A selection of WSC contributors look forward to the new year
That Leicester City, Watford and Crystal Palace can somehow manage not to be cannibalised in the January window, and prolong their faintly extraordinary runs of form for another few months. And that Euro 2016 somehow manages to transcend its grim new format and avoid being a month-long farrago of boring encounters between mediocre teams.
Two goals in a game – for Manchester United, that is. Their opponents seem to be having no trouble.
That the ongoing drive to actually do something about the fact that football is run by the most corrupt organisation in the world doesn't end with Sepp Blatter's departure, and actually goes as far as it needs to. A change of venue for either or both of the next two World Cups would be nice, too.
Since it’s the season of goodwill let’s give a wee pat on the back to the otherwise unlovable SPFL for having the guts to try to liven up the near-moribund League Cup with a qualifying section format at the start of next season. As well as being a nostalgia trip for us oldies who recall this being the traditional summer kick-off to Scottish football in decades gone by they are also reintroducing a mini winter break for the Premiership. Nobody is going to lament to missing out on sitting in a dank three-quarters empty stadium for a couple of weekends in January are they? It ain’t a revolution, but it probably will be televised. Let’s embrace it.
The betting industry to implode, so I can open a newspaper and not be confronted by an advert for some offer or other for a game that I am a) not going to watch and b) bet on in a million years. Having worked in the industry, the steps taken to induce vulnerable people into parting with money they cannot afford is a disgrace. But football doesn’t care because they know they can eek out some extra revenue by having an official betting partner. And an official Asian betting partner. And an official online betting partner…
With Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini slapped with lengthy bans – and various other FIFA cronies under investigation – it’s to be hoped that football’s governing body is finally straightening itself out. On a domestic level, and in the increasingly unlikely event of Liverpool getting anywhere near the top four, it would be so great for English football if Leicester actually did win the league. And, in the process, smashing the tediously depressing edict that only the wealthiest clubs can win the major trophies.
That a top-tier club responds to the Football Supporters' Federation's Twenty's Plenty campaign and reduces prices for travelling fans. Surely, if nothing else, a decent bit of atmosphere always makes for good telly – and it might be nice to see some younger faces in among us balding 40-somethings.
That England’s Euro 2016 isn’t marked by the kind of pedestrian football seen in their last three international tournaments. If we’re going to go out let’s do it in a blaze of glory losing 5-3 to Russia in the group stage.
The Allam family will sell Hull City to someone who understands the importance of a club's history, the relevance of the local community and the emotional commitments of the supporters. It'd obviously be nice to see us get promotion again as well.
It would be nice if neutrals were to stop telling me how well Everton are doing. It would be even nicer to think somebody might have slipped a Defending for Dummies book into Roberto Martínez’s Christmas stocking, though the evidence of their final game of the year against Stoke suggests that will remain a vain hope. Away from Goodison Park, a promotion to reward Gareth Ainsworth's good work at Wycombe would be welcome, not least given last season’s League Two play-off final heartbreak and his sporting embrace with Southend manager Phil Brown during that match’s shootout denouement.
An end to the epidemic of “five things we learned” articles; possibly the most annoying creation of the online football journalism era. Or, to give such articles a more accurate title, “five disconnected observations on a football match, commissioned by an editor unable to differentiate between analysis and lists, and cobbled together by a reporter who could only really think of three things”. And yes, I've been that reporter.
With Walsall top of League One as we enter 2016 I'm afraid someone else will have to worry about football's Big Issues this year. The Super Saddlers as champions, Burton runners up and Gillingham trouncing Sheffield United and Wigan on the way to play-off glory would just about make it the best League One season ever.