OFFICIAL: Manchester United sign Antonio Valencia from Wigan

30 06 2009

Valencia

The Red Devils welcome Antonio Valencia from Wigan.  The Ecuadorian international winger is the first signing by Ferguson this summer, with the 23-year old being signed for an undisclosed fee rumored to be around £16m.

As Ferguson attempts to fill the gap left by Ronaldo, it appears that a restructuring of tactics may be in order.  Valencia offers incredible pace and an uncanny ability to stretch a defense to the byline, both of which will be crucial.  These are aspects of the game that were going to be sorely missed with the departure of Ronaldo.  Now Ferguson knows that he will not be able to replace Ronaldo in one fell swoop, but there are elements that can be captured player by player.  This is one of those major pieces.

Valencia said: “Joining Manchester United is a dream come true for me. I have enjoyed my time at Wigan, but I am thrilled to have the chance to challenge for the biggest honours in club football here.  Playing in front of 76,000 fans alongside players like Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs will be an amazing experience. I can’t wait to get started.”

I can’t wait for you to get started either, because that means football is back on.

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Boo-freakin-hoo

30 06 2009

48905

From ESPNSoccernet: “Tevez reveals United ”pain” and slams Fergie.” – The best part of this article is how Tevez said he went home at night, and shared with his family how much he suffered.

Poor Tevez, I feel so bad for you.  Are you kidding me?  Suffered? You were a part of one of the best teams in the world, won multiple trophies, and accomplished more with, or because of, this team than you will the rest of your career.  And now you want to lash out at Sir Alex’s decision-making and how he chose to leave you on the bench?  He has been coaching Manchester United almost as long as you have been alive.  I didn’t know it was Carlos United!  Last time I checked I didn’t see your face on the emblem, and I had no idea that you deserved more respect than the legends you were playing with.  You would never see Giggsy or Scholes show the lack of respect you showed in your short time as a substitute.  And to think for a minute (almost literally) I defended you and call for United to sign you.  I want that minute of my life back.

Carlos, I hope to see you in Manchester next year wearing baby blue.  And as we complete the double on City in the derby, you can go home and cry yourself to sleep on your Champions League medals (yes medals, you get one for second place) and your two Premier League title plaques.  And as you are weeping away, wondering what you have done, take a deep breath Carlos, that’s the last time you will get a sniff of that success.





God warn the Queen.

29 06 2009

I’m proud of my boys here at Among the Thugs.  We are maturing in our passion, we are growing together as football fans, and we are taking over, but not where you may think.  If you haven’t noticed, we are an opinionated, passionate, obsessed, and determined group.  Trust me, this is not a bandwagon, so don’t even look for room to hop on.  After reading the two previous posts I sat back and smiled.  We are there, we have arrived, and we are home.

As football fans in America there is no room for error.  We have to be cautious with our words, our phrases, and our talk.  Understand this, they want us to fail, they want us to go away.  Who you may ask?  This appears to be everyone both home and abroad.  It is deeper than just a lack of respect, it is an anti-American football fan sentiment.  For too long we have been told that we don’t belong.  Looking at my Thugs, we have proven them wrong.

I came across an article written by the late Steven Wells of the Guardian where he says this about the growing American football fan-base in an article entitled: “Americans are soccer-savvy … and that scares little Englanders.”

“Public toilets, atheism, publicly funded radio and association football – these are all things of which no society can have too much. Witness the fact that soccer-playing America is massively liberal, loving, caring, socially conscious and nice. While soccer-hating America consists of increasingly isolated gangs of Bush-supporting, bible-bashing, gun-crazed, dungaree wearing, banjo-playing, quasi-fascist chicken-lovers and their twelve fingered, pin-headed, cyclopic, drooling monster children.

We – a substantial chunk of us, anyway – are desperately scared that association football will succeed in America. That the USA will become a footballing power. That the yanks will develop a version of the beautiful game as irresistible as jazz, rock’n’roll or the amazing American language (and unless you’ve checked the English/American phrase books handed out to GIs in 1942, you probably have no idea how much American you speak, limey).

Why are we scared? Because as a nation we have a desperate need to feel superior to the vibrant barbarian culture that’s replaced us as top global ass-kicker.

Face it, feeling superior to Americans is about all we’ve got left. But the list of things we actually do better than the Yanks is slim and getting slimmer. Did you know that the bastards even brew decent beer these days?

So what have we got left to be smug about? Wensleydale cheese, Ricky Gervais, Theakston Old Peculier and Helen Mirren. And, oh yeah, football.

Sorry, the Yanks get it. Not all of them. Not even most of them. But enough of them. Even if Bex bombs. Even if the MLS collapses, American soccer isn’t going away.

It’s time for a new joke.”

Listen up America, it’s time for you to also find a new joke.





Blowout despite the score….

28 06 2009

Brazil 3, USA 2; The better team won. It was not close. It was not a nail biter. It was painful. Forget the score. Brazil gave a beat down, toying with us the entire time. Brazil should have played in Hanes wife-beaters cause they smacked USA around like their common-law bitch. America’s goalkeeper, Tim Howard, played like a champ but Brazil’s onslaught was just too much. Brazil was in control the entire game. They may have been down a few goals the first half, but they were always in control. It’s like when you play basketball with your wife. At first you let her score a few points just so she won’t leave and she’ll feel like she’s participating, but then you get bored and decide to end the game. So you score thirty points at will which promptly ends the game, as was your original attention, but you forgot that your public slaughtering has embarrassed your wife forcing you to sleep on the couch… (which is cool anyway cause you can watch all the Gilbert Gotfreid “Up All Night Classics” w/o getting hassled). But I digress, USA, thanks for playing. You gave me an opportunity to drink beer on a Sunday afternoon. Am I proud? Well… Like any father of a disabled child, “I’m just happy you gave it your all. Now take that mico-machine out of your nose and go get washed up for dinner.”





Where’s my Latte Buffy?

28 06 2009

Today while listening to Sports Center on ESPN radio they were talking about the Confederations Cup final between USA and Brazil and why football (soccer) has not blown up in America. I became pretty annoyed hearing the host and all his callers brainstorming on answers to that question. The reasons they had come up with should have embarrassed them but no, they had spewed out these pretentious one liners that made me want to smack them right in the throat. Lines like: Since we are not the best we are not interested…..since we didn’t create the sport we don’t really care…..we need instant gratifacation to keep our interest…..it’s too slow of a game to watch on t.v. (uhhhh golf….) …..and my favorite, we can’t make any money doing it here. If we want the big bucks we have to go over seas.

Now I’m sitting here pretty agitated…..USA just pulled a Newcastle United move and blew their 2 nil lead and lost to Brazil 3 to 2. What could have gotten a lot of Americans interested just went out the door. Will this amazing sport ever make it here?





Manchester United kit released, officially.

26 06 2009

manu_jersey

Well done lads.  No Hotdog on a Stick employee, no layered mustard, no cheese stick, no banana-magpie.  The new Manchester United Kit was revealed today, officially.  Now I have seen it on other sites (revealed with “enhancing” software), but this is the official jersey release from the club.  Pre-order, check.

You can see the full gallery (of awkward action/acting shots) here.





Link Addition – Football Transfer League

25 06 2009

footballtransfer

Our friends over at Pitchslap have done it again.  They have sent over a link to a most glorious resource.  Footbal Transfer League is a site that will bring you statistics for football transfers and rumors from the UK press.  This is a giant collection of the transfers and football rumors that the press produce, but more than that, this site will drill down into the numbers and extract interesting statistics.  This is a much needed site when the transfer window opens up and the rumors run wild.  They even have a section that displays the accuracy of the “papers” by the percentage of their rumors that prove to be true.  It is scary that they are all lingering around 25% accuracy.

This site is perfect to keep track of your team, player, or league, and has just enough statisical data to make sure you completely waste the day away reading.  Wait, it’s Thursday?  What happened to Wednesday?  Curse you Football Transfer League.

Updated: The Sources