The Evo-Web Football Thoughts Blog

Discussion in 'Football' started by Milanista, 12 September 2012.

  1. Milanista

    Milanista Mangiamoli! Staff

    19 December 2002
    London & Milan
    AC Milan
    Welcome to Evo-Web's new and experimental football 'blog'. Here we'll house some of the forum's most interesting posts about football.

    As with all new things, this thread will give us a chance to see how things will go with the EWB. If you guys really love this after a few months, who knows - we might be able to turn this more than into just a thread.

    For now, there's no formal system to how it actually works. But what I'll do is update this first post to include the author, date and title, as well as the link to that post. In this way you can always refer to it to find the post you want- it also means we can have a discussion in here without worrying about lost 'articles'.

    The brains behind this thread belongs to Gerd, which also leads us to the first article, also written by Gerd

    Enjoy, and feel free to use this thread for feedback on how we should run it.

    Can football save Europe's sick man? by Gerd. 12/9/12
    ‘Loyalty’ in the game by BobbyBox. 15/9/12
    David Moyes, a Merseyside legend by Gerd. 24/9/12
    Will the beast eat its own children? by Gerd. 9/10/12
    Football Rivalries by Gerd. 16/11/12
    Helmut Haller: A modern day ode by DamjanStefanov. 16/11/12
    Good and bad clubs: why being moral about a club? by Gerd. 28/11/12
    Is there something wrong with refs or should we reconsider our fanatism about footballby Gerd. 13/12/12
    The story of player X, a very talented player, who was destined never to become a managerby Gerd. 17/1/13
    Why is Guardiola’s choice for Bayern the best thing that can happen to football?by Gerd. 17/1/13
    Crvena Zvezda and the end of Yuogoslavia. by Gerd. 14/3/13
    Can Vincent Kompany become a decisive factor in the mother of all Belgian elections? by Gerd. 4/4/13
    The overachievers, the captain's band, the player and his manager by Gerd 3/8/13
    Belgium – favourites for the world title ? Yes, in 2022! by Gerd . 14/10/13
     
    Last edited: 20 October 2013
  2. Milanista

    Milanista Mangiamoli! Staff

    19 December 2002
    London & Milan
    AC Milan
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - Intellectual Safe Haven

    Can football save Europe’s sick man? by Gerd.

    12th September, 2012.

    Since this started as an English website, it’s only fitting that our first blog should be about the national team. The Belgian national team that is… Proverbial boring Belgium has a national team with exciting young players. A team that can put Marouane Fellaini and Kevin De Bruyne on the bench, must be good. But are they? And what can this exciting (over)hyped team mean for a country that is quarreling for ages and where 40% of the votes in one part of the country go to party that wants to abolish Belgium? And above all: are they any good as a team?
    Four years ago the main sponsor of the national team was unfashioned, cheap automobile brand KIA. Now the red devils are sponsored by BMW. Four years ago the Belgian FA opted to play away from Brussels because our (relatively) big national stadium looked ridiculous and empty with 4.000 fans in it. Recent matches against Holland and Croatia were played in a sold out King Baudouin Stadium (infamously known as the Heysel).
    A Belgium journalist that has a a sense for numbers calculated that the team that played Holland in august is globally the third highest ranked in transfer value, and that was even before Axel Witsel’s transfer to Zenith Leningrad. Only Brazil and Portugal have more “valuable” teams. Pessimists will counter this with other numbers. In a WC qualifying group with Croatia, Serbia, Wales, Scotland and Macedonia, only this last team is lower on the FIFA-ranking.

    But lets not be pessimistic at a time when every big English club wants Belgian players. With Eden and Thorgan Hazard, Courtois, De Bruyne, Lukaku and the 3 Musonda brothers, CL winners Chelsea even have 8 Belgians on their payroll. Impressive… if we forget that only Eden Hazard is playing regular first team football.
    And what about the support in a country that is famously unchauvinistic and where there is constant talk over a Cechoslovakia scenario to divide the country? Currently the Red Devils are a hype. Finally the Belgian FA has seen the potential of our national football team and has started an impressive marketing campaign that is trying to build a bond between players and fans. The focal point of this campaign are a series of challenges from the players to the fans. For the match against traditional rivals Holland, team captain Vincent Kompany challenged the fans to dress up as much as possible in red. The match was not only played in a sea of red, but in the days before the match the whole country had a red look. This was best symbolized by the fact that a town called Geel (Yellow) changed it’s name to Rood (Red) for a week, and this even on their official communications. Jan Vertonghen and Axle Witsel adressed the nation about the second challenge. For the matches against Wales and Croatia they wanted fans to build up a very noisy support. The aim was to gather 500.000 decibels of support, and promptly the nation got to work. Vertonghen and Witsel contacted metal band Channel Zero to make a very noisy kick-off to the campaign and the fans followed: people jumped screaming form planes, patients at hospitals made noise and Witsel and Vertonghen were available on the phone to receive noisy messages. Two days before the match against Croatia the aim of 500.000 db was reached and the Red Devils thanked the fans with a match where they were disguised as Sumo wrestlers. The subsequent clip showed and hilarious match featuring Fellaini, Witsel, Vertonghen and others as obese football players. And the players clearly enjoyed it. What followed was a very “grapes are sour” comment of the leading Flemish politician who aims for Flemish secession. So even the politicians are taking notice.

    But what happened on the pitch? Characteristically Holland was thrashed on the pitch in a friendly and the whole nation had a laugh with the big football neighbours. But after two qualifying matches, Holland have six points and the Red Devils only four…World beaters in friendlies, but when it’s for real they seem to choke.
    The match against a very weak Welsh was won but the Red Devils could certainly not complain about the ref and they scored from a corner and a free kick. It was obvious that players were hyper nervous, keen as they were to finally win the first match of a qualifying tournament (something that hadn’t happened for 5 WC’s qualifiers). They did win and Belgium was in euphory.

    The home match against Croatia announced itself as one big party with champaign football and a home win against the team considered as the main rival. There was the small matter of Luka Modric, but with players like Hazard, Fellaini, Dembele and Kompany, what could go wrong?
    After barely a couple of minutes a succession of defensive howlers led to a Croatian goal that spoiled the party. When the general astonishment had subsided the Red Devils rolled up their sleeves and started to dominate the Coatians with football that is usually played by the Spanish national team. But the pessimists suddenly remembered that Croatia were a very tough opponent for Spain at the last Euro’s. And despite all the hype we do realize that la Roja is better than the Red Devils. The team was a joy to watch but Croatia held the nil for most of the fist half. Indeed it was only in injury time that right back Guillaume Gillet (a central midfielder and the Red Devil’s own Capdevilla) scored the equaliser with a long distance shot. Surely in the second half they would go on and clinch victory… The second half started like the first one with a defensive howler, but Courtois saved the country. What followed was a siege of Croatia’s goal, but strangely enough Pletikosa did not make a single save. Hazard and Witsel justified their impressive price tags in style but not necessarily in substance. And it was only when Kevin De Bruyne came in for Moussa Dembele that there was some urgency in the game. After a game where Belgium dominated Croatia largely for 85 minutes the Red Devils came away with a draw and could have lost because Croatia missed a sitter in injury time. Two matches resulted in 3 points and 3 goals, but not a single from open combination play and that for a team that plays possession football. Next awaits Serbia that won 6-1 against Wales, which puts the Belgium’s first win in perspective.

    The general feeling after the match against Coatia is disappointment. The average Belgian football fan is well aware of the fact that Croatia is a very good team, but one should expect to win the home match against the team perceived as the biggest rival (and what about Serbia?). Of course it’s too early to be pessimistic like one English journalist who claims that the Belgian national team (average age 24 years) is already past it and that Switzerland is the next big thing. But they better start winning matches and scoring goals from open play. Next time our own Capdevilla will not save us…maybe our Iniesta’s, Xavi’s and Villa’s could try and score a goal. If not, before long we will see Kompany, Witseln and hazard play against Vertonghen, Dembele and Mertens (for those who do not know Mertens: he is our best player and a very good friend of England’s Gary Cahill) in future WC-qualifiers. Surely this can’t happen, European football would loose the equivalent of the famous Danish dynamite in the ‘80’s and win two nations of the stature of Andorra and Luxemburg. And talking about Danish dynamite, did that country not win silverware after the golden generation stopped playing?

    Things like this tend to end with a well articulated conclusion, so let’s give it a try. Is the hype around Belgian players exagerated? Definitely. It seems as if English media need to hype things and even next month (or even this month) there will be another hype (obviously Switzerland, a very cheesy choice). No that we agree about the exagerated hype, can we conclude that thelikes of Kompany, Hazard and Witsel are not good enough to play for top class teams? Certainly not. Almost all of them have proven that they are outstanding. What is wrong with the the Red Devils, is there a relation with the cultural and political divsions in Belgium? Not at all, that is the worst possible explanation. In 2008 there were problems among the players, but that was not intercultural but intergenerational and they concerned players aren’t any longer in the squad. The most obvious reason for the (relative) underachieving is the fact that coach Wilmots does not have a player who can be the coach on the field. Kompany is the leader of the group, but like most players he is not cynical enough. Fellaini could be the cynical hard man, but he seems less motivated for Belgium than for Everton…But despite all this, Belgium should qualify for the next World Cup and since Fellaini himself claims that they are among the favourites to win the World Cup, everything is possible. Time will tell and Belgium people always expect the worst despite the current (and rather pleasant) hype.
     
  3. PLF

    PLF Legend

    2 August 2004
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Nice to see this thread and the Football blog we talked about up and running. :) I enjoyed reading that.

    I personally think the future is bright for Belgium, Gerd. Keep your head up mate. And not just Belgium but Switzerland as well. I've been talking about these two countries for the past 4 years though, so none of this 'hype' is really 'new' to me.

    I believe in both countries and expect good things from them in the future.
     
  4. BobbyBox

    BobbyBox WING NUT!

    10 October 2003
    Arsenal
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Yeah that was a great read, I also think Belgium will do very well. Although Fellainis boast about being a favorite for the World Cup doesn't help he cause, the pressure and expectation (and being too cocky) could go against them. But they have so much talent it is hard not to see them do really well in the future.

    I really liked the parts about the team and the fans (colour red and decibels) that was a great idea to join everybody together.
     
  5. gerd

    gerd Retired Footballer

    8 January 2002
    Over the moon
    KRC Genk, Spurs
  6. Mart

    Mart Executive Janitor Staff

    28 February 2002
    NYC
    Darlington FC
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    That was a good read, thanks Gerd. Although KIA are looking up these days too. ;)
     
  7. bebo

    bebo Looking for a Manager

    25 July 2005
    Arsenal Thread
    The Arsenal FC
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Nice one gerd that made the top list post for me. I want someone to quiz me on it! :))
     
  8. BobbyBox

    BobbyBox WING NUT!

    10 October 2003
    Arsenal
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    ‘Loyalty’ in the game. By Bobbybox

    15/09/2012


    It is a much talked about subject and I as an Arsenal fan, feel the pain and the proverbial ‘slap in the face’ whenever a player of ours leaves in less acrimonious circumstances (Which seems like a regular occurrence these days), but should I feel this way? Should players be loyal to a club? Should fans be loyal to a player? Is loyalty a one sided facet that we can all be hypocritical of demanding, but not showing the same in return?

    There are so many questions that need to be considered, I don’t think they can really truly be answered, as there will always be a difference in opinion where so much emotion, connections and ultimately money are involved.

    I think we as fans have a real emotional connection to the clubs we support, we feel we are paying for the club, the facilities and also the players. We are working hard to keep our team going, to help it prosper, every shirt, ticket, membership etc that we buy not only is a visual representation of our club, but also as a sort of tax to keep all of the many areas of our club catered for. A large part of this ‘tax’ goes on players wages, so we feel we have made an investment in these players.
    I know a lot of people say that being a football player is a job and if you were offered double/triple your wages to go to another job, I think most people would leave. In the cases of the new sugar daddy clubs, if you were offered triple the money and only had to do half/quarter of the work, you would grab it with both hands (again there are exceptions as always.)

    Of course that is true to a large extent, but is football just a job? When you are paid that much money (in the cases of top professionals) shouldn’t you show a bit more respect and loyalty to a club that pays you that much money?

    Most English Premiership players over a certain age I would say roughly would earn around 30-40k a week (Just thinking out loud and just based on nothing concrete), so in about a month or just over, they earn pretty much what the Prime Minister of our country earns in a year. He runs a whole country, with the pressures that go with it and we expect him to be loyal and have the best interests of the country at the forefront of his mind (This is debatable obviously and I don’t want to get into politics too much). I know they are extremely different professions, but I am just trying to put in comparison what is expected of other people that have high profile jobs(High paying) and what is expected of them.

    So is it too much to ask a player that gets paid by a football club ( A football club that has invested so much into a player in resources, time and money) to expect some loyalty? When a player earns so much money, is it really worth for maybe a million more pounds say (or a couple of million), which to the average Joe on an average salary would be the equivalent to £6000 (A quick rough calculation based on a top player earning 90k a week and the average Joe earning £25000 a year). To burn its bridges and show the club such disrespect?

    In the case of Robin Van Persie (Sorry for examples of Arsenal players and the premiership, but I am an Arsenal fan and the predicament at the moment is what inspired me to write this), I am sure he moved because he wanted to win things and I can’t blame him for that at all. Most fans were hoping he was going to stay, but I think most thought it was 50/50 whether he would leave or not, so his departure in the Summer would not have been a big shock to anybody. I think most fans would have wished him the best and understood (Apart from the whole injury side of things and going to Manchester United :PP etc)

    But to release the statement he released completely undermining the manager and a club in such a public way, was completely wrong. He could have left the club with dignity, grace and thanked the fans and club for their support along the way and moved on. Some fans would still have resented him after being out injured for so long and then leaving after having a fantastic season, but most Arsenal fans would have understood why.

    What did he gain from doing it in such a way? He was offered a lot to stay at Arsenal, so I don’t know if the extra money was that much of a motivation, but whatever his gain, was it really worth disrespecting the club? he would have got the move anyway because of his contract situation.
    I for one take loyalty more at this definition (Although I think the term loyalty can be a lot stronger and more emotive than this);

    ‘The state or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations.’

    It doesn’t mean you have to stay at a club for life, but you have to be faithful to your commitments and obligations you made to the club. Those commitments/obligations when you sign a contract for so much money, should be at the very least to do what is in the best interests for the club you are playing for and to show it respect (Within reason obviously). While under their employment speaking out against the club should not be tolerated unless you are being abused or they are doing things that are illegal obviously.

    I know what I am saying also doesn’t make much sense as loyalty should just happen, it shouldn’t matter how much money you get to be loyal it should be a morality decision on the players (persons) part. But no matter how you look at it, money is a big factor when wanting to be loyal to your employers. If my employers paid me half the wage I should be getting, I would find it very hard to be loyal to them, this feeling must go for football players as well.

    But as we expect such loyalty from players, do the fans and the clubs show much loyalty to the players? This is a big argument and one that leaves most of us being quite hypocritical on the subject.

    In Arsenals case again, there was a point when we would only give certain players 1year contracts over 30 years of age (not sure if we still do that?). This in itself shows how loyalty can be thrown out of the window for the clubs benefits (although I am not convinced that Arsenal benefitted from this decision at all).

    My Idol and an Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp was only offered one year contracts, in a business/monetary point of view it is the right thing to do. Why then do we have a go at players for thinking in a business/monetary way for their own well-being? especially as when they become less and less useful, to the clubs they will get rid of them anyway? How can we blame players for leaving, when they know that clubs/fans expect so much loyalty, but when their time comes loyalty can go out the window?

    This isn’t true in a lot of cases as well, because the most loyal players get a following at a club that lasts for a lifetime, testimonial matches and other benefits. But I am playing devil’s advocate to some extent with my ramblings.

    Can fans expect such loyalty from players when, if they don’t play well for a few games they are written off and treated with such disdain. I have been sickened by some of the views of Arsenal supporters over the last couple of years. To players that read those sort of opinions, why would they want to stay, because they know if they do not play well the ‘Supporters’ will probably not support them? Why would foreign/other players come to Arsenal if they think the fans are so unforgiving?

    Another question that I have been asking myself is, is loyalty really loyalty? Is our perception of somebody/player being loyal, really loyalty at all?

    You see teams like Man United and the players that stay for them for years and years, many happy to play a bit part role just to be at Manchester United, the same with Barcelona and Real Madrid and a whole host of massive clubs.

    But it is very easy to be ‘Loyal’ when a club is winning things, I think Arsenal fans have seen this in all of its glory. Our 7 year drought has seen many people question player loyalty and it so happens to coincide with not winning anything at all.

    Would Solskjaer have been happy being a super sub for Man United if they were not winning anything? Could they have maintained having Yorke, Cole, Sheringham etc and kept them happy if they were not winning trophies?

    Would the ‘golden generation’ of youngsters of that time in Manchester been loyal if Man United didn’t win anything? Would they have turned down big money moves if they didn’t think Man United were going to compete for silverwear?

    Would Fabregas want to stay at Barcelona for the rest of his life if they were a mid-table club?

    We will never know, some would have stayed some would not, but there are a lot of people that use the word ‘Loyalty’ too freely and I think that it has only been shown on very few occasions. (One example that sticks out is Matt Le Tissier and his commitment to Southampton. Of course there are many examples of players all over the world)

    Sadly in this day and age of football where money and instant success is so much at the forefront, I really don’t think we will see many loyal players (maybe in lower divisions?), there will be many players that stay at successful clubs, but is that because they are loyal, or because they are successful? And can you really blame footballers either way?

    So I have come to the rather depressing conclusion that on all sides of the spectrum we (Fans, Players, Clubs) demand loyalty, but we are very easily swayed when we have to show that loyalty back.

    The only loyalty that is truly strong and usually unwavering is the loyalty from a fan to the club they have supported all of their lives….but then in a lot of cases that loyalty is not reciprocated by the club that they love.

    I know that Loyalty is a big thing for British Fans and it has been highlighted to me that other countries are not as emotional on the subject and do not take it as such of an insult. Other countries can be more rational and understand, without taking things personal. It would be great to hear people’s views on this? Maybe another blog post, from a member here from another country?

    I for one feel I am a reasonable and rational person…but I am British and it is in my blood to be offended by 'un-loyal' players :DD
     
  9. gerd

    gerd Retired Footballer

    8 January 2002
    Over the moon
    KRC Genk, Spurs
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Congratulations bobby, very good stuff.
     
  10. PLF

    PLF Legend

    2 August 2004
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Good stuff Bobby!!
     
  11. bebo

    bebo Looking for a Manager

    25 July 2005
    Arsenal Thread
    The Arsenal FC
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Good read Bob!
     
  12. gerd

    gerd Retired Footballer

    8 January 2002
    Over the moon
    KRC Genk, Spurs
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    David Moyes, a Merseyside legend…
    After Everton’s impressive win against Swansea, in what was a classic EPL match one can ask if this very good start of the season is a sign that Everton could be contenders for a top four finish or even winning the title. The fact that this question isn’t farfetched is a big achievement for a modest club like Everton without real star players.
    The real star of this club is the manager. David Moyes started his reign in march 2002. Managing a club with modest financial possibilities for more than 10 years is no mean feature. Moyes is a former Celtic, Shrewsbury, Bristol City and Dunfermline player who went playing for Preston North End at the end of his carreer. In 1998 he became manager of Preston North End taking over from Gary Peeters. This coïncided with Everton’s win in the 1998 youth cup with a team of homegrown youngsters including Tony Hibbert, Richard Dunne, Leon Osman and Danny Caddamarteri. Meanwhile Preston North End were promoted under Moyes to the first division in May 2000 and narrowly missed promotion the next season after a defeat against Bolton Wanderers in the play-off final.
    Moyes results with Preston North End did not went unnoticed since before joining Everton he turned down offers from clubs like Manchester City, Southampton and West Ham United. He was also rumoured as a possible assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson before the appointment of a certain Steve Mc Laren.
    Like so many novice managers before him, his first challenge was avoiding relegation from the EPL with Everton and this after last ditch escapes in May 1994 and May 1998. His first match as manager saw Everton clinch victory from Fulham with goals from David Unsworth and Duncan Ferguson. Despite having a history and list of honours only surpassed by the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United, the past decade had not been a successful time for the Toffees. In that first season Moyes steered the club well clear from relegation.
    The next season (2002/2003) announced itself very promising as The Toffees signed a new shirt sponsorship with Kejian (a Chinese telecommunications company) and Moyes brought in players like Chinese international Li Tie, Nigerian defender Jospeh Yobo and England keeper Richard Wright. In his First full season, Moyes’ Toffees took off like a rocket and a run of six consecutive win helped them climb to the third place just before Christmas. In the second half of that season their form somewhat declined and they narrowly missed an UEFA ticket to Blackburn Rovers. This still was a massive improvement of eight places from the previous year and earned Moyes the League Managers Association’s Manager of the Year Award (something he would repeat in 2005 and 2009).
    In the following seasons Moyes’ Everton alternated ordinary seasons wit houtstanding ones. This is logical if we know that Everton systemically lost its best players to bigger clubs and Moyes often had to rebuild after successfull seasons. But his peers recongnized his fine work as a manager.
    Especially his Manager of the Year Award in 2005 was well deserved aftera n impressive season. Having started the season with many pundits predicting a campaign of hard-slog for Everton, following a 17th place finish in 2004, Moyes took his team to a phenomenal fourth place at the end of the season. And this with a team that had just lost his young prodigy Wayne Rooney. But the signing of Tim Cahill from much maligned Milwall proved to be inspired. That fourth placed coïncided with an excellent start of the campaign, to maintain a grip on a top four place from september onwards…I see a possible analogy.
    Wayne Rooney did not leave without controversy, after his departure the Daily Mail published extracts from Rooney’s autobiography, claiming that Moyes had forced Rooney out of the club and then leaked the details out to the press. Moyes went on to sue for libel before settling out of court when Rooney apologised and agreed to pay for the damages. Moyes donated the undisclosed damages to the Everton Former Player’s Foundation. Rooney libelled Moyes a control freak.
    Back in 2002, David Unsworth had a different view of David Moyes’ attention to detail. He told BBC Sport:
    “David Moyes has come in and turned the club around. He’s brought in players like Richard Wright and Jospeh Yobo to add quality and Works us very hard in training. We train as we play. We pass the ball and the athmosphere is fantastic.”
    Unsworth is mentioning the transfers of Wright and Yobo, and although football fans might have forgotten those two early transfers, it is obvious that Moyes excells in making shrewd signings.
    Let’s take a look: he signed Tim Cahil from Milwall, Mikel Arteta from Real Sociedad, a written off Tim Howard from Manchester United, Steven Pienaar from Ajax, Phil Jagielka from Sheffield, Leighton Baines from Wigan Athletic and relatively unknown Marouane Fellaini from Standard.
    All these players proved very valuable and Steven Pienaar might be the best example how Moyes can lure away good players on a shoestring budget. Pienaar left Ajax for Borussia Dortmund, but he wasn’t a big success for the German club. In comes Moyes who loans Pienaar (just like Arteta initially was loaned). When Pienaar proves to be a good player, he buys him for Everton. Pienaar becomes one of the most important players for Everton and at long last Spurs buy him. When it turns out that Spurs’ manager Harry Redknapp scarcely played Pienaar, Moyes loaned him from Spurs and of course Pienaar made an instant impact. The unfancied Tim Cahill even received a Player of the Season Award and Moyes also loaned Landon Donovan for two consecutive years during the off season period in the USA.
    It seems that Everton’s current team has many strengths. Tim Howard has become a rock solid goal keeper. Central defender Phil Jagielka is an England international and never disappoints. Everton’s left side with much fancied Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar is as good as any big club’s left side and Marouane Fellaini has become one of the most fancied central midfielders. Kevin Mirallas is new to the EPL, but last year he won everything in Greece: he became champion with Olympiakos, was top scorer and player of the year. On top of that he seems to have adapted really fast. Leon Osman is perhaps not the most high profile player, but let’s not forget that the Everton fans elected him player of the year last season. And last but not least, in Ninica Jelavic The Toffees seem to have unearthed a prolific goal scorer, perhaps the one thing that they missed under Moyes. That only leaves some concerns for the right side of the team, but Seamus Coleman and Phil Neville cannot be considered weak links in this team. That leaves Jagielka’s partner at centre back: both Johnny Heitinga and Sylvain Distin seem vulnerable, but Moyes must have noticed that too and who knows what will happen in the mid-season transfer window.
    Can this team break in the top four? It certainly seems as good as last year’s Newcastle United team and has some talented fringe players like Magaye Gueye, Brian Oviedo and Darren Gibson. Lately it seems that even Victor Anichebe is on a roll. And what about Vadis Odjidja Ofoe? The Belgian attacking midfielders’s transfer fell through because the paperwork was in minutes after the most recent transfer deadline. Will Everton persist in january and add another extremely taltented player to their squad?
    One would be tempted to think positive and expect Moyes too motivate his team fora n excellent season. And wouldn’t it be great for this fantastic manager and this great club to punch once more above their weight and clinch a CL place?
    Let’s end this eulogy to Moyes and his team with a quote from Andy Burnham, secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport:
    "Mr. David Moyes is probably a fine example to everybody in government of stability and making the right decisions for the long term."
    In January 2012 Moyes became the fourth manager (after Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsène Wenger and Harry Redknapp) to record 150 wins in the Premier League, and this with a modest budget at a rather unfancied club like Everton. Some achievement.
     
    Last edited: 24 September 2012
  13. PLF

    PLF Legend

    2 August 2004
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Nicely put.

    David Moyes rocks!! I have so much respect for him.
     
  14. BobbyBox

    BobbyBox WING NUT!

    10 October 2003
    Arsenal
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Yeah great read, didn't know he had been there for so long. It's become One of those things that people say now, 'if he had more money to spend, imagine what he could do?' but it is true, be great to see what he could actually do, maybe he will get a big cash injection at Everton, especially if they get into the champs league. It would be weird to see him at another club.
     
  15. bebo

    bebo Looking for a Manager

    25 July 2005
    Arsenal Thread
    The Arsenal FC
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Moyes is pure class! Good read Gerd.
     
  16. gerd

    gerd Retired Footballer

    8 January 2002
    Over the moon
    KRC Genk, Spurs
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Will the beast eat it’s own childeren?


    After two matches in football’s nec plus ultra and a couple of suprises by the likes of Bate Borisov, Cluj and Celtic, one can ask questions about the (un)predictability of the Champions League. Will this year finally produce an underdog as winner? Judged by past editions and winners this is hardly likely. It seems as if the cup with the big ears can only be won by very rich clubs. Let’s take a look at recent winners. Since 2000 the cup with the giant ears has been won by: Real Madrid (2), Bayern Munchen, Milan (2), Porto, Liverpool, Barcelona (3) Manchester United, Inter Milan and Chelsea. Apart from Porto and Liverpool, all these clubs are massive. And if today somebody would ask if Porto and Liverpool could repeat their wins in the near future, the answer would certainly be no. I honestly can’t see those clubs win in the next years.
    Now let’s take a look at the loosing finalists since 2000. Apart form the above mentioned which clubs played the final but lost it? There are a couple of “new” names: Valencia (2), Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus Turin, Monaco and Arsenal. Other finals were lost by Bayern Munchen (2), Manchester United (2), Chelsea, Liverpool and Milan. One has the impression that we are talking about a rather exclusive club.
    It seems that clubs like Porto, Valencia, Arsenal and Liverpool can compete with the huge clubs, but lets not fool ourselves. Porto lost the nucleus of the winning team to richer clubs like Barcelona and Chelsea, while loosing finalist Monaco saw players leave for clubs like Manchester United and Barcelona, and the club is currently playing in Ligue 2. Valencia lost finals in 2000 and 2001 and saw players like Villa, Mata, Alba and others leave for bigger clubs. And Arsenal’s fans are complaining that the club hasn’t won any silverware since 2005. Other more realistic Arsenal fans will proudly point out that their club is doing it the right way without financial doping or silly investments.
    In what follows i will try to explain that although the Champions League is the most prestigious and successfull format in football, it isn’t necessay a good thing for the clubs who participate in it. Certainly not for the underdogs.
    AS Monaco seems to have grasped what is needed in football, since they currently have a sugar daddy who has bought lots of good players. The club hopes to gain promotion to Ligue 1 and they clearly expect to be contenders for a CL place from their first season on. Of course it remains to be seen if these are realistic ambitions, but the point is that the club has no doubt whatsoever about the only possible way back to the top: money, lots of money.
    In my opinion sports is all about fair competition and the Champions League is just the opposite of that very principle. Let’s remember how and why the ECI was transformed into this “other, more attractive” format that the Champions League is. In the early ‘90s, the big clubs want a ‘European Super League’ to stop minnows knocking them out, while UEFA desperately want big clubs’ money and support. Silvio Berlusconi just stated that giants such as AC Milan being eliminated in the first round is “economic nonsense” and UEFA really don’t disagree with that statement. Of course it is no coïncidence that Berlusconi himself is a media owner who broadcasts lots of football. Enter the group stages. In this new format all the big clubs are guaranteed at least 6 matches and everybody knows that in a (mini) league format surprises are less evident.
    Group stages also guarantee more sponsorship and more televised matches, as major European countries know their teams have qualified due to the seeding system which protects the bigger clubs. After a try-out in the final ECI season that is seen as succesfull, the format got refined in the next season with the birth of the Champions League. In the last ECI the group stage served as some sort of semi-finals. Both group winners Samdoria Genua and Barcelona played the final. The first Champions League copied that format, as both winners of the group stage contested the final. In that final Bernard Tapie’s Olympique Marseille beat Silvio Berlusconi’s AC Milan. A final between what canarguably called the two first sugar daddy clubs.
    For commercial viability, all competing clubs cede marketing rights to UEFA in return for fixed payments. Eight international sponsors are given exclusivity. Swiss TEAM AG create an attractive rebrand including a new logo and a classical theme tune based on Handel’s Zadok the Priest. Clubs must clean the stadia of all branding except the Champions League sponsors. Venue directors ensure the stadium looks the same as every other one and they even give post-match debriefings on ‘performance’.
    Lets return to the football pitch and ask ourselves if minnow clubs were able to reach the Champions League. Firstly lets define what a minnow club is. Are Porto and AS Monaco minnow clubs? Not really. When they played the final, they were among the best clubs in their country. Currently Porto still a huge club in Portugal and one expects AS Monaco to be up there in a few seasons. Minnow clubs are clubs that have reached the Champions League by punching above their weight in their own competition and by doing so reaching the European Walhalla that is the Champions League. But are there clubs like that? Yes. Along the years we’ve seen some interesting suprises like Swiss underdogs FC Thun reaching the group stages, or Lierse, Willem II and Boavista outplaying their local opponents and reaching the group stages of the Champions League. All these clubs have two things in common. They punched above their weight and after their dream years in the Champions League, they fell into the lower divisions or bankruptcy nightmares.
    And there are other examples. The best known is probably Leeds United. Leeds reached the Champions League semi-finals but started spending loads of money on expensive players with extravagant wages. Leeds needed the millions of the Champions League to stay financially afloat and when they missed out on the tournament and the UEFA money, things went wrong and the club collapsed financially.
    French club Nantes is another club gambling and loosing. In 2001/2002, Nantes had a short period of local and European success. They won Ligue 1 and managed to reach the second Group Stage Phase in the Champions League. Not long after, they were trying to avoid relegation and now they play in Ligue 2. And one can tell a similar story about RC Lens, once defeating Arsenal and now playing in Ligue 2.
    Belgium club Lierse won the title in 1997 with a crop of exciting homegrown youngsters. They reached the group stage of the Champions League, but by then their best players had gone to richer clubs. It didn’t take long before they went down, returning to the Jupiler League in 2006, only to be relagated again. A couple of season ago they got promoted again. Now they have an Egyptian owner and scarcely any Belgian players. The team plays with cheap foreign players from all over the globe and the fans feel estranged from a club that was renowned to unearth local gems.
    In Galicia, both Deportiva La Coruna and Celta de Vigo had extraordinary seasons in the Champions League, collecting millions of Euro’s from wins and participation fees. That couldn’t keep financial troubles at bay and they both got relegated.
    Not far from Galicia, Boavista comes to mind. They won the league in 2001 and had two spells in the Champions League. In 2007 they were demoted after a corruption scandal at a time when the club was already in high debts and were relegated again because of poor results. Boavista was playing third level football just six seasons after eliminating Borrussia Dortmund twice out of the Champions League.
    FC Thun are even in Switzerland minnows. The club played amateur football for the biggest part of its history. It seemd a fairy tale that a club with a very limted budget of 2.000.000 euro could reach the dizzy heights of European football where the club earned 4.000.000 euro prize money and some more money from a draw and a win against Sparta Prague. Even the biggest financial nitwit understands that Thun had made enough money to be financially healthy for years. But Thun did not spend wisely, faced serious financial problems and were eventually relegated to semi-professional Challenge League.
    In Scandinavia both Molde (Norway) and AIK (Sweden) were relegated shortly after entering the Champions League. There is a pattern in all this. All those clubs unexpectantly punched above their weight with talented teams. In order to build upon these unexpected successes, all those clubs spend loads of money on wages and new players and they finally went bust, lost their good players and got relegated. A club like KRC Genk refuses to do this. In the last 15 years the club won the Belgian title 3 times and every time within two seasons they lost their complete champions team. Each and every time they slowly rebuilded their team with young players from their outstanding youth academy and by unearthing foreign gems. Every time they played in the Champions League, they became some sort of laughing stock after monster defeats against clubs like Real Madrid, Valencia and Chelsea. But KRC Genk are financially sound and save and not dependent on some sugar daddy or local communidad who does creative accounting.
    In a fair competition a club like KRC Genk (and yes they are my favourite club, so i’m terribly biased) or FC Thun should be able to win against better teams without committing financial harakiri.
    I think it’s sound and save to predict that this year’s Champions League will not be won by Cluj, Bate and Celtic. One can eve ask where those clubs will be in a couple of years. With all respect for Celtic, but we might even see an Old Firm in second division. This seems less fantasy than one should think after reading the story of the likes of FC Thun, Leeds, Lierse and other clubs who punched above their weight.
    And to conclude this, what about the original sugar daddy clubs? Olympique Marseile got relegated after Tapie was in jail for match fixing and financial fraud. Now they are back but with relatively modes finacial means. In summer they tried to persuade some players with big wages to leave the club and the fact that they are doing splendid in Ligue 1 is seen as a big suprise. And now even AC Milan are in dire straits and their fans are very unhappy with the current crop of players. Milan are currently eleventh a just lost the Milanese derby after a very poor and dire match. The Champions League is all about spectacle, but it remains to be seen if it will not devore it’s own childeren: the clubs. Who knows what will happen to Chelsea and Manchrester United after Abramovich and the Glazers decided they had enough?
    It seems that UEFA has grasped all this and one might ask if the clubs like FC Thun, Celta de Vigo and Deprtivo La Coruna would have got in trouble if Platini’s Faincial Fair Play was ready and in use back then. Maybe those clubs would never have got finacial troubles afterwards. But only time will tell if Financial Fair Play will protect clubs against their own excessive ambitions. One might hope to see underdogs win the Champions League regularly in the future, but it seems an unlikely scenario since the Champions League was conceived to avoid that very fact.
    Sources: FourFourtwo and In Bed with Maradonna (an article by Francisco Ferreira).
     
  17. BobbyBox

    BobbyBox WING NUT!

    10 October 2003
    Arsenal
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Very good again Gerd, it highlights a lot of things wrong with the game at the moment. I can't see it changing any time soon, I think we all pray that Financial Fair play does actually work and do something, it will be much better.

    Or maybe the Champs League having different rules in place, so any team entering it has to have a lot more younger players and/or national players in the squad. This might help, but as you said the league was set up for a certain means, so something that detracts away from the bigger clubs will not be implemented.

    Financial fair play is our only hope really, we hope it gets implemented properly, fairly and that they limit the amount of loop holes big/financially doped teams can get through.

    But I am sure my hopes will not be realised, the clubs with ridiculous amounts of money will always find a way around it.
     
  18. lo zio

    lo zio International

    24 October 2005
    Palermo
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    fantastic stuff guys!!! :))
    i only had time to read gerd's first article (the belgium nt one) and bobby's first one, and i'm already late, so i can't even post my 2 cents on your points.
    but i just couldn't leave the forum without at least a short comment. absolutely brilliant stuff Gerd and Bobby. i'm looking forward to read the other articles in the thread (hopefully this week i should find some spare time)

    this was a great idea Gerd :TU: and i hope more people will partecipate to it and join u and bobby. keep it up guys! ;)
     
  19. beachryan

    beachryan Golden Boot Winner

    4 July 2003
    Bermuda
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    @ Gerd - Think you'll like this one, from the excellent Gab Marcotti:
    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/blog/_/name/espnfcunited/id/1547?cc=5901

    Celtic's 2-1 upset win over Barcelona on Wednesday prompted some to describe it as the "second greatest night in the history of the club" after -- presumably -- that night in 1967 when 11 men born within a few miles of Parkhead went out and became champions of Europe.

    That generated some interesting discussion, as you would expect from a club that celebrated its 125th anniversary on Tuesday. Does beating Barcelona in a group stage match make it a "greater night" than, say, winning 9 league titles in a row? Or that epic night in 1970 when Celtic overcame mighty Leeds United in front of a reported 136,505 people?

    I threw it out there on Twitter and got a range of responses, the vast majority of them thoughtful.

    Some argued that this was a one-off and isn't so remarkable because upsets happen with a certain regularity (heck, Belarus' BATE Borisov beat mighty Bayern Munich a few weeks ago and we all know how far Cyprus' APOEL Nicosia got last season). Since Pep Guardiola arrived in 2008, Barcelona lost -- among others -- to the likes of Hercules, Getafe, Real Sociedad, Osasuna (twice), Numancia, Rubin Kazan (at home!) and Mallorca.

    In short, the Blaugrana has suffered its fair share of upsets but more to the point: surely Celtic doesn't belong in a conversation with those clubs? Plus, past Celtic teams' achievements were much greater because they were much better sides who proved it over time. But, of course, the game doesn’t have the sense of history it once did.

    Others made the point that, for this Celtic side -- with a limited budget in what is now a limited league -- to defeat a team like Barcelona (off to their statistically greatest-ever start in La Liga, according to the stats) was, emotionally, a greater achievement, perhaps precisely because it was so unexpected.

    I came to the conclusion that it comes down to what is more memorable to you, which is a matter of personal taste. Is it during times when your club is strong and obtains victories against major opposition? Or is it when your team is weak, overachieves and pulls off an improbable upset?


    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
    Ajax beating Man City was regarded as a shock, though it's more an indictment of the gulf between top Euro clubs and those excellent teams in second-tier markets earning a fraction of the money.

    What struck me though -- and left me with a degree of melancholy -- is that Celtic's win was a reminder of how times have changed. A bit like Ajax's home win over Manchester City or Benfica's draw at Old Trafford last year.

    These are big teams with huge fanbases. Clubs that have won the European Cup: seven times between them, in fact, more than the Premier League's four representatives combined. Clubs that average more than 40.000 a game.

    And yet, because geography has relegated them to small television markets in small countries, they simply can't compete the way they once did. They don't get as much TV revenue from their national leagues and because nearly half the Champions League money is distributed based on the size of the domestic broadcaster’s deal with UEFA (the rest is prize money), they get far less than a Premier League or Serie A side would get.

    That goes a long way to explaining why we were all left open-mouthed when Jose Mourinho’s Porto won the Champions League in 2004. Also, why it's highly unlikely that anyone outside the big five European leagues will win it anytime soon.

    The disadvantage to historically big clubs in second-tier leagues is staggering. And, sadly, it's increasing. That's why I'm an advocate for a rethink, something like the old Atlantic League idea whereby the top sides from Belgium, Holland, Portugal and Scotland would form their own competition. That's a column for another time, but it's interesting to note that UEFA set an important precedent recently by allowing Holland and Belgium to run a combined top division in the women's league.

    In the meantime, fans of these clubs are -- evidently -- modulating their expectations. Over time, the glorious past becomes a bit faded and you become more realistic. You take joy in smaller things. You don't love your club any less. It's what being a fan is all about.

    And yet, as a neutral and as someone who grew up watching the old European Cup contested with a far more level playing field, there's more than a twinge of sadness. And I hope that someday these clubs -- not just the ones I mentioned, but also ones like Anderlecht, PSV Eindhoven, Rangers, Porto, Sporting, Feyenoord, etc. -- will no longer have to play David to someone else's Goliath.
     
  20. gerd

    gerd Retired Footballer

    8 January 2002
    Over the moon
    KRC Genk, Spurs
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Splendid piece of writing beach. Thanks for posting this...
    Of course i agree.
     
  21. beachryan

    beachryan Golden Boot Winner

    4 July 2003
    Bermuda
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    I really like the idea of a European 'super league' amongst the smaller nations. Portugal, Greece, Belgium, Norway, Netherlands, Scotland and so forth could each contribute 1-3 teams and it would make fantastic viewing.

    However.

    Kind of a b*tch for the supporters!
     
  22. ruhuale6

    ruhuale6 Non-League

    9 November 2012
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    David Moyes rocks!!
     
  23. gerd

    gerd Retired Footballer

    8 January 2002
    Over the moon
    KRC Genk, Spurs
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Football rivalries:
    On the evening of the clash between Spurs and Arsenal, as a Spurs fan (but one who is fond of Arsenal) it seems fitting to write something about football rivalries. One can ask what the big rivalries in football are and why, teams or (more likely) fans become rivals.
    And how the hell does such a rivalry begins? Let’s begin about the North London derby and the intense rivalry that surrounds it. Why on earth can a Spurs fan not love Arsenal?
    The rivalry between those 2 clubs originated in the manner Arsenal arrived in North London in 1908 (yes, 1908, why do we still bother by the way?).
    By 1908 the club who had started life as Dial Square before they changed their name to Royal Arsenal and then to Woolwich Arsenal and then to The Arsenal, before finally settling on Arsenal had already become Tottenham Hotspur's fiercest rivals.
    The only real difference between the rivalries of then and now was that Arsenal were based in South London. With a flagging support and the club on the verge of bankruptcy, local Tory councillor Henry Norris proposed that Arsenal move to North London to a much bigger catchment area for fans and players and merge with Fulham.
    However, the FA were reluctant even then to reward such a way to circumvent financial irregularities so they made a ruling stating that should the two clubs in question merge, then they would automatically be treated as a new club and start life in Division Two.
    This "relegation" was unthinkable for Norris, so in 1910, he bought the club and started the ball rolling on the move to North London. Norris quickly identified a suitable site at a school's sports ground in residential Highbury, just up the road from Tottenham, and set about purchasing the said ground and applying for planning permission. Local teams Spurs, Clapton Orient, and Chelsea all objected the move, as did local residents but the league were powerless to prevent the move and Highbury opened as Arsenal's home ground in 1913.
    Things got worse as the FA decided for a league of 22 teams after the war. To cut a long story short: this wasn’t as simple as it now seems and in the end Arsenal got promoted to Division One whereas Spurs were demoted to Division Two. More than 100 years later both clubs are still rivals.

    Let’s talk about what is perhaps the most fierce rival between football clubs: Celtic and Rangers in Glasgow. Granted, the timing isn’t the best, but this is an interesting case. The fierce competition between the two clubs has roots in more than just an ordinary sporting rivalry. It is infused with a series of complex disputes. Sometimes it is centred on religion: catholic Celtic versus protestant Rangers. It is also about Northern Ireland-related politics: Loyalist Rangers versus Republican Celtic. Another primary contributor to the intensity of the rivalry in the west of Scotland was the fact that Rangers supporters were historically native Scots and Celtic supporters were historically Irish-Scots.
    In Buenos Aires there is another contender for the award of the most fierce rivalry between football clubs: the superclassico. This is the match between Boca Junios and River Plate. Both clubs have origins in La Boca, the working class dockland of Buenos Aires, with River being founded in 1901 and Boca in 1905. However, River moved to the more affluent district of Nunez in the north of the city in 1925. Since then Boca Junios has been known as the club of Argentina’s working class or the people’s club, with many Boca fans coming from the local Italian immigrant community. Boca fans are actually known as Xeneizes (Genoese). By contrast, River Plate became known as Los Millonarios, with a supposedly upper-class support base. Both clubs do have supporters from all social classes.[/B]

    The biggest rivalry in Holland is the one between Ajax and Feyenoord, the artists of Amsterdam between the workers of Rotterdam. Amsterdam is the capital of Holland and the city is renowned for it’s culture. Ajax’s style of play has long been a source of pride for the Amsterdam fans, and one of irritation for the Feyenoord for the Feyenoord fans. The Rotterdammers feel that those hailing from from Amsterdam possess delusions of grandeur, and there is a saying to reflect these sentiments: “While Amsterdan dreams, Rotterdam works”. Rotterdam was forced to work after being bombed heavily in the second world war by the Nazi’s. A harbour town, it’s people are proud of their work ethic and resentfull of Amsterdam’s showiness. This also reflects in both teams’ playing style.

    Some rivalries are not that old. In Belgium there is a fierce rivalry between KRC Genk and Standard because of the transfer of a single player. Steven Defour made his debut for Genk's first team at the age of 17. It soon became clear that this was a very talented youngster and that he was very important for a rather mediocre Genk team. In the summer of 2006 Genk refused a transfer for Defout to Ajax. Defour is an assertive player, he took a lawyer and broke his contract to join Standard. A new rivalry was born. But this is a recent one and one that will be over soon. It seems child's compared to the Holy War.

    Some Polish people say that the rivalry between both Krakow teams is the most fierce because of their background. The matches between Wisla Krakow and Cracovia is known as the holy war. Wisla was owned by the communist police force for 40 years. They are known as Biala Gwiazda (White Star) and the Cracovia fans refer to them as dogs. Dog is a common term used for police officers in Poland. Cracovia are known as Pasy (Stripes) or Jews because of their supposed Jewish roots. Hence also the intense rivalry between both clubs.
    After having read this, does the rivalry between Arsenal and Spurs does not seem rather trivial? May the best team win after a smashing and fair match.
     
    Last edited: 16 November 2012
  24. bebo

    bebo Looking for a Manager

    25 July 2005
    Arsenal Thread
    The Arsenal FC
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Wow! Lovely stuff....I would add that Ajax use the banner "star of David" while Feyenrood use "Hamas" banner to illustrate their difference. I want more derby stories
     
  25. Damjan

    Damjan World Cup Winner

    16 July 2011
    Arsenal|Juventus|ASSE
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Hi guys, this is the first time I've ever written a piece on football, so please don't be too harsh. :P English isn't my native language so I'm sorry if there are any spelling/grammatical mistakes.

    Helmut Haller: a modern-day ode
    I woke up on a Saturday morning at around 11:00 pm, and I realized I had some time to kill until the early kick-off Premier League, which would be at 13:45. Like a lot of people my age would do, I turned my computer on. When it was all booted up, I saw a small pictogram with a leather ball, underneath it the description: ‘Classic Patch’. I pressed on the little icon twice and the game started.

    Explanation: this was a patched version of the game Pro Evolution Soccer 6, a game many people still consider the best football game ever made. Like the name says, this patch contained multiple legendary teams, from a River Plate team from the thirties to Real Madrid’s Galácticos and from Péle’s Brazil from 1958 to the Brazilian World Cup 2002 team.
    After scrolling through the team selection screens, I finally picked a Juventus team from the early seventies, taking on a Internazionale team from the same time period. Amongst the Bianconeri team were legendary names such as Pietro Anastasi, Romeo Benetti, Roberto Bettega, Fabio Capello, Franco Causio, Capitano Sandro Salvadore and of course Dino Zoff in the goal.
    To be honest, out of all those names above, I only really recall Fabio Capello and Dino Zoff ringing a bell, which I think is not the worst shame, although I did feel like that at the time.
    So, I started playing the match at the Stadio Comunale, better known by its current name of Stadio Olimpico di Torino. After about fifteen minutes of Inter attacks, Giacinto Facchetti fouled Roberto Bettega. The referee showed the Inter left-back a yellow card and a blonde man was lining up for the free kick. This blonde man was Helmut Haller. I still remember pressing the buttons of my controller and thinking I took the free kick too hard. I was wrong. The free kick went in the back of the net and a second later I saw the resembling character cheering as I had taken the lead.
    I was intrigued by Haller.Who was this German player? And why haven’t I heard of him on the lists of great German players of the past?
    When the match ended, I decided to look him up on the Internet. A Wikipedia page told me he started his career as a nine year old boy at BC Augsburg. After breaking through in the first team of Augsburg, he was signed by Bologna. After a successful period at the Rossoblù, in which the team won their last Serie A title, he moved to Juventus in 1968. During his stay at ‘La Vecchia Signora’, he played 116 matches and scored 21 goals. The team also won the title twice and reached the European Cup final, losing to Ajax in Belgrade.
    Helmut Haller did not score a hat trick in World Cup final, yet he took the ball that ended up in the back of the England net in the 1966 final with him back to Germany. He did score that goal though, and had it signed by Péle and Eusébio the day after the final, before gifting it to his son. His son, not knowing what the weird signs on the ball meant, went on it playing with the ball in the streets of Augsburg for years.
    Despite all those memorable moments, Mister Haller couldn’t remember any of those when he was sitting in his home in Augsburg. After a heart attack in 2006, Haller had to stop running his fashion shop in centre of Augsburg. After a while, he started forgetting the easiest things. His family feared the worst and he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. After a long illness, the once shining blonde haired striker died on October the 11th, 2012.
    Although I had never heard of Haller a few months ago, he became one of my favourite players of all time. And even though I haven’t even come close to live during his glory days, thanks to modern technology, it was still possible for me to learn about Helmut Haller and his legacy which has undoubtedly inspired modern-day Germans like Mario Götze, Marco Reus and Thomas Müller.
    I still think Helmut Haller deserves more praise for his career. He is one of the few players who has taken part of three World Cups, and he has scored in the final of the 1966 World Cup, where he also ended up on the second place of the goal scoring list, netting six goals in the entire tournament.
    The news of his death only reached me on the 28th of October, which is my birthday. And not just any birthday, it was my sixteenth birthday, nowadays considered as one of the most important birthdays in the Netherlands, because sixteen is age where you can legally start drinking. But instead of drinking alcohol, I honored one of my favourite players of all time by booting up the Classic Patch once again, and again playing the same match as that one Saturday morning.

    Helmut Haller (21 July 1939 – 11 October 2012)

    Written by Damjan Stefanov, sixteen years and fourteen days old at the time of writing this article.
     
  26. BobbyBox

    BobbyBox WING NUT!

    10 October 2003
    Arsenal
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Two great Articles :DD

    Well done Damjan, that was a very good and your writing in English is great. I look forward to more articles from you :))

    I need to get writing another one as well.

    Really if anybody has an interest in any team, anything to do with football, just write it down and get it on here.
     
  27. gerd

    gerd Retired Footballer

    8 January 2002
    Over the moon
    KRC Genk, Spurs
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Great stuff Damjan. Congratulations.
    Keep the good stuff coming.
     
  28. bebo

    bebo Looking for a Manager

    25 July 2005
    Arsenal Thread
    The Arsenal FC
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Great Read Damjan !
     
  29. gerd

    gerd Retired Footballer

    8 January 2002
    Over the moon
    KRC Genk, Spurs
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    Good and bad clubs: why being moral about a club ?

    Perhaps the biggest attraction of football is not the game itself but the banter before and after matches. Fans discussing passionately about their clubs, the matches they played, how they were supposedly robbed by blind referees or ransacked by greedy owners.
    What strikes me as very odd, and what i don’t like at all is the fact that people moralize about football clubs: there are good clubs and there are vilains among the football teams. Take for example MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon. What was bound to happen sooner or later will happen now: both clubs will play each other in the FA (or is the League) Cup. Neutral fans are supposed to sympathize for the real thing(AFC Wimbledon) and against the bogus vilains (MK Dons). I hope MK Dons win the match. Not because i am against AFC Wimbledon, but because i’m fond of underdogs. Most readers will think that i’m out of my mind. Ask 100 people which of both clubs is the underdog and 99% will tell you that AFC Wimbledon are the underdogs. Even i have to agree with that. Ask 100 people with which club they sympathize and 99% will tell you that they sympathize with AFC Wimbledon and are against the vilains of MK Dons who “stole” the club. That might be true, but can one blame the club MK Dons for what happened? And if so, how long can one blame the club MK Dons? Until the last person who was participated in the ‘theft’ dies, or longer? Of course these are stupid and simplistic questions, but isn’t it even more useless to have grudge against a club or to consider a club as immoral, because basically that is what happens in those cases.
    How does a club become a “bad” club ? One reason to become a bad club is winning ugly. The best example is Don Revie’s Leeds United in the ‘70’s. They won lots of silverware but because of their very physical style of playing, nobody liked them. The fact that they were robbed in an EC1 final is gone unnoticed. One could say that the current Stoke City team can be seen as a light version of that Leeds United team. Pullis’ team is playing a very physical kind of football and that isn’t appreciated by most neutrals. Most people seem to forget that Stoke is a very clever team. But that doesn’t count as the club is seen as “bad”.
    Nowadays the most common reason to be seen as a vilain club, is to be rich “the wrong way”. People refer to sugar daddies clubs like Chelsea, Manchester City or PSG. If you look at it more positively, one could say that these are innovative clubs. They emerged with a new business plan: a mega rich owner who buys all the best players and hopes to make his club succesfull enough to become self-sufficient and maybe even make profits. As i write this all these club seem a long way from self-sufficiency, let alone being profitable. But are they as innovative as we think? Perhaps the first vilain club was Preston North End, the first English club to win the double. Let’s make a guided tour around the history of English club football.
    The first football clubs were founded in upper class public schools. Later on clubs originated from local churches (Manchester City, Aston Villa, Everton) who wanted to give the poor people from the labouring class another outlet than drinking. Shortly after that factories saw possibilities in football clubs: a healthy way of passing leisure time for their labourers. Clubs like Arsenal and Manchester United originated from local factories. Footbal proved to be very popular and matches were attended by hunderds of spectators who bonded with their clubs. This was the emergence of football fans. A logical consequence of the popularity was the fact that it became a matter of prestige to win as much as possible. So clubs started to pay for better players (albeit that the FA decreed some sort of primitive salary cap, the maximum wages).
    The members of the clubs, now mostly independent from churches and factories, wanted to protect themselves financially from the personal liability of paying players’ wages and major construction projects (the bigger the stadium the more money a club made). That was why they moved to form themselves into limited companies – so the members’ liability would be limited, as in commercial companies, only to he value of the shares they held. It also meant that new shares could be issued to new subscribers, and the money paid for them could go to the club, frequently to help build the grounds.
    Hence the first appearance of a new rule in the FA handbook of 1892, agreeing Preston North End’s request to form a limited company, but limiting the dividends the company could pay its shareholders. By 1899 the body of rules was in the FA handbook and would last almost a century. Owner shareholders could not reap large amounts of money from the clubs, because the dividends which could be paid out on their shares were limited to a nominal maximum. Directors could not be paid at all. This rule was later modified to require they work full-time at the club. Preston North End was the first club to form a limited company and at the time they were the most succesfull English club.
    If we continue to browse in the history of English football we see other financial innovations which can be seen as being unfair. In the Premier League era, Jack Walker was the first director who started spending huge amounts of his personal fortune to invest in a club. At the time Blackburn Rovers where among the best clubs in the Premier League and once even ended up champions. Later on Abromovich and Sheikh Mansour emulated him. But was Walker an innovator? Just before Christmas 1931 James Gibson, a businessman who lived in Hale, saved Manchester United from insolvency with a contribution of £2,000, paying to settle debts, the players’ wages and to buy all staff a turkey (it was Christmas after all). In all his twenty years (during the period 1931-1951), in which he stabilised finances, oversaw the establishment of a junior section for youth development, rebuilt Old Trafford, appointed Matt Busby and set the club on the route of greatness, he only gave money, and never sought to take it. Doesn’t that remind you of Abramovich or Mansour? Yet Gibson was never seen as a vilain and Manchester United is considered a ‘proper’ club.
    A club like Arsenal is also seen as a proper club, yet people in Beveren might disagree with that as Wenger and his associate Guillou cannibalized the club and made it into a feeder club wich only played with Ivorian players. The best of them went to Arsenal or other clubs and Arsenal made huge profits from the transfers of Yaya Touré, Yapi-Yapo, Gervinho and others. It is ironic that only one of these players immidiately ended up with Arsenal: Emmanuel Eboué. When Guillou left, Beveren went into bankruptancy. Now the club is known as Waasland Beveren and is a shadow of it’s former self. Yet Arsenal are seen as a decent run club.
    The 80’s were the absolute low point of English football with tragedies like Bradford, Heysel and finally Hillsborough. After Hillsborough Lord Justice Taylor was asked to make a report on the state of affairs of English football and in that report he made some suggestions about the future of English football. He recomended in his final report that all-seater stadiums become compulsory, and insisted they should not lead to higher ticket prices. In fact, the opposite happened. Despite the billions which the fans paid for TV subscriptions, clubs raised ticket prices tenfold. At Liverpool, the cost to stand on the Kop in 1989-90 was £4; in 2011-2012 the price of all tickets in the Kop to see top opponents was £45. It is fair to state that the owners of English clubs alienated themselves from their fans. Abroad massive clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munchen are at least partly owned by the fans.
    The concentration of wealth between a handful of clubs developed also from the same period, at the end of the 1980’s. With the maximum wage abolished, top club wage bills went sky high, and the game was suffering its decline from neglect, hooliganism, the stigma from the media and the hatred by he government. The bigger clubs, led by Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton, Arsenal and Spurs, began to agitate throughout the decade for a greater share of the game’s (television) income.
    The first breach of the decades-honoured structure of sharing money in the Football League was in 1983, when the big clubs succeeded in abolishing the rule of sharing gate receipts. So the principle that the league should regulate against the big clubs inevitably dominating if they kept all the money from home matches was discarded.
    The ‘Big Five’ clubs then levelled their sights at hoarding a greater share of the television money. Continually threatening that they would break away completely from the Football League if their demands were not met, they succeeded by the 1988-1992 TV deal in securing 50 % of the total , £44 million, for the First Division clubs, 25% went to the Second Division clubs, with the remaining 25% shared between Third and Fourth Division clubs. All the clubs in football knew the next deal, from 1992 would be hugely increased, because of the emergence of Sky TV, and the big five resolved to break away.
    David Dein, Arsenal’s vice-chairman and Noel White, a Liverpool director, were deputed to try to talk the FA into supporting the First Division clubs’ breakaway. Fatefully the FA betrayed its roots and historic ethos, believing mistakenly that it would become the undisputed governing body for those big clubs too, and it supported the breakaway.
    This breakaway turned the new Premier League clubs instantly from failing places emerging from the wreckage of the 1980’s to very lucrative businesses. It was a breakaway to form a different competition, and its motivation was to make as much money as possible, and no longer have to share it with lower league clubs. The Football League clubs watched a yawning financial chasm open up with the Premier League, and players’ wages began their escalation to today’s £200.000 a week.
    Lord justice Taylor was wrong about the effect of all-seaters on the ticket price. Nor did he envisage that the owner-chairmen, whose game had produced scandalous neglect which had shocked him, would within a decade, be floating their clubs on the Stock Market and banking millions for their shares. When those clubs’ owners wanted to float on the Stock Market and realise their fortunes they found that the FA’s Rule 34 was a block – as it was supposed to be. The very point of buying shares in a company on the Stock Market is a financial investment, for the shareholder to be paid dividends out of the company’s profits. The FA’s rule limiting dividends was a barrier to a float. The requirement that directors work full-time was also inappropriate to a plc; non-executive directors, often extremely well paid for attending a few board meetings a year, are required in public companies. Spurs were the first club to float and they did something similar to Preston North End a century before them. Besides the club Tottenham Hotspurs, they bypassed Rule 34 by forming a holding company, Tottenham Hotspurs plc. As this was not a football club they could float on the Stock Market.
    Why am i giving this history lesson in English club football? It’s all about the moral judgement that people make about clubs like MK Dons, Chelsea or Manchester City. I’ve given lots of examples from Preston North End up to Spurs a century later, of clubs who did something innovative to give them an edge on their opponents. Can one say that what they did was morally speaking “better” than what happens at clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City? I don’t think so. I’ve also proven that people who neglected their customers (by playing football in ramshackle and distinstly unsafe stadiums) got rewarded for their negligency making fortunes when they floated their formerly derelicht clubs on the Stock Market.
    Football is all about glass ceilings. There is a glass ceiling between the EPL and the Championship, there is a glass ceiling between the EPL and other big competitions like Serie A, Bundesliga and to a lesser extent La Liga. There is a glass ceiling between the 5 big leagues (and the Russian league?) and the rest of Europes’ leagues. There is also a glass ceiling between big European clubs and other European clubs. And now it seems that there could become a glass ceiling between sugar daddies’ clubs and other clubs. Fans of traditional big clubs pretend that this new glass ceiling is more immoral than all the previous abysses between clubs. They are wrong and they should know better. If one’s club is on the wrong end of a glass ceiling, it suddenly becomes immoral. Football clubs are not good or bad. The truth is far more complex.

    Source: Richer Than God by David Conn (pages 197-206)
     
  30. BobbyBox

    BobbyBox WING NUT!

    10 October 2003
    Arsenal
    Re: Evo-Web's Football Thoughts - An Intellectual Safe Haven

    How can you argue with that :LOL:

    Great article Gerd, I will still not like Chelsea and Man City though ;))

    I am bitter though as I saw Chelsea emerge just as Arsenal were finally getting to grips with Man United and becoming better than them....then Chelsea popped up and squashed us :LOL:
     

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