Archive | January 2011

No Everton Fan Owns or Wears Sunglasses

The first leg of the FA Cup 4th round between Everton and Chelsea. Kickoff 12:30 p.m. often means it will be very very bright and sunny.

How come they don’t wear sunglasses?

The English who live in Los Angeles understandably arrived with a strong relationship to sunshine, warmth, and brightness, which may account for a preference for settling in Venice Beach (hence Venice United, a local football team comprised almost exclusively of English thirty-somethings). Upon relocation, they may not have been aware that the coastal cities of Los Angeles have far fewer sunny days than inland cities due to morning fog that takes hours to dissipate or—too frequently for a supposed utopia—refuses to burn off. Days can be windy, gray, and cold. Perhaps the Los Angeles coastline offers a little taste of home.

The unwitting preference for ambient exposure is contrast by those ex-pats who slowly become raisins or have some of the more conspicuous spray-on tans to be found, inclusive of native Angelinos who look almost racially transformed.

The constant negotiation with the sun makes the Everton fans’ lack of awareness and preparation puzzling. How can they be so collectively unprepared?

1/31/11

Snoods, Gays, Sexism, and Dirty Old Men: Masculinity in Football

The sexist comments and misogynistic behavior of Andy Gray and Rickard Keys is one indication of football's backward concept of masculinity.


Denilson snood 2 eyes openThe snood: A threat to many men. Denilson takes field more threateningly than he has at anytime this season.

 

Andy Gray and Richard Keys’ recorded off-air comments leaked to media are a window to the sexism in football that everyone knows exists, but seldom witnesses. Individual or institutional prejudice seldom breaks the surface these days, because the guilty know the attitude is not accepted in the public sphere. Manners, if not genuine, are well rehearsed. Sexist attitudes are pushed behind the scenes or contained in private conversation, or so Sky’s old boys thought. Gray and Keys’ comments about referee Sian Massey consciously operated under these conditions of public taboo and private pact.

These are crude sagging old men whose behavior can’t be excused. The rules were broken and Sky Sports had no choice but to address it in the same way they would address racism. Both men were fired.

The subsequent leaked video footage of Andy Gray’s “tuck this in for me, Charlotte” was a clear act of sexual harassment in the workplace and Richard Keys’s in-studio “ You smash it?” remark is where the story becomes shocking to a world consisting of far more sensitive men.

 
Andy Gray and Richard Keys image Andy Gray, having to tuck 'this' in himself, is lost on Richard Keys.

First, the latter remarks prove that the initial comments about Sian Massey were not one-off or accidental slips, but the revelation of stunted character, suggesting something far more endemic.  Second, Gray and Keys believed that their initial comments were made without witnesses. Knowing the public taboo, they could be deliberately made in private, but the subsequent comments show a total disregard for the common decency and respect in the public sphere, including law governing the workplace.

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Aston Villa Tries to Remain on the Right Path

Aston Villa, forced to change strategy, attempts to balance youth with survival.


 
http://thefixtures.typepad.com/files/albrighton-mark-happy-close-up-vid5-320-gif-loop.mov

Game winner and game-winning smile…

 

Martin O’Neill left Aston Villa five days before the season began. He literally had taken the club as far as he could without receiving the significant sums necessary to move two places up the table.

According to many, another reason that Aston Villa hit the ceiling was the perennial late season fatigue. O’Neill minimally rotated his squad, far less than most teams. By spring, his starters were tired and unable to make that final push to challenge for a top four finish.

Owner Randy Lerner might attribute this to O’Neill’s failure to promote promising youth, where O’Neill would attribute this to a lack of investment, despite spending £120m in his four years at the club. The American owner had done everything in his power to reach the next level except spend even more. This acquisition strategy (30 players brought in over four years) had reached its limit and was replaced with promoting from an already strong academy system. This new direction was becoming clear even before O’Neill left.

There were promising young players bubbling up through Villa’s reserves, many out on loan. Beady-eyed O’Neill showed no indication of giving up his way of building a team to challenge the best. He’s not wrong. So far the only way to break into the top four is to spend significantly or excessively. His insistence to stick with established players—players he purchased and whom he therefore needed to succeed—will lead eventually to their best young players leaving for first team opportunity elsewhere.

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Remember Thomas Vermaelen?

Into the second half of the season and Arsenal's new center backs have performed well on occasion, but not to the level of what Thomas Vermaelen achieved in his first season, if one can remember. The Belgian has not played since late August.

 

http://thefixtures.typepad.com/files/remember-vermaelen-320.mov

 

1/19/11

Insomniacs Should be Prescribed West Ham Matches

One dose a week has proven effective in fighting sleeplessness, if not the restless nights.

 

By the time Arsenal went ahead 3—0 at Upton Park, fans either headed for the exits or weren't yet aware that fans were heading for the exits.

 

West Ham fan asleep 1

West Ham fan asleep 2

West Ham fan asleep 3

 

1/16/11

The Look

Copa Del Rey. Athletico Madrid dominating Real Madrid in the first half.


http://thefixtures.typepad.com/files/real-madrid-v-320.mov

 

1/15/11

A Sinking Hodgson Sacked

You must always strive for more and plan ahead, but too often recently I’ve heard Liverpool supporters redefine our greatest nights and victories because they didn’t lead to the League title later on. -Jamie Carragher from Carra, My Autobiography

 

http://thefixtures.typepad.com/files/dalglish-edited-320.mov

King Kenny…

 

Roy Hodgson has been sacked. He was hired to bring immediate stability to the club and then plant it like sod. After six to eight weeks, where no one was allowed to step on it and everyday the big birds were shooed off, the grass would be strong enough for the team to play on and begin the return to the top. The urgency was both long- and short-term and at odds with the much slower pace of Hodgson’s methodical molding and grooming of the team.

Withheld expectations were finally imposed. The terms changed. Stability should have given way to performance and results. Hodgson’s composure, forged in a lapsed era, withstood decades of management, only to collide with new attitudes that no longer held it in high regard.

Hodgson now looked frayed, at times a little demented, which may be correlated to more frequent appearances in untailored tracksuits. The new ownership had proved to be the calm authority, if a little mysterious, and earned sufficient supporter trust to begin imposing itself on matters. It was always about the money. Charisma, experience, and wisdom were supplemental and yet, given almost no money to spend, Hodgson was left with the task of making steady progress up the table. Occasional sputtering didn’t count.

He was the captain brought in to right the ship. He may have sailed around the world, but he fought his battles only in the bays and ports of the cities he lived. In the open sea, the sharks circled. His experience and success no longer amounted to much, which many cited as insufficient reasons to hire him. He wasn’t the guy to lead Liverpool’s restoration.

In steps Kenny Dalglish. Revered for what he had done for the club twenty years ago. Another one with an identity forged in the past, but perhaps the right past—one to squeeze from the passage of time and unrecognizable change a constancy that eluded his predecessor.

 

1/10/11