Once again, my attempts to watch a full pre-season game were twarted, this time by the technical difficulties of other peoples’ hardware.
Opting for a change of pace, I popped into a soccer-friendly bar a few blocks from my house who I knew carried Setanta. But my pint hadn’t even been poured when trouble arouse. The helpful bartender had to enlist his manager’s help in dialing up Setanta because the channel was black. He thought it an easy fix; all they had to do was hit a button on their satelitte interface.
The clock on my cell phone said five minutes to gametime. Plenty of time.
Well, five minutes of trying went by and nothing improved. For whatever reason, Setanta wasn’t coming in. Apologies were made as they couldn’t get it. And, judging on reputation, I’m more than happy to lay the blame at Setanta’s feet.
So, I downed the pint and jogged home to dial it up on the computer.
Yet, no luck there either as the feed just kept buffering indefinately. LiveFooty letting me down? Unbelievable.
I did remember another spot I could watch, called to see if their feed was up and running, raced over in the car and was lucky to find parking directly outside, right on the street. Quite a feat for downtown Charleston.
But, by the time I got inside, I’d missed 30-some minutes and three goals.
Three goals?! Fuck.
Oh well, it’s only a pre-season match, right?
Luckily, through the wonders of television replay, I was able to get up to pace at half-time. What I did see of the first half was entertaining and promising.
I’m not sure I’ve seen Liverpool play as open of an attacking game in quite some time. It was almost if the midfield was a vacuum to be dribbled through quickly as both teams counter-attacked with speed. Liverpool seemed intent on pushing the matter, not dwelling on the ball, but constantly moving and asking questions of the defence.
I find it encouraging to see Rafa have the team play at such an upbeat tempo, with a litany of quick touches and sharp passes. There was even some restaurant-quality individual flair mixed in, as both Voronin and Pennant looked sharp, hungry and full of confidence in their own skills.
El Zhar played on the left wing and looked useful enough. I didn’t see much of Darby at right back. Benayoun played the second half (which didn’t sustain the same pace as the first) and looked as good as advertised.
Eventually, we got a glimpse at both Torres and Babel in red shirts, but their involvement was limited due to time and touches. El Nino almost popped in with a goal off a Kuyt rebound, but was rudely rebuffed. I did like the industrious nature of the young Spainard though. Let’s see what he has to offer on a healthy ankle.
While it’s only the pre-season, I’m finding Voronin’s workrate and overall game encouraging. Granted, I seem to remember Anthony LeTallec lighting it up one pre-season, so I’ll take it with a grain of salt. Yet, his class is evident and I’m willing to say we’ll probably get very good value for our money on him. (As opposed to getting what you pay for)
Regardless, it was a favorable outcome. Scoring three goals is good. Allowing two, not so much. Yet, it’s the pre-season. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
The highlights, from Setanta’s post-game ‘analysis’:
Next up, Auxerre on Friday.
Also, two interesting tidbits from Tuesday’s match which had nothing to do with the actual game…
Firstly, the new Premier League logo is now on the shirt numbers, but there were no names on the back of the jerseys. I’m not sure if this is a pre-season look or this is how the kit will look throughout the season. I suppose executing the most basic level of research should provide an answer. I’ll let y’all know.
Secondly, there were what looked like football players acting as on-field stewards behind the goal in the second half. But, I’m talking American football players, wearing green American football-like jerseys with numbers like ’56’. There were at least three big ole linebacker-looking 20-something guys scanning the crowd. And I kid you not, one of them looked to be wearing shoulder pads. Very odd.
We have another Liverpool ‘signing’ to report; the club has appointed Ian Ayre to the position of Commercial Director. A Liverpudlian, born and bred, he’ll be the man responsible for expanding Liverpool’s exposure world-wide and raking in all the sponsorship cash. Or, as the official site sums it up:
His appointment is a new position at the Club which will see him manage and develop commerical activity.
Ian’s initial focus will be to work alongside Rick Parry in growing sponsorship and merchandising revenues, starting with the selection of sponsors around the Club’s move to a new stadium in 2010. He will also spearhead the development of the LFC brand internationally, particularly in Asia.
While there are those that resent the word ‘brand’ being used, nobody can argue how crucial world-wide appeal is to the bottom line. Increased merchandising sales will go to further finance the on-field exploits and help propel the club back to the top.
One must only look at the progress United has made in Asia to see how it’s good for business. And it is just that – business. For better or worse, football isn’t just about football anymore. Bitching about it or pining for the good ole days is no longer an option. Either we continue to make headway into the global market, tapping into millions of dollars there for the taking or we get left behind. It’s really as simple as that.
Dollar, dollar bill, yo.