Spain may have been given a rather short straw in Netherlands and Chile in their World Cup draw, but that shouldn't give them cause for concern. The pressure is on the rest...
Quite a game, no? Nick Miller watched Arsenal's thrilling 1-1 draw with Everton and saw two teams who have improved, leaving certain others trailing...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We'll Begin With A Warning
It was brought to my attention this week at work that our bandwidth usage had doubled over the last two weeks. Now, I know I watched a little bit of the Open last week and that I often leave my Twitter open, but I'm pretty sure that the addictive wonderland that is the live Transfer Blog has been the major contributor.
Take heed, people: As much as we all love to escape into a world of avatars, homoerotic discussions and poking Arsenal fans with a big ol' stick of #bantz, you may find that your service provider starts to throttle your workplace's bandwidth...prompting your boss to pull up the web traffic logs from the last two weeks. And then give you a b*llocking.
My world is much more dreary place without the blog now. I've even had to do some work. I MISS YOU, TRANSFER BLOG.
Stu (alas, I am now back at my post...until tomorrow when I have the day off and I am SO back in there!), Chiswick
Can't believe the armies of Utd fans have yet to realise this, but Moyes is an absolute genius. He says, 'We'll need Rooney when RVP gets injured'. Proceeds to over-train RVP so that he gets injured. 'Look Wayne, you're a shoo-in for the first team now! You're staying.'
I think, before taking Raymond Verheijen's words on Van Persie's injury too seriously (admittedly, it was only referenced this morning once I think), it might be worth considering his "previous".
This includes criticising the methods of literally everywhere he has ever worked, several that he has never worked with, and his reaction to Gary Speed's death, which show him to be the absolutely wretched human being he really is.
Just because someone is a self-aggrandising, opportunistic, publicity-seeking media whore, it doesn't mean they have any idea what they are talking about (see also; Redknapp, Harry).
Higuain = Sheva?
My Arsenal supporting butcher was trying to assuage my despair over Higuain's move to Napoli this morning and he succeeded by raising something that had not occurred to me.
He suggested that, if indeed Arsenal are chasing Suarez and let Higuain pass us by, it may be because our famously risk-averse manager has taken to heart the lesson of Andriy Shevchenko. A multi-season goal-scoring legend in another country who joined on an enormous fee and then failed to reproduce his predatory prowess in the Premier League. While Saurez may cost more, he is a proven Premier League striker and over the pork chops, my chum suggested that has to be worth at least an extra £10 million or so. Suarez of course if more of a gamble in other ways but perhaps those seem less risky to Arsene Wenger?
Carolyn, (how will we feel if we do buy the Bitey Racist and then win the League), South London Gooner.
John Aldridge was on 5live this morning spouting the usual old-boys 'loyalty' bullsh*t about the whole Suarez saga; "there's no loyalty anymore, in my day..."
Surprisingly enough, a few glaring inconsistencies came out. John claimed that it's all down to the money, which with Suarez saying he wants to play champions league football is clearly not quite the case. John continued to say that players wanting to play in the CL was "fair enough".
He then quoted Suarez's "excuses" about wanting to leave, claiming one such excuse was that his family was unhappy. John then revealed that he left Real Sociedad because his family weren't happy and he wanted his kids to be at home.
We all know that John Aldridge was a one club man and he's a reliable source on this subject, right? Trawling through John Aldridge's Wikipedia page reveals: 5 years at Newport County as a young professional; 3 years at Oxford, leaving to join a bigger and more successful club Liverpool with whom he spent 2 years; 2 years at Real Sociedad, presumably because they were bigger than Liverpool and absolutely nothing to do with wages? Longest stretch of 7 years with Tranmere who he joined at 33 and then (I think) player manager.
F365 have already done a piece about how club loyalty is essentially a myth and very few and far between in both the past and in modern times. I appreciate that Suarez is perhaps contradicting himself when he says that he wants to leave because of the media spotlight in England, but why has there been such an almighty sh*tfit from all and sundry just because one club has made an offer to buy a player from another club. Christ alive, is it really that surprising that Arsenal, a champions league team, makes a (record breaking) offer for one of the best strikers in the division, who plays for a non-champions league team? Can't we all just chillax about it?
Rodgers talks about loyalty, but what if Suarez had scored three goals last season and then they sold him to a smaller club before his contract ran out? Yes they stood by him; is it cynical of me to suggest that one of the reasons for this is precisely because his goals nearly took them into Europe and Liverpool will receive approx 50 million quid in their coffers in the next few weeks? What if Oussama Assaidi had made the same transgressions?
Andy Smith (Scunthorpe)
Along with many other Arsenal fans, I have been disappointed with the alleged chase for Suarez, I've made my decision on this front.
If we sign him I'm off, I'll support Crystal Palace for their one season in the Prem and then follow them back to the championship.
Not only this but I feel strongly enough about it that I emailed the club to tell them I would no longer attend matches, purchase goods or even follow the club if this morally bankrupt individual signs. I know my opinion means nothing to them and that it won't have any effect but for once I felt it was important enough to do.
Maybe a couple of hundred emails might make the club think twice? email@example.com
Repeated bitings, multiple contracts wriggled out of and racism? I'm not having that and I don't want my young kids thinking I approve of any of it. Bye-bye Arsenal, it was fun for the last 25 years.
Nick K, Tonbridge
(Please please let Real "gazump" us.....)
Biting At Straws
Dickie seems to be clutching at some serious straws, but I'll bite...
- Moyes is like Hodgson? You mean the guy that took Fulham - Fulham!!! - to a UEFA/Europa League final? That Liverpool discarded as he wasn't Kenny Dalglish? I enjoy revisionist history as much as anyone, but Hodgson was the appointment of Hicks and Gillett, so never stood a chance. Most United fans appreciate that Moyes isn't Fergie, so we are willing to give him some time.
- What evidence do you have that Moyes can't handle big budgets, since he has never had a large budget to work with? He has spent money, and I admit Bilyaletdinov didn't work out, but that Fellaini chap ain't too shabby.
- You are taking the word of a Dutch fitness coach who has never worked with or for Moyes and decided to proclaim his genius on Twitter? A man who claims to have worked with Barca, City etc but currently isn't employed by any of them? We've always known RVP is a bit injury prone, so him picking up a twang here and there is not all that surprising is it?
- The only point I will give you is that it seems Moyes and strikers do not seem to mesh well. But Jelavic was prolific in Scotland, hardly a Premier League equivalent. Once defenders worked him out, he was done. It'll be the same for Gary Hooper too. That said, hopefully Moyes might learn something at United, and it's not like Welbeck can get any worse now is it?
- United lost plenty of pre-season friendlies under Fergie. Seemed to work out alright for everyone. Pre-season is a time to build fitness and conditioning, not worry about results.
Dickie, your allegiance to Liverpool is admirable as are your attempts to get under the skin of United fans, but remember this - Moyes has taken his small time management style and ancient training methods, his small budget squad with no strikers who can score, and still finished above Liverpool last season. That has to sting.
Conrad Wiacek, MUFC
As a Liverpool fan it is somewhat bitter-sweet saying farewell to Pepe Reina. He showed that as a footballer you can be a "character" without resorting to being a twat. Fair enough, his form may have dropped somewhat in the past couple of seasons but over his entire tenure he remained one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the league.
My favourite memory of him is somewhat blurry, due to the fact that I was drunker than Oliver Reed at an irish stag-do when it occurred, but it involves Pepe sprinting the length of the pitch to celebrate with Davide Ngog after a goal against United.
I'm sure he leaves with the best wishes of all Liverpool fans and joins the ranks of foreigners such as Xabi, Dirk and Luis (Garcia obviously!) who will all be afforded a hero's welcome if ever they return with an opposing team to Anfield.
Osric the Brave
The People vs Mediawatch
Just to let you know, the definition of "Depressed" (in the Google Dictionary, I don't have access to the OED right now, but I'm sure its a similar definition) is:
1. (of a person) In a state of general unhappiness or despondency.
2. (of a person) Suffering from clinical depression.
Note that the primary definition is "general unhappiness or despondency" and "clinical depression" is the secondary definition, which is why if a person wishes to indicate that they are talking about the mental illness "clinical depression" rather than the general emotional state of unhappiness they affix the word "clinical" prior to the word "depression". "Clinical" is what indicates it is a mental illness rather than a general emotional state that is widely experienced by non-clinical populations.
So, if your site is as interested as it claims to be about raising awareness of depression you might want to check that you know at least as much as Michael Owen (in an off-hand comment) about how to correctly use the word before spreading misinformation (such as the misinformation that "depression" per se is synonymous with the clearly defined mental illness of "clinical depression").
...Regarding mediawatch, to be fair to Brendan, Swansea were nice to him because unlike Mr Suarez, he behaves like a proper grown-up human being (most of the time.) Brendan bit fewer people than Suarez, and had a handy knack of very rarely racially abusing chaps, so people tend to be nicer to you then.
This May Have Been A Better Example To Choose
Brendan Rodgers has spent the entirety of this week trying to claim that the love of thousands of red-shirted Liverpudlians should be enough to keep Luis Suarez at a club which is a mediocre shadow of its former self.
As a Watford fan, this reminded me of when Brendan managed us, for roughly six months in the 2008-09 season. He took over from the sacked Aidy Boothroyd, and took us from relegation fodder to a 13th placed finish, which, at the time, made him a fan favourite. He walked round the pitch, punched the air, and assured us that he was definitely, DEFINITELY staying at Watford.
Two weeks later he was unveiled as the Reading manager.
Whilst the main point of my statement was to illustrate how much of a difference a player like Bale can make, of course we could win the league next year. I don't think we actually will, but here is why we could.
Our record points total was pretty much solely down to Bale. We only actually played very well in a few games last year and sorely missed quality options up front, in central midfield and on the wing. If Soldado arrives then I think it's fair to say we will have addressed those issues. We have an excellent manager, who has matured us tactically. We now have the personnel to play in his favoured 4-3-3 which will get the most out of our players. United are severely weakened by Moyes - I think it's overstated how well he did at Everton, as they pay more wages than most teams in the league. Who knows how City will do and how well their manager and new players will adapt. Arsenal appear to be solely concerned with strengthening an area they don't need to (four players in double figures last year, 30 goal striker in RVP didn't get them near the title before).
We challenged for a large part of the season before last and now have a superior manager and far more well rounded and mentally stronger squad. It's unlikely we'll actually do it but why can't we be there or thereabouts? (Aside from the obvious answer that we're Tottenham, of course.) With Bale's special quality on top of the strong squad, of course we've got a chance. I don't think you can sensibly argue against that.
Alex G, THFC (need that striker though)
Let The Anger Flloooooooo Through You
Luis f*cking Suarez!! You are ruining my summer! when is this arsef*ckery going to end!!
Rogers, Ayre and Henry, I don't still haven't heard what wonderful stuff they are smoking in the emirates, but they are in a hell of alot more of a stable mental condition than the delusional demented state you are in if you think you can hold out for 50m .
Arsenal have already more than doubled their previous transfer record. War chest or no war chest I'd say they are getting nose bleeds at this stage having tabled such a bid. That will be their last and final offer. So the only other potential offer before the end of the transfer window will probably be an insulting and piddly bid from a bernabeu contingent, buzzing after consuming a cocktail of class A drugs. So unless they want egg on their face, Liverpool are not going to sell in that situation.
So what are we left with? A pissy, moany, spoilt toddler who could disrupt a happy Liverpool camp and derail any possible champions league hopes before the season has even started. Also you are looking at a player who's value will probably drop. No matter how "professional" a player is, if they are that adamant to get away from a club they will probably only perform to 60 / 70 % of their ability at very best. And you still have his 6 game ban ontop of that!
There will be a future after Luis Suarez. A few early signings have been made and will have time to bed in and get used to the "system" Sterling is a year older and stronger and Jordan Ibe is coming along very nicely. and with 40 mill we could invest in a striker (Dzecko? a 27 yr old bench warmer shouldn't cost a whole lot more than 10-15m, and could have similar strike rate to Sturridge) midfielder (eriksan 15 - 20m) and a defender.
So please Messrs. Rogers, Henry and Ayre, step away from the roulette table, take the 40 mill!! and let me get on with my summer!!
Ronny ( John W. Henry, the W stands for " whacked up on sh*t man!") LFC
I assume that 'Chris, SAF Stand' is aware of the sweet irony of him calling John W. Henry's comments making him look 'childish and ignorant' and 'unprofessional'. Are you aware of what stand you apparently frequent? One quote for you...'I wouldn't sell that mob a virus', before err...selling that mob a virus.
I've written before about the trials and tribulations of being a referee at the lower levels of the game and I wanted to share a slightly disappointing piece of information with you all.
Match officials are one of the few areas in the game where there is no formal requirement for ongoing professional development/training. Coaches at the lowest levels of amateur football have to refresh their knowledge and if working with children their 'safeguarding' certification on a regular basis. Whereas many referees may have qualified 20-30 years ago and not conducted a single piece of training & development since. Clearly, the game has changed immeasurably in that time.
Well, Norfolk is the first county FA which is attempting to change this. They have mandated that all referees attend a 'Continuous Professional Development' course as part of their registration for the coming season. This course includes updates on Law changes, disciplinary procedures etc. as well as a short test on Laws. The first of these events was run last night and the results are interesting. Of the referees present, only one answered all questions correctly and apx 20% of those present scored less than 75% (which is the pass mark in the new referees training course).
Demonstrates that perhaps this should be a national requirement for registered referees?
Last Few Of These
This game wont last much longer I know but I tried some old school ones -
Billy Bremner - Billy Bream net
Don Revie - Son Revile
Peter Lorimer - Peter Lorikeets
Norman Hunter - Norman Hunter
Brian Clough - Brian Cloth
Diarm (Have seen none of these play and dont like Leeds...no idea why i tried this lot...maybe cos im a hipster...) Dublin
Reading this morning's submissions, I couldn't help but wonder whether that's where Joe Kinnear gets his pronunciations from? I await a press conference singing the praises of Fabric Is Colonial, Moussaka Scissors, Young Golf Franchise and Mathematics Debauchery with bated breath
Steve (shame they sold Dumbo Bad to Chelsea, really), Nottingham