2018/19 Soccer Thread

dejanzie wrote:

There is an impact of the CL on smaller leagues, in the sense that 15 million Euro entrance fee to a 30 million fee in a good year for a Belgian team basically means (almost) doubling your budget for that year. If only one team qualifies, it can lead to a Mattheus effect.

There's a reason Rosenborg won like 10 titles in a row in Norway.

But yes, short of a European salary cap, this stratification will continue (and I don't think a European salary cap would actually help, because China/Qatar/MLS would immediately start throwing money at the best players to drag them away).

It's pluses and minuses wherever you go. The competitiveness of the American parity models is nice, but also imperfect, as it can end up turning into a morass of mediocrity where almost no-one can be good for more than 2-3 years at a time, short of a miracle (the NFL).

Meanwhile, I thought Arsenal had bought Aubameyang too late, and that he'd be less effective as his pace declines.

I was wrong.

There is an article about how the Champions League has basically made championships in lots of the leagues outside of the top ones, terrible because only one team wins, gets into the league, gets way more money than anyone and the cycle continues. I tried googling it but couldn't find it.

I mean, that's clear to anyone who plays FM. My friend a game in Poland a year ago that got stale as hell because he was good enough to make the CL group stages (and the occasional run into the knockout rounds), which gave him enough money to just dominate the league entirely. After the fourth season of having effectively wrapped up the title by March (but also not being good enough to actually win the Champions League), he quit.

EDIT:

Meanwhile, someone on the Guardian MbM has pointed out that Higuain looks like Paul Giamatti in "Sideways", which seems fitting given how he's played.

IMAGE(https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/9e32e4205fa6ba07779c513dad63b8687a98275b/0_313_2514_1508/master/2514.jpg?width=620&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=d52bcbdce4e4814d982b193469079344)

Welp. Hell of a European campaign for England.

Of course Hazard scores the winner.

Has a single nation ever made up all the finalists in the Champions League/Europa League before?

All of this, and the top team in the Premier League (at least, at the moment) isn't involved.

4 English teams in semi-finals - 4 English teams in the final Finals. That's one hell of a return, especially considering just how far off the pace Chelsea and Arsenal have been in the Premier League this year.

Manchester United the only side in the top-6 without a cup final this year.

Spain have had 3 of the 4 a few times but nobody has had all 4 as far as I can tell.

Prederick wrote:

It's pluses and minuses wherever you go. The competitiveness of the American parity models is nice, but also imperfect, as it can end up turning into a morass of mediocrity where almost no-one can be good for more than 2-3 years at a time, short of a miracle (the NFL).

Huh. I consider our leagues' parity to be a pure benefit. It also makes having a well-run club the biggest advantage.

As someone whose team won the English title more recently than Spurs but will be enjoying League One next season, I love the American model.

There's not really any way to introduce a salary cap across football, but we could steal the Rule Five Draft from Major League Baseball and adapt it.

Chelsea want to stockpile four hundred kids in the reserve and loan system? Sorry, if they're at least 21 and you haven't played them [x] minutes by Christmas Day then any other team in the same country can come in and take that player, provided they're prepared to meet the contact and guarantee to play them [y] minutes before the end of the season.

That's another idea for the It'll Never Happen bin, because the players aren't "owned" in the same way, but it'd be a fun mixup.

Fedaykin98 wrote:

Huh. I consider our leagues' parity to be a pure benefit. It also makes having a well-run club the biggest advantage.

I think there's a balance. I'm not interesting in seeing one team win every title by 20 points every season, nor do I enjoy that of the 96 teams in the Football League, only the fans of maybe 6-8, perhaps 10 can reasonably think they might see a Premier League title in the next two decades.

However, I also don't think it's great that 1/2 of last year's NFL playoff teams will be replaced with another batch of equally forgettable, mediocre replacements. The Patriots are a profound outlier. Moreover, one of the other unfortunate products of our leagues' parity is tanking.

Mr Bismarck wrote:

There's not really any way to introduce a salary cap across football, but we could steal the Rule Five from Major League Baseball and adapt it.

Chelsea want to stockpile four hundred kids in the reserve and loan system? Sorry, if they're at least 21 and you haven't played them [x] minutes by Christmas Day then any other team in the same country can come in and take that player, provided they're prepared to meet the contact and guarantee to play them [y] minutes before the end of the season.

That's another idea for the It'll Never Happen bin, because the players aren't "owned" in the same way, but it'd be a fun mixup.

That would be wonderful, or even the addition of a Luxury Tax, instead of a salary cap, or a significant increase in revenue-sharing.

Of course, clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid would absolutely throw a fit over being forced into NFL-style revenue sharing, and not without some good reason, given how valuable they are to La Liga compared to, say, Levante.

I think you could easily eliminate tanking without substantially harming parity. Just make draft pick order random, for instance. Or a snake, which would be interesting in the NFL for sure, maybe not the NBA.

It is insane how the rules incentivize losing, and have for a long time. Amazing it hasn't been dealt with before now.

Oh absolutely, and it's endemic in all 4 of the major sports.

Now, even if you added a salary cap to soccer in Europe, a draft is almost a complete non-starter, and pro/rel basically annihilates tanking as a possibility, so it wouldn't be a issue.

I'm just unsure of how to fix it as long as the CL continues to exist. That said, I am also of the opinion that at some point, there's going to be a correction, because salaries and transfer fees can't keep rising forever.

Right?

Prederick wrote:

Oh absolutely, and it's endemic in all 4 of the major sports.

Now, even if you added a salary cap to soccer in Europe, a draft is almost a complete non-starter, and pro/rel basically annihilates tanking as a possibility, so it wouldn't be a issue.

I'm just unsure of how to fix it as long as the CL continues to exist. That said, I am also of the opinion that at some point, there's going to be a correction, because salaries and transfer fees can't keep rising forever.

Right?

So long as the interest remains, there will always be more money available.

I think it's worth pointing out that money has always been a factor in sport once it turns professional, regardless of how much TV money (or similar) rolls in. Clubs like Manchester United with a 90,000 seater stadium are always going to have a bigger pot of cash to work with than somewhere like Bournemouth with a 20,000 seater stadium. Even the "big clubs" in the current climate have been actively trying to address that bottom line to increase their revenue - look at what Liverpool have been doing to expand Anfield and the new Spurs Stadium and the Emirates. Sure TV money elevates that to stratospheric levels, but the underlying mechanics of disparity between different clubs has always been there. Unless you introduce something like the NFL draft, access to better resources will always been based on what you can generate and have to spend to start with.

Adding a salary cap will help nobody other than already very rich owners, and penalise players for providing the product everyone else gets rich on. The Glazers and Kroenke are not going to use what money they can save by a salary cap to improve their squads - they will take that money and use it to increase their take from their "investment" (which is precisely what Man U and Arsenal are to them), or be irrelevant to outlier clubs like Man City and PSG who have access to disproportionate amounts of money. They will always warp the playing field for everyone else.

All that said I do think that well run clubs with good managers, targetted recruitment and a clear strategy can compete, as Liverpool and Spurs have spent this year demonstrating. Hell, even Ajax have done that although I do sympathise with them losing all their players at the end of the season.

It's a lot more complex than just "money = bad". It sure as hell doesn't help I completely agree but there are other factors at play.

I agree that it's only fair that as long as the money flows like it does now, players should get their fair share. Apart from moral reasons, it would also speed up the process of billionaire takeovers of soccer teams - as the money would stick with them and not the players. On the other hand, investors looking for a ROI might be a step up from the ego- or money-laundering-driven motivations now. Practically, a salary cap would be struck down by the EU institutions, meaning - ironically - that of the Big Leauges only England could do it if they ever actually Brexit.

Personally, I would love the EU to impose a stricter interpretation of what's possible with tv rights. In that only the actual live broadcast could be sold, and the TV feed would go 'open source' as soon as the actual game is over. Hopefully, that would bring the amounts down a notch while still maintaining a certain level of professionalism in coverage. The same Brexit questions would arise, as the Premier League is strong enough to stand on its own. A downside might be that it would relatively increase the importance of the rich owners, by decreasing tv contract values. And I'm not sure how to regulate that.

Sorbicol wrote:

Adding a salary cap will help nobody other than already very rich owners, and penalise players for providing the product everyone else gets rich on. The Glazers and Kroenke are not going to use what money they can save by a salary cap to improve their squads - they will take that money and use it to increase their take from their "investment" (which is precisely what Man U and Arsenal are to them), or be irrelevant to outlier clubs like Man City and PSG who have access to disproportionate amounts of money. They will always warp the playing field for everyone else.

Are you familiar with salary caps? You seem very certain that they don't increase competitiveness, but they do. They are a strong limit on the advantages of richer teams.

The playing field is extremely warped at present. Salary caps would make it less warped, although you're right that there will always be some disparities, and richer clubs can afford to spend more on nicer facilities, etc.

I suppose if dejanzie is right to say that salary caps would be struck down by the EU then this is all moot, but I think if there were caps, they would improve competitiveness.

Fedaykin98 wrote:

Are you familiar with salary caps? You seem very certain that they don't increase competitiveness, but they do. They are a strong limit on the advantages of richer teams.

The playing field is extremely warped at present. Salary caps would make it less warped, although you're right that there will always be some disparities, and richer clubs can afford to spend more on nicer facilities, etc.

I suppose if dejanzie is right to say that salary caps would be struck down by the EU then this is all moot, but I think if there were caps, they would improve competitiveness.

Salary Caps have been in use in Rugby Union for quite a while now, and while there is "tentative" evidence they have had some impact on competitiveness, it's not terribly conclusive. You also have a situation where most of the "big" clubs basically breach them all the time, because the benefits of doing so considerable outweigh the negatives.

Manchester City/PSG already stretch Financial fair play rules about as far as they can, happy in the knowledge that short of kicking them out of competitions there isn't a lot UEFA or their respective FAs can do about it that won't make the risks of doing it worth taking. UEFA/FA are not going to kick out the likes of PSG or Man City as they are principle income generators for the sport that they administer/profit from. Also if they do it too often that European Super League that doesn't have relegation or promotion, and is entirely administered by the clubs, able to sell their own rights is going to start looking a whole lot more attractive to those clubs.

Also as soon as those Salary Caps are introduced, the Chinese will start throwing money at players to make their league "the best in the world" because for them sport is also politics and global prestige.

It's a nice idea in theory, it'll be a terrible one in practice. I guess my point is that salary caps are probably quite effective in sports that don't generate the kind of income that Football does. Football brings in so much money that short of telling clubs "You can only pay your players one wage, with no add-ons or bonuses" I don't think a basic salary cap will have any impact. Other than make the players consider other leagues where it's not an issue

Edit: I don't disagree that right now, the power bases of European football isn't unbalanced. The "big" teams have too much to the disadvantage of everyone else, both in their own leagues and on the Continental stage (I'm not worrying about other leagues in other countries for now) However a "fix" is going to involve multiple agreements and arrangements, both between the clubs, individual national FAs, UEFA and also political change from the EU and host nations. It's a hugely complex issue that, once applied, at least one club will immediately work out how to circumvent and exploit to its advantage. All for the sake of allowing some teams more of a level playing field against others. Salary Caps might be a component of an overall solution, but by themselves aren't likely to have much impact at all.

Remember if there were quick, easy fixes to most problems in life Brexit wouldn't be an issue, there'd be people living on the moon and climate change would mostly mean going somewhere warmer on holiday!

Folks who follow me on Twitter probably already know that Madison has started a professional soccer team, and that they're playing their inaugural season - Forward Madison FC, colloquially known as the Flamingos (for reasons you probably would not have guessed).

As you might expect, given that we're in the third tier of US Soccer, the technical level of play is not going strike fear into the hearts of Liverpool or Man City (though perhaps Barcelona should watch their backs).

I've gone to two home games so far and have had a blast, and thought that folks here might enjoy a short film that just got put out about our team.

That's awesome that Madison has a team now!

Before the Minnesota Loons went MLS, they were in the NASL, and we went to a lot of games. Our kids were 8-12 then, and they had a blast too. The players would all stick around at the end of the game and sign autographs for a good 20-30 minutes, and talk to the fans and take photos. The soccer was good enough, and the atmosphere was great. Not only that, but tickets were often super cheap.

Yeah it's been great fun.

We are functioning as a bit of a B-team for Minnesota United - they have loaned us several players (with the right to recall them at any point). So far, seems like that's a win all around.

We are actually playing a friendly against Minnesota on June 25 - but if anybody is coming to town between now and October, happy to go to a game and buy you a beer or two.

Frank Lampard got all upset again because a penatly decision was overturned after a linesman had a discussion with the ref. Almost as if that's their job Frank. Anyway Leeds won 1-0 at Derby, I haven't seen the decision but seems from the reaction of tweeter it was the correct call.

How are there no posts here?

I watched Tottenham, City, and Liverpool. The games started out very exciting, but despite the unbelievable shift in results that could have come from BHA scoring first, the top four remained unchanged in the end.

In fact, I wonder how many teams changed their rank after today? Surely some did, but I don't think any of the top eight did.

If you told me Arsenal would make the Europa League final and finish 5th 1 point off 4th at the start of the season I would of taken it.

How they performed in the run in though (8 games 10/24 points) it feels like a poor season caveat being they win the Europa and break that Arsenal curse.

Unless something happens to City Liverpool injury wise next season they are heads and shoulders ahead of the other 4 clubs.

I guess Brighton made it interesting for all of 83 seconds. Going to have to watch the Newcastle match this afternoon and Palace-Bournesmouth sounds like it was a bonanza.

Roke wrote:

I guess Brighton made it interesting for all of 83 seconds. Going to have to watch the Newcastle match this afternoon and Palace-Bournesmouth sounds like it was a bonanza.

I was very very excited for about 83 seconds. Then that was that.

Congratulations to Manchester City - it’s been an amazing season, with some of the highest quality football played by two sides that never, ever quit. Next season is going to be very interesting.

True.

Hard to root against Klopp, though I think still having a chance to win the CL will be some comfort for Liverpool fans today.

Dimmerswitch wrote:

True.

Hard to root against Klopp, though I think still having a chance to win the CL will be some comfort for Liverpool fans today.

It helps!

I have to say that Manchester City were made to earn this title in a way I don’t think anyone was expecting when this season started. Mind you that does absolutely mean they deserve it, I don’t begrudge them that at all.

The CL final is going to be very interesting I think. I know most pundits probably think Liverpool have the edge, but I think that’s a little harsh on Spurs. I’m expecting a tight fought drawn game and penalties. God knows who’ll win them.

Congrats to City.
Both them and Liverpool deserved it.

Really nice, short piece by Honigstein on Klopp:

Jurgen Klopp restores Liverpool’s fire to offer hope amid title pain

Whereas Carlo Ancelotti, another contender for the job in October 2015, had presented owners Fenway Sports Group with a shopping list of three star players in defence, midfield and attack that he felt were needed to lift the tired Reds out of mid-table mediocrity, Klopp told the Americans in a meeting in New York that the main thing was to "activate the crowd".

IMAGE(https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/624/cpsprodpb/C715/production/_105056905_nbc.jpg)

I think that ended up being the difference this season. Well, that and the 29mm that Aguero's goal went in by against Burnley.

First back-to-back title winners since 2008-09, which is a surprise.

And Liverpool? I mean....

- 97 points
- 30 wins from 38; first team not to win it after winning 30 games or more
- First team to lose only 1 game and not win it
- Golden Glove winner
- Best defensive record
- 2 joint top Golden Boot winners
- Points total good enough to win it any year between 1993 and 2017.

If someone was offered 97 points for their team in a league season, in all but two seasons their team would have been champions of England, and both of those two seasons are this Man City side.

Oh, and United. Yeesh.