The Five Billion Person Party

Notes of a wandering American soccer fan

Archive for the ‘Scotland’ Category

Don’t Forget Your Life — Championship Manager

Posted by steigs on February 24, 2008

I’ve been playing a lot of Championship Manager lately.  British soccer fans know all about the game, now titled “Worldwide Soccer Manager” in the US.  In the UK, it’s a computer game phenomenon of the highest order, with new editions awaited with the longing we see here for new versions of Grand Theft Auto.  Here in the US, it’s an underground thing, discussed with intensity on bigsoccer and word of mouth among friends.  (“You’ve got to try this…”)

At the moment, I’m attempting to finally win promotion to the Premiership for little Carlisle, the team I’ve managed for several virtual seasons, having already moved them up a couple of tiers.  Back-to-back third place seasons in the first division only earned me painful playoff promotion losses.  (Three of the four play-off games I’ve lost a player to a red card.  For a realistic game, that’s a little unfair…)  I’ve got the boys in second halfway through this season but, seriously, if I can’t do it, it’ll be time to tackle another team. 

Awhile back, I wrote up an appreciation of Championship Manager after going to see the team I had been managing play in person.  An interesting comparison.  Read on after the jump for more about the wonders of Championship Manager and a day out at Easter Road watching Hibs… Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Games, Scotland | Leave a Comment »

Figures that Rangers gets the GREEN team…

Posted by steigs on December 21, 2007

The draw for the Champions League round of 16 and the UEFA cup round of 32 was today, telling us what tasty big-stakes matches will be able to watch in February and March.

Most of the headlines are about the eye-catching match-ups like Arsenal-AC Milan and Real Madrid-Roma.  Me, I’ll be watching Barcelona take out Celtic.  Sigh.  Why do my two favorite Euro teams always have to get drawn together?  (Celtic did manage to upset the Catalans in the 2004 UEFA Cup but lost at home to Barca in the group stages of the following Champions League campaign in ’04-’05.)  I suppose I should be happy that one of my teams will be in the quarter-finals for sure — or that Barca got an easy draw, given the current state of the Hoops.

Meanwhile, the now Beasley-less Rangers drew one of the traditional big two of the Greek league, Panathinaikos.  Not only do they wear green — their crest is a shamrock!  Judging from the team’s Wikipedia entry, though, there’s no sign that it was founded by Irish Catholic immigrants, which should reduce the potential for crowd trouble.

This seems a good time to tell you about my trip to see Rangers.  Want to read more about seeing a game at Ibrox, where they have banners celebrating Queen Elizabeth and bands play “The Great Escape” theme?  Read on after the jump!  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Barca, Celtic, Champions League, Scotland | Leave a Comment »

On the Hoops!

Posted by steigs on December 4, 2007

For the second consecutive year, Glasgow’s Celtic have managed to make it to the knock-out round of the Champions League without winning an away match.  Riding their luck, they survived a 1-0 loss at the San Siro to a disinterested AC Milan in the final game of the group stage while Benfica eliminated Shaktar in the Ukraine.  

Home field advantage matters a great deal but it seems absurd that a side that has beaten Man U and AC Milan at home in the last two years can look so awful abroad.  In three Champions League away games this season they didn’t even manage a goal.  Yeesh.  As Lord of the Wing put it:

Milan went up a gear in the second half, while we continued wie oor canny hold or water away performance where players who are usually reliable become bungling fools, liable to run balls oot the park, pass to the opposition or look at the ball like it’s a live grenade before booting as far up the park, to nae one, as possible.

What’s behind this home form?  At least in part, it must owe something to the remarkable fan support they get.  Celtic are, you see, the team of the great Irish diaspora, beloved in Guinness-drinking pubs around the world.   Want to hear about my visit to Celtic Park on a European night — even if it was the UEFA Cup — and how Scotland isn’t all bagpipes and Braveheart?  Read on! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Celtic, Champions League, Scotland | Leave a Comment »

Scotland, oh, Scotland

Posted by steigs on December 2, 2007

Scotland doesn’t count as a minnow, not really, despite some hard years lately.  But they were going to be my Euro 2008 team.  I was lucky enough to spend most of ’04 in Edinburgh and was charmed by the place.  I root for Glasgow’s Celtic — a story for another day — and have picked up some Scottish tendencies, like rooting against England.  When the Scots were placed in a qualifying group with the World Cup champions (Italy), finalist (France), and a quarter-finalist (Ukraine) with only two to make it to the tournament proper, I assumed all was lost.  But the Italians got off to a weak start, perhaps enjoying that post-World Cup honeymoon, and the Scots beat France 1-0 in Glasgow early on.  Hmm.  Respectable.

Ukraine had some troubles.  Then the Scots beat France 1-0 in Paris!  Suddenly, they could see qualification.  After a stumble in Georgia (the country), it all came down to a game in Glasgow against Italy.  Defeat the world champions and qualify.  Lose and you’re out.  Draw and leave your fate in the hands of the Ukrainians (who played France a few days later).

Along with a host of expat Scots, I gathered at my local soccer bar to watch the game.

When we saw that it was, as they put it, pissing rain in Glasgow, the crowd cheered.

Surely, the Scots would know better how to play in such foul conditions!

Ah, no.  This is Scotland, a land filled with noble failures…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Euros, Scotland | Leave a Comment »