Through Ryu’s Lens: Özil, the calm conquerer
One player certainly can’t make a team great by himself, but he can help push his teammates to new heights. Enter Mesut Özil. It’s hard to call him a revelation because we all knew he was world class, but Arsenal have found the key that unlocks all kinds of possibilities on the pitch. Ryu was at the Emirates to see the German suck all the spirit out of Napoli to make North London explode. [You can interact with Ryu on twitter @Toksuede and find more on his Flickr. Posted by Eric]
AFR Voice ep.4 - Mesut’s Manic Monday
As the fax machines power down, the covers get put back on the helipads, and the transfer window slams shut (for another 119 days at least), this week’s AFR Voice is here to sift through all of the contracts, loan deals and botched bids, and somehow try to make sense of what is becoming quite possibly one of the strangest days in the modern game. Just be sure to watch out for any deal-scuppering imposters in the Manchester area.
This week we’ll also be talking to journalist and Bundesliga expert Archie Rhind-Tutt about Mesut Özil’s big money move to Arsenal, what fans at The Emirates can expect to see from their record signing, and how the first few weeks of the Bundesliga have panned out.
Then we’ll be taking a look at a surprisingly competitive European Super Cup, as the Pep vs. Jose saga begins a new chapter, as well as discussing why the future looks bright for Phillip Cocu’s PSV side, and maybe not so bright for Man City’s expansion projects down under.
Top effort from @nikhak who took our favourite #whereisfootball photo of the week at Columbus Crew Stadium, meaning it now adorns the pod’s cover art for the next seven days.
Don’t forget to get in touch – tweet us at @AFRvoice or fire some electronic mail our way at email@example.com. You can also find us on iTunes here.
Mesut Özil: The Perpetually-Hyphenated Footballer
No sport involves topics like ethnicity and cultural distinctions quite as much as football. From teams that only field athletes of certain cultural backgrounds, to ever-evolving discussions regarding race and integration in countries like France and Italy, ethnicity and culture are always at the forefront of football, a situation that can be constructive, but just as often perpetuates misunderstandings. That said, we’re a bit confused as to why Mesut Özil is a perpetually-hyphenated footballer.
It’s no surprise that Mesut Özil’s transfer to Arsenal is making headlines across Europe, but what is startling is that most stories regarding the transfer include a qualifer when discussing the footballer: Turkish-German, even though Özil was born in the heart of Germany. From The Daily Mail:
”The arrival of the third-generation Turkish-German playmaker Ozil comes in a deal worth the best part of £200,000-per-week …”
Now, The Daily Mail has a reputation as a newspaper that places a premium on tumult, but it’s a trend visible in newspapers across Europe, and one that, despite the seemingly throw-away nature of the phrase, is unquestionably significant.
Whether the malice is intentional or not, qualifers both demonstrate ongoing cultural tensions, and marginalize specific populations by implying that they are not full-members of society. “Turkish-German, sure, but German? No.” This might seem relatively unimportant, but in a practical sense, these sort of distinctions place barriers between people and impact everyday interactions, not to mention issues like employment, pay and incarceration…
This isn’t to say that Özil’s cultural heritage isn’t a topic that deserves attention, but that an article discussing a transfer window isn’t exactly the right place for it. Further, it’s doubtful whether any harm is intended in the use of qualifiers when a trend of lazy journalism is far more likely. Regardless, words carry weight, and we ought to consider their implications. [Posted by Maxi]
The Long Road to Premier League Relapse
Have you ever taken a break with your girlfriend only to get back together? The process begins with a conversation, generally in a neutral location; let’s say a coffee shop
, maybe Kayak’s Coffeeshop in Saint Louis, MO. You discuss all the things wrong with your relationship and why you should see other people. One party pleads, begs, and cries to let it go on a little longer, “one more week…this can work,” but there’s no hope. You’re both released back into the sea from whence you came like baby sea turtles: to return home if fate commands it.
Now you’re back on the open market dating Brazilians and Russians, hitting on 19 and 21 year olds, and having some “friendly” hook-ups. These encounters are alright, but something feels a bit off. The chemistry isn’t there, there’s no attachment, and the thrill is gone. A rebound sounded nice, but it just made you realize how much you missed your girlfriend and the familiarity that comes with knowledge of the intricacies of each other’s lives.
Right, that’s kind of what my summer was like. And how I missed you Premier League. It’s like old times again: Wayne Rooney wants out, Real Madrid are tapping someone up, and Arsenal have been linked to big name players that they are almost certainly not going to sign (David Moyes, feeling jealous, is doing his best impersonation). But not everything is the same. There’s some new furniture your apartment, your wine cellars been emptied, and everything seems a bit more Welsh.