It’s been a while since the pages of MFW were graced with a guest blog, but they’re back and back with a bang!
City fan and MFW reader Trev ‘Demo’ has let forth on his view of the modern game.
All yours, Trev…
This article has been at the back of my mind for a while.
I can’t tell you whether it was the crassest ‘deadline day’ during a cost-of-living crisis that flipped me, or whether it was watching Norwich being totally outclassed by a team not yet in the Prem.
Equally, it might have been while reading about another potential takeover somewhere, or some Hollywood owners in the Conference or even Leeds sacking a guy charged with keeping them up, who kept them up, for only looking like he’d maybe keep them up.
The 20 clubs in the Premier League would do well to realise that three will have to be relegated no matter what they’ve spent. And in the Championship, only six can either make the playoffs or go up automatically.
Talking of which… did Martin Samuel not realise that had we spent all of our parachute money and more to ‘have a go’, as he described it, we would still have gone down and would probably now be in a bigger muddle than we already are?
But there’s more, so…
Reasons to be sick of football (at the higher levels):
- Squad sizes – 25 as a minimum? Some players are never likely to play (Jordan Hugill for example) let alone the third-choice keepers.
- Throw-ins – Most are clearly foul throws these days but are never called.
- The songs – Most are dull. I know this will come across as heresy but the monotone ’17th of June…1902…’ is dire (in my opinion).
- The time spent watching players laying on the deck after the slightest contact.
- The over-tacticalisation of it all. Remember when offices and board rooms in business went all “blue-sky thinking” “proactive” etc. Well, watching a drab game of football and then reading about the ‘press’ the ‘counter-press’ the ‘half-spaces’ etc is mind-numbingly painful. ‘Playing through the thirds’ used to be called passing, by the way.
- The money involved – Head coaches are fired after a bad month, such is the desperate life-or-death musical chairs of the Premier League. The Championship, in trying to get there, is every bit as bad. The money involved is surely why managers aren’t given time and academy players aren’t given a chance. Last week’s deadline day saw relegation-threatened teams sign players for north of £20m. I like the idea/ideal of our model, but whether it is doable is a separate article for a separate day.
- Gratuitous Transfers – I miss the days of knowing that your squad was your squad and that if you signed a dud on a four-year deal, you better learn to love him. Squad sizes are capped at 25, yet Nottingham Forest have signed 29 players this season.
- Sideways passing – I know I’ll come across as a dinosaur but there are times in a game when goalkeeper to centre-back to centre-back and repeat is not good enough.
- Politics – Why such a dirty industry is so keen to signal its virtue is beyond me. I agree that there is no place for racism and discrimination, but you have to question why an industry that has a workforce that is half-black has just three per cent of non-white managers and head coaches.
- Fans on phones – Can you not put them away for 45 minutes? Do you need to film yourself celebrating a goal? Can we not all check the scores at half-time, and cheer if Ipswich are behind like we used to? Snap-a-gram, Insta-face, and You-need-a-life-Tube can surely wait.
- Substitutes – Currently, teams change half the outfield players during a game. It doesn’t take 30 outfield players to contest a game of football. There’s more that don’t even get on, and even more for games in Europe. If we ever get back into European competition, the City Stand will need to be renamed ‘the bench’.
- Goal kicks – My first goal, as an eight-year-old, was from an opposition goal kick. Attacking players lined up like predators before feeding time at the zoo knowing the poor mite in goal couldn’t clear his box. Now opposition strikers look the same as Tim Krul and two centre-backs do some weird trooping of the guard-type display, before giving it away anyway.
- VAR – It’s cleared up less than a campus doctor in freshers’ week. Meanwhile, spontaneously celebrating a goal is often futile.
- Statistics – xG? Defensive actions? Running metrics. I feel like the Emperor in his new clothes, except I know I’m naked and everyone is saying ‘no, it’s for the best’.
- The Catch-22 situation – The Premier League is like a space capsule about to leave Earth in the event of an apocalypse, and inside are the worst people that ever lived, plus just enough space for your family. Want to be in as it will guarantee survival? Or hold onto your principles, whither and probably die?
These are just some of the thoughts of a grumpy man on a Tuesday morning. Feel free to contest or add.
It is, as they say, still a game of opinions.
So, there you have it. Trev has unleashed. Anything you’d like to get off your chest? The floor is yours…