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.

Tuesday, December 17

25-Man Metaphysical Roster: LEICESTER CITY FC

{Vardy, always flapping about} 

[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.]

Well, I guess we should discuss the footballing metaphysics of this Leicester City club full of foxes, allegedly. They’ve contradicted the odds and somehow found themselves in second place behind a streaking Liverpool club, which to be honest this is as unlikely a situation as when they won the Premier League a few seasons back. But that begs the question… if they’ve found themselves in these impossible circumstances twice in short-term memory, is it all that impossible? Or are our preconceptions of Premier League dominance by the big six clubs perhaps in need of re-evaluation? Of course that’s shite talk, because the big six have revenue streams nobody else can compete with, and that’s part of what makes this Leicester City run well ahead of 5 of the big six, and even Wolves and Sheffield United having pretty good seasons, at least still ahead of Arsenal, so wonderful. We want to believe all our institutions are true meritocracies, and nowhere is that as true in the sporting world as the English football system, where conceivably a scrappy generation of footballing bastards could all find themselves in the Vanarama South Conference all at once, and carry their club through loyalty and dedication to each other all the way to the top tier. Now of course none of our institutions are as meritocratic as they posture, and cash still rules everything around us, so those big six revenue streams put them at their own level, which also means Arsenal or Manchester United or Chelsea sitting in 9th or 10th place, outside of European competition qualification, is a catastrophe equal to relegation. It is their metaphysical relegation, thus the opposite of that is a metaphysical promotion. Leicester City is achieving that, for the second time in half a decade. That’s amazing. And I’m not sure where Paul and Neil are gonna come in on Leicester, with the LOVE fist or HATE first striking harder, but I love it. This season particularly, Leicester’s been playing a ridiculously fun form of football to watch. Strangely, manager Brendan Rodgers previous eight seasons have been entirely within the realm of the football metaphysics crew’s club allegiances, from my Swansea City to Neil’s Liverpool to three seasons at the helm of Paul’s Celtic. Rodgers is one of those two-to-three season type managers, who’s personality either bores or weighs too heavy after time, and the mutual need for moving on arrives. So Rodgers being able to steer the existing Leicester City roster into second in his first half-season in charge is very exciting. If they can hold onto a Champions League spot (seems likely right now, but one never knows), it’ll be even more interesting to see how Rodgers can juggle that dual commitment with a less massive roster than he had at Liverpool. But that’s too far into the future. Let’s look at who is here right now, and helped build this Leicester City culture on the actual pitch… [RAVEN]

#1: KASPER SCHMEICHEL (up one from last time Leicester City was metaphysically ranked on 15-Jan-2019; also number one for Leicester City once before, so his SECOND METAPHYSICAL STAR) – Danish GK cornerstone to Leicester, in his 9th season minding the posts for the Foxes. That's three seasons in their last Championship run, working all 46 matches of each of those seasons, plus other cup duties, for over 50 matches those three years. First season after promotion, he suffered an injury that shelved him for a while, but he became first choice again once fully fit. He played every match of their title-winning season in the Premier League as well, and has played every PL match last season and thus far this as well. He's been the rock in back that allows all the movement and attack up front, playing on his head at times. He was a Man City youth academy prospect, and fuck man, think about the difference in life trajectory of having the constant loans and never settled feel of remaining in that exploitative system to landing somewhere and playing for nearly a decade. Schmeichel is Leicester, even bearing witness to the helicopter crash in October of 2018 that killed then club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. Solid football metaphysics is a GK from an overlooked corner of Europe, generally Balkan or Polish or a former Soviet space, but Schmeichel fits the bill as well coming from Denmark. In fact, when I think about some of the basic footballing metaphysics key ingredients Paul and I have babbled about privately for years, Leicester City seem to have most the checkboxes ticked off. [RAVEN]

#2: WILFRED NDIDI (down one from last time, so also previously ONE METAPHYSICAL STAR) – A big key to Leicester's title run five seasons back was N'Golo Kante, who had the speed and craft in the midfield to be the fulcrum for Leicester's attack then, which allowed them to surge beyond expectations. Kante was the one star from that roster to leave immediately in the summer of 2016, where he went to Chelsea to do the same for them, before disappearing into the quagmire of too much expectations that happens at the big six clubs more often than not. I bring all this up because Ndidi, the young Nigerian, is operating in the same capacity for Leicester this season. Also a member of the Nigerian national Super Eagles team, that philosophy of football is more open and hype, and Ndidi's presence helps add that pace to Leicester, which feeds guys like Jamie Vardy and Ayoze Perez perfectly. And in true Nigerian immigrant fashion, football alone is not enough for the young Wilfred, who also married his girlfriend since their teens, Dinma Fortune. She is a model, but also a med student. Ndidi also began studying for a Business and Management degree at university this fall as well. Nigerian hustle is incomparable, on the pitch and off. Sadly, Leicester's shock second place position likely has put Ndidi on the radar of other's, and there's already been a clamor by Arsenal supporters to see him in a Gunners kit come January. [RAVEN]

#3: JAMIE VARDY (same as last time) – I know us non-traditional intellectual types is supposed to hate on Vardy, because he certainly seems to be just some trash ass Englishman far too much like a racist Brexiter casting hatred upon anyone with even a hint of brown to the last four generations of their family tree. But let’s be real here – a key component of football metaphysics is being the physical embodiment of previous historical poor choices, which compound into your very DNA, and somehow you navigate the predisposition of poor choice probability, to not only defeat your own self-destruction somehow, but also thrive in a belligerent and unapologetic manner. That’s Jamie Vardy. The dude has a sense for goals, and is benefit of not having European matches to wear him out with. On top of this, he has seemed even more possessed this season in comparison to the previous few, likely because, for a person who comes from poor choices, your sensible decisions are also poor. So Vardy marries a trophy wife, like all prominent footballers, and his trophy wife is a hot mess, like many, but unable to handle it, to the point that Vardy’s ol’ lady, Rebekah, was suspected by Wayne Rooney’s wife of leaking private information to the press. So Mrs. Rooney painstakingly released false information, ONLY TO REBEKAH VARDY, to see it get leaked to the press, and realize she’d found her media snitch. So Vardy’s wife gets outed as a scoundrel, and now Jamie has to answer to all this to the big boys like Rooney and others of high prominence in English football, who certainly view Vardy as common street trash, not chosen footballing heroes like themselves. All of this just feeds Vardy’s resentment and anger, which causes him to score even more, because for the man born from multiple layers of environmental poor choices, there is nothing greater than Fuck You moments. So even though Vardy might be horrible trash, he’s able to achieve these Fuck You moments, in ways that have yet to crossover into Connor McGregor territory (at least from what I’ve seen), so he hasn’t yet alienated me completely. And thus, I can enjoy him. So I do. Because honestly, fuck Wayne Rooney and his wife. [RAVEN]

#4: BENJAMIN CHILWELL (up three from last time) – Young Benjamin is one of those dudes who will be snatched up by one of the teams that roll big and he will probably fail out and get sent back to the real people who will take him in again, but it’s never the same. For now, he is a defender for Leicester but who knows what psychic energies he’s putting out, eager to take that next step where the grass is green and the girls are pretty, without abandoning the club that took him in and raised him to where he is now. And right now, he’s still all Leicester and can probably fuck anyone he wants, which is a comfortable place to be, young and full of juice, nothing holding him back. It’s always good for a dude like young Chillwell to live the life of hedonism before it all falls apart thanks to various pressures from beneath and up ahead, but that moment isn’t here yet and that means that Leicester gets a dude in an innocent moment which is some strong Psychic Energy I guess. [NEIL]

#5: RICARDO PEREIRA (up nine from last time) – Wait… I thought all Portuguese dudes had to play for the Wolves? What's this dude doing in Leicester? [RAVEN]

#6: JAMES MADDISON (up nine from last time; also previously ranked #19 for Norwich City on 01-Jun-2019) – What the hell? I think I already wrote about this dude on our football metaphysics journey, and yes, I did when we blew through Norwich City, so why the fuck did I pick him again? I don’t know. I don’t even remember what I wrote about this dude, who is actually playing really well right now for Leicester, but I imagine I riffed on his name relative to the president of the same name if not the same spelling, but anyway, young James Maddison is a breakout star for Leicester which is a cool thing to see happen outside of the big monster clubs, but which also means one of them will come along and purchase the young man like so much fancy cattle, which I just talked about with young Chillwell, which means that Leicester has themselves some hot young talent and if they could maybe hold on to them, they could make a permanent impression at the top of the league instead of chasing the ghost of that one season when they shocked everyone and won the damn league. Maybe. It’s always nice to get some new blood fucking with the established hierarchy and maybe Leicester can make this a more regular thing with dudes like James Maddison. They just have to find a way to keep him happy, and that probably means they have to establish themselves as one of the big dicks at the table. It’s a hard thing to pull off, but they already won the league once and now they’re in second place this season, so maybe they might do it. They just have to keep winning and hope that dudes like young Maddison here don’t abandon them. But that’s a hell of a place to be for James Maddison, at the top of his game, ready to be courted, and maybe he decides the high school girlfriend is the one after all and stays with Leicester, but those college girls beckon and you have to wonder if that type of presence in them yoga pants will end up uglying things up for everybody. But, for now, his energies run big and fuck the future, live in the moment baby and you’ll be okay. [NEIL]

#7: JONNY EVANS (up twelve from last time) – Northern Ireland center back from the Calvin Orange-y population of that fractured province. Evans is part of a very solid international setup that punches well-above its weight class in competitions, though with wonder boy manager Michael O’Neill double-dipping in Sassenach club ball at Stoke, we’ll have to see if that surprise was player-based or system-based—which is tough to discern, given Stoke’s current EFL Championship languishment. I don’t really know what to make of Northern Ireland as a footballing entity. As y’all probably know, any footballer born there is eligible to also play for the Republic of Ireland, and it’s pretty common for that to happen with the Green/Catholic/Republican-y kids like James McClean (he whose double middle fingers are perpetually upraised in the direction of the Queen). But then also, plenty of Catholic players that would probably make the Republic team pretty easy have stuck around and repped Northern Ireland, including Neil Lennon (though I don’t know, maybe jumping the border wasn’t an option back then). I’m pretty sure that if you’re born there, you’re also eligible for a Republic birth certificate/passport, which was genuinely funny as I read a bunch of Orange-assed Queen-loving shitheads were availing themselves of such in fear of Brexit. To be honest, I don’t see how anyone thinks Northern Ireland won’t vanish as a political entity within ten years, tops. That writing is very much on the wall, quite literally in mural form. But of course that makes me wonder how footballers from the Loyalist “community” will handle their international allegiances. But it’s pretty wack that Northern Ireland plays in a green and white home kit, at Windsor Park, with “God Save the Queen” played before matches. I don’t even get mad, it’s actually just kind of sad/tragic seeming. With the recent election events in the [not so]United Kingdom, I’m just hoping for all that bullshit to collapse. Nationalism obviously leads down some ugly paths, so I take other Lefty folks’ concerns about the dangers of hyping up Irish and Scottish national identity to heart, but at the same time, I’ve got the conviction that any political entity that ever had “empire” in its title needs to be smashed into pieces and absolutely cease to exist as any sort of geo-political construct. So I’m always going to pull against Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Russia—all the European dickery—in support of Scotlands, Irelands, Catalonias, Basque Regions, Brittanys, Galicias, Chechnyas, etc. etc. Though, fuck Turkey, China, and Japan too I guess (is there a Hokkaido separatist movement, an Ainu Revolutionary Front?) Ugly identitarian shit will no doubt emerge (I’ve seen some hard right-wing Scottish independence people up close and in the flesh, but they were also just dumbfuck Americans who [I’m hoping it doesn’t even need to be said] would benefit from some Imperial fracturing of their own). Yet let’s handle that ugliness as it comes. Break the big beast first. What does this have to do with Jonny-almost-certainly-not-a-Bhoy here? I don’t know exactly, as he’s holding it down for Leicester and hopefully he won’t be doing endorsements of Ian Paisley, Jr. [PAUL]

#8: YOURI TIELEMANS – This is another young Spirit Warrior who is bronzed in a way that makes pink people uneasy because they can’t tell where he comes from, which in this particular case is from Belgium since his Flemish daddy swept on down to the Congo and found a good woman which is horribly racist of me to say because chances are she was already in Belgium and not the other way around, I don’t want to make some gross stereotype of the white man taming the black woman or some shit as in all likelihood, she tamed him, but fuck it, I have already said too much and maybe he did swoop on down to the Congo and brought back someone unexpected which is again probably racist of me to say but I don’t know what happened and neither do you, the important thing to take away from all this is that Youri Telemans is what we should all look like if we just stopped being racist in who we choose to get down with and I know what you’re saying, you’re saying that Neil has made some poor choices in this writeup and you’re not wrong, but I just want everyone to mellow out and fuck each other regardless of the color of our skin, which is such a dumb thing to even care about because we are all one people on the inside and I don’t even know what I’m rambling about here and this is not fair to you or Youri Telemans who is just a dude who kinda flopped playing in France but who has now found new life as one of Leicester’s young stallions, and I am not trying to compare a dude of color to an animal, that’s not what I’m saying at all, and goddammit, I have made an ass of myself here but that’s the white idiot in me I guess and all I want is for everyone to be biracial and fuck a lot. That’s all. [NEIL]

#9: HARRY MAGUIRE (down five from last time) – Maguire was a key defensive component for Leicester for a couple seasons, and considered a great enough player that Man U came calling last season, then again this past summer and finally agreed to an exorbitant fee for his services to bolster their flailing defensive back line. But here's the thing - somehow I never watched a Leicester match those two seasons without hearing Maguire name come up in some dumbass mistake at some point. He wasn't part of the title squad, coming in after that, and they seem to be doing better now without him. Philosophically, if you want a wide open style of play, a big lunkheaded Sheffield boy in the back is like dragging an anchor along behind you. I mean technically, it might be a safer play, but also fuck that, safety is fucking stupid, and nobody wants to watch people be safe. Nonetheless, as a former Blade in the lower tiers of the English footballing pyramid, one can only hope Maguire struggles mightily enough at Old Trafford that he ends up back with Sheffield United in the Premier League, where he enjoys a half-decade renaissance. (Also, I have apparently shifted into a hardcore Fuck the Big Six mode in recent months.) [RAVEN]

#10: DEMARAI GRAY (down two from last time) – We split these up in convoluted fashion, and I take on most of the leftovers, and write them out of order entirely. Demarai Gray is the last one left on my list and I don't have much energy left for him. This is a ridiculously ambitious and often deflating undertaking, that I'm not sure more than three people read. Shit, I don't even read what Paul and Neil send me sometimes, just cut and paste it into place, format and post. Most of our digital culture is more about to pretending to do shit than actually doing shit, and all our metrics for achievement are based upon the pretend (word counts, page views) than the real. We are all fake bitches. Fuck us, and what we have become. I should be a right back for an eleventh tier U.S. soccer club in the Blue Ridge mountains, where we have two sort of pro players, and the rest of us are volunteers, and we have to borrow a church bus to travel together to away matches on Saturday afternoon. But no, we don't even have football culture like that in America, and instead I'm sitting here writing some stupid shit about English football players. WE DON'T EVEN CALL FOOTBALL "FOOTBALL" HERE. Seriously, fuck us, and not just what we have become but we always were. [RAVEN]

#11: WES MORGAN (down five from last time) – Not many prominent Premier League clubs have players with national allegiances to North American nation-states, much less have them as captain, but Wes Morgan is exactly that, as Jamaican Reggae Boyz participant for many years (not since 2016 though), and captain for the Foxes. He’s aging out of the role though, about to turn 36 next month, and though Jamaican heritage, he’s born and bred in England, specifically Nottingham. An interesting story, as a youth, he tried out for Notts County, but got rejected, so was in school and playing in the lower levels of English football for Dunkirk. He started getting noticed by non-league clubs, as well as Nottingham Forest, who ended up taking him on as an apprentice while he was still a student. Being he had no contract with Dunkirk, no transfer fee was exchanged, but Forest did give Dunkirk two kits. To this day, Dunkirk keeps Morgan’s Nottingham Forest and Leicester City kits on their clubhouse wall. That says a lot to what type of dude Morgan actually is, for a place that he briefly played as a teen to think so highly of him to this day. (Unrelated, but two magical things that are just normal shit in England but sound like Beatrix Pottter took acid and had a threesome with a West African defensive midfielder and a Scottish striker and then wrote about it – Floodlit Cup, which I guess is lower level clubs playing at night under flood lights, and Clipstone Welfare, which is a lower level club that actually exists.) [RAVEN]

#12: MARC ALBRIGHTON (down seven from last time) – I think I might have fucked up the name on this one because I was pretty sure Marc Albrighton was a World Class wrestling television champ who feuded extensively with Buddy Roberts and Iceman King Parsons. But then again, wasn't Iceman King Parsons the winger that helped Chesterfield to a shock FA Cup semifinal in 1997? Who the fuck knows. It's all just a digital opioid fog inside all our skulls now, giant sloshing mess of pretend info. [RAVEN]

#13: CAGLAR SOYUNCU – How does a club become completely hyper-paced and be able to do shit like score 8 goals in a Premier League match? Part of the equation is to get you a young Turkish defender who plays with an aggressive demeanor (common among Turkish footballers… like seriously, I love watching Super Lig matches this season; it's become one of my favorite leagues). Soyuncu got his first Premier League goal last month, against Crystal Palace, and fuck man, all these amazing international dudes Leicester has filling out key spots on their roster all seem to be 23. [RAVEN]

#14: HARVEY BARNES – Harvey Barnes sounds like a department store. Harvey's pops was a pro footballer too, who got as high as the First Division (one step below Premier League) with multiple clubs. Young Harvey became a Leicester Academy youth player at the age of 9, so he's been steeped in this club deeply. Spent time on loan the last few seasons, but was doing so well with West Brom last season he got recalled in January, and has become a steady presence ever since, even scoring his first pair of Premier League goals, including the match-winner against Sheffield United in August. [RAVEN]

#15: NAMPALYS MENDY (down two from last time) – The young Frenchman here has bounced back and forth between his homeland where he plays for Nice and in England where he plays for Leicester. That’s kind of a weird arrangement, but what the hell, if it works for everyone involved, it works. But at a certain point this dude has to make a decision. Leicester seems to have cooled on him so maybe that decision has already been made for him. I don’t know. But what I do know is that he is just sort of drifting right now, only sneaking on to the pitch once this season as a reserve. Brendan Rodgers doesn’t seem to have any use for him and yes, my sources are telling me that he won’t be offered a new contract once this one peters out, which I imagine means he will be all dolled up for Nice once again. It’s okay, though, England is filled with shitty idiots. I’m sure France is too, but not so specifically shitty as England’s shitty idiots if that makes any kind of sense. Probably not, but fuck it, the important thing to take away here is that Nampalys Mendy has left little Psychic Energies in Leicester and by the time I am done writing this they probably won’t even remember that he existed at all. [NEIL]

#16: CHRISTIAN FUCHS (down five from last time) – Obviously, the dude’s name is just hanging there to be joked upon, but I’m not gonna do it because it’s too easy and what normal people do, and I am not a normal man at all so Fuch it, goddammit I couldn’t help myself but that’s it, I promise. Anyway, the not so young Fuchs is getting into his twilight years, which in the world’s football means his early thirties because it is a young man’s game, just endless running and peak physical conditioning which starts to break down in your thirties, and I am now 40 which actually makes me the young pup of this ridiculous trio as Raven and Paul are already advanced into their forties and we’re just gonna get old together or until one of us has a tragic early exit, which has a higher than normal chance of happening given our various Poor Choices and what not, but fuck all that because we’re still alive today, at least I think so. The point is, as if there is ever a point, is that Christian Fuchs has just about spent his Psychic Energies, which he did as one of the dudes who led Leicester to their shocking league winning season a few years ago, but time comes for us all, and it seems to be coming for Christian Fuchs a little earlier than he probably wanted, but that’s okay, that just means he has the opportunity to spend his days getting high on life or other things and fucking until his dick stops working, which is when True Death occurs. [NEIL]

#17: KELECHI IHEANACHO (down five from last time) – Iheanacho is a Nigerian striker, still only 23, and working to find his widest stride. He’s a quality player at times, but obviously buried behind Vardy as a striker. Iheanacho is native Nigerian too, and I keep my twitter trends set to West Africa, so there’s a lot of love for Kelechi there. He didn’t make the jump to England until age 17, signing with Manchester City youth academy, and actually spent a while in America that first year, training with the Columbus Crew oddly. There is a lot of talk of him transferring to a lower Premier League club (both Crystal Palace and Aston Villa reportedly are interested… he’d be a great fit at Palace actually), and Brendan Rodgers is doing the “oh, no way he’s leaving, I envision a big role for him here!” which is usually telltale sign he’s going to go to Palace or Villa in January. I’d rather see him go to Palace, partially because I’d rather a Nigerian be in London than Birmingham (my curry goat factor mentioned last time we did this). But then again, he’s been in fucking Leicester for a few years, so he’s used to that Midlands lifestyle, and it might be just the spark Villa needs to finish in a solid 16th place and avoid relegation back to the Championship. [RAVEN]

#18: HAMZA CHOUDHURY (up four from last time) – Hamza exemplifies some serious contradictions. Dude was called out, rightly, for making some shitty racist-ass and sexist-ass tweets as a teenager. He’s apologized and had some sensitivity training, and he’s in his early 20s now, so maybe he’s ok on that front. I’d like to think so, or hope so, given that he’s sporting a really damn impressive Afro (puts Fellaini to shame, I think, and also I need to research what you should call that hairstyle on a person of non-African descent, but then Fellaini is quite literally of African descent, so fuck, I don’t know) and he’s a straight-up Bangladeshi Muslim, which is an underrepresented demographic in English football. As I think we’ve discussed on here, dudes with Indian subcontinent connections usually beat down the Colonial Oppressor through Cricket, which is well and good, much like Cubans and Dominicans face-palming American white boys in baseball. But because I find both cricket and baseball excruciating to watch, I of course wish that more Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi/Sri Lankan folk would channel their athletic inclinations into association football. Choudhury plays that defensive midfielder destroyer position, apparently well enough that he’s been called out for supposed excessive brutality (here recently, he completely wrecked Newcastle’s Ritchie to multiple required surgeries level). But Brendan Rodgers fake-smiling ass doesn’t seem completely sold on him—he was playing regularly in the early season, but has fallen to bench-riding or out of the squad altogether (which is understandable, being behind another African Wilfred Spirit Warrior in the squad). Wouldn’t be surprised if goes on loan to a bottom EPL struggler in the January window, or maybe next season. [PAUL]

#19: AYOZE PEREZ (previously #19 for Newcastle United on 01-Nov-2019) – Perez was one of Rodgers’ signings this past summer, escaping the hell that is Newcastle. He’s already netted four golazos for the Foxes. The abundance of attacking midfielder personalities Rodgers has is kinda intimidating, and that helps feed the Vardy poaching aesthetic up front. It all really does make a fun club to watch, so long as you don’t hate them. [RAVEN]

#20: DANNY SIMPSON (down ten from last time) – “Danny Simpson” sounds like the name of the worst angry racist tobacco-chewing rusty-truck building contractor padded-flannel-jacket-wearing back-home redneck that I can imagine. Like, y’all know I am sympathetic to the working class Appalachian peasantry of my nativity, but we’re talking the kind of dude that’s pretty much beyond redemption. Bad enough on the day-to-day, but then he gets on that long meth weekend that maybe let’s up for him to half-ass some roofing shit on Thursday and Friday, and he’s saying fucked up sex shit to your wife and his running loose Rottweiler has attacked your rat terrier in your own damn yard and your’re at the point where any conversation you have to have with him at the edge of your driveway means you’re gonna slip the 9mm inside the back waistband or your track pants such that the slide is pretty much resting between your ass cheeks. Or maybe not. All red-faced and white-gristley and about losing his dental plate with the half-cup of spit he uses to curl “ni**er” out of his mouth. I try to look for and celebrate the good in my people, but half the time I just want them to fucking die in their willfully ignorant white rage. But this Danny Simpson is an Anglo-Jamaican right back, albeit with some of the domestic violence proclivities of the Appalachian variant depicted above. He’s got those 100+ match milestones with both Leicester and Newcastle, while now not even certain of a game at Huddersfield in the Championship. At least he got that EPL medal though. [PAUL]

#21: DENNIS PRAET – Another Belgian, Dennis Praet was most recently seen playing in Italy before jumping ship to England and Leicester where he is just now getting his feet wet as a sometimes starter and sometimes reserve and there is little else to say about this dude other than he is a dude who plays football for Leicester where he can hopefully help them out as they try to push their way to the big table where the meats are fresh and the fruits succulent and goddamn I want some chicken and some strawberries which is how I counteract some of my Poor Choices and you know what? Instead of writing more about this dude, I am going to go eat them chickens and strawberries right now and you can’t stop me. [NEIL]

#22: RACHID GHEZZAL (down one from last time) – Our ancestral voices can often lead us wandering the Earth, searching for a home. Ghezzal is of Algerian heritage but born and lived most his life in colonial fatherland of France. He's played most his career in France, but joined Leicester before last season, and wasn't bad, but considered a bust I guess, or surplus manpower, because he was loaned out to Italian club Fiorentina for the entirety of this season. Football has been built, in a business sense, as a pyramid, in most nations as well as globally, with resources extracted and sent upwards, to our capitalist versions of colonial masters - those with the revenue to purchase whatever resources they want. For Ghezzal, that meant landing at King Power Stadium, but then being deemed not worthy enough, so cast aloft out to Italy, with an option to buy, scattered further, as the wretched of the footballing Earth. Global youth have their football dreams channeled into these pyramids, dreaming of playing on the largest European stages, no matter where on Earth they began. Frantz Fanon wrote in The Wretched of the Earth, "The stadium is not an urban showpiece but a rural space that is cleared, worked, and offered to the nation. The capitalist notion of sports is fundamentally different from that which should exist in an underdeveloped country." I think of this quote a lot with regards to players with African heritage, and in the context of the African Cup of Nations, which Algeria won this past summer (without Ghezzal). The tournament was usually played in January-February, despite the objection of the colonial/capital masters in prominent leagues who didn't want the players they'd purchased to leave during the season like that. But for most of these African nations, it's one of the few times they get to see all their top stars of African descent, most of whom have been physically extracted, by contract or immigration in previous generations, play on African soil. Ultimately, like all pyramid scams, the current global system of capital will fail. One of the reasons football metaphysics is so much deeper than metaphysics applied to other sports is football has existed in many spaces beyond multiple ruling governments, so that the football club is an institution older than most others easily seen. I think about that shit all the time when a guy like Ghezzal comes up on these lists, Algerian by way of France, briefly in the English midlands and already bounced off to Italy, a physical resource extracted and traded between nations, hoping to find the most value of self he can. Life is still pretty brutal for much of humanity, even those of us deemed successes, especially since that success metric is usually financial worth, which is empty of actual connection to land as a space to survive and thrive, but an abstraction which is supposed to purchase that connection to land. And we all know that doesn't happen very often. The pyramid scam has consumed us all, and we just keep consuming in return, mimicking our colonial master's teachings, hoping we end up at the top, clawing at those above us, stepping on the existences of those below us, completely caught up in the anxiety of human existence. [RAVEN]

#23: RIYAD MAHREZ (down fourteen from last time; also previously ranked #13 for Manchester City on 15-Oct-2019) – Algerian winger dude that Leicester rode to that 2016 title, who then figured out “fuck, I’m in Leicester” and basically clawed at the walls to get out of there, eventually getting that sweet paycheck move to Manchester City. As an American, I know fuck-all about Leicester the city. I’ve travelled to, and even kind of halfway resided in, the UK for both slacking and schooling, but such is my contempt for England that I’ve actually only spent maybe 48 total hours under the cross of St. George (and probably not even that if there had been cheaper flights directly into/out of Scotland and Wales). But….it’s my middle fucking name, though of course without that fancy “ice” in the middle. And it’s a longstanding family name, such that I think I’m like the fourth or fifth generation first born middle name “Lester.” This makes me wonder if there’s not some long ago familial branch connection to that place, but more likely it was probably the name of some local judge, doctor, Confederate colonel, or politician or other 19th century Appalachian elite dickhead that my family pledged fealty to by dumping his bullshit name on their eighth kid. And I bet that motherfucker’s family emigrated to the colonies from Leicester. Anyway, a silky smooth lanky Algerian winger I would normally like, but he plays for Manchester City, so a tepid “fuck him” until they lose out on two EPL titles in a row and he maybe rumbles for a move to Barcelona or Roma. [PAUL]

#24: VICENTE IBORRA (down eight from last time) – Spanish defensive midfielder that pulled one and half-seasons with Leicester before straight up saying “fuck this English shit” and moved back to Spain with Villarreal and their fly-as-fvkk banana-ass kits. I could try to say a lot more about this dude—seems like one of those solid central midfield workers that just keeps everything ticking along. But really, essentially declaring “I’m already rich as fuck, what the hell does it profit my soul to get richer playing in this rainy cold shithole and surrounded by assholes like that Vardy guy?” is all I need to know to appreciate the dude. I hope you do to. [PAUL]

#25: DANIEL AMARTEY (down seven from last time) – Ghanian defensive midfielder, so on those grounds automatically loved on by the trio banging out the bullshit you’re currently reading. He’s done at Leicester, with them not really needing any more cover at that position as he works his way back from a season long serious injury absence. Seems the aforementioned Michael O’Neill is sniffing around him to try and salvage Stoke this season. But Turkey is also beckoning. Hopefully he makes the right choice. The only choice, really. [PAUL]

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