Monday, January 30, 2012
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Football gives the greatest of highs and the lowest of lows but there is always another game to look forward to. Thank goodness there is always another game to look forward to as many of the teams I support and love lost over the weekend! Ces't la vie! Now to this weekend's good, bad and the downright ugly.
Many people believe that the Bundesliga as opposed to the English Premier League is the best competition in the footballing world. Many of the Bundesliga's tickets are cheaper than their English equivalents, crowds are up and the competition is extremely competitive. After 19 rounds there is 1 point between 4 teams! In addition, this season will definitely go down to the wire. Two teams left in the final 16 of the UEFA Champions League is further testament to the quality of the competition.
Sitting 2nd in their league, reigning La Liga and UEFA Champion's League team Barcelona fired blanks in their game against Villareal at El Madrigal on the weekend. Whilst most teams would be grateful for their success, to trail bitter rivals Real Madrid by 7 points after 20 games is unacceptable for the Catalan giants. To put Real Madrid's lead into perspective, Real Madrid have only dropped 8 points for the entire season to date. Messi or not, Barcelona are in trouble this season.
THE DOWNRIGHT UGLY
Every junior is taught to shake hands with their opponents before and after a game. On the weekend Queen's Park Rangers and Chelsea broke the trend to avoid a potentially ugly confrontation between Chelsea's John Terry and QPR's Anton Ferdinand. An awkward situation has become even more awkward by the FA and both team's inability to take on the spectre of racism head on. An opportunity for reconciliation has gone missing without even getting a chance.
So what do you think? What were your weekend's the Good, the Bad and the downright Ugly?
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Sunday, January 22, 2012
One of the most beautiful things about loving football is that there is always a football game to look forward to somewhere in the world. Last weekend's super Sunday in the EPL was no exception. Whilst the hype is normally better than the game themselves, the weekend's games did not disappoint supporters and neutral observers. In yesterday's games Manchester City beat Tottenham Hotspur via a 95th minute penalty, eventually winning 3-2 and Manchester United prevailing over a gallant Arsenal team 2-1, with the winner coming in the last ten minutes. Bring on more super Sundays like that please! Now to this weekend's Good the Bad and the downright Ugly!
His team lost over the weekend but Gareth Bale's star continues to rise. Tottenham are by no means a small club but like most teams cannot match the seemingly endless reserves of Manchester City. To try and prevent Bale being poached by Europe's big spending clubs Tottenham have placed a £150 million pound on the sale of their young star. A fee that may even be out of the reach of Manchester City owner's treasure chest. Now that would be financial fair play!
HONORABLE MENTION: Australia's national women's competition has two amazing semi-finals over the weekend culminating in a controversial semi between Brisbane Roar and Sydney FC yesterday. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-20/w-league-round-12-highlights---brisbane-roar-v/3785408
Melbourne Victory signed young gun Marco Rojas, snared grand final winner Jean Carlos Solorzano and arguably the biggest signing in Australian football history, Harry Kewell before the current season began. Along with existing stars Archie Thompson and Carlos Hernandez the new signings raised expectations of their fans and media pundits alike. With a third of the season remaining the Victory are a staggering 21 points from the league leaders the Central Coast Mariners and are currently three points outside of the top 6. A loss to bitter rivals, Sydney FC on Australia day would see the Australian footballing heavyweights 6 points adrift of finals contention. After Sunday's 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Perth Glory the new manager, Jim Magilton, may be checking his contract for early release clauses.
THE DOWNRIGHT UGLY
A competition featuring two of the world's great players should not feature in the downright ugly section of this column, yet the La Liga does. This is primarily due to the uncompetitive nature of the competition. Less than half-way through the current season the team in third, Valencia, is already 9 points behind second place and a massive 14 points of the league leaders, Real Madrid. To put this in perspective they are almost as close to relegation (17 points) as they are to the lead (14 points). The unevenness of the competition is largely down to the disparity in television rights distribution tween the teams. Barcelona and Real Madrid share 34% of the total revenue and the rest of the competition share the remaining 66% . The scary thing is that Barcelona and Real Madrid argued for more than 40%. For a warning of what may happen to La Liga the league need look no further than the Scottish Premier League, a league that is falling into relative obscurity due to the duopoly of the Glasgow giants.
What do you think? What were your weekend's the Good, the Bad and the downright Ugly?
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Sunday, January 15, 2012
I went to a beautiful wedding in the picturesque and historic city of Adelaide on the weekend and in doing so missed out on one of the greatest endings to an A-League game, once again involving Brisbane. In saying that congratulations to Joe and Fiona on your magical wedding!
This could be be in the bad if you follow Sydney FC, brilliant if you follow the Brisbane Roar but regardless of who you follow the end to the Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC on the weekend was something to behold. Trailing 1 nil in the 93rd minute, the Brisbane Roar mounted one of their very, very late finishes. I won't spoil this anymore, the following clip should suffice.
Honourable mentions: Inter Milan's mid season resurgence, the return of the old boys Henry and Scholes to the EPL.
The EPL races is one of the tightest in recent memory. Any mistake can be very costly. Tottenham Hotspur spurned the chance to be equal on points with both of the Manchester teams when they drew with Wolverhampton and Arsenal's spirited title challenge ground to a halt with a 3-2 loss to Swansea. The title is heading to Manchester for sure.
Dishonourable mention: Facebook and Twitter comments advocating racial vilification.
THE DOWNRIGHT UGLY
Social media has brought us closer to football stars and experts like never before. Twitter has allowed fans to have ongoing discussions with pundits in an open forum. Now two former Socceroos have become embroiled in a personal slanging match which the world came to view with some interest over the weekend. Downright ugly for two grown men to act this way. Some of Robbie Slater's tweets directed, reportedly, to Craig Foster were in response to Foster's criticism of Melbourne Victory's signing of new coach, Jim Magilton. A sample of the postings are displayed below:
Employ and of what race . Why do you pretend to know what and who is a good coach. You have never coached anyone and why is nationality important . British people have made a massive contribution to the history of our game and continue to do so just.
But back to your secret explain to all your followers why you are the only socceroo to have been to my knowledge effectively banned Never to be selected again after a disgraceful incident following a world cup qualifier in Tahiti . Maybe the true legend who got you out of that Tahitian jail should of left you there ! @Craig_Foster hang your head in shame and @lesmurraySBS you should haul him into your office and tell him his comments are unacceptable after all he does work for the excellent multi cultural channel SBS surely They can't be happy with this sort of behavior . Enough is enough !
The Twitter postings have been combined for complete quoting purposes and continuity.
For a full transcript follow @RobbieSlater17 on Twitter. Surely this will just be an opening salvo in a war that no one gains from.
So what do you think? What were your weekend's Good, the Bad, and the Downright Ugly?
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Some pundits believe that the beauty and relevance of the FA Cup has diminished in recent years but for anyone who saw the third round encounter between the Manchester juggernauts could have been forgiven for thinking it was May's FA Cup final. Cannot wait for the 4th round encounter between Manchester United and the fellow reds of Liverpool.
When a team isn't going well it is usually the manager who cops the most stick. The manager isn't even the one out on the pitch! Just ask Steve Kean, the manager of Blackburn, who has copped the brunt of season-long campaigns at every game he has managed even after beating Manchester United 3-2 on New Year's Eve. The latest coaching casualties are QPR's Nigel Warnock and Melbourne Victory's Mehmet Durakovic. When things are going well it's usually the players being lauded, when it's going bad, well managers have feelings too!
THE DOWNRIGHT UGLY
Gold Coast United are struggling to attract supporters in their first three years as a footballing entity. Crowd troubles at the Boxing Day derby are alledged as the club's reason for closing down their supporter area behind the goal. Gold Coast United's 'Beach' may not be seen again this year to the ire of their faithful supporters. For 70 minutes yesterday the home supporter group decided to not sing in protest. In a vital game against the high-flying Melbourne Heart they came home strongly to draw a game that they should have won. No surprise that they came home strongly in the final 20 minutes when the fans started signing.
Make no mistake, this is a club in turmoil. If fans don't support their club, even in dire times then the club is doomed. The A-League cannot afford to financially support multiple teams but equally, cannot afford to keep losing teams from the national competition.
What do you think? What were your weekend's Good, the Bad and the Downright Ugly?
Friday, January 6, 2012
Many football supporters have said things at games that we have regretted. On most occasions the regret would have been warranted. But why has racism and violence in local football and around the world become the hottest and most debated topic in the Christmas and New Year periods? Is it because of the quick utilisation of social media voices, the proliferation of racism in our supporter bases, mainstream media finding an easy story to report on or, as I hope, we are becoming less tolerant of those that spew forth their own intolerance and ignorance in the terraces?
Dictionary.com defines racism as;
1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races. (1)
There is no way that this can be condoned in any sector of society, sport just being once facet that is highlighted in the media. The excuse in the terraces that "I've paid good money for these seats, I have a right to say what I want," is antiquated, ill-informed and ignorant. Paying for a seat should not imbue a patron with the right to racism that would never be tolerated in the workplace or home.
Recent events in football around the world have demonstrated that hatred of others in not just common among the paying customers but amongst those that are considered idols of the supporters, players themselves. Liverpool's Luis Suarez and Chelsea's John Terry are the latest and most prominent players accused of racism on the field. Suarez has been found guilty by the English FA and banned for 8 matches whilst Terry has been charged with racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand. Of Suarez, Football.co.uk reported;
When Evra warned him he would punch him if he repeated the remark, Suarez is alleged to have responded "No hablo con los negros (I don't speak to blacks)." Suarez, who was banned for eight matches and fined Â£40,000 after being found guilty of abusing Evra, had attempted to argue that his use of the word "negro" had been inoffensive. (3)
Whether people agree or not, players are role models to children and adults alike. Once a player signs a contract they are effectively employees of their club and of the football association that they are aligned with. The clubs, as a whole are also role models for the area they represent as well as their country. This has been one of the most disappointing aspects of recent racism allegations and findings. Certain clubs have defended their accused player above and beyond denouncing reprehensible behaviours. A minority of club supporters have also defended the indefensible.
In the United Kingdom the 'Kick it out' campaign has endeavoured to educate people about racism and anchor supporters and players in the reality of what racism does to those subjected to the unwarranted tirades both on and off the field. "The brand name of the campaign - Let's Kick Racism Out of Football - was established in 1993 and Kick It Out established as a body in 1997." (2) But even these long running campaigns cannot stop racism, sexism and homophobia in football, only individual fans, players and administrations can achieve these aspirations.
The Football Federation of Australia has recently referred supporters to the FFA Supporter code of Behaviour, and most grounds have a spectator code of behaviour that is often displayed on the ground's scoreboard. http://www.footballaustralia.com.au/site/_content/document/00000075-source.pdf (4)<
With the monitoring of police and ground security incidents of racism and violence have thankfully been few and far between in Australia's A-League. But they are there and even one event is not acceptable.In the end as lovers of the wonderful game of football, the truly world embraced game, we have an individual responsibility to monitor our behaviour.
Then we have the head of football, Sepp Blatter, embarrass himself, again, when he should be extolling the virtues of righteousness over hatred.
One person can make a difference. If we all become that one person, then racism, homophobia sexism and hatred does have a chance to be eliminated from our game. Elimination of these behaviours is not a dream but a society's responsibility.
(1) Racism definition, Dictionary.com, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/racism, January 2012.
(2) Let's Kick Racism Out Of Football, http://www.kickitout.org/2.php, January 2012
(3) Suarez racism evidence 'unreliable': FA report, Football.co.uk website, http://www.football.co.uk/liverpool/suarez_racism_evidence%20unreliable%20fa_report_rss2009661.shtml, January 2012
(4) FFA, Spectator Code of Behaviour, http://www.footballaustralia.com.au/site/_content/document/00000075-source.pdf
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
I have viewed and attended so much football over the last few days that I think I may have to give myself a red card! I hope you all had a tremendous Christmas and New Year's Eve and are now rejuvenated and ready for all the glory that the 2012 footballing year may bring.
Melbourne Victory's season of glory is in danger of not only coming to a halt but completing imploding after their loss to the Brisbane Roar on New Year's Eve. The 3-1 loss came after leading from a sublime Harry Kewell goal in the 3rd minute. 87 minutes later their tattered challenge was best summed up by their silent away supporter's area. If they lose to the Central Coast Mariners tomorrow night as part of the A-League's wonder-Wednesday then the silence will be deafening, and contracts may be torn up!
THE DOWNRIGHT UGLY
AVB has had a turbulent season in charge of the big spending Chelsea team. The transition from a less competitive Portugese competition to the Premier League has been a huge learning curve for the young manager. That does not excuse his alleged poor treatment this season of stalwart
and club legend, Frank Lampard. After scoring the very late winner this morning it has been reported that AVB ignored his match winner. It has been reported that this has been an ongoing situation. Very poor form!
So what do you think? What were your weekend's Good, the Bad and the Downright Ugly?