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Topics - dwn

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1
Other Sports / Anyone play fantasy baseball?
« on: April 12, 2011, 06:41:55 AM »
Doing a business school project on fantasy baseball. If anyone on here plays (is this a long shot?), I would greatly appreciate if you could take my survey. It's about the introduction of an online tool that could help players with data management. Also, if you know anyone who plays and could pass this on to them I'd appreciate that as well.

Thanks

http://atrial.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_cNjWCfmX3fr52ok

2
Thought this quote could spark some good debate. What are your thoughts?

Paul Merson:
"If Arsene Wenger left tomorrow and Jose Mourinho left Real Madrid, every club in the world would want Wenger ahead of Mourinho," said the 43-year-old. "I say that because Mourinho needs 100 or 200 million pounds ($327 million) to spend on players wherever he goes, Arsene Wenger doesn't."

Source:
http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/07042011/2/old-boy-merson-writes-arsenal-title-chances.html

3
Football / Should a team really be fined for making too many changes?
« on: January 27, 2011, 05:40:35 PM »
Regarding the Blackpool situation, should a team that decides to rest players for a future fixture, be penalized for doing so? What's the difference between this and when clubs put out weakened sides in the Carling Cup, or when a club who has already qualified from the their Champions League group travels without its key players?

What is the exact rule? Should this even be a rule at all?

4
Football / On the topic of "natural" talent
« on: January 26, 2011, 12:46:38 PM »
Recent read a book called Talent is Overrated. The general idea is that they've done numerous studies on performance and the result don't suggest that "natural talent" exists. Regardless of the activity, (whether it was sport, music, business etc.), studies of the top performers in the world (for example Tiger Woods, Mozart etc.) all show that there was nothing "natural" about their ability. Rather than having some sort of natural predisposition, top performance is a function of time committed and quality of practice.

Time committed is usually a function of what age the person started doing their respective activity, and the amount of time per day they practiced. Quality of practice is usually a function of their coach's knowledge and ability to design practice that is deliberately focused on that individual. It also talks about the difference between what average performers call practice (typically repetition), and how top performers practice (termed deliberate practice). The latter is specifically designed to correct what you're not good at.

This is just a brief summary of what I got from it, but it was a very interesting book. It made me think Trinidad football and the commonly heard sentiment that we have a lot of footballing talent. (I recently read an article where a sports writer said we arguably have as much talent per capita as England or Spain ???)

I often ask myself why are we so attached to that idea of our wealth talent, and make it such a significant point, when there really isn't any real way of measuring it. To me its always just been a sort of feel good idea that we throw around that bears no real consequence on the quality of our national football, or doesn't differentiate us from any other country (doesn't every country have tons of talent? how can we even judge?)

I also always think that it's a kind of self defeating idea to believe that we have some sort of a natural advantage through our "talent", because it gives us this inflated (if not false) sense of our potential and (perhaps) fools us into thinking that there's a natural or "granted" element to being a top performer, or that being really one of the best performers at a given activity comes easy* for some people. It can also be bad in that if we fail, we blame our lack of talent rather than or our lack of adequate preparation/practice/dedication. (Or in the case of Trinidad football, blame our coaches because we believe that our players have so much talent!)

*On things being easy for some people what I mean is this. I'm sure if you study the lives of Maradona, Michael Jordan or any top athlete you will find that they started at a really early age, and practiced more than other people. By the time people started saying they were exceptional talents they had most likely already practiced 100s or 1,000s of hours more than other people their age. Sometimes its not as direct a relation between practice and ability, and sometimes genetics do play a role (height, etc), but more often than not the people who pick things up "easier" usually have some sort of "non-natural" development that other people didn't have. (Another thing that's notable is that "child prodigies" often don't end up being the top performers in adulthood.)

Anyway, just my thoughts (particularly after reading that book). Any ideas?

5
Football / Nani or Bale?
« on: November 28, 2010, 02:25:00 PM »
All the recent talk has been about Bale, but from what I've seen this season I find Nani is the better winger. As good as he is, I feel like a lot of the hype around Bale has to do with Tottenham's recent rise and he's being overrated a bit. What do you think?

6
Football / On Loyalty (in football)
« on: November 08, 2010, 08:19:39 PM »
An article from "The Run of Play". Talks about loyalty, fandom, and the Rooney saga.
http://www.runofplay.com/2010/11/05/on-loyalty/

On Loyalty

Read, if you haven’t, my new Slate piece on Wayne Rooney, which is less ROONEY CONTRACT PANIC than a look at how the notion that he’s some kind of half-formed man-child, or an eternal adolescent, has followed his career. The gist is that for all the (sometimes justified) criticism he’s received for being immature or childish, what’s really infuriated his fans this year is that he’s acted too much like an adult, particularly in taking a view of his career that didn’t simply give everything up to the greatness of Manchester United. Obviously, that assumes that it’s not just his streak of poor form that’s alienated his supporters. But even there, you could make the case that what’s holding him back—injury; constantly having to adapt to different positional responsibilities—is disconcertingly grown-up for a player we’re more comfortable imagining as a permanent teenager.

Since I wrote the piece, I’ve been thinking about where the idea of loyalty fits into that argument. Simon Kuper raises the same point in his terrific FT Magazine piece on the Rooney situation, which argues along the way that loyalty is essentially irrelevant to modern players. Here’s a long quote, but the piece is worth reading in its entirety:

    This dichotomy drawn by fans and media – you’re either loyal or greedy – misunderstands how footballers think. The word footballers use to describe themselves is “professionals”. Professionals—whether they are footballers, academics or bankers—don’t choose between love and money. They pursue success in their “careers” (another favourite footballers’ word). If they can get success, then money will follow….

    Footballers regard clubs not as magical entities but as employers. Like most professionals, they will move if they can find a better job. The better job isn’t necessarily a better-paid one. Rooney could reportedly have earned more than £180,000 a week at Manchester City, and if he had put himself on the market, Real Madrid might have offered him more too. But United’s total package—the chance of prizes, the familiar surroundings, plus pay—seems to have appealed most. This is careerism rather than greed.

    Footballers hardly ever come out as careerists. That’s because the game is pervaded with the rhetoric of lifelong love for club: players are always trying to keep fans happy by kissing their club’s badge or talking about how they have supported the club since childhood. Yet probably no professional footballer is “loyal” in the sense that fans use the word. Even Jamie Carragher, the Liverpool defender who is considered “Liverpool through and through”, supported Liverpool’s rivals Everton as a boy, and says he would leave Liverpool if he ceased to be a regular starter. Pundits sometimes rhapsodise about the old days, when players often spent their entire careers at one club, but that was because clubs could then simply forbid them to move. No longer.

    Contrary to popular opinion, Rooney isn’t especially selfish. He’s simply typical of his profession. Nowadays he is often contrasted with teammates like Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville, who have supposedly stayed “loyal” to United all their careers. But it would be more accurate to say that these men have a happy employer-employee relationship with United. Had United benched Giggs in his prime, he would surely have been out the door fast. Instead United was the perfect workplace for him. It didn’t suit Rooney as well.


When you see it spelled out in this way, this just seems obvious: players are professionals, clubs aren’t transcendent causes, the golden age never happened. So why is it so important, for many fans, to believe that none of that is true? The “loyal/greedy” dichotomy Kuper writes about is inescapable in soccer—especially English soccer—and seldom does a dissenter arise to say, “I, Herman Crump, am a dentist, and as I would not like to be burned in effigy for seeking better terms for my dental practice, I will not fashion and burn an effigy of Wayne Rooney holding a giant bag of cash when he seeks better terms for his football.” Wayne Rooney makes a lot of money, obviously. But then so do some dentists.

The simple answer here, which is also more or less the right one, is that fans want players to be loyal because fans are loyal, and because we don’t want the game to be reduced to mere technique. The difference between soccer and dentistry isn’t that soccer players and dentists think about what they do in fundamentally different ways, it’s that their audiences think about what they do in fundamentally different ways. Being a fan, particularly in the hardcore club-loyalist sense, is in many ways a matter of deliberately sustaining a set of fictions. When players let us know that they see the game as a set of skills they practice for money, rather than as a midnight war of meaning waged for the soul of the universe, or whatever the guy says in the latest Adidas commercial, it becomes harder to sustain some of those fictions, so we get mad.

But the fictions themselves are basically childish, aren’t they? I don’t mean puerile or selfish, exactly just basically congenial to the consciousness of a child. Childlike. After all, that’s the consciousness that many of us possess when we first become sports fans and that we frequently turn to sports to help us sustain.11 There’s a comparison to be made here with the way American sports have evolved a sort of secondary mythology of “getting paid”—the kid from the projects winning the max contract and buying his mom a house. That might not make it easier for fans to take a star leaving their team, but it gives the star a sort of existential defense against charges of greed. The fantasy of the game is the dream of lifting yourself up and winning incredible riches. Obviously hip-hop culture has had something to do with formalizing that narrative, which is also obviously basically a version of the American Dream. But it’s still interesting it doesn’t seem to have any real equivalent in soccer. You can call the Fever Pitch model of fandom—the OMG ARSENAL ARE THE GREATEST CLUB EVER AND I HAVE THEIR POSTERS AND I LOVE THEM model—a lot of things, some good and some bad. But in its preoccupation with heraldry and its belief that the arbitrary group you happened to join possesses uniquely redemptive qualities as compared to other arbitrary groups that are self-evidently almost identical to it, it is paradigmatically nine years old forever.

So maybe that’s where the idea of loyalty fits into the “Rooney as eternal adolescent” narrative. As long as he’s acting in a way that makes him seem 16, as long as we can think of him as essentially locked in a teen melodrama (cheating on Coleen, sneaking out at night to drink too much, etc.), it’s easier for us to believe that he thinks of himself as Sir Alex’s loyal son and soldier, and thus that our sense of the meaning of fandom is real. But when he issues press statements and thinks about contracts and threatens to move to a different work environment, we’re confronted with professionalism in one the last places we expected to find it, and the meaning of fandom suddenly looks a little thin. Maybe that’s why, for all the tutting about today’s pampered players and spoiled children and the fences you built in your day, fans almost never really hate a player for acting like a reckless teenager. When they get to be kids, so do we.

7
Football / Is a coach ever worth more to a team than a star player?
« on: March 13, 2010, 01:01:03 PM »
The article is about american sports and the references are basketball and american football.
But I figured the principle could be transfered to football.

http://slate.msn.com/?id=87690

The Philadelphia 76ers recently made an abortive attempt to trade Allen Iverson. Under the terms of a complicated 10-player, three-team deal, they would have given up Toni Kukoc, Matt Geiger, and Iverson and received, in return, Glen Rice, Jerome Williams, and Eddie Jones. The deal, of course, never happened. Jones went to the Miami Heat instead. And it's a good thing too, because for Philadelphia it would have been a terrible trade. In exchange for one of the most exciting players in the game and Kukoc, a superb playmaker, they would have gotten an all-star (Jones), a journeyman (Williams), and an aging gunner (Rice), who, by all accounts, studied defense at the George Gervin Institute of Waving Goodbye. But the team made an argument for the deal that is worth exploring in some detail. Iverson, it seems, wasn't getting along with the Sixers' coach, Larry Brown, and in the case of an irreconcilable conflict between the star and the coach, the Sixers maintained that the coach had to win. This, in the world of pro sports, is what passes for the moral high ground. Philadelphia would not be pushed around by a petulant, pampered star. One player could not be allowed to damage the integrity of the franchise. There is no "I" in team—etc., etc., etc. Were the Sixers right?

Let's start by asking a general question: Is a coach ever worth more to a basketball team than a star player is worth? In cases where the coach is mediocre, the answer is easy. Gregg Popovich is not worth more to the Spurs than Tim Duncan is. Even in the case of great coaches, any comparison usually ends up on the side of the player. Who was worth more in Chicago—Phil Jackson or Michael Jordan? Clearly Jordan, because without Jordan there is no myth of Jackson the great coach. Jackson in Los Angeles is a tougher call, but to say that Jackson was the last piece of the championship puzzle for the Lakers is not to say that he was the most important piece. In football, by contrast, it clearly is the case that a great coach is worth more than even the greatest player. Bill Parcells was more important to the Giants than Lawrence Taylor was. So too for Joe Gibbs. He won three Super Bowls with three different but equally uninspiring quarterbacks. (First Joe Theismann; then Doug Williams, of whom it was once said, legitimately, that he was the only man who could overthrow the ayatollah; and finally Mark Rypien, who was as mobile as a goal post.) But basketball is not football. Great football coaches create winning cultures and systems. Great basketball coaches call plays that no one follows.

There is a more important issue here, though, and that is what it means to be a great coach. Did the Bulls under Jackson or the Lakers under Riley ever present their organizations with the Larry Brown problem? No. And why? Because one of the main things that made Jackson and Riley great is that they didn't alienate their best players. The Giants never had to choose between Parcells and Taylor, because Parcells made sure he got along with Taylor. Lesser coaches don't understand this, because they are caught up in the idea that a coach is someone who imposes his personality and his standards on his players. Nothing could be further from the truth. In When Pride Still Mattered, his superb biography of Vince Lombardi, David Maraniss points out how extraordinarily indulgent Lombardi was of his star players. Contrary to his reputation, Lombardi was adept at understanding and serving each player's idiosyncratic needs. Paul Hornung was a legendary carouser who at one point was suspended from the league for gambling. Lombardi, the so-called disciplinarian, welcomed him back with open arms. Maraniss writes of Lombardi,

He knew that his quarterbacks were not to be yelled at: Bart took it as an affront to his leadership and Zeke was too nervous. Hornung could handle anything, absorbed all of the Old Man's heat and kept going. Marv Fleming, the new tight end, was hugely talented, but Lombardi thought he required constant riding to play at his best. Taylor played better when he was mad at his coach, if not the world. Willie Davis was above reproach. ... Skoronski was sensitive to criticism and best left alone. ... Max McGee, the seemingly carefree receiver who was notorious for challenging Lombardi's curfews, required special treatment.

This is what great coaches do. They accommodate their talent. Nothing could be further from the coaching style of Larry Brown. He chased off Tim Thomas because he didn't like Thomas' attitude. He chased away Larry Hughes because he didn't get along with him either. And now he's feuding with Iverson. Lesson No. 1: Iverson is worth a dozen Larry Browns. Lesson No. 2: If Brown were the kind of coach worth fighting for, you'd never have to fight for him.

8
Entertainment & Culture Discussion / My book: I Febrezed My Dog
« on: January 11, 2010, 04:59:20 PM »
Forumites,

I've recently self published my first project "I Febrezed My Dog".

It's a collection of short stories about love, trust, religion, relationship and other general topics.

I talk about things such as:

white people's ability to like to songs that are clearly directed at black people,
why someone who loves you might still cheat on you,
the reason suicide isn't all that selfish,
what people "really" mean when they say they trust someone etc.

The stories are short and I try to keep them light hearted, but also thought provoking.

Both print:
http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/i-febrezed-my-dog/6234756>
and downloadable
http://www.lulu.com/product/download/i-febrezed-my-dog/6234757
versions are available.

So feel free to check it out and support my project if it sounds interesting to you.
Any feedback would be especially appreciated as well.

Below is an excerpt called "A Conversation with God"
_____________________________________

And that was when God said to me, "you don’t want to know". Clearly I did. In fact, I would not allow the conversation to continue until he revealed the thought he was withholding.

He had not used the expression 'you don’t know want to know' in a literal sense. It was just that he believed that he was withholding something that would upset me.

And so I said to God, "you know what, this is not fair. I do want to know! And you know it! 'You don’t want to know' is not a valid response under these circumstances.

The kid who doesn’t want to die yet wants to go flying like superman out of the tenth story window, still in fact wants to go flying like superman. He is either just stupid or, in the case of a more realistic example, has not yet resolved that conflict of interest." He smiled and nodded. I continued.

"In life, we tend to draw parallels between what we want and what is going to make us happy when wanting, by definition, has nothing to do with how we feel after getting what we desire. And so, wanting to know, by definition, shouldn't have anything to do with how I will feel after the fact. 'You don’t want to know' is usually just the projection of 'I don’t want to tell you' onto someone else."

What followed was an awkward silence.

***

It pretty much started off as a one sided affair, and what struck me as odd was that God was asking all the questions. Typical stuff mainly. Where are you from? What do you do? Stuff that you would figure he already knew. I concluded that he was just trying to be polite. Do onto others, you know?

I had enough with the pleasantries though. And so I politely interrupted, "Enough about me". And that's when we got down to the real issue.

***

There are many non-believers who were born into religion. When they were babies, their God fearing parents had them baptized by their respective churches, and consequently they are now (insert name of religion here).

However, for personal reasons, these individuals grow into adults that go on to refer to themselves as agnostic, atheist, deist, individualist etc. – rejecting the religious beliefs that were bestowed onto them when they were too young to control their bowel movements. These individuals go on to define themselves by their lifestyle – adopting a label they deem to be suited to their personal life philosophy. What does this make them?

Who is more of a student: The child who is enrolled in school, attends class, but fails to apply anything he is taught, hiding behind self proclaimed limitations and a barrage of excuses; or the child who isn’t enrolled in school but is a diligent and enthusiastic learner, eager to put to practice anything that he or she can get their hands on?

That is to say, if you were born into religion, are you really any more Godly than an atheist, if the way you live your life bears little or, ironically, less resemblance to the doctrine of your Church? Or are you merely ‘enrolled’ in religion?

And that's when God said to me, "you don’t want to know."

___________________________________

Join the facebook group:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/I-Febrezed-My-Dog/268119370311?ref=ts

9
Football / FIFA.com - Name your CONCACAF best XI
« on: August 07, 2009, 08:45:40 AM »
Just stumbled on this online.

http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/news/newsid=1082099.html

In this weekend's Have Your Say feature, FIFA.com asks you, the users, to name your best CONCACAF XI. There is no need to restrict your selections to those mostly young guns participating in the current CONCACAF Gold Cup, but perhaps a few of them have turned your head and earned a place among the region's crème de la crème.

Cameroon-born goal machine Ali Gerba is in fine form for Canada, alongside the always impressive Julian de Guzman. Young USA ace Charlie Davies has sparkled again, after an impressive FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa where he linked up with Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Landon Donovan and Jozy Altidore in a shock run to a historic first-ever global final.

Mexico's captain Rafa Marquez is always a popular choice among CONCACAF aficionados, as is Andres Guardado, Pavel Pardo and beloved Club America goalkeeper Memo Ochoa. Costa Rica have been producing some dazzling young talent of late like Bryan Ruiz and Celso Borges, who link up well with the old warhorse Walter Centeno. Neighbours Honduras have among their ranks playmaker Amado Guevara, oft-injured, but always brilliant, David Suazo and the England-based pair of Wilson Palacios and Maynor Figueroa.

Let's not forget about the Caribbean, though, with Trinidad and Tobago still boasting Dwight Yorke and Kenwyne Jones. Jamaica's Ricardo Gardner is still going strong over in England's top flight as is Grenadian sensation Jason Roberts.

So now it's over to you, the users. Pick the best XI from North, Central America and the Caribbean, put them in your favourite formation and have your say. Click 'Add your comment' to make your opinion known, remembering to keep your posts clean, respectful, on-topic and in English.

10
Football / El Loco XI - South America's most mental players ....
« on: May 22, 2009, 06:50:07 AM »
From FourFourTwo Magazine:

Goalkeeper
RENE HIGUITA

The poodle-permed plastic surgery advocate first came to the world’s attention at Italia 90 after a bungled attempt to dribble past 86-year-old Roger Milla. In 1995, he reaffirmed his status as the world’s most maverick keeper with his ‘scorpion kick’ at Wembley. Having missed USA 1994 while doing porridge for his part in a drug-cartel kidnapping, Higuita tested positive for cocaine in 2003, but at 42, he’s still playing in Colombia’s second division.
-----

Centre-back
DARIO DUBOIS

This one-time Argentinian third division clogger played with his face made up to look like long-tongued rockers Kiss. When asked to explain his matchday get-up by bemused officials, he cited his love for heavy metal and Satan.
-----

Centre-back
OSCAR MALBERNAT

The uncompromising captain of Estudiantes’ greatest ever team, Malbernat’s crowning moment of mentalism came in the Intercontinental Cup against Feyenoord in 1970. Irked by impending defeat, the Argentina defender grabbed bespectacled opponent Joop Van Daele, ripped his specs from his face and trampled on them, shouting; “You’re not allowed to play football in glasses in South America.” Quite right.
-----

Centre-back
PAOLO MONTERO

The Uruguayan hardman had a simple motto: ‘Cunning is part of the modern game’. This philosophy earned Montero a Serie A record 13 red cards, which proved it was about as cunning as Baldrick. Montero, whose dad was also a nutbar in the ‘70s, was immortalised in an Italian sketch show, in which the character based on the then Juve man went around clobbering everyone he met.
-----

Midfielder
ARIEL ORTEGA

The first ‘new Maradona’ was also the barmiest, which he proved in 1998 by headbutting Edwin van der Sar before almost doing the same to his wife in 2008. A local judge ordered him to stay away from his family for a month, during which time the ‘Little Donkey’ – a recovering alcoholic – slept at River Plate’s stadium.
-----

Midfielder
GARRINCHA

Having lost his virginity to a goat, Garrincha was always going to be a bit different. To confirm this, he fathered 14 illegitimate children, killed his mother-in-law in a car crash, punched his wife in a drunken rage, and drank himself into an early grave. But not before having it away with a number of nurses who were tending to him on his deathbed.
-----

Midfielder
DJALMINHA

The mercurial Brazilian wasn’t one to use his noggin, except on other people. While playing in Spain, he stuck the nut on his manager, Javier Irureta, square in the chops after a training ground bust up. He repeated the trick two years later, giving an air steward – who had the temerity to ask to see his plane ticket – a Glasgow kiss.
-----

Midfielder
ARMANDO PAREDES

Of his record 20 fines, his most recent was the most serious, the Ecuadorian playmaker threatening to kill his former manager, Gabriel Parrone, in front of the press for substituting him during a game.
-----

Striker
FAUSTINO ASPRILLA

Forget scrapping Jose Luis Chilavert, scheming with George Reynolds or staring out his own horse for a FourFourTwo photoshoot, Tino’s at his bonkers best with a gun in his hand. When playing in Chile, he turned up to training branding a piece and demanded that, unless the players start running, he’ll shoot. Similarly, in 2008, the rubber-limbed forward was placed under house arrest for firing 31 shotgun rounds into a wall at the end of his road.
-----

Striker
DARIO (DADA MARAVILHA)

Brazil’s ‘70s centre-forward used a unique performance enhancer; a hand-shandy, before each game, which left him feeling, “light as the wind”. Famed for his self-aggrandising quotes – “Only three things stop in the air: hummingbirds, helicopters and Dada” – he blamed the failure of his marriage on the sighting of a UFO.
-----

Striker
ROMARIO

Dropped by Brazil’s youth team in 1985 after peeing on passers-by from his balcony. Having branded Pele a “museum piece” and Zico a “loser”, in 2003 he clobbered a Fluminese fan for throwing a chicken on to the training pitch. Says “the night” is his friend. Christ.
-----

Manager
CARLOS BILARDO

The self-proclaimed “craziest man in the world” once spent a game demanding his Boca team mark a player who wasn’t on the pitch. Another time, when one of his players swapped shirts with an opponent after being thumped 6-0, Bilardo set the shirt on fire.
-----

Substitutes
CARLOS ROA
‘The lettuce’ retired in 1999 because he believed the world was coming to an end.
-----

VIOLA
Brazil nut once banned for attacking a radio journalist. During a match.
-----

HECTOR VEIRA
The playboy once tied a one-armed teammate to a toilet for not passing to him.

13
Football / Top 10 football superstitions
« on: February 25, 2009, 08:28:10 PM »
NUMBER 6  :o :o :o

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/arsenal/4805924/Top-10-Football-superstitions-to-rival-Arsenals-Kolo-Toure.html

From the commonplace tendency of players to touch the ground and cross their heart as they come onto the pitch (Thierry Henry), to the coach who takes players' star signs into consideration before selecting his team (Raymond Domenech); from the player who prepares for matches by reading Dostoevsky on the loo (Gennaro Gattuso), to those players that harbour the frankly ridiculous belief that no harm can come to them because they wear their underwear inside out (Adrian Mutu) – football is full of them.

1. David James
In James' own words, "many footballers have an obsessive routine that goes way beyond normal." That just about sums up James' own superstitious regimen (or "mental machinery so complex it could fill a page," as he once described it) which began on the Friday night before a game and continued right through to the full-time whistle the following day.

As well as not speaking to anyone, it would involve going to the urinals, waiting until they were empty and then spitting on the wall.

2. Johan Cruyff
The Dutch legend used to slap his goalkeeper Gert Bals in the stomach while he was at Ajax, and then spit his chewing gum into the opposition's half before kick-off. When Cruyff once forgot his gum, in the European Cup final of 1969, Ajax lost to Milan 4-1.

Looking back, Cruyff advised managers to ensure that their players are not influenced by superstition. "If it does influence them," he cautioned, "you can't play them in the next match."

3. France in the 1998 World Cup
Fabien Barthez's body was treated as a primitive icon, touched for good luck. The French rituals at the World Cup included always occupying the same seats on the team bus, listening to Gloria Gaynor's 1970s hit "I Will Survive" in the changing-room, and the rounded off by defender Laurent Blanc kissing keeper Fabien Barthez's head before kick-off. France won the World Cup.

4. Pelé
The Brazil legend once dispatched a friend to track down a fan to whom Pele had given one of his playing shirts with orders to retrieve it at all costs, after suffering a dip in form. A week later the friend handed Pelé his shirt back, and the striker's form immediately returned.

His friend decided not to tell him that the search had been futile and he had simply given him back the same shirt he had worn in the previous match.

5. Bobby Moore
England's captain of the 1960s and 1970s insisted on being the last person into the changing-room to put on his shorts before kick-off. In 1981 Desmond Morris wrote: "Moore's team-mate Martin Peters was fascinated by the way he stood around holding the shorts, waiting for everyone else to finish dressing."

Peters would wait until Moore had put on his shorts, before taking off his own. Moore would respond by taking off his shorts, and waiting until Peters had put his back on.

6. Midlands Portland Cement
While most are amusing, sometimes the superstitions can get out of hand. Last October, the coach of the Zimbabwean side Midlands Portland Cement sent his squad of 17 players into the crocodile-crowded Zambezi river in a ritual cleansing ceremony, intended to restore their harmony ahead of their next game.

Sadly, only sixteen of his players emerged minutes later. Unsurprisingly, considering the omens, they lost their next match.


7. Urinating
So many players' superstitions revolve around passing water that it deserves a section of its own. Mario Gómez, the German striker, always uses the urinal situated furthest to the left in the washroom. John Terry, meanwhile, prefers to always use the same urinal in the dressing room toilets at Stamford Bridge, and if the spot is taken he will wait until he can use it, even if there are others free.

Sergio Goycochea, the former Argentina goalkeeper. had a legendary routine for facing penalties – and until the final of Italia '90, it was a remarkably successful one – which involved him urinating on the pitch.

8. Gary Neville
The Manchester United defender has so many superstitions that he has had to try and banish some of them as they were becoming inhibiting. As well as not changing his boots if he is on a winning run, Neville will wear the same aftershave if the results are going his way.

"I've got lots of superstitions," Neville once said. "I try to cut them down as I have too many. I wear the same belts, same shoes, same aftershave – I've worn the same aftershave all season."

9. Gary Lineker
The former England striker never took a shot at goal during his match warm ups because he didn't want to waste a goal. Then, if he wouldn't manage to score in the first half he would change his shirt. If the bad run extended, and he was failing to score, he would resort to getting a haircut.

10. David Beckham
Image has always been fundamental for Beckham, so it should come as no surprise that he has an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which manifests itself in making sure that certain items are arranged just so.

Many might uncharitably suggest that his hair is the most obvious, but in fact his biggest obsession is ensuring that all of the items in his fridge are arranged just so. And if he has just three cans of Pepsi, he will throw one away so that there is an even number.

14
Football / Brazil v Trinidad & Tobago
« on: February 17, 2009, 11:29:39 AM »
Hypothetical situation:

T&T finishes fourth in the hex and Brazil finishes fifth in CONMEBOL. Do you think a substantial amount T&T fans would wear Brazil jerseys to the home game?

I had this argument with a couple fellas from work and I was saying I don’t think so. They were saying they wouldn’t be surprised.

1. They brought up the point that Trinis go watch India play cricket in the oval and wear India colours. I figured it was because if you are a Trini Indian you would have more of a connection with India than just any average Trini would have with Brazil.

2. Then they also mentioned the amount of Trinis that wore England jerseys, when England came down here to play us in June. My argument was that if the England game was a competitive World Cup qualifier Trinis would have been more patriotic. Basically I defended Trini football fans on this one. I hope I right.

Confirm that for me nah

15
Football / An interesting perspective on die-hard "home team" supporters
« on: December 19, 2008, 09:09:58 PM »
It's about Americans and the Olympics but the idea is transferable to football and for some reason made me think about die hard Trinidad football fans and their dislike for waggonists.

Is the home team really worth rooting for?

By Chuck Klosterman

"How can you hate the Olympics?" they ask me. "Are you some sort of antipatriotic subversive? Don't you appreciate the genius of Bob Costas? Can't you understand the majesty of world-class Ping-Pong?" These are the questions I face every other year. Every other year, I am accused of hating the Olympics. Now, this accusation is inaccurate. I do not hate the Olympics; I just don't like them at all. For as long as I can remember, the Olympics have been completely and utterly unmoving. This is ironic, inasmuch as we're all about to spend the next VII weeks being reminded of how emotive and heart-wrenching and dramatic these games are going to be. This is not something I need to hear, particularly since the only thing the Olympics ever do is reinforce my dislike for a particular kind of American: people who like the home team simply because the home team is, in fact, the home team.

Before I get into this, it's helpful to take a retrospective, egocentric look at the modern Summer Olympics. The Olympics that I remember most vividly are the Munich Games of September 1972. This is somewhat surprising, because I was born in June 1972. However, I still feel hyperinformed about this Olympiad. I've watched One Day in September, a documentary about Palestinian terrorists taking Israeli athletes hostage; :03 from Gold, an HBO retelling of the rigged U.S.A.--Soviet Union basketball final; and two movies about charismatic (but otherwise unremarkable) runner Steve Prefontaine. I can remember all four of those films more accurately than any Summer Olympics I ever watched for real. All I can remember about the 1976 games is that Bruce Jenner briefly made me want to eat unsugared, wheat-based cereal. There was a boycott in 1980, which made no sense to me at the time and still doesn't today; I'll never understand why stopping Edwin Moses from dominating the four-hundred-meter hurdles was supposed to make Russia pull out of Afghanistan.

The Soviets responded by boycotting the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles, but that didn't bother me as much. At the time, I was positive no white guy from the Ukraine was going to be faster than Carl Lewis anyway. It was during these games, however, that I began to realize just how ridiculous casual sports fans can be. On August 10, 1984, Zola Budd collided with Mary Decker during the three thousand meters. This, as you may remember, was a huge controversy. And while I was following said controversy on my beanbag chair in front of our twenty-one-inch Zenith, something occurred to me: Why the f**k is everyone suddenly concerned with women's distance running? Had this race happened in the summer of '83, little barefoot Zola could have pistol-whipped Mary on the backstretch and it probably wouldn't have been mentioned in USA Today.

This is when I realized that the Olympics are designed for people who want to care about something without considering why.

In order to enjoy the Olympics, you can't think critically about anything. You just have to root for America (or whatever country you're from) and assume that your feelings are inherently correct. It's the same kind of antilogic you need to employ whenever you attend a political convention or a church service or movies directed by Steven Spielberg. When Savannah power lifter Cheryl Ann Haworth tries to clean and jerk the equivalent of a white rhino, we (as Americans) will be obligated to pray for her success, despite the fact that we know nothing about her or any of her foes. We're all supposed to take inspiration from Sada Jacobson, who (I'm told) is the world's number-one female saber fencer, which is kind of like being the world's number-one Real World/ Road Rules Challenge participant. In a matter of weeks, everyone is going to be ecstatic about the prospect of Michael Phelps winning as many as eight gold medals in swimming, even though I have yet to find a single person who knows who Michael Phelps is.

This is what I can't stand about the Olympics, and it's also what I can't stand about certain sports enthusiasts: the idea that rooting for a team without any justification somehow proves that you are a "true fan." All it proves is that you're ridiculous, and that you don't really consider the factors that drive your emotions, and that you probably care more about geography and the color of a uniform than you do about the sport you're ostensibly watching. I have a sportswriter friend who constantly attempts to paint me as a soulless hypocrite because I adored the Boston Celtics in 1984 but am wholly ambivalent toward them today. His argument makes no sense to me. I have no idea why my feelings about an organization twenty years ago should have any effect on how I think now. The modern Celtics have different players, a different coach, a different offense, different management, different ownership, and play in a different arena; the only similarities between these two squads are that they both wear green and they both use the same parquet floor.

I'm not rooting for flooring.

Yet this is what the Olympics ask us to do, more or less. We could toss a bunch of serial killers into the pool in Athens, and we'd still be told to support their run for water-polo gold. And isn't this mind-set the core of every major (and minor) problem we have in this country? The war in Iraq is the most obvious example, but that's just the snout of the proverbial iceberg. Every wrongheaded sentiment in society derives from our ever-growing culture of unconditional rightness. We've become a nation of reflexively loyal fans. As I grow older, I find myself less prone to have an opinion about anything, and I'm starting to distrust just about everyone who does. Whenever I meet someone who proudly identifies herself as a Republican or a Democrat, I think, Well, this person might be interesting, but she'll never say anything about politics that's remotely useful to me. I refuse to discuss abortion with anyone who is pro-life or pro-choice. I refuse to discuss affirmative action with any unemployed white guy or any unemployed black guy. All the world's stupidest people are either zealots, atheists, or ideologues. People used to slag Bill Clinton for waffling on everything and relying solely on situational pragmatism. As far as I'm concerned, that was the single greatest aspect of his presidency. Life is f**king confusing. I don't know anything, and neither do you.

But this is not what the Olympics want you to believe. The Olympics--or, more accurately, NBC--want you to feel like you're always on the right side, even if you don't know why. NBC will subject you to hours of maudlin human-interest stories about athletes you've never heard of, and it'll insist that these people have overcome adversity and should automatically be perceived as heroes (although I'm sure Ahmad Rashad will remind us that they're not "the real heroes," since "the real heroes" are generally identified as military personnel not being court-martialed for torture). Now, maybe these athletes deserve your respect, and maybe they don't. It's always 50-50. But don't care about them just because they're televised Americans.

That said, I'm sure I'll still end up sitting through all this melodramatic shit, and I'm sure I'll unconsciously find myself not-so-secretly hoping that America wins every event (except for speed walking; for some reason, I always hope Canada dominates speed walking). I'm not sure how much I love my country, but I'm pretty sure I don't prefer any of the alternatives. My main fear is that the Saudi Arabians will steal gold in the four-hundred-meter relay and--moments before the event is rebroadcast in prime time--Costas will be unable to resist telling us that the terrorists have already won.

16
http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/05/22/two_faces_of_the_mls_makes_for.html

Two faces of the MLS makes for great viewing

The MLS has some good players gracing its pitches, some potentially very good players, but too often they fail to make the grade elsewhere
Shaka Hislop
May 22, 2008 2:11 PM

It's only five minutes into the game. "Hey, Zidayn!" calls the guy in the Red Sox baseball cap, in a particularly literal of pronunciation of Zidane's name. He's shouting at the guy in the France shirt, who's standing in front of him with his girlfriend and her friend discussing I don't know what for far too long.

Maybe it's the spiralling cost of petrol, or maybe it was how much New England might miss their striker Taylor Twellman as the Revolution take on the Western Conference's bottom team, the San Jose Earthquakes. Both teams are managed by two of US soccer's more proven coaches in Steve Nicol and Frank Yallop. As the game develops, it's clear, San Jose aren't a good team. At all. In fact I'd rate them as the worst team I've seen since the league started looking north of LA for an expansion city. But it is their first year back in the league - they're the MLS's Derby.

The Revs are missing Twellman, their goalscoring talisman, but you wouldn't know it. Shalrie Joseph is moving around the pitch well for a guy who's 10 feet tall. Well, he certainly looks it from here.

A football person said to me earlier in the week that Shalrie would make a decent Championship player in England, but "he's too one-paced". But he reminds me so much of Patrick Vieira, who is also very one-paced by today's standards, and no one would ever say he wasn't good enough for anyone or anywhere. I know I'm treading dangerous ground comparing Joseph to Vieira, and I know that I'm talking about a player playing in the MLS. But what is also impressing me more and more about Shalrie is that he truly understands the game. He has as good an understanding of the game as anyone outside of LA.

Here's the thing - the MLS has some good players gracing its pitches every week, some potentially very good players - just ask Fulham. Too often though they fail to make the grade elsewhere. The reason for that is that they simply aren't tested enough in the MLS. There are far too many well-below-average players in the league. This may be Shalrie's only shortcoming, through no fault of his own. He, like the other really good players in this league, can only develop so much here.

The defending is unbelievably naive, enough to make you pull your hair out. There has been some talk of teams or the league using more of their designated player spots for defenders. A double-edged sword if you ask me. If you get decent defenders in without any decent support around them, they only end up looking worse. Ask Abel Xavier. I do feel sorry for him. Though Xavier pulling his own hair out certainly would be a sight.

Much is made of the salary cap, and the rules that apply, or don't apply as the case may be. I know this is a constant bone of contention with managers all over the league. Especially when the league dictates so much to everyone outside of LA and NY. This problem though I think has less to do with the salary cap than it has to the introductory salary for fresh out of college pros. I am convinced that there are some very good players coming out of college every year, better players than make it into the league. If you graduated with some kind of degree, would you take the extreme-long-shot route of eventual European recognition, or find a decent nine-to-five with a starting salary four times that offered by the MLS? It's a heavily loaded dice.

But it's the same all over the league - there are some good players, even a few very good ones. Even at San Jose. Ronnie O'Brien, the ex-Juventus playmaker, is a player of real quality, but far too moody to play in a struggling team. San Jose are certainly that and will be for at least another couple of seasons. Ronnie was substituted at half-time, by which point they were already losing 2-0. It finished that way.

Even David Beckham can be caught scratching his head in disbelief one minute then scratching his head in amazement the next. His LA team thumped FC Dallas 5-1 to leave Steve Morrow scratching his head wondering which way it is to Walsall (the Daily Star said that not me, believe it at your peril - by the way, more on the sacked Morrow next week). The gamut runs from Christian Gomez and table-topping Colorado (who extended their lead in the West by beating Real Salt Lake 2-0), to the confidence-less and badly-misfiring DC United, who, unsurprisingly, lost again. This time a 3-1 defeat came against the West's best regular season team last year, Chivas, who've conceded as many goals as anyone in the league thus far.

So, although the table has started to take a very faint look of normalcy - with Houston third in the West after winning again this weekend, 2-1 on the road to the Chicago Fire) - the league continues to boast of parity (table-topping Columbus drew with an improving Toronto 0-0 in the East and New York needed a late wonder strike to draw with Kansas) and it's clear each of the 14 teams have players of genuine quality on offer with, at times, the football to match.

The two-hour journey north to watch games live in New England is well worth it. Even with, as Zidayn probably pointed out, the price of gas today.

Shaka Hislop will blog on guardian.co.uk every week during the MLS season. For more from Shaka, as well as up-to-the minute news and analysis of the beautiful game, go to ESPNsoccernet.com

17
Football / Freestyle
« on: March 29, 2008, 08:40:05 PM »

18
Football / Julius James, the X factor
« on: March 29, 2008, 07:38:48 PM »
Collin Samuel, the breakout player to watch

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=520730&root=mls&cc=3888

This is the 13th of 14 MLS team previews by ESPNsoccernet for the 2008 season.

2007 finish: 6-17-7 (seventh in the East, last in MLS)

Key Additions: D Julius James, M Kevin Harmse, D Marco Velez, GK Brian Edwards.

Key Losses: M Ronnie O'Brien, Chris Pozniak.

Key Questions

1. Will Toronto land Amado Guevara, or any playmaker?

Toronto FC had a grand total of 25 assists in 2007, less than half the totals of D.C. United and Chivas USA. That embarrassing number has had Mo Johnston searching for a playmaking midfielder all winter and he believes he has found his man. The question is whether he can get him.

That player is Amado Guevara. The former league MVP who left Chivas USA in a messy divorce that sent him back to Honduras is ready to return to MLS. Guevara wants to join Toronto, the same team he balked at being traded to a year ago, but Toronto still has some hurdles to clear in order to secure the 2004 MLS MVP.

If Toronto does land Guevara, will he be an impact player? TFC believes he can be, particularly with Maurice Edu and Carl Robinson doing the heavy lifting in central midfield.

And if Toronto fails in its bid to land Guevara? TFC will likely be forced to wait until the summer to address its biggest need, which would probably leave the club in desperation mode, particularly with Edu likely to miss several games for the Beijing Olympics.

2. Is John Carver ready for MLS?

This might sound like an absurd question considering Carver's coaching experience in England, but the reality is foreign coaches with no prior experience in MLS as a coach or player haven't exactly set the league on fire.

Eric Wynalda's Take:
"It's a big coaching change, and it's another one where you kind of scratch your head on. It's going to be a learning process for the coaching staff. Mo Johnston has to be tickled pink that he doesn't have to worry about managing that team. He can start focusing from the stands -- on what this team needs and how to help them get better. I love the atmosphere there. I love games in Toronto. I'm happy the All-Star Game ended up there. That's a great reward for those fans. I wish I was Canadian -- no I don't want to go that far, but I really enjoyed games there. If they can ride the enthusiasm of their crowd, they'll win more games than they lose next year."
Tactics won't be a problem for Carver. The real issue will be dealing with a thin roster and the reality that he can't just go out and buy replacement players if things don't go well. Carver does have the benefit of working with Mo Johnston, the best trader in MLS. If there is a deal to be made, Johnston will make it, though Toronto can be criticized for not giving players enough time before casting them aside.

Carver will have the task of implementing a 4-5-1 formation which will likely mean a reserve role for popular forward Danny Dichio. Will Dichio be content to share playing time or will he look for the exit? MLS clubs have already made offers for Dichio so there is a growing belief that he will ask out of Toronto. This may not be an issue for Toronto, especially not if the club decides to use its designated player slot to sign a high-profile forward, something that is a very real possibility this summer.

3. How much better will the defense be?

Toronto FC surrendered a league-high 49 goals in 2007, a disheartening total that led the club to address the back line by using both of its first-round picks on defenders. Johnston also went out and signed defender Marco Velez.

The biggest revelation of the preseason has been James. The UConn product was regarded in some circles as the most MLS-ready player in the draft and he has lived up to that billing in training camp. His rapid rise should allow John Carver to use Jim Brennan at left back, which would allow Todd Dunivant to slide into a left wing role.

With Brennan, Tyrone Marshall, Marvell Wynne, James and fellow rookie Pat Phelan, Toronto should have the pieces to field a strong defense, though some preseason struggles leave you wondering if it will take awhile for the pieces to come together.

X factor: Julius James

He's fast, strong and fearless and there is very little about Julius James that screams rookie. He has played well enough in preseason to earn a starting job. James will be sidelined by a separated shoulder he suffered in preseason, but once he returns he will be making a good case for rookie of the year honors.

If Toronto signs him, Amado Guevara will be the clear X factor for TFC. His ability to deliver pinpoint passes, as well as score goals on his own, would make him the ideal player for the squad Toronto currently has. That is assuming Guevara will come in with a good attitude and won't revert to some of the behavior that tarnished his last stint in MLS.

Breakout player to watch: Collin Samuel

When the Trinidad & Tobago international showed up at Toronto last year he looked out of shape and never quite played to the level you would expect from a World Cup veteran.

Toronto has seen a very different Samuel this preseason. He lost 10 pounds and is showing quickness and energy that was missing last year. Slated to slide into the right wing, Samuel also gives Carver a good forward option.

One rookie who could have a breakthrough year is goalkeeper Brian Edwards. One of the most highly rated netminders in the draft, Edwards is expected to battle for the No. 2 job, but he has shown some flashes and Greg Sutton's uncertain health status and erratic form could pave the way for Edwards to step in as a rookie and start.

MLS Primetime Thursday
April 3
New England at Chicago
8 p.m. ET (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN360)
San Jose at Los Angeles
10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN360)

Outlook

Like a recipe missing its main ingredient, Toronto FC is missing a playmaker to tie together a squad that has more talent than it gets credit for. Maurice Edu is the key to the current squad and is arguably as valuable to Toronto as any other MLS player is to his team. He can't do it alone in central midfield though, and Kevin Harmse is not the answer.

Can Toronto climb out of the East basement and contend for a playoff spot? TFC is still a player or two, preferably an attacking midfielder and winger, away. Without those key additions, Toronto will be doomed to another disappointing year. With some impact additions, like Amado Guevara, Toronto can challenge for a playoff spot in the loaded Eastern Conference.

Ives Galarcep covers MLS for ESPNsoccernet. He is a writer and columnist for the Herald News (N.J.) and writes a blog, Soccer By Ives. He can be reached at Ivespn79@aol.com.

19
Football / offside rule! from a referee's mouth
« on: January 28, 2008, 01:18:42 PM »
How many time have you heard the phrase 'Professional Foul? It does not exist'; then there's the old wives' tale that 'If the ball is played backwards you can't be offside'. WRONG!
Source:
http://soccernet.espn.go.com/feature?id=502840&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab1pos1&cc=5901

20
Football / Anyone know of Luka Modric?
« on: August 28, 2007, 07:29:36 PM »
Just read a rumour that Arsenal is close to signing him. Anyone know more about him or seen him play?

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Arsenal’s youthful side has garnered much publicity in recent years. The kids have all been stamped with the Arsene Wenger blueprint. The club has a  seemingly endless array of players, some of whom are truly world class. Cesc Fabregas, for instance, is one of the greatest players on the planet and, at 20, his ability is frankly astounding. It seems likely that Wenger is close to signing the latest cog in his masterplan in the form of Croatian international Luka Modric, a player who appears to have turned down interest from Bayern Munich and is setting his sights on the Emirates. On the few occasions that I have seen him in action I have been mightily impressed. In the mould of Robert Pires, Modric is a free-scoring attacking midfielder who came to worldwide attention when he helped his national side overcome Italy in a friendly last year.

Article: http://www.sportingo.com/football/why_spurs_arsenal_can_bank/1001,4598

21
http://sharelovesmeaning.com

Its an interesting idea. Submit your own definition and read other people's definitions. Its that simple.

22
Football / Palacio to Arsenal? (goal.com)
« on: July 15, 2007, 09:47:46 PM »
Source: http://goal.com/en/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=354088

Arsenal To Break Record For Argentine Star Palacio?
 
The Sun's big back-page story on Monday claims that Premiership side Arsenal are about to break their transfer record by splashing £15 million on Argentine striker Rodrigo Palacio.

Reports in Argentina claim that Palacio, 25, will fly to London early this week for a medical after Boca Juniors accepted a bid by the North London club.

The newspaper also sys that Palacio will wear the No 14 shirt that Thierry Henry graced with such distinction for the Gunners before his £16 million departure for Barcelona.

That is the same number that Palacio wears for both Boca and the Albiceleste.

And The Sun highlights the irony that Barcelona had agreed a £14.9 millon deal for Palacio immediately before hearing that their long-term target Henry was finally available.

Boca's president, Mauricio Macri, has described Palacio as the best striker in Argentina.

Both of the player's former clubs, Huracan and Banfield, are due a proportion of what will be the biggest transfer fee ever paid by Arsenal.

Palacio was a member of the Argentina squad that reached Sunday's Copa America final, but didn't play in the 3-0 defeat by winners Brazil.

He is said to keen to prove himself in Europe after being a member of Argentina's 2006 World Cup squad in Germany where he was cover for Hernan Crespo and Carlos Tevez - both of whom have made an impact in the Premiership.

Palacio has scored 39 goals in 79 appearances for Boca and has won five Argentine caps, linking up with Tevez in Argentina’s attack in their 1-0 Copa America victory over Paraguay on July 5th.

Arsenal have already spent an estimated £20 million this summer on striker Eduardo Da Silva, full-back Bacary Sagna, goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski and full-back Havard Nordtveit. Buying Palacio for £15 million would shatter the club's previous record outlay of £12.5 million paid to Bordeaux for Sylvain Wiltord in 2000.


23
Football / preseason: swansea v sparta rotterdam (july 27?)
« on: July 15, 2007, 08:22:18 AM »
thought this fixture might be of some interest.
will possibly be 4 trinis in action and a daryl roberts v dennis lawrence/kevin austin matchup.
a lil ahead of time but i just stumbled upon the news and just wanted to give a heads up.

Source:
http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0600soccer/0700swanseacity/tm_headline=bonding-trip-has-swans-hooked&method=full&objectid=19456193&siteid=50082-name_page.html

Jetting off on July 27, Martinez’s men will round off the visit against Eredivisie outfit Sparta Rotterdam.

24
Football / MLS bringing in more big names: Marcelo Salas next?
« on: June 06, 2007, 01:26:24 PM »
Even heard a rumour about Makalele .................

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BRIDGEVIEW, Illinois (AP) - The Chicago Fire continues to talk with Chilean striker Marcelo Salas after an impressive trial last week, but no contract has been offered.

Talks haven't even reached the negotiating stage, Fire spokesman Daniel Jankowski said Tuesday.

"It's still more of a feeling out process," Jankowski said. "We're obviously interested in him. When we had him in ... we were impressed with what he could bring to the table."

Salas hasn't played since December, when he left Universidad de Chile in a dispute with a court-appointed bankruptcy official.

But the 32-year-old has a knack for creating offense, scoring four goals for Chile in the 1998 World Cup and playing five years with Lazio and Juventus in Serie A. The Fire has scored only 11 goals this season, three in Sunday's win over the Columbus Crew.

Salas also played with River Plate of Argentina, which he led to three league championships from 1996-98, as well as the Copa Libertadores title.

If Salas signs with the Fire, he would be paired with Mexico's World Cup veteran Cuauhtemoc Blanco, who is to join the Chicago club in July.

Source: http://msn.foxsports.com/soccer/story/6890376

25
Football / death threat for striking against unpaid WC bonuses?
« on: March 25, 2007, 01:47:42 PM »
Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor is considering his international future with Togo after receiving death threats prior to Saturday's 3-1 win over Sierra Leone.

Togo captain Adebayor led a protest ahead of their African Cup of Nations qualifier over unpaid bonus relating last summer's World Cup.

Coach Stephen Keshi persuaded the team to play in the qualifier for next year's event, but Adebayor has revealed he received death threats which have led him to contemplate quitting the Togo national side.

"Before the match, I received threats to my life warning me to play the match or else," he said.

"Thank God I scored two goals in this qualifying match against Sierra Leone.

"I am only trying to put certain things right and correct a few mistakes in Togolese football but it appears some people do not like it.

"I was convinced by my coach Stephen Keshi to rescind the decision.

"Now I am going to go back to Arsenal to think about my future. I have to protect my life and I have a family to look after."

Source: http://www.4thegame.com/club/afc/news/201958/adebayor_considers_future.html

Situation in Togo reminded me of TTFF.

26
Football / technically gifted or average. interesting arsene wenger quote
« on: January 18, 2007, 10:18:54 PM »
I read this in FourFourTwo, January 2007 magazine. A quote from Arsene Wenger. Thought it was interesting.

-------

"How good is the quality of your touch? This can be decided from a young age, maybe as young as 12. At that age you can tell if a player is technically gifted or if they will be average for their whole life"
-------

Come to think of it, I remember seeing a video of barcelona under 13s, and in terms of technque, I couldnt find fault.

There was a another quote about small sided games that I thought was interesting. Although theres no mention of smaller goals, it reminded me small goal football.

--------

"In 11-a-side you can slip out of the game. With five-a-side, you must stay focused, keep movng, wanting the ball, and that, for me, is a key to its popularity. It's also why it is so important to the game and why I have my players playing small-sided games."

"In 11-a-side, you may get 20 touches in 90 minutes; in five-a-side you get the same number in a fraction of the time. You are confronted with decision-making all the time so your technical ability and skill is constantly tested and improves. It is the best way to prepare you as a footballer."

-------

27
Football / What came first: TV or the Fans?
« on: October 12, 2006, 02:58:55 PM »
I got a PFL magazine in the mail the other day. And there was an intro letter talking about the vision of the league. They mentioned following the marketing model of European leagues.

Major marketing tools were print and TV. Everytime I see or hear this I wonder how exactly it works. The goal of marketing is increasing 'sales'. In the case of the PFL I think it would be increasing the number of paying fans (or viewers in case TV/media selling).

And you dont just want to get fans but you want to keep them. Like any business - As important as it is to get clients, its more important to get them to stay.

So my question is does putting the PFL on TV achieve this? Im skeptical. Do we watch the premiership because it is on TV or is the premiership on TV because we wanted to watch it? (Of course one feeds off the other - but which is more fundamental).

Is there a large enough market to say that putting the PFL on TV makes sense or is the PFL hoping to increase the market by putting it on TV? Is the fact that it is on TV going to make people watch? Can a PFL game compete with cable TV?

I think there will be a number of people who dont watch the PFL that may watch a game now and then. Personally I think I would fall into this category. But Im skeptical about the number of regular viewers ("repeat clients/customers from a business perspective") that would come out of TV coverage. Would the games regularly get the kinda of viewership that will lead to substantial TV revenues. 

As far as marketing is concerned I think the goal should be getting people attached to clubs so that each club has a substantial fan base. Based on what I read that seems to be the goal of the PFL as well. They keep talking about community involvement. But is TV the answer?

Does anyone know of other types of marketing that is being done to create community relationships with teams?


28
Football / Coaching requirements of PFL
« on: May 04, 2006, 01:55:19 PM »
The EPL rejected Newcastles bid to make Roeder their manager because he does not have the necessary licenses to meet the standard.  The article below raised the following questions:

- Does the PFL set standards for its coaches?
- What qualifications does the average PFL coach have?

I have no idea, just curious. Does anyone know?

Source: http://www.soccernet.com

Newcastle's bid to appoint Glenn Roeder as permanent manager without the relevant coaching qualifications has been rejected by the Premier League.


But Roeder could get around the need to have a UEFA pro licence if enough member clubs of the Premier League supported a request by Newcastle.

In a statement the Premier League said: 'The Premier League board have considered Newcastle United's inquiry regarding the potential appointment of Glenn Roeder as their manager.

'Premier League rules require that managers hold the UEFA pro licence and do not provide for any dispensation.

'The only way the board would be prepared to allow Newcastle United to appoint Glenn Roeder as manager without the pro licence is if so directed by member clubs.

'In the event of permission being sought sufficient support from clubs would have to be obtained and a formal resolution tabled at the forthcoming Premier League AGM.'

Victory for Roeder's side over Barclays Premiership champions Chelsea on Sunday would see them finish seventh in the Premiership and snatch a place in the Intertoto Cup, handing them a two-legged chance of UEFA Cup qualification.

Seventh and the chance of European football that would bring would be a just reward for Roeder and in excess of what might have been expected when he took over from Graeme Souness.

At that point, Newcastle were lying 15th in the Barclays Premiership table, 11 points behind Bolton.

Shepherd insisted since handing Souness a transfer kitty of around £37million last summer, that a top-six finish was the minimum requirement.

However, having seen ambitions shrink under the Scot, he would be delighted if Roeder could salvage some tangible reward for an eventful season.

The former West Ham boss has fostered a meaningful recovery and the response of the players to his leadership has impressed the chairman.

29
Football / Best Players in England (excluding Premiership)
« on: April 22, 2006, 04:32:43 PM »
FourFourTwo April 2006 had a list of the top 50 players in England outside of the Premiership:

49: Chris Birchall

Top 10:
10. Bobby Convey (Reading)
9. Ade Akinbiyi (Sheffield United)
8. Cameron Jerome (Cardiff)
7. Ibrahima Sonko (Reading)
6. David Nugent (Preston)
5. Dave Kitson (Reading)
4. Lee Trundle (Swansea)
3. Andrew Johnson (Crystal Palace)
2. Steve Sidwell (Reading)
1. Phil Jagielka (Sheffield United)

30
Football / LA Galaxy v Chivas: Glen in starting 11
« on: April 15, 2006, 09:21:35 PM »
Cornell is in the Galaxy starting 11.

Had a good opportunity in the 12th min - used his speed to get behind the defence but his control let him down.

18th minute - Glen with another opportunity, put through at the top of the box. Looks like he should have let the ball run across his body onto his right - but he touched it to his left and had to rush the shot. Put it wide.

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