We don't think AVB will be opening his mouth even if Arsenal lose at City but there will be plenty asking questions. It's also a big weekend for a Spurs side yet to claim a scalp...
Considers Alan Partridge circa 1992 a style icon and enjoys over-vaunting the England team, English players or English teams in Europe. It's Andy Townsend...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Aaron Brackets, I'd argue the reason international tournaments are so eagerly anticipated every other summer is because the big matches against the "big" teams are so rare, they are to be cherished as seminal occasions. The same principle, but in reverse, is true for European club football, which has lost its allure and magic because of the bloated, repetitive group format of the Champions and Europa League. Less is more and familiarity breeds contempt, young man.
Richard (come on England!), London
...Aaron, sorry to sh*t on your biscuit before you dunk it in your tea but I'm afraid to tell you that the big international teams do play each other relatively frequently. If you take your example of Spain as potentially the best international team ever. In the last 5 years they have played (mostly beaten):
Scotland (stop snickering at the back) x2
Whilst admittedly there isn't a huge South American contingent there there only is the chance to mix continents once every four years, and to further emphasise your misconception Brazil V Argentina is one of the most played competitive internationals in the world. Two pretty big teams.
What you've done is you've, as so many of your compatriots tend to, mistaken England for a big international team. England don't play the big teams often because you don't often see them at the latter stages of tournaments. The media have driven you to feel entitled to this grandiose national team who stroll through continents taking PoWs as they go. Unfortunately you're a bit average and have been for 50 years.
Similarly your sisters in the North, bonnie Scotland, don't play the big teams often (apart from fecking Holland who routinely hump us) as we don't even make it to the tournaments. So you know, every cloud and all that.
Alex, we'll see how good this Belgium mob really are tonight, Ayr
On England's Failings
I actually wrote a research paper on England national team's failings in 2010. World Cup. I would like to present to you the main reason why England never lives up to the billing. The data could be a bit out of date, but i don't think anything has changed very much in 3-4 years. Here is an excerpt of the paragraph, that I consider to be the most important, in understanding England's failings:
"There is a huge developmental window of opportunity from the ages of 2-12 during which time 95% of a brain's movement patterns will have been imprinted. Therefore, it is obvious that this is the key age for developing a world class athlete. Unfortunately the responsibility for coaching at this most critical stage falls upon the least qualified of coaches, those at grassroots clubs. There are very few coaches at the grassroots level in England who have earned a Level 2 Certificate in Coaching, majority of the grassroots level coaches are unqualified parents. This can be explained by the fact that there is a shortage of qualified coaches in England. According to UEFA, there are only 2769 English coaches holding Uefa's B, A and Pro badges, its top qualifications. In comparison, Spain has produced 23995, Italy 29420, Germany 34970 and France 17588. Without expert coaching, millions of players are passing through their developmental window without being shown how to properly pass, receive, dribble or strike a football.
The second aspect in youth training that England is lacking is the practice time. Between the ages of 8-14 youth academies in England average 2-4 hours of training during a week.At the same time in Germany, Bayer Leverkusen has training sessions 18 hours a week. In Netherlands, Amsterdam Ajax has training sessions every day. The key of creating world class athletes is the practice and as much of it as possible."
Not A Recent Problem
Reading the article yesterday about the amount of English players playing in the Premier League (and the fact that English players have nearly always failed internationally regardless of this issue), one thing in particular struck me and that was the fact that during the 70s and early 80s England failed to qualify for tournaments, because this was also the period in which English club sides completely dominated Europe, in a way that no nation had done before or since.
European Cup winners:
1977 - Liverpool
1978 - Liverpool
1979 - Nottingham Forest (!)
1980 - Nottingham Forest (!!)
1981 - Liverpool
1982 - Aston Villa
1984 - Liverpool
And this was before English teams were filled with foreign players. These sides were made up of mostly English players (with the rest being Scottish, Welsh and Irish) and with English coaches as well. I think Bruce Grobbelaar in '84 is the only instance of a foreign player. And (while I may be wrong here as it was before my time) I believe those teams also had a reputation for attractive, progressive football (Liverpool's Pass and Move, Brian Clough for Forest, etc). How could English players be so dominant for their clubs, but so useless for their country? I guess maybe that problem isn't a recent one then.
The Irish Problem
I have been reading alot about foreigners damaging the English national team, but I just wanted to give a little perspective here.
Ireland are going into tonights must win game v Sweden tonight with a team of
Seamus Coleman, Richard Dunne, John O'Shea, Marc Wilson;
Jon Walters, James McCarthy, Glenn Whelan, James McClean;
Robbie Keane (Capt), Shane Long.
Or to put that another way
Everton, QPR, Sunderland, Stoke;
Stoke, Everton, Stoke, Wigan;
LA Galaxy (capt), West Brom
England fans - you don't know you're born!
Consider our team when we were knocked out on penalties in 2002 (the last time we qualified for the WC), had all Premier League players (we even sent home Roy Keane!) and you can see the decline from the team today (3 Championship starters, 1 MLS starter).
You will notice that we have 3 Stoke "footballers" in our starting 11 tonight, so if you tune in you can expect neat passing triangles, midfielders getting ahead of the front man, and a fluid front line.
I understand that Irish players are also "foreign" in the Premier League, but Irish players have traditionally/historically played in England (as have Scots/Welsh/Norn Iron players),
but it is sad to see that none of these players are getting a look in at the top teams.
Qualifying for Euro 2012 was a minor miracle. Trapattoni deserves credit for that. And the talent pool is limited. But our style of play is dreadful and should we pull of qualifcation for Brazil 2014, expect more of the same served up as our performance in Polkraine.
Baines Learned From The Mistakes Of Others
Baines, Baines, good for the heart...
Players often get derided after excelling at a small/medium club then moving to a big club, sitting on the bench and seeing their careers stall. See Scott Parker, Scott Sinclair, SWP. I recall reading an article about this very point on F365.
Baines is now being derided by Matt Stanger for excelling at a small/medium club and showing apathy by not joining a big club.
Matt then points out that Baines has not learned from his mistakes of missing the last club. Perhaps, it's the opposite: he has learned from his and so many other players mistakes.
By going to Man U, Baines has a great opportunity to succeed. But, it is probable that he will sit on the bench waiting for Evra to get injured and get outings in the league cup. Not playing week in week out and excelling could heavily jeapordise Baines' chances of going to the World Cup 2014. Staying at Everton means the opposite - Baines will get to play week in week out and, barring him suddenly forgetting to play football or his left foot falling off, will go to the World Cup 2014 and might even be able to push Ashley Cole out the team (though unlikely).
Ismail Laher [Baines, Baines, he's been smart]
...Matt Stanger's simplistic view of Leighton Baines and his apparent lack of ambition seemed like nothing more than a desperate attempt for 'clicks'.
Whilst reluctant to sell, Everton will certainly have had an acceptable price in mind for Baines. Man United failed to meet this price and therefore, talks between Baines and United never initiated. The reason praise is being piled on Leighton Baines is because he acted like a professional and did not force Everton to accept a 'derisory' offer. The way Man United handled whole affair showed a lack of respect to Baines and Everton.
Aside from the fact that Man United did not make an acceptable offer, in order to initiate discussions with Baines, there are other reasons he could have decided to stay:
- Family already comfortable in the area
- Happy with current setup and player bonds within the team
- Happy with new system under Martinez and ambitious about what he might achieve
- In a World Cup year, why move and fight with Evra for a place in the starting XI, when it is guaranteed at Everton.
- On his way to creating a legacy of being Everton's greatest ever left back
If, as expected, Stanger was using this piece as an exercise in provoking an avalanche of ripostes from Everton fans, then he may have succeeded.
Peter Scott, Derry
In Shappo's letter he mentions Theo Walcott in amongst his list of young English players who were "spending their key development years warming the bench at these clubs". Really? This would be 24 year old Theo whos played 184 games for Arsenal? In 2008 he made 41 appearances at the age of 19... if thats warming the bench it must've been glued to him as he ran around the pitch!
There seems to be a vogue in saying he's not progressed as he should have (which is also rubbish) but to say he's not had a chance is clearly just bollocks.
To Thom, Newport - Our left back slot would be filled for the next 6 years if we signed Baines? Leighton Baines according to the very reliable source that is Wikipedia is 28 (29 on the 11th of December).
You think he would be still be a world class left back at 34 years old? (He's no Zanetti).
Why not just spend 20 million on Luke Shaw & have our left back position sorted for the next 35 years....
Ciarán ( I can still play for 11 years....I might still make it) Dorney, Dublin
Spurs! Arsenal! Numbers!
Seeking solace from the defeat at the Emirates last Sunday, I spent some time considering whether Spurs have benefitted from being owned by ENIC, and I think they, I guess primarily Daniel Levy, are entitled to a lot of credit. Pre Premier League there was the big five, Man Utd, Liverpool, Everton, Arsenal & Spurs, and from '87 to the turn of the century, Spurs largely managed to contrive to lose their entitlement to membership of this group, and Everton similarly slipped and more recently Liverpool. Realistically there is now a big three, Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea.
Using the dreaded Net Spend I calculated Spurs under ENIC have invested £123m in transfers between 01/02 and the end of the recent window, and between the same time and 09/10 wages were £489m (I couldn't find more recent figures). Added together this gives a total of £612m and for that, apart from a typically Spurs style roller coaster ride, we have a League Cup and 1 go in the Champions League. So how do we quantify our progress? In the first four full seasons of ENIC ownership we finished a total of 153 points behind Arsenal with an average placing of 10th, over the last four seasons the combined total has been 13 points behind them, and an average placing 4th. Despite the panicky two seasons that Ramos was aboard, the footballing decisions seem to have paid off with an incremental improvement. The transfer policy has worked, with investment generating further finance, Berbatov, Modric & Bale being the best examples, and the good buys have outweighed the bad generally.
Using the same sources, Arsenal spent £43m on transfers but £869m on wages, giving a total of £912m (about 50% more) and for that they had a much more measured 2 titles, 3 FA Cups and a regular run in the CL, including a Final. I would suggest that the regular CL income has more than covered the additional spend by Arsenal identified above. Had Arsene Wenger opted for a more adventurous transfer policy, slightly less wages and slightly more on purchases, maybe Arsenal could've made it harder for the big three, by retaining some of the trophy hunters who left to win silverware. If he has truly been restricted by the board, then they have under performed ENIC.
My conclusion is that we have definitely closed on Arsenal, and they have been blocked from pulling away by funding a new stadium, and perhaps a little lack of adventure in the transfer market by AW. If we manage to sustain this new level whilst building a new stadium, then the future will be increasingly exciting. I am sure even Arsenal fans prefer to play a Spurs team that are actually a threat, and in fairness to Daniel Levy he has restored that to Spurs.
Jim French (Spurs since '59) Herts
I have to admit, I love Kev The Clarke's e-mail.
I believe his point was:
"I love how F365 pokes fun at X, Y and Z; but you are not allowed to poke fun at my club!"
Ally T (Is it coz I iz Manc?) LFC
...What I love about this site and I'm sure many others agree, is that it's universally offensive. Like watching Family Guy, there is fun to be had at everyones expense. Now that United are finally on the receiving end of a few cheeky headlines, their fans are getting their panties in an almighty twist. I mean, the backlash has been crazy to the point where people are having serious meltdowns. I just read a piece of mail that around 50% was in capitals. Get some fresh air, slap yourselves if needs be but either way; get a grip. For so long the likes of Arsenal (injuries, feeder club, tight Wenger), Chelsea (Torres, 3 managers per season), Citeh (Mancini's scarf, Balotelli, Tevez), Spurs (Harry Redknapp, David Bentley, Harry Redknapp) and Liverpool (bloody hell where to begin), have had to put up with constant ribbing and United have sat on an almost untouchable pedestal. Now that Fergie isn't minding the fence and the floodgates are open, you are gonna be getting it from all angles like the rest of us. Don't resist, it will only hurt more.
Ricky (I thought Mancs had a sense of humour), London
Can you forward this link onto Brian Sheehy please.
He'll really appreciate it.
Lee Liquorish (not only fashionable but also functional)
I'm not sure why I've suddenly remembered this, but last night I had a dream that Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory had killed Patrice Evra and buried him under my patio.
I don't even have a patio. Or like the show. Or support Manchester United.
Should I blame the international break?