24 March 2010

Agent Numbnutts

By Dr3


Forgive me. No depth of thought, no real attempt at being eloquent, just my genuine, lucid commentary on the fools that sober me in football; agents. I hate agents. These bonus-hunting specimens contrive stories to derail team unity, and inflate egos, while over-evaluating their clients for the said bonus-hunting. What more can I say? Why do I have to hear anything from the mouth of any agent? Who are these people? Going to your favorite football news outlet right now I can guarantee some agent being quoted as “news” etc etc.

Maybe someone can show me the light. Is it that before the existence of agents, players were exploited like slaves? Can someone tell me what exactly their positive contribution to the game is?

Anyway, some dishonorable mentions;

Coach Numbnutts: Marcello Lippi

Here’s his gem of archaic prejudice:

Inter are a great squad, but they cannot be taken as an example of Italian football because they are all foreign

Which league do they play in Marcello?..numbnutts


Editor Numbnutts: Alex Dimond, Goal.com, Chelsea Correspondent

I won’t even quote this man. Long story short if Essien and Bosignwa were fit, Chelsea would have indisputably won the tie. Of course, I can throw in that if I was born earlier I would in fact be Mc Hammer.


Playing or maybe plain Numbnutts: Albert Riera

…..speechless...I am without speech.


Pundit Numbnutts: Warren Barton

For those of us who have had the displeasure of watching any league other than the EPL on FSC, you would have undoubtedly had to come across this man’s supposed knowledge (and basic knowledge at that) of any team, any tactics, anything. I wish I had jotted down the amount of misinformation about squad members, tactical set up, player position and even player traits whether it is from Ac Milan to Napoli (he once said Diego Milito is left-footed) that this man has solely been responsible for. This is your job buddy. You have some sort of responsibility to knowing about football outside of mother England (which to give some credit he does know about).Seriously, stop being a noob.



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11 March 2010

Superfluous

By Dr3


Nothing is harder to read than when people add 1 and 1 and get 28 or some other fallacious figure. Before we go over analyzing and using circular logic to somehow explain why Real and Milan are out let’s look at the two major things that govern football;

1) The ‘virtue’ of football is that on ANY day, ANY team, can win ANY game

2) A game is lost, or won in the minutest of details.


Virtue;

The circus of excuses and false alibis begin. “Milan’s squad isn’t strong enough for the highest level”, “Serie A on decline”, “We needed more money from better stadiums”, “Manchesters quality is too much”, “The pace of the EPL”, “the age of the Milan squad”, “Money can’t buy you..”..blah blah blah…

To win a match or even a cup competition (meaning; euro’s, world cups, CL etc.) a team doesn’t necessarily have to be strongest or have the most quality. Winning a football game is a mixture of quality and tactics. It is why tactics even exist to begin with. The fact is, if football was solely or always about the quality of the better team individually, then there would never be any upsets, there would never be any Burnley’s, Naploi’s, Almeria’s, Stoke’s etc. If the answer was always based on the divine supremacy of a team or by extension (circular logic begins) a league, then money would really be able to buy you everything, right?

Proof: Manchester United has NEVER in any season, boasted the strongest team in terms of quality of the individual players. Are we really going to say that Park, Fletcher, and Scholes, are somehow, of such immense quality that they are “superior” to Pirlo, Seedorf, and Flamini? To be even more frank, if Inter were to sign Carrick or Fletcher, or Park, or Anderson, I would seriously and genuinely consider hanging myself.

Just to cast aside any more of this CL being indicative of domestic leagues; Inter also trashed AC Milan 4-0, and it was even more of a trashing because with courtesy Inter stopped playing after 60 minutes. Even further, Inter beat the said AC Milan with nine men; 2-0 (I’m straying). The point is, Milan lost not because of an absence of quality, but because of the absence of the said blend. Now this is not to squarely place the burden on Leonardo, but as if to defend your insecurities about your ‘package’; it’s not what you have, it’s how you use it. Milan’s problem is that they are still in transition. They are still reeling from selling a major piece of their pie without fully thinking through the repercussions. They are STILL fiddling with their formation trying to find balance with more than half the season already gone; seriously (Same applies to Real; what is Kaka’s position?).


The Details;

All, and I do mean ALL, top level teams are excellent defenders of leads. ALL top level teams are exceptional at counter-attacking and ‘killing’ off games. In the profession, that is the mark of the biggest teams. Take away the early Rooney goal, and this article doesn’t exist. Milan no longer have to switch to three at the back, Manchester no longer sit squarely back with Valencia at ‘2nd right back’, and Milan can compose themselves and stick to the ‘game plan’. Early goals change games; ask Manchester against Barca, ask Chelsea against Inter, ask Inter against Manchester…. (do I really need to keep going?). They change all the strategies for a game, and all the equations and away goals, and the psyche of ALL 22 players. Real are out thanks to a “toe-P” (toe poke), from all of approx 30 yards. Milan are out because they were wasteful in the first, and conceded way too early in the second.

1+1 = 2?

Now just in case you’re thinking I’m sideswiping Manchester, that’s not the case. They’re very well run, and a ‘well lubed machine’; the right system for the right bunch of players. Season after season a certain man turns the Chadwicks, and buck-toothed Tobagonians into finished articles. Hats off to Fergie, the guy really is the MacGyver of football.

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09 March 2010

Deserving

By Dr3


If you’re not first, you’re last – Ricky Bobby.


Yes, I am quoting a fictitious and quite idiotic character, played by an idiot, in an idiotic movie. But the said idiot makes a valid point as far as all sports go; you win, or don’t do anything at all. Almost every other game I find myself reading about some team that deserved more, and that the scorline ‘doesn’t do them justice’, and other such follies. The fact is, barring ‘Calciopoli-like’ result earning, you do get exactly what you deserve.

These are not kids, and we shouldn’t be avoiding injuring morale. If you had 70% possession, 25 shots to 2, 15 corners to none, and still lost 2-0, then <-- that; is what you deserve, for being ridiculously unprofessional and wasteful. This sense of entitlement that somehow by virtue of having the ball, and looking ‘good’(?) while doing so means you should win automatically needs to be quite honestly, stamped to hell.

Barca fans, Arsenal fans, and Milan fans are the prime candidates falling victim to this ‘deserving’ syndrome, because their football is so ‘beautiful’. Football is not a beauty contest. There is no true way of playing football. There is no real essence of football. Football shouldn’t be played in any particular way.

Manchester can play what is often called ‘real football’, but is that why they are great? Is that why they win so many titles? Similarly, Juventus as much as the validity of their winnings is in question, are quite simply not very handsome. But unless I am able to run through the black and white footage of the 50’s, 60’s, or even 70’s and 80’s (yes I’m too young to know 80’s football), then I don’t know of any greater team than Juve in the Serie A.

Newschool Barca fans may be relishing now because their time has finally come. Rewinding though to a certain Rivaldo’s era it becomes a little clearer that all beauty and no beast; IS garbage. It is why he is not even mentioned in teams of LAST decade, it is why he is remembered by only those who saw him and his limp troop.

Football romantics get real. They talk about “dominating” the game; what does that mean? Ac Milan ‘dominated’ against Manchester for what? Chelsea “dominated” Inter for what? Milan scored 3 times in the first half to lose to Liverpool, did Milan deserve the title? You don’t deserve anything. Nothing is given to you. History only asks one question; “What’s in your trophy cabinet?"

One more quote for the road;

It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove - Detective Alonzo


You might know in your heart of hearts that Manchester was better than Porto those years ago. But guess who built a reputation starting from that day? Guess who added a title to their cabinet that year? Guess who you remember as the Cinderella story of the Champions’ League? The proof my romantics, was in some blue and white Porto pudding.

Show me results and kill all this loser-talk.

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03 March 2010

Water Under the Bridge

By Bourbon

The English media with frenzy of a school of sharks around a bleeding killer whale have fully enjoyed the saga involving former English Captain John Terry, his former teammate and best friend Wayne Bridge, and his former fiancée Vanessa Perroncel. The salacious story has been beaten from pillar to post, provoking opinions that ranging from why personal lives should be subject to such scrutiny, to the established rules of manhood as it relates to past relationships. Things actually had some football significance last weekend when Chelsea and Manchester City clashed in the league and Wayne Bridge bypassed Terry in the customary handshake. Ok great. My intention here is not to decry the breach in the man code, to heap scorn on the (in some eyes: classless?) behaviour by some fans wearing “Terry always scores at the Bridge” or booing Bridge’s touches. My intention is to focus on the (few?)Football aspects that are there.



One aspect is Wayne’s stance to not make himself available for national duty for the World Cup. The World Cup, often the pinnacle of a footballer’s aspirations and dreams. The chance of battling it out for a chance at the end to clasp that coveted 24 pound solid gold trophy signifying your part as the team that earned dominion over the world. The focus of millions upon billions of persons every quadrennial cycle. The World Cup.

Wayne Bridge, already the butt of jokes such as “Wayne Bridge isn’t even first choice in his own house” made a decision based on his feelings. And his feelings were “I have thought long and hard about my position in the England football team in the light of the reporting and events over the last few weeks .It has always been an honor to play for England. However, after careful thought I believe my position in the squad is now untenable and potentially divisive. Sadly therefore I feel for the sake of the team and in order to avoid what will be inevitable distractions, I have decided not to put myself forward for selection. I have today informed the management of this decision. I wish the team all the very best in South Africa."
In the eyes of most men, his stock plummeted further. “Terry already screwed his girl, now he’s letting him screw him out of a world cup place?” “What a pussy!” “Golden Opportunity wasted, what are the odds that Cole mightn’t be fit for the world cup?” However, all things considered, my esteem of him has increased.

Why?
Well, the compromise of team spirit. Team spirit isn’t something that you can train, you can foster it, but, a neutral team atmosphere is better than a negative team atmosphere. Capello, as any coach worth his salt would have been observing events as they unfolded, wondering if this bombshell revelation would destabilize his dressing room. Especially in a condensed competition as the world cup, where mistakes can be crucial, anything that can compromise that team spirit would be of concern.

Bridge knows, if a choice between him and Terry (touted as one the best CB in the world by the English media hype machine) needs to be made, he’d more likely than not be placed on the short end of the stick. Most persons aren’t even satisfied that this whole saga is worth relieving Terry of the captain’s armband, much less removing him from a world cup spot for someone who’s status as second choice left back for England is debatable. If Bridge isn’t picked, the question isn’t going to be on his ability, but on something that he had nothing to do with. If he is picked, who knows how the feeling would affect the defense, an aspect of Capello’s system that is crucial. Off the field, the team camaraderie would be shaky. Players know that inadvertently, they would be seen as partial to one if interfacing with one more than the other, which is inevitable. Team spirit again compromised, the team spirit that catalyses the unction to get tough when the going demands it. With Terry almost certain starter, who really needs to be in the best frame of mind? If Cole makes a return, who knows if Bridge would even see a minute of action? On the plus side, Terry already has shown experience in taking up the slack when Bridge ends up out of position, and has shown that he can score when given the chance. (Sorry, it was too tempting to pass up.)

It’s also important to consider the fact that, the general English perspective is that this (as with any other World Cup) is theirs to win. So Bridge is also throwing away in most persons’ mind a chance to do something all players aspire to: winning a world cup. In Bridge’s mind, even if selected, he knows it is hardly likely to be a World Cup where he would be in the best frame of mind to focus on the job at hand. Who knows how he’d perform? He could play rubbish and be blamed. He could try to play well, and it would go unnoticed unless he performs spectacularly. Who knows? In the six weeks buildup to the World Cup he might hit Terry a hard tackle in a scrimmage and putting him out of action. He might be tempted to stab him during team dinner. Who knows what consequences could occur if they in close proximity. Maybe that’s thinking a bit too much, but, again, who knows? Especially from Bridge’s perspective. Why take the chance?

It’s easy to say “get over it.” For his sake he should, the only concern should be when. Less than 6 months after an affair like that is being optimistic, especially one publicized to such an extent. Especially one where the transgressor was playing the roles of “best friend”, “supportive teammate” and “goodly neighbor” who was trying to help them reconcile. Especially where the circumstances were of such where after who knows how many sexual trysts there was an abortion. Who knows what could happen. Bridge as it is simply is taking the role that would minimize any further embarrassment that he could experience. Notice though…Terry seems to have experienced a drop in form since the story broke. Who knows how else this story may develop.

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