Champions League

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Rorschach
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Champions League

Post by Rorschach » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:04 am

Da DAAAAAA DAAAAAAA!

No, I know you probably don't care about sawker. But I thought this was funny:

Baaaaaaaaad boys

(Celtic won 3-0 last night to go through 3-2 on aggregate, btw. Maybe there's something in this after all).
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Re: Champions League

Post by The Cid » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:43 pm

Rorschach wrote:No, I know you probably don't care about sawker.
Actually, you'd be surprised at how much soccer is on American television these days. There's an entire cable channel (Fox Soccer Channel, basically Sky Sports USA) devoted to it, a second cable channel (Fox Sports One) that has no programing other than the Champions League and UFC, and a third (NBC Sports Network) that spent a ridiculous amount of money on rights to the English Premier League. (To the point that there is one English game per week broadcast on national television in America. Careful what you wish for, rest of the world...)

Plus, our sports owners are buying English teams. The ownership of my favorite baseball team and my favorite football team, respectively, own Liverpool Football Club and Manchester United. (This has not inspired me to like those sides. In fact, much the opposite.) Americans also own Arsenal and Aston Villa, and the man who owns Fulham also owns the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars Who Are Probably Going To Move To London One Day.

The most conversation I find myself having in the IRC room these days involves conversing with rkitect about soccer. We care now. Weekend mornings, I get up, watch the Premier League, and get ready for whatever American sports are sure to follow in the afternoon. When the NFL rolls around, having an EPL appetizer will be perfect. The best parts are that we get to be essentially arbitrary when choosing our allegiance, and if you don't choose a side already in the Champions League you can root for anyone you want in those matches.
Rorschach wrote:Da DAAAAAA DAAAAAAA!
What is up with that? The Champions League has an official theme, but it's the laziest theme I've ever heard. It's just a bed of music with a choir yelling the word "CHAMPIONS."
Rorschach wrote:(Celtic won 3-0 last night to go through 3-2 on aggregate, btw. Maybe there's something in this after all).
Watched it. Almost started this very thread right afterward because it was Celtic, and don't let it get too much to your head but I know no other Glaswegians, so Celtic resonates with me as "Rorschach's Team." Glad you started it instead. What a finish.

As for the story you linked, I feel like there's a Borat joke in there, being that the team in question is from Kazakhstan.
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Re: Champions League

Post by Rorschach » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:48 am

See the draw?

Piece of piss. Although my only worry is that Barca will get lucky this year. :P
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Re: Champions League

Post by Deacon » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:30 pm

MY WIFE!
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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Re: Champions League

Post by The Cid » Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:20 pm

Rorschach wrote:See the draw?
"Well, congratulations on being the only professional Scottish team of merit that isn't bankrupt. And that comeback, that was brilliant. Now die." -UEFA.

The Champions League is weird from my perspective. Why? Because America is being sold on European soccer and all, but only the English Premier League and those two teams from La Liga with a handful of other European clubs. I know Bayern's good, but unless they're playing Barcelona they're not on TV here. We're aware of PSG because they seem to have money and are from Paris. (In fact, we're pretty well familiar with the teams in the major cities of Europe--PSG, Bayern Munich, the seemingly endless parade of teams based somewhere in London, various teams ending in "Moscow," Real Madrid, now I hear Monaco's team is spending all of the money. Which makes sense cause Monaco.) The only press the Italian teams have gotten in the US was a recent ESPN article about just how horribly racist the matches in Italy are getting. (I suspect part of the reason we're embracing this sport now is the realization that, as embarrassing as the occasional news story about Americans Behaving Poorly can be, watch the right European matches and suddenly even our rednecks look downright progressive.)

So at least half the teams in this thing are completely unknown to me, aside from having a good idea of where in the world they play their home matches. And the leagues they come from are strange and confusing. (For example: Now that Rangers are fighting their way out of financial ruin, Celtic is the only Scottish team that has any chance of ever winning their league. It might as well be the Celtic Premier League Featuring the Rest of Scotland. Also, we don't do promotion and relegation here. Our lower-tier teams are owned by their high-league counterparts, or in gridiron's case the lower-tier teams are actually accredited colleges and universities.)

I look at the draw, then, and just don't recognize a bunch of names. I know Celtic is in a tough group, because Barca is one of the teams being displayed prominently and because AC Milan employs a crazy man with a mohawk who sets off fireworks in the comfort of his own bathroom. I can guess that Chelsea and Manchester United are in easier groups, because I am unfamiliar with their opponents.
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Re: Champions League

Post by Deacon » Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:25 pm

I think part of the deal is that we Americans these days are used to a league. Period. We have the NFL, the NBA, MLB, NHL, etc. Soccer is all over the map. Don't the Celtic belong to the Scottish Premier League? And UEFA Champions League? And the UEFA Cup? Or is it UEFA Europa League? And so on. And there's talk that one day they'll end up taking part in the English Premier League. But then there appears to be a whole English football league system in place (a recent discovery for me), like a more complex and maybe even deeper version of the farm teams--except they don't appear to be farm leagues, but more like independent minor leagues. Or something.

And that's not taking into account all the various other teams and leagues scattered across Europe.

So it's not like there's even a "soccer season" that falls within a specific set of dates. We have baseball as "the boys of summer" and frozen tundra football games and so on, but for European soccer...who knows? It's like one of those things you have to be born into and then follow closely to understand.
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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Re: Champions League

Post by The Cid » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:29 pm

It's confusing, yes, and that's part of it. The "endless season" doesn't help either. The image of European soccer fans in the United States isn't a good one either--we hear about the horrid racism and the history of violence, which is largely an unfair perception but it's definitely there. (Hell, the word "fascist" enters their general commentary quite a bit, I've noticed.)

Another big part of it is that many American sports fans are starting to like soccer, but do not at all care for our own professional leagues. (Except Portland and Seattle, who care a lot.) I will watch English matches on Saturday and Sunday mornings if they're on television, because I know that their league is one of if not the best in the world. However, at the moment I have zero desire to ever attend a New England Revolution match. (Tickets are too expensive for what they are, and they use Gillette Stadium as their home, which is inconvenient and empty.) I am far from alone in this regard. This is why NBC Sports Network paid more and invests more advertising for the English Premier League than it does for our domestic professional league.

This creates a big problem: It's not easy to pick a team, and when we do it's usually an arbitrary decision. We pick teams because we like a star player (Barcelona FC has an enormous bandwagon), or because we think their uniform looks cool (Celtic shirts are popular around here for obvious reasons), or because their name sounds pretty awesome (Arsenal, Nottingham Forest, Newcastle, There's a team generally referred to as "Wolves"), or simply because they win all the time (Manchester United, Real Madrid). Some US teams have vague affiliations with English sides (the Boston Red Sox' ownership also owns Liverpool Football Club, for example) but these aren't partnerships filled with affection and mutual respect (in fact in almost every case the English fans hate American ownership, regardless of how successful or unsuccessful the team is), so that's a murky kind of thing. It's not the same relationship we have with our regular sports teams.
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Re: Champions League

Post by Rorschach » Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:50 pm

Deacon wrote:Don't the Celtic belong to the Scottish Premier League? And UEFA Champions League? And the UEFA Cup? Or is it UEFA Europa League? And so on.
The SPFL, as it's now known - it took some millions of consultancy fee pounds to add the 'F' - is the true league in which Celtic play.

The Champions League is a misnomer. It's not really a league, it's a competition. There is an stage of it inbetween the qualifiers and the knock-out groups which has four teams in a mini-league that play each other twice, but that's really the only similarity to a league.

The UEFA League (previously called the EUFA Cup) is the same thing. An annual competition rather than a league.

I guess the difference is - barring relegation - a national league has the same teams in it every year whereas the entry requirements of the two competitions mean that you could have completely different teams from one year to the next. Although financial disparity means that there are quite a few teams permanently entrenched there yearly.
the word "fascist" enters their general commentary quite a bit, I've noticed.
I've honestly never heard that word used in football commentary. I take it you're listening to American commentary of European games? Which is not to say that racism and football hooliganism isn't a serious problem in some parts of Europe. We have sectarianism in Scotland. Which is much more civilised.
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Champions League

Post by Deacon » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:13 pm

Yes, Rangers v. Celtic is notoriously well mannered.
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Re: Champions League

Post by The Cid » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:11 pm

Rorschach wrote:The SPFL, as it's now known - it took some millions of consultancy fee pounds to add the 'F' -
Meanwhile, American commentators can't figure out whether the league they're selling us is the English Premier League ("the EPL," because we generally prefer to call our leagues by abbreviations) or the Barclay's Premier League (or "the BPL," the official company-line name for the league).
Rorschach wrote:I take it you're listening to American commentary of European games?
It's complicated. Yes and no. Yes, the commentary comes from American companies such as ESPN, NBC Sports, and Fox Sports, but it's almost exclusively delivered by English people. We view pretty much all of European soccer through the English lens. The Premiership is the league most televised, it's where our sports owners are heading to expand their empires, and the timing of their matches work well for our television schedules in that they don't happen at the same time as our sports.
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Re: Champions League

Post by Rorschach » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:22 pm

The catch-all name is the Barclay's National Premiership, Cid. Be sure to tell any listeners what a fan of the BNP you are and how you admire their work.
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Re: Champions League

Post by The Cid » Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:57 pm

Cute. Hey, I was thinking about something I wanted to ask you.

How do you feel about what's happened to Rangers, with their financial ruin and trip through the lower tiers of Scottish play? Because while I may be new to this sport, I do know heated sports rivalries, and I feel like I wouldn't miss the New York Yankees at all if they were forced to dissolve. So are you rejoicing in their fate, or did you prefer things when Celtic was the one inflicting misery on Rangers rather than the bank?
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Re: Champions League

Post by Rorschach » Tue Sep 10, 2013 7:39 am

It's a good question, and one to which there is no easy answer.

I don't think I have the ability to describe the glee with which Celtic fans welcomed the news of each of Rangers' alleged misbehavings over the last few years. Unpaid tax. Illegal loans. Insolvency events. Wrongly registered players. Talk of title-stripping. Being bum-pumped by successive owners and spivs. Rangers were always seen as the establishment club. Referees were in their pockets. They had an unhealthy relationship with the media. The governing bodies sooked their choppers on demand. True? False? Somewhere in between? Depends on who you ask. But we were certainly delighted when they received their perceived comeuppance.

And now, Celtic draw a game? Noone cares. When Rangers were in the league and one of us was going to win the title, the two points dropped would have been a disaster. Every Saturday you weren't only watching your own team, you were looking over your shoulder to see how the other half were doing. About ten years ago, Celtic lost only one game in the whole season and it was tight enough that that (and some draws) ensured they only made second place. That's gone now. Celtic are going to win the league without trying too hard. An attitude even the players have adopted, as evidenced by some pretty ropey displays last season.

So that's one reason why even people who tell you they don't miss Rangers secretly do. The other is Old Firm games. Europe aside, football is just pretty boring without them.

Are there any other serious contenders than the NY Yankees? If they were to go, would you have someone else credible to hate? That's the problem we have.
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Re: Champions League

Post by The Cid » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:32 pm

Heartbreaking loss for Celtic. They had some opportunities, then Scott Brown made his mistake and they were doomed. But until that point, they were toe-to-toe with one of the finest clubs in the world.

Also, it's nice to see that some things remind me of how we do sports. I noticed the Celtic Park crowd was singing "you'll never walk alone," a song that is also claimed by Liverpool supporters. I'm going to go ahead and guess that there's a sort of dispute about which group deserves the real credit for it, based on the fact that we have such arguments with pretty much every tradition in American sports. (Baltimore Ravens fans of the NFL will swear that they were the first fans to do the Seven Nation Army chant that all sorts of teams do. Boston Red Sox fans swear we "invented" this weird routine where we kind of drunkenly slur some of the words to "Sweet Caroline." Several groups of fans fight over who the first people to bring hand-towels or handkerchiefs to a sporting arena to wave around.) So that's kind of comforting.

So I just an American rube who believes in sports in terms of star talent, and that's why I think Barcelona is the best team in the world? Are they not as good as they're billed to be in America? (They, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, the Manchesters, and Chelsea are regarded in the US as the standard bearers. By the way, we'll start to really get into this sport the moment that one American team cracks a list like that ever. Which is still likely decades away.)
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Re: Champions League

Post by Rorschach » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:20 am

The Cid wrote:Scott Brown made his mistake
Ah, we got our own back.
Seven Nation Army chant that all sorts of teams do.
Hearts were the first to do it in Scotland while playing their fierce Edinburgh rivals, Hibs. It was genius, playground stuff. One guy started singing 'Oh, the Hibbees are gaaaaaaaaaay' to the main riff and before you know it, tens of thousands of fans are giving the same voice. There's no arguing against something so simple and stupid.
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