Football Tidbits – September 12, 2013

England Don’t Like Racists Who Aren’t Racist

As a Tottenham Supporter, I’m proud to be part of the Yid Army.  I’m not going to pretend I have this deep history as a supporter – I started supporting the team initially because I really hate Arsenal – but I won’t deny I’m a small part of that history, regardless of how small it is.  Much larger than me, Tottenham Hotspur were historically the club that London’s Jewish community identified with.  While others would mockingly refer to Jews as Yids, they embraced it with the club in a mocking fashion (similar to the way Americans embraced “Yankee” during the Revolution).  Of course, this isn’t without some degree of controversy, but when someone supports scummy, dirty Chelsea and criticizes it, in my mind the criticism only bolsters the historical tradition by Spurs supporters.

Against that backdrop, the FA (England’s governing authority for football) warned those that use they term they could be subject to criminal prosecution and banning orders.  You read that right – you could be dubbed a criminal and banned from supporting your club – for simply using a term that has been adopted by the community of that very club.

Racism in European football is a very, very real problem.  I don’t think this is one such problem.  Considering the FA’s track record of picking coaches and a woefully underperforming national squad, I don’t think it’s to be trusted on this issue.

The United States is Brazil Bound

Tuesday night the United States Men’s National Team dominated the Mexican team.  Good.  In what has become routine in Columbus, OH, the Mexicans simply didn’t have it in them to compete.  That said, they apparently didn’t have it in them to compete against Honduras in Mexico City, and I think we might be witnessing a squad incapable of qualifying for even the playoff game against New Zealand.  But I digress…

Our national team showed some very solid pieces.  I’m not a big fan of Eddie Johnson, but he looked good against the team.  More importantly, I think Diskerud showed the promise of our up-and-coming squad that will need to fill in the gaps for Dempsey and Donovan after this World Cup.  Even more impressive than that is the support that we as a country are showing for our national team.

Football (futbol/soccer) is the only true sport that is global in my mind.  Rugby is limited in its global impact, much the same as cricket.  Given the fact that our football players are over 300 pounds and collide with the force of trucks in a headon collision, I don’t exactly envision and bunch of Frenchmen competing successfully (remember, they tried that with the NFL Europe).  I love that the United States will be well represented on the pitch and in the stands at next year’s World Cup.

Peyton Manning = God

Seven touchdowns.  About 450 yards passing.  Peyton Manning.  Enough said.  The defense played pretty well, too, considering some major starters were out of the game.  We pretty much just threw a beatdown to the Ravens.

Prediction – We go 14-2, win the Super Bowl, and Peyton Manning joins the list of demigods that are past Denver Broncos – Elway, Davis, Mecklenberg, McCaffrey, Jackson.

All we can do about Brazil is shake our head…

As a huge fan of international soccer, the beautiful game is fun to watch when tournaments like the Confederations Cup is taking place.  The world’s best players to participate in this tournament, despite being open to teams like Tahiti (who allowed twenty-four goals in three games) and only 8 total participating.  Brazil is always an amazing squad, Spain’s international dominance continues, and Italy has shown a resurgence in recent years.  That is what makes the stories of protests in Brazil so disappointing to read about.

The FIFA organization can only blame itself for these type of problems.  The organization is rife with corruption, and has been decrepit for years in this regard.  Prior to the award of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and 2022 to Qatar, reports of those countries highlighted risky endeavors and rated them very low when compared to countries like England, Japan, and the United States.  Admittedly, accusing the organization of corruption based on that instance alone is begging the question.  However, prior to the voting, the Sunday Times caught two Executive Committee members selling votes against England’s rivals in the bidding.  Sepp Blatter has been dogged by allegations that he bought votes in his first campaign for FIFA President in 1998.  Blatter acknowledges that votes were bought, but denies his involvement.

FIFA is not a worldwide empire, at least not in the sense of Exxon Mobil or Coca-Cola.  It does govern the worldwide administration of football, though, and manages the most watched sporting event on the planet.  That creates rife conditions for small-minded bureaucrats to control wide influence, and largely explains why Blatter essentially guided the World Cup to Brazil.  In 2006, Blatter wanted the World Cup in South Africa, but eventually lost out to Germany’s bid.  2010 was awarded to South Africa, though, and highlighted many of the negative impacts of placing the World Cup in a country politically and economically unready to host the event on the scale it requires.  However, Blatter’s insistence that “underserved” nations have a chance to host the world’s greatest international soccer competition created the condition that essentially forced the World Cup on Brazil.

Now comes Brazil, and the problems of 2010 are rearing their ugly head again.  It also highlights why the corruption of FIFA and bureaucratic ineptitude created the perfect storm that resulted in the protests were seeing in Brazil today.  It’s hard for a governing structure to rail against corruption when it is corrupt in its own dealings.  In other words, FIFA can hardly hold Brazil’s governing structures to account on corruption relating to stadium construction and other support services.  Just as importantly, FIFA cannot even begin to refuse placing the World Cup in a nation which wastes public dollars on other services when it has no legitimate foundation to make that decision.  So, FIFA’s own ridiculous rotation policy that invited corrupt governments to host this competition.  Brazil only exemplifies the worst possible outcome of this organization’s plans.  And make no mistake, corruption in government is what these protests are coming to correctly highlight:

Many protesters were not appeased by a prime-time television address Friday night by President Dilma Rousseff, who said that peaceful protests were welcome and emphasized that she would not condone corruption. She also said she would meet with movement leaders and create a plan to improve urban transportation and use oil royalties for investments in education.

“Dilma is underestimating the resolve of the people on the corruption issue,” said Mayara Fernandes, a medical student who took part in a march in Sao Paulo. “She talked and talked and said nothing. Nobody can take the corruption of this country anymore.”

On Saturday, protesters denounced congressional legislation, known as PEC 37, that would limit the power of federal prosecutors to investigate crimes – which many fear would hinder attempts to jail corrupt politicians.

Federal prosecutors were behind the investigation into the biggest corruption case in Brazil’s history, the so-called “mensalao” cash-for-votes scheme that came to light in 2005 and involved top aides of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva buying off members of congress to vote for their legislation.
Last year, the supreme court condemned two dozen people in connection to the case, which was hailed as a watershed moment in Brazil’s fight against corruption. However, those condemned have yet to be jailed because of appeals, a delay that has enraged Brazilians.

The beautiful game now has a black eye, and it’s something that could be avoided with real reform in FIFA and Brazil.  Most importantly, we that will be watching from the serenity of our own couches could be mindful of corruption in our own backyard and the impact it has on our lives.  After all, there might be a day soon when the World Cup comes back to the United States.  To hell with the World Cup, the Atlanta Falcons needed a new stadium…and will get one.

Football Tidbits – June 22, 2013

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Brazil apparently isn’t as soccer crazy as everyone may think:

Brazil awoke Friday to city centers still smoldering after a night that shocked the nation: 1 million protesters took to the streets in scores of cities, with clusters clashing violently with police during anti-government demonstrations.

This comes down to Sepp Blatter.  That turd had the idea that nations without the infrastructure in place to host a major international tournament deserved to host a major international tournament.  Brazil is the spiritual home of football, that much is true.  It’s also a second-world nation that needs to do more locally to develop the economy than has been done.  Reasonably, these protests wouldn’t take place if a government liberalized the labor market, significantly reduced taxes and tariffs, and helped alleviate poverty through economic freedom.

Then again, it’s Brazil.  It’s easier just to spend billions of public dollars on the Olympics and World Cup.

United States conquered by the Spanish:

Spain showed why it is favored to win the Under-20 World Cup by beating the United States 4-1 on Friday in its opener after doubles from star strikers Jese and Gerard Deulofeu.

Had to happen somewhere, right?

Paulinho is close to being a Yiddo:

According to ESPN Soccernet, Brazil international Paulinho, who has made an impression in this summer’s Confederations Cup, is believed to be closing in on a £17m move to White Hart Lane, with Corinthians director of football Edu confirming a deal is imminent.

Paulinho has played phenomenally in the Confed Cup thus far.  Goal scorers are what Tottenham needs, and an addition like him will do well for the squad.

Tottenham Tidbits – June 20, 2013

The Guardian: Tottenham appoint Roma’s Franco Baldini as new technical director

Villas-Boas has championed the appointment of a technical director who, he hopes, can recommend transfer targets, close deals with the minimum of fuss and, also, allow him to concentrate on his primary function as a coach.

Anybody who’s part of the Yid Army knew this was coming. It was merely a matter of time before the formality was announced. The benefit to the team is clear. AVB requested Baldini be brought in to handle transfers and roster development (which will balance Levy’s tight control on the money supply), and AVB handles coaching. #winning

 

Express:  Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas snubs PSG who turn to Fabio Capello

Tottenham boss Villas-Boas has shown his loyalty to the North London club by rejecting the overtures of PSG, who were reportedly willing to pay his £10million buyout clause.

Suck it, frenchmen!  #winning

 

We are going to Brazil!  We are going to Brazil!  We are going, we are going, we are going to Brazil!  From ESPN FC:

Before 20,250 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium, the Americans remained atop the six-team CONCACAF group. The United States (4-1-1) won three straight games this month, all since a 0-0 draw at Mexico gave it a boost toward the top.

This is Tottenham exactly, but the USMNT captain is “The American” Clint Dempsey and our coach Jurgen Klinsmann…so, Tottenham is involved.  How great is this news?  Well, by itself, awesome…but it’s so much sweeter knowing that Mexico is already in Brazil and failing miserably.

#winning

Tottenham Needs to Sign Soldado

From ESPN FC:

The Valencia striker made the most of his opportunity to lead the Spanish line and may prove to be the potent focal point Spain lacked throughout the Euros. Unlike Alvaro Negredo in Ukraine, who looked like a man dancing the Macarena when everyone around him moved to a Samba beat, Soldado played as if he belonged. He held the ball up and moved well, also unveiling a propensity to dive as a master of the dark arts. In the 30th minute when Cesc Fabregas put him through, Soldado reacted calmly, driving the ball into the top left corner — a tidy finish that must have felt like a tiny dagger in Fernando Torres’ heart.

The need for a striker is more than apparent for the squad.  Midfield is not a liability at this point, especially with Sandro on track to come back from last season’s injury, and the defense proved up to the challenge throughout despite some gaffes at times by Walker and BAE showing little of the form that made him first choice.  However, the holes were apparent up top.  Adebayor, true to form, performed unimpressively after securing a permanent move to White Hart Lane.  Defoe is on his way out, unable to perform as a first line striker.

Soldado can perform with the team that Spurs have.  He scored 30 goals in all appearances last season with Valencia, albeit in La Liga.  However, Bale will continue to have the majority of attention of defenses, opening up goal opportunities for an aggressive goal scorer.  Lennon is learning to use his speed as a means to goals as opposed to an end in itself.  Dembele, Sigurdsson, and Dempsey are all solid in the midfield.