Alcohol, America, FIFA World Cup, Football, Lame, My sense of Humour, Rant, Satire

Americans to become Soccer fans for Exact Duration of Team USA Matches

With the start of the soccer world cup, the small fraction of the American population who are even remotely aware of the sport’s existence, appear to be showing a passing interest in the proceedings. Most of them have decided to become soccer fans and to actually give a shit about the sport for the exact duration of Team USA matches.

Sport Bars to be crowded from Kick-off to Final Whistle of Team USA matches only

Sport bars across the country have subscribed to the Team USA World Cup Special on their respective Cable TV providers. The special package allows the bars to show the broadcast of Team USA matches only. The broadcast starts exactly at kick-off and ends exactly at the final whistle. The advertisement for that special package explained that the time between kickoff and final whistle in Team USA matches is pretty much the exact duration when any American would even give a shit about the sport. It also said that it would cover the final celebrations only if USA won the World cup.

“Apparently this is something big. I think USA is playing. So I guess I will watch our matches,” said Tim, who learnt about the existence of this sport last year when his European college roommate was playing FIFA on his computer. When asked about other countries’ matches, he replied, “Oh I was not aware that there were other teams playing in this tournament. Maybe I will read up on the teams and the results online after the World cup.”

There appears to be no shortage of support for Team USA. There were reports that people who ‘would rather watch reruns of College football from 10 years ago’ were also supporting the USMNT.

“Go Team USA! We are the best! Wait…does it mean I have to actually watch this match? What sport is this? Why is this called football? Why is he playing the ball with his foot all the time?” wondered Bob, a truck driver from Wisconsin.

But what would happen if USA were to win the World Cup? To this, Pete, a NY Yankees fan replied, “First of all I do not understand this tournament. If this is a World Cup, why do they have different countries playing each other? Is this the Olympics? Why can’t they just have a bunch of city based teams in a country play other city teams in their own country and the winners crown themselves World Champions? That’s the way it is in the US of A! This World Cup is just a waste of time.”

 

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FIFA World Cup, Football, Serious Writing, Thoughts

What makes a winning Football Team? Part I: The Circumstances

I am not talking about ‘winning mentality’ or ‘winning tactics’ or ‘hard work’ or ‘discipline’ or ‘sacrifice for the team’ or ‘work ethics’. I am simply asking what makes a winning football team? More specifically put, I am asking what makes aconsistently winning team? What was so special about Johan Cryuff’s ‘Dream Team’,  Real Madrid’s ‘Second Galacticos’, Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona team, the current Bayern Munich team, AC Milan in the mid 2000’s, Spain’s impressive run of 3 major international titles or Manchester United’s hugely successful team in the mid to late 2000’s?

A hugely successful period for the Spanish national team

All those above mentioned examples were teams that won or are winning titles in a specific period of time – usually between 3 and 5 years. During these years, the team wins the domestic leagues and cups and reaches the finals or semi finals of the Champions League almost always, and winning it at least once. If a team is able to do this for 3-5 years, then it can be considered a successful team by any standards. The teams mentioned in the list above have all done it. So, the question is if there is a pattern here at all. If so, then whatdoes it take to build such a consistently winning team?

The answer to the first question is ‘Yes.’

Every football player goes through a normal distribution curve (bell shaped curve) when his performance is plotted against time. (I am not going to take into account uncertainties such as injuries, fallouts with managers, attitude problems, etc.) The peak of a player’s career lasts for a certain period of time. Here the ‘peak’ should not be construed as the absolute pinnacle in a player’s career. Instead it should be looked at as the period during which a player has been the most productive as compared to the rest of his career. How high the peak goes is largely left to the player and his inherent talent, guidance and work ethic. Its timing and how long the peak lasts for is usually a function of the player’s position. For strikers, the peak period usually lasts between the ages of 25 and 31. For attacking midfielders, that range holds true as well with perhaps a couple of years thrown in there to widen that range in some cases. Central midfielders and defenders have the largest peak period with a generally observed age range of 23 to 32. Needless to say, an argument can be made that within that large range, a central midfielder or defender has an even higher peak period generally found between the ages of 26 and 31. Goalkeepers on the other hand can last forever. You can really take any example: Buffon, Van der Saar, Valdes, Howard, etc.

There are of course exceptions with early bloomers and some exceptional talents. Pep Guardiola (player), Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi, Wayne Rooney, are good examples for early bloomers and exceptional talents. You only need to look at Paul Scholes, Andrea Pirlo or Claude Makelele for examples of players with exceptional talent who were/are practically still playing in their prime even past the age of 33 or so.

So if a striker is playing during his peak period and banging in goals regularly, what the manager wants is a set of attacking mid-fielders who are also playing in their peak period feeding him the ball and creating chances. Behind them, he wants the central mid-fielders also playing at their peak, holding up play, dictating the pace and distributing the balls as needed. And finally behind them, he wants the defenders and the goal keeper to also be playing at their peaks.

Now imagine if the manager gets his wish. Imagine a team that has been playing with the same set of players for 2-3 years and all the players have started or just about to start their peak periods in their careers. Imagine all the players in the team have been playing a single style of football under one single manager who has created a specific role for each player to play in the team. Imagine this manager stays on for a few more years. And now, finally, imagine this team playing under these set of circumstances for the next 3-5 years.

What do you think is going to happen?

Now it becomes obvious. Every single team I mentioned at the beginning went through such a phase that resulted – not just coincided – in their most successful periods – winning consistently and amassing trophies all the while. Maybe there was one or two factors missing such as a constant manager. But for the most part, a consistently winning team essentially consists of a set of players – most, if not all, of whom are playing at their peaks and have played with each other for a while.

This is the pattern that is there among all the successful ‘teams’ during their most illustrious periods. In the next post, I will be discussing the current situation with respect to most of the big clubs and what is happening with them as it concerns the ‘peak period production’ of their players.

And as far as this year’s World Cup goes, there is mostly one team (and perhaps two) that is playing in such a set of circumstances and it is also the team I would bet on to win the tournament.

It starts with a ‘G’.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Fake Football News, Fake News, Football, My sense of Humour, Rant, Satire

Football Fan Wants All Teams to Play Attacking Football All The Time

Saying that he was bored to death after watching the Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea match, local football fan decided that he wants all teams to play attacking football all the time. He said that his decision was largely influenced by how Chelsea ‘parked the bus’ for the entire game and didn’t let Atletico Madrid score a single goal, thereby gaining a very valuable draw in the away leg of the Champions League Semi Final.

Football Fan deeply dissatisfied with Chelsea successfully parking the bus against all top attacking teams in Europe

“I cannot imagine how bad the game was. It was like watching paint dry. Chelsea just parked the bus and did not let Atleti to create any clear cut chances! They just could not breach Chelsea’s defense! That is just simply unacceptable from Chelsea! They should not be allowed to do that!” he said while expressing outrage about the scoreless draw.

The football fan now wants all teams to be required to play attacking football because “that is what is most entertaining and creates a lot of goals!”.

“It is not right to play a defensive game even if the team is playing away from home. Always attack attack attack!”

The self proclaimed Bayern Munich fan then went on to give examples of clubs like Barcelona and Bayern Munich who generally have a lot of possession and are always shown to be attacking the ball. “I was always supporting Barcelona. They were my passion. But then after last season’s semi final when they lost 8-0 on aggregate to Bayern Munich, I just started getting attracted to Bayern somehow. Now I just support Bayern. They are the best team in the world because they keep playing attacking football all the time! It is real great to watch them.” Digressing from the topic a bit, he then went on to criticize how fans who previously supported Chelsea changed their allegiance to Man City after City started spending and winning more titles.

Football Fan insists that is the only way to go and nothing else is acceptable

When asked to elaborate about why all teams should play the same style of football, he said “I mean, who wants to watch teams with different styles of football and hailing from different football cultures – aerially dominating, long ball tactics, physical game play, counter attacking tactics, extremely defensive formations stifling the opponent’s attack, parking the bus – pitted against each other? Really, who wants to watch those styles of play going up against each other? All I want to see is two possession based teams who pass the ball a lot and create opportunities from through balls or cut-ins. Everything else is just boring!”

He went a step further and said that the players should not feel proud if they win by playing any other style of football and that if a free-passing team such as Bayern Munich or Barcelona loses, they should always feel proud of sticking to their brand of football. “Take the Barcelona – Chelsea semi final 2nd leg at the Nou Camp in 2012. I am sure that at the end of the day, all Barcelona players and fans were celebrating with pride how they never abandoned their philosophy and played with it right to the end of them getting knocked out! Never mind the fact that with practically 100% possession in the second half, Barcelona were able to generate only ONE meaningful shot on target with those tactics. I am just proud that they kept maintaining possession and passing the ball around aimlessly while Chelsea did not give them even an inch of space for a through ball. Chelsea do not deserve any credit for their performance that day at all – even if it was with ten men”.

Football fan feels Torres’ goal against Barcelona should make all Chelsea fans feel extremely ashamed of themselves

Among recent games, he pointed to the way Arsenal lost 6-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. “Hats off to Arsenal for not at all changing any of their tactics or style of football while playing away against a top counter attacking team in all of Europe! Arsene Wenger deserves a lot of credit for sticking with his attacking free flowing possession based football away from home against Chelsea. The final score line doesn’t matter at all! The important thing is that Arsenal did not stop playing their brand of football right to the end. I am sure that all Arsenal players and fans were extremely proud about that and celebrated like they won a trophy or something!”

In the end, the fan said that tactics do not mean anything if it does not involve free flowing attacking football. “The only tactics that makes a game good to watch are those that get employed in a possession based attacking game. Everything else is just simply unacceptable. Shame on all the teams who employ other tactics to beat possession based attack minded teams! If you want to beat them, beat them with free passing tiki-taka football which is very impressive to watch. Otherwise, just don’t play and bore us with defensive displays stifling even the best attacking teams in Europe! That is just unacceptable!”

Chelsea, Fake Football News, Fake News, Manchester United, My sense of Humour, Premier League, Rant, Satire

Breaking News: Sir Alex Ferguson frustrated as Chelsea replace Man Utd as England’s most hated club

At the unveiling of his statue in Old Trafford, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson bemoaned the changing scenery of English football. He was speaking to over 2500 fans – which included former players Eric Cantona, the Nevilles, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Edwin van der Sar, Peter Schmeichel and more – who had all gathered to pay tribute to the man who has arguably become the face of Man Utd over the past couple of decades.

An angry Sir Alex Ferguson

In particular, he was visibly frustrated with the way Chelsea had taken over the mantle of the most hated club in England  – a seat long held by Man Utd. He said:

It is particularly disappointing to see other teams take over a position that you have worked so hard to build for so many years. When I took over in 1986, it was never easy to become the most hated club in England. But I achieved and maintained that for more than a decade. But now you have teams like Chelsea and Manchester City – Chelsea in particular – who come out of nowhere without any club history and simply knock you off that coveted spot! This is unacceptable!

The manager spared no words to express his frustration over how the media was treating Chelsea in such a biased manner.

I can’t believe today’s media in this country. They have made it so easy for people to hate Chelsea. Anything Chelsea does, the entire media criticizes and paints them to be the bad guys of English football. That is unfair  – especially as WE at United have worked so hard to be the bad guys of English football!

When asked to illustrate his strong claims against the media with specific instances, the United boss pointed to the way the media has portrayed and criticized the Chelsea owner Roman Abromovich over the years.

The media has portrayed him to be this trigger happy evil general who has insanely high expectations and yet, it conveniently overlooks all the money that he has pumped into the club. Compare that to our owner Malcolm Glazer whose sole objective is to use this club to make money for himself, and the media barely pays attention to that. Just the fact that the owner has not fired me should not shield him from media criticism.

He went on to talk about all the latest scandals and racism rows surrounding Chelsea and was particularly disappointed that he lacked players who could live up to the controversy that their Chelsea counterparts have courted in the past couple of years.

I have to admit they have more players capable of drawing controversy to themselves and the club than we do here. It’s a shame that we no longer have players like Cantona or Gary Neville who the media love to hate. Chelsea can boast of players like Terry and Cole who repeatedly get all the media’s criticism aimed at them and the club.

Even in this whole Clattenburg affair, there is so much vice and vitriol in the media against Chelsea, it is just completely unfair to us folks here at United! Think about it, the media has spewed forth so much venom over a club simply reporting a possible instance of racial abuse. Where is all this hate when referees give us undeserved penalties, or when they send off opposition players, or when they give me all the Fergie time I want? I mean, the referees practically play as our 12th player, and yet the media takes no note of it! This is outright biased and ridiculous!

Sir Alex Ferguson ensuring sufficient Fergie time

The United manager also found time to point out how the media had reacted to Chelsea winning the Champions League. He compared that to how his team have been treated by the media during similar situations.

It is ridiculous to see the lengths the media has gone to criticize Chelsea winning the Champions League. Just because a team plays unattractive football and banks on a bit of luck on the way to winning the biggest prize in Europe, it should not make them subjects of criticism. I mean, here at United, we have been practically winning titles that way for more than 2 decades! Where is OUR fair share of hate and ridicule then?!?

Sir Alex Ferguson then spoke of his pride at having a statue of himself erected while he was still manager at the club. He claimed that he would remain the club’s manager longer than it would take for the statue to rust. Nobody bothered to argue his claim.

Before he concluded his talk, he brought the subject back to the media’s role and sought attention to the prevailing bias.

The media needs to take note of its unfair bias regarding all the hate being directed at football clubs. It is not acceptable that only one club gets all the attention when other clubs perhaps deserve it more.

This media bias will not stand, man!

Fake Football News, Fake News, My sense of Humour, Rant, Satire, Serious Writing, WTF?

Breaking News: UEFA to make Incorrect Referee Decisions Mandatory

In what appears to be a follow up of UEFA President Michel Platini’s comments about video technology, a spokesperson for the governing body in European Football made the announcement in a press conference yesterday.

UEFA has decided to make incorrect referee decisions mandatory, effective from the knock out stages of the UEFA Champions League and the Last-16 of Europa League. This ruling will be applicable to only these 2 tournaments this season. However, starting the 2012-13 season, all leagues and all competitions overseen by UEFA will be required to introduce mandatory referee decisions which are incorrect. This decision was taken up as part of our efforts to drive the organization along the ‘totally-not-ridiculous’ vision of our legendary President Michel Platini.

Michel Platini - explaining his vision for European Football

The vision that Michel Platini has for UEFA and European Football appears to have been indicated by none other than himself a few days ago when he made revelatory comments about the state of football and whether or not to allow video technology in it.

Video is not for football. Human (adjudication) is better. Football became popular thanks to its human values. If that becomes a commercial value, it will lose all its popularity.

Though his initial comments appeared to make his stand clear about use of video technology in football, it was nevertheless vague and unspecific about his vision for the game. This he clarified in his later comments as to what he believed drove football’s popularity.

Football has also based its popularity on injustices. You can remember them and talk about them in the bars. You can talk about 1982, France-Germany, it was an injustice like the hand of Maradona or that of Henry. The notoriety also comes from negative things in football.

Through his later comments, Platini seems to be taking European football in a whole new direction – one which is aimed at increasing the popularity of the game. And he intends to take the shortest way to achieve that aim. In a subsequent press conference, the President himself spoke to reporters about his vision and how he plans to increase football’s popularity.

It is very simple you see. It is a lot easier to make something popular through its negative things. So, like I had said a few days ago, we need stuff to remember and talk about in bars. This way, the game can become more popular! And this is our main objective.

I mean, think about it. Instead of having  just a few games here and there – spread out over time and geography – which have talking points, we intend to take it to the next level by requiring ALL European games to have talking points! How innovative and original is that! Think of all the possibilities that come with such a ruling!

There will no more be any favorites to win any match, let alone a tournament! There will also be an exponential increase in the level of competition everywhere. Suddenly you will find ALL teams fighting for the title. Isn’t that a dream come true for so many fans around the world – to have a realistic chance of  their team winning a big tournament? With so much uncertainty and chaos, football’s popularity will soar!

And do you know the best part? This can serve as the perfect solution to all those big spending clubs who will utilize all the abundant loopholes to beat the Financial Fairplay rules! I mean, what difference will all that big spending on big players make if  the referees (read UEFA) do not allow them to win matches?!!?

I am so awesome no??!?

Though we are yet to receive official reaction from the clubs and players, one industry which has voiced its opinion against the move is the betting industry. Spokesperson for the betting industry released a statement:

Though the intention to create a more level playing field is welcome, the betting industry cannot comprehend such a ridiculous and asinine measure to achieve the aim. The betting industry will run out of business if these rules are enforced because ALL teams will always have a 1-1 betting odds irrespective of whom they are playing!

ESPN’s (self appointed) Pundit Shebby Singh was talking to John Dykes about the drawbacks of the rule and pointed out the inherent flaw in its working.

What Platini is forgetting is that, even if he uses video replays, the person who will eventually make the call is still human. And he is always prone to errors. But if more wrong decisions can be overturned, then the game becomes clean while still maintaining the possibility of  having ‘talking points at bars’ due to the human element involved in judging the video replay itself!

Also John, I would like to add one more point here. Platini is half right about the injustice meted out during the 1982 France-West Germany semifinal. In his opinion, the injustice was to France because the goalkeeper Schumacher was not sent off for breaking the jaw and spine of Patrick Battiston. However, the way I see it, the injustice was to the whole of European football because Schumacher should have actually broken Platini’s jaws and certainly his skull during that match, but he didn’t. That would have saved us all from this impending doom with Platini’s current position as President of UEFA.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, Serious Writing, The things that happen only to ME..., Thoughts

Confessions of a Chelsea Fan: How I came about supporting Chelsea

When one begins to like and follow a particular sport, the first immediate, important and binding choice that he is forced to make is that of choosing a particular team to root for. Who you decide to root for, however, can and will go a long way in determining your mental state every weekend (and many mid-weeks)  for the rest of your existence. Your expectations and aspirations will largely be a function of the team you decide to dedicate all your energy, passion and commitment to – week in week out – for the rest of your life. Not to forget how often you get to win the bragging rights or feel awesome watching THAT look on your friend’s face when his team loses (- very important)!  Also to be kept in mind, is that there is strictly no jumping ship, and if you do jump ship, you will forever be treated as an outcast. So you see, making that one choice is perhaps as important , if not more, as choosing your life partner. Well, come to think of it, you can still change your life partner without being treated as an outcast! There is really little doubt that this one decision or choice  really does go a long long way in dictating the level of happiness in your life.

When it comes to football (if you are in America, it is still football – the other game is Hand-Egg), the first tournament everyone talks about (and rightfully so) is the Barclays Premier League or the English Premier League – arguably the best league in the world, both in terms of quality of football AND the popularity. And when you first begin to watch the sport and realize you like it so much that you have begun to watch it week in and week out, you also understand that it is now time for you to pick a club to support. And one of the factors strongly influencing that choice is going to be – your friends circle.

Everyone likes to be accepted in their friends circle and nobody likes to be treated as the odd man out. And so, for the most part, any newcomer to the sport almost inevitably ends up choosing the team his friends have been supporting. This facilitates the newcomer to feel one among the crowd, allowing him to share the SAME feelings as the rest of his group – irrespective of whether the team wins or loses. And really, who doesn’t like to belong to a group with similar interests?

And when it comes to the BPL, there are really only so many teams you can support without subscribing to a higher risk of feeling crappy every weekend. As of today, those teams are Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and to some extent Tottenham. Any other team and, as pointed out, you run the risk of feeling depressed every other weekend for the rest of your life. So unless you live in England and near one of those mid-table clubs, or your great great grandfather did, it is highly likely that your friends support one of those few above mentioned clubs. And so will you.

Back in the day when I started watching football regularly (it was early 2003), I was surrounded by people who either supported Arsenal or Manchester United. At that time I tried to find out which club I would perhaps enjoy supporting. During my subsequent conversations with those fans, one thing became fairly clear.

There are many ‘reasons’ that are provided by passionate and over-enthusiastic football fans as to why one should support the club THEY do.

Chelsea FC

If you spoke to a Manchester United fan, you would learn that he supports the club for its ‘rich history’, great players, great culture of ‘winning trophies’ and also because they had the greatest manager in the world – Sir Alex Ferguson. He will also make sure to point out that United is the only valid club to support – again, for the same reasons – and that other clubs have no history whatsoever. And that this fact, for some reason that is never really mentioned, automatically makes ALL other clubs ‘unfit’ to support. And if you look around, you will find every Tom, Dick and Harry mouthing off self righteous praises in favor of United, completely convinced that all other fans are not supporting a ‘real’ club. Oh! And of course, you will also be subjected to that inevitable chant: “Glory Glory Man United!”

Now if you spoke to an Arsenal fan, you would be subjected to this inevitable lecture on how Arsenal plays the best, most entertaining, free flowing, passing football in the league. And that Arsenal is the only club that follows the sacred philosophy of investing and developing youngsters from their teenage and moulding them into world class stars. You would also be told about  a particular Frenchman by name Arsene Wenger and his affinity to get young French teenagers into his squad. You might even get the impression that Arsenal is the proverbial underdog trying to make it big with limited resources. (And in all fairness, it is true to an extent). The Arsenal fan essentially tries to convince you that even though Arsenal does not have the ‘habit’ of winning trophies, it is still the ONLY club fit for supporting because of the way the club is run.

At the end of the day, you have two sets of fans, each supporting either United or Arsenal – and who strongly JUSTIFY why they do so. In all honesty, I haven’t met a single fan so far of either club who has not told me WHY he supports them. And perhaps THAT was the reason I never really developed a liking to either of them. I just could not wrap my head around the idea of having to justify my choice of team to support.

 And so, back in early 2003, I never really liked either team, which meant I took turns deciding which team I hated more – United or Arsenal. (In fact, I clearly recall an event back in my Pre-University years (in 2003) when I was asked to participate in a class march which would feature a flag of our own design. And due to the fact that there were more United fans than Arsenal fans in my class, it was decided that the class flag would more or less resemble the Manchester United symbol. When I got to know about this, I simply refused to participate in the march – as a matter of general principle). But I digress.

Going back to 2003, there was this bunch of young lads just going about their business trying to finish as high as possible in the table. A spot in the Champions League was considered to be the target to aim at. And they calmly secured 4th place and eventually did make it to the UCL. These lads wore blue shirts and shorts and they had never heard of anyone by name Roman Abromovich. And neither had I. They just seemed happy playing their football and to have qualified for the Champions League. These young lads played for Chelsea FC and I was just happy supporting them.

When I was asked why I chose to support Chelsea, I realized I didn’t really have an answer. But then, in just a few months time, I would learn that the answer would be forced down upon me – whether it was true or not. And it probably had to do with a certain Russian going by the name of Abromovich who decided to spend a small fortune in building the club.

Sure, along with a billionaire bank rolling the club came good players, managers and even trophies. But the package also inevitably came with a branding. And the branding said that ALL Chelsea fans were ‘the new breed’ who were in existence only because they have a billionaire bank rolling the club’s finances. And then suddenly I was pushed into the tricky situation of having to JUSTIFY why that was NOT true!

Since then, life as a Chelsea fan has been fairly interesting. The Russian has not left and so hasn’t the branding. Sure Manchester City fans now seem to have taken over the spotlight – but I am still told that I am not supporting a ‘REAL club’! There have been a lot of ups and downs but an eventful ride nonetheless.

In my next post, I intend to write about how it has been since. All the arguments about which club is better – both online and offline- along with all the memorable and forgettable moments I had to go through and the subsequent not-so-amicable ‘conversations’ with fans of other clubs. And also more on the short term and long term consequences of the branding. All that in my next post.

Till then, KTBFFH!

America, Arbit, Football, Premier League

Where to watch Football Online?

If you are an American, the title to this post still reads “Where to watch FOOTBALL online?”.

This post is a result of my vast and directed experience concerning watching football online in various capacities and my friends’ persistent enquiry into where they can do the same. So here I will make a list of the websites you can go to watch football- all the leagues and all the cups- and which are free from viruses and advertising bull crap.

But first let it be understood that not all these websites work everywhere. Some are region specific and you will have to check all for yourself. Also, no guarantees on the speed as it varies region to region. Some of the websites are also focused on certain leagues only. I have made a mention of it everywhere:

1. http://www.firstrow.net/ : This is the One-Stop-Site for all your football action. Not only for football, for almost every other sport, there are links provided. The best part about this website is that it gives you a bunch of links to try out. It gets better. All of them open in the same tab and in the same space. Just the player changes, and with it, sometimes the commentary language from English to Spanish/Italian etc. All the matches are arranged chronologically. It is a very neat and well organized website.

If you choose to use this website, then I can recommend installing the following 2 players which I know for a fact do not have viruses: VEETLE Player and VShare. Installing either of them will give you the option of watching the matches in HD. Especially VShare provides the best coverage I have ever come across.

You can watch multiple matches at once by opening more than one browser and opening a different link in each.

BEST FOR: ALL LEAGUES: Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, BundesLiga, Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, Carling Cup, Copa Italia, etc

This website is definitely THE place to go to watch football.

2. www.channelsurfing.net : This is a one of its kind website. The website just has the program names, listed chronologically and it is for that particular day. It is just straightforward. Click on the link. A new window opens with only the player in it and it starts playing. The best feature of this is that it gives links to most of the TV shows and for that specific time. Even the football matches have the times written on it. The clarity of the player in this website is pretty good and usually has English commentary.

I usually open this website first and only then move on to the previous one.However you can only open one player at a time from a browser. If you want to watch more than one match through this website, you will need to open this website from a different browser itself. You might need to install the same Veetle or VShare players (or even SOPCAST) but its totally worth it.

BEST FOR: BPL, Serie A, FA Cup, Bundesliga, La Liga, Champions League, Europa League

3. http://espn.go.com/espn3/ : This is only for people in USA. This is the official website of ESPN and it provides the official broadcast of many football matches. Of course they call it soccer but the game is still football.

The matches shown here have a relatively dull commentary but that is more than made up by the mega awesome clarity and no ads. Only the important matches are shown and the focus is primarily on Serie A and La Liga. Some matches of BPL and Carling Cup are also shown sometimes. The Portuguese and the Dutch Leagues are also shown at times. I have been personally following all the Juventus matches in this website without any hassle whatsoever. But again, remember, they only show the important matches.

A lot of other sports are also shown but most of them are US Sports. The best feature of course is the PIP which can be used in the website itself. Very useful. Also, you can see the full schedule for upto 30 days.

BEST FOR: Serie A, La Liga, Carling Cup – only the important matches featuring the top teams.

And thats it! If you were expecting a long list of websites, you are not going to find it here. The above 3 websites have worked for me 99% of the times for more than a year now. If you dont find it here, then it is very likely you will not find it elsewhere.

You could try Justin.tv but you are more likely to encounter a still image with a link repeating itself in the chat section which will take you to another window and then another and another before asking you if you want Viagra.

Also please note the following. VERY IMPORTANT: The first 2 websites do not guarantee you uninterrupted awesome clarity viewing experience. They do provide it most of the times- esp if you are watching them on the Vshare player. But for no reason whatsoever, it can get blacked out. This calls for trying out the different links provided in the first website. It can get frustrating but hey! You are getting something for nothing. So dont complain!

Let me know if you get to know about any other very reliable websites to watch football week in week out conveniently without having to buy Viagra, chat with SeXyLadY from that town near your city or provide your credit card information.