RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Sunday, July 15

25-Man Metaphysical Roster: Southampton F.C.

[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. And yet still I should clarify I hate English, and also America. Thus maybe I hate myself. 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.]

OH LOOK THIS IS AN UNFINISHED ONE I’M SNEAKING IN ON THE LATE YEAR POST BEFORE RE-LAUNCHING THIS FEATURE NEXT WEEK! Oh hey, I am still behind schedule because I was distracted by World Cup, and then now I am deep into post-colonial studies at amateur homefront level (though is it amateur just because not paid? or is that colonial conditioning?) and enthusiastically watching African Champions League matches in Spanish, with Copa Libertadores about to start back up too, and not even sure if I’m not gonna abandon imperial football from the Global North and only watch football from the Global South. It was weird because I had no idea why I disliked Japan in World Cup and associated them with Europe and America instead of the rest of Asia, and the same with Australia, and it turns out post-colonial theory completely aligned with my innate World Cup footballing allegiances. But anyways, next up on this Premier League schedule would’ve been Southampton, and this would’ve occurred according to schedule on July 15, so I am working to catch up before kick-off of regular season of Imperial Football. Southampton’s time since the last time we metaphysically deduced them was rough. They flirted heavily with relegation, cashed out players without bringing in much quality to replace them, but luckily there were enough crap clubs below them, including my beloved Swansea City, whom they beat in essentially a relegation showdown in the next-to-last match of last season, securing their survival. Nonetheless, here is your metaphysical 25 from the last 100 non-friendly matches for them ol’ Saints marching in from Southampton…

#1: RYAN BERTRAND (up from #3 last time Southampton was metaphysically listed, 15-Jul-2018) – Not sure why I never thought to use “top boy” in reference to whoever sits at the top of these club lists, probably because usually it’s just the GK. Southampton, due to instability at the GK position, sees a non-GK as their top boy, in Ryan Bertrand, former Chelsea property/wonderkid/constant loanee, who was loaned to Southampton four years ago, had the move made permanent, and thus far it has literally meant permanency. A left-side defender who also has the capability to help on forward thrusts, which will always make one a fan favorite.
#2: ORIOL ROMEU (same as last time) – Former Barcelona youth product about to begin his fourth season in along the English South Coast, a theme for the man with the Catalan name which means “golden”, as he was born along the southern coast of Catalonia before going off to Barca youth academy at age 13. Made two appearances for Barcelona’s top team, an 8-minute appearance in May of 2011, and a full-match stint in the Spanish Super Cup in August of 2010. Often times with the vagabond transient nature of footballers, I wonder what’s the match that sticks out in their mind as their arrival moment? I’d imagine that first appearance at professional level for Barcelona still has to be top moment for Oriol, considering his youth background in that region. There is no culture like that in place in America, for those arrival moments like that, which would fill a young American with soccer pride. Like, you might get signed to an actual club in Europe, but you’d come out your first big moment, on the other side of the Earth, and nobody in attendance really would give a fuck. That’s the difference in depth of football culture, and why here in America, football is still called soccer and it sucks.
#3: CEDRIC SOARES (up from #7 last time) – Right side back who saw time with Portugal in World Cup this summer, thus a late arrival back to the club this past week. A steady presence who will hit his 100th cap with the club upon his fourth match this season.
#4: DUSAN TADIC (up from #5 last time) – A four-season constant presence for Southampton starting XI, only missing appearing in 10 Premier League matches for the club over that span, including none last season. But ahead of this season, the Serb has transferred to Ajax, in a perfect blend of scum nationality and scum club. That is no personal judgment against Tadic himself; I am simply using my personal prejudices to say it makes sense, that move.
#5: MAYA YOSHIDA (up from #6 last time) – The anchor of Saints defensive line now that van Dijk was (finally) sold to Liverpool, and also active this summer with the Japanese national team at World Cup, playing in all four matches, including that shockingly exciting round of 16 showdown with Belgium. But also, despite his prominence of placement on this list, has never really held down a lock on the Starting XI for Saints, only really playing in about half their PL matches the past half dozen years, which yeah that’s great – six years in the PL, for one of the top non-Big 6 clubs, but also only about half the time, which is that weird “well, we love you but also we’re gonna see how this other guy works out too” type status.
#6: JACK STEPHENS (up from #13 last time)
#7: NATHAN REDMOND (up from #8 last time)
#8: FRASER FORSTER (down from #1 last time) – Two seasons ago, was the absolute man between the posts that helped Southampton to an 8th place finish, but last year got dropped behind Alex McCarthy after a disastrous 5-2 whooping away to Spurs on Boxing Day. And now that Southampton has signed notable young star Angus Gunn (lol what a name), looks Forster is even further down the pecking order, but also still good enough he’s looking at a loan rather than full transfer.
#9: JAMES WARD-PROWSE (up from #10 last time) – Ward-Prowse is a homegrown talent, having joined Saints’ youth academy at age 8. Now 23, and never having played a match for any other club, Ward-Prowse finds himself scrapping for a spot in a crowded midfield, and saw his playing time diminished towards the end of last season. He’s even been shifted to other positions in that strange way of trying to play a young player but not where they’re accustomed to playing, which is supposed to expand their skills in essence, but also can work to jade their spirit. But he’s also one of the last holdovers from before their promotion to the PL. Additionally, after many months of doing these and seeing a lot of hyphenated surnames, this guy here was the one that triggered a search of the issue, and falling down a rabbithole of double-barreled surname knowledge, specifically to Britain, but also other traditions around the world. Spoiler alert: patriarchal thinking is dominant in surname conventions, especially those regions considered part of “western civilization”.
#11: PIERRE-EMILE HOJBJERG (up from #15 last time) – Honestly didn’t realize this goofy looking fucker is only 22 years old because in my mind he was a mainstay in Football Manager alternate realities where he was a long-time star for Manchester United (who he’s never played for in real life?) as well as part of me managing some low level Danish club to continental glory. By the way, those Denmark crests for national team are one of the best national team badges going in my opinion. As for Hojbjerg, I guess he’s great, but hard to fathom how going from Bayern Munich wonderkid to Southampton can be seen as positive career trajectory; then again, he is only 22, and also to be one of the top imperial football leagues on Earth is no laughing matter when it comes to bank account.
#12: STEVEN DAVIS (down from #4 last time)
#13: SHANE LONG (down from #11 last time) – Ahh yes, the problematic footballing character of the Irish striker. The psychological enigma of a man born to score from a marginalized segment of regional culture which has political biases against things English, yet association football has overtaken the Gaelic version. Existence is problematic, and troubled individuals often make the greatest striking threats due to their embrace of that internal jihad. However, Long has not been that dude quite as well the past two seasons, never coming close to that 13 goals in 34 appearances run of 2015-16 for the Saints.
#14: ALEX MCCARTHY – After Fraser Forster’s soul was vanquished last Boxing Day against Tottenham Hotspur, McCarthy became the go-to man at GK for Mauricio Pellegrino, who himself got shit-canned last March, but McCarthy’s retained his spot under Mark Hughes as well.
#16: SOFIANE BOUFAL (up from #18 last time)
#17: MANOLO GABBIADINI (up from #22 last time) – I consider myself a fairly progressive-minded person, so much so I refused to use the word “individual” just then because I prefer collective thinking rather than the toxic individualism which has poisoned the U.S. influence on the Earth. And yet, even so, it is literally impossible for me to say “Manolo Gabbiadini” without using some horribly stereotypical accent like an ignoramus rural American Southerner who watched the entirety of The Sopranos while high on truck stop speed the second half of this past May.
#18: VIRGIL VAN DIJK (down from #9 last time) – After a long courtship, and becoming somewhat complacent in the process, van Dijk finally transferred to Liverpool last December. His last few months in Southampton was textbook “mailing it in”, and it in fact took him a while to get back to speed once he did get to Liverpool. He’s one of my faves, to be honest, so having him and Salah on the same squad will allow me a PL club to halfway pull for without feeling like a total hypocrite while Swansea is banished to second-tier internet streams and me following along through live tweets.
#19: CHARLIE AUSTIN (up from #20 last time) – Was only three seasons back that Austin was lighting up the PL when still with Queens Park Rangers, and was the hot commodity of transfer talk. He ended up at Southampton, and a combination of hamstring injuries as well as suspension for “violent conduct” which is always a solid sign for an English striker, has kept your boy Charlie Austin from maintaining his spot as the man, deserving of that #10 jersey he rocks.
#21: GUIDO CARRILLO – The American stereotype of guys named Guido is of loutish stubborn mules of men, generally Italian. But Carrillo is that anomaly of the Italian diaspora, being an Argentine with the name Guido, which makes him a geographical American and an American stereotype at the same time. Being Argentine though gave Carrillo some allegiance when the club was managed by Mauricio Pellegrino. Pellegrino was sacked last March though, as Southampton fought to avoid relegation, but landed a new gig at Leganes in Spain this past June. Carrillo has followed, signing on to a season-long loan deal there as well last month.
#22: SAM MCQUEEN (down from #19 last time) – At one point I lived in a trailer that sat in a trailer park on the edge of a tobacco farm, and there was an old farmhand who lived in the middle trailer everybody called Pops. He had horseshoe pits, and I would sometimes play there drinking liquor talking shit, as I was wont to do back then. I got dialed in one Sunday afternoon on Jim Beam and was hitting ringers left and right, even gambling $5 a ringer against one dude, and winning $40, which made us holmes forever, except I couldn’t honestly even remember what the dude looked like. That is why whenever somebody I have no idea who they are is like “what’s up Raven?” I just play along because I’m sure there’s good reason they know me, and I have a good heart so my enemies are few, and even those few there are rarely lifelong ones, except maybe two or three. Anyways, while living in this trailer, the fabric that was curtain for our giant living room window was a fuzzy tapestry blanket from the county fair of Steve McQueen riding a dirt bike. I do not know if Sam McQueen has anything to do with Steve McQueen, nor do I really care, but there’s only so much I can write about obscure English footballers I don’t give a fuck about.
#23: JORDY CLASIE (down from #14 last time)
#24: JAY RODRIGUEZ (down from #17 last time; also previously ranked #10 for West Brom Albion on 15-May-2018)

No comments: