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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 – Balotelli A Wingnut Magnet, A Platini Cringe and Is It Really Beer?

Written by on January 25, 2012 | 12 Comments »
Posted in General

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

What a great day Monday was for UEFA Michel Platini. The incumbent Sepp Blatter gave the nod to Platini as his successor as FIFA President.

The Frenchman must feel a bit like a teenager who finds out that someone has a crush on them but it turns out to be the ugliest person in the school. Time for Michel to borrow that “Why Always Me” t-shirt.

Now all Platini needs is to have Charlie Manson give his endorsement and he will be well and truly on his way.

Ian Plenderleith was not impressed by Piers Morgan moonlighting as a soccer analyst on Fox last Sunday when the Arsenal – Manchester United match was broadcast.

Morgan’s appearance in the “Celebrity Fan Zone” did not do anything for Mr. Plenderleith. It doesn’t sound like Piers will ever hit the same heights as Larry King when he was the main man on “Match of the Day.”

Rob Dillon shines a light on the financial realities of the game in Russia.

A bit of the normal track perhaps but within this article that appeared in Medical Express (wonder if there is a “New Medical Express”?) there is some research that shows why tribalism is alive and well and making cretins out of so many club supporters. They really can’t help it – it is down to sacred values. 

FIFA, Beer and Brazil 2014 – the story last week about FIFA insisting that beer be made available at venues at the 2014 World Cup Finals was almost exclusively written in a way to make FIFA look bad. (As if they normally need any help?)

But in this case it was undeserved. When countries and cities bid for major sporting events it is perfectly clear what they are signing on for. In this case pouring rights for a beer sponsor would have been part of the award and if accusing fingers should be pointed they should be directed at the host country not FIFA.

What’s more it’s not as if we are talking about anything that could be mistaken for real beer – it is Budweiser after all.

Here is a super piece from Brian Seal as part of “This Day in Football History,” website.  Monday marked the 73rd anniversary of the death of Matthias Sindelar- the Paper Man.

Mihir Bose takes a shot at the English clubs that  scorn the Europa League.

When debate raged about the Premier League playing a 39th game overseas, supporters of the idea were quick to point to the “success” of the NFL playing games in London.

Patrick Rishe, writing in Forbes, points out that it has been far from a success and it certainly has not created a beachhead for the NFL in London, England or Europe.

A first-class analysis and review of Liverpool’s signings under Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli by Paul Tomkins.

Jason Cowley contrasts the number of novels written by American writers using sport as a central theme versus the scarce number generated by British writers.

The article caught my attention on account of the references to Richard Ford’s “The Sportswriter.” This Ford book remains my favourite novel and one I never tire of re-reading. I had never actually experienced the sensation of savouring every word of a novel until “”The Sportswriter ” came along.

I caught this story the day before Mario Balotelli upped the stakes on Sunday when he attacked a prone Scott Parker.

The potential composer, Patrick Knowles, describes Balotelli as “confused” and he doesn’t think that there is “any bad-blood in him.” Between Knowles and Balotelli’s agent you get the feeling that there is weird force at play bringing all the wingnuts of the world together and they will soon all be orbiting Balotelli.

Here is a piece that Jonathan Wilson wrote just before the start of the African Cup of Nations. It commemorates the members of the Zambia national team that were all killed in a plane crash in 1993.

The Globe and Mail had this article on the increasing role being played by the social media as we consume TV sport.

And just to set up this afternoon’s Copa del Rey second leg here is an article written by Sid Lowe after another one of the great misunderstood players of our Pepe pulled another boner.

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12 responses to “Raves and Rants – Balotelli A Wingnut Magnet, A Platini Cringe and Is It Really Beer?”

  1. NY Dark Blue says:

    Reading the comments on Ian Plenderleith’s article, it doesn’t sound like anyone liked Peirs Morgan on the Fox coverage on Sunday.

  2. Ed Gomes says:

    Some thoughts;

    Platini will be no different than Blatter. And yes, that’s a bad thing.
    Dare I ask, who exactly would be better or not corrupt?
    Fitting article with all the election talk and the very same question being posed about politicians.

    What exactly was Piers Morgan supposed to be except a fan on the show? He showed his passion, whether it was over dramatic or knee jerk, he acted like most fans. Arsenal/Wenger is the best, Arsenal/Wenger is the worst. All is being felt and said during a match. Exactly what we all feel as fans. If people thought that he was supposed to be an analyst, so sorry.

    Russia is no different than most leagues across Europe. Portugal has the same issues, and so does La Liga in Spain.
    It’s frightening to see how many teams in La Liga and serie A that don’t have a jersey sponsor. These clubs are living off of TV money, and have failed to reach out to their local communities and/or business in order to drive up attendance and revenue. If the economy drives that TV money down, you will see big collapses.
    The EPL is fortunate enough that the communities are big enough to sustain the Premiership clubs (to go along with the huge TV money), but the same problem is occuring at the lower levels. As per example Blackpool is a nice story, but aren’t they just too small to sustain top league success/run.

    EPL clubs have ignored Europa, and the only thing that saves the EPL’s coefficient is the Top 4 making it deep into the CL. If that stops hapening, it could really hurt the league. Just take a look at Serie A who have done the same, with not nearly as much success in the CL. They have just lost a CL spot to Germany and France & Portugal could pass them in the near future.
    Portugal has regained a CL spot due to Porto’s CL runs and the rest of the clubs doing well in Europa.

    “As a quartet, for the money paid, they look rather uninspiring; perhaps they are just too British and unremarkable.”
    I’m surprised that Dalglish didn’t sign Cahill.
    Liverpool has spent 189 million since the Red Sox took over. As a Yankee and Man united fan, I can’t help but to smirk that this experiment will crush the Sox and ‘Pool.

    If it was not too long ago, someone would have hurt Balotelli badly by now. Yet there’s still time for that to happen. The guy just doesn’t get it, and never will. The sports world is littered with phenomenal athletes that don’t have the mental make up and fail.
    He will hurt City at the worst possible time. He just can’t help himself.
    By the way, doesn’t he want to be a DJ anyways?

    As a fan, Pepe needs to be evaluated. Mentally and maybe even for roid rage. This isn’t the first time he’s acted thsi way, and no it’s just not against Barca.
    As a Portuguese, I hope he holds it together for the Euro’s.

    Oh yeah, almost forgot. Beer or no beer, there will be plenty of knuckleheads to make trouble.
    I find it funny that alcohol is always blamed for actions, instead of the people consuming it.

  3. J Rob says:

    I agree with Ed. While Piers was a terrible pundit he was a terrific fan! It was refreshing to see and hear in comparison with all the bland admonishments usually offered. He might have been off the mark but at least he was passionate.

    And yes that was a quite superb analysis by Paul Tomkins on Liverpool’s transfer dealings. My mind is fuzzy – is there a home-based player rule coming into affect sometime in the near or medium future?

  4. Soccerlogical says:

    Piers Morgan does nothing more than suck up to celebrity and political figures on his so called talk show.

    No wonder CNN ratings drop when they hire a discredited former Editor of News of the World and other dim wits such as Wolf Blitzer and Burnett who have the personality of a frozen pea and not one original thought in their head. At least FOX News offers O’Reilly and Hannity…. dogmatic, anal retentive and angry white men who spew propaganda and vitriol!

    When will USA learn????

    … and breathe.

  5. J Rob – there is UEFA development rule and has been for some time – sometimes referred to as home grown (incorrectly). The numbers have gradually increased year to year. Sometimes put fwd as a reason for premiums paid for English players but it is a pretty hollow argument.

    Mourinho to Ramos? – “I told you to nail Puyol not Busquets”

    Are Spanish TV viewers so dumb that thy have to be shown ever replay of every incident so many times? Said it before but I will repeat – Spanish TV football directors are the worst I have ever witnessed.

  6. Friday’s FSR – said that African Cup of Nations had provided some really shocks in qualifying and it might continue into the Finals; picked Senegal as a country on the rise perhaps; Senegal get knocked out; I am surprised.

  7. J Rob says:

    Senegal’s loss = my fantasy team’s gain: welcome back Demba Ba!

    Agreed on hollow argument for premium for domestic players.

    Great game between Liverpool and City. De Jong will never score a better goal. When you watch Liverpool play as they did today it’s hard to conceive of where Andy Carroll fits into their long-term plans. Round peg in square hole.

    Any thoughts Bobby on how Liverpool kept Silva pretty quiet again for the 2nd consecutive time at Anfield?

  8. J Rob – the only time it cost them really was on the DE Jong goal when he midfield slide way to far right. There again who would have anticipated de Jong hitting a cracker like that.

    I love watching Silva play but it will be interesting to see if he can maintain his edge for the rest of the season. People can prattle on about the depth of City’s squad (not sure it is as deep as is made out) but if Silva doesn’t play or is a bit off then City are not the same team. He is the magic ingredient.

  9. J Rob says:

    Bobby. Lots of chatter on the LFC boards about Adam being out of position for the De Jong goal. His confidence seems to have dipped recently and he’s become the brunt of fan dissatisfaction which might be a little unfair as he cost less than half of either Henderson or Downing. And for the record less than the Man City centre-back subbed at half-time.

    Silva needs to keep performing for the sake of my fantasy team 🙂

    Will be interesting to see how City handle the pressure. Thought they also missed Milner today. But kudos to Liverpool for beating the most expensive squad assembled in Britain without Suarez and Lucas.

  10. gorn says:


    Thanks for the book recommendation!

  11. RobN says:

    “De Jong will never score a better goal” … at his scoring rate he may never score another goal, period. On the entire team he is the player you can most likely forget about without it coming back to bite you in the rear end. Not always the way it works, however.

  12. Alberta Gooner says:

    Interesting piece by David Lacey on how the FA treated Alan Shearer’s stamp on Neil Lennon versus Mario’s stamp on Scott Parker.

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