A ceaseless set of crises in football, but no mention of the biggest crises of them all



By Tony Attwood

There is a review on the Football Observatory website concerning the experience of players in various teams, in which  is “calculated by weighting minutes played in official club or national team matches over the last year by the sporting level of the games, with a maximum possible value of 100.”

It is a complicated method, but still interesting, especially in this case for leaving aside the technicalities the most experienced squads in the Premier League are

  1. Manchester City
  2. Manchester United
  3. Arsenal
  4. Newcastle United
  5. Liverpool

Interesting because Arsenal are always said to have a young and inexperienced squad (with the hint that this could make them come unstuck in the end).  And when journos are fed up writing that they have a go at Arsenal having an inexperienced management team.  

What is interesting is that Pep Guardiola just did a little speech in which he said, “For Chelsea it is easier than us, I couldn’t sit here if we spent what Chelsea spent in the last two transfer windows – you would kill me. We’d be under scrutiny like you couldn’t imagine.”

It’s another defence for Manchester City fans to pick up on.  If journalists looked at other clubs in the way they look at Man City, these other clubs would be pulled apart too.  It’s just not fair how they pick on us!

So here Guardiola is, with at his disposal what the Football Observatory consider the most experienced squad in English football, and he is complaining that the media would turn on him if his club behaved as Chelsea.

Of course we know that Chelsea is a basket case (see for example What Arsenal are doing and why it is not working at Chelsea) but what Guardiola’s comment tries to do is suggest Manchester City is constrained by media criticism.    And yet no evidence is given, and indeed when I watch what I see is the opposite: cringing fawning journos who never push difficult questions. 

But the media does come and go with clubs it likes and clubs it turns on.   Manchester United of course are very much not flavour of the month just now, with the Telegraph recently running the headline “Rudderless and slow to act – Mason Greenwood saga is symptomatic of Glazer rule,” suggesting Manchester United’s American owners seem detached.”

Liverpool however always get an easier run, even when the company they have chosen to rebuild their stand has ceased trading.  Iin the media it’s never Liverpool’s fault – even though they chose the contractors and must have done a “due diligence” review of the people they were putting their faith in.  (Unless they didn’t of course).

Then there is Everton where the report is that “Farhad Moshiri’s attempts to sell a potential 25 per cent stake of Everton to a United States investment firm have collapsed at the 11th hour amid fresh misery for the crisis-torn club.”

Chelsea meanwhile are increasingly anxious to find new forms of income to be able to meet their FFP concerns following the massive overspend of recent seasons, and they still haven’t got Premier League approval for a shirt sponsorship deal: you may have noticed that Chelsea actually don’t have a sponsor on the front of their shirts.  Or at least didn’t last time I looked.

Now this does smack of a spot of chaotic non-planning.  The League haven’t given their ok to the Chelsea deal because it is big (£40m a year) and the company is brand new and thus have no track record to show that the money will actually arrive (as opposed to being plonked into Chelsea’s accounts in order to satisfy FFP).

There is also a thought that the funding of the new sponsoring company has come from companies owned or controlled by Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali who run Chelsea, and could just be a clever wheeze to get around FFP rules.   It would in fact be like Chelsea sponsoring itself and then using the income to show that is has not overspent on transfers.

Sadly amidst all this there is no sign of an investigation into the use of second yellow cards by referees as a way of getting at a team they don’t like, nor into sending off a player for taking eight seconds to take a throw .  But such nonsense does ensure that any suggesting of an enquiry into the way that some referees favour the home teams and some the away teams, as the WhoScored site shows so eloquently, is right off the agenda.    (Do take a look at last season’s home v away results for referees if you have not yet seen them.)  Even we must admit: its a clever manipulation of the media.

In fact the media of late have actually resorted to praising Arsenal occasionally.  Sit down before you read it but you could find one or two nice bits in The £105m arrival of Declan Rice in the Mail which tells us that, “Thomas Partey was expected to leave Arsenal… but in Mikel Arteta’s new system he is THRIVING. His presence gives Bukayo Saka the freedom to attack.

The length these people will go to not to write about what referees are getting up to.

One Reply to “A ceaseless set of crises in football, but no mention of the biggest crises of them all”

  1. So in your closing paragraph you have gone from complaining about media negativity of Arsenal to claiming recent positivity is only to avoid covering other issues.
    Sorry , but that is rampant conspiracy theorist territory. Disappointing

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