It’s Our Ball , So Let Us Play ….

It’s Our Ball So Let Us Play

It remains the most popular sport in the world and at the international level , there is no more popular quadrennial event than the World Cup . Last held in 2014 , this year’s event is being held in Russia , where President Vladmir Putin hopes to see the host country raise the Jules Rimet Trophy to signify themselves as world champions. In the opening game of the tournament Russia overpowered their opponent , Saudi Arabia , winning the game in a lopsided fashion , 5-0 . Good enough, to set the host country on their way within their group.


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The top thirty-two teams in the world have gathered together for Soccer’s most prestigious event looking to succeed the current defending champions Germany , who will be looking to make a successful defense of their title. Quite rightly, they remain a firm favorite with an established and world-class team .Germany got off to a really rocky start in the defense of their title with a shocking loss , 1-0 against Mexico in their opening game of their group, Group F . This was one in a line of truly embarrassing results for a number of the favored teams as the opening schedule of games took place.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are considered to be the two best players in the world with each having been named the world’s best player on several occasions . Ronaldo seeks to lead Portugal to the first World Title , while Messi and his Argentinian teammates will be looking to win their third title .

Lionel Messi and his teammates will take to the field on Thursday,21st June to face Croatia . Portugal’s next game in the opening round of group games will see them face Iran . Cristiano Ronaldo has continued to set records at the international level for his country and the player will further seek to establish himself perhaps the best European player in the history of the game.

Well we can’t talk about international soccer without mentioning the name of Brazil and their list of all-time great players. Currently the best player on their roster , is Neymar Jr , perhaps the closest thing they have to matching both Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo on the international soccer stage. Brazil has gotten to a dogged start to this World Cup with a very unimpressive debut game, resulting in a 1-1 tie against Switzerland . With Serbia leading Group E , a group many believed Brazil would have all to themselves , they now have to win their next outing , when they are due to face the group leaders in a game to be played on the 27th June . Failure to win the contest and there is a chance that the Brazilians would face a tough time qualifying from their group.

While the world continues to watch the World Cup unfold, here on the West side of the Atlantic , the biggest story likely to unfold over the next forty-eight hours will be how the NBA Draft unfolds as the top-ten picks of the first round go down. Luka Doncic was thought to be the consensus number one overall pick , but his stock has been dropping faster than the popularity ratings of both Kanye West and Roseanne Barr combined. The knock against the Slovenian player , has been his lack of physicality to his game. It’s something I believe once he’s in the weight room adding on the muscle , his game being what it is , the team who drafts him will get the benefits of what made him a European Player of the Year and a Finals Four MVP in the European Club Championships. Whether or not the front office of the Phoenix Suns will choose to make Doncic that overall number one pick remains to be seen.

If Luka Doncic isn’t the player to be taken at number one , then look for the stocks to rise of players such as Marin Bagley III and DeAndre Ayton . These two players, are thought to be the best of the college declaree’s for this year’s Draft.

Over the past five years , it would appear that Dwight Howard was never going to be able to fulfill the early promise shown at the start of his career . For the second time in the last two years the player finds himself on the move as the Charlotte Hornets traded the veteran center to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Timofey Mozgov and some future picks. Far be it for me to suggest , but the Hornets even with this trade are far from where they need to be. Team owner Michael Jordan and the front office have done little to raise the profile of this franchise , since Jordan took controlling interest , having bought the Hornets from BET founder Robert L Johnson .

The decision to move Dwight Howard might well have a great deal more to do with the fact his relationship with his teammates had soured due to his antics . It was also rumored that Michael Jordan sought to improve the cap space for the team as he sought to lure a marquee free agent to the Hornets.

With the opening round of the NBA Draft set to begin tonight , 21st June and plays out over the next two nights. . It will be interesting to see what transpires , as well as bearing in mind LeBron James has yet to make the world aware of his plans. James is looking to hold the NBA’s franchises hostage and in doing so, it affects how they are likely to proceed.

Soured relationship or not what has taken place this past season between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs should be a lesson for all teams who have superstars who now want to make demands , purely because they can’t get their way. Leonard’s season was curtailed due to injury with his only playing nine regular season games for the Spurs and being unable to participate in the NBA Playoffs where they would be summarily dismissed in the first round by the eventual NBA champions the Golden State Warriors .

Kawhi Leonard has met with Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich and it’s not known what was discussed between Popovich and the player, but it is believed that as a senior front office executive for the franchise in his capacity in that role , he has pulled the plug on any demands that Leonard might have in wanting to be traded. The disruption to the franchise has not yet met a crescendo level , but there’s no doubt in my mind Kawhi Leonard is pushing to be traded. The Spurs for their part will be concentrating on the Draft, but I also believe if the right offer came along, they might well be willing to part ways with their disgruntled star.

Jeff Luhnow , the front office executive who has systematically brought the Houston Astros back to life was given a healthy contract extension by team owner Jim Crane . Having gone from the verge of bankruptcy to their current situation where they are considered the best team in baseball , with a growing fan-base . It would be safe to say the Astros have finally arrived. The managerial staff of AJ Hinch has set this ball-club for success, for a long time come , especially with the core of this roster signed to very good contracts.

The Houston Astros have simply carried on from where they left off during the MLB postseason having won the World Series with a great deal of ease, with their lopsided triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers . Having started out of the gate really fast in 2018, the Astros now have a commanding lead within the AL West and could have the division sewn up by late August if things carry on as they are. Houston will be in action on Friday when they take on the Kansas City Royals in a home game being played at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas,. This will be the first in a three-game home set of a weekend series against the Royals, where I fully expect the Astros to prevail against their AL rivals .

Having become the first team in the Majors this season with fifty wins to their name the Houston Astros are showing why in many respects the AL might be considered a better quality league than that of their NL rivals . That being said , it should not be considered a major knock against those teams.

Highest paid player in the game, by way of his contract and now the naysayers are sitting up and taking note as to what Giancarlo Stanton means to the New York Yankees and the team in general . It’s at times like this , I just wish the idiots would just shut hell up and simply learn something about the game of baseball ! Stanton might not be the best player in the game but he’s certainly in the argument to be considered a top-ten player that’s for sure. Giancarlo Stanton is proving to be a leader both on and off the field and his productivity this season is proof of that fact. Is he ready to assume the mantle of the team captain ? Well that’s an honor not often bestowed upon a Yankees’ player , with the last such person to be given the honor , being Derek Jeter . It has been almost five years since Jeter was last seen in the Yankees’ pinstripes.

Right now it has been the New York Yankees’ offense which has held away for the team as they battle the Boston Red Sox within the AL East . Giancarlo Stanton , Aaron Judge , Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius are the primary reasons why the Yankees are firing on all cylinders . That’s not to say the pitching staff haven’t played a part in the team’s success as it would be remiss to do so. The team’s best pitcher this season to date has been Luis Severino (11-2, 2.24 ERA) and he’s due back on the mound for the Yankees when they face the Philadelphia Phillies on the road on the 26th June. However , before that game takes place the New York Yankees will
begin a weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida. New York’s CC Sabathia will be the starting pitcher on the mound as he faces Ryne Stanek of the Rays in the first of the three encounters beginning on Friday ,22nd June ,2018. I fully expect the Yankees to dominate this series , as they encounter a Rays’ team which remains very inconsistent .

As this month winds down within the world of sports, what are you own expectations of the coming months ? Also, which story within the past few days has been the one which has captured your attention the most ?


Tophatal ……..


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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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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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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

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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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Slide show gallery for your perusal . Use the arrow indicator to move the slide show frames as you see fit.

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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Slide show for your perusal .

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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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”

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.

There Are No Do Overs In Sports ………

You know how it is the broadcast networks are now so devoid of creativity that their idea of entertainment is gorge us on a glut of reality television or re-do’s of old television series. To prove my point, ABC gives us a revamped version of ‘V’ . And then there’s, ‘Melrose Place’ , ‘90210’ and said to be soon coming down the pike, are ‘Charlies’ Angels’ and god forbid, ‘The A Team’. Tell me that they won’t try and recast ‘Mr T’ (Laurence Tero) to reprise his role as B A Baracus ? Can we stop the insanity please ? Isn’t it bad enough that Jay Leno has to squirm his way through an hour of his show, just to hide his embarrassment ? Hey Jay,you should’ve retired as you said you would. Because now you’re beginning to look like a blithering idiot,in an earlier night slot on NBC. And you’re far better than that !

Kristen Bell , Sarah Michelle  Gellar and  Jessica  Simpson ,  presumably  amongst  the   front  runners to  reprise the roles made  famous  by  Jaclyn Smith ,  Farrah  Fawcett-Majors  and  Kate  Jackson .   picture  appears courtesy of  abctv/getty images  ..............
Kristen Bell , Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jessica Simpson , presumably amongst the front runners to resprise the roles made famous by Jaclyn Smith , Farrah Fawcett-Majors and Kate Jackson . picture appears courtesy of abctv/getty images ..............

And it’d be remiss to not interject with the banal makeover shows , such as ‘The Biggest Loser’, ‘Extreme Makeover’ and the unrepentantly bad ‘Dance Your Ass Off’. The last of which, would suggest that’s literally what one has to do in order to keep or regain one’s self esteem. LOL,LOL, LOL !!!

Courtesy of ABC Television

Casting the New ‘Charlie’s Angels’: 3 Options for Each of 8 Characters

Sarah Michelle Gellar, Megan Fox, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian: Some of the Celebs Who Could Star in the ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Reboot
By SHEILA MARIKAR
Nov. 19, 2009

It takes a certain crop of ladies to pull off a proper, “Hellooooo, Charlie!”

The question is, as a reincarnation of the iconic 1970s TV series “Charlie’s Angels” looms, who’s fit to fill the shoes of Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith and the rest of the crew?

Whoever gets the call, ABC is close to ordering a pilot of the new “Charlie’s Angels,” sources confirm to ABCNews.com. Drew Barrymore, who starred in the film versions of the franchise, will develop the show along with Leonard Goldberg, who produced the original series with the late Aaron Spelling, according to Entertainment Weekly.

So it’s a stretch to say the project’s in the can. But that can’t kill the curiosity about which stars might be cast in the reboot.

What follows are three potential options for each of the eight classic “Charlie’s Angels” characters, based on the suggestions that you — ABCNews.com readers — sent to us.

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At present, one can’t help but wonder what went wrong this year with
Michigan (Wolverines) (5-6, 1-6 conference) of the Big 10. Seemingly, the problems for coach, Rich Rodriguez, just seem to be manifesting themselves in so many guises. And there’ll be no divine intervention here, just in case you think that there’s some hope in the offing for the team and its football program. A lot was expected of the team this year and they’ve once again failed to live up to expectations. Much of the blame has to be apportioned upon the shoulders of Rodriguez and his coaching staff. It is not as if the Wolverines are bereft of talent on either side of the ball. But the mere fact that they’ve to apply themselves properly to the task at hand. And that is no doubt to play football.

Embattled Michigan  (Wolverines') coach, Rich  Rodriguez, seen here  addressing  allegations that the  school and in  particular the  football program  hasn't  been  following  NCAA  policy showing the amount  of time dedicated by a player  with  the  time  spent  training  and  also with  regard  to  their   academics .   Rodriguez has  stated  that  the  oversight  will  be  rectified  by him an  the  Wolverines'  Athletics  Department .    picture appears   courtesy of  getty images /   Michael  Franklin  .......
Embattled Michigan (Wolverines') coach, Rich Rodriguez, seen here addressing allegations that the school and in particular the football program hasn't been following NCAA policy showing the amount of time dedicated by a player with the time spent training and also with regard to their academics . Rodriguez has stated that the oversight will be rectified by him and the Wolverines' Athletics Department . picture appears courtesy of getty images / Michael Franklin .......

The cloud of suspicion under which Rodriguez left West Virginia to take the position still leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of Mountaineers’ alumni and that of their bitter fans. Rodriguez is thought of a pariah there , on the campus. And he’s now become persona-non-grata in the entire state. As tough as the situation now appears to be for Rodriguez. It is only going to become much tougher, as this weekend the Wolverines take on the 10th ranked Ohio State (Buckeyes),9-2.And with the rejuvenated Jim Tressel, Buckeyes’ team chomping at the bit and thoughts of a major BCS Bowl appearance. Let’s just say that for Rodriguez, he’s more likely to wish he were elsewhere. Rather than being engulfed in continuous controversy ,the underachievement of the team and the program as a whole. Rich Rodriguez’ position with the school is now coming under even more scrutiny than even he would care to admit.

Courtesy of Associated Press and The Washington Post

Michigan’s Rodriguez says process has been fixed

By LARRY LAGE
The Associated Press
Wednesday, November 18, 2009; 4:51 PM

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez says the process of filing forms that log hours players devote to football was corrected as soon as he learned it wasn’t happening.

Rodriguez declined further comment Wednesday because of an ongoing NCAA investigation.

An internal audit released Monday discovered the football program failed to file the school’s forms that track how much players workout and practice as a tool to comply with NCAA rules.

The office of university audits sent Rodriguez a memo on July 24, stating that forms from the 2008 regular season had not been submitted.

The Detroit Free Press, citing anonymous players, reported a month later that Michigan exceeded NCAA limits regarding practices and workouts.

Admittedly none of us like to grow old and we know in the end we have to call it a day. I’ve always been of the opinion that I would rather go out on top at the height of my professional career and personal life. Rather than being forced out because my faculties or productivity just wasn’t there. And as much admiration that I have for those who seek to work late into their professional and elderly life. I can’t but ask what they might be missing out on at that stage of their lives ?

Coach Bowden,  seen  here on the  right  along with  his  offensive coordinator and  assistant  coach, Jimbo Fisher  working  the  sidelines  of a  game  against ACC rivals  North Carolina, in Chapel Hill ,  North Carolina.   A  game  the  Seminoles would  narrowly win  30-27 .      picture   appears   courtesy  getty images/  Ralph   Peterson  ....................
Coach Bowden, seen here on the right along with his offensive coordinator and assistant coach, Jimbo Fisher working the sidelines of a game against ACC rivals, North Carolina, in Chapel Hill , North Carolina. A game the Seminoles would narrowly win 30-27 . picture appears courtesy getty images/ Ralph Peterson ....................

Much has been made concerning the situation now fomenting in Tallahassee, as it relates to embattled football coach, Bobby Bowden. Granted, he took a non-descript Florida State football program and turned it into a powerhouse of consistency that is to be admired. But as of late , consistency and the fact that winning is no longer the norm for the Seminoles’ football program. That it is beginning to make it very hard to understand why it is, that the faculty would want to retain the services of the octogenerian, Bobby Bowden. To make matters worse , Bowden ,himself, has chosen his own hand picked successor, in, Jimbo Fisher. Pardon me for saying his, but shouldn’t that decision be left to the Athletics Director and not Bowden, himself ? I was under the impression that Bowden worked for the university and not the other way around ?

Courtesy of Associated Press

Fla. governor wants Bowden back as Seminole coach

(AP) – 20 hours ago

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Embattled Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has a high-profile alumnus on his side — Gov. Charlie Crist.

The Republican governor said Wednesday the Seminoles coach has been great for the school and the 80-year-old Bowden deserves respect. Some of Bowden’s critics have called on him to retire at the end of the season.

Florida State is currently 5-5 and needs to win at least one more game to qualify for a bowl.

Bowden’s 387 wins are second to Penn State’s Joe Paterno among major college coaches.

Crist and Bowden appeared together at a news conference promoting the National Child Identification Program created by the American Football Coaches Association.

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This season for Florida State (5-5,3-4 conf),has been one filled with missed opportunities, uneven play, humiliating losses and abundance of excuses from Bowden and others within the organization. And needless to say, the optimism being shown by Bowden,while it is to be admired. It tells you, that there’s no real sense of urgency concerning the malaise that the program now finds itself in. Bowden for his part, acts if it’s all water under the bridge as to the predicament of the program. What he doesn’t seem to genuinely understand , is that while the program is in the predicament that it is in, it makes the recruiting process all the more difficult. Especially with regards to the luring of a can’t miss blue chip recruit. And when was the last time you heard of someone of that caliber entering the noles’ program ?

And while no one can deny what Bowden has brought to Tallahassee.
The question one must and needs to ask, is when will it be time for Bowden to bow out gracefully ? Rather than being forced out embarrassingly. It’s not as if we’ve seen a steady progression in the direction of the program over the last few years. Furthermore, a dark cloud looms over the athletics’ program with regards to the cheating scandal involving several players on the football program as well as others on the swim team, the track teams, the basketball teams of both the men’s and women’s team. Something that is hard to believe would be happening under a football program overseen by coach Bowden. It’s my belief that Bobby Bowden has in some ways become all too detached from the football program. Merely just trotting out to parade himself and bask in the acclaim, that in reality he no longer deserves !

With him having named his assistant , Jimbo Fisher , as his successor in waiting. It only exacerbates and creates a situation of uncertainty. Were Fisher to be lured away by another program guaranteeing far better prospects than he’s now being given at FSU. I wonder what the thought process there would be within the program but chiefly with University President T. K. Wetherall and that of Athletics Director, Randy Spetman. These two individual, as well as the boosters and alumni will have a difficult decision ahead o make. Accordingly, the actions now of Bowden and the interjection of Florida’s Governor, Charlie Grist ,into the midst of this all. Well, it hasn’t exactly made the situation all the more bearable ?

And while I understand that the Governor has every right to voice his opinion on the subject, given the fact that he’s a graduate of that esteemed university. I would’ve thought that his time would be better spent tackling the grave situations and crisis that the state now has. Rather than using a non-political function to voice an opinion that in all honesty not that many people are interested in ! Crist’s political career and ambitions much like the noles’ football program has been of late, is all,more about appearance, rather than substance !

For those of you who just happen to either have a passing or perhaps fading interest in the game of soccer. Then it may well have escaped your notice that the World Cup qualifying stages are present taking place. A number of teams were in a make or break ,do or die situation. Wherein, a victory would lead to a qualifying berth for the finals to be held next year in South Africa.

Courtesy of AP Sports in conjunction with Yahoo Sports

Hand of Shame sparks debate on cheating, replays

By ROB HARRIS, AP Sports Writer

LONDON (AP)—Irish football officials accused Thierry Henry on Thursday of damaging the integrity of the game when he blatantly handled the ball to set up the goal that booked France’s place at next year’s World Cup finals in South Africa.

Letters were dispatched to Paris and FIFA headquarters in Zurich, while Ireland’s justice minister took to the airwaves and echoed its football association’s call for the contentious second-leg to be replayed.

But the response from FIFA and the French matched that of Swedish referee Martin Hansson at the Stade de France on Wednesday night when Irish protests against William Gallas’ winner, set up by Henry’s handball, fell on deaf ears.
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FIFA simply directed journalists to its rulebook which states that results cannot be overturned after a match.

But the Irish did get the backing of the French sports teachers’ union, which said it set a poor example to children to qualify as a result of “indisputable cheating” and was “linked to a ‘very modern’ philosophy stipulating that in all areas, including sports, the end justifies the means.”

Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney demanded that the game be replayed.

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In Europe which has the largest number of berths guaranteed for the finals. There were a number of games that took place and perhaps none was more controversial than by way of the end result of the game between France and Ireland. A win for Ireland and they were in. A draw or win for France and they were in. So what transpired between the two teams and the admittance afterwards by French player, Thierry Henry, left a great deal to be desired. Unsportsmanlike conduct or not the player’s admittance that he handled the ball that led to the ensuing play and a goal for his team again shows what a thin line there is between cheating and fair play.

French teammates  celebrate  their  gaining  a  berth  in  next year's  World  Cup  having  just  entered  2-1 on  aggregate with their resultant  tie  with  Ireland.    picture  appears  courtesy  agence-provencale s.a/paris/   Paul   Hebert ...................
French teammates celebrate their gaining a berth in next year's World Cup having just entered 2-1 on aggregate with their resultant tie with Ireland. picture appears courtesy agence-provencale s.a/paris/ Paul Hebert ...................

The game not decided until it went into overtime , resulted in a 1-1 tie between the two teams. But because the series was decided upon the aggregate scores after two legs, that were played. It resulted in France gaining a berth in next year’s World Cup. Amidst all of this , now the controversy begins. As there is complete outrage in the actions of Henry and his admittance of what he’d done.

Thierry  Henry  of  France seen  here  with  the  intentional  hand ball  act  that   would   lead  to  the  game tying  goal  scored  by  teammate,  William  Gallas.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  afp/   Paul  Wilkinson   ...............
Thierry Henry of France seen here with the intentional hand ball act that would lead to the game tying goal scored by teammate, William Gallas. picture appears courtesy of afp/ Paul Wilkinson ...............

Henry in his post-game interview admitted that he’d deliberately handled the ball that allowed the ensuing goal to be scored by his teammate, William Gallas in the 104th minute of play ,in overtime. And while no one is in absolute denial as to what took place. The question is to be asked is what action will be taken by FIFA, if any ? Do they punish the player for his admittance or do they reorder a replay of the game ? It would set a precedent but then again, FIFA has initiated a case of ordering a replay after violence took place between rival sets of fans during an international game. Far be it for me to say what course of action that ought to be taken. But if the international governing body of the sport fails to act proactively . It will send a clear message that it condones cheating at the highest echelons of the game.

What is now becoming abundantly clear to me is that, the perception of what we know to be right. And the actions that are to be taken don’t always truly manifest themselves as we deem fit. In the case the Wolverines’, Rich Rodriguez. Here’s an individual who came blowing into the state of Michigan, high on promises and even less by way acting appropriately. Over the course of his tenure of the program ,he has accordingly flouted and transgressed NCAA rules and acted as if he was unaware as to what he was doing. Only with his job on the line, he’s seeking empathy from those who oppose his continued presence coaching the football team and overseeing the program. For Rich there oughtn’t to be a do-over.

Coach Bowden , the continual optimist , not only has he seen the game pass him by. But I doubt he’s fully cognitive of how far he’s let the Seminoles’ program slide under his reign over the past decade. Unfortunately, the likes of T K Wetherall and Randy Spetman still pay him homage , rather than doing what’s right for the program. And that is to let Bobby Bowden go ! Again there can’t be a do-over for coach Bowden ! Not now, or at any time in the future!

In the case of the Irish national squad, their grievance while justified may well fall upon deaf ears. It’s as Henry stated if the officials at the time failed to act, knowing his actions were blatant. Then there’s not much that really can be done. And even though a formal complaint has been lodged by FAI to FIFA . One sincerely doubts that it will be dealt with any sympathy at all . Again no do-over for the Irish national soccer squad.