Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween -- from Alessandro Del Piero! What are they feeding him in Australia?

If you can, enjoy some top fixtures on this spooky day:

Chelsea vs. Manchester United 
3:45pm EST, Capital One Cup

Norwich City vs. Tottenham
3:45pm EST, Capital One Cup

Liverpool vs. Swansea City
3:45pm EST, Capital One Cup

Parma vs. AS Roma
3:45pm EST, Serie A

Inter Milan vs. Sampdoria
3:45pm EST, Serie A

Wolfsburg vs. Frankfurt
3:30pm EST, German DFB Pokal Cup 

PSG vs. Marseille
3:55pm EST, French Coupe de la Ligue

Remember to have your parents check your candy before you eat it! Health and happiness to all.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dutch Dandies of the Premier League

The other day I began reminiscing about the Premier League of my youth. As I counted my favorite stars from that era, it became evident that many of them were Dutch Dandies. Here are some of my faves:

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
The thunder-thighed Dutch forward remains etched in the minds of many English fans after a career filled with stunning strikes. People also remember him for his rock-star name.

Fun Fact: Jimmy Floyd's first name is actually Jerrel. While playing in Portugal, for some reason no one could say the word Jerrel, so everyone called him Jimmy Floyd instead.

Dennis Bergkamp
The silky-smooth striker seemed to slow the game down with the ball at his feet, allowing him time to outfox defenders and keepers alike. Have a look at this video showing all of his 120 goals at Arsenal: dizzying.

Fun fact: It is noted that the wily striker was not only brilliant on the field, but in the classroom, earning a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Bath while at Arsenal.

Marc Overmars
The Arsenal faithful were over the moon for Overmars. The midfielder was regaled for his pace down the left flank, not to mention his service into the box. I fondly recall a poster of the young gun with a look of guile in his eye hanging on the wall of a friends room growing up.

Fun Fact: Overmars is BBFF (Bergkamp's Best Friend Forever). Also his nickname was "the Roadrunner."

Edgar Davids
The pit-bull of a player, famed for his dreads and protective sunglasses, was a solid midfielder. In his day, Davids' marking abilities were second to none, making him an instant hit at White Hart Lane with the Spurs. In addition, his sunglasses always made me believe he was a member of the Xmen.

Fun Fact: To my surprise, I read the bullish midfielder currently captains and coaches Football League Two side Barnet. Interesting.

Ruud van Nistelrooy
I'm not ashamed to say that growing up I had a poster featuring Ruud, "the man with the golden boot" at Old Trafford. Van Nistelrooy's uncanny ability to be present and poised in front of goal have few rivals. During his time with the Red Devils he was dominate, scoring 150 goals in 220 games. The most shocking thing about his time in England, to me, is that he was actually sold!

Fun Fact: Let this video say it all: Ruud Celebration

Edwin van der Sar
The gangly Dutchman made his name through consistent, reliable goalkeeping. Quick to react and always in the right place, van der Sar is one of the most successful keepers in history. He provided dedicated service to the Fulham faithful before moving over to Manchester United, ultimately winning the Champions League and countless titles.

Fun Fact: Van der Sar has three sons, named Huey, Luey and Duey. Actually, that's fiction, I couldn't really find anything fun about the stoic shot stopper.

Jaap Stam
Another United boy, the cue-ball headed Stam served the Old Trafford faithful with a display of stalwart defending. In his three years with the Red Devils, he won three EPL titles, an FA Cup and the Champions League. Not too bad for man that bald.

Fun Fact: Once upon a time when Jaap Stam was a little boy, he was wandering in the woods of Holland and came across a log cabin. He reckoned that this log cabin was the very same one that became Hansel and Gretel's downfall, which immediately caused the young Stam to be so scared that he lost his hair then and forever. That is also fiction. Probably just male pattern baldness.

Arjen Robben
Much to my surprise, when Arjen Robben hit the scene in the Premier League with Chelsea I realized he was only in his early 20s. Another Dutch baldy! That aside, Robben's zeal down the wing for the Blues in the mid-2000s helped them capture a coveted Premier League title.

Arjen during better days
Fun Fact: Arjen Robben supposedly had hair. Note above reference.

Those are some of my favorite Dutch players from the bygone era. Anyone I missed? Comment below.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Welcome Back to the Stage of History...

Hello my friends. Let me explain:

A long hiatus enjoying summer eventually rolled into an autumn full of FIFA '13, which has kept my finger tips and imagination away from my baby, Sensible Soccer, for far too long. But all that's about to end, friends. I'm back. And I've got ideas.

Take it away. Gigi:

Stay tuned.