Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Tiresome Football Media

Football is all about emotion. The highs, the Lows; The Glory, the despair; The expectation; the disappointment. Fans go through every one of these emotions through the course of a regular season, sometimes even throughout the course of a match. Fans are expected to be emotional, its their duty, its why they follow the game, for the love, for the potential that one day they will reach such a high that all the lows wont seem so bad. But the media, for the Libero, the media are not supposed to be emotional. Their role is to provide coverage, commentary, analysis, insight. Yes I will agree that an ‘emotion driven’ pundit/journalist is often entertaining, but when 90% of media coverage is emotion driven, it gets tiresome.

Today the back papers are covered by the outrage at Carlos Tevez’s refusal to play in Munich on Tuesday night. Outrage, despair, disgust, disgrace from all quarters. The media, former pros, anyone who has a view getting emotional. Watchin tv coverage of the Man Utd game, Mark Lawerenson and Martin Keown both voiced their disbelief at Man Utd’s failure to secure 3 points v Basel and Keown in particular was scathing of Tevez’s actions.

The purge of Arsene Wenger, the most successful manager in Arsenal’s History, over the last few weeks has been emotion driven. “Wenger Out! “ is the media cry “But who would replace him? Who could do better?”, a question they cannot answer.

It isn’t just the negatives which grind on the Libero, it’s the positives, the excitement. Phil Jones, Danny Wellbeck and Tom Cleverly, were the future of English football three weeks ago. Now Jones needs to work on his defending, Cleverly is on the sidelines and Wellbeck looks as inconsistent as ever.

Is it the case that the knowledgeable media has been replaced by ‘the lecherous mob’, baying for blood at the slightest sign of danger? This may be an emotional take from the Libero, and this whole article may have been ‘emotion driven’, but when compared to the work of Jonathan Wilson at the Guardian, Paul Joseph at the Independent or the BBC's Tim Vickery, some of the stuff written/said isn’t worth getting emotional about.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

3 Goals that still make The Libero's Spine tingle

Watching ITV's '20 Goals that Shook the World' tonight give the Libero an idea for a slightly different blog. Plain and simple, the 3 goals that still make my spine tingle. Here we go:

1: Roberto Baggio, v Czechoslovakia, Italia 90. Quick 1-2, marvellous solo run, cool finish. Annouces the Divine Ponytail's arrival on the world stage, with many more to follow. This goal caused me to follow this player closely and to almost fall in love with the man.

2. Dennis Bergkamp v Argentina, France 98. Long ball from De Boer, magical first touch, great cut inside and an esqusite finish. The commentary makes it, this clip has 3 different commentators, each of which go wild.

3. Zizou v Leverkusen, 2002. Dropping high ball, Zidane's eyes glued to it. Bang! Big game, Big Player. Always delivered on the big stage.

Coming of Age

Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo (Luís Nazário de Lima), Franz Beckenbauer, Ruud Gullit and Robeto Baggio. What is the link? Previous World Players of the Year? No. World Cup winners? No. Players which the Libero failed to get in his Panini World cup sticker albums? No. The link is 26. The age 26 in fact. Why? Because it’s at the age of 26 that each of these players achieved something that would live long in the memory, earning them their place in the hall of football legends, which they would go on to cement in the peak of their careers. Maradona , Zidane and Ronaldo provided outstanding performances, carrying the weight of their nations of their shoulder, to win the world cup. The Kaiser and Gullit captained their countries to European Championship Glory. Baggio was outstanding as Juventus won the Uefa Cup (when it was a proper competition), earning him the Ballon D’or. A current player, whose been around so long and achieved so much already, turns 26 in October this year. Big stage failures, personal issues and questionable temperament have led many to question whether or not this man would fulfil the undoubted potential he possesses. But the Libero believes that this man is about to step up and will this year do something that will silence the doubters and which will allow him to join the illustrious list of aforementioned players. The player is – Wayne Rooney.

The Libero is certain to divide opinion on this. No doubt the Man Utd fans think Rooney is already good enough to be considered amongst the names listed and the ABU Brigade just can’t bring themselves to agree that he could be held in such esteem. Regardless, here are the reasons why the Libero thinks the Liverpool lad is about to come of age:

Fulcrum – Rooney has been the focal point of the Man Utd attack since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure in 2009. However this season, Rooney role has changed every so slightly. Everything that now happens for United goes through Rooney and he is combining the role of lone striker with that of a ‘classic number’ 10. If you watch his movement during a game, he will often come so deep he picks the ball up from the centre halves. But equally when United go direct he can be seen playing off the last defender. He plays both to perfection and virtually simultaneously, with Ferguson’s signing of Ashley young provides additional pace and goals to the United attack, allowing Rooney to undertake this dual role to perfection. He has filled the ‘creative midfielder’ void that so many people highlighted during the summer and United now look a more accomplished team because of it.

Seniority –In 1996 when Ferguson unleashed his ‘Fledging’s’ on the Premier League, he had lost Paul Ince, Mark Hughes, Bryan Robson and Andrei Kanchelskis. Whilst some senior players remained, they were on their last legs at the club and Roy Keane, began to exert his influence on the United dressing room. For the Libero this is a similar situation. Gone are Van der Sar, Scholes, Neville, O’Shea and Brown, 5 players of significant experience and influence and at 26, Rooney will now be considered one of the more senior players at the Club. No doubt Ferguson has highlighted this to Rooney and he will now be expected to lead by example on and off the field.

Personal Life – Ferguson has often been an advocate of a steady home life for his players, evidenced by the fact that those without it haven’t enjoyed sustained periods at the club. After a tumultuous 2010, 2011 has been a much more settled year in Rooney’s personal life. He now looks a more content person and it appears he has put his past misdemeanours behind him. This must be sustained as the status quo should Rooney wish to reach the level which the Libero has identified.

The Libero isn’t usually one to jump the gun and has often doubted whether Rooney can finally fully fulfil his undoubted potential, but having watch the Man Utd number 10 closely in the first few games of the season, it’s seems as though his time to shine is here!