Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Spencer lauds another little guy, named Messi
by Ridge Mahoney, April 24th, 2012 1:22AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

TAGS:  uefa champions league


[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] As a player, Portland Timbers coach John Spencer never backed down from a tackle, a confrontation, or a scoring opportunity.

Timbers TV analyst Robbie Earle, who like Spencer spent many years in the English League, says of him with some admiration, "There are two things you were guaranteed against Spenny. He’d usually nick a goal against you, and he’d kick you off the ball. He was a right nasty little so-and-so." For the vast majority of smaller players it's how they survive.

Yet Spencer believes in the FIFA campaign for Fair Play, though as a former Chelsea player his suggestions regarding Lionel Messi might be going a bit far.

"The first thing FIFA should do is limit Messi to no more than three touches every time the ball comes to him," said Spencer in advance of the Champions League second leg Tuesday at Camp Nou that Chelsea leads, 1-0. "I think that makes it a more even game.

"To be fair, they talk about everybody else because that guy’s incredible. I’ve never seen old guys like Pele and them guys play, but tell you what, this kid’s probably the best player to ever play the game, I think."

Spencer played in England and Scotland from 1988 to 2000 before finishing his career with Colorado (2001-04). His stint at Chelsea, which began in 1992, ended four years later when then-manager Ruud Gullit first loaned and then sold him to Queens Park Rangers. He scored 36 goals for Chelsea, and doesn't think the one it managed at Stamford Bridge will be enough.

"I think they’ve got a deep hole with only one goal to go through in that tie," he says. "Good luck going to Barcelona with a one-goal lead. As teams have found out, if you go to Barcelona with three goals there’s still a good chance you’re going to lose."

His size (5-foot-6) required Spencer to fight and scrap and claw his way into scoring positions, so Messi's reliance on breathtaking moves and immaculate skills is especially fascinating. Messi darts and swerves and glides as bigger and stronger players struggle to contain him.

"To see how he scores some of his goals, by just going by people and then maybe chipping the goalkeeper, or dinking it over him and then blasting it in, it's just incredible," says Spencer. "And he's been doing it it game after game, month after month, season after season. It's really not fair.

"For his size, what he’s doing in the game against unbelievable athletes and the top level and guys who are a lot bigger than him trying to mark him and kick him all over the field and get tight to him all over the field, to do what he does at the size of him is an incredible feat, to be honest."

1 comment
  1. Carlos Thys
    commented on: April 25, 2012 at 12:48 a.m.
    And as a fan I go and pay and invest my income in this game due to talented players like Lionel Messi, Sanchez, David Villa, Xavi, David Silva, and Andreas Iniesta. This game is beautiful because the players like Pele, Maradona and Lothar Matthaus are giants although none stand over 5'8." People like then player now coach John Spencer need to understand that I loathe them for their horrid, brutal. cynical fouling mentality. You could have 1,000 John Spencers and it would not matter. Nobody comes to watch the John Spencer way of playing. Might as well go learn how to play the game of squash instead. Even watching weeding the garden would be more engaging.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Daily
Video Pick: Carlos Alberto's wonder goal    
Carlos Alberto, who died at age 72 on Tuesday, scored one of the greatest World Cup ...
Video Pick: Sweet solo strike from Leipzig    
One of the reasons newly promoted RB Leipzig is only two points behind Bundesliga leader Bayern ...
U.S. Abroad: Big night for Americans in DFB Pokal    
Bobby Wood scored two goals for Hamburg, his first since the second week of the Bundesliga ...
Double DUII arrests add to Portland nightmare week    
In the space of a week, the Portland Timbers, the 2015 MLS champions, failed to reach ...
Newcomers debut for U.S. U-17s boys in pair of wins    
In their first games since Coach John Hackworth named the 32-player roster for the fall semester ...
Video Pick: A fowl field invasion    
A duck's crash landing interrupted a Bulgarian league game despite goalkeeper Nikolay Bankov's best efforts to ...
What They're Saying: Political science professor Fabio Wanderley Reis    
"People are not feeling represented and candidates like [Joao Leite and Alexandre Kalil], with very little political ...
USL: Nashville SC hires SUM exec Jeske    
Court Jeske, who spent eight years at MLS and Soccer United Marketing as vice president, international ...
MLS: Brad Davis joins vets who are retiring    
Brad Davis, a six-time MLS all-star and two-time MLS champion, announced Sunday that he will retire ...
NASL Rewind: Rayo OKC surges in playoff race    
With one week left in the NASL regular season, Rayo OKC, the Oklahoma club that in ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives