Tag Archives: soccer

The Other Side of Soccer: Our Idiots are Tougher than Your Idiots

I guess I don’t give this side of soccer much attention, because it tends not to be an issue here in the States, but perhaps it’s an inevitable consequence of soccer’s global emergence.

Or, just another example of the increased idiocy level of people in groups.

Crew-West Ham United friendly marred by brawl between fans

Security guards hold back fans after a fight broke out at an exhibition match between MLS' Columbus Crew and English Premier League side West Ham United.

Security guards hold back fans after a fight broke out at an exhibition match between MLS' Columbus Crew and English Premier League side West Ham United.












The Great Escape (2008)

Well it didn’t have Steve McQueen, James Garner or Richard Attenborough, but in many other aspects Fulham managed to pull off a Great Escape similar to that of the famous 1963 WWII classic.

An international crew consisting of British and Americans (with a smattering of other cultures) tunneled their way out of the prospect of imprisonment in the League Championship (read: Division 2) with some late-season heroics.

Three consecutive away victories, where previously there had been none, were capped with a final, last-game triumph over Portsmouth.

Fulham, whom I sometimes like to refer to as Team America World Police, features several Americans including veteran keeper Casey Keller, former NE Revolution star Clint Dempsey, and long-time international standouts Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra.

I don’t know if Fulham have a ‘theme song’, the way Liverpool have “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, but I can’t help but think that the famous Elmer Bernstein theme from the Great Escape could be the ad-hoc theme for the coming season.

A good outcome for both American soccer fans as well as those who admire Fulham as a London-based club retaining some of the characteristic charm of English football despite the overwhelming influence of huge money on the game.


Chelsea Fans: You Don’t Know What You’re Saying

Avram GrantI watched the great Chelsea v. Arsenal game yesterday in which Chelsea came from behind to beat Arsenal at home 2 to 1. Now, those of you who either know me personally or read this blog enough know that I personally don’t care who wins. I’m just an American who loves English football and I have the luxury of not being a supporter of any one team. I like to see great team play, great individual talent and execution and, when it happens, great tactical adjustments by managers.

Now, if you’re still reading at this point, it’s likely because you like English football,  so I don’t have to recap the entire history of Chelsea’s change in management this year – the whole “cult of Mourinho” vs. Avram Grant and so on. Suffice it to say that it seems clear that the Chelsea fans, despite the successes the team has had since Grant’s assignment, still somehow feel that Mourinho is the only person who could possibly lead the team to the Premier League title.

So, with Chelsea down one-nil in the second half, when Grant made a daring double substitution inserting Anelka and Belletti in place of Ballack and Makalele, many in the crowd at Stamford Bridge started the mocking chant “You Don’t Know What You’re Doing”, along with invocations of Mourinho’s name.

Because soccer substitutions are permanent for the course of the game, they represent major strategic and tactical choices. The only American analog I can think of is in baseball, where the removal and substitution of a particular pitcher or hitter at a critical moment in a game can make or break the eventual outcome of that game. However, in my experience, while the fans may boo or moan, they don’t call the manager out in the same way as they do in soccer, where chants and songs are more traditional and commonplace. Instead, fans call up sports talk shows after the game is over and, with perfect 20-20 hindsight, proclaim their brilliance and insight.

Well, in this case, divine justice prevailed as Grant’s substitutes made an immediate and beneficial impact on the game, setting up two Didier Drogba strikes within eight minutes of each other, and giving Chelsea the victory. And although Grant, in an interview after the game, stated that he didn’t notice the fans’ mocking and disapproval, one can only speculate that he had, at least internally, a sense of personal satisfaction.

From my distant vantage point, I do not see or hear the day-to-day commentary or experience the cultural mood that comes with being a Chelsea fan. But it seems to me that Grant has come to Stamford Bridge under very challenging circumstances, produced excellent results and has comported himself with class. You’d think the Chelsea fans would appreciate that fact and enjoy it.

But clearly, “They Don’t Know What They’re Doing”.

…but it was not to be

Benayoun hat-trick seals Havant’s fate


 See also:


Still, I think there’s a movie to be made out of all this.

This is a great story…

…even if you’re not a follower of football.