As you already know from the title, James Squared will be discussing their biggest pet peeves in modern-day football (and apparently also one lifestyle choice). They even go the extra mile and assign them to a football formation (because why not?).
Which pet peeves will make their starting line-up? And which ones are on the bench? Have a listen now, and share your pet peeves with us in the comments below, or on twitter – @BarndoorsBanjos.
James E: Welcome, podsphere, to ‘Barndoors and Banjos’. That’s right, back again for some more of our treatment. We’re a football podcast that, I’m sure new listeners will want to know, we’re not going to talk about results or league tables. Just pure, pure football nonsense. No bootleg stuff. This is the official bootleg… this is the official football nonsense channel brought to you by an overexcited James 1 and a traditionally placid James 2.
James T: Yeah, I would say so. Not as excited as you.
James E: No, I don’t know why I’m so excited, really.
James T: Not that I’m not excited. It’s just you’re on a completely different level to me right now.
James E: Thanks. Okay. And I sense that was said in a non-complimentary… but that’s the thing about James Squared. We don’t always have to like each other to get on. There’s this creative tension, isn’t there?
James T: Oh, yeah. It’s like the best bands, isn’t it? They don’t always get on.
James E: Pretty much. We’re very much the Lennon and McCartney of the past? … I can’t believe I’ve just said that.
James T: Yeah, that’s… yeah.
James E: Literally comparing us with geniuses. But whether you like this nonsense or indeed find it absolutely abhorrent, please do subscribe.
James T: Abhorrent was a good word.
James E: We are trying to get James’s retirement home in Barbados, so if you can subscribe – I think you said in one of your earlier podcasts – It helps with the dollar. I like that. [Inaudible 00:01:34]. Follow and like us on Twitter at Barndoors and Banjos and email us, as many of you have been, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A special thanks, we’ve had certainly a few suggestions that we’re looking at for future episodes, so thank you guys that have popped those in. Thank you for your feedback on our last episode, which was all about Gazza, so it looks like, looking at some of our emails, we’ve sparked some great memories there and some good stories, some of which, well, in fact all of them, the ones that were emailed through, were unrepeatable due to the country’s liable laws. But they were still funny for us.
James T: Nostalgia. A lot of nostalgia.
James E: Exactly. We wallowed in it, didn’t we?
James T: We did.
James E: As we have done on a couple of these podcasts. But we did something a little bit different today but, before we get onto something a little bit different, which is pet peeves, and we’ll explain a little bit more about what pet peeves is in a second, James, your outfit today, sir. Obviously we do definitely need a jingle for this, the James’s Fashion Foray.
James T: Football Fashion Foray.
James E: Ooh, look at you with your alliteration. Not assonance, of course, for the English scholars out there.
James T: Who will all be listening to this podcast, obviously.
James E: Who won’t be listening to this podcast, but you never know. You never know. If we attract the odd English scholar, that would be quite good. We would call it Bard Doors and Banjos [inaudible 00:02:58]. Do you see what I did there?
James T: That was…
James E: Bard? Yeah. You’re not pleased, are you?
James T: I’m not overly impressed with that one, no. It was all right though.
James E: We’re not going to get along in this episode.
James T: It was all right.
James E: Whatever. Whatever. Whatever. I can see you’re giving me the metaphoric two fingers. So, James, today you’re wearing an outfit, it’s a Southampton top. I can see that clearly from the club crest, but it appears to be some sort of crazy sash going on. What’s the shirt all about?
James T: It’s the 125-year anniversary shirt.
James E: Ooh.
James T: So it’s a homage. We say the word homage a lot in this podcast, don’t we? In all of our podcasts.
James E: Well sometimes we say homage.
James T: Homage. But that would be the way the Frenchie’s would say it, so I’d say homage and just butcher it entirely. But it’s in homage to the original St. Mary’s Football Club kit back in 1890, whatever it was. Or 1880 whatever it was.
James E: Did they play at The Dell?
James T: No, don’t think so. Or maybe they did?
James E: Oh right, so they moved to The Dell…?
James T: Actually, you know what, I’m not sure if they maybe moved to The Dell when they became Southampton Football Club, if they were playing there when they were St. Mary’s. But the first kit they ever wore was a white kit with a red sash.
James E: There we go. As usual.
James T: Snazzy little number, actually.
James E: I presume when you go into shops and they might ask you, or I suppose you might go online these days, let’s get all trendy and modern, seeing as the high street’s dead, when you ask for your size or you think about your size, do you always say yeah, I’m actually this size, but I’m going to get the one slightly smaller just so it clings a little bit more and shows off the guns?
James T: Yeah, that’s what it is.
James E: Ooh, lucky, you’ve got them both out today. K and O?
James T: Yeah.
James E: Marvellous. Marvellous, isn’t it?
James T: Yeah, it’s usually, does this look like it fits? Yes, it does. Right, one size smaller, please.
James E: Go down one. Go down one. Go down one. Brilliant, brilliant news for everybody there, and especially me.
So, moving on to today’s topic, and actually The Dell and component parts of said ground is a clue to one of my selections today.
James T: Ahh.
James E: And I say selections because myself and James have been, you know, we are big researchers, as any regular listeners will know, we’re there getting all of our research lined up before the [inaudible 00:05:09] but today we’ve gone a bit freestyle, we’ve gone a bit rogue, if you will. A bit rogue. And pet peeves is basically collating a team, formations to be discussed, of our pet peeves in modern football.
So we’ve not really done this before. We usually, as you know, talk about a few topics and work our way through, but this is a broader topic of stuff that just gets on our wick in modern football. And what worried me, obviously I’m a little bit older than you, which we’ve already alluded to, and therefore possibly a little bit more miserable by demographic, but then I don’t think I was [inaudible 00:05:47] getting two teams out at one point, I thought christ, I’m going to put this team in and they can be my feeder in the national league this year. You know, one in the Premier and one in the…
James T: Bloody hell. I just about managed to get four subs on mine.
James E: Oh, really?
James T: You know what though? You’re probably going to mention several things that I just haven’t thought about because there’s been no… well…
James E: Because I do research?
James T: Yeah, and I just try and throw something together five minutes before we jump in.
James E: Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. And, to be fair, you must be struggling to write giving the restrictiveness of that shirt.
James T: It is hard, yeah. And hard to breathe as well.
James E: Well, I don’t want to know about that. I just want to know how difficult it is to write.
James T: Oh, fair enough.
James E: Oh, we went a bit carry on a bit early there. A bit carry on a bit early. Like he’s disgusted. If you saw James’s face, you would literally… it’s like your mother’s looking at you and she’s like, is that the best you’ve got, you ten-year-old?
James T: You know the look that the teacher would give you? I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.
James E: Yeah. I get that look a lot. Great, so James, how are we going to do this? Should we talk about our formations? Should we talk about how we’re going to play? What’s the crack here?
James T: Well, we can throw out our formations. I mean, they don’t really make a difference here, but let’s…
James E: It makes absolutely no difference whatsoever, I’m just trying to create…
James T: Let’s throw our formation out. I’ve gone with a… well, it’s a 3-2-3-2, or a 3-5-2, I guess you might call it.
James E: Right. Okay. Whoa! Bit of run down the flanks, I’m thinking.
James T: Yeah, well, the modern game relies heavily on quality fullbacks getting up and down the pitch.
James E: Which is why you have a big bench.
James T: So I need my quality fullbacks doing a good job going forward and coming back.
James E: Well, I thought you said you play three at the back?
James T: I did, yeah. That’s why I’ve got my fullbacks. I guess wingbacks, sorry.
James E: So you’re playing one centre half?
James T: Sorry, wingbacks. And three centre backs.
James E: Ooh. It’s not even half time and you’ve been fired. I can see it now. I can see it now.
James T: Sorry, I said fullback when I should’ve been using the term wingback.
James E: Ooh. Anyway, I’ve gone for a 4-1-3-1. Oh, cheeky.
James T: 4-1-3-1? So you’re probably prior to… mine’s slightly more modern than yours, James.
James E: Possibly, but I’m trying to fuse the new and the old, if you will.
James T: I guess so.
James E: I had a feeling you might go a bit funky, so I thought no, what we need here is a fairly sort of traditional, maybe a little bit cautious, but then I think you’ll be tired in the last 20, to be honest.
James T: Well, I’ve got some subs on the bench. Those wingbacks will be coming back after 60 minutes.
James E: Ahh. Fair point, fair point. So, should we get down it then? Should we down to it?
James T: Yeah, yeah.
James E: Should we start with the custodian of the onion bag? The goalkeeper, in modern parlance, as Jack Charlton would say, the goalkeeper.
James T: Yeah, yeah, you go first. Who’s in goal for you? Your pet peeve.
James E: Financial fair play, I’ve got in goal.
James T: Financial fair play?
James E: Financial fair play. Not quite as safe as you think.
James T: Right.
James E: So financial fair play. I don’t get, right? I don’t get why… and obviously this is going to be a bit weird because you might have a player in a different position, you might have a peeve in a different position, but financial fair play, currently, broadly, I appreciate that the world at the moment is going through some changes, but broadly, we live in a free-market economy. Agreed?
James T: Mm-hm.
James E: Yeah, so how on earth, or why on earth, in our sports do we then restrict people on how much they can spend on their football club? To me, it should be basically if someone wants to spend X, Y on a football club, that’s fine. Number one, it’s up to them. Number two, if they can’t afford to pay their bills, then they won’t be around.
And that may be too simplistic, but I think where that money is spent wisely, I really don’t see any problem in it, and I think inequality in finances has always existed and will continue to exist because that’s just the nature of sport and society. So, personally, and I don’t want to get into Manchester City stuff because they knew what the rules were beforehand and obviously we haven’t got the money to afford a lawsuit. Well, we haven’t got the money to afford a lawsuit with Rochdale, let alone a lawsuit with Manchester City.
But broadly speaking, what’s the point? What’s the point?
James T: Well, I mean, yeah, I can understand it, but at the same time… I mean, I guess they’re probably worried that there have been several football clubs that get very, very close to liquidation because of irresponsible spending. Let’s put it that way.
James E: Yeah, but I just think that teams like, I suppose you look at Salford City at the minute and their rise through the leagues. To me, it’s more… if someone wants to come into football, I mean, there’s a litany of appalling examples of people spending money incorrectly in football and doing it to the detriment of a club. Now, financial fair play hasn’t seemed to have stopped that. Similarly, the fit and proper test, which you could maybe put within the goalkeeper’s bag in the back of the net for this one, seems to be about as much use as a chocolate teapot.
So I don’t know, maybe they’re cosy bedfellows [inaudible 00:11:14?] in the sticks. Who have you got in goal, James? Who have you got in goal?
James T: So I’m going something completely different in goal. I’ve got celebrations where people don’t celebrate.
James E: Ooh, so a non-celebration?
James T: A non-celebration. They do my head in. I think one of the worst players, one of the worst offenders for this, he always used to wind me up despite how excellent a footballer he was, and he really, really was, was Thierry Henry.
James E: Oh, right. Okay.
James T: He would score the odd goal and then stand there like he’d just cured cancer or something. And you just think, just celebrate. Please just celebrate. And standing there looking as if he’s like yeah, I’m all that, I’m the greatest. It just does my head in.
James E: Really? You see, because I love a bit of arrogant smug.
James T: Ugh, it’s too far. It’s too far.
James E: Oh, I love it.
James T: I’m all for people running up to the crowd and cupping their ears and having a go and a bit of banter like that, and running around and celebrating, but I cannot stand it when they stand there, as if they’re saying, yup, I did that.
James E: The one that Cantona scored in that cup game where I think it might’ve been against Sunderland and he chipped the ball, went over, and just stood around and was just like, look at me. Which is exactly what you should do. Interesting choice there. Interesting choice.
James T: Yeah, so that’s my goalie. That’s always bothered me, that. I’m not talking about not celebrating when you go back and play against the team you may have spent five years with, and you score a goal.
James E: Well…
James T: And you just don’t want to have a go. I can understand that. But it’s just the arrogance of the lack of a celebration when you score a goal. I just don’t like that.
James E: You’ve just given me another idea actually, James, which would be maybe another person on my bench. It would be being bothered, either way, about whether someone celebrates when they go back to an old club, because I find it really nauseating when people either get really bothered that they haven’t celebrated out of respect for the club that paid them so well … or that they celebrate wildly, give it the two fingers.
James T: The Adebayor celebration against Arsenal when he ran to…
James E: Yeah, absolutely. That, to me, that was superb, that. That’s what football’s about. You know, running the full length of the pitch to go celebrate. That’s superb.
James T: To go scream in front of your old fans. That was a cracking moment.
James E: That’s what we want. More of that. We want anarchy. We don’t want this… yeah, just nonsense.
James T: I mean, I guess I don’t care if a player goes and celebrates, but I can’t understand why they don’t do it. I’m not annoyed when they don’t do it. It’s more when they should be celebrating, and they are just standing there acting like…
James E: God’s gift.
James T: Yes. Oh my god. No, I cannot stand it.
James E: Wow. By the way, I’ve got no idea how we’re going to pick the sides, so in fact, I think we should… I don’t even know, we could be on for three hours trying to pick a combined team.
James T: Well, we don’t have to do a combined team. We can just run through our own.
James E: All right. Okay.
James T: But I’m sure, at some point, we’re going to hit something that is…
James E: Do you think we’ll actually have anything that’s the same?
James T: I feel like there’s going to be one or two of these that I’ve got that you might have also put in.
James E: Well, at right-back, I’ve gone for overhyping (especially Sky). And sort of within that, I would have like, you’ve got breaking news, and you think oh, crikey, what’s that? You know, the yellow tick that comes up. Like gosh, what’s this?
And it’s a championship left-back has signed a two-year extension onto his existing contract or something. And Jim White is like literally foaming at the mouth at this grandiose piece of news, and you just think to yourself, it’s a bit like the… what’s that phrase? The boy that cries wolf? It’s just like… that is not breaking news. That’s like bog-standard piece of fact that you can report as your 58th item, when you’re struggling for airtime.
James T: Yeah, that’s about as banal as a news story can be coming out of a football club. A player that already plays here has decided to continue playing here. Brilliant. Thanks for that.
James E: Or a bit like now, for example, you might have a game that was once, and I’m sure it’ll come back in time, it was once like a real Titanic clash, so Manchester United, Arsenal. Obviously once was the game to watch. You would go anywhere to watch it, depending where you were in the world. And now, to be honest, at this point in time, you’d probably go and play tiddlywinks or something instead. And no one seems to have a…
James T: Tiddlywinks, for the younger viewers, is a game that hasn’t been played by anyone under the age of about 70 for some time.
James E: It sounds quite weird, doesn’t it?
James T: Tiddlywinks. It does, doesn’t it? It takes on a sinister sort of… well, especially when you say it like that.
James E: Yeah, maybe if I didn’t say it like that, that would probably help. But yeah, and then they say oh yeah, maybe this doesn’t carry as much weight as the last previous match, and you think yeah, it doesn’t carry the last previous matches because they’re both crap teams and no one’s that interested, broadly, apart from Manchester United and Arsenal fans, which is fine.
James T: That ties in a little bit with one of mine, actually.
James E: Well go on.
James T: One, I’ve got Sky on the bench for me, but that’s for a different reason.
James E: Oh? Okay.
James T: That’s a different reason. But as part of my holding midfield.
James E: Ooh, classic.
James T: I have top six bias as one of my pet peeves.
James E: Is that basically in terms of decisions and all that sort of stuff, on the pitch and what have you?
James T: No, well, I guess it could be that, but it’s also the way that the media constantly wants to shove the likes of an Arsenal match or a Man United match down our throats when, you know, as you’ve just alluded to, they are not the force they once were, or the quality they once were, and yet we still hear about them way more. For example, this year, I’d rather hear more about Wolves.
James E: Yeah, yeah. Good point. Or Leicester.
James T: Yeah, or Leicester. They’re playing much better football, but you don’t really hear about them all that much because they’re not top six bias. So that’s something that does my head in a little bit.
James E: I get that, and I suppose that’s more of a commercial decision because, broadly speaking, more people are interested in Manchester United and Arsenal than they are in Leicester or Wolves. One of my big ones actually, so hence I put him at centre half, I think it’s a bit of a Rolls Royce this one. Wins everything put in the air, can put a player on the floor. If you like the Virgil van Dijk of the back four. And this is basically stanchions and grounds.
And this comes, for me, back to The Dell as a great example. They used to have very unique stanchions, as did all the clubs. You could literally recognise a ground or a place by just looking at the goal nets and the stanchions. And now they’ve all got this sort of homogenised goal net that you see everything. How boring is that? Even in major tournaments, you’d have different types of nets. Like Mexico had those ones that went out, like they stretched as far as Canada, I think, the back of the net. It was like miles away, it was like half the size of the pitch, but it was a bit different, a bit quirky, and similarly the grounds, The Dell, you could recognise from just seeing a small part of The Dell stand.
James T: What, because of the sort of triangular stand?
James E: Yeah, that’s right, but there’s loads of grounds like that where you would recognise them from just a little bit of the stand or from the goal nets.
James T: I guess Fulham’s probably one of the only remaining grounds where you might be able to do that because it’s got…
James E: Good point. Everton probably?
James T: Yeah, yeah. A quirkier older ground. Isn’t it, Fulham’s?
James E: Yeah, no, good point, and actually one of the stands, the Johnny Haynes Stand down Stevenage Road, which you see as you’re facing on television, I’m sure that the façade of that is a Grade I, Grade II listed, so whatever happens, that part of it can’t be demolished.
James T: Right. And you actually mention there, the nets are… I do know what you’re talking about ‘cause the nets at The Dell were very shallow.
James E: Yeah, really tight. Like West Ham. West Hams are very tight as well.
James T: Yeah. You scored a goal, the ball would more often than not just come back out of the goal.
James E: Yeah, Le Tissier would send another rasping volley or freekick, general stunning goal, and it would usually ping straight out after.
James T: Yeah, tiny little nets. I forgot about that.
James E: Who else have you got at the back?
James T: Oh, I’ve got, well, I’ve got three at the back for me.
James E: For you.
James T: For me.
James E: Come on, Neil Warnock.
James T: Actually he’s on my bench.
James E: Brilliant. Brilliant. An entire person.
James T: I’ve got two entire people on my bench. Time wasting is one of my centre backs.
James E: Okay. Time wasting.
James T: Because there’s such a simple fix to get it out of the game.
James E: What’s the simple fix?
James T: A simple fix is to stop the time when the ball is dead.
James E: Good point.
James T: If you just stop time when the ball is dead, and I mean the actual clock that’s ticking in the ground, not just the referee’s watch, then everyone can see that the time isn’t advancing and it doesn’t matter how long that player takes to walk off the pitch at the end of a game. The time isn’t going to start until the ball is in play once more. And I don’t know why they can’t just implement that. It’s such an annoying aspect of the game and it riles so many people up.
James E: Yeah.
James T: People in the grounds whistling, you hear manager’s complaining about it, referees can’t get a handle on it. It’s so simple to just have, whether that’s an independent timekeeper or the referee’s watch is linked to the watch in the ground, and just stop the time when the balls gone dead.
James E: I agree, and actually we got an email on this a few weeks back, which was along the lines of Rugby Union, where the ref doesn’t really do time. The time is done where everyone can see it, and even when it goes into… I know they have the… not the buzzer they do in Rugby League, but basically when it goes to 80 minutes in their sport, then the next time the balls dead, that’s game over and everybody knows it, so there’s no ambiguity and I think there’s a lot to be said for that, where actually the refs got enough on his plate, does he really need more?
And I know at the moment they’ve obviously got the stuff, but why don’t you just have the clock? And he’s just said, that might be a good way of doing it, Jimbo.
James T: Very simple.
James E: Have we got one more from your…? Or is that your back three? Have we done your back three?
James T: No, it’s just time-wasting, top six bias was in… actually, I’ll just move top six bias to the back three, it’ll speed things along. And then my other one would be… this is a bit of a silly one, but players that wear gloves but also short sleeves.
James E: I like that. I like that a lot. Yeah. What’s the point?
James T: I just wonder, why are you wearing the gloves if it’s warm enough for you to be wearing short sleeves?
James E: It’s technically an extremity, I suppose, your fingers, but I’m with you. Because if your fingers are cold, your arms are cold, aren’t they?
James T: Yeah, exactly. I feel like, what, are you just impervious to the cold from your wrist to your shoulder? But your fingers get so badly effected that you must wear gloves. I can just never understand that one.
James E: Nothing worse than a cold finger, sir. So who else have I got at the back? Moving on swiftly, I’ve got another centre half and a left-back. Left-back, which actually is linked with your last one, which is tattoos, especially arm sleeves. Is that what they’re called? Sleeves?
James T: So that’s more of a general life comment than a football comment.
James E: It is, but it starts at football, doesn’t it? David Beckham started all that.
James T: So you’re not going to be a Danny Ings fan then?
James E: Well, each to their own. We live in a free society, and if you want to put stuff on your body, you know, I’m an old proverbial and it’s just this obsession, it seems, in football, presumably because you’ve got like 17 hours a day to kill.
James T: And tons of money.
James E: Yeah, where you just think, actually, I’ve lived for the first 25 years of my life with nothing on, but now I’m going to cover one of my arms, randomly, which is probably why you just wear gloves, so you can show off your tattoo, even though you can’t feel and your forearms gone numb with cold. Very nice, very nice, very nice, very nice.
James T: Yeah. That’s an interesting concept.
James E: And the other one I had at centre half, just to complete the back four, I’ve called it Tossy Twitter, if you will.
James T: Okay.
James E: And I know sometimes this isn’t the player, this will be their agent or whoever, or financial advisor. But this is where, after a win or something like that, you get players who sort of go, oh, great fans, yeah, tick, great goals, yeah, tick, and it’s just awful. It’s so not what Twitter was meant to be. Like it’s meant to be… like when you see someone like Lineker, okay he doesn’t play now, but he uses it with humour or seriousness, but it gives you an insight into that particular individual and how they think.
When it just turns into this sort of anodyne corporate feed or great win, another three points, you’re the best fans in the world, blah, blah, blah.
James T: The team did so well today.
James E: Yeah, and then you can cut and paste that and put that when he uses it on his next club in six months’ time. Number one, why does anyone follow anyone producing that sort of level of banal dross?
James T: Yeah.
James E: And number two, if I was a footballer, why on earth would you buy somebody or even do that? If you’re going to do it, do it in full.
James T: Yeah, do something that…
James E: Do something different.
James T: Yeah. There’s a reason for you being on there, other than just being… I don’t know what. It’s not even a link between the player and fans, is it, at that point? It’s literally just a corporate ‘we did well today, team played well, fans were excellent.’ Or if they lose, ‘well, pick ourselves up and try again next time.’ I just think all right, yeah, thanks for that.
James E: Yeah. Truly dull. Truly dull. So midfield, mate, midfield. You mentioned
James T: I’ve got five across the midfield here.
James E: Have you? Well, I’ve got a holder, which is fans with cameras.
James T: Oh my god, you know what? Actually…
James E: I know everyone’s got a camera.
James T: That’s going in my team as well, that one.
James E: Oh, is it? I’ve already picked him. You can’t have it.
James T: I know. Well, all right, okay. Generous bid in the summer then.
James E: Championship manager, yeah. So basically, fans with cameras. Now obviously you could argue, well, actually, every fan has a camera because if I have a phone I have a camera. That’s absolutely correct, but what that doesn’t give you licence to do is take it out at a match and take a photo. I don’t know, you might go to a gallery and take pictures of art, I don’t know, you probably couldn’t do that, but you go on holiday and take pictures of where you’re at, but you don’t go to a football match to take pictures. If you do, putting it bluntly, you’re a wanker. That’s the only word.
James T: I don’t think anyone’s going to the game to take a picture.
James E: All right, or anyone at a game who takes a picture is a wanker. There we go.
James T: I’ve taken photos at football games.
James E: Wanker. And especially when you watch it on the tele and everyone’s got up, your team has scored, and some… I’ll not use anymore bad language because it’s not big and it’s not clever, but taking a picture? Celebrate the goal, you idiot. What are you doing?
James T: Oh, I fully agree with you there. There’s been clips that people have sent of… it’s usually from the fans of the team who’s just conceded, will take a picture or a video of a section of fans that have just scored where they’re all recording their reactions to the goal that’s just been scored. That is cringeworthy.
But I have to disagree with the first part. I think if someone wants to take a picture of the game, maybe they’re there, maybe it’s the first time they’ve ever been to a game, maybe their kids are there, they want to take a photograph of the game. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with someone taking a picture.
I think if someone’s taking a picture every five minutes in the game and then recording their reactions to things going on in the game, that’s where I’d draw the line.
James E: Well, that’s why modern society is what it is, James, quite frankly. I feel, as we’re going through this team, I’m sounding more and more like Victor Meldrew with every selection that I make. Victor Meldrew, kids, obviously look that one up on YouTube to get the general gist on that one.
I guess, and it’s funny actually, across the middle of my midfield, you can almost bracket these into one thing, but I’ve made three selections, and that is showing of imaginary cards, diving, and feigning injury. They’re all kind of part of that same… if there was a ven diagram, they’re all in that circle, aren’t they? Which is why obviously they’re nice and tight together in that three in front of the guy, the holding midfield player.
James T: Yeah, well, I’ve got diving upfront.
James E: Oh, have you? It’s the best place for it, I suppose, in the box.
James T: That’s where it tends to happen. Yeah, yeah, diving going in the box. Tactical thinking.
James E: Good lad.
James T: And then swamping the ref, which I guess is similar to you showing the card.
James E: Oh, okay.
James T: That’s in midfield because that’s where you get the best referee swampers.
James E: Swampers.
James T: Yeah. They tend to be midfielders who have a bit too much to say to the referee about every single decision that’s made, so that’s who I’ve got. In my midfield, and this one might be divisive, and this one… you have to let me explain it when I say it ‘cause you might outburst based on what I said about Pep Guardiola in our first episode.
James E: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.
James T: Tiki-taka football is on my list.
James E: Ooh. Controv, controv.
James T: Controv.
James E: Now by that, ‘cause Guardiola hates that. Did you know that? He absolutely despises that.
James T: Right.
James E: Because it was used by… I can’t remember who it was, it was another manager in La Liga who used it in a sort of dispar… so it was used as an insult and basically Guardiola claims he absolutely hates the term tiki-taka because it implies just pointless passing without purpose, which he would say his teams always pass with a purpose. So, explain yourself, Tennant.
James T: I will. I would say that, in the last few years, Pep’s teams have certainly become a lot more direct in the way that they play, which is far more entertaining to watch, but there was a period where that Barcelona team was painful to watch, for me.
James E: Really?
James T: I couldn’t get away with watching.
James E: Not under Guardiola.
James T: There was a couple of seasons under Guardiola where watching them play was like watching paint dry.
James E: You are rewriting football history.
James T: I couldn’t stand it. It was backwards, sideways, sideways, backwards, backwards, sideways, sideways, backwards. It was constant, and it was as if the goal of the game was to get above 90% possession and not do much else, and I said, it’s not the entire time that he was managing or the entire time he was managing at Barcelona, but I distinctly remember watching a couple of games one season where I had to turn it off after halftime. It was just painfully boring to watch, and that type of football? I just don’t enjoy it.
James E: You administer the inbox. That’s all I’m saying.
James T: It’s just not… I find that as boring as the lump it forward style. I like to see football a bit more direct, but not lump it forward.
James E: I suppose the interesting bit is it’s the evolution, isn’t it? And I think the way that probably Dortmund and then Liverpool have played, which is, yes, they’ve played a passing game, but they’ve played it at a very high tempo, and ally that to usually a fairly aggressive press, which is, I suppose, as all these things happen, major changes in how people play, and what that then prompts is either the antidote to that or like v2, v3, v4.
And I suppose you would say that Dortmund, Bayern Munich, post-Pep’s Barcelona, and when Munich won the treble that year, and then I suppose Liverpool, and even Manchester City now, probably play a slightly more progressive way. Do you not think it depends a bit on personnel, though? Because when you’ve got Messi, I think the interesting bit was when Barcelona played without Messi, they had far less cutting edge under Guardiola. And similarly, you look at City, and if De Bruyne, and I know De Bruyne’s a bit more of a supplier, but if him and Aguero aren’t playing, they don’t look anywhere near as incisive.
James T: Well, because I would argue that that’s because the… and it’s less so these days. I’m talking probably 12 years ago here, maybe 13 years ago, when it’s possession at all costs and you’re missing the one or two players in your team that actually provide, that can turn that possession into a goal.
James E: Into a goal.
James T: Into a goal. Then it is going to be drastically different. Less so these days with City, but certainly in that Barcelona team, you’re right. When Messi wasn’t playing, they had no cutting edge because it was mainly just keeping possession and passing the ball around, I felt.
And, you know, I fully understand, he’s got his possession, he wants to play his way, but I was never a fan of that style, and I much prefer, as you mentioned before, the high press of football. I mean, I guess even within just talking about one team, just if we talked about Southampton, the Pochettino style and the Koeman style was far more entertaining to watch than the Puel style.
And you could argue the Puel style was possession at all cost. And they still finished eighth and got to a cup final, but I would’ve much preferred watching a Pochettino, Koeman team than a Puel team.
James E: And I suppose if you’re making comparisons, Rodger’s Leicester versus Puel’s Leicester.
James T: Yes, exactly. Yeah.
James E: Yeah. I think again, though, I think they probably struggle if Vardy’s not fit or not playing. Having that … again, as you said, it’s having that cutting edge, should we say? But no, interesting point. I think in terms of the midfield I’ve got, and to be fair there’s part of me that didn’t want to put diving and imaginary cards in because they felt a bit too obvious, but I feigning injury really gets on me, much more than the other two. That’s the one that probably does boil my proverbial… I probably have a modest raising of the eyebrow for diving and imaginary cards.
James T: A modest raising of the eyebrow? Whilst you’re swirling your brandy.
James E: Exactly, with the start of Roger Moore, whereas I think the feigning injury lends itself to more of an aggressive retort to whatever it is I’m watching at that particular time.
James T: It is infuriating. I would fully agree. Alongside tiki-taka football…
James E: Who else compromises your middle of the paddock, sir?
James T: I have gambling, ads, and sponsors.
James E: Ooh, brilliant, James. You’ve just cut off our future corporate supply line.
James T: I have, yeah.
James E: What did I tell you about this? I said we’ve absolutely got to swallow our morals… I need to say that, yeah. Or we could even sorrow our moral. But you’ve now absolutely blown any chance of that Barbados pad now.
James T: Ray Winston is not going to be appearing on the podcast any time soon.
James E: No, I don’t think so, unless he’s going to talk responsibly, obviously.
James T: Yeah, obviously. Yeah. But, I mean, when I say gambling, ads, and sponsors, I mean on the shirts.
James E: Oh, okay. So we’re more than happy to talk about it within the realms, should any corporate partners want to engage with us?
James T: No.
James E: Right.
James T: But specially on the shirts, I just think football teams should take the higher grand on that one and not take the money from gambling.
James E: Okay, so I’m going to be devil’s advocate. Where do you draw the line on that? So, for example, there are, and I’m not going to name any of them, there are major benefactors across the world who bankroll big teams, whose businesses or front are front and centre of shirts and other stuff, and it might be that I suppose every country has its issues, but certain countries may be, for example, in terms of human rights and that sort of thing, have more than others.
Where do you draw the line on that? Because I get where you’re coming from on the gambling ads, but, on the same token, where’s the moral line for what can and can’t go on a shirt? Because you could have… I don’t know, you could have a major bank, for example. Now, people will have issues with how that bank goes about either on a personal level or… where do you draw the line for the whole ethic-based argument, and cash?
James T: I think, if I was the one making decisions, it would be ads and sponsors where the company directly affects maybe some people that are sitting in the crowd or can negatively affect someone sat at home watching it. You know, gambling has a terrible impact on people’s lives.
James E: Well, only if done to extreme, I suppose.
James T: I guess so, but it’s maybe as well, encouraging something that isn’t necessarily quite the best thing for people to do. People know gambling exists. I don’t think it needs to be shoved in front of their faces.
James E: I think a lot of people will have sympathy with that when they listen to how you described that. My broader point is, how hard is it to draw that moral line, if that makes sense?
James T: Do you have to draw a moral line, though?
James E: Well, you don’t. You can draw any sort of line. I don’t know.
James T: I know, I’m just saying, morals and ethics are very personal to an individual. I don’t think there’s necessarily a rule that has to be made.
James E: Which is why, if gambling is legal… my argument would be then, if gambling is then legal in your country and you have a gambling sponsor, so what?
James T: Yeah, but that’s the reason I’ve got them in, is because I don’t like that. And that’s exactly my point. You can look at that and think that’s absolutely fine and so can a person who signs the cheques at a football club, but this is a footballing pet peeves, and that’s one of my pet peeves.
James E: It’s your peeve, sir. It’s in.
James T: I would prefer it if the football team I supported didn’t sign a lucrative deal with a gambling company. That’s all.
James E: Yeah, yeah. I remember, to lighten the load some more, when Fulham first entered the Premier League. Not in the fairly abortive last effort, but the one where we stayed for about ten years or so, and our first shirt sponsor was Pizza Hut.
James T: Oh, yeah.
James E: And I did wonder whether the players got any sort of… like, they went in and attacked the as much as you can eat buffet, which I can’t imagine would’ve been actively encouraged, I’ll be honest, given the high salt value. But, you know, lovely pizzas, but yeah, you do wonder. And that’s where, I suppose, there’s lots of arguments. Have we done your midfield, or have we got one left? Am I thinking we’ve got one left? How many players you’ve got left?
James T: I’ve got… well, I had swamping the ref, which was kind of alongside what you said.
James E: Yeah, swampage. Yeah.
James T: And, to be honest, the last two across my five midfield are quite similar in that… I think we spoke about this actually, after we finished recording our last one.
James E: Oh, right. Okay.
James T: It’s socks not being pulled up properly and socks being pulled up over the knees.
James E: Ah. Tremendous. And you know full well from our previous conversation that I couldn’t give a monkeys about either of those two things.
James T: Yup. But it’s a fashion choice for me.
James E: And you hate the Grealish style, don’t you? Is that the one you really have a dislike of the…?
James T: Well, Grealish is the socks not pulled up properly.
James E: Yeah, they need to come off .
James T: See, the effort it would take to make sure that your socks were pulled up slightly, and not all the way up, and actually stay there and not just roll all the way down is probably harder than just pulling it up. So it’s trying to give off this air of I’m not bothered about pulling my socks up, but in actual fact the person’s probably spent an greater amount of time trying to get his socks to stay at that point, which I start to think, why don’t you just pull your socks up?
And the other one, socks pulled up over the knees, you know, I think thigh-high socks tend to be the sort of garb of the streetworker, don’t they? Rather than a professional footballer.
James E: The streetworker, James?
James T: Yeah.
James E: Is that the PC term, is it?
James T: That’s me not trying to…
James E: If you ever meet James 2 and you happen to be wearing shorts, obviously probably more of a casual than a football variety, make sure you either pull your socks up over your knees or have them down by your ankles. Guaranteed.
James T: I would be questioning, if I was just meeting someone in the street, why they were wearing socks that could be pulled up over their knees.
James E: Especially if they had one leg was pulled all the way up over the knee, and the other one was at mid-calf. So you had John Terry on your left foot and Jack Grealish on your right, so to speak.
James T: I’d be apoplectic if somebody walked up to me like that.
James E: Oh, can you imagine? I can imagine you literally giving it the traditional James 2 fury.
James T: I’d give it the Neil Warnock halftime dressing down. That’s what I would do.
James E: I think so. And injuries. Yeah. How many injuries? No. So, how many players have you got left? I’ve got two, I think.
James T: I’ve got one left now, so you go for your two.
James E: Oh, right. Okay. Just, in the number ten shirt, I’ve got badge kissing.
James T: Oh, right. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
James E: Which, again, you might argue is a little bit obvious, but I still think it’s just, for me, these are grown men. They’re doing a job.
James T: Playing a game.
James E: That job if fairly fluid, moves on and on. Yes, I’m with you. Celebrate however you want to, we talked about celebrations earlier, but the whole badge kiss. Badge kissing is just… even if you’re a one club servant, you’ve been there for donkey’s years.
James T: I was going to say, I’ve got a question for you there, but…
James E: Fire it in, sir. Fire it in. I’m ready for it.
James T: Would you find it more acceptable to have a badge kisser on your team if they’d come up through the youth and they’d stayed at the team and they’d been there for ten years, and they actually did love the club? Compared to these mercenaries who go around kissing the badge of every club they go to after playing for five or six teams?
James E: I make no distinction, sir.
James T: Just all badge kissing should be banned?
James E: In fact, probably the people that are badge kissing in between badge kissing are probably taking pictures at football grounds and then posting useless Tweets of the corporate variety.
James T: And recording themselves when they’ve scored a goal.
James E: Absolutely. Literally just pull it out from their sock, pulled up, pulled down. Probably easier to have a phone down a pull up sock, I would imagine.
James T: It would stay there, wouldn’t it?
James E: Oh, it would. It would. Especially with the tightness of the socks.
James T: Oh, yeah.
James E: Presumably, we’re basing it on the same ratio as your shirt to skin top today. I would imagine so. And playing up front, the big fella up front that we’re going to work everything off, is half and half scarves.
James T: Oh god, yeah, I know what you mean.
James E: Yeah, which, to me, again, if I’m honest, there’s not much…
James T: Spot the tourist in the crowd.
James E: It’s in there with fans with cameras actually for me.
James T: Oh, it cannot be there.
James E: It is. Half and half scarves are literally… I mean, who does half of it… you don’t support… it’s just… it’s beyond obscene.
James T: That’s what I mean.
James E: Where would you wear it? Where would you wear it?
James T: Well, just at that game. It’s spot the tourist. It’s the people in the crowd who…
James E: Yeah, but then what? You put it in your wardrobe and never wear it again?
James T: I don’t know, you might… I don’t know what they do with it afterwards.
James E: When are you going to wear it again? Oh, so you’re a Celtic Rangers fan? How does that work? Yeah, you know. I’m just… I don’t know. The half-half scarf thing, I just don’t understand it. It’s like, I don’t know why you’d wear it at a game, I don’t know what would go through your head in buying it. I mean, I’m kind of intrigued as well, whoever came up with the idea to market these and sell these at football games, I mean, they should be shot for a start. It’s just… as you can tell…
James T: Is it not just the sign of the times? Just the increased commercialisation of football?
James E: Maybe.
James T: That, in a lot of games, you don’t actually get the fans going along, it’s tourists who are going along and oh, Manchester United versus Arsenal, let’s just use that as another example. They’ll go along to the game and they’ll buy a half and half scarf because they don’t support either team, they’re just there to say that they’ve been to see that game.
James E: But you could tell someone. This is the thing. I could tell you, I’ve been to that match. It was really good, or wasn’t very good, whatever. I wouldn’t go, oh, hang on a minute, and just pull from my bag a half and half scarf because the next thing that should happen is that you should send me into next week using the medium of a right hook. Obviously we’re not recommending violence for anyone wearing those things. But that’s my… so who’s your final, is it final man you’ve got left?
James T: Yeah. Upfront for me is football agents.
James E: Whoa. There goes that episode. Obviously should we say at this point, there are good agents as well as bad? Or are you just…
James T: Of course there are good agents as well as bad, but the way that football agents, every transfer window, try and drum up interest in their clients by making up stories and feeding them to the papers. You’ve got a player who is playing well for a team and the fans are happy that he’s there, and then you’ve got some guy who comes in and tries to unsettle them and starts to whisper in his ear, oh, maybe you should move along, I could get you a move to, I don’t know who, some slightly better team and we can both make some more money out of this.
And it just starts to… it highlights all the things that are bad about football, I think. And especially the super agents because the second you hear a player or manager signed with him, you think okay, he’s not long for this team.
James E: I kind of… I’ve got a mixed thing on that because I think, on the one hand, if you get a good agent and someone that’s looking after your interests, that’s probably worth whatever it is that you’re paying the agent or whatever slice they take, in a world where football probably runs slightly differently to lots of other businesses, having someone know the inside from a player’s point of view can be really, really beneficial. However, the flip side to it, I suppose, is a manager or a supporter or whatever, having all that money filter out of the game isn’t a good thing.
James T: No. It just feels like a relentless money grab. I mean, I guess I try and equate it to the real world and the business world, and imagine if you were managing a staff and each of them had their own agent, and every five minutes you’re getting a phone call from them saying, right, well, I’m going to take him to this other company unless you pay him more. Or, sorry, we’re going to cut our contract here short because this company down the road, I’ve been on the phone to them a few times, they’re going to offer twice as much money for this guy. Imagine, you’d never get anything done, would you?
James E: No, you’re right on that.
James T: It’s just this relentless money grab. And yes, of course, there are probably some nice agents out there who are doing a good job, but it seems to me that most people get into football agent work because they want to make a huge amount of money off the back of footballers.
James E: Well. And on that note, I think that’s a great place to leave our starting 11’s, I think. And obviously any football agents that are out there listening, I think it’s quite right that we should offer a right of reply because we are absolutely not best placed to offer an insight into mechanisations of stuff, so we’d love if there was a sport… a football agent out there that would love to come on and have a chat with us, we would be more than happy to give you air time.
So who’s on the bench? Let’s wrap the bench up.
James T: I’ll run through these quickly. I’ll just list them off. I’ve got Neil Warnock, he’s on my bench. If I go the rest of my life without having to hear another Neil Warnock interview, I’ll be happy. Same thing goes for Nigel Pearson.
James E: Oh dear, oh dear.
James T: Sky are on my bench, mainly for having taken football off the TV and made it such an expensive thing to watch these days, so it’s more for that reason. They seem to be swallowing up more and more and more of football every single year.
James E: We’re running out of people we’re going to be able to speak to, I’ll tell you.
James T: And football just being generally a little bit stuck in the past and a bit too slow to move with the times and take on the technology. That was sort of a hint at VAR, but it’s not VAR I’ve got a problem with, it’s the way VAR is implemented.
James E: Well, it’s the people, isn’t it? Unfortunately.
James T: Yes.
James E: I think we highlight it on our Rule Changes episode. My bench, I’ve put the transfer window on there, and especially deadline day. I would say currently up there as a non-event with the boat race in terms of sporting events that are total non-events. The transfer window is total absolute garbage. Waste of time.
Away fans not behind goals, I do despise the fact that at virtually every, in the Premier League especially, every away crowd is now located in some random part of the ground.
James T: Newcastle’s is good for that.
James E: Oh, and I’ve been there a few times obviously to watch Fulham.
James T: Right up in the gods.
James E: Yeah, literally you’re about three miles away from the moon. And I just think, actually, having away fans in a ground, even if it was at the Craven Cottage, obviously we’re undergoing a redevelopment at the moment, but I’d much rather have the away fans at an end. Which they are, to be fair, the away fans are in half of the stand at Craven Cottage, but I think it just lends itself to a better and more adversarial atmosphere.
And the other one? Ticket prices, I think. A lot of corporate stuff, and I suppose you could argue, well, would we be here doing this now if it wasn’t for Sky and explosion of sport and everything else? I don’t know. None of us know the answer to that ‘cause it hasn’t happened. But I guess for me, ticket prices, you know, I won’t name the club, but another high-flying club in the Championship, looking at tickets for a recently cancelled away game, and they were a ridiculous price, it would be like a top of the table clash.
And I just think, you know, I usually go the game on my own or with a pal or two, but if I was taking a family or something, it would be virtually impossible because it costs so much money.
James T: Yep.
James E: Well, it feels like this has been some sort of therapy for the two of us.
James T: It’s cathartic.
James E: We’ve got a lot off our chest here. And obviously, listeners, we want to hear your pet peeves, so please do, if you either vehemently disagree with any of our selections or, similarly, if you think we’ve missed out some obvious picks, we’d love to hear from you on our usual channels. Obviously Twitter, @barndoorsbanjos, or email at email@example.com.
Slightly different today, the way we did that, but hopefully nonetheless still enjoyable for the podaratti to soak up and listen to.
James T: I think what I’ll do as well is I’ll put together our teams on a pitch and draw them up in the formations and share them on Twitter.
James E: I like it. I like that, James, I like that. And then we can have them picked to pieces by…
James T: We can be absolutely slaughtered by the football fan world.
James E: Absolutely. The football world, yeah. Well, James, as always, absolute pleasure.
James T: Likewise.
James E: And look forward to reconvening soon. We’re currently in the planning stages for some ideas around some new episodes that will be coming to you thick and fast over the next couple of months, and thank you ever so much for tuning in, subscribing, listening, downloading, whatever it is that you’ve done.
We’ve really enjoyed it and we hope you have too, so it’s a goodbye from James 1. That’s me. And are you going to say goodbye, or am I just…?
James T: Oh, I thought you were going to say goodbye, and then I was going to say goodbye and then…
James E: Oh, no, no.
James T: Oh, okay. I’ve misread that one.
James E: Did you ever watch The Two Ronnie’s? Come on. Should we try again? So it’s a goodbye from James 1.
James T: And it’s a goodbye from James 2.
James E: Perfect. See? An illustration, if one was ever needed, of the level of rehearsal that goes into this fine show. Look forward to speaking to everyone soon, take care, and enjoy Barndoors and Banjos. Bye for now.
James T: Cheers everyone. Bye-bye.