Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Even in South Carolina there are Manchester United asses giving me a hard time (he's not really an ass, just a Man. U. fan)

I hung out with Buddy Tim last night who asked if I was going to cut out of work early today to watch the game. I told him I was going to tape it and watch it later as my Wednesday night poker game was going to conflict with it. Tim, still not certain about my EPL knowledge, wondered if I even knew what game he was talking about. I replied that it was the game wherein Manchester United was going to suffer a crushing defeat. His response was that it was clear I did not know the game he was speaking of. He was referring to the one was one in which West Ham United was going to get demolished. "That game is not scheduled for tomorrow," I replied. Hope I'm right.

I now have to spend the next 36 hours avoiding him and the internet so as not to hear the score before I have a chance to watch the match Thursday night. Please, nobody post anything important until Friday morning when I have a chance to get back on the net. Thanks. ;)

Edit: It appears as though I will be able to watch from the office today thanks to a timely heads-up from Hammered who has become the "go-to" guy for up to the minute revelations.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The past is past. The future awaits and contains a striker at every turn. Hopefully some Saints stayed in town and are available for knockout duty,

Arsenal just played a little bit better. For much of the game West Ham stood toe-to-toe, but one little lapse led to the only score that mattered. Faubert is a good player. I think it is obvious he has some nice skills. Where do you put him though? Right now, it seems as though he is being plugged into a square hole just to get him on the field.

Welcome back Mr. Collins. Solid, as was Parker.

For the first time this year, the middle looked safe as I found myself not cringing every time the ball went into the middle third. It will be a tall order to replicate that feeling with Man. U. and the fifteen strikers they will be putting on the field tomorrow.

Speaking of strikers, Cole may be one one day. Unlike that Lost castaway, Mr. Eko, for Arsenal, Carlton does not appear to have grown into his body yet. Once he adds 10-15 pounds of muscle, he will be able to shunt defenders aside and make better opportunities in front of the goal. Right now, he seems on the verge of always tripping over his own feet.

Bellamy is fast. I bet he gets impatient if the patron in front of him at the checkout takes too long to unpack their cart. He will break out for two or three as long as he can keep the hammy from sproinging.

My favorite announcer comment of the match: Faubert had an awful clearance attempt that popped straight up and the comment was, “That was a fairly unsophisticated attempt.” Indeed.

I want a win over Man. U. Oh, I know you all want one as well. I need it though as most of the EPL fans in town are supporters of that group for some reason. They have that Dallas Cowboy thing going on without the cool star on the helmet.

Speaking of the NFL, did the Saints-Chargers game cut into attendance at the EPL matches on Sunday? I noticed a ticket promotion on the West Ham website for Arsenal and was confused as I figured any match with them would be an instant sellout. At least the NFL game was entertaining unlike the one they had over there last year.

Alright, the recorder is set to go tomorrow as I will be playing poker during the match and we don’t get Fox Soccer channel out there. Not that anybody in my game would want to watch it anyway. They would rather listen to bad music of their youth. Not my youth mind you. That music was awesome. ;)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hull. Who Knew?

Before the season, when the schedule had just come out, you took your mental pencil and marked the projected wins and losses for the year. You put a check in the win column against a few of the big clubs. For the most part, you made sure it was home game as you know the boys always play a bit better in front of the home fans. Sure, you probably picked an away upset somewhere in there. After all, there is always hope and a little history to support such a pick. Besides, what is better than being able to say, "I knew it!" when they pull off a big victory on the road.

For the most part though, you tried to keep it reasonable. The Hammers were sure to lose a few on the road they should win, would lose some at home to a team that was just better, or played better that day, and would suffer the random, inexplicable loss to an inferior side. As for the wins, you marked down the sure things first, before you moved on to the "should wins," "could wins," and "Boy it would be nice to win this one wins." If your list was anything like mine, Hull was on that "should win" list at the beginning of the year along with Bolton and WBA. Unlike as with those two though, Hull has to be moved into the "could win" column. They are on an amazing run and I hope it continues for a bit. At least until the rematch. Who knew they would be able to do this first time around? If you did, more power to you. What did you put by Arsenal this week?


I am watching the Man. U/Celtic match on P2P on a Chinese network I think. I recognized when they said "Davenport," but Berbetov was a mish-mash.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It was 40 years ago today . . .

I used to play some football. Of course, it involved an oblong ball and handball was encouraged. I wish I had played more of the foot only variety.

It's been 21 years since I last put on a football helmet. I still have dreams of remaining eligibility and me trying to play at ECU or USC. Then, I wake up and thank goodness I don't really have to go out there and pop people. I still hurt all these years later. If my kids never step on a football field, it won't bother me a bit. I love the game still. It is violent to your body though and the ramifications will manifest the rest of your life.

This was the best we did while I was at ECU. We played the best team I had ever seen, the National Champion Hurricanes. Standing on the sideline as Miami kicked off, it sounded and felt as though a herd of elephants was running down the field. They were huge and fast. We got crushed by an FSU team that ended up # 2. Todd Ellis and the Gamecocks had what was probably their best team ever and Southern Miss was lead by a freshman Qb named Favre.

G 1 9/ 5 1987 R A W 32-14 ( 4 - 7 - 0 55) North Carolina State
G 2 9/12 1987 R C H L 3-44 ( 11 - 1 - 0 2) Florida State
G 3 9/19 1987 R A L 10-20 ( 3 - 7 - 1 64) Illinois
G 4 9/26 1987 H W 16-13 ( 0 - 1 - 0 0) Georgia Southern
G 5 10/ 3 1987 R H L 0-49 ( 6 - 6 - 0 31) West Virginia
G 6 10/10 1987 R H W 56-28 ( 4 - 7 - 0 69) Cincinnati
G 7 10/17 1987 R C A W 32-23 ( 2 - 9 - 0 65) Virginia Tech
G 8 10/24 1987 R C A L 12-34 ( 8 - 4 - 0 10) South Carolina
G 9 10/31 1987 R C A L 3-41 ( 12 - 0 - 0 1) Miami (Florida)
G 10 11/ 7 1987 R H W 31-26 ( 3 - 8 - 0 81) Temple
G 11 11/14 1987 R C A L 34-38 ( 6 - 5 - 0 30) Southern Mississippi

This photo was taken after the Cincinnati game, six days before my 19th birthday. I played a few more weeks and then retired at the end of the season. All athletes retire at some point whether it's the twelve year old who decides that baseball is no longer for him or Chris Chelios who will have to hang it up at some point. Sports was a huge part of my life back then. I wish I had listened to Dad who told me to concentrate on pool and golf as I could play them my whole life and get paid if I was smart enough. It wasn't for me though as I insisted on playing all the baseball, basketball, and football I could. Now, I am a bad pool player and worse golfer to go along with my sore knees and shoulders. To top it all off, my ass hurts if I play poker too long.

Anyway, it's my 40th. I am taking the family to the State Fair tonight and meeting the gang for a few drinks tomorrow. I don't feel different.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

When it rains . . .

From The Sun

WEST HAM manager Gianfranco Zola has been dealt another blow with Valon Behrami likely to face a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The £5million right-back, 23, hurt his knee while training with Switzerland when team-mate Gelson Fernandes clattered into him.

Now the Swiss are piling on. What do they have against us? They are supposed to be neutral.

The club website says he's fine and will be playing this weekend for Switzerland.

Monday, October 6, 2008


The match started at 8:30 a.m. my time. I did not think my usual spot would be open that early so I waited to stop in on my way to church. It was about 9:45 when I stuck my head in the door. There were a few souls in already waiting for the "bigger" games to start and no sign of my fellow Iron. I could tell they had just opened the doors and asked if I could catch the last few minutes of my match. "Not on," was the reply. I think the live telecast was on Sky, which no one gets here. The owner checked the listings for me and saw it would be recast at 5:00 p.m. on Setanta. He assured me they would have it one for me.

So. I spent the rest of the day trying to stay off the internet, or at least away from sites where I could stumble across the score. Honestly, it is not that hard to avoid EPL scores in South Carolina. Everything sports related on Sundays is NFL and NASCAR. I couldn't check my EPL fantasy scores though as I was scared I would run across the score. The closest I came was a vision of a 3-0 West Ham win. Turned out to be wishful thinking, didn't it?

I sat for the whole thing, sans sound. The bartender obviously had a Marley fetish and the accent was on the third beat the entire time I was there. The wings were overcooked and the Carlsberg keg ran dry. At least the hippies in Vermont had sent down a fresh shipment of Magic Hat # 9 and the key lime pie was dense with limey goodness.

Etherington was an invisible man. Did he even play? I couldn't tell without the sound on. He was just another skinny, white guy running around, unlike the last match where he distinguished himself with his gainful activity. Cole was around the goad and had a nice opportunity that got away to go along with the good bounce. De Michele got tired. The defense looked completely out of synch and Bolton seemed to control the middle of the field for much of the match. They also made a fresh Bellamy and Sears irrelevant in their short time in. As for Mr. Green, well, we all have our days don't we? One day, there will be a shutout. It's hard to bet on one coming now though.

Once again, losing to a bottom half club is especially harsh. Doing so at home is worse. They have got to take advantage of this part of the schedule. It gets tougher I hear. Even on this side of the World, I hear it gets tougher.