THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

30 December ~ We asked our contributors to give us a footballing hope for the coming year

Sepp Blatter announces brilliant scheme to twin Qatar’s 2022 World Cup with Antarctica, where 30 icedomes will be constructed. Brushing aside environmental concerns and a potential audience of only 1,000 explorers and scientists, he urges people to concentrate on the legacy. 2038 World Cup duly won by team composed of Emperor penguins and boffins. Joyce Woolridge

A sinkhole opens up under Harry Redknapp's house. That Tottenham managed to hang on to fourth place and are not only keeping up this season but ran Inter ragged is heartening in this Sheikh Mansour world, but Redknapp’s salt-of-the-earth belligerence, well-planted quotes about open transfer targets under contract at other clubs and endless touting himself as Fabio Capello’s replacement under the guise of claiming he doesn’t want to be touted is increasingly grating. Delay the collapse into 60  feet of the earth’s crust until the summer, maybe, just in case. In the meantime I’ll settle for Rio Ferdinand having his broadband disconnected. Simon Tyers

Chelsea reach the final of the Champions League and be one goal ahead as the game enters stoppage time, only to lose thanks to one blatantly offside goal and one clearly inadmissible penalty. And that this will permanently scar the club and the careers of all its players, including Ashley Cole, who will be banned for life due to his over-reactions at the final whistle, and John Terry, the player penalised for the non-existent penalty, who will cry all day and every day until his dying day. Ian Plenderleith

Some of the harsh financial realities that a large proportion of the country are now facing properly hit home with football clubs and that the playing field starts to level out. Also that the authorities clamp down harder and penalise clubs who, in my opinion, cheat by signing players that they know they will not be able to pay the full monthly cost of employing eg PAYE and NI on their salaries. Ian Rands

A guest footballer on Match of the Day 2 can begin his first sentence on the programme without using the words: “Well, like I said...” Paul Campbell

Football fans in general, but particularly Premier League fans, calm down. For some reason, this year supporters of all clubs seem to have lost what little proportionality they had and have worked themselves up into a state of apoplexy over everything from penalty decisions that aren’t even remotely dubious to transfer requests (Wayne Rooney), or taking any suggestion that not everything is 100 per cent perfect at their club as an affront on their family and religion all in one. This may be the football equivalent of asking for world peace though. Gary Andrews

At the time of writing, Bayern Munich could still win the Cup, the Champions League and, at a push, even the Bundesliga. If there are any post-victory frolics, during which Bayern players traditionally chase their bosses around the pitch and douse them in Weizenbier, I'd quite like either Uli Hoenes or Louis van Gaal to accidentally-on-purpose deliver a clean blow with the fist to Franck Ribéry's slack, self-satisfied jaw. Matt Nation

Unhealthily bankrolled as they are, a Manchester City championship win would at least end the mind-numbing dominance of Manchester United and Chelsea. It is still just about possible to equate City with Maine Road and the likes of Neil McNab and Kenny Clements, and to see them finally end their trophy drought and add a different face to the roll of honour would be pleasant. At least until their fans become as unbearable as those of United and Chelsea. Steve Wilson

My six-year-old daughter, now a season-ticket holder, maintains her record of having never seen Luton lose live. As hopes go, it is more likely than football as a whole coming to its senses. Neil Rose

The people running the Premier League and the FA realise that the current way of financing football is immoral, unjustifiable and unsustainable and they adopt an approach that passes the money round more fairly to prevent clubs like Oldham Athletic or Walsall or Plymouth and loads of others living in fear of going bust. Failing that, Lionel Messi could sign for Latics. It’s not going to happen, is it? Brian Simpson

Pundits will stop saying “no one understands the offside rule anymore – won’t someone explain it to me”. It’s simple. We understand it, you don’t. Oh and the same people can cease calling players by their nicknames. No more Stevie G, the Drog or the Yak. Andy Thorley

Off the field, it would be great to see positive changes at FIFA but I won’t hold my breath. A more realistic ambition would be for the governing bodies to better restrict clubs from spending money they cannot generate themselves. On the pitch, I’d like to see Barcelona continue in their current vein because we may be witnessing the greatest football team there has ever been and people should enjoy it. Adam Bate

Television ceases to interview tired and uninterested players after the match. There is really no point continuing this tedious charade because every question, whatever its subject and however it is phrased, inevitably leads to the statement “it was important to get the three points today”. One might ask “Were you fortunate today to defeat a resilient Sunderland side?” or “Assess the claim that all knowledge comes from, and is ultimately justified by, sense experience” or indeed “Why does a scarlet ribbon look so good on a goose?” With all three, it is still only a matter of time before the interviewee alights on the importance of getting three points and waits for the nod so he can put his earphones back on. It might be an idea to fill this time with longer highlights of the game or some colourful circles pulsing to ambient jazz. Cameron Carter

Strange coming from a West Ham fan, but my hope is that Arsenal finally win a trophy again. He has many faults but there should be no argument about the way Arsene Wenger has transformed his club and had a mostly positive impact on English football. And for that he deserves success, just as long as it’s not in the Carling Cup final against West Ham. Mark Segal

Comments (12)
Comment by Dalef65 2010-12-30 14:26:13

Andy Thorley,
You cannot deny that the way the offside rule is written and implemented at the moment,is illogical and inconsistent.
It leads to many situations where the officials seem to make it up as they go along......
As such your wish for pundits to stop saying that nobody understands it is folorn.

Comment by Coral 2010-12-30 15:41:01

So what you are saying is that pundits don't understand the rules the same as us? Yet referees must do. So on that basis I hope that a referee never gets lambasted by a pundit for getting a decision wrong, I mean that doesn't happen does it?

Makes you wonder, if the pundits can't understand it then why exactly do we bother with them...

Comment by MoeTheBarman 2010-12-30 19:36:48

Dear god, you lot are miserable. Is Mark Segal the only one who has something nice to say? Unfortunately I fear your gracious praise of Arsenal will be unfairly rewarded by them winning the Carling Cup. If it's any consolation, I think the Hammers will stay up.

Comment by madmickyf 2010-12-31 01:57:12

I just want to see Luton promoted and MK Dongs go bust, that would be enough to make 2011 a memorable year.

Comment by scofmann 2010-12-31 08:44:05

"A more realistic ambition would be for the governing bodies to better restrict clubs from spending money they cannot generate themselves. On the pitch, I’d like to see Barcelona continue in their current vein..."

Sarcasm?

Comment by Jonny_Bananas 2010-12-31 09:37:01

MoeTheBarman, I think that most of the comments are negative or suggest a change for the better because the game has so many faults that are ignored by the mainstream media. People want improvement and a more open game (as long as it means there team win a trophy.)

Comment by eighteen85 2010-12-31 17:55:56

madmickyf - Amen to that

Comment by taddison87 2011-01-01 23:37:23

I want football to be, predominantely, about football, with most discussions being about players and tactics. Let's replace these God awful pundits with people who know what they're on about, and have more intelligent, informed discussions about the matches that have just taken place. Football is a sport, not a soap opera, we spend too much time talking about personalities, gossip and rumours.

Comment by Efficient Baxter 2011-01-02 14:26:51

Who does Gary Andrews think he is? It is outrageous that this form of ill-educated, sloppy journalism should be allowed on such a well-informed site as WSC, but unfortunately that seems to quickly becoming the norm. Everything is perfectly fine at my football club and his suggestion that it isn't is wanton carelessness bordering on viscousness and it is journalism like this which could cause our relegation.

On a different note, I thought I understood the offside law until Huddlestone's winner at Craven Cottage earlier this season, when to me an offside William Gallas was clearly interfering with play, but the referee didn't think so. To this day I don't know if this was a mistake by the ref (which is understandable) or the correct application of the law as no officials have made any comment on the incident. So I now don't know what the offside rule means any more.

Comment by Efficient Baxter 2011-01-02 20:15:17

Oh - and I've just remembered another thing about that offside decision. The shot slightly clipped a defender's heels on the way through, barely deviating the path of the ball, so some people were saying that because it came off a defender, Gallas was not offside. This sounds patently ridiculous to me, but on watching the reruns of the decision this is what Huddlestone argued to the ref in order to allow the goal to stand.

So what is offside again?

Comment by Efficient Baxter 2011-01-02 22:27:14

I'm starting to think that Gary Andrews has got a point.

Comment by jertzeeAFCW 2011-01-04 13:08:47

Ian Plenderleith - I salute you. Oh and MK Dongs to die a horrible death....

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