The Scottish Play(or MacBeth or Throne of Blood)

After a long bout of gout, two assasination attempts and a stint in rehab the Dallas office of this venerable institution has crawled out of its refuse infested bunker and finally seen sunlight.And lo and behold one of the first news to hit me square in the head was the loss of the Scottish Premier League’s second spot in the Champions’ League. It turns out the rather anemic performances of Celtic and Rangers in the mega Euro competition has lowered the league’s UEFA coefficient. Coupled with the demise of Setanta sports and the resultant TV revenue, the SPL seems on the brink of a major devaluation. Even the rather non-pulsed Walter Smith has in recent months called for what he refers to as an “Atlantic League”. Clearly there are signs that one of the more venerable European leagues seems to be going through a metamorphasis. What is worrying about this is that this is one league where the current economic downturn may effectively wipe Scottish football off the face of the planet. With each new issue the Scotts face the end result is a loss of money, funds that in turn could be used to nurture, buy, and/or rebuild the human resources needed to keep any league alive. A nation that can boast of producing Kenny Dalgish, Graham Souness, Billy Bremner, Archie Gemmill, and Alex Ferguson is now on the verge of joining the ranks of Europe’s chaff. And this problem may soon spread to other nations. Recently UEFA revealed that the debts of the EPL clubs represent over 55% of all the debts incurred by all European football leagues. Will a soccer bubble or meltdown be the next domino to fall similar to debt crisis of Greece and Dubai.

El Classico Part One

Round one of this Spanish slugfest goes to the Catalans thanks to a fantastic Zlatan Ibrahimovic volley. I still believe that unless more creativity is engineered by their midfield, Real Madrid will always have problems with teams the caliber of Barca. Real needs the magic of a Laudrap, and in Xabi Alonso they possess a player capable of true artistry. But until Alonso settles in and plays like he did last year for Liverpool, Real will simply trail Barcelona. Real’s chances came, but they came almost in the spirit of one on one match-ups. On a side bar it was funny listening to Linda Cohen trying to pronounce Ibrahimovic’s name on Sportcenter tonight.

Only the French

Are you kidding me? I can deal with a number of sporting injustices, but this goes so far beyond the pale that I want to write my congressman and demand that french fries be permanently renamed freedom fries. How does any French sport fan look themselves in the mirror without a modicum of shame after this. How does that referee ever oversee a game after this? The stakes were high, and in the end the fear of a referee refusing to make a bold stand against the home team wins out over anything that occurs on the pitch. Someone has to make a stronger case for an extra official or/and instant replay. Hell instant replay in the last 5 minutes of regulation and injury time. There is no greater bitterness in football than something of this nature.

I Hate God

Fulham 3-Liverpool 1…So I think I get a pass if I beat up a nun before the night is over. With this loss the league trophy is down to three teams and a desperate fight for the fourth Champions League spot between Liverpool, Tottenham, Aston Villa, and Manchester City. And I wish I had an image for this post, but I forgot how to add images. I’m gonna go get drunk now.

Anyone with knowledge of the “beautiful game” knows the scourge of football the world over are hooligans. And whether they are called casuals, ultras, a firm, etc. the fundamental truth is they in no way add anything to the game. From Bruford’s elegant and rather haunting paen to the wild young men and their antics of desperation, we can gather that an atavistic ceremony is in progress when the hooligan goes on a rampage. Little did we know that in the early 21st century a rather ingenius programmer from Argentina has taken the soccer hooligan experience into world of video gamming. If their are any gamers out their, and FIFA 10 just doesn’t whet their hunger, try “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” for the PC. This add on for the game allows the player to take on the persona of a Boca Junior ultra and rampage through the streets of Buenos Aires, slowly moving up the ranks of of his firm by beating the holy hell out of any fool stupid enough to wear the wrong colors. Whether this will increase fan violence across the soccer world or dissipate it, as a virtual hooligan experience is now available, is yet to be determined. All I can say is, the horror, the horror, exterminate the brutes.

Something to Sing About

In the last few months it may have looked like the Dallas office of Soccerati had fallen off the face of the sporting world. Well if your team had lost to such perenial powers as Spurs, Villa, and Sunderland, writing about the pain would probably not have been on a shortlist of things to do. And don’t give me that crap about pain facilitating good writing, because the Dallas office doesn’t do good writing, just rants. Yet today the clouds dissipated for a few glorious hours as Liverpool notched their third straight defeat over Manchester United. Sure it was a nail biter, and when the fourth official put up five minutes of injury time I was in the process of hiring a crack team of Albanian hit men to finally take out that Scothish drunk. Yet despite the backing of the FA, Man U failed to do what they always have a knack for, stealing games and points in the dying stages of a game. Hopefully this is the spark that ignites Liverpool’s season, if not then I have to put up with douche bags that sing United songs all summer. Oh by the way lap dances to anyone who can name the musical I’m referencing in the title of this post.

I Have the Sickness

After a stint at two of the more premier rehab clinics in the Southwest and a conversion to Scientology, I am happy to announce I’m back. From where I have no idea, but the fruits of someone else’s labors means I feel confident once more to comment on a sport I really know very little about.
And with the advent of a new EPL season and the current standings I can report I have strangled two kittens to death and paid complete strangers to molest homeless vagrants on the unwashed streets of Dallas, Texas. So the stint in rehab didn’t take, sue me and/or my enablers. However that is neither here nor there and anyplace in between. I do know without a clear cut creative force in the midfield no team can win the Premiership. So while Xabi Alonso plies his trade in Madrid, Liverpool can wait one more season for a title that seems destined for a stay in London. And I’m in no way referencing the Spurs. Do the math you gutless Chelsea fans. And while the computations are processed may I go wander out on the proverbial ledge and predict that a change in the Big Four will occur and it will be Arsenal and not Liverpool who will be out of Champions League next season. Tottenham is this year’s Aston Villa, destined to peter out and suffer the indignity of Europa League after flirting like a virginal 16 year old with a much older man too cheap to buy a Porsche. Why do I write such tripe? And when will Mark Hughes be exposed as the charlatan that he is. Roque Santa Cruz? Really? My God must you buy like a drunk Irishman in his first time in the big city. Yes Manny Adebeyor will realize his promise in Manchester because obviously Wenger can in no way develop young talent. He will be his generation’s Stan Collymore. So the game is afoot and I suspect once again the FA and referees of England will gift Sir Alex 4 to 5 games will questionable calls. Yet this in no way will bring another title to United. So if the methodone doesn’t work, then Roman will hoist another title and the game suffers one more indignity in addition to the monstrosity being built in Madrid.

Baby Steps

There’s an old adage that excelling in international tournaments results in a big paydays on the club level. While this dynamic has changed dramatically for the majority of players, this paradigm still applies to a good number of players. Oneyewu Oguchi appears to have reaped the benefits of a strong showing in the Confederation Cup by signing for AC Milan. By playing in one of the premier leagues in the world, Oguichi will only improve and hopefully raise the stature of US players abroad. It wouldn’t surprise me if Altidore gets first team action with Villareal when La Liga’s season starts.

My Gut Instinct is it’s a Free and Open Nation

This pretty much says it all. When the mullahs came to power over 30 years ago they overthrew a corrupt, inefficient regime that employed a brutal secret service( and yes I know Savik was trained largely by the US ). And it seems the revolutionaries have become the Pahlavis. All I can say is a creative and dedicated midfield will always pry open a closed restrictive back four, especially when that back four is an assortment of thugs predicated on intimidation and street violence.

I’ve Soiled Myself

US 3-Egypt 0. Brazil 3-Italy 0. And the place goes nuts, only problem is no one here seems to care. It was without a doubt one of the most unexpected wins in the history of the national team. Sure if they only had to score a goal or try for a tie, then the possibility of the team advancing would not have been too implausible. But you had to win by three and hope, hope mind you that Brazil thumps the current world champions by three. In other words you needed everything that could go right to go right, and anything less than that and Bob Bradley is in the unemployment line. And how confident was the Brad Man? He started Brad Guzan in the net, benching Tim Howard for the game.

I’ve said this before, Bradley needs to create some serious waves for him to keep his job. And while beating Egypt may not be akin to beating Spain, the circumstances the team faced may be the spark the team and coach need to make a strong statement for next year’s World Cup.

We’ll Be Fighting in the Streets with our Children at our feet…

Notice the Green

In a game Iran needed to win in order to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, five members of the Iranian national team wore green armbands. Team captain Ali Karimi and four other teammates wore the armbands as a show of support for Iranian political opposition leader Hossein Mousavi. They wore the armbands for all of the first half, only for the armbands to disappear for the second. Kudos to the Iranians for showing football can have an impact beyond the game itself. Here are the match highlights. I’m rooting for the Iranians to make it to South Africa.

Liverpool’s New Johnson

Look I’m probably not the first wag to put up that title so don’t even think about sending any letters to the corporate headquarters. In what has been one of the most memorable transfer seasons in some time, Liverpool are close to announcing their first major signing. Many have hailed Glenn Johnson as the preeminent English right back in the game today. And while Chelsea may have wanted him back, his experience at Stamford Bridge has left too foul an aftertaste. So hopefully Johnson may be the first domino to fall in Rafa’s summer campaign. What is odd so far has been the relative quiet from Chelsea. With a new superstar manager, I’ve been quite surprised by their lack of activity. Could David Villa remedy this malaise?

The Anti-Ronaldo

Lately we at Soccerati have gone a tad bit Ronaldo crazy. We’re following who he’s hanging with, where he’s hanging out, and why he’s hanging out. And frankly the Dallas office is ready to choke a baby platypus to death. Yeah we know only Messi may give him a run for the title of best player on Earth, but he just comes across as a clueless dork.
Well when Spain, in it’s opening game in the Confederation Cup, demolished New Zealand by five goals their man of the match provided a refreshing tonic to a Ronaldoesque surliness. For full disclosure I’m a die-hard Liverpool fan, and I don’t want this to become some soft copy for Liverpool. But read these quotes by man of the match Fernando Torres. Sure they may sound like the usual soundbites every professional athlete throws out, but this man is different. Case in point, Fernando recently married his childhood sweetheart. In a small civil ceremony near his hometown. No huge party, no internationally known band for the reception, no sale of wedding photos to the media. In short he’s not banging fading debutantes and then going to Vegas. There’s nothing wrong with banging fading debutantes and going to Vegas. But for every Ronaldo we need an anti-thesis, and quite frankly Fernando, Liverpool’s number Nine, is quite refreshing.

Please Forgive Me

They say when worlds collide, the result is often the surreal. But this one just has me feeling icky all over. Seems Soccerati’s own whipping boy has gone on a hijinks spree in Hollywood. Well there just goes what few shreds of integrity CR7 may have possessed. And while most will forgive anyone for a one night stand with the Hilton, but a second date? If this has any legs, and I’m praying it doesn’t, then the term WAG will be wholly reinvented. Pray for us all.

P.S. I was so tempted to put up video of CR7 walking out of Hilton’s pad, but putting up video released by TMZ would sink what little credibility this site has.