straitjacket f.c.

No matter where you travel around the globe, there is one thing that is virtual certainty to be found among the local population: crazy people.

Balotelli Straitjacket

the official kit of straitjacket fc

That’s right, crazy people. They are everywhere. Statistics indicate that as many as 1 in 3 people currently have a mental disorder. So if you think of two of your friends, and neither of them are crazy, then you are the crazy one. There’s no sense in denying it. Don’t get mad at me — blame the statisticians if you’re going to blame — so why don’t you calm down and take this pill.

Much better. Now let’s continue.

No matter what walk of life you’re from, nor the social circles in which you associate, there are bound to be a few crazies sprinkled amongst you. And professional footballers are not immune to the statistics either. In fact, they even seem to have a predisposition to it. Maybe it has something to do with the competitive nature of the sport, or perhaps it’s due to having our heads pounded by the ball repetitively throughout our youth. Either way, there do seem to be a lot of mentally unbalanced players out there. Now, I’m not talking about players that make insanely poor choices on the pitch. No, I’m talking about the type of crazy where a player is liable to kung-fu kick a fan behind the sponsor boards.

Which got me to thinking: if I were to name a team composed of the craziest footballers, who would be chosen to pull on the straitjacket kit?

So before I skip off to the local mental ward, I thought it best to define a set of rules for selecting players to a team that should probably be medicated:

  • I’m limiting this list to current footballers, simply because there are far too many former crazy players to fairly make a team. Maradona, di Canio, Gascoigne, Chinaglia, René Higuita, Cantona… you see where I’m going with this.
  • I’ve opted for the trusty 4-3-3 formation to construct my side, simply because we need enough spots for the plethora of unbalanced strikers in the game. Though admittedly, we should probably be starting a side full of keepers if we’re using that logic.
  • I’ll also be selecting a manager, as no proper team can be named without someone to steer the good ship Crazy.
So without further ado, here is who I’d pick for the first ever starting XI for Straitjacket F.C.
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an open letter to rafa márquez

spoiled cry baby, rafa marquez.

Sr. Rafael Márquez Álvarez
Red Bull New York
600 Cape May Street
Harrison, NJ 07029

Señor Márquez:

I am writing with regards to your actions following your recent match against Real Salt Lake at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday, September 21, 2011. As a fan of Major League Soccer — and the sport of football in general — I felt that your blatant disregard for proper professional etiquette has brought great shame upon your club, your league, and yourself.

Perhaps your home fans were a little harsh on you during that match, booing you every time you touched the ball. I can see how that would rattle some players. But then again, maybe they were somewhat justified in their booing seeing how you have been mailing it in all season despite collecting the third highest paycheck in the league. You’re also a veteran professional, used to playing in front of 90,000 fans at the highest level of the sport, so I would wager that you’re more than capable of handling some boos here and there without having to show them a childish, obscene gesture.

Maybe you were frustrated because your squad shipped 3 goals in the first 21 minutes to your Mormon-country visitors, which helped to drop your squad into the outside-looking-in position for this year’s playoffs. Though then again, you haven’t really been playing like you want to help your team make the playoffs, highlighted by this awful bit of defending by yourself in said game. So with your performances in mind, I don’t think it’s very fair for you to say “there isn’t an equal level” between you and your teammates, and that the loss was to blame on the rest of your back line not being able “perform at the same level.”

Not that I should have expected anything different from you, and that’s my fault for assuming that you had abandoned your previously wicked ways. After all, you’re the same guy that was red carded for a mid-air headbutt on Cobi Jones in 2002 World Cup knockout round, and again for charging Tim Howard and kicking him in the head during a 2009 World Cup Qualifier at Crew Stadium. You also publicly insulted Landon Donovan’s family during a 2004 interview, which is by most accounts, a pretty classy move. Let’s also not forget that you cheated on your first wife with your now second wife.

Long story short, Rafa, is that you need to quit being a gigantic prick and get over yourself already. When Jimmy Conrad claimed you were arrogant a few years back, he hit the nail on the head perfectly when he said, “we’re apparently a step below or a whole level below whatever he thinks in his own mind.”

Well, I hate to break it to you big boy, you’re not better than the U.S., MLS, Red Bull or anything else for that matter. Nobody cares that you used to play for Barcelona, all they care about is how you are playing now for your current side. And since you’re the one who put pen to paper on an MLS contract two years ago, you’re also the one that has to deal with whatever perceived unhappiness you’re experiencing. Despite rating yourself as a highly desirable commodity, I don’t exactly recall any clubs of importance clamoring for your signature over the summer transfer window.

Don’t like how your teammates are playing? Maybe you should try using all of that experience you’ve picked up over the years to help educate them .Don’t like being booed by your own fans or berated by the press? Maybe try playing a little bit harder. They boo because they expect more of you and your $4.6 million a year contract.

I’m sure in your 15 years of professional experience — from Atlas, to Monaco, to Barcelona and New York — that you’ve faced some pressure heavier than this. After all, this only MLS, right?

Time to grow up, big boy.

D.J. Switzer
wrong side of the pond

round up #23

now that the transfer window has (quietly) closed and the theatrics of the world cup are slowly fading into the background, i feel like we can finally focus on what really matters: the football.

this would be awesome... if marquez wasn't there.

but, let’s be honest.. i love the fluff that comes with it. and here’s the best i’ve come across on the tubes in the last week.

mind blowing social experiment of the day – theoffside.com
if you were take a stroll around say, downtown manhattan, while the world cup final was on this summer, and nothing would have looked any different than any other normal day. thousands of people would still be snapping pictures in times square, buying knockoff purses in chinatown, and strolling about times square. but flash to brazil, and things are clearly different. one man had the bright idea to roll around são paulo during the world cup finals with a video camera. the biggest city in south america was a virtual ghost town. while it’s not surprising that the soccer-mad country would be consumed by the big event, i am a little shocked to not see a single person in the entire clip. which makes me wonder… how the hell is this country going to host the finals in 2014 if no one wants to work during the games?

making the most of being sent off – dirtytackle @ yahoo.com
fellow defenders will agree with me when i say that those nancy-fancy forwards always go down for fouls pretty easy. they fall with the slightest nudge, rolling about like someone castrated them instead of a having just suffered a little shirt pull. it certainly doesn’t help that the refs always tend to give those diving bastards the benefit of the doubt. so trust me when i say we defenders have some pent up rage that lives within us all. so when you see a defender lose it a little when they get a foul called against them. but the reaction of the guy in this video, well, i just can’t find the words to stick up for him.

donovan’s ridiculous price tag – matchfitusa.com
when donovan signed the four year extension with the galaxy in the fall of 2009, two things immediately came to mind:

  1. landycakes is a moron, and apparently never wants to play in europe ever. why would he put himself in a position where it would be harder for him to move abroad?
  2. MLS just made a shrewd move to make sure they got paid when donovan tried to make his eventual move to europe.

both thoughts were true, to an extent at least. donovan’s contract extension did nothing but give MLS the upperhand with any potential suitors from the old continent, meaning they could ask for a good deal more money in any transfer moves for the golden egg. landon’s extremely successful loan to everton, coupled with his good performances in south africa, meant that donovan was a hot commodity. don garber’s eyes no doubt had dollar bills instead of pupils at that point. unfortunately, their little plan turned into a giant cockblock. perhaps catching wind of interest from cash-laden citeh drove up their asking price, but america’s pride and joy isn’t worth $16 million. in the end, neither party got what it wanted. great.

the crest of a wave? – guardian.co.uk
i love logos… they’re fascinating to me. to me, there is nothing more iconic than an emblem that is instantly recognizable the world over (nike, mcdonald’s, coca-cola; please take your bow). it’s a necessity in this day in age where everything is branded. but the incredibly difficult thing about having a good logo or crest is creating it.

i for one don’t mind most teams taking a stab at remaking their image, though it’s insanely hard to create a new identity that is still grounded in tradition. while the article gives credit to arsenal and chelsea for their new crests’ paying homage to their histories, i also think tottenham deserve credit in the same regard. while some clubs make the change very poorly, there are, of course, also clubs like fulham that desperately needed to change, and did so well.

henry and rafa take the path – metrofanatic.com
the fact that this photo can even happen in this country… boy, it makes me feel like MLS is on to something special. ignore for a second that RBNY might be trying a little too hard to be the new cosmos. can you imagine sitting next to henry, one of the best players of an entire generation, on the subway? that’s equivalent to sitting next to brett farve or derek jeter, and easily being able to take a picture with them and not get mobbed in the process. please MLS; intelligently ride this wave of awesomeness.