Women and Children Only at Turkish Football Matches

22 Sep

Men are pigs. Bullish, impatient, mindless, and above all selfish. It is why I only love women. And apparently, so do the Turks. In an effort to punish clubs for crowd trouble while acknowledging that such trouble comes from a small percentage of individuals, the Turkish Football Federation proposed barring all males over the age of 12 from the stands as punishment. So instead of playing behind closed doors in front of nobody, women and children to the front!

The first team to fall victim was Fenerbahce, who drew 1-1 with Manisaspur on Tuesday in front of 41,000 screaming women and children in the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium. A pre-season pitch invasion against Shakhtar Donetsk prompted the Federation to act and the “no men” policy was born.

One would expect a rather tame atmosphere and very little attention paid to the match itself. However the women rocked the Sukru Saracoglu throughout the night with many holding signs reading “Welcome to Hell.” Each and every chant was sung with as much zeal as the ultras, albeit without the baritone.

The Turks should be commended for implementing this policy to punish only those responsible, and for having a female population that is not only extremely easy on the eye but also as enamored with football as the men. More matches like this and the women will start invading the pitch. Although I can hardly imagine the players taking issue with being gang tackled by a group of females…

Like I said, men are pigs.

Weekend Couch Guide

16 Sep

Friday, September 16
2:30pm Freiburg vs Stuttgart (ESPN Deportes)

Saturday, September 17
7:30am Blackburn vs Arsenal (ESPN2)
9:45am Bayer Leverkusen vs Cologne (ESPN Deportes)
10:00am Aston Villa vs Newcastle (FSC)
10:00am Wolverhampton vs Queens Park Rangers (Fox Soccer Plus)
12:00pm Bolton vs Norwich City – Tape Delay (FSC)
12:00pm Cagliari vs Novara (Fox Soccer Plus)
12:30pm Kaiserlautern vs Mainz (GolTV)
2:00pm Barcelona vs Osasuna (ESPN Deportes)
2:00pm Swansea vs West Bromwich Albion – Tape Delay (Fox Soccer Plus)
2:30pm Inter Milan vs Roma (FSC)
4:00pm Sevilla vs Real Sociedad (GolTV)
5:00pm Everton vs Wigan – Tape Delay (FSC)

Sunday, September 18
6:30am PSV Eindhoven vs Ajax (ESPN Deportes)
6:30am Atalanta vs Palermo (Fox Soccer Plus)
8:30am Tottenham vs Liverpool (Fox Soccer Plus)
9:00am Siena vs Juventus (FSC)
10:00am Zaragoza vs Espanyol (ESPN Deportes)
10:30am Fulham vs Manchester City – Tape Delay (Fox Soccer Plus)
11:00am Manchester United vs Chelsea (FSC)
11:30am Schalke vs Bayern Munich (GolTV)
12:00pm Atletico Madrid vs Racing Santander (ESPN Deportes)
12:30pm Sunderland vs Stoke City – Tape Delay (Fox Soccer Plus)
2:00pm Levante vs Real Madrid (GolTV)
2:30pm Napoli vs AC Milan (FSC)
3:00pm Lyon vs Marseilles (Fox Soccer Plus)
4:00pm Athletic Bilbao vs Real Betis (GolTV)

A German Champions League Welcome

13 Sep

This year’s Champions League group stage features a number of mouth-watering match ups, highlighted by the ideological battle between three English Premier League and Bundesliga clubs. The debt-ridden, price gauging, heavy spending English vs the financially sound, responsible Germans. While Manchester City are made to wait until the end of the month to face Bayern, Arsenal and Chelsea face stiff competition this afternoon and their opponents have approached the encounters in differently.

Chelsea host Bayer Leverkusen and the return of Michael Ballack. Midfielder Sidney Sam decided to stoke the fires with this post on his Facebook page:

Unfortunately, the fire Mr. Sidney stoked might be big enough to light a birthday candle at best. The black manikin is more intimidating than that school boy smile and 1990’s thumb down. He would have been better off tweeting the contemptuous remark without the photo. Now he just looks like an idiot.

Borussia Dortmund, who last faced Arsenal in 2001-02 in much the same circumstances as reigning Bundesliga champions, host the north London outfit in their 80,000 strong Signal Iduna Park today. To welcome the Gooners, Dortmund created this  video:

Pretty cute, no? Might work better as a homage to their home fans in anticipation of a new campaign. Then again, the cheery and uplifting nature of the video is still probably frightening to a Gunner team stripped of all confidence and wracked with pressure. Apart from Barcelona vs Milan, this is easily the must-see match of the afternoon.


Ray Hudsonisms Part 1

12 Sep

For those of you who do not know Ray Hudson, he is the color man on GolTV’s American broadcast of football matches. To put it bluntly he is out of control, bat-shit crazy. A Geordie by blood, Hudson plied his trade with Newcastle in the 1970’s before moving to the NASL for the rest of his career. Surely not the greatest midfielder to have ever graced the game, but Hudson’s brilliance lies in his broadcasting. Euphemisms, metaphors, other worldly comparisons, hysterics, turrets-like shrills of excitement, and plenty of high blood pressure is the best way to describe a match with Hudson in the booth. If you have never heard him, it is imperative you find time to do so this weekend.

To whet your appetites a bit, and to recap what you may have missed, every Monday will feature an installment of the best quotes from Hudson over the weekend. They are as baffling as they are comedic.

Below are the highlights from Saturday’s match between Real Madrid and Getafe at the Bernabéu:

“Rifling his way through the clashing rocks.” (Di Maria)

“Little ‘avatar eyes’ takes over the wheel there.” (Ozil)

“Wonderful header from Mr. Slick.” (Cristiano Ronaldo)

“And that’s what happens when you don’t take your chances against real Madrid. They’ll jump out of the closet and draw your blood.”

“Cool like a killer. Wonderful penalty box predator.” (Benzema)

“That was magic from saint Iker. Picking out Sergio Ramos who was putting his headband right.”

“Coentrao misses an absolute howler! It’s beyond a toilet bowl finish…and Fabio makes a big red baboon’s backside out of the finish. No excusing it – finger down the throat again.”

“The Venezuelan international absolutely flamethrowers this.” (Miku)

“Cannot quite spread his wings like a bat out of hell to get to this.” (Moya on Cristiano’s penalty take)

“Fabulous from Cristiano Ronaldo! Look at this people. Get out of your sofas and go and kiss the TV set and Cristiano’s smiling face because that is an absolute phenomenal pass…beyond split millimeter. He curls it. He takes everything – the moon’s gravitational pull – into account and provides it on a silver plate with a big white ribbon tied around it. Cristiano! Superlative.”

Weekend Couch Guide

9 Sep

Friday, September 9
2:30pm AC Milan vs Lazio (FSC)

Saturday, September 10
9:30am Borussia Dortmund vs Hertha Berlin (GolTV)
10:00am Arsenal vs Swansea City (FSC)
10:00am Stoke City vs Liverpool (Fox Soccer Plus)
10:00am Sunderland vs Chelsea (ESPN2)
12:00pm Villarreal vs Sevilla (GolTV)
12:00pm Real Sociedad vs Barcelona (ESPN Deportes)
12:30pm Bolton vs Manchester United (FSC)
2:00pm Real Madrid vs Getafe (GolTV)
2:30pm Cesena vs Napoli (FSC)
2:30pm Wolverhampton vs Tottenham – tape delay (Fox Soccer Plus)
4:00pm Valencia vs Atletico Madrid (ESPN Deportes)
4:30pm Everton vs Aston Villa – tape delay (Fox Soccer Plus)
5:00pm Manchester City vs Wigan – tape delay (FSC)

Sunday, September 11
6:30am Juventus vs Parma (Fox Soccer Plus)
7:30am Roda JC vs FC Twente (ESPN Deportes)
8:30am Norwich City vs West Brom (Fox Soccer Plus)
9:00am Roma vs Cagliari (FSC)
9:30am Cologne vs Nuremburg (ESPN Deportes)
11:00am Fulham vs Blackburn (FSC)
11:30am Wolfsburg vs Schalke (GolTV)
12:00pm Rayo Vallecano vs Zaragoza (ESPN Deportes)
2:30pm Palermo vs Inter Milan (FSC)
3:00pm PSG vs Brest (Fox Soccer Plus)
4:00pm Espanyol vs Athletic Bilbao (GolTV)

Libyan Rebels Dislike Chelsea and Manchester United

22 Aug

A bright future looms on the horizon in Libya with spectacular scenes overnight of celebration and victory over the decades long dictatorship of Muammar el-Qaddafi. Many have lost their lives during this struggle but they should all be remembered as heroes.

As for those fighters still on the front line risking their lives, and the countless innocent victims of Qaddafi’s regime, one thing has stood out amongst the endless snapshots of war – football shirts.The biggest clubs from England, Spain, and Italy are most except two: Manchester United and Chelsea. Scores of videos and photographs have plastered TV screens and computers, and yet not a single shirt can be found representing the two Champions League finalists from 2008.

Barcelona, Real Madrid, Arsenal (above), Juventus, Liverpool, Milan, Inter, and BOCA JUNIORS. Maybe they dislike Roman Abramovich’s oil billions? Perhaps they agree with Balotelli that Manchester is ugly? Whatever the reason is, the photographic evidence does not lie… Continue reading

La Liga Kit Preview 2011/12

18 Aug

Whether the 2011/12 La Liga season begins this weekend or faces two weeks off due to a players union strike, the kits will remain the same. Check out the newest shirts to feature in Spain this coming season. Continue reading

Mourinho Disgraces Spanish Football Once Again

18 Aug

Everything was going so well. Sure, a few harsh and untimely challenges from both clubs, but it will always be an element of this bitter rivalry. For ninety minutes (plus the ninety from the first leg on Sunday), Real Madrid and Barcelona wowed the masses with a display of football that puts both clubs light years ahead of the rest of the competition. Finesse, technique, ambition, and creativity all personified in an open, attacking Supercopa that saw plenty of goals from both sides and Messi’s brilliance to the rescue once again. And then Marcelo ruined it.

In an attempt to “close down” Fabregas on the touchline, the Brazilian launched into a two-footed scissor kick, scything the Catalan to the floor. It wasn’t cynical. It was criminal.  No more helpful was the fact that it occurred in front of both benches, bringing substitutes and coaches into the subsequent melee. Marcelo rightly saw red and luckily, Fabregas did not suffer any serious injury. And then Mourinho ruined it even more.

With a conniving shit-smirk on his face, after standing just feet away from the grotesque assault on Fabregas, Mourinho decided to have some fun. Not knowing whether Marcelo’s challenge had quite possibly shattered Fabregas’ ankle, he meandered into the fracas and plunged his finger into the right eye of Tito Vilanova (video below). Credit Barcelona’s assistant for not completely losing control after having his eye gauged – a show of composure that should be applauded. But what to make of Mourinho? Arsene Wenger now looks completely sane and rational compared to his former nemesis.

It all comes to a head now for the Portuguese manager. His antics over the past two seasons have resulted in an attempted stabbing, conspiracy theories, suspensions, and an overall disregard for the gentlemanly class of Spanish football. Last night trumped them all. The severity of attacking a fellow coach like that cannot be understated. No less after the horrific challenge by Marcelo, when Mourinho should have escorted his left-back straight to the dressing room. But he didn’t. His actions once again represent a tacit approval of the harsh, bullying physicality imposed by his own players on the pitch.

A line has been crossed and it is time for the LFP to show that they truly care about the image of their league and hand down severe punishment on Mourinho. He should be banned for at least five matches – perhaps more. Assault and inciting violence, because he sure as hell wasn’t a peacekeeper, are as reprehensible an offense any manager in any sport can commit. On the eve of a players’ strike which could shut down the opening two weeks of La Liga, an opportunity presents itself for the LFP to display a semblance of credibility. For the sake of Spanish football, let’s hope they do.

(On another note, I cannot allow my fellow Barcelona supporters to emerge unscathed. The monkey chants directed at Marcelo throughout the second half were disgusting and shameful. Racism continues to give Spanish football a black eye, while any sort of punishment from the LFP is as likely as humans inhabiting Mars tomorrow. The “say no to racism” campaign is a complete joke when the suits behind it are spineless, cowardly individuals unable and unwilling to punish the culprits.)

Look Alikes

16 Aug

Ronald Koeman vs Kevin Blom

Barcelona Has Bankrolled Almost Half of Arsenal’s Transfer Kitty Since 2000

16 Aug

While Arsenal supporters are irate at Barcelona’s penny-pinching over the transfer of Cesc Fabregas, they should in fact be grateful to the Catalan club for the amount of income they are responsible for over the last decade. Since 2000, Arsenal has generated €310m from the sale of players. Of that total, a whopping €128m or 41% has come from Barcelona through the sale of six players:

Marc Overmars (2000) – €40m
Emmanuel Petit (2000) – €15m
Gio Van Bronckhorst (2003) – free
Thierry Henry (2007) – €24m
Alexander Hleb (2008) – €15m
Cesc Fabregas (2011) – €34m

Arsene Wenger has always displayed an astute sense of timing when selling his players, but has experienced a mixed bag of results in dealings with Barcelona. Three on that list – Overmars, Petit, and Hleb – were duds at the Catalan club. Van Bronckhorst was a field general at left back for Frank Rijkaard and won two league titles as well as a Champions League. Henry began slowly only to shine in his second season helping Barcelona to the sextuple. As for Fabregas, the sky is the limit.

Shrewd business for sure on the part of both clubs. In the end, Gooners should be more thankful than spiteful for all the cash in their club’s bank account on behalf of Barcelona, and can now justify with some statistical backing the incessant chants of “spend some f**king money.”

Photo courtesy of Sport.es

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