F365: When Everyone’s a Football Snob

This is an excellent article. And this is your read for the day, dear reader. Click here to read it. Here’s an excerpt:

Back home that night, angry people on message boards don’t share the moustachioed men’s enthusiasm. They are sniffing about Dortmund fans; football hipsters. Jurgen Klopp, the achingly charismatic Dortmund coach is apparently a fake – although it’s unclear what he’s faking apart from his hair. It seems Dortmund are definitively not cool now. They are old hat. Its fans are poseurs. Borrussia Dortmund are this year’s Barcelona. A team to be tossed about between zealous disciples and jaded misanthropes like a piece of yellowed meat. Dortmund and its ownership model, cheap ticketing and young team has become a prism for us to bicker through and a footballing concept to define ourselves by.

Well done, Tom Young.



From the Guardian: The Great European Cup Teams

Great series in the Guardian Online — The Great European Cup Teams – with excerpts:

1. Real Madrid 1955-60 : David Lacey

Madrid broadened the horizons of British clubs who now became convinced that the European Cup and the newly-born Cup Winners’ Cup demanded serious attention. ….. The roaring applause of that huge Hampden crowd that greeted Madrid at the final whistle in 1960 had far-reaching echoes.

2. Ajax 1971-73: Jonathan Wilson

It was only in 1959 with the appointment of Vic Buckingham, schooled in the best passing traditions by Peter McWilliam at Tottenham, that the seeds began to sprout. Six years later, he was succeeded by Michels, who led Ajax to the title in his first season. That this might have more than local significance was demonstrated the following season as they thrashed Liverpool 5-1 in the European Cup.

3. Bayern Munich 1974-76: Raphael Honigstein

The team broke up, secure in the knowledge that they had achieved a historical feat but less sure about their exact place in the pantheon of greats. “We were never seen as on the same level as Ajax or Madrid because we didn’t win those Cups playing beautiful football,” Hoeness said last year, with a just a hint of regret.

4. Liverpool 1977-84: Paul Wilson

It is worth remembering too that but for the tragic events surrounding the 1985 final in Brussels, and the subsequent ban on English clubs in Europe post-Heysel, the dominance Liverpool had achieved by the mid-eighties could easily have seen the trophy return to Merseyside on one or two more occasions. Uninterrupted by events away from the pitch, Liverpool might be up there with Madrid and Milan by now.

5. Milan 1989-90: Paolo Bandini

As the head of a considerable media empire, Berlusconi understood the importance of star power better than most, and it was he who funded the moves for Gullit, Van Basten and Rijkaard. His club was simultaneously fortunate to have such great home-grown players as Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi on its books. Sacchi recognised the value of his cast, but even then maintained that they would be nothing without their director. “De Niro is a fine actor,” he would say. “But you only see it when he appears in a great Coppola film.”

6. Barcelona 2009-11 :Sid Lowe

As Pep Guardiola put it: “It all starts with the Dream Team … we’re all trying to emulate them.” Johan Cruyff’s team were something to aspire to, an idealised image of perfection always just out of reach. Yet this Barcelona surpassed them. They too defeated Real Madrid 5-0, they too set new standards and insisted on the importance of style as well as substance, they too won the European Cup. And not just once, but twice. Or should that read “three times”?

 This is football.

The Purest of Emotions…

You know the greatness of the scene? It is pure…. and that’s what football does to you, it gets your purest, rawest emotions out.

Did Arshavin’s moment , day-before-yesterday*, come close? It came close, yes. But it was not the same thing.

We, the long-suffering Arsenal fans need another Anfield 1989 moment…

Maybe this is the time…

* For future reference.

Jaxx View 3: Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona – Logic Applied

From F365:

I am pretty sure this mail will not be published as this is not drastic, controversial or rabble-rousing. But let me say this nonetheless. To Carl (Please Arsene, please give the armband to Vermaelen), AFC, you surprise me. Comparing the Cesc scenario with the Adebayor scenario is pretty damn ridiculous. Adebayor was not a Man City trainee (or a Manchester born-and-bred), and neither was be brought up as a 16-year-old at Arsenal. Why is it so difficult to understand, Cesc has always mentioned in interviews that he wants to return to Barca someday, and all of us Arsenal fans were kind of okay with the ‘he will return someday, but not soon’ rhetoric. Now who decides if that someday is today? Cesc does of course, not us. (Caveat: All Arsenal can do is decide whether they will sell him, and if yes, at what price)

Now similarly, in all the interviews, Cesc has claimed nothing but admiration for Arsenal, and post-World Cup, he has had only good things to say for our club. I have no doubt that he loves Arsenal, we indeed are the club that brought him up from a young upstart to the best central midfielder in the world. I am similarly sure he loves Barcelona more. Is that the right or wrong thing to do? That’s not for us to decide, really. That’s his call. And I believe the two options that are suggested to him by assorted hacks and fans.. those of a) either tell Barca to f*** off as he is an Arsenal player; or b) Throw a strop and demand a move to Barca, are neither feasible to him as he admires both the clubs. So what does he do? He pretty much shuts up, and would talk to Arsene Wenger this week, not to the media. It’s obvious he has decided that he wants to move, but not at the cost of a detriment to the club that brought him up. I think that is a good thing, and the right thing to do. And I sincerely believe that his discussion will be about how much money is enough for Arsene for Cesc to move next year.

Barca has been despicable (Xavi, especially, shut up already you moron), and if I would have been Cesc, I would have lost some respect for the club. But losing some respect does not mean hating Barca and not wanting to move, it probably just means wishing that they would just sit down and not embarrass him any more (and maybe, in 2011 or maybe 2012 when he lands up there, landing a punch up Xavi’s nose…now that would really be good). But Cesc wants out, and it is the job of the club, and M. Wenger, to ensure that they get fair value for him. and that is 60m. In the summer of 2011. Jack will be ready, and Rambo will be back by then.

Fourth paragraph. I really have made it impossible for you to publish this now, haven’t I?

Can it happen? Will it happen?

Cannot wait to know…

Barcelona: Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Milito, Keita, Xavi, Toure Yaya, Busquets, Pedro, Ibrahimovic, Messi.
Subs: Pinto, Marquez, Bojan, Henry, Maxwell, Thiago, Jeffren.

Inter: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Zanetti, Cambiasso, Motta, Eto’o, Sneijder, Pandev, Milito.
Subs: Toldo, Cordoba, Muntari, Mariga, Materazzi, Chivu, Balotelli.

Referee: Frank De Bleeckere (Belgium)

Click here to follow the often inane and banal Guardian commentary. I will be watching it over the telly.

[edit: it did not happen. Mourinho’s team wasted 70 minutes of the 90 minutes played. But Busquets… what a shame]

Cry Wolf…

First leg of the Champion’s league Semi-final at the San Siro… Inter vs Barca. Last 20 minutes, and Dani Alves bursts into the penalty area, leaving Wesley Sneijder at his wake. Sneijder, in desparation, tries to tackle Alves from behind… he gets nothing of the ball, and quite a bit of Alves’ leg.

Stonewall Penalty….

Not given. Alves is shown a yellow for diving.

Ridiculous decision by the referee.

And, but, for all my love for everything Barca, let me agree that Alves dives. Often. And the referee is human, and made a mistake that was affected by Alves’ history.

Not acceptable indeed, the referee is there to do a job and he failed miserably at it. But…. but cry wolf? Unfortunately yes.