Lad of the Year and other tales
When it comes to the greatest team game on earth, Canada may well be ranked 94th in the world behind such football luminaries as Oman (88), Burkina Faso (77) and Angola (56) to name just a few, but when it comes to soccer camps, Lenarduzzi Soccer rates right up there with the best. In fact I’m going to rank them number one. Somebody has to care about the soccer development of our greatest asset, young people, and the Lenarduzi blend of caring and sharing the experience and expertise works well in an otherwise less than perfect soccer environment. This is not to belittle in any way the tremendous efforts of local volunteers throughout British Columbia, without whom no soccer could take place, but rather to recognize the momentous importance of knowledgeable and dedicated professional coaches. It is an honour to be counted among them. This makes my award last night as Lad of the Year at the year-end wrap up dinner even more prestigious and an honour that I will treasure long beyond the hanging up of my boots. I know that the nominees were all deserving and the decision difficult. Thanks Lenarduzzis, and thumbs up.
Some other snippets: Alan Shearer confounded his growing line up of critics by rediscovering (whatever that means) his predatory scoring instincts in Bobby Robson’s first game in charge at St James Park. Shearer bagged five of Newcastle’s eight-goal demolition of Sheffield Wednesday and sent himself to the top of the goalscoring charts at the same time and boosted the price of Robson’s stock as well. Since you are only as good as your last game in football, let’s hope Alan enjoys the week. Meanwhile, Kevin Phillips, who used to clean Shearer’s boots at Southampton, managed a hat trick for Sunderland and boosted them to fourth place in the table. Think I’ll rub some of that stuff on my own boots.
Last season, Arsenal played their home European Champions League games at Wembley stadium. Their record: 1 win, 1 tie & 1 loss; 3 goals for – 3 against. Hardly frightening. Wembley offers greater width for visiting teams than the more confining Highbury pitch, and Champions League teams are all proficient in counter attacking at pace. It was important for Arsenal then to pull out a win on the hallowed turf, and they did just that although I’m sure they were glad of the four minutes time added on at the finish since the score was 1-1 after ninety. At least they are not missing twenty-year old multi-millionaire Nicholas Anelka who is playing more like a Vancouver Canucks hockey player these days as he has yet to register a goal for his new club Real Madrid while still managing to pick up a very heavy paycheque each week. No wonder Spanish fans are singing “What a load of rubbish.” Hasta La Vista Baby. More next week.