Fierce_LiNk

Football Season 2019-20

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It's a right mess and, annoyingly, I think it's going to be time consuming. Should be looking at getting new players in and the focus being on that.

That being said, I do think the Greek authorities are trying to pull a fast one here. The details of the case certainly don't add up. According to the BBC article:

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Anagnostakis told the court the events stemmed from Maguire's sister Daisy being injected by a substance by a group of Albanians and she immediately fainted.

The defendants called for transport and asked to be driven to a hospital, but were instead taken to a police station.

The prosecution said Maguire, his brother and friend then physically and verbally attacked police officers.

One policeman alleged that while at the police station, Maguire said: "Do you know who I am? I am the captain of Manchester United. I am very rich. I can give you money. I can pay you. Please let us go."

His colleague added that Maguire had said to him: "Please, let me go. I am very rich. I can pay. I am the leader of Manchester United."

The second and third points don't really make a lot of sense. If the first point is true and the sister was drugged, surely the hospital is the first place you'd go. Otherwise, why go into a van at all. So, I think that part is true, since Maguire and co would have just carried on their evening if nothing was amiss. But then, how did the van end up at the police station and what led into the confrontation with the plain-clothed officers? That party is sketchy and I think there's more to it than is being led on.

Certainly not what the clubs needs though and it's quite unsavoury, regardless if Maguire is guilty or not. 

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I know it's what everybody is saying on Twitter but it really is puzzling why Jack Grealish hasn't got a call up. There has to be something personal that Southgate has against him, some non-footballing reason not to call him up - if it was judged purely on match performances through the season he would be a dead cert. Before Villa got promoted, Southgate said Grealish needed more Premier League experience to warrant a call up, but a year of excellent Premier League performances later and he is still being snubbed. Apparently before the press conference Southgate told reporters not to ask him about Grealish so he clearly doesn't want to publicly discuss his reasoning for leaving him out. 

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27 minutes ago, killthenet said:

I know it's what everybody is saying on Twitter but it really is puzzling why Jack Grealish hasn't got a call up. There has to be something personal that Southgate has against him, some non-footballing reason not to call him up - if it was judged purely on match performances through the season he would be a dead cert. Before Villa got promoted, Southgate said Grealish needed more Premier League experience to warrant a call up, but a year of excellent Premier League performances later and he is still being snubbed. Apparently before the press conference Southgate told reporters not to ask him about Grealish so he clearly doesn't want to publicly discuss his reasoning for leaving him out. 

It definitely is an odd one and I can't think of a reason for it. On merit, he should be in there. He's had a terrific season. Put him in there!

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Posted (edited)

I'm sure everyone's aware of it by now, but there's been a lot of chatter since Barca got humiliated in the UCL by Bayern about where Messi's future lies, and it has only picked up in the last few days with more and more reputable transfer sources indicating that Messi could well be leaving Barcelona, mainly down to the handling of the club by club president Bartomeu, including talk about the termination of player's contracts by Koeman who wants to cut the team of players past their sell-by date, such as Suarez (you know, one of his close friends and a club legend).

And a flurry of activity earlier this evening has brought talk of a transfer up to eleven. 

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Messi will not attend the PCR testing and then training. His decision is final.

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Respect and admiration, Leo. All my support, friend.

Yeah, that's the President of the Generalitat de Catalunya effectively saying goodbye. 

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Catalonia will always be your home. Thank you so much for all this time of happiness and extraordinary football. We have been lucky enough to share a few years of our lives with the best player in the world. And a noble athlete We will never forget you. Leo Messi, St. George's Cross.

And others which go into similar things. Basically, it seems Messi has had enough of the board, half of whom have apparently already resigned as a result of this. Whether Messi genuinely is making a motion to exit the club or is effectively spearheading a coup d'etat in which this board - which has caused many issues for the team and has been at the centre of their internal strife for the better half of a decade now - is ousted I'm sure will become clear in the next few days. Worth noting that Bartomeu only has one season left as club president and will not be allowed to run again during next year's elections, so if this is all true, the only thing standing between Messi staying at Barcelona is his pride and a few million euros (this would be required to "balance the books" for the tenure of the current administration if required, as his stepping down as club president would be voluntary and he and his administration would not be allowed to leave the club in a financially worse state).

For those curious about the release clause and the contract situation being discussed, Messi reportedly has a symbolic release clause of €700 million - Ronaldo had a similar one in his time at Real Madrid of €1 billion. Messi also reportedly has a clause in his contract which can see him walk away from the club for free at the end of a season, which is what he and his team are apparently trying to see sustained here: they are arguing that the contract hinges on the season being complete, and the extension of the season due to COVID-19 until August means that, in their eyes, this should still stand - and they are reportedly ready to take it to court to have it upheld. Barca are reportedly not willing to let him go for free (understandably) and are saying that the season ends by the start of June and so this is no longer an option, but would be willing to accept a world record fee in the realm of €300 million. 

Realistically, I think if he does leave, it's only realistically a race between City and PSG: both clubs are among the few that can afford him, have enticing projects well underway to get to the peak of Europe and win the UCL, and have Messi's friends playing for them (Aguero and Messi are extremely close, being the godfathers to each other's sons; and though Neymar left Barca apparently trying to escape Messi's shadow, last summer's transfer saga with him wanting to return to Messi's side at Barca shows that if this was an ever issue, it might not be anymore). City might have the slight edge, as Messi would be reuniting with Pep and one of his coaches from La Masia in the process (who is now an assistant at City, if I recall correctly), ex-Barca personnel in high positions such as Txiki, as well as walking into a system which is not too dissimilar to what Pep left Barca with back in 2012, and suits his playing style, not to mention the strength and depth of this squad too. PSG could be enticing I imagine as it would mean reuniting with Neymar and forming a trio arguably more potent than MSN when linked up with Mbappé too, but that team is in desperate need of an overhaul as is, and seems to have only just found it's footing and direction - on the European stage - under Tuchel. 

Outside of those clubs, there aren't many others which I could see Messi both wanting to join and which can afford him. In terms of who can definitely afford him, there's Manchester City and PSG which seem like the most likely destinations, Real Madrid (look, it's been a horrendous year, but this could literally spark a civil war - this isn't going to happen, though I wouldn't be surprised if they at least threw their hat in the ring), and Manchester United (their inconsistency over the last few years I'm sure doesn't inspire much confidence). Clubs which I think might have been on his radar to some extent in that they can also provide an earnest challenge for the Champions League or an otherwise interesting project would be Bayern Munich (though I think they could probably afford him, he would implode their wage structure), Liverpool (they've strangely been holding on to their money, seemingly against Klopp's request, since winning the UCL, so I would have doubts about this one), Inter (Conte is confirmed to be staying and it would be interesting to see him and Ronaldo face off again in the same league - but I'm not sure if the style of play or Conte's managerial style would win Messi over, and I'm also not sure how well positioned they would be for a move of this scale right now), and Juventus (I hope they throw their hat in the ring just because who wouldn't want to see Messi play alongside Ronaldo?! But it does seem unfeasible given their poor habit of scooping players up on free transfers and paying them well above their value, such as with Aaron Ramsey, and I think this poor balance of wage structure could rule them out). 

City is looking most likely to me then, if he moves. Again, could be a crazy coup d'etat attempt by him to take back the club he loves so much even if all of these reports are true and are simply empty threats, but that increasingly seems to not be the case here - I know many doubted Ronaldo leaving Real even when he came out and suggested it himself after a UCL final, so I'm curious to see how everyone reacts to this news, and of course what the outcome is. And whilst typing this, a couple more updates hinting at a City move...

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What counts @zequischer is real: for #Messi there is no way back. #Ciclo fulfilled in Barcelona. And added there are contacts with @ManCity

And this next one is huge because it's Xavi Campos from Catalunya Radio, who is about as legitimate a source you can get for Barca news. 

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MESSI CALLED GUARDIOLA!

@XaviCampos

: "A few days ago, Messi contacted Guardiola to sign for Manchester City"

"He wants to leave to continue winning titles, to a first-class football"

"The City has 300M € to spend on reinforcements "

 

Edited by Julius

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12 hours ago, killthenet said:

I know it's what everybody is saying on Twitter but it really is puzzling why Jack Grealish hasn't got a call up. There has to be something personal that Southgate has against him, some non-footballing reason not to call him up - if it was judged purely on match performances through the season he would be a dead cert. Before Villa got promoted, Southgate said Grealish needed more Premier League experience to warrant a call up, but a year of excellent Premier League performances later and he is still being snubbed. Apparently before the press conference Southgate told reporters not to ask him about Grealish so he clearly doesn't want to publicly discuss his reasoning for leaving him out. 

Didn't he breach lockdown rules?

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My second cousin has apparently been announced as part of the England squad.

I've never heard of him until last year when he won the young sports personal thing (and I'll probably never meet him), but it's interesting that there are two people related to me on different sides of the family that are good at sport (the other bring a former cricket captain).

Especially as I have so little sporting ability.

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2 hours ago, Mandalore said:

Didn't he breach lockdown rules?

Yeah, but it was a minor infringement. Kyle Walker is still in the squad despite hosting a sex party and hiring escorts in the middle of lockdown so Southgate can't exactly use that as an excuse, can he?

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I think Messi genuinely wants to leave - career is coming to an end and he probably wants a couple more trophies before the boots are hung up. That ain't going to happen at Barca for a couple years, so PSG or City.

Thing that annoys me is that I know Woodward is trying to get in on this, wasting what little times he spends getting shit done on an impossible transfer that ain't what we need anyway. 

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2 hours ago, Cube said:

My second cousin has apparently been announced as part of the England squad.

I've never heard of him until last year when he won the young sports personal thing (and I'll probably never meet him), but it's interesting that there are two people related to me on different sides of the family that are good at sport (the other bring a former cricket captain).

Especially as I have so little sporting ability.

Name drop!

(haven't really look at who has been called up, but only know that Grealish wasn't part of it)

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Just now, Fierce_LiNk said:

Name drop!

Phil Foden. My uncle knows him quite well, he made sure the rest of the family knew after the Young Sports Personality award.

Its a part of the family I'll probably never encounter, as it's a big family. When I got a job in Stockport around 10 years ago, me and the boss found out we were related a few weeks after we started. 

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3 minutes ago, Cube said:

Phil Foden. My uncle knows him quite well, he made sure the rest of the family knew after the Young Sports Personality award.

Its a part of the family I'll probably never encounter, as it's a big family. When I got a job in Stockport around 10 years ago, me and the boss found out we were related a few weeks after we started. 

Fuck, that's awesome. Phil Foden is a very exciting player and could potentially have a huge Man City career. Looks like a top talent. :o 

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, LazyBoy said:

I think Messi genuinely wants to leave - career is coming to an end and he probably wants a couple more trophies before the boots are hung up. That ain't going to happen at Barca for a couple years, so PSG or City.

Thing that annoys me is that I know Woodward is trying to get in on this, wasting what little times he spends getting shit done on an impossible transfer that ain't what we need anyway. 

Most annoying thing I've heard about all of this was on Sky Sports while flicking through channels, something to the effect of "if United can't afford Sancho, then of course they can't afford Messi!" 

Of course Manchester United can afford Messi, and of course they can afford Sancho! The higher-ups just think that other clubs should polish their shoes for them and aren't in the slightest way respectful: I think they think Dortmund is still a smaller club than United (in worldwide appeal/fanbase size? Sure. In terms of what happens on the pitch? Haven't been for years) and should think it's some kind of honour to sell a player to United, and should sell lower than their asking price - even though they have more than enough money to bring Sancho over at the asking price, which in my opinion was totally fair. 

Utterly ridiculous. 

On the flip side, Chelsea have been doing some wonderful business, our best summer in a long time: Werner and Ziyech before the window started, Chilwell confirmed and Thiago Silva all but, and Havertz and Sarr seemingly on the way too. Just need a goalkeeper too now and we're set. 

I know Abramovich loves Messi, but I think our great transfer business this summer actually puts us out of the running, and honestly, while I'd love to see it, I don't think he'd suit our system or our long-term plans. 

Edited by Julius

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1 minute ago, Happenstance said:

:(

Oh this sucks. Been a while since I watched Soccer Saturday, the chaos of that 2011/12 was definitely the most I tuned in. 

Not very happy reading through what the reasoning might be, if there's any truth to it. I am absolutely all for diversifying on-screen personalities, but this doesn't mean you should just sack your current personalities, especially when they're as experienced and well-received as Le Tissier, Nicholas and Thompson. 

Unfortunately this seems to be becoming more commonplace across all industries. Again, diversity is great, but it shouldn't be the first thing considered in these situations. 

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I think Soccer Saturday has been in need of a shakeup for quite some time anyway, tbh. The problem when you don't change things up is you end up with a stagnant or dated formula, see Soccer AM for that. The show is looking a bit tired, imo.

I'm all for seeing new blood on the show and you do need an injection every now and then or it just becomes formulaic. I'm a bit surprised Le Tissier has lasted as long as he has and am a bit surprised (well, very surprised actually) that Paul Merson is one of the ones that they are keeping on. 

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I'm surprised people are shocked by the news because frankly I thought they were all hilariously bad. They almost felt like parodies of pundits tbh and the formula felt pretty dated. I can't remember the last time I listened to either Matt or Charlie and thought 'wow, they really know their stuff'. They had the jobs solely because they were ex-Footballers.

That's not to say all ex-footballer are terrible pundits and hosts. Neville and Carragher are absolutely brilliant on Sky, as are Jenas and Richards who regularly do MoTD.

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12 minutes ago, Goron_3 said:

I thought they were all hilariously bad.

For me that was the point. I mostly watched it because it was like a load of mates chatting about football.

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8 minutes ago, Goron_3 said:

I'm surprised people are shocked by the news because frankly I thought they were all hilariously bad. They almost felt like parodies of pundits tbh and the formula felt pretty dated. I can't remember the last time I listened to either Matt or Charlie and thought 'wow, they really know their stuff'. They had the jobs solely because they were ex-Footballers.

That's not to say all ex-footballer are terrible pundits and hosts. Neville and Carragher are absolutely brilliant on Sky, as are Jenas and Richards who regularly do MoTD.

I've got to say that I find Jenas very underrated as a pundit. He always seems to talk with sense and he never seems to run away with ideas or bandwagons. Always has a measured, level-headed response and doesn't show any clear biases, at least in my opinion.

Neville and Carragher work ridiculously well because of their personalities and how they "fit" together. It's a good duo. I would have originally said Neville was the better pundit, but I have to say that I think Carragher, on reflection, is the more balanced of the two. Both are great and are probably the best ones going.

Richards seems to be hit or miss for many. I really like him, because I think he's charming, enthusiastic, and he brings something different to the table. He will get better with experience. 

Completely agree that they've become parodies of pundits. Le Tissier is the physical representation of the colour beige. I just think that many of these guys have had it made for so long and have phoned it in for a very long while. It does need freshening up, especially when there are better quality pundits out there bringing a lot more to the table.

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It's been ages since I properly watched Match of the Day so it's good that Jenas seems to have gotten a lot better. When he first started he was very quiet and meek on camera.

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It's really the Jeff Stelling show, he carries it hard and has done for years.

Part of the appeal of Soccer Saturday is the banter between the Jeff and the panel, even if it is a bit old man lad's banter, it just makes it way more fun to watch than Final Score. So whoever the replacements are, I hope they still retain the same atmosphere and rapport.

To be honest I won't miss them, none of them were good pundits or even had good chat anyway (looking at you Charlie Nicholas). Merson should consider himself lucky, I guess he's considered funny like Kammy. Difference is though Kammy reporting from the games and not in the studio (and Kammy is great, he really brings the hype).

The level of punditry in football has always been woeful considering how big and rich the sport is. Even the commentary is generally very poor, and with empty stadiums it has really highlighted for me how poor some of it is. I watched the lower league play-offs earlier this summer and it was unbearable at times how much they were getting wrong and how often they had to resort to tired cliches. 

The level of analysis Sky do for their Cricket coverage is outstanding, it's a shame the same can't be said about their football coverage. It all just seems to be focused on getting famous ex-players on, no matter what their competence is (and if they played for Man United or Liverpool, even better).

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10 minutes ago, Happenstance said:

For me that was the point. I mostly watched it because it was like a load of mates chatting about football.

It could still very much be that type of show, which I think is the core essence of it. The formula of people sat in a studio, watching the games simultaneously and then chipping in every now and again with their comments will probably not change. The only thing that could alter that is if the fixture lists were to become more complicated in future. The format of the show works best if it's that typical "Saturday, every game starts at 3pm" schedule.

What will change (and it could change for the better) are the personalities on show and the way that they interact with each other, bounce off each other, the comments they come up with, the experience that they bring to the table, etc. Hearing the same things time and time again isn't always a good thing and I do agree with the sentiment that it's become a parody of itself. It can evolve and become a better version of itself, because I still see some value in the format.

3 minutes ago, Happenstance said:

It's been ages since I properly watched Match of the Day so it's good that Jenas seems to have gotten a lot better. When he first started he was very quiet and meek on camera.

Yeah, he has grown into it, although he hasn't got the same charisma of Carragher or Neville, but he offers something different. You don't really want all of the pundits to be doing the same thing, saying the same thing or acting in the same way, so I think variation is good.

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2 hours ago, Zell said:

It's really the Jeff Stelling show, he carries it hard and has done for years.

Part of the appeal of Soccer Saturday is the banter between the Jeff and the panel, even if it is a bit old man lad's banter, it just makes it way more fun to watch than Final Score. So whoever the replacements are, I hope they still retain the same atmosphere and rapport.

To be honest I won't miss them, none of them were good pundits or even had good chat anyway (looking at you Charlie Nicholas). Merson should consider himself lucky, I guess he's considered funny like Kammy. Difference is though Kammy reporting from the games and not in the studio (and Kammy is great, he really brings the hype).

The level of punditry in football has always been woeful considering how big and rich the sport is. Even the commentary is generally very poor, and with empty stadiums it has really highlighted for me how poor some of it is. I watched the lower league play-offs earlier this summer and it was unbearable at times how much they were getting wrong and how often they had to resort to tired cliches. 

The level of analysis Sky do for their Cricket coverage is outstanding, it's a shame the same can't be said about their football coverage. It all just seems to be focused on getting famous ex-players on, no matter what their competence is (and if they played for Man United or Liverpool, even better).

Modern day football commentary is 40% vaguely talking about what's happening on the field, 40% talking about things related to the season as a whole, 10% talking about teams that aren't even playing on the field, 10% shit that isn't really related to anything. I do agree that with the lack of supporters in stadiums emphasising how dire the commentary can be. The added "bonus" of having biased commentary too with the likes of Steve McManaman on certain games clearly favouring certain teams when he is co-commentator is fucking dreadful. The fans just want knowledgeable people who know what they're talking about. 

Final Score isn't really fun to watch at all, I have to agree. It's not presented anywhere near as well (visually, it looks much lower budget) and just the quality of conversation that they tend to have is a bit drab. Not really insightful. You wouldn't feel that you have to tune in to it for fear of missing out on something. That could do with a refresh, too.

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I suppose Le Tissier, Nicholas and Thompson would all have to go eventually. But the way they've just been sacked, apparently simply for being "white males" isn't really great. If that is genuinely the reason they've been sacked then I guess Sky will employ at least one female pundit in there and the rest will be ex black players.

 

Unfortunately in the modern day industry, if your industry involves cameras and being presented to the world, then any white males that are applying can forget about it for the most part. I'm all for diversity in the industry, but I feel like some organisations take that as "get payback on white males because they had it good for too long". Racism is still racisim in the end, it doesn't have to be directed at black people from white just because that's how it has historically been.

 

I do agree that Soccer Saturday's appeal is rather similar to what Top Gear was like when you had Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May on there. Executives in the modern day don't really understand chemistry though and I'm pretty sure that they will have at least one female pundit on Soccer Saturday going forward.

 

Just have to hope that if they do get a female pundit on there they can still continue the spirit of the show.  There's absolutely no reason why women can't banter.

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What do you make of Chelsea's transfer window, @Kav?

They're bringing some tasty players into the club. Although, I have to say that it merely shows that last season was just about surviving the transfer ban, and that the team they were playing wasn't the one they were building for the long term. Werner, Chilwell, Ziyech, Sarr and Silva have all joined, with Havertz on the way, too. That's half of the starting 11 changed immediately. 

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