Friday 21 October 2016

'This is the beginning of the end of soccer as a sport' - Eamon Dunphy has strong feelings about the state of the beautiful game

Harry Clarke

Published 09/05/2016 | 20:59

Managers like Louis van Gaal are ruining the game according to Eamon Dunphy
Managers like Louis van Gaal are ruining the game according to Eamon Dunphy

The standard of world football is so low at the moment that the beautiful game is witnessing the beginning of the end, according to RTE pundit Eamon Dunphy.

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It may have been a fairytale Premier League season with Leicester City ripping up the script and delivering one of the great sporting stories of all time.

But the demise of teams like Manchester United, despite the hundreds of millions invested, has given Dunphy cause for concern.

While, in theory, it could prove to be a successful season for Louis van Gaal and Manchester United should they win the FA Cup and secure a fourth place finish and Champions League football, Dunphy points to a dismal standard in the Premier League - and worldwide - as a real worry for the future.

"You can't celebrate mediocrity, that's the road to hell. What we are seeing at the moment is the end of soccer as a sport in my opinion. The beginning of the end," said Dunphy on tonight's Game On Show on 2FM.

"There are no players to thrill you and there are managers like Van Gaal who make you feel depressed. I know real Manchester United fans, real football fans, would look at that game Alan (Cawley) was referring to (Norwich at the weekend) as hard work to watch it. It was boring and dull.

"If you look at United's bench, they had about £200m worth of talent, including Schneiderlin, Memphis who came on in the end. Martial pulled his hamstring in the warm up. That's the second time this season. This £35m player, £50m when you add in appearances and that, has pulled his hamstring in the warm up. Now what's going on with the fitness coach? How come he keeps pulling his hamstring in the warm up.

"This is not acceptable and the manager is responsible for that."

Lat week, Van Gaal came out fighting and proclaimed himself "a great manager". While the Dutchman has been successful in the past, Dunphy says that counts for nothing when your team produces mundane football despite spending massive amounts of money on supposed superstars.

"He (Van Gaal) also said last week that he was a great coach. He has won things in the past but if that was the way you kept the score, all the has-beens would be out in their glory," added Dunphy.

"You have to do it this year. If you go into a club like Manchester United like he did two years ago and you are given £350m and he can only produce a team like the one we watched on Saturday, then there is something not great about you."

Dunphy added that the decline of football is not exclusively a Premier League problem.

"If you had £2billion to spend, this is soccer's problem, you would not know where to go because there are no (players). Don't forget the Brazil team in the last World Cup. They were beaten 7-1 in their home country in the semi-final of the World Cup by a pretty ordinary German team, one that we beat 1-0 in the Aviva Stadium.

"That's where world football is and there is no getting away from it. Other sports, rugby, golf, hurling, horse, flat jumps - it's getting better and better and better and more exciting. Soccer is going rapidly in the other direction because people don't play it any more."

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