From bitter schadenfreude and hopes of survival to the increase in fan-led initiatives, our writers set out what they want to happen in 2017
That people who keep going on about using video technology finally get their wish and then watch as managers point out that, while the penalty against them was justified, the throw-in given to the opposition 30 seconds earlier should have gone the other way, which obviously would have meant…
Simple, really. That my team, Atalanta, will not be dismembered in the dreaded January transfer window, as happened last time. We know that we cannot keep all of our immensely promising young players for long, but let us at least enjoy them until the end of the season.
Several for improvements to Portuguese football (all entirely wishful thinking, of course): the media giving clubs other than Benfica, Porto and Sporting decent coverage; coaches saying interesting things at press conferences; club presidents taking a back seat (some do, while others – such as the appalling Bruno de Carvalho at Sporting – conduct themselves like a particularly obnoxious spoilt child); action being taken to stamp out time-wasting.
My hopes for the year are two-fold; 1) Gordon Strachan finds religion and decides to give up the job as Scotland manager in favour of becoming a Benedictine monk, taking a vow of silence into the bargain. 2) Millwall captain and all-round crap footballer Tony Craig joins him.
That Edinburgh City survive in League Two to underline the validity of meritocracy in Scotland’s fledging league pyramid; The New Saints of Oswestry Town and Llansantffraid win the Irn Bru (League Challenge) Cup for the sheer quirkiness of it; and the SPFL continue to nudge us towards summer football with the reformatted League Cup and, whisper it, a winter break. Change is sometimes OK.
In the prevailing spirit of nihilism, I’d like to see Donald Trump draw the quarter-finals of the Checkatrade Trophy.
Let’s hope for the sustaining of the positive momentum in a number of fan-led initiatives. We’re seeing movement on safe standing, ticket prices, supporter representation (plus the end of Sepp Blatter). There is a sense that supporter arguments are being listened to, at least, in a way that could only have been dreamed of in the mid-1980s.
Quick list: More answerable timekeeping at matches – it is not quite enough to add three minutes at the end if you’re not sure and then blow the final whistle the first time the ball goes in the air near that three-minute mark irrespective of any stoppages during that added time. Also an end to Friday and Monday night games. The Monday night games – it is as if they have not actually happened. It is as if the weekend was not a convenient enough time for a leisure activity to take place. It is as if Monday night was a good night to travel around the country for people. And for the love of all things holy, please can we take all the penalty area officials out onto the hills above the town and set them free.
Not only that Lincoln City will remain top of the National League until May, but that they will retain Danny Cowley as manager. And that he will confidently predict Champions League football at Sincil Bank “within five years”.
Sounds like bitter schadenfreude I know, but I really would like to see television viewing figures continue to fall off. The Twenty’s Plenty and Safe Standing campaigns have shown that clubs are capable of listening to fans and taking their concerns on board, up to a point. The people who go to games must always be the first priority, not the television audience. Also, I’d like the description a Manchester City fan gave me of Crystal Palace as being “like Fulham with shit pubs” to be included in all of the club’s corporate and marketing literature.
That somebody, somewhere in the governing bodies grows a spine with regard to lower-league club ownership. The likes of Blackpool, Coventry and Leyton Orient deserve better than being systematically dismantled by their respective owners.
Hoping that someone gets sacked from their job shouldn’t really be top of anyone’s list for a new year but I’m very happy to make an exception for Shaun “Checkatrade Trophy” Harvey.