Spock would be useless in Premier League football. No, this isn’t some joke about his pointy ears puncturing the ball; I’m going there. It’s the whole logic thing; he’d be baffled by the inherent stupidity of Sky’s team which selects fixtures.
They seem to be working their way down the list now the proposal to switch the Arsenal vs Liverpool game seems to have crashed against the rocks. Their next attempt at chaos is Manchester United vs Leicester while in reserve, they are looking at West Ham vs Newcastle.
That’s right; they’ve dragged the barcodes to Brighton for the late kick-off and now they want to send the Geordies into London on Christmas Eve. At what point does the Premier League turn and say, “Lads, it isn’t going to work. We’ll rig the computer from next season so the Christmas fixtures are all local derbies.”
Are we at a point where Sky will admit defeat? There’s little sign of it; the rejigs are announced next week as broadcasters rip up the fixture list once again.
FIFA are currently looking to screw supporters over even more. Their latest idea is fewer but longer international breaks in a season. Dropping two of the four each season but making the remaining two longer is their solution. This remember, is a sport where we can’t get individual nations to agree that 18 is the number of teams in the top flight and having a fortnight off in winter is such a good idea that it’s compulsory.
Bravo gentlemen, because I’m sure every fan will tell you that we want two three or four-week blocks interrupting our season. While no suggestions on the timing of the breaks is announced, it’s likely to be October (meh) and March, just as the business end of the season begins.
The likes of Wenger and Mourinho are among the managers to bemoan the interruptions to the season and in our case, the momentum built will probably be lost; low expectations of the season, and all that. However, as much the managers might dislike October, they hate the March interruption more.
It’s a thorny issue for FIFA to solve and one entirely of their own making. Back in the day, club and international football co-existed quite happily with the weekend’s league action rarely, if ever, interrupted by World Cup qualifiers; they all took place in midweek and it worked.
I don’t think it can now because of television. UEFA’s club competitions would need revamping and domestic league matches played on a Saturday the weekend before. Package it as ‘retro’ and it works; everyone loves a bit of ‘retro’ these days and there’s big money in it.
The end of the international breaks and bringing back the ‘old’ pattern is, it strikes me, the best solution because the international game is broken, just as the domestic game isn’t well either. Empty seats tell the story; the fare on offer is either not good enough or too expensive, sometimes both at the same time.
Certainly in England’s case and I used to enjoy watching the competitive fixtures. Except they aren’t competitive any more. England are in flux; not in the world’s elite but better than most of the average nations, even on a bad day. The whole is a lot less than the sum of the parts, reminding me of the stagnation we suffered from 1975 through to 1984.
Then it was solved with luck rather than judgement. We need the same to happen again because English footballers remain as far behind their continental counterparts as ever.
Sign Him Up, Sign Him Up, Sign Him Up
Reports this morning suggest we’re after the man in charge of Barcelona’s transfer negotiations, Raul Sanllehi. Apparently, we’re looking to “freshen up our transfer policy”. It will be an interesting clash of cultures; the free-spending Catalans and the parsimonious Arsenal.
Dick Law’s gone, Ivan’s ensconced at London Colney and Arsène continues to plough his furrow. Replacing Law is ideal because inviting either CEO or manager to conduct negotiations is a recipe for disaster.
Will we see a new appointment and can that person become the ‘catalyst for change’ which got lost along the way last summer? That’s a different conversation to have…
Finally, on Dad’s Jukebox, this week’s Records of the Week in under 140 characters can be found here.