Thursday, March 21, 2013

Stories of the Day - March 21: Abuse & Rescue; Staying Put; Selling Soccer

Today's morning reading material is a hodgepodge of items from around the globe ranging from the interesting to the bizarre. We'll kick things off with some unusual stories out of Europe.

Presidential Abuse
You always here about the occasional story of PA announcers crossing the line at the lower divisions of every sport, but at a Russian Premier League game recently, things went to a whole other level when the President of the Republic of Chechnya became involved. The short story is the PA announcer called the referee a 'donkey' after issuing a second yellow to a Terek Grozny player. In what was supposed to be an apology on behalf of the club, honorary team president Ramazan Kadryov, close ally of Vladimir Putin and the second-generation president of Chechnya (his father, who the stadium is named after, was assassinated in 2004), directed his remarks solely to those around football, but not the referee, referring to him as a 'sellout.'

Edgar Davids to the Rescue
On a positive note, when a busload of Barnet fans were stranded along a cold roadside in England when their bus broke down they were rescued by an unlikely person: Barnet player-coach Edgar Davids. The team drove by as the fans were stranded and Davids requested the driver stop at the next service station where he proceeded to leave his players and send the bus back to pick up the fans just before the rain started. The team bus brought the fans to the station where Davids treated them to coffee and the players socialized with the fans briefly before resuming their trip home as the fans awaited their replacement bus.

Speaking of Coaches
Apparently, the name of Vancouver Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie, who worked his way up the North American soccer ladder, was mentioned in conjunction with the open position at Scottish club Falkirk, his local childhood team. Despite the personal ties to the hometown side, Rennie says he is happy in Vancouver and not interested.

Chasing Michael Owen
In a similar story going the other way, Jeff Bradley wrote a story for MLSsoccer in the wake of Tuesday's announcement that former EPL and England star Michael Owen is retiring in which he discusses the three times in which MLS or one of its teams reached out to the Balon d'Or winner at Liverpool to cross the Atlantic.

Selling Soccer
In a site that is clearly English, a writer takes a look at what he considers 10 of the best television soccer ads. It's worth a look as many of them were big hits during World Cup broadcasts and a few others are local English spots you may not have seen.

Selling Soccer… and Liquor
After a successful release of an MLS-themed bottle of tequila a year ago, El Jimador, which has an extensive program of soccer promotional events, is expanding with a new MLS bottle along with two others themed for the US and Mexican National Teams. The story says they will be released nationally, but there will be a limited number distributed.

Cheaters Beware
Boy did Dominic Kinnear kickstart the cheating discussion back up with his comments over the weekend. In addition to eliciting complaints by others to the unfair physical nature to which his team plays, this story from Simon Borg details how the MLS Disciplinary Committee reviews plays that involve potential embellishment and levies punishment for such infractions.

OK, this story is not soccer-related. But as an editor-writer for it always disappoints me every time I see a story that reminds me yet again how the tournament is overlooked. Case in point… Ultimate Frisbee will now be a regular feature on ESPN. Sad, just sad.

'Stories of the Day' is a quick recap of interesting, underreported, or top soccer news items - sometimes accompanied by some commentary - to give readers in the Inland Northwest area (or beyond) a brief look around the North American news scene.