One Mailboxer can’t see where Arsenal can be improved in January, there’s some World Cup questions and answers to the Celtic, Rangers conundrum…
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The World Cup approaches…
Seeing as the World Cup is only slightly over two weeks away, and it’s Friday, I thought I would check in with how the mailbox is approaching the thing.
-Are you excited for the World Cup?
-Are you going to the World Cup or do you know anybody who is? I am especially interested in Ed Quotheraven-level detailed answers for anybody answering yes.
-Are you going to watch all the games? Big games? Your team’s games? Boycott it completely?
For myself, the World Cup used to be quite literally my favorite thing. I loved soccer, and the mystique, history, and international scope of the tournament just captivated me. The four year wait between tournaments felt like a hundred eternities when I was a kid. I used to rearrange my life for a month, recording all the games and watching them at ungodly hours, saving up vacation time especially for the group stage. I went to Brazil and seriously doubt that I will ever go on a better trip.
I find myself far less excited than I have ever been for the World Cup. Between getting older and watching corruption and money make a mockery of the sport at the highest levels, I can’t muster the same enthusiasm. The morality of handing the tournament to an oppressive regime, and the thousands of worker deaths, are extremely difficult to reconcile. It also begs the question of whether the tournament should belong to a club of democratic and rich nations (and everybody knows what their wealth is built on). The issue is complex and exhausting.
I will not be boycotting completely. I certainly won’t leave the room if somebody puts a game on. But nor am I going to rearrange the other things in my life to watch games. I anticipate watching the games I happen to catch with indifference and maybe a little morbid curiosity. A few of the games will no doubt be social events. But overall, meh.
The ESL fiasco caused something to snap in me. For years and years the game has been heading in a certain direction. Money rules, the rich get richer, everything feels so predictable as to be not worth investing time into. The attempt to create the ESL was the last straw. I boycotted the end of that season. Guess what? I had (lots of) free time to explore other interests. I’ve come back to watching games, but they are less of a priority. I don’t sweat about missing them any more, I don’t prioritize them. If I happen to have time to watch one, great. Now FIFA besmirches the “purity” of the World Cup. It leaves an awful taste. Probably boycotting is the right thing to do, but I’m not sure I can do it. I am approaching this tournament torn, ridden with guilt, disgusted at modern football, confident that nobody will remember this tournament fondly.
Paul, Gooner (Can’t deny that Brazil-France would be a hell of a game)
Where can Arsenal be strengthened?
The end result couldn’t have been much better for Arsenal on Thursday.
We played pretty rubbish but we’re through and that’s all that matters.
The goal was scored by our third choice left back – proving the squad rotation is working. Mo Elneny is back – meaning Partey can be rested more often. And even Tomiyasu’s injury could be a blessing in disguise as it may rule him out of the World Cup just as Zinchenko returns – meaning all three left backs could enjoy a nice long rest until Boxing Day.
If we can get Smith Rowe back from injury over Christmas – I don’t honestly know where the squad needs strengthening. Maybe a cheeky bid for a route 1 specialist lanky striker?
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Parker’s Mitrovic blunder
Tom, Scott Parker won’t be finishing as high as 26th in the manager rankings come the season’s end.
He was absolutely thwacked early on in the season and said some unforgivable things about his squad and club. As has been shown, Bournemouth do have a bit more about them than was shown since the last January window.
Two promotions yes, but they were not encouraging and had been expected promotions though we all know that has never been a guarantee to accomplish.
His only full season in the prem saw Fulham wilt early on and not take advantage in the run in when they had momentum.
He chose to ice out star striker Mitrovic, who has since scored more than half a century of league goals since Parkerball ended at Fulham. By the way, Silva has used the same two wingers that Parker had either side of Mitrovic to sit prettily in the table.
Parker is only good enough to win promotion with a parachute team in the Championship. He cannot build a side beyond that and throws club and players under the bus while frustrating his club’s fans with his sideways football and ineffective substitutions.
Michael, Dungarvan, FFC (looking forward to this unusual six-week break with no football to watch)
‘Some homogenous blob’
Firstly, Celtic and Rangers* are not some homogeneous blob. They are 2 separate teams.
One is well run, has a decent wages to turnover and plays some excellent football. If you’d watched any of their CL games you’d have seen that they were fairly unlucky/naive in most of them. The Madrid game for example, they had 10 shots on target including 2 penos (second one was extremely harsh), scored 5. Celtic had 8 shots on target including 1 peno, scored 1. Experience of playing at this level will reap its rewards for Celtic. It wasn’t too long ago that, only 6 years, since City were humped 4-0 by Barcelona and were drawing 3-3 with Celtic.
The other is a financial basket case, their first club was forced into liquidation. No lessons were learnt as the new club came into Scottish football throwing money around like a drunken sailor, has an ageing team with a lot of first teamers out of contract this summer, including probably their former most saleable assets Kent and Morelos. They are under the microscope of UEFAs new “sustainability” rules and have to make further cuts to their budgets to comply with them.
Now to the exciting part, why won’t an oligarch buy a Scottish club?? Well because SKY promotes the fcuk out of the Premier League while spending just enough money to stop anyone else from buying the rights to Scottish football. BT were a breath of fresh air when they had coverage of Scottish football, they promoted the games, they had pundits talking the game up, they had features before the games and build up would start about an hour before the game. Sky have Kris Boyd in the studio and coverage starts about 30 minutes before kickoff if we’re lucky. Sky decided that they could not have competition rivalling their golden goose, the Prem. There is no money to be made in Scotland.
If the Scottish clubs were based in Sweden, Denmark etc. their tv deal would be much bigger, giving them more money to compete.
To end, I’d also point out that again, Celtic and Rangers* are completely different entities. 22 clubs have won the Champions League, Celtic are one of them, consequently City are not. 22 clubs have also finished their group with 0 points, Rangers* with the worst ever record.
There are levels in Scotland, same as everywhere else. And Rangers* aren’t on Celtics.
A British Cup
In response to the mailboxer suggesting Rangers and Celtic join the bottom of the English pyramid and work up, believe me, they would if they could! Problem there is the 92 clubs will never sanction adding two potential blockers to their own club’s promotion/title aspirations. It’s a turkey vote for Christmas.
What’s more realistic is revitalising the worst of the domestic cup competitions (the Carabao Cup in England) into a British Cup. Having several English vs Scottish fixtures will be genuinely exciting, fill stadiums, easily attract better sponsorship and thus be one way that the Old Firm and other Scottish clubs can improve revenues, profile and escape from the monotony of SPFL football – where with cup competitions teams can easily play each other 5 or 6 times a season.
Badwolf makes an interesting point on how to implement both Rangers and Celtic into the English pyramid, be it Premier League or Championship, but can we spare a thought for Plymouth Argyle fans when they have to take a coach to Glasgow after drawing Celtic in the 3rd Round of the League Cup.
The Admin @ At The Bridge Pod
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