Tag: "Supporters"

Pride of lions | Iraqi Asian Cup victory reminds a civilization what ‘normal’ feels like

Baghdad, Aug 9 | A triumphant march through the Asian Cup tournament in July contributed to the resurgence of the Arabic phrase Assood al-Rafidain (Lions of Mesopotamia) to refer to the Iraqi national football team.

“It’s a way of labeling them with this unifying and historic cultural icon,” says Newsweek Baghdad correspondent Larry Kaplow, who appeared on our Aug 7 podcast. Rising above divisions by ethnicity and sect, the Iraqi team, which trains and plays matches in Jordan, defeated Saudi Arabia 1–0 on Jul 29 to lift the Asian Cup for the first time.

Flower of Scotland | Do nationalist feelings last longer than 90 minutes?

Nationwide parliamentary elections have lifted Scottish nationalists, for the first time, into a plurality of seats in the Scottish Assembly at Holyrood. Did feelings for the Scotland football team, made explicit in the lusty terrace singing of “Flower of Scotland,” play a role?

Cinema | Iranian women, in Panahi’s film, move beyond a boundary

The women in OffsideJafar Panahi‘s 2006 production receiving limited release in American cinemas—have “entered a forbidden space before the law has given them permission to do so,” says the Iranian director.

Don’t smoke ’em if you got ’em | Coming ban in England stadia another blow to terrace nostalgia

London, Mar 16 | Any traces of the UK terrace culture after which nostalgists now pine may be snuffed out permanently as of Jul 1, at 6 a.m., when a nationwide public smoking ban comes into force.

Clerical error? | Iranian officials say coed attendance remains possible, despite sharia’ ban

Tehran, Iran, Dec 30 | With translation help from Portland, Oreg.-based writer and radio host Goudarz Eghtedari, we learn from Iran’s sporting authority that preparations are being made to facilitate coed attendance at football matches despite an ongoing ban by clerics.

Nine years after volcanic eruption, football still suffers | Readings for 2 December 2006

Articles on football in Montserrat, an Arsenal stadium mystery, a winner in the Football Art Prize competition, possible relief for German referee Robert Hoyzer, the “wee ones” in Scotland, and a plan for cleaner World Cups.

Hungary | Ferenc Puskás dies, aged 79

Articles on the death of Ferenc Puskás at 79; Hugo Sánchez‘s first statements as coach of Mexico; Ligo Revelacion in Decatur, Alabama; a grumpy columnist in Israel; and another study on sectarianism in Scottish football.

Strangers on a train | On metro, Spartak adopts ‘lazy fare’ approach to team travel

Moscow | The city’s metro stations have been dubbed “people’s palaces,” an architectural blend of art deco and socialist-realist influence that creates an ornate underground habitat for 8.2 million daily passengers. But despite its reputation as the “people’s team”–with origins in the trade-union movement, independent of other enclaves of state power–Spartak Moscow until Oct 31 had not availed itself of the 173 miles of subway service on 12 lines.

Cross country | City of Edinburgh, following hearts, pushes west

Edinburgh, Scotland | Pity the Hearts or Hibs supporters who must plan a dawn awakening Sunday, shuffle through sleep-addled fog onto a westbound train or auto and negotiate riot-ready police cordons to enter the national football stadium at Hampden Park in Glasgow. All this is to see two fiercely supported Edinburgh clubs who, in defiance of probabilities and history, meet in a Tennent’s Scottish Cup semifinal at 1215 GMT. A Scottish Police Service spokesperson predicted “one of the biggest exoduses ever from Edinburgh.”

Caught in the vertex | Korean dancers sharpen ‘official cheering tool’

Seoul | We are unable to determine exactly what actions constitute the kkokjijeom, the “vertex dance” consisting of “simple, repetitive rhythmic movements” with which South Koreans will be supporting their side during the World Cup finals. Dancers have assembled across the country, outside the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Mar 1 before a friendly against Angola, to demonstrate its addictive qualities.

London diaries | The sweet embrace of the crowd

Part 2 of the diary finally arrives, featuring evenings at Upton Park and Highbury. At Upton Park, home to West Ham United, we fake a Cockney accent and most of the words to “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.” Besides this, we learn what literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin might have to say about our zest for football chants.

Great Gençlerbirligi smoke-out | Stadium regulars worry about going cold turkey

Ankara, Turkey | Few recent news items have reminded us of late Beat poet and Bob Dylan confidant Allen Ginsberg‘s live performance of “Put Down Your Cigarette Rag (Don’t Smoke)” at the Duke University Gross Chemistry building sometime in 1979. But postings in the soccer “blogosphere”—specifically, at “The Round Ball in Ankara”—concerning new anti-smoking initiatives under […]

Coarse correction | Houston MLS team drops 170 years from its name

Houston | Comments posted on a Houston Chronicle web log—all by English-speakers, mind you—ran strongly negative following the announcement earlier today that the Major League Soccer club would be called “Dynamo.” In a change of marketing strategies, club officials scratched “Houston 1836″ following protests that the name recalled the ugly secession of Texas from Mexico […]

Kings of carnival | South Florida–based Brazilians make sacred time for futebol

Miami | Eyes turn toward Brazil when considering links between football and the pre-Lenten season. Rio and São Paulo clubs exist symbiotically with samba schools that parade to the sambadrome during the Rio Carnaval. Yet a recent article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel makes even clearer, from talking with expatriate Brazilians in Miami, the strong […]

Lonely layover | Nigerian supporters gain release from Cairo distress

Ladipo Lagos, Nigeria, and Cairo | The BBC credits Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo with ordering an airlift of some 170 Super Eagles supporters, marooned in Cairo for 15 days following the African Cup of Nations. Thirty-five of the supporters from the Nigerian Football Supporters Club arrived in Lagos earlier today, with the rest to follow. […]

Semantics | Are fascist footballers also racists?

Rome | Paolo Di Canio and Lazio teammates abided yesterday by the request of Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni to meet with Nazi death-camp survivors. Three survivors addressed the players at Michelangelo‘s Piazza del Campidoglio; afterward, Di Canio sounded contrite, saying “we heard the stories of people who went through something terrible.” Although still attached to right-wing […]

Proverbial wisdom | Elephants uphold reputation as peace workers

Cairo | The Pharaohs triumphed on penalties in the African Cup of Nations today, yet both Egypt and Ivory Coast could point to the final’s cultural signifiers. Football has been credited in the past, sometimes erroneously, with sparking international hostility or bringing peace. The Elephants’ advance in this tournament lays claim to the latter, with southern […]

Ugly Americans | Seeking the vain punt of plunder

Manchester, England, and Tampa, Florida | It’s not too often that America’s premier literary weekly includes the following assessment of spectatorship in the English Premier League: “The place is wank now. Too controlled, all seating, sensible, middle class shite.” But these words from an anonymous Manchester United supporter form part of the 6,300 words that […]

Politicians | To Mbeki, Bafana Bafana impugns nation’s honor

Kroonstad, South Africa | Even after today’s record-breaking penalty shootout between Cameroon and Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations (Côte d’Ivoire advancing 12–11), we are still thinking about the rough treatment meted out by zealous followers of losing sides. To an outsider, South African President Thabo Mbeki sounded menacing with his excoriation of […]

African Cup of Nations | Never-ending power supply

Conakry, Guinea | With its 3–0 defeat of Tunisia today in the African Cup of Nations, Guinea advances to the final eight as the undefeated winner of Group C. During this surprising run of supremacy, the state-operated power concern, Guinea Electricity, has discovered the importance of maintaining the power grid. Following Guinea’s first-round defeat of South Africa, one man died in […]

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