November 12, 2009 / / Team News

In MemoriamFirst, a bit of sadness: as has been noted before in the comments as well as in the newspapers, former Barça keeper Robert Enke died on Tuesday before our match with Cultural, leading to a moment of silence. Enke was a keeper, born in Jena, Germany in 1977. He played very sparingly for Barça during his time with team, only make 4 total appearances, none of which were very successful (in fact, he played in a Copa del Rey match that ended with Barça losing to Novelda CF of the Segunda B and Enke being blamed for the loss by many). He went on loan to Fenerbahçe and Tenerife, but despite some success there, he was not recalled to FCB and he moved to Hannover, where he was still playing at the time of his death.

From what I understand, he committed suicide by throwing himself in front of a train after battling with depression for many years as well as the loss of his two-year old daughter to heart complications. Tragedies such as these remind us that sporting success is fleeting compared to the value of a human life and that despite their superhuman endeavors in the athletic sphere, the people we watch on a daily basis are as human as we are and face many of the same issues and troubles that the wider population faces. They are not perfect and it would do us all a bit of good to remember that once in a while and to try and understand the various pressures we put on professional athletes that we’ve never met and will never understand.

You can check out a brief biography of Enke as a Barça player over on webdelcule. Read MoreNews and Notes: November 12, 2009

November 11, 2009 / / Thoughts
And the winner is...
And the winner is...

Before we handle other things on this fine Veteran’s Day here in the US, let’s go ahead and tackle the idea that The Yaya is about leave. I’ve been getting emails from a few of you and links in the comments section to various articles from around the globe, all of which are about how our beloved behemoth is Blighty bound.

The likelihood of that happening is hard to say, of course, because none of us has a conduit into the mind and soul of The Yaya, but I think we can use perspective to understand a bit more what is going on.

Now, let’s go ahead and get to the articles themselves. There’s this one from, which claims, among other things, that it’s the lack of playing time that’s getting to The Yaya. Read MoreThe Yaya and the Rumor Mill

November 9, 2009 / / Thoughts
November 8, 2009 / / Barcelona
Hi, ladies. Check out this thigh. Nice, right?
Hi, ladies. Check out this thigh. Nice, right?

So you’re at this party in a gorgeous house, and the staff passing the drinks and snacks are supermodels. The music is perfect, and you’re having a great time. But there, on the corner of a rug that probably costs more than you make in a year, is a dog turd. It’s a little one, and nobody is really noticing it.

At least, they’re not actively acting as if they’re noticing it. And suddenly, you begin to notice other things …. that supermodel has nose hair, that other one has a sway back, you have a better music mix on your music player, if you really want the truth of it …. and so it goes.

And you’re cranky, because you should be having the time of your life but thanks to that little turd on the Bokhara, a little luster is gone.
Read MoreBarca 4, Mallorca 2, a.k.a. “Next time, don’t wear white.”

November 4, 2009 / / Team News

Ye gods, there’s a lot going on in the world, such as:

Strike? A strike? Labor action by a bunch of pampered, overpaid athletes?

You betcha.

There is more assuredly precedent, at least in America, so people shouldn’t be horrified by such things if you know your sports history. But the prospect of no La Liga because of tax issues, frankly put, has my bloomers all in a bunch.

But my bloomers wouldn’t be the only ones in a bunch. Thong Boy, for example, would probably have his string turn into a cowlick, so high would his dudgeon be. Why? Because if the Spanish government has its way, the tax rate for furriners would rise to to 43 percent, from 24 percent.

Starting in 2010.
Read MoreThe news, Match Day edition

October 31, 2009 / / La Liga
Um .... sorry 'bout that. No really .... so sorry.
Um .... sorry 'bout that. No really .... so sorry.

Yes, I want it huge. I want everyone to be able to return to this post, look at this picture and remember how it feels when we don’t play as a team, when we let a match that we should have won going away, slip away. Yes, it was a draw, but for me it feels like a loss. It certainly was celebrated like a win down in Osasuna, which is the story of the Barca life. A team will kill themselves just to draw with us, and we aren’t matching fire with fire.
Read MoreOsasuna 1, Barca 1, a.k.a. “Who actually wants to kiss their sister?”

October 30, 2009 / / Team News
In case you were wondering who I am
In case you were wondering who I am

So Thierry Henry is the best player in the world right now? Well he is according to the Castrol FIFA Rankings system, a complicated edifice that involves enough numbers to make even Isaiah tremble in terror, voodoo, live chickens and a chipmunk. It doesn’t bother weighting all that stuff that we fans value, such as clutch performances, match-winning efforts, etc, etc.

And you throw all that stuff into a hat, fire up a supercomputer or two, and out comes a numerical ranking that rates the best players across the top 5 leagues in Europe.
Read MoreNot the News, a.k.a. “Surprise edition” UPDATE

October 28, 2009 / / Team News
That's right. I make these stripes good good, baby!
That's right. I make these stripes good good, baby!

Yes, it’s early days, but our very own BANGS, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is co-pichichi with Valencia’s David Villa. Each are on 7 goals. But did you also know that he was 4 of 4 with his shots vs Zaragoza, every last one of ’em being on target? This is very different from our performance against Rubin Kazan, in which some might have been buoyed by the fact that we had more than 20 shots, but I think you’ll find that their keeper will say that he had an easy night of it.

Which means what?

That our big Swede is making a liar out of some people.
Read MoreIt’s the News, Copa Edition

October 20, 2009 / / Team News

In the wake of a series of fascinating recent matches in which opponents have essentially tried to kick us off the pitch, it’s interesting that we can look to the rough-and-tumble Premiership, to show us how it’s done:

–In Spurs v Portsmouth, Jermain Defoe steps on a downed defender who had just given him a hard challenge. Straight red, no debate, no argument.

–In the Liverpool/Villa match, the ref who allowed the “beach ball” goal, Mike Jones, will be officiating in the Championship next match weekend. Yes, refs can be relegated for poor decision-making, and frankly, should be.

Contrast that with the stiff-lipped gits who run the Liga, who decided that the dimwit who let Weligton kick, swing at and stomp his way though that Maulaga match, is all good in the hood. It was a shameful display then and it’s even more shameful now, in light of what I think any Liga devotee would say was a “no blood, no foul” league, cracking down on behavior that might injure a player, while also making sure that bad officiating does indeed get its just desserts.

Not that the aforementioned two decisions will do anything at all to make the Liga stop being run like a local indoor league, that doesn’t care if anyone shoves their way into the 127-person capacity gym to watch the matches.

That “hee haw” sound you hear is jackasses, braying en Espanol.
Read MoreMatch day news, Barca edition

October 13, 2009 / / Thoughts
This makes me want to get Adium
This makes me want to get Adium

This is a personal follow-up to Kevin’s previous discussion of fandom. I am, if nothing else, a work in progress. Or at least I like to think so. It’s comforting, in a way, to know that in 5 years I’ll be in a completely different mental place, with a different life and a different set of values. And just like me as a whole, I think my fandom is constantly in motion, constantly absorbing new experiences into the totality of all that has come before it.

The whole, I hope, is greater than the sum of its parts, but that’s not for me to judge. What I can do, however, is share those moments that, for me, are treasured deep inside. I’m sentimental too, in case you hadn’t noticed—I love the club and the memories and can often sit for hours reminiscing about this or that match, much to my lady’s consternation, I can assure you. Read MoreI am Culé: A Few Fond Memories

October 11, 2009 / / Thoughts
Tot el camp! (Clap! Clap! Clap!) Es un clam! (Clap! Clap! Clap!)
Tot el camp! (Clap! Clap! Clap!) Es un clam! (Clap! Clap! Clap!)

Have you seen the FC Barcelona home pitch from this vantage point? Shame on you, scoff some people. Have you seen the Camp Nou from any vantage point? Double shame on you, say some people. How can you be a fan if you haven’t even been to a match?

But I’m calling nonsense on that one. Pure, unadulterated bovine bollocks.
Read MoreWhat it means to be a fan, a.k.a. “Camp Nou, here I come …. NOT!”

October 11, 2009 / / Injuries
Aw, man! Not again!
Aw, man! Not again!

I can’t sleep, so rather than vexing my damsel with my tossing and turning, why not bang out a news report, in the wake of a busy day of World Cup qualifiers.

And guess who got whacked in the Spain/Armenia match? You guessed it; Andres Iniesta, the guy who must have gotten Gabi Milito’s injury luck. He took a whack to the exact same area that was already injured thrice over, and recovering very nicely, until Del Bosque decided “Hey, let’s see if I can totally hose over Barcelona’s chances for a successful season. If I can get their guys hurt, they’ll be available for training camp and stuff, all nice and early. Bet.”
Read MoreThe Morning News, wakey-wakey edition