Those England fans don’t deserve a good England team. Keep your thoughts coming to email@example.com.
The many cases against Qatar
I’m scratching my head, unsure as to whether I’m more surprised at the fact I’m apparently in a philosophical debate over Qatar with Plato himself or surprised by the reasons the most learned philosopher puts forth in Qatar’s defence.
He suggests the entire awards process was FIFA’s fault? By that logic, I presume FIFA just pinched those massive bungs out of Qatari pockets? The Qatari bidders share no blame or guilt for offering the massive payments that won them the vote over the USA?
Plato is quite right that the 6,500 migrant worker deaths detailed by Amnesty International may not all have occurred in the building of the stadiums themselves. He’s quite right to qualify my remark and I take that on the chin. Fair enough. However, in the Guardian story covering that Amnesty analysis, they quote Nick McGeehan of FairSquare Projects, an advocacy group specialising in labour rights, who said that “a very significant proportion of the migrant workers who have died since 2011 were only in the country because Qatar won the right to host the World Cup.”
Whether some died directly working on a stadium or on an infrastructure project because the World Cup was coming, I guess where we differ is I still don’t think that the deaths of migrant workers are acceptable. People still died. More people have probably died since 2020 when the Amnesty report was published. They all died as modern-day slaves with a basic lack of attention to health, safety, and their fundamental needs.
These people risk their lives in the sweltering heat. Most of those who have died are said to have died of ‘natural causes’. Translation: young, otherwise fit and healthy workers couldn’t cope in the heat.
The Anonymous Expat writes separately to point out the lives of these poor souls that drew them to Qatar in the first place. To me, that just underlines Qatar’s complicity. They know these people are desperate. They know they can offer them low wages and poor working conditions because it’s still better money than where they come from. We tend to think of ‘slaves’ as people that don’t get paid. But the modern definition of slavery involves simply those who are exploited for other’s personal or financial gain. Whichever way you cut it, this upcoming World Cup is built on the backs of exploited people from the developing world.
I don’t see anyone seriously arguing that isn’t the case. The question is whether we’re all okay with that or not.
Father Dave, Maidstone
Anonymous and Plato. Whether it’s 6,500 or another number of slaves who have died, thats the stats may be interpreted differently doesn’t change the conclusion. Whether it’s 5k, 3k, 1k or even zero slave deaths is too many because there shouldn’t be any slaves!!
As for they have chosen to go there, well some couldn’t choose to leave because they took away their passports. This is part of what made them slaves.
You don’t chose to be slaves. You cant escape being a slave. It should be a crime to enslave someone everywhere.
I’d be really interested to hear some Qatar based other sides though if you can avoid 1) well I earn loads of money, 2) yeah but it’s not really that many slaves that died and 3) they chose to be there so its their own fault.
Alex, South London
Can people please stop defending this World Cup taking place in Qatar?! They bribed the FIFA representatives. Once they were brought to book it should have been taken off them. Moving it to the winter to accommodate was a joke. Obviously every country has their issues but this is particularly bad.
I’m not sure what England can do a boycott wouldn’t work and I accept that the 6,500 migrant workers who have died haven’t all been working on the stadiums but it was a World Cup given to a country with human rights abuses based on the fact that they bribed FIFA and Sepp Blatter the most money .
We will have to go but slogans and anything along the same line are pointless.
Simon (Stockport County will be back in the league next season!)
Plato is almost onto something, 6500 immigrants have not been worked to death building stadia for this year. Some of them were worked to death expanding airports, train stations and other necessities for hosting a large international tournament.
That’s as close as you got to a valid point though, as the death figures are being reported by countries sending these workers, such as India, Nepal and Pakistan. Kenya and the Philippines haven’t released numbers but that 6500 is a bit of a conservative estimate.
Not to mention the modern slavery, how many white ex pats get their passports taken away Plato? I imagine you’re still free to come and go as you please, but modern day slaves have died in their thousands to make this a possibility and even if a few hundred of those deaths were indeed ex pats in car accidents (please) I don’t think that makes it acceptable. I’m sure Qatar is a lovely place for a white immigrant but I’m Indian and am well aware of how we are seen and treated in that part of the world.
In answer to Plato (MUFC) “the blame for that lies with FIFA and not with Qatar.”
So the Qatar government aren’t responsible for bribing FIFA officials then?
Wonder where the bungs came from then?
Neil LFC, USA
Illegal Abramovich sanctions
As news hits of peace talks in Turkey with Abramovich at the seat of the Ukrainians the narrative of His close links to Putin has completely unraveled. So much so that Zelenskyy considers him an ally and asked Biden to drop US sanctions. That comes on top of quotes from Putin confirming he is not part of the Russian negotiations, he is there in an independent capacity.
Abramovich was found to be a fit and proper owner, if people want him retested that is another argument and one that all clubs would need to undergo.
But what is clear is that the Putin narrative is a busted flush and the sale of his assets are illegal and should stop.
The utter disgrace. Hopefully FIFA reviews what unfolded in Senegal as the Egyptisn players took their penalties and punish them accordingly. I’m sure Salah’s eye sight was impacted before he took his spot kick. It’s just disgusting and it also leaves a lot of unanswered questions. How Will Smith managed to get onto the pitch and slap Salah is mind boggling.
Jason G. Montreal, Oh Canada
As an African, I tend to cheer on most of the African teams that make it to the world cup which is why I have to say thank God that Senegal edged out Egypt last night to take a spot in the world cup.
Those who watched this game or any game involving Egypt in the African cup of nations will know what I mean. It’s difficult to think of a more negative, joyless side in world football than Egypt. It’s especially weird considering the fact that they have one of the best teams on the continent (including the best player on the planet!) and an experienced coach in Carlos Quieroz. Yet they play the most soul-destroying football I’ve seen in years. They make Burnley look like Leeds.
So with all due respect to Egyptian fans, it would have been a travesty if they had won the cup of nations or qualified for the world cup with this kind of football. They fluked their way to the Cup of Nations final playing for penalties in every knockout game and got what they deserved. They also got what they deserved last night.
Turiyo Damascene, Rwanda
Make no mistake about it. The boo-ing of Harry Maguire represents a shameful, spiralling decline in the behaviour of England fans, exacerbated by social media platforms that do nowhere near enough to protect those who inhabit them.
What does it mean to be an England ‘fan’ currently?
Booing your own team, on the eve of a European championship, for making a gesture that is simply meant to represent the desire for racial equality?
Barging past Wembley security to trespass into a Euro final you don’t have a ticket for? Sending racist emojis to teenage footballers who’s only crime was to miss a penalty?
Boo-ing one of the most consistent performers in the England team over the last 4 years, simply because he’s having a poor season for Man Utd?
These are not the actions of a “fan”, or a “supporter”. These people are the worst of us. For the first time in several generations, we have a wealth of talent in nearly every position for England. On top of that, we have a core squad that want to play for each other, that want to play for their manager. They are, in every sense of the word, a team.
What would these so called fans prefer? That we grind down the passion of these young players until they too stop caring? Boo them back 20 years in time until they also become tribal, embittered, and spend tournaments sat alone in their hotel rooms, counting down the days until they can crash out in the second round and go home?
If these England fans aren’t careful, they’ll end up once more with the team that they deserve.
Mike (let’s not ruin a good thing), Oxford
What’s next for Rashford?
Marcus Rashford just released his 3rd book in less than a year and we hear that he’s worried that he might not make the World Cup.
We also hear that he’s upset he has very little playing time at Man Utd? May be it has something to do with his own performance!
Rumors of him wanting out was greeted with great optimism among most Man Utd supporters. Even Liverpool links were joyful to see. What’s better than getting rid of deadwood & at the same time weakening your rivals.
His PR antics are being discovered by more & more people now. The next day he showed disrespect to a Man United fan pinpointing his abysmal performances, he was already stopping by a kid to take a selfie just to clean his image. I have said it before & will say it again, in politics words might be enough to con people, but that doesn’t work in football, it’s all out there for people to see on the pitch. Petulant behaviour & laziness that’s what we see from Rashford on the pitch & recently off the pitch outside Old Trafford. One might wonder what does he teach to the young kids reading his books?
Players can be out of form, in case of Rashford, it’s been over a year now. But what’s not tolerable is his lack of efforts. He doesn’t press, doesn’t track back, keeps walking or jogging with no intent to win the ball. And finally when his team mates work hard to win the ball back & pass to him, Rashford forgets to keep charity outside the pitch & simply donates the ball back to the opponent. Last game on 16 March vs Athletico he lost 7 out of 12 balls! And this has been the trend for almost a year now with the pinnacle being in the Europa League final against Villarreal.
What’s next for Marcus? Looks more likely The launch of a comic series starring Rashford in the role of a new super hero, Charity Boy!
Ashwin, Man Utd fan
The Man United contenders
Ole came close, the reason why he was appointed is a very big problem, he has won a lot of matches from the off, so ignore the underlying data, ignore the style, ignore the fact that the season is not even over, ignore every other candidate and give him the job. Very poor decision making. But he had his chance, for some reason, he could not see how unstructured the club became under him, or he was intentionally leaving it like that. He had tactics and structure, but it was not good enough, as such, complex instructions such as positional play did not exist under his watch. They was a genuine argument that he was relying on the ability of individuals which was going to the extremes but the fact that Rangnick is not accused of the same sings a song. Despite all this, his fate was still in his hands, his team had earned a reputation as a counter attacking team but in his final season, with a very terrible midfield, he chose to start playing expensively, most likely because of Ronaldo or expectations from within, the result, being completely destroyed on the counter by almost everyone and disgraced by the best teams. His transfers are quite questionable as well, Sancho is the best transfer the club have made in a very long time, and I can understand that they took Fernandes knowing how wasteful he can be, ignoring the price and the bad season he’s had, Maguire makes sense from a tactical perspective. But, it seems he purchased Van de Beek without knowing how to play him at all. Quite how someone gets Wan bissaka from 804 RBs is the greatest riddle of human history. That he can tackle and has Premier league experience somehow ranked him above 803 other players, while ignoring his poor quality in possession and very poor positional sense. That Telles is good at set pieces and takes a good looking cross is enough to ignore every other thing about him! In his three years at the club, he did not buy a single central or defensive midfielder which ended up contributing in no small measure to his departure, the strikers he purchased where Ighalo, Cavani and Ronaldo, “building a young squad indeed”. And perhaps most importantly, I think he had a less than ideal coaching staff, for someone who admitted to not taking sessions himself, he was quite comfortable praising and defending his coaching staff without ever improving it.
Rangnick would have done a much better job if he had come after Van Gaal, Ole ended up leaving a squad just as bad and disconnected as the one he had found, I suppose the club structure has improved since then and that led us to the very laudable appointment of Rangnick and actual considerations about the next manager. So looking towards the future,
– Pochettino is a good looking choice, but this like when everyone was hyping up ‘proven winner’ Mourinho for the club, he has a tendency to be out thought by good coaches as evidenced by his encounters with Guardiola, he can also sacrifice proactivity for a more reactive counter attacking set-up, you see this when he faces very good teams and when he is leading in a two legged affair, it is safe to say that Rangnick will not be choosing him.
– Enrique is the best candidate on paper, but his teams can be too horizontal, it is safe to say ‘no horizontal/backwards passes’ Rangnick will not be choosing him
– Lopetegui is a very mundane choice to complete the shortlist, his teams are not creative at all relative to their possession and that does not change even when adapting for the quality of players, from my perspective, it is more likely that the heavens and earth will swich places than for Rangnick to choose him as his preferred choice.
– Ten Hag is the fan favourite and you can see why, his teams are very good in an attacking sense and combine that with defensive resilience, he feels like a German Guardiola but Dutch. It is safe to say that there would be no repeat of ‘eternal backwards passes’ Van Gaal with him, man utd have too much quality for him to end up like De Boer, I would say he is quite clearly Rangnick’s preferred choice, he is the only one he has spoken publicly about and his style of play remains constant no matter the opposition. I would like him because the possibility of someone who was relatively unrecognised coming and restoring the club to it’s former heights like Klopp is a mouthwatering prospect.
That said, the one I would really like is Hansi Flick, he is the man, his teams are incredibly aggressive and attacking, he clearly doesn’t just take it as it comes as Salihamidzic can testify and he is the human embodiment of winning if you ask me. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t get the job, so Ten Hag it is please.
Let them be advised to stay clear of Simeone, suggestions that man utd had a better squad than Atletico made me laugh, how? From where? Imagine man utd defending for their lives while being down against liverpool, waiting for a moment on the counter, will the fans accept it? Mourinho certainly doesn’t think so. What about having 6 men in the last line while being down against chelsea, who will accept that? If you asked Neville or Scholes or Keane how man utd played under Ferguson or what their problem with Mourinho was, you will receive contrasting answers to their assertion that Simeone is a good candidate. If you have the third best squad in the la liga for 10+ years and you only win it twice, I would say you have done okay, if you have arguably the best squad in la liga for the past 4 years and you only win it once, I would not call you a proven winner. Someone like Nagelsmann would have won the la liga at least 5 times by now, and the la liga will not be called a two club league. The fact that all of man city, liverpool, bayern and Barcelona would not even consider him as an option should send a message. I hope Rangnick defines a style for the club and I really wish these pundits just talked about everything else apart from man utd. Not Carragher though, surprisingly, he got it right.
Crusaders and Irama
In Northern Ireland, Crusaders FC members voted overwhelmingly to accept a massive investment proposal from Irama (a Singapore property development company connected to Ian Rush). The new investors will own 70% of the club, marking the end of our fan-owned model. I get the feeling that the landslide vote was motivated by a desire for the Crues not to be left behind by the league’s full-time, big money clubs (Linfield, Glentoran, Larne) and even our local rivals Cliftonville, who are currently chasing the treble (hopefully the Crues put a stop to that by beating them in the Irish Cup semi-final on Friday night!)
The club’s financial position has been compromised by our failure to get European football for the past two seasons, as well as Covid (fans through the turnstiles are a key source of revenue because the Irish League doesn’t have lucrative TV deals). However, many of the promises associated with the deal sound like castles-in-the-air stuff (although I must add the caveat that I wasn’t at the meetings). Even more worrying, is that virtually nothing is known about these Irama people and the only record anyone can find is of them allegedly forcing non-league clubs (Whyteleafe FC, Abingdon Town FC) out of their grounds.
I’d love the investment to help Crusaders get back to challenging for league titles and playing European football. But I’m afraid getting involved with Irama could do irreparable damage to the club. It’s one to watch out for, given the current debate about ownership models.
Elsewhere in Northern Ireland, there’s a three-horse title race. Linfield (74 points), Cliftonville (70 points), Glentoran (69 points). Cliftonville have a game in hand, and then after that we’re into the split, which means five rounds of big games. On the last day, Cliftonville and Glentoran are playing each other, which opens the door to a possible 1994 scenario – when Glenavon and Portadown famously cancelled each other out and allowed Linfield to grab the title, with the league officials having to make a late dash from the Moira Roundabout to Belfast to give the Blues the trophy.
Giving up the ESL battle
I may have missed it, but two days after an announcement about the plans of “The European Club Association” (me, neither) to give the larger clubs the kind of advantages that the ESL offered (broadly, it’s not quite as stark as the ESL), and no-one writes in to discuss it?
Have we just given up at this stage?
Mat (the shop will be entirely closed soon)
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