If I was Manager!

by   |   26/01/2020  41 Comments  [Jump to last]

As a sport, I feel the game has changed for the worse these last few years. Cheating has become a big part of the game I used to love. It has unfortunately become accepted that shirt-pulling, feigning injury, time-wasting, and "taking one for the team" are part of the game and you will no doubt be witness to all of the above in every Premier League game.

So.... let’s just say that I have become the new Manager for Everton. This would be my speech the first time I met the players!

"Hi, Lads, welcome to a new phase in Everton Football Club’s history! We are going to go forward as the club that everyone admires, the club with the best attitude in modern football.

“Now, you might think this is madness, but I will assure you, it will be worth it. I want this club to be the one everyone talks about. The club that doesn’t cheat!

“So, from now on, from the start of our very next game, we are going to wind back the clock and bring back football as it should be played. By players that do not cheat!

“You will no longer be allowed to pull-shirts; you will no longer be allowed to roll around as though badly injured when you clearly are not; or throw yourself to ground to get free-kicks and penalties; or time-waste by heading to the corner flag every time you get the ball (Ohate that).

“The crowds do not want to see it anymore — and nor do I. If you do these things, if you want to act like a child in a man’s sport, then you are in the wrong club and I promise you, you will spend more time on the bench than on the pitch.

“I am quite clear over the fact that this may cost us points but, in the long run, there will be dividends; other clubs will follow suit. English football will come home again because, if it continues down this path, the future is bleak indeed."

Yes, I know I would not last 2 weeks in the job, but just think if it actually set standards through the Premier League. How much better it would be to watch football again!

Rant over!

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Reader Comments (41)

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Andy Crooks
1 Posted 26/01/2020 at 20:51:07
I like his, Tony. I wrote a piece a couple of years ago, it might have been called " The Corinthian Spirit", or something like that, in which I made a similar arguement. I believe there could be huge commercial gain in being the club that leads the fight to rescue the game.

Football is corrupt and toxic and there is some appalling stuff going on off the pitch that is worse than the cheating that happens on it. I have discussed this privately with a regular and respected poster on this site.

I have considered sending an article privately to Michael and Lyndon but I just wonder why real journalists think that football is actually clean. Why are they not looking into what is obvious to anyone with an eye in their head.

Dave Abrahams
2 Posted 26/01/2020 at 21:13:15
Well said, Tony and Andy, it stinks the way the game is played and accepted by journalists, Andy. And you can add most of the TV pundits, who explain to us how players are clever to win penalties, by obvious falling down at the slightest touch, which brings us to referees who award them, then managers who see or fail to see whatever suits them.

The game has changed vastly over the last few years and unfortunately will stay that way, for the simple reason that, no matter how many and how much genuine supporters complain, no-one in positions to alter this bent structure will do anything to change it.

Andy McNabb
3 Posted 26/01/2020 at 21:23:02
One of the phrases pundits use which makes my blood boil is - "Well there was contact, so he was entitled to go down." Muppets.

This is certainly one of the factors which has caused my interest and passion for the professional game to diminish.

Instead I've coached my son's team for 10 years here in Melbourne. So at least in that much smaller environment I've been able to assist grown men to act like men and not like immature, cheating spoilt brats.

They probably think I'm a dinosaur but that sort of pathetic behaviour pains me and no team where I have input is going to indulge in it.

ps: You'd last two weeks?? More like two hours, mate!

Eddie Dunn
4 Posted 26/01/2020 at 22:52:06
Hear, hear chaps -well said.
Dick Fearon
5 Posted 26/01/2020 at 00:17:49
I must recount the first time I heard that old chestnut, 'Professional foul'.

I forget the year but Liverpool were playing Leeds Utd in the FA Cup Final at Wembley. Alan Clark had run half the length of the pitch with the ball and took a shot at the Liverpool goal.

The half-time TV panel discussed it and Bobby Charlton said Clark should have been brought down. With a feigned look of horror, chair of the panel, Jimmy Hill, said, "Surely you do not mean he should have been fouled?"

"Yes," said Bobby, "we call that a professional foul."

Bobby went on to say Alf Ramsay would have had someone's guts for garters had it not been done.

As for me being Everton's manager, and having the current squad to deal with, I would ask for a month's wages in advance... then shoot through.

Don Alexander
6 Posted 27/01/2020 at 01:21:24
I get the feeling that so self-absorbed in maintaining their own positions are those in charge, supposedly, at Finch Farm that they need to have players of even racial difference pointed out to them from the get-go.

Twenty years ago there was a clip on TV that the club approved, under Kenwright, now in his "enhanced role" of course, where the devoutly Muslim Ibrahim Bakayoko was introduced into the club's chosen house for him with the assurance from our fat garrulous Scouse representative that it was "pirfect" for him due to a mega TV screen and its proximity to a pub!

Peter Mills
7 Posted 27/01/2020 at 04:33:59
Nice ideas Tony. Before you give your speech, make sure you collect all those big headphones the players wear and stick them in the bin.

Premier League football has become a corrupt pantomime. Nobody calls it for what it is because everyone has their nose in the same trough. I keep going to Goodison because it’s in my blood, and because my family and mates go. But I get far more pleasure watching an honest match at Marine. There isn’t much scope for players rolling around the pitch when there are 20 people within a few feet suggesting they look a bit silly, and cheats on either side are called out for what they are.

Dick Fearon
8 Posted 27/01/2020 at 06:38:30
Apologies for my earlier tounge-in-cheek post @5.

At one time, Moyes demanded that our players not argue with the Ref nor play-act for free-kicks. At season's end, after viewing a club-made video, the Referees body conceded there had been at least 8 occasions when we should have been awarded a penalty kick.

So much for being uncomplaining, honest and relying on officials to be impartial.

Tony Abrahams
9 Posted 27/01/2020 at 07:15:20
Since I was a child, I have always admired pictures of football and it's packed stadiums. I used to love seeing pictures of massive crowds from the ‘Olden-days, when kids were passed down to the front.

My own era was full of segregation, and violence, and this is possibly why I used to love looking at a time when life was harder, but also so much simpler, especially people's values.

I formed a view that the football, always reflects the society, and modern life of the times, and football to me, is sadly where life is at just now.

Ralph Basnett
10 Posted 27/01/2020 at 07:55:14
Players do what they can to gain an advantage, nothing really wrong with that.

The kind of issues most re talking about here are down to consistency by referees and general poor refereeing.

If referees started giving fouls (penalties) for shirt pulling I can guarantee managers would manage their players to stop the shirt pulling, if referees sent players off for cheating (taking one for the team) then managers would sort their players out.

The issue is not with the players but with the poor standards of refereeing. If we all stick to the rules or are punished the same when we do something wrong it would sort out a lot of the problems.

Making referees professional was supposed to have helped this but just gave them huge pay rises and turned them into prima donnas who can’t do their jobs.

Here lies the blame!!!!!

Eddie Dunn
11 Posted 27/01/2020 at 08:07:10
Tony, your comparison is surely about the Premier League and other top leagues. I would think that if you watched Shrewsbury yesterday, then things ain't so bad really! Lovely, unsophisticated (in a nice way) fans enjoying a special day, with no trouble but lots of smiling faces and the fella from the Grenadian FA interviewed in the crowd about the players' eligibility for his team. Then Lineker holding the Cup up for the fans on the pitch!
Eddie Dunn
12 Posted 27/01/2020 at 08:15:19
If you want to see what's wrong with football - Danny Kelly on Talkshite along with Ray Houghton, lauding Klopp for moaning about the silly replay interfering with their senior player's winter break, and him insisting that no senior players would play.

Two fingers up to the oldest institution in the world of football, the man would rather have had a result on the day than let a little club enjoy a big pay-day and a memorable day out at Anfield. What a mealy-mouthed selfish toss-pot Klopp is.

May I add that the commentator's determination to keep referring to them as "World Champions" is really doing my head in. When did we have a World Championship? Winning a cup competition of the one that they did in the Middle East was no more of a feat than winning one of those silly pre-season "tournaments" with a few other "big names".

World Champions, my arse!

Derek Thomas
13 Posted 27/01/2020 at 08:43:35
Eddie@ 12; rs, you always get exactly what it says on the tin.
Dave Abrahams
14 Posted 27/01/2020 at 09:32:47
Peter (7), good post, Peter, and a very truthful assessment of how football stands today, to many match-going football fans.
Brian Harrison
15 Posted 27/01/2020 at 09:57:25

Fine sentiments and reminds me of the speech that Brian Clough delivered the first time he met the Leeds players. He told them to go home get the medals that they had won under Revie and throw them in the bin as they had cheated to win every trophy they won. But when I started watching Everton in the 50s the first thing defenders did was to go right through the centre forward or the winger from the back, long before the tackle from behind was outlawed. So was that type of thing okay compared to feigning injury? Back then, players regularly went over the top to do a player from the opposition.

The game has changed and it is what it is – there are loads I don't like about the modern game. How come with corners in the old days all the ball had to be in the quadrant? Now, it's okay if 99% of the ball is outside the quadrant, why did they change that rule? Players standing yards away from a ball crossing the dead ball line while holding back a player. That used to be a foul for obstruction – seems that rule doesn't apply any more.

Phil Bellis
16 Posted 27/01/2020 at 10:29:17
Spot on, Brian; that used to be obstruction, no attempt to play the ball.

Eddie: whoever heard Man Utd following their win in 2008 referred to as World Champions? Not even by their own fans.

Eddie Dunn
17 Posted 27/01/2020 at 10:45:31
Phil, indeed! And now I keep hearing every commentator and pundits on both radio and TV refer to them as "World Champions"! It's strange that. And on Wiki, I found this:

"The FIFA Club World Cup's prestige is perceived quite differently in different parts of the football world; while it is widely regarded as the most distinguished club level trophy in South America, it struggles to attract interest in most of Europe compared to the UEFA Champions League and commonly lacks recognition as a high-ranking contest."

Tell that to the UK media.

Sam Hoare
18 Posted 27/01/2020 at 11:34:21
It's a nice idea but it wouldn't catch on.

That Walcott incident against Brighton a few weeks ago exemplified it perferctly. If he goes down there then, we get a penalty 99 times out of 100. But he stayed up. The VAR look at what was a clear and very obvious shirt pull and still don't award the foul.

Sadly, cheats do prosper and until the standard of officiating rectifies that and brings in consistent punishment (also crazy that Niasse is still only one of two players to be punished retrospetcively for diving) then the trend will continue.

Steve Ferns
19 Posted 27/01/2020 at 12:19:10
Everton are far too nice already, if we went to the extreme, we'd be relegated.

Football does need a crackdown on this kind of thing, but it should be done by the Premier League or the Football Association, and VAR could play a major part. You could take a hard-line approach that all shirt pulling is a foul, and so a penalty if in the box.

I would also add in any foul and abusive language towards the referee should be a yellow card, and serious or repeated foul language should be a red card. Players should be told they need to address the referee by his surname and title, eg. Mr Atkinson, as the suggestion is some use first names or simply "ref", and shows a lack of respect.

Andrew Keatley
20 Posted 27/01/2020 at 12:24:28
There's too much money in football now for anyone to be bothered about winning the moral argument. Win the free-kick, win the penalty, win the game – and if that requires gamesmanship, then so be it. It's just the way football has gone; bemoan it sure, but there is very limited benefit to fighting it in isolation.

As Sam Hoare says above, it will be the referees that need to improve and unite in order to punish things like shirt-pulling, diving, time-wasting, and “professional” fouls to the point that those actions occur less. Perhaps the introduction of new directives might have an impact, although how they do that successfully is hard to see as I cannot see football reaching for the sin bin anytime soon.

Brian Harrison
21 Posted 27/01/2020 at 12:43:35
Just off topic for a moment, I and many others will have noted the punishment handed out to Saracens Rugby Union Club, having breached the financial rules of the RFU.

I hope that we stay the right side of the Premier League rules on FFP as seeing our club and players always seem to suffer the most from these bodies. They would be quite happy to make an example of a club like Everton as a reminder to all other clubs the consequences of not abiding by their rules, even though Man City have transgressed but with very little action taken, it seems.

Alan J Thompson
22 Posted 27/01/2020 at 14:14:48
There goes the level playing field then. Next you'll be asking to see the referees review or even have them give after-match press conferences to explain certain decisions and rulings. The question then might be if there is more cover-up and/or image protection going on off the pitch than cheating and professionalism on it.
Jim Wilson
23 Posted 27/01/2020 at 16:46:51
What Everton should do is demand an inquiry into the corrupt refereeing that has gone on for years.
I won't list the most obvious decisions made against us, we all know them but some of them have been blatantly biased and no one will convince me that the FA isn't corrupt.
In fact I think the FA is riddled with corrupt officials, hidden in plain sight and all that.

If this is ever sorted then we can move on to player conduct.

Graham Hammond
24 Posted 27/01/2020 at 17:22:36
Bang on the money Jim Wilson! Someone else who can actually see the big picture. Is it a coincidence that the RS are top of the VAR league, is it a coincidence that we are bottom. The RS is currently backed by Nike, Standard Chartered Bank, New Balance, Nivea, Western Union, companies worth billions and money to burn. They want their way, they want to market their products with players with trophies in hand. We should be higher in the table than we are, referees are directly to blame for this, we have again been robbed of points. Happens every year.
Jay Harris
25 Posted 27/01/2020 at 17:31:15
Ralph #10,
Spot on.

Referees should make the standard for teams to adhere too.

Unfortunately the FA and most referees are so corrupt and players know it.

All referees must have a team they support so why deny it or say they follow Tranmere or Chester for example while it being absolutely clear to viewers and supporters who they actually support and its usually the RS or the Mancs.

Andy Crooks
26 Posted 27/01/2020 at 17:42:47
I think we are focusing too much on the cheating that goes on, ON the pitch. Yes it is bad, but at least it is visible.
John Pierce
27 Posted 27/01/2020 at 17:52:34
The game is professional. The players will do things which will win the game for their team.

Blaming the officials is BS, very few on this site even have any idea of the perspective of an official. Most of you deride officiating at the very first chance you get. It’s misguided and really a get out to how poor we are in comparison to there who push the laws beyond their usefulness.

If a dive gets you a pen then fair dos. If you are spotted then take the punishment for a professional foul.

The laws are the issue. The very things you rail against, shirts pulls, diving etc are professional acts to gain the advantage. The officials have no scope to deal with it. Until the laws affect the team in real time will you not see the behavior changes you want.

Sin bins will come and they are the answer. Fed up with players kicking the ball away, picking it up? Pissed off with divers? Do it and the team is warned, do it again and 10minutes in the bin, once it’s enforced properly players will only commit this type of professional act in desperation not as the norm.

As it stands because the officials have no scope they talk and warn players too much. The players don’t get punished and it’s served the purpose of taking time out of the game.

The laws are outmoded and being exploited by teams. That’s the issue.

Jim Wilson
28 Posted 27/01/2020 at 17:58:33
I agree Graham
There are some who will say we are wrong, and I know we are biased, but some of the incidents we have been involved in are ridiculous.
Just because we were beaten 5-2 doesn't make the penalty we didn't get when it was 2-1 v Liverpool any less farcical.

The lesser clubs seem to be scared of the FA and I include Everton in this.
So many times we should have been up in arms over decisions and we say nothing.
When Suarez got Rodwell sent off Suarez should have been banned for what he did and we say nothing about him or the ref.

I remember when Gary Stevens accidentally broke Jim Beglins leg Liverpool unjustly went berserk about it resulting in Hanson having to apologise to us in an Everton programme. What a difference in mentality.

Alan McGuffog
29 Posted 27/01/2020 at 17:59:08
Apologies for going off on a tangent here, but talking of refs..
Watched a bit of the City v Fulham game on telly. At two nil
City got a free kick. It was hammered into the wall and came off some poor sods head, breaking to a City player in a very good position.
The ref blew immediately and for the life of me I don't know why ? Do we now play by the time honoured kids rule of " no hard ones".
Seriously I know head injuries have to be taken seriously but this seemed laughable.
I probably misinterpreted the scenario but if someone can explain...
Kevin Prytherch
30 Posted 27/01/2020 at 18:08:58
I must admit that I used to admire the way we played under Moyes. I remember the Phil Neville dive, Moyes correctly fined him for it.

Here lies the problem with VAR. many fans expected it to be used to combat cheating and to overturn obvious mistakes. Instead, it has turned a blind eye to cheating while ruling goals out for ridiculous margins. If VAR was actually used to retrospectively punish every dive or act of cheating, it would stop in a few weeks. However, the players who regularly cheat are also the players that help sell the premier leagues global brand, so they get off Scot free.

Graham Hammond
31 Posted 27/01/2020 at 18:14:04
Jim at 28. As you rightly say, we should have had a penalty awarded to us to enable us to make it 2-2 and we should have been playing against ten RS men, Alexander-Arnold should have been sent off. Was never going to happen though, was it. Decisions which quite possibly cost Silva his job. How many penalties have we had at Anfield? How many penalties have the RS had at Goodison? There are so many damning statistics, this is not sport, this is not coincidence. It is bias. It is corruption. I wish the club had some balls.
Ray Roche
32 Posted 27/01/2020 at 18:21:43
Haven't Everton only been awarded two penalties at Anfield in 80 years?
Graham Hammond
33 Posted 27/01/2020 at 18:32:39
#32. I am not 80 years of age just yet Ray but I believe so! If anyone has the exact numbers again that would be appreciated despite it being another twist of the knife.
Jim Wilson
34 Posted 27/01/2020 at 18:34:25
Spot on Graham and as you indicate it will continue and probably get worse if the club says nothing.

What's the odds on a penalty for us in the Goodison Derby?

Adam Carey
35 Posted 27/01/2020 at 18:44:54
Didn't we try the shirt pulling penalty award in the 2018 World Cup. I noticed they were less stringent after the first round when 2 pens were being awarded each game.
Tony Abrahams
36 Posted 27/01/2020 at 19:07:07
Man Utd, got charged by the FA, because their players were not in control at Anfield, so I’m just waiting for the FA to be charged, because their refs are not in control of VAR.

I think it’s only Clough, who never gave referees a hard time, but never suffered, and you only have to look at the squeaking hinge that is Jurgan Klopp, to know that you get a lot more decisions go for you, if you constantly moan when they do not go your way, unfortunately.

It’s a thought provoking argument Tony, that will only offer up a thousand more arguments. If you can’t beat them join them is what I’d do, because as much as your thoughts are correct and admirable imo, I would sooner we became horrible fuckers, because nice guys get nothing but a pat on the back, or a little snigger when the cheats get away with murder, whilst you suffer.

Len Hawkins
37 Posted 27/01/2020 at 21:47:28
Don't blame the officials ?? The Walcott non penalty was turned down by TWO referees the one on the pitch and the idiot in the VAR caravan. City got a penalty at weekend EXACTLY the same as Walcotts and the defender sent off. If anyone can explain that other than complete and utter incompetence or even worse downright cheating by the officials then please enlighten me.
Eric Myles
38 Posted 27/01/2020 at 01:50:18
Dick #8, the way I remember that incident is that half way through the season Moyes sent the video to the refs association who concluded that, of 12 penalty claims, 8 were definite pens. But of course we'd been awarded none, and only got one in the last game of the season, having gone two whole seasons without a single one

That was the season we had Andy Johnson who Wenger labelled a diver.

Tony Cheek
39 Posted 28/01/2020 at 17:42:21
Well, sounds like I already got the sack. But do agree that it is the job of the officials to enforce the laws of the games. Thanks for your input lads! Pity though, still think it would have been great for the club in the long run, and I was so looking forward to giving Richarlison a bollicking!
David Pearl
40 Posted 28/01/2020 at 17:53:45
Nothing wrong with getting the sack Tony.
Enjoy your £10M payoff and cushy job managing a national team
Derek Knox
42 Posted 31/01/2020 at 08:05:22
Good article, Tony, written with good honest sentiment, and equally some good responses and comments which all have some bearing on the game as we know it today.

With refereeing in general being so erratically inconsistent and favour seemingly applied to certain teams over others, what chance would we have in playing the game as it should (ideally) be played?

Add to that the corruption that goes on behind the scenes, and I often wonder why we as fans are still hooked.

I suppose it is because it has not happened overnight, and we have supported our team and club for so long, our loyalty, which so often appears to be a one-way thing, is taken for granted.

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