Mails: Playing Liverpool? Knock down one of your stands

Date published: Tuesday 14th February 2017 10:31

Keep those Mails coming in to…


Playing Liverpool? Knock down one of your stands
I sat down with my second cup of coffee determined to produce the definitive mythbuster / moneyball / freakonomics takedown to the now tedious “Liverpool perform against the bigger clubs, and then underperform against the smaller clubs”.

Results were downloaded. Spreadsheet were made. Tables were pivoted. I think I even convinced my office that I was doing legitimate work. And then I found the answer:
LFC’s average league points at a stadium with capacity under 26,000 = 0.8
LFC’s average league points at a stadium with capacity over 26,000 = 2.3

And that impressive 2.3 number holds up pretty well even if you break it down by Home / Away / Top 6 opponents / The rest.

If they played only on the biggest stages, Liverpool would be within a game of Chelsea. But for some strange reason, they go to pieces when the crowd are all on a first name basis.

That’s really something, right? Right?! Please tell me it’s something. I wasted hours on that.
Mike, Chicago


A happy Citizen writes in
Morning all! Eight points behind, we can still do this! Champions by goal difference again! Chelsea we are coming for you!

On a serious note, good game last night, made it a lot harder than we should have. However, all credit to Bournemouth. They made it really hard for us and at times looked like they could get something out of the game.

David Silva gave us a glimpse of the old wizardry and Sterling looked happy. I do think he has something against Bournemouth.

Really like how Pep had a little cuddle and a chill with Harry Arter, didn’t know they were such good friends. Also, I think the big cuddle with Sergio was for the benefit of the papers. I’m sure they will find a way to turn that into a final goodbye or something as crazy.


Will somebody take a chance on Vardy this summer?
With Leicester’s relegation very much on the horizon I’m betting Vardy is dreaming of a top four trophy right about now.

Does anyone think there’s a Premier League Team willing to take a punt on him? I’d be genuinely afraid that Liverpool would take him.
Conor (Liverpool of 4 years ago would 100% sign him)


A great top ten, but…
Great job on the top 10 goals scored by defenders article this morning, some absolute crackers in there.

I was hoping this one was going to make it in though ,it was one of those that I would affectionately describe as a “thunderbastard”. Erik Edman vs Liverpool.
Steve, Ireland


… How could you forget this?

The feint to shoot, turn and left foot finish. It’s the only time I can remember Rio looking vaguely skillful.

Paul, Man Utd


God I wish it could be 1996 again
Thanks for a pre-work reminder of that wonderful Newcastle team and one of the best drubbings ever administered to United. I hope an alternative universe exists where that Newcastle team won the league.

That is all.
H, (refusing to acknowledge any goal scoring defender list that deliberately excludes Riise)


Hall of Shame
Phrase of the week:

Piers Morgan ‘frotting himself into another smugasm’


Take a bow, son. This new series started out strong, like bull.


…Absolutely brilliant. Nailed the parts about Gunnersaurus and Morgan, just a shame you forgot that Arsenal had a white away kit once. Dreadful.
Joe, AFC, East Sussex


So where do we go from here with gambling?
Remarkable letters yesterday about gamblers addictions; I’m sure there were a number unpublished in a similar vain and I can’t imagine the difficulty in putting those thoughts and troubles down in words. I hope you all felt a great deal of catharsis from sharing your stories though.

Now the question is what should be done. I don’t think the government would support a total ban on advertising; neither would TV companies and obviously football clubs would be against it too. Unfortunately, “when the fun stops, stop” is nearly the most empty statement of all time.

Perhaps gambling adverts should be forced to state what percentage of their players are winners? My suspicion is that it’d be less than 10% and perhaps this would put people off?

A few years ago I taught at a top independent school for boys and was alarmed how frequently the conversations about football included a discussion of odds. My friends and I weren’t raised with gambling and never pay attention to that sort of thing so it’s scary that at ages as young as 16 and 17 they’re growing it into their daily existence.
Minty, LFC


On gambling and Football365
Opta Stat – Hours between the publication of the last Cheeky Punt and Johnny’s piece: 71.25

I’m sure you’ll get a share of mails crying bloody hypocrite/murder over this, and I don’t mean to pile on. On the contrary, I completely agree with the broad swath of Johnny’s arguments, gambling addiction can be a horrendous problem.

But – you knew it was coming – this is not a simple hypocrisy. It’s perfectly possible and usually better to have two writers at a shop who have different opinions on something. The problem is that it sets up F365 as replicating a structure that is incredibly dangerous for addicts; perhaps, if the statistical disparity in societal impact of drinking between the UK (bad) and the States (even worse, much worse) is any indication, still more dangerous than an environment of pervasive permissiveness alone.

For all the later piece was funny and sensitive, it was also intensely moralistic, even as it was self-effacing. Sometimes former addicts can be the sharpest sermonizers (certainly guilty, me). A cultural structure of incessant positive promotion and a bombardment of advertisement for an addiction is bleak.

It is still more destructive, though, when set up in a pair with a structure of bombastic condemnation of the practice, even if that has the best intentions. There’s not space to go into the science here, except to say there’s an increasing consensus that sandwiching an addict or potential addict between the addiction and a strong condemnation propels the addiction even faster.

It feeds the psychology of addiction by adding to it a new dimension of rebellion and self-affirmation: moralizing condemnation becomes itself a trigger. I know that Johnny has experience talking about these issues to people, the clip you put in his “on TV” piece was lovely, but that doesn’t change that it sets F365 in a truly precarious position.

I certainly don’t want to see Degsy go, I’m on record as loving the Cheeky Punt. This is a tough metaphor, I know personally, but it’s fair: living in a house with alcoholism is bad. Living in a house with alcoholism and hearing a sermon once a year on the evils of drink from a pastor who also runs the liquor store is worse. It’ll make you want to go get a pint.
Iain CUFC, RFC (Recovered FC)


Some touching praise for Johnny
What an excellent and gripping piece of writing from John Nicholson.

Having experienced at close quarters what gambling addiction can do to a family this warning to all is very welcome and I am continually stunned how these online betting companies are allowed to get away with their blatant enticement.

The end result as JN states, is no different to alcohol, drug or any other addiction. They all end badly and often end up destroying relationships and families.

My brother was ‘doing’ a grand a day betting on football matches because he reckoned he knew about football and had a head start. He was a highly intelligent man and an accountant by trade and the revelation of his addiction shocked us all.

Sadly he passed away last year (aged 57) and too soon to repay and repair the damage he caused. Nobody in the family knew because it’s so covert sitting in his study in front of a computer literally wasting a life.

Something needs to be done but whilst these companies are funding half the Premier League clubs to a considerable extent, nobody will be brave enough to call it. Reminds me of tobacco sponsorship of F1 all those years ago.

Thanks John. Hope the article gets the proper exposure.
James, Sydney (OTBC we’re on a run like in ’81 ’82)


… Another email in Praise of Nicholson’s gambling article. I want to add to that and point out that the negative impact of gambling and football (or sport in general) being bedfellows is not limited to problem gambling. Addiction is obviously the most devastating impact on the issue, for both the gambler and those around them. Like many others I have a friend who was a problem gambler have seen the severe impacts on him (financial hardship and gaining a criminal record).

However there is another impact of gambling which has impacted on all of us who watch the game. Match fixing. Match fixing and gambling are so strongly intertwined that it has now become the most plausible explanation for the connection between “irregular betting patterns” and upset results. Or very disturbing instances – I seem to remember a Serie A season that ended with all three teams in the relegation zone having surprise wins on the last day of the season in the 90’s.

There is so much money floating around the betting scene in football that the inevitable has happened. Like throwing out chum when you are fishing guarantees the sharks will come, the amount of betting in football has guaranteed the presence of organised crime. The integrity of the game is now very much in danger and I personally won’t be shocked if it comes to be seen as a joke in the same manner as cycling and t-20 cricket in the years to come.

Even for those of us who have never placed a bet on football match in our lives, if we love the game, we are the victims of gambling.
Hugo (NUFC) Adelaide

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