I made a list of things to write about this week from the sporting world that taken as a whole have little to do with one another. But as usual, this does not stop me from trying to find some common thread. There simply HAS to a fearful symmetry somewhere in the interstices between Joey Barton’s Hitler Moustache and Kyle Busch winning the Triple at Bristol last weekend. I know that F1’s return to the track at Spa foretells some crazy cuckoo cosmic connection to Nationwide’s return to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. And hanging over it all like a sultry ol’ moon is the headline, torn from the broadsheets of terrible reality HOTSPURS BUGGER YOUNG BOYS 4-0.
So…let’s go see how right, or how grievously wrong I am.
HOTSPURS BUGGER YOUNG BOYS 4-0
This actually DID occur this past week. Wednesday, August 25th, at White Hart Lane to be exact. Tottenham Hotspur hosted the second leg of the UEFA Champions League qualifying round playoff with Young Boys, a football club from Bern Switzerland who qualified for the Champions League by virtue of their 2nd place finish in the Swiss Super League last season. And the press and the so-called press have had a field day with Tottenham’s epic struggle with Young Boys. Low-brow sophomoric humour at it’s finest.
Tottenham goes into the Group Stage of the Champions League. They are in a tough draw in Group A, a mini Group of Death, with Inter Milan, Werder Bremen, and FC Twente. They might not make it out of this one. ((Hold that thought)) Especially given today’s foolish and shameful loss to Wigan Athletic ((yes, THAT Wigan Athletic, the one that opened the season at home with a 0-4 loss to Blackpool and followed it up with a 0-6 pasting at the hands of my Chelsea Blues….yes, THAT Wigan)). The Hotspurs have 2 weeks and change to get it together. Theiropening Champions League match is with Werder Bremen on September 14th. Next Saturday they toddle on up to The Hawthorns to beat West Bromwich Albion. But then again, they couldn’t even a muster a goal against Wigan for fock sake.
Grim prospects indeed. Harry Rednapp’s head must be spinning. Yes, it is indeed spinning. “It was a rare, bad day,” he said. “…You should come here full of confiedence after winning” ((buggering Young Boys)) “4-0 in the Champions League. You should feel fantastic” ((after buggering Young Boys 4-0)) “not have a hangover and feel lethargic.” Better to have a “rare bad day” now…but woe be them if they have rare bad days against Werder Bremen, Inter Milan and Twente. That COULD open the door to more lowbrow comedy. ((hold that thought))
Meanwhile, the Young Boys, by virtue of being buggered by Tottenham, will play on in the Europa League. The losers of the Champions League playoff round qualify for the Europa Round group stage. And Young Boys’ ball(s) was fished out of Pot 4 and tucked into the Group H nutsack of the Europa league with VfB Stuttgart, Getafe, and Odense BK. Young Boys has a good chance of making it of the Group Stage and into the Knockout Phase.
And guess what! Here’s the terrifying and potentially hilarious prospect. The third place finisher in the Champions League group stage gets bumped down to the Europa League knockout phase. So…there is a chance that the Hotspurs and Young Boys could meet again. HOTSPURS CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF YOUNG BOYS, and other headlines await.
Wolverhampton 1 Newcastle United 1
I don’t really believe for a minute that Kyle Busch, at anytime in his life, has ever met Joey Barton, or seen Joey Barton play football, or for that matter, even knows who Joey Barton actually is. There are quite a few disconnects in the sporting world…more likely owing to the amount of time and focus that athletes must expend in honing and perfecting their skills. Unlike us journalists, or so-called journalists, they don’t usually have the time to broaden their worldview quite as extensively as we do. Kyle Busch won the Triple this past weekend at Bristol, winning the Trucks, Nationwide, and Sprint races. NO other driver has ever accomplished this feat. And Kyle started this weekend with a Truck win at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, edging out Todd Bodine. Hell, that’s 4 in a row. Meanwhile, this afternoon at Molineux, Joey Barton and his Hitler moustache, fed a terrific free kick to Andy Carroll for the equalizer as Newcastle United left Wolverhampton with a 1-1 draw. A lot a people have done that, but Joey Barton has a way of doing those sorts things with a bit more flair.
Kyle Busch, meet Joey Barton. There are enough similarities to bridge, for a moment, the superficial differences. Personality-wise, neither are lacking. Both are and can be mouthy yet charming smartasses. Both are hated and loved and reviled and adored. Both are exceedingly talented at what they do. Both can be their own worst enemies. But it’s fair to say that Kyle Busch has done more with his talents than Joey Barton has with his. Or, better put, Kyle Busch has not squandered his talents as Joey Barton has oftimes done up to this point…given his injuries, a suspension, and time in jail for assault. Yes, jail.
I’m quite sure Kyle Busch has never met jail ((although his brother, Kurt, did have a run in with the fascist Sheriff of Maricopa County Arizona)), but Joey Barton has been convicted twice served time in jail once ((77 days of a 6 mos. term)) for assault. He’s been suspended from football for various incidents involving teammates.He stabbed out a cigar in the eye of a team-mate….a team-mate it must be said who had attempted to set fire to his shirt. But all the same, Barton trumps Busch in the all-around lout department. Although, Joey Barton has never smashed a Sam Bass designed guitar.
But both are exceptional talents at their craft…assuming that they can stay steady and consistent. Busch won the Nationwide Championship last year. Barton’s Newcastle United squad won the Championship League last season and got promoted to the English Premier League. If Barton can stay healthy and bit more on the straight and narrow, he and his fellow Magpies will be a force to be reckoned with…if he can keep feeding those beautiful passes to Andy Carroll ((who’s had his share of run-ins with the law)), and blast a few of his own in, Newcastle will carve a place for itself in the Premier League…maybe qualify for Europa League, NEXT season. Kyle Busch needs to settle into a more consistent groove. Which is a tough thing for mercurial personalities and talents to do. When Kyle does, he will join his brother Kurt as Sprint Cup Champion.
But meanwhile, in the faire country of Belgium….
After a 4 week summer layoff, the Formula 1 boys teed it off this morning at Spa-Francorchamps. Mark Webber had the pole, but got off to a shit start…he was in 6th going into the first turn. Lewis Hamilton teed off second, passed Webber on start, and never looked back. Webber recovered to finish 2nd. Robert Kubica who started 3rd, finished 3rd.
Vettel, Button, Alonso, Barrichello all were victims of the wreck fest that was the Belgian Gran Prix. Hamilton nailed all his restarts, and held off Webber to secure his 3rd win of the season and regain the points leads. I was hoping for a more succinct analysis of their return to the track. But I suppose the two pictures above will have to make due.
That’s 2000 words worth of typerwriter ribbon that I can use to describe an obscure football match in Scotland’s Third Division. Okay…I’ll do it less than 2000 words. Simply put, my Berwick Rangers marched up to Glasgow and beat the oldest football club in Scotland, Queen’s Park, 2-0 at the Hamden Park Grounds yesterday. Darren Gribben plunked home a penalty kick at the 29 minute mark and Chris O’Reilly smacked one home at the 52 minute mark and my Rangers hung on to seal the deal. Like Lewis Hamilton, they have 3 wins this season and are top of the table. There.
And off to Montreal we go.
By the time you read this, you will also know the answer. But as I bang away here on my Adler J-5 I wonder if 4 will be the charm for Marcus Ambrose. He scored a nice win earlier this year at Watkins Glen, but Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has eluded him. By all rights, he should have 3 wins there already…but if if were a fifth, well…we’d all be Joey Barton, Andy Carroll, and laughing all the way to gaol. Well…not bloody likely, but you know what I mean.
And speaking of Joey Barton, Kyle Busch is not running this race. Joey Barton is probably not watching this race((but it would be sort of cool if he was)). But if the F1 race serves as a cautionary tale, and most likely it cant or wont, well…Marcos Ambrose had better get off to great start and stay there. The only problem is that unlike F1, there are MORE variables and MORE chances for things to get all fucked up. Especially when The Carl tees it off 4th. Especially when Jacques Villeneuve tees it off on the front row with Ambrose. Ambrose and Villeneuve duked it out for the pole position. The actual race which tees off in an hour or so should prove just as exciting. I’d really like to see Ambrose win this one. But if Jacques Villeneuve can pull off the win at the track named after his father, well, that would be magnifique, n’est-ce pas?.
So…I’ve tied up this little package and stuffed it in a gift bag, but what does it contain? Obviously, I don’t know what I was thinking when I thought I could tie all this together into something reasonably succinct, coherent, and enlightening. So let’s give THESE guys a shot at it: