A busy week leads to a Friday edition of Outside the Box. It seems like an eternity ago that Captain America went down fighting at Wembley.
Christian Pulisic showed fantastic close-control in scoring the opening goal of the FA Cup Final but he won over the British public later in the game by trying to fight through pain.
If you’ve never strained a hamstring, it really sucks. It feels like someone stabbed you in the back of the leg and all you can do is hop on the good leg or collapse in a heap and you don’t really get the luxury of making that decision.
Initially it looked like the injury was on the shot until the close-up replays showed the agony in his face, screaming as the future first American Ballon d’Or winner took the last few steps of his run.
Never mind the golden ball. Balls of absolute steel.
Dry Your Eyes Mate
If you’re unfamiliar with UK hip hop project The Streets, there’s always time to correct that mistake.
Mike Skinner’s vocals have been set to different tracks over the years but this is the first time I can remember someone else’s voice put over The Streets’ music.
Just a couple of days after the FA Cup final, soccer returned to Northwest London for the richest game in any sport. Brentford and Fulham drove a couple of miles from their West London homes to fight over a prize that could be worth as much as $345m according to Deloitte should the winning club survive a season in the Premier League.
Fulham left back Joe Bryan scored twice in extra time after a goalless 90 minutes to send the American-owned club back to the top flight leading to rookie manager Scott Parker giving a frank interview about the stresses of management.
Here’s the real thing for comparison:
Howe About That
Among the clubs Fulham are replacing this year (W*tford LOL) is Bournemouth. Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe ended his long tenure with the Cherries having first taken over as caretaker manager on December 31, 2008 at the age of just 31 years and one month.
Coaches are rarely given time to succeed these days with the average tenure falling below two years. So let’s take a look at the world of soccer when Eddie Howe was appointed:
- Bournemouth and Rotherham were fighting against 17-point deductions in League Two, while Luton Town started the season on minus-30 due to financial issues/Football League incompetence.
- Sunderland had just fired Roy Keane. They’ve had 17 coaches since.
- The Seattle Sounders had just been announced as Major League Soccer’s 15th team.
- The Hunt family still owned three MLS teams, having just won their still-most recent MLS Cup with Columbus.
- The USMNT were headed to the Confederations Cup where they would go on to beat European champions Spain and fall 3-2 to Brazil in the final.
- Cristiano Ronaldo had just won his first Ballon d’Or after a Champions League winning season with Manchester United. Leo Messi had yet to win his first.
Howay The Saudis
Newcastle United’s potential takeover backed by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has failed and Geordies are stuck with Mike Ashley for just a little bit longer.
It’s no great shock that the Premier League failed to approve the sale. Even if you look past the Saudi record of funding terrorism, their human rights record, and the high profile assassinations ordered by the crown prince, the Saudi government has blocked Qatari-owned beIN SPORTS from broadcasting Premier League games in the country as part of their mini-Cold War. With no legal way to watch the league in Saudi Arabia, a Saudi channel began illegally airing the games which is apparently a big no-no.
On the Toon, the Newcastle fans grew desperate for both getting rid of Ashley and to become the new Man City but the Newcastle United Supporters Trust must win the award for worst straw-clutching by demanding a government investigation, claiming that this would prevent the 20%-minority partners from building houses in the area.
The rule of thumb tends to be if those minority partners think they’ll make money building in the area, they’ll make that money. I hope Newcastle gets the right owner, not just anyone with money and a list of international crimes.
Iker-n Settle This For You
Legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas confirmed his retirement this week but not before answering a tough question from Cesc Fabregas in a way that few others could.
A World Cup, two Euros, three Champions Leagues, seven league titles, five-times in the FIFA World XI. It’s fair to say a lot of people saw this level of career coming when Casillas started his first Champions League final a couple of days after turning 19.
This Ain’t Wrasslin’
Wolves winger Adama Traore already had the physique of a professional wrestler rather than a soccer player but his head coach took that a step further yesterday.
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo had his winger oiled up to try and prevent Olympiacos players from grabbing at the former Barcelona player to try and slow him down.
Check back for that!