I love a football cliche as much as I love a Dangerous 2-0 Lead. Or a Big Lad upfront with a surprisingly Good Touch. Or even just a good old fashioned Games of Two Halves.
But what I don’t find quite so lovable are the lazy, repeat-them-enough-and-they-become-fact truisms and cliches that creep into accepted football wisdom via the media and ‘expert’ pundits. Here are three current examples (alright, they’re not technically cliches, but you get the drift), which have all been repeated this weekend alone, that really grate* and which probably aren’t even true.
1. Theo Walcott is still learning his trade/needs time as a centre forward.
Seriously? Theo’s 26. Yes, players develop throughout their careers, but for this nonsense to be as true as some seem to think (Ian Wright is a prime culprit for parroting the line) the poor lad must be a painfully slow learner. He’s only a year younger than Diego Costa and Sergio Aguero. He’s two years OLDER than Kevin De Bruyne and FOUR years older than Romelu Lukaku. The latter pair seem to be catching on pretty quickly. Theo’s been at Arsenal, saying he wants to be a striker since he was a teenager. How long is it going to take to learn? Or, being blunt, for everyone to admit he’s not quite good enough to be world-class…
2. Petr Cech is worth 10/20/30 (delete depending on excitability level of pundit/journalist) points to Arsenal this season.
While we’re on about the Gunners, this one also irritates. It’s a line that is trotted out every time the big lad with the funny headgear catches a cross or makes any sort of saving. OK, so the former (second choice) Chelsea goalkeeper is still a decent stopper, but Arsenal did actually have someone in the nets last year. What’s more, Wojciech Szczesny even made a save or two. If it weren’t for the odd not-so-sneaky tab in the dressing room last year he might even still be number 1. Change the record, pundits.
3. Jurgen Klopp is not a miracle worker/needs time at Liverpool/and is not Jesus.
Firstly, whoever said he was? Is there a single Liverpool fan deluded enough to think that the Normal One can turn up, click his fingers and turn the Reds into Dortmund circa 2013? No. WE ALL KNOW. Stop spouting this Klopp trap as if it is some kind of brilliant insight.
But also, secondly, does Liverpool actually need a miracle worker? They were runners up in 2014 (with that Uruguayan lad with the big teeth, a fit Daniel Sturridge, the greedy one and an almost but not quite ready for retirement Steven Gerrard). Yes, they were tenth when Rodgers was given the tin tack, but that isn’t exactly five points adrift at the bottom of the table, no money and no league titles in a quarter of a century…..Oh. Well. Maybe not the last bit – but the point still stands. Getting Liverpool into the top four and maybe winning a cup wouldn’t be a miracle.
Moan over. Although I reserve the right to return to this subject and add more to this list!
*Leave me Sick as a Parrot, you might say.