The Lead

As bad as this weekend was for Canadian soccer (god did I ever hope it was an early April Fool’s joke), some perspective is needed, particularly in comparison to our European friends. First, despite Canada failing to qualify for the Olympics following their heroic 3-1 loss to Mexico as Daniel Squizzato points out, with the young talent on display for Tony Fonseca’s side the future looks relatively bright. Toronto FC lost their third straight game of the young MLS season, but we’re only just in April, so fairly par for the course (despite the difficult precedent to overcome). Vancouver may have drawn 0-0 again, but they’re also still undefeated. And the destruction of the Montreal Impact at the feet of the New York Red Bulls gets an expansion team bye. Also, Thierry Henry.

Compare this disaster to that unfolding in domestic leagues across Europe, where work stress is clearly taking its toll. There is no happy shiny fun face single entity there, no “aw shucks, not again” if a team finishes last. The relative financial stability of football clubs is determined by their position on the table, and we’re getting close to the final chapter.

So we have Mario Balotelli getting into it with his team-mates, Kolarov ahead of a crucial freekick, and with Yaya Toure in the tunnel at half time. That was followed by Mancini tearing into the troubled Italian striker. Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey mixed it up with fellow player Roger Johnson. And profligate Liverpool FC striker Andy Carroll was close to tears as he swore at anyone within earshot including his own manager following his substitution against his former club Newcastle, who were pretty classless to be fair over the selling of player whose funds helped pay for their current success. This preceded a silly red card for Pepe Reina for a kind of half-headbutt. And if all that wasn’t enough, West Brom keeper Ben Foster went after Peter Odemwingie in West Brom’s 2-0 loss against Everton.

I haven’t even left the continent yet, or indeed mentioned the ghost goal that haunted AC Milan yet again, or Bayer Leverkusen’s firing of Robin Dutt.

We are officially in silly season. Managers are in full public meltdown. Which means perhaps it’s time we slow down, contemplate the coming of Spring and the beauteous green about to cover the Earth. Deep breath everyone. Deep breath.


The case for not changing match schedules to suit English clubs in the Champions League.

Stiliyan Petrov prepares for the fight of his life.

This is Liverpool’s worst run of league results in 59 years. How important is that Carling Cup now?

Title race is over if Manchester United win their next two, says Mancini.

Rennes’ Yann M’Vila to Arsenal?

Preston North End players leak team tactics to Sheffield Wednesday for some reason.

Newcastle’s Cisse into the goat curry, which is news. TRUST ME.


Sure Milan were robbed, but kudos to Catania.

Juventus inch closer to the Scudetto while Napoli “collapse.”

Italy, Lazio and New York Cosmos legend Giorgio Chinaglia dies at 65.


Patience wears thin for Sporting Gijon’s coach Javier Clemente.

Bits and bobs

David Beckham’s half time substitution the talk of the universe.

Tim Vickery on Benfica’s Brazil connection.

QPR want to know who threw the coin at assistant referee Stuart Burt in the Arsenal game.

And that, give or take, is the story so far…