Happy Tuesday and welcome to another edition of Black & White. Nothing too fancy about this, I just take some topics from the world of football and discuss/rant various things or people I dislike. Boy oh boy, International football is back soon…
When is a friendly not a friendly?
Boring International breaks eh? They come so early in the season and disrupt the domestic season. UEFA have come up with a wonderful way to make this less painful which is introducing a tournament that will take three months to understand the merits of. Yes, the UEFA Nations League begins in September’s International break and the gist is you can now be relegated for being crap at International football. Or promoted. All with the overall goal of qualifying for Euro 2020. Which is being held everywhere. Don’t worry if you don’t win the UEFA Nations League, you can still qualify via the normal qualification route. Confused? You bet. I have no idea and I voluntarily decided to write and research this. I guess it’s better than a friendly because it is slightly competitive, but it just seems like a convenient excuse to get England back on Sky. On the plus side, listening to Jamie Carragher trying to get his head around this will be good fun.
I wrote last week about the need to clamp down on diving and whilst that will always be an issue, you can’t escape from the fact that refereeing in this country is just not very good. You can ask for the inclusion of VAR all you want, fundamentally there is still a human making the decision after seeing numerous replays and I’m not overly confident many of the current crop would make a correct one. Paul Tierney is the latest idiot on the block, giving Chelsea a penalty because a Newcastle defender played the ball. This after last week’s moron Craig Pawson was rewarded for his horror show at Cardiff by being given the biggest game of the weekend in Man Utd vs Spurs – and yes, he turned down a blatant pen at the Stretford end because that is the referee life. Whatever they are doing isn’t working, I wonder how long it’ll be before we start using referee’s from abroad – the offer of more money will surely sway some, as it has with some of our refs moving to the far east and beyond.
Rice, Rice Baby
Back to International football for a second and I was absolutely flabbergasted that Declan Rice is considering changing to be English after having caps for Ireland. The Irish games he appeared in were friendlies which allows him to switch but that is ridiculous. How can you get caps for one country then play for another? More to the point, why are we doing this for Declan Rice? I’m sure he’ll have a very promising career ahead of him but he’s made his choice and that should be that.
Premier League losing it’s charm
I’m sorry to say I feel the Premier League is losing its way a bit. Maybe even becoming a bit stale. At least VAR would have spiced things up a bit, at the moment everything is all very familiar. The top 6 is a closed shop, no matter what Man Utd’s form means to you at the moment they will still recover under this manager or the next. Who’s going to break in instead of them? The media don’t help matters, any time a player at one of the “lesser” clubs puts on a performance the speculation starts over which team they would fit into. Just let them be. Leicester’s miracle season appears more and more of a one-off whilst all other clubs scrap to keep their heads above water. Sky have the nerve to wheel out pundits who complain about clubs setting up not to get thrashed by the chosen 6 – well, if you didn’t set the prize money so high it wouldn’t be an issue. Relegation shouldn’t cause clubs to lose out on over £100m and for people to lose their jobs, it’s gone beyond football now and it’s not right. Until that money is levelled out a bit over the Championship too, it’s only going to get worse.
That’s my spleen vented for another week but thanks for sticking with me and I’ll be back soon with more.