Category Archives: *Tom Gaunt
As I watch the news and see the horrific tragedies happening around the World I can’t help but think how pathetic many football fans are. I would like to say it is the minority but it seems that this minority is either getting larger or just getting more media visibility, I am unsure which to be honest. Unfortunately I have, at times also mirrored some of the behavior which would put me in the category of treating football as a matter of life and death, which it certainly is not.
It has been a year since I last blogged and during that time I have watched the sport of football increasingly fool itself into believing it is the most important thing in the world. The truth is it is should be far lower on people’s priorities and not considered life or death for those who call themselves fans.
The saddest thing that I have heard in all my time as a football fan is the news of a Dutch linesman who was beaten to death by three players at a youth football match. Those players truly considered it a matter of life and death, they believed that the game was so important that they were willing to not only harm but kill another human being. What makes this even more tragic is that the linesman’s son was playing in the game. He watched his father killed on the field. It is remarkable how little coverage this has got, dwarfed by the fact that Messi has scored 86 goals in the past year, or the fact that AVB says Bale isn’t a diver. This guy was killed on the pitch and it is part of a bigger problem.
Whilst I am no fan of Rugby as a sport, you would never hear of anything like this happening. The players call the officials sir and if they even argue they receive a penalty and further chat and they are sent off. I did a quick google search for both “referee attacked in football match” and “referee attacked in rugby match” as you can imagine there was a big difference in the number of hits each search got.
I look around a football ground and see the vile insults being spewed and you would think that the opposition players were made up of murderers and rapists. If it isn’t distasteful chants about a tragedy the opposition suffered it is a personal attack on a player or manager. The recent hatred towards Rafa Benitez shocked me. Not the fact that there were those who disagreed with the appointment but that they felt it necessary to turn on someone because at one point in time he made fun of you, and also was the manager of another team. Imagine if you changed companies and as soon as you walked in the office everyone started shouting abuse at you… it is a preposterous notion but essentially that is what is happening.
Presumably the fan who attempted to confront Rio Ferdinand, once he had already been coined, had plans to attack him in some way, although the chances of him having some sort of plan are slim. I have heard people say that Rio shouldn’t have celebrated in front of the City fans, why not? Do fans have so little self control that the sight of someone else happy drive them to violence. I think fans need to have a long hard look at themselves and weigh up how important this game really is and to what lengths their disgusting behavior should be tolerated all in the name of club loyalty. Vincent Kompany said he was against netting because fans should not be caged like animals, well maybe if fans stopped behaving like them he would have a valid argument.
Is Fantasy Football taking over your life? Are you finding it hard to separate real football from the fantasy? Tom Gaunt has a look at the new obsession with Fantasy Football.
As Silva headed Manchester City ahead in their recent clash with Arsenal a loud cheer went up in the pub. Was I in a heavily partisan venue filled with sky blue shirts? No, it was the sound of people who had decided to make the little maestro their Fantasy Football captain that week, their decision had been vindicated. Similarly, others kept a keen eye on the other screen to see if Adebayor or Van der Vaart were going to show their true value. Surely at home against Sunderland was a banker for Fantasy points, you could almost hear people think. It seems no longer can you relax and watch a game for the pure enjoyment, it is now all about points. Read the rest of this entry
After Chelsea were pegged back by Wigan last night Tom Gaunt takes a look at some of the fundamental problems facing Chelsea and Andre Villas Boas.
As a Chelsea fan I have resisted the temptation to write about Chelsea and their woes this season. Plenty has been written and there is a fair chance that whatever I say will be somewhat biased. However after last nights draw away at relegation threatened Wigan I had a long hard think about what was going wrong and who or what was to blame. I will take a brief look at tactics like the high line, how Chelsea have pressed the ball and whether we are playing the right formation but I also want to examine the bigger picture to try to identify some major problems that cannot be solved by a bit of tweaking or a new number nine. Read the rest of this entry
Who really are the biggest team in England? Which team has the most history? Who has the worst fans? Tom Gaunt debates all of this and how fans try to decide amongst themselves.
I live in the UAE, a country which turns 40 next weekend. This is an extraordinary fact considering how much has been achieved in that time and the changes that have taken place. Their recent history is remarkable, but beyond that lies the tribal history of the country which is now almost unrecognizable but by no means forgotten. This got me thinking about one of football fans’ favourite taunts. The claim that an opposition club has “no history”. Now technically the UAE as a country has a limited history as it has been in existence for a fraction of the time of other nations but this argument doesn’t really apply with most football clubs, except perhaps MK Dons. Read the rest of this entry
The second part of this article was first featured on Football Speak – if you enjoy it please go there and “Rate it”.
Here at We Heart Football we have never been described as completely impartial. More likely we are biased, opinionated and some might say at times blinkered. This is not about to change, but in order to offer a balanced view Raffael Fernandes and Tom Gaunt will be giving two different perspectives on one, possibly misunderstood, player. Andy Carroll. Read the rest of this entry
By Tom Gaunt
This was first published on Caught Offside
The World Cup is the biggest stage in world football and not only do players from all over the World come together to compete and perform but so do referees. With officials from every corner of the World you can expect some inconsistencies, however the decisions below are just outright ridiculous. This is a list of 10 of the worst refereeing mistakes in recent years. I have stuck to decisions that I have seen and have video evidence of, if you can think of anymore let me know.
10. Netherlands v Spain 2010 – Nigel De Jong Kung-Fu Kick
Howard Webb will probably want to forget the 2010 World cup final. It was supposed to be his finest hour but due to the Netherlands ugly tactics he was left with an impossible task. He brandished 14 yellow cards including a red for Jonny Heitinga, but he was actually very lenient letting Nigel De Jong commit what can only be described as a Kung-Fu kick on Xabi Alonso. If he had done that in the street he would be arrested, but Webb ultimately bottled it and just gave a yellow card. Read the rest of this entry
By Tom Gaunt
For some time we have been debating how to deter cheats in football. In recent times cheating has become more prevalent and cheats are getting better at it. Two decades ago when the Premier League started it was a rarity to see a player dive, even leading to players like Jurgen Klinsmann standing out as a “Diver”, he was the exception not the rule. Fast forward 15 years and now there is barely a player in the top division who has not only dived but has also perfected the art. The rise to prominence of an apparent new rule stating that any contact made in a tackle is a penalty has not helped the cause. We now see players actually kicking an opponents leg and then buckling under the impact, which in my eyes should be a free kick the other way, but to referees and pundits alike this is a clear penalty because there was “contact”. However cheating is not the problem I will be discussing today (for that you can read The Beautiful Shame). I want to look at potential solutions to what I believe is a virus spreading throughout the game and spiraling out of control. Read the rest of this entry
By Tom Gaunt
Twitter has recently become the hot topic for the sporting media to discuss, or more accurately certain Footballer’s use of Twitter. With this in mind I thought I would offer my thoughts on the subject.
The main gripe people seem to have is that Footballers are representing their club and therefore must censor what they say. Surely they should simply write the well-worn phrase “These views are my own and not those of my company” or in Footballer’s case “my Club”. This is, of course, what got Nathan Eccleston in a spot of bother last week. Liverpool felt the need to publicly denounce a tweet of his so as not to be associated with his views. They were probably right to do so, but it does raise the question of when a Club should get involved.
I read an article a while back, mocking Rio Ferdinand for commenting on the Rooney swearing saga, saying (or rather tweeting) that there were bigger problems in the world, like civil wars in Libya and the Ivory Coast or the tsunami in Japan. Whilst Rio may not be an academic or possess a PhD in politics, I am not sure intellectual snobbery is necessary. Surely we should be happy that he has an idea of some of the issues the World, outside football, is facing. Most people, including those of you reading this article, will comment daily on subjects well outside their areas of expertise, forcing ill-informed opinions on anyone who will listen. The difference is that Rio has over a million people listening, but raising awareness of issues in even a small way should be praised not mocked. The journalist continues, pulling Rio up for using the word ‘lynched’ and suggesting unless he is talking of the public execution of a person without trial he should not be so liberal with the word. This is a bit rich coming from a journalist; a group of professionals who intentionally and freely mislead their readers with their lexicon on a regular basis. Read the rest of this entry
By Tom Gaunt
This week Kenny Dalglish called for greater communication between Referees and Managers, and who could argue. It seems every week another manager is throwing their toys out of the pram. This was a refreshing approach. He did not insult any particular referees but suggested they had not had the rub of the green recently, I think Liverpool fans may agree. He invited referees’ chief Mike Riley to Liverpool’s Melwood training ground and they had an adult discussion and clear the air talks. All very mature. To believe that Kenny merely required some answers to a few questions which were troubling him would be naive. I think this may have been a shrewd move. However this article is not designed to examine Dalglish’s motives, whatever they are I still think it was a smart move. With American owners and with their unproven yet undoubtedly forward thinking Moneyball approach, I wouldn’t be surprised if Liverpool were ahead of the game on this one. Read the rest of this entry
By Tom Gaunt
I recently wrote about boo-boys, and whilst I would never boo Fernando Torres or wish him any ill fate I have become slightly fixated with his performances and the mixed reactions to them. In fact it seems the whole media world uses half their Chelsea match report to discuss how the misfiring Spaniard performed. So with this in mind I readily admit that my opinions on Torres may be slightly clouded, but nonetheless I will share them.
I watched last nights game against Bayer Leverkusen and thought Chelsea’s overall display, against a club who are no mugs, was solid if not spectacular. Daniel Sturridge sparkled and new boys Juan Mata and Raul Meireles looked full of ideas and energy. Torres however left me rolling my eyes and sighing as he was constantly knocked off the ball, mis-controlled and generally looked poor. He was unlucky of course, in the first few minutes his clever flick went so close to Meireles that the goal was rightly given offside, but it seems that since his arrival Torres has been plagued with ‘bad luck’. It is the sort of luck which Arsenal have had recently or it seems most relegated clubs are faced with, but it is not really luck when it carries over 20+ games. Read the rest of this entry