Red wines, White Harts and blackouts – it’s the famous Mailbox

Date published: Friday 19th October 2018 7:16

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Fade to black
Just read Chicken’s article on the blackout and I think in the not too distant future we will be able to watch every premier league game. Schedule as follows:-

Friday night
Saturday midday
Saturday 3pm
Saturday 17.30
Saturday Evening
Sunday midday
Sunday 3pm
Sunday 17.30
Sunday Evening
Monday night

I am excited.


…Isn’t this the solution to the blackout issue.

Create a new package of Premier League 3pm kick offs (I’m assuming they continue to move sexy games to Saturday early and late or Sunday) and sell it off as a parcel.

70% of the income is split between the lower leagues and the other 30% goes to the PL clubs. They already cater for their matches to be filmed and already have TV crews so the marginal cost of being aired in the U.K. must be 0 but they still gain some extra revenue.

If it generates £500m then that’s £350m split between 100 odd clubs lower down. Maybe can tier it so Championship clubs gets a bit more and ultimately they’re at risk of losing out as it might only be £5m each for them.

Finally encourage lower league clubs to move their kick off to 12.45. That way the fans get over and watch the local team and then convene in a local pub to watch the Premier League at 3pm…

I’m sure I’m wrong but perhaps if we stop treating the idea of lower leagues having to play at 3pm every week we start to find a solution?
Minty, LFC


…The 3pm blackout is an antiquated and baseless ruling devised in the 60s without a scrap of evidence and does not take into consideration the cultural and technological shifts of the last 50 years.

As much as some like to pretend otherwise, every single Premier League game is broadcast live around the world and has been for the last 10+ years. If an Oldham fan really wanted to watch Man United on TV they’ve had every opportunity to do so, firstly in pubs with motorised dishes, then from their own PCs (providing they were willing to risk repetitive strain from closing pop-up windows and infecting their machines), and in recent years on TV through Kodi and IPTV.

It’s quite patronising and insulting to suggest lower league fans would be so fickle as to desert their team just because a bigger club were on TV (which Steven Chicken rightly points out) and ignores the fact that midweek lower league fixtures often clash with Champions League games anyway.

The figures published in The Times regarding Championship midweek attendances is flawed on a number of levels:

  1. The average attendances for the sides promoted/relegated from last season’s Championship is higher than the average for the sides promoted/relegated into the Championship this season (19,057 vs 16,714 – admittedly from a much smaller sample of games)
  2. Midweek attendances have always been historically lower than weekend games – fewer travelling fans due to work commitments, children unable to attend night games, etc. It’s an unfair comparison.
  3. iFollow was actually introduced last season, and though this is the first season in which domestic fans are able to stream games, all they needed to do last season was download and turn on a VPN to bypass the international restrictions.

The overwhelming majority of fans who stream games (legally or otherwise) do so to watch the games they’re unable to attend for whatever reason and would choose attending live over sitting hunched in front of a laptop any day. Shutting down all streams won’t suddenly result in a significant increase in attendances, nor would broadcasting all games suddenly result in a significant decrease. Again, if this was the case, why haven’t attendances plummeted over the past 10 years since illegal streams became available?

My own club Sunderland were one of the few Championship clubs not to sign up for iFollow last season due to concerns over the quality and impact on attendances.

In reality, attendances dropped regardless due to relegation from the Premier League and the fact we didn’t win a home game for a full year (really). The result was that fans who did stop going simply found better things to do with their families on Saturday afternoons, yet I still maintain that its surely easier to tempt back fans with no intention of going if they’re still involved in some way – such as watching a stream or in the pub – than those who are out of their routine completely.

This season – despite a double relegation and the club finally signing up to the dreaded iFollow – attendances have increased significantly. Funny that.
Luke, Sunderland


Red Wines
You’ll get loads of these, but I liked the idea of a team of “vintage” players from DC, BAC. So here’s my punt at one for Liverpool. Premier League era again. I did try a more historic one but realized I couldn’t really commit to the required research while still ostensibly at work (sorry boss)…

4-3-3 (all the cool kids are doing it)

GK: Pepe Reina (2008-9ish)
I think this was when he was around the peak of his powers. Superb shotstopper, golden glove winner, great distribution. Haven’t forgiven Brendan for binning him off to Italy and replacing with Mignolet.

RB: Rob Jones (1996)
Injury deprived us of a decade-long rivalry with Gary Neville for the England number 2 shirt. Great, tenacious defender, good going forward, had the energy to play wing back in a team with basically no interest in defending.

CBs: These two played together, but peaked at different times.
Jamie Carragher (2005) got through Instanbul on shear force of will. Just found a way to get in front of everything. Never gave up. Never surrendered. Did his job superbly.
Sami Hyypia (2001) was the rock on which Ged Houllier built his defensive house. Better on the ball than you’d expect too. He is the standard against we’ll be measuring Van Dijk in the next few years.

LB: John-Arne Riise (2003)
Around the peak of his powers at this point. Marauding forward mercilessly. Fit and quick enough to get through his defensive work without being a liability. Foot like a traction engine. Absolutely loved him.

DM: Dietmar Hamann (2001)
Also fundamental to that ridiculous cup treble team, he was the midfield glue that let Gerrard, Murphy and the rest wreak havoc in front of him. I thought long and hard about Xabi Alonso here, but I don’t quite recall him having one completely stand-out year the way he went on to for Real Madrid and Bayern. As much as I love Xabi, Hamann had a real annus mirabilis.

CM: Steven Gerrard (2005-9)
Had to be really. Reached his ridiculous best on the road to Istanbul, and then somehow maintained that through a few positional tweaks through nearly half a decade. Astonishing player, and probably the only one on this list that would trouble an all-time XI

CM (for the purposes of this, but probably a bit further forward): Steve McManaman (1996-7)
I nearly wept salt tears when he left for the bright lights of Madrid. Occasionally infuriatingly inconsistent, but in full flight he was unstoppable. His goal against a decent Celtic side in the UEFA cup around this time is nothing short of ridiculous. And had to do it all in a midfield with Michael Thomas in it.

RW: Mo Salah (2018)
Didn’t stop scoring. A joy to watch. I hope we see that Mo again soon.

LW: Luis Suarez (2014)
Didn’t stop scoring. A joy to watch. I thought we’d never see his like again until Mo happened.

CF: Robbie Fowler (1994-6)
So many goals. Every kind of goal. It’s such a shame his knees gave out so soon and Houllier didn’t rate him, otherwise he’d be a Shearer-esque legend.

SUBS: Jerzy Dudek (2005), Virgil Van Dijk (2018) (Center back wasn’t a strong field), Marcus Babbel (2001), Phil Coutinho (2017), Xabi Alonso (2006-8), Javier Mascherano (2007-8), Michael Owen (1998)

Manager (another fairly weak field): Rafa Benitez (worth it for Istanbul alone)

Pierre (Bristol)


…DC, Bac, I have often dreamt of the ‘wine’ team…

I was about to just write The Invincibles, but thought I’d make more effort. And while they were freakin’ awesome domestically, the lack of serious European progress will forever be a black mark (more Wenger perhaps?).

So here goes (excuse the years, I’m doing this from terrible, addled memory, offline so no wiki to tell me when Ljungberg signed):

Seaman (1998-2000)

Winterburn (1988-94)
Adams (late 90s)
Campbell (2002-04)
Dixon (late 90s)

Vieira (’00s)
Parlour (90s)
Pires (2000-05)
Ljungberg (2000-05)

Henry (forever)
Bergkamp (1996-2004)

Manager – There’s only one Arsene Wenger (2002-04)

Subs: Lehmann (2004), Bould (late 90s), Cole (2004-06), Petit (1998-2002), Van Persie (2009-12), Ian Wright (Wright, Wright), Liam Brady (too young to know but know he was sick)
Alay (mostly Invincibles with some Famous Back Five), N15 Gooner


Citizen Kane
I resonated so much with that article on Harry Kane by Seb Bloor, I’m pleased I’m not the only one seeing the new Kane after he got showered with that Emile Heskey+Olivier Giroud jazz and it’s manifestation in his all round play being upped a couple notches. I see him as the best (Sorry Señor Kun Aguero) striker in the premier league and by extension the world and its glorious to watch him play on “his” day.

On a lighter note, PL weekend is finally here, I’m practically giddy with excitement of seeing great matches (not keen on El Boringo in Stamford Bridge), I’ll try to enjoy a weekend of football cos in three weeks it’s another break!!!
Tosin Collins, Lagos


Moan on, Paul
Getting a bit sick and tired of people being sick and tired about Paul Scholes’ comments on United.

Find  me one fan of the club who has never been negative about United in the last 5 years and I’ll find you a liar.

He is a fan of the club, he is having a moan about what is going on at his club, just like each and every fan in the history of football.

Moan on Paul. We all do it.
Vik, London

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