Premature evaluation and Liverpool

EVEN AT this early stage, Liverpool’s current team, as exceptional as it is, is being prematurely labelled the club’s best ever side. There’s a degree of “presentism” about this claim, not least because if any club has a phenomenal list to choose from, it is Liverpool. Liverpool are odd-on champions-elect this season but as yet, Jürgen Klopp’s team has one just a single prize, albeit … Continue reading Premature evaluation and Liverpool

VAR: It wasn’t meant to be this way

WHEN the geeks of Silicon Valley told us about the oncoming revolution around 20 years’ ago, they said technology would make our lives easier and more enriched. The many gadgets and gizmos they were developing in Californian garages and science parks would allow us to have more leisure time. Technology would bring more precision to our lives and eradicate the mundane. Anyone who disagreed with … Continue reading VAR: It wasn’t meant to be this way

Racism and bigotry in football – the disease that won’t go away

IT is not easy to warm to some of today’s footballers, especially those that find it hard to resist conspicuous consumerism or consider that with enormous wealth comes permission to misbehave. That aside, in an age where many of the sins of the past are being addressed, racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, sexism and other isms are, rightly, no longer tolerated. Once again, football has let itself … Continue reading Racism and bigotry in football – the disease that won’t go away

The hypocrisy of the Özil saga

JUST how much control should an employer have on its employees when it comes to their viewpoints, opinions or feelings? Mesut Özil spoke out on social media about the plight of Muslims in China and his employer, Arsenal, felt moved to distance themselves from his twitter posting. At the same time, Arsenal claimed they were apolitical. Arsenal were, in effect, doing what most companies with … Continue reading The hypocrisy of the Özil saga

The Club World Cup – creeping in the back door of 2019

WHY have FIFA persisted with their lop-sided Club World Cup, a relatively unloved competition that carries little weight and goes quite unnoticed by most of the world’s footballing audience? This year, the mid-season holiday for blazers moved to Qatar, providing a testing ground for the controversial 2022 World Cup. It’s very difficult to see this competition as anything other than a money-making venture and a … Continue reading The Club World Cup – creeping in the back door of 2019

Oh, Hillsborough – media reaction

FOR the families of the 96 people that died at Hillsborough, there can never be any peace. That seems to be the conclusion from the latest twist in a tragedy that refuses to deliver closure for the mourners. At some point, it may end, when the grieving relatives either gain satisfaction or there simply isn’t anyone left to stand trial, but the acquittal of David … Continue reading Oh, Hillsborough – media reaction

The big six in a time of disruption

LIVERPOOL are top of the Premier by a substantial margin and the odds are they will win the Premier League for the first time and lift the Koppites’ first title since 1990. Six or seven years ago, that would have seemed a fairly unlikely scenario as Liverpool had – temporarily – moved out of the elite bracket. Jürgen Klopp was hired to bring the good … Continue reading The big six in a time of disruption

Haringey v Yeovil shows non-league has a racism problem

FOR YEARS, people have been selling non-league football as a civilised world, “real football for real people”, supported by the theory that this level of the game is one big happy family, a community motivated by the enjoyment of football in a malice-free environment. Just days after England’s players were subjected to racist comments and chanting in Bulgaria, Haringey Borough’s football team walked-off the pitch … Continue reading Haringey v Yeovil shows non-league has a racism problem

Racism and bigotry – the disease that won’t go away

IT is not easy to warm to some of today’s footballers, especially those that find it hard to resist conspicuous consumerism or consider that with enormous wealth comes permission to misbehave. That aside, in an age where many of the sins of the past are being addressed, racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, sexism and other isms are, rightly, no longer tolerated. Once again, football has let itself … Continue reading Racism and bigotry – the disease that won’t go away

Neville, Neville, how could they know?

THE WALLS are starting to close in a little on Phil Neville as he faces his first mini-crisis as manager of England’s Women. After a poor run of results, Neville reacted badly to increased scrutiny of his methods by the media, lashing out at journalists and developing something of a siege mentality. Neville, according to Suzanne Wrack of The Guardian, just cannot take criticism. “Sometimes, … Continue reading Neville, Neville, how could they know?

John Barnes – realistic, or out of touch?

ONE OF the most iconic photographic images of the 1980s is of Liverpool’s John Barnes back-heeling a banana at Goodison Park after a fan threw it his way during a Merseyside derby. The photo says a lot about an outstanding, gifted footballer trying to ignore a bout of racism by nonchalantly and intelligently using his skill to dispose of an offending item. Barnes received plenty … Continue reading John Barnes – realistic, or out of touch?

Everyone loves Chelsea’s reborn Jorginho

YOU’RE ONLY as good as your manager allows you to be. That should sum up the Jorginho story in his two seasons at Chelsea. Last year, Jorginho was less than popular with the Stamford Bridge regulars – he was seen as representative of the so-called “Sarri ball” philosophy of uncomfortable manager Maurizio Sarri. He moved to London from Napoli with Sarri and was, naturally, linked … Continue reading Everyone loves Chelsea’s reborn Jorginho

Hankering for football’s mythical “good old days”

ACROSS social media, people yearn for a return to a time they can more easily understand when it comes to football. A year ago, Emirates Stadium regulars wanted “our Arsenal back” and this season, Chelsea and Manchester United supporters are playing a similar tune. A certain age group longs for a return to “the good old days”, but sometimes, it is a misguided belief that … Continue reading Hankering for football’s mythical “good old days”