|The Beer’s Prayer|
Which art in barrels,
Swallowed be thy drink.
From keg or case,
Thy will be drunk,
At home as it is in the pub.
Give us this day our foamy head,
And forgive us our spillage’s,
As we forgive those who spill against us.
And lead us not to incarceration,
But deliver us from hangovers.
For thine is the beer, the bitter, and the lager,
Forever and ever,
Dingleberry of the Week: MLS and its brood, the teams, collectively are the Dingleberry of the Week for having absolutely *NO* pre-season match reports, results or statistics on *ANY* of their various and numerous official web sites … other than the Mickey Mouse tournament in Florida. Mickey Mouse in that it was at Goofy World, or in concept, take your pick. Why should any of us have to go begging for results in a public forum? One would think — hope, assume, pray (take your pick) — that MLS and the teams would have the results up on their web page. It’s not like it would take a tremendous amount of effort to send an intern, a laptop and a modem along on the trip and have the pimply punk send back a match report after each game. The lack of information is pathetic. It never ceases to amaze TotW what a motivated individual can accomplish where a whole overpaid bureaucracy can’t. If the teams didn’t have supporters, we wouldn’t know crap.
Commies not satisfied with White House: Not satisfied with other baubles purchased on their decade long US spending spree (ports, nukes, Bill Clinton), the Chinese are apparently throwing millions of dollars worth of prison labor behind US Soccer svengali Alan Rothenberg’s attempt to buy the Dallas Burn. No need then for Dallas to change its red uniforms.
More USSF fiscal wisdom: USSF, no different than any other bureaucracy when it comes to lethargic, overpaid bureacrats, is paying women’s national team coach April Heinrichs almost 1/5 what it is paying men’s coach Bruce Arena, $100,000 to $482,852. Heinrichs (and World Cup winning coach Tony DiCicco before her) is making less than USSF’s top four pencil pushers. Put in relative terms, the women’s coach made $4,000 per victory in 1999, compared to $69,000 per men’s victory. “Why wouldn’t U.S. Soccer hire a $500,000 coach for the women?” said Donna Lopiano, executive director of the Women’s Sports Foundation. “There isn’t a marketplace of soccer coaches who only coach men’s soccer. They’re soccer coaches, period. It’s saying to me that U.S. Soccer isn’t going to get as good a coach for the women as for the men because they don’t want to spend $500,000.” No, Donna, what it is saying is that Alan Rothenberg needs more scratch to buy off the Chinese, and Hank Steinbrecher needs more filthy shekels for the retirement home in the Cayman Islands.
We’re moving on u-u-p, to the East Side … The rumor that an English side wanted to snatch Lothar from the embrace of MLS turns out to be true. EPL side Watford confirmed they had indeed made a bid last December for the Great One’s signature. Granted, the Metros aren’t the most organized, successful club in the world, but Watford!? A barely-promoted side, owned by an aging queen (not Elizabeth II), that has spent the entire season trolling the relegation depths? A city, in name, with only 67 hits on Yahoo? A pimple on London’s arse? A chihuahua would have as much success trying to mount a bitch Irish Wolfhound. (For that matter, TotW would have as much success trying to mount Kathy Ireland.)
Oldfart Matthäus Arrival Barometer Date Headline 3/3 Matthãus may end his career in Dubai ⇆ 3/4 Bayern lose 0:2 in Bundesliga farewell match ↑ 3/5 “Prospect of coaching appeals to Matthãus” ⇆ 3/6 “Matthãus chases Beckenbauer’s shadow” ↓ 3/7 “Loss to United bitter memory for Matthãus” ⇆ 3/8 “Bayern say ‘Auf Wiedersehen, Lothar’ with 4-1 [Champions League] win” ↑ 3/9 “Matthãus leaves Bayern chasing historic treble” ↑ 3/10 “Matthãus leaves Munich for new career in U.S.” ↑ ↑ (coming), ⇆ (undecided), ↓ (staying).
Quote of the Week: “I’m excited about the task that awaits me in New York. I see the experience as more positive than negative, but of course I will cry a tear or two.” Lothar Matthäus, after his last Bundesliga match, the 464th of his career, or roughly one game for every year since he was born.
Lay off the Guinness, Tommy: ESPN.com, part of the Go Network, part of ABC, part of Disney, part of a vast global conspiracy, football analyst Tommy Smyth just wouldn’t shut up yesterday, obsessing over a no-call until the director leaned over and whacked him upside the head with a bratwurst. The occassion was Bayern’s opening goal in their 4-1 rout of Real Badrid. Midfielder Mehmet Scholl was clearly in an offside position. But Tommy, that does not ipso facto mean he was guilty of an offside foul. There is a difference, you know. You do know, don’t you? You should since you played the game. Oops, guess not. Offside is not judged when the player recieves the ball, but when it is played. Again, Scholl was in an offside position when the ball was played. Furthermore, it is when the ball is last played by a teammate. This was unclear. Replays from the side and midfield were inconclusive, but the shot from the keeper’s vantage point seemed to show the Madrid defender touching the ball while the Bayern player whiffed (barely). The AR was in good position to determine if Scholl was in offside position when the ball was last played, and that is what he flagged. But the final analysis comes down to referee Dick Joll. Did Madrid play it or touch it? TotW’s initial reaction, in real time, was that Madrid played it. Keep in mind that the first shot was from midfield, high in the air, from behind and to the left of the play. (i.e., the Bayern player was between the camera and the Madrid player/ball.) Joll had the best angle and, TotW believes he made the correct decision. Notice also the proper mechanics on the part of the AR, lowering his flag and sprinting back into position after the foul was waved off. Good teamwork by the officials! Madrid’s problem wasn’t the refs but the total lack of a sweeper/center back. Whoever it was, he was even worse (if such a thing is possible) than Ivan Campo. Every time TotW noticed him, he was stumbling and tripping all over himself as some Bayern attacker raced by. Pitiful …
World War II: Okay, it’s not The Big One Redux, but it might be Soccer War II. No, it’s not another case of Honduras supporters running riot, but Guatemala has decided the eve of its World Cup qualifier with Belize (gesundheit, here’s a hanky) is perfectly suited for some border hostilities. Perhaps Guatemala ought beware: they ain’t messing with nuns and relief workers. And who should play peacemaker in this little dispute? Why, Honduras, of course. Other than pitch invasions, a country best known for real invasions. (The last time Honduras simultaneously participated in a World Cup qualifier and border hostilities, in 1969, the result was Soccer War I, with El Salvador, wherein 2,000 people died. Or roughly as many as attend the average Kansas City Wizards match.)
Can’t you kiss us after you screw us? Justice Blackburne (obviously a disgruntled Rovers supporter) ruled this week that Newcastle United had the right to hose its supporters.
The supporters agreed to a club-sponsored deal in 1994, whereby paying a ‘bond’ (or ‘personal seat license’ in American billionaire sleeze-speak) of £500 entitled season ticket holders to pay (yet more) for the best seats in the house for 10 years. (In)Justice Blackburne is obviously a product of New Math, as 2000-1994=6, last time TotW checked. (In)Justice Blackburne must also closely study American jurisprudence, as his persual of the agreement’s penumbras* has yielded astonishing insight into it’s contents, insight previously unknown. (In)Justice Blackburne ruled that Newcastle United could yank the carpet from under the supporter’s by selling their seats to fatcat corporate clients, while forcing the supporters into some less desirable part of the grounds like negroes to the back of a Birmingham bus.
|*Penumbra, the US Supreme Court’s favorite term, is a ghastly Latin word for ‘inspecting the colon without a flashlight’.|
If po, po, pitiful Newcastle needs more dosh, here are TotW Bribetaker Jim Gregory’s suggestions for more equitable ways to do that than screwing its most loyal supporters:
|Top 10 Newcastle United Fundraising Tips|
But let it not be said the club is not without heart! No, out of a profound sense of charity, and with goodwill toward all (rich) men, it offered to let the supporter’s keep the seats they paid for … all for the additional low, low fee of £1,350. Of course the club used the age-old excuse that they weren’t trying raise £45 million to line the director’s pockets, but for the supporters! How could they be so ungrateful!?
Perhaps the fine print did indeed say the club could legally revoke the bond. But morally? And even if one were to silly putty one’s logic, stretching morality to prove the club were not only correct, but right, in their actions, there is no denying they committed a grave breach of trust. What have Newcastle United got for their skullduggery? £45 million and … ummm … not much else. So, when the cash runs out — about the time Newcastle United signs another injured has-been, like Alan Shearer — what will it do? It will look around the devastated landscape and plead to its supporters for rescue. And if the supporters don’t in turn give the club a two-fingered salute, they are chumps.
Newcastle United & (In)Justice Blackburne
Turd of the Week