Monday brings the big one with Arsenal under pressure to tell a different story than the one everybody expects. But first, can Liverpool win and go top when nothing less is acceptable?
The mailbox reminds Liverpool fans they haven't won anything yet, while the crisis at Spurs continues to hog our inbox. At least there are no more jokes about a wet night at Stoke...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let's All Love Each Other!
Is it just me or was the hate machine working overtime in the mailbox this morning? That's fine, football's a passionate game and long may it be so. I have to say though, I found Daniel Benvenuto's mail particularly venomous and wrong on so many levels. To call referees 'no-marks' and 'plebs' shows a lack of understanding of the game that is as complete as his ignorance and lack of respect for other human beings. Is he Massadio Haidara's mum in disguise?
Have not won their league for the first time since the 2003 season. The last time they failed to win their league, the men's team went on to win the title.
There you have it, they might as well hand the title over now.
Patrick Dalton, AFC.
Ban This Filth
I'm going to start by saying I really like the mailbox. I admire all the contributors. You're all great people - but there are 3 things we have to stop.
1.) "You've got your Rooneys, your Gerrards, your Lampards" - we don't. We have 1 of each of those people.
2.) "The likes of a [insert top top footballer here]" - again. It's just one player. I don't care what the likes of a Van Persie can do when he gets the ball, just what Robin Van Persie can do.
3.) The Joe Kinnears "of this world" €- I know Voyager 1 has done some absolutely fantastic work leaving this solar system but really, I don't think he has discovered a Joe Kinnear operating in a separate universe - maybe leading the Tiotes, the Cabayes, the Cisses to the league title.
Please can we stop this - I know that most of us are highly impressionable young men, and we're mainly copying what your Nevilles, your Carraghers, your Shearers are saying on TV, but really. We're better than this.
Thanks for your time,
Matthew, London, (you wouldn't go into work and hand your expenses into the likes of a Dave from finance now would you)
Last week I asked where the hell Federico Macheda was and in the space of a few days he surfaces at Doncaster and joins them on loan.
Seeing as I have discovered this strange mystical power that I evidently have............Where the hell is Jimmy Hoffa? Seriously where is he?
What's A Goal-Scoring Opportunity?
I was expecting this point to be made in the morning mailbox, yet it did not appear. So please, allow me.
The linguistic ambiguity of the term "clear goalscoring opportunity" has been highlighted many times previously. Had Ronaldo been tackled before launching his 45-yarder into the top corner against Porto then obviously the referee does not send the player off, as no-one in their right mind would expect him to score from there.
It's difficult sometimes for a referee to judge if the opportunity is clear cut enough to warrant a sending off. Rarely does the referee get 100% justification for a red-card in this instance. For example, I would classify a referee's decision not to send off a player for stopping Theo Walcott going one-on-one with the keeper as allowable. He's likely to miss. At the weekend, Jozy Altidore actually fucking scored. He scored, and the player tackling him was penalised, but wasn't sent off. Even though the player scored. That, by definition, is denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity. It can't be any clearer.
There is the 100% justification that is desired, and the referee somehow managed to compound a disastrous decision by a complete dereliction of duty. That is a sackable offence, and I can't believe more hasn't been made of this.
James (Procrastinating since later on), Belfast
So being brilliant somehow excuses diving does it?
Just how does the FA police this I wonder?
Perhaps each club needs to appoint an officer to measure how crap players are and any player who is below the average like Young will be told in no uncertain terms that they're not allowed to dive.
Then players of Ozil's, Rooney's and Eto's ability will be told they can dance into the box and fall over as much as they like. You could even replace goal of the month with dive of the month.
Graham Simons, Gooner (as is and always will be Muamba no matter what that lot up the road says), Norf London
On The Y-Word
Just wanted to give my 2 cents worth on the whole y-word debate from the perspective of a gay (and also Spurs) fan. Last season there was a bit of coverage on how much homophobic abuse Brighton fans get on a weekly basis. In light of that, and also the pretty weak attempts to stamp out homophobia in English football, would I be happy if brighton fans started calling themselves 'poof army' or something similar? Yes of course I would, no better way to make the dinosaurs look like idiots. More to the point, the idea of people getting criminal records for showing this kind of support is bordering on the Orwellian.
The other thing is, if it was so uniformly offensive to use the y-word (yes of course I appreciate it is to some) then would the Jewish spurs chairman not have put a stop to it a long time before Peter Herbert stuck his unwanted oar in?
AH, Norf London
Re Simon McEvoy and his request that Martinez respect David Moyes' work at Everton.
He does. That you chose to read something into Martinez saying hes changing our style of play (he is) is your problem, not his. The media's obsession with Everton 'punching above their weight' is also not that fault of the club or its current manager, but rather Moyes and his constant bemoaning of resources - something Martinez has yet to feel the need to complain about.
Of course, I could simply say that Moyes should respect Martinez more, not tell him "he'll learn how Everton work" before paying £4m over the odds for Fellaini, not mention Baines in an interview last week when he "doesn't talk about other teams' players" and try to unsettle his players by saying he would have "found it very difficult to keep them if Sir Alex had bid for them".
We haven't been conceding 'far too many chances' prior to Saturday, Steven Naismith was never 'fantastic' under Moyes and Chelsea had 20+ shots, not sitters.
Other than that, spot on Simon.
England, My England
Didn't think that much of John Nic's article - it's a bit pretentious. "I'm not saying I'm better than you, but..."
See, I choose to focus on UK football, while enjoying watching the odd European game. I prefer Champions League and Europa matches that have British teams in them too. This is mainly as I like to know what is going on in the games I watch, because that helps me to identify with what I am watching. I don't have time to keep abreast of all the football in the world, so choose a domestic focus. Is that tribal and thick of me? Sorry if so.
I don't really look upon those who choose to watch all sorts of footy from all over the planet as a 'hipster' or a cultural snob either. If I don't fancy a domestic game that is on TV, I do something else with my time; like watching something that isn't football, or even painting / playing or listening to music / going out and getting shit-faced with my mates. I haven't got the spare cash to willingly subscribe to all the different services you would have to, to be able to watch the sport so widely either. How tribally thick of me!
Indeed, I would never use the terms 'hipster' or cultural snob to describe any football fan, per se. Perhaps someone who pretends to enjoy obscure forms of art and entertainment, whilst eschewing more mainstream or locally popular forms, purely because they are an aspiring hipster snob, would worthy of the term. Or perhaps someone who assumes that those who don't do as they do are thick, tribal throwbacks.
I pretty much just see people like John as someone who has more spare time than I do to enjoy watching geographically obscure football. I'd not have called him pretentious, as I now am, until he declared 'his side of the fence' views.
Rather than assigning thickie, tribal status to those of use who chose a different set of interests, I would define breadth of interest based on, well, breadth of interests; rather than how many football leagues we can watch matches from in any given weekend.
No mention of celebrity referees can ever pass without reference to the one and only Jeff Winter. In his autobiography Who's The Bastard In the Black (No Jeff, it's w*nker, they were signing who's the w*nker in the black for all those years), our hero recounts deliberately playing a bit of extra time at Anfield in his final match before retirement, waiting until the ball was at the Kop End before blowing the final whistle.
Take it away, Jeff: "The fans behind the goal burst into spontaneous applause. It was longer and louder than normal, even for a home win," Winter wrote. "Did they know it was my final visit? Was it applause for me? They are such knowledgeable football people it would not surprise me."
Richard, NCFC, London
In Defence Of Refs
Oooooooh, Daniel Benvenuto, put the handbag down! Disgusted & Horrified? Jesus wept, there's a lot more going on in the world to be disgusted & horrified at. It's just a book by a professional within the wonderful world of football.
One of the massive points ol' Danny boy is missing out on is that without Mr. Halsey and his boys, there would be no football...none, diddly squat, nada. From the first kick of association football all those years ago, there are only a few things that have been a constant within the game, the players, the supporters, a round ball, goal posts and a ref. The ref is as much as a vital cog to the game as anything else.
He didn't get the massive wages of the lads he was trying to control, he didn't get the girls, the flash cars and trips to swanky restaurants. He probably got into reffing because he enjoyed that game, but maybe wasn't quite good enough to make it as a pro/semi-pro/decent pub player.
Anyhoo, it will be an interesting insight into the world we all watch from the outside. We only know what's going on behind the scenes because of players & managers autobio's. Be a chance to see an unbiased view of the game. The best football autobiography I've read, not a players nor a managers.....It was by the Spurs kit-man.
In short, ref's are not "no-marks", they are just as important as the players. His opinion and stories of the game are just as valid.
Martyn (and I got booked at the weekend) P, THFC
Dear Daniel Benvenuto,
I have bought Mark Halsey's autobiography, just because it will annoy you.
Go and take a long long look in the mirror, and hang your head with shame at the lack of respect you have just shown our officials. Without them, and their flaws, then the game could not be played, I enjoy actually having a referees view in the pundit box too. As Ref365 says, if you understand why the decision was made, even if incorrect, then it is a lot easier to accept. This is before we get to what Mark Halsey has been through as a person, a human being, which you don't seem to think him worthy of being.
If there are no-marks within our game, then it is people like you who spout crap like this.
Gary Clarke, Chelsea fan, London.
Vis a vis Daniel Benvenuto in this morning's mailbox - Danny old chum, it might be worth maybe knowing a little bit about Mark Halsey before deeming his story a 'pile of gash'. It may be, but given the misfortune that he and his wife have been through over the last few years, it may equally be an interesting read (in the sense in which footballing autobiographies ever are).
Wow...Daniel Benvenuto's tirade at Halsey and referee's in general shows signs of repressed anger. Was he maligned by a referee's decision in school football? Until you have actually tried being a referee, you should shut it. It's far more challenging than many people realise. I'm in my third season as a referee at a much lower level within the game, without all of the pressures that come in a premiership fixture, but I can assure you that it certainly does require some skill. Whether you like it or not, the referee is part of the main event - so much of the laws of the game refer to "in the opinion of the referee". Too many people imagine that football is governed by a series of binary laws...yet there are many shades of grey and it is the referee's job to interpret these. I personally wouldn't want to write a book, but I defend Halsey's right to do so.
I reffed a game this weeked and can assure you that I was a hell of a lot better at my job than the players were!
"Now the way McManaman acted after Halsey said yes to that question he should of been sacked on the spot. He threw his arms in the air, shook his head and then turned his back on Halsey. How f***ing unprofessional is that?"
Now I haven't paid for BT Sport this season and, to be honest, try to pay no attention to pundits whether it be pre-match, during the match, or post-match. But in answer to your question above, (plucked from your quite frankly amazingly hilarious diatribe against McManaman), I would say that it is almost as unprofessional as a Premier League referee sharing text messages with a (then acting, now retired) Premier League manager. I'll leave you to work out the referee and team/manager involved...
I could be wrong but I was under the impression City are still playing part of Adebayor's wages.
If he is loaned out to QPR and they don't pay all of his wages the guy could be paid by three different clubs.
Is this some sort of record?
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
F365 has not traditionally been a place for warm words about Match of The Day, so I'm surprised nobody in this morning's Mailbox picked up on Gary Lineker's latest exhibition of smug insularity. After an interview with Manuel Pellegrini in which the Man City manager remarked that Stoke away is always a difficult game, our Gary was full of boyish giggles, wondering out loud how the silly foreign person can possibly know. Maybe, Gary, he has a slightly broader conception of football than you and actually watches games outside his home country.
When are the BBC going to change that programme?
Further to your comments on Martin Samuel in Mediawatch on 16 September, particularly his view that only the Spanish can produce technically sophisticated chants from the terrace, I seem to recall that when Eric Cantona was suspended following the kung-fu kick, the chant 'ou est Cantona?' was often heard from the opposition fans whenever they played Man Utd.
Not sure whether Martin Samuel considers abuse in a foreign language technically sophisticated, but I thought it was pretty good at the time.
Neil (taking the p*ss out of the Daily Mail is like shooting fish in a barrel) Morris, LFC
A Renewable Source Of Energy
Some sciencey types seem to believe that the amount of methane produced by a single cow in a single day could power a house for a week. I may have this wrong, but it's something like that, basically, cows produce a lot of methane and methane can be converted to fuel. If you harnessed the anger from people reacting to pieces by Andi Thomas (such as Steve, the Manchester United fan in the morning mailbox), you could probably power the F365 offices for a month.
Ed Quoth the Raven (I may be wrong, but I thought Andi was a Man Utd fan, making Steve look all the less intelligent), CPFC the Glaziers, Notts