Five great football ideas that never happened…

Date published: Wednesday 8th November 2017 2:57

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Great football ideas that never happened
It is international week, everyone loves international week almost as much as they love the return of David Moyes and the debate over poppies. So, I thought I would introduce a new topic – things you thought were great ideas but never happened…

1. Five divisions of 20 clubs. The Football League proposed this in May 2016 but it was dead in the water by November of the same year. The idea was simple – a 100-club league split into five equal divisions. I thought this was a great idea – it would increase the quality of football by reducing the churn of matches, midweek travel for fans and fixture congestion in the EFL as well as bringing new names into the league. It could also make Championship sides better prepared for the Premier League as currently it is about surviving a slog. It died because it would reduce the number of matches which could reduce revenue (although in reality gates might be higher in matches if there were fewer of them…). I thought this was a shame given the positives it would bring.

2. Two-Tier Premier League. More controversial this one. This was the idea, knocking around in the 2000s, of a Premier League of 36 teams split into two divisions of 18 with no relegation from the second tier. Now, I wouldn’t agree with the no relegation part as you would never get a Bournemouth, Swansea or Brighton situation (I would go with one automatic relegation place and a play-off place). However, the two-tier Premier League I liked. This would have the intention of raising quality by sharing money and increasing the security on offer to clubs. Currently clubs appoint and re-appoint Tony Pulis and Big Sam as they guarantee survival in the cash-rich promised land. This means any clubs outside the top 6/8 are loathed to take any risks and the result is turgid football and falling gates. A degree of security would allow more expression, risk taking and flair to develop. Or, chairman would just bank the money… one of the two.

3. Cracking down on dissent, the six second rule for goalkeepers, stopping diving/ playacting, bookings for waving imaginary cards etc. You can tell me they were all introduced, you can tell me they are still in play but the reality is they never were and still aren’t. I have only seen one keeper pinged on the six second rule since it was introduced and I watch a lot of football.

4. Wimbledon moving to Dublin. Once the FA allowed Wimbledon to move why not allow Sam Hammam’s 1996 plan of Dublin rather than the uninspiring and ultimately pointless Milton Keynes? Imagine the away days and the local support would be awesome. With the right framework in place it would surely do wonders for Irish player development as well. I could even see a boost to the League of Ireland through public interest in football and the fallout from the increased youth development. Sadly, Milton Keynes it was.

5. British Cup. This has been proposed a number of times as a replacement for the League Cup. What is not to like – Celtic v Liverpool, Rangers v Spurs and even Luton v Elgin City. I absolutely love to see matches between clubs who never usually meet and this would reignite the League Cup no end.

Anyone else got examples of great ideas that never happened?
Micki Attridge

 

Rating those Everton options
For a fun little distraction, I’ve decided to rate how I feel about different managers Everton could hire, based upon both media speculation, and my own preferences. I’ve never had anything published by Football365, and don’t know if it will even be relevant by the time I’ve submitted it (but it was therapeutic to do, so I guess I win either way).

I graded the managers A to F based upon my feeling about their relative quality. The presence of a ‘+’ indicates I am excited about the appointment, whilst a ‘-‘ indicates that I have a lot of reservations (as a point of reference, I would have rated Ronald Koeman as a ‘B-‘ at the start of his appointment: a decent manager, with some notable high points in his career, but nothing to demonstrate much staying power. By contrast Martinez would have started off as a ‘C+’: Lots of promise, but no idea if he is actually any good)..

Diego Simeone | A+ | To be perfectly honest, I’m pleased that Moshiri is even dreaming this high. However, I think his appointment can only have a 5-10% chance of coming true, even if we were to offer him a giant wage packet and permission to mould the club in his image. I’m a huge fan of Simeone, and believe that, for the all the praise he does get, he’s still probably underrated for his achievements in hauling Atletico to a level where they can bloody the noses of football’s premier aristocracy in Barcelona and Real Madrid. The absolute best we could hope for, I think, is an interim appointment for now, with an agreement to take on Simeone in the summer. If we did get him, it would easily rank as the best thing that happened to the club in my lifetime.

Eddie Howe | B- | I really rate Eddie Howe’s man-management and coaching abilities. He’s continued to breathe life into a Bournemouth team that, by rights, should be nowhere near the Premier League. However his transfer record at the elite level has been questionable at best, and his playing style, whilst attractive to watch, has demonstrated some notable deficiencies. Given how much his strengths seem to be meticulous preparation and fostering a cohesive team spirit, I wonder whether parachuting him into the midst of a relegation battle would really be the best idea. If we hired him, I’d be generally happy, but worried it was the wrong timing (which might negatively affect him down the line).

Samuel Allardici | C- | Allardici is a tedious boor who brings a lot of negativity out of the press, most of which is his own damn fault. He has made a habit of turning owners and supporters stomachs in record time. That said, he’s a very decent firefighter, who seems to know his stuff well enough to ensure the players know what they’re meant to be doing on the pitch. If we hired him for the rest of the season, I wouldn’t be happy, but I suppose I’d be willing to hold my breath for the next few months, so that we could then hire someone less nauseating in the summer.

David Wagner | C+ | Wagner has worked some miracles to first get Huddersfield promoted, and second performing very respectably in the Premier League. His signings have been imaginative and have generally seemed to hit the ground running; despite being thrown together in pre-season. That said, promoted teams with unknown managers seem to quite frequently over-perform at first; before eventually being ground down by the relentlessness of the top flight. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be happy to have Wagner, but I’d be cautious about jumping on the bandwagon until we know how he and his players cope with a setback or two.

Rafael Benitez | B | Perhaps a controversial choice given his former relationship with Liverpool, and for the same reasons this one will probably never happen. However, I personally rate Benitez, and think his various stints around Europe have demonstrated that he’s a class act who thrives when he’s given a fair shot at running things (which he rarely has been). I’d be very happy to him based on what he’s achieved in recent years. All this despite working with a deeply dysfunctional Newcastle setup, a lightweight selection of players, a morally bankrupt chairman, and not much room or funding to manoeuvre in the transfer market. Compared to all of that, Everton would surely seem like a dream gig.

Marco Silva | C | I may get some flak for this rating (Football365 in particular seem to be fans) but I’m not convinced about Silva. Don’t get me wrong, he seems like an extremely solid manager, but I haven’t seen much to suggest he’s any more than that. His record in the Premier League is average. Even if we allow for the mediocre sides he’s been given to manage, that only raises my consideration of his ability to an above-average manager. We only recently had a manger who seemed to over-perform with poor sides; only to underperform with a better one. Everton need something more than a reliable scrapper if we are to (eventually) challenge the elite.

David Unsworth | F- | No.
Joseph Pearson (Chatham)

 

Maybe British managers are being pushed out?
I agree with John WWFC on this one. I sighed when JN’s latest missive on British managers arrived. It’s getting a bit dry now. Are we going to complain every time a British manager is appointed? Do we think the British managers get a free ride in the Premier League? Let’s compare. Stats from transfermarkt.com.

La Liga – 16 Spanish managers
Bundesliga – 13 German managers
Serie A – 19 Italian managers
Ligue Un – 13 French managers
Premier league – 8 British (5 English) managers

If we consider the Premier League as an English rather than a British league, then we have let’s say about 2/3 less managers of home nationality than the other top leagues and I suspect the numbers in other leagues in Europe are even higher.

We actually have a relatively positive attitude towards foreign players and managers in the Premier league. The few British managers given a chance in the league are on the whole the old hands or those that get promoted and are given a chance to shine. Yet when a club goes British for their next manager, we are baffled at their logic. Shouldn’t we be critising other leagues for being xenophobic or something?

I think what a lot of the PFMs are getting at is that it is the cultural norm for our teams to buy the best players and bring in the best managers from around the world and this means there are relatively less opportunities for developing our own players and managers to a high standard. They as the affected group, will complain. It’s what people do.

A common retort on this site to young unproven British managers is go down a couple of leagues and come back when you are world class. Ironically this is how we treat our young British players too, yet we criticise the big clubs for importing ready made stars at the cost of young British talent, who get shipped out on loan. If this attitude has a knock-on effect on our national team’s progress, then would this not also be a possible reason for the damning stats about British managers? It’s true that we have a paucity of top British managers. Either we are stupid… (Whether the reasons cited is cultural or genetic, it’s as wrong as saying black managers are not clever enough.)… or the lack of opportunities are in part, causing the issue.

I’m not saying the Paul Mersons of this world are not complete tools, spouting rubbish. But perhaps behind the drivel there is an actual issue.

I have considered on numerous occasions that I don’t want Pep to bring in so many top players that the likes of Foden don’t get a solid chance to break into the first 11. I think that, even if it means sacrificing more silverware. Why? Because I want to see one of our own succeed. Is that xenophobic? No. I think there is the same desire amongst many to see British coaches succeed, but this quickly becomes xenophobic, when they become bitter towards the incoming foreign managers for ‘getting in the way’. It’s sad more than anything else, in the same way it’s sad that Wenger turned his disappointment at not getting the rub of the green with decisions into an attack on the refs and opposition players.

Anyway, my point is that the ridiculing of cynical, grumpy, bitter old men like Moyes and Allardyce on this site is getting tiresome now. How about an article on how we can actually improve our young British coaches so they are less embarrassing?
Nic, MCFC

 

…The other side of the debate is rarely discussed and would, in my opinion, make the debate much richer.

Managers are chosen differently than players, I have seen many okay players picked by a top-six club, but on very few occasions has that happened to a manager.

Why is this important? It is important because you have to have built up a pretty substantive track record before you get the job at a top 8 to 10 club in England, rarely have they appointed
a British manager with a ‘weak’ track record. The ‘super’ managers we all know and love now, all started from humble beginnings in their respective countries and slowly climbed the ladder.
A ladder that for most of them that included a pathway to Champions League and Europa League, they get test their wits against the best in Europe from the comfort zone of their “home league”, in my opinion they develop better here as managers and also build up that track record Prem teams look for.

For a good example of this take a look at the current Chelsea manager, he had mixed spells at then serie B sides Arezzo and Siena, also a terrible spell at then serie A side Atalanta. He got the Juventus job after leading then serie B side Siena to the serie A, by finishing second, and the rest is history as we say. Would he have had his chance, if Juve had the money of a Man Utd at the time? Most likely not, and Conte the super manager might not be where he is now. You have Southampton hiring Pellegrino because he finished 12th with a promoted side and got to the Copa Del Rey final, off the top of my head Sean Dyche, Micheal O’Neill or a bright young manager from the Championship would have been a wiser choice.

The fact of the matter is if important pathway jobs like Soton are going to foreign coaches with okay CVs, then where is the next super British manager going to come from? Marco Silva was in the league for five mins and he got the Watford job, Sean Dyche has been here for ages done more in the Prem and all he has are rumours from Everton. The fact of the matter is if he was in Italy, he would be coaching a Champs League club or Europa League at least.

Take a look at Germany, many a times the youth/reserves coach is promoted, once the manager is sacked. It means a lot of German coaches who do not have that substantive background Prem clubs look for, get chances to manage Champions League or Europa level teams which really helps build out their resume. This is precisely the reason, Nagulsman (30) is going to be the Bayern’s head coach next season, he got the Hoffenheim job at 28. Do we really think a Prem club would give a 28-year-old a job as a manager? No way no how.
Tj – AFC, Lagos

 

I was wrong about Burnley and Dyche
Things I got wrong, publicly, about Burnley and Sean Dyche and I now confess to clear my conscious because I was as wrong as can be and need to apologise, publicly.

1. Burnley might be better off letting Dyche leave and hiring Monk to replace him.
Sure Monk seems like he’s beginning to get to grips with Middlesbrough now, and they’re 5th but that bedding-in period for Burnley would have coincided with probably the toughest run of fixtures we’re likely to face in consecutive order. We’d probably be languishing in the bottom three having picked up 0 points.

2. Burnley would miss Michael Keane.
Tarkowski has been seamless in replacing Keane. I’ve barely noticed the change. He looks brilliant so far. If anything, are we stronger now? We certainly appear to be in the league, but I’d advocate that is more to do with our amazing-performing midfield. Cork and Defour are ace. Defour especially has the class to make it look like he has more time on the ball than anyone else. It’s akin to watching Barton for us when we won the league and went half a season unbeaten. Cork looks like he’s never been away.

3. Burnley would miss Tom Heaton.
Again, an understudy has stepped up to make me silly with my doom and gloom outlook. Nick Pope has been nothing short of phenomenal especially considering he’d had 77 league appearances before stepping in to fill in for our Captain and arguably last season’s top performer. I predicted an absolute disaster. Delighted to say I was wrong. Five clean sheets in eight league games. Get him in your fantasy team.

Looking at the January transfer window I’d hope we could get some pace in on the wings to stretch teams in the final 20 minutes or so and then we can really kick on and ensure Premier League status for next year. Is Europe too much of a dream? Thursdays nights on Channel 5! Rubbing shoulders with AC Milan and Arsenal!
Nick P. Burnley FC. (We’re joint 5th!!! Pinch me because I must be dreaming.)

 

Here we go, ten in a row…
It was nice to read a complimentary article on Brendan Rodgers even if I disagree with the central premise – namely that it’s time to come on back to the Premier League.

At Celtic he’s making history and, if he sees out his contract (this season and next two) will take Celtic to a record breaking 10 in a row. Add in 60,000 singing your name and annual jaunts to the Champions League (no mean feat given struggles qualifying pre-Rodgers) and you’d imagine he’d be loving life at the team he supports.
Dan (imagine he’ll fancy another crack in England after that), LTFC

 

What does Arsenal’s future look like?
I’ve been an avid reader of F365 for about 10 years now. The content is great, articles interesting and I like to read the views of football fans across the world. I’ve never submitted anything (although Stewie has had me close several times!) but I find myself compelled to write my thoughts after watching my team succumb to Man Citeh on Sunday (the one consolation of watching the game in Mauritius whilst on holiday meant I could get slaughtered on the hotel’s own rum)

Everyone and their dog seems to see Arsenal’s weaknesses apart from Le Prof, and his typical response (blaming Sterling and an offside goal) was expected. Over the past four seasons, the media have always spoken about the club being at a crossroads, but looking at where we are currently, I genuinely believe our position in the league over the next 5-7 years will be dictated by a man historically blinded by his own deluded vision and principles, and a board too sh*t scared for change.

Alexis and Ozil are out, if not by Jan, in the summer. For all of Ozil’s critics, I, for one, still think it’s a massive loss and with both of them leaving on a free leaves us in a precarious situation. Then there’s the defence; Per retiring, Koscienly turning 33 next year and slowly losing his achilles, leaving CBs Holding and Mustafi..no more needs to be said (I guarantee Le Prof moving Elneny to CB and claiming it as a new signing) Wilshire out of contract in the Summer, Theo and Ramsey that year after and with Giroud hitting 32 next year and heading in to his final year of his contract, I suspect he’ll move on too. I’m not even going to talk about the additional sh!te we have in the squad (CoCkelin, Debuchy, etc) I’m excited by the likes of Reiss Nelson and some of the younger players coming through the Academy, but looking across the team, we’re woefully weak compared to the likes of Utd, City, Chelsea and, I hate to say it, Tottscum. I’m intrigued to see what the board and Wenger do in the summer (and what story they spin when we come 5th/6th (if ANY Arsenal fan out there thinks we will, your as deluded as Le Prof) which makes the transfer window even more interesting.

We’re no longer the force we were but how the club moves forward with a manager who has been living in the past is going to be crucial to his legacy and the future of the club. I don’t think it’s going to end too well…
Mr. V – AFC (the heartbreak I felt when Seaman was lobbed by Nayim meant Arsenal was the only club for me)

 

Southgate is in a very difficult position
I feel a bit sorry for Southgate, he’s done the qualifying bit and now has the idea to change the system to a back three and try some different things out. However, it looks like he won’t be able to do this due to all of the players dropping out. Southgate’s job at this point is to look at the English players and foresee who will have good/bad seasons, embed the ones that are likely to be squad members now so they are ready next summer. I think that was a problem Hodgson had (not his fault), that due to the emergence of certain (mostly Spurs) players he ended up using a different team in the Euros to the one that had qualified with a 100% record.

The central midfield is the obvious problem area, and this felt like a good chance to trial Winks in there as someone who can bring a bit of creativity in that area of the pitch. Southgate is now stuck with having to play Livermore, Cork or RLC in there who are all extremely unlikely to play in the World Cup next year. Personally I would play RLC as he at least looks like he might have a future with the senior team.

Southgate is also finding out that the politics side of things is something he needs to master. He did “the right thing” by not picking players like Ox, Wilshere and Smalling, as they are not playing, on form, or suited to the style. The problem he created for himself is that he said this publicly and now that everyone is dropping out it’s these players that should probably be called up. Having said that they won’t be called up he has to bypass these guys and go for Cork, Livermore etc. Personally I’d say Wilshere should be called up (with a bit of PR spin on it to save face) as he at least could slot in at the end of the season if he starts playing a bit more (or even someone like Tom Davies?).

Also there’s the goalkeeper. I would have thought that Southgate could foresee that Hart is not going to have a good season (as with last season) so surely Butland or Pickford should have been embedded by now. We’re going to turn up at the WC with Hart’s position untenable but with no experience in our back-ups. Ironically the same position Hart was in as a back-up in 2010.

Lots for Gareth to think about. Let’s hope we give it a good go in these friendlies with the players that turn up.
Kevin G

 

Unofficial weekly awards
Here are this week’s Unofficial Weekly Awards. Not meant to be serious.

Premier League Player of the WeekCesar Azpilicueta
That most invaluable of players, a full-back who is also comfortable in the middle, which is vital for a back three. Azpilicueta is one of the most consistently good defenders in the Premier League precisely because of this (unless he’s up against Wilfried Zaha), providing assurance at the back and also able to move forward and put on crosses for Alvaro Morata.

FL Player of the WeekLeon Clarke
Four goals for Sheffield United that had him cutting a swathe through the Hull City defence, and marched his team up to second. Watching the highlights, while Clarke’s goals were close-range finishes, for most of them, he had been involved in the build-up before getting into perfect position to round off the move.

European Player of the WeekAlmamy Toure
There were several shoeings in Ligue Un this weekend, as all of the top four had big wins. Biggest of all was AS Monaco thumping En Avant de Guingamp (the best of all French team names). Two players bagged braces but no one could match right-back Almamy Traore’s contribution of three assists en route to a Whoscored rating of 9.93, including the first two goals that helped but the game to bed early. Not bad for a 21 year old in his first full season.

PL Loanee of the WeekAdam Armstrong
Borrowed from Newcastle United at the start of the season and scored for Bolton Wanderers at the weekend, giving them a 2-1 win over Norwich City that lifted them off the foot of the table.

Best GoalRajiv van la Parra
Superb strike

Best Tactical MoveJurgen Klopp
Used a delightfully retro 4-2-4 to kickstart Slaven Bilic’s search for a new job. Also managed to trick his opposite number into forgetting Liverpool were a potent counterattacking force, duping them into leaving themselves exposed at the back (don’t laugh, Judas, it’s obvious what I meant).

Worst Tactical MoveArsene Wenger
Francis Coquelin as a centre-half, apparently. Not sure if that’s been mentioned elsewhere.

Dick MoveArsene Wenger
Blaming referees and casting needless aspersions on Raheem Sterling. It’s the thin end of the wedge that ultimately serves to legitimise morons making unsavoury comments about Sterling, Wilfried Zaha and that “sort” of player.

Inevitable Managerial Decision of the WeekDavid Moyes
Because who else could West Ham United have got?

Inevitable Player Match Stats of the WeekMario Balotelli
Scored a goal and got himself sent off. Not that this happens every game, but if it’s going to happen to anyone, it’s going to be him. Or Delano Sam-Yorke, who scored twice for Maidstone United before earning a red card, but I don’t know if this is a regular occurrence.

Mailboxer of the WeekJohniec@m
For “Loserpool” on Wednesday morning.

Stat of the WeekTyler Walker
From the Totally Football League Show, Walker’s brace means in one game he scored more goals for Nottingham Forest than his father Des managed in over 400 games (admittedly as a centre-half). You’ll never beat him.

Dembele of the WeekMalaly Dembele
Scored for AS Nancy Lorraine in their 1-1 draw with Lens, for whom John Bostock came on as a substitute. Small world.
Compiler of the Week – Ed Quoththeraven

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