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The final day
There was top flight football in England before it was re-branded and sold to Sky Sports.
The tightest ever title race was decided by the two teams playing each other on the final day. It was Liverpool and Arsenal who on Friday, May 26, 1989 — actually produced the most remarkable final day in football history.
The teams had to play the fixture at the end of the season because of the Hillsborough disaster on April 15. Liverpool, the defending champions had to play eight games in 23 days, and due to their footballing brilliance left Arsenal play them at Anfield having to win by two clear goals to take the title.
The 42000 at Anfield saw Michael Thomas score the winning goal in the last minute.
I am saying all of this not because Liverpool and Arsenal were better than Man City and the current Liverpool team (Personally I think it is not the case) but that the hype and media seem to have forgotten this fantastic race. It seems only the Sergio last minute goal for City against QPR gets a mention.
The hype over change who is leading the race is exactly that. Due to selling the footballing soul (cash) to TV, games have had to be moved not for fans but for television either Friday, Saturday morning, Saturday Evening, Sundays or Mondays. As a season ticket holder I know the agrro in having to change my plans.
Good luck to whoever who wins it and they will deserve it. They have lifted the footballing and management of players quality. English football is all the better for both team and I hope Arsenal can emulate those standards over the next few years
Tony Laforce, Hackney
Why play the last game of the season on a Sunday? I know we’re unlikely to win it, but the anticipation fecks up my Saturday and if we somehow do win it I’m really going to regret not having taken Monday off.
Aidan, Lfc (didn’t celebrate the 4th against Barca much as I was so sure/scared it’d end 4-1…still can’t believe what happened)
Pochettino or Solskjaer? Why not both?
Pochettino is going to be available this summer. As much as I like Ole, this is a Klopp Rodgers situation. Hire Pochettino and move Ole to a director of football role.
United will be stronger and better in three years time.
More United plans afoot
Since people have started talking about what clubs need to do in the summer window already, and I expect people will be sick of talking about United’s summer soon enough, I thought i’d jump the gun and give my two cents on what I would do this summer if inexplicably left in charge.
I’m going to focus more on the outs than the ins, as like many United fans I expect there’s several players I can’t wait to see the back of.I’ve looked at the rebuilding jobs done by Klopp, Pep and Pochettino in their first summers, and each got rid of 8, 7 and 8 first team players respectively. For that supremely scientific reason i’ve limited myself to 8 departures. Too many more than that and we risk making an even worse start than last year waiting for everyone to bed in.
Herrera & Valencia – in an ideal world Herrera would stay, but both are basically out the door already.
Rojo, Sanchez & Darmian – grouped together as a trio of overpaid, not good enough wasters who barely feature even in a team in such dire straits as we have been (I don’t actually know how much Darmian is paid, but it’s almost certainly too much for someone who made 6 league appearances so far this season)
De Gea & Pogba – Controversial probably, but neither want to be here, both are batting their eyelashes at other clubs, and the dressing room won’t get better with players who don’t want to be here
Phil Jones – I don’t even know who’d take him at this point, but he needs to get out. Not good enough when he plays, and injured too often to even be reliable as a backup. West Ham maybe? Or stingy Stan Kroenke looking for a cheap-ish backup CB?
Young gets a reprieve because the first thing i’d do is buy a new RB, and between the new guy and Dalot hopefully we wouldn’t have to play him anymore. Fred gets a reprieve because maybe he just needed time to adjust to the league. (After all, this time last year a lot of fans wanted Lindelof out, and even de Gea made a terrible start to life in the PL).
I wanted to get rid of Mata but there were more pressing issues with the squad, same with Lukaku. Regardless, Young, Smalling, Matic and Mata would all be phased out and hopefully sold the following summer due to age or ability. Lukaku, Fred and Pereira are on their last chance and I expect would end up being sold in 2020 for not being good enough. Martial has the talent, but if he’s still a mardy sh*t this time next year, get rid.
I have less of a concrete idea on what i’d do here, but the thoughts I have at the moment are:
Thibaut Courtois – assuming de Gea is off, a swap deal almost makes too much sense. I suspect Courtois is actually still a good player who wilted under the expectations of this Madrid side, and would prove himself again in the Premier League
Midfield – Declan Rice is probably the most attainable defensive midfielder, and a good signing who shouldn’t be a prima donna to boot. We could do a lot worse than go back to that Wolves/Watford/Leicester/West Ham tier for another CM and go for 1 or 2 of Neves, Tielemans or Doucoure. Put feelers out for Bruno Fernandes at Sporting too.
Wingers – At least one needed but you could even argue 2 are necessary, since I never want to see Mata on the right again. I’d like to at least try and tempt Dortmund for Sancho, but failing that there’s young talent available in Joao Felix, Nicolas Pepe, David Neres etc etc. A big veto on Bale no matter what
Leadership – this is a tricky one to find, but the dressing room is in desperate need of leaders, and that’s perhaps the biggest problem we face at the moment. Godin would have been ideal, but alas. I honestly don’t really know where to go with this!
Obviously we aren’t going to catch City in one season, but I think this, followed by another clear out the following summer is the best chance we have of closing the gap
I for one, am hugely excited by the forthcoming spending spree and the ridiculous money supplements by sponsors. Enter Mr Woodward. If he has any clue, he will true and procure individual sponsorship contracts per player. I am sure we will get a good ambassador role at Greggs with Luke Shaw.
Also, our entire defence could bandy a role with ADT; as a method to prove defence is key, ya know.
LOUDOGG – Ole says the right things, at least
You may have heard Baku is difficult to get to. Arsenal are currently sponsored by Fly Emirates, and Chelsea have been sponsored in the past by Fly Emirates. Couldn’t they organise some flights at special deals for supporters? They make a bit of money and get a bit of good publicity.
Alternatively, Chelsea and Arsenal kick the ball around aimlessly, and someone takes home the trophy. Upon landing back in London, both teams announce the real final will be played at Wembley a week later. The 12000 that UEFA so kindly allocated for Chels and Arse fans are invited to the plush corporate and generally empty seats at Wembley, and a dramatic cup final is played, with hopefully Chelsea taking the cup home this time. Absolutely impossible, but one can dream…
Something seems very wrong that Arsenal can get to a European final and are then possibly forced to field a weaken side unless Uefa can provide assurances that Henrikh Mkhitaryan and his presence in Azerbaijan will be safe. As we all know this is due to security concerns related to diplomatic tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia .Apparently it is about a longstanding conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region which has destroyed diplomatic relations between the two countries: Mkhitaryan has been forced to avoid the country in recent years.
As a result he has missed a Borussia Dortmund match there earlier in his career. And Mkhitaryan stayed in London for Arsenal’s trip to Baku in the group stages earlier this season.
There is a reason why you have a squad of eligible players, so that the club chooses whoever to play against a team. It is clearly a decision which in the end weakens us and reduces our attacking options.
I have one way out of this hole. Give him diplomatic cover and tell Azerbaijan to guarantee his safety on and off the pitch. If this is refused then inform them the game will be moved to Wembley and they will never ever get a European final.
Tony Laforce, Hackney
You ain’t won nothing yet
Now that the euphoria has died down somewhat and people got their knickers back to where it should be, I just want people to think back at the absurdity of the comments coming out from THAT Liverpool game.
They have not won it yet. Simple. It’s a semi-final for heaven’s sake. It’s now a 50% chance of winning not actually winning it 100%. For all the talk of this game being better than Instanbul, I say to thee: have you gone bonkers? I remember watching that game from the other side of the Atlantic with a good mate of mine (hello, Deepak in Michigan if you’re reading this) and the rush of emotion I’ve never experienced in my life when the 3rd goal happened. And don’t get me started with the penalty shootout.
To me, a comeback is when you beat all the odds and win the ultimate prize. The boys are not there yet but I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be an amazing Final. Here’s to the possibility of another Champions League trophy!
MZ, Kuala Lumpur (City is going to get an away draw and Liverpool to win by a goal’s margin on the final day. You read it here first.)
The Tim Sherwood derby
I’m just in the pub watching the playoffs, remember when spurs/villa was a rivalry? I wonder what that Connor bloke is up to?