Over the offseason, we will be trying different ideas/articles to see what is well received and what is not in effort to try to make HTIOT even better heading into year 2. One idea we have is to have a random links post on anything soccer related that we find interesting enough to post. Ideally, we would like to have one person assigned to one day each week. We of course will have more articles coming out above and beyond this, but for those that would like to contribute, we felt once a week gets it done but also doesn't overdo a work load already full with jobs, families, extracurricular actvities, etc. If anyone would like to contribute to a one-day-a-week links post, please contact Tweed for details.
With that being said, I tend to read A LOT of soccer websites every day if possible. I read tons of MLS/Fire stuff, and a good dose of Newcastle stuff too. I have a few other random sites, and every day I find interesting pieces that are amusing/disturbing/heartwarming, etc. Sometimes I can relate these things to the Fire, sometimes I just find them interesting. So here goes on my inaugural link piece...
Gotta take a look at this article. It's just hilarious to me. The thing I find surprising is that it was not an MLS ref. I think most MLS fans know the mythical proportions to which MLS reffing can stoop to. Not only did this referee get hammered, but he still showed up to ref a match. He even had time to red card 3 people for no reason when he wasn't stumbling all over the pitch. Good, good stuff.
My next link is one I find hard to believe. According to a few reports, former Chicago Fire Premier player and current Red Bull defender Tim Ream is being scouted by Arsenal, and possibly a couple of other Premier League clubs tonight in their matchup vs. FC Dallas. I just don't get this. First, the amount reported is 2.5 million pounds, or just under $4 million US dollars thanks to my handy conversion calculator. The bid was reportedly already turned down by the Red Bulls/MLS. Which isn't surprising considering the usual MLS practice of overpricing a player by at least 2 times their value (Landon Donovan to Everton being the prime example).
The other part I find unbelievable is that Arsenal would want to bring him in. Do they really feel he is Premier League quality? I will admit that his star burned bright last year, but he has really come down to Earth this year and frankly, has looked bad at times. If he gets shredded in an international friendly, how is he gonna do against Wayne Rooney's hair plugs? The one thing I can say for this happening is that it might help Arsenal falter even more. I dislike Arsenal to say the least, so I have had an odd, guilty pleasure watching their dysfunction unfold over the past couple of seasons. Could Tim Ream finally get Arsene Wenger sacked?
Next on the linkfest for today reminds me of a favorite part of my drive to work everyday. A local rock radio station has a segment the same time every day, while I am conveniently driving to work no less. It's called the "daily dumbass", and it highlights a news story of some person that does something really dumb that usually causes trouble or gets the person in trouble, arrested, etc. I nominate Manchester City's very own bad boy Mario Balotelli. He had quite the week last week. First, he set fire to his house after he and a few friends decided it was a good idea to start shooting off fireworks in the bathroom of his home. As common sense would apply, a fire started, and Firefighters came to put the blaze out. And this happened a day before the big Man U/Man City derby game. Apparently it did the trick as City embarrassed United 6-1. If I were Roberto Mancini, I would have Mario set his house on fire every weekend before each match. Gotta be a good luck charm, right?
And to make things even better, he followed this up by celebrating one of his goals by lifting up his shirt, with a t-shirt reading "Why Always Me" underneath. Why always you Mario? Maybe because you do stupid things like shooting off fireworks in your house? I read a comment on one soccer website that said he should have put on a t-shirt that said "Because I Never Learn" at the half. That way, if he scored in the 2nd half, he could have showed that shirt. Yes, he would have gotten a red card, but how many players can pull off a celebration/dialogue like that while also splitting halves? Now THAT would have been impressive.
This link reminds me of how I feel when the Fire lose. It sucks, especially when it is a big match against a big rival or a team I don't care for (USOC final, anyone?). No matter how disappointed I am, I have never had to worry about going to the grocery store and getting ridiculed even more. I would probably lose it if I went to my local Hy-Vee store and they had something mocking the Fire. Well, if you are a Manchester United fan, that's is exactly what happened at one bakery. Take a look at this. Not only is the price of the cakes reflecting the final score of the derby, but the Man U cake also has a big "free" sticker on it, and the pricing label says "price drop" on it. Now that's adding insult to injury. Major points for whoever thought of doing this.
And finally, FC Dallas completed their crash and burn campaign by falling 2-0 last night to the Red Bulls. I don't like either team, so I was hoping for a scenario where both teams could lose and be eliminated from the playoffs somehow. The match featured goals from Joel Lindpere and Thierry Henry, and a red card on Jan Gunnar Solli. Probably the most sad thing about this is the attendance. We all know FC Dallas draws less fans than a little league softball game, but they seemed to pull out all the stops to get people to the match (keep in mind the World Series game was cancelled last night). yeah, they used that too. They offered free ticket upgrades, discounted tickets, pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. I was surprised they didn't offer houses, cars, and lifetime supplies of free Pizza Hut pizza as well. And through all of this? They drew 10k. Stuff like this makes me truly appreciate Section 8 and all the Fire fans. While we may not sell out every game, we know how to show up for a big match. I guarantee there would be a lot more than 10k at Toyota Park if there was a playoff game there. And that's with 5 other major professional teams in the city.