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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 – Money, Corruption, Statistics and a Bit of Soccer As Well

Written by on June 22, 2011 | 22 Comments »
Posted in General

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

Canadian Soccer Hall of Famer and former Manchester United right back Jimmy Nicholl is back in the SPL as an assistant at Kilmarnock.

It is time for another goal-line technology article. And despite what we hear about how other sports have embraced new technology it is not necessarily unanimous.

A view from Jamaica that was penned before Jack Warner’s resignation. Slick Jack may now be gone but look out for a “family” scrap within CONCACAF over the next few years as the various factions position themselves for a power grab. The Caribbean countries have held sway for a long-time and others will feel that it is their turn to wield power.

Pakistan gets ready for a World Cup qualifier – will the Indian sub-continent ever be contenders in Asia?

If you read just one article this week let it be this by Simon Kuper if you have not done so already. It looks at how statistics and data collection and analysis is beginning to influence all elements of the game both on and off the park.

As a side note Kuper’s latest book “Soccer Men” just arrived last week and I hope to get to it next week with a review to follow.

The issue of players’ birth dates in England is raised again. This is something that impacts many sports. In this case it is detriment to athletes born in the months leading up to September 1.

“According to the FA, for the 2008-09 season 57% of players at Premier League academies were born between September and December, while 14% had their birthday between May and August.”

When I was growing up the cut off date was January 1 so players born between September and December were at a disadvantage.

Miguel Delaney might be accused of going in with studs-up as he tackles the conventional wisdom that English clubs would have collected a lot more European Cups if they had not been banned between 1986 and 1991.

A great read and explanation by Dan Kennett on UEFA FFP and how it may be impacting decisions at Liverpool. The concept of “below” and “above the line” are ones that we might start hearing and reading a lot more of – along with “amortization.”

The Swiss Ramble takes his usual detailed look at Real Madrid’s finances and the results might surprise you. Beyond Real Madrid the comments regarding the revenue generated by foreign TV by the Spanish League versus the Premier League are not only interesting but shows that Spain has a significant upside.

How bad is this for Toronto FC? ESPN declared Toronto the worst city in North America for professional sports and TFC don’t even get a mention in the Globe and Mail article. has a look at what Alexis Sanchez might bring to Barcelona.

Jonathan Wilson is running an imaginary tournament of great teams of the last 70 years. I would not rank the Manchester United side of 1999 as one of the best; same goes for Dynamo Kiev 1976 and Estudiantes 1968 – can’t get past the thuggery in that case.

Bayern 1975 is another that I have trouble with – they may have won three consecutive European Cups but none of the wins were convincing.

I would have Benfica circa early 60s included. I will get accused of bias but a compelling case can be made for Celtic 1967.

Grant Wahl picks his world eleven for 2011. Selections like this will always be argued but Patrice Evra as the left back – really? I may be accused of being fussy but I still think defenders should be able to defend. And because of that I am not sure of the Dani Alves selection either.

“Soccer by numbers” with a very interesting article on where goals came from for teams in last season’s Premier League. The answer is not just a cheque book.


CBC’s TV promo for their coverage of the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup is “16 teams, one goal.”

Hope this just turns out to be a promo line and not a prediction.

“It is clear that under the Olympic Charter there has to be a non-discriminatory selection process for all players. These are not The FA rules.  We are sensitive to the concerns of the other Home Associations in relation to each of our individual identities, and we have been assured by FIFA there is no threat to each association. However, as an organisation The FA has been mandated by the BOA to organise a Men’s and Women’s team for the 2012 Olympic football tournament across the UK. All three associations have notified us in writing that they acknowledge that legally we are entitled to support the BOA in the selection process.”

It is clear from the statement issued by the FA General Secretary Alex Horne regarding the selection of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland players for a Team GB Olympic team that England has gone out and hired another idiot.  Joseph Stalin would be proud of this contorted logic.

The fact that the statement was put out under “Team GB” stinks of arrogance when you consider that Northern Ireland is not regarded as part of Great Britain.

Also nice to know that the FA is now taking orders from the British Olympic Association – amateurs leading fools.

Here’s hoping that Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland fans boycott all and every “Team GB” game if they even have the courage to schedule a match outside of London.

Does any serious fan of the game really want the start of the European season screwed up with this tournament anyway?


22 responses to “Raves and Rants – Money, Corruption, Statistics and a Bit of Soccer As Well”

  1. Soccerlogical says:

    Sure do hope Team GB is managed by “Hair Model” Beckham! 🙂

  2. rahul says:

    8 1/2 months is my guess for Villas-Boas…At first, I thought it was a dumb move on his part, knowing the revolving door at Chelsea, but as a friend pointed out, you can go there and when you get the sack, everyone will know its not your fault. so, its basically a huge payday….

  3. rahul says:

    i think also, its going to be hard for a 33 year old to come in, and command respect from that spiteful ageing Chelsea squad….

  4. Alan says:

    Even as a United fan I don’t think Evra rates as the best left back, especially considering the season he just had. Maybe Lichaj will win the honors next year.

    I’m also guessing that if Ancelotti, Scolari (to a lesser extent) and Mourinho all failed to live up to Abramovich’s lofty standards, so will anyone else.

  5. Gus Keri says:

    1- Villas-Boas is another coaching talent waiting to be burned by the “Roman” fire.
    My guess is less than 6 months.

    2- About the European cups: Of course, the European ban (1986-1990) affected the English teams.
    From 7 titles in 8 seasons (1977-1984) to 3 titles in 21 years (1991-2011).
    The European ban deprived English clubs from the talents and the European soccer experience and set them on a downward spiral.

    3- A question, Bobby, about the GB team:
    Don’t the Olymipans of Northern Ireland play with the British team in sports other than Soccer?

  6. Gus Keri says:

    Games to watch for today:

    Euro U-21 semifinals:

    Spain vs Belarus: 12 pm EST
    Switzerland vs Czech Rep: 3 pm

    Belarus surpising Spain, which had most of the possession, with a goal in the 38th minute. It was a very awkward goal. (0-1 at the half)

    Gold Cup semifinals:

    USA vs Panama: 7 pm
    Mexico vs Honduras: 10 pm

    U-17 World Cup:

    USA vs Uzbekistan: 4 pm
    Uruguay vs Rwanda: 4 pm
    Canada vs England: 7 pm
    Czech Rep vs New zealand: 7 pm

    USA, Uruguay, England and New Zealand are on 3 points. If they win today, they will qualify to the round of 16.
    Mexico was the first and only team to move on to the knock out round, yesterday.
    Results of yesterday mean that any team get 6 points, will qualify.

    Copa Libetadores final:

    Santos vs Penarol: 8:30 pm (first leg 0-0)


    Philadelphia Union vs Sporting Kansas City: 7:30 pm
    Chicago Fire vs Real Salt Lake: 8:30 pm

  7. Russell Berrisford says:

    The Olympic soccer tournament will follow Euro 2012 and just precede the start of the Premier League season so it’s difficult to imagine it really taking hold in the public imagination the way the rest of the sports will do.

    For some reason the FA seem to have problem distinguishing between being “legally entitled” to do something and “legally bound” to do it.

    The venues though have already been decided;

    City of Coventry Stadium, Coventry
    Hampden Park, Glasgow
    Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
    Old Trafford, Manchester
    St James’ Park, Newcastle
    Wembley Stadium.

    I’m guessing that team GB/UK/England/GB & NI will play all their games at Wembley.

  8. Soccerlogical says:

    Don’t pay too much attention to anything Grant Wahl says or writes, he’s the Sarah Palin of the soccer world.

    Gus – Any gems spotted at the U17s?

  9. Gus Keri says:


    I like Guido from the USA.
    From other countries, two players caught my eyes: Yesil of Germany and Benzia of France.

  10. gabemar says:

    Is this the beginning of the end for Scottish, Wales and Northern Ireland FAs?

    IMO I believe this is the beginning of a slow, but inexorable, move towards curtailing the influence of the “home” countries within FIFA.

    The reality is that in this day and age, other than tradition, there is no reason why England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland have 4 votes at the IFAB (Organization that determines the rules of the game), while all the rest of countries represented by FIFA have another 4 votes only.

    In addition they are the only “nations” that do not meet the FIFA requirement that their members have to be recognized by the UN before they can be FIFA members.

    I fully understand the tradition and importance of these associations (not sure about Wales and Northern Ireland) in the development of the game in the early years of football. But it has been a long time since those days (in some cases over a hundred years) for them to have this type of power and influence. It’s time put an end to this era of entitlement by these associations.

    I think their contribution need to be recognized with 1 permanent seat at the IFAB in perpetuity. While allowing them to keep playing as independent nations but having only one vote in FIFA elections. If they want to keep diluting their talent pool among 4 teams that is fine, but that shouldn’t give them the right for more than one vote.

    What say you, Bobby?

  11. Gus Keri says:

    Belarus was minutes away from a huge upset. They were leading Spain with one goal until the 89th minute when Adrian Lopes scored the tying goal and took the game to extra times.

    throughout the game, I was thinking of the US and Swiss upsets over the Spanish team in the last two years.
    Belarus put 11 players behind the ball and defended all the time. This time it wasn’t to be.
    But still 30 minutes to play.

  12. Gus Keri says:

    Spain – Belarus: 3-1 (aet)

    The Belarussian resistance fell apart after conceding the tying goal at the end of regulation. They conceded two more goals in extra times.

    The possesion disparity was huge: 75% vs 25% in favor of Spain

    Adrian Lopes scored two goals today and leads the golden boot table with 5 goals, followed by 5 players on 2 goals.

    Spain not only qualidied to the final of the Euro U-21, they also qualified to the 2012 Olympics.

  13. Gus – you are correct re Northern Ireland but the name of the team at the Olympics is “Great Britain and Northern Ireland”
    Gabemar – perhaps Scotland will just take the UN route then.

  14. Gus Keri says:


    “perhaps Scotland will just take the UN route then”

    Are you calling for the independence of Scotland?

    “the name of the team at the Olympics is “Great Britain and Northern Ireland””

    They will name it “United Kingdom” team then. Problem solved.

  15. Gus Keri says:

    USA U-17 lost to Uzbekistan (1-2)

    The game was filled with refereeing mistakes. Two ligitimate goals were cancelled, one for each team.
    The PK against the US was unjust. The Uzbek player dived in the penalty area, while the US was denied a PK of their own few minutes before.

    The US had 63% of the possession but didn’t show for it on the scoring board.

    The just result, I thought, would have been a draw.

    The US team repeated their infamous loss to another Cental Asian team, Tajikistan, 4 years ago.

    The US youth teams, in genaral, behave like their senior team. They play to the level of the opponents. It reflects a problem with their attitude.

  16. Gus Keri says:

    On other notes:

    1- Uruguay qualified to the round of 16 after beating Rwanda 1-0.

    It was a huge heart break to Rwanda who conceded 10 second before the final whistle.

    2- Switzerland reached the final of the Euro U-21 and the 2012 Olympics after beating the Czech Rep 1-0 in extra time.

    They meet Spain for the title.

    Czech Republic plays belarus for the third and last ticket to the Olympics.

  17. Gus – there will be a referendum in the next four years without me calling for it.

    Any other countries you would like to arbitrarily rename while you are at it?

  18. Gus Keri says:


    I know how sensetive this issue to some people.
    I was just joking with you.

    I just wish I know how to add this “smily face” used often by SL.

  19. Tim says:

    i just love Simon Kuper’s writings…cant wait for Soccer Men

  20. Gus Keri says:

    The English U-17 team failed to qualify to the knock out round after the Canadian goalkeeper scored from the midfield to tie the game 2-2.

    Czech Republic U-17 beat New Zealand 1-0, and all teams are tied on 3 points. The USA is tied in the lead with New Zealand on goal diff and goal scored. They play each other next..

  21. Gus Keri says:

    Santos is the champions of South America for the first time since 1963, the days of Pele.

    They beat Penarol 2-1.

    While River Plate continued their free falling. they lost to Belgrano 2-0 in the first leg of the promotion/relegation playoff.

  22. I must admit the little dialog between you,Mr. McMahon, and Gus concerning northern ireland and scotland is , entertaining.

    I think your advertising the report about crickets problems with tech is very forward. To many in the english media especially have a darling in goal line tech
    simon kuper and the swiss ramble are nice contrapositions. It proves that the analysis while evergrowing, when it comes to the bottom line, is not as important.

    Soccer is growing too fast for fairplay to be played fair in my opinion.

    Grant Wohl’s depiction of Barca vs Santos 4-0 is a low blow and appeal for Messi for greatest player ever.

    my other thoughts

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