Brits & Russians Agree: Soccer Needs More Booze

Beer: It improves appearances, settles racial disputes, soothes what pains us and helps wash down otherwise unpalatable meals. It’s powers are mysterious and great, but can even beer do the seemingly impossible? Can it make Americans like pro soccer? England’s Steven Thompson says yes.

Steven Thompson

The Burnley forward was in Portland as his Premiership team played the (soon to be) MLS Portland Timbers on Sunday at PG&E Park, and struck a blow for soccer detente — even though it cost him dearly. At one point during play Thompson tumbled into the Timbers’ beer garden, which is right next to the field. Finding himself practically in the lap of a drinking patron — and being British — he picked up the man’s mug and took a giant swig.  Then, back into action!

The team wasn’t amused, however: Head coach Owen Coyle fined the Thompson a week’s wages for “unprofessional behaviour.”

“I kind of fell over the billboards at the side of the pitch and there was a cafe right on the side,” Thompson said. “I landed on this person’s table and I don’t know what happened, I just instinctively grabbed this guy’s pint and had a drink.

“It shows you how bad a game it was that it got the biggest cheer of the night. It was just a bit of fun and it went down well, it was a bit of light-hearted banter, and the guy was really decent about it. He was laughing.”

But Thompson revealed that even the manager saw the funny side of it.

“The manager did say I was fined a week’s wages though for being the first player he’s ever seen drinking during a match.”

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, Russian soccer fans are being urged by their Health Ministry to drink lots of whisky to ward off the swine flu. Russia travels to Wales for a World Cup soccer qualifier on Sept. 9.

“We urge our fans to drink a lot of Welsh whisky as a form of disinfection,” VOB head Alexander Shprygin told Reuters. “That should cure all symptoms of the disease.”

Russia’s Health Ministry has issued a public warning against traveling to Britain because of the spread of the H1N1 virus but Shprygin said he expected at least several hundred fans would go to Wales for the September 9 qualifier in Cardiff.

“Health officials say this virus is very dangerous but being a fan myself I can tell you that for a real fan nothing is more important than the well-being of the team,” said Shprygin, who also sits on the executive board of the Russian FA.

“Russian fans don’t fear anything or anybody so this virus will not stand in our way of supporting our team.”

Those poor Russian bastards. Will their sacrifices never end?