1) Rule of five subroutines
Marketed for the time being as a short term measure of Covid wealth, it will never be permanent because the permanent change will be in favor of wealthy clubs and the Premier League is not about that. So, two years later, we have a new permanent five-substitution rule – up to five substitutions at three points in the game plus a half-time break of nine options on the bench. Supporters say this puts England on par with other major leagues and is a more graceful response to player fatigue than shrinking the (lucrative) fixture list; critics say it means more talent accumulation and less upheaval – the big clubs have a safety net in the game if they fall behind the minnow. However, there is one obvious plus: fewer hectic press conferences on this topic.
2) New match officials
Mike Dean, Kevin Friend, Jon Moss and Martin Atkinson left, giving more playing time to last year’s rookies Jarred Gillett, John Brooks, Michael Salisbury and Tony Harrington. EFL referee Tom Bramall takes the field, as do assistants Natalie Aspinall, Nick Greenhalgh and Steve Meredith. The change also benefits @therealMikedean, a U.S. hip-hop producer and collaborator with Kanye who can spend less time confronting haters on Twitter: “I’m not a referee”; “wrong Mike Dean”; “football is bullshit”; “I AM NOT A LIME FOOTBALL REFER… DO YOUR RESEARCH.”
3) New rhythm
Six weeks of wintering in Qatar means a different course of the season: the earliest start of the Premier League (August 5, compared to August 7, 1999), no international break in October but one break in September, Boxing Day resumed but not traditional 28/ December 29th. game, more mid-week action and, barring Covid delays, the last day of the season (May 28). Then the June FA Cup Final.
4) New official ball
In June, Nike introduced the new Nike Premier League Flight, which is made from 37% synthetic leather and 63% polyester down. “Premier League flight features Aerowsculpt technology, All Conditions Control (ACC) technology and 3D printed ink overlays that fine-tune ball flight.” This means that it has a pattern. Yours for £124.95.
5) Great news for goalkeepers
A sluggish summer for legislators. These years Ifab Updatesa) only judges can toss coins, not talismans; b) goalkeepers can play with the ball in their zone (Ifab says this clarification will help the referees avoid “misinterpreting” the law on handball); and c) goalkeepers facing a penalty must “have at least part of one foot touching, in line with or behind the goal line”. Most of the energy, however, has gone into answering the question that has plagued the commission since Eric Cantona flew over the McDonalds board in 1995: how would this game be restarted if the ball was in play? 27 years later, the answer is: A player who leaves the field because of an “outsider” is penalized with an indirect free kick to the opponent “for leaving the field without the permission of the referee.”
6) Some new selection kits
Among the sharpest this season: Liverpool’s iridescent migraine aura away kit inspired by the city’s “pioneering role in the ’90s dance scene”; Southampton teal, celadon and gold outfit at the docks which, according to the club, “pushes the boundaries of creativity and daring”; Tottenham baby wetsuit design, “offering professional-level inspiration on the field or in the stands”; and two new Newcastle skins: home kit, “The iconic black and white, inspired by the past, designed for the future, in honor of the club’s 130-year history”; and out kit white and greenin honor of the Saudi regime.
7) Debut talisman
There is a first-class bow for Robin Hood, Forest’s mascot since 2018 is the successor to the Sherwood Bear who led their 1999 relegation. Forest says Robin has a “global fan base of billions of people in every corner of the world” and adds “experience and leadership on matchdays”. Also returning to the top flight this year are the Cherry Bear at Bournemouth and Billy the Badger from Fulham, who was sent off by referee Chris Foy in 2011 for delay restart dancing.
8) Managers on the Edge
Jesse Marsh saved Leeds last season with quotes from Gandhi, JFK and Mother Teresa. “I have 52 book excerpts that I give players when I want to reach them, and then hundreds of quotes. I love quotes, I love learning from people of the past, sports figures, historical figures, anyone. The key is to know which messages to use at the right time to motivate our collective mentality.” He is 13-2 in the sack race.
9) And a hopeful constant
Jeff Stelling is still on football Saturday after dropping his plan to retire. But it’s all over for Chris Kamara, who is currently busy with podcasts, hosting Cash in the Attic and tweeting. Political memes about Jeff. He’s also a solid bet for a spot in I’m a Celebrity this year, according to the bookies, as is another time-honoured favorite football figure: Mike Dean, 6-1 at Ladbrokes.