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

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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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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

pic of the week 9/2-9/8

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Marseille manager Marcelo Bielsa

Long before he took the manager’s job at Olympique de Marseille, Marcelo Bielsa has always been a man who has spoken his mind. And given his track record of success, he’s entitled to. But sometimes, the man nicknamed “El Loco” — the “crazy one” in English — says a lot more than what his club would prefer. So after the transfer window didn’t go quite to his liking, Bielsa felt it was time to unleash a tirade on club president Vincent Labrune at a recent press conference. And the face of the club press secretary, seen in the background, during said tirade is priceless.

However, after a rough start to life at the Stade Veledrome, El Loco has righted the ship and currently has the French giants sitting fourth in the table after two straight wins. So odds are, they’ll tolerate his little outburst… for now.

ten words or less #81

torres fans can take comfort in knowing fernando’s cat-like scratch of vertonghen’s face wasn’t viewed as ridiculous as luis suarez’s bite.

I don’t know if anyone else is feeling this way, but my cup runneth over with football at the moment. I already felt like my cup was full with the increased availability of Premier League coverage this season, but that’s feeling even more full given that the Capital One Cup and European midweek fixtures regularly on the calendar again. The MLS season has reached crunch time, providing a myriad of playoff races to and storylines satisfy one’s needs. And don’t forget: another round of World Cup qualifiers is just a fortnight away, too.

So with my attention span being pulled in a thousand directions at the moment, it’s been a bit difficult to crack out full-length pieces. But worry not, I’ve got you covered with the eighty-first edition of Ten Words or Less. And if I do say so, this one has some delectable links. Also, be on the look out for Episode 8 of the WSOTP Pod to drop later this afternoon, too. Though with both posts hitting you in short order, you might feel like your cup is running over too.

United fan marrying into City family trolls with his toast. – youtube.com

Dunny provides insight into how Generation Adidas got it’s start.
– theoriginalwinger.com

Spurs-Chelsea last weekend was a tactician’s dreamworld. – zonalmarking.com

Hey Geoff Cameron: less about you, more about the team. – espnfc.com

Would you eat — or pay $40.58 for — a Zlatan Burger? – guardian.co.uk

I back academies, but there are decent arguments against them. – latimes.com

For no other reason than tweaked nostalgia, I need these. – hypebeast.com

I’m no El Tri fan, but I dig me some Jorge Campos. – inbedwithmaradona.com

Great insight on year one of the MLS-USL partnership. – philly.com

This seems way more like something Sterling would do. – fanatix.com

pic of the week 7/22-7/28

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic Bikini

When you are The Zlatan, you do what you want, anywhere you want. He’s pretty well proven that with his willingness to kick teammates all around Europe. And if The Zlatan wants to prance about in a “mankini” after a 0-1 preseason friendly loss against Real Madrid in his native Sweden, then you better believe he’s going to do it.

Why exactly did The Zlatan choose to strip down to what Who Ate All the Pies described as an “ultra masculine bikini”? I doubt it was so hot in Solna that it was necessary to ditch one’s shirt and shorts after the match. Maybe players swapping shorts these days too, and I’ve just not caught on to the trend. Or perhaps he’s worked out a Bendtner-Paddypower-esque deal with GPSports to help get their name out into the marketplace.

You know, on second thought, it’s probably best not to delve into the murky world that is Ibrahimović’s decision making and just let him do what he wants.

ten words or less #74

we check back in with dribble 4 toledo, who now find themselves in paulding, ohio.

we check back in with dribble 4 toledo, who now find themselves in sherwood, ohio.

It seems like everyone is hitting the road these days. Premier League clubs are playing one another in Yankee Stadium. Or how about Neyamar, who’s packing his bags and leaving Brazil for greener (potentially) pastures in Barcelona. Better yet, remember the guys I wrote about back in early February? You know, the band of four dudes from my hometown who were making an epic trip across the state with only a soccer ball at their feet and the goal of raising money and awareness for the poor of Toledo in their minds?

Well at the close of the ninth day of Dribble4Toledo‘s 250 mile route, I’m happy to report the guys already find themselves well over halfway through their journey from Monroe to Toledo. Along the way, they’ve had some interesting detours along the route, so be sure to check out their Facebook page to chart their progress and see what they’re getting themselves into. And congrats and safe travels again to the boys as they continue their path across Ohio!

And to keep the trend going, I’ll also be hitting the road this week… albeit in significantly more lazy fashion, as I’ll be in a car and not hoofing it like the boys from D4T. First, I’ll be heading North to watch the US Men as they take on a Spurs-rich Belgium side in Cleveland. Then at the weekend, I’ll be sliding over to Chicago’s Toyota Park to watch the Fire battle DC United and kick off the next big project here at WSOTP. All told, it will be over a 1000 miles worth of driving just so I can fill these pages with content and keep your prying eyes coming back for more. Don’t worry, you can thank me later.

In the mean time, enjoy these excellent links from around the interwebs.

NYCFC’s logo won’t look like this; and that’s a shame. – mwillis.com

A brilliant breakdown of the reasons behind Falcao to Monaco. – reddit.com/u/nikcub

But will Monaco even be allowed to play in France? – guardian.co.uk

Neymar will either prove he belongs or crash and burn. – espnfc.com

The end of a beautiful friendship: Cosmos switch to Nike. – footballshirtculture.com

Trying to get into the Champions League Final… for free.
- supportersnotcustomers.com

Americanisms vs Britishisms. Funny thing: there is no right answer. – bbc.co.uk

Cesc on a mission to play for everyone I hate. – foxsports.com

This one is for mi amiga colombiana… crazy Colombian hair! – thebeautifulgear.com

Everton redesign their kit: fans hate it. Club’s response: surprising. – evertonfc.com

pic of the week 4/15-4/21

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Beckham's kids at PSG training

Short of the (future) children of the royals, Brooklyn, Cruz and Romeo Beckham (L-R) are most likely the most famous children in England along with their sister Harper. And given their parents’ fame, it’s not so infrequent that the little rascals show up in the news. But are Beckham’s kids really so important that they should get to buzz about a PSG training session and have kick abouts with some of Europe’s most elite footballers? Come to think of it, the little bastards also took the pitch in LA and Madrid, too. Does David make sure there’s a provision in his contracts where his kids can enter the field of play at any time they please?

Now maybe I haven’t been to enough professional level training sessions; maybe it’s pretty normal to see the players’ offspring wandering around the grounds. And it’s possible that I’m just slightly jealous of the access given to Golden Balls’ progeny. But that doesn’t change the fact that it seems just a little unsafe to have your children anywhere near so close to the Zlatan.

This week’s “Pic of the Week” brought to you by… privilege.

pic of the week 3/18-3/24

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David Beckham and his underwear

Yo dawg… I heard you like David Beckham’s new underwear, so we put Beckham in with a bunch of Beckham’s underwear so you can help him earn more money while giving him your money.

Sorry, I had to.

Though I was tempted to use a picture from Friday’s epic battle in the snow in Denver, I’ve already devoted an entire gallery post on the US Mens National Team’s now-protested victory over Costa Rica. No need for overkill there. So instead we get a shot of Golden Balls at an unveiling of his new H&M underwear line in Berlin. He even signed underwear at the event, so his fans could have even more David Beckham in their David Beckham underwear. Xzibit, no doubt, approves. How this guy has time to promote his underpants in Germany, slip and fall on his ass while in China as their “Global Football Ambassador” and play for PSG — all in one week — is a bit beyond me.

crisis management

Chelsea Fans Want Rafa Out

if you’ve only been in the job for a few days, and fans are already holding up signs like these… you might just find yourself in a managerial crisis.

The midpoint of the European season is often one of the most jam-packed, chaotic and turbulent portions of the yearly footballing calendar. Between the January transfer window, scheduling congestion between all of the major competitions — especially in England where there is not a winter break — and under performing clubs starting to realize that there’s hardly any time to left in the season to really turn their seasons around, the pressure mounting on some clubs and their managers often reaches a fever pitch.

Of course, the media love this time of year for just those reasons. It allows them the ability to not only fabricate report on stories concerning transfer speculation, but also pounce all over clubs who’s managers they feel aren’t able to control the crisis currently enveloping their clubs. Determining whether the agendas those media types are pushing are genuinely those of club’s or their fans’, however, can be a very difficult task. How are we, as media consumers, supposed to really know what’s going on?

Well, we can’t. But it sure can be fun to speculate. So with that in mind, below are listed five managers that the media have deemed to be currently in the hot seat at their respective clubs. For each, we’ll attempt to sift through all of the BS surrounding their situations, and predict a fate for each of these under pressure managers.

Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)

Arsenal's Arsene Wenger

wenger certainly won’t ever admit he’s feeling the pressure, but i think we can all tell he is.

The Situation: Of all the managers that the media are reporting to be in troubled situations at their clubs, as a Spurs supporter, Wenger’s crisis is the one in which I take the most joy. And though the “Professor” has been able to perform admirably on his shoestring transfer budget over the last few years, eight years without a major trophy appears to have rubbed the Gunners’ faithful the wrong way. Sure, sporadic calls for his head echoed around the Emirates in recent seasons, but those calls have grown louder and louder as time has worn on. With just one win in their last four, the discontent within their ranks finally boiled over in last weekend’s loss to Swansea with chants of “You don’t know what you’re doing!” audible even through the television. Wenger’s response? Despite languishing all the way down in 10th in the league table: “This club is in fantastic shape.” Delusional, much?

Crisis Level: 4 out of 10

Predicted Outcome: Despite the malcontent amongst their fans, Arsenal will at least stick with Wenger through the end of the year. Probably longer. Because while the fans are in an uproar, the club’s administration are perfectly content to keep selling off their best players and turning a profit… with or without trophies.

Carlo Ancelotti (Paris Saint-Germain)

“wait, you say that i am the one under pressure?”

The Situation: Despite outspending everyone in France by a country mile over the last few seasons, PSG and Ancelotti currently find themselves sitting second in the Ligue 1 table and facing mounting pressure. Big money signing and footballing anti-hero Zlatan Imbrahimović has come good for the Parisians, but the fact that he accounts for an astounding 54% of their goal tally in the league is immensely troubling for a side that also boasts attacking talents like Ezequiel Lavezzi, Maxwell and Javier Pastore. But as you might predict, Carlo has barely arched his super brow at the issue. “Things are going to change, because they’re not normal right now. The league isn’t finished. We’ll be competitive soon.”

Crisis Level: 5 out of 10

Predicted Outcome: With an ownership group that’s proven quick to pull the trigger on firing a coach (just ask Antoine Kombouaré), and oodles of money to attract a top manager, Ancelotti shouldn’t feel that comfortable at the moment. If results remain stagnant, expect PSG to make a change.

Martin O’Neill (Sunderland)

Sunderland's Martin O'Neill

considering his sunderland side’s current form, martin is justified in having that nervous look on his face

The Situation: For a man known for getting the most out of clubs without a lot of financial backing, O’Neill hasn’t been able to reproduce his successes at Leicester City, Celtic and Aston Villa at the Stadium of Light. And with one less win in his first 24 matches in charge than his predecessor Steve Bruce had in the same span, not to mention the Black Cats currently sitting in the relegation zone, pressure must surely be mounting for the club to dispatch Northern Irishman. With just one win in their last 10 outings, time could be running out for O’Neill to save his hide. And a general rule of thumb is that any time you have to refute rumors of your own resignation, things aren’t going very well for you.

Crisis Level: 8 out of 10

Predicted Outcome: Sunderland’s ownership find themselves in a precarious situation: while O’Neill isn’t producing the desired results, who exactly are they going to replace him with? There aren’t exactly a number of managers in the market that have experience in rescuing clubs embroiled in relegation scraps. Mark Hughes is available, but he seems more apt to placing clubs in relegation battles than he is at getting clubs out of them. I’d doubt they would fancy another round of Roy Keane. And unfortunately, Roberto Di Matteo seems out of their reach. So with options limited, it seems Sunderland might just be stuck with O’Neill for the time being.

José Mourinho (Real Madrid)

Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho

is mourinho feeling madrid burnout?

The Situation: The Bernabéu is a tough office environment, even for a manager known for his mental fortitude like the Special One. Not only are Real Madrid’s fans fickle and demanding, but the club’s history tells us their board and presidents are too. If you thought sacking managers after winning the Champions League was something invented by Roman Abramovich, Real were at it a decade before the revolving door was installed at Stamford Bridge. And with José’s men already 11 points adrift of bitter rivals Barcelona, pressure is mounting on the Portuguese manager’s shoulders.

Crisis Level: 4 out of 10

Predicted Outcome: While winning the league and maintaining pace with their Catalunyan foes is important, the reason why Mourinho was brought it was to help Madrid win their long-sought 10th European crown. And while doing so would most certainly save his job, the odd thing is that he’s likely to leave even if he does win his third European Cup… on his own accord. Just as he did at Porto and Inter, José would probably fancy going out on top. But should he not achieve that goal, he’ll probably abort this project and move on to another, too.

Rafa Benítez (Chelsea)

Chelsea's Rafa Benitez

one look at rafa’s face, and you can tell he knows his days at chelsea are numbered.

The Situation: I saw a quote the other day describing the managerial situation at Chelsea that was pretty interesting. Five managers have won the Champions League in the last six years: Chelsea have fired three of them (Mourinho, Ancelotti and Di Matteo), and the other two (Ferguson and Guardiola) don’t want to manager for them. Benítez, a man who’s won one himself, had to have known that going in, right? And he also had to have known that the Chelsea fans hated him. And with this expensively assembled Chelsea side struggling to handle the high expectations being placed on them, Rafa had to have known the timing was bad, too. I get that a man may like a challenge, but at the same time, taking over the reigns at this point in Chelsea’s chaotic history seemed more like a suicide mission.

Crisis Level: 7 out of 10

Predicted Outcome: This one is the easiest outcome to predict by a landslide. Abramovich will fire Benítez. When that will happen is little less easy to predict, but knowing how fickle and trigger happy their Russian oligarch is, another loss for the Blues could just do the trick. But let’s be clear… it is going to happen. Just give it time.