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Hello and welcome to The Guardian Weekly, The Nation's Lead, Harry Maguire sees red, Jordan Pickford goes walkabout while Jack Grealish sits on the bench. What does it all mean? Does Maguire need a rest? Why has Southgate gone defensive with Southgate out trending before the game? The fans need to calm down a little. Or should he perhaps be a little bit more attacking? Project Big Picture is rejected unanimously by the Premier League, despite being suggested by members of the Premier League.


What does that all mean? And has Barry had enough time to develop a strong opinion on it? We'll find out how the sale is going. Look ahead to the Premier League fixtures and take you back to the first episode of this incarnation of the pod to find out conclusively if Wilson has been talking rubbish all this time. All that plus your questions.


And that's today's Guardian Football Weekly on the panel today. Barry Clendenning, hello.


Hello, Max. How are you? Yeah, I'm all right. You developed any strong opinions about anything? Not really, no. OK, that's OK. You've got a nice year. You've got a brand. And that is Brand Barry. Jonathan Wilson, good morning. Morning, how are you?


And I always hate not being fastness because I feel rude and asking you how you are. But I know how you are because you've just said that. Yeah. So in a polite way, I'm very well and I'm hoping that what you said earlier remains true.


OK, and from now on, would you like to be introduced always first? I just, I just feel that needs to be sort of people need to understand that. And I am interested in how you are, but it just seems pointless me asking because it waste time very much like it does this last.


This is Jackie Oakley. Do you care how I am or you just want to get down to the football?


No, I care deeply how you are, and I'm glad to know that you seem to be okay, because we had a little preamble to this point, which people probably don't think about when we just come on.


They think that we're just saying hello for the first time. But actually, I know you're looking relatively well with quite rosy cheeks and you look like you've had your.


Yes. Spinach in my morning smoothie. That's what I have. I have spent a lot of money on a new boiler, which me coincided with stopping taking a lot of money from bookmakers.


But, you know, you lose some you lose some of the right. England nil. Denmark won.


England conceded a goal via a penalty and had a man sent off in the same match for the first time since 1998. England v Argentina in the World Cup. I've just stopped celebrating that Sol Campbell disallowed header.


England had two red cards in a single game for the first time ever, or reached James, who sets off after the final whistle for being angry with what I thought was a really annoying ref. But I think I'm biased.


It all happened.


Well, the main event of this game was Harry McGuire's red card, Barrie, and I found it quite sad seeing him trudge off like that.


Yeah, look, anyone can get a red card and it's not the end of the world, but Harry can't do right for doing wrong at the moment. And his form is diabolical for club and country.


And he did look, uh, very sad as you trudged off the pitch down the tunnel. I don't think he should have been in the team in the first place, but it's. Indicative of Garozzo Gates apparent determination to crowbar in favor of players, whether they're playing well or not, see also Jordan Pickford.


And at least now McGuire will be forced to miss England's next game through suspension. And I would say that on the balance of things is probably a good thing for England and possibly for Harry Maguire.


Jackie, if you think back to the World Cup, he was kind of the unlikely poster boy for England, wasn't he? Is he the same player?


Is he is he worse or his form just worse or. Or is it this sort of this cliche that we like to build players up and then knock them down? No, I don't agree with that at all. I think we'd like nothing more than to have a fully functioning Whiz-Bang England team playing at pace tempo, organized at the back, scoring lots of goals and there would be no criticism.


But when you've got a player who's clearly out of form, both a very large club that he plays for and a country which has a huge amount of scrutiny, then there is going to be the element of what has happened to him. And we know what happened in the summer. It was, I think it's fair to say, an error of judgment, his choice of holiday destination and where he went putting him in that position. And that's gone now, except that it hasn't has it is still hanging over him.


And I do have a lot of sympathy for Gareth Southgate, clearly a lot more than other people do because he has to make these decisions.


He wants to try to be loyal to the players who have served him well and who he needs. More to the point, it's not about retrospective loyalty. It's about ultimately trying to get the best out of his key players at major tournament tournaments. That's what the manager's job is all about, not necessarily the nation's league semi competitive, you know, not not friendlies at all. It's all about performing and ultimately trying to win trophies.


So he's trying to get that balance between being loyal enough to his key players that they will repay that support and come back into form when they need to win the major tournaments, but also getting results and avoiding a huge amount of criticism. So I do have some sympathy with him.


It didn't work. It was. I've been trying to criticise Gareth Southgate for the performance. Generally, I think is a bit pointless because they were down to ten men for an hour. So Harry Maguire, yeah, he'll get plenty of support. And you just hope that that faith will be repaid at major tournament because that is what it's all about, Jonathan.


Lots of people saying, I think he needs a break. I don't I mean, I don't know.


None of us know what would be good for him right now. Are you saying he should go on holiday, Max?


No, I'm not saying he's a holiday.


No, but thank you, Barry Wilson. I mean, different players reacted to to adversity in different ways. In some cases, being able to focus on football, I think can can take a player away from the issues of having off the field. Some some people are overwhelmed by it. But is the format Maguires been in for, you know, at the season, I think was was raising warning flags already. And he you know, he had a dreadful half hour last night.


I think we want to get strength as a coach. And one of the reasons why the World Cup went relatively well was he was able to create this sort of quazi club environment. And it wasn't this sort of constant throughput of of players. And I think trying to get the balance between loyalty to two people have served well in the past. While continuing to evolve the squad, Gordon has used an enormous number of players and people who were key parts that World Cup squads like Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli are nowhere near it now.


So it's not the sort of stuck in 2018. But unfortunately that the two two players who have shown loyalty and accustoming in the game last night. We're going to Pickford in a second.


I mean, the first challenge was incredibly rash and no need to do it.


The second I can't remember who was speaking of who when they said he's got a first touch like a trampoline. But but the touch from Maguire was it was not a scintillating bad that that touch, wasn't it, before the second yellow Duncan Alexander writing England red cards chronologically by first name also sounds like a bit from a David piece book.


Alan, Alan, Trevor, Ray, David, Paul, Paul, David, Alan, David Wain, Rob Wain, Stephen, Raheem, Kyle, Harry. And then we've added Rhys on the end because of Rhys James the penalty.


I don't know if it was a penalty or not, but Barry what student pick for doing. It's like, it's like his FIFA controller just goes wrong sometimes.


Yeah. I'm not sure if it's a concentration thing. Sometimes he seems to pumped and then other times it's as if he's completely lost focus and kind of forgotten what he's supposed to be there for, where he is and why he's there.


And he's also clearly out of form.


I'm not sure how much longer Gareth Southgate can stick with him. It's quite typical because there are clearly better goalkeepers available for England selection than Jordan Pickford and he keeps making mistakes. So do you persevere and hope that he comes out of this bad patch or do you stick with him and perhaps he makes some sort of blunder? The costs end up knocking England out of the World Cup. I just don't know England.


They were OK with 11 men and they weren't bad with 10 either. I'm sort of minded to agree with you, Jackie. There's no real point analysing it to forensically because it was 2011 and you have to set up there to try and nick the game. Right. And try and get stay in the game and try and get something from it. But but, Jonathan, what why is he being so defensive?


If you think about these last four games, they have been a big difference from last year, you know, three at the back and two holding midfielders. What's his you know about tactics? What's he doing?


Well, I think it's totally understandable. And I was on the last slide nationals and I made the same point. Last year, England played 10 games and scored 38 goals to score and goals isn't really a problem. You look at the players, England have got an okay, you need to organize them and you need to of to work on the cohesion. And we know that kind of an elite level. Now, though, those coordinated moves are vital befuddlement.


England got a lot of really, really good players. And the great issue was part of that. That is, you know, Grealish haven't been playing against Wales, doesn't get in the team, but if you put him in the team, it would mean leaving out Mason Mounted Squad to win against Belgium. All evening, Marcus Rashford probably leaving out because you want British playing on the left. So having scored two goals last year, but look vulnerable, particularly in the game against the Netherlands and that game away against Czech Republic, which of the two defeats, it appears.


So I need to kind of get some solidity back. We can't be this open. We're going to win a major tournament. She's gone back to the back. You look at the five games being played this year, nobody can see two goals, both penalties, one of which I think was not a penalty in terms of developing a solidity. That makes sense. The problem is we got the center back playing three other means that plays in better form.


Don't get in and perhaps become a little bit static. But I think one of the reasons why that that three, four to one of three, four, three works and why it's good, particularly for international teams is it does give you that very simple base of three defenders to sing in front. And that's a good, solid unit that's very hard to break down. If you can add to that the sort of creativity that you should have from the players they've got, then it might not be as attractive as England were at times last year, but it probably makes them more likely to win a major tournament.


Jack, if you're going to play a three at the back, surely you play Tyron because he on the left because he's got a left foot and. Sure. Do you play Connor Cody in the middle? Because that's what he does.


Absolutely. And that's why it's slightly surprising that I played instead of Cody in the last game. But I guess it's a case of it is way more difficult for Gareth Southgate them for the rest of us sitting on sofas go. It should be back in Grealish. You should be doing this. You should be doing that. He has to weigh up all these things. He's got managers in his ears telling him, don't overload him with minutes, don't overload him with minutes.


He's got the situation with missing players due to covid due to discipline the likes of Ben Chilwell as well. What happened there and tell me how he could have done without all that. So there's way more for him to weigh up than just for us. But I think you could argue I'm slightly biased here and I'm not, but I just do happen to watch every single minute that Konerko plays baozi. I think he could solve some of Gareth Gates problems because if Jordan Pickford continues to make errors, Pickford really is in in gold because of his distribution, not because he's a better goalkeeper than Nick Pope.


But he has far superior distribution.


So if Pickford were to let England down, he wasn't great, was he, last night made an error? If you were to be erratic, he could play pope, knowing that you've got konnikova at the centre of the back three and his distribution is absolutely outstanding.


He can defend.


He can organize, he can marshal is a proper a team organizer. And I think, as Jonathan says, it's a real platform having that back three straight back five. And then you need your attacking players to really sink. And I think the reason he didn't pick Grealish and people were screaming at him to pick Grealish or at least bring him off the bench, he mentioned because a pace he wanted to be able to get at the field more quickly.


And I think that's why Mount had the edge on him.


But Grealish will have a role to play.


It's just that he has other factors to consider. And I like the I like the back three. And I think it can provide a lot of options for England. And they do have an abundance of options when those players are fit and available and not in covid times when you've got all this craziness going on.


When the other point about maned, I think and I don't know to what extent it was wary of picking players in all three games, I presume, is why CODI didn't play on Sunday. Sunday, the first off, certainly the first half hour of the first half was a little bit shambolic. Lukaku was dominant. And, you know, I'd been the thing I was critical of Sasko for during the World Cup was I think tactically got a few things wrong.


I think against Columbia invited pressure needlessly. I think he was slow to react in the Croatia game to England, lost control in midfield, but here by pushing the wing back slightly higher and pulling slightly deeper.


So it's been much, much deeper than Rashford on Sunday, you know, he started out of bounds midfield and he cut off a supply to Lukaku. Surmounts has done that job. He's got that right. So to then sort of take him out and bring Grealish in when when he you know, he he's seen a problem, he's analyzed it and he's found a solution that involves Mant. I think it makes complete sense. You stick equipment. So it's unfortunate for Grealish, but it's great.


England have got these these options. And then the question about why he didn't come off the bench. OK, this is a piece, but also in those last 10 minutes when Karl Malone came on Engelmann go in long because that was the only way they were going to you know, I was away way can put pressure on them. OK, so you want somebody you want a second sort of focal point to Calvillo. And I'm not sort of left side talking in role as a tigerman makes more sense than Grealish.


Whether you could have block Reilich for one of the two central midfielders, perhaps.


But wasn't it a lovely moment? Very 90s, very late 80s, 90s, just to see Peckford just not smashing it as far as he could make two big center forwards, just just trying to get a free kick or something. That's the football that I would pay to see. Matt says. I'd just like to have a good ten minutes devoted to Max's views on Engblom playing at Wembley in their blue awaked, while Denmark also played in their awaked, which is white.


Yeah, and what we basically watched Iceland lose one nil to Poland last night, didn't we contribute wasn't available.


He had to attend a football association disciplinary hearing, perfectly timed on that day to answer charges relating to the breaking of betting rules. Trippier was charged with several alleged breaches during July of last year, the same month he moved from Spurs to Atletico Madrid for twenty million. He has said that he did not place any bets himself or profit from bets made by other people elsewhere.


The home nations Wales won one nil in Bulgaria win without Jalen Ramsey, their unbeaten in the last five competitive away games. That joint's longest unbeaten away run in their history. Having conceded a goal in over ten hours of competitive football. Wales, the top of their nations league group with two games to come in November. That Johnny Williams goal that finish Jack is beautiful.


It was a double Williams, wasn't it? Niko Williams down the right and Johnny Williams finishing it off and Blasim his first goal on his twenty fifth cap.


It had been a very long time coming and it meant the world to him. So yeah, if I played to him and Ryan Giggs, he's building something there. It's not the easiest job being the Wales manager. Only six of the fifteen players that played were born in England and he although Welsh people don't like to say that.


But but yeah, it's a very, very difficult juggle for him. But it's exciting times and it's fun. And they've got a couple of home matches in November against the Republic of Ireland and Finland and now try to win the group to promotion to the top ten.


Johnny Williams said there were times when I wondered if I'd ever be back in a Welsh a couple of years ago. I've had so many highs in a Welsh club level. I've been knocked back quite a few times since I've been under the gaffer here for Wales. He's always given me a chance to play at this level. I'm just glad I can repay that faith. He's an interesting character, isn't he? And I think we in Sunderland Till I Die.


He was sort of one of the most interesting players that you saw that, you know, he had a crisis of confidence in and, you know, injuries really set him back psychologically as well as physically.


Yes. As the Man City song used to go. We're not really here. And he was in that documentary, but he was on loan at Sunderland, but he wasn't really there because I think he spent most of his time in the treatment room. And he it was clearly getting him down that they were having this terrible season and there wasn't much he could contribute to it. And he was very honest about his depression, came across very, very well in that.


So I do keep an eye out for him now. And like, it's nice to see him do what he just came across as a really nice bloke, very quiet and sensitive soul, wasn't there?


It was a great documentary, the first series where you bet in the second. And you think the second one was just all about the guy, the directives, all about him and his hair and his red substance wanted more players.


We wanted more manager. That's so disappointing. I love that first.


I thought as well, the taxi driver and Luke 09, they were they came across amazingly well, as well as Scotland, Scotland, Czech Republic.


David MacAlpine says Scotland are the favorites to win their Euro 2020 group. If we qualify now that England appear to be self imploding and we have the Czech Republic in our back pockets, I like that confidence.


Ryan Fraser be directly involved in six goals in his last eight starts for Scotland. Two goals, four assists set up by Lyndon Dykes as well, five games and two goals for him they stole in inducts from Australia.


His elder sister won a gold medal for Australia in gymnastics in 2006, but nice stories passed from Dumfries. And he came over here and then signed for Queen of the South. I mean, should Scotland fans have reason for optimism, Barry?


Yes, absolutely. What is that? Seven, eight games unbeaten eight. That's very heartening. Steve Clarke seems to be doing a good job. They have you know, it's no secret they Scotland have some excellent players, but they've have a lot of them all play in the same position. And they're all left backs. Yeah, they're all left back to their old central midfielders.


But Lyndon Dykes and Ryan Fraser seem to have been forging a good big man, little man partnership up front. And, uh, while I imagine Serbia will be favourites to win their playoff for a Euro 2020, I don't think there's much there for Scotland to be afraid of. Uh, in Serbia, three games in this break. They beat Norway, lost against Hungary and Drew with Turkey.


And I think the most Scottish thing imaginable that could happen is they will beat Serbia, qualify for Europe 2020, and then the tournament will be cancelled.


That group, by the way, if the if the tournament happens, England, Croatia, play of Tennessee, which is Scotland or Serbia and the Czech Republic, Wilson wasn't both Wales and Scotland point of view topping the nation, the nation's largest groups.


And if people haven't said anything like this yesterday, it's not just about promotion, but in terms of, well, World Cup qualification, the way qualifying works. There are 10 groups, half of which have six teams, half which have five teams, the top teams most this is in the top 10 teams qualify automatically the next 10. Go into playoffs with the two best nations, the group winners who haven't already qualified, and those 12 teams play off the other six places for six, four slots.


So Scotland are ranked. I think that in three proceedings. So this is a sort of group to kind of circumvent having to finish in the top tier of the group. So and Wales obviously would give them a fallback option as well. So it the nation's league doesn't matter, but it does sort of in that sense. Yes.


So for Scotland, what about that player for Serbia, for Northern Ireland, all about that playoff with Slovakia. They lost one then in Norway in Barraclough, made ten changes for this, their bottom of their group. But it is this Slovakia game, a few a few Northern Ireland fans, they were not happy with our review of their fantastic penalty shootout win against Bosnia-Herzegovina, mainly because most of the analysis was me talking about the ripped sleeves of Bailly Peacocke Farrell's jersey and not actually their performance.


But we have promised. You don't know this yet, Barry, but you will join me in this promise that we will rectify this after the playoffs. We may even move the pod kick off to accommodate both Scotland and Northern Ireland's play offs so we can do it justice.


I think we should just do a Northern Ireland special and get to you on give give us a potted history of everything we've missed out doing or neglect in.


We're going to get sick now for our review of that game against Norway, but we'll do it properly after the play offs. Your boys, Barry, they lost to Finland. Wilson, you enjoyed this game and you.


Well, I've watched I've watched all three Ireland games in the last week. And my admiration for the people of Ireland has gone through the roof. How they watched out on the regular basis, I mean, it's no wonder they watch a Premier League all the time.


I'm sorry, Johnson. This is Ireland playing free flowing, expansive, attacking football. It used to be a lot worse.


Yeah, I mean, I'm I'm being facetious. I have watched an awful lot of Ireland in recent years the emphasis on the awful.


Yes, I met Stephen Kenny at an event in Dublin on December and I thought, yes, very impressive. I think what he's done or what he did with the other twenty ones was very impressive. And they obviously played some great football. And I think a change of approaches is desperately necessary. And he's had awful look in terms of losing players to to various covid things. And things have turned out not to be good. Things have been over things, but they've scored one goal in five games in a row now.


And that's, I guess, a concern. And the other thing which I can't I find unbelievable is Mick McCarthy's on onco commentary all the time, which just seems so classless from him. You don't don't turn up and kind of immediately put pressure on your successor. And he's clearly I mean, I presume he's not doing it deliberately, but. He's very much emphasizing his style of football, so every time anybody plays a long ball, it comes out that's the ball they have to play.


And it was amazing in the Slovakia game when I can back plays a sort of 40 hour diagonal pass. And he goes, so that's the thing with Malcolm Shaich.


He's got all the skills, but he knows when to play along diagonal and he needs to play its long diagonals are not the thing about Malcolm. And so when the plane had that chance in the first half of the game on and Slovakia, wasn't it? And, you know, he was sort of well, that is going to feel like it's a ball bounced about in the box. That's not how you play football.


So, yeah, I've got a lot sympathy for Stephen. Kenny hasn't been a great start.


We say like when like when England failed to qualify for Euro 2008 and Steve McLaren went with five, like there are a lot of England fans not too happy, but Steve McLaren and five last point of view, he was very, very useful to have him around.


So you can see Mick McCarthy certainly would not have thought of it in any kind of negative way.


He just wants to be involved in and enjoys doing it. Is summarizing that, Mac.


I really like it. I mean, every time they play outside the market along, really hit the channels there, lads, whenever, literally wherever. Anyway, also the nations like Italy one, the Netherlands one one four VanDerBeek Jotter and Barnardo looking good for Portugal in a three to win over Sweden. No Ronaldo obviously he's a he's isolating at the moment.


Germany three, Switzerland three was a fun one, including a great slowmo dink from Remo Foiler, Spain lost to Ukraine and Joshes after all the talk of boring nil Nils on Monday's program, we spend some time talking about the biggest nail mill of the international break Liechtenstein nil, San Marino nil. First non loss for forty games, first away clean sheet in their thirty year history. One win, four draws and 162 losses glorious and one other bit of internationals.


Neymar overtook our nine is Brazil's second highest scorer got you can afford to win over Peru in World Cup South America qualifiers. He's on sixty four goals. Pele is on 77.


So. So yeah. So he's got a little way to go.


Before the international break started, you asked on the part did I think it was a good idea that this these internationals were being played?


And I said no, now that it's over. I see Jonathan has written an article about saying it was a really terrible idea to play these games.


Yeah, it really was. I mean, the the covid protocols, it worked really well on a domestic level, at least in Western Europe, and then to suddenly sort of toss them all in the air and every mix and who knows what the knock on effects of, you know, the tested positive very soon after the game in France. I mean, I don't know enough as to as to what the chances of having infected a trans player are, but it's possible and then go back to their clubs and that spreads out.


So I wouldn't surprise me at all. I mean, New Zealand have already pulled out defend against the next month. It wouldn't surprise me at all if if we end up with a very detailed international player next month, I think it's going to be fair.


New Zealand only pulled out because Jack Grealish wasn't getting a game. That's what they said. I mean, I think the playoffs for the year have to go ahead. But everything else you can probably probably postpone or cancel. All right.


Well, that'll do for part one. Part two. We'll talk about the big picture, Unframed. At Audi, we believe future is an attitude, passion, courage and curiosity coming together with automotive progress emerging. Where others see challenges and problems, we see opportunities and solutions for us around a positive point of view is the key to progress.


For us, a future is an attitude.


Welcome to Part two of The Guardian Football Weekly, say more now on the big picture, David Hitner report McKinnis in the paper saying Liverpool, Manchester United have been forced into an embarrassing climbdown over their push to reform English football after a tense meeting of the Premier League's 20 clubs on Wednesday. At the conference call, Everton's chief executive, Denise Barratt Baxendale, demanded an apology from Liverpool United, who were represented by Tom Virna and Ed Woodward. Vernon Wood would refused, feeling they have nothing to apologise for.


They claim to have merely discussing a list of ideas which would eventually be put forward for debate. This led to incredulity in some quarters as significantly the other members of the Big Six Tottenham Man city, Chelsea Arsenal, are understood to have stayed silent, sort of heads down, not looking at the screen, which was apparently surprising to some clubs on the call. The Premier League statement said. All 20 Premier League clubs today unanimously agreed that project big picture will not be endorsed or pursued by the Premier League or the FFA.


Further, Premier League shareholders agreed to work together as a 20 club collective on a strategic plan for the future structures and financing of English football, consulting with all stakeholders to ensure a vibrant, competitive and sustainable football pyramid. Wilson thoughts.


Well, in the short term, it's a very good thing. I think expectation was was appalling and I'm slightly surprised by the the way people have been prepared to sort of give it any time at all when irrespective of the I understand that there's an immediate need for money low down the pyramid. But a. To take that money and sacrifice everything else, just sort of say, the big six, you want everything from now on, you increase the already increase tilt on the already deeply uneven playing field.


I mean, I know I'm coming at this from point of view of us on the phone. He believes this place is not in league one. And this would guarantee something could never, ever get into the upper echelons of the Premier League ever again. And so maybe I am Sibos from that point of view, but I would hope all teams have it some somewhere deep in our soul, some little icon of hope that they could get up into the top six or top seven.


And this would just to stop that. So in terms of what football is and what football should be, I was one of the very few things I've ever read and felt slightly sick. At the end of when the controversies first came out, I would and I actually came to conclusion. I would rather and I don't know how soon it as near the edge as many teams, but I would rather than cease to exist and came back in the lower levels of a Northern League as a team with dignity and a chance of of climbing.


But accepting this, you know, I'd rather not live on my knees scrubbing under the table for crumbs. The Grundy's happened to toss us. So I'm delighted that it's it's been stopped. But there is clearly a need of finding a way of financing teams, though, down the pyramid.


Jack is a Wolves fan. You know, you were in that fourteen. You know, the sort of shit for you. Everyone else will be OK set. I mean, that must have rankled a fair bit.


Yeah, but I try not to think about these things from a self-interested point of view because football is so riddled with self-interest.


And I think we all need to take a step back from what happens to our team and what's best for our team and look at the bigger picture.


And that's frankly what the big six stroke, top nine have not done. And that is clearly not good for English football.


And we value English football primarily because of the pyramid structure that we have and because of the fact that every club matters. Now, it feels that that's less the case since the finances have become so starkly divided between the haves at the very top and the have nots.


But don't forget the top six, so-called top six, by the way, are the ones who can generate so much more income anyway via their international partners. And as you were saying on your part the other day, they don't even need the betting money. They can acquire sponsorship from other enormous companies. And so it is those who can't acquire that sort of money outside of TV deals who need to be looked after and everybody needs to have a voice. And the idea that the focus should be on the so-called Big Six and and that they're the special ones.


I mean, think about Quality Street, think about the purple one. They had this great idea that everybody likes the purple one with the caramel and the nuts in the middle. So let's make a special purple one. And then you start buying those and you think, oh, they're not so special after all, are they? What about the orange cream and the coconut éclair? You need the orange cream in the coconut éclair.


Fortunately, they don't want to be so special. I think you could get rid of the toffee penny and no one would need the support.


You need the coffee. You want to really value the lovely Minstrel's and the and the Maltese as they are just as important as each other.


And we shouldn't allow the idea of these owners who cared very, very little, frankly, for the structure of what makes English football so great to get away with this nonsense.


There's actually what so but where that analogy doesn't quite work in a way that's quite important is that the value of the big six is only exists because of our capacity to play other teams. So the the best revel doesn't gain its value by the fact that it sort of competes with the coffee level. And so and what you've seen in across Europe, in Italy and Spain and Germany and France is the big teams coming to sort of get bored of winning the domestic league because it doesn't have any value anymore, because it's no achievement for PSG.


First year's annual income is is nearly three times as much as Leone, the second richest team in France. Of course, in the league, there's no point to it. And this is what this would have verified. You know that the big six been able to take a bigger and bigger chunk of the pie.


So it's not just that you need to mix in that every team, every every town should have its team and that team should matter. It's that the value of the competition is derived from the fact that you have, you know, a number of teams who can all compete. And if you get rid of our competitiveness, you lose what makes it really good.


I'm slightly suspicious that, you know, Liverpool United's been discussing for three years. They won Zoome meeting where someone says, I don't like this. They're not going to give up on this. I mean, they don't have the power to change it. But this isn't going to go away, is my fear.


No, of course it isn't. And I'm kind of surprised that. David and Paul described Liverpool and Manchester United climbed down as embarrassing because I don't think it is at all embarrassing, I, I think they knew full well were to be laughed out of the zoo meeting. But they've sold the seed now. They've they've put their idea out there and it can be tailored. So I'm not sure there is any kind of embarrassing climb down. I say this is what fully what they expected to happen.


Now, a big part of this was how to bail out the EFL. Originally, there was going to be a 250 million pound, how would you describe it, Barry?


Well, I think a lot of people are laboring under the delusion it was just going to be a free, free money, but it was basically an advance on the 25 per cent of future revenues they would be getting annually.


And now the offer consists of grants and interest free loans totalling 50 million on top of the twenty seven point two million solidarity payments already advanced. The League one a league to making a total of seventy seven point two million. Nothing decided on the championship yet. All 72 AFL clubs are meeting today, Thursday. I was listening, Jackie, to Andy Pilley, the owner of Fleetwood Town, mentioning all sorts of conditions the Premier League made on a similar offer like no relegation if the games aren't all finished this season, rules on young players coming after Brexit, which would have a huge impact on academies.


He also said, look, 10 to 12 clubs in the football league could be in administration by the turn of the year. So. So I guess the question is. I guess I know the answer, but why is that offer, whether it be grants or free money or what, gone from 250 to 50? Yeah, well, I mean, there's still a huge amount of talking to be done. And I think what needs to happen is that it needs to be open, transparent, which is clearly not the way this whole project, big picture or big stitch up, as it's been called, has gone about.


And also the problem with it is, is that if we're not careful, you're going to have the people who are desperate now just ready to sign on the dotted line for for cash now in whatever form it comes, and then later regretting it. And I spoke to somebody at a governing body yesterday who said one of the alarming things about this proposal is the fact that they're offering all this money now to AFL and clubs. And Rick Perry, of course, is going, yes, yes, this is great.


Let's get this money now because we desperately need it. But then if you get in that power, there's no guarantee that tomorrow they won't go. Thanks very much. And cut them loose. And then that's not an ongoing proposition and that they've already signed up to deal with the devil and have no control anymore. So it needs people like to the spa, Baxendale, Everton and the likes of Susan Willand at Leicester City to stand up and and make a stand on these issues to to try to rid the game of self-interest, but just to have more of an open, transparent conversation about it and be honest about everyone's motives.


Now, in the small print for the big picture, women's football was mentioned. Let's discuss it a bit further with The Guardian's and women's football correspondent Susie. Susie, how are you doing?


Hey, I'm good, thanks. What did you make of of what it said in there, 10 million pounds to bail out the sale in the women's championship, a commitment that a, quote, new independent league for the women's professional game will finally be developed and funded and reportedly more than 50 million a year for the OSL championship, women's shake up and grassroots.


I mean, that sounds wonderful, doesn't I like at the moment the FFA, I think in 2019 spent 11 or so, either 11 or 19 million on women's football. So that's quite a big step up and would be great if it wasn't in the context of the broader project. Big picture remet, I suppose, because, you know, everything that comes from the men's side. You know, you've got to wonder about the intentions on the women's side as well.


The fact that the whole thing is being put forward by Liverpool Man United is ridiculously ironic given that Man United's resisted having a women's team. The Glazers shut down the women's team when they took over in 2005 and then kind of finally relented to having a team in 2018. They have been good since then. Like the team are doing really well. They're investing. They're taking it seriously. But they did. It does feel like they've had to be kind of pushed kicking and screaming to the table.


And Liverpool, meanwhile, team was relegated at the end of last season based on points per game whilst the men's team won the league first time in 30 years. So to have those two teams who haven't exactly been shown to have the best intentions when it comes to women's football, putting forward these proposals feels a little untrustworthy in the nicest possible way. But yeah, like in theory, great.


What's the idea of it being independent? Is that important?


I think it is. I've argued it for a while now that there's a case to be made for independence. The Women's Super League I like obviously the FIA running it, you know, has been good to a certain extent in that they've taken responsibility for having banned women's football 50 years and have put quite a lot of effort sort of ideologically into into rebuilding support for women's football. Done a great, great job of bringing it to this point of profitability and getting all these big sponsors on board and given it like the credibility it sort of needs to be able to kind of pull itself towards professionalism.


But you've sort of reached a point where you wonder if the FIA can, like, take it further and and really progress it. If they can't kind of commit fully to it, they're always going to have their hand tied by all the other commitments they've got going on across the rest of the game. So I like the idea of an independent body that can act solely in the interests of women's football. The every decision it makes is about building the league and the clubs and the and the game feels like that could be a step forward.


Obviously, you don't want women's football and the league to collapse. That's that's the fear that happened twice in the states with the NWSL. But like then there's got to be a point at which there's some kind of hand over and there is some kind of independence to the to the league is able to say we can go for the sponsorship. Or we can go for these TV rights deals or whatever, because we're not like hamstrung by the, you know, all the different other financial commitments that the FAA has got.




But that independence, I think when some people hear independence, they would hear a kind of split from, you know, a relationship between, say, Tottenham Man and Tottenham women. And actually, those combinations seem to be quite positive.


If you look at Arsenal's advertising, you know, and having Aubameyang and media are on the same shot, though, we're not talking about that sort of independent.


No, no, not at all. Like more that the league would be run and owned by the clubs and, you know, have some independent board members and and things rather than being run by the FIA. You know, the board in and of itself could probably exist in the same form that exists now just, you know, without the financial pressures that the FAA has in other quarters, sort of holding it back, you know, with the pandemic and the cuts that are taking place across the FAA, they have a ring fenced professional women's football, but they haven't been able to up their investment.


You know, that's that's a problem. Whereas, you know, if you've got a board with, you know, all those clubs as a part of it, acting in the interests of the women's game, that you're going to be able to find different revenue streams and be quite inventive, a creative about the way you the way you run it. So, like, whether we're at a point of it being ready to go independent and being able to survive or be financially sustainable on its own is, you know, a big question.


We might not be there yet, but I have done a great job up to this point. I'd like mostly ball, you know, the few casualties here that done a decent job at kind of driving it towards professionalism and pushing cubs in the right direction. But, yeah, whether we're kind of at the step of which we go, it depends. It is another it's another question.


How on the pitch, how how is the WSO going? Oh, brilliant. Yeah, it's a really exciting league at the moment because you've got Everton in particular and Manchester United both really, really pushing the top three teams, Chelsea City and Arsenal, kind of upsetting the little kind of big three, if you want it to kind of compare it to the Premier League in any way of of of the women's super league. So it's very, very exciting.


You've got Everton now and the FIA cup final as well. And the Games, despite a few big scorelines early on, which I think were a little bit kind of teething problems, they are significantly more competitive they want than they were last season. You know, you got Brighton take points off of Chelsea and yeah, there've been some some really nice upsets along the way. Susie, thanks for coming on. No worries. Thanks for having me. Total pleasure.


Susie Rec, women's football correspondent. That'll do for part two. Part three. We'll look ahead to the Premier League fixtures, including the Merseyside Derby.


This October, watch the big games every weekend with Sky Sports and Sports, extra half price this week it's Man City are still live only on Sky Sports. The Apprentice to the side of some real character takes on the master gladiolas. Manchester City history makers at Sky Sports, BT Sport and premiere sports half price for six months. Search Sky Sports Sale New Sports Customers Only standard pricing applies after six months of counseling. When I looked at the bundle, minimum term and further terms apply.


Welcome to Part three of The Guardian Football Weekly, so the Premier League fixtures, can the best team in the country win again or will Liverpool get the points Everton versus Liverpool at Goodison and Wilson? This is exciting.


Oh, are you, in a sense, is Everton's first proper test and maybe they liked it while they had momentum at the start of the season. But, you know, it's it's a great way to start again after the international break. And I I guess the scrutiny on Pickford is even even greater now than it was before elsewhere.


Manchester Arsenal could be fun, couldn't it? Leicester Villa, anything could happen in that one. And Spurs West Ham. Big questions about whether Gareth Bale will play. And do we know if David Moyes is coming back?


Because it'll be scripted perfectly if Moyes was there to see West Ham get beaten.


But there there a good former West Ham, Chelsea, Southampton, Newcastle United, Sheffield United, Fulham Palace, Brian Monday, West Brom, Burnley and Leeds. Will Jackie, do you want a moment on wall since you're here? Yes, please.


I'll always take that. There's a little concern as we speak on Thursday morning about that game between leaves and wolves, bearing in mind that Cristiano Ronaldo tested positive the morning after he posted a photograph, a selfie photograph of him and the rest of the Portugal squad, which contained five Wolverhampton Wanderers players. Now, of course, they did all test negative, but as we know, symptoms can incubate and take a few days. So I was on to the Premier League straightaway saying what would be the scenario of this match potentially being postponed on Monday night?


And it would be it's highly unlikely to happen, by the way. Highly unlikely. But they just need to have fourteen fit players. And if there was a case of it was several players in a similar position or they really wanted to appeal, then the Premier League board would make that decision. But it's not likely to happen. But that is the danger of the situation in covid times. And I saw the press conference with New Spirito Santo just before the last go after the last game, and he was terrified of the players going away on international duty.


He doesn't agree with it. He thinks it's ridiculous. And the fact that he has no control over players mixing with different bubbles all over the world and then coming back and being tested on the Friday morning before the weekend match. So that's a concern for him. But the big issue with wolves this season on the pitch has been midfield hasn't been working navvies, Moutinho, too similar, too much sideways passing roll him and scored a couple of goals, but he's been very isolated up front.


And of course, he doesn't have jotter anymore. He's gone to Liverpool, although he was on the bench at the start of the season and he needs to strike up a new partnership with Pedro Netto and Daniel parents. So that is a work in progress and, you know, needs to put together his jigsaw pieces elsewhere.


Robbie Savage, set to be head of football at Macclesfield, Charles Phoenix Club, Macclesfield FC, former National League Club, have had their assets purchased by Robert Smethurst, a local businessman who plans to enter the club in the North West Councils League next season. Player Moss rose the Cheshire Club's home for 129 years. Bery AFC Now the Phoenix Club, recently began their journey in the same division after Berry went out of business and were thrown out of League One.


Savage has been confirmed as part of the group who purchased the assets will join a new board of directors, as well as helping them assembled a team ready for the start of next season. So fair play to him. I told John Brown to get a tattoo of Robbie Savage. His face.


I think. I think I think it's only right that John Brown gets his face on his chest full size.


I think at John Bruin underscore if you would like to tell John to get a tattoo of Robbie Savage, his face on his stomach, on the subject of Phoenix clubs, the old firm Dabis on Saturday lunchtime when salesclerk entertain the Phoenix Club, that his rangers, uh, so that should be interesting. There's quite a large concern that loads of Celtic and Rangers fans are going to travel south of the border so they can go on the lash and watch the game in pubs, which they would not be allowed to do in Glasgow under the current restrictions.


So, yes, please don't do that. Stay at home and watch it with your bubble. Mark says good football clubs have an orchestra play in the stands and then be allowed fans inside the stadium because they'd be watching an orchestral performance which is currently allowed, which is a great question. And Chris says, can we get a shout out for Stoke Gabriel FC down in the south west. Played ten lost ten scored 22, conceded 122. That's a fantastic start to the season.


And we had this a couple of weeks ago from Stephen Sheridan, who said what makes his first ever pod as the new host of The Guardian Football Weekly discussing the mad hights transfer fees were reaching, Wilson compared it to the early seventeenth century Dutch tulip bubble. Max. His take home was so the. The only way the transfer bubble will burst is a return of the Black Death. Wilson replied, Well, in a way, in the light of the grim precedence of this discussion and the fact that so much has changed yet massive transfer fees have persisted, should we conclude that Wilson's comparison was a load of guff?


Let's let it play in the clip.


So you then get to the question of are we are we in a bubble? So I compared it in a piece to the tulip situation in the Netherlands in the early 17th century.


Well, I actually think there's a bit of example. The tulip thing is people the that's got a blight, the mosaic blight. So they got marbles, petals, which nobody's seen before, the two colors on the same petal.


Did people react well or badly? So they went mad for the price of tulips.


Just kept going up and up and up. 16 048 begins OK. And for 35 years you have the church and the guilds going, This is madness. It can't last, it can't last. And then suddenly one day, 16, 39 in in Harlem, there's a chill tulip market. Nobody turns up. Now there is some suggestion that it was because an outbreak of plague. But the bottom falls out the market and loads of tulip merchants are bankrupted.


Actually, the only way the the the bubble in the Premier League will die is if the black death comes back somehow, OK, or Brexit, whichever is first.


The I think the best example is the Indian horse market, the thirty seven point five percent increase in TV rates.


So that would imply the bubble will keep going for this season, next season and then three more years before there's any concern at all.


So, Wilson, we had to fight it down and up because you spent ten minutes talking like tulips. But, you know, the conclusion from this is.


You suggested that actually, if we did have some sort of global pandemic type thing, that transfer fees would be hit and they haven't been so high on, they have OK, anyway, apart from Premier League, they've been hit.


All right. Yeah.


The idea that about it. I'm OK. Anglia's giving effect, OK. I mean, also, if if you're dealing with facts, the bit you faded out there was why I acknowledged that the chip analogy is not ideal. The better analogy is the Indian horse market. If you go back, you can listen to me talking about why the price of horses went up in in India as a result of colonialism and why the bottom fell out of that market when people stopped buying our thoroughbreds and still go for cheaper models anyway.


Everywhere outside the Premier League, transfer fees have plummeted. The idea that namers record of 220 million euros is going to be matched anytime soon. Is it just won't be so. And I think the Pemulwuy we might see it might see dipping in the next couple of years. So I think we were to be fair, you know, your first pot to come up with a call up big, you know, I salute it that the you correctly acknowledged that in the event of some kind of pandemic like the Black Death or covid, which we had never heard of at the time, the transfer fees would be affected.


I won't even talk about bubbles, which I didn't realize we were getting. Listen, I'd like to apologize for predicting a global pandemic. I hope it wasn't my fault. And it's pretty much all we have time for today. So a now disgraced Jonathan Wilson.


Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Barry. You're welcome. Thank you, Jacki. Thank you. We'll be back on Monday.


She's just chomping on a big purple one at the moment. I know that sounds great.


Yeah. It's so, so incredibly rude. She's just chomping. Going to be perfect. What a welcome. That's how Jackie said hello to all of us.


Honestly, for more great podcasts from The Guardian.


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