Buckyball Writes Again

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


If I was Abramovich or even Glazer, I wouldn’t bother buying a club – I would simply get first rights on all players coming out of brazil for the next 10 years. Then sit tight and watch the money roll in.

Its 3 years since 2002, just about enough time for most of us to forget what Brazil can do when they’re in the mood. For those of you who missed the Confederations cup final – there were 11 players there for Brazil who could have graced (and I don’t mean that lightly) any premiership team. Even Roque Junior had a memorable day out.

It confirmed also reaffirmed my long held theory that while everybody still loves to talk about Brazil’s porous defence, not since 1982 have they really had a bad defensive line up in a major tournament. Lucio’s performance in this match was what Terry or Ferdinand can only dream about doing for their country someday. And Dida when called upon, made quite a few Dida-esque saves towards the end when Argentina were throwing everything into the attack in an effort to restore pride.

The commentator at one point of time mentioned – have you ever wondered what would happen if Kaka and Ronaldinho played well together… now you know. If Brazil had not squandered some easy chances towards the end the score-line would have embarrassed Argentina.

What can you say about Adriano on song – the strength to hold off a Robert Huth, as he showed in the semis, and the ability to outjump and outrun Heinze with consummate ease, a heading ability to worry the best defences and a lethal left foot that is accurate from 25 yards out – Chelsea should bust the bank for him! And if the bull needed a counterpoint – it was the gazelle like Robinho – all speed and turns and silken touches.

And if anybody has been wondering what will happen when Cafu & Carlos retire, please direct your queries towards messers Cicinho & Maicon who may have a few things to share with you on the subject. And in the Valhalla of football footage, the 25 odd passes over 2 minutes leading up to Ronaldhino’s tuck-away goal when almost every Brazilian player and not a single Argentinian touched the ball – should be a guest of honour.

If football is a drug, then the Brazillian team is undoubtedly it’s most charismatic peddler. Vive la Samba.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Things Are Not Always What They Seem

Given the inordinately superabundant role that Media plays in forming a public and individual consciousnless today, greatly supplanting the family as a font of value systems, it is hardly surprising that the increasing tabloid-isation of media makes reality itself a very flexible commodity.

Our realities today, therefore, are formed by interpretations and assimilations that we make out of the collage of media thrown at us in an everday manner. And armed with these realities, we often forget to apply the good advice we've all heard at sometime or the other from the redoubtable Sherlock Homes "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts".

Right, lets get back to football before this blog loses its bearings in rarified atmosphere of lofty social commentary. The point I'm attempting to make, in apparently the longest-winded manner possible, is that we all tend to jump to erroreous conclusions based on superficial analysis performed on highly suspect and selective data which the media feeds us. And this was highlighted to me today by a simple sentence which appears in the Soccernet website, with respect to the driving force of off-season news - the Malcom Glazer juggernaut - and I quote "One of the aspects of the deal which is bound to be pointed out is United's debt levels, which will still be lower than those undertaken by Arsenal to finance the cost of building their new stadium at Ashburton Grove".

Do we have Arsenal fans registering a new football club? Calling Ian Wright out of retirement a la Ian Rush for a last hurrah? Staging protests and demonstrations? No? Why not? Isn't the debt levels of the deal the single biggest sticking points for the disgruntled United supporters? Aren't all the other fans crowing about how United will buckle under the financial leverage of Glazer-nomics?

The answer of course, is that we have all believed what we have been led to believe. And of course we have willingly followed - believing The Sun instead of, as we should, Mr. Holmes. It is not in my place to evaluate Mr. Glazers business strategy. But if it were, I would be well advised to collect sufficient data in order to make a reasonable conclusion of any sort.

If, however, I had to bet, I would be happier betting on Mr. Glazers approach than what I have seen of the earlier regime. The reasons are not too hard to fathom. The Manchester United management hasn’t covered itself in glory over the past few seasons. If it is players that make a club, I just have two words for the erstwhile board – Ronaldinho and Robben. The performance on field has often been sloppy – too players seem to have devalued at the club, instead of the other way around. David Beckham’s sale was made at the lowest point of the transfer market – and United were being supplanted very effectively by Chelsea as the “place to be” for new talent.

Will it all change under Glazer? Who knows? But till now, I haven’t seen anything from the Glazers that looks ham-handed. I could well be proved wrong in the months to come, but they’ve gone about their business with incredible effectiveness in the face of near-violent opposition. A virulent and vocal fan-base has not daunted them. Nor has being rebuked more than 3 times. If they are half as good at running things as they are at assuming control, then United fans are in for a upswing.

If ticket prices do increase by 50% over the next 5 years, it will still keep United behind most of the clubs in the premiership. Arsenal & Chelsea fans are in la la land if they think their London ticket prices will not spurt over the next few years. Lets not forget the bit about the Ashburton Grove debt of Arsenal and the fact that Chelsea at last count were in the favour of Mr. Abramovich to the tune of some 100 million pounds.

Arsenal may be getting Robinho and they may still have Henry, but in the time honoured tradition of intellectual debates, I have this to say to Arsenal fans: We have a goalkeeper na na na na na, we have a goalkeeper, na na na na na…

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Exploratory Surgery and The Meniscus Cartilage

Of all the things I don’t understand about the beautiful game, the things I understand least are headlines like this one below.

“Middlesbrough midfielder Stuart Downing will undergo exploratory knee surgery on Wednesday morning.”

What … um… does exploratory surgery mean?

“Doctor, there’s summin wrong with me knee”
Ok Stu, sit down here and lets cut it open…
Why doc? what’s wrong with me knee? I need to be fit for me next game for unca sven!
Well stu… how about we just cut it open, and lets take it from there… play it by ear… y’know? Lets not rush into long term commitments here…

Ok that’s extreme I know. And I’m sure this makes as much sense to doctors as “washing an STB with a new EEPROM” does to me.

But everytime I read it a new scenario pops into my head. Like this group of doctors on a bored Monday…
“Guys, what are we gonna do today?”
I dunno… what do you wanna do?
I dunno either… wait! I’ve got it, lets operate on Stewart Downings knee and see if we find something there!

Which begs the thought why Stewart Downing’s knee? What might one find there? If you wanted a medical operation to be truly exploratory – to the point of being pathbreaking, you may want to try exploratory surgery to find…

Mourinho’s modesty?
Rio Ferdinand’s conscience?
Paul Scholes’s wild side?
Michael Owen’s sense of adventure?
Arsene’s eyesight?
Ferguson’s laidback moments?
Bellamy’s brains? oh wait… that’s the Newcastle football team’s brains…
Nistelrooy’s scoring touch?
Hasselbank’s smile of satisfaction?

On another note, Chelsea & Cole have been found guilty of “tapping up”. Do you foresee another Bosman? I can’t believe rules like this still exist. Where in the world are you not allowed to speak to prospective employers while working for the current one? Isn’t that violation of freedom of speech and movement? Where will you draw the line? What about Rio and Kenyon? What about chance meetings? What about all the people who’s hand Mourinho has shaken after matches? What will really count as tapping up?

Ah well … that’s food for next time’s discussion. Tll then, its back to Steward Downing’s appendages and their dissection. You will be happy to note, that in the words of the Boro spokesperson, "The operation was a complete success. Stewart has had a small part of his meniscus cartilage removed," – poor guy! And so young too!