This isn't being 'above' bribery. It's being unable to get out of the group stages of bribery.

June 6th, 2015

Marina Hyde on the Football Association's reaction to the FIFA corruption scandal:

You know when World Cups started being corrupt? 1970. And anything up to and including 1962. Between those dates, there was a brief and ineffably beautiful interregnum in the chicanery, which thereafter was never allowed to happen again. Why? Well, there was a global sense, really, that the sainted custodians of both tournament and trophy during that time were simply too exquisitely mannered, too morally faultless, too humble, too generous-spirited, too brilliant at football ever to be permitted to shame the rest of the world in this manner again.

Did you enjoy that story? If so, you may be Greg Dyke, or have suffered a recent head trauma. Either way, please seek help immediately. […]

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Made It So

June 18th, 2014

You're never going to be able to unsee this:

[Via MeFi user Rock Steady, posting here]

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Another Special One

April 12th, 2013

A lovely little story of how Real Madrid's superstar manager José Mourinho lived up to his nickname1 recently when he encountered a fan far away from home:

Abel Rodríguez is a 41-year-old Mexican-American who waxes floors in Los Angeles for Metro Transportation. Real Madrid's José Mourinho is one of the world's most famous managers. On the face of things, the two men have nothing in common. Yet recently they became the central figures in a surreal but true buddy story that took Rodríguez behind the scenes as a member of Real Madrid's team in the biggest games of world soccer against Barcelona and Manchester United. […]

You can argue that Mourinho and/or Real Madrid could afford to foot the bill for Rodríguez's little European tour, but that's really not the point.


  1. "The Special One."

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Not so much failing upward as getting exonerated upward

February 14th, 2012

Brian Phillips tries to explain Harry Redknapp to the world:

Harry Redknapp does not have a soul, but he has a sort of dead-eyed Cockney sparkle that's served him as a pretty adequate replacement. England's most successful English soccer manager, he's also England's most successful allegations-shrugger-offer, "Who, me?"-expression-haver, preposterous-quip-to-distract-your-attention deployer, and crafter of bespoke logic-annihilating narrative Möbius strips. When 60 police officers crash-swarmed his house as part of a conspiracy sting in 2007, Harry insisted that they were merely soliciting his help catching other people. "They have to arrest you to talk to you," he straightfacedly told the press. Oh, of course! When questioned, during his tax-evasion trial last month, about the secret Monaco bank account he'd named after his bulldog Rosie, he produced one of the greatest answers in the history of criminology. "I don't even like calling her a dog," he said. "She was better than that." The jurors returned a verdict of not guilty. I'm pretty sure some of them high-fived.

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Several hundred Sunderland youths made their way to his dressing room, 'evidently with no friendly intentions'.

May 25th, 2011

Who'd be a referee?

"All referees are good, and all are bad. A referee only needs to make one mistake, or an assumed mistake, against a club and if he lives till he is a hundred he never gets over it."

So said Charles Sutcliffe, former referee and president of the Football League, d. 1939. Yep, 1939. And you thought your contempt for officials was all modern and shit. […]

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The Tragedy of King Ferguson

January 23rd, 2011

The Tragedy of King Ferguson:

Britannia, AD 600. Ferguson is king of Britannia, lord of all he surveys. A firebrand Celt, his armies have marched as far south as Barcino in Hispania and towards the rising sun as far as the banks of the Volga. Old in body and yet nimble of mind, Ferguson seeks the affirmation of his kin, weighing the devotion of his sons in a ceremony at Trafford Castle. Shall a successor be determined?

[Enter King Ferguson, Jason, Darren, the Dukes of Phelan, Gill, and Solskjaer, and attendants.]


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The Billionaire Test

October 25th, 2010

Is your club's owner a true billionaire?

Question #3: If your billionaire broke the law, would there be repercussions? A true billionaire is essentially his own country. He transcends the apparatus of any single state and acts as an independent principle of order, like gravity or a weird idea on Lost. Wherever he goes, he's three mean Beatles and the world around him is Ringo. If George Gillett woke up with a headache, a slippery flashlight, and a bloody corpse in a Donald Duck costume, he would feel the chill of a man who dreads the movements of justice. With pristine clarity, he would realize that somewhere in the world was a DA who yearned to take him down. If Alisher Usmanov woke up in similar circumstances, he would yawn, yell for his slippers, and note that the day was Tuesday. […]

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"Hattie Jacques was never like this."

August 31st, 2010

I know it's a couple of weeks old now, but Taylor Parkes' review of ITV's World Cup coverage is still well worth a read:

[ITV…], having paid £6 million for his services, devised a show for [James] Corden to front with his quick wit and personal charm and broadcast the results at prime time for the duration of the tournament. And with sapping inevitability, James Corden's World Cup Live was truly, truly horrible, a cack-handed cross between Soccer AM's infantilism and TFI Friday's Class A shoutiness.

Abbey Clancy was hired to do what Abbey Clancy does; the backroom boys worked out some skits about how Uruguay's players had long hair and looked like girls; a polo-shirted audience whooped with well-marshalled efficiency. "Lovely stuff!" barked Corden, banging his cards on the desk. Somewhere in Britain, another library closed.

Ex-footballers with nothing better to do squeezed onto the sofa with sort-of celebs like Denise van Outen and Pixie Lott, the kind of people no one really cares about, without whom no TV show is commissioned ("Have you been watching the World Cup, Pixie?" probed our fearless host. "Well, I saw the England game," giggled the vacant Lott).

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District 11

July 5th, 2010

District 11: World Cup Aftermath.

[Via MetaFilter]

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PPP '09

November 6th, 2009

Marina Hyde on phoney poppy apoplexy:

With a tedious inevitability, the Daily Mail's campaign to divide the whole of Britain into people who wear poppies and people who are subhuman scumbags has reached the Premier League. But then, based on that taxonomy, where else was it ever going to end up?

In case you are not familiar with what we would be encouraged to refer to as "the growing row", the facts are these. At the time of writing 15 Premier League clubs have applied for special dispensation to embroider a poppy on their shirts for games between now and Remembrance Sunday, while – far more thrillingly for the Mail – five clubs have not. […]

[…] For two weeks of the year, certain elements stop insisting that footballers are not role models, in favour of demanding to know why they aren't wearing poppies when their job is to set an example. […]

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