Monday, November 5, 2007

Why Chelsea and Liverpool are what’s wrong with Football, and other rants - Kokomo

No, it’s not what you think.

Last Saturday, Chelsea and Liverpool were drawn together in the quarter finals of the Carling Cup. These two teams are undoubtedly two of the best in Europe over recent years, having won, or been runner’s up in the four major competitions 11 out of 24 possible occasions in the last three years (and it would have been more if one of them hadn’t knocked the other out of a competition at semi final stage three times in that period). Both are within a handful of points of the top this time round too, having only lost two games between them. Yet, I defy anyone (myself included) to have reacted with anything more positive than a mildly disinterested groan when that draw was made.

Why? It is true that they have played each other many, many times of late, but we have had two ridiculously tense European semi finals, a high quality FA cup semi final, and a five goal thriller in the final of the Carling Cup. Make no mistake, when these two meet in a knockout game; it is high drama, high quality, or both.

Familiarity has clearly bred contempt; let’s also make no mistake, there have been some pretty turgid league and group stage encounters in that time.

However, surely we should all be a little less jaded? But then, have two teams ever been as criticised while being so successful?

Let’s look at Liverpool first. They haven’t won the league since before Theo Walcott first spat out his dummy, and were truly terrible in the latter years of Houllier’s reign. For the last three years they have been managed by a Spaniard who has delivered a lot of success to the club, added at least five top class players to the first team, and developed another into one of the top defenders in Europe. He had to sell his best forward, but there has clearly been a massive improvement in the squad. He has won two major trophies, in very entertaining fashion it has to be said, and been to two other major finals. He also delivered the best league points performance at the club since 1988, and finished third twice in a row, which is better than an any time since 1990.

He must be universally loved by his own fans, and respected by opposition then? You would think so, but instead we have the likes of ‘Big Sam’ Allardyce telling us that, if he hadn’t won a load of trophies he would be in trouble now (sometimes the mind really does boggle). There are many accusations consistently levelled at Benitez, by his own fans, opposition fans, the media, ex-players, the chuckle brothers at match of the day, and probably the Lord God himself. These tend to be one or more of the following; he rotates too much; he doesn’t understand our league; he has wasted loads of money on expensive Spaniards; he has had hundreds of millions to spend and should have done better; zonal marking is crap; he misuses his captain; he doesn’t know his best team; his team plays ugly football. All of these are easily refuted (and don’t worry, I won’t do it here) with cold hard fact, except for the last one, which is subjective, and we will come to later. It is also an undeniable fact though, that he has not won the league yet with Liverpool (is there anyone, by the way, who expected that Liverpool, in the state they were in, would win the league in his first three seasons?). And until this fact is reversed, it seems that he is always on trial, and fair game for any criticism you care to take from the top of your head.

Chelsea meanwhile, have had unprecedented success in three years under Mourinho, including two titles, an FA Cup, two Carling Cups, and two European Cup semi-finals. They also scored more goals, and garnered more points than any team has ever done before in the modern era. But that was apparently not enough entertainment for his paymasters.

There are many theories as to the motives of Roman Abramovich in buying Chelsea, but for me he seeks two things through this venture; glory and to be loved. And don’t try to tell me that he is a football purist. No football purist would force players on a coach. Mourinho wasn’t sacked because his boss wanted more pretty triangles, he was sacked because the media and public didn’t love Chelsea. And the media and the public doesn’t love Chelsea because they decided that the team was not entertaining (only true in the sense that they won most games comfortably and with little tension).

And the media and the public did that, because the media and the public are idiots quite frankly.
The modern, instant access age has some plus points. It has made Gary Naylor a minor celebrity among left wing cricket lovers for one thing, but it also allows journalists to tell as that Liverpool are ‘pathetic’ because they are not attacking much when one nil up against the league leaders. It allows knee jerk opinion pieces that tell us that Chelsea are more entertaining when they thrashed Man City than they were when they thrashed lots of other teams because Mourinho isn’t in charge anymore. Ultimately, it has taken what little objective, considered analysis there was in the game, and replaced it with ill-considered, dumbed down groupthink.

And everyone reacts in kind. When a team is not playing perfectly, there are in crisis. Manager’s are castigated and mocked when they make big game winning substitutions. Chairman, who have never been the most savvy football men, react to external pressure to create internal pressure. Players are told that they are unsettled, and it unsettles them.

And where has all this got us? This process, which I personally trace back to Andy Gray’s white pen, via Townsend’s tactics truck, has given us inpatient players, inpatient agents, inpatient fans, inpatient managers and inpatient clubs. Which means that only four clubs can win the league (and most likely the cups too) for the foreseeable future. The Martin Jols of this world are sacked for not taking a desperately poor Tottenham team from the bottom three to the top three in three seasons, but who would have?

I am all for the knee jerk "why did he shoot there the inbred ****" terrace moans, but I am not all for booing your team off when they are only drawing at half time away to a team that have previously won their past seven games.

And finally, when did teams only become truly champions when they not only won games, but also had to win them with a bit of fancy footwork? In fact, in many quarters a bit of fancy footwork is better than actually winning games, because apparently we are more entertained by a nutmeg than we are by a net rippling. I blame Pepsi challenge keepie-uppie culture for this one. If all the people who prefer to see fancy skills but little tension want to fuck off and watch Basketball slam dunk competitions, then I think the rest of us who prefer a bit of tension and pressure would be most grateful.

Again, I am not against skilful players. I can enjoy a Peter Crouch step over just as much as the next middle class fan, but I would prefer my team to win before it starts thinking about the purity of the beautiful game, as dictated by the Guardian/Pele/some Spanish big cheese/Alan Green/internet chat rooms frequented by hardcore ‘EPL’ (arrgghhhh) fans from the US, India, Africa and China etc.

I am determined to end on a positive note. On Sunday I watched the last half hour of Roma’s game at Empoli. A thrilling match ended 2-2 with a last minute equaliser from the home side. Now that was a football match. Neither team was particularly expensively put together, but the skill level was high, very fast paced (I think the difference between Italian fast paced and English fast paced is that English teams generate pace by kicking the ball hard, while Italians generate pace by running quickly with it), and both teams committed, and hardly even moaning at the ref (yes, even those dirty Italians). The fans were waving flags that didn’t have to be installed under the seats, and the chairman nearly had a fist fight. At last, here was an advert for football, not the overwrought battle of machismo at the Emirates (THE EMIRATES!!! Some things really make me want to scream, and naming your stadium after a Saudi Arabian airline is one of them).

Yes, football has a future, and it is in Empoli. Or something.


gg said...


the tension - the uncertainty - is great, but tension plus attractive footy is better.

If I were a Liverpool fan ("which, thank the Lard, I'm not sir" chimes the rugger bugger), I'd love 'em to bits but regret their often drab footy.

Being a Red Devil, I can love 'em to bits and savour their often attractive footy.

MotM said...

KK - Benitez' record is irrefutable, but I suggest two things rile the fans (and me).

(i) Rafa shows a bit of contempt for the long-haul of the Premier League (I know Andrewm disagrees, and I don't have evidence, just a feel that this is what he thinks). Up North, "Cup Side" is a put down reserved for the likes of Spurs and other Southern softies.

(ii) Despite all the success, the team never seems to be improving even when they won the CL. I'd take Everton's Yakubu, Anichebe, Johnson, Vaughan and McFadden over Torres, Crouch, Kuyt, Voronin and Babel despite all that money on transfers.

Chelsea - joyless bunch, but seem to be released into smiles since Grant took over. He rather impresses me.

And that Gary Naylor is such a bore...

offsideintahiti said...


should we advertise this thread on GU and see what kind of customers we get? Maybe Gary Naylor will pop in, he can't help himself.

old crow medicine show said...

not sure i got my point across, what i mean is that the media and the public are stupid, and the criticism liverpool and chelsea (and manu a couple of years ago) get is crazy, and unimformed.

Mouth. point one, i just think you're wrong. First season, we were poor in the league,. Second season, we were excellent in the league. Third season, he sacked the league off once he qualified for the champs league, otherwise we would have been ten points better off, which would have been two of our best three league performances since 1990 points wise (and place wise). As you say, you have no evidence, and that is because you are wrong.

Second point. When rafa arrived, Dudek, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise, Murphy, Gerrard, Hamman, Kewell, Cisse, Owen.

Now, Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Agger, Arbeloa, Alonso, Gerrad, MAscherano, Kuyt, Torres, Babel.

We are better in every position, plus our bench is a hundred times better. And i know he has spent more than moyes, but he has not spent nearly as much as people think. That is an outlay of less than £15m a year, and then £20m this year, and he has revamped the whole first team squad and youth team in that time.

As i said, every criticism of rafa bar the subjective one about style of play is factually wrong.

Also, Chelsea are no better or worse than when mourinho was in charge. In their first two seasons i thought they were a great team.

If i may mouth, i think your comments are not far away from the stuff that i am railing against in my rant! Sorry about that

downhome girl said...

sorry, meant to add, liverpool should have no right or expectation to be winning the league before next season at the earliest given what rafa took over, and the quality of the opposition, that they are expected to is a symptom of the illness of the modern game

gg said...


that's rich - Gary Naylor on here?

No way - we'll have to make do with Mouth instead.

tony said...

Hope you feel better having got that off your chest, kk; I certainly do. I suffered years of attractive football without silverware at Upton Park and wouldn't mind seeing that reversed for a while (yes, I know, now we're unsuccessful and crap). Mind you, I'd probably start complaining after a while.
Loved the 'keepy-uppy' and slam-dunk bits: it's so true.

Offie - Gary Naylor?

MotM said...

KK - I know that my comments are what you rail against, and I understand why. I'm a great believer in looking at the results as no true fan swaps a goal glut 4-3 defeat for a tight, tense 1-0 win. That's why I said it's a feeling.

But I'm a long way from being alone - Merseyside fans are not impatient in the main despite a few rumblings about Moyes two or three years ago. There's always a few headcases who bag airtime, but why is there such discontent from plenty of level-headed Liverpool fans?

I'm a Blue and I shouldn't really comment, but both my brothers say this too. After the derby, my youngest brother (season ticket holder at Goodison and often goes away) said that Liverpool were anonymous except for Gerrard. Just a bunch of players who all look and play the same way was his summary. I think there's something in that. We love to see a kid come through the ranks as Rooney did, and Anichebe, Osman and Vaughan are now, or a player who reflects the tradition like Arteta, Yobo and Lescott or who plays with his heart on his sleeve like Gravesen or Cahill or is a 100% trier like Johnson, or a local boy like Stubbs. Outside of Gerrard and Carragher (who have been around for years) do Liverpool have anyone who connects with the crowd like any of those Everton players?

Ebren said...

KK - I agree with everything you say. Right up until you claim Kuyt is better than Owen.

This is patently rubbish, and as I disagree with a tiny facet of your argument I have decided that you are an idiot, don't understand anything about football, are clearly lazy and an armchair fan who has never played and should be sacked.

It is also possible I have been reading too many comments on threads and have been influenced by the debating style.

offsideintahiti said...


"Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Agger, Arbeloa, Alonso, Gerrad, MAscherano, Kuyt, Torres, Babel"

But how do you know what the line-up is?

bluedaddy said...

KK, I'm imagining you with your typing fingers (I use two) in a bowl of ice water, with steam rising from your keyboard and out of your ears.

I think the problem may be that football has become simultaneously too serious and not as important as it used to be.

If I hear another commentator/pundit/journo saying 'there is so much at stake nowadays' I won't be held responsible for my actions. The hyperbole surrounding football is just laughable - from 'celebrity footballers' to the lamentable 606 to Sky's endless babble about Super This and Judgement That.

People conjugate money and importance in football and yet it is largely irrelevent. The Premiership is probably no more or less easily won than the old Div One, and lower down the leagues I dont see that much has changed at all.

So for all the white noise football is still just a sport.

Paradoxically, I think fans find it hard to take it so seriously nowadays. This is probably partly because football has been swallowed into the celebrity/entertainment arena and football has turned into another consumer experience, featuring stars who must do more than just win matches, they must make us 'happy' (even if we dont support their team FFS!).

This culture is reinforced by all-seater stadia and high-priced tickets and wall-to-wall TV coverage. Many grounds are dominated by whinging old blokes (like us?), when they need to have banks of young men jumping around, going nuts and singing their heads off (away fans always seem to have a better time at games, win lose or draw).

The estrangement of the players from fans by media coaching and superstar lifestyles makes them harder to truly love (so I prefer Jose's warped take on life and footie to Avram Grant's carefully guarded missives).

And the channelling of funds into the Big Four via TV and CL money means that for too many fans too many games, even entire seasons, become less important, and a defeat earns a shrug where it once would merit a kicked cat (or opposing fan I guess) and a sharp word to the missus on arriving home. It is funny to think that in recent years it appears to be far more fun to be a Man City fan, riding a rollercoaster, than a Spurs fan. At least Citeh fans have had some fun visiting the lower league grounds and feeling some highs and lows. Certainly more than poor Spurs fans being drip fed one mirage of impending success after another.

As for Chelsea, well we will never know what Mourinho had in store for us.

I look at it like this: Jose took a very fine team on the cusp of success and dragged them over that cusp, making them believe they could win the biggest trophies. His first season was FULL of sparkling football welded to miserly defending, and his second was a more circumspect defence of the title (a defence that I would rank as more important psychologically than the initial league win).

After that our New fan owner stepped in and Mourinho seemed to become defensive and indecisive. We should have been allowed to see whether Mourinho could develop the team on his terms, finding an answer to obdurate opponents like Rafa (the only man to truly frustrate and outwit JM), based on the players he wanted.

If he had bored us I think we would have let him know, but I think, given a choice, he would have bought some more hungry exciting players like SWP (who was given time to develop a better all round game by JM) and Essien.

offsideintahiti said...


2 fingers? Did you start this one early this morning?

bluedaddy said...

Tony, Gary Naylor is MotM. On certain Guardian threads like the Minute by minute reports real names are used not pseudomyms.

Motm, I hope you dont mind and Ebren can delete this if you or he sees fit, but it is a bit cliquey to have an in-joke left unexplained on here (of all places!).

offsideintahiti said...

Gary Naylor is MotM?!!? And I thought it was the other way around...

Ebren said...

I appear to have lost the delete key BD.

Shame, I was thinking of going a spree.

Editors have to edit now and again - and I have itchy finger.

I mourn Jose still, cared less and more - in the right way.

bluedaddy said...

Eb, you can always delete Pseudomyms, but please leave PseudoMimi!

Mouth, that was a very nice finish by Vaughan on Sat. No doubt Fergie will be preparing an offer that BK cant refuse.

bluedaddy said...

Offie you would think that with the amount of time I wast... spend at this machine I would actually master some of its functions, but it appears not.

munni said...

I've only skimmed quickly through the comments (will reread later) so apologies if I'm saying something that's already been said better, but player for player, Liverpool should be lively and entertaining; it really is more surprising that they're so dull.

And I'd also like to say, as an Arsenal fan, that the past few years have been way more fun than we were boring but won things.

offsideintahiti said...

Seriously, I've belatedly skimmed the comments on GU, post Arsenal-Man U and... it's getting worse, isn't it?

MotM said...

Bluedaddy - I take your point re in-jokes. I always enjoy joining in a bit of GN baiting - adds to the fun.

Back to Back PLs is quite an achievement for JM and he deserved better than to be sawn off like that.

The hyperbole grates, adding nothing to a good game nor a bad one. I try to just watch the match these days ignoring build-ups and analyses.

file said...

I enjoy the bollocks it has to be said, not in a gay way of course but I sometimes miss the tripe that's talked about footers, it's somehow comforting

fiery, sparky piece KoKo, thanks, really agree with one thing that English Fans have almost exactly No Idea about how to support a football club/national team, I lay the blame for our lack of success firmly at the door of .... us (not US in this case)

a lot of sense as always BD, I can see a day in the not too distant future when little kids will be queuing around the block to catch a glimpse of the two embalmed fingers of PereBleu in their rightful place atop Buck Pal

tony said...

Thanks for this, kk, I've been wondering what happened to my football passion and I think you've explained a lot of it for me. Still, sometimes there's a game which just makes me forget about everything else and I'm 18 again.
Thanks bd and mouth for allowing yourself to be publicly outed. Ebren, I wish you could be chief GU mod...

kk hits nail head
bd nails gary naylor:
hammer satisfied

gg said...

offy -

I'm Jekyll and Hyde these days.

This is my first port of call, for good writing and sometimes top-class threads.

But it flags now and then, perhaps because we know one another too well (though Gary Naylor didn't know he was Mouth) and appreciate each other too much.

Then my skin starts itching and my nails grow rapidly, and I have to go on the GU for a dose of Gooner-baiting.

Maybe I should stay off the Viagra.

MotM said...

GG - Especially since he's long gone from Arsenal and at Inter Milan.

tony said...

gg - viagra - that's why you're such a master baiter.

Don't worry, I put my coat on before writing that...

gg said...

Mouth, Tony -

stop it!

I have to keep a straight face when I go into the classroom...

file said...

stiff upper lip and plums in the mouth?

andrewm said...

KK, how is it possible that I agree with everything you say and yet I still believe - and hope - that Rafa won't be in charge next season?

Call me the epitome of the fickle modern fan if you will - you know what? I don't even go to the games! - but we're no longer moving forward. As you say, he's greatly improved the squad, and made Carra a better player and is beginning to make Agger a God. But look at the way Kuyt has collapsed, look at how Xabi struggles when fit, look at Momo's steady decline from Very Promising to Half Decent - he's making good players worse.

We're going backwards. We're unwilling or unable to take the game to lesser opponents.

We won't beat Arsenal, Man U, Chelsea, Blackburn or Portsmouth this season. We were lucky to beat Everton.

He'll resign or be sacked this summer. Doubtless his successor will fail to achieve all that he's achieved, but we have to find out.

gg said...

Phew! I survived the first hour by coming in chuckling, then telling them of all the mischief we used to get up to in the weeks
before Guy Fawkes Night.

Now I've got them doing research on the computers, so I can do a sly bit of posting.

Tony -

yeah, we used to have a kid called "Bates" in our class. The poor bugger came from Burnley.

Mouth -


gg said...

Andy -

maybe Rafa's successor will fail to achieve all that Rafa has failed to achieve.

andrewm said...

GG, all I want is for us to win everything - is that so much to ask?

pipita said...

"This culture is reinforced by all-seater stadia and high-priced tickets and wall-to-wall TV coverage. Many grounds are dominated by whinging old blokes (like us?), when they need to have banks of young men jumping around, going nuts and singing their heads off"

Bludad-Koko, only thing I can advice you folks is to come over to Argentina......

pipita said...

"This culture is reinforced by all-seater stadia and high-priced tickets and wall-to-wall TV coverage. Many grounds are dominated by whinging old blokes (like us?), when they need to have banks of young men jumping around, going nuts and singing their heads off"

Bludad-Koko, only thing I can advice you folks is to come over to Argentina......

gg said...

Andy -

in that case, become a Gooner! I'm reliably informed Arsenal will win everything this year.

bluedaddy said...

That's a nice thought pipita. Vibrant football fans and all that lovely steak!

I'll ask Marcela if she needs an assistant on her next trip home. I can sharpen pencils brilliantly and my speling is exsalent.

Tony, that really is a bloody good haiku. I can almost hear the pan pipes in the background.

offsideintahiti said...


everything and more!

Hey Pipita, my future next door neighbour is a Rosario Central supporter (yes, in moorea). Am I in trouble? Is there anything I should know?

mimi said...

Just a few snippets to add before getting down to the evening's business of gnawing my fingernails while not being able to watch Liverpool (ITV is doing the Celtic match and digital is effing Chelsea - sorry BD), so I can only hope for GU mbm on my match. GRRR.

Anyway, was going to say before having a little private rant there, great piece KK, but Bluedad's 5 Nov 11.04 post is superb and should have been a whole article.

GG - you talk of mischief in the week leading up to Guy Fawkes. Up here we have a whole night devoted only to mischief on 30 Oct. It's called Carryanchor/Karriankor and various other spellings but it seemed to originate with the children going to Sheepies loch (at the beach) and collecting tangles (seaweed) that they would then hit the doors with. This was to make the witches flee and take to their brooms, getting ready for Halloween.
Unfortunately these days it's mostly kids throwing eggs at houses.

And who is PseudoMimi? I think I should be told.

andrewm said...

mimi, the delights of following sport in Scotland eh?

Bloody Celtic. Does anyone else hate Gordon Strachan as much as I do?

offsideintahiti said...

Why, Andy?

gg said...

mimi -

are those free-range eggs?

mimi said...

Does anyone really need much reason for hating Gordon?

andrewm said...

offy, I just find him unbelievably irritating. I can't give any specific examples, but every time I hear his opinion on a football issue it's always the opposite of my own, and when you consider that I'm always right I think you can see the problem.

wagon wheel said...

ebren - fair enough, i missed that i was inadvertantly placing kuyt above owen, which is patently nonsense (though if he had taken (and scored 80% of) penalties last season he would have scored more league goals in a season for us than owen ever did).

However, kuyt is better than cisse, and torres is hopefully better than owen.

However, your post sums up everying i hate about football these days (not you, but what you mock). Maybe it was ever thus, but i could just ignore it because it wasn't in the paper i read.

Andy, shame on you. I kind of agree with what you are saying,. and if it doesn't improve by summer, questions should be asked (though i still wouldn't sack him, he will have learned a lot this year). But now, after 6 weeks poor form (and not even all that poor, and we have been churning out the reasults in the league), it is too soon to put him under this insane pressure.

And sorry, i didn't realise gary and motm was an injoke! But yes, we shouldn't have them.

Anyway,. i've nothing against good quality football, my favourite teams are liverpool 1988, milan early nineties etc.

agree that bd's post is top quality.

Mouth - level headed liverpool fans are not immune, and nor am i or anyone, we are all people of our times. It is the times that depress most of all though.

mimi said...

I am a very level-headed fan. Level in all ways, but I am cross that I can't see this game. Especially as the Celtic game is deeply dull.

mimi said...


andrewm said...

KK, I wouldn't sack him, but Gillett and Hicks will.

Actually, I think that when we finish fourth and G & H tell him they won't buy him any new players bnecause the stadium costs have gone mental, he'll walk.

I do love the man and I think he's over-achieved so far, and yes the pressure is too much and the likes of me aren't exactly helping, but we look downright poor at times.

offsideintahiti said...

It's MBM in Tahiti too. Marseille are on the telly, but I'm pretending to work, so...

mimi said...

OK - half time, and my team are 2 up which is good, isn't it? But the only thing rattling round in my head is an old tune, and - Tony, need your help - cos I can't pin it down
"Why should I care, why should I care?"

pipita said...


We'll definetly have to make arrangements for that with Miss Marcelita


Central fan in Moorea???!!!??? Bloody hell, that is weird. Tell him he is a "canalla" pronounced "caa-na-jaa". Has your misses been to the Police concert already??? The Buenos Aires show, in early December, includes Beck as support act. Fantastic, he should in fact be the main act

Hey, just in case any of you guys are interested, today I actually had lunch, here in baires, with a GU columnist: Jonathan Wilson who writes about the eastern european football scene. Any of you guys frequent his columns?? I do very ocasionally. Nice chap, an ocasional GU Marcela blogger joined us: "Clack", not sure your familiar with him. He used to teach English with none other than Russell Brand in London a few years back

offsideintahiti said...

Marseille have Zenden and Cissé, both on the bench, so it is a bit like watching Liverpool. Merde, bâton, etc...

mimi said...

Can I relax now and watch Spooks?

offsideintahiti said...


I know at least of three argentinos on Moorea. No idea what the connection is.

"caa-na-jaa" pronounced con la jota? You have to tell me what it means, I don't want to get into a neighbourhood feud too early.

The Auckland Police gig is mid-january, no idea if they have a support act lined-up.

Yeah, Jonathan Wilson's articles are very interesting when, like me, you know very little about Eastern European football.

mimi said...

Jonathan Wilson is a very nice man. And knows his stuff.

byebyebadman said...

Evening all. I'm bored of watching Besiktas and their meek surrender to the lads from merseyside. Will potter round the internet.

p.s. is it just me or has Joy of Six gone really rubbish in the last few months?

marcela said...

cana SHa, with the 'll' pronounced as a shh

rosario central, terrific team, loads of history. had been toying with the idea of writing about them because that is where delgado - for besiktas - originated. my thinking had been:

liverpool will gte knocked out of the CL by besiktas. 2 argentinian players there (the other being pipita's brother). how do we spread the talent so far accross the seas?? (notice the WE).


ha, ha ha.

besiktas shmesiktas.

L-I-V-E-R-P-O-O-L LiverpollFC!!!

very much doubt gillete, hicks, mews and Tate or whoever will sack rafa after tonight.


nice piece kk, but shirley you'll grin a little now, non?

cripes, even rafa looked like he was half smiling after the 8th .

(and if anyone reading this didn't know the result, no liklely lads gags, please thank you).

byebyebadman said...

I went into my room at 3-0, put the dulcet tones of Beth Orton on the mp3 player to drown out my scouse housemate and his gloating and had a look around at other news on the web.

Imagine my surprise when I wander out about half an hour later and it's eight-nil.

I suspect a lot of media focus will be on Besiktas and how pathetic they were, but were they really any worse than slavia Prague the other week?

When all the fuss over this dies down I think Porto's winner will have a greater bearing on the outcome of this group than any of the eight scored by Liverpool.

tony said...

What a drag. Just got back from work.

Mimi- the best 'why should I care' song for me is this

Good grief! 8-0. I agree: sack Rafa now!

mimi said...

I agree Tony, sack rafa now!

Eff's sake, was that history or not? I am in tears - because I live in Scotland and could not see that match. No idea what the Celtic score was.

But Tone, I was thinking a different Why should I Care and I will go looking.

byebyebadman said...

There's highlights in a little while mimi. I missed goals 4 thru 8 so might tune in myself.

pipita said...

Canayyya then. But not to be pronounced as "Canaia" Means "rascal", mind you their arch-rivals Newels Old Boys are referred to as "leprosos", this needs no translation I assume. Marcel, canasha is far too grasa, and Central fans deliberately pronounce the yyyyyyy....

mimi said...

Why should I care?

This is what I was looking for. Out of my brain on a train.

Ebren said...

Name dropping are we? Excellent.

Last week I was drinking with Clarkson, Hammond and May and I only realised on Sunday (five years later) that I worked with lovely Adam from Spooks on a TV show called Cambridge Spies. I thought Toby Stephens was the only proper star so mostly ignored Spooks Adam.

There - that's it. No more name dropping for me.

8-0, dear me. I'm afraid i was watching Sarah Beeny (who's mobile number I have) on the other channel at the time.

Oh, did I do it again? Bad Ebren.

mimi said...

Oh Lord Ebren... very good. James mentioned to me the other day that he'd met a new media mogul.

I gather we'll be seeing you soon as a Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.

tony said...

Ebren - if you're going to name-drop, how about someone I might have heard of?

Mimi - yep that's a great one. Still, the best ever 'why should I care' song isthis , and she doesn't even say it!

byebyebadman said...

Bit of a relief, I thought it was going to be transvision vamp.

tony said...

BTW Liverpool fans, you might to join in kicking Simon Brunton over on GU...

Transvision Vamp? I hope you weren't thinking that I....

mimi said...

Tony: just brilliant. Good way to pass the time before the highlights (8-0!!!!!!!! ha ha)

Ebren said...

Don't kick Burnton, he's only new - and if we kick him we will never have anywhere to build our national football academy.

He makes a provocative point, good for him. Now let's see if he joins in to back it up.

mimi said...

Oh my god. Just realised. Tony .... James. Transvision Vamp...
Sigue sigue sputnik ...

byebyebadman said...

Two of the most seminal thrashings I've ever seen - Denmark 6 Uruguay 1 in the 86 World Cup and United beating roma 7-1 in april - lead to nothing, both teams were out of the respective cups two games later. Doesn't take the shine off either game for me.

I don't get the 'look what they're capable' of attitude - surely the point of such a performance is that it is a one-off, almost impossible to repeat?

old virginia creeper said...

that burnton article is pretty much beyond satire

four changes from saturday - "did you see that rotation?"

mimi said...

Just watched the highlights. It's not often I go to bed on a Tuesday with half a haiku in my mind.

Would someone care to finish this one:

Stevie G, stevie G, god

offsideintahiti said...

I'd give it a go, Mimi, if your first verse had 5 syllables instead of 7. It might go something like this:

Stevie G, stevie G, god
has signed for Cardiff City
Who will get the goals now?

bluedaddy said...

You lot should count yourselves lucky. I watched the Chelsea game. We were diabolically lucky not to lose by two or three. We've been riding our luck for a little while, but if we defend like that someone is going to give us a hiding.

I hope Avram has Jose's mobile number.

The 'save a goal for Russia' thing re Yosser in the Pool game was embarrassing beyond belief. I hate commentators.

gg said...


my newly-established research cell of astro-linguistics specialises in concepts of space and syllables.

The standard haiku format is 5-7-5 (not to be confused with 4-4-2, 3-5-2, 4-2-3-1, etc.) but there is ample room for "rotation" a la "Rafa-san".

My research fellows have spawned this attempt at making use of your line as a "middle 7":

Won a game 8-0:

Stevie G, Stevie G, God!

Lost to Marseille - sod!

mimi said...

GG: reassuring for a stupid person who can't count. Actually it wasn't me - it was Small Fierce who reckons Stevie is heart of our team. She cries when he gets substituted and would like to exercise her claws on Rafa.

Me, I'm not interested at all. I live in Scotland so obviously care about Celtic.

Was there a Rangers match tonight? Who knows?

byebyebadman said...

I was playing football tonight and didn't see our (United) goals...were they really any good? It's hard to tell from those side-splitting minute-by-minute things.

offsideintahiti said...


yeah, the MBM are hilarious, non? Non. OK.

All good goals apart from the 1st. A whole evening of dead rubbers/meaningless games. Dontcha love the mushroom league?

byebyebadman said...

non indeed offy.

Here they are if anyone's remotely interested

Try and use the link before a copyright claim is made by NetResult (the bastards).

kokomo said...

Here is a gem of a post i found on a liverpool site. It is a bit long, but applies to all (i cut out the specific liverpool bits, where bias does kick in. It is especially for doubting andrewM

"From 6-0, to 0-0’s, then 0-1, to 8-0. Some ride, huh?

I don’t know about you, but I fucking hated every variation in it.

Naturally, the ride goes on. We are simply experiencing temporary respite.

More specifically, I hated the way the media’s coverage flitted from game to game as though each 90 minutes was entirely definitive of our club and its standing. I reckon the reasons they did this are twofold. First, most reptiles are lazy, limited sods; second, media organizations know the easiest way to convince an audience they offer real “news” is to play to their psychological biases.

I don’t know about you, but I especially hate the idea of media clowns extracting undue attention and cash from me by exploiting my psychological limitations.

So I’m writing about these limitations here as a way of making myself more aware of them, and I hope doing so might make it harder for the media to con some of you as well.

There’s four related psychological effects I want to talk about:

* hindsight bias

* availability

* anchoring

* loss aversion.

There are a range of other related biases, but these four are at the centre of the way the media exploits us.

Hindsight bias suggests humans are suckers for explanations offered after the fact. We tend to see predictive power of these explanations as way more potent than they actually are. Yanks commonly refer to it as “Monday Morning Quarterback Syndrome”, referring to the guy who knows exactly on Monday what the coach/manager should have done on the weekend.

Hindsight bias implies that if the media offer up a reason for why we lost (say, rotation), our biases incline us to buy into it.

Availability heuristics suggest we tend to base our judgements on the piece of information that most readily comes to mind. That means if we lose and coverage focuses on rotation or a poor game from Sissoko, Sami or Kuyt, we are inclined to believe that’s why we lost.

[Sissoko is a case in point. Everyone can remember plenty of poor passing performances from him, especially a recent showing against Marseille - It’s obvious he simply can’t pass, right? Wrong. Some would be shocked to learn he made more than 40 passes against Blackburn, a good pressing team, at 85 per cent accuracy clip. Unfortunately another bias – the confirmation bias – means we only tend to process information confirming our existing views, not evidence contradicting them]

Anchoring suggests that our judgments tend to over rely on a single piece of information when we ought to be looking at a range of factors. In a football context, that means we tend to be suckers to focus on the most recent result rather than take a wholistic, longer term view of how we are travelling.

Finally, loss aversion implies that we tend to feel losses moreso than a gain of equivalent size. In a football context, that means we feel a loss of happiness (say when we go from 6-0 to the 0-1 and 0-0’s) more sharply than an equivalent increase say from 1-2 to 8 - 0.

By extension, this means it’s easier for the media to land you with a negative emotional hook than an equivalent positive one.

So in sum, the media specialise in selling us simple, seemingly neat-fitting stories that play on the most immediately available information (which they tend to provide themselves), feeding our aversion to negative outcomes. We are up against a potent mix.

So if we should be wary, of this type of media line, what should we believe?

Clearly I can’t offer obviously correct answers, but here’s some things I think I can reliably claim:

1) Football results are a product of a number of fluctuating, somewhat random, variables.

2) You should normally bear the same level of disregard for “pundits” peddling simplistic answers as you would for a charlatan offering a magnet-based arthritis cure. This is particularly so if their arguments are supported by “evidence” from a single point in time rather than looking at the accumulation of evidence over time."

I hope someone still reads this!

Ebren said...

That's brilliant KK. Great piece of multi-level analysis.

offsideintahiti said...

"1) Football results are a product of a number of fluctuating, somewhat random, variables. "

That took a while but it was worth waiting for.

Tweet it, digg it