ten words or less #96

Frank Lampard of Manchester City

just one of the cornucopia of stories that came out just this past weekend: frank lampard’s manchester city debut.

As Americans, we’ve reached a weird point in the soccer calendar. Just as we’re getting warmed up to and getting a feel for the European season, we’re getting to “squeaky bum time” in the MLS season with the playoffs just around the corner. And because of that, it sure seems like there’s more news pouring out of the sport than ever. But worry not, WSOTP has been scouring the web to bring you the picks of the litter. So dive into my favorite links from around the world of football from the last week or so, and stay tuned for even more content as the week progresses.

“Spurs are not for sale”, but a bid’s been received. – tottenhamhotspur.com

Joel Campbell has enough time to create a sports website. – sports.bycampbell.com

Robbing the rich and giving it to the… rich. – independent.co.uk

Gothamist get’s Don Garber to dish on all things MLS. – gothamist.com

Lighting up a pitch by capturing power from the players. – cbsnews.com

The 50 best players according to FIFA 15. – theguardian.com

Every USLPRO side pays for playoff travel expenses. – recklesschallenge.net

Don’t expect a soccer specific stadium in Boston anytime soon. – boston.com

Finally an alternative solution to watching Bundesliga in the US. – bundesligafanatic.com

So “Chivas TBD” might take a year or two off. – si.com


ten words or less #50

real madrid's cristiano ronaldo showing off his leg

there's been no word yet on whether cristiano will have to cover up his oily thighs when visiting madrid's new island resort in the UAE.

We’ve finally made it to the half century mark for my TWOL series. And to be honest, I’m not entirely sure if I should be celebrating that milestone, seeing as how the series exists simply because I’m a blogger who is too lazy to write his own original content all the time.

Admittedly, I’ve been a bit stretched lately due to an increased workload in my real world job, and moonlighting as a guest blogger on some other sites. But that’s no reason to ignore this space, so my deepest apologies if you’re feeling neglected. I do have some pretty interesting original content in the pipeline for you… though the ten links below will have to suffice as I continue to fine tune the new posts for the limelight.

See WSOTP (#11) on The Football Attic’s “League of Blogs”. – thefootballattic.com

Liverpool has Pinterest: not shocking considering how soft they’ve played. – pinterest.com

We need this in the U.S. far more than the UK. – soccerlens.com

Have you ever wanted to control Arsene’s Swedish dance moves? – fuldans.se

Why MLS should avoid foreigners with a long wrap sheet. – soccerbyives.com

Real builds $1b resort, removes logo’s cross to appease locals. – dirtytackle.net

Your side can’t score? Remind them where the goal is. – 101greatgoals.com

For nerds only: Kit Supplier statistics from around Europe. –  sportundmarkt.com
(warning: PDF download link)

Ronaldo vs Nadal: part of me wishes this was real. – youtube.com/NikeFootball

Pardew likens Ben Arfa to Messi… a.k.a “a stretch”. – bbc.co.uk

big brother is watching

Modern technology, and the way it’s seeped into our everyday lives, sometimes blows my mind. That I can sit in my living room in Cincinnati and watch a live Premiership match — taking place nearly 4,000 miles from said living room — unfold on a picture so clear I can literally see blades of grass kick up on a slide tackle, or beads of sweat explode off a player’s head while heading the ball, is something truly to marvel.

premier league cameras

premier league cameras are like the eye of sauron: all-seeing and ever-watching.

While these HD telecasts are definitely luxuries, they’ve definitely enhanced the match day experience for foreign fans of the European leagues. Most of these fans will never be able to afford a ticket to their favorite club’s match, let alone the costs to travel there and back. Being one of those lucky enough to have watched a game in person, I can say with great certainty that watching on your high def television isn’t a bad substitute. Hell, you could even say it has its advantages: it’s cheaper, you can watch a wider selection of matches, and there’s the lowered possibility of getting cornered by hooligans after a match… I  mean, I don’t know what your friends are like.

But what really blows my mind about the dawn of the HD-era in worldwide football broadcasting is how the players could possibly forget that their every move is being broadcast to, and watched by, the entire world.

Premier League rules dictate that there are a minimum of 24 cameras in each team’s stadium in order to provide every viewing angle possible during a match. The players appear to be aware of at least some of them, judging by how often they tend to run in and kiss the camera during moments of celebration. But in times of frustration or menacing evil, some players just seem to think that nobody is watching them. Yet the video cameras are still there, ever watching. And if the TV guys somehow miss it, there’s an army of journolists and fans with camera phones there to serve as backups. Virtually nothing can go unnoticed.

Do the players think they’re too clever? Well, we all know that most footballers aren’t known for their minds, but that doesn’t mean they don’t think of themselves as clever. Just ask Joey Barton.

Perhaps they think their actions will be too quick to be noticed, or could at least be interpreted as unintentional. In a day of age where slow motion replays of player two-second player reaction being stretched into 10-second “emotion shots”, they shouldn’t be naive enough to think that their quick actions can’t be dissected by the millisecond.

Yet, whether through ignorance or arrogance, players persist to make these idiotic decisions. And for one reason or another, they always seem to come in bunches of three.

First up, Real Madrid’s Pepe gave us this boneheaded move during their midweek Copa del Rey first-leg tie with hated rivals Barcelona:

real madrid's pepe stamping on barcelona's messi

Pepe, we all saw you alter your stride and look down to make sure that you stepped on Lionel Messi’s hand. To brush it off as accidental in your “apology” is an insult to anyone with eyes. Each additional angle you bring into play makes your actions provides even more evidence against your cause. Considering the Spanish FA should still have you on a multi-year ban for this ludicrous attack from a few years ago, you’re lucky to have had the opportunity to be this stupid again. This kind of act is an embarrassment, and is one of the reasons that make me ashamed to publicly admit that I’m a supporter of Real Madrid these days.

Just why Pepe would choose to stamp down on something that has very little affect on Messi’s spectacular playing ability — like a foot, perhaps? — is further proof that players aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed.

Next in line for thinking that nobody will catch his dirty tricks is Manchester City’s Joleon Lescott:

manchester city's joleon lescott elbowing tottenham's younes kaboul

Perhaps not as obvious as Pepe’s stamp above upon first glance, Lescott’s elbow to Kaboul’s face also appears increasingly intentional the more angles you watch it from. Just why Lescott felt it necessary to raise his elbow to Kaboul is beyond me, since he’d already won the ball and the play was moving on.

Already on a yellow, the former Everton man was extremely luck to have not been sent off for the action. Yet his actions — just inches outside the City penalty area no less — somehow went unnoticed by Howard Webb.

Amazingly for Webb, a referee I normally rate as the best in England, he somehow missed another intentional assault on a Tottenham player just under ten minutes later. Could it be that Howard has traded in his United Red-tinted spectacles for a new pair with a City Blue hue? Unlikely. As a Spurs fan, it’s a conspiracy theory I’d be willing to hear, especially after watching this happen:

manchester city's mario balotelli stamping on tottenham's scott parker

I mean nobody — especially someone already on a yellow — while in the process of falling, will jam their heel backward away from the direction they’re moving. If anything, Balotelli’s momentum suggests that his right heel would foot would have moved away from Parker’s face. And just like Pepe’s stamp on Messi’s hand, you can see the controversial Italian adjust his stride so he could complete his heinous act. Adding insult to injury, a further ten minutes on from this incident and Balotelli was being taken down for and converting a match-winning penalty. Total bullshit, says this Spurs fan.

Apparently, Super Mario is incapable of learning from his past mistakes. For a man who’s been caught on camera trapped in a training bib, using an iPad on the substitute’s bench of an international match, and who was well aware that he’d draw massive amounts of attention for claiming “WHY ALWAYS ME?“, you’d think he would have developed a heightened awareness that the cameras were always trained on him. Nope.

Whether these ignorant, unprofessional and intentional acts to harm players are punished remains to be seen. But if nothing else, thanks to the onset of modern television technology, they’re not going unnoticed anymore. And if the court of public opinion has taught us anything before, it’s that it won’t be long until the authorities stand up and take notice, too.

By that time, if they players have any brains to them, they’ll have learned that big brother is watching, and they ought to be on their best behavior.

ten words or less #39

andrei arshavin giraffe shirt

if arshavin's fashion sense catches on, we all have reason to be pessimistic.

It may just be me, but I feel like my recent posts have taken a rather pessimistic view of the beautiful game. A quick look at my front page shows a total of seven non-round-up posts, and four of them are nothing but me bitching about some current aspect of the game. I must think soccer is going to hell then, right?

Well, sort of… but I could also just be moody and hypersensitive to issues that I think are currently plaguing the game. If it makes you feel better, you can call me a pessimist. I won’t take it the wrong way.

However, if you’re not yet concerned about the state of affairs in professional football, just take a gander at a few of the links below. We’ll make you into pessimist in no time.

Is Serie A’s decline due more to TV than stadiums? – theelastico.com

The Home Nations collectively shudders at the site of this. – footballshirtculture.com

You can actually feel the sorrow in the author’s voice. – twofootedtackle.com

While a valid point, is there a workable solution? – soccerissue.com

Is Balotelli a Dynamo Dresden fan, or just their inspiration? – dirtytackle

Pelé makes boots now, undoubtedly thinks they’re the best ever. – theoriginalwinger.com

Neymar has nothing on these guys. – youtube.com

A good effort that needs revising: too much white space. – kckrs.com

ten words or less #22

tottenham's gomes fumbles ronaldo's shot into the net.

gomes' butter fingers are no good for his confidence.

sometimes i feel like an irresponsible blogger when i post link-themed articles back-to-back. yes, it’s lazy. but i can’t even begin to tell you, nor do i think i need to, how much easier they are to write. in the case of these “ten words or less” postings, i only have to come up with a maximum of 80 words of soccer content to adequately get the job done. compared to a typical post that ranges between 1100 and 2000, which require far more editing (of which they could definitely use more), i don’t have to stay up past my bed time to get these things finalized.

also, i’m sad about tottenham being knocked out of the champions league.

so quit judging me for taking the easy road out. after all, at least you don’t have to read as much.

spurs are being linked with imaginary players. great. – inbedwithmaradona.com

left out “doesn’t play well with west ham’s frank lampard.” – reddit.com/user/ProseB4Hoes

football jokes visualized. worth a nerd chuckle. – footballvenndiagrams.tumblr.com

if you ask me, villa’s problems run deeper than friedel. – soccernet.com

these will never work. – dirty tackle @yahoo.com

kaka’s undershirt now reads, “i belong to am jesus” – dirty tackle @ yahoo.com

terrifying talk. – guardian.co.uk

must be fake. not even beckham is that good. – soccerlens.com

round up #19

sorry kids, i’ve been busy as hell. it’s been a rough few weeks for the blog, as i adjust my life around my new job. one of these days, i’ll hopefully figure out a way to balance my work life with my soccer life. and though that day is not today, i figured a second post in less than three days would at least keep you off my back about not giving you anything to read lately. a perfect time for another round up.

if you ask CTRUS, this is NOT the ball of the future.

is this the soccer ball of the future? – theoffside.com
despite the fact that fifa thinks they’re dropping a revolutionary new ball at every world cup or euro championships, we all know that they’re really just throwing a new coat of paint on the same old concept. sure, every time a new ball hits the scene you’ll have every keeper in the world crying about how it’s harder to track/catch/do their jobs. but aside from that, each next generation’s iteration really doesn’t address any of the developing issues within the game (goal line tech, anyone?). and with fifa again bitch-slapping proposed solutions to the ground, perhaps a new approach is necessary.

enter the CTRUS from AGENT, which turns the idea of the soccer ball on it’s head. it doesn’t need inflating, as it has interior “skeleton” and a translucent flexible shell. it uses GPS and RFID technology to constantly relay it’s location on or off the pitch, and will change freaking colors to display that to players, fans and referees. it’s that last part that is mind blowing: it can automatically tell us when it crosses the goal line or goes out of touch. though it’s still just a prototype, i think this idea needs money poured into it now. be sure to check the main link for video demonstrations.

should this move be banned? – wsj.com
while i’m on the topic of making changes to the game, let’s take a look at brazil’s favorite new trick, the paradinha. click the link, and watch the embedded video, and form your own opinion before reading the next paragraph. if you’re lazy, i’ve embedded a video below for you too:

hopefully you’ve watched one of the videos and developed your opinion at this point, and now it’s time to give you mine. ban it. ban it and give anyone who does it a yellow card, minimum. this takes away any of the fairness on the goalkeepers end. when a spot kick tacker pulls off a paradinha, it’s no longer a 50-50 chance for both players, but rather it becomes more like a 70-30 in favor of a kicker. and i know ronaldo and a million brazilians will sob and cry foul like fifa is telling them to play barefoot or something. take it away  anyway; they’ll figure out another way to be tricky.

facebook campaign for portugal to sport moustaches at the world cup – worldcupblog.org

we are portugal. we come from the 80's.

everything about this is awesome. there’s nothing more retro european than bushy, iberian mustaches. imagine nani lurking about south africa, looking like a creepy child predator. all i can picture is the red devil winger driving to the stadium in a beat up van with “free candy” painted on the side. or better yet, think of ronaldo offering mustache-rides to cape town’s hottest swimsuit models. whatever group of portuguese fans decided that they would kick off this initiative, i salute them for several reasons. first, it’s hilarious. i giggle every time i see the picture to the right. and secondly, it will be a great way to deflect attention away from portugal’s aging, under performing side. brilliant.

bbc to spend £1 million on world cup studio – telegraph.co.uk
while everyone stateside is all amped up that abc/espn will actually be sending a studio team to the world cup for the first time (instead of dubbing commentators located here over the international broadcasts), the british are making sure that we know that they’re still king of the castle.

the bbc are reportedly spending £1 million to just rent the space and build the studio on top of a cape town hospital. that’s not including the additoinal £3 million that will be spent sending 270 staff members to south africa to run the studio. although it’s worth noting that the bbc chose a site that they felt was more “south african.” instead, they opted not to not pick a site overlooking johannesburg’s soccer city, the central hub of the world cup and location of the final, allowing espn to grab the spot instead.

crystal palace ‘would welcome’ approach from p-diddy – bbc.co.uk
while you’re probably busy trying to un-swallow your tongue after reading that headline, let me first say that the bbc certainly didn’t do their homework. first off, the rap mogul hasn’t been “p-diddy” ever… it was “p. diddy.” secondly, he hasn’t gone by that moniker for like 5 years, when he decided he would go by simply “diddy.” i was half expecting them to start calling him “puff daddy” midway through the article.either way, i’m not really opposed to to sean combs pouring some money into the cash-strapped london outfit. for one, i would imagine he would change the club’s name to cristal palace, something that would likely further the appeal to palace’s a-list fan base. on top of that, i also fully expect him to have an MTV show centered around selecting the team roster, likely called “making the team,” where he would make aspiring footballers do ridiculous challenges like finding him 27 types of pies all over london in four hours. riveting television is on the horizon!