The Science of the Perfect Fantasy Football Team Name

See Also: Robbie Keane, Ledley King...

We All Dream…

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. The sun is out, the sky is blue and pollen is waging a full-scale offensive on the nation’s airways. Transfer rumours are zipping back and forth faster than photons in the Large Hadron Collider, as football fans shun the beautiful weather to crowd around laptops praying that their “undiscovered hit” from last season hasn’t gone up in price too much. That’s right folks, the fantasy football season is upon us.

Say goodbye to your summer. Who has time to stock up on vitamin B when there’s player stats and data to absorb? It’s back into the routine: studying re-runs of Match of the Day in search of this season’s unrated ultra-performer and tinkering into the wee hours to divine the best value midfield pairing possible. Some managers, less hardy humans than us, will fall by the wayside as their once in-form players turn into pub league plodders. Continue reading

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Is Berbatov the answer to United’s midfield question?

Is Berbatov the answer to United’s creative gap in midfield?

For the past few seasons, Manchester United’s midfield has become a figure of ridicule, on par with Arsenal’s goalkeeper crisis and the perennial lack of width in Liverpool’s squad. As always, the fans disagree on the solution to Sir Alex’s dilemma, with factions clashing over rival cures: a proven Premiership playmaker like Luka Modric, a hard man in mould of Roy Keane, new signing Shinji Kagawa or a talent trawl for the next Ronaldo.

With his graceful power and embarrassment of elegant technique Dimitar Berbatov is, on paper, the quintessential creative target man for the modern game, yet he has at times struggled to shine on a consistent basis for United. However, the Bulgarian’s ability to read the game, thread a pass and keep possession have lead some admirers to suggest him as a left-field solution to a midfield that often seems to lack inspiration. Continue reading

My Bloody Valentine in the Premier League?

My Bloody Valentine assemble for the worst defensive wall at a freekick since Zaire in 1974.

To many fans, money is once again destroying football.

The infinite riches of the sugar daddies have distorted the transfer market, driven up wages and, and for some supporters, irrevocably damaged the competitive integrity of the sport. Looking at it from a purely football focused perspective though, is it really all that bad?

My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless is the album that bankrupted a record label. If financial fair play rules existed within the myths and legends of the shoegaze sub-genre, Loveless might never have been released. It might never have been allowed to happen.

The demise of Creation Records is, more often than not, blamed on Kevin Shields, the band’s enigmatic creative genius and recording studio dictator. His ruthlessly obsessive (and irresponsibly expensive) pursuit for perfection led him to hire and fire whole ranks of techies and producers while burning through hours upon hours of mixing and remixing at various high-end, high-cost studios. Continue reading

Predicting the futures of Van Persie and Modric with Football Manager

Where will Modric and Robin van Persie end up this summer?

It’s the double-headed transfer saga of the summer.

Robin van Persie and Luka Modric, two of North London’s finest rival footballing assets, look set to move on to pastures new in search of trophies, personal glory and Champions League football.

For once, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur’s fans are united in bated breath and uncertainty as the club capitals of the European game hover at the summer’s transfer poker table. Who will blink first and for how much?  Continue reading

A Philosophers Guide to Football

Cesar Luis Menotti

Cesar Luis Menotti: The real football philosopher?

If there is one thing that annoys me most about football, beyond even the rampant capitalist simulacra, the utterly offensive salaries, the corrupt governing bodies and the vast legions of, well frankly, fucking idiots who ruin it; it is when somebody, anybody, talks about a ‘footballing philosophy’.

A philosophy you say? Really? Please educate me on Barcelona’s take on the Phenomenology of Spirit? Or how Brendan Rodgers’ ‘pass-and-move’ (what bloody else happens in football, do tell?) ‘philosophy’ for Liverpool is deeply connected to Heidegger’s concept of dasein?

Of course, I am being ridiculous. But this is only to draw attention to a more serious point: there is indeed a connection, mostly untapped, between the esoteric realms of philosophy and the ‘world’ (eurgh) of football.

Read the full piece at The False Nine.

Moralising the football: down with this sort of thing

Surely football itself is more important than the man-boy antics of its overpaid and at times idiotic players?

The 2011/12 season (or The Best Football Season EverTM as it will be known until May next year) ended with possibly the most dramatic closing day in English top flight history, a Champions League win for Chelsea that King Leonidas would have been proud of and an excellent Euro 2012 tournament won by Spain in Poland and Ukraine.

Off the pitch however, it’s also been a bumper year for controversy too.

Racism, sexism, greed and barbarism all combined for a near-perfect storm of disgrace that football’s critics were quick to exploit.

John Terry’s trial for allegedly racially abusing Anton Ferdinand feels like the final episode in a toxic series that even the producers of Dream Team may have thought better of. Continue reading