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Give the title to Liverpool
Please, just get it over with. Just to end the stream of vile c**ts popping up in the mailbox to demand that thousands of people expose themselves and their families to danger, because this means more. More than 50,000 deaths. More than children developing life-destroying related conditions. More than countless people being forced to say goodbye to loved ones over Skype. This is Liverpool Football Club. You know them, they’re the ones that love to beat that ‘community’ drum, one big family, all love and support for each other. They attend funerals. Which is good, because they will have f**king thousands to go to over the next few months.
So let’s end it, and give them that f**king trophy that is apparently worth more than the lives of innocent people. We all know how this is. We’ve all seen them claim the integrity of the game is at risk, and provide bullshit reason after bullshit reason. And we’ve all seen the increasingly nasty tone they are taking towards any footballer that dares ask if it is safe. Of course it is, LFC’s rancid fanbase says so.
I thought the mental hoops leapt through to justify their racist striker was as low as they would go. Silly me. I didn’t realise that they would happily climb over 50,000 dead to get back on that perch. Troy Deeney has lost multiple family members. Neil’s response to his understandable concern? Well just get an apartment and PLAY. What an awful, awful world we live in. I wonder if they’ll be so heartlessly keen if a few of their squad come down with it? Probably pop round to check their temperatures and do a bit of hand grenade persuasion.
Give them the title. F**k it, give them ten. Whatever it takes to end the abhorrence. Because when we look back on this time, they will be viewed in the same hideous light as the Tory party. Selfish, ignorant, and incredibly happy to shit on anyone who gets in their way. Well done LFC fans. Well done.
Cotton wool? Cotton wool?
So another footballers+cotton wool argument hits the mailbox.
Are people being deliberately dense? Like, I appreciate that Neil from Malta’s probably real family members are doing vital and important work for our NHS but, has perhaps not noticed that kicking a football around is quite such necessary work?
People seem to be being willingly dense on bringing football back. Acting like it’s just 22 guys kicking the ball around in the park.
Alongside the 22, plus subs, plus squad members in case anyone breaks down in training – you’ve got the coaches, the medical staff, the broadcasters, the guy that drives the bus to the ground and that’s before we get to the police that will inevitably need to be around the stadiums and of course the paramedics – who presumably have better things to do at the moment than that sit around waiting in case Mo Salah breaks a metatarsal.
Aside from the fact that the police and the paramedics are likely dealing with a fair few sick people at the moment, or that some of these people might have, say, kids being forced back to school in the coming weeks – it’s his particularly stupid assertion that Troy Deeney should rent an apartment for eight weeks that does me in. Because as we all know, apartments are housed in completely empty buildings, with no shared spaces, stairwells or elevators. Perhaps Troy can rig his bedsheets and scale down the building to the bus?
I feel it’s vital to point out that most of the people in the stadium will not be on ridiculously high salaries.
People will be risking their lives for football to start up again, and even if you’re fine with rich people dying so you can finally crow about a Premier League title, I don’t think many people are. But certainly, you can’t believe it’s okay for Dave the bus driver to cark it for £11 an hour.
Footballers aren’t quite so thick as to think there wont be financial consequences to all this – they’re just bright enough to realise that losing their job is better than, you know, dying.
But this isn’t AIDS
Tim’s mail this highlights one of the main problems of Covid19. The fear. Tim compares it to a ‘deadly disease’. This is not a deadly disease. Not for footballers anyway. Covid seems scary and it is, for many reasons. It scary because it kills many vulnerable people. It’s scary because it could have, if steps had not been taken, overwhelmed the health system. What it is not, is dangerous to young people.
In the UK there have been 401 deaths of the under 40s. One death for roughly 100,000 people. Last year road accidents killed roughly one in 40,000 people. So even if it was killing healthy young people, Covid would still be killing at a lower rate than road accidents. When you add in the fact that the vast majority of these people have severe underlying health conditions, the risk to young people really is small.
I completely understand the reason that people are scared. I think the government has done a shocking job communicating the reality to the public. I understand the feelings among some people that we shouldn’t be taking risks. But we take a risk getting into a car. We are not going to eliminate the virus anytime soon. Footballers can return safely, as long as we follow all precautions.
Mike, LFC, London
No problem with Liverpool motivation
Some interesting bits and bobs over the last few days about transfer windows and keeping players motivated etc. I guess as a Liverpool fan there are a couple of thoughts that spring to mind:
First, as Matt Stead points out, it’s everyone standing still. My major concern this summer would have been how far City will go to overhaul Liverpool – I would caution that they are still able to spend A LOT of money, but will they be able to close that gap enough in the current situation? I mean even City must have some financial restrictions to consider (though it never bothered them before…). No chance Liverpool will be as good, but just improving enough to meet halfway is a big ask for a City side that has at times looked a bit past its best and quite inconsistent.
Second, I think, title or not, that Liverpool will still have a point to prove next season (despite their achievements). I think when you look at the team, players like Van Dijk, Salah, Mane – they will want two, three, four titles – this Liverpool team is fantastic, but one title doesn’t yet make them stand up even to the modern City, in terms of the league, let alone the great Liverpool, Arsenal or United sides that went before. In short, I don’t think Jurgen needs to work hard on motivation.
…Here is a frightening alternative to the ‘Liverpool are at the end of their cycle’ argument:
The league restarts in June. Liverpool have the league sewn up and won within two games. Liverpool then play their youth team for the remaining seven fixtures whilst every other team fights until the bitter end.
Next season starts and everyone else is a bit tired due to the lack of proper summer break whilst the Liverpool first XI is fully rested and smashes the opposition again next season, winning the title by March and resting lots of players towards the end of the season because of the AfCON and Euro championships so that the season after, players from other teams are a bit tired after a long season and no summer break whilst the Liverpool team are well rested and once again raring to go…
Frightening for everyone else, obviously.
Stealing rules from other sports
Reading Paul from Frankfurt’s ideas on the corner reform, stealing the short corners from hockey, I used to always think it’d be a great idea to steal the rolling subs for corners too, where you could just bring in a specialist set-piece taker for the corner and then sub him back off. It was Andy Hinchcliffe who gave me this idea, an alright player but a fantastic corner taker.
Considering the only talent they’d need was a wand of a foot, they wouldn’t really have to be particularly fit, or even tactically astute, you could afford that spot on your bench for the ultimate luxury player; your Hinchcliffe, Recoba.. hell you could probably even shove a 51-year-old Matt Le Tissier on your bench! You just wouldn’t want to be caught on the counter!
A second idea was stolen from rugby union; in the lineout the taking side can choose the number of players in the line and the opposing team has to match it man for man. You could extend that to football, either flooding the area with 10 men to create bedlam, or just have your Peter Crouch/Nikola Zigic with the freedom of the area!
I dare say Everton would have had a few more titles had these rules been in place in their Hinchcliffe – Ferguson days!
Paul (they’d still be bitter though!), The Wirral
England have terrible luck with injuries
This is a bit of an old reference but your youngest England debutants had me thinking is there another country out there who have had such bad luck (is it bad luck?) with injuries?
Butland, Richards, Woodgate, Shaw, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere, Owen and even Rooney all have endured frequent spells on the sidelines. Add in King, Gascoigne, Carroll, Ashton, Hargreaves, Anderton, Jamie Redknapp, Kieron Dyer, Daniel Sturridge, these are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.
The list of players who England have had, and of whom expectations were high, it seems almost impossible to imagine another country who has lost out on so many excellent prospects. I do acknowledge that some, Rooney especially, didn’t exactly have a terrible career but there remains that feeling that but for fitness he could have been so much more. Others never stood a chance.
Response to Adam on Chelsea’s Academy
While I agree with most of what you say, I object to you saying Chelsea having 20% of England U17 is a result of Chelsea having a good system for two reasons.
Firstly, Chelsea are a rich successful club which attracts players no matter the quality of your academy. Man Utd’s academy has been criticised for years for not being as good as it could be but still produced Rashford and Angel Gomes.
Secondly, a few years back the rules related to football academies changed. Youth academies are now graded from 1 to 4 with the fees for the movement of players between academies fixed. This massively benefits big successful club’s with money e.g. the big 6. The argument in favour from Arsene Wenger when it came in was that players should be allowed to go to the best finishing schools (academies) to reach their full potential. While this may be true it massively set back lower league football clubs who were reliant on fees for teenager footballers and now receive much less. Several academies closed. It may be the cause that English players increasing technical quality is a result of this but it might of happened anyway. Chelsea were very successful when these changes occurred and were excellent at using the rules to their advantage (not a criticism).
My point is that although Chelsea’s academy is undoubtedly of high quality, Abramovich’s money and the academy rule change also played a large part in its success. Football’s systems are increasingly loaded in favour of successful clubs with lots of money from youth team to first team.
Alphabet Cup: B team v C team first leg
Henning Berg Slaven Bilic Steve Bruce Leighton Baines
David Beckham Gareth Barry Michael Ballack Gareth Bale
Dennis Bergkamp Dimitar Berbatov
Subs: Artur Boruc, Hector Bellerin, Ross Barkley, Phil Bardsley, John Barnes, Mario Balotelli & Peter Beardsley.
Manager: Eddie Benitez
Venue: Bramall Lane
Seamus Coleman Jamie Carragher Sol Campbell Ashley Cole
Joe Cole Philippe Coutinho
Eric Cantona Andy Cole
Subs: Willy Caballero, Ben Chilwell, Gary Cahill, Andreas Christensen, Santi Cazorla, Andy Carroll & Peter Crouch.
Manager: Antonio Conte
The first ten minutes of this heavyweight match-up pass by without much incident. Bale sets up a tame Berbatov header. Coutinho then jinks along the edge of the box and slips a ball to Cantona, confounding Baines in the process, and he slides home. 1-0 and Benitez retches.
Some neat midfield interplay ensues. Sol Campbell intervenes well. The Cherries break and Tim Cahill fires from the left, which Barthez deflects into the air and, in coming out to challenge for it, is left in No Man’s Land as Cantona rises to lob a header over him and into the net; Baines again a non-entity. Calamity.
The Bees win a corner and Bergkamp has a pop. Beckham then shoots which is well-saved by Cech. Little comes from it but the next shot from Bergkamp is very close to the top corner indeed. The Bees are in the ascendency now with half an hour played. But then Coutinho breaks free and pokes a terrible effort at Barthez. Bale then crosses deep and Ballack is unmarked to head past Cech right on half-time! Game on! Carrick has a free shot in the box but blazes over, another wasted effort. Replays show Bruce got a toe on it; an amazing block! The corner is crossed to Cahill who volleys it first-time towards the top corner before being expertly cleared on the line by Berg! Half-time.
The half starts with a Beckham cross that Cech can only tip out to the box onto Bale’s head, who squares to Ballack whose weak header is cleared by Campbell on the line. Berbatov is fouled by Cahill near the centre circle. The B-Side maintain possession very much unlike the Benitez style. Coleman chips to Andy Cole who goes for an audacious bicycle kick but is intercepted by Bilic. Carrick returns with a fierce drive palmed behind by Barthez. Cazorla comes on for Cahill. Conte knows something. Bale is off for Barnes. Benitez knows something too. Andy Cole crosses for Cantona to have a stab from all of 4 yards but Barthez smothers it. Cazorla has a solid shot in the box blocked by BIlic. The ball is worked to Carrick to have a pop and it is a fantastic save from Barthez down to his left. C-Team on top here.
Approaching the hour mark, and the B-Team cannot get out of their half. Beckham does some diligent defensive work and plays out to Berbatov who links up with Bergkamp and then Barnes with a neat 1-2 to break and smash the ball home. Out of the blue! Barry then heads a Bergkamp cross towards the top corner, excellently saved by Cech who rallies his team. The tables are turning here.
Cantona starts to pull some strings. Carrick shoots wide, having more shots than ever in his life in this one game. He is then played through by Cantona and slots it home! Who knew he had it in him. Bergkamp hit a weak long-range effort. C-Team win another corner. Carrick slips a ball to Ashley Cole who draws a save from Barthez. Cashley then fires the next effort over, probably looking for his next paycheck.
Into the last 15 minutes now, and the Cs are dominating and it shows as Cantona smashes a shot past Barthez for their fourth goal of the contest. The Bs are shellshocked and Barthez proves it as he makes a CALAMITOUS error to set up Coleman with an open goal from all of 10 yards which he gratefully receives. Barthez makes some amends a fabulous save from Carrick and Barry hits the post but the ties appears dead in the water at this stage as we head over to Craven Cottage (our sponsors won’t allow us not to call the Etihad the City of Manchester Stadium) for the 2nd leg.
MOTM: Eric Cantona 9.6/10.
We could not keep away from the camera for long so we made a Football365 Isolation Show. Watch it, subscribe and share until we get back in the studio/pub and produce something a little slicker…