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Pep Guardiola – the Ridiculous Statistics
I wish someone would do a website which was regularly updated as to Guardiola’s managerial record. This is not ordinary, and I feel like we cherish appreciate a special talent for the short while he’s gracing the league.
For the record, his teams have scored 1446 goals in 569 games at a rate of 2.54 per game. All this while consistently managing the best defensive team in each country he’s worked in. Those Jose Mourinho comparisons will soon look a lot like when people ranked Ronaldo against Rooney, as one undeniably brilliant player faded into the shadow of true greatness.
PS, massive congrats to Rushden on their recent promotion. Excited to see if the Anelka coup comes off.
With any social issue there are usually two schools of thought: those who see that there is a problem and that something should/could be done about it, and those who think that it’s those who object that are the problem. The thing is, pretending like there’s no problem doesn’t make it go away. It’s really easy to just bury your head in the sand and pretend like everything is fine while the world crumbles around you – after all, if you can’t see it then it’s not happening. But it’s those people who insist that there’s nothing wrong and try to live in blissful ignorance that allow those who perpetrate these crimes to go unpunished. It’s only when their own tiny sliver of existence is directly affected that they finally realise that maybe there is a problem after all.
“Normal” people is a perfectly fair concept to understand. I’m not making any assumptions or comments on race, creed, social status, intelligence, or anything else by saying that; I’m simply talking about the boundaries of acceptable social behaviour. A normal person can watch a game of football or any other sport, even get quite passionate and animated about it, and yet manage to not put anyone else in danger, exhibit behaviour that is antisocial, set off dangerous incendiary devices, or commit any one of a number of crimes. It’s perfectly reasonable to expect a person, any person, to be able to sit or stand and watch a sport without resorting to any one of these things.
What your mail is doing is defending that behaviour because of some misplaced notion of tribalism. Football is a sport, nothing more. If you can’t separate the sporting performances of players and officials on a football pitch from real life issues then you should seek professional help because that’s really not healthy. If you can’t watch a match without wanting to fight someone, commit a crime, set off a flare, or worse then you need help. If you think that the only acceptable way of expressing one’s emotions is in the environment of a football game then you need help. It’s people like you who suggest that young men should be allowed to behave in this way (because there’s apparently nowhere else for them to do it but at a football game) that is driving people to football specifically so they can behave in this way. And no, we’re not talking about preventing people from “celebrating wildly”; we’re talking about preventing people from subjecting innocent bystanders to a variety of abuse, be it verbal, physical, racial, homophobic or any other grotesqueries.
You say that no one condones this sort of behaviour and then, in literally the same paragraph, start to condone it. Ant: you’re part of the problem. Football is a sport, nothing more, and the environment in which supporters watch it should be a safe one. I rarely go to watch live games any more because I find football fans as a collective to be abhorrent. I shouldn’t have to feel intimidated, threatened or offended when going to a game but that’s how it is at the vast majority of football grounds these days. And make no mistake: it’s not because of the football on display, it’s only because of the other people watching it, who just can’t stop themselves from acting like animals.
Ant, you scoff at the notion that “we don’t want these ’morons’ disturbing the ‘normal people’ trying to watch the game here thank you very much” – you realise what a ridiculous statement that is, don’t you? No, we absolutely, categorically do not want them there, at all. I’m sorry if my wanting to be able to, y’know breathe and not fear for my safety is an inconvenience, I know it’s asking a lot. If you were at a game and you, or someone you care about, suffered third degree burns from one of these (apparently “part of the game”) flares, or are assaulted outside the stadium because of your/their club allegiance (because tribalism is fine, remember) would you be alright with it? If you honestly say yes then you definitely do need that help I mentioned. The sooner people like you wise up to the fact that this behaviour is not now, nor has it ever been acceptable, the sooner we can make football the safer “connection or representation…to broader society” that you apparently so crave. What you’re actually asking for is an excuse to act like a lout under the guise of being a passionate football fan. It’s time to stop kidding yourself.
And The Sun Shines Now…
Thanks to Ant, CPFC for his recommendation on Adrian Tempany’s book. For my part I don’t know that I will ever be able to listen to that commentary without crying. I have placed my order as a result.
Come to think of it I also enjoyed his submission of a few days back when he talked about Palace’s connections to the local community. Enjoyable read. I guess what I am trying to say is more of Ant and less of the other boring, unnecessarily superior Palace fan who clogs up the mailbox.
I still think Roy Keane’s autobiography is one of the finest committed to print. Though I am probably a tiny bit biased in that Maurice is my favourite ever non-Liverpool player! Can any mailboxers recommend any other autobiography? I would recommend, through red-tinted glasses, ‘Sir Kenny Dalglish: My Liverpool Home’.
Gregory Whitehead, not stupid so ordinarily avoids vapid ghost-written autobios but finds footballers ones quite fascinating, LFC
Ya know football and stuff
A few things from the World of football I’ve been thinking about, Phil Foden is looking like a real prospect now he’s getting game time and as much as it sticks in the throat being a United fan he’s being well managed by Pep.
Bit of a scoop for you, there is a fella playing in Italy name of Ronaldo, I know what you’re thinking but it’s not the Brazilian bloke it’s someone from Portugal I think he could go on to be a bit good (you heard it here first).
In all seriousness what a player Portugal, England, Spain and now Italy both he and Messi are special but Ronaldo shades it for me just because he has done it across different Countries time and again while Messi is still in his Barca bubble.
After tonight we will know if all 4 English teams are in the last 8 of the competition which would be some feat considering the virtual death of football ™ all Red Tops, every time one of them has a set back.
Flitting around a bit but as a United fan the FFP and City is a bit conflicting at the minute, on one side I’m thinking hit them hard the bloody cheats, then on the other if they are docked points it means Liverpool win the league, so my solution is kick them out of the Champions League, take the fizzy pop cup off them, give the FA cup place to the last team they beat and fine them twenty quid in the Premier League all sorted.
Paul Murphy, Manchester
No room for Grealish
Jack Grealish is a decent looking player.
But quite frankly, we have Smith-Rowe, Reiss Nelson, Maitland-Niles and Willock waiting in the wings. Two are out on loan, one is second very much second string, while another is being played out of position.
For the record, I rate all four of them and can see them breaking through and ensuring midfield isn’t an area we’ll need to strengthen with signings.
So thanks but no thanks on Grealish – we just don’t have room for him.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
The nostalgia of rolled down socks
There are quite a few things I like a lot about Jack Grealish. I first took note of him when Arsenal beat Aston Villa 4-0 to win the FA Cup. Apart from being Irish (which makes him come across as strangely exotic like George Best), he is an attacking midfielder, has an eye for a defence-splitting through ball, is a closer dribbler, scores important goals and has a bit of a rebellious, impudent and reckless air about him as evidenced by his cockatoo-esque, I-Don’t-Care shock of hair. But by far, the thing I like most about him is the way he rolls down his stockings as though he is in a Sunday afternoon kick-about session. My favorite, socks-rolling attacking mids are Francesco Totti, Rui Costa and Juan Sebastian Veron. My current fave is Paulo Dybala of Juventus. And I ask the mailbox, “Who is your favorite rolled-down-socks superstar, either bygone age or currently?”
Alphonsus, (He could do well at Arsenal if signed; replacing Ramsey though he’s a more functional and anti-fragile version of Ozil), Abuja
Erm, Ant CPFC doesn’t want watching football to be turned into a spectator sport? Made me chuckle.
Can Ronaldo take Juve all the way?
Juve supporter here still giddily trying to get my head around yesterday’s game. The morning’s mailbox and indeed all sports papers and websites I’ve read are all about Ronaldo. Rightly so, as he delivered when it most mattered and you can’t argue with his numbers both in the Champion’s League generally and particularly in the knockout stages. However football is a team game and the real difference between Juve’s abject display at the Wanda Metropolitano and yesterday’s was the whole team. What isn’t very much remembered from first leg was that both Chiellini and Bonucci were rushed back from injury, Pjanic was knackered with the flu and Khedira was ruled out with a heart problem just a couple of days before the game. Even though toothless in attack that day, a ‘normal’ Juve would anyway have probably come back with a 0-0 draw. And it’s often the unsung players that can make a huge difference in these ties. For example the biggest difference last year between Juve’s home 0-3 to Real Madrid and their brilliant but ultimately futile 1-3 away victory was the absence vs presence of Matuidi, who gives balance to the whole side.
Yesterday’s game was Ronaldo’s for the highlights, but Cancelo, Can, Spinazzola (on his CL debut, no less!) and particularly Bernardeschi were all phenomenal, not to mention the ‘Harvard professors’ (Mourinho dixit) at the back. Can’s position switching between midfield and extra centre-half to allow Cancelo to roam the wing was also a masterstroke from Allegri. And so a Ronaldo-led Juve are through to the quarters, but let’s not forget that Ronaldo-less Juve have always been in the quarters, and twice in the final, in the past few years. And there lies the Ronaldo quandary… Juve-less Ronaldo were getting to finals, and Ronaldo was brought to Juve to win those finals, so Champions’ league victory is the benchmark for his success at Juventus. And yet winning the Champions’ League can depend on so many external factors that it’s impossible to declare ‘failure’ for not winning it.
Looking at who’s still in the draw, Man City have got to be favourites, with Juve, Barca, Liverpool/Bayern a step below. Man United, Spurs, Porto, Ajax and Lyon, while all good teams, all have significant weak points. One, and possibly even two, of the ‘next-tier’ teams will be out tonight. All of the English teams have a tough and competitive league program, Man City even more so with the FA cup, while Bayern also have a fight on their hands to retain the Bundesliga. Juve are all but done with Serie A and Barcelona have a significant advantage in La Liga, I’m wondering if such small margins could facilitate a Juve – Barca final.
Which brings us back to Messi vs Ronaldo… seriously people, enough of that already, they are both all-time greats and we’re lucky to have had them playing at the same time, pushing each other in pursuit of excellence. Can we just enjoy them instead of trying to rank them?James, Zug
Let’s just end this argument. Ronaldo NOT Messi is the GOAT. While Messi is an incredibly talented football, he has only been able to perform when the entire team centers around him. He is certainly capable of producing moments of pure magic that create goals all by himself, but that is not something you can do each and every game. The Argentina team for the last decade has had many talented stars. Yet, even with Messi in it, the performances have been disappointing to say the least.
Now compare this with Ronaldo who significantly improves every team he becomes a part of. It is not just his talent, but the sheer will power and determination that encourages all those around his to put in more than they ever have. He won the team with a Portugal team that few expected to get past the group stages. He may have been a peripheral figure in many of the games in that tournament but you could see his sheer will power egging every single person on the team to the next level. Juventus too could never have delivered the performance they gave last night without Ronaldo on the team. Just see what has happened to Real Madrid as soon as Ronaldo left. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but you can see and feel it in the team’s performance. Let’s just call it the Ronaldo effect.
If we talk about the most talented footballer ever it might well be Messi. But when you talk about the player that helps make the biggest improvement to the team performance and results, Ronaldo clearly is superior and in my opinion the GOAT.
In response to DC (Some stones on Ronaldo though), BAC: is it possible to be the second-best GOAT ever? Or even third? You’re either the GOAT or you’re not in my book.
And why ‘GOAT ever’ – surely the OAT negates the ever? Or ever negates ‘OAT’?
Jonny (seventeenth Gever in my town since last Friday) Dance
The state of punditry
Reading Mediawatch (which I do religiously) yesterday once again brought home something that has been bugging me for a while –the state of punditry when it comes to ex-players both on TV and in the papers is truly abysmal.
Seriously- has Martin Keown ever had anything interesting to say? How terrible is Michael Owen? Would you even be able to tell if Garth Crooks was a satirical character? Why would anyone ask Paul Ince for an opinion on anything football related? Stan Collymore, Ryan Giggs (we get him on the international PL show- don’t know if he’s on UK TV as well), Jamie Redknapp, Dean Saunders, Paul Merson, Robbie Savage…the list of awful pundits who used to play football in the 90s is a very long one. At this point, I would welcome plain old mediocrity from these guys rather than the staggering incompetence we get given day after day.
There are some examples on the good side of the ledger (Carragher, Neville, Jenas..) but the overall picture is a truly worrying one. And it makes me wonder how much this poor analysis feeds into how many fans see the game and how it prevents them from engaging with it in more than a surface-level way.
I wonder if the current generation of players will be as bad when they retire….
I imagine we’ll see a few more rants/bans soon from Poch but you have to feel sorry for the guy. Not long ago, according to several sources he was in the running for 2 of the biggest jobs in World Football. However one door has been slammed shut by Zidane, and the other is rapidly closing with OGS. Allied with the previous comments from the mailbox as to how Spurs are being ‘fattened up’ for a sale, what next for the Argentinian?
The Big P, Vancouver