Category Archives: Soccer

Thinking once again….

It’s been over two years and I’m once again going to give this blog thing a try. I’m going to try to post a little less often to avoid burnout(Once every 7-9 days), hopefully on Sunday’s for the most part. Looking back at my last posts, this is what I see that has happened since the last time I posted:

  • Bret is still the coach as Arkansas and it did not turn out to be the disaster I predicted [can’t get them all right I guess :)]
  • Gary Andersen is gone from Wisconsin (Thank God!) and Paul Chryst is the coach. Hey, we are off to a very good start….better than Bret 🙂
  • Bo is gone a Wisconsin for basketball and Gard is in. He seemed to over achieve last year with mid-level players.
  • The Brewers ended up taking since the last post thanks to the incompetence of Doug Melvin and we had to blow the whole thing up. Amazing that the Cardinals never have to go into a rebuilding mode (and it is not because of that larger fan base.
  • Bench clearing brawls still happening in MLB even though the solution is SIMPLE. New GM, same idiotic policy (See prior post)
  • The Bucks got new owners and getting a new stadium.
  • Listening to the Dan Patrick show the other day and they mentioned that the NBA will make it a point of emphasis to enforce traveling. I laughed too.
  • A point that is close to me…. The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters of the Northwood’s League won the championship this year. As a 9-pack holder and was at all the playoff games it was truly great following the team including the walk off home run in game 1 of the championship.
  • The Pro Bowl is still as boring is bad as always….. If they would only change it to a future stars with rookies and second year players
  • Now onto soccer, I have really have started following Sacramento Republic FC
  • Carlisle FC having a good season
  • Big Brother has really gone into the toilet. It basically has become repeat comp after repeat comp. It really lacks in game play in recent seasons, as alliances don’t matter and skating through is the new norm
  • What is this with CBS delaying Amazing Race?
  • I bought a drone to fly in the park. Videos are here.
  • Countdown to Battlefield 1 has started
  • House of Cards was great and the following season was good
  • Other Netflix shows I have been watching:
    • Last Man Standing
    • Poirot
    • Family Guy
    • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 2 is stupid IMO)
    • Narcos
    • Chopped
    • Cutthroat Kitchen (Is awesome!)

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USA Qualify for World Cup

It has been a dark road, it has been a long road, but it appears after the “Dos A Cero” game that soccer has arrived in the US. Nobody more than me is glad that it appears that soccer has finally come out of the shadows of a third tier sport and is gaining media attention.

Certain spots has accepted the sport as a first tier sport for many years (Seattle and Portland), but clearly with the national attention and filled stands that US soccer and the established leagues are now here to stay. With the prolonged run of qualifying for the World Cup has brought to the attention to many people that this game is no longer the punch line of jokes/

For some, soccer will always be hated especially for the baby boomers but who can fault them? They were raised in a era in which soccer was a “fourth tier” sport only played by kids until 7 or 8 when they switched to Football (American) or Baseball. The game was treated as a joke by the soccer federation and it showed on the field by not qualifying for the World Cup between 1950 and 1990. My dad is a classic example of this theory, to this day, he continue to mock the game when I have it on TV, he mocks me for getting up at 6:45am on most Saturdays to start watching the EPL games on NBC. My Dad and other people of his generation say that they do not understand the game and say that soccer is not a sport (but isn’t soccer just over-sized hockey?).

But for all the dislike of soccer for the people raised in the 40 years after the 1950 World Cup appearance, soccer has found it mark with the younger generation. While American Football is still the preferred sport, soccer has hit its mark and the attendance figures in MLS show it. With the upcoming investments coming from Dave Beckham and Manchester City/New York Yankees this further enhances this as the fifth sport.

It is said that “it takes years to win a customer, and seconds to lose one”, this saying no more than true with the MLS and the US men’s national team. The house has been set up perfectly with good media coverage, good teams, top players coming overseas to play here along with good fans. I hope that we do not screw this up because nobody will be more disappointed than me.

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2013-2014 (English) Football League Predictions

Back prior to the start of the English Football League season, I made some predictions for the upcoming season. Based on how the season is going so far, I’m already regretting some of my selections. I will post some time in December with my mid-season predictions.

2013-2014 Predictions Promoted/Winner Relegated
Premier League Chelsea Crystal Palace
Premier League N/A Hull
Premier League N/A Norwich City
Championship Watford Yeovil Town
Championship Nottingham Forest Huddersfield Town
Championship Bolton Wanderers AFC Bournemouth
League One Crawley Town Colchester United
League One Wolverhampton Wanderers Preston North End
League One Sheffield United Notts County
League One N/A Port Vale
League Two Burton Albion Accrington Stanley
League Two Newport County Morecambe
League Two Portsmouth N/A
League Two Plymouth Argyle N/A
Conference Kidderminster Harriers Nuneaton Town
Conference Hereford United Hyde
Conference N/A Salisbury City
Conference N/A Tamworth
Scotland Prem Celtic Hearts
Scotland Prem N/A St Mirren
Scotland 1st Falkirk Raith
Scotland 1st Dundee Cowdenbeath
Scotland 2nd Rangers East Fife
Scotland 2nd Dunfermline Stranraer
Scotland 3rd Peterhead N/A
Scotland 3rd Berwick N/A

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Bury F.C. leaves me with so many questions

To sort of change gears, I was reading a story from the other side of the pond recently that League 1’s Bury Football Club was over 1 million pounds in debt (That is $1,534,198) and was looking for external investment. I had known for many seasons and going into this season that Bury continued to struggle financially at Gigg Lane, but it just blows my mind how something like this could happen.

How does someone allow the situation to get that far out of control? How does someone not stop the club and make them pay up? How does someone in League 1 get that much credit? I’m thinking this is part of the “results now” society and when it does not turn out the way you planned it, someone is left in the wind.

I was under the impression that the recent UEFA FFP regulations that these types of situations would be reduced and clubs could not run up huge losses, but this shows that teams will do what they can to succeed, but in Bury’s case, your club just might cease to exist.

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Soccer Cheating Scandel

Just a short thought today… Europol recently announced that they were investigating possible match fixing ring. Hearing this story is no surprise to myself. With all the money that is at stake people are looking for a sure thing to ensure they get richer. When you have EPL teams talking about the possible money they would lose from the TV contact rather than the winning aspect we know the priorities are out of line.

Betting seems more prevalent in Europe, it is more accepted. When you mix that with the paid that thing or are underpaid, people will exploit as long as there is a dollar to be made. Baseball when through a similar phase in the early days with the White Sox World Series scandal being the most prevalent of all the game fixing.

I’m sure that this will be the first in a long line of match fixing scandals in soccer that will be exposed in the coming days, months and years. Let just get this hope this goes as quickly as the story came. Fair play is the key to keeping fans coming to the game. Without it, the fans do not show up.

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UEFA FFP Rules finally bringing parody?

On Sunday, during the 4th Round of the FA Cup, Liverpool lost 3-2 to Oldham who plays two levels below Liverpool in the Football League system. In conjunction with losses by Premier League sides Norwich City, Tottenham and QPR, all I read in comments how the sky is falling and losing teams are destine to doom, especially with Liverpool.

I have a different take on the reason for the recent losses from Premier League sides to so called “lesser” sides, it could from the UEFA FFP regulations starting to take effect. These rules aim to reduce the heavy losses that some teams take on for short term success at the expense of their long term existence. With these rules, the traditional powerhouse teams are not always able to go out and get the top-notch player they might need, they need to put more of an emphasis on developing players within their own programs

The recent struggles from Arsenal and Liverpool from the top 5 could be attributed to the board paying more attention to their expenses than the short term victory.  In America, most of the major professional sporting leagues (except MLB) has a similar way of keeping expenses in line called the Salary Cap. This prevents teams from buying multiple high priced players and preventing smaller marketing teams from succeeding. Teams are now unable to string together multiple championships with these rules and the same thing appears to be starting in the Premier League.

No more in the future should we see the dominance of the Big Four (or Five) as other teams should get in on the mix. You will see more “Upsets” which are really more than a shift in power that should happen more and more as spending comes back to reality. The only difference between the FFP rules and a salary cap is the total revenue matters with the FFP rules. As long as you can generate the revenue, you can get some of the players you want, you just can’t get every player you want.

Do not be surprised in the next couple of years you see new teams crack to the Top 5 and teams that spent their time at the top of the table battling at the bottom of the table. These rules will stop the rampant losses for teams all over Europe and it is time for people around the world to take note that the rich teams getting richer is not the Status Quo  anymore.

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Update: FA Cup 4th Round Predictions

As I previously posted here, I made some predictions for the 4th round of the FA cup. Lets see how the predictions turned out.

Saturday’s Matches
Stoke City 1-3 Manchester City **Correct (0-1)
Bolton Wanderers 0-2 Everton **Correct (1-2)
Brighton & Hove Albion 2-4 Arsenal **Correct (2-3)
Derby County 1-0 Blackburn Rovers **Incorrect(0-3)
Huddersfield Town 0-2 Leicester City **Incorrect(1-1)
Hull City 4-1 Barnsley **Very Incorrect(0-1)
Macclesfield Town 0-2 Wigan Athletic **Correct(0-1)
Middlesbrough 3-0 Aldershot Town **Correct(2-1)
Norwich City 1-1 Luton Town **Incorrect(0-1)
Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Milton Keynes Dons **Correct(2-4)
Reading 3-1 Sheffield United **Correct(4-0)
Manchester United 2-0 Fulham **Correct(4-1)
Sunday’s Matches
Brentford 1-1 Chelsea **Correct(2-2)
Leeds United 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur **Incorrect(2-1)
Oldham Athletic 0-1 Liverpool **Incorrect(3-2)

I had 9 correct verses 6 incorrect plus I predicted the MK Dons upset of QPR.

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