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19 Apr 2021 09:15:01
I know the proposals of a European Super League have been knocking about for a long time and making them public now is most likely a way to force UEFA to embrace change in one way or another. Putting financial incentives aside for a moment (despite this being one of the main reasons for the breakaway league), could we not see this as a way for UEFA to compromise and re-structure European competitions?

They could feasibly create a European Super League themselves with 20-teams based on country coefficients, with no one nation allowed more than four clubs to participate. These teams would no longer need to participate in the Champions League competition and their involvement in the ESL would be in lieu of participation in the top league of that nation (e. g. EPL, La Liga, etc. ) . Yes, this would impact upon those leagues, but it would make them more competitive as a result and also give other clubs a chance to win those leagues.

The winners of those leagues would then have an opportunity to play in Champions League, and the opportunity to play in a two-leg promotion/ relegation play off with the lowest performing team in the ESL from their nation, including where only one team is representing a nation in the ESL. This would make the ESL much more dynamic and could potentially lead up to 8-10 promotion/ relegation play offs each season (assuming 10-12 clubs are from the same nations based on coefficients) .

The winners of the Champions League would have also have an opportunity to be promoted to the ESL in the event they did not win their national league that season. Or perhaps the bottom club in the ESL is automatically relegated and replaced by the winner of the Champions League. Where the relegated club is from a nation with multiple clubs, the second lowest team would be involved in the playoff with their national league winner.

Europa League could function similar to at present, whereby the winner gains entry into the Champions League the following season.

Teams participating in the ESL would still be eligible to play in national cups. This would lead to a reduction in the number of games top-level players play per season, as they would be involved in one less competition. Burnout and fatigue is often cited as a reason for poor performances in international competitions, so it could help to improve the quality on display at World Cups and European Championships.

Financially, percentages of earnings would need to spread fairly through participation in the ESL, but also sufficient levels of money fed down into the Champions League, Europa Leagues and top leagues at a national level to ensure clubs can be competitive enough when it came to promotion/ relegation playoffs. Money is always going to be at the centre of any sweeping changes to the game. However, with the threat from FIFA of players not being eligible for international competitions and a sufficient financial carrot dangled in front of the club owners, it could be a compromise which helps to enhance European and International competitions.

I'm interested to hear other people's thoughts on this? I'm sure Ed002 will be able to provide a plethora of reasons as to why this would be impractical and unfeasible that I haven't considered. However, there will be changes one way or another and it would benefit from being embraced by UEFA and FIFA to prevent a handful of clubs, club owners and investment bankers being the only beneficiaries from such large scale change.

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13 Apr 2021 09:49:47
I'll try something a little bit different. Against Spurs we saw what the majority of unbiased fans would agree was a poor decision from VAR to rule out Cavani's "goal" for a "foul" on Son in the build up.

I'm not going to go into the rights and wrongs of Son spending 3 minutes rolling around on the floor for a flick on the nose, surely for a man who has recently completed his military service he knows how embarrassing that was.

What I want to discuss is VAR, now the reality is VAR will not be going anywhere anytime soon. I know there is a lot of people who have a strong dislike for it, and given how it is currently used I can fully understand why.

My view is they have tried to do too much with it too quickly and it has left everyone confused and unsure how or what it should be used for.

We are told it's for clear and obvious errors then they spend 5 minutes deciding whether a player is 1mm offside.

Which even if they were its not a clear or obvious error, plus the rules state that for close calls the advantage should go to the attacking team.

So clarity is needed for one thing, but for me the biggest issue with VAR is that it has shone a light on just how poor or officials are in this country.

It also highlights that some decisions there will never be a full consensus on, mostly due to the fact that the rules enable a certain amount of ambiguity in them as it allows the decision to be made from a personal perspective.

Did a player back into a player aware of what they were doing or was it just a coming together?

Did a player dive, or was there enough contact to knock the player off balance?

Was the player in an offside position active or impacting the play or not?

While there are many others as well where ultimately a judgement call is needed based on an individual's perception of what happened. That isn't definitive, and can easily be debated. Meaning there will always be controversial decisions, and calls that people will say the Ref got wrong.

I think one of the biggest problems with VAR is that we assumed it would be the end of bad decisions. Whereas, what it's really done is made poor officials second guess every decision they make, often leading to them making more mistakes than before.

So what can/ should be done about it?

Personally I think there is no single silver bullet solution, and the way forward requires several different solutions.

Firstly, we need an independent body judging and grading the performance of officials.

We need better training of officials, stop it being a closed shop with an us against the world mentality from PGMOL.

We need to rewrite some rules of the game, make them clearer, and cut out as much of the ambiguity or personal perspective as possible.

Finally with VAR we need to simplify it, reduce the things it gets involved in until it can be used correctly.

It should be used for clear and obvious errors, which means there could be a 30 second cap, if you can't see an obvious error in 30 seconds from multiple angles then there isn't a clear error.

It shouldn't be used for offsides, unless they drastically change the offside rules to simplify it, maybe by saying there needs to be daylight between the players for it to be offside. Unless they can make sure every offside call could be made in less than 30 seconds then it just shouldn't be used for it.

It should really be used to avoid clear injustices in the game, fixing mistaken identity cards, correct calls such as penalty decisions that can actually impact the result of a game.

So what do you guys think needs to be fixed to sort out VAR?

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13 Apr 2021 13:53:05
Started reading that at 12.30pm, God its long Shappy lol.

13 Apr 2021 18:16:12
I'm still reading it 5 hours later.

Shappy want to write a paper for me, or my thesis.

13 Apr 2021 19:17:11
Was it that long really?

Jonny, technically I'm supposed to be writing my thesis, but I might be procrastinating. Suppose I should get back to carbon sequestration of hedgerows.

13 Apr 2021 22:04:21
Are you doing a masters or PhD there Shappy?

Sounds about as interesting as mine.

Mine is

The efficacy of a focused breathing exercise in obtaining more accurate identifications from a police line up.

Damned riveting.

14 Apr 2021 09:49:32
Jonny, It's actually an Undergrad, I didn't get along with education when I was a teenager. Probably due to undiagnosed dyslexia. So I went back into education as a 30 year old, had to do an access course as I never sat A-Levels. Just coming to the end of my 3 years at Uni now.

Weird time to be at Uni, and I really feel for all those young students who have had to spend their first year at Uni practically in isolation due to the C.V.

Moving away from home as an 18 year old, only to effectively find you are grounded for a year and not allowed to leave your room. Makes it difficult to make friends and settle in.

This past year is the only time I think being a mature student is an advantage.

14 Apr 2021 11:09:23
Shappy that's amazing. you're never to old to return to university.

I did the same thing on my actual 40th, slighlty more than 10 years later, I am a lecturer.

14 Apr 2021 12:20:55
That's cool, so much respect for lecturers after my stint in Uni. Still not quite sure what I'm going to do when I graduate, probably something GIS related.

14 Apr 2021 13:04:09
You could write Shappy. Be a novelist. Just don't write a biography on Ole pls😁😁.

14 Apr 2021 14:57:43
United addict, I do have an idea for a novel or more likely a series of novels. I might just put an Ole character in it just for a laugh, especially when his nickname will be the Red Man😂.

14 Apr 2021 16:42:50
It’s an interesting question Shappy, my thoughts are that VAR is very useful and should add to the game but the people using it are time and time again proving to be useless. Refs have always had the excuse that they only get to see something once whereas Sky and people at home get to watch it from all different angles. Now they don’t have that excuse and they are getting more wrong than before. Having been a ref myself in my younger days it is well known that the best refs aren’t the ones that make it to the top level, it is the ones that lick enough arses to get there.

Certain top refs are fast tracked to the top level, I know of one who was never anywhere near good enough who is now a premier league referee whereas other good refs never make it past being a conference linesman. It wasn’t about how well you reffed the games it was about how much time you were willing to put in, how many events you could arrange, who your mentor was, which area you were from. I know a lot of professions are the same but unfortunately a symptom of this is that we have poor refs at the top of the game claiming to be ‘elite level’.

You just have to listen to Peter Walton getting every single decision wrong on the commentary and then changing his mind when a different decision is given to see what a ‘top level’ referee is like, arrogant and showing a total lack of understanding of how the game works, he was supposedly one of our best refs only a couple of years ago. No wonder they don’t let them come out and explain decisions, it would make things much worse as it would show how little they understand the game.

As for VAR, the offside rule needs adapting to accommodate it better, maybe use feet instead of any random part of the body, somebody shouldn’t be offside when timing a run perfectly before his shirt sleeve was ahead of someone’s arse, but there obviously has to be a matter of fact onside or offside, I just think they have that wrong at the moment.

I could talk a lot about this as an ex ref with a number of ideas around it but that will do for now.

14 Apr 2021 17:39:11
Haha that's a good one Shappy. Be sure to make him grumpy with an affinity for digging out old quotes.

12 Apr 2021 11:48:10
Lingardhino is really making an impact on that West Ham team, isn't he?

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09 Apr 2021 08:54:51
Comfortable professional performance away from home in Europe.

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07 Apr 2021 10:59:59
Here's something to ponder, West Ham look like having a decent shout at getting into the top 4 this season.

So assuming that no one thinks this West Ham side is better than the United side of 2013/ 14.

Then what does that say about Moyes and about United.

Is Moyes a significantly better manager now?

If not then why can he potentially guide this West Ham side to top four but not a title winning United side?

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07 Apr 2021 11:21:09
See where they are next season, when things return to normality. Hard to judge anything this season.

07 Apr 2021 11:41:03
Sepp, that's an interesting take. So if a manager and a team doing specifically well shouldn't be praised as its an unusual season, then shouldn't the same be for those managers/ teams that are doing particularly poorly?

Can any conclusions be drawn from this season considering the circumstances?

07 Apr 2021 12:32:29
Shappy, I think that he was the wrong choice at the time. I can see what the aim was but I think they should have gone a different route.
That being said, once we went with him I think they should have given him longer to be successful and potentially if he was given a second season backed with purchases he may have done well.
He is a good manager, for a mid league team I think he is an excellent manager. I also think he is not as much of a dinosaur as some would suggest.

07 Apr 2021 14:14:49
The top teams were much better in 13/ 14 season than they have been in 2020/ 21 season.

Prime Kompany, Yaya, Silva, Nasri, Aguero led City team
Suarez and Sturridge led Liverpool (arguably best 1 season parternship in prem history)
Mourinho (still near his peak) led chelsea
Wenger led arsenal who were still banker top 4 team at that point
Everton were really good that season as well.

That probably explains it.

07 Apr 2021 14:32:58
To some extent, but there are always going to erratic places this season with the lack of preparation between games and congested fixture list.

It's why the teams with the strongest squad depth seem to be doing particularly well and the teams that have been hit hard by injuries have dropped down, i. e. Liverpool, Wolves and Southampton.

07 Apr 2021 15:22:17
There is no comparison at all.
It's more difficult to convince a group of League winners to fight for top 4. Its even more difficult when you lose the dressing room. At West Ham they are a happy place because they have already a good season and finishing top 4 or not don't difine their season. Its totally different.

07 Apr 2021 22:56:05
I do not miss Moyes, nor would I’d say West Ham fans warm to him despite their league position.

08 Apr 2021 10:50:39
Eric at this point they love moyes and why shouldn't they. Most improved team in the country.
You think West ham fans are not keen on him. Its the best they have been doing for 50 years.

08 Apr 2021 16:27:32
The several I know don’t like him Ken.

08 Apr 2021 23:30:00
Moyes made his bed when he brought his own men in I think. Rene was willing to stay on who was underrated. His signings were rubbish too.

09 Apr 2021 06:39:50
Didn’t make any really. Dithered in the transfer market, dithered on the pitch too.

No issue him bringing his own team in - but collectively they were a disaster and his stints elsewhere have proven he’s not good enough. He’s already been sacked by West Han once before!

06 Apr 2021 11:52:19
in the fantasy football world we would all like to be in, what signings/ departures would you like?
in goal -
to keep: henderson, awb, shaw, maguire lindlehof tuanzebe, telles,
mctom, greenwood, amad, rashford, bruno, james, garner, williams, shoretire, bishop, vande beek.

sell, let go get rid
grant, romero, ddg, bailly jones pogba, mata, fred, matic, cavani, lngard martial. dalot.
grant =require a younger upgrade
romero =wages off books and he wants out
ddg= big wages and lack of form over 2-3 seasons
bailly= on the sick more than frank gallagher (could be useful in pusuit of torres. )
jones= say no more but another big wage away
pogba= wages off books and wants to go 1 in 4 player
mata = been great signing but playing back home would be great gesture and wages?
fred= just isny good enough
matic tired could be a player in a deal benfica?
cavani= dissapointing attitude, comments from entourage and wages
lingard= whu bargaining -rice?
martial - time to let go
dalot = can't see a place for him.

ins - mendes, torres/ milenkovic, keeper?, rice, bissouma andre silva, vasquez.
probably end up with none of the above all the squad get a payrise and we sign jagielka, and a new kitman.

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08 Apr 2021 11:13:36
In the fantasy world but attempting to keep my feet on the ground I think we would make 4 signings, which in my opinion is the most a club should make in any transfer window.

I'd target a CB, CDM and RW. Along with a solid back up keeper replacing one of Henderson or DDG.

For me it would be DDG leaving, he would be followed by Grant, Romero, Jones, Dalot, Mata, Andreas Pereira, Lingard, Cavani, and one of Pogba or Donny.

I'd probably on balance of play let Donny leave this summer as I don't see him adapting or getting a real chance so the longer he stays the more his value drops. I'd keep Pogba and let him leave next summer on a free as of the two he has more of an impact and I doubt we could get anything close to the right sort of fee for him.

I'd loan out Laird, Mengi, Garner and Pellistri to top end Championship/ lower end EPL teams with the most important aspect being that they actually get playing time.

My ideal signings would be Kounde, Rice and Neto, with one of Kevin Trapp or Jasper Cillessen as the back up keeper.

The team would line up something like:

AWB, Kounde, Maguire, Shaw
Rice, Pogba or McTominay
Neto, Bruno, Rashford
Greenwood or Martial

This would give us Trapp/ Cillessen, Williams, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Telles, Matic, Fred, Diallo, Pogba/ Hannibal, James, Martial/ Greenwood

as the back up/ squad options.

Then in the summer of 2022 I would expect Garner to come back and replace Pogba in the squad, along with Matic leaving.

Hannibal/ Pellistri could act as understudy to Bruno.

I'd look to move on one or both of Lindelof and Tuanzebe replacing them with Mengi and maybe another signing ideally left footed or at least left sided.

Martial could leave and we could look for a strong squad striker who might offer something different to Greenwood.

We could also look to replace James with a better LW option that would allow Rashford to rotate more with Greenwood as the striker.

So something like Matic, Pogba, Tuanzebe or Lindelof, Martial and James leaving.

With Mengi and Garner stepping into the squad, along with Hannibal and Pellistri.

Then sign a LCB, and either a LW or back up striker. Something like Sven Botman and Harvey Barnes maybe.

Giving us a squad of:

Henderson, Cillessen, Bishop, AWB, Williams, Laird, Kounde, Maguire, Botman, Mengi, Shaw, Telles, Rice, McTominay, Fred, Garner, Neto, Diallo, Bruno, Hannibal, Pellistri, Barnes, Rashford and Greenwood.

13 Apr 2021 16:50:14
You want rice mctominay fred and garner as our cm in a few seasons? Shocking that.

04 Apr 2021 09:58:38
If de gea does leave and we sell for €25 million

We will have to pay him that to leave because of his wages, so could be a good deal all round.

Hopefully the amateurs can lower the wage bill and move on a lot of players.

I really wouldn't care if we sold a lot of them and used academy players to replace, then sign 2 or 3 top quality playere for first team.

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01 Apr 2021 19:56:24
Sad to hear about Yeovil Town's Lee Collins, 32 is no age at at.

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