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Will the bubble ever burst?
Now that the season is over and as I’m not a Man City or Liverpool fan, I’d like to move on and ask a question about the future of football. Is football currently existing in a bubble that is about to burst?
It seems that basically all football governing bodies and most clubs, at least at the top level, have sold their souls all in the name of making as much money as possible. And the only group of people feeling the negative effects of this are the fans.
Recently there have been mails and articles discussing the ticket pricing situation in the Premier League and the inconvenience caused to match going fans by the TV schedules. The Baku debacle. European final ticket prices and availability for the fans. Flights and hotel prices in Madrid. There was also someone talking about a Real Madrid shirt costing 150 pounds, which is honestly sickening.
Every cent that exists in football comes down to the fans. Fans subscribe to TV channels that allow them to watch their teams. Advertisers on those channels want to reach the football fanbase. Sponsors of teams and tournaments also want to reach that fanbase. And of course, ticket purchases are directly from the fans pockets. But it seems like administrators in the governing bodies and clubs have either forgotten this, or just think that no matter how badly they treat the fans, they’ll always come back for more.
But surely there’s a breaking point? And I can see it all unravelling pretty fast. If fans reach a point where they say enough is enough and large amounts of people decide not to renew their season tickets, cancel their TV subscriptions and stop buying the ridiculously priced merchandise from their clubs, you’re left with a knock-on effect where TV companies and sponsors aren’t reaching the enormous audiences that they have been up to now. They will have to take a hit on the deals they’re currently signed up to, but after that the clubs won’t be able to get new deals worth as much as their previous deals and the same will go for governing bodies and their tournament sponsorship. And it’s easy to predict the future effects of that on clubs and players.
Maybe it’s naive of me to think this could ever really happen. I’m from South Africa where going to watch your team every weekend is not as culturally ingrained as it is in Europe. Maybe for every fan that cancels their ticket, there will always be another that steps into their place. But it just seems that the number of fans that are being alienated is increasing at a rapid rate and I feel like it has to reach a tipping point, and when it does, there’s a house of cards that could come tumbling down.
Rory, Cape Town
Benitez or Klopp
Rafa or Jurgen?? Seriously,how is this even a discussion,Klopp everyday of the week.Klopps trams play front foot,flowing,fantastic football, Benitez serves up hoofball, cowardly defensive dross.
The Rafa run was painful to watch,the away group games v Monaco,La Coruna & Olympiakos were beyond dreadful to watch as were the away games v Juve and Chelsea in the knock out stage-Leverkusen away they were very good,I’ll give him that one.
Even in the final he picked the wrong team and am convinced Liverpool got so much luck in that game that is why they got no luck in the 2012 fa cup final,the 2016 league & Europa cups & last years CL final.Yes,Rafa won it in 2005 but that league campaign was utterly awful,dreadful to watch(5th behind Everton for gods sake!!)
Can we also put to bed this “financially he had his hands tied behind his back” bs? Benitez spent utter fortunes -£10m on Kuyt,£12m on Babel,£11m on Rieira,£20m on Aquilani,£25m on Torres,£20m on Mascherano-the list is endless.His net spend from 04-09 was higher then Wenger AND Fergie COMBINED.In one Summer Fergie lost Tevez & Ronaldo,and still finished second.
Rafa took over a team that finished 4th,spent £250m and left them in 7th.Rafa is a hoof merchant & a complete spoofer.
A Scott-Mills asks a very interesting question. I think the answer will vary greatly based on the age range of supporters. I’m almost 36, and 2005 is the greatest final I’ve witnessed and so 2005 > 2019. Now that’s not to diminish any of success this team has just had. Winning a Champions League final is huge. What’s interesting about both successes is that the campaigns somewhat mirror each other.
1. Barely getting out of the groups
2. Easily seeing of teams in the last 16 and quarter finals.
3. Miraculous escape in the semi finals.
The comeback and the quality of that team in the final is well below what they have now. and that’s why it’s better. Baros, Smicer, Biscan; they wouldn’t be within an asses roar of a this team now even though they may be cult heroes to most.
Culk The Younger
Blame Sissoko for penalty call, not the ref
Stu (ITFC) wrote “A penalty should be awarded when the opposition commit an offence that prevents a likely goal threat”.
Ummm he blocked a cross inside the penalty box with his arm being in the most unnatural position ever possible. Thats kind of why they penalty box is placed near, you know, the goal? Because any cross inside the box is a likely goal threat. The quality of the eventual cross is irrelevant, as preventing it from being made is cheating in itself. Stu argues Mane didn’t shot it on goal or towards a teamate but thats beside the point, you don’t intentionally increase your shadow with your arms inside the box and not expect to be punished if the ball hits it.
That he didn’t put it out for the purpose of blocking it is irrelvent, he did intentionally put it out there in the most furthest position possible and gained an advantage. He didnt do it while he was running or jumping, but while standing still. This is the European finals, not the kids Sunday League, you know what the handball rules are and what constitutes intentional handball.
Don’t blame the ref for doing his job well for the game, blame Sissoko for a rookie mistake to concede it. And I say this as someone who really didnt want Liverpool to win, the ref got the penalty spot on and should be congratulated for the hard call.
Lack of hype surrounding TAA
Cole asked yesterday why there was an apparent lack of hype around Trent Alexander-Arnold, citing his character, Klopp as a mentor and Liverpool breeding a different type of working class hero. I think it’s actually a combination of three things; his position, his rate of improvement and the absence of an “arrival”. So first of all, as Cole touched on, attacking players will always gather more hype and catch the eye more as their contributions are usually easier to quantify in numbers. Full back is typically one of the least glamorous positions in the game, so less hype than a forward such as Rashford. Secondly, TAA’s ascent has matched that of his club. He has quite admirably managed to step up his game enough to keep his spot in the team assured as Liverpool have moved from top 4 challengers to title/champions league challengers. But simply matching the ability of your club isn’t quite as eye catching over performing in comparison; there’s a reason Aaron Wan-Bissaka gets a fair bit more press than TAA despite both being young, English, high performing and the same position. Additionally his ascent and growing excellence in the role has been precisely matched by Andrew Robertson on the other side. When the team is functioning on the same level it’s difficult to hype one or the other.
Finally, many of the other players Cole mentioned had a specific moment where they arrived on the public consciousness; Rashford’s double against Arsenal, Rooney against Arsenal, Michael Owen had about 4, Milner breaking Rooney’s record for youngest goalscorer….Trent seems to have naturally progressed from squad player to locked on starter without having a screamer that acts as a time stamp of his arrival
Even for a club the size of Liverpool there are only so many column inches that can be dedicated to them, and considering the balance across the team it’s only understandable that TAA gets to avoid the spotlight of the next big thing. If Liverpool were still slugging it out for 6th and he was performing at this level I’m sure things would be a bit different.
Kev (If Liverpool breeds a different type of working class hero I dread to think the hype Rooney would have got if he was a Geordie), Nottingham
If I could address Stewie directly and reply to your email point by point
“I see yet another AKB has written in with the idiotic, banal and dishonest assertion that Wenger “worked miracles” to keep Arsenal in the Top 4 after the stadium move. Ok just one last time: Arsene Wenger has the 4th largest wage bill in English football and was finishing….4th! 🙄. So the bare minimum.”
Arsenal finished 2nd as often as they finished 4th over his time with Arsenal.
Also, in his last 5 years he finished 2nd AND 3rd as often as he finished 4th.
In his last 7 years he finished 3rd as often as 4th
In his last 9 years he finished 3rd as often as he finished 4th
In his last 11 years he finished 3rd as often as he finished 4th
So, even discounting the early successful years ( and ignoring how Arsenal reported their wage bill historically to include all staff as opposed to playing staff only ), by your own logic if he had the 4th largest wage bill in English football and was finishing 2nd or 3rd as often as he was finishing 4th, he achieved above expectation.
“Pochettino has persistently had a wage bill ranging from 80%-50% lower than Arsenal’s and has finished above them virtually every season for the past four seasons. “
But Wenger wasn’t in charge this season and Arsenal finished 2nd in 15/16 and Spurs came 3rd. So another way to say that is that Spurs finished above Arsenal twice in the 21 years Wenger was there.
“Miracle? Try Diego Simeone beating both Barca and Madrid to La Liga title, despite a wage bill lower than QPR! “
Yes that one time probably qualifies as a miracle.
“Or, try Ranieri winning the PL title with a first eleven that cost less than the pathetic Mesut Ozil.”
Yes that one time probably qualifies as a miracle
“Or try Mourinho winning the CL with Porto. “
This was not a miracle by any stretch. That Porto team were briliant. It was an excellent side, with a European trophy already won and one of the world’s best managers at the helm. They finished 2nd in their group behind Real and ahead of Marseille and Partizan Belgrade. Their knock-out run to the trophy was Man Utd ( 1 win / 1 Draw ), Lyon ( 1 win/ 1 draw ) and Deportivo La Coruna ( 1 win / 1 draw ). They beat Monaco in the final. Neither would have been favourites to reach the final and a marvellous achievement but a miracle – no chance. Please don’t try and revise history and make out that they were plucky little dragon slayers. It was basically the Portuguese national side that were runners up in Euro 2004 with 2 Brazilian strikers added in because Portuguese strikers were pretty poor. Miracle – no. It was the equivalent of a solid cup win by a PL top 8 side. Like when City beat Stoke a few years back.
“Please don’t try and revise history and make out that a serial Loser, is actually, a winner! “
He was literally the winner of 10 trophies in 21 seasons and 3 in his last 5 and by your wage bill logic he overperformed in 13 of those 21 years ( not my metric – your’s ), performed as expected in 6 and underperformed twice.
“Working miracles” is losing 8-2 at Old Trafford “
Finished 3rd that season, so overperformed using your wage bill logic
“Losing 10-2 to Bayern”
“losing 6-0 at Chelski”
Finished 4th ( as expected using your wage bill metric ) and won a trophy that season
“losing a cup final to a relegated team”
Finished 4th so performed as expected using your wage bill metric
“ yeah it was a ir not managing a Europa final even “
He did manage a Champions league final though and if Henry had scored 1 of his many 1 on 1’s…
Thing is Stewie, your own logic stacks up against you. You’re factually incorrect about Spurs and using YOUR wage bill measurement Wenger has finished above expected more often than not. You can choose to focus on bad moments ( it’s an odd choice for the supporter of a club, but you do you ) but for every one of them I could come back with a great win, a magnificent player signed or a trophy in the cabinet. The vitriol is unhealthy. Personally, I wold have liked to see him go after the FA Cup win over Hull. But he stayed ( won 2 more trophies ) and left a few seasons after he should have.
Arsene Wenger was a very good manager ( the most successful in the history of the club ) who went on a little too long. Nothing more, nothing less.
Now he’s gone and you should really move on and start supporting your club. Because they need it. The ownership is rotten, the recruitment / technical division is massively in flux, there is a huge rebuild needed with a lot of good players leaving this summer and they just ballsed up 2 excellent chances to get back into the champions league. And please Stewie, don’t be so predictable as to come back and blame this season on Wenger. We both know there’s a lot more rotten behind the scenes at that club. There’s a reason backroom staff are leaving and can’t be replaced. The club is in trouble. Arsene Wenger is no longer Arsenal Manger, but Arsenal are still a football club. It’s time to turn your attention to Arsenal and move on from Arsene.
Doug, AFC, Belfast
Liverpool‘s recent Champions League record is actually absurd
So now the dust has settled on the Champions League campaign I was reflecting on just how remarkable Liverpool’s recent CL record is. Since 2005, despite never actually having been English champions, Liverpool has reached the final 4 times (winning in 05 and 19, losing in 07 and 18) . 4 times in 15 years is not too shabby. However, looking back at that period, the reds have only actually been in the competition in 9 of those seasons. Reaching the final pretty much every other time is an absurdly good record.
Mark, LFC, Hong Kong