Exciting times here at The Set Pieces. After impressing on his week as a paid intern, Phil Costa has signed a six month deal as our new editorial assistant and I’d like to take this opportunity to formally welcome him to the team. Phil has worked with Opta as a football analyst, covering weekend and evening games, and he will continue to do so when the season resumes. His knowledge and expertise, as you’ll have seen already in his U21 previews this week, gives us the opportunity to not only produce more features, but to produce better features.
And with that in mind, we’d also like to announce a new series in association with our friends at Wyscout. From next week, we’ll be using the same scouting software as some of the biggest clubs in Europe and we’ll be producing detailed and authoritative profiles of up and coming talents from around the world. We now have access to what appears to be infinite football and we may not ever leave the office again.
We’re also delighted to see so many of you playing in the first round of the Football Manager Cup this week. Remember, you have to fulfil your fixtures in accordance with the details you’ll have received on email. Time is running out. We’ll be bring you the results next week and if you want to be a part of it, send us your stories, screenshots and verdicts as soon as you can. If you blog about it, we’ll link straight to you.
Some things, however, will always remain the same. We always want to hear from you. So without further ado, let’s have your letters.
RUINED GOALS ARE THE *BEST* GOALS!
I want to agree with Olly Ricketts’ Pieces of Hate on Ruined Goals. I really, really do (maybe even more than I want to disagree with Noel Gallagher). But just pause and think about Pepe Reina’s face as the ball ricochets off the highest scoring inflatable toy in Premier League history. Recall the wide-eyed gawp of Sol Campbell as he realises a baby-faced Wayne Rooney has conned the referee into giving a penalty that never was. Rejoice in the memory of Alex Ferguson’s face when, well, anything happened that Alex Ferguson didn’t like. It’s all just so…naughty isn’t it? So deliciously naughty. It doesn’t even have to be a refereeing injustice either – I get just as much delectation from shin-rolled shots, defender miskicks and ‘keeper slips. All different flavoured sour cherries on top of the sweet cake of misfortune.
It was Marquis de Sade who wrote “If it is the dirty element that gives pleasure to the act of lust, then the dirtier it is, the more pleasurable it is bound to be.” I imagine if the randy ol’ fella was around today he would’ve spent less time penning fictional orgies and more time in front of his TV re-watching Robbie Savage’s Football Howlers.
Whether it’s Paul Robinson scoring from a big boot forward or Fabien Barthez doing his best to help Arsenal win the league, you just can’t beat a good fluke.
BUT…BUT…I LOVE A MARQUEE SIGNING!
I felt compelled to finally write in as I found the latest Pieces of Hate article particularly troubling to my deepest psyche. As I read through James Dutton’s article I found myself nodding with increasing regularity as he made his valid and well made point. Yet, as I finished the article and rated it (because my life would fall apart without categorization by stars), I realised to my horror that I was being a too cool for school fool to myself. I have spent the past hour trawling through the great and god awful of the football web for a snippet of transfer news, anything, anything at all. So what I’m trying to say is we all realise the stupidity of the marquee signing, but when the sun comes out and the footballs go back in the shed, we all crave a little bit, just a little something about football. My name is Dave and I have a problem with transfer rumours.
It feels better now.
AND SO DO I. AND THAT JAMES DUTTON IS FOR THE WATCHING.
James Dutton seems like a lovely man, a man who believes his partner when she/he says ‘You’re the best I’ve ever had’. He probably still leaves a glass of milk and a biscuit out for Santa an all…
I’ll forgive that sort of naivety but trying to suggest that we, the lumpen football supporting proletariat should eschew the quick fix of a marquee signing is madness. We LOVE the idea of a quick fix, in quiet moments we get a trouser tingle at the idea of fortunes being spunked on a player who will either be the next messiah or just a very naughty boy. Reputations in pubs and club message boards can be made or ruined on the basis of a finely delivered knee-jerk opinion of a new player minutes after his debut. Particularly and perversely satisfying is the pronouncement that a record signing will be an unmitigated disaster.
I called it twice with Celtic in the early 90s, Martin Hayes and Tony Cascarino both arrived at Celtic and they hadn’t even reached half time in their home debuts before the damning and accurate judgement was made. I poo-pooed the ‘they just need time to adjust” brigade for I had delivered my irrevocable verdict. And in each case I was SPECTACULARLY correct
Thats all part of the game, and it’s one of the best bits. Being completely right or utterly wrong about something based on no facts whatsoever. We do away with the quick fix of a marquee signing and focus on long term growth and all the fact and empirical evidence that comes with hundreds of games for the club at various levels then one of the best things about supporting a team goes with it.
We are football fans, we embrace the madness, begone logic and sound planning. Knee-jerk reactions by the board, the managers, the players and the fans, that’s what we love (although I reserve the right to be pious whenever the mood takes me.)
If you’d like to be on the letters page, just email us: [email protected] It’s as easy as that. And it means that we don’t have to install a comments box. We don’t want a comments box. We only want you.