Mila Kunis Joins Elton John, John Barnes, and Jay DeMerit In Rich Tapestry of Watford FC History

Diehard Watford fan and alleged BBC employee Chris Stark interviewed an obviously under-the-weather Mila Kunis the other day.

The enterprising young man started off talking about Kunis’s upcoming movie (something about Oz) but, not one to waste the opportunity at hand, he quickly shifted the topic onto more important matters, such as would she accompany him to a Watford match, with chicken at Nando’s beforehand and the obligatory halftime steak-and-ale pie?

From there, they moved with their cartoonishly oversized microphones on to ‘lad points,’ his mates at the pub, and Baywatch-themed wedding customs.

Also, he asked her out not one, not two, but three times.

Take it away, Chris:

We have a couple of questions (English readers, please feel free to weigh in with the answers in the comments):

1. Is it “neck” a pint, or “nick” a pint?

2. What’s the difference between “boshing” a pint and “nick/necking” one?

Mick McCarthy’s Greatest Hits

Following a 5-1 loss to West Brom on Sunday, relegation-threatened Wolverhampton Wanderers dismissed coach Mick McCarthy, ending his term at the club after five-and-a-half years.

McCarthy took the Wolves job in the summer of 2006, when they were in the Championship, and, according to ESPN, promised promotion to the Premier League within three years. He delivered in April 2009, when Wolves defeated Queens Park Rangers 1-0 to clinch a berth in the top flight. They finished 15th in their first season in the Premiership, and last year, they staved off relegation on the last day of the season, when Stephen Hunt scored against Blackburn with three minutes to play.

But apart from the thrilling relegation and promotion fights, McCarthy was at his best when delivering post- and pre-match soundbites. Here’s a sampling of his best work in that department:

• [When asked for his reaction to Wolves’ position following their 2-0 win over Fulham early this season] “My reaction: bothered. I’ll tell you what I don’t like: we start bottom every year, don’t we? By alphabetical order. It’s nice to be top after two games.”

• “Matt Jarvis for England’? Yes, I heard those chants. It’s when they sing ‘Mick McCarthy is a big-nose wanker’ that I don’t hear the crowd.

• [On players using Twitter] “They have to be careful what they say on it about the club and its policies. If they put a team selection up—which I’m sure some disgruntled numpty will at some stage—they will be in trouble”

• [After a tough 1-0 win over Spurs in 2009] “Marcus Hahnemann’s not been diving around making saves everywhere. [It was] really good stuff at times from Spurs but Marcus made one really good save and no, we haven’t been mullered. They’ve got to work like that every game. If we have passengers we’re knackered.” [We consulted experts in linguistics to break that one down, here.]

• “No regrets. None at all. My only regret is that we went out on penalties. That’s my only regret. But no, no regrets.”

And for the big finish…

[Here’s McCarthy after being asked what he thought of the own goal Wolves conceded in the first minute of a game against Reading in 2009] “Fucking abysmal, that was what I fucking thought of it. C’mon, let’s get to it, I’m trying my best here. What did I make of it? I thought it was the best bit of fucking football I’ve seen in a long time. Do me a favour. It was a crap start to a game. There you have it, can you print all that? Fucking rubbish, absolute tosh. Drivel. Shite. Bullshit. That’s what I thought of it. Did that help? I’m quite pleased, apart from the fact that’s given them the poxy result, I’m fucking livid about it – of course I am. So, there you have it.”

We’re gonna miss that guy.

We Just Had a Twitter Dustup with Eric Wynalda

Earlier this afternoon, we came across the following Tweet from National Soccer Hall of Famer and Fox broadcaster Eric Wynalda:

@Wynalda11: I wanna go on the record and announce that I was a HORRIBLE soccer player. Can I now be considered for an MLS coaching position?

Now, Wynalda’s desire to become a head coach has been common knowledge for some time. We interpreted his Tweet as a dig at former MLSers Jay Heaps and Jesse Marsch, both of whom were recently hired as MLS head coaches with little (Marsch) to no (Heaps) previous coaching experience.

Sure, neither Heaps nor Marsch had as distinguished a playing career as Wynalda, who was the alltime leading scorer for the USMNT until 2008, and who scored this goal, which we contend is one of the best, and most important, goals in US Soccer history.

But Waldo’s comment struck us as an unfair shot at the two new hires, who were solid American players. So we Retweeted it with the following hashtag: #sourgrapes?

Apparently the Twitter mic was on, because Wynalda’s response was immediate:

@JohnEM12: sour grapes? What are you an idiot?

We were taken aback at the swiftness and severity of the reply (and the fact that a US Soccer legend had directly asked us if we were “an idiot”), but we pulled together the following response:

@Wynalda11: My wife says yes, yes I am. But can you clarify your tweet?

Then we waited—and waited—for a response. Nothing.

We were just about to forget about it, but then, on Wynalda’s feed, we noticed the following Tweet, directed at someone named LAKingsJunkie:

@LAKingsJunkie: yeah, that came off wrong. We are all idiots when it comes to wives. I meant, of course I am bitter.

Now, you have to keep in mind, Wynalda has more than 5,000 Twitter followers (we have literally dozens), and he’s constantly bantering with them. Could he have posted his second reply to the wrong person?

The more we thought about it, the more the answer seemed to be yes.

The Tweet was not connected to a previous conversation between him and the LAKingsJunkie person (we checked), and look at the reference to “idiots” and “wives”—that couldn’t be a coincidence. It’s gotta be a response to our comment.

And then there’s the final sentence: He’s bitter that guys like Heaps and Marsch are walking into coaching jobs almost immediately after hanging up their boots while he’s had no luck landing one.

So even though he accidentally sent it to the wrong person, we still got his clarification.

Thanks Waldo.

Unless of course our deductive reasoning is faulty here.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

This Story Involves Tim Howard … We Think

This is a bit old, but well worth 32 seconds of your time, even if you’ve seen it before: Sky Sports studio anchor Jeff Stelling throws it to his sideline reporter, Mr. Dean Windass, with incredible, possibly historic results:

Let’s review: Everton nearly went behind; there were “pick ons;” someone outraced someone else, while a third party was “sent for a pie;” the anchor is referred to as Jeff, John, Steve, and, finally, Jack—and, as we said, we’re pretty sure Tim Howard features in the story. 

Windass apparently studied at the Northern England branch of the Eric Dickerson School for Sideline Reporting.

Premier League Homestretch: Week 31 Wrap

U.S. keeper Marcus Hahnemann and Wolves traveled to Boleyn Ground on Tuesday and spanked West Ham and U.S. defender Jonathan Spector 3-1 in a critical relegation tilt. The victory lifted Wolverhampton seven points above the drop, while leaving the Hammers just three points clear of danger—with Hull City holding a game in hand beneath them. (Spector came on as a second-half sub and played 45 minutes.)

Kevin Doyle opened the scoring for Wolves in the 27th minute and Ronald Zubar and Matthew Jarvis added goals within three minutes of one another in the second half to secure the points for Mick McCarthy‘s men. Those three points were huge for Hahnemann and Wolverhampton, but the real story, as far as we’re concerned, was yet another spectacular  postgame quote from McCarthy, the Bard of the Byline. We’re starting to think the man has a writing staff. First there was “mullered” and “passengers” and then “great propaganda” and “right chew” and now this:

“We have not sewn anything up yet but we have gone a long way towards helping out….It was a vital win for us in terms of us concertinaed the league above us a little bit more and doing damage to West Ham.”

We know what you’re thinking: There’s a misprint up there. Mick McCarthy did not actually say the word ‘concertinaed.’ I don’t think that’s even a word, and if it is, McCarthy is obviously not using it in the proper form.

That’s the same thing we thought, and then we looked it up, and … well, we’re still a bit confused:

First, we thought he was talking concertina wires, as in “a coiled barbed wire used as an obstacle.” But in that case, wouldn’t Wolves have ‘concertinaed’ the teams below them in the table? As in, built a barrier between themselves and the drop zone.

Then we decided he was making reference to an accordion-like instrument (a concertina) and its verb form, which the OED lists as to “compress in folds like those of a concertina.” So, did he mean his men were drawing the teams above them towards Wolves, in accordion-like fashion? 

That might be it, but in the end, we’re probably meant to just let all of the layers of meaning wash over us—Mick McCarthy is the e.e. cummings, the Bob Dylan, of the 2009-2010 Premier League season: He trafficks in ambiguity and oblique meanings over explicit ones—and we salute him.

Week 31 action continued yesterday, with another American keeper scoring an impressive win as Tim Howard produced a clean sheet in Everton’s 2-0 clipping of Champions League aspirants Manchester City. Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta got the goals for the Toffees, who now stand only three points behind sixth-place Liverpool.

Brad Friedel and Aston Villa played to their second consecutive disappointing draw, 1-1 against Sunderland this time, and had to rely on John Carew for the equalizer again. It was the seventh tie in 10 games for Villa, and another blow to their Champions League hopes.

Chelsea demolished last-place Portsmouth, 5-0, with Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda each bagging two goals (Frank Lampard got the other). Drogba’s first goal came after Portsmouth keeper David James completely whiffed on an easy clearance attempt, leaving the ball and the wide open net behind him for Drogba.

The win puts Chelsea one point behind Manchester United with seven games to play. Arsenal is just two points back in third place.

Finally, MLS Alum Ryan Nelsen dressed but did not play in Blackburn’s 2-1 win over Birmingham City at Ewood Park. David Dunn scored both goals for Rovers.

Backpost Dictionary: “ulero”

Last week, we covered Landon Donovan’s “Gana Gol” commercial for Mexican TV, noting that LD mutters something under his breath as he retreats from the ‘border guard’ near the end of the ad.

We thought it might’ve been “cero,” a shortening of “dos a cero,” and a possible reference to the U.S.’s 2-0 win over Mexico in the 2002 World Cup, but handsome and talented reader Carlos has chipped in with a correction: What Lando says under his breath as he walks away is … “ulero” (sometimes rendered as hulero), a chant commonly heard in Mexican soccer stadiums.

So what does ulero mean? Turns out that’s a little mysterious, as the video below illustrates.

With help from a team of international consultants, we’ve pieced together a rough translation.

First, the literal definition of the word: hulero: rubber; or, rubber tapper, a collector of rubber.

Now on to our panel:

Kristina from Colorado: “I think you have to be Mexican to understand this reference. It’s slang, certainly. Literally, an hulero is a person who works with rubber (hule is slang for condoms in some places). From what I gather, it’s pejorative. In the clip above, an “hulero” can be the referee, a player who misses a goal, or the fan behind you who throws trash at your back.* The reporter asks one group of fans what an “hulero” is and they adamantly insist that it isn’t anyone from their team. It may also be a play on the word culero, which is a slur for homosexual.”

Senor Man from Manhattan: “It’s a putdown, but only a mild one, a lighthearted one. The actor Victor Garcia, in his second time on camera in the clip above, he says, ‘The guy who throws a bag of urine at the stadium? He’s an hulero!’ But as far as a strict definition for this, you got me. It’s slang, and it could mean different things to different people in different regions.”

Guillermo from Brooklyn: “I think this term is a play on culero, which means a**hole, or in some cases, a slur for gays. It seems kind of like a softer version of Rangers fans chanting ‘a**-hole, a**hole’ at Madison Square Garden.”

So there you have some theories; we’re getting close. If you have some insight on ’ulero, please share it in the comments.

*Donovan, remember, was pelted with debris at Azteca as he lined up a corner kick during the U.S.-Mexico World Cup qualifier this past August:

Huleros v Donovan at Azteca.

Backpost Dictionary: “Mullered”

"Mullered," in the original form?

Yesterday, we talked about Mick McCarthy’s postgame comments after his Wolves team held on for a huge 1-0 win over Tottenham. Here’s McCarthy’s quote again:

”Marcus Hahnemann’s not been diving around making saves everywhere. He made one really good save and no, we haven’t been mullered. They have to work like that at every game. If we have any passengers we’re knackered.”

To us, it was all a bit like this (see 30-second mark):

Since Babelfish doesn’t have a Limey-to-Yank platform (or, as an astute reader pointed out, Limey-pretending-to-be-Irish-to-Yank, per McCarthy), we had to depend on the input of readers, both in-the-know Yanks, and native Britons, or, as we like to call them here, Those for Whom A Great Sadness Looms on June 12 (Hey-O!).

Some of their translations can be seen in the comments of the original post. We thank them for the input, and they all agreed on the definitions of the terms in question—‘mullered’ and ‘passengers’ (we could handle ‘knackered’). ‘Mullered means “soundly beaten, or battered,” and a “passenger” is someone not pulling their weight.

But an interesting point of divergence emerges around the etymology of the term ‘mullered.’ We suspected the great German striker Gerd Muller was somehow involved. He did batter many an opponent’s 18-yard box, after all. But our UK contacts assured us this was not the case.

So we did what we usually do in times of Internet confusion and doubt—we turned to Urban Dictionary. There, you’ll find no fewer than 10 definitions for the term, with two conflicting etymologies scattered through the entry.

At the top is the Gerd Muller derivation, and with the seventh entry comes the surprising ‘yogurt cognate,’ which submits the following definition and etymology:

“To be absolutely off your face on drink and drugs, derived from the Yoghurt manufacturer Muller, after people (mostly gimps) used to go round sayin Creamed, Creamed turned to Mullered.”

The proof may or may not be in the...er, yogurt.

So there you have it. ‘Mullered’ has multiple, somewhat synonymous, definitions and derives from either a German soccer legend or a yogurt manufacturer.

Now what are ‘gimps’?