Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Sound Of Football Podcast 293 - The Nations League



The Nations League is on its way - UEFA's solution to uncompetitive matches and too many unnecessary friendlies. A two-year cycle of promotion and relegation, a new alternative to qualification play-offs, and a shiny new cup for Europe's elite to battle for, are just some of the promised benefits when it kicks off in September 2018.

And what better time to discuss this than during an international break - a time when the term "meaningless friendly" is never too far from the thoughts of many observers.

On this week's podcast Graham, Terry and Jan attempt to unravel the complexity of the new tournament and how it will sit in the qualification process of the pan-national Euro 2020 and subsequent competitions. Strap yourselves in - it's going to be a wild ride.

You can listen to the podcast here or if you right click on that link, you can download the MP3.

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Thursday, 16 March 2017

Sound Of Football Podcast 292 - Rise of the VAR



The use of technology in football is something that this podcast has always viewed with a suspicious eye. Now, however, following a groundbreaking decision last year, the Video Assistant Referees (VARs) are on their way whether we like them or not. So is it time for us to embrace change and look forward to the new age of technologically enhanced decision-making?

Graham, Terry and Jan take a long look at the information material being produced by FIFA and IFAB (which as Jan points out, looks like an in-flight safety card). They go through the processes step by step, all the while looking at the benefits but equally any potential pitfalls.

You can listen to the podcast here or if you right click on that link, you can download the MP3.

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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Sound Of Football Podcast 291 - With intent


Controversial actions and decisions are far from uncommon in football. The match between Manchester United and Bournemouth last weekend had more than usual. Many of the incidents, including the two most controversial, were seemingly missed by the referee but were soon leapt upon by commentators.

United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Cherries' Tyrone Mings got embroiled in two incidents that saw the former having his head trodden on and the latter receiving an elbow in the face. On Twitter, Gary Neville was "100%" certain that Mings deliberately stamped on Zlatan's head. Jamie Carragher thought he could divine the inner workings of Mings' psyche by watching what he did immediately after the event. There was also a handball that led to a penalty, another incident where the referee was called upon to decide whether the offence was the intention of the player involved.

This week, Graham, Terry and Jan each analyse the flashpoints of the match. Can they reach a consensus? Will they be able to look into the souls of the individuals concerned to work out what their true intentions really were?

You can listen to the podcast here or if you right click on that link, you can download the MP3.

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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Sound Of Football Podcast 290 - Winning's for losers


If any babies were conceived on the night Leicester lifted the title, they might not have been born by the time Claudio Ranieri was sacked, such is the speed in which fortunes can be reversed in the Premier League.

The previous title winning coach, Jose Mourinho, didn't even manage to see the year out. Pellegrini before him lasted a season and a half before being told his contract wasn't to be extended. He, of course, took over from Mancini - a role he was linked with just eight months after the Italian won City's first title for over 40 years. To paraphrase one of Ranieri's former players - win stuff, get hanged.

With the casualty list of winning head coaches growing, why would anyone want to win the Premier League? Is there some wisdom in Arsene Wenger's approach after all? Join Graham, Terry and Jan as they decide whether winning stuff is actually all it's cracked up to be.

You can listen to the podcast here or if you right click on that link, you can download the MP3.

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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Sound Of Football Podcast 289 - London calling


This weekend a story broke that if true would have been sensational. British tabloid, The Sun on Sunday, reported that Sunderland were looking into the possibility of moving its training HQ down to London in a bid to attract better players and keep hold of the talent it already has. The story was quickly denied by everyone involved in the club and most people seemed happy to label it simply as "football gossip" - which some outlets now refer to as "fake news" - but it did get us thinking.

Could a club really move all its non-match day operations away from its locality? Would the advantages of doing so outweigh the disadvantages?

As a Sunderland fan who himself left the North-east to find his fortune in the South, Jan provides his perspective on the idea. Graham and Terry are on hand to provide additional blue-sky thinking on the concept.

You can listen to the podcast here or if you right click on that link, you can download the MP3.

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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Sound Of Football Podcast 288 - Return to Leicester


What has happened to Leicester City? Could what already looks to be the worst ever Premier League title defence, end in the unthinkable?

Is it just down to Kante's departure to table-topping Chelsea? Have they just ran out of luck? Should they stand by Ranieri to the end, or is there more dignity in letting him go?

Plenty of questions and there are as many theories explaining these events as there were when they created their own miracle last season. Graham, Terry and Jan try to find sense in what's been a wild ride for the Foxes.

You can listen to the podcast here or if you right click on that link, you can download the MP3.

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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Sound Of Football Podcast 287 - Aggressive football


In his post match interview on Saturday, Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte expressed surprise at being asked by British media whether or not Marcos Alonso's aerial challenge with Arsenal's Hector Bellerin was a foul. "Not in England. In Italy... maybe."

The challenge itself, which brought Chelsea's opening goal, was defended by almost all commentators, the only dissenting voices being those from Arsenal fans. Was the aggression and desire to win the ball too great? There may not have been any intent to injure the opponent but nonetheless Bellerin lost consciousness, could play no further part in the game and required an MRI scan.

Meanwhile, in Germany a more clearly unacceptable form of aggression took place outside Borussia Dortmund's ground as a section of home fans indiscriminately attacked supporters of RB Leipzig. What had been barely more than a war of words over something as ideological as club ownership, has now seemingly degenerated into an all too familiar out-pouring of anger.

On this week's podcast, Graham, Terry and Jan look at both these incidents to discuss the place for aggression in the game.

You can listen to the podcast here or if you right click on that link, you can download the MP3.

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