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Archive for the ‘soccer’ Category

I get all kinds of weird Google searches leading to this blog every day.  From the oddly omnipresent “dirndl fuck” to the mundane “lyrics to chelsea hotel number two,” I’ve seen a lot of search terms and I’ve imagined a lot of disappointed people when they reach a blog that has nothing at all to do with their inquiry (“how to vomit discreetly on a plane,” for example).  But one of today’s search terms absolutely cracked me up with its blatant stalker-ness:

“what kind of car does daniel agger drive”

I don’t know who Daniel Agger is, but if I were him I’d start sleeping with one eye open.

Note:  Okay, so apparently Daniel Agger is a fairly well-known Danish footballer who plays for Liverpool and I’m quite out of the loop.  Still, it’s a little weird that someone is that interested in what he drives.

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…you wake up with dirty, thieving scousers.

Fifth Liverpool player is burgled

Dirk Kuyt has become the fifth Liverpool footballer to be burgled in less than 18 months.

The 27-year-old striker’s luxury home in Woolton was targeted on Thursday while he was away on international duty with home country Holland.

Merseyside Police confirmed they were investigating a burglary in Woolton.

The Merseyside home of Jerzy Dudek, Liverpool’s goalkeeper from the 2005 Champions League final penalty shoot-out, was burgled in June 2006.

The raid at Kuyt’s house is the latest to see a footballer’s home targeted in the city while the players are away at a match.

Burnt-out Porsche

Dudek, who now plays for Real Madrid, was on holiday in Poland when thieves took his Porsche car, jewellery and a large haul of football memorabilia from across his career, including his European Cup medal.

Pepe Reina was burgled while he played for Liverpool in last May’s Champions League semi-final against Chelsea.

He also had his Porsche taken during the raid, among other things, with the car later found burnt-out in West Derby.

Reds defender Daniel Agger had his Wirral home burgled in September last year and striker Peter Crouch’s house in Alderley Edge was targeted in the same month while he was on England duty.

With the exception of Peter Crouch (my beloved robot man), they did choose to live in and around Liverpool, so they shouldn’t be too terribly shocked.  Maybe they should go and play for a proper team in a proper city…just a thought.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term “scousers,” I’ll turn to the always amusing Urban Dictionary for a few witty definitions:

  • Scouser, n.  A scouser is the universal term used to describe a person from Liverpool and more importantly one who is on the lower rung of society. Scousers are generally poor and fill their need for televisions with thieving addictions. Scousers can be found in poorly lighted car parks and dark alleys.  “That guy who stole your TV was probably a scouser.”
  • Scouser, n.  As everyone has said, a scouser is someone from Liverpool. Like all cities, Liverpool has its scum but I have to say they were colourful and well-mannered. When I stayed there in 1991 I witnessed a branch of Dixons being broken into one night but the thieves were all very polite. They wished me good evening as I went past and went to pains to ensure I wasn’t hit by any flying glass from the window they were breaking. I felt this was a very nice touch.  “Oh no! Someone has broken my car window and nicked the radio! But at least they swept the broken glass up – They must be a scouser!”
  • Scouser, n.  An inhabitant of a city fueled by insecurity, weakness and self pity. A city that has received millions in European funding over the years and is still in the top 5 deprived areas of Europe with a low academic record to match. In the main because of the lack of drive, ambition and a propensity to blame everyone else for their failiure. The scouser has a great deal of hatred towards Mancunians for building the ship canal, which defined the demise of Liverpool port trade. Where most economies moved on, Liverpool cornered the market in whinging thus creating a culture of state dependency. A common question is why so many people hate Liverpool, because the scouser hates himself.

And so as not to be biased, here’s a lovely entry from an actual Liverpudlian:

  • some1 from liverpool, city with less crime and unemployement dan manchester…but we’l stil put a stanley blade across the neck of any fuckin manc  “is ryt laddddddddddddddd”

And for a visual representation, we turn to the ever-reliable Harry Enfield:

And this has been today’s lesson on scousers, brought to you by the letter “S.”

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…or Pat Onstad, for that matter.

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Yesterday’s game was everything a Dynamo fan could have hoped for.  It was what the game is all about: hair-pulling despair and nail-biting nervousness in the first half, rewarded with an explosive, manic jubilance in the second.  Any game that can give me goosebumps for almost two straight hours is a good game by me.

God bless our boys — their heart, hard work and determination are unmatched by any team in the league.  And I mean team.  We don’t have — and don’t need — any huge stars or bloated salaries, just a great group of guys, teammates who know how to work together and get the job done.  And God bless our supporters — the Texian Army and El Batallon, who took buses and planes and cars and did whatever it took to get up to RFK and be the 12th man for our guys.  If yesterday didn’t prove to the world that we have the best team and the best supporters in the league, then I don’t know what will.

Pat’s amazing save in the second half nearly stopped my heart. It kills me to know that this is his last year, but his presence will endure on the pitch. He’s a great player, a good sport, a big brother to the other players, and is incredibly humble and kind, especially to his fans. Pat will definitely be missed next year.

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And DeRo. The man took his beautiful family with him to the press conference afterwards, with his little boy trailing along and carrying his dad’s MVP trophy behind him. While DeRo didn’t have the best season, technically speaking, he pulled it out in the end and that’s all that matters.  And how can you not have mad love for a true family man and proud papa?

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And, finally, my favorite picture of the game — hometown boy Stuart Holden leaping into the crowd of Houston supporters after the game. This picture captures everything I love about the Dynamo: the exuberance and vivacity of the players, the way they embrace the fans and the supporters’ stalwart solidarity. Felicidades Dynamo!

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And if you want to see other bloggers’ opinions on yesterday’s match, check these guys out:

Soccer y Fútbol

The Houstonist

Sideline Views

Center Holds It

The Offside

All photos courtesy of James Nielsen.

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Richard and I were at the game last night, predictably, and it was far and away the best game that I’ve personally attended.  Words fail me in describing the electricity of the atmosphere, the fervor of the fans, the heart that our boys displayed out there on the pitch: it was all just amazing.  It was a perfect night — just cool enough without being cold — the air was crisp from the afternoon’s rain and the massive Houston skyline behind the stadium seemed to be watching down on us with approval and excitement.  And then…we won.

Because I can’t express it any better than Richard Justice, here is his entire article from today’s Chronicle:

Thank you, Dynamo. Thanks for the hustle and energy, for having players who care and for showing us how much fun this sport can be.

Thank you, Dynamo, for nights like Saturday, when Robertson Stadium is rocking to its concrete bones with a standing-room-only crowd of 30,972 witnessing a 2-0 victory over Kansas City in the MLS Western Conference final.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for reminding us how much fun a sport can be when it all works the way it’s supposed to work.

“This is what you play for,” midfielder Brad Davis. “We couldn’t be any more thankful to the fans. They’ve been absolutely awesome.”

What the Dynamo have done in just two seasons is a message to every other franchise in this city that it’s not about marketing slogans or luxury suites. It’s about winning. Actually, it’s about winning with people like Brian Ching and Pat Onstad and Dwayne De Rosario.

This is about you, too, fans. You showed up early, wore orange, carried signs, sang songs and celebrated wildly. You made it feel special. When it ended, you hung around to savor the moment, to soak it in.

In other words, you get it. If you’re a sports fan who spends too much time fretting over payrolls and arbitration and blown draft picks, you should spend an evening with this little soccer team that’s one victory from a second straight MLS Cup.

“We’re on top of the world right now,” defender Craig Waibel said. “When you’ve got that many people in a stadium for a soccer game, it’s amazing. It’s becoming a real sport. It’s in Houston. It’s in their blood.”

This is sport without the cynicism. Who could be cynical about a team that plays hard and with an attitude?

For instance, Brian Ching. He was kicked in the back of the leg in the second half. A moment later, he seemed ready to take on the entire Kansas City team.

Davis was ready to rumble as well when he was kicked. Those moments made the place noisier and gave the players a sense that on this night at least, they couldn’t be beaten.

The Dynamo were the aggressor from the beginning. They outshot the Wizards 9-1 in the first half and were a pair of Ching near misses from blowing it open quickly.

They got just one goal in the first half, that on a beautiful Nate Jaqua header off a Richard Mulrooney corner kick in the 34th minute. Kansas City entered the game having not allowed a goal in 336 minutes.

That one was enough on a night when the Dynamo got a terrific defensive effort, a night when Onstad didn’t have to make a single save. De Rosario finished the scoring in the 81st minute when he took a pass from Craig Waibel and punched in a left-footed drive.

By then, the crowd was in a full party mood.

“This was 30,000 people that know soccer and care about soccer,” Waibel said. “They’re not out here cheering for random things.”

The Dynamo will play New England for the second straight year for the championship, this time, in Washington.

“We’re a different team at home with our crowd behind us,” Onstad said. “It’s like having 12 or 13 players. It was a great atmosphere. This is a major sport here.”

Indeed.

And there you have it.  Ole!

Photo courtesy of Nathan Lindstrom.

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Hubris

Oh, how I regret my recent hubris…

You would think that by now I’d learn that every time I make some boastful prediction about a thing that particular thing goes terribly awry.  Today’s game was no exception.  At 1:00, Richard and I settled into our bleacher seats, grinning with that cocky assurance one has when they feel assured of a victory.  A little over 90 minutes later, we felt like the soggy, trampled crepe paper that littered the stadium grounds.  But even with the loss, there were still plenty of highlights:

  1. Seeing the players before the game in their civvies — up close and personal — making their way through the crowd on their way to the dressing room.  Without exception, each one looked like a runway model in their suits and each one stopped graciously to sign autographs and shake hands with fans.
  2. On that note, my excited shouts of “DE-RO!!!” got me a smile and a wave from the man himself.  I nearly swooned; Richard quietly died of embarassment next to me.
  3. There was a Mexican family sitting on the bleacher below us and, at one point, the seven-year-old son dropped some quarters he had been palming.  The father picked them up and handed them back to his little boy, saying, “Careful with your pocket money, mijo, or you won’t have anything to buy cervezas with.”
  4. Richard and I got free hats for being part of the first 9,500 fans to enter the stadium (out of an eventual 30,500 that packed the stands).  Richard hasn’t taken his off all day.
  5. The lone bagpiper was in top form today.
  6. There was a so-bad-it’s-good dance number prior to the game in which “The Spice Girls” “performed” their greatest “hits.”  “Ginger Spice” was played by a black chick with a horrendous red wig.
  7. “Posh Spice” was wooed and won by Diesel, the Dynamo mascot, after he performed dance moves that the announcer dubbed “greater than anything we’ve seen out of Beckham this season.”
  8. And continuing the whole faux-Beckham trend of the day, a rather good David Beckham impersonator had to be escorted out of the stands by the police because the crowd had turned on him and was concentrating more on booing the impersonator than watching the game (pictures after the jump).
  9. El Batallon and the Texian Army were also in top form today and louder than I’ve ever heard them.  The aforementioned crepe paper streamers that were thrown onto the pitch by both groups (after repeated warnings from the announcer that throwing things onto the “field” was forbidden) actually caused Joe Cannon to receive a yellow card when he wasted time by trying to clear his goal of streamers instead of throwing the ball back into play.
  10. And…we’re still going to the playoffs, so that’s all that really counts.

Pictures from the game after the jump. (more…)

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Richard managed to swing us some tickets for the well sold out Dynamo-Galaxy match this Sunday.  It should be a hellcat of a game, by which I mean that we’re going to rip Galaxy to shreds.  And, even better, our tickets are right next to the Texian Army which is, by far, the best supporters club in the conference.  Although we won’t have Rico for, well, quite some time, even that setback is tempered by the fact that at least someone finally kicked Carlos Ruiz’s dirty, sorry ass…er…shoulder.

And then, of course, there’s the maddeningly easy fun to be had mocking Lady Landon and his sad little band of Becks-less misfits.  That, and the giant orange sign that Richard has made proclaiming that “TIM LOVEJOY IS A WANKER.”  I think his entire life has been building up to the opportunity to be on Soccer AM, and I suppose the large crowd and camera presence at Sunday’s match might finally afford him that chance.

So look for us on the telly, folks.  Richard will be the lunatic in an orange wig and Dynamo jersey, drunkenly waving an orange piece of posterboard around.  And I’ll be the one hiding behind my hot dog and beer each time the cameras pan by.  🙂

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