What do we think will happen on and off the pitch in 2022?
Hi, I’m Chloe… and I’m Andrew.
And this is the Playmaker.
One story every day to make sense of the world of football.
Today… Our predictions for 2022.
Welcome back to the Playmaker for 2022. We’re expecting big things for this podcast this year. But first a look at the Tortoise team’s football predictions for the year ahead.
It’s going to be different to any we’ve seen before.
Every single Africa Cup of Nations match will be broadcast live by Sky in the UK and the BBC will show ten games on free-to-air TV.
The Women’s Euros will be hosted in England in July, and of course the men’s World Cup is going to be staged in Qatar in November and December.
That means that the Premier League and the Championship will take a month’s break… and we won’t be watching World Cup football in the summer for the first time.
So what do we think will happen during the course of 2022?
We want more press conferences that amuse us, please.
For 2022, we’re predicting that Antonio Conte gets caught eating a bacon butty covered in ketchup, because let’s face it, there’s more chance of that happening than him playing a back four.
“It’s good, the cake? The cake… it’s good? I’m jealous!”Sky Sports
Or, could we see, Sean Dyche wearing a coat?
“Well it was a sight to behold wasn’t it? Sean Dyche braving the snow at Turf Moor in a crisp white shirt and tie…”Sky Sports
“Are we really going to make a story about the fact that I had a shirt on…are we really…is that the best we can do today?”Sky Sports
We’ll have to wait until mid-November for the first ever winter World Cup.
It will be surrounded by controversy up until the first kick of the ball – questions about the way Qatar won the right to stage the tournament and its treatment of the workers who built the stadiums will remain. But that will stop the moment when the first game gets underway.
Watching in England will be a completely new experience.
Remember those scenes in Boxparks in the past couple of tournaments?
Rather than pints of beer being chucked into the air, fans will be more cautious with their glasses of mulled wine.
Brazil and France are joint favourites – but Brazil are the Tortoise tip. That’s because they can draw on players from home – coming off the back of a full season – and from Europe, where the season will be just a few months old.
We’re expecting big things from the women’s game.
That’s because the WSL extended their deal with Barclays last month… with the bank doubling their current investment to ten million pounds per year. They will invest at the grassroots level too.
And with the Women’s Euros hosted in England, there will be a welcome spotlight on female footie. We think that we might even get to see an England win. Yes, football’s coming home: ever heard that before?
One more thing: we predict we will see the first female manager of a European men’s side. Watch this space…
“Like that process needs to begin and hopefully, you know, that affirmative action is something that can be enforced, because there’s so many quality candidates that can do the job, across the men’s game that I think we spend too much time talking about gender and ethnicity instead of quality of candidates.”Sky Sports
It could be a really big year for diversity in football…
“There’s something personal that I need to share with everyone. I’m a footballer, and I’m gay.”beIN Sports USA
Adelaide United’s Josh Cavallo coming out this year could be a turning point for gay footballers.
Justin Fashanu remains Britain’s first and only openly gay footballer. He retired in 1997.
His niece, Amal, has said a Premier League footballer is “very likely” to announce he is gay in 2022, after the foundation dedicated to her uncle counselled two top flight players who are yet to come out publicly.
Speculation on this topic does occasionally feel salacious but it would be a landmark moment in football.
We know that Newcastle are going to splash the cash in January.
“It’s not like football manager and you just go out and buy Messi, Mbappe…erm Neymar and whoever I wanna buy…”Sky Sports
But even so, we think they are still going down.
And it could be fun watching the Geordies with a completely over-the-top squad in the Championship next season. So even if they are relegated in May, they’ll be having a party by September.
The question is… have they got Andy Carroll on speed dial?
And a couple of quick ones…
There will be no Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d’Or top three for the first time since 2006.
The video game FIFA ‘23… won’t be called FIFA ‘23. EA Sports cuts ties with the world football governing body – check out Playmaker episode 69 for a bit more on that.
And… Jeff Stelling will become Director of Football at his beloved Hartlepool.
He’s still getting over the fact that Stockport County pinched their manager!
Today’s episode was written by Chloe Beresford, and Andrew Butler. It was produced by Ella Hill.