Thursday, August 24, 2006

Soccer Miscellany

Somehow, a day's break from blogging turned into an unplanned week off with a little change to spare. I don't know what happened. So for the few out there who've been wondering what's been going on . . . nothing, really. But with the Premiership back in action (though for some stupid reason I still haven't watched a match except the second half of the West Ham/Watford game) and La Liga starting up this weekend, things at a pretty move should be back in idiosyncratic order for now on. Now, without further procrastination . . .

The news that tempestuous Irish footballing legend Roy Keane is set to get his first managerial position trying to remake Sunderland AFC into a team to fear, is frankly the best news I've heard in a long time. Known for his volcanic display of heart and fire and brimstone fearlessness, Keano seems to be the right choice for the job. And over his long career, Keane's ability to dismantle the opposition psychologically, not to mention physically, is more than enough proof that this all-or-nothing Achilles is just what the woefully dispirited Black Cats need in their time of need, as do their loyal Mackem supporters. Whether or not Keane works out (and oh, how wrong things may go considering Keane's sometimes fractious relationship with his ex-Irish national team teammate and the new chairman of Sunderland, Niall Quinn), it's sure to be a fascinating chapter in British football history. I can't wait to see what happens when ex-Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy (now the manager of fellow Championship grunts Wolves) faces his nemesis on November 25th. Roy's and Mick's relationship is the stuff of modern football legend and Roy's infamous lashing out at Mick during the 2002 World Cup and his subsequent departure (known as the Saipan Incident) stuffed the football tabloids for weeks and even inspired a musical/comedy stage production! Oh yeah, this is going to be great stuff. Seriously, though, I really do hope Keano drags Sunderland out of the Championship and back into the top flight. Cheers!

And speaking of rivalries, the draw for the group stages of the Champions League were announced earlier today, and Chelsea will once again meet up (the third time in three years) with reigning champs Barcelona. Last year's quarter finals between the two was contentious to say the least, and their match up this time should be no different. Jose Mourinho and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich have made no secret of their ambitions to rule Europe like they dominate the Premiership, and if they have to sign superstar players (something Mourinho has not wanted to do in the past) like Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack to do it, then so be it. With all due respect to my Chelsea supporting friends out there (throw down those Rijkaard voodoo dolls!), better luck next year.

And last but certainly not least, a big congratulations to forward Byron Alvarez and keeper Bayard Elfvin of the Portland Timbers for being named USL First Division Player of the Week and to the Team of the Week respectively. We may not have a chance in hell to make the playoffs, but the both of you reminded us all last week in the game against Puerto Rico why we love the green and white.

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