They say a picture tells a 1,000 words. Boy, didn’t that certainly happen a few Sundays ago.
I won’t lie, I had a chuckle when I heard that news during the game.
I’m Callum Rivett, and welcome to my regular blog on The Football Front. First of all, I appreciate every single person who reads this, and I’m only fifteen so any feedback will be extremely helpful and taken into consideration!
Over the Easter weekend and what seems to be continuing into this week, we’ve seen some dreadful refereeing decisions. Whether it be the lack of penalties at White Hart Lane for Norwich (two stonewalls), the two goals that Chelsea scored that shouldn’t have counted or the “foul” on Ashley Young by Shaun Derry on Sunday.
The FA have once again proved how ignorant they are of these continuous mistakes by their officials, upholding Derry’s red card which he received for minimal contact on Young who went down like, well, a Manchester United player in the penalty area. There are people who say the bigger clubs get the big decisions, and I for one could not agree more, with this “penalty” further adding ammunition to their argument.
As I was at Carrow Road on Saturday for the visit of Everton, I shall tell you how bad the officiating was in that game. However, many of you will not have heard or seen these incidents since Match of the Day didn’t show them, because that would be favouring Norwich.
First of all, Leighton Baines should have been sent off. There is no disputing that. I counted that he made five fouls that were all bookable offences, yet he only received a yellow card. The referees today seem scared to send off players who play for the bigger clubs, possibly for the potential backlash from those fans or the respected manager.
Next, we had a clear penalty denied. An Andrew Surman shot was deliberately blocked with his hands by Phil Jagielka who dived in front of the ball. Jagielka was inside the area when he handled it, and could have been booked. This would have made it 2-1 to City just before half-time, and in that position you would have backed us to win the game.
But the most controversial incident was still to come. Steven Pienaar clearly trapped the ball between his legs, even laying on it at one point. This was deemed obstruction by the Norwich players, who stopped and shouted at the ref, who thought it was perfectly acceptable. Everton then scored to put themselves 1-2 up.
When questioned on the decision by Grant Holt, the referee said he “didn’t see it.” But, if you look at replays, you can see the referee a mere six yards away at most.
The FA have two options, either: A) Fine or suspend referees who have continuously made poor decisions in a game, or B) take the money out of football so finishing 9th rather than 10th doesn’t mean an extra £500k. Moving up one position in the Premier League earns you about five hundred thousand pounds, and if you stay in the Premier League you earn considerably more than a Championship team, and rightly so, but if your team gets relegated by one point that a referee cost you, you would be livid. The club would lose out on a lot of money, and you could never see your team in the Premier League again due to an error by the referee.
Now, if the FA decide to drop a referee down to the Championship or League One, they may think it’s all well and good, but what about the two teams in those leagues who get stuck with a terrible ref for a game?
They don’t deserve that.
To end, I would like to say, “have some of that!” to Mark Lawrenson, who continues to write off Grant Holt for an England call up, despite being the second top English goal scorer in the Premier League behind Rooney. 15 goals this season for Holt, and happy birthday to him as well!
=Follow Callum on twitter: @calriv97.You can find more of Callum's work here.
For a while now, people have been regarding the Europa League as ‘The Mickey Mouse Cup’ or ‘A Mickey Mouse Cup’ saying they don’t really care about it and it doesn’t mean anything. However, does it really deserve this title? Especially this year, there seems to have been a general increase in the amount of people watching and enjoying the Europa League, for a few different reasons.
Firstly, I find the Europa League much more entertaining than the Champions League, because I think that the Europa League is played at a higher pace than the Champions League and fewer teams settle for draws, leading to end-to-end and potentially high scoring games. You can see this if you compare the Champions League and Europa League Quarter Final first legs and seeing the difference in the amount of goals. In the Europa League there were 15 goals in the four games, which is an average of 3.75 goals a game, which is quite high to be honest, whereas the Champions League is different. In the Champions League there were 6 goals, which is an average of 1.5 goals a game, so on average, you get 2 more goals a game in the Europa League, which backs up the fact the Europa League is better for entertainment than the Champions League.
I think the next main reason why the Europa League is starting to appeal to a lot more people and is being dismissed as a ‘Mickey Mouse Cup’ by more people is because it’s ‘refreshing’ because in the Champions League, you see those same sides on TV every week. I mean I always say that if you have SkySports you have a Real Madrid and Barcelona season ticket, so when the Europa League is on, it’s a welcome chance to watch some different teams. You can see different managers, players and styles, instead of the same thing every week. This could appeal to people even more if they want to learn more
about the game, because they are finding out about new players and managers they never knew before, meaning they’re learning more and more out about different aspects of football, which they might not necessarily find out when they watch the same kinds of teams. An example of this is mainly Athletic Bilbao. I have learnt a lot about them from the few Europa League games of theirs I have watched. I knew most of their players and I knew Biesla was their manager and that he managed Chile in the World Cup and is nicknamed ‘El Loco’ but I didn’t know exactly how they played, which is probably the main reason why I enjoyed their game at Old Trafford, because they play an exciting brand of football. They press high and play at a high tempo with lots of men attacking and lots of good movement/runs in and around the box, which is good football for entertainment and if you’re watching as a neutral.
For me, this is the biggest argument for why the Europa League is getting better and not necessarily better than the Champions League, because technically, the Champions League teams are better, but more entertaining and could possibly become a ‘Peoples Cup’ which may not always be the best in quality, but the games are always entertaining, open and played at a fast tempo.
I also think the ‘Mickey Mouse Cup’ isn’t a right title for the cup as well, because if you go by popular opinion that the two Manchester Clubs are the best in England and the Premier League is one of the best leagues in the World, then they wouldn’t have been knocked out so early in the tournament, for the point they entered in. If it really was as bad as it is made out, then I’m pretty sure the two Manchester clubs would have walked it and there would have been a Manchester Derby final, which a couple of people I know said there would be.
However, again this could be due to lack of knowledge of the game as well, as they don’t know a lot about the teams they’ll be up against, so they assume that the Manchester Clubs will walk it, because nine times out of ten, if you know next to nothing about a team in the Europa League, but know a lot about a decent Champions League team, you’re going to back the Champions League team, aren’t you? I mean, a couple of people I was talking to didn’t really know who Bilbao were.
Another way to look at it is to think, if your team won the Europa League, would you play it down and say ‘well, it’s only a Mickey Mouse Cup’. My guess is no, you wouldn’t. I’m pretty sure when Fulham got to the final, they wanted to win it and wouldn’t be calling it a ‘Mickey Mouse Cup’ if they did, or take the League Cup for example as well, that’s classed as a ‘Mickey Mouse Cup’ by a lot of people, but every Liverpool fan I’ve talked to hasn’t called it the ‘Mickey Mouse Cup’ they’ve defended their club by saying ‘Yeah, but we won the League Cup’. So everyone that calls the Europa League a ‘Mickey Mouse Cup’ answer this question, if you’re team, whether it be Liverpool, Wolves or Wycombe, won the Europa League, would you say it’s only a ‘Mickey Mouse Cup’ or would you celebrate? Most supporters would pick the second. So this is something people should consider when writing cups off as ‘Mickey Mouse Cups’.
Overall, what I’m trying to say, is the Europa League is a good competition, it’s entertaining and although there isn’t as much quality on show as the Champions League, the entertainment factor makes up for it, which is what football is all about, entertainment, football is a form of entertainment. So, I don’t think it is a ‘Mickey Mouse Cup’ and I hope more people start to see this and it grows as a tournament, which it looks like it could.
Welcome, I’m Callum Rivett and this week I tell The Football Front why Kenny Dalglish isn’t so royal after all. And any Liverpool fan that says otherwise is starting to look rather disillusioned.
After spending about £69.1m*in the summer and £57m** in January 2011, Liverpool had to finish in the top six in the 2011-12 season to prove that the big spending was worth it. Currently, however, they sit 8th, with teams such as Sunderland, Swansea, Fulham, Norwich and Stoke with a real chance of overtaking the Anfield club.
The £35m spent on Andy Carroll has since proved to be a waste of money, he doesn’t look close to fulfilling his potential, and his pathetic dive at Newcastle (see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AHVDJlKmKk) has surely ruined his remaining status that he had at his former club, despite saying how much he loved Newcastle and he was, in Layman’s terms, apparently forced out of the club.
I understand that, yes, as a player, Kenny Dalglish was fantastic and rightly considered a legend. But perhaps as a manager, his methods are out-dated and he frankly doesn’t have a plan. If you go to a top club, Chelsea, Man United, Man City, Tottenham, Arsenal, etc. you know what to expect: Arsenal pass the ball, Chelsea go mostly all attack and hit you on the break, Spurs are speed demons and rely on Bale and Lennon, United look to experience and City try to buy the league and hope Silva is on his day and Balotelli isn’t being a sulky child. But with Liverpool, it’s not like that. It seems the team lack an identity.
Now, I’ve only watched Liverpool live once this season so if you want you can completely ignore my opinion and that’s fine, but when they played against Norwich, they only really started playing when we equalised. We hung on a bit towards the end and some world-class saves from John Ruddy and brilliant defending helped us survive and rightly earn a point. Bellamy has been the star performer this season for Liverpool, and is always a threat and I’m sure he’ll receive a warm welcome from Carrow Road in a few weeks, since we gave him his break in the footballing world and played well for us, and included a few practical jokes along the way***. I’ll put the asterisked parts at the end, you’ll soon understand it.
Kenny Dalglish is, like I said, an out-dated manager and a man without a plan. It’ll pain Liverpool fans for me to say this, but he needs to be more like Sir Alex Ferguson. Ferguson has changed his game plans at United when needed to, got the right blend of experience and youth and it’s won him and United many trophies by doing so.
That about sums it up, so here are the asterisks:
*Wales forward Craig Bellamy from Manchester City, free; Uruguayan defender Sebastian Coates from Nacional for a fee of £8m; Spanish defender Jose Enrique from Newcastle for a fee of £8m; Brazilian goalkeeper Doni on a free transfer from Roma; Midfielder Stewart Downing from Aston Villa for a fee of £22.8m; Scottish midfielder Charlie Adam from Blackpool for a fee of £8.3m; Midfielder Jordan Henderson from Sunderland for a fee of £22m.
**Andy Carroll, £35m; Luis Suarez, £22m.
***Apparently, in the late nineties, about 1998 I assume, on a long coach trip to an away game, Bellamy was either locked or locked a team-mate in the toilet for the entire journey whilst playing for Norwich. I think Bellamy got locked in, as he’d been playing practical jokes on the team for most of the time he was there.
Follow Callum on twitter: @calriv97.You can find more of Callum's work here.