Scrap the Checkatrade Trophy and introduce retrospective punishment for diving – more of our writers on what they want to see in 2017
That Tony Pulis' West Brom team will continue their free-scoring ways. Or at least that they will continue to attack middling Premier League teams at home. Pulis also has positive words to say about Albion's academy, so is it too much to hope that a player such as Jonathan Leko will start to challenge for a regular first-team place?
There’s a fair chance that Oldham Athletic will be relegated this season, so I hope I can see that as a good thing and that the club can re generate itself in some way and come back stronger.
That Liverpool do one and stop nicking our players.
That Scotland win all four competitive home games to confirm the qualification night is darkest just before the dawn. And, after losing at every major Championship and Premiership rival in 2016, that Rangers augment their ongoing recovery by collecting a single significant away point. Being rid of Joey Barton will help.
Nobody, not even Katie Hopkins at her most contrarian, could construct an argument in favour of the Checkatrade Trophy revamp. A simple solution: get the academy sides out and scrap the group stage. League One clubs have enough games without forcing them to play in glorified run-outs for top-flight fringe players. If Marc Muniesa and Jan Kirchhoff need game time against decent opposition, then bring back some sort of proper reserves league.
Last year I asked Santa for Manchester United to score more than one goal per game. Despite a couple of recent results I’m asking for the same this year, with the additional request that, given Marcos Rojo's recent “exuberance”, they finish most games with 11 men.
That TV companies finally summon up the bravery to break the cycle of gormless ex-players being wheeled out as pundits. With precious few exceptions – Jamie Carragher, Jermaine Jenas and John Hartson leap to mind, and at least Robbie Savage knows he’s a knob – these clowns seem convinced that stating the bleedin’ obvious is akin to piercing insight. Self-satisfied, bland and passionless. Give the fans a go instead.
To see the introduction of retrospective punishment for diving. It is so tiresome hearing the excuses made for the cheating we see so wearyingly often. As with Dele Alli’s fabricated foul against Swansea – and most of the penalties Jamie Vardy wins – this isn’t even players responding to contact, they’re the ones making it happen. On a more parochial note, it’d be nice if the very handsomely paid Ronald Koeman would stop complaining about his Everton players and actually start improving them.
That all footballers, on signing their first professional contract, will be reminded of the new clause which states: “On retirement, I will become a pundit for neither Sky, the BBC nor any other major TV channel, nor will I indulge in daily inanities on Twitter.”
As an Arsenal fan, that Alexis Sánchez doesn't ask himself why he tears round like a blue-arsed fly week in week out for a club for whom spineless collapse is in danger of becoming a subconscious, annual ritual, as inevitable as the changing of the seasons; as a human being, that Gary Lineker maintains his unlikely transformation into an outspoken political hero, football punditry's answer to Charlotte Church.
Paying £25 to watch fourth-tier full-backs ham up the act of picking up a ball for a throw-in as if they're auditioning for the Chuckle Brothers, and goalkeepers treat the decision of where to take a goal-kick from as if choosing whether to cut the blue wire or red wire on a nuclear device, has left me desperate for 2017 to be the year in which an effective deterrent for obvious time-wasting is finally found.