Interesting bit in e-mail just received from the Blizzard - hard to disagree with. And why I think the Prem is the best league in Europe:
The new season should be a time for new hope and anticipation and, for the Premier League, it is. Exciting new players, even more exciting new managers, a sense that there are at least six sides challenging for the top-four spots. An English club has broken the world transfer record for the first time since Newcastle United signed Alan Shearer in 1996. English football is still warmed by the glow of the Leicester City fairy tale.
But elsewhere the picture is far less rosy. Bayern Munich will win the Bundesliga. Juventus will win Serie A. Paris St-Germain will win La Ligue. Sometime around March, they’ll get round to playing a meaningful game as the Champions League gets to the quarter-final stage, but until then it’s just a case of trotting on, accumulating points until the league is won, probably with half a dozen games or more to spare. La Liga, with a whole two, maybe two and a half, challengers seems thrillingly competitive by comparison.
This is the grim result of the modern economics of football, something England has escaped in part because of the collective agreement on broadcasting rights, ensuring a more equitable division of revenues, in part because oligarchs and sovereign wealth funds have sought to buy in the Premier League, and in part because those broadcasting rights are worth so much that the Champions League does not have such a distorting effect.
It’s impossible to hide from the logical outcome of football’s increasing inequality. Simple league titles, ultimately, will become tedious for the most successful – as well as for those habitually being beaten. A lack of domestic competition is already afflicting Bayern and PSG, who keep being exposed in big games because they’ve forgotten how to defend. The only solution, for them, is a Super League.
Every year, it feels, it comes closer. If access to it starts to be determined on such criteria as “historical merit”, it becomes a de facto franchise system and the beautiful sense of organic growth and one enormous interconnected pyramid that has sustained European football for so long will be lost.
Oddly, the main obstacle now is probably the wealth of the Premier League: why would English clubs want to give up a structure that is working very well for them?
Was a fantastic youth player coming through when i was living in So'ton and watching them semi-regularly.
Has had a couple of big moves but it has never quite clicked, thought he was brilliant for Rotherham last year the 2 or 3 times I saw him, and was only thinking about him as a potential signing last week or so.
Warnock seemed to get the best out of him, and Mick is very similar in style - think he'd be a good addition to help Murphy out when we need someone to lead the line.
....happy with a point but they were there for the taking really.
Thought first half we were very good, and played exactly like fans have been crying out for - not necessarily pretty passing football, but pace, power and tempo to our game. This is how we've played when were at our best under Mick, and a return to that will be nice - we need to be relentless.
Crowd were in good voice, was a real good atmosphere about the town and felt like a proper football day rather than a bit flat as has been case recently.
Individual performances - thought Skuse was excellent, Douglas did well alongside him. Murphy battled well up top until he picked up that knock, Knudsen got up and down well and scored a good goal (although should have scored just before then.
I agreed with Sky and the guy picking in SBR Suite that Ward was MOTM, thought he was excellent - a proper footballer and a great acquisition, seems a really level headed good lad too and comes across well when interviewed. Humble and decent.
Let downs - Bru and Sears for me. If Bru is going to float around in that free role then he has to do more going forwards and just for his set pieces alone he should be dropped - it is vital we do well from these situations as we don't create huge amounts in open play. Sears looks shot and doesn't look like he'll score a goal this season!
2nd half was a bit flat, both sides seemed happy with a point so didn't risk it, which is fair enough.
I think this season will have his moments but not sure we'll have enough for the top 6, feels a bit of a transition season. Hopefully we can get Grant and Bishop into the side at expense of Bru and Douglas, and a new winger to start instead of Sears on that left hand side and think we'll push along nicely.
....Mrs had to go down there at lunchtime to pick up something and as she was leaving was accosted by a bloke and a member of staff.
Bloke had driven down to get a ticket to the Norwich game, but didn't have a purchase history in last 10 years so couldn't buy one - so they asked wife whether she had a purchase history. She said no but husband would have one.....
She then said it may be a corporate one, and they badgered her for company name which she gave. They then looked it up on internet to find a postcode so they could put it through the system on my customer number.
I won't complain, but if the staff are willing to go to this extent to get a customer number for a fan, then why not just let them buy one? Also, my (heavily pregnant) wife felt bullied into this and is now worried that if anything happens that I'll get in trouble. I've said it won't be an issue but she is a bit hormonal and doesn't really understand the system.
All a bit naughty, if you ask me - I won't say anything to club as don't want to get any staff in trouble - but basically some random bloke from Bournemouth has a ticket now on my companies customer number, he could be bloody anyone!