Tag Archives: Final

The Apprentice: Would you hire any of these people?

“What do men dislike the most – waxing, vegetables or cricket?” 

Just one of many dazzlingly dire quandaries proposed by The Relationship Guru, a board game painstakingly conceived by team Tenacity during week five of this year’s UK Apprentice (waxing is the correct answer for anyone who’s interested.)

One of the many questions posed by 'The Relationship Guru'
One of the many questions posed by ‘The Relationship Guru’

A record 20 candidates were included in the process this year, evidently for the sole purpose of allowing Lord Alan Sugar to give more than one person the sight of his podgy index finger during each of the initial episodes.

The sizeable roster has been chastised by sections of the show’s hardcore following, with the inevitably escalated nitwit to prodigy ratio making embryonic instalments less palatable than usual, and the most engaging participants abdicating their share of the spotlight to fame seeking comic relief.

The stereotype quota has been faithfully adhered to;

Vexatious, irksome gob shite with American accent:
TICK

Loud mouth northern pipsqueak who Sir Al sees something in: TICK

Egotistical market trader who thinks he’s Bill Gates:
TICK

Narcissistic female beautician cast as panto villain:
TICK

Asian business lady who’s ‘too nice’:
TICK

 

Fortunately, among the bevy of equal opportunity fall guys and girls there has been a dusting of discerning, manipulative contenders who have entered centre stage as cast numbers have dwindled.

The final two, Mark Wright and Bianca Miller, both have impressive CV’s and, aged 24 and 25 respectively, possess the requisite energy and acumen to utilise the £250,000 start-up fund the winner apparently receives straight from the savings pot of a 67-year old, office dwelling tycoon whose personal wealth stands at more than £700m.

On Wednesday those two remaining players were, along with three other prospective dog’s bodies, subjected to a day of interviews patently devised to create discomfort, as high flyers with well attuned bullshit detectors posed the penultimate obstacle to investment.

Claude Littner, an acerbic mainstay of this stage of the process since 2005, was swift to pounce upon some of the flakier propositions among the quintet, labelling 23 year-old Solomon Akhtar’s diagram heavy blueprint ‘a bloody disgrace’ before unceremoniously concluding the tongue lashing by ordering him to scram (a visibly shaken Akhtar then walking towards the window of the 50th floor office, before Littner intervened and directed him to the exit.)

Despite getting longer in the tooth, and with certain concepts wearing a mite thin, The Apprentice retains a place among the most popular reality TV programming in the country by virtue of being able to combine absurd scenarios and fractious characters with a serious business setting.

The US translation of the programme has a glossier inflection, with Donald Trump the suave palate cleansing sorbet to Sugar’s gritty north London pie and mash, albeit the former Tottenham Hotspur director retains an eccentric charm amid the recurring pointy, shouty boardroom showdown.

Who should win? Flip a coin and you’ll have your answer – the ultimate victor here is of course Seigneur Sucre, the sexagenarian’s profile once again given a leg up pre-Christmas period by solid viewing figures and self-edited portrayal of warm, cuddly diamond geezer replete with chic catchphrase.

Lord Alan Sugar

As has been revealed during the aftermath of past series’, the person hired on the programme isn’t always the winner when the cameras stop rolling; Sugar often taking two or more candidates under his wing for six months before determining if any of them are indispensable removed from the context of sourcing Halal chickens or negotiating 47 pence discounts on a pair of disused oven mitts.

Perhaps the most poignant query though is posed by The Relationship Guru board game once more;

Men think women should:

a). Iron
b). Smile more 
c). Always be happy.

Like Albert Einstein’s question about the meaning of life, perhaps it’s better that we never find out.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Champions League Final: Five key battles

Two teams from the same Spanish City go head-to-head in Lisbon tonight, their incentive: the most prestigious trophy in European domestic club football – where will the match be won and lost? Dom Kureen looks at five of the key battles of the 2014 Champions League final.

 

Gareth Bale (RW) Vs Filipe Luis (LB)

21 goals and a hatful of assists have gone some way towards justifying Gareth Bale’s world record £85.3m transfer fee. The Welsh wing-wizard’s stunning winner against Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey final last month had even the staunchest sceptics salivating.

Filipe Luis has spent much of his career as a journeyman full-back, but his development under the tutelage of Athletico chief Diego Simeone established him as one of the most dependable components in a side that won La Liga for the first time in 18 years.

Conclusion: Bale has really hit his stride since the turn of the year and should cause the Brazilian left-back no end of problems if he becomes isolated.

Cristiano Ronaldo (LW) Vs Juanfran (RB)

In 2013 Cristiano Ronaldo secured his legacy as one of the greatest players in the history of the game. His 66 goals in 55 matches for club and country were rewarded with a second Ballon d’Or and a lucrative multi-year contract extension with his current employers.

Former Real youth player Juanfran will have his work cut out – Ronaldo’s tendency to drift towards the centre offers only superficial respite, with Los Merengues’ jet-heeled left-back Marcelo regularly overlapping to occupy the void.

Conclusion: Ronaldo has been the best player in the world over the past 18 months, keep him quiet and Athletico could hoist aloft their second trophy of a remarkable season.

Sergio Ramos (CB) Vs Diego Costa (STR)

Sergio Ramos’ Allianz Arena brace put paid to Bayern Munich’s hopes during an exhilarating exhibition of counter-attacking football in Real’s 5-0 semi-final vanquishing of the pre-tournament favourites. It is for his defensive work that he is most noted though, having matured from perceived pansy into cultured ball playing centre-half during the past decade.

He will have his hands full with Diego Costa, who has finally fulfilled his long undoubted potential with 36 goals this season. Chelsea have reportedly agreed a £32m fee for his services, so this is likely to be the Brazilian’s Athletico adieu, he’ll want to bow out at the zenith, but is nursing a muscle-injury that may prevent his participation.

Conclusion: Athletico will be hopeful of Costa passing a late fitness test. As the focal point of their attacks he can cause even the high-calibre Ramos a headache.

Asier Illarramendi (DM) Vs Koke (AM)

22-year old Koke is the string puller in Athletico’s engine room. Another player on Jose Mourinho’s Stamford Bridge wish list, his form this season has seen him earmarked as Andres Iniesta’s long-term replacement at international level for Spain.

Amongst the fanfare of Bale’s bank busting transfer to the Bernabeu last summer, the tireless Illarramendi arrived from Real Sociedad for a relatively miniscule(!) £22m. The 24 year-old schemer will slot into a defensive midfield role in the absence of suspended first choice Xavi Alonso.

Conclusion: Koke is an elegant creator, his selfless, innovative probing has the potential to unlock Real’s back line, it will be up to the athletic Illarramendi to stalk him into submission.

Carlo Ancelotti Vs Diego Simeone

Carlo Ancelotti followed up a stellar playing career with a trophy laden 14-year stint managing various Serie A sides. Subsequent spells in England and France added depth to his credentials and led to his appointment at the helm of the most decorated club side in the world.

Diego Simeone was an uncompromising player, whose management career commenced in his native Argentina. It is at the Vincente Calderon that he has really flourished though, having gained the role in 2011.

Sergio Ramos

Conclusion: Real 2 – 1 Athletico.

Ancelotti is an old hand of the grand stage and won’t be overawed by the occasion.
With Athletico’s growing injury list, this will probably be a game too far for this season’s surprise package. Expect Ronaldo to add to his tally of 50 club goals for the campaign.

 

Do you agree with Dom’s assessment? Let us know in the comment section below!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.