Sir Elton John is best known for helping craft a handful of the most memorable melodies of the past 30 years. Well, he’s known for that and the world’s most flamboyant collection of sunglasses. Now, for the second time, John has stepped in with significant investment in the soccer team he grew up rooting for, English Championship side Watford. The difference is that this time, instead of bankrolling the team out of his own pocket, he’s proposing funding the team’s summer transfer targets by holding a concert at the team’s stadium.
(Watford’s new strike force, brought to you by this guy.)
According to the WATFORD OBSERVER, John pitched the idea after being re-named “Honorary Life President” of the Watford Hornets on his 62nd birthday last week, and he immediately pitched the concert idea as a way to re-create an incredibly successful — and similar — idea from 2005, when John hosted a gig at the team’s Vicarage Road ground and helped raise a whopping $2 million+. Now, instead of using the money to help fund the team’s stadium advances, John explicity wants the money to go toward signing new players.
It’s a bit like Jon Bon Jovi holding a concert to raise money for the Phillies to sign a new free agent pitcher. It’s the kind of thing we just haven’t seen before, and you’d have to say that Elton John is just about the last person you’d think would usher in a trend in sports funding.
Roman Abramovich, one of the world’s richest private citizens and owner of London’s Chelsea Football Club (not to mention a handful of other sporting organizations) is typically portrayed as a shrewd business investor who dumps money into Chelsea to help him pass his time. Everyone knows he got his money from selling his post-Soviet oil empire — Sibneft oil — to Russian state-owned Gazprom for a whopping $13 billion. What few know, however, is how close he would be to bankruptcy or, worse yet, jail for failing to cooperate with a psuedo-authoritarian state if he hadn’t sold when he did.
(The advantage of selling at the right time: Landing this woman)
It’s a shocking revelation considering the fact that Abramovich single-handedly changed the face of the world’s richest sports league, the English Premier League. By dumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the Chicago Cubs of the EPL, Abramovich turned Chelsea into a household name, and set the stage for other oligarchical investors — Sheik Mansour at Manchester City, before all others — to snap up soccer teams before they got even more expensive. It’s now clear that getting Chelsea when he did is a credit to former Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as it is to Abramovich himself.
American fans can be pretty devoted, but there are times when you get the feeling that we can’t hold a candle to our brethren across the pond. A study from the British website MY CELEBRITY FASHION, as linked via FOOTBALL SHIRT CULTURE, claims that British men are significantly more turned on by seeing their girlfriends/wives show up for sex wearing their favorite team’s jersey, as opposed to skimpy lingerie or, more shockingly, nothing at all.
It may seem absurd, but the Brits could be on to something, provided that you’re able to take some creative license with the aforementioned jerseys. Take the lovely lass above, for example. We have absolutely no ties to the Ukraine, but she sure makes us want to find one.
Admit it, when you were in elementary school — heck, probably when you were in middle school, too — you hoped and dreamed that you’d be a professional athlete. You probably thought you had a chance, too. Well, this British teenager was living your dream, working his way up through the West Ham academy system to the verge of a professional debut. Except he didn’t take it, because he’d rather play the saxophone.
(Bad choice, kid. Haven’t you ever seen “Green Street Hooligans”?)
The sassy young Brit in question is 16-year-old Tyler Rix, who turned heads on the BBC2 reality show “Classical Star”. Think “American Idol” with brass and keys. Even more impressive is the fact that he did so while still training at West Ham. But when he was offered a guaranteed $1.5 million contract by Universal Music Group, he decided to take the music money rather than play the odds on a much, much bigger payday with West Ham.
Seems crazy, doesn’t it? And, more significantly, why isn’t Rix trying to do both? Why not be both a musician and an athlete if you can pull it off? Clearly he had been, and more athletes than we’d like to remember have failed miserably chasing the same dream. So why in God’s name is he pulling out?
We’re not suggesting European soccer has a bit of trouble enforcing its goals of respect and mutual understanding between countries, cultures, and ethnicities, but governing football bodies can’t even hold up a punishment for blatant racism that everyone seemingly agrees on.
(Joe Jackson was right; it’s different for girls. Isn’t that right, Natasha Kai?)
So when former footie star Paul Elliott claims at least a dozen current English soccer players are homosexual and should be encouraged to make a mass outing as part of the FA’s attempt to squelch homophobia, we support the notion but wonder if “safety in numbers” implies that maybe it’s not quite safe to do so yet.
The Bolton Wanderers have seen attendance dip in recent years as they have languished in the relegation zone of the English Premier League. So the DAILY NEWS reports that the team had a novel concept to get people to Saturday’s game against Blackburn: give the fans free beer. Let’s see, free beer plus English soccer fans? Nope, I can’t see how that could end up poorly at all.
The first 1,000 fans will have the ability to enter the “Fan Zone” at the team’s Reebok Stadium and get a free beer or cider and deeply discounted food. For the rest of the game, drinks will be just £1.75 (roughly $3.00) for the rest of the match. No word if they will let you into the stadium if you are wearing a Dodgers hat, though.
It’s shocking because European soccer has shown itself to be nothing but a bastion of cultural sensitivity, but London police have felt it necessary to explicitly ban the Borat mankini (h/t: UNPROFESSIONAL FOUL) from Wembley Stadium during the England-Kazakhstan World Cup qualifier today.
We just didn’t see a European power showing such crudeness towards another country as to reduce them to a cheap cariacture, you know?
Of course, some fans will try anyway, including this clever fellow:
Tags: English Soccer
, Ingrid Vandebosch
, Jason Caffey
, Jeff Gordon
, Kerri Walsh
, Koby Clemens
, Kurt Warner
, Matt Leinart
, Misty May Treanor
, Oj Simpson
, Peter King
, Ricky Williams
, Roger Clemens
, San Diego Padres
, Tom Riccio
, Warren Sapp
The UK’s EAST ANGLIAN newspaper provides the gruesome details of one of the most insane soccer injuries we’ve ever heard of. A 14-year-old boy was “impaled” after colliding with the soccer goal post.
Now that’s going to leave a mark. Read more…