THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

31 December ~  The coalition government brings in a new law requiring all Premier League footballers to live like the rest of us for one day every month, experiencing all the crappiest aspects of life in the UK today. On these days they will be required to leave their luxury vehicles at home and get the bus to work, sitting next to a group of teenagers playing tinny grime “music”  through mobile phones; go shopping at Asda, waiting ages for assistance as the incredibly paranoid self checkout facility breaks with every other item bagged; spend hours in an identikit shopping mall while the other half tries on clothes that all seem to look the same, wondering where the soul of Britain's town centres has disappeared to. Saul Pope

Steve McClaren manages to turn things around at Woflsburg. And if he isn't able to, it would be nice if the English media praised his efforts to experience different football cultures and improve as a coach, rather than simply using it as an excuse to remind us of his failure as national team manager and reprint that picture of him holding an umbrella. Ed Wilson

Wealthy Grimsby chairman John Fenty realises the error of his ways. This means ditching his micro-Jack Walker vanity project and instead running the club sustainably, from a distance. And leaving the Conservative Party. Pete Green

Stockport County finally get their act together. Aside from a brief flurry of success under the magnificently eccentric Jim Gannon in 2008 (he refused to do interviews with Sky Sports for a while because his Sky box broke down at home), County have been on one massive downer for the best part of ten years, and teetered on the verge of extinction last summer. They’ve had chronic financial mismanagement, chronic performances and chronic managers (Carlton Palmer, anyone?). They’ve also seen Sale Sharks effectively take over the ground and turn the Edgeley Park pitch into a dusty wasteland. Paul Simpson seems to be losing his battle to keep County out of the Conference. If they go down, it’s hard to see how they’ll get back. Mike Whalley

More of a crazy, impossible wish, really: that instead of the constant griping and sniping, Portuguese clubs would get together to figure out a strategy for bringing bums back to seats throughout the Liga, and not just at Benfica’s Luz and FC Porto’s Dragão, although even these have seen a fall in attendances year-on-year. In their seven home games up to the Christmas break, União de Leiria, currently fourth in the table, have had 12,569 spectators. That’s not an average. That’s the total number. Five other top flight clubs have had fewer than 20,000. Phil Town

A credible candidate emerges to take on Sepp Blatter in the 2011 FIFA presidential elections. Unlikely, of course, but you can only hope that someone is willing to risk any future career in football and challenge the septuagenarian Swiss, whose time as head of world football is surely well past. Steve Menary

Fans return to the habit of applauding opposition goalkeepers (as mentioned in a recent WSC letter). Tom Green

Since I’ll be likely to become a season-ticket holder for the first time starting in February, I’d like River Plate to start actually bloody scoring some goals. Contrary to what you may have read if you keep your eye on English-language coverage of the Argentine league, River don’t actually play bad football – they’re just woefully rubbish at turning their dominance into goals. There was nothing I found quite as frustrating during 2010 as going to River home games and thinking “I’ve paid 150 pesos [£24] to watch this, and the stupid bastards can’t even beat Quilmes in spite of having seemingly 80 per cent or more of the ball.” So, to president Passarella and whoever his choice as manager in the new year might be, my request is simple: Never mind the title challenge, just give us some goals, please. Sam Kelly

Boffins come up with a way of preserving Paul Scholes’s athletic ability as well as his shyness before the world’s press. Ashley Shaw

Bolton to qualify for the Champions League. I've had no great love for them in the past, but Owen Coyle has turned them into a (relatively) likeable, attacking, footballing side, and if anyone from outside the London/Manchester axis is going to make it into the top four, they look the most likely candidates at the time of writing. To see Man City fail to make it again - and this time to a side that, unlike current interlopers Spurs, aren't exactly big spenders - would just be spectacularly funny. Seb Patrick

Alan Shearer leaves Match of the Day to return to management. With Rangers. Or a referee to see sense and book Mark van Bommel before kick-off, just to save time later. Mark Poole

A forlorn one: that someone other than Harry Redknapp becomes the next England coach (on the basis that Fabio Capello won’t last the year). We have enough of his jingoistic outbursts now. What will it be like if he’s national coach? Andy Brassell

Henry McLeish's review of Scottish football stimulates genuine debate and change, rather than being quietly placed on a shelf once the headlines have faded. While his ten-team SPL is not necessarily the best or only restructuring option, the proposal to amalgamate the governing bodies offers a chance to streamline the game’s governance and root out blazer-bound conservatism. It would be disappointing if yet another movement for change were to find itself smothered by vested interests. The game needs this to be a real fresh start. Dianne Millen

The FA Cup final doesn't involve any of the four clubs who have won it in 14 of the last 15 seasons. Andy Lyons

Television has intruded far too much on top-class football. Every goal, every foul, every grin or grimace is portrayed in almost pornographic detail. Moreover, no referee or assistant stands a chance against a TV pundit armed with umpteen different replay angles; to err is no longer human. Wishing for fewer cameras in the ground may be whistling in the wind, but I wish for it all the same. David Wangerin

Comments (4)
Comment by Harry Truscott 2011-01-01 11:14:02

I presume Andy Lyons realises his wish came true in 2008?

Comment by bearlion 2011-01-01 11:55:33

So, er, that'll be the one that wasn't the other 14 then? Happy new year

Comment by MoeTheBarman 2011-01-02 18:40:28

Curious how people think the FA Cup has been devalued and the big clubs don't take it seriously when they are the only ones who win it.

Comment by Andy WSC 2011-01-03 13:15:45

Harry - yes, I know that the 2008 FA Cup Final was between Portsmouth and Cardiff. I didn't say that the big four had contested every final in the last 15 years.

Related articles

It Is What It Is: The Carlton Palmer story
by Carlton Palmer with Steven JacobiVertical Editions, £17.99Reviewed by Andy HockleyFrom WSC 378, September 2018Buy the book As a...
Sporting president under pressure to step down after fans attack players
Embed from Getty Images // Several players were injured when supporters stormed Sporting’s training ground ahead of the cup final, rounding...
Hope for 2018 ~ part two
Embed from Getty Images // No more gambling ads, reform in Spain and Italy, and England playing in the Football League – WSC contributors&...