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The Importance of Sport (NEW CONCEPTS)
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Mick Harper
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It's New! It's from America!

The Green Bay Packers are raising $90 million with a bond offering. Each bond costs $300. It carries no interest, it cannot be re-sold, it only entitles the holder to say, "'I'm a part-owner of the Green Bay Packers." In case this doesn't put people off enough, it also carries a printed warning that points out, as a part-owner of the Green Bay Packers, the holder is subject to penalties if at any time he or she says or does anything that the NFL deems not to be in the interest of the NFL.

When they last tried this, ten years ago, it sold out in hours. It is not only American footballers that need their heads examining.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Mick Harper wrote:
It's New! It's from America!

The Green Bay Packers are raising $90 million with a bond offering. Each bond costs $300. It carries no interest, it cannot be re-sold, it only entitles the holder to say, "'I'm a part-owner of the Green Bay Packers." In case this doesn't put people off enough, it also carries a printed warning that points out, as a part-owner of the Green Bay Packers, the holder is subject to penalties if at any time he or she says or does anything that the NFL deems not to be in the interest of the NFL.

When they last tried this, ten years ago, it sold out in hours. It is not only American footballers that need their heads examining.


Green Bay is publicly owned unlike the rest of the NFL, and this is their sixth issue, so it's not new at all. This form of ownership means that the Green Bay franchise has a better chance of remaining local as they can afford improvements to their local stadium, and so are local and accountable to their fans. Many other franchises move, change names etc., say the Washington team, formerly Redskins, who were originally the Boston Redskins..... and numerous others, eg the Tennessee Titans who used to be the Houston Oilers etc.
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Mick Harper
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You're missing the point. Unilever and Exxon are publicly owned. True, Green Bay is unique among NFL clubs in not being owned by a billionaire proprietor but it is certainly not owned by the people who stump up their three hundred bucks -- the bonds convey no voting rights. As the blessed Mike Florio pointed out, this is a pure passing-the-hat-round operation. Timed just before Thanksgiving and Christmas so people can say, "What can I give Uncle Jimmy? I know, a Green Bay certificate he can hang on his wall." The whole thing relies on the soggy sentimentality of Packer supporters precisely because they are 'publicly'-owned. It's a Waitrose/Co-op situation!

Bah, humbug. Mostly.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Rather interesting article, in the Specce on why Britain won no rowing golds in Tokyo, despite investing 24.6 million. It turns out we dropped the head coach, who was allegedly a total bastard hailing from the GDR for bullying, or rather as they say creating a unhealthy culture. Bad move. Rowers need bastards to inflict pain on them, as most have triple degrees and a few inspirational Southgate type of words, or a sports therapist, are not going to do the trick. Things are getting worse, the French have now appointed the coach we have sacked, so they will rapidly improve.
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Grant



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Presumably the lady gymnasts and swimmers will decline now it’s no longer permissible to say, “Lose weight, fatty”
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Mick Harper
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Stat of the Week

The news this week that the Premier League's US TV rights have been sold to NBC for an upgraded £2 bn felt significant Barney Ronay Guardian

Assuming this isn't a Guardian misprint or it's amortised over twenty years or something, this hardly seems possible. Do you or does anybody you know watch someone else's football? Sure there's the Bundesliga and the Eredivision and the rest if you look for it, but you don't look for it. And I'm damn sure Sky doesn't pay more than tuppence ha'penny for the whole lot of it. Pure schedule-filling.

OK, the Yanks haven't got much of a league of their own to watch but that's because the Yanks aren't interested in soccer. There may be fabled legions of soccer mums out there but they only watch their children not British grown-ups. It's weird, man.
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Grant



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Over six years, but it still seems a hell of a lot of money. I suppose the Mexicans will watch it
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Mick Harper
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Why? ESPN (for one) has Spanish language channels which (I assume) cover Mexican soccer though I have no reason to suppose that Latino-Americans are any less American sports oriented than Anglo-Americans.

One big new factor is sports betting which is now pretty much legal everywhere in America. Certainly it has put the NFL in a bit of a tizz since they have to contend now with a country of spread-betters with legal beefs rather than a nation of gridiron freaks who just simmer quietly at their team not getting a pass interference call late on. But, ironically, soccer is just about the worst betting medium imaginable. Nothing much happens until the result and you try spread betting on one-nil to the Arsenal.
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Mick Harper
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Liverpool 4 Arsenal 0

Just as I predicted. It was all a flash down the pan when we came up against a half-decent team. Which didn't stop the newly-infatuated Arteta-groupie Ian Wright from saying nothing to see here, full steam ahead.

I know it's boring for the rest of you but it's worth pointing out why people think its 'natural' for Liverpool to thump Arsenal (or your team). "They're a team of established stars, we're a team of promising youngsters." Until you actually think about it eg. Oxlade-Chamberlain being a fringe player for them just as he used to be a fringe player for us. And he is the most expensive player we have ever sold!

The truth is every major club in the Premiership is packed with expensively bought-in stars and promising home-produced youngsters. Only Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool have got half-decent managers.
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Mick Harper
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Chelsea 4 Some Bunch of Foreigners 0

My plan to have England field ten right-backs and a goalkeeper (yes, I'm keeping a goalie as a nod to tradition) is well on course. With Alexander-Arnold having the midfield schemer role nailed down, we can have Reece James as the central striker. Various other right backs can slide along the back four, charge up and down as 'wing backs' and dot themselves about as Gareth deems necessary.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Mick Harper wrote:
Only Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool have got half-decent managers.


The guy at Leeds, judged by Wiley, is probably better. But of course he has a worse team.

BTW games like American Football where clearly head coaches have a much greater role in what they refer to as "play calling" (directly influencing the course of the game by choosing how their teams score) are less obsessed with the coaches and more on the main playmaker, ie the quarter back who is ascribed magical powers to turn a team around.

We tend to think a team's fortune is more down to managers yet in reality they have very little control compared with their American counterparts.
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Mick Harper
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The guy at Leeds, judged by Wiley, is probably better. But of course he has a worse team.

I was not judging managers per se, only explaining the varying fortunes of the Big Six/Seven etc. Leeds illustrates the principle because they became the Big One under Don Revie and the the Big Zero at all other times. All right, I'll give you Howard Wilkinson but only briefly.

BTW games like American Football where clearly head coaches have a much greater role in what they refer to as "play calling" (directly influencing the course of the game by choosing how their teams score)

All American sports are dominated by this (to everyone else) strange principle. Although radio technology has allowed some of 'our' sports eg formula one and cycling to start down the American road.

are less obsessed with the coaches and more on the main playmaker ie the quarter back who is ascribed magical powers to turn a team around.

This is another (to everyone else) strange principle viz the starting pitcher in baseball as well. Even in such an apparently all-in team sport as basketball, every NBA team has a 'franchise player' upon whom everything depends.

We tend to think a team's fortune is more down to managers yet in reality they have very little control compared with their American counterparts.

I disagree. At the very top -- where equality of teams is enjoined to some extent by various devices -- it can only be the manager (including the player-purchasing apparat) that makes the difference. The odd thing though is that while top managers quickly get identified there is no guarantee they will be a top manager at your club. The trick is to get them out the door with great brusqueness as soon as this is evident. Plus of course when they were the tops for you but aren't any longer. Wasn't it nice seeing old Poch skipping the PSG fandango along the touchline?
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Mick Harper
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Chelsea 1 Man Utd 1

The word penalty is etymologically linked to penalise and conveys the sense of someone doing wrong, being punished for it with the intention that the miscreant (and others) may be discouraged from doing it in the future. Please keep this firmly in mind.

When it's a fifty-fifty ball and one player gets there second and kicks the player who got there first, it's an offence under the laws of football. The player of the second part has been too slow, too rash, has lacked judgement etc etc and must be penalised. If he does this in the penalty area it is 'a penalty'. Keep this firmly in mind.

A ball has dropped invitingly into the Man Utd penalty area and Wan-Bissaka, as is his wont, as is his duty, clears it. Or would have done if a Chelsea player had not come up behind him, stretched out a boot round Wan-Bissaka and kicked the ball, causing Wan-Bissaka to kick the man and not the ball. There is only one person responsible for this sequence of events: the Chelsea player, who can see Wan-Bissaka, the ball and the general situation. It is not a 50/50 situation until he decided to make it so. He is entitled to do what he will but in what sense is Wan-Bissaka committing an offence? Is he to be discouraged from clearing balls in future?

Justice was served though. We had another priceless judging-by-results from the panel who lyricised United's new found commitment to play for the manager now he wasn't The Boy Wonder. Myself, I judged the match from Chelsea having two-thirds of possession, a shot tally of 24 to 3, and would have run out 4-0 winners if their boy wonder strikers had played without their divers' boots on. And that Man Utd are currently rubbish whether they are scurrying terriers or high-priced poseurs.
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Mick Harper
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A parable for our times from o'er the sea. There was a football team called the New England Patriots who, the wiseacres agreed, were the 'team of the millennium' on account of their coach Bill Bellichick and their quarterback Tom Brady taking them year after year to the Super Bowl, o.n.o.

For twenty years this continued until in 2020 Brady went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and won the Super Bowl while New England imploded, not even making the play-offs. The wiseacres agreed, "Bellichick is a nogoodnik whose success was down to the genius of Brady."

The 2021 season began. Tampa Bay was carrying all before them at five and one and top of what the wiseacres call their Power Rankings. The Patriots were even worse than the previous season at two and four. The wiseacres agreed, "Time for Bellichick to go."

Now Tampa Bay are imploding, the Patriots are seven and four and top of the Power Rankings. The wiseacres agreed, "We never doubted the genius of Bellichick." Was I one of the wiseacres? Yes, but what do I know about American football?
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Mick Harper
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Did you ever watch your varsity team playing rugger? Not unless you are an Oxbridge type and a habitué of Twickers, I expect. But would even Oxford offer Cambridge's coach ninety-five million dollars to come and coach them? Well, Louisiana State University had to offer that to persuade Notre Dame's coach to upsticks. Myself, I went to a lesser institution of learning, the kind that costs less than ninety-five million bucks to run the whole shebang.
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