Blog template Rock the Crossbar: March 2006

Rock the Crossbar

Friday, March 31

What a Train-Wreck!

This show is just a disaster. Its like an episode of Wife-Swap or Dr. Phil though in that I have to pause my Friday night channel surfing just to remind myself how bad it is. The phone calls, the Irish barman, the fake admiration for MLS, both presenters trying to talk over each other with their clichéd opinions, the fake bottles of beer in the background.....the whole thing is just excruciating. Please make this stop.

Thursday, March 30

Chelsea land Milan's Shevchenko

Along with Ballack this is getting a bit out of hand.

Wednesday, March 29

One of the best days in football history

Alas I missed it live by being in Florida... Arsenal needed 2 goals at a stadium that hadnt given up 2 away goals combined in several matches. Smithy got the first but with seconds left it looked all over.......No-one gave them a prayer but it happened and Nick Hornby somehow gets famous.

Joselito gets his pick of DC United

Finally, DC United can offload some of the horror-show that is Nick-the-wonder-dwarf Rimando, Brian Carroll, Brandon Prideaux, and David Stokes. If only we could have held on to Dema Kovalenko long enough to deliver that poisoned chalice as well. 'Course what they're after is the likes of Adu with this move, I'd love to see Nick compete with Cech,,1742281,00.html Rock the Crossbar

British and European Day Light Savings

Just a warning for anyone setting up the VCR for the ESPN Champions League broadcast that despite the listings, you should start the tape for a 1345pm Eastern US start. Britain and Europe went on daylight savings last weekend, a week before the USA is scheduled to. Rock the Crossbar

Tuesday, March 28

Steve Bennett, man of the match

Crazy stuff from Steve Bennett tonight in the Benfica-Barca match. Misses two stone-certainty penalties AND just when Benfica think they can use the the minutes of extra time any way they want to, blows up and picks up the ball. Take that, you Portuguese wasters!

Absolutely Fabregas!

How about that then? I have just sat and watched us batter Juventus - they ended with 9 men, they scored no away goals, Vieira was humiliated (he lost a ball to a Pires slide tackle which caused the first goal) and then he got booked and that's his torunament over barring a miracle. Fabregas who was sublime throughout scored one and brilliantly made another. Total class - surely we will make it to the semis as one away goal will end the tie. Seven consecutive clean sheets in Europe without a recognised left back. Eboue and Flamini were superb on the flanks, Reyes saves his best for Europe, Henry jinked and darted around terrorising Juve. Simply another fantastic night and maybe we still have one more European game to host at Highbury after all. Unbelievable and I can honestly say we throughly deserved it, even a third wouldnt have been unfair. Quality football, the highest quality of football against the highest quality of opponent.

Monday, March 27

for those who dont know John O Toole

Here is our beloved John O Toole, this was actually on his wedding day."

Wenger supports Drogba

Maybe you see that Drogba is not a tricheur. Maybe it is the defence that cheats sometimes. C'est comme ca.

Saturday, March 25

Drogba on match of the day.

Did you handball it? DROGBA YES! That's football. Do you cheat? DROGBA Sometimes I dive some times I don't, that's football So you admit that you dive? DROGBA No!

Reading Promoted

Reading clinched promotion to the Premiership today which has to be good news for the Ireland and American national sides. Hahnemann in goals and former Cork City striker Kevin Doyle are generally considered to be have been their star performers this season. Convey also seems to have forced his way onto the first X1.

The Doyle story is an interesting one as he didn't follow the typical path to playing in England that Irish kids have traditionally take i.e. leaving school at 16, moving over to a club in England, a tiny minority make it while the rest slide down through the tables and end up moving back to try play League of Ireland football.

Like John O'Shea, Doyle actually finished school and then signed for St. Patrick's Athletic in Dublin before moving to Cork City in 2003 at the age of 20. Last Summer he signed for Reading for just £85,000 and has scored 15 goals for them already this season. With Robbie Keane playing very well these days, the prospect of Doyle and Keane up front for Ireland is exciting.

Every club in the top division of the league of Ireland is now full-time professional so I think this is a model we will see become more and more common where kids choose to finish school, then play professionally for a couple of years in Ireland before moving to a British club if there is interest. I think this works well for all parties as the Irish clubs can get some half-decent money especially when they insist on sell-on clauses, the British clubs get a little more of a known quantity in that they are buying a player who has played for a couple of years for a professional club in front of 5000 people as opposed to a raw 16 year old. The player gets to have some experience under his belt before he makes the move and also gets to do it at an age (18-21) where he is more mature and less likely to let it all go to his head and throw it away.

Friday, March 24

Oooh, the Hypocrisy!

Who said.. "We have to fight it and there is only one way to punish people diving obviously: suspension." "Once it is in the game it is difficult to get it out. Once a guy knows he might be punished he will not dive." My view without going into any individual case is that we are all as managers to fight against it," "Sometimes the players dive just because they pushed the ball too far and the only way to get something out of the situation is to dive. "We are all managers who can never say that one of our players has not dived. Nobody can say that in our league. "I can say that when my team are not involved I am 100% against it." From:

Thursday, March 23

The Aesthetic League table

“Joga Bonito”, Fat fan Fighter / fracas facilitator Frenchie Cantona says. Well, here it is the Aesthetic form league table:

  1. Arsenal
  2. Man Utd
  3. Liverpool
  4. Fulham
  5. Everton
  6. West Brom
  7. West Ham
  8. Tottenham
  9. Man City
  10. Middlesbrough
  11. Portsmouth
  12. Newcastle
  13. Wigan
  14. Sunderland
  15. Blackburn
  16. Aston Villa
  17. Charlton
  18. Chelsea
  19. Birmingham
  20. Bolton

Notes: Aresnal remain top with their expansive flicky flicky ‘too nice to score simple goals’ stuff. Yernited are still strong, but based more on individual skills rather than team play. Liverpool strong thanks to better ball retention this year, although still a little direct. Highest climbers are Everton, who have abandoned there longballism / hoofery principles in recent weeks. Expect a revert to type for the derby. Chelsea languish in the drop zone with their effective and pragmatic joyless shiote. Bolton’s “if it moves, kick it” policy keeps the rooted to the bottom.

Wednesday, March 22

America has an awesome record in Europe against the big 5 (Spain, Italy, England, France, Germany). As of today they have won 0, lost 9. Scored 4, conceded 26. A weakened team for sure today but crushed...

Tuesday, March 21

Meanwhile, in the smoke-filled rooms...

Is anyone else concerned about the two stories going around regarding the fat-cat G14 clubs and the even-fatter-cat UEFA and FIFA committees? The first proposal is that clubs start getting compensated by the national federations while their players are on national duty. Furthermore, if those players end up getting crocked while away, the clubs want to be compensated for the injury recovery costs. And these costs don't end with just the cost of treatment. They're looking to claim lost opportunity cost and just guess who gets to put a number on that. Aren't most of these guys insured by the clubs? If not, why not? Lloyds would be happy to take that call. Because if it's left to the national federations, that's the end of the World Cup, the European Championships, the African Nations Cup, the UEFA Cup. All of it because while maybe the English, the German, the Spanish, the Italian FA's might stump up this fee, I don't think the Dutch FA will be able to afford the Gelding, Robben, Kuit, Stam, and the rest of their team's trip. Furthermore, I can't imagine that the Ukrainian FA will be able to afford to pay for even one Shevcenko, or the Ivoirians or Camerounians to pay for Toure and Eto'o respectively to go on national duty. And as if this isn't bad enough, there's news that once again the G14 are threatening a breakaway and rival league if they don't get to point a gun at UEFA's head and motion to put the cash in the sack. And many of us on this site support clubs that would be involved, like Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United. Are we going to support our clubs behaving this way? I've followed Arsenal since '71 and even when we were playing some ugly stuff under GG, I never thought once about looking around for another club. But would I be able to stomach this kind of breakaway? It for sure would bring down the curtain on any Arsenal merch purchases. Living in the US doesn't allow me the gesture of turning in a season ticket. These are very troubling developments.

Monday, March 20

MLS screws the greater Boston area...

So, MLS, in its apparent infinite wisdom, is staging a "nationwide" 4v4 tourney for adult and youth players in cities that host league teams - as well as a few others. I placed "nationwide" in quotations (twice now) because there isn't an event planned for Foxboro, Boston, or anywhere else close to the home of the New England Revolution. Pretty damn pathetic in my book, which also includes hot chocolate made with water instead of milk, that whiny-voiced James Blunt singer dude and ALL episodes of "Reba." Of course, we can go to Philly or NYC to get our free t-shirt for the $150 entry fee. Go to this link for more info:

One swallow

Fulham marketing have decided to sell merchandise to commerorate yesterday. They are, I'm not taking the piss, selling T-Shirts with the scoreboard showing the final score. Doesn't exactly help our little club by the river image. I still remember Simon's reaction when they sold shirts after Fulham's three goal victory at White Hart Lane.

Sunday, March 19

Fulham - Chelsea

Saw the highlights on the "EPL Review Show" on FSC and wish I had watched it. This match had everything - a shock Fulham early goal, several pathetic Chelsea misses, a disallowed goal, an irate "special one", a scuffle at the sideline followed by a sending off, and finally a pitch invasion! Excellent, well done Fulham. Jose had some insightful comments post-game: 'I cannot speak about the referee. I have to control myself. ' - Jose is clearly a disciple of the Roman philospher Seneca who said, "Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power." Jose clears up the result: 'A defeat is a defeat even if you don't deserve the defeat. We don't deserve the defeat but it's a defeat.' Jose the existentialist: 'If it's a Chelsea player, the Chelsea manager or Chelsea football club, there's no doubt about it. At West Brom I have the final proof about that. Bryan Robson is Bryan Robson and Jose Mourinho is Jose Mourinho. We are not the same.' The gracious side of Jose: 'I also hope Fulham know how to win. I know this is not something that happens a lot for them but I hope they can interpret the big victory in a good way and respect Chelsea people.' My favorite quote however comes from Chris Coleman: [re disallowed goal] - 'It was given and then taken away and the same thing happened to us at Arsenal last year when we were given a penalty and it was taken away. So I understand Chelsea's frustration. But to be honest I don't care.' Well said Chris! Chris P. - what is that big brown house-like structure at one corner of the stadium? Is that "Craven Cottage"?? Just curious, I wonder every time I see it.

This could be my new favorite...

Since we haven't heard back from Sarah Darvill of UGA, I would like to introduce Ali Foley of Villanova to this wonderful soccer blog. She's a Scorpio (you know what that means!), likes walks on the beach, puppies, vanilla candles and Manchester City FC. On Nova's team web site, her coach said that she is "capable of stretching defenses off the ball with great runs ... Adds depth to the forward position." There is obviously a lot of stuff going on in that comment to be deciphered - too much for me to handle. Please help! For a closer look, go to She also clearly has excellent posture, which is nice.

Thursday, March 16

#5 Ranking for Life???

Oh, the simple days...remember? You know, the time when the USA was not a soccer power and wasn't expected to be ranked higher by FIFA than teams like France (WC98 winner, ranked #8), England (WC66 winner, ranked #9), Italy (WC34, 38, 82 winner, ranked #12) and Germany (WC54, 74, 90 winner, ranked #22)??? Don't forget about #23 Uruguay (WC30, 50 winner)!!! But now, we're #5 baby...and we owe it all to John Harkes. No matter that he was benched in WC98 because Steve Sampson found out that the "captain for life" had slept with the wife of one of his teammates. That would be nit-picking. No, thanks to John, the USA media can now affirm this ranking by placing completely unrealistic expectations on a team that has been placed in a "group of death" and has never beaten Mexico at Azteca! WE are awesome!!! I mean, that win over Poland in the snow was just breathtaking and I'm sure it sent a lot of fear through the hearts and minds of the Czechs, Italians and those crazy kids from Ghana. Why thank John Harkes? Uh, why NOT thank him should be the question! Look at those teeth, that spiked hair, the "director of youth development" for DC United title. Let Argentina keep its Maradona, England its Hurst...we have Harkes. I say dust off the ole' #6 and let him suit up with the #5 ranked team on the planet!!!

Monday, March 13

If you were a manager, who would you select...

I've been in many discussions over the years, with friends who know a bit about the beautiful game (not jackholes like Max Bretos), about who we would place in our Best XI if we had to win one game, with one squad, against comparable competition (the all-time greats). I would love to open the debate on this blog, so here's the XI from Greenough Street FC: Schmeichel (Denmark, gk), Alberto (Brazil, rfb), Beckenbauer (West Germany, sw), Moore (England, lfb), Cruyff (Holland, dcm), Pele (Brazil, rm), Puskas (Hungary, lm), Maradona (Argentina, acm), van Basten (Holland, f), Cantona (France, f), Best (Northern Ireland, f). I would start everything through Cruyff so that he could play triangle overlaps with Puskas, Maradona and Pele. The attack would build to Best, who could then lay balls off to van Basten or Cantona to finish (of course, Bestie could do well enough on his own). Alberto makes runs down the right side (see WC70) and "Der Kaiser" acts as libero. My subs would be Eusebio (Portugal), DiStefano (Argentina/Spain), Platini (France), Keane (Ireland), Zidane (France) and MCFC legend Kinkladze (Georgia).

Sunday, March 12

henry can stay

If he plays like he has this week I will let him stay. Brilliant today, Liverpool couldnt contain him - when his workrate is high he is brilliant. Catching the Spuds now and have CHarlton at home next which is good. I watched United too - quality side they were today - broke forward and should have scored 40 though Rooney missing his hat trick was funny till I realised he was in my yahoo team. Liverpool very poor right now, should bring back pongolle and offload crouch, morientes and cisse...

Friday, March 10

OH MY GOD - this is the worst name in the history of pro sports - MLS, you have cheapened yourself further. No-one can take this one seriously! As of I think this week, the New York Metrostars became RED BULL NEW YORK!!!

Thursday, March 9

Another footy star book deal.

Oh thank God, now I ahve something worth reading. For 12 whole years... "When I was 17, I liked hookers, when I was 19 I liked to swear at lot at referees ..."

Juventus V Bremen

With 3 minutes left, Juve were going out of the Champions League. Then this. That keeper will never forgive himself. I hope anyway. Cant make link work so paste this:

Last team standing

At least from Britain - well deserved win last night, well a draw but to hold Madrid to 2 zero's in 2 games is pretty good when you havent got a proper left back. No doubt all of Britain will now cheer us, come on all you United and Chelsea fans. :) If you havent seen Jens Lehmann's save then find it, its incredible.

Wednesday, March 8

Mes Amis Footballeurs:

This little gem from the times.,,275124,00.jpg [click link if the pic is too small] Hey - did anyone see that rerun of hart 2 hart last night? Oh, wait, that was hoof 2 huth... and it was moider!

So who should Chelsea buy?

World football flops, Chelsea are short of players apparently after reading around the websites - Sky was asknig fans who does Chelsea need? I read fan after fan say Adriano, Ballack, Rooney, Owen, Kaka.... Then one fan says this: Drogba has got to go he has no passion and does nothing for the team, I would love to see Andy Johnson at Chelsea he is quick and never gives up for his team and has proved he can score goals in The Premiership. And with the players around him he would score goals galore!! Jason Jamal, London. Quality - every world class best planet 11 should have Andy 'all my goals are pens' Johnson up front.

Tuesday, March 7

#23 in the program, #1 in my heart

Now that ESPN has totally screwed us on Champions League coverage, we should digress to an important topic: who is the hottest D-1 women's soccer player? My vote goes to Sarah Darvill of Georgia. I'm not concerned about the fact that she's had eight shots-on-goal in twenty-one games; I'm more concerned about watching her sweat. Is this wrong? Must I be punished for these filthy thoughts? Hey, it's a long winter in Boston - and you know what they say about those girls from the South! I'm new to this blog (thanks for the invite, dudes) so I thought I would spice things up a bit. Send in your selections and let's have a goold ole' democratic selection process. I vote for Ms. Darvill. You can see Sarah's profile at the following link: (note to self: move to Athens)

Monday, March 6


Hi all, yes ESPN have opted to not show Arsenal and Chelsea games live in favour of the World baseball classic. Apparently the games are only US warm ups too... Setanta are showing them on the Setanta TV station which may be available online at (they have a broadband option , a month subscription is 12 dollars). Else its to Summers, the Pheonix, Fados for the 2.30 games. The morons at ESPN bumped the US Mexico decider for World Cup qualification recently and it was supposed to be on shown on a long delay but I came across it LIVE on ESPN Classic by chance (the delay also aired on ESPN 2) - Tom, any chance this could happen again.

New Sunderland Manager...

This man gets my vote. I am sure they will trot out Keegan in the Summer however..

maurinho on the brink

Another season, another Maurinho meltdown in the works. Harrassed today by barcelona fans - snubbing Bryan Robson and coming out 6 mins late to play West Brom of all teams... THe media has it in for the whole team but especially Maurinho and the Spanish cant wait to beat them - wait till he loses (pls God) and goes on a whiner rant this week...

Wednesday, March 1

Deaf Racialist Spotters

Don't know if anyone spotted this story, its mildly amusing. Refs will now need to be trained in lip reading as well as the intricacies of the off sides rule.