With my early dismissal from the Southampton-Tottenham Hotspur gallery, I’ve selected a special image to top today’s Hoddle. Not only does J’Neil Bennett make his Hoddle debut, so does the new stadium in a picture of him scoring the first ever goal at said new stadium.
Ramble of the Day
It was obviously a pretty eventful weekend for Spurs with that new stadium hosting a test event, but other than that, it was a standardly slow weekend in the football world. I’m not here to complain about international breaks — at least today — and if you want to, feel free. What is undeniable is that they break up our rhythms, meaning we end up with a little bit more time to do something else than usual. So, I ask: What did you do with that free time?
We’ll be finding out about how one Hoddler spent part of his weekend pretty soon. (I’d go check the site’s front page after 3a GMT if I needed a clue.) As for the rest of us, we probably ended up doing a ton of other things. I’ll start (because it’s not like I know any of your answers, after all).
I watched a ton of Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers over the weekend, starting with Burundi-Gabon on Saturday morning, moving on to Cameroon-Comoros, and then finishing with Ivory Coast-Rwanda. As always, watching football from different places means noticing different things, from the obvious style and quality of play to the surroundings. All of those matches were pretty entertaining from the on-the-pitch events alone, but I also got to see a beautiful stadium in Burundi’s Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium and a group of dancing home fans in Ivory Coast. Needless to say, I enjoyed the hours on end watching football I usually don’t watch.
The later part of Saturday was spent at New York Red Bulls-Orlando City, where Orlando won 1-0. Again, I won’t provide a match recap, and I have a pretty funny story from the game that I will share in tomorrow’s Hoddle. (It’s good enough for its own ramble, I’d say.) It was chilly and the match was pretty boring, save for the last twenty minutes, and I spent a decent amount of time wishing it wouldn’t be so cold so late in March.
Sunday, I watched some of DR Congo-Liberia, a bit of Libya-South Africa, and to change things up for the weekend, tuned into Wales-Slovakia. I mostly spent that time reading Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi, a book I really want to return to because I’ve left myself at a cliffhanger of sorts. Then, I spent the afternoon helping my younger sister with a school assignment by going shopping with her. (The funny part of this is that I didn’t actually buy anything.)
Now, I’m here wrapping up a partly relaxing, partly active weekend by wrapping up a ramble. It looks like I’m on pace to go to bed at a decent hour, too!
tl;dr: So, what’d you do over the international break weekend?
Links of the Day
Birmingham City has been docked nine points after breaking the English Football League’s spending rules.
Jonathan Walters has announced his retirement after a 19 year career.
The record for attendance at a women’s football match in Italy was set on Sunday as 39,027 watched Juventus beat Fiorentina 1-0.
Today’s longer read: James Cronin interviews John Abraham, a Bollywood actor and very involved owner of Indian Super League side NorthEast United, for the BBC