You know what starts today? The bloody domestic football season. Well done. Now keep those mails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Predicting a Player of the Season for every club
I have randomly decided to predict each club’s Player of the Season that will be picked by public voting:
Arsenal- Özil. Nobody is as good as him at Arsenal. And fans are slowly but surely realising that.
Bournemouth- Pugh. Will be linked to a slightly bigger club by the end of the season.
Burnley- Their goalkeeper. Whoever that is.
Chelsea- Kante. At the end of the season, either Matic will be sold or Kante will join Real/PSG.
Crystal Palace- Zaha. He’ll outshine Bolasie.
Everton- Barkley. If Lukaku leaves.
Hull City- Some loanee.
Leicester City- Musa. Probably signing of the season.
Liverpool- Can. He’ll finally realise his potential and Stevie G will be fully replaced.
Man City- Aguero.
Man United- De Gea. He’ll keep saving their a**es for one last season, get bored of having to do it again and again, and finally leave on August 31, 2017.
Middlesbrough- Gaston Ramirez. Only if that spirit which possessed him during the second half of last season hasn’t left his body.
Southampton- Anybody that wants to join Liverpool after the season ends.
Stoke City- Imbula. Read Bournemouth/Pugh.
Sunderland- Fellaini (Heh). He’ll meet his level.
Swansea- Williams. He should just imagine the Premie League is the Euro and Swansea is the Wales national team.
Tottenham- I was going to say Fazio but he left and now I have no idea who Arsenal fans will vote for when they hijack their PotS polls.
Watford- Deeney. Fans will be impressed with his running arraand a lot.
West Brom- Any one of their Centre Backs.
West Ham- Payet. He’ll have a sh*t season yet fans will vote for him and join the universal Payet love-in.
Franco (1/2 hour of my life wasted just there) Goa
Why does everyone suddenly hate Martinez?
Hello. Now I may be the only one who thinks this and in most cases where that happens that person is usually wrong but I thought I’d chip in anyway. When Martinez was announced as manager of Belgium, while I was a little surprised, I didn’t actually think it was as a bad an appointment as the general consensus seems to be.
Now I’m an Everton fan and have endured two consecutive disappointing seasons under the man, so I like to think I have more of a vested interest in this than a lot of people. Thing is, I always liked Roberto. By the end of last season it was clear he’d lost the trust and support of the players and fans, his position was no longer tenable and he had to leave, but I always liked him. He seemed a genuinely nice man and his unwavering optimism and belief in his own ability and ‘philosophy’, while frustrating and comical in equal measures much of the time, was also kind of endearing in the world of grumpy and jaded “this is the problem with football these days” types.
Also, while it may be attributed to an existing robust mentality and strong spine from the Moyes era, his first season Champions League push was, yes, phenomenal.
Anyway. It’s clear he failed as manager at both Wigan and Everton, but the world of International management is a very different beast. Games come in sporadic bursts of qualifiers and friendlies over a drawn out period of time with the odd extended tournament of maximum eight games thrown in for good measure.
In fairness to Mr. Martinez, he’s a proven cup manager. He won the FA cup against all odds with a very average Wigan side and took Everton to two semi-finals last season. Point being he obviously has a knack for motivating players and tactically preparing for high stakes individual matches. It’s sustaining momentum, motivation and appropriate tactical variety over a gruelling, tedious 38 week season that he clearly struggles with. It may well be he is the type of manager who will excel on the International stage.
Which brings me to a quick final point. Given how much money everyone earns, I don’t find it particularly distressing, but more interesting the way a narrative can become so easily accepted as truth in football. Case in point, ‘Martinez becoming Belgium manager is comical’. Yes he has underachieved the last two seasons, but is a young manager who is continually seeking to further himself, has successfully gained positions that have allowed him to attempt to do that, and I find it odd that his achievements would be ignored in favour of his failures because it’s more fun to criticise and mock.
The same could be said for Moyes, who brought stability to a regressing Everton team over a decade but after his impossible Manchester Utd effort – now a laughing stock. Or Rodgers who nearly won the league with a fairly average Liverpool team – albeit with a healthy dose of Suaroids – now a laughing stock. Even Allardyce, who I have very little love for, getting the England job – laughing stock. I get these managers don’t make life easy for themselves with their sound bites and temerity to fail at the most high pressure jobs in the world of football, but the haste to cut down people seeking to revitalise careers that have had a setback I just find…interesting. Give peace a chance.
Martinez may well be a disaster in Belgium and make Wilmots look like bacon-wrapped shrimp. But those are my thoughts at this point in time. Looking forward to reading everyone prove me wrong.
Will (ok it was quite a long final point) Wymant, EFC
An idea that will never happen
I had a rather silly idea that, well, maybe, just maybe, we could resolve the excessive amounts of money currently changing hands between our increasingly rich clubs. This might sound a little Bernie Sanders but hear me out…
Imagine if all the teams in Europes major leagues agreed, for one season only, to drop a zero from their annual transfer budget. So, instead of Man City spending 200 million, they would only have 20 million, Palace would have 5 million, and Rangers would continue to have almost nothing to spend.
With all of the money saved we could probably solve most of our economic and social problems that are tearing apart our world. Billions could be shared amongst all of the poor, providing education, clean water and new homes for those who desperatley need it.
Or, according to Daniel Storey, we should accept that it’s ok for Higuain to move for 75 million or Ibe at 15. This is plainly ridiculous. Why as people, as humans, should we continue to accept the filth and vulgarity, the absurd wealth that we allow these people to hold.
Football would also reap enormous benefits with all of the big to medium clubs virtually level in terms of finance. Leicester could even win the league!!. Again.
So, let us not bury our head in the sand, let us not pretend that nothing can be done to stop this situation becoming ever more ludicrous, and actually wake up to the shame of a society that allows footballers to be paid more in a week than most of us would need 10 to 20 years to earn. THIS IS WRONG.
Thank you and goodnight
(MC – Daniel (oh wait, that’s me) wasn’t saying that we have to accept that it’s ok, I was saying that we have to accept that it’s the reality and that it isn’t going to change.)
Rooney and weeing
When I was nine I had a friend in my class who thought he could stand in a cubicle in the toilets, and pee over the dividing wall through the gap between the top of the wall into the next cubicle, requiring clearing a height of, oh, a million miles. (we were nine, I don’t know.)
His name was Tony and he wasn’t very bright, but he’d been told by his older brother that his year used to do it all the time and so Tony wouldn’t be dissuaded despite constantly being told it wasn’t possible by us all.
We all followed Tony into the toilet on his mission at lunch break, and stood back as he entered the stall, leaving the door open behind him, handed me his blazer (it was a prep school. We also had straw hats) unzipped his shorts and took careful aim at the wall.
He reached less than halfway.
The next day after much mocking he tried again, claiming he was standing wrongly. This time he lent back to get more of an angle, and reached less than halfway.
The next day, claiming his previous failures were merely because he hadn’t been drinking the right things, Tone filled up on Orangina (the only acceptable fizzy drink we were allowed) until he was the size and colour of a Space Hopper, and tried again. This time he lent back further, and reached less than halfway.
In desperation and panicking under a hail of less than encouraging words from his audience, he lent back further and lost control of his budding acorn of a penis, which resulted in a wild stream of urine flying up and around the cubicle, liberally soaking his face and clothes. Think of the proton packs firing in the original Ghostbusters. Like that. His despairingly quiet cries of anguish as he attempted to regain control will stay with me for my whole life.
Despite ALL this, despite failing over and over again in many different ways Tone still believed he could do it, it was just a question of finding the right method. I’m sure he still does, to this day.
But Tone couldn’t do it. Everything he tried or was encouraged to do by others just led to more failure, as he wasn’t capable of doing what he thought he was capable of.
What’s my point?
Stop making excuses for Rooney. It’s not the team. It’s not the style of play. It’s not how he stands. Rooney is finished, he can’t do it anymore. There’s no team or tactic that will stop him from failing to pee over the wall, and as his failure builds on his failure and yet you still pile on the pressure for him to be what he isn’t, he’ll eventually crack and pee all over his face.
Let him go.
Why is the Rooney issue so black and white?
Why can’t people respect and appreciate Rooney for all that he has done over the last decade-and-a-bit, but at the same time justifiably criticise him for the frankly rubbish football he has delivered over the last 2 or so years? Why does this “issue” seem to be so black and white?
I think most of the people that do give Rooney stick are fully aware of the fact that he used to be quite good, but this is utterly irrelevant to what he does on the pitch right now. Those that do defend Rooney to the hilt always seem to spend the majority of their defense citing past glories.
Most people are remembered for the highlights of their careers and this usually takes place post-retirement. The problem for Rooney (although it appears to be working in his favour) is that people are doing it despite the player himself being a few years away from the usual retirement age.
So yeah, give Wayne a hearty pat on the back for all he’s done. No one is dismissing his records or taking away his awards and trophies. He put up with a lot of unjustified pressure throughout the years and probably did about as well as anyone could have reasonably expected. But don’t let that cloud your judgement. He’s past it and at this level any team he plays in invariably plays worse as a result. For every OK – never great – game Rooney plays there are 5 dogsh*t performances.
Now he’ll have an amazing season and I’ll look like a total arse.
Matt (would obviously rather Rooney play) Wright, Gunner in Aus.
Congratulations to South Africa’s Olympic team
Coming from South Africa it is not often I have had much to cheer about from our National football team,
Since winning the African Cup of Nations in 1996, the team has constantly regressed in terms of results in spite of a fairly impressive squad at the 2002 World Cup.
Political interference and poor leadership from the South African Football Association has certainly not helped. SAFA appointed Carlos Queiroz as head coach in 2000, he easily qualifies the team for 2002 World Cup and then they force him out through their administrative bungling. We subsequently crashed out in the group stage and are yet to qualify for another world cup while Carlos went on to great things with Manchester United introducing the 4231 system and an era of successes.
The national team has continued to regress in subsequent years and there has been little joy for local football fans, that is until our under 23 squad Baby Bafana Bafana qualified for the Olympic games giving us a glimmer of optimism and hope. Last night we faced the might of Brazil led by Neymar, Jesus and company where we earned a well-deserved draw despite playing the last 25 minutes with 10 men. While the result is nice what excites me are the possibilities, the last time a South African under 23 team performed well at the Olympics (2000) several of those players went on to have distinguished careers in Europe such as Benni McCarthy, Quinton Fortune, Bradley Carnell, Steven Pienaar, Delron Buckley and Aaron Mokoena.
The future may yet be bright, come on Bafana!
Keraan, (Bafana Bafana) Johannesburg
Loving the Olympics football
For all those complaining about the absence of football and the terrible news being fabricated by the media to fill pages and generate clicks, I have good news…there’s been some football going on currently, from Champions league and Europa league qualification games to the Olympic football games.
My focus on this mail is about the Olympics football. I love and enjoy it, and it has been graced by some of the greats of the game hunting for gold along with sportsmen and women in different sports/events from every corner of the earth.
Someone wrote in a great mail sometime reminiscing about my country’s shock and glorious triumph in Atlanta ’96 beating giants Brazil and Argentina with all their stars to become the first African nation to win it. Cameroon followed suit in Sydney 2000, before Argentina dominated Athens ’04 and Beijing ’08 with star-studded teams. Mexico are defending champions while Brazil who have astonishingly never won gold (won silver and bronze lots) are trying to get it on home soil after the disaster of the world cup.
Now I wonder why the European nations seem not to take it seriously and even when they do, they’re bested by the South(or North) American/African nations. Despite having great players eligible at the u23 level, and the advantage of many junior tournaments, European teams especially the football giants don’t do well at the games in recent times. Why is this please?
It is a once-in-a-lifetime to compete in the greatest sporting event on planet and meet/interact with different athletes in different sports from different countries. Some great players take advantage of the 3 over aged player rule to join the party. So why are some European big names not so keen?
Mere Godled, MUFC, Nigeria
The London Stadium? What sort of name is that?
How are West Ham getting away with calling their stadium the “London” stadium?
If so much of the tax paying public’s money has been sunk into that stadium, I at least expect them to have sold the naming rights so we get some money back.
It’s bad enough West Ham have secured such a good deal, getting a new stadium without having to go through the years of austerity that should go with it, but if the North London clubs have to go through years of having a corporate name attached to their stadia so should the Hammers.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Walsall: Against modern football
In an era of £100m transfers and top flight bitching by fans that (insert club here) won’t go out and spend £80m on another centre forward, can we take a moment for Walsall FC?
This week they finally broke their own transfer record which has stood since 1979. Thirty seven years ago! Back then they paid a heady £175,000 for Alan Buckley and have since remarkably hovered between the Champ and League Two without combusting.
Can you imagine your team not breaking their record for nearly four decades? Arsenal? United? City? Pipe down complaining.
Let’s hope Andreas Makris can show the Saddlers what they’ve been missing out on…