We’ve Buggered Off!

Hello, Scheidt fans.

If you’ve been coming here thinking that we don’t do owt anymore then… well… you’re right. Hopefully you know by now that we moved to a new domain with a bigger and better website as well as all the great podcasts and features that you love. Click the image below to let yourself into a whole new world of Scheidt:

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Bundesliga Heats Up as Bayern Train Starts Rolling

Today I write to you about another typical week in Germany’s Bundesliga. Dortmund won again, McClaren’s Wolfsburg displayed another disappointing performance, Luca Toni moaned about Van Gaal, and Stuttgart continued their fantastically comical season of persistently trying to get themselves relegated.

There wasn’t even any last minute transfer drama to get excited about, with the entire German market costing less than Señor Torres’ controversial move to Chelsea. But beyond the minute transfer dealings, and predictable match results. Something is brewing, a giant awakening.

I’m talking, of course, of Fußball Club Bayern München and their late arrival to the title chase.

The Bavarians polished off a convincing 3-1 victory over Werder Bremen last Saturday, finding themselves on a five game undefeated streak that began on December 12th and perhaps more importantly, 3rd in the league and only three points behind Bayer Leverkusen.

Robben Grips The Rod of Fate

The victory over Werder Bremen proved a rather fitting example of the change in the wind at Munich. After Per Mertesacker put Bremen in front. It was Arjen Robben, who has been so desperately absent from the side, who struck back first for Munich before the side went on to dominate the game and claim all three points.

The Dutch winger had a nightmarish start to the season after scans confirmed that his hamstring hadn’t healed properly while away at the World Cup with Holland and would be out for 2 months. Robben picked up 23 goals for Munich last season as he helped guide the team to an unrivaled title alongside a Champions League venture to the final that left us all a little baffled, and Madrid fans a little bitter.

While out injured, the club struggled to cope with only four wins in their first ten games, failing to score in five of them. As dropping points to notably smaller sides like Hamburg and Borussia Monchengladbach emphasized a side that didn’t look fit for the title.

With 2 goals in his first three games back, it would seem that the club can rest assured that the Arjen Robben of last season is still well and truly alive inside those glass hamstrings. Alongside Robben, the club can call upon new signing Luis Gustavo to push further up the table. The Brazilian defensive midfielder had been in excellent form all season with Hoffeinheim prior to the transfer and offer’s Bayern a quick like-for-like replacement for ex-captain and universal hate figure, Mark Van Bommel.

Luis Gustavo glaring intimidatingly into his bright future at Bayern.

The Munich side have often looked vulnerable defensively this season, conceding at least two goals in a game seven times this season and a defensive record that’s twice as shameful than their neighbours in Dortmund. Munich fans will be hopeful that the new Brazilian, coupled with young starlet keeper Thomas Kraft, can help plug the holes at the back that had limited the side’s performances earlier in the season.

Another fact that may sway things in Bayern’s favour, is Borussia Dortmund themselves. Despite the club bouncing back in splendid fashion after their 1-1 draw with Stuggart, with a fantastic 3-0 route of Wolfsburg. It wouldn’t be so far-fetched to expect other sides to pick up points off the trend setter’s, none other than Bayern themselves who’ll be desperate to prove this side are mortal, when the Black and Yellows visit the Allianz Arena at the end of the month without key playmaker and goalscorer, Shinji Kagawa. The Japanese star broke his metatarsal in the Asian Cup and will be out for the next few months as Dortmund search desperately for a player to mirror the midfielders current goal tally this season.

Whatever the result on the February 24th, one feature that will remain constant, will be the Bundesliga’s unrivaled ability to allow a platform for eighteen teams to offer an even league that wont stand for a dominant force for too long. Whether the resurgence of this Bayern Munich side, is an early indication of that, is yet to be seen.

Stefan Bienkowski

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“Sir Alex” or: “How I Learned to Stop Saving & Buy a Goalkeeper”

Edwin - You will be missed

So, now we stand at the brink. It is crunch time. Zero Hour approaches. Sir Alex Ferguson has a big decision to make. Nail-biting stuff.

On Thursday 27th January, Manchester United’s No.1, Edwin van der Sar announced he would finally hang up his gloves at the end of this season. During his six years at the club, he has helped take United to three back-to-back league titles, and win a League Cup, a Fifa Club World Cup and a Champions League trophy. His contribution has led Sir Alex to place him on a pedestal alongside Peter Schmeichel as one of the club’s best ever stoppers.

Taibi - Couldn't even hold onto a pair of shorts (at United at least)

But now the time has come for Sir Alex to replace his revered keeper. Goalkeeper has been a problem position for United over the years – with several flapping flops coming in and out over the years. Many fans continue to remember the fiasco of Massimo Taibi, the mediocrity of Raimond van der Gouw and the talented if cocaine-addicted Aussie Mark Bosnich. Even good players like Fabien Barthez and Ben Foster were prone to howling mistakes that tainted their progress at the club. In the time between the legendary Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar, Sir Alex Ferguson signed no fewer than ten goalkeepers. In the current climate, they cannot afford to make the same mistakes.

It should be pointed out that, of course, Sir Alex already has a number of goalkeepers at the club. Firstly there is young Ben Amos, currently on loan at Oldham Athletic. At just 20 years old, he is too untried and wouldn’t be ready for a jump into the No.1 jersey. Next there is Tomasz Kuszczak, who has spent four years as a backup keeper at the club – several times stating his frustration at not being given a meaningful run in the first team. Kuszczak has shown that he is a talented player, but perhaps not enough to warrant the starting slot at a club the size of Manchester United.

Lindegaard - Potential.

And finally there is new signing Anders Lindegaard, signed from Norwegian club Aalesunds FK. In 2010 he was named Goalkeeper of the Year in both Norway and Denmark. When signed, it appeared that he was ostensibly being brought in as van der Sar’s replacement. However, United legend Peter Schmeichel has publicly stated he doesn’t believe the 26-year-old is ready for a regular spot at the club.

So, what is the alternative for Sir Alex? Simple. Use the money that he claims the Glazers have promised to make available and buy an established goalkeeping star.

Several names have been bandied about by the media, with Manchester United allegedly being interested in all of them. Will we see one of these men between the sticks at Manchester United next season?

Maarten Stekelenburg

Stekelenburg - Dutch Successor

The Dutchman would certainly be the most poetic of choices. He has followed in Edwin van der Sar’s footsteps by coming through Ajax’s youth system. He is now the club’s star player, filling the goalkeeping void that had remained since van der Sar himself left the club in 1999. Not only that, but he has inherited van der Sar’s position in the Dutch national team, and done a very successful job with it, helping take the Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup Final. At 28 years old, he is a top player in the prime of his career.

David de Gea

de Gea - Wise Investment

While Sir Alex has been very reluctant to put his faith in young goalkeepers, David de Gea is one of the hottest properties on the market at the moment. While he was primarily used as a backup to Atlético Madrid’s first-choice Sergio Asenjo, before the (almost as young) Spaniard suffered a back injury, his impressive form has led him to more prominence. At the time of writing this article, de Gea has made 18 league appearances for Atlético with 7 clean sheets this season. If United attempt to sign this young stopper, they can expect stiff competition from Europe’s other top clubs, but this could prove to be an investment in the next fifteen to twenty years of the club- an opportunity unlike any other.

Igor Akinfeev

Akinfeev - Long-Touted Star

The CSKA Moscow captain and Russian international has been long-touted as United’s replacement for van der Sar. Indeed, for a few years now, many football fans have expected to see him move to one of Europe’s top clubs. He was also rumoured to be on his way to Liverpool, when there was speculation over the future of Pepe Reina. It can only be a matter of time before we see the 24-year-old at a high-profile club, but will it be a Premiership club? And will it be United?

With other names floating around like Schalke #1 Manuel Neuer who impressed at the world cup alongside the likes of René Adler of Leverkusen and the Argentine Sergio Romero, United are somewhat spoiled for choice in terms of goalkeeping talent. The real question that remains is if and when Sir Alex Ferguson will make a move. Kuszczak, Lindegaard and Amos are not yet ready for the pressure that the No.1 shirt at Manchester United brings. With some of the world’s best forwards playing in the Premiership, United need a top star between the sticks that they can rely on, otherwise they risk being left behind by the pack.

They could always sign Pepe Reina. Liverpool don’t need him having signed renowned shot-stopper Luis Suarez in the January window!

Jonnie Milne

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An Interview with… Andy Brassell

It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to interview a bona fide legend and font of footballing knowledge so when the chance comes along you have to grasp it with both hands and shake it until it politely requests that you let it go. That’s how we felt when the opportunity to interview Andy “Top Brass” Brassell came along. Except we didn’t shake him as we felt it might disrupt the flow of the interview…

Andy Brassell: Could Do Better Than Mourinho

Michael Park: Hi Andy. Thanks for agreeing to speak to us. As our readers know, Scheidt’s Footballing Miscellany look to encourage the next generation of incredible football journalists and wanted to know how you got your start in the business?

Andy Brassell: I applied for a job at a start-up European football magazine when I was about 25, having not written anything for ages. Having no experience (beyond a spell writing match reports and previews for the Wimbledon & Merton Informer as a teenager – great days), I didn’t get it, but the editor liked my application, invited me to pitch stuff as a freelance and that’s what I did. From there, I was getting around a few European grounds so came up with the idea to do my book ‘All Or Nothing: A Year In The Life of the Champions League’. That was reasonably well received, I ended up doing radio stuff on the BBC…and here we are now. It’s anything but a guide on how to break into the business, but that’s how it happened.

MP: Did it take you a while before you felt that you were in a position to focus on the areas of the game that really interested you?

AB: Not really. I started out just hunting around, learning more, rather than having any grand career plan, so I just followed my nose and saw where it took me. To improve your writing and create something really compelling, I think you need to have a real connection with your subject. Not that I’m saying people should reject paid work, particularly when starting out, but writers that I really enjoy in reading in whatever subject are those that give real colour to the basic story. If what you were writing on didn’t interest you, that would make that much harder.

MP: Many aspiring writers have dreams of roaming the continent watching football for a living. Is it as good as it sounds or can it become a bit of a drag?

AB: No, it really is pretty great! It’s easy to get sick of airports, but it sure beats being stuck in a crowded Northern Line underground carriage! European football does have endless variety, so no complaints.

MP: Your book, All or Nothing: A Year in the Life of the Champions League is an insightful look at the inner workings of a major European competition. What was your favourite moment in researching the book?

AB: Well thanks very much. Favourite moment….blimey. Too many. The atmosphere at the first match I went to, in Marseille, was just astonishing and a great start. Hearing Paul Lambert and Jim Craig talk about their experiences of the final with Dortmund and Celtic respectively, facing a full Sudtribhune terrace at Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion….but maybe the best bit was seeing Mourinho and Porto at the quarter-final stage. He just had such a charisma about him, and there was clearly something great happening there.

MP: Of course you’ve been the Top Brass on 5 Live’s World Football Phone-In for years. What’s it like working with Dotun, Tim and the team? Are you used to staying up late/getting up early now?

AB: Getting up early? That’s a good one! It’s always a long day working before it, but it works best that way – the listeners are sharp, so we have to be too! Dotun and Tim have always been great to me every since I started, and are great fun to work with. That I’ve learned to tell people to push off in Swedish and pronounce English footballer names in Brazilian Portuguese….well, where else would it happen?

MP: Obviously, Tim Vickery’s infamous “Rafael Scheidt Moment” was one of our primary influences for the name of our site. Everybody has one; what’s your’s?

AB: On the WFPI? Perhaps suggesting that Jean-Alain Boumsong was the solution to all Newcastle’s defensive problems! He was pretty good for Lyon when he was there, though. Though I still maintain he’s a decent player. But then again, Tim would say the same about Sr. Scheidt.

MP: Following you on Twitter I’ve noticed that you get bombarded by questions on a daily basis, mostly by our writers. What’s your favourite kind of question to be asked?

AB: I’d love to be asked ‘would you like a free box of crisps?’ but Seabrooks don’t seem to be following me! I’m happy to answer most things, though it’s always a real challenge to fit a question about football politics or history within 140 characters. It can be done, though!

MP: This is the biggie, of course. Having watched football in so many different countries where would you say is your favourite place to watch football?

AB: Going back to earlier, Marseille’s Stade Vélodrome has to be up there. I remember Habib Beye telling me about playing there during the 2003/04 European campaign and saying how unbelievable it was – and how loud it must have been before they got rid of the roof in the redevelopment for World Cup 98! What’s amazing is that the atmosphere really bristles for even the most regular league game. Elsewhere, the atmosphere at Real Betis’ Benito Villamarin was superb when I went there for the derby against Sevilla some years ago. A very underrated derby indeed.

Stade Vélodrome

MP: Finally, because we’re always on the lookout for up-and-coming players to keep our eyes on and we as we know, you have a penchant for French football, can you tell us who you think the next big stars of French football will be?

Marvin Martin: Alliterative as he is Talented

AB: He’s 23 so not sure how much you could describe him as ‘up-and-coming’, but Sochaux’s Marvin Martin is something very special – as Ben Lyttleton, the great French football writer, would tell you. Martin has great balance, terrific technique and creates a lot of goals from wide and central positions. He’ll end up at a top club very soon.

For someone younger, I’d go for Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon. He’s 19, and scored the winner for France under-19s in the European Championship final v Spain last summer. That was on the Friday; on Saturday morning, he took the Eurostar to London to make his debut with the Lyon pro squad in the Emirates Cup. He arrived about 20 mins before the warm-up, played very well versus Celtic, then played again against Milan on the Sunday! He can play up front or wide right, has great energy and is smart, too. He’s made a difference every time he’s played this season, and should go on to become important for club and country.

MP: Thanks very much for speaking to us, Andy.

AB: My pleasure.

Andy is the European football correspondent on the World Football Phone-In segment of the Up All Night program on BBC Radio 5 Live, which airs on Saturday mornings from 2.30am . You can also get it as a podcast if you’re too lazy to stay up (as we often are). His book “All or Nothing: A Season in the Life of Champions League”, can be purchased on Amazon.co.uk and also through the website, www.allornothingbook.com.

 

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Pazz Brings the Pizzazz for Inter

 

Pazzini: A Cunning Linguist

It is the stuff dreams are made of for a striker making his debut. Having been obliterated in the first half by a fine, cutting edge Palermo side in the first half who were two goals to the good, Inter and coach Leonardo were forced to make some inspirational changes. Gianpaolo Pazzini ‘Il Pazzo’ – the crazy one – enlightened the baying Interistas with a crazy second half, replacing the talented Brazilian youngster Phillipe Coutinho, scoring twice and winning the penalty which secured the three points which keeps Inter in the top four.

Honeymooner Leonardo

The honeymoon period was over last week for Leonardo when Inter deservedly felt the wrath of one of the most exciting teams in the country – Udinese – who’s dazzling, attacking football mixed with a fine tactical display left the Brazilian coach bemused by the team’s shortcomings. One thing Leonardo is, is that he is a fine motivational coach and very personable with his players; a blend of the fine qualities of José Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti whom Leonardo has openly admired. Indeed, Mourinho continues to text Leonardo despite last season being in opposite dugouts.

However, his tactical ability made some in the Italian press question his worth. In the game against Udinese, Leonardo did not adjust the narrow system which he deployed which gave the Zebrette the initiative to attack continuously down the wide areas. Gazetta claimed while Leonardo is probably more suited to this current crop of players, he lacks in what former boss Rafael Benitez exuded from every orifice – tactical know-how.

Certainly Leonardo proved the point about his motivational skill as the players, especially Pazzini, looked determined to right those wrongs from the first half. It could have been horribly wrong too, as Javier Pastore had his penalty saved by Julio Cesar and also hit the woodwork which could have succumbed Leonardo to his second consecutive league game.

Leonardo’s confession of the game being ‘crazy’ could not be closer to the truth.

Inter’s transfers

Nagatomo: Impressed For Japan

The final nail in the Benitez coffin was his ‘back me or sack me’ outburst following the World Club Championship victory in Qatar. The press conference was used as an opportunity for Benitez to politically get the fans and press understand that the squad needs refreshing and change. According to research, Inter have the oldest side in Europe with an average age of just under 30. Either the research or Benitez’s words were highlighted and brought to president Massimo Moratti who has decided to take some action, in the form of signings Andrea Ranocchia, Pazzini, Yuto Nagatomo and Houssine Kharja (though he’s 28).

The signings have come half a season too late but it does illustrate that Moratti is still interested in the progression of the club. Ranocchia is the great hope for Italy – being described as the next Franco Baresi – he is undoubtedly one who will look to oust either Marco Materazzi, who has been wavering and Lucio,  who are both over 30 whilst Walter Samuel is out for the rest of the season.

Pazzini brings exuberance and enthusiasm which Diego Milito hasn’t really shown this season. Pazzini has youth on his side compared to both Milito and Samuel Eto’o and will provide Inter with some striking depth and an opportunity to rotate in the final third. The move sees the promising Jonathan Biabiany head in the opposite direction to Sampdoria for a charitable €7m.

Nagatomo has been one of the stand out performers for Cesena, who are currently languishing in the danger zone. Strong, athletic and technically well adept, the Japanese defender was one of the stand out performers in the Asia Cup over the past couple of weeks. The move also sees youngster Davide Santon head in the other direction, which should prove to be a smart move for the six months as Santon needs games to develop his stalling career. A few years ago, he was described as the next Paolo Maldini yet the performance against Palermo would suggest otherwise.

The start of the new calender year has seen Inter make changes to manager and playing staff. Will it be enough to mount a title challenge against their fierce neighbours who are ten points ahead at the summit of the league?

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New York Cosmos – More Than Just Nice Suits?

We don’t talk about American ‘soccer’ very often on Scheidt’s Footballing Miscellany primarily because, like most American sports, it’s quite impenetrably complicated outside the draw of the few marquee names that are drawn from the sport. Naturally we’re talking Beckham, Donovan, Marquez, Juan Pablo Angel, Thierry Henry et al. However, a certain romanticism remains surrounding the ghosts of soccer past in America.

A Smoker

The North American Soccer League, accompanied by its bombastic American logo, first began in 1968 with a bold 17 teams. By the next year it had decimated by an entire SPL to 5 teams. The embodiment and lasting legacy of American soccer in the 1970s, The New York Cosmos, would not join the league until 1971. Even then their owner, President of Warner Brothers Steve Ross, was mocked in the New York press for attempting to make soccer work in a neglectful America. Enter the $7 million man, Pelé, who came out of retirement with the mission of transforming the fortunes of yet another unsuccessful New York sports team. Real Roy of the Rovers stuff. His arrival was the catalyst of change for the Cosmos as they changed from major insignificance in a nation neglectful of the game into a worldwide phenomenon as stars from all over the globe had aspirations of joining the Cosmos.

Franz Beckenbauer

These stars joined in Pelé’s final season as a professional footballer in 1977 as the club looked to reward his belief by bringing him one last championship before going into the lucrative world of a viagra salesman. The Cosmos brought in former West Germany World Cup winning captain Franz Beckenbauer, the ex Brazil captain Carlos Alberto and Italy international Giorgio Chinaglia(who would go on to score 242 goals in 254 games). With these signings the Cosmos soon established themselves as the league’s main draw, regular attendances topped 40,000 fans, and best team winning 3 championships in 4 years. Although the Cosmos had now matched their initial ambitions on the pitch, the loss of Pelé soon became an issue for the NASL broadcasters, ABC, even with the arrival of immense talent like Johan Cruyff at the Los Angeles Aztecs, George Best and Teófilo Cubillas at the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and, er, Harry Redknapp at the Seattle Sounders. The Soccer Bowl (Yeah, exactly) had lost it’s glamour and the league was soon forced to fold in 1985 as teams had overspent and become unprofitable- the league’s collapse financially is one of the main reasons that the modern day MLS now enforces a salary cap with the added glamour of up to 3 Designated Players if a team so desires.

In 2011, the United States can boast a relatively successful professional soccer league while its national team are no longer the bad joke that they once were. As the sport has finally turned the corner in a nation why is there a lingering nostalgia for a club who’s overspending and reckless ambition enforced a domino effect that eventually killed the North American Soccer League?

Pele: Also Involved

Yes, of course The New York Cosmos are finally making the serious leaps forward to become the MLS’ 20th team in 2013. Earlier this month Eric Cantona signed up to the project as it appealed to him as a sweet blend of “art and football”. Cantona will be in charge of all of the Cosmos “soccer operations” which at the moment is only their Academies on the West and East coasts of the USA.  His acquisition has been seen as a signal of real intent on behalf of The Cosmos to, once again, become the dominant force in American soccer. The rest of the Cosmos organisation is made up of former New York soccer legends Giovanni Savarese(of the NY/NJ Metrostars), Giorgio Chinaglia and Pelé while former Liverpool CEO Rick Parry is part of the Board of Directors. A fairly impressive backroom staff for a club yet to play a match since the name rights were bought by the ex Spurs Vice-Chairman Paul Kemsley in 2009.

Members of the board have also publicly stated on the FoxSports channel that “big-name players” from Europe have approached the Cosmos in the hope of playing for them. There is every chance that this is just all part of the PR and politics involved in trying to establish themselves as the 20th MLS club. Another ex France and Manchester United player, Fabien Barthez, has also publicly said that he would be interested in joining a revived Cosmos in a coaching capacity. The Cosmos board are certainly working in overdrive to garner the media’s attention and constantly mentioning that they “want to become the #1 in America”.

However, this is all just noise until a real plan to seriously become an MLS club is revealed. As yet there have only been fancy boardroom appointments with no mention of an expansion fee, a site for a stadium and their decision to have Umbro make their merchandise, rather than MLS partner Adidas, certainly won’t help matters. The New York Cosmos will continue to make bold appointments and a lot of noise for a while but until they are officially accepted into MLS it’s just a few well known folk trying to sell a bunch of shirts based on the “brand” of The Cosmos name. For now, The New York Cosmos are as legitimate a sporting team as The Harlem Globetrotters.

Findlay Mair

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Oh Football, What Have You Done?

On what seems to be an unfortunate day for financiers up and down the country Scheidt’s Footballing Miscellany’s own professional Magpie, Adam Clery takes personal umbrage at the death of the romance of football.

"Are Your Palms Itchy? That Means You're Going To Come Into Some Money"

Well, what the fuck happened there then?

I was pretty busy myself on transfer deadline day, locked away in a room in London, working away from the early morning until late at night. I spent the vast majority of the day blissfully unaware of the goings on back home in Newcastle. I wasn’t worried though, the night before I had seen reports of the club turning down an obscene amount of money from Tottenham Hotspur for our number 9. He didn’t want to go and we didn’t want to sell him. Simple enough.

However, as I dared to turn my phone on as I left work I was bombarded with various text messages and voicemails. I read through them backwards. Apparently we’d sold Andy Carroll to Liverpool, after we’d accepted a bid, after he’d handed in a transfer-request, after we’d turned down the same bid twice, after we’d said he categorically wasn’t for sale. Once I got my head around it, it was depressingly straight-forward..

But then there was the supposed texts between Andy Carroll and a journo called “Steve”. The gist of which being that as the day went on, Big Andy started to claim that the club were forcing him out, and that the transfer request was just a sham.

Booooo! Ashley, you greedy bastard, this was all your doing! Etc etc etc.

So here’s what really happened:

Liverpool threw STUPID money at Newcastle for a player who cost them absolutely nothing. A player who, a year ago, was playing second-fiddle to Marlon Harewood and Peter Lovenkrands. A player who cost the club absolutely nothing. A player who had yet to prove his maturity off the field. A player who is still incapable of restraining some of the more exuberant aspects of his lifestyle. Imagine you were running a business, and one that’s in the process of trying to balance its books, what would you do?

To Blame, Or Not To Blame?

Am I supposed to be angry that a selfish financier, made a selfish financial decision? Am I supposed to sympathise with a 22 year old lad who’s just quadrupled his £20,000 a week wage? If he didn’t want to go, he wouldn’t have agreed terms.

There’s no romance left in football I’m afraid, sorry, certainly not at the top level anyway. The badge-kissing, book-writing playboys we’ve so religiously spent our money on over the years have just been taking the proverbial, we’ve all been too stupid to notice.

I’m currently casting envious eyes at all my lower and non-league supporting chums. Imagine that, watching 11 blokes punt a ball around a field without having to listen to the PR, the spin, the lies and the excuses. Can you imagine what the Premier League would be like if Msrs. Torres, Rooney and Tevez had to work late at the factory, just so they had the flexi-time to get to training on Wednesday night? If they had to have a whip-round and a car wash to afford a bus down to their 1st round FA Cup tie.

Football’s greatest revolution of the last 20 years wasn’t the advent of Sky, the inclusion of sports sciences or the accessibility of the coverage. It’s been the way that the wool has so dramatically been pulled over the eyes of the fans. For every single footballer who’s been labelled a traitor, there’s hundred of thousands of fans who were stupid enough to actually be surprised by it. We’ve all been had folks, honest footballers are just Santa for over 16s.

You’ve let us down football, but I’m afraid I don’t have time to dwell on it. Reality beckons.

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