It’s going to be great, it was awful as we expected, Santi Cazorla and Leeds.

“If you wanted to decrease the level of global interest in the climactic match of a European club competition by, say, 50%, you might very well contrive to ensure that both finalists came from the same national football league,” he added rubbing it in.

The piece showed an extraordinary disconnect with the real world of football – made all the more bizarre by suggesting that everyone in England ” – everywhere but in the environs of Tottenham, that is” was excited by the winners’ celebrations.

When will the media ever learn that supporters of clubs don’t all live in the street outside the ground?   And even if they did there would have been quite a few people in and around that part of north London who while being football supporters were not enthusiastic about Liverpool winning, even if quite a few were happy about Tottenham losing.

In fact as one friend of mine put it, he was rather hoping for a big hole to open up on the pitch making the match unplayable.  He did add that he didn’t want anyone hurt, but just for the match not to be played.

The Guardian article went on, “When the American owners and their families joined the celebrations, no one would have begrudged their enjoyment, since their careful, thoughtful stewardship of a previously troubled institution had made it all possible.”  Oh really?   Has the writer forgotten that the owner openly admitted in an American sports conference that he felt football contracts were not worth the paper they were written on, and that he had lied, lied and lied again when Arsenal were trying to sign Luis Suarez for his release clause fee – lying repeatedly that there was no such clause in the contract.

By and large I am not enamoured by rich people who lie openly as a matter of habit.  That may make me hopelessly naïve but surely I am not alone in this.

However at least the Guardian writer admitted that, “it was still a dreadful match: an hour and a half of scruffy tedium that must have been emptying bars throughout Europe. You can blame the oppressive heat, you can blame the ridiculous three-week gap between the second legs of the semi-finals and the final, you can blame the selection of two centre-forwards lacking match fitness…”

So why must the nation eagerly look forward to every match?  Why must the myth of people walking down cobbled streets to their local ground, possibly stopping at their local pub en route, be maintained?  Why should we all be living in this quaint, simplistic past that in fact never really existed at all?

Because if ever the word gets out in the previews that many matches are dull and boring it will be harder to sell newspapers and get people to listen to radio stations and watch TV.  And that in the end is what matters – the media.  The media is not writing for us or creating programmes for us, the people who go and who know what it is like.  They are writing for themselves – to stoke up the image that they need, simply to get viewers and readers.

In the 1970s, when football was getting going on TV, the Guardian accused TV stations of editing their programmes (which were in those days all highlights) to make each match look incredibly exciting and amazing.  They were not suggesting TV should show endless missed passes, but rather that they should acknowledge that an awful lot of the games were fairly dull and boring.  Now they do it another way: fantastic build up, and then say the let-down was to be expected.

But at least there are some good stories in football, not just the fact that not only is Santi Cazorla playing again but that he has been called up into the Spain squad for the first time since November 2015.   He had two years without playing and it was felt for a while that he might actually lose his leg.   His last game for us was in October 2016.

This season just finished he made 30 starts for Villareal – an extraordinary achievement.  And he acknowledged Arsenal’s part in the recovery saying, “I always felt the support of everyone from Arsenal: if there’s something I’ve taken away from there above all else, it’s the fans’ affection. The thorn in my side, the regret, is not having been able to say goodbye on the pitch, the way I’d have liked.”

But for every good story there is one that is really worrying, as is the news that Qatar Sports Investments which controls PSG are looking to invest in either Leeds or another club with similar potential.   However we never really thought the playing field was even did we?


14 Replies to “It’s going to be great, it was awful as we expected, Santi Cazorla and Leeds.”

  1. re your long winded article so man city are ok then Etihad fine but not lufc Qatar investment

    biased rubbish


  2. Crispen I would love the idea…. I still feel that his injury caused us missing out on CL football since then…

  3. Marca is reporting that Santi captained Spain in the second half of their game versus the Faroe.

    It was nice to see him being recognized by Spain.


    Some nameless medja outlet presented 10 things to look for in the Womens World Cup. No mention that the title holder of the all time leading scorer in football could change hands in this tournament. But then again, scoring 181 or 184 goals for one’s country is so easy [/sarcasm].


    In the Spanish game fixing news, MARCA ends an article with:

    Furthermore, there were mentions for a number of names, as well as fees that they were to receive. ‘Rodrigo’ was due to be paid 25,000 euros and another 5,000 euros, ‘Garai’ was set to earn 20,000 euros while ‘Jacobo’ was to take 80,000 euros, 60,000 euros and an another year on his contract.

    From what I read earlier, it seemed to be suggested that this match fixing was “of the players”, teams weren’t involved. But to “pay” someone with another year on their contract, that seems to suggest that a team was involved.

  4. New Arsenal player Leonie Maier (defender) did not make it off the bench in Germany’s 1-0 win over China.

  5. Former Gunner Vicky Losada started for Spain, and was substituted on half time. Was Marta Corredera a Gunners? She played.

    Spain won the match 3-1, with South Africa opening the scoring in the 25th minute.. The fouls were even at 11:11.

    At 60m, the referee started (possibly) changing the game; a yellow to South Africa on 60 and 68 minutes. In the 70th minute, Spain was handed a penalty, which was converted. Then the referee handed out a 3 yellow to South Africa in the 77th minute and a second yellow/red to South Africa in the 82nd minute. Not content with brandishing 4 cards to this point, the referee gave Spain another penalty in the 83rd minute. At the end of the game, the referee gave Spain a yellow (90th minute).

    Treatment to South Africa at 27m. Treatment to Spain (Vicky Losada) and South Africa at 33m. South Africa required a treatment at 73m.

    Odd statistics, you would think the official was from PGMO (officials were from Chile). While the foul counter was equal for both teams, Spain inflicted 3 treatments to South Africa inflicting 1.

  6. The France-Korea game was about even on fouls (11:10 ?) and there was only a single treatment. No cards.

    The Germany – China game had China doing a lot of fouling (8:20) and I think the treatments parallel the fouls (Germany needing about 2 and China 1 ?). Cards were 1:4, and no penalties.

    The Norway – Nigeria game is just ending. 2 cards to Nigeria, none to Norway. Fouls were 6:10. Treatments were 2:2.

  7. Nations League: Switzerland – England (aka Spuds)

    The stats look similar to the spuds playing. England having twice the fouls, inflicting 4 treatments (2 or 3 requiring Switzerland to substitute).

  8. Nations League: Switzerland – England (aka Spuds)

    Someone goofed and added a treatments datum to the stats. Fouls are 12:17 (Switzerland-England), but the treatments needed are 9:0! England is kicking the shit out of Switzerland, and the referees are allowing it. Still just the 2 yellows to England at 23 and 27 minutes.

  9. Nations League: Switzerland – England (aka Spuds)

    Something happened in this game. At some point, I believe that England had about twice the fouls of Switzerland, at 17. That 17th foul was the last foul given against England. After extra time, the fouls are now 15:17. Switzerland has required 12 treatments to 0 by England. I wonder if there was some odd betting patterns on this game, with this Romanian set of officials?

  10. The idea that some team (Spuds) could play more than 3/4 of a game and not yet have a foul; or like the England (Spuds) game where at some point near half time they no longer got fouls (but the treatments kept incrementing) bothered me.

    Fine. Let’s assume 17 fouls in 90 minutes (England had 17 fouls about mid game, and then none). I’m going to do 10,000 MC trials. This 17 is an estimate (albeit a poor one because it is produced by the officials), so the first thing I do is to generate new new estimate of the number of fouls assuming 17 is the average number. And then I generate inter-event durations until I either get to 17, or the sum of durations is larger than 90 minutes. Poisson for the number of events, exponential for the durations between events.

    I have 5272 trials where I got to 17 fouls before the game ended (I am ignoring extra time). The earlyist time to 17 fouls I got was a little under 10 minutes. Only 11% of games where we are expecting 17 fouls per game have a team getting 17 fouls in the first half. 17% before 51 minutes. 24% at 56 minutes. 33% at 61 minutes. The median is somewhere in the 69th minute.

    I believe there was a spud game this season, where the first foul given to the spuds was at 73 minutes. I left the assumed foul rate at 17 per game. Out of 10,000 MC trials; I had NO occurrences of a first foul 1t 73 minutes.

    Does the PGMO bend rules for the fancied teams? You betcha!

  11. The idea that the spuds played a game where their first foul (or maybe it was the first card?) is at 73 minutes, got me wandering.

    You need to be at about 5 fouls per game (or 5 cards per game), before you see a first foul (or card) at something like 73 minutes. I just did a single 10,000 MC study; but I only seen 186 events out of 10,000 with an expected number of 5.

    Do the spuds only foul 5 times per game? Do they deserve less than fouls per game? How often?

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