claiming that playing StarCraft is suitable MET revision material, because that'd be crazy (though awesome if it were true), but I at least feel that my course will make me somewhat better at the game, and that the game gives me some sort of scope to practice ideas and methods and stuff. Again, not going to put it on my CV, but I reckon it's actually quite reasonable practice and experience for business and manufacturing management.

Obviously part of the game does come down to military strategy and tactics, and it's mostly this part that I'm getting used to, along with the timing of how it's best to work things. It basically seems to be that pushing hard at the start will hurt in the mid to long-term, whilst aiming too far for the long term leaves you liable to get taken out right at the start if they rush you while you've still got pretty much no defence. Out of the seven proper online matches I've played so far, I've won two, and basically lost four out of the other five because I got rushed early on and wasn't prepared enough to defend it. The other one I lost was a legitimate loss where I genuinely just got out-muscled in the mid-game. But I've only been playing it for a handful of hours, so I'm still learning and improving.

This week I've mostly just got Lent Bumps, which regardless of the result is going to be great fun and I'm really looking forward to it. There are a few supervisions scattered about, but in general I'm in the sort of post-deadline lull after doing a fair amount of work last week.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Pembroke Post-Mortem & Some Political Stuff

So after all the optimism for Pembroke Regatta, M2 went out to a pretty abysmal first-round loss. Losing our stroke to illness was something of an initial blow, and I just don't think we had nearly enough depth of experience through the boat to cope with it. Not being allowed to do a practice start on the row up, and having to marshall in the freezing rain for fucking ages didn't help, but at the end of the day they were the same for both crews.

We started off OK, and while Kings moved a canvas or so up during the first 100m, we held them there. We had very little shape, and it felt horrifically frantic, and so I called a second rhythm, and things improved a little there. We moved through, and held a pretty decent lead by the time we got to the railway bridge. Then I called for a big push, which in hindsight I probably shouldn't have done, and things just ended up really panicked and frantic again. The technique was rubbish, and there was no real control over the ratio, and when there was a clash of blades we got a boat-stopping crab, and Kings moved back through us to win. As Pedro said after the race, even if we'd won we'd have merely gotten away with a pretty poor performance. The loss was pretty deserved.

My main consolation is that we didn't have our proper crew, and while that's never going to be ideal, it's especially difficult when you lose the stroke and nobody else really has any experience stroking a boat. It's something that takes quite a few outings to properly get to grips with, not a single disrupted row up the river to the start. We lost because we were shit on the day, and not because we actually are shit, which is the main focus really. We lost, and we're pretty disappointed with that, but what really matters is bumps, and we know we can do better in nine days' time. We've learned the lesson that if you row like a bunch of dicks, you'll lose like a bunch of dicks, and we know not to do that again. The shoddy rowing was only made worse by the fact that Andy has gotten us to have some pretty good paddling technique in the outings this week, and all of that completely went out the window on race day.

Anyway, onto a few other things. The first being all the supposed "news" that Oxbridge and Imperial are probably going to charge full-whack for tuition under the new government regulations. Are people actually surprised at this? Did people actually expect anything different whatsoever?

Oxbridge places are well known for having three or four applicants per place. When you've got that much excess demand then it's pretty clear that you'll take any rise in price you're allowed. I'd have been shocked if Cambridge and Oxford charged anything less than as much as they possibly could. They know people are going to pay it. Sure, it means that poor kids won't be able to afford going, but ultimately that isn't their problem. They should do what they can to assist people financially, but really it's not their mantle to take up. They can't be expected to bear the entire financial burden of supporting kids who can't afford to go.

Except that seems to be what the government was expecting, and upon realising that it probably isn't going to happen, they've just gotten ridiculous. Nick Clegg attacked Oxbridge for planning to charge the full £9k a year, which is just daft. The best was his statement that it was "not up to them" and that they wouldn't be able to do it unless "they were given permission to do so", which is just a baffling statement to make given that the government have just given them permission to do so, and that it is entirely up to them if they want to charge £9,000 a year or not. You can't pass legislation that specifically allows people to do something, and then get all pissed off and bitchy when they actually do it. It makes no sense. If you don't want universities to charge £9,000 a year for tuition, then don't fucking pass legislation that lets them do it.

What the issue seems to be is a point I made back in October:

What's really fucking stupid is that in the short-term at least this isn't going to make a fucking difference whatsoever to the state of the government finances. This rise from £3k to £12k is just going to mean that students need to take out loans of the same price difference. Instead of that £9k coming from the government as a grant, it's going to come from the government as a loan, as the Student Loans Company is still a public body, so it's still ultimately money lent by the government. They're still going to be paying the exact same fucking amount for each student. Sure, now they money has to be paid back, but most students are leaving with loan debts of around £18,000 (including maintenance loans, but not interest), which means the government is only actually recouping money back once students are starting to pay off more than the £18,000 and eating into the rest of the ~£45,0000 or whatever it's going to be. Given that students will take three years in education before they're even earning money, it's going to be a good seven or eight years at least before the government starts seeing any sort of extra money from this system over the current one.

It seems that the government is only now actually realising this point, and finding that actually they're not going to be saving any cash whatsoever in the long term, because all the money they would have given to the universities is instead going to have to go to students to give to the universities. The government will have handed over the same amount of money, and the only real difference is that they're owed a ton of it back by students who won't be able to actually pay it back for a good ten or fifteen years. The warning that educational spending will be cut if universities charge the maximum is, for me, just a demonstration of how poorly this change in spending has been executed, and how little foresight the government seems to have had with it.

It seems what they were trying to do was to cut educational spending per student, but stop fees per student going up by the same amount, so ultimately the money which the government paid out to universities and students would decrease and they'd be running less of a deficit. Aside from the fact it'd put a shitload of universities out of business, and strain the remaining ones, this isn't in itself a terrible idea. Except presumably to stop universities complaining so much or completely folding, they've allowed them to hike the fees up, yet apparently still expected them to run with a tighter budget, and pass up the opportunity to make up for the shortfall in government funding by simply charging students more. Which is utterly retarded because that was never going to happen. You can't offer an alternative source of funding and then expect them not to use it.

It's a mess, but what's really pissing me off is the way the Tories and Lib Dems seem to be trying to twist this into being the fault of the universities. It's shameful how the politicians seem to be trying to make out that the universities are the ones who are evil for charging students so much, and are trying to completely wash over the fact that it was them who allowed them to do it in the first place. You can't legalise stealing and then get all uppity and preachy about how terrible people are when they start stealing stuff. It's disgraceful.

I'd probably talk for a bit about Egypt, and the fact that an absolute shitstorm of revolution seems to be kicking off in the Middle East, except I actually don't have a huge amount of knowledge on the whole set of events and why anything is happening, past having read a handful of articles on the BBC. I just think that it's pretty cool how revolution and anti-government protests seems to have almost become a fad in that region of the world, and a few successful overthrows of regime have basically set a precedent and let people realise that actually you can rebel against an undemocratic government and overthrow it if you want to.

The cycling world cup is this weekend, and I've watched a fair bit of the action so far on YouTube and the BBC, and there's been some pretty good racing. The men's keirin event was awesome (as usual), with Chris Hoy taking gold with an epic crash pile-up behind him. What was most insane about that race was the way that the crashed riders hurriedly picked themselves back up and hobbled over the finish line to grab the medal-finishing places. Including Azizulhasni Awang, who managed to get over the finish line to take the bronze medal with this injury:

I mean, HOLY SHIT, how do you get back up and make it across the line with that? How the fuck does that sort of thing even happen? Nasty crashes are very much part of the sport when it comes to sprints, in both road and track cycling, just because things happen so quickly and there's so much energy involved in going for the line, but I've never seen anything like that before.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

A Weekend In The City

Well, not quite a whole weekend. I was in London on Saturday for a rather random fansubbing meet-up of people who I've vaguely worked with and people who I've not worked with at all, but we were all roughly in the same place at the same time (and Dae has come over from Canadia) so we met up in London. It was nice to have a day out, and it was nice to actually go to London and be a tourist for the first time in ages, rather than having somewhere to actually be.

I've sort of neglecting writing posts somewhat, which isn't because there isn't crap to write about, because there's been shitloads of subject matter, it's more that I've not had the time. Basically because aside from spending Saturday in London my last week or so has been split between working like a bitch, rowing, being in a primary school and Helen's 21st.

The rowing was awesome, with both Robinson Head and Bedford Head (which was a lot of faff for such a short race, but was awesome) in one weekend. What with the multiple races and having to attach race numbers to my life jacket and bowman, I have learned a truth in life:

M2 won our category fairly comfortably in Robinson Head, W1 absolutely slaughtered the competition and M1 narrowly lost out to Queens. The results for Bedford Head were pretty much identical with the exception that for Bedford Head we were in the same race category as Sidney Sussex M1, who beat us by a handful of seconds.

We've not actually got our prizes yet for Robinson Head (not to my knowledge anyway), which is a bit annoying, though they're rumoured to be t-shirts anyway, which is a little bit shit unless they are spectacularly snazzy t-shirts. That doesn't really matter though, because our coach Andy somewhat foolishly promised to buy us each a beer for every M1 crew we beat, and I'm not quite sure he entirely thought the arithmetic through beforehand. Five M1 boats beaten for an VIII plus cox is forty-five beers, which is a lot of beer. And, absolute legend that he is, he was true to his word and we found 48 cans of beer in the changing rooms the next day.

Somewhere in between winning Robinson Head, finishing second only to an M1 crew at Bedford, and the fairly shite outing this morning (combination of no coach and Caius M2 being badgers), I've felt something of a dip in confidence, and I'm not really sure why. We'll see how things go for Pembroke Regatta this weekend, but things feel a little less confident, which probably isn't a bad thing for keeping us working hard.

Looking at results and the bumps charts, it seems fairly realistic that we can get M2 blades and go up three, but blades look a little bit impossible because we basically don't have enough crap to hit in front of us. Once we've gotten the three M2 boats down (and that's assuming we don't get screwed by results and have to row-over or overbump on one of the first three days) we're pretty much limited to hitting M1 crews, and they're all at roughly our pace or faster. We shall see though, because predicting bumps based on race times during term is usually somewhat like sticking a wet finger in the air and trying to predict the weather for tomorrow.

I spent almost all of yesterday at the primary school making model hutches with kids out of cardboard boxes and tubing and general scrap. It was pretty good fun actually, and I was actually pretty damn impressed with how some of the models turned out given these kids are 5-7 years old. There'll probably be pics on here at some point, but I can't be bothered uploading them right now.

One thing that did surprise me was that they were allowed to use hacksaws to cut up fairly solid pieces of tubing (the sort of stuff posters get delivered inside). Not the hacksaw equivalent of safety-scissors either - a proper junior hacksaw. I got put on hacksaw duty to make sure that fingers weren't lost, which basically meant holding down stuff while kids maniacally and frantically cut away at it with very little regard to anything in the world. I stand by what I said in my post last week about small children being scary.

I'll probably write a proper non-life-based post for this tomorrow, given that I finished my Industrial Economics paper a crapload faster than I was expecting to before I actually looked at it.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A Thing About Rowing

First off, a couple of images for the girls in WII who couldn't race on Saturday and who have had most of their outings in the last week cancelled due to the wind.

It could be worse. Those pics are of my nan's car, and as far as I know only the car was damaged and nobody was hurt. Robert Kubica was not involved (though on a serious note, Kubica's crash was pretty horrific and I really hope it won't be the end of his F1 career).

Last weekend Downing M2 won their class for the not-particularly-esteemed and wind-struck Newnham Short Course (which is also not even a short course any more, but the standard bridge to bridge head course). The epic wind meant that the times probably aren't that comparable between divisions, and don't provide the best indication of true pace for bumps (unless it's just as windy for that week), but it's nice to start the term with a win and with some pretty good pace.

Most of the boats around us in Lents didn't actually compete (Jesus M2, LMBC M2, FaT M2), but setting the same pace in the same division as Sidney Sussex M1 is promising, given they're three places above us. Not being far off Christs M1 is positive as well, though they're pretty high up, and it's not likely that we'd actually end up behind them unless we came up several and they were going the other way. St Cats M1 seem to be pretty quick, but again, they're half a dozen places above us so I'm not really paying too much attention to them.

Downing M1 did pretty well, and while there's no FaT M1 to compare against, things definitely don't look horrible for the headship. At the very least, Caius and Pembroke don't look so much faster that they're going to be much more than potentially dangerous at this stage. Given that we were struggling to fill a men's first VIII last term, and with four people rowing for Cambridge crews the general feeling at the start of this year seemed to be "Lents might be a bit shit, but Mays will be awesome", we're not doing bad. If anything, the feeling since training camp has shifted far more to "Lents should be pretty damn good and Mays will be epic", because the guys moving up from the lowerboats are doing a pretty good job now of driving the squad.

Robinson Head is on Friday, and Bedford Head is Sunday (this weekend is so packed with stuff for me D:), so they'll probably provide the best marker before Pembroke Regatta and then Lent Bumps the week after. There's only so much you can interpret from the results of head races which are a couple of weeks before the main event, but it'd be awesome if M2 could win Robinson and then put in a decent row at Bedford to really give us some momentum heading into the business end of term.

The fact that Downing W1 had a huge crab from she-who-shall-not-be-named and around thirty to forty seconds being stationary to sort it out, and yet still posted the fastest W1 time is a little bit ridiculous. Despite that, they were still 20 seconds ahead of FaT W1, and unless there's some serious shenanigans going on there, the women's headship shouldn't really be much more than a formality. They are, to quote the messageboards, "badgering fast". W2 are pretty far down the charts so should hopefully make decent progress, but that's a bit harder to predict without any times from the lower women's divisions.

Despite the people the squad is missing, things seem really damn positive for the bumps campaign, and I really can't wait for the starting gun in three weeks' time. There is definitely reason to believe that the First & Third dynasty of Lents headship can finally be brought to an abrupt end for their M1, W1 and their M2 crews.


Monday, 7 February 2011

Back To (Primary) School

For a fairly large chunk of my MET 1 course, I have to do a major design project thing. Our group has decided that our project shall be to recreate the guinea pig/rabbit hutch. It shall be the most awesome hutch that the world has ever seen, surpassing the Guinea Pig Eglu (it also won't cost a ridiculous £450). We've currently got a few ideas and sketches down, but we're still mostly in the stage of researching what people would really want from their ideal hutch, and what sort of features we should be looking at to add. There have been a few teething troubles...

<Rosti> So I'm doing this design project, where we're trying to design a whole new concept of a rabbit/guinea pig hutch thing
<Rosti> and we figure that it's probably a good idea to find people who own them and do a bit of market research
<Rosti> so I do some Googling around to try and find forums for pet enthusiasts
<Rosti> and make the mistake of using the term "pet lovers"
<Rosti> frigging first half a dozen results are ALL bestiality forums
<Rosti> with pictures and video
<Daz> so did they give you any good ideas or what?
<Rosti> I fucking hate the internet sometimes

A fairly large part of our market research is focused around making the hutch fun and interesting for kids to interact with. And we figured who better to consult on this issue then kids themselves. So we've arranged a ton of visits to a local primary school this week to talk to kids and go through ideas and stuff with them. It's being incorporated into their Design Technology syllabus, and the teachers have been fantastically helpful and cooperative.

We had our first session today, where we just watched the (Year 1&2) class while the teacher went through some stuff. Then the kids drew pictures of their pets and ideal pets and all the stuff they'd need to be looked after properly and all that. It was sort of fun to see the kinds of crazy stuff they can come up with (to the question "What happens if you don't feed them every day?", the answer of "They suffocate"). Also their ridiculous energy and enthusiasm for absolutely anything. The teacher asked them if they liked pets and they all went fucking mental. I can't remember far back enough into my childhood to the point where I had such boundless enthusiasm for anything we did in class. Teenage years really do transform you into uncaring, sceptical and idling layabouts.

They sat down, they did some drawing for a bit and we chatted to them, and then they got bored and distracted and suddenly the class was filled with kids running around with toys and banging tambourines and we no longer had any clue what the fuck was going on, but the teacher seemed fine with it so I guess it was OK.

It's actually a little unsettling at times. Children can be scary.

Being thrown into a classroom of crazy six and seven-year olds is definitely not something I've experienced since I was, well, six or seven. I'm sure the phrase "they're more scared of you than you are of them" is probably extremely apt here, but I find talking to little kids strangely weird and uncomfortable when I don't actually know them. I don't even know why. I feel like they're judging me, when they're almost certainly not. They're frigging six years old. All I cared about when I was that age was break-times and television. Yet there is still this weird aspect of trying to talk down to their level without feeling stupid or overly patronising. If I don't make a good impression, they'll all hate us, rise up against us and eat our brains. Screw tripos exams. Handling six year olds is bloody tough going.

Have fun with your PGCE, sis. I really don't envy you whatsoever.

Still, we're going back in tomorrow for a proper session where we take the lead and we're giving them a presentation (MET prepares us to give presentations to peers and board members, but I feel horribly unprepared and nervous about talking in front of a bunch of kids). Then we're going back next week to make model hutches with them and we'll also be talking to some Year 5 kids. With potential mutinies and brain-eating aside, it should be good fun.

Also, we're quite possibly getting an actual live guinea pig to use as our... guinea pig when it comes to finding out what can really be improved with current hutches and testing out our prototype hutches.

Basically, MET is fucking awesome.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

January Transfers

I was fairly busy yesterday, so didn't really get the opportunity to follow the deadline day dealings as much as I'd have liked, but our outing was cancelled this morning so I've had an hour or so to digest it since.

The biggest two transfers both involve Liverpool: £50m for Torres to go to Chelsea, and £35m for Andy Carroll to come from Newcastle. There was also the signing of Luis Suarez from Ajax for £23m.

Suarez I feel we've gotten a decent deal for. We've paid a fair bit of money, but from what I've seen he's a good striker, and he's about the sort of age where a £20m price tag doesn't seem too horrific. If he can stay reasonably clear of injuries and maybe stop trying to eat opposition players then he could be a reasonably good signing. Even by Saturday there was a chant (sent to me by my Dad) for his probable replacement of Torres...

We bought him from the Netherlands, Suarez, Suarez,
He likes to bite you on the neck, Suarez, Suarez,
He plays in goal, he plays up front,
He's better than the other cunt,
Luis Suarez, Liverpool number nine

Somewhat spoiled now by the fact that he's going to be playing in the number seven shirt.

With the announcement that Torres might be leaving at the start of the weekend, I was somewhat disappointed. With the announcement that we could be receiving as much as £50m for him, less so. Torres has been a fantastic player in his time here, and he is one of the greatest strikers in the world right now, but I really don't think he's worth as much as £50m. He seems to have a petulant streak, and can be prone to pretty lacklustre performances when he doesn't seem in the mood for it. Not to mention the fact that he's spent the majority of the last 12-18 months being injured.

I don't begrudge him for wanting to leave either. He's pretty much at the peak of his career right now, and the odds of Liverpool being in the Champions League next season are pretty damn slim. If it wasn't for the lifelong Liverpool fan aspect, I'd probably do the exact same thing if I were in his shoes. I'd prefer he leave for a ton of money now, than for him to remain disgruntled for another year or so and leave for a far smaller fee further down the line, with less contract remaining.

This whopping £50m fee from Chelsea has been massively offset by the Carroll deal, however. We've ripped off Chelsea and made a reasonable profit on Torres, and then just poured all that money into letting Newcastle rip us off. Carroll is a good player, but he's not a £35m player. You can buy a Tevez, or a David Villa for that sort of money.

I guess the main argument is that while Carroll isn't worth £35m to Liverpool, he's almost certainly worth that to Newcastle, given they've sold their main supply of goals on the last day of the transfer window, and that could seriously drop them into the relegation battle.

The positives for the Carroll deal would be that he's fairly young, and despite his impressive goal tally this season, has almost certainly yet to hit his peak. He's also the sort of physical, tough striker that we've been lacking for as long as I can remember, and it'll be nice to have someone who is dangerous attacking corners and who isn't also a centre-back leaving our defence exposed to a counter-attack. Again, the real hope is that he stays clear of injuries and keeps himself clean off the pitch, and the potential is that the £35m gamble will pay off. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.