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.
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!
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.
If there was ever any question that Russians are hyper competitive at everything, well, throw those doubts out the window. According to a story from THE KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA, via the blog PRAVDA, the champion of a recent pancake eating contest ate every single pancake thrown at him, then collapsed and died on stage after winning the contest outright. If that wasn’t drastic enough, this is: The revelers in the town of Chernyakhovsk, celebrating a holiday called “Butter Week”, kept on celebrating after the dead man was carted away.
(CC Sabathia: Unimpressed)
The story claims that 48-year-old Boris Isayev collapsed while walking up to receive his medal, suffocating with foam at his mouth. If you read between the lines, it sounds as if Isayev was literally filled up with pancake dough, all the way through his esophagus to his windpipe, precisely the type of condition that confirms what we’ve always known: Shaun Rogers and CC Sabathia would be beasts in Russian pancake eating contests.
If you thought Russian hockey players were strange, they’ve got nothing on their soccer counterparts. Within days of moving to London side Arsenal for a club-record $23 million, the British tabloid NEWS OF THE WORLD combed through just about every written or spoken word the Russian star Andrey Arshavin has produced. And wouldn’t you know it, he’s just about the strangest character to set foot on a pitch since, well, since the last time anyone played soccer.
(Meet Andrey Arshavin: Women’s designer, premiership star.)
Not only does Arshavin design a popular women’s clothing line — he allegedly studied sewing when he was in school because of a better male-to-female ratio — he also dreams that he’s a horse in a field entirely enshrouded by guinea pigs.
Becky Hammon has played in the WNBA since 1999. Last season, she was second in that league’s MVP voting. But when the United States went to build their team, Hammon wasn’t even invited.
And that’s when Hammon issued her own code red. Read more…
RUSSIAN TENNIS STAR TIED UP DURING ROBBERY AT HOME: Here’s why you couldn’t get a hold of Anna Chakvetadze on Tuesday - The rising Russian tennis star was all tied up:
Australia’s LIVE NEWS reports that the 20-year-old Chakvetadze and her parents were victims of a robbery at their vacation home outside Moscow.Police say four hooded intruders broke into the home at 4 a.m. Tuesday, and tied up Anna & her folks. The thieves made off with over $200,000.
200 Grand? That’s just enough to buy some ad time during the Pats vs. Giants. And since the game’s on the NFL Network, the crooks won’t have to worry about being seen.
BLIMEY! CROATIA KICKS ENGLAND OUT OF 2008 EURO CUP: Despite the best efforts of Israel and airport security, England has done the remarkable and failed to qualify for the Euro 2008 Cup.
The hopes of the English nation that had risen with the Israelis’ dramatic upset of Russia last Saturday, came crashing down on Thursday with a 3-2 home loss to Croatia.The English only had to manage at least a tie with Croatia in order to qualify for next year’s European Championship.
Instead, the team will miss out on their first major soccer tournament since the 1994 World Cup. And England coach Steve McClaren will likely be sent permanently off the pitch.
NO WONDER THE CROATIAN GUY HAS BITTER BEER FACE: Beyond our borders the entire world is watching England attempt to qualify for the European Championship soccer tournament today, which will be held next year in Austria and Switzerland.
The Brits need a tie at home against Croatia to qualify. Thanks to pitiful previous play, England would have no chance to make Euro 2008 if it wasn’t for Israel upsetting Russia earlier this week. Manager Steve McClaren has made a myriad of moves for the match, including benching David Beckham (so they really do want to win, huh).
The English are taking this one pretty damn seriously, as the pregame intimidation starting as soon as the Croatians got off the plane.
AT A CORNER BRITISH BOOZER: “JESUS, THAT WAS CLOSE!” Biggest upsets in Jewish history:
1) Abraham lives to 175.
2) Moses parts Red Sea.
3) David slays Goliath.
4) Israel 2, Russia 1.The win by Israel was the biggest sports story in the world last weekend (sorry, Charlie), because it (probably) saves England from the colossal embarrassment of missing the European soccer championships next summer.
Now the Lions need only a tie against Croatia to go through to the Euro tourney (the Croatians are playing very inspired soccer at the moment, having lost to Macedonia 2-0 in their most recent match).
SHARAPOVA WANTS NO FALLOUT FOR CHERNOBYL VISIT: Maria Sharapova will be bringing her radiant beauty to a radiated area, as the tennis star is planning a visit to Chernobyl:
The INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE reports that Sharapova hopes to go to areas affected by the 1986 nuclear plant explosion as a United Nations goodwill ambassador, probably after next year’s Wimbledon. But it’s not just a photo-op, as one affected area was once her family’s home.Maria’s mom & dad originally lived in the city of Gomel in Belarus, and she would have been born there, if not for the radioactive clouds spewing from the infamous reactor 80 miles to the south.
Her family quickly fled to Siberia shortly before her birth, but she still has many relatives living in the infected region, including her grandparents.Sharapova hopes to see how life goes on for those that remained - “I want to visit the facilities that they’re building right now for the children — computer labs and hospitals.”