pic of the week 8/7-8/13


WSOTP - Blog - Balotelli Mohawk Shoe.fw

Just because Mario Balotelli has to labeen relegated to selection hell at Liverpool — unable to be sold, but of no use to the manager — that doesn’t mean you can keep his personality off the pitch. And you can thank his boot sponsor, Puma, for that.

Above are a new pair of boots from Balotelli’s new line of Puma boots, which at first glance aren’t all that dissimilar to most of the boots on the market today. It features a pretty standard blue and white, accented with gold — presumably because that’s the metal all of his toilets are made out of. But numerous Mario-customizations can be found on closer inspection. There’s his signature in gold on the side. One of his most famous catchphrases — “Why Always Me” — is plastered on the outside of the heel, too. But most striking of all the Balo-features is a line of what appears to be human hair down the heel, meant to replicate the Italian striker’s well-known hairdo. Though there’s no word on whether that’s really hair cut off of Balotelli’s head, or some Italian-made synthetic human hair that Puma spent years developing.

If for some crazy reason you feel the need to have Balotelli’s hair on your feet, you better hope you’ve got little ones: the new Balotelli Mohawk Pumas are only available in youth sizes.

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

ten words or less #95

New Tottenham signing Federico Fazio

The much loved — and maligned — summer transfer window will be slamming shut over the weekend, which means we’ll see a bevy of rumors either materialize into reality or fail to come to fruition. And for that reason, supporters around the globe will either be praising the arrivals of new saviors or end up cursing the chairmen for their supposedly penny-pinching ways. Rule number one over the next few days: don’t believe everything you read. Or at bare minimum, be sure to take them with a sizable grain of salt.

So with all of the stress that’s sure to come to pass over the next few days, I’m going to do my best to avoid transfer stories in this latest links round up. Keen observers will notice I did slip one in there, though we can blame its presence on me opting to take a dig at my favorite club’s rival supporters.

In the madness, dont’ forget that there’s also a full slate of European and domestic action on the docket this weekend, too. So there should be more than enough to distract you from dealings of your favorite club.

Sitting in the wrong section requires tremendous restraint. – telegraph.co.uk

My favorite ‘Jermaine Jones to MLS Saga’ reaction. – hottimeinoldtown.com

The last sentence in paragraph one should terrify Arsenal supporters. – si.com

Chris Rolfe needs to join the FFA. – washingtonpost.com

A ranking of every generation of Nike’s Mercurial line. – sneakerreport.com

People will still talk about analytics… it’ll just be commonplace. – 21stclub.com

How exactly does spraying teammates with piss build camaraderie? – kob.com

Puma learns a lesson in internet trolling. – eveningstandard.co.uk

Paul Carr did an increasingly-rare, excellent Reddit AMA. – reddit.com/

ten words or less #91

Win the Official 2014 FIFA World Cup poster

follow @wrongsideofthepond and @sportsposters on twitter for a chance to win the official world cup poster!

The World Cup is so close I can smell it, like it’s literally around the corner from my desk, staring at me, waiting for me come up and warmly embrace it and breath in its Amazonian musk. Or maybe that’s just me? Either way, the excitement in the lead up to the tournament is building at an almost exponential rate, and for that reason, more and more of the links I’ve stumbled across in the last few days has been Brazil 2014-related. So I threw together this special World Cup edition of Ten Words or Less to share the love.

And if you’re not yet feeling the proper amount of excitement for the World Cup, brace yourself for this: my friends at Sports Poster Warehouse have kindly offered to award one of our readers a free copy of the Official World Cup Poster, picture to the right! All you have to do to enter is take the two easy steps below:

  1. Follow both @wrongsideofpond and @SportsPosters on Twitter.
  2. Send me a tweet at @wrongsideofpond using the hashtag #PosterizeMe.

We’ll select a winner from the entries the Sunday evening, and the winner will be contacted via Twitter DM that evening. If no response is received within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected. So hurry up get on with it! Oh yeah, and have a peep at the links below!

WSOTP World Cup wall chart for your wall/cubicle. – wrongsideofthepond.com

The World Cup’s biggest duel? Probably Nike vs Adidas. –  businessweek.com

Celebrate the World Cup with… specialty McDonald’s fry packaging?
– mcdonalds.com

The full story behind the Denim Kit. – slate.com

FYI: a World Cup “Panini” is not a sandwich. – newyorktimes.com

Want to see every kit for this year’s tournament? – telegraph.co.uk

Croatian World Cup beer commercials are well done… and intense. – youtube.com

Umm… what? – ussoccer.com

Italy: only World Cup side without a player in England. – reddit.com/u/reddripper

I’m guessing Assou-Ekotto wants credit for this. – theoriginalwinger.com

ten words or less #71

Champions League Tifo at Borussia Dortmund

believe it or not, the reason dortmund fans put up this awesome tifo was to use the dude’s giant binoculars to see when my last TWOL post was.

It’s been weeks since I put out my last Ten Words or Less, which I suppose is a good thing for you readers considering that means I’ve been dropping original content for you instead of shoveling you content from other sources. But that doesn’t change the fact that I feel like I’m neglecting the long-running links post. Or the fact that some of the links I had originally collected for this have since become irrelevant.

So now that you’re done buying a shirt from the brand new WSOTP Shop, I figured I’d get things back to normal with a freshly updated edition. And if you’re looking for original content, I’ll probably have something else for you before the weekend. In the mean time, enjoy some of my favorite links from around the world of football from the last week or so.

Terrible April Fools joke, but a great idea for real. – qatarliving

A refreshing dose of clarity from Spurs’ wordsmith, Spooky. – dearmrlevy.co.uk

Sexiest Puma shirt they’ve put out in quite a while. – football-shirts.co.uk

The first supporters to ever fly to an away match. – inbedwithmaradona.com

Abou Diaby: the man-made of glass. – talksport.co.uk

Chelsea’s creepy blue man group kit launch. – youtube.com

A very well executed dead horse beating. – regista-blog.com

Those poor globe-trotting scouts have it awful. – guardian.co.uk

One designer’s line inspired by retro soccer design. – hypebeast.com

So, bicycle soccer actually exists. – kckrs.com

ten words or less #56

Wrong Side of the Pond's Subbuteo for The Football Attic

feeling important these days, thanks to the boys over at the football attic taking a fancy to the subbuteo figure i submitted their “league of blogs” project.

The Euros are over, thus ending a three-week stretch where I’ve felt like I have been drowning in football. I mean, I’ve been seeing matches when I sleep… far more than normal, at least. I needed a break, which is something I never thought I’d say about the game. But the headlines just keep rolling out, as if I had forgotten that the world of soccer never sleeps, takes breaks, or allows me to catch up with the rest of my life.

I mean just some of the headlines that caught my attention, and probably deserve an article of their own. Thanks to an epic final, Spain have officially entered G.O.A.T. territory. Transfer madness is in full swing: big names already on the move, others look to be doing so soon, and — GHASP!!! — Spurs are even getting in on some early action.

So as I put the finishing touches on about four different articles, I figured I could pacify you readers with another edition of TWOL. And if that sounds like a raw deal to you, I’m sorry… but you’re going to need to deal with it.

I made the Football Attics League of Blogs top 3! – twitter.com

Ever wonder how MLS sides utilize statistical analysis? – mlssoccer.com

Brazilian side Vitoria have a bloody brilliant kit promotion. Literally. – 101greatgoals.com

Who wouldn’t watch a late night TV hosted by Crouchy? – givemefootball.com

Why the international game lags tactically behind the club game. – newstatesman.com

Spanish B sides up for promotion are causing massive issues. – inbedwithmaradona.com

If all holds true, the Colorado Rapids are disgraceful. – prostamerika.com

Everything you wanted to know more about Italy’s kit font. – designboom.com

Never underestimate the combined power of the internet and idiots. – dirtytackle.net

Gyan is a text book case for “lack of ambition”. – theoriginalwinger.com

ten words or less #48

london 2012's "the albert"

for a ball with such an awesome name, couldn't have adidas gone with a slightly less faded 80's design for the official ball of london 2012?

With less than 30 minutes until kickoff between Spurs and United, I’m a literal train wreck. I’m stressing over Tottenham’s extremely weakened line-up squaring off against a solid looking starting XI for the Red Devils, and the potential repercussions of fielding such a weak squad in such an important match.

The only thing that could keep my mind from going into complete meltdown mode was to finish up this week’s TWOL post… though admittedly, it’s just a temporary reprieve for my fingers from the endless nail-biting that awaits over the next two hours.

This is how you know footballers make too much money. – theoriginalwinger.com

Every Euro 2012 Kit… who’s your favorite? – football-shirts.co.uk

Sadly, this might be the best pitch in Cuba. – kckrs.com

Chelsea are sunk because of… Napoli’s three in the back? – guardian.co.uk

MLS eyeing Florida for expansion; apparently doesn’t learn lessons. – soccerbyives.com

French kiss… quite literally. – kickette.com

I will actually watch more Crew games because of this. – thecrew.com

Suprisingly relevant Will Ferrell link: he apparently loves Chicharito. – dirtytackle.net

If this happened to me, I’d literally shit my pants. – youtube.com

How can one properly celebrate while sitting? Answer: you can’t. – soccernet.com

cat and mouse

My email inbox blew up yesterday, a multitude of emails from concerned and inquisitive friends filling it up several times throughout the day. They all asked about the same thing: how was I handling the news? And while the news of the passing of one America’s foremost innovators was the headline story of the day, that wasn’t the story to which my friends wanted to hear my reaction.

cesc fabregas in puma gear

the cat is out of the bag: cesc has jumped ship for puma.

No, they were all much more concerned with hearing my thoughts about Cesc Fàbregas’ traitorous, out-of-the-blue switch from Nike to Puma. Riveting, right?

Some in the boot-obsessed corners of the game are calling Puma’s capture of Cesc “one of the biggest brand transfers in football history”. Personally, I think that’s a bit sensationalist: Thierry Henry leaving Nike for Reebok in 2006 was a much bigger bombshell (Although ironically, Henry just signed on with Puma too.). But it’s still a massive move by a brand that’s been losing ground to industry leaders Adidas and Nike for years, as well as to upstarts UnderArmour.

So, what was my reaction to one of my favorite players leaving one of my favorite brands?

Admittedly, it was a bit hard to swallow at first. After all, my choice in boots has mirrored Cesc’s almost identically over the last few years. I’d argue that this wasn’t a conscious decision on my part, but I’m not entirely sure that’s true. But from the Tiempo Legend II’s through to both models of the CTR360’s, I feel like I formed a(n obviously non-existent) bond with my idol by way of our common footwear. And now that he was leaving Nike, I foolishly felt a bit betrayed and hurt.

Though, after seeing his first promotional picture for Puma — the awkward picture from the top of the post that makes him look a bit out-of-place in their digs — I did feel a bit more vindicated in my feelings. Then I remembered that Cesc jumping off the Nike boot train doesn’t mean that I have to, too. And then I remembered that none of this is really that important.

But, it did make me wonder why a player like Fàbregas — one of the elite players on the planet — would ditch a lucrative sponsorship with a deep-pocketed, innovative, industry leader to join forces with a company that appears on the wane.

To Nike, Cesc might have been the lead athlete on their CTR360 line of boots, but there are also a small herd of other stars that rock the same boot, including teammates Andrés Iniesta and Javier Mascherano. And considering that Nike already have the entire club wrapped up in Nike apparel, it wouldn’t be crazy for the Oregonians to think that they’re already getting plenty of exposure out of the Barça camp.

cesc fabregas and puma

cesc loyalty goes no further than the city behind him or the largest checks offered to him.

To Puma, Fàbregas appears the perfect pitch man for their footballing endeavors. By all accounts, the Catalonian is a good lad that won’t cause them much worry about exposure to bad PR on his behalf. He also just happens to be a member of the most famous and idolized team on the planet at the moment, and prior to his signing, Puma didn’t have a single endorsement on a roster that’s dominated with Nike (11 of 16 regulars) and Adidas ( 4 regulars) athletes. With Barcelona sure to make deep runs in the Champions League, Club World Cup and La Liga competitions, there are few other athletes that could offer the sheer amount of global exposure that Cesc’s feet can.

The plain and simple fact seem to point towards one conclusion: Puma offered more money to Cesc than Nike thought would be worth the investment to match. And though I’d love to believe with starry eyes that he would be loyal to the brand that’s paid him for so long, Fab4 has proven recently that he’s only loyal to two things: FC Barcelona and money.

Fàbregas — along with Kun Agüero — will now undoubtedly serve as the face of the brand now that their former face, Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o, has moved to the wilds of Dagestan far from Western eyes and their bank accounts. And it will likely do Puma, and the player’s bank account, well.

And to all of my friends who think that I’ll now be giving up my beloved Nike boots to copycat Cesc’s latest move, you’re crazy… I won’t be doing that until Chris Rolfe loses his endorsement and/or grows bigger feet than me.

ten words or less #28

ronaldo trains with the brazilian national team ahead of his last game for brazil

fat ronaldo looks on as he "trains" with the seleção for the last time.

Summer has arrived with a vengeance in Southwest Ohio. Sweltering temperatures normally reserved for August have plagued those of us living in the humid Ohio/Miami Valley region, causing us to suffocate on the air so thick and heavy that Cristiano would trip over it.

Researching for the blog has been a welcome excuse for me to sit on my couch and enjoy the air conditioning over the last week or so, and today’s post is the beneficiary of said sloth. So if you’re trying to escape the summer heat, why not sit back and check out some of the interesting bits of soccer blabber from around the tubes.

The Gold Cup TV schedule. You should watch it. – totalsoccershow.com

How to build a stalker: step one… – kickette.com

Donor hair: Chicharito, Neville, Fabio, Park, Kuszczak, Berbatov, Obertan? – redcafe.net

Pienaar has to be thinking, “Great… always the same kit.” – footballshirtculture.com

The highlights of the tactical evolution from 2010-2011. – guardian.co.uk

FIFA adds racism to their stable of “awesomeness.” – msn.com

Before Ronaldo. After Ronaldo. – youtube.com

I want to hang these up in my house… tonight. – kckrs.com

ten words or less #24

alejandro faurlin and neil warnock celebrate QPR's possible promotion.

perhaps faurlin (left) and QPR won't be enjoying the spoils of the premier league next season

the steam is running out of my team’s, and it’s seriously impacting my interest in the rest of the their respective seasons. real madrid are (deservingly) eliminated from europe. tottenham are (predictably) pissing away their season of “living the dream.” it’s hard as a fan of both clubs to watch on with both having very little left to play for besides pride (although if tottenham lose out on the europa league to liverpool, i might suffer an aneurysm).

forgive me my tears, for i am only human.

so as we prepare for a weekend full of title and relegation-deciding matches, here’s a quick round-up of some interesting reads from around the world of football.

no, no, no, no, no. screw clattenburg. – dirty tackle @ yahoo.com

someone should not get paid for this. – designfootball.com

it pains me to post, but another artistic masterpiece. – youtube.com

this is a huge step forward for MLS. – soccerbyives.com

how the hell did the ball move like that?!?! – sportpost.com

have to admit, i’m a little envious of this guy. – soccerbible.com

busquets is a disgrace: more evidence. – youtube.com

QPR are all smiles now; maybe they shouldn’t be. – qprnet.com