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You Need to Score More Goals Man!

Went to a soccer match the other night. This one had a twist though, it was in the USA.

Floridian third division side Orlando City played Stoke of the premier league in what must have been the worst match anyone has ever witnessed ever. Despite this disgusting pile of footballing fecal matter we were watching, the atmosphere the Americans were generating was commendable to say the least. However, there were some things we witnessed that were nothing short of tragic.

The national anthems played before the game, with my sibling and I happily humming along to ‘God Save the Queen’ in half hearted fashion, as we’re clearly too cool for patriotism. Expectedly though when the American national anthem played, people put their hands to their hearts and sang, everyone. What I didn’t expect though was the streamers, confetti and balloons being released when “the land of the free, and the home of the brave” was belted out. By this point I was instantly a Stoke fan, and for the rest of the night I could only picture the Orlando City fans with colourful face paint, honking a horn and driving a tiny car while the children run away in terror.

The game kicked off and was played in typical boring Stoke city fashion, so the vast majority of our entertainment came from the sheer stupidity and cringe worthy quotes coming from the fans sat around us. For example, every time Thomas Sorensen took a goal kick, screams of “you fat bastard” in Britain we’re replaced by “you suck, asshole”. Which frankly sounds like a back handed 9 year old insult you throw at someone when they nick your juice box.

Other nuggets of joy we couldn’t help but overhear from anonymous fans while we were eavesdropping include:

“You need to score more goals man!” – when Orlando went 1-0 down.
“Whoever came up with that is a genius.” – referring to the “you suck, asshole” chant.
“America is the best country in the world.” – a drunk college students comment which was greeted with a high five from a hairy man in the row in front.
“Why is there 4 minutes injury time? There wasn’t even any goals. This is rediculous.” – a man clearly not grasping the concept of ‘injury time’.

The fans were by far the most interesting part of this game. I guess it was kind of nice to hear fans applaud players for trying their best in contrast to English football supporters, who basically tell the players how awful they are as they themselves eat a pasty and drink two pints at half time.

But even so I’d rather see the players get waves of abuse than staff squirming to clean up confetti thrown by overly patriotic Yanks.

Euro 2012: Forward Thinking

I don’t want anyone to win Euro 2012. In a way I genuinely hope Germans, the Italians and now Spain all get done for match fixing. And while we’re at it I hope Sepp Blatter suffers multiple kidney stones.

I seem to despise any country that’s successful and isn’t English, much like most England fans to be fair, except I’m the only one that admits it. The Spanish side are constantly diving, Italy are cheaters and Germany are well… Germany. The disappointment of England bombing out of Euro 2012 was on par with hearing the BBC were going to cover the rest of the games – devestating news.

Alan Hansen actually has a lever on the back of his head that needs rewinding after each piece of coverage, as BBC viewers apparently can’t get enough of hearing his recycled verbal garbage that holds about as much originality as ITV2’s overwhelmingly terrible reality series ‘Mark Wrights Hollywood Nights’.

Despite commentators constantly drooling over Spain’s flowing,  beautiful but frequently boring style of play as well as practically ever other European side bar England, noone has been wonderful at Euro 2012. Germany had a decent quarter final but let’s not forget they were playing a Greek side about as interested as David Cameron is in his daughter while he’s at the pub.

Hodgson after Ashley Youngs penalty miss.

That being said England were embarrassing.  I’ve never known a team try so hard to ignore Andrea Pirlo and not get beat. Apparently his stench was so great England needed to stay at least seven yards away to avoid shriveling up and passing out.

But being the positive, forward thinking and optimistic man that I am I do believe Englands solid defensive displays are definitely something to build on in the future. The back four looked extremely organised and will hopefully prove to be a tough nut to crack in future tournaments. If we manage this, teach Ashley Young how to pass and ditch the overrated ogre that is Wayne Rooney we may have a chance at the world cup in 2014.

We just need to avoid Sweden, Italy, Germany, Portugal and probably Spain.

The Little Italian That Could

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2007. The Messiah had arrived. The man who could turn water into wine had graced our country with his managerial grace and stylish spectacles. Fabio Capello had the doors to his football factory open and England had the golden ticket. Excitement lined the streets. People desperate for a shake of the hand from the guy whose touch could turn anything to platinum.

He can’t speak English? Not important.

The anticipation was in every England fans eyes. This was it, “40 years of hurt” was about to get an appointment with the most prestigious doctor in football. This guy was the boss among bosses.

Guaranteed stricter than your parents, as an England player you weren’t allowed phones at the dinner table. If you wanted to go out with a girl he needed to meet her first. And her parents. And you had to be in by dark and in bed by the end of Corrie.

But this was about the approach more than football. Gone were the days of booze and coke-fueled nights out featuring the cream-of-the-crop in foreign prostitutes.

Mr. Wolly with the Brolly himself looked like Winnie-the-Pooh compared to the stern face italian stallion who, at the same time wouldn’t look out of place with a shell on his back at Seaworld.

But this was it. This was the era. We would be bigger than the big sides like Spain and Brazil. Except not as agile, skillful,  entertaining, dominating, determined or good looking as them.

2009. We were on the way to the golden chalice. The Holy Grail that is the World Cup is surely ours. The qualifiers probably could’ve been played by any Royal Oak Sunday side. Capello nearly offered to manage one of the teams playing against England to give them a fighting chance. Because that’s the man he is, always thoughtful and willing to help others, and never for money. Ever.

2010. This was the year of celebration, we all knew it. We expected it. The World Cup is just the start. The next step is world domination. Our greatness would eclipse our competitors to such an extent we would eventually only need 5 players on the pitch. And even then it would be 5 too many as the fear-striking England name would be enough to make the opposition curl into a ball and weep until we took their lunch money and made them say “uncle”. Earth would then be re-named “England” with Capello walking on water.

Hold on. One step at a time.

We arrive at the World Cup. We scrape through the group stage in what is a shaky start to our breakthrough campaign. Doubters start to surface and are immediately greeted by hostility and disgust by the Capello faithful, the Messiah will get us through this.

But get through we didn’t. The Capello empire crumbled and collapsed upon the mans very eyes as the demonic and evil force that is Germany rip through and destroy England like a child rips the wings off a squirming fly for their own twisted amusement.

Fabio is exiled. Statues depicting his greatness are torn down, burned, laughed at, then urinated on for effect. Fabio Capello was not the King anymore, he was the jester who’d taken everyone in England around for a cheap laugh.

2012. Fabio Capello resigns. The-little-italian-that-could went from hero to zero while practically achieving nothing but wasting everyones time and making us feel foolish in the process, as we probably all should’ve realised he made next to no progression in learning the English language in over four years.

Capello is now homeless and lives somewhere in Lancashire with his dog Rex whom he bought in return for a 6 pack of Carlsberg and 9 expired banana flavoured condoms.

Forty years of hurt and England fans are still awaiting the remedy. 

Superbowl of Corn Flakes

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After the dust has settled and people have just recovered from their superbowl hangovers, I came to a grim realisation about America’s favourite sporting event, as well as the sport altogether.

I watched Superbowl 46 and immediately switched it off when I noticed I’d been watching it for around 50 minutes and they hadn’t even gotten through the first quarter due to advertisements.

Something that probably makes me want to eat a plate of tacks for breakfast more than anything is how people can actually look forward to the Superbowl for the adverts. Adverts are not meant to be enjoyed they are meant to brainwash you like mindless vegetables to buy their product through the sheer motivation of greed.

People who watch the NFL hold a brilliant level of passion which is certainly commendable but I also believe their ignorance is worthy of them getting a Tim Tebow kick to the face.

Football is a sport that exists purely to make MONEY. Any game that requires the players on the pitch and the audience in the stands to wait for an NBC commercial break should be banished, strung up, tortured, raped and eaten with a garnish of loneliness and humiliation.

Don’t get me wrong. I am aware that all professional sports need to make money as this is how businesses work, even in Soccer (Through gritted teeth I use the horrific term ‘soccer’ to avoid confusion). But the initial core and purpose of Soccer is not to make money but to provide a service for its fans to celebrate their passion for their favourite teams, un-interrupted by the money-driven motivations of television networks or advertising sponsors.

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If every fifteen minutes of every live Soccer match was interrupted because the television network it was being broadcast on needed to go to a commercial break there would be blood. Fans would realise their passion was being turned into a rolling money making machine. Unfortunately though signs are starting to crop up as the ticket prices to even see some lower division soccer teams is absurd as well as player wages and big team transfer budgets are reaching astronomical heights. Thankfully though it’s not quite at the same stage as the NFL, although as a passionate British soccer fan we all hope this isn’t just going to be a matter of time.