Blatter inspires thoughts on what football is really all about, while Agents and Brown prove that stupidity is alive and thriving in football
This is an Arsenal blog. The point of this blog is for Arsenal supporters to have yet another place to revel in Arsenal news, results, rumors, conjecture, whimsy, fantasy, misery, and ultimately, hopefully, elation. Arsenal are the finest football club in the world, as everyone would agree, but under Wenger they have certainly become one of the most beautiful teams to watch. Arsenal entertain. Arsene Wenger hasn’t always employed the most English players in the league, but he has been true to the ideal of developing young talent rather than merely buying high-priced superstars. He has probably done more for football in the last decade than any other club manager in the world thanks to his philosophy and commitment to certain ideals.
I am starting today’s blog with this seemingly pointless rant, because it leads me to the matter of one Sepp Blatter. Hopefully they never make a movie about Sepp’s life, because it would be impossible to find a lifeform abhorrent enough to capture his essence. If Michel Platini is an a*shole, then Blatter is something dangling from the orifice.
As the name of this blog suggests, I am, for lack of a better description, an American. As an American, I am obligated to be fanatical in my appreciation for sports and my support for the teams that I follow. Ironically, the team that holds my deepest, dearest affections is an English team from a sport that receives little attention in my home country. But as an American, there is a major, seismic difference in the way I follow football from my brothers in Europe. Americans really don’t have much time for international competitions. We don’t care. We don’t care if we win, and we don’t care if we lose. We don’t really care if we qualify. Give us our leagues, and we’re as happy as a Blatter in Sh*t. Recently, there was a “World Cup” of baseball. Baseball is considered the “American pastime” and yet the “World Cup” received almost as much attention in America as a cricket test match (whatever that is…).
Americans love their clubs and their leagues. We love the NFL and Major League Baseball and the NBA. But if those same players participated in an international tournament, it would only mildly pique our interest. Worse, if international participation ever appeared that it might threaten the way the leagues operated, there would be an all-out revolt. Americans don’t care if the best pitcher on the Yankees is Dominican, or if their favorite running back is from Africa, or if their starting point guard is from France. We don’t see players that way. We see them as members of our team and that’s that. Americans want to see the best players in the world playing in American leagues. The reason MLS hasn’t properly caught-on in America is quite simply because we don’t care to watch a third-rate product. Football (soccer) was huge in America for a brief period of time when the New York Cosmos had some of the best players in the world. For one season, this was their lineup:
- Shep Messing
- Bruce Twamley
- Vitomir Dimitrijević
- Werner Roth
- Franz Beckenbauer
- Dave Clements
- Tony Field
- Terry Garbett
- Giorgio Chinaglia
- Stephen Hunt
- Bob Smith
- Nelsi Morais
They were a team of stars, and Americans wanted to watch them play. No one cared that they were mostly foreigners, because they were the best. That’s what mattered in America then and that’s what matters today.
As an Arsenal supporter I want to watch the best football, played by the best possible players. I want to see Arsenal become the finest team they can be without restriction, or petty concern for which nation’s international squad will be aggrandized. I want to see Arsenal challenged on a weekly basis by other teams who’s rosters are filled with top talent. If the English Premier League is successful enough to make that happen, then more power to the league and its executives. It’s not “show-friends,” it’s “show-business.”
I love the World Cup and the European Finals as much as the next football fan, but there’s a reason why we’re all so bored during international breaks. It’s because we miss our dear Arsenal. We miss league play. We miss cup ties. We miss Fabregas and Arshavin and Van Persie, even though they’re foreign. (Well, they’re all foreign to me!) And while we all love the international tournaments that come around bi-annually, I would gladly trade them all for a few more trophies in Arsenal’s locker.
As an American, sports are a part of our national psyche, but only at the club level. Every American sports fan alive would give up Olympic gold medals for all eternity for a single Super Bowl ring for their beloved NFL team. As time goes by, international competition just becomes increasingly anachronistic. Can you imagine the uproar in Boston if Tom Brady missed a season of playing for the New England Patriots because he got hurt playing for the U.S. national team? It just sounds silly even asking the question. There’s too much money and too much passion at stake in club sports today for them to be marginalized even slightly by international competition.
So with that enormous, self-indulgent rant delivered, here’s the Sepp Blatter quote that inspired it:
“[The English Premier League] is working to make a lot of money and I’m working
to have football as a social, cultural event around the world, being a school of life, bringing hope, bringing emotions. That’s the difference.”
What a crock of absolute SH*T! Sepp Blatter runs a company called Fifa. It may be the governing body of international football, but it is a company hell-bent on profit. One estimate put the total revenues from the World Cup in Germany at a staggering $6.5 BILLION! And that’s just the World Cup. Just a few weeks in June. That’s not a “cultural event” or a “school of life,” that’s a money orgy! So Sepp Blatter can go crawl back into the petrie dish from which he spawned. His policies are designed to make Fifa rich at all costs. Period. End of story. And the 6+5 rule is a xenophobic, self-aggrandizing farce that should never even be shown the courtesy of civil discourse. Can you even imagine, for just one minute, a rule in an American sports league that would keep the best players out of a lineup, or out of a team all together simply because of his nationality? There would be an uproar. The person responsible for dreaming up such a rule would be labeled a bigot and thrown out of the league and possibly the country.
Sepp Blatter’s precious international tournaments bring in so much revenue because the individual leagues have grown in stature. They create the fan base that ultimately supports events like the World Cup. It’s no coincidence that the World Cup in Germany was the richest ever. It took place in Europe at a time when European club football is hugely popular. If Blatter damages the success of leagues like the EPL, he may weaken fan support for international matches as well.
This has been a public service announcement…(Phew, that’s better. Now I realize why I write a blog. It’s a fantastic way to get things off your chest when your wife hasn’t the least interest in hearing what you have to say.)
On to lighter news:
From the “football agents are idiots” file, we have contributions from Adebayor’s agent, Amaury Bischoff’s Agent (who’s Amaury Bischoff) and of course, Dennis Lachter, Arshavin’s loveable liar. Apparently Adebayor is going to AC Milan for €35M, Bischoff is being targeted by anonymous teams in France, Germany and even England, and Lachter tops it all with this gem regarding Arshavin,
“It’s definitely possible he’ll spend the rest of his career at Arsenal…but I can
tell you now already several of the biggest clubs in the world already want him
in the summer! It’s true that Manchester City and Liverpool tried to get him on
deadline day, but that is in the past now. He loves Arsenal it was his first
Considering how much money agents make for relatively little work, you would think they’d spend more of it improving their innuendo and double-speak. Full credit to Yogi’s Warrior at A Cultured Left Foot for unearthing the Lachter quote.
Still no response from Arsene Wenger on the small matter of Adebayor running his injured hamstring all over some third-rate pitch for Togo this week. I’m sure he’s just about bitten through his tongue by this point. As for jackass coach of the year, Jean Thissen of Togo has put in his application to be considered with Phil Brown and Sam Allardyce.
“Ade is here to play against Cameroon. He is the main man for the national team. He is my captain, the nation can count on him.”
Well good. At least someone can count on him. I’m sure we can count on him stringing us along again in the summer. Hey Ade, don’t be surprised if we aren’t fighting hard to keep you this time around. Arseblog had a much calmer more rational take on this bit of nonsense, but that’s just not my style.
Finally, we end with joke. Phil Brown. Brownie really cleared things up with his most recent statement regarding spit-gate.
“There’s an awful lot of players involved, or down the tunnel, when whatever
went on. Again, it would be remiss of me to say outside of the inquiry
what happened. But they are pursuing the matter and hopefully the truth will
Spoken like a man who has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about. “Hopefully the truth will come out?” If you were telling the truth, then wouldn’t it be out already. I have a feeling the “truth” will come out, but most Arsenal supporters already know what the “truth” is.
Thank you to anyone who made it this far in the blog. My opening rant was long and I have no intention of editing it because it was cathartic for me. Tomorrow I’ll write about birds and teddy bears and keep it brief. Promise.