Tuesday, August 29, 2006

It's the hope I can't stand

That was the name of a Sunderland fanzine (more on them in a minute), but it perfectly describes the state of mind of any rabid Timbers fan right now. Apparently, if you do a perfectly arcane series of mathematical contortions and call on enough Elder Gods, there is, in fact, the slimmest margin of the slightest chance that the Timbers could go on to the playoffs--if they win their final three games, all at home, all played over an 8-day period beginning this Thursday.

This Thursday's game is against Montreal. Montreal is, as usual, number one in the standings and have almost twice as many points as the Timbers. It doesn't look good for us. And you know, if there wasn't even a possibility for those playoffs, I'd be okay with a loss at this stage--hey, we're still going out in our final games of the season playing pretty well.

It's the hope I can't stand.

Oh, yes, let's talk about Sunderland. You think you've had a bad year? Not like the Black Cats, who broke their own record for worst team ever in the Premiership and kicked off their new season in the Coca-Cola Championship by promptly losing their first four games and plummeting to the bottom of that table. But now. Here I was worried that the Jose Mourinho sideshow might not be as entertaining this season (although it seems he's off to a decent start), and now who needs Mourinho? We've got Roy Keane! I've stocked up on popcorn, taken a comfy seat, and settled in to watch the fun. Oh, I actually think this is a good thing for Sunderland and if anybody can turn the team around, it's Keane, that is if he doesn't tear their heads from their bodies first.

And then there's the Roy Keane/Mick McCarthy thing. What unassailable Fate keeps bringing these two enemies together? (See Derek's previous post for more links about Keane's antics and the Keane/McCarthy falling out.) Okay, they're both Irish footballers, so they were once on a squad together, and it's not so far-fetched that one would eventually end up managing the other on the national team as McCarthy did Keane. But now we have Keane more or less stepping into McCarthy's shoes at Sunderland (albeit a bit belatedly, as McCarthy was sacked in the spring), and the two will meet in November when the Black Cats take on the Wolves in a conflagration the likes of which we have perhaps never seen. Believers in reincarnation claim that we encounter the same people over and over for one purpose or another. Could this be the case with Keane and McCarthy, ancient enemies battling it out across and time, space, and the footie pitches? It's just like Highlander! Okay, scratch that. It's not a bit like Highlander. Anyway, Keane's presence at yesterday's match against West Brom, after he'd agreed to the position but not yet signed the contracts, seems to have inspired the Sunderland lads at last. Let's hope he keeps inspiring them without actually, you know, crushing their spirits utterly by opening up a big can of Roy Keane whupass on them all, because the Mackems deserve a break and a half-decent season.


Zach Dundas said...

First of all, thanks for making Eleven Devils look bad with your flurry of fresh, well-written, trenchant posts. I believe my most recent was a haiku about my new futsal team.

Second, here's the plan: Sunderland goes on being the worst major football team in the world; Keane gets sacked after the Mackems secure their League One place...and here's where it gets exciting so please follow...

The Portland Timbers sack Chris Agnello after dropping to Toronto Lynx levels in USL 1; Keane decides in a fit of semi-psychotic pique that he can't handle the pressure cooker of the English, Irish, Scottish, French, Belgian, Austrian, Turkish, Israeli, Saudi or any other decent league; he goes looking for a place to start fresh, really make his mark, to mold a club in his own image...

You see where I'm going with this?

Lynda said...

Ooh, I like the way you think! We need to start a rumor to this effect.

(And: I sincerely hope that we don't look back in a couple of weeks and note that the only part of your prediction that held true was "dropping to Toronto Lynx levels"....)