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Now in its fourth year and its second in the city centre Leicester’s Cosmopolitan Carnival continues to go from strength to strength. Already a key component of City Festival, numbers attending this year were visibly higher, well into five figures and estimated at aound 15,000.


Unlike other events around the city it does not focus on a narrow cultural group but ambitiously strives to embrace all cultures through multiple art forms and to promote mutual understanding by breaking down racial stereotypes and prejudices. In some cases this is pure performance, in others it is participatory, seeking to engage, entertain and, dare I say, educate in a positive way.


There is something for everyone at this event whatever age or background and its multi-location format means that there is always something happening throughout the day. The main stage is in Jubilee Square but moving around the site this year was made easier with the secondary performance area being based on the recently completed Cathedral Gardens instead of St. Martin’s Square, thereby making the whole event feel far more connected. Cathedral Gardens made for a pleasant oasis of calm ideal for comedy, spoken word and the sophisticated musical sounds of Hari Trivedi’s tabla, Chinese musicians from the Confucius Institute, Ayolah Hanley and The Kaine Mass Choir. 


The High Street dance zone was again popular with the audience regularly four or five deep craning to get a view: Impressive for its sheer diversity. Bollywood, Bhangra and belly-dancing gave a flavour of the east, whilst capoeira and samba from Brazil together with Cuban and Afro-Cuban offerings looked westward. Throw in the Carnival Procession, a Chinese Lion Dance, some Vegas showgirls, a variety of street and break dancers and some gipsy moves and you get the idea. Also on the High Street you could learn and practice some African drumming skills, therapeutic and fun in equal measure. Around the rest of the Carnival site there were other opportunities to learn a variety of new skills ranging from Calligraphy, Rangoli and printing through to juggling and circus tricks.


Jubilee Square’s main stage offered a very different experience this year. In 2014 the event largely featured local musicians who have achieved some national prominence, such as Bizzi Dixon, By the Rivers, Curtis Clacy and Carol Leeming, whereas 2015 offered a mixture of up and coming local bands nominated by some of the city’s foremost music venues combined with some international acts. Anjelica Baylor from the U.S.A. and New Zealand’s MTV award-winning Sola Rosa Sound System were among those more than ably supporting ever-reliable ska headliners, The Paradimes.

For 2016, I’m given to understand that the musical offering will be bigger, better and more diverse with more international acts and a multicultural slant to local acts. I’m looking forward to it already!


As darkness fell the day finished with a film projection onto the walls of the BBC Radio Leicester building enhanced by original music, fire dancers and accompanying pyrotechnics.


I enjoyed that. 









For the next four weeks 10th,17th,24th and 31st of January I will be hosting a show for the youth opportunity organisation Somewhere to _______  along with the East Midlands Co-ordinator Tina Barton. Listen in on 87.7FM in the Leicester area between 12 midday and 1p.m. every Thursday for ideas, project feedback and useful contact details. You can also listen on the internet at





Building on the success of CITIZENS' EYE, 7 Valleys Media & Management Ltd is helping to create CITIZENS' EAR, a new Web Radio Service for Leicester and the surrounding area. CITIZENS' EAR will be a broad-based, community-orientated and Non-Partisan station and is scheduled to launch in November 2012.

CITIZENS' EAR will actively 

  • Promote training and personal delelopment
  • Build relationships with educational, training and broadcasting organizations
  • Encourage participation from all sectors of the community and provide a platform for those who are struggling to be heard

CITIZENS' EAR will use trained presenters and will be quality controlled for content and relevance to provide an economical and sustainable service, attractive to listeners and advertisers alike.





A Fistful of Dardanelles



At the beginning of July I wrote an article in anticipation of Steven Pienaar completing his return to Everton. At the time I toyed with the title “For a Few Dollars More” as the two clubs enacted a footballing version of the Mexican stand-off. Over three weeks on, the “imminent” deal still hasn’t happened, despite everybody seemingly expecting it will. So why the delay?


The biggest sticking point remains the fee, with Everton unwilling to pay more for the player than they received just 18 months ago. The South African captain’s pay rate went up considerably when he joined the Lilywhites and it was Everton’s reluctance to pay that rate in the first place that allowed Spurs to snap him up originally.


That pay rate could actually be another factor in slowing down the deal. I have no specific knowledge of the loan terms, but with player contracts typically running from 1st July to 30th June of the following year it’s perfectly possible that the shared salary period has ended and Tottenham might now be picking up the entire bill. Whatever the state of play on that front, the Toffees will be in no hurry to complete sooner than necessary if it impacts the payroll.


Initially, the Pienaar deal was seen as something more vital to Everton than Tottenham, and in many ways that remains the case, but the imperatives have changed in recent weeks. Jack Rodwell’s return to fitness and the pre-season form of youngsters Ross Barkley and Francisco Junior have increased David Moyes’s midfield options so that Tim Cahill’s transfer to NY Red Bulls earlier this week was seen as a “changing of the guard” rather than a worrying departure. Furthermore, Manchester United’s efforts to prise away Leighton Baines have abated of late with Sir Alex stating recently that he is happy to stick with Patrice Evra for a while longer; Evertonian fears of losing their attacking left-back if Pienaar doesn’t sign is real, but no longer desperate.


One thing that could really make it all happen would be for Everton to resolve the Joseph Yobo situation. The Nigerian skipper was only one year into a four year deal when loaned to Fenerbahce two summers ago, no longer guaranteed first team football at Goodison in competition for a central defensive slot with Jagielka, Heitinga and Distin. Initially it was a “no fee, wages only” deal with a view to a permanent move last summer, but the Turkish club baulked at Everton’s valuation of the player (believed to be around £3m) and a further year-long loan for £700,000 was agreed. This time round, and Yobo now into the final year of his contract, both Everton and the player want a definitive deal with the Turkish Cupwinners. The 31 year old defender has spent some time in the U.K this summer and though on Everton’s squad list he hasn’t been issued with a squad number as yet. Joseph and his wife Adaeze (a former Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria) are regarded as Nigeria’s most glamorous couple and enjoy their life on the Bosphorus, but Fenerbahce’s circumstances seem chaotic at present. The chairman was jailed at the start of July and recent reports from Turkey have linked them with a 15 million Euro move for Porto’s Rolando da Fonseca because Everton won’t let them have Yobo for next to nothing! Add to that the fact that ex Tottenham man Reto Zeigler (on loan from Juventus) is going through similar problems at Fene and you can get some idea of how difficult it must be to conclude a deal.


At the height of the “Baines to Old Trafford” speculation, Zeigler was mentioned as a possible replacement for the Everton No.3, but that may have been misinterpretation of Everton’s communications with the Turks over Yobo. There is also the suspicion that the Swiss International may not be a Moyes-type player with some question marks about his off-field attitude. Spurs sent him out on loan to Wigan, Hamburg SV, where Thomas Doll was fairly scathing, and ultimately Sampdoria who eventually made the move permanent. When Samp were relegated, Juventus snapped him up on a free transfer but almost immediately shipped him to Turkey on yet another loan. Fenerbahce reportedly paid him 2m Euro last year but look unlikely to renew. All in all I’m not convinced that the former Jacques Santini signing was even a blip on the Goodison radar.


If Everton can’t conclude a deal with Fenerbahce for Yobo, both Norwich and Leicester have been linked with the defender. Dropping a division to join Leicester is highly unlikely; Nigel Pearson likes no-nonsense central defenders and the similarly-talented Sol Bamba has already been sold this summer. Carrow Road is a more plausible destination, but the player really wants to live in a warmer climate and, if all else fails, I see him going out on loan for a third consecutive year. In the same way that Spurs are probably paying all of Pienaar’s wages just now, Everton have a similar situation with Yobo, so it’s not difficult to see why a move on one would help the other.

This now has all the signs of going down to the wire, but one way or another I still see Steven Pienaar playing in a blue shirt this season, whatever happens in Istanbul. 
Rob Macardle

Also published on and




By Rob Macardle, 7 Valleys Media & Management ã2012


What IS the problem with Peter Crouch?


Less than 48 hours after being pipped at the post for the Match of the Day Goal of the Season, the Stoke striker was omitted from Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2012 squad, usurped by a Liverpool player who had had eight decent weeks following fourteen months of mediocrity. The merits or otherwise of Andy Carroll are a whole new subject, but the treatment of Crouch by a variety of managers never ceases to bewilder. During his career he’s been transferred for a combined total north of £45m so a lot of people clearly rate him, but often sell him. True, he has shortcomings, more limited in the air than you’d expect and lacking in pace, but he’s good with his back to goal, tackles well, has a deft touch on the ground and his goals-per-game strike rate consistently hovers around 30%. When you consider that his International record is an even more impressive 22 goals from 42 appearances (many as substitute) it’s difficult to understand why he didn’t make the plane this summer.


The trouble with Crouchy is that nobody is quite sure what to do with him. Often referred to as an “option-player” he has become, to use City parlance, a Traded Option. The pattern started early in his career. Despite being capped for England Under-20’s he left Spurs without a first team appearance to his name and cost QPR just £60,000. The R’s were his boyhood favourites and he quickly became known as “Rodney” (after Trotter, not Marsh), netting 12 times in 47 appearances. Though popular with the fans Q.P.R. were relegated and gratefully accepted £1.5m from Portsmouth as they desperately reduced their outgoings. At Pompey in 2001/2 he scored every other game, causing manager Graham Rix to declare in a BBC interview “Peter is quality and he can only get better”. Others agreed and Graham Taylor paid £5m to take him to Aston Villa. After a bright start at Villa, he struggled to hold down a first team place and spent three months on loan at Norwich that gained him new admirers and a First Division Championship medal for 2003/4. His improved form continued back at Villa Park, but when Southampton put in a bid for him the Midlanders recouped only half their original investment.


Initially bought as back-up for James Beattie and Kevin Phillips, Harry Redknapp felt able to sell Beattie to Everton giving Crouch the opportunity to rebuild his career with 16 goals from 33 appearances, a return that was to earn him an England call-up in May 2005. Despite this, as at Q.P.R., relegation forced the Saints to review their finances and they were happy to accept £7m from Liverpool.


At Liverpool he was the subject of intense media scrutiny because of an initial goal drought. In 19 games, spanning four months, and despite some creditable performances, he didn’t score until early December when  managing two against Wigan. Several more followed including an F.A. Cup fifth round winner over Man.Utd en route to the dramatic Millenium Stadium victory against The Hammers. The following season started well with the headed winner against Chelsea in the 2–1 Charity Shield victory. Subsequently he became the club’s top scorer in an eventful season that included seven strikes in the Champions League campaign (only Kaka got more that year), a “perfect” hat-trick against Arsenal and a broken nose that required an operation. The arrival of Fernando Torres, amongst others, dropped him down the pecking order in 2007/8 but his good record in Europe continued with four in eight games including the “bookend” goals in the 8-0 burial of Besiktas.


Whilst life at Liverpool was not plain sailing, his England career flourished under Sven-Goran Eriksson and he was a key member of the 2006 World Cup squad. He scored freely, including a hat-trick in the 6-0 warm-up thrashing of Jamaica and continued when Steve McLaren took the reins. His ten goals in a single calendar year had not been achieved since the Twenties when it had been the preserve of “goal-machines” such as Dean and Camsell. It came as no great surprise, therefore, that Harry Redknapp decided to tempt him back to Fratton Park to spearhead Pompey’s first European foray. The number 9 duly obliged with braces against Guimaraes and Heerenveen, but once Harry moved to Spurs there was always the feeling that Crouch would follow Jermain Defoe back to White Hart Lane as Portsmouth’s finances deteriorated.


At Spurs the competition for places meant he was often left out or came off the bench, but he scored regularly in Europe and for the National side under Capello, so clearly the international game is more suited to his style. Goals for his current club, Stoke City, against Maccabi Tel Aviv and Besiktas tend to bear this out, whereas even with Etherington, Pennant and Delap providing aerial ammunition the league haul is less impressive. That said, he did win Player of the Season for the Potters and, unsurprisingly, Stoke’s Goal of the Season award.


It may be that Peter Crouch has finally found the right club for him, but for me those goal statistics tell a story (1 in 2 for European and International matches against 3 in 10 domestically) and a move to the Continent can’t be ruled out especially now that his International career has taken a turn for the worse. Of the “big” leagues, France would seem the best suited to his style of play and P.S.G., Lyon and Marseille could all afford to both pay his wages and provide regular European football. He also strikes me as the kind of guy who would personally thrive abroad. The suggestion will not go down well with Stoke fans, but my feeling is that this could really happen.





By Rob Macardle, 7 Valleys Media & Management ã2012


The prospective permanent return of Steven Pienaar to Everton is, on the face of it, a pretty straightforward deal. But, football being football, things are never that easy.


The bare bones of the story are that Tottenham paid around £2.5m when Everton were desperate to cash in before Pienaar’s contract ran out and now want £6m to send him back, all of which seems like good business for Spurs. Pienaar’s original reason for wanting to leave Everton had been the big wage differential between himself and co-midfielder Mikel Arteta. Quite how big a gap isn’t known, but Arteta apparently took a pay cut from £70k to £60k/wk when joining Arsenal. Furthermore, although much of the transfer dealing at Spurs was said to be out of Redknapp’s hands, the Pienaar deal was said to be very much a “Harry” and Daniel Levy went along with it because the outlay was relatively modest for such a top player. Allegedly, Levy was less than impressed when it didn’t work out and Pienaar was shipped back to Goodison on loan in order to defray some of his wage costs. Once  back on Merseyside, and earning more money than when he’d left, love and harmony were restored until Spurs slapped on the price tag, a figure not unrelated to the original fee plus the South African captain’s wages while at White Hart Lane. Everton are not exactly awash with money at present, but both clubs prepared to haggle.


Then everything went pear-shaped. Redknapp was sacked and Moyes was in the frame. Now Pienaar put the brakes on the deal; undying love for Everton was one thing but if Moyes went to Tottenham…….?  With Villas-Boas now confirmed as the new boss, Pienaar enquired about his potential future in Edmonton and the response  left him underwhelmed and anxious to sign on the dotted line once the transfer fee is fixed.


The price is important to Everton, not least because Hugo Rodallega is set to leave Wigan. On the face of it, he would appear to be beyond Everton’s budget, but they do have a few aces in the hole. Firstly, their wage bill is more manageable since Arteta, Saha, Bilyaletdinov, Drenthe and others have left the club. Secondly, getting Steven Naismith as a free agent from Rangers was something of a bonus, re-uniting the Scot with Nikica Jelavic at little cost. Most importantly, Roberto Martinez is an admirer of Victor Anichebe and would be prepared to do a part-exchange deal. Moyes has been reluctant to let “Big Vic” go in the past, but Naismith, like Anichebe, can play as striker or winger and whether Rodallega arrives or not, Anichebe could be surplus to requirements and pave the way for a permanent deal with Landon Donovan. All of which brings us back to Pienaar. Another reason the Toffees need Pienaar is to encourage Leighton Baines to stick with the club; the pair work brilliantly together and the feeling is that if Everton can actually start next season in August and not the customary November, a challenge for a European place is not beyond them, something that would keep Baines onside.


From the Tottenham point of view, securing Adebayor and providing AVB with a war chest is a priority, so slimming the squad by selling peripheral players helps considerably. All of which means that the deal will go through next week, Everton paying around £4.5m with gritted teeth.



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