Work on another omnibus "FIFA Is a Den of Rats and Weasels" post having been slowed by the need to comply with our beloved government's edict that it be fed lest it devour us all, a number of topics are herewith being tossed to the curb due to lack of time, interest and/or energy. Beginning with the ESPN 30 for 30 film on the Hillsborough disaster which aired last night.
If you missed it, figure out when it will air again and force yourself to watch. As American soccer fans, even those of us who have labored mightily to grasp the issues and emotions involved, there's been a paucity of genuine insight available to us.
The first hour of the film explains in vivid detail exactly what happened, why it happened and who was responsible for it happening, and if it stopped right there it would still be a compelling story.
The second hour delves into how, even as people were dying - quite literally before their eyes - local officials began constructing a monstrous, unspeakable lie which attempted to deflect the blame away from themselves. It's an appalling saga of incompetence, cowardice and official malfeasance.
I won't write more because it's a such a complicated tale that justice would not be done to the victims, their families or the 60,000 Liverpool fans who stood for 20 minutes and chanted "justice" at a government minister standing at a microphone on the pitch at Anfield 20 years later.
What I will say is that I hope a certain arrogant, obnoxious, ignorant turd who lost his gig on Sirius when he sing-songed "murderers" at Liverpool fans during a show and then refused to apologize for his oafish, appalling and inexcusably crude behavior saw the film and actually had a moment of remorse.
But I'm not holding my breath.
There's also no way I'm going to waste your time and mine dissecting the recent comments of NASL Commissioner "Crazy Bill" Peterson, whose world view continues to run in total opposition to reality.
His contention, made during a recent interview, that neoNASL teams will be able to compete on an even basis with "the best teams in the world" in 3-5 years is so delusional that it's almost frightening.
Has he ever, you know, actually seen the best teams in the world play? Which neoNASL oufit, most of whose rosters consist of players previously jettisoned by MLS sides due to lack of talent, does Crazy Bill think can "compete" with Bayern Munich or AC Milan or ManCity or, God help them, Barcelona?
Even if you could find a Las Vegas sports book that took action on American soccer, they'd laugh you out of the building for asking the odds on PSG vs. the Virginia Slavecatchers. Their calculators don't have that many decimal places.
Even that pales in the face of his other blockbuster revelation, which was that he has asked CONCACAF to give the NASL an automatic slot in the Champions League.
(One assumes he meant the CONCACAF version although in 3-5 years he'll be petitioning UEFA for entry into theirs, apparently)
What Crazy Bill doesn't seem to grasp is that CONCACAF is a confederation of regional FIFA federations, not a league administrator. As such, Jeff Webb and the boys award a given number of Champions League spots to member federations which they, in turn, distribute as they see fit. CONCACAF is asked to rubber stamp their choices but it's just a formality and unless, say, T&T awards a spot to Jack Warner's next door neighbor's U12 side, approval is more or less automatic.
So what the neoNASL did was nothing less than ask CONCACAF to overrule USSF President Sunil Gulati who is also, not coincidentally, a member of FIFA's Executive Committee, and unilaterally award one of the four US spots to them.
Does the term "when pigs fly" have any resonance here? Is Peterson normally this drunk or was this a one off?
Anyway, I could mock this eminently mockable jackass for a good 10,000 words but what would be the point? I'll pass.
I'd love to write about today's impending announcement of an MLS team being awarded to Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, but it's too depressing.
MLS 1.0 was all about avoiding the appearance of being NASL v2, and MLS 2.0 was supposedly all about intimate sized natural turf stadiums.
But nothing says NASL and/or MLS 1.0 more than guys trying to play soccer in tarped off 70,000 seat stadiums on plastic grass with NFL logos and gridiron lines, and this isn't a temporary venue of some kind. Even the Revs pretend that someday they'd like to have a soccer specific stadium, although nobody really believes it.
But the Atlanta DoublewideDwellers will be playing in Blank's monstrosity until the end of time or until his heirs decide that the city needs to build him an even bigger edifice.
It's MLS moving backwards and it's depressing and I don't want to dwell on it.
But the real reason why Atlanta is a bad idea is a guy named Jim Smith.
Smith became General Manager of the Columbus Crew at a time when they had 10,000 season ticket holders and regularly sold out a 24,000 seat soccer specific stadium.
By the time he left, six years later, the Crew was arguably the worst outfit in the league. Attendance was in the toilet, the team was awful and the soccer-hating Smith, whose sports background was primarily with WWF, was convinced that the answer was better and glitzier halftime entertainment.
He was also famous for telling Supporter's Groups that, to him, they were nothing but "a bunch of cheap tickets" and he did everything he could to chase them away. Groups that had dated from Day 1 were suppressed and new ones were discouraged, the evidence of which is that of the six current Crew Supporters groups which make up the Nordecke - Hudson Street, Crew Union, La Turbina Amarillo, etc. - not one of them existed before 2006, the year Smith left.
Where did he go? The Atlanta Falcons organization.
To me, it's inconceivable that when Blank starts organizing his new MLS team he's not going to go two doors down the hall to Falcons VP Jim Smith, a former MLS team President and GM, for advice and guidance.
That's so depressing that writing about it would send me straight to the liquor cabinet, and it's just too early in the day for that.
Finally, because people will think that I'm just taking my anti-Toronto bone out for a walk, I'm not going to talk about Major League Jackass Rob Ford, the crack smoking Mayor of that city.
He shows up for a run of the mill grip and grin session for something or other involving youth soccer and decides on his own to take a shot on goal.
So he grabs some kid, clearly not a keeper, has him stand between to pipes and then, from no more than 12 feet away proceeds to flame one past him.
Wow, Rob. Impressive stuff.
Then it appears that he realized what a douche he had looked like smoking some 12 year old so he lines it up again AND DOES THE SAME THING!
But like I said, it would look like I'm just picking on Toronto instead of pointing out what a total assclown Ford is, so I'll pass.