Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Antigua, SAP FC and Richie Richardson

File:SAP FC.png

I recently came back from a vacation in Antigua with my wife which was sort of a postponed honeymoon (plus I was recently laid off so I have lots of free time now).  For those of you that don't know where Antigua is it is a small (108 sq miles) island in the Caribbean next to Guadeloupe and St Kitts and Nevis (wiki link here).  By far the most popular sport on the island is cricket of which I am also a big fan and some famous players have come from the island (more on that later).

We were staying at the Jolly Beach Resort which is on the west side and one day we were browsing around the shops and saw a flyer for a band that featured two famous cricket players Curtley Ambrose and Richie Richardson.  For those of you that don't know cricket I can assure you that these guys terrorised opponents in the 90s.  Curtley Ambrose (wiki link here) was a big mean mother of a fast bowler and Richie (wiki link here) was the captain of the West Indies cricket team in the 90s.  We decided to go and check out the band.  A couple of nights previous my wife and I met a young guy who worked at on the restaurants at the resort.  He gave us a couple of drinks before the bar opened and we chatted with him for a while.   I was at the bar and this guy came up to me yelling my name - it was Alvin the guy from the bar.  I bought him a couple of drinks and I asked if he knew Richie Richardson who was playing in the band.  He said just go up to him 'he's cool as shit'.  Long story short I got my photo with him and had a bit of a chat with him.  Here's a couple of funny comments he made:
'You guys really ripped us (Australia) up back in the day'
'Hey man sorry I was just doing my job' - RR
'Where's Curtley?' - I said this as he wasn't playing in the band that night
'He dissapeared' - RR

The night went on and we had more drink and my friend Alvin bought my wife and I a couple of drinks.  Now if you have been to Antigua (or many other Caribbean islands) and spent any time away from your resort you can see that there is quite a lot of poverty on the island.  I felt bad that he bought us drinks so I was wondering how to give him the money back without offending him.  I saw he was wearing a soccer shirt that I didn't recognize so I asked him where he got the shirt.  He said that it was the shirt of his local team.
'Do you want this shirt?'
'I tell you what I'll buy it off you' - I thought this would be a good way to give him some money
I slipped him $40.
'Do not let anyone where this shirt not even your future son, I was wearing this shirt the day we won the title in 2008!'

I didn't think much of the shirt until I got back (except when I got it back to the room and it stunk so bad of sweat and body odor that my wife made me wash it in the sink with shampoo).  I decided to do some research to see if Alvin was telling the truth and to find out if (a) it was a real team; and (b) did they really win the title in 2008.  A quick google search did come up with an SAP football team in Antigua and they did win the title in 2008-09 (wiki link here).  So now I have another team to support and I will be following them and the Antigua team in the future.  Look for more blog posts on SAP and the Antigua and Barbuda FA in the future.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

WTF has happened to Chelsea?

OK I have been away on vacation and kind of out of the loop this month but it's not hard to notice what has been going on in the EPL lately.  WTF has happened to Chelsea?  Everything seemed to being going along just fine coming into November, top of the table.  The a loss to Liverpool on November 7.  No panic get back to it.  A win at Fulham is followed by a bad loss to Sunderland at home none the less. Hang on what's going on here. Then another loss to Birmingham and panic stations.  Just when you wouldn't have thought it could get worse along comes December.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the late equaliser against Everton, that win was in the bag.  The draw against Tottenham was painful. I was on vacation in Antigua and when we went to lunch I noticed that the game was on in a common room and some Chelsea supporters were watching.  I stopped for 10 mins to watch when the game was 1-0 to Tottenham.  Then I went to lunch and when I came back I saw the equaliser by Drogba.  The penalty miss by Drogba was super painful though, I wonder how many penalties he missed last year?

Then I'm back from vacation and all excited that the Chelsea-Arsenal game is on ESPN here in the States.  Arsenal scores the first three goals within 60 mins and the game is over.  Chelsea now has no wins in the last 6 games.  They have slipped to 5th and are 7pts behind Manchester United (thanks to their draw with Birmingham City today).  Meanwhile Manchester United continues on their merry way and still has not lost a game (but has 7 draws).  It's probably lucky for Chelsea that their game against Man U was cancelled. Tottenham, Manchester City, Arsenal and surprisingly Blackpool have all shown good form in the last 6 games with at least 10pts each (Chelsea has 3!!!!).

Let me explain my EPL allegiences first

I am a big fan of the EPL.  I have to admit I haven't been a life time fan of soccer though.  I grew up in Brisbane Australia at a time when kids thought that soccer was for girls and most boys played rugby.  So I played rugby and ignored soccer.  I played rugby league until I was about 19 and suffered some bad injuries. Then I gave up playing and focused on my university studies. At university I met a bunch of guys that were fans of soccer and I played in an indoor league with them and we had a couple of German exchange students with us who were really good and they helped us win the D grade title!  Then I started watching international soccer, mostly the EPL and the Serie A which were shown in Australia at the time every Saturday.  My room mate and I thought it was the perfect Saturday afternoon activity while we worked off our hang overs!

In 1995 I moved to Sheffield in England to work at the University. At the time local team Sheffield Wednesday was in the premier league so I followed them closely while I was there from 1995-1997.  When I left I followed them as well even through their tough years of relegation to Division 2.  While I was in England I often went to London on the weekends to visit friends and I was very fond of the Chelsea area.  So I began to follow Chelsea as well in 1996 and even closer when I left England for the States and Wednesday was demoted so I never got to see them.  Around that time Chelsea started to become quite successful so I got to see them more on TV in the States.  Then of course when they were sold in 2003 to Abramovich they became the very sucessful team they are today.

Just thought I would explain myself as I will refer to these teams more than others in this blog.