Author Archive

Why the hell did Chelsea fire Ray Wilkins?

Posted in Chelsea, England with tags , on November 13, 2010 by Grant

I rarely write about Chelsea in this space anymore because there are hundreds of other places on the Internet that cover English football. But I do keep reasonably abreast of what’s happening at Chelsea through the usual channels: UK media, blogs, online forums, etc.

Like many Chelsea followers, I was immensely puzzled by the sudden departure of assistant manager Ray Wilkins this week. Up until about a year and a half ago, the unexplained departure of a member of the coaching staff – ie. the manager – would have simply been par for the course. That’s the kind of reputation you get after five managers in five years. But the Carlo Ancelotti era had ushered in a strange, almost boring period of calm. Until now.

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The Curious Case of Andy Najar

Posted in CONCACAF with tags , , on November 11, 2010 by Grant

No. Sadly this post is not a sensational exposé about how MLS rookie of the year Andy Najar was in fact born with the physical appearance of a 70-year-old man and subsequently began to age backward. But it might serve as future reference material for migrant footballers around the globe wishing to dodge the awkward question of which country they’ll represent internationally.

We’ve written about Najar previously. And as his stock continues to rise, so does the ambiguity of his statements about whether he will eventually don a Honduran or an American shirt for international play.

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Long balls: Canadians abroad (November 7)

Posted in Canada, International with tags on November 10, 2010 by Grant

Welcome to another edition of Long Balls: Canadians Abroad. It’s a service for those without time to wade through multi-page forum threads to keep tabs on Canadian footballers. We won’t list all of the Canadians abroad, just the weekly performances we feel are most relevant to our readers. Or in the case of Isidro Sanchez, relevant to no one.

So let’s see… American politics mired in deadlock, China conducting a census and Tomasz Radzinski slamming in goal after goal in Belgium. Is this November 2000 or November 2010?

(Yep, there’s a reason this site is free.)

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Long balls: Canadians abroad (October 31)

Posted in Canada, International with tags , on November 1, 2010 by Grant

Welcome to another edition of Long Balls: Canadians Abroad. It’s a service for those without time to wade through multi-page forum threads to keep tabs on Canadian footballers. We won’t list all of the Canadians abroad, just the weekly performances we feel are most relevant to our readers. Or in the case of Isidro Sanchez, relevant to no one.

I haven’t been rolling the Long Balls for very long, and already this is the second weekend where the most notable performance is a goal by Tomasz Radzinski. The 36-year-old striker scored for Lierse in a 2-2 draw with Eupen to bring his season’s tally to… well it brings it to two. I don’t know how two goals in the Belgian top flight compares to Josh Simpson’s six goals in the Turkish Super Lig (well actually I do, it compares poorly), to Olivier Occean’s nine goals in 3. Liga or Simeon Jackson’s four goals in the Championship, but would it be absolutely batshit insane to sweet talk Radzinski out of international retirement? Please tell me that it would be.

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Long balls: Canadians abroad (October 24)

Posted in Canada with tags , , , on October 25, 2010 by Grant

Welcome to another edition of Long Balls: Canadians Abroad. It’s a service for those without time to wade through multi-page forum threads to keep tabs on Canadian footballers. We won’t list all of the Canadians abroad, just the weekly performances we feel are most relevant to our readers. Or in the case of Isidro Sanchez, relevant to no one really.

The way these weekly updates are headed we may as well just call them Josh Simpson, a weekend in review. The Canadian winger/forward scored the match winner for Manisaspor in a 2-1 victory over Kasimpasa (video here, head to the 1:03 mark), and this one was a beauty. He’s simply in fantastic form at the moment and let’s all hope this holds out for the next, say, four years? At the moment Simpson is tied with four others in the Turkish top-flight goal scoring race with six, one behind Mamadou Niang of Fenerbahçe who has seven.

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Growing up to play for Canada

Posted in Canada with tags , on October 23, 2010 by Grant

While doing my usual rounds of Canadian soccer surfing I came across a list of players called to a national camp for boys under the age of 15. Surely a sign of too much time on my hands, I randomly entered one name, Yacine Ait-Slimane, into Google.

This was the first link that showed up. I originally thought it was some sort of suburban Montreal weekly, but eventually figured out it was actually based on Algeria. Either way, the article covers both Yacine and his twin brother Ilyes, also in the U15 camp.

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Canada nudges up in FIFA rankings

Posted in Canada, CONCACAF, International with tags on October 20, 2010 by Grant

Canada boinked up five spots in the FIFA rankings released earlier today to number 83. Right in between Cape Verde Islands and Malawi.

I don’t really understand the FIFA rankings. How they are calculated or what the ranking itself actually means. As far as I understand, the really important thing to watch is where Canada sits relative to its Concacaf rivals. It’s crucial Canada holds onto that top-8 spot. If Concacaf changes its qualifying format, Canada would desperately want to avoid a group of death scenario in the second round of four seeded groups of four.

I know this site has a few readers well-versed in the intricacies of Fifa rankings and what they mean for Canada, so please pipe into the comments section and fill us all in on what’s important and what isn’t.

In the meantime, here’s a brief summary written by a person with the handle rdroze on the Voyageurs board about how Fifa rankings are calculated:

…basically it comes down to this: for each game played a team gets a certain number of points which is affected by:

1) Result: 0 points for a loss, and three times as many points for a win as for a draw
2) Opponent: the higher-ranked your opponent, the more points you get
3) Confederation: certain confederations (UEFA and CONMEBOL) get more points than others
4) Importance: World Cup games and continental championships are worth more than qualifiers, which are worth more than friendlies

Then the points you get for each game are essentially weighted-averaged over four years, with more recent games being worth more.

And if you’ve really got some spare time on your hands read through the entire thread to see Canadian soccer supporters in all their glory. It’s the cyber-spat equivalent of bald men arguing over a comb.