An eye towards England

It’s fun every once in a while to look outside one’s own culture and sample something a little different.

Right now, I’ve got the Saturday, Dec. 27 edition of the London Times on my desk and – having skipped the news, TV, business and every other section – I’m reading through the sports section.

Of course, it contains page after glorious page of “football” news.

That’s soccer to you and me.

If I could talk my wife into it, I’d move there just to read about soccer this often.

Makes me wonder what my buddy Greg Phillips is doing here…

Of course, I have to thank my suppliers. Darron Ward, Newcastle resident and fan sent these over through his son, Jack, who is a striker on the defending state champion Fayetteville Academy squad.

We made the exchange Wednesday even though he didn’t recognize me without my trademark baseball cap and I didn’t know him outside of his soccer gear.

Here are a few impressions of the Times, along with some other things that have struck me out of the motherland recently:

1. I really like the headlines. “Teves covers cracks in Potteries” and my personal favorite, “Serious injuries, a red card and an away defeat. Happy birthday, Joe.”

That last one stung a bit for my friend Darron, who might not be through sending me things this season based on our earlier Fulham v. Newcastle wager.

2. The charts were incredible. They had one tracking Chelsea striker Didier Drogba’s touches, a flurry of yellow and purple dots on a green pitch, and another diagramming Xavi Alonso’s passes to Robbie Keane for Liverpool. The Guardian was cool, too. A horse racing fan could get his fix with their coverage of the sport of kings.

3. Speaking of Mr. Keane, help me out. How does a player get sold from Spurs to his boyhood club in August for somewhere around 20 million pounds only to get shipped back to London six months later for around five pounds less? I’m not accountant, but that doesn’t add up.

4. I just read “Bloody Confused,” a novel by Chuck Culpepper about his discovery of the Premier League and his eventual conversion into a Pompey (Portsmouth) fan. If you can get past his reliance on repetition to make his points, it’s a good read and as good an explanation as any as to why most Americans are missing out on the world’s most popular sport. 

5. Every week, I think a different team is going down to the Championship. This week, I’m losing faith in Pompey after a listless first 80 minutes found them in a 3-0 hole against my Fulham side. They pulled two back, but I think they’ll be doing well to stay up.

Blackburn, Middlesbrough and West Brom would fall through the trap door if the season ended today, but you have to go all the way up to seventh before you get 10 points clear of the drop. It’s too close to call right now, which is what will make the rest of the season so interesting.


6 Responses to “An eye towards England”

  1. Herm Says:

    Prepare to be blown away: The Times of London has a Web site.

  2. Randy Capps Says:

    Walked into that one, didn’t I?

    I’ve been there, and the Guardian’s as well. It’s just not the same as actually having the paper in hand.

  3. Gregory Phillips Says:

    “Makes me wonder what my buddy Greg Phillips is doing here…”

    Amazing what we do for love.

  4. darron ward Says:

    Hello Randy
    Glad you are enjoying your post Christmas reading.
    2 good sports supplements and normally quite impartial.
    Yes our wager is looking very favourable for you, my beloved Toon are on the slippery slope and only poor pefromance by teams around them are keeping them up there.
    Shay Given has left the Toon after 11years loyal service – I am sorry but dont blame him. He is quality.
    This season so far I reckon Given has saved the Toon at least 5 points.
    Deduct then from our points total and we are bottom – that is how important he was to the Toon.
    Joe Knnear couldn’t manage his breakfast !
    Anyway glad you are enjoying your read – What size soccer strip do you want ???

  5. Randy Capps Says:

    I agree that Newcastle is in trouble, Joe Kinnear is not a very good manager and that Given is a world-class keeper.

    But I’m not ready to claim victory yet. I’m a little worried that Fulham hasn’t done much to replace Bullard in the transfer window, though Dacourt might wind up being the answer. Our next two league fixtures are at in-form Wigan and at Old Trafford.

    Not exactly looking like six points…

  6. How to Get Six Pack Fast Says:

    I read your blog for a long time and must tell that your articles always prove to be of a high value and quality for readers.

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