A failed World Cup, underdogs having their day and free drinks during VAR decisions – WSC contributors on what they are wishing to see in the coming year
That they do away with the penalty area official next year. I don’t want any of them to die as such, just to be herded up with no fuss and taken to a retraining centre where they can learn a proper job that helps people. They already have among their skills a breathtaking audacity, in that they take home a not insignificant amount of money for teetering on a touchline and peering at professional football players for 90 minutes, so perhaps they could learn to tightrope walk between skyscrapers with a dog in a wheelbarrow for our entertainment, probably on ITV3. Or deliver pizzas. Or anything.
Call me naive or mad but I just think England might do something worthwhile in the World Cup. For once the climate might be a little more suitable to our game, certainly than the Amazonian jungle was last time. And if we do I hope all the fans get back safe, sound and without causing the Third World War. Someone else is on that case already.
That 2018 is a year for the unfashionable. There is plenty of potential. Burnley qualifying for Europe and Sean Dyche being named as Manager of the Year would be a good start alongside Harry Maguire and James Tarkowski forming England’s centre-back partnership in summer. Perhaps a step too far would be Oldham Athletic making the play-offs, but maybe that’s the point where hopes turn into fantasy.
It's now too much to hope that this year's World Cup could be put a stop to by non-violent means. So I'm reduced to hoping it goes ahead but is a massive let-down, on the field and commercially.
That somebody, somewhere, sits the relevant FIFA committee down in front of edited highlights from other sports on how to properly use video replays. Failing that, clubs reach an agreement with the authorities that FIFA will stump up a free drink for everyone in the stadium anytime the VAR takes longer than three minutes.
For Celtic to make progress in Europe, the most meaningful measure of how good they are. Knocking Zenit Saint Petersburg out of the Europa League in February would be a big step in the right direction, but they’ll need to play much better than they have been recently.
That Lincoln fans can rein in their newly elevated expectations. And that FIFA stages another bloated, bombastic and generally boring World Cup, and nobody bothers to watch.
Aside from wishing for an end to the proliferation of TV pundits with a talent for stating the bleedin’ obvious (or, in the case of one ex-England manager, inane Hoddlespeak), it would be great to see video technology integrated fully. Here’s hoping the FA doesn’t back out. It’s not just about the contentious penalties, it’s all that diving about. Let’s shame the culprits right there and then – giant screen replays at the ground immediately after the incident, so tens of thousands of punters and millions at home can all yell “You cheating bastard!” in unison.
Second place in the Premier League will do fine. If not that one of the “guest celebrity DJs” at Old Trafford (it was Hugh Jackman with a film to promote on Boxing Day, whose playlist “has been facilitated as part of the club’s partnership with 21st Century Fox” (honestly) goes for some obscure 1980s German Techno Punk, Horse Latitudes by the Doors (“then the last animal is jettisoned” bellowed by Jim Morrison across the stands would be worth the entrance money alone) or just anything which isn't the Stone Roses, the Smiths, David Bowie or Bob Marley.
That some of those England Under-17 World Cup winners start to find a way into domestic top tier first-team squads. The Premier League’s short-termism has already seen it lose a generation of young match-goers, it surely now can’t lose a generation of young players?
Having enjoyed Euro 2016, I thought my son would like to experience a World Cup match. Unfortunately, having purchased two tickets ahead of the draw, he told me he didn’t really fancy spending seven hours travelling to Russia. Refunds are not available but I am hopeful I can recoup my losses in the resell ballot. However, considering the tickets are for Egypt v Saudi Arabia in what was once known as Stalingrad, I think it’s going to be a tough ask…