Premier League

Yeah, agreed, I’m a dinosaur on football today, proud of it, schooled from the sixties when footballers were men. Fortunately there’s still a few left who don’t wear gloves and long-sleeved shirts under their first team strip when it’s cold/raining/sleeting/snowing. I loved playing when it was like that, skill-wise it was a great leveller, sliding around in the mud. Players like Leighton Baines, Seamus Coleman and a few more are my type of men, let down by ‘contis’ – careful, John – meaning those from European and other girls-blouse countries like Belgium’ Lukaku, just to keep it Goodison.

Fourth officials: a modern phenomenon designed to irritate managers like Arsey Wenger and Miz Mourinho (hey, something in common…) Slaven Bilic seems to have changed tack here lately, befriending the spare man in black rather than abusing him – will it catch on? On the subject of touch line antics, subs coming on make me howl. Here the trainer, or oily rag comes into his own publicly at last, producing a pad to point out to nervous/ couldn’t-give-a-monkeys newbies what they are supposed to do next. Wayne Rooneys badly-feigned interest on Sunday was hilarious from Mou’s mate.

OTT tackles – too many, too nasty, someone’s gonna get badly hurt soon. I always love 100% committed footballers getting stuck in, but a jokes a joke, sod a pantomime. Clubs and managers should stop that, and sorry, but it needs saying that Cloughie and his teams never gave officials any bother or they’d had it from the boss: Stuart Pearce? Kenny Burns? They don’t come much harder, do they?

Play acting, sigh…Yes, it’s the continental drift here again, with South America thrown in. The shuddering in agony is marginally worse than diving in the box, as you can get booked for the latter as opposed to an Oscar for the first (names in a sealed envelope, ha ha).

Money: it sickens me to read the salaries involved, especially when the parasitical agents are involved. If there’s ever a species needing extinction it’s them, how much did that Pogba-phile get?

Pundits? If the Nevilles are so smart why did they make such a ricket of it en España? I read all the bilge about them moving to Valencia and adapting their families to living abroad. Costa del Salford it is then, kids, sorry missus… Gary Linky does a good job, but the Leicester labyrinth has especially baffled the local lad. Shearer, Souness and more failed miserably at management but are very good at spotting what’s wrong with everybody else.

Crowds/gates/punters – one of the most disappointing sights for me are huge areas of empty seats for clubs who should have a better following. Of course the biggies pack ‘em in with crowds 30,000 plus, but when you see home attendances at 15,000 for Bournemouth and not much more at Burnley etc – it’s sad considering the Prem is followed world-wide. In areas of high unemployment why can’t seats be given cheaply to those genuinely seeking work, even at a hugely-reduced price: more bums on seats = happier, better crowds?

Ah well, now that I’ve got that lot off my chest, I can start looking forward to writing up the weekend.