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Soup of This Day #242: The Greatest Day

August 31, 2012

Crowne Plaza Hotel, Liverpool John Lennon Airport
The Crowne Plaza Liverpool John Lennon Airport Hotel, located in the old terminal at Liverpool’s main airport. At some point tonight, pretty much everybody who’s ever played football will have been spotted under this roof and thus linked to Liverpool FC. Even Eusébio… and he turned 70 this year – Chris J Wood, 2008. Chris J Wood is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

Today is the 31st and last day of August and tomorrow is the 1st day of September. The latter has followed the former ever since Julius Caesar tacked on 2 extra days for August in 45BC.

Which is some power to wield. I personally would like to extend December this year on a trial basis, as it is a wonderful month that contains Christmas and my southern hemisphere summer vacation. The necessary days could come off September 2011, a month that owes Red Sox fans some joy. To be honest I’m not entirely sure how this would work, given that we’ve already lived September 2011 in full (Several times over if you’re a Sox fan) – Possibly some folks will need to adjust their birthdays.

This is not what I wanted to talk about today though. Instead I’d like to focus on what happens at that crucial moment when August ends and September begins, because this has direct relevance for 2 of this blog’s chosen sporting teams.

1st,and most frenetically, midnight tonight marks the close of the summer transfer window for English football. Clubs have until that time to acquire extra grunt to see them through until the next window in January and, despite having had a good couple of months to get their @#$% sorted out, a fair number of them will still be desperately active in the market at 11:00pm tonight.

It’s interesting to compare all of this with the German system. There the transfer window shuts on the 31st as well but with impressive Teutonic efficiency the window for getting players in effectively slams closed at 12:00pm. By then all transactions must be on the published and public transfer list. Clubs do have some more hours to get the paperwork in but even that must be complete by 6:00pm, allowing all and sundry to make it home for dinner. Players can still be transferred out to leagues whose windows remain open but you just know that the Germans are sitting there over their evening repast having a good chuckle at the frantic English trying to hammer out last minute deals, hoping to win a game of financial chicken in a market where there is no cap on spending and the big rich clubs look to harvest talent they did not develop.

Liverpool FC are somewhere in the middle of all of that. They are big enough to withstand the financial lures of most suitors while not being able to lure the truly elite, those players setting the world on fire and that are commanding the top dollars. Consequently they will most likely be looking to add solid squad contributors, such as Fulham’s American striker Clint Dempsey. They do have an outside shot at Arsenal’s Theo Walcott, after the Gunner’s star abruptly ended contract talks with the North Londoners but this would be unlikely – Man City are also rumoured to be in the hunt and they can easily outmatch Liverpool, both in straight up money and potential player swaps.

Either way, indications are that a striker is on the menu – Liverpool have released big striker Andy Carroll to West Ham on loan for this season, reducing the team to just the 2 frontline threats, Luis Suárez and Fabio Borini. Manager Brendan Rodgers is on record as saying that he doesn’t believe that you can get through an EPL season without at least 3 strikers so it’s a decent bet that a move for a 15-goal a campaign cover man is close to being locked up.

Stand by then for late night tweets from someone whose mate works at Liverpool John Lennon Airport and that unimpeachable source swears he saw Lionel Messi get off a plane and have coffee with Brendan Rodgers.

There’ll likely not be that level of sensationalism in US baseball, even though the midnight crossover from August to September has significance for that sport too. For in September MLB teams get to switch from the regular 25-man roster to an expanded 40-man outfit. This ostensibly serves 2 purposes: a. It allows teams in the playoff race to freshen up down the home stretch, providing for some quality ball in spite of weariness at the 130 or so games that have already taken their toll; and b. It allows teams to reward minor league players by giving them a shot at the big time in a covering role – Sort of a dipping the toes in the water opportunity.

Here at Longworth72 we (me) think that latter reason is a mighty fine motivation for creaking the doors open just a bit wider and so in that spirit I am now announcing an expansion in the Longworth72 roster.

The 3 primary teams of this publication have been the Boston Red Sox, Fremantle Dockers and Liverpool FC since well before the inaugural Soup of This Day last year. Even for this sporting nut 3 has seemed to be a magic number – Just enough to assuage the hunger for sport but not so many that emotions become too thinly spread and thus dulled.

But during the recent Olympics I had an epiphany: This blog has been a little dismissive of women in sport – Mostly by just plain ignoring them. In recognizing this in Soup #230 I pledged to add a female team to the Longworth72 family of sporting clubs and so I began an intensive research program designed to carefully select an outfit that fitted with the Longworth72 ethos.

Which to be fair is a cryptic, ‘A man’s got to know his limitations.’

Anyway, I ran the rule over a number of candidates. At 1st I looked at equestrian events – The only Olympic sport whereby men and women can compete against the opposite sex.

It’s also the only Olympic sport where if 1 of your team members gets injured you can shoot them.

Horse people please don’t write in and tell me that the animals are just doing something they enjoy in the wild. I’ve done a quick Google search and could find no naturally occurring miniature castles for wild horses to jump over.

So I’ve ruled out equestrian stuff. I’ve also ruled out netball, which whilst a sport requiring an extraordinary amount of skill, just does not do it for me – I can’t get my head around the counter-intuitive process of stopping when you have the ball. I’ve always played sports where getting the ball means that you run like you stole it before someone comes along to take it off you with prejudice.

Which is a nice lead-in to the chosen team. They run with the ball and as far as I can tell, treat injured team-mates without the use of bullets. They have the added benefit of being local and they play a sport that I already happen to love. Plus, for bonus points, they aren’t overly successful so the expectations bar has been set real low from the off. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…

Perth Glory Women.

Yep, the Glory Women are Western Australia’s representatives in the national W-League football comp. The 2012/2013 season kicks off towards the end of October and features 10 regular season matches per team leading into a finals campaign. The Glory have never made it past those 10 games having finished 7th (of 8) in the inaugural W-League season of 2008/2009, then 6th (8), 5th (7) and last season 6th (7).

That latter effort was a nadir for the ladies – They scored just 11 goals while conceding 36, 11 of them in 1 game when they lost by that score to nil against Sydney FC. They won just 2 games, against the 5th and 6th placed sides but did go down narrowly, 2-3, to eventual champions Canberra United – That’s a respectable effort given that Canberra was undefeated across the season and the match was played on their home turf.

So an up-and-down record, mostly in truth with lots of down. That’s ok, it just means it will be sweeter when they turn it around. Which they will do because they are the pride of Western Australia. And when they are triumphant I shall name a month after them and use it to replace September 2011.

It will have 32 days and it will be glorious.

The Greatest Day

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