Monthly Archives: March 2011

Haiku Match Previews of this Weekend’s Games

Arsenal v Blackburn

Mad Jens starts in goal.
Lets in three and gets sent off.
Does Seaman still play?

West Ham v Manchester United

Fergie predicting
the ref will have a nightmare.
That guarantees it.

West Brom v Liverpool

Hodgson wondering:
‘Do they still think about me?’
Most have forgotten.

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Mario Balotelli’s Smile Looks Out of Place

Last week, the ever excellent The Equaliser blog posted a story contending Mario Balotelli is compelling as a dramtic protagonist in football (go read it, I’ll wait). The argument is well made and identifies my own enjoyment in finding the characters and stories in football’s narrative. However, as I thought on Balotelli this week, one aspect did not sit easily, highlighted when the article draws a comparison from players like Asprilla, Cantona and Di Canio. What struck me about those players, as polarizing as they often were, was I never doubted they loved playing football. When I watch Balotelli, I’m not sure whether he enjoys it and there is a depressing element to watching any talented 20-year old appear so dejected when playing a game.

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What Were the Skies Like When You Were Young?

Being a patriotic Englishman, I naturally had on the ruddiest of red faces, and was spluttering aloud, when the successful World Cup bids were announced. Even as a semi-patriotic US based prole, I proudly called “fix!” upon learning the tiny nation of Qatar was to host the 2022 National Hand-wringing Spectacular. But, recent news has flipped a switch (of an admittedly low wattage bulb) and I am now eagerly anticipating the tournament. This is because an engineer in Qatar claims to have invented artificial, remote-controlled clouds, to ease the searing heat during matches. That’s remote-controlled clouds.

Now consider that FIFA only recently relented and is set to test goal-line technology next year, in part thanks to Frank Lampard’s incredible ‘ghost goal’ during last year’s World Cup1. It is an understatement to describe FIFA as ‘technology-shy’, but what if Qatar can act as a catalyst to introduce amazing new technology into football? What could that look like?

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The Loneliness of the Fifth Official

what's happening now?

I’m really looking forward to this game. It’s a fantastic atmosphere, two very good teams and it’s my honour to be one of the goal-line officials, whose job it is to confirm whether the football has crossed the line or not, and give a goal. It may sound simple, but you’d be surprised how many times it’s been missed!

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Becks to the Future

Becks to the Future

Next Tuesday the curtain rises on what will likely be the final act of an engrossing biopic trilogy set in Los Angeles. To date, it has been equal parts expectation and intrigue; the story has weaved from the sun drenched hills of Hollywood, through the foggy streets of old London town, and via the cutthroat politics and fashionistas of modern Milan. As most of LA anticipates Captain America being the smash hit of the summer, one corner of the City of Angels is hoping it will be a blockbuster year for the Lord of Leytonstone. That’s right, Beckham’s back, baby!

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