News stuff during the part of the day you wish you were asleep.


I had planned a Toronto FC thing today, but Paul Mariner’s dad died so I’ll let that post sit for now, or perhaps forever.

Anyway, Ben Knight uses the relationship-gone-sour metaphor to much more tasteful means to explain this or indeed any other Toronto FC season (he wrote this before news about Mariner’s dad came out), so read that. It sums it up for many fans, I guess. But how could anyone ever have “loved” Toronto FC? Or even have fleeting affection for the club? What the hell did it ever give any of us except bugs in our mouths and the sight of Collin Samuel trudging up the field, or Derby County reject Laurent Robert falling over himself to be just a little more terrible with every touch of the ball?

What we loved back in 2007 the idea of football itself, which we mistakenly associated with whatever the hell MLSE was in the process of bungling. That idea of a football club we could finally call our own united Portuguese, Italian, English and Scottish fans, long separated by flags, histories, neighbourhoods. The arrival of the team was as much a celebration of the hopes and dreams Canadian soccer; in that sense, Toronto FC really was (not being facetious here) more than a club.

Mostly because clubs eventually win things, particularly in MLS.

What happened after those heady days in ’07…well, nothing worthy of love, or even mild affection, and certainly not worth the money you presumably work to earn.

If Toronto FC was a person, they would be an incompetent, abusive moron. And if you were in a relationship with said person and hadn’t broken it off after five years, I would say that says far more about you than the moron. But hey, Toronto FC Til You Die, or as I prefer to put it, Toronto FC Unto Death.

If you want to feel good about Canadian soccer (and you should; it’s a lot bigger and better than that shitbag of a soccer team), I suggest you read this short profile of Brian ‘Budgie’ Budd on IBWM.

In England stuff, St. James Park is St. James Park again, thanks to a the “legal loan shark” company Wonga, Newcastle’s new sponsors to the tune of a four-year, £24m deal which apparently is the biggest ever for the club. David Conn has gotten his paws on it and it’s telling that one of the highest rated comments on the piece is this:

Whine about ‘Sports Direct Arena’.

Whine about Wonga deal to get more miles out of anti-Wonga articles written months ago, despite Wonga changing the name back to St’ James’ Park.

The sports pages on the Guardian are absolutely pathetic these days. Regurgitated crap to create fake media firestorms which they then write about. Conn is the worst white knight, high horse ‘journalist’ in England today. Hoping the Mail on Sunday phones up soon.

I don’t agree with the comment, but I see the point. A lot of what the Guardian does, and Conn in particular, is along the “let’s all react” left-wing approach to these kinds of stories (I am probably no different). Criticizing Mike Ashley is easy even when it’s difficult, and so going after the club for making a deal with a company that literally makes money by exploiting poor people is shooting the world’s biggest fish in the world’s smallest barrel.

Why not instead examine the economic circumstances in which even the biggest clubs are forced to make these deals with the devil? Or instead, why not simply point out the company exists because the law currently permits it? I suppose that would have nowt to do with professional ball-kicking.

When these stories are reported in this “God, would you look at what these bastards are doing now?” stream of atomized instances of moneyed-evil however, all of it begins to blur together, and you kind of stop giving a shit. I’m quite frankly surprised we haven’t seen Lockheed Martin sponsor a Premier League club yet. But it will happen eventually. And Conn will be there to fill in the blanks.

In the sort of mirror image of this “not quite sure what to make of it” type story, Real Madrid and Manchester United sell a lot of replica shirts.

Elsewhere, James Horncastle makes a very admirable addition to the growing gang. He joins others in puzzling how Tottenham have managed without their apparent transfer window bauble in Joao Moutinho. It involves Moussa Dembele and Sandro knocking the ball back and forth, and allowing the second fewest number of shots in the league.

Basically the idea though is Villas-Boas does know what he’s doing, and Spurs is a far, far better club than Chelsea in which to show it off.

Finally, a Major League Soccer tragedy is receiving worldwide attention. Let’s hope they manage to arrest who did this soon.