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#1 Edited by Shindig (4883 posts) -

In the wake of the current debate about racism from the stands, Gordon Strachan makes an unfortunate comparison. For the record, Johnson was convicted of grooming a 15 year-old girl.

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#2 Posted by Bobstar (405 posts) -

Is this only restricted to PL? In other news, Real Madrid just won the World Cup in Club Football.

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#3 Posted by Phili151 (328 posts) -

Big fan of Catts, so hoping Sunderland win this game. Nothing against you mind, you've got Keggy in your avi so your alright. Desperate for a Liverpool win though. Couldn't bare the thought of losing to Arsenal.

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#4 Posted by klaptos (201 posts) -

Hoping Liverpool get a win and Benfica a loss.

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#5 Posted by Phili151 (328 posts) -

@bobstar: A trophy is a trophy at the end of the day but, isn't that the equivalent of the european super cup. In that no fans actually give a damn?

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#6 Posted by Dave_Tacitus (2445 posts) -

@phili151: All hail Keggy Keegle!

That was a Brian Moore slip of the tongue, wasn't it? Danny Baker popularised it though.

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#7 Posted by Morningstar (2460 posts) -

Newcastle lost. I am sad =(

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#8 Posted by ClaritySam (645 posts) -

This is the fixture that gave us the sentence "One Newcastle fan was seen to punch a police horse." Which is perhaps my favourite arrangement of words in the history of the English language.

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#9 Posted by Shindig (4883 posts) -

I liked the World Club Cup when it was a a group stage/knockout competition. The kind of thing Man Utd would actually place over the FA Cup. They've weighed it so far in favour of the European sides, these days.

Also, sad but the mackems deserved it. This is going to be one of those runs. 8 years of hot and cold Pardew.

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#10 Posted by mosespippy (4751 posts) -
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That is all I have to say on the subject.

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#11 Posted by Shindig (4883 posts) -

Also, this is the week Thierry Henry retired.

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Spanish match-fixing: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/30489499

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#12 Posted by Shoguns_Decapitator (122 posts) -

Not a massive fan of the Premier League these days but it was a canny game I thought, plenty of naughty challenges going in and some sitters missed, decent showing. Stevie Taylor smooching the post was something else aswell, what a crack.

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#13 Posted by ratamero (386 posts) -

@shindig: as far as I can remember, it was like that exactly once (that freaky tournament of 2000). Before that it was an unofficial match between UEFA/CONMEBOL champions and after that it became this weird thing that it is nowadays.

@phili151: any South-American fan will tell you that we take it very, VERY seriously. Not sure how important it is for European clubs and fans, though.

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#14 Posted by Shindig (4883 posts) -

Anyone in the mood for more international shenanigans should check out next month's Africa Cup of Nations. For financial reasons, Morocco withdrew hosting it so Equatorial Guinea step in at short notice to host this year's tournament. Nigeria, reigning champs, couldn't get through qualifying so things are maybe a little more open than usual.

Of the 16 teams, 9 are previous winners and four more are previous finalists with Zambia looking to repeat the feel good story of 2012 on the same soil. Congo make their first appearance since 2000. Algeria seem like potential winners with their qualifying form but that could really count for nothing. Drogba might finally win one of these for Ivory Coast. Maybe Congo and DR Congo might meet up in the Quarter Finals and all hell will break loose?

The tournament starts 17th January and runs til 8th February. European coverage, as ever is by Eurosport with Brits grabbing extra coverage via the ITV4 shed. Punditry probably by some out-of-work former Premiership bloke. US and Aussie coverage is available from beIN Sports.

Now to leave you with Zambia's finest hour. A little bit of background, too. They're winning it in the country where the squad plane crashed in 1993 wiping out 18 players and 3 coaches. Amazing.

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#15 Posted by Phili151 (328 posts) -

I love the Africa Cup of Nations, and that final a couple years ago was great. Shame that the locals are priced out a lot of the time though, and I highly doubt that'll change.

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#16 Posted by Shindig (4883 posts) -

Woah, a news dump.

  • Adriano, former Brazil international has decided to return to football after a hiatus whilst he tries to sort his head out. I last saw him playing for Corinthians. He looked like a truck. He's joined up with French Ligue 2 side Le Havre.
  • Fernando Torres has signed permanently with AC Milan. 10 games. 1 goal. Immediately loaned to Atletico Madrid with Cerci going the other way.
  • Intelligent football man Clark Carlisle walked in front of a lorry this week. He is not in a life-threatening condition.
  • Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock has been sacked. They currently lie 18th in the Premier League.
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#17 Posted by Bollard (8151 posts) -

@shindig said:

  • Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock has been sacked. They currently lie 18th in the Premier League.

As a Crystal Palace fan I am both relieved, and absolutely shitting it. Great way to ruin another transfer window.

The match on Saturday against Southampton was the quietest I've ever heard Selhurst. It was really bad.

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#18 Posted by Shindig (4883 posts) -

What if they rehire Tony Pulis?

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#19 Posted by Wlleiotl (310 posts) -
@shindig said:

  • Intelligent football man Clark Carlisle walked in front of a lorry this week. He is not in a life-threatening condition.

Even by football standards, I don't think he should be described as 'intelligent' anymore.

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#20 Posted by EuanDewar (5160 posts) -

Nice work lad starting this thread up, for ages I was baffled as to why there wasn't a soccer thread on the GB forums. Suppose I could've just started one meself but I guess the initiative wasn't there.

Anyway, Man U vs Spurs going on right now. Hoping Spurs can pull something out of it but the visitors have had the best chances going into half time, should have scored multiple times by now. I support Arsenal but really I don't particularly dislike Spurs as much as most fans or as much as I used to when I was younger. United, however, manage to consistently get on my nerves, so seeing Van Persie do keepy-uppys in front of goal instead of scoring for some reason put a proper smile on my face.

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#21 Posted by armaan8014 (6306 posts) -

Let's keep this thread alive and active! (Like that wrestling thread that has 100 million posts on it)

Excited for today's matches, but MAN it's a really busy schedule for the teams this month till next. (Good for the fans though)

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#22 Posted by Brendan (9210 posts) -

Didn't even know this existed. ManU is my team, and am currently watching them almost score against Spurs.

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#23 Posted by AndyMc1888 (156 posts) -

Rangers are still hilarious from boardroom to the park.

Celtic are still shit but at least our club didn't die

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#24 Posted by Brendan (9210 posts) -

@andymc1888: They fucked up when they took separate TV deals from the rest of the league which doomed it (the Scottish league) financially in the long run. Same mistake that's been made in the Spanish league in recent years. The English league is doing it right by keeping things more competitive through a system that allows for more teams to create close and exciting games.

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#25 Posted by McGray90 (134 posts) -

Anyone here a fan of a football league club? Long suffering Coventry City fan myself, Chesterfield at home today, can't make it unfortunately so will be listening to it on the radio, we desperately need a result.

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#26 Posted by Shoguns_Decapitator (122 posts) -

@mcgray90 said:

Anyone here a fan of a football league club? Long suffering Coventry City fan myself, Chesterfield at home today, can't make it unfortunately so will be listening to it on the radio, we desperately need a result.

Hartlepool United fan here, no doubt suffering for my sins from a previous life :(

Been to the Ricoh once to watch us, think it was a Carling Cup night match, our only win against your lot.

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#27 Posted by Shindig (4883 posts) -

Gateshead. Looking forward to next weekend's cup tie against the Baggies.

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#28 Posted by DocHaus (2758 posts) -

DC United fan here for whatever that's worth (MLS represent!). Got a team sweatshirt and cap as holiday presents. Even though their playoff run ended sooner than hoped it was quite a dramatic turnaround from the 3-win season of yesteryear, dumping almost the entire Starting XI for a new batch of veterans and rookie hopefuls who panned out.

MLS is getting two new teams next year. One which is essentially Man City USA (NYCFC) playing in Yankee Stadium until further notice, despite the fact that the Red Bulls (boo!) and the Cosmos (lesser team but with a big fanbase) already exist. The other is Orlando City SC, which actually built itself up organically, though considering how most Florida sports teams outside of college (MURICAN) football are ignored I wonder how long it will last. Chivas USA finally folded (more like "was put out of its misery"), so now there's an even 20 teams in the league.

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#29 Edited by Shindig (4883 posts) -

Okay, this has been a week and a half. Atletico Madrid are unveiling prodigal son Fernando Torres after his unsuccessful AC Milan spell.

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Note how he does everything right up until a finish from two yards. And, in job news, Newcastle's Alan Pardew swaps his 8-year ball and chain to Mike Ashley for a helter-skelter job in London with Crystal Palace. I can't help but feel a little saddened. Henceforth, I present to you my retrospective opinions on the old boss.

A sideways step

That's what I considered his appointment when he replaced the quite adequate Chris Hughton. Sure, he had a more experienced CV than the man he was replacing and an FA Cup final visit to boot, but I just wasn't sure what he brought to the table. As it happens, Alan does have a decent knack when it comes to man management. All the talk of Argentine nights and stuff just to get the team bonding better certainly managed to manifest itself into results and, a surprise entrant into European football followed.

Naturally, these additional games took its toll and we flirted with the drop before our quality just about edged us through. And that's constant with Pardew's Newcastle tenure. There's no middle ground. We're either amazing or bemusing in 8-11 game spells and, its ultimately the gamble Palace are taking. They're going to hope and hold out for a honeymoon to life them out of their current predicament. When his extension to his Newcastle contract was unveiled, we hoped for stability but we've seen plenty of schizophrenic spells since his appointment.

"I was trying to push him away with my head."

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What a steamhead. There's been three notable incidents of him losing his rag on the sidelines and, as a result we had 8 games without his guidance last season. In many ways, as someone who had to finish his career early due to injury, he still reacts in the dugout as if he was playing but, as a consequence, he loses sight of the boundaries. He could tone it down but, given that's he walked into a relegation dog fight, I'm not so sure.

The vocal opposition

And its not hard to forget the fan reaction to Alan's form as manager. Aside from the glorious run to European football, we'd ended last season, and began this, with torrid spells of ineptitude. The bubble thankfully burst with our 6-game winning streak which saw us comfortably putting distance between us and the foot of the table. I felt that, with Pardew as manager, you were playing a long game. I never see us as too good to go down (we've not been that long back in the top flight) but fans come with a certain sense of privilege and those are the ones that shout when the threat of the drop becomes all too real.

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Ultimately, that's probably one of the bigger factors that made walking away easier for him. I have no clue about his extended contract and the wages he was supposedly on whilst working under Mike Ashley but the £2.5m compensation which has been agreed between the two clubs speaks volumes about the terms he was under. I'd like to wish him all the best and he did give us some sense of stability when you consider he managed more Premier League games in his tenure than Kevin Keegan during his first reign.

Now things turn to the future. The usual Tony Pulis and Steve Bruce names are mentioned with the more bizarre entries being linked containing the likes of club captain Fabricio Coloccini (a man who last season was trying to engineer a move away from Tyneside) and, more recently, Middlesbrough's Steve McClaren. Its all back to square one and I've lived through enough managerial appointments at St. James to realise that you rarely strike it lucky.

The aftermath could be terrifying. When departures happen there's always the possibility players could chose this opportunity to leave and the transfer window opens in just under two hours. It could be grim but football always continues. I remember toon fans in tears when he were relegated in 2010 but its important to remember clubs do not stop unless they are completely, 100% frigged. What will follow is a period of transition. A period we should all be used to.

West Brom parted company with Alan Irvine this week. A former Newcastle goalkeeping coach who didn't really stand a chance with the West Brom fans after Pepe Mel's ill-fated spell. Meanwhile, Chris Hughton has found work at Brighton. All the best to him. New Years Day fixtures tomorrow. I did fancy our chances against Burnley til this all happened. On a rather tricky sidenote, Mike Ashley's attempts to buy a larger stake in Rangers were blocked by the SFA this week. Some fans might see that as our Chairman trying to make his exit but, lets be honest, Rangers are financially bent. They're after a new manager this week as well. Ally McCoist left his post and his stupidly lucrative contract.

Man, I need to find some non-British content for this.

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#30 Posted by Shindig (4883 posts) -
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He will only disappoint you. Other news:

  • Steven Gerrard, Liverpool talisman and living banana skin will part company with the scousers after an association since birth. He's off to America to extend his career a little.
  • Tony Pulis is the new West Brom manager. His side promptly dumped Gateshead out of the FA Cup in a 7-0 defeat. Harsh. Also noted was Saido Berahinho not celebrating any of his four goals, further adding to speculation that he will leave this month for Liverpool... or Gateshead, I dunno.
  • More FA Cup disappointment as Blyth Spartans, the lowest side left in the competition squandered a 2-0 lead to suffer a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Birmingham. Draw for the 4th round is done sometime tomorrow.
  • Lukas Podolski looks to Inter Milan to get some regular football.
  • Ched Evans is unemployable. Whilst he is a convicted rapist, murderers like Patrick Kluivert, Edmundo and Lee Hughes have gone on to have successful careers. That doesn't sit right with me.
  • And as Newcastle don't really bother to recruit a replacement for Alan Pardew, Timuri Ketsbaia tells wor local media he wants the job.

Make it happen, Mike.

And now a little preview of the Asian Cup which is due to hit this month. Whilst not as daft or as political as the African Cup of Nations, the quality might be better. Australia ran unopposed to host this year's tournament which runs from the 9th - 31st of January. This marks the first time the tournament has been held out of the confines of the Asian continent.

For those coming late to the sport, I'll quickly explain why Australia are accepted into the Asian federation:

Australia were, and still are, too good for the Oceania federation and, up until 2010, their attempts to qualify for a World Cup place were hampered by a play-off where they had to square off against the 5th-placed South American side. Australia saw this as an unfair barrier and asked to be moved into the Asian Federation to increase their chances. FIFA agreed and, to add more to this, gave Oceania a qualifying spot outright for the World Cup allowing New Zealand now to qualify for tournaments.

There are 16 teams entered with reigning champions Japan seen as early favourites. On a global scale Japan and South Korea haven't pressed on since their impressive (if slightly suspicious) showings in their home 2002 World Cup. Group A ties Australia and South Korea together who must be seen as candidates to progress from that group. Group B's a little more interesting with China meeting up with SaudiArabia,Uzbekistan and NorthKorea. Iran should make sort work of Group C. Group D also seems lopsided with Japan teamed up against Jordan, Iraq and tournament debutants Palestine.

If any North Americans have ONE World Sports, then you're in luck. Eurosport, as usual provides coverage for the .. err... Europeans. Aussies and New Zeleanders look forth towards Murdoch's evil empire (Sky and Fox) for coverage.

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#31 Posted by Wilshere (408 posts) -

If there was anyone capable of whipping Torres into shape it would be Simeone. Still kinda skeptical because its seems that Torres isn't as fast as he used to be after a string of injuries at Liverpool. I hope he does well. More competition in La Liga is always welcomed.

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#32 Posted by Wlleiotl (310 posts) -

have a serious word with yourself if you're in support of ched evans doing anything in the public eye. rehabilitation means having remorse for your actions, something that 'murderers' (seriously?) kluivert, hughes and edmundo all have. ched evans believing that he has still done nothing wrong is a problem with him, not the world around him, and nobody owes him anything

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#33 Posted by Phili151 (328 posts) -

@wlleiotl: Exactly! Also everyone saying he's served his time because he hasn't, he's been released on licence, but his sentence isn't finished yet.

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#34 Posted by Shindig (4883 posts) -

Its a case involving two people claiming to be blind drunk. Tricky. Anyway, I've never seen Torres' pace as the issue. Its what he does when he's through on goal. Its like when Cisse had that drought. Too much time to think on a shot so he fluffs his lines.

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#35 Edited by brandondryrock (890 posts) -

@shindig: I'll never forget when Torres missed that wide open goal against United, and the United supporters went crazy.

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#36 Posted by Wlleiotl (310 posts) -

@shindig: its not really all that hard to find out about the case, its nothing to do with two people being drunk at all. its one person, who was not blind drunk, making a series of decisions that all point towards taking advantage of someone who was drunk. the police decided to press charges, not the woman in question.

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#37 Posted by Shindig (4883 posts) -

Well, I was going to quietly let it lie but it appears Oldham Athletic may be considering giving him a contract.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/30681333

The conviction isn't the thing I'm mostly concerned about but the fact its seemingly blacklisted him from any work in his chosen field. Oh, and Torres has had his debut. Winning start in the Madrid derby. Couple this with the internal rhubarb at Barcelona and suddenly Spanish football's got interesting.

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#38 Posted by Shoguns_Decapitator (122 posts) -

The British game set the precedent for letting convicted criminals back in, Lee Hughes and Luke McCormick who's crimes were gravely worse than Evans and were allowed to continue with their lives, they simply can't block Evans from doing the same.

In my opinion, Evans should of waited until his case review had been seen and his conviction quashed before even trying to get back into football, a conviction quashed Evans would have his pick of the 72 league clubs.

As for Gerrard, the coverage in England is crazy, you'd think the bloke had died the amount of news reports on him, he's off to the MLS for money and money alone!

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#39 Posted by Shindig (4883 posts) -

I thought it was also due to Brendan Rodgers telling him to 'manage his playing time'. This Barcelona crisis is getting moderately interesting.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2903861/Luis-Enrique-replaced-former-Brighton-boss-Oscar-Garcia-Barcelona-coach-faces-sack-fall-players.html

The long and the short of this is, Luis Enrique has fallen out of favour with some senior players and figures amongst the club. Assistant manager Charles Puyol was sacked, Antonio Zubizuretta has now followed and Lionel Messi has ran to club president Bartomeu to voice his disgust. With Messi being Barca and, maybe the world's biggest player, its looking like Enrique's days are numbered and, in his stead, Oscar Garcia, a former under-19 coach at the Nou Camp is set to replace him.

Among the debates coming out of this are one of just wondering who could afford Lionel Messi if the Barcelona board wasn't to side with him. Part of me wanted to see that happen just to see the sheer numbers involved. I physically can't imagine anyone bringing up the right amount to force a move.

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#40 Posted by clush (704 posts) -

As for Gerrard, the coverage in England is crazy, you'd think the bloke had died the amount of news reports on him, he's off to the MLS for money and money alone!

As a Dutchman who watches his entire league bought dry every single year I think it's hilarious to see the English complaining about that.

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#41 Posted by Shindig (4883 posts) -

AFC Asia Cup highlights

And I do find the money in the Premier League has pissed in the water somewhat. Couple that with the increasing overseas ownership of teams and you've got a really skewed talent pool. Not only in England but over in France with Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern in Germany really condensing the top talent like its a game of Ultimate Team. It depresses me that great teams like Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord can't hold on to their talents.

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#42 Posted by Jimbo (10472 posts) -

@clush said:

@shoguns_decapitator said:

As for Gerrard, the coverage in England is crazy, you'd think the bloke had died the amount of news reports on him, he's off to the MLS for money and money alone!

As a Dutchman who watches his entire league bought dry every single year I think it's hilarious to see the English complaining about that.

It's not the same (almost the opposite in fact) and I don't think anybody is complaining about it in the sense that he's been lured elsewhere 'for the money'. He's only leaving because Liverpool (correctly, imo) don't think he's good enough to be starting in the EPL every week anymore, not because he's chasing some big pay day in MLS. Gerrard in his prime could have walked away from Liverpool in pursuit of more money and trophies and had his pick of any club in the world, but he never did.

Players go from the Dutch league to the English/Spanish/German leagues because they are a step up in every respect. They only go to MLS when they can no longer hack it at the highest level. As it is, Liverpool can't guarantee Gerrard a start and LA Galaxy are prepared to pay top dollar for past-it but famous players, so win-win for everybody.

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#43 Edited by randiolo (1173 posts) -

I live 10 min from the stadium where the Asian cups being played, and i totally forgot it started today..

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#44 Edited by clush (704 posts) -

@jimbo said:

@clush said:

@shoguns_decapitator said:

As for Gerrard, the coverage in England is crazy, you'd think the bloke had died the amount of news reports on him, he's off to the MLS for money and money alone!

As a Dutchman who watches his entire league bought dry every single year I think it's hilarious to see the English complaining about that.

It's not the same (almost the opposite in fact) and I don't think anybody is complaining about it in the sense that he's been lured elsewhere 'for the money'. He's only leaving because Liverpool (correctly, imo) don't think he's good enough to be starting in the EPL every week anymore, not because he's chasing some big pay day in MLS. Gerrard in his prime could have walked away from Liverpool in pursuit of more money and trophies and had his pick of any club in the world, but he never did.

Players go from the Dutch league to the English/Spanish/German leagues because they are a step up in every respect. They only go to MLS when they can no longer hack it at the highest level. As it is, Liverpool can't guarantee Gerrard a start and LA Galaxy are prepared to pay top dollar for past-it but famous players, so win-win for everybody.

I don't disagree. It's just sad that we have no way of catching up. More money = better players = better competition = better players again... so even if our Dutch youngsters aren't sell-outs they'll still end up in foreign leagues because every sportsman wants to play at the highest level. It's all connected.

Unless we get another miracle generation like Ajax had in 1995 (who should've won the world cup in 1998... but that wound'll never heal) maybe we can incidentally do some damage in the Champions League. For now, simply getting out of the group stage or qualifying at all is a huge achievement.

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#45 Edited by Bollard (8151 posts) -
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#46 Posted by Lausebub (549 posts) -

Wait, this is the official unofficial football thread here? Oh wow. 45 posts in 20 days. That's a shame. I'll post stuff here every once in a while.

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#47 Posted by Shindig (4883 posts) -

@bollard: No prob. It'll be interesting to see what he does with a more accommodating chairman and it looks like your honeymoon is well under way.

Meanwhile, Ched Evans' possible move to Oldham has subsided due to a backlash of some sort that may or may not have included death and rape threats from members of the public. Steve Bruce has weighed in saying "There's grounds for an appeal." against Ched's conviction which, might not be the smartest thing to say at the minute.

In other bad news, Junior Malanda, Belgian under-20 international and promising Wolfsburg player died in a car crash yesterday.

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#48 Posted by Jimbo (10472 posts) -

Steve Bruce is insane to have weighed in as heavily as he did, as though he's somehow in a better position to judge what happened that night than the jury. I would imagine the powers that be at Hull FC are massively pissed off with him for needlessly dragging them into it.

As it stands right now, Ched Evans should never play professional football again. Unless a court decides otherwise, he is a convicted rapist. Imo the only thing he should be doing right now is sitting in a jail cell - 2.5 years jail time for rape is sickeningly lenient.

Bottom line is that pro sport is an entertainment industry and so the opinion of the audience is paramount. His being (moderately) skilled at football and wishing to continue his career in it is irrelevant if the public is actively opposed to watching him perform. It's no use complaining about 'mob rule' when your chosen profession is performing for that very same mob.

The public has made it clear that they don't want to be put in a position where they are expected to celebrate a rapist, which isn't an unreasonable position to take. Committing a serious crime (and especially a sex crime) permanently closes a lot of doors, which remain closed even when the perpetrator has served their time. The FA needs to tighten up its rules so that this becomes one of them.

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#49 Posted by Shoguns_Decapitator (122 posts) -

Bloody hell my mob finally picked up a win, 2-0 and it could've easily been 4, first league win since October, almost forgot what it was like to have a pleasant weekend for a change, onwards and upwards lads!

As for Evans he has as much right to try and continue his life as a footballer as Lee Hughes and Luke McCormick did before him, convicted killers both enjoying the full trappings of the professional game, where was the outrage over these two returning? Oh yes, that's right social media wasn't really a popular thing back then, so guess what nobody outside of football gave a shiny shite, there was plenty of disgust from proper fans of the game, people who actually went to games and supported their teams, the people who actually mattered, I can remember giving Lee Hughes along with many others dogs abuse when he used to play against us, the man is/was an odious human being who used to use the hate and act like some pantomine villain towards the crowd.

The FA can't issue one rule for killers and another rule for rapists, regardless of pressure from the Twitterati, who seemingly only have a passing interest in football whenever there is something to get their collective gums flapping, I'd guarantee that a good chunk of these people couldn't tell you who Hughes and McCormick are and what they done without a cursory glance at Google.

As it stands he is a rapist, a shitty self entitled person with little regard for his partner, who is probably going about this the wrong way, wait it out, get the conviction quashed, make your comeback.

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#50 Posted by Shindig (4883 posts) -

Yep, there's no sense in doing anything until that appeal decision is finalised. Although, if you think you've been wrongly accused, going about 'business as usual' may be his only way of dealing with it. Or maybe he really needs a wage.

Also, how poor a season are Borussia Dortmund having? Its tight at the bottom of the Bundesliga but being second from bottom for a club that was one of Europe's top sides a year ago is one hell of a downturn.