Notyalcsdrawkcab’s Weblog

July 27, 2009

“rising star”

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 7:24 am

after david williams recent move to NQ fc, i have seen several websites refer to him as a rising star.

tis a strange thing.  i thought that”rising” had something to do with an upwards trajectory, and i thought that “star” had something to do with, standing out, or shining.

imagine my surprise when i found out that rising star had nothing to do with those things.  apparently i was very wrong.  i picked up my trusty oxford concise and found out that rising star meant “to move to denmark, get a couple of starts, get anchored to the bench, mouth off at your employers, almost get sent to south africa, and then go on a loan move to the least attractive a-league team around”.

to give the devil his due, you could say that he is a talented prospect.  or a youngster with potential.  but a star?  all the aussies that came back from scandinavia have really blitzed the league, haven`t they?  michael thwaite, dylan mcallister.  blitzed the league.  and williams was sitting on a bench over there.


July 24, 2009

the luck of the draw …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 6:11 am

looking back at the WC qualification campaign just finished – i have a weird mix of feelings.

pride at how well australia dealt with the opponents put in front of them.

regret that the quality and effectiveness of our play never quite matched the results we drummed up.

and a touch of feeling lucky to have dodged a bullet.

i`m gonna get all “sliding doors” for a minute, and wonder, what if?

what if we had been put in a group with south korea, north korea and saudi arabia … there is a chance we could have still been first in the group, but, we could just as easily have been fighting it out for the 3rd spot.

from what i have seen i would say korea is as good as japan, or close enough.  but as for the others, you`d have to say north korea and saudi arabia are tougher propositions than an underachieving uzbekistan and our bunnies qatar.

north korea looks to be a mentally strong physical team full of running and tackling.  the saudis – blow hot and cold, but the talent is there.

this hypothetical group could have been the challenge we needed to really get our shit together – or it could have been the group that knocked us out of the world cup.  one of asia`s great footballing countries (look at the talent produced, the countries love of soccer, the level of support that its clubs have – iran is impressive) got knocked out … could it have been us instead of them?

if north korea can stay at their current level, and iran, iraq, china and uzbekistan get their shit together, the next WC qualification will be no cake walk.  but then, world cup participation was always meant to be earned, wasn`t it?

July 19, 2009

joy. very joy. very very joy.

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 8:08 am

no hopeful screamers from outside the box then.


July 17, 2009

baseball kids and soccer kids

Filed under: Football, Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 4:19 am

went to footy practice last week.  there is a small indoor space with artificial grass that we use.  its next to the local baseball park.

i was walking past a group of baseball kids and they all said “good morning (sir!)”.  buzz cuts, uniforms the right size, clothes tucked in.  these polite, disciplined boys looked like they would love to join the marines.  jogging in unison.

pretty different to the soccer boys.  big hair, dyed hair, some buzz cuts.  shirts out.  oversized and normal sized gear. practicing stepovers and fancy lifts.  not in unison.  the word “rabble” comes to mind.

the kids who wanna join the marines with their baseball gloves.

the final fantasy rejects with their dazzlingly bright shoes and party tricks.

tis very interesting to see the different cultures these two sports seem to engender.  the different kids that get drawn towards them.

there are pro baseball players with fancy hair etc etc, but the buzz cut seems much more common.  its a necessity with the need to wear caps and helmets and the heat here on the coast south of osaka.

i wonder if we have these kind of group of demographics back home in oz.  do soccer kids look different / act different to bball kids?  or what about the leaguies and the rah rahs and the afl kids?

July 16, 2009

mad mad transfer fees – another view

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 3:55 am

some see the fees that are currently being paid for top talent as the end of football.  a group of 1 with madrid at the top, and a scrabble of giant selling clubs in a second tier of man u, barca, liverpool, inter … and everyone else fighting for scraps below.

but here is another way to look at high transfer fees.  teams that develop players are now getting their just reward.

smaller clubs sold their best players to the closest located larger club.  and they sold their talent at prices that suited the “giants” much more than it suited the little battlers.

with modern scouting and international televising, clubs that develop players are now selling them on in a mature, aware market.

no more milan taking the best talent in italy on the cheap, they now have to compete with their peers for these players (cough, fed machida, cough).

so rafa benitez has a hissy fit cos he couldn`t buy greedy gareth barry at the price he wanted to.  not like the good old days before man city had the biggest purse strings.  boo hoo.  how about your club start developing some of its own talent?

if transfer fees can keep going up, then just maybe more clubs will be tempted to develop in-house.

as well as playing lovely football, last year`s barca was praised for fielding so many players from their own junior ranks … xavi, iniesta, puyol, pique, even messi who came over as a 13 yr old …

July 12, 2009

one of the things i love about football – expression of personality and or philosophy

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 4:57 am

“expression of personality and or philosophy” – the ability to take a simple task and do it in your way.  and by doing it in your own way, showing your view of the world.

disclaimer – i can`t particularly say that soccer allows more expression than other sports.  what i can say though, is that one of the things that i love about soccer is the opportunity that it gives for expression.

the rules of the game and the actions used in the game are relatively straightforward.  everyone tries to put the ball in the net more than the other team (yes, even park the bus type teams – they are giving themselves the best possible chance available to beat a stronger opponent).  there are legally acceptable and unacceptable ways of taking the ball off an opponent.  the offside rule.

but how teams work within these basic rule sets is full of different interpretations …

do you think the other team is better than you?  is glory more than results, or are the results all that matter?  are you an athlete or a thinker?  cultural aspects change how the game is played, and can be seen through the play itself.

stoke and barcelona are playing the same game, but each in their own particular way.

the joys of former world cups where an argentina can bring their particular style up against england.

around the world people are playing the same game, but in so many different ways.

even us lil old aussies …

the roar`s front 3, melbourne`s narrow formation with a no 10, adelaide`s counter, ccm`s direct physicality, newc`s building it out from the back … it warms my little heart to see so many different ways of doing the same thing in my home country.

July 7, 2009

australia at the WC – lets all roll over and let the talented teams get ballet-ic on our arses, shall we?

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 1:49 pm

tim vickery`s latest column left me a bit disquieted …

the gist was that mediocre teams will harry and work hard to negate their more talented superiors in the cool south african winter.  and that this was a bad thing.  couldn`t quite put my finger on WHAT i didn`t like about this article when … hey!  HEY!!!

physical, harrying, workrate ..


we will be one of those mediocre but organised hard working teams.

and that is fine and dandy with me.  lets go out there and negate the crap out of messi, kaka, ronaldo (oh yeah, portugal probably won`t be there)… and get as far as we can.  take them out of the game.  give ourselves the best possible chance to get as far as we can.

the idea that everyone should play the same way is ridiculous.  yes, we should get into a passing competition with spain, and leave them the time and space that they would like.  just like man u did when they played barca in the final (okay, that one is a rich tapestry, i might do a post on it later – but the point stands).

the heavyweights want to line up along cavalry lines and charge at each other, cos thats how your`e supposed to do things.  our rag tag bunch of non-superstars need to get into some footballing guerrilla warfare in order to get as far as they can.

yup, lets all go play nice open football so that the most talented teams can win.  cos they deserve to, don`t they?  wouldn`t want to get in the way now, would we?

football is not just about talent … the most talented don`t always win.  why should they?  talent on the ball is only one aspect of the game.  organisation and physicality are others.

July 6, 2009

the weather and football styles …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:56 pm

i had thought before about body shape and football style …

xavi plays like xavi cos he is a munchkin

drogba plays like drogba cos he is an athletic giant with a terrible first touch

cristiano ronaldo … no explaining some things, dude is just special.

but what about the weather?  could there be any relationship between the miserable cold european winter which turns grounds to bog, while the milder warmer southern european winter keeps grounds in better condition and the styles of football played in these respective regions?   it becomes quite reasonable to send the ball route one through the air and run around a lot when the ground is a winter mud wrestling paradise and the striker is a big strong caveman.  and quite reasonable to keep it on the carpet and conserve your energy when it is hot and the striker is lionel messi.

yeah, yeah, someone has said all this before.  but for a newcomer this can all be a bit surprising.  the sbs gang will expound on the need for technique and the joys of the beautiful game and the primitiveness of the english game without ever explaining how these things came to be (through a combination of physical characteristics, field/weather conditions and cultural characteristics).

my idea of fun …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 12:48 am

this video has examples of two of my favourite joys …

the well placed through ball and the striker placing the ball past the goalkeeper.  nice work nik R.

and the finish of THAT team goal.  even if the first 10 passes are missing, the finish tells a hell of a tale.  patient, smart build up with excellent movement off the ball, a wall pass to finish it off …

excuse, me, i have to go play some PES on wii now.

oh yeah, the link

July 5, 2009

one of the things i love about football – could be me, could be you …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 9:28 am

i used to love basketball.  great game.  had a blast.  but. but never in my wildest dreams could i imagine myself at the highest levels.  at 185 cm, i was either too short, or worse, not too short, did not have the dazzling speed and hand eye coordination needed to be an elite player at my height.  i used to imagine that if i had been 10, 12 cm taller but with the same speed and hand eye, i could have been a pro …

god that was embaressing to write.  but part of pro sports allure is that it is a daydream land where everyday joes can head to when “real” life gets stressful or just plain boring.  the same thing happens in action movies – you imagine yourself as the hero. i am sure that there is some fancy title for this phenomenon.

no, all that explanation didn`t help.  i am still embaressed by that first stanza i wrote.  eh, not the first time i have felt embarressed in my life, so lets move on.

basketball, great game that it is, is flawed.  imho.  the game is size / location specific.  big bastards stand near the hoop.  slightly smaller big bastards stand a little further away from the hoop.  small ridiculously fast bastards stand near the 3 point line. and imho, the amazingly fast athletic little bastards can only be peripheral figures.  any discussion of the greats of the game centres on kobe bryant, lebron james, michael jordan, magic johnson, larry bird, wilt chamberlain.  all men who were at least 200cm tall.  small guys are role players.  not stars.  imho.  and yeah, i am simplifying.

it is pretty damn hard to imagine yourself as michael jordan.  or shaquille o`neal.  you might as well imagine being an alien, or a bird, or a cloud.

but any kid (or sorry, pathetic reality escaping adult male) can imagine themselves as leo messi.  or if that is too hard, you could imagine being charlie miller.  there is a place for everyone on the football field. if you are imagining yourself as peter crouch … what can i say, i am sorry for you.  um, yeah, but there is a place for everyone on the football field, no matter how small, how fat, or how slow – (how could i forget riquelme?).

the other important factor is that any size player can slot into any part of the field.  captain caveman carlos puyol, fabiano cannivaro and kolo toure play central defence, despite being munchkins.  xavi and iniesta play down the middle.  messi, tevez, romario play at the front.  great big hulking athletic adonises also play in these positions, but a player of any size can play pretty much anywhere.

if messi was a basketballer, he would be a guard.  there would be no chance of him being a forward or centre.  okay, messi could not be a goalkeeper, but i am gonna ignore that.

and i haven`t even mentioned the fact that anything can be used as a park, anything can be used as goal posts, anything can be used as a ball (but don`t use a kitten as the ball, that would be very very bad).

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