The haves and have-nots are being exposed in my homeland over the last week as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic show far greater cracks in and around the sport of soccer than we’ve seen here in the US.
At a time where theme parks and concert venues are opening, professional sports are being told they may have to wait another six months before welcoming fans back which for anyone outside of the Premier League is the vast majority of a team’s revenue. The Premier League and other professional leagues in England have appealed to the UK government and the noise from both the media and general public is growing louder by the day.
The American owners of Manchester United and Liverpool put together a proposal that heavily weighted control of the sport to the top six Premier League teams in exchange for a bail-out of the lower leagues and women’s game before the remainder of the Premier League shot it down. The full details were never made public but Gary Sweet, Chief Executive of my beloved Luton Town, went on record as saying 85% of the proposal was good and could have been a position to work from.
Marcus Rashford pressured the government into funding free meals for underprivileged children earlier in the pandemic and has renewed that call as British schools break for a week. While the government opted to do nothing, businesses, community groups, and clubs in both the semi-pro and professional-game have pitched in to ensure children will not go hungry as everyone feels the pinch.
Ah, the football family!
Have-Not or Want-Not?
Continuing on with the theme of money in the English game, the idea of pay per view games was something we hit upon last time. The £15 per game fee has gone down like a fart in an elevator as clubs’ fans have opted to put their money to better use.
Liverpool fans raised over £100,000 for local food banks rather than pay that in PPV costs, and other clubs have raised thousands also. So much so, the Premier League is now debating dropping the price to £10 as the league still attempts some form of money-grab while watching viewing figures as low as 40,000 for those games.
Australian broadcaster Optus Sport had a little dig at the $4,443.91 (USD) folks will have to pay in the UK to watch every remaining Premier League game.
Keep in mind the poor soul having to pay nearly $20 to watch one game the next time your $4.99 comes out for Peacock.
From a kick in the nuts in the UK to one in Brazil as Flamengo’s Gustavo Henrique endured every man’s nightmare in a 5-1 win over Corinthians last week.
Buzz, Peter, and I always fawn over Flamengo’s home kit of white shorts with the red and black hooped shirt, but this is the one-time white shorts would be best avoided.
Brazilians have innovated the beautiful game over the past 70 years but Athletico Goianiense keeper Jean will not want to take any credit for his assist in their 3-0 loss to Palmeiras on Sunday as he played this majestic ball to Luiz Adriano.
It could always be worse as Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma proved with a horrendous pass back to Kepa before taking a leisurely stroll as Che Adams eventually scores.
Tat’s a Promise
Wolves fan Ash Stain pledged his support for Wolves captain, Conor Coady, by pledging to get a tattoo if the center back scored for England in a friendly against Wales. Having not scored for Wanderers since April 21, 2018, and August 2016 before that, it seemed a safe bet. Of course, he slammed home Kieran Trippier’s free kick to win that bet.
I’d have just promised to shave the neck fluff off personally.
The Racism in Spain Stays Mainly in the Press
Barcelona haven’t had much go their way this year, but 17-year-old Ansu Fati’s progression is the one thing the Blaugrana can be happy about.
A match report in Spanish right-wing newspaper ABC referred to the Guinean with the following:
“Ansu in full flight has something of a gazelle about him, of a very young, black street seller that you suddenly see running along Paseo de Gracia when someone shouting ‘water, water’ (to warn other street sellers) announced that the local police have arrived.
“Now this kind of thing does not happen, because, for Ada Colau (the left-wing mayor of Barcelona), the criminals are the police and not the street sellers, who no longer have to run away. It is also true that without tourists, business is rather weak.”
Salvador Sostres denied any racist intent in his apology but what an awful comparison to make.
For some background, southern Spanish cities that are popular with tourists attract street vendors, the majority of whom happen to be migrants who’ve made the nine-mile trip across the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco. They may be artists, leather or metal workers, or selling knock-off brand names. It’s very much like the vendors under the bridges on the San Antonio Riverwalk.
As an English child on vacation I certainly bought more than my fair share of fake Ray-Bans. They’re not criminals in the sense of violent crime or robbery, and they’re not all black. They’re flouting a permit and some copyrights, whether they’re locals of an olive-toned complexion or the African migrants that Sostres is singling out.
There was some good news for Barca this week. Josep Bartomeu and the board of directors finally resigned.
Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne scoring isn’t rare, but Insigne scoring against Napoli is.
Napoli came up against one of their own in Lorenzo’s younger brother Roberto, who only left the club a year ago to move 20 miles from the pair’s home town to play for Benevento.
With his new club promoted to Serie A, the brothers faced each other on Sunday with Roberto scoring the opening goal before big brother tied the game up in the 60th minute. Napoli would go on to win 2-1 as Serie A recorded its second ever game where brothers scored for opposing teams, and the first time in 71 years.
Also, this was Lorenzo’s goal on his weak foot. Damn!
Missed the Pool
For some kitnerding, Hartlepool United launched a special Remembrance Day (Basically Memorial Day which times up with Veterans Day) shirt. We typically mark the occasion by wearing poppies, as that was what grew out of the scarred battlefields of WWI.
The National League club opted to leave out the poppy and specifically mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain when the German Reich tried unsuccessfully to end Britain’s air superiority and bomb the nation out of WWII after the fall of France.
The execution has left fans confused and some outraged. The jersey depicts a type of the famous British Spitfire that wasn’t built until three years after the battle, and the press release describes it incorrectly as a fighter jet – which didn’t exist until the very end of the war.
The map of Europe is confusing at best as Wales and the southwest of England seem to be now independent of the United Kingdom, with a weird color code that doesn’t correlate with the Allies and Axis Powers.
Throw in the further wrinkle that the Irish do not take kindly to war remembrance as a nation that was historically oppressed by the British military. O’Neills is an Irish brand that made its name in Gaelic sports, and also makes jerseys commemorating the Easter Rising as Irish rebels took arms against British soldiers in 1916. So you have some Hartlepool fans of a nationalist stance that aren’t happy with their Irish manufacturer and a lot of Irish GAA fans who aren’t happy with the same manufacturer for glorifying the British military.
Wow, what a mess. Maybe the deconstructed Texas flag wasn’t such a bad idea after all!
Concacaf is Life!
Our good friend Jon Arnold is returning to FC Dallas coverage but don’t forget his awesome newsletter concerning all things in the Concacaf region!
Jon highlighted a Concacaf League penalty shootout between Motagua and Comunicaciones that ended in a 15-14 win for the Honduran club. How on earth did Gerardo Gordillo miss twice?! Anyway here’s the whole shootout.
Wednesday, October 28:
1:00pm – Istanbul Basaksehir v PSG (Champs. League) – UniMas / TUDN / CBS All Access
2:45pm – Luton Town v Nottm Forest (EFL-C) – ESPN+
3:00pm – Juventus v Barcelona (Champs. League) – UniMas / TUDN / CBS All Access
7:30pm – FC Dallas v Inter Miami (MLS) – FSSW / FCDallas.com/stream
9:30pm – SJ Earthquakes v RSL (MLS) – ESPN+
Thursday, October 29:
1:00pm – AC Milan v Sparta Praha (Europa League) – TUDN / CBS All Access
3:00pm – Real Sociedad v Napoli (Europa League) – UniMas / CBS All Access
7:30pm – Gremio v Juventude (Copa do Brasil) – FS2
Friday, October 30:
3:00pm – Marseille v Lens (Ligue 1) – beIN SPORTS
7:00pm – Greenville Triumph v Union Omaha (USL-1 final) – ESPN+
10:00pm – Xolos v Pachuca (Liga MX) – FS2
Saturday, October 31:
9:30am – Koln v Bayern Munich (Bundesliga) – ESPN+
10:00am – Luton Town v Brentford (EFL-C) – ESPN+
12:00pm – Inter Milan v Parma (Serie A) – ESPN+
2:30pm – FC Dallas v Houston Dynamo (MLS) – Univision / TUDN / Twitter
8:00pm – Pumas v Chivas (Liga MX) – Univision / TUDN
Sunday, November 1:
5:30am – Udinese v AC Milan (Serie A) – ESPN+
8:00am – Newcastle Utd v Everton (Premier League) – NBCSN
10:30am – Manchester Utd v Arsenal (Premier League) – Peacock
5:30pm – America v Tigres (Liga MX) – UniMas / TUDN
7:30pm – Tampa Bay Rowdies v Phoenix Rising (USL-C final) – ESPN
Monday, November 2:
11:30am – Fulham v West Brom (Premier League) – NBCSN
3:00pm – Boavista v Benfica (Liga NOS) – Nothing legal!
9:00pm – Leon v Santos Laguna (Liga MX) – TUDN
Tuesday, November 3:
2:00pm – Real Madrid v Inter Milan (Champs. League) – UniMas / TUDN / CBS All Access
Wednesday, November 4:
2:00pm – RB Leipzig v PSG (Champs. League) – CBS All Access
4:15pm – River Plate v Atletico Nacional (Copa Sudamericana) – beIN SPORTS Connect
7:30pm – Nashville SC v FC Dallas (MLS) – FSSW / FCDallas.com/stream
10:00pm – LA Galaxy v Seattle Sounders (MLS) – UniMas / TUDN