Ramble On Sports

Where sports, pop culture and everything else collide.

Archive for the ‘Soccer’ Category

Rooney the latest athlete to stray

Posted by Bill Koch on September 5, 2010

Add Wayne Rooney – again – to the list of millionaire athletes who cheat on their significant others.

Sensational stories in the Sunday Mirror and the News of the World outed Rooney for his latest escapades while his wife Coleen was pregnant with their son, Kai. Whenever you see the words ‘hotel,’ ‘escort,’ ‘cash’ and ‘pregnant wife’ in the same paragraph, you know there’s about to be some serious drama. Most of you know him for what he does on the soccer pitch while he’s playing for England or Manchester United. Apparently, 90 minutes of action isn’t quite enough to get Rooney through the average week.

We’re not shocked. We’ve told you before that we expect nothing less out of people who have the world in the palms of their hands. This time, though, we have a little different angle to take on situations like this.

Elin Nordegren got it right. Tiger Woods cheats, Nordegren finds out. Nordegren takes the kids and leaves. Nordegren sues for divorce, settles out of court and walks away. No further questions were asked. There weren’t any second chances given, clearly because Nordegren knows that second chances are rarely as good as the first. The damage is already done. That doubt, that broken trust, will always linger somewhere at the front or back of your mind.

Sadly, Nordegren is the exception – and this, ladies, is where you get yourselves in trouble. Rooney had a couple of episodes like this before when he was 18, caught with prostitutes and at seedy massage parlors while he and his future wife were at the beginning of their relationship. She forgave him and went back to him, and by doing that she set the cycle in motion for these current events to happen to her all over again.

I don’t want to speak for my man BDowd or for anyone out there at Ramble On, but I’ll tell you this much – you let me get away with murder and I’m going to do it. I’m not going to respect you if I know there won’t be any consequences. If I ever really cared about you I would never intentionally do anything to hurt you. That includes turning you into an international embarrassment while you’re carrying our unborn son like Rooney just did to his wife. That includes turning you into a punch line by running wild at clubs on South Beach like Ronnie has done to Sammi this entire season on Jersey Shore. That includes carrying on with a collection of skanks like Bill Clinton has done to Hillary throughout their marriage (it’s a business arraignment at this point and has been for two decades, but we use it here because it fits the point we’re trying to make). The list could go on and on, but it’s a Sunday morning and we’re not ready to do research on TMZ at this early hour. Rooney, Ronnie and Clinton weren’t made to pay the price.

Are these women to blame for what’s happened to them in their personal lives? No. We’re not trying to say that. But they’re not exactly helping themselves – or the rest of you – either.


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Saying goodbye to James Milner and hello to Stephen Ireland

Posted by bdowd625 on August 17, 2010

(So long, James Milner. I hardly knew ye.)

A tulmutuous start to the 2010-11 English Premier League season continued on Tuesday for Aston Villa, as it sent James Milner to Manchester City for Stephen Ireland. The swap was long-anticipated, and Villa fans were eager to see Milner go based on their tepid reaction during player introductions in a season-opening 3-0 win over West Ham on Saturday. Milner ended up scoring a goal in that game – turning the fans in his favor for the time being – but all that doesn’t matter now. He’s out and Ireland is in.

Ireland, a 23-year-old midfielder, leaves the only Premier League team he’s ever known to come to Villa. In 138 career appearances with Manchester City, Ireland had 23 goals. He’s originally from – surprise! – Ireland, and has made seven appearances for the national team, scoring four goals in that span. Want another fun fact about him?  Ireland suffered from Osgood-Schlatter disease during his teenage years, a rupture of the growth plate at the tibial tuberosity. I’m no doctor, but I think that means the guy has crazy legs. CRAZY LEGS! Sounds like a sweet nickname to me.

P.S. – I can’t believe I’m actually enjoying this whole soccer thing. There’s just so much crazy shit that happens every day that it’s impossible not to love it. On top of all that, reading all the English writers and listening to all the crazy sayings during highlights is hysterical. You really should try it sometime. What’s that? You actually have a social life? Damn it.

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Diego Maradona? I’ll pass.

Posted by bdowd625 on August 16, 2010

I’m about as green as one can be when it comes to the world of English Premier League soccer, but even I know that Diego Maradona would be an absolute disaster as manager of Aston Villa. Apparently Maradona is interested in the coaching vacancy, though, which is currently being filled by caretaker Kevin MacDonald. Former manager Martin O’Neill resigned just days before the start of the EPL season, but Villa’s players put the distraction behind them and pulled off a convincing 3-0 win over West Ham on Saturday.

Back to Maradona, who left his position as head coach of the Argentinian national team after a quarterfinal loss in the 2010 World Cup. The guy is a total slob, and I don’t know how anyone in or around the EPL would be able to root for him after the “Hand of God Goal” he scored against England in the 1986 World Cup. For those of you that don’t remember Maradona’s controversial goal, it’s posted below:

You’re supposed to use your feet, porkchop.

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Getting off on the right foot

Posted by bdowd625 on August 15, 2010

I’ve been pretty busy this weekend, so I haven’t had much time to dedicate to the blog. Don’t think for a second, though, that Aston Villa’s 3-0 victory over West Ham on Saturday went unnoticed. Do I know how to pick ’em or do I know how to pick ’em? Caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald, who urged the Villa fans to cheer for their team even if things started out poorly, didn’t have to worry about such things. Stewart Downing’s early goal got the ball rolling, and West Ham was helpless the rest of the way. So far, I couldn’t be happier with my selection.

In other news, did everyone see how Dustin Johnson was eliminated from the PGA Championship tonight? It doesn’t get much worse than that as a competitor. I don’t care if the PGA explained the rules 150 times – I completely understand how Johnson got confused. The fans were STANDING ON THE “BUNKER” for God’s sake. Rules are rules – I get that. But man that was tough to watch.

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Welcoming the EPL into my life

Posted by bdowd625 on August 13, 2010

(You and I are about to become real good friends, Emile Heskey.)

After becoming quite smitten with the 2010 World Cup earlier this summer, I’ve decided to continue my soccer binge by selecting an English Premier League team to follow this season. If this idea sounds familiar, it’s because Bill Simmons jumped into the world of soccer the same way in one of his ESPN columns a few years back. He, too, selected a random team, choosing Tottenham Hotspur, mainly because he thought they had a cool name. Looks like it worked out just fine for you, Billy Boy.

Instead of picking my team based on its name, though, I’ve decided to find a middle-of-the-pack squad that’s not exactly a serious contender this year. I won’t look like a frontrunner that way. With that in mind, I have chosen – drumroll, please – Aston Villa. Do I know anything about this team? Absolutely not. Can I name a single player other than Heskey? Nope. But I plan on doing my due diligence this year and becoming a Villa aficionado. Here’s hoping for a good season, men. Now let’s take down West Ham!

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Random YouTube Video of the Day: Gerrard’s Top 10

Posted by bdowd625 on June 23, 2010

In honor of the United States and England moving on to the knockout stage of the 2010 World Cup, I’ve decided to treat all our faithful readers to a wonderful soccer video. If you have a few minutes and enjoy the sport, you simply have to watch it. Steven Gerrard – England’s team captain and one of our soccer binkies here at Ramble On – shows off his immense talent in 7 minutes of mindboggling goals. I hope England goes down in flames in the next round, but even I can appreciate Gerrard’s undeniable abilities. Enjoy.

P.S. Could that USA/Algeria game have been any more of a nailbiter? Thanks for cutting it so close, guys. Props to Landon Donovan for being in the right place at the right time to slam home the game-winner. I could have done without all his “I’ve worked hard for this” nonsense during the postgame press conference, but I suppose I can let him have his moment. Just remember that it’s a team game, Lando.

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A World Cup glossary, Ramble On style

Posted by Bill Koch on June 13, 2010

World Cup

At times we feel the need to provide a public service at Ramble On to thank our loyal readers, and it’s that responsibility that’s inspiring this post today.

In case you haven’t heard by now, the 2010 World Cup is well underway in South Africa. All the advertising on ESPN and ABC might have given it away, as did this ridiculous assertion by John Harkes that the USA-England match was 10-times as important as the current NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. We think that our hearing must have been compromised by the incessant sound of vuvuzelas or that Harkes might have been in a pub somewhere with the England hooligans before the match.

Anyway, we digress. We’re here today to provide you with a small glossary of soccer terms that you might hear over the next month. The only people who would understand them in this country likely follow the action that goes on across the Atlantic from August to May, so we’ll help out those who might be new to the game.

— Howler
There’s no need for us to use words to explain this one. We’ll let England goalkeeper Robert Green and his butterfingers do the talking for us:

That is a first-class, A-1, top-of-the-list howler. Green will never be the same again. There’s nothing he can do short of starting in the final and helping England win on penalty kicks to erase this permanent stain from his résumé.

— Class
The soccer folks don’t use this word the way we typically do. Simply call to mind Steven Gerrard’s goal against the Americans on Saturday – that’s class in the soccer sense of class. In fact, most people would say that Gerrard himself is class. You get the idea.

— Shambolic
One of our favorites, and it usually describes unorganized defenders who are powerless to stop opposing strikers from finding the back of the net. Teams that are guilty of shambolic defending are destined to be tourists in South Africa and not serious contenders for advancement out of the group stages. Chile, New Zealand and The Netherlands are three likely examples.

— Simulation
Simply put, it’s diving. You’ll see plenty of instances of this, and it’s all meant to deceive the referee and cheapen the game. Just watch Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal for 90 minutes or any striker from Honduras, France, Ivory Coast, Italy or Brazil to see simulation at its best.

— Martin Tyler
His is the soothing voice that you hear as the lead play-by-play man for ESPN and ABC – enjoy it while it lasts. We’ll be back to screaming fools who don’t allow NBA or Major League Baseball games breathe before too long. For now, enjoy Tyler’s effortless command of the stage, his wealth of knowledge and his accent.

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