Free Friday, 25th June 2021: Annoying Authorities and Things Not to Understand About 2021

Free Friday, 25th June 2021: Annoying Authorities and Things Not to Understand About 2021
June 25, 2021 Daniel Rhodes
In Free, Free Friday


Best posts of the week, as chosen by Chris Rowland and Daniel Rhodes.

1 – Grover with a question about Harry Kane’s selection for England:

Gareth Southgate confirms 48 hours in advance that Kane will start England’s next game. Why does Harry always get special treatment by managers? He has been clearly out of form and looked unfit in the past two games and did not lead that team on Friday night.

Why does Southgate feel the need to confirm he is playing today? Did he announce his starting 11 – no, but he has guaranteed Kane he will start. I just do not get it. Am I missing something?

2 – And a reply by Tony Mckenna (Macattack):

A very good question Grover, especially since I was about to raise it myself. David Hytner, writing in the Observer today, cites a quote from Southgate that is very telling. In a negative way.

On the issue of Kane, Southgate commented: “It’s always difficult because it is your Captain because he’s a player we’ve never had to take off in the past and at the club you leave him on in any circumstance”.

Well, what a thing to say. Hytner seems to let the quote pass and it is just hanging there. But I immediately saw a lot of questions. Presumably, you don’t necessarily have to pick Kane as Captain? Then if he has never had to be pulled in the past does this not say something? Is he actually fit? And this notion of leaving him ‘on in any circumstance’, at club level, is a ridiculous overstatement. You don’t and you shouldn’t. Especially because ‘any circumstance’ covers a multitude of implications.

Indeed, Kane did have to come off for Spurs this season when injuring his ankle. As recent as April against Everton. Leaving him on would have been detrimental to the whole team. And this is my main point: Kane has had several ankle injuries in the past (a consideration maybe for any suitor) and you suspect that he had not recovered properly from the one that occurred only weeks ago. Is Kane costing England perhaps?

Who knows? But it is all a little bit odd. Given Southgate’s comments, it seems that Kane is picking himself. Or Southgate has not got the bottle to unpick him. I’m not really sure where the power lies between the two.

3 – Jeff raising the important point about broadcasting of Premier League football worldwide and its mishandling by the Premier League:

I think we can all agree that FSG is unhappy with the leadership of the Premier League and believes the Premier League is not properly looking after Liverpool’s interests. In addition, I am confident that everyone here knows that FSG own NESN which is the New England cable sports channel which means the FSG are a media owning reality and know the broadcasting business.. Now, I am asking everyone here for a moment to become John Henry. NBC bought the rights to televise Premier League matches in 2015 and has for years had an NBC Sports Channel and broadcast Premier League matches on the Sports Channel and charged a nice sum of money to watch the matches that were not being broadcast on the Sports Channel. Now, NBC says that this channel is gone and this means that you will have to pay NBC something to watch Premier League matches and there is nothing the Premier League can do about this as they did not put language in the contract to guarantee that Premier League matches would be readily available or at least some Premier League matches would be available on a normal cable package. ESPN has just signed a deal with La Liga to broadcast all of its matches for the next 8 years live of standard cable packages for 1.4 billion dollars. Nice CBS is broadcasting Seria A and ESPN is broadcasting the Bundesliga and while I acknowledge they are not broadcasting every Seria A match or every Bundesliga match they are broadcasting what I will call game of the day and the cost is just a part of my cable package. As of the other day there will be far fewer Premier League matches available in the US and the Premier League is getting less money that La Liga. I will as I have done stump up the money to watch every Liverpool match but I sit here and say I can watch every La Liga match according to ESPN with my sports package.

Let me see the Premier League is the most popular league in the world and does very well in the USA and it has been reduced to an also run in the world of watching football in the USA. I saw well done to the Premier League and as I asked about if you are John Henry how would you fell about this state of affairs? Personally, I can understand why Henry has had it with football authorities.

I am aware I have condensed this discussion and have only tried to outline what has happened in very broad terms. My point is that the Premier League has left untold hundreds of millions on the table and has the worst deal in regard to broadcasting in the US. Now, if this is true in one market it more likely is true in many other markets. This not is just a food for thought comment.

4 – Tony Mc with a priceless comment by the Hungarian team manager!:

I have just read the best quote of this year, or perhaps any other year, from the manager of the Hungarian football team, Marco Rossi. After his team achieved an excellent 1-1 draw with France, he was asked what he had to say to his critics who had given him a hard time after Hungary lost their first game of the tournament 0-3 to Portugal. He replied :

“The mother of idiots is always pregnant”

I love it!

5 – Paul Tomkins on the Billy Gilmour Covid story and the isolation of Mount and Chilwell:

It boggles the mind that Gilmour can be around all his teammates, day after day in hotels and training grounds and on team buses and in dressing rooms, and then it’s two England players who have to self-isolate for up to 10 days due to having a quick conversation with Gilmour at the end of the game. Unless they French-kissed one another then it’s hard to see the logic. Just one more thing I don’t understand in 2021.

6 – Tony, with his second installment on FF, reflecting on FSG:

Ironically, and despite the FSG haters, are we the only Club who have actually done any business in this window? I mean, completed a deal as opposed to publicly placed bids into the market place. Not to dismiss the fact that City and Chelsea will soon be realising successful bids but they`re kind of in a category of their own.

All I have heard from United is that protracted soap opera courtship of Sancho, now somewhere in the region of 70m plus without conclusion. Interestingly, and on the back of their half a billion debt, they had taken out a 60m `draw down` loan – whatever that means. The Glazers are additionally under pressure to upgrade their Old Tattyford stadium. (Ain’t gonna be cheap). Incidentally, I have even read that Sancho prefers to stay put. More confusingly, Donny VB is allegedly refusing to go the other way in a part exchange deal. (Why on earth did they buy him in the first place?). Then Pogba remains an arse cyst itching to be scratched as a means of resolve. And he is upping his stock on the International stage once more.

Spurs are obviously handcuffed until they secure a new Manager. And it is increasingly looking like they will end up with a 10th choice at this rate. One wonders that the calibre of the eventual appointee will be in terms of attracting top players. That`s even if they offload Kane at a marquee gain. They`ve also had some loan arrangement on top of the stadium debt. In this respect, they are in a not too dissimilar predicament as United.

Arsenal have had a yet unrealised bid, exorbitantly inflated at that, for Ben White. Nonetheless, I can`t even consider the North London duo as potential title contenders next season. And Arteta is still in the `could do better` uncertain mode, with the patience tank depleting amongst the fan base.

So, in all, are FSG due some credit? In the context of this pandemic they manifest a cautious but efficient strategy in the market place? They are steering our Club towards a future that has accounted for all the challenges existing in the present tense. Business has commenced.

(And they have announced plans to extend Anfield, once more. 10 years ago, I would never have believed that our stadium upgrades would be outpacing that of United).

No mess. No confusion. No dithering. No back and forth. No panic. No desperation. No embarrassment. No article material for scoffing journalists. No equal.

Articles published since last Friday, with excerpts:

Monday June 21st:

My Day at the Match – Norwich City (A), 15th December 1973, by Tony McMullin.

Walking along the main shopping street looking for a cafe (no ubiquitous McDonalds, Starbucks or Costa Coffee in those days) we were amazed to see Kevin Keegan and Peter Cormack strolling towards us, completely unmolested by the locals.

It was then that Keegan said something which I have never forgotten and which compelled me to forgive him when he left Liverpool for Hamburg in 1977. “Have you lads had anything to eat and drink? Are you OK for money?” It was great that he was concerned about the welfare of three young Liverpool supporters and even better that he seemed prepared to put his hand in his pocket if necessary. We assured him that we were on our way to get something to eat and had the means to pay for it. “Well, enjoy the game boys – and stay out of trouble!” he said. “Get us a goal and a win Kev” said my older brother. And off they strolled, still apparently unnoticed by the Saturday morning shoppers.