The Importance of Football

How important is football? Many people will quote the great Bill Shankly:

“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

Personally, I prefer the following school of thought:

Chief Inspector Grim

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Outlandish Predictions III: Premier League 2012/13 Final Table

I made this prediction on 14/08/2012. See you in May.

1.     Man United

2.     Man City

3.     Chelsea

4.     Arsenal

5.     Liverpool

6.     Newcastle

7.     Spurs

8.     Everton

9.     Fulham

10.  Sunderland

11.  Aston Villa

12.  West Ham

13.  QPR

14.  Reading

15.  Swansea

16.  Stoke

17.  Wigan

18.  West Brom

19.  Southampton

20.  Norwich

Aguero top scorer

Recall: Gazzetta Football Italia

Straight out the top draw of TV sports programmes, Gazzetta Football Italia is regarded by many as the finest football show ever created. During its ten years (1992-2002) on Channel 4, it is deeply embedded in the memories of a generation of football fans.

Opening Titles

The opening title sequence is a masterpiece in its own right. The song featured is “I’m Stronger Now” by Definitive Two. The final word dubbed over the track, “Golaço!”, was widely misheard and repeated as “Goal Lazio” by fans of the show.

Paper Talk

The star of the show was James Richardson. Originally a producer, he quickly became the regular anchor after Paul Gascoigne failed to show up for filming. He is fondly remembered for his legendary weekly trawl through the football stories from Italian newspapers, while sat outside a charming cafe enjoying a cappuccino and a generous helping of cake or ice cream. Richardson’s smooth, seamless, articulate and witty delivery was a refreshing change from the cliché ridden ramblings often served up on football shows.

Gazzetta featured an interview piece with Richardson and a Sirie A player, often containing an element of humour. Highlights of the previous weekend’s action, narrated by commentary heavy-weight KennethWolstenholm, were played inbetween each feature.

Transfer Deadline Day Deals: My Verdict

Transfer Deadline Day

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

The sound of Big Ben’s bongs and Jim White climaxing on our TV screens, it can only mean one thing, the transfer deadline has just passed. I’d like to share with you my run down on the winners and losers of this TDD.

TDD Stars 

Dimitar Berbatov Man Utd to Fulham £4,000,000

Berba Bargin

The Premier League Golden Boot winner of 2010/11 is an almighty signing for a club of Fulham’s stature. Berba is a underrated force and unfairly labelled a flop at United. His 2.66 games per goal in all competitions for the Red Devils was not a bad ratio at all. It was his failure to net in Champions League matches which ultimately cost him his United career. Martin Jol knows exactly what he is getting as he oversaw the Bulgarians rise to Premier League prominence at Spurs. Berbs decision to turn down Champions League football at Italian champions Juventus is a clear indication of his belief in Jol to get the best out of him. His style of play means that even at 31 years old, Fulham will get a few years of footballing genius from Berbatov.

Verdict: 10/10

Pablo Hernandez Valencia to Swansea £5,550,000

Swansamarda

This transfer is representative of all of Michael Laudrup’s dealings at Swansea this summer. He has successfully taken advantage of the financial paralysis that has hit Spanish football, recruiting the likes of Michu, Chico Flores and de Guzman. In doing so, the great Dane has managed to replace stalwarts Joe Allen and Scott Sinclair with just a fraction of the revenue raised from their sales. I find it amazing that no other Premier League managers have snagged onto this opportunity to raid a league brimming with quality footballers  at more than reasonable prices. I believe exploiting this economic disparity between the worlds top two leagues is a master stroke. Hernandez is dedicating his prime years to the south Wales’ club and he will more than fill the gap on the Swans flank left by Sinclair.

Verdict: 8/10

Hugo Lloris Lyon to Spurs £8,000,000

There Hugo

Many people may question the logic of bringing Lloris to White Heart Lane at a time when they have Brad Friedel turning out top class performances. To them I would say take a step back and you will see that Spurs have pulled off a marvellous piece of business. Consider the current market price for talented young keepers, with David de Gea costing Manchester United a cool £17 million and the inexperienced Jack Butland’s rumoured price tag of £9 million, and it is clear the French national captain is a snip at £8 million. Th 25 year old arrives with a wealth of international and Champions League experience to north London. Lloris will break into the team sooner or later, and over time, will prove to be a quality act in the Premiership.

Verdict: 9/10

*A hat tip to Moyes and Lambert on their shrewd moves this TDD.

TDD Stinkers

Clint Dempsey Fulham to Tottenham Hotspur (not Liverpool) £6,000,000

Liverpool: Down in the Demps

The biggest stink on TDD was a deal that crashed and burned, namely Liverpool’s failure to capture Clint Dempsey. The American international had made it clear he wanted to make the move to Merseyside, but Fulham were keen to get a fair price for a player who excelled last season. With only a year to run on his contract, a valuation of £6 million for the midfielder was more than reasonable and appeared to be great business for Liverpool. However, they were reluctant to meet this, offering just £4 million. As the clock ticked down and by the time Spurs made their move, the Reds’ top men had packed up and gone home. The absence of any appetite to splash an extra £2 million on a player Brendan Rodgers trailed all summer has left many onlookers scratching their heads.  The team’s primary short coming in the previous campaign was scoring goals. Following the departure of Andy Carroll and Nathan Ecclestone, just two recognised strikers remain on the books at Anfield. Missing out on bringing in a free scoring midfielder, who netted more times than Luis Suarez last season, could be a catastrophic error that Rodgers is left to rue.

Verdict: 1/10

Scott Sinclair Swansea City to Manchester City £8,000,000

Sin Bin: What a load of rubbish

Roberto Mancini has best sulking all summer about the lack of activity at city, so he will be delighted with the positive outcome of this will-he-wont-he transfer saga. Sinclair comes into the champions squad as a replacement for Adam Johnson. Like the former Middlesbrough man before him, he will arrive with ambitions to establish himself in the first team, but these hopes and dreams will inevitably be suffocated by frustration from lack of opportunities. He will lose momentum and wind up being moved on in two or three windows time. Not that Mancini will care.

Verdict: 3/10

Danny Rose Spurs to Sunderland on loan

Danny boy: One hit wonder

It is fair to say I am not the biggest fan of Danny Rose. He appears to be building a career around his first ever kick in professional football. I will take my cynical hat of for a moment, if only to put the boot in with the cold hard fact that he struggled to make any kind of impact on loan in the Championship. I witnessed his incompetency first hand this summer watching Team GB, and even if O’Neil can get the best out of him, I can only see him struggling to progress at the Black Cats.

Verdict: 3/10

*Other stink bombs include Mark Hughes and Nigel Adkins

Roll on May 2013 for the verdict.. on my verdict.