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Touting for business
I read with great interest the email of Billz and sympathise with him immensely. Some of his ideas are brilliant, but let me tell you about my solution; coincidentally I am a fellow Liverpool fan. I know it wouldn’t work for him, being based abroad.
I have been on the Liverpool season ticket waiting list for over ten years now (you actually have to pay to be on the waiting list which proves people are serious I imagine) and can you guess what my position on the list is now? 21,000th or so. So there is literally no chance of me realistically getting a normal season ticket any time soon.
I have been buying tickets in the members’ sales for ten years and have been to some great games as a result, but the process is so hit and miss I decided to buy corporate season tickets to guarantee going to the big games. I chose the cheapest option for next year; all competitive LFC games at Anfield and the cost for two season tickets? £6,500.
Now I am reasonably well off to be able to even consider such a huge financial outlay. I am not however “rich” in any modern assessment of that term. I will go to maybe ten games a season and take friends and family for free with me (hopefully they will buy the beers), so the remaining games I have to sell and the best way of doing that is through “touting” websites.
So I am unwittingly now a ticket tout, I guess. I will aim to keep the price as reasonable as possible, but if you do the maths, say LFC play 25 home games next year (19 Premier league, 3 Champs/Europa League, one FA Cup tie, one league cup tie) the cost per game to me is around £135 per ticket per game. Who realistically is going to want to pay £270 for two tickets to a Cup replay on a cold January Tuesday against Rotherham? However on the flip side if LFC draw Real Madrid or Barcelona the price rises. It is very simple economics and I would be insane not to sell these (assuming I can’t go) for much more money. I am also taking the risk of not making my money back. There is also no option to pay that money on finance. The club took the whole amount six months before the start of the season.
Listen, all I have ever wanted was to go to the game and this gives me the opportunity to do it. Whilst clubs have more supporters than seats in the stadium, this will happen. You either have to find ways to circumvent the system or just give up and go and get another passion, if that makes me an evil capitalist, ticket tout, then that’s what I am.
While I wouldn’t agree that injuries are the only thing that could hold Liverpool back (Roma might have something to say about that, let alone Real or Bayern), but it’s certainly true that we are down to the bare bones at the moment. And no matter how lovely your bones may be, if they’re on show you’ve got a problem.
Currently there is only one member of our first XI that we could replace without a significant drop in quality: Lovren. Otherwise we are one injury away from having to start Mignolet, Moreno or Clyne (who’s played one game in a year) in a CL semi-final. We are down to three fit CMs so they’re all probably going to have to play 270 minutes across the next ten days. Mo and Firmino are irreplaceable no matter what, and despite Mane’s indifferent form he still brings more to the team than Ings, Solanke or Woodburn.
We can’t afford to make wholesale changes against Stoke as CL qualification for next season is still a long way from secure. (And to pre-empt the inevitable criticism, I’m not saying we should prioritise qualification for next year but we can’t disregard it either – missing out would be a huge setback and would likely lead to players leaving, and qualification via the league is still far more likely than via actually winning the thing).
There are a couple of options available: Ings seems likely to start with Salah on the bench in case he’s needed (he scored twice as a sub v Stoke earlier in the season), and if we want to rest Milner we could try TAA in midfield – he is a CM by trade and only started playing RB this season. We might even see three at the back, which would allow us to play Clyne and Moreno as wing backs and hopefully limit the damage the latter could cause – to us, I mean.
Drop points to Stoke and Chelsea will smell blood. Line up against Roma with anything other than the same XI that played them at Anfield and they’ll see a huge opportunity. Klopp needs to navigate this crucial run extremely carefully, and get a decent bit of luck along the way. The good news is that we have a three goal head start v Roma, and either a win v Stoke or a point v Chelsea should be enough in the league. But either way I’ll be watching from behind the sofa.
JG LFC (what Gareth was saying. About bones)
Waving off Wembley
If someone is offering 600 big ones for Wembley, the FA should bite their hand off. We don’t need a national football stadium. We have 20-30 stadiums around England that could realistically host internationals. Imagine that. An England team that doesn’t play in the worst part of London to get to, but plays up and down the country.
I remember this happening during the construction of the “new” Wembley and I have vague memories of it being quite successful.
I know people like to cling on to old things, but let’s rip the plaster straight off. Wembley, the two towers, they’re gone. It’s gone. The Wembley that is there now is not the same. it’s not ingrained in fond memories. it’s not in black and white films rammed with blokes wearing flatcaps and winding those clacker things around. It’s a big soulless husk now. It’s crap. It’s glass and metal and merch. Sell it. Take the cash. Send England out on the road. Invest the 500 million in grass roots football.
I’m 33 and I don’t care about national stadiums. We don’t need them.
All my love
Al (may have drunk 2 bottles of wine before writing this, apologies for the lack of SPG)
After all the sentiment earlier this week upon Wenger’s standing down, saying how it would be fitting for him to win the Europa Cup, surely the most fitting end would be for Arsenal to totally dominate a game, nick the lead, then produce a couple of comical errors to present the opposition with a goal at the death?
It’s not like we haven’t seen it so often before now is it?
…Is there a more fitting way for Arsene’s last Arsenal team to go out of Europe.
The last 13 years in a microcosm.
Adonis Stevenson, AFC
…As if to encapsulate Wengers last few years tonight Arsenal managed to have:
– 76% possession;
– 27 shots on goal;
– 700 odd passes;
– 90% pass completion;
And yet still contrived to draw against a team with 10 men for 80mins plus stoppage time. Calamity defending cost them when they should have been 3 or 4 ahead. Could you get a more Arsenal performance?
Expect an early lead next week to culminate in a 3-1 victory for Atletico (spelled correctly this time).
Alex, (do people still call it stoppage time?), Ayr
…I love the man. Truly. But that is why he had to go. The lack of concentration, organisation. The long hopeful punt, the absence of tracking, the individual error. Too many times. I’ve seen this film before. And I hated it the first time.
…Having fallen on his sword, Wenger will probably get the sendoff his earlier years at the club have merited. But the most telling thing about his departure is that the side have played exactly the same after the announcement as before. Against both West Ham and Atletico they’ve been peakety-peak late-Wenger Arsenal. No glorious response for their departing manager, not even a complete despairing collapse. Just Arsenal. Of course, things could turn around next week in Spain, but would you bet on it? In its own way it’s one of the saddest of exits.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
Just back from the game. We were wasteful, and it will likely cost us.
But my God has Simone built a team in his image. Nasty, dirty, moaning, whining, Ref surrounding, imaginary card waving, diving, rolling, injury feigning, rules challenging, official berating bastards the lot of them. I’ve no idea if they can play good football, I didn’t see them try to.
Number 11, Correa, went down on the half way line under an innocuous challenge, but as his team were down to ten men he wanted an arsenal player booked. As the play moved on, with Arsenal on the ball, he rolled and cried and his team mates pointed and tried to get the Ref to stop the game. Eventually the Ref blew, for a foul by Madrid and Correa instantly leaps to his feet and sprints 40 yards to be in position to defend it. How is this not ‘simulation’? Why is it OK? He was clearly faking an injury to gain advantage and to try and get a fellow professional booked. You see the same with every visiting Spanish team, even Barcelona. They may play beautiful football, but they make Stoke look clean and honourable in how they ‘manage’ the game.
The gang I go with are mainly City types, bankers and the like. they all think Arsenal need more of that, more of the ‘dark arts’ as they are want to be called, but then their chosen careers and morality arn’t exactly easy bedfellows. I don’t want any more of that anywhere. It revolts me. I could never love a Costa, or a Simeone. I’d rather let Arsene try to show me beauty, and accept 4th.
After 22 years in pursuit of the perfect goal (after 74 sideways passes on the edge of their box), I may be too old to change. Next season will be interesting.
David (Stockholm Syndrome is a thing right?) North London.
There’ll be plenty to discuss (deride) regarding Arsenal’s, probable, poor result against Atleti tonight however, I have to say that that was the best display of referring I’ve seen in years. Hats off to Clément Turpin and May there be more like him.
Chris (Oblak is some keeper too) AFC
Arsenal’s defence will improve
I was going to write a mail last week, pouring through the Arsenal squad and giving an opinion on who should be kept/sold, but thankfully for myself – and any potential readers – you guys have done that already, so instead I’ll just cut to the conclusion I was going to make.
While I do think some new signings are necessary, I do not think the squad is in too bad a shape, and the biggest signing Arsenal will make this season is the one in the dugout. The reason I believe this is because of the defenders, who I think are actually good enough, despite popular opinon, but are poorly coached/managed. Bellerin is the most obvious example of this, a player held up by many to be the example of Arsene’s inability to coach anymore, but I would argue that three such players exhibit this more; Gallas, Vermaelen & Koscielny. All three started their respective Arsenal careers strongly, adding goals and defensive steal to the team, while gaining plaudits and fans, and generally flourishing under Wengers attacking style. Gradually, however, their defensive side of the game started to dwindle, with the defensive ability coached out of them due to a lack of proper defensive coaching. All three players arrvied as good defenders, but failed to improve their game because they were poorly coached, and never lived up to their potential. Sure, Gallas bottled it against Birmingham, Vermaelen was cursed by injury – another gripe against Wenger for a different day – and the Koss got older, but too many defenders regressing under Wenger means the problem lies with him. Mustafi, while never spectacular, is a good defender hidden underneath a terrible defensive coach.
Sure, the squad does need a keeper, a winger or two, and a centre-mid and centre-back (the latter two to replace outgoing players mainly), but if rumours are true that we only have 50m to spend, I don’t fear the squad we have for the most part, especially with that attack, we just need a manager in the vein of Klopp or Poch who will actually coach the players and who actually has a tactical system/style to teach!
Néill, (written before the game), Ireland
Dele fine and dandy
I’ve thought for a long time that I would give my foreign opinion on the whole perception of and hysteria there seems to be surrounding Dele Alli’s performances in the English media.
Im a Danish Tottenhamfan, who watches pretty much every game. I generally love to follow the drama of the Premier League. The hype it generates is fascinating but sometimes things spin a little(or a lot) out of control in the media. For that reason I love Football365, as you give us a much more balanced view on the league. On Dele Alli however, I think you have been a little off, as the rest of the English media has.
My point on Dele Alli is; he hasn’t been that bad this season and he wasn’t that great in his first two.
In a lot of ways I think he is improving actually. His passing game and his first touch especially, which has been his biggest weakness, has been getting better continuously and especially this season.
He has in all his time at Tottenham always been up and down. Often his ups and downs happens minutes apart. He has played games where he scored twice and also lost the ball 20 times due to bad first touches or silly hail mary passes.
His game obviously very much relies on his harassing of opponents, being aggressive in all ways, forcing mistakes, which will happen at times other times not. He seems to play so much on instinct and pure will, that I think he at times falls out of games due to the fact that it is a very intense style mentally and he is very young and immature.
It is inevitable and it has happened continuously in his career at Tottenham. But in England there is a need to evaluate the young upcoming stars pretty much nonstop. And his evaluations have been a little off in my opinion. In football there is generally a lot of variance and there has been too much focus on his score count and chance conversion. He was generally quite lucky with his finishes in his first seasons and hasn’t been that lucky this year. He could easily have scored 5-10 goals more this year and he would have been wonderboy again.
But his game, all this harassing and scrapping, mentally going up and down in games, sometimes intense sometimes seem to be thinking of something else, will often lead to his goals coming in bundles and being a lot down to variance and chance. When you combine that with his attitude and the medias obsessive need to evaluate the young talent to sell papers, you get this hysteria around his performances and his persona. There seems to be no middle ground in the media with Dele, either he is a superstar or he is horrible, and it all seems to be based on his score count.
He gave the ball away trying silly things more often before than he does now, and his passinggame in small spaces and first touch, which at times was horrendous last year, is as previously mentioned getting a lot better. I see a player who is still raw and playing on instinct, but is progressing technically and tactically. He is starting to look very much like a player who footballwise can evolve into an English Thomas Müller-type, which wouldn’t be that bad.
His big challenge is being focused for as much as possible during a football game, and that will hopefully and probably get better in the next years. He needs to learn when to unleash the beast and when to cage it so to speak. Not focus so much on messing with opponents verbally and such, but channel his mental energy even more towards the game itself.
But my point being, he is moving in the right direction, this year as well, and he is in the perfect place to become the best Dele Alli possible. There is no need for thinking he is not evolving and getting better this year, because he hasn’t scored as many goals. He is improving his allround game, and moving forward along with his team. He will score in bundles again, and he will be a silly kid again, both probably very soon. But he is generally becoming a better footballplayer in all ways and, if he stays with Poch, his mentality will improve as well I Predict. So don’t worry England, all is well with Dele.
It was interesting to read football365 this afternoon and seeing Sarah Winterburn well and truly jumping the shark.
Before I jump on her piece in general, I’ll address the line ‘we even got caught up in the nonsense ourselves when a Spurs fan wrote into the Mailbox saying the bullying of Harry Kane had to stop’
The point of my piece wasn’t to denigrate other football supporters for having a pop at him. Some of the memes have been funny. It was partly to state that institutions that employ Harry Kane – the FA – and an institution Harry Kane PAYS to represent him in the best possible light – The PFA – shouldn’t be joining in the pisstaking. These two bodies have a large reach and influence over football and how footballers are perceived.
Another point, and this is the salient one when addressing this demonstrably terrible piece ‘penned’ by Winterburn, is that football journalists should have standards and should operate on a more esoteric level to the level occupied by fans down the pub on a Friday night.
When you read something a journalist publishes, you expect certain standards. Fact checking for example, something you perhaps wouldn’t expect from an amateur wordsmith like yours truly. Sarah mentions the exclusive in the Mirror on Thursday that stated that Kane’s family are furious with the PFA for the joke at Kane’s expense. in the rush to jump on the bandwagon against a player playing for a side that has moved beyond her beloved own, it doesn’t appear she has spoken with the ‘actors’ in this particular charade. The PFA have been forced to make a statement confirming that neither Kane, or a member of his family, had made a formal complaint to the PFA and that Ben Purkiss had contacted Kane after the tweeted joke had attracted attention and there was no problem. That’s not to say Kane wasn’t annoyed, but it’s a far cry from ‘FURIOUS’ and he certainly hasn’t made any public comment calling for any censure of Ben or anyone connected to the PFA. I thought journalists were supposed to corroborate stories, not just read a headline from another piece and then piggyback on to push an agenda.
The piece then moves on to frame, out of context, things Harry has said in the past when he was less known and less proven and compare them to the present day, where he stands with a burgeoning worldwide reputation, one of only three players who have scored 20+ goals in the Premier League in 4 consecutive seasons, the main man for his country and the subject of interest from some of the world’s biggest clubs, as if there is any meaningful comparison to be made. His world has completely changed since he first came into the side and was earning a modest by today’s standards, £10k a week. It’s not beyond the pale to see some changes in his psyche in that time. He’s gone from wanting to simply establish himself in football to a world star. I’d expect a journalist to be able to understand this.
Then we move on to the disingenuous at best comparison with Raheem Sterling and the amount of abuse he gets. Lest we forget, journalists can influence fans in the things they write, and a lot of the abuse Raheem receives is ridiculous, and based mainly on unfair slights and smears from Sarah’s colleagues in the print and online press. Yes, Kane doesn’t suffer the same abuse Sterling does, but he has dealt with other forms of abuse and stigma. Fans referring to him with politically incorrect terms like ‘mong’, relating to how he speaks. Moving on from the personal jibes about his appearance, we had the ongoing rubbish about him being a one season wonder after a dry spell of 4 or 5 games at the start of the 15/16 season. The scapegoat for Euro 16 which Winterburn alludes to in her piece, as if any player in that team covered themselves in any glory. This, not withstanding, the performance in the previous tournament where we didn’t even get out of the group, a tournament which featured the same dreadful manager, but no Kane. Even before the current season started, Kane, on the back of three consecutive seasons of scoring 20+ goals, wasn’t even in the discussion as to who would fight for the golden boot. A season following last where he scored goals at as fast a rate as Mohamed Salah has this season. A 1:1 ratio. It was all about Lukaku, Morata and Lacazette! He is still overlooked when talking about the best in the league, despite a much superior and consistent record. Anyway, I digress…
The level to which Sarah has completely lost her head here is unprecedented in anything I’ve seen within the footballing commentariat . Let’s remember what has happened here. Kane scored a goal, the Premier League wrongly gave it to one of his teammates, an incorrect decision they’ve accepted by reversing and awarding the goal to him. Eriksen isn’t bothered and has stated that he believes his teammate is telling the truth.
If Kane ‘swore on his daughters life’, I think his wife is probably better positioned, knowing Kane better than a strangely irritated hack, to know what he meant, and if it was wrong, literal, or even serious. I personally think he made an error of judgement, but that’s by the by. He didn’t racially abuse an opponent like previous players have done. He hasn’t bitten a fellow pro or karate kicked a spectator. But I guess if he spewed out some nonsense about seagulls and trawlers rather than simply be ‘surprised at the level of vitriol’, god forbid, we would have all moved on and we’d all be laughing about how Dele Alli has made the most of some contact in the box, or how Jack Wilshere is injured again, or how Daniel Sturridge claimed a goal off Phillipe Coutinho years ago, in exactly the same situation as Kane is in now, to absolutely zero fanfare. The one comparison between the two, is that there was a strong pro-Liverpool narrative that god forbid not everyone gets on board with.
The pisstaking is turning to resentment apparently. To clear up, the people who ‘resent’ Harry Kane are the people who always have, but simply had no real reason to. Kane is, as he always has been, a down to earth, hard working footballer who has made an exciting career from what was previously thought to be an average amount of talent. The main reason he is still so deadly is because he continues to work hard and work on his game. Sarah says that what has happened in the last few weeks isn’t normal, but alluding to Kane’s behaviour. What is normal, is British journalists establishing a negative narrative about a star player ahead of a major tournament. It’s beyond delusional to suggest that Kane has made himself a ready made scapegoat with his behaviour. He was scapegoated for Euro 2016 long before this even happened, something Sarah has mentioned, IN THE SAME ARTICLE. The bottom line is, if England win the World Cup, the collective will get the credit. If we’re despatched shamefully early, the key man will get the blame. That man is Harry Kane, and that’s the reason he’ll be the scapegoat, not because he’s had a naive reaction to a storm in a teacup scenario. Because he’s the top man.
…Oh Sarah, Sarah, what a great article on Kane.
My son was bullied at school, seriously bullied and of course, when he finally fought back against three of them was suspended because of a no-tolerance policy.
So very hard to see a pampered multi millionaire football player who has been feted non stop for the last 3 years pulling the bullying card because he incorrectly misjudged his stardom to think he could get away claiming a goal in his pursuit of another golden boot without being called out.
So finally an article that perfectly captured the subject.
I used to really like Kane, not so much now. This England team has shown they don’t need Kane. Perhaps Southgate should leave him home for the World Cup as he is clearly too precious to take the pressure.
Di Francesco doppelgangers
I’m glad there’s been a few mails about Di Francesco lookalikes. All I could think about when he was on screen was his resemblance to Phil Daniels! Or is it just me?
James (Didn’t F365 have a lookalikes column years ago?)