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Alan Black
Alan Black is the author of two books with Penguin USA. He is a columnist with the San Francisco Chronicle, a drink slinger, blagger and owns a Scottish brogue.

Entries by Alan Black

Warning: The World Cup Can Drive You Mad

(1) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 8:51 AM


Your Vitamin D level has dropped to levels known to Icelanders in the middle of winter. Your eyes have gone square looking at the TV, did you really need to watch Nigeria v Bosnia? There's a hole in the sofa where your ass...

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How to Choose a Second Team to Root For at the World Cup

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2014 | 12:00 PM


USA! USA! -- yes, of course, but how to choose a second team to root for at the World Cup? Perhaps you spend endless hours researching looking for your original uncle who set sail...

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Calling All Male Widening Girths!

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2013 | 5:20 PM

Calling widening girths! Join the Middle Age Resistance Army! Viva M.A.R.A!

Bloated men! Had enough of hearing - "he's hella old," - from a twenty-something pumped on virile condemnation? Throw the forty-year old in the dumpster is their bloody cry!

To the barricades! We forty-somethings are...

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How Do I Stop My Hair Going Conservative?

(0) Comments | Posted October 22, 2013 | 8:47 PM

My hair is going conservative. Middle aged follicles sitting on top of a body in liberal decline.

In my twenties, my hair spiked erect at the mention of the materialist conception of history especially when gelled to a cute leftie girl as we lay around her bed smoking pot...

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English Soccer and the Scots

(3) Comments | Posted May 10, 2013 | 10:51 AM

Historically, Scots crossed their southern border to set fire to England but when the fuel ran out, they took up posts as coaches of England's soccer teams.

Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson and his heir, David Moyes, hail from Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, famous for its kissing between clashing foreheads.

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Soccer Under Thatcher: Violence, Tragedy and Transformation

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2013 | 4:57 PM

"We really must eradicate the blot on our reputation," said Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister who died last week. The Iron Lady was referring to English soccer hooligans as if they were enemies of the state.

Stitch the sociology pattern. The Iron Lady ripped up Britain's post-war social...

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Fascism and Soccer

(0) Comments | Posted April 5, 2013 | 5:07 PM

"I am a fascist, not a racist," said Paolo Di Canio in 2005, the new head coach of English Premier League club, Sunderland, after he was photographed giving a straight-arm salute to supporters of Italian team, Lazio. Di Canio sports a tattoo admiring Benito Mussolini, the Italian fascist...

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Mexico vs. USA -- One Immigrant's Split Loyalty

(1) Comments | Posted March 22, 2013 | 1:20 PM

I immigrated to California from Scotland in the late eighties. Exposure to soccer went behind a cloud. Gridiron and hardball broke the new horizon. I traded abusing the soccer ref for shafting the umpire miscalling a strike. The path to being American was laid.

But on Sundays, the coals of...

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David Beckham -- A Role in Downton Abbey?

(2) Comments | Posted December 5, 2012 | 1:47 PM

Now that David Beckham has played his last act in an American soccer role, what is next for the Englishman abroad? Having spent the last five years in Hollywood making friends (Tom Cruise and Russell Brand are mates), casting agents must be wondering if Mr. Beckham desires the spotlight of...

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England's Soccer Fixer -- Harry Redknapp

(1) Comments | Posted November 28, 2012 | 2:50 PM

You run a top-flight English club. You are bleeding points. Leaks are everywhere, players pissed off, morale thin, and the puddle deep with fans abusing the idiot you hired last year to bring success. The investors never intended their wealth to be on the Titanic. What to do? You send...

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San Jose Earthquakes: The Big Bite of the Underdog

(2) Comments | Posted September 10, 2012 | 4:00 PM

Major League Soccer (MLS) has its versions of the Yankees and the Dodgers. The Red Bulls in New York; the Galaxy in Los Angeles. Star power in the east is Frenchman, Thierry Henry; David Beckham lights up Sunset Boulevard. Money talks. MLS places high value on these brands. Expectations are...

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The Strange Case of Scotland's Glasgow Rangers Football Club

(0) Comments | Posted July 13, 2012 | 7:00 PM

Scottish author, Robert Louis Stevenson, of Treasure Island fame, penned a novella that many consider to be a foundation stone of modern fiction's addiction to substances, transformation and death -- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll liked to swallow chemicals, turning himself into something unpredictable,...

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Kicking and Screening Soccer Film Festival Kicks Off in New York

(2) Comments | Posted June 21, 2012 | 3:39 PM

It's a soccer rivalry like no other. USA vs. Mexico. History layered on bunches of grudge. It tumbles across the soccer plain every four years during World Cup qualifying. There is a landfill of trash talk, desperation to win.

Gringos at the Gate is a new documentary that takes us...

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Chelsea Wins Epic Battle, Barcelona Defeated

(2) Comments | Posted April 25, 2012 | 9:36 AM

An epic so exciting, you could choke on the popcorn. This was soccer as riveting drama. Picture board this.

Chelsea under siege. An onslaught of Barcelona attacks, Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, shelling them incessantly. Chelsea's leader, captain John Terry, commits soccer suicide and is sent off for violent play. His central...

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Barcelona: All the Possessions, Get Robbed

(2) Comments | Posted April 24, 2012 | 3:37 PM

Barcelona has all the possessions. Seventy-five percent of the play, hundreds of passes, gold ingots embossed with Messi and his ilk. All that treasure waiting to be robbed. It's a perfect plot for some good old London gangsters to exploit. On Wednesday, Chelsea burgled the Catalans, stealing the goal in...

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Captain Klinsmann on the Amazon Bound

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2012 | 2:23 PM

USA national team coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, is engaging. His voice has a laid back feel -- he has lived in California for a while. And from there he stares out across a continent of differences, and beyond that, over the sea to Americans playing soccer in foreign lands. From this...

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Soccer -- That American Sport

(23) Comments | Posted March 8, 2012 | 4:18 PM

Bad news for all those soccer detractors out there. Ignorance is no longer bliss. Professional soccer is now the second most popular sport in the USA in the key 12-24 age group. The NFL tops the list and Major League Baseball has slipped to fourth behind the NBA. The poll...

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Major League Soccer's Balancing Act With Supporters Groups

(1) Comments | Posted March 3, 2012 | 3:49 PM

The atmosphere inside U.S. soccer stadiums is unique for American sports. Supporters groups, some styled on soccer's Ultras movement, are a big chunk of the core energy driving atmosphere at MLS games. Every year, their numbers grow, there is an evangelical quality to the phenomenon. Attend a game with them...

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Time for a 'Soccer Spring' Revolt!

(0) Comments | Posted February 9, 2012 | 3:04 PM


The Ultras tear up Egypt. How about tearing up the autocracies that run world soccer? The cabal of insiders who determine the structure of the world's game have never been accountable to fans. Start in England -- the home of the game -- run...

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CNN's Piers Morgan -- TV's Best Sports Pundit!

(11) Comments | Posted February 8, 2012 | 10:26 AM

CNN's Piers Morgan does a weird thing with his mouth after he speaks. His lips pinch tight. As if the torpedo tube is being sealed until the next salvo. It can be quite intimidating. It fits the style of a man who was previously employed as a tabloid editor in...

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