India’s best supported English football club

I had been thinking of doing this poll for quite some time. Here’s my motivation behind it. India, with its massive population power (~1.2 billion) is a largely untapped market when it comes to European football. Only perhaps German side Bayern Munich have played a few games in India, and they have always been watched by audiences in excess of a 100,000 at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata. Sadly, one of the biggest reason of this absence is the lack of quality in the Indian local sides, and hence the inability to provide reasonable pre-season fixtures. This though, doesn’t in any way imply a lack of fan-following for the major European sides. On the contrary, there are huge fan groups for almost all top English clubs.

The percentages might comparatively come out smaller when compared to the support for say, the national cricket side or any of the IPL sides, but it should be noticed here that even small percentage numbers mean huge real population numbers with a market of the size of India. So is it your club that stands to gain the largest from this untapped market? Lets find out who you support –

Multiple votes don’t work 🙂

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Football on Tele tonight


Not much to scribble on here tonight. The thing about major tournaments, and I will include –
1. FIFA World Cup
2. European Championships
3. Cricket World Cup
4. T20 World Cup
5. Indian Premier League
is that once they are underway, they do make for excellent entertainment for the evenings. The even better thing about them is that they all generally show up in successive years (of course the IPL is an annual competition). Hence, the European Championships in Poland & Ukraine have been occupying most of my evenings lately. I’m backing the fantastic German team to go on and win it, although defending champions Spain and France will surely have different ideas. Who are you supporting ?

Welcome home Robbie !

Roberto de Matteo has been appointed the permanent manager of Chelsea in a 2 year deal. Finally, common sense has prevailed. The guy won both the trophies that he could have with us during his short 11 week role last season; and it was outrageous that the club were considering the out-going manager of one of those he had defeated during the Champions League run – Guardiola, for the full-time job.

Robbie, as he’s fondly called by the fans, may not have a glorious history in football management, but he’s a Chelsea man through & through, having played for the club for more that  seasons before eventually retiring. In those five seasons, he was part of a team which sowed seeds for the unparalleled success of the next generation. He won 2 FA Cups, 1 UEFA Cup and a League Cup as a player, to add to his recent FA Cup & Champions League triumph. On twitter, I came across this very interesting tweet –

On a personal note, the thing I like best about Di Matteo is that he gets it. He understands Chelsea Football Club, the players, the fans.

This is exactly how I felt about Robbie too. Yes, we could have landed another high-profile, supposedly world-beating manager from across the continent, but no one could have had that link with Chelsea as Robbie has. He is a fan himself, has spent long hours in that Stamford Bridge dressing room, knows about the pressures of facing each different opposition and how much more the fans want triumph on a particular day than another (not to say we don’t want victory everyday). But most importantly, he is connected to those players, because he was once one of them. Of course, only probably JT was around when he was a player, but over the course of years, he’s got to know most of them pretty well.

His critics have pointed to his mediocre league form towards the end of the season. But its important to remember here, that of his 3 league defeats, the 2 against City (away) & Liverpool (away) were largely inconsequential since the team were heavily involved in its Cup double winning run. The only game where we probably should have played better was against Newcastle at home, when Papiss Cisse’s 2 moments of brilliance won the game for the visitors. But, then again, a victory on that night, with the results that followed, would have still only meant a 5th place finish, meaning Europa League football next season. Robbie, by winning the Champions League, ensured we play in the competition next season. If you had asked me, I would have happily taken that Premier League run-in to the end, knowing we were going to do the FA Cup & CL double.

We started the 2011-12 season with a new, young manager who had been appointed on the back of his Europa League and Portuguese League success, with an aim to build a new generation of players at the club. We all know how that worked out, but in 2012, we will start with another new, young manager appointed on the back of his Champions League success, only this time one who had won it for us !

Welcome home Robbie.

Apologies ‘Mr. Minister’

First of all, I’m not yet ready with the promised piece on architecture as a career option. However, in building the work, I have compiled a basic set of questions which I shall be covering –

1. Why should you choose architecture ?

2. How do you prepare for the various architecture exams during the formative (+2) years ?

3. What exams can you give for admission to the best colleges ?

4. What colleges can you choose, by cut-offs ?

5. And finally, which are the best rated architecture colleges in the country, according to both, students and employers ?

I hope it makes informative reading. I should confess, at this point, that I haven’t been able to go too far in my research as yet.

Now over to the day’s review. The highlight has to be Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai. I went into this movie with high expectations, but somehow it never really clicked with me.

Not for a moment, would I blame it on the performances by the cast. I thought Emraan (sir) was once again excellent, and Abhay Deol was a perfectionist as ever. Kalki Koechlin was once again on her ‘wacky’ act (which, although strong, has now started becoming repetitive and irritating). There was that imaginative camerawork and story-telling, but then it all just didn’t click. Why ? Because it was all just once too much. It was all that modern cinema in a story told too many times – about corrupt politicians, innocent rebels becoming victims, protagonists fighting for their rights and so on. Shanghai is slow-paced, and grows up on you so much so that by the end you just want it to end. I am a fan of this brand of movie-making, but I don’t accept redundancy easily, unless it has a spark about it.

I’d go for a 2/5 for Shanghai. I do recommend it as a one-time watch, especially for the great Farooq Sheikh

The evening ends here with a very well-deserved win for Croatia over Northern Ireland in the group C game of Euro 2012 at Poznan. The entire Croat squad really impressed me tonight, and with Spain’s draw against Italy earlier, I would really fancy them to make it to the quarter-finals.

Have a safe night everyone.

Crazy day ( & a Hazard )

Right now, at this moment my head is mixed with confusion, panic, jubilation & surprise. This day was certainly one that began all too well. Work was largely smooth & excitement brewed up constantly on twitter as Eden Hazard’s next destination seemed more & more likely to be Chelsea. Surprisingly, I was almost free from work at around 7.30 in the evening; when ..well, everything got screwed up, or rather someone screwed everything up. I choose not to share publicly how my professional life goes, & so I shall stay mute.

The confusion brings back memories ( and not so happy ones) of a not too distant past, and it really craps all over my mood. The evening, as a result has largely been an anxious one. To these thoughts, I remind – Every morning is a new opportunity. I hope to sleep over the confusion & have a fresh start tomorrow.

As for Eden Hazard, well, you already see a certain CR7 in him, don’t you ? Arrogant, attention-seeking, naturally gifted & world-class ! After, rounds & rounds of sly promises/interviews/tweets & what not over his next destination, this is what he came up with sometime back –

” I’m signing for the champion’s league winner. “

The media has already declared this means he’s joining us, but with the kind of day it has been, & remembering how fickle ( never-mind attention-hogging ) Hazard can be, I fully expect him to join any of Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool, Aston Villa, or even Nottingham Forest ! He has confirmed in the past, that he’ll be joining an English club, limits that list down to 5 past Champion’s League winners. Man City, Arsenal & Tottenham (when was he ever even thinking of them ? ) surely miss out on the Hazard boat then ( unless he meant I’m joining the champions, league winner ! )

I wish you & you a good night. And some good for self.

Crazy IPL season comes to an end

Kolkata Knight Riders defeated the Chennai Super Kings in Chennai to win the 5th edition of the Indian Premier League. Shah Rukh Khan, the Kolkata based team’s owner danced all over the stadium for over an hour, until there were only a few security guards left to watch. Many congratulations to KKR for their success. It was probably one of the best seasons of the IPL, with a large no. of games going to the last over; or it could have been fixed all around, to make it that kind of an entertainment show. I couldn’t care less.

– We are European Champions CFC

Black Candy Blues

Lewis Hamilton’s F1 win could well be an indicator for things to come. The United States goes into elections today, and for the first time in its history, a black man is being touted as a heavy favourite. And Hamilton’s F1 win may be seen as an indicator for things to come.

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Not getting into any race-driven ( excuse the pun ) feelings, but an Obama victory would certainly be refreshing, what remains to be seen is whether he can deliver the change he’s promised.

The important thing here is not to rule out his very formidable opponent in Sen. John McCain. As a former POW, he’s displayed the strength, at both physical and mental levels to make this fight far from a one-sided affair. Even though i’ve always believed the US electoral system to be error prone, it always provides interesting outcomes. May the best man win!

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Chelsea have bounced back brilliantly from their Bridge defeat to Liverpool, and have snatched the top spotin the PL again after falling to 2nd last Sunday. Emphatic victories against Hull ( 3-0 a ) and Sunderland ( 5-0 h also involving a Nicholas Anelka hat-trick ) have ensured they have a far superior goal difference ( +23 ) than any of the other title contenders.

burn-after-reading-poster

A movie that i saw recently was Burn After Reading. From the very impressive duo of Ethan and Joel Coen ( of The Big Lebowski, Fargo, and No Country for Old Men fame ), this movie , for me, couldn’t stand up to their previous highs. Although loaded with the highest-end cast of George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Jon Malkovich, Brad Pitt and Tilda Swinton, the movie fails to find a stable plot and keeps juggling between a situational comedy and a Government thriller. The background score is very impressive, and helps build suspense towards a climax, which ends up being very soft.

Overall i’d rate this movie at 7/10 for its background score, and the impressive cast.

Chelsea home-run:An interesting reference

Here’s an interesting piece i came across

Ding dong, Chelsea’s streak is dead.

Thanks to a deflected shot by Xabi Alonso in the 10th minute off Jose Bosingwa, Liverpool topped Chelsea 1-0 Sunday morning at Stamford Bridge to end the Blue impressive 86-game home unbeaten streak.

Chelsea’s last defeat at Stamford Bridge was in February 21, 2004 to Arsenal.

To put it in perspective, that’s six months before anyone knew what “Lost” was. In that time the Red Sox have won two World Series. It’s the same month Kanye West released his first album and since then has sold over 12 million units worldwide.

For more perspective, the previous English record had been 63 matches held set by Liverpool from 1978-80. Chelsea might be unlikeable, but they absolutely owned this record.



Chelsea- The 86 streak tribute

Back in 2002, on a random day in school, at a GK period, a friend of mine, who was conducting a small mock quiz for the class, asked my team a question I don’t remember. We didn’t have the answer, and he prompted me by saying, “C’mon Kartik, it’s your favorite team, the one you told me about”. To be frank, I didn’t have a single clue to what he was referring, but I replied, “Is it Chelsea?” As it turned out it was Chelsea, and it’s been Chelsea ever since then. Maybe the word Chelsea had come up in one of our random sports talk ( and there were too many ), but I don’t think I can guess what logistics made him call that team my favorite.

Something happened today!

Sometimes when something ends all of a sudden, its strange how you wish it would never have been in the first place. But the worst strikes, when you have to deal with that for the first time.

Chelsea lost for the first time at the Stamford Bridge in a Premier League game for 4 years and 8 months. I felt like it’d be better if I could cry, and not many things make me feel that way. They’ll all come to me, they’ll repeat it to me- it’d be better if I could cry.

Shortly after that first stint with Chelsea, the cable operator at our place didn’t air ESPN-Star for a long time. But by that time, I’d become Chelsea enough to stop at that. Sure, Zola, Zenden, Hasselbaink, Le Saux et al didn’t claim to be invincible, but flames of my Chelsea romance had already been lit.

We shifted to Mumbai around summer 2004, which hadn’t been the best of my times. On the first day to new school, I met this friend, one who still is probably the best of them I’ve got. He asked me if I followed football, that did I watch the EPL, if I supported a club? Maybe, not entirely truthfully, I said I watched football games all the time. I said I was a Chelsea fan ( for the first time ). And it was never about the money as they keep telling me. 

I had seen the game when they last lost a home premier league game, but at that time it didn’t matter. It was OK. Chelsea was also-rans, and they lost to a season-unbeaten Arsenal side. That was February 2004.I was 15 then.

Ever since then, I’d never seen them fail, not at the fortress called Stamford Bridge, that is until today, October 26, 2008, a day after my 20th birthday.

The legend of the phoenix is that it rises back from its own ashes, every time it dies, and though today wasn’t the death of the Chelsea legend, it’s time we rebuild it again. It took them all 86 games ( a total of 26 different teams ) to finally bring the streak to an end. I hope its 860 now. I hope I live to see them keep winning at home forever…..

True Blue Forever…..

Where r the English??

In India, where football viewership is concerned all we know ov r the Englishmen??

So some ov my friends (lesser proficient wid all the game’s happenings) enquired about their absence from the on-goings in Austria-Switzerland….

Well here’s hw i replied:

As 4 de English team…….bakwaaaaaaaaas!

They have sum ov the gr8st players??? Who-the Cheque books playing in the EPL??

Probably only Rooney (wud recv 1 red card in every tourn.), Gerrard, Terry n Ferdinand (on sum days) r the sumwhat decent players they’ve gt…..otherwise

Michael Owen(is he injured??)
Joe Cole(keep doin the show)
Beckham(set pcs., else posin 4 da cams by the sidelines)
Ashley Cole( o Cheryl, were r u??)
endless list….(don’t even talk of the goalkeepers)….

+

they wunt have made to the knockouts frm any ov the grps, Austria wud’ve defeated them…..only teams they cud’ve beaten wud be….Greece, Swiss, Czech(maybe,on their best day), India if they cud get a Euro membership….lolzzz

Oranje more or less!

Holland deserved to win the European cup-umm yes,maybe,seein de way they played in the grp stages……..

bt lukin at the way they played against Hiddinks czars,its onlyrite dat they’re outie………

Worst ov all,sneijder(1 ov my 3 oranje favs along wid robben n van persie) disappointed me the most,always lookin 2 shoot from range n employing a very selfish game,clearly the russians had a lot more d-penetrations n created a lot more dangerous situations(notably 5-6 empty front ov the goal crosses,ov wich 2 were converted)……

n dat boy Arshavin (no wonder Zenit wr UEFA cup winners)…..stunning!!

As i’d prediceted in an earlier post on another site,never forget bigg guus…..

so i’d luk out 4 da russians if i wr spain altho guus never goes past the semis….

//

Earlier post 4 every1s viewing:

Who will win Euro-08

I hope its either Holland or Germany altho the top seeds to win would be:
1-Portugal(Team to beat in the tournament,Ronaldo) n Germany(Probably better than Portugal one on one,bt consistency against other teams will be tested)
2-Italy(Very strong on most days,bt lack a clear goal scoring striker)
3-Spain(Trinity of Torres,Fabregas,Villa shud come good)
4-France(Mix of age nd youth bt in their first major tounament post Zidane)
5-Holland(Flair nd attack,bt infighting nd star status lets ’em down,difficult group)
6-Czech(Weak in attack w/o Rosicky,solid defensive mentality)
7-Russia(Never forget Big Guus)
8-Greece(defending champions,considered outsiders,bt the only team to remain unbeaten in qualifiers)

Of the others, Sweden,Croatia, n Turkey r strong nd may cause upsets on their day,bt winning wud be a far shot….

//

As for the Germans i still back them n feel they hv the easiest route to the final (the Turks fite bt r left wid 2 few a warriors…..), n u cn never kno wot happens then (hope its nt a lame duck as the WC-06 final,decided on penalties,no more penalties 4 me plzzzz(zzz,o i’m nt sleeping already)…..