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Football thoughts

Post by webberg » Tue Nov 07, 2006 11:48 am

Is it me?

I find that I'm increasingly turned off watching the circus that the Premiership has become. The managers and players seem to think that the game has to be won on the back pages of the media rather than by performing on the pitch.

The players spend their time in "simulation". This is sophistry. They cheat and they should be treated as cheats are usually treated, i.e. shunned.

Sadly, their managers not only turn a blind eye to such behaviour but actaully condone it by demonstrating similar behaviour by either refusing to shake hands with their peers or attacking referees.

In my opinion until the FA start to review video evidence post games and clamp down on players and managers by issuing fines that matter or suspensions, we will see a continuing trend in this direction.

But let's be real, this is never going to happen. The big clubs have the FA exactly where they want them and all we'll see is lip service.

In some ways Ferguson who is guilty of many of the above things is to be admired. He might be a nasty human being who bullies (for Man U fans that reads as "motivates") young players and sells anybody who dissents, but at least he's consistent and you know what you are getting. The Chelski apparatchik is simply too vain to be taken seriously. Anybody could build a league winning team with enough money. Wenger is arrogant. I'm not exempting other managers but at least most of them stay away from the press and focus their time on their team.

Sorry - rant over.
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Post by Mike Channin » Tue Nov 07, 2006 1:22 pm

Is it me, or do Chelski have a lot to answer for here? The blatant cheating antics of Drogba and Robben, etc. backed 100% by their arrogant manager. Doesn't exactly set a good example, does it.

I know there's been some gamesmanship between Arsenal and Man U. over the years too. And as a Liverppol fan I can still admit there's the odd time Owen has gone over a bit too easily (But then he is only little!)

If the FA had banned Drogba for 5 games for the incident where he even admitted diving in the post match interview, maybe that would have set a better precedent.

And I agree with Graham - any manager blatantly supporting cheating should also be fined/banned - maybe that will help to make them think twice...

And yes, post match video examination is the fairest and most effective way of policing this - it has been proven over and over again that referees are not infallable and do not and cannot see everything that goes on. Knowing that they'd get rumbled (and fined) on the video analysis may finally lead some of these players to hold their hand up sportingly and say, no foul, I just fell over.

I'd say part of the root cause of the problem is the insane amount of money in the game, which leads to a 'win at all costs' mentallity and sod the sport. A similar thing to the exploits of one Mr Schumacher in another money rich sport, F1...
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Post by paulgould » Tue Nov 07, 2006 1:39 pm

The Premiership is completely overrated - a bunch of prima donnas getting paid obscene amounts of money for being very average( most of the England national team are completely one-footed) - any remote threat of contact and they go down like they have been shot and there is no respect for the match officials either - if you want good,exciting team sport played by real men then look no further than Rugby(Union or League).

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Post by Mike Channin » Tue Nov 07, 2006 1:59 pm

I would agree that rugby union is a far better sport, both in terms of the spectator experience, and in the spirit in which it is played.

(I think there is a quote - football is a game for gentlemen, played by thugs, and rugby is a sport for thugs, played by gentlemen...)

That said, there was quite a lot of gamesmanship going on from the Southern Hemisphere sides on Sat/Sun. Lots of off the ball blocking and taking out of playes. Lots of slowing the ball up in the ruck, which at least NZ got caught for by the 2nd half. Something bit dodgy going on the scrum too, but who knows what?

And I do remember some SA matches where the main gameplan seemed to be to injure as many of the opposition as they could, and the rugby was secondary.

So maybe not all the southern hemisphere sides are completely innocent of gamesmanship in rugby either. (And we all know there's the odd player from the Northern Hemisphere who has their moments too)

Oh, and finally, back to football - one saving grace of the English national side (and the other home nations) - they seem to get involved in far less gamesmanship, faking injuries, simulation, and diving than virtually any other national side, so at least we can (generally) be proud of the spirit they play the game in. Maybe that's why they never win much...
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Post by webberg » Tue Nov 07, 2006 2:22 pm

I suspect that I don't really know enough about rugby (either code) to comment but it seems to me that the southern hemisphere teams are more aligned with the "win at all costs" camp than the northern.

I did watch a rugby league match from Aus recently. The time that the player was allowed to be held down after being tackled was much longer than UK league games. Why?

On the football front, I was saddened by Wenger at the weekend. Here is a man who displays an attitude that is typical of the petulent and spoilt behaviour of his players. A manager is meant to epitomise the club and be its visible and tangible public face. The engage in an unseemly brawl is bad enough but to refuse to shake hands is unforgivable.

Personally I would ban him from the touchline until he attended an anger management course.

I woudl also agree that the foreign players bring an unaceptable level of cheating to our game. If you watch Spanish or Italian matches diving is everywhere. I'm surprised that the crowd don't have scorecards for degree of difficulty, artistic impression etc.

A tale for you. One of my boys is an apprentice at a Premiership club that has recently had a new manager. Two days into his reign he visits the boys and says that he will watch them train and then play agianst a local amateur team. Ten minutes into the game one boy goes down. Manager comes on, checks he's not really hurt, and then takes him off the pitch. This happens several times until they are reduced to 7 players. The manager then explains that he expects his players to play unless they are physically unable. Anybody cheating (and this means feigning injury) has no place in his team. Two of the four boys deemed most culpable he sold within a week. Message learnt!!

My solution would be to introduce post match video analysis for player and ref. If a player is considered to have cheated he gets a one game ban. If a team picks up say 10 such bans, they lose points. I reckon we'll soon see an end to cheating.

For refs (and I am a qualified ref) they should be required to explain decisions made. Each manager would be able to ask for two explanations a game. If those decisions are wrong, so be it but at least everybody can see it as an honest mistake.

I would also require TV channels to show at least 1 minute of coverage from lower leagues to every 10 minutes from the Premiership.

Whoooo this ranting is very cathartic. :P
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Post by paulgould » Tue Nov 07, 2006 3:52 pm

Mike - as you say there are unsavoury incidents in Rugby Union too but most incidents get resolved pretty quickly and firmly - when SA were at Twickenham and tried to kill the English players they not only blackened their name for years afterwards but also suffered their worst defeat ever.
Most infringements on the field get penalised and just one word of backchat gets the penalty advanced 10 metres.
There is also a degree of self-policing where there is dirty play - none of this handbags at twenty paces stuff.

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Post by Mike Channin » Tue Nov 07, 2006 5:09 pm

Rugby is far better than football (soccer!) because of the advantage rule, and because of the 10 yards (meters!) further penalty for backchat. These result in much fairer outcomes from any foul play, and much better behaviour from the players. And far respect to the referee and the officials.

And whilst on the subject of arrogant, petulant managers refusing to shake hands, I just have to bring up Moroninho who seems to suffer this every time his overpaid overvalued cheats get beaten, particulatly where Liverpool and Rafa are involved.

Have to say that I think Rafa is an example of how managers should behave. Mind you, Houllier was a really nice bloke, always reasonable and always defended his players when they played badly. Problem was, he wasn't always the best at winning stuff (reliably anyway) and he did have a penchant for buying French speaking players who didn't fit into the team... (Seems to work for him at Lyon, but then they ARE a French team!)

And on Paul's point about THAT England v SA game, I think SA would have got destroyed score-wise anyway, and that was probably why they resorted to such violent tactics - they thought it was their only chance. Their targetting of poor old Wilko was quite scary! Is good to see SA playing more rugby and not having to resort to open thuggery anymore.
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Post by webberg » Tue Nov 07, 2006 5:38 pm

Liverpool are a bit of an enigima.

Aside from Gerrard who has stayed largely honest because he has avoided the "big" teams in London, there are no real stars and nobody who might be able to grab a game and turn it around. In the past the 'pool have had such people (Souness, Hughes, Owen, Rush) and I think that they have suffered because of this.

Some of the "stars" elsewhere have this ability and sometimes it's needed.

The problem is that Rafa and Houllier are good coaches but they lack the vision and the drive to make the team great. The successful managers of recent times have this vision and whilst it does come across as arrogance and stubbornness on occasion, when their teams are under the cosh, its very much needed.

Rafa is simply too nice. He likes to be popular and loyal to the players he has bought and the team suffers.

I also think Liverpool have a number of deeper problems on the pitch. Mainly their centre backs are weak. Hypia is a bit old and Carragher to prone to mistakes and poor positional play. I see no signs that he is moving to solve this and he is still tinkering with how to fit Gerrard into a "system".

IMHO he should allow Gerrard to play wherever he likes and build a tream to support him. That means two holding midfield players, a back three and two full backs powering forward. Then a top class finisher (not a striker).

Crouch, for all his goals, is not a finisher. His target rate is way too low. Kuyt is unknown and again wastes too many chances.

So that's Liverpool taken apart - who's next.
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Post by Mike Channin » Tue Nov 07, 2006 6:04 pm

Ouch! Don't forget this man won the Champions League, and Houllier to his credit won everything except the CL and the Premiership. Get your point about them being 'too' nice, but then, didn't we say we wanted well behaved managers rather than ranting arrogant tyrants?
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Post by webberg » Tue Nov 07, 2006 6:11 pm

Mike, the difference is between being "nice" and wanting to win.

You can be not nice in how you handle a team but have a pleasant media persona - Martin O'Neil for example?

It's really about how much you want it and how far you can push average players.

unfortunately Moan-inho thinks he is better than his players at just about everything and wants to win games in the pre match press conference.

Quote on the BBC website from a Barca player that the worst thing about playing Chelski is having to listen to Moan-inho in the conference - priceless.
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Post by Mike Channin » Tue Nov 07, 2006 6:33 pm

I'm sure Rafa _wants_ to win.

Even Houllier wanted to win..., if it was ok with everyone else..., if it wasn't too much trouble....

Still, miles better than Sven, who didn't seem to care or even notice, as long the FA kept paying him and he got to sleep around...
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Post by BigWaveDave » Tue Nov 07, 2006 7:50 pm

Great reading with some inspired insights and views.

For my own humble opinion the one thing that seems to be overlooked throughout the comments made is that football and I mean here the Premiership is now first and foremost a business and no longer a sport. There is far too much money around in all levels of the game - how can anyone really justify a weekly salary in excess of £100k just for kicking a ball around.

My flag is tied to the Anfield pole but have to say that I do not make sure I can see MOTD or any matches during the week anymore.

In talking of managers how would Shankley, Paisley and Clough handled today's players - they would have made Furgeson looked like a pussycat and players really wouldn't know what would have hit them.

Rugby does have a number of positives over football but you can see the professionalism is creeping into the game and in a few years things could have tipped beyond the point of no return.

My main sport has always been basketball and not the UK joke we have. The NBA in the USA underwent a number of major changes a number of years ago and really benefitied from some very strong leadership - its not quite as good now but still has the fundamnetals in place. They introduced salaray caps which was aimed at making teams being able to compete on a more even keel as no one team could have all the best players. Granted players salaries can and do dwarf those of Premiership players but they do play a minimum of 82 games per season and can play 4 games in a week.
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Post by webberg » Wed Nov 08, 2006 2:11 am

Mr BWD - I happen to know an ex pro British basketball player who used to turn out for Sunderland and Newcastle. I agree that the management you see there is needed in pro football.

My team is Southampton who have IMHO a manager who sticks to the right principles.

My middle son (18) is a pro at Aston Villa and Mr O'Neill (as my son speaks of him) also has those qualities.

I think it's a real sahme that managers/coaches of obvious ability choose (word carefully chosen) to play media games and not football.

However the 5 live journalists seem to think that they have to make the news and not just report it. Comments?
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Post by BigWaveDave » Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:29 am

I would suggest that your son must have been really happy with Mr O'Neill becoming his manager. Out of all of the managers in the top flight he is the one who appears to have the strongest values, especially among the bigger clubs.

The fact he refers to him as Mr O'Neill says something about respect and that is what is really missing if football today. There is very little or no respect shown to the club/managers/opposition and fans by a great number of top players.

We live in a media fuelled society and I dont think we should stop at just the 5Live reporters, they all want to make thier name but finding/creating the angle on a story that in most cases doesn't exist. I very rarely read the back pages of the papers anymore, they're just not interesting.
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Post by Mikey » Wed Nov 08, 2006 10:11 am

What BWD says about 'Respect' is spot on.

I have to admit to being a Chelsea boy for more than 40 years and a rugby fan also. So when it came to last sundays live games, it was a choice of either Chelsea V Spurs or England/All Blacks. There was no real contest, mainly because I knew with the rugby I would see real competition, with no overt attempt to con the officials or other players and respect for the ref who would enforce the rules without fear or favour (Not sure about the disallowed try though!)

As for the various antics of managers, this past week-ends shenanigans brought the premiership to an all time low. When Mouriniho first came to Chelsea he had a new fresh approach to both coaching and the media, something that despite the money Ranieri couldn't do. However he does now seem to be believing his own hype and this I think is one of the root problems for many of the so called top players/managers/officials.

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Post by Mike Channin » Wed Nov 08, 2006 10:53 am

I see the French assistant coach has spotted the All Blacks bending the rules on Sunday:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/6125538.stm

Particularly interesting is his take on how NZ got momentum in each scrum, and why the catch and drive never worked for England (when it is usually a reliable outlet).

Will be interesting to see how the ref deals with this in Lyon on Saturday...
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Post by BigWaveDave » Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:01 am

Can you imagine any footballer referring to the referee as 'Sir'? That's what we had to do when I played. Most of the modern players couldn't even spell it let alone say it - or is that too harsh?

Hoping that England put it together this weekend against Argentina - really could do with the win!
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Post by webberg » Thu Nov 09, 2006 9:34 am

The only "Sir" that most Premiership players know is as in "surly" which is what that are most of the time.

Can't comment on rugby as I don't know much about it. I did play at my 6th form school for about 3 games in the 2nds but accidentally knocked out a 1st 15 forward and was told that my attitude was not needed on a rugby pitch!

Probably saved me from a world of pain?
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Post by iain pope » Wed Nov 22, 2006 11:10 am

Oh thank you thank you thank you sweet Jesus.

Celtic 1 Man Utd 0.

And i was there.

Directly in line with the edge of the box just as Nakamura leathered it past Van der Sar.

Could not have had a better view anywhere in the ground.

What a goal. What a night.

We're through!!

:D :D :D

Time to sweat it off on the erg. :cry:
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Post by webberg » Fri Dec 15, 2006 12:34 pm

Liverpool get Barca but I quite fancy them to go through.

Mancs get Lille who are probably one of the weaker teams left and good for Michelle because she can get the train there!

The Ar$e get PSV which should be no issue for them.

Chelsea - at Porto - didn't the Porto manager go to Chelsea?

Celtic have a game on their hands.

Neck on the line, I predict all 4 English clubs through and Celtic to go out.

Is there another draw in the next round or is the game sequence already decided?
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Post by Gooner Neil » Fri Dec 15, 2006 10:30 pm

Come on you rip roaring reds, at leat van pers will get a game or get nicked :o
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Post by Mike Channin » Sat Dec 16, 2006 2:34 am

Here's hoping Graham's predictions are correct. Barca will be tough, for sure, but then it is ALWAYS tough to win this tournament.

All the best to all the English clubs (and Celtic) (even, begrudgingly to Chelski and their arrogant ar$e manager....)
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Post by Mikey » Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:47 am

Whoa there Mike, was that not a cracking game, with 2 great come-backs, for the Blues to win at Everton.

I couldn't help but will the Hammers on later!

Good result all round for the London boys really :D

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Post by Wolfmiester » Thu Jan 18, 2007 1:45 pm

Sorry, got to mention this

FA Cup 3rd round replay:
Newcastle 1 : Birmingham City 5 :!: :!:

Wasn't down to just luck either, played them off the park.

Fingers crossed we can keep in going in the league and get promoted :roll:
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Post by Gooner Neil » Sun Jan 21, 2007 8:39 pm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/6284421.stm


:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Well well well the best two teams on their day in the league came head to head and now in the season six points of my least favourite Scot, Potuguese, Pikey persons.

Red scum will still win the league but our kids will be offer a proper challenge next year

S'pose you and Chelski will have to spend the same as the duffer in the White House does on his defence budget to buy more players
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