Exit stage right or is it , stage left ?

Exit stage right or is it , stage left ?

Well , the curtain has finally come down on the career of the NFL’s , five-time League MVP and two-time Superbowl champion Peyton Manning . With the undoubted acclaim which will now come , it does appear the recent controversy surrounding Manning’s career will bear some light upon how he is viewed in certain circles. To my mind the Denver Broncos’ quarterback is among the best quarterbacks of his generation and I would certainly rank him among the top-five players at the position in NFL history.

Peyton Manning will have his detractors, but what cannot be denied, has been the tenacity shown by the player and his willingness to take a team on his back and lead them with a great deal of authority. He is one of the few quarterbacks over the course of their careers to have averaged at last ten wins per season throughout their tenure. Manning could teach his younger sibling Eli Manning a thing or two about what it is like to be a leader , while also seeking to limit the excuses when his performances have been poor.

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Courtesy of ESPN (Transcript of Manning’s retirement speech)

Transcript of Peyton Manning’s retirement speech

ESPN.com Staff

Here is the transcript from Peyton Manning’s retirement speech Monday:

“In my very first NFL game, I completed my first pass to Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk. I threw a touchdown in that same game to Marvin Harrison, who would be inducted into the Hall of Fame this August.

“The quarterback for our opponent, the Miami Dolphins, was — after my dad, my favorite player — Hall of Famer Dan Marino, who on the first third down of the game completed a 25-yard skinny post. And it was the damndest throw I’d ever seen.

“Later, I completed a pass to tight end Marcus Pollard down the middle and somebody hit me really hard and after I got up, I told myself, ‘I know I can play in this league.’

“Later in that struggling season, we played in and lost to Baltimore. It was the first time that the Colts had returned to Baltimore since they had moved back in 1984. We didn’t exactly get a warm reception that day. The fans were screaming at me and I kept thinking, ‘Hey, I was only 8 years old then, get off of my back.’

“I had met him once before, but when the game was over I had the chance to shake Johnny Unitas’ hand. He told me, ‘Peyton, you stay at it. I’m pulling for you.’

“Well, I have stayed at it. I’ve stayed at it for 18 years and I hope that old No. 19 is up there with his flat top and maybe his black high tops on and I hope he knows that I have stayed at it, and maybe he’s even a little proud of me.

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In many respects it was clear to see , this was bound to be Peyton Manning’s last year in the NFL after nineteen seasons torturous play and the type of physical exertion on his body , which left him mentally and dare I say it physically in a state of disrepair. What I believe was a telling sign during this last season , was Manning admitting the fact he played through one or two games injured and that his throwing arm , showed signs of weakness and some nerve damage. Wear and tear and most notably the accuracy of his passes were very telling and to the detriment of the team. Either way, had Peyton made the decision to return for a nineteenth season , I do believe Broncos’ Head of Football Operations and a former quarterback for the franchise , John Elway would have made the decision not to re-sign Manning, solely for the reason of cap space availability and avoiding having to pay the player the almost $20 million he would have been due in 2016. The era of Brock Osweiler now beckons and it will be interesting to see what the future now holds for the Broncos , as well as for Osweiler, who now steps into some rather gigantic shoes , having to succeed Peyton Manning.

The baseball season has started and already the game finds itself in the midst of further controversy. New York Yankees’ pitcher Aroldis Chapman has been given a thirty-game suspension by the league hierarchy for conduct unbecoming the game , after his being charged with domestic violence . The player’s act of contrition has been somewhat lukewarm and one has to bear in mind while seek to portray it all as a random act , it is believed this was not be the first time Chapman has been abusive towards his spouse, although there are no records counteract the allegations. Baseball much like the NFL has been slow to react to the issue of domestic abuse and the social ramifications seen from the behavior from the athletes with both sports. It certainly has not helped with either union , from the MLBPA and the NFLPA remain so silent on this issue , which itself is extremely disturbing. Rob Manfred , the current MLB Commissioner , his predecessor Bud Selig and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appear to be no clearer to addressing the issue , much less having sought to make the public aware of their respective leagues’ stances on what has become a social virus.

Another controversy engulfing the sport of baseball was the lifetime banishment of New York Mets’ pitcher Jennry Mejia , for a third positive test of a banned substance (performance enhancing drug / PED), in violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. For the current NL Pennant winners this was just another blow for the franchise , many of whom believe the Mets might be the team to beat this upcoming season within Major League Baseball. Pitching might well have been the strength of the New York Mets’ team last season , but I do believe they will be hard-pressed to eclipse the form shown during the early rounds of the postseason before the World Series failings against the Kansas City Royals .

Mets’ manager Terry Collins has yet to give a public statement concerning Mejia’s lifetime ban and what might be even more nonsensical concerning the player’s banishment is the little known fact , Jennry Mejia can be reinstated by the league hierarchy after two years at the league’s discretion. Mejia can return to the game, but Pete Rose remains a pariah within the game of baseball ? This is the sort of stupidity Major League Baseball has become known for , along with the buffoons at the upper echelons of the game, who clearly show no common sense whatsoever.

The New York Mets are involved in two split-squad games involving the St Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers as opponents on Monday afternoon. Reigning World Series’ champions the Kansas City Royals will be taking on the Chicago Cubs and Oakland A’s in another set of split-squad games being played.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have been in charge of the Chicago Cubs’ front office , dealing with all of the franchise’s player-personnel dealings, while the Ricketts’ family as the owners of the Cubs have sought to bring back some shine to the club’s laughable legacy over the past eighty-five years . It is bad enough Tom Ricketts has now seen fit to embroil himself in the current political climate with a Super-PAC (Political Action Committee) now in place , which is said to favor ‘ Conservative Causes ‘ and policies , while also seeking to oppose the support of Republican Presidential candidate and the party’s front-runner for the nomination , Donald Trump . It is at times like this , which has me wondering where the two areas collide , but then I look at how baseball and specifically the MLB hierarchy plays both sides of the political aisle , as they seek to maintain their status and hold unto their antitrust exemption granted to them by the Congress. Massaging the egos of the five hundred and thirty-five members within the legislature , does have its merits.

From my own standpoint, I don’t believe the Cubs will be competitive enough to be a force within the NL Central . Joe Maddon and his managerial staff , along with the team will need to be completely focused if they are to compete with their divisional counterparts this upcoming season. The Cubs’ season will begin with a game against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday , 4th April , in what will be viewed as the road game for the Chicago Cubs.

So at what point , do the naysayers start to it up and take note , the Golden State Warriors are for real and their exploits this season are not just a flash in the pan ? Over their last fifteen games, led by Steph Curry and his teammates , have been “torching” their opponents with ease , while , posting the best record in their division , as well as the Western Conference and the league , overall . The question now remains , can this Steve Kerr coached team which has set franchise records and league records , as they seek to surpass the achievements of the Chicago Bulls and the record breaking season on their way to the NBA championship in 1995 and eliminate the Bulls’ mark from the record books ? The Bulls went 72-10 during that year , with Michael Jordan leading the way for the team . A recent loss by the Golden State Warriors suffered at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers has done nothing to deter the Warriors , as they seek to make press along with their historic run this season. The victory has been one of the few bright spots for the Lakers this season and I firmly believe , Byron Scott will not be returning to the franchise next season to coach this Los Angeles’ team . With Kobe Bryant’s retirement coming at the end of this season , the prayers being asked by the franchise’s fans is their wish the Lakers pursue Kevin Durant who will be one of the many free agents , but among the marquee list of players who might be looking for a new home which beckons in the 2016 NBA season.

A prohibitive favorite to win the League MVP for a second successive season , Steph Curry has been rewriting the records books and stamping his mark on what might turn out to a historic season for the player and this Warriors’ team. The consensus appears to be , not that Golden State will break single season mark of the Chicago Bulls , but which team in the league has the best chance of defeating the team during the NBA Playoffs. Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs might well have the second-best record in the league , but the Spurs have proved to be no match for their conference rivals during their meetings this season . I am inclined to believe that will also be the case should the two teams meet during the Conference Finals this postseason ! Golden State will back on court , Monday night , when they face the Orlando Magic in what will likely turn out to be a thoroughly entertaining game.

The UFC staged another of their marquee events with two title holders being the main draw for their fight card of UFC 196 , which was staged at the MGM Grand Arena , Las Vegas , Nevada , this past Saturday, 5th March, 2016. Heading up the card were title Conor McGregor facing Nate Diaz , as McGregor faced Diaz in a catch-weight contest without his Lightweight Title not on the line. The other main attraction was Holly Holm making the first defense of the UFC Women’s Bantamweight title against Miesha Tate , A title which Holm won A in convincing fashion , defeating former champion Ronda Rousey . What should have been a lopsided contest turned out to be a shocking defeat for Holm , as she surrendered her belt in an unbelievable manner.

Two major upsets all on the same night , with McGregor being forced to submit by Nate Diaz and Holm’s inexplicable loss , has left many wondering, is the depth of talent in the UFC really that good or is it merely the hype and the skilled marketing by UFC President Dana White , which has us believing , the bouts staged, are as good as advertised ?

For Holly Holm, it’s back to the drawing board and for Miesha Tate, she can look forward to a lucrative payday , with a contest being lined up against former nemesis Ronda Rousey. Conor McGregor for his part, might well have been magnanimous in his loss , but I cannot help but wonder , during the pre-fight publicity junket , all of the well-staged publicity was all being done in the name of hype for a champion , McGregor, took his opponent way too lightly and who was very much complacent during the bout against Nate Diaz !

The English Premier League (EPL) is now heading into the final stretch of what has turned out to be a surprising season . Sitting at the top of the divisional standings are the surprising minnows of the division , Leicester City . Bought by the current owners for less than $500 million dollars just under four years ago . Should , Leicester win the title , it would be the biggest upset in English soccer history, since the Premiership came into being. The likes of Chelsea , Arsenal , Manchester United and Manchester City with their big-money stars and an abundance of success , have been cast into the shadows by an exceptional all-round team managed by their unheralded coach Claudio Ranieri , are now on the cusp of achieving something truly historic for the club.

In their most recent game , Leicester City were the victors over Watford , winning the game 1-0 . Granted , the Premiership contests are not known for high-scoring games , but what was on evidenced in this contest , was the stealth and resilience shown by Ranieri’s players . Next up for Leicester City will be a game against Newcastle on March, 14th, 2016. A victory in this game , while not making the conclusion of the season a formality, it would certainly go a long way in laying the foundations of what has been a memorable season for The Toffees , as they are more commonly known by their fans. What comes out of this season could very well set the template moving forward for a number of teams in upcoming seasons. Clearly , n the case of Leicester City as well as the Kansas City Royals , Golden State Warriors and Denver Broncos, their success was attained by the use of due diligence , an eye for detail and placing an emphasis of having the players and management in place to achieve their goals sought.

Do you believe the decision made by Peyton Manning to retire from the NFL was the right choice   ? Of the sporting events  that  took place over this past weekend , which would you consider to be the most relevant of all ?

 

 

 

 

 

Tophatal ……………. 2016/03/07

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So what am I missing here ?

So what am I missing here ?

Well now that the dust has settled it would appear with the sudden resignation of FIFA’s four-term President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter , and his seeking to salvage his now languid reputation. The future of soccer’s international governing body still appears to be limbo. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth as the institution will simply regroup, weather the storm and simply look to steer a new course . Nothing will actually change and there will not be any greater oversight than there was before.

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With the World Cups of 2018 and 2022 still ahead and the various associations not calling for there to any changes in the staging of those events in Russia and Qatar , respectively. The apparent idiocy shown by journalists, the none too informative and unintelligent sports’ fans in North America who believe themselves attuned to the sport, has simply indicated to me what I have always known all along. Stupidity simply comes in all shapes and sizes, with the country leading the world by an ever widening margin . which is beyond belief.

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch is seen here in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee . Lynch succeeded Eric Holder to become the nation’s highest ranking law enforcement officer. It should be noted as the State Attorney General for the Manhattan District of New York , Lynch was somewhat lenient in her prosecution of international financial institution HSBC for their wrongdoing in assisting wealthy individuals in their avoidance of paying US federal income tax . Get the feeling might well be using the issue of FIFA to show that she’s capable of being tough ? Bill Clark/ CQ/ Rolling Stone

Blatter’s stepping down will not leave a great vacuum within the FIFA hierarchy and the executive committee will now seek to either hold a quick vote in search of a new successor , while also seeking to address the issue of the ongoing investigation by the Swiss authorities who are now said to be working in conjunction with the US Justice Department .

The federal agency’s leadership headed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch has gone on record,. stating , ” the actions of the executives behind a corruption scandal and their actions being so egregious . that it brought the game of soccer into disrepute”. I’m sorry, but soccer was already up to its neck in its own fecal matter , long before this latest scandal.

Far be it for me to suggest that the NFL , NBA and MLB have not had their own litany of skeletons within their vestibules over the past few years. If the likes of Frank McCourt can literally place a baseball franchise into bankruptcy , with acts , which under normal circumstances would be seen as criminal and still not be punished by baseball’s hierarchy . Then it begs the question, what the hell is the Justice Department meant to be doing in its role as the nation’s law enforcement arm ? It is not as if the agency has the greatest success in prosecuting white collar criminals , especially those who simply were behind the eruption of the US economy and specifically within the financial sector . Yet low and behold, rabid idiot fans without a clue are looking for the implosion of an international sports’ governing body? I don’t hear of any calls for the bringing down of the WBA , WBC , IBF or WBU , but somehow those four bodies who are the international governing arms for the sport of boxing, can go untouched, because there is the belief the sport of boxing remains above reproach ?

Former Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt having taken the franchise into bankruptcy proceedings as part of his divorce settlement , was still able to walk away with $1 billion cash , even after it was noted during the proceedings McCourt had leveraged the ball-club to finance private deals, contravening league rules as well as using funds derived from the club’s revenues for his own personal use , buying commercial and , residential real estate, a yacht and several sports’ cars. Somehow, neither MLB’s hierarchy or federal prosecutors saw fit to indict or prosecute Frank McCourt for any wrongdoing on his part. AP Photo / Barry Reed

Consider, the bribery and corruptible practices within the sport and somehow, the antics of such promoters as Bob Arum and Don King are still lauded in numerous circles. Give me a fucking break , with all of this asinine bull#hit as to what the Justice Department is now seeking to do , having unearthed evidence showing that a Miami based sports’ marketing firm was used to launder monies paid to several high-ranking FIFA executives.

The sole reason the federal agency entered the fray, came from the fact a US financial institution was also being used to launder the ill-gotten gains of these executives. I wonder if the US Justice Department would use such zeal, to go after a Wall Street executive much less a US Congressman, were they actually at the center of such a probe ? They failed miserably with an inept attempt to punish former Senator Ted Stevens and all of this was done at the taxpayers’ expense ? What the fuck !

Blatter walks away from an institution which he ran like his own personal fiefdom, where his serfs were equally as corrupt. At the end of the day however, just about everyone associated with the sport has to be apportioned a certain amount of blame. There may well be idiotic outcries from pious members of the press, but they too are not innocent in this spectacle either. I mean here in the US , the media willingly turned a blind eye to the misdeeds of the players in baseball during the steroid era under , which Bud Selig might as well have showed the mendacity to punish a guilty player of steroid use as Congress might seek to punish one of their own, for an unlawful act or bringing the institution into disrepute with their behavior. There has been as much competency shown by the members there, as might be found among some fans, being witnessed now with the utter stupidity , rhetoric , pragmatism and apathy.

Will they or won’t they ? It would appear with each passing day the front office of the Minnesota Vikings are unsure what their intent might be with their running back Adrian Peterson. The disgraced player having been reinstated by the NFL after his own self induced stupidity , has first claimed , he no longer wanted to be part of the franchise and he is now at the point, that his agent still cannot be consistent with regard to his client’s statements , with each passing day , the story seems to be changing. Personally, I don’t believe the Vikings have a good enough team to win NFC North or even make the playoffs within the NFC ! The team’s starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has yet to show the consistency sought and the alternatives on the roster do not appear to be any better than the freshman passer, which leads me to believe things are not ,likely to go at all well for Minnesota this upcoming season.

Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson having been reinstated by the NFL threatened the franchise with a trade request , for what he felt was the Vikings’ disrespect for him during his recent troubles. Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings have not yet fully come away from their impasse , even though all of the right things are now being said by certain forces within the front office . Peterson’s agent and the player are known to be dissatisfied with his current contract as he is said to be seeking a more lucrative deal with the maximum amount possible in guaranteed money. The running back is not due to become an unrestricted free agent until 2017. AP Photo/ Neal Hart

For Adrian Peterson , this might be the last season where the fans get to see him in a Vikings’ uniform. As good as he has been over the years for the franchise, age and time are no longer on his side , while the window of opportunity for the Minnesota Viking have not been truly kind. Their last appearance in the NFL postseason came in 2012 , where they lost in the NFC wild-card round coming unstuck in game played against the Green Bay Packers. Prior to that , another appearance in 2009 saw the Vikings come unglued to the New Orleans Saints in the conference championship game. Needless to say, Mike Zimmer and his coaching staff will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed this season.

Minnesota will be moving into a new multi-billion dollar stadium at the start of the 2016 NFL season , providing the league with its newest state of the art venue. I doubt that comparisons will be made to the Dallas Cowboys’ lavish Texas Stadium, in Arlington, Texas, with its jumbotron and still underachieving team . Yet , there you have it , another franchise under the impression , “ if we build it , they will come “ . Someone forgot to tell these idiot owners and front office executives , you also need to have a winning on-field product the fans can take pride in , while showing their vocal support.

Vikings’ owner Zygi Wilf understands the Minnesota Vikings’ long starved fans yearn the winning of a Superbowl title and with it the bragging rights of saying they are the best team in the NFL. A great deal will be dependent of whether or not that success can be achieved based on Adrian Peterson remaining with the franchise , while producing the form that has made him one of the best running backs in the NFL over the past eight years. At the same time the Vikings will have to prove to their fans and the rest of the NFL that they are credible contenders for the Superbowl.

The Minnesota Vikings will begin that journey in earnest, with their first regular season schedule game in week one against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi Strauss Stadium in Santa Clara , California , and what will the venue for this season’s Superbowl.

Adrian Peterson may well feel disgruntled as a player , having not had a great deal of success in the postseason with the Vikings , while at the same feeling he may well have dealt with harshly by the NFL hierarchy concerning his misconduct off the field of play. Yet like any other self-absorbed collegiate or professional athlete , it begs the question , are they actually capable of showing any real signs of maturity , while also taking responsibility for their actions ? Continued idiocy of fans making excuses for an athletes’ age, yet somehow they seem unconcerned by the fact we have young men and women barely out of high school who serve the country gallantly , while being placed in danger by the decision making of dumb @ss politicians. So I pose this question where should the concern really be, with a selfish athlete or with those serving the country with honor ?

Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers is about to become the next player and quarterback about to join the $100 million club . There are players now in the NFL barely earning a quarter of that sum as a contract , but they are not deemed their franchise’s leader. Newton over the past two years has showed signs of maturity and leadership. It is now felt in some circles with the declining power of both the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints , the Panthers are seen as the team to beat in the NFC South. Here’s the deal , the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ drafting of Jameis Winston will not turn things around overnight for the Buccaneers even if he was the number one overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Was he in fact the best player among the top picks taken ? Well, that is still open to a great deal of conjecture and debate at this moment in time. It would be fair to suggest the Buccaneers will live and die by the expectations and performances seen from Winston during the regular season . The preseason I believe will tell us about his temperament and whether or not he is capable of adjusting to the rigors of the NFL.

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Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton is set to become the next $100 million player and quarterback in the NFL . How this now sits with the other quarterbacks around the league, as they look to cash in for next season will be predicated upon the deal negotiated by the player’s agent Lamell Morris of Perennial Sports & Entertainment Inc . AP Photo / Greg Richards

Last season another Heisman Trophy winner , Johnny Manziel simply imploded on the field of play for the Cleveland Browns while also showing himself to be a complete and utterly immature asshole off the field of play. Early comparisons between Manziel and Winston are already being made . The apt saying , “buyer beware “, seems to be appropriate considering the trajectory their paths have taken coming into the NFL and their troubles while in college.

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Jameis Winston , left and Johnny Manziel are two players seeking to make a name for themselves in the NFL . Both quarterbacks faced their litany of troubles while in college and will now be placed under an even bigger microscope and the glare of the NFL . Manziel’s first season in the league was viewed as an unmitigated disaster. It remains to be seen what lies ahead for the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner and Buccaneers’ draftee Jameis Winston. For Manziel as he enters his sophomore season , it remains to be unseen whether or not he can unseat Brian Hoyer to become the Cleveland Browns’
regular starting quarterback . Getty Images / Brian Carson

Johnny Manziel is unlikely to be the starting quarterback for the Browns when they begin their preseason schedule and head coach Mike Pettine seems to be unsure what to now make of his now beleaguered quarterback , who now seems to be more known for his nightlife activities rather than for his accomplishments on the field . Excuses are still being made after his first season has entered an alcohol dependency program. WTF ! Manziel is no Rod Tidwell ____ ” show me the mother-fu#king money” ?

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are likely to be the prohibitive favorites to win the NFC South this season with their schedule to some extent an extremely favorable one. Their toughest tests are likely come in their games where they face conference stalwarts , the Dallas Cowboys , Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks and an out of conference match-up against the Indianapolis Colts . Carolina will begin their bid for regular season divisional supremacy when they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ever Bank Field in Jacksonville , Florida on the 13th September , 2015. This will be Newton’s second meeting against the Jaguars and it is likely to be a very competitive contest.

A 2-14 season last year simply summed up the ineptitude shown <a href=http://nfl.com/ by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Head coach Lovie Smith is said to be a defensive guru and a disciple of former mentor Tony Dungy . Instead what we witnessed from the team last season , was mediocrity all season long . The two victories , one deemed a quality win , was actually over an injury laden Pittsburgh Steelers’ team missing several of their front-line starters . So make of it what you will. Buccaneers’ players are in camp for mandatory OTA’s in preparation for their upcoming preseason and regular season schedule. As alluded to before , a lot will be riding on the wave of optimism as well as the talent of Jameis Winston. If he fails to ignite this team and lead them to some semblance of success this season , then it will be back to the drawing board once again for a franchise that has been so inconsistent over the last ten years.

It will be interesting to see how much playing time will be devoted to Jameis Winston during the preseason, as Lovie Smith and the coaching staff begin to assess their rookie quarterback as well as the other draftees taken in their most recent draft. GM Jason Licht has already stated that last season’s NFL Draft was the most important in the franchise’s history . I get the feeling Licht doesn’t really know enough about Buccaneers to be making such a claim.

The Buccaneers will open up their preseason schedule with a game against the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis , Minnesota , likely giving Jameis Winston his first taste of an NFL atmosphere playing in a professional game. If there is a to be a regular season contest at hand for the former FSU starter , with his dethroning Mike Glennon , then Smith may feel it prudent to have him play in the Buccaneers’ first regular season game of their schedule against the the Tennessee Titans at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida,.

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Do you believe that the US Justice Department will prove to be successful in their prosecution of the FIFA executives at the center of this latest scandal involving soccer’s international governing body ? Also , with Sepp Blatter stepping down as President of FIFA, do you believe he ought to be facing an indictment by either the US government or the Swiss authorities ? With the NFL season not yet in full swing, what impressions do you have with regard to the preseason stories now coming into focus ?

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You cannot blame the manager and players alone , when the owners have a responsibility themselves …

You cannot blame the manager and players alone , when the owners have a responsibility themselves …

As the Premiership season within English soccer winds down , there has been a sense of disappointment among several teams thought to be viable contenders for the Premiership (EPL) title at the start of season. For teams, viewed as the mainstays of the league, Arsenal , Manchester United , Manchester City , Chelsea , Liverpool , Newcastle, Everton and West Ham United , this was thought to be where , each in some way could be seen as a viable contender , if not for the title , but at least for a qualifying berth for UEFA Champions’ League status .

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For team owners , Stanley Kroenke of Arsenal and the Glazer family, owners jointly, of Manchester United and the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers , theirs might, well be a season, that each would rather forget. Granted, Manchester United, managed by David Moyes , have somehow managed to make their way to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League , Europe’s biggest club competition and seen as a major financial windfall for the participants throughout the length of the competition, but even more so in the latter

With Manchester United , having now bowed out of the Champions League competition, losing 4-2 on aggregate to Bayern Munich of the German Bundesliga. The ramifications, from that total defeat and with fortunes of the club, now looking more threatening than ever before , concerning their aspirations for the Premiership title . Rumblings of major a upheavals, could be taking place within the Manchester United organization , with their being calls for the manager David Moyes’ firing as well as the Glazer family’s ouster as the club’s owners. These cries for this all , comes down to the disappointing season achieved by Manchester United in the Premiership, where they now lie in seventh position , some seventeen points behind divisional leaders Liverpool FC , whose tally of seventy-four points with five games to play , puts the Northern based English team in the driver’s seat, as they seek to win their nineteenth divisional title in the club’s famed history .

Moyes succeeded the most successful manager in English soccer history, in Alex Ferguson , while being handed the keys to Ferrari , in terms of a team seeking to make a successful defense of their title of last season . What the incumbent manager has seemingly managed to do, has been take this squad of players and have them play like a bunch of amateurs , with all the skill-set that would make even the most vocal of fans cry out, with a great deal of rage . With resources at Moyes’ disposal , along with the coaching staff assembled, it seems inconceivable that the manager has repeatedly managed to stumble so badly. At the same time, Joel , Bryan and Avram Glazer , have seemingly looked on, and watch this manifestation of incompetency play out over the course of the season, within the Premiership , as well as the team’s failings in other major domestic club competitions , such as the FA Cup and Carling Cup . If that was not enough for the United fans having to digest , they are now seeing the resurgence of their crosstown rivals Manchester City , whose astute manager, Manuel Pellegrini and the influx of the cash rich laden ,family of billionaires , by …. Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and H E Khaldoon Al Mubarak , has seen the club return to the upper echelons of the game, with the side being the 2011-12 EPL champions .

Manchester United , for their own part , have continued to show inconsistency, all season long , with David Moyes apportioning blame elsewhere , rather than being man enough to admit that he has made numerous mistakes, concerning the player personnel for several games during the season . What might well grieve the fans more so, concerning the malaise of the famed United soccer club , has been the indifference shown by the Glazers and their complete lack of understanding, concerning what has unfolded within their midst. That should not really come as any great surprise, considering the same incompetence shown by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this past season, where former head coach Greg Schiano and . his staff simply, had no damn idea what the hell they were doing and the clueless fans watching , could only point to the fact that they did not . end up with the worst record in the league .

The fact that the Buccaneers were close to the bottom of the NFL in almost every team category that mattered by way of defense and offense , was merely another pointer ,about how bereft of talent, the organization was said to have been, on the field , as well as among the coaching staff and within the front office , headed by general manager Mark Dominik who was again, answerable to the aforementioned members of the Glazer family , as the team’s owners. That type of incompetency cannot be taught , it has to be ingrained and those who claim the family to be astute and business minded , should be begin to completely review that entire premise altogether, as nothing could be further from the truth.

While their soccer team remains , highly profitable, it should be noted, that Manchester United, still carries a great deal debt , burdened by it being used as collateral, in the Glazers’ purchase , by their holding company Red Devils Holdings . In a strange turn of events, US investment firm Baron Capital Inc has bought 20% of the outstanding shares of the soccer team on the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) , representing a mere 2% capitalization of the club, for a reputed $90 million , valuing the club at an astonishing $ 4.5 billion pre-liability write-downs .

To his credit, about the only worthwhile thing done this season by David Moyes , by way of a positive standpoint , was his persuading striker, Wayne Rooney to commit to the club long-term, after the player had been linked to several clubs, with his contract due to expire. Had Rooney been allowed to leave , then quite possibly the manager’s fate might well have been sealed , as the player had become a fan favorite , while a living legend in terms of his productivity with the club , as being the third leading scorer in Manchester United’s history , behind only Dennis Law and only to Bobby Charlton , now a distinguished member of the United Board of Directors . Rooney , in signing one of the most lucrative contracts in the club’s history, will now put to rest , his joining Chelsea , Arsenal , Real Madrid or AC Milan of Serie’ A.

With six games left in their season and now out of the running, for the Premiership title, even the hopes of a Champions League qualifying berth, now seems beyond Manchester United’s reach , with them having to finish no less than fourth in the Premiership. Once the schedule has reached its climax , there are likely several moves made within the organization , likely to bring about the end of the careers of several players on the current playing squad . Whether or not , David Moyes also becomes casualty of the likely overhaul remains to be seen , but it has become abundantly clear that something has to be done. Unfortunately, putting your trust in the Glazer family, to even do something remotely credible, might be beyond, and even their own realization. I can only pray, that the rumors now ongoing, are true and that former United player David Beckham and a several his former teammates are indeed serious in purchasing a controlling interest in his former team , with the financial backing, coming from a prominently wealthy , Kuwaiti family, who are said to be longtime admirers of Beckham and staunch supporters this world-famous soccer club.

Manchester United’s next scheduled game, will be on the 20th April , when they are the guests of Everton at Goodison Park , in Merseyside. That contest, will undoubtedly tell us a great deal about the players’ mindset and that of the coaching staff as the season meanders towards its inevitability.

Billionaire , Stanley Kroenke , with an estimated $4.5 billion fortune , also happens to be the son-in-law to the late, Sam Walton , founder of the world’s largest retail and grocery store chain , Walmart . Kroenke’s wife, is none other than , Ann Walton-Kroenke , who also happens to be on the Forbes’ 400 Richest Americans’ List , as well as being one of the richest women in the world, with a multi-billion dollar fortune . Her husband, also presides over one of the largest sports’ conglomerates and concessions’ company in North America. Kroenke’s ownership of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment , encompasses the ownership of the Denver Nuggets of the NBA , the St Louis Rams of the NFL , the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL , sporting goods’ chain , Dick’s Sporting Goods , the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League and Arsenal FC of the EPL.

Now while I have no real objection to an American, owning an English soccer team , what I cannot condone, is said to be the utter stupidity that has been shown by owners, such as Stanley Kroenke and the Glazer family, the latter, whose now close to ruination of Manchester United , have the fans in complete apoplexy. While supporters , may well point to the fact, that since family assumed control of Manchester United in 2005, the club has seen marked success. While that may well be true , it still cannot hide the fact , that Joel and Bryan Glazer , have used less than due diligence , in their operating the club , from a business standpoint. Profits have slowly been eroded , because of the club’s debt obligations and that is something that cannot be overlooked , as they now seek to place themselves within the constraints of the soon to be ,UEFA edicts concerning a team’s debt to asset ratio , which seeks to pare down teams’ debts , while also creating something of a level playing field , among the teams within the various European domestic leagues , seeking to compete in UEFA sanctioned club competitions. While clubs were given waivers this season for the Champions League , that will not be the case in 2015, when UEFA President Michel Platini expects all teams to comply with those edicts or risk being banned from all UEFA sanctioned club tournaments .

Stanley Kroenke’s presence, in the world of sports , was once described, as to his being the most powerful and influential in North American sports . That article, in Sports Illustrated , was either written by a ranked amateur , or by someone who at the time was under a deadline , simply did not want to plagiarise a piece and simply offer it up as an original piece of content . To allude to Kroenke, as being the most powerful or most influential person or owner in North American sports , would certainly being doing an injustice to the likes of the late George Steinbrenner , who was alive at the time of this article hitting the news’ stands and to the likes Robert Kraft, Dan Rooney , David Stern , Dick Ebersol , Sean McManus , Roger Goodell , Bud Selig , and Tim Finchem , Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods . Am I supposed to take this level of journalism seriously, when this type of diatribe and stupidity is on display with alarming regularity , especially when it is said to come from a respected magazine ?

Long an admirer of Arsenal FC , as a youngster , then as a teenager , I have witnessed some of the greatest moments of this famed club’s history over the past thirty years. While Arsene Wenger , has been the manager , leading the club to other trophies and triumphs , this current spell , with Stanley Kroenke as the team’s owner, might well become the driest spell of the manager’s tremendous coaching career . However, coming off a 3-0 loss to Everton , where the team performed poorly in the defeat at Goodison Park , in Merseyside. One cannot help but wonder what Wenger now has to do, to have his players, play at a higher level. Calls for the roster to be bolstered with some bold acquisitions being made, were met with an almost damning silence from the board , led by Stanley Kroenke and his subordinates . Finally, having relented , Wenger was offered a mere pittance , to go out and acquire players , with the result being Mesut Ozil , a gifted midfield player , but simply not enough to aid the team in its ambitions for the season .

Stanley Kroenke’s only wish, in owning a Premiership soccer team , has been the purchase as a bauble , to show to friends within his social circle and by way of watching the club’s value appreciate for more than that of an NFL franchise . Furthermore, with revenues far exceeding that of the NFL, with a global audience far exceeding that of North America’s grandest pastime and in terms of game attendance, albeit, that more games are played (thirty-eight) in the Premiership , than in (sixteen regular season) the NFL over the course of their respective schedules .

Arsenal, also known as ‘The Gunners’ , are due to face West Ham at their palatial home venue , Emirates Stadium in , North London, on the 15th April in what will be a highly anticipated contest , between these two London teams. Clearly, a victory for the home team, would be to their advantage and end of season hopes of gaining qualification for the Champions League. How things pan out , will greatly be dependent also , on the form shown over the rest of their schedule .

As if to further emphasize, how out of touch Stanley Kroenke remains when it comes two more of the jewels in his sports’ crown . Consider the seasons, of the Denver Nuggets and St Louis Rams and where they currently are, in terms of their status. The Nuggets might as well be afterthought, within the Western Conference, as the regular season schedule zeroes in, on its finality. Coached by Brian Shaw , who has a very experienced coaching staff to help him , this team has simply failed miserably, on so many levels , as the players have somehow failed to buy into Shaw’s coaching philosophies . The front office , with GM Tim Connelly leading the way, made a few subtle moves during the season , but nothing that would simply give you the impression that those acquisitions would place the franchise in a position to mount a serious challenge for divisional supremacy , much less a postseason berth for the upcoming postseason.

This past season, the St Louis Rams at times played hard , but within the NFC West , two dominant forces prevailed and the Rams were never in with a chance of bringing down either San Francisco 49ers or Seattle Seahawks . Both teams, proved to be, among the very best, that not only the NFC had to offer , but also the entire NFL. Yet, the Rams’ 7-9 record within the division that led to a last place finish and being the only team not to notch sort=OVERALL_WINS&sort=desc&colSel=0> double-digit wins , tells how tough the NFC West has now become and perhaps the toughest division within the NFL , based on final record and the play from the quartet of teams.

Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher , has proven to be a competent successor to Steve Spagnuolo in so many ways , that the team’s future now rests in assured hands , with the head coach and his coaching staff . The issue now becomes, will Stanley Kroenke , Chip Rosenbloom , Kevin Demoff and GM Les Snead allow Fisher a free rein , to get the job done , by way making the team more competitive in terms of acquiring players and through the draft or will they seek to impede him at each and every turn , thereby making the franchise irrelevant ?

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This idiocy at times, that the coach has to shoulder the blame when a team fails, is in actuality, absolute bull#hit ! A great deal of the time, the front office of an organization is equally to blame , when they seek , not to make the resources available to the coaching staff , in order , to make that franchise competitive. Yet, you would be hard pressed to actually make some fans believe that to be the case , because their heads more often than not , has been lodged up their own ass, that they cannot tell the difference between night and day. Chime in with your thoughts, on the points raised and thanks as always for the continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea and coach David Moyes faces the media during a Manchester United Press Conference ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Real Sociedad and Manchester United at Estadio Anoeta on November 4, 2013 in San Sebastian, Spain. Getty Images North America / Mike Hewitt ….

(2) From left to right , Bryan Glazer , Joel Glazer and Avram Glazer , board members and the owners of Premiership soccer team Manchester United and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL . The trio are seen here, in the stands of a Premiership game at United’s home venue , Old Trafford Stadium , in Manchester , England ,. A disappointing season in 2013 will see the team miss the lucrative UEFA Champions League club competition next season, for the first time in a several years . If the current rumors are to be believed, the family are likely to rebuff an alleged $4 billion bid for the soccer team from a yet to be unidentified source . Getty Images Europe / Chris Rogers …..

(3) Alex Ferguson , second from the left is seen here members of the Glazer family as they discuss a team issue . Ferguson who served as manager of the team for two decades was succeeded by David Moyes , at whose insistence, his successor was hired , much to the annoyance of fans, who felt that Moyes was not a suitable candidate to fill the vacancy , having little success in his earlier stops in his managerial career. Courtesy of Daily Mail UK /Alex Ogden …

(4) Josh Kroenke is seen here alongside his father Stan Kroenke, are seen here in attendance of an NBA game at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado , home to the Denver Nuggets , the franchise owned by Kroenke through his company Kroenke Sports & Entertainment a multi-billion dollar conglomerate based in Colorado,. AP Photo/ Collin Matthews ……

(5) Ann Walton-Kroenke, a direct descendant of Walton family and one of the heirs to the multi-billion dollar fortune . Ann is married to Stan Kroenke , self-made billionaire businessman . Getty Images North America/ Christina Matthews ….

(6) Jeff Fisher head coach of the St Louis Rams , whose final eighteen months as the coach of the Tennessee Titans were said to be the most tumultuous of his considerable coaching career , in having to deal with the adversarial nature of Vince Young and then owner , Charles K ‘Bud’ Adams . Fisher has been able to turn around the fortunes of the Rams , having succeeded Steve Spagnuolo , in what might be now the ‘toughest’ division in the entire NFL . AP Photo / Tom Walsh …..

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tophatal ………..

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English Premier League (EPL)

English Premier League (EPL) news and clubs

English Premier League (EPL) league table

EPL schedule (year-long)

EPL schedule 12th April

EPL results (year-long)

EPL match form guide

Stanley Kroenke profile and bio of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment

Malcolm Glazer profile and that of his family

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I guess, neither Rihanna nor Shakira have a problem with their sexuality ?

Bill Clinton , eat your heart out . LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

The grass is not always greener on the other side …..

The grass is not always greener on the other side …..

If there is one thing I know, then it is when someone is blowing smoke to create the perception that everything is OK , more to the point, blowing it up my ass ! Clearly , that has been the point concerning the antics of the Philadelphia 76ers and the ownership group led by venture capitalist Joshua Harris , who also just happens to be the owner of the NHL’s , New Jersey Devils . As many of you might now be aware, the Sixers’ equaled a league record , in reeling off twenty-six consecutive losses , which just happens to be franchise and league record. An ignominious feat for a once proud franchise , that produced such great players as Wilt Chamberlain , Julius Erving , Charles Barkley and Allen Iverson .

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Inasmuch , as with each season , the common thought is that all of the NBA’s teams are in with an equal chance of making the postseason , in reality, with only eight berths up grabs within each conference, the chance of being amongst those contenders is not assured as some might think. The level of competition also , in particular within the Eastern Conference , where the Philadelphia 76ers are domiciled, , has been a boon to the game of basketball , that is in a dire state of disrepair.

Coming into the season, the Sixers had a threadbare team with very little experience on the roster , beyond that of Thaddeus Young , James Anderson , Byron Mullens and Jason Richardson . Then throw in the fact that head coach Brett Brown is a rookie coach , along with a very inexperienced roster of coaching assistants and you simply have a natural recipe for a ready-made disaster.

Joshua Harris , who made his considerable wealth as venture capitalist , founding the firm , Apollo Global Management , where risks are taken , with start-up companies or the way he seeks to buyout under-performing companies and then either seeks to turn them around , break or split them up , selling off discarded pieces , or where possible , seeking to use such deals to enable a tax write-off and an inevitable gain for the company. If, this is Harris’ intent, with regard to the Sixers’ franchise without making the die-hard fans aware of his intent. Then, he is certainly going about the right way in alienating those loyal fans , as well as, creating an atmosphere and discontent amongst the fan base and thereby bringing about a great deal of unrest . .

It is certainly hard to envisage, how anyone can take any positives out of a season, where a team with a 16-57 record within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference , can be seen as a competitive franchise. There has been absolutely no leadership from the seasoned veterans on the roster and even with the somewhat refreshing play of Michael Carter-Williams and to a lesser extent Nerlens Noel , there are no signs that the Sixers will be viewed as competitive force. Rookie head coach, Brett Brown , was thrown in at the deep end along with an equally inexperienced coaching staff , that was meant to assist with regard to this season. I may well be mistaken, but there also seems to be a great deal of stupidity amongst some fans, who see the travails of the 76ers as a way to aid them in the future , especially as far as attaining a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. Granted , with the NCAA Tournament still ongoing , but with a number of players now declaring their eligibility , the varying consensus would appear to be that beyond Jabari Parker , Andrew Wiggins , Shabazz Napier , Doug McDermott and should he declare his eligibility , Scottie Wilbekin of the Florida Gators , whom, if he leads the program to their third national title in the last ten years , he is likely to be the most sought after player in this draft.

Sixers’ GM Stan Hinkie has not seen fit to give any type of explanation, as to his decisions as it relates to the player personnel moves , since he assumed his position , but given his relative inexperience , I cannot see how anyone can believe, that because he is prepared to gamble on a sense and premise, that the team is likely to get blue-chip player from this lottery , it well set the franchise on the right path. Someone should remind him, the coaching staff over this past season, has shown little , if any type of coaching ingenuity and for that, a great deal of the blame has to be placed upon the general manager’s naïve and conceited shoulders.

Coming off a moral boosting twenty-five points win over the equally abysmal Detroit Pistons at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , on Saturday night, the Sixers’ next scheduled contest will be on Monday night , when they are the guests of the Atlanta Hawks at the Philips Arena in Atlanta , Georgia,. With a mere nine games left on their schedule, we should be able to tell a great deal about the mindset of the Philadelphia 76ers and not this idiocy of them being deemed a team, much less a credible NBA franchise. Nothing, about the way that they have conducted themselves would indicate that, and the lack of candor from the front office , is a clear indication of the continued disdain shown for the fans over the course of the season. Doubt my words, then look for any for an indication by or from either Joshua Harris or Stan Hinkie, as to their motives and then ask yourself why it is , that they have remained silent, while subjecting the fans to a monstrosity of a totally and noncommittal season from the playing staff and organization as a whole ?

I have always found it fascinating to listen to the idiocy of some , who try to give an explanation about their local teams , when they in actuality, have no damn idea, what they are said to be talking about . Case in point, here in the local Tampa Bay area sports’ market , the MLB franchise is a profitable one , but in large part that would not be the case , unless they were not propped up by the aid given, by way of the MLB tax revenue sharing scheme , but yet for some reason, the clueless fans and the local print and television media tend to spin the myth, that through the ingenuity shown by the franchise’s front office , that has been the case for a considerable period of time. Tends to be the way, when those seeking to proffer up the knowledge would rather not spend the time to use any due diligence in coming up with the correct information concerning the Tampa Bay Rays’ financial means and stability.

This season for the Rays will be , make or break, because one more season of missed opportunities and in all likelihood , GM Andrew Friedman will have to gut the roster once again , as a face-saving exercise. It becomes the same old story , season in and season out , concerning the Rays and there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel at all , and that also pertains to the ongoing saga of the franchise’s stadium issue. This may well be the last year in which Bud Selig remains the MLB Commissioner and the idiotic article written by USA Today’s …. Christine Brennan , praising the league’s highest-ranking executive , paints a picture of someone, who at every turn, has been able to handle any problem , that the league has faced with a great deal of intellect and ingenuity . Now, I was not expecting a hatchet job to be done on the commissioner , but at the same time , the article on Selig, was simply not objective enough , nor did it seek to show his flaws or the numerous miscues, that he has made during his tenure . Unfortunately, this is now the price one has to pay, if you take the print media seriously , as they still believe themselves to be paragons of virtue , while seeking out the truth. To my mind , that is simply a crock of bull#hit , with this article by Brennan having as much merit to it , as a piece of plagiarism written by the infamous Jayson Blair !

The Glazer family, it can be said, in owning two professional sports’ franchises, may well have had one of their worst years on record , One of the franchises owned , the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , simply stunk up the joint within the NFL and once again their less than intelligent fans , were making excuses as to the woes of the team , when it was simply clear for all to see that head coach Greg Schiano lacked even less discipline than his entire playing roster. So much so , that at varying points during the Buccaneers’ season , you had to wonder which of the two entities were said to be the more incompetent. Was it the players on the field of play or Schiano and his entire coaching staff ?

A 4-12 season, has a way of bringing an organization back down to earth and giving you a clear indication of who and what they are and that was clearly the case with the Buccaneers . The franchise entered the off-season , dismissing Greg Schiano and not extending the contract of GM Mark Dominik . Replacing the former head coach is a face well-known to Buccaneers’ fans with Lovie Smith now succeeding his predecessor and Jason Licht brought in to head the front office as the new general manager. Smith and Licht, have been quick to start their era with some bold moves with regard to players they thought to be superfluous to the team’s needs, as they seek to get under salary cap and in preparing for the upcoming NFL Draft . Where the Buccaneers now go from here, will come down to the decisions made by the new head coach and that of the general manager, with Glazer family finally being aware and in tow with what is actually going on around them, not that they were over the course of the entire NFL season .

Joel Glazer , alongside siblings Avram , Edward and Bryan Glazer , have been entrusted by patriarch Malcolm Glazer to exercise due diligence in the running of English Premiership League (EPL) soccer team Manchester United and to ensure that the continued success of the soccer club is ongoing . With the stepping down of soccer’s most successful manager in Alex Ferguson , who as manager of the soccer club won just about every domestic trophy possible in English domestic soccer, as well as most prized trophy in club soccer, the UEFA Champions League Trophy . Ferguson’s successor, David Moyes , was thought to be the person best suited to succeed the most successful manager in English soccer history.

One of the issues that was never addressed and should have been by the board of directors of Manchester United, was to have allowed Ferguson some latitude , but not be totally reliant upon his counsel as to who his successor should have been . Unfortunately, with success comes power and Alex Ferguson was able to wield a great deal of it , even after having stepped down as the manager . At the same time , fearful of the fact, that fans still remained entirely unhappy in the way the family was able to purchase the club for almost $2 billion, without having to use any of their own money, but instead , using the club as collateral , they leveraged team and its assets, therein increasing its debt, while being given access to some $300 million in liquid assets (cash) , which was never used at the time, to bolster the team’s roster. Such were the vagaries of the takeover in which the existing shareholders walked away entirely happy cash-rich and several major financial institutions were now left to ponder , the next move of the Glazer family, as the owners of soccer’s most famous club in the world . They held the debt, but the club had now become Joel and Avram Glazer’s own personal bauble to do with as they pleased , within certain parameters off-course .

Nine years after the team’s purchase by the Glazer family in 2005 , and here we are , now in 2014 and all of the success attained in between then and now , will be for nothing, in terms of a domestic league title . The team fell by the wayside in the FA Cup , fell apart in the League Cup (Carling) and they are languishing , completely out of contention for the Premiership title , which guarantees qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League and the lucrative cash windfall that comes out of that particular European club competition .

The only saving grace for David Moyes at present, just happens to be the fact that he has led the team to the quarter-finals of this season’s UEFA Champions League competition where the team has been drawn against Bayern Munich of Germany, and where the first-leg of the two game aggregate contest, will be on the 1st April , 2014 being played at Old Trafford in Manchester, England , Anything short of a victory and the ire of the fans will continue, as there are already calls for Moyes’ dismissal, after his failure in each of the domestic competitions in England. With those mountings calls of discontent from the game’s most passionate fans , have come for the call for the Glazer family to actually sell the team , rather than their continued incompetence at various levels within the organization, from the boardroom on down. From the very beginning , it was very clear, that when the team was bought, Malcolm Glazer was truly out of his depth and the alleged acumen that his sons are said to have, in running a commercial concern , was not evident when it came to running this particular soccer team.

All of the familial incompetency had already been on show, as it related their continued idiocy, when it came to the Buccaneers and it was simply transferred across the Atlantic , where it was continued., , concerning how they sought to change the inner workings of Manchester United which was already successful, even profitable , and valuable concern . Leveraging the club and placing it with so much debt and then having to twice renegotiate with the financiers , again shows that Joel Glazer’s business acumen is not as astute as was first being claimed by a multitude of individuals within the Bay area and within the NFL fraternity. United has managed to lessen its debt obligation , but it may well be in for something of a scramble , if it is not able to fully meet the criteria set by UEFA for the 2015 season, wherein, teams qualifying their sanctioned competitions cannot carry debt totaling more thirty per-cent of their book value. Get the feeling the Glazers are not as smart, as some claim them to be?

In recent weeks there have rumors, highlighting even more discontent concerning malaise within the Manchester United organization , with evidence that former player David Beckham and several of his teammates from the 1992 side will lead a consortium backed by a wealthy Arab family providing the financing for the takeover of United , with Beckham , Ryan Giggs , Gary and Phil Neville fronting the consortium, with each of the players holding a stake in the team.

David Beckham , however, in partnership with business partner and manager, Simon Fuller and billionaire Mauricio Claure are busy in trying to get an MLS franchise off the ground in Miami in time for the 2017 season , but first, an agreement must be hammered out with regard to the building of a 40,000 seat venue in the downtown Miami area, with negotiations set to begin with the city of Miami. The blight that has already hit the city economically and they have yet to learn anything from their stupidity, in acquiescing to the whims of Bud Selig and Miami Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria in building the Miami Marlins’ Ballpark that has yet to be filled to capacity for a ball-game ever since its opening during the 2012 MLB season . Beckham and his partners, may well fare a great deal better, than Loria , given the demographics within the greater Miami area and the passion for soccer. On the flip side of the coin, baseball struggles to attract fans within the state of Florida, amongst the two professional Major League franchises and barely have decent attendances for their home games during the regular season. Spring Training is one thing, but during the regular season, one would expect a great deal more out of the fans of the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays, rather than the continued excuses.

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Are you of the belief, that the actions of Philadelphia 76ers’ owner Joshua Harris can be justified even when there is no actual guarantee of future success based on his apparent intent ? Also given the lack of success by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 2003 , where do you believe that the blame lies for their failure, subsequent to that Superbowl triumph ? Out of their depth or not, should the Glazers now look for a buyer of their soccer team , where in all likelihood they would be able to sell Manchester United and make a tidy profit after sundry expenses ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always, for your continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) PHILADELPHIA – MAY 14 : Managing Owner Josh Harris ,left, of the Philadelphia 76ers introduces Sam Hinkie as President of Basketball Operations and General Manager during a press conference on May 14, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Copyright 2013 NBAE — Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images …

(2) An emotional Allen Iverson addresses the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , on the night that his number three jersey was retired by the franchise . Iverson began his career with the franchise having been drafted out of Georgetown University by the 76ers as the number one overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft . AP Photo / Denny Rogers …..

(3) Sixers’ teammates Nerlens Noel, left , seen here with Michael Carter-Williams , are seen as two of the main pieces that GM Sam Hinkie would like to build a team around . Both players have been moderately successful on what has been a thoroughly disappointing season , for the franchise which sees them languishing at the bottom of their division , as well having the ignominy of equaling a league record for mediocrity having lost twenty-six consecutive games during their regular season schedule. For rookie head coach , Brett Brown and his staff , it truly has been a difficult year, with very little progress being made on-court. USA Today/ Eric Hartline …..

(4) Avram, Bryan and Joel Glazer, pictured at Old Trafford in 2008, say they are not interested in selling Manchester United. However, if the rumors are to be believed the family are prepared to relinquish their ties to Manchester United if the right offer is made , that figure is thought to be in excess of $ 3.75 billion . Photograph: Mike Egerton/Empics Sport/PA …

(5) Newly installed Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach Lovie Smith ,left is seen here with GM Jason Licht after the two were introduced to the convened press , with both replacing dismissed former employees Greg Schiano, Smith’s predecessor and Mark Dominik , who prior had been the Buccaneers’ former general manager. After a 4-12 season , Smith will seek to resurrect the fortunes of the NFC South based franchise , which has not made the postseason since 2007. During the off-season both the head coach and general manager have already began to make moves with the discarding of Darrelle Revis who has since been signed by the New England Patriots . It has but one of several moves engineered to make the team more cap friendly as they also prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft . AP Photo / Mike Patterson ….

(6) Former managerial adversaries , but now both on the same side. Seen here are Sir Alex Ferguson , left, himself the most successful manager in British soccer history , having won major trophies with SPL team Aberdeen before becoming the manager of Manchester United and leading the club to the most successful era in their history , winning in excess of thirty major trophies . Ferguson stepped down from his position , but not before his own personal recommendation to the Board of Directors that his successor should be David Moyes , pictured here . An indifferent season for Manchester United sees them languishing currently in seventh place in the English Premiership League (EPL) some seventeen points behind league leaders Liverpool FC (71 pts) with only six games remaining to their regular season schedule . The lone trophy that the team is now contention for , remains the UEFA Champions League , where they meet Bayern Munich of the Bundesliga in the first leg of a two-leg quarter-final , where the winner advances to the semi-finals of the most important European club competition . Getty Images Europe/ Arthur James ….

(7) Bolivian billionaire , Marcelo Claure and founder & CEO of Brightstar is seen here with soccer star David Beckham at a Miami Heat game at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida ., The two have partnered up entertainment mogul Simon Fuller , creator of American Idol and CEO of XIX Entertainment the holding company for Fuller’s business properties . The trio bid an astonishingly low asking price of $50 million for the MLS Miami franchise which is due to become operational during the 2017 season . Don Garber , MLS Chairman , who was pressed on the issue as to why the rights’ fee for the franchise, was so considerably low , when the New York franchisee was asked to pay in excess of $125 million , stated that as part of Beckham’s original contract, when he joined the MLS as a player with the Los (LA) Angeles Galaxy , wherein, a codicil was added to his contract giving him the right to operate a franchise with a predetermined fee . The consortium is now in discussion with the city of Miami with regard to the building of a 40,000 seat venue in the downtown Miami area but there also signs that the consortium would be open to site close to the Port of Miami close to the current home of Miami Heat , NBA franchise . Miami Herald / Jose Garcia ………

(8) Former teammates and close friends , David Beckham is seen here with Ryan Giggs. The duo tasted unprecedented success as players with Manchester United having won every domestic trophy together as players and then triumphed also when club won the UEFA Champions League Trophy for the first time since it was one for the first time under the late Sir Matt Busby as the Champions League precursor (European Cup) in 1968. The two are rumored to be part of a consortium made of up several members of the 1992 Manchester United team that are said to be interested in purchasing the soccer club , in which they would be backed by wealthy Arab family , whose name has yet to be disclosed . Weary of his name being attached this deal , David Beckham has neither confirmed or denied that such a proposal , as having been discussed . Yet , unconfirmed sources , have stated that Giggs and his friend, have repeatedly discussed the situation in the past several months , with now a number of teammates coming on-board , to be part of such a deal . At the same time, a number of major English newspapers are now headlining many of their back page,s with the assertion that beleaguered manager David Moyes is likely to be fired at the end of the season campaign, based on his failure during the domestic season , notwithstanding the fact of his guiding United to the quarter-final stages of the UEFA Champions League. Speculation has continued to rise that, Ryan Giggs would be the suitable successor to Moyes , having played his entire twenty-year career with the team, where he is well-respected by current teammates and beloved by the fans at Old Trafford , home ground of the Premiership’s most widely respected team. Guardian UK / Ian Ogletree ………..

(9) Simon Fuller , left, is seen here with close friend , business partner David Beckham and his wife Victoria ‘Posh Spice’ Beckham , singer and fashion designer . Fuller also happens to be the manager of both celebrities , advising them on a wide variety of issues , as it relates to their respective images and ongoing careers. Getty Images / Alicia Markham …

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Manchester United Premiership position , in seventh place with 54 points having played thirty-two of their scheduled thirty-eight games .

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Put Up Or Simply Just Shut The Fu#k Up !

Put Up Or Simply Just Shut The Fuck Up !

I’ll say this repeatedly when it comes to the analysis being provided within the sports’ world can be so ridiculous and no amount of asinine jingoism and xenophobia can hide my disdain for many of these commentators. The third major of the season on the PGA Tour The Open has no rhyme or reason when you have the likes of Andy North be ing so ridiculous with his analysis in insisting that the American players have what it takes to be dominant in the majors and win . When it mattered most other than Phil Mickelson no one amongst the American players thought to be in with a chance had the stomach to show what they’re capable of in terms of facing real adversity.

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The British Open is by far the most difficult of the four majors to win and where a player simply doesn’t rely on his talent alone but also with their mental abilities . Well with the workman like effort of Darren Clarke and along the way Ireland secure its second successive major after Rory McIlroy’s historic 2011 US Open win . The course at the R&A’s Royal St George at Lytham St Anne’s , Sandwich , Kent , has always proven to be a very difficult with its numerous obstacles on this par 72 course . And for the competing players who sought to tame the greens and fairways on the fourth and final day of the tournament , well let’s just say if you choose to play with fire then you are liable to get burned .

It would appear while being passionate about the game Andy North’s insight of it tends to be inflated and over the top ! I’d hate to think how he will try summarize Clarke’s win and what it now means to the game . What I do know, it simply will prove that America’s once dominant stranglehold on the game is now slipping . The world rankings would suggest that its upper echelons that tree now is more diversified than ever before . And with the PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club, Johns Creek , Atlanta , Georgia , being the lone major left on the Tour schedule it will be very interesting to see who steps up to walk the walk .

Are my eyes mistaking me ? But scouring the papers in search of the latest tidbit of new within the world of baseball I almost fell out of my seat. But low and behold, it would appear that the once lowly Pittsburgh Pirates are riding high within the NL Central and are out to prove that they’re capable of challenging the likes of the Cincinnati Reds , Milwaukee Brewers , St Louis Cardinals . And what might be even more scary is that Clint Hurdle’s team is playing above .500 ball , enjoying themselves and they could very well be on their way to posting their first winning season almost two decades . Strange as it may seem the eyes of the world now appear to placing a great deal of scrutiny on on this team assembled with a mixture of youth and some veteran experience . Hurdle and his coaching staff along with GM Neal Huntington have to be very pleased what they are seeing from this team and their play this season at PNC Ballpark in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania .

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HOUSTON – JULY 17: Center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) of the Pittsburgh Pirates is congratulated by Neil Walker (18) and Alex Pressley (44) after making a sliding catch on a fly ball off the bat of Clint Barmes (12) of the Houston Astros in the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park on July 17, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

If there’s a star on this Pirates’ team then one has to consider it to be Andrew McCutchen the outfielder and the exuberant leader of this young roster . As eventful as the season seems to have be for the Pirates the very thought that the organization could possibly be a part of the postseason now seems to be dawning on their fans as what could be in the offing . From my own standpoint I think that the biggest surprise would be to finally post winning season for the first time in over decade and a half . If that were to happen then you cannot deny Clint Hurdle the NL Manager of the Year Award in having led the team to a winning record for the season . Now over the final two months of the season we may very see the true character of this team and how they acquit themselves down the final stretch of run of the season .

The Pittsburgh Pirates through a great deal of resolve have proved themselves worthy adversaries for their rivals within the NL Central as well as the rest of the National League at large . And though I do believe that the team in its present guise are very good, I simply do not believe that they are good enough to win the division ! However , with that being said with the undoubted character and it appears the maturity being shown , it does bode well for the future of the team. I still have my doubts as to the intention the team’s owner Bob Nutting and his partners as I view the senior partner as being nothing more than a predatory raider or more akin to a vulture hovering above the dead carcass of animal looking to gnaw away at its remains ! For years Nutting has literally complained and plead nothing but poverty as the team has struggled to be competitive on the field of play and also from a financial standpoint. And having bought the team from the McClatchy family every effort we were led to believe would be sought in turning this organization around.

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Bob Nutting has made sure that the team’s payroll has remained amongst the lowest in the league but while that facade has continued the team has profited greatly from the league hierarchy’s tax revenue sharing scheme . If only one could simply take Nutting at his word when he continues plead his case that the team isn’t making any money. But the benefits reaped from paring down the the salary of the team and then reaping the dividends of the revenue scheme leads me to believe that the owner has less than economical with the truth ! So much so that now with the team now playing with a great deal more zeal it could very well be that the organization will be forced to become a buyer in the free agency market if they are to prove to their fans that there intent is to win. And with that very deadline due on the 31st July it could determine what we are to expect from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

As the NFL lockout continues and with both sets of lawyers for the league and union now intent on working out the legal verbiage for what will be a new 10 year CBA (collective bargaining agreement) , I would like to think that the owners within the NBA and league hierarchy are carefully taking note of the events taking place between the two sides. If it’s apparent that the NBPA is not at all interested in conceding to any of the requests being made of the by the league then the fans will bear witnesses to what very well be a very contentious battle .

Commissioner David Stern and his opposite number within the union executive director Billy Hunter are now looking for the league accede to their wishes. And once again both sides are showing their intransigence while at the same not wanting to back down in the eyes of the public. It seems abundantly clear both sides are underestimating the goodwill and patience of the fans and much like the idiocy shown by their counterparts in the NFL it may well take a prolonged lockout before we see both sides actually come to their senses.

From being a scoring champion to perennial All Star the fall from grace of Tracy McGrady simply has been astounding . Last season the player simply slipped further down in our conscience from that once formidable offensive threat to someone who if anything has become more of an enigma and conundrum all rolled into one. The player this upcoming season should there be one will be a free agent and he has stated that he feels that he can be a contributor to any team willing to take a chance on him.

In 2010 we saw Tracy McGrady as a member of the Detroit Pistons and as we all know the team had a miserable season . GM Joe Dumars had a contentious relationship with coach John Kuester and it has to be said with new owner , billionaire Tom Gores now in place I for one seriously doubt that the Pistons in their present guise will be a team to be reckoned with. Dumars’ own position within the Pistons’ front office could very well become somewhat tenuous as I firmly believe that the new ownership could very well be intent on bringing in someone who they feel that they are more likely to work alongside . Kuester was summarily fired by Dumars after last season’s disappointing record and lack of play all round.

At this stage of his career , as a fifteen year veteran in the league I seriously doubt that Tracy McGrady has that much left to offer a team , other than his experience . Most notably as a player his skills simply have declined to a point where he has become more of a liability rather than an asset to a team . And that to my mind simply doesn’t bode well for any franchise who might take a chance on the player .

The coaching position with the Detroit Piston still remains vacant and with Tom Gores , incoming as the new team owner , there’s no doubt that he will assess the situation and needs of the organization before coming to a decision as to who ought to succeed John Kuester . Joe Dumars may well feel that it is either time to step down or continue to work within the Pistons’ organization in conjunction with the new owner.

And so the Women’s World World Cup comes to an abrupt end with Japan defeating USA on penalties 3-1 in a shootout after regular and then overtime play. What gave anyone reason to believe why the US ought to be deemed favorites is completely beyond me ! They may well have the experience but in straight laced terms , there were not the best team in the tournament and certainly not based on their play ! If truth be known the Japanese having beaten the two best teams in the quarters and semi finals simply showed why they were deserving of this victory. And this is not meant to demean the achievements of the US team in this tournament . Emotions and the fact that with all that the tiny nation had been through in the aftermath of a natural disaster may well have made Japan an heartwarming favorite . But I believe them to be favorites coming into this game solely based on their play. Throughout the tournament you simply see the Japanese team raise the level of their play and wherein they just played to their strengths and showed that technically they were that much better than their opponents and most notably so in the final match of the competition .

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Bob Ley (left) , Brandi Chastain and Tony DiCicco discuss the role of nerves in the Final, and how this team fits into the legacy of US Women’s Soccer. Courtesy of ESPN ……..

As is usual in such cases ESPN brings in what they deem to be people with knowledge of the game of soccer . Granted , the game still has its detractors and supporters but in all honesty if they are bringing in analysts with insight , then let it be someone whose bloviated bias won’t be so pronounced that you simply are going to be resoundingly bored by their observations and commentary . And that has certainly been the case throughout their coverage of the competition. Brandy Chastain , Briana Scurry and Tony DiCicco simply have been an adulterated busts as commentators and analysts . No amount of impartiality could be shown by either of the trio even if their lives depended on it . Whether or not you are associated or have been associated with the teams as each have at least have the temerity to provide the viewers with something more than your blatant bias . With the loss came the perfunctory excuses as to their views as to why the US failed but their lack of candor in acknowledging the team on the day was simply outplayed leads me to believe that they viewed Japan as a minor hurdle in what they felt to be a victory that was guaranteed prior to the start of the game ! Don’t get me wrong if you’re going to state a reason why a team ought to win you have also got to be prepared to state the reasons why they could also fail . Something I feel that ESPN and their so called analysts seemingly forget whilst on air !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal …… https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Contact ….. rapptu@gmail.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Northern Irish golfer Darren Clarke poses with the Claret Jug on the 18th green the morning after winning the 140th British Open Golf championship at Royal St George’s in Sandwich, Kent, south-east England, on July 18, 2011. AFP PHOTO/Getty Images/ Peter Muhly ….

(2) SANDWICH, ENGLAND – JULY 17: during the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George’s on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images …..

(3) Scott Van Pelt (left) of ESPN is seen here with co-host Andy North a former PGA Tour professional and two time Major winner . Courtesy of ESPN/ABC ……

(4) HOUSTON – JULY 17: Right fielder Xavier Paul (38) of the Pittsburgh Pirates leaps but can’t make the catch on a home run by Humberto Quintero (55) of the Houston Astros in the eleventh inning at Minute Maid Park on July 17, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images …

(5) HOUSTON – JULY 17: Center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) of the Pittsburgh Pirates is congratulated by Neil Walker (18) and Alex Pressley(44) after makeng a sliding catch on a fly ball off the bat of Clint Barmes (12) of the Houston Astros in the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park on July 17, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images …

(6) Former Pirates CEO Kevin McClatchy and Chairman of the Board Robert (Bob) Nutting discuss the “change of control” within the Pirates ownership. The McClatchy family who owned the team outright sold the concern to Bob Nutting and a consortium of investors in 2007 . Phil Rombach/ Pittsburgh Post Gazette ….

(7) In this April 10, 2011, file photo, then-Detroit Pistons coach John Kuester reacts to a call in the first half of the Pistons’ 112-101 win over the Charlotte Bobcats in an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C. The Los Angeles Lakers have hired Kuester as an assistant under new coach Mike Brown, reuniting the duo who worked in Cleveland together. AP Photo/Chuck Burton ……

(8) Pistons’ owner Tom Gores is seen here with the team’s GM Joe Dumars at the Palace of Auburn Hills , Auburn Hills , Michigan, home to the basketball franchise . Gores purchased the team from the Davidson family whose patriarch Bill Davidson died in 2009. AFP/ Chris Gould ……

(9) Tracy McGrady (1) of of the Detroit Pistons drives against James Jones (22) of the Miami Heat during a game at American Airlines Arena on January 28, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Getty Images North America / Mike Ehrmann …..

(10) TOPSHOTS: Japan’s midfielder Homare Sawa (C) celebrates with the trophy and teammates after the FIFA Women’s Football World Cup final match Japan vs USA on July 17, 2011 in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany. Japan won 3-1 in a penalty shoot-out after the final had finished 2-2 following extra-time. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ

(11) FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY – JULY 17: (L-R) Homare Sawa of Japan winning the adidas golden shoe award as the best player of the tournament and Abby Wambach of USA, winning the adidas silver golden shoe stand on the podium after being rewarded during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final match between Japan and USA at the FIFA World Cup stadium Frankfurt on July 17, 2011 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Japan against USA 5-3 after penalty shoot-out. Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images ….

(12) FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY – JULY 17: Tobin Heath of USA (3rd R) comforts Sahnnon Boxx of USA (R) after failed shooting a penalty during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final match between Japan and USA at the FIFA World Cup stadium Frankfurt on July 17, 2011 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Japan won 5-3 after penalty shoot-out against the USA. Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images ……

(13) Bob Ley (left) , Brandi Chastain and Tony DiCicco discuss the role of nerves in the Final, and how this team fits into the legacy of US Women’s Soccer. Courtesy of ESPN ……..
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What’s Happening ? Nuthin’ ! Hotties Are Needed !

What’s Happening ? Nuthin’ ! Hotties Are Needed !

Well there’s not much on the sports horizon to be overly enamored with at present . Both the NBA and NFL lockouts continue apace with no real clear sign that either side is about to reach an accord anytime soon. At the same we have the usual cabal of analysts and reporters providing us with the customary verbiage that has about as much rhyme or reason as fecal matter being thrown up against a wall and being described as modern contemporary art . ‘nough said !

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The MLB mid season showcase event the All Star Game continues with the game tonight itself at Chase Field in Phoenix , Arizona . There has been little any discord with regard to protests in opposition to the state’s immigration bill . At the same time we now have the about face shown by slugger Adrian Gonzalez , which once again shows why it’s best not lot take any notice of an athlete when they seek to make some sort of social statement . Gonzalez simply does himself a disservice and shows his complete stupidity to begin with concerning his original remarks about Arizona’s immigration bill.

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Lucy Pinder , model and reality tv star in Europe

Well from my own standpoint with there being so little to be really upbeat about when it comes to the world of sports at present . I can’t get into the Women’s World Cup albeit that the hound in me would like to lay the wood to team USA goal-keeper Hope Solo ! Move over Brandi Chastain Hope Solo’s rack and bod’ is far hotter than yours by a damn wide margin !

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So guys indulge me if you can while I simply drop a few tidbits of voluptuous females your way merely to brighten up the day ! If it’s not to your liking then so be it but if it’s something that you’re OK with then by all means do leave a comment .

Alan aka tophatal …………. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) FILE – This April 13, 2011, file photo shows Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Kurt Rambis during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, in Minneapolis. The Timberwolves have fired Rambis after two seasons on the job. A person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Tuesday, July 12, 2011, that Rambis has been fired. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision has not been announced by the team. Does anyone actually believe that there’s any common sense to be found within the entire front office of the Timberwolves at present ? Certainly the blame doesn’t rest solely with Kurt Rambis but also with owner Glen Taylor and GM David Kahn . AP Photo/Jim Mone …..

(2) PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 11: American League All-Star Adrian Gonzalez (28) of the Boston Red Sox participates in the final round of the 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby at Chase Field on July 11, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images ….

(3) FILE – This Feb. 5, 2011, file photo shows members of the NFL Football Hall of Fame 2011 class, from left, Marshall Faulk, Shannon Sharpe and Deion Sanders, being interviewed following the announcement, in Dallas. Shannon Sharpe has chosen his older brother, former star receiver Sterling Sharpe, as his presenter when he is enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month. The Hall announced the presenters for the Aug. 6 ceremony on Monday, July 11, 2011. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …..

(4) Hope Solo of the U.S. attends a training session ahead of the Women’s World Cup semi-final match against France in Moenchengladbach July 12, 2011. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender -GERMANY – Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP

(5) Team USA goal keeper Hope Solo holds aloft the national flag. Imagine her naked with nothing but the flag adorning her body ? Nice !

(6) Elisha Cuthbert and Mila Kunis . Cuthbert is best best remembered from season’s 1&2 of Fox’s action drama “24” . Kunis also a Fox alumni is best remembered for her role as Jackie Burkhardt from their comedy ” That 70’s Show”. But she’s grown as can be attested to in her girl on girl lesbian scene opposite Natalie Portman in the Oscar nominated movie ” Black Swan” . courtesy of Maxim Magazine …….

(7) Stacey Dash now on the north side of forty and still lookin’ friggin’ hot !

(8) Olivia Wilde . Seen in Fox’s medical drama “House” and the Disney blockbuster hit Tron Legacy” and soon to be seen in Jon Favreau’s Western sci fi drama “Cowboys & Aliens” . Courtesy of GQ Magazine . ….

(9) How ’bout having Esther Baxter slide up and down your pole ? Not such a bad thing eh ? Courtesy of Covergirl Magazine.

(10) Get crunk’d because I’m prescribing some Ashley Logan . God damn !

(11) Jessica Acevedo aka Jessica Rabbit also a doyenne and staple of the hip hop video world .

(12) There’s a reason why Denise Milani’s goodies need to be kept close together !

(13) UK newspaper tabloid model Rhian Sugden .

(14) Lucy Pinder , model and reality tv star in Europe .
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It’s The Results That Matter …………………

It’s The Results That Matter

Well the baseball season is slowly unfolding and as it to be expected the highs and low of the season are to be expected . The Minnesota Twins it appears is on its way to becoming synonymous with mediocrity within baseball for this season . It will be interesting to see if the team does indeed end up with the worst record in baseball at season’s end. And for Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire this can’t have been what he expected for his team and the very fact that their All Star catcher Joe Mauer was lost to the Twins for a prolonged period. The Minnesota Twins for their part have made Target Field in Minnesota something of an elephant’s graveyard with the mediocre play and lack of the real cohesion as a team .

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It would appear having got back to winning ways of sort in defeating the Texas Rangers —- 8-1 one would have thought that victory would enough to provide the Twins’ fans with some form of relief but nothing could be further from the truth. The Minnesota Twins are languishing at the bottom of the NL Central with a 25-39 record , some 10 games behind the division leading Cleveland Indians (34-28). Having won 8 of their last ten games the Twins continue to struggle and one would be hard pressed to believe that over the remainder of the season they could prove to be serious challengers not just for the division but also for a wildcard berth within the AL .

The month of June will tell us a great deal as to the directions that a number of teams will be taking . From a personal standpoint although I just can’t see the Twins making any sort of change that would have me believing that they can actually turn things around . This team appears to be lacking in confidence and I doubt that Gardenhire and his coaching staff can now coax this team to play with any level of consistency in spite of their last ten games. This has been a season thus far that I believe that the Twins’ fans and players would rather forget as they simply move systematically back and forth in terms of an uneven season .

The CONCACAF Gold Cup has started and no doubt Team USA under the management of coach Bob Bradley was hoping to see the team show some improvement as a sign that they are heading in the right direction in lieu of the FIFA —- World Cup (2014) in Brazil in 2012 . The team is off to an inauspicious start in Group C having played three games , winning one , a draw and a rather embarrassing 2-1 loss to Panama . If anything this result shows that Bradley faces a stiff challenging a team that will have the right traits not only to qualify for the World Cup but also have some semblance in winning the Gold Cup.

Viewed as a pre tournament contender and favorite alongside Mexico the team still stands a good chance of making out of the group qualifying rounds before the format of the tournament then becomes a knockout competition . Starved of an out and out attacker with formidable goal scoring talent this has simply been the Bradley’s biggest lament . In the tournament the team’s joint top scorers are Clint Dempsey are Clarence Goodson with one goal apiece . I have always maintained that the real problem with the game of soccer resonating amongst the large majority of the fans here comes from the very fact that it is merely viewed as a recreational pass-time . And even though MLS a divisional endeavor is up and running the league itself still struggles to create any form of a seismic rumble amongst fans . Granted with the number of international stars acquired to add some glamor to the league it really hasn’t helped given the fact that the likes of Thierry Henry , David Beckham and Maicon Santos are either players who were unable to establish themselves domestically in their respective countries or in the cases of Henry and Beckham their best is simply now a thing of the past.

This Gold Cup was obviously viewed as a precursor for the upcoming World Cup and with Bradley obviously wanting gain some semblance of consistency instead he now has a team that is bereft of creativity and ideas in light of this rather humiliating 2-1 loss to Panama a team that seven times out of ten they should beat handily .

The team now faces a stern test in their next game to be played with Group C against Guadeloupe on the 14 th June . A win is a necessity if they’re to not only qualify from the group but also gain a favorable match-up in the knockout phase of the competition . It remains to be seen whether or not Bradley will be able to regroup his players and have them ready in time for the match .

At the start of the NBA season it seemed that in large part the vast majority of fans were already prepared to anoint the Miami Heat as NBA champions even before the season had started . With the acquisitions of Chris Bosh and LeBron James to add alongside Dwyane Wade it appeared that all the Heat had to do was to simply waltz their way through their schedule and lay waste to the opposition during the postseason . Well as stories go this was a script that was still being written for the drama that would be played out in the NBA Finals .

The Dallas Mavericks may well be viewed as the underdogs coming into this series but if anything only a fool would actually have felt that way and there’s a reason why Vegas simply lured the suckers in with the odds favoring the Heat . Up 3-2 in the best of seven game series and with the final two games being on the Heat’s home-court of AAA Arena , Miami , Florida in order to close out the series . The Heat players in particular James and Wade knew exactly what was on the line for them not only in terms of the team players but the franchise as a whole . Team President Pat Riley and team owner Micky Arison’s master plan had been put into effect. An assortment of role players to surround their trio of superstars and all that had to be completed would be the defeat of the Mavericks to justify the whole experiment and season as a whole .
If only the Heat players and in particular James , Wade and Bosh had left their enormous egos at the door ! Instead we saw how complacent all three had become and the classness of their demeanor throughout much of the series . And for Erik Spoelstra one has to wonder whether or not some of the blame will be layed at his door beyond that of the players and in particular the triumvirate of superstars ?

Contempt and ignorance when it manifests itself in a team , then more often than not it tends to lead to disaster and it became a reality for the Miami Heat as their hold on what they believe to be rightfully theirs was taken right out of their presumed grasp by a Mavericks’ team that simply hungered for the title even more so than their opponent . Dirk Nowitzki along with Jason Terry and JJ Barea simply showed why at times it’s great to see the good guys actually win ! The trio led the team by example and outplayed the Heat when it mattered most and by securing the deciding game six victory 105-95 the Dallas Mavericks would secure the organization’s first NBA title . And for the victorious team owner Mark Cuban this had to be the most relishing moment in his tenure as the owner of the basketball club .
Perhaps the most heart warming moment after the Finals had ended was in knowing that seasoned veterans Jason Terry , Nowitzki and Jason Kidd could finally acknowledge that they can indeed now be looked upon as being champions .

Dirk Nowitzki justifiably so , was named Finals MVP with his stellar play throughout the postseason and the Finals itself . On the flip side of the case that will now be made ……….. was the hyperbole over the Heat simply worth it considering how lackluster this team’s performances were ? We had James and Wade mocking Nowitzki’s illness prior to game 6 and even if it were meant in jest it showed how lacking in class the duo were ! Pretty much sums up how best to describe a bunch of self absorbed athletes who simply believe that the entitlement mentality and adoration makes them the persons that they are ! From my own perspective I am thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle of seeing the Heat being hoisted on their own petards in front of their home crowd . It makes that defeat all the more embarrassing not just for the fans but the whole organization as a whole . Perhaps after this James and Wade will have at least learned some civility rather than the odious behavior that they’d shown throughout much of the regular and postseason. The results matter but so too does the demeanor under which a team carries themselves during a sporting event and that simply wasn’t shown here with the Miami Heat. Decorum was never within their sphere as they simply strolled around without any deference to anyone at all !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 11: Arthur Rhodes (53) of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Minnesota Twins during the eighth inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …..

(2) Delmon Young (21) of the Minnesota Twins singles against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …….

(3) Ben Revere (11) of the Minnesota Twins steals second base as shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) of the Texas Rangers catches the ball during the fourth inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ………..

(4) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 11: Alexi Casilla (12) of the Minnesota Twins hits an RBI single while Mike Napoli (25) of the Texas Rangers defends home plate during the fourth inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ….

(5) Clarence Goodson (21) of Team United States celebrates his goal against Team Panama during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Getty Images / J Meric ……..

(6) Jozy Altidore (17) of Team United States advances the ball against Team Panama during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. J Meric / Getty Images North America ….

(7) Team Panama celebrates their victory over Team United States during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images North America ……

(8) Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban carries the NBA Championship basketball trophy as he leads the team off the jet after their arrival at Love Field in Dallas, Monday, June 13, 2011. The Mavericks beat the Heat to win the championship. AP Photo/LM Otero ….

(9) “I am not a pussy . ” LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat looks on dejected against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …..

(10) Tyson Chandler (right) of the Dallas Mavericks attempts a shot against Miami Heat in the Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. AFP PHOTO / POOL / David J. Phillip ……

(11) TOPSHOTS : Dirk Nowitzki(notes) (R) of the Dallas Mavericks shoots before Chris Bosh(notes) (L) of the Miami Heat during Game 6 of the NBA Finals on June 12, 2011 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT ….

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The Greasy Wheel Is Being Oiled But Would You Would Be Surprised By Who’s Involved In It All ?

The Greasy Wheel Is Being Oiled But Would You Would Be Surprised By Who’s Involved In It All ?

If there’s one thing I know it is that once a sport becomes so corrupt at the highest levels possible it is certain that the executives involved in any wrong doing are likely to want this all covered up. In what appears to be the most egregious of acts two senior executives within FIFA have been suspended by its President Sepp Blatter . The two individuals in question Jack A. W Warner an executive (President) with CONCACAF and Mohammed Bin Hamman another senior executive within FIFA. Blatter for his part has stated that FIFA will become more openly transparent in light of the scandal which involved Hamman and Warner having accepted bribes in order to secure their votes related to the hosting of specific FIFA tournaments . Most notably the World Cup in 2018 (Russia) and 2022 (Qatar). Brazil will stage the event in 2014 and though there is nothing to suggest that the host country in South America is said to have been involved any impropriety concerning these latest allegations. There now seems to be a feeling that there may well have some form of impropriety to have taken place by one if not a number of high ranking officials within FIFA .

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Thomas Warner and Mohammed Bin Hamman are two of Sepp Blatter’s most trusted allies and it would appear that Blatter while not being immediately embroiled in this latest scandal may well have known about the duo’s activities . The FIFA President was recently re-elected for a fourth consecutive term having succeeded his predecessor Jaoa Havelange in 1998. Since Blatter’s ascendancy to the position there have been a litany of allegations that have come to light not only about senior members of the FIFA Executive Committee having accepted bribes but also misappropriations of funds . Soccer has become a complete laughing stock in light of the allegations but what might be even more idiotic are the claims now being made by US Soccer’s President Sunil Gulati that having endorsed the re-election of Blatter , he sees it as a chance for FIFA to reassert itself in the eyes of the public and become more openly transparent . Blatter has shown little sign of that given the repeated allegations and misdeeds that have taken place over the course of his tenure. Sepp Blatter has become autocratic and brow beats those who oppose him , while at the same time making sure those who are supportive of his ideas benefit financially. If nothing else , Blatter has eschewed the idea of real reform within FIFA but he may well now be forced to do so if as is being claimed Interpol will seek to get involved by conducting their very own investigation .

Now while there have been rumblings that several affiliate organizations would like to see a re-vote take place but that would be very unlikely as Blatter was the only candidate who sought the position as FIFA President . My question is how in hell is this meant to be a democratic vote when there simply is only one candidate ___ Sepp Blatter who sought to become FIFA President ? This body from top to bottom has become the laughing stock of the sports’ world given the fact that the only other body which shows this sort of ineptitude on such a scale might just be UCI which governs the sport of cycling internationally. That particular body headquartered in Aigle , Switzerland has been so complicit and culpable in not making a serious attempt in stemming the prolific abuse and use of steroids and other illicit drugs within the sport. Two of the sport’s most high profiled and visible riders , Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador both Tour de France champions have been embroiled in allegations of having the banned substance EPO (Erythropoietin) as well other illicit substances . In light of WADA now working in conjunction with UCI to have a strict and comprehensive drug testing policy in place I simply cannot see this sport ever making a serious attempt to clean up its image or the very sport .

Armstrong is now the subject of an ongoing investigation that is being conducted by the US Justice Department . The cyclist has proclaimed his innocense , states that the allegations against him are groundless and are without any foundation. But herein lies the caveat to this madness, George Hincapie and Tyler Hamilton both former teammates of the seven time Tour de France champion have stated that they saw the cyclist use not only EPO but also several other substances banned by UCI . Hamilton in a recent interview granted to the CBS news magazine program 60 Minutes reiterated his claim that not only had he seen Armstrong inject himself but he also part-took in the subterfuge in the taking of various steroids. Radio Shack team manager Johan Bruyneel for which both Armstrong and Hamilton rode categorically denies the claims being made by Hamilton and he furthermore emphasizes that at no time was there any use of any banned substances being used by any member of the Radio Shack team over his tenure as its manager. While there’s no concrete evidence to suggest that Bruyneel’s claims are false , one has to ask the question are both Hamilton and Hincapie lying , given the fact that their subpoenad testimony to the Justice Department has to be taken with some credibility ? Only an idiot would think to lie to a federal law enforcement officer knowing the legal ramifications of such an act. Lance Armstrong for his part has brought together a powerhouse , in terms of a legal team. Such has been the rider’s staunch defense of his image and credibility that he knows that if indicted he would face a monumental task in trying to prove his innocence . Granted , the rider has never tested positive while in competition but the questions still remain as to the veracity of Armstrong’s innocence as see his image and accomplishments being tarnished in the public domain as well as in the print and television media.

I have long held the notion that once the claims of corruption or wrong doing by a governing body or athlete within a sport there is no denying that once the claims are out there it is indeed very hard to try and disprove them . Cycling much like soccer has become corrupt and it has manifested itself in not only the actions of the riders but also the sheer incompetency of UCI . Doubt my word then simply look at how that governing body has simply conducted their investigations and how little the sport has actually changed in terms of trying to abate the prolific use of illicit substances with cycling ?

FIFA President Sepp Blatter for all of his new found resolve and wish to see the body he governs become more transparent . Herein lies the idiocy of those claims , two of his most trusted allies were caught with their hands in the cookie jar . It begs the question as to how deep those went and what if anything Sepp Blatter is said to have known or suborned with his own actions ? Numerous times Blatter and FIFA have been embroiled multiple scandals while simply doing nothing but tarnish the game’s image .

Being an ardent and avid soccer fan I am now at my wit’s end to understand how damn naive and stupid the affiliate organizations are within the FIFA ! To not even have a challenger to Sepp Blatter in the voting for that body’s most senior executive position shows not only the lack of intelligence within the organization but also there isn’t any real democratic process in place . There was very little chance that there would have been abstention or a vote opposing Blatter’s re-election . This is now how perverse and corrupt FIFA has become and will remain . Sepp Blatter claims he seeks transparency but in reality nothing could be further from the truth.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the allegations that have come to the fore concerning FIFA and Lance Armstrong what thoughts if any do you have with regard to those claims ? Simply chime with a comment as to your thoughts .

Alan aka tophatal ……………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below

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(1) Sepp Blatter President of Fifa speaks during the FIFA Ballon d’or Gala at the Zurich Kongresshaus on January 10, 2011 in Zurich, Switzerland. Getty Images Europe /Michael Steele ……

(2) Senior FIFA Executive Mohammed Bin Hamman who has since been suspended by the Executive Committee of FIFA for the improprieties concerning the accepting of a bribe and alleged vote rigging . Bin Hamman is a close and trusted ally of FIFA President Sepp Blatter . AFP/Reuters /Christoff Karlsson ……

(3) FIFA vice president Jack Warner, right, with Sepp Blatter, the president of the international soccer governing body. Warner also holds the position as being the President of CONCACAF which governs international soccer for the region covering North America , Central & South America and the Caribbean . Paul Chiasson/Associated Press ….

(4) Pat Quaid President of UCI is seen here with Johan Bruyneel . Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter Sirotti …. Copyrighted material all rights reserved …

(5) ADELAIDE, Australia, Jan 23, 2010 (AFP) – Lance Armstrong’s simmering row with Tour de France champion Alberto Contador (left) is “healthy” for cycling and better than the usual doping controversies, the sport’s chief said on Saturday. Both riders are still embroiled with allegations of doping within the sport of cycling. Contador recently had a suspension lifted by the CAS but it now remains to be seen how he will be viewed by his fellow competitors and the fans of cycling alike . AFP ……..

(6) US Soccer President Sunil Gulati felt it prudent in voting for the reelection of Sepp Blatter rather than voting in opposition or abstaining . The reason given by Gulati is that he felt that Blatter is sincere in changing the environment within FIFA after all the major controversies that have come to light within that esteemed body . This is the sort of idiocy now being shown that clearly the problems that have befallen FIFA are in fact also due to the gullibility of the affiliated organizations around the globe . AFP/Reuters / Paul Castle …………

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Winding Down Or Winding Up As The Case Maybe

Winding Down Or Winding Up As The Case Maybe

Like me I suppose for the rest of you the topic and I do mean topic of conversation in the sports world may well have rested on LeBron James’ announcement that he was leaving Cleveland to resume his NBA career in Miami with the Miami Heat . Glasses were raised on South Beach while the once loyal fans of James in Cleveland showed their “disdain” for the player by burning his jersey replicas and whatever else they had in their possession associated with player. Not to be outdone Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert had a scalding reprimand for the player and essentially called him a coward.

Now far be it for me to show no real concern over this but once ESPN and their reporter Jim Gray chose to bilk this story for far more than it was worth , I essentially became tired of the story and of James the self appointed ” King” without a kingdom . Now don’t get me wrong with James now joining the Heat along also the recently acquired Chris Bosh to play with Dwyane Wade . This has now in essence made the Heat the presumptive favorites in the Eastern Conference and a legitimate challenger to the Los Angeles Lakers and the defense of their NBA title .

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Now while all of this has come into play perhaps the two proudest and most certainly the happiest are Heat team President Pat Riley and the team’s multi-billionaire owner Micky Arison who also happens to be the owner of Carnival Cruise Lines . My concern now has to be for the Heat’s coach Erik Spoelstra , given the fact that Riley engineered this coup-d’etat with little or no input from his coach. And with that in mind I wonder if Spoelstra will go now the same way of his predecessor Stan Van Gundy ? We all know that Van Gundy was relieved of his position so that Riley could make a quick exit from his executive position to take charge of the team win an a title and then relinquish the coach’s position and make a quick return back to his executive duties. Could this once again happen given the fact that the Heat now has Bosh , James and Wade all on the same team and with the lure there for Riley to return to the fray of coaching ? If I were Spoelstra at this juncture I’d be deeply concerned and looking over my shoulder with each passing second to see if Riley were there and whether or not he had a dagger in his hand !

Now while this has been going on the African continent and the country of South Africa has been hosting the World Cup. Outside the Summer Olympics this might just be the most watched sporting event and spectacle on the planet. FIFA President Joseph (“Sepp”) Blatter says that he expects as many as 700 million viewers worldwide to tune in and watch the finals itself. It has now all come down to this with the 64th and final game of the competition between Spain and the Netherlands . And though Spain would prevail as the 1-0 victors from a goal scored by Andres Iniesta in overtime , the game itself was something of a monotonous bore. With each team failing to convert a number of chances during regulatory play. As to what this might suggest to the first time observer of the sport I’ll leave that up to you to decide !

The most recent edition of FHM an adult oriented male magazine dealing in a wide range of topics issued their list of the “100 Sexiest Women In The World” and specifically dealt with their final top ten . Nothing wrong in that by my way of thinking but then again not all heterosexual males might well feel happy with FHM’s findings and their end result. Much like Maxim Magazine has its own list of their Top 100 Most Desirable Females , I for one feel that it’s something of a trade off in order to create some hype and controversy between the two publications on their observations and then leaving it for their patrons to continue to argue over or discuss !

And amongst FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women (2010) they have Desire Siahaan , Freida Pinto , Megan Fox and slew of bodacious looking females that would be enough to make a guy salivate and drool like a newborn child . But then again what grown man doesn’t when looking at a voluptuous and beautiful female ? My own thoughts on the matter goes with the old saying ………..”beauty is in the eye of the beholder” .

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Picture gallery for your perusal. Click on frame to see the picture in its original format.

Chime in with a comment if you so wish and your thoughts on the sporting weekend in general.

NB: Click on the link provided to view the list of FHM’s Sexiest Women In The World For 2010 . You will most certainly enjoy this pictorial . And that I can assure you will be the least of your concerns !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………….. 🙂

Black Sheep ………………………. “The Choice Is Yours”

If You Can’t Face Adversity Square On And Look At It Face On Then What Use Are You If You’ve Learned Nothing At All From It ?

If You Can’t Face Adversity Square On And Look At It Face On Then What Use Are You If You’ve Learned Nothing At All From It ?

Bitch and whine but yet throwing out statistics merely to justify a loss in a competitive match simply shows complete naivete and a lack of understanding as to what it takes to win. But low and behold forty eight hours after bowing out of the World Cup we still have US fans trying to justify the claim that the US team were better than their nemesis Ghana in the round of 16 . So the US out-shot Ghana 20-16 but it’s the end result that counts and this what I believe is the asinine realization that seems to be lost on many of these fans. Wake up and smell the friggin’ coffee the US lost 2-1 to Ghana. The African nation made it to the quarter finals and the US didn’t so for God’s sake stop the bitching and fu_king whining as you’re all coming across like children who’ve been told to take a damn timeout ! If you want to be constructive in assessing the loss then look at what positives if any have come out of this all and not harp on about why you lost the game . The result most certainly can’t be changed at this juncture . And besides who says that the US team coached by Bob Bradley was the better team to begin with ? Was it because a numb-nut like Alexi Lalas said so ? His understanding of the game and his opinions are about as warranted or merited as Paris Hilton’s views would be on peace in the Middle East ! For want of a better word who gives a sh_t to begin with ?

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Bob Bradley’s team was never that good to begin with and in terms of defense and their frontal players in attack. Well let’s just say there’d have been more presence upfront were it Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken as the frontal players on this US team. Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan showed the creativity and presence of a docile mouse. Now with the US having returned home US Soccer President Sunil Gulati can assess what went wrong, where, when and why. Personally, until there’s a real competitive presence within the MLS in terms of the “talent level” then we’ll never see the maturation of US soccer on the international stage. The respect that the US craves won’t be given and it first has to be earned which is something that the fans and their players simply have yet to learn. Nothing could be more prevalent than the attitude and demeanor shown by Bradley and in particular by Landon Donovan in their post game interviews after the loss to Ghana .


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OK, so here we are on the first day of the NBA __ free agency period and as of yet we’ve yet to hear whether or not Lebron James will be returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers or making a move elsewhere around the NBA. The thought was that James would be the “domino effect” that would set everything into effect. But that now appears to be not the case as it would appear that Toronto Raptors’ power forward Chris Bosh could well be the carrot that lures James into making a decision. Bosh as one of the second tier free agents on the market, is the most desired of the power forwards out there. And the thinking amongst several NBA analysts and general managers around the league is that whomever lands Bosh will have the upper hand in luring and signing Lebron James.

Now in assessing the situation my own feeling is that LeBron if he’s to win an NBA title then for his alleged Jordan persona will be in need of a Scottie Pippen. James despite being saddled with Antawn Jamison and Shaquille O’Neal , this Cavaliers’ team was merely doing it all with smoking mirrors. And for the ass kissing morons at ESPN who simply had their lips pressed so closely to James’ sphincter that they couldn’t see the reality that this team was simply not good enough to beat the Los Angeles Lakers much less the Boston Celtics . Mike Brown and former GM Danny Ferry simply built a team for the long haul of the regular season but not for the rigors of the postseason . And now with Brown having been fired and Ferry inauspiciously choosing to relinquish his position with the team. It has now been left to Dan Gilbert the team owner and newly installed GM Chris Grant to try and gauge the situation concerning James and his status. It doesn’t appear that there has been a great deal communication between James’ handlers and the Cavaliers’ front office . If that’s not enough of an indicator that things could quite possibly change with regard to the Cavaliers’ future then the situation could well be lost on the Cavaliers’ fans and their executives. What I find very telling concerning the coaching staff of the Cavaliers was that not one of their members has played professionally in the NBA. That’s almost unheard of amongst the coaching staffs of a number franchises around the league.

Now with the Cavaliers now rushing to sign Byron Scott as the team’s next coach, with the position having been turned down by Lakers’ assistant Brian Shaw. This off season has been a very interesting one for the Cavaliers to say the least.

At one should a team give up on the season in baseball ? Now approaching the league’s mid-season showcase of the All Star Game to be held at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California __ for which the event should prove be a great spectacle. The season has been filled with one or two surprises in the league and perhaps the biggest surprise might be that of the Cincinnati Reds and their ongoing battle for supremacy within the NL Central . While that has gone on , the Chicago Cubs seemingly finds with each passing game ways of sinking into further realms of mediocrity . I’m not about to say that the Cubs are done but my God if this team were a lame dog or horse they’d have been put down and euthanized. Cubs’ manager Lou Piniella seems to be out of touch and his team even more so but then again we are talking about the lovable and hapless Chicago Cubs where losing has now become the norm and winning has become a thing of the past .

Reds’ manager Dusty Baker could very well end up becoming the NL Manager of The Year should his team win the division. Other than that there’s not much more that can be said about the Cubs and their situation . As to the surprising ascendancy of the Reds it’s hard to bet against them and their season thus far. The play of Joey Votto and the middle order of the team’s offense has been simply astonishing . Their play seems to epitomize what this team seems to be about and what they’re doing makes them the NL story of the season.

Close your eyes and you’re liable to miss the image of the NFL as it sinks lower under the tenure of Roger Goodell . As for my own view on Goodell , well, let’s put it this way, for the highest ranking executive in the NFL to seem all clueless as to the players of the NFL and their behavior. Star players such as Michael Vick and Vince Young bring the image and reputation of the NFL into further disrepute and Goodell can only act like a Roman Catholic priest caught in the midst of another sex scandal . Instead of dealing with the situation with some authority , instead what we’re seeing from the NFL commissioner is the very fact that he’s a gutless individual ! Never mind the fact that there have been some serious allegations that have arisen concerning an Indianapolis Colts’ defensive tackle Eric Foster and a rape allegation . If Goodell handles this the way that he handled the Ben Roethlisberger situation then we might as well shut up shop as far as the image of the NFL is concerned. Because it’s not as if the NLPA and Executive Director DeMaurice Smith are in the least bit concerned with the image of their members to begin with. It’s as one patron of my site stated he’s not in the least bit concerned about an NFL player being involved in a fight . My question to him was what if the situation had escalated wherein the player ended up losing his life in an act of gun violence ? For which he’s yet to respond to my question but then again I shouldn’t expect anything less from someone who thinks that gun violence is probably the best way to resolve an issue. But then again amongst young African Americans that’s probably the be all end all when they’re severely lacking intelligence. Word to wise for Vince Young and in particular Michael Vick grow the fuck up and stop being and behaving like an asshole ! You’re both doing yourselves and your race a great disservice !

As for the Indianapolis Colts and their GM Bill Polian they’ve been less reticent to issue a statement concerning the matter and the alleged rape. The so called “pristine image” of the Indianapolis Colts is about as clean as that of the Roman Catholic church and their wish to be seen as God’s representative of Christianity on the earth. By my way of thinking that’s akin to asking a group of neo Nazis to be the custodians of the Torah and a church filled with young African American school children. You simply know that no good can from the outcome much like the Colts’ need to keep this all quiet and completely away from the public domain . And nowhere is this more self evident than in the actions of the organization and that of the commissioner’s office. And as to the assumption of the NFL if it’s a first time offense by a player then the league has a right to deal with the issue as it sees fit. Well whatever happened to the league’s player conduct policy ? Goodell much like his edict is completely full of shit much like the rest of the crap that he’d like for us all to buy into. I wonder how Goodell might have dealt would’ve dealt with the Ray Carruth affair were he commissioner at the time ?

Doubt my word concerning the NFL then simply look at the actions of Goodell and the inconsistencies of his rulings over the past few years ? Show me the consistencies in his deliberations and how he has come by them and then ask yourself is there any justification as to the types of punishment that has been meted out ? Goodell actions haven‘t exactly been seen as a deterrent to the players who court trouble and then hide behind the legalities of a justice system that has been all too soft on celebrities and in particular athletes. Were the actions seen that of an every day citizen then we’d be asking what the hell is going on. But as I’ve alluded to before the justice system and that of what Roger Goodell deems as being fair is about as equal in its logic as the actions of a habitual liar., Their actions are that way as a safety mechanism because it’s the only way that they know how to act.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Chime on in with a comment as you see fit and I’ll do my best to respond to your comments as succinctly as I can and once again thanks as always for your continued support and patronage. It’s been appreciated throughout my time here contributing within this domain.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal

Red Hot Chili Peppers ………… Give It Away

Discipline, The Concept of Business And Sports

Discipline, The Concept of Business And Sports

In all honesty I can say that I thoroughly enjoy my work as a research analyst within the corporate affairs department of a noted law firm . Now having said that in the endeavor of working with a number corporate litigators with regard business incorporations for corporations not just here in the United States but also in their incorporation for overseas. That being said , I’ve always felt that we can learn a great deal about sports be it from an individualistic standpoint or through a team endeavor. By merely just adapting the solid business principles applicable if one adheres to those principles then it does make things a great deal easier. I do feel that we can understand greatly what’s needed to make not only a business successful but also sports organization be it a franchise or an individual in their own respective regimen.

Practice, dedication and applying one’s self to and adhering to that discipline. Over the weekend I wasn’t really able to get in a great deal of watching that much sports as a great deal of my time was spent collating a number of files for work. Having done that I was lucky enough to see a number of sporting events that took place. The World Cup has now reached the knockout stage and all of the bitching and whining isn’t going to hide the fact that the expectations of both England and the USA had failed to be met. In the round of 16, the US fell to a well-disciplined Ghanaian team . Never mind the fact that I’d read within this forum , a number bloggers who had this asinine notion that this Bob Bradley coached team would simply march through Ghana as if they were none existent. Much of the time, when I read such diatribe I can only surmise that much of this comes from the personification of xenophobia rather than anything that has been rationally or well thought out. But a lot of that came about from the fact that those who are actually writing about the subject might not actually know a great deal about the sport.

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Sadly for the US team , their journey in the World Cup came to an abrupt end in their 2-1 loss to Ghana , who now proceed on to the quarter finals of the event. The US’s Group C fellow residents, England ,would fail also to make it through to last eight of the World Cup. The Fabio Capello coached team would fail miserably as they were thoroughly outclassed by their most fabled foe and nemesis Germany. Any thought of England reliving the 1966 World Cup Finals would be thoroughly dismissed as they were outclassed by a German team that simply was too much for an English team that lacked the will and creativity to be competitive and win !. What little that the English fans in attendance saw , could only have disappointed. With that being said, Capello had thought that the game hinged on a disallowed goal, was idiotic , from the very outset. Rather than pouncing on the real reasons why his team lacked an effort and it became all the more relevant that the team became completely deflated . As they would succumb to a German that team wanted to win with a great deal of passion and desire. And that was most definitely the case, as they came a away with a thoroughly convincing 4-1 victory over their English counterparts.

Well now that the backbone of the Tampa Bay Rays seems to have been broken about the only thing left was for there to be some discord shown amongst the players. Having seen only mere snippets of the Carlos Zambrano meltdown wherein he berated his teammate Derrick Lee of the Chicago Cubs. Not that I’ve ever been overly concerned with anything that’s allegedly pertinent about the Cubs as this is an organization who simply doesn’t know how to win much less being able to spell the word were you to spot the them the letters W and N ! This is a club whose manager Lou Pinellas’s best years as a manager are behind him. With Zambrano being indefinitely being suspended by GM Jim Hendry and Piniella, it remains to be seen how the Cubs will regroup and reemerge from this all.

Over the weekend we saw the Rays’ B J Upton show us all why he will forever remain an enigma for this organization. All “the talent in the world” but Upton appears to be either a “knuckle head” or someone who just doesn’t seem to care much about the game at times. This was very much evident in the inter-league game between the Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks . Rather than chasing down a ball hit in deep left center field ,Upton merely loll gagged as he jogged to the wall made the fielding play and then threw the ball back into the infield . He would later state that he’d misjudged the play and was under the impression that his teammate Jason Bartlett was within easy reach of the ball that would elicit a triple being attained by the Diamondbacks . For the fans who saw this , I can only surmise that for them it was either disgust or the mere fact that they’ve now become use to seeing Upton become lazy and make the most extraordinary of excuses for his lackadaisical play. What might have been more exacerbating was that Rays’ manager Joe Maddon tried to shrug this all off as if it were nothing important. But it was important enough for Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria to see fit to dress down his teammate for his poor play ,decision making and complete lack of effort shown by the out-fielder. And for the notion that this has now all blown over if this is an indication of the meltdown we’re now seeing from a team that can’t seem to put together a series of wins much less score runs. Then before it’s all said and done we could see this team’s season go completely up in smoke.

OK by now, you all know that I am no great admirer of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. Neither of these two high ranking officials have shown their wish to acknowledge what has now become more a rather acute topic. And that is the mere fact that players having suffered multiple concussions are now prone to multiple lapses in concentration , loss of memory and severe head pains. Now in the midst of this all with the recent autopsy and medical report concerning former Cincinnati Bengalis’ wide receiver Chris Henry . We’re now being made aware that the player had suffered several head concussions brought on from playing in the NFL . In addition, not only that but the player was said to be a sufferer of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). An abnormal bruising of the brain that can lead to mild forms of dementia, losing of one’s speech and in some cases lead to a person’s loss of their motor neuron skills. That being said, the player’s death should now be a great cause for concern, given what we now know from the findings in this medical report.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

WVU doctors: Chris Henry had chronic brain injury


By Vicki Smith Associated Press Writer

Morgantown, W.Va,. (AP) Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry suffered from a chronic brain injury that may have influenced his mental state and behavior before he died last winter, West Virginia University researchers said Monday.

The doctors had done a microscopic tissue analysis of Henry’s brain that showed he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Neurosurgeon Julian Bailes and California medical examiner Bennet Omalu, co-directors of the Brain Injury Research Institute at WVU, announced their findings alongside Henry’s mother, Carolyn Henry Glaspy, who called it a “big shock” because she knew nothing about her 26-year-old son’s underlying condition or the disease.

Henry died in December, a day after he came out of the back of a pickup truck his fiancee was driving near their home in Charlotte, N.C. It’s unclear whether Henry jumped or fell. Toxicology tests found no alcohol in his system, and an autopsy concluded he died of numerous head injuries, including a fractured skull and brain hemorrhaging.

But Bailes, team doctor for the Mountaineers and a former Pittsburgh Steelers physician, said it’s easy to distinguish those acute traumatic injuries from the underlying condition he and Omalu found when staining tiny slices of Henry’s brain.

Bailes and fellow researchers believe chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is caused by multiple head impacts, regardless of whether those blows result in a concussion diagnosis. A number of studies, including one commissioned by the NFL , have found that retired professional football players may have a higher rate than normal of Alzheimer’s disease and other memory problems.

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It appears that for the likes of both Goodell and Smith, this issue is the least bit of importance to them at this very juncture. I have heard it said that Goodell has a great deal on his plate as commissioner of the NFL. From my standpoint the only thing at appears to concern Goodell and Smith….. is the sound of cash falling into the NFL’s coffers and how best the two parties can best disperse of their windfall ! Goodell and DeMaurice Smith haven’t brought it upon themselves to deal with this very issue head on . If anything they both would rather hide behind their ever increasing glib sound bytes on the matter in stating that they’re taking everything under advisement from the very best medical professionals out there. My question to both Goodell and Smith is how much longer will they both carry on with this charade that the NFL and NFLPA are actually doing something proactive about this very matter ? Try pissing in a lake to see how much of a ripple effect is made and there you’ll find your answer as it concerns both the NFL and NFLPA !

Is it me but is the collective IQ of the alleged NBA writers comparable to that of the IQ’s of Paris Hilton and Heidi Montag combined ? I’m not saying that these idiots are absolutely clueless but if their continued speculation is anything to go by then each has their own idea as to where LeBron James’ final destination will be. Let us just say that both Cavaliers’ principal partner Dan Gilbert and the team’s GM Chris Grant had better know how to assemble a team that will complement James prerequisite skills . Up until now, all that James has been given is bare meat and potatoes instead of filet-mignon. In addition, as well we know when it comes eating the main course meat and potatoes does not go down well with Baron de Rothschild 62 vintage champagne. Now there is a great deal of speculation as to where James will ultimately end up. From what we know is that there are at said to be at least six interested parties for James’ services. However, if anything until we ultimately know what the teams are actually prepared to do. We can only prognosticate and debate the MVP’s future and where his future may now lay.

Now the Stephen Strasburg effect is playing its part in bringing out the fans to witness the young phenom’s prowess. I have a word of advice for the Washington Nationals’ fans out there. Now that his arbitration clock is ticking and given the fact that his agent is Scott Boras . Well, three years from now Strasburg may well be no longer be a Washington Nationals’ player. Suffice to say, that the New York Yankees will swoop down to take Strasburg off the Nationals’ hands. I don’t care what you might think but the present Nationals’ team isn’t going anywhere at all. They are simply not good enough in either facets of the game of baseball. Other than Strasburg, there is simply nothing at all worthwhile to look at, on what can be best described as a rather mundane and mediocre team.If you doubt my word simply, look at the box score of the game between the Nationals and Atlanta Braves . Strasburg pitched an outstanding effort for six innings only to see the bullpen waste an opportunity . In the end the NL East division leading Braves would come away with a 5-0 victory from Turner Field , Fulton County, Atlanta , Georgia.

Nationals’ team President Stan Kasten simply knows how to make the customary sound byte but beyond that he has to realize that he’s now facing an uphill battle in hoping to make the young pitcher the centerpiece of their future. If the Nationals cannot place a team good enough to supplement his talents then they might as well give up hope of retaining his services in the future. We know that whatever the New York Yankees simply want, they usually get and without a doubt if they desire Strasburg, much like when a lion stalks its prey before swooping down for the kill .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As I alluded to earlier at the beginning of this piece one can always gauge not only the determination and success of a business entity or sports franchise by the discipline shown by the executives within an organization as it tends to give an indication as to what they aspire to become. A good business much like a good sports franchise has to be good from ground up and from the top down..

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………….

UB40 …………………” Higher Ground”

Who Gives A Rat’s …….

The sporting weekend saw two old foes make their way to the knockout stages of the World Cup and for the reigning world champions and runners up from the 2006 tournament . Well they were bade a bon-adieu. Not that anyone really cared about the French or Italians to begin with . What they brought to this tournament was limited appeal , limited success and all of the pomposity that one might come to expect from a bunch of over bearing and untalented individuals . So much so , that their departure has been more than welcomed in some circles.

Now as we set about closing out the group stage of the event now comes the real excitement of the knockout stages of the World Cup. So let the games begin and the chips fall where they may. We’ll now get to see the men separated from the boys . And for the asshole who goes by the name of topcat and all of the alleged knowledger that he profoundly states that he knows about the game of soccer. Go back to sucking on your mom’s tit and make sure that her dietary supplement of semen that she so eagerly adores . Well why not supply her with some of your own you ingrate ! The “Oedipus complex” was something of a common sign of angst the Romans and no doubt within your own family ! And given your infantile behiavior in wanting to disparage me , merely because I stated a fact and and opinion concerning the Italian team that wasn’t to your liking ? The question I’ve got to ask you now …. “where’s the so called greatness of this Marco Lippi coached team They just got the bitch slapping they deserved at the lowly hands of Slovakia . How ’bout them apples ?

Alan Parkins aka tophatal

Outkast ………. “Atliens”

Round Up and Sounding Off ……………..

Well the sporting weekend seems to have been filled aptly by the comings and going of the World Cup and here stateside by the US Open which was won by Graeme McDowell of Ireland. The last round of the US Open was about as enthralling as watching paint dry as we saw the three biggest names in the world of golf mount a challenge that bordered on being comical . Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods had the tournament for the taking but they couldn’t mount a serious enough challenge. And in third round leader Dustin Johnson , one seemingly knew that the pressure would come to bear on someone who essentially has never been the pressurized atmosphere of chasing after and winning their first major Grand Slam golf tournament. As admirable as Johnson’s game was , his crumbling in the final round was reminiscent of Jean Van der Velde’s inexplicable meltdown at the British Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, in 1999. Needless to say but Van der Velde has never been the same player since. One can only hope that Johnson’s psyche won’t be adversely affected by this!

The 110TH US Open would become the Irishman’s first major victory and the fifth overall of his career. Needless to say that he now becomes the toast of Ireland.

Not so long ago the Tampa Bay Rays were the talk of baseball and seemingly they were being viewed as the team that had finally arrived amongst the “big boys” of the AL East . Well now things have become to falter for the team and the 5 ½ game lead that they had over the New York Yankees has now become a one game deficit and barely a further game ahead of the fast closing Boston Red Sox in third place within the division. Now it’s too early to say how things will pan out but it’s clear to see that if the Rays are to stop this slight drop off . Then things will have to take a quick turnaround as to their play. Furthermore they may well need to enter into the market to get themselves a big bat to assist with the offense. But given the team’s budgetary constraints the latter scenario is unlikely to materialize.

For their part, the New York Yankees find themselves in first place and everything appears to be clicking on all cylinders.But if the rumors are to be believed then it’s quite possible that they will make a swoop come the trade deadline and make a play for Seattle Mariners’ pitching ace Cliff Lee . In acquiring Lee that would simply add to the Yankees’ bountiful treasure chest while leaving their fellow competitors within the division somewhat in awe shall we say ?

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Slide show for your perusal .


Can we now say that with the first round phase of the World Cup at but at an end we have had our shocks and surprises ? And for the ingrate and asshole who would come calling me names for merely stating a fact . Please go back to sucking on your mother’s tit rather than making a complete ass of yourself. You know who you are and I’d rather not embarrass you any further other than to suggest that Italy as the reigning world champions simply aren’t doing themselves any justice at present. Likewise France , England and the USA have shown what can happen when you seemingly become complacent when facing an opponent. All four teams and the supposed hype and expectations surrounding them has manifested itself by the teams being humbled by lesser opponents. Needless to say excuses will be made by those who seek to take that route. But I for one just look upon it from the mindset that when you become complacent and think that your superior to an opponent without taking them seriously. Then when you get hoisted on your own petard and you have absolutely no one but to blame but yourself. As for the bitching and whining concerning the officiating won‘t change a thing at this juncture. Well here too just as in the NFL , NBA , MLB and NHL the game of soccer is no different and can be filled with controversy. Needless to say that the game between Slovenia and the USA was enough of a reminder of that. A controversial 2-2 tie leaves the US in need of a win and England or Slovenia a loss to assure the team of making it to the next phase of the competition.

Now the real comedy of errors that has transpired in the competition has been to see the runners up from the 2006 World Cup fall apart like a crumbling building with its facade laying waste on the ground in South Africa. French coach Raymond Domenech has a mutiny on his hands. With the French Federation seeing fit to send home Nicolas Anelka after his profanity laced tirade at his coach. What has since transpired with the team refusing to part take in the usual morning practice because of Anelka’s expulsion. And then another all too public meltdown with team captain Patrice Evra getting into a verbal squabble with associate trainer and senior French delegation official Robert Duverne . Let’s just say that for things to get worse for the French team can only provide us all with more comedic drama .

After the team’s poor play and 2-0 loss to Mexico it has to be said that fallout from this all shouldn’t have really surprised anyone. The tournament has a way of bringing out the good and bad in everyone. And one can only imagine what the French publications are saying back in France concerning the undue embarrassment that the team caused the nation. Suffice to say that if the French team has any pride left within them then they will come out and show it and at the same time offer their host and fans a profound apology for their less than professional behavior.

With the final round of games to be played in the opening round group phase there is a great deal on the line for a number of teams. For myself watching what little of the event that I’ve taken interest in watching. I’ve got to say that I have been none too impressed with the play of England who’ve proven to be an absolute embarrassment in their two opening group games played. This is a team that is completely devoid of creativity and leadership. Team coach Fabio Capello seems to be no less involved in the team’s failings as the leadership now being shown by BP’s CEO Tony Hayward and his handling of BP Gulf disaster oil spill , that has him now being viewed as one of the most despised men in America. Nonetheless, BP’s Human Resources Department and executive board members are standing by their man at present. Much as in the same way that the FA seems to be standing by Capello. The question has to be asked but for how much longer , should the team fail to win their final group match against Slovenia this upcoming Wednesday ?

Patrice Evra the French captain and French assistant coach and delegation official Robert Duverne are seen here in the midst of what would turn out to be a heated verbal exchange between the two.


I for one won’t be at all surprised should Capello’s team fall short , as I’ve said as much in my previous posts concerning the team. They were vastly overrated and built around the premise that they were good enough to win the tournament outright. None of their achievements in qualifying and then their play in the opening two games of the tournament justified the faith that was being shown in the team. And furthermore, the odds makers were simply looking for a way to get the bettors to part with their monies in offering such favorable odds concerning the team. Suffice to say that they’re going to be ultimately the winners.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What if anything for you has made the sporting weekend all the more interesting ? If as such there was an event that seemingly caught your attention in the world of sports ? Chime on in with a comment by all means .

Alan Parkins …………….. aka tophatal ………………..

TI …………….. “I’m Back”

No Good Can From It All …. When You Get Congress To Intervene In Sports With Regard To Labor Unrest …………..

No Good Can From It All …. When You Get Congress To Intervene In Sports With Regard To Labor Unrest …………..

Am I completely mistaken but isn’t the US Congress meant to intervene in labor disputes that are of national security or when it comes sensitive areas within the US economy ? Then why oh why is that we’re now seeing both sides of the NFL hierarchy under its Commissioner Roger Goodell, as well as the NFLPA (Union) convening with Congress up on Capitol Hill, in order to get them to mediate or at least in part be an arbitrator in their ongoing unrest with regard to the present ‘collective bargaining agreement ? Having Congress intervene in this is akin to witnessing the idiocy of the legislation passed with regard to the ‘stimulus bil’l. Which has so far cost the taxpayers $787 billion at last count. Never mind the fact that both GM and Chrysler had a piece of the ‘proverbial pie’. And the public in general has yet to see anything tangible from this all.

DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFLPA is itching for a confrontation with his counterpart, Roger Goodell. And with the owners having opted out of the present collective bargaining agreement. It will now create a chasm whereby the 2010-11 season will become one , that is an uncapped season. Now what this does around the NFL, may well give the suggestion that both sides do indeed know exactly what they’re doing. But it is becoming increasingly clear that this has nothing to do with the agreement itself but more to do with who maintains the balance of power within the NFL. It is more to do with who controls the purse strings as to the $ 8.7 billion a year industry that the NFL is said to to represent globally in terms of the NFL’s business interests. A tidy sum to say the very least and with the greed of both sides said to be unabated . I’m guessing that this could very well lead to one of those confrontations up there on Capitol Hill that will have more to do with posturing by not only the NFL hierarchy and the unions. But also from the legislators who are empaneled on the House Judiciary Committee and who are hearing from both sides on the issue. With the meetings likely to be carried by C-Span , it should make for some very interesting viewing.

NFL  Commissioner   Roger  Goodell.  The  commissioner  this  week   went  to  Capitol Hill  to  address  members  of  the  House  Judiciary  Committee  who  were  empaneled  to  look  into  the  increasing  unrest  between  the  NFL  and   the  NFLPA  (union).  The  two  sides   are   looking  to  stave  off   an  envisaged  lockout.  Moreover ,  the  2010-11  season  will  be  an   uncapped  one  because  the  NFL  and   their  owners  opted  out   of  the  'collective  bargaining  agreement'   that  was  in  place.      photo appears  courtesy  of   ap/ Marc  Gilbert  ...................
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The commissioner this week went to Capitol Hill to address members of the House Judiciary Committee who were empaneled to look into the increasing unrest between the NFL and the NFLPA (union). The two sides are looking to stave off an envisaged lockout. Moreover , the 2010-11 season will be an uncapped one because the NFL and their owners opted out of the 'collective bargaining agreement' that was in place. photo appears courtesy of ap/ Marc Gilbert ...................

Courtesy of The New York Times

Mara cites lack of progress in talks

By Judy Battista , The New York Times

The Giants co-owner John Mara said Tuesday he was resigned to an uncapped season in 2010 and thought the union and owners might be moving further apart in talks toward a new labor agreement.

Mara was one of the owners who took part in the 11th negotiating session with union leaders in Washington on Tuesday. He is the first owner to speak extensively since negotiations began.

An uncapped year would have no salary limits or floors for teams and would begin in March. It would also start the clock ticking toward a lockout starting in March 2011.

Mara said he still had hope that a lockout could be averted.

“I don’t think we’re making any progress,” Mara said in a telephone interview. “We made a proposal in early November. I don’t think we’ve received a meaningful counterproposal. The point that we try to make to them is that the costs and risks are much greater than they ever have been. Especially in this economy. I don’t think there has been enough of a recognition on their part of that concept.”

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NFL Players Association Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith, right and Baltimore Ravens Domonique Foxworth, left, walk into a meeting  with House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. photo  appears  courtesy  of ap/ Alex Brandon   ........
NFL Players Association Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith, right and Baltimore Ravens Domonique Foxworth, left, walk into a meeting with House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. photo appears courtesy of ap/ Alex Brandon ........

There’s no doubt in my mind that the NFL as well as the union are looking to usurp each others’ powers as much as they can. It’s not as if either side has the fan’s best interests at heart to begin with. Goodell for his part wants to prove to the fans and public in general that he’s a strong and very determined commissioner. His sometime autocratic rule has chafed the rationale of Smith and it has to be said that DeMaurice Smith does have some reason to feel aggrieved with many of Goodell’s findings and edicts , as of late. How this all will play out also, may well have to do with who wields the ‘biggest stick’ at the end of the day. Both sides no doubt have their lobbyists up there on Capitol Hill, who are hard at work trying to lay out the case for their client. As to why ‘both’ the NFL and NFLPA should see fit to have lobbyists working on their behalf in Washington , merely suggests that this has more to do with being seen to have the power to get legislation passed that is of benefit to each of the respective parties in question. And for the NFL this amounts to their anti-trust exemption status.

Is it me but are the members of the House Judiciary Committee such a dull and boring group of individuals ? Perhaps none more so than the committee chairman himself, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich) .This guy makes Pat Robertson seem like a lively, well versed intellectual and then some !. But then again, that’s not saying much about Robertson , given his ‘vile remarks’ aimed towards the Haitian people in the aftermath of the recent earthquake there. Hopefully there’s a f_cking hot place in hell waiting for his racially bigoted a_s !

All of the posturing in the world won’t help change anything if neither side is willing to acquiesce to the others’ wishes . As to what Congress, in this case can do to ramp down the rhetoric between the two sides and force an agreement that is equitable for both parties remains to be seen. I’d certainly like to think that there are far more important domestic issues that need to be addressed , rather than seeing the House Judiciary Committee meet with two sides who are more self absorbed about their own PR images than they are about getting things done. And at the same I’d certainly like to think that DeMaurice Smith can be proactive in addressing the issue as to the conduct of his members. Especially in the case of their off the field behavior. For the NFL and in particular the owners , theirs now is a thankless task as they seemingly don’t viewed as being greedy . But yet with this lone move in the rescinding of an agreement that they’ve failed to honor. How must it look to the fans and general public to begin with ? Surely the owners and the Goodell’s office had to have foreseen that there would be an economic downturn of sorts ? Never mind how acute it has now become. It’s all about planning and getting your ducks all lined up in a row. Instead they’ve feasted on the largess of the fans and the public over the years while growing extremely wealthy from all of their business dealings and maneuvers. The average value of an NFL franchise has increased exponentially over the last decade. In fact it has increased in excess of 25 % over that period. Pardon me for saying this but if they’re now claiming poverty then there’s something indeed wrong with the business template under which the NFL now works .

In November of last year, I wrote an article entitled ‘Trust Me I’m A Doctor …………It’s Money For Nothing And The Chicks Are Free’ ! The piece in question, went on to suggest how I felt that many of the US owners who had made the foray into owning an English soccer club within the Premiership (EPL), were in fact no better than that of disgraced financiers Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford. In each case it has led to the demise of their respective financial empires and the loss of untold billions of dollars for their prospective clients. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison, while Stanford awaits trial through the US Federal Court System.

Malcolm Glazer far right seen here with sons Joel (left) and Bryan. The family's sporting business interests includes the ownership of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the English Premiership League's Manchester United. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mike Nugent .......
Malcolm Glazer far right seen here with sons Joel (left) and Bryan. The family's sporting business interests includes the ownership of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the English Premiership League's Manchester United. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mike Nugent .......

It has been well chronicled that the Glazer family having bought Premiership side Manchester United had hoped to carry on the same undoubted success the team has come to be known for over the past quarter of a century. Their unparalleled success with manager, Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm has made the team ‘the most glamorous and most valuable sports franchise in the world’ .

Initially the purchase was met with a great deal of skepticism and the fact that the family used very little money of their own in the purchase, should’ve been enough of an indication that they were being capricious and overwhelmingly disingenuous as to their overall intentions concerning the team. They leveraged the team buy borrowing against its assets in order to facilitate the purchase . The price at the time was in excess of $1.255 billion including fees. Four years on into the ownership by the family , ticket prices have risen in excess of 45% and the team is laden with a debt in excess of $1.11 billion . As to what that would suggest as to the business acumen of the family , is that they’re nowhere competent enough to be running a sports franchise. With Malcolm Glazer, as the patriarch now handing over the reins of running the club to his sons, Byran , Joel and Avram Glazer. It was felt their custodianship of the club would be in safe hands. At this juncture that doesn’t appear to be the case at all.

United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson seen here in a CNN interview discussing his famed managerial career. Ferguson is the most successful soccer coach in Premiership history. Prior to his ascending to the position as manager on Manchester United , he also assembled a successful resume’ as coach of Scottish Premier League team Aberdeen FC.

Courtesy of The Guardian UK

Manchester United’s sales pitch is far from a premium bond

The Glazer family’s attempt to raise money to pay off massive debts paints a bleak picture of Manchester United’s future

By David Conn , The Guardian

When navigating the thunderously depressing proposal by the Glazer family to load Manchester United with £500m of debt for the third time since their takeover in May 2005, it helps to imagine where United might be had the Glazers never turned up in the first place, to buy the glory, glory club with all their borrowed millions.

Before engaging with Sir Alex Ferguson’s remarkable contention that United’s finances, laden with borrowings over £700m and £67m interest payable last year, are “of no concern at all”, recall what the United board itself said at the time. When Malcolm Glazer and his six children – who, we now know, have borrowed £10m from United – launched their takeover bid, the board, which included the current chief executive David Gill, expressed vehement opposition to it.

Echoing the concerns of the well-informed United fans’ campaign, the board warned that the Glazers’ business plan was “aggressive”, and that the proposed structure for the club “still contains more leverage [debt] than the board would consider prudent and that as a consequence there is likely to be significant financial strain on the business.”

Despite that, the Glazers bought the club for £810m, a fortune pocketed greedily by enough shareholders in what was then Manchester United plc. The Glazers paid £270m themselves, borrowing the other £540m from banks and hedge funds. In the four years up to the latest accounts to 30 June 2009, United became liable to pay more than £325m in interest alone, yet the interest they have not paid, plus fees, has increased the debt the Glazers loaded on to United to £700m.

United, and Ferguson, now argue it is all fine, the club are not constrained by that debt mountain and the board was therefore wrong in its warning back then. Ferguson said last week that the windfall from the £81m sale of Cristiano Ronaldo is there for him to spend, but he does not want to because the market is overpriced. That assertion has been rather undone by the prospectus, which sets out the plan to transfer £70m cash from United to one of the Glazers’ holding companies, partly to pay off the hedge funds which charge swingeing 14.25% interest.

Now imagine how United might look without the Glazer debt. True, as a plc – the Stock Market listing which football executives now agree was a failed experiment, despite defending it zealously at the time – United paid dividends to shareholders. Yet even allowing for the increase in turnover, from £171m to the most recent £278m, the 2004 dividend was £7m, nothing like the mountain of interest, £42m to banks, £25m to hedge funds, with which the Glazers have burdened United.

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With the team now ‘hemorrhaging red ink’ all over its balance sheet , it has to be said that the Glazers have been completely inept in their running of the team. On the field they still continue to have success but there mere thought that they’re now being brought to brink of bankruptcy is enough to send shivers down the spine of entire Premiership (EPL). Never mind the fact that the family’s other sporting interest, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is now undergoing a change in its persona as well as in terms of its executive and coaching structure. First time GM, Mark Dominik and coach Raheem Morris have been thrust into the deep end . With the firing of their predecessors Bruce Allen and Jon Gruden. The team underwent a less than stellar season in the NFL, posting a 3-13 record in the NFC South. And with the front office being reluctant to spend money in attracting talent to the team . It is understandable why the franchise is now in such a dire predicament. They aren’t in the slightest bit interested in being a serious contender within the NFL and both Morris and Dominik are merely paying lip service with their inane comments to begin with. They’re fully aware as to the financial dilemma and maelstrom that the organization is now in. The Glazers will do whatever they can to ‘pay the piper’ in order to try and stave off financial bankruptcy. They have been far too secretive as to their financial dealings and their present situation.

Raheem  Morris (second from the right)  is  seen here  alongside    Edward  and  Brian Glazer (center)  with   Joel  Glazer   far   right.    Left   is  Buccaneers'  GM,  Mark  Dominik .    photo  appears  courtesy  of   Getty  Images /  Paul  Mason  .....................
Raheem Morris (second from the right) is seen here alongside Edward and Brian Glazer (center) with Joel Glazer far right. Left is Buccaneers' GM, Mark Dominik . photo appears courtesy of Getty Images / Paul Mason .....................

The latest ploy by the Glazers initiated by Malcolm’s sons, is have a bond issue, in order to pay off some of the mounting debt and accruing interest that’s owed to their creditors. But herein lies the rub, the family is asking that United players participate in the exercise in order to show good faith, to try to elicit fans, as well as members of the public and public institutions into entering the endeavor. If they can’t be trusted to keep the club in a healthy financial state then why should it be incumbent on the players to participate in this maneuver ? If anything Bryan, Joel and Avram are looking to save their own asses as they to try not to embarrass the family any further with the sheer ineptitude shown by them when it comes to their financial dealings and business acumen, as it not only relates to the soccer club but also to their NFL franchise.

It is hoped that the NFL hierarchy as well its board of governors are keeping a watchful eye on the Glazer family and their dealing with both sport’s franchises within their custodianship . If one should fail then there’s no reason to believe why the other can’t be placed in a similar predicament.

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The  always  delectable   Vida   Guerra  .  More  than  willing  to  aspire to  meeting  a  man's   many   needs  and  then  some  !
The always delectable Vida Guerra . More than willing to aspire to meeting a man's many needs and then some !

It’s How One Plays The Game And Its Principles

It’s How One Plays The Game And Its Principles

Perhaps I was under the mistaken impression that the game of soccer was being ran by FIFA to be a game about fairness ? But with the recent news that French international soccer star Thierry Henry won’t be punished in any way for his blatant hand ball in the World Cup qualifying game played against Ireland , smacks of complete idiocy and contempt of what the game purports itself to be all about. In not acting to act even suspend Henry at all , it merely suggests that they condone cheating in whatever form it now takes.

As reported by Britain’s Sky Sports and ITV News .

Courtesy of FIFA.com

Statement on Thierry Henry

On 2 December 2009, the FIFA Executive Committee asked the FIFA Disciplinary Committee to analyse the handling offence committed by Thierry Henry during the France v. Republic of Ireland match on 18 November 2009, and to consider the possible disciplinary consequences.

At its meeting on 18 January 2010, the Disciplinary Committee reached the conclusion that there was no legal foundation for the committee to consider the case because handling the ball cannot be regarded as a serious infringement as stipulated in article 77a) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.

There is no other legal text that would allow the committee to impose sanctions for any incidents missed by match officials.

The  French  national  soccer  team   seen  here   prior  to  a  World Cup  qualifying   game.  Bottom  left  corner  is  Thierry  Henry (12) ,  who  was  the  center  of  the   controversy   concerning  his   actions  in  the  World   Cup  qualifying   game  against  Ireland.     photo  appears   courtesy  of  Getty  Images/   Pascal   Bouzonne  ....................
The French national soccer team seen here prior to a World Cup qualifying game. Bottom left corner is Thierry Henry (12) , who was the center of the controversy concerning his actions in the World Cup qualifying game against Ireland. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Pascal Bouzonne ....................

The French international clearly states in his postgame interview that he intentionally handled the ball that led to France scoring a goal, that in essence garnered the team a berth in the upcoming World Cup. Thereby denying Ireland a chance of a place in the upcoming tournament to held in South Africa. The game’s hierarchy itself have been somewhat suspect in dealing with a number of issues. It has been very proactive in dealing with the racial bigotry that has been going on at league games throughout the continent of Europe that has been directed at a number of players of various ethnic origins.

Though there seems to be a marked improvement in the behavior of the fans at the league and international games . It still hasn’t entirely stamped or dampened this vile behavior of the fans. And as acute as this situation appears to be . I believe this particular faux pas by FIFA clearly sends the wrong message to the fans of the game in general. If they can condone a clear act of cheating then what else are they prepared to condone ? I can understand the referees who officiated the game may well have missed the blatant act during the game. However , what I cannot understand and fathom is why FIFA would choose not to act and send a clear message to players that cheating will not be tolerated. What will it take for FIFA to be proactive when it comes to cheating and stamping it out of the game ?

What’s even more remarkable about this incident is the indifference shown by FIFA President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter and his continued obliviousness as to what took place. And even now I have to consider this decision merely another idiotic stance taken by the federation altogether. If they want the organization’s credibility to remain in tact, then clearly Blatter and the game’s hierarchy have to look at acts such as this and clearly make a point that this cannot be condoned in any shape or form. It gives the impression that ‘cheating ‘ will become an acceptable part of the game. And this is meant to be ‘the beautiful game’ and the world’s most popular sport ? . What are the young fans of the game to think of this , as of now ? And are players such as Thierry Henry still to be looked upon as role models after an incident such as this ? Especially given Henry’s statement to the press that his act was blatant and he felt he would get away with it because the officials didn’t see it . However, the cameras caught it all and it was there for the whole world to see.

FIFA President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatters shows how much a real ass he is as the game’s most powerful individual, as he apologizes for an ‘off the cuff’ remark made about the Irish Soccer Federation (FAI).

Not wanting to be a conspiracy theorist or anything of that nature pertaining to the ‘Thierry Henry Incident’ but I do believe that FIFA has made ‘an enormous blunder’ with regard to this lone decision. Because should ever another situation like this arise again, with them having taken a totally different response. Then what will that suggest to the fans of the game of soccer on a worldwide basis ? Make of it what you will but this is just merely my thoughts on the matter ! When a sport has been brought into disrepute by the lone and deliberate act of a player, then there ought to be a price to pay. And not something where game’s hierarchy simply doesn’t admonish or make a clear statement on the incident that took place to begin with.