Category: English Football

01 Sep

NBC gifted perfect timing for Derby Day

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NBC’s coverage of the Premiere League has been excellent so far this new season, and today’s Super Sunday September 1st Bonanza could not have been better timed.  Fresh off of College Football’s first Saturday, American sports fans were primed for more on-the-field action Sunday morning. With the NFL not kicking off for one more week, the NW England and North London derby match-ups slotted in as cheekily as Daniel Sturridge’s goal against United.  Furthermore, there are hardly 4 teams with larger US support than the 4 that performed today.

NBC’s EPL coverage has been really spectacular thus far, with the in-studio portions linking all the live coverage as smoothly as Arsenal’s link-up play leading up to Oliver Giroud’s winner against Spurs, and the thorough Match of the Day recap nicely allowing all Arsenal and Liverpool fans to languish in their team’s success well into the evening.

The popularity of Soccer is growing in the United States. I remember roping all my American friends into watching the World Cup in 2006 on my new, state-of-the-art HDTV, being grateful that I had access to every match of the tournament. Now, not only can I watch every single match of each EPL round,  the scores from the top leagues are given the same prominence on ESPN’s bottom ticker as “Popular Tim Tebow’s” release from the Patriots.  NBC’s coverage of the EPL is leading the sport in the right direction. Even the MLS is getting some snazzy new spots which will hopefully help lift all ships with the rising tide.  I for one am one fan who counts himself lucky.

26 Aug

Suggest this…MNF

In this classic SportsCenter spot, Scott Van Pelt started a trend that has unfortunately not quite caught on fire.  No, its not  making being bald look cool (although he does), nor is it having lunch with sports super stars (great idea though it may be). It is transferring over to Europe the thing that America has gotten the most right, by far.  Sports Coverage.

24 Aug

Want to be Millwall FC’s New Kitman?

As a kitman, you have one job. One job!

Don’t forget the kits.

Tomorrow morning, there may be a vacancy at Millwall FC, as their befogged kitman failed to remember the one set of items that provide him employment.

So this afternoon, Millwall FC lined up, embarrassingly, in the away shirts of their opponents, Sheffield Wednesday. The Lions played the first half in the blindingly yellow Wednesday kits, which apparently prompted ‘you’re not fit to wear that shirt!’ chants from Sheffield fans.

By the second half, Millwall had scrambled and located their orange third kit to finish the match in. But wait, what? Why the third kit? How do you forget the away strip, settle for wearing the away shirts of your opponent, then locate the third shirts by halftime. Why not just wear them from the beginning? Or, why were the third kits easier to retrieve than the away ones?

Google maps tells me Sheffield is about 3.5 hours away from West London, and if said kitman sped his sweating ass back to retrieve the shirts, and he grabbed the 3rd kits, then we can safely assume he LOST the away shirts entirely. Or they were stolen. Which would mean there’s an even better story to investigate – Who stole shirts? Where are they? and Can I buy one?

Regardless, the side didn’t seem too distracted by the apparel nightmare. If you give a damn, they left Sheffield with a 2-2 draw after an 87th minute penalty by Andy Keogh.

By the way, Mr. Kitman Sir, I didn’t mean to belittle your role earlier. I know washing, folding, and hanging them up in the dressing room in the CORRECT cubbies are among the bevvy of duties you must juggle as a 2nd division kitmanmanman.

05 Aug

Walk Like A Giant: Determining What Makes An English Club “Big”

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Defining success means different things to different supporters. It can involve wins, trophies, fan support, landing players considered to be “world class” and probably some other measurements that are completely ludicrous and based on superficial, entitled feelings. One aspect where this draws contentious opinion among supporters is finding out who is a “big club” and who gets the unsavory title of being a “small club.”

19 May

We should have known…

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Everything comes in threes, so we should have guessed that another big name from Northern England was set to retire at the end of the year. Old Golden Balls is hanging up the boots along with Fergie and Carra. (We aren’t counting Scholes – he already retired once so it’s just some Brett Favre shit.)

If you’ve ever been to our blog before you probably know we don’t like Manchester United. In fact, it’s probably the one thing most of us hate more than anything in the world.

Even so, we got to give props to Becks, particularly from a yankee perspective. Upon coming to the MLS he kinda sort of sucked a bit and was kinda sort a little bitch. But, like any real professional, put his head down and ended up playing a major role in leading the LA Galaxy to back-to-back MLS titles.

Although we weren’t too thrilled with the reports of training alone upon coming to the Galaxy and his riff with Landycakes, he managed to do what all America sports fans love: make a comeback.

He bid adieu to the sunny confines of Venice Beach and opted for the romantic shores of the Seine with good vibes being shown from both directions.

Domestic title in four countries. Not bad for a one-footed player that can’t head, tackle or score. Enjoy retirement, you deserve it sir.

13 Apr

Wigan to FA Cup Final, Millwall Fans Still Idiots

Wembley Stadium played host to one very surprising event today, and another that, well, won’t surprise many at all. Wigan Athletic advanced to the FA Cup final with a 2-0 victory over Millwall. Yes, Wigan. FA Cup Final. Same sentence. But the cup magic that filled Wembley’s air Saturday was tainted by match’s end when a handful of the Slytherins amongst the Millwall fans started a fight with police, and each other. Hardly news, when it comes to Millwall. (For those who aren’t familiar with the Millwall hooligans, meet The Bushwackers.)

There were some pretty grim scenes of teary children, bloodied hooligans, and injured bystanders. And one hooligan in particular cemented himself into the annals of hooliganism when cameras caught him stealing a police officer’s hat and scampering away with the most classic of sh*t eating grins. Poor lad, he’s destined for a special kind of internet humiliation. Too bad he deserves it.

And in the interest of not neglecting the soccer, enjoy the match highlights below, especially Shaun Maloney’s peach of a strike.

Interestingly, if  Wigan, who are currently relegation candidates at 17th in the table, manage to defeat either Chelsea or Manchester City in the FA Cup final but do not stave off the drop, they’d become the first relegated FA Cup winners in history. Portsmouth was *this close* in 2010, but lost to Chelsea 1-0 in the final. So go on Latics. Go on and turn the British football world on it’s head. We love a bit of absurdity around here.



01 Apr

An Honest Look at Paolo Di Canio

Asking a Jew to objectively discuss a fascist is like having a mouse ask the neighborhood cat for help with the cheese in a trap. But let’s be as honest as possible about yesterday’s announcement from Sunderland. Yes, Paolo Di Canio is the new manager of the Black Cats. Yes, he is open about his political leanings, which happen to be of the fascist variety. Most importantly, his most publicized quote, “I’m a fascist, not a racist,” has yet to be proven wrong.

Throughout his playing years in Italy (Lazio, Juve, Napoli, Milan, Cisco Roma), Scotland (Celtic), and England (Sheffield Wed, West Ham and Charlton), Di Canio was a fan’s player. His only incidents were because he was a hot head and a generally intense personality, not because he’s a fascist, or a racist. During these years, he played with countless black players. His fascism didn’t seem to be of issue then. In the interest of the aforementioned honesty, there was a spat with Jonathan Tehoue during his tenure as manager at Swindon. The bottom line is that Di Canio is now Sunderland manager because he was successful with Swindon Town and he was hired for footballing reasons. He is being paid, probably handsomely, for preaching tactics, not politics.

People who identify as fascist are criticized by many because of the ideology’s historical role in horrible death, war, and tragedy. Totally fair. What about the players, managers, owners, or supporters of clubs who lean the opposite direction on the political spectrum? Some forget that socialism as an ideology is responsible for millions upon millions of deaths in the Soviet Union, China, and Cambodia, among others. Why is it that Eric Cantona is revered for having leftist, arguably dangerous views that call for social revolutions, while Di Canio is reviled for having his own personal beliefs?

We’re not going to delve into the changes and evolution of Italian fascism from Mussolini to present day. It’s a topic I’m not well versed in and one that is irrelevant. Di Canio has labeled himself a fascist and he owns it. Until his views or beliefs harm somebody or impede them from living their life as they see fit, he can be whoever the hell he feels works for him. Many have jumped on Di Canio and Sunderland as a whole for appointing someone who doesn’t fit their ideals (I know, it’s hard to believe that individuals who have an outlet feel they can question the motives and morals of a privately owned organization). They seem to be missing the point though. They are fans of a sporting club. Their ideals should be winning, and nothing else. Di Canio’s style was described as “coaching by hand grenade,” and considering the Wearsiders have 7 games to save themselves from relegation, it sounds like exactly what they need.

31 Jan

Brek Shea Escapes MLS, Will Continue to Play MLS Football

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After a difficult MLS season, Brek Shea is finally making the move abroad, seemingly out of the blue. Luckily (or tragically) he will have to do little to adapt his game from the typical MLS “style” he played under at FC Dallas. Por Que? Well, he’s going to Stoke City, the long-ball, bunker-in, ten-men-behind-the-ball, kings of Europe. The only difference between Stoke and 90% of MLS sides is a more talented group of players at the English club. But then again… the opposition will be better as well. So that’s probably a moot point. Yeah, there will be no real difference. Should be the same old Brek Shea.

However, that’s perfect for Stoke and Shea alike. All jokes aside, the Potters have slowly developed a method and style over the years, crude but effective. Shea’s adaptability should be an asset for Tony Pulis, a man who demands discipline and positional awareness from his players. If there is anything the MLS preps a player with, it’s how to be in position, even if it means sacrificing creative freedom. Obviously, his wing play will be expected to be complimented with the ability to beat players one-on-one and maraud into the box. However, his brief stints as a left and center back in recent years makes him an attractive and fitting player for the Stoke City system.

The next few months will show American fans if Shea’s tenuous end to his FC Dallas career taught him anything. His play suffered after a falling out with manager Schellas Hyndman, a demanding character much like Pulis, and he was relegated to the bench for long spells. Once a star on the rise, Shea has become just another disappointing US National fledgling lost in his own talent. A move was needed. His development had stalled. On one hand, it appears Stoke is too much like the FC Dallas set-up he escaped. On another hand, it could be just similar enough for the lad to make a smooth transition to a higher level.

Tony Pulis expects a certain amount a discipline from his players. Shea would be well advised to reflect on how his FC Dallas career spoiled if he wants this next stage of his career to be a successful one.

The Thirdkit is backing the blonde bohemian to recapture his form. Have your say below.

03 Jul

The Fenwayification of Anfield (Via The Red Letter)

The Fenwayification of Anfield (Via The Red Letter)

Here’s an excerpt of a piece I wrote for LFC Boston’s blog, The Red Letter, about the parallels between Fenway Park and Anfield. Hope you enjoy it:

It’s nearly two years since FSG and principal owner John W. Henry took control of Liverpool’s fortunes after a dreadful period of stagnation from the previous owners. You know who they are. I choose not to type out their names.

One of the most contentious areas of stalled development was the duo’s misleading dialogue regarding a new stadium at Stanley Park. A brash promise of having a spade in the ground within sixty days became a marked quotation that Liverpool fans used to highlight the distrust they had with the ownership group.

Fast-forward to the present and a sense of restlessness is once again growing among the Anfield faithful. A lingering question remains: will a new shiny stadium at Stanley Park become a reality or will historic Anfield remain as the club’s home? It’s safe to say that many Liverpool fans would favor the latter. And so does FSG. After John W. Henry’s comments to The Anfield Wrap it appears that a potential plan to refurbish Anfield may be on the horizon. Adding more credence to that sentiment is Liverpool City Council’s desire to promote several projects to revitalize the Anfield area.

You can check out the article in its entirety on The Red Letter by clicking here.

02 May

Weally FA?

Weawwy FA? - Thirdkit.com

Of all the things said/printed by English tabloids, particularly The Sun, this is what the FA gets mad about? David Bernstein, the chairman of The FA, labeled the front page headline run by The Sun as “disrespectful” and “unacceptable.” However, Thirdkit.com labeled it as “kind of funny” and “not a big deal.” Are we taking up for The Sun? Absolutely not. Immediately after posting this I will be on my way to a confessional at a nearby church just after taking steel-wool to my curled up body in a very very hot shower.

Even so, this just isn’t a big deal. Defaming the memory of dead fans by fabricating stories and spying on reputable Football Agents and their clients are much more egregious crimes. When put into perspective, poking fun at an older gentleman’s speech impediment doesn’t compare. After all, it’s not the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last time, someone calls Mr. Hodgson “Woy”.

The FA has failed to adequately prioritize the battles it fights. If David Bernstein wants to make a big deal about this headline, then surely he must stand up and publicly criticize tabloids when their words become more volatile than a less-than-clever phrase regarding a man’s odd speech.