Archive for February 8th, 2008


the 39th parallel

The Premier League proposal to play a 39th match has caused a massive uproar. Blogs that I greatly respect, like Arseblog, Leftback, and of course A Cultured Left Foot have called out the proposal and shown it to be highly problematic. And by “highly problematic” I mean “seriously, fundamentally flawed, like tossing the keys to the liquor cabinet to Britney Spears and asking her to babysit your 17 year old daughter while you go on a three day vacation. Oh yeah and you leave her a big bag of cocaine as a tip.”

Let’s break down how bad the idea is.

First, it’s a 39th match. One of the things I hadn’t thought about yesterday was that there’s a reason that there are 38 matches: 20 teams, play each other twice (home and away), = 38 matches. It’s really that simple. A 39th match would throw a wrench into this because suddenly every team has an extra match. And how do you handle this? Do you have a “39th match draw” and randomly select the teams? I don’t think so. Because the people in Tokyo don’t want to be handed a 0-0 draw between Derby and Sunderland. Or worse, what if Tottenham has to play Chelsea and they get some bad sushi? We’d have to listen to Tottenham whine and cry all summer that they didn’t crack the top four because of the 39th match — and/or that some Arsenal supporter gave them bad sushi. That would be fucking unbearable.

More likely, the fixtures would be set in some way that the Premier League decides is “fair.” Ok, uhhh, no thanks. The last thing I want is a bunch of cunts picking what club is fair for Arsenal to play. You know what’s fair? 19 home fixtures and 19 away fixtures, 1 each against every other team in the Premier League. There’s no way to make a 39th match fair. So, if they go through with this proposal it has to be said, just from a fixtures standpoint, that it is fundamentally unfair.

“Ok,” you say “what if you take one of those 38 home/away matches and play that abroad?” BETTER, but still problematic. First, the supporters; you know, the ones who live in England? Yeah, what about them? They are some lucky bastards to have been born in a country that has access to some of the best sport ever. But their local support is what is and always has been the basis for the team. And if there’s one thing I have learned about sports (especially being an American, where the local fans are shat upon daily) you don’t shit on the local fans. EVER. Taking a home match away from Everton to play it in Sydney would be the equivalent of dipping the local supporters in shit and allowing them to dry in the Australian sun. Clubs need to do more to build young, local supporters (who will become full blown adult fanatics) and playing one of the home matches in Kuala Lumpur is not going to help build that young local support.

And then there’s the problem with flying the players all around the world and that some teams will get a better (i.e. closer) draw and, well, you get the idea.

Every team plays every other team once at home and once away. That’s fair. Anything else is unfair.

But wait! There’s more! They want to play these matches in January! What fucknut thought that January was the place to squeeze these matches in? There are already 9 matches in December and 8 matches in January. Why not play the match in August you fucking retards? Having the match in January is like the dumb icing on a stupid cake. It makes me want to scream.

Finally, I really hope people don’t fall into the trap of blaming foreign ownership as some have done. Lawton… come on… this was a unanimous decision, scapegoating the “foreign owners” is distasteful. You have no evidence that the “foreign” owners are driving this proposal. The owners, all of them, stand to profit greatly from a 39th match and they all agreed to examine the proposal. They all share the blame regardless of what country they were born in. Jesus, with all the bleating on about foreigners you sound like a fucking American.

I knew I had to be wrong once I saw that Roy Keane supports the idea!

But seriously, I just can’t think of a way to make it fair. The 38 game scheme is fair and while I’d love to have Arsenal play in Seattle, a 39th match is unfair to the fans, to the players, and to the system. I’m saying no to the 39th match.

Tomorrow I’ll be blogging from London Town! And yes, there is a touch of irony and privilege in that statement given the blog above.  But the die has been cast, the trip has been paid for, the boarding pass has been printed, the match tickets have been paid for, the skivvys are packed, and there’s no going back now.

Look out London, here I come!

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