The Game Football Podcast
The Game Football Podcast
About The Game Football Podcast
The Game is the premier football podcast from The Times, with the finest writers previewing and reviewing all the action throughout the 2023/24 season. Twice a week, Gregor Robertson and Tom Clarke speak to the leading football writers from The Times and The Sunday Times, offering unparalleled analysis of the latest results and commentary on emerging issues.
On Mondays, Alyson Rudd, Tom Roddy and Tony Cascarino review the weekend's action and on Thursdays Martin Samuel tackles the biggest issues of the week alongside the likes of Jonathan Northcroft and Ian Hawkey.
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Tom Clarke is back fresh as a daisy from his holidays, and he is joined by Charlotte Duncker, Tony Cascarino and Gregor Robertson to review the weekend’s goal fest. Are standards slipping at City or were Spurs brilliant. Trent Alexander Arnold was outstanding, and he was everywhere, does it matter what his starting position is. All change at Sheffield United as Paul Heckingbottom bows out after a five nil defeat at Burnley. Chris Wilder is back, but with the current owners is the Bramall Lane job a poisoned chalice. Plus big wins for Burnley and Everton and some boos for Steve Cooper. City v Spurs 2’ Problems for City or brilliant spurs 5’ drop off in defending, standards not the same. Injuries are key – Stones, De Bryne. 9’ three games back to back with things to worry about and lack of control. Very un-City like. 11’ Spur were brave, clever and relentless. But could they have even won if they had tailored their approach just a bit? 13’ all or nothing under Postecoglou. Arsenal 15’ Rice adds resilience and stability. More pragmatic. 17’ Learning from previous seasons. Have a stronger squad this season. Liverpool and Fulham 19’ Trent AA outstanding. Should he just play in midfield. Teams exploiting the space he leaves though. 21’ Down to bones defensively, Matip and Robertson out for some time. 22’ TAA is a generational talent. How many players can do what he can do. But what is his role? 25’ Does it matter if he has a position. Do Liverpool have an alternate right back? 27’ Fulham lacking a bit of edge but played well. Similar to last season, need to strengthen. Still nearly men. Villa 29’ Over achieving, but now with champions league aspirations. 30’ Emery doing it with effectively the same squad Gerrard had. It is now Emery’s club, his staff, his set up. Involved in everything and working very well. But will they make top four. Sheffield United 34’ Paul Heckingbottom out, Chris Wilder back in. 35’ coming into a a club up for sale, in need of players and a team dispirited. 36’ owners are a real problem. 37’ Why would wilder go back to such a mess? 15 fit players before the season started. 40’ Owner admitted to being in touch with wilder all season, unfair on Heckingbottom. 44’ no chance of staying up. Owners fault, not Paul Heckingbottom. Burnley 45’ Finally some relief for Kompany. Will this be the spark? 46’ Confidence yes, but turnaround, not sure. Look at who they beat… 48’ They have been the better team in many of their games, but to open to hang on. Does Kompany need to temper his principles a bit? Forest 51’ first boos for Steve Cooper at the City ground. Are fans starting to doubt him? 53’ leading striker out till new year. Replacements not up to same level. No shot on goal until 31st minute. 55’ next two games make or break for Cooper. Results need to improve. 57’ Everton created lots of chances. Chris Wood right up the street of Everton centre halves. Needed a different approach. 59’ Everton comfortable. But game lacked quality. Everton good enough to pull away, even with a ten point deduction. 60’ But Calvert Lewin injured again. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Martin Samuel, James Gheerbrant and Jonathan Northcroft join Gregor Robertson for the Thursday edition of The Game. Manchester United once again take centre stage. Free scoring, but also conceding freely too and dropping a two goal lead twice in Türkiye. Arsenal in contrast are less expansive than last year but more defensively solid, they’re also top of their group and top of the Premier League…can they possibly be under the radar? Newcastle suffered at the hands of VAR and the team finish by discussing the attempts being made to attract more ex-players into helping VAR officiating. A bonus section includes Martin Samuel giving his fascinating memories of Terry Venables Timeline Man Utd 2’ Scoring freely away from home, but conceding just as easily. 6’ Bruno Fernandes and Onana 8’ A poorly set up team, too stretched. Everton game was a warning sign. Everton had tons of shots. 10’ United have gone backwards this season, if you look at performance not result. Emotionally unstable as a team. 14’ players have to manage games, less flash and volatility. More steel sense and game management. Newcastle 21’ ludicrous decision. But Eddie Howe’s reaction has been fantastic. 23’ Group still wide open, anything could happen. 24’ Eddie Howe has done a remarkable job 25’ the differing interpretation of the handball law between UEFA and all domestic league. Not a sustainable position. 28’ how can there be ‘a version’ of the rules…? Arsenal 31’ what happened to boring boring Arsenal? 33’ are Arsenal under the radar. Top of the league and through as top of their Champions league group. Very effective. 35’ Rice outstanding, allows others to play. Used to be very exciting, second most goals per game last season. This season much further down, but seemingly more managed, secure. 38’ Declan Rice is rhythm guitar, and he is essential and really good. 41’ Arsenal have bounced back two season running after disappoint/frustrating ends to the previous season. Refereeing 44’ How to overcome the accusation of bias if you’re seeking ex pros to be referees. 47’ more trust required. Ex pros have a lot to offer. 53’ something needs to change and probably will. It is now to regular. 55’ economically not viable to be a referee, takes a long time to qualify and doesn’t pay a lot. For ex players that will be problematic. 59’ can we ever foresee a top player officiating and not being called biased. 1hr it works in cricket. Terry Venables Why did he leave England… Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Tony Cascarino, Alyson Rudd and Tom Allnutt join Gregor Robertson on the Monday edition of The Game. The team pay tribute to Terry Venables and reflect on his eclectic range of interests outside the game and his tactical ability as a coach. Reflecting on the weekends fixtures they look at the tactical battle at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, Man Utd have won five in six and are two off the top four. At the bottom, Everton’s belief and frustration couldn’t get a result, whereas Luton showed they never give up. What will be the difference in making the top four or avoiding relegation? Timeline Venables memories 2’ A remarkable man who did so many things outside of football. Busi9ness, singing, tailor, bought a club…sold Maradona and bought Archibald. 4’ edit neil and tony. 5’ shrewd, negotiator, charismatic, loved football. Tactically ahead of his time. 7’ Loved in Spain, tactically respected. A Penalty shootout away from winning the European cup with Barca. 9’ Embodied Tottenham. Tottenham v Villa 10’ Spurs opened very well. Unlucky not to be further ahead. Fair result could have been a draw. 12’ the offside derby, two teams playing a high line. 14’ Villa applied the break more often, spurs remained gung ho and paid for it. 15’ intriguing game. No compromise by either team. Good decisions by Emry, taking cash off, getting Teilemons on. Demonstrates the level of management in the premier league. 19’ Villa right in shake up for top four. But spurs heavily hit by injuries and suspensions. Everton v Man Utd 21’ Not in the script for Everton to be hit by a wonder goal. 23’ where did Garnacho’s goal rank? Great goal, how important was it? 27’ Bergkamp, Adam, Crouch, Bergkamp again… 29’ Utd, fifth win in six games. Only two off top four. 32’ Everton now have a BIG job to avoid relegation. Luton v Palace 36’ Lift off at Luton. Performances starting to get results. 38’ Fit team, heads don’t drop. Not capitulated in any game. Great self belief. 39’ Place facing injury problems to key players. Could they get sucked in? 40’ Injuries came at key time in the game. Hodgson has defensive know how. Newcastle v Chelsea 48’ Is Tiago Silva starting to show his age? At 39 are the years catching up? 50’ Backward step for Chelsea and Poch. First time he has called out his players. 52’ Anthony Gordon gave Reece James a torrid time. City v Liverpool 55’ there for city to win, they missed the chance. 56’ Good result for Liverpool, a point at City, how can you grumble? Arsenal Top and under the radar. Brentford not at their best. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Gregor Robertson is joined by Jonathan Northcroft, Tony Cascarino and Martin Samuel for heated discussion on the murky world of football finance and governance. As Everton face a ten point deduction for breaching profit and sustainability rules, the team ask, does the punishment fit the crime? The answer is a resounding no! But why is that, is it a level playing field and what are the wider implications for clubs such as Manchester City and Chelsea. After a quick look at the vote on multi club ownership models finally some actual football and a look ahead to the big game at the weekend, as Manchester City take on Liverpool. Timeline 2’ internationals. Learnt nothing from England. But Italy Ukraine…a shocking decision and Martin thinks something stinks. 4’ Head of UEFA said Italy not qualifying would be a disaster. Why are officials saying who they want to progress. Everton points deduction 8’ The facts, what were Everton penalised for? 10’ FFP is a construct of the riches clubs to keep the status quo. 12’ no such thing as organic growth because the best teams cherry pick the best players from smaller clubs. Inward investment to beat that system should not be punished. 15’ Everton have had a go and have been punished. 18’ why are the rules there, are they doing what they are supposed to do? 20’ the commission agreed it wasn’t an attempt to cheat, just poor management, but without danger to the club. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime. 21’ the commission portrayed Everton as ‘continually reckless.’ 22’ Premier league stopped working with Everton, why? 24’ will there be, or should there be an independent regulator. 27’ What is the alternative? Unfettered spending, so long as it isn’t based on debt. 29’ is this punishment going to kill the under dog story? An arbitrary construct. 33’ We want two things in football, clubs not going into debt and going bust and healthy competition. 35’ Man City charges…being bogged down by expensive lawyers. 38’ pick a team of lawyers because they’ll decide who wins what, but they’ll do it in five years time. 41’ City charges. Vote to NOT ban signing players from associated clubs 49’ similar issue and touches on self regulation. 52’ need a robust set of loan regulations. Historic agent issues 58’ The FA are looking into a breach from 2008 when Jermaine Defoe left Portsmouth to go to Spurs. City v Liverpool 1’02’ Every player who has come in to the midfield has been an upgrade. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
In a special episode of The Game Tom Clarke is joined by regulars Gregor Robertson and Jonathan Northcroft as they speak to special guest Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu about his life and career. Pelly is the first player to play for the same club from the national league through to the Premier league. Following ten years at the club, he is now mentioned alongside Luton legend Mick Hartford and has a mural, song and type of honey all created in his honour. On the pitch he has played under an England manager and in a Wembley final. This is a chance to hear more from one club man Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu. Timeline: 2’ start of career. Belmont and Boreham Wood. 6’ West Ham and playing for Allardyce. 8’ Dec 2013…on loan to Luton. Shock compared to Luton and Boreham Wood. 10’ John Still 100 goals and hundred points. 11’ Debut at Staines in the cup. Playing out of position at centre half. 18’ injuries and adjusting to the demands of regular league football. 21’ Nathan Jones. Great guy spoke a really good game, good tactically. Great use of data. 22’ Near misses and promotion to league one. 28’ Tough first season in the championship. Manager coming and going. The return of Nathan Jones. 30’ Footballers during covid. 33’ Nathan Jones leaves again. Pelly stays…why? 38’ loyalty to Luton and the opportunities they have given him. 40’ fairy tales…getting to the premier league. 41’ What’s the difference in the premier league. 45’ difference between levels. League one, championship, premiership. In the prem ever chance is taken. 48’ the fans don’t change 50’ I think I’m a good player actually. Reflection on promotion season and the arrival of Rob Edwards. 55’ Wembley and nerves who do you celebrate with. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
James Gheerbrant, Jonathan Northcroft and Gregor Robertson join tom Clarke to give VAR a grilling. Does the mic’d up programme help or hinder the case for VAR in games? The team look at issues around how subjective football is, how effective current VAR is and are there other, better options to use the technology? After an inconclusive but heated debate it’s on to England’s midfield. Bellingham and Rice seem certain starters, but who plays alongside them? Do England have a defensive midfielder, and if not, who plays instead? Finally, Jonny recently voted in a poll asking who are currently the world’s best players…he names his top five. Timeline VAR 2’ VAR, are the audio releases helping or hindering 4’ Pain is not worth the gain. It is a really difficult job, but it has become farcical. 8’ Running VAR can be exhausting, in the spotlight, no clear right and wrong, walking a tightrope Possible clips 11’ the number and detail of incidents can’t be assessed in the time allowed. 15’ modern mania to achieve perfection…in a subjective sport. 17’ timing is an issue; it takes too long the flow of the game has been affected. 20’ Has the mic’d up programme improved things or further mudded the waters. 22’ sin bins. Good idea or not? Keeping refs mics on would stop player dissent quickly. 26’ do players influence VAR by appealing and asking refs to check things. England midfield 31’ who plays alongside Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham. 33’ the chemistry of the three is important. Southgate prizes control over everything else. Gregor thinks still Philips. 35’ can’t pick Philips or Henderson because of lack of top flight football. 37’ Trent Alexander is the answer according to Jonny. 40’ James, consider Connor Gallagher. 45’ stones, Rico Lewis, Foden Maddison. Jonny think whoever Jude wants Keep Bellingham happy. Best players in the world 49’ Jonny voted for worlds best players. Hard to over look Premier league and England players. Haland, Rodri, Kane, Bellingham. 55’ Kane now getting the coverage he deserves. 57’ Messi still the man. What about defenders?? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Alyson Rudd, Gregor Robertson and Tony Cascarino join Tom Clarke to discuss the weekend’s games. And what a weekend of fixtures, 37 goals, the top five separated by three points and last minute winners. Stamford Bridge saw one of the games of the season so far. What stood out, team performance or individual brilliance? At Molineux Wolves mounted a stoppage time come back to stun spurs, who have now lost twice in a week and dropped to fourth. Hot on their heels and only three off the top at Villa after yet another convincing home win, led by a very impressive John McGinn. Plus West Ham, Liverpool and Everton. Timeline Chelsea and City 3’ great game at the bridge. 4’ Raheem Sterling, fantastic performance. How can he not be in the England squad. 7’ Is it turning for Poch, all the signings and stars starting to come good? 9’ Chelsea were very good, but can they replicate it. 12’ what is to come from Chelsea, very exciting, to play that well and still be a work in progress. Chelsea fans are excited. 15’ Poch says team should be in top four, that’s is the expectation. Young players now coming good. 18’ Are City at their best? Probably not but they still scored 4 away from home. And with no De Bryne. 20’ if City don’t win the title, who could? Liverpool seems to be the consensus. 23’ City still have best squad and know how to win. When its crunch time they get better. West Ham 25’ Moyes development and blending old with new. Ward-Prowse on song. Lots of flare and creativity in the West Ham team now. 28’ Gregor a little less convinced. Team reliant on moments of brilliance from players not team identity or playing patterns. But still achieving and deserve credit. Is there a next step to take… Newcastle and Bournemouth 32’ Poor result for Newcastle, and a tough day for Trippier. 33’ Alyson thinks the fans have become a bit entitled. 38’ Team are ravaged by injury, they tried very hard. Fans should see that. Look how far they have come. 40’ Well played Bournemouth. Wolves Spurs 44’ Wolves a well drilled, well coached, well organised team. With key players playing well. When they win the ball, they know what to do with it. For spells they outplayed Spurs. 46’ Spurs need certain type of player in key positions, with both centre halves out it makes a big difference. 47’ Fantastic coaching from the sideline by Gary Oneil. Spurs wiped out by injuries and suspension. Top four… 50’ Who‘ll make it? Seems there is confidence in Villa making it… Villa 53’ Villa Park is a great place to watch football. Tactically intelligent, versatile. They have control, pace and interchange. Gregor VERY impressed with Villa. John McGinn is the poster boy for a fantastic team. Gregor loves his bum, its big and he uses it as a weapon. Everton 58’ Dyche working magic. Team have momentum, getting goals and have the third best away record in the league. 1;00” Goals coming from places other than Calvert Lewin. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
The Thurs team of Martin Samuel, Tony Cascarino and Gregor Robertson join Tom Clarke to discuss one thing…VAR. With two thrilling games and twelve goals between them the Man Utd v Copenhagen and Spurs v Chelsea games were dominated by VAR. Is it inevitable, will it change or will football adapt to a brave new world? Discuss… Timeline VAR and Man Utd 10’ is football and footballers now going to change. 12’ how do you police a subjective game played in milliseconds. 16’ the difference in officiating and the interpretation of rules. 22’ Positives for Man United despite losing the game. 26’ Copenhagen not a good team, don’t get carried away. 34’ All to random at Man U. Performances are fractured VAR and Chelsea Spurs 38’ Romero red card… 41’ Intent or not intent. How to define it. 47’ Offside, Jackson had a yard start, but it was phase two. Is that fair? Martin thinks the rules are nonsense. Active or inactive. 51’ We’re talking about VAR, not about football. 58’ Ange and his brave…or crazy tactics. High line with nine men. Amazing spectacle, but not sure if it was the best approach. 59’ Glorious failure. They lost but they lost player to their philosophy. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Monday regulars Gregor Robertson and Alyson Rudd join Tom Allnutt and Tom Clarke for The Game. The team look at good wins for Sheffield Utd and Forest and a point for Luton. But what about the performances, was it luck or are there positives to build on? Erik Ten Hag got a win to take the pressure off, but again, what of the performance. Disappointing weekends for Villa and Liverpool, but it was the post match reaction of Mikel Arteta that took most of the headlines. Is the pressure telling so soon into the season? Finally a look at the end of an era as Emma Hayes announces her departure from Chelsea. Where next for the most well known of the WSL managers…? Timeline: Sheff Utd 2’ Great win for Sheff Utd. Will it stop the rumours of Chris Wilder waiting in the wings to replace Paul Heckingbottom. 5’ Soft pen, and truth be told Sheff Utd are still not a great team. 7’ how do Sheff Utd play from here on out? 10’ Does this win turn around the narrative of the bottom being the three promoted clubs plus Bournemouth being in a relegation scrap. 14’ Wolves still struggling in front of goal and heavily reliant on Neto. But they played well, just a little unlucky, Forest 16’ Impressive from Forest, demonstrates togetherness, mental strength and work rate. 17’ Cloud still hanging over Steve Cooper as the owners put pressure on. Forest did a great job of exploiting Villa’s high line. 20’ Forest under Cooper have a really solid structure. Play as a unit, fight for each other. According to opta, not a settled side though. 23’ Gregor still worried for Steve Cooper. Thinks the owners still want change. Not a good environment for cooper, hard to stabilise. 24’ Villa looked flat, never looked threatening. Didn’t take chances. Man Utd 29’ Alyson thinks Ten Hag is too passive, in press and on touch line. Unimpressive. Fulham the better side. But a win is a win, after the goal and players and fans showed unity. 32’ Why did he start Anthony? BREAK Luton 36’ Kenilworth Road finally showed its worth. Luton played brilliantly, organised, waited then went for it. 39’ Luton showed composure. Doughty, Barkley great. Nunez, active but missing sitters. 42’ Stuck to their principles, showed how they want to play. Liverpool 44’ Nunez, a handful works hard, but lacks composure, missed the key chances. 45’ No sign of complacency. Luis Diaz moving. Well handled by Klopp. Arsenal 47’ Havertz should have been red, or orange carded. 48’ The best teams take the sting out of these kind of games. Arteta didn’t. Tried to battle it out with Newcastle. Poor choice. Areta’s emotional state didn’t help. 51’ VAR decisions a mess. Pressure on officials, lack of suitable technology and lag from past bad decisions. 54’ no need to do it, sign of weakness from Areta, unnecessary stress. Arsenal missed Odeguaard badly. 58’ Has the goal keeping decision backfired. Newcastle 1hr Were fantastic. Deserved the win. Played superbly. Better still the reflection on Eddie howe. Playing with a team full of players signed by others but he has improved them all. Emma Hayes 1;01 End of an era. What next, could she, would she take the USA job? Why not England? Possesses a huge desire to grown and learn. Said many years ago she didn’t want the England job….have the FA missed out? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
The regular Thursday club of Martin Samuel, Tony Cascarino and Gregor Robertson join Tom Clarke. Déjà vu as Man Utd are once again the main talking point. Is Erik ten Hag now under pressure, a team with no identity, players under performing and a poor attitude. When does the spot light fall on the manager. Saudi were given the 2034 world cup with little fan fare and no celebration. What does it mean for football…a battle between UEFA and FIFA? Will the Saudi’s be threatening Man Utd 2’ Ten Hag surely now he is under pressure? Fate depends on when Jim Ratcliffe arrives. 6’ no players performing, as proven by the fact no one wants to buy any Man Utd players. 8’ can’t keep mentioning the club, at some point its about what the manager does 10’ has he improved any players? 13’ no team identity 16’ it’s a massive mess. But at some point the manager should do the basics, but they weren’t there last night. 19’ manager stays until new owners come in. 23’ Will good players get sucked down the same path. 24’ Rashford going out after the City defeat 26’ Tony worked with Don howe, who helped keep him on the straight and narrow. Less going out, better focus. 31’ perception is everything Saudi world cup 36’ it was always going to happen. It is now sad acceptance. Money talks. 38’ No federations have complained. There is a difference between world cup and Saudi owners. One is governing body, public property and one is private business. 41’ FIFA is no structured in such a way that UEFA is irrelevant. Infantino has the other votes locked down…very hard to change. It is a battle between UEFA and FIFA. 43’ The only way to challenge it would be to boycott. I high price…would any federation pay it? 46’ Isn’t it just about showcasing football in new countries, building the brand, growing the sport? 50’ Its taken the Saudi’s 18mnths to get a world cup. They are/will come for club football…what happen next, is the premier league under threat? 52’ the wind has changed and no longer China but Saudi, and UK gov seems happy Chelsea v Spurs 58’ Chelsea face same problem…can’t score goals. Jackson didn’t actually have a great record at Villa reale…4 in 28 before a streaky run. Not surprising he can’t score regularly at Chelsea. 1;01’ Chelsea erratic. Done well against some teams, but inconsistent and lacking any edge. Tony thinks they’re a long way off. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Ally Rudd, Gregor Robertson and James Restall join Tom Clarke on Mondays edition of The Game. After reflecting on another one-sided Manchester derby they move on to who can win the title. Spurs fans are dreaming, and Ange is happy they are…but can it last. And what of Liverpool, three off the top, getting better and with players returning to form. After the break a quick look at Calvert Lewin’s form and finally who is the most exciting ever young English player? Gazza, Rooney, Owen, Bellingham? Timeline: Manchester derby 2’ Man Utd had average plan A, no plan B. 6’ Mason Mount only had 14 touches. No balance in midfield. 9’ Who is at fault, poor signings, signings not performing, or a club with a poor culture. 12’ no identity, and doesn’t have the players to create the identity Ten Hag wants. 17’ Will Haaland win the Ballon’ D’or. Or is it Mesi all the way Can they win the league… 20’ Can Spurs win the title? They’re adaptable, tough, confident and no longer flakey. Big strong team. In short, it’s not impossible. 24’ They believe they can win it. That’s half the battle. Son been amazing. 28’ outstanding centre halves, decent squad depth. 32’ The coaching improvement is impressive. Liverpool Forest 36’ City’s biggest challengers. Very creative midfield, not as reliant on fullbacks. 38’ very good signings. Dominik Szoboszlai could be a special player. Firs the club very well. 44’ Forest had a tough start, individual mistakes, but Cooper probably happy…for now. 44’ Got a good structure, hard to breakdown. A platform to build from. Everton and Calvert Lewin 46’ Is he in the fight to be Kane’s understudy? 48’ great goal, good for Dyche. 49’ Ally met Kenwright. Best ever young English young player 55’ Gregor played against Rooney, a shuddering experience. Bellingham will have impact but not the same shocking impact. Others…Owen, Walcott, Gazza. 59’ With Kane and Bellingham, can England win the euro’s… Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Gregor Robertson, Jonathan Northcroft and Martin Samuel join Tom Clarke. They look back at the weeks European fixtures, have things turned around for Manchester United and two of their players in particular Onana and Maguire? Was it a reality check for Newcastle and is Jesus the main man for Arsenal? Gregor went to watch Birmingham, and reflects on Wayne Rooney’s start at St Andrews. The team look at new owners setting unrealistic targets, getting rid of unfashionable managers and how Rooney might react. Finally Martin and Jonny remember Bill Kenwright a toffee through and through. Timeline: Man Utd – a win but has anything changed. 2’ Onana the hero…is he coming good? Does one good game change things? 5’ needs to be proved over a period of games. overall performance still not great. 7’ what is United’s identity. 10’ These were once assumed wins, now they are celebrated. Relying on players who they were trying to sell a month ago. 12’ Parts don’t fit. Sweeper keeper but with slow centre backs. Creativity or industry, not both. 19’ character and self-belief in players. Perspective, they’re doing the very basics. Lets see how they do against better teams. Newcastle 25’ not quite a reality check, Dortmund are a good side. Hard to play two games a week of such high intensity. 27’ Perhaps lacking a little in player experience. Slightly affected by injuries, at that level. There is a reason it took Man City so long to succeed at that level. 30’ need to play differently in Europe. 31’ Now looking thin – Tonali long ban, Isak, Botman, Murphy and Barnes all injured. Will they be able to sign anyone given FFP?? 34’ Jesus injury. Is he the main man for Arsenal, or do they need another striker? Rooney and Birmingham. 44’ Rooney’s tough start at St Andrews. Fans not happy, previous manager sacked too early and the team not played well in either of his first two games. 46’ the players are not comfortable playing the kind of football he wants to play. Too much too soon. Rooney thinks that might be the case. 52’ Rooney not bothered by criticism. But will the fans turn round. 54’ far to soon to be turning on him. 55’ Are the owners – DC – well equipped to bring success to Birmingham or are they half hearted? They have done a lot of good things, but are they running before they can walk on the football side? 58’ Carrying the weight of being a player from ‘the golden generation.’ He has to prove himself. Bill Kenwright 1;03 a fan who ended up at the top of the club. Tried really hard to find a credible buyer. Had a rough time but loved Everton wanted the best for them and tried his hardest. 1;05 Nice guy, and true fan. But became a lightening conductor for a fan base who had been let down. But Kenwright didn’t have the money himself, tried to find it with other investors. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Tom Clarke is back and joined by Monday regulars Alyson Rudd, Tom Roddy and Gregor Robertson. After paying tribute to the late great Sir Bobby Charlton they look back on a fantastic weekend of football. Villa are flying high and don’t look like stopping. City and arsenal are up there without really playing well. Someone who is playing well is Harry Maguire, a man of the match performance against Sheffield united, but a test awaits next week against City and Haaland. Finally revenge for Gary O’Neil and is Ivan Tony set to leave Brentford. Timeline: 1’ Sir Bobby tributes Villa 4’ Villa, title contenders? Amazing home record. 10’ Emery getting the best out of players already at the club. Ollie Watkins the best example. 14’ Villa playing style. Big physical side, with pace. City and United 21’ back on track, flying? Not so much according to Gregor. Still time to adjust to losing key players. 24’ Has Guardiola lost some control over in’s and out’s 26’ Maguire back to his best? 27’ United winning but look at who is scoring. 32’ Pace of the game has increased, that has affected Maguire. Arsenal Chelsea 35’ Positivity for Chelsea. But are they getting an easy ride, should fans be more frustrated at results. 38’ Chelsea missing four starters, played good football, the tide is turning. 40’ Formation unusual, Poch optimistic. 45’ Arsenal, gifted a route back into the game. But they found a way. Wolves Bournemouth 48’ Iraola running out of time. Lots of individual mistakes but he needs a win. 50’ Need to re asses their style. High press needs to be backed up. 52’ Wolves looking great. O’Neil deserves huge credit. Neto and Cunha key Brentford 56’ Were struggling but first home win of the season 58’ Faith in Thomas Frank, despite the rough start. Henry injury, Toney out…they’ll get better. 60’ Looks like Tony will leave Brentford in Jan, possibly Arsenal. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Sancho alone with his lunchbox and can England win the Euros? Gregor Robertson is joined by Martin Samuel, Tony Cascarino and James Gheerbrant. Should England dare to dream…? Martin Samuel thinks they should embrace the expectation that they are one of the favourites to win the European Championships in Germany next year. They look at England’s strength in depth, and particularly the rise of Jude Bellingham, now one of the world’s best players. From one former Borussia Dortmund player to another and the plight of Jadon Sancho. Training with the youngsters, getting changed alone, given his lunch in a club lunchbox. How did it come to this…? Finally, a look at the once sacrosanct Saturday afternoon 3pm kick off. Once upon a time never televised, that looks like changing. Does it matter? Timeline: England 1’ England – they really could win the euros. They’re a very good team. Embrace the expectation. 6’ Could England go back to back?> Where is the weak link…centre half? 8’ Evolution in Southgate’s approach. Has he found a balance. 10’ If not England who? 15’ Kalvin Philips and Harry Maguire 22’ Bellingham…brilliant. Sancho 33’ From seventy million pound player to pariah. What happened to Jadon Sancho. 35’ massive breakdown between Ten Hag and Sancho. 37’ Sancho was amazing at Dortmund. 42’ The agent should be the intermediary and her their money. 44’ Ghost of Fergie… 3pm kick offs 54’ Will it impact smaller teams. 55’ wall to wall football. Similar to America. 58’ all designed by the premier league to stop the bigger clubs breaking away to strike their own TV deals Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
In todays edition of The Game Gregor Robertson is joined by Tony Cascarino, Tom Roddy and Alyson Rudd. No surprise that Gregor starts with a look back at Scotland’s qualification for next years Euros, their second in succession. While there were cheers in Scotland, there were boos at Wembley for Jordan Henderson. Were they justified? No boos in Cardiff as Wales reignited their qualification hopes. After the break Matt Lawton joins to discuss the story unfolding at Manchester Utd as Sir Jim Ratcliffe now looks set to buy the club, in stages, after the Qatar bidders withdrew. Will it change things at Man Utd? Finally, after Alyson Rudd met her footballing hero, Jari Litmanen, should you ever meet you heroes? Timeline: Scotland Michael Grant reviews Scotland’s qualification for the Euros Steve Clarke achievement. Fans going to the final New culture at Hampden and Scotland now. England Henderson was booed at Wembley. Southgate disappointing to say he didn’t understand. Henderson coming to the end of his career, or one more tournament. Confused at being booed. Little sympathy. Wales Qualification back in their hands Harry Wilson coming good. Rob page is safe, for now First big result post Gareth Bale. Man Utd Matt Lawton joins to discuss the moves taking place in the race to own Man Utd. Qatar’s pull out, which leaves the way clear for Jim Ratcliffe to take a sizable percentage ownership in the club. This is the first stage of a full takeover, it will not be part measure. Jim Ratcliffe will be the full owner, this is just the way the deal has to be structured. The mechanics of how Man Utd were put up for sale, what/who they wanted and how it panned out. Is the gloom around old Trafford to lift? What do we know about Ineos. What is their track record in cycling and at French ligue 1 side Nice. Lot of things to fix at Man Utd. Injury recurrence, recruitment, contracts…general decision making Heroes Alyson Rudd has final met and interviewed her hero, Jari Litmanen. Seems she is in love with him. Should you meet your heroes? Was it worth meeting him? He was a nice man, humble, he has heroes to. Sidcup high street and Tony met Steve Harley…oh dear. Ton has no heroes. Gregor …Dani Alves and Jon Collins. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Chief sports correspondent for The Times Matt Lawton and Chief sports writer for the Sunday Times David Walsh join Tom Clarke for a unique look at England manager Gareth Southgate. David Walsh helped write Southgate’s award winning book in 2004 and broke the news in 2022 that Southgate would be staying on as England manager. Matt Lawton has covered England throughout Southgate’s tenure. Both give rare insight into how he operates and what the man is really like. If you missed part one yesterday they discussed his playing career. In part two it is management… Managerial career 2’ Destined to be manager. Many thought he effectively managed Middlesborough from the changing room in his final season. 4’ Southgate happy to express his frustration and disapproval of managers, or situations. 6’ Worked under a wide variety of England managers. David Beckham. 7’Middlesborough a great opportunity, but at a tough time with money running out. Southgate blooded the young players. Devastate to get the sack at Middlesborough. Steve Gibson now acknowledges he should never have sacked him. Was he too nice. England 15’ England under 21’s opportunity. A chance to change English football. How to produce technically better footballers. 18’ Not a candidate for England after Hodgson left. Nor did he think he’d get the job. He was put forward as a shop gap, a second rater for three games. Southgate objected and wished to be a contender or not at all. FA relented and gave him the chance. He took it. 24’turbulence and distraction with Eriksen and Capello. Then the farce of Allardyce. Southgate proved to be the antidote. 27’ a natural in the arena. Became what he wanted to be. Changed how England play, how they are perceived and turn England into a place where players want to be. His three tournaments as manager 32’ was 2018 his bets achievement. With the team he had and the system he played? He changed the culture. Brings good people around him. 36’ How he handled Wayne Rooney’s exit. Losing on penalties to Italy and losing to a very good French team in Qatar. Tactical awareness… 40’ he has always been tactically aware, as player and manager. He never respected managers who he thought had no idea. 46’ Not really close to leaving. “We talked about the game…” 52’ Jude Bellingham age. Does he need to win something. Not really he has already been a success. Is he still the best man for the job. From losing to Iceland a euro final and world cup semi. England in a much better place than when he took the job. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Chief sports correspondent for The Times Matt Lawton and Chief sports writer for the Sunday Times David Walsh join Tom Clarke for a unique look at England manager Gareth Southgate. David Walsh helped write Southgate’s award winning book in 2004 and broke the news in 2022 that Southgate would be staying on as England manager. Matt Lawton has covered England throughout Southgate’s tenure. Both give rare insight into how he operates and what the man is really like. If you think the England manager is a bit boring, listen to this first. Timeline: Boring ? 2’ Are fans getting a bit tired of Southgate? Nice guy, bit boring…might be a misconception. 4’ one of the most interesting people I have ever met. 6’ Gareth wrote a chapter of his book in four hours overnight. The subject was Alen Boksic. Playing career 12’ Southgate’s playing career. Never got the big move he wanted. 14’ loved by Venables. 18’ unfulfilled as a player. 21’ Middlesborough, leader in the dressing room. 23’ Euro 96 Gareth Southgate played every game. Arguably England’s best player. Took a penalty, but others didn’t step up in front of a young player. The press were kind. What does that say for how they viewed Southgate. 29’ Southgate learnt and changed. He implemented practicing penalties. 34’ captain everywhere he went. But to start with quite nice. Managers worked to bring out his toughness. He had has an inner steel. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Most teams get a mention as Tony Cascarino, Tom Roddy and Gregor Robertson join Tom Clarke for Mondays’ edition of The Game. Who are city missing most and is the result Arsenal’s spring board. West Ham are playing good football and getting good results, will David Moyes get the credit. At the other end of the table Luton and Burnley are good to watch, but they’re getting no results, will that start to effect morale and belief. For Bournemouth they’re still winless, despite a new manager who arrived with much expectation. Following the injury to Sheffield United’s Chris Basham, Gregor Robertson talks with painful honesty about his time recovering from a severe leg break, the immediate shock, the monotonous daily routine and the thoughts of how it might affect the rest of your life/career. Timeline: Arsenal v City 1’ Arsenal, champions after beating City..? Declan Rice was immense. 3’ City weakness or Arsenal strength. What’s happened to Kalvin Philips? 4’ Poor quality games. City playing with four centre backs. Both teams more defensive then one might imagine. Do City have a new approach to breaking the press? Overload midfield. 8’ Is Rodri their most important player? Tony thinks it is still De Bruyne. 10’ Keepers asked to do very risky things. Raya a wreck but then improved. Tottenham top 15’ Ange ball, gritty ball. Impressive spirit and character. Van de Venn impressive. 16’ Does expectation need to rise, are they the real deal. Spurs still don’t have enough to go the whole season. 19’ will the style get figured out. No cover for Maddison and Bissouma. Top four only. Luton and Burnley 20’ Luton played well can’t take chances. What happens if belief starts to wain. Rob Edwards job could be to keep a team motivated if defeats mount. 24’ Kompany’s style is risky and will often concede goals, but if it works… 26’ Burnley will grow into the league. Chelsea 28’ turning the corner…had some luck, but results turning. Injured players coming back. Key players scoring, building confidence. 31’ Cole Palmer took the penalty…a young player brought in to cover two kep injuries in the Chelsea squad. West Ham v Newcastle 37’ Hammers impressive playing good football. Signings all working, Alvarez, Kudos, Ward Browse all playing very well. 39’ Newcastle come down after Europe, Isak best player, looks very good. 41’ West Ham players who were off it last year are back on it. 42’ Is Moyes the chucky monster. Cas thinks he’s tough, resilient and deserves huge credit. Now has his best West Ham team. Fulham v Sheff Utd 46’ Willian stole the show. 35 signed from a trial at Fulham, set up chance after chance all game. Despite that the team lack goal scorers. Can’t convert their chances. 51’ still good to watch but no edge. 53’ Gregor had the same injury as Basham, severe lower leg injury. He talks graphically about his recovery and the long road ahead for Sheff Utd. How will his absence affect the team? 58’ even with the injury, Sheff Utd weren’t good. Bournemouth 59’ No wins under Iraola. They play Wolves and Gary O’Neil after the international break. Will he be under pressure if they lose. Noise is he could be starting to panic. 1;00 Club are invested in Iraola, he won’t go. Belief is an issue though. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Tom Clarke is joined by Martin Samuel, Gregor Robertson and Tom Allnutt for a jam packed show. They look back at a memorable night on Tyneside, Martin Samuel thinks Newcastle will win the Champions League before PSG ever will. Then its on to a miserable night at Old Trafford and a look at how Mikel Arteta manages Bukayo Saka. Then its VAR, Gregor thinks the rules are an ass, Martin thinks it’s the rules and the officials. Finally, it’s the awarding of the 2030 world cup to just the three continents…all agree it is a precursor to where 2034 goes…clue; its got a lot of sand and a lot of oil. Timeline: Newcastle 1’ Martin Hardy reflects on a special night at St James park. 3’ This is not a one off for Newcaste, it is a sign of things to come. 7’ the prestige of European competition. Goals scored by locals, people playing for the team. How has Eddie howe done it. And what went wrong with PSG. 10’ what’s the problem at PSG. Mbappe is the star but how long will he stay. Does Enrique have a long term vision. This result will not be acceptable in Paris. Gregor thought the tactics were at fault. PSG invite pressure, but they couldn’t cope with it. 14’ Its not just teams that win the champs league, its clubs. Newcastle will win it before PSG will. 16’ running an elite club is not easy, as Man Utd are demonstrating. Newcastle is well run, good plan, good recruitment and plenty of money to back it up. 18’ this was a statement victory, announcing yourself on the European stage. But Tom Allnutt thinks beating a weary club in the group is not winning a two leg semi. 20’ Does the result gloss over who owns the club and the issues surrounding Saudi ownership? 23’ The French Eddie Howe is not getting the PSG job. They are not connected to the feeding ground of the Paris suburbs. Not enough attention taken to off field appointments. Man Utd 25’ It started so well. Goals for Hojlund then it imploded. 26’ Its about a well run club, Utd isn’t. They’ve tried new coaches, experienced, but the club is badly run. No vision. How are good players turned bad…is it them or the club? Gregor says good players but played out of position and no clear vision and structure. 28’ Club culture and off field appointments. Ten Hag has had to fire fight but is there a consistency to his coaching. How does he want to play. 32’ Off field division breeds lack of confidence. Ten hag is under pressure, he shouldn’t be but he is. as the signings are his. Martin not convinced by Onana. City v Arsenal 35’ Arteta’s management of Saka. Playing him through injury, has that now caught up with them? He is vital for Arsenal, that’s why he keeps playing him. 38’ Saka getting kicked a lot. Does Arteta need to protect him. Should they have bought cover? No longer acceptable to jab players up to play. VAR 44’ VAR debacle. Gregor has sympathy for Darren England. Made a huge error, for the world to see. The clip humanises 45’ Martin looks at the rules that says the game can’t be stopped. 46’ They were incapable of thinking for themselves. The rules are an ass. 55’ Bravery needed to go against the rules in a pressure situation being watched by millions. 1;00’ who should serve on ifab 1;02’ No replay, despite it being wrong. World cup 1;04’ awarding the world cup to three continents clears the way for Saudi world cup in 2030. What about planet earth. FIFA do many strange things. Martin says Infantino is an appalling figure at the head of football. Many of the things said about the Qatar world cup proved, after the fact to be true – carbon footprint, workers rights, player welfare - but none of it mattered, FIFA didn’t really care. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Joining Tom Clarke on this episode of The Game are Alyson Rudd, Molly Hudson and Gregor Robertson. VAR is given a thorough grilling, but will anything change. Should it be referees operating VAR. City without Rodri. Gregor optimistic on the chances of Luton Town and impressed by the potential of Ollie Watkins. Finally the panel discuss the economics of the WSL and how feasible it is to see regular WSL fixtures at the main stadiums. Timeline: VAR at Spurs v Liverpool 1’ Alyson has a analogy… is the VAR an old boys club, people who all know each other, not paying close enough attention. 3’ Gregor points out the need for the best professionals, not necessarily former refs. 7’ why can’t we consider the same skilled professionals that deliver TV, do VAR, are they not as skilled as referees? 9’ there has been a development in what a referee is asked to do. Communicate, relay decisions in English. 14’ Should ex players be referees? Molly Hudson gives the example of a former Chelsea player who received the most red cards wanting to be a ref once she retires. 18’ Liverpool looked good, even with nine men. Spurs win again, they find a way. 21’ Spurs lucky, or finding a way to win. Gregor thinks a bit of both. Wolves v Man City 25’ Are City the same team with Rodri missing? Gregor really likes Gary O’Neil he thinks he is going to be a big success somewhere. Neto and his pace is a huge threat. 27’ Wolves finally got a result for their good performances so far this season. 29’ Molly also a Gary O’Neil fan. She thinks it is because he isn’t fashionable that he has struggled, particularly why he lost his job at Bournemouth. Man Utd v Palace 33’ A classic Hodgson result. Alyson points out Roy is undefeated in his visits to Old Trafford. 36’ Not at all surprising result, Man Utd are in flux and struggling for consistency. For Palace is the old result like this enough for Hodgson, does he need to change the brand of football and the consistency? 38’ Gregor thinks truth be told, they’ll be happy to survive each year, and by appointing Hodgson survival is the aim. Luton’s first win 40’ Big moment for Luton, finally getting their first win, two in two for Carlton Morris. 41’ Gregor believes it will give a huge boost. He thinks they have played well, created chances and lost games through individual errors. He thinks they can turn it around. 42’ Everton, after a big win against Brentford and Villa in the cup…now losing at home against Luton. Alyson thinks it is really worrying. There is more to be read into this defeat, something is wrong. Aston Villa 46’ Villa an attacking team with variety and pace. Gregor likes their style, likes Watkins but also felt Brighton gifted Villa two goals. Watkins has strength, explosive pace and can finish…how far can he go? 50’ Brighton fell foul of tinkering and rotation. Alyson thinks they are either very good, or horrid. They’ll come good and play good football, but there will be ups and downs as they negotiate losing players and playing in Europe. 52’ Brighton need to maintain the feeling of strength, it can easily slip away. Is DeZerbi too reckless? WSL 53’ Surprise of the weekend as Liverpool won at the Emirates against Arsenal, all in front of 50, 000 fans. Big worries and pressure at Arsenal, Chelsea only dropped 8 points last year, Arsenal have already dropped 3. 57’ Gregor heard Emma Hayes thoughts on growing the game and the sustainability of the women’s game. The issues around pricing, and timing of games The match was loss making as it costs 300,000 to open the stadium. 59’ economics of opening main stadiums for WSL fixtures. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.