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.

Monday, December 2

25-Man Metaphysical Roster: CRYSTAL PALACE FC

{"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea."} 

[25-Man Metaphysical Roster is a football metaphysics methodology utilizing dork methodology of minutes played over the past 100 club competitive club matches to determine which 25 players constitute the strongest psychic force on a club’s current trajectory. Then intuitive analysis is conducted utilizing football metaphysics, performed from an un-American soccer fan’s perspective. We do this every 1st and 15th of the month, cycling through the 20 clubs currently in the English Premier League, because it is the top domestic league based in an English-speaking country, which as un-American miscreants, we were all born to be saddled with this limited, segmented tongue of the global colonizer, oppressor, and capitalizer. Also, it is what comes on TV here in the USA most prominently, where we live. And yet, it is really important we clarify we hate English, and also America. Maybe we hate ourselves. Our panel consists of chairman Raven Mack, director tecnico Paul Robertson, and director rudo Neil Bulson Our individual contributions to this 5000 words of gibberish will be noted by our name at the end of the blurb. If you enjoy this absolutely free internet content from an un-American soccer perspective, VENMO US FOR OUR METAPHYSICAL LABOR @ravenmack23.]

Let us discuss the footballing metaphysics of this Crystal Palace football club, of London history, yet not as renowned as other clubs within the greater London area. Obviously, Chelsea and Arsenal and Tottenham come to mind first, as half of the Premier League’s Big Six, which all exist in London proper. But even beyond that, West Ham United has a stronger history, with three FA Cup titles. In fact, Charlton Athletic has also won an FA Cup, as have defunct London clubs Wimbledon FC, the Clapham Rovers, and Wanderers FC (five FA Cups!). Queens Park Rangers have a League Cup trophy in their cabinet. Even Fulham has had more seasons in the Premier League since its inception. It might even be argued that fellow south London club Millwall has a stronger following, who have at least introduced hooligan weaponry into the public consciousness. Thus Crystal Palace, despite an earlier version of this club being a founding member of the English FA, is the lost club of high level London football in a sense. Which is sad, having taken the name of the Crystal Palace exhibition center, which to an American, sounds absolutely magical. The blue and red stripes are actually quite dull to see on their kits because, as a person who has often gotten lost in headphone lands with a bloodstream screwed and chopped by painkillers, listening to stoner doom metal, a Crystal Palace conjures up images of wizards and silken robes and evil dwarf demigod sprites who have attempted to curse the club, which now that I think about it, how do I know that’s not the case? Like, if there’s time traveling dwarf people who have gone astray under the leadership of a demigod have decimated the club at a metaphysical level throughout time, and because I’m a three dimensional creature who can’t comprehend space-time continuum shifts like that, I just see Palace as this not-quite-great-like-the-others London clubs. Where does Roy Hodgson fit into this, as the ancient elder of English football, controlling the current reins of this club, now in their seventh season of Premier League action, by far their longest spell in the top flight? Is he their savior from the evil curse? I am not sure, but let us explore this club nonetheless, through our analysis of the 25 dudes who have occupied the most minutes on the pitch for them the past 100 club matches which are not friendly exhibitions but actual blood contests working towards trophy. [RAVEN]

#1: LUKA MILIVOJEVIC (up one from last time Crystal Palace were metaphysically ranked on 01-Jan-2019; also his FIRST METAPHYSICAL STAR) – Team capitan, and noted Serb, and the current Metaphysical Star of this club, though as you will see in these write-ups, there’s a large number of metaphysical stars scattered through this club. For one, Crystal Palace is the first club to go through these deductions four times over the course of me doing this secretly in a 20 foot camper in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. But also, Palace seems to be stocked with the feature remnants of other clubs that live on the cusp as they do. Milivojevic is not one of those though, as his entire time in England has been for Palace, though he did have brief stints at the top clubs of his native Serbia, Belgium, and then three seasons in Greece before coming here. The former Yugoslavia has a strong footballing tradition, and the Serbs seem to have taken that mantle the most since the ethnic separation of the 1990s. Milivojevic has run up his goal tallies by being their go-to penalty taker, even though he’d never done that before coming to England. Travel unlocks new passions in all of us. [RAVEN]

#2: PATRICK VAN AANHOLT (up three from last time; also previously ONE METAPHYSICAL STAR with Sunderland) – The left back here is a Dutchman with his roots in Curacao which is one of those little island countries that no one is quite sure where it is, but Curacao is actually just a stone’s throw from Venezuela and that means he’s got some Amerindian blood pumping through those veins somewhere, but thanks to Colonial oppressions, he is Dutch no matter which way you slice it since Curacao was held as a colony by the Dutch so it’s like they were tracking this kid through space and time, which is some next level nefarious colonialism but fuck it, it got Patrick Van Aanholt a first world upbringing with all its plusses and minuses which basically just means you get better Wi-Fi but also get your soul stripped in the process. Leave the Curacao folk to their own and sure they won’t have any fast internet or anything like that but they will also be able to lounge on the beach all day and fuck their women at night. I mean, we’re all trapped by our first world “needs” because we are a colonized people, real people don’t need all that shit because they can just grow fruit and fuck on the beach and everyone’s happy. Your fat ass is slothing on the couch, surrounded by processed foods that are running game on your body because your forefathers were tamed and made useless and helpless. Anyway, none of this has anything to do with Patrick Van Aanholt whose wild roots are just a faded memory, and they don’t have anything to do with his footballing, which has been almost exclusively on the English tip, starting with Chelsea who turned him out because not everybody is meant to be a top tier dude. And that is how he has come to Crystal Palace, not good enough for the big clubs and not rooted enough in his Curacaon ways. That is a tragic place to find your psychic energies, but just maybe if he closes his eyes and lets himself go he can feel himself fucking one of those island girls on the beach and maybe just maybe that can spark a little Sprit Warrior fire, but probably not because this dude has been Euronised thoroughly, first by being a Dutchman and second by playing his big boy football in fuckin’ England. [NEIL]

#3: WILFRED ZAHA (same as last time; also previously ONE METAPHYSICAL STAR for Palace) – Zaha is doing right on multiple football metaphysical points. First, a rejection of the English national team for the country of his birth, Cote d'Ivoire. And not just the rejection itself, but the manner of it: repping England throughout the youth setup (thereby taking advantage of the no doubt superior training and development opportunities) and especially consternating Roy Hodgson’s old white-ass who was managing England at the time. Seems Zaha don’t exactly get on with any of these old British manager fucksticks, as he criticized David Moyes for not giving him a chance at Manchester United (which was probably for the best anyway). If I’m sick and tired of anything in the world of football, it’s British football managers. I know that y’all have had to read my screeds against British (especially English) players, but now that I consider it, British managers are infinitely worse and probably more to blame for the sheer ugliness of the EPL than any other element (outside certain supporter bases, maybe). Unimaginative, unmotivating, coasting on past glories and facades of greatness that fall to shit once they have to compete with the rest of the world (aka, “The Great Anglo Lament”). These dudes offer nothing. I suppose it’s why I’ll continue backing Klopp so hard with Liverpool because he is the full-on antidote to that, along with the Santo and Fake dudes (and man, I bet Paul Mooney could do a good bit about English manager anxiety over Aliou Cisse). It’s why even if Stevie G hadn’t pitched up at Rangers, I’d still want him to fall flat on his stupid-looking English schoolboy bully face, even if it was with Blackpool or West Brom. Brendan Rodgers, while ostensibly Irish, is not the antidote—listen to him talk, that’s a calculating colonialist British motherfucker right there, nothing more, nothing less. [That is NOT sour grapes, it used to give me pause even when he was Celtic manager and I was loving him hard, despite a nagging voice in the back of my head that was as correct as it always is.] So Zaha is doing well, seems like he’s well-established as a Crystal Palace semi-legend, although I see Arsenal desperately sniffing around (and lolol, oh man, Freddie-fucking-Lungingberg). I hope he stays because Palace seem to be putting together a decent squad that could maybe put them on that solid Wolves/Sheffield United mid-table footing that sees them make a play for occasional European football, though I’d think the aforementioned Hodgson needs to make way for some Argentinian or Portuguese or Irish dude to really make it happen. Finally, I am also stoked to see so many African football players with the name “Wilifried” (which admittedly confuses me a bit, because most of them are Francophone, and that name is German-as-fuck, like more Namibia or Tanzania) because nothing seems like a bigger, better double deep middle finger to Richard Wagner’s Europa Aryan vision than a bunch of African dudes wrecking football and domiciling on the continent. Damn, looking at a picture of Wagner, if you Photoshopped in a contemporary sweater-suit combo and colorized it he’d look just like an English football manager. [PAUL]

#4: JAMES MCARTHUR (up two from last time) – Decent enough Scottish midfielder, despite Hun origins. He gets props for coming through one of the shittier teams in Scottish football, Hamilton Academical, which somehow manages to just barely stay in the Scottish Premier League season after season. McArthur’s another footballing archetype I suppose—the Scottish central midfielder, a run-and-harry type that chips in a few goals here and there, gets a move to the middling EPL at the cusp of his career peak, is solid enough without being spectacular, suffers consistently as a first-team pick in the national squad, maybe bounces around a few clubs up and down the English footballing ladder, then pitches up for two final mid-30s years at Rangers to again play sort of ok in all matches not European and not against Celtic, but more just drain financial resources from that bloated blue edifice of debt and bigotry and then, I don’t know, maybe retire to some condominium on Loch Lomond. I’ll be honest, it’s hard to write about these Scottish players in England and not become wholly depressed by the state of Scottish football. [PAUL]

#5: ANDROS TOWNSEND (down four from last time; also previously ONE METAPHYSICAL STAR) – Andros Townsend is another one of those caramel colored dudes who get the pink men all uptight and angry, which means he is a beautiful dude, as all mixed race dudes and lady dudes are while our skin sizzles in the faintest of suns, shameful and ridiculous like porcelain dolls or some shit. Anyway, Andros Townsend has played as a winger for English clubs all his life because he is English born, which isn’t necessarily a thing to be ashamed of, especially because he probably made the ugly milk white fuckers uneasy as he was growing up. But that is also no fun for a kid just trying to get by in the world and who doesn’t need to get fucked with by racists and shitheads, and I am not a racist nor a shithead, but I play loose with language and maybe am kinda too problematic, but that’s just me, I don’t mean no harm by it or anything. But anyway, shit, yeah, so Andros Townsend is a decent enough winger and a real asset to the Crystal Palace lineup, maybe a dude who would be a touch over his head with a bigger club, which is kind of what he ran into at Tottenham, but he’s found a good level and a place in the world, and that is more than most of us can say. Just that nice sweet spot you can lounge from, get comfortable and end up dropping some kids, blending the humanity all the more with each load shot up in there and it’s all good, baby, it’s all good. [NEIL]

#6: JAMES TOMKINS (up one from last time) – Tomkins spent 20 years as a West Ham player, from his youth up until 2016, when he moved to Palace. Still though, that’s his entire soccer career in London, outside of a brief loan spell to Derby County over a decade ago. [RAVEN]

#7: VICENTE GUAITA (up seventeen from last time) – Guaita arrived July of 2018 on a free transfer, having aged and injured himself out of prominence in his native Spain. His club there, Getafe, began using him sparingly, though he did mind the posts in their playoff promotion back to La Liga. He came to Palace as cover for Wayne Hennessey, but Hodgson wasn’t getting the consistency he wanted, so Guaita sort of took over the role, and has done well enough that he mostly hasn’t given it back up, sort of by default, as can happen with goalkeepers, which is a very superstitious and highly metaphysical position that you can’t really put too hard a science too without fucking it up. [RAVEN]

#8: CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (up seven from last time; also previously ranked #15 for West Ham United on 01-Mar-2019, as well as ONE METAPHYSICAL STAR while a Hammer) – I do a lot of metaphysical studies by playing Football Manager, and I can tell you a key ingredient for psychic success is an African-minded defensive midfielder. It is not accident that Kouyate was a long-term presence on every club he’s played for professionally. His first one, in Brussels, caused the young man to split because they didn’t pay him for a few months, but he landed in Anderlecht, where he was a huge presence for them for six seasons. That led to a transfer to the Premier League, where he was the Metaphysical Star at one point for West Ham. He moved to Palace before last season, and gives them a youthful veteran presence, if that makes sense, because despite having both those long stints at other clubs, and currently into his second season with Palace, he’s still only 29 years old. He’s also been a constant presence on the Senegalese national team for the past six years as well, including the squad which of course famously came up short this past summer in the African Cup of Nations final against Algeria. [RAVEN]

#9: AARON WAN-BISSAKA (same as last time) – I like writing about the non-pink dudes like Aaron Wan-Bissaka here, who is English by birth, but Congolese by blood, and he apparently tried to play for the Congo in his youth days but he eventually dropped them for his colonialist oppressors who introduced him to the Protestant work ethic and faster WiFi.  He is a right back of considerable quality and could have been a lynchpin in the Crystal Palace defense for years to come but alas he was sold on to the dreaded Manchester United who will rob him of his soul and leave him questioning his very humanity. If I were Aaron Wan-Bissaka, I would roll down to the Congo and live like a king, bathing in the river with the hippopotami and fucking the girls with the fat asses who hopefully haven’t been caught up in Big AIDS, which is a nasty way to go, and I apologize if I am getting problematic again, but this is just where the words take me, I cannot help it.  I just want him to have a nice quiet life free from all the shitty first world problems that we have chained ourselves to. Life doesn’t have to be so complicated. Just find a good woman and find a way to eat and that’s it, you’ve won life. Fuck all the rest of this shit. [NEIL]

#10: JEFFREY SCHLUPP (same as last time) – So I got that stupid fucking Disney+ shit the other week, like all the other marks in the American Universe, but it made me get one of those Roku devices to be streaming my shit, which I had never bothered to do, not because I was against it but I don't watch a whole lot of TV other than soccer. I'd had a Sling Latino Sports package for a while now, but just watched that shit on my laptop. But after I hooked up the Roku, now I got it streaming direct to the TV, which obviously as anyone other than my lethargic luddite ass knows, looks pretty damn good. Anyways, what this means is watching all the fuckin' African continental club action I can on the higher Bein Sports channels, which is my favorite shit to be honest. African football stadium ambiance is the shit. I was watching an Egyptian club (I think) at a Cameroon club Saturday, and shit was pretty damn lit. I kept thinking, "maybe I watch the Premier League match" but I couldn't bear to do it. Anyways, when I saw the name Jeffrey Schlupp, I assumed it was like a German dude or some shit, but it turned out he's a Ghanaian Black Star (who was born in Germany), and whose spent the past six seasons in Premier League, with Palace and Leicester, and then the three before that with Leicester in the Championship. He came up through Leicester's youth system, having grown up in England, and man, I'mma tell you my philosophy on cross-cultural pollination because it's pretty simple. Curry goat. Have cultures combined and morphed together enough you have curry goat where you live? Do you have multiple choices for curry goat? Like maybe East Indian curry goat as well as West Indian curry goat? Because that's my simple criteria. "Is this place got good cultural mix, Raven Mack?" DO THEY GOT FUCKIN CURRY GOAT? IF NO, THEN FUCK THAT PLACE. Where I live, there's no goddamned curry goat, which means the melting pot ain't been melted nearly enough, and we need to stir the pot some more or some shit. I imagine a dude living in London has no problem getting some good West African goat dishes, with or without curry. I also love the fact that culturally, even within football, if a dude is "fullback/winger" you know he's African or Ecuadorian or from some place where it's perfectly normal to have a guy who flies up and down the entire side of the pitch, from deep defense to blatant striking offense. Sometimes I'm bummed there's only two sidelines to a football pitch because I'd like to play three dudes like that all at once. Maybe it's time to drink some mushroom tea again and tinker with my fourth dimensional football pyramids, which are going way beyond simple inversion. [RAVEN]

#11: MARTIN KELLY (up two from last time) – Martin Kelly's big ass gelled hair self is about as English defender as a motherfucker could possibly look, so of course he plays for Crystal Palace. You couldn't incubate a better stereotype in a spaceship. But then again if those science fiction dystopian movies of yore that had spaceships full of secret overlords breeding humans for some sort of spectacle or horrible demise, would they be incubating stereotypical Englishman defenders of the football? Hahaha, fuck yeah they would, because you know space peoples still got space drugs, and somebody on one of them is spaceships started a little secret human football league, like we play video games, and some alien reptoid named Borkle77 or Dark Ampersand is building a team entirely of conventionally attractive but actually kinda ugly English dudes to roll out. Too bad his opponent this week secretly incubated Italian footballers with luchadors and also has a secret project where his GKs are injected with bull frog DNA in their leg muscles for bigger jump. Tough luck Dark Ampersand. [RAVEN]

#12: MAMADO SAKHO (down four from last time) – I really liked Sakho when he was at Liverpool where he tried his best to fix the Reds center back area only to come up frustrated by not getting to play alongside Virgil Van Dijk which is no fault of his own. Sadly, Mamadou couldn’t make it work in Liverpool and has moved on to being a steady presence for Crystal Palace. He rolls with the French national team, which I can’t damn him for since that is the place of his birth although his parents rep Senegal. Better lives and all that juxtaposed with all the bullshit I’ve been writing about the simpler life in this here metaphysical breakdown in which all tendrils touch and then fly off in their own wild places.  But anyway, Sakho actually spent the bulk of his early career with PSG, which is some real running with the wolves kind of life, which set him up for his Liverpool days, which is a similar big baller brand, but now Sakho has found himself with Crystal Palace, where he can wind down his football days keeping a middling club in business, doing okay for himself and his club, which is some cozy psychic energy to bring and I hope he has the best life from here on out, you don’t owe anyone anything Mamadou Sakho, just fuck right and whisper to the stars at night and you’ll be alright. [NEIL]

#13: JOEL WARD (up one from last time; also previously ONE METAPHYSICAL STAR for Palace) – Joel Ward was a Houston rapper with associations to both Rap-A-Lot Records as well as DJ Screw's Screwed Up Click. He actually released three albums on Rap-A-Lot, all the way back to their early days, before dying in a car crash on the interstate in the summer of 2002. No wait, that's Big Mello. Joel Ward's a defender who's been on Palace for like seven years now, since they were in the Championship, and doesn't play as much the past few seasons but has been getting plenty of playing time this season thus far. Not sure how much codeine cough syrup he's been getting, or shout outs on new Paul Wall tracks. [RAVEN]

#14: JORDAN AYEW (up seven from last time) – When Jordan Ayew first came to my beloved Swansea City, my immediate impression was one of lack of excitement, as this appeared to be the lesser Ayew brother. Also, there was the vague hint of Ghanaian witchcraft having cursed the young man, with like three clubs in a row he played for getting relegated, him being a spirit right on the cusp. And in retrospect, yes, Swansea was relegated as well, though I think maybe Jordan got shipped away first? I can’t rightly remember at this point, it’s such a blur of failure demons and shitty American influences. Nonetheless, my lasting impression of Jordan Ayew is a highly positive one, of him being a constant worrisome gnat of a footballer who harasses to a ridiculous level, and always somehow seems to find a way to scrap in some sort of haphazard goal. He is full on cusp spirit, so being on a club like Palace is perfect, and I began to wonder as time went on if the thoughts of him being a curse were misplaced, and actually a cusp team who had three or four bold cusp characters like him who can operate on that raggedy edge with passionate fuck it, then they might be better off. There were periods for the Swans where Jordan was literally the only one who still seemed to be trying, in his own weird stop-go way. I now love him immensely, and take great joy in seeing his fucked up little west African scrunch face out there grimacing through another worrisome and harassing 84 minutes. [RAVEN]

#15: WAYNE HENNESSEY (down eleven from last time) – Giant Welsh keeper named after French hooch that sounds Irish, who apparently failed every European history class in whatever British secondary school structure an aspiring professional football player finds himself. Really though, I don’t know why a 30 year-old Welsh dude with distant Irish origins playing for Crystal Palace would be making a Nazi salute—seems that even for a meathead football (which goalkeepers are usually NOT—they’re the damn professoriate of the footballing world, maybe making our boy here a bit of an archetype exception) that’s well past the edgelord phase. But he’s from north Wales, which maybe has more rightist-leanings than red-flag-as-fuck south Wales. Seriously, I did an internship in rural Wales a couple of decades ago, and while most people were chill as fuck, there was a distinct lack of melanin about, and some people did indeed say some hella fucked up racist shit—like so obviously fucking racist, but in an absurdist way that didn’t even make sense to my steeped-in-perpetual-background-racism American ass (such as a north Wales dude that invited me into his rural house, while adamantly and repeatedly declaring that there was “no Black blood” in his family—it was fucked up because I was like “are you saying that because I’m a drawling southern-American dude and you’re trying to elbow-nudge curry favor with me?....or are you saying that because I’m an olive-hued, black-haired drawling southern-American dude and you are implying that Americans are a bunch of mongrel racially suspect people?” Me and my friend I was with really regretted not kicking his ass and stealing some of the antique shit he was so proud of.  Wayne here seems like he’s done at Palace, in place of a new Spanish keeper. 32 should be the prime peak of a goalkeeper, so no clue where he heads from here. Milwall might be a good fit. [PAUL]

#16: MAX MEYER (same as last time) – Don’t really think much of German midfielders, especially those not of Turkish backgrounds. Played for Schalke enough to form a permanent association—this happens after 100 appearances for a club, anything less than that is just passing through. Though I guess he kind of fucked them by moving to the EPL on a free transfer. He looks like he could be an actor in these short World War II-themed short, studenty-looking films that youtube keeps suggesting to me. Seems like they’re obsessed with the common German soldier experience in the waning, collapsing days of the war. Because I am culture studies geek, I have gotten sucked into trying to discern what the point of these plot-interchangeable videos—some kind of right-wing apologia? an attempt to cast the events as individual tragedies? a deflection of blame onto the heavy duty Nazis that “got them into the whole mess”? I mean, it is a legitimate question of how you deal with an ancestor—recent or a ways back, that was a supporter, to whatever degree, of a vile political project. By the international legal definition, I’m pretty sure my own dad is a war criminal. And I’ve got multiple Confederate-veteran antecedents (who were rank-and-file dumbass peckerwoods with evidence of less-than-perfect commitment to the cause, but then that right here is the fucked up attempts at justification, deflection, and revisionism I’m talking about and I guess a lot of white German people have to fight that same shit; but then, as we reiterate over and over on here, we as white Americans (north, south, east, and west) are all absolute scum when it comes to collective guilt. Do these thoughts flash through Meyer’s mind? How do white European footballers decolonize themselves? [PAUL]

#17: CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (down six from last time) – I have always been fascinated by Benteke’s somewhat bulbous forehead. He is Congolese, born in Kinshasa, though spent most of his childhood in Belgium (as did many who fled dangerous situations in the DR Congo). It is a strange thing, the path of Africans to their former colonial masters as an escape from the chaos of an unstable homeland. It’s sort of the obligation of being a colonial lord at one point. It’s weird though because in America, the wealth was not built on extracting it from a foreign space, but by building it here off the imported slave labor from those places, most of which existed before our current geopolitical borders were drawn (which were remnants of colonialism anyways), so there’s no way to easily solve the issue. And of course none of this has anything to do with Christian Benteke, other than his first name being a symptomatic result of colonialism as well. [RAVEN]

#18: SCOTT DANN (up two from last time) – Scott Dann has the same birthday as me - Valentines Day, which means he's an Aquarius, and being born on the day of love, is bound to have folks love him after minimal physical contact, and also needs a lot of Plan B. No wonder he's a defender naturally, because you're already on the defense against your universal magnetism, as a Valentines Aquarian. He's metaphysically built by birth for that role, and fuck I'm pretty surprised I've never thought about studying natal charts for part of this metaphysical analysis before. He was born in Liverpool though, which is not nearly as glorious as my birth in Farmville, Virginia, USA, where the stakes are high, and so was my teen mom. [RAVEN]

#19: GARY CAHILL (previously ranked #23 for Chelsea on 15-Aug-2019) – Forever affiliated with Chelsea, here we have yet another white English dude central defender. Beloved of the English national team setup and twin pillar of Britannia alongside John-fucking-Terry. Really at a loss for what to say about these types of dudes that I haven’t already said before. I rejoice when an African forward turns them inside out and plants an unstoppable shot in at the near post. I rejoice when they collapse into impotent, petulant rages when some wispy brown South American winger leaves them for dead, forcing them into a stupid grappling foul for which they justly concede a penalty and acquire a card. I rejoice when their Chardonnay diamond-encrusted Beverly Hills plastic surgeon 38DDD tabloid botox-lipped bangs-arranged constantly by fake nail wife takes their four kids and faux Tudor castle in the divorce settlement, hopefully taking up a Columbian fullback on a ridiculously fat contract that the kids almost immediately start calling “Daddy.” Too stupid for management, too ugly for commentary. Human detritus of British Empire, rotting into the sands like a Brighton pier. [PAUL]

#20: MICHY BATSHUAYI (previously ranked #20 for Chelsea on 01-Aug-2018) – Another DR Congolese heritage player, and a guy who was touted as the future for Chelsea for a while, although all it resulted in was a “Where’s Michy loaned this year?” game to play. That meant half a season loan to Palace the first half of this calendar year, and with the transfer freeze, it seemed like this was his year to finally step up at Chelsea and take that central role he was allegedly destined for. Except Tammy Abraham took it first, and only now with Abraham having an injury does Batshuayi get a chance to try to be the man. If it fails, which I guess it will, he’ll likely get loaned out again in January, although the steady decline in loan prestige for him (Borussia Dortmund two seasons ago, then Valencia, and then Palace this past January), he’s getting to the point you just cash him out on a transfer to like West Ham, or maybe Palace takes him back. He did get 6 goals in 13 appearances for them. [RAVEN]

#21: YOHAN CABAYE (down nine from last time) – French midfielder who went to Dubai to play before last season, getting that Gulf Sheikh money. It didn’t last long though, as he left the club in January, with his contract terminated, and then returned to France officially before this season. [RAVEN]

#22: RUBEN LOFTUS-CREEK (down six from last time) – Loftus-Creek holds onto the list even though he was never more than a season-long loan from Chelsea. Pretty weird how more than one dude on the Crystal Palace 25-Man is just long-term loan from Chelsea, as well as dudes who played forever for West Ham. Crystal Palace really is the lesser destination for London football, quite literally. How do you change that shit? I guess having a Roy Hodgson is supposed to make that move, somehow, but he’s old as fuck too. It’s like a mix-and-match best of famous names from other times or spaces that aren’t quite what they might appear to be club. [RAVEN]

#23: ALEXANDER SORLOTH (down one from last time) – Yeah, fuck whatever this dude does for Palace or any other English club—he’s a gigantic, goofy Norwegian Viking-ass striker tearing it up in the Turkish League on-loan. I sincerely hope he’s listening to nothing but Royksopp (and related deranged Scandinavian techno) while having loads of sex with the windows wide open onto the balcony of his Black Sea high-rise. Never come back to England, young man—stay a Varangian warrior in the land of spice and warmth. Maybe get a permanent move to Marseille or Valencia. [PAUL]

#24: JAIRO RIEDEWALD (up one from last time) – Another one of the caramel colored young folks who will claim the world as their own as the pink people crawl into their graves, Jairo Riedewald is another good Dutchman whose background is like 1/3 Dutch, 1/3 Surinamese and 1/3 Indonesian, which means that he probably fucks good and is very attractive to your girlfriend. Ol’ Jairo here came up in the Ajax system, which is fairly elite by Dutch standards before joining Crystal Palace where he hasn’t really done much of anything. I don’t think he’s even played since the 2017/2018 campaign which means he is just stashed away there. I see he put in an appearance in a League Cup match, but that’s about it for the past couple of years. I don’t know whether this is an ominous sign for Jairo spelling a life in lower leagues or whether he is just amassing some serious fuck energy, which is all a young dude in the prime of his life can do, earning a nice wage for practicing with the boys and then running through the good women and the not so good women at night, just a young Exotico (and please don’t get on me for being problematic here, I mean it in the best of ways) running game on life. Go on, young son, and seize the world that is yours. [NEIL]

#25: TIMOTHY FOSU-MENSAH (down six from last time; also previously ranked #25 for Fulham on 01-May-2019) – It seems I went all new race mixing with my dudes this time around. Did I do it on purpose, or was it just a subconsciousness type thing? I don’t know. I suspect it’s some of both as I always look to grab dudes who sound interesting to me which lends itself to this sort of thing and I know I am probably being problematic talking about it like this but fuck it, you bought the ticket, now you taking the ride baby, and I don’t want to have to apologize for just being me, even if it is an idiotic version of me and probably distasteful and racist in so much as I am just a white dude talking about black dudes like I have any sort of perspective to add which is absurd because I am just a dumb old white dude who sees things in strange ways and just wants everyone to be happy in their skin because we’re all just skeletons on the inside man, they don’t tell you that but it’s true. We’re all just skeletons. Anyway, Timothy Fosu-Mensah is another Dutch dude born to parents of another world, in this case Ghanaian, but Timothy Fosu-Mensah has always rolled with his Dutch national team and that’s cool, it would be shitty to tell a dude he had to rep a country not of his birth just because some people want to pat themselves on the back for being racially progressive or whatever the fuck and I suppose I have been guilty of this myself as I always like to see a dude play for his roots, but then again, that would make me have to play for some halfbreed Irish-Finnish-English-Germanic-French-Scandanavian hybrid national team which is just fucking ridiculous and you see how these things get inadvertently problematic and I am just a dumbass, please stop listening to anything I have to say, I just want to fuck a Latina and then be killed by her jealous friend in a Baja nightmare that is really just the best of dreams. What I’m saying is we’ve all got to find our happy little corner of the world to want to die in and fuck in before it’s all said and done. But Timothy Fosu-Mensah was never a true Crystal Palace man. No, he was always on loan from Manchester United and now he’s been loaned off to Fulham, but fuck it, get paid while you’re young and fuck who you can and that’s all any of us can do as we roll on together on this fucked up planet. [NEIL]

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