Why ATMF?

Anyone who’s anyone is Against That Modern Football (ATMF), I’ve proudly been ATMF since 1990 for example.

Being ATMF  has always been more of a feeling than a policy outlook so I’ve never had a succinct answer when the question “Why exactly are you ATMF? is posedA lack of precision simply isn’t good enough in this day and age so I came up with this list.

If you’re looking for an overarching theme for this list think of Sir Alex Ferguson’s famous quote; “Football, bloody hell…….it’s full of twats!!!!”

The XXXXXXXXX Jet Set presents the reasons against That Modern Football (TMF)…….

1. “The wrong sort of people” are in charge

Sepp Blatter

I’ll let Sepp’s Foundation do the talking here;

The idea is a simple one: together, we can create a better future, starting with ourselves. As president of FIFA I wanted to launch a foundation that supports projects not only in the world of football, but also in sport in general, and in so doing continue my efforts on a private level, too. I’m starting in the Upper Valais. I was born here, I’m at home here.

Promoting fairness as a synonym for ethical values is very close to my heart. I therefore appeal to everyone to use football, which is a great development tool, to work for a better future.

Football teaches not only technique, tactics and strength of character, but also team spirit. In an era when clear values and structures are increasingly lacking, football is thus a true school of life, especially for young people.

The game’s ethical values extend far beyond sport in that they affect the whole of society. And so football is not simply a sport, it is an important engine of personal and social development. Football can help us shape a better future, a future based on values such as discipline, respect and solidarity.

This is why I support projects that are working in this direction.

Yours,

Sepp Blatter

What a guy, and so sincere!!! “Promoting fairness as a synonym for ethical values is very close to my heart” and his heart is reassuringly close to the wallet in his suit pocket. Here’s how Sepp deals with the pressure of flying!

“Sepp Blatter has to do a lot of travelling. As Fifa president, the Swiss 77-year-old has to attend meetings all year round, all over the world. And after years of practice in the art of travelling by air Blatter is confident he has found the perfect recipe for a successful long-haul flight and has explained to the new magazine, The Global Player, which comes out this week, what makes the difference between a good and a bad flight.

His tips offer an intriguing insight to the daily routine of the most powerful man in world football. His top tips include “don’t eat too much” and “get plenty of sleep” while his passion for Sudoku is undimmed despite years of playing the game.

“During flights, in particular long-haul ones, I don’t work,” he said. “No documents, no interviews. And I’m very determined about it. To travel is to recover as far as I am concerned. Sometimes I do read, as that relaxes me: either the newspapers or a crime novel. On trips I want to forget about everything, relax, and recharge my batteries.

“To sleep during trips is essential to me. And I recommend it to anyone! How can you do it? How can you sleep during trips? That is a personal thing. For me, the humming noise of the engines at take-off is the best possible sleeping pill. It puts me out like a light immediately. It that does not work then I play Sudoku. That’s my passion. You need a flexible mind and a talent to combine things. It fascinates me.”

Blatter, who became Fifa president in 1998 and last weekend attended the World Cup draw in Brazil, also says that eating on airplanes is overrated as it will leave the traveller, after a full dinner and titbits, “over-acidified and over-full”.

“The most essential thing to do is to tune your body to the time zone you are going to arrive in as soon as you board a plane. This requires a change of thinking and automatic adaptation of your eating routine. For example, there used to be a flight from New York to Zürich departing at 6pm local NY time, which corresponds to midnight in Zürich. It’s an eight-hour flight.

“Dinner is usually served at 7pm, which means 1 am our time. Anyone having the full dinner including all the titbits after it will arrive over-acidified and over-full. There’s no way around it. I avoid it by skipping dinner. I like to begin the trip by having a drink, usually water, sometimes a glass of red wine, and that’s it.

“When it comes to eating on trips, I’m very disciplined. One mustn’t forget that all food served on a plane, except soup, is pre-cooked, which means more acid in your stomach. These may be details, but they are worth considering.”

What a guy!

Richard Scudamore

Luxuriate in this Guardian article;

“Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chief executive, has launched a scathing attack on the Football Association, expressing frustration about how his organisation is blamed for England‘s failures at major tournaments.

The most recent criticism of the Premier League came this month when the England manager, Roy Hodgson, complained about two big matches, Liverpool v Manchester United and Arsenal v Tottenham, being moved to 1 September for live television five days before the national team play Moldova at Wembley in the first of two crucial World Cup qualifiers.

Asked if he was upset by the view that the Premier League is culpable for England’s failure, Scudamore said: “It frustrates me enormously because it is so palpably not true. We are putting on a competition that the best players in the world want to come here and play in.

“It is not my fault the country is only 60 million. There are 212 countries playing this game. We are blessed to have 20 of the world’s largest 50 clubs. Within that 20, between three and five of the biggest 10. There are only 10 football clubs vying for this top talent.

“The idea an England team is going to be put together that will somehow beat the world is logically and mathematically implausible. We can put out a good team, just like Andy Murray can win Wimbledon and Justin Rose can win the US Open. Good things do happen but they are not an automatic right.

“The whole thing seems to me that if England don’t win something it is someone else’s fault. I have never, in my 15 years with the Premier League, never said the Premier League’s success, or lack of, is someone else’s fault. You have to make it yourself.

“Let’s run the reverse argument. Where does that leave the people at the FA in terms of their accountability? It can’t be our fault. It is bigger than us. It is not the Premier League who ripped up the playing fields. It is not the Premier League that didn’t put the education into schools that the government should have done. That is not the Premier League’s fault.

“Clearly, we have a job to do. We have not won the World Cup since 1966. We didn’t start until 1992. What happened between 1966 and 1992? Whose fault was that? The whole thing is immenselyfrustrating. It cannot be our fault on any level.”

Scudamore is also determined to fight any attempt from Fifa to move the 2022 World Cup from summer to winter as Sepp Blatter, the president, would like to do.

Asked if this will happen, Scudamore said: “I’m not going to say I think it will because I’m still working the best I can, garnering enough support, a groundswell of support, to make sure it doesn’t happen in winter.

“We do want to have it in summer – the summer is the right time. If Qatar is unable to hold a proper tournament in the summer for fans then it should be put on somewhere else is my simple view. My view is if you can’t actually meet the criteria of looking after the fans, if that is what Mr Blatter is now saying, then you should take it somewhere else where they can look after the fans.

“When the technical bid book went in, it had to go through everything, like fan experience. The idea the technical committee did not know people were going to be exposed to that heat is crazy. If Mr Blatter says it is not right for the fans he should move it.”

Scudamore believes a winter window for the tournament is totally unacceptable.

“The world has a calendar that’s geared around finding those two months every four years in the summer to have the World Cup,” he said. “To alter it to a different time of year messes up everybody’s calendar, not just ours.”

Scudamore believes it is too early for the Premier League to consider legal action but did not rule out a challenge from elsewhere. “That’s something that is far too contentious really. It’s not a very edifying prospect is it? Taking on Fifa, the world governing body. At the end of the day we’ll do our lobbying, our work, but it’s far too premature to think of legal action.”

2. Ownership issues are often “cloudy”

Read this lovely article from Futbolgrad to see what I mean.

3. Some club owners claim that the words “Association Football Club” are now redundant

Read about it here. Obviously Hull’s owner, Dr. Assem Allam, stirred up a little controversy with his “bold” move. When the inevitable criticism came his rebuttal wasn’t far behind.

To paraphrase the great man, “My critics (Mainly “The City ’til I Die” pressure group”) can die as soon as they want’.  The BBC website tells us more about Dr. Allam’s piece of subtlety in a report that includes this section;

“A number of supporters protested during the game against Crystal Palace last week by unfurling a banner which read “We are Hull City”.

But the owner added: “How can they call themselves fans, these hooligans, this militant minority, when they disturb and distract the players while taking away the rights of others to watch the football, and of companies who have paid good money for advertising?”

There was even more detail in The Independent.

On December 10th 2013, Hull City formally applied to have their name changed to Hull Tigers.

4.The wrong sort of football clubs” are founded

MK Dons

Read this to find out why.

Salzburg Red Bulls

Read this to find out why

XXX NXX SXXXXX Luxury Football Franchise

There is no place for franchising in Welsh football.

5. Too many people allow superficial momentary success to trump any other consideration

As long as your team in “the promised land” it doesn’t how you’re misled, or how you act, or which moral codes you transgress, or what you say, or who you insult, or which friends you lose. YOU ARE THERE BABY!!! AND NOTHING CAN CHANGE THAT!!!…….until you’re relegated of course.

Is losing friends in the pursuit of shabby sort of glory via moral cowardice a price worth paying? See Entry 44 for more detail.

6. Fan behaviour is homogenising

Some time in 2012 I discovered a clip of Manchester City fans having a bit of fun in Madrid.

In October 2013 I came across a story on the BBC website that included these lines;

“Drunk students who brought Newcastle city centre to a standstill while singing and dancing along to a cult football chant have been criticised by Northumbria Police.

Footage of dozens of people joining in a song praising brothers Yaya and Kolo Toure was posted online.”

A big “Well Done!!!!!!!” for the BBC there for turning “Students acting like silly billies” in to a news story.

Once upon a time people would attempt to enliven football away trips by developing songs or chants or even dances (see Cardiff’s “Ayatollah”). Whatever the inventive people devised it would entertain people for an afternoon, evening or couple of days, sometimes the song, chant or dance would take off, sometimes it wouldn’t.

Nowadays people attempt to enliven football away trips by developing songs or chants or even dances. Whatever people come up with it entertains people for an afternoon, evening or couple of days. The footage is then uploaded to You Tube to enable bloody students to piss all over football culture by appropriating something they have absolutely no connection with.

To be fair to the bloody students they’re just victims of our contemporary culture. God knows how but our culture seems to create a herd mentality. In football this usually means that people eschew thinking in order destroy fresh and worthy ideas through pointless recycling.

These recycling pricks need to be stopped, I mean look at what they’ve done to our songs, they took the improvised momentary brilliance of FC United’s “What a waste of council Tax, We paid for your hats” and vomited on its spirit. These people try to “have a laugh” by singing “We’re (Insert your team name here), we’ll do what we want!!!!” and “We Pay Your Benefits!!!” If sentient fans were given a choice between headbutting a wall and listening to more thoughtless recycling headbutting a wall would sound like heaven. This pointless recycling simply has to stop!

We don’t need their “comedy” wigs, unfocussed volcanic rages, ridiculous badge kissing and celebratory “COME ON!!!!” to passing cameras either.

These pricks should leave football well alone. Football was here before they were arsed about it and it’ll be here when they’ve discovered something else, it would be nice to hope that they didn’t sully everything before they buggered off. If the pull of “the beautiful game” proves too strong they could simply shut up and give the rest of us peace.

To see a horrible by-product of this homogenization consider the picture entitled “A family that wears wigs together stays together”

utd fans

7. The “wrong sort of people” get involved in TMF

What are the “wrong sort of people”?

They’re the people that don’t go in for charming behaviour .

What do I mean when I say that there are “too many of “the wrong sort of people” involved in TMF”?

Here’s three examples;

1. The clown on this clip from “Manchester United: Beyond The Promised Land”

(clue; he’s the Irish bloke that emigrated to America to be a barman)

2. The people from the other side of the world that don’t think things through;

BQQvmfsCMAEdtwX

3. The people that use computers to produce crap like this;

Bb9WkweIMAEIJjt

There are so many of “the wrong sort of people” involved in football irritating behaviour has spread like a plague.

Nowadays too many parents set a bad example.

Too many people goad away fans instead of watching the match.

fAN

Too many people idolise the wrong players.

Too many people turn up at court when their idols are on trial.

Too many people dress up for international tournaments.

eNGLAND KNOBHEADS

Crusaders with inflatable Spitfires………………..Where do you start?

Too many bellend take ipads to matches.

Chelsea ipad

Too many people know they’ll be on television.

Jan5 007

Jan5 008

Calm down people, calm down.

8. “The wrong sort of people” make “the wrong sort of banner”

There are so many ways to make “the wrong sort of banner”. You can pay hundreds of pounds because you’re annoyed about something for five minutes, like these Chelsea fans.

1

You can make them for reasons you can’t possibly explain, like this Rangers fan.

2

You can try to celebrate your club’s big summer signing, like this Manchester United fan.

DB3AB9A9-30B1-4175-872B-3CE89A8C6E65-1321-000000C14B02430D_zps89c88f04

You can try to become “AN ABSOLUTE LEDGE!!!!!!”, like this stranger to punctuation.

united_kids_wife

Or you can try to be funny, like these pricks.

banner 1

Let us consider the Cardiff banner in more detail. As an experienced banner maker I can see that they were trying to stand out with an exquisite piece of social commentary. However even if you’re charitable and overlook the fact that they probably should have used “CAME” instead of “CUM” the banner is still a complete horror.

Let’s imagine the scene in their local pub during the weeks leading up to the Chelsea match, an atmosphere to scrape with a blunt butter knife, deadly darts deadly still, deadly pool cues in motionless racks, men and tables, tables and men, pints and worry furrows furrowing. The flavour of palpable tension in the crisps!!! A clash between the desperate need to look like “COMPLETE LEDGES!!!!!!” and the paucity of ideas that you could taste!!!  Then, as things were at their bleakest, inspiration reared it’s beautifully perfumed head!!!!!…………. Jacko remembered a two year old facebook status!!!

Imagine the stages the banner went through;

The desire > The frustration > The eureka moment > The clear decision to turn an idea in to a reality > Telling a message board about their idea > Steadily embroidering the idea with each passing mention > Finding a banner manufacturer > Spelling the words as they explained their idea in detail to the manufacturer (Well you don’t want to look like a complete moron by getting this kind of thing wrong) > Handing the money over.

How did the banner pass through so many stages without being questioned and then quickly abandoned?

Come on divvies, if you’re going to spend money on a banner, or even go to the effort of making your own, at least remember the simple cardinal rule; Banners are life, not just for the times when you think you’re a comedy genius, or you’ve allowed the media to make you a little bit angry.

9. “The wrong sort of people” caused the rise of “The Banter”

screen_shot_2013-05-18_at_16_20_23

Let’s refer to the sentence underneath this picture;

“So, in a week when Kenwyne Jones finds a pig’s head in his locker, and Crystal Palace discover a dirty protest in the changing room at Brighton, we thought we’d look at some of football’s more bizarre moments…..”,

Now consider it’s connection to the photo and shudder.

One of the biggest problems with the banter is that it allows stupid drunk people to think they’re funny, for example the ones that confuse racial abuse with “The Banter“;

“Two men have appeared in court in connection with the racial abuse of former Manchester United star Andy Cole on a flight from Dublin to Manchester.”

It’s hard to say when joshing became “The Banter” and when “The Banter” became a commodity but it’s happened;

Football Banter with Carling and Now TV”

“Carling have teamed up with NOW TV to offer free Sky Sports Day Passes with special packs of Carling. Soccer AM’s Max Rushden, Fenners and Tubes tell us how to win one of these packs by tweeting your best #FootballBanter”

“Football ‘banter’ pages a great fan outlet”

“At the end of the day, it is like a virtual matchday… just every single day of the week. I would strongly recommend that you give it a go. It may not be your cup of tea, but it is definitely worth a try. You may find yourself hooked.”

10. “The wrong sort of people” use twitter in the wrong way

There are plenty of examples to choose from. For example someone with access to The Mirror’s account tweeted this during Man City’s FA Cup replay with Blackburn in January 2014;

SUB: Emyr Huws (yeah, we know) comes on as City and DOESN’T score after 15 seconds: http://mirr.im/1eDTXqp

It’s lovely to see that a national newspaper has realised that Welsh people might spell their names differently beacuse they speak a language other than English.

Let’s consider these beauties;

– Official tweets from verified profiles

Dion Dublin – ”BBC MOTD2 for me tonight looking forward to it,let the green room banter begin #bereadytroops

Aston Villa – “We’re LIVE! Join the match console for banter, the best text commentary, images, polls and more. http://bit.ly/1dHlETs  #AVFCLIVE #SAFC

Carlsberg – “#HCAFC fans are not happy. #LFC fans are happy. Whose side are you on? Join in the banter and download #Strikr at http://bit.ly/19EOGwx

– The #casuallyobsessed hashtag

There are two groups of twats related to this one; the irritating young wankers that arrange clothing on their duvets and the misguided young fuckers that take selfies while trying to look dead hard in branded clothes.

You can see the extent of this intellectual hashtag here. (If you’re really interested you might also like to see the Half Priced Hooligans twitter feed)

– The “Football Away Days” profile

This is what they said about Rangers and the flag in July 2013;

@FBAwayDays – Lee Rigby banner being passed around Hillsborough tonight. Great touch. pic.twitter.com/Z2K4DCdWFd

@FBAwayDays – Rangers fans singing 10 German Bombers tonight. Class. pic.twitter.com/ScgWWkF80b

@FBAwayDays – Class Banner from Rangers. #rfc pic.twitter.com/nyPNzdoR33

– The people that end arguments with single word sentences

For example;

 “United will win nothing this season. FACT.”

The sentence may also end with #Fact. Experienced tweeters know what a person is saying when they use the “FACT. gambit”.

 “Look chief, don’t bother disagreeing with me I’m soooooo much more cleverer and funnier than what you are, and my opinion is the only one worth listening to, by the way don’t be too hard on me, I’ll cry if you don’t like my opinion

Sadly for these people, they look irritating rather than inspired, nothing says “Looks authoritative in the head but not on paper” quicker than the ending of an argument with a single word sentence.

– The people that can’t accept defeat

You know how it is…..

Fan watches match (Chelsea v Liverpool 29/12/13), fan sees Howard Webb turn down two “blatant penalties”, fan sees his team lose, fan tweets this kind of thing;

@MickDunning1997 “All we can do is hope Howard Webb gets severe brain cancer and dies a really painful death

Another tweeted this;

@Gallagherlad95 “Forget the top 4, the FA will not stand for it. They will ensure we miss out so Suarez leaves the country and joins Madrid.”

Another tweeted this;

@Wal_LFC “We all know why we aren’t getting penalites, its because the FA is trying to teach Brendan a lesson for speaking the truth about referees.”

Another tweeted this, is it English?

@getagripulot “Some slagging of BR again 4 me we shud ov at least drew v 2 ov top teams in country. Blame FA an officials we have improved under BR. YNWA”

Another tweeted this;

@ro_jito “I’ve said it previously – somebody with Howard Webb’s past with South Yorkshire Police should NOT be officiating Liverpool fixtures.”

Imagine being stuck in a lift with people like these.

11.The wrong sot of people” think “The Banter” can mend TMF

Read all about it here.

12. “The wrong sort of people” are too ready to vent their spleen

Consider “the wrong sort of Wales fan” after another defeat.

If I was left to deal with Wales’ situation on my own terms I could. Defeats and a general air of incompetence are unchanging features of the Welsh football landscape; Wales have only had two good chances to qualify for major tournaments in the last two decades so there’s no point getting angry.

The problem rears it’s head when the “The Banter” and the sense of entitlement coincide. For example a mature, and fully functioning, adult human tweeted the following directly after one of Wales’ many dispiriting defeats (Serbia at home in 2013 in this case);

“Surely a retarded monkey with aids would be a better manager than Coleman?”

The little lamb was “annoyed” you see. When I suggested that the author was a smidgen harsh in his assessment it turned out that I was the one in the wrong because I was “touchy”.

If I was to follow the Welsh script for the Welsh people I’m supposed to care about the Welsh national team on account of my birthplace and I should love my Welsh brethren because they too are Welsh. In reality I’ve encountered more charmless tossers from Wales than any other place. The increasingly loud and annoying knee-jerk reactions are solely testing my allegiance to my birthplace.

Now let us consider Arsenal Action . On Thursday August 1st 2013 they tweeted this;

“A very large number of fans have agreed to stand protest to remove Wenger “if “we are not satisfied by the 2nd Sept”

On Sunday December 8th 2013 they tweeted this;

“5pts clear at the top of the league”

It’s the “braying sense of entitlement whilst watching 2 millionaires argue over a throw in” that grates my nerve endings. When I was younger football fans could accept the idea that a football trophy can only ever have one winner and move on. Nowadays fans actually demand managers match their expectations.

13. “The wrong sort of people” buy “the wrong sort of products”

They buy “the wrong sort of T-shirts”;

imageIn case you’re doubting whether this example is “the wrong sort of t-shirt” here’s the manfacturer’s sales pitch;

“Are you part of the Playa Army? Love football? Whether it’s FIFA, real world or watching the big match, the boys at Copa90 will have the YouTube videos for you. Join the Copa90 army.”

According to the Urban Dictionary a Playa is;

“a asshole who don’t give a damn ’bout the only person that might have lov’d him/her, a “dickhead” who is with 3-4 persons at a time,a dumbass who makes out/have sex wit Whoever, uses and abuses a lot of gurlz/Boyz fo sex or money.”

Call me picky if you like but I’ll never join an army that’s overflowing with people like that. Speaking of people wearing t-shirts. I can’t think of a more tragic football-related tableaux than a group of men all wearing the same t-shirt of a “cult” footballer on an “ironic” lads’ weekend in a Blackpool theme pub. I don’t care how appealing the advert makes it sound either;

On-Tour T-Shirts

What goes on tour… stays on tour. We know, we know! But don’t forget a Cult Zero shirt to let everyone know why – or for whom – you’re there.

Bundesliga derby game?
Smudger’s 40th?
5-a-side tournament in Europe?
Make sure everyone in Borussia Park / Prague / Amsterdam / Blackpool* know about it.
Have your agent call us and we’ll negotiate a price!
* delete as applicable
Jesus, they’ll even turn stag do fuckwittery in to a marketable commodity nowadays. Read all about it here.

“The wrong sort of people” also buy “the wrong sort of scarf”. It has been hinted elsewhere that half and half scarves are the worst scarves a person can buy but they have competition;_69923076_man-united-fans-getty

Consider the sort of parent buys a scarf to mark “The start of a new era“.  The player scarf is an international trend;

bale 3

You can see the problem with player scarves; they look a silly six months later, when the player is at a different club,

bale 4

For some reason this particular Gareth Bale scarf had been placed on e-bay

14. The wrong sort of people” always “get” the rich owners

“Vincent Tan epitomises the demonisation of foreign owners

“God knows foreign owners can be a curse. There are numerous examples of foreign owners taking over local clubs, with disorganisation, a managerial merry-go-round and in more extreme examples financial irregularity following. Whether it is the disastrous series of ownerships that occurred during Portsmouth’s dramatic fall and near demise, the short-lived, but very shady Thaksin Shinawatra ownership of Manchester City, or even the largely stable and successful Glazer ownership of Manchester United that has however, seen the club saddled with huge debt, there are numerous horror takes surrounding foreign ownership of English clubs.

However, these high profile incidences have led to foreign owners being by and large demonised by all football fans, becoming a totem for every perceived thing wrong with the game. The fact is that most foreign ownerships go entirely unnoticed, with neither huge success nor spectacular failure. Other cases are very much positive for the clubs involved. Looking back at the example of Manchester City, whilst Shinawatra’s ownership plunged the club into financial uncertainty, it was another foreign owner, Sheikh Mansour, who not only rescued the club, but propelled it from its position as a long suffering, struggling side into English champions. Abramovich is another whom receives heavy criticism, and although he has brought a constant stream of new faces to Chelsea, what he has also done is transform the London club from England’s nearly club, to perennial title challengers.

The man in the headlines this week is Cardiff owner Vincent Tan. The Malaysian has been no stranger to controversy since his takeover of the Welsh club, and has been widely demonised, a figure of hate amongst Cardiff fans. The main anger has arisen over Tan’s extremely bold decision to transform Cardiff’s image, completely rebranding the club from the ‘Bluebirds’ and adopting the motif of a red Welsh Dragon. This has involved a total kit change, as well as a new badge, wiping away years of history. It must be painful for Cardiff fans to watch the club they have devotedly loved and supported be transformed, and many have turned their backs on the team for as long as Tan is the owner and Cardiff is red. However, football fans have famously short memories; Chelsea and Manchester City fans now fully expect titles and Champions League football, regardless of how their sides have historically performed.

Before Tan’s takeover, Cardiff’s financial problems were well publicised, with the club haemorrhaging money each money. The situation was entirely untenable, and without intervention, could have eventually resulted in the end of Cardiff City football club. It was Vincent Tan who took the club out of that situation and onto secure financial footing. It was also under the ownership of Vincent Tan that the club finally made it to the promise land of Premier League football. Achievements such as promotions, survival and titles are usually and quite rightly attributed to players and managers, but without a secure platform, none of that is ever possible. It was Tan that provide Malky Mackay with that platform.

As painful as it must be for Cardiff fans, Tan obviously felt that a rebranding was necessary to bolster the Bluebird’s financial footing, and increase revenue. As difficult as it is to put aside history, if the choice is watch your team play in a different colour, or watch the gradual demise of your team in their traditional kit, for most football fans it must surely be an easy choice. In choosing a dragon as Cardiff’s symbol, Tan has at least picked something which is inherently Welsh, but also marketable in the highly lucrative Asian market. It is often something football fans don’t want to admit, but in this day and age, football clubs are businesses. If a club goes under, it is not just that the fans lose their team, but numerous people lose their jobs and their livelihood, not just players and managers, but groundsmen, kit men and everyone else associated with the team.

Owners and Chairmen have to make decisions that keep a club alive and on a secure financial footing, they have a responsibility to stake and shareholders to do so. It is with this in mind that this columnist wants to offer a certain amount of defence for Vincent Tan’s recent actions. With the dismissal of Head of Recruitment Ian Moody earlier in the season, speculation was already surrounding manager Mackay’s future at Cardiff City and has been sent into overdrive following recent statements made by Tan, and BBC reports of supposed correspondence between Tan and Mackay. According to BBC reports, which it should be noted only shed some supposed light on the supposed point of view of Vincent Tan, the main issue of dispute surrounds Cardiff’s summer transfer spending. It appears that Tan is of the feeling that a summer transfer budget of £35 million was agreed between Tan, Moody, Mackay and Chairman Mehmet Dalman, and is obviously not pleased that spending eventually rose to more of the region of £50 million.

It is apparently for this reason that Head of Recruitment Ian Moody was dismissed for earlier in the season. If Tan’s opinion of events are to believed, and that between them Moody, Mackay and Dalman purposely ignored then Tan of course has every right to be angry, and dismissals would be fair action. The dispute in this seems to regard not whether a budget of £35 million was agreed, but whether add-ons were to be a part of this is not clear. If add-ons were meant to be part of the agreed budget, and there has been a £15 million overspend, then firstly why was this allowed by Tan and Dalman? And secondly, why then were Mackay and Dalman not also dismissed? It is not clear.

Since the summer, tensions have only increased through Mackay voicing his desire to spend again in the January transfer window. Again, it is unclear how party Mackay was to the summer overspend, it is also unclear how aware Mackay was over Tan’s displeasure and that there would therefore be no January transfer kitty. If Mackay was involved in a conscious overspend in the summer, or has been made aware that one occurred and that consequently there would be no January budget, then his comments to the press can only be viewed as an attempt to manipulate public opinion to try and force further spending. If this is the case, then Tan’s comments that Mackay must resign or be sacked, whilst ill judged, are perhaps fair. On the hand, if Mackay was unaware of the summer overspend, and no discussions have been made regarding a January budget, then Tan’s actions are then of course completely out of proportion. Whilst Mackay still should have discussed a January budget before going to the press, Tan’s position is obviously unreasonable.

Given that crisis talks are now set to take place the answer probably is that Mackay is neither entirely innocent nor completely guilty in the whole affair, and likewise, Tan most likely has reasons to be displeased but is overreacting. For Cardiff fans who feel hate for Tan, they may want to consider what the alternative might be. Mackay has brought success to Cardiff, and based purely on the performances of his team, deserves to stay on as manager. However, if behind the scenes the Scott is playing politics and subverting the management structure, then fans need to ask themselves if this is really the man they want to take their club forward. What is most imperative now is an end to all the ‘he said, she said’ games, and total transparency in future decisions.”

Let’s hope this was an elaborate satire. Even when fans become aware of the wily ways of their oligarchical owners……

Tan Out4

………….some fans still don’t care;

@AledBlake After 30 years supporting CCFC, I know for sure this is not the first, nor the last, period of idiocy. Will have my season ticket next year.

They don’t even care when their oligarchical pantomime villain really gets in to panto mood!!

They don’t care because life moves on;

“I miss Malky Mackay but let’s get behind Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with our vocal support. His first press conference was good ”Finish above Swansea and attacking football”. (Taken from “Bluebirds Unite” facebook group)

Not enough fans view things in the correct way. An esteemed user of the WSC, and an Anti-Tan refusnik, message board wrote this about challenging autocratic club owners;

Of course my preference for a first course of action is withdrawing your financial & physical support of a regime by boycotting, that’s what I’ve already done.

The problem is there is far too much of this perverse “support the team, it’s not their fault” attitude from too many supporters, as if 25 paid employees (none of whom will be at a club in 5 years time) are of any importance.

If club owners like Tan and Allam attempt (and succeed in the former’s case) in driving through their autocratic whims using their own brand of threats and a climate of fear then I think it’s perfectly legitimate to respond in kind.

It’s not one-way, I’ve had threats of violence made about me from a former owner of my club simply for questioning his plans. A clique of supporters loyal to that former owner (now life president and beneficiary of £22m from Tan recently, all of which was further loaded on to the club as debt) including his convicted hooligan personal bodyguard gatecrashed a protest meeting I chaired saying they would “bury” anyone protesting inside the ground. It worked, opposition was scared away.

These people aren’t poor, weak old men, they’re ruthless, powerful venal bastards and you have to at least make some threat that you’ll fight back.

It won’t happen of course, far too many supporters focus on a league position and enjoy their PL “success” over every other aspect of a club. They’re enabling cunts like Tan and Allam and care too much about an entity in Companies House rather than the football club. It’s worth dropping to D4 like Portsmouth or starting again in non-league to drive these egomaniacs and speculators out.

Nail on the head.

15. “The wrong sort of people” make half-arsed protesters

Half-arsed protesters are the sort of people that start protest marches at a certain time in order to get in before kick off.

Listen to that video ten times and marvel at the attitude;

“I don’t like what the owner’s done…………………I mean, I respect what he’s done”

The trouble with these people is that they often change their minds. In May 2013 most Cardiff fans were really happy with their owner.

Tango

Tan Out 1

Tan Out 2

In December 2013 most of them weren’t happy with their owner.

Tan Out

16. TMF tolerates “the wrong sort of politics”

It’s all here.

17. Our media offers “the wrong sort of coverage”  

Firstly, journalists like to dull the ardour of inquisitive fans with “matter of fact realism” .e.g “If that means changing from blue to red, so be it” Yeah, It doesn’t matter does it?

Secondly, the media has passing fancies.

If you had read the BBC website on a particular couple of days in September 2013  you would have gained the impression that the BBC survey led story; “Football costs too much”, was the number one thing wrong with football.

By the 3rd December 2013 our 24 hour rolling news world turned this story, the story that represented everything that was wrong with football, into “that story from years ago” . The big story was now “The use of flares and smokebombs”, or as the BBC website chillingly put it;

Child fans ‘used as flare mules’

I’ve actually seen the burns caused by a flare and actually inadvertently breathed in the acrid smoke from a smoke bomb (not in the same match I hasten to add) so I know the dangers with smoke bombs and flares all too well. Knowing this obvious idea is one thing, writing a sensationalist article is another.

The flares issue became just another story to be seized upon and swallowed up by our media so it can manufacture more content of momentary interest. This quote illustrates my point exactly;

“It’s the biggest concern we’ve got among fans at the moment,” Cathy Long, head of supporter services at the Premier League, told BBC Sport.”

The flares issue had relegated issues like “cravenly ineffectual regulation“vain autocratic owners”, “extortionate ticket prices”, “overzealous crowd control” and “a tangible undercurrent of alienation” to obscurity, or rather, “temporary obscurity until the media feels like using the issues again”.

If you still doubt this process consider the issue of “concussion”. In November 2013 “concussion” became a major issue when Tottenham’s keeper, Hugo Lloris, suffered a head injury  yet a few weeks later “concussion” no longer featured in our sports media.

Thirdly, the media manufactures a demand for its own message.

The BBC helped the summer of 2013 to become the summer of Rooney, or at least “The Wayne Rooney Saga” ™.

July 1 – “Wayne Rooney: Man Utd striker to hold talks with David Moyes

July 2 – “Wayne Rooney: Man Utd star may want new challenge – Mike Phelan

July 16 – “Wayne Rooney ‘angered and confused’ by Manchester United

July 23 – “Jose Mourinho denies David Moyes mind games

Aug 6 – “Wayne Rooney: Man Utd striker ‘will need to force Chelsea move’

Aug 7 – “Wayne Rooney: Man Utd and Chelsea play high-stakes game

Aug 12 – “Wayne Rooney’s ‘mind is fine’, says England boss Roy Hodgson

Aug 21 – Wayne Rooney: Chelsea delay third bid until after Man Utd game

Aug 27 – “Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho sets Wayne Rooney 48-hour deadline

Sept 18 – “Wayne Rooney on road to legendary status at Man Utd”

I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with the coverage of football in our media but the same journalist is responsible for both of the last two stories.

The contrast between this Guardian article’s headline, subheading and first paragraph also highlights this approach;

“David Moyes has four games to save Manchester United’s season

There’s no need to panic at United if their new manager can steer his team to wins over the busy Christmas period.”

After Shakhtar Donetsk’s surprisingly meek capitulation in Europe all David Moyes needs for Christmas is a little comfort and joy in the league, and if he checks the fixture list he ought to be able to find it. Manchester United have four winnable games between now and the end of the year, and if they can pick up nine points or more from the available 12 they could be back in the top six by the halfway stage of the season, possibly going into 2014 with renewed hope and looking to draw a line under 2013 as a year of transition.

It’s ridiculously easy to ridicule our media for manufacturing content and blowing things out of proportion in order to engineer a demand for their message but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

Lastly, the media allows people like “Aston Villa fan” David Cameron to use TMF to make political capital.

In the autumn of 2013 there were several articles about Tottenham supporters and the use of the word “Yid”, therefore the uncreased one did spake forth. He told us that in the right circumstances (If you were the right sort of person, and used the word ironically, and there was an “R” in the month) there was absolutely nothing wrong with using the word “Yid”

David Cameron embroiled in race row over Tottenham Hotspur ‘Yid’ chant

We should have expected a comment on this issue, Dave just absolutely loves to comment on the burning issues facing the beautiful game. You can tell he loves the beautiful game from the headline and first line of this story;

“David Cameron jogging in Aston Villa shirt

“Prime Minister is down with the kids, running in t-shirt reading “Cameron 10”.”

You can tell that Dave really loves commenting on the burning issues facing the beautiful game, he just can’t keep quiet about them;

Luis Suarez: David Cameron criticises ‘appalling’ bite

England v Scotland? David Cameron wants a ‘good game of football’

David Cameron backs Pompey takeover amid criticism of court delay

Cameron wades into England football row with criticism of Capello

David Cameron: Fabio Capello was wrong over John Terry captaincy

That’s not to say that he doesn’t proffer opinions about other sports;

British Lions tour win inspired my son to play rugby, says David Cameron

Andy Murray deserves knighthood after Wimbledon – David Cameron

A cynic might decry these outbursts as pathetic Jim Hacker-esque attempts to prove that he hasn’t lost touch with the man on the street, or transparent attempts to gain reflected glory, or bullshit that’s intended to take our attention away from his government’s odious policies, but to be that would be rather churlish cynicism, and that’s the worst kind of cynicism.

18. Sky Sports is “the wrong sort of broadcaster”

On Tuesday 30th July 2013 Sky Sports News actually tweeted the following like it was important;

“Gareth Bale arrives at Tottenham training ground – more on the developing story on #SSN

Lest we forget they employed Richard Keys. Keys is now a real-life Alan Partridge.

In what some called “the most talked about transfer of the summer 2013 transfer season” Richard Keys and Andy Gray moved from Talksport to the tip of Saudi Arabia. Richard penned something for his personal website to celebrate the move…..

Been in Doha nearly 2 weeks now. Everything and more I hoped for.
What very kind people the Qatari’s are.
This is a wonderful opportunity for both Andy and myself.
After 12 months working for Al Jazeera in London we’re back working in TV full time.
I have to say – with some regret because our time at talkSPORT was such fun. Those guys made us so welcome.
But this is a return to what we know and probably do best. Not just that – it’s like starting all over again.
It’s a huge job. High expectations. High demands. High audiences. And we’re on a high!
We’ll be watching not only English Premier League games
We’re bringing back the ‘real’ Monday Night Football – and as if that’s not enough – there’s Champions League football as well.
In fact, there isn’t much I can think of that we don’t have rights to I’ll be sending reports and pictures as we go.
So much to do – ideas, guest booking. Staffing. But what fun.
We will still be on talkSPORT Friday evenings at 19:00 starting on the 16th August.

I think Harry’s reaction speaks for us all; “Top lads you & Andy. Can’t wait the season to kickoff.” When they found out that “the ‘real’ Monday Night Football” was returning the ATMF movement finally knew they were losing.

Richard Keys actually is the real life Alan Partridge so naturally he’s still a bit raw when he thinks about the TV company that let him go and crushed his dreams, luckily it sounds as though he’s had the last laugh!

Richard Keys: ‘Sky have done their money. The novelty of Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher will wear off and then what?’

The Al Jazeera presenter tells Jack Pitt-Brooke where Sky are going wrong, why he loves life in Qatar and how Andy Gray is ‘the best, the Daddy of them all’

Back working alongside Andy Gray – “the best, the Daddy of them all, the guy who invented it”, back presenting Premier League and Champions League football, but now for Al Jazeera, in Qatar, Keys is firmly committed to his new employer and his new home. “And I have no intention whatsoever of leaving here. None at all. And my target is 2022. And I know Andy feels the same.”

The enthusiasm for his new life is real, certainly, but it is still difficult to shake the sense of Keys as English football broadcasting’s deposed king in exile, still very aware of changes in his old domain, and wondering out loud whether things might be better were he still in charge.

There is a new generation on Sky Sports now, men in their 30s who have taken over Gray’s and Keys’ old seats. Sky believe they have moved on. Keys, though, is not reluctant to offer advice to his old employers or to the men they replaced him with.

“When [Sky Sports] were signing left, right and centre, I said, ‘I wouldn’t do that’. Sky have done their money. They’ve done their money on [Gary] Neville and [Jamie] Carragher and [Graeme] Souness and they haven’t got the money to pay anyone else. And with the regularity of those three, the novelty will wear off.”

Not that this upsets Keys; that leaves more guests to go on Al Jazeera. “We have had a whole host of people come and see us. Keegan, Shearer. Hoddle is coming. We’ve had Peter Reid. We’ve had David Platt. Peter Schmeichel is coming. Terry Venables is coming,” Keys says. “David O’Leary has just come back. Mark Hateley has been here. You name them. If they haven’t been, they will be coming.”

Keys makes clear that there is nothing personal to his critique of the new regime. Neville is a “terrific fella” and “very, very good at what he does”. Carragher is a “terrific fella and a football student”. Indeed, he cannot quite fully distance himself from them.

Neville, according to Keys, owes him his television career. “He was my idea. Me and Geoff Shreeves. We sat with him in Manchester over a bowl of chips. We went and saw Giggsy over the same weekend and said to them both, ‘Whichever one of you retires first, come and join us’. I went to [then-Sky managing director of sport and news] Vic Wakeling – Shreevesy was as much a part of it – saying, ‘One or other of those two would be perfect’.”

Keys says he is “delighted” for Neville, but not so much that he holds back from questioning his objectivity. “I don’t think he can serve both masters – Sky and England,” he says. “He was having a little pop at David De Gea and seven days later Joe Hart was every bit as bad and worse, and yet he didn’t get out his microscope and dissect his performances. If it was because he’s the England goalkeeper, only he can tell us. You can’t serve both masters honestly, fairly, and without compromise in my opinion. He’s got to do one or the other.”

The new Monday Night Football set-up, with Neville and Carragher, is shrugged off. “I just don’t know if that formula works the way they want it to now. We used to bring guests in occasionally when Andy and I were doing it. It never worked. Too many people in the same place trying to say the same thing.”

So too Jamie Redknapp’s new Saturday Night Football, with studio audience. “We tried an audience on Monday Night Football 10 years ago. And it failed. It failed miserably. There aren’t too many new ideas in television, but they’ve regurgitated this. I know what they’ve tried to do. They’ve tried to emulate the Top Gear format, which is sensational. The boys do that brilliantly. But it’s a different show. It’s their call.”

So it is not desperately surprising when Keys makes clear his sympathies with BT’s challenge to his former employer. “I do wish BT all the very best. There are a lot of good guys there,” he says, bemoaning the “one-sided battle” between the two.

Keys is a rather unlikely insurgent, though, given how proud he is of his old role protecting Sky from new rivals. But now he is gone, he – with not much regret – imagines that Sky might be newly vulnerable to competition. “One of the things that was overlooked was the fact that of course – and I don’t say this with any arrogance, it’s just a fact – with any previous challenge, Andy and I have been there, it was the establishment. It saw off challenges almost as if they hadn’t happened. Everything has changed now. There is a lot of youth about the place.”

This is a favoured theme. “Andy Melvin – who was the genius behind most of what Sky did – he always used to give me the analogy of a 747 pilot. When you wander on to a 747 and you see a grey-haired pilot, it looks like he’s got a few miles on his clock, been round the world a few times, you feel safer with him. A youthful pilot might not have encountered the same problems. There is a place for experience. It is a commodity money can’t buy. Perhaps they need to think carefully in that respect.”

Keys, clearly, is still unhappy with the “outrageous” way his time at Sky ended. “If there is anybody walking the planet now who hasn’t put all the pieces together, I’d be very surprised,” Keys says. “I said at the time, there were some fairly dark forces operating against whatever I tried to do.”

Describing the public reaction at the time as a “furore”, Keys is no fan of aspects of the British media. “They say we have a free press in the UK. I’m not sure that we do. We have a press owned by too few, that can manipulate public opinion any which way they like.”

Fortunately for Keys, he is in Qatar now, where there is not quite the same media culture. “I am pleased not to be part of that, it’s a huge thing for me, to live in a country now where that sort of hypocrisy doesn’t exist. It just doesn’t exist.”

So to speak: Keys phrases

A whole host of people come and see us. Keegan, Shearer, Hoddle, Venables… You name them. If they haven’t been, they’ll be coming.

On guests for his new show

I just don’t know if that formula works… We used to bring guests in occasionally when Andy and I were doing it. It never worked.

On Sky’s Monday Night Football Show

Andy and I saw off challenges almost as if they hadn’t happened. Everything has changed now. There is a lot of youth about the place.

On the challenge from BT Sport

We tried an audience on Monday Night Football 10 years ago. And it failed. It failed miserably.

On Jamie Redknapp’s Saturday show

I wonder who plays Sue Cook to Keys’ Partridge?

19. “John Terry: Mr Chelsea”

Taken from here

“When John Terry takes to the field he looks more like a general leading his army into battle than the captain of a football team. Some great captains lead by example on the field while others are talented motivators of men. Terry is both.

Peerless in his own position as a dominant centre-half, he is just as effective barking out orders or imparting quiet words of encouragement to his team-mates.

It says a lot about Terry that when Jose Mourinho first took charge at Chelsea it was the English centre-half he chose to build his team around. Handing the captain’s armband to the towering defender was one of the ‘Special One’s’ first actions at Stamford Bridge. The Londoner took the challenge with relish and has not looked back since.

When he first broke into the Chelsea side it was obvious JT was marked out for great things, leadership being one of them. Even in his early days he cut an imposing figure on the field, but his footballing brain has been just as important to his success as his stature.

Few centre-halves are as adept at reading danger as Terry and it’s hard to keep track of the number of goal-saving tackles and interceptions he has made. England and Chelsea fans have got used to the sight of Terry putting his body on the line to block shots inside and outside the box.

Terry’s talents are not only limited to the defensive side of the game. Many an attack has been set in motion by one of his pin-point cross-field balls but he is at his most dangerous in the opposition penalty area.

Rival teams know Terry is the danger man, the one to watch from set-pieces, but time and again he evades his marker to get his head to crosses. And when he connects the ball ends up in the net more often than not.

In 2006 Terry succeeded David Beckham as England captain. It was the proudest moment in the 25-year-old Terry’s career and he led the Three Lions with his characteristic drive and determination. Alongside Rio Ferdinand he has formed one of the most formidable central defensive partnerships in international football.

With Chelsea he has won three Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the 2011-12 Champions League. He has twice been an integral part of double-winning Chelsea sides, first in 2009-10 under Carlo Ancelotti and in 2011-12 under Roberto Di Matteo.”

20.The wrong sort of people” cover TMF

We’re talking both presenters and pundits here. Take Adrian Chiles for example,  when Adrian has to make a point the permanently incredulous arse simply has to make a point. Just before Man Utd’s first game in the 2013-14 European Cup Chiles introduced Davis Moyes with this line;

His predecessor ONLY won 2 European Cups” (I may have paraphrased)

To put the comment in some context, Ferguson is generally perceived to be a “quite successful” manager and only one manager (Bob Paisley) has won the trophy more than twice. There was a time when Chiles was an irreverent breath of fresh air. While we’re on the subject of twattish presenters, read this review to see what’s wrong with Timothy Lovejoy.

As for the pundits. Let’s not detain ourselves with Andy Townsend as he’s just is an annoying prick. Let’s concentrate on Michael Owen the self-assured arsehole. Firstly it’s the overbearing self-assuredness. Michael’s the sort of chap that likes to say “I always knew I was way ahead of everyone.” without a scintilla of doubt. Just watch the video and bask in those easy self-assured words!!!

Then there’s his moral relativity. If you’ve ever watched a premier league match on BT Sport then you too will have been able to summarise Michael Owen’s self-assured football wisdom within 20 minutes;

English players are “entitled to go down” but foriegners “go down too easy” in order to earn “soft free kicks and penalties“.

Going by the fact that Michael “went down a little too easily” in two consecutive world cup matches against Argentina, something he once admitted, it’s possible that he’s a performance artist working in the medium of irony.

Now let us turn to the doyen of gobshite pundits, Robbie Savage. If anyone highlights the hypocrisy and egotism of punditry it’s this cunt. In January 2014 he penned BBC article so he could tell us which players “aren’t good enough for Manchester United“;

Manchester United: Robbie Savage says 12 players should go

Manchester United must spend £200m if they are to rebuild their squad to the standard that once made sides visiting Old Trafford feel helpless.

United lost for the third time in a row with defeat at Sunderland on Tuesday and I think as many as 12 of the 27 players who regularly feature for them are now on borrowed time……..

Let’s look at the litany of helpful advice……..

………..I am not convinced by him. His passing is not good enough for a Manchester United player. He should go………….

………He is not good enough to be a Manchester United player and has not played enough games for that reason……..

………has to go…………

………..He has been one of the best central defenders in the Premier League and a great servant for Manchester United, but injuries and age have caught up with him…….

….. I would suggest he joins the coaching staff…………

……….. He should go……………

……….. he has not recovered from the injuries he has suffered and cannot hold down a regular first-team place, so he should go………….

…………The best Premier League player ever, but if they are going to rely on a 41-year-old to produce the goods next season, it does not say a lot for the rest of the midfielders. He will stay on as a coach and possibly be the next manager, but, playing-wise, he should go…………

………At times, he looks great and scores some great goals, but he’s only completed one league game this season. That says to me he is inconsistent, so what is he in the team for? To produce goals? He has not been doing that enough, so he should go…………

……….. and, for me, is not a Manchester United player……..

……….. He should go.

The 15 who should stay

De Gea, Lindegaard, Rafael, Evra, Jones, Evans, Vidic, Carrick, Fletcher, Kagawa, Zaha, Januzaj, Rooney, Van Persie and Welbeck

Savage’s analysis may be correct – he should know what he’s talking about, he wasn’t good enough for United – but he’s hardly best person to be airing the faults of fellow footballers in public.

Let’s cast our minds back to September 2003 to see how he dealt with public criticism………Wales have just failed to beat Finland at home so mystery begin to shroud Wales’ certain path to the European Championships. Step forward John Benjamin Toshack……..

“Among those who saw fit to criticise were John Toshack, a former player and manager – for one game. He claimed that Wales were “lulled into a false sense of security” and that they could have won with “more ambition”.

Manager Mark Hughes, who has exceeded all expectations – including his own – in turning his nation from a tin-pot outfit to a respected, well-drilled unit, is more disappointed for his staff than on a personal level.

“Perhaps people have been waiting this long to have their say,” said Hughes as he considered Wales’s first competitive defeat for two weeks short of two years.”

Robbie immeadiately hated Toshack for his temerity. The bad feelings festered until they reached their apogee; “The Fried bananas affair”….

When I think about the cosy chat I had with John Toshack after he became Wales manager it makes me feel sick. “It’s a fresh start,” he told me. It wasn’t.

When Mark Hughes left I did a hot-headed interview, saying I thought Gary Speed and Brian Flynn would be the perfect people to take over and not Toshack. I was nailed by my own comments.

I was in his first squad, for a friendly against Hungary in February 2005. I had just moved to Blackburn, and I was also ­struggling with a groin injury, but I still turned up because I was desperate to show him my commitment to Wales.

Under Sparky, no expense was spared on Wales duty. There would be about six or seven menu choices. It would be good, healthy stuff, but there would still be a king’s feast waiting for us at mealtimes.

Walking into the dining room at Toshack’s first get-together, I stopped in surprise. There was nothing on the table. I looked at Giggsy, and he looked at me. We sat down at this empty table, and it was like being in school. The waitress came in to take our order. Plain chicken, no sauce. Or spaghetti ­bolognese. Fried bananas or rice and ­broccoli.

I wanted chicken with gravy, but we weren’t allowed. I looked down at this plate of dry chicken, one veg, no gravy, fried bananas – and then I followed the habit of a ­lifetime and acted out of instinct. Up went the white tablecloth as I pushed back my chair and crawled under the table.

The lads were laughing but trying not to let Toshack see, and I started my hunt. “Where’s the veg?” I called out. “Maybe there are some sauces under here.” I could see Toshack’s face, and he wasn’t amused.

“Is there a problem?” he almost snarled. “My chicken’s dry, and there’s no gravy or sauces.” “Ah,” he said. “You should have used your initiative and put the bolognese sauce on your chicken.” I could not believe I was having this conversation.

The get-together ended early for me, because I had a groin injury and went home. Before the next Wales squad was announced all the talk was about me becoming the new captain. I never saw what was coming.

The phone rang early one Monday morning. “Hi Robbie, John here. I’m just letting you know that I’m going to try something different. I’m not selecting you.”

I could feel myself boiling up inside, and I then made a fatal mistake. “You can stick it up your arse,” I told Toshack. “I’m retiring now.”

I had made it so easy for him. There was an agenda. I wasn’t in the squad because I was such a big personality and I was an influence on people. There was no other reason.

The bad feelings became a feud…..

Savage launches attack on Toshack (Mar 2005)

…..that kept going…..

Savage blast for Wales boss (Jun 2007)

….and going…..

Savage attack on Toshack (Sept 2007)

…..and going…..

Savage attack on Toshack (Oct 2007)

……and going….

Robbie Savage in new blast for Wales boss John Toshack (Mar 2008)

…….and going…..

Savage’s fresh Toshack criticism (Jun 2009)

…….and going…..

John Toshack must quit as manager says former Wales international Robbie Savage (Sept 2010)

Even though Savage harboured a six year grudge against someone because they made a valid criticism – a criticism that your humble author and a select group of friends also made – he still expects us to take him seriously as a football analyst.

21. Replica kits that cost £110

Imagine that the desires of your 14 year old son had compelled you to visit the Arsenal website in the 2012-’13 season. Imagine your horror at finding out that because he’s an “Adult Small” Arsenal charge £84 for the full kit, if your son had a favourite player, and wanted an authentic premier league™ kit, the cost would shoot up to £110. Yes, that’s £110 for a teenager’s football kit.

22. Betting Firms

Within roughly 10 minutes of Malky Mackay’s sacking Paddy Power, the company that brings us “Betting news and banter served with a side of mischief”, had tweeted this;

“We make Malky Mackay 6/4 second favourite to take over at West Brom”

bet365 also sent this tweet to a teenage comedian;

“Vincent Tan is 20/1 to get the job… Probably more feasible than most might think!”

How great that these companies try and make money out of people being sacked!!! Now let us consider the adverts.

I can’t stand them.

Firstly they are needless. Their target audience – anyone that watches football – can’t help but be aware of online betting. You cannot walk around a ground, or a pub, without bumping in to hopeful men scanning mobile phones, or having phrases like “Jesus Forest, you’ve let me down again!!” or “For fuck’s sake Spurs you bunch of pricks, I need another goal” screamed down your ears.

Secondly, the characters in the adverts are all irritating beyond exasperation. Whether it’s the excitable Italian commentator, the long-haired ex-Dennis Pennis, Joe Calazaghe’s dad or the menacing Ray you’re irritated. Take this advert for Stan James that featured in When Saturday Comes.

scan0001

Have you ever seen a more a slappable expression?

23. The premier league’s guide to attending a football match

Here are some “Tips and information for your big match experience.”

Where do I sit?

“Where you sit depends on who you will be supporting. You can’t beat sitting with your own fans, in an area where you can wear your shirt and scarf with pride, supporting your team.”

What if I’m not sure about something?

“Most fans are welcoming and if you have any questions ask the fan sitting next to you or a steward, who will be happy to help you.”

What if I want to fit in?

“Many supporters like to wear replica kit or official club colours, such as branded shirts, scarves and hats. Dress comfortably and check the weather forecast before you leave.”

When should I get there?

“Arrive nice and early to soak up the atmosphere. Stadiums open around 90 minutes before kick-off. There is always plenty going on at Premier League matches.

Teams enter the pitch to their own individual songs which help to build up a great atmosphere. Clubs advise fans to take their seats around 20 minutes before kick-off, so you don’t miss any of the pre-match excitement.”

Can I bring a camera?

“Fans bring cameras and mobile phones into the ground, but these are for personal use only and no recordings of the match can be taken and published on any websites.”

Can I buy gifts from a gift shop?

“A visit to a Premier League ground is not complete without a trip to the club shop/megastore. Clubs offer a wide range of merchandise from key rings and mugs to replica shirts where you can have your name printed on the back of your shirt. Clubs do change their strip occasionally but if you buy a club strip, its life cycle should be made clear on the tag. There are usually unofficial vendors selling merchandise in the vicinity of the stadium – while they may offer cheaper prices, remember the quality may not be as good as official merchandise.

Many clubs have mobile units selling merchandise around the ground, so if the club shop is busy don’t worry you will still be able to buy your scarf and then visit the club shop after the match, when it may be quieter.”

Am I allowed to complain?

“Anti-social behaviour is unacceptable, so if someone near you is not ‘getting on’ then please make a steward aware so the club can make sure that you enjoy your matchday!”

24. Legalised Ticket Touts

On a Tuesday in July 2013 a “company” called 2 Do in London  – AKA The people that can get “tickets to sold-out events…… ….astonishing Concerts, World Famous Musical and Theatre shows, thrilling Football matches …..” – tweeted this;

Arsenal – Liverpool. 02 November. Emirates Stadium. Tickets from £430 GBP. Call us on 0044-7873-511-504 or Email info@2doinlondon.com.

And this;

Manchester City – Manchester United. 22 Sept. Tickets from £320 GBP. Phone 0044-7873-511-504 or info@2doinlondon.com.

25. You can pay £15 to watch semi-pro football

scan0003

Being charged £15 to watch semi-pro football certainly makes you stop and think. I’m sure the club has some kind of justification about needing to gather in as much money as possible but, £15 to watch semi-pro football? It would be easy to say that Stockport could encourage more people to attend by charging less but I’m sure the club has it’s reasons for charging £15 to watch semi-pro football.

Let’s see how Stockport compare to some famous European names (I know people are always making comparisons like this but it doesn’t hurt.)

Stockport play at Level 6 in English football pyramid and charge £15.

Real Madrid‘s tickets start at 25 Euros (£20.86 at today’s exchange rate) Feyenoord’s at 23.50 Euros (£19.61) and Paris Saint Germain‘s at 20 Euros (£16.68).

Schalke charge as little as 15 Euros (£12.52), Barcelona as little as 13 Euros (£10.85) and Benfica charge their members as little as 17 Euros for tickets (£14.19)

Something’s gone awry here.

26. Clubs produce “the wrong sort of travel advice”

If you’d thought about going to watch WIgan in Europe, you need to consider the warning on their fixture list

PLEASE NOTE THAT WIGAN ATHLETIC ADVISE SUPPORTERS NOT TO MAKE ANY TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS TO AWAY EUROPEAN GAMES UNTIL VENUES ARE CONFIRMED AND WHERE POSSIBLE TO TRAVEL WITH OFFICIAL TRAVEL PARTNERS.

Yeah, because it’s dead difficult to get a train from one place to another.

27. Clubs produce “the wrong sort of match posters”

There should more like this one;

(A big thank you to Mr. Derris for pointing me in its direction)

BUbsmaKCQAAOdRL

28. Marketing Bollocks

I have to apologise about the size of the next two entries but there’s a lot of marketing bollocks about.

Puma posed a simple existential question, “what is human nature?”,  and then answered its own question;

For countless centuries, philosophers have grappled with one simple question; what is human nature? We know what you’re thinking, “Who cares about a bunch of old guys sitting on a mountaintop stroking their beards?” We do. And here’s why. The search for the truth about human nature isn’t just confined to the realm of philosophy. It has a place on the pitch too.

Why do we do we do it? Why do we turn up week in week out to play the game? Why do we spend hour upon hour kicking a sphere, perfecting our technique and trying new tricks? Why?

The answer is simple. It’s in our nature to perform. The better we perform, the more we enjoy it. And the more we enjoy it, the better we perform. That’s why we create boots that enhance performance and reflect your footballing nature. We call this the Nature of Performance and it’s at the heart of everything we do.

So now that we’ve taken the mystical journey into the human spirit, what have we discovered? Speed, Power and Control – this is the holy trinity of the Nature of Performance. Every footballer is born to play with one of these characteristics. And we design boots to take each of these elements to the next level.

Agüero has always been a Speed Junkie. Quick mind, lightning fast feet and the ability to beat defenders into the space – speed is in his blood. If it’s in your nature to be first to every 50/50 ball and leave the opposition in the dust, the new lightweight and responsive evoSPEED is the boot for you.

But for some players it’s all about pure power. Screamers from outside the box, hardcore volleys and venomous strikes, these are the instincts of the Power Hungry. Fàbregas is a naturally powerful player. He battles, outmuscles others and has one of the sweetest strikes in world football. Do you feel the power flowing through every muscle? If so, our new PowerCat will have you blasting the ball harder than ever before.

Then we have the Control Freaks. Players that caress the ball, place it under their spell and boss the play with precision. Yaya’s touch is exquisite. He’s all about technique, finesse and execution. When Touré controls the ball, he controls the game – plain and simple. Is it in your nature to find the perfect pass and make the ball your slave? The new King will make you a true master of control.

There you have it. The Nature of Performance revealed. So only one question remains….

What’s in your nature?

In case you’ve forgotten Puma is a company that makes sportswear. Now for some more corporate bullshit!!!!!! (Each bold line is a different marketing idea)

– “Budweiser Hosts the FIFA World Cup™ Draw”

It’s amazing how everyone in this piece of PR bollocks conforms to my stereotype of “Banter User”. I hate to do this to you noble PR people but, handing a person a brand new woolly hat, a few badges and some clichéd lines doesn’t instantly turn them in to a proper fan.

Budweiser did the same thing in other cities around the world as well; Moscow, Sao Paolo, New York  and  Mexico City, but the people aren’t as annoying in the other cities.

I love the way everybody in the videos uses the world cup’s official title; “FIFA World Cup” when they’re talking about the world cup because this prevented confusion with the recent rugby league version of a world cup.

“Heineken Invites Soccer Fans to ‘Share the Sofa’

Imagine at the possibilities presented by this tweet;

“Got a question you’d like to shoot at football legend Owen Hargreaves? Ask away at #sharethesofa on 10th December as he defends the sofa.“

What an intriguing possibility “defend the sofa” sounds like,  stop sniggering you!!! If you’re wondering what “Share the Sofa” might be, it’s another PR coup;

“Since soccer fans are likely to have a mobile device in one hand and a beer in the other this season, Heineken is doing its best to infiltrate both.

Hence the brewer’s latest second-screen campaign, #sharethesofa, a months-long campaign that coincides with the European soccer season. The program, starting Wednesday, lets fans interact with soccer stars via that hashtag. The initiative kicks off with Ruud Gullit, a Dutch player who will be participating in a live interview. Fans can also play a video game with Gullit. Heineken has more than a dozen other players queued up for the effort, though it hasn’t revealed their identities.

The program also includes “random acts of kindness” from Heineken to fans who use that hashtag, including a surprise visit from a soccer star who will actually share a fan’s sofa during a game.

Heineken estimates that 70% of viewers of the UEFA Champions League watch with a device at home alone and 77% of tablet owners have their tablets handy during matches. The UCL is one of the top three most-tweeted events of the year, according to the company.

Despite those figures, marketers are still trying to figure out how to fuse Twitter and sports. One notable attempt was #hitthewinner, a Twitter-based game that rewarded fans for guessing the correct square on the court where Andy Murray’s shots would land during Wimbledon. Heineken, meanwhile, has run some innovative Twitter campaigns including #emojibandnames, which challenged fans to decode emoji puzzles and #tweetforatable, which handed out free Valentine’s Day dinner reservations to hapless male suitors.”

They sell it like this on Twitter;

Crespo

It’s good job that fans don’t have third or fourth hands as heineken would find PR related uses for them too.

Now that the champions league group stage has become “HEINEKEN ROAD TO THE FINAL” I see a gleaming thoroughfare lit by gazprom-powered streetlights and covered by tarmac financed by an innovative public-private partnership involving unicredit. Hurrah for capitalism!!!

“One Day fans will wonder “Why did we ever went to stadiums without smartphone connectivity?”

“Welcome to Fan Engagement!

The game is changing rapidly. Fan engagement is becoming increasingly important in the world of sports. Your fans demand more interaction and they are constantly raing the bar of expectations. It’s fair to conclude: there is an evolution happening in the world of sports. In ten years, fans will look back and wonder “Why did we ever went to stadiums without smartphone connectivity, no seat service and with all those traffic jams”

From here

Kobe and Messi: How Viral Marketing Sausage Is Made

Find out here.

29. The way creatives view football

If you don’t like the look of That Modern Football, and you’re looking for someone to blame, why not blame the creatives of the advertising “industry”?

These fuckers not only produce football-related adverts for Murdoch’s tabloid, they think their self-created bullshit is actually “humourous“;

The humorous ad illustrates all the places you can enjoy the football – for instance, at the cinema and while you’re waiting for your car to be repaired – and then warns about potentially hazardous spots to get caught watching.”

The trouble with creatives is they think they “push boundaries” and “subvert normality” when all they’re doing is perpetuating stereotypes with “Footy fans are too stupid to concentrate on crossing because they’re watching footy on their smartphones” tropes. Cunts. Their worst quality is vanity as they’re never shy about sharing their self-reverential bollocks.

(The best bits are in red)

– “Viral review: Qatar Airways creates an FC Barcelona utopia

Social video expert Unruly evaluates the latest viral campaign from Qatar Airways.

Qatar Airways: A team that unites the world

John Donne said that no man is an island, but he didn’t say anything about internationally-renowned football teams.

Qatar Airways’ latest collaboration with FC Barcelona puts an imaginative twist on the Catalan club by turning the team into a sort of footballer’s utopia.

Complete with defender Gerard Pique working the immigration desk and Lionel Messi teaching a (football-based) dance class, our whistle-stop tour of Barca-world allows these sporting heroes to show their silly side.

It’s a cutesy concept, but agency 180 Amsterdam’s light-touch execution and ingenuity certainly carries it through. Also it is slightly amusing to imagine that Carles Puyol goes around protecting strangers with the force of his mighty header.

With 530,000 shares since its release last week, ‘A team that unites the world’ is already showing the kind of results that big-budget sports ads tend to attract. The high watermark in this genre is undoubtedly Nike’s blockbuster “Write the future”, which stole the show at the 2010 World Cup and currently stands at an impressive 2m all-time shares.

Next year’s World Cup in Brazil is swiftly approaching, so brands and agencies are already gearing up to produce their own show-stealing content.

Judging by this spot’s early success, they could do a lot worse than taking Qatar Airways as a model.

– “Has ‘the beautiful game’ lost its media mojo?

Is football, beset by squabbles and facing fierce competition from other sports, losing its sheen, Alasdair Reid asks.

A year ago, all sorts of commentators were arguing that the only sporting loser of the summer was football. The Olympics, they argued, had reminded us what sport was really about. Or should be about. And, in doing so, it had removed the scales from our eyes as regards football, which, as the Premier League geared up for a new season, was revealed as the considerably-less-than-beautiful game.

The season ploughed forward, of course; and there were those willing to argue that this was a phenomenon with Teflon coating – no mud would ever really stick.

And yet, here we go again. Having had an uplifting summer of tennis and cricket, the new football season arrives seemingly determined to prove that it is an ugly and bad-tempered world populated by greedy men behaving atrociously. This time around, we’ve witnessed unpleasant transfer sagas unfolding against a simmering scandal about the decision to hand the 2022 Fifa World Cup to Qatar.

Commercially, the Premier League looks as robust as ever, with BT emerging as the latest outfit determined to compete with BSkyB as a purveyor of live football. But that in itself has helped tarnish the whole business – because, as their promotional efforts have cranked up, the two companies have engaged in childish posturing and squabbles behind the scenes.

Football isn’t just a TV property, of course. It has long been a cherished advertising environment in newspapers and remains high on the agenda of publishers across town. The Sun’s new paywall is predicated on the attractiveness of a Sun+ online news plus football highlights package, for instance; and, last week, The Telegraph launched a monthly sports supplement in association with BT Sport.

Football is regarded as an important property in radio as well – both Absolute and talkSPORT are offering live commentaries of Premier League games this season.

Arguably, for two decades, the Premier League has done a miraculous job in presenting English football as a glamorous and aspirational world. But could that era be coming to an end? Is football being downgraded as a valued media environment by advertisers and sponsors?

NO Richard Oliver, managing partner, investment, UM London – “For a long time now, football has had its own particular mojo – it’s about more than just sport. It’s about habit, tradition and especially entertainment. The Premier League is very entertaining. It’s a [property] almost like The X Factor.”

NO Jenny Biggam, founding partner, the7stars – “Football is loved by millions of loyal fans in the UK – it always has been and it always will be. Nothing will put these fans off, and it is in this love that a brand can thrive, regardless of what the latest Premier League debacle may be.”

NO Ben Cronin, director of strategy and special projects, SMG Sports – “The interest around football remains unsurpassed. Where there’s interest of this scale, there will continue to be brands queuing up to tap into it. The challenge is to recognise where football’s market is now and where it’s going to be.”

NO Andrew Stephens, founding partner, Goodstuff Communications – “We have the most open title race in years, and BT and Sky are spending the equivalent of a small country’s GDP hyping it up. We can all look forward to bigger games, higher ratings, more scandal and Spurs finishing fourth.”

– “Ugly comms blights the beautiful game”

It’s hard to stay neutral about the beautiful game. Football fires the blood, although not last weekend’s Charity Shield match, to which Wigan Athletic turned up, but didn’t play.

Ruth Wyatt: ‘Even a jane & John levelPR practitioner could have told Allam to tread carefully when describing his plans to Hull’s fans.’

Sitting in the supposedly neutral area at Wembley Stadium with two undercover Man United fans, I had ample time to reflect on the various PR problems in football thanks to the stupefyingly dull on-pitch proceedings.

Let’s start with the rebranding of Hull City as Hull Tigers. As if renaming a football club to sound like an American baseball team wasn’t bad enough, giving the following interview to the local paper – the local paper! – is unforgivable.

‘Hull City is irrelevant,’ said chairman Assem Allam in the Hull Daily Mail. ‘My dislike for the word “City” is because it is common. City is also associated with Leicester, Bristol, Manchester and many other clubs. I don’t like being like everybody else. It is about identity. City is a lousy identity. Hull City Association Football is so long.’

Lousy, common and irrelevant – three great adjectives with which to enrage local loyalists, who no doubt would rather be concentrating their energies on their team’s return to the Premier League than dealing with their chairman’s extreme case of foot in mouth disease.

Football is big business for sure; brands must be leveraged certainly, but even a Janet & John-level PR practitioner could have told Allam to tread carefully and speak tactfully and respectfully when describing his plans to the club’s fans.

Tact and respect are in desperately short supply for my beloved club’s deeply unloved striker Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan forward whose virtuosity with the ball is regularly eclipsed by his talent for getting banned through bad behaviour could really do with a personal PR professional.

Or a gag.

One minute he is blaming the media for making his life here in England a misery; the next he is using them to apply pressure on Liverpool to sell him to Arsenal.

As James Pearce put it in the Liverpool Echo: ‘If Suarez believed his attack on Liverpool FC would smooth his passage to Arsenal he was sadly mistaken. All Suarez achieved in going public over his burning desire to quit Anfield and move to the capital was to prove that he has no shame.’

I’d add that it also proved how much good paying someone a fraction of his wages to advise on media relations and reputation management could do for him.”

In other words, it doesn’t matter how obnoxious your idea is it’ll be fine as long as you use the right words

–  “Why brands cannot get enough of the Premier League

Despite numerous scandals involving high-profile players, the Premier League grows ever stronger, as does its appeal to marketers, writes Alex Brownsell.

Shadows appear to have been creeping over the gleaming global brand that is the Premier League for some time now.

First it suffered in the after-glow of the London 2012 Games, when consumers appeared to unanimously decry the spoilt prima donnas of the Premier League in favour of the more earthy virtues of amateur sportsmen and women.

Football bosses have also faced waves of negative publicity around the conduct of high-profile players, from driving while disqualified to – in the case of former England captain John Terry – court cases following alleged racial abuse of fellow professionals.

And yet, the Premier League juggernaut continues to increase pace, and its allure to brands is undiminished. Take Barclays, which today launch a campaign to promote its title sponsorship of the league. Managing director of brand, reputation and citizenship David Wheldon insists, “There is so much that is good in football, and it should be celebrated.”

Dizzying battle

Consumers in the UK have been exposed to a dizzying marketing battle between Sky and BT, with both broadcasters claiming to offer the most must-see matches.

Its international presence burgeons with each passing year, too. Over the summer, Liverpool played in front of a record-breaking crowd of over 95,000 in Melbourne, Australia. Stadia in countries such as Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam have also been packed out to get a glimpse of visiting English teams.

Any brand worth its salt would take a look at the Premier League [as an opportunity].

According to Rob Sellers, a director at shopper agency Dialogue, the Premier League players have become “rock stars” at the heart of an almost unrivalled global content machine.

“Football is still the heartbeat of people in the UK,” adds Sellers. “Look at Twitter trends at any given moment: it’s what people talk about, and scandal is all just part of the tapestry of those conversations. Any brand worth its salt would take a look at the Premier League [as an opportunity].”

However, Sellers questions the effectiveness of official sponsorship deals for all brands, in particular those specifically targeting a UK audience: “As long as you tell a story and make it believable in a football sphere, you can say what you want. It is so hard to regulate around football.”

US appeal

Antony Marcou, group managing director at sports media marketing business Sports Revolution, agrees that, as the Premier League evolves, its appeal will resonate with a different type of brand.

He cites the huge potential for growth in the US, where the Premier League secured a $250m, three-year deal with broadcaster NBC to screen half a dozen live matches each week, and major brands such as carmaker Chevrolet have already invested in deals worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

Unlike the NFL or Major League Baseball, the Premier League has genuinely global coverage.

NBC supported the new deal with a major marketing campaign, including a giant poster of Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale at New York’s Times Square as well as a comedy viral showing what might happen if an American football coach got a job managing in the Premier League (below).

“Football is going to become the fourth biggest sport in the biggest market in the world, and that is huge,” says Marcou. “It opens the Premier League up to more US brands because, unlike the NFL or Major League Baseball, the Premier League has genuinely global coverage.”

However, Marcou warns that alleged abuse incidents such as those involving Terry and Liverpool star Luis Suarez will not be tolerated by US brands, where marketers are very “nervous” of issues surrounding race.

There remains a risk that football could spoil its own party. However, if it avoids these pitfalls, and despite the protests of disillusioned naysayers, the Premier League brand looks set to grow ever stronger, and brands will continue to flock to it in the hope of exploiting its global prominence.”

Do these creatives realize they are living in a parallel existence of bullshit?

…….”an FC Barcelona utopia”…………”Football isn’t just a TV property, of course…………..(It) is regarded as an important property in radio as well…………..It’s a [property] almost like The X Factor.”…………..brands must be leveraged certainly”……………….the Premier League players have become “rock stars” at the heart of an almost unrivalled global content machine.”…………..

Football is being ruined by people that brighten their lives with “quirky” cufflinks. The sad thing is that those in power have been seduced by creatives. They too believe that football is “property” and a “global content machine”.

30. Marketers ruin innocence

I’d love to be the impressionable and cynicism-free football mad youngster I once was. I’m probably not unique in wanting to swap David Cameron’s nasty Britain of 2013 for the golden time when holding a football trophy aloft like a football hero was the logical end of a career path.

My lingering memories of footballing heroism turn the moments when a cup and I pass – whether it’s been the Welsh Premier League trophy, the Welsh Cup, the Heineken Cup or the 6 Nations trophy – into opportunities for grabbing an object and thrusting it upwards in celebration. Sometimes the trophy isn’t even being held by someone else.

In 2013 if you’re an impressionable kid you have the chance to act in the manner of your heroes, you can open your front door and find a local footballing celebrity with a famous trophy standing on your doorstep. If you don’t believe me look at what happened to this kid the other day!!

BbMqqxcIcAAGQfA

When I saw this picture on twitter I imagined how overjoyed the 7 year me would have been. That kid must have been “over the moon” with a memory that he’ll cherish for the rest of his life.

I was soon lost in the charming reverie of an unannounced tour of Britain. I saw players carrying trophies up garden paths. I pictured footballing heroes chatting in front rooms whilst calmly accepting cups of tea and slices of cake. This unannounced tour would reconnect football and the British people once again!!! Then I re-read the tweet;

@BarclaysFooty “Look Mum, the Barclays Premier League trophy is in the living room!” A fine reward for @pj11nufc #YouAreFootball”

Romance left my head as soon as I realised that the only reason I was reading about this charming event was because Barclays wanted to announce that they had made it possible. There is no depth too deep for these corporate monsters in the 21st century, not even the hopes and aspirations of kids are safe.

The erstwhile reverie suddenly became seedy and vaguely threatening; a Barclays corporate suit now hovers around the awestruck kid and a mute security guard in shades stands watch by the living room door.

Ten seconds after the photo was taken the corporate suit will realise that the kid had used up his allotted window of 5 minutes and will start making the “time to wrap it up” finger gesture at Shearer. The awed kid will still be gazing longingly the trophy as the intern in a “Barclays Trophy Tour” polo shirt picks it up to return it to its padlocked transportation box.

The least said about Barclays football twitter address – @BarclaysFooty – the better. Would it have hurt them to use @BarclaysFootball?

Marketers ruin everyone’s innocence. After Vincent Tan’s egotism they thought “The nature of Cardiff City” was a sober and reasonable slogan of sporting endeavour;

Cardiff City.

31. This Carlsberg advert

I should detest this advert because it’s the distillation of everything that’s wrong with that modern football but it contains a truth; in my mind the premier league and rollercoasters are connected, they both make me sick and give me a headache.

32. “It’s now 1-1 at the Emirates…”

If you’d like to hear the triumph of The Man in the shortest amount of words possible simply listen to a sports journalist / presenter / commentator relating score updates.

“……….We’ve got exciting news coming in from the Etihad……………….

…………And now over to Alan Green at the Aviva where something unbelievable is happening!!………

…………I’m just hearing that Arsenal have scored, let’s quickly go back to the Emirates…………”

Would it kill them to use “Mancheter City”, “Lansdowne Road” and “Arsenal”?

33. The abomination known as “The Support Group”

34. Pre-season tours have corporate identities

7882_10151657171974049_1492295425_n

gun__1373029173_asia_tour_711

lfctour2013-colour-jakarta-melbourne-bangkok-1000x600

Manchester%20U%20China

35. Sleeve patches

Fans are no longer trusted to remember which competition their team is playing in.

615698797_672

36. The Sky Sports Pub Finder

There is actually a website that enables one to find “official sky pubs”. Hear, hear!!! No-one wants to encourage copyright theft or criminal smuggling gangs, by visiting a pub with an unethical Greek decoder.

37. The Death of Umbro?

This post tells you all about it.

38. Non-League Day

This post tells you all about it.

39. Clubs now try to control emotion

A lot of clubs seem to be formally creating singing areas; Man Utd………….Watford……….. Newcastle United……………..Partick Thistle.

The creation of “singing sections” inadvertently highlights one of the unseen effects of all-seater grounds; they prevent like-minded people naturally gravitating towards each other, especially when a ground is full of day-trippers.

However even if all-seater grounds have this effect it doesn’t explain why loads of people aren’t singing. Is everybody too busy thinking up thoughts for “Sav the Ledge” to patronise on 6-0-6?

Clubs also like to indulge in celebration chereography;

arsenal 2

Goal music, big official flags and stadium announcers that leave gaps for surnames can all fuck off, we don’t need any help to feel happy after goals, we know how to feel!

The one that really got to me was Bolton’s “I Feel Good!!! / twats running with giant flags’ combo from the 2000s, the display was so bad even the Bolton fans hated it;

Why should we be told to ‘feel good’ when Bolton score? And what’s Tony Christie doing ordering us to Texas after one goes in the net? Athers hates it, and here’s why…

There are few things as exhilarating as seeing the ball hit the back of the opposition’s net. The thwack of Bolton boot on ball followed by the glorious sound of over 20,000 fans roaring in delight is about as good as it gets for a Saturday afternoon in a retail park.

But suddenly, amongst the shouts of delight, something else happens. Something that has crept into grounds all over the country of late. A man in a sound room somewhere joyously presses ‘play’ on his cassette deck and in kicks a poorly recorded version of an old pop song over the public address system. The roar of the crowd dies down and suddenly some of the Bolton contingent either start to clap in time to a song about a town in Texas or do a dance to a song by a man with tattoos where his eyebrows should be. I refer of course to Tony Christie’s ‘Amarillo’ and James Brown’s ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’.

As I mentioned this is obviously not just a Bolton Wanderers thing. Elsewhere the most common ‘goal song’ around the country is the embarrassing ‘Tom Hark’- usually found in the lower leagues of English football. However, the award for most annoying music probably goes to Norwich City’s ‘Samba de Janeiro’ with Middlesbrough’s ‘Pigbag’ a close runner up.

These clubs are often derided by many supporters as ‘small-time’ or ‘tin-pot’ clubs solely for their tacky celebrations incorporated into the ‘Match-day experience”. It is unfortunate that at the moment our proud club falls into this bracket as well. Goal music is designed to enhance the match-day experience for the supporters, to enable us to wave our £3 rollover hotdogs and 300 degrees Celsius pies in the air and rejoice.

Whether it actually achieves this objective is of course another matter. It could be said that the music can in fact break up the continuous roar of the crowd, especially if it’s an important goal. Some of the children present may enjoy the music, however I believe that they come for the football and will come back in the future for the football. Indeed the pure energy from a roaring crowd is an exciting thing for a youngster, something that they hear once every two weeks and look forward to.

Although we don’t get on with our big North West neighbours Liverpool and Manchester United, it can be said that these clubs would never dream of playing goal music to ‘aid’ their celebrations. The fans simply would not stand for it and it’s time that we didn’t either.

We are a proud club with a long history and in this author’s opinion it is time that we removed this Americanisation from our stadium – this is Bolton Wanderers, it’s not an ice hockey game. What can be done about this situation, something simple such as many letters regarding the matter sent to the club? I doubt they will have any effect at all unless the club receive thousands.

A better idea to start would be something like a large ‘no more goal music’ banner paraded at the Reebok. It would surely catch the attention of the powers that be and hopefully some of the many TV cameras. I call on all supporters with similar view, through use of The-Wanderer fanzine and website we can eradicate goal music and enjoy our future victories at the Reebok without Tony Christie or James Brown.

At one of the best times in living memory to be a proud supporter of Bolton Wanderers, goal music and indeed celebration flags are one embarrassment that can be removed very easily with some effort on the part of the fans. As for the ‘easy’ chant, that requires another article altogether.”

40. Show offs have become self-proclaimed geniuses

The definition of the word “philanthropist” seems to have changed. When I was younger a philanthropist was a rich Victorian dude that, in lieu of a welfare state, funded the building of hospitals, schools and libraries. A philanthropist called John Bright was responsible for funding the building of my old school.

John Farnworth’s twitter profile tells us that he is; “Football Freestyler | TV Person | Philanthropist | Future Author”. In 2013 a philanthropist is now a “freestyle footballer“, or “someone that shows off by doing kick ups to earn a living.”

I’m not saying he likes selling himself but here’s his website. I’m not saying he’s pretentious but he has tweeted this;

“Great artists are thankful for their power, whatever it’s expression, because they know it’s a gift that benefits all of mankind” Power Vs Force”

If we let this kind of ball juggling circus bollocks get out of hand there’ll be no future in our dreaming. It’ll be the end of football as a social activity. I’m not being dramatic about this.

Our mate up there is only small fry compared to the daddy of all show offs, as you can see in this Guardian article ;

Cristiano Ronaldo leaves room for Ballon d’Or in own museum

“Cristiano Ronaldo opened a museum in his honour in his birthplace on Sunday, which he said had extra room for the Ballon d’Or and many other trophies to come.

Standing next to his 2008 Ballon d’Or and 125 other individual and team awards dating back to his Madeira childhood, the 28-year-old Real Madrid and Portugal striker said the CR7 museum was a gift to his fans.

“Of course it’s a special day, it’s the opening of my museum and I am proud,” the Portugal forward, who has scored 33 goals this season, said. “I have room for more trophies. I don’t really want to mention specific ones. All I want is to win more awards and, if the Ballon d’Or comes, there is extra room here.”

Football’s world governing body named him, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi of Argentina and Bayern Munich’s French winger Franck Ribéry as the three finalists for the 2013 Ballon d’Or award, formerly known as Fifa world player of the year.

Ronaldo said he is not desperate to win the most prestigious individual award in the sport.”I hope that happens but I am not obsessed about it,” he said. The Ballon d’Or results will be announced on 13 January.

Despite the frenzy at the opening the space is more humble than an average museum. It occupies the ground floor of a discreet five-storey building, a few hundred metres from the Funchal city centre and with a view of the Atlantic.

With an idyllic sunny day greeting him back, it is easy to understand why Ronaldo took the chance to remember that leaving this place remains his hardest moment as a footballer. “You can’t win anything without sacrifice. Mine was to leave Madeira when I was 11 and try it out at Sporting. To move out to the mainland was the hardest thing in my career.”

Curious neighbours stood on their balconies to witness the ruckus, unusual on the quiet island with 260,000 inhabitants, famous for its luxuriant biodiversity, strong-flavoured bananas and fortified wine. It is not any 28-year-old that has the chance to cut the ribbons to a museum in his name but Ronaldo said his treasure cove deserved it. “Here is the evidence of what I have won, no one will take it away from here and these were things I wanted to share with my fans, show them what I have already achieved,” Ronaldo said.

The first piece on display, probably the smallest, dates back to when Ronaldo was eight and top-scored in a tournament with his first club Andorinha, Portuguese for swallow.

The next youth trophy mis-spelled his first name, attributing it to ‘Christiano’, and was half broken, contrasting sharply with the two shiny Golden Boots – won as Europe’s top scorer – and a lifesize wax figure of him in a Portugal shirt dominating the main room. “Does the statue look the same or what?” he asked. “No, I think it looks more handsome [than me],” Ronaldo joked.

Ronaldo also paid tribute to Manchester United’s former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who oversaw his rise to stardom over a six-year spell at the Premier League club, his family and his agent, Jorge Mendes.

All the match balls from games in which Ronaldo scored at least a hat-trick are also on display, the last from Portugal’s 4-2 win over Sweden that earned them a berth at Brazil’s World Cup.

The front page of the local newspaper Diario de Noticias da Madeira showed what the museum means to his people back home. It displayed an eight-year-old Ronaldo wearing an oversized pink shirt while receiving his first trophy with a shy smile under the headline “Trophies for the world to see”.

Lines like “…..the 28-year-old Real Madrid and Portugal striker said the CR7 museum was a gift to his fans.” are par for the course with CR7; ‘I expect the store will be a success. I really like the clothes and I identify myself with the style of CR7.’

41. In TMF it’s all about the R-E-S-P-E-C-T for T-H-E  G-E-N-I-U-S

Let’s connect some dots………

1. Mark Clattenburg is being investigated by referees’ chief Mike Riley after Southampton accused him of ‘abusing and insulting’ their captain, the England star Adam Lallana.

2. “Southampton hit back after Mark Clattenburg is told he ‘has no case to answer’ in Adam Lallana row

Club say they “do not consider the case to be over” after Clattenburg is backed by Professional Game Match Officials Ltd for telling Southampton forward: “You’re very different now since you played for England. You never used to be like this.”

3. Adam Lallana has wed his fiancee six months early – to avoid his wedding clashing with England’s tilt at the World Cup.

The Southampton captain had been due to tie the knot with Emily Jubb on June 14 – the day Roy Hodgson’s men play Italy in Manaus.

Instead, the pair, who have been dating for seven years, got married in a £500 ceremony at Poole Register Office in Dorset on Christmas Eve.

The couple had arranged their June nuptials before Lallana was in contention for next summer’s showpiece competition.

A pal told The Sun: “Emily totally understands. She knows it’s a fantastic opportunity to play in a World Cup. It may be a once-in-a-lifetime chance.

“Adam wanted to get married but has a very hectic schedule during the season and didn’t have time between the season ending and the call-up for Brazil. He’d booked the wedding not even thinking about Brazil — he never expected to be in contention.”

4.Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Fraser Forster earn first England caps against Chile (15 Nov 2013)

Reporting a referee for being “disrespectful”, what’s next? “We’re not playing today, the grass is too wet“…….. “Those nasty supporters are looking me, I can’t concentrate, call my lawyer!!!”…

Far be it from me to judge our hero but if someone brings their wedding forward by six months because they’ve assumed that they will be an integral part of England’s squad – An assumption based on the fact that they’d appeared in the two friendlies that other players couldn’t be arsed turning up for – they tend to look a little cocksure to the untrained eye.

42. Programmes for iPads

Match programmes have many, many uses; pre-match reading material, half-time reading material, organs of club propaganda, mementoes, sun hats, small magazine shaped missiles, dust collecters…..

Physical programmes could become relics if clubs like Arsenal have their way.

Matchday Programme on iPad

Packed with all the usual high quality interviews and features, the iPad programme also contains a wealth of interactivity including exclusive video, audio and photo galleries, bringing you the best of the action from on and off the pitch.

Programmes are available from midnight before a weekend match, and midday on the day of a midweek fixture; costing just £2.99 per issue, £3.99 per month or £39.99 for the calendar year.

For any queries on the iPad Matchday Programme app, or for technical support, please email: programme@arsenal.co.uk

To view the latest edition of the iPad programme you might need to update your app. You will be prompted to do this when you attempt to download the edition.

43. Fans are not desiccated counting machines

Better men than me have complained our unquenchable need to analyse football matches on a statistical basis – @Regista_Michael wrote a lovely article about the issue for this month’s When Saturday Comes and @the_itch1980 once said “Assists aren’t a real thing. They’re made up by Fantasy Football to amuse nerds” – but they say great minds think alike so here’s my twopennorth worth

There are two good reasons why stats and football shouldn’t really mix.

Firstly, as my esteemed examples have pointed out, football is an experience to be felt rather than an equation to be solved, even cynical managers and players have feelings about the spirit of football.

Number crunching divorces football from emotion. You can see this in the final two paragraphs of this article from Wired;

Wilson missed the last game of that season, when City played Queens Park Rangers. City were level on points with Manchester United, but had a superior goal difference. “I had a flight but it was delayed, so I ended up only watching the first half on TV,” recalls Wilson. “By then when we were winning 1-0, so I was confident.” In the second half, QPR scored twice. Two minutes after stoppage time, City’s striker Edin DŽeko equalised. By then, United were winning their match and, if nothing changed, would be the champions

Two minutes later, City’s attacker Sergio Aguero received the ball on the edge of the box, in a position to shoot. According to Prozone’s goal-expectation model, he had a 12 percent chance of scoring. Instead of shooting, he went around a defender to a corner of the penalty area and, from a spot where he had a 19 percent chance of scoring, slotted the ball past the keeper. By the time Wilson landed at Gatwick, the news ticker running across the TV screens was saying that Manchester City were the new champions.”

The nail biting circumstances of one of the closest league seasons in British football and the emotion the Man City fans felt is lost in the bone dry certainty of the scientific method. This;

Has been replaced by this;

angles

Secondly, while data analysis might seem to be a useful tool for managers and coaches the work of the boffins is unnecessary.

Look again at the last two paragraphs of the article. The article’s author is actually amazed that a footballer moved the ball into position that he was more likely to score from. I’m sorry to tell you this boffins but Aguero probably didn’t weigh up the scientifically proven goal producing efficacies of the different positions before he moved, he naturally moved from one position to another because that’s what he’d been coached to do all his life. I’m really sorry boffins but child footballers were told to do that in my dim and distant day.

The article also tells us above the breakthrough made by Sam Allardyce and his boffins. Sam and the boys managed to figure out that…..

“…..they would have an 80 percent chance of not losing if the players outworked their opposition by covering more distance at speeds above 5.5m/s.”

Yes Sam’s boffins discovered that team has a higher chance of winning if their players are fitter and quicker than the other team. They won 2004’s Nobel Prize for stating the bleeding obvious with that pearler.

The Wired article also covers the latest thing in twitter based analysis, heat mapping;

Heat Mapping

Heat Mapping: the red shows Everton left-back Leighton Baines’s territory during the game (both halves are superimposed here). Baines’s corner-kicks are shown at the lower-right. (More Here)

Call me a luddite but what is the point in this? A seasoned coach with years of football experience would be able to spot that Leighton Baines covers a lot of ground without the help of a boffin, in fact anybody with a knowledge football and a pair of eyes in the crowd would be able to make that deduction.

Just to underline the point further we can see the unnecessary sheen of scientific buzz words in this bit of the article;

“Analysts now know that it is the distance run by a player when sprinting that indicates good performance, and that it is ball possession within the last third of the pitch that correlates with success. Better metrics imply a more refined understanding of the game. “Sometimes we look only at the individuals and forget the context,” says Blake Wooster, a former director at Prozone, who now runs a sports startup called 21st Club. “For instance, Barcelona’s [Lionel] Messi is one of the best players ever, but what would happen if you took him out of that context and put him in another team? You can’t assess talent in a vacuum.” An example of that type of contextual statistics is a model recently developed by Prozone called “goal expectation”.”

They could have reduced this sentence;

“Analysts now know that it is the distance run by a player when sprinting that indicates good performance, and that it is ball possession within the last third of the pitch that correlates with success.”

To this;

“It doesn’t matter how pretty a side looks if their final pass is crap”

They could have reduced this passage;

“Better metrics imply a more refined understanding of the game. “Sometimes we look only at the individuals and forget the context,” says Blake Wooster, a former director at Prozone, who now runs a sports startup called 21st Club. “For instance, Barcelona’s [Lionel] Messi is one of the best players ever, but what would happen if you took him out of that context and put him in another team? You can’t assess talent in a vacuum.” An example of that type of contextual statistics is a model recently developed by Prozone called “goal expectation”.

To this sentence;

“He might look good in Madrid but could he do that on a wet November Tuesday in Hartlepool?”

A lot of fans might act like wankers but a lot of us know something about football, we don’t need to a boffin and his laptop to understand the sport. We can see if someone’s not happy, or not running as much they used to. We can see the players that appear to be everywhere, we even notice the players that go unnoticed. Fuck off Boffins.

This list will keep growing.

3 responses

30 03 2014
Kowalski

…and we discover new things all the time.

29 03 2014
Matthew Close

Wow. Quite a list here. Makes you despair when you think about it all!

12 08 2013
Paul Wood

I do enjoy your blogs Matt. 99% agree with most of it as well.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: