Monthly Archives: June 2012

Jee Roo

He’s six foot three and solid bod
Wins all the headers with just a nod
Gooners welcome with open arms
Olivier Giroud

On winter nights, he wears no snood
bashing orcs, glistening nude
Stokies will tremble at the name
Olivier Giroud

Yet for France he played nigh zero
and we learned one thing in 2012′s Euro
Nasri is an angry boy, unlike
Olivier Giroud

There’s just one more task he could do
impart some wisdom on the press crew
and teach them how to pronounce his name,
It’s…
Olivier Giroud

Qq

Tardelli-Gentila-1982-World-Cup-Final

Germany v. Italy 1982

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport!
The thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat!
The human drama of athletic competition.
This is ABC’s Wide World of Sports!

By 1982, ABC’s Wide World of Sports’ introduction had infiltrted American culture so pervasively that if you ask any American right now about “the agony of defeat” they will immediately recall the skiier crashing over the edge of the long jump. If you are not American and have no idea what I’m talking about, Bing “Google” and then Google it.

ABC’s Wide World of Sport was a show that mainly brought Americans odd sports like Triathalon, little league world series’s, swimming, and annual series such as George Willig’s free climbing, and the Harlem Globetrotters. Americans had just four channels of television at the time and some of us loved television so much that we watched a broadcast of a man climbing a mountain.

I was one of those people. I loved the Sugar Ray Leonard fights on Wide World of Sports, the diving championships, track and field, in fact, anything that they broadcast I watched. I even saw the Harlem Globetrotters live in 1985 because of their popularity which was spun by Wide World of Sports.

The 1982 World Cup final was the first live American television broadcast of a World Cup game. Prior to that, the finals were shown a week after the game finished, in highlight format. Imagine an American version of Match of the Day covering the World Cup final. Breaking new ground, Wide World of Sports introduced America to the World Cup, live. It was the title game between Italy and Germany, played at the Bernabeau in Madrid, and I vaguely remember the original broadcast but regardless of whether I remember it or not, the Paley Center for Media has the original broadcast, in its entirety, commercials and everything, free for college students. And a few weeks ago I watched the entire match.

The first thing that modern viewers will note is that Wide World of Sports took commercial breaks whenever there was a goal kick – and also whenever they felt like there was enough time during a stoppage in play to take one. The first commercial was jarring. Schumacher collects the ball after it goes over the end line and the announcer says “we’ll be back after this commercial break”. I’m used to seeing ubiquitous advertising hoardings along the sidelines and the more subtle advertising of official match shirts and balls, but I am just not used to breaks for commercials while watching football.

The commercials though are all classics. For example, Budweiser’s Clydesdale’s and the famous Budweiser slogan (King of Beers) and jingle that are still around, were just then in their nascent stages of development. But watching them again they felt kind of weirdly comfortable, like a new pair of old shoes.

So, there were commercials and there were a lot of commercials too. This broadcast was exactly the “nightmare” broadcast that so many Europeans worry about when they groan about the Americanization of the Beautiful Game. And in a pean to Wide World of Sports broadcast, modern Major League Soccer games don’t take breaks away from the action but the announcers do take a moment away from describing the action to say weird things like “This segment brought to you by DORITOS, the official snack of the Seattle SuperSounders. DORITOS, turn your fingers orange and people will be GREEN with envy. DORITOS.” Even weirder are the commercials announced in the grounds during a match. Imagine if Arsenal’s new Cell Phone sponsor were to get a 10 second spot over the tannoy at the Emirates every 10 minutes. That happens at Sounders games. With all the money that broadcasters are now paying to show games on television, I would be shocked if sponsorship announcements like the ones we get here in the States did NOT make it into the broadcasts in the UK.

The other thread which has continued in modern American broadcasts of football matches, that I noticed in that 1982 Wide World of Sports broadcast, is the ever present Englishman there to explain the game to us. It was annoying to have the rules explained every time the ball went out of play and it didn’t help one iota that the rules were Explained in the Queen’s English. I would much rather have heard a discussion of how West Germany got to that match than have the boundary rules explained to me 80 times.

In fact, watching that broadcast you wouldn’t have known about the Anschluss match where it’s widely believed that West Germany and Austria colluded on the result in the final game of the group stages in order to knock Algeria out of the tournament. West Germany needed a 1 or 2 goal win over Austria and Algeria would finish third. Germany and Austria are fierce rivals but in that game they suddenly played a lackluster 1-0 win for Germany with long periods of little or no action. The suspicion of collusion was so strong that FIFA changed the rules of the tournament and now all of the final group stage games kick off at the same time so teams won’t have the opportunity to contrive a scoreline and keep another team out.

You also wouldn’t have known about Schumacher’s near fatal assault on Battiston in West Germany’s tense semi-final against France. It’s a now famous clip but during the Wide World of Sport broadcast I never heard a single mention of how, on a breakaway, Schumacher comes charging out, heads the ball away from Battiston, and then leaps into the forward knocking him out with his giant German ass, breaking the Frenchman’s teeth, and damaging his vertebrae.

The match itself was a bit drab for the first 45 minutes with neither team really getting in a good shot. In the second half, Italy headed in a one-nil lead off a broken play and then sat back while the Germans pushed forward for the equalizer. Eventually, Italy would get two goals on counter attacks and the Germans would get a consolation goal in the 83 minute. But for me, the highlight was being able to relive a little bit of television history. The big hair, the hard tackles, the backpasses, and of course Jim Mackay taking a break from thee action to bring us the Budweiser commercials.

Let’s hope that today’s Euro Cup match between Italy and Germany doesn’t stop for the King of Beers.

Qq

Giroud and his patented "who farted" expression.

Lowered transfer expectations make Tim a dull boy

Here’s aa quick updte on my life: I had my house burgled a few weeks back, andd the guy didn’t really cleaan me out but he did manage to steaal my old laptop (Qq is gone!), an old wedding ring, and some old coins. He also maanaged to do about $1000 worth of damage to my doors which was the faact that sent me over the edge in terms of making an insuraance claaim. I only mention this because I had to buy a new laptop last weekend aand IT FUCKING SUCKS.

The proof? That paragraph above. Note the aaaaaaas and how often this fucking keyboard repeats the aa? Yeah, it’s basically an editing nightmare. It also repeats ee and ii and omits keys when I hit them but by far the weirdest thing this computer does is consistently repeat the aa key. Fortunately, I bought the computer at Costco so I’m taking this back and getting a different computer.

As for football, I’m convinced more and more that transfer stories are porn and football fans are transfernymphomaniacs. No sooner had Giroud’s sock hit the hamper* than folks were looking around for a pair of M’Vila athletic socks to try on. Then it was a Robin van Persie tube sock, an Arshavin tennis sock, and finally on to a dirty old hole-filled rag named Squillaci before people took a break for lunch and had a moment to reflect on their great shame.

The harsh reality is that no matter how we fill our woolies, Arsenal are going to carry out business the way that Arsenal carry out business. That is to say, using as much reason as possible in what they will pay for players, demanding fair value for players they are going to sell on, and using cash on hand to purchase players. So, for example, Giroud was Ligue Un’s top goal scorer last season and a crucial component to Montpellier’s title winning side. As soon as I read that he had a release clause of somewhere around £13m and that the French club were refusing to break their wage structure to significantly improve his £20,000 a week  salary, I thought “I bet Arsenal go for him”. And sure enough they did.

Podolski was a bit of a surprise, unless you consider that Arshavin is almost certainly not coming back to Arsenal and the club was flush with cash. Everyone is arguing that Arsenal seemed to have “learned the lesson of last season” and that been the impetus to “get the new guys in as soon as possible.” But I’ve maintained all along that the reason transfers dragged out so long last summer is that Arsenal were actually in a bit of a cash poor situation.

That’s not to say that the club didn’t have cash reserves, rather that the amount on reserve didn’t meet the amount they needed to cover for bills and other expenses. Some businesses will borrow in order to cover capital costs up front that they know will be paid back in the end, Arsenal (for whatever reason), do not seem to like doing that. And I know that this is basically a religious argument with one sect taking the side of “Wenger has the money but refuses to spend” and the other side taking a similar position to mine above. It’s not dogma to me, I am glad to have my opinion changed, it’s just that no one has presented me with a convincing argument just yet.

Thus, with Cesc Fabregas refusing to honor his contract, Barcelona were in a great position to offer Arsenal not only a pittance of what Cesc is worth but also to spread the payment out. If I’m right and Arsenal are in a bit of a cash poor position, the Nasri deal probably helped grease the tracks of getting players like Arteta in to the team.

Something you may have missed because it wasn’t a transfer story is that Arsenal announced the sale of the Queensland Road project and the closing of (most of) Arsenal’s property development schemes. The sale was interesting to me because I’ve thought all along that Kroenke was investing in Arsenal specifically for the property development component and I really believed that Arsenal were going to try to maximize profits there. But as the deal went through and Arsenal netted just £26m, it’s clear that the club are jettisoning the long-term pay off of property development and looking to focus on more lucrative and immediate financial incentives like sponsorship deals and commercial development.

Maybe Arsenal “learned the lesson of last year” or maybe it’s just that flush with £26m from the Queensland Road project Arsenal purchased two players that they needed?

If I’m right then this concludes the buying portion of Arsenal’s summer, until all of the players who are to be sold are finally sold. Then, if there’s any money left over, we might see another purchase. Baring a big sale like Robin and Theo, in all likelihood the only other purchase will not be one of those “porno” purchases — you know what I mean, a big, erm, name like M’Vila — and instead will be just some experienced keeper to push Szczesny and to cover for him if need be.

I’m probably wrong and I’m sure you’ll all tell me how wrong I am. I’m also certain someone will create one of those lists . You know that list:  Squillaci + Denilson + Bendtner + Arshavin +Vela + Fabianski + Mannone + Glansbury + Chamakh + Park + Diaby + Djourou + Ramsey = The Money to Buy MEGALORONALDO.

I’m also sure someone will mention that I am a wanker. Whatever, at least I’m not the one who is cruising the internet looking for soulless encounters with dead-eyed transfer stories. I just don’t see Arsenal making any big moves coming in without a big move going out which means that any moves from here are going to be incremental improvements to the team rather than large-scale overhaul. An I say that knowing full-well that all the names above (with maybe one or two exceptions) are almost certainly on their way out.

There’s a football game today and I’m going to take some chicken out of the icebox, smother it in vindaloo, get a nice bottle of Alsatian Riesling, and then settle in to watch the tape of Spain v. Portugal. What better way to spend the night than wine, chicken, and a nice silky Ronaldo dress sock?

Qq

*Ask your older brother