BIG week for The Reds, this.
This Sunday we’ve got the small matter of Manchester United at Old Trafford, a game in which we may as well start a goal down, because there is absolutely no fucking way Wayne Rooney doesn’t break that goalscoring record against us.
By next Monday we could all be thinking about consolidating fourth place and signing three new players, or sitting shaking in throes of ecstasy in the pub, drooling over the possibility of a double trophy parade.
There are just so many games of football going on right now that I’m struggling to keep up. Against Plymouth on Sunday I sat watching the game in a sort of semi-cognitive state, unable to pay attention to the action as though suffering from football overfeeding. My mind only escaped from its hibernative suppression when I noticed the scoreboard said 85 minutes, and remembered, “Bloody hell, we actually need to score here, don’t we?”
Alas, we didn’t, in turn allowing a convicted child-killer to keep a clean sheet, and now there’s one more bloody match to watch in this never-ending January.
New World Cup Creates Calendar Chaos
Still 7 games to lift the trophy.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 10, 2017
HERE come FIFA again, proving the continued importance of the old adage ‘if it ain’t broke, rip it all apart and build it back on flimsy foundations in the hope that it’ll make you a bit more money.’
You’ll know by now that the format of the World Cup has been vastly altered and from 2026 will see 48 teams competing, with the group stage made up of 16 pools of three teams each.
Quite why the change has been brought about I’m not really sure; the last World Cup was the most enjoyable of my lifetime and there has been no demand for a revamp from disgruntled participants seeking increased remuneration, à la UEFA’s Champions League. But, I suppose if you’re going to bestow the next two editions of the world’s most prestigious sporting competition upon two nations with appalling human rights records, intrinsic racism and homophobia, and a history of doping in sport, then you may as well fuck about with the format everybody knows and loves too.
Therefore, I will make a list of advantages and disadvantages of a 48-team World Cup, and will attempt to understand supremo Gianni Infantino’s reasoning, and also make a guess at whether the overall impact will be positive or negative:
- There’ll be 16 more matches than at present. More football = more laying on the couch in my boxies drinking cans.
- Africa and Asia benefit most in terms of extra spaces, meaning that some of the more impoverished countries should hopefully receive extra funding to promote sport in their homelands.
- Loads of otherwise crap nations who often struggle to qualify, like Scotland, Wales and Ireland, might actually make it in the expanded format, and earn the right to to go abroad and get slashed by Eastern European meatheads while their team is spanked by the countries that are actually good at football.
- In a three-team group, two 0-0 draws are likely to allow a team to progress to the knockout stage, most likely leading to more eye-gougingly dull styles of play.
- The sticker book will be longer than the Bible. Parents everywhere will have to take a second to job to finance their children’s Panini addiction. Imagine the fury of collectors up and down the land as they rip open packet after packet and amass hundreds of swaps of Tajikistan’s third choice goalkeeper.
- If the worldwide reboot of the ol’ fascism isn’t halted anytime soon then FIFA will be lucky if there’s 48 people alive to take part in 2026, never mind 48 countries.
Well, erm, about even then. Hope you enjoyed that conclusion.
So let’s have a look at the prospective list of countries who might be taking part:
How a 48 team World Cup would look based on the current rankings for each federation. pic.twitter.com/f3pYQuqwrT
— Jonny Sharples (@JonnyGabriel) January 10, 2017
Jesus wept. The absolute kip of that.
I said earlier that more football was an innately good thing, but I’m not sure even I could muster the strength to go the offy for ale and then settle down to watch the United Arab Emirates against Panama.
Also, anyone who says they’ve heard of Curaçao before is a liar. End of.
Beleaguered Blues Get More Grounds For Concern
Everton FC's preferred site for its proposed new stadium is Bramley Moore Dock, says the club's chairman https://t.co/glw9PYrHuY
— BBC Merseyside (@bbcmerseyside) January 5, 2017
EVERTON on Friday: “See that AGM, lad? We’re getting a boss new ground on the dock and sponsored by the richest feller in Russia. The Redshite’s heads have all fell off; they know we’re coming for them and they’ve shit their kecks mate.”
Everton on Saturday: *Knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round at home*
I mean, fair to play them, they’ve every right to be excited. Everton have been trying to settle on plans for some sort of resolution to their stadium issues for almost as long as Liverpool at this point, and it appears the end is nearly in sight. The prospect of a stadium on the dock road is a tantalising one for both the club and the city, assuming it serves as some sort of a tourist attraction and can double as a concert venue. It would potentially elevate Everton from a perennially mediocre Premier League team to one which regularly challenges for a place in Europe.
The issue I have with these proposals, if they do actually come to fruition, like, is that Liverpool City Council will be stumping up roughly £25million as part of the development for a new road and train station. I’m aware that the council aided Liverpool Football Club with the construction of the new Main Stand (© Fatman Scoop), but at a time of horrific budget cuts, when homelessness in the city is rampant and the lack of social housing is crippling, I don’t really think a multi-million pound business (whether red or blue), should be given a financial helping hand.
Still, it’s nice to see Joe Anderson put in place a plan that doesn’t amount to erecting yet another big fuck off tower of student flats in the city centre, or selling off even more green space. If building a stadium for his beloved Blues distracts him from his ultimate wet dream, tarmacking Sefton Park and selling the lot to fucking Redrow, then that’s fine by me.
But the Ev just never learn not to get too ahead of themselves, do they? They were first promised a stadium on the dock over 15 years go, then they were all set for a move to Kirkby until they got overly arsey about being called wools and having socks thrown at them, and only a year ago Bill Kenwright and Robert Elstone were drawing up plans for a move to Walton Hall Park. You would have thought that by now some cynical realism would have set in, but no, they’re still determined to make absolute fools of themselves at the first faint murmur of hope.
Mere months ago they declared themselves billionaires and were certain of immediate success that would catapult them to the highest echelons of the footballing world, far beyond anything Liverpool could ever hope to reach again, which amounted to them ending the transfer window in profit while having their phone calls blanked by a player at a Championship club.
Never change, lads. Never change.
Pundit Bellends Backing British Bosses
There's a lot to unpack here. Merson and Thompson come across poorly: https://t.co/dfqA7ermwB
— Kristan Heneage (@KHeneage) January 8, 2017
LADIES and gentleman, I present to you, the most Brexit video of all time.
Soccer Saturday’s Paul Merson and Phil Thompson are absolutely incredulous at Hull City’s decision to appoint a man with a tanned complexion and an accent as their new manager, and want everybody to be left in no doubt as to their thoughts on the matter. Despite new man Marco Silva’s impressive CV, which includes successful periods in charge of respectable European sides like Sporting Lisbon and Olympiakos, both Merson and Thompson deplore his appointment, wanting to see Premier League jobs go to ‘good old British boys’ who ‘never get a chance’. Y’know, like Paul Clement, who’s just been hired by Swansea. Or Sam Allardyce at Crystal Palace.
What the pair don’t seem to have taken into account, here, is that most English managers are fucking crap. The England national team has had three managers this year, and every single one of them has been some backwards neanderthal with no history of success in football whatsoever. If that’s the pinnacle of this country’s managerial offerings, I dread to think about the throwback yard-dog dickheads that make up the lower rungs.
They tout the name of Gary Rowett during their debate, a man whom nobody had actually heard of until his controversial sacking by Birmingham a few weeks ago. I can never quite comprehend the burning desire of the media and pundit-circuit regulars for every club to appoint a balding ex-League One kick-and-rush merchant from a small industrial town who wears tracksuits and stands on the touchline screaming the words “MIXER” and “HIT ‘IM QUICKER, LADS, HE’LL SHIT ‘IMSELF”, but it doesn’t seem like they’re going to stop any time soon.
Another crucial aspect of the whole thing is this: Hull are turd and are dead and buried, at this juncture. They are going to be relegated and there is nothing and nobody that can stop that. They’ve got no more than three players you’ve heard of before and one of them is Ryan bloody Mason.
So if you’re going to go down, you may as well go down under the supervision of a dashing olive-skinned feller with a seriously good coat game.