The Groundsman’s Shed

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.



Youtube Roundup:Football Fights by groundsman
April 21, 2008, 10:05 pm
Filed under: Arsenal, Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea, David Beckham, Frank Lampard, LA Galaxy, referee, Video

I’ve been watching copious amounts of youtube videos to try and spot some new players to become overly excited about- and in doing so I managed to stumble upon some of the funniest/sissiest fights on the football pitch. 

Disclaimer: I do tut quite loudly whenever actual violence takes place, so if you’re looking for actual carnage (ie. copious amounts of blood, broken limbs, crowd/firm-related aggression) do skip this post. 

Chelsea v. Arsenal: With these two teams, you’d think there’d only be a “bit of argie-bargie” and maybe some sly kicking at the shins, but somewhere along the line it turned into a proper punchup.  I like how Frank Lampard’s expression never changes, even when being pummeled by Cesc Fabregas.

Ref Fights Back: Referees get so much abuse everyday (many times rightfully so) and it’s nice to see the fella with the cards get his own back for once.

Galaxy v. Chivas: Notice how quickly David Beckham manages to carefully extract himself from any actual fighting in this clip- though he was the one to get the chap’s face first.  Very clever!

Beach Football Fight: When I think of beach football, I think of lazy days drinking mimosas, sand between my toes, and a light hearted kick around with my friends.  Clearly- somewhere in the world this sport is taken seriously, because when a fight breaks out between the two teams, the plastic lounge chairs begin to fly.

Ninjas Can’t Play Soccer: It’s a Nike commercial, and as footie commercials go- it’s big budget and not that awesome.  Also, it isn’t a real fight at all, but hey, most fights aren’t real in football anyway. Just enjoy the ninjas.

– “Handbags”: It’s 7 minutes worth of silly punchups, loud shouting, and kung fu kicks set to aggro male music.  I got about halfway through, but most of it is the showy playacting that has become a mainstay of the modern game.

Note: Apologies for the slow posting ’round here, but as the season winds down, the cricket/baseball begins, and the air has a pleasing warmth to it, I’ve been spending some time away from all of those things and working hard so that I’ll be able to stimulate the British economy during my trip to England for the USA-Ingerland friendly on May 28th.

The Most Media-Mad Manager by groundsman

In today’s Guardian Football blog, the usually on-target John Sadler has written a bit about how it’d do managers well to avoid the media directly after matches- citing Arsene Wenger’s “outburst” after Saturday’s draw at Birmingham and Eduardo’s injury as a good case for this suggestion.  Unfortunately, Sadler loses the thread of his argument and resorts to picking at hapless Newcastle and King Kev’s infamous “luv it” statement from 1996. 

This suggestion is pure common sense, but after a stressful match, it can be difficult to even think intelligently enough to reject a chance to make your opinion known.  The stoic, smooth talking managers suffer when emotions take hold- the others relish the opportunity to vent publicly; and in either case, the public enjoys getting a taste of these painfully honest displays.

So now, the question: Who is the Most Media-Mad Manager?

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The Question: How long will Arsenal miss Eduardo? by puppdogsandicecream
February 24, 2008, 4:00 pm
Filed under: Arsenal, double compound fracture, Eduardo da Silva, football, Footballers, Injury, Video

We’ve heard the term “double compound fracture”, but what does it really mean?  

Good Lord.

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Arsene is human, Eduardo may be ruined, but Arsenal still tops the table. by groundsman
February 23, 2008, 8:43 pm
Filed under: Arsenal, football, Footballers, punditry, Video

Arsenal 2-2 Birmingham City  In a post match interview,  Arsene Wenger said Martin Taylor “should not play the game again”.  All of the media headlines then read, “Arsenal Boss wants Leg Breaker Banned for Life”.  That’s not what he said- Wenger said Taylor shouldn’t play again, and if the poor excuse his coach gave is really portraying this guy’s skill level (McLeish: “…[Eduardo da Silva] was too quick for him“) then he really shouldn’t be playing at that level, should he? 

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Tubular Roundup: Gooner Gaffes by groundsman
February 13, 2008, 3:13 am
Filed under: Arsenal, football, Video

I love Arsenal.  I really do.  So sometimes, some of the best laughs you can get are at the expense of those you love.  No one knows this better than my parents, who still publicly dine out on unfortunate stories from my extremely awkward formative years.  So I feel no remorse in enjoying a few clips from my favorite team’s shameful past.

1) This is cute, but the Arsenal’s players look just a little too pleased to be forced to keep their hands in their pockets for however many hours it took to shoot this promotional spot

2) I don’t condone violence in sport, but I do know that when players have an on-field slapfest, it’s called “handbags” due to the utterly prissy nature of the fight.  This, friends, is handbags.

3) Arsenal gets a lot of credit for trying creative play and developing many strengths among the players.  Sometimes that creativity works.  Sometimes, it fails miserably and everyone gets a mean-spirited chuckle out of the deal.

4) This is an an amazing celebration video from a child who, embarrassed by his father’s everlasting love for the Gooners, decided to videotape him shouting at the television.  The best bit is that I think his youngest child is named “Ribery”. 

4.5) The dreams of a Spurs fan.  Those dreams did come true in shocking fashion, but hey- it’s not about the battles, it’s about the war.

5) Jens Lehmann is endlessly comical (but a superb goalie), and even the MOTD lads can’t manage to fillet all of the humor out of these tantrums while wearing their “Captain Obvious” armbands. 

Tubular Round Up! by groundsman
February 10, 2008, 3:48 am
Filed under: football, Video

On Friday evening my friend Paul and I spent an embarrassingly long amount of time on YouTube, and we ended up stumbling upon a gold mine of excellence. 

I’d been immersed in the Among the Thugs novel for a couple of days, and whilst Paul recounted his days as a lad supporting West Ham and pronouncing the men of ICF to be “dead hard”, we took in this bit of knowledge.

Senseless violence can be a bit hard to take on an empty stomach, so why not check out a friendly rivalry for fast food

My current suggestion to Football Associations the world over is to  find someone to connect with the supporters, possibly through the magic of song and dance, to show the firms “who’s bad”. 

If that doesn’t work, get Will.i.Am and a bunch of celebrities to create a brilliant video in the association’s honor, urging a message of peace and hope.   

No? Not going to work? Not even a BBC Montage will fix this?

Oh.  Guess if we can’t cry, we can laugh.