By Calvin Palmer
It was a bad sporting weekend for the Glazer family. First, Manchester United were humbled to a 6-1 defeat by neighbours Manchester City. A few hours later, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were beaten by the Chicago Bears at Wembley Stadium in London.
For all their wealth, the Glazers were reduced to being losers by the performances of their sporting enterprises. The pain of defeat will no doubt be soothed away by the money the family has earned in the time it has taken to write these two sentences. Malcolm Glazer’s fortune is estimated at $2,600 million.
For many Premier League fans a huge amount of satisfaction was derived by United’s humiliating defeat at the hands of City. Even more pleasing was the manner of the defeat. Gutless, spineless, abject are just a few of the adjectives that fit the performance exhibited by the smug prima donnas wearing red shirts.
Did they honestly believe that all they had to do was to turn up at Old Trafford to beat Manchester City? How about tackling to win the ball or at least closing players down? A little bit of commitment and passion would not have come amiss.
Were Manchester City unplayable? No. They simply played as a highly-talented team, working hard for each other. They had Manchester United in their back pocket from the start. City scored at will in the last three minutes, ramping up the scoreline from a respectable 3-1 defeat to the embarrassing 6-1 final outcome.
I watched the game last night, courtesy of a replay by ESPN. On Sunday I was otherwise engaged watching Stoke City capitulate to Arsenal or should I say capitulate to Robin Van Persie. Up to his introduction as a second-half substitute, Stoke looked good for a draw and with a more adventurous approach might even have secured a win. But Stoke City, thanks to their ultra-conservative and tactically clueless manager Tony Pulis, don’t do away wins.
Prior to the Manchester derby, I watched the Jacksonville Jaguars defeat the Baltimore Ravens 12-7 with a gutsy performance. What the Jaguars lack in offense, they more than made up for with defence. Even the normal waste of space Rashean Mathis stepped up to the mark and played his best game in three seasons, completely snuffing out the Ravens wide receivers and even making a couple of tackles. I know, it is hard to believe.
I number myself among the critics of Mathis but I will hold my hands up and give the man credit for his performance last night. I hope he plays with the same enthusiasm and determination on Sunday against the Houston Texans.
There are strong parallels between the Jaguars and Stoke City. Both are unfashionable sides with limited talent and resources. Both have coaches who seem to inhabit a different planet, or rather view a game in totally different light to that of the fans. Both teams put the emphasis on a strong defence and play a kind of football that the purists label as ugly. Just as Stoke City find it hard to score goals in the Premier League, the Jaguars also find it hard to score touchdowns.
The troubling aspect for me is why I find myself supporting teams like Stoke City and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The answer is simply location and a loyalty to location. I was born in Stoke-on-Trent. I live in Jacksonville.