Say goodbye to the Wednesday Shortlist – and welcome the video of the week! (Week 1: Hilarious defender fail from England)

Hi everyone! I hope you’re doing amazing. Spring is finally coming and that makes it necessary to do some proper spring cleaning. Also on this blog. I have recieved some criticism concerning the Wednesday Shortlists and the way there was one every week.

Now I’ve decided that quality should come before quantity. Hence, the Wednesday Shortlist will be put aside, however I will from time to time post some entertaining listicles with some proper banter in it.

But since I want to stay in touch with all of you at least once every week, I’ve decided to introduce a new category: The Video of the Week.

In this category I will introduce to you, probably every Wednesday again, the most hillarious sports video that crossed my path in the last week. And when does this new category start? Today!

Video of the week: Woking FC defender produces hilarious fail that makes his team lose the game in 94th minute

The first video of the week comes right from the motherland of football. And it represents the absolute beauty of lower league football. Woking FC was playing Macclesfield Town at home in England’s National League that is the 5th tier of the coutry. Everyone was expecting a 2:2-draw as we were deep in stoppage time alread. But then Joey Jones, a Woking defender, produced the fail of the season and let the visitors sneak away a 2:3-victory when he turned away from a ball that he believed to go in but that was stuck in the mud actually, allowing the opposition to score the late winner from a ball that he could easily havecleared away.

Remember what every youth coach used to tell you in your early years of playing football? „Focus your eyes on the ball!“ Well, Joey Jones probably won’t forget that anytime soon again.

Watch for yourself:

Here’s another view of the bizarre goal:

What do you think about the new category? Will you miss the Wednesday Shortlists? Let us know your opinion in the comment section!

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GIF me the highlights: Champions League Matchday 4

Another round of this year’s Champions League group stage is over. Forget about detailed match reviews, analyses and stats of the games. Because here comes the summary of this Champions-League-Week in GIFs:

What Dele Alli did to Real Madrid’s defense:

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The average Real Madrid fan on Wednesday night:

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How many games against Nicosia has Dortmund won in this campaign?

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What happened to Dortmund’s ambitions on reaching the round of last 16:

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AS Roma’s ambitions on reaching the round of last 16 after takig the lead in a group with Chelsea and Atletico:

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Celebration-scenes from Qarabag after the 1:1-draw against Atletico Madrid:

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How everyone watched Napoli against Man City:

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Benfica Lisbon with 0 points after 4 games be like:

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And last but not least: The weekly reaction to any game involving Atletico Madrid:

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Watch: Unibet hilariously pranks Darts-Superstars to take a stand against commercialization in sports

Sports is, due to its immense popularity, an easy victim for commercialization. Starting with advertising on athlete’s shirts or by providing material like skis or darts that enjoy constant media-attetion, commercialization has never since come to a halt anywhere.

Today, we have to accept events and teams being renamed after donators and companies and traditional English football cups being drawn in Beijing at 04:15 A.M. just for one thing: cash. Of course, only thanks to this money a professional, globally spread sports industry with players or athletes thrilling masses and performing at a level as high as never before, has become possible.

Without sponsoring and commercialization, sports would never be on its current level. However, more and more fans and sports-enthusiasts start to ask themselves the same question: would that really be so terrible, after all?

Especially in smaller sports that still have a close connection to their roots from back when it was just a hobby for everyone participating, people fear about the identity of their beloved sport. As soon as money gets involved, they feel that things change rapidly. Along with new sponsors come new demands, new marketing strategies, new people. Faster, higher, further.

One of the most affected sports, when it comes to commercialization, is darts. Twenty years ago, before the PDC was founded, there were hardly any professional darts players around, that could make a living from their passion. The sport might not have been as much of an event as today, its image might have been a shady one with everyone imagining 40-year-old guys with beer bellies throwing darts through a dusty basement room, filled up with clouds of cigarette smoke. However, the sport still was one thing: Genuine. Honest. Real.

Nowadays, darts players have become famous superstarts, role models if you want. And they make solid cash from their sport as well, if they’re among the best of the world. At a major tournament they can easily win a couple of ten thousands of Dollars. These torunaments, however, are often called „William Hill World Darts Championship“ or „Unibet Darts Premier League“ – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

How far commercialziation could come, gets hillariously demonstrated in this video, made by Unibet, the sponsor of the Darts Premier League. In the video, two top darts players, Peter Wright and Michael van Gerwen get pranked. In a conference room, an actor who presents himself as an official from the bookie proposes several marketing strategies to the athletes. From putting an ad on van Gerwens bald head to making them enter the stage on a horse, one idea is weirder than the other.

Watch the prank video here:

Even if it’s only a PR-strategy, the video has a message: commercialization needs to come to a halt somewhere. We, the sports fans and journalists, the athletes, the oraganizations and also the sponsors need to stay vigilant. Because we don’t want commercialization to ruin our beloved world of sports.

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What really grinds my gears #10 – Celta Vigo got fined for not having enough spectators

In this format I will, once per week, polemically write about things that disturb me in the world of sports. Things that, in my opinion, either are hilariously disgusting or just proper embarrassing. You decide.

The English Premier League has since a long time become the most popular, hence most followed football league around the globe. As a result of that, loads and loads of cash from all over the world float into the British Empire, allowing their clubs to throw around money on the transfer market like basically no other club.

Leaked footage: Every PL manager during this summer’s transfer window

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Expect that Sheik-owned kindergarten in Paris, I wrote about last week. You know, the one where a Brazilian player wants his teammate to be sold because of a f*cking penalty he wasn’t allowed to take. Anyway, I shouldn’t get mad over this all over again.

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This post is going to cover another, money-related abyss of modern football. The jealousy of other leagues when it comes to the global fame and the global value of the Premier League and what they try to change this situation. In particular, one measurement taken by the Spanish League.

In La Liga, a league that should be quite popular as well worldwide due to the big two clubs from Madrid and Barcelona FC, a new rule has been introduced. In order to spread an image of a living, prosperous and thrilling league, clubs are not allowed to play in front of a crowd smaller than 70% of the maximal stadium capacity. If they do so, they might get fined.

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Source: Wikipedia

And that’s what happened to Celta Vigo last week. Because they could only get 16’961 respectively 17’384 spectators to attend their first two league games at their Estadio Municipal de Balaidos, which has a capacity of 29’000, the club got fined a non-specified amount by the national league. That’s probably one of the most ridiculous fines in the history of football.

Take a tour around the Celta Vigo stadium:

 

If this rule would be adapted to other leagues, also teams like Hertha Berlin (67,3%), Marseille (59,2%), Monaco (48,8%), Inter (58,3%), AC Milan (50,3%), and basically the entire rest of the Serie A would have been fined last season. In Spain, they would even have had to fine Atletico Madrid since they only reached an average 65,8% of their capacity over the entire season.

But there’s one good thing to it as well, after all. Celta Vigo saw themselves forced to reduce ticket prices after the incident. The cheapest ticket is now available for 15 Euros. With steps like these, more people are enabled to go and watch their favorite club in the stadium. Especially in countries like Spain that have been hit hard by the financial crisis and have high unemployment, especially among young people, ticket prices could be a hurdle as well when it comes to get enough people into the stadium.

If it’s a good idea to promote the image of a well-running league that is being followed by locals and foreigners alike, only stage harmony by fining clubs behind closed doors and letting them alone with less revenues from ticket sales, is at least a doubtable measure. But as long as people think the clubs are healthy, they don’t really need to be, right?

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What really grinds my gears #8 – Pie Gate: Former Sutton United Keeper Wayne Shaw found guilty

Last February, when Arsenal faced Sutton United in the FA Cup and beat the team from England’s fifth tier National League 2:0, the game itself didn’t really make it into the news.

What people cared about in this fixture was Sutton’s reserve keeper Wayne Shaw, The “Roly Poly Goalie”. With his age of 45 years and his 150 kilograms, the keeper surely didn’t fit with what kind of footballers people were used to in the English Cup.

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Source: Twitter

Even before the game started, Shaw became an internet sensation. So far, so good. The Englishman could handle the fuss about himself and was used to people making jokes about his shape. But he enjoyed himself and his role in the club.

After said game, this dramatically changed. Today, Shaw has been forced to retire from his club, banned from the FA for two months and fined 375 Pounds for betting fraud. He now suffers depression and anxiety. All of this because he has been victimized in what we know today as the “Pie Gate”.

During the game, Shaw was filmed eating a pie on the bench. “What a legend!” people, including myself, thought at first and waved the incident off as a joke and an homage to his identity as the “Roly Poly Goalie”. Later, however, it emerged that the English bookie “Sun Bets”, by the way the sponsor of Sutton United, offered a bet exactly on this very cause to happen.

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Source: scbnews.co.uk

With offering an odd of 8:1 on Shaw being filmed eating a pie on the bench, the bookie had to pay out after the game. And all of a sudden Shaw was accused for betting fraud.

But things got a lot worse for Shaw. Just a day after the game he was forced to retire from his club. His world broke apart. Shaw later admitted having known that this bet existed – yet neither himself nor his friends made any money with it.

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Source: Twitter

To him, it was a joke. To the English FA however, it wasn’t. After an investigation the judges decided this week that Shaw had to be found guilty. To me, this is an outrage.

Just because a bookie was stupid enough to offer such a joke-like bet that is so easy to “manipulate” and isn’t willing to accept its own stupidity for doing so, an innocent man is getting victimized and his life getting torn apart not only by increased media attention but also by feelings of guilt.

But the worst thing about the incident: To me, Shaw isn’t even guilty. Because the moment he knew this bet existed, he could have only manipulated it. Would he not have eaten a pie on the bench, Sun Bets would have won and everything would have been fine – yet there would have been just the same amount of “manipulation” in there as it’s now.

If you ask me, Sun Bets would have been done just right by getting punished for its own stupidity to offer such a bet. But hey, I’m not a judge of the English FA. So all that I can do is to vent my anger about this incident right here on this blog.

What really doesn’t grind my gears #7 (special edition) – Forest Green Rovers: The green and vegan Football Club

This week I was struggling to find a topic to write this week’s column about. I was very busy with work and couldn’t really let my satirical anger dwell. So I decided to cover a topic that was in the back of my head for quite a while now: The English Football League club Forest Green Rovers and their commitment to a green and vegan club-lifestyle.

Firstly, having in mind that I am probably the least-vegan person in the world and would rather stop watching football than stop eating meat (yes that is a commitment), I was shocked and kind of angry that a club would ban all meat products from its menu and leave supporters with having to nibble on a so called “Q pie” – a Quorn and leek pie made with soya milk béchamel, instead of enjoying a hefty sausage with chips and gravy on the stands. Tearing apart football and traditional stadium snacks – I was convinced that the hipsters now had taken over the beautiful game as well. And it made me feel horrible.

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The famous Q pie

My first thoughts really were more suitable for a cracker-barrel than for a written blogpost. However, we’re trying to get this pure pub-emotions into a written form in this format, as you know by now. So why not write about a club full of vegan hipsters that only sell vegan food and drinks, don’t wear leather boots and probably don’t even need a lawnmower for their stadium as they could just send out their hippie fans for doing the job and to enjoy a 100% vegan snack after the game?

Because Forest Green Rovers is a project that is far more than just some hipsters trying to play the role of a new, alternative club that pretentiously walks around with a waddling finger towards other teams just because it serves soya and quinoa instead of pork and veal and manages to be successful even without serving meat-containing meals to its players on matchdays.

After doing some research on the club, its owner Dale Vince and the philosophy he’s trying to follow with his team, I decided to write a special edition of my column this week: Because the Forest Green Rovers represent what really doesn’t grind my gears.

Dale Vince, who took over the club back in 2010, is a millionaire who made his fortune from producing and selling green energy. The English newspaper The guardian once named him an eco-warrior and I think this description fits very well. And eco warriors are something this world needs today, more desperately than ever.

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Dale Vince

The man, who used to live in a van as a hippie when he was younger and now drives to work on an electrical motorbike, is so refreshingly different from other club chairmen that wear suits, chase money and only see their club as a source of capital but completely ignore its social role model function.

And taking notice of this role model function and using this to promote sustainable and absolutely necessary goals is exactly what makes the Rovers special. In a world that is sadly bur truly more and more focused on profit and hence is exploiting the only planet we have horrendously, only few people realize that actions need to be taken. And one needs to start somewhere. So why not do that in your local football club, show the people that you can live ecologically, sustainably and yet still manage to be successful?

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Forest Green Rovers are doing just that. With their promotion to League Two the club from the tiny town of Nailsworth gained a lot of media attention and could already spread its message throughout the UK. If they manage to accomplish their further goals, promoting to the Championship within the next few years and moving into a new stadium that is made entirely out of sustainably grown wood, they could reach out to the entire world and maybe start to influence other clubs, organizations or maybe even governments to start thinking about their ecological footprint as well.

One of them maybe being US-President Donald Trump who lately pulled out of the Paris accord and certainly made a step in the wrong direction with that. In an interview with the Dailymail Forest Green Owner Dale Vince found clear words for the US-President: Trump is a massive source of entertainment. He’s beyond parody. No one could have dreamed up such a character. He’s f***ed up America. Europe is saying, “F*** America, let’s do the climate accord without them”.’

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But what exactly is the club’s message that I’ve been praising during the last few paragraphs like a sectarian? The club aims to be the world’s most sustainable football club. They don’t use chemicals on their pitch, they water it with rain water, they have solar panels on their stadium roofs and provide plugs for electrical vehicles on their parking. Then there’s the vegan thing, too.

But all of this, Vince and his club don’t force onto anyone. Spectators can bring in their own food even if it’s not been bought at a local fairtrade organic farmer’s market. On non-matchdays, players are allowed to eat meat, if they wish to. This caused a little scandal at first, as some players were pictured eating meat pies in the streets. They got called hypocrites. But actually it’s the exact opposite of being hypocritical.

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Forest Green Rovers are a club that makes a revolutionary approach at addressing socially and environmentally important issues in the world of sports – a platform that has up until now hardly ever been used for this. Even if they get branded as hippie vegans or worse as pretentious hipsters, they’re not. What’s happening in the small town of Nailsworth with its less than 6000 inhabitants is a football revolution that might very well have an impact on how sports fans will see the world they live in. Because, as beautiful as sports is, there’s always more important things – saving the world being one of them.

So, researching on a topic that I firstly found outrageous and ridiculous, I found a very interesting man with revolutionary ideas and an entire club trying to make these happen. For myself, I’d really like to visit their New Lawn Stadium once and have a little chat with Mr. Vince about his visions. Maybe I could even be convinced to try one of those vegan beers there.

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What really grinds my gears #6 – EFL, are you crazy? The English League Cup got drawn in Beijing – at 04:15 A.M.

In this format I will, once per week, polemically write about things that disturb me in the world of sports. Things that, in my opinion, either are hilariously disgusting or just proper embarrassing. You decide.

Yesterday, the third round of the English Football League Cup, the smaller of the two English Cups, got drawn. It produced some quality duels like Liverpool-Leicester or Chelsea-Nottingham. So far, so good.

But yesterday’s draw was not really about the fixtures it produced. It had a bitter overtone going with it. An overtone that stands representative for the (English) football becoming more and more of a marketing platform that is risking to lose the contact to its roots.

What grinded my gears this week was that this draw was being held in Beijing, China and hence took place at 04:15 A.M. British time. To me, this is an outrage.

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Because of their new sponsor, the Thai energy drink Carabao, after that the Cup has now been renamed (Carabao Cup), and its Asian target market the Cup has been drawn just within this target range. In Beijing, the Chinese capital. The Cup being named after a sponsor is nothing special, it has always been like that. But placing the sponsor’s interests over those of English football fans is new.

English fans couldn’t enjoy the traditional drawing procedure and the emotions of seeing their team being drawn against an arch-rival or a huge club of the Premier League. If they wanted to see it, they would have had to get up in the middle of the night for it. Great.

Surely, this scene from the movie “Green Street Hooligans” is over-exaggerated and doesn’t depict the average English football fan. But still, it’s not completely made up. In the motherland of football, the Cup has a very special meaning. Even the smaller League Cup.

It’s a relation that can hardly be described with words. A relation that makes the special meaning of the Cup for a traditional football fan evident.

Hence, the Cup remained some sort of last resort for the traditional football fan. A safe haven that commercialization left widely untouched. Until now.

Asia-travels of many teams during the summer break, team promoting and marketing in far east and Asian billionaires owning teams like Leicester or Southampton is one thing. The Premier League, arguably the greatest and biggest football league in the world has become a crowd puller in Asia. That’s unchangeable. And generally not a bad thing at all.

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Like this, English football is present among billions of people around the globe and this doesn’t just bring popularity to the clubs, but also big stacks of cash as well. Fair enough. The price of it: A huge part of the tradition of English football has got lost due to this worldwide expansion.

I mean, it’s a good thing to see the PL being famous in many countries. But having a debate over which London team is the greatest not being discussed between James and Thomas, lifelong London residents and coming from  Arsenal, respectively Spurs supporters families but between Aarush and Advik from Bombay, points out a problem of modern English football.

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Due to internationality, the sports risks to lose contact to its local roots. Again: That’s not generally a bad thing. Some commercialization is required for a sport to grow professionally. The Premier League being turned into a spectacle lead to its great current level and to the high quality football and the dramatic games it provides.

And seing the beautiful game spread across the entire globe and unite people from all over it is exactly what it’s supposed to do. But as always, when money comes into the game, ideals get forgotten easily and all of a sudden it’s just about generating profit.

That’s when the originally great purpose of having an internationally recognised English Premier League turns into a marketing-only aspect. And that makes me sad. That’s when it’s not about showing people from India, Indonesia, Thailand and so on how great the Premier League can be and letting them emotionally participate in it, but about trying to squeeze as much money as possible out of this booming market with little to no interest in the former base whatsoever.

My point is that commercialization needs to come to a halt somewhere. If football is to lose his last local roots – and this process has arguably started with the League Cup being named after an energy drink from Southeast Asia – the beautiful game is at high risk of completely changing its identity.

For now, we can be lucky that it’s “just” the draw of the smaller League Cup being held in China. Let’s hope that in a couple of years we may still see an F.A-Cup final at Wembley and not in Beijing’s National Stadium.

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