June 15th, 2011 by SeveSanchez
Odd-numbered summers are the worst. No World Cups, no European Championships. Nothing substantive to ween myself off the football onto a meager but steady diet of baseball and golf. I mean, there’s the CONCACAF Gold Cup and all, but there’s also Brussels sprouts. Screw Brussels sprouts. Don’t eat them; never have. Don’t trust anyone that enjoys them. I’ve given up on world peace because there are at least 2,537 people out there that “like” Brussels sprouts, and I’m certain I’ll never be able to coexist with such masochistic freaks. Honestly.
But this Gold Cup… I wish I could get into it, but how am I supposed to take the tournament seriously when it doesn’t even give itself that courtesy?
First of all, look at CONCACAF. It’s manipulated by powerthirsty, corrupt men; operationally, it’s riddled with inefficiency among the lemming-like countries that comprise the organization. It’s basically a human centipede of a football federation. And that’s saying something, considering Sepp Blatter and Jack Warner probably slang tournament venues in the bathroom stalls of the Gentlemen’s Club with Michel Platini on the reg.
Next, spare a moment for the mighty 40 nations in CONCACAF. By my count, there are only 2 teams that can actually win the Gold Cup (US and Mexico), 10 halfway decent teams at any given time (feeling pretty generous here), 27 teams that my high school JV could beat, and 1 country that sounds like a band my dad would listen to (St. Vincent and the Grenadines). No, I didn’t make that last one up.
Now the tournament itself. With only 12 participating squads, that gives us a grand total of 3 groups of 4, each vying for a spot in the revered 2013 Confederations Cup. Put all that together and you have a competition with the prestige of a fecal piñata. Which is precisely how it’s being treated by some of the players. You know how I know the Gold Cup is garbage? Mexico had five of their players suspended and they’re still going to win it. In fact, I hope they do, just to make a mockery of the tournament. They’re off to a solid start, blaming the failed drug tests on eating “bad meat.” (If you’re keeping score at home, Mexico is now tied with Italy’s 2004 Socks Too Tight claim in the “I’m embarrassed at how bad an excuse that is” category).
Besides. Promoting the Gold Cup in June is essentially urinating in the face of the MLS, currently hitting midseason. Think David Stern would allow FIBA to hold a showcase tournament in January? Hey USSF, don’t undermine the credibility of the MLS like this, then whine when people don’t watch American soccer / players don’t want to play here. I want you to make me feel like I’m missing out on something awesome if I’m not tuning in to the MLS. Hook me. I’ll even give you a tip– here’s the bait:
So, how to counter the Gold Cup Blues? Never fear, Old Sanchez has you sorted. I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a nice list of 10 activities to do instead of allowing John Harkes (or whoever) to molest your eardrums with Gold Cup commentary. Consider it an early Christmas in July present. I’ll let you guess which of these 10 I have done and which I have not.
1. Catch some of EURO U21. Watch the superstars of tomorrow blah blah blah. Just sit back and enjoy the fact that someone named Xherdan Shaqiri might win the Golden Ball. And maybe Christian Eriksen will finally live up to the hype. Oh, and I saw Spain completely toy with England the other day, only to watch the mustard fall off the hotdog with a late England equalizer. Quick thoughts from that: Kyle Walker is gonna lock down the RB position for Spurs and will shine next season; Juan Mata was so much better than everyone on the pitch, it wasn’t fair– (In these youth tournaments, most players hit the passes that are open to them, but Mata was playing whatever ball he felt like); coming second was Javi Martinez, who Liverpool should’ve been knocking down the door to get post-Alonso; Thiago isn’t fully there yet, but when he blossoms, goodnight Madrid; Diego Capel plays like he was raised by wolves… still.
2. Drink five daiquiris. Yup.
3. Stimulate your Page 6 senses with Manchester United’s naughtiest scandals. Not that I’m into that sort of thing, but I bet you are. Some pretty shady stuff going on at Old Trafford. And no, Howard Webb isn’t even involved. Unless, Ryan Giggs…
4. Watch this recent video of Ronaldinho. Then, try to tell me we weren’t robbed too soon of greatness. Sorry to keep harping on this, but I miss vintage R10. The game misses him. Only Zidane could glide like that– who knew that the 2006 World Cup was both of their swan songs?
5. Pick the winner of the 2011 US Open. Golf. Much more exciting than the Gold Cup, and way more difficult. Mcdowell, Oosthuizen, Kaymer, Schwartzel– those are the most recent winners of the last 4 majors. If you tell me you were familiar with them before their wins, you’re a liar. If you tell me you don’t long for dominant Tiger again, you’re a liar. We need a strong Tiger like we need a strong Lebron, Yankees, Floyd Mayweather, Jose Mourinho, and Real Madrid. Who do I like this weekend? Without glancing at the pairings, I’ll take Sergio, Choi, Donald, and Watson. Who knows how it’ll turn out?
6. Prepare yourself for Man City winning the Champions League in the next 5 years. This discount doomsday bunker should pretty much cover it. Because we need to be honest here– who wants to live in a world where City’s C.R.E.A.M. policy is the status quo? (Big ups to my friend Brandt for the bunker find… Actually, since we’re linking to Twitter, I might as well divulge that my college pet, a rabbit called Sanchez, now has his own Twitter account, complete with 7 followers. He lives in D.C. and beat me to Twitter. Apparently he’s a techie but still chews on electrical cords. We of the Sanchez clan have always been enigmas).
7. Take a trip with the ghosts of Judas past. Peep this picture. Can you remember which footballing traitor was the target of this pig’s head and soooo much hatred? Fans bringing livestock to matches might be my favorite part about our sport. Honorable mentions go to the French smuggling roosters into like, every game and some Africans and their goats. And Van Nistelrooy.
8. Rank the greatest “Dirks” throughout history. I’ll give you my top three. Dirk Nowitzki has be King of the Dirks at the moment, finally getting his NBA ring. But more so because Americans finally have a German superhero that isn’t terrifying and totalitarian. Coming in second is Mr. Dirk Diggler– “do you think the bass is taking away from the vocals?” And I’ve got a dead tie for third place between the A-Team’s Dirk Benedict (Faceman) and Liverpool’s Dirk Kuyt (most definitely not-a-faceman).
9. Actually read ESPN Soccernet’s transfer blog. It’s updated minutely and it’s absurd. Silly season is bad enough with a consistency of more credible rumors, but some of these are borderline childish. Here are some of the names highlighted on today’s page right now: Guti, Nuno Gomes, Andreas Granqvist, Mateja Kezman. I need to hear about those players like I need to hear about you and your fiance’s recent trip to wine country. If you’re bold (and immune to Twitter haters) go ahead and venture some guesses about where the popular kids are going. Sanchez to City? Rossi to Barcelona? Fabregas to stay? Modric to United? Mata to Liverpool? Hiddink to Chelsea? Or if you don’t want to name names, better yet…
10. Explain why there aren’t more “proxy” transfers today. Let’s say Real Madrid wanted to buy Messi, and Leo himself wanted the move, but there’s no way in hell Barca would ever make that sale, no matter how unhappy Messi told Barca he was there. So Madrid grab QPR, front them the £110m or whatever it would cost for Barca to sell, then throw in an extra £5m just for QPR. Barca are (reluctant, but) willing to sell their wantaway star to a non-rival club, then immediately (as per their agreement), QPR sells him straight to Real Madrid. Boom. Madrid get their guy, and QPR makes a nice profit and some major press. Are Madrid and QPR being tricksy little Hobbits? Absolutely. But is this proxy deal legal? I think so. Here’s what I’ve found in the FIFA rules and regulations:
Players may be registered with a maximum of three clubs during
one season. During this period, the player is only eligible to play
official matches for two clubs. As an exception to this rule, a player
moving between two clubs belonging to associations with overlapping
seasons (i.e. start of the season in summer/autumn as opposed to
winter/spring) may be eligible to play in official matches for a third
club during the relevant season, provided he has fully complied with
his contractual obligations towards his previous clubs. Equally, the
provisions relating to the registration periods (article 6) as well as to the
minimum length of a contract (article 18 paragraph 2) must be respected.
So, as long as Messi didn’t play an official match for QPR, it would work out. Surely there are plenty of small clubs that need all the money they can get, that they would be willing to serve as a go-between for big clubs? So why aren’t we seeing proxies left and right? Too much hassle? Damage to a club’s reputation? Individual league rules? Potential for legal disaster and/or swindling? All I know is that it ain’t for lack of money. Oh no.
The transfer market is upon us and open for business. So put that coffee down. Coffee is for closers.Tags: Gold Cup, Transfer Business, You Got The Touch