Tim Lovejoy - Football has gone soft
Published: 08 Jan 2010 - 08:13:20
I was flicking through endless sports channels the other day when I came upon a re-run of the classic 1993/94 clash between Liverpool and Manchester United.
It you don't remember it, United went 3-0 up before Liverpool fought back for a 3-3 draw. It was an absolute humdinger of a game.
What really stood out was the ferocity of the tackling. Liverpool lined up with Julian Dicks, Mark Wright, Razor Ruddock and Rob Jones at the back. What a motley crew. If you need reminding, take a look here:
Ryan Giggs was up front for United, and he was crunched on numerous occasions as he tried to weave his way forward. But each time Giggs just got up, and got on with it.
And there was one tackle from Ruddock on Roy Keane, of all people, that sent shivers down the spine.
United had Gary Pallister, Steve Bruce, Denis Irwin and Paul Parker at the back, and they did a similar job on the Liverpool strikeforce. But there was no play-acting to be seen.
I know it's easy to look back through rose-tinted glasses, but it made me realise how much I miss the physicality of days gone by.
The Premier League these days is virtually a no-tackle zone. Players are protected so much by referees, that you hardly ever see a full-blooded challenge. And there are so many breaks in the game for free-kicks and injuries that football is beginning to feel like rugby.
In my opinion much of the blame lies with Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger. They've spent the last decade pleading with officials to protect their players, and the result is a sterilised game that stops and starts every 30 seconds.
I would really like to see something done before the World Cup this summer to change things. I know I'd have the backing of 99% of players and fans, who nearly all want to see proper tackling return to our stadiums.
After all, how many career-ending tackles do you see? One every two seasons maybe?
As for play-acting and time-wasting, how about only stopping games for head injuries, and booking players who kick the ball off in other situations.
Be good to hear your thoughts on the whole thing.
TRANSFER WINDOW HYPE
Sky Sports News is getting predictably giddy with excitement as we approach the January transfer window.
This is the time of the year they churn out endless rumours, hype up just about every possible move on the planet, and manage to spin it out for hour upon hour.
I don't know about you, but I have to admit, I can't stop watching it.
COYLE HAS A POINT TO PROVE
I feel sorry for Burnley fans after the club lost a fine manager in Owen Coyle.
I understand why he wanted to go, but he's taking somewhat of a gamble. After all, how many managers do you see leave for bigger clubs and fail?
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- Tim Lovejoy rose to fame as the genial co-host of Soccer AM, deploying his sharp wit and extensive football knowledge alongside Helen Chamberlain when the show launched in 1996. A Saturday audience of millions tuned in, and Lovejoy fast became a household name. After leaving Sky in 2007, Lovejoy is now a regular presenter at BBC Radio 5 Live, and co-hosts the popular Friday night show, ‘Murray and Lovejoy’s Sports Express’ with Colin Murray. He can also be found hosting BBC Two's Sunday magazine show, 'Something for the Weekend'.
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