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” »

The Ubiquitous Annual “EPL Monopoly of Four” Article

Unless your last name is Carnegie or Rockafeller, you dislike monopolies. The reason for your disdain is understandable. In the open market, a single business growing to gargantuan proportions can use its weight to either screw over consumers or suppliers. Often, they do both. On the one hand, you have Amazon and Wal-mart always trying to reduce prices and thus benefit consumers. However, how do they do this? By leaning hard and unrelentingly on suppliers. In Amazon’s case, for example, they’ve used eBook dominance to slash prices which reduces royalties paid to the authors and editors who make books happen in the first place.

Thus, we all dislike monopolies. However, there’s only one thing worse: trite journalism. Continue reading “The Ubiquitous Annual “EPL Monopoly of Four” Article” »

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?” »

SoccErotica: the Rise and Hot Heat of “Team Touch Zones”

Hello again, dearest, beloved querido reader. Remember a few months ago this steamy post where I used the second person to include you in on some scintillating writing about root-and-branch analyses? English clubs were stinking up the Champions League, so you and I, hands firmly clasped, strolled about and ruminated (hint hint) as to why that was. We embraced, our breaths so close as to become one, and concluded the problem was the root which needed to be changed.

Now, I’m happy to say, I’m back for sloppy seconds. Why? Because a new soccer analytic has totally gotten the soccer world all steamy: “team touch zones.” Continue reading “SoccErotica: the Rise and Hot Heat of “Team Touch Zones”” »

Chelsea’s Disingenuous Penaltology

When coaching Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho made a famous remark about Pep Guardiola. He said that in the past, there were two types of coaches: those who complained after a game about the ref, and those who shut up. He then said Pep was a new, third type of coach: he who complained about refs before the game had even started. Coming from a coach who once hung out in a parking lot after a game to speak with a ref, it was pretty disingenuous but humorous all the same.

Chelsea FC’s recent blog post, though, makes Pep look like a ref cheerleader. Continue reading “Chelsea’s Disingenuous Penaltology” »

Top Secret Meeting of the Liverpool FC Transfer Committee

In the darkest of places, in an abandoned mine well below the depths of Moria, in a hole so deep you can hear the echoes from past Chinese New Year celebrations, lurks the cave…and the “committee.” Kinda. In truth, the cave is not a cave, but rather a series of caves, a maze of blackness so black it sucks in light, chews it up, and doesn’t bother to spit it out. If you’ve ever been lost in an IKEA around closing time, you know the full scale of absolute terror felt in a seemingly never ending labyrinth. You could fit at least two and a half IKEAs in this cave complex, if not 3.

And In this vast expanse of cold air, stalagmites, stalactites, mineral water and leather chairs, a table sits. And at this table sits the committee. Continue reading “Top Secret Meeting of the Liverpool FC Transfer Committee” »

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….” »

A Look at Some Badge-Kissing Bandits Who Broke Your Heart

It’s easy to view modern footballers as soulless mercenaries, to assume they feel no emotion whatsoever for a club or the fans. But we don’t really know any and all footballers. What if they just crush a lot? What if they are merely Don Juans, men with feelings who just happen to fall head over heels for the newest club and immediately forget the prior one? That may cheapen their prior feelings, but it doesn’t deny they existed.

Thus, in that respect, I’ve penned a look at some bandits with the nerve to kiss our badge and then never look back. Continue reading “A Look at Some Badge-Kissing Bandits Who Broke Your Heart” »

Neighborhood Blight: the New Stadium Scam

We all know the new stadium scam playbook in-and-out: teams commit to a long-term lease, promise to create jobs, and show off some hired gun economic impact study. Local communities then throw subsidies, free land, and tax breaks at them to the tune of hundreds of millions. In reality, the stadium creates only a few part-time and low-wage jobs, the surrounding neighborhood gentrifies only a bit (based on, duh, external factors like location), and the team tries to weasel out of the lease in later years (or extract renovation concessions).

Yet, in both Detroit and Liverpool, England, a new and far more sinister stadium plan has emerged: strategic blight. Continue reading “Neighborhood Blight: the New Stadium Scam” »

Should Soccer Players Jump through NCAA Hoops and try a “Gap Year”?

Thanks to the NFL’s mismanagement of a series of domestic violent incidents, the NCAA has been out of the spotlight for a few weeks. However, when last we checked on said institution, a federal administrative body had deemed it an “employer” based on the control it exercised over the lives of student athletes. Also, despite attempts to ban payments to players (and keeping the “amateur” spirit of collegiate sport), SB Nation had an amazing story on the ins and outs of being a “bagman“, the name for alumni who funnel cash to players and use burner cell phones.

What do these two things have to do with one another? And what do they have to do with soccer? For the next ten years of growth of soccer in the US, everything. Continue reading “Should Soccer Players Jump through NCAA Hoops and try a “Gap Year”?” »