Archive for the '6+5 rule' Category

11
Jun
09

Man U could basically buy everything

The ink was barely dry on their one record breaking contract to snag Kaka when Real Madrid turned around and destroyed their own previous transfer record and purchased Christiano Ronaldo from Man U for £80m. No need to link to a specific article, it’s all over the news, hell, it made NPR this morning.

And of course it made NPR, it’s f*cking insane.

That said, the deal raises more questions than it answers…

What will Man U do with the money? If they spend it, it inflates the market, if they don’t spend some they’d be fools. How does this all play out? Will they go for Ribery? Cause a 4 way fight for him, between Chelsea, Real, and the other Manchester?

How does Kaka feel? Like second runner up in the Miss Football pageant I imagine.

How long before Ribery joins them and for how much?

Where does Real Madrid get the money for this and will Sepp Bleater and Michelle Platini decry them for their financial doping?

What will Man U supporters do with their CR7 shirts? I recommend a bonfire.

There is one thing I know will happen: the English can go back to hating Christiano Ronaldo. There were at least 5 or 6 guys out there who were conflicted about Cron, just a few men who had yet to completely genuflect at the altar of the steppy-overy cheating diver. They were genuinely conflicted. Here was a guy who had raped their beloved England team, a man who disgraced English football pretty much every time he set foot on the pitch, but a man who scored goals and won medals for Man U. WHAT TO DO???

Well, most of them would privitely confide their dislike of the player or say things like “yeah I wish he wouldn’t do that.” But when he was up on the dias, cheekily biting the gold medal, all oiled and muscles rippling, they were there clapping along with all the other mindless Man U supporters.

And now that he’s gone, I am fully prepared for the deluge of Man U supporters who “never really liked him” drowning out the 5 or 6 genuine football fans who knew something was wrong all along. They will be there, at your local boozer, filling your ear with nonsense about how much they hated his cheating. Or how this is good riddance, because he was a cancer on the team. Or how he’s just a mercenary. Or my favorite, “he was overrated.”

No, asshole, that’s what WE say. YOU say “thank you Christiano Ronaldo, please may I have another?” Because we’ve been saying he was a mercenary, tart, diving, cheating, steppy-overy, take 20 free kicks to score one goal, overrated, chump, asshole, cunt, for 8 years and your sudden conversion stinks like rejection. Like a teenager rebuffed. It’s unrequited love.

Now, go crawl up inside your CR7 jersey, spread out all your signed pictures  of him on the bed and wallow in it. Have a good cry, because tomorrow you get to pretend to be a real football fan again, until the next steppy-overy, overrated, diving, cheating, seal dribbler comes along.

Poop Scoop

Ok, so we basically got nothing. There’s a report that Arsenal are after 16 year old Luc Castaignos, with his agent publicly saying that he only has eyes for Arsenal, but only if he stays at Feyenoord for another year. Yeah, Ok, another kid! At first I thought “isn’t 16 a little old?” and then I saw the picture in this link and I’m starting to think there might be something to this story.

I have some sad news to report, it’s looking like The Hoff is ending his long and glorious Arsenal career. A testimonial is the least we could do for him.

UEFA to FIFA, STFU

Ha! Tired old xenophobe and known Arsenal hater, Sepp Blatter has been told to shut the f*ck up by tired old xenophobe and known Arsenal hater Michelle Platini. See, as it turns out their collective idea to trot out some tired old xenophobic nationalism under the guise of a “6+5 rule” which would give England a world cup,  is a violation of European law.

Which I have said all along.

So, we can put this one to bed.

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13
May
09

Premier League Shoots Scudamores at Common Sense

Do you like my little tiny crown? I am the KING of English Football!

EPL chief Scudamore has been a busy little boy this week, rattling sabers, and proposing all sorts of wondrous rule changes. Changes that he thinks will save English football for Englishmen, stamp out debt, prevent another Leeds United style collapse, prevent unseemly characters from taking over clubs, and even had time to hail the Respect Campaign as an overwhelming success (link works best in Internet Explorer, ugh).

And people say that Arsene Wenger lives in a world of his own.

Let’s start first with the Scudamore/Platini/Blatter idea that the only thing that will save English National football is a return to the failed quota system of the 1980’s. A time when quotas still didn’t help England qualify for the World Cup (’74 and ’78). The problem with this story is that I have written extensively about it and really don’t feel like rehashing those thousands of words. Besides, I just re-read my best post on this topic and, frankly, I have nothing more to add and couldn’t say it better if I tried. Check the link above if you want to see why I think this is a racist, nationalist idea that will not help the English national team, will further overvalue English players, will not level the playing field between smaller clubs and the top four, and will be overturned as soon as one foreigner feels discriminated against.

The second story, then, is debt and Richard Scudamore is having none of it! Not coincidentally, this Premier League anti-debt campaign is breaking into the media at the same time as Alisher Usmanov is offering the club a hot cash injection. This debt issue is yet another story that I have written extensively about and don’t feel like re-hashing at this point. Suffice it to say, the proposal as I read it would have no effect on Arsenal, as we already fit the rules which are essentially an adaptation of UEFA’s rules for qualifying for Europe. No, this rule will only hurt smaller clubs, or clubs that are in real trouble like West Ham; and may even force those clubs to sell off their players.

The story that I’m interested in is the jaw-dropping claim that the Respect Campaign has been a success. In what world? Again, this is a topic that I have written extensively about and there’s no need to re-hash a lot of what I’ve said in the past. But I think that in light of recent events such as with Chelsea’s inability to control their players after and during matches, and the club’s steadfast refusal to even take internal action against their players this latest quote from Scudamore is about as jaw dropping as it gets.

I mean, Chelsea supporters have threatened Tom Ovrebo’s life… and this is the second time, this season, that Chelsea supporters have threatened the life of an official. Is that “respect?”

Or how about the dossier on Drogba, Terry, Bosingwa, and Ballack linked above? The footage is clear, Chelsea acted in a manner that was disgraceful on the Premier League, their club, and themselves by attacking the referee at the end of the game.

The most worrying part, though, is that the Chelsea stewards could not, or perhaps would not, control the situation after the match. Those stewards are there to protect the referee in case that exact thing happens. In case the players attack a referee, which is what the Chelsea players did, make no mistake about it, the stewards are there to protect the ref. To see them feebly try to move a clearly out of control Drogba and then let him come back in and get in the face of the ref was disgraceful and deserves at least as many column inches and at least as much investigation as Phil Brown’s imaginary story that had Cesc Fabregas watering the pitch with saliva as he karate kicked the opposing coaches in his designer thug hoody.

UEFA banning Chelsea from the Champions League for a season would be a light punishment for that display. Anything less is truly a disrespect to the referees and would make enforcing something like their plan to allow referees to stop matches due to racism impossible.  How can a UEFA official feel like a home team’s stewards will protect him from players and the crowd in Spain when the home team stewards at one of the crown jewels of world football (a country which supposedly prides itself on ‘law and order’) allowed a clearly out of control Chelsea team to threaten the ref?

But, ultimately, this is a chronic problem with this team in particular. Chelsea are the embodiment of disrespect in world football. From the disgraceful scrum they started in the 2007 Carling Cup final against Arsenal, to the Ashley Cole incident which started the “respect” campaign, to this latest in a long line of outrageous behavior, and if you throw in the distorting effect of their “magic money,” Chelsea are truly all that is wrong with modern football.

Look for Richard Scudamore to address this problem… never.

01
May
09

Friday Pre(i)sser

Bit of a different format today, owing to the deluge of news that always happens on a Friday so let’s get stuck in, shall we?

Injury Update

Eduardo and Silvestre are both out for Saturday. Dudu is being rumored to be out for the rest of the season with his  groin strain while Silvestre will be a late test for Tuesday. I had wondered why Eduardo was such a late sub on Wednesday and I think now it’s clear: he’s never really been fully fit since ‘recovering’ from Martin Taylor’s horrific tackle. And that makes sense. He needs time to get the tendons and muscles back into shape. More rehab, more light practice, rest, recovery, etc. I don’t know a single Gunner who isn’t proud of the courage that Dudu has shown this year and would gladly wait to see him fully fit at the start of next year. Get better Eduardo, we’ll wait.

Robin van Persie is another who’s going to have a late fitness test to see if he can play on Tuesday.  Either way, I doubt he’ll start and instead will need to reprise the super-sub role he played against Cardiff. I know, Man U are not Cardiff, but I mean get a goal, like he did against Cardiff.

Gallas and Rosicky remain out for the season, and the boss is now saying Clichy will be out for three weeks as well. That basically means that Arsenal are without Eduardo, Clichy, Gallas, and Rosicky for the rest of the season.

Fabregate

Cesc has spoken out about the FA charges against him saying that if he should be suspended then 8 others who came on the pitch should be similarly suspended. The FA responded by basically saying, it’s not that you came on the pitch it’s how you acted.

With that said, I am now confident that Fabregas will get a 3 match ban here, the same amount that Martin Taylor got for intentionally breaking Eduardo’s leg.

Because those two things are equivalent.

Maybe next time he should come out and break a player’s leg. At least then he’d deserve the ban.

Transfer News? In April?

The papers are all reporting that Wenger will sell Adebayor and buy Roque Santa Cruz.  The selling point in this story?

Wenger has been an admirer of the 27-year-old for some time. He had Santa Cruz scouted and is particularly impressed by the player’s work-rate after studying his ProZone statistics.

Well, Wenger is a lover of hard work, how do you think Bendtner keeps getting a shot?

Speak of the Devil

Bendtner is featured in this week’s free video on the dot com. A word of warning: clicking that link caused my browser (Firefox) to crash. Actually, that’s about what I’d expect, even Bendtner’s videos suck.

Almunia for England

And finally, the big story of the day is that Fabio Capello would not rule out Almunia should he get an English passport when he becomes eligible in July.  Legally and morally, I don’t see how he could exclude him.

First off, my name is Tim. I’m an American, and I’m a Gooner. I’ve been a Gooner now for 10 years. I’ve seen matches at Highbury and the Emirates and I fly every year to see my beloved Arsenal. I also support France in world competitions, rather than the U.S. team, because, well, because I want to. And so I think I have a bit of a unique perspective on this Almunia situation.

Whether Almunia wants to become an English citizen or not is about choices and not about birthplace. That’s just the way the world is today. The old days of nationalism are dying slowly and people now have more freedom than ever before to choose the country they want to naturalize in. Personally, I’d like to see it be even more open. I have never understood why capital could move freely from one country to another but people were restrained by quaint old notions of borders. So, if Almunia wants to become an English citizen and renounce his eligibility to play for Spain, knowing the stick he’s going to get from xenophobes and nationalists, then I say more power to him.

Moreover, the old notions of “identity” that surrounded certain things, like being a Gooner meant that you were probably from North London, have changed radically as well. Now, you have millions of Americans, Indians, Chinese, Africans, and Spanish devoted to following English teams and thus the identity of English clubs are no longer associated with place. When you have millions of Africans wearing Liverpool shirts and identifying with Steven Gerrard it both takes a bit away from that old identity as “scouser” and adds something new to their identity. Again, you can wring your hands about this, you can jump on the Platini xenophobe bandwagon, and you can scream about how your identity is being taken over by Yanks and the Africans. But unless you are willing to stop broadcasting English games around the globe and shrink the English game back into something provincial and small (something that will never win a world championship) then you’re going to have to deal with the fact that football is a global sport with a global following. And that means that clubs now have global identities. And more radically, that national teams now have global identities.

Other countries have already accepted this change and I have no doubt that Croatian fans love their Brazilian born striker.  It’s time for England to let go of the old, small way of looking at football and join the modern world. And time for fans to embrace their future England Number 1; Manuel Almunia.

Tomorrow’s Match

Right, so that’s it for today. Tomorrow’s match kicks off at 7am (PST) is being broadcast on FSC. I’ll try to do a quick update before kickoff and then do a liveblog of the match. If you’re into that sort of thing, join us here at about 6:30.

See you then!

26
Mar
09

UEFA Insane Proclaimation #1 Welcomes us to International Week

Big Platini is Watching You

For those of you who follow my Google Reader shares (link there on the left to my page and an RSS Feed on the right of the blog) you’ll already know that we’ve got a lot of stupidity to get through today. But before we get to the stupidity, I just want to say that if you want to follow my shares on Google Reader you can either subscribe to the RSS feed or if you’re already a Google Reader and want to be friends (so we can comment together) you’ll need to send me an email (bostelle | gmail) and then we’ll need to chat. Stupid I know, but once we’re sharing together it’s actually a lot of fun and for my money more relevant than getting “I’M POOOPIN” updates off twitter.

Ok, where did I put the stupidity???

Oh yeah here it is: one of the main things I despise about the international break(s) is the sheer number of times Arsenal players are shipped off to play against some micro-country and come back in pieces. These weeks ahead hold great promise for us to suffer horrible, season ending injuries to players who are currently being held together with duct tape. No player exemplifies this worry more than Emmanuel Adebayor.

Today, the Togo manager is promising to use Ade, despite the fact that he hasn’t played since he suffered a hammy tear in February. Now, I know a lot of you will straight dismiss this story because you feel like “we don’t need Ade” but you’d be 100% wrong. We need every player on this Arsenal team in order to win a trophy and we especially need Adebayor in the Champions League where his size and speed pose problems for European squads and he always seems to step up his game (3 goals and 2 assists in just 3 CL appearances this season). Like it or not, we need Adebayor 100% healthy and not pulling a hammy for Togo.

Similarly, Eduardo’s Croatian manager is saying the Dudu is “perfect” and “showing no sign of injury” which indicates to me that he’s going to play the living crap out of him over this next week and a half.

Yeah, he’s perfectly healthy if you don’t count the fact that he’s been in and out of the Arsenal lineup with niggling little injuries picked up every time he plays because he was sidelined for a year. While I share his enthusiasm for having Dudu back, I’d rather see Eduardo used sparingly over this international break so that he could be available to win something for the club which pays his salary.

And then, of course, there’s Andrei Arshavin. Who’s agent described him as “60% fit” which I would also describe him as.. erm… fit as. Given that level of fitness, every Arsenal supporter is holding their breath hoping that Chelsea/Russia coach Guus Hiddink uses Arshavin in a responsible manner and that he is returned to us safe and healthy for the run in.

Of course, not everyone is off on international doodie and that makes them very sad. Sad enough to contemplate getting a passport for a country they weren’t born in and praying for a call up. You know, I think Alumina should get the English passport. Not so that he can get an England call up (which he might, given that he’s probably the best “English” keeper in the world right now) but so that he could count in Arsenal’s 6+5 scheme. Just in case that xenophobic, protectionist, and racist idea is passed. Think about it, we’d get to say “Hey now, Arsenal have TWO English players in their first team, the same number as Uber English Liverpool.” That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

But the big story, the one we’ve all been waiting for, is “what insane ideas will come out of UEFA/FIFA during the international break?” And, of course, they don’t let us down do they?

This month we have “Let’s do an American style salary cap based on, of all things, BASEBALL, despite the fact that it would be impossible to manage and ignoring the fact that baseball’s salary cap is the laughing stock of world sport.” Luxury tax… yeah, that hasn’t stopped New York and Boston from having payrolls that are the shame of the world.

But let’s think about this for a second. Either a club would have to adhere to the salary cap (LOL) OR a club’s supporters would be attending games at great personal expense and at least a portion of that expense would be going to some club like, say, Blackburn.

This idea is so mind-numbingly stupid and untenable that the only conceivable reason why they would announce it is because they need to make it look like they are doing something. So, they travel to America, talk to a few people, pick a plan that could never possibly work, come back, and wait until international week to announce that they are looking into implementing it.

Frankly, this plan has as much chance of happening as the 6+5 rule, or me giving a shiat if Amaury Bischoff leaves for one of the, literally, hundreds of clubs who want to buy him. Which is to say, 0%.

Hey, at least with this proclamation out of the way we can officially say that the International Break has well and truly started. Because it’s not an international break without a retarded idea coming out of FIFA/UEFA.

26
Feb
09

The Full English costs £133m

East Stand 2006

Ugh… remember that lady behind me on the flight back from London? The one who was coughing her lungs up mere inches away from my face? Well, I think I got her cold. I feel miserable today, worse than yesterday by far and yet I absolutely must go in to work today. It’s not fair to my coworkers to come in while so obviously sick but I have a Calc test today and I can’t miss that so I might as well bring my diseased ass in to work. The worst part is that this cold comes from overseas so they won’t have any immunities to it. I’m calling it the London Flu and me bringing it to work makes me “London Flu Timmy.”

Speaking of sickness, the press are making a big hoo-doo of some report that was released today claiming that FIFA’s 6+5 rule would not be illegal. It’s even prompting some reporters to make outrageous claims like

With the proposed 6+5 Fifa rule being ruled legal by the EU courts, we might have to see a return to more homegrown talent being fielded.

Let me make this absolutely clear: this is a report compiled by a FIFA hand-picked organization (INEA) which basically skimmed through the law looking for arguments that FIFA might make to the EU Court and found that while the rule is very clearly discrimination, it’s only “indirect discrimination.”

The EU ministers and the EU courts are firmly against this rule, and given that FIFA’s hand-picked report proves that this would be a form of discrimination I can’t see how they will get any ruling past the courts. No, the Bosman ruling still stands and will continue to stand. Which I think is good for football.

The INEA also repeats FIFA’s preposterous claim that having foreign players in the EPL stunts the growth of the Full English players. This argument is so prima facie ridiculous that I hardly feel the need to attack it, but let’s take a look at how it goes. Basically, they argue that foreign players “take the place of” local players in academies and thus there are supremely talented Englishmen out there who just never got a chance.

Bullshit.

Look at the youth academies of Arsenal and Man U. Both clubs have reached the finals of the Carling Cup with basically their academy sides. And though Arsenal get all the press for their academy I think this Man U class is actually better than the Arsenal class. But the important thing to look at is the fact that both of those teams have tons of English players on them.

Thus, this is far from the case that English talent isn’t being nurtured, rather that English talent is being fostered in a competitive atmosphere with the world’s most deserving players. These clubs are making English players better.

Make no mistake, the 6+5 plan will never be implemented and if it is, the Arsenal’s and Man U’s will still have the best academies, they will still produce the best talent, and the big clubs will continue to dominate the markets for these players. What would happen is that the overall level of play would be reduced significantly. All you have to do is look at Liverpool and ask yourself who should start at right wing: Pennant or Kuyt?

The second big story that fell out like the lung of a disease ridden airline passenger is that Arsenal released their mid-season financials. This year’s numbers look incredibly good: profits up £4.5m over last year, match day turnover up, television profits up, and even some profit made off the Highbury square development. The total before tax profit reported is £24.5m. That is truly an incredible number for a half season.

But there are some worrying signs; the £133m that “The Group” owe the banks for the Highbury Square development looks as if it’s come due as “The Group” are busily trying to re-finance that loan.

Moreover, whereas last year Peter Hill-Wood categorically assured supporters that the Highbury development was accounted for apart from the operations of Arsenal FC, this year he is equivocating, saying:

The financial arrangements for the group’s property activities are separate and largely operate independently from the financing of the football business.

The truth of the matter seems obscured, but I suspect that one reason Arsenal have maintained such large cash reserves (£90m before this half-season’s £24.5m profit report) is that they need the money to flood into the Highbury development should the loan come due and banks are unwilling to refinance this apparent lode stone on the club’s profits.

The other worrying aspect of the profit report is just how important being a top club is for our financial health. Television revenue, match day revenue, Champions League revenue, all are dependent upon the club competing at the top, top level.

Arsenal are certainly making money right now, but losing 4th place combined with the financial downturn and the collapse of the high end housing market could prove devastating to this club and has me a bit worried about the future for the first time as an Arsenal supporter.

We have to trust that the board will get this all ironed out. After all, they’ve not let us down so far.

All right, got to get into work and get some things started before my exam today so that’s your lot for the day.

See you tomorrow.

11
Feb
09

Let’s give a red card to the internationals

Lampard should see red every game

Of all the problems plaguing modern football the biggest, and the first that I would change, is international football. No more World Cup, no more Euro Cup, no more Under 19, Under 16, Under 3, nationalistic pointlessness, I’d get rid of it all. It just seems like a holdover from when Europeans used to kill each other over a line in the forest somewhere. For example, there’s an Andorran national team. A country the size of the city I live in, with half the population is fielding a national team in all of these competitions. And what are they playing for? Andorran pride? What’s that some kind of veiled racism or pathetic nationalism?

More than any spectacular football, the international breaks signal a chance for horrible people like Michel Platini to bleat on about quotas, for fans to display their racism, for football associations to propose preposterous rules changes, for players to give interviews, to watch some really crappy football, and for the specter of injuries to raise it’s ugly head.

Yes, the internationals, what a great idea. Let’s whip people into a nationalistic fervor over a pointless game so that players and associations like UEFA can have a platform to change the game I love while extracting the very last Euro out of the average fan’s wallet.

As the links above show, this break is no different than any other. We start off with the FA’s announcement that they are looking into a “homegrown” quota system. Basically, it takes Platini’s horribly racist idea of forcing clubs to check passports before they field a team and waters it down by allowing  teams to simply follow the current quota rules for Champions League qualification. Which is to say that no matter where you were born as long as you were educated at the club, you count as “homegrown.” Actually, I’m fine with this, mostly because I think it will shut Platini and the English nationalists up about Arsenal’s academy.

These homegrown plans always make me wonder why UEFA and FIFA and the FA refuse to deal with problems like Spanish racism before they start worrying about the passports of players on a club like Arsenal? I’ll tell you why! Because the line between the nationalism they are peddling in the guise of “International Football” and outright racism is more permeable than the Maginot line. You need look no further than the fact that a club like Zenit can openly discriminate against blacks and still be allowed to play in UEFA tournaments or a national team like Spain has so many openly racist supporters that the English team needs 500 cops to protect them from the Spanish supporters to see that there’s a serious problem brewing here. How can those organizations let those teams play unless the reality is that they need those racist fans? Surely not every Spanish fan is racist but a large enough number are that these organizations have to play this balancing act between nationalism and racism.

From “homegrown” quotas we move on to the Irish FA recommending a “sin-bin” for yellow carded players. I understand where this comes from because in a sense it is unfair that a player who gets a fifth yellow is suspended for the next game but there’s just two minor drawbacks to the sin bin idea; the referees seem to have a problem getting calls right, and the referees seem to have a problem getting the calls right. Now I know that technically those two are the same thing, but they seem important enough to mention twice.

On the face of it, it seems like a good idea, like if there was a sin bin maybe Bolton wouldn’t be as quick to tackle. But the problem is that you only need to look at the last game against Bolton to see what would happen: Arsenal got as many yellows as Bolton did! The sin bin idea isn’t going to stop a team like Bolton from kicking Arsenal off the pitch because the refs let teams like Bolton get away with more before they get a yellow.  No, it won’t make the game better, it would just give as all another reason to bitch about the refs.

Not to be outdone by the executives in charge of the game, players too use the international break as a soapbox on which they can give their opinion — and for us Arsenal fans that usually means some disgruntled (former) employee. This time it was the exception that proves the rule and Gilberto gave a very respectful, thoughtful, and even-handed interview about Arsenal’s struggles since he left. Just one quote from the interview should remind us all what we loved about Gio: he was a selfless, hard working, respectful player who did everything asked of him out of love for the club.

It’s a big period for Arsenal. Since I was there they haven’t experienced a situation like this. Now they are out of the Champions League places which is very uncomfortable but I’m sure they will pick up points and get back and qualify for the Champions League like we expect. They’ve got quality and a good manager, Arsène Wenger, will do a good job with them.

♬ Mister, we could use a man like Gilberto Silva again… ♬

And if you’re able to stomach all of that and sit down to actually watch a match, well then you’re likely to be treated to a display of football futility like the goal by Bischoff linked above. I’ll concede that you might catch a beautiful goal or two, I guess Robinho had one yesterday against Italy, and you might even get a good match every once in a while, but the vast majority of these matches are just dross. No one, not players, managers, fans, no one on earth wants to see the Malta first team play; much less their U21 (yes, they have a U21).

Given all that, I say down with the internationals! Instead, let’s give hard working footballers a week off and let them travel to Malta to enjoy the sandy beaches without the added pressure of giving an interview, or having the ignominy of being booted out of some pointless tournament at the hands of the mighty Maltese FA.

What am I saying? They’ll never give up on these tournaments. There’s too much money to be made off the suckers who watch them.

10
Sep
08

Rebrov muses on race and class in modern Britain

In what will almost certainly be either quickly retracted or apologized for, some Russian Racist Rag got former Tottenham mega-super-star Sergei Rebrov to give Spuds new Russian signing Pavlyuchenko some choice words of advice:

I wouldn’t go for a walk on my own around White Hart Lane. A lot of dark skinned people live there. So naturally the crime rate is higher than anywhere else. It’s not nice to be a robbery victim. So I suggest that Roman doesn’t walk but drives around that area.

After some contemplation, I’ve decided that there is another way to look at this: Rebrov’s comments have been taken by some as racist, but as someone who has a “Liberal Studies” degree I can assure you that he was simply musing on the effects that societal racism has on class and therefore crime. Additionally, his statement could be seen as someone who genuinely cares for his fellow man: “it’s not nice to be a robbery victim” shows that he cares, about all robbery victims, not just the white, rich, Russian ones. I beleieve that if we really delve deep into Rebrov’s caring and kind words we’ll see a man who is pained by the juxtaposition of poverty and wealth around White Hart Lane. So pained that he could barely live with himself as he drove his expensive vehicle into his exclusive player only parking lot on game day, all the while shielding his eyes from the poverty and “darkness” around him. It was this “darkness” which put out the light inside Rebrov and explains why he, while one of Tottenham’s most successful players ever, was only ever available for a few games a year. Rebrov’s not a racist, he’s the boddhisatva of caring for the poor and “dark skinned.” He really just wants equality and safety in Britain for all people! The next stop on his “tour of compassion” is, no doubt, going to be Liverpool, where it’s also not nice to be a robbery victim.

But seriously, what the hell is going on over there? First there’s the Zenit St. Petersburg debacle where coach Dick Advocaat made it clear that he’s not allowed to hire any blacks because the fans are so insanely racist and now there’s an article in “Sovetski Sport” which is both a racist diatribe and a full assault on Arsenal. How is it that UEFA and FIFA are refusing to deal with this entrenched racism? This is a problem that’s at least as important as whether or not people have the correct passport when they play in Champions League matches, isn’t it?

Speaking of which, CaribKid (regular commenter) wondered in yesterday’s comments about UEFA’s ‘homegrown’ rule, so I did a little digging and this is what I found out. Introduced 2 years ago, the rule reached its full maturity this year and requires that a team have 8 ‘homegrown’ players in their Champions League squad. You don’t have to have them on the pitch, just in the CL squad. Originally, they wanted to do something like the 6+5 rule that Sepp Blatter keeps proposing but UEFA knew that wouldn’t fly due to the EU work rules that require something called “fairness,” which is unfair. So, UEFA worked with the EU and came up with a plan that basically states that you have to take kids (15-21 year olds, from anywhere in the world) and train them in your academy for three years, and then 8 of those kids must be named to your CL squad.

They wanted to prevent teams like Chelsea and Liverpool and Man U from simply hoarding fully developed players from around the world, which means that it has failed miserably. Only Arsenal, with their fully developed academy, produce the quality and quantity sufficient to challenge in the Champions League utilizing their former academy players like Cesc, Walcott, and Clichy. Two years in to the program and Liverpool have to drop key players like Hyypia off their starting XI because they cannot seem to develop anyone, or maybe Rafa Benitez just doesn’t understand the rule?

It was a really difficult decision, but we had to do it. With the rule saying that you need more or less eight British – or local – players in the squads, we needed to decide which three centre backs to have for the Champions League

Nope. He’s straight up wrong. You need 8 players from the academy and their passports don’t matter. Maybe, he could, you know, set up an academy, bring in some kids, train them up?

Christmas Eduardo

Dudu is “recovering faster than expected” and should be ready for first team action in December. Yay! I know I speak for all Arsenal fans when I say that we wish him a 100% recovery.

Appiah Watch ’08

Every club in Christendom, and even some in Italy (ha ha! I’m the boddhisatva of hating Italians!), is admitting that they are trying to sign Stephen Appiah. Arsene should sign the guy, because even if he spends the whole season on the bench injured signing Appiah will shut the whiners up for at least a brief period. Plus, if he doesn’t sit in the injury room all season and plays at a fraction of the level that everyone thinks he can, he will be a great addition to the squad. Sign sign sign sign!

Blah blah blah Internationals

If you have Setanta, you can watch England lose to Croatia today. If not, you cannot even see the “highlights” — like when half-arsed midfield elf, Luca Modric scores a triple hat trick on them.  This has English fans in an uproar, because it’s their birthright to watch horrible football on the tee vee or some such.

Also, there’s a story that Adebayor refused to fly with the Togo team because he heard that someone was going to shoot the team out of the sky. Uhhh… hm… well… I don’t know what to think, except that death would be a difficult injury to recover from.

Whelp, that’s it for today, I have a work retreat today, which is to say that I’m wasting taxpayers dollars for 8 hours today doing team-building exercises, so I can’t go down to the bar and watch England lose on live tee vee, which I think should be my birthright, as a Wallonian.




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