July 29, 2014
Rog On Picking A Premier League Team

meninblazers:

I am fascinated by how American Premier League fans identify a rooting interest.  Free of such obligations as a “local” team to support, the stories are most often full of wonder. The product of a chance exchange student experience in Leicester or a random relative hailing from Stoke.

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One of my favorites was a Tottenham fan I encountered who had the Spurs tattoo inked on his forearm, the result of the fact that the North Londoners’ jerseys had once been sponsored by Thomson Travel and his surname was Thomson.

Out of such tiny details can all-consuming passion grow.

In the wake of the surge in US interest caused by the 2014 World Cup, we are receiving hundreds of emails from Americans asking themselves variations on the same question: facing the Premier League with a clean slate, who should they chose to support?

When Fox broadcast the Premier League, the rational choices were narrower.  Only a couple of games were broadcast live.  Why wouldn’t you support one of the big four — Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City or Arsenal —  who were guaranteed to be broadcast every week?

But one season into the NBC-era in which every teams and every game is available, the options are suddenly boundless.   Yes, on-field success remains a massive driver.  The thrill of goals and glory remain alluring.

But let me make a case for diversification of interests.  For supporting the road not taken.  Cheering for the little guy.  Full disclosure: I have lived for Everton Football Club from birth. Almost every lesson of life — both good and bad, joyous and painful — has come as a result.

Sport is ultimately about feelings.  Feeling emotions you are meant to experience in everyday life — happiness, anticipation, fear, ecstasy, searing disappointment — but are regrettably numb to.

A palette of textured experiences that can be stunted by picking a big club.  So my advice would be to dive into the rich histories of the subtler teams and the cities they hail from — revel in Aston Villa’s night of European Cup glory (Villa 1 Bayern Munich 0), marvel that Burnley, a town of just 73,000 people, has somehow gifted the world with both a Premier League team and Chumbawumba.

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And savor Philip Larkin’s description of parts of Hull, a town in which ”silence (is) laid like carpet”.

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I promise this: Every goal will feel like victory, and every victory, like a title win.  So, let us know which team you end up with and why.  And remember, once you have chosen a team, stick with it through thick and thin.  You can change your partner, you can change your underwear, but you can never, ever change your football team.

An excellent piece from our friends the Men in Blazers

July 23, 2014
This is a fair point from roxanneroxanne about MLS distributing players to certain cities, but at the same time, I think MLS has grown to a point where they don’t really need to do that anymore. When Beckham came to the league I think it would have been stupid to move him to Columbus or something, but we’re now 7 years past Beckham’s arrival, and I think the league has grown. 
Personally if I was Frank Lampard I probably wouldn’t want to go to a small team in Houston or Utah, but at the same time MLS has to put themselves in a position where they can turn down these guys looking to come to the states to live in a fancy apartment in NYC and half ass it on the pitch.
It’s not as if flights to NY or LA are cost prohibitive for someone who’s made millions over the last 10 years, you can still have a nice place in those cities and play in a less desirable city. I think we’re beyond the sign a 40 year old forgotten star and let him trot around against players in a league that isn’t all that great. MLS is slowly becoming a really good league, and it shows just based on who’s come to the league from overseas just this year. It’s still not a great league where 10 million dollar transfer fees exist, but it’s getting there. 
I’m fairly certain Kaka, a man who spent the last 10 years of his life living in Milan and Madrid, has always dreamed of living in Orlando, but he will be next year. Meanwhile he could have been moved to a team already in the league and could have played this season, and helped draw fans in that way. 
I think over the next few years as MLS grows it will have some more growing pains, and I think it’s going to be because of their transfer policies. This is a league that I see gaining success via parity, not by constantly stacking 5 teams and letting the rest battle it out for mediocrity.

This is a fair point from roxanneroxanne about MLS distributing players to certain cities, but at the same time, I think MLS has grown to a point where they don’t really need to do that anymore. When Beckham came to the league I think it would have been stupid to move him to Columbus or something, but we’re now 7 years past Beckham’s arrival, and I think the league has grown. 

Personally if I was Frank Lampard I probably wouldn’t want to go to a small team in Houston or Utah, but at the same time MLS has to put themselves in a position where they can turn down these guys looking to come to the states to live in a fancy apartment in NYC and half ass it on the pitch.

It’s not as if flights to NY or LA are cost prohibitive for someone who’s made millions over the last 10 years, you can still have a nice place in those cities and play in a less desirable city. I think we’re beyond the sign a 40 year old forgotten star and let him trot around against players in a league that isn’t all that great. MLS is slowly becoming a really good league, and it shows just based on who’s come to the league from overseas just this year. It’s still not a great league where 10 million dollar transfer fees exist, but it’s getting there. 

I’m fairly certain Kaka, a man who spent the last 10 years of his life living in Milan and Madrid, has always dreamed of living in Orlando, but he will be next year. Meanwhile he could have been moved to a team already in the league and could have played this season, and helped draw fans in that way. 

I think over the next few years as MLS grows it will have some more growing pains, and I think it’s going to be because of their transfer policies. This is a league that I see gaining success via parity, not by constantly stacking 5 teams and letting the rest battle it out for mediocrity.

July 23, 2014

twoyellows:

You have to read this from bottom to top to get the gist of my mini-meltdown about the inequities of how players come to teams in MLS, but it’s safe to say that it’s rare when I get bent out of shape enough for this many tweets on one subject.

[link] - reason for the tweets.

Thoughts for MLS fans around the league. Jack brings up some very good points.

1:35pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZoH2Iy1MIBBwO
(View comments  
Filed under: MLS 
July 22, 2014

bringyoursister:

Via Mario Balotelli’s Instagram, here he is reading “I Am Zlatan” while doing a bunch of other things.

Balo may be a little crazy and hard to deal with on the pitch, but then there’s this.

(Source: instagram.com, via mightequinn)

July 22, 2014
Six Shakhtar Donetsk players refusing to return to Ukraine

The players involved are five Brazilians (Fred, Douglas Costa, Dentinho, Alex Texiera and Ismaily) and one Argentinian (Facundo Ferreyra) and this “rebellion”, such as it is, is being blamed on famed Iranian-born/British citizen player-agent Kia Joorabchian. Of course, everyone knows by now about the Malaysian Air flight that crashed over the weekend after allegedly being shot down by separatists involved in the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

Shaktar’s squad is largely made up of South American talent and it’s not surprising that they did this in a group. Hopefully the situation in the Ukraine will stabilize and the Donetsk region will become safe enough for these players to return to their club.

July 17, 2014
nurdsite:

My buddy Tom baked a cake for his Argentinian friend to cheer her up after the world cup loss.
…they are no longer friends.

OUCH.

nurdsite:

My buddy Tom baked a cake for his Argentinian friend to cheer her up after the world cup loss.

…they are no longer friends.

OUCH.

(via rendezvoodoo)

July 17, 2014
The FIFA nations rankings have been released following the finish of the World Cup, and there are not a lot of shocks here, quite frankly. England’s terrible showing has dropped them to #20, and Portugal and Spain’s rankings took nose-dives. Costa Rica and the Netherlands saw the biggest rises as both jumped twelve places in the rankings.

The FIFA nations rankings have been released following the finish of the World Cup, and there are not a lot of shocks here, quite frankly. England’s terrible showing has dropped them to #20, and Portugal and Spain’s rankings took nose-dives. Costa Rica and the Netherlands saw the biggest rises as both jumped twelve places in the rankings.

July 15, 2014
An Arsenal fan was so excited about the new Arsenal Puma kits, and couldn’t decide which one she wanted, so she went for a two for one and got this thing…

An Arsenal fan was so excited about the new Arsenal Puma kits, and couldn’t decide which one she wanted, so she went for a two for one and got this thing…

July 15, 2014

Here is Germany unveiling the World Cup trophy in Germany today

July 14, 2014
Look at FUCKING Robben. Incredible. The cardigan over the shoulders. Well played, sir. Well played.
On that note, I will conclude Smokeshows of the World Cup for another four years. In my memory, look up the photos of Mezut Özil without his shirt on, or the ones of Angela Merkel in the German men’s locker room. She’s one of us.
I have been your friendly correspondent, and good night and good luck.

Look at FUCKING Robben. Incredible. The cardigan over the shoulders. Well played, sir. Well played.

On that note, I will conclude Smokeshows of the World Cup for another four years. In my memory, look up the photos of Mezut Özil without his shirt on, or the ones of Angela Merkel in the German men’s locker room. She’s one of us.

I have been your friendly correspondent, and good night and good luck.

July 14, 2014

THE WORLD CUP IS LOVE

(Source: twitter.com)

July 13, 2014
Congrats to Germany, winners of the 2014 World Cup

Congrats to Germany, winners of the 2014 World Cup

July 13, 2014

Final: Germany v Argentina
Today, 3:00 PM Eastern • Final •Estádio Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro

This is what it all comes down to, what we’ve spent the last month enjoying is all for. Germany and Argentina have worked hard to get here even though they’ve seemingly gotten here by two similar but different paths.

Germany has absolutely shined at moments in this tournament, and has looked unstoppable, especially in their 7-1 dismantling of Brazil. Argentina on the other hand has won all of their matches by just 1 goal each. That means nothing though, as all that you need to do at the World Cup is win, there aren’t any bonus points for winning games by 6 goals.

Germany is an incredibly strong and stacked team, and there probably isn’t a better overall team in the tournament. Argentina isn’t a second rate squad by any means though. They’ve got enough quality to match Germany, and the Argentine attack is probably better than any attack any national or club side could put together (especially if Di Maria is healthy), we just haven’t seen them put everything together.

I think today is the day we see Argentina break out, not that they’re going to score 7 or anything, but I think they’ll surprise people and pull off the win.

Prediction: Argentina 3-1 Germany

WHO YA GOT?

Final: Germany v Argentina
Today, 3:00 PM EasternFinal Estádio Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro
This is what it all comes down to, what we’ve spent the last month enjoying is all for. Germany and Argentina have worked hard to get here even though they’ve seemingly gotten here by two similar but different paths.
Germany has absolutely shined at moments in this tournament, and has looked unstoppable, especially in their 7-1 dismantling of Brazil. Argentina on the other hand has won all of their matches by just 1 goal each. That means nothing though, as all that you need to do at the World Cup is win, there aren’t any bonus points for winning games by 6 goals.
Germany is an incredibly strong and stacked team, and there probably isn’t a better overall team in the tournament. Argentina isn’t a second rate squad by any means though. They’ve got enough quality to match Germany, and the Argentine attack is probably better than any attack any national or club side could put together (especially if Di Maria is healthy), we just haven’t seen them put everything together.
I think today is the day we see Argentina break out, not that they’re going to score 7 or anything, but I think they’ll surprise people and pull off the win.
Prediction: Argentina 3-1 Germany
WHO YA GOT?

July 12, 2014

The Liverpool/Stoke City/Sevilla apparel maker, Warrior, seemingly lives in a man’s world.

(Those tweets were deleted after a firestorm erupted on Twitter over them.)

[h/t Larry Brown Sports]

July 11, 2014
In non-World Cup news, a club that was supposedly banned by UEFA for transfers (yes, I know they appealed and got a stay) transferred in someone who is banned from all footballing activities for the next four months (except UEFA said he could be transferred and who knows what else they’ll allow).
Anyway, Luis Suarez is going to officially become a member of Barcelona FC at some point this weekend, and the fee was apparently around 80 million Euros (£ 63.5m/$ 109m).

In non-World Cup news, a club that was supposedly banned by UEFA for transfers (yes, I know they appealed and got a stay) transferred in someone who is banned from all footballing activities for the next four months (except UEFA said he could be transferred and who knows what else they’ll allow).

Anyway, Luis Suarez is going to officially become a member of Barcelona FC at some point this weekend, and the fee was apparently around 80 million Euros (£ 63.5m/$ 109m).