The Groundsman’s Shed


Grounds’ Clippings: Abramovich Takes Over Colorado Territory by groundsman

-After an unfortunate 0-1 loss to Spain earlier this month, and the excruiatingly dull 2-0 loss to England I witnessed at Wembley, the United States men’s national team got an exercise in ego boosting with an 8-0 trouncing of Barbados in a World Cup qualifying match on Sunday.  The scoreline looks pretty awesome, but the opponents were truly hopeless.  There are still some severe problems with fundamentals like ball handling and control, and even when given plenty of room by Barbados for improvisation and creativity, we played an extremely direct forward attacking style. 

Roman Abramovich is coming to America!  It’s old news, but it still brings a shiver to the spine, thinking he could buy up the Colorado Rapids club in the MLS and turn it into Chel$ki-Lite.  The Russian oil billionaire bought at 36 million dollar ranch near Aspen.  He already bought another property near Snowmass, CO back in February.  …so just what is he planning to do in Colorado that requires so much land and two houses?  (Answer: Pick up hottie snow bunnies on the slopes, no shame in that)

 

Waar de Engelsen zijn? Wo Englisch ist? где английские языки? Where are the English?  For the first few days of Euro2008, fans were singing it and saying it in different languages- and we have the answer… the English national team players are on beaches ’round the world, working diligently on their tans, apparently not even bothering with a bit of keepy uppy on the sand.  I mean, at least Steve McClaren is watching a bit of footy on the time off.

-The life of a football blogger is a bit well, different, during a major tournament.  With major news outlets analyzing every last morsel of each match, a blogger’s reach for material (when not on site) is somewhat limited.  So they go with whatever Getty images has available for a cheap ‘n’ easy post: WAGS and hot girls in the stands.  Por ejemplo: The top posts on both Newsnow and Soccerblogs have had to do “sexy girls” and/or “body paint” for the past 5 days or so. 

Snippets:

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Buffon’s Black Cravat and Turkish Delight by groundsman
June 15, 2008, 7:56 pm
Filed under: Buffon, ESPN, Euro2008, football, Italy, Turkey v. Czech Republic, Video

After today’s absolute cracker of a match between Turkey and The Czech Republic, I’m left breathless.  ESPN was so enamored that they replayed the match from the beginning straight away- an excellent programming choice, as it was the absolute perfect match for a neutral.   Drama, heart, an incredible comeback, an insane last minute ending… I won’t go into it all, and won’t even mention the score- you just have to see it for yourself.

  Didn’t get a chance to watch?  Here is a very short highlight reel from Soccernet.  I’ll post something better a bit later, but ITV and BBC have liscensing issues to deal with.

In other news:

What’s up with Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon and the black neckerchief?  It’s like David James and that unfortunate little hat he perched atop his equally ill advised afro.  The black cravat made him look like a Cowboy Keeper, but as with many of the gestures and tattoos of the lads in the Italian side, I wonder if it had any use other than a sweat wicking device.  Any ideas?  I doubt it’s anything particularly controversial or thrilling, but I’d like to hear some creative ideas.

 



The Euro 2008 Pundit’s League by groundsman
June 14, 2008, 6:15 pm
Filed under: BBC, Euro2008, football, Gary Lineker, ITV, pundits, Setanta Sports, TV

As a football-loving American, I’ve often gone to great lengths to see broadcasts of live matches.  Justin.tv, Sopcast, various dodgy looking sites from China- I’ve scoured them all for English-speaking footy commentary at one time or another.   Though the Euro2008 matches are shown on ESPN, I would rather listen to vigorous elephant-on-pig action than hear Tommy Smyth’s often offensively ill-informed opinions, so I come to work to watch European television, or simply bask in the warm glow of my laptop. 

ITV and BBC are splitting the Euros coverage between them, and as one Guardian MBM commenter noted- there should be a tournament to decide who will continue to cover the matches, and who will agree to never appear on television again.  As we all know, a good television pundit is hard to find- and of course the term “good” is incredibly subjective (my apologies to anyone who worships at the Altar of Smyth), so I’m interested to find out who would be on your TV Football Pundit Dream Team.

My team?

Commentators: David Pleat (ITV) , Barry Davies (BBC-retired) substitutes: John Motson (BBC- I love old people), Mark Bright (BBC- gets emotional)

Pundits/Presenters:  James Richardson (Setanta Sports), Gary Lineker (BBC), Martin O’Neill (BBC), Rob Stone (ESPN), Andy Townsend (ITV),

Color/Feature Reporters: Adrian Chiles (BBC), Kelly Dalglish (Setanta Sports)

Yes, most of the BBC Match of the Day team are painfully boring and smug, ITV’s pundits are tolerable- but the inclusion of Sam Allardyce and his gold chains and ill fitting pants is distracting.  The only thing ESPN ever had going for its football coverage is Rob Stone, and even Andy Gray can’t do more than look upset at being stuck in Bristol, CT as an effort to cut costs instead of actually experiencing tournament action overseas. 

All said, who’s on your top team?



Everyone’s a little Oranje with Envy by groundsman
June 9, 2008, 5:30 pm
Filed under: BBC, ESPN, Euro2008, football, France, Holland, Italy, Manchester United, Romania, Spain, World Cup 2006

A cracker of a performance from the Holland team tonight in their match against Italy.   I was being forced to do some actual work during the match, but even I could recognize the level of play was a welcome change from the uninspired dirge that was the France-Romania match earlier today.  

Over on BBC, I’m guessing the dour men in black (the punditry team) were contractually obligated to compare France to an even more disappointing version of England- though um, I’m sure everyone at home was thinking, “At least they made it that far. ”

So we’re through group C now- have your picks for the winner changed?  I’m still supporting Spain throughout the tournament, but like everyone else- I figured World Cup winner and runner up, Italy and France, would at least make a strong showing.    

Next Up: Spain v. Russia and Sweden v. Greece.  I’m betting on a nice win for the 2004 Euro champs, and a scrappy and speedy match between Spain and Russia. 

Grounds Clippings:

-I’m not going to write about the drama surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo, how much money he’ll make, how furious his current employers must be, and the tactics used to woo him, because I don’t care.  I really don’t.  However, you might- so here’s the latest on that kerfuffle.

Tommy Smyth on ESPN’s soccer coverage makes me come out in a rash.  He panders to only the ignorant consumers of the game, is openly biased, and is possibly worse than any of the guys on Sportscenter when it comes to pessimistic, half assed attempts to encourage Americans to  like about the game.  He has an accent, and understands the offside rule, so he’s set with this gig for life- and I guess he doesn’t feel like he needs to try anymore.  I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels this way.

-For those of you who like a little aural coverage of the tournament and a chance to experience some of the international flavour of the tourney- The Guardian is in the midst of their Football Daily podcasts for Euro2008.  It’s brilliant, and there’s even a bit of video (was anyone else shocked about Barry Glendenning?) thrown in for good measure. 

-On a very similar note: I hate BBC’s 606 show, but I think Danny Baker can be hilarious.  Thus, I encourage everyone to listen to the Euro2008 606’s.  The Beeb may have brought back Steve McClaren, but they made a good call with this decision.

-I keep telling people to go and check out The Offside for their Euro2008 coverage.  It’s varied, it’s funny, and it’s frequently updated.  Why aren’t you listening to me? Go!

-Notice the updates slowing down on this site?  I’m just one pretty lady, working to move this blog over to TheGroundsman.net, where I can have polls, and downloads, and all kinds of bells and whistles.  Also, it is warm and sunny out, and having a kickaround at the park with my neighbors is slightly more appealing than designing a new website right now.  Don’t worry, those feelings will fade soon.  Keep an eye on TheGroundsman.net! I’ll let you know when to officially update the bookmarks.

[Photo courtesy Hispaniola]