The Footie Thread

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The Footie Thread

It's crunch time in football land.

Liverpool has crushed, in quick succession, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Aston Villa to move within one point of Man Utd. After the international break this weekend, if they win at Fulham on Saturday they could actually find themselves in first place before Man Utd play Villa on Sunday. In appearances at least, this makes it look like the EPL title race is still on. It's only when you look at Man U's easier fixture list and their game in hand, and the fact that they have lost more games in the last week than they have in 47 months that the truth hits home. And Chelsea, by failing to take advantage of the slip last week by also losing to Tottenham, are out of the running as well. United's hunt for the impossible quintuple (World Club Cup (check), League Cup (check), FA Cup (semis against Everton), League Title and Champion's League) is still very much on.

Barcelona, meanwhile, are imperious in La Liga. Real Madrid, who, after being squashed by Liverpool in the Champions League look like they would be relegated if the played in the English Premier league, had made it look like the title race was still on by clawing back a few points, now sit six points adrift, while Barcelona are storming. Their front three, Thierry Henry, Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto'o have scored more goals than any other team. Barcelona have a  staggering +60 goal difference, 25 more than Madrid. After the disaster of last season, Barca are back with a vengeance.

In Serie A, meanwhile, Inter have sewn up the league title ages ago, but their lukewarm performance, with Roma, as the last Italians in the Champions league puts to question the quality of the scudetto.

It's the Champions league that is most interesting. Man Utd, despite their recent hiccup in form, have the easiest route to the final. They have Porto, by far the weakest opposition in the last eight, and then the winner of Arsenal/Villareal, both of whom would have been preferred draws by any of the bigger clubs in the quarterfinals. Chelsea and Liverpool are meeting for the fourth straight year in the knockout phases, and you have to fancy 'Pool based on recent form. Another appealing tie is  Barca/Bayern Munich. I don't follow the Bundesliga (although apparently Hertha Berlin is making a great run for the title), but Bayern absolutely massacred Sporting Lisbon something like 12-1 in the last round. They have players of great quality, like Frank Ribery, who, when Man City was trying to buy Kaka from Milan for 100 million pounds, Milan eyed Ribery for their replacement. They were promptly told by Bayern that if Kaka was worth 100 million, Ribery was worth 150.

And I'm probably the only babbler who cares about the Scottish Premier League: Celtic just beat Rangers in the League Cup Final for their first silverware of the season. They look to win the league as well, making it four straight, although as my Glaswegian friend says, when Celtic are four points clear and Rangers have one game or less remaining, then we'll say the league is safe. Rangers, barring disaster, will likely bring home the Scottish FA Cup, since St. Mirren knocked out Celtic last week 1-0, despite being thrashed 7-0 by the hoops the week before. Much more interesting to me, however, was the Edinburgh Derby at Easter Road, a few blocks away from my house, where Edinburgh Hibernian beat Heart of Midlothian 1-0 at home, beating their crosstown rivals for the first time in a decade. We are Hibernian FC! We hate jam tarts and we hate Dundee!

Can you tell  I've been waiting for an excuse to open a football thread?

Caissa

I was wearing my Ranger scarf this morning as usual. A friend picked it up Glasgow a few years ago for me. The problem with the Scottish League is that most years its a two team race with both of them being in Glasgow.

 

The nice thing about the EPL is that you have teams from the north and from London competing almost every year.

In Champions League, I think the winner of Chelsea/Liverpool will be meeting Man U in the final.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

True, but the last time an English team that wasn't Manchester United, Chelsea, or Arsenal (Liverpool haven't won since 1990, and they haven't really competed until this year) won the title was Blackburn in 1995. And the top four are usually guaranteed, except when Liverpool finished fifth in 2003 (also the year, curiously enough, they won the Champion's League), pipped by Newcastle. Even the FA Cup has been won almost exclusively by a top four club, with Portsmouth last year being the exception. Aston Villa and Everton and a few other also-rans muck about in the top half of the table with the only real other interest in who gets relegated. Incredibly, there are ten teams who could realistically go down this season. And, Cardiff (Welsh!) could get promoted this year to the Premier League for the first time in, I don't know, ages.

As for the Champion's League, I couldn't hope to guess who will go through in the Barca/Bayern/Pool/Chelsea bracket, and Man Utd could easily get beat at any stage, although I agree, they are favourites for the final.

P.S. I always wondered why we always seem to clash, Caissa, when you seem like such a reasonable fellow. Now I understand. You're a bloody Gerry. Tongue out

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By the way, if you want any evidence at how absolutely stunning Barcelona can be this season, have a look at their 6-0 dismantling of Malaga last weekend. It could double as a goals of the season compilation!

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Scotland has dropped Rangers pair Barry Ferguson and Allan MacGregor (who just won his first cap over Sunderland's Craig Gordon) for a post-match 'drinking session' after their 3-0 loss to Holland on Saturday in a world-cup qualifier. Scotland play Iceland in a crucial game tonight, although with no goals in three games, their time could be up anyway.

Ireland suffered a late equalizer from Bulgaria through an own goal on Saturday, and deserved the win but couldn't ice the game. Coached by crazy man Giovanni Trapattoni, Ireland play Italy tonight in Bari in a homecoming of sorts.

England plays Ukraine after dimantling Slovakia in a friendly on Saturday. England have been cruising internationally lately and top their group with four straight wins, but Ukraine will be a hard test, especially since Fabio Capello, England's Italian coach, is stuck with his fifth-choice striker, Peter Crouch.

France, after losing to lowly Austria earlier in the campaign, will be expected to beat Lithuania tonight. There is little room for error with Romania also a strong threat.

Euro champions Spain meanwhile have won five in a row and show no signs of slowing down. They can already start thinking of South Africa next year.

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BTW, Ferguson and MacGregor, while being benched against Iceland, made obscene 'V-gestures' to the cameras before the match. Ferguson has since been stripped of captaincy of both Rangers and Scotland, and told he will never play for either team again. Likewise for MacGregor, the Rangers number one who played a grand total of one game for Scotland before disgracing himself. Ouch.

In the EPL, Liverpool indeed won yesterday with a last gasp winner against Fulham putting them top, albeit with one less game to go. Man U had a tough game against Aston Villa today, a must-win, despite having about eight players out through injury and suspension, including both first-choice centre backs, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand. After Villa came from behind to lead 2-1, Alex Ferguson put on 19-year-old Danny Wallbeck and 17-year-old Roman debutante Federico Macheda up front, whose combined age is just slightly more than 35-year-old Ryan Giggs. While behind. In the middle of a title race. Cristiano Ronaldo, as he does, tied the game up with a nifty turn and shot. Then this happened.

Caissa

Thanks, Catchfire. watching the Man U game and highlights was bad enough.  I suppose if my team wins in extra time I can't complain about our rival winning in extra time. Toronto FC's defense looked porous on both of the goals on Saturday but played a better second half. Seattle is a very strong "expansion" team having played previously in the USL. Were you at the game Scout?

al-Qa'bong

My team, FC Nantes, sucks again this year. They're currently in 17th place and might risk being shipped down to Ligue 2 next season.

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The Champions League semis are finalized: Barcelona dismantled Bayern Munich 4-0 in the first leg and coasted to 1-1 in the second, easing their way into the final. Chelsea and Liverpool put together one of the most exciting European matches ever, a 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge after Chelsea shocked 'pool 3-1 in the first leg. The Reds were up 2-0 at halftime and looked like a fair bet to go through, but a horrible mistake by Pepe Reina and two lovel goals by Frank Lampard broke Anfield hearts. Barca and Chelsea in the first semi. They've had some wonderful matches in recent years, so it could be a lovely match--'for neutrals', as they say. Like any reasonable fellow, I hate Chelsea, so I'll be pulling for the Catalans.

Arsenal, now fit and confident, with Brazilian-Croat Eduardo, Spain's Fabregas, and Theo Walcott healthy again, are raging. They easily dispatched Villareal 1-1 in Spain and then 3-0 back at Highbury. Man U looked were vulnerable after a scrappy 2-2 draw at Old Trafford, with two away goals for Porto a major coup. But United did what they always do, becoming the first English side to beat Porto at home with a cool 1-0 victory, including a 40 yard wonderstrike by the world's smuggest footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo. A tempting renewal of an old rivalry, Arsenal v Man Utd in the second semi-final.

Oh, and the goal of the year competition ended prematurely last week when Wolfsburg striker Grafite in the Bundesliga had the audacity to do this.

Caissa

I saw that goal on highlight reels all weekend. I have to be cheering for British teams as long as they are in competition.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Caissa, I'm distraught to say that your cabal of Gerries beat my Hibees 3-2 today at Easter Road, even after going down to ten players. What a sad day for good and honest men.

Caissa

In the Scottish League it is Celtic and Rangers and then the also rans.

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Man, if Edinburgh Hibernian could be an also-ran, I would be in heaven.

Caissa

They don't seem in any danger of relegation.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

From a comment like that, I can assume you've never had to sit through a 'football' 'match' between Hibernian and St. Mirren in gale-force winds on a chilly Sunday in January. Once I went to a game and a nearby apartment block started to smoke. Half the fans left their seats to watch the fire instead.

We did win the League Cup two years ago, I guess. First trophy in a hunnerd years or something. But Aberdeen, Dundee Utd and Heart of Midlothian (aka the filthy Jam Tarts) are also-rans. The Hibs are simply awful.

Caissa

One of the shitty things about Canada and its size is the lack of readily available good soccer. When I lived in London, ONT I went to CSL games but they were hard to classify as good.  The idea of having divisions that teams can work through to reach higher or lower spots is good. Might take some of the nonsense out of professional hockey in North America.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I completely agree. While the title race is interesting, the race to relegation escape, or even promotion from the lower leagues can be extraordinary. Fulham FC pulled off a minor miracle last year to escape relegation, and 40-year-old Dean Windass scored an extraordinary goal for Hull City FC in last year's playoffs to earn them promotion.

Unfortunately, it's not so exciting in the SPL, with only one team relegated each year due to the dearth of talent, and lack of teams that could reasonably compete with Rangers and Celtic (and by reasonably, I mean not get squashed each time they played them). Most of the Celtic/Rangers squad would probably end up in the Championship (league below Premier) if they played in England, with the rest of the top six Scottish club players ending up somewhere in the lower divisions.

While I still believe that the Stanley Cup Playoffs are the most consistently exciting annual event in sports, I think the threat of relegation would make for a more democratic table (goodbye Columbus and Nashville, hello Hamilton and Winnipeg) and liven up teams that tank in order to get a good draft pick.

Caissa

Our 7 year old has his first football clinic today at school. It was a reward for the students who received the Stinger of the Month awards for the month of April.

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Nice! Congrats Caissa and Caissa jr! P.S. What is a Stinger of the Month award?

Caissa

The school's mascot is a Bee. They are the Centennial Stingers. Every month a child from each class is named Stinger of the Month for exemplifying the value which is being emphasized for that moth. To be honest, I'm not sure which value A. exemplified.

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Petr Cech: still got it.

Caissa

Toronto FC is doing well. And rangers and Liverpool are both in second place...

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Rangers look like they'll take the Scottish Cup, as they easily beat St. Mirren to progress to the final, where they will meet the equally lowly Falkirk (which leads to the obvious conclusion that Falkirk will beat Rangers in the Cup final when Pigs fly--and pigs flu in Falkirk last week).

Arsenal and Man U tonight in Champion's League semi! Come on you Reds!

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Last week's Champion's league matches both saw one team produce wonderful, attacking football while the other defended with all its might. Man U were disappointed only to head into tomorrow's matchup at the Emirates with a 1-0 lead--indeed, 2-0 would have still disappointed considering their chances, but the Arse's keeper Pedro Almunia was spectacular. So too was Petr Cech last Tuesday as Chelsea held an almost overwhelming Barcelona 0-0 at the Nou Camp, the first time this season Barcelona haven't scored at home. In case Chelsea's 0-0 result doesn't seem that impressive, consider that in the 158th el clásico between Real Madrid and Barcelona this weekend, Barcelona embarrassed the hosts at the Bernebeu 2-6, the worst result for Real at home in almost 60 years. The match ended speculation over who would finish top of La Liga, despite the fact that Real had crawled back to within 4 points.

Unfortunately for Scouser fans, the Premier League is also looking to be wrapped up, but it ain't over yet.

The story right now in England is the fall of Newcastle United, who are looking more and more likely to be relegated at the end of the season, after losing 3-0 to Liverpool in a listless performance. A team that tellingly still wears the name of bankrupt bank Northern Rock on their shirts as their sponsor, Newcastle's demise mirrors the decline of the old steel and shipobuilding town of Newcastle, and the north in general.

How the Heart was torn from Newcastle

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"Newcastle has changed," he reflects. "My uncles worked in the shipyards, my grandfather worked down the pits and as kids we'd go to watch ships being launched at Wallsend. There was romance there, which you don't get now working in call centres. It might sound cheesy, and the rest of the country doesn't get it, but I believe the club filled a vacuum in the identity of Newcastle."

Hall had conjured a vision of the club as a standard bearer for a new Newcastle but a generation of fans like Martin, 45, the sons of sheet-metal workers, shipbuilders and miners, have swarmed to the rebuilt St James' as much for its tradition and links to the past.

The brute truth, anyway, is that marketing, and making a city centre more attractive, can take a city only so far. In July 2006 the Paris-based OECD, a partnership of 30 governments including our own, reviewed Newcastle's efforts to reinvent itself. The report punched hard, finding that, although there were success stories, the North-East economy, employment and incomes lagged behind other regions. The area had the country's worst unemployment among people aged 55-64 - many of them former miners and shipbuilders thrown on the scrap heap while Sir John Hall was building his shopping centre. Too few businesses were starting up compared with elsewhere in the UK. Two companies hailed as beacons were Northern Rock, which afterwards became the landmark first victim of the credit crunch, and Nissan, which in January laid off 1,200 workers.

Caissa

And didn't Hibs lose 2-1?

Toronto FC drew Columbus 1-1.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Yes, sadly, the Hibs did lose 2-1. I was at the game. Stephen Fletcher equalized only for the Cabbage to go behind again. Damn United. They do have a nice strip though. Here's Rangers manager Walter Smith back when he played for Dundee United in the 1960s:

Bad luck TFC!

I'm thinking about going to the Edinburgh Derby this Thursday evening at Jam Tarts on Gorgie Road, but I also think I have seen enough middle-aged men urinating in sinks in my lifetime and may just opt out this week.

Star Spangled C...

I actually hate soccer/football but my wife is a big fan and she was telling me this weekend about how her favourite team, some Jeruslaem team has to play their next game in an empty stadium cause apparently the fans were all chanting "death to the arabs" at the last match. Say this about soccer fans: they are fucking nuts.

Star Spangled C...

I actually hate soccer/football but my wife is a big fan and she was telling me this weekend about how her favourite team, some Jeruslaem team has to play their next game in an empty stadium cause apparently the fans were all chanting "death to the arabs" at the last match. Say this about soccer fans: they are fucking nuts.

Caissa

How can you hate, Footie, SSC? Having to play in an empty stadium is a fairly common penalty.

You might want to lobby to have footie fans put in the new DSM. Or better yet read up on Footie culture worldwide.

Star Spangled C...

Honestly, it just seems so incredibly boring to me. During the World Cup, I would like going to different ethnic neighbourhoods to watch the games. Watch an Italian game in Little Italy, etc. and enjoy the food and the fans but the game itself jsut held no interest for me. Yet at the same time, I love baseball which I know many people find to be boring as sin. Just preferences, I guess. Tennis, to me, is the most beautiful game but I know people who can't watch that either.

What is DSM by the way?

Caissa

DSM= Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Star Spangled Canadian wrote:
Say this about soccer fans: they are fucking nuts.

What an ignorant statement. Sadly, it is typical of Canadians and Americans to demonize the supporters of a sport loved by the entire world. It is indeed fairly common to play games in empty stadiums, or to dock points from clubs, to censure misbehaving supporters. I wonder if the Cleveland Indians, the Washington Redskins or the Atlanta Braves ever had to suffer such penalties? I wonder, SSC, if you see the same connection between Don Cherry's Afghan warmongering and CAF cheerleading and hockey as you do with football and sectarianism?

Moreover, to associate football fans with such racist behaviour is nothing short of classist. As if Israeli football supporters are the only Israelis who have ever chanted 'Death to Arabs'. As if that dangerous, fascist streak does not surface elsewhere in Israel. The Spanish national team almost had to play in front of an empty stadium after fans launched monkey chants at England's black players during a friendly, but the penalty was reduced, disgracefully, to a paltry fine. On the other hand, not even a wrist slap was delivered to the Spanish F1 association after F1 spectators showed up in blackface and minstrel costumes to mock then-leader Lewis Hamilton.

It is not surprising that racist and sexist abuse surfaces in the favourite sport of racist and sexist nations. Football might give rise to empty stadiums, fascist chants and sectarian violence, but it has also given rise to brave players like Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o who have stood up to such despicable behaviour.

Star Spangled C...

No offense intended, Catchfire. I was joking around. Describing fans as "nuts" was sort of a backhanded compliment; as in, I respect their committment to the team to be so hardcore about it. My wife will wake up at ridiculous hours to watch overseas games on our satellite dish (that we really only got so that she can watch football and I can watch Montreal Canadien games). I have a friend of Dutch descent who bases all of his vacations around seeing his favourite team. Fans of many sports are nuts. And that's what largely adds to the atmosphere of going to a game.

I'm not sure what you meant by saying that it was "classist", catchfire. Knowing very little about this team (or any team, really) I have no idea if you perceive the people who go this Israeli team's games as "lower" or "higher" class within israeli society (or if this would apply the same in italy, Britain, Spain, etc.). I tend to think of people who regularly go to games as being wealthier, if only because going to games can be expensive. I can tell you from having attended Duke University that their basketball fans are the craziest fans I've ever seen in sports and the vast majority of the Duke student are what one would describe as "upper class". If you ever want to witness the msot insane fan behaviour, just watch Duke play against Maryland.

There's actually a book I've been meaning to read that I think is called "How Soccer Explains teh Modern World" (author's last name is Foer - brother of great novelist Jonathan Safran Foer) about how so much of the global issues are reflected through the sport. Apparently, there are teams whose fans are mainly socialist, other teams whose fans are mainly fascist. Ethnic rivalries play out, etc. For example, my wife is a Sephardic Jew and apparently, Beitar Yerushalayim is who all the sephardim cheer for whereeas the Ashkenazis tend to cheer for another team, the Arabs another team, etc. even within the same city.

I find the culture around the game very interesting. The game itself...not so much.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Your juxtaposition, SSC, of fascist behaviour of some football supporters, with the generalizing conclusion that football fans are 'nuts' seemed to me to fit in with the typical North American attitude towards football as a hooligan's sport. Football is largely the sport of the worldwide working classes. In Britain, for example, the interviews with soccer players are lpacked with cliches and trusims if not argely incoherent--usually in a telling working class accent: David Beckham and Steven Gerrard spring to mind, but it is virtually true of all British footballers. Rugby players, on the other hand, speak with posh accents and can generally give informative interviews because they all went to public schools (what we would call private schools in NA). Cricket, the third most popular team sport in Britain, is, obviously, a whole other dimension. There's a reason why cricket spectators at Lord's can drink Pimms and champagne at a test match while Tennents and John Smith's are forbidden in view of a football pitch. Not to mention you don't need any expensive equipment or facilities to play football. You can play it with a ball made of tape and rags and muddy patch of dirt. I suppose it's easy to miss this distinction if you don't live in a footballing country.

Indeed, I kind of indulged this bias myself when I remarked about the bathroom sanitation habits of Away Hibee supporters (my team, the Edinburgh Hibernian). For me, this whole mindset i part and parcel of the criminalizing or cultural censure of working-class leisure, pleasure and behaviour. It's the same reason the fascist British National Party is managed by London High Street suits, but voted for and recruited in white working-class neighbourhoods like Liverpool and Manchester whose industry have ben ravaged. Racism is common to all classes and geography, but football fans haven't learned the 'right' ways to hide theirs, so they earn the criticism of the liberal gentility. This doesn't excuse racism in football, of course, but it should expose the hypocrisy of those who see motes and specks while ignoring beams.

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Omg, as I was saying, since I am a reasonable man, I hate Chelsea; but it was very hard watching them crash out of the Champions League tonight. Not least because Scottish men seem always intent on buying you pints for no reason even when you quite clearly still have a half left in your glass. Barcelona seemed baffled tonight, and after Michael Essien (brilliant, brilliant player from Ghana) scored a beautiful, wondrous goal, it looked like Europe's favourite sons were done for the year. But, despite several missed penalty calls for Chelsea from the ref, Iniesta scored a well-taken strike in the third minute of extra time to give Barça the win because of away goals. Barcelona and Man United (who eviscerated Arsenal Tuesday night) meet on the 27th in the final and you have to favour the Reds. Barcelona just can't seem to handle a Premiership defence, and MU have the best in the biz. (Nemanja Vidic! He's from Serb-i-a! He'll F'N-in' Mur-der-ya!). Man U 3-1 winners to repeat as Euro champs.

I'll only mention the SPL now, being slightly drunk on Scottish lager. It's derby weekend with the New Firm (Aberdeen v Dundee Utd) and the Edinburgh Derby tomorrow evening (I've opted to play it safe and watch Hearts-Hibs indoors). I have to say, the Hibs are fukked. We're missing both centrebacks and a few other players as well. And, we're just not as good as the Jambos, as much as it hurts to say. No matter, though. We finish sixth regardless, while the Jam Tarts are a cinch for Europe (the bastards). (Trivia: a key hearts player shares my full name, and he used to play for a big club in England.) The critical league match, however, is Saturday, with the last Old Firm at Rangers Ibrox. If there's a winner, it could end the season there. Though I slightly favour Celtic in my heart, I fear that in-form Gerrys could nab it this weekend. Nevertheless: Come on the Hoops!

Q: How do you turn down a Scotsman buying rounds? A: Buy him one instead.

Love,

CF

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Pundits Andy Gray and Jamie Redknapp revealed British football's xenophobic understrip by expressing disbelief that UEFA had selected someone from a small footballing nation like Norway to referee a Champion's league final. Apparently they forgot Graham Poll's performance in the last World Cup when he gave three yellow cards and one red to the same player in a single game.

Caissa

Toronto got the win but squandered more than a few chances Wednesday night, needing a great late save by Stefan Frei to preserve a 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps in the opening game of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship.

http://www.tsn.ca/soccer/story/?id=277803

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0-1 Hibernian at Tynecastle! Come on you Hibs! Get it right up ye, jambos!

Caissa

GLASGOW, Scotland -- Rangers moved atop the Scottish Premier League standings with three games remaining Saturday following a 1-0 win over defending champion and rival Celtic.

Midfielder Steve Davis scored in the 37th minute at Ibrox to give Rangers 79 points, two more than Celtic, which is aiming for a fourth straight title.

http://www.tsn.ca/soccer/story/?id=278111

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Sadly, a win for the forces of darkness. Will Scotland recover? Will the world?

In other news, Manchester United need just four points in three games (Wigan Athletic, Arsenal and Hull City), to clinch the EPL title. But all eyes are on the dream match-up in the Champions League Final: Manchester United vs Barcelona, Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Lionel Messi, Henry & Eto'o vs Ferdinand & Vidic, Alex Ferguson vs. Pep Guardiola, football vs. football.

Come. On. You. Reds.

Caissa

I was at a meeting with a Wolverhampton fan last night. He is looking forward to their cup of tea in the premier next year.

I think we can safely say that Man U has taken the premier this year.

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A Wolves fan outside of Britain? Amazing! Yes, well done to the Wolves. Although I was hoping Cardiff would get promoted as well, bringing Wales back into the English top flight. Sadly, they crashed at the end of the season (including a 6-0 loss to Preston!) and finished out of the playoffs on goal difference. Also promoted are ex-Scotland coach Alex McLeish's Birmingham City, but McLeish is so unpopular there he might be moving on despite achieving promotion. The last spot is between Sheffield United (who beat Preston North End last week) and either Burnley or Reading.

Caissa

He is from England and I believe saw them win the FA Cup in 1960.

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omg Caissa, it's Hibs v Rangers at Easter Road tomorrow night. I work at a pub where the Chief Sports Writer of the Scotsman...um, socializes...every night and he's a Hearts supporter, which is practically the same as a Gerry. I'm thinking about placing a bet with him, but for crying out loud, we're going to get massacred. I can only hope that the forces of justice, human rights and democracy hold out for one more night against the brutal onslaught of totalitarian imperialsim that is the Ibrox faithful.

We hate Glasgow Rangers, we hate Celtc too (they're shite!). We hate Heart of Midlothian but the Hibees we love you (altogether now).

Oh, if only that were true...

Caissa

It probably won't be worse that 3-0. They might be kind at stop at 2-0.

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This season (home team listed first): Hibernian 2-3 Rangers, Rangers 1-0 Hibernian and (ouch) Hibernian 0-3 Rangers.

Caissa

I'll have to dig my Rangers scarf out of the closet when I get home. What time is kickoff? I'll probably still be at work.

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Justice, happiness, democracy, dreams of children: 1
Darkness, bile, evil, country music: 1

Caissa

You must be pleased with that result. I'm less pleased with Man U 2 Wigan 1.

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Pleased? We almost beat the bastards! Late winner by Nacho Novo wrecked the dream (What do you call somebody else's Novo? Nacho...nevermind).

Why it is time to nationalize the Premier League

Quote:
Right now, given the utter collapse and total failure of the Friedmanite free market model, the nationalisation of the Premier League (and the stupidly named leagues below it) would face almost no serious ideological opposition, and would probably prove massively popular with the vast majority of football fans, particularly those who are fans of clubs that - under the present system - have no realistic chance of ever again winning anything meaningful. Even Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, admits it's time to reassess the Premier League's relationship with money.

Of course, realistically any such nationalisation would have to be Europe-wide, but given the EU's much vaunted cultural remit, would that really be a problem?

Football is integral to European culture. Easily as important as food or art. Leaving it in the hands of unregulated capital makes no more sense than letting entirely profit-motivated private companies run the environment, the arts, transport, broadcasting, banking, the mortgage industry or architecture. They will strip-mine it, pollute it, dilute it, debase it, rape its corpse and then sell its bones for cigar money. That's what they do. Hell, that's what they're doing.

Drawing on Europe's social democratic traditions (and German and Spanish football's experiences with collective ownership), we should seize the moment and nationalise all of Europe's top leagues, with or without shareholder and/or ownership compensation. By which, of course, I mean without.

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Oh yeah, Man U won the league. So did Barcelona and Inter.

Hibs held Celtic to a draw to give the SPL advantage back to Rangers, who beat Aberdeen.

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