I wrote about Antonio Conte a few months back. Basically, his courage in benching underperforming players and introducing a new tactical system impressed me. Then, The Guardian ran a profile of him with an interview from an assistant. The details divulged kinda ruined my enchantment, to be honest. And some things made more sense.
First, he seems like a task master. LVG style, he stops training session games to talk with players and tell them where to stand. Secondly, his training sessions go on and on and on. That’s pretty Mou style. While I think Conte should lead Chelsea to a title this year, is he just benefiting from no European soccer (ala Leicester last year) and will he burn out his Starting XI ala Mourinho’s last time at Chelsea? Continue reading “The Necessity of Genius” »
As an avid fan of soccer who has played and coached at various levels, I am a keen student of what is reported by the always trustworthy British sports dailies. In particular, I read with a discerning eye about managers. I ask myself: how do they manage so well?
And how can I imitate them?
Continue reading “The Spuds’ Secret” »
One of the best parts about sports is that, within a certain frame of assumptions, we can enjoy a heavy dose of unpredictability. Last season, nobody, not even a super computer with all the world’s knowledge and really really nice spreadsheet tech with dope algorithms could have predicted Leicester’s title.
This season, the EPL has returned to the same old contenders, but I’m still blown away by how Chelsea has turned things around. Continue reading “Counting on Conte” »
Baseball used to have all the good curses. For decades, Cubs and Red Sox fans wallowed in misery, shaking their fists at phantoms and decrying the lack of a championship. And that’s not even mentioning the legend of Shoeless Joe Jackson whom, if I recall correctly, was decapitated and rode around on a horse (but sans a shoe on his left foot).
Luckily, as baseball has gone metric system and stats, soccer still has a few tales of wonder and hexes. I speak, of course, of the “Faux Bun.” Continue reading “The Curse of the Faux Bun” »
- Ten-year global partnership
- Soft-As-Warm-Porridge stool softeners to be used at Aon Training Complex.
MANCHESTER, England — (BUSINESS WIRE) — Manchester United (NYSE: MANU) is proud to announce a partnership with SAWP. The agreement heralds United’s first ever Official Stool Softener Partner. Continue reading “Manchester United Celebrate Europa League Campaign by Announcing First Ever Stool Softener Sponsorship!” »
Everybody is kinda freaking out because allegedly live sports TV ratings are dropping. Both the NFL and the English Premier League have reported major “dips” in viewership. However, I’m very skeptical.
Something much bigger is at work. Continue reading “The Dip That Wasn’t” »
In case you missed the so-called “Decision Day” of MLS games this past weekend, a player named Kei Kamara scored a goal. All agree twas a nice goal of the finest variety, one worthy of celebration. Of course, players have shown emotion and excitement after the scoring of a goal for time eternal. And since Roger Milla danced for Cameroon in the World Cup, the rhythmic movement of one’s body has long been part and parcel of said celebrations.
Yet Kei Kamara got wrongly punished. Continue reading “The Case for Kamara” »
Yesterday, Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United played Liverpool in Liverpool. The game ended in a 0-0 draw. Of course, some nil nil draws can be exciting games, pulsating affairs that draw deserved “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd. This was not one of them. Over 90 minutes, Liverpool created two chances: a quick snapshot that David DeGea palmed away to the right, and speculative curler from distance that DeGea palmed away to his left.
In between, a lot of nothing happened. Continue reading “The Best Soccer Narratives I Could Possibly Fathom Not Hearing Ever Again” »
We at Futfanatico are beyond delighted to give you exclusive coverage of the newest Olivier Stone film, “On Any of Shay Given’s Sundays.” This epic sports drama revolves around an aging coach and goalkeeper tandem that battle the rabid fans, fervent media, meddling female owners, and their own self doubt. It is based on the English Premiere League, but was not officially sanctioned.
I. “THE” Inspirational Speech Monologue
[Old white man paces around locker room full of young soccer players in various states of dress and undress.] I’m not quite sure what to say really. We are mere minutes from the biggest thermonuclear world war of our lives, and it all comes down to today. [Pauses to soak in brilliance of own words. Says a few of them silently to self. Nods in agreement.] We either uncrumble as a team, we mend like two pieces of jello that are left side by side over a period of 30 minutes – or we unmend. We crumble. Like two pieces of jello left in separate containers. [Shots of players in locker room.] In the fridge. O-v-e-r-n-i-g-h-t. [Pauses to glance around room] We gotta mend guys – inch for inch, kick for kick, tackle for tackle. Or we are done. [Pulls hands out of pocket to gesture. Puts hands back in pocket]. We are in Hell; and we can stick around, get our asses handed to us, or…we can fight our way to the upper place, the not Hell. [Player has towel draped over head]. We can jump out of Hell, but we have to do it together. Inch for inch. Jump for jump. [Pulls right hand out of pocket. Gestures. Puts hand back in pocket] I’d love to do it for you, but it’s not going to happen. I’m too young in the tooth. [Pulls left hand out of pocket. Opens mouth. Feels upper palate with index and forefinger. Puts hand back in pocket] I look around; I see these young guys on thousand pound a week wages, driving fancy cars, and I think – do they get it? [Pulls hands out of pockets. Unbuttons the top two buttons of dress shirt.] I…I can’t be in your shoes. And you don’t want to be in mine. I’m a mess. I’m old. I’m middle aged and have ran off everybody who ever loved me. [Star winger gently toys with skull cap] I burned through cash after getting addicted to online poker. I Believe it or not [Pulls hands out of pockets. Clasps hands. Unclasps hands. Puts hands back in pocket] As of late…I can’t…I can’t stand to see my own face in the mirror. The widow’s peak. The gray hairs. The untrimmed nose hairs. The gray hairs in the widow’s peak. The grayer hairs coming out of my nostrils. I…I’ve hit rock bottom. [Pulls hands out of pockets. Puts face in hands. Puts hands back in pockets] I… I still play Pokemon Go. [Central defender opens mouth in shock] When you get a bit older in life, like, say, 29, you start to lose things. [Pauses. Looks down. Takes right hand out of pocket. Scratches back of head. Looks at fingers. Thinks "white flakes...like snow."] That’s…it’s just a part of life. [Star winger in skull cap slowly nods head "no"] You have to get old to realize that. [Other central defender chews on gum, possibly Bubbalicious] You realize…life is a game of inches, and kicks, but also brotherhood. In the game of football, or life, the margin for error is tiny. Like, really small. [Star winger in skull cap slowly nods "yes" for a few seconds, then starts to nod "no" again. Licks lips] A half second slow to shoot, and it’s blocked. The chance goes begging. [Holding midfielder in tight white under shirt looks down at own chest; notices nipples are erect] You forget to pay child support for a decade in another country, and suddenly you find yourself in jail without a passport. Inches. Kicks. Mistakes. Brotherhood. [Coughs and then clears throat] But I’m still here. I’m here because I’m willing to fight, to kick, to push on for that inch. [Shouts of support] Because that inch is more than inch. That inch is the first inch in a series of inches, with inches all around us. Think about that. You. Me. Inches. [Slow hand clap starts; star winger in skull cap refuses to join] Now. Gentlemen. What we you gonna do? [Assistant coach picks nose] I mean, what are we gonna do? [Shouts] ARE WE GONNA KICK FOR THOSE INCHES??? Continue reading “On Any of Shay Given’s Sundays” »
Less than a week after my “Guide to Getting that European Coaching Gig” post, and Bob Bradley has been hired by Swansea City of the EPL. Mere coincidence? No clue. Honestly, Bob’s brother Steve, who is now doing PR for Toronto FC, followed me on Twitter and we had some pretty awesome, candid, and foul-mouthed exchanges.
Basically, more people read you than you think. If you are penning a profile that will shit on a coach or player, odds are likely they will read it. It’s a small world, after all. Continue reading “Bradley’s Journey has Begun” »