How Klopp outmanoeuvred Lampard to win Super Cup…

Send your thoughts…


Decisions, decisions
I’m not necessarily disagreeing with your 16 conclusions, but given one directly referenced the female officiating team, I did just want to ask the mailbox a question.

I thought the judgement of Stephanie Frappart was strong; she stopped play when needed and played advantage too in good situations. I thought she also did a good job managing the egos of the players. Both sides debated the 50 50s so that must mean both sides were equally treated.


And this is where, regardless of what you say, you’re out of step with everyone and so a $%#@ffg


What I saw was repeated incredulous shouts from players on who won throws and corners. From managers too, especially on the latter. The inference I took was that the match officials couldn’t keep up. Where judgement was required, they nailed it. Where observation and keeping up with play was required, I thought they were guessing.

Almost as reffing the pace of a european cup final was a step harder than what they’d done to date. And that giving them a cup final was a political statement.

I know I’ll be lambasted for this.

I’m just uncomfortable with the disparity between the ‘this is fantastic’ headlines and an objective view on the performance.

This isn’t saying women cant do it. If anything its saying these particular individuals have earned the right to keep doing it and so get used to the pace of things.

Unless equality means now opportunity without feedback.

But if you tell a sexist neanderthal in a pub that it is currently the same level, and they can demonstrably show areas in which it is not, winning the argument is actually harder.

And so cue me being called a neanderthal. But I thought a conversation about it might be a good thing. It just seems really polarized at the moment, probably for obvious reasons.

Obviously there should be the opportunity, and not just in the Europa League group stages. But where that opportunity is granted can there be a safe environment for comment?
Tom G.


…I have been a long time believer that VAR would ultimately be good for the game. I was convinced that they would finesse it, realise that most things shouldn’t be checked and the game would flow well but it would eradicate the incentive to cheat. And you would get upfront justice, not retrospective bans which don’t benefit the team upon whom the cheating was inflicted.

All that goes out the window tonight though. Unfortunately the issue is that if the guy behind the box lacks the ability to see something as clear as the Abraham dive then it’s entirely pointless.

Who wasn’t happy that justice was served up so beautifully though? Perhaps Chelsea fans but otherwise it’s lovely to see a cheater get his comeuppance so swiftly.
Minty, LFC
P.S we were sh*t. Wish we were playing on Sunday not Saturday. Extra time was not the one.


…In before the inevitable protestations from the Chelsea fans – Yes Adrian was off his line, but Abraham dived for his so let’s call it even?

Real point of email was to commend the performance by the officials, fantastic officiating throughout the game, not only from the ref but her linos as well. Also refreshing not to see any players screaming in their faces

Anyway, we are the champions, CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE!
Unbearable Pali J, LDN


Why Liverpool won
I’m not going to comment on the main part of the game because I’m sure it will get plenty of analysis anyway. However I think the reason Liverpool won the penalty shootout is down to the order of penalty takers. Milner wasn’t on the pitch so Salah was our first choice penalty taker available – and he took his last. Whereas for Chelsea, they had Abraham last, who is younger and less experienced. My dad said as he prepared to take it “he looks too nervous, he won’t score” (and he’s an Everton fan, so he was desperately hoping Abraham would score). There was clearly a lot of pressure in that situation as he had to score, and perhaps a more experienced player could’ve handled it better. I know Adrian appeared to be off his line but that aside, it still wasn’t a great penalty.
Lucy, LFC


At half time I didn’t fancy the Super Cup anyway.

After Adrian’s penalty save, for a second it felt like the most important competition of all time.

On reflection, I think it was a good result but both teams must be knackered and penalties after 90 is a much better idea.
Aidan, Lfc (lacking interesting things to say since the 70s)


Chelsea optimism
What a performance from Chelsea last night in the Super Cup, at this moment in time Liverpool are superior and have an incredible side, there were 4-0, 5-0 and even 6-0 predictions before the game, Liverpool would walk it etc, yet Chelsea played their hearts out and were arguably the better team over 120 minutes, Kante returning certainly shows what a world class talent he truly is, looking forward to our first home game this weekend.
Mikey, CFC (Kepa made some top saves throughout)


Zouma’s tragic, Mason’s magic
What a great performance from chelsea, just what was needed after the poor start last weekend, I have two main conclusions about the team from that game. Firstly Zouma plays like he’s terrified of the ball standing off his man until he’s left with no choice but to lash out in an attempt to rescue the situation. I think we can all agree we will look much more assured when Rudiger returns to the team, he is more of a natural leader to go with Christensen for as good as Christensen can be he needs a solid leader beside him (like Lindelof needed at united). Secondly Mason Mount what a tidy little baller he is, great performance great goal even though it was ruled out and then that penalty to top it off. England’s future is looking very bright indeed.
Aaron. CFC. Ireland.


No. Next
Did Frank Lampard throw a League game against Man United to rest his best players (barring Kante, injury) for the final against Liverpool?
Tyla Roxburgh, Liverpool


City’s escape
Well, there’s still 30 minutes of Extra Time to go, but this has been much better than Sunday. Incisive passing, much better positioning, and generally much tighter than Sunday. We may still lose, but Kante makes such a difference to this team – his innate ability to be in the right place at the right time while covering miles and miles of ground will only help the transition from the rigidly structured Sarri-ball to the more dynamic and incisive new style. What’s more, Jorginho already looks much more forward thinking as well, pinging a couple of delicious balls over the top. Still not entirely convinced by Mr Sideways Pass (Kovacic) but one step at a time.

However, I was very surprised that no one has mentioned the FIFA ruling on Man City breaching the underage signings rules. However which way you cut it this stinks. Basically, both City and Chelsea have been found guilty of breaching the same rules however because City admitted their wrong-doing they do not face a ban and receive a smaller fine. I’m sorry, what? City surely will only have admitted their wrong-doing once FIFA have charged them with breaching the rules – therefore, there has obviously been some negotiations where a deal has been made (admit you were wrong and you’ll just get a fine). How is this a punishment or a deterrent to City or another big club? £300,000 for City is no more than a fiver to me and you – only a ban would act as a deterrent (as it is to Chelsea at the moment).

This is not a criminal court where sentences can be commuted based on acceptance of guilt – this is the richest club in the world breaking the rules and only admitting breaking the rules after the fact to get a lesser punishment. Again, all this does is highlight the utter weakness of FIFA and the skullduggery of City. What’s next – City admit breaking FFP rule but only get a £4.50 fine because they admit they’ve broken the rules?! Anyone would think there is a connection between the owners of City and people high up in FIFA…


Mental health
Just finished reading Daniel Storey’s latest piece and I think there are a few points that need picking up.

Firstly, Daniel refers to a need for society as a whole to have more sympathy for footballers. This glosses over an important point; mental health issues are a society wide problem and do not only affect the wealthiest in society. The biggest killer of men under 40 in this country is suicide. Some of the problems in Daniel’s piece are prevalent in all parts of society and I would argue they are more prevalent in the poorer parts of our country. The conclusion that professional footballers need more sympathy is an odd one to draw from a society wide failure to address mental health seriously.

Secondly, Daniel argues that the effects of poor mental health are particularly cruel in elite sport due to the exponential impacts it can have on your life/performance. I would totally flip this; the effects are far crueler to the poorest in our society. The most desperate of us cannot afford to escape the jobs they loathe and which bring them misery because they don’t have the options provided by extreme wealth. Aaron Lennon’s case is certainly a sad one but let’s be frank, if he hated being a footballer he could very easily do something else. I want to stress here that this is in no way a plea for him to “toughen up” (a poisonous, hyper-masculine attitude that has done a serious amount of harm in this country), but merely an appreciation that only an individual can right their mental health. Support and advice is needed, but ultimately the individual pulls themself out of that hole, and Aaron’s profession allows him more time to deal with his issues and more access to support than most suffering what he suffered.

The point I’m really getting at is this: we live in a society which values money and your ability to earn and generate it higher than anything else. A society in which class mobility is a distant memory, the gap between the rich and the rest is ever widening, in which the average person is more isolated and less represented than ever before. A society so hardened by these realities as to accept the use of food banks while large corporations pay no tax.

In such a society, sympathy (or, perhaps more pertinently, the will to challenge an issue on someone else’s behalf) is limited. Most of us are struggling with the 60 hour week, or the non-secure contract, or the stress of financial pressure, or the weight of debt, or all of the above. Does the average elite footballer who is currently sidelined spare a thought for those people? I reckon not, so it’s hardly surprising society is sparing little thought for them.

Money is not a cure for mental health issues, nor does it buy happiness. But I bet it would remove the biggest stresses in the majority of people’s lives, which gives them a path to find the happiness they don’t currently have. I can appreciate why seeing a young man with that option continuing to struggle with mental health issues would piss people off, and I dont think it’s to do with the individual footballer.
Dave, MUFC, Leeds


…Yet again I doff my proverbial hat to Daniel Storey you fine people at f365. People often remark on footballers wealth as a reason as to why they shouldn’t be depressed. If only it was a straight forward as that. Well done, gang.

Props to Storey for bribing the science as well. There is very little separation between the psychological and the physiological. Genuinely impressed.
Jon (CBT therapist) Lincoln


Toon talk
On the Newcastle “Omerta” mentioned in Seb’s piece,

I think its more thn just a silence, you get people in the media actively cheering what’s happening or offering defences that – as mentioned by Seb – simply don’t’ bear up to scrutiny. The most common of which is “look how much he’s spent” with no mention of look how much he’s received.

There are a number of likely ingredients. Journalists willing to do unquestioning interviews because they believe that’s better than no interview (is it?), simply wanting to be present two sides of an argument but not having the time to point out that one side is clearly correct due to broadcast pressures, or fear of taking on a powerful subject that might bite back.

While it easy to throw stones from afar, I do think there is a good argument for presenters and journalists to remember that while there is pressure to produce “content” constantly. Sometimes less is more. Too many half-baked stories erodes credibility, which erodes the audience. In a day and age when there is always someone else on your reporting turf, the audience is going to go to the one who’s doing it best.

I do want to draw attention to another growing trend – fans being looked on in contempt.

Its not just with Newcastle, but football in general. A lot of talking heads, and some formerly well respected podcast voices have quite noteably become very critical and patronising toward fans. A lot of football media has turned nasty on its audience, sometimes with justification, often because they simply don’t like that fact the audience talks back now. I think some commentators simply think if a fan group is making some noise, then they must be idiots. Because football fans are idiots is the default position of many a pundit these days.

I’m not going to name names but there are people making a lot of money, who’s job description is to provide commentary, insight and analysis but instead spend the time mocking their audience. For a Newcastle fan this comes in the form of “They don’t know how good they’ve got it?”, “They swallow anything Benitez says” or “Ashley just bought a record signing and yet somehow he’s the bad guy”. As if we are a collective herd of “They” rather than individuals. As if fans aren’t capable of what’s actually happening at the club. As if fans who obsess over their club, aren’t better informed than a pundit who spends 95% of their time talking about Liverpool and City, and 4% about Gareth Bale’s non-transfer.

I’m sure fans of other clubs have noticed it too, especially fans outside of the big six. I don’t think its too much to ask that when discussing a club, the pundits either do their research or (if they don’t have the time/and or work ethic) at least have the humility to admit the fans might be well informed.
Hugo (NUFC) Adelaide


Pep talk
So Rosie Poppins thinks that Guardiola manages his squad better than the other top managers? I would say it’s impossible to tell, as she conveniently ignores the massive advantage he has in squad quality in doing so.

First off, the comparison between Aguero being rotated and Kane being guaranteed a starting place and thus meaning other players know they aren’t in contention is both misleading and wrong. Misleading because Kane is clearly Tottenham’s most important player whereas Aguero is not City’s. Wrong because a) being able to rotate isn’t the same thing as not knowing your best players. If city played a CL final tomorrow with a fully fit squad, is there a person on earth who doesn’t think KDB would be in it, or Raheem Sterling and b) her contention on Kane isn’t even true. There isn’t a single attacking player in the Tottenham squad who couldn’t nail down a first team place if they played well enough (Son was bought as a reserve and became a first choice for instance). Even Llorente got a start away to Real in the CL and if he’d played well enough Poch would have found a way to play him and Kane more regularly together.

Finally she extols Guardiola’s brilliance for being brave enough to play Foden against Spurs or Mahrez against Brighton. Seriously? How does she think Kane became a spurs regular in the first place, or Alli or Winks? And how much praise should you really get for playing a 60m former player of the year against Brighton for Gods sake??? If Poch has the luxury of picking a player who cost more than spurs’ record signing from amongst his reserves to play Brighton I’m sure he would too on occasion.

The truth with Pep is he is very hard to compare to other managers because he hasn’t been put in the same situations. Would he have done better or worse than Poch at Spurs or vice versa? I don’t know and neither do you, because Pep has never had a job where he hasn’t had enormous inbuilt advantages in squad and budget. All we can say is he is great at making great players purr in his system
Phil, London


Rosie Poppins, I respectfully disagree. Guardiola hasn’t perfected the art of squad management, he is at a club that can pay squad players £150k p/w without flinching. Being able to out-spend everyone allows him to build a squad so strong that he can swap out half the team with minimal impact. The players aren’t there because they know they’ll play 30 games. They are there because they’ll get paid bucketloads so are happier with their lot.

Aaron, CFC (I thought those were banned?); last season, Toby A played approximately 50 games, his second-highest total for us since he joined. Vertonghen has missed one game. But if they both find themselves out of the team this season, it will be because neither is signing a new deal and therefore have no intention of staying beyond the end of this season. In which case, probably a good idea to get one of our recent record signings to play quite a bit more. It is certainly true that they are an exceptional pair of defenders – I rather adore Vertonghen – but Poch has made it clear that he will not pick players who do not want to play for the club. And the reports that Vertonghen’s fitness was not acceptable explain his omission.

I would’ve thought a Chelsea supporter had bigger concerns than our defence, but apparently not.



Consistent Poch
Aaron misses the point when he questions Poch and his treatment of Alderweireld and Vertonghen. Firstly, he didn’t spend last year constantly benching Toby, that was the year before (he started 34 PL games last year) and he was reintegrated without issue. Secondly, Poch is consistent that you need to be committed to the club and you need to be fit. Kyle Walker was dropped once it was clear he wanted out, and Jan by all accounts wasn’t fit enough on his return so got the same message that Toby and Trippier got for the opener last year. The problem would come when he stopped treating players the same
Phil, London


…Aaron wonders why Pochettino seems to be eternally dropping his two best centre halves – noting that Alderweireld wasn’t selected for a period last season and now Vertonghen appears to be suffering the same fate.

The simple answer is that for Poch, fitness is king!!! Spurs do a whole range of fitness tests at various stages of the week and quite simply, if you don’t meet the standard, you don’t make the 18 for Saturday’s game.

It’s clearly not personal, because Alderweireld was brought back into the side and started 34 matches in the PL last year in total. He just missed a few early ones because he was still shattered from the WC and wasn’t recovering quickly enough.

I’m confident Jan, if he shows the same level of application (and there’s no indication he won’t since Sat) will return to the starting XI in no time and will equally go on to play over 75% of league games for Spurs this year. He just took his summer break a little too easy for Poch’s liking it seems!!
Paul (Spurs) T.Wells


Blades, Mills and Seb
Click Here: rugby jersey
Just wanted to say a belated thank you for bringing Danny Mills’ assessment of Sheffield United to a wider audience. It really was quite something. I can’t think of any other line of work where someone could get away with such a blatant lack of effort and preparation. (I’m imagining a film reviewer giving “The Godfather Part III” five stars or a music critic describing “Kid A” as “textbook indie” – maybe there’s a hastag in there somewhere?)

On a related note, given that the only feedback one could ever derive from the cesspit that is the comments section is negative, I thought I’d counter that by adding that Seb Stafford-Bloor is a very good writer and welcome addition to the team. For some reason, his name also reminds me of Baddiel and Skinner’s piece on Forbes Phillipson-Masters (poshest man in football) on Fantasy Football back in the day and that can only be a good thing.


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