A few weeks back, our featured “Pic of the Week” showed Fernando Torres receiving a warm reception from supporters upon his return to his former club. And while this week’s selection also features a picture of a former player being greeted back at his old stomping grounds, it’s fair to say that Steven Defour was welcomed back in a drastically different tone. So why exactly did Defour get such a hostile greeting at his Standard Liège compared to El Niño’s at Atlético? While Torres returned to play for his former club, Defour returned to play against his former club… with their arch rivals.
After spending five years with Les Rouches, the highly rated Belgian international moved on to Porto — despite constant links to Manchester United, including an odd “get well soon” letter from Sir Alex Ferguson in 2009. A talented player moving on to a bigger club was something the Standard Liège supporters could tolerate. What they couldn’t tolerate, however, was Defour returning to the Belgium’s Jupiler Pro League to play for the most hated foes, Anderlecht.
Unfortunately, Defour did just that this transfer window. And as such, the red faithful of Standard expressed their displeasure with a massive tifo showing his head decapitated from its body.
Apparently the message got through to Defour and he decided to heed the advice of his former supporters in the only way possible: by seeing red in the match. He was sent off in the second half for picking up a second yellow. Better to see red rather than to actually end up, you know… dead. Wise move.
Yes, I’m well aware that things around here have slowed down a bit lately. Posts have dropped off. Our Twitter feed has been relatively quiet. And I’ve not written much elsewhere either. Sorry. But I promise there’s been a lot going on behind the scenes.
A considerable amount of my time recently has been poured into the launching of our new podcast network, Background Noise FC — not to mention the entire site and branding on the link for it below. I’ve also spent a hefty amount of effort recently working on a potential redesign for this website — though whether the new coat of paint sees the light of day remains a big if at this point. And we’ve also been hard at work on a number of other side projects.
Those are nothing but excuses though, right? Right. Well, I do have some things in the works for this space, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to get at least one of them up this weekend. But as I normally do when trying to keep you entertained while I get my ish together, here’s a new link round up to hold you over.
We’ve been recording the official Wrong Side of the Pond podcast for just over a year and a half now. In total, we’ve recorded sixty-six episodes and have amassed a healthy following which numbered just shy of 200 subscriptions after our last episode. And to be honest, we’re stoked with how far we’ve come. Recording has been a blast, and it’s opened quite a few doors for us.
And even though we’ve experienced all this growth, we obviously still want the podcast to continue to grow. Problem is, it’s still really easy for our own “Pondcast” to get drowned out by the cacophony of other soccer pods out there.
All the major American outlets have them — NBC with their Men in Blazers, ESPN with their ESPNFC, Major League Soccer’s ExtraTime Radio, most of the SB Nation Blog’s, etc. There’s also the excellent podcasts across the pond, like The Football Ramble or the Guardian’s Football Weekly and the like. That’s some pretty stiff, well-backed competition. Each of those shows has thousands upon thousands of subscribers. And that’s not even including the ocean of other independent soccer podcasts like ourselves filling the digital airways. But just because we’re small, that doesn’t mean that we’re not worthy of a listen. There are diamonds in the rough.
But what exactly are small appealing podcasts with limited backing supposed to do to continue to grow?
We know this wasn’t the most exciting of Premier League weekends — though we’d expect Arsenal fans might have something different to say about that. Chelsea smashed someone, Villa and QPR continued to stumble, Spurs tripped their way to three points at home, Everton continue to do the opposite of impress and Alan Pardew pulls off another Palace miracle. You know, usual stuff. But the guys run down the action anyway in addition to discussing a busy off-season of MLS player transactions, naming our Winners & Wankers for the week and getting an update from Fulham Watch. Oh yeah, and listen in for a quick announcement about a new partnership we’re forging.
Think of any questions and topics you’d like for the guys to tackled on next week’s podcast? Shoot them our way by email (contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com)or by using the social media links at the bottom of the page.
This is an actual screenshot of an actual tweet from the actual official Twitter account of Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC sent just one day after the club had shipped AWOL Englishman Jermain Defoe to Sunderland for cash plus Jozy Altidore. In fact, as of publication, this tweet is still somehow live.
I totally get Toronto being pissed about the situation. Along with Michael Bradley, Defoe was to be the centerpiece of a TFC’s ascension to MLS royalty. They bent over backwards to land the former Spurs striker, including sky-high wages and reportedly appeasing his very demanding mother. Hell, they paraded him right out of the gates as a “Bloody Big Deal”. And even though they broke both the bank and the all rules about avoiding embarrassing English clichés, Defoe still left them high and dry just 11 months.
But to take to Twitter and publicly root against a guy you had just called a “Bloody Big Deal” just one day later? Yikes. It’s hilarious, in that “you’re a crazy ex girlfriend” kind of way.
Premier League recaps? Check. Balon d’OR Predictions? You know it. Transfer Fodder? There’s plenty of that. Crazy Jurgen Klinsmann USMNT call ups? Of course. Narrative about new managers winning their first games in charge? Regrettably. Episode 22 of the Pondcast features all those discussions and much, much more.
Have something you want us to chat about next week? Send your topics and questions by email (contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com)orhit us up on the social media links at the bottom of the page.
That may be a classic sales cliché, but it’s an expression that’s still worth following. By not setting the bar too high, a business gives itself the opportunity to exceed customer expectations, earn their trust and hopefully gain a long-time commitment from them. Promise too much and miss the mark, and you can pretty much kiss those clients goodbye as soon as they’re out your door.
Yet despite this strategy being a no brainer business practice, it’s appears to be a lesson the folks at New York City FC and MLS never learned. Case in point: the Frank Lampard Fiasco.
Thanks to a weekend of rather underwhelming FA Cup third round matches, the “Pondcast” team now finally have a chance to catch up with the hectic English football holiday stretch. On this episode, the guys dive into the “Magic of the Cup” — or lack there of — rundown the New Years Day Premier League fixtures, and preview the January Transfer Window. But that’s not all, as the forever intertwined Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard invade our domestic football discussions, which is probably just fine for Gideon Zelalem’s sake. You’ll also find our weekly Fantasy, Winners & Wankers and Fulham Watch segments too.
Want to get involved in the discussion? Send us your questions and topics via email to contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]comorhit us up on the social media links on the bottom of the page, and we’ll do our best to integrate them into our next episode.
Look at that picture. Just look at it for a second longer, too.
That is a man unburdened. That is a player who has long felt pain, but is feeling the warmth of the sun for the first time in ages. That is the reaction of a man who’s scaled unbelievable heights, then suffered through unbelievable lows before eventually finding his way home into the open arms of some 45,000 who love him unconditionally.
Fernando Torres has been the butt of many jokes in this space and countless others. Some of it may well have been deserved, but much of it probably wasn’t. Injuries, bad luck and mismanagement could have easily shouldered some of the scorn he’s received — but they rarely do. Yet it’s still easy to forget that Torres was likely the finest striker on the planet in 2007/2008. Even during the next two injury-hit campaigns, he was still putting up ridiculous numbers despite limited showings. And though he’s been far off that form since, I can’t help but feel like there’s never been a player more deserving of that kind of support. To get a fresh start where you’re already adored? To go home? He built his name there. He rescued them from La Segunda. And, in a small way, he actually helped set Atlético Madrid on the path to being the reigning Spanish champions that they are today too.
This particular quote from /r/soccer user AtletiCampeon captured the emotion best: “Torres brought us back, we will bring him back as well.”
If nothing else, for Fernando’s sake, I hope they do.
With January now upon us, you have probably heard something about the “transfer window”. And if you’re new to the sport, then you might be asking yourself what exactly that is. We here at Wrong Side of the Pond want to help. Below you’ll find sample excerpts from our own “Transfer Windows for DUMMMIES” to help make things at least a little bit easier for you to understand.