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Five reasons Liverpool will struggle


Judging from Liverpool’s preseason performance I think it’s fair to say it would be difficult to improve on last season. So here’s  my take on players/reasons why Liverpool would struggle a bit this coming season

1. Robertson


Robertson wouldn’t be on fire. Now I’m not saying he wouldn’t be good, but I suspect a slight drop in form for him and a repeat of last season is nearly impossible. This would lead to our left side been more predictable and less effective.

2. Salah


Salah would have a repeat season. Yes Salah had a good second season but it’s quite a drop compared to his first season at the club. I suspect he’d have a similar season to last where he’s not quite on par with the best in the world, but at least would be amongst the top players in Europe.

3. Mane


Mane had a stellar season in the last campaign and I suspect he’d have similar stats this coming  season but that’s where the problem is. Salah’s drop in form was not too noticeable due to Mane’s improvement, however if Mane doesn’t improve further, would our present front three be enough? I’m not quite sure especially as fatigue would surely set in at some point  during the season as all three front men have played a lot of football in the last year or two.

4. Origi


A cult hero who’s goals against Barcelona and Tottenham would forever be remembered. However his newly signed contract tells us he’d get more game time than last season and I’m not entirely convinced he is a good enough back up to Firmino/a team wanting to win the league. I could be wrong but it seems like Origi is more of a back up player rather than a rotational player like Lovren, Ox, or Shaquiri should be. He has however done enough to stake his claim as a reliable substitute but I’ve got a sneaky feeling we’d need a better quality forward as back up sooner or later.

5. Injuries


We had quite a few injuries last season with the most notable been the injuries to Salah and Firmino against Barcelona. Having long term injuries to any of Van Dijk, Trent, Fabinho or Alisson would almost derail our title hopes as their replacements can’t perform to a high standard consistently. The champions league come back against Barcelona is an exception and I wouldn’t expect Liverpool to sustain a title challenge with their second or 3rd choice attackers. We were quite lucky with injuries last season as no key player was out for long, where as Man City’s KDB and Fernandinho were out for lengthy periods, not including Mendy. If we have a similar number of players injured, it would be almost impossible to keep up with city.


Guo(I’m so done with brackets)

Klopp has earned our trust


I recently wrote in on Man Utd as a Liverpool fan, stating that I thought Ole was doing a decent job of turning their form around. So now with Liverpool having just been beaten 3-0 and looking fairly dismal, I thought it an opportune moment to dissect our situation.

Firstly, as everyone has said, pre-season friendlies are largely pointless in deducing form for the season. This is especially the case for Liverpool as we have our entire attack absent. Klopp has therefore used the holes in the first XI to play likely first teamers out of position instead of blooding our kids beyond the first games of pre-season and our US tour. So, Wijnaldum and Ox play as 2 of the front 3 with Origi, instead of Wilson and Kent who would be more suited to those positions. This is sensible in terms of getting important players match fit, but makes our pattern of play awkward as those players are not used to playing there and aren’t natural fits (Yes I understand Ox used to be a winger but hasn’t played there in a couple of years, pretty much never for Liverpool and has also been out of football generally for over a year).

Still, form matters. We have enough first teamers back to have an idea of patterns of play and sharpness, and things don’t look good. In particular our defence looks shaky. Only missing our GK, we really should be better by this stage of pre-season. One area of particular interest to fans is the Gomez – Matip conundrum. Most thought Gomez would be given the chance to take his place back after injury robbed him of an extremely successful partnership with VVD. Klopp however seems intent on sticking with Joel, in support of his form in the second half of last season. Admittedly he played very well, however we did statistically conceded from frequently over that period. He also does not have the pace Gomez does, and Liverpool’s preferred style of play is to push our defence as high as possible and squeeze the pitch. This helps with our press and stops our lines of formation drifting too far apart (A problem we have suffered during this pre-season). This high line benefits the pacey centre back and Matip has been criticised for being too willing to stand off quick attackers for fear of being outpaced, something we again saw against Napoli.

When we do get our front 3 back most people have quite rightly pointed out how little break these players will have had in the last 18-24 months. Liverpool have been very fortunate with injuries to these players and largely played them every week for 2 years. That kind of consistency of availability can mask a lack of cover, and many people, including myself, have worries over our backup. Most fans expected a versatile attacking player to be brought in who could add competition and depth to our front line. We probably didn’t give as much consideration as to where this player would magically arrive from, as we should, especially considering the required quality to allow competition with our existing world class forwards. However, nobody has arrived, and the general consensus is that nobody will. Klopp gives great thought to future proofing our squad. He highlights young players who can produce long-term and our squad is very well balanced with age demographics. Klopp also knows that if you want to attract the best young domestic players, you have to produce a route to the first team. City can afford to lose Sancho and Diaz if they have the squad and finances to plug every conceivable hole that appears. Liverpool rely on attracting and promoting youth to maintain the balance in our finances. This seems to be the case with Brewster. By all accounts the lad has bags of ability and potential to be a future international but planning a spot for him is high risk, especially when you are competing with the biggest of big-guns in European football. As is always the case; young players are difficult to judge and where some blossom others fade. Whether Brewster provides genuine cover for our attacking players could decide how successful we are this season.

Outside of Brewster we have Origi and Shaq. Both have shown glimpses of quality, Origi scoring some important goals, however if you look at his stats, he had an unsustainable level of scoring from minimal efforts. His conversion rate was something like 40%. This will come down, and when it does his impact will too. He is not the best link-up man and has poor defensive skills. Shaq has fitness issues. He is currently out injured, spent a considerable time out last season, and if you watched Klopp’s press conferences, he spoke about him being affected by niggling injuries even when he was apparently available for selection. It’s difficult for players coming in after periods of not playing, having those periods elongated by injury only makes the task more difficult.

All in all, there are some definite concerns and we would all be happier with a highly successful pre-season with everybody firing in lots of goals. The fact that this hasn’t been the case should be put in to perspective, though combined with some other existing worries Liverpool are by no means a guarantee of continued success. Despite this, I still think Klopp has earned our trust and if he says we should expect another league challenge I would believe him. Let’s just hope the front 3 stay fit, fresh and firing.


Ed Ern

So proof will be in the pudding.


Have LFC been slightly naive in their transfer policy for this season ?

a little part of me thinks yes, but a larger part thinks no.

I think it is widely recognised that cover for the full-back positions is light, particularly with Clyne’s recent knee issues, so I do feel that it would be sensible to invest in reliable cover option.

Having Joe Gomez as the default RB(+LB) cover and Milner being cover on the left doesn’t fill me with glee.

However away from this I think we need a few more rational thoughts from certain fans calling for reinforcements in other areas:

Centre-halves – well stocked in my mind with the key decision for Klopp being does he bring Gomez back in as the starter alongside VVD or does he stick with Matip who was excellent in the run-in (Lovren 4th choice).

I would like to see Gomez get the gig from a continued player development perspective, but that exposes the FB cover point.

Midfield – the continued lack of a game changing number 10 type player (Coutinho 2016/2017) is a slight concern as it is recognised that we sometimes need that player to unlock a defensive minded opposition. However we need to recognise that the Ox, although different from the Coutinho / Eriksen mould, will add dynamism in terms of unlocking teams and that Keita will hopeful more consistently show the type of play that we have only seen glimpses of so far (stay injury free guys !)

We’ll gloss over the ‘Lallana as a number 6’ argument (one for the league cup, that one).

Fabinho has the DCM locked as his own … Henderson adds essential qualities like drive / passion … and Gini is really well-rounded.

Conclusion – well stocked / creativity question marks.

Attack – We have a great front 3 and were particularly fortunate last season in terms of the minimal injuries that they sustained, which didn’t expose the back-up options too much.

I don’t believe we need to buy a centre forward – we have one of the brightest flourishing European talents in that position in the form of Rhian Brewster who I believe will be one of the primary break-through players in the prem next season. Breaking him in off the subs bench to give him 15/20 mins a game for Bobby is a sensible way to go initially.

We have Origi who can easily cover the 9 position and create a level of cover on the left for Mane.

Shakiri can do a job covering Salah + I am hopeful that Harry Wilson goes nowhere as he can provide options in the wide positions.

Question that people should ask themselves is which talented players are going to want to come to LFC with the current front 3 in place ?

Why would someone like Pepe / Ziyech want to come to Liverpool as a backup ?

Wind the clock back 12 months or so … lots of grumbles from certain fans when Clyne was sent on loan .. and a year later we have one of the top rated FB’s in European football in TAA (nicely balanced out on the other flank with another one in Robertson).

The point here is that they were given an opportunity to play and have blossomed into figures that have saved LFC c£100-150m in the transfer market.

That wouldn’t have happened if they had sat on the bench.

Another key point – they are pretty much the fans favourite players due to their attitude and application (being a local lad helps too !) .. don’t underestimate that … fans connect with them (Brewster next in line for that …and perhaps Wilson).

I personally don’t want Liverpool to be the club that always ‘buys the juiciest orange from the top of the tree’ (that went well didn’t it, Jose !?!).

Spend it where it is required and the club has shown that they are prepared to do that (VVD / Alisson), but also develop players .. true fans love that.

Onwards and upwards !


Sparky, LFC (Genuinely hope Lampard does well at Chelsea as he has to put greater faith in youth…)

Manchester United‘s final transfer business


Seeing as there are now only 10 days left of the transfer window, I thought I would have a quick shufty at what I think United’s final business will look like:


Pogba will stay. Now the Perez has put the kibosh on Bale’s transfer to China, I don’t see how even Real can afford to bring in Pogba, now that Woodward finally seems to have developed a bit of backbone. I don’t believe there is really much chance of him going to Juventus either. I would also be unsurprised if he ended up as a vice captain this season.


Lukaku will leave for Inter. This one has been rumbling on for too long and I think that they’ll eventually stump up all, or at least most of the cash that we are asking for. I think the Juventus rumours are wide of the mark, and more likely to be Lukaku’s agent trying to force Inter to get this one over the line.


I think that Darmian will leave, probably to Juventus as a replacement for Joao Cancelo (who I think City will probably bring in eventually).


We will sign Maguire. Getting our money back on Lukaku will probably be the one that triggers this – one move would pretty much finance the other, and I think Woodward will go for that.

That’s it.

I don’t see any way that another midfielder comes in; I knew that the Fernandes story was bullsh*t from day one – this one had all the hallmarks of a Sneijder, Gaitan, Douglas Costa saga – though I do think he would have been a good signing. The same goes for Milinkovic-Savic. There’s also little chance Woodward will countenance anything like £50m moves for either Longstaff or McGinn, so I think we’ll be sticking with Matic, Fred, Pereira, McTominay and Pogba (and maybe Garner too).

I also don’t believe that we will replace Lukaku because of the form of Martial, Rashford and Greenwood in pre-season. I really believe that this would be a mistake; I’m all for giving youth a chance but Lukaku was (for all his faults) the closest thing we had to a senior striker and outscored both Rashford in Martial in both of the last two seasons. I also don’t see us signing a winger either, regardless of the fact that the last player we signed for that position was Valencia. If it was me, I would be tempted to go back for Zaha, as I feel he would fill that gap quite nicely (and we could potentially negotiate a slightly lower fee because of that sell-on clause) but I don’t think that will happen.

I’m chuffed with how Wan-Bissaka and James have played during pre-season and we have seen some impressive performances from our existing players but I still think we’re short of 3-4 additions, which it’s clearly too late for now, given how much time left there is in the window. Personally, I would have liked to have binned off Rojo and brought in a proper left-back as competition/cover for Shaw, a central midfielder was an absolute must and a right winger would have been welcome, along with the centre-back we so clearly need.

If we just get Maguire then that will be a barely passing grade, if we can add a central midfielder then great but if the window closes with no further additions then we will have really screwed this one up. Fingers crossed.


Ted, Manchester

United transfer hype


The rumor mill has been in full swing well before the transfer season began linking United with every player under the sun. I no longer think it’s a case of transfers taking too long but Woodward just not willing to back the manager with a 200-300 m war chest unless some players are sold.


– It does not seem that United are even in the market for Bruno Fernandes


– United may be interested in Savic but only if Pogba leaves

The only real interest seems to be in Maguire and perhaps a young holding midfielder who can be bought on the cheap.

Even if we get these remaining 2 signings (Maguire and a midfielder), we are going to struggle big this year and struggle to finish in the top 6. The defense may improve a it with the addition of Bissaka and Maguire. The attack remains the same as last year (Daniel James is far from the finished article) i.e lacking bite. And the midfield will be a disaster. We had 3 man midfield last year of which Herrera has left and Matic ageing. If United has ambitions of even competing for top 4 this year, they need 2 good (not potential) midfielders and that does not seem to be happening.

Not sure if it is a case of Solksjaeri being a bit wet behind the ears or Woodward not willing to back him in the market. Perhaps both. But it looks like we may end up doing worse transfer business than even Arsenal this year.


Adeel 

Calm down, calm down


I couldn’t help but think of Harry Enfield & Chums’ ‘calm down, calm down’ skit when I read your piece on Liverpool going ‘missing’ in pre-season.

Just one week ago, F365 posted a great piece by Daniel Storey, called ‘Fretting about pre-season results is a symptom of disease…’, which declared that using pre-season matches to predict how a team will do when the proper season starts is a fool’s game. It was well researched and pretty much hit the nail on the head; pre-season results are generally meaningless.

So why have you suddenly gone in so hard on Liverpool’s (admittedly poor) pre-season form with your article ‘Missing: Any sign of last season’s Liverpool’? As you indicated, four of their most vital players haven’t been playing. Others who have featured, such as Oxlade-Chamberlain, are either coming back from long-term injury or trying to establish themselves in the side.

(As an aside, I think Liverpool are bound to have a worse season this year. Replicating a 97 point season would be nigh-on impossible for any club other than Manchester City, while the Champions League is historically a difficult trophy to retain.)

It all seems a bit like scaremongering for the sake of it. They were destined to be weaker this pre-season with the front three and Allison missing. Let’s not write off the season of the BLOODY EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS before it begins because they’ve lost a few meaningless friendlies. By that logic, Atletico and Diego Simeone are suddenly abandoning their defensive solidity for a gung-ho approach, all because they beat Real Madrid 7-3.

Cheers,


Tom, Devon, NUFC

Top 10 worst decisions Arsenal made since the turn of the millennium


As football is 2 weeks away, and we are seeing a host of teams making bad decisions, what are the 10 worst decision your club has made since the turn of the century? For some teams, it may be more recent Cough**United**Cough. As for Arsenal, we’ve managed quite sprinkle them over the last 18 years. These are the top 10 worst decisions Arsenal made since the turn of the millennium. I’m sure many will disagree, but here is my list.

10) Buying ‘Fox in the Box’ Jeffers. It made sense at the time to go for a young English striker ready to poach goals. While we had Bergkamp, Henry, Wiltord and Kanu it was evident that we often needed someone to help us break defences and be a presence in the box, especially toward the end of games. Especially with the creative talent we had. However, he was a flop. All I remember from him is his red card in the community shield against United and not much else. Had he realized his potential, Arsenal could have benefited massively in the mid 2000s, where Henry was often the only tenured striker on the team due to injuries, Bergkamp not travelling and RVP and Walcott being too young (never forget we won in Madrid in 2006 with Walcott and Lupoli as our only strikers on the bench).

9) Trusting Almunia for so long after his first season. Our biggest liability for many years was our goalkeeper. Our defense was never solid and we often lacked a backbone. Yet what made it worst was knowing that our last line of defense was an uninspiring Spaniard. He arrived at Arsenal as a 27-year-old player back-up goalie for La Liga’s mid table team. If I am not mistaken, Celta did not have enough funds to pay for Silvinho, so they gifted us a goalkeeper who was often sent on loan. Somehow, despite all of this, Almunia played 174 times for Arsenal and as first choice for around 3 years. He had a good first season, but it was evident he was not our answer for a starting goalkeeper.

8) Selling Fabregas and Henry way below their market value to Barcelona. I’m cheating here since this happened in different seasons, but letting go of our captains to Barcelona for a fraction of their cost is abhorrent. I understand Wenger was loyal to these players and this was gifted them the departures. But, Henry had just signed an extension the year prior to make him our highest paid player. While he was coming off an injury-laden season, he was still one year removed from Champions League and World Cup final appearance. And somehow Darren Bent cost more that summer. Fabregas was worse. He was undeniably world class and 24 years old. We sold for around 34M Euros. At a time when the purse strings were tight, Arsenal couldn’t afford to let world class talent go for so cheap. It cost the team the ability to go after world class talent, and led to more and more of our players leaving such as RVP and Nasri.

7) Selling Van Persie to United. In an ideal world, Wenger would have stuck to his guns and kept Van Persie for his final season. Next to the newly arrived Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla, and with the underrated partnership he had with Walcott, Arsenal could have mounted a serious title charge. However, it was evident he wanted to leave. City, United and Juventus all wanted him. While Juventus apparently offered less for Van Persie, it would have meant that a top 5 player in the world at the time would not be competing in the same league as us. Yet Wenger decided to do his friend Ferguson a favour and sent him to Manchester. This resulted in Van Persie leading a rather average United squad to the title, while we fought to make the top 4. Oh, and of course he scored against us.

6) Gallas-Cole Transfer. At the time of the transfer, this made sense for everyone. Arsenal was gaining one of the best defenders in the world, fresh of 2 league titles with Chelsea and a World Cup final. We also got 6M for a player who didn’t want to play anymore. Chelsea got a young, English world-class left-back. At the time, it seemed like a good deal for everyone, which is why this is so low. Gallas never fit in at the club, famously fighting with teammates and possibly being our worst captain as he gave up during a match against Birmingham. Cole on the other hand won everything imaginable at club level with Chelsea, and is arguably the greatest modern left back.

5) Spending 70M£ on Mustafi and Xhaka. On paper, it was great that Wenger recognized to of our weaknesses in the summer of 2016. We badly needed a Centre back as Mertesacker was near retirement, and Koscielny was pushing 30. We also needed a midfielder as the Cazorla-Coquelin partnership was near its end. In reality, we got two overprice and error-prone players who are an important reason as to why we struggle. It may be harsh on Xhaka to label him a flop alongside Mustafi, but then you remember that Kante went to Chelsea for a similar price. More importantly though, it is evident that we do not have many funds available this summer. And we can trace it back to 2 of our most expensive players ever. While Lacazette and Aubameyang were brilliant signings even at the price we paid, our 3rd and 4th most expensive players are the complete opposite.

4) Selling Gilberto Silva, Diarra and Flamini in the span of 6 months without replacing him (2008). Not replacing Vieira was bad. But selling 3 very good Defensive Midfielders in 3 months without replacements is peak Arsenal. During the beginning of the 2007/08 season, Silva came back late from the Confed cup and saw Flamini take his spot during his breakout season. Also, We had recently purchased Diarra to compete for that spot. Diarra got tired of being on the bench and left for Portsmouth. He excelled there under Redknapp before being a mainstay at Real Madrid and for the French National Team. Flamini left for Milan that summer. We were left with Song. This had a real impact on our future seasons as Song developed into a decent player, but with zero positional awareness that left us vulnerable to counter-attacks.

3) Giving Wenger unprecedented role at Arsenal. Articles have been written discussing Wenger’s role at Arsenal. It is undeniable he stayed too long at the club. But that only happened because he had too much power at the club once Dein left in 2007. Arsene seemed in charge of everything with Gazidis not seemingly adequate in his role, and that left major gaps. The pendulum finally swung back once Raul Sanllehí and Sven Mislintat brought on. It would have been interesting to see what they could have done earlier, when Arsenal were competing and only a couple of players away from fully challenging from the league. Ultimately, this ruined Wenger’s legacy as it seems he was untouchable regardless of our results on the pitch.

2) The Ozil, Sanchez, Ramsey and Oxlade- Chamberlain contract situation. Letting four high-value players enter the last year of their contracts without renewing them is bad business practice. It cannot be understated how poorly the club handled these situations. At a time when we are having financial difficulties, renewing these players earlier would have made too much sense, especially as they wanted to stay at the club. Instead Ramsey left for free, we had to sell Oxlade-Chamberlain for below value, and resigned Ozil on a contract that has ruined our finances. Realistically, only the Sanchez situation is not devastating but bad, since we got money and a player for him. And he has massively underperformed since.

1) The arsenal boad trusting KSE and Kroenke instead of Usmanov and Dein. In the summer of 2009, Kroenke upped his shares from 9.9% to 29.9%, while Usamnov did the same with former Vice-Chairman and reason Wenger was brought to club David Dein. Kroenke gain full control by 2011 by getting over 66% of the shares and eventually all of them in 2018. Had Usmanov and Dein taken the reins of the club, there is strong belief that more money would have been spent, instead of the disastrous rein of KSE. He is one of the only owners to have not invested any personal money in the team, and it shows. We have slowly but surely gone from title winners, to title challengers, to hanging on Champions League qualification by a thread to a team missing out on Champions League for 3 years in a row. Whatever you think of Arsene Wenger, it is clear he had his hands tied by KSE for many years.

Honorable mentions to: Not letting go of crocked players earlier (Rosicky, Diaby, Welbeck, Walcott, Wilshere), Believing Bendtner would become a top player, and selling Vieira.


Guillaume, Ottawa

Arsenal really do only have £40m to spend


Dear Editor,

I was dreading a transfer window in which Arsenal had 3 things:


1. £40m


2. No Champion’s League football


3. A great need of players all over the park

Instead, I am delighted with the business they’ve done, presuming Pepe and Tierney do in fact arrive. Hell, Pepe alone felt so out of our reach that even as a statement it’s a big plus. However for everyone saying that the £40m budget was a lie, I’d stress paying close attention to the deals as reported by the oracle Ornstein (mostly on twitter, where by definition space is short, so especially interesting he left these crucial words in).

On Pepe: ‘paid by instalments to fit #AFC budget’


Tierney: ‘It is complicated by the breakdown and nature of the instalments Arsenal are proposing’


Saliba: Okay I can’t find the exact tweet for this one but believe loaning him back for a season also meant most of the fee is paid next summer.


Even on the Zaha offer: ‘in addition to (normal) staggered payment structure’

It sounds like they have £40m to spend this summer and the promise of more money over windows to come to pay for the rest of these deals. From what I’ve read this seems relatively normal in transfers but makes it all the more impressive that the powers that be at Arsenal have managed to structure these details with (I presume) no more than the claimed £40m up front and the rest to follow. Now I’m not saying they’re claim of having £40m wasn’t perhaps stretching the truth, only that reports they’ve will have spent £100m+ this window should bear the structure in mind. I think Mikey, CFC’s reference to this as a ‘credit card’ is a pretty accurate analogy – I’m hoping Arsenal have carefully calculated their incomings to be sure they can pay the bill.


Phil, AFC (still haven’t bought a bloody CB though)

A Wilfried Zaha Theory


Dear Football365,

Seeing as Ian LFC this morning not only predicted that Roy Hodgson will be the first manager sacked, but that Wilfried Zaha will leave this summer, here’s a theory I’ve been working on and desperately clinging to: Crystal Palace will convince Zaha to stick around for one more season with the agreement that they will lower their asking price at the end of it.

This seems a reasonable compromise for everyone.  For Zaha, he has the opportunity to earn a move made more viable by removing the main obstacle – the high asking price.  All he has to do is impress his suitors, and were he available for c. £65m, he would have a lot more clubs interested across Europe than he would at £80m or higher.  In return, Palace will have their best player determined to prove his worth to someone/anyone at football’s top table, and a long time to line up a potential replacement.

It’s all hypothetical though.  I’m not so deluded to think the Eagles will be able to fend off everyone for their best player, or that Zaha will meekly accept that outcome and continue going about his business.  At the same time though, there is currently little reason to actually entertain any offers, besides the effects an unhappy Zaha will have upon performances compared to when he’s happy.


Ed Quoththeraven

Podcasts…


In response to Ermi G’s question on podcasts, if you haven’t tried That Peter Crouch Podcast I would thoroughly recommend doing so. Crouch is a very likeable guy with a great sense of humour and a lot of good stories, whilst also having the humility to talk about some of the abuse he received and how it affected him and his family. I listened to about 4 episodes in a row whilst on a flight recently and was genuinely a little disappointed when the plane landed and I had to stop listening, had me chuckling along the whole time. I haven’t really listened to any podcasts other than that but I hear good things about Football Daily so might be worth a try!


Olly (Isle of Man)

Can’t help but feel Ermi G, Washington DC did not look very hard for soccer podcasts before mailing in for advice. Disregarding that:

To follow weekly current events in the world of football, there is a clear Big 3 head and shoulders above the rest: Football Weekly, The Totally Football Show, and The Football Ramble. I listen to all 3, they’re almost identical in content of coverage most weeks, which one you’ll enjoy the most depends on personal preference.

Beyond that, Set Piece Menu follows a different format entirely, discussing one topic at length each week and largely disregarding most of the football news cycle.

Many other quality podcasts exist that focus on specific teams or leagues. If you’re a Liverpool fan, the Liverpool Echo produces quality podcasts along with fan podcasts The Anfield Wrap + Redmen TV. If you want to follow continental football, you can go for On The Continent, Gollazo, and many others.

All of these are available on Spotify + most other Podcast platforms.


Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland

Ermi G – check out the Totally Football Show. Insightful chat with genuinely knowledgeable journalists from across Europe rather than the PFM hacks that frequently crop up on Mediawatch, expertly chaired by the wit and charm of James Richardson. What’s not to like?

And to fill the empty summer months they’ve delivered a six-parter focussing on iconic teams from the mid-90s to late 00s, including that Ajax team from 95, the Juventus side of the late 90s, Mourinho’s Porto and Spain’s Euro and World champions.


Jonny Dance

I really got excited about the Gab and Jules podcast on ESPN thinking it would come regularly but I have only been able to get the 1st episode which came out 18 days ago now. Brilliant insight though.  No offense with ESPN FC but ever since Tommy Smyth with a Y and his old crew left, I have not found them much entertaining or insightful (I probably sound like a “back in my day” old man now).

Old faithful is the BBC Radio 5 Live Football Daily, if Football 365 still has has one please let us know Mr Editor.

Kind Regards,


Aya (I hope all of our pre season losses mean teams will underestimate us again, to their peril. It’s our year hahaha!)

If you loved championship manager, can remember the Graham Taylor documentary and have a vague understanding of who Lars Bohinen was you need to seek out ‘quickly Kevin will he score’. It’s utter class and transports the listener back to a simpler time…


Pete, (DRFC in exile) Suffolk

Well Ermi G, I certainly can suggest a fair few Podcasts for you to listen to, first off is one I currently co-host called At The Bridge Pod, basically it is all about Chelsea FC and we do talk other football topics, however if you want more variety then the following should be perfect;

– On The Continent: All about European football, including Champions League, Europa League games


– Totally Football Show: Remember James Richardson from Italian football in the 90s? yeah its his pod


– Golazzo: Another James Richardson pod, all about cult Italian football


– MLS UK Show: MLS pod from the UK perspective


– The Football Ramble: Laid back football podcast, humour and football in 60 minutes


– B/R Football Ranks: Bleacher Reports pod, each week they do a ranking of player/teams/whatever


– Totally Football League Show: Similar to Totally Football Show but it covers the Football League


– At The Bridge Pod: Chelsea podcast co-hosted by me! I had to plug it again

All are available on Spotify too! hope that helps


Mikey, CFC

Best football podcasts are in no particular order.

1.       The Football Ramble.

2.       Quickly Kevin, Will He Score.

3.       Undr the Cosh.

4.       Totally Football Show.

5.       5 Live World Football Show.

6.       Guardian Football Weekly.

7.       Golazzo.

8.       On The Continent.

9.       That Peter Crouch Podcast.

Of them my favourites would be the first three, but others would have different tastes. Undr the Cosh is more stories from ex-footballers, and Quickly Kevin is about 90s football. Most of the rest are about the weeks football previewed or reviewed.


Weldoninhio

Gareth Bale article


I rarely find myself in total agreement with John Nicholson, which isn’t to say I often disagree with his points, I do respect his morals-based stance and having the balls to put pen to paper on topics that often preempt the zeitgeist of modern football journalism (his pieces on betting spring to mind). However, his Gareth Bale piece is absolute codswallop. If Bale wishes to maximise his earnings in a role that can only conceivably last for another six years or so (at a stretch) then who are we to look down on him for it?

Bale seems to have fallen out of love with football, he seems to wish to pursue other interests, maybe he possesses rather grandiose ambitions and requires extensive capital to finance those ambitions.

In relative terms Bale’s proposed move to China would have doubled his wages, players do this all the time without so much as a raised eyebrow. People supplement their incomes all the time through various methods such as launching an online clothing distribution company, for example, without castigation.

Disappointing.


The Flan, North London

JNic’s writing is always decisive but his accusation that Bale is running for the money is ridiculous. He says it himself that no team are willing to pay a substantial fee and fork out on high wages (understandable for a fairly injury-prone, questionably inconsistent footballer). What he didn’t mention is that Zidane, and seemingly mooted by the rest of the Madrid hierarchy, is that they don’t want him there. Bale is perfectly entitled to demand an amount of money for his work, he is still a very, very good footballer, and wage inflation in football suggests that he is arguably entitled to some hefty financial package. He also doesn’t strike me as a player who would take a step down from his lofty perch (that he has worked incredibly hard to reach) to try and help build up a team that won’t pay him anything near what a player of his quality could accrue elsewhere.

This leads me onto what I think Bale sees/saw as his two options – with no team on the same(ish) level as Real coming in for him at either Madrid’s asking price or his wage demands, he can either stay and earn money by sitting on the bench in a toxic, toxic environment at Real, or go earn even more money at a place where he would be loved, and paid veeeery well on top. I know I’d prefer to work for an employer and manager that actually wants me to be there.

I also know that I would choose at most 3(?) years at a company that pays me £1m a week in a new culture with no expectations, than to go back to (to use Johnny’s example) a club that helped me develop for 80k a week with all of the pressure of becoming that one man wrecking ball that he became at Spurs, especially if he doesn’t have the confidence in his body to withstand the rigours of the Prem again.

As far as I see it, everyone is entitled to make their money however they want, provided it is morally, and legally, acceptable. To bemoan someone taking the opportunity to use the remainders of their natural abilities for a few years to provide for their family for arguably every generation to come is outrageous. It lacks the consideration that a person is willing to sacrifice a few years of personal achievement (although only moral achievement as I can’t see Saints winning much even with him there) to give his family, both current and future, an indescribable advantage that all of us would take in a heartbeat.

There are far more permutations to a persons life choices than those that exist in the public eye, so don’t judge people by them, its simplistic and we should all be better.

Cheers,


Joe (PhD student so I know about having no money), London

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