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How to save football: the solution

Flint McCullough has a better grasp of Slovakian than I, so I am taking his word for it that the Gunners.sk site is advocating no points for a draw.   But it got me thinking – could this be the answer to the crisis that football finds itself in?

I’m going to suggest a modification of this – No points for the Goalless Draw.   The reason for that idea is that any match that went to 1-0 would have the side that was 1-0 going for a 11 man defence to hold on while the losing team would know they have to score twice to get anything, so that would lead to some really horrible final 10 minutes at 1-0.

So I would say 3 points for a win, 1 for a score draw, and none for a goalless draw or a defeat.

Of course the likes of the EPL take no notice of the likes of me – even though this blog has now got 60,000 individual readers a month, with is rather large in the blog world.

But I am going to have a word with my colleagues in my company’s PR department to see if we can’t utilise their connections with the press to put the idea forward.  If the press do like it, they’ll undoubtedly claim it as their own, but who cares?  The introduction of the idea would help save football.

So, a million thanks to everyone who wrote in response to Sunday’s piece – including the gentleman who got so angry because his first post didn’t come up.   I checked the web site as soon as I got his post (you can see his angry reaction in the letters section if you are interested), but there was nothing wrong.

However in case you ever find there’s a problem, here’s how things go.

All web sites can go down suddenly because of a fault with the servers.  If I notice this has happened I call our IT department, and they work on it – although normally they spot the problem first.  If you are posting when it all goes down, then yes, your post is lost (unless you write it first in Word and then do a cut and paste job.)

The first two posts from anyone are held for me to approve personally.  After that, they are approved automatically.  I don’t censor any posts at all apart from those that call me a racist which I personally find offensive.  This tends to happen mostly when I criticise the existence of the Africa Nations Cup in January every other year – and those who write in forget that I criticise all international tournaments.  I also cut out posts that are clearly adverts for other (generally irrelevant) sites.

Anyway, back to the mainstream.  No points for a 0-0 draw.  I rather like that.  Thanks Flint and to the guys in Slovakia who came up with the “no points” thought.  http://gunners.sk/ if you can read Slovakian.

(c) Tony Attwood 2009


16 comments to How to save football: the solution

  • ggs

    Hi Tony,
    thanks for the post today and as always. I find myself less interested in the EPL games than before with so many teams parking the bus and celebrating the draw as if that is some kind of achievement!

    Off topic:
    I’m seeking a refuge in your blogsite as yours is a rare haven of sanity amongst so many blogsites of so-called fans. There is relentless slaughtering of Denilson is going on out there at the moment when what these fans should do is to give this boy 100% support for tomorrow’s game and for the remainder of the season. I feel physically sick now..

  • pig

    I have to agree with you. After reading your post yesterday where you mentioned no points for a draw it got me thinking. I can see no negatives at all for a nil all zero point rule change. teams know that they have to score to get a point. They HAVE to. it works perfectly. I dont know about implementing it in Uefa, but in our english league situation it would work very well. And better yet, it will cost next to nothing to implement.

    This would be so good for the fans, regardless of progress in the league, they will almost be guaranteed to see goals, and plenty of attacking football from both teams. what more could we ask for?

    (apart from world peace, end to famine and poverty etc etc)

  • Will

    It’s a shame that football as a whole (english football especially) isn’t in the slightest bit progessive.

  • At 1.14pm today Untold Arsenal published “How to save football” and came up with the answer: no goals – no points.

    At 2.38pm the same idea suddenly appeared on Football 365 from Charles Chateris.

    I’m always pleased when Untold Arsenal is used elsewhere – but its also nice when our thinking is acknowledged.

  • Flint McCullough

    Slovakian thinking anyway!!

    You would certainly be speaking Slovakian if you still lived in Southgate, my home & place of business for very many years, also.

  • Kim

    Hi Tony,

    I believe that what ur describing is typical for this season. In years before barely no teams have had the chans of collecting points at the Ems nor places like stamford bridge or anfield. But when the teams whos not challanging for the trophys saw other teams like Stoke playing with 10 or 11 men behind the ball they figured out that it is the most safe points to collect at those places. And so they do.

    Alltough I don’t believe that this will go on forever. Teams will figure out that this will maybe keep them from regulation, but it wont move them forward. Sooner or later they will figure out that winning one of those matches is better then drawing three. This since you wont learn anything from clubs like Arsenal if you don’t try to play the game. This way everyone will earn their points in a way that suits the game best.

    Just some thought, sorry for my bad english!

    Keep up the good work.

  • NYmarcus

    This is all very well but you know it won’t happen. I read your long rant yesterday and while I too lament this horrible trend of anti-football, I’m sick and tired of Wenger and gooners like you griping about it.

    Sunderland went to OT and used the same exact tactics. All those brilliant creative United players couldn’t put the ball in the net, just like our players. The game was heading for a 0-0 draw — EXCEPT, in the dying minutes of the game, United forced a corner, Vidic (a defender, certainly no creative talent) scored a brilliant header, thus winning the game.

    They have match winners all over the park, we don’t.

    But beyond that, why in the world did Le Boss put a non-creative pair in midfield against a team like Sunderland? He sounded like he was surprised that Sbragia used those negative tactics. Didn’t he watch the Utd game? The most promising formation AW has used this season against tightly closed shops like Sunderland are Nasri (in Cesc’s absence) in the middle with Bendtner on the wing. Song and Denilson worked fine against Cardiff at the Grove because they let us play. However, they did not work well at Ninian Park when Cardiff were tightly organized and negative. Result was also a 0-0 draw.

    Against teams like Sunderland, we need AS MUCH CREATIVITY as possible. That won’t guarantee a win but it will give us even more chances to score. And against a negative team, we need a LOT LOT LOT of chances to just score 1 goal.

    Song&Denilson in the middle are not very creative. Putting on Eboue smacked of desperation when AW could’ve tried for one of his younger creative talents — he seems not to have much faith in them if he prefers to go for Eboue of all players to try to inject something into a game that looks headed for a draw.

    It’s true that this anti-football trend is bad for the game but it’s up to the manager to deal with it and the players to step up and take their chances. We created lots of chances but none of our players had the sharpness in front of goal. That’s remarkable given the high the team were on after the Cardiff game and Eduardo’s return. They couldn’t use that good feeling against Sunderland.

    I don’t think they lacked effort — what they lacked was tempo and pace. They were incredibly slow in building up attacks — because our midfield has no pace. That means Sunderland have lots and lots of time to just prepare for our attacks. Against a team like Sunderland you have to be quick, use incredible speed in your attacks like we did last season. Now we’re just very slow and predictable. It’s very easy to frustrate us. Even mediocre managers like Sbragia have figured us out. Teams come to the Emirates with no fear at all anymore.

  • don't believe the hype

    Of course the Emirates holds no fear anymore, our crowd are doing the opposition’s job for them, because their negativity, lack of support and booing of our players have sucked the confidence out of the team. The longer the game went on without us scoring the more anxious the crowd and the team became – it’s 6 of 1 and half a dozen of another, but as supporters, we need to stand up and be counted before we can expect more from what is a very young team, without some of it’s best creative players on the pitch. The difference in atmosphere and performance between Monday and Saturday was significant. How many times do the away fans have to chant ‘shall we sing a song for you?’ before we buck up our ideas?

  • cheers for linking;-) actually it is not Slovakian guys, it is only one man show :-O i have more great ideas, check my blog through google translator(i know its pretty stupid translation, but you might get the point)! 🙂

    anyway, i started with my blog after i found this masterpiece(before that, i thought i m the only one who believe, that the way we are doing stuff is the right way)

  • consolsbob

    I don’t know Marcus. What would you do? It might be a cracked record but we have injury problems. These blokes in the middle are doing a job for us in the absence of those who would normally be there.

    Also, a few weeks ago people were complaining that we were conceeding soft goals. Well, we aren’t now. Wenger sorted that out at the price of some creativity. I would still have backed that team to beat Sunderland and, on another day, they would have.

    Sure, Utd look good at the moment but so many of their games end 1-0 these days that results could easily have gone against them. Luck plays a big part in all football matches and we aren’t getting any. Ronaldo though gets a bucketfull every game with referees attitudes to him.

  • NYmarcus

    “Of course the Emirates holds no fear anymore, our crowd are doing the opposition’s job for them, because their negativity, lack of support and booing of our players have sucked the confidence out of the team”

    Oh geezus, there are gooners out there like you who actually blame the FANS and the media for our poor season. Yeah, it’s all the fans fault — our players and manager are flawless. Is that your analysis of this season? Our fans haven’t changed any from last season or the season before — they’re just as fickle as they have always been. THERE’S NOTHING AT ALL UNIQUE ABOUT POOR SUPPORT AMONG GOONERS AT THEIR HOME STADIUM. It’s something that teams all over the PL suffer. You’re totally deluded if you think that gooners are actually somehow unique in their poor support at the home ground.

    Yeah, that’s right, blame all our problems on the fans and the media. Nice, safe, easy convenient little excuse to hide behind.

    The reason that teams have no fear of us at the Emirates has NOTHING to do with the home crowd. Our home crowd is the exact same fickle, lousy crowd as last year and the year before — but teams last year most definitely feared coming to the Emirates. Last season the Grove was considered a tough fortress and visitors most definitely came feeling little to no hope of a draw, never mind a win — regardless of the lousy home crowd.

    Teams no longer fear us for the reason that we’ve been worked out, they know exactly how to frustrate us tactically. Cardiff frustrated us in the same exact way at Ninian Park–where our away fans were excellent support (we have a very good away support). Instead of relying on ridiculous non-footballing excuses, try to analyze the team in football terms.

    Consolbob, reasonable post, fair enuf. At the start of our season, all the cries for a DM were legitimate because no one protected our problematic back four — teams went right thru our midfield like butter, it was a joke. You’re right, no one worries about our defense anymore because our problems have been addressed in training.

    One has to wonder, however, where was the defensive coaching at the start of the season? Why did it take 5 losses (two on our home ground) and a ridiculous draw v. Spurs (again, on our home ground) in a game we were winning to FINALLY take care of such a glaring problem that so many of us were worried about once the summer transfer window closed?

    It’s that lack of solid defensive coaching (or the failure to address the absence of a solid defensive presence in midfield) that cost us 5 losses and a couple of draws in the first half of our season.

    By the time that we toughened up in the back and in midfield — and we have toughened, we are fine at the back and in defensive mid now — we were already stuck some weeks in 5th place and are still stuck there. So it’s legitimate to ask, is it too late to have made a difference?

    Yes, we’ve been plagued with injuries in a manner that I fail to understand, it’s like any other club I know of. Lots of gooners and media pundits fail to credit Wenger for not going on about injuries when explaining our poor results. So yes, you make do with what you have.

    But it’s more than just selection of individual players. Unlike a lot of gooners who criticize the team, I don’t focus too much on individual players, I don’t blame the latest scapegoat of the week. Why is this team’s tempo and pace so consistently slow and lacking urgency? The Sunderland game was the perfect example. As I said, against a team like Sunderland, you have to try to nick a goal using speed as your principal weapon, you can’t give them the time to settle and just wait for our slow build up. This isn’t rocket science. Wenger himself talked about this in his press conference. It just makes no sense to use 2 defensive midfielders against a closed shop like Sunderland, I can’t understand why he insisted on it. Or didn’t at least change it in the 2nd half.

    Then he takes off Song to put on….Eboue? Now, I understand that Eboue offers more pace, which is what we needed. But he’s not exactly the most creative player on the bench.

    Of course, there’s also the problem of misfiring strikers and just sheer awful luck. Most of our shots weren’t too close to the target, tho. We just seemed so toothless in front of goal. But consol, the fact is that a team like ours, with the players we have available, should be able to handle a team like Sunderland at home. I DO believe we have that capability and talent — even with those key injured players out — to defeat Sunderland at home.

    For me, the UEFA cup looks more and more likely. Still, anything can happen in football.

  • consolsbob

    I can’t believe that Arsene did not have solid defensive coaching in place at the start of the season, Marcus, I seem to remember a little problem with Willy and Toure also not being not himself which may have contributed to our probems then.

    At the end of your post, you say it yourself. You would have expected us to win with that side. So did I. I reckon eight times out of ten we would. Then we would not be having this debate. Robin missed a chance that he would normally bury but all strikers miss more often than they score. If he hadn’t, we would probably gone on to win 3 or 4-0. You are right, Wenger did say that and he looked very frustrated. A day and a result that he could have done without. Couldn’t we all?

    So, What are you proposing. Wenger out? It has been a ‘Annus horribilus’ to misquote the Queen. I think Arsene is the King though. He will get it right. We will finish in the top 4 and we will be challenging for 1st place next year. I really think that we are so close.

    Positive thinking does bear fruit.

  • NYmarcus

    Consol, Wenger out, c’mon, do you think I’m one of those? I’ve never ever ever come out and said it’s time for Wenger to go. First off, who the hell could replace him? I want Wenger to stay and finish up this project. But I think he’s made some mistakes, and I think some players he’s put faith in haven’t stepped up enuf to deal with the rigors of a very very hard league. Not their fault, they’re trying, but they’re in the world’s toughest league up against super-negative teams learning their game with no experienced veterans alongside them to help guide them. Cesc had Vieira, Pires, Henry, etc. to learn with. Who does Denilson have?

    I just watched AW’s latest press conference and he repeats that the most important thing is to keep this team together. He explains his strategy with this youth project, saying emphatically that these players must stay together. This is what I’m worried about. Will this team stay together? It didn’t last season and we went backward. No one can claim this team today is superior to last season’s. This is what concerns me: Arsene’s success with this team relies so much on them staying together. And with top clubs tapping them up and willing agents whispering in their ear, I fear we’ll lose our best players if we fail to finish in the top 4.

    I haven’t given up on the season yet, I can’t do that until the very last possible moment, but I am finding it very hard to hope for very much.

  • NYmarcus

    Oh, and consol, whether or not there was adequate defensive coaching at the start of the season, it certainly wasn’t working. Your analysis of Gallas and Kolo does not fully explain the defensive problems we had. We did not close down the opposition. It was embarrassing to watch how much space and time Geovanni had to just set up the ball and score his wonder volley against us. Our players just sat back and watched.

    There was no real defensive midfield presence who closed the opposition down, who protected the back line — which is why our defenders had to work harder and made more mistakes. Opponents were rampant thru our midfield, no one was there to close them down. Beyond that, there was obviously no adequate coaching in set pieces, everyone noticed this. Every gooner I know always looked away when we had a set piece to deal with, today that’s no longer the case. For example, at every set piece now we have two players on both posts, that was not the case before. That’s the result of better coaching.

  • MOMONEY

    I like it- and I think it could realistically be implemented. I doubt it will be anytime soon though…

  • jbh

    Why not no points for a loss, 1 point for a non-scoring draw, 2 pts for scoring draw and 4 pts for the win. Also why not follow a Rugby innovation (Southern hemispere Super 14 and Tri Nations) where they award a bonus point for scoring 4 tries. Lets say a bonus point for 3 goals.
    They did move from 2 pts for a win and 1 pt for a draw to 3 pts for a win – so change is possible.