Amazing stories

That outfit is a straight red card

Sepp Blatter in his slave garb

I thought it would take a whole week for Sepp Blatter to stick his foot in his mouth, how could I know that 24 hours after the defeat of his insane 6+5 plan he would swallow the whole leg? I was scanning the news feeds last night when I came across an article that had this quote

There’s too much modern slavery, in transferring players or buying players. We are trying now to intervene in such cases. The reaction to the Bosman law is to make long-lasting contracts to keep the players, and then if he wants to leave there is only one solution, he has to pay his contract.

Jesus Christ, Sepp. There are real slaves in this world, people who do not have the freedom to sign a multi-million dollar contract and then bitch and moan to get out of it when someone comes along with an even larger multi-million dollar contract. You can’t seriously be comparing multi-millionaires to people who are forced into sexual servitude, can you? You dolt.

This is just another example of how Sepp Blatter is dramatically disconnected from the real world. Maybe it was just a flip remark, maybe it was just an off-the-cuff comment, or maybe he was deliberately misquoted by the press. But if he really did say something that ignorant he has no business being the manager of a 7-11 much less one of the largest sporting organizations in the world.

I wonder what’s prompting this “slavery” remark, honestly. He’s an educated man, he’s aware of the difference between contractual employment and slavery. He’s never shown a lick of care for players before, so it’s not about the players. And it’s not like players need more power: contracts ARE the player’s power. Sepp knows all that, so something else is going on here and frankly it stinks of him playing favorites with Real Madrid.

UEFA, to their credit, reacted quickly to Sepp’s comments and reminded him of the differences between slavery and football

It would be useful to remind people (and Sepp Blatter – ed.) that slaves in all of the slavery systems never earned a wage. It seems that both clubs and players are trying to negotiate an exit before the player is free [at the end of his contract]. It is obvious that today players have a lot more power than they did 20 years ago, undoubtedly, and agents have a lot more power than they did 20 years ago.

Is Sepp Blatter really that thick that he needs UEFA to explain slavery to him? Jesus Christ, Sepp.


Paul Doyle at the Guardian published a brilliant and insightful article about Sepp’s comments after I got to work this morning and I would feel remiss if I didn’t suggest you read it.  In the column, Paul tries to shed some light on the reality of football penury, what it means for Blatter to make such comments, and a wonder (as we all do) why Sepp made them.

Transfer news

All the papers are reporting that Arsenal and Barcelona have agreed to a fee for Left Wing Slave Alex Hleb. Arsenal are reportedly raking in a fee of somewhere between £12-18m while Alex Hleb is expected to receive an extra bowl of rice a day, but only if he doubles his garment output.

I do love some of the quotes attributed to Hleb from yesterday; he wants to leave the noisy, busy city of London, for the bucolic quietude of Barcelona. These quotes look awfully familiar, almost as if The Mail took the quotes he gave at the beginning of the summer, whited out “Milan,” and replaced it with Barcelona. Those sneaky reporters!

With their new found cash, Arsenal are reportedly linked to Russian slaves Arshavin and Zhirkov. I’m pretty certain that neither of these people will be forced to play for Arsenal next season; Arshavin because Zenit is demanding more than £19m and he’s demanding a hundrededy billion pounds a year in salary and Zhirkov because, well, because he’s shite and the only link to any club is a statement from his agent.

No real signings on the horizon, though Arsenal seem to be linked to every striker in the world in order “to replace Adebayor.”

In Conclusion

The annual “Arsenal in serious trouble this summer” stories have started to make print and this year the story is “Wenger desperate to hold team together!!!” On its surface this seems to be a fair criticism: Flamini, Hleb, Adebayor, and now Gilberto are all leaving, have left, or have made strong indications that they want to leave. Coming in to the team so far are Carlos Vela, Aaron Ramsey and Samir Nasri: all young, all unproven — to us.

As Sagna (and everyone with a brain) pointed out, losing Flamini and Ade are doubtless big losses. Losing Gilberto would make Arsenal one of the youngest teams in the EPL and sap away more of our experience in midfield. As much as I loved all of those players last year none is irreplaceable. The only player on this Arsenal team that is irreplaceable is Cesc Fabregas and the fans all know that. As for the experience argument, there isn’t a team in the world that has more experienced 21 year olds than Arsenal.

So then, the only argument seems to be whether Arsenal need to spend big to replace Flamini, Hleb, Adebayor, and now Gilberto or whether they, as I have said time and again, can recruit from within. The fans are deeply divided here but there’s no need to be. Because Arsene Wenger knows what he’s doing. He knows his team, his knows his players, he knows where the team’s weaknesses were last year, and where he can draft in from the reserves to strengthen the team.

Of course, Wenger’s not always perfect: Aliadiere was given about 4 years too many. I understand what he’s doing with Eboue up front but it does seem like another Aliadiere situation. And the Reyes/Baptista experiment was a disaster. But his record with converting players is damn good. For each Reyes, there’s a Fabregas. For every Aliadiere, there’s an Henry. For every Eboue, there’s a… I was going to say Overmars but didn’t want to stain Marc with Eboue so I’ll just say “Wenger’s not perfect.” The point is, given the choice between our (the fans, pundits and writers) opinion and Wenger’s opinion I’m going to trust Arsene Wenger — he’s just proven to be better at this than all of us.

So, you’re going to keep seeing these stories about Arsenal in trouble but there’s nothing to worry about; Wenger no doubt has a plan. Honestly, I’m excited for the next season. I can’t wait to see Diaby in the midfield role he was brought here to play. I can’t wait to see what Wenger turns Alex Song into. And I can’t wait to see the triumphant return of Eduardo. But more on all that at the big kickoff party on August 1st when I do the season preview.

Now… what nuttiness will happen tomorrow?


2 Responses to “Amazing stories”

  1. 1 Alex
    July 10, 2008 at 7:13 am

    Great post as usual. Took you a while but you came to the right conclusion in the end. If you need technical help with the new site, let me know (it’s what I do for a living).

  2. July 10, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Thanks Alex, I’ll be working on it pretty intensely during the week of july 21st and probably won’t need more than a “hey how do I do X?” kind of thing so thanks a lot for the offer, I’ll PM you if I need something!


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