We're only days away from Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and their legions of supporters descending on London for the all-German Champions League final. And to help contextualize the occasion, the Men in Blazers welcome everybody's favorite German, Dirk Nowitzki for a special, extended interview. Dirk offers Michael and Roger his thoughts on the Mavericks' footballing equivalent, what Mark Cuban can learn from Dortmund, Jurgen Klinsmann's Teutonic streak, and ultimately weighs in on LeBron James's questionable claims to the beautiful game.
One would expect the rest of the pod to be devoted to the final weekend of the English Premier League. But one would be wrong. Though the pod was a timeless classic, due to some technical difficulties, it's gone on to podcast heaven. May it rest it peace.
Ferguson. Moyes. Mancini. Scholes. Barbara Walters. The greats say good-bye and heads roll at season's end. Michael Davies and Roger Bennett dissect the decapitations and even find time to debate the origins of pie with special guest and Manchester City lover Marc Stein.
It hasn't been the finest vintage, this Premier League season. But most football fans agree, they will drink anything if the price is right. Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham all got what they needed over the weekend, even if there were a string of rather uninspiring 1-0 victories. In this week's podcast, the Blazers consider them all, with Michael taking particular glee in Chelsea's late win at Old Trafford.
The pod then takes a somber tone as ESPN's Sir Ian Darke joins from the road to reflect on his past three years as the voice of English football in America, while Roger offers a couple of ideas for his farewell sign-off. Until next week. Dominate.
The Battle for Third and Fourth is now officially under way. On Monday, Manchester United and their ragtag ensemble wrapped up their 20th league title in impressive fashion (move over, Don Nelson, the mad scientist officially resides at Old Trafford). Still, few headlines were devoted to Sir Alex & Co.'s accomplishment. Earlier in the weekend, Liverpool's Luis Suarez once again proved there was still plenty of crazy left in England's top flight when he gnawed on Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in the course of a 2-2 draw. In this week's pod, Michael and Roger review the implications for Liverpool and their American owners as well as what's in store for Suarez's 72 pearly whites.
The Men in Blazers revel, as always, in their weekly telegrams from GFOPs across these fine lands, inquiring about footballers' peculiar sweating habits and how to best consume a midgame pint or five, and end the pod with breaking news about the Men in Blazers National Team. Courage.
Old-school fan violence reared its ugly head this weekend, from the hallowed terraces of Wembley to the streets of Newcastle upon Tyne. Even hardened criminals from the depths of Her Majesty's Prison Service were in disbelief over the audacity of one horse-punching Magpie supporter.
Somewhere amid this nonsense, football was played, and in this week's suboptimal podcast the Men in Blazers consider it all — from the Chelsea–Man City FA Cup semifinal to Everton's continued late-season form, courtesy of a win against relegation-threatened QPR that sent Harry Redknapp into his ritual comical rage. Now, with just a month left in this Premier League season, Michael and Roger handicap the race for Arsene Wenger's coveted "fourth-place trophy."
In a weekend of weird, deflected, and unintended goals, Sergio Aguero's wonder winner for City in Monday's Manchester Derby stands apart. And while there were plenty of other moments worth celebrating, the Men in Blazers commence this week's Churchill Day pod by marking the passing of Great Britain's first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.
Speaking of Iron Ladies, the Blazers are then joined by a less polarizing one: Abby Wambach, of the U.S. women's national team. Calling from The Hague, Wambach chats about playing in a men's league, Fernando Torres stealing her do, and why the latest women's professional league — NWSL — can succeed where others have failed. May the third time be a charm.
With Michael Davies away, Rog goes solo, welcoming USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann to the pod. Fresh from the March of the Penguins win against Costa Rica, and a gutsy draw in the Azteca thunderdome, Klinsmann candidly discusses his own identity, management style, change strategy, and vision for American soccer's future. He is also willing to broach the big topics, including the heroic role Kyle Beckerman could play for the U.S. team at World Cup 2014 in Rio.
Normal suboptimal Men in Blazers service will be resumed next week.
Getting all hot and bothered over a 0-0 draw in which the United States was outshot 17-1 by an uninspired Mexico side will have to wait another week. With Roger away in Liverpool stocking up on Boddingtons and pies, the Men in Blazers offer GFOPs an extended interview with Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn in place of the regularly scheduled suboptimal sounds. The legendary sports promoter, raconteur, and East End hard man offers a unique perspective on what it means to own a European football club in the modern game. He is, without a doubt, the Most Interesting Man in Britain.
The cherry atop the proverbial sundae comes at the end of this week's pod, though. While we don't want to reveal too much here, those that applied to play on the Men in Blazers national team might just want to start polishing their boots.
The unpredictable predictably happened again over the weekend. Manchester United marched on ever closer to its 20th league title, Everton came back to life against Manchester City, and Liverpool's momentum came to a grinding halt thanks to surprising Southampton. Welcome to the Premier League. In this week's pod, Michael and Davies recap all the happenings, answer telegrams, and welcome U.S. forward and digital philosopher Herculez Gomez for an inclusive interview on the eve of two crucial World Cup qualifiers. The Las Vegas native opines on Twitter, team chemistry, and Mrs. Guzan blow-up dolls.
Viel Glück to the Von Trapps as they enter the uncompromising bear pit that is Azteca Stadium.
After dispatching Everton 2-0 over the weekend, Manchester United may now have the Premier League title safely in hand. But as for the rest, nothing is decided. The table is all wheels within wheels, battles within battles.
The Premier League isn't the only destination for must-watch soccer these days. This week, the Champions League returns to the headlines as football's newest Lord and Savior, Gus Johnson, calls his first game for Fox Soccer. Johnson joins this week's Men in Blazers pod and reveals that his Mr. Miyagi is none other than the great master Martin Tyler. Johnson also revels in the glory days of the Detriot Express, Mourinho's swagger, and his own tendency to speak in tongues. Rise and Pie, America. Rise and Pie. The game will never be the same again.
The Men in Blazers go global in this week's pod as Roger Bennett reports live from the most violent city in the world (in 2011) ahead of the United States' World Cup qualifier against Honduras. Merry Hexmas one and all!
Meanwhile, over on the other continent, the Blazers recap a weekend of Premier League football marred by dropped points for Manchester City, Chelsea, and Everton. The pod's dual attractions include an update on the Men in Blazers National Team, and a no-holds-barred interview with one of football's most powerful men, a representative of football park staple Pukka Pies. Michael and Roger then offer listeners a chance to win their very own case of pies — the last obstacle to America becoming a true football nation will soon be a thing of the past.
American soccer fans battling the Black Dog after last night's eye-acher against Canada can find solace in the one thing our nation does astonishingly — producing a pipeline of the world's finest follicularly challenged goalkeepers. In this week's pod, the Men in Blazers sit down with USMNT and Everton's Tim Howard for an expansive interview. The New Jersey native reflects on the American style of goalkeeping, shares how he first journeyed to England via Manchester United, and pegs Fabian Johnson as a young Von Trapp to watch. His confidence will be the perfect remedy on this day of midwinter discontent.
On happier matters, Michael and Roger mourn the passing of Lady Sybil and delve deep into the resurgence of their beloved FA Cup as the likes of Brentford, Luton, Oldham, and Leeds finally have their day of glory on the pod.
It was a snowy weekend of mid-season football in the Premier League, with the weather providing a cleansing effect for Clint Dempsey in Tottenham's home meeting with Manchester United. After close to 93 minutes of disappointing form, Deuceface slotted home the equalizer as America, Andre Villas-Boas, Manchester City, and Under Armour all rejoiced. In this week's Men in Blazers podcast, Michael Davies and Roger Bennett review the title race that's back on, only because it was never really off. But it's not only the glory of the top of the table that's up for discussion. The Blazers also consider the relegation battle and bid sacked Southampton manager Nigel "Happyface" Adkins farewell.
To add a modicum of intelligent insight, Fox Soccer's very own Rob Stone drops in to recap the Brek Shea saga and shed light on what life is like these days for a soccer- and cheerleader-lovin' American at the network that gave us Cleatus the dancing robot.