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Am I alone in worrying about the state of british football? I am a Derby fan, my club is £30m in debt and losing £150,000 every week, we cannot afford to take on any more players (even on a free transfer) and rumour has it that some of our "star players" are actually owned by Barclays Bank meaning that we may not see any sale proceeds if they are sold. I have heard that several other Nationwide clubs are in the same boat as us and unless thing change we may go into administration.

davel, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

This is not just effecting Nationwide clubs, Chelsea have said that they can no longer be considered a major force in the transfer market and Arsenal are struggling to make payments on Jeffers. Apparantly Leeds have at least four of their high profile players owned by the bank (as have Bolton and Everton).

davel, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

yeah, i've been reading about this. in italy and spain its even worse, although i wonder, hasn't it always been built on sand in spain, perhaps it won't be so bad there. italy seems to be in a bad way though, plummeting attendances etc ronaldo, vieri and recoba accepting pay cuts!, wasn't italy like this in the 80s too?

as for england, chelsea seem in a real mess, and who can they sell (apart from gudjohnsen and hasselbaink?), leeds too, but they do have players they can offload. newcastle don't look too healthy by all accounts, and quite a few others. but i thought arsenal seemed to be in a more healthy position than most? wenger's been going on about this for ages, and he does seem to do pretty well in the transfer market

gareth, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Newcastle would seem to be very much like myself, no matter how skint they are, they just keep spending.

Chelsea seem to be really in trouble though, selling bigfoot may be their only answer.

chris, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Chelsea's saving grace may be that the land that Stamford bridge is built on is worth an absolute fortune, so it can be use as colateral against their massive debts. On the other hand I can't imagine that land in Newcastle is worth all that much, so any finance they raise must be based on the fact that they have such a massive fan base and huge levels of income that way.

davel, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

There's absolutely nothing to *worry* about in the sense that I shouldn't think that Derby will go to the wall. Ultimately football will be better off after a round of belt-tightening. It's been obvious for a while that what is happening is unsustainable - there's no real *value* in investing in football, hence the lack of increase in the shares of clubs that have floated. If you spend beyond your means you'll get clobbered eventually - the idea of bringing in over- valued foreign stars to prop up a rotten team is clearly not worth it. So what if you can stay up for one more season? (Bolton) It means one more season of debt. Maybe you could argue that Bolton are bringing Prem. football to the people of Bolton for one more season, but if you believe that, you'd have to believe that the club actually *cares* about the fans any more - something I'd have a hard time believing of any Premiership club.

Derby? - Who were they kidding last year? What the fuck did they expect from Ravanelli - total waste of money. What business do players like Schnoor (yes I know he's gone now) have in our league. They're here today gone tomorrow journeymen who'll be off to Turkey or Austria or wherever as soon as a better off comes. I strongly believe that MOST supporters want to see a successful team built from a core of loyal, if possible home grown players (home grown = up through the youth system). The best thing that can happen is that Derby will look to their youth team and try and bring on home grown talent.

Chelsea (my team) - they have ditched the wretched Jokanovic. Dalla Bona has gone and hopefully Stanic is on his way. Boogarde and Bosnich should follow, and I'd love it if Zenden, Desailly and Gronkjaer followed. Get the most money we can for these piles of shit and invest in youth like we used to. Admittedly we have had *some* successes in overseas recruitment, maybe more than most (Cudicini, Gallas, Gudjonsen, Hasselbaink, Zola) BUT overall it's been a disaster. We're still running WAY behind the top 3, the team is based on a bunch of over-paid, over-rated mercanaries and the money's spent.

Dr. C, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

wasn't Stefan Schnoor the player's player of the year or summat in his last season at Derby? I always thought he was kind of useful, not brilliant no, but ok. I do see your point entirely though Dr C.

chris, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Thinking about it, Spurs have done quite well in the financial stakes and youth policy. Though, they probably won't find a buyer for Rebrov, so it's mid table again next year.

jel --, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

you could always sell Steffen Freund if you got hard up, at least you'd have 50p to put in the meter.

chris, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Schoor is a sort of signifier for *all that is wrong* and to be fair (Brian) he may not have been *actually* that bad. For Schnoor substitute one of : Luzhny, Stepanovs, Jakanovic, Pistone, Grimandi, Zenden, Balaban, Bobic, Tal, Bhageri, Marcelino, Gavilan.......

Dr. C, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

yes Chris, and there's always money to get a cake from the proceeds of the Chris Armstrong sale.

jel --, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

jel is OTM re. The Spurs.

But Doc: Desailly 'a pile of shit'? Merde alors!!

the pinefox, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Many of the problems at Derby have come from buying "cheap" foriegn players (due to the stupid prices for average british players). When we first got into the premiership this approach worked for us, we had players like Stimac, Asanaovic, Wanchope, Eranio, Baiano, Poom. Over the last few years most of these players have moved on and been replaced by similarly priced foreign players who simply haven't performed i.e. Bragstad (took home £1.5m last year and couldn't get into the reserves), Grenet, Kinklaze, Ravanelli, Zavagno. When we have bought british players we have had to buy very young inexperianced players such as Morris and Higgingbottom both of wich have taken a couple of years to get used to playing premiership football, or we have bought aging players who can no longer perform for ninety minutes i.e Rob Lee, Barton, Burley, and back in the day Paul Mcgrath. The only glimmer of hope for us is that we have 4 or 5 good young players and a superb youth side, but with so many high earning foriegn players on the books that will not move we will have to sell a good number of these.

davel, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I have found the hairdresser of Christian Ziege and Steffen Freund! I am going there next time to get similarly Germanic cut.

Jonnie, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Hey PF! Desailly - overrated showboater. Has a habit of looking good in games where 75% of decent centre-backs would have coped. When faced with pace he panics, with thugs he bottles (e.g Hartson in his last season with The Dons). He's done nothing that predecessors like Duberry, Lee, E. Johnsen, Pates, Wicks and McLaughlin didn't do week in, week out - except take home their career wages every week.

Dr. C, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Firstly, my ex-wife supported Derby (well, she didn't support anyone or like football, so I assigned Derby to her because that was where she was born, which is almost the same thing) and we are going through an acrimonious divorce so I find it hard to sympathise. Also, I am a Bristol Rovers supporter and we finished one place short of dropping out of the League this year and we are flat broke despite selling good strikers every couple of months for the last few years, so it is very hard to sympathise with the big and huge clubs under discussion.

Anyway, yes it had to come, and I don't really understand why it didn't come sooner. It will be interesting to see how it shakes down and changes things in the next year or two, to see if the teams who have made a big deal of financial prudence will start to look strong as the others become shakey.

Martin Skidmore, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

seven months pass...
Okay, non-Americans, tell me about your favorite player or two and why they are so good. Perhaps an all-time fav and current fav. I like watching foreign socc, er, football matches but my knowledge of good players is limited and about 4 years behind the times.

And why does everyone hate Beckham? Is it cuz he married Posh Spice? I saw him play last night vs Leeds and was admiring his precise, creative passing.

oops (Oops), Thursday, 6 March 2003 16:53 (eighteen years ago) link

i luv Beckham, he is grate

stevem (blueski), Thursday, 6 March 2003 17:24 (eighteen years ago) link

My favourite ever was Pele, the Michael Jordan of football. Despite his quitting international football just after I started watching it, there are loads of astounding, glorious, beautiful moments I remember. There are loads of perspective shockers in his career. I mean, we get excited about the youth of Rooney, but Pele was playing for Brazil when younger than Rooney got into Everton's side, and was scoring half a dozen dazzling goals (3 in the semi, 2 in the final) to help Brazil win their first World Cup at 17. Also, Shearer is the first man since Greaves in the '60s to get 30 goals in two successive seasons. Imagine someone keeping that up for 20 seasons - that could be an unimaginable 600 goals. Pele, according to the Guinness Book Of Records, scored 1,216 (in 18 seasons). This figure has been disputed, but he was an astonishing player, deserving a stature only comparable to Muhammed Ali and Michael Jordan.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Thursday, 6 March 2003 19:01 (eighteen years ago) link

I like big Steve Flack. He's scored eleven goals this season. For Exeter. Exeter aren't very good, in fact we've been rubbish this year but Steve always plays in a very committed fashion and I like him very much. He is not the most skilful footballer I've seen but he's my current favourite.

I admire Pele but I like Flackie. Technical proficiency has never been my thing.

As for David Beckham, mostly I'm just jealous of his hair.

Tim (Tim), Thursday, 6 March 2003 19:06 (eighteen years ago) link

It's a shame that they don't replay any Pele matches...I've only seen a few clips of him playing and would love to see a lot more.

But only from what I've heard about him I'd put him up there w/Jordan, Ali, and Thorpe as the greatest athletes of the 20th C.
I don't think most people in America have an understanding of the incredible athleticism and fitness required to play football. I mean, fitness-wise, you have to run up and down a HUGE field w/only one break in play and virtually no substitutions for 90 minutes. Amazing. No other sport seems so demanding physically.

oops (Oops), Thursday, 6 March 2003 19:17 (eighteen years ago) link

Oops you're right, the whole running up and down thing is crucial.

Tim (Tim), Thursday, 6 March 2003 19:19 (eighteen years ago) link


I have nothing constructive to contribute. I just wanted to say I effing hate football.

Especially when they junk programmes I actually like (i.e. The Bill) in order to infest my television with allegedly 'important' games. Important to WHO? I DON'T CARE!!!!

And David Beckham isn't even very sexy, quite honestly...

ChristineSH, Thursday, 6 March 2003 20:01 (eighteen years ago) link

I think you're right, footballs on a cash burn, and the prevailing view seems to be that it doesn't matter.

Well, the clubs will still be around if they have half the turnover, but not twice the debt. But more importantly, the'll be a player drain to international sides that have yet to see the downside. Then it'll look even more like an international league of supersquads.

I predict that third and fourth division will come back into vogue. You can meet your idols on the bus.

Glynn, Thursday, 6 March 2003 20:05 (eighteen years ago) link

C'mon, tell me who's good nowadays. I know very little (last time I knew anything, Ronaldo was the next big thing. How 'bout that Dutch (I assume he's Dutch from his name, which I can't remember fully) guy on Man U that looks like a young Travolta? he's about the only person I've heard about lately.

oops (Oops), Thursday, 6 March 2003 20:15 (eighteen years ago) link

Ronaldo is still a top man, but not back at his peak yet. Ruud Van Nistelroy, the Dutchman at Man U, is a top striker too, but I think my favourite player recently may have been Thierry Henry, the Frenchman at Arsenal - fast, skillful, getting lots of goals, including a good few beautiful ones, and making some as well (like both in Arsenal's last game), and he does that "va va voom" thing so well in the car advert (can't remember which car, typically). But I'm only watching English games these days (including against European sides, but I don't really know any other nation's players so well).

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Thursday, 6 March 2003 21:12 (eighteen years ago) link

I think I caught some of a match w/Henry in it--he seemed like one of those guys who stays composed while getting attacked by several defenders, like an eye in the hurricane.
How 'bout Rivaldo (I think it's him, get some of the Brazilians confused--he had a big shaved head and played for FC Barcelona). A year or two ago I saw him make an absolutely beautiful goal where he took on about 3 guys, spun around w/his back to the goal, and heel-kicked it in

oops (Oops), Thursday, 6 March 2003 21:21 (eighteen years ago) link

Yes, Rivaldo is a glorious player, though I don't remember the shaved head. If you're an old comic fan, I think Rivaldo looks like Pablo Marcos drew him. He plays for Milan now, and Barcelona look like missing out on European football for the first time in their history. They are closer to relegation in Spain than the European places.

BTW, the correct expression is 'backheeled'.

My favourite goal ever: probably when George Weah (from Liberia, not a major football nation) was playing for Milan. He had come back to defend a corner in the closing minutes of the game. The ball came to him 8 yards from his own line, and over 100 yards from the opposition goal. He ran the length of the field, beating whoever came near him, before making the finish look easy. I've never seen anyone score solo from anything like that kind of starting position.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Thursday, 6 March 2003 22:02 (eighteen years ago) link

(thanks, I spent two minutes trying to think of backheel)

I did that same thing a bunch while using Weah on the FIFA game for Playstation.

oops (Oops), Thursday, 6 March 2003 22:07 (eighteen years ago) link

ten years pass...

I have long imagined that football today was 'technically better' than in the past - that players were fitter, had better diets, better coaching, sports science, more expensive boots, etc.

Then I watched the 1984 UEFA Cup Final and gained the impression that the players in it were more athletic, faster (the play was much faster! relentless!), more skilful (surprising, yet true), and the play more attacking (end to end, constant) and entertaining than today.

Come to think of it, I often don't find footy so entertaining today.

This contrast surprised me, but the impression was consistent.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 4 March 2014 17:48 (seven years ago) link

Its hard to compare fitness/athleticism non? Each set of peers prob cancel out other as far as the viewer is concerned.

i think organisation/defending has improved at a faster rate or with greater focus than individual attacking flair, like perhaps that was an age where a team worked loosely around the talent but mourinho et al have tended to subjugate even the best creative players onto rails and into corridors but then again maybe its all cycles eh

CSI BONO (darraghmac), Tuesday, 4 March 2014 18:58 (seven years ago) link

nice to see the pinefox back though

Joyeux animaux de la misère (nakhchivan), Tuesday, 4 March 2014 18:59 (seven years ago) link

i've seen plenty of football from the early 80s that looks farcical compared to the modern game - the very best players perhaps shine thru any era

I never did nothing to no curry (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 4 March 2014 19:01 (seven years ago) link

the difference between someone who spends more time than they ought to watching and reading about football and a truly converted fitba devotee is probably watching old matches on the internet for reasons other than the sentimental

i've never been able to tolerate it but from watching highlights, the thing i have noticed when viewing laudrup, boniek, mijatovic compilations is a sort of desultory yet graceful shifting of balance and of velocity, these players just look different to highlight reels of their current counterparts like iniesta or neymar or hazard even messi, the greatest of all of them, who just seem slightly more refined yet more functional by comparison

90s premier league looks like shit though, risibly crude

Joyeux animaux de la misère (nakhchivan), Wednesday, 5 March 2014 03:19 (seven years ago) link

laudrup suffers only in comparison to messi though

luiz ronaldo has a sort of classical style that reminds me of laudrup as a #9, i'd rather watch ronaldo compilations than ronaldinho or zidane

Joyeux animaux de la misère (nakhchivan), Wednesday, 5 March 2014 03:25 (seven years ago) link

Yeah, those guys have builtin tolerance in their joints that the current guys dont seem to have, an elastic relaxation that the flair stars of nowadays gird against lest jose or whoever catch some part of their musculature not straining.

Game poorer for it obv, thudd reigneth

CSI BONO (darraghmac), Wednesday, 5 March 2014 09:14 (seven years ago) link

Compilation footballers of today, idk, vdv isnt bad but yr topboys get samey, boring, its like watching racehorses, the functions are impressive but limited even while the stats outstrip their forebears

CSI BONO (darraghmac), Wednesday, 5 March 2014 09:17 (seven years ago) link

Whereas -- Tony Galvin.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 5 March 2014 10:02 (seven years ago) link

three years pass...

I'm very saddened at the passing of Jimmy Armfield.

the pinefox, Monday, 22 January 2018 11:33 (three years ago) link

three years pass...

When Sócrates was transferred to Fiorentina, he said: “I’m not interested in cars, luxury homes, I don’t want to grow old accumulating riches... I’m here to read Gramsci in the original language.”#KeepPoliticsInFootball #MarxistFootballers

— Jon Bounds 🇵🇸 (@bounder) June 8, 2021

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 8 June 2021 16:19 (two weeks ago) link

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