Suffice to say, it’s been a crazy week here in Cincinnati. The launch of a new USL franchise — which we helped to break — and the arrival of an American soccer legend — also something we told you about first — has made for a very interesting week here on the banks of the Ohio River. I’ve whisked around town for press conferences (seen above… Hi, Mom!) events and to speak on a few different media outlets, not to mention written a few articles on it all, too.
But even though I’ve been a tad busy, still wanted to share some of my favorite points of interest from around the soccer interwebz that I’ve managed to stumble across over the last two weeks. For those of you who are new to these parts — greetings! Hopefully we won’t scare you off.
For those who have followed Wrong Side of Pond for any length of time longer than a week or two, you’re probably well aware of my deep love for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. Longer-time followers are probably also familiar with my obsession with former Lillywhites star and current Real Madrid galáctico Gareth Bale.
Admittedly, it was pretty rough watching Bale depart for the Spanish capital two seasons ago. Okay, it downright sucked. But given time, it’s at least been a pill that could swallow.
I understand Bale’s ambition to play for arguably the greatest club of all time. He “dreamed” of playing for them as a schoolboy. Since his move to Iberia, he’s achieved tremendous success too. Those successes have ranged from seemingly less impressive feats such as holding down a spot in their starting XI — a much harder task at Madrid than it might seem — to scoring the winning goal to help Madrid lift their long-sought tenth Champions League trophy. Too, it’s not like he went to a direct rival and Spurs did receive a pleasant sum of Euros for parting ways with him. So for all of those reasons, I’ve been able to accept his successes even though he’s not been enjoying them while wearing a Spurs’ shirt.
However, with rumors of Bale moving on to Manchester United refusing to go away, I’ll admit that’s a pill I’m less inclined to take.
With a big match on the horizon this weekend in domestic football — you know, the MLS Cup Final — we thought it high time to gather the local readers/supporters together again with another watch party at our favorite local pub, Rhinehaus in Over-the-Rhine. So if you happen to be in Cincinnati this coming Sunday (12/7), be sure to swing by to have a pint with the #Pondcast team and watch as Landon does battle with Jones in the former’s last ever professional soccer match. In fact, if you are going to be in town, let us know you’re attending by RSVPing here.
In the mean time, entertain yourselves by following any of the ten links below that I dug up from around the wide world web over the last week.
This week’s edition of Pic of the Week comes a day later than normal thanks to a much needed break away from the internet during the Memorial Day holiday here in the US, but picking it couldn’t have been any easier for me. And the reason for selecting a shot of Gareth Bale scoring the game-winning, Champions League-title-clenching goal are many.
For one, despite his sale to Real Madrid last summer, the former Tottenham fullback/winger/attacking menace remains my favorite player. Stomaching his sale — and his seven “replacements” fumbling along at White Hart Lane — has been tough for sure, but my joy in seeing him score such an important goal on such a grand stage couldn’t have been any more intense. I tweeted at the time “I know he doesn’t play for us anymore, but as far as I’m concerned, Bale scored that goal for #Spurs too”… to which a mountain of Arsenal fans latched on to and laughed at. But with Tottenham playing such a vital roll in his development, and me following his career since his days at Southampton, it sure felt that way. Furthermore, I’m also a quiet Real Madrid fan, and was happy to see the club finally clinch their long-awaited 10th European Cup — La Décima. Oh, and the Welshman’s headed finish might possibly be the most perfectly placed upper-90 shot I’ve ever seen — almost exactly the same distance from the post and crossbar.
Anyway, congratulations to Gareth. You might not be at Spurs any longer, but you’ll forever be draped in lillywhite to me.
from some angles, you could see how it looks like pardew and meyler were just having an intimate moment. howard webb even looks jealous.
It’s been a big week here at WSOTP, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the world of football has stopped spinning. Champions League knockout round first legs wrapped up, European action abounded, World Cup news continued streaming, MLS preseason concluded, not to mention the upcoming round of international friendlies on the horizon. And when I wasn’t busy soaking up all of the attention of dropping an announcement of my own, I did manage some time to jot down some of my favorite links in between my moments in the limelight. And no, nothing has gone to my head. So enjoy the links, plebians.
As a dedicated fan of the beautiful game, no matter who you support, there are a number of dates each year that just about all of us circles on our calendars as “can’t miss” matches.
while normally a really exciting affair, the lead up to the first of this year’s clasicos has been unusually quiet… and even boring if you ask san iker.
The obvious ones are the dates of major international finals, Europe’s Champions League final, and South America’s Copa Libertadores. There are also a number of club rivalry matches — the so called “derbies” — that get the same treatment. Even if you don’t support the teams battling it out, the history and passion wrapped up in the matches often make them extremely entertaining affairs. Notable examples are the Derby d’Italia between Juventus and Inter, the Superclásico contested between River Plate and Boca Juniors, the currently-muted Old Firm Derby between Rangers and Celtic, and more recently the Manchester Derby between United and City.
However, the crown jewel of rivalries has to be Spain’s El Clásico.
With apologies to a very excellent Atlético Madrid side, Real Madrid and Barcelona are the two best sides on the Iberian peninsula in both a historical and modern context. Between them, the two European giants have won 53 La Liga titles, 44 Copa del Reys, and 13 European Cups. That said, the rivalry runs far deeper than just bulging trophy cabinets. It also has deep roots in the highly charged cultural and political tug of war between the Catalonia and Castile regions of the country.
And this weekend, we all have the privilege of watching the first Clásico of the season as Real visits Barça’s cavernous Camp Nou. Oddly though, the hype in the lead up to this match seems dull in comparison to years past.
this is what it looks like when £166 million pounds worth of footballers get together.
I’ve been a little USA-Mexico heavy in this space for the last week or so, and understandably so. And predictably, a little bit of that spills over into this weeks TWOL posting. If you’re feeling a little burnt out on the subject, don’t worry… there’s still a further six links below that aren’t related to that match in any way. So the #USAvMEX talk is slowly dying down, if nothing else. And don’t worry, there’s more coming on the blog tomorrow that doesn’t have anything to do with it either.
However, if you’re wanting even more of the US Soccer coverage, be sure to check out Episode 5 of the WSOTP Pod — a.k.a. the “Dos A Cero Special” — and you can hear all my thoughts on all of the festivities that surrounded the epic match in Columbus.
“The Club can announce that it has signed a partnership agreement with Real Madrid FC and reached agreement for the transfer of Luka Modric, subject to medical, to the Spanish club. The partnership agreement will see the two Clubs working together in respect of players, coaching, best practices and commercial relationships.”
what exactly was agreed upon when spurs and real madrid agreed to their partnership last summer?
Back in late August of last year, that first quote listed prompted a wide variety of responses. What was this “partnership” with Real Madrid? Many Spurs fans — myself included — nervously joked that it probably meant little more than Los Blancos having first right of refusal on Gareth Bale. We all hoped it was more to do with youth player exchanges, coaching co-ops, and a piggy backing of Madrid’s marketing might. But deep down, we all questioned how a club known for its relentless tapping up strategies could truly be a partner with world-class players there for them to cherry pick.
And here we find ourselves, a year on from that initial statement, a second statement from the club all but confirming our fears:
“The Club can announce that it has reached agreement with Real Madrid for the transfer of Gareth Bale.
on this week’s pod, we talk local soccer with the president of the cincinnati saints.
Round four of the WSOTP Pod is a hefty one, but before you go blaming us, have a look at the calendar. With yesterday being Transfer Deadline Day in Europe, we could have made a whole show out that alone. But we also managed to squeeze in a round-up of the weekend’s Premier League action, discuss our thoughts on the #SackWarzycha campaign actually coming to fruition AND we brought on the very first guest of the pod… as President and CEO of local side Cincinnati Saints, David Satterwhite, joined us to talk about his club’s recent moves up the American soccer pyramid!
sorry to make you wait daniel: we finally get around to talking about liverpool on episode three of the pod.
With a second week of Premier League fixtures now in the books, D.J. and Jeremy take a look at the results in this week’s edition of the podcast, including: Chelsea’s choice of a false-nine line up against United, Cardiff’s shock result against Manchester City, the protracted Gareth Bale transfer saga, and even — at listener request — Liverpool’s performance against Aston Villa. We’ll also spend some time talking about some quotes from new Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt in Sports Illustrated, Dempsey’s home debut in Seattle, another WSOTP Soccer Pub Atlas pub highlight… and even D.J. doing a crap impression of Arsène Wenger.