He is one of a number of solid shouts for players that look old before their time. We also have the final words on lovely D-Beck and a rejection of end of season playoffs...
That's one opinion, but others give their thanks to the man. We also have ideas for a relegation playoff, happy memories of the season and a defence of Liverpool's campaign...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Two Cups + One Top Four = The Sack
After last night's impressive comeback against a physical and well-skilled Steaua team Chelsea find themselves in the draw for the final 8 of the Europa League. It's not inconceivable that Chelsea might (finally) start upping their game and make it to the final of two cup competitions. The players seem to have grasped that the more knuckle dragging fans are going to stupidly boo their own manager whether they perform well or not so they might as well give it a go. The manager seems to have accepted he's leaving when summertime comes and the section of myopic moaning fans seem to have tempered their hatred of Benitez (although I'm still not clear why they 'hate' him to begin with - 'hate' seems a little strong for a man who just said some things about a football team and managed another club at one time).
All that being said, it seems to me that Chelsea could once again be left looking like classless idiots if Benitez is successful in the Europa League / FA Cup and if Chelsea score one of the hard contested top 4 places. What will happen then?
Will the club fire a manager who has delivered one/two pieces of silverware and secured Champions League football?
Sadly, I think we all know the answer to that question.
Why We're Like Goodfellas Pizza. We Think
I don't think the site is sneery either.
I do think its getting more difficult to get and retain traffic as the tabloid press ramp up their online presence. I'm reminded of an old creative directors analogy - we designed food packaging, and as a younger designer I wanted to make everything mental. He said no point as all the clients wanted was what sold best. Goodfellas had 30% market share, most anyone else had was 12%, so instead of going for the remaining 70% everyone went for that 30, and every pizza box looks like goodfellas. So there's no choice for the consumer, no variety, and no way to tell products apart. 30% of the market are paying to support everyone, so everyone is selling a little less, 70% of the market are putting up with it, or just not bothering anymore and having a pasty.
This is what football coverage has become, no more risks, or unique voices, and everyone falling over themselves to prove they are the most 30% of the 30%'ers, louder and louder. No one worked hard to get into journalism to do this, but whether its paper sales of pay per click income, it's safety first for everyone.
Douglas Adams predicted this in one of the Hitchhikers books. He would've been 60 recently. We miss sense like his. Anyhoo thanks for listening.
Al - Bournemouth
A Thunderbastard Laugh
You know last night when I was browsing through F365 while in a teleconference something made me laugh. That was no stupid smirk or smile but a thunderba*tard of a laugh.
So I went ahead thinking about all the great humourous taglines that you guys have posted. Some of them that stick out are
* The Handsome Dane Gossip
* Form is temporary, Lack of class is permanent....
* The Premier League Clubs Strike Back.....
* AND BY FAR THE BEST ONE
Aston Villa and QPR
Two unstoppable forces, giants of the game in fearsome form, hurtling towards each other at great speed, a clash of the most titanic manner imaginable.
Donnie, (Thank you 365. Consider this a patronising act in return) MUFC
More Away Goal Stuff
Every year we have the argument that the away goal rule in extra time is advantageous to the team who get 120 minutes of 'away' football.
It's not that clear cut.
If my team, Liverpool, were playing in the European Cup (imagine!) and went into extra time against say Barcelona, would I feel more confident if the team had;
A. 30 minutes trying to outplay Barcelona and score in the Nou Camp (with away goals counting for us)
B. 30 minutes trying to outplay Barcelona and score in front of the Kop (with away goals counting against us)
Personally, I would take option B.
...I'd like to wade in and say that I too am in favour of dropping the away goal rule. I am an Arsenal fan and we would have gone to extra time and won against Bayern with a hat-trick from Arshavin who was surely going to come on and perform for once.
JazGooner (strangely attracted to this Lisa, Leed & Sydney FC fan Down Under. I picture her looking a bit like Emily Blunt with an accent so expertly blended that it is the Cabernet-Merlot of accents)
The Benvenuto Standard
I'd hate to have to live up to Daniel Benvenuto's standards. Tim Henman was once ranked as the fourth best tennis player in the world and yet Dan reckons this qualifies as "not very good". Dan's potential sexual partners (assuming there have been some) must be nervous wrecks, perched bedside, mentally preparing for their clothes-free audience, considering their position play and running through a carefully formulated game plan, hoping against hope that their performance will meet the "Benvenuto Standard".
Harry ("I never give 10/10") Eaton
Why Rooney Is Good
In reply to Daniel (People that ginger aren't meant to be heroes anyway) Benvenuto's mail, I am reminded of one goal which is not a screamer, not a skill fully crafted artistic, not a dribblers delight goal. 31st Jan 2010 at the Emirates against Arsenal. Rooney picks up the ball at the edge of his penalty box, sprays a pass to Nani and runs all the way to Arsenal's penalty box where he receives the ball and slots it past Almunia. And yeah, he was the first one to reach there from the entire United and Arsenal's team. If this effort, class and finish is not great, I fail to understand what else does a striker need to do. He is always made to adjust for other players because he can still make a difference wherever he plays. For once, give him the central role with RVP on the left / right and Welbeck / Nani on the other. I bet he will score 50 in that season. Still feel if he played along side Carrick against Madrid, it would have been so much better than Cleverly.
Sagar Deo, MUFC, Mumbai
...After reading Benvenuto's lovely little comparative email i would like to ask you can you please stop printing these 'Rooney's rubbish !!!!' mails. Its getting boring now.
The thing is, Rooney really is very good. Hes not particularly brilliant at anything and occasionally gets weighed down by the odd Chinese, but he's very good at many things. United, over a season, are simply not as good without him. Would any United fan truly say they would prefer Kagawa in behind Van Persie? Don't get me wrong, I like Kagawa, he gets my juices flowing as he has this thing we've not seen at Old Trafford in yonks (except for when nani can be bothered), which is technique. But once it comes down to it, I'd pick Rooney any day, as would any sane United fan. The reason for this being is that he is actually very good, on the odd occasion he even manages to be brilliant. Its as simple as that, he may not be exciting like he was when he was wee boy, but you still want him in your team. As would everybody else.
..."Wayne Rooney is just not very good."
I think we can all agree that the day a player who has scored nearly 200 goals for Man Utd, winning 4 league titles and the UEFA Champions League in the process, is described as "just not very good", is a sad, sad day for perspective and objectivity.
"Very good" is defined surely by the pre-requisite "better than most"; ie, there are very few players better than him. Wayne Rooney s better than most. There 92 football league clubs in this country alone, and with the exception of Robin Van Persie and Luis Suarez this season, Wayne Rooney has been better than most, and that is just in the Premier League. When compared to the rest of the word, this statement becomes more and more ridiculous the closer you examine it. No one in their right mind would suggest that Carlos Tevez or Sergio Aguero are "just not very good" and yet their seasons pale in comparison to Rooney's, and he's not exactly having a vintage one himself.
Wayne Rooney has won everything there is to win at club level, and left us breathless at times whilst he's done it. The same cannot be said of Tim Henman, can it.
Harry The Manc.
The Luiz Elbow
I'm surprised nobody has really mentioned the elbow from David Luiz to the head of the Steaua Bucharest player in the second half of last night's game...he might well claim it was accidental, but after seeing the replays and what happened in the Brentford match I'm not so sure. To make matters worse for the Steaua player, he got stick from the crowd for staying on the ground and then the referee refused him treatment after finally stopping the game!
Dave Horgan, AVFC
Monkey-Chants A European Thing?
I'm from America, where we historically and currently are not short on racism. But as far as I know, no one but no one has ever made monkey chants, racial slurs or thrown bananas on any pitch, field, court or ice rink. I simply do not understand what makes Europeans different in this regard. If an American spectator were to do any of the above, he/she would likely be torn apart and mauled by his surrounding fellow fans.
Gallas should never pull on a Spurs shirt again. He was a great signing two seasons ago when we needed players with Champion's League experience, but let's it face it, the guy is past it now. He's lost about 90% of the pace he ever had, and based on Inter's third goal last night, he's not even in full control of his own legs anymore. The much-maligned 'high-line' has worked well with Vertonghen, Dawson, and Lloris playing the 'sweeper keeper' role, but trying to stick with that when you've got Gallas and Friedel in there was frankly ridiculous. Gallas had no idea where on the pitch he was meant to be, and while Friedel is still a good keeper, you can't exactly see him racing off his line to deal with any over the top through balls (i.e. the kind that Cassano was playing perfectly all night) in the way that Lloris does so well. If he's going to rest Dawson, we still would have been better off with Caulker in there - Caulker has looked impressive at times, and at least he has the pace required to play in that sort of defensive system.
And while we're on the subject of tactics - what on earth was that 4-2-2-2 system all about?? Adebayor should have been left out in favour of Holtby, or Lennon, so at least we'd be playing our usual 4-2-3-1 system, even if it did lack the natural width that Bale and Lennon bring. I don't know if Lennon wasn't 100%, but if he was, then he certainly should have started as well, with Livermore dropping out and Dembele going back to central midfield. We have never played well with Defoe and Adebayor player together, and there was nothing to suggest that was about to change at the San Siro.
Next up, Kyle Walker. He's not a footballer! He doesn't have the remotest sense of a football brain in him. He's little more than an athlete who can kick a ball hard. His positioning is bad but it makes up for it by being VERY FAST, and his decision making is terrible. How many times this season has he tried to beat a player, lost it, then panicked and fouled the man in trying to get it back? I've lost count. And also, off the back of two reasonably nice goals last season, he seems to have got the idea in his head that he's really good at shooting now. Kyle, mate - you're not good at shooting. You're good at kicking it hard and far - that's not the same thing as being good at shooting.
Most games he has at least 2 or 3 pot shots at goal from daft range, and they'll invariable settle in the top tier of the stand. It's time AVB gave him a spell on the sidelines and gave Naughton on a chance in his proper position. Naughton has looked impressive even at left back, despite having no discernible left foot to speak of, so he deserves a run at right back. He might not be as fast as Walker, but I think he's a better footballer, which comes in handy every now and then.
Olly Cole, THFC (will be spending the day telling gooners how much I love the away goals rule...)
Dear Masters of the Mailbox. I've been reading the site pretty much since its beginnings and have seen it grow and change and Friday is always my favourite day.
Fewer Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United whingers, more humour and generally more widespread topics.
I realize the box will be full of reactions to "the draw" but I would like to mention a few other topics.
Footy on TV: Watching Newcastle on ESPN last night was fun because lsitening to Jon Champion commentating reminded me of my childhood days of David Coleman and Brian Moore. There's something in his tone of voice, charming I think best describes it.
I also loved Pardew telling Rob Lee to "cheer up, we're through to the quarter finals!"
Papiss Cissé scoring in added time for the second time in the space of a week made this little Geordie jump for joy. I am not used to this kind of thing happening.
Oh, and Steven Taylor was immense last night.
The third paragraph has to have grumble (well I am 52) and here's mine:
People signing off with either STFC or BRFC. It's bad enough when people call Manchester United "United" as if there's only one but STFC? Really? Who is that? Swindon Town or Shrewsbury Town? I don't know and it drives me nuts! BRFC??? Blackburn Rovers of course I hear you shout, but wait there's that bloke who does those rather fine League 2 reviews and he's a Bristol Rovers supporter. So come on write it out and don't even get me started on the modern crap that is CR7, TV5, or BBC2 (I made that one up)
Raymond (nearly an old man like Victor Meldrew) King RK52
A Thing About Twitter
Friday afternoon, an any other business moment. So In response to Rob Pearse and Lori Peri I must raise an issue. Must we introduce Twitter into the mailbox? I truly hate it, let me explain.
Most people have 100's of daft thoughts everyday but before Twitter they were just that, daft thoughts. Now, if you see a dog with a hat on and you think, 'look, a dog in a hat' you can tell the world in 140 characters or less. I say the world, but I imagine this is the reason people are trying to gain followers. Text your friend 'I just saw a dog in a hat, lolz' and you'll be considered somewhat a dolt, but I'm told by those debilitated by the craze that as your followers go up a 'I just saw a dog in a hat, lolz' tweet feels more and more like a presidential acceptance speech.
It's not though. It's still that original daft thought, and it should be kept to yourself, because like 99.99% of ALL tweets, it's utter utter bollox.
So, in accordance with Twitters rules, I offer you: 101 Dalmatians, The Dirty Dozen, Twelve Angry Men, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and The Avengers from Avengers Assemble (Featuring Zenit St Petersburgs Hulk, in keeping with you know, football) all of which are saying (or barking) 'Whilst we can't moderate The Twitterverse, keep that sh*t out of here, OK?'.
I hope I have made my point, and all done using only 140 characters.
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
Simple, Childish, But It Does The Job
I for one am delighted that Spurs have been drawn against FC Basel.
There was a real danger that fans would once again be sent to a hostile part of the world riven by knuckle-dragging anti-Semites.
But thankfully we avoided Chelsea.
Rob Davies, THFC
You could have emailed me back you know? B@stards... On top of that I ran out of people and ruined my own idea. Can I add Ezekiel Fryers? That's a solid 4-4-1-1.
I still Love You F365, even though you made me a victim of a self-merking
Neil, THFC, Durban
Chants That Never Did Or Never Will Happen
Its Friday so I'm taking a gamble on football chants that will never happen, but should have.
Everytime I hear "Mr Brightside" by the Killers, I exchange said title with "Norman Whiteside" The Norn Irish legend was born 20 years too early.
Secondly, when I hear the chorus of "Sit Down" by James, I exchange said title with " Oh Zidane" This may have happened if Zinedine had played in Britain or James were big in France.
Any other near misses out there mailboxers?