08 January, 2011

You Think You Had a Bad Day

Newcastle just got dumped out of the FA Cup by D2 Stevenage (yeah thats 3 divisions below Newcastle) in a 3-1 rout that even saw an own goal by Newcastle defender Williamson who took a shot off his face and wrong footed his own keeper. Ouch.

Speaking of ouch, one of the Stevenage defenders got a right hook from a fan during the after game celebrations.

Could be worse, though. You could be AS Monaco and lose to D5 French side Chambery. Granted it was 3-2 in penalties, but this is the same Monaco that back in the 90s was running roughshod over most of Europe. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Sure they won't take Adu back on loan?

Video:desonsinho, Hedfcuk

The IOC Is Corrupt

So says Sepp Blatter. More specifically, Sepp claims they "spend money like a housewife."

How do you like them apples?
"Our accounts are open to everyone. ... We've [done] it since I'm the president. It wasn't done before," Blatter said in Qatar, where he is attending the Asian Cup. "The IOC does it like a housewife. She receives some money and she spends some money."
Funny, because I hear the IOC is looking into FIFA corruption. And Sepp, Haveglande, and Hayatou are each on both the FIFA Ex-Co and on the IOC. And all three have been accused of taking bribes, with two of them actually having been caught taking said bribes.

The best part of his statement? The fact that the corruption committee was now going to be more "advisory" in it's role.
"The controversy started yesterday in the newspapers ... concerning an anti-corruption group is absolutely untrue," Blatter said. "This has nothing to do with a new anti-corruption unit. We have an anti-corruption unit. This is the ethics committee of FIFA. This unit works well. Even we haven't had any evidence of corruption but we have had evidence of noncompliance with the code of ethics. This has been the cases you know."
Great. Nice to know FIFA has that whole corruption thing under control. I was kind of worried there for a minute.

Photo: FIFA

The Beautiful Game (pt. 24)

Little Christmas early... Juri Jaaskelanien Feb 2010 match.

Photo: Whoateallthepies

Roy Out, Dalglish In

On the heels of the Sky Sports article claiming that Roy Hodgson was "relishing" this Sunday's FA Cup match versus Man U comes another Sky Sports article (confirmed on Liverpool's website) that Hodgson is out by mutual consent and will be immediately replaced by Kenny Dalglish.

Dalglish is expected to manage the remainder of the season.
"Being asked to manage Liverpool football club was a great privilege," Hodgson said."Any manager would be honoured to manage a club with such an incredible history, such embedded tradition and such an amazing set of fans. Liverpool is one of the great clubs in world football. I have, however, found the last few months some of the most challenging of my career. I am very sad not to have been able to put my stamp on the squad, to be given the time to bring new players into the club in this transfer window and to have been able to be part of the rebuilding process at Liverpool. The club has some great, world-class players, with whom it has been a pleasure to work and I wish the entire squad well for the rest of the season. I thank those with whom I have built up a close working relationship at the club for their loyalty and support during very testing times, and finally of course to the Liverpool fans, your passion and dedication to the club will see Liverpool at the top of the game once more."

Special 1 TV (S. 2 Ep. 9)

And you know what? That tatoo you have on your you know what looks nothing like me Becks... Awesome.

Video: Doitchampions

07 January, 2011

A Sad Day

Former Nigerian/Kansas City Wiz defender Uche Okafor died late yesterday.

During his career, he made 31 appearances including roles on two World Cup squads for Nigeria as well as 109 appearances for the Kansas City Wiz during his career.

Since his retirement, he had taken up coaching youth soccer in a Dallas suburb where he coached until his passing.
“I’m terribly sad to hear of his passing,” said Ron Newman, Wizards manager from 1996 through 1999. “He was a big, strong guy, but he was very pleasant and I found him to be very professional. He was just an absolute gentleman.”

“I wouldn’t like to be on the wrong side of him if I was playing against him,” he said. “He took no prisoners. But he was fair in everything he did; fair play and good guy. If he knocked you over, he’d pick you up and dust you down.”

Photo: KCWiz

All He Does Is Win

To say Gareth Bale has had a breakout year is an understatement. The left back/left mid who at one point went 24 straight matches in a Spurs jersey without a win suddenly caught fire.

Honestly, to quote ESPN, he's "dare I say, 'en fuego'."

Now, going into the season, I told you he'd be the surprise, and other than Andy Carroll lighting it up for Newcastle at a stellar rate, I'm money. That said, Bale's complete 180 is the most surprising.

He's already surpassed the 7 goals I expected this season (11 to date). And he lit up Inter Milan for 3 to single-handedly keep Spurs in it to qualify for the CL quarters. Let me repeat... Inter. Milan. Sick.

Now sit back and enjoy some highlights courtesy of 723 Football Films:

If you aren't watching him, you should now, because he's the center of buyouts for upwards of £50mil. And the kid is 21.

Video: 723Footballfilms

05 January, 2011

Goal of the Week (Jan 5th)

169 appearances, 1 goal, and it was his first pro goal. Not bad for Watford's Andrew Taylor.

Video: brollan91

Blackburn Wants To Bring Back The Good 'Ol Days

With the not surprising link of Santa Cruz leaving Man City to return to probably the only club willing to pay for his services on the bench, Blackburn is also looking to bring back outcast Bentley from Spurs and Damien Duff from Fulham.

Roque Santa Cruz had 25 goals in 57 appearances from the Rovers.
Bentley had 19 goals and 25 assists in 188 matches for Blackburn.
Damien Duff had 19 goals and 5 assists in 60 appearances.*

It would make sense as all three have gotten scant playing time with their current club and enjoyed, arguably, their best playing days at Blackburn. Question is, will Blackburn pay the expected money to bring them back?

*All stats compiled from ESPN's Soccernet.

04 January, 2011

Man City Agrees Fee for Dzeko

Wow, transfer soap opera is on. Tell the wife to go away for the next month and begin the rumor mill.

While this isn't confirmed yet as no medical has been done and wages haven't been negotiated, what has is that Man City and Wolfsburg have agreed a transfer fee (estimated ~$40mil) for Dzeko to move to Manchester.

So for those of you at home, here are the attacking options for Man City:

Dzeko, Adebayor, Tevez, Balotelli, perennially injured Santa Cruz and Jo.

Seems kinda crowded, which...

Leads to the rumor that Liverpool are inquiring about picking up Adebayor on loan or signing him. Hmmm.

Either way, Man City needs to sell before it buys because of the whole 33 man roster limit thing, so expect some more loans out if Man City can't find a sucker to buy up one of it's players for near what it paid (or pay the crazy salaries that they are offered).

As an update on 1/5, it appears Dzeko has left the Wolfsburg training camp in Spain to travel to Man City for a medical. Looks like these guys are pushing hard for the league.

Video: AC1881

03 January, 2011

Elia to Liverpool?

Doh! Those of you who know me and those of you who read my reports during the 2010 WC know I'm loving this kid.

Liverpool have reportedly dropped ~$18mil on this Dutch kid playing with Hamburg.

Liverpool, great pickup. This kid is the kind of young sick and skilled player who'll do great in the EPL. What can you expect to see from him? Gander this:

Video: ooodutchfutyooo

Wie Gruen ist dein Blatter?

For those of you who didn't take German in high school, it's a play on words. The title, translated, is from O' Tannenbaum. Look at it further, and it can reference something green or inexperienced.

So, without much further Adu (hah, cracking myself up on this), I bring you the latest joke from FIFA.

Blatter is creating an "independent" committee to investigate corruption within FIFA.
“I will take care of it personally, to make sure that there is no corruption at FIFA,” Blatter said in an interview with the Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung. “This committee will strengthen our credibility and give us a new image in terms of transparency.”

Kind of like the ethics committee he put together with corrupt (they were almost all found guilty of bribery at some point in the past 10yrs) FIFA members... Great.
“The committee must be independent to guarantee maximum credibility,” he said. “I want to present this committee to the FIFA Congress here in Zurich at the start of June.”

Hoffeinheim Coach Quits

Not much play on this one, so I figure we need to look at it a little further.

Over the weekend, Hoffeinheim coach Ralf Rangnick, resigned after 4 years at the club which saw them promoted from Regional Sued to the Bundesliga, quite a feat. It wasn't so much that Hoffenheim was sitting mid table, 8th, with 25 pts (a mere 18pts out of first and 3 places out of a European Cup berth) at the half way point, but rather the escalation of disagreements between Rangnick and owner/billionaire Dietmar Hopp.

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