The Perpetual Midlevel Management Crisis at Real Madrid

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Affluent European soccer team comes agonizingly close to winning two major trophies but falls just short! Equally affluent rival claims both! Oh soccer, you bizarrely wonderful world. Sport has always been torn in two directions: the idealists and the pragmatists. Some care about how a team plays, does it attack, will it win, while others care only about results. The two often come together, but not always.

Thus, when a team plays well but doesn’t win, what’s a club to do? If you’re Real Madrid, the answer is simple: sharpen your axes. Continue reading “The Perpetual Midlevel Management Crisis at Real Madrid” »

The Relegation Savior Fallacy

Just before the summer transfer rumor tradewinds pick up, another gust blows in another Spring rarity: the relegation savior. Every April across Europe, clubs at the bottom of the table claw, elbow, scratch, pull hair, and do anything and everything to avoid relegation. As if written in stone, the bottom three must take the drop. Clubs, fans, players, and owners get desperate. They clutch for any and all lifelines, yet with the transfer window closed since January, there’s only one: a new coach.

In comes a new coach and, sometimes, the team avoids relegation. But then what? Continue reading “The Relegation Savior Fallacy” »

Which Worthless Article on Soccer Clubs’ Social Media Popularity is Most Popular on Social Media?

Two minute cat videos. Listicles. Slideshows. You can dump on most of the content that the interwebs has to offer. In fact, I have done so repeteadly. However, at least a good listicle requires some creativity and snappy prose. A decent slideshow depends on the skill of the source content: photography and image editing. Yes, they are small nuggets of info packaged in an easy-to-consume format, but cereal bars are also packaged in a way that is easy to consume. Cereal bars are also not a full course meal. Do you hate cereal bars?

Still, my painfully stretched analogy cannot extend to defend a new kind of crap appearing on the webs: social media popularity counts that masquerade as “worth you’re fucking time.” Nevertheless, I dared to ask: which of this filth is the most popular by its own metric? Continue reading “Which Worthless Article on Soccer Clubs’ Social Media Popularity is Most Popular on Social Media?” »

Clasico Recap: A Tale of Two Halves Edition

Yesterday’s clasico was a tale of two halves. Or so say the headlines. In fact, many headlines refer to a game as a “tale of two halves.” Your cerebral self chuckles and thinks: no shit. Doesn’t every game of soccer consist of two halves? Isn’t that, like, kinda the fundamental rule and proportion of time? Could a headline be any less descriptive?

I used to agree with you. But, alas, you are wrong (and so was I). Continue reading “Clasico Recap: A Tale of Two Halves Edition” »

DC Comics’ Laughable Trademark Tomfoolery against Valencia CF

In November of last year, the BBC reported that DC Comics filed a trademark complaint with the European Union against Valencia Club de Futbol. Their beef? That Valencia’s new crest featuring a bat was too similar to the bat of Batman fame. In response, Valencia issued a statement, basically saying that “Hey, we’ve existed and used bats for a few more decades than your little comic.”

However, that’s not even half the story. Continue reading “DC Comics’ Laughable Trademark Tomfoolery against Valencia CF” »

The Dirty Tackle Blog is No More….

Free Darko. The Run of Play. The list of blogs worth reading shrinks every year. For six glorious years, Brooks Peck wrote irreverent and clever posts for the “Dirty Tackle” blog at Yahoo. In fact, I can recall the time before it was a Yahoo sports blog. I was very jealous of Brook’s neat WordPress theme and ability to digest and publish obscure soccer news before anybody else.

I was honored to write for Dirty Tackle about the bleak, last year of Raul Gonzalez’s career while in Germany at Schalke. As per DT style, the narrative form was a satirical diary, an exaggerated take on the possible inner person and workings of a player who we will never personally know, but upon whom we project certain characteristics and traits based on brief moments in time. Continue reading “The Dirty Tackle Blog is No More….” »

The Crumbling, Decling Empire Clasico Recap Edition

During last Saturday’s clasico, my twitter feed was curiously silent. Was I in shock after the first half? Was I silently exuberant during the second? No and no. I was driving across Houston to my son’s game and then at a Halloween gathering. Thanks to Dishworld and BeIN Sports, I could watch the game later. Thus, I carefully avoided the excellent Guardian cellphone app, Facebook, Twitter, and incoming text messages and WhatsApp messages from the known entities.

Miraculously, I watched the game at midnight Saturday night and still didn’t know the score. However, the storyline and start were predictable. Continue reading “The Crumbling, Decling Empire Clasico Recap Edition” »

Cool Carlo and the Non-Clasico Clasico

The furling eyebrow. The non-abrasive press conferences. The jovial laugh. Carlo Ancelotti is definitively not Jose Mourinho. Thanks in large part to signings, he’s re-made the Real Madrid roster into an attacking 4-3-3 with little regard for, say, defending. Gone is the counter-attacking 4-2-3-1, the crossfield switches of Xabi Alonso, the darting runs of Di Maria, the lackadaisical drifting of Ozil.

Also gone, perhaps for the better, is the animosity for FC Barcelona. Continue reading “Cool Carlo and the Non-Clasico Clasico” »

More Reflections on the Galacticos 3.0

Being a Real Madrid fan means winning trophies, spending money on big signings, and winning even more trophies. You also get lots of shit when the expensively assembled team doesn’t win, but, hey, comes with the territory. What being a Real Madrid fan never meant before was this: selling key players in the prime of their career.

So what has happened these past two summers? Continue reading “More Reflections on the Galacticos 3.0” »