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Storm Shellacking tops list of Warriors' worst performances

OPINION: The Melbourne mauling is the Warriors' lowest point because of the way the towel was thrown, writes Tony Smith. (Author: Gardener)

MelbourneDallin Watene-Zelezniak's KO fall came early in the second half as the Warriors faltered before errors really took hold. OPINION: The Warriors' pathetic run-up-the-white-flag, hiding in the hands of the Storm, clearly outshines the Kiwi Club's Fright Nights lowlights role in 27 underperforming seasons in the NRL. All sorts of unwanted records were set by Nathan Brown's 22nd class at Melbourne's AAMI Stadium on Monday night. A dour bunch of warriors after the club's heaviest loss in NRL history in Melbourne against the Storm. The 70 points conceded was the Warriors' worst defensive performance in history, while, as Evans wrote, the 70-10 score equaled the Storm's previous best - in 2009 against a Dragons team coached by Nathan Brown. * NRL: Warriors forward Aaron Pene suspended after injuring Storm rival * Storm coach feels concerned for unsettled Warriors after Dallin Watene-Zelezniak KO * 'Men versus boys': Media hail 'Whoop-Ass Storm, but sad all round Warriors * Warriors take it easy on Storm in ugly 70-10 loss on Anzac Day * Warriors' Nathan Brown has no doubt some players have quit in a record-breaking NRL record since 2008 Stuff has dusted off his own archives and delved into the top five worst Warriors losses (in descending order). The Warriors look dejected on Monday night in Melbourne after a 60-point mole from the storm. But it's impossible to overlook the second-half surrender that prompted a club-record defeat. Even coach Nathan Brown acknowledged some Warriors had given up in the final 30 minutes as the Storm amassed an NRL-record 54 second spell points, 48 ​​in the last half hour. The Storm's Trent Loiero is attacked by the Warriors' Jazz Tevaga. Brown's candid admission - obviously obvious to long-suffering Warriors supporters - is why this performance is considered the Warriors' worst. It's smart to see a New Zealand side perform on Anzac Day. To distort an old cliché, the warriors were lucky enough to get null on the second spell. There were plenty of players who failed to come forward but winger Edward Kosi, who made two fumbles that led to first-half tries and gave up the ghost to defend a second-half kick, had the toughest night of the season A warrior's office since his youth Matu Vatvuei fired three bombs for Eel's attempts in a 30-6 loss in 2007. The Warriors defense struggled in 2013 to contain the Panthers' Kiwi forward Sika Manu Ivan Cleary, whom the Warriors lost to the Blue Mountains after leading them to the 2011 NRL Grand Final. The Warriors players held an emergency meeting, and Elliott made them work overtime at the gym. Still, the Warriors didn't make the playoffs in 2013, and you're left wondering how much the loss to the Panthers shattered confidence. Warriors players Robert Mears and John Simon were part of the 54-0 loss to the Dragons in 2000. The current Warriors coach was the Dragons' hooker and skipper when they missed nine tries to Mark Graham's Warriors at Wollongong. A star-studded Dragons backline raged against a weak Warriors defense, with Nathan Blacklock scoring a hat-trick of tries and Mark Gasnier a brace. The Warriors had Stacey Jones and skipper John Simon's class in the half but were outplayed by a Dragons side without six regulars outside the park. Warriors coach Mark Graham at a press conference. After a 54-0 loss to the Dragons in 2000, he couldn't explain his team's "worst performance of the year." We were never in the game... The Warriors rallied to win their next two games but still finished second to bottom after an insanely volatile season. SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 30: Lance Hohaia of the Warriors stands dejected after a Roosters try was played during the NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and New Zealand Warriors at Aussie Stadium on May 30, 2004 in Sydney, Australia . (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) Monty Betham must have felt déjà vu in the television studio as he watched the Warriors being shattered by the storm. Now Sky Sport's rugby league analyst, he captained the Warriors the night they were crushed by Brad Fittler's Roosters at Sydney Football Stadium 18 years ago. It was the game that cost 2001 NRL grand final coach Daniel Anderson his job. Todd (Skinny) Byrne got two of the Chooks' nine tries and must have impressed Warriors officials by signing the Sydneysider next season. Warriors' Manu Vatuvei is sidelined by the Roosters defense in 2004. Again, the Warriors rallied to win their next game, but they only had two more wins this season to once again finish second to bottom. Stacey Jones later devoted a chapter in his book to the Warriors' 2004 "season of hell." Stacey Jones, now the Warriors' assistant coach, captained the big loss to the Storm in Melbourne in 2000. (File photo). Stacey Jones - who looked ashen-faced in the Warriors' coaching box this week - was skipper 22 years ago when the Warriors also raced at Melbourne's Olympic Park. Unlike the Dragons' loss earlier in the season, the Warriors didn't bounce back this time. Graham lamented after the Melbourne distrust that the Warriors - average age 23 - didn't have the same depth of player as their NRL rivals - but the Kiwis Player of the Century was absent from the rebuild, which saw the club reach the grand final year - because 2000 was his last coaching season.

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Storm Shellacking tops list of Warriors' worst performances

OPINION: The Melbourne mauling is the Warriors' lowest point because of the way the towel was thrown, writes Tony Smith. (Author: Gardener)

MelbourneDallin Watene-Zelezniak's KO fall came early in the second half as the Warriors faltered before errors really took hold. OPINION: The Warriors' pathetic run-up-the-white-flag, hiding in the hands of the Storm, clearly outshines the Kiwi Club's Fright Nights lowlights role in 27 underperforming seasons in the NRL. All sorts of unwanted records were set by Nathan Brown's 22nd class at Melbourne's AAMI Stadium on Monday night. A dour bunch of warriors after the club's heaviest loss in NRL history in Melbourne against the Storm. The 70 points conceded was the Warriors' worst defensive performance in history, while, as Evans wrote, the 70-10 score equaled the Storm's previous best - in 2009 against a Dragons team coached by Nathan Brown. * NRL: Warriors forward Aaron Pene suspended after injuring Storm rival * Storm coach feels concerned for unsettled Warriors after Dallin Watene-Zelezniak KO * 'Men versus boys': Media hail 'Whoop-Ass Storm, but sad all round Warriors * Warriors take it easy on Storm in ugly 70-10 loss on Anzac Day * Warriors' Nathan Brown has no doubt some players have quit in a record-breaking NRL record since 2008 Stuff has dusted off his own archives and delved into the top five worst Warriors losses (in descending order). The Warriors look dejected on Monday night in Melbourne after a 60-point mole from the storm. But it's impossible to overlook the second-half surrender that prompted a club-record defeat. Even coach Nathan Brown acknowledged some Warriors had given up in the final 30 minutes as the Storm amassed an NRL-record 54 second spell points, 48 ​​in the last half hour. The Storm's Trent Loiero is attacked by the Warriors' Jazz Tevaga. Brown's candid admission - obviously obvious to long-suffering Warriors supporters - is why this performance is considered the Warriors' worst. It's smart to see a New Zealand side perform on Anzac Day. To distort an old cliché, the warriors were lucky enough to get null on the second spell. There were plenty of players who failed to come forward but winger Edward Kosi, who made two fumbles that led to first-half tries and gave up the ghost to defend a second-half kick, had the toughest night of the season A warrior's office since his youth Matu Vatvuei fired three bombs for Eel's attempts in a 30-6 loss in 2007. The Warriors defense struggled in 2013 to contain the Panthers' Kiwi forward Sika Manu Ivan Cleary, whom the Warriors lost to the Blue Mountains after leading them to the 2011 NRL Grand Final. The Warriors players held an emergency meeting, and Elliott made them work overtime at the gym. Still, the Warriors didn't make the playoffs in 2013, and you're left wondering how much the loss to the Panthers shattered confidence. Warriors players Robert Mears and John Simon were part of the 54-0 loss to the Dragons in 2000. The current Warriors coach was the Dragons' hooker and skipper when they missed nine tries to Mark Graham's Warriors at Wollongong. A star-studded Dragons backline raged against a weak Warriors defense, with Nathan Blacklock scoring a hat-trick of tries and Mark Gasnier a brace. The Warriors had Stacey Jones and skipper John Simon's class in the half but were outplayed by a Dragons side without six regulars outside the park. Warriors coach Mark Graham at a press conference. After a 54-0 loss to the Dragons in 2000, he couldn't explain his team's "worst performance of the year." We were never in the game... The Warriors rallied to win their next two games but still finished second to bottom after an insanely volatile season. SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 30: Lance Hohaia of the Warriors stands dejected after a Roosters try was played during the NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and New Zealand Warriors at Aussie Stadium on May 30, 2004 in Sydney, Australia . (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) Monty Betham must have felt déjà vu in the television studio as he watched the Warriors being shattered by the storm. Now Sky Sport's rugby league analyst, he captained the Warriors the night they were crushed by Brad Fittler's Roosters at Sydney Football Stadium 18 years ago. It was the game that cost 2001 NRL grand final coach Daniel Anderson his job. Todd (Skinny) Byrne got two of the Chooks' nine tries and must have impressed Warriors officials by signing the Sydneysider next season. Warriors' Manu Vatuvei is sidelined by the Roosters defense in 2004. Again, the Warriors rallied to win their next game, but they only had two more wins this season to once again finish second to bottom. Stacey Jones later devoted a chapter in his book to the Warriors' 2004 "season of hell." Stacey Jones, now the Warriors' assistant coach, captained the big loss to the Storm in Melbourne in 2000. (File photo). Stacey Jones - who looked ashen-faced in the Warriors' coaching box this week - was skipper 22 years ago when the Warriors also raced at Melbourne's Olympic Park. Unlike the Dragons' loss earlier in the season, the Warriors didn't bounce back this time. Graham lamented after the Melbourne distrust that the Warriors - average age 23 - didn't have the same depth of player as their NRL rivals - but the Kiwis Player of the Century was absent from the rebuild, which saw the club reach the grand final year - because 2000 was his last coaching season.

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Observations after the Nets fought hard in Game 4 but the Celtics shut them out anyway

Jayson Tatum fouled about three minutes from time and the Nets, who had never led, cut a 15-point deficit to one point in the third quarter, but Marcus Smart was all over the place as the Celtics beat Brooklyn in four straights. (Author: Gardener)

Game 4Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 29 points, despite spending much of the fourth quarter on the bench due to foul problems (and eventually fouling). NEW YORK -- With a sweep on the horizon and an opponent who seemed to be losing confidence by the minute, the Celtics seemed poised to take down the Nets and send them into the summer without much trouble. But there was a brief twist in the story when star Jayson fouled Tatum with 2 minutes and 48 seconds left, leading his team by six points. Emboldened, the Nets quickly scored five goals to draw within 1 and gave a jolt to a relatively sleepy playoff crowd at Barclays Center. Then, while Tatum watched from the bench, his teammates picked him up as they once again made big plays in big spots and secured a 116-112 wire-to-wire win that ended that streak much sooner than most experts believed. The Celtics advance to the conference semifinals, where they go up against the winner of the first-round series between the Bucks and Bulls, led by Milwaukee, 3-1. Tatum finished with 29 points, Jaylen Brown had 22, and Marcus Smart added 20 points and 11 assists. Kevin Durant had 39 points on 31 shots to lead Brooklyn. Tatum appeared poised to pound the nets early in game four when he dunk and then kicked in a 3-pointer from the top of the button that made it 95-86 with less than nine minutes left. The Nets drew within 102-99 with Tatum on the bench after Goran Dragic banked a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 5:23 left, but Jaylen Brown responded with a three-point play. Tatum came back but fouled on an offensive foul 2:48 left and Boston lead, 109-103. Kyrie Irving hit a 3-pointer and Durant added a 14-footer with 1:28 left, pulling Brooklyn within 109-108. When the shot clock ran out, Brown momentarily lost the ball down the baseline but regained possession and was open to a layup. Durant missed a potential tie of 3, then a possession later was fouled with 22.2 seconds left but only made 1 of 2 free throws. The Celtics' counterattack came quickly, and Smart charged up to miss a layup. Durant ironed back another 3-pointer and the celebration began. ⋅ There are rarely significant moments in the opening minutes of NBA play, but this one felt like one: With an 8-5 lead, Boston, Curry Tatum pulled out and came up with the free ball with a clear path. But a late whistle on Curry stopped the break and also gave him his third foul, sending him to the bench for the rest of the quarter. Fouls have been an issue this series and the Nets have been held back by their own hoeing as they committed 10 fouls in the first quarter. ⋅ In the first quarter, the Celtics made just 39.1 percent of their shots, allowed the Nets to connect on 55.6 percent of their shots, made five turnovers and were uncorked by Tatum. The backup center was 0 for 6 from the foul line in the first half and missed his first 10 of the game, extending his miserable streak of free throw shooting. The Celtics eventually employed a hack-a-clax strategy when Payton Pritchard came on to foul the big man midway through the third quarter, but he made his eleventh and final try of the day, drawing a roar from the crowd. ⋅ Celtics fans have seen this before, but Irving certainly didn't seem very engaged in the first half. ⋅ Grant Williams provided a tremendous offensive boost for the Celtics in the first half. He was 4-5 from the 3-point line, with Brooklyn leaving him as open as teams had earlier this season before believing his solid shooting was a real thing. But his best moment of the first half came in defence. After drilling a corner 3-pointer, Williams was matched against Durant along the left baseline. He then pulled the ball away and it sped off Durant wide. ⋅ Robert Williams, playing in his second game after almost a month due to surgery on his left knee, seemed a bit hesitant in the first half. He then had a chance for an easy putback that he would normally hit home, but instead he caught the ball, came down with it and missed a pair of layups. He only played 14 minutes and finished with 3 points, five rebounds and four fouls. ⋅ The Nets have one of the more apathetic fan bases in the NBA, in part because most New Yorkers are lifelong Knicks fans and it's difficult to easily switch allegiances when another team is arriving in town. The crowd was unusually loud and engaged in Game 3 on Saturday, but much of that energy seemed to be drained on Monday. The 3-0 deficit washed away some of the excitement and probably also made it easier for Celtics fans to find their way into the arena. In the final game, Tatum received scattered "MVP" chants in the final minutes as the outcome of the game was decided. On Monday they arrived in the first quarter.

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Grayson Allen feeds on the boos of Chicago Bulls fans - and Milwaukee Bucks teammates - in a sizzling Game 4 performance

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers famously declared, "I still own you," after beating the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field last October. But now it seems Rodgers may have to work out a Chicago teams timeshare deal with Grayson Allen. The Milwaukee Bucks reservist arrived at the United Center Friday with a target on his back and dominated the Bulls in back-to-back games, ... (Author: Gardener)

Grayson AllenMIlwaukee Bucks guard Grayson Allen (7) brings the ball up while Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) pursues during the first half at the United Center on April 24, 2022. But now it seems Rodgers may have to work out a timeshare deal for the Chicago teams with Grayson Allen. The Milwaukee Bucks reserve guard came to the United Center on Friday with a goal on his back, dominating the Bulls in back-to-back games that brought them to the brink of elimination in their first-round streak. Allen scored 27 points on 10-of-12 shooting, including 6-of-7-3-point attempts, in the Bucks' 119-95 blowout win of Game 4 on Sunday and continued his hot shooting from Friday, when he scored 22 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo added 32 points and 17 rebounds in Game 4 as the Bucks showed their superiority over the Bulls. And Bulls fans can partly blame themselves for Allen's sizzling shooting. After loudly booing him on March 4 at the United Center in response to Allen's apparent foul on Alex Caruso in a Jan. 21 game that left the Bulls guard out with a broken wrist, the Bucks players began to call Allen im Booing training as an inside joke. Milwaukee Bucks guard Grayson Allen (7) and forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) slap hands during the second half against the Bulls at the United Center on April 24, 2022. Jrue Holiday said Sunday it was "more fun booing Grayson" on the bench than watching him hit 3-pointers all afternoon. "It started with the fans booing him, but he screams when we boo him," Holiday said. I'm still going to boo him.” Before Friday, Allen had a combined 44 points in nine career playoff games with the Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies and Bucks, who took him on last summer. But in his last two games in Chicago, Allen had 49 points combined while shooting 75% (18-24) from the field and 79% (11-14) from behind the arc. Milwaukee Bucks guard Grayson Allen (7) is congratulated by guard Jrue Holiday (21) after scoring in the second half against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on April 24, 2022. The Bucks won 119-95 to take a 3-1 lead in their playoff series. The Bucks won 119-95 to take a 3-1 lead in their playoff series. "He wants the ball, he wants to be the guy who takes shots, makes plays," said Antetokounmpo. Allen told the Tribune that the booing doesn't motivate him to shoot better. "I don't know if I'm immune, but I'm definitely used to it," he said with a grin on Friday. The former Duke star was even deadlier on Sunday, with Bulls fans just shaking their heads at the shooting and his three steals. The Bucks joined the Bulls fans in booing him all afternoon. "They have so much fun doing it," Allen said. "I think it's funny. I honestly find it ridiculous. They kind of made it a fun thing to do, and it also makes it a lot easier to hear outside during the game.” Being with Duke gave the guard training in being verbally harassed by opposing fans. But thanks to the Caruso incident, Allen's booing has seemingly become a non-stop distraction for the Bucks. "Get on the bus, 'Boo,'" Allen said. He thinks that's the funniest thing.” Antetokounmpo said the booing of the bench during a 3-pointer in Game 3 was iconic. "Someone showed me a picture ... and the whole bank booed him," he said. “But, hey, they (Bulls fans) did that. Maybe we need to boo him some more. Maybe Milwaukee fans will have to boo him.” “No, we won't,” he said. And it's fun.” Bulls coach Billy Donovan was furious, saying Allen's flagrant foul could have ended Caruso's career. Allen was widely criticized for not apologizing to Caruso afterwards. The Bucks' guard said Sunday he left phone messages and ESPN's J.J. Reddick falsely claimed Allen did not attempt to contact Caruso. "At this point, it's not about me expecting an answer. It's about me wanting to tell him. It's between me and him. I don't think he would even want that (answer)." Allen appears to be polite and friendly in person, the polar opposite of the player many Bulls fans tend to hate. "I would still say it's not inherently comfortable for me," he said of the attention. "But I've gotten to the point now where every time I play basketball, I remind myself to get out there and have fun with it. … I do it with pleasure. Nevertheless, the attention is of course uncomfortable for me - the booing, the heckling. It's not something I feed on. I don't go out looking, 'Oh, I love that.' I just go out and have fun.” Game 4 started out like a bad déjà vu for the Bulls. They missed 10 of their first 15 shots and fell nine points late in the first quarter. But they were just a point behind early in the second quarter when Allen hit his second 3-pointer. He then made his third steal on the Bulls' next possession, leading to another 3 from Pat Connaughton. The Bucks were back on their feet and outplayed the Bulls 31-19 in the quarter. The Bulls only had one offensive rebound and no free throw attempts in the first half. A finger roll by Antetokounmpo 2½ minutes into the third quarter gave the Bucks a commanding 22-point lead, but after Caruso was ruled out for the second half, the Bulls cut the lead to eight, with 6½ minutes remaining in the third quarter. But the Bucks quickly regrouped, and by the time Allen potted his fifth 3 just over a minute later, the lead was back up to 15 and never in doubt again. The Bulls shot 38.9% from the field (35 to 90) and 25% (9 to 36) on 3-pointers. The only fight they featured came with 2:16 to go when guard Zach LaVine had words with former Bulls forward Bobby Portis after Portis put LaVine into a one-armed headlock after a foul. If the Bulls don't win Game 5 at Fiserv Forum on Wednesday, Bulls fans will have to wait until next season to boo Allen again.

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Best bets, tips, odds for Man City vs Villarreal

Corner picks will be looking to keep the ball rolling this week. (Author: Gardener)

Man CityManchester City, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Villarreal will battle for control of the seas and see who can successfully circumnavigate the Champions League. The Champions League semi-finals begin this week and while Manchester City and Liverpool are the big favorites to progress and give us an all-English final, Real Madrid have been written off a number of times in this tournament and it's still here. Then Villarreal plays the role of Cinderella. I can't guarantee anything, but I have a pretty good idea of ​​what to expect. Of course, given my performance with my Champions League picks this season, that might not be a good thing. Like last round against Chelsea I want to take the helm but I fear what Carlo Ancelloti did against PSG in the round of 16. He sent Real Madrid there and made them play like Sean Dyche's Burnley team. Madrid played in an almost impenetrable low block while Karim Benzema was stranded alone in midfield. It was a plan that probably caused Atlético Madrid's Diego Simeone to shed tears of joy. It didn't work out for Real Madrid that day but although they didn't win the fight, they won the war and thanks to Karim Benzema they also won it against Chelsea. It makes sense against a team like Manchester City looking to dominate possession, but while Madrid only held PSG to a late goal last time out, PSG posted an expected goals total (xG) of 2.6 that night. Man City are a more efficient attacking machine than a PSG side who rely more on individual brilliance than a hive mind. In other words, a pragmatic approach against City might not work nearly as well as Ancelloti is hoping, so my bet is City hitting the back of the net at least twice. Choice: Manchester City Over 1.5 goals (-185) Villarreal is a great story and a great example of what a club can achieve when the whole organization is united and follows a vision. Villarreal's problem is that Liverpool is a similar club but with more money and much better players. So there's a good chance that this Cinderella run will come to an end within the next week, and probably in a devastating way. If we look at Villarreal's defensive performances lately, there isn't much reason to hope that they can stop Liverpool. Their 2-0 win over Valencia last week was the first time in seven games they kept an opponent under 1.0 xG, and they've only managed to do that once in ten Champions League games (the 1-1 draw against Juventus in the Round of 16). ). Maybe Villarreal can pull off the same kind of voodoo as they did against Bayern Munich, but I doubt it. The good news is that Villarreal are strong enough in attack that I think they can score at least one goal more often. After all, Liverpool have conceded four goals in two games against Benfica and have conceded at least one goal in seven of their ten Champions League games this season. Tip: Both teams to score (+105) I don't often bet on the Europa League because it can be a random number generator for results. You can never be sure which teams in the competition are really interested in being there and trying to win it. However, once you get to the semifinals, you can be pretty sure that the four remaining teams want to win. Unfortunately, I don't see much value in this week's games alone. I see the value of a combination of probable winners. It's an honor for Rangers to come this far in the competition but they're not in the same league as Leipzig and I can't see them going to Germany and walking away with a result. Then there's West Ham, who can't reach the Champions League places in England, so their only route to the Champions League is by winning the Europa League (and look how well that route worked for Villarreal!) . They meet a Frankfurt team who are ninth in Germany with a goal difference of -2. Although they have played well in the Europa League, they are unlikely to pose much of a threat to the Hammers in London. Tip: West Ham and RB Leipzig win (+156)

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Liverpool vs Villarreal Champions League odds, tips and predictions April 27th

Champions League odds, tips and predictions for Liverpool vs Villarreal on April 27th. Free Champions League betting tips for side, overall and more. (Author: Gardener)

April 27thWhile Villarreal have bested beasts like Juventus and Bayern Munich on their way to the Champions League semi-finals, Liverpool in their current form present a very different challenge - one they may not be ready for. While Villarreal have bested beasts like Juventus and Bayern Munich on their way to the Champions League semi-finals, Liverpool in their current form present a very different challenge - one they may not be ready for. Wednesday sees our second Anglo-Spanish draw in the Champions League semi-finals when Liverpool host Villarreal at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool are a European heavyweight but Villarreal won't be afraid having already eliminated other famous European names like Juventus and Bayern Munich. Villarreal tips and predictions. Compare Champions League odds before betting to ensure you get the best number. On a dry day in Liverpool, the game will kick off at 20:00 local time, with temperatures in the 50s and overcast skies. Our side and total predictions are based on our analysis of the line and total score in that game. The second part of the Champions League semifinals brings us our second Anglo-Spanish game with Liverpool and Villarreal at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool come into this game in incredible form. They're second in the Premier League, just a point behind Man City, but with 24 league wins this season and the League Cup already in the bag, plus an FA Cup final looming, there's plenty to talk about Subtract historical quadruple. This becomes even more special when you consider that they have played against Manchester City twice in that span and also had both games in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Some people have argued that they had an easy route to the final in the round of 16 against Inter Milan and Benfica and now against Villarreal, but that's probably a bit harsh. An easy route isn't an argument to make against Villarreal, who have beaten both Juventus and Bayern Munich to reach this point. Sometimes they had a bit of luck on their side, but it was hard to fault the hard work and diligence the team put in. Klopp will field his team in his usual 4-3-3 formation and it's likely they'll go to the jugular in this first leg and try to kill Villarreal. Elsewhere, Ibrahima Konate is expected to return to partner Virgil van Dijk, with Jordan Henderson replacing Naby Keita, with both players rested against Everton. You can expect Thiago to see plenty of possession again and use his pass to try to break through Villarreal and create chances for this trio in attack. The incisiveness of his passing will be key as Emery will set up Villarreal to sit deep, forcing Liverpool to try and break them. Pau Torres and Raul Albiol will have to do their best for Villarreal to keep Liverpool out but just as important will be how they get the ball forward, which is one of Torres' specialities. Etienne Capoue will provide the legs in midfield while Dani Parejo is tasked with creating chances. Emery would love to have him available from the start, but it's possible he'll start the game on the bench. That will put a lot of pressure on Arnaut Danjuma, who put Bayern Munich to the sword last time out, but I think he'll fight with the tools of van Dijk and Konate against a central defensive partnership. I rarely like to bet on something as short as -350, but it's really hard to imagine this game ending in anything other than a Liverpool win. We know Liverpool's threat in front of goal as we've scored at least two goals in nine of the last ten Champions League games, but I'll buck that trend and go below 2.5 here. We know how tentative first clashes can be and Villarreal can only reach the final if Liverpool are prevented from scoring with their usual frequency. Unai Emery will not send his team to face Liverpool. In the first leg of the quarter-finals in Munich, he put his team on the defensive and ensured a 1-1 draw. I think Liverpool are better than Bayern and should win at Anfield, but I'm confident there will be fewer points than many suspect if the Reds win 1-0 or 2-0. We love a Champions League card bet and there is one that looks very attractive here. Etienne Capoue is more than familiar with Liverpool, having played against them during his time in the Premier League with Tottenham and Watford. The 33-year-old Frenchman will have a tough day at work, lining up against Fabinho and Thiago in midfield and his excellent shielding of his defenders is absolutely crucial to Villarreal's hopes. It's the kind of role you're often booked for and he leads Villarreal with seven La Liga bookings this season, while having another in the Champions League. If you're looking for slightly longer odds, perhaps you could combine a Capoue booking in a parlay in the same game with his midfield partner Dani Parejo, who has three yellows in the Champions League this season. Tip: Etienne Capoue booked (+240 at DraftKings) Tip: Etienne Capoue and Dani Parejo both booked (+1,200 at bet365)

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Villarreal's Champions League run is no accident. Can they topple Liverpool next?

Villarreal are thriving against the European elite with their Champions League title in their sights. Can they beat Liverpool next in the semis? (Author: Gardener)

Champions LeagueWhen the Beatles released Ringo Starr's 'Yellow Submarine' in August 1966, Liverpool were reigning English champions, had won the FA Cup a year earlier and already had a social phenomenon in the seething, swaying, singing Kop. A week earlier, the Reds' star players Ian Callaghan and Roger Hunt had just won the World Cup with England. On the day the Beatles' publicity machine went into overdrive for their release of Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby, Villarreal were in the fifth division of Spanish football. Located in a tiny farming and fishing town near the Mediterranean Sea, the club's madrigal 'stadium', which could seat a few thousand spectators, was little more than a walled pitch. Fernando Roig, the visionary president of the Yellow Submarine, who will celebrate their 25th anniversary in a few days, had just turned 19 and Unai Emery, the man who will take them to Anfield this week, was not even born yet . But this insanely catchy song from the Revolver album, which peaked at #1 worldwide (except in Spain, where it peaked at #3), was immediately embraced by fans and local media. As the club has only become world famous in the last sixteen years, the moniker is believed to be a modern creation. Villarreal were on a promotion mission that would take them back to the third division by 1967 and there is a beautiful faded black and white photo of a fan banner being held up by first-team players on the day that reads : "The yellow submarine is advancing at full steam." Los Groguets ("the yellow ones") are about to return to, as Ringo would put it, "the town where (their nickname) was born." Whatever the outcome, it's a magnificent journey - one that confirms the answer Fernando Roig gave me recently when I asked him for just one sentence to sum up his reign over a quarter of a century, from which a tiny , humble, practically village team has become one of the largest and most admirable clubs in Europe. When Villarreal threw Juventus out of the Champions League last month, Roig was exactly the kind of phobic experience that had prompted La Vecchia Signora and other greedy clubs across Europe to embark on their ill-planned, unloved and short-lived European Super League project Juve -President Andrea Agnelli, telling him that their idea of ​​a "closed" Europa League, in which clubs like Villarreal should not have automatic playing rights,... His message was underscored by his side's victory 3-0 in Turin - Davids were shouting around the world for joy when they saw another Goliath not just beaten but spanked, hopefully teaching them a lesson in humility. However, it is Villarreal club who are up against a giant here - not Roig himself. Roig's success in the ceramics sector and as part of the family supermarket chain Mercadona meant he bought Villarreal in 1997 for just over €400,000, funding part of its expansion , navigate relegation, invest in countless local jobs, and integrate his then 24-year-old son, Fernando Jr., into the club's boardroom, where he's practically the main character now. The relegation, from which the club rebounded at rubber ball speed, was for him the most painful experience of that magical quarter-century. But 2006, when the Yellow Submarine last reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, was the more brutal iconic image. Arsenal beat them 1-0 in London and in the 0-0 madrigal Juan Román Riquelme failed to convert the penalty that would have sent the game into extra time and possibly the final in Paris just before the end. Of course, this year's showpiece will also take place there. Don't ask a man who only believes in hard work and big dreams if fate calls. But if you ask him about that night of broken hearts 16 years ago, he'll say, "I remember it well. I fell out of my seat - onto my knees. I almost fell down. Reaching that semi-final was an incredible achievement at the time." "I was sad because we didn't reach our goal, but I always tell Juan Román that only those who dare to take penalties miss them. Today, Villarreal is much bigger than it was then." Of course, Roig's most iconic success came a year ago, again against Premier League and European giants. Although Manchester United lost in the Europa League in Gdansk, many forget that this remarkable 74-year-old made it off just in time Having recovered from coronavirus to fly his private jet from Spain's east coast to Poland's most famous Baltic port, he was told on arrival that his negative test had not been presented soon enough to allow him access to the stadium where his team was on the brink of history, so hours before kick-off he turned on the spot and made it back to Villarreal and sat alone in his living room watching Geronimo Rulli win the Yellow Submarine, one of the most notable penalty shootouts of all time , and watched his boys, his club, lift a European trophy He recalls: “My sofa was taken by my wife draped with Villarreal flags so I could be surrounded by our colors. I watched more or less alone because my wife finds it very tense. Imagine how another member of the Beatles could have said, all this work and all these dreams, but not at the coronation. The key man to whom Roig Sr. owes his dream come true is Unai Emery. A Basque-born footballer with manual skills, Emery is a good witness of what his boss has achieved. He played a handful of games for Toledo against old Villarreal, both before and after Roig's purchase, always in the second division, in an ultra-modest stadium when the team was still training in a public park or school pitches. Win, lose, draw - Emery sensed immediately that the Yellow Submarine project was urgent, ambitious and determined. Now, after a stellar career which he still seems to believe could see him back in the Premier League in the near future, he was the one who coached Villarreal to a first major trophy in their history. Appointed by Roig Jr rather than the club's president, these have been two absolutely remarkable seasons with him at the helm. Eliminating Arsenal in last season's semi-finals, beating United as widespread underdogs, going unbeaten throughout the Europa League season and embarking on an all-out head-to-head war against European champions Chelsea in the UEFA Super earlier this season in Leading the Belfast Cup before flirting with and almost leaving a Newcastle link would do for most people. Still, he's the one who, in the words of Yellow Submarine, ensures "every one of us has everything we need" to take on the six-time competition winners in the Champions League semi-finals. Whoever is fit (hopefully Francis Coquelin for this week and Gerard Moreno for the next), whatever the tactic, however important it may be for Emery to avoid his last two results at Anfield (1-5 defeat and then 3-1 defeat for Arsenal) , you need to be sure his players aren't lacking in information or analysis. As Emery recently told UEFA: "There's always a lot of analysis on our opponents so my players know their opponent as well as possible. In general, if we have an opponent with a bigger budget, better players, more trophies, more success, we can beat them at our best in the competition with our best performance." "So I always try to give the players more rather than less Giving them work, giving them more information rather than less, telling them more things rather than less, then we have optimistic expectations but based on a lot of work.” “You can't be an optimist without having a strong foundation for something : Work, dedication, knowing ourselves, knowing our opponents No doubt these are precisely the elements Emery used in the last meeting with Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool in Europe - in 2016 Europa League final victory in Switzerland, which lasted only 45 minutes Liverpool traffic was one way and then a Sevilla steamroller for the rest of the game See, plan, convince, believe – win Just like Roig Sr, just like Villarreal this e last 25 beautiful years - worked hard, dreamed big - and now back in the city where her nickname was born.

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Villarreal's Champions League run is no accident. Can they topple Liverpool next?

Villarreal are thriving against the European elite with their Champions League title in their sights. Can they beat Liverpool next in the semis? (Author: Gardener)

Champions LeagueWhen the Beatles released Ringo Starr's 'Yellow Submarine' in August 1966, Liverpool were reigning English champions, had won the FA Cup a year earlier and already had a social phenomenon in the seething, swaying, singing Kop. A week earlier, the Reds' star players Ian Callaghan and Roger Hunt had just won the World Cup with England. On the day the Beatles' publicity machine went into overdrive for their release of Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby, Villarreal were in the fifth division of Spanish football. Located in a tiny farming and fishing town near the Mediterranean Sea, the club's madrigal 'stadium', which could seat a few thousand spectators, was little more than a walled pitch. Fernando Roig, the visionary president of the Yellow Submarine, who will celebrate their 25th anniversary in a few days, had just turned 19 and Unai Emery, the man who will take them to Anfield this week, was not even born yet . But this insanely catchy song from the Revolver album, which peaked at #1 worldwide (except in Spain, where it peaked at #3), was immediately embraced by fans and local media. As the club has only become world famous in the last sixteen years, the moniker is believed to be a modern creation. Villarreal were on a promotion mission that would take them back to the third division by 1967 and there is a beautiful faded black and white photo of a fan banner being held up by first-team players on the day that reads : "The yellow submarine is advancing at full steam." Los Groguets ("the yellow ones") are about to return to, as Ringo would put it, "the town where (their nickname) was born." Whatever the outcome, it's a magnificent journey - one that confirms the answer Fernando Roig gave me recently when I asked him for just one sentence to sum up his reign over a quarter of a century, from which a tiny , humble, practically village team has become one of the largest and most admirable clubs in Europe. When Villarreal threw Juventus out of the Champions League last month, Roig was exactly the kind of phobic experience that had prompted La Vecchia Signora and other greedy clubs across Europe to embark on their ill-planned, unloved and short-lived European Super League project Juve -President Andrea Agnelli, telling him that their idea of ​​a "closed" Europa League, in which clubs like Villarreal should not have automatic playing rights,... His message was underscored by his side's victory 3-0 in Turin - Davids were shouting around the world for joy when they saw another Goliath not just beaten but spanked, hopefully teaching them a lesson in humility. However, it is Villarreal club who are up against a giant here - not Roig himself. Roig's success in the ceramics sector and as part of the family supermarket chain Mercadona meant he bought Villarreal in 1997 for just over €400,000, funding part of its expansion , navigate relegation, invest in countless local jobs, and integrate his then 24-year-old son, Fernando Jr., into the club's boardroom, where he's practically the main character now. The relegation, from which the club rebounded at rubber ball speed, was for him the most painful experience of that magical quarter-century. But 2006, when the Yellow Submarine last reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, was the more brutal iconic image. Arsenal beat them 1-0 in London and in the 0-0 madrigal Juan Román Riquelme failed to convert the penalty that would have sent the game into extra time and possibly the final in Paris just before the end. Of course, this year's showpiece will also take place there. Don't ask a man who only believes in hard work and big dreams if fate calls. But if you ask him about that night of broken hearts 16 years ago, he'll say, "I remember it well. I fell out of my seat - onto my knees. I almost fell down. Reaching that semi-final was an incredible achievement at the time." "I was sad because we didn't reach our goal, but I always tell Juan Román that only those who dare to take penalties miss them. Today, Villarreal is much bigger than it was then." Of course, Roig's most iconic success came a year ago, again against Premier League and European giants. Although Manchester United lost in the Europa League in Gdansk, many forget that this remarkable 74-year-old made it off just in time Having recovered from coronavirus to fly his private jet from Spain's east coast to Poland's most famous Baltic port, he was told on arrival that his negative test had not been presented soon enough to allow him access to the stadium where his team was on the brink of history, so hours before kick-off he turned on the spot and made it back to Villarreal and sat alone in his living room watching Geronimo Rulli win the Yellow Submarine, one of the most notable penalty shootouts of all time , and watched his boys, his club, lift a European trophy He recalls: “My sofa was taken by my wife draped with Villarreal flags so I could be surrounded by our colors. I watched more or less alone because my wife finds it very tense. Imagine how another member of the Beatles could have said, all this work and all these dreams, but not at the coronation. The key man to whom Roig Sr. owes his dream come true is Unai Emery. A Basque-born footballer with manual skills, Emery is a good witness of what his boss has achieved. He played a handful of games for Toledo against old Villarreal, both before and after Roig's purchase, always in the second division, in an ultra-modest stadium when the team was still training in a public park or school pitches. Win, lose, draw - Emery sensed immediately that the Yellow Submarine project was urgent, ambitious and determined. Now, after a stellar career which he still seems to believe could see him back in the Premier League in the near future, he was the one who coached Villarreal to a first major trophy in their history. Appointed by Roig Jr rather than the club's president, these have been two absolutely remarkable seasons with him at the helm. Eliminating Arsenal in last season's semi-finals, beating United as widespread underdogs, going unbeaten throughout the Europa League season and embarking on an all-out head-to-head war against European champions Chelsea in the UEFA Super earlier this season in Leading the Belfast Cup before flirting with and almost leaving a Newcastle link would do for most people. Still, he's the one who, in the words of Yellow Submarine, ensures "every one of us has everything we need" to take on the six-time competition winners in the Champions League semi-finals. Whoever is fit (hopefully Francis Coquelin for this week and Gerard Moreno for the next), whatever the tactic, however important it may be for Emery to avoid his last two results at Anfield (1-5 defeat and then 3-1 defeat for Arsenal) , you need to be sure his players aren't lacking in information or analysis. As Emery recently told UEFA: "There's always a lot of analysis on our opponents so my players know their opponent as well as possible. In general, if we have an opponent with a bigger budget, better players, more trophies, more success, we can beat them at our best in the competition with our best performance." "So I always try to give the players more rather than less Giving them work, giving them more information rather than less, telling them more things rather than less, then we have optimistic expectations but based on a lot of work.” “You can't be an optimist without having a strong foundation for something : Work, dedication, knowing ourselves, knowing our opponents No doubt these are precisely the elements Emery used in the last meeting with Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool in Europe - in 2016 Europa League final victory in Switzerland, which lasted only 45 minutes Liverpool traffic was one way and then a Sevilla steamroller for the rest of the game See, plan, convince, believe – win Just like Roig Sr, just like Villarreal this e last 25 beautiful years - worked hard, dreamed big - and now back in the city where her nickname was born.

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Ranking Divock Origis six goals for Liverpool against Everton

During Divock Origi's time at Liverpool he enjoyed one thing more than anything: tormenting Everton. Origi has scored six Premier League goals against Everton and only Steven Gerrard has scored more for Liverpool in the Merseyside derby. (Author: Gardener)

EvertonDuring Divock Origi's time at Liverpool he enjoyed one thing more than anything: tormenting Everton. Origi has scored six Premier League goals against Everton and only Steven Gerrard has scored more for Liverpool in the Merseyside derby. The striker is expected to leave Liverpool at the end of the 2021/22 season but those six goals have helped cement his status as a cult hero at Anfield. "He's a legend on and off the pitch," said Jürgen Klopp after Origi's last goal against Everton. "He's a fantastic footballer to me and I know it sounds ridiculous as I don't field him often, he's a world-class striker, he's definitely our best finisher. "He always has been and everyone would say the same thing, when you see him doing things like that in training you see the quality of the squad and the other players and it's really hard to imagine that [for him]. “Other players weren't in the squad but were in really good shape. I have to make really tough decisions because the guys all want to contribute and they are responsible for the situation we are in. “Everyone loves Div and rightly so. We've ranked his six goals against Everton from worst to best. After Liverpool struggled to break through Everton's defence, Klopp decided to turn to his bench, bringing in Origi and Luis Diaz. Andy Robertson put Liverpool ahead a few moments later, and in the 84th minute the two substitutes met to make it 2-0. While they won't win the Goal of the Season award, they could move up the list if Liverpool win a 20th league title at the end of 2021/22. Origi's first taste of a Merseyside derby at Anfield came in April 2016 and it won't surprise you to know that he celebrated the occasion with a goal. After Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah were benched for the Merseyside derby in December 2019, Origi capitalized on his chance with both hands. Sadio Mane rolled a perfectly weighted pass to the feet of Origi, who rounded Jordan Pickford in one smooth motion before coolly rolling the ball into the net. It's a good finish but he managed to score an even better goal in the same game. "He was outstanding what kind of game he played," said Klopp afterwards. Adam [Lallana] wins the ball, Sadio [Mane] sees the run, his movement and passed the ball at just the right moment, a touch for Divock, an open goal, great.” After Mane picked up an injury against Everton in 2017 , Origi came on in the 57th minute and made an immediate impression. The Belgium international received the ball from Philippe Coutinho and took a step towards the Everton box before making it 3-1 with a powerful finish. But it was helped by a bizarre goalkeeper from Joel Robles, who allowed the ball to nestle into the center of the goal. Granted, a one-yard headed goal probably shouldn't be in the top two on a leaderboard. Origi's goal against Everton in 2018 was an injury-time winner and sent Anfield into utter euphoria. "Definitely Everton One, minute 90 plus six," Origi told the Daily Telegraph in December 2019 while reflecting on his favorite Liverpool goal. There was an Everton fan at border control and he said to me, 'I won't let you in.' I love it. It's Liverpool, you know." On that day in 2018, against Everton, Divock Origi scored one of the funniest goals I've ever seen in professional football 🤣🦕 #LFC pic.twitter.com/LdPOV473vz After Liverpool 2-1 to Everton centre-back Dejan Lovren was spotted Origi ran and hauled him out with a stunning 40-yard pass. The striker then controlled the ball with a Luis Suarez-style first touch before lobping over Pickford. “The second… in Germany when I was young was always a highlight of my week, the goal of the week and the goal of the month; If they had picked those, it would have been 100 per cent controversial," Klopp said after the game. "It was just a great first contact and then to finish it like that." Every angle from Origis Stunner vs @Everton 🔥 pic.twitter.com/0iuFefdpIp The 3 players Liverpool signed with Mo Salah and how it did A tribute to Fernando Torres from the Liverpool era, a striker who could do it all Can you name every Liverpool player who has scored against Man Utd in PL since 2000?

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Liverpool supporters group Spirit of Shankly hail the reform decision amid concerns about 'ESL 2.0'

Liverpool supporters group Spirit of Shankly have welcomed the decision to set up an independent regulator (Author: Gardener)

LiverpoolGeneral view outside the stadium as Liverpool fans arrive at the stadium ahead of the Premier League match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield on April 24, 2022. Liverpool supporters group Spirit of Shankly have welcomed the UK government's decision to back proposals for an independent regulator of English football. Following the release last year of the Crouch Report, the fan-led report on the state of football at national level authored by Conservative MP Tracey Crouch, the government committed to making legal changes to the way the football is regulated. The new regulator will have the power to impose sanctions on those violating financial and other rules, while introducing a new ownership test and giving fans more say in match management. The Crouch report had made 10 recommendations when it was released late last year, with the introduction of an independent regulator needed to stop the game "tumbling from crisis to crisis". The report itself came against the backdrop of April's failed European Super League plan, in which Liverpool were heavily involved, before abandoning its intentions along with eight other teams. After the failed ESL plot, much anger was directed at Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group for their part in bringing the Reds into the conversation. Such was the outcry that John Henry, FSG's principal owner, recorded a video apology to Liverpool fans for his part in the conspiracy, which collapsed in just 48 hours, and the club then took steps to reassure fans' confidence by forming a Supporters Board, which would need to give its approval if such a move is to be made into a breakaway competition in the future. This Supporters Board, which is about to be formed, consists of 10 members from the Spirit Of Shankly Committee, plus six other representatives from other supporters organizations including Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association, Kop Outs, Spion Kop 1906, Official Liverpool Supporters Clubs, Liverpool Women's Supporters Committee and faith and ethnic groups. Greater fan representation at clubs through shadow bodies was one of the Crouch report's recommendations and Spirit of Shankly chairman Joe Blott welcomed the decision but shared concerns that a possible delay in the introduction of the independent regulator could be expected until 2024 be when the regulation comes into force. "From the Crouch report's recommendations, we understand that we have made progress with the club to ensure most, if not all, are ticked and that the report serves more as an endorsement of what we are doing than." being told what we need to do.” We believe independent regulation is the way forward, although it is a pity the Premier League does not share this stance. The Premier League has shown it can't take care of itself and control billionaire owners and nefarious owners and that's why we think independent regulation is crucial. “Not every club has made the progress that we have in introducing a supporters board and it is important that the introduction of a regulator is swift and not postponed. Delays mean there is less work to do and some clubs are getting sucked into the kicking and yelling, leading to tokenism. Had we had more fan representation prior to the ESL conspiracy it would not have happened from an English point of view, certainly not with the way we are setting up the Supporters Board. The whole English game needs that, in previous seasons we lost clubs like Macclesfield, Bury and Chester City and it was up to the fans to help build those clubs back up. Independent regulation may have been welcomed by some, and its need was further underscored by the crisis that emerged from the ESL and more recently the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund's controversial takeover of Newcastle United and Roman Abramovich's forced sale of Chelsea due The Premier League does not believe there is a need for an independent regulator of English football due to its ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin following the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. "We welcome the government's clarity on its position and commit to working with it during this next phase of consultation, although we will continue to maintain that it is not necessary for there to be a legally backed regulator. “Since the publication of the Fan-Led Review, the Premier League and our clubs have worked flat out to understand the full impact of the Review's recommendations and to design and implement policies in response to its objectives; including by reviewing our test for owners and directors. “We agree that the fans are vital to the game and their voices should be better heard across the league. "We are reassured that the Government recognizes the success of the Premier League and the importance of making changes that also protect the league's position as one of this country's top global exports. "It creates the exceptional football we see on pitches across the country every week and has enabled our continued commitment to supporting football at all levels by raising an unprecedented £1.6billion outside the Premier League over the next three seasons have reinvested.” But the Football Supporters Association issued a statement urging the government not to hesitate any further, setting out how important it sees the introduction of independent regulation to address some of the critical issues facing football. A statement from the FSA said: "The Government has recognized that 'the free market will not fix football' - the FSA urges them to act swiftly and implement the fan-led review recommendations now welcoming the announcement that "IREF" will oversee financial regulation at all levels and introduce a new, reinforced owner and director test. Supporters have long argued that clubs, with stadiums and heritage that deserve special protection, are an important common good - and the Government supports this position while acknowledging that clubs' supporter engagement "often falls far short of what the fans do." rightly expect. "The announcement that 'women's football should be treated equally and subject to its own scrutiny' is an important step that the FSA has long supported, as is the objective of giving the IREF a role in evaluating policies on equality, diversity and Transferring inclusion to football “But time is of the essence – as the government says, there are “serious concerns about the fragility of football's finances”. Since the Government committed to a fan-led review of football governance in its 2019 manifesto, we have seen: Macclesfield Town disappear, Project Big Picture, the European Super League, ownership controversies at many clubs, billionaire owners sabotaging them Reform of the Premier League and existential crises at Coventry United, Derby County and Oldham Athletic, among others. Another day for a shady owner to get his hooks into a club. Another day for remote billionaires to try and make the European Super League 2.0.

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