BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18: Steve Bruce the manager of Sunderland and Sam Allardyce the manager of Blackburn Rovers look on during the Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland at Ewood Park on October 18, 2010 in Blackburn, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
I was thinking about what to write about this week while watching the Monday night game between Sunderland and Blackburn.
It seems to me that neither of these teams are anything more than midtable quality, and the fixture is essentially meaningless. So why am I watching? Let's discard the obvious: as a person who writes about football on the internet, I am so obsessed by the sport that I will watch whatever is on, no matter the quality. This assumption probably isn't as wrong as I might like to believe.
It's still 0-0, and Blackburn is whipping in cross after cross, corner after corner. It's like they don't know how to score with their feet.
Anyways, it occurs to me that I probably wouldn't watch an equivalent of Blackburn-Sunderland from a different league. Deportivo vs. Almeria or Bari vs. Catania seems like a horrible way to spend ninety minutes. Dare I say, on a (North) American soccer blog, I wouldn't even spend that time watching Chicago Fire play Philadelphia Union.
So, am I an awful Eee Pee Ell Anglophile? I've been thinking about that a lot recently, mostly because of Brian's latest post on the Run of Play. Do you read the Run of Play? Hang your head if you don't, it's up there with Zonal Marking as far as "must-read football blogs" go. In fact, if you don't have Run of Play, Zonal Marking, and The Guardian bookmarked, well, I don't even know what we're talking about anymore.There has been a shocking amount of poor challenges in this game, and we're not even 30 minutes in.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah, whether or not I'm a cultural traitor. As you've probably noticed, I usually say "football" instead of "soccer." If I'm brutally honest with myself, I do feel more comfortable if the commentator has a British accent. But the thing about that is this: when I'm watching a match, it's almost always a European match. So if I'm watching, say, Blackburn vs. Sunderland...
...I feel like the English announcers have an inherent, built in understanding of this game and its history and its cultural importance. And for all I may have read about Jimmy Montgomery or Fergus Suter, I'll never really understand what their clubs and their games mean to the same degree as someone who's been immersed in these clubs and this culture since the day they were born.
Steve Bruce looks really silly. I couldn't imagine him getting the England job, he looks like W.C. Fields' sister. Did W.C. Fields even have a sister? Well, at least he's not Allardyce. Wait, does this match have two English managers? How often does that happen anymore?
In truth, I don't have anything in particular against (North) American soccer or the MLS, really. I mean, I don't love it, but I'll probably spend at least a year as a Whitecaps season ticket holder. I'll try and be invested in the club, and recognize that it has a greater history than I would tend to assume about a (North) American soccer team.
Christ, it's raining, even. The only way this could be more British is if Steve Bruce was wearing a bowler hat and hunting a fox.
I think, ultimately, I'll just have to get used to the fact that I do have more of a Anglophilic bias then I would tend to believe. I'm probably not doing all I can for the state of the game in (North) America, but then again I don't particularly care that much about that. Hell, the game itself is only part of the reason why I love football. I love football because of people with the name "Fergus Suter," who incidentally was both a stonemason and a full-back. I love football because of this crowd on a rainy Monday at Ewood Park, yelling at the referee like his decision on whether a man got knocked over inside or outside of an eighteen-yard box is the most important decision anyone could be faced with.
Wow, someone on Rovers just got red carded. Was it Samba? Gosh, that's their captain. I can't wait to hear what Allardyce has to say after the match. They just showed Allardyce on camera, and he's eating. I'm hardly surprised. And now it's halftime. Some empty suit with a haircut at TSN headquarters is talking to me about whether or not Wayne Rooney is ready to leave "The Red Devils." Ugh. I'm out.