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Mike Dean’s Christmas Message
I’ve endured/enjoyed a bit of a weird mix of viewing choices this week but some of them are at least partly relevant to my eventual point so please bear with me:
- The Crown (unsure as to whether their demographic intersects with F365’s but if not, it’s an historical TV drama about the monarchy, you peasant)
- Various Ancient Egypt documentaries
- Nathan For You (genius surrealism worthy of Andy Kaufman)
- Super Mario Maker youtube videos
- Aaand finally… The full Australian A-League CLASH between Brisbane ROAR and W Sydney Wanderers
For those of you who haven’t seen the article a few clicks from here, they had the ref mic’d up for the entirety of his final A-League match.
His name is Jarred Gillett, he’s one of the A-League’s best officials, and he’s on his way to our very own Championship next season.
I can’t express (or rather I can’t be bothered to find the right words to express) how much I enjoyed watching the game with the addition of the ref mic. It gave those watching a totally new insight into the play and the rules of the game, obviously, but also shone a fascinating light onto the human interactions between players and officials.
Going back to The Crown for a second, it’s 1957 and Queen Elizabeth realises that the monarchy must move with the times, becoming more accessible to the public. She begins televising the Christmas speech from her front room. The public get to empathise with her and satisfy their curiosity at the same time. It’s a great success, the monarchy and its subjects are brought together, etc etc.. or I assume so, I haven’t watched the rest.
I would love it (just love it etc) if they introduced an optional ref mic feed in England. I want nothing more of a Saturday than to hear Mike Dean’s husky baritone admonish an endless succession of rule breakers. I want to see how the refs deal with different player personalities. I want to gain a different understanding of the game. I WANT to hear the soppy foreigns run/limp/roll crying to ref as Johnny English makes yet another heroic scything challenge, before pausing to wipe his bloody boots on the grass.
I’ll leave it to someone else to evaluate why an optional ref mic feed is not a good idea (don’t say swearing) because it’s 630 am and the emerging daylight is starting to burn my skin.
Faris (the horrors of) Blackburn
Not sorry for Sarri
As a fellow Chelsea fan, got to completely disagree with JC’s mail about Hudson-Odoi/Sarri/Chelsea.
First point, player power. While clearly a problem at Chelsea, the idea Sarri is making political team selections to keep key established players happy is pretty questionable. Hazard at false nine, when he clearly hates playing there? Dropping the popular Giroud for a 60% fit & un-established loanee Higuain? At the same time relentlessly selecting certain other players, no names required. Hardly going to delight the dressing room is it.
Secondly, poor Sarri, under pressure to win from the club & the fans. Mysteriously this pressure increases when matches are lost & lost badly. Then there is an expectation to give different players chances & alter tactics etc. The trouble is, Sarri will get fired because he changes nothing, while alienating the best prospects at the club, Loftus-Cheek & Hudson-Odoi. Sarri cannot hide behind win at all costs logic, he has clearly demonstrated that sticking to his formation, approach & favoured players is much more important than actually winning games.
Pedro (31) & Willian (30) both with less than 18 months on their contracts are essentially close to their shelf-life at Chelsea & hardly performing strongly. Given the transfer ban, and the amount of interest from big European clubs, its actually ludicrous what’s happening at Chelsea right now. Four PL starts out of the remaining 8 games probably convinces Hudson-Odoi to stay. Will it happen? Not hopeful.
Prediction: Sarri gets us 6th place and into the Europa league final, where we lose to Napoli 🙁
A cunning plan
Racism is clearly not appropriate in any form, in any place including inside a football stadium, and we therefore need to look at methods to try and stop it. There’s lots of chat about taking a stronger line with the nations/clubs where incidents occur. This is mirrored a little from a couple of weeks ago when violence and fans on the pitch was the topic du jour.
A happy Irishman?
Now understandably when it comes to football, the headline requires the question mark. The sharp decline of the Irish national team has been one of the most notable over the last decade. Not that we were ever an absolute unit, but we could beat most anybody on our day(Luck of the Irish was more widely used then!).
The last two games may have been against Gibraltar and Georgia and no doubt we’ve harder games to come in the Denmark and the Chocolatiers, but we actually looked capable of playing football which is nice. Though there was pressure last night at times which was easily avoided you’d feel. Still, if Ireland can keep trying to go forward and play quick passing football then maybe we can start progressing again at last.
Sean (Would he have scored without 5 minutes to wait before the free? Yes he would have!)
Phil is safe; it is written
That’s the strongest ladder I think I’ve seen over the years! Should Phil Neville be worried?
Edward Canhands (Tried to do an Irish ladder but gave up)
So. Many. Good. Players
I’m not going to preface this with an opening paragraph or anything, I’m just throwing it out there; our U-21 team for this summer’s championships (assuming fitness):
Gunn; Sessegnon, Timori, Gomez, Alexander-Arnold; Maddison, Rice, Foden; Hudson-Odoi, Abraham/Solanke, Sancho.
That’s quite ridiculous for an U-21 lineup. And, quite frankly, pant-wettingly exciting. Sure, there’s the inaugural Nations League finals this summer, but with the (for once) current strength in depth within the national squad- as evidenced by your own famous ladder- Southgate could still field a solid senior lineup without the need for any of the above: Pickford; Chilwell, Maguire, Stones, Walker; Alli, Dier, Henderson/Barkley; Rashford, Kane, Sterling
(Yes, there could be injuries over the two games but there are still other handy senior players in reserve in Trippier, Rose, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lingard, Loftus-Cheek, Lallana, Winks et al. So let’s just park that minor gripe out of sight for the moment…)
Really, I’d just love to see an emphatic winning mentality instilled in this new crop of players, a winning mentality that for too long has been so conspicuous by its absence in erstwhile senior players. Surely, with the abundance of relative riches at his disposal, this is a perfect opportunity for Southgate to do just that? For all the intrigue and revitalisation it’s brought to the pointless international friendly format, the Nations League is still just an exhibition tournament without prestige. And it’s biennial, so it’s hardly like the above youngsters are going to consider this year’s potential pot a missed opportunity if they were to forego it for the U-21s; they’d still be mostly under 21 by the time of the next Nations League in 2021!
It really could be a golden opportunity for England to build on their recent U-17 and U-19 triumphs, do as Germany and France have done before them and set their young charges on a course for even greater future success. And besides, when was the last time England won the European U-21 Championship? 1984. Yep, thirty-five years ago. Mark Hateley was top scorer. Doesn’t that make you feel very, very old? I rest my case.