The dream has to be that the BBC produces mediocre football TV regardless of gender. Women threw themselves under horses for that dream. The boys like the girls...
We thought we would have to resort to another mailbox about maths but we've had some grand opinions about Man United, Newcastle, Tottenham and more. Oh and maths...
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Messi Messi Messi
Taste in suits is inversely proportionate to footballing ability. Discuss.
RS (wearer of great suits), THFC
...I don't care how good Messi is, a polkadot silk jacket and matching bow tie is beyond the pale.
Michael Jordan is widely considered to have been the best basketball player ever. He won the award for being so 5 times in his career which spanned 19 years (some years inactive).
It is not necessary to award Lionel Messi the Balon D'Or on four occasions in a row. His legacy will live on despite awarding it to Iniesta or Ronaldo or someone who actually won a trophy this year. This is especially true when awarding Messi means you are ignoring the previous criteria you used to evaluate candidates (ie. performances in Champions Leagues and European Championships.) Changing your criteria only devalues your awards. They weren't worth much to begin with.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland
Sticking It To La Liga
It struck me that, for the unversed in Football, La Liga would appear to be the bees knees, with Messi undoubtedly the most famous and probably the best player in the world, and the rest of the so called World XI for the year being selected from La Liga.
In actuality it amounts to nothing more than a small group of clubs spending large portions of money that they do not have to win an ailing league, with waning international interest in a country so economically irresponsible and unstable that they played a large role in bringing the European Union to the brink of extinction. The football, two out of ten games a week, is breathtakingly good. Messi is obviously the best player in the world, Ronaldo a close second. But football is, perhaps sadly, not about the quality of football but entertainment and watching Messi and his cohort of infinitely superior teammates defeat teams that can't afford toilet paper to wipe their asses with provides absolutely nothing.
The lack of competition, an oft repeated complaint even of the Premier League, occasionally sees the odd competitor rise to see off the status quo for a few weeks, usually to no avail. These brief sparks of quality from outside the duopoly inevitably reach a point of resignation and dissapate to more interesting corners of Europe (if not to Real or Barca). Mata and Silva both quickly left the debt ridden Valencia for England, Michu just this season, Athletic Bilbao's cohort of immensely talented youngsters are gradually being poached off. One wonders how long Falcao, the only truly exciting aspect of La Liga, will remain with interest from abroad extremely high.
The individual selections, aside from awarding of the Ballon D'or to Messi, could all easily be replaced with players from other leagues who would at least equal them in quality and achievement(at least for that year). Would you really prefer Falcao over Robin van Persie, or Alonso to Yaya Toure? David Silva or Xavi? And collectively the teams seem flawed. Barca failed against a resolute Chelsea, Real recently struggled to defeat a distinctly average Manchester City, whilst Dortmund dominated their group.
On a side note, who would support a move to make the Ballon D'or an award a player can only be awarded once?
Could Lampard Be A Good Move For United?
I've seen this Lampard to United rumour for a year at least now but there seems to be quite more gusto to it this time. Now while he's no spring chicken he could actually be a decent short term signing. By short-term I mean the next two/three years. Surely by the summer it really will be time to send Scholes and Giggs to that farm upstate with all the past United greats. This would give Lampard a bedding in period before he takes over as the experienced head in midfield. Lampard has proved he can still score the odd goal too which United have badly missed from midfield for a while now.
The other side of this emerging rumour is that Chelsea will replace Lampard will Fellaini which is really the more worrying thing. So how about we just sign him too. The Giggs/Scholes wage would then be gone so would probably be financially viable in the long run. This all seems to make a lot of sense so of course what will end up happening is that along with Lampard we'd sign Beckham to have a team older than AC Milan of a few years back. If De Gea left for Madrid too we could just bring Ned back in goal too.
Imagine if RVP played in Spain? He may have gotten a spot in that Best XI. If United had sold O'Shea to Barca instead of Pique we could be looking at another award for John too.
Evan (Phil's petition better become a thing) Ireland
Trying To Clear Up The Rulez
John Yeldham, Gunner asked the question of why a handball has to be deliberate to be an offence.
A couple of years ago I got my refereeing qualification and, although I've rarely put it into practice, it helped to clarify some of the laws of the game, so I'm hoping I can shed some light on this.
The most important thing here is the definition of 'deliberate'. It doesn't necessarily mean the same as 'intentional'. If a player's arm is away from his body and the ball strikes his hand, it should be considered deliberate in most cases. It is very rare that a player's arm would be extended away from his body in a natural position during a football match. Usually, the ball striking a hand is only considered not to be deliberate if the player's arms are by his side or in front of his body and the ball is struck from a short distance away.
In the Luis Suarez example, it might not have been intentional - it's difficult to say - but it should have been interpreted as deliberate since his arm was outstretched away from his body and if it wasn't there, he would have had no chance of bringing the ball under control and scoring. This is a similar situation to when the ball strikes a player's arm when they are trying to make a block with their body. A free kick/penalty is usually given when this happens.
This is a more long-winded email than I expected it to be but I hope it helps.
Missing Keys And Gray
I've noticed a Mailbox trend develop this season of complaining about substandard or cringe-worthy football punditry and commentary, and I must admit, I love it. Call me a cynic, but football commentary these days, especially without the enjoyably hyperbolic and excitable (not like that) partnership of Gray & Keyes, is really quite awful. The BBC need no introduction, Sky Sports (other than Tyler/Neville) lead with a group of SSN rejects, and ITV, well let's just say when you're disappointed to lose Robbie Earle you're setting the bar low (Andy Townsend - more than enough said).
But ESPN's coverage of the Cheltenham v Everton game last night hit a new low; a gag here and there pertaining to the local culture is bearable, but ESPN lead with their juvenile racing punnery from the get-go and would not leave it. 'Well it's the FA Cup and it's not gold', and 'We're entering the final furlong of this match now'. Yes, Cheltenham has a race track, yes it hosts the Gold Cup, but it also has a football team that is an entirely separate entity, one that has spent much of its existence in the football league. I can't imagine a single viewer found any of this 'banter' even remotely entertaining.
For me the most ridiculous commentary of the evening came from Craig Burley (yep that's him, they guy who had no teeth), claiming the foul which led to the penalty was 'needless, clumsy and stupid'. Pretty agreeable I thought. Then he said it shouldn't have been a penalty and was harsh. Why? Because 'it happens up and down the country every week'. Diving happens every week and we hate it and crusade for its banishment, why would a blatant foul not be the same? At least they have Kevin Keegan waiting in the studio to clear things up (yes, the man who once said '...using his strength. And that is his strength, his strength').
I now long for commentators to scream 'You beauteeeeeh!'. I'd even settle for a 'take a bow son', such is the boring nature of commentary these days.
Scott (sorry to nag... ugh), London
After reading yesterdays mailbox a query has arisen which has been brewing inside me for a while. Was Silvio Dante sent from hell to test decent, knowledgable Man Utd fans and make us hate our own supporters more than the rest of the world already does? This also makes me wonder if you are in league with him as Satan's spawn by printing his drivel TWICE a day??!!!
Without trolling too much let me put a few points across.
Firstly, a few weeks ago our Silvio mentioned he didn't think Scholes and Giggs should be let anywhere near the team. Yet after the RVP goal against West Ham he was more than happy to doff his cap to the old magician, almost if he telepathically told him to play that pass.
Whilst most Utd fans will accept Scholesy and Giggs are nearing the end of their careers, there is still a place in the team for them owing to these moments of brilliance and whilst undoubtedly there is no place for nostalgia in football, it will be a great shame for the game when two of the greatest stalwarts to pull on the Utd shirt do choose to retire.
Let me point you to last season. Antonio Valencia was one of Utd's most consitent performers in the second half of last season, had one of the highest assist rates in the league and contributed with the odd important goal here and there. To go and make out that he's about as much use as testicles for knee caps after an admittedly below par first half to the season and should be got rid of is ludicrous. Is somebody not allowed a poor run of form once in a while??!!
That's the trouble with a lot of fans these days, they expect too much from players. Even Lionel Messi will have a poor game and only score one goal once in a while.
Which brings me on to my next point. In the rant yesterday regarding Ronaldo and Mourinho it was claimed Pep and Messi would be preferred over the former.
The former who in Ronaldo has shone in the Portugese, English and Spanish Premier Leagues and a manager who has won the League everywhere he has been.
Yes Guardiola and Messi have been / were outstanding at Barca but as there's no evidence of either excelling in a different envrionment I would welcome Ronaldo back with massive foam hands and Mourinho is more than welcome over the other mob!
Anyway thats enough of a rant as either I have fallen prey to the best wind up merchant in the country, in which case I applaud you Silvio.
Or I have been falling in and out of a coma in the past few years only waking on April Fools day to read the mailbox and being subjected to the drivel. This is the only real logical reason I can find to you getting printed!
Phill (Might need some Just For Men after this rant) Thomas
You Just Wanted To Boast, Didn't You?
Following on from 'Mick (honesty is overrated) Dubai', I also have a story regarding being honest
About 10 years ago, I played in the pubs league cup as one of the 'ringers' who played a higher standard on a Saturday but were allowed to play in the cup on a Sunday under some obscure ruling.
As a ringer, I was singled out by the opposition loonies, who tried to kick me off the park. I had scored early, and after some more 'treatment' went down after a challenge in the box to win a penalty. The opposition went ballistic and claimed I had dived and was a cheat blah blah blah.
I put the ball on the spot to take the penalty, but was still getting flack from the keeper. I said, fair enough, I'll give you a chance and tell you where I'm gonna stick it (bottom right as I faced the goal). I strolled up and stuck it left as the keeper dived the wrong way. 2-0. To say the keeper went mental is an understatement. We went on to win about 5-1. The keeper now lives down my road and always says hello and even calls me by my first name.
Not sure what the point of this was, but it made me laugh when I remebered the story