Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Solution To Cheating In Football

In a week when again a frenzied storm has been whipped up by supporters and backed-up with media vitriol against individuals and clubs within the footballing world – with said storm set to engulf, the elite, the good and the damn right average of an industry intend on creating a rod for its own back – CHEATING could well be the straw that will break this camel’s back.

If the realisation were that clearly these typically prima-donna types are determined to continue with a “Sell my grandmother” attitude whilst amassing bags full of spondoolies, or whatever currency they use in Spain. Then possibly greatness will be exchanged for an epitaph that will include such words as Deviant…Diver…Deceitful …and Conman.

Fantastically inspiring with a football at its feet, brilliant with brain milliseconds ahead of its peers – This modern day con merchant is however more than understanding of its crimes, I am at pains to call it HE as it rolls around concentrated on its triple-salco, using each game as a perennial practice session to perfect its gymnastic skills.

Whilst the protagonist’s stands towering over the fallen idol waving an imaginary prison sentence in the guise of a red card – encouraging the referee to pass verdict with the help of this most biased member of the jury, distasteful does not do this sort of criminal justice.

We can only speculate how former greats would be discerning such acts of clear deception, and how it has now manifested itself as the norm – These acts of criminality against our beloved game.

I like to think of a Bill Shankly quote on describing how he would personally treat those whose effort may well be questioned on a footballing field;

“If a man who is playing in front of the public, he’s being well paid and he does not dedicate himself to the job – I would be hard on him, if I could I would put him in jail, out of the road of society because he is a menace”

It would get my mind ticking over and reflecting on those that really have been criminals – Those few who would indeed sell their Grandmother along with a deception of their adoring footballing fans around the globe, all for a few lira or some pretty greens.

In 1982 Paolo Rossi would not only secure a coveted World Cup winners medal, but would also be top the scorer in the tournament and be awarded The Golden Ball as player of the competition, a unique treble. – Along with his place in Italian sporting history.

Whilst playing for Perugia, Rossi would be involved in a betting scandal that would rock Italian football, on being found guilty Italy’s top marksman would be banned for three years – In a typically footballing U-turn the Italian FA would reduce this to a two year ban allowing Rossi to take part in The World Cup finals of 1982….and the rest is indeed history. We could well write our whole article on the Italians and its very own history with match fixing…Fergie would have a field day.

Britain’s very own football betting scandal occurred in 1964 when three Sheffield Wednesday players, Peter Swan, Tony Kay and David Layne were all imprisoned for taking part in match fixing incidents. In a Sunday People sting they would tell how they would throw matches including losing 2-0 to Ipswich. All would be banned from the game and unfortunately for them unlike their Italian counterpart they were of no interest to Alf Ramsey in the upcoming 1966 World Cup.

How many times have you joined the hordes singing “Cheat…Cheat….Cheat” or similarly “You don’t know what you’re doing” toward the man in black with slightly balding head and protruding beer belly hanging over his shorts – Well in 2005 German referee Robert Hoyzer would know exactly what he was doing, when aiding a criminal gang in match fixing. Hoyzer would admit his guilt in a scandal that would engulf The German 2nd and 3rd tier of The Bundesliga; it would later be found that these acts of betrayal had gone back as far as the 1970s.

Supposed heroes are letting down devotees willing to patronise with worship those very people intend on embarrassing those very fanatics. Supporters are not stupid and will not blindly follow such antic obsessed players. So they are not in any way compared to those committing actual criminality, but they have become distrusted in the same manner.

Most top footballers clearly lack grey matter, but as hollow as their tiny brainless heads are, surely they understand the disservice they are doing to themselves and their teams. As they quickly assume the dying swan position forgetful that around there are a mass of highly expensive cameras, which will catch every movement that their expensively recruited bodies make. These guys would be great in Big Brother as they clearly have a lack of understanding as to how a T.V. camera works.

The backlash has begun with referees and lines people or whatever those despicable people are now called, I include the female one, and not because she is skirt, but because she is no less garbage than her male counterparts – I await the day that they give a flag to an actual blind person….I digress. The point is most referees are now so apt to actually give any penalty, hand ball, or even goals themselves unless they are completely convinced. They are now so wary that they are indeed being conned, by experts in the art of deception.

Referee’s Limbering Up

I would like to see next season our officials sponsored by 118 118 with the tag line “I’ve Got Your Number” and if the F.A could replace the Anti-Racism thing kick it in…. kick it out…kick it all about – with “Kill a cheating bastard campaign” .Obviously this could be implemented at junior roots level first, like a trial.

Do away with yellow and red cards for diving, alternatively give the referee stickers emblazoned with 118 118 and if these players dive – stick it on their foreheads, we will all know what it means and the Football Association could get some obviously needed advertising revenue – Officials could be given bonuses for giving the stickers out like a sales incentive, and give the girl with the flag some stickers too, in case the referee misses someone play acting, she could tippy-toe on the pitch & slap onto any offenders head, so play does not have to be haltered.

Anybody who does that imaginary yellow card thing, you know that thing Pepe does every few minutes at Real Madrid, make him wear a 118 118 vest so that people think he is the referee – so all can question his parentage, and sing to him that he is going home in an ambulance, and of course his very own sticker saying “Kick me hard in the ass, the ref won’t mind”.

Finally to completely put a stop to these cheats- Let’s give Sky Sports very own Geoff Shreeves his own show where instead of hassling Mancini, Dalglish, Wenger and Ferguson at the end of games asking for comments on diving and cheating, he does a kind of Beadle’s About – Not quite as shit as Rio Ferdinand’s version. Where Geoff interviews these criminals as Shankly would call them. At the end of the game Geoff would grab these clowns by their hair or genitalia and show them their crimes live on TV. I see a kind of Geoff Shreeves does Judge Judy show and as the player scuttles away all embarrassed by his antics – Geoff would chase him down the tunnel with his mike in hand and plant a huge red sticker on his arse saying “YOU’VE BEEN SHREEVED”.

Beat a show like that – Mr Simon Cowell.

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Tika-Taka Tip Tap Toe The Rodgers Revolution

So we can now begin to gauge the difference in philosophy and tactic beginning to be instilled by Brendan Rodgers, as the start of the Revolution begins at Anfield via America.

Clearly from the outset we can assume that a certain style of player cannot & will not fit amongst the Tika-Taka style endorsed by Rodgers at Swansea, now being implemented at Liverpool – Namely Andy Carroll, as much as we can be disapproving of the alleged way in which the big man appears to be being treated by the new manager, it is also quite clear that the new style and tactic applied by Rodgers has no place for a centre forward of the style of Carroll.

Liverpool side V AS Roma in Boston

 

The main reservations I see in the managers thinking are linked to that high pressure line, where forwards & attacking players alike are given the task of putting pressure on opposing defenders and midfielders within the last 3rd of the field – something it must be said that not only Andy Carroll appeared to lack in his game at Liverpool last season and indeed previously at Newcastle, but also Luis Suarez is no Ian Rush when it comes to pressurizing defenders on the ball.

We can then take a look at the midfield of Liverpool and we can quickly pick holes in players with a less than perfect record when it comes to this same tactic – Downing, Adam and although Spearing does at times attempt to do this, unfortunately he constantly gives away that yardage gained in winning the ball by giving it away soon after.

Charlie Adam is the one player we could assume would fit nicely into the Rodgers mind-set and system, especially now he has his Anfield baptism season behind him – contrary to what a few around Liverpool believe, he is a quality player needed by this new system for sure – unlike Downing who I believe will add nothing to this type of tactic. We can also with confidence believe that Jordan Henderson will thrive in this type of play, having looked like an ideal player for the pressing game.

Even though we have only witnessed two games into the American tour, friendlies at that, lined with reserves and young players – It does give a clear impression, clearly on show is the way that Rodgers wants this side to play. One worrying aspect from my point of view is the lack of a plan B, not once, even when the side was behind was the ball lumped up the field by the goalkeeper or outfield players, indeed with 3 minutes of extra-time still to play, with Liverpool a goal behind – The philosophy continued pass, pass, pass. With every Tika-Taka on show another nail was driven into the coffin that has become Andy Carroll’s Liverpool exit.

However great the personnel recruited by Rodgers to complete this system may be, it has become very relevant that at the heart of the revolution is “The Defensive Backbone” which has to possess the confidence to PLAY within the system and with that a great deal of trust must come from the terraces – The odd stray pass is inevitable within Tika-Taka unless you are amongst the games greats – A new system also adds its pressures.

Brendan Rodgers contemplates at Fenway Park

We do have those that we can rely upon and TRUST – Agger, Skrtel, Johnson who have all appeared comfortable with a football at their feet, also Enrique whose form has without doubt dipped, has the tools to play.

The return of Lucas is a massive plus for Liverpool akin to signing a £20 million holding midfielder – someone who without any doubts can slot easily within Rodgers new system and tactics. I believe that Steven Gerrard’s role within the system will also find itself redefined, a much more defensive role where our captain will have to choose his moments much more cleverly to burst through defences. One of the modern games greatest passes of a football you would assume will be in his element.

Whether Brendan Rodgers already has it in his mind as to which of our youngsters he wishes to promote to the first team ranks , is yet to be seen. Once the senior players join the tour, my guess is that he most probably has an idea as to who fits the bill and more relevant who does not – So far from what has been seen ALL have worked incredibly hard to incorporate the system to their own game – Clearly the strikers are the most worrying decision that Rodgers will have to make – Morgan, Eccleston and Sterling, do we send them out to educate them or throw them back to the reserves – For me none are quite ready yet for the vigour of The Premier League and maybe a top Championship side may hone their skills and undoubted talent.

Clearly the system is designed around passing that football in triangles and as an opportunity presents itself – STRIKE. Unfortunately if the opportunity does not appear then we need someone to make some magic, a point not lost on Swansea last season, or Arsenal for that matter – This is where Tika-Taka can lose its beauty to a less than patient watching public – Lately Liverpool fans have been anything but patient, but it is essential that we allow this system to grow, nothing will happen overnight , certainly when we see our opening fixtures scattered with the very BEST defences in not only England but Europe and the World.

Even if we do have a quite magical little Uruguayan – It is a well-known fact that the 2nd season tends to be the hardest, we all know it cannot be any worse than his previous season – can it? My thoughts are that Suarez will get a hat full this season, unless the FA start charging you for being foreign and not speaking the lingo….Oh hang on!!!

I for one wait with mouth closed and brain engaged – Over to you Tika-Taka and Brendan Rodgers – Let The Games Begin……..

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The Sun – Undermining the Justice Campaign Ourselves.

The Sun newspaper has once again become prominent in the minds of Liverpool people, after the newspaper sponsored the recent fight between David Haye & Derek Chisora – stirring up a whole host of opinion on my particular timeline.

Not that it is relevant, but in 1989 I was present at Hillsborough on that horribly sad day on which the disaster occurred. I also read The Suns article and The Daily Stars, both which appeared within a couple of days. I have decided not to buy The Sun since that day – my choice.

I will also remain critical of anybody who also chooses to have a similar opinion, but then goes on to either sell stories or promote themselves in that paper – whilst championing Liverpool or the Justice Campaign – that is the difference.

On Saturday David Price Liverpool’s heavyweight boxer faced a heap of criticism because he worked for Box Nation the station that showcased the fight – The criticism being that the bout was sponsored by The Sun.

This complete madness from some people from within the City and from Liverpool football supporters, or fans is at the heart of the reasoning that others within the country jump on the bandwagon of criticising The Club and the Justice Campaign – accusing them of a victim syndrome.

The most important thing for the campaign is JUSTICE a much more important part of any campaign whether inclusive of Don’t Buy The Sun or not – people need to get behind finding the TRUTH through this campaign, in a sense take the focus away from the continuous barrage of Don’t Buy The Sun – everyone knows they lied, what they don’t know is the TRUTH regarding the deaths of 96 innocent people.

I am quite bored and sick of mainly younger supporters believing a militant approach to people with links to The Sun does our campaign any good – it does not and whilst these ill-informed people sit in front of their Sky TV on their Sky telephone, with their Sky internet shouting vitriol at David Price, they have no actually interest in The Justice For The 96, that sadly is the real truth.

Many many times we have seen Steven Gerrard and Kenny Dalglish give interviews on Sky Sports – media which is owned by Rupert Murdoch who just happens to own News International which in turn owns The Sun, so at what point does such links back to that newspaper stop? Are we all going to accuse Dalglish of letting the 96 down – Ridiculous?

What we all have to appreciate is that we are only responsible for ourselves, we have individual responsibility first – that is what leads to a social responsibility where we take account of others.

Try putting as much effort toward the justice campaign as you do toward Don’t Buy The Sun – It is a far more important aspect of anything that can be done to help.

David Price is a fantastic advert for the City of Liverpool and most people are very proud of David, which is of course the way it should be – A man making a living for himself and his family. His appearance on Box Nation was not an endorsement for The Sun – David Haye and Derek Chisora were the only people who would have profited from The Sun’s sponsorship – But why should they be criticised? They have no connection to the City of Liverpool or the football club.

It is time for some people to grow up over the constant barrage of those who choose to use that rag, but have no loyalty or connection to the campaign – no wonder people are critical of us as fans and the campaign, we owe it to 96 people who lost their lives to conduct the campaign with dignity alongside passion in the pursuit of our ultimate goal – The Truth.

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Brendan Rodgers Pass or Move on…….

So the majority of Liverpool supporters are beginning to take on board Brendan Rodgers himself – his footballing philosophies, which have given supporters a mood of optimism. Regurgitated over the last few years, but somehow, someway this feels different.

We will very soon find out as to whether the packaging has indeed changed alongside its substance – Talk is cheap and God we have heard enough of that since Rodgers took the helm in the Kings chair. Although I like the rhetoric there does seem to be a part of me that nags at my conscience with words like “I have heard it all before”.

We started off with Rodgers stating what a difficult job he had, quite rightly dampening the mass hysteria and expectation that comes from within Anfield and from the terraces. Interestingly the last two media friendly press conferences have included talk of Liverpool achieving dominance in the English game once again – akin to the 1970s and 1980s. That old steam train which would derail us through a barren 20 odd years is once again leaving the station before the latest Nike football has been kicked into row Z by Charlie Adam.

This is Liverpool Football Club and of course it would be extremely difficult not to get carried along in a river of red, but drowning in such expectation has become a regular occurrence over these last few years.

The league form under Dalglish was at the best poor, at the worst disastrous – with a side that at times did play some great football, all be it too infrequently and more likely it lacked fire in its belly. However much Rodgers believes he is imparting this new style to our masses must not forget that most of us cannot be taught to suck eggs – with such talk the pressures he is putting on this new Liverpool could quickly become insurmountable – weighing down hopes with the burden of expectation.

Brendan Rodgers Talking A Good Game

The Andy Carroll story – a tale of two halves from last season, has already this term divided and disconnected the fans, many want to see the big man given the opportunity to progress, flourish, and grow inside Anfield. Brendan Rodgers I feel has a very different opinion about Carrolls part, or not, that Carroll has in the revolution. Interesting that the talk has included giving younger players an opportunity to show what they can do – obviously this seems not to apply to Carroll.

The “Beautiful Game” has to have many faces – criticism aimed at clubs like Arsenal, Madrid and even Spain during the European Championships is that such ideology only has one plan – no plan B. The Premiership past winners have always mage to procure an ability to win ugly – Surely a player that offers such a way in a collection of all those particular skill sets is Andy Carroll.

In business terms to take a huge hit on the £35 million which the club paid for Andy Carroll makes little if no sense, sure Brendan Rodgers must be under immense pressure to find funds to recruit the players he believes will enhance the Tiki Taka style of football he prefers – I would prefer to lose Downing for what I assume would be a similar fee.

In a way Brendan Rodgers has a much more difficult conundrum to face than his recent predecessors because when he looks around at assets that may bring in some financial gain the box is empty, he can’t sell Suarez or Gerrard, a breakup of the central defensive pairing would be seen as foolhardy, as would selling Pepe Reina.

Rodgers has spoken on many occasions about the strength of mind to work and to succeed – a winning mentality and mind-set yet we are in the process of recruiting players that have not been under such pressures and have won next to nothing, we have personnel in the shape of Stewart Downing who you would assume does not fit that criteria – I am not myself sure what such an answer should be, fortunately I am not in Rodgers position.

Stewart Downing Does He Fit The Profile ?

I am not too sure that Liverpool supporters fully appreciate the task that Rodgers has taken on, the very small building blocks that he has to work with – how essential it is that he gets into The Champions League as quickly as possible to ultimately put the plan in action. I have always thought that The Champions League has made any sort of success gained elsewhere within the season a kind of irrelevance, which is very sad – but money talks in this modern game.

Liverpool is a great club, a great institution supported around the globe – an iconic brand, its football team however right now is NOT – there lies the problem, until the supporters accept that this is the case and we need to build, with Brendan Rodgers given the correct amount of time to attempt the job.

When we look at this season, it may actually have to be written off in terms of Champions League, which may well be what supporters have to accept, what Kenny Dalglish called a “realism check” as painful as it might be.

I have liked Rodgers and what he has had to say, however I am waiting to see the proof in the pudding, an evidence that we are working toward a goal, and of course that technically we have improved – this is what has been promised, along with the strong-minded individuals who remain fearless in possession of a football – something I find hard to accept with some of our players, but time will tell – whether it remains Pass & Move or purely – Move On.

Will Brendan Rogers be given the full support of The Kop? This will be determined by the exacting of such of plan, the systems and tactics and the squad of players he assembles, the one thing we will not accept is mediocrity which we have seen matches sprinkled with over the last few seasons. If he does nothing more than instil in the minds and hearts of players what that shirt means, not only to the supporters but what it should mean to the players themselves – then the supporters will be won over.

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