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New Ben Knight article: Soccer Silliness


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Sometimes it's hard to take the great game of soccer seriously. So this week, we won't!

(We begin with the sound of crackling radio static. Scratchy dramatic music swells. A single, excited voice breaks through.)

Good evening Mr. and Mrs. Soccer Fan, and all the ships at sea. Let's go to press!

Dateline, Fulham: Looking for a role model for your little David Beckhams and Mia Hamms? Look no further than former Fulham striker Louis Saha! The speedy, elusive striker - harder to tackle than spilled jelly on a linoleum kitchen floor - has just been seen modelling his brand new Manchester United jersey.

Saha was given the shirt after he threw an all-world kitten fit when his old club turned down an $8-million bid for his services from the Mighty Mancunians. He turned in a bad effort against Middlesbrough, hinted it might not have been a coincidence, and eventually got his way after United pumped a few more million pounds of financial water pressure through the ever-popular, always effective "gimme gimme" hose.

Good payday for Fulham, but the money has already been sucked dry by the need for a new stadium. Good news for the teams Fulham has been beating all year, because the Cottagers are not nearly as dangerous now.

The good news for Saha? He got his money and his ticket to ride. The bad news? His dignity's in a trash bin in West London. You can probably pick it up for a whole lot less that 8-million quid.

Dateline, Charlton: Mighty Chelsea are looking to pull a Louis Saha of their own. Owner and compulsive cheque writer Roman Abramovich is trying to compose a welcome note to Charlton Athletic's wonderful England midfielder Scott Parker. Needless to say, the invitation has a big number with a lot of zeroes on it.

Charlton, to their credit, are digging in. With Fulham flaming out, this obscure yet worthy South London side's chances of a European soccer tour have never been brighter. Chairman Martin Simons has essentially told Abramovich to take his zeroes and make - well - a whole lot of nothing out of them.

"We don't want Chelsea's money," the hopelessly naïve and optimistic Simons said. "I say 'Get lost Abramovich,' and I think I speak for the rest of football."

Ah, but you know this ain't over. Parker, for his part, has kept pretty quiet. No whining, no publicly showing up his manager, no half-speed efforts against Middlesbrough. Almost makes you question the man's ambition. Didn't he learn anything from Louis Saha? Being a solid citizen just doesn't cut it anymore.

Isn't this year's rise of Chelsea and Abramovich perfect proof of that?

Dateline, Barbados: Canada wins! Using an almost entirely North American-based roster, new Canada coach Frank Yallop earned a 1-0 win over Barbados in his first match at the helm. The game I want to see now is Canada (North America) vs. Canada (Europe). Play the game in Malta, just for atmosphere! The winner gets 87th spot in the FIFA world rankings. The losers get to spend a week at a "Be All You Can Be!" motivational camp, with a special guest lecture by Louis Saha.

(Seriously: Way to go Canada! Well done, everyone!)

Dateline, the Arabian Peninsula: In the "One of these things is not like the other" department, Manchester United spent most of the past week in Dubai, in the fabulously wealthy United Arab Emirates, relaxing and preparing for Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round match at Third Division Northampton Town. One wonders where they'll sneak off to before their next game with Arsenal! (No word on whether Chelsea were guests of the Sultan of Brunei prior to their visit to non-league Scarborough.)

Dateline, Geneva: And then there was FIFA president Sepp Blatter's recent suggestion that female soccer players should wear shorter shorts to help sell their sport. Here, I perceive a crying need for leadership by example. We shouldn't just let Blatter make remarks like this, people. Let the world's most powerful soccer bureaucrat put his waistline where his mouth is. No, I'm not suggesting Blatter appear in hot pants at the next major women's soccer tournament. An off-the-shoulder evening gown and four-inch pumps will do fine.

Yes wherever in the world serious soccer news is being made, you know you can count on us ever-vigilant footy scribes to treat it with all the seriousness and import it deserves.

With any luck, next week, we'll have some.


(Seriously: Way to go Canada! Well done, everyone!)

Editor's (me) note: I changed Simons for Parker in the article above, since I'm sure that's what Mr. Knight meant.

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The Voyageurs should make an award now that I think of it. Little publicity grabber. Call it something like, oh, I don't know. The Voyageurs Honorary Trailor Park Underachievers Can. Something nice and clumsy like that.

We could have winners in different catagories. Domestic football. International football and media!

A little year end trophy to remind us how we should all be grateful that no matter how humble or privelaged our upbringings, fame, fortune and wealth can't change the fact that when you're a dink, you're a dink. Glad I'm not you.

In keeping with Ben's articule I nominate Saha for the International Football version of the 2004 VHTPUC. I will be happy to post at my expense, Manchester U. his trophy (to keep) complete with inscription and memmorandium as follows.

Congradulations are in order Mr. Saha on winning the Voyegeurs Honourary Trailor Park Underachieves Can in the international catagory for 2004. Well done in a highly competative field. If it needs to be explained what it is you've done to receive this award then it goes without saying you are certainly the right choice for it.

Are your 15 minutes up yet? God, I hope so.

Wishing we'd never heard of your name.

VHTPUC Selection Commity

P.S. Sure you and Sir Alex Ferguson will get on famously.

As they say, just a thought.

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How about a Posters category as well? I nominate fellow Prairie-White-Trash Cheeta for his comment that amcpherson's All-Soccer Pub should "at least" show the Briar! As he says, just a thought :) !

Part of his cv should include the "when I was young, we was so po' that we ate..." riff, amongst other gems (love ya Cheets!).

George Gross for the media award, and the Lynx management for the domestic award. Trailor Park puke comes in all shapes and sizes!

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SORRY, especially to Mr. Knight. Mr. Knight is indeed one of the superior writers. I was blinded by the Sun (who do have some good writers throughout their chain).

I meant George Gross, especially for this 2003 dudu/kaka:


I have corrected above post, and promise to be more careful and avoid writing while sloshed.

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