Joy In Newcastle But…..”Not In Nottingham”

29 03 2010

Newcastle United beat Nottingham Forest today by a score of 2 to nil. This win is one of our most exciting wins of the season for a number of reasons:

1. Continues our undefeated record at home
2. This win gives us 83 points and a very good chance at clinching promotion on Saturday {Nottingham has to loose on Sat to complete promotion this early. They are playing Bristol City away. That favors us big time!!}
3. With this win it shut the mouths of many Nottingham supporters who said they could still catch us.

What a beautiful day it was today in Long Beach and in Newcastle……but “Not In Nottingham“.


Goodbye Phil Brown….

21 03 2010

It took me a few days to really think about this post. I wanted to be proper and maybe even a little kind to Phil now that Hull City has let him go. Every time I tried to take the high road my memory replayed the look on his face when even though his team got beat by Man U’s scrubs on the last day of matches last season, he gave the fans an evil little smile. All I wanted to do on that day was shove his Bobby Brown/the guy who sold the Sham Wow’s [before his tongue was bitten in half by a prostitute] headset down his throat. But I am a peaceful man. So in a move to let the water pass under the bridge I found a song that I think will be perfect for Phil Brown. Goodbye Phil. Goodbye.

FIFA blocks technology advancement. I offer my support.

16 03 2010

FIFA has officially squashed the notion of using goal line technology to detect if a ball has crossed the line.  They are not just saying no to this year, or give the “maybe in the future” courtesy, they have gone as far as to “block any further experiments with technology”.  That is a hard-line stance on the subject, and I love it.

Coming from a culture that loves to use technology in sports at every given opportunity, I used to support the idea of goal line detection.  What was the harm?  Goals are so important, don’t you want to get it right?  Instant replay isn’t the most exciting thing in American football, but at least they get the call right (or closer).  And in the NBA they can see if the shot actually left a player’s hand in time.  These are game changing decisions that don’t have to be scrutinized after the fact, only for the league and the referees to get blasted.  The pressure can be relived from the officials making such an important determination in real time.  These all seem like factors that are perfect for football.

So what changed my mind?  FIFA’s reasoning.  I love it.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter:

“The application of modern technologies can be very costly, and therefore not applicable on a global level.

“The universality of the game: one of the main objectives of FIFA is to protect the universality of the game of association football.

“This means that the game must be played in the same way no matter where you are in the world.

“If you are coaching a group of teenagers in any small town around the world, they will be playing with the same rules as the professional players they see on TV.”

He went on to talk about disrupting the flow of the game, challenging the integrity of the game, and how you can have 10 different experts with 10 different opinions on one play.  All good reasons too, but I love the main reason.  Football is meant for you and I.  If I can’t have one aspect of the rules of the game in my backyard, then the professionals shouldn’t either.  That is how you keep the game right where it should be, with the fans.

Don’t call me psychic, but I am good.

8 03 2010

Just days after my post about United’s lack of striking options, ESPN reports that Sir Alex is ready to spend on a striker come the opening of the summer transfer window.  I know what you’re all thinking, but no, we only talk every couple of weeks.

The title of this post has the smallest hint of sarcasm since it is clear that this is where United needs the most support.  Saying we need a new striker is like saying Manchester City needs class, or Portsmouth needs money.  So what exactly is the relevance of this news? I think there are a few reasons why this “news” made the front page.

First, Sir Alex is reassuring everyone that he is aware of the current needs up top.  Second, he is assuring United supporters that even in this current economic crisis with the Glazers, he still has the £80 million to spend.   Third, he would like to put the footballing world on notice that United will be in the market this summer, so put your prettiest ponies on display.

Ferguson was reluctant to spend on players in January, because 1) the market price for a player is a little inflated, and 2) this price is worse in January because teams are desperate to fill obvious voids and are willing to pay even more for less, therefore the rate is even more inflated.

Ferguson gambled on skipping this last window, and this now has heaped even more pressure on to Rooney.  Now with a bum knee, Ferguson sees how dire the straits may be.  With the young Diouf showing his current lack of finishing ability (under construction)  against the Wolves, United have now exposed the glaring weakness.

Fielding a team without Rooney in the lineup simply lacks bite.

Carling Cup Celebrities Give Back To Community

5 03 2010

Last Saturday Manchester United defeated Aston Villa to retain the Carling Cup for a second year. All week we have seen the Man U stars appearing in various sit down interviews, speaking at schools and charity events, and also showing up on local and world wide television spots. Wayne Rooney spoke at a charity event to help raise funds for Portsmouth FC. Michael Owen talked to a local Manchester community arts and crafts association group that focuses on glass blowing. Patrice Evra got the honor of cutting the ribbon for a new acting school opening up right out side Manchester. Ji-Sung Park  was a guest contestant on a Japanese game show. He was playing for his favorite charity. Here is a clip of Mr. Park {he is the one in the pink robe}


5 03 2010

Why a picture of an English breakfast you ask?  Well this is what we paid to receive the services of Michael Owen.  This is what we paid to get 9 goals in 27 appearances (3 coming in one Champions League match against Wolfsburg).  And now he’s done for the season.

A hamstring injury sustained in the Carling Cup victory of Aston Villa (oooo yeah!) has put Owen back on the operating table, out for the season, and leaving him no chance of playing in South Africa in June.  Cause for concern?  Maybe a little, but not necessarily where you think.

Owen has already endeared himself to the Old Trafford faithful.  His last second gasp against Manchester City (still saved on my DVR) will be a highlight for years to come.  But that moment was mixed in with many non-consequential appearances.  He will be missed, sort of, in a way.  At least we will welcome him back for sure.

What is leaving me strung out is the lack of remaining striking options.  ESPN says it best, “United are left with young duo Mame Biram Diouf and Federico Macheda as back-up strikers, but if either Wayne Rooney or Dimitar Berbatov were to get injured, it would leave Ferguson with a lack of experience in reserve. ”

While Owen didn’t necessarily strike fear into the heart of the opposition the moment he took to the pitch, he had a proven pedigree.  That at least offered us hope and a sense that he could break out any moment.  His history at least gave us some additional threat on the bench, even if it was only a mental advantage.

Believe it or not, according to Sir Alex, Owen never missed a training session.  Now we know why this signing was a gamble.  Here’s to next year Michael, breakfast is on me.

English Phrase of the Month: Administration

2 03 2010

With the recent news surrounding Portsmouth, Among the Thugs has been fielding the question, “what is administration?”

Administration is a term used to describe the action taken by a football club that is unable to pay its outstanding debts.  A British business term established under the Insolvency Act 1986, a club can choose to enter into this resolution mechanism.  The club will then be brought to court, and if it is shown that a business cannot pay debts as they fall due, or cannot repay outstanding debts, then the company will be classified as insolvent (seen as having an inability to pay the debt).

For a football club these debts include the money owed to other clubs (active deals), staff (think about the crazy number of people involved), and the players wages, all of which must be paid first.  If these basic debts cannot even be met, then a club will enter into administration.  Under administration the club puts the accountants in charge of just about every decision regarding the club except who takes the field in the next fixture.

Administration is used as a way to save a club from complete financial disaster and allow for it to still operate until a solution is reached.  It is the last stop before bankruptcy or ceasing to exist .  However, this safety blanket was able to be manipulated and abused by clubs to shed debts, restructure, and then borrow again once the creditors had been bought off.  To avoid clubs using administration as its own personal “Bobs” (read: Office Space), in 2004 the FA instituted a point deduction for any team entering into administration.  A 9 point deduction for Premier League teams, and a 10 point deduction for the rest.

Portsmouth became the first Premier League team to enter into administration (details here).