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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Farewell Freddy?

And thereby, good riddance? The news that Mike Ashley has already bought 41.6 percent of the club, and must now offer for Freddy's nearly 30 percent stake, has warmed TDH's heart. Perhaps, with a new chairman in charge, the madness will finally end.

For TDH, the most important thing is to stop the nonsense and get a bit more scientific about our football. Perhaps Sven would have been better than Sam for that job, but that particular die has already been cast (and TDH is always leery of someone who has as high an opinion of himself, without anything to show for it, as Sven).

We need to be more scientific about our transfers, our fitness regimen and our style of play. And TDH doesn't mean mad scientist scientific - Duff up front again, anyone? - but something more along the lines of what Rafa's done. We don't have the players to tinker like he does, nor might we want to if we did, but he always puts out a lineup where the players work well together.

Yes, TDH will miss Freddy's bordello blather and Land Rover rants, but at some point we have to care about the football. It's possible to be colorful, sleazy, infuriating and downright hilarious while still winning football games, as many others have proved.

Monday, May 21, 2007

TDH at Giants Stadium, and other consolations

TDH rode the bus out to East Rutherford, New Jersey yesterday for an unprecedented event. The New York Red Bulls entertained the Columbus Crew, with two recently arrived Latin American stars on the pitch. For the Red Bulls, striking at number 9 was a newly shorn Juan Pablo Angel. That's right, the black headband is a thing of the past. For the Crew, winging it at number 7 was Guillermo "El Mellizo" Barros Schelotto. The banners for Guille were everywhere: "Guille, Boca loves you" and "Guille, thanks for everything! (Go Crew)" were TDH's favorites.

And what a contrast the two players presented. Angel didn't do a heck of a lot of running at the beginning, but he soon got into the swim of things, dancing through the woeful Crew defense and distributing ably to New York's wingers. When he put away his first Red Bull goal ever, the rain-soaked stadium erupted in as much pandemonium as the 10,321 fans in attendance could muster.

By contrast, Guille spent most of his 67 minutes running into space, not getting the ball and then waving his arms in frustration and mock amazement. Naturally, he also had a few choice words for the referee. He moved from right, to left, to center in an effort to get into the play, occasionally with success. But the guy didn't seem to be enjoying himself, while it might as well have been Angel's birthday. More power to Bruce Arena.

In the bus on the way back to Manhattan, a rowdy crowd of semi-drunk, twenty-something New York fans performed a minor football miracle. From the back of the coach, they sang adapted versions of TDH's favorite European and Latino football chants for the entire half-hour journey. Virtually all of them harked back to the MetroStars era. Here is TDH's number one, to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, which will be familiar to the Toon Army:

DC United went to Rome to see the pope;
DC United went to Rome to see the pope;
DC United went to Rome to see the pope;
And this is what he said: "F*CK OFF!"

"Who the f*ck's DC United?"
"Who the f*ck's DC United?"
"Who the f*ck's DC United?"
And the Metro marches on....

TDH also applauds the fans for this Columbus-appropriate taunt: "We all laugh at a yellow soccer team, a yellow soccer team, a yellow soccer team...."


Obviously, that was a pleasurable evening. It was only slightly enhanced by the experience of seeing Manure lose the FA Cup, with Kiki Ron completely neutralized by someone who's probably seen him plenty of times on the practice pitch, the much-maligned Paulo Ferreira. Peter Cech had an absolute stormer, clearly back to his best and TDH's Man of the Match.

TDH joined Mara in wondering why Young Joe was removed and not SWP. The latter's supposed to be super-fast Shaunie-on-the-Spot, yet where was he when Drogba was dribbling alone up front? Nowhere to be seen. And don't tell TDH that The Special One could only play Cole or Robben on the left; both of them have played on the right, too. You can't argue the result, but it was Drogba's class that won the day. More power to him.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Glenn, we hardly knew ye

First, TDH would like to wish a well-meaning man well. And TDH would only have let Roeder go if TDH already knew that there was a superior option available. Given our recent exploits in the managerial market, that is hardly probable. So let TDH ask - who is waiting in the wings?

Big Ham's name has come up many times, of course. But his style of football hardly fits what the Toon faithful expect, nor does it suit our quick, young, and generally small players. Perhaps Big Ham has more than one arrow in his strategic quiver, but TDH will believe it when we see it.

Well, at the very least, we can hope for the usual 9-0-0 run that follows a new manager's accession. But after that? We seem destined to labor in 13th or 14th place for at least part of every season. The question is, how long next year?


Thursday, May 03, 2007


Ah, it's not easy being TDH these days. Business travel intervened to prevent TDH from seeing all but about 15 minutes of the Champions League semifinals; fortunately those 15 minutes included Kaka's excellent opening goal at the Theatre of Screams. Is Kiki Ron the best player in the world? Don't bet on it, pal.

Our Michael's return wasn't exactly stellar, just in keeping with the ongoing mediocrity we've been experiencing. What can we look forward to next year? Perhaps more of the same. At least we have Martins. TDH likes Martins.

Well, there's some consolation that Manure won't have a triple. TDH had a secret desire to see Chelsea win the quadruple, just because it would have been, uh, so awesome, dude. But now TDH is 100 percent behind Liverpool, because they win with grit. And obviously, to have three English teams in the final four and still lose would be just too embarrassing.

That's about as much as TDH can motivate to say. Except that May 19 has been marked in the calendar: the day that Reyna and Angel take on Barros Schelotto in MLS action. That's right, action.