Archive for the ‘England’ Category

Arsenal's Campbell reacts after Stoke City's Fuller scored his second goal during their FA Cup soccer match in Stoke-on-Trent

Your skin colour is not good.

The job you want is unattainable because your skin is the wrong colour. Your partner’s family despises you because of the way you look. Children are told to cross the road, less they come into contact with ‘you,’ someone who is considered abnormal.

I have some experience with the above and I can tell you it’s awful.

It feels awful when a slur is directed your way. Being called a ‘Paki’ when my family was actually from India hurt. Clarifying the difference felt even worse. Why am I justifying myself to a bigot?

That’s why I have time for Sol Campbell’s argument. In his autobiography, Campbell believes his race kept him from becoming England’s captain.

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The UEFA under 21 championship is underway in Israel. Italy has dominated England possession wise and got a goal to show for it thanks to Lorenzo Insigne. To England’s credit, they had a goal disallowed for reasons nobody can quite pin down.


The Lead

First, this:

So Suarez’s agent’s damage control was all for naught. This is happening. Remember kids: any less than 40 million pounds and LFC don’t know what they’re doing. And yes, it does seem the press did play a role:

Anyhoo, tis the season for friendlies! And while they don’t exactly lend themselves to white hot preview action as well as their competitive counterparts, there is always some grandiose theme to extrapolate out of the otherwise meaningless proceedings.

Over in Brazil for example, a judge called off a friendly that was to be held at Rio’s newly-renovated Maracana stadium. That is until her ruling was reversed:

However a statement on the Rio state government confirms the stadium complies with “all safety rules”.

The statement also confirmed the safety certificate was granted.

“All safety requirements for the friendly between Brazil and England have been complied with and, because of a bureaucratic failure, the appraisal from the public ministry that proves the compliance with the rules on safety at the Maracana have not been sent to Suderj,” the statement read.

Suderj is a division of the Rio de Janeiro state authority that holds responsibility for administrative issues with major sports venues.

Apparently these safety guarantees didn’t make it to the office responsible for approving sporting venues because of a “bureaucratic mistake.” And, make no mistake, this and the first person testimonials we’ll be seeing on Monday about the shoddy state of the place from England fans will be used to push an “Is Brazil Really Ready?” line.

As for the game itself, a bit of pish, a reason to look at Neymar, and whinge about two banks of four.

A little further north, Toronto’s slightly sturdier BMO Field will be the site of another, potentially more fiery rematch between the Canadian and American national women’s teams. They haven’t met since the epic 4-3 Olympic semifinal match in London, a game that still draws a bitter divides otherwise friendly soccer nations.

Equally bitter: fans of the Canadian mens team over the lavish attention paid to their more successful female counterparts? Perhaps, and there is some grumbling about a smaller pool of talented nations in women’s soccer flattering Canada. But fans of the program should put any sniping aside; Canadian soccer rarely enjoys this kind of attention, and the Canadian Soccer Association is milking it well.

The trick, as Duane Rollins wrote yesterday, would be to view this match as another opportunity to spur on a national development program, rather than a glorified back-slap. Attendant media would do well to ask Canada’s technical director and president what movements have been made to implement the recommendations for a division three national league.

Football can get emotional

We’ve all been there. Crystal Palace leads Brighton by two late in the second leg of their Championship semi-final. The writing is on the wall for this young Brighton supporter. There will be better days ahead, my friend.

Gif via @FeintZebra

Troy Deeney is the hero in a game that can only be described as incredible. Leicester’s Anthony Knockaert dove in the box, winning a debatable penalty that looked to end Watford’s hopes of making it to the Premier League. Manuel Almunia made a stunning double save, setting up Deeney’s winner at the death. Watford wins on aggregate 3-2. Brighton take on Crystal Palace for the other place in Wembley. That tie sits at 0-0.

Absolutely incredible. Of course, a stunning result like this would not be complete without a pitch invasion.

Gifs via @FeintZebra

One wild finish to the Championship

Watford v Leeds United - npower Championship

Whoa. The nitty gritty via the Guardian:

Hull City are promoted behind champions Cardiff City.  Watford, Brighton & Hove Albion, Crystal Palace and Leicester City will contest the play-offs. Peterborough United and Wolverhampton Wanderers are relegated alongside the already doomed Bristol City.

Watford could have secured automatic promotion due to Hull City’s 2-2 draw with Cardiff City. Ross McCormack’s goal in the 90th minute spoiled the party. The Hornets were without Manuel Almunia. His replacement, Jonathan Bond, suffered a gruesome injury in the first half leaving teenager Jack Bonham to man the posts.

This image says it all pretty much.


via r/soccer’s SooShark


The Lead

Last night, Sergio Agüero, an Argentinian forward formerly of Atletico Madrid, purchased from Independiente for €23 million and sold on to Manchester City for a ballpark sum of £35 million—the most expensive player in the club’s history—scored the winning goal for Manchester City. The club paid Agüero’s enormous transfer fee on the back of money provided by owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. This money was generated in part by the Supreme Petroleum Council, the fourth largest oil and natural gas company on Earth. It sells its products to a global industry that is driven by fossil fuels, despite the major risk the product poses to the fragile global climate.

The game meanwhile was played against the likely Premier League title-winners Manchester United at the Nike Swoosh-adorned Old Trafford. United of course are owned by American businessman Malcolm Glazer. Glazer purchased the club on leveraged money in 2005, meaning much of the team revenue was initially directed to making substantial interest payments on Glazer’s borrowed cash. The Glazer family generated their wealth through property ownership, initially trailer parks in Florida in the 1970s. Malcolm Glazer made several failed corporate takeover attempts in the Reagan eighties and finally succeeded in purchasing the ailing Zapata Offshore company, which was a remaining subsidiary of Zapata, an oil and natural gas company established by President George H.W. Bush. From there Glazer invested in a host of various companies to generate a considerable fortune.

Both teams played to a global audience in the tens if not hundreds of millions, through satellite and digitial cable television stations which paid millions and in some cases billions of pounds, dollars, Euros for the privilege, money that is funneled back to both clubs and to the globally preferred Premier League. The money is recouped by the companies that paid for the rights in ad revenue from commercial spots for a host of products aimed at a lucrative young demographic, all produced via a globally integrated free-market fueled by petroleum products. It’s a closed circuit of wealth generation, money which is redirected back to stockholders, and to company employees, from manufacturers in the developing world to mid-level corporate executives in Western Europe and North America.

Needless to say, this system doesn’t make much a priority of the community history of a few clubs, nor the mere tens of thousands of fans who pay to see the clubs play in regions like Greater Manchester, or Yorkshire, or any of the economic areas which in many ways are still readjusting to the post-1980s, state-owned economy smashed to pieces by Margaret Thatcher during her time as Prime Minister (1979-90).

This, at least to me, is the real legacy of Thatcherism. It’s an intractable ideology, not an atomized historical moment. It involves more than the gentrification of English football which followed a complex chain of events stretching back to the ban on English clubs in Europe following the Heysel stadium crush in 1985. And more than the unjust treatment of all football fans in that same dark period which merely reflected Thatcher’s Tory hatred of the English working class, a group whom she referred to once as “the enemy within.”

Thatcher uprooted a Britain locked in a mixed economy which, for better or worse, perpetuated an industry that existed in large part to employ a work force rather than produce a lucrative good at market value. But Thatcherism—the ideology her approach to the trade unions and state-owned industry—only survived because it was cemented by the smiley-faced, pro-middle class New Labour politics of Tony Blair, a Prime Minister who helped ensure that global, wealth-obsessed neoliberal policy was signed off by history.

The legacy of Thatcher is only something we talk about because of Newcastle-loving Tony, much in the same way Reaganism survived in large part because of Bill Clinton’s Third Way approach, which generated enormous wealth for the middle class even as it further dismantled the New Deal welfare state. Apportioning blame or credit for the current global wealth-generating machine that is Modern Football goes far beyond slagging a Prime Minister who was last in office when Liverpool won their last first division title.

This is not meant to be a lecture on political science, but merely to point out that, it’s complicated. Thatcher may have directed history, her politics may have been an inevitable response to an inert 1970s, it may or may not have paved the way for the massively wealthy Premier League, which may or may not be the worst thing in the world. But she is not an independent agent.
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