Angry fans

OUR football correspondent LIAM MACKEY is back in top form and full of energy.

ANOTHER Champions League, another big letdown. I sat at home watching

last week’s fare in complete dismay.

I’ve come to the firm conclusion

that money has ruined the game. Let’s take a look at the finalists of the

previous year — Barcelona . . . didn’t get out of a hack to beat the

Ukrainian champions and the Italian champions had 10 behind the ball for fear

of defeat.

Man U — again, like Barcelona, didn’t break a sweat

to beat Besiktas, and then faced the German champions and beat them without ever

being on their game.

So the German and Italian champions are miles off

the standard required.

I dismay at the same usual teams year in year out

that the Champions League has come to produce. More money for the top teams —

thus more of the same teams.

I long for the a team like that of Ajax in

the 90s to come along again…a team full of academy/youth players and the

odd legend like Rijkaard and Litmanen. The team comprised of a multitude of Dutch

internationals…van der Sar, Reiziger, Bogarde, Blind, the de Boer twins,

Seedorf, Davids, Overmars, Kluivert and also had the likes of Kanu, George and

Musampa.

All I can see for the foreseeable future is Spanish and English

teams dominating a tournament that’s supposed to bring together the best

throughout Europe. Boring and predictable this competition has become.

Kieran Browne, Cork, by email

OUR SHOUT: Barca might not

have broken sweat last week but can anyone seriously accuse them of being boring

and predictable. Ditto Real Madrid. Ditto Arsenal. Anyway, football being a game

of opinions, here's another one.

After watching Man Utd vs. Wolfsburg

last Wednesday, I was quite impressed with the German champions. They’re

a team whose main emphasis is on attack and they play some smooth and slick football

which is easy on the eye.

Then to my amazement the RTE pundits came on

my TV screen and completely dismiss Wolfsburg. John Giles said 'I wouldn't rate

them', Ray Houghton proclaimed that this team 'sums up what the Bundesliga is

like' and of course Dunphy had a pop also saying that they were 'technically poor'.

What game were they watching? They’re like three sheep, 'I will follow what

the guy next to me says' is their philosophy. They think that the only teams in

club football who are any good are Barcelona, Real Madrid and the 'Fantastic Four'

English clubs. Open your eyes boys!!

Mike O Neill, Co.Cork, by email

OUR SHOUT: Always nice to hear from TV3.

Seeing as how it seems that

all you need to get a Premier League contract these days is five minutes of dodgy

video on YouTube I wonder if you can give me the email address of Dennis Wise?

I can send him some footage of my 15-year-old lad from Carlow. Two good feet,

bit nippy, needs to bulk up a bit but could be nailed on as a wide player or a

second striker. Cheaper than £1m, and no South American agents to do a favour

for either.

Mick Burke, Carlow, by email

MIKE Ashley may be an idiot

(well, no “may” about that), but if he wants to waste €1.4m on

an unknown South American surely it’s his money to waste? Is it any worse

than Roman Abramovich spending €32m on Andriy Shevchenko?

Pat

Gleeson, Limerick, by email

OUR SHOUT: Er, I think you'll find

Shevchenko had a bit more going for him than a spot alongside singing dogs, ufo

sightings and toddlers reading Proust. Not that you could really tell that at

the Bridge, admittedly.

YOU had to laugh at the reporter who asked Paul

Hart whether he felt sorry for Mick McCarthy at the weekend. If anyone deserves

some sympathy and a (rare) victory this weekend it was the Portsmouth manager.

He’s got the worst job in the world, even worse than looking after Jayne

Mansfield on the Derek and Clive live LP.

Dennis Greene, London, by

email

OUR SHOUT: And guess who'll be the first to get the chop

when the club changes hands again?

LIVERPOOL, I think, have major problems

and we are barely into October. They barely troubled Chelsea on Sunday until it

was too late. Fernando Torres may have been in scorching form but at the weekend

he simply looked exhausted. Dirk Kuyt is a workhorse, but he is not a serious

Premier League striker.

Babel rarely gets a look-in, Benayoun is always

brought on too late. Carragher was better than he was against Fiorentina but is

in the decline stage of his career. Leiva might be industrious, but he would not

get into the midfield of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester City.

Riera is too frequently anonymous. At this stage last season Liverpool were taking

away Chelsea’s massive home record in a game controlled by Xabi Alonso. One

player does not make a team, but I don’t think anyone who follows the Reds

regularly can deny that they are a lesser force than last year. By some distance.

Limerick Red, by email

JAYSUS, I will be glad when Drogba finally

retires. At least once a season he monsters his way around the Liverpool defence.

When he’s not scoring, he’s setting them up. When he’s not setting

them up, he’s scoring. He did the same thing against us when he played for

Marseille. Can the Yanks not pay him to go away? Forever?

Steve Doyle,

Waterford, by email

WE’VE got Hilario!

Cork Blue,

by email

OUR SHOUT: Aquilani can't come quick enough for Liverpool

- and even then it might already be too late.

HOW can Adebayor claim

that the £25,000 fine for his goal celebration was “too much.”

This is a man earning £80,000 a week. It’s less than one third of a

week’s punishment.

Anthony O’Callaghan, Wexford, by email

HERE’S a suggestion for the FA. Don’t punish players for goal celebrations,

or for leaping the barriers, or for taking their shirts off. Acknowledge that

football is a spectacle and that anything which adds to it should be commended.

Expect, instead, supporters to behave themselves instead of childishly claiming

that they are “provoked” by what they see. Both the world, and the game,

will be a better place for not pandering to hysterical people who think they have

the right to dish out non-stop abuse simply because they’ve paid out €50

for a game.

Mick Kennedy, Clare, by email

OUR SHOUT:

You might say that Mick's a dreamer but he's not the only one. Letter of the week

prize winner.

ARSENE Wenger may have been at Arsenal for 13 years but

Cesç Fabregas has been there for half that time. Does he look like a one-club

player to you? I fear that if Arsenal don’t deliver some silverware this

season then that will be the last of him in North London, and the Gunners will

be back to square one.

Phil Casey, Dublin, by email

OUR SHOUT: Six goals from six different players and all that after twice going

behind. All credit to the man of the match Fabregas, like, but it's not as if

Arsenal are a one-man team. Anyway, he kissed the badge, so that means he's staying

forever and ever and ever. Right?

PRESUMABLY the “Respect”

campaign doesn’t extend to making personal remarks about the referee’s

fitness as Alex Ferguson did this weekend about Alan Wiley. Or is it that the

normal conventions don’t apply at Old Trafford in the same way that the laws

of time are somehow stretched out of all recognition?

Peter Joyce,

Cork, by email

DON’T know why Ferguson was complaining about

the referee at the weekend? The Kieran Richardson sending off was laughable. He

hardly kicked the ball away as a protest and his action was certainly not deserving

of a second yellow card. Steve Bruce has transformed Darren Bent’s form from

someone who would have been second choice behind Mrs Harry Redknapp into one of

the best strikers in the league.

Declan Doherty, Kildare, by email

OUR

SHOUT: Don't know why people get worked up about Fergie giving out about refs.

It's like complaining that water is wet. Red cards all around for galloping naivety.

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