Ramblings of a Soccer Junky
A friend of mine in England sent this to me and I had to share...
1. From 9 June to 9 July 2006, you should read the sports section of the newspaper so that you are aware of what is going on regarding the World Cup, and that way you will be able to join in the conversations. If you fail to do this, then you will be looked at in a bad way, or you will be totally ignored. DO NOT complain about not receiving any attention.
2. During the World Cup, the television is mine, at all times, without any exceptions. If you even take a glimpse of the remote control, you will lose it (your eye).
3. If you have to pass by in front of the TV during a game, I don't mind, as long as you do it crawling on the floor and without distracting me. If you decide to stand nude in front of the TV, make sure you put clothes on right after because if you catch a cold, I wont have time to take you to the doctor or look after you during the World Cup month.
4. During the games I will be blind, deaf and mute, unless I require a refill of my drink or something to eat. You are out of your mind if you expect me to listen to you, open the door, answer the telephone, or pick up the baby that just fell on the floor....It won't happen.
5. It would be a good idea for you to keep at least 2 six packs in the fridge at all times, as well as plenty of things to nibble on, and please do not make any funny faces to my friends when they come over to watch the games. In return, you will be allowed to use the TV between 12am and 6am, unless they replay a good game that I missed during the day.
6. Please, please, please!! If you see me upset because one of my teams is losing, DO NOT say "get over it, its only a game", or "don't worry, they'll win next time". If you say these things, you will only make me angrier and I will love you less. Remember, you will never ever know more about football than me and your so called "words of encouragement" will only lead to a break up or divorce.
7. You are welcome to sit with me to watch one game and you can talk to me during halftime but only when the commercials are on, and only if the halftime score is pleasing me. In addition, please note I am saying "one" game; hence do not use the World Cup as a nice cheesy excuse to "spend time together".
8. The replays of the goals are very important. I don't care if I have seen them or I haven't seen them, I want to see them again. Many times.
9. Tell your friends NOT to have any babies, or any other child related parties or gatherings that requires my attendance because:
a) I will not go,
b) I will not go, and
c) I will not go.
10. But, if a friend of mine invites us to his house on a Sunday to watch a game, we will be there in a flash.
11. The daily World Cup highlights show on TV every night is just as important as the games themselves. Do not even think about saying "but you have already seen this...why don't you change the channel to something we can all watch?" because, the reply will be, "Refer to Rule #2 of this list".
12. And finally, please save your expressions such as "Thank God the World Cup is only every 4 years". I am immune to these words, because after this comes the Champions League, Italian League, Spanish League, Premier League, FA Cup, etc.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Can't they take a joke?
So, MLS might have a problem with Alecko's celebration the other day.
Big whoopy! Sorry, but if they do fine/suspend him, we are looking at more contradictions coming from the league offices. Personally, I thought it was genius.
Look, I understand how important sponsorships are to the survival of the league. Without the money they invest MLS would have gone the way of the NASL some time ago. However, Don Garber and the other speaking heads at MLS HQ often talk about the passion they want from MLS fans. Wouldn't two teams as close as NY and DC have a strong rivalry?
I've been an Ipswich fan as long as I can remember. Sponsors of Norwich are disliked as much as the team by Ipswich fans. When I go to an English Pub for a meal, as much as I like spicy mustard, if there's a jar of Coleman's on the table, I quickly remove it. My mom got a Delia Smith cookbook one year as a present. I refused to eat anything she made from that cookbook. You won't find me buying a Lotus ever (beyond the fact that I'll never be able to afford one) as they are a Norfolk based company who sponsor the Budgies.
So why would a DC player or fan support the company that own their rivals? It's about the passion of the sport. Any penalties Alecko receives from his celebration are wrong and I hope he continues his original celebrations.
I've actually grown to enjoy Waldo's (that's Eric Wynalda) comments. He used to bother me with his consistent whining--well, he did play for the Smurfs. But he does have his own ideas on how things should be in MLS and some are actually on what I consider to be the right path. However, I think he's off base with his recent comments about Alexi Lalas.
Yeah, maybe I'm homering for my team's new GM here. But why should Alexi tell Waldo everything going on behind the scenes until they are finalized? C'mon, this is still a business. You tell someone who has a microphone things which may or may not happen and Mr. Mic potentially blabs it to the world causing negotiations to collapse. Yeah, that's a smart business move. Quit playing the victim Waldo.
If you really want to do a service to the soccer fans in this country, find a ghost writer and give us a book which details what happened with the US team in '98. I know I'd be at Barnes and Noble picking it up the day it was released.
Now that's a Classic
I haven’t been able to post as much as I’d like lately, but now that I’ve got a few minutes, I’ve got to comment on Saturday’s Derby match at the HDC. Wow!!! Now that’s how to start a rivalry. It's taken a year to get a classic match which makes the meetings a Classico.
Last season, the first 5 (yes, I count the Open Cup) matches between these two sides were a joke. However, Saturday could have gone either way. The Goats must have thought their time had come…but Glen had to snatch it from them deep in injury time.
It’s a game that will be talked about for a long time—much like a game that I’m still trying to forget up in San Jose. About time too. All this talk about the Goats joining MLS and being contenders was starting to really get amusing.
Anyway, I’m glad I stayed up until after 1 AM (I’m in the Eastern Time Zone these days) to see that finish. Well worth the lack of sleep.
It’s funny, I’ve become really positive about the league in general this season…and that match only added to my enjoyment.
Something else happened this week that made me happy. Former Galaxy fan favorite, Alexi Lalas, will take over as the Galaxy GM.
Now, I thought it a possibility with the recent developments at the Meadowlands.
I’m not sure how Alexi is on the business side of things. Doug Hamilton did a great job there. However, what Lalas will bring is something Hamilton seemed lacking…and that was being a politician. As great a person as Hamilton was, he wasn’t the public face that Lalas is. Add to that the fact that he’ll be able to attract more media attention to the team. Where can ya go wrong?
So, it’s been a good week there. I need to catch up on some reading to see what else I’ve been missing…but I guess I can’t have everything.
Spring has sprung
It was at some point during the NY/Revs match last week that it dawned on me. Pro footie in this country is here to stay. I realize it's still early season and attendance numbers have been good cuz of extra incentives to fans. But what I realized is that the games I've seen the first 2 weeks of the season have been great. Those in the stands have understood what was going on and reacted accordingly and honestly, I've enjoyed the entertainment.
Of course, that doesn't mean there aren't things which can still use some improvement like playing regular season matches during the World Cup...but even Mexico has it worse
Either way, we are getting close to the point were I'm staring to feel comfortable with the believe that the league will be around for my son to watch when he's an adult.
Heck, it's a beautiful spring day here...I'm not even in the mood to complain about the Galaxy being in mid-season underachiving form, or how Ipswich seem to have given up on this season or even that you would think guys fighting for one of the last few spots on Arena's squad this summer would be able to try something different than trying to outpace Jamaica's fast outside backs.
I'm just looking forward to watching a couple of matches tonight. Heck, it doesn't even bother me that Chivas will probably win. They've certainly started the season better.
Oh, and how 'bout ManU's choke job yesterday. Talk about rolling over and handing the best team money can buy the title.
Nah, I'll just grab a beverage and enjoy what MLS has to offer...anyone think all this stuff about Beckham et al moving here will make it even better?
Back with a bang
Those of you who have read my Ramblings a few times may find it hard to believe, but when it comes to MLS, I’m actually and optimist. Seriously, I believe the league is here to stay and will continue to improve. I just don’t always agree with how the decision makes do the growing.
The reason I mention that is, I never thought all six matches this weekend could have been as good as they were. In true Junkie fashion, I caught at least pieces of all of them and have to say the matches were entertaining though teams still have some jelling to do and the crowds were great.
So, here’s some thoughts on each one.
- Dallas – Chicago I thought soccer was just boring 0-0 draws? What’s better than seeing the home side come from a goal down twice to win 3-2? Good stuff and plenty of action—though both defenses could use some work. The downers though were Dave O’Brian (what is he doing in the booth?) and those pointless sideline interview with that actor (no, not Fish)? Oh, and has Dallas managed to actually fill the seats yet at PHP?
- KC -- Columbus Not the start Sigi wanted for C’bus. Funny how he was always criticized in LA for putting too defensive a team on the pitch. KC with Johnson will score a lot more than we are used to. Oh, and the Wiz managed to find some fans.
- LA -- NE This one hurt. Yeah, I’m still an LA homer even if I now live in the Eastern Time zone. Honestly, LA created the better opportunities (and more of them) but they just couldn’t finish. Let’s see if Sampson can get things sorted out up top. Adding John O’Brian (if you believe the rumors) would help at lot coming out of the midfield…but I’m afraid what the cost would be. Is it really any surprise that the two sides that have already played some meaningful matches had the most together backlines (and the lowest score)?
- DC—NY Great match. NY decides their new name/colors should also come with a new attitude—winning footie—then decide to take a break in the second half. Great atmosphere and entertaining match all round. However, is it just me or could Red Bull have spent a few more seconds coming up with their new shirts?
- Chivas—RSL The battle of last season’s expansion teams showed who grew the most in the off-season. I was sure Chivas would be a much better side this season and, well, they were. Adding Ratface (errr…Razov) sure worked out for Bradley. Expect the Goats to even give LA some tough Derby matches.
- Houston—Colorado The Smurfs (errr…Melons) pickup where they left off in San Jose. Ching bags four in the opener. Nice crowd on hand—thought they were worried about attendance this weekend—and with results like that, I’m sure those fans will be back. Actually, I was a bit disappointed in Colorado…they should be better than they looked yesterday.
In all, I enjoyed my weekend on the couch watching footie.
Going back to my criticisms of decisions the league makes (direction etc.) Jeff Carlisle at SoccerNet brought up many of the points I’ve made on my blog
about where the league needs to improve. I’ve said it a lot on here, marking to kids for 11 years and then ignoring them as teens and young adults is a mistake. A 10 year old in 1996 is now 21 and able to buy beer at matches with his friends now. What’s been done to keep him/her coming back to matches all these years? Regular season matches are a joke as is playing matches while the leagues best players are off at the World Cup (Also, International Dates here on non-World Cup years). Lots of good points here, worth reading and it’s about time someone who isn’t a blogger or BigSoccer poster brings this up.
Anyway, good news all round. Better get some work done.
A few more last-minute thoughts
I’ve managed to find some more time to write today so here are some more thoughts from me.
Is anyone else watching what is going on in Miami? From everything I’ve read they seem to me to be building things the right way. I’m not sure about signing Romario—he is a bit old—but he’ll sell a few tickets. They should be worth watching. Let’s see how the team jells. A few wins this season won’t hurt either.
Don Garber spoke with LA Times hack, Grahame Jones the other day and painted a rosy picture of everything MLS style. It looks like Toronto is a go and St. Louis and Philly may be close behind. Also, possible news about a return to the Bay Area by the end of April—makes the move to Houston even more of a head-scratchier…especially when you look at how ticket sales are going for 186…errr Dynamite—has to be a good sign. 16 teams would certainly improve the league. However, the best part, in my opinion, is the fact that AEG (and Hunt, sorta) are selling off teams. Heck, if Red Bull can be bought for $100 million (total amount of sale with stadium etc.) then there must be some value to MLS teams…someone is making money. Of course Garber when on about new stadiums. After all, making the investments is creating new revenue for the league owners so teams like LA can announce they are making money…very attractive when trying to bring new investors on board. It’s working so I can’t really knock it.
Every other blogger is making preseason predictions. I’m not sure that’s really needed with MLS. The league wants a level field, restricting squad sizes and having a salary cap makes having one team a lot better than another difficult. On any day, results can go either way. This is especially true with 40 games being played while
Anyway, 2 hours until the first game, better warm up by watching some EPL or something. Ok, maybe I am excited about the new season. If only they would make the regular season games more meaningful.
The Final Countdown
It’s darn early (PZ Jr. decided he wanted a bottle and went back to sleep) on opening day. As excited as I am about the start of MLS season, I’m not as excited as I should be. For one thing, all this “Soccer Saturday” stuff is no more. Half the matches this weekend are on Sunday. I guess that’s what happens when more money is invested in the league and, well I’m guessing stadium availability has something to do with it also, but out side of LA, I’m not sure I understand the problem.
Then there’s the lack of identity of a third of the teams. Last season we had two expansion teams (RSL and Chivas) and this year we have Houston and NY--yeah, just rebranding but the names sure look funny.
I guess what really has me lacking excitement is the fact that the team (my team) who won the MLS Cup only had to manage a .500 record during the regular season. In fact, the team they knocked out of the playoffs in the Conference Final also had a .500 record. What’s the point? We have the Cup, which is intended to create upsets, but does the league brass really want upsets like those that they got in the playoffs last season? If nothing else, they make the regular season meaningless.
I guess there are some things to look forward to. Red Bull seem to be shaking things up a bit and actually doing the things many have said should have been done some time ago. Those bus trips have to be worth the ticket price (oh yeah, they’re free). Get people into the stadium. Isn’t that rule one.
Did I sign up for Direct Kick this year? Better check.
Anyway, 6.5 hours until Dallas and Chicago kick off….then it’s a wait until LA play NE. Time to get things done before Kickoff.
Oh yeah, and don’t choke Ipswich, we’re out of the playoffs but we still need to finish ahead of the Budgies. As one season finishes...another starts. OK, maybe things aren't all bad.