Struggles of EPL teams in Europe are wholly unprecedented and lead to thoughtful root-and-branch analyses

Oh, hello there. Dearest reader, I am going to write this post in first to second person. Why? Intimacy. Or at least the feeling of intimacy. You see, sometimes this cold, cold world of soccer journalism can feel foreign, icy, chilly, remote. Writers sometimes without a name or credit pen words where subjects precede verbs that are then followed by objects, with an adverb or adjective here or there. They talk about clubs and you ask yourself whether plural groups should be represented by singular or plural conjugations of verbs but it just gets a little stale. A bit old. A little not spicy. A bit trite.

But not today, Dearest reader (may I call you “Dearie”?). Today, just you and me, share a secret. Continue reading “Struggles of EPL teams in Europe are wholly unprecedented and lead to thoughtful root-and-branch analyses” »

Wall Street Journal Seriously Lowers the Bar for Soccer “Coverage”

Just when you think the trite “Soccer sucks” narrative in the US media has turned into “MLS sucks”, the Wall Street Journal lowers the bar even further. Jonathan Clegg, an Englishman, has decided that new soccer fans “are welcome”, but he derives the “soccer obsessives.” Or, rather, American soccer obsessives.

I’ll just be taking a quick look at his thesis and what’s wrong with it. Namely, everything. Continue reading “Wall Street Journal Seriously Lowers the Bar for Soccer “Coverage”” »

My Favorite Recent Clasico Memories

In the year 2050, Real Madrid and Barcelona will take their huge TV revenue cut, split from La Liga, and start a separate “Super Iberian league.” They will play one another twice a week, every week. And the ratings will be amazing. Until that date, though, the soccer Gods at least have bestowed upon us a ton of clasicos. Mourinho’s arrival at Madrid has coincided with the blanquillos pushing Barca on numerous fronts – a major improvement from the Pellegrini/Schuster/Ramos era.

However, not all the action has happened on the field. What I most love about this rivalry is its eccentricities. Here’s some of the crazy stuff that has happened as of late. Continue reading “My Favorite Recent Clasico Memories” »

Most Disingenuous Soccer Email of the Week

You’ve won back-to-back championships. You play to a packed house. You are located in a bustling metropolis where the sun shines year round. If you are the LA Galaxy, life is good, right? Kinda.

A few years ago, I flew to LA for the Galaxy Open Tryout. It was a blast. I stayed with friends in Irvine, got to play some quality soccer at the Home Depot Center, and enjoyed Manhattan Beach after not making the first day cut. Unbeknownst to me, said event and the disclosure of my email to said organization would result in the filling of my inbox by LA Galaxy updates. I am not an LA fan. I’m a Sporting KC fan. I’m no hater, though. I also like to get a lead on the news when possible. Thus, no “unsubscribe for me.” Then, I got the above email. Continue reading “Most Disingenuous Soccer Email of the Week” »

Jen Chang Still Proudly Lists former LFC Communications Director on LinkedIn Profile

Some follow-up to the Jen Chang/Duncan Jenkins mess. Last October, Jen Chang, then director of communications for Liverpool FC, allegedly engaged in questionable tactics when trying to silence a satirical blogger/twitterati. Not surprisingly, the blogger used his social media savvy to air grievances against Chang. Who’d have thought it – somebody with a large twitter following would tell his twitter following about something! Chang clearly overplayed his hand.

And here’s what happened next. Continue reading “Jen Chang Still Proudly Lists former LFC Communications Director on LinkedIn Profile” »

Explanations for Cristiano Ronaldo’s Grouch Face at the Balon d’Oro

Cristiano Ronaldo is your favorite villain. Admit it. If Messi is the no-talking, smooth-walking midget that scores goals, wins trophies, and wins over your heart, then Cristiano Ronaldo is the pompous peacock who begs for your eyeballs while turning your stomach. Ronaldo needs to win games and needs your love, while Messi just seems like some precociously talented dude who wishes the world would leave him the fuck alone. How can you not love somebody who doesn’t need your love?

Still, folks latch onto Ronaldo’s every move and exaggerate. For example, at the recent Ballon d’Oro awards, Leo Messi won and Ronaldo lost. Sky Sports caught a pic of Ronaldo’s face. It was not pretty. However, nobody can read Ronaldo’s mind. We don’t know exactly why his face shrunk into a wrinkly and petulant frown. Instead of jealousy, other explanations abound.

Here they are. Continue reading “Explanations for Cristiano Ronaldo’s Grouch Face at the Balon d’Oro” »

FUCKING BREAKING NEWS: INTERNATIONAL COACH SELECTS PLAYER NOT SELECTED PREVIOUSLY!

I know what you’re thinking. Or, rather, the things you are thinking. First, incredulity. The above headline can’t possibly be true. You like to think yourself knowledgeable about soccer. You watch several games a week. You have a few clubs you follow from Western Europe. You even bought a scarf at a stadium the one time you were backpacking through Spain. You put a fiver on a game now and then. You have a general sense of which teams are good, which players are good. Nothing catches you off guard.

Until now. Continue reading “FUCKING BREAKING NEWS: INTERNATIONAL COACH SELECTS PLAYER NOT SELECTED PREVIOUSLY!” »

Ashley Cole isn’t a Mercenary, just Misunderstood

Merriam-Webster defines “mercenary” as “having or marked by an eager and often selfish desire especially for material possessions.” Arsenal fans recall the Ashley Cole saga. In 2005, Ashley, his agent, and several Chelsea honchos met at a hotel to discuss his footballing services. He did not inform Arsenal of the meeting, the word “tap up” took on a whole new meaning, and he was fined. However, he did sign a one year extension with Arsenal.

Nevertheless, Cole departed for Chelsea after only a year later. In his own words, Arsenal’s offer of 55,000 pounds per week left him “trembling with anger.” Despite this admission, Ashley, nicknamed “Cashley” in some parts, has claimed steadfastly that he left Arsenal for footballing reasons. This summer he opened a twitter account, and promptly taunted Gunners fans with his trophy haul since leaving. 11 to 0, for the record. Conclusive proof Cashley is no mercenary? Not quite. Continue reading “Ashley Cole isn’t a Mercenary, just Misunderstood” »

Napoli – Your Personal Tax Grumblings Pale in Comparison

Remember in January when Mexican police raided the headquarters of soccer club Puebla FC? DeMarcus Beasley made a few tweets, we giggled, and then thought to ourselves #ThirdWorldProblems. Well, that flippant hashtag was incorrect. Today, the Italian police have raided the headquarters of Serie A leading (tied with Juventus) Napoli. I personally blame the media. Brian Phillips wrote a post on them a few months back at Grantland. A few months earlier, the Regista blog penned some thoughts. If not for Brian or the Regista blog, the police may never have set their sights on the Italian club.

Of course, Napoli can now stand proudly in solidarity with club legend Diego Maradona, who enjoys the confiscation of personal jewelry every time he visits Italy. Is a benefit match in order?

Room For Debate: Top of the EPL Table

Fulham and Swansea are tied on games played, wins, goals scored, goals conceded, and points. So why is Swansea, which starts with an “S”, ahead of Fulham, which starts with an “F”? Does the alphabet matter not? On the other hand, as somebody scarred by elementary school memories and a last name beginning with a “T”, I’m only somewhat bothered. If the EPL table is the starting point for reversing the centuries-old discrimination against back-end of the alphabet names, then so be it. I want me some of that last name affirmative action.