This is usually the stage of the game where I have to think of something clever to say. But good luck with that one on the day, I guess. We’ll ((or I’ll)) have to see what happens. If I can figure out a surefire way to hook up an Adler J-5 typewriter to an Intel 8815 1.6 GHz CPU, we. or I, might actually get somewhere, but there is no guarantee of that. Best to wager your mother-in-law’s money on something else with a better potential for profit.
If you have nothing better to do with your mother-in-law’s money today, then I suggest wagering a tenner of it on a futile and pointless 2-1 victory by Mallorca over Real Villadolid in this afternoon’s La Liga final. Then again, by the time you read this, the match will have gone finito, and Mallorca, win, lose or draw, will have been related to the Segund0 Division. So maybe the cleverest thing of all to do is buy as much beer as you can for the $10 and then sit down and drink it with a thick slice of something, dipped in malt vinegar.
It always about England, isn’t it. Never about America or Germany or the fackin’ Frenchies. It’s always about the perils of England, first. The Three Lions draw top billing on the marquee here. And as I think about the reason, I find myself thinking that England by it’s very nature sets itself up for this.
Just because they created and developed the game….just because the English Premier League is the top professional league in the world…..just because England won the World Cup ion 1966….because because because. Because of all this and more, England approaches every international competition, be it a friendly like the match with Ireland, or the real deal World Cup qualifying that awaits them, with the notion, the attitude, the assumption that they are not only entitled to win it all, they actually are good enough to win it all. The simple fact is that they are neither.
So they set themselves up for this, and I, like many other pundits, pro or schmoe, are more than willing to cut them down a peg or three. It’s almost cruel to say, but I think I revel in their misery a bit. I take a certain satisfaction when the games don’t go their way.
Last Wednesday’s friendly with Ireland is a great example. By all rights, England should have eked out a win…especially playing at home in a packed Wembley Stadium. While not up to the standard they fancy themselves to have, England has far more talent on their squad than Ireland. But as Robbie Keane has said, and shown the pitch by his run of play, The Boys in Green have more passion for the shirt and playing for the national team means far more to them than it does to the spoiled twats that play for England.
I’m going to stick with the facile notion that because I watched the Fedex 400 NASCAR race from Dover today while drinking German beer instead of watching the Team USA vs Germany friendly while drinking German beer that Team USA won. I didn’t jinx it by watching them. I did keep tabs on the score via my smartphone and soccerway.com, but I didn’t watch. At halftime, I even said to no one in particular, and quite possibly myself, that Dempsey would score a couple in the second half. And whaddya know?
Unlike England, we Yanks have no illusions, allusions, delusions ((well….not as many as merry ol’ England…not even close)) about our quality, and our station in the football world. We’re upper mid-table at best, sort of like Swansea, West Brom, or Liverpool this season in the Prem. What I’m saying is that our aspirations and expectations are a bit more realistic. We have World Cup Qualifiers coming up next Friday and the following Tuesday against Jamaica and Panama and we can’t take any of them for granted. Especially Jamaica. While they’re last in the group, they have a ton of pace and can hit us on the counter if we’re not careful. We’re playing them in Jamaica and we need to get all three points. Panama is top of the group at the moment and we have them at home…at Century Link Field in Seattle….and we need to be tougher on defense than we were with Belgium and Germany.
But fuck all that!! Dempsey was genius!! We clobbered Germany today. Incineration complete! On to the World Cup!!
Well I had to hand it to this ManU(re) fan for wandering into the midst of us Blues fans before Chelsea’s friendly at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. He knew he was going to get some grief. And I was more than happy to hand some out to him. He just plopped himself down and had a beer like it was any other Thursday in downtown St. Louis and was good sport about it all.
I was actually impressed that this lad was not some glory-whore with a Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie shirt or something like that. The name on the back of his shirt was Solskjær…as in Ole Gunnar Solskjær. And I told him so.
I’ve wondered to myself ever since how many of my fellow Blues fans in attendance even know who Ole Gunnar Solskjær is and what his accomplishments were. My guess is about 38-39%.
But no matter. We KNOW Who We Are! And I know who I am. And so do you.
I wonder what Stan Musial would have thought of the latest incarnation of Busch Stadium being turned into a sea of blue. Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith….all the great ones who’ve made St. Louis arguable the best baseball town in America; I wonder what they’d have thought about their house being invaded by soccer teams that match their greatness, and soccer
hooligans fans like me.
Musial’s excellence as an athlete coupled with his decency as a person stands in sharp contrast to many of today’s athletes. Especially a lot of our EPL soccer stars, including some on the pitch for the game at Busch Stadium. I wonder who on either squad will be as revered at 92 years of age as Stan Musial was when he passed away this last January. It’s tough to say….as an athlete alone it’s one thing, maybe even a simple thing, but as a human being with character, class, and decency, that’s a tougher standard and I’m not all that certain even any of my Chelsea heroes will come that close. ((I will have to keep my eye on them when I reach my 130th birthday)). It’s too early to tell at the moment.
Anyway, despite the final score, it was great to finally see my Blues play live, in person, after watching them all these years on TV. I’m jealous for my fellow Chelsea fans in England who get to see them every week at The Bridge. Two of our Academy players got starts and acquitted themselves very well…Ruben Loftus-Cheek at midfield and Andreas Christensen at center-back. Christensen especially was impressive as hell. Only 17, he held his own against some the greatest in the game…Tevez, Sergio-kun, and David Silva….Christensen kept them at bay. There’s hope for our future.
And speaking of the future….
Forward into the Past!!
The future is now!!! It’s official! What we expected all along, and hope for all along. Jose Mourinho and Roman Abromovich have kissed and made up and now The Special One has returned and will be the new coach at Chelsea. Mourinho signed a 4 year deal and like Blues fans everywhere I’m delighted and hopeful and am looking forward the next season. I can’t wait to get it started.
Meanwhilst, every Chelsea fan blog and website know to man is firing up the speculation, nostalgia and enthusiasm and right at this moment, I’m going to reserve my detailed speculations and thoughts on this for a bit later. Perhaps a separate posting to this online sadness diary. Yes. Most definitely. Later.
Y’all know my thoughts on Ron Gourlay and Michael Emenalo by now…and my frustrations with certain aspects of Roman’s (micro?)management of the team and the fockwits on the board. But now that Mourinho’s been thrown back into the mix, it’s going to be interesting to see how the management style of the team changes going forward. I’ve always said that what we’ve needed is (a semblance of) stability. NO more inconsistency and petulant micro-management. Take a long view of things.
Now that Mourinho is back, I hope he stays back for good. If Roman Abromovich truly recognizes the potential his club now has, and if those quisling acolytes of his ((Gourlay, Emenalo et al)) can stay out of harm’s way, then Chelsea is poised to be the most dominant and powerful club not only in England but also in Europe and the World for a long time to come.
We know who we are. And everybody else will too. And I’ll say it again. For a long time to come!
Carefree, wherever we may be.
We are the famous CFC.
‘n’ we don’t give a fock whoever you may be.
‘Cause we are the famous CFC!!
I simply can’t let England off the hook.
Wayne Rooney’s cracker aside, with the possible exception of Joe Hart, The Three Lions played like muppets down in Brazil. Brazil pretty much sleep-walked through the match, and still dominated and pulled off the draw….and yes, the Seleção need to step their game up up a notch before the World Cup, but that’s a story for another day.
But England…my word anyway. The Director of Elite Development for the FA, Dean Ashworth thinks they can win a World Cup in the next 15 years.
Somebody has to take a long‑term strategic view. The FA has done that here. This is for the long term. We’ve said that hopefully England’s senior men will win a World Cup or a European Championships in the 2020s. In 10 or 14 years’ time, is that realistic? The answer is yes.
Bloody hell!! Really?
To be honest, USA stands a better chance ((except for the European Championship part)).
England needs to fix i self at it’s lowest levels before it ever hopes to have a prayer.
There’s THIS little tidbit. And then THIS one. The lower divisions mired in the mindset of 50 years ago. Sheffield United’s board want a coach who’ll just have the lads chuck it down the pitch…play longball with no passing, finesse, or offensive development….and place all their hopes in set-pieces.
Or take the Ryman Premier League…which for those of you hanging out in front of The Troll Inn in Mount Horeb WI smoking cigarets, is the top division of non-league football but is still 7 levels down from the Premier League. A lot of the teams that play down there are semi-pro, with a good number of amateur teams thrown in. This is where England needs to do more work to develop indigenous talent. But the FA doesn’t really give a toss, since it’s non-league, and with same mindset of 50 or 100 years ago down there, it’s really no wonder that England will never win a World Cup ever again. The same ancient mindset of rub a little dirt in it if it hurts hold sway.
Times have changed, but until England truly does, they will fall further behind. The USA and Ireland have a better shot at winning a World Cup or a European Championship.
I wonder what Chopper Harris would think….
I started this with no particular idea in mind, and somehow have made a couple o’ thousand words appear right out of nothing. Actually, what I did was just grab thick slices of stuff and a take a bite or three. It’s the opposite, I suppose, of Malcolm Gladwell’s thin-slicing whereby you judge what’s important or of value from a limited experience of something, or….as what me and college pals fancied ourselves to be doing back in 1973: Intuiting Pure Truth. Or as Gladwell calls it, rapid cognition.
A nice quaint idea, but from personal experience, intuiting pure truth, is not always the best approach on the general principle that it requires not only quick thinking, but actual thinking. Most people are ill-equipped for that sort of deal. And sometimes I’ve just too damned lazy.
Instead of that facile nonsense, I prefer to take healthy bite or a healthy glug of things and then make the call.
So I’m convinced that I’ve done that here. I’ve ripped a few thick slices out of a bunch of crap and rubbed it in malt vinegar, washed it down with POINT Beer, and hoped for the best.
I was going to recap everything I’ve intuited here on treh day, in a precisiely numbered list. But I’ll spare you that. After all, you’re capable of intuiting pure truth and reading my mind on your own. And if not, pop open another beer.
But I will share with you what would have been in bullet point #7. This would have been suggestion for how Morgan Tsvangarai could be assured of beating Robert Mugabe in the upcoming election for President of Zimbabwe.
7. Arrange for a crocodile to eat him.
Politics is deceptively simple at times. Unlike sports. So, it’s about that time for you stop reading this. If you haven’t already. Long ago.