Archive for the ‘ Football ’ Category

Onion Bag: Liverpool Has a Cold

Liverpool has a cold. Well, that’s being polite. It’s more of a wheezing and hacking tuberculosis, exacerbated by the dust accumulating on the club’s last English league trophy. Portsmouth are bankrupt and bottom of the table, yet they comfortably dismantled Liverpool’s full-strength team during a 2-0 Saturday win. Karmically, Javier Mascherano tackled savagely, received a red card and injured himself. Shankly was certainly rolling.  Continued at The Big Lead

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The Big Lead Articles 14 December 2009

Onion Bag: Liverpool are Lamer Than Jim Rome’s Shtick

“You aren’t fit to wear the shirt.” The normally restrained Frenchman, Arsene Wenger, resorted to a rousing English cliche, and, despite just one Englishman in the squad, it worked.  Arsenal capitalized on fortune andAndiry Arshavin’s right foot, recovering form an insipid first half for a 2-1 win at Anfield.

ESPN 30 for 30: It’s All About “The U”

Whether it was the story or the soundtrack, The U generated excitement.  Shown a 9:00 PM on a Saturday night, it was not appointment viewing, as many of us have significant others and social lives, but it was certainly appointment DVRing.

The strength and, in some cases, the weakness of the 30 for 30 documentaries is the personal fingerprint.  Here it was helpful.  Billy Corben, the director of Cocaine Cowboys and an avowed Miami fan, presents the Hurricanes’ ascendance their way.  In their own words, the “thugs,” “hoodlums” and “convicts,” as well as those who coached and covered them, describe the experience.  This film was captivating and it was successful.

Onion Bag: Real Salt Lake Win MLS Cup

Penalties, where men are bewildered and broken. Real Salt Lake won the MLS Cup Final, edging the Galaxy 5-4 in penalties after a 1-1 draw. David Beckham took his first penalty kick since his epic Euro 2004 miss, slotting it calmly into the net. Normally solid Landon Donovan missed the net completely, for the first time in his MLS career. Beckham’s MLS vindication and, perhaps, Landon Donovan’s farewell were spoiled.

Real Salt Lake were impressive. They controlled midfield, particularly as the seemingly less fit Galaxy faded. Kyle Beckerman was tireless and everywhere. Robbie Findley was a constant threat with his speed. Both should be candidates for inclusion in the U.S. National Team.

Continued at The Big Lead

Onion Bag: Katy Perry is a West Ham Fan

kperry1Singer Katy Perry wore this for her boyfriend, British comedian Russell Brand. The West Ham supporter confirmed he would bring her to West Ham’s match against Everton, but denied speculation he would be taking her up the Arsenal.

Ronaldo Out: Cristiano Ronaldo will miss Portugal’s World Cup playoff against Bosnia on Nov. 14 and Nov. 18. Real Madrid doctors discovered a bony deposit in his injured ankle, the same injury that forced him to have surgery after Euro 2008. He aggravated the injury when called back prematurely for Portugal’s qualifier against Hungary. In a pure coincidence, doctors believe he could return to face Barcelona on Nov. 29.

Continued at The Big Lead

Michigan Fans Are Antsy, But Calls To Fire Rodriguez Are Premature

Michigan was routed 38-13 last weekend, by an Illinois team with a 1-6 record. The catastrophic loss dropped the Wolverines to 1-4 in the Big Ten. Michigan went five weeks in October without defeating a Division 1 opponent. What was an apparent leap forward has become further disappointment.

Alumni are understandably antsy. Rich Rodriguez does deserve blame, but calling for his ouster is premature. It would be more detrimental at this juncture.

Continued at The Big Lead

Conventional Wisdom Scoffs at NFL in London. Why?

Americans understand the English.  Bob Glauber rode the tube two years ago.  Dan Shaughnessy can unleash an arsenal of ethnic stereotypes.  Greg Walsh knows his “tea and crumpets.”  With our perfect knowledge, we know an NFL franchise will never work in London.  We just know.  It’s obvious.  Why bother to analyze it?

There’s a common element to this type of ungrounded, conventional wisdom.  It’s stupid.

Continued at The Big Lead

Thoughts on 30 for 30: Small Potatoes, Who Killed the USFL?

Mike Tollin named his first company “Halcyon Days Productions.” The title fits, since that’s precisely how he portrayed the USFL in Small Potatoes. The league was a flashy 80s production, rebellious, zany and fun. It attracted big stars. Most importantly, it was football, as evidenced with repeated, sonorous interludes from Keith Jackson and Howard Cosell. Tollin awakens a forgotten league, a Wikipedia footnote to those of us under 30, but how successfully?

Continued at The Big Lead