Monday, 3 March 2008

This week, I shall be mostly discussing my family life in a footballing frame of reference

In the best traditions of the calciomercato, it's a been a long drawn out saga. First suggestions that he might be looking at a move overseas were first heard in Autumn 2006. Not that he was unhappy with where he was, just that he was looking for a new challenge, he wanted to stretch his horizons, better himself, experience new styles of play... and that maybe he should move overseas. Initial contacts with a couple of possible destinations in the early months of 2007 came to nothing, however. Was he likely to stay in his existing location? Hard to say; he seemed unsettled by the discussions which had taken place. In late 2007 a new and more determined round of negotiations was opened, and this time with much more dramatic results.

After a long period of suspense a definite offer at last came in from a side playing in blue (never a good sign, I think, with all due apologies to CB). Then a flurry of offers came in from big names in the North East... but he was clearly hanging on for the right place and the right time. And last week it finally looked like a choice had been made in favour of an option which combined professional fulfilment with personal satisfaction (the WAG element, always important). A quality outfit with a decent symbol (the Bears). But at the last moment a dramatic new offer came in - and from their local rival, no less. Not only offering the chance to play with some of the biggest names in the field, but an extremely attractive financial package besides, both in terms of regular wage and a generous signing on fee (I joke not). And a nice crimson-red coloured jersey besides, almost a giallorosso type red.

So the latest word is, probably Stanford.


ursus arctos said...


I mean seriously, a place where the mascot is a tree?!?

The graduate departments are generally very strong, but stay away from the undergrads, the denizens of the B-school and especially the Hoover Institution types.

If he values his soul, that is.

And the campus looks like a Taco Bell.

Brian said...

Stanford is rich as a snake but not known for placing much institutional value on the humanities. Stories of English department members required to carry the luggage of minor computer scientists and serve hors d'oeuvres at applied-math cocktail parties abound. Then again, they will basically give you a BMW for saying smart things about Milton. I never quite know what to think.

Martinus Scriblerus said...

'Rich as a snake' - I like this phrase.

ursus arctos said...

Yes! More Stanford badminding, just what the doctor ordered.

It's a "Junior University", after all . . .

(officially the "Leland Stanford Junior University).

ursus arctos said...

To be completely serious, though, what really matters in these decisions are the people that he will be working with and the conditions under which he will be working (expected teaching load, etc.).

And I don't know anywhere near enough of the relative merits of Stanford and Berkeley in this respect to hazard a view.

Everything else, including lame mascots, reactionary undergraduates, Taco Bell architecture, an artificial suburban environment and a relative dearth of fine dining (just to name a few) is secondary. Short-term financial gain, however, is even more secondary.

I'll stop now.

He's very fortunate, and from what little I know of him. has every reason to be so. He'll be fine at any of these places; the goal of the exercise is to try to find the best fit, and that is an intensely personal decision that only he can make.

Albert Herring said...

A tree as a mascot is a splendid idea, and I wish we had one instead of a cartoon Robin Hood.

Although not as much as I wish we had some forwards who weren't either broken or Grant Holt, mind.

Spangly Princess said...

Perhaps I should have made clear that the financial choice is not between more money and less money but between money and no money.

I'll grant you the tree, though.

I believe that Stanford is riddled with eminent if implausibly named eighteenth centuryists, which is fairly crucial.

As for fine dining, I can't say it played a large part in my graduate experience, except for what I did at home.

Martinus Scriblerus said...

Ursus, he's also right here, but that which said thank you for your kind words. I'll deal with your other points as I think of them: if it's good enough for Lebanon, it's good enough for me; the reactionary undergraduates are I'm sure not qualitatively any different in their political naivete to those at my alma mater; I'm planning to conduct a groundbreakingly interdisciplinary study of books in particle accelerators, and so on. And thank you.

Spangly Princess said...

"if it's good enough for Lebanon, it's good enough for me"

HAHA I demand that you compare yourself to sovereign states as often as possible

ursus arctos said...

Ah, I hadn't realised that de man had morphed into scribblerus (of course, each appelation is a merely a reader-supplied meme that says more about me than him).

18th centurists are indeed fairly crucial, and some vs. none is certainly a more compelling narrative than more vs. less. There is also the fact that getting one's ph.d from the Junior Univerity makes it rather more likely that one will end up teaching at a "real school".

In any case, my last word on the tree.

Cedar of Lebanon my ass.

Brian said...

There's also the fact that everyone associated with Stanford seems to be suspiciously and memorably happy, almost as though the combination of funding, good weather, and bright colleagues made people feel content with their lot. Maybe that's a point in its favor; I'm sure I would't know.

ginkers said...

Totally off subject, all the best against Real tomorrow night. Might your boys just sneak it? I hope so!

ursus arctos said...

Well, her English side just put one reactionary dragon to the sword . . .

Forza Roma.

Chelsea boy said...

I thought Forest were nicknamed the Tricky Trees way back when. Am I massively wrong?

(The word verification for this post is bjkev - hohoho)