Friday, September 10, 2010
On Sept. 19, the 77th Revierderby between Schalke and BV Borussia Dortmund will set another remarkable precedent: A significant section of Borussia supporters will boycott the game in the Veltins-Arena. For the first time in decades, there will be huge gaps in the away fans' section.
Mark Lomas on Everton vs. Manchester United
Paul Merson on Everton vs. Manchester United
John Brewin on West Ham vs. Chelsea
The deadline for the refinancing of the owners' personal loans from RBS is 6 October, and that now looks set to be the date that Hicks and Gillett's association with England's most successful club will end. The bank's decision to switch the debts to its Global Restructuring Group is the strongest possible signal that these loans will not be extended.
West Ham United have sparked anger among their fans by taking away privileges from the families of John Lyall and Ron Greenwood without notice. The late managers are East End royalty, having been responsible for the only meaningful trophies West Ham have won in their 115-year history.
The international break may have come and gone but Off The Ball never rests in its mission to scratch around the underbelly of professional football to find the most bizarre, humorous and inexplicable stories.
This week, Arsenal misfit Mathieu Flamini gatecrashes Serie A's highest paid XI, a botched bicycle-kick leaves Dirk Kuyt out injured, Manchester City launch a blue movie and Scotland fans boo England via Liechtenstein.
Hoffenheim - Schalke
Borussia Dortmund - Wolfsburg
Borussia Moenchengladbach - Eintracht Frankfurt
Hamburg - Nuernberg
Hannover - Bayer Leverkusen
Freiburg - Stuttgart
Bayern Munich - Werder Bremen
Mainz - Kaiserslautern
Koeln - St Pauli
The move comes after Queiroz was banned for six months following his interruption of a doping testing session, despite Queiroz himself claiming relationships with the Portuguese Football Federation "have always been great" only yesterday.
The beginning of the Spanish football season can indeed be catalogued under the 'anti-climactic' tab. Not only did La Liga take a break after just one weekend of football but, during that same break, the national team suffered their toughest defeat in several years at the hands of Argentina.
Serie A has been thrown into crisis after the Italian Professional Players' Association (AIC) voted to go on strike on the weekend of September 25-26 and bring the league to a halt.
The players are protesting against the failure to agree a new collective-bargaining agreement between AIC and the Lega Calcio which would guarantee players' rights.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Yet a vastly more important number to the U.S. is 13, which is the number of votes needed from FIFA's 24-man Executive Committee to secure the right to host one of the tournaments. And with FIFA conducting its official inspection tour of the U.S. this week, it's clear the process has reached a critical phase.
The oft-maligned France side have forced a hostile national press into a volte-face with a vibrant win over Bosnia.
Football clubs' identities evolve. There was a time when West Ham were the epitome of stability during a 90-year spell when they only had five full-time managers. Like many of their counterparts, they have already had six in the last decade and the co-owner David Sullivan has denied a seventh will soon be engaged to replace Avram Grant.
However, Defoe is now due to miss the first half of Spurs' maiden Champions League campaign and is also a major doubt for England's next Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley on October 12.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Roy Hodgson fears Dirk Kuyt could be out for longer than the four weeks first anticipated following his shoulder injury, though the unpredictable nature of the problem means the forward could also return ahead of schedule.
Now though, with the business of getting six points from England's two opening games successfully concluded, Capello must get it right all over again by the time surprise package Montenegro come to Wembley next month.
Capello must make a decison over the destination of the captain's armband, with Rio Ferdinand on schedule to return after the knee injury he suffered in England's first training session at their Rustenburg World Cup base.
Even if Ferdinand is in the team, and this should not be automatic after the performance of Jagielka in England's wins against Bulgaria and Switzerland, I do not believe he should return as captain.
It would be hard not to develop a fondness for the Chelsea manager while reading his smart and surprising book.
A manager and an entertainer...
More than one in four British professional soccer players, coaches and referees polled in an online survey personally know gay footballers currently in the game.
Researchers Ellis Cashmore and Jamie Cleland have sent the findings of the survey of more than 3,000 fans and football professionals to both the Football Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association.
“Of the professional players, coaches and referees in the survey, over one in four (27 percent) personally know gay players currently in the game, though none have taken the step of coming out,” Cashmore said in a statement released to Reuters.
The U.S. is up against Australia, Japan, Qatar and South Korea for 2022. The American bid is likely to be boosted by China’s interest in hosting in 2026— FIFA rules specify consecutive World Cups can’t be on the same continent, meaning an Asian host in 2022 would eliminate China as a 2026 site. Australia is part of soccer’s Asian confederation.
0 - 2
France: Critical win
Ireland 3 - 1 Andorra: Best yet to come
1 - 3
Strong start continues
Richard Williams:Rooney restored
Five things we learned
2 - 1
Night of near disaster
Norway 1 - 0 Portugal: Bad to worse
Turkey 3 - 2 Belgium: Turks stay perfect
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
The LA Galaxy came to town on Labor Day weekend to sell some supplements and play a match and I took a party down to Toyota Park to check it all out. Sadly the Euro stars Beckham and Ljundberg were both excluded from game day rosters due to injury and yellow card accumulation, but the chance to see league leaders lock horns with a Fire team desperate for 3 points along with another chance for new Fire signing Nery Castillo to finally make any sort of impact provided more than enough excitement on the day. The match itself was a bit static; Gonzalo Segares was sent off in the 21st minute for an elbow that may have been either unintentional or one of the craftiest cheap shots I've ever seen and the Fire spent much of the match playing patient defense and counter attacking. Young stud goalie Sean Johnson stoned Lando's penalty kick following the foul and proceeded to have a lights out match, coming up with a number of key saves and generally dominating his box. Nery Castillo was again anonymous, his only notable contribution being a nice but tame shot on goal from a free kick in the second half that was easily saved. The Fire took the lead at the end of regulation on a stunning free kick goal from Collins John, who has now tallied 3 goals against the Galaxy in 2 games, and gave the lead back deep into extra time on a sloppily-defended corner kick goal very similar to the goal that sunk us in Seattle last week. Simply put this team has no idea how to hang on to the ball and kill the clock, and if they don't make the playoffs this year they'll know why.
Post author Bobbie BS in the middle in the blue shirt, along with fellow attendees Ivar, Tomppert and Matt
The real item of note at the game was the "Galaxy" fan contingent. In my 10+ years of having season tickets for the Fire I've seen various incarnations of the traveling fan, from enthusiastic drunks from Columbus wearing foam banana costumes to seasoned DC United traveling fans with fully appointed busses bitter over Freddy Adu's failure to launch. However I've never seen anything like this year's Galaxy turnout. Since the Beckham signing the Galaxy have sold their shirt sponsorship to Herbalife, a dietary supplement producer who have been favorably compared to AmWay and unfavorably to a cult. It seems that there must have been a corporate push to turn out big Herbalife fans for this game as my section was full to the brink with them. Perhaps 1/5 of the fans were wearing Galaxy gear; the rest were wearing what looked like bright green Herbalife branded cycling jerseys. All of them were holding personal banners that said "Galaxy" on one side and "Herbalife" on the other. They did a few organized chants- some of "gal ax y! gal ax y!", a few of "me hi co! me hi co!" (they were largely a latino group), but mostly the chants were endless enthusiastic repetitions of "HER BA LIFE! HER BA LIFE!". Many of the men had neon green paint in their hair, matching their Herbalife shirts. Obviously I think this is pretty weird and I don't really know what to make of it. It certainly puts the typical "we want hard core fans, not AYSO outings" discussion into stark relief; these fans really didn't give a crap about the team or the sport, they were there because their brand had ordered them to make a showing in support of said brand. I suppose this is good for the Galaxy in some way, but none of those fans really seemed to identify with the team and none of the cheering had anything to do with what was happening on the field. Are Galaxy home games similarly lobotomized? I have no idea but I think it's unsettling.
One source quoted in the Daily Star said: “She deliberately targeted footballers because they’re so rich, flash and fundamentally not the sharpest pencils in the box.
The same Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben whom Madrid ditched last summer. The same Sneijder and Robben who won domestic doubles with their new clubs. Correction: led their new clubs to domestic doubles. The same Sneijder and Robben who reached the World Cup final with Holland. The same Sneijder and Robben who faced each other in the Champions League final. While Real Madrid won nothing.
DeMerit was released by Watford at the end of last season, but played in all of USA's games at the World Cup and the defender is believed to be keen on a move to the Bundesliga where he would join new signings Simon Kjaer and Arne Friedrich in the backline.
Things might not be as bad as Laurent Blanc's team think after their opening loss … but they may be about to get worse.
The England manager has more important things to dwell on than his adopted nation's obsession with scandal.
Gerard Houllier is set to be confirmed as the new manager of Aston Villa this week. After spells managing Liverpool and Lyon, Houllier is currently the technical director for the French national team, but he has scheduled a meeting with French Football Federation president Fernando Duchaussoy to follow Tuesday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Bosnia and Herzegovina.