Palestinian football reflects the divided politics of the region

December 7, 2009


“While football is slowly dying in Gaza, it is thriving on the West Bank. Ribhi Samour scrawled his instructions in exaggerated flourishes on the faded green chalkboard that hung from the wall of the Palestine Stadium’s decrepit dressing room. The coach of Al Shate Sporting Club had gathered his players, all sitting in nervous silence, for one last briefing before the biggest match of the season would decide who would be Gaza’s undisputed champion.”> (World Soccer -James Montague), (2)


Barcelona’s strategy to get beneath the Messi flowerpot

December 7, 2009

“A no-name defender from Almería kicks Lionel Messi. The undersized Argentinian with the brown flowerpot haircut is unhurt, and gets up wearing his usual blank expression. Nonetheless, half the Barcelona team berate the culprit.” (FT – Simon Kuper)


Watford’s Financial Gap – Finding A Way To Bridge It

December 7, 2009


The Bean Eater, Annibale Carracci, 1585
“It’s logical if you think about it. Try to use a parachute as a trampoline and you won’t get very high, and Watford Football Club appear to be the latest ex-Premier Leaguers to have discovered the dangers of life in the Football League Championship without either. Much of Watford’s year-long dalliance with administration, which has finally hit the national headlines, is a familiar tale of football-finance woe. An over-ambitious pantomime villain risks everyone’s money but his own on an unachievable dream and blames fans, press, and global financial crises when it all goes horribly wrong. Then he sods off before the discovery of buried bodies, leaving a successor to pick up the mess and either start the whole process again, after a short honeymoon period of renewed over-ambition, or desperately scrabble around in the hope of skin-of-the-teeth salvation.” (twohundredpercent)

Debt, Debt, Debt
“I wonder what sort of odds you could get on at least one Championship club entering administration before the end of the season? Grim though it may be to speculate, you’d be pretty confident of a return if the current headlines are anything to go by. Only Southampton succumbed last time around, but a cloud of fiscal angst lingers threateningly over a few of our number at the minute. Palace and Watford have both been in the news in the past week, and each club’s fans will be hoping that their cheerless defeats against Doncaster and Newcastle last weekend are not directly related to the media’s ominous chatter. The two clubs, whose potential plight is covered in a decent post on general football blog twohundredpercent, have a bit of breathing space after commendable starts to the season each, but pessimists among their support will no doubt be looking ten points down the table.” (thetwounfortunates)


Many meaty draw questions to chew on

December 7, 2009

“The World Cup draw went without a hitch, surviving even the awkward chemistry of its hosts, a wooden Charlize Theron and FIFA’s resident smoothie, general secretary Jerome Valcke. Theron is unlikely to receive a best supporting actress nomination for her performance. No matter. It will soon be forgotten. The draw itself is the only thing that will be remembered as it is all we have to sustain us — and these six questions to ponder — over the next six months…” (ESPN)


World Cup Stadiums

December 7, 2009

“World Cup 2010: the 10 stadiums of the Fifa World Cup 2010 in South Africa from June 11, 2010.” (Telegraph)