The one ref’s decision you can’t forgive or forget, and other mails…

Date published: Tuesday 17th March 2020 9:14

Keep your mails coming to…


The one decision you can’t forgive
The mailbox comments section including a piece from AlexDJ claiming that Everton were the victims of “the worst decision ever seen”, Collina disallowing a goal which would/could have given them extra time in their Champions League qualifier.

Now obviously, “the worst decision ever seen”, can only be made against your own club and we ALL have a back catalogue, so, to start a thread that isn’t “give/don’t give LFC the title”, what’s “the worst decision ever seen” for your club.

I’ve never got over the 1978 League Cup Final replay when Pat Partridge gave Nottingham Forest a penalty when the foul was clearly outside the box, Phil Thompson said afterwards that he deliberately tripped John O’Hare knowing he was outside the box. The penalty was scored and Forest won the cup.

Years later I was driving a mini-bus ferrying “celebrities” to and from a golf day, Partridge came out of the hotel and I wouldn’t let him on the bus until he admitted he made an error, he refused, he didn’t get on the bus!
Howard (the drivers badge made me power crazy!) Jones


How to conclude the season
There seems to be one ‘solution’ which is incredibly obvious but no one is talking about:

It seems at least quite likely that a portion of next season will also be lost. In which case, it strikes me that this season will be finished off in a few months’ time, probably running well into 2021, and next season simply won’t happen.

Surely this is the simplest solution as well: current league positions are unaffected, TV contracts remain fulfilled etc. The one problem would be player contracts, but that’s not a problem than can be solved given the already-confirmed length of the break.
Will (this year is going to be SO BORING) Graham


…Surely the 20/21 season which hasn’t even started needs to be the one that is cancelled/shortened ahead of the current one which is nearly done being declared void. At least any implications to 20/21 would put every team in the same situation from the beginning which would be the best of a bad situation and the fairest solution to all involved.
Ryan, Liverpool


…The reason Matt’s elegant solution is the question of what are the consequences of finishing in the bottom three for this season? Who qualifies for European places? What if a club finishes bottom while the next season they find form and stay up while a team that won promotion just miss out the following season? Why is that fairer than Liverpool not being crowned champions?

The problem with the solution is that it ultimately places a criteria on who to be fair to with the starting point of trying to ensure Liverpool win the title. Unfortunately there isn’t one solution that can be completely fair. My feeling is if football (as looks very certain) will not resume any time soon then ultimately they will probably choose to void the season. I think this is because it’s principal quality being that it is an unambiguous solution – all other solutions just lack the same clarity and it can be applied across all the leagues Europe So the the season simply restarts. However – whatever gets chosen there is not a single solution that won’t prompt massive lawsuits somewhere. So it’s likely even the final decision will not actually be the final decision.
Red Tom – Man Utd


…Anybody saying Liverpool were not going to win the league this season needs their brains examined. If they have one. I despise Liverpool but come on let’s not even pretend it wasn’t happening. European places and relegation spots I agree would be a more difficult issue to resolve based on form/run ins but to even suggest an asterisk besides their league title is stupid and even worse to say they shouldn’t get it all. They’ve romped it. You could add 90 matches and no one would catch them.
Edward Canhands ( Sunderland til I die…. of Corona)


Not just a cold
Just a small note to try to humanize these arguments about footballers being quarantined together, etc. (I can’t believe I just typed that) from the States, where civilization is collapsing as divine punishment for failing to embrace football, even after the gift of holy grace that is the last decade of our USWNT:

Some in the mailbag are talking about “mild cold symptoms” as if what we’re talking about is a minor bother. Let’s put aside the fact that we have only just this side of zero evidence on the distribution of symptom severity – even from Korea, which has been world-beating in their data production in this outbreak – and talk about what that actually means.

My ex is currently under quarantine with the virus here in NYC, and is relatively low on the symptom range, low enough that they’re not even contemplating hospitalization. “Relatively mild” coronavirus here means: a personal hell of constant pain, body-wracking coughs, and a never-ending mental haze of panicked incomprehension (and my ex maintains a level of fitness not too far from a professional footballer (no really)). It is horrific. Arteta is by all accounts a lucky man.

To ask any professional other than those brave people in the medical field to risk that so that we can watch them kick a ball around is such a stunning degree of selfish callousness that it beggars belief. No body other than the players’ associations should have the power to decide what they are willing to risk as a collective, and the rest of us need to shut the **** up about it, even if the mailbag is a little thinner. I extend an open invitation to any contributors who would like to disagree that I will smuggle them over in a cargo plane, let them spend two weeks in quarantine with my ex, and see how they feel on the question. I will then cede (or at least listen) to their opinion.
Ian S, NYC


…Good news for Liverpool fans; if the season gets cancelled then we’ll be European and World champions for another year 🙂

Seriously though, move Euro 2020 to 2021. Finish the current season by August. Start the new season in October and cancel the carling cup next season (or exclude premier league teams) so that the PL fixtures can be congested enough to finish by May without killing the players.
Minty, LFC


…Liverpool should get the title. Now that that is out of the way…

My solution to fill last 3 champions league places is a 2nd – 9th play off US style, 2v9, 3v8, 4v7, 5v6.
Only 1 leg, Higher seeded team (2-5) at home. If City (2nd) make the final all their games are at home. Same for Leicester(3rd) unless they meet City(2nd) in final.
All arsenal’s(9th) games will be away, same for Tottenham(8th) unless they meet Arsenal(9th) in the final. 2 finalists get champion’s league, winner of third place playoff gets it too.
At the bottom 16th-19th, same deal only finalists stay up. Liverpool get title, Norwich are gone (sorry Norwich)

If the top seeds win the 4 first round games then it’s city v utd and Leicester v Chelsea. City v utd with the winner getting champion’s league would be epic.

No body likes the idea of US anything near good ‘ol English football but it could be quite exciting!!

Kind regards,
Ciaran, Ireland (a nervous Liverpool fan!)


TV money in a voided season
I’m only popping in and out of the mailbox to ease my rage at the thought of a void season so apologies if this has been done. It seems that if your team is crap, mismanaged and in a relegation dog fight you want the league to be voided. Voided means it never happened. So Liverpool’s record equalling win run gets stricken from the books. Never happened, games were voided. Liverpool can’t win the league but they are the only people missing out so ha ha tough cookies isn’t it funny.

Fine, ok, league gets voided for all you crap teams. You get another year in the premier league suckling on the rich cream from the teat of TV money. Except you don’t do you? The league was voided. You don’t get that nice big £200m cheque at the end of season for finishing where you finished. That money gets to stay in the nice warm pockets of the Premier League. No point suing them, the league was voided it never happened. You can’t demand your reward for competing in a league that never happened. Wonder if that changes anyone’s mind?

As its compulsory to add a suggestion on how to finish the season how about we play only one more game this season – City vs Liverpool. If Liverpool win, they win the league mathematically based on a 38 game season, no * needed, the rest of the league is voided and premier league use the prize money that they save to pay the staff of all football clubs, including football league clubs, and the people on zero hours contracts through contractors who might be going hungry.

If Liverpool lose or draw then cancel the 20/21 season and restart the 19/20 league after the 2020 winter transfer window or winter break. Oh and the Premier League pays the staff and contractors for the fixtures that aren’t played.
Alex, South London


The Paul Pogba Stand
…On Feb 27th, I wrote the following:

“My question is this. Can anybody on F365 advise on what would happen to the UK’s various league titles along with the CL and Europa League competitions if they are cancelled before the end of this season? If there is no definitive answer, then is there precedent? For example, the First & Second World Wars. The last thing I can think of was the chaos caused to the FA cup because of the extreme winter of 1963 when, I believe, a special ‘Pools panel’ was convened to decide the ‘likely’ results. Would this be a relevant solution in 2020? Or is there a computer/tech equivalent? If so, how do you decide who reaches/wins/loses the play-offs for each league or who gets relegated? I ask as the potential for extreme, and protracted, litigation from both League Associations and Clubs would be huge wouldn’t it?

Fingers crossed this will end up as a rhetorical question”

In response to the charmer in the comments section who scoffed about my ‘over-reacting to a bit of flu’, I would like to quote my teenage nephews who are fond of saying “Sh*t just got real”. Otherwise, no other response to my question was printed so I did a little digging, and this mail is in reflection to the many posts in the last couple of days as well as BoJo’s first ‘daily briefing’ last night. (This only applies to the Prem btw. I make no comment about the EFL).

Hands up, I asked the original question as I was delighted at the prospect of Liverpool being denied at the 11th hour. Schadenfreude on steroids if you like. I was wrong. I had assumed that, for any major changes to the PL rules or structure, a majority vote of the 20 clubs would suffice. Not so and it appears to be more of a ‘all or nothing’ type of call. Accordingly, it seems eminently reasonable to suggest that most, if not all, of the other clubs would concede the title to Liverpool without much issue. Well, apart from my beloved City that is who, it appears, dearly love a legal punch-up.

The problem is at the other end because you are absolutely asking turkeys to vote for Christmas. There is no way Villa, Bournemouth or Norwich are going to agree to be relegated. It did occur that you could buy them off with an exceptionally high, and one-off, parachute payment but then everybody else in the Championship would be screaming ‘unfair advantage’ wouldn’t they? Nor does it do anything to solve who would be promoted to the PL.

For the same reason, you couldn’t have a pools panel deciding who goes down. Why? Because if any F365-er can predict, for certain sure, which of the above plus West Ham Watford and B&HA would end up as the final day’s bottom three, then could they DM me with next week’s Lotto numbers please? Ta. So, similarly, the latter three teams aren’t going to agree to a pools panel in case it goes against THEM. So that’s at least six clubs who won’t be towing the line.

At the time of writing, Canada has just announced it will be closing its borders, the EU is proposing a travel ban and airline after airline is having to ground their aircraft. BoJo has just announced that we should all stay away from pubs, restaurants and cinemas and now the FA is advising that the NL will be postponed as should grass-roots football. The Olympics won’t be happening, the Euros won’t be happening and there is more chance of the United faithful naming a stand at OT after Paul Pogba than there is of any PL football being played in just under three weeks’ time.

All tribalism aside, if the Prem doesn’t have either the ability, or the necessary legal powers, to enforce its will on the twenty clubs then I can’t see any viable option but to void the season. Voiding means the risk of Liverpool FC throwing their toys out the pram. Any other of the ‘solutions’ proposed on here, it seems to me, would result in every club, across all four leagues with a dog in the fight, throwing their toys out of the pram. Which option do you think the relevant League authorities would be minded to back? Oh, and for the same selfish reasons, I can easily imagine UEFA making an identical decision about the CL under pressure from the usual European-club suspects.

I happily stand to be corrected if I am wrong in my assertion that the PL cannot dictate to the ‘Twenty’ but, if I am right, then there really is no other realistic or financially viable option for them but to void.
Mark (Would the Pogba stand have to have its’ roof painted a different colour every week?) MCFC.


A correction
Had to respond to Fatman in the last mailbox.

Cast your mind back to 2005. Did Liverpool cheat Everton out of a place in the Champions League or did both teams get entered? Liverpool had to start at the first qualifying round and Everton in the 3rd qualifying round that almost every team that finished 4th in the Premier League has had to play in until recently, and would have been in regardless.

I can understand this selective memory as Everton were so abject that they got knocked out in the qualifying round of the champions league loosing both legs to Villarreal. Then upon being moved down to the Europa League they got knocked out in the first round by Steaua Bucharest.


…In response to Fat Man,

Everton still got a place in the qualifying rounds of the Champions’ League in 2005/2006. They just ballsed it up, going out in the first round to Villa Real, getting beaten home and away.

How is that Liverpool’s fault?
Dom Littleford


So I see the whole 2005/Liverpool/Everton/4th place episode has reared its ugly head again complete with the ubiquitous conspiracy theories. In an effort to put this to bed, I’ll try to shed some light for the benefit of some. When Liverpool won the CL in 2005 but finished outside of the top four the rules stated that the decision should go to the local FA to decide who to put through for next season – 4th place or the CL winner. I think for most people this should be a simple choice, you put the winner through to give them the chance to defend their trophy. And the FA agreed, at least according to a statement on their website saying exactly this. That was their position right up until the point Liverpool won the trophy and that statement mysteriously disappeared. They then took the exact opposite position and put the 4th place team through instead. Why? Nobody knows.

However, this is supposedly about karma and Everton being cheated out of their CL place. The reward for finishing 4th in 2005 was a spot in the final qualification round. What Everton got was a spot in the final qualification round with Liverpool getting special dispensation to enter the first qualifying round as a 5th English team. At this point some of you are probably asking how Everton were cheated when they got exactly what they were supposedly entitled to. Well, from here it gets a bit murky….

Everton fans believe that UEFA were dead set against England having 5 teams in the Champions League. Why exactly? Who knows? 4 teams from England was fine, it was great, it was positively encouraged. But 5!! That’s footballing blasphemy!!! Now anyone paying attention would have noted that there were only 5 English teams in it because UEFA made that decision. I mean, if it was true they were dead set against having 5 English teams they could have just chosen not to let Liverpool in. That would probably have been the easiest option.

But no, following their own decision it then set in motion a series of events that could have brought down the whole of UEFA. A story of bribery, match-fixing and corruption at the highest levels of European football. The story is that UEFA brought Pierluigi Collina out of retirement and paid him off with commercial deals to screw Everton, evidenced by his decision to rule out a supposedly good goal. Now this is match-fixing, no two ways about it. By the organisation that controls European football. If this was verified it’s then game over in a similar scandal to the one which brought down Sepp Blatter et al.

Now let’s give Everton fans the benefit of the doubt here and say this is all true. UEFA, instead of just not letting Liverpool in decided to risk the future of their entire organisation because 5 is apparently an evil number. It begs ones question, how is any of it Liverpool’s fault? It wasn’t Liverpool who entrusted the original decision to a bunch of suits not savvy enough to run a whelk stall who then changed their minds. It wasn’t Liverpool who gave Liverpool special dispensation to play in the competition. It wasn’t Liverpool who concocted a plot to fix the result of a match. All Liverpool did was win some football matches. So even if you believe the conspiracy theories it’s hardly karma, is it? Liverpool were involved but they didn’t really do anything.
Jim (confident this’ll get published as there’s no football on and we’re all sick of #Voiding), Norwich


Digger dreams
I can’t claim to have bumped into John Barnes in a shop, but my (deceased) brother did so at a petrol station in Liverpool, back in the day and before mobile phones. I’m happy to confirm that Barnes was more than happy to dish out his autograph, so rest assured that if you ever get to turn your dream into reality, Digger won’t disappoint.
Pete (Socially Distancing), Belfast

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