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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 – Flawed Genuis, Cruelty, Foreign Bargains and How Good Is Wilshere This Season?

Written by on November 9, 2011 | 12 Comments »
Posted in General

This week’s raves and rants starts off with a superbly told tale of cruelty and injustice from Simon Burnton as he looks at the case of John Crossan.

Matt Spiro wonders if Yoann Gourcuff is finally coming back to form.

The Roker Report takes a look at players who have arrived at Sunderland from Manchester United.

The Wall Street Journal looks at how Newcastle have popped over to France to pick up some bargains.

A Premier League goal glut – says  perhaps not.

The Economist has a piece on how technology is being applied in sport and how it is changing sport.

And another piece from the Economist. This time an interesting take on game-fixing after three Pakistani cricket players were sent to the big house.

Paul Gardner  with a typically lighthearted piece. He really does understand and protect his niche as the grumpy man of North American soccer writing. No heirs on the horizon that I can see.

This time he is not happy at the thought of MLS looking to England for help regarding officiating.

Rob Smyth goes back two decades to find some cracking goals from Serie A.

A profile of long-serving Crewe Alexandra manager Dario Gradi from “the two unfortunates” site.

Chris Weatherspoon writes about the flawed genius that was Jim Baxter. Somewhere on a bookshelf I have a book that contains a picture of Baxter been stretchered off a plane at Prestwick Airport after he had his leg broken in Vienna. He had the look of a man who could have become accustomed to such a mode of transport.

Keir Radnedge looks at the pissing match involving FIFA and Brazil over preparations for the 2014 World Cup Finals. (My description not his).

An article from Ross Mackiewicz on the decline of Monaco and how they face a Nottingham Forest-type collapse.

Matt Morrison provides a run-down of the surprise side of the Euro 2012 play-offs, Estonia.

A video interview with Graham Hunter, author of Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World. In this clip Graham explains how Ronaldinho helped Messi settle in the Barca first team.

Mike Calvin believes that Jack Wilshere made a mistake by “promising” to stay with Arsenal forever. I made a mistake by reading this article.

The selling of Abby Wambach from Bloomberg Businessweek.


From Barclays Football.

The tweet –

“#AFC star @JackWilshere has pledged his future to the club – is he the best young player in the BPL this season?

The article –

“Wilshere has yet to play for the club this season due to a stress fracture to his right ankle but is set to step up his training, six weeks after undergoing an operation on the injury.”

We can only imagine how much better Wilshere would be this season if he had actually played.

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12 responses to “Raves and Rants – Flawed Genuis, Cruelty, Foreign Bargains and How Good Is Wilshere This Season?”

  1. Soccerlogical says:

    In addition to the Ballon d’Or nominees, there is a list of “Best young players” which I think is a toss up between Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao) and Mario Goetze (Borussia Dortmund).

    Am I overlooking anyone?

    PS Caught FSR and noticed that poor Derek had a bad case of Oral herpes until I realized you guys are trying to grow moustaches! 🙂

  2. What is the criteria for best young player?

    That would be these guys not this guy for sure

  3. NY Dark Blue says:

    No dodgy tache for you Bobby ?

  4. Soccerlogical says:

    Best Youngsters In Europe: The Tuttosport ‘Golden Boy’ Award 2011 Nominee List:

    # Jordan Ayew – PM
    # Jack Wilshere – Arsenal
    # Romelu Lukaku – Chelsea
    # Christian Eriksen – Ajax
    # S. Savic – Man City
    # X Shaqiri – FC Basel
    # Davide Santon – Newcastle
    # Iker Muniain – At. Biliabo
    # Thiago Alcantara – Barcalona
    # Phil Jones – Man United
    # Eden Hazard – Lille OSC
    # Mario Gotze – Borussia Dortmund
    # Nelson – SL Benfica
    # Adem Ljajic – Fiorentina
    # Rodrigues – FC Porto
    # Alex O. Chamberlain – Arsenal
    # Schennikov – CSKA Moscow
    # Varane – Real Madrid
    # Joel Campbell – FC Lorient
    # Ebecilio – Ajax
    # Canales – Valencia
    # Courtois – At. Madrid
    # Coutinho – Inter Milan
    # Alaba – Bayern Munich
    # Griezmann – Real Sociedad

    Past Winners:

    2003 Rafael van der Vaart (Hol) Ajax

    2004 Wayne Rooney (Eng) Manchester United

    2005 Lionel Messi (Arg) Barcelona

    2006 Cesc Fabregas (Spa) Arsenal

    2007 Sergio Aguero (Arg) Atletico Madrid

    2008 Anderson (Bra) Manchester United

    2009 Alexandre Pato (Bra) Ac Milan

    2010 Mario Balotelli (Ita) Manchester City

  5. There are a lot of players on that list that just should not be there. If you get a list of 5 you would be doing well. Sort of like the big award!

  6. My Dark Blue – I am a teenager of the 70s so I went through that phase a long time ago.

  7. Soccerlogical says:

    D’OH…. forgot about the very good year Lille’s Hazard had… at least in domestic performances in Ligue 1.

  8. we all know this about france dont we. They have a huge development system and Ligue 1 has been this way for a while. What club in the top tier doesnt have a french national team player or player developed through France who plays in a Francophonie side. Yes, only MArseille has ever won a UEFA CL, but french players are the most present of any nation across UEFA. so, you win some things, you lose some things

  9. Carmelo says:

    BTW I agree that France produces a ton of talent, however there are a few important factors that are huge contributors to that statement. The football academies in France are amazing, no doubt, maybe the world most enviable, but I believe that very high percentage of the French youth in these academies are son’s of immigrants, from poverty or very blue collar neighborhoods, where football is a gift.
    The French setup is very open, extremely well organized and open to all kinds of different cultures, which is a beautiful thing. Let me make clear that I am praising this globalized approach, not criticizing it. This is 2011 and we all live in a very globalized planet that is intertwined for better or worst.
    Another example is the German national team, if it look at the team that did so well in South Africa, we should give Poland half the credit.
    France is very much a nursery and absolutely masterful in cherishing the youth of its working class and producing footballers the world over…. examples: Zinedine Zidane, Hatem Ben Arfa, Karim Benzema, Jean Tigana, Marcel Desailly…. I mean if France, the Netherlands, and Belgium were not allowed to take players born in Africa, the African continent would probably have a world cup by now…. no doubt in my mind. Again, I wanna make sure you guys understand I praise the approach yet I am sad for the countries of origin. I love what George Weah & others have done for Africa, but unfortunately these kids arrive in Europe much earlier than they used to, education, no war & potential and often become citizens or feel they owe the country that’s paying the bills something. I understand completely the conundrum, I am son of an Italian immigrant to the US, chef & restaurant owner, immigrated myself but grew up in Palermo. 16years Palermo, 10 years St.Louis. Personally I would love to see a rule where unless you arrived at the age of 1 or 2 in the country you have to represent and play for your country of birth. I am a bit old fashioned, sure I love & appreciate globalization but whats the point of National teams if you can pick and choose sides… BTW I firmly believe Klinsmann witness first hand what immigrant Polish & Turkish kids have contributed to the German national side & he will try to do that with the USA national team…. smart I think…..

  10. Ian says:

    Is Tiote French? I don’t think he ever even played in France did he? And Newcastle didn’t get Ba or Obertan on the cheap because they were French as the article implies. Neither of those two has been earning French wages for at least a few years. Sorry to nit-pick. Just not sure you can say that all of their French signings are bargains resulting from France paying low wages… when three of the seven French players mentioned were not making French wages before coming to Newcastle…. and one isn’t even French. Unless I misunderstood the article or am wrong about Tiote… If its just saying Newcastle has several French speaking players signed recently who are doing very well in the league, then ignore me. But I also think its a little early to call them contenders. I think Bobby has pointed out in the past how some players or teams do well the first part of the year due at least in part to the fact that no one has really faced them before. Before long other teams begin to figure out their strengths and weaknesses and the luster has come off. I don’t mean to take anything away from Newcastle’s season thus far and maybe it really is a “revolution” but that is something Toon fans have heard before haven’t they? Still it was an interesting enough article to get me to reply to it!

  11. Tiote is Ivorian and was signed from Twente. I think he played for another club in the Netherlands before that or maybe Belgium.

  12. carmelo,
    look at the Azurri, Black Italians have been around since antiquity, a roman emperor was Black. But the Azurri are just now, looking to getting to non white italians. The States is a similar country, the sociopolitics of the country influence the national teams makeup. FIFA says end racism but that is a little complicated to say the least.

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