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Manchester United transfer committee
So, having read all about Man Utds groundbreaking plan to use previous players as a committee to decide on transfers, I was mortified. Who, in god’s name, thinks that Darren Sodding Fletcher has the pedigree to pass comment on the capability of other players? I mean, he was very unfortunate with his health and worked hard, but he was hardly a world beater. Nicky Butt is in much the same bracket; of the 3 names mentioned, I would only suggest that Rio reached the heights required in his chosen position to be able to pass judgement on the abilities of others. Which got me thinking…
For your chosen team, if you had to pick 3 ex-players (forward, midfield, defence) to curate transfers, and ultimately to decide who is good enough in the relevant positions… who would you pick, and why? For United, for me I think it’s a pretty easy decision:
– Cantona – The mercurial genius who didn’t have the on-field diving and petulance of CR7 (the karate kick technically wasn’t ON the field…)
– Scholes – Technically unrivalled; someone else can do the tackling!
– Rio – Quick, strong, intelligent, could play out; one of the best CBs of his generation.
My colleague, who is a Villa fan, suggested the following for his club:
– Brian Little
– Ian Taylor
– Paul McGrath
Who would you pick for your team?
Ed the Grouch
Following the various emails about playoffs this morning, allow to me to present an idea I’ve had for a while, which I think would also provide a bit of post-season excitement – Champions League qualification play-offs.
However, these play-offs would only occur under specific circumstances.
At the moment, it doesn’t matter how poor you are relative to the PL winners, if you finish 4th you are in the CL.
But sometimes teams can finish quite a long way back in 4th place, so my suggestion is that any team which finished a certain number of points behind the champions would have to negotiate a playoff.
Obviously you can debate about the exact number of points, but I reckon 12 seems reasonable. That is 4 losses behind the champions.
How it would work
Teams in 2nd to 4th have to finish within 12 points of the champions or they go into a play off as follows
2nd vs. 7th
3rd vs. 6th
4th vs. 5th
The format would be a one-off match at the home of the higher ranked team. Extra-time and penalties if required, and no away goals rule. That way finishing higher in the league still confers a theoretical benefit – you will play at home, and against what should be an easier team.
So using the season which just finished as an example, Liverpool would automatically qualify as they finished very close to Man City, so there is no 2nd vs. 7th match (sorry Wolves).
But for the remaining two spots we would have Chelsea vs. Man United and Spurs vs. Arsenal!
Who wouldn’t want to see those matches? Imagine the tension of a North London derby where CL qualification is on the line!
Ties would be played in the week following the end of the PL season, and before the FA Cup final.
During the season it is an additional incentive to get as many points as you can (you couldn’t afford to coast at the end of the season if a CL spot is assured, but you can’t win the title), and also gives encouragement to ‘smaller’ teams that they might have a shot at the CL if they can finish 7th.
My initial thought of relegation playoffs was that we’ve actually been there, done that in the eighties.
I watched Chelsea vs Boro standing in the Shed at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea had come 3rd from bottom in the top division and went into the playoffs with the teams in 3rd to 5th in the old 2nd division fighting for their survival. The won 1-0 (Steve Clarke) but lost 2-1 on aggregate and got relegated. Was delicious to be there, watching the arch enemy get relegated (I’m a QPR fan and back then we had a rivalry to speak of). The riot after less so, but this was the dark days..
Anyway I prefer the shout for 15th to 18th to fight to stay up.
We’d have Cardiff v Burnley and Southampton v Brighton as 2 legged playoffs.
Imagine the tension in those games.
The winners stay up and the losers go on to play the Losers Final at Wembley.
Can you comprehend having a fairly crap season, losing a 2 legged play off and then losing at Wembley to get relegated.
Now imagine it’s your most hated rivals going through that. At Wembley, on TV.
Portsmouth fans, imagine Southampton losing on penalties.
Blackburn/Bolton fans, imagine a Ben Mee own goal to send Burnley down.
Swansea fans, think of Warnocks rage as Cardiff concede a last minute pen that was probably outside the box. And smile.
Or Palace fans. Imagine Glen Murray missing an equaliser from yards out..
I’d buy the DVD.
Matt (doesn’t enjoy the camera cutting to fans crying after losing a final in any way, shape or form)
I am sure you will get literally single digits of these.
It has happened before. With Chelsea relegated from the old first division in 1988 after losing a two legged final against Middlesboro. One of my worst childhood memories.
I can’t remember why the idea was scrapped but, like everything else everyone moans about in football, it was probably down to the greedy Premier.
Simon Woking (Cards back in the national leage baby)
Stephen asks about a relegation play off but I don’t now how the final he proposes works. There needs to be a loser to go down, not a winner of matches like the current promotion play off. Also, how can you have the relegation scrap during the winter break?
Jack no brackets
I know the chatter is about the greatest team since the birth of football in 1992, localised entirely within England, but that’s boring so I’m going to branch out.
Give a thought to 1994-95 Ajax, losing to Feyenoord in the QF of the cup to prevent them claiming an unbeaten treble, or a Pedro inspired Barcelona winning 6 in a calendar year.
But no, the ultimate team has to be the 1986-1989 Steaua București team, who started their domination with a European Cup win – with another final appearance in 1989 to boot, followed by four consecutive league titles and national cups, remaining unbeaten for 104 league games during that time!
Now, a question for some lightheartedness; Which player has won the UEFA Cup/Europa League the most times?
Néill, (no Googling), Ireland
Loans are only a short term future
RE Daniel Storey’s article.
The problem that whoever goes up, Villa or Derby, will face is one of retention or replacement.
Sure, they’ll get a financial windfall for getting to the Premier League, but they will have so spend most of it just to maintain the standard of team that got them there. They will either have to sign those loan players or buy replacements for them from elsewhere.
A team getting promotion with its own players can use the same money to improve themselves.
But hey, if short term is what you want, fill yer boots.
It’s not unique
Sorry Owen but City’s achievement is NOT unique as I pointed out earlier in the week – Guardiola is on film pointing out as much.
Arsenal’s Women’s team of 2007 completed a treble and added the Champions League to boot.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Celebrity Tottenham fans
Celebrity fans you say? How about Steve Nash (NBA legend), Anthony Costa (actually had a chat with him at the last match attended, sound guy) and Adam Richman (presenter of Man vs Food, possibly the best TV show ever), Jonathan Trott, Ray Liotta (!).
Celebrities I’d like to forget about being Spurs fan? Adele, Anthony Worrell Thompson, Jude Law, Michael McIntyre (sorry but don’t find him funny at all).
Sam, THFC (If we win the CL I may explode with joy. Levy please sign someone early this window FFS), Guernsey