I read Hoddle of Coffee every morning. Don't know what I'm talking about? It is the morning collection of links the kids over at Cartilage Free Captain publish. When Jim and I initially discussed how this column would work it was that site we first looked to for inspiration. When I resigned myself to Newcastle being relegated it was that site I went to for feedback on how to approach such a sad fate, and how I should go about picking a BPL team to follow for the coming season. The folks over there inspire me to elevate my writing, and research.
As I have shared in the past, Spurs are a club I have come to a fondness for. Young, passionate players. Solid coaching. A fan base just as entrenched as the Newcastle faithful. In fairness that could probably be said for many, if not all Championship and Premier League clubs. As long as one doesn't cross the line, and go Millwall, the love is without harm. We were lucky to get Andros Townsend from them, and he inspired both the club and fan base to believe promotion was within our grasp.
This morning Jake Meador's introduction to the links was a beautiful consideration of what is an underdog. He compares Portugal to a Southampton. He argues that Portugal's population of roughly 10 million, while exceeding the likes of Wales at roughly 3 million, still pales in comparison to a country 46 million Spain. In the end does this all boil down to who we like? Cristiano Ronaldo is the name that won't be named. I could list any number of biases, or preferences, to that which appeals to us. Is Wales simply a greater underdog because, in spite of the number of citizens, they produce greater talent?
The argument was made more interesting by yesterday's divide over Coloccini's letter. What is the moment in which we let reason or emotion take the throne, and is reason itself a product of emotional preference?
In the end all of the above can fit nicely into a box called respect. If one doesn't like, for example, Spurs, Ronaldo or European soccer, do we find a way to disrespect them? Years ago when I started writing for Big Cat Country I discovered my love for the player above the team. For the story above the standings. It is one thing to embrace a rivalry for the sake of amplifying the competition, but it's another level when we our loss of respect for the competition leads us to diminish them.
Doesn't a Ronaldo, at the very least, inspire you to be better so to defeat him just as much as a Wales inspires you to believe anything is possible? I'm looking at you too Iceland.
Today I will still pull hard for Wales. Tomorrow I will pull hard for Germany (though France winning won't kill me). But maybe I'll set aside my dislike for Ronaldo, and appreciate what Portugal does as a team. What it means to this small country on the Iberian Peninsula.
OK, let's kick the ball.
You know I'm not going to talk about a link, and then not share it.
The first thing that entered my mind was how much Newcastle needs this. With our inability to produce homegrown talent, placing the kids in top level competition will enhance our prospects potential. I also understand the counterargument.
The talent at White Hart Lane would be perfect for a player of Gini's caliber. I don't know if he could break into the starting 11 on day one, but off the bench he's a nice option.
Recent Atletico moves leave Gamez longing for playing time. A 31 year old defender may not be a long term investment, but his experience and attitude will surely improve the squad. As reported he is coming in for a medical evaluation.
An example of what happens when passion leads one to disrespect.