Inverness Caledonian Thistle Have Named Their New Mascot Lionel Nessi

[Orginally published in SPORTbible]

No one knows why football clubs have mascots, nor how the concept of them ever first came into existence – but have them they do.

You will be hard-pressed to find a side without one nowadays. These oddly dressed figurines are usually found pacing around the pitch during matchday but they vary in shape and size: some lanky and happy, some stumpy and grouchy, while some are just plain bizarre.

However, this latest mascot has come to public attention because of it’s uncanny resemblance to quite a famous footballing star.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi

Last weekend Scottish Championship team Inverness Caledonian Thistle (ICTFC) unveiled their own mascot named Lionel Nessi.

You see, if you didn’t realise the gag here, it’s almost like the player and global superstar Lionel Messi’s name, only the N has replaced the M, with reference to the Loch Ness monster, Nessy- a thousand year multi-ton monster which, somehow, some people still bewilderingly believe is actually a real thing.

Ah, maybe we’re being too cynical in our moderately youthful age.

 

The name is actually a fairly cute idea and one that originated from a couple of supporters at the club’s fan forum.

ICTFC Chairman Graham Rae explained that loyal season ticket holders Bob and Kath Fraser conjured up the name Lionel Nessi – further proof that all the best ideas start with the fans and rarely in a boardroom.

“I was immediately taken with the idea,” said Rae. “Nessie lives right on our doorstep and draws thousands of tourists from throughout the world to our area every year. For the football context, Lionel Messi is one of the best players ever to have played the game. Messi rhymes with Nessie – and so we have the splendid combination of Lionel Nessi.”

It’s not the first time Scotland has received national attention through their football club’s mascot. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Partick Thistle’s mascot, Kingsley.

If you have never stumbled across this little fella before you might be in for quite a shock. We don’t know what’s more concerning: the fact that Kingsley’s still going, or the fact that people once sat in a room together and conceptualised this absolute monstrosity.

Even still, there are no signs of the mascots ever weaning, particularly not in Scotland.

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Cesc Fabregas Discusses Having To Train Against Lionel Messi

[Originally published in SPORTbible]

We’re no professional footballers, but we’d imagine trying to defend against Lionel Messi is a little like trying to replicate Michelangelo’s ceiling painting in the Sistine Chapel with oven mitts superglued to your hands; any attempt is futile and you’ll just end up making a very large mess of things.

However, we do now have some insight from someone who is a professional player, and who did, on several occasions, defend against the Argentine maestro.

Cesc Fabregas was speaking to TyC Sports about his former days at Barcelona with the world’s greatest. (That’s Messi, by the way. Ronaldo fanboys, the close button is far right of the tab.)

The two players spend time together in Catalonia during the true halcyon days of Guardiaolism and tika-taka football.

“There’s one story which stays with me, others I can’t tell you,” said a tight-lipped Fabregas, presumably not wanting to discuss all the occasions Messi utterly humiliated him.

“I had to defend against him and you know he’s going to the left, and he does, but he still makes me fall to the floor.”

Messi leaving defenders in his wake. Image: PA Image
Messi leaving defenders in his wake. Image: PA Image

Don’t worry, you’re nothing special, Fabregas. You can add yourself amongst a countless list of names that Messi has done that to.

In fact, the list has become so exhaustive that rumour has it you are never no less than 20 metres away from someone who was once ‘Messi-dropped.’

The former Barcelona man is holding no grudges, though, as he’s come out to defend the 30-year-old global superstar after the five-time Ballon d’Or winner received a bunch of criticism for his underachievements with his international club.

The pair have played together at Barca and against each other. Image: PA Images
The pair have played together at Barca and against each other. Image: PA Images

It’s one thing to drag a team along, it’s another to drag a whole country along, guys.

Fabregas added, “When everyone lauds him for what he does, it doesn’t seem normal to me that in [Argentina] they criticise him so much,”

“I can’t understand it because it’s where he should be valued the most.”

Not bad. If only Fabregas defended Messi as well as this on the pitch.

Words by Jacque Talbot.

Usain Bolt Scores In Borussia Dortmund Training Whilst On Trial

We all imagined it could never possibly happen, but it actually has. The world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, has scored just his first goal for Borussia Dortmund.

Sorry, if you have no idea what I’m talking about. Please, let me fill you in. If you’re not up to speed and have been asleep for the past few years, basically the world’s gone completely crazy.

Donald Trump’s the US president, Britain voted to leave the E.U, Ed Sheeran sang in Game of Thrones, and athletes like Bolt can seemingly transition to other sports perfectly fine. (Arsene Wenger is still Arsenal manager, though. Sorry.)

It seems today that once you’re a professional athlete in a single profession, you’re capable of doing pretty much any other sport you like, without concerning yourself with the vigorous hard-work and multiple years of practice that comes with it.

You aren't supposed to go from this to being a footballer. Image: PA Images
You aren’t supposed to go from this to being a footballer. Image: PA Images

Trampoliners can turn boxers, cricketers can become basketball players, UFC fighters can box the world’s greatest boxers and track athletes can be footballers, no sweat.

Well, that’s what seems apparent after seeing the Jamaican sprinter Bolt in his first training session with Dortmund. The training was live streamed and even open to some of the public.

A pass was dinked through to the 31-year-old and he caught the keeper off-guard with a clever little glancing nod. Superb.

Thousands tuned into the stream, and they all thought he would fail, hopelessly. They thought that he would get his legs all tangled up over the ball and fall over like a very uncoordinated and confused robot in the middle of an ice rink.

But, no. Bolt has gone scored a neat little header in the session, and we’re a little stunned.

Why does Jon Venables Continue to be Granted Anonymity?

Jon Venables and his friend Robert Thompson were only ten when they tortured and murdered two-year-old James Bulger at a disused train station in Liverpool.

It was a sickening crime that shocked the nation, not only because it involved the torture and death of a young child, but also because the perpetrators were so young.

The crime was so abhorrent, in fact, that it’s still a controversial and heated topic to this day.

Not least because Venables, after being granted anonymity and given a brand new identity after serving eight years in prison, continues to be granted anonymity.

This is despite being convicted on two occasions for possessing child pornography.

On his first conviction in 2010, he was sentenced to two years imprisonment for downloading and distributing child porn. The second time, just this month, he was sentenced to 40 months in prison after pleading guilty to possessing than 1,000 indecent images of children.

However, the now 35-year-old Venables is controversially still allowed to maintain his anonymity.

Tom Wainwright, a barrister for 13 years, tells LADbible why: “”When they are deciding whether to grant an injunction, the judge always has to weigh up a number of competing concerns.”

“This can include the concern of freedom of the press to publish the information, the public interest, the effect or risk on the person’s life or family if their real identity became public knowledge. But most importantly, the risk of the person being attacked or killed if their new identity was revealed,” Wainwright says.

There is a fear that if Venable’s identity was to be made public, there would be a serious chance of vigilantes attempting to harass or even seriously harm him or his family. This point was a highly important factor in the High Court judge deciding to continue Venables injunction in 2010, after his further offence.

“Children who commit serious offences attract even more interest and also have more chance of being released from prison at some point. This is why most of the cases involve individuals who have committed crimes when very young.”

“The more serious the crimes they have committed, the greater the press interest and the greater the risk of serious harm being caused to them if their details are published,” Wainwright says.

But some feel that Venables has blown his right to anonymity. And with regard to his crimes, they feel that he is a potential risk to children, so his identity should be exposed to the public.

They also make the case that Venables has already been handed two brand new identities, after telling friends that he was a convicted killer when his mental state had reportedly become fragile.

“Granting lifelong anonymity is a very exceptional decision for the courts to make. It’s also, ironically, only particularly notorious offenders who are likely to be granted such an order,” says Wainwright.

And none have become more notorious in recent history than the case of Bulger’s murder. It’s a discussion that will surely wage on for years to come.

It’s Easier to Buy a Gun Than a Beer in America

The devastating shooting at a high school in Florida last week, in which 14 students and three members of staff were killed by a lone gunman firing a legally purchased AR-15 rifle, is reportedly America’s eighth mass school shooting from this year alone.

With every killing spree that occurs in the country, the more calls there are for the government to tighten up on gun laws.

The trouble is that in America, bearing arms is considered a human right and is even written in its Constitution under the Second Amendment.

It has been argued that this is the reason why these attacks are so persuasive – but there are other theories too.

One of them is the low age at which citizens are able to purchase weapons. In America, you have to be 21 before you can legally purchase alcohol, and yet, in some states, the legal age to buy a rifle can be as low as 14.

Not only is the legal age considerably low, but also it’s frighteningly easy to buy a gun in America.All it takes is for you to head into a gun store, make your choice, undergo a background check – which can be completed in as little as a few minutes – and then, voila! You can walk out a proud owner of a gun.

If you want to buy an alcoholic beverage, however, you will have a much tougher time. America imposes strict drinking laws, with a majority of states even prohibiting the consumption and possession of alcohol in public places so you could be arrested on the street for just bringing a bottle of WKD round to your mate’s.

With guns, though, the laws in the States are much looser. Federal law says that licensed gun dealers cannot sell firearms to people under the age of 18 – however, there are variations of this law from state to state, and some states even bypass it entirely.

For example, in Vermont it’s legal to buy a gun at 16 without the consent of a parent or guardian, while in Minnesota you can legally buy a gun as young as 14, as long you make your purchase outside a city.

If maths isn’t your strong suit, that means in some states, as an adolescent, you can buy a powerful rifle, such as the AR-15 rifle reportedly used in Florida, perfectly fine – but you will need to wait another seven years to be allowed to buy a can of beer.

It’s no wonder, then, why some feel these laws have become a case of tradition and history prevailing over logic and safety.

Drone Enthusiast Says Sky’s the Limit with Manchester Development

A Salford drone enthusiast has become a social media hit after posting panoramic views of Manchester’s ever-changing skyline.
Nathan Fearne, 32, from Walkden, recently set up his own channel on video sharing website, YouTube, to post birds-eye footage of the city taken from the 360-degree camera on board the remotely operated aircraft.
He’s one of a growing number of people that have taken advantage of the technology in recent years to take aerial photos and video.
Nathan said: “I just wanted to show Manchester and its surroundings from another wider angle, I’m completely fascinated with the technology.”
“I believe with these improved ways of taking photographs and videos are arising, and I believe that we are better for it, too.
“That’s not to say the old ways are bad or that they don’t have a place because they do.
“But drones give you an angle that you would only otherwise get from a helicopter – so money is the key to their popularity.”
Over 450 people have subscribed to his channel.
Despite growing concerns the city is being gentrified and losing its historical feel, Nathan says he has no problem with the transformation taking place of the city.
He added: “I’m in the building trade, so I’m happy with the changes to Manchester’s Skyline.”
“I want it to continue until we look like somewhere like Seattle or Atlanta. I know it will boost our international image, which means more jobs and prosperity and that is great for everyone here.”

The Tragic ‘Crisis’ Of Kenya’s Rhino Cemetery

[Originally published in LADbible]

The Rhino Memorial in Laikipia, Kenya serves as a harsh reminder of the devastating effects of wildlife poaching. Situated inside the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the graveyard now has 16 tombstones, each in memory of a poached rhino.

A lucrative black market means that the illegal trade is rife in Africa, and it has negative consequences not just to animals, but to local communities and the environment as well.

The desperate need to draw attention to endangered rhinos by creating a recognised place of burial becomes even more understandable when you learn that the conservancy homes the last three northern white rhinos in the world. And the 113 black rhinos residing there are a species now considered ‘critically endangered’. It’s a tragic situation.

“Poaching is caused by human greed and has escalated in recent years,” spokeswoman for Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Elodie Sampere, tells LADbible.

Credit: Ol Pejeta Conservancy
Credit: Ol Pejeta Conservancy

“It’s mainly being driven by the demand for rhino horn in Asian countries. But if we stop the demand, we stop the poaching. It’s really as simple as that.”

On the tombstones, rhinos have their own epitaphs, detailing how they were slain. It’s by reading them that you can learn that one of the buried, a 20-month pregnant rhino named Ishrini, suffered agonising pain as she killed by poachers. She was slayed by poisonous arrows and then had her horns cut off, presumably for profit.

“We feel it’s very important for people to understand how rhinos are dying. We think that by writing how they died, it will add a bit of ‘shock value’, and will help people understand that we are in a crisis when it comes to rhinos,” says Sampere.

Today, the chilling setting is a warning of the impact of poaching, but it was initially founded because of a rhino called Morani, who was one of the first black rhinos to be brought to the conservancy.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy
Ol Pejeta Conservancy

“For 19 years, Morani was a fantastic draw for Ol Pejeta visitors,” Sampere tells us. “His good nature and willingness allowed them to get a hands-on experience and an insight into the day-to-day life of a black rhino. During visits, the young and old were educated about the plight of black rhinos in Africa, and what must be done to ensure their survival.”

When Morani died of old age, he became an ambassador for the non-profit conservancy, and so was buried with his own tombstone. This brought about the rhino memorial, which has been ongoing for 10 years.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy
Ol Pejeta Conservancy

However, not all of the deceased rhinos are able to be brought to the area of burial, as the place where they died was too far to drag their heavy bodies. Even still, a tombstone is formed in their honour and planted at the graveyard in order to remember them and in the hope of bringing more awareness to the issue.

“Creating awareness is the most important thing we can do,” Sampere says. “Populations that ‘consume’ rhino horn need to be educated. Governments need to be made aware of the crisis and put laws in place to stop the poaching.”

If you wish to help the Ol Pejeta rhino programme, you can donate here. http://www.olpejetaconservancy.org/support-us/