January 7, 2010 / / Thoughts

I’m not a huge bluegrass guy, so you’ll have to make do with that above, which features Steve Martin, who, by the way, can freakin’ play. I hate how he stole all the talent in the world. What a jerk. Get it? Anyway, that’s what I know about banjos other than the dueling version.

And, of course, the Crickets kind that we have coming out of our cantera. But what of him? What of his performances of late? Is there hope in the land of Serb-Catalan mini-men? Will our little bluegrass music maker grow big and strong or devolve into the cule Emperor of Lilliput? Low-heels only, folks! These questions are something most of readers on this site and all of the writers here have continually asked themselves for a while now.

Read MoreOf Bumbling Banjos: The Krkic Kuestion

January 5, 2010 / / Thoughts

I logged on to my internet browsing machine this morning and found my way quickly to Sport, where the top headline of the moment jumped out at me: “In Argentina, Barça finds the new Messi” (El Barça encuentra el nuevo Messi en Argentina) along with the subheading of “He’s from Rosario like Leo and he’s 12”. There is no shortage of danger in this type of absurdity, not only from the particular player’s viewpoint, but from a club’s, too.

This kid, Guido Vadala*, is apparently really good and is working out with Barça right now to see if he’ll join the cantera. That he’s from the same town in Argentina and has some skills obviously means he should be compared to the best player on the planet, right? Messi may be the new Maradona (he isn’t), but at least Maradona has retired and is no longer playing professionally. Leo, on the other hand, is about to embark on his first World Cup adventure as the biggest name on Argentina’s national team. Oh and he’s twenty-two freaking years old. Leo doesn’t even have a wife or kids yet, but he has an heir apparent? Didn’t he just move out of his parents’ house?

Read MoreThe Danger of Hype

December 29, 2009 / / Review

We are living in a rare and glorious time, one in which cules who have suffered through lean years, various funkiness and close but no cigar kinds of seasons, can bask in the amazing glow of 6, count ’em six trophies in less than 12 months.

Staggering. But even in that time, there have been highlights. Here are my Top Ten:

grinder 10. Grinderball. Last season was all about flash, dash and champagne football gaudy scorelines and giggles all ’round. This year, we are getting every team’s best match, and we’ve learned to just win, baby. Because sometimes, this game is about the strategy, the not letting the other side score and working out some way, any way, to get a goal. Last season, it was pretty easy to coach. Just turn the horses loose. This year is hard. And still, we win.
Read MoreLook back in joy, a.k.a. “10 best of the season” (so far)

December 27, 2009 / / Thoughts

So. You have this slice of chocolate cake that you’ve been craving for what seems like the best part of your life. And you have it. And it’s good. So good that you start looking for places to put a ring, or you wonder if you should build a shrine to this piece of cake.

It’s that good.

Then you have a second piece, because if the first piece was that good ….

But it isn’t. And you’ve gone and messed it up. But what the hell does any of this cake bollocks have to do with Barca, and Guardiola?
Read MoreIn life, there is change, a.k.a. “What’s up, Pep?”

December 25, 2009 / / Nonsense


So, when I first started commenting over at The Offside, it was kind of weird. Being a veteran of car-related (Subarus in specific) message boards, and being oh, so tired of the nastiness, I wasn’t sure how I felt about ceasing to lurk …. and “speaking” up.

Then as one post led to another, and another, it struck me that the community here wasn’t anything like a message board. Monikers came and went as interest in the club waxed and waned, but one thing remained constant: Respect.
Read MoreHappy Holidays, everyone, a.k.a. “I bow my head to you all.”

December 20, 2009 / / Statistics

This post was written by reader Luke, who wins eternal brownie points for this.

Being an American fan of FC Barcelona is sometimes trying. It is often times difficult to find team information—let’s be honest, is useless about 94% of the time—as well as intelligent qualitative analysis of games and team decisions, as Soccernet almost exclusively covers the EPL. Finding games, even those in La Liga, can require an abacus, a farmer’s almanac, and a working knowledge of the timing of Haley’s Comet. But it is times like this when it is all worth it, when Barça completes the most historic and dominant season in the history of club football, and maybe even all professional sports. As Americans, we always attempt to compare teams, even across different eras when it may be impossible; what follows is my best effort to put this achievement into perspective.

Read MoreThe Greatest Team in History

December 19, 2009 / / Club World Cup
A lad could get used to this....
A lad could get used to this....

Great galloping Jesus, what a match. Pedro! sums up how I think we all feel here, in the wake of a gritty victory that found us not even approaching our dazzling, sparkling best, a victory that defines this club in a way that few others have, and that left me weeping right along with Pep Guardiola.

6 trophies, 6 competitions, less than 12 months. Pause for a second, to let that one sink in, then we’ll continue.
Read MoreBarca 2, Estudiantes 1, a.k.a. “Hexacampions,” a.k.a. “Greatest of all TIIIEEEME!”

December 17, 2009 / / Champions League

So, here’s the deal. The Champions League knockout stage draw is tomorrow, and from what I see, we have a big ol’ pigpile of beatability staring at us. Potential opponents are CSKA Moscow (Drugs? Cold medicine, dude!), Milan, Bayern, Lyon, Porto, Olympiakos or Stuttgart. Now, I’m not counting my chickens before they’re hatched, but winning the group came with its own special prize in a favorable draw in the crucial first knockout stage.

[polldaddy poll=2401347]

Read MoreHere we go, kids, pick your Champions League poison

December 17, 2009 / / Club World Cup
If you look up, you'll see my ankle fairies.
If you look up, you'll see my ankle fairies.

Okay. Is it just me, or was that about the most boring dismantling of a side that I have witnessed in the semi-finals of a not-particularly-major competition?

Just asking.

I mean don’t get me wrong, the win is nice, as our beloved club goes for its 6th trophy in just barely over 6 months. But Mexican side Atlante, once they scraped out a wonder goal, never really looked like doing anything more than scrimmaging with us, particularly Guardiola walked over to Cabinet No. 10, the one marked “in case of trouble, break glass.”
Read MoreBarca 3, Atlante 1, a.k.a. “Workmanlike excellence”

December 11, 2009 / / Champions League
Ain't my fault, dude.
Ain't my fault, dude.

Ah, the debate that roiled….

In the comments of Isaiah’s most excellent match review, Abidal was called out for the free header that the Dynamo player had, and really should have scored from, off a set piece. I defended Abidal, and it was pointed out that he was slack on marking his man, he’s done it before, etc.

Watch the video again.
Read MoreBarca/Dynamo Kyiv, the points, a.k.a. “Whinnnny! Whinnnny!”

December 6, 2009 / / Thoughts
Sacre bleu that's a lot of scapgoats
Sacre bleu that's a lot of scapgoats

No, Kevin hasn’t stolen my password and logged in as me to write this and I’m still not a Les Bleus fan or anything like that, but I do think it’s high time I took a stand on this issue. The issue is not really about Thierry Henry or Sergi Busquets or Lionel Messi, but it takes the form of Thierry Henry.

What appears to be happening is that people are taking their personal whims out on Henry, disregarding his actual contributions on the field and replacing what he actually did with what they would like him to have done. If you’ve read this site or its previous iteration long enough, you’ll know that I’m not unbiased, that I often make opinionated comments about particular players and am sometimes overly zealous about running players out of town if I deem them surplus to my own strange requirements. And before this gets going, I want everyone to know that disagreement with my opinions here or belief that you are one of the people I’m talking about doesn’t equate me judging you or holding it against you because, to be honest, I’ve forgotten who the specific people making these points were. Read MoreNice Run: In Defense of Thierry Henry

December 5, 2009 / / La Liga
It's little. Like Messi.
It's little. Like Messi.

Yay for us, for winning at the Riazor for the first time since Wifred the Hairy ruled Catalunya.

Or something like that. And I was just about to say something impossibly stupid like “For me, this win is more exciting than the Clasic win because of what it represents.”

Then I remembered almost crapping my trou when Ibra’s glorious strike went in, and I reconsidered. But just so everyone will know that yes, I am prone to bouts of monstrous stupidity, the thought remains.
Read MoreDeportivo 1, Barca 3, a.k.a. “I head a ball into the air….”