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Offline Bourbon

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Mystery, Magic and Maturana.
« on: October 07, 2008, 08:22:55 AM »
I saw this yesterday in the T&T Review, published by the Express. Didn't see any mention of it here, so I decided to type it up especially in light of how things going.

Mystery, Magic and Maturana.
By Ashford Jackman (Express).


Quick! What do Superblue and the late Sir Alf Ramsey have in common? Give up? Shame on you! The answer is easy..if your mind is open. For the host country, the old English football scribes have always maintained, winning the 1966 World Cup was both a blessing and a curse. The success of Ramsey and his 4-4-2 formation led almost as an immediate consequence to the elimination of wing play in British football. Think now of the Soca industry and the mega success of Arrow's "Long Time" (Long time we eh fete like dis) better known as "Raise yuh han' if yuh want to jam," and its successor, Superblue's "Get something and Wave." Think of the lyrics about waving that have stuck like a pox on all our so called Soca artistes for the last decade and a half. Get my drift now? The recent World Cup setback suffered by Jamaica and T&T and the responses of the authorities to them make me think that, like Superblue and Sir Alf, the successes of Leo Beenhakker and Rene Simoes are having an unhealthy effect on the game in the region's two leading football playing nations.

Jamaica is virtually out of the of the running for South Africa 2010 and Simoes, the darling of the 1997 qualifying triumph, has been unceremoniously dumped, replaced (temporarily) - by the icon of the France '98 side, Theodore Whitmore. With T&T teetering on the brink, Special Adviser Jack Warner has called up the brightest star of the 2006 Soca Warriors, Russell Latapy as aide to Francisco Maturana. Europe's most successful managers like Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger would amount to nothing given these conditions, - tons of talent but an almost complete absence of professionalism and a deadline for producing results that would put Sir Alec to flight. Nevertheless, the TTFF (read there's-nothing-that-money-cant-buy Warner) is quick to hire and even quicker on the chop. So it is not unreasonable to assume that if T&T were to crash like Jamaica, it would be Adios Francisco. Who, indeed, would disagree with the view that Latapy's sudden appointment as player/assistant coach is arguably the most naked sword ever brandished at any national team coach in the nation's 100-year football history?

Eight months in, a couple of adverse results and here we go again. But don't think for a minute that i am defending the incumbent, Maturana's erratic chopping and changing has played no small part in the present crisis and maybe in both cases (in Port of Spain and in Kingston) change is justified. My concern is that replacing the Colombian is the extent of the change we are likely to see. It is this that fuels my conviction that ultimately Don Leo and Professor Simoes may have done us all as much harm as good. The taste of success they gave us seems to have quashed all considerations of meaningfully addressing the deep lying issues plaguing the game, convinced as the authorities and even much of the public appear to be that foreign coaches are the instant cure-alls for the ills afflicting the national sport.

Such reasoning flies in the face of the most telling evidence, both in the long and short term results. It is indisputable that under Englishman Kevin Verity, T&T were cheated out of a place in West Germany in 1974. But in the quarter-century since the tenure of Dutchman Jan Zwartkruis to the incumbent, has our football improved? Are we at least holding our ground or was 2006 no more than a flash in the pan? What makes "foreign" so clearly superior when, in the 34 years since Haiti, the only other coach other than Beenhakker who came close to touching football's Holy Grail was son-of the soil Everald "Gally" Cummings? Some may argue that the selection of Latapy, who is, in more ways than just football, Trini to the bone defeats my argument, but can anyone confidently say the "Little Magician" is the successor in waiting? OR has Special Adviser Jack merely dangled the title of "Assistant Coach" before the 40 year old's eyes to coax him onto the field again in the hope that he will once more galvanise an ordinary lot into playing above themselves?

Whatever the intent, the present scenario in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying reinforces my view that the real problems fun far deeper under the troubled surface than can be reached by any amount of oil poured on the top. The current standings brutally reflect a grip picture of the region's football being left in the wake of the Confederation's giants. After three rounds, Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba occupy the nethermost positions in Group A, in Group B Jamaica also lies dead last and in Group C, Suriname and Haiti are also bottom of the heap. Four of those 5 surviving Caribbean nations have just one point each, T&T have four, but three of them were earned with the win over Cuba in Havana, at the expense of another regional side.

Now compare, if you will, the present squad, replete with European-based professionals, to the all amateur unit of two decades ago. The latter drew at home and away with Honduras, beat Guatemala here and on the road, held Costa Rica at home, drew and won against El Salvador and took a point from the US in California. Succeeding troops, hardened in the cauldron of "foreign" where, handled by an assortment of Europeans and South Americans of varying pedigree, they earn their livelihood, have never approached such levels of either achievement or consistency.

What further evidence that nothing durable was built on the 1988089 platform does one need but the recurring recall to active duty on the field of play the two youngest players from that squad of 19 years ago? The sum of Dwight Yorke's and Latapy's ages is almost 77, arguably the pair present a greater challenge to our foes than many, perhaps even any of the younger crop. Small wonder, then, that once again crisis beckons, the victuals for dinner continue to fall short of required standards and the master keeps changing the cook, leaving conditions in the kitchen intact.

Between the Bahrain victory in 2005 and the present, little if anything was done to identify and nurture a pool of competent replacements for the ageing legs that did us so proud in Germany. Neither was any programme developed to bring the fitness and technical skill levels of the local players in line with those of their foreign-based counterparts. The TTFF seemed more concerned in the interim with other agendas: the blacklisting of "greedy" players following the World Cup and the Sacking of Rijsbergen after he had started the rebuilding process. Both actions seriously undermined the foundation work already done. Having fallen into the deep hole they had dug, what did the Federation and its Adviser do? First they exhumed yet another inactive foreign coach, then they massaged Yorke's ego yet again to coax him into accepting the captain's armband, and finally they have lured Latapy onto the bandwaggon with the carrot of a National Coach tag down the road. We can be confident that, come year's end, Father Christmas will drop another World Cup berth down the TTFF chimney just like that.

But the TTFF may have overplayed the hand. Vital points were thrown away by Maturana's failure to have his team shut the game down after taking a late lead against Guatemala; by his consigning Dennis Lawrence to the bench when playing away to an American team that attacks best in the air and by his decision to omit an in-form Chris Birchall entirely, leaving himself no real alternative should Yorke be injured or unavailable for any reason. Which self-respecting coach willingly goes into a multimatch situation without adequate cover for key roles? To get a team with such an aversion to marking as T&T, a ball winning, holding midfielder is critical, yet the Colombian showed more faith in rookies Clyde Leon and Osei Telesford as backup for Dwight than in the tried and proven Birchall. Sadly, the ensuing verbal exchange between the "clown" Jack Warner and Sunderland boss Roy Keane, who prematurely ordered Yorke back to England, merely served to deflect attention away from Maturana's strategic blunder.

Indeed, whatever the pressures he might have faced at the start of his tenure, six to seven months in charge was sufficient time for the Colombian to have assessed both his player options and the trustworthiness of his advisors. Yet, three former players (Angus Eve, Shaka Hislop and Clayton Morris) had cause to publicly lament his defensive approach that allowed the Americans to completely dominate the game in Chicago. Beenhakker also habitually took a negative view of T&T's ability to attack worth opponents but at least his methods eventually took us to Germany and a better than honourable draw with Sweden. I seriously doubt that I am alone in my scepticism that Floormaturana will get us even close to South Africa.

In Chicago, for instance, Cornell Glen's pace and ability in one-on-one situations were negated by his being left alone up front, more a diversion than a threat to the Americans. There are men who can play that demanding role, Kenwyne Jones for one, perhaps in the near future young Jamal Gay. Glen however is not of that ilk. Ironically, Maturarana's decision to drop Stern John was not, in my view, a bad one, the team can ill afford a player who has a notoriously poor work rate yet fails to put away many of the rare chances that come his way. Still out of form at Southampton, Stern owes his recall, one suspects to advice other than Maturana's.

Other mysteries exist. Does Maturana, for instance, not see that so long as Cyd Gray plays his normal game at right back, Carlos Edwards effectiveness as a flank midfielder will be undermined? Under Englishman Terry Fenwick at Jabloteh, Gray plays as he has been trained to, bang the ball into the opposing penalty area. For him the short pass is not a real option even if Edwards is available and eminently capable of working with the ball to create space for others. Such errors of perception only serve to reinforce the point that even a man who has managed great teams with the likes of Carlos Calderrama and Faustino Asprillia may not be able to get the best out of gifted but clearly untrained troops. Unless we expect a cordon bleu chef to transform rice and peas into a gourmet experience overnight, we cannot reasonably expect foreign coaches to convert our raw talents into world-class professionals overnight. Bringing big name national coaches before implementing development programs is simply putting the cart before the horse. It is what local football icon Leroy De Leon meant when he suggested that we should forget qualifying this time around and look to develop our younger players.

Meanwhile, the ball remains simultaneously at the feet of Jack Maturana and Anton Corneal, the jefes now calling the shots and having their shots called for this outfit. And if latapy's approach to coaching in any way mirrors the style of his play, to give him any real authority right now would be not so much to believe in the "Little Magician" but to believe in sheer magic.

So the horizon looks bleak and the current public dismay and despair seem well-founded. Though trinbagonians may forget the past or misinterpret it, they know trouble when they see it. Beenhakker's achievement is indelibly written into our football history, but, when looked at dispassionately, it is clear that a happy conjecture allowed it to happen. It was achieved when FIFA afforded the CONCACAF an unprecedented 3 and a half qualifying places and because the return of Yorke and Latapy coincided with the availability of a group of aging but experienced British-based pros. Today's situation is quite different: With only three places in South Africa 2010 guaranteed, Shaka and Marvin Andrews have gone, Latas is 40 and Yorke approaching 37, is once again torn between club and national loyalties. Lawrence and Clayton Ince are also on the wrong side of 35 and Stern John's better days seem long gone. Meanwhile, Mexico, the USA, Costa Rica and Honduras all appear to be no less well equipped than they have always been. Add to the reality that, even if T&T were somehow to scrape in at fourth place once again, we would this time have to contest that extra "half place" with a South American Opponent.

As for Latapy's expectation that he might be able to break the cycle of foreign coach out/foreign coach in, he would be well advised that, even if football, like politics, does not have its own morality, yesterday is yesterday and today is today.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2008, 10:16:55 AM by Flex »
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Offline spideybuff

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Re: Mystery, Magic and Maturana.
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2008, 08:42:09 AM »
Wow... I always though Ashford jackman was dotish, but this was a nice read.
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Offline jr sams

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Re: Mystery, Magic and Maturana.
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2008, 08:45:42 AM »
I like this article
well yes

Offline 100% Barataria

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Re: Mystery, Magic and Maturana.
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2008, 08:49:01 AM »
Wow... I always though Ashford jackman was dotish, but this was a nice read.

Excellent read, emphasizes that our football is in a constant sinusoidal evolution, admin must be cleaned up w/increased focus on dev. for this to change
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Offline NUFF

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Re: Mystery, Magic and Maturana.
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2008, 09:21:26 AM »
Is funny how everybody could see we need a development program in place except the people who run our football.  How many more years do they need to hear the same complaints over and over before things change?

Offline Rastaman

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Re: Mystery, Magic and Maturana.
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2008, 09:41:24 AM »
Very good article...except for the part about Cyd Gray...Carlos is the goat. Just ask Sunderland !!

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Re: Mystery, Magic and Maturana.
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2008, 09:45:10 AM »
Wow... I always though Ashford jackman was dotish, but this was a nice read.

And what would have made you come to such a conclusion?  You know my friend and classmate Ashford?

Buh A-A.

Offline trinbago

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Re: Mystery, Magic and Maturana.
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2008, 10:05:24 AM »
Well written perspective on our football...almost looks a summary that should be on Wiki..
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Offline weary1969

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Re: Mystery, Magic and Maturana.
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2008, 12:22:12 PM »
His articles in d review does always b good. I eh understand how Magic and Maturana in d same sentence but other than dat he spot on
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Re: Mystery, Magic and Maturana.
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2008, 01:17:58 PM »
I saw this yesterday in the T&T Review, published by the Express. Didn't see any mention of it here, so I decided to type it up especially in light of how things going.

Mystery, Magic and Maturana.
By Ashford Jackman (Express).


Quick! What do Superblue and the late Sir Alf Ramsey have in common? Give up? Shame on you! The answer is easy..if your mind is open. For the host country, the old English football scribes have always maintained, winning the 1966 World Cup was both a blessing and a curse. The success of Ramsey and his 4-4-2 formation led almost as an immediate consequence to the elimination of wing play in British football. Think now of the Soca industry and the mega success of Arrow's "Long Time" (Long time we eh fete like dis) better known as "Raise yuh han' if yuh want to jam," and its successor, Superblue's "Get something and Wave." Think of the lyrics about waving that have stuck like a pox on all our so called Soca artistes for the last decade and a half. Get my drift now? The recent World Cup setback suffered by Jamaica and T&T and the responses of the authorities to them make me think that, like Superblue and Sir Alf, the successes of Leo Beenhakker and Rene Simoes are having an unhealthy effect on the game in the region's two leading football playing nations.

Jamaica is virtually out of the of the running for South Africa 2010 and Simoes, the darling of the 1997 qualifying triumph, has been unceremoniously dumped, replaced (temporarily) - by the icon of the France '98 side, Theodore Whitmore. With T&T teetering on the brink, Special Adviser Jack Warner has called up the brightest star of the 2006 Soca Warriors, Russell Latapy as aide to Francisco Maturana. Europe's most successful managers like Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger would amount to nothing given these conditions, - tons of talent but an almost complete absence of professionalism and a deadline for producing results that would put Sir Alec to flight. Nevertheless, the TTFF (read there's-nothing-that-money-cant-buy Warner) is quick to hire and even quicker on the chop. So it is not unreasonable to assume that if T&T were to crash like Jamaica, it would be Adios Francisco. Who, indeed, would disagree with the view that Latapy's sudden appointment as player/assistant coach is arguably the most naked sword ever brandished at any national team coach in the nation's 100-year football history?

Eight months in, a couple of adverse results and here we go again. But don't think for a minute that i am defending the incumbent, Maturana's erratic chopping and changing has played no small part in the present crisis and maybe in both cases (in Port of Spain and in Kingston) change is justified. My concern is that replacing the Colombian is the extent of the change we are likely to see. It is this that fuels my conviction that ultimately Don Leo and Professor Simoes may have done us all as much harm as good. The taste of success they gave us seems to have quashed all considerations of meaningfully addressing the deep lying issues plaguing the game, convinced as the authorities and even much of the public appear to be that foreign coaches are the instant cure-alls for the ills afflicting the national sport.

Such reasoning flies in the face of the most telling evidence, both in the long and short term results. It is indisputable that under Englishman Kevin Verity, T&T were cheated out of a place in West Germany in 1974. But in the quarter-century since the tenure of Dutchman Jan Zwartkruis to the incumbent, has our football improved? Are we at least holding our ground or was 2006 no more than a flash in the pan? What makes "foreign" so clearly superior when, in the 34 years since Haiti, the only other coach other than Beenhakker who came close to touching football's Holy Grail was son-of the soil Everald "Gally" Cummings? Some may argue that the selection of Latapy, who is, in more ways than just football, Trini to the bone defeats my argument, but can anyone confidently say the "Little Magician" is the successor in waiting? OR has Special Adviser Jack merely dangled the title of "Assistant Coach" before the 40 year old's eyes to coax him onto the field again in the hope that he will once more galvanise an ordinary lot into playing above themselves?

Whatever the intent, the present scenario in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying reinforces my view that the real problems fun far deeper under the troubled surface than can be reached by any amount of oil poured on the top. The current standings brutally reflect a grip picture of the region's football being left in the wake of the Confederation's giants. After three rounds, Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba occupy the nethermost positions in Group A, in Group B Jamaica also lies dead last and in Group C, Suriname and Haiti are also bottom of the heap. Four of those 5 surviving Caribbean nations have just one point each, T&T have four, but three of them were earned with the win over Cuba in Havana, at the expense of another regional side.

Now compare, if you will, the present squad, replete with European-based professionals, to the all amateur unit of two decades ago. The latter drew at home and away with Honduras, beat Guatemala here and on the road, held Costa Rica at home, drew and won against El Salvador and took a point from the US in California. Succeeding troops, hardened in the cauldron of "foreign" where, handled by an assortment of Europeans and South Americans of varying pedigree, they earn their livelihood, have never approached such levels of either achievement or consistency.

What further evidence that nothing durable was built on the 1988089 platform does one need but the recurring recall to active duty on the field of play the two youngest players from that squad of 19 years ago? The sum of Dwight Yorke's and Latapy's ages is almost 77, arguably the pair present a greater challenge to our foes than many, perhaps even any of the younger crop. Small wonder, then, that once again crisis beckons, the victuals for dinner continue to fall short of required standards and the master keeps changing the cook, leaving conditions in the kitchen intact.

Between the Bahrain victory in 2005 and the present, little if anything was done to identify and nurture a pool of competent replacements for the ageing legs that did us so proud in Germany. Neither was any programme developed to bring the fitness and technical skill levels of the local players in line with those of their foreign-based counterparts. The TTFF seemed more concerned in the interim with other agendas: the blacklisting of "greedy" players following the World Cup and the Sacking of Rijsbergen after he had started the rebuilding process. Both actions seriously undermined the foundation work already done. Having fallen into the deep hole they had dug, what did the Federation and its Adviser do? First they exhumed yet another inactive foreign coach, then they massaged Yorke's ego yet again to coax him into accepting the captain's armband, and finally they have lured Latapy onto the bandwaggon with the carrot of a National Coach tag down the road. We can be confident that, come year's end, Father Christmas will drop another World Cup berth down the TTFF chimney just like that.

But the TTFF may have overplayed the hand. Vital points were thrown away by Maturana's failure to have his team shut the game down after taking a late lead against Guatemala; by his consigning Dennis Lawrence to the bench when playing away to an American team that attacks best in the air and by his decision to omit an in-form Chris Birchall entirely, leaving himself no real alternative should Yorke be injured or unavailable for any reason. Which self-respecting coach willingly goes into a multimatch situation without adequate cover for key roles? To get a team with such an aversion to marking as T&T, a ball winning, holding midfielder is critical, yet the Colombian showed more faith in rookies Clyde Leon and Osei Telesford as backup for Dwight than in the tried and proven Birchall. Sadly, the ensuing verbal exchange between the "clown" Jack Warner and Sunderland boss Roy Keane, who prematurely ordered Yorke back to England, merely served to deflect attention away from Maturana's strategic blunder.

Indeed, whatever the pressures he might have faced at the start of his tenure, six to seven months in charge was sufficient time for the Colombian to have assessed both his player options and the trustworthiness of his advisors. Yet, three former players (Angus Eve, Shaka Hislop and Clayton Morris) had cause to publicly lament his defensive approach that allowed the Americans to completely dominate the game in Chicago. Beenhakker also habitually took a negative view of T&T's ability to attack worth opponents but at least his methods eventually took us to Germany and a better than honourable draw with Sweden. I seriously doubt that I am alone in my scepticism that Floormaturana will get us even close to South Africa.

In Chicago, for instance, Cornell Glen's pace and ability in one-on-one situations were negated by his being left alone up front, more a diversion than a threat to the Americans. There are men who can play that demanding role, Kenwyne Jones for one, perhaps in the near future young Jamal Gay. Glen however is not of that ilk. Ironically, Maturarana's decision to drop Stern John was not, in my view, a bad one, the team can ill afford a player who has a notoriously poor work rate yet fails to put away many of the rare chances that come his way. Still out of form at Southampton, Stern owes his recall, one suspects to advice other than Maturana's.

Other mysteries exist. Does Maturana, for instance, not see that so long as Cyd Gray plays his normal game at right back, Carlos Edwards effectiveness as a flank midfielder will be undermined? Under Englishman Terry Fenwick at Jabloteh, Gray plays as he has been trained to, bang the ball into the opposing penalty area. For him the short pass is not a real option even if Edwards is available and eminently capable of working with the ball to create space for others. Such errors of perception only serve to reinforce the point that even a man who has managed great teams with the likes of Carlos Calderrama and Faustino Asprillia may not be able to get the best out of gifted but clearly untrained troops. Unless we expect a cordon bleu chef to transform rice and peas into a gourmet experience overnight, we cannot reasonably expect foreign coaches to convert our raw talents into world-class professionals overnight. Bringing big name national coaches before implementing development programs is simply putting the cart before the horse. It is what local football icon Leroy De Leon meant when he suggested that we should forget qualifying this time around and look to develop our younger players.

Meanwhile, the ball remains simultaneously at the feet of Jack Maturana and Anton Corneal, the jefes now calling the shots and having their shots called for this outfit. And if latapy's approach to coaching in any way mirrors the style of his play, to give him any real authority right now would be not so much to believe in the "Little Magician" but to believe in sheer magic.

So the horizon looks bleak and the current public dismay and despair seem well-founded. Though trinbagonians may forget the past or misinterpret it, they know trouble when they see it. Beenhakker's achievement is indelibly written into our football history, but, when looked at dispassionately, it is clear that a happy conjecture allowed it to happen. It was achieved when FIFA afforded the CONCACAF an unprecedented 3 and a half qualifying places and because the return of Yorke and Latapy coincided with the availability of a group of aging but experienced British-based pros. Today's situation is quite different: With only three places in South Africa 2010 guaranteed, Shaka and Marvin Andrews have gone, Latas is 40 and Yorke approaching 37, is once again torn between club and national loyalties. Lawrence and Clayton Ince are also on the wrong side of 35 and Stern John's better days seem long gone. Meanwhile, Mexico, the USA, Costa Rica and Honduras all appear to be no less well equipped than they have always been. Add to the reality that, even if T&T were somehow to scrape in at fourth place once again, we would this time have to contest that extra "half place" with a South American Opponent.

As for Latapy's expectation that he might be able to break the cycle of foreign coach out/foreign coach in, he would be well advised that, even if football, like politics, does not have its own morality, yesterday is yesterday and today is today.

I find people does use that to often and conveniently. They never achieved anything.  the race is to the finish not to see how close you can come.
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Offline Deeks

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Re: Mystery, Magic and Maturana.
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2008, 04:41:21 PM »
Touche!!!, Ashford

Offline Controversial

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Re: Mystery, Magic and Maturana.
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2008, 05:00:01 PM »
the mystery is what team will be selected and whether maturana will use any of his subs effectively, the magic is whether jack will work some obeah and gurantee us a place in south africa and maturana........ etc etc








that should answer your question.

Offline dinho

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Re: Mystery, Magic and Maturana.
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2008, 05:09:22 PM »
enjoyed this read from ashford..
         

Offline frico

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Re: Mystery, Magic and Maturana.
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2008, 05:39:45 PM »
Mr. Jackman has written all that we know but when we see it in black and white it becomes more credible,he seems to have a littlle problem with Stern,he is so right about that.

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Re: Mystery, Magic and Maturana.
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2008, 06:48:23 PM »
Wow... I always though Ashford jackman was dotish, but this was a nice read.

And what would have made you come to such a conclusion?  You know my friend and classmate Ashford?

Buh A-A.

You went to school with Ashford ?
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Offline arrow

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Re: Mystery, Magic and Maturana.
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2008, 06:52:44 PM »
Wow... I always though Ashford jackman was dotish, but this was a nice read.

And what would have made you come to such a conclusion?  You know my friend and classmate Ashford?

Buh A-A.

You went to school with Ashford ?

that's probably what made him come to that conclusion