They’d Probably All Miss

1 Apr

When the Spanish League (LFP) called a ‘postponement’ on this weekend’s round of games – shoving the back end of la Primera’s timetable into June in the process – it seems that those behind this batty scheme aimed at forcing the government into making every game pay-per-view failed to consider three basic questions: Do the fans support the move? Do all the clubs in the league support the move? Is it legal?

Tim Stannard of La Liga Loca with a spot-on skewing of LFP and their poorly-planned, possibly not entirely thought-out, and ultimately failed attempt at a collective action.

 

Can’t wait to see this band of powerful morons try to negotiate a TV contract together.

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Who thinks about $$$ when you’ve got bad decisions to make!?

31 Mar

Sid Lowe’s newest article on La Liga stands as yet another surgical entry point into La Liga’s recent years.  Lowe continues to pull apart the fleshy exterior of La Liga, clamping it down and leaving the innards bear.  After his three part series on La Liga’s TV revenue sharing debate earlier this year, in which Lowe opined about the fate of La Liga in a thesis-dense explanation of his position, we are once again confronted with an occasionally disputed fact (mostly by their fans): Barcelona spends tons of money on players.  Sid’s article brings to light the reality that, gosh, Barcelona actually spend a ton of money on players they didn’t plant and water themselves.  Barcelona and fans like to conclude that, since they’ve spent less than Real Madrid has in recent years, they are not a big money-spending club.  They’re not incorrect that Real Madrid spent/spend more than them, but spending less than RM does not an angelic club make.

Check it.

Mirror, Mirror

2 Mar

“Mirror, mirror on the wall / Who in the land is fairest of all?”

“You, my queen, are the fairest of all.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whenever José Mourinho feels down he goes home.  When the graceful flittings of his sideline ballet go unnoticed, and long after all hands raised in protest have fallen, Mourinho goes to a cozy place.  The man who loves the game more than anyone, whose heart’s crescendo-ing palpitations at the magic of Messi, Cristiano and Arjen Robben’s cuts in from the wing, faithfully returns to his niche.

“Who am I,” he demands more than asks of the ornate mirror that hangs in his salón.  “You are José Mourinho,” he says aloud to himself, but in the way a ventriloquist will with the most minimal mouth movements.  In this most deliberate and playful gesture, with his disbelief suspended as if viewing Cervantes’s Pedro de Urdemalas, the coach conspires to fool himself – yet he is quite content to be fooled.  Needing no more elaboration than the simple confirmation of his name, José Mourinho makes his way to the Bernabéu for the daily round of press.

Having to face Manuel Pellegrini this week, Real Madrid’s most recent ex-boyfriend, Mourinho prefers to not defend his honor when faced with the possibly better-off Chilean.  Instead, he is generous: “Estoy de acuerdo en que hizo un campeonato muy bueno la temporada pasada. Espero que el estadio lo reciba bien, porque hizo un buen trabajo y la puerta de mi vestuario está abierto para él si quiere venir a saludar a sus jugadores.” [“I recognize that he had a very good year last season.  I hope the public receives him well, because he did good work.  The locker room is open to him if he wants to chat with his players.”]

He can feel it as the words rise from his larynx: this brief brush with benevolence is causing fierce heartburn swells in his throat, and so José pauses momentarily.  A question from the peasants rings in his ear: “Will she dump you just like she dumped him?”  His throat returns the echo of the harmless joke with instantaneous, involuntary bile, “Lo mismo no puede pasar, ¿sabes por qué? Porque si el Madrid me echa no voy a entrenar al Málaga. Iré a un club grande en Inglaterra o en Italia, no al Málaga.” [“The same thing cannot happen to me, know why?  Because if Real Madrid dump me I will not be coaching in Málaga.  I will go to a big club in England or in Italy, not to Málaga.”]

Content that he has made his point, but sensing a heightened state of self-awareness, José eyes his reflection in the nearest camera lens coyly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Who am I,” he hears himself say – now completely involuntarily.

The room complies as a hundred flashing bulbs erupt, capturing the face they will reflect onto the front page tomorrow: “You are José Mourinho,” rings the chorus of blinding lights.

No, Srslr: STFU

25 Feb

Here’s the homepage of marca.com, the internet base for publishing whatever comes out of the writers’ orifices at their Madrid HQ. Here we see the trainers of the two biggest teams in Spain, the teams given all of the money, all the pride of place, all the consideration, complaining about how tough it is being them. Mourinho is mad because he can’t just set his team’s schedule as he sees fit; Pep wants you to know that Mou has more prestige than him, and when he loses he will be criticized. The horror for these guys and their privileged, pampered, protected, pompous piece of shit sporting/business hybrid international operations entities!!!

 

Enough already. Just shut up. No one cares. Would you like more favorable calls in games? Would you like the league to be further and then completely weakened so that you get 36 Liga cakewalks a year? Would you like the most marketing? How about first pick of the world market of elite players? Would you like unlimited resources and unlimited spending? Want to be so financed that you’re completely protected from your own poor signings and wasteful spending? How are your bloated payroll and laughably overloaded rosters treating you? Can we get you some more prestige? Would you like fries with that? Can we get you anything else while we work on writing some rules requiring everyone to forfeit games against you?

 

Will that be all?

Strangely NOT in the portada…

30 Jan

Big day of disappointment in Moudrid today. With the loss to Osasuna, Real look to be out of the title race already with several agonizing months of futility ahead of them. Certainly they’ll put their coach to the sword, as they always do, right? Mou will PAY for this debacle!!!

HAHAHAHA, are you kidding me, Marca?!?! “We’ll have to go after Copas”?! And a Cristiano Constipation face?!? Where’s the outrage? The bus-throwing-under? The absurd photoshops of all the worst things in the world?

Don’t worry, I put one together for you:

Continue reading

Talking with Barcelona Fans, Part 1

17 Jan

Barcelona fans are a strange lot. They are understandably proud of the accomplishments of their team in recent years, but unlike pretty much any group of fans in the world, they like to insist that their success is borne not of financial advantage or the continued assurance of legacy, but instead out of some innate goodness which resides in the heart of every fan and player who has ever worn the jersey (or merely visited the Camp Nou). With this in mind, we at no, srslr present a guide and list of important facts to remember to aid in talking with this group of people. Here is part 1.

La Masia, being a morally superior method of player development, is free.

Most teams raise the talent level of their team by purchasing players from other teams. This is extremely common, but there are a select number of teams that can and regularly do spend outlandishly to buy what they believe to be the absolute best talent in the world at any given moment (Barcelona is actually one of these teams, but we’ll get to that at a later date). Barcelona fans will tell you as soon as they can see you (even if you’re not in earshot yet) that their team “does it the right way” because they develop their talent in-house and don’t rely on money to buy players. When a Barca fan mentions this to you (and he/she will, inevitably, within the first 60 seconds of your conversation), it is important that you realize that the fact that Barcelona spends LAVISHLY on their cantera system is irrelevant. Do not attempt to point out that the 40 million euros they spend on their cantera every year is more than the entire annual operating budget of fully half of the league in which they compete. Implying that their precious home-grown talents are in fact products of the luxury of financial advantage they enjoy over the rest of the league (which the club itself perpetuates, to the detriment of the league–more on this later) will likely be met with blank stares, or worse, blind rage. Further, do not suggest that other teams spend proportionally more of their budget on in-house player development, and that if they had more resources other teams would conceivably spend more money on their cantera than does Barcelona. Remember: to a Barcelona fan their success only means something if it was accomplished in what they believe to be a morally superior way, so stating the simple fact that the financial reality they enjoy creates, enables, and ensures their success (and prevents other teams from even competing with them) is like implying they never won anything at all, or worse, cheated to win and still failed. Understanding this is key, and leads to a similar, but separate point:

Because La Masia is free, the players it produces are also free.

This might seem like a moot point (and indeed to the Barcelona fan it is not a consideration at all), but to the savvy football fan it is important to consider. As Soccernomics points out, transfer expenditures are usually not the greatest financial concern for teams–it is salaries that often either limit the amount of talent a team can hold or drive a team hopelessly into debt. The Barcelona fan scoffs at Real Madrid’s bloated roster of overpaid superstars and laughs that their team only wins games because of the money that is poured into it. This same fan will then boast about how Barcelona produced all three finalists for the player of the year award, and that the world XI this year has 5 of their players. This fan will not see a conflict in these stances, because in the mind of the Barcelona fan, players who grew up in their system don’t count on the books. You should therefore never suggest that Barcelona’s roster is impossibly expensive to keep around, and could only exist in a system of debt-driven finances and TV revenue duopoly. Mentioning, for example, that the salaries of just 3 or 4 of Barca’s best players would sink clubs that aren’t blessed with enormous financial resources will likely only lead the Barca fan to respond “but those players are ours”. Attempting to restate your position might elicit a series of Youtube videos of Messi’s breathtaking footwork. “But…he’s ours!”

Hopefully you will find these tips helpful. It is imperative to note that understanding all the quirks of Barcelona fans is useless, however, if you don’t understand the simple overriding fact hinted at above: that these fans only enjoy their success if they believe it was not bought or paid for in any way. Let’s say, for example, that you are not bothered by the increasingly commercial aspect of the world game. You understand that a certain handful of teams have achieved a level of fame and fortune that assures that they will always be in the title hunt and never actually suffer calamity (bar the year or two per decade when one of them might suffer the indignity of playing the in the Europa League). Feeling a swell of pity for the Barca fan’s neurotic need to be seen as completely free of the influence of money and therefore superior to all others, you may feel a desire to assure one of them that they need not be so wrapped up in these trivial concerns. DO NOT DO THIS. The typical fan has invested so much pride in “the Barca way” that the trophies themselves are actually meaningless. Suggesting that the fan has plenty to be proud of for the style, success, and talent of their team, and that there’s no shame that it was built by having millions more dollars than their competitors, is a grave insult to the Barca fan, and will likely lead to ranting and insults directed at Real Madrid (who they will assume you support, even if you’re wearing your team’s jersey right in front of them).

More to come in the future, including how Barca fans decide who they can claim as “theirs”, how Barca fans can believe they don’t spend a lot in the transfer market when they obviously do, what “more than a club” can and cannot mean, why a shirt sponsor matters until it doesn’t any more, why the Barca fan believes choosing to root for Barcelona is different than becoming a Yankees fan, and much, much more. Stay tuned!

El Clásico

30 Nov

“So m(o)uch Barça (…for so little Madrid)”

Iker wailed: “But… Offside!”

Xavi hugged a friend.

Real Madrid were all but undone after Xavi’s 9th minute goal, while Barça supporters were just getting cozy in their seats.  The only thing that could have been better than a 0-0 stalemate in this battle of La Liga’s twin evil halves was an absolute shellacking of the Real Madrid’s “chosen ones”.  Let’s face it: Real Madrid are more fun to watch in defeat than a lot of other teams are in victory.  After each of the five goals, as the cameras had finished with the hugs and highlights, the faces of the Mou Team were not unlike raindrops on roses. Shots of sad Christy Ronda are worth a thousand smiles.

Marca, in their once-a-year dog pile, reserved only two punches for anyone but their own.  One was delivered to Iturralde González who saw Cristiano challenged by Valdés for a divided ball.  He was not willing to barf straight through his whistle hole and make the call.  The second flailing left hook was for Piqué and the Barcelona fans who held up five fingers toward the end of the match.  “The Culés put on a show, but they enjoyed it too much,” is an entry-level Marca gripe.

Also present on the cover: Cristiano’s shove heard ’round the world of Guardiola, Florentino’s replacement for the injured Higuaín, and a hedgehog selling car insurance.

Move along, people.  Nothing to see here.