The Preparation For Leadership

Introduction

Generally, people ascribe the success or failure of a leader to their qualification or fitness to lead. For this reason when leaders are sought in the secular world, the qualifications of the individuals are usually given primary considerations. On the contrary, a close examination of the call of great leaders God used in the Bible reveals that God was not primarily concerned about qualifications. Eims Leroy, observed that Leaders like Moses, Gideon and Jeremiah openly confessed their inadequacy to perform the task God called them to do.1 If God was looking for qualified men then he would not have called them.

Does it then mean that preparations are not necessary for Leadership? According to Gottfried Osei-Mensah, there are prerequisites for spiritual leadership.2 This statement implies that some form of preparation is necessary. In addition, it is clear from scripture that every leader that God used had certain qualities or abilities that were necessary in performing their task. This observation however poses a question: Were those leaders prepared for their calling or did they just happen to have the qualities God required? With God, things do not happen by chance, therefore the thesis of this article is, those whom God used in the Bible as leaders were always prepared for their task.

To clarify this thesis statement selected leaders in the Bible are examined. The goal is, first to prove that the leaders were prepared for leadership and second, to determine the nature of the preparation and its importance to the leaders’ call.

The following three categories of leaders have been selected for this study:

a) Those whose call and commission came as a surprise to them

b) Those who were mentored by their predecessor

c) Those who assumed leadership as a result of a crisis.

Under each leader the presentation will also be divided into three sections:

a) His life history before his call to leadership;

b) His leadership role and achievements;

c) Summary of the specific ways he was prepared for leadership. Finally an

evaluation would be made and conclusions drawn.

A. LEADERS WHOSE CALL AND COMMISSION CAME AS A SURPRISE

Among the leaders whose call and commission came as a surprise were Moses and Paul. These were leaders who had personal encounter with God whilst they were pursuing their own goals in life. These leaders would now be discussed individually to determine how each of them was prepared for leadership.

Moses

a) His life history before his call to leadership

The Bible, in Exodus Chapter 2-5, discusses the life of Moses from the time of his birth to that of his call. According to this section, Moses was born in Egypt by Hebrew parents. But because of an edict by Pharaoh to kill all the Hebrew baby boys, his mother was unable to raise him up from childhood to adulthood. However, by what can be termed divine providence, Howard F. Vos stated that Moses probably spent the first two or three ‘years of his life with his own mother.3 The remaining period of his first forty years was spent in the palace as an adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter. Commenting on the years Moses spent in Pharaoh’s palace, John C. Maxwell observed that he received the best of what Egypt offered both physically as well as intellectually. Maxwell cited Acts 7:22 which states that Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and deeds.4

In spite of the fact that he was raised up in Pharaoh’s palace Moses acknowledged his Hebrew identity. He had to flee Egypt because he killed an Egyptian to protect an oppressed Hebrew. The next forty years of his life he spent in Midian tending the flock of Jethro. It was in Midian, at about 80 years of age that God made the surprised call to him.

b) His leadership role and achievements

In this section the goal is just to make a brief reflection of Moses’ main task and achievements. According to John D. Hannah, in his commentary on Exodus, God commissioned Moses to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt. He showed how that call and commission came as a complete surprise to Moses.5 Although God also promised to take the Israelites to a good and spacious land, that commission, according to Hannah, was not given to Moses. To support his point, he made reference to Stephen’s statement about Moses’ mission in Acts 7:35-36, implying that there was no indication that Moses was supposed to take the Israelites to the promise land.6 Moses indeed accomplished the task God gave him in spite of all his objections about his inability when God called him. This was because he accepted in faith God’s assuring words that he would be with him to accomplish that mission and also because of his ambition to deliver the Israelites from slavery. Commenting on the aspect of his ambition, Ted Engstrom pointed out that «he never lost sight of his ambition and calling in life which made it possible».7 Throughout his mission these words of assurance had been a motivation for him.

In addition, Maxwell rightly observed, over the course of the years in the desert, Moses’ leadership improved. He cited Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, as one person who helped to make that difference in his life.

Moses also accomplished something else that was not explicitly stated in scripture. D.A. Hubbard, in his article on the Pentateuch said that both Judaism and Christianity accepted without question the biblical tradition that Moses wrote the Pentateuch.8 These writings had been great materials not just for spiritual purpose but also for academic purpose.

Paul

a) His life history before his call to leadership

According to Act 21:39;22:3, Paul was a native of Tarsus, a city of Cilicia. He was of pure Jewish descent and of the tribe of Benjamin (Phil 3:5). He was a Hebrew and a Pharisee. He spoke Greek and was familiar with Aramaic (Acts 22:2). Paul, learned tent making because it was customary that all Jewish boys learn a trade.

In his book, ‘Paul the Leader’, Oswald J. Sanders made this observation about Paul: «all the formative years were calculated, to prepare him to be an eminent Pharisee and Rabbi like his great mentor Gamaliel».9 Paul studied under Gamaliel, a distinguished teacher of the law and of the school of Hillel. Sanders also observe that the school of Hillel embraced a broader and more liberal view in education than that of Shammai – the other distinguished school.10 In addition, Sanders stated that unlike the school of Shammai, the school of Hillel was interested in Greek literature. In that school, Paul learned to use works of Gentile authors. He surpassed his fellow-students in both academic achievements and in zeal for both God and the tradition of his fathers. He was almost a member of the Sanhedrin, the supreme legal and civil court.11

b) His leadership role and achievements

Oswald Sanders, noted that Paul became a great spiritual leader when his heart and mind were captured by Jesus.12 Such statements could not have been made if Paul had not made great achievements in the role God gave him to perform. Another writer, Ted E. Engstrom gave the background to Paul’s success: «a Jew living in a Greek city, and with a Roman citizenship. Both by birth and training Paul possessed the tenacity of the Jews, the culture of the Greeks and the practicality of the Romans, and these qualities enabled him to adapt to the people among whom he was to move»13. According to Acts Chapter 9, when Paul encountered the Lord Jesus he was commissioned to take the gospel message to the gentiles. Records of Paul’s accomplishments of his commission can be found in Acts Chapters 13-28. These included missionary journeys to gentile territories, Church planting, training or teaching ministries among the gentiles and successful debates with secular philosophers.

In addition Paul also wrote thirteen of the New Testament Epistles. In these epistles he dealt with important theological concepts like justification, sanctification and the resurrection of Christ. Various portions of defense of the Christian faith against secular philosophies are also included in these epistles. According to 2Tim. 4:7, Paul was sure he accomplished God’s mission for his life when he stated that he has fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith.

B. LEADERS WHO WERE MENTORED BY THEIR PREDECESSOR

The second categories of leaders to be examined are those who were mentored by their predecessor. Among such leaders are Joshua, who succeeded Moses and Samuel, who succeeded Eli. These two leaders will be examined individually in this section.

Joshua

a) His life history before his call to leadership

The Bible gave a brief family background of Joshua in Exodus 33:11; Num. 1:10. He was the son of Nun, the son of Elishama, head of the tribe of Ephraim. Apart from this background, there is no other information about him before he met Moses. The scriptures gave much focus to Joshua’s mentoring relationship with Moses. This close working relationship between them can be traced in scripture.

According to exodus 24:13, when Moses went up Sinai to receive the two tablets for the first time Joshua accompanied him part of the way and was the first to meet him on his return (32:17). Also when the Israelites sinned by worshiping the golden calf, Moses moved the tabernacle outside the camp and left the congregation in charge of Joshua. In addition, Joshua was one of the twelve spies sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan. It was only after about forty years of mentoring by Moses in the desert that God directed Moses to give Joshua leadership authority over the people.

In his book, ‘Leadership Images from the New Testament’, David Bennett mentioned four steps in developing a leader from the example of Jesus. These are:

a) To develop leaders who have learned to follow

b) To train within the context of personal apprenticeship.

c) To make commitment to the community as well as training for a task.

d) To stress on the spiritual aspects of leadership.14

These four steps can be found in the almost forty years mentoring relationship between Moses and Joshua. As Engstrom rightly puts it «Moses had the right attitude, when he knew it was time to train someone else for leadership. He was fearful of being a paternal leader and pleaded with God to give the Israelite a successor».15 This might have been one of the reasons why he devoted himself to mentor Joshua.

b) His leadership role and achievements

Joshua’s role was made clear to him when he was commissioned as the leader of Israel. His call and commission was mediated through Moses. In Numbers 27:12-22 the Lord reminded Moses that he would not enter the promise Land and that Joshua would replace him. Moses obeyed the Lord’s instructions and commissioned Joshua before the whole Israelite assembly. This commission kept Joshua in focus throughout his mission and he kept his faith in the one who called him. As Donald K. Campbell rightly observed, Joshua interceded for the nation when the Israelites sinned and were defeated.16 God’s mandate was that Joshua would lead the Israelites to the Promise Land and he depended on him to accomplish that mandate. Commenting on the charge given to Joshua to be strong and courageous in Josh. 1:6, Campbell also said it was an affirmation that God would not let Joshua down.17 However this may also be seen as an indication that prior to the time he became Israel’s leader he had potentials, which he needed to build up in leadership.

Details of how Joshua accomplished his mission have been recorded in the book of Joshua. The conquest of Canaan was however not an easy one but Joshua’s training as a military leader and his dependence upon God gave him added advantage. He made mistakes but he learned from his mistakes.

Samuel

a) His life history before his call to leadership

According to John C. Maxwell, Samuel was special from the time he was born because he was an answer to prayer. He further commented that, as young child, Samuel was placed in the care of Eli the High priest and Judge of Israel.18 This revealed that the mentoring relationship between Eli and Samuel started quite early in Samuel’s life. Like Joshua, Samuel stayed in the same place with his mentor. In addition, at a very early age, God began to speak directly to him and that motivated him to reverence and serve God faithfully. The role played by Hannah in initiating this mentoring relationship should not be overlooked. McChesney and Unger said that it was a vow that Hannah made to dedicate Samuel to the Lord as a Nazarite.19

b) His Leadership Role and Achievements

To better understand and appreciate Samuel’s achievements, one should first examine the religious, political and social situations prior to his assumption to leadership. Eugene H, Merrill rightly observed that «the 300 or so years of the history of Israel under the Judges were marked by political, moral, and spiritual anarchy and deterioration». It was in this background, where all seemed to have failed that Samuel was groomed and also took up leadership.20

With reference to his achievements, «Samuel’s level of influence with the people continued to increase throughout his lifetime. As a prophet, he was respected because he spoke from God. But in time Samuel also became Israel’s Judge, a position similar to that of a king. He was the nation’s civil and military leader. Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life».21 Indeed, only leaders with certain qualities can achieve what Samuel achieved. It was that kind of excellent leadership that God was looking for in order to address the deteriorating situation in Israel. Israel enjoyed a time of peace during Samuel’s reign.

C. LEADERS WHO ASSUME LEADERSHIP AS A RESULT OF A CRISIS

During the period between the death of Joshua and the start of Samuel’s leadership, many people ruled Israel as Judges. All of them came to leadership as a result of a crisis need. Gideon and Samson were two of the Judges who ruled Israel at that time. They will be examined in this section, as representatives of the Judges, to determine whether they were prepared for their leadership roles.

Gideon

a) His life history before his call to leadership

In Judges chapter 6-8 the Bible gave a brief historic account of Gideon’s family background. He was the son of Joash the Abiezrite. He was also of the tribe of Manasseh. One may want to suggest that Gideon had no quality or potential for leadership before he became a leader. This assumption is proved wrong in the light of the angel’s greetings to Gideon – «mighty man of valor» (Judg. 6:12). As Joyce Peel rightly said, «the angel calls out his hidden qualities which we see developing in the rest of the story».22

It can be seen that Gideon already had faith in God from a question he asked the angel – where are all the wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, «Did not the lord bring us up out of Egypt?» His parents have made him realize that in the past they have depended on God for survival. However, Gideon wanted an assurance that it was the God of his fathers talking to him, so he asked God to give him a sign (:17). Joyce Peel’s comment on Gideon’s request is that «it isn’t for the sort of sign an unbeliever asks to evade a challenge but for a sign to confirm to a believer who is ready to obey».23 Gideon was convinced that God was speaking to him and based on that fact he responded to the call to meet the Midianite crisis.

b) His Leadership Role and Achievements

Gideon was called to perform a specific role and that was to deliver Israel from the Midianites. He had a clear vision in mind as to what he had to do. He also believed that he could accomplish his goal because he had the assurance of God. In addition he had inner qualities, which gave him enough courage to move into action, even though he started at night. Gideon delivered the Israelites from the Midianites’ oppression but he first brought them back to faith in God. However, immediately after his death the people turned back to their foreign gods.

Samson

a) His life history before his call to leadership

In Judges Chapter 13-16 the Bible gave an account of Samson’s life. Samson was the son of Manoah of Zorah and of the tribe of Dan. His birth was foretold to his parents by an angel. They were also told that he would be a Nazarite to God from the womb Iudg. 13:2-5,24). The Bible also says in Judg 3:24-25 that God blessed him and that the spirit of God began to stir him up while he was in Mahaneh Dan. From this account it can be observed that Samson was a man of unusual strength. In Hebrews 11:32 he was recognized as of the great men of faith. During Samson’s time the philistines were suppressing the Israelites.

b) His leadership role and achievements

Samson’s call and commission was mediated through his parents. According to Judges 13:5 he was to start the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the philistines. As John Mazwell rightly points out, «despite his good start, Samson got himself into trouble many times, and in the end he finished poorly: he was weak, blind and enslaved by the enemy from whom he was supposed to deliver his people.»24 Samson had the opportunity of becoming a great leader but his despicable character destroyed his leadership.

Conclusion

Three categories of leaders have been examined in this chapter to prove that the people that God called to leadership in the Bible were always prepared for their tasks. The first category of leaders were those whose call came as a surprise to them. The second were those who were mentored by their predecessor and the third, were those who responded to a crisis. It was proved that all of these leaders had some form of preparation necessary for their particular calling. These preparations may come from God, their parents, religious background, formal education or a mentor. Therefore one could conclude that God does not call any person to leadership who had not been prepared. God’s call or one preparation does not guarantee success because the preparation for effective leadership does not end with one’s call.

END NOTES

1 Eims Leroy, Be The Leader You Were Meant To Be Illinois: Victor Books, 1982), pp 8-13

2 Gottfied Osei-Mensah, Wanted: Servant Leadership (Achimota: African Christian Press, 1990), pp 24-32

3 Howard F. Vos. Moses: The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1982), p 886.

4 John C. Maxwell, The 21 Most Powerful Minutes In a Leader’s Day: Revitalizing Your Spirit and Empowering your Leadership (Nashville: Thomas nelson Publishers, 2000), p. 300.

5 John D. Hannah, Exodus: The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Colorado: Chariot Victor Publishers, 1985), p 112.

6 Ibid, P 121.

7 Ted W. Engstrom, The Making of A Christian Leader: How to develop management and human relations skills (Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976), P 29.

8 D.A. Hubbard, Pentateuch: The New Bible Dictionary (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1982), p 903.

9 Oswald J. Sanders, Paul the Leader: A Vision for Christian Leadership Today (Eastboume: Kingsway Publication Ltd., 1982), pp 16/17.

10 Ibid, p 17

11 Ibid, p 19

12 Oswald J. Sanders, Spiritual Leadership (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), p 40.

13 Ted E. Engstrom, The Making of Christian Leader: How To Develop Management and Human Relations Skills (Zondervan Publishing House, 1976), p 20.

14 David W. Bennett, Leadership Images From The New Testament: A Practical Guide (Carlisle: OM Publishers, 1998), pp 33/4

15 Ted W. Engstrom, The Making of a Christian Leader: How to develop management and human relations skill (Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976), p 30

16 Donald K. Campbell, Joshua: The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Colorado: Chariot Victor Publishing, 1984), p 326.

17 Ibid, P 328.

18 John C. Maxwell, The 21 Most Powerful Minutes In A Leader’s Day: Revitalize Your Spirit and empower Your Leadership (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982), p 67.

19 E. McChesney and Merrill F. Unger, Samuel: The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1982), P 1121.

20 Eugene H. Merrill, Samuel: The Bible Knowledge commentary (Colorado: Chariot Victor Publishing, 1985), P 431.

21 John C. Maxwell, The 21 Most Powerful Minute in a Leader’s Day: Revitalize Your spirit and Empower Your Leadership (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000), p

22 Joyce Peel, A Journey through The Old Testament: The story of God’s relationship with man. woman and the world (Oxford: The Reading Fellowship, 1993), p 60

23 Ibid, p 60

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Sightseeing in Leicester

In truth Leicester is neither quaint, nor full of historic places to visit. However, the few truly ancient or historic buildings it has are shown off well and the city is quite rightly proud of them. Here are a few of the sites worth seeing in Leicester.

The undoubted oldest structure in Leicester is the Jewry Wall. This is a section of ancient wall about 5m high and 23m long alongside Talbot Lane in the city center. Originally known as Hadrian's bath House, it is part of what was the Roman baths, built there sometime around 130 AD. Unfortunately, unlike other Roman bath houses, due to an engineering error the aqueduct that was supposed to feed water into the baths was mis-aligned, resulting in the Roman bathers having to use a cistern to fill the baths by hand. A shocking state of affairs in those days! There is of course a Jewry Wall Museum, which also houses Roman artefacts, including Roman milestones from nearby Fosse Way and mosaic floor-tiles.

Enclosed in the same grounds as St Martin's, Leicester Cathedral, and in-between Guildhall Lane and Peacock Lane, is the Guildhall. This half-timbered building was originally built in the late fourteenth century and has, through the ages, been the Town Hall, a prison and a police station. Now open to the public, the warped beams and rickety floor in the Great Hall immediately demonstrate that you are in a truly ancient building. In 1642 part of it was occupied by the town's library, making it the third oldest public library in the country. For the more ghoulish visitors, it is reputed to be the most haunted building in Leicester. You can see the old prison cells and the conditions endured by their captives and if you wish, you can see the gibbet from which the bodies of the hanged were put on public display up until 1840. Whilst in this area you can also visit the cathedral . However, apart from the finely carved medieval wooden entrance porch, there is little evidence of the original eleventh century building.

Refurbished in 2006 and early 2007 Newarke House Museum is housed in two sixteenth century buildings, Wygston's Chantry House and Skeffington House, at the bottom of the Castle Gardens. Its main theme is the daily life of 'Everyman in 20th Century Leicester', with galleries dedicated to displays on the story of immigration into Leicester, the Teddy Boy era and a recreation of shopping in the 1940s. The museum also houses the history of the Royal Leicestershire regiment.

Another newly refurbished museum in Leicester is the New Walk Museum off Princess Road West, as you head out of the city center to the South West. This is Leicester's oldest established museum and houses scientific and artistic collections. Current exhibitions include; Wild Space – looking at the biodiversity of the planet, Mighty Dinosaurs, Leicestershire's rocks, Ancient Egyptians, and of course, art galleries. The art galleries contain varied collections on themes such as; Our World through Art, Expressionism, The Captured Image, World art and Gallery Nine, which is devoted to the artistic expression of the multi-ethnic nature of the city.

Leicester is the home of the National Space Center, which is off Corporation Road to the North of the city. If traveling to it by car, the road signage can be confusing. However, when near, you can't miss its distinctive shape. Unfortunately, you won't be able to see any rockets taking off from here as the National Space Center is a museum concerned with space exploration. The center has a constantly changing series of events and activities. However, it also houses permanent exhibitions such as space rockets, space capsules, satellites, orbiting the earth and exploring the universe. There is an emphasis on the National Space Center being an interactive museum, so there's plenty to get involved in rather than being a passive viewer. After standing by the huge booster rockets that are on display, you can go to The Space Theater, which takes you on a journey through the galaxy. The National Space Center excels as an educational museum and supports a variety of educational activities.

Nearby to Leicester city is Market Bosworth, not necessarily in itself worth a visit although it is a pleasant village to see. The special thing about it is that nearby, to the south at Sutton Cheny, is the historic Bosworth Field, site of the famous defeat of Richard III by Henry Tudor. Here there is a visitor's center to provide all the background information you might need before you proceed on a tour of the battlefield itself. There is an annual re-enactment of the last battle in the 'War of the Roses' on the week-end nearest to August 22nd, to commemorate the actual battle of 1485. NB. Archaeologists are currently re-assessing whether this was the actual site of the battle or not. If you visit it you may wonder how well the site matches the contemporary descriptions of it.

You might also consider visiting Belvoir Castle. Historic home of the Duke & Duchess of Rutland, it commands a beautiful view (belvoir) across the Vale of Belvoir. Dating back to Norman times it was almost completely destroyed during the 'Wars of the Roses'. The current building was completed in the 19th Century. Belvoir Castle is off the A1 near Grantham.

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Learning The Guitar Fretboard

I never cease to be amazed at the number of guitar players who cannot name the notes on their fretboard. Little do they know that by devoting a little time to unlocking the neck of their guitar they will improve their playing, and enjoyment of the instrument, ten fold!!

During my time at the Guitar Institute in London, and Sandown College Of Performing Arts in Liverpool, I met many guitarists who had been playing for 10, 15 or even 20 years, and yet, unbelievably, couldn’t show me where to find an A# on the 2nd string or a B natural on the 5th string. My amazement prompted me to write the «Fretboard Master» ebook.

The «Fretboard Master» ebook contains all you need to know in order to become a master of the fretboard. What do we mean when we say master of the fretboard? Well, it doesn’t mean that you will suddenly start sounding like Steve Vai, Segovia or Jimi Hendrix! A fretboard master is somebody who feels comfortable with their guitar, Somebody that can find any note on any string within a second and somebody that can transpose a piece of music on the spot. That is a fretboard master.

Many guitar players are usually only interested in learning hot licks or funky chords. That is good, as long as they also take time out to study the layout of the fretboard. The old saying «The proof is in the pudding,» is so true when it comes to stating the importance of fretboard mastery. Once you start familiarising yourself with the notes on the neck of the guitar you will quickly discover how important it is. It will be like somebody has switched on a big musical light that shows you exactly what you have been missing. You will feel like a better player, look like a better player, inevitably sound like a better player and more importantly…..WILL BE a better player!!

Imagine learning a really cool chord progression, a red hot lick or a head turning funky guitar riff. You have spent hours practising it and you are now ready to unleash it on your band members. You play it, and they are all amazed at your stunning technique. They shake your hand, ruffle your hair, maybe even give you a shoulder lift around the rehearsal room. You feel great! Then when the fuss dies down, the bass player asks «Can you play that again in F#?» What? F#? You begin to sweat, your palms itch, your head races. Where’s F#? you ask yourself. Too late! The drummer drops you from the shoulder lift and you hit the earth with a bang!! Ouch!! You blew it! You should have learnt your fretboard.

Take a tip from me. Whether you are just starting out or have been playing for a number of years, you need to learn you fretboard. There’s no way round it. Do it today and who knows, maybe the next time you learn a cool guitar lick your drummer want drop you on the floor!

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Who Was the Favorite Receiver of the Steelers’ Terry Bradshaw?

The Pittsburgh Steelers had an amazing run of success in the 1970’s and it can all be chalked up to great coaching and an incredibly talented roster. On both sides of the ball, offensive and defensive, the team had a number of players that would eventually make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. One of the key components of the Steelers teams during that era was strong armed quarterback Terry Bradshaw.

Terry Bradshaw did not have the best start to his career as in the beginning he lost a number of games and threw a ton of interceptions. He would eventually settle down and with the addition of great talent around him, he would help the Steelers eventually win four Super Bowl titles in six years.

During all that time though and with all those great players, who was Terry Bradshaw’s favorite receiver? He is most often associated with two all time great Steelers receivers, Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. Lynn Swann was the flashier and more well known player. He was famous for making incredible catches look somewhat routine. Stallworth was more looked at as the reliable and steady workmanlike receiver, although he could go deep and make the great catch too. Stallworth’s career lasted much longer as Swann’s was cut short due to injury, but both of them would end up being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Basing the discussion solely around touchdown passes as a determining factor, Lynn Swann edges John Stallworth out as Terry Bradshaw’s favorite receiver. During the course of their time together in the league, Bradshaw hooked up with Swann for a touchdown 49 times during the regular season.

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Manchester: The Free Spirit City in Northwest England

Of all the cities of Europe, Manchester is the most progressive, and after London the most important city in England. Socially, there is an motivational energy in Manchester that is a driving force socially and culturally. Manchester has embraced the realities of the social changes of the 21st century in an open manner. This is so for two reasons. There are five universities and five colleges in Manchester, and the resulting youthful dynamic this provides has considerable influence. Yet this influence is in complete harmony with and magnifies the long tradition of the Mancunian propensity to challenge the status quo, to be the vanguard of social change, and in being pro-active in civil liberties and civil rights. This has created a very different English city in tone, demeanor, and appearance than what Americans may expect.

The Rebuilding

Because of extensive bombing during World War II, there was a considerable amount of rebuilding, and with the Mancunian penchant for innovation, instead of rebuilding the old they constructed buildings of contemporary design. So the look and feel of Manchester is that of a dynamic city that is definitely quirky, but also modern and impressive.

Madchester

This dynamicism has been a magnet for creative young artists and musicians from across Britain, and this has created a very active cultural climate in the fine arts and in the performing arts. Manchester is home of the ‘musical revolution’ that brought about the Hallé symphony orchestra and progressive music groups such as The Stone Roses, Oasis, Happy Mondays, the Inspiral Carpets, James, and hundreds more. Manchester’s music revolution was even dramatised in the 2002 film, «24 Hour Party People», a 3½ star digital-video depicting the punk era through the late-’80s «Madchester» era. The music scene in Manchester is a source of local pride and is representative of the spirit of this great city.

Youthful Adventures

With such a large and vibrant uni student population in Manchester, that means a lot of uni student life, and nightlife. If you want a night out on any night of the week, that’s no problem. There is always a cheap club to get in with no dress code, packed pubs with happy hours, lots of cheap food including ‘takeaway’ (takeout food), and places to meet girls, places to meet guys, places to meet girls and guys, whatever you want.

First, head on down to the section of the city called Studentville. It’s the Oxford Road area and it is packed with pubs, bars less picky about dress style, and it’s active most of the time.

The Northern Quarter is in Manchester City Centre between Shudehill and Victoria Station. This is a bohemian and offbeat alternative lifestyle area with a lot of cafés, pubs, bars, music shops, art galleries, clothes boutiques, and emporiums. In the Northern Quarter you can find all sorts of weird, delightful, and wonderful stuff. The pubs and bars are located mostly on High Street and Oldham Street. There is also a bazaar in Affleck’s Palace, which use to be a department store. Some cafés morph into nightlife with various music venues.

The Gay Village is a unique centre for the large and flourishing gay community. The Gay Village is in the Canal Street and Chorlton Street area and includes Sackville, Whitworth, and Princess Streets. Across the canal is Sackville Gardens and Manchester College. Canal street is a pedestrian street lined with is lined with gay bars and restaurants.

Manchester Pride is a yearly ten-day LGBT event that takes place in mid-to-late August. It includes a Pride Fringe festival, film showings, a colorful parade that makes their way across the city and ending in the Gay Village, and a weekend celebration called ‘The Big Weekend’. This is a ticketed three-day program of outdoor entertainment in the Gay Village during the August bank holiday weekend. It all ends with a Candlelit Vigil in Sackville Gardens.

Free Things to Do

Here is a partial list of free things to do around Manchester.

  • The John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester at 150 Deansgate, south of Bridge Street, is unusual and beautiful on the inside. It is a masterwork of Victorian Gothic (or Neo-Gothic) architecture. There is a collection in the library of magnificent medieval manuscripts.
  • Museum of Science and Industry or MOSI, on Liverpool Road aims to make science and industry inspirational and enjoyable. Well, that depends what part of this huge museum you are in. However, there are trains you can actually ride, a Planetarium, and a 4D cinema (you do pay for a fairly old short film, about £5.50, which is generally rated as fair). The airplane display is near the end of the entire exhibit area and since the place is really big, don’t wear out too early because the planes are rather cool. Just quickly walk pass the boring story-board exhibits. Some people be delirious about this place. I don’t know why, but the planes, planetarium, and trains are def. There is a decent restaurant and coffee shop in the museum.
  • Heaton Park, four miles north of the city centre in Prestwich, offers huge green lawns with good views of Manchester, row boats on the lake, footpaths to walk through the woods, cycle paths as well, a beautiful and quirky 18th century mansion, Smithy Lodge, open to the public with period furniture, and a farm with farm animals and beekeeping to see.
  • Whitworth Art Gallery on Oxford Road next to Whitworth Park at Manchester University is especially known for their collection of British watercolours and modern and historic prints. Of course there are also drawings, paintings and sculptures. There is a summer program of events to check out.
  • City Airport & Heliport‘s Art Deco control tower is open to the public, free, and you can observe the planes and helicopters landing and taking off. City Airport is on Liverpool Road in Eccles and is not to be confused with the Manchester International Airport on the other side of town.

Other places to visit include the Manchester Art Gallery, The Lowry, National Football Museum, Peoples History Museum, Manchester Museum, and Manchester Cathedral.

Like the rest of England, there are a list of festivals as well as local events in Manchester that occur during the warm months. These include such things as the Manchester Picnic, various displays and «thought provoking experiences» at Tatton Park, the Float-In Movie, Harry Potter Day, and Canal Festival. Check the local tourist office for details on festivals the occur during your visit.

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English Football League Predictions

The big kick-off is upon us again and those experts in the know from the world of TV and press have been busy telling us how it all ends, even before it has begun! As usual fixed odds in focus have joined in via their e-zine service Tipped at the Post.

In the Premiership, although Liverpool have spent big, they are not quite there yet and consequently are likely to fall short of Man Utd and Chelsea again. The Blues will be keen to regain their crown, but United still appear to have the edge. Arsenal are perhaps, one season away from being genuine challengers again; however, in Van Persie they do have a player capable giving the likes of Rooney, Ronaldo, Gerrard and Drogba a run for their money, with regards to player of the season. Spurs are getting closer to the big 4, but they are still not close enough and are more likely to be battling for the UEFA spots with Portsmouth, Villa, West Ham and Newcastle.

The likes of Reading, Everton, Sunderland and maybe surprisingly Derby can all make mid-table finishes. Most people will have the Rams as certainties to make an instant return to the Championship, but in Billy Davies they have a talented manager capable of keeping their heads above water. At the bottom Blackburn and Man City can stay out of trouble – just; with the rest in a real battle. Wigan have signed a lot of players, but too many of them have a lot to prove and Middlesbrough – with some un-inspiring signings – could join them in the bottom two. Of the remaining 3 teams, Bolton might struggle to cope post Allardyce and slip out at the death, leaving Birmingham and Fulham breathing huge sighs of relief.

Charlton, with a good manager and plenty of cash, are more than capable of jumping straight back up from the Championship and taking Wolves along with them. Last season will have been a good experience for the black country outfit. Sheff U have an impressive forward line, but defence is a worry and the play-off’s look a more likely option together with Watford, Cardiff and one from Norwich, Coventry and Southampton. West Brom may well suffer a Wembley hang over and just miss out. Mid-table is probably the best Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich and Palace; with Leicester, Hull and QPR improving on last term, but not significantly. Colchester did remarkably well in their first year up, but are likely to find it a great deal tougher second time around and Preston are likely to suffer from the loss of David Nugent. Bristol City and Blackpool are more than capable of consolidating, but the others look vulnerable. Barnsley can just about survive, likewise Plymouth; leaving Stoke Burnley and Scunthorpe fighting the drop.

In League One, Forest are everybody’s tip for promotion, but they look destined to miss out again. They have brought in Neil Lennon, but it’s a very tough division and you have to wonder about his legs. Tipped at the Post’s two for automatic promotion are Doncaster and Millwall. The Yorkshire club are very ambitious and James Hayter is a cracking signing at that level. The Lions young side finished well and Willie Donachie will have them spot on. Huddersfield, Oldham and Luton are taken to fill the play-off places with Forest; just ahead of Carlisle, Swansea, Yeovil and Southend. Bristol Rovers can have a brighter season than many are suggesting, as can Hartlepool and Walsall, all 3 coming up together. Brighton, Tranmere, Crewe and Port Vale seem set for pretty uninspiring seasons; and Gillingham and Leyton Orient look certain to be bottom half material. Leeds need some luck with their appeal against the 15 point penalty, otherwise they could slip straight through. Swindon can stay up at their expense, but Bournemouth, Northampton and Cheltenham look to have it all on to avoid the drop.

In League Two Paul Ince can get one over Fergie – Darren that is! MKD can just pip Peterborough at the top, with Shrewsbury joining them. Notts County, Darlington and Rotherham are taken to make the play-off’s along with surprise packages Bury. Chesterfield, Bradford and Rochdale should all go close; with Hereford, Wycombe and Mansfield not too far behind. Lincoln have probably missed their chances over the past 5 years and Terry Butcher will not find life easy at Brentford. The two newcomers can hold their own, but the rest might struggle with Chester and Accrington Stanley making way for the return of Torquay and Oxford, who are taken to make their League comebacks.

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Calcio – A History of Corruption and Scandal

Italy, a country associated with fine wine, exquisite cuisine, beautiful women, and above all Calcio. The Italians are very passionate when it comes to the latter, but unfortunately their beloved game has a stark history of corruption, and scandal.

The recent Calciopli scandal that shock the football world in the summer of 2006, is just one incident in a long list of problems which has rocked Italian football (and in particular Serie A) since the English introduced the game to the Peninsula. Too many followers of Calcio, this recent scandal did not come as a shock, and in particular to Italians who have become accustomed to corruption, and scandal within their beloved game.

If you look as far back as 1926-27 (the Torino missing Scudetto incident), you will find that each proceeding decade contained at least one event that was surrounded in corruption or scandal. The majority of Italian fans have grown accustomed to this, and are generally not shocked when a new story hits the headlines. It is as though it has become part of Calcio in the peninsula.

There is a theory in Italy that players, officials (and similar) do not fix matches, but rather twist the concept of match fixing – and this is seen as the norm by everyone involved in Calcio. It is hard to explain what I mean when I state they twist the concept of match fixing, but I will try and explain it with a few examples.

It is not easy to fix a soccer match, as all of the games are public events, played in front of crowds (and sometimes TV cameras); with at least three match officials, twenty-two players, two managers, coaching staff etc. There are various ways of getting around fixing a particular result, and it is kind of a tacit agreement over a result. The lower echelon of Italian soccer is renowned for this kind of agreement, and it is also common place at the end of season in Serie A. So what is this agreement? In essence it is ‘settling for a draw’.

Deliberately settling for a draw where the result ensures some mutual benefit to both parties is common in Italy, and since nothing has officially been agreed, nothing can ever be proved. Various bookmakers are aware of this, and you will generally see very short odds on a 0-0 result, or a straight draw.

An alleged recent example can be seen on the last matchday of the 2006/07 Serie B season, when third placed Genoa entertained second placed Napoli. Napoli just needed a point for automatic promotion, and Genoa would join them if they finished 10 points above fourth placed Piacenza. A goalless draw between the pair followed, and was enough to guarantee them both promotion to Serie A.

Towards the end of the 2004/05 Serie A season, both clubs from Rome were facing a relegation battle. At the start of the derby match, both clubs appeared to try, before several conversations took place on the pitch. The result? Only six shots were managed in the entire match, and the game ended 0-0 (a result which helped both clubs).

Even though the Italians accept this as part and parcel of Calcio, they were on the brunt end of a similar alleged result in Euro 2004. Due to UEFA taking head-to-head into consideration (before overall goal difference when ranking teams level on points), a situation arose in Group C where Sweden and Denmark only needed a high scoring draw in order for them both to progress. The match surprisingly finished 2-2, which was a sufficiently high score line to eliminate the Italians (who had lower-scoring draws with both the Swedes and Danes). It was quite ironic that the Italian fans contended the result, stating that the FIFA tie-breaker should have been used, as it would have stopped the Scandinavians half-heartedly playing out the match after the score became 2-2.

Another example of alleged match fixing can generally be seen (again) on the last matchday of the season. Generally a ‘big club’ (with nothing to play for), is playing a ‘small club’ (fighting a relegation battle), and the ‘small club’ usually get a favourable result (one which they normally would not achieve during the course of the season). Inevitably this leads to accusations of match fixing, but this is usually not the case, and it is another form of twisting the original concept.

So why is this not classed as match fixing? The answer is simple – no one expects the ‘big club’ to try to hard (especially in a match that is meaningless). This is worrying, but followers of Calcio have come to accept this.

On the last matchday in Serie A for the 2006/07 season, Reggina needed a victory to be certain of avoiding relegation, and they faced an AC Milan side guaranteed Champions League football. The result? A 2-0 home win for Reggina which guaranteed their safety.

Same season, but this time the example comes from Serie B. Spezia need a victory to be certain of avoiding relegation, and they faced a daunting away trip to Juventus, who had not lost at home all season (but were already guaranteed promotion). The result? A 3-2 win for Spezia which guaranteed their safety. The theory behind the above examples is simple – why try so hard, especially when you have nothing to play for?

The above examples have all been accepted as part and parcel of Calcio, but in some cases the authorities have clamped down, and punished the various parties involved in the scandal. Some of the most famous scandals have made world headlines in the soccer world, and the first of these dates back to the late 1920s.

The 1927 scudetto was taken away from Torino, after an alleged scandal involving their bitter rivals, Juventus. An enquiry found that Juventus defender, Luigi Allemandi, had been bribed by a Torino official, before the derby (for a sum of 50,000 lire). Torino were stripped of their first title, and surprisingly no one was awarded the 1927 scudetto.

In the summer of 2006, an alleged match fixing scandal hit the headlines, named Moggiopoli, after the Juventus general manager. The scandal was uncovered by the Italian police, implicating league champions Juventus, and other major teams including AC Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio, and Reggina;when a number of telephone interceptions showed a thick network of relations between team managers and referee organisations. The teams involved in the scandal had been accused of rigging games, by selecting favourable referees. Juvetus were stripped of their scudetto, relegated, and docked points, whilst the other clubs involved had various points deducted.

To the majority of followers of Calcio, this did not come as a major shock, as many fans regard the referee as corrupt (unless proven otherwise). There are various (well known) examples of refereeing decisions which fans class as corrupt, as they decided key matches, or decided a scudetto: Maurizio Turone’s disallowed goal for Roma against Juventus in 1981; Fiorentina’s loss in the 1982 scudetto; Inter and Ronaldo’s lost penalty, against Juventus, in 1998.

There are hundreds of examples of alleged match fixing, throughout the history of Calcio, and there are various scandals which have come to light, which have been uncovered by the authorities. It seems that followers of Calcio have come to accept this over the years, and it is part of the mentality of the nation to accept corruption.

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How To Determine If A Moving Company Is Trustworthy

There are many household and commercial movers in the United States and they all try to lure you with extremely cheap prices, promising high quality services. But not all of them are honest and you can be deceived if you do not know how to choose a competent mover. We want to present you the main factors to consider when looking for reliable moving companies. Check the following guide!

– Experience. For a new company it is hard to pretend that they offer high quality services at lowest price. They do not have the experience and tools to do an effective operation in minimum of time, thus consuming less fuel and working hours that must be paid to the employees by the company. On the opposite, if you find a company that has many years of experience, it likely that they have developed strategies and effective planning and human resource management. Always go with a well-established mover.

– Tools. Again, a high quality company has an arsenal consisting of modern tools and vehicles. They usually talk about these tools on their website, sometimes even presenting them in a photo gallery. Reliable companies like to advertise their brand on their moving vehicles. If you find a company that tells you that it offers the lowest price, but it does not mention a word about their equipment, chances are that it does not have a modern one or it has a few tools. It would be wise to ask about equipment before signing any paper.

– Public Image. Reputable movers want to have a clean public image and they want to make them known through various marketing campaigns. You will know that a company is good if you hear about of them more often than other companies. Usually they can offer cheap prices because they want to be ahead their competitors by providing promotional prices while they promote their image through marketing campaigns.

– Feedbacks. Positive feedbacks are also a good sign for quality results. If you find a company that has affordable prices and has good ratings and testimonials, you should check them closer. Nowadays it is easier than ever to check for ratings and general customer satisfaction. Besides checking the complaint ratio, you can access several websites and see what current and former customers have to say about the company. Naturally, a mover with numerous positive reviews should be your top priority.

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Glasgow Rangers – Fantastic Football Facts!

If you’re a football fan, no doubt you’ll know lots about Glasgow Rangers FC, but I’m sure there’s loads more you don’t know about this Scottish Premier League team! Get to know the Gers better with these footie facts!

Did you know?:

Rangers were first established in 1873 by the Moses brothers, William McBeath, Peter Campbell and Peter McNeil.

Their team name was copied from an English rugby club by the same name after they found it in a book.

The first match Rangers ever played was against Callander FC on Glasgow Green. It was a friendly and no goals were scored by either side.

Their second ever match scored a momentous win, with Rangers beating Clyde (not the current Clyde team) 11-0.

Rangers were one of the first ten teams to join the Scottish Football League in the 1890-91 season. Their first league match was played on 16th August in 1890.

Their stadium is the Ibrox and it has a seating capacity to hold more than 50,000 rowdy football fans.

Rangers won the European Cup Winners Cup in 1972 when they thrashed Dynamo Moscow 3-2.

The most capped played Rangers has managed to turn out was Ally McCoist who collected 57 caps for Scotland.

Ally McCoist was also the highest goal scorer in Rangers’ history, clocking up a spectacular 335 goals.

Glasgow Rangers is not to be confused with Glasgow Celtic, formed in 1888 by Brother Walfrid Kerins who were set up to give something back to Irish immigrants in the community.

The average home attendance at a Rangers match is around 49,000 fans.

Rangers’ team mascot is Broxi Bear, a brown teddy bear with blue ears and nose.

Sir Alex Ferguson played for Glasgow Rangers between 1967 and 1969, where he scored 44 goals.

The Rangers stadium was the location of the Ibrox disaster on 5th April 1902 when the West Tribune Stand collapsed due to heavy rainfall and killed 25 people and injured over 500.

From the 1988-89 season to the 1996-7 season Rangers won the league title every year, with a staggering nine in a row by the end. The team was managed by Graham Souness and Walter Smith.

Rangers’ strip is light blue and white.

The current chairman of Rangers FC Glasgow offices is David Murray.

Famous Rangers supporters include chef Gordon Ramsey, Ultravox star Midge Ure, news presenter Kirsty Young, golfer Colin Montgomerie and actors Kenneth Branagh and Robert Carlyle.

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A Short Biography of Famous Soccer Player – Steven Gerrard

His full name is Steven George Gerrard. He is also called as Stevie G. He was born in Whiston, Merseyside on 30 May 1980. He is a professional soccer player who currently plays for his national team of England and captains for English Premier League club Liverpool. His playing position in the field is as a centre midfielder. But, since in 2007 after the appearance of Torres at Liverpool, Gerrad has been played primarily as a second striker for his club squad, and played as a winger for his national team since 2006.

Gerrard is the current vice-captain of the England national soccer side. Nevertheless, he became a captain for his national at the 2010 World Cup in the nonattendance of Rio Ferdinand who missed the event because of injury.

Gerrard spent his whole career at Anfield. In 1998, he made his first appearance in a competition against Blackburn Rovers. Gerrard made his 100th appearance in European club tournament for Liverpool on 10 March 2009 in opposition to Real Madrid and made two goals in a 4-0 win.

In international level, he made his first appearance in 2000 in opposition to Ukraine. In September 2001, he made his first international goal in the well-known 5-1 victory over Germany in a 2002 World Cup qualifier. Gerrard took part in his first World Cup in 2006, and he was England’s top scorer in the competition.

He has many honors for a professional soccer player. With Liverpool club, he won FA Cup (2000-2001, 2005-2006), League Cup (2000-2001, 2002-2003), FA Community Shield (2001, 2006), UEFA Champions League (2004-2005), UEFA Cup (2000-2001), UEFA Super Cup (2001-2002, 2005-2006).

As an individual player, he won FWA Footballer of the Year (2008-2009), PFA Players’ Player of the Year (2005-2006, PFA Young Player of the Year (2000-2001), PFA Fans’ Player of the Year (2000-2001, 2008-2009), PFA Team of the Year (2003-2004, 2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2008-2009), FA Premier League Player of the Month (March 2001, March 2003, December 2004, April 2006, March 2009), UEFA Club Footballer of the Year (2004-2005), UEFA Champions League Final Man of the Match (2004-2005), UEFA Team of the Year (2005, 2006, 2007), FIFA/FIFPro World XI (2007, 2008, 2009), FA Cup Final Man of the Match (2005-2006), Goal of the Season (2005-2006), and England Player of the Year (2007). Gerrard has been proposed on many occasions for the FIFA World Player of the Year Award and the Ballon d’Or.

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