5 Things Your Five-A-Side Team Needs This Season

Football fans rejoice, we’re so close to the next season!

Whilst we all wait patiently (or not-so-patiently) for the Premier League to kick off here on August 11th, those of us who are are looking forward to star in our own football success stories should be looking to reconnecting with our team mates and thinking about what can be done to get the edge over our competitors this season.

Although many people see five-a-side football as simply ‘a laugh’ or just a good chance to get some exercise, there are some of us who take it very seriously indeed.

For those of you who are eagerly awaiting the posting of this season’s fixtures, here’s a few ideas that might well give you the advantage needed to go all the way this year:

‘Brand new’ team kit

You’d be surprised how much difference a change of kit can make! If you’re fed up having to throw on bibs, or maybe the cotton shirts with the ‘Just Eat’ sponsorship on the front are starting to get a bit ratty, consider investing a bit more cash in something more professional looking. Having a brand spanking new set of kit will not only put the fear in your opposition but it’ll also give your guys a bit of a morale boost too.

If you’re worried about spending too much cash then don’t be afraid of exploring some alternative routes. You can find good quality discount sportswear online at the right places; you’ll need to buy in bulk, but that won’t be too much of an issue for you.

Think tactically not personally

Five-a-side football is as much about tactical thinking as it is about fitness and technique. Although some teams might be happy to simply pong the ball back and forth for forty minutes, if you invest just a small amount of time into developing a few basic tactics you’ll soon see your performances improve across the board. Often, the key to a tactically sound five-a-side team is simply where to place your men.

Gav might think that he’s a got a killer right foot, but the reality might be a little further from his imagination. Don’t let the stronger personalities in your squad unbalance your team, make sure that players are playing in the right positions and the rest will come – take some advice from a man who knows a thing or two about managing…

Practice together

Practice really does make perfect. Although some casual teams might not like the idea of putting the extra time in, every hour you spend training will help you tenfold when it comes down to match day. Whether it’s booking an astro, or simply finding a park to have knock about in, you’ll reap the dividends when you come across sides who haven’t done the same.

Try finding a day in the week which is suitable for everyone and organise a couple of pints down your local after, as a bit of an incentive. The more time you spend together, the tighter your team will become.

Fitness is paramount

You might only be playing for forty minutes in total, but you need to be in pretty good shape to make the most of that time. The best teams will be made up of players who work on their fitness off the pitch. Don’t think that going for a couple of jogs a week is going to help you. In order for you to succeed in five-a-side you need to be able to deal with prolonged stints of anaerobic exercise – that means getting out of breath once in a while.

Interval training can really help prepare your body to work hard with less oxygen. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a simple sprint, jog, walk cycle for a few hours each week will make you far more effective when it comes to match day.

Make your team social

If you’re not pals, you’re not going to play well together. It may well be the case that Premier League players can score goals whilst maintaining the most frigid of relationships with each other, but that’s not going to work for you on a five-a-side pitch – after all, there’s a reason why they’re paid hundreds of thousands a year and you’re not. Communication is key in five-a-side games and it’s hard to communicate when you’re not the best of friends with your team mates.

Just started a team? It can be hard bringing together relative strangers, but it’s much easier if you share a few experiences first. Go and watch a match, or have a few pints at the pub – team building activities can work wonders for relationship development!

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Building the Ultimate Man-Cave

The Man-Cave has become more than a passing fad or a cultural touchstone for noughties sitcoms.

The design and upkeep of the homestead in a British household has traditionally been seen as the responsibility of the wife. After centuries of patriarchal rule, this responsibility has turned into an absolute power which has left men feeling like they have little means of expression within their own home.

Whilst the man of the house has headed out to win the bread, the wife has stayed at home, cared for the children, cleaned the house and pondered over what improvements the home was in need of.

Over the decades succeeding the Second World War, the role of women in society changed dramatically. Not only were there more women than ever engaged in full time employment, but now the responsibility of keeping the house had turned into a coveted privilege. As the women of the house began exercising their rights to enforce their interior design whims within shared living spaces, men were left feeling increasingly marginalised in their own homes. This led to worried husbands demanding a space of their own where they could express their own masculinity.

These masculine spaces are described informally (sometimes derogatorily) as ‘man-caves’.

Legendary YouTuber Colin Furze shows off his very own, extreme man-cave in this video:

They range greatly in size, style and function – but their purpose is universal: a place for the man of the house do as he pleases; it is, as Paula Aymer of Tufts University describes it, ‘the last bastion of masculinity‘.

Before you think about how you’d like to express yourself as a man in your own home, it’s important to think about some practical issues. There’s nothing worse than a half-completed project, so if your budget is small, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Creating a space that you have complete control over is the aim here: it could be as big as a garage space or as small as an armchair with a hi-fi next to it.

Regardless of what your plans are, there are a few must-buys that you are going to need if you want your man-cave to remain functioning and fun for the foreseeable future:

An impressive sound system

Man-caves are as much about creating an ambience of masculinity as they are about owning a space physically. Invest in a set of speakers that give you crystal clear quality as well as volume, so that you can best enjoy the music and movies that only you like.

Big screen TV or a projector

Some sports fans will swear that the only way to enjoy the game is with a cold beer, complete silence and a massive widescreen. Obviously money can be a limiting factor here. For those without the funds for the latest oversized flat screen, you can always opt for a portable projector. They can be surprisingly affordable and require very little set up.

Fully stocked bar

Although not all of us can afford an entire bar’s worth of booze, a man-cave without a small drinks collection should be considered as incomplete. Enthusiastic men around the world have invested fortunes into recreating a bar or pub in the basement of their homes; but you should just start with a mini-fridge packed with a few cold ones and go from there.

Pub games

Space is once more another issue when considering what distractions to populate your man-cave with. Although pub games such as Pool and Darts are considered traditional, a video games console is perhaps the best source of entertainment for 21st Century man-cave. You can either spend a fortune on a new console or hunt through Ebay for a bargain vintage console, for extra cool points.

Quality AC-DC Converters


All good electricians understand the importance of investing in quality electrical equipment in order to best protect the rest of the home as well, however us men often overlook such safety precautions, electing for the riskier option of cheap extension cables and power supplies found in long forgotten drawers. If you purchase all your power supplies and transformers from a well-established manufacturer, then you’ll be able to relax in peace.

Big sofas or La-z-boys

This last key component should not be neglected. Don’t settle for a battered second hand job and don’t get tricked into taking your favourite seat from upstairs, so that a new one can replace it where you won’t be relaxing. Spending good money on a decent La-Z-Boy will serve you dividends in the future, but you should invest in a big sofa if you’re planning on entertaining guests.

The last thing every man-cave needs is a man to enjoy it – make sure that you find time to enjoy your space!

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On US Food Trucks, Indie Cinema and Hipsters

What We Can Learn from America’s Fast Food Trucksters

Our friends from across the pond may struggle with their foreign policy from time to time and have trouble telling their politicians from their celebrities (Mr. Trump, we’re looking at you!) but there is one thing that they’ve got over us on any given Sunday.

A staple of the American fast food industry for decades now, the humble food truck is slowly and surely picking up traction here in the UK. This is good news for us lads, who love nothing more than chowing down on a ridiculously sized meat-filled monstrosity.

For years now, us Brits have had to cope with the humble English burger van as a way of sprucing up a trip to B&Q or to brighten a long day out with the wife and kids. These curious contraptions come in all shapes and sizes, but the quality of their product is uniformly awful. Soggy baps, tasteless patties and lacklustre extras are the order of the day – and the prices are usually enough to turn you away, even before you’ve seen the questionable cleanliness of the make-shift kitchen.

‘These curious contraptions come in all shapes and sizes, but the quality of their product is uniformly awful.’

Thankfully, with the advent of the gourmet burger in the UK, all this is slowly starting to change. Although some critics may be starting to tire of the endless amount of super-sized burgers and dogs, served on tin plates and wood boards, us guys here at MALE FICE can’t get enough of them. With city restaurant districts slowly filling up with a heady mix of chain restaurants and independent businesses, there has never been more choice when it comes to American food on our high streets. But why is this cracking grub making its way off the streets and on to our roads?

As usual, pop culture has had its part to play with classic movies, like Scarface and Pulp Fiction, boosting the appeal of American food. John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson’s iconic ‘Royale with Cheese’ scene had 90s cinema goers slavering over the mighty American burger long before its rise to popularity in the UK. Whereas the more discerning cinephile will remember Tony Montana’s first job in a grimy drive-in. Violent cult films aside, the food truck has more recently had a resurgence in the world of independent cinema.

‘John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson’s iconic ‘Royale with Cheese’ scene had 90s cinema goers slavering over the mighty American burger…’

Featuring what would be a breakthrough performance from everyone’s favourite ‘dwarf’ Peter Dinklage, The Station Agent centred on a food truck in the middle of nowhere as its main setting – no doubt a clever ploy for keeping costs down on what was a very cheap movie. Bobby Cannavale was the man behind the grill in the critically acclaimed 2003 festival darling, and just over 10 years later he found himself cooking up a storm on the move once more in Jon Favreau’s Chef. You might be wondering what these festival darlings have to do with the rise of the food truck; one word: hipsters.

The hipster movement is one that has truly taken the world by storm. At its heart is a love of unique trends from the world of fashion all the way to food. Bearded, tight trousered, tattooed and at large; the male hipster restaurateur is now as much of a cliché as the cockney chippy owner. Buying and setting up a first-class metropolitan eatery with hipster credentials can be a risky affair, for most budding bearded entrepreneurs its much easier to test the waters with something smaller first; like a food truck!

‘…Bob’s your uncle you’ve got yourself a shabby chic hipster-proof food truck ready to do some killer business!’

Any man’s man can see the appeal. Buy a cheap battered van, like Bobby and Jon’s in Chef, scour eBay for affordable cooking equipment and invest wisely in a set of quality industrial fans and motors (it can get hot in a food truck and you will need some ventilation!); Bob’s your uncle you’ve got yourself a shabby chic hipster-proof food truck ready to do some killer business!

The only thing left to sort out is the food…you do know how to cook right?

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10 Tips For Your Kitchen Remodel

Being able to redesign your own kitchen is a wonderful thing.

You can build it up from scratch exactly how you want it, and in such a way that it works for you and your home.

But there are a lot of pitfalls as well, and mistakes can become very costly. Here are ten tips to keep your kitchen remodel in line and on budget.

Don’t Overspend!

Work out a budget ahead of time and stick to it.  It isn’t going to be easy – you’re bound to find some tiles you absolutely love that are way too expensive, so you need to be able to say no! The amount you spend on your kitchen should be proportional to how much extra value it should add to the house.

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As a general rule, an upgrade of paints and hardware may cost around £1500, while a full upgrade with counters, flooring and luxury appliances can cost tens of thousands.

Have An Identity In Mind

You might think you know what you’re doing going into the build – until you find that you’ve bought the tiles for a cottage kitchen and the counter tops for a minimalist space.

Be aware of the architectural style of the house as it is, and work with it instead of against it.

Don’t Mess With The Plumbing

It’s a huge hassle to move the water and gas lines around, and expensive to boot. Keep anything that’s connected by a pipe where it is, unless you absolutely have to move it!

Check The Floor Plan

If you do want to change the layout of your kitchen, either with appliances or in terms of plug sockets, think it through thoroughly. Most kitchens have a general layout which makes it easier to navigate, such as having the dishwasher next to the sink.

Keep Your Existing Cabinetswp8c68f876_05_06

If you can, that is. If they’re made of wood and still in good condition you can save a lot of money by simply giving them a facelift. Repaint them, relaminate, or add new drawer handles.

DIY Your Flooring

This is a stage in the design where you can save yourself a lot of money. Good laminate flooring that looks like tiles is reasonably priced – but pay a workman to do it for you and the cost per square metre will go up a huge amount. The other bonus of laminate flooring is that it’s easy to clean; always a selling point in a kitchen.

Get Some Free Advice

There are so many resources for advice on a kitchen redesign! A lot of home improvement shops will have computer-based design services which make the measurements and layout easy.

Also make sure you use all the resources you can find on the internet as well as asking the advice of people who’ve already done it.

Match Your Appliances

This will be harder to do if you aren’t getting all new appliances, although you can build up from a base of one or two. Your kitchen will look about ten times more professional with matching appliances – and while they don’t have to be the exact same range, they should at least be the same brand and colour.

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If you already have one perfectly good appliance, buy the others to match it.

Take Sinks and Fixtures Into Account

All these little bits can end up costing you a lot if you don’t factor them into the initial design. Your kitchen will look so much better if you’re able to stick to a consistent finish – unless the patchwork kitchen is the look you’re going for, in which case also disregard the previous point.

Do you have any other ideas for how to keep your kitchen redesign in line?

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Download – The Biggest, Baddest Metal Fest in the UK

If you’re at Download Festival this weekend, I hate you.

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No not really, but I am pretty jealous.

With one of the best line-ups in the last decade, featuring legends of the industrial, rock and metal scenes, even the bad weather isn’t going to ruin the weekend – although it might ruin your tent.

The first headliner of the weekend are the German industrial band Rammstein, celebrating their 25th anniversary with a world tour. They come after such acts as Korn, Alien Ant Farm, Glassjaw and Kadavar, as well as a tribute act to Lemmy Kilmister who should have been performing with Motorhead.

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Next up is the father of modern British metal – Ozzy Osbourne with Black Sabbath, finishing off a day that features Megadeath, NOFX, Skindred and Municipal Waste.

And on Friday, ageing rock band Iron Maiden perform their newest album The Book of Souls, while Napalm Death, Disturbed, Gojira and more fill up the day.

If you’re camping at Download this year, don’t expect to get an easy barbecue in – it looks like the weather’s going to be wet all weekend so hopefully you brought some extra tent pegs to avoid washing away.

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And finally, if watching all these amazing shredders gives you the itch to learn guitar, keep your eyes peeled for our blog about it soon!

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How To Be A Gentleman At The Gym

Working out is an essential tenant of masculinity.

It might be the testosterone rush, or the feeling of being an unstoppable primal power, but it feels damn good to work out.

But while you’re being Mr Hyde, don’t cease to be Dr Jekyll, and keep in mind your etiquette when sharing a space with others.

Don’t Hog The Machines

Use the machines or weights for however long you need them – then once you don’t, relinquish control. Everyone’s trying to use the same tools as you, and if you can’t learn to share you should be working out at home. Don’t be a dick and try to claim a machine with a towel either.

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Wipe Down The Equipment

Don't forget to bring a towel!
Don’t forget to bring a towel!

Your gym ought to have this rule printed out and put all around the place.

No one likes to sit down into a puddle of someone else’s sweat (or their own, for that matter), but you’re not exercising if you don’t sweat. So how do you get around this? Bring a bloody towel! If you see someone leave a machine sweaty and they don’t have a towel, offer them yours to use.

Quit Nattering

A bit of talking is fine – give your kudos here and there, or say hi to a gym buddy. But chatting for twenty minutes really isn’t the point of the gym, and you’re probably just holding everybody up as well as you and your banter buddy.

You need to stay focused at the gym, and having lengthy conversations can really disrupt that concentration.

The Gym Is Not A Bar

Women don’t want to be hit on in a gym – would you? Your messy and sweaty, red and tired; you’ve been focused on working out hard, not on how you look.

If you end up making friends with a lady at the gym you may want to ask her out later, but not while she’s exercising. And don’t try to approach any women with cheesy pickup lines; you probably won’t get the answer you’re looking for.

If the sight of a sweaty, red-faced woman gets your motor running, go work it off somewhere else.

Call Them Back Later

5-gym-phone-callMost people use their phones in the gym nowadays, either as a device to listen to music or to text and play games.  That’s fine. Talking incessantly on your phone is not.

Quite frankly, it’s obnoxious. You might not be breaking any rules, and you probably won’t hear anything about it, but take my word for it – you will be bothering the people around you, even if they have headphones in.

And, to be perfectly honest, having a lengthy phone call during your work out is not the best way to build muscle.

Do you think these are fair points? Are you usually a gentleman at the gym? Let us know!

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Top 5 Hobbies for Men

Have you been searching for an activity lately?

After all, idleness destroys masculinity. Keep your testosterone topped up by indulging in one of these super-manly activities.

Playing the Guitar

Learning any instrument is pretty damn manly – but the ease with which you can pick up guitar, and how cheap it is, mean that it’s pretty simple to get started. What’s more, it really goes down well with the ladies! Maybe you won’t reach Slash levels of awesome, but at least you can serenade a lady with Smoke On The Water.

Woodworking

Ron Swanson does woodworking. Do you still need proof that it’s a manly endeavour?

Making things with your hands is a staple of being a man. Making practical things like furniture and boats doesn’t just show that you’ve worked hard but that you can make something to be used again and again. It’s even good for reducing stress! Show that you’re a provider by making the girl you like a dining table – she’ll be all over that.

Barbecuing

The pinnacle of masculinity is barbecuing – it combines meat with fire. It’s easy to get started (just try a simple steak at first) and then go on to try other more complex dishes. Learn how to make your own spice rubs and sauces, and you can impress your family, friends, colleagues or just the neighbours with your powerful mastery of the barbecue.

Camping

We’ve lost touch with the natural world. Surrounded by comfort and convenience at all times, many of us wish for a time when we could exercise our manliness in the great outdoors.

Taking a break from the modern world to go camping is intensely relaxing; you get to breathe fresh air, set up tents and building campfires. Use the time to learn new skills, such as how to chop down a tree for kindling, or the best way to make a lean-to out of found materials. Whether you go with a mate, your missus or by yourself, you’ll have a chance to be a primal man again.

Working Out

Nothing says man more than the smell of sweat after a good work out. Focus on the end goal of getting into shape, and steadily increase your sessions until you reach the ideal moment. Ladies love a man with muscles, and you can prove your true manliness by lifting heavy objects, opening doors and carrying dainty women around.

And remember gents; you must be swift as a coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon. With all the strength of a raging fire, mysterious as the dark side of the moon.

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