Scotland’s National Team: Eleven Impossible Jobs, Plus Substitutes

December 20, 2009


Diana and Actaeon. 1556-1559. Titian.
“The first thing Capello said on becoming England manager was that when an Englishman pulled on his international shirt, he lost all the confidence he felt at his club: he played in fear. The task for Capello was to create the conditions for confidence that already existed at Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool. And in that he succeeded, but could he have done it for Scotland? I argue not. The Scottish job, for the time being, is beyond the power of a single man. If the Scotland team are to experience what England experienced in 2009, change has to come from the Scottish FA, the Scottish press, the Scottish clubs, and, especially, in Scottish fan culture itself.” (More Than Mind Games)


Spared From Recession for Now, Soccer Lets Money and Hope Flow

December 20, 2009

“Soccer seemed to defy financial gravity in 2009. While much of the world buckled into recession, FIFA, the sport’s governing body, declared that each of the 32 nations that qualified for the 2010 World Cup would receive financial rewards 60 percent higher than ever before.” (NYT)


Spanish Football: The Impossible Separation of Sport And State In La Liga

December 20, 2009


Alfredo & co.
“In much of the world, professional sports serve as little more than a form of entertainment – a world of glorified, physically gifted athletes who are paid astronomical wages (although, based on the simple law of demand, rightfully so) to wow us with their trade. For most of us, the largely frivolous sphere of football rarely (if ever) comes into contact with the austere sphere of politics, the only exceptions being the presentation of an award to a national team or a charitable event.” (Soccer Lens)


European Second Divisions Round Up

December 20, 2009

“In August, I looked at a clutch of five once famous clubs currently biding their time in various European second divisions, in the same way that Newcastle and Nottingham Forest among others are being forced to do so in the Championship. With both Magpies and Tricky Trees primed for an exit from purgatory, I thought it would be interesting to assess the progress of these additional five exiles…” (thetwounfortunates)


Big Guns Are Aiming for Arsenal

December 20, 2009

“The battle of the billionaires has developed into a Cold War at Arsenal Football Club. E. Stanley Kroenke, a U.S. real-estate and sports mogul, and Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov are the two superpowers locked in a tussle for outright control of the Premier League team. The latest flashpoint in their power struggle came Friday when Arsenal disclosed that after months of inactivity, Mr. Usmanov—through his investment vehicle Red & White Holdings—had acquired 668 shares in the North London club, increasing his stake to more than 26%.” (WSJ)