Send your thoughts to the firstname.lastname@example.org…
Solskjaer’s apparent incompetence
Just a small point on the hysteria surrounding Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s apparent incompetence. The sway of media/public opinion seems to be that they would rather see Poch in the job after discovering Solskjaer is ‘not up to it’…
Since solskjaer took over at Utd, till the end of the season, in-spite of a dreadful tail-off in form, they have still picked up 9 MORE points than Poch’s Spurs (sack Poch? Anyone?), 4 more than arsenal and 5 more than Chelsea. So by some margin, under-fire Solskjaer has a better PL record than ‘miracle-worker’ Poch this season (imagine the gap if they had beaten Cardiff/Huddersfield). Add to that Solskjaer has been lumbered with a squad full of deadwood that he hasn’t yet been able to add a single signing too. Project that form over 8 months, If you said Man Utd would finish 20 points above Spurs and 10 above Arsenal/Chelsea next season, and I would suggest Solskjaer would’ve done the best job out of the 4.
And there are calls for his sacking?! The only managers with a better overall PL record since Christmas are Klopp and Guardiola and I know which squads I would prefer to work with.
It all just sums up how football media (and culture in general) is so nauseatingly fickle. Lose a couple of games and you’re the absolute worst, win a couple of games and you’re the absolute best. It’s incredibly childish and the world is crying out for more level-headed folk.
On moral ambiguity
Just in reply to David Mooney’s piece, I see where he’s coming from but there’s more than a hint of false equivalency and whataboutery at play there. Not all morally questionable corporate interests are created equal, and I don’t think it’s particularly constructive to respond to enquiries as to whether supporting a club by citing a plethora of other instances of consumer behaviour which might fall below some perceived standard of moral acceptability.
I’m a United fan, and what the Glaziers are doing to that club is a crying shame. But I don’t think leeching profit from a still-profitable entity can be equated with building an empire on slave labour, a litany of human rights abuses and climate change denial.
It’s not city’s fans’ fault that their club is embroiled in such issues, and it would be completely ridiculous to expect lifelong fans to suddenly abandon their love for the team. The only reasonable way, in my view, to continue supporting city against this backdrop is to never let that context become normalized, and not to try to end or dismiss the conversation in any way. It’s an important consideration, and should remain so.
Just read a pretty good article about the moral dilemas and accentuated issues of supporting football clubs written by a Man City fan about their club and about how supporters of other clubs should look at this situation with their own reservations in mind.
Then we get confirmation from Man City that their players and staff are allowed to sing a song with a line clearly referencing, supports of their rival being beaten in the streets.
The song I really have no issue with for the most part, its generally in jest.
Mock liverpools chant – check
Mention Kompany bastardising Salah – check
Remind us of our European defeat before our second final – check
Mention Raheem the dream – check
The above are par for the course really and its ‘banter’ and really not offensive, I chanted far worse at opposition schools during my days of feverish schoolboy Rugby.
My main issue is the line, ‘battered in the streets’ and no it doesn’t reference Salah or Hillsborough or ‘hopefully as in really really hopefully but I am 95% sure’ Sean Cox, but it clearly represents the supporters being beaten.
Now Liverpool fans make mistakes, all fans make mistakes, I am sure we have dished out a few beatings as well, and to be honest if it had been that ‘ultra’ style section of fans at a Man city game or any clubs game singing these kind of chants I would have said sure its part of life, some people are just cut from that cloth, but for Staff and players to sing it shows alot of naivety.
When I was at school I was fortunate enough to be on scholarship at the most expensive school in our country, and during one of our rugby games, one of the senior boys in our school started throwing coins at the opposition fans because they were from a poor public school. The school never saw this but we as boys took it upon ourselves and made him sit away from us for the rest of the season, even in the middle of a hard fought rugby game ( and yes in a boarding school that is like a football match, life or death) we still called him out. I hope although City have correctly denied the allegations of Hilsborough mocking and such that they have a quiet word with their players and staff about where to draw the line as if highschool boys between 14-18 can figure it out on their own I am sure professional footballers can.
I hope this doesn’t come across as me being offended by Man City I actually believe it more naivety to the lyrics that they probably only really looked into when it was all said and done, next time just alter some lines and have a nice party for the camera.
Also if Sterling was singing the lyrics that doesn’t make him a bad guy although I am sure his singing voice might if anyone has watched his youtube carpool videos.
Cole Hunt (deduct 200 points from them then Liverpool might win two in a row or probably not still as City learn how to develop the 6 point by playing two games at once)
Whilst I am sure that even the FA would consider an organisation such as Al Qaeda not fit and proper owners, if they did, David Mooney’s argument is that the supporters should just carry on supporting their team and not mention the elephant in the room.
I mailed last week that criticising the owners and supporting your team are separate issues, but it should not preclude you voicing opinions about the administration of your club.
Football like all other relatively unimportant pastimes, cannot and should not, exist in a bubble, else a line will never be drawn.
I read David Mooney’s article this morning and even as a Liverpool supporter I do have a certain degree of empathy for true Blue (ie. around before the billions began to flow) supporters whose sole obligation when supporting their club is to get behind the lads wearing the shirt. I do recall personally not really contemplating the human rights angle of a potential takeover by Dubai International Capital about a decade ago nor do the actions and politics of other owners really come into play in the thinking of the average football supporter until they need to be criticized.
City fans have also been fortunate that the UAE has really allowed the footballing part of the operation to do its job. They’ve invested in football infrastructure, signed brilliant players and put a structure in place that will survive as long as the owners are willing to write the cheques.
I also have empathy for City as a club mostly due to the fact that FFP was really meant as a vehicle to lock in the supremacy of the established clubs. Football is a chicken or the egg proposition. To generate income to stay onside of FFP, you need success that brings in prize money and commercial growth. To get that success you need players capable of getting you there consistently. To get those players you need money to pay salaries and transfer fees. To get the money to pay salaries and Transfer fees you need to generate income. To generate income….well we’re back at the start.
So there is true empathy to David’s position and an understanding that the loyal supporter isn’t really in a position to do anything about who owns their club short of refusing to support that club anymore. And I personally would struggle to give up Liverpool regardless of who was writing the cheques.
All this does nothing to absolve the club from the fact that they’ve very likely cheated to get around FFP (which like it or not is the rules the game are played under) and should face consequences for their actions. I just have empathy for the supporters because they aren’t the villains of this story. They just want to support the club they grew up with and love. That should be something any football fan can understand.
But the glory hunters can sod off.
Mark LFC (Yes, there may be some sour grapes, when we play the FFP game by the rules and others don’t)
Can’t let Ian (Spursy are dead [whatever the f*ck that means]) LFC’s utterly facile take on Tottenham’s finances go unchallenged, so let’s have a look, shall we?
- Firstly, Spurs are not owned by Joe Lewis, so his personal wealth is pretty much inconsequential here, and it’s actually a strawman argument. Spurs is a private company that spends the revenue it generates as a company. Not a great start.
- Secondly, Ian doesn’t seem to understand quite how advertising works. For the last ten years, we have “failed to keep up with the big boys” because we haven’t been one of the big boys. You’d have thought it went without saying that advertising is worth more money when it reaches more people. Funnily enough, Ian, fewer people tend to watch the Europa League, where we’ve resided for nine of the thirteen seasons you quote, and therefore advertising revenue will obviously be lower. In actual fact, Levy has constantly drawn higher revenue streams than our status dictates we should. Not getting any better here.
- Yes, let’s move onto Poch. He is not like Wenger about spending money, because he doesn’t want to dictate the finances of the club, doesn’t have an economics degree, doesn’t really have any input into the financial side of transfers at all. He’s very fussy about the profile of player he wants, yes; but that’s not the same thing. Your weird assertion that he “chose” not to spend money is entirely incorrect. Ironically making “chose” a very important word, because it sums up how little you understand of the situation.
- Ahhhh, here we come to the crux of Ian’s entire mail: that someone’s been mean about Liverpool and therefore he has – as they tend to for some bizarre reason – to shout “oooh but look at Tottenham!” Do try not to take criticism of Liverpool so personally, Ian: you come across as, at best, looking a bit silly by writing an entire mail full of strange, inaccurate assertions about a club you clearly have zero understanding of how it’s run (and, at worst, your quintessential paranoid Liverpool fan with an inexplicable complex about Spurs).
- Finally, you understand that we actually have to pay for our stadium, yes? The one that cost about £1bn? Yes: our finances should be in a substantially better place from now, and yes: we really do need to spend some f*cking money, but you have spectacularly failed to identify even a single coherent reason for either of these two things to be true. So well done you!
Alex G, THFC
Ian, LFC. A few points you appear to have missed in your otherwise exhaustive research.
White Hart Lane = smaller than Anfield. And Old Trafford. And the Emirates. And Stamford Bridge. And the Etihad. So gate revenues = smaller. I appreciate this might be tricky though so no worries, you’ve done your best.
But then comes the assertion that it’s a ‘failure of management’ that Spurs (who spent most of the 90s oscillating between mid table mediocrity and relegation battles) were unable to attract comparable sponsorship to Liverpool (England’s biggest club in the 80s) and Chelsea (newly minted plaything of a Russian oligarch, competing in the champions league, had just won the title under Jose).
Now forgive me, I’m sure I know much less about footballing economics and and corporate sponsorship negotiation than you but it does strike me that there might be slightly more to it than just saying ‘look how much they get, we want the same please and thank you’.
I do hope you haven’t injured your back with all the goalposts you’ve moved in order to try and reframe Spurs’ incredible achievement of reaching the Champions League final on a vastly reduced budget as some kind of failure.
Andrew (first time emailer, love the show Steve), Dublin
In response to Ian (Spursy are dead) LFC and his ‘plucky little spurs’ email. Joe Lewis is indeed worth a lot of money, but as far as I’m aware he’d rather Spurs is run as a financially sound business and isn’t really interested in football, as opposed to using a football club as a plaything a la Sheikh Mansour. But regardless of net spends, owners worth and final league positions, I feel there are two very important points he’s missed. Firstly siez of club/global fan base/revenue (and this must be about the first time I’ve seen a Liverpool fan keen to imply they are NOT a significantly bigger club than Spurs). But most significantly, the thing that dictates that ‘success’ more than any other factor…wages. A quick look online suggests last year’s wage bill was:
Man City – £295
Man Utd – £270
Chelsea – £226
Liverpool – £216
Arsenal – £207
Spurs – £130m
Crystal Palace – £118
City’s wage bill is 36% bigger than City’s. Liverpool’s wage bill is 66% bigger than Spurs. The point I’m making here is that Spurs are a club who could afford to splash out £75m on a transfer, but any available player of that value is likely to have wage demands outside our structure. As far as I’m aware you don’t get £75m players that are on less than £100k a week. And yes, whilst Joe Lewis and his yachtload of dosh could technically afford to pay a team of multi-million signings £200,000+ a week, it wouldn’t be sustainable and I highly doubt he wants to turn his £5b into £4b into £3b any time soon. To draw a crap analogy – we could possibly afford to buy a ferrari, we just couldn’t afford to actually run it.
Lastly, that email was the first I’ve really heard of it being the minnows of Spurs vs Merseyside giants… as far as I’m aware most people are thinking it’s a bit of close call with Liverpool (rightly) slight favourites on accounts of just having a monumental league season where they finished in fine form and thrashed Barcelona. Rather than than Spurs, who can’t have many legs left given the number of lines we have limped over.
Best of luck in the final – whilst obviously I hope Spurs win, I absolutely couldn’t begrudge Liverpool a trophy after such a spectacular season.
Dan G, THFC
Does anyone else think that Daniel Levy is casting envious eyes over at Chelsea wondering ‘How can I get me one of those 2 transfer window bans’?
Conor Malone, Donegal
Leicester was a collective not individuals
Woah, woah, woah. The article by the Football Ramble lot was an interesting read and I was broadly in agreement with it, apart from one throwaway line which I feel compelled to respond to.
I quoth: ‘N’Golo Kanté, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy helped the rest of an ordinary-looking Leicester side to a Premier League title.’ Now, even as a Leicester supporter of 30+ years I can appreciate that most of the squad that won the league were ‘ordinary’ individual footballers, relatively speaking, even if they are now actual Immortals who will one day be deified and worshipped for eternity.
However, it is using our title win as a triumph of a few select individuals as opposed to a collective effort that grinds my gears here. Firstly, yes, I can acknowledge our title win was built upon the brilliance of Kante, Mahrez and Vardy. With any of those missing we would not have won the league.
But, in reality, simply because they were so ‘ordinary’ they had to be the ultimate team to win and ensure that the skills of our leading lights were suitably serviced.
Case in point: Our defence was built on a solid back four. It had two full backs who largely defended (as opposed to rampaged down the wing a la TAA and Robertson). This meant teams couldn’t get past them and could only cross into the box. This played into the hands of our man-mountain CBs Huth and Morgan who disdainfully cleared anything that came their way. But two such lumbering defenders leaves you open to the speedy strikers to nip through. Enter, stage left, N’Golo Kante. Now this young man was a revelation and a one man mopping up merchant. Nothing got past him that year because our defence ensured that the opposition could only play quite narrow, playing into the hands of Kante. And once the ball had been regained and recycled to Danny Drinkwater (who has done nothing since his move to Chelsea – clearly v v ‘ordinary’) his passing range and accuracy then unleashed Vardy, Albrighton and Mahrez to do what they do best.
Yes, we needed Kante, Mahrez and Vardy. But they also needed Simpson, Okazaki and Albrighton and the rest. I remember watching it all unfold and marvelling at how all the parts came together to create this perfect machine, the likes of which I had never seen before in a blue City shirt.
I know it is three full seasons since our title win (where has the time gone?!) but please don’t start rewriting the ‘narrative’ that our unique, special and once-in-a-lifetime achievement was due to individual glory rather than collective endeavour.
Rob (next year will be our year, again!), Leicester
Serie A and racism
I used to watch Gazetta Italia way back when. I used to love Italian football, the clubs like Parma, Juve, AC Milan, it was THE LEAGUE in my day (90s), probably the most dominant. All the big players went there, or were there. Maldini, Weah, Ronaldo (OG), Del Piero, Asprilla, Zola etc. What was not to love? We were the original football hipsters. Yet I saw recently that the Italian FA has cleared Cagliari of racist behaviour by their fans to Juve’s Moise Kean. They took 6 weeks to let off them off, and in that time there has been further incidents of racism at clubs such as Napoli – who will no doubt escape punishment also which begs the question, regardless of prestige, why would any ethnic player go play in Italy? Money is one thing, but if it meant you were demeaned, humiliated and worst of all not defended by your club or YOUR OWN TEAM MATES (looking at you Chiellini!) why would you go there? I would love young, up and coming players to say they don’t want to be racially abused so not going to Italy. Until people stop going, until people stand up to the powers that be, nothing will change. No 19 year old should ever be racially abused, period. I know lots of people say these are isolated incidents, why would you punish the whole club, or the fans for the behaviour of small elements. Well our molly coddling of said elements and leniency are what has got us to the point where a football association can ostensibly validate racist behaviour.
This is only going to get worse. In a way I’m glad Serie A is now on Premier Sports channel, it means my money is not going towards that backwards league.
John Matrix AFC
Jesus bloody Christ, can everybody please stop with this Klopp hasn’t won any trophies? Fair enough he hasn’t won any in England but that doesn’t mean the ones he won at Dortmund don’t count ffs. Also while I’m here, Leon, London “Spurs, on the other hand, performed much better than expected – pre-season most pundits had them finishing sixth” that is flat out bullshit mate, this website had 5 of 7 pundits predicting top 4 and the Mirror and BBC predicted the same (they were just the 1st 3 results I came across on Google).
Footballers and Brexit
Watching the midlands derby last night, my mind wandered and I realised it was obvious how any “personality” from football voted in the referendum. This a complete random list but I dare anyone to argue I’ve got one wrong. Obviously all UK citizens. So:
Eddie Howe – remain
John Terry – leave
Richard Keys – leave
Frank Lampard – remain
Harry Kane – remain
Sam Allardyce – leave
Neil Warnock – leave
Gary Lineker – remain
Jarvis Henderson – leave
John Stones – remain
Raheem Sterling – remain
Mike Dean – leave
Roy Hodgson – remain
Henry Winter – remain
Neil Custis – leave
Alan Brazil – leave
Chris Kamara – remain
Chris Hughton – remain
Kevin Keegan – leave
Steve McClaren – remain
Razor Ruddock – leave
Matt Le Tissier – remain
Mark Lawrenson – Liverpool
Phil Jones – Scottish National Party
Jesse Lindgard – spoilt paper, bantz
David (best deal I’ve been offered for the final so far is ticket £900, Flight £800, Room £1100 a night) Almond
Cup Final Nostalgia
The 2010 Europa League Final between Fulham and Atletico Madrid, yes you read that right, Fulham, who beat a strong Juventus team on the way to said final, the teams in this final?
Manager: Quique Sanchez Flores
De Gea, Antonio Lopez, Alvaro Dominguez, Perea, Ujfalusi, Raul Garcia, Paulo Assuncao, Simao, Reyes, Aguero and Forlan.
Manager: Roy Hodgson
Schwarzer, Konchesky, Hangeland, Hughes, Baird, Simon Davies, Danny Murphy, Ethuhu, Duff, Gera and Zamora.
Fulham took the game to Extra Time after 1-1 draw in 90 minutes, Atletico won in the end thanks to a Diego Forlan goal.
Quique Sanchez Flores, aka the former Watford manager managed Atletico, I totally forgot.
That Atletico Madrid was incredible.
Fulham knocked out Juventus, Shakhtar and Wolfsburg on the way to the final.
Here is my favorite European final, the 2004 Champions League final between AS Monaco and FC Porto. Two underdogs no one expected to reach the final, but when you look at the teams now, there was some real quality.
Flavio Roma, Hugo Ibarra, Julien Rodriguez, Gael Givet, Patrice Evra, Edouard Cisse, Lucas Bernardi, Akis Zikos, Ludovic Giuly, Jerome Rothen, Fernando Morientes
Tony Sylva, Sebastien Squillaci, Jaroslav Plasil, Hassen El Fakiri, Dado Prso, Shabani Nonda, Emmanuel Adebayor
Vitor Baia, Paulo Ferreira, Jorge Costa, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Pedro Mendes, Maniche, Deco, Carlos Alberto, Derlei,
Nuno, Ricardo Costa, Jose Bosingwa, Pedro Emanuel, Dmitri Alenichev, Edgaras Jankauskas, Benni Mccarthy
Monaco had so many great strikers. A young Adebayor, Nonda who 2 seasons before won the golden boot in Ligue 1, Prso who scored 5 against Super Depor and Fernando Morientes, on loan from Real Madrid, the team he helped knock out. Plasil still somehow plays. Moreover, Flavio Roma was part of those underrated Italian goalkeepers that never got a look in because of Buffon.
Porto had the spine of the Portuguese team, with many players joining Chelsea in the coming years (Bosingwa, Ferreira, Deco, Maniche and Carvalho). And of course Portsmouth legend Pedro Mendes, scorer of the greatest disallowed goal in the Prem history.
I’ll always remember that game for the quick start Monaco made, with Giuly at the center of everything, until his injury in the 20th minute that changed everything with Porto then winning 3-0. His injury also deprived France of one of the most in-form players at the Euros, like Pires in 2002. And while he would have most likely been on the bench, he could have added some energy against Greece in the Quarter Finals.
All in all, this is a great array of players. Many were able to stay at the top of the game for years (Evra, Giuly, Carvalho, Deco) to come, while others faded rather quickly after that year (Morientes, Prso).
City, Liverpool and Allez Allez Allez
So, there was a very nice article on what it means to get a City fan and on the whole I quite agreed with it. But in the same time I was reading this article, videos emerged of City players (to put it mildly) spinning the Allez Allez chant into something quite disgusting.
That chant included their own teammate and captain injuring Salah, a reference to Hillsborough and Sean Cox. The club has rejected the last 2 claims. How shall we proceed, that is all I want to ask.
This website regularly tried to show us the right way, in an ocean of other media sites messing it up. I want to ask them how will they proceed.
Can players do these things now?
I’ll let the wiser minds here answer these.