Wham-bam, thank you ma’am! “[MLS] is giving me the opportunity to grow as a soccer player with the possibility of playing in Europe after this season.” (Luis Hernandez, soon to be ex-Galaxy forward)
Quote of the Week: “It’s strange. We have not got our own practice field and I’m told other clubs are run better than ours. But they are all subject to the player exchange system, where the league decide who plays where, which is ridiculous. It worries me because you never know what is going to happen to you. You can’t plan your life like that.” (Sergi Daniv, Dallas Burn midfielder)
Perverse MLS Deal of the Week: TB Mutiny traded Raul Diaz-Arce to DC United for midfield non-entity John Maessner and a bushel of draft picks. Granted, Diaz-Arce found himself excess to Tampa Bay’s requirements, and United has needed goals ever since Major Laughing Stock dicked them out of Roy Lassiter. Maessner was just the parsley on the potatoes, Tampa Bay’s steak was the draft picks. And maybe from that standpoint the deal makes some sense. But tell us again exactly how United is able to fit Diaz-Arce under the ‘salary cap’ when Major Laughing Stock forced United to unload him for that same reason two years ago? Who is Tampa Bay owned by? MLS. Who benefits by having Diaz-Arce in DC? MLS. So, who will pay Diaz-Arce for the remainder of the 2000 season, and pay part of his salary in 2001 as well? Of course, Tampa Bay.
Incestuous MLS Deal of the Week: What two MLS teams seem to trade with each other more often than any other (and once even traded Diaz-Arce to each other via the convenient third party MetroStars)? What two MLS teams are not only owned by the same individual (a common occurence in the Kentucky cozy world of MLS), but which are even managed by the same individual? Yes, the RevoEarthClashLution. You would think that after last year’s sordid Jair-Baicher trade (TotW, 990821) some sense of decorum and discretion would intercede between the RevoEarthClashLution and … well … the RevoEarthClashLution. But no. Why should it when the home town judge, from the US District Court of Taxachusetts, gave Major Laughing Stock license to kill? (Sunil Gulati, license 000, that is “Double O Zero”, big fat fucking zero.) Now, defender Mauricio Wright, finds himself on the way from the Hanoi Jane half of the RevoEarthClashLution to the Teddy Kennedy half of the RevoEarthClashLution in return for a draft pick, plus defenders Dan Calichman and Mike “I Couldn’t Stick to a Post With Super Glue” Burns. Wright, despite being an MLS all-star and Costa Rica international, was no longer in the plans of the other crotchety old Lothar (Osiander). With the mudslide half of the RevoEarthClashLution sinking fast despite the signing of Iranian international striker Khodadad Azizi in the close season, the mysterious dwarf set up San Jose for next year while bracing the top-of-conference New England with a defensive reinforcement to counter DC United’s signing of striker Raul Diaz-Arce.
Compare & Contrast:
- “This league will help develop a whole new group of leaders who aren’t tainted by the politics [within the administration of United States soccer]. This league will set us free, and provide a great place for so many others to develop.” (US international Carla Overbeck on the Women’s United Soccer Association)
- “Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.” (Franz Kafka)
Club of the Week: Mysterious Dwarfs of Cape Coast, Ghana. Not for booting last year’s runnerup Wydad of Casablanca out of the current edition of the CAF Cup, but for their name: Mysterious Dwarfs. (No, it is not a reference to Sunil Gulati.) Too bad, despite extensive research and your intense curiousity, TotW is unable to provide a picture of the club logo. Rest assured though, the Mysterious Dwarf mascot would kick Rikter* the CyberDog’s ass any day.
Slam of the Week: “Don’t let anyone who voluntarily lives in Indiana tell you about taste.” (M.G.) Btw, TotW should mention that the Milwaukee Rampage Blasted the Indiana Blast 3:0 this week …
- Hong Kong (China): Lee Kin-wo kicked the ball into referee Choi Kuok-kun’s chest after he was red carded for foul and abusive language. Choi responded with several punches to Lee’s head, and the pair had to be pulled apart by players from both teams. Choi was subsequently banned for life by the Macau Football Association.
- Esperance (Tunisia): Visiting Djoliba of Mali had a goal disallowed, prompting its supporters to invade the pitch to have a go at the Esperance players. Esperance supporters retaliated by attacking with bottles, stones and iron bars what Djoliba supporters remained in the stands. Police broke up the festivities with the ever helpful tear gas. 3 casualties.
Losing In Front Of Your Home Crowd Is Bad, But Not As Bad As Losing To Your Home Crowd
But on the other hand, who hasn’t watched a really crap team play like a bunch of puddings and thought: “I could do better than that?”
And in the case of those hardy souls who follow the Joseph’s Well pub team in Leeds, they can!
Joseph’s Well lost every single one of their 22 matches in Division Two of the Leeds Sunday League, scoring just 28 goals and conceding a stomach-churning 123. Highlights of the season included a 10-0 beating, and a 7-2 defeat at the hands of a team who could only field nine men for the first half due to some shonky directions to the ground.
They were so abject that their fans started joking that even they’d be able to beat them. Manager Steve Brown saw the opportunity to revive the flagging morale of his lads and get a bit of confidence back, challenging the supporters to a match.
“Our fans took the mickey out of us,” he told The Sun, “so I threw down the challenge.”
A grave error, that. Within ten minutes, the hopeless pub side were trailing by two goals, eventually losing the match 5-4 as barman Chris Greasley netted a hat-trick. To add insult to injury, the fans team even included two girls. Greasley quickly identified the vanquished opponents’ failings, saying that “they were a bit overconfident.”
As any team which has lost every match that season has a right to be …
St. Oliver of Munich cures ill youth: This spring Bayern Munich keeper Oliver Kahn visited a five-year-old boy suffering from amnesia, hoping he might help him regain his memory. Apparently the boy’s first words on waking from a coma were “Oliver Kahn”, although he might have also been saying “Argh, liver again?” or “Oww, my head”. Other headlines we can expect to see in the future:
- Matthäus helps Britney Spears recover her virginity
- Meola helps Karen Carpenter recover lost weight
- Maradona helps Master G recover stolen stash
Leicester make Filbert Street safe for casual fans & soccer moms: “Leicester have become the first Premiership club to ban fans from swearing. Under a new three strikes and out rule, foul-mouthed home or away fans will be ejected from Filbert Street. A Foxes spokeswomen said: ‘We are determined to stamp out excessive swearing.'” (Sky Sports)
Persistence alone is omnipotent: Ipswich Town finally gained promotion to the Premier League after falling short in the semifinals of the 1st Division playoffs each of the last three years. Ipswich Town’s success also came via the playoffs, with a 4:2 win over Barnsley.
“Dennis Wise has set himself three major targets”, and apparently they are not an opponent’s ankle, shin or skull. Instead it seems the malevolent midget wants a few more medals before he hangs up his boots.
Things we could do without: The picture of Ronaldo re-injuring his knee in the June issue of World Soccer. Uh, guys? I just ate. I don’t need to see ligaments grotesquely popping out the side of someone’s leg.
Remember when you were a kid? You’re bratty little sister would start some crap, but you’d be patient at first. Tell her to shut up, right? Then we’d she’d keep up with her bratty crap, you’d yell at her. But she would still persist in being a little bitch? So you’d whack her one. Which was your last mistake, because she would immediately go bawling to mommy about how mean you were. Of course mom would then whack you with a paddle, take away your allowance and ground you from now until the end of time. Remember? Change “you” to Serbia, “sister” to Kosovo Albanians and “mommy” to United States and you will understand exactly what has happened in the Balkans over the past 18 months.
Now, having won their war, even though indirectly, one would hope Kosovo’s Albanians would get on with their lives. If not let bygones be bygones — an impossibility in an Albanian society in which blood feuds makes the Hatfields & McCoys seem like they are strumming sitars and singing “Kumbaya” — then at least direct their vendetta’s at those who have some responsibility or remote culpability for the events in Kosovo. But no.
Kosovo Albanians living in Belgium have filed suit in Belgian courts to ban Yugoslav footballers from taking part in the Euro 2000 finals this month. (Yugoslavia is due to play its opening match against its former republic of Slovenia in Charleroi, Belgium, on June 13.) Lawyers for the Albanians say that the suit is based on European Union sanctions taken against Yugoslavia in the wake of last year’s Kosovo conflict.
The first of the sanctions forbids EU countries from granting visas to any person representing the Yugoslav government. The second sanction forbids EU countries from having any financial dealings with Yugoslavia while Milosevic remains in power. By merely taking part in the finals in Belgium and the Netherlands, the Yugoslav team will earn three million euros. Of course, given all the Serbs plying their soccer trade across Europe throughout the year, the sanctions are as selectively enforced as the MLS transfer rules.
Yugoslav athletes were also unfairly punished by politicians for the sins of people they could not control or influence (other politicians, naturally) during the war in Bosnia. Despite qualifying fair & square, they were banned from the Euro 92 finals, which Denmark, their unqualified replacement, went on to win.
Displaying some rare political spine, the Belgian government is fighting the suit, rightfully pointing out that the ban is on government representatives, not sportsmen.
Politicians should stop punishing athletes for the mistakes and deliberate evil the politicians themselves commit. It is wrong. Yugoslav footballers earned their qualification for the Euro 2000 finals, they should be there.
Turd of the Week