Unprofessional Foul
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January 9, 2012

Notes From The Not-Very-Underground-At-All

Sad

So, I’m sure by now you’re all figuring out what our string of misty-eyed retrospectives/adventures in oversharing are all about.

That’s right; as of, um, right about now, Unprofessional Foul is dead. Ceased to be. Bereft of life. Shuffled its mortal coil, etc etc etc DEATH SYNONYMS LIFTED FROM A MONTY PYTHON SKETCH.

We killed it.

What did Unprofessional Foul achieve in its four years? I’d like to think a lot. I launched the initial hopeful/nervous recruitment drive on one of David Hirshey’s weekly posts for Deadspin, back when DS was really the only sports blog worth reading. (I mean, The Big Lead existed, but it was readable in the same way that Courtney Love’s tweets are readable. After all, there’s an art to this stuff. Simply cramming words together doesn’t make for anything good.)

Here it is. Man, what a dickhead I was. I had a stupid email address (though surely “The JT Effect,” whatever that was/is, precluded “The Axe Effect” as the predominant form of advertising irritation), I had a plaintive tone to my request, and, really, I didn’t expect much at all. I thought I’d get a couple of red-blooded “RARGH SOCCER IS 4 TEH MORONZ” spammers, a tries-too-hard nerd (who later turned out to be, well, me), and perhaps a genuine footy fan with a turn of phrase every bit as mesmeric as Ronaldinho’s greasy curls or Clint Dempsey’s RAP SKILLS.

And yet, I ended up with an inbox flooded with genius. And over the course of our impressive-in-internet-years life span, we’ve done a lot with it. Not only did we kinda help to define the first wave of soccer blogs, but we did the snark about as well as any other while in our prime. We didn’t dissect games, we flamed players, eviscerated managers, and lambasted the powers that forever undermined the beautiful game. We parodied the pageantry, mocked the status quo, and while it’s also true that we burned a few bridges along the way — seriously, reading some of the SEO-tweaked pabulum out there made me supremely homicidal — we never once stopped loving the sport. You know how it is. You embrace the flaws in the people, places, and things we love.

But we were overrun. Consumed by our own sense of proud perfectionism. We were overtaken by an avalanche of quality writers and web sites that we could never possibly be. Though we never stopped wanting to push ourselves, it became impossible with every non-UF opportunity that came our way. Write a bit here. Try this. Take a new job. Teach another class. Perform some stand-up at an open mic. Work late. Move to New Jersey. Et cetera.

Something had to give. Which is why I’m writing this in a hotel room the day before I get to work.

Oh, and the commenters. You lot. Easily the biggest legacy of UF when our whining, whinging, perfunctory prose, and misguided ire transcend into the next life. The toughest thing about writing for the internet is remembering not to read what people write about you. Or at least learning how to handle it with a truckload of salt and not letting the poorly-spelled death threats or spurious speculation about your personal life get past your outer layers. With UF, there was never any such fear. Every word was hilarious, well-placed, incisive, and entertaining to read. Even the Concave Sports’ intrepid and not-too-good-at-self-concealment marketing team was an absolute hoot to spar with. Our conversations and repartee felt every bit as hysterical and in good spirits as that we’d all routinely enjoy at our favorite bars on those dismal, damp Saturday mornings when we dared leave the house to watch in mixed company.

Plus our viewing parties — the screening of The Damned United in midtown, the USA/England viewing party at George Keeley — that brought the web site out into the world as something tangible and overly beery. We’ll still have those, but we’ll have to organize them a little more stealthily and #OWS-y than we used to be able to with a humble blog.

Above all — and believe me when I say I’m torn up about this, even with a bright future ahead of me — this was not done lightly. Heck, I’m even editing my farewell post sitting in my rented Chevy Cruze in the ESPN parking lot before driving 4 1/2 hours back to my Amish country compound. I’m exhausted and sad about ending UF, but as I think I mentioned, we can’t do it anymore. Plus evolution is kinda fun. Moving on is part of life. I have a son, too, who is more than a handful, albeit in an awesome way. I alluded to his travails on Twitter once upon a time, but find me and I’ll explain some time if you ask me. We’ll drink beers while we talk.

Oh, and it’s nothing to do with my new job, either (I mentioned it earlier today on Twitter, and I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity) but rather, the culmination of a long and painful period of self-reflection for the entire UF squad. You see, we’re all a bit tired. Weary. Broken down, ground into fine dust, and weathered from our regular lives. (Except The NY Kid, who doesn’t look a day over 21.)

Hard as it was for us to come to this conclusion — and you should see our emails… holy shit. There’s like a million of them. Swearing. Agonizing. Rationalization. The various stages of grief. Likely Lad was sent to Bellevue. Moonshine Mike went off the grid and lived in a Idahoan yurt for thirteen days. I think Autoglass even inadvertently typed out Infinite Jest without even realizing. — it made complete sense. If we couldn’t do Unprofessional Foul as it was supposed to be (those glorious Euro 2008/World Cup 2010 months of quality coverage, the stop-start series like “Better Know A Traore?” and the weird Sepp Blatter faux diary I swung-and-missed on, and plenty of other gems), then we would stop. And so, somehow, we did.

Soccer is a love — an honest, aching, serious love — for all of us, but our legion runs from 9 to 5 (more like sun-up to sun-down) in many different directions. We are lawyers, TV editors, investment bankers. We are journalists (trust me on this one), social media svengalis, owners of profitable boutique design firms. We are teachers, programmers, high-level executives routinely in charge of multi-million-dollar academic institutions. We are loudmouths. We are blessed with superhuman capacities for alcoholic consumption. We work for HBO, AOL, ESPN, and the Ivy League. We deliver your mail, handle your insurance claims and adjustments, and teach future generations about criminal law.

No, we’re not members of some post-apocalyptic, Sam Allardyce-worshipping Tyler Durden clan. We’re Unprofessional Foul. And we’re a bit too consumed with all of the above to devote the loving time needed to keep UF in fine shape.

And so, we come to rest. It’s our turn to put our feet up and carpet-bomb your blogs with comments, wit, and incisive discussions of TACTICS! So let us role-reverse from here into forever. Take these feelings of joy and sadness and sow your own fertile blogging grounds. Let that be UF’s legacy. Well, that and the boobs and blatant disregard for syntax. Right now I’m driving home, but let’s all congregate later tonight when we’re drunk and rowdy and commiserate like champions.

Drop your URLs and @s in the comments so we know how to find you.

Long live UF. Not just on these archived web pages, but in each and every one of us.

- James T, as well as

- The Fan’s Attic
- The NY Kid
- Precious Roy
- Moonshine Mike
- The Likely Lad
- Jacob
- Mountain WAG
- The Stretford End
- Norfolk Ned
- Bigus Dickus (RIP)
- Spectator
- Outside Mid
- Sven
- Orr
- BG
- ian
- Autoglass
- Wanker’s Doom
- Spinachdip NY
-  Soccer Rocker
- Joep Smeets 



About the Author

James T





256 Comments


 
 

  1. Wedel

    Also, this gem from Shearah via the MBM:

    Half-time seat-related update: I’ve noticed patches of empty seats, but Alan Shearer, who has the benefit of being there, numbers them at “five or six thousand”.


  2. Anichebe literally fell away from the ball as he went to head it WTF


  3. Wedel

    @Brian: Gravity? Concaves? JamesMilneritis?


  4. @Wedel Incompetence


  5. Wedel

    @Brian: Ah, the most simple of explanations.


  6. Distin off injured, and SHane Duffy makes his EPL debut, youngsters shown some promise, time to see if he is read


  7. That makes 8 members of the first team injured now, man life is good


  8. Fuck this shit, Dreadlocks dude buries on, this one is over


  9. Wedel

    @Brian: Distin’s departure precautionary because it’s Sippy Cup or really hurt?


  10. @Wedel, no this is league match makeup from 1st week because of the riots


  11. Wedel

    Oh crap, forgot about that.


  12. Fuckpants Pienaar is on, I hope Heitinga breaks something


  13. tmillermsu

    ‘Arry referred to the delay as a “blessing” for the team. He has a point, but there’s gotta be a better choice of words, given the reason for delay.


  14. MP

    I just went back and read that Concaves thread thanks to your comment Wedel. Priceless stuff. Viral marketing at its finest.


  15. That’s a fucking trip Atkinson, not intentional, but still a penalty.


  16. Wedel

    @MP: Words fail me with regard to those guys. That entire thread is surreal.


  17. This is going to be a rough few weeks


  18. Wedel

    Quick, go the Guardian. It’s a pic of the celebration after Stevie Me’s penno. Carroll is high fiving Bellend, but he looks like he’s walking on to the field with a mascot.

    Attempted linky to pic below:

    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Football/Clubs/Club_Home/2012/1/11/1326313198849/Liverpool-celebrate-005.jpg


  19. bergkampesdios

    You know, if this site were still up I’d ask somebody to put a search function back in. 3rd-rate #$@%$


  20. Chris D

    I miss UF


  21. Mountain Wag

    @berg, the email thread just discussed and we’ll be doing that. No worries, just give us a few days. (-;


  22. Mountain Wag

    @berg – we want you to still hang out, search, and read. Because really, what else do you have to do at work?


  23. Mountain Wag

    @Christ D – you’re still here and still talkin’. UF is still here for you. (-;


  24. WhoNeedsForwards

    Totally unrelated sidenote: where the hell is Mustafi? The guy’s aces in FIFA 12 at least lol


  25. FYI, ufbootroom.com doesn’t appear to be registered if someone wants to get on that.


  26. @Goat, patience my young padawan


  27. ivy

    I love this place. We refuse to let it die. Like this:

    http://youtu.be/8Q60x_5WOqk?t=3m43s


  28. Is anyone setting up another blog in a vaguely similar half-assed vein?

    I ask because I’d be interested in contributing. Occasionally. When I can be bothered.


  29. @Gary: I’m not–I was just encouraging someone else to do so. At least for bootrooms.


  30. Wedel

    @Goat, @Brian, @3rd Rate: I am starting a more general blog (cars, hockey & lacrosse, in addition to the ball with the foot game) and was thinking about a non-denominational bootroom so that we could continue to gather. Maybe call it “The Con Cave”?

    But I would/will not do so unless/until this thread ends, as there’s something way more betterer about coming to UF (even a partially shuttered UF) than whatever sad knockoff I come up with.


  31. If anyone wants to come up with something, I’ll happily drop all my previous on my blog into some sort of archive file, and come up with a reboot.

    Drop me a mail at [[[[ thirdratehero ]]][[[ at ]]]][[[ gmail ]]][[[ dot ]]][[[ com ]]]

    Obviously, you’ll need to edit that address to drop me a line.


  32. Scouse, eh?

    I’m just getting around to finally reading all the posts from January 9. Fuck. You. Guys.

    UF, I will miss you. I started reading as a quasi-serious soccer fan soon after I graduated from high school (“was graduated from high school,” suck it you limeys), read through undregrad, and am now continuing to read in law school. UF helped to nurture my fandom after my playing days ended. I became more of a soccer person because the people I associated with soccer — the writers and commenters on this site — had all of the wit, hilarity, and vitriol that I wanted.
    My only visit to NYC was the World Cup Viewing Party at George Keeley’s. The girl I was staying with, who knows nothing about soccer, won the Hirshey book and got him to sign it. We all got incredibly fucked up, went to lunch at some Italian restaurant with a couple other UFers, and got caught trying to steal a bottle of wine from the restaurant (no clue). The entire weekend centered around soccer and UF. I’m eternally grateful to the 3rd-rate crew for actually putting that event together. I’ll still sport that UF t-shirt with pride.

    Best of luck to all of the writers as they try and grow up. James T, we’ll all be reading.
    If any UFers are ever in Chapel Hill/Charlotte, let’s grab a beer. Get ahold of me @Rageburn1865


  33. I hate to spread Brian’s newest idea around, and its not actually up yet, so sue me if i’m jumping the gun here. but the first post at http://www.fourfivetwo.com is brilliant.


  34. Scouse, eh?

    Bootroom tomorrow. Is it happening here, on fourfivetwo.com, twitter, or in my dreams?

    Or we could just take over some ESPN article thread and make James T’s life a little more interesting.


  35. MP

    @Scouse: we’re all showing up here for the bootrooms.


  36. @Scouse, never ever view the comments on any ESPN article, you will just simple cease to exist


  37. WhoNeedsForwards

    Goat: tee hee indeed. Love watching Nasri crash and burn. Down with France! /100yearswar’d


  38. Weekend Bootroom can be found here


  39. You will be missed. Everyone needing a USA soccer fix is invited to the site run by my buddy, his brother, my brother, and me:

    http://www.thesoccerinsiders.com


  40. The FA Cup of British Rock is just like the real FA… The rules are undefined and, in any event, they change throughout the competition!

    Also, my hipster cred died when I turned 30. Now I’m just a has-been hipster, which is 1 million times worse than real hipster.


  41. Army of Dad

    Well fuck, just where the hell can I catch liveblogs during important USMNT matches where the comments won’t a shit to read?

    Thanks for the free ice cream.


  42. We still have a hidden bootroom (check a few comments up). and, there may be a development in the near future that could be helpful for what you seek.


  43. Interested in soccer and South Carolina, then visit SCSoccer.com!


  44. Tno

    I fuckin miss you guys.


  45. bergkampesdios

    Fuck you, Wedel.


  46. Nathaniel

    I still miss you guys.


  47. Ian (The Stretford End)

    Does anyone else come around here and just read random stuff? I miss this place a lot.


  48. jjf3

    yes. and yes.


  49. jjf3

    2 years. Seems longer somehow.


  50. Hard to believe it has been 2 years. I miss all of y’all fuckers. RBM is fun, but it just isn’t the same.


  51. I was just flicking through the favourites on my internet settings and noticed I had UF saved in there. Been a while since I have been back here, but was nice to have a little read around. Some of the comments and conversations cracked me up!


  52. Lennon's Eyebrow

    So when’s the Euro 2014 Foul Up?


  53. Lennon's Eyebrow

    I meant World Cup. I know the difference, I swear. Man, it’s a good thing this place is dead and nobody will ever read that comment….


 
 



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