NOT going very well, is it lads?
That was probably about as desperately dispiriting a week as I’ve ever experienced as a Liverpool supporter. We’ve gone from a genuine league title challenge with two cups to contend for, to worrying about finishing fifth or lower, with silverware feeling about as far away as it has done for a long time. All in the space of seven days.
It’s really quite unnerving how supporter mood can seemingly change so quickly; in November it felt like everybody was completely on board and enjoying themselves, whereas now the atmosphere in the ground is as vitriolic as it has been for a good while. The amount of times I’ve heard our our own fans screech “fucking twats” and “lazy cunts” towards the players they hero-worshipped only a couple of months ago is bizarre. People are back to arguing among themselves about being local or not and leaving the ground early, all of which has been recycled to death at this point.
In short, I cannot be arsed at all for Wolves. Not one bit. Early kick-off on a Saturday, watching a side in terrible form, while the people sitting around me do my head in? It’s going to be bloody baltic as well.
Just win so we can all feel a bit better about things please, Reds.
UEFA Nations Fuck-Up, More Like
Stand by for UEFA's latest international football tournament … the UEFA Nations League https://t.co/uY86f215Dn
— Liverpool Echo Sport (@LivEchoSport) January 26, 2017
That’s right, not content with allowing FIFA to steal the competition-altering limelight, UEFA have stepped in and added a whole fucking new international competition to their ranks, the UEFA Nations Cup. Because people love mid-season international football and are crying out for more, obviously.
The general notion is quite admirable; UEFA wants to reduce the number of international friendlies on offer, but their methodology is a little suspect.
Teams will be split based on their UEFA ranking, into four divisions, which are then subsequently divided into a further three or four groups. Teams will be promoted and relegated based on their performances in their individual pools, and a final competition between the winners of the four subgroups in division A will take place.
Even though I’ve just written it, that description is completely incomprehensible to me. I don’t understand how this competition works or why UEFA thinks it will be any good.
These will still just be international friendlies, albeit with a new name. Just because you might have Germany playing Italy more regularly with the vague concept of competition framing the event, that doesn’t mean they’re liable take the matches more seriously than the exhibition games against Slovenia and all those other non-descript central European nations that occur already. They’ll still be used to test uncapped players, will still disrupt the league season, and Daniel Sturridge will still get injured playing in them.
We also really don’t need another summer tournament. The Euros and World Cup are doing a fine job as they are, and any oddball who truly has nothing better to do across June and July can be satiated the likes of the Confederations Cup and the Copa América.
At least they’re having a go at fixing things, I suppose. As it is, international football is obstructive to the rhythm of club football, and is in need of a revamp. But this doesn’t seem like a solution that will make it any more interesting.
My suggestion would be this — fuck it off. All of it. Stop it. Stop playing international football. It’s crap. It makes no sense. Why should footballers form a team based upon the geographical proximity with which they each fell out of their mother’s front hole on the same indiscriminate piece of rock? I do not want to play football with anybody from Kent, ever, regardless of them having the same passport as me.
I look forward to the advances in technology which render international borders useless in the future, not only so that nationalism ceases to exist, and the people of the Earth are freer, but also so that absolute nonsense like the UEFA Nations Cup can be destroyed. That way we can all form football teams the right way; by spending millions upon millions buying the most talented lads, and bankrupting clubs and exploiting supporters in the process. The way God intended it.
Higuain Set For Fruitful Napoli Return
— footballitalia (@footballitalia) January 26, 2017
It’s been a very important week for the concept of protestation across the globe this week. In America and beyond, women took the streets to demonstrate their anger following the inauguration of a misogynist and purveyor of sexual assault as President of the United States, while one of his neo-nazi supporters took a good dig right in his kite for being an absolutely terrible human being.
But more important than those protests is the one Napoli supporters are trying to organise for the return of Gonzalo Higuain to the Stadio San Paolo in April, with the idea being for the whole crowd to blow a synchronised giant raspberry at the Juventus man as he enters the field of play. The supporter in question said, “Leave at home all violent intent. The Neapolitan people, civilised as we are, resolve issues not with violence.” Yes, because nothing says “civilised people” like 60,000 football supporters making a fart noise with their mouths because a player left them to play for a better team.
I’m absolutely staggered that this might be a thing that happens. Napoli, usually a cauldron of hate and arse-slashing, resorting to tactics most human beings left behind in nursery school. Imagine the noise. Imagine the spit. This simply must go ahead.
Stewart Makes A Rod For His Own Back
Over the past 10 years or so, it seems to me that the footballing authorities have consciously made their draw ceremonies as excruciating as possible for the viewing public. UEFA use an increasingly infuriating amount of guest speakers: ex-pros rambling about their playing careers, corporate types coming on to explain the intricacies of obscure rules that not one person gives a flying fuck about, and presenters that feel the pressure a bit too much.
By far the worst offenders, though, were the FA, who unforgivably allowed the BBC to broadcast the FA Cup draw in the middle of the fucking One Show for a while, meaning you had to sit through c. 15 minutes of Matt Baker chatting absolute wham about the plight of snowy owls, and also that little bald cockney dickhead Dom who spends his entire life complaining to various customer service departments on the phone, just so you could finally get to see Manchester United get picked out alongside Yeovil or someone.
So I’m absolutely delighted to see that the Scottish FA have encouraged an absolutely bevvied Rod Stewart to pull the balls from the bowl this week. It’s fair to say he (Maggie) May have had a few to drink beforehand, eh? Anyone? Lads? Anyone? No? Sound.
Stewart, looking like a heroin-addict in fancy dress as Doctor Who, embraces his opportunity with ultimate gusto and vigour. He plucks the teams out with the over-exaggerated elegance of a man who is simply far too rich to feel any sense of shame, while Alan Stubbs and that poor arl sod in the middle try desperately not to laugh and delegitimise the sanctity of this most prestigious of competitions.
This video represents just one of the multitude of reasons why I love football. Here you have a man, an international superstar who once played a gig to 3.5million people live in Brazil, pulling the likes of Ayr United out of the hat and squeezing the President of the Scottish FA on the arse. That’s what it’s all about.
Sam’s Just A Love Machine
This picture of Sam Allardyce dressed up as Cheryl Cole at a charity Christmas party is utterly sensational. pic.twitter.com/KMn9T5wOF6
— Andy Ha (@_AndyHa) January 23, 2017
I’ve not got much to say about this, I just wanted to show it to all of you.
Basically, as explained in his autobiography, Sam Allardyce gets dressed up at charity functions sometimes, and once went as Cheryl Cole (I don’t actually know what she’s called these days, and you can bet your life I won’t be taking the time out of my day to go and check) and a photo of the event in question has been doing the rounds online this week; but enough with the details, just look at that bloody picture.
Allardyce there, with four other middle-aged fat fellers, strutting his stuff to what I imagine is ‘Sound of the Underground’ (the undisputed best Girls Aloud song, don’t even think about @’ing me). Imagine the amount of sweat seeping from his rippling crotch into that vibrant fuchsia fabric.
Stare at it. Experience it. Breathe it in. Try not to get at least a semi. If you’ve managed it, you’re a better man than me.
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