Thoughts about Twitter

I’m wondering when we will see a Twitter Files detailing how bot campaigns work. I feel it is clandestine enough for folks to keep this in ‘conspiracy theory’ category, while I believe organizations have line items in their marketing spend for bot campaigns to help shape views on topics via social media.

I also think it would be pretty easy to apply AI to help sort out comments to posts. For example, when a comment is an ad hominem attack, the AI would point that out and remind readers that sick burns do not necessarily prove or disprove the burnt’s position.

Another use for AI would be ferret out posts that do not specifically address the original post. For example, when someone posts a question for folks on Twitter, I’m amazed that 99% of the comments do not actually answer the question.

For example, if I ask for restaurant recommendations in Orlando, most of comments would be things like why I should never go to Orlando, or what is a restaurant anyway, or “I answered the same thing about Tampa on this podcast, click here!”

It would be nice if the AI could sort the replies that actually answer the question in the original post from those that do not.


“Super League: The War for Football” on Apple TV

I’ve watched 3 episodes, so far. Here are some of my thoughts, so far.

I’m very impressed with explanations and graphics used to explain how European soccer competitions work, with pro/rel pyramids and the Champions League.

I’m also impressed with the show’s ability to get to heart of the pro/rel debate and give a fair representation for folks on both sides, though, so far, I think those against pro/rel may feel the show is not sympathetic to them.

But, so far, I recommend watching it just for that.

Here are some more thoughts.

At one point, the show points out that some UEFA revenue gets filtered back to the lower division clubs. I need to do more research on what that means. Revenue from what and how much do clubs receive? To my knowledge, that doesn’t happen in Concacaf or US Soccer, or if it does, I’m unaware of how much of this money makes it back to lower division clubs.

Here’s an attempt to sum up the schools of thought for and against the super league.


A few Super Clubs believe they are the reason football is so popular and they are not receiving their just rewards and that UEFA and lower div clubs are riding their coattails.

The Super Club owners appear to fear market research that shows younger generations aren’t watching football as much.

They think young people will watch more if there were more ‘blockbusters’ (meetings of the best clubs) and if the competition was closer, like in American sports leagues (amazing how many NFL games come down to the last minute, isn’t it?).


The few Super Clubs are somewhat riding the coattails of the world sport that FIFA created. FIFA and UEFA is all about keeping soccer accessible to small clubs, because they feel this is where the base level of value comes from.

It just so happens, that since the Super Clubs do spend the money to bring together the best players, they see a lot of football’s value concentrated, but that really starts at that local club level in sparking interest, finding and developing talent.

Thoughts on each:

The Super Club’s owner’s interpretation of market research reminds me of company’s I’ve worked with. It seems overly simplistic. Maybe they don’t really care and are using research just as way to bolster their side. But, if they are truly concerned about the future because younger people are tuning in less, I’d pose this question.

Tuning in less compared to what? Compared to older generations at the moment or compared to prior younger generations 10, 20 and 30 years ago?

I’ve seen company managers make the mistake of reacting to the former, believing it was a sign of things to come so they need to do something now! But, when they do the comparison to prior generations of young folks, they find that viewership is either about the same or better. Which means, that sometimes it takes awhile to grow into viewing a sport. It turns out, young folks have a lot of things to do with their time. But, as they get older and settle down, watching the match becomes something they do more.

Recently on Twitter, Alexi Lalas analogized pro-pro/rel folks in the US of being for letting someone live in someone else’s house rent free. In this case, he said that turning MLS into pro/rel would allow clubs that get promoted into MLS to benefit from all the investment MLS has made.

This reminded me of the Super Club/UEFA tension. The Super Clubs thought they were soccer. But, when UEFA said it would ban Super Clubs and its players from participating in UEFA/FIFA sanctioned competitions, like the clubs’ home leagues or the World Cup, then that pretty much ended the Super Club.

It made me think of Lalas’ analogy. Whom is living in whose house rent free?

The Super Clubs realized how much of their value was tied to these competitions. They claimed UEFA acted in a monopolistic manner and I think that may still be in court on that.

But, regardless of the legal outcome, it gets to the truth of how much value the Super Clubs owe to FIFA. A lot. Maybe most.

These clubs could go it alone and break free of FIFA altogether, but they know that would basically be starting from scratch with a brand new sport that might look and feel like soccer, but would not likely have the best players and people would not tune in and their clubs would quickly lose value.

Finally, what strikes me is how all of these arguments also apply to MLS, which is basically a super league in the U.S. and operates as an approved FIFA exception to the very same sporting merit principle codified in FIFA’s guidelines, that was staunchly applied to keep the Super League from forming.

I’m wondering when others will notice that.

“Home Field Disadvantage: How the Organization of Soccer in the United States Affects Athletic and Economic Competitiveness”

In the Michigan Law Review, Carolina Velarde, does a great job of explaining the complex particulars of the overly bureaucratic soccer organization in the U.S. in her paper titled, Home Fie Disadvantage: How the Organization of Soccer in the United States Affects Athletic and Economic Competitiveness (HT: The Chris Kessel on Twitter).

Such a great title. The way soccer has been organized in the U.S., which we are gaslighted into believing to help it, hurts it, giving us a disadvantage on the world stage.

In an attempt to summarize, Velarde lays out how the soccer powers that be in the U.S. have used the VERY laws meant to protect consumers, by restraining monopoly powers and maintaining competitiveness, are used for the opposite, to achieve virtual monopoly powers and keep a lid on competition.

Pro/rel enables competing ‘schools of thoughts’

This is a great podcast discussion between Gary Kleiban and Kephern Fuller during the 2022 World Cup, but covering a lot of ground about soccer in the U.S. and around the world.

Really good points at 47 minutes in about competing schools of thought. We don’t have that in soccer in the U.S.

We don’t have a way for competing ideas to be tested and trialed against each other. This goes for players, positions, tactics and coaches.

We tend to have one school of thought about these things all the way up the chain.

One example they mention that our school of thought considers a good midfielder to be what they call “a destroyer,” which is a very athletic player who can run all day, win 50/50s and tackle the ball off opposing players.

We tend to favor those, at all levels, over midfielders they call “creators.” Creators have a better touch on the ball, are creative in creating scoring chances. Creators are more like point guards in basketball. They also do things that aren’t that obvious to the casual observer that tilts the advantage in their team’s favor.

I’ve witnessed the affection of the destroyers at all levels, too. A destroyer winning tackles gets “ohs and ahs”, while a creator pressuring the play toward a 1v1 mismatch in favor of our team doesn’t get noticed.

A destroyer getting beat on a tackle when he’s the last man and then making a recovery run and committing a ‘professional’ foul is a ‘smart play.’ Never mind, he made a bad percentage calculation in going in for the tackle in that situation in the first place.

On the other hand, a creator that consistently makes pinpoint passes resulting good scoring chances are written off, if even noticed. I can see it on the faces of the casual observer and coaches alike, “lucky pass” or “anyone can pass the ball.” I wondered how many ‘lucky passes’ it takes to get someone to consider that maybe there’s more to it. Turns out, folks, including coaches, can stay stuck in their biases even with large amounts of counter evidence. And, when that player happens to make one mistake (as all players will do), that is used to write off all the good they have done.

Fuller had something similar on the previous podcast he made with Gary. He said that it’s not that he thinks he has all the answers. He would not have picked Erling Haaland, for example, when he was younger because he doesn’t fit the prototypical model of what he thought of as a striker.

But, that’s why it’s good to allow for competing schools of thought, because someone else can disagree with Fuller and give Haaland a shot and prove to everyone that maybe they ought to reconsider what they think of as a striker.

But, folks like Haaland or even Messi may have had a tough time getting attention in the U.S. because they do not fit our predominant and largely uncontested school of thought.

I know that’s hard for folks to understand. In their simple world, the ‘cream rises to the top.’ They don’t understand how deeply biases can run to keep that from happening.

I heard fairly recently the school of thought that wrote Haaland off as just a “tap in specialist.” The first question I posed when I heard this was, well where are the other tap in specialists that score so much? They should be a dime a dozen if tapping it in is all it takes.

And, I’ll personally put that one to bed. I attended Haaland’s first game with Man City, in the exhibition match in Green Bay. I sat behind the goal where Man City was warming up. I love being close to those world class players because I get a really good sense of the quality of their touch. I remember thinking how good of touch De Bruyne, Grelish and Foden had in the warmups and then Haaland touched the ball and I could see he was a notch better and was shocked that you could be even better than the best.

So, how does pro/rel enable competing school of thoughts? By putting more of those schools of thought to the test on the field, rather than where they take place now, in the politics of soccer.

Thanks for reading.