We are slowly moving away from tickets, but it did at least show how much it means. Send your stuff to firstname.lastname@example.org
The reality: Pick a different option
Being priced out of seeing your Premier League team in the flesh is not the end of the world. You can still easily (if not always strictly legally) watch your first team playing some of the worlds best footballers on telly, in a league with insane amounts of tv money, in stadiums full of people rich/silly enough to fill the clubs coffers with sky high ticket prices.
It’s not how it has always been. If you really love your club, give the youth teams a chance. They are your club’s players too. If you love football, a local lower league side can satiate; and is often much more fun.
Sometimes you can’t have everything you want, exactly how you want it. After all, that’s what true love is about isn’t it? Embrace the faults, adapt, and keep it positive.
Some familiar thoughts after a Liverpool match
Absolutely classic Liverpool to look the better team for the entire game, fail to take all their chances and then lose it in the most deflating way possible.
Mignolet is just a joke. It’s not that either goal is his fault but could he just once make a significant contribution to a game in a positive way? This season he’s not done anything in a game that any other Keeper (except for Bogdan) couldn’t do equally well.
The youth players looked so much better against a Premier League side that embarrassed us twice this season in the league. They only made three changes so it was a decent strength side and our lot did perform well mostly. I’ll probably tear my left ear off when I see us revert to playing all those sh1te players that are apparently undroppable in the league.
What a load of crap. If Mignolet is still our first choice keeper at the start next season I’ll cry the saddest tears you’ve ever seen.
Seven thoughts on West Ham vs Pool
Well that was some game to showcase the FA cup. End to end at times with nice pieces of play and some very good tackles. As a Liverpool supporter, I have mixed feelings about the game.
1) Sturridge looked like a class above any of the other forwards Liverpool had on today or have had on in the last few months. It really is great to see him back and although he wasn’t at his best, you could tell that a run of games would get him back to banging in the goals. Unfortunately, this is the third (fourth?) time this season alone that I have had this thought and it is generally followed with news of another injury.
2) Coutinho also had a solid return. His wonderfully cheeky free kick aside, he seemed to pop back into the side with relative ease. He played a few nifty passes and also cut back on having a pop from anywhere within 25 yards, which is glorious when it comes off but more often than not is wasteful.
3) Seeing Flanagan play well for 120 minutes is pleasing to say the least. He’s a player I really like as he is a strong tackler but also a good passer. It will be a massive boost to the squad once he’s back to 100%. The only problem is that he only really plays in the one position I think doesn’t need changing in the liverpool defense.
4) Some of the squad players have really shone after their chance in the first team. Smith, Teixeira and Chirivella all looked like players who can push themselves into the match day squad. They often displayed a composure on the ball which is sorely lacking from recent liverpool teams.
5) Onto the negatives. I sent in a email to the mailbox on Sunday after Mignolet’s howler to let Sunderland back into the game where I told him to, politely of course, fuck off. I just wish to reiterate that sentiment now. For the second goal (absolutely stupid tackle by Lucas in the first place), as soon as the ball is hit, everyone and their mothers see that the ball is heading to the back post. Knowing this, Mignolet should be in position with his feet on the ground. He’s mid shuffle when Ogbonna heads it and because of that has absolutely no chance of saving it. I am just hoping beyond hope that the 5 year contract was given to him with the intention of bringing in a new keeper and for Mignolet to keep him on his toes.
6) I don’t know if this has been mentioned in the mailbox before, probably has, but my god Jordan Ibe is one of the most frustrating players to watch. He has one attribute, pace. He has got a lot more greedy since when he first broke onto the scene which means he gets the ball, tries to beat a player, realizes he can’t beat him and either loses the ball or misplaces the pass. Go back to basics Jordan.
7) Is there a team more mentally fragile as Liverpool? There are times where you just know that they would concede. It happened at the weekend and it happened today. We need a better leader on the pitch, none of the current squad fit the bill.
It was a bit of a rant, and I don’t want to finish without wishing the Hammers the best of luck. I’m really liking Bilic and my god Payet is an absolute beast! It would be nice for them to say goodbye to Upton park with a trophy!
Cian M (It’s definitely you Simon) LFC
At least it was a brilliant match
First of all I thought it was a brilliant match. Really exciting end to end football of the type that leads to the type of sides playing it getting horribly exposed if they play a well organised European team.
I’m a Liverpool fan and I enjoyed watching all the young players. Stewart who I completely wrote off after his first match because he took too many touches constantly was brilliant. Great to see Flanagan back he was immense, loved him kicking Carroll up in the air too. Lucas was unbelievable as a centre back also. Chirevella and texiera had some great touches but I’m not convinced they will ever have the physical attributes to make it long term.
Ultimately a decent team performance came to naught because our striker didn’t score any of his chances. Feel sorry for Benteke he really did try a lot harder than he has recently and he really looked invigorated when Sturridge joined him up top. Great to see Sturridge back too, pity just one of benteke’s chances didn’t fall to him.
I’ve watched all 4 matches against West Ham this season and I really do think they are a great side. Loads of good players in nearly all positions and a few of those that just look like absolute nightmares to play against; kouyate, Valencia and Antonio particularly. Payet a class above again but Noble and Cresswell stand out for me too. Congrats to West Ham I’d like to see them win it out now.
The influence of home supporters
There has been a lot written on these hallowed pages in the last few days following ‘Ticketgate’ and though entertaining and interesting the letters may be, I can’t help feeling that you are all dancing around quite a salient point here, which is that clubs which care little about retaining their traditional fanbase and specifically the social profile and engagement of the individual fans will pay for this in the long term in terms of on-field results.
In their book Scorecasting, Toby Moscowitz and Jon Wertheim, analysing US based major sports, found that home field advantage in the MLS (I know – bear with me) runs at around 70% of home games won, significantly higher than the more traditional US sports, with the next highest the NBA at around 60% and the lowest (MLB) at 54%. After exploring a number of reasons for this, they finally isolated and defined the cause as ‘official bias’.
This means that home teams receive slightly preferential decisions from the officials. Their explanation being that refs, being human, are subconsciously influenced by the bayings of a fanatical crowd of thousands to see events in a certain way which benefits the home team. Anyone who has ever been an away fan at Old Trafford during the Fergie years will be familiar with this effect. As the individual decisions of football refs have more scope to influence the result, coupled with a lack of technological assistance in decision making, we see a magnification of this ‘home-field’ effect within football as compared to the other major US sports.
Furthermore, Thomas J Dohmen (http://ftp.iza.org/dp755.pdf) in analysing data from 9 Bundesliga seasons, found that not only is this same effect found in Germany but additionally the physical proximity of the crowd also has a significant effect on ‘official bias’. Specifically, he found that the effect is lessened when the stadium has a running track, meaning the ref is that bit further from the crowd.
I think you can all see where I am going with this. Dissatisfied, disengaged crowds not only affect the morale of the team but also negate home field advantage to a large degree. Therefore if we accept that on-field success translates into financial success over the long term, we can see that pricing passionate local fans out of the stadium in favour of high paying ‘tourists’ is going to be a massive own goal in the long term. Football is tribalism, not tourism.
Kiri Meglio (AFC – no baying crowds here)
Football’s issue is that it needs to be so pre-planned
I have read and seen a fair bit around the Liverpool protest, as well as remembering similar murmurings and action from other fans as well, it made me reminisce about my own experience back in the day of football as a nipper.
When I was 14/15 I lived around the Essex/London border on the central line so London was always easily accessible for me. Every Friday at school me and a few mates would buy a paper and decide what game to go and travel to the following day. I was a Spurs fan and others in my group were Arsenal, West Ham and Chelsea fans so we rarely went to those and if we did it was generally in the away end. So we would normally end up at QPR, Leyton Orient, Palace, Fulham, Millwall, Brentford, almost all of the England games and occasionally Wimbledon, we would always buy a programme, a burger and at Craven cottage a couple of pints in the away terrace. I can’t remember how much it cost but it was less than I earnt from a paper round and a bit of pocket money and not once were we ever denied entry because it was full. Same when we went to our clubs of choice, we just turned up on the day and watched footie.
The point……it’s not only that it’s so expensive nowadays it’s that it has to be so pre-planned as well. I could afford a season ticket, but I couldn’t afford to commit the time required to make sense of it and justify it to my family. I also think it’s really aided the tribalistic side of fans nowadays, there simply isn’t as much mingling with others and chatting about players, it’s become a less pleasant place where the clubs are trying to place a shiny veneer over themselves rather than older self-policing way that’s fans used to generally use amongst each other. Maybe I was naive in the early 90’s but for me that was the time when it was at its best, accessible, respectful, decent quality and just a great experience. I’m genuinely sad that my kids will never be able to repeat that.
That said, I have recently been to a couple of non-league games due to my nephew playing and I have loved it all, even the 4 people behind the goal every game singing, the mad b*stards
Steve (Sad face) THFC
11 reasons for Leicester’s success
1. Owners – right decisions at the right time. Reappointing Nigel Pearson in the first place. Sticking by him during a rough patch in the championship. Sticking by him during the rough times in the premier league. Sacking him at the right time and appointing Ranieri, a controversial but genius appointment. They have consistently made the right decisions at the right time. They’ve also invested significantly in the infrastructure of the club and raised the ambitions of everyone associated with the club.
2. The dedication and expertise of our coaches. Players are expertly drilled to be in the right position at the right time given the game situation. A crap player in a good position is more useful than a good player in a crap position.
3. Scouting – using the latest technology and scouting to find undervalued players with the right mentality who our coaches can get the most out of. They spend just as much time looking at a players mentality as they do their technique. You can change a players technique with good coaching, mentality is harder to change.
4. Tactics that get the best out of the players available. Look at the players you have and find the best way to exploits their strengths and minimise their weaknesses. Play effective football first and foremost.
5. Medical department – it is not luck that Leicester’s players have remained fit and injury free. The latest monitoring and personalised medical treatments are fully exploited.
6. Team spirit – The same core group of players have been in place for 3 years and self belief has been drilled into them. Rock bottom for the majority of last season they always stuck by each other and maintained that a good run was just around the corner.
7. Crowd atmosphere – Leicester has not seen an atmosphere like this in my lifetime. This has been helped along by the owners looking after the fans.
8. Cast offs with a point to prove – Schmeichel, Simpson, Huth, Drinkwater and Albrighton were all deemed not good enough by other clubs. What better way to prove them wrong by winning the league?
9. N’Golo Kante – best central midfielder in the league. Two midfielders rolled into one. Dynamism, technique, positioning – he has everything.
10. Vardy – technique occasionally might be lacking but doesn’t give the opposition a moments rest. Defenders hate playing against him.
11. Mahrez – everything has already been said. Player of the season.
When Van Gaal did a Leicester
No team outside of PSV, Feyenoord and Ajax had won the Dutch league in 27 years. AZ Alkmaar broke that record, however, in 2008-09, winning the title under the guidance of a certain Louis van Gaal.
Sasank (I’m starting to feel bad for him now) MUFC
Or, Montpellier are Leicester
I thought I would play in the Leicester City game of trying to find a situation or team that is similar. My candidate would be Montpelier HSC who won Ligue 1 in 2011-12, the last team before PSG ruined the league. Montpelier are a team much like the Foxes, who were in as low as the third tier of football less than a decade prior to their championship run. Neither team is considered a contender. Both teams finished 14th the year prior. Both teams feature the league’s leading goal scorer. Montpelier finished with 82 points, Leicester are on an 81 point pace. To top it off the capacity of both stadiums is extremely close.
What do I win?
David O, California, USA
Already excited about Arsenal vs Leicester
Looking forward to what is surely the biggest weekend of the Premier League so far, I am feeling very confident of an Arsenal win against Leicester. Hear me out. I appreciate Leicester have just dismantled Man City, and don’t get me wrong, they literally tore them apart from start to finish. However, having watched Arsenal do a complete Arsenal over the last few games, I think it’s all going to click together at just the right time for us.
I think we are unfairly criticised for surrendering the league summit too easily, as we have had to play a large portion of the season without our central hub of Coq & Santi. Cazorla is not only the most under-rated player at Arsenal, but maybe in the entire league. He keeps us ticking over from back to front since his shift to a deep lying playmaker. The formidable partnership he & Coq have formed is so unique, but perfect for us. An enabler in Coq beside the flamboyant Cazorla who will gladly dribble from deep, or release Ozil, Alexis et al.
For us to still be in the hunt after going through Christmas with bloody Joel Campbell being a regular fixture is pretty impressive.
I can’t get away from an Arsenal win this weekend. I think if Coq is back, he will snap at their counter attacks early and nullify their deadliest weapon. If you look at the Chelsea game and how much time & space they were rewarded with in the centre, this is where his tenaciousness has been hugely missing. Flamini has a tendency to drop off and allow a team to build an attack, whereas Coq will look to stamp out any attacks before they have began.
Alexis was on a bit of a barren run when we last met Leicester in the league and ended up having a stormer and we ran away 5-2 winners. I think class is going to play out this weekend and hopefully Alexis is just about hit a purple patch and fire us to the summit again.
Ryan, Dundalk FC
(MC – There are rumours of a double 16 Conclusions on Sunday. Tell your friends)
Oi F365, stop reporting stuff
So many print journalists claim “exclusive” when it’s really not. You know how I know this? Because F365 have mentioned it 427 times a day for about a decade.
Get over it, guys. I come here for articles about football, not to read you guys having a winge about print journalists. If I wanted that I’d just follow most web-based football writers on Twitter, which I do already.