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This October, watch the big games every weekend with Sky Sports and Sports, extra half price this week, Man City are still live only on Sky Sports. The Apprentice, the site of some real. Takes on the master gladiolas, just city history making at Sky Sports, BT Sport and Premier 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.


The Guardian. Hello and welcome to The Guardian Football Weekly, The Nation's League England beat the best team in the world and therefore are now the best team in the world by virtue of a dodgy penalty and a deflected goal.


But what's the point of winning if Gareth Southgate doesn't pick the players you want him to pick elsewhere? We'll look back at three home nations penalty shootouts, the first ever for Northern Ireland and Scotland. The Scots followed up with a shot on target on Sunday night that went in. Meanwhile, the Irish are out of the euro, but that gave them the freedom to express themselves in a thriller against Wales will go big on that. There's some admin to get through pay per view football.


Would you stump up fourteen ninety five for football corner. And the big picture, an altruistic gesture from the biggest clubs in England to help the rest of us or a cynical power grab during a global pandemic. It's probably that one Democrat joins us to talk about Arsene Wenger and to tell us how to interview people.


All that plus your questions. And that's today's Guardian Football Weekly.


And we have a panel today.


Barrie, a question for you. Can you recall Marcus Bean's only goal for Swansea?


No, I can't ask a question for Alice. James, can you remember Marcus Bean's only goal for Swansea?


Yes, I can't. How are you? Rotherham in 2005, during a golden era when I didn't have a girlfriend and I used to do things like Rotherham away. Great days were you were there? I think I was there, yeah. I mean, I that season I, I had nothing else to do. So I was home and away with Swansea. You only played a few times for the Swans in new markets.


You're on loan from Kapyong years on loan there to loan spells. Probably about twenty game. Twenty four. Twenty games.


They're not no symptoms. Trendelenburg you and I are in the ER. Yeah. Oh yes. A good team. That's a good thing. I'm glad some of our members are because I can't remember it myself. I can't remember what it looked like.


I just, I just, I just remember that side with, with great fondness.


What was it like Trina with Lee Trundle is one of the the greatest players I played with. Yeah. You just what you see on the other side is what he does regularly in training. He's guys got so much ability. Yeah.


And tell me about the Brits is just such a such a good game. I'm unbelievably great technically football technical, gifted footballer, but just a really, really good guy. What you see is what you get a smile on his face. Good party. Yeah.


And also, I mean, obviously on Britain, quite good for Swansea. But his high career, high point is during the soccer glory, glorious being the host of LA on Britain's Got Talent, of course, which was a roaring success.


Here's here's a question from Patrick.


Why do people who don't like international football feel they have to constantly tell everyone they don't like international football and not just quietly get on with not liking international football?


Ellis' Yeah, that's such a good question. And it's it's that feeling of slight superiority, a bit like when you don't like the film that's won best picture at the Oscars, you go, well, actually, I saw that. And I thought that some of the troops in it were quite tired. And you think, oh yeah, whatever, OK, you're great.


And you read Empire magazine and I've read one sentence on somebody's blog. And that's the thing that you're going to say. No, but how about film is rubbish?


I am. I love international football.


I would say that my love for international football has been tested over the last week at the incredible smugness for people who think that actually if you if you put the Champions League best teams against the best international teams in the world, they would only be one winner. I'd bet. I don't care. And that's not the reason I like international football. So stop going on about it.


Do you think there's Barry? There's. The international breaks can be a bit disappointing, right, you know, especially after it has been a brilliant, you know, like we had the Villa seven, Liverpool two and the Spurs six, United one.


And then we have this kind of barren week. But you can't have the major tournament if you don't have the other international breaks.


You know, you've got to do the exercise to get fit, that kind of thing.


Yeah, absolutely. I'm not sure that's the right analogy to give to you, but you and I don't have a problem with an international football.


I enjoy watching Ireland play, which even though it can often be an ordeal.


And for the I quite like a break from the Premier League every now and then. And, you know, I totally agree that people who don't like international football, you know, just just enjoy the break. If you don't want to watch that, don't keep telling us about how much you don't like this. But I have no problem. From a professional point of view, it means more work because you have to do loads of research on teams you don't know a great deal about.


But that's also interesting. You find out interesting little nuggets about various teams. So, yeah, I have no problem with that whatsoever.


Give us a nugget, Barry. Um, yesterday, I learned that Scotland handed a debut to 33 year old defender from Aberdeen called Andrew Considine, and I saw him being interviewed about it and the joy he was so clearly overjoyed at getting the Scotland cap, it probably won't be his last because he played very well.


But, yeah, tell him that international football is boring. He was absolutely chuffed to bits.


Well, I actually think the pathetic thing with international football is it sort of brings it nationalism and tribalism. Absolutely pathetic.


I actually like the game. I'm not interested in sort of these petty rivalries amongst countries that completely sort of arbitrary borders. I've never understood that. I actually think it's mentally weak to be international.


Fuck you.


Hey, England, the top of their group, and they beat the best team in the world. Marcus, what did you make of that game?


England were pretty bad or Belgium were pretty good in the first half, but England turned it round.


Yeah. For those improvements. Second half, I thought the approach was a little negative. We effectively had eight defensive players on the pitch. If you count Maysam out playing right wing, which is not really accustomed to the center midfielder and I think our weaknesses in defense. So I understand why Southgate might want to show up at the end of the bell and still create some very good opportunities. I think I'm a great believer in that attack is the best form of defense and I'd like to see myself get concentrate on our strengths, which should our attacking talent and play maybe go with one of midfield holding midfielder and two more advanced attacking players ahead of him.


Were you then were you then so sad that Grealish didn't play?


Yeah, for me, Grealish needs to play midfield. I think he's the one that can. The defense in an attack by I mean is a great ball carrier gets us up the pitch. You can stay on the ball where everyone else is trying to offload it, you know, play one or two touch like the likes of Henderson and deglamorized Dekker Viceroy. Thank you. Yeah. He's the one that could get everything together.


And I'd like to see us with two more players that him and maybe a foden in the midfield personally, you know, when they sort of say, you know, Grealish is really brave on the ball, can you give us an idea of of how difficult it is to want the ball?


In central midfield. In tight spaces, because you might lose it, and that's not great. Listen, I think if you lose a boy in your middle 30 to pitch, especially how football's progressed, transition football, you're in big trouble, especially at a high level. So players that can look after the ball in not just in their in the middle third, but also in in your defensive ferd receiver anywhere is is vital at the top level of the game.


And he has the ability to to to receive it anywhere on the pitch because he's got such great awareness and also great fee. And for me is probably only one in the in England squad capable of doing that. But we still beat Belgium.


I mean, that's you know, that's the point. I sort of feel for Southgate that because the first half was bad, you know, and maybe maybe we shouldn't watch football and have social media on at the same time so you can make your own verdict.


But everyone's so sort of negative about England in the first half. And they turned it round. And I know, you know, LSU would have seen how well Grealish played against Wales, but you have to give credit to Southgate for picking a team that beat Belgium, even if it didn't look beautiful.


Yeah, I mean, absolutely. And with Grealish, I worry that he is the new multicity or even the new Glenn Hoddle and that he's going to be a funds favorite who England supporters are desperate to get on the pitch. And yet he doesn't quite fit into this kind of Southgate three, four, three. And I don't know if his England's career is international career is going to be a damp squib, bearing in mind the inducted talent he has at his disposal.


If he was well, she would be guaranteed of having 150 cups. And that is what I always think when I see those players. If they choose in Wales, I'd be making Robbie Keane look like some sort of inexperienced international footballer. But also, you know, Jack Jack Grealish could have plausibly chosen Ireland.


He did choose Ireland and then he chose Ireland. So I don't know what will I don't know what will come of it.


But what do you think, Max? I mean, surely you want to see him play. I mean, there being mindful. Good a player he is. I suppose.


I wonder if we could play a a four like a four. Why can't you play a four, three, three and have him as the attacking midfielder with two behind him?


That's what I think. I also I look at Reisen Henderson. I think I'd rather Kalvin Phillips and one of Reisen Henderson because I think Phillips is better on the ball.


But I don't understand why you couldn't play Grealish in the advanced three and still play Kane with Sterling and Rashford or Sterling and Sanco and have a back four.


I don't know why we want to play a back three when we don't have that many great centre backs. Why don't we just have two instead of two average ones instead of three average ones? What do you think? Yes, I completely agree with you.


I think we don't we don't necessarily need Henderson and Rice hold in. I think they broke through very similar roles. Obviously, I kind of get why did it get to Belgium? Because he was obviously afraid of them attacking, attacking, attacking talent. But I just think it takes away so much from about from our attacking play. And we've got the likes of Rashford, Sterling, Sunchoke, Calvert, Lewin. They need to be fed and the supply line would be greatly improved by having a Foden or Grealish in that midfield.


Barry Eric Dyar gave away the penalty. It was a clumsy challenge. I want him to be really good. I can't work out of his good. But is it worth pointing out that Romello Lukaku is stunningly good at football and and sometimes when we watch these games. Obviously, you're a neutral in this game, but when I'm watching the game, I sort of know that's OK, but I sort of forget there's an opposition when I'm watching any game as a fan, I pay so little attention to the opposition.


And and so I'm sitting there going, oh, England are defending badly. But Lukaku was brilliant in that first half.


Well, he's he's a brilliant player. It just didn't quite work out for Manchester United. And sometimes that happens. Good player goes to the big club. It doesn't doesn't work out for him. But then he moved on and has been the player we all knew he was for Inter. And I think Eric is a reasonably decent player and he's not a world beater or anything.


And it was a clumsy penalty to give away. If I could just talk about South Gate's team selection, I, I really think he's the wrong man for the England job.


I think his pragmatism will be his undoing. I think he's just a terrific politician. He handles off the field incidents very well. He speaks great or speaks great.


He speaks very well. He talks proper.


But I think in terms of selecting teams and making changes during games, he's he's not very unconvincing for me. And I think with him in charge, there's a grave danger of England squandering huge amount of talent that's at their disposal.


Are you calling this a golden generation, Barry? I think so, yeah.


I think it's more golden generation than the original Golden Generation.


But I suppose it would be they'd have a better chance of emulating that golden generation if they actually got on the pitch.


And so I find it weird. I'd be let's be honest, they were very lucky to win that game against Belgium. They've got a penalty. I don't think it should have been awarded. And massive amounts of gold took a sort of Jammey deflection and went in. So I wouldn't read too much into the result. But yeah, win is a win.


Richard Jollied saying Marcus Rashford, the first MBA to score a penalty for England since Harry Kane in 2019.


Trippier played well at left back, but he's not a left back.


A question from another Barry. How long until we have to resort to calling up Andy Hinchcliffe and Steve Guppy to cover England's problems left side? Um, I thing I noticed this former Wigan player, Sean Maloney, on the Belgian coaching staff is not something I'd ever expect to see.


There's another nugget. Yeah, there we are. The Millgate, you discover.


I mean, the number of right footed well, all the England players I think last night were right. Forcers. Mm hmm. And an alarming number. The only seem to use their left foot free-standing on. You know, there was lots of. You know, passing the ball, cumbersome turns to to pass the ball sideways or backwards, and again, just if I was an English fan, that's not what I would want to be seeing as an island fan.


Come on, how many cumbersome authoress turns? I mean, there are buckets on there. Yeah, there are.


But you're comparing apples and oranges because Ireland have very, very limited resources compared to England.


It's a fair point. This this victory followed up England's three to win over Wales. How did you view that one, Ellis? I hate playing England, I'm rational and reasoned, reasonable enough to know that it was just a friendly and then it doesn't matter. And also a weakened England team will always beat a weakened Wales team if that's what's happening. And that is what happened on Thursday night. And we don't play England very often. We've only played England, I think it was five times since 1984, up to Thursday night.


And if we are going to play you and and win, our best players need to be available. So there was no Garthe balers, no Alan Ramsey. There's no joal and there was no David Brooks. There was no Daniel James. And you're asking a lot then of fringe players to step into those roles and have the same sort of impact. I didn't actually think Will's played particularly badly. It was it was individuals switching off goals from set pieces there, things that can be worked on.


Ryan Giggs clearly made his intentions obvious by saving players back for the nation's league games against Ireland and then Bulgaria on Wednesday night.


So it's just disappointing because, you know, since the British championships ended in 1984, we don't get to play our biggest rivals very often. And I'm not someone who likes Derby games. I don't like Swansea. But in Cardiff, I'm like, come on.


And sampling policy, it's never really been comfortable in the Derby situation.


So to play a weekend team against England disappoints me on a on a kind of primal, personal fun level. But you have to see it for what it is. And I think if Ryan Giggs has taken anything from that game, I'd have looked at Robbie Madondo getting minutes. He'd have looked at Tyler Roberts getting minutes. And I'm sure that he would have thought he was a decent, thought provoking exercise. But it's just I mean, the fact there were no funds in the ground made it far easier to cope with the fact there are no fans on the ground.


And we could hear the national anthem, which is its absolute joy to hear, you know, quite how out of tune I mean, I'm not amazing singer, but as they go along and you can hear each individual one, it's a bit like the choir when they say, can you just sing that on your own?


You're like, oh, no.


Yeah, I would I would say that I'm a bad singer, but I can sing the anthem. You think that that's that's that's surely that that's that's singing at its most basic. But yeah. So I don't know. I mean it was, it was we were looking forward to the island game really the England game I think when it was put in the face of both countries, expected there to be funds in the ground.


One of the first games with the B funds in the ground and obviously money spinner. Obviously that didn't happen. And so the whole thing felt rather pointless. Our record against England since 1877 is absolutely dreadful.


That hasn't changed. Was it good before 1877? So that's what we did.


We didn't win at Wembley and said nineteen 777 late James Penalty and it means I'm going to be watching my way.


As for England, one videos from me nineteen eighty four until we play the next day. But you know that's life, that's the life Marcus Carl in scored which was great and that he scored.


That was great in Conoco. He scored having and last Sigurdsson gave us this stat he had no, he's had no shots since wolves have been in the Premier League. Not a shot.


Wow. They scored he had one shot, I think, in the championship and scored a penalty, and that was it. And like the joy in his face, Cody, when he scored was just marvelous.


Yeah, it was great. And he definitely seemed like one of the players that the young players really respect and love. You can see, you know, how everyone's really happy for him when he scored. But and I'm a big fan of Kennecott, especially in Sweeper. I think he's excellent on the ball, obviously being a pre previously being a midfielder. And he's someone, you know, we can start for tax and maybe help us progressive put out the pitch a little bit better.


So I'm really happy for a lot of people say, you know, Konerko is good because he talks a lot. And I was like, surely everyone at that level is talking a lot like, do you have you play with people who are totally silent?


Yeah, I'm afraid of a lot of people have told you you'd be surprised how many player players don't talk on a football pitch. There's always in every squad the you know, there's only like from my memory, just just getting four or five people are very vocal. And then you get a lot of people are very quiet and introvert. You know, it's just like a normal life. You know, you get different types of people and it's the same things on the football pitch.


Are you what were you. I was I was a talker. I wouldn't say I was I was a or really loud. I was a talker. Yeah. Some people just like prefer to concentrate on their own game and they feel like if they're talking then that it takes away from their own game. And are the other shouts in professional football? Is it the same as like me just yelling? Don't let it bounce. I know it. Use it and then do you have opposition players who go all day when you bring one over the bar?


They don't they don't want it same.


It's exactly the same is. No, the shoe.


That's one when I whenever I used to get the ball, go back to me. It's not just what I thought.


It's a bit like those, you know, Harry Kane team talks in the Tottenham documentary. I was expecting there to be something more at that level. Thought to be more Churchillian.


Did you?


I mean, I remember playing a game for Burketown once I was left back and the winger I was marking, any time he went on a run up the flank, he kind of made a noise like a Grand Prix car's engine, as you know.


Yeah. And he put me off. Have you ever encountered that is great banter from the guy.


Listen, I wish I would cut it out of that. Yeah, that's good. That's good.


Anyway, you were saving your players for the Republic of Ireland's game else. Dan says, I watched four international games over the weekend. Everyone finished nil nil. What's the point of anything Lars said watching Ireland? Wales caused me to fall asleep on the sofa and sleep through Earling Harland's first international hatrick. Explain yourself, Alice and Barry. Charlie, since when did Alice last watch a Wales game so boring? Barry Ellis, you have as much time as you like to discuss that football match.


I like Ireland. I like the Irish. I like Dublin. I like Barry. I hate playing Ireland cause it's like a spell at the Irish team have just got this knack of bringing out the worst in Wales and also in themselves. And the games are always horrific. We didn't play Ireland at all until 1960. Since 2013, we seem to have played them every fortnight or so. The games are always nil nil or possibly one nil. Apart from that operation in Canada a few years ago when we beat Ireland for one, I would see that last night or yesterday afternoon, rather.


Is it is it is this one of the worst matches of football I've ever seen in my life with Armenia from 2001? Set a low bar.


And I think that, yes, they managed to beat it. And as I said, I always go whenever we play in Dublin. I was a fan in Dublin, a great city. But my God, that the football is stultifying and it's it's always the same. It is always the same. What do you make of it, buddy?


Well, I, I found it quite encouraging yesterday because the last few occasions we have played Ireland and I remember one of the first games in charge was against Ireland, and it was that for one. And I remember on your first football podcast, you, Danny Gambetta and you and got ridiculously carried away on the back of that performance when in fact, world's best football team, it was more Ireland's incredible badness that that made you look good than anything you'd done yourselves.


But more generally, when we've played you in recent years and like you say, it seems to happen every fortnight.


We either play or we played Denmark and we've been, you know, sitting back and using pressure and lumping the ball long to Shane Long or Darren Horgan or whoever happens to be up front on their own toiling. And yesterday we we tried something different because under Stephen Kenny, we are trying something different.


And I thought it works quite well. I was encouraged by it. Our finishing again leaves so much to be desired. I think we were the better side yesterday, despite the fact that, you know, I say the signs were positive and it was a positive result for Ireland. And I would have had a lot of positive results in recent days, which meant we were missing in total yesterday. Twelve players, through a combination of covid close contact and actual proper injuries.


And I would say of those twelve players, six, seven would probably have been in the first team. So it was, to all intents and purposes, a reserve side Ireland put out and I was faintly encouraged by the manner in which they played.


I was discouraged by the fact that we just. Couldn't break down an island team that had been ravaged by covid-19 and the tempo of the game was so slow and you just you just want to take a player on and and you just every now and then, there'd be a spark or a suggestion of something from him around Ramsay and it just never clicked into gear.


And it was it was a very, very frustrating watch.


Ireland had gone out on Thursday night, penalties to Slovakia. How painful was that?


Very disappointing. I'm not going to lose sleep over it. It happened. I think Stephen Kenny has had zero luck. I think it is four games. He's been in charge now. He's just had no luck whatsoever. I kind of felt for him because it's not his fault we didn't win the penalty shootout. He was unlucky in that to players who could have taken penalties, weren't involved in the game because they sat in the wrong seats on a bloody aeroplane and came into close contact with a backroom staff member who, you know, they shouldn't have come into contact with.


So it's unfortunate. It smacks a little of carelessness, but I actually don't think Euro 2020 will happen personally. If it does and we are not in it, then so be it. I won't mind. I'll be able to watch it and not have huge amounts of stress.


Slovakia's win means they play Northern Ireland to not Bosnia-Herzegovina out on penalties. Northern Ireland's first ever penalty shootout, Bernoulli's Bailly Peacocke Farrell made several important saves with kind of he's got ripped sleeves or cut sleeves.


They're not like sort of they're not like neat Cassius like short sleeves. As you know, I don't trust any goalkeeper. It in short sleeves is they they knocked Bosnia Herzegovina out.


But in the nation's league group that ended up with Northern Ireland knocking Bosnia Herzegovina out of penalties.


Bosnia won that group unbeaten with 10 points and Northern Ireland came bottom with no points in that group. Yet somehow they get through. They then went on to lose one nil to Austria.


And Slovakia leads on to Scotland, beating Slovakia and getting a shot on target. Richard Jollied tweeted At half time, there's been one shot on target in the last 187 minutes of Scotland Games. Scotland didn't have it, but they did score a goal. Fraser Elgin, you could write the cumulative shot count in our games in binary, he says. Stuart said, To be fair, I went to six Scotland away games before seeing a goal. You mentioned Andy Considine, Barry, and that was a really lovely story, wasn't it?


And I tweeted that I was surprised Scotland had a shot on target and scored a goal. And I realised then it's Scotland. Fans are allowed to joke about how Scotland don't have any shots and scoring goals. England fans are not allowed to make the same joke. Mark, he saw a bit of this. What did you what did you make of it?


I think in London, they've got a striker who who looks like he's very hungry for goals, works really hard, presses the ball, makes the right decisions in possession, and he makes good movement when the ball's coming into the box. So if you can supply them with crosses the likes of Ryan Fraser, who look like he had a good game, you've missed a lot of football, but look sharp. And Robinson again, we know an expert delivering assistance and you know the right future for for Scotland.


If they can get those those two players linking up with Dykes who started a championship season off very well so far. It was quite good and it looked really impressive from set pieces, good delivery players, you know, with good, great desire to try and get on the end of things. And I thought was actually quite good performance in Scotland overall.


And that followed up their victory over Israel on penalties to reach the playoff final, where they'll play Serbia to get into euro, their first penalty shootout ever, as well as the Northern Irish. Not huge amount of fun away from those games. Patrick Furling brought Holland for Norway as they beat any faunal group. A one was my favorite. Bosnia-Herzegovina nil. Netherlands nil.


Poland nil. Italy nil. So good, right? That'll do about one. After the break, pay per view.


And the big picture. This October, watch the big games every weekend with Sky Sports and Sports, extra half price this week, its main city are still live only on Sky Sports, the apprentice of some real. Takes on the master gladiolas, not just as city history maker gets Sky Sports, but 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 in further terms apply.


Welcome to Part two of The Guardian weekly, David says, How much are you going to charge for the pot in future? Two bits of admen here will do pay per view before we do the big picture. The Premier League announced it on Friday, plans to screen closed door matches on pay per view in an arrangement that will be reviewed at the end of October. Half the remaining games over the next three weeks will be shown on BBC and Sky Sports pay per view platforms at fourteen ninety five, a match on top of a standard subscription charge.


For many fans, the cost of season tickets that have already been paid for top flight clubs voted 19 to one in favour of the scheme. Leicester City the only ones to vote against it. Gary Neville said it was a really bad move. The Football Supporters Association said we'd urged BT and Sky to reconsider their pricing for these games. Many Premier League clubs have already taken money from fans, particularly season ticket holders, for matches they can't attend. We urge them to get refunds out to those supporters as soon as possible.


What do you make of it?


Well, it's too expensive for a kickoff, but because those games were free, it's very difficult to make people pay for something that has been free. And so I think they're going to struggle.


I just think that fourteen ninety five on top of symptoms, you'd be paying 90 quid if you've got Sky Sports and BT Sports as well. It just makes watching football so expensive and prohibitively so. And I just don't agree with it.


Marcus. Yeah, I agree. I for five pounds or six nine nine would have been a fair price. 999 maximum for 95 is extortionate. I'm really interested to see if fans will buy buy games that they're not have no vested interest in. And a forty nine five I'm guessing they would have crunched the numbers and somehow believe they will be. I can't see it.


I think at five pounds and I would pay to watch bearly v the V wolves at forty ninety five. You've got no chance. So for me it just seems like there that people are only going to buy if any games. You know, the big games are top six teams and and even then I don't think a forty nine, five fans won't do that. So I think the is picture. Yeah.


And actually there is a danger that because the big six are sort of on telly a lot, their fans won't have to pay. And so you're you're Bernie. Fans of Sheffield United fans and the fans will have to stump up fourteen ninety five a load more. I mean, I guess in principle I don't have a problem with, you know, I pay for Sky, but you know, I know what those packages are. Five games a weekend. That's sort of enough.


I'm happy with the highlights for the rest of them. But also season ticket holders may have to find a way if people have bought season ticket season tickets and it is different between different Premier League clubs. The way I follow works for AFL, if I'm right, is that, you know, you get refunded if you've got a season ticket. So that seems to be the model that they need to try and work.


I think the way the Swans were doing it, I don't have a season ticket to the Swans is that you then got a cold and you were just you had access to the matches. I had to spend a tenner to watch it. And it makes perfect sense that you're allowing season ticket holders to watch games that they otherwise would have been able to watch in more normal circumstances.


And I read in one of the papers that people are saying, oh, that's that's too expensive or that's that's too complicated to rollout across all the football.


I just thought, why, how, how how is it to how is it too complicated?


Because it you know, I think he made this point already. But the idea that if you support Aston Villa, you've got to stump up more money than to what then if you support top 16 is grossly unfair. So something needs to change.


The next bit of admin is the big picture. Matt says, how will Max and Barry, very much the big two of the Guardian go about getting the other parties to sign up to any reforms they came up with based on their own rampant self-interest? Would they threatened to leave and form a rival pods? Oh, hang on, he says. Yeah, this is Sam Wallace's exclusive in the Telegraph. The details of the working document revitalisation appears to be the work of John Henry, Liverpool's lead investor, and Joe Glazer Konerko, owner of Manchester United, with the help of Bruce Buck, the Chelsea chairman.


No one's totally sure who's written every bit of it. Premier League goes from twenty to eighteen clubs, league cup, community sealed, completely ditched, remove equal voting rights in the top flight. At the moment, it's one vote per team. It's slightly complicated, but it would basically mean that the top six could vote anything if they all voted for it. 250 million quid present to the EFL, 100 million present to the FAI, 25 percent of future revenue to the football league, the Premier League said in the premier leagues view, a number of individual proposals in the plan published today could have a damaging impact on the whole game.


And we are disappointed to see that Rick Perry, chair of the AFL, has given his own record support. According to Athletic, the bottom 14 clubs in the Premier League were kept out of the loop on this and see it as a kind of hostile takeover, the government said. We're surprised and disappointed that a time of crisis, we've urged the top tiers of professional football to come together and finalise a deal to help lower league clubs. There appear to be backroom deals being cooked up that would create a closed shop at the very top of the game.


Barry, you've read it. What do you make of it? I'm not sure what I make of it.


Yes. I mean, there is a lot to like in this proposal and there is a lot to be very concerned about. And I suppose you could look at it as kind of a turning English football off and turning it on again. And we have to bear in mind that we're looking at it from the perspective of being football fans, where the guys who've drawn up this plan are looking at it through the perspective of being businessmen. Not they're not particularly football fans.


They're ostensibly in this for the money. So, of course, there's going to be self-interest. So, you know, if you look at what's to like about this proposal and Premier League share, 25 percent of future TV deals with the clubs lower down the pyramid, they provide 250 million upfront to help out in the current crisis and money that's much needed. There'd be no more parachute payments which which would make the championship and leagues below a more even playing field.


And almost 10 percent of of TV money would go to grassroots football and National League and helping good causes. But then you a lot of negatives as well, because the Big Six plus Everton, Southampton and West Ham, who who seem to be being used as useful idiots in this scenario, and they would have all the power. What would they do with this power? They would almost certainly will. This in a way that would serve their own self-interest and other negatives to teams from league to would would lose their league status.


It smacks of the rich clubs taking advantage of the vulnerability of of poorer clubs in a time of crisis. I think ultimately it's the the big six having all the power that doesn't sit well with me the most. Because if you look at in real life, if rich people's votes in a general election counted for more than poor people's votes, that would be an outrageous state of affairs. The whole thing about democracy is everyone's vote is the same or it's worth the same.


But then I look at it and I think if that was the situation in real life where rich people's votes counted for more than poorer people, I don't think the government we have in place today would be any different.


I have noticed I've been reading other people's reactions to this and sort of did the doyens of of English broadsheet journalism, guys like Matt Dickinson, Olly Holt, Matt Lawton, Henry Winter, there they have been.


Really strident in their opposition to this, and I can't see yet what it is they're so exercised about.


I mean, this this isn't set in stone.


It's just a proposal and it can be tinkered with. And I can understand why they're uncomfortable with it, but it hasn't made me as angry as it has made them.


Something needs to change and football needs a reset. What I find so worrying is the enshrining of top six elite status in my lifetime. Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa and probably Everton as well have been Europe's best teams. I watched a Premier League year the other day and Georgie Thomson kept making reference to highflying Bolton.


You know, the top six is, you know, over the last 30 or 40 years has been very fluid. And that is part of what makes British football so great. English football.


You know, when the Swans got promoted to the first division in 1981, I've got the sufferer's Evening Post framed on my wall. And there's a great sentence where it says, next season, Swansea, you can expect the giants of English football, Liverpool, Man United and Ipswich on the on the fiction. I know that's that's not to denigrate Ipswich. They won the way for Cup. They they came second in the league, two years running. They were a really, really good team.


And to Bobby Robson. But that's that they're currently in league one.


That's now. As it is supporting a team that actually managed to make it into the Premier League less than 10 years after we were 45 minutes away from getting relegated from the football league and then going on to win the league cut, the league cup is under threat as well. Know if you ask Klopp or Grant your little pockets, you know, they would all say, well, the league club is the league cup is ridiculous, let's get rid of it.


But when Swansea won, it was one of the best days I've ever had in my life in football. And I'm sure that Birmingham City fans would say the same and I'm sure that Middlesbrough fans would say the same. And it allowed us to play in Europe, just like it allowed millions of us to play in Europe and go on that amazing run the community shields.


I mean, I don't think very many people would miss that, although called tois penalty a couple of years ago.


I mean, I find myself watching that on YouTube every now and then, but it's the enshrining of elite status in the six clubs that are the best six clubs at the moment is what I find uncomfortable. And also I think there's an element of removing ambition from the middle tier, the Premier League, and also telling newly promoted sites, the Premier League, that they should know their place.


I also wonder sort of how in you know, it's not enforceable. I mean, obviously, these people are big hitters at the top of big football clubs.


But intrinsically, how massively different is this to like the four of us coming up with an idea and just publishing it, going, here's what we should do with football?


I think they've probably would get more social media traction than we would.


But in reality, it's not their decision to make it at the moment. I mean, they could yeah, the top six could walk away, I guess, from markets.


I think the predicament of the AFL is kind of might force people's hands.


I think the government, the incompetence of the government, of not stepping in and somehow offering some sort of bailout, we should be really sitting at the negotiating table with the government, not them, not the Premier League clubs. And I think that's forced everybody into a bit of a difficult situation. I mean, I don't think that this was that bad personally looking. I think for for most of the AFL clubs is a good deal. And I can understand why they'd look to do it.


It's not great for anybody in the Premier League at the moment who's not in that top six and Southampton and western Melbourne, Everton. If you outside of that little cohort, then you're you're not going to be like in this. And also for the big championship teams who who generally yo, yo, up and down, it's not great for them either because they miss out on a parachute payments. But for everybody else, it's been a very difficult situation and I don't think it's a bad deal.


Obviously, there's a few things I'd like to tweak. I'm not a big fan of the 15 loans. I'd actually go the other way if as the AFL clubs and demand if we're going to do this, we want a cap on the amount of players the show can go in the bin because I'm not a big fan of that by the league. I think that's got to stay. And I also think there should be three teams should get should get relegated to no playoff between the the third team for the bottom team in the Premier League and the third team in a championship.


I think we should get rid of that. But apart from that, I don't think it's a bad deal.


Look, I'm minded to agree. The market's the other thing is, would they agree to that? And not having they're getting there, you know, voting rights, not changing the voting rights. If they said, yeah, actually will do this for everyone and it's a great idea, then brilliant. But if they have the power that's up six, then they could just as easily take away the money or they could do that. Thing about vetoing other rich owners coming in is interesting, isn't it?


Because then they say, oh, he's got loads of money, she's got loads of money, so. We don't want them we don't want them owning Bristol Rovers because eventually they might come into the top six anyway, we'll we'll obviously keep following that one and that'll do for part two.


I don't know. MacRay will join us at the start of part three to tell us about his live online chat with us in Bangor. Welcome to Bathory, The Guardian Football Weekly, and our Wednesday evening, Don McRae hosts an online conversation with Arsene Wenger for Guardian Life. As Wenger publishes his autobiography, My Life in Red and White tickets are six quid. Don joins us now to tell us all about it.


How are you, Don? I'm good. How are you, Max? Yeah, really good. Very nice to meet you for the first time.


And hopefully you could tell me how to interview people after this bit.


Tell us about tell us about the evening, then. Well, it's something I'm looking forward to, particularly. You know, I've been doing The Guardian interview slot for 17 years now, and Arsene Wenger has been top of that pile for all 17 years. It helps that I'm an Arsenal fan, but I think Vienna is just a fascinating individual. Amazing to think that when he joined our in 1996, he was only the fourth overseas manager to insert English football, and I think most of us would agree that he just had a seismic influence on the game.


And I think it's going to be a fascinating opportunity to talk to him and just reflect with him on what his achievements, his failures. And he's quite an expensive guy.


So I'm hoping it's going to be a fascinating evening in my limited experience of of of Vanger being in his company. He's one of those people who he doesn't waste a word.


Does he, like every word, matters as in stark contrast, I say to most of this podcast and me as well.


Definitely, yeah. He's obviously highly intelligent, obviously can speak many languages. And for me, I've always been kind of bemused at all by by venga, because for all his intelligence, his culture, he's got this burning mania inside him. He's just obviously obsessed with football and he absolutely hates to lose. So I think there's sort of this dichotomy in Vanger. And I'm hoping on Wednesday evening he'll explore this a little in more depth with us. But yes, definitely, he's such an articulate, intelligent man.


And I think he'll have a lot to say about football in the past and especially about football now.


Were you were you part of the Vanger Out Brigade, Don, towards the end of the last 18 months to two years? I felt it was time for him to go, but I wasn't sort of paying any money towards any of those planes that were flying overhead saying, thank God. I felt it was quite poignant that a man who had done so much for Arsenal, there was such violence towards him at the end. Of course, people have softened towards him now.


But I think just to talk to us about those last couple of years will be quite illuminating. And I'd like to know whether he felt he should have left perhaps four or five years before. Do you know his feelings about Arsenal fan TV?


I also found TV. I'm sure they'll be flying in with some questions. But yeah, I'm sure if they met Osburn face to face, there would be much more respectful towards him.


Also, Don, he's got this new role at FIFA, head of global football development. And that is fascinating, you know, given kind of what a sort of pure, wonderful man he appears and how we we generally feel about FIFA, FIFA, on how these two get together.


And although I think the focus of the evening will be more on him as a football manager, certainly I think it's important that we hear how he's fitting into FIFA. What is because I don't know. You know, do you, Max, what he's actually doing at FIFA?


I'm going to have a natural I mean, head of global football development is a is a unlike unlike FIFA to have a vague title for something I read I read the other day that he was thinking about changing the throw in to a kick in.


And I was like, oh no, it was taken before medicine. Yeah. And I know well we'll certainly ask him about that. And but just in a memoir, he talks about still being obsessed with football. He'll still watch three to four games a day. He said he's become a bit more balanced. Occasionally he will go out for a meal with his daughter, as you said, for the first 22 years of her life, that was just an impossibility because he was just consumed by football.


And I wonder often wondered, how is he filling the void? And FIFA maybe is helping a little, helping him a little bit, but I think his ethics are without question. So hopefully he can cleanse FIFA a little bit.


All right. So it is Gardian in life. It's on Wednesday evening, six pounds. We'll tweet out the link to this and we'll put it on the pod page.


And and, yeah, just imagine if you just Google Gardian live and being a Democrat, you'll find it.


Thanks for coming on, Don. Appreciate it. Thanks so much. Max speaks to Don McRae there.


Yeah, well, to that all the details to that. Unless we've got a I got a message from Chris Martin, the comedian who said you mentioned Max being asked to attend a bar mitzvah earlier and refusing to go because despite the money you were offered, it was it just felt awkward. Please ask Ellis about the time he did his first paid gig ever at a wedding in Wales. He was supposed to do 30 minutes. It's one of the funniest bad gigs story you'll ever hear.


Are you prepared to tell us?


It's quite a long story, but I was paid 80 pounds and I'd only done about 20 gigs and I brought my mike because I didn't. Well, because that's not something that usually happens. So I went up to the DG and I said, Could I use your mike, please, and do some comedy? And he went, You've got performers liability insurance. And I said, no. And he went, right. Or if an old lady walks across my mike lead, falls down, breaks a hip.


And sues me for a million pound, do I look like I've got a million pound to give away and yet a baseball cap with Claffey and said they said no and he went right.


So in that scenario, what's going on? Who is paying the million pound in this scenario?


And I said I said there must be 50 feet between me and the front row. The game is unplayable.


I said, if an old lady is walking towards me, I'm going to get probably two or three minutes notice to pull the mike, to pull the mike lead away from. It's going to be fine. And he wouldn't in the end. I lied because I could see my 80 pounds as I lied. And I told him that my dad was a multimillionaire and that he would pay the money and he believed me amazingly.


Anyway, did the show died in my ass, lasted probably two and a half minutes before I realized that it was it was going so badly. It was it was unsalvageable. I escaped. I walked into the first door I could see, which I realized was the kitchen of the hotel. So I just so stood in the kitchen for a couple of minutes with my hand to my hands. And the father of the bride came in and he said, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.


What the bloody hell was that? I said, I'm I'm sorry. And he said, If you ever done Penland Social Club, I said, no, I haven't done one. So I said, no. Haven't we ever done Landos Club? I said, no, I haven't. I said, I'm on a different circuit. And he went, Oh, the not being very funny.


And I said, Yeah, I'm on that circuit and I know that I've got an envelope there.


Eighty point comedia. Do you think that that was comedy?


I said, no, it wasn't comedy. I was in comedies and he took out twenty pounds and he give me twenty pounds of petrol and he put his arm around me, said, I'm an honest man, you any for petrol. But as I said, I'm an honest broker and that was rubbish.


We've got a lot of thinking to do. And I said yes, oh I apologize. And as I walked back to the car, her the bride's elderly relatives kept coming up to me and asked me to explain some of the jokes I've been trying to tell because they were like, where's where's the funny?


And I said, don't worry about this. As I said, I'm on a different circuit. It's not important. So, yeah, I that was in 2005 and I will not be doing any weddings anytime soon.


Oh, that's lovely. Russ says, would Marcus consider signing with Everton to play right back so they could field an assonance back?


Four of Denia key Menagh and been Lewis says it crossed my mind today with more working from home in 2020, is it possible to get an update on how often Barry Clendenning washes his hair?


Well, I've sort of shaved all my hair off, so I'm rockin a buzzacott these days, which I haven't attempted to to put shampoo in it because I'm not sure there's enough hair there for the the shampoo to gain traction, if you know what I mean. So not washing it at all.


Any water on it. Wetting it. Oh yeah. Water but not it's getting wet every day in the shower but just no soap product.


OK, you, any part of you. Yes. OK, all of me, apart from the hair on my head, it's very good to know I even scrub the soles of my feet with the long sort of brush.


And what excuse me, what? I like a brush on a pole. Well, I think it's I think it's sort of scrubbing your back, OK, so I used that to do the soles of my feet every morning. Every morning.


Yes, I read read that somebody must have the cleanest in the sort of ratio of clean feet to clean hair. You must have the the widest ratio on earth.


Well, if you think about it, like my feet spend all day wrapped in cotton and stuck in a sweaty trainer, they're probably the dirtiest part of my body.


Well, so. What's that supposed to mean? I was just making a noise, Barrie, OK. Do you want to do on Pod to end now?


I yes, I quite like the part when maybe maybe if we did merchandise, we could have the the Barry Glendinning foot sole broom on a pole.


I think that could sell well, maybe maybe tomorrow we're doing a special on the dangers of gambling that seems quite a stretch from back scratching the soles of his feet. But that's what we're doing. That'll be me, Barry Phillipe and a selection of guests.


Well, so join us for that. And it's thanks so much for your time.


My pleasure. Tis Marcus, juvies, sleazebags. Thank you.


For more great podcasts from The Guardian, just go to the Guardian dot com slash podcasts.


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