Our writers” football wish list for 2012 – we want a revolution
Happy New Year! We wish all our readers a prosperous 2012.
Here”s what our team of experts are wishing for in football over the next 12 months…
A FOOTBALL REVOLUTION
Time for a little credit: Pep Guardiola
Greedy, but: Match of the Day on at 9pm on a Saturday night. The Football League Show on at an accessible time too – Sunday, 7pm, BBC2
A law in parliament to stop the spread of “naming rights”. Another one to stop fans referring to each other as “scum”.
Scrap the Europa League, bring back a knock-out Uefa Cup. Qatar 2022 to be revoked, Fifa and Uefa to be revolutionised, Swansea to stay up, ticket prices to come down.
Pep Guardiola to get more credit. Arsenal to reduce the size of their badge. Players to be red-carded for pointing to their names after scoring.
A DECENT SHOWING AT THE EUROS
A successful European Championships for England. I”d love them to win it – that would be my pie-in-the-sky wish – but my realistic desire is for them to have a decent performance which gives the young players the confidence to go on and have successful international careers. Semi-finals would do nicely, please.
I”m not for video evidence for penalty decisions and such – that”s personal opinion. But it”s time technology was used to prove fact. There”s too much at stake; we”re asking officials to be superhuman at times.
If I could have anything – and I know it”s totally unrealistic – it would be to have Lionel Messi in the Premier League.
Too good to ignore: Carlos Tevez
TEVEZ BACK ON THE PITCH
A home for Carlos Tevez. He”s a huge talent and the game is poorer for him not showcasing his skills and effort week in, week out.
At times this season, City have looked like they have needed him to inject some magic and energy. Surely, there”s a club out there who can give him a home
PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANT REFS
I”d like to see the Premier League loosen the purse strings and put enough money into refereeing so that assistants could go full time.
In recent weeks the assistants have proved how important they are to the game.
We should have at least 20 full-time referees and 40 full-time assistants working throughout all four divisions – it would reap rewards.
HARRY REDKNAPP FOR ENGLAND
My wish for 2012 is that England appoint a national coach who makes me want to watch them play again. Fabio Capello”s England make me want to go to the cinema.
He may not be everybody”s choice but one only has to watch Tottenham play to realise that Harry Redknapp should be Capello”s replacement.
Redknapp”s Tottenham are the embodiment of what football should be about. I hope the FA do the obvious thing.
Sweet FA: Redknapp for England
A DIGNIFIED EURO CAMPAIGN
Wish 2012: For England to head for the Euros with a fully fit, rested and hungry squad playing in a clear and simple tactical system the players can all understand. To partake enthusiastically in the tournament as if they genuinely want to be part of it and learn from the experiences it can offer.
And to exit Poland and Ukraine gracefully, rather than in a state of high sulk, bemoaning UEFA conspiracy theories and incompetent officials. Then, to give the manager”s job to Harry Redknapp.
GOLD FOR TEAM GB
I hope Team GB take football seriously at London 2012. I remain unconvinced about the validity of football as an Olympic sport but it is, and there have been monumental negotiations to get British men”s and women”s teams involved, so let”s go for gold.
Football is one of the few sports that will take the Games beyond the confines of the capital, so I hope the very best young Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish and English players will be allowed to be involved in this one-off event.
NEW MOTD PUNDITS
Legend: What would Clough have made of the drivel spouted by the MOTD pundits
Bill Shankly and Brian Clough to be reincarnated for a stint alongside Tommy Docherty on the Match of the Day sofa, so we would no longer have to put up with “that was poor defending, and you can”t afford to do that if you want to win things”. We know it was poor defending. We”ve just seen it.
Oh for a Cloughie, who would doubtless lambast the incumbents as a disgrace and recommend they be docked a week”s wages.
We”re stuck with them, unfortunately, and I fear we”ll all be disappointed with that.
VICTORY FOR ENGLAND AT THE EUROS
For the national team to power their way through the group games at Euro 2012, teasing supporters with some tension-filled moments in the quarter and semi-finals, then tying red and white ribbons on the trophy in the final.
BARCELONA TO RETAIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Hopefully 2012 will see a resolution to the endless controversies that have sullied the game”s reputation recently but, in terms of pure sport, the one wish would be to see Barcelona do what no other side have done in the modern era and retain the Champions League.
They play a brand of football from the Gods. It would be fitting if they crowned their exalted status with a glorious show in Munich come May.
CUP SUCCESS FOR THE NORTH-EAST
Is it too much to ask for a little cup success for the north-east One trophy (Middlesbrough, Carling Cup) in 16 years up here is a pretty sorry return and the only north-east sides who have played – and won – at Wembley recently are Whitley Bay and Darlington.
Please stay: Robin van Persie is one of the few who light up Arsenal
VAN PERSIE TO STAY AT ARSENAL
For purely selfish reasons, Robin van Persie to sign a new contract with Arsenal. He”s been sensational and a pleasure to watch in 2011. The Holland striker leaving the capital would mean less chance to watch him live. Does not bare thinking about.
BYE BYE BLATTER
Sepp Blatter “s removal from office. A man who spouts such nonsense on the subject of racism isn”t worthy of such a lofty position. Not to mention the host of other objectionable practices that have emerged during his time as the FIFA chief, he should be removed for recent events alone.
THE SPECIAL ONE TO BEAT BARCA
For the year to pass without a race row, for Jose Mourinho to pip Barcelona to the Spanish title, for the excellent Adam Johnson to get more playing time for club and country, for Swansea to stay up and for England to win a penalty shoot-out at Euro 2012.