Soccertv.com…the horror…the horror…

I hope this it doesn’t get stuck like this.

UPDATE: See the comments, people. The long, horrible wait may be at an end.

UPDATE: I’ve found a couple work-arounds since posting this.  Some are, oh, slightly labor intensive….not much different, in fact, than just shopping around individual media outlets sites (e.g ESPN, Fox Soccer Channel) and reading their individual schedules.

Then again, I found a nice, one-stop spot on the site mentioned in the field below – livesoccertv.com – that does pretty well.

Anyway, hope this helps.  With soccertv.com down, I’m getting an awful lot of hits on this post, so may as well make it worth folks’ while.

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Mathis to Ergo…wait…Ergoto…hold on, I can get this…Ergotopolis…no…

OK, I think I have it now: Clint Mathis is heading to Ergotelis FC, or, as someone put it (this guy, in fact) the “other team” from Crete. Now, what the fuck is Ergotelis FC? And I don’t mean that in a bad way: in the LA Galaxy’s BG era (that’s “Before Goldenballs”), I’m pretty sure some Ergotelis fan would have written, “Now, what the fuck is the LA Galaxy?”

What to make of this? Well, here’s what fans from the LA Galaxy’s Riot Squad thought of the move (hat-tip to Nick Green for the link). Speaking for myself, I’m still a fan of Mathis’ – as, apparently, were quite a clutch of Riot Squaders. As for where he’s headed, I dunno, Greece is Greece. For me, the Greek first division is Olympiakos, Panathanaikos and a collection of nameless teams I play on FIFA whenever a wild hair sneaks up my ass. I only know what I read – in this case, that Ergotelis is somewhere near or at the bottom of the Greek first division. On the other hand, it’s Europe and Greece’s big teams ain’t pushovers….so far as I know, that is (when, oh when, does the UEFA Cup start again?).

Given all that, will the move work for Mathis? Like SF at The Offside Rules (see link under “this guy” up top), I’m dubious as to what the Mediterranean sun will Clint’s work ethic. No, I’ve never been, but unless movies like Summer Lovers and books like The Little Drummer Girl are lying to me, life in Greece is a string of orgies washed down with sangria and ouzo on the beach, an atmosphere that I can’t help but think Clint – even the older, wiser model – will find distracting.

That said, I’d go in a fucking heartbeat if I were Cletus. With his national team days probably over, why not wind down someplace totally friggin’ killer? So, god speed, Cletus. You keep running with the devil and hope the angels can’t keep up.

Rumors Watch Update: Okocha Ain’t Goin’ to Crew (1-2…this is tricky)

MLS Rumors rated the Jay-Jay Okocha to Columbus Crew rumor as a 5.  But a Columbus Dispatch article on Sigi Schmid’s pre-season machinations  looks to have scuttled that one.  The relevant passage straight from the horse’s mouth:

“The Crew had been linked with Nigerian standout Jay-Jay Okocha of Hull City in England, but Schmid said ‘we’re not one of the teams talking to him.'”

“‘Jay-Jay is a more of an attacking midfielder,’ Schmid said, and with Guillermo Barros Schelotto set to return, that is not what the club is after.”

Yeah, this could be intended to throw people off the scent, but the logic adds up pretty neatly.  As for what the Crew has arranged, here’s Shawn Mitchell’s piece again:

“Schmid said three Brazilians and an African will be in camp with the Crew as nonroster trialists when the preseason begins later this month. One is a forward, one a “left-sided player” and two are central midfielders.”

It also sounds like there’s something still in the works between the Crew and the New England Revolution.  It could be the thing involving Avery John, but gain, the language in the Dispatch piece – “a deal is in the works because the Crew placed a discovery tag on a foreign player the Revolution is interested in signing” – suggests the structure may not be what they described…and, for the record, I won’t ding them for getting crossed on the details.

Chicago Fire: Hamlett’s Lost Honeymoon

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the Chicago Fire will switch up his title, going from “assistant coach” to “head coach.” And, at time of writing, MLSnet.com retains its reputation for being the last place you want to check for breaking news about Major League Soccer (MLS); keep up the good work, you unpaid interns…

I’m not seeing anything on an announcement as yet, but would hope the Fire will pay Hamlett the minor courtesy of announcing the news on Monday, as opposed to slipping it out ahead of the weekend…the time when people in the political world announce news they want everyone to miss.

And when that conference starts, I almost want Hamlett to walk to the podium, say something like, “‘Bout time, assholes. Thanks for the vote of confidence on the way in.” But I also know that won’t really do on a number of levels. And, whether I like it or not, Fire defender C. J. Brown gets the big picture just about right:

”’If Denis has the opportunity to be a head coach, it doesn’t matter what they’ve already put him through,’ said defender C.J. Brown, who has worked with Hamlett since 1998. ‘He can always make a name for himself when he comes in and does his job.'”

Damn you, C. J., for being such a grown-up.

None of this would have mattered if word of the offer going to Houston Dynamo assistant coach John Spencer didn’t get out. It did, of course, and that situation kicks off the Hamlett era under poor auspices. The impression that the teams “settled on” Hamlett is virtually unavoidable and can only be erased by a sustained strong start; anything less, say a repeat of last year’s fast start, followed by a hard slump, will likely produce a “told you so” dynamic, one based on the notion that the relevant parties never quite bought Hamlett in the head coach’s job.

I can’t speak for Chicago’s fans, but assume a whiff of anti-climax attends Hamlett’s hire – and that’s whether they like him, and believe in him, or not. Assuming this goes through – and I don’t see why it won’t – Hamlett deserved better. Chicago’s fans deserve better – not better than Hamlett, but better than a front office that plopped a big gloomy cloud over their new head coach as he leads his team into the 2008 season.

To end this, however, on a positive note, I have only one thing to say: Give ’em Hell, Denis. Make them wash down their crow with a draught of their doubts about you.

MLS Rumors Watch, 1-1 (2-1 soon?) + Today’s Latest

Even though the ink is not yet dry on the trade that will send Alecko Eskandarian to Chivas USA, the content of Steve Goff’s direct communication with the forward makes me feel comfortable enough to say they got that one right. That takes them to 1-1 – and Esky sounds happy. Huzzah!

In other news, they’re “90% certain” to go 2-1 on the Claudio Lopez to MLS rumor.

To move this thing forward, I came across a late post yesterday: Toronto FC is after/working on signing some Argentinian dude with dodgy facial hair named Roger; they didn’t rate this one, but I’m going to call it live. This seems to be part of the grand, hush-hush project of making MLS the Argentine League Norte.

Anyway, I’ll post more of today’s rumors in this space as the day progresses…after this sentence.

UPDATE: Tricky, tricky, tricky, so much so that scuttling this Rumor Watch project is tempting. For instance, what to do with the Clint Mathis to Greece thing? For starters, they don’t really treat it like a rumor – it’s more of a report – and multiple sites are reporting it as such (which I’ll be doing myself shortly). So, that won’t count.

I get the same feeling about the Clarence Goodson to some Scandinavian team with a made-up name (IK Start? Ah, bullshit. That’s like IK Let’s Go! C’mon, tell me the real name). Mmm…maybe it’s not so hard. 3rd Degree’s report link to Soccer by Ives ran on something more solid than “making a run” at a job in Norway; then again, Ives’ headline reads pretty firm, “Goodson Says Goodbye.” So, all right, I’ll call this one live – and they’re rating it as a 5…and I’m guessing this will be an easy W for MLS Rumors.

For the record, I’m passing on the expansion city post and the one about Denis Hamlett refusing the first offer from Chicago (though, if he did, good for him). So, for today, I’m only clocking the Clarence Goodson and Roger rumors…plus the ones leftover from yesterday…getting confusing…

UPDATE: Because MLS Rumors tagged it with a 3, the Kenny Cooper to Houston rumor doesn’t rate; damn shame, ’cause that’s a really nifty li’l rumor.  And, because I thought it already happened, and because it seems inevitable, I’m going to spike (e.g. not count) the rumor that has Carlos Pavon out of LA.  This one, however, does rate:

– Joseph Ngwenya to some Austrian joint (rated: 4).

TRANSFERS: Klinsmann to Bayern, Anelka signs for Chelsea

JURGEN KLINSMANN: The former German national team coach has come out of hiding and spurned speculation that he would take over for Rafa Benitez at Liverpool. Instead, starting in July – Klinsmann will focus his efforts on returning Bayern Munich to dominance in the Bundesliga and Europe. Ottmar Hitzfeld is set to step down at season’s end.  Munich is at the top with company – Werder Bremen keeping pace and HSV 4 points behind.

NICOLAS ANELKA: $30 million is what it took in the end as Bolton’s French striker and leading scorer is out the door to Stamford Bridge. It is Avram Grant’s first signing in charge of Chelsea and there’s no doubt this will be a good one – Anelka seems to have found his old stride (Arsenal days) after bouncing about for a good 10 years. Maybe the years have tempered him. Either way, Anelka should provide support for Shevchenko in the goalscoring department and his signing was almost a necessity for Grant as Chelsea are nursing stars John Terry and Frank Lampard, missing four in Kalou, Drogba, Mikel and Essien to the African Nations Cup, and dealing with a somewhat suspect backline. Anelka’s department of scoring goals – if efficient – could jumpstart Chelsea to a second-half run. Chelsea currently sit in 3rd – six points behind the leaders.

Other key transfers so far today: Liverpool finalized the signing of Slovakian defender Martin Skrtel for $9 million; Derby captured it’s fourth in Tottenham wantaway midfielder Hossam Ghaly (on loan)

And yes, we have heard that Clint Mathis is on his way to Ergotelis of the Greek SuperLeague on top of Clarence Goodson to IK Start in the Norwegian second division (Adeccoligean). I’m sure my colleague Jeff will have something to say about that. Eddie Johnson’s transfer prospects have taken a hit as well with Peter Vermes saying that no new bids have been tabled for the striker since Derby last summer.

1 Can of Beer at the Camp Nou=1,333 Euros

Think about your normal NFL Tailgate.  In my 24 years of existence on this planet, and my 17 years attending Bills football games, I’ve seen my fair share of alcohol smuggling through the gates of Ralph Wilson Stadium.

But who would have thought that the Antiviolence commission in Spain fined Barcelona 4,000 Euros for ‘irregularities that existed at the gates of the Camp Nou’ before the Barça-Madrid game.

What ‘irregularities’ existed you may ask?  Apparently three cans of beer were smuggled into the Camp Nou, which brought upon the fine.  Another incident previously occurred but was not mentioned in the article.

So smugging beer into the Camp Nou costs a bit more than at the bar.