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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 – Memories, Sin-Bin and Shea the American Gareth Bale

Written by on November 16, 2011 | 11 Comments »
Posted in General

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

The FA Cup third round is drawing closer. Damon Threadgold on the trail of the founding father of one of England’s great giant-killer sides Blyth Spartans.  

This piece was in the LA Times and I think it is about David Beckham. Nonetheless, it is so poorly written article that I am not really sure what it is about. Do you think someone hacked the LA Times or does this person actually get paid for such gibberish?

Football memories – this is a terrific idea.

Patrick Barclay with something close to my heart – Dundee memories.

I’m sorry to have to correct Mr. Barclay but Alan Gilzean was still at Dundee when they reached the 1964 Scottish Cup Final.

I remember him playing in the final and saw him score a couple against Kilmarnock in a 4-0 semi-final win. Prove of the pudding is on this Pathe News video.

Six rules of naming stadiums – forward to NUFC.

On the eve of Remembrance Day Jon Carter wrote this article on football in war-time.

And a piece from Richard Whittall on how WW1 impacted the growth of the game in Canada.

Magic Spongers looks at how the Everton side of the 80s might have fared if it had not been for the European ban.

Here is part 2 of Chris Weatherspoon’s great piece on the late great Jim Baxter.

Here are my lasting memories of Baxter.

1.    Wembley 1963 when he scored two the lead 10-man Scotland to a 2-1 win over England. I stand to be corrected but I believe the penalty was the first he had ever taken in professional football.

2.    Dundee beating Rangers 4-1 with Doug Houston who would later go on to play for Rangers doing a very effective man-marking job on Baxter. That was in September of 1964. 

3.    Baxter returning from Vienna with a broken leg a few months after that.

4.    Hampden 1965 – Scotland led Italy 1-0 in a must win World Cup qualifier at Hampden with the game in added time. Scotland got a free kick within striking range of Italy’s goal.

As some Scottish players milled around trying to decide who would shoot Baxter ambled forward and intentionally blasted the ball as high and as far as he could over the Italy crossbar.

His logic was simple.

The crowd was howling for the final whistle and a ball into the Hampden crowd was worth more than a crack on goal that might lead to a Italy counter attack.

5.    Wembley 1967 – no more needs to be said.

6.    Although his return to Rangers in the fall of 1969 lasted only a few months  there was time for one inspired win.

Rangers beat Celtic 2-1 in a Scottish League Cup group match with Baxter front and centre.

The Financial Times sit on as the creator of Moneyball, Billy Beane, and the book’s writer Michael Lewis get together again.

Richard Farley hits the nail that so many members of the US media and fans avoided throughout the-who-should-coach debate – at some point it comes down to the types and quality of players you have at your disposal.

Brek Shea the American Gareth Bale or is it Fernando Torres or does he just have an interesting haircut?

DNA swab can predict the right sport for a youngster. on the players who have made the most of their goal scoring chances this season.

In the late 50s and late 60s a number of British players moved to Italy to play after big money moves. John Charles was a terrific success but the same cannot be said for Denis Law, Joe Baker and Jimmy Greaves. Adam Bate looks at the players who could not settle.

Deutsche Welle has a very interesting piece on tactics in this season’s Bundesliga

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11 responses to “Raves and Rants – Memories, Sin-Bin and Shea the American Gareth Bale”

  1. Ok I give in – the five things we learned from Canada’s World Cup qualifying campaign so far.
    1. Nothing
    2. Zilch
    3. Bugger all
    4. Nada
    5. To many Canadian writers have column inches to fill and feel compelled to draw conclusions where there are none to be had.

    Unless Canada is going to play countries the standard of St. Lucia in the next round what has just transpired is totally irrelevant and meaningless with the exception of the fact they made it to the next round. That is it. It is so short it could have almost been a tweet.

  2. John Bladen says:

    But, but, but… the globe called last night’s hamfisted 4-0 win over St Kitts (which included two deflection goals from keystone cops-like scrambles, very poor STKN defending and a PK) a rout….

    I hope the players feel good about going undefeated in the preliminary round, but given what they actually achieved, they shouldn’t feel too good. If Canada is to avoid an embarrassing performance in the next round (where they will play teams ‘around’ their fifa ranking neighbourhood), they will have to do much better.

    Bobby: On the PK… I won’t argue that it was a PK as the game is called today. But refresh my memory… it seems to me that 25-30 years ago a significant percentage of match officials would have warned the Canadian player for turning directly into the defender (who was running parallel to the attacker at the time) rather than pointing to the spot.

    Other than staying 5 ft away from attackers when in their own PA at all times, what is a defender supposed to do in such circumstances? Even good tackles launched inside the PA now ‘earn’ penalty kicks, it seems.


  3. “I won’t argue that it was a PK as the game is called today.” – you lost me.

  4. Just read a piece that claimed the reason Canada played poorly against St Kitts and Nevis was because they were missing Kevin McKenna and Atiba Hutchinson.

    No doubt he will argue in a few months time that Canada is deserving of a place at the World Cup Finals without seeing the rather large hole in his case.

  5. John Bladen says:

    Whether talking about this game or any hypothetical case:

    Defender and attacker are moving side by side toward goal line (perhaps 1 yd apart), attacker turns and drives straight over defender, referee awards penalty.

    When I was but a lad, referees did not award penalties for incidents in which the attacking player purposefully and deliberately instigated contact (generally for the purpose of drawing a penalty).

  6. Doug says:

    Reference T.J. Simers’ wretched article on Beckham in the L.A. Times. Simers is a stereotypical dinosaur sportswriter who doesn’t know anything about soccer and just wishes it would go away. Most soccer fans feel the same way about him.

  7. John – it also happens a lot outside of the box as well. Man in possession leans into defender then bounces off and heads to ground. 99% of the time the free kick is given to the attacker.

  8. John Bladen says:

    Yes, it does Bobby.

    One of the few things I’ve seen de Guzman excel at is dispossessing opponents on the run, then turning straight in front of them, then stopping so the player clatters into him. Generally, he then receives a free kick from the match official (who clearly doesn’t see it the way I do).

    One change I’d like to see to modern officiating… no more PKs for contact that was clearly avoidable (by the attacker) or actually instigated by the attacker. Longing for yesteryear… I sound old…

  9. John – interesting incident when Postiga was booked for simulation in 2nd leg of Portugal – Bosnia match. His natural stride would have taken him clear of a slide tackle but instead he trailed his leg and went down. No penalty call from Wolfgang Stark and a cad for Postiga instead.

  10. brklynstrr says:

    TJ Simers…..really…idiot…i’m not a big Beckham fan but he busted his ass this year and he grew the sport these past few years…Simers must hate soccer….DB

  11. John Bladen says:


    Didn’t see that match… but well done Mr. Stark. I sometimes feel like 60-70% of the PK’s called are the result of attackers choosing not to avoid completely avoidable tackles (just as you’ve suggested, the leg drag/failure to jump over the defender and actually, you know, try and score seem the biggest favourites).

    Oh well, since – idiotically – PK goals are counted in league & tournament golden boot tallies, I guess somebody benefits at least…

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