WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 14

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 14

Who cares if it’s an international break… there’s still plenty of football to warrant a new episode of the Pondcast. So what’s on deck this week? D.J. and Jeremy delve into the US men’s national team friendly against Colombia and the negative reactions to Klinsmann’s post-World Cup displays. Euro 2016 qualifying also gets some time in the spotlight, as did the ludicrous findings of FIFA’s corruption investigation. And while there’s no Fulham Watch to update you on this week, the guys still picked their Winners & Wankers for the week. Not only that, but we also welcomed in our first guest of Season 2: the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Justin Duke, who our local listeners might know better as @EnquirerFC on Twitter. Justin talked with us about how he came to love the beautiful game, how he started following Liverpool, and also took part in our naming of our Third of the Season Premier League Awards™.

As always, if you want us to answer a question or hear us dish on a topic of your choosing, we would obviously love to do so. Just drop us a line at contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com, or you send them to us on social media using the links at the bottom of the page.

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ten words or less #100

WSOTP - Blog - TWOL 100.fwOne hundred is a really big number, and it’s honestly a little mind-boggling that I’ve now written that many of these link round ups. They’re easily the laziest updates I post to WSOTP.  They’re nothing more than the fruits of me gleaning the internet for content that’s not my own in order to pacify you until I have the time to finish content that is. But with ten links per update, that means with this posting that I’ve now shared one thousand links with you. And considering that I probably read another 15-20 articles per link that I actually share in these… I now see why my wife thinks I spend too much time on my phone/tablet/computer.

But even if it is a little bit filler on this site, I still think it’s a noble pursuit to share the best of the best out there. After all, this isn’t the only resource for quality soccer content on the web — as much as I would prefer you to believe that.

Also, to celebrate the occasion: I also thought I’d reveal a little secret about these posts if you hadn’t already figured it out: mousing over the links will reveal further commentary. So yes, I do actually use more than ten words. Why? Because this is my site, and I can make up whatever rules I want. Anyway, enjoy the 100th edition.

Odds of UEFA/Germany actually leaving FIFA? VERY slim. – theguardian.com

Rigged World Cup 2026 host revealed. – telegraph.co.uk

But seriously, Garcia needs to leak that report. – nbcsports.com

Expansion draft rules: as murky as everything else MLS. – mlssoccer.com

I’d love for this to be the WSOTP World HQ. – curbed.com
Cheers to my boy Craig for pointing this one out to me.

The making of Wayne Rooney’s 100th cap. – theoriginalwinger.com

Howler‘s expose on Tinfoil Ted makes him seem somewhat human. – vice.com

More Qatar-based tomfoolery at PSG. – goal.com

So… how are NYCFC any different from Chivas USA? – empireofsoccer.com

Why Everton, Liverpool, Spurs and United are struggling this season. – sbnation.com

a peach of a goal… or ten

FIFA Puskas Award

Not that this is a groundbreaking thought or anything, but most individual awards in the world of sport are one hundred percent subjective.

Soccer is particularly guilty of this when awarding prizes like league MVP’s, goalkeepr of the year awards, or the yearly handing out of the FIFA Balon d’Or. It’s not always the case, but often times an argument can be made for multiple people to be deserving of the award — much to Cristiano Ronaldo’s delight/chagrin.

Anytime you try to decide who the “best” player is, or who did something the best — aside from awards like Golden Boots where it’s pretty darn easy to determine who did or didn’t score the most number of goals — there are way too many factors for any one human or group to consider to say definitively that “this one guy is the best”. Nevermind that everyone has their own opinions, too. I might think something is better than you do, and you might think something is better than I do.

But despite that tangled mess of opinion and fact, we still give out these awards year after year and season after season. Personally, it seems like they’re handed out simply so we all have something argue about. And so people like me have something write about. That the Balon d’Or was originally voted on by a group of journalists is not an irony that has just dawned on me.

Anyway, the FIFA Puskás Award is no different. Named after Hungarian great Ferenc Puskás — a guy you should know about if you don’t already — the prize is awarded by FIFA every year to the player who scored the “best” goal. Please also ignore the fact that FIFA isn’t exactly known for its ability to make non-biased decisions.

But regardless, making a selection from their list of ten nominees is still good fun. And for me, it was an excuse to watch a bunch of fabulous goals all over again. Though it also make me wonder how some goals were left off the list — which I’ll get into later.

So below you will find the ten nominees for the FIFA Puskás Award, in video format, and my thoughts on each. At the end of the article, I’ll also choose my winner, who you will likely disagree with… because this is all subjective anyway.

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WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 13

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 13

Despite it being a mostly “meh” weekend in the Premier League, there were a few storylines worthy of discussion on Episode 13 of the Pondcast. City, Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal have all seen their form continue to slide, while Chelsea, Southampton and Newcastle have seen their stock continue to rise. The midweek Champions League action also merited similar talking points. There was of course plenty to talk about with the MLS Playoffs now in their later stages. We also made time to chat about the friendlies the US team will play out in the British Isles during the upcoming international break. And that’s all on top of our normal Fulham WatchWinners & Wankers and listener question segments.

If you have a question or topic you want us to delve into in next week’s podcast, send us an email to contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com, or you can reach out to us on social media using the links at the bottom of the page.

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hello darkness, my old friend

It’s funny how quickly things can change, but when you reflect back upon the conditions prior to the current situation, they can seem so, so long ago.

Just over four years ago — to be exact, it was November 2, 2010 — chants of “Taxi for Maicon” rained down from the rafters at White Hart Lane as Tottenham dismantled the holders Internazionale in the Champions League. An early, 18th minute Rafael van der Vaart goal got things started, while second half efforts from Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko finished them off. All of that rode on the back of an impossible-to-forget performance from budding superstar Gareth Bale. Scurrying about at a hundred miles an hour in those sexy retro-esque Puma kits, we all attempted to hang on to the moment, the feeling and the player himself.

Four years isn’t really that long ago in the grand scheme of things. It’s just a single World Cup cycle, after all. And Spurs have had some pretty electric moments since, where the future still seemed just as bright and glory just as attainable as it was that November night.

But after yesterday’s horror show against Stoke City, that match against Inter seems a scant memory from potentially decades ago.

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ten words or less #99

WSOTP - Blog - Winter Is Coming Scarf.fwThe weekend is upon us, and the football will be coming thick and fast. Tomorrow morning we kick things off with a little Liverpool v Chelsea treat and the weekend is capped off off with some MLS Playoff action. And somehow, someway, I have to manage a way to watch as much of it as possible and NOT have my wife divorce me. I just keep reminding her we’re only a few weeks away from the end of the MLS season, and that seems to be working… for now, at least.

Also, a huge FYI. That official WSOTP scarf pictured above that still remains on pre-order? Yeah, we’re dropping the price. They’re now just $18. That’s two whole dollars we’ve lumped off the cost to encourage you to buy one. (If you ordered one earlier, worry not, you’ll be getting some money back.) We’ve also added an options for picking up the scarf from me personally so you don’t have to pay for shipping. And for those who have been concerned that WSOTP is getting rich off of your purchases, all profits go right back into the site — hosting, domain registration, and podcasting equipment isn’t free and has come directly out of my pocket for the last 5 years. So your moneys will be utilized to continue bringing you the wonderful content you’ve come to know and love. Plus it’s getting cold out again, and we want you to stay warm. So click here to buy one, please! 

Once your done with that, feel free to check out some of my favorite links from around the interwebz from the last week and a half.

You should stop laughing at the San Marino national team. – vice.com

Puma had to choose a specific zipper just for Wenger. – youtube.com

So how did we end up with LAFC? – si.com

How did I not know this academy existed? – businessweek.com

Want proof that FIFA and Russia are in cahoots? – reuters.com

So African players are just a commodity? Got it. – soccergods.com

DC’s new stadium most expensive in MLS history? – wjla.com

Gary Neville and I agree: defending is dead. – telegraph.co.uk

A magnificent piece of writing on Manaus’ World Cup. – deadspin.com/howler.com

Now contemplating auctioning my daughter’s support to the highest bidder. – whoateallthepies.tv

WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 12

 

WSOTP  Podcast - Season 2 Episode 12I feel like it’s getting a bit redundant when I say there was a lot for us to talk about this week on the Pondcast – a new nickname for the podcast that we’re adopting thanks to clever /r/soccer user TommyShambles — but once again it was true. Even though the Premier League featured a bunch of so-so fixtures, there were still enough talking points to keep us busy. MLS also served us a full plate of content between 1.5 rounds of MLS Playoffs and a new “expansion” side being announced in LA. Our Bundesliga contributor Chris is back with another update on all things Deutsch. Winners & WankersFulham Watch and WSOTP Fantasy League updates all made their appearances too. We managed kept it tight for you though, and for that you are welcome.

Have a question or topic you want us to touch on in the week’s to come? Drop us an email to contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com, tweet them to us or post it on our Facebook wall using the links at the bottom of the page. And last but not least, don’t forget to subscribe below!

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european blues

Manchester City European Failures

A little over ten years ago, a new template for running a football club was established when Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich assumed control of Chelsea. Abramovich’s plan was simple — even if possibly nefarious: dump mountains of cash into the club to acquire top level talent on the field and off, and as such, win trophies with that top talent.

Dividends for this strategy were paid nearly immediately. In the first season with Abramovich writing the checks, Chelsea finished second in the Premier League and advanced all the way to the Champions League semifinals. The next season, after recruiting one José Mourinho to steer the ship, they won the Premier League. And they repeated the feat the year after.

Sure, there were many that claimed that Abramovich’s wealth was skewing the landscape of professional football. They (rightly) claimed his wealth made it possible to outbid for the services of any player and any manager of his choosing, thus inflating the transfer fees and wages of players.

But he proved the system of pouring cash into a club could yield results, and could level the playing field for a club to compete against the long-established forces of European football.

Now, it’s a little naive to say that Roman came up with this system all on his own. Leeds United had attempted a similar scheme several years prior, but did so on the back of loans instead of out of the pocket of an independently wealthy benefactor. And too, Leeds chieved far less and failed to consistently achieve the level of success needed to service their loans. The burning rubble left from that overzealous investment still smolders today, serving as a warning to clubs considering a similar path.

But nevertheless, Abramovich’s model predictably encouraged a myriad of copycat efforts around European football. For some like Chelsea, it’s worked out. But for most — for example Portsmouth, who chose the wrong “wealthy” owners – it did not, sometimes spectacularly. Anzhi Makhachkala, Málaga, AS Monaco… the list goes on.

Then there’s the case of a club like Manchester City.

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ten words or less #98

bayern are good… like “scary good”. if you don’t believe me, just ask roma.

The waiting game when publishing articles for other sites can be excruciating. I’ve got an article that I finished for one a few days ago, and I don’t know when it will go up. It might be tempting to reach out to the editor of that site and ask when it might go up. But as most writers will attest, you never want to get on the bad side of an editor — at least if you ever want to write for him again. So I wait. “Patiently”.

Luckily, I’ve got this nice links round up for you to keep you patiently waiting for new original content, too.

Del Bosque finally stepping down from Spain post in 2016. – nbcsports.com

How was this NOT a penalty? – youtube.com

I now want Bolton to be promoted so bad. – theoriginalwinger.com

One of the best of the flood of #ThanksLD videos. – mlssoccer.com

Sunderland doing right by their incredibly embarrassed traveling supporters. – bbc.com

The boy who might have jump started American soccer earlier. – wsj.com

Shakhtar’s stadium damaged by a bomb blast in Donetsk. – donbass-arena.com

I wish more MLS teams would do collabos like this. – amongmen.com

Michel Platini wants “white cards” for dirty mouths. - theguardian.com

If I could find a wife, you’d think DaMarcus Beasley could. – soccergods.com

ten words or less #97

Landon Donovan's Final USMNT Match

With tomorrow being the final chapter in Landon Donovan’s US national team book — at least from a playing perspective – many in the sphere of American soccer are busy peddling homages to the man’s career. I’m certainly guilty of it too, though I wrote mine back in August. I had contemplated making this latest edition of TWOL my ten favorite odes to LD, but honestly it just felt like people making the same points over and over. So I scrapped that concept, however I did still manage to include my favorite of the bunch in link #1 below. Nestled below that? A smattering of some of the other excellent reads I’ve come across in the last week and a half.

Enjoy the links, enjoy Landycake’s last ever match in national team colors, and prepare yourself for a full run down on the #NewCrew event in Columbus last night in the next day or so.

Landon Donovan’s biggest obstacle to greatness? His brain. – soccergods.com

These guys built a Pool-Ball table, and I’m super jealous. – facebook.com

Why the USL PRO-MLS partnership is already producing dividends. – mlssoccer.com

Well that’s going to be awkward for United. – telegraph.co.uk

Four MASL clubs decided they’ll play by their own rules. – syracuse.com

The big chance for Indian football. – inbedwithmaradona.com

A cool visualization of the most recent MLS Salary release. – stathunter.com

Hurdles/politics have forced Sacramento to rethink their MLS approach. – empireofsoccer.net

The FA’s poorly thought out revisions for foreign work permits. – weaintgotnohistory.com

Reason #479 why Real Salt Lake are good. – sltrib.com