The Clock is Your Friend, Soccer

I am a fan of the Premier League Football team Tottenham Hotspur. However, I am not necessarily a zealous fan of football/futbol/soccer for one particular reason – the clock. Fine, I can handle players falling like bowling pins every time they feel a breeze go by from an opposing player. I can handle them laying on the pitch for five minutes writhing in pain grabbing whatever body part they felt was injured… and then getting up and playing some more.

OK, I can barely handle that. That’s dumb. Drag them off the field and get on with it.

What vexes me as much as Wisconsin drivers using the left lane like it’s their Sunday drive is clock management… or lack of clock management. Time was created by man, so let’s use it, shall we? When a player is egregiously fouled by an opposing player by something as awful as a tap on the shoulder and falls into a fetal position onto the field as if someone took their blankie? The clock keeps ticking time off the regulation 45 minute half. Doesn’t seem fair right?

Of course not. So what to do? Well, football/futbol/soccer simply adds some ‘extra time’ at the end of the half. How much ‘extra time?’ That’s arbitrary. One minute? Two? Six? Eh, whatever. And what happens when the extra time is over? Well, that’s sort of arbitrary too. If the ball is still moving, then you continue.

What I am getting it, ‘preh-meer’ League (according to my English friends it is ‘preh-meer’ not ‘pre-meer.’ They get all ruddy in the face when I say ‘pre-meer.’ I respond with ‘go back to your home country!,’ then take a sip of Guinness.) is USE THE CLOCK PROPERLY. If you want to create more excitement, have the clock actually mean something! When there are 30 seconds left in the half, actually make it 30 seconds! Don’t arbitrarily add time. And do not come at me with any argument stating it really isn’t that arbitrary. I watch these matches with people who were raised in the UK and who have followed this aggravating sport for decades. They ALWAYS do this near the end of a half or game –

“So how much extra time do you think will be added on? Two minutes?”

“No, probably three. When our midfielder got his hair mussed up he was down for a good two minutes until someone came over and re-combed his rooster.”

(4 minutes of extra time goes up on the screen)

“Oh, four minutes. That doesn’t seem right. But, okay.”

Every. Goddamn. Time.

And, Premier League – or any other football/futbol/soccer fans – do you know what happens when those 30 seconds actually are a true 30 seconds? It adds excitement because you now know when the match is actually going to end.

And and… with the extra ‘and’ added for emphasis… for the love of sanity and ad revenue, have time outs. Time outs can re-energize your team plus add dollars to your team’s bottom line so they can get players better than Moussa Sissoko, a Tottenham midfielder apparently put onto the pitch to rhino over people, boot five foot passes, and completely choke when he gets near the goal.

Additional revenue! What a concept! More TV dollars! Crazy thought! All reaped from the benefit of having time outs!

But wait there Premier League pal, you say, time-outs slow down the game. Really? And having a player rolling around on the turf contorting his face while holding his head because he got tripped by a blade of grass doesn’t slow down the game? Give me a break – a break like actual clock stoppage.

I will admit that baseball is my favorite sport and when someone brings up that baseball doesn’t even have a clock, I har-har-har at their foolhardy comment. It’s never had a clock and MLB has only half-assed pretended to try and have a clock. They thought about it to speed up the game, but for fastball’s sake, their built-in time-outs called end-of-inning or end-of-half-inning are already TV ad revenue builders. Who gives a missed cut-off man how long the games last? On average they’re no longer than an NFL game and football/football/football is chock full of time-outs.

But wait – oh that’s right. Football/futbol/soccer gets their money from sponsorships. As such, their players get to run around in jerseys making them look like human forms of NASCAR vehicles.

Premier League? USE THE CLOCK PROPERLY.

I’m done. Rant over. I’ve got to go take a personal time-out.

I lied. Not done yet.

To end this, if you were to ask me why in the hell any team would name themselves the ‘Hotspur’ I might just shrug my shoulders and tell you to google it. Not today – I did it for you.

The Tottenham Hotspur were named after a 14th century Tottenham man, the fierce fighter Sir Harry Hotspur, who is featured in Shakespeare’s Henry the Fourth. He put spurs on his boots to spur on his horse… and was a fan of cockfighting, and he put spurs on his cock too (stop grinning). As such, the Hotspur logo is a cockerel, aka ‘cock’ aka ‘rooster.’

Hey, it’s better than the Cubs naming history… or the Bears. That you can google on your own.

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