By Bulldog Drummond
There is an article in the Guardian about how soulless and hopeless everything to do with PSG feels. It includes the paragraph…
“A 37-year-old Qatari billionaire buys a football club with an unlimited budget to attract the world’s best players to one of its greatest cities. Over the course of a decade he wins seven league titles by a combined margin of 101 points. On paper – and let’s set aside the morality of the thing for a minute – this sounds like the most riotously fun project in the history of football. And yet for some reason, it’s not. It feels malcontent and unsatisfying and overwrought and over-serious and thoroughly joyless.”
It’s an interesting warning of what happens now the money can come from anywhere, as opposed to the days when Arsenal won the league five times in eight years with all the finance coming out of gate receipts.
Now it is all a case of billionaires, with victory going to the billionaire with the most billions. And yes Arsenal too of course are owned by a fairly rich chap who himself bought it from a fairly rich family who had been running the show since a coup in the late 1920s. Indeed, that’s a reminder – that’s how it used to be done. Through a boardroom coup of the type when the Hill-Wood family took over Arsenal. Now we don’t even get that. It is just money, and is seemingly so boring that even Kylian Mbappé feels it would be more fun at Real Madrid.
Arsenal are trying to beat the system by beating the old adage that “you can’t win things with kids”, a route many have tried before. Five years ago Barnsley were regularly putting out a team in the Championship, with an average age of 23. In 2018 they finished two from bottom of the Championship and were relegated – although with the squad that little bit older they came back up the following season.
Of course, it gets tougher when you also lose players at the same time to an international tournament. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Naby Keita, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey are all unavailable because of international “duty” and that’s even before we get to the injuries.
But we can be thankful to miracles, such as the fact that so many of those covid illnesses that Liverpool had turned out to be false positives – these running at a rate never seen before in the history of medical science. I find that interesting because a lot of the dance clubs I visit ask me to show a lateral flow test result, and I’m sure Liverpool FC’s method of testing is more efficient than me testing myself.
Even the Guardian has now picked up on the fact that there is something odd about the biggest number of false positives ever since in the history of covid testing all happening together in Liverpool, although as it adds, “The EFL has said it will not be investigating the postponement.”
Klopp said, “A false positive is a positive test. You get a test result back positive and, when you are able to do a retest a day, a day and a half later, you get a result that makes it look like a false positive because this test was a negative.
“It doesn’t change anything for your quarantine but you need to prove it is wrong or right so you have to do a third test and between the first and second and second and third tests you cannot use the players.”
But when the rate of false positives is this high – higher by orders of magnitude than has been happening anywhere else, you also have to do two other things. First you have to ask why, and second you have to go and get the third set of does done at another centre by another totally independent team. That didn’t happen.
Of course, it may be that by pure chance Liverpool had a world-breaking number of false positives in one go, and that it allowed them to postpone the match to have one or two other players come back, and of course, there is no proof of anything being amiss. Indeed Mr Arteta has been the diplomatic gent throughout, as he always is, saying, “It’s something that’s not in our control. “The EFL is responsible to check every single player’s status and make the decision whether the game is played or not. The decision was to postpone the match and I’m sure they had the right arguments to do so.”
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