2023/24 Soccer Thread

The sheer number of non-soccer athletes with "minority ownership" stakes in soccer teams these days, goodness.

We need more transparency because I know Giannis owns about 0.00005% of Nashville SC.

Not going to pretend for a moment that this hasn't been unbelievably fun to watch.

I'm a New Yorker, I despise Miami, but my goodness, Messi looks like he's having 500x more fun than he ever had at PSG. Which isn't that much of a surprise, PSG wasn't a move he wanted to make.

This has already been great, and however much he decides to bless the MLS with, I'm thrilled. Viva Messi.

Also, not that the Hungarian man with the name I don't feel like trying to spell isn't good (by reports, one of, if the not the best player on the pitch this weekend), but man, Liverpool have gotta wish they could've wooed Jude.

Prederick wrote:

Also, not that the Hungarian man with the name I don't feel like trying to spell isn't good (by reports, one of, if the not the best player on the pitch this weekend), but man, Liverpool have gotta wish they could've wooed Jude.

Szoboszlai was very good yesterday it must be said.

Rooting for England, if only because there's just a bit too much going on with Spain for me to feel like I can support them. Or at least, their coach, despite the obviously great job he's done.

Spain the much better side but well played a young England team.

Not to be for the Lionesses, I don’t think there was a lot in it to be honest, but that extra 2% that Spain found was enough and they are worthy World Champions.

Congratulations to Spain!

Congratulations to Spain! The better side there.

I'm not sure I understand "we need a goal, so we've taken off Russo and Daly" but the system change did at least cause Spain more problems.

The worst time for the "England nil" we saw for months in the lead up to the tournament to reappear.

You'd think the PK save in the second would have given England momentum. Ah well.

Congrats Spain.

Everton are turning up the difficulty on their relegation fight really early this season.

Everton-Wolves next weekend. Can you have a relegation six pointer in the third game of the season?

Can this just be the year Everton get relegated? Can they just cease to be, and stop ruining every football weekend for me?

At least we can still all laugh at Chelsea.

Mr Bismarck wrote:

Wrexham's league games are being scripted for the documentary now.

After that game at the weekend Wrexham Goalkeeper Ben Foster has announced his retirement from football with immediate effect.

He didn't seem quite at the races this year and while nothing was obviously his fault, Wrexham have conceded 13 goals in four games and highlight packages of the games didn't include a lot of saves.

He'll always have that Hollywood penalty save from last year's game against Notts County.

In the most convoluted and expressly ‘we don’t want to have to do this but frankly the PR if we keep you will be so bad even we have to take notice of it’ way, Manchester United are ‘forcing’ Mason Greenwood to leave the club, following an internal investigation. They will help him find a new club though, bless him.

If I’m reading it right (and I think I am) this is basically be treated as a transfer request, so Greenwood will remain on their books until he’s sold or loaned. You’d assume they’ll be looking for a foreign club.

I regard this as pretty cowardly to be honest - yes, I know I’m bias - but surely the end goal was terminate his contract and throw him out? You’d think ‘bringing the club into disrepute’ would still classify as a sackable offence.

Shame on Manchester United basically.

Couple days old...

Saudi Arabia in talks with UEFA over groundbreaking Champions League 'wildcard' addition

The Champions League is set to expand from next season from the 32-team format to a 36-team format, as clubs now have to play two more games in the group stage every season. Rather than playing in a group though, clubs will be ranked by coefficient and drawn against each other in a weighted, Swiss-style system – as FFT's Adam Clery explains in the video above.

As it stands, two places in the Champions League will be handed to leagues with the highest coefficient. That means that five English sides will be able to qualify for the competition – but the Saudi FA would like one of their teams to enter as a "wildcard".

One would assume that the winner of the Saudi Pro League would enter the competition – but that's not a given. With four sides owned by the PIF, it can't be ruled out that the Saudi FA simply offer their spot on an invitational basis to their big four, to give all of them a shot.

And it's obviously not beyond the realms of possibility that the one place given to Saudi sides would expand to four to accommodate these big guns.

Obviously, this is farcical horsesh*t that should be dismissed out of hand, but, as ever, money. They know UEFA needs it, and are likely going to offer a comical sum in exchange for this. Especially since it helps them solve the "Saudi teams play in competitions no-one gives a sh*t about" problem.

Sorbicol wrote:

Not to be for the Lionesses, I don’t think there was a lot in it to be honest, but that extra 2% that Spain found was enough and they are worthy World Champions.

Congratulations to Spain!

Also, RE: the WWC final - Spain are very, very good at football. Like, the entire country.

Prederick wrote:

Couple days old...

Saudi Arabia in talks with UEFA over groundbreaking Champions League 'wildcard' addition

The Champions League is set to expand from next season from the 32-team format to a 36-team format, as clubs now have to play two more games in the group stage every season. Rather than playing in a group though, clubs will be ranked by coefficient and drawn against each other in a weighted, Swiss-style system – as FFT's Adam Clery explains in the video above.

As it stands, two places in the Champions League will be handed to leagues with the highest coefficient. That means that five English sides will be able to qualify for the competition – but the Saudi FA would like one of their teams to enter as a "wildcard".

One would assume that the winner of the Saudi Pro League would enter the competition – but that's not a given. With four sides owned by the PIF, it can't be ruled out that the Saudi FA simply offer their spot on an invitational basis to their big four, to give all of them a shot.

And it's obviously not beyond the realms of possibility that the one place given to Saudi sides would expand to four to accommodate these big guns.

Obviously, this is farcical horsesh*t that should be dismissed out of hand, but, as ever, money. They know UEFA needs it, and are likely going to offer a comical sum in exchange for this. Especially since it helps them solve the "Saudi teams play in competitions no-one gives a sh*t about" problem.

It's pretty funny but honestly, I'm not sure if I actually care.

In theory, if some league/club wants to buy their way in sure. Maybe the larger problem of the CL turning into a more global competition is the logistics would be f*cked. If the MLS wants in and is going to send Miami sure. It would be hilarious until you realize that the teams would have to do the actual traveling part.

Reading the MbM of the Palace-Arsenal game, and this is why, of all the new rules, the time-wasting ones should definitely stay.

Prederick wrote:
Sorbicol wrote:

Not to be for the Lionesses, I don’t think there was a lot in it to be honest, but that extra 2% that Spain found was enough and they are worthy World Champions.

Congratulations to Spain!

Also, RE: the WWC final - Spain are very, very good at football. Like, the entire country.

Except for the FA, obviously.

IMAGE(https://media.gettyimages.com/id/1629668110/photo/final-fifa-womens-world-cup-australia-new-zealand-2023.webp?s=2048x2048&w=gi&k=20&c=uE5Ceaj6A-CddWRRLFqbiJT5YExyFRqAgU7UMJJqZu8=)

IMAGE(https://media.gettyimages.com/id/1629669767/photo/final-fifa-womens-world-cup-australia-new-zealand-2023.webp?s=2048x2048&w=gi&k=20&c=gzXvLHtpKuSVFNpmBJEb3EOG1irzsTEAWL7YHqXYdzA=)

IMAGE(https://media.gettyimages.com/id/1629669784/photo/final-fifa-womens-world-cup-australia-new-zealand-2023.webp?s=2048x2048&w=gi&k=20&c=qjnpD-iiTmqGFCSa-9y11-x9RIItQZITkWCuLqbUp48=)

Spain spent most of the WWC playing in New Zealand so they didn't get much coverage here. The final was the first time I saw them other than the briefest of highlights.

It took about 10 minutes for me to think "Damn! These women have skills!" and they played a very different style from everyone else; triangles and tiki-taka. I was impressed.

.....................when the sh*t did THAT happen?

In a move I’m actually surprised by, Mac Allister’s red card has been rescinded - fully rescinded, not even just downgraded to a yellow.

I’m not quite as frothing at the mouth as some, but I do think the standard of referring in the Premier League right is actively ‘not good’. There needs to be a sensible debate on this on how to best help the refs and improved the standard across the board.

Yes, I know compared to other leagues it’s still pretty good, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually OK.

Sensible debate about referees? I would file that alongside the chance of Neymar forgoing large lumps of cash to come and play at the home of football Lesser Hampden.

No reinforcements for Málaga so some of their fans decided to pick random strangers in the airport as reinforcements.

Aymeric Laporte from City to Saudi Arabia.

They may not be getting the best of the best, but they're definitely trying to get literally everyone else.

Prederick wrote:

Aymeric Laporte from City to Saudi Arabia.

They may not be getting the best of the best, but they're definitely trying to get literally everyone else.

Kinda.

Turkish league still gobbled up some players this year that I thought still had plenty to offer in the Prem (for the right clubs) or if they wanted the money in Saudi.

Hakim Ziyech and Wilfried Zaha come to mind. I might of dreamed who else though.

Sorbicol wrote:

In a move I’m actually surprised by, Mac Allister’s red card has been rescinded - fully rescinded, not even just downgraded to a yellow.

I’m not quite as frothing at the mouth as some, but I do think the standard of referring in the Premier League right is actively ‘not good’. There needs to be a sensible debate on this on how to best help the refs and improved the standard across the board.

Yes, I know compared to other leagues it’s still pretty good, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually OK.

The on-field decisions are okay. Their implementation of VAR is abhorrent. There's no excuse for it. It can best be described as prioritizing making the center ref look good, rather than, you know, getting the calls right.

I've said this recently, but video replay is a great tool. No one in the US dislikes its use in our big three sports. EPL choosing to emphasize something other than "get as many calls right as is practical" is insane. Fire everyone involved and start over if you have to.

I guess this is how Americans feel when they are first learning about English soccer and they get confused about all the different cups.

I have no idea wtf the US open Cup is and or how Messi still hasn't actually played an MLS game yet. I think that's accurate.

Ronaldo must be fuming that his handlers convinced him the money was worth it because the only thing he probably cares more about is all this attention Messi is getting over him.

That may just be a stateside thing, because on social media ESPN FC and other accounts are doing their best to make sure Ronaldo keeps on getting attention for every little thing he does.

In their defense, I think it's a tail-chasing-the-dog situation, as the Messi/Ronaldo fandoms are so loud and stupid and dedicated to trolling each other all the time that it's just easy engagement bait.