Socrates MacSporran

Socrates MacSporran
No I am not Chick Young, but I can remember when Scottish football was good

Monday, 7 August 2017

Scottish Football Maybe Needs To Watch The Girls More

I REMEMBER, some years ago, reading in a newspaper golf column, the theory that your average male club golfer would be better-off watching women's professional golf, rather than the male tour.

The reasoning was – watching Tiger Woods & Co whacking drives over 300-yards down the fairway was a feat beyond the abilities of the average club hacker. No, better to watch the women, their abilities were more in-line with those of mere medium to high handicap men. This article came to mind, as I watched the Dutch girls, who made home advantage count, beating the Danes to win the European Women's Championships.

The Dutch girls done good

Maybe, instead of asking our wannabe young players to learn from the likes of Gareth Bale, CR7, Lionel Messi and their likes we should be pointing them towards the top women.

Certainly, in flashes, both teams in Sunday's women's final produced moments of magic which we very rarely see in even the SPFL's top flight. There was one wee vignette of close control from one of the Dutch girls which would not have been out of place in La Liega, while another produced a Cruyff Turn which even the late, great, originator of that move would have been pleased with.

Then, there was the sheer joy of being able to appreciate the athleticism, attitude and skill of Nadine Nadim, the Afghanistan-born refugee who was such a sensation up front for the Danes. That young lady is special, but, without being in any way parochial, Scotland's women's team too has its share of special players. The difference the likes of the absent Kim Little and Jenni Beattie might have made, is a definitely bad case of Scottish: “if only”.

Being the host nation at a major championships, has its pluses, of course, but, it also brings additional pressures. The Dutch girls rose above these extra pressures and delivered – something Scottish teams find difficult. Well done girls.

Shanice van de Sanden - a wee bit special

SPEAKING of the Dutch girls, might Shanice van de Sanden, their little right winger be the best Liverpool number 7, (in internationals, her club number is 11), since a certain Kenneth Mathieson Dalglish retired? Discuss.

YOU KNOW, I have long wondered about the mentality of some Scottish fitba fans. Since the start of the season, it had been the Celtic fans – particularly the Green Brigade - who had almost dominated the heid case rankings.

So, I almost reckon those Rangers-supporting loonies, who set-off their blue flares at Fir Park yesterday, were mounting a specific assault on topping the heid case rankings.

Such a lack of self-awareness, it is stunning. I can recall when the Tartan Army were seen almost as an invading army when they left Scotland. Bad behaviour was almost obligatory, then, the England fans started to act badly, the TA cleaned-up their act and became welcomed guests around the world.

I somehow doubt if the followers of the Bigot Brothers will ever have such a Pauline conversion.

I WATCHED the highlights of the FA Charity Shield match yesterday, and yet again had to shake my head at the FA's pandering to what Roy Keane so-memorably dubbed, in a Manchester United context: “the prawn sandwich brigade”.

Roy Keane - his memorable phrase will live long

There is a huge area of seating, the lower tier of the main stand at Wembley, behind the technical areas, which – except for the FA Cup Final and England home games, is basically desert.

Even at big games, some ten minutes into the second half, this area always seems to me to be sparsely-filled. These seats are held by debenture holders, the guys, often companies, who, for a hefty upfront payment, guaranteed themselves the right to buy tickets for home games at the new Wembley.

It has become clear, since the new ground opened – these people are not real football fans. But, I suppose, pandering to them and pricing real fans out of the ground is a price the FA though it worth paying to rebuild their home ground.

I cannot help thinking, England might have been better-off letting the old Wembley he demolished and built on, and taken England games round the big club grounds, where real fans across the country of England could more-easily see their heroes in action.

If they had to have a huge London ground, capable of hosting really big England games or the FA Cup Final, I am sure the gentlemen of the RFU at Twickenham would have been only-too-happy to rip-off their ruffian cousins.

 Thibaut Courtois - rubbish at saving, and taking, penalties

I liked the new format of the penalty shoot-out, as demonstrated yesterday. However, as an old goalie, I was disgusted by the poor efforts of two of the supposed “great” 'keepers of today to stop the spot kicks, and also, in the case of Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois to take one. Pretty pathetic I thought.

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