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The Guardian. Hello and welcome to The Guardian Football Weekly today is a free for all just your questions, the timely what next for Sergio Aguirre, the nerdy, what will be the next tactical craze to dominate football? The he doesn't need any more self promotion question about whatever book Wilson is writing next. The scandal can last. Tell us more about brackets insert player club we've never heard of and romance. Was there ever a second date on the park bench?


If this works, we'll never have to prepare for one of these again. If it doesn't, you can say you were part of the process that took this to heights none of us thought imaginable just a day ago. History in the making on today's Guardian Football Weekly.


Everybody, it's Max here. Just going for a walk in the sun. What a beautiful day it is. Anyway, coming up, today's pot, a sort of free for all Q&A with some good football questions and some nonsense. Barry did record the pot in quality, but then deleted the file instead of instead of sending it. So you will hear Barry. But it's zoom quality. I hope that doesn't in any way diminish your enjoyment of today's pot.


Thank you.


Well, right now, that and only that is the classic line up, the ideal combination of wit and wisdom and no insults, no no wit, wisdom and one on the end. None of that just wit and wisdom. Jonathan Wilson, welcome. Morning. How are you doing? I'm very good. Hello. Los Ibbitson.


No insults, if you like. We can challenge that throughout the course of this pot.


Barry Glendinning. Hello. Hello, Max. So let's begin then. Actually, I lied. Nobody asked the question about Sergio Guerra, so I should probably mention it. Shouldn't we set to leave Manchester City at the end of the season? He wrote. When a cycle comes to an end, many sensations arise. A huge sense of satisfaction and pride remains in me for having played with Manchester City for a whole ten seasons. Unusual for a professional player this day and age.


Ten seasons with major achievements throughout which I was able to become the top historic goal scorer and forging an indestructible bond with all those who love the club, people who will always be in my heart. Jonathan, you're in the middle of writing a column about Sergio Guerrero. What does it say?


Well, I've written one and I'm writing a second one. Okay. Yeah, he was quite good. I think when you when you look back at it, I mean, his goals record is phenomenal. Even going back to the Atletico days, this I mean, he's got two months left, so he could get seven more goals this season, which is why you would need to get double figures. But this looks like being the first season since 2007 when he hasn't been in double figures, which is an extraordinary record of consistency.


He's the fourth top goal scorer of all time with leading foreign goal scorer of all time. He's fourth in Manchester City's assist chart. It's not just he's he's the record all time scorer for see if he gets nine more goals. He will have scored fifty percent more than the first and second journalist whose book he would have scored more had it not been for Second World War. Aguado has got to deal with that in fairness. But I think actually all of that is is sort of it's adornments of a central fact, which is he, more than any other player, has transformed Manchester City.


He'll almost certainly become the first player ever to win five league titles with C, and he also scored the goal against QPR in 2012, which which turned city from budget team. You always messed up at the last to the team who who are relentless winners. And so to have the calmness not just to to score that finish pass, but he can eat it when the whole season everything comes down to that to not to panic, but just to drill it into the bottom corner, but actually to have devised with Mario Balotelli how they're going to keep you out and sort of tentative as leading up to that, which shows his game intelligence and his clarity of thought in the most pressured situations.


So he's maybe been is most important player of all time. More important than Paul take off, Barry. I would argue that that goal against Cooper was probably the second most important in the city's history because Sergio Vieira wouldn't have been playing for almost certainly political Vänskä that the equaliser against cheering him in the league long playoff run. I do think it's very, very unfair that Wilson has written. The cost of two articles on this and is able to machine gun off all those stats and it's a tantamount to cheating.


Doing research. Well, you were doing research for this. I was led to believe we were going into this podcast just to answer questions about fish, finger sandwiches and sleeping patterns.


And this is your advantage by it means that in the crucial final seconds of the podcast, that's when you will come alive.


You can be you can be the aggressor. This podcast, whether I'm Pablo Zabaleta scoring the early goal, nobody remembers.


But we did actually offer to let Jonathan finish his second only at one hundred and forty one words left. But he he didn't feel up to the job of finishing under pressure. All four of us sat here staring at him.


And that's the kind of pressure Sergio Guerra or Clara would be able to see has proven. But yeah, he's a terrific player. But obviously, I mean, his searing insight there from from Glendinning. I think he doesn't quite get the credit he deserves because he very much does his talking on the pitch, we never very rarely see him do interviews or don't know much about him as a bloke. And he's not a particularly gregarious guy in front of a camera.


And there's no reason why he should be but a.


Yeah, he's a fantastic player. I don't know the circumstances as he decided to leave Manchester City decided they don't want him anymore. I don't know. I think they could get another season out of him, probably if if they wanted him to stay.


I think unless Laza Wilson want to correct me, basically the understanding is he sat down with Pappe, basically Pappy's said, you know, and he's looked at what's happened this season. Acquaro, which is he hasn't played that much and city have been brilliant and he's realised that he needs to go somewhere else if he wants to play regularly. And I suspect Gordon has been honest with him last year. Do we know more than that?


No, not at this moment, no. But then again, I haven't written two articles about it either this morning. So it's I think to continue with this Glendinning as as Guro analogy, I mean, it can be at times hard to sort of nail down exactly what makes him so special.


But we know what we know for sure that no one else can do it in quite the same way. And anyone who's tried has come up very, very short indeed.


No, I have thought and maybe this also works with the analogy, I have a thought about why he remains sort of strangely underappreciated in a way because he isn't often spoken about in the same way as as Terreri, for instance, that now I'm definitely just talking about a grey area, not because I think a lot of his goals, I mean a lot of what he does, that's amazing.


Aguero, is that he's such a predator in the box. He's someone who can get a good solid finishes from just no space at all, often with the ball that slight of an awkward angle or at a slightly awkward bounce or something. And he has scored some cracking goals. But a lot of his goals don't look spectacular, even though they're very, very hard to execute. He doesn't have the sort of the signature origo where he was sort of cutting from the flank sort of Carlat into the corner and an incredibly photographic, sorry, photogenic way.


You don't see a ton of those with with Aguero. And he also had this tendency of picking up like one or two injuries, which took him out of contention for a long enough to not win player of the ER in any of these years when he was very good. But if you look at his sort of body of work as a whole, I completely agree with Wilson. He's he has to be right up there and one of the best players we've seen in the Premier League ever, really.


And it isn't just that goal. But you're right, Wilson, that moment with with what is riding on city, needing to score that time not only to win the title, but to prevent Manchester United winning the title. To have the presence of mind, to take a touch and I mean, I presume that is just instinct, isn't it? But to not just try and hammer that first time is. If I'm remembering the goal correctly, is is just it's incredible, really.


I just think about how many sense boards would just hate it. Yeah, yeah.


The calmness under pressure, which I guess is what defines the great finishes. And in terms of him leaving now, again, obviously, I don't know exactly what's happened in those discussions, but it seems to me to make sense. He turns 33 on June 2nd. So he's he's clearly kept himself in great shape, although he's had a lot of injuries this season. But I mean, are you one of the striking things about is, is nine years, nine years a city yet nine, ten years, 10 years is that there hasn't been a peep of a scandal or any photographs of him out.


I mean, he seems just I think you remember the all or nothing documentary, but Aguirre's house appear to have no natural light whatsoever. It was like he lived in a bunker somewhere. And you get the impression he does just live at home, certainly before covid is his son, who, of course, is Jiegu, about his grandson, who lives in Argentina but was coming over for one week of every month to stay with him, and he appeared to be totally devoted to his son.


Can we just clarify that a guy isn't Diego Maradona, his son now he's the son in law, former son in law, right?




Nor is Barry Glendinning.


And he clearly plays a lot of video games that he now is. If he's I mean, I totally understand this stuff, but he is very active on a thing called Twitch, if anybody knows what that is. But that appears to be what he does is sort of football, video games, staying at home and being very dedicated. But I say, yeah, I think he has got more years left, perhaps not quite at the level of city, but I think it makes sense for him to leave and try and have another couple of years, maybe on back to Atlético.


Him and Luis Suarez together, I think will be very exciting, maybe go into the natural home of the 30 something Argentinean striker Syria or maybe eventually return to Independent, where he made his debut aged 15.


So which is a kind of a streaming platform, Wilson, where you can sort of show you can play computer games and show people your screen as you're doing it. So they look at what you're doing or they can show yourself just hanging around. I think you do very well on this platform, Wilson. I think it would have been the natural home for the whole peper eating spectacular that happened. I just think you do really good numbers if you play like parts of iron or something, you know, and you if you if you flag this up on Twitter bit, you know, Jonathan Wilson play strategy games on Twitch, I think quite a lot of people would watch that.


So the thing for you to consider, I think I know how you like to monetise a lot of the things. Yeah. Instead of wasting time playing crusader kings on your own, you can monetise it by having people. And there's also a mechanism in Twitch that allows people to donate money to you as you're going along based on how much they're enjoying yourself in my language.


Now, I'm just saying I honestly think I think Wilson, which could could be a thing. What a world we live in.


I'm playing Treasure Island dizzy and people can just shower me with money while I'm doing it. It's ridiculous.


I can I just ask when you consider Wilson going on cameo? A couple of my mates were saying to me, I should go on Karmiel. You record birthday greetings and well wishes for general members of the public and get paid 25 quid. One of my mates, Castlereagh Toyah Willcox, to record a message for WhatsApp Group. Yeah, I think it was thirty five pounds. She really worked hard for thirty five quid. To have to be fair, someone else got Stormy Daniels.


It was several times more expensive but really didn't put in any work at all. VeriFone didn't quite literally phoned it in.


I mean, I can't. Why would any people, me wishing them, maybe even even friends don't really want me wishing them happy birthday. It's just not really a thing that happens.


Jo Song Have you ever Grandson Cameo and he cost like seven hundred pounds to get him to say hello to seven hundred pounds arrived in Australia. Well I've got this page up now. The requests, it's seven hundred and fifty and he's got one review, someone's giving him five star and just said awesome.


I've no idea what everyone said to be worth this much. I see. Also Tony Dirigo is on for a much more reasonable forty one pounds. I think you do. Forty one pounds for Dirigo rather than seven hundred and fifty four grand.


No, I'm not sure I need either. But anyway, I'm Matt. Letitia for thirty. Maybe you can get you get sister to say something more sensible than his Twitter output, whether he likes it or not.


I can you can you say climate change is real time to get married. I think that's possible. Yeah. He may or may not do. Maybe he won't do it.


But who is who is is he going to sign. Nobody knows except city. But there will be months of incredibly tedious speculation, I'm trying to start it now, if you Apep Bambury, who would you sign? If I was prepared to resign two years ago, well, in the player that habitually linked to is an excellent right. Mm hmm. I mean, I don't know what substance is. I'm not sure he's he would seem to me a natural player.


He clearly would give them an extra an extra aspect, but it doesn't look an obvious fit to me.


I guess the link is there because, well, obviously because of his father and also if Dortmund missed out on the Champions League and he were to want to move this summer, the list of clubs that can splash out that kind of money on him is pretty short and says he would be on it. So I guess that's why that link keeps happening. I agree. I think it's very hard. Before we leave Agrarians very quickly say I think one of the great things about Acquaro is how he's thrived on the gladiola, which is kind of unexpected.


When Guardiola came in Alinghi, a lot of people look at that aquaria thought you're not really, what, once in a forward, are you?


That sort of sneaky fox in the box, man? And there was this assumption when when Gabriel Hassabis was a little bit more active and runs around a bit more and he looks like more of a forward. And Aguaviva, instead of being marginalised, just kind of knuckle down and played some of his absolute best football under underground Guardiola, which I think is quite extraordinary. He was a huge part of that that I 100 points tiedemann and ninety eight points the next year was pretty extraordinary.




This interview he gave an Argentinean TV in May 2018 and which is like I mean in which he talks very specifically about that, about how he got quite a lot in the first season, his first season and the second season. It worked out what he wanted and had been been able to do that.


Let's have some of your questions then. Michael says, What type of midfielder is Jude Bellingham? I've not seen him play much, but I've heard him described as a creative holding a number. And number 10, can he play all midfield roles are pundit's seeing him play once and pretending they've watched him for years?


Um, I've seen him play more than once. I think if you ask him, like, what? What do you want to do? What's your natural game? Probably a sort of midfielder who has licence to go forward and kind of a box to box really has good energy, can get forward. But what's been the big I don't know if surprised is the right word, but what's really stood out with him at Dortmund this season is how sort of wise beyond his years is and how, you know, how he's so mature for a guy still 17 is ridiculous.


He's so, so mature.


They've trusted him to play, for instance, in a two and a four. Two or three one would sort of its Lajon next to him. But but in the role where he can't wander off a lot and has to show a bit of maturity and he's done that.


If you look at his numbers, he's he's he's strange because he dribbles past people more than most and and creates things and gets forward very well.


But he also like tackles and that impresses opponents more than than most comparable players as well. So he offers you a lot defensively. You he's sensible enough. I think you can play him in a more conservative role. But I think he's his natural instinct is to be sort of a box.


The box guy, Christian says, would Barry be willing to watch England Games in full England kit for the coming ten years if it meant Ireland qualified for the next three major tournaments?


Could I could I watch them alone in private? In full England, I think you would have to be wherever you were going to be for that game, so if you happen to be in the pub, you'd be in the pub, and if you were home, you're home. And if you were in the office, you're in the office. No, I wouldn't. You wouldn't do that for your nation. No. Does it involve shorts and socks?


I mean, I wish it was OK to do that full hour to keep to watch any England Games, I just wouldn't wear full any human being over the age of 12. Who wears. A football shirt outside their house to do anything other than play football. Is deranged, what about watching football? Yeah, you know. Really? Well, maybe, maybe not now, because I'm 34, but certainly in my late teens, I would wear something shirt to go to something games in.


If you think about if you think about like the orange wall when Holanda playing. That's a that's a beautiful sight, isn't it.


Is this just reminds me of unionism.


All right. Then the Swedish went through, you know, like a yellow wall when Sweden applying.


But that reminds me of just slightly diluted unionism for our first live show back when we were allowed crowds.


And, you know, because Football Weekly is nothing without fans, when we when we do a live show, would you wear full Ireland kit, shin pads and boots, shorts and boots? No. But we probably could fill the Palladium if anyone if people are listening. The ideal response to this is I wouldn't come to a live show, but if Barry was to wear full kit for the live show, I would and I'd pay more for my ticket.


Well, I mean, I think we did an online live show and I wore that Pink Scotland shirt, but and I occasionally wear that around the house. But I would I wouldn't wear it outside. In public. Well, it seems like, Barry, I think you might be careful if I bought your full island kit. No, I wouldn't. Do you think you have any dignity left? No, but, you know, there are some things I won't do.


What about Goalkeeper's kitten gloves? That's a good one. You can wear tracksuit bottoms. Yeah, the military car.


You could go full dimity car for the first live show.


Taxi apartments tucked into socks. Yeah, no, no, I'm not having it.


Hey, that'll do for part one. More questions in part two.


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Welcomes Part two of The Guardian Football Weekly, Max Rushden, Barry Clendenning, Jonathan Wilson, last everything answering your questions. My two cents asks, is this Premier League season very likely going to peter out in petering out levels never previously seen? Or can you remember a particularly bad petering out season that might rival that claim? And there was a there was a sort of question along a similar lines from Powell Army Josimar saying, is the notion amongst nostalgics that football was better before due to general emotional fatigue that comes with age, eating the same cracker every day makes it dull, etc.


, or is neoliberalism of football that is to blame? What's changed for the worse exactly is the fact that we do we see football as not as fun as we did when we were 10 because we've watched it now for 30, 35 years. Jonathan.


Well, okay, let's just do the first question first. It could be Roper. And I think it's one that, you know, I don't think that's going to be interesting, but there's still three teams battling over one relegation place, I think is still quite a lot to play for in terms of qualification for Europe. So, you know that I think is it all interesting? I think the Champions League draw could could produce some pretty pretty exciting. So I'm not not so worried from that point of view.


Yeah, it often happens. You get a team that runs away with it.


Is football better or worse now? Some things are better. Some things are worse. It's quite nice. You can go to a game without having people throwing darts at you. I think that's an improvement that, you know, you don't get in a way game in in constantly. So looking over your shoulder, trying to hide everything on your car, that might make it clear that you come from Sunderland, that that's all good. The fact that you're sitting in a in a often quite uncomfortable plastic seat is better than standing on a year.


And so terrace, that's good. The technical level of football, the tactical level of football is way better now than it used to be. But the fact that the handful of clubs are way, way, way richer than anybody else and has distorted the competition is worse. So, you know, some things are better. Some things are worse. What are you driving in?


Sunderland makes them look so distinctive from cars in other parts of the country.


Well, so a sticker on the back window that says this car was sold by Terrys Motors. Sunderland, you take that off to start with making sure you don't.


I don't know, you might, you might have the red and white for three days for instance or.


Yeah. Like as a scarf left in the back seat or you know a street atlas of Sunderland or you know what's in my mind is Sunderland sponsor.


Yeah. Yeah my dad away from charity.


I don't know if worry is too strong a word for it. I sometimes feel I am sort of becoming a grumpy old man because that's what happens even though I'm just forty one. But you know, and I suppose this season feels like the most sort of football fatigue season. And I get very aware that people come to this podcast because they want to hear about football and are generally they probably like football. Right. So so they don't want to hear just people saying they don't like it.


But if it's about the sort of the ills of modern football, I think we tend to sort of see what we grew up with as the ideal state, right. So so when I was like a little running around in Brener as a child, you know, it would cost a fiver to go to the games. We played mostly in the second tier. So the football wasn't great, but it was OK. We'd occasionally be on the telly, not very often, but now and again.


And the players were mostly part timers. So, you know, you sometimes saw the right back actually to the right winger working down the sports shop and sell you things. And sometimes people would come to your school and help out in AP classes and study. And it was nice. And it it felt like the team was part of the community and and you didn't everyone could afford to go on. And it was good in my mind. That's like what it should be.


But I also have a good friend down the parkway. I walk my dog who grew up watching football completely differently. He grew up here in London, is from a background where his family's never have been able to afford going to games and can't really afford this sky. So he's grown up watching football by watching Match of the day and watching clips on YouTube and playing FIFA. And that's that seems abhorrent to me. But that's the experience that thousands of thousands of people have.


And there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. I think we should say you can't legislate for what's the right way of loving football.


I don't think you are kind of limited in how much football you can consume depending on your financial circumstances and whether it's going to games or watching them on TV. But. We are kind of obliged to watch all games in the Premier League, at least, and that can get tedious after a while because there's so many games on every night of the week. And sometimes you just would rather sit and watch an episode of Hero or Inspector Frost or whatever, just as a bit of a palate cleanser.


And then if you point that out, you're accused of not liking football or not being interested enough. And I don't think that's fair criticism. You know, there's only so much of any one thing you can take, Jonathan.


Is it a fair criticism to get to sort of push Inspector Morse and Frost together to create Inspector Frost? I just assumed or assumed I was referring to the character rather than the than the title of the programme. I gave him a pass on those those grounds. I was actually watching, I found a new a trench, obviously, that I hadn't watched, which was very exciting. And it it's quite funny, actually, because I can't watch Lewis anymore because his sidekick is Lawrence Fox, who is, you know, not a nice guy.


Maybe he's a cameo. We can get him to say something.


And but my my enjoyment of Virage be completely enhanced by the fact that her sidekick tore into Wilson on Twitter. No, nothing lazy journalism.


Are you over that now? Wilson He's entitled to his view. And I have my views on the the trajectory of ever since his accession to David Leons crown.


Do you think he's a better, tactically worse police officer or is it just specifically, you know, do you think he saw do you think the other large would have solved helped Vera solve the crimes quicker or end up with a sort of higher press?


I mean, he's reading out words on a piece of paper. That's his job, isn't it? So I think that's what acting is. And I don't think he can claim credit for that. But Vera was the new mini series. If I forwarded you this description of. Yeah, as a friend of mine lives in Gosforth, they they were filming on her street last week. So she's got a video taken on her phone from her front garden showing they were knocking on a front door with Adan's standing pretty uselessly just behind and doing nothing is normal.


I, I suspect. I know. But, you know, there will be a the most high profile actor that listens to the pod. I would love them to get in touch to discuss what Jonathan Wilson thinks acting is to be to be clear that that was a cheap joke, a candidate's expense.


He's a great actor. He's very good at it, and I enjoy them immensely.


Despite his wrong opinions about Jeremy says, is football the greatest sport in terms of requiring combined technical skill, athleticism and strategy? I reckon basketball is a strong contender. I'll go to last first. I reckon he watches the most different sports.


That's actually not true disgracefully. I watch so much football, there's no time for really anything else. So I'm going for a pass on this. I think football's really good and I don't have a lot more time.


I would argue that the Irish sport of hurling is top of the pops in all three of any sport in the world, not just moreso than football, but maybe American football, because that's there's a lot of strategy involved, but for for consistent effort over, well, a top level hurling matches. Thirty minutes outside our thirty thirty five minutes side, I would say hurting. And I would steer anyone, any of our listeners who haven't seen it towards YouTube just just click over the 94 finals where Gadhafi triumphed with a flurry of scorers in the last or so.


I did read the whole question. It says his football, the greatest sport in terms of requiring combined technical skill, athleticism, strategy and running around tweeting other people with a big old stick. I that was the full question.


Well, you don't trust anyone with a stick in hurling. And if if you do, it's a sign that you're not very good at the game and shouldn't be playing really.


The Talking Leaf says, can you please ask Wilson what he thinks about Steve Bruce's travails at Newcastle and how they compare to his time at Sunderland? What does Wilson make of his tactics or lack thereof? Why does Bruce so often find himself falling out with fans of the clubs he manages?


To be honest, I've never understood Safi's. I can't. I can't work at the accent.


Yeah, he's just just slightly too far north. I mean, every club he's been at, I've seen the same thing happened where the club gets some good results and they play very well in certain games. And you think, oh, this is going really well. And then suddenly they start playing badly and you can't quite work out what's changed, you can't say he's defensive manager and attacking manager because at times he's both or either know there's a split second.


And when someone kept on either winning or losing games five to every week, it felt and, you know, it's time it's done. And I actually felt he was a little bit unfortunate because SUNDLUN lost I was over Christmas that sonand lost Asamoah Jan because he he wanted to move to the Middle East. They lost down to Villa because Ben wants to leave and live off it. I think 24 million, which at the time was an offer you really couldn't turn down.


And so he said was only left without forwards and then went on a run of games where they played the previous seasons, top seven plus Stoke away from which at one point. But I mean, that's not an unusual one, a scorelines when you're playing those teams in a row. And that just sort of knocked the heart of everything and everything sort of spiralled into despair from then on. But I sort of felt I wasn't really Bruce's fault. It was external agents.


It acted on them and suddenly got hit really hard on a game that just a long time. So although there was the whole thing that kind of came about, oh, he was driven out because he was a Geordie, that was the thing that he introduced. I don't think any fans really thought that. And they certainly weren't thinking that when things were going quite well and they were beating Chelsea three nil away. So I don't understand it at all.


As a manager, I think of all managers I've watched quite a lot of he's who I understand least Denman says, well, Sunderland thriving because of having no expectant fans.


Fans at the Stadium of Light definitely get on players backs if things do not go well. That set of fans in the Northeast the best, they still turn up despite no success. I mean, I would I would branch that out. So there's been really I've found those discussions, some of the most ridiculous discussions about this season with no fans in the stadium west, where at some point says, I know it's bad for all clubs, but specifically for Sheffield United.


Those fans or specifically for Liverpool is used a lot and or Newcastle is used a lot. Are there intrinsically I say that, as you know, Cambridge are quite quiet. And when I've been to Spurs, they've been pretty I mean, really sort of dreadfully quick to snipe. So there probably is a there probably is a chart of fans who sing more and support their teams and it goes down.


But I find that side of the conversation slightly ludicrous. Well, very from the southern point of view, I'm not sure that same is a particularly negative. I saw my sense recently has been they don't get on players back to the general sense of, oh, God, again, I guess that's probably not not conducive atmosphere to playing well in I mean, sometimes I call the season away from home is much, much better than at home. Even with no funds, so I don't know why that would be, and maybe they just sort of a better team playing on the break and I think teams still play slightly more aggressively at home.


I also sort of think someone in a position where as soon as things start to turn, the likelihood was would turn quite quickly that. They're clearly a club who in terms of stadium, in terms of stature, in terms of fan base, in terms of self perception, are bigger than the league. I mean, that's not to say they don't deserve to be in the league. They absolutely do. But, yeah, teams have a natural level and certainly not at it.


And so when things start to improve, there is a self belief that's self-sustaining and carries them. And I think you saw that when, you know, when other teams in that division suddenly got on a roll. Yes. I mean, a while ago now, Sheffield, Wednesday, wolves. And I think that actually would be magnified with fans because if fans were there, it wouldn't be 30000 every week. It would be high 30000 every week. And I think the positivity at the minute would that would be a and it would exaggerate the positives you get from the crowd, whereas you certainly can exaggerate the negatives.


So I'm not sure that the absence of fans really made that much difference to some of the season.


It probably has made a difference. It's impossible to quantify, but to some players, some players like you obviously can't have the two seasons going at the same time, one with full stadium and one without to see if the games would have been any different.


You think of some teams, you know, Tottenham wouldn't have been able to play like this. I don't think as much as you would have found it very difficult, but also some players who probably find big crowds a bit stressful. I've had a nicer time. Anyone else have any other thoughts on that? I move on.


Going back to Phuket, Barrie, I've noticed as a Gábor Kiraly web shop, we were talking about maybe making this more palatable by having a goalkeepers set up and tracksuit bottoms. I mean, Gubbay Karalis, very, very good Hungarian goalkeeper, big proponent of the tracksuit. Look, there is a Web shop where you can buy his tracksuit bottoms and a number of other effects like the Gabber chirality. I think it's the TV. They might be VHS, probably DVD and other things we can buy.


Maybe that's what we need to get for, because I think those those grey tracksuit bottoms would look great on him.


But those grey sort of sweatpants he used to wear, they're very much an indication you've already given up on life and resigned yourself to, you know, never it's just about enough to to wear to cover your shame when you shuffle to the off licence for another six cans of Strongbow or special rate Diamond Frieder. And so.


So you're saying you do or you don't want.


Oh, I didn't want to ask that question, Wilson, but I'm glad you did.


I, having given up on life, is a very harsh term for playing golf because Tom says what's last two cents on the Yunker saga going on at Boto glimpse at the moment?


Is this the last we see of young Caret Klimt? And will he finally get his move or will the part by already heading off think he's a fag?


Yeah, yeah.


I mean, look, no more than no more than 30 seconds.


No, because this is a tale as old as time. No, it's an example of something that I think happens a lot that you have a player in Casablanca is at a pretty average career. He's 26, 27, thereabouts. But last season, he suddenly scored a ton of goals for for of them who had an amazing season. And his contract expires in December, I believe, because we have a we have a summer league, as you know.


Now, since both of them were amazing on the league last year, Casablanca's got a bunch of goals. But this being a Norwegian team, they've obviously been dismantled. Aspect of how he has gone to Milan. Petr Zinkernagel, who provided the assist for a lot of Younkers goals, was also his flatmate. He's gone to Watford and Yumkella probably feels, having had a very, I have to say respectfully, average career, this is a good time for him to cash in.


So he's been agitating for a move as well. The club hasn't received any offers. They're very happy with the most. Transfer windows are closed now and the season in Norway is pretty close, is going to start pretty soon. But the transfer window is still open in Japan and they've received an offer from the Japanese league, which financially is roughly where they want it to be to sell him. But they've decided they don't want to sell them because it's too close to the start of the season.


They can't bring anyone in. And he is furious. He's he's there in the sort of training camp in Marbella as he apparently left the team hotel. He was spotted in the lobby sort of heading off. And the local journalist asked him what's going on here? Cos he says, no, I don't want to be here. So so he's he's writing. So so should a player who, again, has had the season of his life so far has lost some of the team mates that helped him have that season?


Because he's a finisher, he needs service. He might now be worried. What if I'm not that good this year? I might not get a very lucrative move. But the club doesn't want to sell me right now.


What should happen here, guys? Should the club cash in? Should the player trust himself to think if I have a good season this year as well? Clubs won't have to pay a transfer for a fee for me after this year and I'll get an even more lucrative move. What should happen in this this saga laws, which do you find more Off-putting during that answer? Was it Barry lotting a faggot reading a book or was it Willson's enormous yawn?


I'm used to that happening when I when I talk on this part of it is what it is.


I just I relax because I knew the answer to the question perfectly and I didn't need to focus.


Well, I want your input. I wasn't reading a book. I was checking my aissa. How's it going? How is it progressing? Not great. I have to say.


Well, it's down six hundred and ninety four pounds, 62.


Well, you just keep it in there and let it come back. You're not going to cash it in for a while.


It must be a huge bump. November to January. Oh no.


I bought it in February at the wrong time.


Well, anyway, I just think it's rude of you to presume. I was actually reading a book while I was answering that question about what I've never heard.


This is I would suggest it's Rouda to check your prices during the past, Jesse said, I read Jonathan Wilson's article about England, Poland in 1973.


Why did the English national team do so poorly in the years that followed that game when English clubs teams dominated in Europe over the same period? I think the sense is that the first of which is that a lot of the English club teams who did well did so with a lot of Scottish and Irish players, particularly Scottish players. If you look at that Liverpool team over late 70s, obviously I dalgliesh at Souness Yard, Hanson coming in later on. And if you look at the first team that John McGovern, John Robertson, and there's another Scotsman and Neil obviously, who's the other Scot, and that's Archie Campbell.


So, you know, a lot of them weren't based on English players, but also I don't think England did a badly in the 70s. It's a little bit of a myth that they you know, the World Cup is only 16 teams. They're hard to get into qualifying in. In 74, they were in a group with with Wales and a rapidly improving Poland and Poland won nearly six in 72. They finished Third World Cup in 74 and England had to beat them at Wembley to to qualify.


England were going through a period transition that the the players who'd won the World Cup in 66 would slowly being phased out. So Bobby Muller made a terrible mistake in your way game against Poland in June 73, which ends his career. He doesn't play another competitive international after that.


But yeah, they came they should have won the game at Wembley. They I think it was thirty six chances to five in that game. You know, you watch that game in England, but do you everything but school, it would work twice this for clearfelling McShan and has a goal ruled out for maybe a push by Martin Peters. But I mean it's really not clear. So they're a bit unlucky then. And in 78, they even agree with Italy, Finland and Luxembourg, I think only want to qualify.


We know so. But the reason they they don't qualify is because they beat Finland by fewer goals and Italy beat Finland by and they go on goal difference. So, you know, the failure to qualify for 74 and 78 World Cups, they weren't sort of catastrophic failures. They weren't humiliations in the way that failing to qualify in 94 was, even though, again, you could say the group in 94 was hard with with the Dutch and a rapidly improving Norway.


Thank you very much, Wilson.


I notice I just lost Barry didn't check and ISO during that answer, whereas I, on the other hand, started browsing the Web shop where there are some really good gifts idea. You can buy gubbay chirality branded sports cream. Right.


What so what?


Sports is very generic, naturally manufactured, cold pressed almond oil containing sports cream to help regenerate your fatigued body parts. Part of Football Weekly.


Much can be sports cream. It sounds quite sinister to me anyway. I'll do for part two. Part three when the Barre Agüero part and where the first thing will do is decide something very important for an American man.


Welcome to Part three of The Guardian Football Weekly, just an important update on Gábor Kirrily sports cream. It is not to be used on open wounds.


That is OK.


Stephen says globalisation of the Premier League American here. I'm looking for Shites English team to support. I currently live in Munich but can't imagine anything duller than hopping on the Byan bandwagon. I want to follow my team through years of disappointment, then follow their rise to excellent and world domination. No, no, I'll say when we win the quintuple. I've been a fill in the blank supporter since the early 20s. I remember when McPhun pick kept scoring all those wunder goals actually said Makefile panic.


But anyway, you get the point. So we need to work out a way of deciding a team for Stephen. I have got a list of all the clubs that I could scroll through and you could say stop. And that is how Stephen Sheridan will get his team for life.


If you don't, does it have to be a team that's currently in the premier? No, no, I think I don't think it has to be Premier League. I don't think so. I think it's I I would say Sunderland is an obvious candidate. He's missed what I suspect was the worst of it. And they're just look to be sort of getting their mojo back. I mean, when Leigh Johnson got the job, I stuck a tenner on them or something to win the lead, one that that looks like it could happen.


It's mathematically possible, yes. So he having missed all the crap, but presumably as a long time listener, is familiar enough with it to be able to wax lyrical about how he was there through all the crap. He can now jump on the bandwagon, further rise to the Champions League winners and also not on a second infector on anybody else.


Just just so I can move on. I'm scrolling now to all the clubs, Barry. All you have to do is say stop and then I'll wait for the cursor to stop, and then that will be their team. Still scrolling Swansea City. Yeah, I'm not sure that's a good idea because. Swansea's and. Particularly easy to get to Munich and then the Liberty Stadium is way too far outside Swansea City Centre.


Well, but if he wants to team that's in the Premier League, which has enormous potential for growth and could conceivably be a sequel in the future than than Villa is the obvious answer. OK.


I don't know if we've helped Stephen now. Hey, Rantes cast ultra, says Wilson. What is the next book on? I thought your hungry book was your finest work to date.


Oh, that's very kind of him. Thank you. It's called the name so long ago and it's available in August. Bookshops where I've signed a contract to do a book on the Charlton Brothers, Bobby and Jack. Not really the the two younger ones. So, yeah, sort of. It's it's sort of a bit of a social history, but also looking at their relationship and how two people can be so, so different. And, you know, obviously a huge impact over not only English football, but also also Irish football.


Do you think there's a market for me writing a romantic comedy about how I met my wife? I mean, the publishing world, I understand licencing fees to Korea, so possibly I mean, I've seen your attempt at a detective novel and I think you're right here. You were out of your league there. But I have read some sort of I think what you call chick lit. Yeah. I think you'd be more than able to hold your own in the market there.


Those books are terrible.


I mean, good God.


Well, you just want to write the one that then whoever that Curtis is makes a romantic comedy out of and then, you know, then I don't have to work anymore. Kazantzakis says regarding yesterday's four hour catalogue, do you know that Champions of Asia, after a few people mentioned that we should have remembered this Anbari, even you pointed out to us, didn't you? I do.


I watch that you later in the afternoon going to our Asian Cup champions. I actually watched that fine.


And I'd forgotten they should have played in a Cup of America this year. And I was right. But they was Australia. The other guests were Japan, maybe. Yeah. Whoever the other guests were both withdrawn. Do you now have this ridiculous format where you have two groups of five from which four qualify for the quarterfinals? So that's good. It's not good. It's terrible. It's just a whole series of totally pointless games.


Can you remind me what was happening with the African Cup of Nations? Because I lost track of that.


Will qualifying just coming to an end now? Societies have gone out.


Is the big news that you're there and their inability to to build on all the advantages they seem to have is extraordinary. And it will be held again in its ludicrous format. In theory, in Cameroon in January and February, it's six groups of four. So the quality is diluted and I mean set against that. The argument that teams you have never qualified before, it's easy for them to get their psychomotor qualified this time, for instance, which obviously is great news for commerce, football, and maybe you can give football a boost in Commonwealth.


And I guess to an extent that's a good thing. But six groups of four is just an awkward number because it means you have a lot of games without much riding on them. Whereas previously, yeah, Egypt last time was the first one of the six groups, four before that was it was always four groups of four, which is just a format that works because games feel like they mean something top to going to the quarterfinals. Whereas here are the top two plus the four best third place teams go into the last 16.


So if I do go, I would probably only go for knockout stages. I hope I can go because Cameroon is is a great country. It's every tournament it's staged has had huge crowds. So it hosted the Channe recently, which is the it's like the cup of nations. But the players who are based in Africa, the host of the Women's Cup of Nations last year, the year before, and that got huge crowds. So one of the problems you have a couple of nations is you often have these white elephant stadiums that are empty and are never used again.


That will not be the case in Cameroon. They get big crowds of football. And so I think in terms of the atmosphere, in terms of the spectacle, that could be really, really good, Derek says.


Having recently asked Barry for his football outcome preferences, what would Max prefer England to win the euro spurs to win the league couple Cambridge to get promoted? And will he show some emotion on the pod if any of those come to pass? Am I am I emotionless? I never realised it's completely devoid of emotion. Do you know what I struggle with?


Whether I'd prefer the Euros or promotion for the Spurs is, you know, secondary or below that. Now, coming to the top of lead to it would hurt me so much if we didn't make it so. So I think I probably go for that because if England don't win the Euros, well, I'm expecting that I would once in my lifetime like to see England win a major tournament just once. I think that's sort of an acceptable amount. But I'm wary of saying anything.


You know, if you choose your country of your club ever, then someone will yell at you and I don't need to be yelled at.


Don't worry. Someone will yell at you for that answer, too.


But if you if you're guaranteed one trophy and one trophy only for either for club country, I'm not sort of statement against each other. Would you rather win it now? Or in your 70s, when you've really done the time, it depends what trophy, if you're telling me that you'll give Cambridge like an actual trophy, like a make up. Well, obviously, that is so ludicrous. That idea is so ludicrous that. I take it any time.


I mean, obviously, I say this in the heady glow of having recently won a trophy, but I think I'd rather win it when I'm 70.


I want to be young enough, actually enjoy it and still go and get pissed and still sort of understand what's going on and everything and be able to be in a pub or whatever. But also, if you know that anyone in your lifetime I want to use up early will also if you know it's the only one in your lifetime, then.


Then I'd rather it doesn't have a phrase like I quite enjoy existing, you know, there is a I can't keep to tell you to stay alive. Yeah, that is true. Yeah. Barry. Well, in terms of your preferences, I would.


I would rather Cambridge one promotion than England won a major tournament, but if England are to win a major tournament in your lifetime, I would rather it be late in your lifetime when I no longer have to be in your company after you have experienced England winning a trophy.


Because I don't think I could handle that amount of smugness. And for me personally, I would much prefer Ireland to win a major trophy than some of them.


Barry, what what year do you think we will stop working together?


Two thousand. And. Twenty three oh, oh, wow. What are you planning that's pretty soon, quite soon. I know. I'm just presuming the current Mrs. Rushton will have whisked away to Australia by the time you want to come.


No, Previte says, I'm still waiting on Barry's park bench blind date, which happened in the middle of the pandemic. He must be furious with this to me to social distancing rule. Was there a follow up? Will there be a follow up? Has there been should I buy a new hat? Tell us everything, Barry. There is no need to buy a new hat. That it that they were already saying there is he would invite you to the wedding, which, to be fair, you started.


Yeah, let's not go that I almost invited you, Wilson, to be company for Barry.


And then I forgot. And that's why Barry didn't turn up.


Thank God. How many miserable fans do I want sitting at the bar not talking to anyone else? Well, the party is happening around them. Should I just invite Lars? I bet Lars is fun. Probably, I would imagine.


Yeah. You right. A great, great time dancing to come on Eilene. It had been Wytheville. We had talked about it for years to come anyway. I think that's enough. Barry, do you think this has been a success. Therefore we don't have to watch anymore football and we don't have to prep for any more pods ever again.


I think it could have been better. Thank you for your time. You're welcome. Thank you. Lord I-Max. Cicero's Jessica will be back on Thursday.


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