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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


Raves and Rants – Managers, Haircuts and A Swig of Beer in San Jose

Written by on June 30, 2011 | 5 Comments »
Posted in General

Some of the best of the soccer web with an atrocious piece thrown in now and again.

A article considers some players who have been overshadowed by greatness.

Can you imagine what the BBC would have said if this had happened in North America?

The issue of how athletes are taxed as they move from event to event and country to country.

Rod Beifuss calls for Neymar to get a proper haircut before the crown is placed upon his head.

The career of the mercurial Willie Johnston revisited. Johnston’s time is well remembered in Vancouver as part of the 1979 Soccer Bowl winning side.

There were a couple of pieces of information in the article that were a bit off-base. The late Willie Woodburn was sent off four times before the “sine die” ban while the beer incident happened in the NASL.

Here is the beer-swigging incident against San Jose Earthquakes.

Scotland go Dutch by appointing Mark Wotte as their first ever Performance Director. A case of back to the future perhaps?

Wotte talking about encouraging skill and intelligence in players – two things Scotland used to produce in abundance until they decided to become a mini-me of the English game.

Also nice to see an article about a Dutch coach that does not use the phrase “Total Football.”

But then the banality of Sky Sports picks it up and once again proves the adage that if you mention Dutch football today and link it to Total Football then it proves you never watched football in the early 70s. And you certainly do not know your football.

A summary of managerial dismissals in England last season.

The USA officiating crew at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup are maintaining a blog.

Dutch goalkeeping legend Jan van Beveren died last weekend in Houston at age 63. Here is an article from nearly three decades ago contained in Sports Illustrated archives. A teammate of van Beveren’s at the Fort Lauderdale Strikers called Ray Hudson as something to say.

Do recent events unduly influence transfer moves? Sarah Rudd asks the question and looks at some data.

Michael Cox writes about the form of Giovani dos Santos at international tournaments in glowing terms but leaves a big question unanswered.

Why hasn’t dos Santos found consistent form at the club level? His exit from Barcelona is only referred to as his “leaving” and hardly explains why Barcelona was so willing to allow such a talent leave so young.

We are told of “his good form at Santander last season only furthers the intrigue,” but the real intrigue is perhaps constitutes “good form last season.”

I have to admit that I do not follow Racing Santander but one look at his appearance stats has me questioning the context. He made 17 appearances, 7 were as a substitute, 4 he started but failed to complete and the other 5 he completed the full ninety minutes.

Five complete matches seem a very small sample and perhaps insufficient evidence to confirm “good form” or even “bad”.

But it might be part of the reason for the apparent contradiction – do Santos is capable of lifting his game for a relatively short stint but has trouble over an entire season.

Just a thought.

Paul Gardner seems to be getting a lot of support for his view that the baby, the bath-water and anything else remotely linked to the US soccer establishment should get chucked and far too.

Richard Whittall’s article contains this beauty.

“Most run to the sports section to have their prejudices confirmed or denied. Confirmed, they feel affinity with the writer and will gladly come back again for more. Denied, they’ll spin off in a rage, write some nasty things on Twitter, and then go back for more.”

How can you not read his piece?

Roberto Gotta profiles Inter’s new coach Gian Piero Gasperini. I desperately want to see Gasperini succeed whether he coaches but I fear that this relationship may not last long and will end in tears.

Russell Berrisford writing on Vancouver Whitecaps fit or lack thereof between tactics and players.

A profile of new Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas from Graham Hunter.


“It has become plain that Fábregas is desperate to sign for his boyhood club and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, the former Arsenal director who sold her shares in April, became the latest figure with connections at the club to voice the sentiment. “It is obvious he wants to go,” she said this week. “You cannot keep a player when his heart is not in it.””

David Hytner June 29, 2011 in the Guardian hits the lowest of the lowest with this intrepid piece of journalism. What can we expect next – a quote from the Lady’s butler who used to stand on the North Bank?

“You have to wonder: Would Argentina’s Lionel Messi, a skinny tyke for most of his youth, have been passed over in America?”

Mark Ziegler writing in “Sign On Sports San Diego” about how to fix American soccer. Perhaps a little bit more investigation would show that essentially Argentina or more precisely Newell’s Old Boys passed over a diminutive Lionel.


How to get unfollowed very quickly. This gem from Sunday Times Sport hardly sets the source up as credible.

“Hosts Germany beat Nigeria 2-1 in the first game of the Women’s World Cup, in front of a crowd of 72,000.”


In Canada, a combination of Setanta and Rogers Sportsnet carried the Gold Cup and on a number of occasions the feed was from Fox Soccer. Just want to put a shout out to Brian Dunseth operating as the sideline reporter – thank you for insightful and relevant offerings.

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5 responses to “Raves and Rants – Managers, Haircuts and A Swig of Beer in San Jose”

  1. Soccerlogical says:

    Great stuff as always… LOVE the goal splitting fence!

    You forgot to mention this piece of news:

    If there was ever a picture of a shady character where “clothes make the man”.

    Just another reason why I admire McLeish!

  2. Mr McMAhon , the BBC Would have made it more important than the value of oil.

    Wonderful prose celebrating santos, I saw that game and they earned it.

    Lovely nostalgia for many a forgotten and definitely unpsoken player. Great topic for the small break.

    I have to admit, I wonder about Santos as well, he is such a no show clubside? do you have any answers beyond the article mr. McMahon

    I am glad someone deeper in the media wrote about the mentioning of Cherundolo. The way the announcers talked you would assume, he is the hope of the US.
    As someone who played in the street as a boy, I know all to well the problems of soccer in the States, I would say, north america , if you look at Canada’s beating by France in the Womens world cup today.

    good point about chelsea and Villas-Boas, I am afraid to ask what the relationship will be between the portuguese and the russian, the last one didn’t end pretty

  3. Alberta Gooner says:

    Hi Bobby

    I really appreciated Richard Whittall’s piece, particularly on Twitter. It did bring to mind something re-tweeted by Gabe Marcotti’s this week — a story carried in an Australian newspaper about an allegation that Lucas Neill had told his teammates to ignore his coach’s cautious tactical set-up for the game against Germany. It turned out to be false. Marcotti had the good grace to retweet the apology. I wonder how many others would take the time to do that.

  4. J says:

    While I agree with Gardner that the US could use a change, all this fantasy about rounding-up Bob and the board of US Soccer for a firing fiesta is just another version of the tinkering that Gardner is complaining about.

    We’re not there, yet. Crowds are bouncing and singing in Portland and Seattle, but my local sports superstore has a tiny rack of Timbers jackets – all adult sizes – for $90. After hours of research, I finally found a soccer clinic for my son…at 10am Monday through Friday. I flip around for a MLS game, but they’re all on Saturday night.

    Do you think Dos Santos ever had trouble finding a pick-up game? Do you think Messi had to take 3 buses to the nearest field, only to find that it was already claimed for ultimate frisbee? We’re not there yet.

    US Soccer is swimming upstream, and it’s not just competing against the other major sports. It’s the entire constellation of factors that contribute to childhood obesity, the dearth of park space and the economic factors that prevent having a parent available to transport a kid to practice or referee a game that helps keep soccer where it is. We’re talking about a cultural problem, not an administrative one.

    Soccer is more likely to gain momentum out of a series of accidents than any strategy devised in a board room. NBA mismanagement and the growing concern regarding concussions in youth football may open the door a bit further. There’s a counter-cultural flavor to MLS crowds, and soccer may flash-over into the mainstream in the way that Hip-Hop did in the late 1990’s.

    There has to be some swell of popularity that leads to investment…some condition that green-lights ESPN into extending soccer highlights or leads to the cable company to provide a soccer channel. When my four year-old sits and watches a cropped, non-HD broadcast of the Soccer Report, then sees women’s softball in HD, something about the comparative value of these products is communicated.

    Bob Bradley isn’t going to prevent my city council from selling a parcel of land to WalMart. He’s not going to hang a net on the lonely crossbar at the local elementary school. He’s not going to lead a charge to subsidize field turf or restore (Heaven forbid) 30 minutes of physical education for 7th graders.

    Bob can, however, keep Bornstein off the field.

  5. John mclauchlin says:

    I read that Dos Santos piece after seeing some journalists praise it on twitter but as Bobby points out, there was no real insight into why this might be.

    In my opinion, you can’t really look to evaluate the player without atleast forming a profile of the person.

    There were serious concerns about his professionalism at Barcelona and that he was moved on at around the same time as Deco & Ronaldinho is no coincidence.

    Obviously, I don’t know the guy but he would appear to partially at least fit the profile of a player who is motivated by the responsibility that comes with being one of the best players in the team. That’s the case with Mexico & was the case with Racing where he really did excel. Their survival had a lot to do with his performances even though it was clear that he was struggling to find full fitness.

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