Many years ago I became involved with a local pub football team, if you could call it that. It was basically a group of beer bellied, aging and rather lazy blokes who turned out on a Sunday morning when they could be bothered. I have never been a person to do things by halves and believed that much more could be achieved with a little effort. I found myself working with the ageing accountant who has designated himself the manager and together we started to effect significant change. Continue reading
There is a great deal of discussion at the moment as to which players will be selected for the England World Cup squad. Personally I don’t think it much matters who is finally chosen because it is unlikely that any permutation of the current crop will result in England winning the world cup. We seem to have lost the winning habit and with the Hodgson brand of safety first football the team is more likely to bore us all to death than win anything!
If he could bring himself to indulge in a more expansive style of play with quick and mobile attacks we might get somewhere but I am sure that he will ultimately resort to the usual conservative offering of experienced players and measured build up. Whilst we focus on passing ourselves to death the likes of Luis Suarez will have walked through our defence, scored the winner and retired for the day.
The Liverpool Factor
Talking of Luis Suarez there is one pleasing aspect of the Current England group of hopefuls for me if nobody else and that is that so many of the potential picks are from the Liverpool team. It reminds me of times past when Liverpool dominated domestic and European football. In those days there were few foreign players in the English league and the only members of the Liverpool team who weren’t in the England side were the Scottish ones! There were times when seven of the eleven on the pitch for England were from the Reds. I can still remember the day I went to see England play World Champions Argentina at Wembley. England miraculously won despite the presence of one Diego Maradona and Liverpool’s David Johnson scored twice. Those were the days when footballers weren’t such stars and were more likely to be seen in the local pub than advertising designer watches and hair products on TV.
These days the top premiership sides are packed with foreign players meaning that aside from Liverpool each club has only minimal representation in our national team. It is also doubtless the reason why we are struggling to produce the required volume of talent to win trophies. It is hard for English talent to break through at the top level because their potential places are taken by foreign imports. You can’t help thinking that the talent is out there and more outlets would lead to better returns.
England may not win the world cup but watching Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson and possibly Jordan Henderson in action will fill me with pride. It would be even better if Liverpool do now go on to win the title because it would be great to see a side with so many English players succeed rather than watching teams who manage to field precisely none win the day. English football needs English winners if we are going to prosper.
I am also hopeful that next season yet another England international will join the Reds. Adam Lallana would be a fine addition to our squad. Who knows by this time next year the entire England team could be Liverpool players because there are precious few of them at any of the other top clubs.
Article by Sally Stacey
Back in August as the football season was about to kick off I was experiencing a major enthusiasm failure. Fearing another year of the same old story I was all set to watch less football than ever and anticipated only a cursory interest in proceedings. It wasn’t simply that my team, Liverpool
, had been so average for so long, it was the predictability of just about everything. Two teams would vie for the title, probably both from Manchester, the newly promoted sides would be cut off at the bottom, Chelsea and Arsenal would make it into the Champions League and another season would go out with a whimper.
The Sign of Things to Come
My first hint of the drama to come was Liverpool’s early victory over Manchester United. Even in the bad days we would beat them occasionally but this time it was the manner of the victory that hinted at a change of the established order. Manchester United looked average and Liverpool were winning even before the return of Luis Suarez. Even Manchester City were faltering. I was convinced that the Liverpool renaissance wouldn’t last but when we were top of the league at Christmas I had cause to reassess my feelings.
Fall From Grace
By this time Manchester United had clearly fallen off their perch and the bottom half of the table was as congested as Oxford Street on a bad day. This was no ordinary season and I had started to get rather excited. As each week passed the drama simply increased and when Liverpool thrashed Arsenal at Anfield I started to dream.
Since then every week has been like torture! The glistening prize has drawn ever closer but the knowledge that just one slip up could ruin everything makes watching each match nothing less than horrendous. Everyone thought that it would be Liverpool who cracked under the strain of it all but it has thus far been Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal who have buckled. Manchester United are nowhere to be seen.
There are now three games to go and the winning post is in sight. I am not getting out the party supplies and balloons yet because in this season of twists and turns anything could still happen but Liverpool look like they mean business. I feel convinced that they will slip up in at least one of the three games but I am equally certain that Manchester City and Chelsea will too. I now feel that on the last day of the season Liverpool will indeed be either playing Newcastle as Champions or will beat them to win the title.
The Last Day
I wouldn’t be feeling so confident were we playing another team on the last day but if I could choose anyone to face on such a momentous occasion in would be the Geordies. We always seem to beat Newcastle at Anfield and they are already safe from relegation. They also seem to have somewhat imploded. I am still nervous that something will go wrong but it does look like Liverpool will become the most unlikely champions for years and that has to be good for football as a whole.
Article by Sally Stacey
I was listening to the radio commentary of the Champions League last night and enjoying the excitement of the match between Bayern Munich and Manchester City. Things were not looking good for City when they found themselves two goals down early in the match but after a magnificent comeback and three goals they were heading for a significant victory. It was then that manager Manuel Pellegrini made a curious substitution removing striker Edin Dzeko in favour of a more defensive player in the shape of Jack Rodwell. Continue reading
I hadn’t really thought about this issue until the ludicrously long and overblown build up to the draw for the finals started this afternoon. They have been talking for what seems like hours and a ball hasn’t been drawn yet. There has been endless pontificating about who England might draw and what would be the worst case scenario when the truth is that it doesn’t matter who we get because we can’t win the tournament. Continue reading
I have attended hundreds of football matches over the years and travelled to several countries to do it and so have experienced most of the atrocities that the weather can throw at the football supporter. I have been variously extremely hot, sun burnt, soaked to the skin and pelted with hail stones but nothing compared to one match that I was stupid enough to turn up for in 1997. Continue reading