All posts by laursenavfc

A weekend of Football

I watched a host of fixtures this weekend (16th & 17th March 2019), such as Leeds United vs Sheffield United, Wolves vs Manchester United and Aston Villa Ladies vs West Ham Women. But nothing compares to getting off that couch and away from the television screen, to truly spectate an event. This weekend those two games for me were Aston Villa vs Middlesbrough and St Johns vs Northside.

Aston Villa 3-0 Middlesbrough

Copyright @JackGrealish1

In this infuential fixture in the promotion play off race Villa came out with an important 3 nil win. Goals from El Ghazi, McGinn and Adomah sealed three points to ensure the Lions roared their way into 6th place. Whilst Middlesborough are on a slippery slope, as they just about hold 5th place and have a game in hand.

El Ghazi opened the scoring for the home side inside 28 minutes. A through diagonal pass from starman McGinn carved open the Boro defence. El Ghazi’s left footed finish across the face the goal, proved too much for former Birmigham City goalkeeper Darren Randolph. The second goal came on the stroke of half time, as many strolled off for their half time pie and beer. A wonderful team move started by Neil Taylor and converted by McGinn meant Boro had to overcome a two goal deficit in the second half.

The second half was much like the home game against Derby, where chances were few and far between. Tammy Abraham came into light later on in the second half and more chances came about, but not clinical enough. The only goal of the second half was a tap in for substitute Albert Adomah, after Randolph fumbled a feeble effort from returning man Keinan Davis. The final whistle blew soon enough and the claret and blue faithful are now unbeaten in six, after winning their last four.

St Johns 7-0 Northside

St Johns keeper taking a kick.

Again a very convincing win for the home side, this time in the Baylis Cup. This Sunday League fixture brought all kinds of weather, from wind and rain to sunshine. Believe it or not the game was much more even to start with as away side had their own chances. Silly me who arrived a few minutes late however, did not realise St Johns had took an early lead. St Johns went into their brief half time break with a 3 nil lead, after two strikes beat the keeper down to his right.

The game continued in similar vain with goals coming thick and fast for the home team in the second half. The 4th goal left the defence frustrated, with a beautiful lobbed effort. The 5th goal was a tap in after save parried straight to the feet of a pouncing player. A comical trip from a chasing defender allowed a surging run down the left flank to continue with ease. A weak cross was put into the six yard box yet an own goal was conceded. The game concluded at 7-0 after an outstanding, picturesque volley (Imagine Grealish vs Derby and you have a pretty good idea!) was scored from a corner.

6 Underappreciated tracks from Green Day.

Green Day have always been my favourite band. They were the one to truly introduce me to rock music. The first band or artist really, where I would thoroughly listen to the album and the b sides if you wish. Many people may only know the ‘classics’ such as ‘Basket Case’ and ‘American Idiot’. Across their 12 studio albums in their 33 year old lustrous career, spans a variety of underappreciated and lesser known anthems. It’s only fair that I consider a few of my favourites…

Poprocks and coke

Poprocks and coke is a previously unreleased offering on 2001’s ‘International Superhits’ . The song is about a boy that continues to pursue and confess his love for a girl bhe girl does not feel the same way. “I don’t care if you don’t mind I’ll be there not far behind” shows the extent of how far this boy goes, despite the fact that she simply does not care. The song title originates as a metaphor for explosion that is believed to occur between consuming pop rocks (popping candy) and soda at the same time.

Tired of Waiting For You

This cover version of a classic by The Kinks came almost 30 years later, as a b side on ‘Basket Case’. 8 years later it received an official release on 2002’s Shenanigans. I enjoy The Kinks myself, so when I stumbled onto Green Days cover, I was delighted. The 2 and a half minute track is well worth your time, regardless of your allegiances.


This effort from Insomniac is one of my personal favourites. Green Day started out at 924 Gilman street but after signing for Reprise (a major record label), they were banned from playing the venue. The term ’86’ed’ means to get rid of something through ejecting it. The band did later come back for a show on the 924 gilman street scene, in 2015. They (as well as other bands on major labels, such as The Offspring and AFI) require special approval to be allowed entry. The song did not feature on the boundless 23 track setlist and hasn’t featured in a live set since 2017.


One of the lengthier tracks on Green Day’s critically acclaimed 2000 studio album ‘Warning’. Man fans do not seem to connect with this LP, which opts for a more acoustic, folk and pop sound. The album is rarely considered in their liveset but for other fans tracks like ‘Castaway’ show a diverse side to the punk rock band. The song is ‘upbeat and catchy’ which is what a lot of us need. My personal favourite from one of my favourite albums. Also check out; Church On Sunday, Hold On and Blood, Sex and Booze.

Favorite son

This song containing rage and hatred, is a b side on 2004’s major seller ‘American Idiot’. This for me, is a track strong enough to be on the main track listing. It fits the political concept and context very well, and is a strong effort from the Billie Joe, Mike and Tre. Check it out immediately.

The Forgotten

For me, the Uno, Dos, Tre era was very underrated. Releasing 3 albums at once was a bold move, that did not seem to pay off for a lot of fans. They felt that one album would have been sufficien, comprising of the highlights from the trilogy. Despite the questionable choices, a range of hits that target different genres were born. The Forgotten may be ‘forgotten’ to some fans, but this is just one of the many finer points (for me personally) from the triology. Bilie Joe dials down his anger and punk rock nature on this 5 minute album closer (Tre), to deliver a more romantic tone. A must listen from 2012’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2.

Things every fresher should know in their first year.

It is your first year at University. You may be away from your loved ones for the first time, which sounds daunting. But at the same time, you are enthusiastic about a completely new and exciting adventure. You can plan and get a rough idea of what University is like but speaking as a first year myself, there are just some things that you can’t forsee. Some of these points are covered here, which I am positive any university students reading this, may have come to terms with at some point.

Friendships are not always forever

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You will potentially meet some of your best friends at University, but not everyone out there will be good for you, or as supportive as you think. It is too easy to latch onto the first person you meet and although this can develop into worthwhile friendships, other times it doesn’t. The pressure to make friendships so quickly with the likes of ‘freshers week’is immense, but don’t be fooled as there is no need to panic. The majority of us are here for three years which gives us plenty of time to develop the true friendships. Go to clubs, societies and events! You’ll be surprised how many fanstastic people you can meet with similar interests.

Dealing with drama

man pouring coffee in white mug

Drama is not worth it. You can’t get on with everyone on a true level, but you can be civil. We are all adults so to speak and sometimes you just have to ‘suck it up’ and tolerate others. Whilst other times admittedly, it can be much healthier to leave this person completely. If like me you prefer a much more relaxed environment, then it can be much better for you to distance yourself from drama. Of course though this can be difficult if you’re seeing this person regularly, so tred with caution. This is why I think being civil enough to get by can help, as things can get real awkward, real fast. This is not worth it at all!

You don’t need to ‘go out’ to make or maintain friendships

I’m a firm believer that there is someone out there for everyone, and that you don’t have to compromise your integrity or your individuality to fit in. You have your housemates and coursemates already, but you can also branch off into joining clubs and societies. Immediately you already share one common interest of what the club is all about, whether that be anything from harry potter to football. I can guarentee there is a society for almost anything. If not you have the option to find these people and create a new society. This can work a lot better for the more introverted of us or those with social anxiety, or even just people who prefer peace. If you like to meet in the middle then perhaps pubs, where alcohol is available yet in a more sociable environment.

Seek all the help you can get

woman reaching hand above water during daytime photo

All Universities should have an extensive range of support available for students, regardless of having a disability or not. No one there should be there trying to catch you out as everyone is there to support your learning. Personally I have been guilty of just getting on with things myself as I’m very self motivated and driven in that manner. I have generally been getting great grades so I never really thought about it. It wasn’t till roughly half way through first year that I truly understood what I needed help with and the benefits of seeking this assistance. Whether it be academically, mentally, socially or physically, there are things you can do to benefit yourself. Don’t bury your head in the sand. At the end of the day you’re here to get the best education possible, so ask questions and seek help at every opportunity.

Extra courses and qualifications

man and woman sitting on chairs

Despite different gradings, everyone will be finishing with a degree. You need something that will set you apart from the rest,to give you an advantage over the chasing pack. In reading or progression weeks, universities can offer courses and qualifications that can further your learning. I have taken part in a range of different sporting ones that are relevant to me, such as tennis and tri-golf. These courses are quite introductory in nature, whilst giving me a brief summary and insight into them. This has improved my confidence as well as experience for a CV. Studying abroad is also offered by universities, to develop experience and skills in your chosen field.

Don’t waste your money on books!

assorted-title novel book lot

As shocking as this sub heading sounds, I can promise you it’s not contradictory. Universities have reading lists with exact books that they expect you to partially read from. Most of these academic sources are available online for free, whilst the others you can loan from the library. There is rarely if ever a need to experiment with flashy and expensive books. Look out at the start of the year for book sales, where books are sold for a miniscule price. I gained a lot of books for 50p each in a sale held by the University, which assisted me in getting an A grade in an assignment. Just be careful that the books are not too old as Universities prefer more up to date academic sources.

5 Songs that have addressed mental health.

Mental health has become more prevalent throughout the lyrical content of various artists. Mental health conditions such as depression affects approximately 300 million people (WHO, 2018). The openess of these artists to share their personal experiences can become inspiring and influential for others. The lyrics can give anyone the ability to identify with what is being said, and that they do not have to be alone with their own thoughts. There is also the healthy outlet for aggression, where for just a few minutes you would feel better shouting and screaming the words that you are struggling to pen down and speak. Because music can provide this healthy outlet, it is important to look at some of the songs that are contributing to this outspoken approach.

Paramore – Fake Happy

” I feel so fake happy, and I bet everybody here, is just as insincere, we’re all so fake happy, and I know fake happy” sings Hayley Williams, on track 5 of Paramore’s latest album After Laughter. Mental health can be a difficult thing to confront for ourselves, before even thinking about discussing it with another. It can become too easy to bottle up our genuine feelings and instead portray a completely different persona. What is important to remember is to stay true to ourselves and accept that is okay to not be okay.

Patent Pending – One Less Heart To Break

One Less Heart To Break, which was originally released on 2010 EP ‘I’m Not Alone’, is a song that addresses depression and suicide. The message shows that it is important to know that you can rise from your negative feelings and that things can get better in your life. “Just stay with me through one more night, because it’s always darkest before the light” gives hope through the dark times. Not everything in life in written for us and we can write our own destiny. Sometimes we just have to ride the wave, and come out stronger. Life is a process and we can all have a frustrating day, but we are all capable of pulling through.

As It Is – The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry) The song by the Brighton 5 piece targets the societal pressures that are placed on males. In the first verse, American born pop punk vocalist, Patty Walters sings “Just close your eyes and bite your tongue for now, don’t let them see you fall”. The stigma surrounding the gender stereotype of males is that they must be tough and strong . Expression emotions can therefore be difficult as men can be discouraged in order to meeet these gender norms. The song stands for transgressing against these societal pressures, so that their popular fanbase can feel comfortabe with their emotions.

All Time Low – Therapy

Vocalist Alex Gaskarth told Teen TV that “Therapy” is about every kids’ nightmare. When people are telling you to get help, but all you really want is a hug. His passion in this song is evident as the intensity of his voice increases throughout. The issue with therapy is that not everyone is ready to confront their feelings. In the chorus, “Therapy, I’m a walking travesty but I’m smiling at everything” hints that it may not work for everybody, whilst others may need reassurance and support. The most reassuring thing can be developing this rapport with someone, so that they can help facilitate one anothers succees and wellbeing.

Real Friends – Short Song

I could have mentioned a range of songs but I decided to go with one of my personal favourites from the Illinois pop punk / emo outfit. The song is under 2 minutes long but within this time packs an emotional punch. In the track Dan Lambton screams “And in life we’re gonna cry, In life we’re gonna lose sleep, We’re gonna feel helpless but thats how its got to be”. In similar vain to ‘One Less Heart to Break’, Real Friends illustrate that we can face troubles that we must come out stronger from. Perserving in the face of adversity is a pivital component of this, as we strive for success. Despite the sleepness nights and tears, this is not forever and we can come out stronger.

I hope you all enjoyed reading this. Let me know in the comments what you thought and if I should do a part 2. I have loads more songs I would love to share with you. Remember to look after your mental health at all times and keep going. I’m so proud of you.

Living with a hidden disability.

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Hidden disabilities are not obviously visible to the glancing eye and as a result can provide the individual with various different complications.
Hidden disabilities encompass a range of disabilities, such as chronic pain, depression, anxiety, autism and ADHD. The frustrations include wanting to be seen as an individual, but also having to accepting your differences and trying to seek the help you need.

Communicating and seeking help can be extremely difficult for someone with anxiety or autism, whom might struggle to make their point confidently or clearly enough. It is great acknowledging that you require that extra support, but sometimes it can be a little overwhelming trying to arrange it. Some people may never get diagnosed whilst those that are diagnosed, may be treated unfairly if those in charge are unaware.They might just expect you to get on with a ‘simple’ task (such as answering a question), but without truly understanding your needs, this could well be your worst nightmare.

Those with a hidden (invisible) disability may experience that sympathetic feeling less often than those with a visible disability. For instance lifts and ramps are in place for wheelchair users, as their limitations are made apparent. Whereas those who have sensory impairments may require similar support of private space, such as in avoiding noisy and uncomfortable environments. Regardless of whether or not a disability is visible or invisible, it is important never to invalidate someones feelings or troubles, as they are equally important.

But how can we as a member of society conceptualize ideas for understanding these needs?

Could we enforce more testing methods in schools to search for and unearth hidden disabilities? The child and parents may even be unaware themselves. For instance Anne Hegarty, (quiz master and former I’m A Celebrity contest) was only diagnosed with aspergers syndrome in 2005 – making her 46/47 years of age at the time. This can be a confusing and stressful time without a diagnosis, as it is too easy to misinterpret one’s behaviours and feelings. The easy yet ignorant option could be to assume that the individual is poorly behaved, but this doesn’t build rapport or help them unearth their potentially justified compications.

In my opinion, all teachers and parents must be incorporated with the skills to understand hidden disabilities and the individuals who experience them. Some are congenital whilst others are acquired, which is why it is important to be appropriately equipped early on. A child and their parent must build trust with one another through understanding, which can foster their development. No one wants to be treated unfairly in society, whereas this knowledge can be beneficial in integrating a disabled person successfsuly into society.

5 tips for improving your mental health.

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Mental health is an important aspect of an individuals well-being, that must be cared for thoroughly. Particularly throughout work and education, which I believe as a university student myself can fluctuate quite quickly. Therefore a lot of this will be based around that context, as I share five things (there are countless more options that work for different people) that personally help me or could help others in being healthy.

  1. Exercise – Regardless of ability or fitness level, the intensity can be adapted to suit the indiviudal. It is easy to stress when caught up in a great workload, but even walking outside (in hopefully bright sunshine) can be enough to take your mind off of whats troubling you. This can also be done with a friend to offer a social aspect and motivation, so you avoid becoming buried in your textbooks experiencing burnout.

2. Diary / Mood tracker – If like me, you can struggle to see the positives of a day sometimes, then downloading an app such as ‘daylio’ can be an excellent method of logging and assessing your days. You can rate your days with one click of an emoji, click what activities you did in the day and write notes. It logs it all so anytime you’re questioning yourself, you can go back and view what you did well.

3. Music – Sometimes as much as we enjoy socialising, we just need to be on our own for a while to recover and recharge. This is perfectly okay and music can come in different genres to suit your different moods. When I’m in a good mood I tend to listen to indie rock or pop music, anything catchy enough to spark my attention. Whereas when you’re down in the dumps, perhaps ‘sad’ or uplifting songs can give you hope through relating to the lyrics.

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4. Speak up – If you’re speaking to the right people then they will be happy to help you, but to do this you must help yourself first. It is okay not to be okay and the first step is communicating. This can be tough but relieving when you find that special person who understands you. Bottling up your feelings will lead to them eventually pouring out. So whenever it gets a little too much, take a step back and reflect, then reach out. You do not have to face anything alone.

Image result for supportive friends

5. Try new activities – Try not to get stuck in your comfort zone. We all love it for a reason! But it’s so healthy to branch out and try new things, you may even meet new people. I try to be as open minded but I do admit some things can be a stretch too far (such as me having to do Dance with absolutely no skill whatsoever), so it can help you if its in an area you are somewhat familiar with. For me this is sport and exercise, which has numerous societies where you can meet new people with a common interest. These societies also exist for non sport too, and I seriously joining at least one if you can.

Football hooliganism: What can be done to reduce its prevalence?

On 10th March 2019 in a football match between local rivals Birmingham City and Aston Villa, a Birmingham City fan encroached onto the St Andrews pitch. He headed for Aston Villa talisman and captain Jack Grealish with malicious intent, targetting him with a potentially jaw breaking punch. The hostility in a derby match like this was expected, with Birmingham midfielder Kieftenbeld being booked inside 4 minutes for a rash tackle on Grealish. The hostility should never result to violence and hooliganism, or any athlete fearing for their own safety.

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Grealish being targetted by the spectator, who has now been arrested according to West Midlands Police.

Thankfully the instrumental player of the claret and blue faithful was well enough to continue, later scoring the only goal of the game in the 67th minute. After starting with a horrific scare it soon became a day to remember, as he has now scored in both league fixtures against the Blues this season. It was also the Englishmans 2nd appearance as Villa captain, being a boyhood dream to lead out his favourite club.

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Jack Grealish celebrating after his goal led Villa to a one nil win over bitter rivals Birmingham City.

Some would say karma caught up with Birmingham City after the antics of one individual, whom they’ve now issued a life time ban to. The standard reaction to football hooliganism generally involves arrests and bans, but is this alone enough to combat such a prevalent issue? Gary Neville (@GNev2) calls out for a points deduction or a stadium ban for 10 games, to act as a deterrent. In my opinion it is difficult to punish an entire football club for the actions of one person, but something must be done so horrific issues like this can be eridicated.

The individual won’t be stepping foot into St Andrews again but who is to blame? Should individuals be educated further? Potentially through explaining the serious reprecussions they could be faced with. Or could those in charge of security be more protecting? We do not have fences in the stadia to block pitch access, with fans safety a priority. Stewards are in place in their numbers for derby matches particularly, to guard the pitch and monitor crowds. Although when issues of pitch invasions are a persistent issue, should safety concerns be revisited?

I’m interested to hear your views. This kind of reckless behaviour can not be tolerated on a sports field or anywhere in society. Do comment your views and opinions on the matter of football hooliganism, and how you think the safety of players can be improved.

Who am I?

I am absolutely awful at introducing myself but here goes…

I’m currently a 22 year old male from England, who is guilty of being a little opinionated from time to time. I am here to share my thoughts on just about anything, whether it is something I’m passionate about or whether or not it grinds my gears! Some of the things I will talk about will involve my hobbies which include music and sport. I’m at University studying to become a Physical Education teacher at the moment. Therefore expect some University related articles to help you to survive your studies!

This is my first shot at setting up a blog but its an idea I’ve been contemplating for a while. Despite the shocking sporty pun, this blog will not be exclusively sport content, instead catering for anything I fancy discussing. Although my username does originate from former footballer Martin Laursen who played for my favourite football team Aston Villa. I’m an avid football fan all the way up from Sunday League and Non-League, so expect to hear stories of away days and big clashes!

Throughout this blog I will be open and honest as I can be, as I document my personal experiences and struggles. One huge aspect of my personality and life is living with autism, which brings an interesting journey that I hope you will take with me.

Please do tell your family and friends about my new adventure. It is something I’m excited about and would love to share to a wider audience.

Thank you for reading.

P.S. My Twitter is @sleeeponit if you ever want to get in contact for whatever reason, such as topic ideas or tips you’d like me to discuss.