come on lads!

Am I sports fan?  What does fandom mean to me?

You obviously haven’t been paying attention…

So, we’re going to sit here and sing “Glory, Glory, Man United” until it sinks in.  Wait, hold that thought, I need to go get my jersey, scarf and beanie for the full affect.  And, yes, I do wear those when I watch games on TV.  Because how else will the team now I’m supporting them?

Paraphernalia is meaningless though… Any casual fan can pick up a jersey and throw it on to watch the games.  Any casual fan can pick up the songs and chants and incorporate those into their daily lives.  But, I am not a casual fan.  I will wake up at 4AM on the weekend to watch games live.  I could record them and watch them at a more reasonable hour… but live is so much better.  That’s where the magic is.  No mere casual fan would do that.

However, you are right, I’ve never been to Manchester.  I’ve never been to Old Trafford.  I’ve never gotten to see my beloved Red Devils storm the pitch in the flesh.  One day I will.  That’s the best I can do for now.

In the meantime, while I’m saving my pennies and waiting for the prince to get a little older, I’m going to say scream sing call out “LA” and if you could please provide the appropriate response of “Galaxy” that would be fantastic.  Ready?  Here we go:



Hmm… I couldn’t hear you… but I’m going to assume that’s just because I’m too far away and not because you didn’t loudly and proudly shout it out, and definitely not because you didn’t even open your mouth and say it at all.  You wouldn’t do that to me.

My hometown team, the LA Galaxy, formerly of David Beckham fame, are my go-to source for local soccer, football, footy, what have you.  I wear the jersey and the scarf and the beanie.  I know the chants and the call and response routines.  I go to the games and get lost in the frenzied madness and excitement of that atmosphere – there is nothing like being the twelfth man.  Even the queen has a jersey and comes out to the games, my enthusiasm, my fandom, has rubbed off on her.

And the little prince?  Let us not forget about him!  He already has a jersey style onesie, and he will wear it well…. as soon as he is big enough for it.

Come on lads!  This isn’t just a kick-about.  Get it up the wings, get those passes snapping in faster, get it in the box!  Shoot the ball!  I want to see that net bulge!  I need those goals.  I need those three points.

I’m a three points junkie!

I’ll be crying tomorrow

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about football (soccer) here on the matticus kingdom.  I know that is partly due to my general absence for a couple of months at the end of March to the beginning of May.  However, it had been awhile since I’d written anything footy related before I disappeared too so that isn’t all of it.

I guess, I’m not really going to talk about football today either.  Instead, this is more of a testament to a legend, to the greatest Manager to ever pace the sideline of any court or field, to Sir Alex Ferguson.

Tomorrow he will be stepping out on the pitch for the final time.  He has been at the helm for Manchester United for 26 years…  Tomorrow will be his 1500th game in charge…  He’s won 13 league titles in his time in charge, turning Manchester United into a struggling middle of the table club into the force they have become.  They didn’t always win with style under him, they didn’t always play up to their potential, but more often than not they have been exciting to watch and have done their fans proud.

I was planning on posting a bunch of stats about how succesful he has been, to back up my claim of “greatest manager ever,” but if you are interested you can find all of that on the Sir Alex Ferguson Wiki.

When he first announced his retirement I was a bit shell-shocked.  He has been the only manager I have known while I’ve been a Manchester United supporter.  What will my club be without him in charge?  Will we continue our winning  ways?  Will we be like the other “top” clubs and start shuffling managers every year (or less)?  Will our key players jump ship?  I was sad, concerned, lost…

It only took a day for them to announce that they has signed David Moyes from Everton on a six-year contract.  I was pleased that they at least on paper are giving him the time to settle into an impossible role.  Who has the pedigree to follow Sir Alex Ferguson?  Nobody.  I think he will be a good fit for my beloved Red Devils.  I see us continuing our recent run of success.

However, that may not keep a few tears from being shed tomorrow as the final whistle is blown, and Sir Alex disappears for the last time down the tunnel…  I’m going to miss seeing him furiously chewing his gum.  I’m going to miss his half jump arms raised goal celebration (I’d like to see you do better at 71).  I’m going to miss his mind game news conferences, his double speak, his joking, his team selection, his tactics, his never, ever, ever give up attitude, his ability to have team after team come up with last gasp equalizers and winners (Fergie Time!)

His achievements will never be rivaled.  The game will be poorer without him.

And that is why, in all likelihood, I will shed a few tears tomorrow morning after the Manchester United vs. West Bromwich Albion game.  I know it’s just a silly sport.  I know it is kind of ridiculous for me to feel this way.  But…  it is what it is, and I am who I am.  Football (soccer) pulls at my soul.

Thank you Sir Alex for the years of glory.  I hope you get all the time you want with your children and grandchildren.  I hope the club can continue to give you brilliant goals and dramatic victories to cheer on for many years to come.

Guest Post – StephRogers: but, the grass needs mowing

Do you know Steph?  You do?  Great! 

And if you don’t, well she writes over at She Said What

She’s guest blogging at The Matticus Kingdom today and, apparently, she said this:

When thematticuskingdom put out the call for guest bloggers I thought ‘what is it that his lordship would like to read?’ and hey presto! He’s into football. He also follows MUFC just like my hubby (I can’t remember where I read that on his blog. Just trust me it’s there somewhere!). Anyway so I thought I would post about football from a wife’s perspective…

Hubby works 6 days a week. Plus we are business owners so the stress and workload is overwhelming, and doesn’t stop when the shop shuts. Basically hubby works a lot. I look after kids and home practically all the time without a break. Life can be hard at times. We rarely spend time together. When he gets time off I have a list of things that need doing, normally in the yard, because it’s impossible for me to get out there and do it while supervising the children. Under these circumstances, with the grass so tall that I can’t see the dog until he emerges from the rustling canopy onto the doorstep, with the pool bright green and completely unswimable, with the roof leaking in the laundry and the vegetable crisper from our fridge strategically placed in the roof space under the drip to stop the laundry flooding, hubby decides that he will spend his only day off in the week at a football game. He has to go and watch his beloved Western Sydney Wanderers play.

dog in grass
My dog is practically invisible in this grass

I totally cracked it and accused him of choosing football over his family. He said that wasn’t it at all and I just didn’t understand. Yes. He’s totally right. I don’t understand.

Aside from the being out at football games, there are a few more things that shit me about the football. He must watch the games. This sometimes means staying up til crazy hours because time zones dictate the MUFC games are usually on around 3am. It’s not the game watching per se. It’s the yobbo-ness that it inspires. The “yes” *fist pump, every time a goal is scored, the drunken yelling, cheering and abusing the TV (if I had balls to scratch it would inspire ball-scratching). The obsession with football twitter feeds and shows about football. I mean what’s duller than a football game? Listening to dull ex-players who were not chosen for their interpersonal skills discuss the pros and cons of a team or of a game that was on last week. Um… isn’t there grass growing somewhere? I was proud of him for taking to twitter and putting down a few immature men who found the need to make comments about a female presenter looking better in a bikini or something. That was awesome of him *chest swelling with pride.

Smoke bomb at the game
Hubby took this picture from his seat in the stands. It’s crazy!

The next annoying thing is the merchandise. Hubby needs the shirts, my sons need the shirts, we need hats and shorts and socks and posters and all sorts of crap that costs $100 extra because it has a logo on it. A plain red shirt will not do. They get you coming and going really.

Hubby went to England to visit his grandfather who lives there. He spent a whole day at Old Trafford while his grandfather sat in the coffee shop and drank coffee and killed time. Yeah that was a bonding moment.

MUFC tour
Hubby does a tour of Old Trafford
Opa in coffee shop
Meanwhile… Opa drinks coffee, lots of coffee

Really what it all comes down to is the tribalism. That’s what I really can’t stand. The us and them. I would ask why they can’t just share the ball but I’m not completely insane. The Western Sydney Wanderers  active supporters (called the Red and Black Bloc or RBB) are notorious. Here’s footage of pre-game antics in a recent game against Sydney FC

All these people are spending all this time and money watching a bunch of guys run around a field and kick a ball back and forth. All these people could be spending their time and money solving global warming, helping children in third world countries, or hell, even mowing grass!

I talk tough but the truth of the matter is that I do get it. It is about escapism. When the world is stressful and work is hard, when the list of jobs at home seems never-ending, when there is war and famine and impending environmental doom it is nice to be able to forget all that shit, put on your team colours, and go and stand with the supporters while you yell and scream and sing at the top of your lungs. When your team scores that goal it’s like your happiness knows no bounds. I get it. I love my hubby, and life is not easy for him at the moment, or ever really. So I rearrange the world so he can go to watch his Western Sydney Wanderers play. Yes occasionally I crack the shits and yell. But I feel bad afterwards. He needs the escape. If only I could get into it. I think I’ll stick to knitting.

the boys at the game
Hubby and number 1 son at the WSW game (dressed in their team colours of course!). I guess it’s not so bad.


I’m not entirely sure how someone could enjoy knitting over cheering on the finest football (soccer) club in the world; but, we never presume to know everything here in the kingdom.  Besides I’m just the jester, I don’t have to know the same things a king would have to know (favorite colors, my quest, the average airspeed velocities of both African and European swallows, etc…)

More Steph you should read:

10 points

Step up Wayne Rooney and show your class, thank you very much.  With Rooney slotting home the winner as the end of the Manchester United away match against Fulham at Craven Cottage loomed menacingly, the Red Devils opened up a 10 point lead over their closest chasers: Manchester City.

And, Chelsea lost, so it’s going to be a good day today.

Tomorrow morning (7:30AM my time here in California) I’ll wake up and watch the “game before the game” as the networks are billing it: Manchester City against Liverpool.  “The game” is, of course, the Super Bowl.  Which I will only be watching if I have nothing better to do, though I do always feel some pull to watch it because it is such an expectation, a social norm – it is just what is supposed to be done.  But, I don’t really care about the outcome… perhaps I will root for the 49ers because they are from California.

In the game before the game, I do care about the outcome.  Will City win and reduce that gap back to 7 points, will Liverpool win and keep City pointless, will the two sides draw?  I don’t really want either team to win… but since there will be points awarded at the end no matter what, I think I’m leaning towards a City loss or a draw.

That is a testament to viewing City as more of a threat and definitely as the only team out of the two who has a chance of giving us any trouble on the run in this season.  Gone are the days when Liverpool was challenging.  I think they will turn things around in another season or two, but will they ever reclaim their past glory?  Will they ever go on a run of succesful seasons like United has put together in the last 20 years?  I doubt it.

But, those are thoughts for a different day.  Today I’m going to bask in the glory at the top of the Premier League knowing our competition is falling away behind us.  I’m going to revel in the fact that at the end of the game we had four strikers on the pitch: Rooney, Van Persie, Welbeck, and Chicharito (Javier Hernandez).  I’m going to be smiling about the great saves that DeGea came up with in goal for us today and the clean sheet he was able to keep.

Yep, it’s going to be a good day.

and it was snowing

Manchester United went to 3 point *ahem* White Hart Lane and came with all three… oh wait, nevermind.

Clint Dempsey has broken my heart for the second time this season.  Really, I have no problem rooting for him the rest of the year through.  I want to see him do well and succeed at Tottenham and then carry that success over to the US Men’s National Team in their quest to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.  But, is it too much to ask that he stop scoring against my favorite team?!  I certainly don’t think so.

So, before his late late (Fergie time) equalizer, I was going to write about how Tottenham had done very well throughout the game, organized and solid at defense, good possession and passing, and they looked our best opponents in some time.  I was even going to say that United had some calls go their way that they may not have in other games.  But, now I don’t want to say any of that so forget I said anything.

I’m just going to sit here and mope about 2 lost points.  Wah.

But, we are still 5 points clear at the top, and Tottenham were always going to be one of our toughest games on the run in so I’m happy with the point.

Robin VanPersie seemed to be offsides more in this game than normally.  Did any one else notice that?  Wayne Rooney didn’t seem very effective in his cameo.  Valencia didn’t seem to add any pace on the right and I would have prefered to see Cleverely get the run out.  DeGea’s brace of leg saves doesn’t redeem him for only punching the ball away (weakly) at the end of the game instead of claiming it. If he had held it (or even punched it more solidly) Spurs wouldn’t have gotten the equalizer.  Jones and Carrick looked good in the center of the midfield.  Vidic and Ferdinand had good games in the center of defence.  The Red Devils will come out of this tie a force to reckon with in the next several games.  I feel a bit sorry for Fulham.

Oh, and it was snowing the whole game.  Just can’t beat a bit of footie on a Sunday afternoon in the snow.