Best posts of the week:
As chosen by Chris Rowland and Daniel Rhodes.
1 – Tony Mckenna (macattack) on Gary Neville’s comments over the Old Trafford protests:
Gary Alexander Neville had already implemented ‘damage limitation OT’, by dragging the ‘dangerous’ FSG into the conversation. On the other hand, has everyone seen the image of GAN fist bumping a United ‘fan’ who had infiltrated the stadium. Would GAN have gladly done that if security at his hotel that had been breached? I mean this is ‘dangerous’, surely?
That particular individual was masked up, more than what Covid guidelines require: basically, he was concealing his identity, so what kind of person was he? And talking about ‘dangerous’ has GAN actually bothered to denounce the breach of Covid guidelines? Fucks sake, this is the twat who wanted the season voided at one point. On the fear that if ‘just one’ player was to catch the virus, as his mantra went. If voided, Liverpool would have lost out on a title, following a 30 year wait. Coincidence? This…this…from the man who advocates against ‘greed’ and ‘self interest’.
And, GAN is a Capitalist speculator. Has been since his mid twenties. Not to take issues with that in itself. But to be aligning yourself with the grass roots fans, some of them culpable of criminal intent, typifies where his agenda is: all over the fucking place, replete with personal motive, contradiction, hypocrisy and envy. Nor were the Glazers an issue when they were his paymaster.
GAN is the most reprehensible of Sports Personalities on TV, at the moment. He really fucking is. And someone needs to advise him to stop referencing Liverpool, or FSG, in his twisted attempts to deflect from the shit that transpires down Salford way.
2 – Taskin/Tash on Gary Neville and the match postponement:
I have no problem with Utd fans protesting against their owners. They’re absolutely right to. In their shoes, I would do the same.
I would have no problem joining Utd fans (and fans of any other club) in pushing for change in football in general. I think it’s required.
I do have a big problem with Utd fans’ protests directly impacting Liverpool. They could have targetted the Roma game, but didn’t. And I’m sure they didn’t because they had calculated that UEFA would have sanctioned them without a seconds thought, very likely impacting them this season and probably next. The likelihood is that the FA will do no such thing. And even if they did, they can afford to forfeit 1 game without it affecting their season. They could look selfless, even when they were thinking solely of themselves.
Perhaps my biggest problems is having Gary Neville hijack the situation to trot out his biased bullshit under the thin veil of presenting himself as football’s answer to Che Guevara. He is trying (and largely succeeding) in throwing FSG into the same pot as the Glazers – no doubt hoping that he can kill two birds with one stone. Get rid of Utd’s bad owners and strengthen them. Get rid of Liverpool’s good owners and weaken them. I know most/all of you won’t really need convincing, but let’s remind ourselves of the real Gary Neville:
-Has a burning hatred of Liverpool – and a deep love of Utd. He’s spent years trading on that fact. He still does.
-He took the Glazer’s money for years and said absolutely nothing. Not a peep.
-He continued to say nothing after he retired from playing. As long as Utd were winning or challenging.
-He works for Sky. Probably the biggest single actor in the ‘selling out’ of English football in general. The sell out that he now so passionately decries. He’ll talk about anything and everything being the reason for the current state of football. But he won’t mention Sky, BT, Amazon…
-He wants the Glazers out. But not because they’re bad for ‘football’. Because they’re bad for Utd. He wants new owners who will ‘invest’. ie Do more of what he is apparently raging against.
-He is is bed with Peter Lim. And it’s perhaps here that the spotlight needs to be shone brightest to see through Neville’s bullshit media persona.
– Lim is about as bad a football club owner as you could wish to meet. Ask any Valencia fan. He pretty much ruined the club.
– Lim took a 75% share in the cafe and hotels run by the Nevilles, Giggs, Butt and Scholes.
– Lim also took up a 50% share in Salford City (alongside the Nevilles, Giggs, Scholes, Butt and Beckham). And under their joint ownership (although I’m guessing mostly Lim’s money) the club have single-handedly destroyed any semblance of sporting competition and financial fair play in their league structure, having spent more money then all of their competitors combined while also benefitting from the extraordinary publicity that comes with being owned by Utd’s ‘Class of 92’. They’ve been the subject of countless column inches, Sky reports and even a Documentary. Which other non-league club gets more than a passing mention?
– So when Lim needed a manager to try to turn things around at Valencia and was getting very publicly pushed back by candidates in Spain, who else but Gary Neville to take the reigns?
Can you remember the shock when Neville was named as the manager? I’m guessing Neville was as shocked as we were. Was it because Gary wanted to leave his cushy job in Sky and try his hand at management in Spain – even though he’s always said he didn’t want to manage? Or was it perhaps because Lim told him that he owed him? Or is that owned him?
– On a lesser note, Gary “How can you build a football team without getting 2-3 years” Neville sacked his last manager in the space of 4 months. And that follows a stream of other sackings.
In short, the guy is a hypocrite, a fraud and a die-hard Manc. Let’s not follow him into his pseudo-battle please.
3 – Alistair discussing Sky and ownership models:
Watching Sky and reading some LFC fan tweets – What are anti American/capitalist owners demanding?
Owners pay for acquisitions and ongoing funding of losses via player wages and agents fees entirely with equity.
Owners never receive a return on their investment via dividends.
This means that the only acceptable owners are those able to write off their entire investments, including funding ongoing losses.
Who would own a club on this basis? No-one clean. No-one people should want in the sport.
UAE, Qatar, Russia – their grip on football is tightened every time Gary Neville speaks, every time a fan demands capitalist owners exit. Their grip was tightened yesterday.
Sky is competitively screwed without PL football. They don’t really have infrastructure, they only really have subscribers. Their subscriber base is under massive threat without PL football. I wouldn’t listen to a word anyone on Sky says.
Did Sky to some extent stage yesterday? Or at the very least manipulate the viewer’s perceptions via their coverage? Was Neville a bit scripted? It felt weird to me. Like watching Running Man – artificial performance to titillate the viewers and protect their own interests.
The players, agents and even managers are taking all the economic value out of football. Directly or indirectly they are huge beneficiaries of the states driving up their pay. Every time you pay to watch football, remember it’s going to the players. You pay the price you pay primarily because of player wages. I don’t blame the players, but I wouldn’t listen to a word any of them say unless they admit their role in football’s problems. I know this is an unpopular view, but I don’t understand why!
Football is in crisis. The corruption is manifest everywhere. Focus on the states. They are the enemy. Football cannot be reformed while they are able to own clubs and distort the sport. Anything that limits them has to be considered. The status quo is certain death for the sport for me at least. I feel people are being played and are unwittingly participating in the accelerating demise of football as a sport.
4 – Mobykidz in the aftermath of the Old Trafford postponement:
The game will be played and none will be the wiser on security protocols or policing after these “protests” that funnily enough DID NOT take place in midweek where Uefa could have thrown United out of the competition.
The game will not punish Man Utd because to some in the PL, Sky and media universe they ARE the big beast you do not poke with a stick unless absolutely necessary.
The game has a new figurehead pretending to represent fans and meritocracy in Gary Neville on Sky Sports who have pumped billions upon billions into the coffers of… the same billionaire owners attempting to break the hegemony of other billionaire broadcast owners. Puppet and muppet all rolled into one.
The game will be played and it will make no difference at all to either clubs respective seasons. United will likely win the Europa League and finish 2nd. Liverpool will likely finish outside the top 4.
A week ago fans managed to break into United’s training ground at Carrington. Are you telling me that the tens and millions the club pays for its security had not anticipated their fans would do the same at Old Trafford for this game? That the risk to the players IF they had been in the stadium was worth additional policing or public messaging before the game?
What happened was a failure of policing, internal security, local intelligence gathering and Covid protocols. Yet the media turned this into a reminder of fan power because it suited the PL and media to beat the Gang of Six with its stick.
I think Gary Neville should shut his mouth about validating these moronic fans. He’s playing with fire. As commented above it sets a terrible precedent if the Club faces no sanction at all for its failure in securing the safety of players and staff. They should be punished by playing in an empty stadium even once Covid restrictions are lifted to allow fans back. That is the right punishment. But you won’t hear Sky, PL or Gary Neville mention that as its not in their interests.
5 – Jeff on rich oligarchs and clubs:
Paul first I want to say as I do time after time thank you for a wonderful piece and writing and an insightful article.
To me sitting on the other side of the ocean and someone who lives in an evidenced based world, my question today is not so much that one of the ills facing football is that some super rich have bought into the game with little or any interest in building a viable business in football and are prepared to live with whatever it costs them to have football as a hobby. To me in part it continues the fact that in some places such as in Spain with Barcelona and Real Madrid nationalism one way or another says having a sound business has no meaning or in Germany with Bayern that again nationalism underpins a major football club. To me large degree not completely but to a large degree clubs owned by rich oligarchs or rich entities from the Middle East and clubs funded by nationalism may well have been immune from the economic impact of covid-19.
To me the question is how will the rest of football survive. We all know from RBS that banks and financial institutions want their money and clubs with massive debts and clubs that have borrowed to stay in business will face a world of serving debts and paying down debts and no real hope of doing either. Chelsea and some clubs do not face this reality but they are the exception and not the rule.
Simply put, the rest of football has been subject to the economic disaster that is part and parcel of covid-19. To me the question I have had for sometime is how many clubs will either go into administration or face a vastly reduced circumstance, how many football leagues we have know them for a long time will disappear or be dramatically reshaped, will we in a few years be able to recognize the world of football and I could go on and on. Simply put, however one runs the numbers football needs to find billions of pounds, euros, or dollars to simply survive and where will the comes come from. To me there are only two possibilities. First, governments not only in the UK but all across Europe will have to find massive sums of money to keep the game as we know it or new sources of revenue will have to be found to help clubs deal to survive. One might argue that football could reform in the face of a financial disaster but I am in the camp that football simply refuses to see the disaster coming and it will hit and football as we know it will cease to exist and the powers that be in football will as they have always done make excuses and say woe is me as the game dies.
Clubs may have made a faustian pact to prosper but I think they may well find the game they love is gone and not coming back or in other words football will so so different that we cannot recognize it.
Articles published since I’ve last Friday, with excerpts:
What Next for Liverpool’s Squad? (and What Would Shankly Have Done?) by Chris Rowland.
At times like this, gradual seamless transition is always portrayed as the route to pursue, evolution rather than revolution the Holy Grail, root and branch change deemed too disruptive. Klopp himself suggested major change wasn’t necessary, and his instinct, like Shankly’s, probably errs towards loyalty, maybe to a fault. Klopp gives the impression of a man who naturally favours gradual and continual refreshment rather than its more impulsive cousin, sudden and dramatic rebuild – and he recently commented how important he thought Mo Salah was to Liverpool and hoped he would remain ‘for a very long time.’
So, Which One of You Made the Faustian Pact? by Paul Tomkins
Okay, own up. Was it you?
Just a few years ago, think of all the bargains we were making with deities, or the deals made with the devil – those Faustian pacts – where Liverpool finally win the league, and anything that followed would be perfectly tolerable, and we promised to suffer it unflinchingly?
Who, in 2019, wasn’t doing just that?
Maybe you got in a bit earlier, and made your pact in 2018, after the pain of Real Madrid and Sergio Pig’s Heart Ramos, and you wanted the Reds to win the Champions League, too? Or you could be amongst those of us making such bargains since about 1991.
And now look where we are, in what, in several ways, has been a season from hell.
But some important things are worth remembering, lest we get too down. Just because it is “darkest before dawn” does not mean the sun has to rise on cue, beyond the actual sun rising on cue. However, this season has been a storm, and despite walking through it, the wind and the rain has not stopped. Yet, it will end.