Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Spencer lauds another little guy, named Messi
by Ridge Mahoney, April 24th, 2012 1:22AM

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
Klinsmann: 'This is about belief'    
Jurgen Klinsmann was not shy in explaining what he was looking for in his team that ...
U.S. Abroad: Williams scores after 15 seconds, Yedlin starts    
Danny Williams, who was called into the U.S. squad for the Concacaf Cup, needed only 15 ...
What They're Saying: Peter Vermes    
"I mean this with all due respect -- he picked those guys apart." -- Sporting KC ...
TV Report: All MLS playoff games will air nationally    
All MLS playoff matches will air on national television for the first time. The expanded playoffs ...
Video Pick: A big blunder by keeper Bernd Leno     
Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno made the most embarrassing blunder of the weekend in a 1-1 ...
U.S. Abroad: Danny Williams scores after 11 seconds    
Danny Williams, who was called into the U.S. squad for the Concacaf Cup, needed only 11 ...
USL: Los Dos knock off Orange County    
Ariel Lassiter scored both goals to lead LA Galaxy II to a 2-0 win over the ...
MLS Weekend: Timbers drop crushing home defeat    
Three days after winning the U.S. Open Cup, Sporting Kansas City traveled to Portland, where it ...
Three Takeaways from USA-Cuba Olympic qualifier     
The USA clinched a berth in the all-important semifinals of the Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Championship with ...
U.S. roster for Concacaf Cup    
Jurgen Klinsmann named his roster for the next Saturday's USA-Mexico game for the Concacaf Cup at ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives