The two sides of Lionel Messi

November 2, 2009

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“The candidates were announced last week for the Fifa World Player of the Year award. Am I the only one out there who’s not too interested? My problem with the thing is that this concentration on the individual can tend to overshadow one of the fundamental truths of the game – the stars shine brightest when the collective balance of the team is right. The point is proved by a brief look at the performances this year of one of the favourites. Based on what he has done for Barcelona, Lionel Messi would be a worthy winner – but that would certainly not be the case if the criteria was restricted to his form with Argentina. How can this be true?” (BBC – Tim Vickery)


Hansen on Liverpool

November 2, 2009

“Rafael Benitez’s future as Liverpool manager is again the source of speculation – and while all that I am hearing from the Anfield hierarchy suggest he is in no danger of losing his job, results dictate everything. I will never advocate the sacking of any manager because I was someone who never had the bottle to do the job, but Benitez is under pressure. This is not me saying it – the facts, in the shape of poor results, are saying it.” (BBC)


A tale of two cities

November 2, 2009

“One of the most intriguing aspects of Spanish football is the way in which the different sets of supporters around the country react to defeat. It’s becoming better known nowadays that Spain is really a loose collective of chalks and cheeses, where you can cross a regional border and suddenly feel as though you are on a different planet – so it comes as no surprise that each football club in the country is un mundo (its own world). The Spanish themselves accept these differences as part of their own cultural mix, and have a fixed set of perspectives on everyone else.” (ESPN)


Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics and ‘Soccernomics’

November 2, 2009

“In their new book ‘Soccernomics,’ to be published in the United States on Tuesday, the author Simon Kuper and the economist Stefan Szymanski do for soccer what ‘Moneyball’ did for baseball. It puts the game under an analytical microscrope using statistics, economics, psychology and intuition to try and transform a dogmatic sport.” (NYT)


Historical Football Kits – Celtic

November 2, 2009

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Stanley Matthews
“In the mid-1880s, the success of Hibernians FC had inspired Irish communities throughout Scotland to form their own clubs, usually with ‘Hibernian’ or ‘Harp’ in their name. With a quarter of a million people of Irish descent living in and around Glasgow, it was only a matter of time before a powerful club would emerge.” (Historical Football Kits – Celtic)


My Favorite Football Podcasts

November 2, 2009

“A couple of months ago in the midst of a conversation with my friend Bill Turianski he mentioned a radio show he listened to and a reference to the competitiveness (or not) of Major League Soccer. I followed up asking what podcasts he listened to and he gave me a couple of suggestions to get me started. I duly followed and have been truly blown away. I had no idea what I’d been missing. It’s somewhat nebulous I guess but just listening to footy-focused talk shows on a regular basis has made me feel so much more connected to this great big game of ours.” (albion road)


Football Weekly: Lyon or bust for Rafael Benítez and Liverpool?

November 2, 2009

“Chelsea powered on and Arsenal humbled Tottenham, but Liverpool were plunged deeper into crisis after losing 3-1 to Fulham. Is Rafa Benítez’s job on the line in their Champions League clash with Lyon on Wednesday? Your Football Weekly pod squad is split – and they’re also not sure whether or not to back Hull’s Phil Brown a million percent. His new chairman doesn’t seem overly confident either.” (Guardian)