The trouble with Liverpool’s ‘This Means More’ mantra…

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The trouble with Liverpool’s ‘This Means More’ mantra…

The trouble with Liverpool’s ‘This Means More’ mantra…

Herbert Chapman’s hipsters As Mediawatch tells us on a daily basis, the football media is reflective of a the times we live in. While some of us yearn for the times when the likes of Brian Glanville and Hugh MacIlvanney would think about what they wanted to write before committing pen to paper, the speed of the modern world means that not everyone is prepared to wait for such footballing gourmet, instead opting for the immediacy of a microwave ready meal. However, what would it have been like if the current titans had been around forever:

*1904: After months of gossip, Alf Common finally completes his transfer to Sunderland. Almost immediately, he is linked with a move to Middlesbrough in the Daily Express, via Football Whispers, Tuttosport, Marca, a website claiming to have an algorithm, and the Daily Express again.

*1933: The Arsenal win the league with an unusual new system. Fans calling on their teams to emulate Herbert Chapman’s W-M formation are dismissed as “hipsters” by John Cross.

*1950: Following England’s failure at the World Cup, the BBC assembles a group of journalists to predict the England lineup at the 1958 World Cup. England fail to qualify for the tournament and none of the nominated players collect a single cap.

*1964: Bobby Moore is named England captain. In the Daily Mail, Jeff Powell calls him a popinjay and laments this decision as tarnishing the legacy of Billy Wright.

*1965: Garth Crooks selects Denis Law in his Team of the Week but devotes more of his paragraph to urging Bobby Charlton to tell George Best to get a sensible haircut and leave appearing on Top of the Pops to beat combos.

*1978: Viv Anderson makes his England debut. The Sun’s website runs articles headed “Who is Viv Anderson and who is his partner?” and “How much did England ace Viv Anderson pay for his car?”.

*1981: Ipswich Town win the UEFA Cup and are runners-up in the league, as Arnold Mühren wins admirers. Despite this, Neil Ashton accuses him of nicking a living and suggests he isn’t worth two bob.

*1986: Ahead of the FA Cup Final between Liverpool and Everton, Samuel Luckhurst writes a piece for the Manchester Evening News website titled “why Manchester United fans should watch the FA Cup Final”.

*1991: Ian Wright signs for the Arsenal for £2.5m. Arsenal Fan TV presenters rant about how the Gunners should have more ambition than to sign a player from Crystal Palace.

*1996: Ruud Gullit is appointed manager of Chelsea. On Sky Sports News, Phil Thompson is describes the appointment as “manna from heaven for him with his CV”. Ed Quoththeraven

 

Solid advice After all the recent correspondence to the F365 mailbox concerning insufferable supporters, teams that “neutral” fans would like to see fail and all these poor folks with boiled p!ss, I thought I might share some advice – take it or leave it, it’s totally up to you.

It’s always been my experience that if you focus your energy and attention on the team/s you like and support, rather than on the team/s you don’t like, you’ll almost definitely find the experience of following sport a whole lot more enjoyable.

It’s up to you. Olly, Brisbane

 

…Can we go back to having a fun mailbox please? The last few days seem to be increasingly vitriolic in the Liverpool v everyone else debate, and it is rather depressing. Hardly any messages about anything else at all. At this rate I will have to start doing more proper work!

I appreciate you sometimes post inflammatory messages in an effort to drum up further responses, but some of them are just nasty. Or stupid. Or both! Paul, Middle-aged London Red (and therefore not a true Liverpool fan or a glory hunter. I forget which)

 

…Sorry for the portentous title – I’m recovering in hospital and my brain’s a bit fried.

I’m a long time reader and big fan of the site, but I want to query why letters like Thayden’s and Rosie Poppins’s are being published?

I appreciate that the mailbox exists to generate debate and, having worked in online media (though sadly not for such a great outlet), that deadlines are usually ’30 minutes ago’. But I would like to know what kind of debate F365 is trying to cultivate? I recognise that I have a low threshold for banter (shudder), so this may well be my problem. And I’m a Liverpool fan, so no doubt thayden and Rosie and – it seems – the wider football community have no regard for my opinion. That is their right.

Having said that though, I’m innately wary of any language that singles out one group as somehow different to another. “We’re all like this – we’re the majority and we’re normal. But those lot, they *all* are like that.” Not some, not a few: all.

Of course, thayden and Rosie and the others are not talking about races or religions and I’m certainly not accusing them of or implying any malevolent intent. I just feel that these type of words are being thrown around a lot right now and they are contributing to an increasingly polarised and fractured society.

And I accept that some people have talked about supporting Liverpool as if it’s different. And it is – to them. Just like everyone thinks *their* club is special or *their* country is special or *their* friends are special. We have to understand and tolerate that in each other.

I think F365 generally has they kind of attitude – football is great, let’s enjoy it together! And I don’t think letters like thayden’s and Rosie’s are helpful to publish if you want to maintain that and spark a good faith debate that doesn’t descend into a slanging match.

All the best – and thanks for a great site! Will, LFC (on the pain meds, sorry if this doesn’t make sense!)

 

Liverpool versus everyone I read Rosie Poppins letter with interest and it hurts me to say this as a Liverpool fan but there are elements of truth in what she wrote.

For starters the ‘this means more’ mantra is indeed problematic- I find it cringeworthy and still have no idea where it started. I understand we haven’t won the league in ages but I can definitely understand how that kind of statement can annoy other fans. I also find the ‘best fans in the world’ talk to be annoying (no club should use this in a non-comic sense) and I agree that the way many fans treated Karius after the Champions League final was deplorable and should have resulted in some serious soul-searching (especially considering Lovren had also previously got death threats and a tonne of vile abuse as well).

However I must assume Rosie is pretty old if the only Liverpool fans she knows are those who started supporting the club when Liverpool was winning the league regularly. I started supporting them in 1999 and most Liverpool fans I know are in a similar boat. Granted it’s not exactly like picking Bradford, but still…. Turiyo Damascene.

 

…I’ve been trying for days not to weigh in on the whole Liverpool Fans vs rivals vs neutrals vs whatever the hell else everyone is arguing about these days. But Rosie Poppins (are you related to Mary? Do you have her number? My kids are driving me nuts) finally rung my bell and I just felt like I had to answer.

Is it possible that maybe, just for a change, we could stop writing in and accusing each other of falling into generic fan stereotypes? It seems that having experienced a type of behavior from a fan of a team means that all fans should be tarnished with the same brush. This is akin to listening to one song, at random, from an album, not liking what you hear and deciding that the entire thing must therefore consist of cookie-cutter repeats of that one song.

Believe it or not. Most fans are individuals.

For every optimistic fan that wonders if next year is our year, there is a pessimist who thinks we will never win anything. For every fan who loves Klopp there are some (absolute madmen) who hate him and think he should go. For every fan who thinks Mo Salah is going through a blip, there is another who thinks he is a one season wonder.

And just like some neutrals absolutely don’t want us to win the title, there are plenty who do. And you have no right to assume to speak for them either because your opinion doesn’t represent that audience in its entirety.

Also, some of the points you’ve made are so generic they don’t even apply to just the ‘Liverpool fans’ you’re attempting to target.

‘Best fans in the world’ is a phrase that supporters of almost every team in the world use. A friend of mine Instagrammed a video of himself returning from Paris with a group of fellow United supporters as they chanted that they were ‘the best fans in the world.’ I’ve been to many grounds that do the same.

‘Most of them aren’t from Liverpool.’ Look, dude, I don’t know where you live but I’ve spent my whole life living in London surrounded by Man United fans who have never been that far North. Chelsea fans that were born in a bungalow beside Selhurst Park. Arsenal fans born and raised in Barcelona. And Man City fans… okay I don’t know any Man City fans. But still, fans of a lot of big clubs are literally EVERYWHERE.

And I’ve bumped into enough scouse Liverpool fans at our games to know that they sure don’t live near me. I myself am a 32-year-old 1st generation Liverpool fan with no memory of anything resembling a league title. I support the club because I liked the players they had when I got into football. And my love for the club has grown over the 25 years or so since.

And before you accuse me of being in a minority. DUH. Fanbases are made up of a whole bunch of minorities with different backgrounds and opinions. So don’t ‘Liverpool fans’ me next time something someone says rubs you up the wrong way. Ryan C, LFC

 

…Gregory…what that f**k are you talking about? Heysel? Songs? Maggie bloody Thatcher? Not sure if you got yourself confused or have had some kind of breakdown, but I didn’t reference any of those things. They all seem to be a construct of your own imagination, in order to create something to write about. Did your submission for the AM mailbox fail to make the cut, so you figured you’d launch into a semi-libellous, prejudiced whine? Let me guess, I’m a southerner so must be a Tory? And did you just assume my gender? Little bit narrow-minded, no? Alternatively, I can just assert that you sing songs about Munich, wish cancer on players’ kids, and f**ked Wayne Bridge’s wife. Maybe committed electoral fraud by voting for Leave at least thirty times? I think that’s how it works? Oh, and you’re just bitter because you don’t support Spurs?

As things progress, it gets weirder. Even by your own standards, Gregster. And you are a man who praises himself for writing into the mailbox. The London FC comment; is that a dig at Spurs? All London clubs? The national side? Is it a dig at all? Or is it just confusion, like the rest of the mail? Not sure if you’ve noticed, but some clubs at least tried a little with their names. “Where are we? Okay, that’s the name sorted. What colour is the kit? Nickname done too”. Oh,and you’ve gone a tad Baddiel there Greg, what with the “never heard us do that” line. Sorry, I meant lie. Let’s call it what it is. Are you sure you’re not the Thatcher fan here? You do sing songs about her, after all. Bit weird to suggest that the Gerrard song is out-dated when singing about a 1980s politician, but you do you G-man. You do you.

Still, give yourself a good pat on the back there Greggy. You’ve dealt out another of your mailbox thrashings, and taught me a real lesson. I promise never to write in about Heysel again, and have decided against releasing my ‘Thatcher: England’s Rose’ biography/musical/puppet show. Print it out and pop it on the wall with the rest, alongside the whiteboard with the list of crossed-out names. I’m sure your colleagues and family look forward to your breakdown of how you slaughtered another victim. Maybe send in another mail, to congratulate yourself on your own brilliance.

One minor thing: go back to the mailbox and read the first letter. Pay close attention to the first point made. Then re-read your own. In fact, pop open your ring-bound collection of laminated print-outs, and go back through your compendium of text-based destruction. Hopefully a light comes on, and not the one that shines from thy holy anus. Because I think most of us recognise our bias, but I fear you lack such self-awareness. I fear you lack any at all.

And to answer the only part of your crackhead-logic letter that had any relevance: it’s lower case because my parents knew only one person was deserving of the upper case t. That glorious woman. thayden

 

…I’ve been reading the F365 for well over a decade and, other than Mediawatch’s brief, dark genital mutilation obsession circa 2012-2013, I cannot recall anything that has made me cringe harder than Dave’s email about the Man United fan’s deep dark wish to be a Liverpool fan. It’s perfectly natural to get defensive when you perceive someone attacking you and thayden has form for the proverbial “strongly-worded letter”.

In nature, we see animals demonstrate an array of defensive reactions. In almost all animals occurs the release of stress hormone to raise blood pressure and provoke their signature defensive manuever (sort of like The Rock with his “People’s Elbow”, but for defense). Turtles hide, skunks spray, rhinos probably do something with that horn.

I once saw two elephants fighting at a zoo and remembered from Roman history that the Carthaginians, among others, used war elephants, and as deadly as those things always looked, I remember one of the elephants manhood looked like it was swinging hard enough side-to-side that it could kill an unsuspecting bystander without even the elephant’s second thought. Perhaps metaphorically the ink-squirting of the octopus might be the closest analogue to our modern rush to respond to aggression with the printed word, especially if we agree primates throwing their own sh*t is a little too “on the nose”.

Dave’s reaction, however, is one that might be completely unique in nature. Sir David Attenborough or Ricky Gervais can correct me, but I’ve never heard of any invertebrate who reacts to a perceived threat by penning the last act to a “Very Special Episode” of an 80’s American sitcom. The only thing that was missing from Dave’s anecdote was a little drug-addicted teen named Joey, who stumbles into the bar and collapses. Dave and his mate, now wearing matching half-Liverpool, half-Man United scarves, rush into action, nursing the boy back to health and securing his promise to get clean, no matter what! Then, in the epilogue (or spin-off film?), Joey fulfills his wish to become the first astronaut President of the United States who saves Christmas while also discovering its true meaning**. Ian, LFC Hartford, CT USA PS **Unbeknownst to Dave, and unfortunately for the parents who bought their kids tickets to the film thinking it would be similar in tone to Dave’s original episode, the producers decided they didn’t like his sappy ending so they threw me and Quentin Tarantino a couple 8-balls and, long-story short, the true meaning of Christmas Jose*** discovers turns out to be a 3-hour bloodbath set at the climax, both figuratively and literally, of a bacchanalian, ancient Roman orgy that takes place during the winter festival of Saturnalia. We pitched it as “Think: Caligula meets Mr Belvedere” and the suits ate it up…

PSS *** Robert Rodriguez guest directs the chariot chase scene so we decided to make Joey’s real name “Jose”.**

PSSS The main villain drives a sweet, custom, lowrider chariot whose wheels are shaped like breasts. It is adorned with the skulls of mythical beasts and, what appears to be, chrome trim around the sides… but it couldn’t be…. right?

 

…Wow, you’re getting really lucky with these anti-Liverpool click bait letters in these slow days before the internationals aren’t you? Well anyway, it works, as I will not let it lie (Reeves).

So Rosie (if indeed you’re not just actually thayden again…..I used to go out with a Rosie who was an Evertonian actually, she wasn’t this much of a hater though) let’s go through your points:

‘One eyedness – this is why I literally would not expect them to understand’ – first up, way to go on your conclusion re: humility here. I’m not completely certain what your point was though? 99% of the neutrals that you apparently speak for all enjoy seeing the underdog win in the cup don’t they? And is it a truly horrendous trait to take some satisfaction seeing a rival get a tough draw and games to come? I’d imagine City fans weren’t devastated to see United get Barcelona, and i’m pretty sure Arsenal fans were happy Spurs drew City.

You’ll Never Walk alone – did Karius receive countless death threats? I couldn’t tell you, I ignored social media for a fortnight after Kiev, and not just after I had clicked send on own my personal ominous message to him either. As would be the case with 99.9999999% of other Liverpool fans. And i’m sorry if you think ‘YNWA’ is ‘BS’ (going to assume that doesn’t stand for ‘Brilliant Song’), perhaps let Celtic, AZ Alkmaar, Borussia Dortmund amongst others also know that it’s BS.

Best fans in the world – just yet another myth that any match going Liverpool fan bandies around such tosh. Do you really think grown men and women say things like that to each other? Other than that i’m not responsible for the opinions of millions of young people on the world wide web. Liverpool fans were responsible for the Heysel disaster yes, but it was Margaret Thatcher who insisted on the rest of you being banned from Europe as well (the rest not exactly being choirboys during the 1970s and 80’s btw).

Pretend to be reasonable – i’m not even sure pretending or being genuine about reason comes into it. We have, and give our opinions as is the right of any fan. And it seems not overly reasonable from yourself to roll out one example and predictably insist it applies to us all.

It means more – i’m only familiar with this as a marketing slogan from the football club itself? I don’t know if they ‘workshopped’ that with ‘real’ fans or something? I’m completely cool with ‘it’ meaning exactly the same to all fans.

Pundits/journos – a) You don’t HAVE to hear or read any of the drivel (this in fairness is probably an accurate description) that apparently tortures you so much. Change the channel, click on something else, read a book instead. b) In a season where Liverpool have lost once in the league after 31 matches, and whether they finish 1st or 2nd may end up with one of the highest points totals in league history (and are in the QFs of the Champions League), it’s just logical that the majority of the drivel you hear from ex-LFC, or not, pundits will be positive toward Liverpool.

Most of them are not from Liverpool – ‘They are all mid forty glory hunters who chose Liverpool because they were top of the league when they started watching football’. Ha ha, tbf you got me personally there. I did live there for 7 years mind. And the stereotype about Norwegians isn’t inaccurate either. But sorry to disappoint you, the majority of match going Liverpool fans are people from Merseyside. I don’t know any Real Madrid fans who are from Madrid, but that’s because I don’t know anyone from Madrid.

And as for your last point (but genuinely I don’t think you were making such a reference) to suggest that local people in Liverpool haven’t supported Liverpool Football Club through thick and thin couldn’t be wider of the mark if you tried. And separate from that how much more in common does the normal & neutral fan have with Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal by the way? I’ll allow Spurs, especially as they dropped the cheese room.

One last bit of honesty, I don’t think you’re normal or neutral, I just think for whatever reason (an encounter with a ‘braggart’ by the sounds of it, the bl00dy rotter) you hate Liverpool. Which is completely your right. Cheers, Bobby.

 

…Oh the joy of reading the email from Rosie Poppins intended to put down fans from another team once and for all, whose first barb is ‘one-eyedness’ while being completely one-eyed. A paragon for the term hypocrite.

An exemplar of all that is wrong in this modern social context of finding one item to be raised as straw men arguments to beat others up.

You’ll never walk alone doesn’t even consider the 30 year battle to unsully the reputation of the 96 who died and the rest of the Liverpool fans – who, if I’m not mistaken all came from the Liverpool area. Their are numerous cases of Liverpool standing behind players, staff and supporters. But lets just pull out the Karius to beat them, because your so reasonable, after all you hate those faux-reasonable writers.

Or forget the gesture made by Liverpool to support United following the Munich air crash, offering them not only the pick of their reserve team and to pay their wages, with 5 players helping United out that time. Lets face it, what was always a string rivalry, became something more after Ferguson came along. Whether it was meant as something that would drive more enmity between the clubs or a way to giddy up the team, who knows. But it is that point forward things changed.

Or the time Liverpool offered their ground for United to play a home game in 1971 as United were banned from playing at home due to crowd trouble.

Most top teams have supporters from outside the city today but if you were to check who are in the away end for Liverpool matches – a true test – 90%+ will be from Liverpool.

I don’t think I have read something from an official Liverpool fan club stating they are ‘the best fans in the world’ – another straw man argument – and their acts to get kicked out of Europe were disgraceful.

Again, no fans say it ‘means more’ – yet another straw man argument – as there are clubs who have never won the thing and it would mean even more, I would wager.

If you are going to write into Football365 about needing honesty and humility you would think you would write a balanced and honest email yourself. I would have said you need to look in the mirror first, but I think it would be a bit Dorian Gra Paul McDevitt

 

…The other day on social media I came across a post marking the anniversary of when Fulham beat Juve 4-1, the reactions in the comments below were hilarious many being dumbfounded how and when?! It struck me as sign of the times with most fans now basing their knowledge of the game on snippets or ‘best of’ compilations that were uploaded to the interweb hours ago. I was lucky enough to have watched that game and remember being absolutely engrossed, experiencing all the emotions rooting for Fulham the plucky underdog against the European powerhouse Juve. Roy was displaying every bit of his experience as seasoned top-tier manager (despite what any Liverpool fan may say) and Dempsey was sensational! Then part of me thought how can you claim you follow football when you never knew about a game like this? The truth is the modern team fanbase isn’t just those in the stadiums made up locals or even those domestically; it has spread far and wide across continents in digital form. Now the local fan matters little to upper-tier clubs balance sheet and they are seeking out and exploiting these fans across the globe that have never and probably never will visit the stadium.

The debate raging in the mailbox in recent days is who has the bestest fans in the world? There are some posturing behind their clubs traditions, their history, their soul(!), citing these reasons why it matters more to them undoubtedly coming across as entitled, deluded and arrogant to say the least. But does it even make a difference other than to put more pressure on your team, highlight how good or bad they are based on a bygone era? Its tends to matter more to the local fans due to rivalries which feeds the tribal behaviour by showing your colours and singing chants. But is it better to be like global fans, whom some refer to as ‘plastics’ who have only come to watch football recently thus more likely to see football as a spectator sport? ‘Plastics’ may not get it but they’re more likely to enjoy it for what it is which is a form of entertainment in spite of what ‘real’ fans may say; football at the top level has been commercialised to maximise revenue and is flourishing as result

Conveniently, this is coming from a Man U fan who’s own club have taken advantage of absolutely every possible source of revenue and also happen to have a steep history which is filled with glory and sorrow. However such is my love for the sport, I also watch lower league football, even non-league at a local team and that’s where I have to say the best fans are. These fans are there week in and week out hyped up without a media bandwagon, in attendance every week supporting the team not just with the cheers and chants but making more of a difference for clubs who rely on gate receipts. The premier league is the rightly the best league for its competitiveness, the revenue generated across the whole league through tv deals alone has allowed clubs to attract the best talent to facilitate this. This season alone we’ve seen city and Liverpool amassing points and goals for fun; wolves, Watford and west ham being more tactically astute than just lumping it forward; Arsenal and Chelsea still being in the top 6 despite their managers supposedly not being capable and Man U resurrecting themselves to compete with them. It’s an eventful season to say the least and I reckon we should forget the past and just enjoy the ride Wass (however I’d prefer Liverpool not to win the league, thanks) MUFC

 

Hands across the M62 My name is Andrew Race and I……I……give me a minute……I don’t mind Liverpool fans.

There, I’ve said it, and I’m a United fan. To be honest, I’ve not met a bad one and I have met a few. They know their football, can have a laugh, not shy of the bar and know how to put a good night on. I’ve lost many a night in the 051, Beat Bar and Cream. Banging nights out. And Ian McCulloch just about pips Johnny ‘f*ckin’ Marr to the greatest ever living Englishman title. Andy Race (Not the Beatles though, or Steve Mcmanamanaman. Or that fu*kin You’ll Never Walk Alone sh*te).

 

Cup of woe I imagine everyone is trying to move past that farcical post from Mikki about City’s various cup runs but tough sh*t I had to wade in. For transparency, I’m a Chelsea fan. Anyway here are some actual domestic cup runs from Liverpool’s last three seasons which their fans will hate because they’re actual things that actually happened on this actual planet:

17/18 FA Cup: Beat Everton, Lost at home to West Brom League Cup: Lost away at Leicester

16/17 FA Cup: Beat Plymouth, Lost at home to Wolves (a mid-table championship Wolves, I should stress) League Cup: Beat Burton, Derby, Spurs (!!!), Leeds, Lost to Southampton (in both semi final legs – superb)

15/16 FA Cup: Beat Exeter, Lost away at West Ham League Cup: Beat Carlisle, Southampton, Stoke, Lost to Man City

So in two ‘good runs’ in the League Cup they’ve beaten Spurs of the other ‘big six’ sides and that’s about it (no offense to others). The reason the other big six teams do sometimes meet is because they’re actually still in the competitions in question.

Comparably, the reason Liverpool rarely get an easy cup run is because THEY NEVER F*CKING GO ON ANY CUP RUNS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Cheers Dan

 

Numbers game Since I know how titillating stats can be for most of the mailbox readers I wanted to share some interesting stats I came across recently. A popular sports website compiled data on the most points won by players directly through their goals+assists. This would mean a goal or assist at 1-1 to make the final score 2-1 would be worth 2 points and a goal or assist at 0-1 down to make the final score 1-1 would be worth 1 point. Now this rating method is definitely lopsided, giving attack minded players an undue advantage (Shouldn’t a goal saving tackle be as valuable as a goal?) but it can be a good indication of Europe’s most important attacking players. Players who perform when their team needs them the most. So here goes: 1.) Nicolas Pepe – 25 points 2.) Eden Hazard – 20 points 3.) Leo Messi – 20 points 4.) Paul Pogba – 19 points 5.) Antoine Griezmann – 18 points 6.) Jadon Sancho – 18 points 7.) P. Aubameyang – 18 Points 8.) C. Ronaldo – 18 points

Now obviously since this list considers points gained for their team, recent results like CR7’s hattrick and Messi’s 2 goals 2 assists in the CL knockouts have not been considered. It also gives an undue advantage to penalty takers, but most people on this list are their clubs designated penalty takes so it evens out. It’s amazing to see young talents like Pepe and Sancho place so high up on this list. Even more amazing to see 3 representatives from the PL. Love to see Pogba so high up on this list, really underlines his importance and his ability. A player who is as important to us as Hazard is to Chelsea but is often scapegoated for a poor team performance (Hello Jose!). This is considering he spent most of this season being at loggerheads with Jose, and being dropped for a run of games, after a world cup winning year! Yash, MUFC

 

Postcard from Europe Well unless you’re Johnny Nic you’re buggered till next weekend .. Now’s a good time to catch up on the leagues you haven’t been paying (as much) attention to most of which have their own twists during the run in ….

Championship – the automatic places look like a 3 way race between Norwich ,Sheffield Utd and Leeds , Momentum that most fickle of mistresses i,s with the first 2 but it’s too close to call,all three should at least make the play offs along with the baggies who decided to part company with Darren Moore .There’s as usual a scramble for the last 2 spots with everyone from 5th down to 11th separated by 4 points (people do really want to get out of there).

Bolton if they still exist in 2 weeks, look doomed thee might be double celebrations in Norfolk if Ipswich go down and a 4 team race for the last spot which might b 5 if Birmingham get a points deduction

La Liga The title and possibly another double is Barca’s barring a major capitulation, the next 2 Champions league spots will end up in Madrid ,Oddly enough another team from Madrid Getafe occupy the last champions league spot having shown more consistency than Sevilla who started well but have got rid of the coach and rehired Monchi.

Early in the season it looked like Bilbao (who only recruit Basque players would be relegated for the 1st time they have since improved and are now 10th.

Italy – Juve are going to win their 427 consecutive title by checks table …. A million points , they did finally lose a game which doesn’t matter as they can turn around and not see Napoli , The story of the run in will be whether the two milan clubs can qualify for the champions league in the same year for the first time since 2011/12, The Rome clubs,amongst others will give chase and if you watched football in the 90’s parma staying up should give you a nice feeling .

Germany – This looked promising , Dortmund looked like they would finally break the Bayern stranglehold on the title with an insurmountable lead ,That’s all gone and with Bayern now scoring for fun they lead on goal aggregate looking further down the table it’s hard to believe Schalke are just 3 points above relegation .

France PSG win the league ces’t fini . oh wait 2 small nuggets ille are this years surprise in the champions league spaces, and Leo Jardim’s return is going okayish the are at least 9 points above relegation after looking like dead (doomed) certs at the half way point .

Holland – PSV look like they will retain as Ajax lost over the weekend ,their is still hope of a race as Ajax host PSV when the league returns after the Internationals

Portugal -3 certainties in life Death taxes and Porto and Benfica will slug it out for the title oh and Sporting will usually be 3rd o 4th

Belgium Genk won the league last weekend ……………….Correction Genk won the regular season which only means they are guaranteed champions league qualification ,They however now have to take part in Belgium’s play-offs on acid , where to summarise ,only the bottom club is surely relegated and the team that finished 2nd from bottom can qualify for Europe.

* Turkey Basakehir once again lead going into the strecth can they clinch it this time with Gala giving chase elsewhere, Fenerbache are slowly clawing away from what would have been a historic relegation

* FItba – Just hand everything to Celtic naw ….

Greece – The Olympiakos stranglehold looks like it’s over PAOK are ten clear with 5 games to go TIMI, MUFC

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