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Archive for December, 2009

Jeremiah White headed to Qatar? Greg Seltzer says so. Like him, I’m waiting to hear back from White to confirm that. If so, that would be a blow to Philadelphia Union, who talked with the American free agent winger last week.  We’ll keep you posted.

Veron: No. 1 in South America.

U.S. Soccer Federation refuses to sanction USL-1 or NASL and orders them back to the drawing board for another week. Interesting analysis from Andrea Canales. Not sure she’s right, but she’s worth reading.

Juan Sebastian Veron named South American Player of the Year. Nice award for a classy player.

The New York Times looks at financial problems caused by government-funded stadiums. Union Field at Chester, with $77 million in government support, may be among the last to see such generous government funding. (The story ran on Christmas, but it’s still relevant.)

Portsmouth seeking new owners – again.

Luca Toni moves to Roma on loan. Now maybe he’ll shut up and play.

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Better than Leiva Lucas

When you spend so much time with soccer, the lingo becomes a part of your life. “Bolton Sacks Megson”, “Gerrard Backs Aquilani to Shine”, “Adu On Loan To Local Bakery”, etc.

Every now and then, the footy-specific vocabulary finds its way into the rest of your life to hilarious effect.

In that vein, I give you Butterstick the Panda

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Today the Philly Soccer Page introduces a new feature, In the Book, a column reviewing books about soccer. To start things off, here are some essential books that every Philly soccer fan should have on their shelve.

Rangers, Rovers & Spindles bookRangers, Rovers & Spindles: Soccer, Immigration and Textiles in New England and New Jersey (2005) may sound like a dreary bit of academia.  It’s actually the only book-length examination of early American soccer history that I’m aware of and is filled with a great deal of very useful information. In the book, Roger Allaway (who was a copy editor at the Inquirer, the co-author of two previous books on American soccer history and one of the founders of the Society for American Soccer History) gives a thorough and very readable account of the development of the game in that cradle of American soccer, the West Hudson and southeastern New England. What is important about the book for the Philly soccer fan is the connection between the immigration of British textile workers and the development of league soccer where they settled. Much the same patterns that Allaway describes as happening in New England and New Jersey also occurred in and around Philadelphia in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Soccer in a Football World bookDavid Wangerin’s Soccer in a Football World: The Story of America’s Forgotten Game was originally published in England (2006) by the cool folks at When Staturday Comes and was recently republished by Temple University Press (2008). Though the author describes it as “a British book written by an American expatriate,” the book is good overview of the history of the game in America from its disconnected regional beginnings in the late 1800s through the various attempts at establishing professional leagues through much of the 1900s and ends with the impact of 2002 World Cup and MLS. Of particular interest to Philly soccer fans is a (more…)

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You may remember him from such memorable scenes as assault a teammate and stub a lit cigarette out in a teammate’s eye. Then there was the unforgettable beat up a 16 year old outside of a McDonald’s and the sequel, spend six months in Her Majesty’s Prison System.

But Joey Barton is a changed man.

Speaking on the Wednesday edition of the BBC Radio 4 Today program, Barton told his mentor Tony Adams, who was guest hosting the show, that “most footballers are knobs.” It was only the consequences of his addiction to alcohol and inability to control his anger that enabled him to escape the “Peter Pan” world of professional football.

joey barton heading to court

Joey Barton: the old days.

Decrying a lifestyle in which agents organize players’ lives so that they are removed from the lives of those who pay to watch them play, Barton said, “Driving around in flash cars and  changing them like you change your socks, wearing stupid diamond watches and spending money like it’s going out of fashion in the middle of a recession when some people are struggling to put food on the table for the kids – it’s not the way to do it.”

Barton described many professional soccer players as “so detached from real life it’s untrue. But there was a stage when I was like that.”

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Quality service lacking at Hull.

Having the day off yesterday, I was excited at the prospect of some afternoon football to keep me glued to the sofa. Sadly, instead of the massively important Liverpool v. Villa match, FSC (and thus, myself) got stuck with the relegation six-pointer between Hull and Bolton. At the very least it was an opportunity to watch Jozy Altidore play and hear Gary Megson be tunefully told he’s getting sacked in morning. Like any sane person, I’d chalked this up to nil-nil, or Hull losing on an own-goal. As it turns out, Hull fought back to win a point in spite of themselves, with the tireless Stephen Hunt single-handedly dragging them out to the tune of 2-2. Our man Jozy Altidore however was, perhaps significantly, no longer on the pitch for either goal.

Make no mistake, this was a really tough game to watch. Referee Phil Dowd, seemingly never far away from controversy, had an easy one — due in part to the fact that a clear foul was committed about every 30 seconds, allowing his rotund figure many a rest. In what was a turgid first half, the only moment of actual quality was Ivan Klasnic’s strike, giving Bolton a lead they just about deserved. Hull produced next to nothing. Their only real highlight was Altidore’s weighted pass to Craig Fagan, who proceeded to dribble it right into Jussi Jaaskelainen. Apart from that, Hull were a shambles. Kamil Zayatte in particular had a very poor game and his insecurity clearly spread throughout the back line. Against better opposition, Hull could have been down 6-0 at the break with how they were defending.

But what of the young Mr. Altidore?

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Oguchi Onyewu

Gooch on the mend -- slowly

Today’s soccer news:

Oguchi Onyewu is on schedule for a March return to training from a serious knee injury suffered in the United States’ qualifier against Costa Rica. That leaves three months to return to form before the World Cup, which could be tough unless he secures a loan away from AC Milan, perhaps to MLS.

The ever-candid Jimmy Conrad offers some good insights on MLS union contract talks, the Kansas City Star reports. The potential for a lockout or strike exists and could devastate the league if it happened.

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson’s contract renewed for 12 months, ESPN reports. Not years, months. This is England, after all. (See also Mike’s post on Gary Megson’s sacking.)

In related news, Chelsea paid $56.7 million for two seasons worth of coaches it no longer has, an insightful detail the Associated Press culled from a team report that Chelsea is “effectively debt free,” as owner Roman Abramovich put it. You can probably translate “effectively” to mean “kinda sorta, but not really.”

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Bolton Wanderers sacked manager Gary Megson this morning with his side languishing one spot from bottom in the Premier League.  The club’s website claimed “Gary Megson has been relieved of his duties as first team manager of Bolton Wanderers with immediate effect. The decision has been taken in the light of the position the club finds itself in the Premier League at the halfway point of the season.” Bolton drew 2-2 with struggling Hull yesterday, after leading 2-0 at the hour mark. Megson has been unpopular at the Reebok since being hired last season with the Bolton fans never taking to the manager, even after he guided them away from relegation and up to 13th. Assistant managers Chris Evans and Steve Wigley will take over in the interim, with every available coach in England being linked to the job by bookmakers this morning.

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