Having an awful day, just awful. Can’t go into the details, but it has all made me very grumpy. So, reacting more than usual as I read soccer news today, here are some thoughts, which will include a good deal of profanity, disrespect to various entities and individuals.
EPL: You Are Not Men; You Are Sporting Widgets
I heard over the weekend that the English Premier League has plans to play “special” games in venues around the world. Thanks for bringing the game to the fans, guys! Super! Oh, you’ll make shitloads of money out of the idea? But that couldn’t be the motivation, not with all that joy to spread (about as dignified in the grand scheme as a hooker spreading her legs). I think the best part comes with how the suits channel the spirit of Thomas Friedman-style hucksterism to dress up the simple, ancient art of making money:
“‘We can’t escape the fact that globalization of sport is with us,’ Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said. ‘This is a response to that globalization. … By design we have become a global phenomenon. We cannot go on manifesting that phenomenon as a broadcast proposition only.'”
Oh, Mr. Scudamore! You are the victim! Damn, damn globalization!
For the other side, USSoccerplayers.com’s J Hutcherson did a fair job of making the “for the fans” pitch and, he’s right on a lot of it, especially about laughing off talk of maintaining the “purity” of sport. I’d just like to think that, at some fucking point, fans would collectively say, “enough.” Enough squeezing every last cent out of fans, enough running the players for all their worth and a little more, enough tacked-on tournaments. I can ‘t believe anyone but the owners want current trends to continue; their interest isn’t that complicated, after all. Before long and we’ll all be supporting teams called the [Insert City here] Rented Mules.
Alexi Speaks Suit
LOVE this. Asked to comment on how the Los Angeles Galaxy treated Chris Albright – e.g. re-negotiating his contract, which he did on the belief he was helping the team, only to be traded on SuperDraft day (as detailed in an Andrea Canales piece) – here’s what Alexi had to say:
“While he would not comment on the details of the move, Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas said that, ‘Whether for us, or for another club, Albright is being compensated at the level which a top player at his position gets in this league.’”
I wasn’t there, but I’m hoping the original question read like, “Alexi, you just deceived a long-time player in contract negotiations – something a normal human being would describe as ‘dealing in bad faith’ or, perhaps more colloquially, ‘shivving’. Has your soul departed your body or do you rely on some cocktail of chemicals to put you to sleep at night?”
Greg: as the “good” Lalas brother, you don’t have to speak to this man. He’s not the brother you had. His real body is elsewhere. There is only “pod Alexi” now.
The bottom line: I’m a pure union man at this point. The “suits” eat balls – e.g. guys like Lalas, Ivan Gazidis, and other apologists for treating players – hey! – like rented mules. A mass walkout would be swell by me; if I have to watch a league in which players get an insult in lieu of a salary, I’m not sure I want it. A one-game sit-down strike by all the developmental players in the league on some random Saturday around playoff time would be all right as well. What have these players got to lose? $18K a year? Seriously, fuck ’em. And then fuck ’em again.
– Fortunately, I can pass on one happy thought today. I love the pre-season tournaments popping up all over the place.