Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Odds and ends

A few things that I have been vaguely paying attention to over the past week or so:

  • The end of the transfer window: It was a case of no news may or may not be good news for both United and Liverpool, as neither team made any major signings before the deadline. I was really expecting (or rather, hoping) that United would pick up a new striker. The fact that they didn't suggests that Sir Alex is far more confident than I am about Wayne Rooney's ability to get fit and Louis Saha's ability to stay fit. Either that or they couldn't get anybody they wanted. As for Liverpool, I still think they need some defensive cover, even if Jamie Carragher is likely to be back soon. On the other hand, the lack of signings means that at least that horrifying rumour about Boumsong wasn't true.

  • The Champions League draw and Michel Platini's proposal to reform the way teams qualify:
    Liverpool have a slightly easier draw (Porto, Marseille and Besiktas) than United (Roma, Sporting Lisbon and Dynamo Kiev), but I'm pretty confident that they should both qualify. (Please, don't remind me about Lille in 2005.) As for the proposal to give the fourth qualifying spot to the team that wins the FA Cup, I can see the arguments both for and against, but I'm not too fussed either way because I figure that the big clubs have enough clout to make sure that it never happens.

  • The ongoing clusterfuck that is England and qualification for Euro 2008: The team is beset by injuries at the moment, which in a funny way almost makes Steve McClaren's job easier because he can point to that if they fail (again) to perform. David Beckham is out with a knee injury, which means Shawn Wright-Phillips or maybe David Bentley on the right wing. They may miss his delivery from set pieces, but other than that this isn't the worst thing that can happen, because it forces McClaren to bring in some players who (a) are young enough to become part of the team for years and (b) have merited a place based on their form this year. As for Beckham, I figure he just wants to get to that magic 100-cap number and then he can limp off into the sunset; the sooner, the better.

    Frank Lampard is also out, with a thigh strain, with Steven Gerrard caught in a tug-of-war between Steve McClaren and Rafa Benitez about whether he should play despite his broken toe. I reckon he will, because the alternative is Michael Carrick, who has not exactly been setting the world on fire for United this season. Up front, after a couple years out of the team, Emile Heskey has been called up for the express purpose of making it easier for wee Michael Owen to start scoring goals again. I've never been all that impressed by Heskey, but do think they need a player like that -- and a 4-4-2 formation, for the love of god -- to get the best out of Owen. Jermain Defoe, meanwhile, is off in a corner weeping quietly to himself.

  • Speaking of clusterfucks, the Canadian Soccer Association: Colin Linford resigned as president last week after just 15 months in the job. Now, I know very little about the internal politics of the CSA, but this article in the Globe and Mail is a pretty damning indictment of their incompetence.

  • And in not exactly happier news, well, Toronto FC still suck, but I went to their game against DC United last weekend, watched them lose 1-0 and set a new league record for the longest goalless drought, and had a great time anyway. The game also reminded me of a couple ways that watching a match here is different than (from what I hear) it is in England. First, before the game, heading to our seats with beer in hand, we were stopped by a British guy who asked if you were allowed to take beer into the stands. Not only that, we told him, but they have people who will come by and sell it to you at your seat. His eyes lit up, and he sped off. The second is that we stood for the entire 90 minutes, as did everyone else in our section, and nobody seemed to have a problem with this. So, it's not all bad. Now, if only the team could score...


Anna said...

Although Linford had some points about the self-preserving nature of some of the board members and the overall direction (disaster) of the CSA, don't you think he was a bit excessive with a few of his comments?

Jen said...

I don't know, really. I suppose he might just be trying to make himself look better after leaving so abruptly, but everything else I've read about the situation suggests that he was right on the money.