FanDuel - WFBC

June 16, 2007

In Praise of 'Soccer': Steven Wells: "... soccer-playing America is massively liberal, loving, caring, socially conscious and nice. While soccer-hating America consists of increasingly isolated gangs of Bush-supporting, bible-bashing, gun-crazed, dungaree wearing, banjo-playing, quasi-fascist chicken-lovers and their twelve fingered, pin-headed, cyclopic, drooling monster children."

posted by Fat Buddha to soccer at 05:02 AM - 44 comments

Firstly; this will end well. I think this will be one of the threads where it's instantly obvious who's read the whole article and who only read FB's soundbite at the top. Secondly; what an odd article. What was he trying to say, exactly? The the only thing we've got left as a nation since Queen Victoria went toes up is that we're better at kicking an inflated sphere off Peter Crouch's head than the Yanks? He comes up with two "camps" at the start into which the English broadly fit, (I'm in neither), and then comes up with a "chunk" at the end, to which I also don't belong. The whole thing seems to be leading to the one sentence at the end - that football in America isn't going away (which is a good thing) - and that makes the artical about, oh, a thousand words too long. A lot of puff to get to the point that the MLS actually means something and then he doesn't tell us what. Or why. Thirdly; the Gary Linker thing "he top-bodies the sphere into the score-bag, and Mexico have a double-negative stat!" can be passed off as sneering at the funny Americans not understanding the sport, but anyone who's heard Tommy Smyth talk knows exactly who the boy Gary is on about. Tommy Smyth should be chained to David Pleat and then fired into the sun.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 06:30 AM on June 16

I'll second the motion to fire Tommy Smyth and David Pleat into the sun.

posted by trox at 10:14 AM on June 16

Though I don't know that much about soccer, from what games I have seen I think I would enjoy it. I did enjoy the World Cup games. I hope the game continues to grow here in the States. I have to disagree about the U.S. making better beer tho, unless the writer is talking about Canada.

posted by steelergirl at 10:44 AM on June 16

I don't know who this Tommy Smyth is but if the plan involves firing David Pleat into the sun then I'm all for it.

posted by squealy at 10:56 AM on June 16

I definitely see a change in how the U.S. perceives soccer, though it may just be my own newfound appreciation for the sport. A friend told me we see more free EPL games and game highlights on Fox Soccer Channel than they do in England, thanks to how much of it is locked away on subscription services. One of the commenters to that article said that the U.S. doesn't have the ability to support soccer clubs the way they do in England, where fan loyalty, team songs, and the like create an entirely different atmosphere than the tepid reaction of most fans at Major League Baseball and NFL games. I used to think that, too, but the way our fans support college football is a lot like how they support football. It's a whole higher level of crazy. I could see that happening for the MLS. In North Florida where I live, if you're a Gator fan and you have an outside commitment when a game's playing, you wear Gator colors and greet other fans with the score rather than "hello."

posted by rcade at 11:56 AM on June 16

Tommy Smyth is an older Scottish guy, has to be in his late 50s or early 60s, who does color commentary on most ESPN soccer telecasts, usually with Derek Rae as the play by play. Rae is pretty good, IMO, but if I never hear Smyth say some player "put one in the old onion bad" again it would be fine with me. Fortunately ESPN seems to be developing some younger talent, such as former US internationals Marcelo Balboa and John Harkes (also former Sheffield Wednesday), and perhaps Smyth will be gone soon.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:59 AM on June 16

I find it puzzling that someone would still have to explain and defend a sport our children love and play. We have a professional soccer league, and one of the teams in that league, the LA Galaxy, has one of the best players in the world (David Beckham). Our U.S. female team made us awfully proud in the 1990s (winning the world championship twice), and it is currently among the best in the world. In the Central and North America soccer world, the United States rules (something Mexico did for decades). We're exporting players now to professional leagues all over the world (England, Scotland, Spain, etc.) We are now one of the world's soccer powers. So tell me, what is wrong with that? Indeed, we are now participating with other countries for supremacy, not the phony "Wold Series" of baseball, where only two teams from the United States are allowed to participate. The world championship of baseball that took place in the United States in the spring of 2006 and in which teams from all over the world participated was the real thing. And guess what? We didn't win it. Japan did. And we had some of the best professionals playing for us!! Football is a sport played mainly in the United States, so of course the champion can declare itself "World Champion." Other countries in the world can't grow massive humans who end up incapacitated, their bodies nearly destroyed by the years of horrendous body contact. And basketball? Please, the NBA is now a veritable United Nations, with players from every continent participating. We are not dominating the Olympic and world tournaments like we did before. Argentina and other European countries now beat us regularly, at our own game! So please, let us be honest about ourselves. Yes, the world has caught up with us in sports, but that makes it much more fun, much more intriguing, much more interesting than watching us beat up on teams and thinking ourselves invincible. As for soccer, isn't wonderful that WE have caught up with the world, that WE can beat Mexico and Portugal and other soccer nations that before used to broom the floor with us? We are now respected in the world of soccer -- we are good at it because we now play that sport like everybody else. Rejoice!

posted by cyberfr@aol.com at 12:24 PM on June 16

A friend told me we see more free EPL games and game highlights on Fox Soccer Channel than they do in England Isn't Fox Soccer Channel a subscription-based channel? In England, Sky Sports (a subscription channel) showed 88 EPL games live last season. In addition to that another 50 games were shown on Sky's PPV channel Premiership Plus. The price of each game on Prem Plus was 8, but most people will have taken up the offer of a season ticket to watch all 50 games for 50 at the start of the season. This season, thanks to an EC ruling to increase "competition" in tv coverage of football, Sky will only be able to show 92 EPL games on their subscription channel Sky Sports. Irish company Setanta has another 46 EPL games, yet again on a subscripion basis. All this is supposed to benefit the consumer; however a little basic maths reveals the truth: 2006/07 season (over a ten month season) Sky Sports 16 pm x 10 Prem Plus 50 one-off payment = 210 2007/08 season (over ten months) Sky Sports 16pm x 10 Setanta Sports 15pm x 10 = 310 Conclusion - the EC are useless fuckwits who should join Tommy Smyth and David Pleat and be fired into the sun.

posted by squealy at 12:40 PM on June 16

I used to think that, too, but the way our fans support college football is a lot like how they support football. It's a whole higher level of crazy. I could see that happening for the MLS. Crazy is supporting a team that doesn't exist!

posted by Fat Buddha at 12:45 PM on June 16

Indeed, we are now participating with other countries for supremacy, not the phony "Wold Series" of baseball, where only two teams from the United States are allowed to participate. The world championship of baseball that took place in the United States in the spring of 2006 and in which teams from all over the world participated was the real thing. And guess what? We didn't win it. Japan did. And we had some of the best professionals playing for us!! Please, please, please, PLEASE, don't bring up this dumb argument again. Besides, anyone who watched us in the World Cup knows that to put the US among the "world soccer powers" is insane. I would LOVE to see us beat Portugal right now in a game that actually mattered. I don't know what the hell this comment was trying to say, but since everything it DID say was stupid, I'm going to guess that its nonexistant message was stupid as well.

posted by fatfryar at 12:58 PM on June 16

Crazy is supporting a team that doesn't exist! yeah, i heard about them. they're supposed to be invading the Meadowlands tonight to boo the Red Bulls. oh, and also in that article, they had to find the lamest video of the smaller Red Bulls supporter clubs instead of something like this from ESC.

posted by goddam at 01:22 PM on June 16

Oh those pig-ignorant cack-gobbed Yank wankers! A phrase which has now entered my regular lexicon. Other than that, I agree with Mr Bismarck.

posted by Bonkers at 01:25 PM on June 16

Baseball Champs = Japan / Cuba Basketball Champs = Argentina / Spain Two of the most traditional American sports have now foreign Champs! Its great to see the bar being raised for all!

posted by zippinglou at 01:50 PM on June 16

I will be the first to admit that I'm not what you would call futbol savvy. Not that I don't have an appreciation of the sport, just that I haven't taken the time to learn a great deal of it's ins and outs. I guess I'm lazy that way. It's an American thing. What I do know something about, though, is beer. I will have to take exception, steelergirl, to your contention that there aren't any decent American beers. Although I'm not very familiar with what might be available in the Pennsylvania area, I know that when I lived in Boston that Sam Adams and it's various incarnations were indeed fine suds. Here in the Pacific NW one can find some world class micros as well. I would start the taste testing with such brews as Red Hook, Full Sail, and Hale's. Also, at last glance, Canada seems to be a sovereign nation with ties to our futbol (or "football") playing friends in England, and not actually a part of the United States.

posted by THX-1138 at 01:51 PM on June 16

THX-1138, some of those you mentioned you can't get here in Ohio, or at least I haven't found them. There are a few local microbrewers around though. But as far as a beer that can be found anywhere, Canada still makes them better. But that is just my opinion. And while Daved Beckham is a great (or at least was) soccer player. I am sure there are players out there who are better but get less press.

posted by steelergirl at 02:21 PM on June 16

I am partial to Rogue, myself.

posted by igottheblues at 02:24 PM on June 16

Ohio, hmmm? I'm really going to have to be less lazy and read people's profiles and stop assuming. And I will concur that Canada makes a fine beer. Although not really a micro and certainly not high brow by any means, but I sure like a frosty Kokanee after a hard days toil. Ahem... So, soccer you say?

posted by THX-1138 at 03:06 PM on June 16

steelergirl, what's wrong with Yuengling? Unless you are in the western part of Ohio (or is it Ohiya where you live?), you should be able to find it.

posted by Howard_T at 04:49 PM on June 16

I haven't read the article, but MAN, that may be the funniest text I've read on the front page here. I don't care if it's out of context, or ironic or whatever... It gave me a huge laugh.

posted by Drood at 04:58 PM on June 16

Tommy Smyth is an older Scottish guy You can say a lot of nasty things about him, but that might be the most cutting to a man from Knockbridge. And if you can't find decent American beers on either coast or the upper Midwest, I don't think you're trying very hard. Iron City isn't the warp and woof of suds. My 5,000th comment, spent defending Tommy Smyth and American beer. US is currently up on Panama 2-1 on FSC.

posted by yerfatma at 05:03 PM on June 16

Isn't Fox Soccer Channel a subscription-based channel? Not individually, as far as I know. I get it as part of a sports package on DirecTV. A relative's got the channel on DishTV but I think it's part of the basic package.

posted by rcade at 05:15 PM on June 16

FSC, I believe, you can pick it up individually in Canada.

posted by Drood at 05:41 PM on June 16

In addition to David Pleat and Tommy Smyth (with a 'Why?'), put Shep Messing on that rocket to the sun. In the western Pacific and most parts of Asia, ESPN subjects us to Tommy and Shep, even on European games. What have we done to deserve that? And I knew JJ, SpoFi's own Dr Henry Higgins, would pick up the error on Tommy's origins. My Scots friends thank you.

posted by owlhouse at 04:08 AM on June 17

Sky Sports 16pm x 10 Setanta Sports 15pm x 10 = 310 Perhaps, but in Ireland, if you are with ntl you get Setanta as part of the basic package. Therefore you don't have to pay extra at all. Which is nice :) As for the article. Seems like Wells is in one breath saying that all these stereotypes about US soccer are silly, and then shows us how by using different stereotypes about English fans. Silliness.

posted by Fence at 06:58 AM on June 17

First off, the microbrews made in the U.S. are some of the finest beers made in the world (Dogfishhead, Victory, Brooklyn, Rogue, Sierra Nevada, the list goes on and on) so IMO we have already equalled or surpassed the rest of the world in this category. Unfortunately, most of our beer drinkers continue to consume the mass produced twaddle that is budweiser, coor's light, etc. So, that continues to be the face of american brewing. As far as soccer, I just don't care. I've tried to appreciate the game, but I cannot get by the lack of meaningful action (i.e. action that leads directly to scoring, not just wearing the other team out) and the combination of bad-acting/diving and poor officiating that plagues the game. It's a great game for kids to work off some energy but for entertainment I'm just going to have to settle back with a Dogfishhead 90 min. IPA, a banjo, a chicken, some fascist doctrine, and whatever other stereotypes apply to the majority of yanks who still choose the NFL over the "world's" game.

posted by tnip23 at 07:16 AM on June 17

On the beer question, having spent a fair bit on time in England, Scotland and Wales, I would say that there is a greater likelihood of finding a good to very good beer on offer if you happen upon any random pub over there, but the best of what we have to offer (including many of the offerings from the breweries identified by tnip23) is better than the best of what they have to offer. That said, I'm a bit of a fan of the hop-bomb type American-style IPA, which many Brits find unsubtle and just too much. On the soccer question, particularly as the U.S. takes in more immigrants from soccer-playing nations, the demographics just make it such that you would have to think that at each of the recreational, amateur, club and international levels that the U.S. will emerge into a power. It's certainly not a given, but I would think that's the way it's headed.

posted by holden at 08:47 AM on June 17

Sounds to me like the Brits are afraid of us taking something else from them. BTW, all the American Football games as in NFL have sold out in Britain. Whats next NASCAR to replace F1?

posted by volfire at 09:14 AM on June 17

but the best of what we have to offer....is better than the best of what they have to offer. Hmmm. Did you know that Britain has more micro-breweries per capita than any other country in the word? Over 500 as of 2006. And how come NTL customers in Ireland get free Setanta?

posted by squealy at 11:33 AM on June 17

Sorry about misidentifying Smyth's origins but an honest mistake given what I've heard him say on ESPN; he certainly comes off as a supporter of the Scottish team. Comcast plans vary wildly from place to place but here FSC is part of the $5/month sports package (which also includes the NFL Network and Gol TV). We generally get four EPL matches per weekend, the Monday game if there is one and the occasional midweek match. So well over 100 over the course of the season, plus quite a few Carling and (not so many) FA Cup matches as well for that portion of $60 allocated to FSC for its EPL coverage (since it also has MLS, Argentine and a few other offerings). However, FSC announcers are possibly even worse than Tommy Smyth, David Pleat and Shep Messing...

posted by billsaysthis at 12:15 PM on June 17

$5 a month?!? Jesus wept, where do I queue to emigrate?

posted by squealy at 12:41 PM on June 17

Hmmm. Did you know that Britain has more micro-breweries per capita than any other country in the word? Over 500 as of 2006. I do appreciate that and should probably have added the caveat of this being my experience based on what I've tried over there, so obviously there are sample size limitations and the like. I have had a number of British microbrews, and again it probably comes down to the fact that I like a style of beer (IPA) that originated in Britain but that is done very differently in America. American IPAs, and certainly the "imperial" style American IPAs (such as the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA mentioned by tnip23), tend to have a much more upfront and pronounced hop character and higher alcohol content than their British counterparts. The only major style of beer I've had in Britain that I really haven't been able to find a comparable version of in the U.S. is cask-conditioned bitters. Some brew pubs try their hand at it, but I haven't found anything comparable to what I've had in Britain. Of course, there's probably a selective memory thing going on as there's something about sipping a hand-pulled real ale in a pub with character that just makes me go wobbly, so there's a chance that I'm remembering the actual beer as being better than it was.

posted by holden at 01:04 PM on June 17

And how come NTL customers in Ireland get free Setanta? Well if isn't totally free. Just comes as part of the basic package. Pretty much everyone in Ireland has one package or other, otherwise we'd be stuck with just the 3 Irish stations (or 4 depending on where you live).

posted by Fence at 04:35 PM on June 17

That snippet posted by FB was all I needed to read. For those who haven't read Wells's other articles (they've been posted here before), he's a troll, the best flame-baiting kind. His advantage over the average troll is that he is eloquent and funny. Although he makes me laugh, and generally nod with a smile on my face, it doesn't erase the fact that he's usually trying to take the mickey and get a rise out of the unaware reader. Yes, he's a smarmy bastard, that one. And while we're shooting people to the sun, can we add Max Bretos, please? Thanks.

posted by worldcup2002 at 07:20 PM on June 17

btw, here's all of Wells's articles posted to SpoFi. You can see he's got a racket going messing with the "Americans playing soccer, watch out!" line. He's a busy lad, that one.

posted by worldcup2002 at 07:26 PM on June 17

He's the former gobshite music journo with Sounds isn't he? He was a twat back then too.

posted by Abiezer at 10:38 PM on June 17

List of countries by beer consumption per capita Rank Country Consumption (L/yr) 1 Czech Republic 156.9 2 Republic of Ireland 131.1 3 Germany 115.8 4 Australia 109.9 5 Austria 108.3 6 United Kingdom 99.0 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_beer_consumption_per_capita

posted by zippinglou at 12:40 AM on June 18

Bugger, just off the podium. I promise to do better next year.

posted by owlhouse at 02:04 AM on June 18

Bugger, just off the podium. I promise to do better next year.

posted by owlhouse at 02:04 AM on June 18

I'm seeing double already. Although the family are ranked second, third and sixth, which may explain it.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 05:55 AM on June 18

...so there's a chance that I'm remembering the actual beer as being better than it was. Maybe. I wouldn't know. I'm just a lager lout myself.

posted by squealy at 07:19 AM on June 18

List of countries by beer consumption per capita Rank Country Consumption (L/yr) 1 Czech Republic 156.9 I believe that. I remember being in a supermarket in the Czech Republic and being completely dumbfounded that beer cost less than bottled water. Don't they use water to make beer?!?

posted by juv3nal at 12:56 PM on June 18

A friend told me we see more free EPL games and game highlights on Fox Soccer Channel than they do in England, thanks to how much of it is locked away on subscription services. FSC is part of a digital sports tier that costs an extra $5/month for me. I can't get Setanta or Gol TV on our cable, but there are other ways (cough, cough) to get those matches. It's certainly a better deal than the Sky packages, even if that means missing out on all the lower-league stuff in return for getting a 3pm Saturday match live. Oh woe is me. Anyway, y'know, it's Swells, and I'm increasingly certain he moved to the US for material.

posted by etagloh at 08:55 PM on June 18

It's certainly a better deal than the Sky packages Most things are. I guess it's down to supply and demand - Sky will charge whatever they think the demand will take. I'd hazard to guess that FSC's demand is more limited based on (what I perceive to be) a lower level of interest in professonal football in the States. Of course, Sky aren't allowed to broadcast games at 3pm on a Saturday in England, though you can get to see those games in certain pubs, despite it being very much against the rules.

posted by squealy at 04:42 AM on June 19

Isn't Fox Soccer Channel a subscription-based channel? Not individually, as far as I know. I get it as part of a sports package on DirecTV. A relative's got the channel on DishTV but I think it's part of the basic package. This is correct, and we get over 100 games a season - 3 per weekend x 38 = 114. Pay another $14 to DirecTV and you get Setanta, which offers another 3 games a week, plus Championship league football and the playoffs down two League Two, plus Champions League games you can't get through ESPN plus better historical football shows. No wonder my ass is looking like the reverse image of a couch.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 09:05 AM on June 24

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