WHEN is a young player not a young player? Raheem Sterling, aged 24, 49 caps for England and over 300 first-class appearances. Surely, a young player is, first of all, somebody who is on the way up, still growing and potential-rich. Given there are currently a batch of players who are indeed in the ascendancy, the PFA giving it to Sterling suggests a lack of obvious choice. Who would fall into this category? Spurs are supposed to have plenty of young talent, but their team that lost the first leg of the Champions League semi-final had four players over 30. Rose and Trippier are 28, Alli is 23 but it looks like the youngsters are starting to reach maturity. Trent Alexander Arnold (20), anyone?
INTERESTING that just a couple of games into its lifespan, Tottenham’s wonderful new stadium is being touted as the best in the Premier for atmosphere. It sounded pretty quiet at times when Ajax were stroking the ball around in the Champions League tie. Spurs was ahead of Newcastle and Manchester United (joint 2nd) and Liverpool. The worst? West Ham’s Olympic legacy. Source: GiveMeSport
ON THE subject of Ajax Amsterdam, the Dutch masters could be on the brink of an historic treble. They are top of the Eredivisie, in the KNVB Cup Final this weekend (versus Willem II) and then they have to finish the job against Spurs. Ajax and PSV are neck-and-neck in the league – their next games are on May 12 when Ajax host Utrecht and PSV visit Alkmaar. The league wraps on the May 15 with Ajax travelling to De Graafschap and PSV at home to Heracles. On paper, PSV have the tougher task, but Ajax have distractions. The last Ajax side to win the treble of Europe, League and Cup was Cruyff’s team of 1972.
GOOD to hear that North Ferriby will have non-league football again next season, although you have to wonder why a new club gets accepted into the Northern Counties East League structure rather than lower down the pyramid. Even stranger is that the old club was wound-up over a debt of just £ 7,645 yet a group of “high-profile” locals have thrown their weight behind the new phoenix club, North Ferriby FC.
CLIMATE CHANGE has been dominating the news recently, and rightly so. Forest Green Rovers Chairman Dale Vince is set to play a leading role in a new United Nations initiative aimed at engaging the world of sport in the fight against climate change. Vince, who has spearheaded Forest Green’s drive to become ther world’s first carbon neutral sports club, commented: “Sport has such a big influence on the way people think and act, it’s a powerful platform that can be used to address the most urgent issue of our time. This new UN framework can help bring about change.”
SUPERLATIVES, clichés and jargon. The language of football that seems to be falling further into the abyss. No longer can anyone refer to anyone without adding, “the very wonderful”, “the superbly talented”, “ the amazing”. Of course, such lavish praise usually has an agenda in that it invites similar spoonfuls of sugary praise. Moreover, what are “absolute scenes” and if you know, let me know where I can find some?
FINAL THOUGHT: AS we approach the end of the season, how many clubs will close their awful campaigns by being applauded off the pitch by local fans who are probably the ones in need of praise for just sticking it out?
10 of the Best from GOTP
April 29: Fradi joins the 30-plus club
April 29: Let’s see how effective academies really are
April 25: The revival of Valencia
April 22: 72 Classic – London’s lost cup
April 20: Frankfurt – aiming to be Fussballplatz
April 19: Remake/Remodel – United’s task in hand
April 17: Ajax’s marvellous Italian job
April 17: Should we just embrace football’s new industrial age?
April 17: Great teams take the treble chance
April 9: State of Play – Derby County