Recent Comments by salmacis

Could Rugby Take Off in the US?

billinnagoya: You're wrong about the differences between league and union - the games are more dissimilar than Canadian and American Football.

However, that's all moot as league has very little international presence, and if rugby is going to take off in the States, it will be union.

posted by salmacis at 05:22 AM on September 09

Spanish players ready to strike

Well it depends- Italian players may well be paid a salary *after* tax. So contractually, if the Government imposes tax rises, it may well be up to the clubs to pay. Unfair, maybe, but it's the clubs' fault for offering such contracts in the firtst place. Italian footballers wouldn't be the first employees to resist a pay cut.

posted by salmacis at 03:24 AM on August 20

Rooney to leave Manchester?

Later, wankers!

posted by salmacis at 03:29 AM on October 19

Europe Wins Ryder Cup

Is there a reason why Europe generally seems to win the fourballs/foursomes and USA wins the singles?

posted by salmacis at 05:41 AM on October 05

Sainz: Scandal Set Back Women's Rights '50 Years'

No need to get sarky, lil_brown_bat. I don't read every other topic here.

posted by salmacis at 12:15 PM on September 20

Sainz: Scandal Set Back Women's Rights '50 Years'

Why exactly are women allowed in changing rooms after a match? Is a male reporter allowed into the changing room of a women's team?

(For that matter, the idea of allowing *any* reporters into changing rooms seems bizarre from this side of the pond.)

posted by salmacis at 05:43 AM on September 20

Usain Bolt Wants to Play Soccer

There were rumours that England rugby star Dan Ciprian was going to switch to football. He even played a pre-season game for QPR while trying to gain fitness.

posted by salmacis at 07:00 AM on September 08

Fantasy Premier League

I rarely hang around these parts nowadays, but I'm in.

posted by salmacis at 10:11 AM on July 20

Champions League has been decided

Regarding which is bigger, the Superbowl or the Champions League final:

I'd read some time ago that both get around 100m viewers. This was for a Wednesday night Champions League final. I don't know what the figures were for this year, but I would imagine that being on a Saturday night would have helped greatly. The Superbowl is a bigger event relative to the rest of the American football season than the Champions League final is to the rest of the soccer season, but globally, soccer is so much more popular that it all balances out.

The match went pretty much as expected. Bayern had the lions' share of possession but didn't create too many chances. Inter defended well, broke quickly and scored a couple of sucker punches. Say what you like about Mourinho, he knows how to organise a defence (see also the 10-man stand v. Barcelona.) Inter are not the most attractive team in the world, but they beat Chelsea (double winers in England), Barcelona (Spanish champions) and Bayern (double winners in Germany) en route, so they have to be respected.

posted by salmacis at 10:29 AM on May 24

Extra Time

etagloh, two points. Firstly, rugby referees don't stop the clock every time the ball goes out of play. They only stop it for excessive stoppages, such as injuries. Secondly, the players can't really do anything to end a match with my suggestion either. The match runs it's natural course, then time is extended until the ball goes out on top of that. It's a subtle distinction, but it works in rugby and I don't see why it wouldn't work in football.

Now that I think of it, there's another rule football could borrow from rugby. In rugby, there is no need to wait for a player to leave the field before the substitute enters the field. Why do we need to wait in football? A simple rule, whereby the substitute is deemed to have not entered the field of play and the substituted player is deemed to have not left the field of play until play is restarted would solve all objections.

posted by salmacis at 08:56 AM on September 24

Extra Time

I don't see any problem with using the system they have in rugby, with the referee telling the timekeeper when to stop the clock. There is one other important facet of the rugby system though, which would be appropriate to football as well. When time is up, play does not end immediately - it ends when the ball next goes out of play. That should stop Sweden v Brazil type moments.

posted by salmacis at 08:33 AM on September 23

'NFL Has No Business Being in Jacksonville'

Published attendance figures in all American sports leagues are a complete joke. Allowing teams to distribute free tickets and count them in the attendance figure - whether those tickets were even used or not - means teams can effectively announce whatever figure they like.

posted by salmacis at 08:27 AM on September 23

A New Trifecta

The fact is that American football has always placed intolerable demands on the human body. The hit that knocked out Willis McGahee in the AFC Conference Final was, in my opinion, no less than GBH. Somehow, the body armour has to be scaled back, and the rules changed to force more tackling with the arms (as in rugby). American football will always be a tough, tough game to play, but that doesn't mean that improvements cannot be made. I wonder whether the NFL's response is down to a fear of liability.

posted by salmacis at 09:18 AM on January 29

How Football Explains America.

"Go ahead, you try going to a rugby game and writing about it. Soccer? Ninety minutes of whatever and then maybe one goal scored by accident. Tough to create a coherent narrative out of that."

Any sports writer who can say that and actually believe it is clearly far too stupid for me to bother reading.

posted by salmacis at 05:59 AM on October 02

The Life And Death Of The English Football Song:

The bloke in the background of the World in Motion video (holding up the sign which reads EN-GER-LAND. 3:19 in the video) looks like the guy playing the Sheriff of Nottingham in the new Robin Hood series on BBC America.

I've not watched the video, but the article states the lyrics were by Keith Allen.. who played the Sheriff of Nottingham.

posted by salmacis at 10:09 AM on September 24

Manchester City make it the Big Five.

1976? Luxury! My lot haven't won anything since 1968. BTW, I was born in 1971.

posted by salmacis at 07:57 PM on September 03

Manchester City make it the Big Five.

Ironic that a group called United bought City..

The real losers in all this are Liverpool. As it is, they seem to be struggling to hang on to the coat-tails of Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal. If they are to be deprived of Champions League football that could be disasterous, considering the debt the owners have accrued.

posted by salmacis at 02:30 PM on September 02

Bolt wins Olympic 100m and breaks the world record

You know, my reaction wasn't that dissimilar to Michael Johnson's. An unbelievable run.

posted by salmacis at 04:25 AM on August 18

Are you ready for some (weird-looking) football?

Is it against soccer rules to do shit like, I don't know, form a 6 man phalanx around the player with the ball while he patiently and slowly dribbles it upfield?

What, you seriously think that would make for a better game? (And yes, it would be an indirect free kick for obstruction.)

Listen. Association Football is by far the most popular spectator sport in the world. It doesn't need Americans monkeying about with the rules to make it more popular over there. (In fact, MLS got rid of the innovations which marked it out as different: Fixed clock, shootout, etc.) As owlhouse pointed out, there have been plenty of rule changes over the last 30 years, and plenty of innovations in tactics. Just because you don't see them doesn't mean they don't exist. I don't know of tactical or rule changes in basketball, but I'm sure they exist.

Back to the a11 offense. I'm sure it could work at high school level, and it might even work at college level. But NFL? Sounds like a great way to get both of your quarterbacks out for the season.

posted by salmacis at 11:29 AM on August 15

EPL Fantasy 08-09 Open for business

I've set up a team in the Guardian league as well.

posted by salmacis at 06:47 AM on July 25

It's Salford City Reds and Celtic Crusaders!

Actually, the fact that squealy, as a Midlander, has never heard of Salford City Reds, despite the fact they were in the Superleague last year, shows just how low the profile of league is outside the heartland.

posted by salmacis at 09:57 AM on July 23

It's Salford City Reds and Celtic Crusaders!

Actually, it's two perfectly cromulent sports.. ..and Wakefield weren't overlooked. Owlhouse, I live well outside the league heartland and rugby league has a very low profile here. Sky Sports gave a shedload of money to the RFL, which means that if you don't have Sky Sports, actually watching any league is difficult. Unlike football, pubs are unlikely to show it. The BBC has a weekly highlights show, but it's on at a useless hour and not very good. Match Of The Day, it ain't. The BBC does at least get to show the Challenge Cup. Woo. The Sky money has enabled all Superleague clubs to be fully professional, and crowds, although small compared to football, are on a par with union. Clubs like Harlequins, Huddersfield and Wakefield can't draw flies. National newspapers will provide coverage of games, but the amount of space given is small compared to rugby union - which is again tiny when compared to football. Sometimes I have to look results up on the BBC website. I imagine that northern editions of the national papers give far more space to rugby league, and the northern local papers obviously will. Generally, rugby league is seen as northern, provincial and working class. I'm pretty sure many fans are annoyed at the inclusion of Celtic Crusaders simply because they are outside the traditional heartland. All in all, league does well enough in it's niche, but over the last 20 years club rugby union has got its act together, and league will have to find a way to reach beyond it's traditional areas.

posted by salmacis at 09:55 AM on July 23

It's Salford City Reds and Celtic Crusaders!

Some background info: Firstly, this is about rugby league, not rugby union. Different sports, different governing bodies. The Rugby Football League was formed in 1895 when northern clubs broke away from the Rugby Football Union, over charges of professionalism. Since then, the sport has been popular in northern England, but struggled for attention in the rest of the UK. The current top tier of competition is Superleague - a league of 12 clubs, with promotion and relegation to the National League. There are currently 10 clubs within the league "heartland" (an corridor stretching from Liverpool across to Hull), plus Harlequins RL (London) and Catalans (Perpignan, France).

In 2007, the RFL announced that the competiton would be expanded to 14 clubs, and a bombshell: there would be no more promotion and relegation, and clubs - including the current 12 - would have to apply for one of the 14 places. The idea was to raise standards across the game, forcing clubs to improve youth development, stadium facilities and attendances, but also to try to expand the game outside it's traditional areas.

Celtic Crusaders were set up only three years ago, when the Welsh Rugby Union contracted the Celtic Warriors in the Magners League. While they have made great strides in that time, doubts still persist as to whether rugby league can survive in an overwhelmingly union area.

posted by salmacis at 10:42 AM on July 22

Pistorius fails to make Olympic team

Thanks Hal, I think you've cleared that one up pretty effectively. And it was me who, for some reason, started calling him "Pretorius". Mea culpa.

posted by salmacis at 03:06 AM on July 21

Pistorius fails to make Olympic team

Wheelchair athletes are faster than their ambulatory counterparts. Does that mean we should allow wheelchairs in the Olympics as well? There's no way of knowing whether Pretorius' blades give him an advantage or not, but he clearly isn't running in the same way as everyone else. It's got to be a level playing field or it makes a mockery of the sport.

posted by salmacis at 05:50 AM on July 20

Pistorius fails to make Olympic team

That's just budman13 being "special". ;-)

posted by salmacis at 03:44 AM on July 19

Pistorius fails to make Olympic team

It's unfortunate for Pretorius, but really, this is the right outcome.

posted by salmacis at 05:55 PM on July 18

A fun article about Yankee Stadium from a Boston Globe writer.

Wembley, Maracana, Azteca for a start.

posted by salmacis at 05:10 PM on July 17

EPL Fantasy 08-09 Open for business

I'm in. I promise to actually keep an eye on the team this year..

posted by salmacis at 11:09 AM on July 17

A fun article about Yankee Stadium from a Boston Globe writer.

"Most famous stadium in the world"? You mean, "most famous baseball stadium in the world", surely?

posted by salmacis at 10:35 AM on July 17

Drunk referee shown the red card.

Most likely, those were the ballboys or mascots.

posted by salmacis at 02:51 AM on July 15

The World's Greatest Athlete?

Six out of Ten Americans. Hmm. I think that says it all about the list.

posted by salmacis at 07:13 AM on June 23

Munster take their second European title

I watched it in an Irish pub in Oxford. There was a hell of a lot more interest in the rugby than the Championship playoff final which immediately preceded it, which was a bit of a surprise to me. I wanted to watch both, and I was pissed off that the pub didn't bother to switch off the jukebox for the footy!

posted by salmacis at 04:32 AM on May 27

West Brom clinch Championship and promotion.

Er, the closest club to Stoke are their city rivals, Port Vale! Stoke's biggest rivalry these days might well be with West Brom. We've spent a lot of time in the same division over the last 25 years. Chargdres, as an American, you might not be aware of how the Champions League money has distorted football as a whole. It's distorted English football more than most, because Champions League prize money is related to the income from each national TV company, and Sky/ITV pay more than most. It's become a self-perpetuating cycle of the rich getting richer. There's no reason why any national league should have a few top teams. It wasn't the case historically in English football, when there was no TV money, very little merchandising, and gate receipts were shared. In 1978, Nottingham Forest won their one and only league title a year after promotion. Want to take a bet on West Brom or Stoke doing that next year? It shouldn't be the case that the same four teams finish in the top four places year after year. The NFL is awash with money as well, but it's the most competitive league in the world, thanks to revenue sharing and a strict salary cap. In England, rugby union and rugby league both have salary caps, and both are much more competitive leagues than the Premiership.

posted by salmacis at 06:29 PM on May 07

West Brom clinch Championship and promotion.

Woo hoo! Back to the greed league! Owlhouse, I don't get any pleasure from seeing Derby struggle so much this year. The enemy are the likes of Chelsea and Man U, who are ruining football for everyone else. Stoke are dead on certs to "do a Derby" next year. The football is very similar to how Derby got promoted last year - and for that matter, West Brom under Gary Megson. That style of football simply doesn't work at a higher level. Premier League teams will just keep possession, and Stoke will never get a sniff. Of the playoff teams, I don't think any of them have a chance of avoiding relegation, but if I had to put money on one, it would be Crystal Palace. If it hadn't been for the poor start under Peter Taylor, they'd have been candidates for automatic promotion. So that's two relegation spots sorted then. All we need to survive is to be better than one of Fulham/Birmingham/Reading/Wigan and Sunderland... :-)

posted by salmacis at 12:45 PM on May 07

Top 10 Unbreakable Sports Records

Dixie Dean's 60 league goals in a season?

posted by salmacis at 11:28 AM on April 18

Rushin' to the Olympics:

This is nothing new. Zola Budd took British citizenship so she could compete in the 1984 Olympics. Then there's Fiona May, a British long-jumper who took Italian citizenship, and Wilson Kipketer, a Kenyan runner who took Danish citizenship, and I'm sure plenty of other examples. Did any of you complain when Monica Seles or Martina Navratilova took US citizenship?

posted by salmacis at 09:43 AM on April 10

If you don't give my football back...

To be honest, I never thought MyFC members would end up picking the team. Anyone could see that it was a bad idea. It needs to be run more like Barcelona, where members elect a President, who runs the club on their behalf.

posted by salmacis at 10:34 AM on April 04

Iconic ace Darvish pushes Japanís boundaries

Interesting Guardian blog piece about how MLB is bad for Japanese baseball.

posted by salmacis at 03:55 AM on March 26

Irish Power Rankings

You mean the top American faux-Irish sports personalities. Having once drunk a pint of Guinness might be enough to get you selected by Jack Charlton, but it doesn't make you Irish. I don't know enough about Gaelic Football or Hurling, but from rugby you've got Brian O'Driscoll and Ronan O'Gara, from football you've got Robbie Keane and Damian Duff. David Healey would have qualified if he could score in the Premier League like he can score in internationals.

posted by salmacis at 10:42 AM on March 18

2008 Formula One Season Preview

Excellent preview, Drood. Shame you didn't do one for MotoGP (or if you did, I missed it.) I've always been an F1 person, but these days I find MotoGP more interesting to watch.

posted by salmacis at 03:22 AM on March 13

Minnow's harpoon on target again

Ah well. I guess we had to play Pompey at some stage.

posted by salmacis at 01:22 PM on March 10

Minnow's harpoon on target again

Well... I thought we played pretty poorly, despite the result. We're the best footballing side in the Football League, so why keep hoofing it, playing straight into Rovers hands? 1-5 certainly does not tell the whole story. Still, a semifinal, and we're the second favourites! Unbelievable! I'm off to get drunk..

posted by salmacis at 03:23 PM on March 09

Minnow's harpoon on target again

Jeez. Boro were really poor. Well done to the Bluebirds. 25 minutes to kickoff, and I'm crapping myself. Will we ever have a better chance to win this thing?

posted by salmacis at 12:36 PM on March 09

Minnow's harpoon on target again

Exciting isn't it, etagloh? Both our teams will never have a better chance to win it all. Boro v Albion would be a hell of a final, with the Mogga angle. Nervously counting down the hours till the Bristol Rovers match.

posted by salmacis at 07:47 AM on March 09

Manuel Almunia hears dead people.

Why did I know this was from The Sun, just based on the random capitalization of "haunted"?

posted by salmacis at 09:09 AM on February 20

EPL Makes Pitch for International Audience

TBH, I really don't have a problem with this. It would be hypocritical otherwise, given how I tried to get tickets for the NFL Wembley game last year. The only potential downside is in unbalancing the schedule, but I see that as pretty minor compared to the potential upsides. rcade: Were any of the locals really aware of the difference between rugby union and rugby league? My understanding is that union has a small niche but league is totally unknown.

posted by salmacis at 05:01 AM on February 08

The American Revolution continues in London

phason, thanks for giving me such a laugh this afternoon. I've not read such rubbish for a long time. It's a boring day at work and I really needed it. Cheers pal!

posted by salmacis at 08:33 AM on January 25

Soccer Is As American As Apple Pie

Soccer less intuitive than (American) football? I don't think so. I'm not knocking any sport, but I think soccer is about as intuitive as they come. Any game where kids can turn up on a field with a ball and four jumpers is clearly not that hard to grasp. For Americans who don't like the game, that's fine. Any sport is obviously going to be lessened if you don't have an emotional attachment to it. Supporting a team, or knowing what is at stake in the match is what matters. I do find it amusing how many Americans still seem to want to loudly proclaim how much they dislike soccer. It's not like you see European sports writers with "baseball sucks" articles.

posted by salmacis at 10:44 AM on January 18

Flights of Fancy:

I remember the story a year ago of this bloke chucking it all in to become a darts pro. I never thought he stood an earthly, but that was an excellent read. Thanks!

posted by salmacis at 07:15 AM on January 07

McClaren sacked for big loss

Mourinho is everything McClaren is not. Unfortunately, that also includes the concept of "wanting to be England manager". My guess is Capello or Scolari.

posted by salmacis at 04:10 AM on November 23

Casualties of the NFL:

There are several problems here: 1) American football is just too physical for the human body. The practice of leading with the head must end. Helmet technology has progressed to the point where players feel invunerable. Tackling should follow rugby rules. The violence is part of the sport, and I wouldn't want to see it removed, but rule changes are urgently required. A high tackle in rugby league, for instance, is not only a sending-off, but likely a ban of several weeks. 2) Coaches and team doctors should be legally liable for sending injured players back onto the field. I think you make a good point, etagloh, about the commentators never saying a player should not be out there. There's a culture of misplaced machismo, shared by the supporters, players, coaches and officials. 3) Gene Upshaw is scum. Why is he still in a job? Why has nobody stepped forward to challenge him? Why do the current players put up with this situation. It's hard watching the game sometimes, when you think about what these guys are doing to their bodies for our entertainment. Rugby union is going the same way - I hope it never gets to the same point.

posted by salmacis at 05:17 AM on November 17

Foreign player quota gathers steam in England.

It doesn't matter how many English players clubs develop. Their price will always be higher than an equivalent foreigner. Supply and demand. English clubs want English players if at all possible, so it stands to reason. I would like to see a local core with all teams. I'd like Italian teams to have mainly Italian players, French teams to have mainly French players, etc. Otherwise, what's the point of having separate national leagues? Might as well go straight to a Euro super league, and nobody wants that. Player quotas would also strengthen leagues in poorer or smaller countries. Presently leagues such as Portugal, Scandanavia and Eastern Europe have to cope with all their best players - and many mediocre players - plying their trade in England, Spain and Italy. Having said all that, I don't know if there's any practical way to enforce any kind of quota. Rugby Union is different to football in that the RFU pays the clubs for the use of their players, and can give extra payments to clubs that field a minimum number of England-qualified players. With the money washing around the Premier League, the top clubs are far richer than the FA, so I can't see that sort of solution working.

posted by salmacis at 04:58 AM on November 16

Royal Reading Rule Reds.

No, I can't get it to work on linux either. I'll try with OSX later.

posted by salmacis at 10:42 AM on August 14

Beckham Comes to the Colonies

zddoodah, perhaps you'd like to tell us which sport doesn't have "interminable actionless periods"? American football, check. Baseball, check. Ice hockey, check. Golf, check. You get my drift. If you think any of the other sports I listed are all action, all of the time, you've never tried watching as a non-fan. Seriously, how likely is it that soccer would be the most popular spectator sport in the world if it was as bad as you claim?

posted by salmacis at 07:42 AM on July 17

Thirty two years is a long time.

I know it's in the links, but it's a good idea to mention which sport you're talking about. From your post, I don't know if it's Gaelic football or hurling. Oh, and congrats Sligo. :-)

posted by salmacis at 04:22 AM on July 13

London unveils logo of 2012 Games

Someone give The Coast of Yemen (b3ta.com) a medal.

posted by salmacis at 04:04 PM on June 04

Sheffield United back to EPL?

Not gonna happen. West Ham really should have been docked points, but Sheffield United should accept that it's over. 40 points is usually accepted to be the safe level, and the Blades were well short. In the end their relegation is their own fault. And yes, I know my lot got lucky by surviving with 34 points a couple of years ago...

posted by salmacis at 04:02 PM on June 04

Derby is the newest EPL club.

Club Wembley. Just reading that page make me feel nauseus about the way catering to the prawn sandwich brigade is ruining the experience for the ordinary fan. wc2002: Egg mayo, actually. :-)

posted by salmacis at 03:19 AM on June 01

Derby is the newest EPL club.

Wembley itself is very impressive. From a distance, it's much more visible than the old stadium. Even without the arch it's about twice the height. Outside, things are clearly not yet finished, with areas still being built on. I don't know if they are going to be car parks or what. Even so, there is a noticeable lack of car parking. The underground station has been upgraded to cope with more fans arriving that way, and to be fair, I got away pretty smoothly after the match. Wembley Way has been tarted up since I was last there. As you walk up the ramp towards the stadium you can see the statue of Bobby Moore - a nice touch. The Brent/Wembley area itself is still a tip though, and the stadium looks quite out of place in comparison. My breath was taken away when I got up to the top tier and saw how steep it was and how high up I was. Truly, not a bad seat in the house. Unfortunately, in order to pay for the stadium, they reserved the entire middle tier for "Club Wembley" members. This means that the fans are divided into the upper and lower tiers, which affects the atmosphere. There were Derby and West Brom fans pleading for tickets, yet there were 15,000 empty seats. It's a disgrace. Noise levels are definitely not up to Millenium Stadium standards. I took sandwiches and ate them before the game. I can't comment on the food or prices inside as I never eat or drink in the ground itself. No matter how many food stands they build, they are never going to cope with the rush of fans at half time, so I just stay away. I think a pint of Heineken was £3.50.

posted by salmacis at 10:39 AM on May 31