The Premier League is back, folks. Get your thoughts on the weekend’s action in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to embarrass Qatar…
It’s been great to see Qatar and Russia in the mailbox recently and the Saudi owners before that but I’m going to start with Kurt Zouma’s feline proclivities.
In all the West Ham matches since that video came out of Kurt punting Bonbon across the floor he’s come in for a lot of stick from fans in the stadium, home and away. I’m sure we’ve all seen some of the witty and downright crass (but brilliant) placards in the stadium and the giant cat face at Anfield. Top stuff all around.
I’d love to see that approach taken with more serious topics. Instead of a giant Cat face at Anfield I’d love to see a giant picture of Jamal Khashoggi when Newcastle come to town. I’d love the crowd to chant songs about MBS having him killed at every game.
Imagine at the Qatar World Cup the Brits that make it there sing loudly about migrant slave deaths. “How many died, how many diiiiied, etc… (I am not Simon or Garfunkel)
I know this sounds like I’m trivialising extremely sensitive and appalling topics but it’s those 90 minutes, one or twice a week, that these people have paid for, when we all tune in to be sportwashed. That’s when their investment is most vulnerable. It’s the only time when those that are free to speak can do so. We can flip the agenda so that their investment has the opposite effect, attracting negative attention. Imagine the embarrassment, every time you sit to watch your team/investment a fan holds up a giant picture of someone you murdered…
We can’t expect the teams or players to do it, the legal and financial penalties are too big. They still have to exist in the FIFA/Uefa ecosystem. Nor can pundits or commentators, really, because they are employed by the networks. But the fans… free radicals in this equation that can completely reverse the outcome.
I look forwards to a new Premier league song book in the coming weeks denouncing cat kickers and people killers alike.
The problem with Simeone
You know, there was a time when Mourinho once staked a claim for the title of the best coach in the world. He built his sides on the principle that possession was not important and that more possession meant more ball losses which creates chances for incisive and brilliant counters, you just needed to defend well enough and wait for your moment. He was successful. His Real Madrid side still hold the record for the most goals scored in a single la liga season, he battled the best and came out with a badge of honour. It may not have been beautiful, but it was effective and it earned him titles.
But it eventually stopped working, why? Guardiola was not going to be defeated, that more possession meant you will lose the ball more was only a mere assumption, it could be proved wrong with better positional play and even if you did lose the ball, who was to guarantee that the opposition could generate counters? You just have to win it back quickly through organised pressing. That is not to say that you will not win every once in a while, Tottenham beat City under Mourinho and Man Utd came back to win 3-2 in a quite interesting encounter. But that is the exception, not the rule. Mourinho no longer came out with badges of honour, his teams could not resist the opposition anymore and only won because their opponents did not take their chances, his teams played against sides in the lower half of the table and you really could not tell which was the big team. Remember his final match with Man Utd? The match he lost against Liverpool when Tottenham where top of the table? All this reminds me of Simeone.
How does this apply to Simeone? Well, Simeone is not that different. He seems to have a good record in the champions league, but he also has a record of dropping out from the group stages. His teams have better structure in possession, but it is not anything in comparison with really top teams. He went almost 9 years having never won at the camp nou. He may smash and grab a win against Man Utd, but that is only because of Utds lack of ability to retain the ball well in dangerous areas, build up, or even press well, as such Atletico were always going to be comfortable. See how they cope against Man City, if they can survive the relentless pressure. His teams are emotional, but when you need a last minute goal against the run of play to beat a side Barcelona would normally beat 5-0, your teams are just not that good. Going by xG, and I know some don’t really like it but it tells a story, Atletico have never won a la liga title before, not even last season. Man City have won 4 of the last five PL titles and xG confirms that they are the best. What makes you say they are the third best squad in la liga. A squad of Felix, Griezmann, Suarez, De Paul, Herrera, Llorente, Oblak, Gimenez, Savic, Correa, Koke, Lodi, Carrasco, Lemar, Wass, Kondogbia, Hermoso, Cunha, Felipe, are not good enough to dominate bottom half teams?? How? How does that happen??? You ask me, they have the best squad in la liga. Yet, he argues with Xavi that they cannot challenge while playing better football, he argues with Klopp. What is his excuse for parking the bus against Leipzig and still losing then?? Chelsea where 9th in the league, they where largely expected to lose to Atletico, but Tuchel led them to a dominant two-legged victory; he praised Chelsea after the match and said they can win the whole thing, what was the difference between them and Chelsea? Obviously, one side where coached better, you may defend with all your lives, but ultimately, better structure and pressing from Chelsea meant Atletico were the ones that were likely to give in, not the other way around. His plan used to work against Liverpool, but as Liverpool became better in possession, it just did not work anymore, I still struggle to find a top level match where one team were so dominant as that second leg, unfortunately, Llorente was in the mood for an iconic moment.
You see, my problem with Simeone has far more to do with the fact that he is not as good as he is made out to be than his style of play, Tuchel is relatively defensive, but he knows how to go about it, as such, he is capable of facing any team and manager on equal terms, the modern Mourinho. Simeone is a good coach, but relative to the quality of players he has, he has not done enough to be called a proven winner. If you did not watch it, go and see how Barcelona beat his side 4-2 with a squad not as good. Ten Hag in comparison, has the most goals per game of any Ajax manager, you seem to think Ajax have a right to win there, but you should do your research, it is not like France, Ajax had gone three and a half years without winning the eredivisie before he arrived, they have since won it twice, and would have most likely won it in 2019/20 as well, had it not been abandoned, if he wins this season, they would have won all the league titles available under him except one despite good competition from Feyenoord and especially, PSV Eindhoven. He also has the highest win percentage of any Ajax manager. About them having the best squad, PSV would like a word. Also, find out Ajax’s record in the CL before he came, find out how many times they were even there. If someone gave Ten Hag that Atletico squad, I guarantee you they would not be below Sevilla on the table, and given how the supposed best team Real Madrid have played so far, his team would be far ahead on top of the table. In fact, given how Real and Barca have been these past 3 seasons, I dare say, he would have won 3 or 4 on the trot, those sides may have larger budgets, but it is just not as considerable an advantage. Liverpool don’t have half as much money as City, but the advantage City gain as a result is just not that considerable. His first title win was impressive, but ‘not world class’ Ranieri has done even better, he has the squad now to challenge anyone, but he still goes about telling the people that they are the underdogs. But if you are still insistent, then let’s see how he successfully feeds Man Utd fans (‘best club in the country’) the underdog story, let’s see how he convinces the media that defending for your life with 20% possession and very good players is the only way you can challenge a club who just embarrassed you. Let’s see how he convinces the world that using all the dirty tricks in the books to waste time after going 1-0 up against Brighton is the best way to secure the victory.
I just don’t understand how English websites/newspapers and English football teams think they can moralise about who should/shouldnt host a world cup. It’s quite absurd. Do you genuinely not understand the menace your war mongering governments/monarchy have been to the entire world. For centuries. CENTURIES!!!!
Are people just allowed to be outraged by how governments treat people within the confines of their borders? Do we ignore how nations treat OTHER nations citizens? Does this fall outside of the outrage rulebook?
Thats not to say the whole Qatar situation is not a disgrace. In many ways it is, in particular the immigrant worker situation which is quite unique to Qatar. But to act like Qatar are the bad guys and Gareth Southgate and his English army are the good guys is comical.
Funnily enough, it probably sums up the English attitude to the world for the last 1000 or so years… Here come the pure English boys dressed in white, ready to civilise the world. Its army of well behaved English supporters ready to show the rest of the world manners and how to speak the queens english. HOORAY
Of course, there is no way an English football team , who play under the English flag and sing an athem praising a monarchy that has wreaked havoc all around the world, are entitled to take a stand against a so called evil regime…. Are you mad? Seriously, have you no common sense whatsoever. Have you read a history book? Have you read a newspaper in the last few decades? You are not the good guys! Are you oblivious to the recent social upheavel based on your shameful history and shameful present? Statues to slave traders on your main streets…. Refusing immigrants from countries you are blowing up…This is of course normal to you. Its no big deal. You are numb to it. You vote for it… consistently…
Its absolute comedy to see Ukranian flags flying around premier league grounds…England is a country that pumps out approx 500 billion euros worth of war mongering weaponry each year, weapons that are sold for never ending wars for never ending profit. A country that routinely bombs countries that it has a strategic interest in. A country that still occupies parts of countries that it has no business in. Absolute buffoons. You practically wrote the book on destroying smaller nations and are still adding chapters. And you are moralising?? GET IN THE BIN!
YOUR FOOTBALL TEAMS LITERALLY WEAR POPPIES CELEBRATING SOLDIERS THAT KILL PEOPLE IN THE NAME OF QUEEN, COUNTRY AND IMPERIALISM. YOUR FANS LITERALLY BOO PLAYERS WHO REFUSE TO TAKE PART IN THIS NORTH KOREA STYLE CHARADE. Do you see any moral issue with this? Are you blind?
Maybe F365 will have similar articles if the UK/Ireland win the Euro 2028 bid. Maybe Ireland will pull out of the competition due to the continued presence of british soldiers on its land. Perhaps eastern Europe will be so flooded with british made weapons at this stage that WW3 will have broken out and there wont be a tournament at all. Maybe Queen and country will have finally suceeded in civilising the rest of the world by blowing us all up.
But yeah, Qatar, they bad. Go tell em Gareth!
World Cup boycott
I am boycotting the World Cup in Qatar 2022. I made the decision a while ago, but have to share this news so I’m held accountable to see through on my commitment.
I know it won’t make a jot of difference to the FIFA gravy train and the only one that will suffer with my boycott is me. However, it’s important for me to live with integrity and set an example to my kids.
I cannot endorse 6500 immigrant workers losing their lives building stadiums for me to enjoy 4 weeks of football watching from my lounge, 4000 miles away.
I cannot and will not approve of a country sports washing their human rights record which prevents and punishes freedom of sexual preference.
I cannot abide by the detrimental environmental impact of building 7 new temporary stadiums. The infrastructure construction and operational elements of Qatar 2022 is projected to produce 3.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide – that is more than some countries’ total for a year.
I want to support my children to make a positive impact in the world, challenge and apply critical thinking. Part of that critical thinking is to ask: Who benefits from this? In this scenario I can only see the beneficiaries as FIFA – a billion pound global corporation and Qatar, the 9th richest country in the world measured by gross national income. That’s not a good enough rationale for me.
I love a World Cup, I got excited by the draw, the start of the journey, plotting the potential route to the final, the thought of buying panini sticker albums and packs with my kids, completing the wall chart, skiving work to watch random group games, listening to podcast deconstructing the action from the day before and watching games with friend in pubs. It’s going to be tough not to be involved in any of that and fundamentally choosing to ignore the pinnacle of one of my true passions. I love football. But quite frankly – f*ck FIFA for what they are doing.
See you when it’s over!
Thoughts on Grealish
You asked for thoughts on Grealish. Your story today was recycled from a previous story claiming an inside source. But no inside source would suggest that the Grealish money would have been better spent on Kane for the simple reason that Man City tried three times to clinch the Kane transfer but was blocked by Levy the chairman. So much so that the Club said he refused to take their calls. Any insider knows this and Guardiola has repeated the story of their frustration to the world. This does discredit your claims about the Man City management. The idea was to sign them both. Grealish is not a striker. He’s a playmaker. He had two strikers to work with at Villa. Not signing Kane was not a mistake. It miscarried because of opposition by Spurs. Fans know this and even non fans know this. Plausible it isn’t.
Yet again, we have people in the comments being allowed to perpetuate utter lies about the disaster at Hillsborough. It took 30 years to get some level of justice, with the blame laid at the door of police and other officials. But sadly, the passage of time allows for people to gloss over this and repeat the same vile lies that were shown in a certain newspaper way back then.
Five years ago the BBC published an article dispelling many of the myths: Five Hillsborough myths dispelled by inquests jury
But just for the trolls: Peter, Paul and Oliver Cromwell, here is some clarity regarding you blaming the deaths on contribution from ticketless fans:
Myth 1: Liverpool fans arrived ‘late and without tickets’
After the disaster, allegations emerged from “unnamed sources” – later established to be a Police Federation spokesman and the Sheffield Conservative MP, Irvine Patnick – claiming Liverpool supporters had “deliberately arrived late determined to force entry” to the ground.
What we know: While many Liverpool supporters did arrive after 14.30, evidence to the inquests suggested it was actually the police “failure to control the crowd” and “inadequate” turnstiles that led to the fatal crush.
The claim that fans had “deliberately arrived late” formed the basis of the “rock solid” defence South Yorkshire Police [SYP] sought to present at the 1989 Taylor inquiry into the disaster. The aim was to “deflect blame on to supporters” and exonerate the police.
The jury heard from former South Yorkshire Police inspector Clive Davis who recalled being told by former Ch Supt Terry Wain “to put the blame for this disaster where it belongs: on the drunken, ticketless Liverpool fans”. This was denied in evidence by Mr Wain. However, he admitted a report he prepared had exaggerated claims that “several thousand” spectators had arrived at the ground within minutes of kick-off.
The inquests heard the 10,100 fans with standing tickets for the Leppings Lane end were expected to enter through just seven turnstiles, causing congestion outside the ground.
Lord Justice Taylor, in his 1990 report into the disaster, concluded fans were reasonable to arrive between 14.30 and 14.40 as match tickets only requested people be in their places “15 minutes before the game”. He was also satisfied that the large concentration of fans who gathered Leppings Lane at 14.40 to 14.50 “did not arrive as a result of any concerted plan”.
He concluded that police had “failed” to prepare for controlling the arrival of a large number of fans in a short period. Both the club and police “should have realised the turnstile area could not easily cope with the large numbers demanded of it” unless they arrived steadily over a lengthy period.
He accepted there were “small groups without tickets” looking to “exploit any chance of getting into the ground”. But the main problem was simply one of “large numbers packed into the small area outside the turnstiles”. He stated categorically that “fans’ behaviour played no part in the disaster”.
The Hillsborough Independent Panel (HIP) report concluded crowd congestion outside the stadium was “not caused by fans arriving late” for the kick-off. The turnstiles, it said, were “inadequate to process the crowd safely” and the rate of entry insufficient to prevent a dangerous build-up outside the ground.
What the jury said: The behaviour of Liverpool supporters did not cause or contribute to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles.
Can F365 please publish this so we can once again put this stuff to bed.
Honestly, it’s so utterly depressing we’re still having to fight these lies some 33 years after.
Bill Phabb, LFC
The right to boo
I didn’t expect to write in about this but, here goes.
It doesn’t matter the slightest that Maguire got booed. England fans have been wronguns for a long time. Longer than I’ve been around.
It doesn’t matter that any player get’s booed, racial and homophobic abuse aside.
It does matter though calling it “their democratic right” to boo (AK, LFC). What the fuck does that even mean? The fans haven’t elected these players to play. They haven’t elected the players for anything. There’s been zero votes for anything related to any player playing for any team ever. What am I missing here?
Culk the Younger
A derby every week
As things currently stand, QPR are just a win away from the play-off places and Fulham have looked a decent shout for automatic promotion all season.
This means the capital’s representation in the top flight could be from next season – Arsenal, Brentford, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Spurs, West Ham, Fulham and QPR. That’s EIGHT teams. The capital has never had so many teams in the top flight – well certainly not to my mind anyway.
Chelsea like to go around calling themselves the Pride of London despite the fact it’s Arsenal that’s brought more than half of the total top flight titles to London and nobody is, was or ever will be proud of Chelsea other than Blue fans themselves.
London isn’t blue or red – it’s red, white and yellow in North London, Blue, white and red to the West, claret and red to the East and red, white, blue and yellow in the South and all sorts of other colours in between.
And if Fulham and QPR, are promoted, and I hope they are, London football will be in ruder health than it ever has been and I’m totally here for it.
A derby almost every other week? Sign me up!
Graham Simons, Gooner, London