William Shakespeare died on April 23rd. We do not really know when he was born. But his christening date implies it happened sometime during the same week, fifty-two years earlier. So, we celebrate it on the 23rd, which seems poetically suited to poet.
Kristin Scott Thomas is currently featured in the PBS series “My Grandparent’s War,” where she learns about her amazing grandfather’s heroic service during WWII.
Check out here! https://www.pbs.org/show/my-grandparents-war/
What is the Super League and Why It’s a Horrible Thing
Using baseball as an analogy, to help Americans understand
Imagine last year’s Major League Baseball division winners playing their MLB season this year, while also competing in a year-long tournament that includes the division-winning teams from eight nearby nations whose Major League Baseball is as good or better than in the USA.
The top prize being tons of money and a trophy considered more rare and special than the World Series. That is the Champions League.
The Super League was supposed to be the richest clubs (i.e. Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Cubs) starting an Only Rich and Powerful Teams Allowed League from all those nations, which would vacuum up all the future top talent and TV revenue, destroy the Champions League that many “little David” clubs get to now and again, and degrade and possibly destroy the 180 year old leagues in the various nations.
Now imagine if the last place teams from each MLB division got “relegated” to the minor leagues each year and were replaced by the top teams from the minor leagues. That is how all the European leagues operate. But the Super League would do away with that. It would only be for and about whoever is rich enough to afford the Super League dues, regardless how many games they lose.
It is nothing less than a plot by American hedge fund managers and Emirati sheiks to create a money mine beyond the wildest fantasies of the NBA’s and NFL’s greediest owners, and with complete disregard for the impact on local populations supporting hundreds of smaller pro and semi-pro teams that enrich the cultural fabric of millions of common people.
Manchester City was the first of six English Premiere League teams to announce they were backing out of the Super League, after the public backlash from fans and politicians. Chelsea and the other four soon followed. Less than a week later, the project appears to be doomed, as clubs in other nations have either backed out or declined their secret invitations. But there may be legal challenges going forward to try to force the Super League into existence.
While executives of some European clubs claim the project will continue to develop, the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) and their world-governing body FIFA have threatened to expel any Super League teams from their domestic leagues, and block their professional players from representing their home countries in international competitions like the World Cup. Fortunately, most players and coaches came out against the Super League when the secret plans were made public.
In England, where soccer was invented, there are 72 professional teams (including 3 from Wales.) But there are actually 140 individual football leagues, with over 5,200 clubs, all part of the same divisional pyramid system, where the top teams of a league are promoted to the next tier for the following season, theoretically able to advance all the way to the top 20 teams of English Premiere League. And the revenue sharing from the top tiers trickles down a good ways into the lower divisions.
Similar systems exist in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany, and to a lesser extent in other nations like Russia, Portugal, Sweden, and the Netherlands. The Super League threatens to destroy or at least greatly cripple and disfigure European football as we know it and as it has evolved from its earliest organizations of the mid-1800s.
“Hero is a word that is often overused, but an understatement when describing Bobby Moore”
Born April 14, 1941, he would been 80 years old today
Moore’s death from colon cancer at age 51 sent much of the world into mourning for the unassuming man from London’s working-class East End who was knighted for restoring pride in the English people during the post war years of dearth and derision, as a larger than life champion in sport and as a role model in society throughout the turbulent Sixties and Seventies, due to his generous good heart and “perfect gentleman” personality. And for never losing touch with his humble origins, despite partying with the likes of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Who, while having movie star babysitters like Michael Caine.
While the Babe Ruth of soccer was certainly Bobby Charleton of Manchester United, its Lou Gehrig was Bobby Moore, the man Pelé called the best defender in history, and Charleton named the greatest footballer England ever produced.
With movie star looks of curly blonde hair and bright blue eyes, Moore arose from the rough and tumble streets of Barking, “like a shining light,” at a time when England was in serious economic and social depression after WWII. He was 14 when the local pro team recruited him, but his mother wouldn’t let him go until he was 16 and had completed his “O levels,” the British equivalent of high school graduation. Moore was still in his early twenties when he led the perennial also-ran West Ham United to winning the 1964 FA Cup (the tournament of all the English football leagues) and the 1965 European Cup (the tournament of all the cup winners from European nations,) before captaining the 1966 national team that won England’s only World Cup and restored them to the heights of international soccer after years of obscurity.
Moore was the subject of two recent documentaries, the sentimental Hero (2002) and Bo66y (2016) that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1966 World Cup victory. Neither of those is readily available. But this one made by a TV News department just after his death is pretty great.