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Football Thread 2020/2021


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23 hours ago, bowser123 said:

 

Talking about this? He didn't even touch him.

 

 

 

 

Now let's do the full clip at the full speed where he clearly looks at him coming round the back and moves in to body check Lacselles with no intention to play the ball. Hes not even looking st the ball ffs. There's more contact there than Rashfords penalty. Its a blatant foul on Lacselles.

 

 

As spork would say 

 

:sherlock:

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15 hours ago, bowser123 said:

I thought you said it was an elbow?

 

14 hours ago, spork said:

LFC Tonks? Jesus Christ :lol:

 

And what about the blatant elbow you mentioned before? Did that not actually happen after all? 

 

 

 

I have have no idea who LFC Tonks is was the first video I found on twitter from that angle.

 

Why did I say elbow, because it looks like an elbow. Even in the close up he's still blocking him off with his elbow. But with the benefit of the close up its not a full on elbow as I thought it was. But it's still an intentional foul. That's still more of a foul than Rashfords dive but of course we won't see you admitting that will we :coffee:

 

But as ever, you'll pretend a Utd player did no wrong and throw out your little troll sherlock icon *yawn*

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Stigweard said:

 

 

I have have no idea who LFC Tonks is was the first video I found on twitter from that angle.

 

Why did I say elbow, because it looks like an elbow. Even in the close up he's still blocking him off with his elbow. But as ever, you'll pretend a Utd player did no wrong and throw out your little troll sherlock icon *yawn*

 

That's more of a foul than Rashfords dive but of course we won't see you admitting that will we :coffee:

 

Nice to know being worse than Manchester United still riles you up so much you tedious troll :lol:

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14 hours ago, spork said:

 

Nice to know being worse than Manchester United still riles you up so much you tedious troll :lol:

Hahaha says one of the worst trolls on here. You're in this thread straight away after Liverpool have a bad game (even before the recent form). You're so boring. But for what it's worth, United doing better really doesn't rile me up one bit (whats the point right now, it's all Liverpools doing, not Uniteds, and besides no one is catching City anyway). I was initially talking about how shit VAR was and that was a perfect example that happened at the time. But you got precious and as per you still can't admit any United players ever doing any wrong, despite that foul and the dive. Just carry on with your schitck. You do you. :sherlock:

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5 minutes ago, MikeBeaver said:

 

You will :lol:

 

 

Scholes must have some good ones too surely? Fortunately he was very good at them, otherwise he might have for sent off quite a bit more!

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Far too late, months and months after he should have been fired, Lennon is finally getting the boot from Celtic. 

 

Damage is done of course and he won't have to sit around and watch Rangers lifting the title at Celtic Park. 

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8 hours ago, kensei said:

There really is no middle gear with Leeds. Plus we only seem to score absolutely stonking goals for the most part. 

 

A point off Spurs. Mad. 

 

25 games played. A point off Spurs and only 5 behind the champions. Plus 1 more point than Arsenal. Not bad for a team who don't know how to defend :eyebrows:

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I've only seen the highlights, but that disallowed goal from the quick free-kick looked dodgy. It's one of those strange grey areas - why are teams sometimes allowed to take a free-kick quickly and sometimes not? 

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Another peach from Giroud there - I wasn't convinced by him when he first signed for Arsenal, but grew to really love the type of player he was. He's so out of keeping with the modern game in many ways. He is such a team striker and his control and ability to fashion shots that go in from the impossible looking setup is unrivalled. From the pure striker type finishes then he's not so impressive.

 

Can't ignore he's not exactly prolific but he's so much more than out and out scoring, players look better around him because of how he plays. He's a striker that doesn't score much but can't be lumped in with the likes of Heskey, Benteke, Bent etc.

 

I know we got an upgrade in terms of output of goals when that bizarre transfer love triangle had to happen with Arsenal, Chelsea and Dortmund but I still get a pang of regret whenever i see him do the likes of what he did last night for Chelsea. 

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I loved him. His only downside as I saw it was that he would without fail go 10 games on the bounce not scoring a goal each season, but he still put some numbers on the board. Strangely, he's exactly the player that would make Arteta's system work now. Good feet for a big man etc.

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Jamal Musiala has declared for Germany. Which isn't a surprise as he was born in Germany, but is a shame.

He's 17, moved to England aged 7 with his British father, and has represented England at u21 level.
He came through the Chelsea youth system before moving to Bayern and recently breaking into their first team.

 

Operates mainly as a classic number 10, and while we are utterly stocked with incredibly exciting young attacking talent, that's a role we currently don't have much of coming through. But it's fine, the number 10 role is well out of fashion these days and we'll never need him... :ph34r:
 

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2 hours ago, Art Vandelay said:

I loved him. His only downside as I saw it was that he would without fail go 10 games on the bounce not scoring goal each season, but he still put some numbers on the board. Strangely, he's exactly the player that would make Arteta's system work now. Good feet for a big man etc.

I loved him too, didn't give a shit that he wasn't prolific. He'd have loved playing in the same team as Tierney, Saka and Smith-Rowe. Lacazette has the same issues with lengthy spells of not scoring but he doesn't have the work rate and ability Giroud has/had.

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14 hours ago, deerokus said:

Far too late, months and months after he should have been fired, Lennon is finally getting the boot from Celtic. 

 

Damage is done of course and he won't have to sit around and watch Rangers lifting the title at Celtic Park. 


Crazy it took this long tbf. Why now and not after any one of the many other disasters earlier in the season?


Has he actually quit or has he been paid off, what’s the chat?

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5 minutes ago, Calashnikov said:


Crazy it took this long tbf. Why now and not after any one of the many other disasters earlier in the season?


Has he actually quit or has he been paid off, what’s the chat?

I think it's one of those 'allowed to resign' situations. 

 

Rangers fans couldn't do a better job of sabotaging what was a great team than he did. 

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piece on the Athletic today about tv rights in europe and the upcoming prem auction

 

Spoiler

Media industry analyst Claire Enders has never shied away from her reputation within football as a “prophet of doom”. In fact, that is how she billed herself as she launched into her now-annual prediction at the Financial Times’ Football Business Summit that the game’s TV rights bubble has burst.

“I’m here again to spread cheer in the frenzied hearts of football executives,” said Enders via a video conference call last week, which seemed apt given the fact many football executives are wondering if it is time to jump two-footed into the world of live streaming.

She then explained why every finance director, football agent and Ferrari salesman should start to panic, pointing out that the market for live rights in Europe peaked in 2018, broadcasters have lost billions, the audience is ageing and Netflix won’t save you.

There was a time, a decade or so ago, when club bosses and league officials would smile, nod and then persuade some new entrant to the market to take a run at Sky’s dominant position, keeping the Premier League’s founding partner honest and the gravy train on track. Claire “the Enders of the world” they call her.

But as Peter Marwood, Paul McCann’s character in the British cult classic Withnail and I, notes: “Even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day and, for once, I’m inclined to agree with Withnail that we are drifting into the arena of the unwell.”

Because that was the pervading mood during the rest of the FT’s two-day virtual gathering. From French club presidents talking about the “disaster” of seeing their broadcast income halved when Mediapro’s new channel collapsed, just two months into the season, to Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani warning that kids prefer Fortnite to football, it certainly sounded like the end that Enders has been talking about. And yet it was only 12 months ago that the new Premier League chief executive Richard Masters was able to announce a deal that suggested the good times would continue to roll.

So what is likely to happen to Premier League TV rights? When will domestic rights go out to tender, who will bid for them and what could the league do to keep the numbers high?

Meeting the British media for the first time since he was appointed as Richard Scudamore’s permanent replacement, Masters revealed that Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) had just agreed a six-year deal worth more than £2 billion for live rights in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, starting from the 2022-23 season. It is more than double the amount the Premier League is earning from those countries in this rights cycle.

As rights auctions go, it was a textbook Premier League production. The tender process started on January 2, with sealed bids due four weeks later. With no clear winner after the first round, the league called for a second round of bidding and, a week later, the pan-Nordic company smashed Swedish firm Bonnier, American giant Discovery and Norway’s TV2 out of the water to scoop the lot.

Then COVID-19 arrived, the game was plunged into its worst peacetime crisis and broadcasters were forced to raid their archives until the new normal of 24/7 football with no fans but fake crowd noise was established. It is a rut in which we remain.

In terms of the broadcast balance sheet, the direction of travel has been only one way, with Sky and BT demanding a rebate of £330 million on their deals and Chinese partner PPTV trying to wriggle out of the £500 million contract it signed in 2018. The Premier League was eventually forced to terminate that agreement and accept a much less lucrative stop-gap deal with Tencent.

The news from elsewhere has been bleak, too. French football’s attempt to break the €1 billion barrier with Mediapro’s Telefoot experiment has been an embarrassing failure that will almost certainly spark a fire sale of players and clubs, and may yet require a government bailout. Serie A has struggled to get its domestic auction started and has seen international partners walk away or fail to pay for existing rights. The Bundesliga has fared best of all, seeing the value of its domestic rights packages fall by just five per cent last summer.

For the Premier League, the only good news on the telly front came in December when Qatari broadcaster beIN Sports renewed its £500 million deal for the Middle East and North African rights until 2025. Standing still is winning in this market.

In a world before face masks, lockdowns and R numbers, that overseas deal would have teed up what usually happens in the second February of a three-year rights cycle: the domestic rights auction. A feeding frenzy that has made the Premier League the richest domestic football competition on the planet outside America’s National Football League, which isn’t really football at all.

Asked last week when the auction might take place this year, Masters said: “I don’t know, is the honest truth. We’re in no rush to go to market — we’re going to take our time.”

The Athletic understands the league has no intention to conduct the auction until after the Premier League season has finished. The last round of fixtures is scheduled for Sunday, May 23, so a June auction is possible but sources believe it could be even later.

As Masters pointed out, there is a recent precedent for this. The auction for the 2013-16 cycle was delayed until June 2012 and there are similarities between the mood back then and now.

The delay was caused by an expensive defeat for the league at the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Portsmouth-based landlady Karen Murphy started the case in 2006 after the Premier League prosecuted her for copyright theft when she used a satellite card from Greek broadcaster Nova to show matches in The Red, White and Blue pub. She was paying Nova £118 a month, as opposed to the £480 Sky Sports wanted, and her clientele did not seem to mind that the commentary was all Greek to them.

Murphy’s win at the ECJ, which was confirmed by the UK’s High Court in early 2012, meant there was nothing to stop the rest of us from shopping around Europe for the cheapest Premier League package and it prompted some experts to predict a crash in the value of the league’s rights.

That summer, however, the Premier League announced a 70 per cent increase in the value of its domestic rights, as BT weighed in to stop Sky from stealing any more of its broadband business. Having raised almost £600 million a season from Sky and US broadcaster ESPN for the 2010-13 cycle, the league would now make more than £1 billion a year from BT and Sky alone, with the BBC’s Match of the Day money and the burgeoning international-rights bonanza on top.

Three years later, and back in its usual February slot, the auction was a case of rinse and repeat — or repeat and rinse, depending on your point of view. BT and Sky butted heads again, with Sky forced to shell out almost £11 million a game to secure its status as the must-have subscription for the avid fan. This drove the three-year domestic cycle past £5.1 billion, another 70 per cent rise. It was so much money Premier League clubs even started to make profits for a while.

And then, in December 2017, peace broke out.

Having looked at their share prices, BT realised it was time to accept that being a “viable second” for football was enough to stop customers cancelling their broadband and landline contracts. Sky realised it was time to stop spending so much on sports rights for people willing to spend £60 a month on live sport and it was perhaps time to spend money on shows for people who don’t like sport.

So, they agreed to offer each other’s sports channels on their platforms. No longer would customers be forced to choose between rival systems. No longer would these two corporate giants fire Premier League rights packages at each other in a bid to knock the other out.

“The party was over in the UK the moment BT and Sky signed that reciprocal deal,” explains Pierre Maes, a sports rights expert.

“That’s why it’s funny to hear Masters talking as though nothing has happened. The next domestic deal (2019-22) fell by 10 per cent but he’s still talking about being optimistic. He talks about the NENT deal but they’re the world’s last big-spender on sports rights — it’s ridiculous to pin your hopes on that happening again.

“The reality is the rights market has plateaued across Europe and it’s because the leagues are dealing with broadcasters who are effectively monopolies. In the UK, the power is with Sky and BT. They’re the ones who will decide how big the decrease will be.”

And Maes agrees with Enders’ point that there will be no “fairy godmothers” arriving to stoke life into the bidding process.

“People talk about Amazon perhaps taking more rights or paying more than last time,” he tells The Athletic. “Why would they? They were given the rights for a bargain price last time and have no incentive to do the Premier League a favour. OK, Amazon will be happy with how the football experiment has gone so far but they did it as a marketing tool for Amazon Prime subscriptions before Christmas. That’s what they’re interested in — it’s not replacing BT or Sky as the home of football.

“DAZN is the other fantasy. We’ve just seen in France and Italy that the leagues keep talking DAZN up, claiming their offer is bigger than the pay-TV monopoly’s offer, but if that’s true, why don’t they sign with them? They’re using DAZN to make Canal+, Sky Italia and Sky Sports pay more. It’s a very old-fashioned way of doing business but it doesn’t work anymore.”

Maes’ take on streaming service DAZN is shared by many.

One senior source at a rival broadcaster dismissed the talk of big bids for rights in England and Italy as “the greatest PR exercise we’ve seen”, pointing out that DAZN did not pick up any French rights even after Mediapro’s collapse “when there was never a better chance for them to enter a new market so cheaply”.

This source believes the idea that DAZN, a company best known for boxing and losing money, is ready to take on Sky, BT and Amazon in the UK is “laughable” but a great way to build some brand awareness.

“I’m sure DAZN would absolutely love to be considered for Premier League domestic rights but that’s half the equation — I could say I’m thinking of bidding tomorrow,” the source adds. “But it’s a bit like the funny-looking, over-confident guy telling everyone he’ll ask the princess to dance at the school disco. But he never does and she wouldn’t say ‘yes’ anyway.”

DAZN declined to comment when contacted by The Athletic but is understood to be relaxed about how often its name is dropped into the conversation before bidding contests. It has also grown the thick skin that all “disruptors” to an established model must develop.

Furthermore, those comments could just have easily been made about Disney+, YouTube or any of the other “over-the-top” (OTT) streaming services that are often pushed forward as the next new entrant who will force Sky to dig deep to defend its position, as Setanta, ESPN and BT have in the past.

Leeds chairman Radrizzani runs Eleven Sports, which was forced to retreat in 2019 after it attempted to launch a UK streaming business based on La Liga and Serie A rights floundered. At the Financial Times’ summit, Radrizzani used the platform to send a not-particularly coded message to Masters and his media rights team at PL HQ.

Leeds’ Andrea Radrizzani runs Eleven Sports (Photo: Daniel Hambury/PA Images via Getty Images)

The Italian, who raged against the English Football League’s current five-year deal with Sky Sports when Leeds were in the Championship, said the game’s pandemic-related crisis was “maybe a good moment to look at a new way” to distribute the game’s most precious assets. Perhaps it is time, he said, to ditch the tried and tested three-year cycles that let “the market consolidate”, depressing the value of rights, and he suggested clubs and leagues should be given “more control” of their rights. He said the game must “democratise” the rights markets by giving Generation Z and millennials a chance to pay £2 to watch the individual games they want to watch, and not force them to take out a £60 monthly subscription.

“Maybe they end up spending more but they want the flexibility to decide what they watch when they want,” he added. “We need to attract their attention when there are many other events, including Fortnite and League of Legends. They’re very busy. TV has become wallpaper while they do other things.”

He was speaking for many in the game when he made these observations about audience habits and where the market is heading. But there is zero agreement on when football should bet the house on that market. A club director with a background in television puts it like this.

“He owns Eleven, so he would say that, wouldn’t he?” the source said. “It’s too big a leap for the Premier League to go from the certainty of pay-TV to the potential of OTT in one go. I can’t see things changing that much until the rights cycle after this one.”

Another highly experienced industry source agreed. “Sky has more than 23 million subscribers across Europe,” they said. “Why would you cut them off?”

The industry insider who was so dismissive of DAZN’s “fairy godmother” potential made the same point and also rejected the idea that the Premier League is crazy to think it can escape a significant drop in broadcast income from 2022 onwards. The money could keep rolling in.

“The Premier League shouldn’t be viewed in the same bracket as the overall rights deflation we’re seeing elsewhere,” they said. “Masters can very reasonably expect Sky, BT, Amazon and the BBC to bid again and bid well.”

This source and several others pointed out that while the last domestic broadcast deal fell from £5.1 billion to £4.6 billion — approximately 10 per cent down, despite selling more games — the overseas deals more than compensated. They were a third up, lifting the total three-year haul to £9.2 billion, an increase of eight per cent on 2016-19.

Even if NENT is a unicorn in a world of cart horses, there are still some huge international deals to get over the line, none more so than the US rights, which have been held by NBC since 2013. There are whispers that an acquisitive ESPN+, the OTT branch of the American sports channel, may be preparing the type of bid that will have Premier League corks popping.

But what else can the Premier League do to buck the trends that Enders, Maes and so many others detect?

It could sell more games. For the first decade of the Premier League’s existence, it sold the live rights for only 60 games each season. It did not start selling even half of them until 2019 when it parcelled 200 of the 380 available games into seven packages. Why stop there? Europe’s other big leagues sell the lot.

“Is there any point, though?” says one industry source. “Does Sky need any more games to tempt anyone in? Would they make much difference to a new entrant? And don’t forget the criticism the league would get for flooding the market or completely abandoning 3pm kick-offs.”

That brings us to another lever they could pull: new time slots. It is one they used last time, offering a package that included eight games at 7.45pm on Saturday evenings, as well as a package that included an entire round of midweek matches and one round of bank holiday games, and another that had two full rounds of midweek games. The first was designed with Christmas and Amazon Prime in mind and it eventually took the bait, and BT picked the other one up to take their overall slate of games to 52, comfortably behind Sky Sports’ haul of 128, including everything it needs to keep Sundays super.

Could the Premier League add a noon or primetime slot on Sundays? They have thought about but have always decided the blowback from church-goers and fans stranded by Sunday evening public transport schedules was not worth it.

Alex Scott interviews Petr Cech for Sky Sports (Photo: David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

They could, as they did with NENT, offer longer deals. BT Sport’s head of sport Simon Green was speaking at the Financial Times summit, too, and he made it pretty clear that his firm would love the security of a few extra years on their rights packages, as is the norm in North America. Broadcasters often say longer deals gives them more time to build an audience, which should be good news for the long-term health of the sport, as well.

The flipside, however, is longer deals means fewer deals, fewer chances to bring new entrants in and less flexibility at a time when delivery technology is in flux. Several sources told The Athletic that the Premier League does not need to offer longer deals so it won’t, particularly as it thinks the likes of Apple, Disney, Facebook, Google and Netflix will eventually decide they can monetise live football rights. That view, however, is far from universal.

And then there is the number and composition of the packages. This is a form of alchemy that the Premier League has perfected over the years, carving the cake up into just enough slices, with just enough first- and second-choice picks, to keep their broadcast partners and the competition regulators happy.

This is the work they will be concentrating on now and the outcome will be the product of almost continuous dialogue with Sky, BT, Amazon, DAZN, ESPN+, Eleven and anyone else who fancies a flutter. After that, the process becomes very formal and heavily regulated.

Invitation to tender documents, running to almost 80 pages, will be sent to interested parties and they will be almost as comprehensive as the final contracts themselves, as the league does not want anyone winning a bid and then claiming it is not what they thought they were bidding for. The bids themselves must come in sealed envelopes, addressed to Masters and hand-delivered to the league’s lawyers. Multiple copies of these bids must be made and the bidders are even told which door they must come in through and what time they must arrive.

For nearly 30 years, this rigmarole and the massive cheques involved have been worth it. OK, Setanta, which bankrupted itself trying to undercut Sky, might disagree, but Sky, BT and the BBC have all been happy enough customers to keep coming back, and Amazon should do so, too.

And Maes, who has been working in this sector since the late 1980s, has some simple advice for the Premier League.

“If I was in their shoes, I would stop playing these ‘games’ before auctions and tell the clubs to cut their wage bills.”

So perhaps not the arena of the unwell, more the stadium of the less rich.

 

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