Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mailbag Meandering on MLS, Media Coverage, and the Champions League

Mailbag Time
I don't get a ton of comments to my blog--step up people! But nonetheless, when I do, they deserve a reply to keep the faithful engaged.So here's another installment of the Starting Eleven Football Blog Mailbag. Remember, you too can get some props in the next Mailbag, just send in your comment.

Thierry Henry came to MLS in July and I wasn't all too thrilled. My point is that MLS is going to become a dumping ground for the world's aging football superstars. Thanks, but no thanks. If you want MLS to be legit, sign me a Messi. Until then, go away, kthxbye.
David wrote: would agree with you if this was the MLS five years ago.With the introduction of Seattle, Philly, Portland, Vancouver and then Montreal, I think you are seeing a genuine shift. In the next five years, you will see a few Henry-types in their prime come in because the appeal of living in the US for Europeans is a big draw (just go to the Southwest during the European winter). Things are changing in MLS... just go catch a Sounder's match in Seattle or Philly. Soccer isn't the world's game for no reason.

Reply: Ah Dear Naive David, you're right, there's nothing better in Europe than Phoenix in the summer--at least it's a dry heat. Seriously, the U.S. needs to grow their own players and seed MLS with them if it's truly going to be a world power. Do we need any more proof than this year's World Cup? Who's going to be the next Donovan or Dempsey? It ain't gonna be Altidore!

After Sporting Lisbon played Celtic at Fenway Park, I posted about the poor coverage of the game by the local press. It was rife with cliches and crutches about low-scoring games and locals longing for the motherland. Yawn. I'm proud of my rant, and happy my adoring public was with me.
Anonymous wrote: agree 100 percent.
Ajay wrote: Not sure about coverage about football in the US. From what I have seen on ATH and PTI on ESPN, it seems that the view is that football and FIFA need USA. My view is that it doesn't as football has been football for as long it has been and USA is realising that it needs to be part of football. Am grateful for the coverage of football on ESPN International here and hope that in the future it will match what is provided elsewhere.

Reply: The best thing ESPN has done for football is broadcast games in HD. End of story. American announcers are unprepared and incompetent on most fronts. They're "relegated" to doing soccer and feel it's a demotion for sure. Until this changes, perceptions of the game by casual viewers won't change. Gimme Andy Gray, any day. BTW, I like this Anonymous guy, weird name, but he gets where I'm comin' from.

I'm not all about cliches when I blog. I try to be insightful; analyze and comment. I go out on that ledge. Like in this post where I write that, yeah I said it, the Europa League has it all over the Champions League when it comes to competitive football. Yeah, that's right. Bring it on.

Fucte wrote: agree mate. the europa league is more competative and tougher with more than 10 teams have a realistic chance of winning it. while in the champs league, where the gap between the big and smaller club is so huge... only 4 or 5 club have a really good chance to win it. KTBFFH 
Andy D wrote: I'm not sure I agree. For mind, the Champions League is a lot better.

Reply: Fucte, I'll excuse the typos and poor capitalization mate because you're so right. 10 teams can win the UEFA Cup (not sure I'm all-in with the Europa League thing yet), while the same snooze-fest list of Man U. Chelsea, Real Madrid etc., are the only ones in contention for the title. Besides, the UEFA Cup is a better trophy. And as for you Andy, thanks for the letter and the deep thought.

Recently, I continued my assault on the Champions League, suggesting they need to go all NCAA Tournament, Big Dance, Sweet 16 with the thing and fix it up pronto. Rank the teams 1-32, make it all knockouts, get rid of the group stage and you'll have a much more fun tournament.

Dave wrote: pretty good effort got to be said - the group stage definately needs improving - although whether platini would be open to his babay being altered remains to be seen- although chelsea losing to valencia - not sure about that one! I have a new blog on the English premeirship - would be great to get some views - - thanks.
Andy7 wrote: Jose Mourinho would like the look of it. If he can help Real win it again, he truly is a genius.

Reply: What is it with you guys and spelling mistakes; Blogger has a spellcheck. Whatever. Thanks again Dave for contributing, and you're right about Platini not giving up the current cash cow. And as for Chelsea losing to Valencia; they gag annually in the Champions League, don't they? Why not to a Spanish club that's not from Madrid or Barcelona? Nice job sneaking in the cheap plug for views too. You're lucky I'm in a generous mood. Andy7, yessir, my man love for Jose Mourinho is no secret. He's the best, I want him coaching my team and my kids and Real Madrid will win and he truly is a genius. Check back with me in May. True dat!

And finally, the best for last. This week I opined about Liverpool's 2-0 win over Chelsea. In tongue-in-cheek fashion, I suggested the Reds were back and ready to make a run at the top 4 of England again. Champions League here we come baby. Of course, some of you are such sticks in the mud you don't get it. I have to find that button that turns regular posts into the sarcasm font! Oh BTW, thanks for pointing out when I screw up--imagine, I had the audacity to say Liverpool had not lost since John Henry's takeover.

Anonymous wrote: Liverpool lost to Everton in their first game after the takeover. Yes, it was only a day and a half later, but still makes your statement false.
Starting11 wrote: Well thanks for pointing that out Mr. Stickler for Accuracy. (I showed him!)
Jonny wrote: The league is very tight. It is amazing to think that Liverpool are now equal with Spurs, who we are led to believe have had an amazing start to the season.

Reply: Jonny, of the three of us, you're the only one with any sense. You realize it's a marathon, not a sprint, and that no one remembers who leads the Premiership before Christmas. And Anonymous, just when I thought good things about you, you pull this. Thanks bud.

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