22 December 2009

Roberto Man£ity

By Dr3


So here we go again with cultural battles. English pundits are really trying to pretend they are shocked at Hughes’ sacking, but even further at the appointment of a Mister Roberto Mancini. So for quick analysis let’s do a q & a.


• Part 1: The Tinkerman and Mourinho

• The trend in football

• What did Man City spend this summer?

• What were their expectations after spending this money?

• Realistic?

• Who would have inevitably been the fall-guy if the investment didn’t pay off?

• About Mark Hughes

• Reality Cheque

• Candidacy for replacement

Tinkerman and Mourinho:

So let’s think back some years to a certain blue London outfit. With a billionaire owner at the helm a revolution was at hand. The Tinkerman to be fair did not fail by any means, but like Rooney, he simply did not do enough, to convince the ‘moneysplasher’ that the revolution was in ‘safe’ (as in strongbox) hands. A certain Portuguese ‘winner’ and ‘self-moniker-ED’ “special one” swooped in, to make life a little more reassuring. Football is big business and no one is going to invest and wait a decade to reap what was sown.

The Trend in Football:

FACT: More and more tycoons are just buying shares and taking over football clubs. These men have the passion but more importantly the wallets, but lack a certain old man’s serenity. As if they are at a urinal with someone a little too close for comfort, they are also insecure about what’s coming out of their pants. If I ‘come out’ of my wallet, something needs to come out on the field, and on the charts.

Man£ity?

>150 million = a lot, whether pounds or usd.

Great Expectations?

Yes, and why not. Football romanticists and philosophers say “money can’t buy you success” to which I say from atop a mountain; CHELSEA.

Realistic?

Mother always said the results will show. So for now go on romantics, talk away.

Fall-guy?

Rhetorical. Do I spend 150 million and say “……well that didn’t work”? The truth is there is only ever one scapegoat when things go south for any project in football.

Mark Who's?

Good Coach, but so is Phil Brown, and Giampiero Ventura. Big projects call for big engineers. When R. Kelly needed defense he didn’t turn to a college intern with a lot of promise. Promise; is NOT ENOUGH (Rooney). One wonders then why Juventus are not meeting expectations. Make no mistake about it, Pep is an anomaly, in an otherwise well functioning Matrix. Hughes had a bad and really bad run at that. For a team with designs of bridging the gap wins are important. I personally think its resistance to change in the form of immigration, which has led to this thing being a sensation. Similarly in Italy there is talk about Mourinho’s scalp; with an 8pt lead, and losing four games in ALL competitions for this season (not special enough or Ludicrous?).

Reality Cheque:

From October 5th to December 19th, Manchester City won (a miserly) TWO games in the league and 2 more in the Carling cup. Come on.

Man£ini?

He was at the helm of a so-called European giant for 4 years, and won 5 trophies in that time. Winning speaks for itself. To correct a certain misconception, he was fired not because of expectations, but for his distasteful display of treason-like denouncement of his post following Inter’s elimination at the hands of Liverpool. He was still under contract though and as such only after Inter were able to pay him off for a number of months (16), and him also finally parting ways (short of the contractual agreement), was he able to look for work. He was good with Moratti money, so why won’t he be good with Mubarak money?

He has the pedigree, and the money-tree, Glory Glory Man....'City'?


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15 December 2009

The Problem With Rooney; Wayne's World

By Dr3



Wayne Rooney hasn’t been in the top 10 in his position, much less all positions since the beginning of his career yet he has been in the top ten for the ‘ European footballer of the year’ title at least twice since 2004. Let me stop right here and say; Rooney is an exceptional ‘player’.

But here’s the problem; Rooney is a striker. Not a trequartista, not a winger, not a defender, not a defensive midfielder, and definitely not this second striker garbage people try to shovel in his defense (who’s the 1st striker then?). The reality; he’s a non-scoring striker. With a tally of 91 goals from 239 appearances in the Premiership (yes I crunched some numbers), it’s hardly disgusting, but hardly deserving the billing of 8th best anything in ANY football ‘world’. He has yet to tally over 16 goals in his domestic league which spans 38 games of which he makes about 30 appearances (fingers crossed for this season??).

But again here’s the problem; Rooney represents the ‘unbridled’ passion that makes football beautiful. He’s undoubtedly a fan favorite and a cult icon due to his seemingly tireless drive to help his team. He averages about 11 or so assists, and on many an occasion he’s back in midfield, and even defense putting in last ditch tackles, and if he could he would pull off a fingertip save or two.

Yet again though, another problem; the truth unlike fanaticism and fascination cannot be biased, not by any admiration of the true spirit of football. No, there can be no favoritism and no alibis. So what’s the problem? If Drogba, Dirk Kuyt, Ibrahimovic (at Juve and Inter), and Henry (at Barca), can be criticized for their lack of goals (you know being STRIKERS), then why does Rooney escape. A striker’s job is cut and dry scoring goals; that win games, both ugly and pretty. As an Ibrahimovic fan myself, I have found it somewhat amusing how he has been dismissed due to his supposed lack of scoring yet Rooney is celebrated(in the media). Ibrahimovic scored 80 goals in 158 appearances in the Serie A (better than Rooney), and averaged about 8 assists a season. FIFA who we all imagine to have a duty to impartiality have gotten this correct with Zlatan appearing above Rooney in the ratings; but I’m still not satisfied.

Why exactly is he even in the top 25 players of the year, when he is not even in the top 25 strikers of the year. For a quick example, In ‘Ruuuuud’s’ (please exit if you don’t know this reference) first season at the Bernabéu, he won the Pichichi with 25 goals, yet a certain Wayne, with 14 goals was rated and voted above him. If these ratings are about all round play and drive, and not black and white decisiveness; then my question becomes, how exactly do you measure drive (tangibly)? Certainly Chiellini, Tevez, Javier Zanetti, Matrix, Scholes, Essien, and other less celebrated ‘icons’ should also be highly rated. The truth is there is no football reason as to why Rooney is SO HIGHLY rated. He’s good, even damn good, but not decisive and not the best or even near best at anything ‘football’. He’s dynamic, one of a kind, but the award, and rating is for being the best, period. It takes a man winning the player of the year in his domestic league, winning the top goalscorer in his domestic league, and producing simply put his best season of his career to eclipse a certain Wayne Rooney by one spot for the Ballon D’or(Ibra).

For me the problem is that it is impossible to really be impartial with the existence of football ethics. Rooney embodies what we want in a football hero; passion, moments of genuine quality, and a certain male bravado that is just admirable. He’s maybe the top footballing ‘personality’, but again this is not eHarmony, and he’s not the top 20 of any damn thing.

Let's toast to the future..

“Party On, Wayne” and “That’s what she said”.

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03 December 2009

Guest Analyst 'Bourbon': The Cat in the Oven.

By Bourbon

Question:

If a cat makes kittens in an oven…does that make them bread?

This was a question posed to me by an old man a while ago in reference to a person’s nationality being subject to their place of birth or to their parentage. It’s a debate that can go on and on, and right at this moment, it interests me especially in the form of “Super” Mario Balotelli. Born in Italy to Ghanaian parents, and given up for adoption, Balotelli to me is a perfect example of what the talent that exists on the African continent can become if given the degree of systematic development that occurs in Europe. At 19, he is considered one of the bright prospects for the future, given his technical ability, pace and ability to play anywhere along the front line. Awesome isn’t it?



Mario has made public his desire to play for Italy. Understandable, he’s grown up in Italy all his life, he would consider himself culturally Italian, he might even as far as considers himself abandoned by his biological parents (as quite a few children given up for adoption tend to do.) So no problem, he’s Italian right? Not according to supporters of Juventus, who chanted “There is no such thing as a Black Italian” apparently in response to Balotelli’s showboating and perceived attitude when playing against them. Many arguments abounded that this was not “racist.” Probably that sentiment is echoed by the fans (identified as Roma fans) who threw bananas at him while he was at a bar. (At a BAR…not on the field of play…)

http://eurosport.yahoo.com/07062009/58/serie-roma-fans-throw-bananas-balotelli.html

Now, faced with that and many other problems, what should one do? I will admit I personally I have never really liked Italian teams due to the implicit, sometimes explicit racial problems that they have on occasion. Rascism is hardly ever rational. And while all footballers at some point in time would love to win a World Cup, and Italy as one of the football giants have as good a chance as any to do just that, one may conclude that this may have factored into his choice. Even before obtaining his Italian passport, Mario has maintained he wants to play for Italy. The question is, given all the issues that seem to surround him, does Italy want him to play for Italy?

He’s already played for their U-21 team. So maybe hope exists in the future for him. But the reasons for him not yet making the senior team range from competition for positions, to his often publicized “attitude.” I’ve heard him described as “50 cent on a football field.” And while I hold no brief for him, I would dare say that his hostility is probably due to the type of treatment he has had to face growing up in Italy given his descent. Interestingly, Ghana has made several approaches to him, in fact are planning to meet him again before the end of the year to discuss the chances of him playing for them. The question is…what should he chose?

Persons that I have engaged in this debate have given me a wide range of responses. Maybe, his determination to play for Italy is to prove those that antagonize him wrong. In the mould of Martin Luther King, or Nelson Mandela, and Barrack Obama, he wants to show that he is worth it. Sounds commendable and I understand it. Maybe, he feels more ties to Italy, since he’s grown up there, and feels no such association with Ghana, and his heart would be there. Point noted. Maybe he wants the best chance possible to win a World Cup, and considers Italy’s chances better than Ghana’s. Probably. But, my question is, would he be given that chance? Should he wait to exhale? His reputation certainly doesn’t help him, as his indiscretions seem to be getting more and more publicity. Like this for example:

http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/clubfootball/news/newsid=991318.html

Unfortunately, by this, he has given those in authority less reason to risk any backlash by taking a chance on him. He has already provoked the opinion that he doesn’t work hard enough or play to his full potential at times. This to me…makes me a bit skeptical that he is trying to shatter a glass ceiling by playing for Italy. Or maybe he has become disillusioned and in on the verge of giving up.

I simply wish him all the best in whatever he chooses to do. It isn’t my place to chose, I have never been in a situation even remotely like his. Maybe it’s my semi-grudges against Italy that have me wishing to some extent that he decides to play for Ghana. Whatever he does do, I just hope that he blossoms into what everyone knows he can be. It would be an added bonus for me if those who determine how a person should be treated by their race would realize by whatever action he takes how stupid that behavior is.



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02 December 2009

Footballing Ethics; The Enigma

By Dr3




If I ask any non-Manchester United fan, any non-Premiere League flag-flyer, any random football fan across the entire world, “What do you think about Cristiano Ronaldo?”, there’s a unanimous rant about him being a sissy, diver, soft, b%^ch, flop, p#$$y. If I ask anybody about Balotelli, there’s a prolonged discourse about his ‘ridiculous’ petulance, and immaturity, and inflated ego.

The point is, I wasn’t trying to get a date, I asked about him; as a player. When did football become about the man behind the player? When did a man’s job performance become more about his background and lifestyle and personality, rather than his trade? Do I need to specify “What do you think about him AS A PLAYER”?

I’m not going to even attempt to defend, refute or even support the stance people have about players and their personalities. Maybe we have forgotten that like us; footballers are human beings. Am I refuting that a bad attitude can (not will) affect a person’s performance? No. Can a person’s personality be destructive, and disruptive? Definitely. But if when you consider a player, you consider his belief system, morals, etiquette, and ethics, then certainly we have gone back to times when these ‘entertainers’ are our slaves, the gladiators of our footballing ‘Colosseums’.



Adebayor is a mercenary. Cristiano is a brat. Balotelli is a ‘prima donna’. Robinho is a brat-mercenary. And I can go on and on, and on, and on. My question is though, why is Cristiano’s “girlie-ness” a factor when comparing him to Messi? When did class become a pre-requisite for footballing quality? Is Henry now no longer a goal scoring threat? Is Adebayor no longer a good striker? Should Cristiano’s Ballon D’or be stripped? We all want our heroes to have the qualities that as a collective, society adores. Yes, being a class act makes you a legendary sporting personality (Maldini). Yes, you will be remembered beyond death for your love of humanity, and your symbolic charisma as both a human and a sporting legend. But being a miscreant (see Maradona anyone?) doesn’t take away your quality, or your legend, nor should it. PERIOD



I write this saddened that, as supporters we have reduced ourselves to gossipers and paparazzi-like judges of a player’s character, rather than his quality,as if we are somehow ‘holier than thou’. Cristiano’s long shot, heading, free kicks, crossing, speed, and skill, are all diminished and void, because he likes his hot pants extremely hot. No, none of us would taunt fans who spoke of our parents washing “elephants’ balls”, back in Africa. No, I wouldn’t be petulant with a stadium chanting that there is no such thing as a black Italian. No, I would never leave a job in search of better status and wages. Me? No, unlike these irrational, disgusting specimens of sporting heroes, I (insert yourself) would have the class, ethical values, and strength, to just ‘deal with it’ as a professional.



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01 December 2009

My Allegiance

By Dr3

This post was written on a red and black template



Make no mistake, the blog template is just that; a template. It is a 'background' on which I will show my true colors; black and blue. I am an Inter fan. My allegiance is with the Nerazzurri. I am not Italian though, so maybe you can understand why this seemingly unforgivable oxymoron of red and black 'behind me' can even exist. I say behind me, because at this time there’s no denying who are the front runners of Italian football.



I have witnessed many an Ibracadabra show, many a Stankovic strike, many a Zanetti and Maicon slalom, and even the devastating left feet of Recoba, Vieri, and Adriano. I watched in times of shame, in times of glory and did it as no chore, because this is me.I am no new-school fan though, so I know that this is our time unlike times before. Yes, I watched agonizingly as Shevchenko scored his left footed drive to axe us from the Champion’s League. Yes, I watched as my team was emphatically crushed 6-0 in the Derby, but No; I never stopped, never flinched, because my loyalty to my team is unquestionable. Being a fan is a full time job.

I wasn't born an inter fan though. The first team I loved was Lazio, but mainly due to the presence of my favorite player; Hernan Crespo. He went to Inter, left Inter; but I remained. I remained because I finally found my footballing identity, and I will not lose it. Not in light of ludicrous criticism, nor in light of overzealous glorification. Unwavering, unadulterated, never-ending support for my team; I am Inter Milan.





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