The esteemed Mr. Thursday, in the glowing introduction provided me, pointed out that I am “viciously opinionated.” This is true, but only because I am always right. One of the things I am always right about is this: North America is horribly lame, with Canada being the marginally less lame of the two… [EDIT: offshoots of Great Britain (Mexico is excepted for the purposes of this entry)]. North America’s lameitude manifests itself in very different ways at any given time with varying severity but my life can safely be described as a constant to-and-fro with North America and its terrible, strangling lameness.
Take this morning. The football (North America calls this “soccer.” Do you see what I mean?) team that I build my life around, Liverpool FC, was playing against Arsenal FC at 12:30 PM Greenwich Mean Time at Anfield stadium in beautiful Liverpool, England. That has me getting up and getting to the pub for 7:30 AM. The subway is barely even open at that hour! The very rotation of the Earth, indeed the arrangement of the solar system, reinforces my opinion.
But I wouldn’t miss this game for the world. Today was an important day in the history of Liverpool FC. Liverpool vs Arsenal today was ‘Pool’s first game under the new collective ownership of George Gillett and Tom Hicks, two American businessmen. Gillett owns the Montreal Canadiens hockey club, Hicks owns the Dallas Stars hockey club and now together, they hold 98.6% of the shares in my beloved Liverpool FC. The English Premier League has seen a spate of foreign ownership of late – West Ham United to Eggert Magnusson of Iceland, Aston Villa to American Randy Lerner (owner of the Cleveland Browns), Manchester United to American Malcolm Glazer (owner of the Tampa Bay Buc’s), and Chelsea to Russian criminal Roman Abramovich.
These takeovers have yielded mixed results. West Ham went from shit to complete and utter shit, Aston Villa haven’t changed a bit, Man Utd are going to win the title this year (but then they did that before, too) and Chelsea went from a shit club with no history to a club that wins nearly everything and yet still has no history. Chelsea is an interesting case. Thanks to their Russian owner, money is no option. They buy marginally talented players for inflated prices just so other teams can’t buy them. Their loss in fiscal year 2006 thanks to this and other dirty business practices was a mere £80.2 million, down from the previous year’s loss of £140 million. And the best part is that it just doesn’t matter! Roman’s got it covered! Of course, the guy’s allegedly got crazy mafia ties and the only consolation we Chelsea-haters have is that maybe someday he’ll disappear Jimmy Hoffa style. Try winning then, Chelski!
What happens at Liverpool with its new owners remains to be seen. I can’t imagine that they’ll change too much but I’ll be very annoyed if all of a sudden, there is a scantily clad Liverpool Spirit Squad firing barrel-sized t-shirts into the crowd during the Pepsi Halftime Show. The problem is branding, y’see. Liverpool is the last big team in England to still be a football club and not a brand. It must be conceded that the only club team in the world not to have a brand name on their shirt is FC Barcelona (Liverpool’s shirt sponsor is Carlsberg beer), but consider Manchester United’s list of sponsorships (I hope you’re not dead by the time you read them all):
- AIG – Principal Sponsor
- Nike – Official Sportswear Partner
- Audi – Official Car Supplier and Dugout Seat Provider
- Budweiser – Official Beer
- AirAsia – Official Low Fare Airline
- Betfred – Official Betting Partner
- Tourism Malaysia – Official Destination Partner
- Century Radio – Official Radio Station
- viagogo – Secondary Ticketing Partner
- Royal Resorts – Official Leisure Property Development Partner
I wonder who provides the pretty lace panties for the players? Or do they prefer satin?
If the Liverpool players were as concerned as me about the American invasion, they didn’t show it. Our right midfielder Jermaine Pennant, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the kid from The Boondocks, was a total stud. He’s kind of a bad boy and the only way he was able to beat a defender before joining Liverpool was to flash the gat he had strapped to his waist. Nowadays, he just leaves it in the dressing room. Our striker Peter Crouch, best known for being 6 ft 7 in tall, scored a hat trick on the way to a 4-1 drubbing. Crouch, incidentally, was shit until he broke his nose a few weeks ago. This was his first game back and it seems he’s as good at scoring goals now as he is at smelling around corners. But Liverpool played beautifully; a sight to behold.
So in conclusion, North America is lame for the following reasons:
- I had to get up early when I shouldn’t have had to. Plus you people in the States couldn’t have watched the game even if you wanted to. There’s the “Tory touch” that Lipset wrote about that we Canadians have. [Edit. Note: That’s not entirely true, as the game was certainly airing in Philadelphia at Fado’s Irish Pub, and elsewhere, I’m certain.]
- We N. Americans brand and sponsor EVERYTHING! Can’t jeans just be jeans? Do they need to be lifestyle? Please, I implore you: Hicks & Gillett, for the good of the club, don’t brand Liverpool.
- The sport in question is called football. American football should be called “The one where repressed homosexuals try to play rugby while being heterosexualized – phew! – by dancing girls in short skirts to kill time between beer commercials.” You know I’m right.