Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Shearer

All I can think of is this:


Shearer won't give this speech tomorrow will he? Damn.

TFC, Tasers, and the Meaningless of Life

I won't belabour the point here; a video of a tasering in Columbus. A still from this video made the front page of Canada's favourite sensationalist tabloid, the Toronto Sun, with an article inside underscoring how Toronto FC's traveling supporters are bunch of pseudo-firms out for an old fashioned country pillaging against good Christian folk and any yellow-bellied bastard dumb enough to get in their way. By lying down on the road in front of nine giant police officers with guns and tasers apparently.

Of course, now the Canadian soccer blogs are now rife with "a friend told me the cops tasered an eighty-year old midget" and "a Canadian man threw a beer at my four-year child and now my child is cold and wet and possibly at home, check with my wife" and "the flare caught someone's face on fire and now their face is gone, partially."

Fan histrionics aside, there is still something so...incredibly unnecessary about all this, the stories of piss and churches and racist, violent cops. LISTEN UP, SCARED AND PARANOID AMERICA. They're football fans from Canada, they sing dumb songs and go sis boom ba for a soccer team from Toronto. And no, just because one or two may have said the f-word or looked at one of you funny doesn't give you the right to send the horses at us like you're doing a civil war re-enactment in the parking lot. Do not kill/destroy us in future.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Sutton v. Frei Show

Pfft, Screw This

The rule in NHL playoffs has always been: the team with the best goalie wins. Patrick Roy for the Habs and the Avalanche, Martin Brodeur for New Jersey, and Dominek Hasek for Detroit back when he was among the best in the league—the rule tends to bear out.

Say what you will about twitter, but where else are you going to
get the Mayor's opinion on an MLS game in real time?


In football of course, that rule applies only when speaking of Dino Zoff, but Toronto FC won't be upset with the performances of Stefan Frei in the first half and Greg Sutton in the second during yesterday's game against MLS Champions the Columbus Crew, which TFC drew 1-1. Although the fact both were called on time and time again to make acrobatic saves and diving catches reiterates TFC's defence consists of Jim Brennan and Friends' Family Fun Time Hour.

In other news, USA came back from two goals down to draw El Salvador late in the game, 2-2 during CONCACAF WC qualifiers. (Canada for all interested was long ago eliminated, but Canada manager Dale "Deadwood" Mitchell is GONE, so there is some possible light at the end of that horrible and unending tunnel. Just ignore the sound unmistakably resembling an oncoming train.)

This game was the perfect of example of why it is NOT a good idea to waste time through fake injuries when you're ahead: USA outlasted the Salvadoreans in pace toward the end, scoring two inevitable goals, and had SEVEN minutes of extra time to force an equalizer they were a Jozy Altidore bycycle kick away from. Joy to watch really.

Anyway, say what you will about internationals but yesterday was around the clock football.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Youtube Comment of the Day

Posted on France Portugal 1984: "match somptueux loin de la nullité actuelle de domenech."

Ferguson likely to call it a day at United in 14 months—Guardian Headline

Lebnar the Bender of Time, photographed
before his year suspension for drugs use

March 27th 2053 -- Zorgnat Ferguson, the half-human, half-cyborg, alien-crossbred great grandaughter of Sir Alex Ferguson's artificially-preserved head and torso (henceforth referred to as SAFAPHAT) has announced the longest serving manager of Wrigley's Manchester United Tokyo FunBar Energy Concern will be finally stepping down at the end of the 2053-2054 Super Top Four League season.

SAFAPHAT has won 1, 034 trophies since taking the FunBar job in 1986, including 23 Heineken Cups (formerly Heineken's Champions League). While he struggled in the 2042-43 season, with many saying he would be unable to adjust to the introduction of Nontobs, the crab-like creatures who momentarily controlled our minds in an aborted attempt to take over the earth, his shrewd buying of Lebnar the Bender of Time in the 2044-2045 season ensured a glorious ten-season winning run against the Chelsea McCheesebots, the Liverpool Ramen Noodles and Arsenal.

Privately, some are saying the introduction of lasers into the modern game pushed him over the edge. SAFAPHAT was given a hologram touchline ban for railing against Mike Ashley III over the repeated blindings of his entire backfour. "I saw this coming when the league introduced it last year," he said in an interview last summer. "Football is one game that requires acute eyesight, and I knew lasers would destroy all that. But that's what the modern game seems to be about these days. Repeated blindings with lasers. And telepathic alien crabs."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Redknapp Knees King in the Family Jewels


I love Ledley King (public drunkeness aside. Or especially).

I've always loved quiet playmaking defenders who hang back hardly seen, stoking coals for the engine boilers while the strikers and midfielders share champagne in First Class. But King is a special case; the man can't even train regularly with Tottenham because of his bum knee. While his teammates run about the training pitch, King goes on a rejuvantive swim with his physios. He's the quintessential loner in a game defined by comraderie and team play.

With all the special attention he receives, it says a lot he is still considered a key part of Tottenham's defence. And it said a hell of a lot more when Capello selected him for the England friendly against Slovakia this weekend, against Redknapp's manic protests that King needs his downtime to play. King, after having to miss regular training with the squad, eventually withdrew.

The Guardian takes the stance that, "questions are sure to be asked as to whether [Fabio Capello] knew the full extent of King's problems before announcing his squad on Sunday evening." Really?

I'm no expert on international call-ups, but surely King could have refused outright and had the ample backing of his trainers, physios and medical staff. But he showed up in England kit, wanting to train in his usual way: in the pool. It was only after his swim that the decision was made to withdraw. The Guardian, tellingly, puts it this way: "he was accompanied [to the pool] by medical staff from Spurs, and, hours later, his withdrawal from the squad was confirmed."

Did King make the decision to withdrawal all on his own? Would Spurs' trainers have been directed to push King one way or another? I don't know, but Harry Redknapp was quoted as saying the decision to select King was "ridiculous," "mad," and "pointless at best." To think Spurs' trainers wouldn't have had King's match fitness after the international break in mind seems naive to me, about as naive as assuming Capello didn't know about King's special considerations.

All I know for certain is that King's inability to play for the senior England squad is a minor tragedy for a player gifted with talent and cursed with shit joints.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Wish


I wish I could tell you my recent absence was down to securing last minute details on my book deal on Toronto's soccer history.

I wish I could watch Aston Villa for the rest of the season and enjoy myself. And I wish I'd been there at Anfield with Villa's away fans singing, "We're going to win 6-5" as Gerrard and co made Villa look third class. And I wish Liverpool well.

I wish Alex Ferguson would admit both red cards were justified and that Rooney was wrong to throw a football ball in frustration. I wish the whole lot of Red Devils would understand many players have the maturity to restrain themselves playing to the end of ninety minutes in a losing cause (see Aston Villa minus Brad Friedel). And I wish Fulham well.

I wish I could watch Toronto FC play away in MLS and not cringe at the sight of some beleaguered car park posing as a proper football ground. I wish I'd been in Kansas City if only to see that huffer and puffer Guevara—sometimes the only TFC player who seems to get they're all there to play proper football—score his opening day brace and lead Toronto to a 3-2 win against the Wizards. And now I wish I didn't have to miss Toronto FC's home opener to sing like a girl for cash. And incidentally, I wish newbies the Seattle Sounders well.

Mostly I wish I had some better ideas for theme posts...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Manchester United 1-4 Liverpool: That Nature is Just a Lottery at the End of the Day, John

Today's homily is brought to you by the talented author of horror God show Sport is a TV Show, Fredorrarci, perhaps most famous for being on CBC Radio's As It Happens, the bestest radio show on earth. Enjoy!

Hansen (left) and Lineker

Note: It has been suggested that television soccer analysts would be better off reciting poetry than confronting us with their barely-formed ideas couched in clichéd language. But is this such a good idea?


Gary Lineker: Great result for Liverpool, and a terrific performance.

Alan Hansen: It was a great game. Liverpool going one down and coming back: its loveliness actually increases and will never pass into nothingness for me. I thought Manchester United were shocking. They must have felt a Funeral, in their Brains or something. We talk long and hard on this programme about pace being truth, truth pace, and Liverpool showed today that that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. They were just superb.

GL: United were like Sailors fighting with a leak when it came to dealing with Gerrard and Torres, weren't they?

Alan Shearer: Well, Alan used the word "truth" earlier, and I would, as Swift's Echo, fret, and rave, and gabble, like the Labourers of Babel, who had a decent game when he came on, by the way. But yeah, Gerrard was great. Watch him here, wandering lonely as a cloud between the midfield and defence, the desert that is his dwelling place. Are they gonna come out and mark him? No, each man fixed his eyes before his feet, and you can't afford to do that against a player like Gerrard. He was unlucky not to get his shot away this time but here's Torres, and it's his turn to drop off and fill that void vein full again with youth. Defence again, fearing the lightning-flash and the all-dreaded thundering-stone―

GL: (To Hansen) He's stolen your catchphrase, Alan!

AS: There's Torres making a run, and watch him there, just giving a little signal to Gerrard as if to say, Just dink it through, leader of those armies bright which, but th' Omnipotent, none could have foiled, and the shot just got away from him a bit. Unlucky.

AH: Here's Liverpool's first goal. Dreadful mistake by Vidic. Bright suns at one time shone for him when he would come when United were leading, but he misses it completely this time. Thereupon many not very fun things happen to him. No worst, there is none. Here's the second goal, Gerrard gets fouled—

GL: Any doubts about the penalty? A hint of a shadowtackle, perhaps?

AH: Not for me. No argument, no anger, no remorse. Thou art indeed just, Lord. Steps up, two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and he stuck it in the bottom corner.

GL: As he said in the post-match interview: "What I do is me; for that I come; look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" He's certainly full of confidence.

AH: As he should be. It's like Zidane was saying in the week: The Father having begot a Son most blest, and still begetting, (for he ne'er be gone) hath deigned to choose Gerrard by adoption.

AS: He'll be commemorated with a hero-courageous tomb, that's for sure.

GL: A lot of the pre-match hype surrounded Wayne Rooney's comments, the "hatred" comments — did that have an effect on his play, do you think?

AH: I think it must have. I remember what Bob Paisley told me when I came to Liverpool: he said, Son, hate blows a bubble of despair into hugeness world system universe and bang — fear buries a tomorrow under woe and up comes yesterday most green and young. And he was dead right. Al will show you now...

AS: That's right, you can see from the replays here that he was under extra pressure the whole game. Watch how the pass doesn't reach him and there he is, arms out, knowing not which way he must look for comfort, being, as he is, oppressed. Here's a cross which doesn't get to him, and there he is, angry with his friend. Did he tell his wrath? Well, only he knows that. He has to learn to deal with it. When I was playing, I had no time to hate, because the grave would hinder me, and life was not so ample I could finish enmity. You have to be calm in these situations.

GL: United can't really complain about the defeat, can they?

AH: I don't think so. Liverpool dominated in the end. Reina almost withered to leaf-size from lack of effort. There were individual mistakes from United, but there was poison in the cup — why should we ask from whose hands it came?

GL: Let's take a look at the top of the table. Things are a lot more interesting now. Do you think United can be overhauled?

AH: Well, in the papers women come and go, talking of Cristiano Ronaldo, and it must be having an impact on his play, so that's not good for United. But I think it's too early to say that the title race is a Heraclitean fire just yet.

AS: I agree with Alan. I think, in the shadow of the grave, United will be brave. After the first death, there is no other, I feel.

GL: Well, like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore, so do our minutes hasten to their end. But we just have enough time to touch upon the success of the English teams in the Champions League. What did you make of it, Alan?

AH: I think it's wonderful. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.

AS: I agree with Al―

GL: HURRY UP PLEASE IT'S TIME

AS: I think it's great. I wouldn't be surprised to see two English teams sailing to Byzantium—

GL: The final's in Rome, Alan.

AS: Oh aye, you're right. Anyway, it'd be one in the eye for that French cloud-puff ball Platini, always reproaching us about money—

AH: Quarterly, is it?

AS: Oh, yeah, at least.

GL: So that's about it for now, on a day when Manchester United did not stop for Death, but they certainly stopped for Liverpool. Good night.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Aston Villa 1 Tottenham 2: What Does One Say?

I watched this one at the bar, slamming my fist down at how Reo-Coker and Barry can't seem to remember how to make a clear, decisive pass to get the ball up to Young and Gabby. Not that it would have helped much anyway—both runners seem to have run themselves out ages ago. Where is Agbonlahor's swagger? Six months ago the man had a sneer you could could snuggle in to stay warm. Now he's a shell, running out toward the touchline like a man who already knows he's missed the bus.

On top of that, we now have a %100 "Flailing Limbs" defence. Ironically, Tottenham were the last club to effect this technique. It's panic over organization, which works if you have Laursen charging away with his effortless standing tackles, which we don't. No, we have Cuellar and Knight. Would any other club above fifth right now put in a realistic bid for either? Half the time we get a needless clearance that Gomez was only too happy to roll to his fullbacks, or we get a neat rolled pass intended for Reo-Coker and ending up at the feet of Bent. This is the defensive equivalent of the scared teenager who spots a cop car only to drop his baggie at the foot of a police officer waiting round the corner.

But the real sadness was the let down fom the feeling prior to kick off that this was it. We had an obligation to prevent the sick inevitably of this:



And we blew it. We blew it in front of everyone. We may not get another chance this season, and with the loss of Champions League money, we may not ever get this chance again. This was supposed to be my favourite year...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Manchester United 1 - Liverpool 4: Setanta, Please Fire Your Co-Commentator

I don't know who this was exactly; I'm pretty sure it was Iain Dowie. But the guy had a habit of constantly making reference to how Manchester United are "omnipotent" or "flawless" (in gloria nomine patri etc. etc.). Michael Carrick was referred to as the "best holding midfielder in the world." Torres "has a habit of going to ground." Vidic's red card, which was about as clear a decision as you're going to get in football, with Gerrard practically licking the underside of the bar prior to having his organs ripped out from behind, was termed "poor."

I don't need this. I don't need to watch a Premier League match and hear about the quality of Christiano Ronaldo or the resilience of the Red Devils in the face of unholy adversity. It's there in front of me. Just, spout stats, or better yet, why not read out some John Donne poetry, or Foucault's lectures on early Greek philosophy? I'd learn more about the game from that than hearing about Rooney's "pace and power" up front, I mean what the hell.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Liverpool vs. Madrid: In the Producer's Studio


17' Okay, cut to camera three, Torres goal reaction. Ready camera two. Go camera two. Okay, zoom up on that Spanish granddad, the one who won't likely live to see another Real Madrid European Cup win. Can you get the glistening tears on his face? Good, ready camera four.

28' Go camera three, ready camera four, Gerrard celebration. Ready camera two, the busload of Madrid orphans, can you frame all the six-year olds sobbing there? Camera two, great shot there Alan, excellent stuff. Yeah, zoom in on their dribbling noses, and fade to camera four.

47' Camera one, Gerrard running by the Kop. Ready camera two, Alan, can you find the guy in the Casillas shirt who was on the defibrillator? Good, yeah, get the paramedics in the shot as well. Okay, go to the wailing woman in white renting her garments...man, the digital pick-up gives a lot of detail on the sack-cloth and ashes there...great stuff. Ready camera four.

88' Alan, ready camera two. Follow Dossena, follow him, follow him. Okay, cut to camera two. See if you can all the flames in the shot, is there anyone else in the away end self-immolating? Okay, we're going to need back up here, Alan go wide. George ready camera five on that burning Ramos effigy (how did they make it so quickly? Ingenious!). Get that salt in the wound. Good work everyone, great stuff. First round's on me mates.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Season of Facebook Status Updates: Liverpool


AMSL is delighted today to welcome guest-poster Brian Phillips, owner and proprietor of the exceedingly brilliant and regularly updated Run of Play. Enjoy responsibly!

As a visually dynamic and relentlessly well-paid football blogger, the one thing I can't do is make the world's top athletes stop sending me friend requests on Facebook. Every day, it gets a little more depressing. Sometimes I feel like I barely have time to pore over summer safari pics from people I don't remember but possibly went to high school with because I'm so busy crafting a response to the latest flurry of updates to Brooklyn Beckham's video page. What kind of a world is this? IS TECHNOLOGY CHANGING US AS BASIC PEOPLE, etc.

Fortunately, thanks to a keen problem-solving streak that I inherited from my male ancestors, I've figured out how to turn this "contemporary malaise" into a viable form of historical record-keeping. All it takes is a little elbow-grease and a familiarity with the principles of collation!

Liverpool's 2008-09 Season as Reflected by Facebook Status Updates

August

Jamie Carragher is fixing his own lunch today.
Martin Škrtel' doesn't get why people think the English Office is better than the American Office.
Pepe Reina WON EURO 2008, BITCH.
Fernando Torres is winning the league this season!
Steven Gerrard cherishes this time of possibility.
Steven Gerrard feels that the sky is the limit.
Steven Gerrard is surprising himself with how much he enjoys hanging out with Coleen Rooney's brother.

September

Yossi Benayoun is glad that's over with.
Jamie Carragher doesn't trust auto mechanics.
Fernando Torres loves his mother and doesn't care who knows it.
Steven Gerrard truly enjoys life.
Steven Gerrard was out with Anthony McLoughlin again last night.
Daniel Agger thinks things are going well!
Robbie Keane likes where this season is headed!
Steven Gerrard can't figure out whether it's normal to feel so angry all the time.

October

Fernando Torres enjoyed Stevie G's 100th goal!
Jamie Carragher hates men who will look in your face and just brag.
Martin Škrtel' can't figure out why Rainn Wilson is answering Jenna Fischer's fan mail.
Fernando Torres thinks the impersonating man is hilarious!
Pepe Reina CANNOT BE STOPPED, MUST NOT BE STOPPED, AND SHALL NOT BE STOPPED.
Steven Gerrard called Anthony, wound up punching a hole through a wall.
Yossi Benayoun wonders where it's all going.
Steven Gerrard doesn't understand what's happening.
Xabi Alonso just beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge!

November

Jamie Carragher will drain his own damn pool this year.
Ryan Babel Facebook is fun!
Steven Gerrard is starting to understand what Anthony means about the music industry.
Steven Gerrard thinks a DJ is no better than you or me.
Fernando Torres is really enjoying this weather!
Robbie Keane is ready to explode.

December

Xabi Alsonso isn't worried yet.
Yossi Benayoun feels the floor starting to crumble.
Ryan Babel Facebook takes a lot of time to do, though.
Jamie Carragher despises the incompetence.
Steven Gerrard senses something in the air, a tension at twilight, a darkening.
Steven Gerrard wants to kill a DJ.
Steven Gerrard doesn't want to hurt anyone!
Steven Gerrard knows Anthony is right, but how could he ever...?
Steven Gerrard is out on bail.

January

Jamie Carragher can't believe the foreigners who need their mincing little "international break."
Jamie Carragher remembers a time when MEN played all year round.
Ryan Babel Rafa is on TV saying facts about Alex Ferguson!
Martin Škrtel' doesn't want to hear from Rainn Wilson.
Martin Škrtel' wants to hear from Jenna Fischer.
Martin Škrtel' wrote to Jenna Fischer.
Martin Škrtel' wrote her eleven times.
Martin Škrtel' doesn't know what the fuck he's supposed to do with eleven signed Rainn Wilson headshots.
Fernando Torres believes Stevie G is innocent!
Xabi Alonso is telling himself Manchester United are bound to lose sooner or later.

February

Steven Gerrard is living in a dream...gray skies...sorrow...only the sound of his voice...sometimes...
Steven Gerrard can never tell what really happened.
Fernando Torres is feeling better all the time!
Jamie Carragher has no patience for losers and the weak-willed walking soulless.
Xabi Alonso wonders if half the squad is even following this season any more.
Ryan Babel Who is Rick Parry? I have not met him at our club.
Steven Gerrard almost feels prison would be a relief.
Martin Škrtel' will go to America and show her, if that's how she's going to be.
Steven Gerrard is
Steven Gerrard is
Fernando Torres has heard that many players are robbed, but still loves living in Liverpool.
Steven Gerrard

March

Jamie Carragher has bloody well had enough.
Xabi Alonso is
Yossi Benayoun is
Martin Škrtel' is
Ryan Babel where are my teammates!
Ryan Babel Facebook is fun!
Jamie Carragher is
Steven Gerrard is
Ryan Babel Come and hear my rapping, you Facebook friends!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Toronto's 1934 Soccer-less Centennial

Who said curling isn't cool? Look at this guy!

So, I had this wonderful idea of finding some soccer-related story from the March 6th and 7th, 1934 editions of The Globe (when, 75 years ago, Torontonians marked the city's centennial) to celebrate Toronto's 175th birthday yesterday. Lo and behold, not much of any local soccer was being played, or if it was, it wasn't newsworthy—the big news that day was Toronto Maple Leafs "centreman" Joe Primeau's league goal tally surpassing that of his nearest rival, Frank Boucher of the New York Rangers.

I did manage to find that boss curling ad and this little news bulletin from the "Old Country":

So, you know, things were a lot worse at one point for Aston Villa...although I'm a bit nervous of this "Luck of the Arsenal" thing. That doesn't exist anymore right? I'm also curious as to the gate proceeds all going to Arsenal. Was that because Villa supporters wouldn't have bothered to make the trip, what with their Middlesborough-like standing in the league? History nerds to the rescue!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Football-Writing Psyche as Personified by Brian Clough (Id) and Don Revie (Super-ego)

Michael Sheen as Brian Clough as my Id

Although it would seem—oh okay—although it
is self-indulgent to write about writing about football, in my defense I will say that a) most of my readers also write about the sport so I'm sure they might identify with some of the themes here and b) it's my birthday, so I can be as goddamn self-indulgent as I like. So, imagine a 1974 studio. It's Calendar, and my Id, who looks a lot like former Leeds and Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough, is sitting opposite my super-ego, the fat, whingeing and awfully boring Don Revie, all moderated by the host of Yorkshire's Calendar.

Calendar Host: Tonight, Richard's ego was stunned to hear that his Id, one of three components of the psyche as envisioned by Sigmund Freud, has run out of funny ideas for football blog posts. Joining me in the studio is Richard's constantly drunk and maniacal Id resembling Brian Clough, and his stern, angry looking super-ego, Don Revie. We'll start with Richard's Id—Id, what is your reaction?

Clough: Call me Brian. I'm quite stunned. I'm constantly bothered by Revie over there, Richard's super-ego, who's always telling me I've got to write long and serious pieces with loads of stats and historical comparisons. I've always thought I could have done it better by doing pieces on David Beckham's tactical advice or things on the Goonies and such. But apparently that wasn't good enough to do exclusively without running out of ideas.

Calendar Host: Well, let's turn to Don for an opinion. Do you think it was intelligent to turn over the football writing to Richard's Id?

Revie: Well, now, let's not jump the gun and put words in the horses mouth here. My record at AMSL stands for itself. Are you asking me if I think Clough (I call him that because he always calls me Revie, or super-ego, or shithead, or robot) was the person to replace me after all the hard and serious work I did on important things like the history of soccer in Toronto, or problems with the CSA? I don't know. That is entirely for Richard's ego's to answer. But if you're asking me, the answer is no.

Calendar Host: Clough/Id, how do you respond?

Clough: Look, my style of writing is pretty much the same as Richard's super-ego, as it is throughout Richard's brain. Really, the whole distinction between different competing unconscious motives hasn't been borne out by modern neuroscience. I was informed when I took over from AMSL that people wanted to read funny things about football. I wanted to add to Revie's machine—a great CSA-critiquing, stat spewing, hard-researching machine, don't get me wrong—with a few irreverant pieces. That's all.

Revie: Yes, and you lost the the confidence of Richard's ego—

Clough: Wait, wait, wait...

Calendar Host: Brian, let him finish—

Revie: —and look, to be taken seriously as a football writer, you needed serious analysis. You lost confidence of Richard's ego, especially with the EPL Talk debacle.

Calendar Host: How did you feel when fifty people commented negatively over your attempt at Premier League humour? After such a short period?

Clough: Oh, I felt sick. Well, I didn't care that much to be honest, but for the sake of placating Revie, I will say I felt sick, the feeling was definitely there. If you're asking me now if I made mistakes (the Masal Bugduv/Man City piece), then yes, I'm human. Well, one component of a human psyche really. Look, I want to be like me, and I want Revie the robotic super-ego to be like him.

Calendar Host: Don, do you agree?

Revie: Look, you talked about getting more readers. My record is there over the last year. AMSL's most popular series was the Toronto soccer history series...it had generated the most important readership in the blog's history.

Clough: And the least amusing posts.

Revie: Well, now Brian, that's not true.

Clough: It is true.

Revie: Look, why did you want to take over and write for AMSL when you thought all that history stuff and match report stuff was so boring?

Clough: Because I thought it was the best blog (well, really only blog) Richard was writing at the time, Don! I wanted to have a crack at some more irreverant, light hearted stuff. I wanted to do something you hadn't done. I want to write the blog, but I wanted to write it better. There is no other reply, because you were writing the blog!

Revie: Well, look Brian, what if we work together? What if we cooperate to cover both stern and important analysis and your pitiful fluffy and assinine attempts at humour?

Clough: Really?

Revie: Yes. Look, how about you let me write on Toronto's football history, say, twice a week, starting tomorrow to celebrate Toronto's upcoming 175th anniversary? And you can do your stupid little comedy pieces? And why not finally getting round to redesigning the blog, to make it better and less blog*spotty? And maybe allow advertizing?

Clough: Er, I suppose? Possibly? I'd need a webdesigner because I'm useless and there are few other technical prob—

Calendar Host: Good, glad that's sorted. So, starting tomorrow, look forward to AMSL's biweekly feature on Toronto's soccer history as part of the city's anniversary celebrations. Good night.

*cue sexy seventies trumpet outro music*

(Oh, and click here if you want to hear the real thing.)

Update: The Toronto soccer history restart will be delayed until Saturday night, so be sure to check in after the final La Liga fixtures are over and done with...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Am I Wrong

but doesn't Zidane's shirt in this photo, culled from the Guardian's photo series of famous shirt typos, have a much funnier and more significant typo than John O'Shea's misspelled name (S'hea apparently)?

Hooray for Ben Foster's iPod: Let's Kickstart Football 2.0

Me (not pictured) and the band

The internet has gone mental over reports that young Man United keeper Ben Foster reviewed video evidence of his opposing penalty takers last weekend—wait for it—on his iPod!!!

Wow! Here are some further developments I'd like to see introduced to make the game ever so slightly easier for everyone involved.

Video Replay Holograms: We know this technology's coming one way or another; why not "wow" the controversy away with jaw-dropping special effects? Who needs multiple camera angles to find out if Lucas Neill has own-goaled it over the line when you can simply "rotate the hologram" (also the name of my eighties synth band's first album)?

Microchip Footballs:
It's not mod unless it's got a microchip in it. Could be used to...locate the ball or something if it gets stuck somewhere underneath a seat, and there are...no other balls available? Yep.

Digital tactics and formations: If you move something from analogue to digital, you can fit in a lot more stuff, so digital tactics would mean there would be more room for tactics. And formations.

Lasers: Yeah, I haven't really thought this one through yet. I just think sport in general and football in particular could do with some more lasers.

Phew! I can see the future already! And unfortunately it's a smoky wasteland where football passes the time in between foraging and battles with hordes of post-nuclear mutants, possibly listening to their half-melted iPods I don't know.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Blog Has Suffered this Week Because I've Become a Zombie


A blog is a lot like a child; if you leave it in the wine cellar for a week without food or water, the government usually gets involved at some level. So here is evidence for my defense:

Exhibit a) News that Hiddink is going to Chelsea gets me a bit peeved.

Exhibit b) I watch Special 1 TV and that gets me right pissed off.

Exhibit c) If that wasn't enough, the whole English v. Italian club meme really grinds my gears further. My left arm tingles a little.

Exhibit d) While collapsing from the crushing pain in my chest, I then have to suffer through the whole Fergie v. Mourinho psycho-dynamic for a while.

Exhibit e) I wake up in the hospital to find Aston Villa have sent their B-team to Moscow. I rip out my IV tubes while singing the tune from the A-Team in glorious defiance.

Exhibit f) Several mourners mention my anger at tactical reductionism in football at the wake.

Exhibit g) Manchester United's Carling Cup win means nothing to me as I'm but one member of the legions of undead.