Category Archives: The Layman

The best of Koeman (Video)

There are very few outstanding players that match their exploits on the field with a stellar career in the dugout as a manager.

Ronald Koeman is one of those players who comes very close to reaching the heights of his playing career as a manager as seven trophies and a win ratio of 60% in a 12 year career testifies too.

Still, no matter what Koeman does, he probably will never match his playing career where he won pretty much every trophy going in Holland, Spain and for his country and made long-range passing look as easy sipping from a cool cocktail on a sun lounger on the beaches of Barcelona.

Why to keep it just verbal abuse to linesman (Video)

We’ve all been there; shouting at referees and linesmen for their poor performance and flat out bias during games played against our team.

Verbal abuse is pretty much par for the course (as somewhat wrong that sounds when actually typing it and not in football mode).

But, you should never get on to the pitch and actually confront him as this video shows.

A selection of perfect passing (Video)

There is nothing as under-rated in football as a good through-ball; the unpicking of a defence in one fell swoop.

Great goals are remembered for the ages, as are great saves and great tackles, but great passes you won’t find too many compilation videos of on YouTube.

However, this is one of them ranging from some classic 70s Dutch pass-ography to more modern delectable items.

Enjoy.

 

Lack of quality could be the undoing of Reading

In the business world (I know, not the most interesting way to start a piece but please give it a shot) the Peter Principle is whereby a good employee is promoted and promoted and promoted based on his performance before he inevitably fails as he is promoted one too many times to a level above his natural talents.

Currently, in football, this principle appears to be on show en masse at Reading whereby a number of players have been promoted up a level, but their natural talents cannot cope with this new level.

From a Reading fan’s point of view, thus far this season has shown that hard work and commitment can only take you so far and the key lacking factor, certainly at the moment, is the quality that allows you to see teams off.

Countless times this season, Reading have been more than in games and have either failed to close the second half down to secure a win or score that vital goal when they’re on top to at least be in the position to win or defend a draw.

Too many times this season, Reading have let good situations pass them by, a point boss Brian McDermott has conceded by saying they need to be more “ruthless”.

The key point appears to be a lack of quality; the hard work and commitment cannot be questioned but the ‘ruthless’ edge is not a state of mind the current squad lacks, rather an inability to capitalise on chances.

As a point of comparison, the Reading team that won promotion in 2005/06 (smashing records everywhere they went) had been together, the core of the side anyway, for three or four years, had always been challenging for promotion and had a number of players who had enough quality about them to have been touted for Premier League success for a number of years leading up to promotion.

Crucially, none of the players in that squad had Premier League experience before but all of them, the Shoreys, the Sidwells, the Doyles, the Kitsons, were still on the upward curve of their careers and so could only improve.

This time around, many of the players who have been there or thereabouts for a number of years in terms of plying their trade in the upper levels of the Championship- Jobi McAnuff, Mikele Leigertwood, Kaspars Gorkss- are not in that stage of their careers.

It is still relatively early in the season yet, but it already feels like a key point in the season for Reading.

Manchester United today is pretty much a write-off but with Sunderland and Southampton away coming up in the next seven days, Reading could be cut off at the foot of the table before Christmas and then the January transfer window will be the last hope.

How did that happen?! (Video)

Some goals you have to watch three or four times to see just how exactly they happened.

Usually, its because of some trick the attacker does to get past three or four defenders and you need to rewatch what happened just to see how they did.

You need to watch this goal again for another reason as it happened when there are two balls on the pitch for some reason and how the situation unfolded. in the match betwene Finish sides HJK Helsinki and Haka.

Helpfully, the director leaves it until the last replay to show you just how exactly the situation happened which makes it a tad annoying.

But still, worth watching just to see how it all happened.

One of those goals you wouldn’t score in your wildest dreams (Video)

If there’s one thing that makes you feel old, it’s watching someone younger than you do something you know you are never able to do and have never been able to do come to that.

This video is one of those moments.

This is 15-year-old Aleksandr Litvienko scoring a goal must of us can only ever dream about and even then we only dream about it after eating shedloads of cheese.

Watch as the kid does a rainbow flick over the head of the defenders around before firing a volley into the top corner.

Watch and feel old.

How do you solve a problem like the Europa League?

 

Pity the poor Europa League- at one point in history, a genuinely interesting competition full of teams that want to win the competition, now reduced to patronising platitudes.

The prompt sheet found at a press conference for Spurs ahead of their game against Panathanaikos in the competition showed the extent of the damage.

The sheet was a directive from UEFA asking managers and players to play up the history, heritage and prestige of the competition in a rather pitiful bid to rescue the flailing competition.

Andre Villas-Boas played up the competition at the press conference ahead of the match.

The problems with the Europa League are well-documented and obvious; it’s place in the shadow of the Champions League being the main problem.

Simple fact of the matter is that the teams in it from the bigger countries tend to want to get into the Champions League next season via their domestic league so concentrate on their resources at home.

Thus, the teams they field in the Europa League are weakened and make for sterile, boring contests in the competition as they are still too strong for the teams from the weaker nations which are there for the admirable reason of extending the UEFA franchise but are woefully out of their depth.

It is shoehorned into the awkward Thursday evening slot, the prize money is pitiful and games are either one-sided or plain dull until about the last eight when they only true quality teams in the competition are left.

Gone are the days when the competition was strong from start to finish with teams like Inter Milan, Barcelona and Chelsea regularly competing in the competition in its heyday in the mid 1990s.

There has been much debate over how to save the competition in recent years but the simple fact of the matter is it that it is beyond saving.

The problems outlined are so ingrained that they have reached the point of no return and it is mainly down to the money issue.

UEFA cannot scale down the Champions League to push more top teams into the Europa League as that would be akin to gagging the golden goose.

UEFA cannot also force teams in the competition to put out their best possible teams as that is not how football works really.

Putting a place in the Champions League as a prize does not work as what is the point in having a competition where the winner does not defend their title?

Perhaps the only way to get more competitive football would be to increase the prize packet for the winners of the competition to make it worth winning and to streamline the Europa League back to the old days of the UEFA Cup to a straight knock-out competition making every game worthwhile and meaningful.

But then we come back to the issue of money once again…

 

Everybody gets one world class goal (Video)

We’ve all done it; scored the most incredible goal on a Sunday morning when you made Dennis Bergkamp look like Emile Heskey and you know you have to make the most of it as it probably will not happen again.

Mark Griffin of Dundalk FC had just that moment in this match against Drogheda in the Irish Premiership.

Griffin takes the ball from a throw, controls the ball ridiculously well off his thigh to take it past one defender, loops the ball and spins past another defender before curling it into the top corner past the keeper.

The best bit? The way Griffin shoves his teammate out of the way before he shoots as if to say “this is my moment. Go forth and multiply.”