Monthly Archives: February 2013

Is Football Fucked?

If I were gullible and stupid and slightly angry, and if I had just finished reading a couple of weeks’ worth of sepp blatterfootball News And Views, here’s what I would say/think/cry about:

Football’s future rests in the hands of a Singaporean gangster with a rhyming name and a proclivity for avoiding arrest. Within the last decade, he and the rest of his gang have fixed (or attempted to fix) hundreds of matches, including one played in England. Every weekend, greedy, venal, obnoxious professional footballers feign injury in order to gain minuscule advantages. On the sidelines, their coaches wave imaginary yellow cards, the spray-painted boundaries of the coaches’ “technical area” just sort of sitting there, totally ignored. Luis Suarez is racist; John Terry might be. I don’t know whether Sepp Blatter exists, but I’m pretty certain that a zombie with Sepp Blatter’s voice is running FIFA and that Michel Platini has spent the last decade plotting his murder. FIFA, by the way, has faced intense criticism in the wake of allegations that the process by which it selected hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups was just as corrupt as Europol’s 680.

Yaya Toure makes more than 200,000 pounds a week. Yaya Toure makes more than 200,000 pounds a week. I think it’s fair to say that Portsmouth has almost gone out of business more times than is healthy. The guy with the drum, tattoos and wig owns a bookstore – they just don’t make hooligans like they used to. Only, they kind of do: in Holland, youth players kicked a linesman to death. A few months later, AC Milan midfielder Kevin Prince Boateng abandoned an exhibition game because the Italian crowd made monkey noises every time he touched the ball. According to Grantland’s Brian Phillips, “Soccer. Is. Fucked.”

Except I’m not gullible, etc., and football isn’t fucked. Not by a long shot.

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You Should Watch The Africa Cup of Nations

The Africa Cup of Nations is profoundly confusing. Take, for instance, the star-studded Ivory Coast team: it entered Didier Drogba, Ivory Coast captainthe last few ACONs as the heavy favorite, only to lose dramatically to feel-good teams like Zambia, which won the 2012 ACON in Gabon, the country where several of Zambia’s greatest players died in a tragic early-‘90s airplane “accident” that may or may not have been orchestrated by the Gabonese military.

Typically, football fans refer to the ACON – which used to be held during World Cup and European Championship years, but which is adjusting its rotation in an almost certainly futile effort to garner more prestige/viewers/Jonathan Wilson columns – as a “festival of football,” a term that’s rooted in the utterly erroneous, semi-racist perception of Africa as a place where tribe members chant exotic chants and bang exotic drums and just generally have a good time. (For reasons that don’t make very much sense, the whole concept of this, like, giant football party! gained popularity during the South African World Cup.) Of course, African football is nothing like that. After the first wave of Cameroon-got-to-the-quarters-and-Pele-thinks-Africa-will-win-a-World-Cup hysteria passed, Africans spent more than a decade dealing with corruption and white elephant stadiums and teenage stars whose “burgeoning talents” (or whatever) turned out to be figments of some gossip website’s imagination.

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This Is Leeds

Last week, Leeds United signed Habib Habibou, best known for a YouTube video in which he manhandles a duck. Just thought I’d share that.