RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Saturday, April 15

25-Man Metaphysical Roster: Leicester City F.C.

(Vardy gonna Vardy)

[25-Man Metaphysical Roster is a football dork methodology meant to establish a listing of players who have been most active for English Premier League teams in their past 100 non-friendly matches. Essentially, it is calculated by minutes played, but weighted towards most recent games. The end result is a listing of the 25 players in a team’s recent history who have had the largest hand on their metaphysical sporting trajectory. The English Premier League was chosen because it is the highest level of football played in an English speaking country, and I speak English. Also, it is what comes on TV here in the USA, where I fucking live. Should I not fail in maintaining my unpaid deadline, a new 25-Man Metaphysical Roster will appear on the 1st and 15th of every month.]

There are two supposedly disparate ends to this Leicester City FC tale of the past 18 months, though I’d say they are very much the same heart – them breaking the oligarchy of powerful clubs and winning the English Premiership last season, and then them having a bunch of English ruffians fighting police earlier this week in Madrid. The PL win was supposed to be a huge feel-good story of underdog doing the impossible, a made-for-BBC One story. But of course in this brave new foolish world of President Trump and Marine Le Pen and Nigel Farage and Brexit and Making America Great Again, that the underdog is also all too often the drunken racialist. Thus, yes, Leicester City winning the PL was a big chubby middle sausage finger in the face of the Lords of Premier League-era corporate football branding (aka Modern Football), but let us not lose sight of the reality that those big chubby middle sausage fingers are attached to all the dark elements of the terrace culture the creation of the seats only Premier League hoped to leave behind.
I’m torn, to be honest. Like, I was really glad any one but the normal figures won the PL last season, and it was hard not to enjoy the Foxes quick counter attack style… shit was like playing a video game at times. But of course, I’m an antifa type of post-modern football fan (from Amerikkka… sorry) so I’d like to keep the hooligans with full back St. George’s cross tattoos from regaining a prominent role in public (lack of) discourse.
In terms of football, Leicester City has been an enigma this season. In PL, they’ve underperformed when compared to last year, and in fact got Claudio Ranieri sacked, which is pretty fucking ridiculous to contemplate considering HE HELPED GUIDE THEM TO A PREMIER LEAGUE TITLE LAST SEASON! But at the same time, they’re the only English club left in UEFA Champions League play, and despite the rioting fans, only lost at Atletico Madrid 0-1. They’ve actually got a striker’s chance still to somehow sneak into the semifinals, which to be honest, would be as amazing as last season’s trophy perhaps.
Anyways… here are the 25 men in top-to-bottom order who have had the largest metaphysical presence on this club the past 100 non-friendly matches according to my self-deduced pseudo-scientific matrix of minutes the fuck played, weighted towards now not then because ALL WE GOT IS NOW BRUH, nobody knows that better than fucking royal blue slobber mouth Fox fans who know this current run is likely it in terms of The Moment for generations…
#1: ROBERT HUTH – Rare East German who looks about East German as fuck, and considering East Germany is no longer geopolitically active and hasn’t been for the past 25 years. On top of this East German background, Huth is a central defender – notorious position of natural born punishers. But Huth is also into his 30s, almost a decade gone from being considered for the German National team, which has had questionable love for East Germans anyways ever since Ronald Reagan paid Jean-Claude Van Damme to spinkick down the wall. And yet, to have a true underdog success story, you need some somewhat emotionless appearing East German guy who is still about 50% industrial revolution in his DNA to hold down a team’s back line of defense well enough those fancy boys up front can run off and score the goals everybody youtubes all day long. A team may sell a shitload of jerseys for guys like Vardy, but without the stereotypical Huths of the world, there’s no room for a Vardy to find the open space of degenerate hearts.
#2: WES MORGAN – I’ve always enjoyed Wes Morgan because he is easily the best Jamaican player on their national team, and in fact even fucked up the beginning of that tournament in America last summer because he got too drunk when Leicester City won for a few days. But he’s also quite the bruiser looking dude, which fits the Jamaican National team look really well (as well as Leicester City to be honest). CONCACAF play is always such a shitty clusterfuck of Mexico being good but not as good as they should be because lolol they got nobody to push them, and America being overrated by themselves and should be better but also can’t be because they are too fucking white many times (culturally, not literally, although sometimes that too), and then the rest of the nations involved all kinda aren’t great but one or two of them will take these spells of awesomeness where they contend to be better than America and have great matches with Mexico. Jamaica has flirted with that during Morgan’s time, but lol c’mon man, this is just CONCACAF.
#3: DANNY DRINKWATER – I find Danny Drinkwater incredibly annoying, and his name doesn’t fucking help at all. He sounds like an asshole from Black Books season three.
#4: JAMIE VARDY – Ah yes, the incredible Jamie Vardy, the drunken souse Englishman’s favorite footballer, because he used to work in some shithole factory and came up from the non-league levels and made it all the way to the top and yes, one of us can still do it in this godforsaken (literally) non-white world! And yet also Vardy is very obviously a drunken asshole who likely hates two-thirds of the ethnicities on the earth, and many of the non-traditional sexual orientations as well. It’s actually very obvious in those moments just after he has broken away on a counter attack and gets fed the ball in open space and he delivers as few have delivered as well as him in the past 18 months, and he turns and in those thirty feet of steps after goal has been scored but before he reaches the corner with the screaming sycophants, the look on his little smug ass face shows it all – the condescension for the rest of the world, the over-the-top self-importance, the pure shithead brain that has somehow still managed to be successful thus is proud as a guy who just evaded the police successfully. Fuckin’ Jamie Vardy. And the beautiful thing is, all the big teams know all too well this guy couldn’t do shit in their crowded locker rooms, and the inevitable failure would not justify the boost in jersey sales that would happen momentarily (as all teams are supported by racial halfwits to some extent), so he’ll stay at Leicester City and be a club hero forever, even as he wastes away into oblivion. (His old club – Stocksbridge Park Steels – have actually named their main stand after him already. Also, in the purest Vardy bit of trivia, he once while still in non-league levels there at Stocksbridge, got convicted of assault and literally played games with an electronic tag.)
#5: KASPER SCHMEICHEL – Schmeichel has been solid rock of a GK for Leicester during this momentous run, and also in general. He’s the son of a famous Danish GK who spent time minding the posts for Manchester United, so his stock is high. Of course, this tends to be more curse than blessing in football, and surely the young Kasper ending up at rival Manchester City during youth and then early professional career did nothing to help lessen those curses. But finally, after years of big club lack of love, being loaned here and there, he got signed by Notts County in their then record transfer signing, at League Two level, and finally was able to settle in to being his own self (to a certain extent). This led to transitions to Leeds and then the Foxes, where he made his way back to the Premier League, and becomes a rare instance of son of famous footballer not bringing shame to the family legacy.
#6: CHRISTIAN FUCHS – Austrian dude named Christian is not my bread-and-butter demographic of footballer I like, and honestly I’ve watched more than a few Leicester matches the past two seasons and don’t remember this fucker at all, so I imagine he is that middle European blandness level enough to completely disappear from observation, like wearing green lucha libre spandex in green screen film room. I am guessing that is Fuchs.
#7: DANNY SIMPSON – Danny Simpson was great the first two seasons of Footballers Wives, but that third season where his child got kidnapped by the terrorist organization and it split up his marriage, I don’t know, it was weird. And then they got their kid back finally but then Danny Simpson was completely gone in season four, without explanation.
#8: RIYAD MAHREZ – I do not know why exactly, but I love the Algerian national team. I mean, I love all African national teams in the World Cup, and specifically will always root for them, but the past couple tournaments, at least the last one, the Algerian team was such a fun one to watch. Thus, I love Mahrez, and loved him last season, because he could so suddenly be so devastating. (In fact, he did just such a thing against my beloved Swansea City Fuckfaces one match.) But being he’s Algerian and not repugnant Jamie Vardy, I imagine Mahrez will get sold before too much longer. But fuck man, Mahrez last season was so great, good enough to take the white English shine off of Leicester City enough to allow the media to run wild with multi-racial fantasies of footballing utopia being realized.
#9: MARC ALBRIGHTON – Ahh yes, the general inclusion of a paleface English winger on prominent team because sure, they’re good enough to play at that level (I guess), but boy oh boy, do all the drunks who still spend all the incremental monies on team merchandise (and beer, and have St. George’s flags with LCFC on it) love a guy like Albrighton. Thus guys like this will always have a place on rosters, for as long as whiteness still exists.
#10: SHINJI OKAZAKI – Okazaki seems like a fun guy. He has a nice smile and looks like he’d be a great guy to go on a long car ride with.
#11: ANDY KING – Solid Welsh midfielder who looks a lot like someone ran a newgen in Football Manager of Jamie Vardy, but with less eccentricity, thus he ended up a MF instead of striker. King spent some youth academy time at the Chelsea Academy but finished his youth career at Leicester City, so this is the only A-level team he’s known, for over a decade now – a fairly amazing achievement at that level of “let’s go sign some new guys”, although the Foxes were not always at Premier League level in that period. King might be a little more buried in the depth charts now, but he’s long been a high level role player on this team, and was psychologically and in terms of having big games, a big part in them making the jump from Championship level to PL. I love stories like that, even if those guys always end up getting sold to Aston Villa or Norwich City.
#12: DANIEL AMARTEY – Young Ghanaian defensive midfielder who moved to Leicester City during January transfer season of last year, as cover during their final run to glory. After Kante left, Amartey took on more of a starting role, though he’s not the same level of player as Kante. That type of shit is sad, because ignorant fuckers will see two sort-of African players with similar but different roles, and then think lesser of Amartey because he’s not as amazing as Kante. But Amartey’s pretty fucking decent defensive midfielder. But whatever man, it’s football, and passions run way higher than sensibility.
#13: DEMARIA GRAY – Young potential star for the team, who has played extensively for England in the U-levels of national team competition. Joined the Foxes last January 2016, and along with Benjamin Chilwell, makes up the young hope for the future for LCFC, once their Cinderella fairy tale comes crashing back to busted pumpkins and scampering rats.
#14: N’GOLO KANTE – Kante came over from his native nation’s Ligue One before last season, and was instrumental in Leicester City’s impossible title run. You often here that metaphor of a team working “like a well-oiled machine.” For that metaphor to become reality, someone in the middle generally has to work as a production manager, and feed everything forward or backward without really calling everybody awareness to it too strongly, so that nobody fucks up the efficiency. That was Kante last season for the Foxes. And of course after a run like that, they were gonna cash in on a player or two. N’Golo Kante became that man, transferring to Chelsea for huge fee, and essentially doing the same damn thing he did last year for Chelsea this year. It is no coincidence he will likely be Premier League champion two years in a row. I’d prefer him to Pogba were I a wealthy zine magnate who had parlayed immense paypal payments into owning a Premiership team.
#15: ISLAM SLIMANI – As having previously mentioned my affection for the Algerian team of recent years, you can imagine how much I love me some Islam Slimani. As I continue to work the fuck out of my instantly obsolete copy of Football Manager 2015, Slimani is one of my first go-to transfers. So I was pretty excited he was coming to the Premier League, especially with him joining Mahrez and Vardy. In FM sub-culture (lolol), one can engineer these thematic concepts to teams, and the union of two Algerian Muslims with a raucous Englishman feels very engineered thematically. However, Slimani has mostly played a fill-in role for one or the other, and Leicester has never gone full bore chaos attack mode with all three at once. I mean, this makes sense I guess, but you also just kinda want to see a team be like “fuck it” sometime, and there’s no better trio to make you think fuck it than those three. (Also, I imagine there are some uncomfortable interactions between those three, and likely this entire locker room, more so than most teams full of internationals from everywhere.)
#16: WILFRED NDIDI – Young Nigerian who developed in Lagos, learning the game both up front on attack as well as falling back as defender. Made the move to Europe to join Genk in Belgium (insert King Leopold references here), where he did well over course of a few seasons, settling into classic African MF role that fluctuates forward or backward as necessary. Genk sold him to Leicester City this past December transfer window, and Ndidi has worked to help correct the loss of N’Golo Kante. It’s worked partially, as Leicester has settled down and is not so embroiled in relegation zone flirting now. (Of course, they dumped Ranieri along the way.)
#17: AHMED MUSA – Sat a training thing this week with a Nigerian dude from Boston, and we bonded over football (soccer), but of course his favorite teams were “Chelsea and Barcelona” but I did talk about how watching the Super Eagles at ’94 World Cup was part of what made me fall in love with football (soccer) and give up football (American football). I say all this because Ahmed Musa is prominent player on the Nigerian national team, so this tangent was relevant. I also won the Premier League a couple times in fake Football Manager world with FC Halifax and Musa was a solid role player for me.
#18: BENJAMIN CHILWELL – Besides the “cool name bro” aspect, young player (20) who came up through Leicester’s youth academy, and made his Premier League debut just this past December. But he’s already wearing that #3 jersey, so obviously they got hopes for the young man.
#19: MARCIN WASILEWSKI – I’ve spent this past week in Wisconsin, doing some bullshit training to make myself more exploitable at work, thus I’ve been exposed to large demographic of American-filtered Polish-German hybrid people. They are weird, and freak me out, even though this is where my maternal grandparents met and came from (generally speaking, in Chicago, not Wisconsin). Polish people are a weird fucking people – not bad necessarily, but also not great. I can’t imagine a true deep DNA Polish person being anything other than GK or defender or some brutalistic goal-scorer. I imagine metaphysically there are far more red cards than goals in true Polish leagues. This may not be true, but it’s what feels right to me (and I am 25% Polish, though it is buried behind blackberry bushes and a broken down ’69 Chevelle Supersport). Anyways, Wasilewski is a central defender, of course, and probably scares the fuck out of people. I imagine a lot of fights Vardy picks, Wasilewski finishes.
#20: RON-ROBERT ZIELER – Double-named German back-up GK for Leicester, who played for a few years for Hannover ’96 after having come up through Manchester United youth academy and been background fodder in their club at adult level. It’s kind of weird – the guy played every game for five seasons in Bundesliga, you’d think he’d be coming back to the Premier League for a certain amount of action, but he’s mostly been in when Schmeichel has been injured. Not to psycho-analyze, but after failed first professional experience as not-good-enough-for-Manchester United, that had to feed his return to England to some extent, and perhaps going to a fat sausage middle finger club like Leicester City (after winning last season) played into that.
#21: YOHAN BENALOUANE – French-Tunisian dude who has had a strange run during Leicester’s strange run to title. Benalouane was loaned to Fiorentina in Italy last year in January transfer window, thus he was absent from their final push to the PL title. He was injured too though, so never played a game in Italy. He came back to Leicester, but has mostly been used on the reserve team this season. He seems to be dogged by shit not working out, which has included missing his Tunisian team game against Chad due to missing a required vaccination. He has also refused to play for Tunisia a couple of times, even though he had to submit a transfer from French team being he played for them once at the U-21 level. Also he sued Fiorentina for his time being injured there, and generally has this long history of disgruntled shenanigans.
#22: LEONARDO ULLOA – Argentine striker who was already buried into fill-in minutes even before LCFC got Islam Slimani, he’s been almost made obsolete. He was connected to a lot of transfer talk in the January window (including Swansea, who really could’ve used him the past few weeks), and I doubt he’ll make it through another transfer window without leaving.
#23: JEFFERY SCHLUPP – German dude (of Ghanaian lineage) who would fucking run up and down the wings all fucking day, every fucking game. This is what he did for Leicester City for the better part of seven years. This season, with the influx of new players (including Slimani) found him more buried in depth, thus he moved to Crystal Palace in January, where he has gone back to traditional role of motherfucking flying.
#24: NAMPALYS MENDY – Came to Leicester City from Nice this past summer, at the time their record transfer fee signing. However, that was short-lived honor, as they broke it a couple days later Ahmed Musa, then broke that a few days later signing Islam Slimani. Similarly, he has received a metaphysical burial with the Foxes, which likely may get worse, as he was a former player for Claudio Ranieri in France for Monaco (which technically is not in France). Now, with Ranieri gone, and Mendy not settled, who knows what happens.

#25: LUIS HERNANDEZ – Spanish defender who played sparingly for the Foxes first half of this season, but never really settled into role. He quickly was dumped back to Spain, joining Malaga in past transfer window, where he appears to be more settled already.

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