The Beautiful Game – Patrick Symmes

October 12, 2012


“‘There are two stories,’ a leader of the Rat Stabbers told me. We were filing through police lines toward the cylinder, the stadium of a powerful Buenos Aires soccer team called Racing. Inside, about 60,000 enemy fans waited to crucify us. His name was Jorge Celestre—Georgie Blueskies—but he was explaining the name of his fan club, the Rat Stabbers. They were the diehard supporters of Estudiantes, a pro soccer team southeast of Buenos Aires. The first story was about some medical students—owing to their lab work, ‘rat stabbers’—who founded Estudiantes more than a century ago. It was a nice story about a studious, successful Argentina, a country that started the 20th century with futuristic dreams and progressive ambitions.” Outside Online

The barra bravas: the violent Argentinian gangs controlling football
Saturday 20 August 2011: “Like many of those living in Villa Fiorito, one of Argentina’s most dangerous slums, Jose Mendez takes his shots at glory when he can – like the day five years ago when he slung the shirt of a rival football club over his shoulder and paraded through the streets of his neighbourhood like a returning warrior. Cigarette clamped between his teeth and basketball shirt hanging off his skinny frame, Mendez recounts the fight he waged to win his trophy: the crowded streets after a big match; the other fan putting up a struggle; Mendez, pumped up on chemicals and cheap beer, knocking him down into the street, smashing his face and kicking him until he could get the shirt off his back.” Guardian

Boca Juniors players got off their bus just to fight Tigre fans
April 12 2012: “Tigre beat Boca Juniors 2-1 with the help of an 88th-minute own goal from Boca’s Rolando Schiavi. After the match, when Boca got on their team bus to head home, Tigre fans decided to give them a taunting send-off because that’s what horrible people do. The Boca Juniors players didn’t appreciate this, but instead of telling their driver to peel out and disregard anyone in the way, they made the poor decision to get off the bus and start fighting the Tigre fans. Looking like a swarm of bumblebees, the Boca players attacked while police tried to break up the two sides. Rubber bullets were fired in the air and the players were eventually shoved back into the bus, but there were no winners here. Especially among the side fighting in matching outfits.” Dirty Tackle


Imagining the Iberian Championship

October 12, 2012

“While the recently growing calls for Catalan independence have led to a number of very tricky questions for politicians at local, national and European levels to ponder, they have – more importantly of course – also caused football fans to scratch their heads and wonder about the possibles issues that would arise. Along with the proposal of no more Barca-Real Madrid clásicos in La Liga, there was the idea of a Catalan national side taking part in the World Cup or European Championships and (quite likely) meeting the rump Spain team in the latter stages.” A Football Report


Sunset for the Golden Generation

October 12, 2012

“In case you couldn’t tell from the title, In the Matter of Football Association Disciplinary Proceedings Between: The Football Association (Applicant) -and- John George Terry (Respondent): Ruling of the Full Regulatory Commission Following the Substantive Disciplinary Hearing Held Between 24th and 27th September 20121 is an amazing document. If you’re a soccer fan, you already know what this is about, but if not, here’s the history: On October 23, 2011, during the course of a Premier League match between QPR and Chelsea, superstar Chelsea defender and then-England captain John Terry, who is white, directed a racial insult toward QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, who is biracial.” Grantland – Brian Phillips


Russia, England under scrutiny as World Cup qualifying resumes

October 12, 2012


Xabi Alonso, Franck Ribery, quarterfinal match
“1. Capello faces crunch match against Portugal. It’s far too early to call it a crisis, but for all the money that Russian football has lavished on players and coaches this summer, there has been precious little return — yet. The country’s two Champions League representatives, Zenit St. Petersburg and Spartak Moscow, are both pointless after two group games (despite Zenit spending €80 million on Hulk and Axel Witsel and Spartak playing Celtic at home), and now attention turns to the national team, World Cup hosts in 2018.” SI


Why Cruyff Boycotted Argentina 78

October 12, 2012

“The world cup of Argentina 78 has left a Proustian imprint on my memory. It was the first tournament I had watched in color. My mother had managed to scrape up the deposit on a color TV to replace the archaic black & white set and a whole new world was opened up to me. The color TV was rented to us by a company called Telebank. The TV ran on a meter that you fed with fifty pence pieces and at the end of the month the collector would call and take out the hire fee. Any amount over the hire fee was refunded to you, so in a strange way, you were actually rewarded by the amount of hours of television you watched.” Sabotage Times


An Astounding Story Of Fraud, Blackmail, And The Fake Twitter Rumormonger Who Took On Liverpool

October 12, 2012

“You don’t need a ton of context to appreciate how batshit amazing this story is. Out of nowhere, a Twitter account emerges, claiming to have inside information. He floats some transfer rumors, scores a few hits, and all of a sudden becomes one of the more trusted sources covering Liverpool FC. So trusted that the club becomes convinced it has a mole, and sics its press pit bull on the rumormonger—only to discover that he doesn’t exist.” Deadspin