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Diamonds are Forever

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Diamonds are Forever last won the day on July 3 2011

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  1. They have changed strategy a bit and they do seem to have some logic to their approach. After SAF left they went for the short term option by signing big names likes Di Maria, Falcao, Mata, Schweinsteiger, Sanchez, Ibra, Matic etc. That went so badly for them (with one or two exceptions) and cost them so much money that they now seem to be going for signing younger players with potential, with a focus on British where possible - James, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire (obviously doesn't fit into the young category) and Fernandes. They are also leaving space for the likes of Greenwood and McTominay to come through, whereas previously they would have filled those positions with expensive senior signings. This is why they are getting linked with every half decent young player going, particularly British ones. Who knows how it will work out, some already look like poor signings - James is abysmal and Maguire isn't at the level they need. But I definitely think they have a clear strategy now that they didn't have previously.
  2. What I think you are suggesting is that for some reason the virus in the initial phases was only spread to the Northern Hemisphere, and didn't reach the Southern Hemisphere until 2 or 3 months later? That makes no sense and the data does not show this. Incidentally it was widely reportedly that Covid was found in Brazil in November. However I will stick to using official cases. If you look at when the first official cases were recorded in UK and, for example Brazil, they were initially only a couple of weeks behind us (which was partly the availability of testing probably, but we'll ignore that). Brazil had their first recorded case on the 25th February. On that same date the UK had 9 cases. Yet it wasn't until mid May that Brazil started to see a real exponential increase, yet by mid-May in the UK we were about 6 weeks past our peak, it looks like Brazil haven't even reached their peak yet despite having (official) cases for 5 months! I picked Brazil just as it's the biggest in South America but the same applies for all the South American countries. Including countries with hard, military enforced lockdowns like Peru and Argentina, so the use of a lockdown is not a significant factor here. Identical pattern in South Africa on a different continent where their lockdown was ridiculously strict. The South are all experiencing much longer, slightly flatter curves through the winter, whereas Europe was shorter and steeper, ending abruptly as summer approached. The exact reasons why are debatable, but the fact itself is undeniable. It is quite clear from when countries saw their first cases that the virus spread everywhere initially around roughly the same time - within a few weeks at most, but the pattern from then on was vastly different depending on the season. There are numerous other things which affect this clearly, and big countries like USA which span varying climates from Alaska to the Sunshine States will see huge variations (which we are also seeing), but it is undeniable looking at the figures that the North and South have been worst affected at different times of year - which is literally the definition of seasonal.
  3. Sorry but I don't know what data you are looking at. The entire Northern Hemisphere saw peak deaths in March/April, at that point Southern Hemisphere countries had hardly any deaths. From late April/May onwards Europe's deaths plummeted whilst every single South American country saw an almost uniform increase in deaths. As did Southern Africa. And more recently Australia, who managed to repress it for a while but have now been hit. New Zealand have managed to stop it so far by almost preventing it getting into their country, but they are the exception and aren't through their winter yet. There are obviously numerous other factors within countries which affect it which cause variations, but it clearly has a huge seasonal element to it.
  4. It is absolute nonsense. A huge number of the vulnerable people who were at risk to this type of virus have sadly passed so we wouldn't get anything like the same numbers of deaths in the near future. Plus there is far more focus on protecting the vulnerable than there was 5 month ago anyway. Case numbers really aren't that important anymore - countries are testing more which gives the impression of an increase, and there are question marks over the accuracy anyway, it is ICU admissions and deaths that are crucial and all across Europe they have reduced back down to their normal level for this time of year. It is noteworthy that as deaths and ICU admissions have dropped the media seem to be focusing more on case numbers to continue to the fear. A quick glance at the death figures for Spain in recent weeks makes a complete mockery of all the scaremongering of their 'second wave'. On the day that we imposed a quarantine on Spanish arrivals Spain had 3 deaths. Although I'm sure the wave is '2 weeks away' though, as it has been for the last 2 months. I'm sure there will be small regional flare ups, probably more in winter, but that isn't going to result in anything approaching a second wave. The virus will not be eradicated, therefore there needs to be a grown up discussion about how best to manage and live with it and people need to know that every small flare up is not a sign of a second wave. Unfortunately the hysterical and irresponsible coverage of this has made this really difficult for people to understand.
  5. I don't really agree with the point about 'at this level'. There is undoubtedly a difference between a team visiting Anfield or Celtic Park on a European night, and New Broomfield in front of 700 fans. There are numerous varying factors but 'at this level' in recent years the majority of teams have been playing on identical plastic pitches, in front of 500 odd fans with no atmosphere. There is no distinct reason why the home team should have an advantage on that situation. I don't agree that that is the same as higher up the leagues where there are different factors affecting home advantage. I may be wrong, and accept there is still a slight advantage, but would be interesting to see a comparison with the stats in higher leagues. I accept it can sound like a throwaway phrase, but I mean it in relation to the specific factors mentioned above (identical pitches, hardly any home support) which to me remove a lot of the home advantage that exists in higher leagues. Airdrie's home record in recent years has been poorer than away. I accept that is not representative of an entire league, but in terms of our own fixtures it means I'm not fussed at all about playing away from home.
  6. I agree that financially this is an issue, I just made a similar comment in the Airdrie thread. Losing out on 2 home games against Falkirk and Thistle is huge for us financially. Back of cigarette packet arithmetic suggest we'll lose around £25-30k from those games being away and not at home (potentially far more if they were towards the end of the season with bigger away support). That's the equivalent of salaries of 2 or 3 good players at this level. In a playing sense I'd rather play away, our away record has been better than home in recent years anyway. Anyway, the point is that this was unavoidable this season, some clubs have got luckier than others but as long as the fixtures were randomly allocated then no-one has any real grounds for complaint. The fixture compilers would have tied themselves in knots if they had to take into account the playing and financial implications of every club's fixtures. I think we have to just accept they aren't totally fair and get on with it.
  7. Completely agree with all of this. The only thing I would say is that financially it is a big disadvantage. Partick and Falkirk in a title race would bring at least an average a 1000 fans each I'd say (depending on the time of the season). 2000 fans is probably 25-30k loss to the club. Not counting the increase in home support for those games. However, this is all based on the massive assumption that fans would be able to attend anyway, which for part of the season I'm sure they wont. It will surely be an issue for the club financially only having 13 home games and only 2 of those involving any kind of decent away support. The good thing is the Partick and Falkirk matches aren't until the new year, so all going well we should get big crowds. If they were in the first few weeks when fans couldn't attend it would have been a disaster. As you say though, in a playing sense I'd have preferred 2 away games over 2 home games anyway. Home advantage is minimal at this level and for us has been a disadvantage in recent years. A vocal away support like at Falkirk last season is better than the critical home support with no atmosphere.
  8. Yip. The fixtures were never going to be even this season so it's slightly tedious after the summer we've had to continue to have fans/clubs playing the victim over the slightest of things, particularly when it's an unavoidable issue when you have 27 games. Of the teams (hopefully!) going for promotion we have the worst fixtures. I really couldn't care less. Home/away advantage counts for next to nothing at this level anyway, and will count for even less when fans aren't allowed to attend. It's good just to have fixtures to look forward to.
  9. We have 13 home games, and are away to Partick and Falkirk twice. If you have been shafted then what does that make us?
  10. Laughable article. No wonder newspapers are dying when that is the standard of the journalism. A collection of lazy 'arguments' that have been dealt with by people on here months ago.
  11. Different awards. You are right that Scott Parker won the Football Writer's Award, in 2011. But entirely wrong about Giggs. He won the PFA Player's Player Award in 2009, made 46 appearances and won Sports Personality of the Year (which was a bit bizarre). He was excellent that season.
  12. I agree about how good Henderson has been. But even within Liverpool there are at least 7-8 other players who have played just as well in their own way and are just as important to their team. I definitely think when there is not an obvious winner the Football Writers like to look at the wider narrative (usually from on English point of view) which means they are more likely to vote for someone like Henderson. Whereas players will just vote for the best player. I looked at PFA Player's Player winners and Football Writer Winners to see whether there is evidence of this. Of the last 20 winners in both awards (not including this year to make it based on the same years), 4 out of 20 winners were English in the PFA Award, 7 out of 20 were English for the Football Writers. If KDB wins PFA this year as he is expected to then you'd have 8 to 4. I don't really see any other reason for this difference other than Football Writers leaning towards English players given that they are judging exactly the same players. Two specific years stand out, in 2011 Scott Parker won the Football Writer's Award over Gareth Bale. In 2016, Jamie Vardy won Football Writer's Award when Riyad Mahrez won PFA Award. There probably wasn't much between them at the time, but again it looks like Writers going for the English player, Players voting for the better technical player. Looking at the entire history of each award shows a similar pattern (although probably has less value given the low number of foreign players before the 90s). But the 'win rate' of English players in the Football Writer's is 52%, but only 39% in PFA. No doubt some of the people criticising Henderson will be those who don't want to give praise to an English player. But when you look at the wider context there is definitely enough evidence to suggest that Henderson being English has at least played some role in him winning this.
  13. I really hope we don't revert to a 3 at the back. Any time we have played that system we have looked awful. You need pace and directness out wide, which we seem to have now, 3 at the back completely removes that. You'd maybe get the odd burst from McCann but you cannot expect wing backs to be solid defensively and provide in the final third. I always think 3 at the back is the system teams go to when they are desperate, shipping goals and need to change things. That's certainly how Murray has used it with us. Hardly any team sets out at the start of the season to play 3 at the back. Particularly ones who are looking to challenge at the top of the table. We have a proven back 4 that knows each other really well. We have to use our familiarity to our advantage, particularly in defence where that really matters. It should be McDonald, Crighton, Fordyce and McCann for the start of the season and only if we look a bit ropey should it then be changed. That would allow us to be a bit more experimental with the forward players knowing that the defensive side is already reliable.
  14. Completely agree. Like in politics, people demanding a vague concept of 'Change!' tends to go down well with punters. However, there needs to be a clear purpose for this change, and for the benefits of these changes to be clearly explained. We have a pretty good setup as it as, and just changing because change sounds attractive and people fancy something different isn't a good enough reason. There are things that I think need looked at, but I've said all along that rushed, ill thought out changes in the middle of a global pandemic is not good for our game.
  15. That's the highlight for me too, Doncaster has run rings around them. Utter humiliation.
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