pic of the week 5/19-5/25

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Gareth Bale scores the game winner in the Champions League Final

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.

 

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ten words or less #88

Alan Pardew Headbutting David Meyler

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.

ESPN/ABC schedule for the World Cup… better schedule vacation now.
– espnmediazone.com

Landon makes me laugh and respect him more at once. – kckrs.com

Such an afterthought, even its cup is shitty. – vine.com

I’m really surprised we haven’t seen this already. Ingenious. – fcbusiness.co.uk

Hey Nike… quit teasing us and show us the boots! – youtube.com/nikesoccer

The only Chivas USA re-brand that really makes sense. – theoriginalwinger.com

I miss you, Gareth. – reddit.com/r/soccer

Re-igniting the “is heading bad for brains” debate. – cnn.com

Someone get this for me for Oktoberfest this year. – football-shirts.co.uk

The Crew win a (preseason) trophy! – thecrew.com

el clásico tranquilo

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.

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ten words or less #80

Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo meet at training

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.

Insight into the USMNT’s most important and stoic star. – buzzfeed.com

Certifiably the worst corner of all time. – telegraph.co.uk

The cyclical rise and fall of Puerto Rican football. – inbedwithmaradona.com

Check out this family-friendly US Soccer supporters group. – redwhiteandbluesbros.com

Who wouldn’t want a Steven Lenhart Chia Pet? – kckrs.com

A.O. BACKTRACKING CONFIRMED. – sportsmyriad.com

The best looking kit in England this year, hands down. – footballshirtculture.com

I promise this isn’t from The Onion. – washingtontimes.com

The Mexican legend of “Dos a Cero de Columbus” explained. – dirtytackle.net

Watch as Fox Soccer dies a quiet, yet odd death. – deadspin.com

partnership

“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.”

- tottenhamhotspur.com, 27 August 2012 (link)

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.

- tottenhamhotspur.com, 1 September 2013 (link)

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WSOTP pod: episode 4

WSOTP Pod: Season 1 Episode 4

Cincinnati Saints on the WSOTP Pod

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!

WSOTP pod: episode 3

WSOTP Pod: Season 1 Episode 3

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge after scoring against Aston Villa

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.

introducing: the WSOTP pod

Who didn’t see this coming? To me at least, it seemed inevitable. It’s almost as if it was destiny that Wrong Side of the Pond should evolve to provide this long debated offering. And though it’s come earlier than expected, the time is now…

WSOTP Podcast

Witness the birth of the Wrong Side of the Pond Podcast!

That’s right kids: if you aren’t lucky enough to know me personally, you finally get to hear the voice of the man who’s words you’ve been reading for the last four years. It’s a glorious voice too, so prepare to be impressed. However if you somehow don’t find my discourse to your liking — whether for tone or my continuous ramblings on Spurs — worry not! I’ll also be joined by the sultry voice of co-host and fellow soccer fanatic Jeremy Lance (@JeremyLance) of local radio station WMOH 1450. Not only will Jeremy lend a professional touch to the pod with his broadcasting background and deep knowledge of the game, but as a Chelsea fan, he’ll be there to nullify my biases and provide a alternative viewpoint for us to bicker over.

Our topics of discussion, just like WSOTP blog, will span the wide world of football. Though we’ll predictably tend to focus on the Premier League, MLS and the US Soccer teams, we’ll also pepper in our thoughts on the “local” soccer scene and feature a bar each week from the WSOTP Soccer Pub Atlas. 

Just like any other podcast, you can either listen in right here within the post, or you can subscribe to the feed in iTunes (coming soon) so you listen on your iPod or iPad, as well as through any number of Android phone/tablet podcast apps. So turn up your speakers or grab your headphones, and enjoy the very first episode of the WSOTP Pod!

WSOTP Pod: Season 1 Episode 1 – It All Starts Here
In the first ever edition of the pod, D.J. and Jeremy delve into a boatload of topics: Premier League preseason predictions, the effects of NBC’s landmark Premier League coverage, a round-up of the summer transfer window, the recent change in the Columbus Crew’s ownership and a WSOTP Soccer Pub Atlas spotlight on Rhinehaus in Cincinnati.

ten words or less #78

i feel pretty safe saying i’m even more excited about the premier league getting ready to start than the now famous ted lasso.

I don’t know about you, but I am super freaking excited about the upcoming kickoff to the Premier League season. You might have been able to tell that even if you skipped reading all of this at the top too, seeing as how three of the links in this latest edition of Tens Words or Less are Tottenham related. Yeah, Gareth Bale might be leaving. But even if he does, I’m still really excited for the increased coverage the English top flight will receive Stateside this term.

But before you go assuming that I’ll just forget about the domestic game now that European soccer is about to kick back into full swing, let me remind you just how dedicated I am…. BY GIVING AWAY FREE USA-MEXICO WORLD CUP QUALIFIER TICKETS, POSSIBLY EVEN TO YOU. Just in case you hadn’t heard about it. So don’t doubt me.

Anyway, enjoy the links below as you day-dream about the upcoming Premier League season OR attending the biggest US Men’s National Team game of the year. Whatever suits you best.

Spurs bring in new manager Ted Lasso… from ‘MERICA. - youtube.com

You hear that… soccer players are stylish. – mensjournal.com

Seven excellent suggestions for new Crew owner Anthony Precourt. – massivereport.com

Pessimism is ingrained in American soccer; that needs to change. – espnfc.com

Another effort to launch a possibly interesting World Cup documentary. – kickstarter.

If NYCFC pulls off this Manhattan stadium, I’ll be flabbergasted. – 101greatgoals.com

Gareth Bale to leave Spurs to become… a male model? – esquire.co.uk

Brilliant trolling. – twitter.com/JimmyConrad

The dread felt when your club tries to sign Suárez. – arseblog.com

Some excellent shots of White Hart Lane’s illustrious history. – whoateallthepies.tv

£100 million ain’t as much as you think

I absolutely loath this topic.I don’t want to write about it. But the circumstances dictate that I must. I have to.

am i really seeing unhappiness bale’s body language recently, or am i just paranoid?

It pains me to just think about Gareth Bale leaving Tottenham Hotspur, let alone write about it and think about it logically.

Bale has been my favorite players since I unearthed him as a young Southampton starlet in FIFA Manager Mode back in college in 2006. He’s left footed, takes free kicks and used to play left back. All attributes I share, though admittedly to a far lesser fan fair and effect. So that practically makes us twins… from different moms, different countries and seven years in between our births. You get what I mean. If you still need further proof of my old school love, I have two Spurs shirts with Gareth’s name on the back: one of with the #3 and the other with the #16.

So talking about my favorite player from my favorite club leaving for greener pastures — even it is for sums so large as an insane £100 million+player TBD bid from Real Madrid — literally makes me want to explode.

Many, however, would argue that turning down that kind of money is equally ludicrous. When proposed, that argument is normally quickly followed by a series of supporting points ranging from “his value will never be higher” to “Madrid won’t be back for him if you say no now.” And most of those supporting arguments are correct.

But there is one argument that really grinds my gears, and it always sounds something like “you could take all that money and reinvest it by bringing in 3 to 4 top players.”

Hearing that literally makes my brain melt. It’s this kind of incredibly one-dimensional thinking that proves why fans should never run football teams. And to explain why, let’s take a quick look at football economics.

Let’s just assume that Real Madrid bid a firm £100 million, Daniel Levy accepts, and Bale heads off to Spain. It just sounds like a lot of money, doesn’t it? I could certainly retire right now if I were given it. It’s £20 million more than the previous world record transfer fee also paid by Real for the services of one Cristiano Ronaldo. Hell, it’s enough to buy a second MLS franchise in New York.

But in reality, that £100 million transfer fee gives Spurs far less room to play with than one might think. Continue reading