Category Archives: What The Soccer Guys Are Reading

John Doyle Brings The World's Biggest Soccer Tournaments to Life in "The World Is a Ball"

John Doyle was born and raised in Ireland, but now lives in Canada where he writes for the Globe and Mail. "The World is a Ball" is his second book.

By Ryan Fleming

Many sportswriters often dream of covering “the big game.” Depending on what sport you’re talking about, whether it be hockey, baseball, or soccer, you often work your entire life toward that game.

Irishman John Doyle, a television critic, has covered four of those elusive but priceless sporting events. For Doyle,  the pinnacle of a sports writer’s life happens to be sent on assignment to cover two World Cups and two European Championships. Not bad for someone who writes about TV.

In Doyle’s book, “The World Is A Ball,” he writes about how life growing up in Ireland affected his vision and idea of soccer, how his family, particularly his father, frowned upon the “English game,” but at the same time how it eventually grew on him.

From Toronto, Ontario, where the author currently resides and works at The Globe and Mail, he sends the reader first to the 2002 World Cup and immediately displays his wit and humor.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading

ESPN Soccernet – Serbia hits rock bottom

Serbian hooligans force Italy, Serbia Euro 2012 Qualifier to be cancelled. The disturbances and violence lasted throughout the day.

ESPN Soccernet Blogs Do Sparsely Supported Teams Deserve Their Place in the Premier League ?

Interesting question, but a really simple answer – yes.

The Guardian – Which clubs’ fans have unlikely friendships with their rivals?

A list you won’t find Celtic and Rangers on.

The Herald (Scotland) – The absence of Scott Brown raises some big questions for Celtic

With Celtic midfielder and captain, Scott Brown, out for around 10 weeks, questions are aroused about the club’s talent.

Zonal Marking – Ireland 2-3 Russia: Irish outpassed & outclassed

The Boys in Green dropped their Euro 2012 Qualifier to a Russia team that outplayed them for more than 90 minutes.

Zonal Marking – The tall tale of Peter Crouch’s aerial abilities

Pundits and coaches alike say that Crouch is a better player with his feet than his head, but the stats tell a different story.

Sky Sports – Henry – We’re here to win

New England Sports Venture and its chief owner, John Henry, finally completed the takeover of Liverpool, and he has already stated his intentions to win.

The Independent – Robinho: ‘I would never protest against being on the bench’

But do I believe the talented Brazilian forward? No. He knows he is too good of a player to be watching from the sidelines.

The Independent – Mourinho rules out January spending

This can’t be true. Mourinho will be looking to wheel and deal some underachieving players (Karim Benzema for sure) for players that fit his team’s style and mold.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading – Oct. 8, 2010

Charlie Davies was playing the best soccer of his life, then life got a lot harder for him after he survived a fatal car crash. Courtesy Longbomb of Wikicommons

Ryan’s Reading

ESPN The Magazine – Alive and kicking –  Charlie Davies as told by Luke Cyphers

Charlie Davies was on top of the soccer World. He made a name for himself playing for the United States National team. He was scoring goals for the U.S. and he was showing that he had what it takes to play with the top level of players in the world. Then a car he was riding in crashed and his chance at playing at the World Cup in South Africa last summer went down the drain. He went through a lot and had an amazing recovery.

Sports Illustrated – Bordeaux’s ’08-09 French title is starting to look like distant memory – Ben Lyttlton

Life hasn’t been easy for Bordeaux lately. The club limped into sixth place last season and a umber of key players from the club’s title winning season just a season before were headed on their way to new homes. Playmaker Yoann Gourcuff moved on to rivals Lyon for a record transfer in Ligue 1. Marouane Chamakh left for Arsenal on a free transfer during the summer. The biggest loss for the club was the appointment of Laurent Blanc as the French National Team coach. The Club lost its leader and craftsman with the loss of Blanc. Things just haven’t been the same for Bordeaux this season, and maybe it’s just the way things are suppose to go for the club.

Sports Illustrated – Why CONCACAF is killing the best rivalry in North America – Grant Wahl

Politics run the world. It’s that simple. CONCACAF has 24 island nations in it that want to play more World Cup qualifying games to better improve their teams skill by playing more competitive games and to allow more chances for an upset. But with the new proposed qualifying match the chances of a U.S.A. and Mexico home and away series is zero. The two best soccer playing countries in North America have one of the biggest and best rivalries in international sports, but that doesn’t matter if everyone doesn’t get a piece of the pie, and those mossing out are sure to get their pieces sooner rather than later.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — Sept. 29, 2010

New England Revolution defender Kevin Alston was called into the U.S. National team's camp before the World Cup, but he was unable to solidify a spot on the team after getting injured. Courtesy — 24 Under 24: First names are revealed

A great series by dedicated to naming the best young prospects on Major League Soccer rosters. If the MLS can be a successful league in the future it will need these players to step up their game and fulfill the potential seen in them. The list starts off at number 24, Dax McCarthy of FC Dallas, and works its way to number 21, Kevin Alston of the New England Revolution. Philadelphia Union starlets Jack McInerney and Roger Torres are squished in between Alston and McCarty.

ESPNSoccernet — The Devil inside — by Kevin Palmer

Dimitar Berbatov’s expensive arrival at Manchester United from Tottenham was s surprise to many. The transfer of the Bulgarian striker broke the British record at the time and went against the red Devil’s policy of only signing players in their teens or early 20’s.  It took Berbatov a few years to settle into Manchester. This season, his third with the club , Berbatov has put the Premier League on notice and displayed just why Sir Alex calls him a “genius” and why the Scot spent £30.75 million on the player. a hat-trick against Liverpool that included a highlight reel goal that will forever be remembered are only a few of things Berbatov talks to Kevin Palmer about.

The Guardian — Arsène Wenger thinks Arsenal’s Lukasz Fabianski will be ‘great keeper’

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has received much criticism for his unwillingness to spend money on the transfer market to buy a true number one goalkeeper, something many fans and pundits believe is holding Arsenal back from winning the English Premier League. With the injury to Arsenal’s usual number one, Manuel Almunia, Wenger had to start back-up keeper Lukasz Fabianski in the club’s Champions League, 3-1-, win over Partizen Belgrade. Wenger always has faith in his reserve players, and Fabianski is no different. The French coach thinks his Polish keeper has a bright future ahead of him if he can stay confident and not waste the chances he gets. Fabianski will be Arsenal’s keeper this weekend as the Gunners take on Chelsea on Saturday.

Telegraph — Wayne Rooney presents Fabio Capello with England striker dilemma for Euro 2012 qualifier

The Wayne Rooney saga seems to never die. Now, the England and Manchester United forward will miss plenty of playing time because an injury. that’s not good for England as the team tries to qualify for the 2012 Euros because there is a real shortage of strikers on the bench with Tottenham striker Jermaine Defoe also sidelined. Fabio Capello has some interesting choices to make in the Three Lions upcoming qualifying matches regarding his line up.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — Sept. 27, 2010

New England Soccer Today — Deja vu all over again — by Brian O’Connell

The New England Revolution needed a win Saturday night when they took on the Columbus Crew to keep its playoff hopes alive. Everything looked to be going the Revs way early on as they jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but the team let it slip away. Watching the Crew tie the Revolution in the second half of Saturday night’s game was like watching the FC Dallas game from Wednesday night all over again. — Armchair Analyst: How New York overwhelmed LA — by Matt Doyle

It was suppose to be the match of year in the MLS. The Los Angeles Galaxy and the New York Red Bulls squared off as the two giants of Major League Soccer, well, at least in terms of payroll and big-name players. It was suppose to be Beckham against Henry, but Henry was out injured and Beckham has missed much of the season injured and is still not match sharp just yet. New York prevailed over LA because the Red Bull’s supporting cast was able to outplay that of the Galaxy’s.

The Telegraph — Liverpool face up to the threat of administration as crisis deepens at Anfield — by Rory Smith

It has been an ugly week for Liverpool. They lost to hated rivals Manchester United last Sunday. They were beaten by a League 2 side, Northampton, in the Carling Cup at home. And to top it off the team draws with Sunderland in a crucial Premier League game at home. Anfiled use to be a place teams feared of going, but as of last week its become a place where teams know they can score a goal or two and get out with an important road point. But what looms heavier over Anfield’s iron gates? The possibility of administration and the deepening debt crisis facing the owners and the bank. Roy Hodgson has a difficult job at hand, and it doesn’t look like it will be getting any easier.

ESPNSoccernet — Sevilla sack coach Alvarez, turn to Manzano

Sevilla has looked ragged at the start of this season. The team made it to the Champions League last year and had a decent run through the group stage and into the knockout stages, but this year has been different. There is no Champions League play because the team lost its playoff game with Braga earlier this year, and the team lost its Europa League opener to Paris St. Germain. To top off the failures in European competition, Sevilla has been poor in La Liga as well and after losing to newly promoted Hercules on Sunday the team decided to go in a new direction. Antonio Alvarez has been sacked and former Mallorca coach Gregorio Manzano has been brought in to bring order back to the club. Manzano lead Mallorca to a surprising fifth place finish last year and was available because Mallorca and he were unable to come to an agreement on a new contract at the end of last season.

What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — Sept. 23, 2010

Revolution midfielder Pat Phelan wins a header in the midfield over FC Dallas captain David Ferreira. Courtesy

New England Soccer Today — Disappointment in the Big D — by Brian O’Connell

The New England Revolution looked to be on the verge of finally sealing the club’s second road win of the season and ending FC Dallas’s 14 game unbeaten streak, and then it all came undone like it has so many times this year. The Revs were able to survive with a 2-0 lead into the 80th minute when Dallas midfielder David Ferreira stepped up to the penalty spot for the second time in the game — he missed the net on his first try earlier in the game– and the Hoops captain banged in a goal for Dallas and brought the team back in the game. A last gasp goal from substitute Jeff Cunningham in stoppage time sealed a, 2-2, draw for Dallas and major blow for New England as the club tried to end its 10 game winless streak on the road.

The Telegraph — Manchester City hit by defensive worries ahead of Premier League clash with Chelsea

Joe looked at the struggles Roberto Mancini has had with his squad selection and keeping his high-profile players happy thus far, and things don’t look to be getting any easier for the Italian. Manchester City will have to take on Chelsea this weekened and City have only three healthy defenders going into the game against the most potent offensive squad in the Premier League. Mancini and City have shelled out millions of dollars on some of the biggest names in soccer, but they are missing quality depth in defense and maybe not so many big name stars, but maybe some more quality players who can fill in when the team is in a tight squeeze.

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What The Soccer Guys are Reading — Sept. 22, 2010

Wesley Sneijder was sold by Real Madrid last summer to make way for Kaka and Ronaldo, now he could be on his way back to Spain if Jose Mourinho has his way. Courtesy Paul Blank

The Independent — Serie A strike called off

Good news for Italian soccer fans: The player’s union and Serie A have come to an agreement and there will not be a strike this weekend. Players will play, and this weekend’s round of games will go on as planned. The player’s union and the league came to an agreement on six of the eight points of contention in the talks over a new collective bargaining agreement. The two sides will try and hash out the details for the remaining two issues at hand in the near future.

BBC — Sunderland’s Titus Bramble arrested over rape claim

Steve Bruce hasn’t had much time to celebrate his team’s miraculous, 1-1, draw with Arsenal on Saturday. Today, Bruce had to wake up and open the newspaper and see one of his summer signings topping the headlines. Titus Bramble has been brought into police custody because a woman has charged him and his brother with rape. Bramble moved from Wigan this summer to the Stadium of Light to bolster Sunderland’s defense.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading– Sept. 21, 2010

The Guardian — Tom Hicks fails in latest attempt to secure Liverpool private equity — by Owen Gibson

Liverpool fans have been begging and pleading for the club’s American owners to finally move on and sell the club that they bought in 2007 with so much promise. Tom Hicks and his partner George Gillett have struggled to pay off the enormous loans they took on when buying the club in 2007. Now, the debt has become too much for the American owners to keep delaying the big payoff and wait for a new buyer. The Royal Bank of Scotland has already started the process to take over the club and sell it if Hicks and Gillett can’t. Hicks was hoping to seal a new loan deal to buyout Gillett and try and find a suitable buyer. Doesn’t look like its happening.

The Independent — Messi was ‘hunted’ by Atletico says Pique

It looked like a break when the replay was shown, but Barcelona got some good news when the team found out that Lionel Messis injury wasn’t as bad as first thought. Messi was carted off the field after an ugly challenge from Tomas Ujfalusi left the player wilted on the field. Ujfalusi received a two match ban after the review board of La Liga looked over the tackle by the Atletico Madrid player.

Sky Sports — Cesc out for three weeks

Arsenal blew a goal lead to Sunderland on Saturday. And the team lost a lot more than three points, the team lost its captain Cesc Fabregas for three weeks. Fabregas injured his hamstring while scoring Arsenal’s goal on Saturday. Arsenal’s captain  joins Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner on the shelf. Arsene Wenger, Arsenal’s captain, could be seeing his English Premier League title hopes fading as his team suffers one injury after another.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — Sept. 20

Holland international Rafael van der Vaart caught on quick to how important the Tottenham and Arsenal rivalry is to the players and the fans. Courtesy Paul Blank

Sky Sports — Rafael issues Gunners taunt

Tottenham’s new boy Rafael van der Vaart wasted no time in joining in on the Spurs rivalry with Arsenal. The London clubs face off this week in a Carling Cup tie, and van der Vaart already knows the importance of the Spurs and Gunners match. This is for the right to boast about being the better club in the city, something every fan and player wants to be able to do. The Dutchman has issued his warning, calling Spurs “the bigger club,” after Spurs 3-1 win over Wolves on Saturday.

The Guardian — Roma lacking testicular fortitude as press gets under Ranieri’s skin — by Paolo Bandini

Roma was many pundits favorite club to challenge Inter Milan, and even dethrone the five time defending champions. Doesn’t look like Roma will be mounting a surge anytime soon if they continue to play like a bunch of aging stars with no heart. Claudio Ranieri decided to have a temper tantrum this weekend before Roma’s match with Bologne, and it didn’t do him much good because his squad didn’t back up his word. Instead, the team threw away a two goal lead late in the game and is still searching for its first win of the season.

BBC — Berbatov exposes Liverpool decline — by Phil McNulty

The Manchester United and Liverpool rivalry has been well documented, and Sir Alex Fergusson, United’s manager, even went so far as to say that the match-up is the “most important fixture.” Roy Hodgson and Liverpool must not have thought so– except for maybe a few of the players– because the team didn’t really show up until the second half, and even then they just strolled along at a snail’s tempo while United’s Bulgarian hitman, Dimitar Berbatov, was scoring a hat-trick and leading the Red Devils to a 3-2 win over the Reds.

ESPNSoccernet — Back in the big time — by Phil Ball

Xabi Alonso grew up a Real Sociedad fan. He played for the Basque club before being swiped up by Liverpool. He still carries a fan membership card for the club, but now he wears the hated Real Madrid jersey and had to face his old club for the first time this past weekend. Alonso and Madrid got lucky with a 2-1 win. The game should have gone to the hosts and Madrid should have gone home licking their wounds, but Sociedad missed its chances and Madrid made its count. Los Blancos manager Jose Mourinho said this fixture would be Madrid’s toughest of the season as they entered into a hostile stadium against last year’s division two champions, and he was right. It was an impressive performance by the Basque club, but theysquandered too many chances.

Evening Times — No yearning for marquee signings as Anthony Stokes displays his intent… — by Thomas Jordon

Celtic fell behind early to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, but the Hoops latest signing, Anthony Stokes, earned a penalty kick,  Daryl Murphy slotted it home, and scored the game-winning goal as he found himself in the right place at the right time. Stokes wasn’t Neil Lennon’s first choice signing during the transfer window– Lennon was looking to bring in either Robbie Keane or Craig Bellamy, but was unable to. Yet, the Irish International could be a bargain for Celtic and Lennon, and just the type of player the Hoops need to overtake Rangers and claim back the top-spot in the SPL.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — Sept. 17, 2010

Tom Hicks is looking to hold onto his shares of Liverpool, but it looks like his partner, George Gillett, probably will not be able to. The Royal Bank of Scotland looks like it won't be refinancing their loan and that spells trouble for the American owners. Courtesy Pitch Invasion

BBC — Iraqi team helping people unite– by Sally Nugent

Iraq has had some tough times, to say the least. The country has been in turmoil after the removal of Saddam Hussein in 2001 from his dictatorship, and even before that the country was a walking time bomb. The country has its internal turmoil, but that doesn’t stop its soccer players from walking on the field, lacing up their cleats and putting on the Iraq jersey for international competition. The major difference between this team and most other international teams: They play soccer behind 10-foot blast walls and have security watching the gate for them, just in case someone decides they want interrupt practice. — Commentary: High-rollers not built for CCL success

Real Salt Lake doesn’t have the biggest crowds in Major League Soccer, in fact they have a pretty small regional population to draw from in Utah compared to some of the other teams in the league. So, RSL has to follow a smart recruiting and signing policy to attract players and win while keeping close tabs on the budget. Part of the team’s plan has been to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League and hope the potential of playing in North America’s toughest tournament will attract quality players for a cheaper price than a Designated Player like a Thierry Henry or David Beckham. So far the plan has worked to a tee. RSL won the MLS Cup last season and qualified for the CCL, now the club is working on improving on last season’s results with the quality off-season additions they made and by keeping a deeper bench than most other MLS clubs who focus on signing expensive designated players.

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