This is rich: There’s nothing new about the rumor that the supposedly less insane Perot — Ross Jr. — is shopping around England for a football club. Afterall, when you are flush with over 300 million dead Kennedies, you can afford the odd spree in the luxurious cosmopolitan capitols of Europe. Like Manchester. Okay, maybe not. (The city being neither a capitol, cosmopolitan nor luxurious. Besides the local club is a damn big bit of business for all but Bill Gates, even short the billions US courts took out of his shorts this week.) So, Junior is pursuing bankrupt Crystal Palace. Like we said, that’s a well known rumor. Where were we going with this? Oh yeah. Perot got the cash for selling off his perennially underachieving basketball team, the Dallas Mavericks. Teamtalk referred to the Mavericks — who are 32-41 this year, and have not had a winning season since 1990 — as “NBA basketball giants”. Uh, yeah.
Dingleberries of the Week: Grahame Jones, Terry Baddoo, and all the sports “columnists” who let their readers write their columns for them, by devoting endless inches to playing Q&A.
Practice Safe Keeping: You thought you were being clever at last week’s match when you hollered at the opposition keeper that he was a wanker, but truth turns out to be stranger than fiction. What with all the diseases floating around the human reproductive pool these days it is a comfort to know that companies such as Umbro are looking out for the welfare of footballers. This week’s glove on offer is the Seaman Megagrip … *ahem* … with windproof/waterproof uppers, a titanium reinforced palm (ouch!) and it is lined with latex for greater comfort and protection. It’s a wonder the keeper can feel anything with all that protection, but they must be a pleasure to wear.
He didn’t choke the chicken: Mirko Saric, a player for Argentine club San Lorenzo de Almagro was found hanged in his home in Buenos Aires. The apparent suicide was suspended from a beam by a pair of stockings, but without his pants around his ankles and his dick in his hands like that chap from INXS. In other words, not like a stiff with a stiffy.
Ammunition: The next time you — a soccer supporter — are approached by yet another (most likely American) sports xenophobe whose learned opinion it is that soccer would be more exciting if only it widened the goals, or allowed timeouts, or had more substitutes, or whatever other harebrained idea he or Sepp Blatter could come up with, TotW suggests you offer the following improvements to the xenophobe’s sport of choice:
- Baseball: The geek is probably a baseball purist who spends every waking moment cursing the day the “designated hitter” rule was created. Counterattack with the suggestion that baseball shrink all ball parks down to Little League size, use aluminum bats and force the pitcher to only throw slo-pitch underhand. You might also ask the baseball geek how often he sees fans sleeping in the stands of a soccer match versus at a baseball game.
- Basketball: Roots are something all purists worship. Suggest to the basketball purist that the sport return to using peach baskets, because in today’s litigous society we can’t be having spectators showered with shards of glass every time Dr. Who comes flying up court to throw down some Chocolate Thunder. Better yet, eliminate the dunk, because it wasn’t a part of the game until they let tall black guys play the sport, rather than stumpy white guys. A true basketball purist rues The Day the Jump Shot Died. Give the purist options: Suggest that the basket be raised to 12 feet, or that merely setting foot in the lane be a foul, or even use the really old rule where dribbling wasn’t allowed — only passing or shooting.
- Hockey: Suggest that the hockey purist watch “Rollerball” next time it is on one of the billions of cable channels Ted Turner used to own, because if hockey players could smack each other with those cool spiked gloves, then the fights would be even better!
- Horse Racing: They just go around in a circle. No sooner have you sat down with your beer, than it is time to go home! There is no blood bluer and more traditional that that of the equine purist. Suggest to the equinist that Bellemont or Saratoga hold all day jousts instead. Nothing brings a smile to the face of a true equinist like the sight of impaled midgets wriggling around on the end of 10 foot poles. If that is too traditional for the traditionalist, offer that perhaps allowing indians to chase white people in wagons while shooting arrows at them might be more their glass of mint julep.
- Motorsports: One of the oldest of sports, dating to back to the chariot races of the Roman Empire. (If the auto racing enthusiast disputes this fact, point out that there’s a reason engines are measured in “horsepower”.) Concede to the auto enthusiast that it would difficult for drivers to whip each other at 200 mph, suggesting instead that the cars be equipped with razor-bladed wheels.
- Wrestling: No, do not suggest to the wrestling purist that the sport would be better if the wrestlers wore outlandish costumes and fought in steel cages with barbwire baseball bats. Because that is not traditional. Purists are traditionalists. Suggest that all matches be totally nude.
- Football: Suggest to the delusional “football” enthusiast that the sport eliminate timeouts, banish unlimited substitutions, reduce the number of officials, ditch the armor and go back to using a round ball.
|Alewive FC manager
renders his opinion
of Yahoo at post-match
Yahoo Yablows: This week in Achoo’s MLS fantasy league, mighty Alewive FC decided a push for the top required a change in tactics from 3-5-2 to 4-3-3. So, the manager sold a few players and, with his wallet bulging, yet not quite full, he put one last player on the market. Alewive FC had bought the player, now worth $13, at $9, and had $10 in the bank. You would think Alewive FC would be able to show a tidy profit, enabling the club to purchase the manager’s dream attacking midfielder for $23. But no-o-o-o. Yadouche, like the fuddy duddies at UEFA, stepped on the potential signing, only letting Alewive FC buy a player worth $19 or less. Too late, the horror dawned. Yerscrewed only let’s managers sell a player for what he was originally purchased for, not for his current market value. Put in real life terms, it would be as if … oh … say, Barcelona came shopping at Manchester United and told Alex Ferguson they were going to heist Roy Keane for £50,000 — or whatever — because that is what Man U paid for him when he was 12 years old, despite the fact that he’s worth millions now. Absolute crap. The damage was done. Alewive FC’s assets were already stripped, it’s other players sold and enjoying their holidays on other club’s benches or physio tables. TotW now feels like Doncaster, or some other conference side, that spends years developing a player only to see him lured away by the bright lights of a big city glamour club like Watford … err … Bradford … umm … Sheffield Wednesday? Okay, somebody with more dosh and less sense like Real Madrid.
Wizards GM fails piss test: Last week’s KC Kizards match saw — if that even qualifies as the correct term — 7,540 fans rattling around cavernous Arrowhead Stadium. Meanwhile the indoor KC Attack, mediocre NPSL Midwest division table toppers, hosted the woeful Detroit Rockers and 9,000 fans. In the same town. At the same time. Wizards GM Curt Johnson, who took over after 1999 Turd of the Year nominee Doug Newman was sacked, must be indulging in wacky tobacco: “I look on the bright side,” said Johnson. “It means that at 16,000 soccer fans were willing to purchase tickets for a game. That should translate to bigger and bigger crowds for the Wizards as the season continues to unfold.” From May of 1999 (roughly after the indoor playoffs concluded) through the end of the MLS season, the Wizards drew 89,762 fans. So, TotW supposes Johnson could claim the Wizards filled Arrowhead to overflowing. Unfortunately, it took them eleven games to reach that figure. (For an average of 8160 per game.) The Wizards low attendances were 4631 and 4665 (in back-to-back games); only once did the club even approach the MLS average, with their high being a whopping 14,485. Of course these are just announced attendances — we all know that MLS tends to play with its figures like a Chicago accountant. Keep that resume polished Curt.
Midnight Express: Was a movie back in the 70’s based on the true story of an American college student on holiday who got busted for smuggling heroin into Turkey. (Probably more for breaking up the local monopoly as the Turks would prefer to be exporters.) After being brutalized in a Turkish prison, the student eventually escaped to freedom. (Thus the title of the movie.) Unfortunately, Leeds supporters in Istanbul last week to see their club play Galatasaray were not so fast, or lucky.
On the eve of the game, the supporters were enjoying themselves at a local watering hole. On leaving the establishment, they were ambushed by club & knife wielding Turks, some of whom were not police. The resulting clash left two Englishmen dead and six wounded, two seriously.
Like a rapist claiming the victim “asked for it”, Turkish police blamed the Englishmen for inciting the violence by drunkenly insulting the Turkish flag, taunting Galatasaray supporters over a 5-0 home defeat by Chelsea last October, breaking windows and vandalizing cars. Indeed, as confirmed by Turkish human rights activists, the Turkish police actually participated in the premeditated butchery: “The police did nothing, in fact they were helping them beat us up,” said injured Leeds supporter Steve Wilkinson. “If it wasn’t premeditated then why were the TV cameras and police there?”
Of course the media was immediately filled with dozens, if not hundreds, of stories of English hooliganism. But just because a girl has slept around, does not mean she cannot be raped. And just because the English have been involved in hooliganism before does not mean they were on that bloody night. Aziz Ustel, a Galatasaray board member, actually had the gall to claim, “We have had previous matches with all the European clubs in Turkey and nothing has ever happened. This is the first time such an incident has taken place in Istanbul.”
If at this point you think the rape analogy is a bit-overheated, TotW assures you it is not. Or have you forgotten the violence prior to the Ireland-Turkey Euro 2000 qualifier earlier this season, when an Irish supporter — a male supporter (this is Turkey we are talking about) — was raped? In fact, Turkey’s dirty little secret is that its football supporters are so violent. It is of course no secret how brutal its police are: Just ask a Kurd.
Chelsea’s visit to Galatasaray last October was marred by an attack on Chelsea’s bus, while its players were spat on. After the Ireland-Turkey match a mob (including “security” personnel) rushed the pitch, attacking the Irish players. Attacks by “security” and police on visitors is habitual: In 1994, Eric Cantona was was beaten by a Turkish cop after Manchester United’s match with Galatasaray. (In his autobiography, Sir Alex of Ferguson wrote that the Turkish police “were even more frightening than the fans.”)
The violence of Turkish hooligans is not confined to foreigners … or even opponents: In 1997, a Galatasaray fan stabbed a player from arch-rival Fenerbahce, while it is not uncommon for hooligans to attack their own players if they are unhappy their performance.) Nor is Turkish football violence part of the recent pan-European hooligan resurgence: In 1971, a riot between supporters of two Turkish clubs left 44 people dead. But do you ever hear even a peep from the media about that slaughter? Of course not, they just harp on Heysel-this and Heysel-that.
At some point it should mentioned that Leeds ending up losing to Galatasaray 0:2. Leeds can’t be blamed for their thoughts being elsewhere. But Galatasary hardly covered themselves in honor: the club refused to memorialize the deceased with a moment of silence prior to the match or by wearing black armbands (as Leeds did). Why should Galatasary, when the club officially incites the violence against its opponents? (Coach Fatih Terim took umbrage at Chelsea’s arrangements for the first leg in London last year, promising revenge on the return leg, while prior to the Leeds match he told Galatasaray supporters to give Leeds a traditional “Welcome to Hell”.)
To rub salt in the English wounds, thousands of Galatasaray’s supporters celebrated the victory by dancing and honking horns in Taksim Square — literally on the blood of the dead.
Turd of the Week