October 2008 Archives
The words exchanged between Sir Alex and Ramon Calderon might escalate into a diplomatic fracas between the Spanish and British government. It re-opens wounds.
With Spain electing one of the most progressive governments even by Western European standards, it has since actively embarked on distancing itself from Franco's totalitarian legacy. The Spanish parliament recently passed a landmark bill that condemns the Franco years and demands compensations for its victims, the exact number remains unknown but could well be over 500,000 dead. Sir Alex's invoking of the dictator might constitute a fourth rail word.
Real Madrid's icon Alfredo di Stefano was not amused by Sir Alex's dig at the club and in a press conference tried to humorously pass it off as saying that Franco played as an "inside left" for Deportivo and played well in that position. He also said that at that time what were they supposed to do, govern the Franco government? As players they could do little except play good soccer, win titles, and make people happy. All of which made the Bernabeu a special place.
Sir Alex maybe guilty of inflammatory comments but isn't it strange that Cristiano Ronaldo who has been called a modern day slave, is in the center of the storm over a debate on Spain's less savoury history. This is definitely above his pay grade. We truly are at the crossroads of civilization. I think it was better when Ronaldo was cavorting around with hooker girl friends. Happy days. Better pictures.
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson came off the sidelines accusing Sepp Blatter, FIFA's president for acting like an African despot and then lambasting Ramon Calderon, Real Madrid's president for behaving as if the club were still run by Generalissimo Francisco Franco.
“I think Sepp Blatter is in danger or has reached a point now where he is being mocked within the game,” Ferguson said of the 72-year-old Blatter. “Whether he is getting too old I don’t know but these things can happen to people in power. Look at some of the despots in Africa.
"The endgame was to get Ronaldo. What made it really obscene was that Madrid, as General Franco’s club, had a history of being able to get whomever and whatever they wanted before democracy came to Spain.”
Today Calderon fired back at Sir Alex calling him "a bit senile"
Calderon has since claimed Madrid's pursuit of the winger is over "forever", and in response to Ferguson's comments, told Marca: "I won't waste time answering him. I admire his history but recently he has gone a bit senile."
We have a war of words swirling in soccer and politics in these last days invoking fear and besmirching character.
Talk about smear tactics. John McCain should have hired Sir Alex and Ramon Calderon to run his campaign. Steve Schmidt has nothing on these two gentlemen.
Two of America’s young stars express their backing for Barack Obama in the upcoming elections.Story here...
Scroll down a bit to see the other post showing Bentley's goal and then decide.Luiz Felipe Scolari meanwhile is giving it to Frank Lampard saying that Frank gets his vote for FIFA's World Player of the Year after the wonder goal."He is the only player with the quality to make that goal. No other player would not have the intelligence to look at the goalkeeper and touch the ball like that.It was one of the best goals I have ever seen. His goal was one of the best in the Premier League and for the whole game, he played very well. He's a man who is never tired. It's fantastic and I don't know any other player like Frank Lampard." Well - there's praise for you.
Chelsea clipped Hull's wings and brought them down to earth with a 3 - 0 victory.
All the goals here..
An old and deep rooted fear was stoked by a SA minister promoting the World Cup at the Beijing Olympics. Dr Essop Pahad, was recently reported as saying that ‘Even though they are a minority, there are still a lot of whites who don't support Bafana Bafana". In addition, he reportedly stated: "They also don't care that the World Cup is being staged in South Africa'.
The first part of the statement can obviously be disputed. The lack of support reflects fans who have been disenchanted with Bafana Bafana's performance for a while. Craig Urquhart points out, "It's no secret that the South African public has, for the most part, fallen out with its team, which inspired the international football community in the early years following their re-admission into the Fifa fold."
The abrupt departure of Carlos Alberto Parreira who obviously came for the money and his handpicked replacement Joel Santana, a manager with no national or even substantial club appearance further eroded the teams support. It reached its nadir when the team failed to qualify for the 2010 ACN.
The brickbats came from all sides. Both Clive Barker and Jomo Sono, SA's eminence gris slammed SAFA for the selection of Joel Santana urging indigenous selections. The vice-president of the South African Football Association, chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, warned the country could ill afford to have Bafana Bafana "behave like the rand on world financial markets, or to be a source of amusement in Zapiro cartoons." So the loss of faith comes universally.
However it is the second part of Pahad's statement that is problematic. It hearkens to the colonial hangover of Afro pessimism, that of a continent too riddled with problems for good governance and economic development. The phenomenon specifies sub-Saharan countries in particular as failed states. SA was never part of this stereotype. But those were in the days of apartheid. Pahad's statement instigates that whites maybe disillusioned enough to believe that the phenomenon could become a reality in SA with the ANC in power. So the World Cup is doomed to failure. A similar gloom seems to be settling in some white pockets of the USA with a Barack Obama presidency imminent.
To counter this perception that whites are secretly rooting for the World Cup to fail, the Human Sciences Research Council conducted a survey to find the attitudes amongst the different groups. They found no difference in the level of support for the World Cup between the different groups but there were differences in perception in what it would achieve.
Differences appear in the perception that SA's international profile would rise with the World Cup. Less whites and Indians were sold on this benefit. HSRC does not give a reason for this finding because the differences are less than significant but it is nevertheless worthy of comment. The advent of the ANC has given blacks and coloreds political power at the cost of whites and Indians. The World Cup was awarded by FIFA to showcase the new post-apartheid SA. The blacks feel that they have a responsibility to the world to fulfill that confidence.
The one difference that is significant is the benefit from tourism. More whites and Indians believe that having the World Cup would improve that benefit. The service and manufacturing base is owned and staffed by predominantly these two groups. The banking, retail, jewelry and tourism sector is white majority owned. A company like SAB operates pubs, casinos, and hotels. Indians in Durban own family operate hotels, travel agencies, pharmacies, petrol stations, cab companies, provision stores, telecom and clothing stores. The government has started entrepreneurship programs for black businesses but success seems to be mixed and concentrated to the privileged few.
SA's preparedness for the World Cup remains more of a concern to whites and they also see less long lasting benefits. Most of the skepticism probably derives from the fact that the high crime rate is more of a issue to this group while infrastructure problems seem to be slowly but steadily getting resolved. The abnormally high rates of murder and rape has led to white flight. It appears to be the single most contentious issue. Will the security apparatus put in place for the World Cup be enough to control crime?
The survey could have introduced more indexes like crime rate which is a concern for many tourists coming to SA for the World Cup and whether the groups see a mitigation in this problem as a possible benefit. It also would have been useful to also break down the respondents by age to show differences between generations. In the US, amongst blacks who grew up scarred by segregation a pernicious feeling of no matter how hard they work, they will fail prevails. This stands in contrast to the more confident generation growing up post segregation like Barack Obama believing that they can succeed. Are young blacks in the 18-21 year demographic as invested in their country's international standing as compared to the older generation that grew up in apartheid?
Of course, all this pales somewhat in comparison to the gung ho reception of the Chinese to their Olympics. Eighty percent of them stated that the Olympics were personally important and ninety six percent believed that they would be a success. Sixty six percent said that the games had improved their country's standing.
Arsenal: 22 goals for, 10 against
This draw was not caused by a lack of height, Arsenal has been done in by sudden snap strikes from yards out. Geovanni, Ledbitter, Bentley, Jenas, Lennon have capitalized on this Achilles heel. Admittedly some of the goals were nigh impossible to stop but it also points to a familiar lack of defensive focus allowing yards of open space to players not afraid to have a go.
The rest of the big four continue to be stingy with Chelsea conceding just four, Liverpool six, and Man Utd five.
The present Premiership season's best goal. The match of the season too. Bentley's whinger status remains unchanged. Clichy just made a hash of a simple clearance but Song and Silvestre were caught flat footed on that third goal. You can see the rest of the goals here 1-1, 2-1, 3-1, 3-2, 4-2, 4-3, 4-4
88 minutes: Arsenal leading Spurs 4-2 seemingly coasting along and then the whole world falls apart as Arsenal implode allowing Spurs to draw the match in the last two minutes of regulation. Clichy blew it when a simple clearance should have sufficed. Full marks to Spurs for staying in this game and scoring some fabulous goals but this should have been an Arsenal win.
Brand resigned today from his BBC radio show following obscene calls left on the phone of Andrew Sachs that spurred outrage. The 78 year old Sachs played Manuel in Fawlty Towers. Russell Brand and Barack Obama are both West Ham fans. Inquiring minds want to know if Obama wants to continue to associate with a known perv who supports the same club.
If Maradona can take Boca out of their current neurosis and put them on top of the table, I will be one step closer to believing that he can guide Argentina back to the days of the 1986 World Cup.
After all there should be no shortage of inspiration since La Bombanera is Maradona's stomping grounds. Anytime Martin Palermo feels the sting of his 34 year old legs, all he has to to do is look at the stands for a glimpse of the maestro to get his second wind. However, the club's success and failure falls squarely on the shoulders of Carlos Ischia, Boca's present manager who has to find his way without his front line striker and not even the benediction of a transformational figure can heal Palermo's torn ACL soon enough.
Maradona has never had any substantial managerial experience on any level and inspiration does not pad this thin resume. If it were, he should be Argentina's mascot and travel with them every World Cup to lift them to better results than the ones they have become used to. So far there is nothing to compare him to Carlos Bianchi who as Boca's manager led them to nine titles and should have been a clear favourite for the coaching job. Maradona had this to say about Bianchi, " I shake hands for what he has done with Boca as manager." This is not the full quotation because Maradona also offered something less flattering about Bianchi's personality.
It is quite like Maradona to have an opinion of anyone and everyone that has played the game. Part of this oracle like routine is to weigh in on his legacy and successor. Which has led him to make pronouncements on a bevy of players like Veron, Ardiles, Aimar, Saviola, Tevez, and finally Messi. And these are just the Argentinian nominees. It makes for perfectly good breaking news. Without any official capacity he remains very influential having offered Boca's coaching job to Bernd Schuster and instrumental in luring Martin Palermo from the Serie. He also hosts one of Argentina's most popular TV program that has him pitting his opinionated views against guests like Pele. He has had to fight his demons from his days at Napoli which have taken a toll on his health and personal life.
Maradona has championed mirror images of him everywhere, every underdog fueled by familiar chords of resentment and paranoia, shafted by an unfair system. It also clouds any objective assessment both on Maradona's part and the public who follow him. His idols are Carlos Monzon and Ayrton Senna, outsized personalities who excelled at their sports, lived full throttle, ended their lives destructively, and 'never took the cats milk'. This euphemism runs recurrent in Maradona's palpable dislike of players whom he thinks sold him out or turned against. His well publicized feud with Passarella has led Maradona to divide players into opposing camps on the basis of their support. Maradona also dislikes players who appear dispassionate on the field. He singles out Redondo, Zidane and Platini. On that note alone it would be hard to find Riquelme a spot on Maradona's XI.
I love Maradona as a player. He is incomparable. No one has fought harder for the rights of players. He has bloodied Sepp Blatter and the FIFA establishment time and time again. But he is an ideologue. All of the above suggests a view that brooks no shades of gray. If you want a telenovela that all Argentinians follow avidly, by all means go for Maradona. Yet, it is the Marcelo Lippi's of the world who win World Cups. Cool, pragmatic, and versatile in their thinking. They dip into their persona as and when the need arises to supplement inspiration or encouragement, all the while laying the onus on team performance. Carlos Bianchi would have been a far better choice.
..in Morocco.An 18 year old fan - Yassine Belassal - is facing 12 months in jail because he altered the phrase "God, The Nation, The King" on his school blackboard to read "God, The Nation, Barcelona". Can you believe this ?
Belassal changed the saying as a joke, but the headmaster of his school at Ait Ourir, near Marrakesh, did not see the funny side. He reported the matter to police and Belassal was charged with insulting the king Mohammed VI — a criminal offence — and jailed last month.
Barcelona fans are asking their club to do something but what can they do ?
More on the story here...
Diego Maradona named the new coach of Argentina yesterday.
FC Barcelona signed CAA Sports, the agency that represents David Beckham and Fredrik Ljungberg to represent the club in many areas including marketing its slogan "More than a Club" and advising it on the MLS expansion process. CAA Sports could also be involved in the development of a Barcelona franchise in Miami if the city is awarded an expansion team in Miami. This would include marketing and jersey sponsorships.
The "More than a Club" is part of Barcelona's vision which sees the club using its reputation as the people's club to address the humanitarian and political aspirations of many around the world. Its genesis lay in the club's historical front line activism in promoting Catalonian autonomy and a progressive Spain.
The club "donates 0.7% of its income to the to the FC Barcelona Foundation in order to set up international cooperation programmes for development, supports the UN Millennium Development Goals and has made a commitment to Unicef’s humanitarian aid programs through the donation of one and a half million euros for the next five years and now wears the Unicef logo on its shirts."
Tony Adams, another Arsenal great becomes Pompey's manager following Harry Redknapp's departure to Spurs. Adams served as an assistant to Redknapp the last two seasons and was instrumental in bringing some defensive heft with Sol Campbell and Sylvain Distin's transfers.
Arsene Wenger on his former captain:
Arsene Wenger, who managed Adams for the last six years of his career at Arsenal, thinks his former captain has the attributes to succeed.
"He is at the age now where you have to start in this job," Wenger said. "I believe he has a good squad and he has worked a lot now in this job and I think he is ready. Tony has now much more experience because he has been abroad and has been at Portsmouth as an assistant.
"I believe he has the qualities and that is why I am very positive about it."
Adams has to hang onto his players especially Jermaine Defoe one of the few productive weapons in an team that has struggled to score goals and who might ironically be targeted by Redknapp for a transfer to bolster the flagging Spurs attack.
Seattle Sounders signed ex-Arsenal midfielder and one time Calvin Klein undie model Frederik Ljungberg for their expansion team. Ljungberg was in the market after agreeing to terminate his four year contract with West Ham playing just one season.
He comes on as Seattle's DP in a two year deal worth approximately $20 million. The deal was made more attractive with Ljungberg's retirement from international soccer which would mean that the club would not have to contend with national squad duty absences.
Ljungberg is counted as one of Arsenal's best 50 players and made his mark in the 2001-2002 season which saw the club winning the Premiership as well as the FA title. He was known for some stunning goals and his spectacular red stripe in his hair.
The Sounders will get a midfielder who is comfortable playing down both flanks but more at home on the left or as a slot striker. He has slowed down considerably due to injuries and was used at West Ham as a sub where he showed occasional flashes of his slashing acceleration, cutting in from the flanks or crossing from the wide out area. At this stage he would be physically incapable of playing 90 minutes in the EPL but the MLS with its slower pace might still be manageable.
The reasons Zabeel Investments gave for not pursuing the Addicks were concerns regarding foreign ownership and the economic downturn in the UK. However, the financial crisis has also left Dubai vulnerable.
The booming real estate market that has changed its landscape has been fueled by a ballooning debt which tops $47 billion and is expected to grow further leaving Dubai exposed to the vagaries of the financial crisis. Yesterday, the stock index dropped to its lowest point in 3-1/2 years.
Although Zabeel Investments prides itself a diversified company, it rapidly made its mark as a big time player in the booming UAE real estate market before moving onto investing in other sectors. It continues to invest heavily in commercial real estate development and management which have been hard hit in this downturn. They have ambitious projects in the pipeline developing hotels and luxury apartments both nationally and internationally.
Zabeel Investments also has a close relationship financially with Dubai International Capital, with big stakes in a multi-billion dollar fund run by DICAM which is its asset management arm. DIC is the entity that was the front runner buying out Liverpool before David Moores sold out to the present US ownership.
The move away from buying the Addicks reflects the fragile state of the global economy which threatens Zabeel in its own backyard. An ambitious company like Zabeel probably has more pressing priorities now. The financial implosion also has repercussions on DIC's pursuit of Liverpool which might now be dead on arrival.
In the past, the Palestinians haven't had much support for home games because all their home games were 'away' - hosted outside their own territory, mainly in neighbouring Jordan, because of the precarious security situation and the lack of adequate infrastructure at home.
But on Sunday they played a friendly against Jordan at the newly-built stadium at Al-Ram just outside Jerusalem, the first in the territory to meet the requirements for international play set by FIFA.Palestine has been affiliated to FIFA since 1998 FIFA financed the construction of the stadium,which features a synthetic lawn and 6,000 seats and is named after Faysal Husseini, an east Jerusalem Palestinian leader who died in 2001
Video of Blatter at the inauguration here..
The game ended in a draw but the unifying power of sport in general and of football in particular is most evident again.
Found this article about England's unsung heroes of '66 finally getting their World Cup winners' medals - 41 years late.It's at the end of the article - the first bit is about Cristiano Ronaldo and then there's another bit about Graham Poll.
"FIFA are expecting the minting of the medals for World Cup-winning squad members who did not receive them in bygone times finally to be completed in the next four weeks.
For Jimmy Greaves, Jimmy Armfield and the rest of the England back-up boys of '66, it could mean that justice is finally seen to be done on Saturday, March 28 next year when England play Slovakia at Wembley..."
It is believed there are almost 300 players eligible for medals worldwide.It was only from 1978 onwards that all members of the winning squads were given medals.
Pele will also be among those getting another a gold medal - for the 1962 final, which he missed due to injury. He will then be in the unique position of having three winners’ medals.
Older articles with more info on the above here and here..
Stoke's fans attained official status as the Premier League's noisiest at the weekend but they were pushing their luck when, in their own choice words, they asked Robinho who he thought he was.His answer came in the form of a hat trick and that has made it 6 goals in 8 games for him.
Harry Redknapp gets points right away for ass kissing Daniel Levy, on whose feet this whole mess should be placed.
Lets see what Redknapp can do with a dysfunctional team which seems to be busier with its own infighting than on playing well.
On the other hand, you have to feel for Juande Ramos, who probably wishes that he never had given in to Levy's pursuit. He was a successful manager at Sevilla with an indisputable track record for nurturing young talent.
Some crucial mistakes were made. One of them was Berbatov's departure which was shockingly mishandled given that he had telegraphed his intentions the previous season, mainly by Comolli but one also by Ramos who could have been more forceful in these personnel decisions. The other one was the more public cultivation of Gus Poyet as the team's mouthpiece which unfortunately sidelined the low key Ramos. His training decisions have also been questioned. But this leaves the impression that Ramos was ill prepared for the back breaking expectations that Spurs had placed on him with their bust the bank acquisitions.
One positive from all this is that Levy has essentially closed the two tier system at Spurs and given Redknapp carte blanche on player transfers. It has proven disastrous to the club and I am glad to see it go.
Man U played in their old shirts.Rooney didn't manage to score his 100th goal,lost his temper,kissed his badge,got a yellow card and Fergie finally took him off before he did more damage.Goals from the game below and some nice pics from the game here..
Watch manchester united vs everton 10/25/2008 in Sports Online | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com
Since AIG are having all sorts of problems here's their new logo...
You can buy your own here..
I have to hand it to Eduardo and his rehab team that have made this early return possible. In three weeks according to Wenger. However, Rosicky is not expected back till after the new year.
Remember that huge flap about Arsenal defenders being short of height after their loss to Hull City. Well, we discover that Gallas in addition, is short of breath.
This would be the best news in the world. Let it please be Arsenal in some capacity or the other. When Bergkamp retired, a little part of me died.
The bottom ranked team in the EPL loses to the second ranked Serie team. Udinese reminds one of what the Spurs looked like a couple of seasons ago as they provided the players that could be deemed the future English squad. Now they are a polyglot of ill fitting foreign players, toothless on offense and waffling on defense. Such a display led Woodgate to promise bodily harm to his fellow players.
At this point, there is no shame losing to Udinese. They represent the future of the Italian squad. A number of U21 players like defenders Damiano Ferronetti, Andrea Coda; midfielder Gabriele D'Agostino; strikers Fabio Quaglierella and Simon Pepe have found their way into the club squad. Some of them have already transitioned into the national squad with Quaglierella included in Italy's Euro 2008 team. Pepe, the ex-Palermo striker has caught Marcelo Lippi's eye in Italy's quest for World Cup qualifications. Quaglierella is supported in the slot by Antonio Di Natale who has already seen extensive international experience.
Kansas City made it to the playoffs for the second year as the Fire crushed the Red Bulls, 5-2. The moment was especially sweet for Kerry Zavagnin, KC's leader in all time minutes played as he declared this would be his last season.
But if one had to personify grit and determination in this squad, it would be Jimmy Conrad, who has led by example.
The last match belonged to Claudio Lopez who scored a goal and assisted in two more as KC doused out San Jose in the dying minutes of stoppage time. But all these heroics are iridescent in the background that Conrad has quietly put up. He has started all 29 matches and played injury free for 2610 minutes. Only Clyde Simms, Jay Heaps, Brian Carroll, and Nat Borchers can claim such durability.
Conrad has discovered his sharp shooting skills too in his sixth season with KC. Six goals scored which ties him with Davy Arnaud as the team's leading goal scorer. The most goals scored by a defender so far this season which includes none bigger than his game winning header against New England which kick started their playoff hopes. These goals have kept afloat an anemic offense which needs to be compensated for by a water tight defense anchored by Conrad. He celebrates goals in eye catching fashion that ranks up there in Neon Deion territory.
Off the pitch, Conrad is self effacing and low key. He has a witty and quirky way with words in his column Conrad's Corner for ESPN Soccernet.
As it turned out, it wasn't Beckham at all. "Everybody was screaming David's name, but it was some other player, and there was a big letdown in the crowd. Also, I don't know if this other player knew this or not, but he had a little stain by his crotch area."
Q: Landon Donovan really is way, way meaner than everyone thinks he is, right?
What I said: Actually he's quite the guy. He walks little old ladies across the street, rescues kittens that are stuck in trees, stands outside grocery stores with a little bell for the Salvation Army, misses penalty kicks so the opposing team can feel the thrill of victory, buys Girl Scout cookies by the truckload, knows all the answers on Family Feud and single-handedly repaired part of the ozone layer.
What I should have said: He's the biggest jerk I know.
The person most in the dark appears to be Bruce Arena who woke up to the news that his prized midfielder was shipping out.
"The first I heard about it was today but I would think, given the position the Galaxy is in and the fact that we're rebuilding our team and trying to have a successful year, it would seem very odd to me if we were loaning out our top players at the start of the season."
This encapsulates how the Galaxy have fared this season. The management and the players have frequently been out of sync. The end result; another missed opportunity.
In a very fundamental way this goes back to why Beckham actually moved to the MLS, if indeed his focus was to keep his place in the England squad alive. The MLS was never going to be the league for him purely from those standards. He now has Fabio Capello to keep his Peter Pan aspirations up for the 2010 World Cup, a personal quest which would wipe out the memories of the last one that ended so poorly for him. Capello has emphasized regular appearances and physical fitness key issues in player selection.
With Capello's belief in Beckham seemingly vindicated with his cameo performance in the Belarus match, one can only extrapolate that there might be pressure to make the Milan loan a permanent one, since it was Capello pulling strings at Milan who have gone nowhere this season. Beckham might be able to actually impact a team's performance in a meaningful way filling for the injured and off colour Pirlo.
Beckham's loan contract will also need to be worked out so that he does not miss the first three months of the 2009 MLS season. Usually loan contracts are for six months.
Whichever way you look at the Beckham situation, the MLS comes off as a way station.
Obama is a West Ham fan, so he knows something about soccer. Read this article to find a sure hand on the tiller.
Just so no one forgets - here's Mourinho's Inter winning their CL game against - Anorthosis Famagusta by a solitary Adriano goal.And here's former Inter great Tarcisio Burgnich saying that Mourinho will get both the serie A and the Champion's League trophies for Inter this year..
Score one for Phil Gartside who has obviously noted that this is as precious a time as any to question the infallibility of a system. Even without a formalism, the EPL has essentially been polarized into two tiers for a long time. Blackburn's title is an anomaly. Akin to Iraq which is essentially split into three autonomous divisions loosely held together by a nominal central authority.
Staying on in the EPL nowadays brings no joy to owners who have nurtured their clubs with their own money only to see them fade to irrelevance or get buffeted aside by money rich foreign buyers. The fans know it's the surefire way to buy yourself a title. As the world celebrates the EPL, the joke is on the English owner or fan who is basically told by the likes of Richard Scudamore to abandon his club. Join us or get out of the way. All in the way of trademarking the CL and becoming a version of Wall St.
Interestingly in the post that details Sepp Blatter's car accident, his girlfriend Ilona Boguska was mentioned being with him. It seems she's been a prime mover behind Poland being awarded the prize of co-hosting Euro 2012.
The public face is Michal Listkiewicz, the deposed head of the Polish Football Association who is Blatter's right hand man and in the eye of the storm between the Polish government on one hand and FIFA and UEFA on the other. The government suspended the entire association board and Listkiewicz on charges that they were not doing enough to combat corruption and match fixing. Blatter and Platini have retaliated by categorically refusing to do business with anyone that the government appoints. They have also demanded re-instatement of Listkiewicz and the board or else Poland could face sanctions and lose the right to co-host the 2012 Euro.
This is an escalation of an already tense situation that developed in early 2007 when the government suspended the entire governing board after determining that they were not doing enough. A move that they backtracked from after Blatter threatened to revoke Poland's co-host status.
A majority in Poland believe that the game needs reform and support the government's efforts and Blatter's thin skinned reaction remains unpopular. Insiders also point out that Blatter's relationship with Listkiewicz goes "beyond the love of the beautiful game." This innuendo gets more context when revealed that Boguska was apparently in a relationship with Listkiewicz till he handed her over to Blatter, in a manner of speaking. She is the love of his life and we know what a grateful Blatter can award his minions with. More than Listkiewicz or Leon Kacznyski, Poland's president it is Boguska who is allegedly responsible for bringing the 2012 Euro to Poland.
The Polish government's skating on thin ice plays can be resolved in a positive way with a very closely watched association election for president taking place at the end of this month. If a favourable appointment is made then Blatter and Platini can climb down their despotic perches and normalize relations.
As for all this sexual intrigue, can we now call Cristiano Ronaldo lame? If I was not The Sun's front line reporter I would have a headline screaming "Blatter's menage a trois takes polish off Euro ."
Last Saturday afternoon FIFA president Sepp Blatter, 72, roared out of an Alpine mountain tunnel in his £100,000 luxurious 6.2 litre Mercedes sports car, smashed into a slower-moving car he was trying to overtake, lost control and cannoned across double white lines, hitting an oncoming VW Golf.
This sounds so much like the opening of a pulp novel complete with a moll but every word is true and like all Blatter's previous dealings it involves a cover up. It just adds to the already cavalier image of the man in charge of the global game. It's time for change.
Read more in Andrew Jennings blog >>
Man U led by Berbatov and Rooney against Celtic...
It was a goal fest as Adebayor, Walcott, Diaby, Song, and Ramsey scored for Arsenal while Silvestre (own goal) and Guiza put Fenerbahce on the board. The Gunners gave Wenger something to cheer about on his 59th birthday. Fabregas was all laser like precision and his passes led to Adebayor and Walcott's goals. Roberto Carlos looked a day late and a tackle short. Aaron Ramsey picked up his first goal at age 17, the third youngest player to score in the CL. It was Arsenal's free flowing style at its finest. Even the Sukru Saracoglu faithful were magnanimous in their appreciation.
Some decisions for the EPL following the Shinawatra sentence. Since the proper and fit test applies only to convicted criminals and not to ongoing investigations, this should mean that Shinawatra gives up his minority stake in Man City, steps down as honorary chairman, and his surrogates yield their board positions.
But on a larger level this conviction is also an embarrassment of sorts to the EPL whose desire to make the league the centerpiece in the world makes it overlook obvious warning signs. It is fortunate that the ADUG came to the rescue within a heartbeat as Shinawatra found his economic position untenable. This conviction will undoubtedly further fuel Lord Treisman's desire to introduce reforms and seek changes to the 'fit and proper' test.
The British government will unlikely grant him asylum because he was given every occasion to show up for the trial, skipped bail, and is being charged for tax evasion and fraud. Since it is a government padded with Shinawatra cronies, his life as such is not being threatened on political or religious grounds. The tolerance for economic offenders is very low right now and Britain's reputation for welcoming criminals on the lam sends the wrong message. The EPL should be wary of becoming a conduit for rehabilitating such careers.
Shinawatra is also in danger of forfeiting $2.2 billion in assets which Thai prosecutors have asked the Supreme Court to seize and place in state coffers which will happen if he does not return. The prosecutors might be willing to work out a compromise if he does jail time.
Glad to see that Daniel Levy is jettisoning Damien Comolli from his position. We have been saying what a pox he has been for a while. While we are at it lets also dismantle the two tier system which so far seems to only provide an advantage when deflecting blame.
The manager's job description should include the final decision on which players to get. The director of football operations provides a second opinion and the chairman the budgetary limitations. But there should be no doubt as to who runs the show.
A very favourable match up for Arsenal:
Theo Walcott vs Roberto Carlos
Roberto Carlos, a former Galactico pitting his 35 year old frame against the blistering pace of 19 year old Theo Walcott down the left. Carlos has lost a step or two and this should be Walcott's day on the field to exploit the space provided. Look for a very active day down this flank. Walcott should not be hesitant to pull the trigger since it seems to take RVP and Adebayor a lot longer to warm up in these international fixtures.
The X factors:
Emmanuel Eboue vs Kazim Kazim
Emmanuel Eboue in his more circumscribed role as right back. Lets hope he remembers that his primary role is to defend. He will be dragged out wide by Kazim Kazim aka Kazim Colin Richards in his English version. Eboue should eschew his penchant for nifty foot skills in 50- 50 situations for an old fashioned clearing boot deep into opponent territory.
Mikael Silvestre vs Dani Guiza and Semih Senturk
Mikael Silvestre: Short of recent match experience and coming back from injury. Will have to pair Djorou to stop the opportunistic Dani Guiza and Semih Senturk with their talent for out-positioning their markers and scoring goals through deflections and headers.
An Aragones statement caught on camera calling Thierry Henry a "black s**t" to Jose Antonio Reyes four years ago prefaces any encounter with Arsenal. It provided a backdrop to the Spain vs France encounter in the 2006 World Cup.
Wenger has since then moved on after concluding that the Spanish coach was guilty of an over the top comment but not inherent racism. He intends to shake hands with Aragones. But Aragones, known as the Wise Man of Hortaleza, with his pride at stake, has never apologized to Henry.
When Aragonés was asked yesterday whether he would apologise to the forward in person tonight, he said: "No, no, don't go down that road. Henry knows through Reyes, through everything [how I feel]. I won't talk about it for another second. It's a topic that isn't worth talking about. Why? Because it's not like that. I have black, Gypsy and Japanese friends, including one whose job is to determine the sex of poultry."
Aragones has had less success with Fenerbahce, his first overseas club and the Turkish side have struggled in the domestic league. Arsenal are missing three out of four starting defenders with Sagna, Gallas, and Toure sidelined. A rejiggered defence with Silvestre, Song, and Djourou will be called upon to provide an answer to giving up eight goals in four CL away games.
Fenerbahce will feature Dani Guiza, Spain's super sub whose goals provided a spark in Euro 2008 and the crafty Semih Senturk playing just behind him. Their attack will have to compensate for missing Emre and Josico in midfield.
Referee Rob Styles has managed to land himself in the thick of things again.Late last month he apologised to Bolton for the penalty decision that condemned them to a 2-0 defeat against Manchester United.The latest controversy involves a red card given to Habib Beye in the 10-man Newcastle 2-2 draw with Manchester City.
You can drive away in Beckham's Bentley for a mere £99,000.
Special features: Roof-mounted illuminated vanity mirrors in the rear, a fridge, diamond cross handles, televisions in the rear headrest with bespoke covers, folding rear picnic tables, polished wheels, wood and leather steering wheel, Le Mans' style wing vents,Alpine hi-fi with sub-woofers and last but not least- Victoria's name embroidered into the rear centre cushion box.What are you waiting for.?
Ronaldinho scored twice in a AC Milan's 3-0 win over Sampdoria on Sunday and hopefully this form will continue. After all Rooney - who was a pale shadow of himself all of last season - has suddenly found his missing touch.He's gone from being Recalcitrant Retiring Rooney to Red hot rampant Rooney.So here's hoping Ronaldinho will find the magic again.
Any fellow who plays with a grenade like this is bound to get injured sometime.Take a look at the video.Torres has suffered a hamstring injury not because he was kicking grenades but because of what Benitez suspects are faulty training methods in Spain.Torres had to sit out Liverpool's 3-2 victory over Wigan.
Piotr Trochowski scored this beauty in the 72nd minute - breaking what had been till then an impenetrable Welsh defense.Wales have a tough task ahead ...
Fabian Orellana scored in the 35th minute to give Chile its first victory over Argentina in 35 years.Fierce celebrations all over Chile.Statisticians go cross eyed searching their records for a similar occurence in the past.
Obama vs McCain talked incessantly about Joe the Plumber. I want to hear more about soccer. The number of times soccer was mentioned. Zero. Score card: Barack Obama 0 John McCain 0. Why has this issue been swept under the carpet? And will it become an issue on November 4th.
As for the question, who is the real Barack Obama? He is a West Ham fan. He knows real suffering. If he becomes the president then there might be a very good chance that West Ham will become part of the US government's $750 billion bailout plan. Seriously.
Fabio Capello became the first England manager to win the first four World Cup qualifiers with a rousing 3-1 victory in Minsk. The action against Belarus as it happened...
Well there are a couple of options available at the moment.
1. You can give it all away and become a monk.A fan of a Chinese soccer club called Wuhan Guanggu has decided to become a monk because his team is just not upto the mark anymore.
2. You can kill all the players and coaches and start all over again.This is the strategy opted for by Horacio Usandizaga,the president of Argentinian Primera División side Rosario Central.Last week he threatened to kill his players if the team are relegated.
You've seen the other two.This is Fausto Rossini for Livorno against Frosinone.It's a pretty good one.
Evincing a genuine concern about mounting debt in the EPL unleashes an unhinged rant from Martin Samuel on Lord Triesman. I wonder why he even bothers to call him Lord PleasedMan. Lets just call him Lord Treason since Samuel keeps playing up his former Communist Party ties. Sure, the EPL is the cynosure of the soccer world but so was the US in the global economy. And that's gone swimmingly well, hasn't it?
The connection to the EPL is not hard to make. Banks lend money to clubs and insurance companies underwrite those loans. When there is a credit crisis it affects clubs which are already deep in debt. The one who keep their head afloat in a crisis are the one who manage their debt not add on to it. Simple. Its amazing that liberals bring up the issue of fiscal prudence while right wingers want to keep on spending like drunken sailors. Even a trogdolyte recognizes the need for reform.
I think I will take Brian Glanville's word on Brian Barwick over Martin Samuel who bemoaned Barwick's departure. Triesman was right to boot out Barwick, a good friend of the EPL, not so much of the national squad. Barwick would be well known for his short shrift of the national squad, his timorous coaching selections, and his bottom line on TV deals.
Samuel praises Bill Miller, Texas lobbyist. The appellation should raise a red flag, especially on how money influences politics. It is the old boys network. This Bill Miller. Samuel's argument against Triesman is thoroughly undercut.
The new darlings of the I League continue their merry winning ways beating Mahindra Sporting, 1-0 through a goal scored in the 23 minute by Kalia Kulothangan. Mumbai FC now lie just behind Sporting Clube from the top spot, separated by goal differential. This is Mumbai's third win in a row after beating East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, the perennial Kolkata powerhouses.
East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, and Mahindra now languish at the bottom of the table without recording a single win.
Trivia: FC Mumbai's manager David Booth managed Grimsby Town which was also Chima Okerie's former club from his days playing in the English league. Okerie now manages second division club Osian's New Delhi Heroes.
Take your pick
1. Most recently - Chris Iwelumo's miss against Norway - video
2. Diego Forlán's - Manchester United against Juventus.Definitely worse - video
3. Van Vossen against Celtic - video
4. Ronnie Rosenthal against Aston Villa - video
and if that's not enough choice here are twenty more .....
Venezuela went down 4-0 in their 2010 World Cup qualifier.Kaka returned from an 11-month absence from Brazil's national team to open the scoring in the 6th minute Four minutes later, Robinho scored spectacularly from 30 meters out. Adriano added a third and Robinho completed the rout by scoring another.The people from McDonald's may be really happy at this result...
RBS was nationalized today as part of the British government's efforts to shore up ailing banks that are unable to find investors. Sir Fred Goodwin stepped down as CEO. It is hoped capital infusion and government guarantees would lower LIBOR to allow banks to begin lending to each other. How this affects Liverpool's financing plans for a stadium or the re-financing of its buyout loan secured through RBS is unclear.
However, with governmental control, loans will be available but in reduced amounts, at higher interest rates, with heavier down payments, and less tolerance for defaulting on loans. All of this could further delay Liverpool's stadium and push up costs.
The media goes ballistic at the English squad. Rio is unhappy with the fans. This on the heels of a 5-1 drubbing of Kasakhstan. The 4-1 beating of Croatia seems to have raised the bar a whole lot higher. England does not have a holding midfielder and to pretend Gerrard, Lampard, or Barry would fill the role is pretty wishful thinking on Capello's part. That and the defense had a collective lobotomy performed on them.
England won because of some nice whipping crosses that the pint size Kasakhs were unable to get their heads on or away. They won the aerial game.
Galaxy maintained their slim playoff chances beating Colorado. Brandon McDonald's goal should be a candidate for MLS goal of the season. It was a fast paced game with lots of chances for both teams with some great work by both Saunders and Burpo under goal to keep the ball out. Ugo Ihemelu also proved how cruel soccer can be. One moment a saviour; a villain the next.
Not a very good Thanksgiving for Canadian soccer fans.
Canada lost to Honduras, 1-3 and their World Camp campaign came to a screeching halt. Much of the damage had been done already with some squad members speaking out against Dale Mitchell, the coach. Apparently the CAS had canvassed the players. A really classy move.
Dwayne De Rosario had this to say "I don't know how someone who coached the under-20s to not score a goal in the World Cup was put in charge of the national team," said De Rosario, the Houston Dynamo playmaker."
Jim Brennan, Toronto FC's captain also declared that he would never play for Canada as long as Mitchell was the coach.
Compounding the dissension with their coach was the fact that Canada was missing key players in De Rosario and Adrian Seroux due to suspension; Julian De Guzman with a thigh injury.
The main problem appears to be Mitchell's inability to take advantage of a fairly talented team that should have at least gone on to qualifying for the final round. However most of the finger pointing should be directed at the CAS who entrusted the coaching job to an uncharismatic coach lacking tactical experience who appeared nonchalant about the team's performance.
In some good news the Vancouver White Caps won the USL -1 defeating the PR Islanders, 2-1.
Hank Paulson announced yesterday that distressed banks would undergo partial nationalization by the US government taking equity ownership. A move last seen in the Great Depression about 80 years ago. The US government took its cue from a rescue plan announced by Britain last week which has now been adopted by Germany, France, and 13 other countries to unfreeze the credit markets. The US taking a page from those European socialists! Good heavens!
It is interesting to note that similar noises are emanating out of the FA to rein in the Wild Wild West nature of English soccer. The FA chairman, Lord Treisman called for a swath of reforms, changing the archaic fit and proper test for club ownership, improve transparency in takeovers, reduce debt by imposing restrictions on ballooning wages and transfer money. Michel Platini wants more drastic action and the UEFA is considering proposals to ban clubs that fail to solve their debt problems. Increasingly I hear calls for salary caps and a player draft to boost weaker clubs and create a more egalitarian environment.
Salary caps? Player draft? The FA and the UEFA seem to be taking their cues from the socialist NFL. A big part of the NFL's success and popularity comes from its revenue sharing structure that ensures a fair shake for all the competing teams. Only four teams have won the EPL since it began in 1992-1993. In the same time frame, ten teams have won the Super Bowl. Lord Treisman's proposals aren't that radical, he is not proposing a pot of money split up equally twenty ways. But these measures are already ruffling Richard Scudamore's feathers, who does not quite see the spillover affecting the EPL.
Of course, staving of an economic crisis that threatens all of us is more of a priority than saving a club that goes belly up but the parallels are quite striking. The days of laissez faire capitalism seemingly numbered; and at least for the present moment, a move borne out of expediency rather than an ideological shift.
The Maktoums seem to be intent on purchasing Charlton but they have not given up their interest in Liverpool either.
Zabeel Investments, headed by Mohammad Ali Al Hashimi, Zabeel's CEO who is fronting the Addicks bid but the brain trust behind Zabeel appears to be Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum who seems to have set up this company two years ago which focuses on real estate and asset management. Sheikh Hamdan is the son of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and the founder of Dubai Holdings whose investment arm, Dubai International Capital (DIC) made a failed bid for Liverpool before it was tragically given away to two American mountebanks, Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
It appears as if the investment companies bidding for Charlton and Liverpool are separate entities that are owned by family members of the Dubai royal household which would set up a potential conflict of interest. With the FA struggling with transparency issues in club ownership and the EPL's lax enforcement of the fit and proper test, these ownership concerns should be given more scrutiny.
England's goalie may not be on Hank Paulson's shortlist for pulling us out of the financial crisis but even he gets how serious it is and his criticism on how the sport is dominated by a few big players is spot on. It is also a refreshing change to hear NFL style drafts being commended for introducing parity.
I have to say Richard Scudamore seems to be a very thin skinned individual.
The US cruise into the final round of World Cup qualifying as Beasley (2), Donovan, Ching, Altidore, and Onyewu scored at will against the Cubans. The match also provided an additional highlight in the first cap for Jose Francisco Torres, the American born midfiedler playing in the Mexican first division for Pachuca, who chose to represent the US at the international level over Mexico.
They meet the Colorado Rapids today in a do or die match today. Without Landon Donovan and David Beckham the prospects look bleak. Even if Becks was not away on international duty, he would not have played this match having been suspended.
The Rapids are in strong contention for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Their attack is not exactly overwhelming, the exception being their first encounter against LA, a 4-0 blowout. Conor Casey their most potent striker is out with a suspension. Omar Cummings is out on international duty.
If the Rapids need to blunt Edson Buddle and Alan Gordon, they will turn to their back four, proven reliable during this season and ably marshaled by Pablo Mastroeni playing holding midfielder. The Galaxy also have problems dealing with crosses and forcing corners so I imagine Mastroeni and company indulging themselves. It will be crucial for the Rapids to blunt the Galaxy attack in the first half as they are not a comeback team. On the other hand when they score the first goal they are virtually unstoppable.
Kazakhstan [ Oh never mind the z]coach Bernd Storck said that the 5-1 defeat to England was mainly because the English team had better football boots. He said the problems were due to the scarcity of studs in Kazakhstan. Some of his players were wearing boots for the first time after buying them in England - hardly ideal for a match against a team with a perfect record in the teams' World Cup qualifying group.
"You cannot find studs in Kazakhstan," Storck said. "If you lose studs, you must buy new ones. We were buying new studs here only yesterday."
Nobody from the Kakakhstan ( Yes there's no z in the word) team minded.The English fans were not so broad minded.Whether getting booed so much was good for Ashley or not is another question entirely.
A book of 90 such pictoral analogies between images from Euro 2008 and the Swiss countryside etc.
Details and more pics to preview here..
With England due to play Kakakhstan [ that's apparently the correct spelling of the word] here are some facts about the place that even Capello doesn't know.I don't know where the z sound in the name comes from if it's spelled like that.
Take back heels for instance.This is better than what Zlatan Ibramovich did the other day.
Recently Lord Triesman spoke at a conference about the dangers of mounting debt that English clubs face and advocated a more forceful regulatory role for the FA.
Speaking at the same conference, Richard Scudamore, Premier League chief executive, gave Lord Triesman’s views short shrift, saying it would be mistaken to suggest all debt was untenable.
“Debt to a degree is healthy ... What is important is that the level of indebtedness has got to be in proportion to your income,” he said. Debt, he added, was on a 1:1 ratio with overall revenues in the game."
Dick Fuld on 6 June 2008.
Dick Fuld, Lehman's long-standing chairman and chief executive, told staff it retains a "strong capital position" as he sought to play down continued rumours that the bank is in a liquidity crisis.
Three months later, Lehman Brothers declares bankruptcy. Barclays takes over part of the investment bank and a 158 year old Wall St institution comes to an end.
Lord Triesman and Michel Platini are being accused of being Nouriel Roubini by Richard Scudamore, the EPL chief who last created news for trying to implement a problematic 39th game in the Asian market. At this point does it pay to be cavalier to what is going on in the financial market and how it affects the sport? I do not agree that the UEFA should prematurely ban clubs and they need to give enough time and incentives to improve matters. In fact, some sort of debt reduction criteria should apply such as in countries that seek EU membership so that clubs are not punished but I do agree with their underlying concern that in these financial dire straits we need to assess risk responsibly and take measures. The government does not bail out clubs that go belly up. Like Wall Street's investment banks that have morphed into commercial ventures or disappeared altogether we may not have enough viable clubs left.
Case in point. Man Utd's total debt is a staggering $1.2 billion from a highly leveraged buyout by the Glazers. The owners of the Tamp Bay Bucs put a down of almost $450 million of their own money and then put up Man Utd's assets to secure a little over $1.1billion in loans from different sources. The Glazers have continually looked for ways to restructure that debt which have included on and off flirtations with securitization of debt. RBS tapped by Man Utd to restructure the debt into a bond against future ticket sales now faces major liquidity problems of their own. It will be difficult to find a more favourable interest rate to bring down the huge $100+ million paid in annual interest. Government bailouts of banks which inject fresh capital into an ailing bank also look at toxic assets and weigh the risk of keeping them on the balance sheets, decisions which affect further loans, interest rates, and eventually solvency.
Arsenal are in a better shape to ride out the credit crunch as it has locked into a very favourable bank rate to payoff their stadium debt but that cost is offset to some extent by the EPL's most expensive ticket prices. Another source of debt reduction was the Highbury Square development scheme that would build 680 apartments around Arsenal's old stomping grounds. But in a sign of the times, the real estate slump led to investors backing off after initially putting a deposit. The club board cut back drastically from a projected 95% occupancy rate with anemic sales and future development is now on hold. Meanwhile Arsenal's wage bill now is in the range of $160 to $200 million.
Debt has risen to over $5 billion with Man Utd, Chelsea, and Liverpool accounting for a third of it. Wages have increased sharply by 12% and so far revenues have kept up with healthy ticket sales, burgeoning TV payoffs, and a march deep into the CL finals. But these may reach a ceiling especially with a very weak economy, job losses and rising inflation. Some economists predict that this crisis could persist for more than two years. The landscape of the EPL might be very different from what it looks like already.
The worsening global crisis has led Gordon Brown to threaten legal action against Iceland's failed banks which impacts thousands of English depositors who stand to lose billions of dollars. Some of them might be fans who might think twice about attending a game. It has affected West Ham who are looking to offload surplus players as their future looks uncertain with their owner Bjorglofur Gudmundsson resigning from his post as chairman of Landsbanki, the recently nationalized bank.
If we apply the UEFA standards then Man Utd and Arsenal would be banned right away which would be very harsh but if the club imposes restrictions on wages and transfers in a concerted and transparent effort in meeting an objective criteria of debt reduction then it should be allowed. Liverpool's case is problematic because if the stadium financing has to go through it will add millions of dollars to an already overburdened club. In the context of these proposed UEFA penalties, would the club like to take such a risk?
Whatever the case maybe, I think Richard Scudamore's trivialization of this real risk is troubling and very short sighted.
A match between a host of Milan and Fiorentina greats, in aid of the former Milan and Fiorentina striker Stefano Borgonovo who has Lou Gehrig's disease took place on Wednesday night in Florence.[ The illness is fatal over time and it is a condition which affects the nerves that help control the muscular movements around the body. It can also affect breathing, speaking and eating]
The charity meeting was organized to help with research to find a cure for the illness. The player’s shirts are set to be auctioned following the completion of the game to assist in the raising of funds for the cause.At the completion of the match, Stefano Borgonovo had a message for all of those in his position: “I wanted to say to those who suffer from what I suffer, believe in yourself, believe in football, and believe in the players and the football leagues that will help to find a cure for our illness.”
Players under the hammer and their potential sale value.
Luis Boa Morte - £3m
Lee Bowyer - £1.5m
James Collins - £1m
Jonathan Spector - £1m
Nigel Quashie - £1m
Calum Davenport - £1m
Hayden Mullins - £500,000
Danny Gabbidon - £500,000
There's an article here in the Mail about a magical dribble that Robinho peformed in a game against Ecuador last October. At the time, Robinho said: 'If I were to teach the move, I would say that it is like dribbling without touching the ball.
'First I balance the body as if I were dancing the samba, then I do the move.' The video of that dribble is part of the news article so you can see in on the link.It's been on soccerblog already.This video is of Robinho at age 8.
Shakespeare might have put it this way .." Hath not a ref eyes? Hath not a ref hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as everyone else is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?"
But its not Shakespeare but Howard Webb who is saying that Ref's actually do feel bad after making blunders....!
There is however quite a lot of evidence in "Julius Caesar" that Shakespeare's quotations can be used to describe happenings on the soccer field.
"'Tis very like: he hath the falling-sickness" - spoken by Brutus to Cassius in Act 1,Sc 2 and also by refs to linesmen every time they see Cristiano Ronaldo fall over in the penalty area.
"You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things! " - said by Marullus to the crowd in Act 1 ,Sc 1 and also said by Sporting Gijon's coach the other day (to his players after they had been beaten 7 -1 by Real Madrid).
" Stand close awhile, for here comes one in haste" - said by Casca to the conspirators in Act 1,Sc III and also by all goalkeepers to their defenders when they see Lionel Messi heading towards them.
...and of course "Here was a Caesar! when comes such another?" was exactly what Drogba said when Mourinho got booted out of Chelsea.
Iceland moved closer to national bankruptcy as its highly leveraged banks reel from defaulting loans and failed investments. For years, Iceland's banks gave away loans like drunken sailors with very few questions asked. Today, the government sent out an SOS to Russia for a loan to bailout its economy and the central bank pegged the currency to others. It also set about an aggressive nationalization of its banks.
Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, the CEO of Landsbanki, Iceland's second largest bank stepped down after the government took it over. Gudmundsson is West Ham's owner and the move threw the club's future into disarray. The immediate result is a fire sale of its players to bring wages down. The club is also attracting a number of investors who believe that Gudmundsson will sell the club to recoup his losses. On the transfer block, players like Hayden Mullins, Nigel Quashie, Calum Davenport, and Lee Bowyer who have failed to make an impact.
West Ham might also have to pay more than £30 million to Sheffield United in the Carlos Tevez affair should the ruling from the FA's independent tribunal stand if the CAS decides it does not have jurisdiction. Money it can ill afford to lose at this moment.
Here's a strange story.Lou Gehrig's disease is cutting a swath through a generation of Italian players, including the former Genoa captain Gianluca Signorini and former Como midfielder Adriano Lombardi. The latest sufferer is the former Milan, Fiorentina and Italy striker Stefano Borgonovo.Now paralysed and speaking with a computer-generated voice, Borgonovo is raising funds for research into the nerve-wasting condition known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or more commonly Lou Gehrig's disease after the US baseball player who died of it in 1941.
"We need to find out about this," said Celeste Pin, Borgonovo's former room-mate at Fiorentina. "It is striking down footballers, which does not leave you feeling very serene."
One theory being floated is that the cause may be pesticides and fertilisers used in the 80s and 90s. Fifty one professional and amateur players have now died from it, six times the average in the general population.That's some mystery now.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s remarkable backheel goal for Inter Milan against Bologna was almost as good as the Mona Lisa or the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel....and it isn't Mourinho who's making the comparision.
A fusion of ballet and kung fu - take a look.
While serving overseas with the U.S. Army, PFC Mardaras recognized the Iraqi children’s love of soccer, even though they were playing with tin cans and rocks. Madaras asked his family to send him a few balls so he could distribute them to the children in Baqubah; however, he never got the chance to do this.He was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq on Sept. 3, 2006.He was only nineteen years old.
Kick for Nick is a 501 (c) 3 organization developed to keep Nick Madaras’ dream alive by allowing people to donate soccer balls to the children of Iraq. From his website...
"Nick was killed in action by an IED on September 3rd of 2006 at the age of 19. The men in his unit and all of us back home were completely devastated and continue to mourn to this day. Our way to get back at the men who did this, however, won’t be a course of hatred and rage. Instead we are spreading Nick’s love of soccer and his dedication to the children of Iraq by sending to Iraq soccer balls to be distributed to the children of Iraq directly by our soldiers in the field. We are all fulfilling Nick’s dream by collecting and distributing these balls. Nick’s Comrades in Arms have told us that when the times get really rough over there and they’re searching for a reason for all of the madness, they can hand a ball to one of the children and look at their eyes glow with happiness, remember Nick, and realize that yes, it is worth it"
Truly a message for our times.....
The most overt sign is the vanishing shirt sponsorship.
However the more troubling effect of the credit crisis is that it is wreaking havoc with the nuts and bolts of running a club. The club that appears to be most in the dock is Portsmouth where owner Arkady Gaydamak is facing mounting losses to the tune of $140 million. Rising interest rates coupled with intense scrutiny of credit worthiness by chary banking institutions hanging onto a shrinking pool of cash have all but scuttled Liverpool's stadium plans. Even the Glazer's highly leveraged buy out of Man Utd has left that club deep in debt (approx $1.1 billion) and susceptible to vanishing credit and high bank rates. The EPL has not helped with record setting transfer fees and the highest wages paid to players which whittle down revenues to nothingness.
The warning came from Peter Duffen of Hull City who could speak with authority as chairman of one of the very few EPL clubs that enjoy debt free status.
"We're not as rich as Croesus as some of our competitors are, but in some ways we're maybe one of the wealthiest clubs as we don't have any debt,'' he said.
Hull's climb up from administration began when Adam Pearson took over the club and paid of the debt and wages of the players. Pearson increased turnover from $3.5 million to $23 million, making a profit in all four seasons. During his tenure Hull moved to the state of the art KC Stadium financed with funds generated from the Kingston upon Hull City Council's holdings in Kingston Communications, their own telecommunications company.
Under manager Peter Taylor, the club began its ascent to the Championships, after 100 years in the FL. On May 26 this year Dean Windass stunning strike against Bristol City earned them a Premiership spot, their first appearance in top flight competition in their 104 years. The present squad includes Boaz Myhill, Andy Dawson, Ian Ashbee, and Ryan France who have taken the club up through four divisions. Pearson sold the club for $21 million in March 2007 before moving to Derby.
Its too early in most of the world leagues but the results have been entertaining.
Little Cagliari almost pulled off a win against powerhouse Milan today as Lazio remains on top of the Serie. Roma flirts with the relegation zone.
In La Liga, Barca and Real have announced their intentions with emphatic wins but for now Valencia, Valencia, and Sevilla remain on top as the only undefeated teams.
The Bundesliga top spots are contested by Hamburg and virtual unknowns 1899 Hoffenheim. Meanwhile Juergen Klinsmann's new age approach leaves a groggy Bayern mid-table.
The Premiership has already seen Hull City climb to third position with wins over Arsenal and Tottenham.
In Argentina, San Lorenzo is running away with the Apertura with Newell's Old Boys in second place. River Plate has only one win and remain two spots away from bottom dwellers, Rosario Central and Argentinos Juniors.
In Mexico, it is San Luis, a recent entrant to the Primera on top with Atlante who finished 15th in the 2008 Clausura. More decorated teams like Chivas Gualdajara and America languish mid table.
In India, Mumbai FC, a hitherto second division club provided the early shock in their debut season in the I League winning against East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, both teams considered the equivalent of Man Utd and Liverpool of India in terms of success. They lead the I-League.
The Yids have been on Sol Campbell's case with an added edge. Their club's terrible start compounded by their loss to Portsmouth last week. They could do with a historical check on their chants.
You have to go back 96 years.
Spurs lost to Hull City, 0-1 after a Geovanni free kick struck from 30 yards lodged the ball in the top corner reducing Heurelho Gomes to a bystander. With rumours linking Mark Hughes and Terry Venables to Spurs, Juande Ramos is in hot soup. An easy target for the fans when everyone in the front office from Damien Comolli to Daniel Levy's job should be on the line. It is a collective failure.
Martin Jol will be forgiven for thinking that there is justice in the world.
Hull City is in third place in the standings. Amazing considering their GD is -1, reflected in their 0-5 thrashing against Wigan as their only major embarrassment. They have played tight defense since then and their offense has provided some spectacular goals.
Watching Liverpool come back from a two goal deficit and win against Man City, one wondered where the much heralded Brazilian trio that rule the midfield and the attack disappeared. By the 85th minute they were all gone with Martin Petrov replacing Elano. But they were figuratively missing from this match too. What I do remember of them is not particularly edifying.
Robinho flashed a cross from SWP over the goal. I also remember Robinho flopping on the ground after handling the ball, pretending he had been fouled. Jo lying on his back after Skertel inadvertently hit him on the side trying to clear a ball. Other than an occasional camera pan onto his stoic face, Elano did not remind anyone that he was on the field.
Full marks to Liverpool. They never lost faith. Torres being a beast at the box helped immensely. His equalizing header was sweetly timed. Dirk Kuyt broke his goal scoring drought scoring the winner.
Also full marks to Peter Walton, one of the more circumspect referees in the FA who officiated impeccably. His red carding of Pablo Zabaleyta was spot as shown in the replays. It was a dangerous two footed tackle on Alonso.
Add Paul Ince to the roster of Man U alumni who have failed in their bid to put one over their former master. Steve Bruce, Roy Keane, and Mark Hughes came, saw, but failed to conquer Sir Alex.
But given the way Man City is playing against Liverpool, it might be Hughes who has the best shot.
Chivas vs DC United's encounter boiled down to which team would rally better from missing key personnel.
Injuries and suspensions have crippled DC United's bright start to the season when Luciano Emilio was virtually unstoppable. Jaime Moreno's suspension meant that the potent one-two strike force was missing. Ben Olsen's injury also left a hole in midfield. Marcel Gallardo just recovering from an adductor strain was pressed into midfield service. Thabiso Kumalo and Santino Quaranta replaced Moreno and Emilio.
As DC United's hopes took a dive, Chivas hopes for a playoff berth rose with three straight wins after their inglorious drubbing at the hands of the Revs. They too were missing Zach Thornton, Ante Razov, Paulo Nagamura, Raphael Wicky, Maykel Galindo, and Jonathan Bornstein amongst others. Preki had to rejigger his defense introducing Shavar Thomas and Claudio Suarez. Dan Kennedy took over goal keeping duties from Zach Thornton.
They were also going up against their poor record at RFK.
But Alecko Eskandarian, the former DC United player, and a fan favourite in their 4 seasons for them, was Chivas answer to these concerns.
Preki's acquisition of Sasha Victorine and Dejair also proved crucial. Crayton's bewildering giveaway had Dejair's setting up Eskandarian's strike against his former club. Eskandarian had a part in the second goal as his cracking shot was spilled by Crayton which a prowling Victorine gratefully accepted. And in the 68th minute Dejair put the ball away after Peralta and Crayton's lack of communication failed to deal with Eskandarian's probing long ball. Thereafter it was some fine keeping from Dan Kennedy to keep the expected United surge at bay. It did not get better for Tim Soehn's club as Gallardo and Fred went off the field after aggravating their injuries. It was left to Quaranta and Peralta who tried everything at their disposal but failed to get their team on the board.
While serving overseas with the U.S. Army, PFC Mardaras recognized the Iraqi children’s love of soccer, even though they were playing with tin cans and rocks. Madaras asked his family to send him a few balls so he could distribute them to the children in Baqubah; however, he never got the chance to do this.He was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq on Sept. 3, 2006.He was only nineteen years old.
Kick for Nick is a 501 (c) 3 organization developed to keep Nick Madaras’ dream alive by allowing people to donate soccer balls to the children of Iraq.The University of Connecticut men's soccer team brought in a sold out crowd of 4,407 for its BIG EAST Conference game against West Virginia as fans donated over 1,000 used and new soccer balls for Kick for NickTM.
Colorado just lost to the Houston Dynamo and a sigh of relief was heard from the Galaxy. The loss gives them a sliver of a chance for the playoffs after muffing up their chances against the Crew. Even at this late a stage, the MLS does not have a definitive idea of the playoff picture.
Josh Wicks, a sieve for the Galaxy made way for Josh Saunders at goal and Pat Noonan, proving that no player is irreplaceable, made way for Schelotto, his first start in three matches. But it was the overlooked Alejandro Moreno who scored the only goal for the Crew and then Chad Marshall and Danny O'Rourke took over to render the Galaxy toothless. The most potent offense in the MLS, except for some Buddle highlights, remained quiet.
The Galaxy continue towards a third consecutive playoff exit barring a miracle or some real help from teams like the Dynamo.
Was it the lack of height that got Ledbitter the goal or the abject abandonment of good defending and tackling? This was atrocious. Song actually put up his hands in apology for the incidental bump on Ledbitter instead of tackling him on the spot. This after Richardson poached the ball right back from the clueless Song.
I just saw Wenger's post match reaction to the Sunderland game and I got the distinct impression that he was delighted with the point. It has come to this. Games we are supposed to win are slipping away because of crucial lapses in defense.
And its not just set pieces that Arsenal has trouble defending. It has become the depository for spectacular open field goals that make the goals of the week category.
Wenger on the match:
“They congest the middle of the park and we wanted to use a bit more of the flanks. We finished with a 4-4-2 in the last 25 minutes and we looked more dangerus because it suits us a bit more. But it is always difficult to rate whether it was because we were a bit tired or because of the shape. It's difficult to know.”
So is this surprising? Haven't other clubs done that before to us successfully. Crowd out the middle. Last season it was Birmingham and then Newcastle. You widen the game, introduce unpredictability by the occasional long ball, take snap shots from the open field. Why does it all have to narrow down to the area in the box for the final tap in?
Just terrible defending from Alexander Song who coughs up the ball to Kieran Richardson then dawdles up to Grant Ledbitter rather apologetically. Ledbitter lets fly for a super goal as Almunia gets beaten all ends up as Arsenal look on stunned. On the other hand, Cesc pulls out a last gasp header from a RVP corner to restore parity. When was the last time you saw a Cesc header?
Brazil are trying to win the five-a-side football competition for the first time in 12 years, while Spain is looking to clinch its third straight title.
Brazil and Spain have won all five titles since the competition began being organized by FIFA in 1989. Brazil won the first three tournaments before Spain took over in the next two.The competition, with venues in Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, is played in two 20-minute periods on a surface about the size of a basketball court. The teams are divided into four groups of five, with the top two advancing to the next stage.The Solomon Islands got a 21-0 lesson in the game from Brazil.USA have lost both their games so far....
Latest news here ... and a video of Ronaldinho doing futsal stuff here...
Here is the link to the full transcript >>
Kinnear goes into a rant. Be warned. Very strong language. Tighten up your seat belts, this is going to be one roller coaster ride if you are a NUFC fan.
Remember last season when Spurs boss Daniel Levy went behind Martin Jol's back and claimed that he had not offered Juande Ramos the job even as the Sevilla manager contradicted his statement that the club had made a "dizzying" offer. Jol left with a bad taste in his mouth.
Looks like the Spurs have the shiv out for Juande Ramos.
It is happening again. All of this does nothing except reflect poorly on the club. Ramos was Comolli's choice. If Ramos goes then Comolli should be thrown out on his ear too. His acquisition of Darren Bent for a mind boggling £16.5 million now appears to be a criminal waste. Levy has said that he will hold Comolli responsible if Ramos did not work out. It is time for Levy to put up or shut up.
Spurs seems to be going Newcastle's way of never being satisfied with their managers.
This week the team with the most potent offense in the MLS travels to Columbus to play against the team with the best home record. A must win situation for LA to remain in contention for the playoffs. Their last encounter was a thrilling one with the Crew coming from behind to force a 3-3 draw
Bruce Arena's tenure at LA seems not to have produced the much needed improvement in LA's woeful defense. They have given up 12 goals in his six matches. 54 goals given up in 26 matches would make any team head for the exit except that the Galaxy still have a slim chance of making the playoffs just because the offense keeps producing. 50 goals to be exact. Their key is to score more goals than the defense gives away. That is what happened in the win against DC United two weeks ago, their first in 14 matches.
The Crew have scored five fewer but their offense is far more versatile with goals coming from 14 different players. This is underscored by the fact that despite the loss of Schelotto, the team catalyst with 18 assists, they have still managed to win. They also have one of the tightest and cleanest tackling teams with Chad Marshall in outstanding form. Opposing teams have only managed 120 shots on goals and William Hesmer has been sold with 87 saves for an 1.19 average. Such balance on both attack and defense have given a MLS best of +14 in goal differential.
A shootout favours LA with Donovan, Buddle, Beckham and super sub Alan Gordon scoring in in clumps in past games. Donovan may become the first MLS player to record 20 goals and 10 assists which might give him an extra impetus. However the questions in the back remain. Arena has managed to settle his back four recently with Troy Roberts and Sean Franklin occupying the central defense and Ante Jazic protecting the left flank. Only Chris Klein on the right looks assured. Vanney has been used all over the map in central defense and left midfield. Josh Wicks has been inconsistent in goal and has given up 10 goals for a 2.22 average.
The X factors: Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Alan Gordon, Brandon McDonald, and Greg Vanney are a yellow card away from suspension. Guillermo Barros Schelotto could return in time for the match to help the Crew.
Asked about the economy, Palin suggested talking to a parent at a soccer game. "I'll betcha you're going to hear some fear in that parent's voice," she said. Asked who was to blame for the subprime lending crisis, she said, "Darn right it was the predator lenders."
But Palin was totally at sea when she was asked why the LA Galaxy despite having Beckham and Donovan are struggling to make the play offs. When pressed on the reasons, she punted, “I’ll try to find you some, and I’ll bring ‘em to ya.”
Well, its hard for a hockey mom in five weeks to bone up on why the Galaxy suck. But she did manage a wink and a nod.
"Eat for Goals "is a book created by UEFA and the World Heart Federation.It is about good food, cooking and football. It has been created to encourage young people to be more conscious of living active lifestyles and eating well. 20% of children in the EU are overweight and the rate of increase of childhood obesity is ten times higher than in the 1970s. Ronaldo and Ronaldinho are also part of the target audience.
Some of the suggested foods :Scotland and Rangers captain Barry Ferguson goes for fresh fruit salad,Thierry Henry has something in Pasta,chicken and fish.Steven Gerrard has given the recipe for his favourite - aromatic sea bream.
"The referee is a useless, interfering, grandstanding bastard. "
Steven Wells lays the guilt trip. Not all referees are as described above. But some certainly are. I have seen some matches (good or otherwise) overshadowed by heavy handed or incompetent refereeing. Cue Graham Poll or Valentin Ivanov.
But the article misses the point. If you want to make the case for human error do not imbue the referee with a messianic complex.
The actual philosophy should be; the referee is right unless proven otherwise. We need to establish that burden of proof. Wells is certainly correct when he says that referees are pure of motive but they are not free from pressure exerted by certain managers and players adept at gaming the situation. They are also not free of parallax.
Contrary to Wells assertion, there has been no drop off in excitement or spontaneity in NFL games where video reviews have been used. Apart from Norv Turner who was was rightly steamed in a post match interview with a call that cost the San Diego Chargers the game, the NFL has been relatively free of officiating controversies, allowing coaches to correctly focus on player performances or coaching tactics.
In contrast, referees making a bad call in many Premiership matches in an otherwise well refereed match become the target of a manager's tirade in the post match wrap up. This lets off players who might have played badly. In the Bolton match, Fabrice Muamba missed an absolute sitter that should have tied Bolton but Megson latched onto Styles "catastrophic cock-up." Styles decision also does very little to dispel the notion that the big four come off better against smaller clubs when it comes to officiating controversies.
So yes, lets not forget the invaluable service of referees to the game. In fact, their role has been used as an analogy for better regulation of the financial world, for those who argue against less. But lets not get carried away. If the players are God, the owners are God, the managers are God, and the referees are God, then what are we as fans? Chopped liver?
Sepp Blatter recently appointed Frank Lowy, president of Australia's federation and one of the world's biggest shopping mall developers, to the organizing committee that decides who gets to host the 2018 World Cup. Lowy recently topped his country's rich list.
Lowy is being investigated by the US Senate and the Australian tax authorities for tax evasion having funneled millions of dollars through Zurich, the BVI, and onto a foundation owned by the Leichtenstein Royal family. These are not banks coming under traditional regulatory oversight. The ATO also discovered that it is difficult to apply the Australian tax code to such structures. Lowy could potentially be exploiting such a loophole.
Lowy's move to the top of the FIFA hierarchy gives unprecedented access to its power brokers. His rise is being hailed by Australians who repose confidence that his diplomatic skills will yield a favourable result to them in Oz's bid for the 2018 World Cup. But his tax investigation comes at a delicate time when many in the world have little tolerance for the greed and corruption that have left ordinary tax payers with a huge bill and the global economy in tatters.
Andew Jennings has more >>
We also have David Davies, the former executive director claiming that the FA was approached by "an individual well-connected in international footballing circles" in a votes for cash exchange during England's bid for the 2006 World Cup. His offer was rejected by Adam Crozier, FA's former CEO.
Sepp Blatter has made FIFA synonymous with money and cronyism. His latest moves do not inspire any great confidence in a transparent process for awarding the World Cup.
Some of the best known names in soccer were born that year in September. Simon Kuper has more on their commonalities and differences.
My observation is that being amongst the first generation of globalized players seems to have impacted their personal philosophy as much as their game. Certainly, Totti, of the four, in his loyalty to his club, stands out as a refreshing anomaly.
His long awaited first goal for Liverpool was the second goal their 3-1 victory over PSV Eindhoven.
...and the third goal was Steven Gerrard's 100th goal for the team - coming off a scorching free kick.So that was a pretty neat feat in all respects.
Lionel Messi scored two late goals Wednesday to give FC Barcelona a 2-1 victory at Shakhtar Donestsk.The first one was more controversial than the second.
No he isn't flying around on a broomstick.Becks is giving J K Rowling and Harry Potter some healthy competition by writing a book - and it will be about football rather than quidditch.
It hasn't got a name so far.All that is known is that it is part of a series- (that's like Harry Potter already) - and it is aimed at an audience of 7 year olds - which is just about the correct intellectual age of the average Harry Potter fan........!