One chap in the mailbox blames England's struggles on a lack of wide camera angles. Hmmm. Plus, a lot of love for the Confeds Cup and the perfect fixture list...
The endless whataboutery over the length of suspensions, the "blasts" and the "snubs", the "-gates" and the "fury". It all starts when the fixture list is announced...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeez...He's Lost One Of His First 13?
Roy Hodgson is a ticking time bomb who will further add to the depressing decline of England and has to be a favourite for the sack soon if results continue to elude him. Another short sighted FA appointment from a self-imposed short list of (poor) English managers. I am not the biggest Harry Redknapp fan, but he was the stand out figure on the short list and over-looked for a "safe bet". Well ladies and gents, the last time we went for the safe English AND NOT A DIRTY FOREIGNER bet, we suffered for the last of the "Golden Generation" under Steve McLaren - who I still maintain should be judged on his biggest game a 0-4 loss in the UEFA Cup Final when being considered for a high end job - and have things not been medicore at best so far?
A credible argument is that the England manager does not have the resources that previous managers have had. While this is true to an extent, there are a huge amount of nations who would kill for our available players and a Premier League team made up of our top 15 players would push the top four (open to debate but: Hart, Johnson, Ferdinand, Cahill, Cole, Lampard, Gerrard, Lennon, Walcott, Rooney, Welbeck, Defoe, Lescott, Carrick, Milner, Ox, Baines = top 4 team in my opinion). However have England fans not been exasperated by Roy's old school refusal to drop 442 even when his England team only turn out a decent performance in 433?!
I find it frustrating going through the FA's cycles of an expensive punt on a foreigner then a cheap punt on an Englishman after the papers cry out for them. At least with Harry Redknapp we would have had an attacking team with some positive intent. Roy seems happy to play as if we are against Barcelona each time and concede possession even to lesser teams. I personally don't care what nationality the manager is, as long as he is a proven international manager.
I believe that only fools boldly predict the results in football matches, but who would be surprised if we do not manage to top our group? And if we do not top our group it would be a huge failing of Roy as at the minimum we should be getting the results that top seeds achieve. I may have people counter that we have beaten Brazil and Spain recently, but both were in friendlies and can hardly count. What matters is at the time of writing this, our record in the qualifiers reads W2 D2 against nations who regard a draw with England as a massive achievement.
After the hurt of the last World Cup, I have all but given up on England. I cast a look at the results and catch a bit of a boring game now and again but how can you have faith in a team run by a man who excludes a decent player because his national team mate racially abused his brother! on "footballing reasons" !!! then blabs about it on the tube to Joe Bloggs... THAT in itself is grounds for the sack if you ask me!
More Remedies For International Tedium
It seems that a number of people are getting disenfranchised with football, and in particular International football. No surprises there, and nothing new you might ask. Personally I enjoy the break from domestic matches, but admit that something is missing, but what that is I'm not so sure.
Johnny Nic the old scamp has a few theories in his latest article, and I think he has something. He talks about the inevitability of results and the paucity of 'top quality' matches. I think he does have a point, but the solution I feel is to be radical, and in doing so there may still be a number of crushingly boring matches, but also the possibility of something really exciting. Basically, my idea would be to scrap seeding. In fact scrap it at every level, including FA Cup (every club starts in the same round from Man U to Lowestoft Town), League Cup (entering Premier League teams in round 1 with everyone else) and Champions League.
International qualifying could benefit from having more random groups, with the possibility of having England, Germany, Spain, France, Holland and Italy in one group. I know the flipside to this is the possibility of Malta, Andorra, San Marino etc all being in one group themselves, but isn't that a price to pay for a little more excitement.
Daniel ITFC (I'd personally enjoy the FA Cup more if Man U had to host Cambridge City in the 1st round)
...After reading Mick Canning, Cork's suggestion for two months worth of international qualifiers during the summer for major tournaments... give that man a can of coke... Brilliant!
Simon Purdue, Dublin
... I really do like the idea of having world cup and euro qualifiers in close seasons sans tournaments but how about going one step further?
In most cases world cup and euros stadia are ready a year before a tournament and have to be tried out so why not have all the qualifying groups take a stadia in the host country and stage matches there over a month over the close season? Each country could sell their rights and the matches could take place simultaneously across the stadia so the whole shebang doesn't go on for months.
Think about it - that could, depending on size of the group, be 10 England matches over a month.
A Friday Theme...
In response to Rhodesy (Luis, it was good while it lasted) 7 mail about unique goals; look no further than Mattie Burrows of Glentoran.
It was shortlisted for FIFA Goal of the Year.
Can anyone think of a word for this type of goal, seeing me have thunderb*stard for the 30 yard screamer?
...In response to Rhodesy (Luis, it was good while it lasted) 7, here's my top 3 unique goals, enjoy. My personal favourite is Guiseppe Biava, mainly because he's a centre back and has no right whatsoever to be this skilful or inventive.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjRs1aJsOEg (34 Secs)
...I remembered this one last night, it truly has to be the most unique goal ever:
- diving header (to continue with the recent mailbox theme)
- header from outside the box (this must be REALLY rare)
- lobbed the keeper (!!!)
- hit the bar and went in off keeper's back
- scored in one of the world's greatest stadiums in a Champion's Cup semi-final
Take it away Marco van Basten: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcj14kjCMbg
...Dear Rhodesy (Luis, it was good while it lasted) 7,
Darren Bent and the fking beach ball. End topic.
Roy and Rio - A Handy Guide
Roy Hodgson calls up Rio Ferdinand for World Cup 2014 Qualifiers.
Fergie expresses his anger and surprise to the press that Rio was called up and insists he isn't fit enough.
Rio suddenly remembers that he has fitness concerns alleviated by a special training regime and can't play successive games in a short period of time and pulls out of the squad.
The press attack.....Hodgson and the FA for this 'shambles'.
Perhaps it's the old Liverpool supporting anti-Man U bias kicking in but to me that looks like Fergie has been telling porkies to the press either pre-Euro 2012 or now and Rio has been doing likewise.
Hodgson, in his need for centrebacks, (and again as a Liverpool fan it pains me to defend the man) seems to have called them on it by calling Rio up and so Fergie, who freely admitted previously he doesn't want Rio playing for England, has put his foot down as he did with Scholes and Giggs with regards their international careers.
That seems quite clear to me which just leaves the question as to how the press turned this into Hodgson and the FA's fault (why did Hodgson need to sound Ferdinand out before calling him up when Rio was so publicly positive about wanting a recall?) though I guess the old Liverpool supporting anti-Man U bias tells me exactly why it is easier for the press to blame those two rather than question Fergie or Rio.
In response to Daniel Storey's article about the joys of being a reserve/3rd choice keeper - I've got a radical solution. In all purpose there is no way it'd go ahead (it's probably not even allowed under FIFA's current laws) but here it is.
Rather than every Premier league club having to have three keepers on their books, just for emergencies sake, only allow two in their squad list for the season, and instead have say 5 goalkeepers on the books of the FA for emergency loans?
Players without a club at the start of the season can apply for the position (such as the likes of Stuart Taylor or Craig Gordon), get paid a nominal wage and train at St. George's Park (there has to be some use for it when England aren't playing...) Then, when a keeper gets injured for a club, the club then have a choice of playing a youth keeper, or selecting one of these five for a one month loan. They get to choose the player, on a first come, first serve basis.
There are many advantages of this - one it saves the clubs wages of having to pay a 3rd choice keeper to sit on his backside all season and it gets the selected players a chance to prove themselves and possibly get a club deal in the next transfer window.
The only thing I can see is that it will probably go against FIFA's three clubs in a season ruling, and it might fall under the auspices of 3rd party ownership, but I could see it working on the one in a million chance that the FA would actually go ahead with it.
James "Flash" Hamilton
Frankie Just Isn't Swanky
Just read Daniel Storey's piece on the negativity around Lampard and I disagree most vehemently.
Whilst I also think Lampard is one of the game's greats, (certainly one of the best English players in 20 years), people don't warm to him because his talents seem to based on doing the 'basics' exceptionally well, a laser focus on squeezing the absolute most from his talent and bloody hard work - he doesn't have the 'flair' that we seem to associate with a great player.
One of the reasons for this is surely because we see so little of it from English players, and when we do it is so alien to us that we often haven't known what to do with it (Hoddle, Gaza, Le Tiss, ad infinitum.) This is also one of the reasons Lamps is much more appreciated abroad - they understand he is phenomenal at what he does and don't need an overhead scissor kick from 45 yards, or a 50 yard inch perfect through ball to show it.
Matt (haven't been here for a while - like what you have done with the place. This brackets things seems to have gotten a little out of hand mind...) Sandy