Lampard is taking Everton in the right direction in a Mailbox of pitch invasion solutions. Send your thoughts to email@example.com.
Defending Frank Lampard
There’s been an awful lot of guff about Frank Lampard on these pages recently, from your writers and mailboxes alike. Some of it borne out of rivalry; some, presumably, out of jealousy and spite. (Why on earth would a fan of another club care whether he deserves the EFC job or not, if such a thing could even be assessed?)
So, I thought I’d try to articulate why I and many other Evertonians are inclined to defend him.
Firstly, the mess at the club is not his fault. Our squad was compiled by no less than 8 different managers, together with 2 different DoFs and 2 board members who each have/had their own opinions. Some of those people were absolutely useless at their jobs. Many of the managers have opposing styles and some even seem to have been appointed as a direct reaction to the previous (different) playing style not working out. One mailboxer said that Lampard has had access to resources many clubs can’t dream of. Has he though? We are hamstrung by FFP rules now and he joined with only a few days of the transfer window remaining when we’d already conducted most of our business at the behest of the previous manager and DoF (a fine example of the complete lack of planning at the top level – I mean, selling Luca Digne to please Benitez and then firing Benitez almost immediately afterwards really takes le gateau). We had a world class number 10 in Rodriguez whom Benitez banished to the gulf because of a grudge held since they were in Madrid together many years ago and our other number 10 has been dropped from the squad because he’s [redacted for legal reasons]. Our best defender (Mina) has legs made of cheese and our main striker has been injured for much of the season and now seems more bothered about chasing modelling gigs than loose balls in the box.
Secondly, there are reasons to like and have faith in what he says. Martinez was unrelentingly positive to the point of gaslighting, Allardyce tried to claim Unsworth’s results as his own, Koeman seemed to think he was above it all and Benitez was thoroughly dour (and was never going to be one of us) but Frank genuinely seems pleased to be here and is actually telling it like it is. Yes, he has complained about refs but we’ve had some shocking decisions go against us during his tenure and he’s not made a habit of it like many others do. When we’ve played well, he’s complimented the team; when we’ve shown a complete lack of bollocks, he’s not been afraid to call them out too. F365 has picked up on him pointing to the state of results before we came but he’s right – they were absolutely shite.
Thirdly, there are signs that we are moving in the right direction. We are playing passes around again (ok, except against the red shite), pressing again and showing some fight again. Iwobi looks like a different player, Gordon is improving by the week (needs to learn to stay on his feet, mind), Mykolenko seems to have settled nicely now and we’ve even seen flashes (if only flashes so far) of what Dele Alli can do. The challenge is achieving consistency now and preventing Keane and Holgate from being distracted by passing bumblebees. Who knows? Stranger things have happened.
Finally, well, sooner or later we’ve got to back someone right? I’ve had friends who follow other clubs tell me that we should sack him and bring Allardyce back for the last few games. To me, that’s madness and the exact sort of knee-jerk decision making is what got us into this mess in the first place. Maybe Lampard will prove to be a very good manager, maybe he won’t and we’ll get relegated. Either way, though, I believe he deserves a proper chance (and from you lot too).
The pitch invasion problem
Do the morons who have invaded football pitches recently not realise that it is people like them who invaded pitches years ago who are really to blame for the awful Hillsborough disaster. Without pitch invasions the barriers at the ground would not have been there and the tragedy would not have happened.
Some people will never learn.
In days of yore, a good natured, joyous pitch invasion was an iconic part of football. An expression of ecstatic victory or outpouring of relief following avoiding relegation, it feels like it used to be about celebrating with your team and each other in a “once-in-a-lifetime” way that you’d remember warmly for the rest of your days.
Now it is an excuse for c*nts to attack opposition players, staff and/or fans. As ever, a few knobheads have ruined it for everyone.
We can’t go back to putting fans in cages, because there absolutely will be another Hillsborough that way. So instead, if more than 5 supporters trespass on the pitch, automatically forfeit the match / tie. No ifs, no buts, no exceptions.
This is why we can’t have nice things.
Shouldn’t Everton get a points deduction and massive fine for failing to control their fans? Something alongside the inevitable fine next year for FFP issued. Last night was a disgrace someone could have been seriously injured or worse. This is not acceptable and action needs to be taken to stop this happening in the future. Lampard’s comments don’t help either. Yes we are all passionate and yes fans deserve to celebrate but come on! This is getting crazy. This worrying trend needs to be nipped in the bud now.
Punishing a club for the behaviour of an idiot minority has never sat well with me.
Most football clubs state in signs across their stadia that it is a criminal offence to enter the field of play.
We live in an age where it is possible to use technology to identify the offenders.
It may take ages to identify each of the pitch invaders at Goodison last night but Everton should do it – pass their names to the police and ban each and every one of them from entering Everton’s home again.
This way you’re not punishing the innocent fans who stayed in their seats and sooner or later these numpties will get the message.
They do it because ‘everyone else was doing it’ and they think they’ll never be punished – time to prove them wrong.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Surely now the answer to stopping pitch invasions is simply handing down a “Behind Closed Doors” punishment to the home team for their next domestic game, not only that but only Away fans can purchase a ticket for that game and if found to be a home fan posing as an away fan that individual are given a stadium ban for the rest of the season.
Would it work? probably not, but other than playing every game behind closed doors i am not sure how to solve it.
The Admin @ At The Bridge Pod
So for quite a while now we’ve seen players kneel before every game to “fight racism”
Noble cause incorrect action.
We also have a growing problem of pitch invasions. And we have a historical problem of how clubs do business when it comes to transfers (liverpool included)
The issue is similar but different for each. There is little to no punishment for racist behaviour right now. It gets investigated and then the individual (if identified) may or may not be prosecuted (they mostly aren’t) clubs get a fine which even the smallest can easily afford.
For pitch invasions it’s pretty much impossible to identify and punish the individuals unless they’re clearly caught on camera. So it’s a small fine which even the smallest club can afford.
For transfers when teams are caught tapping up players (hi Chelsea, United, Liverpool, city…everyone really) or illegally paying youth prospects (hi United, Chelsea, Liverpool…everyone really) the punishment is a small fine which even the smallest club can afford.
The premier League isn’t even attempting to fix any of these things, having people kneel and having the commentator announce “there’s no place for racism” before every game does nothing.
Instead if the premier League or uefa want to really prevent any of these behaviours then the punishment should be points deductions. Because that really is something every club values. Even 1 point is big enough to get someone relegated or elected as champions.
But football doesn’t really want to fix any of these problems at all. Which is why they just give flimsy publicity shows instead of real action…kind of like a £50 fine for breaking national laws which you created…
Vieira vs Lampard
Quick one for Rohit, in response to his Viera fawning..Everton have won more games than Palace this season.
Chew that one over.
Ian (voiceless after last night) EFC.
Liverpool fan greed
At the beginning of this season and especially in the light of last season’s absolute horror show – I’d have sold someone else’s first born into slavery for the position we’re in now. Obviously I’m not going to sell my first born, he’s great – but I digress.
Two domestic cups, a Champion’s League final and fighting for the League right up to the last weekend? Christ, I’d take that every season, of course I would. And yet here we are and I still want more.
No part of me thinks we’re going to win the League, not really. Apart from the little part that remembers that ten years ago, QPR were 2-1 up against City right till the end and United came that close to nicking it. Villa aren’t a great side by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re better than that QPR team was. And City don’t have Aguerooooooo anymore. So it’s not impossible, just breathtakingly unlikely.
But this Madrid team is really, really beatable and the expectation is there for this one. They should have gone out in every one of the last 3 rounds and only the genius of Benzema backed up by the cauldron of the Bernabeu with a massive dose of luck got them through. Sure, the Champions League does weird things to Real Madrid but we’re no European slouches ourselves and the narrative does seem very much that this is our time to get revenge for Ramos and his shithousery. Even though he’s gone obviously, the result remained and this time our keeper will be playing for us and not the opposition.
Win that and it’s an incredible season for us, lose and it will be slightly disappointing now, however we try to spin it. And that’s completely and utterly ridiculous, of course it is. If that’s how you define a disappointing season then there’s an awful lot of clubs even more disappointed than us. Try about 90 in this country alone.
It just shows how much my expectations have evolved over this season that winning 3 trophies and coming 2nd in the other one is what it takes to be really happy with this season. And yet I seriously doubt I’ll ever be in the position to be this greedy again.
Penalty shootout solutions
The solution to avoiding penalty shoot outs is already well known to some of us older fans of the beautiful game.
Loads and loads of replays. Can’t settle the tie? Play it again. Often just a few days later. Think of all the extra football fun times to be had with a replay. Man City fans got to travel to Wembley twice in a week back in the 1980s to ultimately lose the FA cup final. Villa and Everton played the final 3 times in the 1970s version of the league cup. 3 cup finals in 1 season – tell me fans of either team wouldn’t go nuts for that today. Wembley, Hillsborough & Old Trafford since you didn’t ask – brilliant! A touring cup final. Who wouldn’t want that?
Not sold on the idea yet? Imagine Klopp having to navigate not just 2 more cup finals this season, but also replays of the earlier rounds that went to pens.
Forget all your rubbish ideas that would ruin scoring stats and Americanise the game – just bring back replays. Everyone loves more football, and you can’t ‘more’ than a replay. I’m even on board with having the replay immediately after the first match, that way supporters only have to buy 1 ticket…whatever, it’s all good ‘more football’.
Jeremy (or just leave penalties as they are – personally I love a good shootout) Aves
I think a simple way to make penalty shoot-outs a bit fairer for both teams would be allowing a player who has already been subbed off to be one of the 5 takers (essentially subbed back on to the 11). It always seems a bit unfair to me that some of the players who are taking penalties are not the ones who were originally selected to start the game. Extra-time regularly turns out to be a boring non-event as some players are basically just trying to survive the 120 minutes to ensure they are still on the pitch at the end – if teams were allowed to get some fresh players on (as well as having the option of the original starters taking a penalty), it might help to make extra-time a bit more exciting, as well as improving the standard of penalty taking.
David Horgan, AVFC, Dublin
As a West Ham season ticket holder for 35 years,here is my idea…
Whichever team scores the first goal, wins, if the scores are still level after extra time
I’m aware this doesn’t solve a 0-0 aet situation!
T E Matthews
To those (somehow) calling for an end to the penalty shoot-out “lottery” I will say only one thing:
Kevin Pressman vs Wolves.
If you can’t derive any joy or satisfaction from that, you officially have no soul!
Lee, lover of shoot-outs (despite Englishness):(
I know managers like to put a spin on things to put themselves in a favourable light but Thomas Tuchel’s comments on N’Golo Kante are next level.
“I think he is our key, key, key player, but key, key, key players need to the on the pitch and he has played only 40 per cent of the games, so it is maybe a miracle that we arrive in third place.” He then went on to compare him to a range of world-class players (absolutely fair, Kante is sensational) before comparing how Liverpool performed without van Dijk last season.
By my reckoning, Kante has missed 9 games completely this season due to Groin, Knee and Coronavirus issues with a further 2 games where he was an unused sub or not in the squad. He has also come on as a sub or been subbed a few times. But he has completed at least an hour in 19 games so far this season and made 26 appearances in total – by my calculator that is 68% of the games, not 40%.
In comparison, Virgil van Dijk made – 5 (Five) appearances – all season. Joel Matip our second best centre-back made 10 appearances, while Joe Gomez our third choice centre-back made 7 appearances.
Again by comparison, Kante’s colleagues in midfield – Jorginho 29 appearances, Kovacic 25 appearances, Mount 31 appearances, Loftus-Cheek 29 appearances, Havertz (a midfielder though not a defensive one) 28 appearances, even Ziyech has 22 appearances.
To give another comparison that Tuchel made, De Bruyne missed the same amount of league games last year and City won the league, the league cup and made the S-F and Final of the Champions League.
Tuchel is a brilliant manager and Chelsea were a player or two away from mounting a real challenge this year but to suggest that finishing 3rd because one player missed fewer than 10 games is something of a miracle is really stretching reality.
A Mailbox retort
Dear ed, please let me respond to Paul after he called me out in this morning’s mailbox.
Paul, I don’t “claim” to be a data anaylst. I am a professional data analyst. It’s been my day job for years, although not in the Football space (that’s the dream). I used the data to form the analysis and delivered an opinion on that analysis Paul, that’s literally what good data analysis is. My opinon was, to recap: “Trent is not a terrible defender, but he is not particularly great at it. That’s fine, his main job in the team is to be a creative force and he does that extremely well. But he simply has not been a brilliant defender this season on many metrics. That’s a (mostly objective) fact. To say he’s one of the best defenders in the league is provably nonsense.”
My support of Man Utd has nothing to do with wanting to “knock a Liverpool player” (fucking hell we’re not all mentally 12 years old Paul). I was responding to someone who claimed Trent was one of the best defenders in the league using poorly chosen stats, representing them in a bad way, and comparing it to a limited subset of his competitors. My professional pride didn’t want to see that go unchallenged. In fact, you’ve literally agreed with me about Liverpool managing individual skills within a structure. Trent is part of that structure but it’s clear his main role in that is to attack, not to defend. And he does it brilliantly!
Want me to praise Liverpool instead? Klopp has done incredibly well, and his team reminds me a lot of Sir Alex’s best Man Utd teams. You just know they’re going to win, going to get the job done somehow. Liverpool’s opponents are beaten before they step on the pitch most of the time. Their domestic and European success has been immense. I do look forward to when that dominance ends though, even if I have to wait another 5 years.
Calum, MUFC, Wokingham