Bob Arum, Boxing, College Basketball, Don King, FIFA World Cup (2010), Geno Auriemma, Golf, NASCAR, Oscar De La Hoya, PGA, PGA Tour, Sports

2010 Was A Great Year In Some Sports And In Some Ways It Was An Unmitigated Disaster ….. Part Two !


2010 Was A Great Year In Some Sports And In Some Ways It Was An Unmitigated Disaster ….. Part Two !

The alphabet brigade still remains and the sport of boxing now is no better of than it was four years ago ! The pre-eminent fighter in the world isn’t a heavyweight nor does he happen to be North American. It is in fact a Filipino, Manny Pacquiao (52-38 KO’s 3-2) who is now a multiple world champion in eight different weight categories and quite rightly considered to be the best pound for pound fighter on the planet . He hasn’t been challenged mentally or physically by an opponent in years and it’s safe to say that without Pacquiao, the sport of boxing would become an elephant’s graveyard. Having made tens of millions financially from an immensely successful boxing career Manny Pacquiao’s skills show no signs of diminishing as evidenced in his ferocious beating of his last opponent Antonio Margarito in a fight that the referee Laurence Cole should have stopped to save the Mexican American fighter from further punishment. Margarito had welts over both eyes and a broken right orbital bone that had swollen to the size of a golf ball in their title fight that ended in a unanimous decision loss to the famed fighter.

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Slide show for your perusal .

With Pacquiao now perhaps leaning closer towards retirement , that one last big pay day that he’d hoped for in a super fight against arch rival Floyd Mayweather isn’t about to take place anytime soon. Especially not with Mayweather now facing legal troubles and the possibility of serving up to 35 years on a litany of felony charges ____ in prison courtesy of the Federal Court system within the Bureau of Prisons . Through his promoter and matchmaker Bob Arum , Pacquiao is scheduled to fight Shane Mosley in mid 2011 in a bout that will no doubt garner Pacquiao another lucrative payday but in all honesty at the end of the day the padding his fight resume’ against an over the hill Mosley is absolutely meaningless and an insult to boxing fans out there. But that’s now the state of the sport where the fans rarely get the fights they really want to see , instead we’re given that constant drivel of hapless and less than capable fighters and then we’re asked to pay at times in excess of $45-00 for the privilege of seeing such a spectacle even with an undercard of up of these upcoming bouts. Is it any wonder that the sport is now considered to be on its last legs ? So much so, that now mixed martial arts events by promoters such as Bellator , Strikeforce and UFC are now all the rage and capturing a larger slice of that once desired male demographic from within the sport of boxing. The sport itself is now finding a captive and receptive audience amongst female fans as well .

The boxing heavyweight scene has become a de-facto who’s who of rather marginal East European boxers who’ve essentially carved out a niche market for themselves . Atop of the heap are the Klitschko brothers , Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko who between them share four of the five recognized belts ratified out there. The lone none European heavyweight title holder is the Englishman David Haye who’s not really known on the North American continent, albeit that he was at one time the cruiserweight champion of the world . Another weight category created by the international governing bodies of the sport not only to create money but in large part to counteract that great divide from light heavyweight to heavyweight division where the fighters are now extremely larger.

If the sport is to remain prominent with its fans then the various promoters out there who control the dominant North American market will essentially have to be proactive making the most lucrative fights possible , rather than rehashing old fighters and serving them up as one big spectacle with a rather mundane story line as a prelude to what more often than not turns out to be a complete embarrassment. Consider this, an aging Evander Holyfield is still of the belief that he can regain the heavyweight title while slowly approaching his fifth decade. Given that the fighter now is merely fighting to stave off bankruptcy, legal entanglements concerning alimony and child support payments it’s easy to understand the reason behind this charade. In the meantime promoters such as Bob Arum ( Top Rank Inc ) , Don King ( Don King Productions ) and Oscar De La Hoya ( Golden Boy Promotions Inc ) continue to foist upon us fights that in large part don’t really capture the public’s imagination. If this situation continues then the sport will most definitely meet a slow and painful demise.

College Basketball saw the re-ascent of Duke (Blue Devils) to the top of men’s game having won their fourth NCAA National title with coach Mike Krzyzewski at the helm for all four . The program is now the most preeminent there is within the game and that’s with all due respect to the legacy achieved under the late John Wooden with the UCLA Bruins . The Blue Devils’ 61-59 victory over the Butler Bulldogs had the nation perhaps wanting the underdogs to win but that wasn’t to be the case as the team led by Kyle Singler would go on to a heart warming victory in the tournament. For Butler , coached by Brad Stevens , this placed his program firmly on the map and one that’s now admired nationwide. It’s safe to say that Stevens now hope that his team can repeat that feat this upcoming season .

For Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils’ program it’s pretty much safe to say that they’re now the pre-eminent college program in the country in terms Duke’s legacy under their esteemed coach. Krzyzewski to my mind would do the famed Wooden proud . Inasmuch as we can remember his feats over the years the lack of recent UCLA success would suggest that the Bruins while still remaining competitive still have something a mountain to climb to get back to the summit of the game they once ruled with such dominance. Duke now sits atop of the national rankings unbeaten at 11-0 while also leading the ACC .

In the women’s game the U Conn Huskies remain dominant under the tenure of their coach Geno Auriemma and having surpassed the astonishing feat of the UCLA Bruins’ 88 consecutive wins the Huskies are now sitting at 89 wins and counting . The unthinkable may well happen with this team reaching the century mark and perhaps along the way successfully defending their NCAA Women’s Basketball title this season . Stoutly led by standout players Maya Moore and Tiffany Hayes it has to be said that there’s the belief that this team may not be seriously challenged in their quest in attaining both feats. And inasmuch as Auriemma has bemoaned the fact that his team and in particular the women’s game gets very little respect in the eyes of the public and press apart from the loyal Huskies’ fans up and down the country. I do believe that the coach ought to be simply thankful that he and the team are getting some ink in the print media and from the ever watchful eye of cable networks such as ESPN . Womens’ basketball doesn’t really resonate amongst the mainstream in the way that it does with the men’s game either at the collegiate or professional level. The NBA reigns supreme and meanwhile the WNBA struggles to capture a meaningful audience via its programming on either ABC or ESPN. Suffice to say that the Nielsen’s ratings barely garner a blip on the scale when the women’s basketball games are being televised .

It’s safe to say that soccer’s 2010 FIFA World Cup staged in South Africa captured the world’s attention and in particular that of the USA , with the team having qualified for the event. FIFA Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter and the Executive Committee having chosen the country to stage the world’s most popular sport and second most watched televised sporting event behind that of the Summer Olympics sought to broaden the appeal of the game globally and within the continent of Africa itself. For the country itself, it meant a sense of pride given its most recent history of apartheid under successive white Afrikaan’s regimes until the the successful election of Nelson Mandela as President and then his thoughtful process of peaceful reconciliation amongst the masses.

With the country now being led by incumbent President Jacob Zuma there was much indeed to feel proud about but given the fact that Blatter and a number of his hierarchy remained naive , somewhat intolerably silent concerning the sexual assaults , and murders of several female soccer players in the years leading up to the staging of the event , I found it somewhat insidious in the fact Blatter chose to remain silent on this very issue while speaking out about racial bigotry and violence being espoused by fans in the direction of the male players who happen to be of ethnic minority. How is that any different and less heinous than a female being raped, attacked or murdered by males within their country merely because of their alleged sexuality if they happen to be a lesbian ? As unthinkable as this might have appeared to be it was an occurrence that happened with increasing regularity in South Africa albeit that during the staging of the event nothing was reported to any such event having taken place.

Long admired as the masters of the glorious game Brazil was viewed as one of the prohibitive favorites for the tournament alongside Spain , France , Italy and Argentina . The United States coached by Bob Bradley were seen as one the outsiders that very well have been in a position to pull off a major upset. Though not endowed with a world class outfielder they did however possess one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Tim Howard . The player himself makes his home in the rough and tumble world of the ultra competitive English Premier League (EPL) in England. Other than Howard the face of US soccer over the last decade has been their multi faceted and well respected striker Landon Donovan who played alongside former English international David Beckham for the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS here in the United States.

Both England and the US were drawn in the grouping for the divisional round (Group C) of the tournament and I was of the opinion that while both countries qualified on merit I could see neither going beyond the quarter finals of the competition. Neither team was really endowed with a great deal of talent and that’s in spite of the jingoistic fervor being shown by the domiciled US fans whose broad base and knowledge of the game of soccer ranks up there alongside Sarah Palin’s geopolitical knowledge when it comes to world affairs. It’s safe to say that when a US fan is trying to tell you that the US’s offensive capabilities are vast based on the fact that other than Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan’s international experience , then I’ve truly got to ask the question why the interest ? It’s not as if the game itself has found a long term foothold amongst the masses. US Soccer President Sunil K Gulati and MLS Commissioner Don Garber are still struggling to get the game to resonate with the fans domestically. Broad based coverage of the MLS domestic league are as such scheduled around the wishes of ABC/ESPN to televise the games as and when they see fit and the appeal of the teams playing in the chosen fixtures. The talent is still developing and one would be naive to think that the US is now a major powerhouse on the international soccer stage. Gaining respect, albeit in small steps , nonetheless their showing in the tournament was filled with some success but it all ended too briefly merely from the fact that as a team they were lacking creativity on offense and in the midfield where much of the work needs to be done in order to be effective. they showed little signs of real creativity. Think of it as Brady marshaling his teammates as they seek a third or fourth down in the red zone .

The plight of the English team was certainly no better and the complacency showed in the true lack of effort by not only the players but also on the part team coach Fabio Capello and his coaching staff. To add insult to injury Capello left off his final squad the talented young striker and midfield player Theo Walcott who the coach described as ill equipped to deal with the rigors of international play. Bearing in mind that Walcott had been performing well for his club side (Arsenal) in the Premiership (EPL) I found the coach’s statement completely asinine and without merit ! But somehow he found time to include a veteran such as Peter Crouch whose best years were far behind him. It’s no wonder that once the wheels on the bus started to deflate no amount of excuse could be made for the poor showing of the team in the World Cup. Thankfully the woes of both England and the US team weren’t as embarrassing as that of the heavily favored French squad that argued vehemently with and against their coach leading to dissent after their lackluster effort in a game (2-1 loss) against South Africa . The internal turmoil would not end there with one player being sent home after his profanity laced attack against the coach. Overnight this became a PR disaster of seismic proportions for the French Soccer Federation as well as the French government whose Health and Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot offered her sincere apologies to the South African government and to FIFA after the televised events that took placed involving coach Raymond Domeneche and several French players. The French squad would soon exit the tournament with their tails between their legs after their unmitigated disaster in failing to qualify for the latter rounds of the Word Cup.

Teams who were excelling as the tournament progressed , did so by sticking to a game plan and playing with a great deal of dexterity. The raucous crowds attending the games came from all corners of the globe and with many of them having found a new to toy for their accompaniment in creating a cacophony of noise …………..the vuvuzelas became the instrument that would create some uproar amongst the purists of the game. South African natives themselves are use to the noise created by the instrument and it has become a way of life with the regards to their use at sporting events be they small or large.

Holland , Germany , Spain and Brazil would excel over the course of the tournament but once it became clear that the Brazilian team wasn’t what many had come to expect, their fate was soon to be sealed. In large part that was due to complacency in taking lightly the challenge of opponents who they thought were beneath them. The World Cup Final itself pitted Spain , the number two ranked team in the world at the time against their European counterparts Holland . And after ninety excruciating painful minutes of regular play the game went into overtime. Rarely were there any really scintillating moments throughout the game and the thirty minutes of overtime proved to be fateful as Spain’s Andres Iniesta would prove to be his country’s hero in scoring the only goal ( 1-0 result) that would lead his side to winning their first World Cup title. A billion followers of the sport of soccer can’t be wrong but I do feel that this event while proving to be a success in terms of its staging on the African continent for the very first time , it somehow left little to suggest that the game itself can take a real foothold here in the United States. The final game itself while creating some suspense it was on the whole something of a boring event in of-itself. While no doubt Dutch and Spanish fans may well wholeheartedly disagree with my statement , I can’t help but wonder if they had it do all over again would they willingly sit and watch that events unfold in front of them given that they knew what the end result would be ?

It’d be safe to say that the events surrounding Tiger Woods’ fall from grace would play a significant part to his season on the PGA Tour in `2010. Woods for all of his sexual dalliances , inappropriate behavior and his then less than contrite apology simply dug himself a whole that not even Harry Houdini could’ve escaped from. Far be it for me to say but Tiger Woods’ performances on the PGA Tour circuit lacked all the drama we’d come to expect from the world’s top golfer. If anything there was more excitement to be had in listening to the ingenues who came forward to state that they had sex with the player. From escorts to , hostesses and porn stars , females came out of the woodwork like termites from a piece of rotting wood. And along the way many of them parlayed their notoriety to gain some financial well being . Rachel Uchitel and Jamie Jungers were but a few who made their stories public and if you just happen to curious enough and something of a voyeur then in due course there will be sexually explicit movie detailing Woods’ exploits that will be marketed by one of his paramours through the distributor and purveyor of adult entertainment _____ Vivid Entertainment . Curious to see whether not the actor portraying Woods will be using as much wood as he laid to those noted conquests ? ‘Four …….. nine iron being used ‘.

Fourteen Majors and some seventy plus wins worldwide and it’s easy to see why Woods has been the most dominant golfer over the last decade plus and of his generation. A career Grand Slam and all the acclaim in the world made him the marketer’s dream , and the titans of Madison Ave in conjunction with international sports management agency IMG made Woods the most marketable athlete on the planet , the first to earn $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) in endorsements and career earnings. And when you’ve made that sort of ‘bank’ you probably do feel impervious and would like to think that you can do anything possible. What Woods seemed to forget is that there’s a cause and effect , for every action there is a reaction. It was only a matter of time before the veil came down on the charade that has been Tiger Woods’ persona. And it’s asinine to think that Woods tried to apportion much of the blame on the media after the sordid allegations became public knowledge ! What the hell did he actually think was going to happen , he’d be given a free pass ? Nigga’ please ?

Winless on the Tour in 2010, Woods’ play veered from at times being brilliant to downright horrendous over the course of the year, in which we saw him withdraw from The Players’ Championship and could only garner two top ten finishes in any of the four Majors (The Masters , The PGA Championship , US Open and The British Open ), with that occurring in The Masters and U S Open where in both cases he finished joint tied four fourth place. Uncharacteristically also Woods would withdraw The Players Championship held at the TPC Sawgrass , Ponte Vedre Beach, Florida.

Tiger Woods would also lose his world number one ranking as he would be passed by Englishman , Lee Westwood atop of the World Rankings . Westwood has yet to win a Major but he’s been very consistent worldwide on the PGA and European Tour events.Woods’ goals no doubt for 2011 will be regain the form that saw him with regularity on the Tour and at the same time refocus his efforts on being a better human being and a parent. As to whether or not he can surpass his idol Jack Nicklaus , garner the four Majors needs to equal Jack’s feat and then add another to make it nineteen, remains to be seen. He’s still young enough to do it but it now all comes down to his will and composure as to whether or not he can achieve that feat.

The Ryder Cup notwithstanding Tiger Woods’ contributions on the PGA Tour in 2010 can be best described as being mediocre . But to others at the lower end of the totem pole on the Tour I bet at times they wouldn’t mind being in Woods’ position without the sexual pecadilos I might add and all of the intrusiveness of the paparazzi that comes along with it !

I’ve never been really much of NASCAR fan , way too many left turns ! And what the hell might I ask is boogity , boogity boogity ? Is that some sort of dumb ass ‘Redneck speak’ for I’ve got a hard on for Lil’ E ? Speaking of which can someone remember the last time that Dale Earnhardt Jr won a Sprint Cup Series race ? I guess not ! He’s way too overpaid for what modicum of talent he does have. For an unprecedented fifth consecutive year Jimmie Johnson has won the Sprint Cup Series Championship and along the way seemingly create an even greater divide between himself and his peers. The only drivers now ahead him with more titles on the sport’s pre-eminent circuit are Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt Sr . Seven to be precise, is the total held by each of these all-time greats within the sport and it remains only a matter of time and the desire shown by Johnson if he chooses to emanate or even surpass those feats.

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The unfortunate thing here is that the sport has now reached its maturation point and whereas viewership and attendances are on the decline , the fan appreciation of Johnson’s feat isn’t being appreciated by all. Other than his own following I truly doubt that the vast majority of NASCAR fans like the guy to begin with ! It’s been suggested that Johnson has no character , he’s not really affable or he’s simply not rambunctious enough. Screw that ., the guy simply wins and he’s begun to make a habit with an ever increasing consistency ! As to NASCAR’s own hierarchy led by Brian France and Mike Helton , though they’ve now got a dominant face for their sport they’re still all too reliant Dale Earnhardt Jr to be the face that arguably reigns over their sport. Far be it for me to suggest but when you simply have a guy who of late has shown marginal talent at best in the practice of his craft, then why the hell is there a need to have him as the face of your sport ? You’ve got the most dominant driver of this era now within your midst and he’s garnering about as much respect as Rodney Dangerfield jokingly said he could attain being a comic. What’s up with that ?

This now ends part two of this two part series concerning my own sporting observations concerning some the events that took place across the landscape of sports during 2010 . What events if any caught your attention over this calendar year and what wishes if any would you like see take place in 2011 as an event ? Simply chime in with a comment and thanks as always for the continued support !

NB: Pacaquiao’s scheduled bout against Mosley is due to take place at the MGM Grand Casino & Resort in Las Vegas , Nevada on the 7th May 2011 .

Auriemma’s U Conn Huskies’ team had their winning streak snapped at 89 by the Stanford Cardinals team . The Lady Cardinals were in fact that the last team to beat U Conn in 2008.

NB: Click in the link provided to read Part 1 of this two part series . https://abritishman.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/2010-was-a-great-year-in-some-sports-and-in-some-ways-it-was-also-an-unmitigated-disaster/

Alan aka tophatal ………………………….


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Vida Guerra

Eye candy ………. Vida Guerra . Any takers ?

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Jesikah

More of the same ………………… or perhaps something more enticing ? Jesikah Maximus .

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Stephanie Kyoko

And still a little bit more just to simply entice you. Stephanie Kyoko courtesy of Smooth Magazine.

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EPL, Football, Joel Glazer, Manchester United, Mark Dominik, NFL, Raheem Morris, Sports, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Shortest Distance Between Two Points Is a Straight Line


The Shortest Distance Between Two Points Is a Straight Line

It appears that when one embarks upon a journey there are numbers of ways that one can go about planning it . You can take the path of least resistance knowing that if you’ve mapped out a plan then the journey and effort itself won’t be too laborious . Or one can go about this journey without a plan and essentially trying to overcome whatever obstacles are thrown your way and then seek to overcome each one at each moment it is in your pathway.

Plain but simple these are also the decisions that one also may well have to make in life as we proceed along its path. However we’re told that in life we have to be able to face adversity look it stare it straight in the eye and do our very best in order to deal with it and then overcome it. What if the obstacles at times that are thrown in front of us are ones of our own making ? How should one deal with them? Work to overcome them? Deny that they are and look elsewhere for assistance or perhaps simply just give up? Tests such as this are things show character if we choose to face them head on. However when we choose to deny them then along the way we’re liable to meet more of these very same obstacles in life.


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Slide show gallery for your perusal .

In article in the online forum of ESPN.com there’s a piece that deals with the burgeoning debt and finances of the Glazer family and the very fact that their most prized sporting assets are very much facing financial difficulties. As owners of the NFL’s __ Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the English Premiership soccer team Manchester United the Glazer family were thought to be the envy of the sport’s world. As the proud owners of Manchester United perhaps the most recognized sporting brand in the world , with its legions of fans the world over. This has given the semblance of respectability that the family may well have desired. But in their earnest rush to attain that respectability they have essentially “sold their souls to the Devil” and have little to in return to show for it all . Granted , United has won a Premier League title and have become a perennial contender on the European front. But in the midst of it all the sons of Malcolm Glazier have become financially irresponsible and have began to hide behind a whole line of false truths and misleading statements concerning their own financial stability and that of the two sporting franchises.

Courtesy of InsideWorldofFootball.com

Glazer family £1 billion plus debt threatens ownership of Manchester United

June 7 – The scale of debt held by the Glazer family, the owners of Manchester United, is even greater than first imagined after it emerged that their business empire owes £1.1 billion ($1.6 billion), which could threaten their ownership of the three-time European champions .

According to an investigation by BBC’s Panorama programme, to be broadcast tonight [Monday], the Americans are carrying £392 million ($568 million) of previously unknown debt relating to mortgages taken out on 63 of the 64 shopping malls owned by their company First Allied Corporation across the United States.

Four First Allied shopping centres have recently fallen insolvent due to low occupancy, while the report also suggests the malls do not make enough money to fund the mortgages.

They have also borrowed £66 milion ($96 million) against their American Football League team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The explosive findings suggest that the Glazers’ other business interests are unlikely to be able to pay off Manchester United’s £717 million ($1.03 billion) debts and cast further doubt on on whether the club will have funds to spend on transfers this summer.

United have always insisted Sir Alex Ferguson will be given cash in this transfer window but the Scot has suggested he will keep new arrivals to a minimum.

The research for the programme was carried out by Andy Green, a City analyst and United supporter who is a keen backer of the ‘Green and Gold’ campaign to oust the Grazers.

“The Glazers have called the US property market appallingly bad,” he said.

“They borrowed money at inflated valuations right at the top at the top of the cycle.

“In their core business in the USA they got is absolutely wrong.”

Panorama quotes Dave Whelan, the chairman of Wigan Athletic, as saying: “I don’t think anybody can be satisfied with how Manchester United are being run.

“They have got somewhere in the order of three-quarters of a billion pounds worth of debt.

“That has got to be eliminated and eliminated quickly.”

In March, United chief executive David Gill claimed the club’s debts were easily covered by the income.

He said then: “We have an element of the debt that is very easily serviced by the cashflows of Manchester United, we are in a sport that is getting bigger all the time and as one of the leading clubs we should benefit from that growth.

“We believe we have a much more appropriate and flexible financial structure in place.”

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At present the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are close to $100 million in debt and the Manchester United soccer club has amassed debts totaling $1.56 billion and rising. In the midst of this all , the Glazers have sought to renegotiate the financial obligations owed on this debt to their various creditors without much success. And why should the banks in question acquiesce to their requests to begin with ? Many of these very same banks had to be bailed out via their various sovereign governments and it would be something of a folly if they were to now bail out Manchester United , while not actually making funds available to small businesses much less a home owner looking to refinance their mortgage.

As the Premiership season has ended with United having finished as runners-up to Chelsea who once again made off seriously with some domestic silverware , having won the Premiership title and FA Cup . And in doing so they joined a select few teams that’ve completed the “domestic double” in having won both the Premiership league title and FA Cup in the same year. And whereas , Chelsea doesn’t have to worry about its financial stability as it is owned by Russian billionaire tycoon Roman Abramovich . The same cannot be said of Manchester United and their owners, the Glazer family under their patriarch Malcolm Glazer. With each passing month things are becoming more acute not only for both sport’s franchises but also for the family and their business interests. Their primary business interests outside that of the two clubs is that of their commercial real estate and mall holdings in First Allied Corporation . The company is one of the pre-eminent companies in its field . But as we all know with these dire economic times the consumer hasn’t been always been willing to spend much of their disposable income in many of the big box stores that First Allied has as its tenants. That being said the Glazers would have us believe that they have a 90 % occupancy rate at all of their various commercial real estate properties across the nation. If only that were true to begin with. On average the industry as a whole has lost many of their retailers and occupancy rates are averaging at best no more than 72 % .Somewhat of a misleading figure to begin with don’t you think that was forthcoming from the Glazers ?

In the midst of this all , the sons of Malcolm Glazer who oversee the sports holdings of the family have been less than upfront as to their intentions concerning both teams. And given the fact that the Buccaneers at present still owes the Tampa Bay Sports Authority in excess of $1.2 million for which the city of Tampa has yet to collect on this debt, which is in excess of two years old. It has me wondering what else is going inside of the ornate boardrooms of the Buccaneers’ organization . In this day and age when a city is now obfuscating their responsibilities to their citizens by not collecting monies owed to them but would seek to cut much needed and vital services to the community. I’ve got to ask myself in whose service are the city and in particular is Mayor Pam Iorio beholding to ? If not its residents then surely it can’t be to the Glazers at this juncture can it ?

And as ambitious as the aspirations are for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this upcoming season . This Raheem Morris coached team will be hard pressed to surpass last season’s anemic record of a 3-13 in what was a horrendous display of football on all fronts. Morris , himself, had made the statement that ” throughout the season the team had improved it showed in their determination and play”. Now I’m not one to ridicule a coach in merely his second year on the job. But what the hell was he looking at throughout much of the season ? How the hell had the team improved when with each game they simply regressed and became worse over their entire regular sixteen game schedule ? In the midst of this all watching over this debacle were Avram , Joel, Bryan and Edward Glazer the sons of patriarch , Malcolm Glazer. The quartet are now entrusted in looking after the family business and its sporting interests. Let‘s just say that the job that they‘re now doing borders the mess that was orchestrated by Rick Wagner as he presided over GM and led the automotive giant into bankruptcy and looked to apportion blame elsewhere because of his rather asinine executive decisions as he presided over the company as its Chairman & CEO.

With the 2010 NFL Draft having come and gone , with the Buccaneers taking Gerald McCoy as their first round draft pick and third overall. It is hoped that McCoy along with the other picks taken by the Buccaneers in the draft will be enough to bolster what was been a very under achieving that team that was lacking in depth on all fronts !. No leadership, no play-maker but most of all no sense of urgency from either the team or coaching staff that seemed to be learning its trade whilst on the job. And this was meant to be a positive change of direction for the team and organization as a whole from the reign of Morris’ predecessor Jon Gruden ? Truth be told they’re now further into an abyss than they ever were before and all of the rosy speeches being made by Morris and GM Mark Dominik cannot hide the fact that the Buccaneers as an organization are on a slippery slope to nowhere and that they’re heading there fast !

If things should get much worse financially for either of the two sporting interests or even for First Allied , then there’s very much the possibility that the Glazers may well have to sell one if not both of their sports’ holdings. Some fans may well feel that this would be for the better given the tact taken by the family in their business dealings and obvious misinformation to the public and fans alike. But then again what’s new ? As normally this is very much the way that we now have many of the owners acting with regard to their baubles as it concerns the ownership of a major professional sports franchise. Never mind what they do by way of conducting themselves as it concerns their business practices and businesses in general. Simply look at the actions of Goldman Sachs , the now defunct Merrill Lynch , Bank of America and you can easily understand why it is that the economic meltdown came about within the financial industry and spread like wildfire across the economic landscape. Honesty and integrity went out the window as these executives chased after the almighty dollar foregoing financial expediency and their fiduciary responsibilities to their shareholders and the public alike. It is no different now with the Glazers and how they’re now treating not only the Buccaneers and Manchester United fans but also the residents of the city of Tampa. They simply cannot be trusted to be upfront and tell the truth , instead they choose to be evasive and lie about their present predicament. Somehow this will end up costing someone a great deal of financial pain and the burden at the end of it all may well be placed upon the shoulders of the fans when it’s all said and done.

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Picture gallery for your perusal

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Doubt my word on this all ? Then simply watch as everything now begins to unfold. One way or another there’ll be a lot that will come to the fore as this all begins to play itself out. Much of this could have been avoided had the Glazers shown the temerity to simply tell the truth right from the start. But as we know the “The Shortest Distance Between Two Points Is a Straight Line “. And having the courage to tell the truth has never hurt anyone , if anything it shows character and honor when taking such a stance . At this juncture is that what we’re actually seeing from the Glazer family ? I’ll leave it for you to be the judge of that !.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………………

Lindsay Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac gives you an acoustic version of his self penned mega-hit “Trouble” .

Baseball, Basketball, Football, MLB, NBA, NBA Playoffs 2010, NFL, Soccer, Sports, World Cup 2010

Opening Up Pandora’s Box You Simply Don’t Want To Know What’s Inside


Opening Up Pandora’s Box You Simply Don’t Want To Know What’s Inside

As a young child were you ever told by a parent or an elder …..” never play with matches and never touch anything that doesn’t belong to you ” ? Well it’s something that I believe that in the cases of both NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and David Stern they’ve failed to heed those very warnings. Goodell seems to be delighted with the fact that the 2014 Superbowl will be held at the new $1.6 billion stadium that will be home to both the New York Jets and New York Giants in East Rutherford , New Jersey. The fact that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems to be clamoring over this like a young boy who’s discovered his first copy of Playboy has me even more worried. Bloomberg’s craving for the public spotlight borders if not surpasses that of the NBA Commissioner David Stern. But consider this , Bloomberg’s city will have a budget deficit approaching $1.67 billion for the fiscal year of 2011. However, he and the city’s comptroller John C. Liu hope to have the now projected shortfall reined in by 2014. However, by then it’s projected to be in excess of $4 billion . Is it any wonder Bloomberg won an unprecedented third term in office ? He’ll be creating more havoc than the pimps and drug cartel leaders could ever have wished to. You can always rely on a politician to get things done by essentially fu_king things up to begin with !

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Slide show for your perusal .

While the NFL owners are now patting themselves on the back about this latest development. have to ask why now and why the Giants and Jets ? Merely because they’ve a spanking new edifice ? OK , so we know that the economic impact of staging a Superbpowl does mean a great deal of business for the host city and that it can garner it more publicity than it could wish , had they spent the money on marketing their city. The economic impact of staging the Superbowl can mean as much $2billion to the host city over a period of six months prior to and after the event itself. And one can well understand the reason why the cities who’ve staged the event fall over themselves and clamor to re-stage the event when given the chance. But prior to this , did you realize that NFL championship games were hosted by the team who had “the best record” from the previous year ? In the era of the Superbowl all of that went right out of the window. If anything, wouldn’t that have been more of an incentive to teams than what we’ve now witnessed ?
For Jets’ owner Woody Johnson the Jets’ organization along with his counterpart from the Giants , Steve Tisch and his organization . This has to be a more than welcoming occurrence. As it immediately gives both organizations the credibility that they seek .

Now the NFL hierarchy under Goodell’s guidance merely looks at its calendar of cities that’ve successfully staged the event and then announces the winner as they would deem fit. Surreptitiously we’re told that ballots are cast to in order to create the perception of fairness. If fairness is deemed having the owners in a room locking horns and the most influential amongst them simply holding sway , then I guess you could consider it as being fair wouldn’t you Now the ramifications of which will be that all 32 teams in the NFL will feel that they too ought to be given the chance to stage a Superbowl. If the truth be told that scenario will never see the light of day under any circumstance whatsoever ! This is a Pandora’s Box that should never have been open to begin with. But you know what frankly I hope this sh_t rains down on Goodell and the rest of these damn greedy owners to begin with ! The Superbowl whenever it has been staged has never been about the fans but more so to do with the patronage of the NFL’s many corporate sponsors and major partners. Try purchasing a ticket for the very event itself better yet try purchasing a series of tickets for a group of five or six people and see how much the cost sets you back ? Goodell and the owners aren’t and never will be the least bit concerned as to what the fans may well think or how they might feel !

Pardon me for say this but I wasn’t aware that LeBron James’ father was David Stern . For some reason the NBA commissioner is now ready to levy fines upon anyone who apparently says anything as it regards the player’s impending free agency. Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban found this out to his cost and is now $100,000 lighter in his wallet. Considering a fine of that nature, is like a ripple across a pond to someone of Cuban’s wealth. I fail to see what imposing such a fine does in the first place. Cuban, in giving a statement did not go out or seek to influence James, as to making a decision about his future. But from Stern’s mere decision and candor he thought that the owner was bringing undue influence to bear upon the player. David Stern is acting like an autocratic despotic leader whose very command must be obeyed. He’s protecting James as if he were his child. I think LeBron can defend himself as and when needs be ! And in referring to David Stern , we call the likes of Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong-Il maniacal in terms of their authority and power ? Stern makes those two despotic leaders seem like mere children at play when it comes to undue use of power !

Tonight the Eastern Conference Final ___ series resumes between the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic . With the Magic still steering elimination in the face being down 3-1 in the series . It will be interesting to see the resolve being shown by this Stan Van Gundy coached team . Their play through much of this series has been un-inspirational and lackluster to say the very least. And the fact that there’s not been much of a sighting of Dwight Howard in the series until game four’s explosive output of 32 points and 16 rebounds on the way to the team’s 96-92 victory over the Celtics. You had the impression that the team would bow inauspiciously out the conference finals , making history as the first team that swept their opponents in the opening two rounds of the playoffs and were then swept themselves. In staving off that scenario they still have to force a game five if they’re to at least have a chance of erasing the deficit and playing themselves back into contention.

The one thing we do know is that the Celtics led by Rajon Rondo and their veteran coach Doc Rivers aren’t going to let a one game slide get to them either mentally or physically. And if anything they’ll be looking to close out the series in front of their home crowd at the TD Banknorth Garden Center in Boston , Massachusetts.

If the Magic were the presumptive favorites to win their match-up against the Celtics. Then the Los Angeles Lakers had to have been considered the overwhelming favorites against their opponents , the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals . Now with the series tied at two games apiece. This contest has now become one of intrigue and suspense. And any thought it would be the Lakers now dictating the pace and structure of the contest. Well, let’s just say the most ardent of Lakers’ fans are by no means certain their team” will come out of this series unscathed. This is becoming a dog-fight that I’ve got to believe that the Lakers’ players and their fans want no part of ! Do you think that Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson has Michael Vick’s number on speed dial ?

So the rallying cry has begun to support the US men’s national soccer team as they begin their buildup to the World Cup . Unfortunately, the cry was lost on the players as they got off to an inauspicious start by being completely outplayed and trounced by the Czech Republic team 4-2 . What one ought to consider however , is that the Czechs failed to qualify for the upcoming event to held in South Africa. If this display is a sign of things to come then there’s a distinct possibility that the US team mightn’t make it out of the opening round of the competition.

Coached by Bob Bradley the roster of the squad set to open up their tournament play against fellow qualifiers in Group C ____ England on June 12th ,the day after the opening day ceremony. And that game is being met with a great deal of anticipation as whomever comes out of it with a victory will essence be in the driver’s seat within Group C. A great deal is expecte of the team but I think it best to be realist as it concerns the US team. Ranked 14th in the FIFA World Rankings their play of late has hardly exhibited that. And Bradley knows if they are to indeed to prevail then they’ll have to raise the level of their play on all fronts.

“Respect” is what US soccer says it is looking for . Well , before you get respect you’ve got to go out and earn it and at the same respect others on the same foreboding journey as yourselves. Thus far Bradley hasn’t instilled that into his team and the players have shown very little of that from the outset. Which doesn’t augur well for this team and its fortunes in South Africa. Suffice to say that they had better get it together before they fall at the very first obstacle placed in front of them.

Sooner or later you knew it just had to happen. And for the Tampa Bay Rays all of a sudden that streak that they were on has suddenly become yolk around their neck. Having lost their series to the Boston Red Sox . They look to take the third and final leg of the contest and put themselves back on a winning roll. Now don’t get me wrong when you’re still able to maintain a 5 game lead over the New York Yankees in the AL East , that is certainly no mean feat. The thing is , maintaining the consistency of play will be what really matters at this juncture. Any slip ups and it could prove to be costly for the team and in particular the coaching staff of Joe Maddon .

As good as this Rays’ team has been playing and they’ve been playing exceptionally well that their record (32-14) clearly bears this out and why many consider them to be the best team in the majors this season . I get the feeling that if they start to lose their rhythm and concentration then things could suddenly begin to spin out of control. Maddon and his coaching staff certainly has got the players to believe in themselves and each other. And that may well be the sole reason why we’ve not really seen the team go on a prolonged losing streak as of yet. Certainly when this happens to a number of teams we see them inexplicably wilt under the pressure. Not so as of yet for this team and I’m not so sure that we’re liable to see that scenario rear its ugly head. But for the moment we just ought to merely appreciate and relish what it is that they’re doing at present.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Opening up Pandora’s Box can fill you with either a few surprises , things to savor or things that you simply loathe. Here I’ve placed a few scenarios for you to discuss or perhaps you could suggest one or two yourself ? Either way simply chime in with a comment as to what you think as to what’s now happening in the realms of sports as you view it .

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………………………

Aaliyah ……………”Rock The Boat”

Champions League, Cristiano Ronaldo, FC Real Madrid, Soccer, Sports

Under Pressure To Perform And Succeed …………..


What can say you about a team that goes out and spends to its heart’s content ? It’d be remiss not to the think that Spanish soccer giant, Real Madrid CF is under pressure to succeed. They’ve spent in excess of $350 million to acquire a cabal of world class soccer stars. That being said , it’s by no means a guarantee of success in the often volatile world of domestic soccer. Much less, for the premiere club soccer tournament in the world – the Champions League.

Cristiano Ronaldo  celebrats  his  first  goal in European  club  competition  for  Real  Madrid.  The  Portuguese  player  would add  a  second  goal  to  his  tally  in  his  side's  5-2  defeat  of   FC  Zurich  in the  Champions  League  competition.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  getty  images ....................
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his first goal in European club competition for Real Madrid. The Portuguese player would add a second goal to his tally in his side's 5-2 defeat of FC Zurich in the Champions League competition. picture appears courtesy of getty images ....................

Having had a thorough display in the European club competition in defeating FC Zurich 5-2 in somewhat of a competitive but lopsided match in part. The Swiss side were never really that bold on offense but they made use of the legitimate chances that came their way.

FC  Zurich's  Xavier  Margairaz   and  Real  Madrid's Raul  contest  a   loose  ball   during  the   Champions League  Group  C meeting.    Real  Madrid  would   go  on  to defeat  their   opponent   5-2 .    picture  appears  courtesy  of   ap/keystone/ photo/  Steffen  Schmidt  ......................
FC Zurich's Xavier Margairaz and Real Madrid's Raul contest a loose ball during the Champions League Group C meeting. Real Madrid would go on to defeat their opponent 5-2 . picture appears courtesy of ap/keystone/ photo/ Steffen Schmidt ......................

And with the game now out of the way. They can now return to the rigors of the Spanish League domestic competition. There’s no doubt that this victory has given the team a definite boost of confidence. And now comes the sterner test for the team and that’s to maintain that consistency shown in their defeat of the Swiss side. There’s nothing more telling than when a team coming off a resounding win then falls back to earth with a lackluster display. With the team’s triumvirate of stars all having solid performances. It’s hoped that they’ll be able to replicate that form in their return to domestic competition in the league.

The two goal outburst by Cristiano Ronaldo to go with his allround display, was all that the Real Madrid fans could ask for. And it paid off in with the dividends of also seeing Kaka and Raul ably abetting the Portuguese , World Player of the Year, in Cristiano Ronaldo. The glaring talk when one deals the precocious talent of Ronaldo , has been that he’s never been able to produce on the grandest of stages. But if anything it has been the player’s complacency and the fact that he doesn’t always challenge himself to do better. We’re in awe with those moments dazzling brilliance. But then soon after we’re wanting to lambast the player for sometimes not trying harder. But were he on your team would you be willing to sell him in the expectation of getting something better ? There aren’t many players today with the talents of Ronaldo playing the game at his level of consistency. Isn’t any wonder that the Spanish giants were willing to pay Manchester United in excess of $140 million to avail themselves of his services ? His compensation package with Real Madrid makes him amongst the highest paid soccer players in the world. And the untold riches in terms of endorsements will almost certainly make him amongst the highest earning sport’s personalities on the planet.

Santiago Bernabeu  Stadium     home  to  Spanish  soccer   giant   Real  Madrid  of  the  Spanish  first  division.     picture  appears   courtesy  of  afp/  reuters  /   Jose  Etcheverria  .................
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium home to Spanish soccer giant Real Madrid of the Spanish first division. picture appears courtesy of afp/ reuters / Jose Etcheverria .................

La Liga (Spanish Primera) as the Spanish first division is often referred to , is one of the most competitive leagues in all of European soccer. It sits alongside that of the Barclays Premier League in England -being viewed as claiming that mantel. Though many believe it to be the Premiership that is far in a way the most competitive in terms of talent and the number of elite teams on display week in and week out..That case cannot made for La Liga.

Courtesy of AP Yahoo Sports :

Real Madrid , Man United win in Champions League

By Stuart Condie AP Sports Writer

Cristiano Ronaldo had a successful Champions League debut for Real Madrid, scoring twice Wednesday night in a 5-2 victory at Zurich.

“I never feel pressure,” Ronaldo said. “I just work to score goals. I scored two and I’m really pleased for that, but the important thing is to win games.”

Manchester United, his former team, won its opener 1-0 at Besiktas, and AC Milan gained a 2-1 victory in heavy rain at Olympique Marseille.

The reigning FIFA player of the year, Ronaldo scored on free kicks in the 27th and 89th minutes of the Group C match, with the second going in off goalkeeper Johnny Leoni, who tried to clear it with a punch. Real Madrid, a nine-time champion, also got goals from Raul Gonzalez in the 34th, Gonzalo Higuain in first-half injury time and Jose Maria “Guti” Gutierrez in second-half injury time.

“We must not lose concentration,” Real Madrid coach Manuel Pelligrini said. “There are always things to improve on but I’m happy we scored five goals.”

Xavier Margairaz converted a 64th-minute penalty kick for Zurich, which also got a goal on Silvan Aegerter’s header one minute later.

“Real was for sure a little bit in fear of us. At 3-2 anything is possible,” Leoni said. “If they want to win the Champions League they will have to play better.”

At a Group B match in Istanbul, Paul Scholes scored with 13 minutes remaining for Manchester United, the 2008 champion.

“It was difficult,” United captain Gary Neville said. “They create an atmosphere over here like no other country.”

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Official   presentation of  the  Brazilian international  player  Kaka  to  the  fan  at  the  Santiago Bernabau  Stadium  ,  Madrid  ,  Spain.   There  was  in  excess  of   50,000   fans  in the  stadium  to  greet  the  player  at the  official presentation.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  photo  agency  -photo  ..............................
Official presentation of the Brazilian international player Kaka to the fan at the Santiago Bernabau Stadium , Madrid , Spain. There was in excess of 50,000 fans in the stadium to greet the player at the official presentation. picture appears courtesy of photo agency -photo ..............................

And with the Spanish domestic league season just underway. It’ll be interesting to see how Real Madrid fares in domestic competition. As of late this team hasn’t won anything of merit on either level. With untold tens of millions of dollars at their disposal they’ve gone out of their way to try and buy themselves out of trouble. It has seemingly left the club in something of a financially precarious situation. Although club president Florentino Perez has tried to allay those fears by publicly addressing the issue. Stating that the club is financially sound and that they can meet all of their financial obligations.

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Soccer, Sports, World Cup 2010

Where There’s A Will There’s A Way ………..


The qualifying process is winding down as to the 2010 World Cup , which will be held in South Africa. It is only the second major international sporting event to be held in the country since the removal of apartheid .

Former South African President  ,  Nelson  Mandela  ,  not only  a  supreme  humanitarian  but also  an  avid  sports  fan.  Mandela    alongside  his  successor   Thabo  Mbeki    fought  long   and  hard  to  bring  the   World  Cup   to  South  Africa . Despite   at  times   there  being  prominent  opposition  from  a  number  of   soccer  bureaucrats  across  the  globe.     picture  appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Marcus  Nash  .......................
Former South African President , Nelson Mandela , not only a supreme humanitarian but also an avid sports fan. Mandela alongside his successor Thabo Mbeki fought long and hard to bring the World Cup to South Africa . Despite at times there being prominent opposition from a number of soccer bureaucrats across the globe. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Marcus Nash .......................

And for the country’s former president, Nelson Mandela. This is something that he and many of the country’s politicians have fought long and hard for , in bringing such a prestigious sporting event to the country. The World Cup , alongside the Summer Olympics are the most eagerly watched and anticipated sporting events in the world. A quadrennial event that’s anticipated and will be watched by in excess of 1 1/2 billion people across the globe , once the event gets under way. And for those qualifying nations it does bring a sense of pride for the players, as well as its citizenry. The event itself, is seen as fostering a sense of competition as well as sportsmanship among the participants. But above all , it’s an extraordinary way of getting athletes together to meet on the field of competition at the international level. Something that’s not often seen with regards to any of the major sports within North America. Granted ,the NHL does have the Stanley Cup and there’s also the international governing body’s very own international competition , with its own version of the World Cup. But bearing that in mind in terms of its importance on the international stage , it pales in comparison to soccer’s World Cup.

Soccer  city   in  Johannesburg,  South  Africa.  One of   thirteen  venues  that'll  be   used  to  host   the  games  of the  2010  World  Cup  being  held  in  South  Africa  ,  next  June.    picture  appears  courtesy of   getty  images/   ....................
Soccer city in Johannesburg, South Africa. One of thirteen venues that'll be used to host the games of the 2010 World Cup being held in South Africa , next June. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ ....................

The NBA, for its part and MLB , despite their popularity haven’t fully caught the public’s imagination at the international level the way soccer has. But they are slowly getting there. Albeit, that if anything baseball has fallen by the wayside in terms of Olympic recognition. But the World Baseball Classic for all of its pecularities and the ill-conceived notions of MLB and the sport’s international governing body has done. It hasn’t caught the imagination of the fans globally. Especially when based on viewership of the event domestically and on the global level.

The NBA despite its immense popularity globally-goes out of its way to market its stars individually, rather than their teams. And even with the popularity of its stars at the Olympics and Team USA’s winning of the gold medal in Beijing. It primarily came down to more a marketing of the game’s stars, rather than foistering the popularity of the game and further broaden its base and appeal. And you’d be hard pressed to name but a handful of international players on any of the teams that participated in the games other than those we already know playing in the NBA.

 Nelson Mandela  Stadium  in  Port  Elizabeth ,  South Africa  .   picture  appears  courtesy of  afp/photo/  Pieter   Houizehenhaus  ............................
Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth , South Africa . picture appears courtesy of afp/photo/ Pieter Houizehenhaus ............................

As the host nation, South Africa is an automatic qualifier for next year’s event. And while the fans there are eagerly awaiting the event’s kick-off. The team itself has already began its preparations by hosting a pre World Cup tournament , as well several friendlies against international competition. There is expected to be the usual plethora of teams that are hoping to make their presence felt once the competition gets under way. Brazil as expected are the presumptive favorites for the competition. And as a five time winner of the Jules Rimet trophy (World Cup), they are expected to raise it again, for an unprecedented sixth time. Which would be a record amongst World Cup winners.

Ricardo  Clark  of  the  US  celebrates  after  scoring the  team's   lone  goal  to  secure  a  1-0 victory  over  Trinidad  & Tobago  ,  in  Port  of Spain ,  Trinidad.    picture appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/ Fernando  Llana   ..............................
Ricardo Clark of the US celebrates after scoring the team's lone goal to secure a 1-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago , in Port of Spain , Trinidad. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Fernando Llana ..............................

The aspirations of the US soccer team cannot be understated, as they seek respectability amongst the game’s international elite. Qualifying for the event in South Africa would do a great deal to raise the profile of US soccer , domestically , as well as abroad. And with the growing confidence of many of their younger stars , such as Jozy Altidore , Ricardo Clark and the veteran experience of such players as Tim Howard , Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan. It is hoped that the team will, fare well , in the event next year. It has a clear goal , and that’s at least to reach the latter stages of the event. Anything short of that , would be considered a failure .

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and AP :

US moves to the verge of 6th straight World Cup berth

Port of Spain-Trinidad and Tobago-(AP)

Just one more win will give the US its sixth straight World Cup berth.

Ricardo Clark scored in the 62nd minute, and the United States beat Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 Wednesday night to move into first place in World Cup qualifying.

“It’s huge. It’s huge. It gives us a little bit of space when things are getting tight in our group.” Clark said. ” We knew we had to come out in this game and get a win.”

The United States failed to win its first three road qualifiers this year and played a listless first half. The Americans went ahead when Clint Dempsey played the ball wide to Landon Donovan, who cut the ball back to Clark.

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Those teams that’ve already qualified can now set about looking at what may well lie ahead for them. Inasmuch, as the tournament may well seem a long way off. Many of the players are still within the midst of their respective domestic competitive calendars. And any type of a serious injury could very well place their dreams in jeopardy. Coaches and players asides, the fans globally will be cheering on their teams with a great deal of patriotism. Needless to say the more vocal amongst us will most certainly let our voices be heard.

The event itself begins on the 11th June with the preliminary rounds. And ends with the finals being played on the 11th of July. The 32 participants that will be in the tournament , all have aspirations making it to the finals. But as we all know only two can ever make it there. And as of September 10th , there are eleven known qualifiers for the tournament. In no discerning order they are, South Africa as hosts, Japan, Korea (Rep), Netherlands, Korea DPR, Brazil , Ghana , England , Spain and Paraguay.

As an avid soccer fan , albeit that I now reside in the United States and being English by birth. I , for one am hoping that the best and brightest that the soccer world has to offer can exhibit their profound skills with grace. And show the fans across the globe why it is this is the most beloved of all sports, not just in terms of the passion shown, but also when it comes to its popularity and participants worldwide at every level.

And for the people of South Africa and their government . I wish them well in their endeavor of hosting the event. Those who doubted that they could pull this off. Well they can only but witness the passion , grace and hospitality shown when the country hosted the CONCACAF Federations Tournament earlier this year. Hosted in South Africa , the event proved to be an immense success and as a precursor of things to come next year. The nation of South Africa proved to be courteous , graceful and wonderful hosts to all of the participants. When one considers what the country has undergone under previous regimes , prior to Mandela’s ascent to power as President. The changes during and after his reign makes this more than a welcoming sight for a country on the African continent to be hosting such a prestigious event.

* List of teams that’ve qualified for the World Cup as of the 10th September 2009 Click here ………..

AC Milan, David Beckham, EPL, La Liga, Los Angeles Galaxy, Manchester United, Philip Anschutz, Real Madrid, Serie A, Soccer, Sports

Just When You Thought There Was Sanity Within Sports Something Leads You To Believe Otherwise …………..


 
 

Now I know that  for  a  fact that there aren’t that  many soccer  fans  amongst the  throngs  who congregate  within  this  forum.   So I  won’t  prevail  upon  you my inherent  love of  the sport. Other than  to surmise that growing up  in the UK it played  a  great part  in my upbringing. That being  said  I  also  had  other  recreational  activities that I  pursued  with a  passion . Namely  the martial  arts  where  I  obtained  a  black  belt  in  karate.

 

 

 

 

 

On  however  to the  bare  bones  of this  article . As  many  of  you  know the  global  soccer icon   known  as  David  Beckham was  lured  here  to the  United  States  to increase the  profile  of the game of soccer(football).  Having  played  much  of his career in  the  United   Kingdom  for the  much  heralded  Manchester United  and  continent of  Europe  for  Real Madrid  of Spain.   Beckham  was  able  to  parlay  his  inimitable  skills  into a   formidable  fortune  and  worldwide  notoriety.  After a  somewhat  untenable  situation  with the  Spanish  soccer   giant  Real Madrid  came   to  a  head  he  came  to  the  United   States with all of  the  unabashed  publicity  one  would  expect of a  superstar. 

 

 

David  Beckham  and his wife  Victoria     picture appears courtesy  pf  afp/reuters/ Tim Keeley  ...........
David Beckham seen here accompanied by his wife Victoria inthe principality of Monaco picture appears courtesy of afp/reuters/Tim Keeley ...........

 

 

David  Beckham  and his  wife  Victoria  Beckham  seen here  in the  principality  of Monaco .   picture  appears  courtesy of  afp/reuters/Tim Keeley  ………..

 

 

 

 

 

Also  accompanying   him  were  his  publicity  seeking  wife  and  some time  pop  group  vignette  member   Victoria  Beckham and  their  three  children.  As  to her  own  actual claim  to fame that’s  something  I’m  still   trying  to   figure  out.   Well  Beckham  was  welcomed  with  open   arms   by  MLS (Major League Soccer)  and  offered  a  contract   befitting  of  a  king.   All   told  it’s   said  to  be  worth  upwards  of  $250m  over  a  period  of  ten  years.  The   vast majority  of  this  sum  would  be  earned  by  the  player   through  marketing and  branding  his   name  on almost  everything  associated  with  the   game  here  in the  US.   And  if that  wasn’t  enough  a  David  Beckham  Soccer  Academy  would  be  opened up  as well  on  both  coasts.

 

 

 

 

 

Now  it’d be  remiss  of  me  not to  opine on  this   further . But I  feel  that  it’s  best  not  to. Philip  Anschutz  the  multi billionaire  financial ,  media  mogul  and  owner  of  a  number  of  several soccer  franchises   within  the  MLS    would  be  the  main   architect  of this exercise.  And  it  would  be   the  Los  Angeles   Galaxy  where  Beckham  would  be  seen  and  hopefully  be  able  lure  the  more   curious  of  fans  to their   home  facility   at  the  Home  Depot  Center  in Carson, California. The hullaballoo which  followed  all  but  assured  us  that this  exercise  would  either  sink  or   swim  on  Beckham’s presence within  the  league.   The team  itself  was  marginal  at  best  and once  the  player got under  way   with  showing us all  his abilities. It  was  something  of  a  letdown. 

 

 

 

Beckham  shows his  fleet  of  foot  with an  intended pass  for a  teammate  for  his  new  club ............
Bekcham shows that he is fleet of foot with an intended pass for a teammate at his new club AC Milan . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Luciano Pozzolli ..................

 

 

Beckham shows  that he is fleet  of  foot  with  an  intended pass   for  a  teammate  at  his  new  club  AC  Milan.  picture appears courtesy  of  getty  images/Luciano  Pozzolli  ……………..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Granted  there  was  an  upswing   in  ticket   sales  across   the league   and  the  television  made  its presence   felt  in the  guise  of  ABC  and   cable  entity  ESPN.  But  it  became  short lived  once we   saw  that  the player   wouldn’t  be  on  the  field  on  a  regular basis  because of  recurring   injuries   suffered  prior  to  his  introduction   to the league.  That  of itself  was  enough    was enough  to suggest  that this  would  a  disaster  of  monumental  proportions. Especially   for  the  fans  who  may  well  have  felt  that  they  were  being   short  changed.    His  inauspicious   start  only led  to  further   ridicule  of  the  sport   and  the league itself.   And   much  of  it was  thoroughly  deserved.

 

 

Beckham  in a publicity  pose  after his  loan  agreement  is  confirmed .  The  player is  now  on  loan  to  Italian  soccer  giants  AC  Milan ............picture appears  courtesy of  getty  images  ..........
Beckham seen here in a publicity pose after his agreed loan to Italian soccer giants AC Mlian ..... picture appears courtesy of Luciano Pozzolli ...........

 

 

Beckham  in  a publicity  pose  after  his  loan agreement  is confirmed  to  Italian  soccer giants  AC  Milan.  picture appears  courtesy  of  getty images/Luciano  Pozzolli …………………..

 

 

 

 

 

Now  enjoying   something  of a  rejuvenated  career  with  Italian  soccer  giant   AC Milan  where  he’s now  on  loan  to  the  team.  The  player  is  now  said to  be  interested   remaining   with the  club and  making   the  move  a  permanent  one.  Albeit   denials   have  come thick  and  fast  from  all  parties  concerned  other  than  the  player  himself  directly with the  press. As to  what  this’d  mean  for  the  fans   of  the  Galaxy   much  less  the  domestic  league  here  in the  US remains  to  be  seen.  It  oughtn’t  to  come  as  a  surprise  to  anyone  at all.  The  league is  barely  surviving  now keeping  its  head  above  water with the  all  too   fiscal  conservatism  that’s to be   expected   in  these   dire   economic   times.   As  for  the  management  and  ownership    of  the  franchise   what   started   out   as  an  extravagant  publicity  gimmick . It  now  seems   that  everything  could  come  crashing  down  around  its  ears.  The  player   probably  relishes  the competitive  zeal  of playing   in  Italy in  one  of  the  best  soccer leagues  in the  world in  Serie’A.   When  compared   to  that  of  the Western  Conference of  Major League  Soccer  and  the  league  in its  entirety. The  difference  is  as  clear  as  day  is  to  night.  Why  eat a  rib  roast   when  you  can  have   filet-mignon  instead  ?   

 

 

 

Beckham  in action  for  AC  Milan  ..........
Beckham in action for AC Milan ..... picture appears courtesy of ap/Arturo Emigliano................

 

 

Beckham in  action for  AC Milan.  picture  courtesy  of  ap/Arturo Emigliano ………….

 

 

 

As  to what  may  transpire  between  all of  the   parties  concerned. In  this  case  the  Los Angeles Galaxy  , MLS  and  that  of  AC  Milan  itself. It  has  to be  said  that  it  will be  very interesting  to  see  how   things  will   unfold. Clearly the  loss of  the player  will  be  significant  to  the fortunes  of  not  only the league  but  also  the  Los  Angeles Galaxy itself.  Barely   two  years  into  this   ten  year  agreement  it  would seem that  there is  a  stark   reality   that  Beckham  feels  that  he’d  be  better  served elsewhere  playing in  Italy.  Rather than  suffering  the  ignominy  of   toiling   in  the  US even  though  for  a  large  sum  of  money.  But  nowhere  near the  recognition  and  notoriety   that  he’s  usually  accustomed  to  when  playing   in  other  parts  of  the  world.  It  appears  that  when   money  doesn’t  always   buy   you a great deal of  happiness . But  in  some  cases   it  doesn’t  hurt  to   try   your  hand   at  it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Beckham , Anschutz  and   all  concerned  in this  particular   fiasco  it has  been  all   about the  money  and  rarely  anything  else.  Who’d  have   thought it  ? For  $250m Beckham  was   brought  in   to make the   statement   that   the   exercise was a  worthwhile  endeavor    and  that  the  game  would  be   better  for  it  here  in  the  United States.   All   the  money   in  the  world  it appears  can’t   make  up   for  the  futility , stupidity  and  overall    just  downright  lack  of  common  sense.