Prioritising The Mailbox Over Your Newborn

That's what one chap in the morning mailbox has done, which we commend as a sterling effort. Plus, more thoughts on David Moyes' wonderful reign at Man United...

Last Updated: 28/02/14 at 09:40

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Debate Settled
I'm fairly neutral here, and for me this is no contest - Cantona every time. Three main reasons.

Bergkamp just didn't score enough goals. He scored great goals, but not enough. He had great touch, vision and composure, but so did Cantona. Cantona also scored goals. About 1 in 2 for Man U. Bergkamps goals per game ratio for Arsenal is about the same as Heskey for Liverpool.

So, that's facts dealt with. Cantona had this...presence on the pitch which very players have. Hard to define, but he carried himself with a joyful arrogance which always made you believe he was about to do something magical. Ronaldo has this, Zlatan has it but I can't think of too many more.

When they retired, Bergkamp went back to the safety of Ajax to safely do sensible work as assistant manager. Cantona gave some wonderfully bizarre quotes to the media and became an actor.

Apologies to the rest of the mailbox, we all like a good debate, but I am definitely right about this which will render all other responses irrelevant.
Jeremy (Aaron Lennon or Franz Carr instead?) Aves

...Is Cantona a better player than Bergkamp? No, Denis was wonderful for Arse for many years and made his mark on the World stage with his astonishing goal against Argentina (although he was a very well-known player before that, and had scored a goal remarkably similar though not as good against Leicester the season previous) but was Cantona as important for a United fan?

Immeasurably so. There is no player who has had an effect on a team like Eric had on us, and no player who has won a title more single-handedly (although Schmeichal played a big part) than Eric did in 95/96. I have a tattoo for Le Grand Master and I don't think younger United fans understand how big a deal he was for us.

However, I think Denis (named after my Dad's favourite player- Law) scored lovely goals. But never as good as Eric's v Sunderland (or against Arsenal for that matter).

Is this where I say 'Moyes out'?
Alex (i've no idea where to put these, I'm writing this on a phone older than most of the people who'll reply to this message) Manchester

Here's my Man United Football Band starting 11. Hopefully this will cheer up my fellow Man United fans in a time of need. I'll work on my Ireland 11 next week.

(Manager) Fergie

(GK)Peter SchMichael Bolton
(LB)Linkin Park Ji Sung
(CB)FranzRio Ferdinand
(RB)Fabio and Grooverider
(CM)CarRick Rubin
(CM)Laurie Anderson
(RW) David Beck ham
(CF)Mark Robyn (s)
(CF)Andy Cole Porter

I know it's a sin playing Kagawa on the wing, but atleast I have the excuse of trying to fit him into a starting 11 consisting of players whos names I can mix with popular bands/musicians. Whats your f**king excuse Moyes?

I was supposed to leave work an hour ago to see my newborn, but I couldn't leave until I had a starting 11. I just couldn't.
Brian Sheehy

More Kagawa Thoughts
Furthering on the mail about Moyes and Kagawa thoughts.

Look up Moyes interview with Keown during his Everton days. Credit to him in that he does impress with his professionalism and dedication to scouting, but this interview also does shed some light on his tactical thoughts, in which he mentioned 'i like the unpredictable, a clever-flick on or a diving header and sometimes football now is a bit sterile with too many passes going nowhere', in reference to playing more direct football. And when it comes to being direct, nothing shouts more direct than having two strikers in the box, two wingers putting in incessant crosses and two midfielders sitting deep, protecting the back four. This is definitely a logical setup if you are wired to think like Moyes.

And onto Kagawa - who plays really intelligently, finding space, creating overloading situations, pulling defenders out of position, the thing that really hits Moyes raw nerve must be the fact that Kagawa rarely crosses. And that in Moyes book, is simply 'not creating enough'. With that in mind, it's not difficult why to see why Moyes chooses to play Young and Valencia instead; players who perform the only one task (crossing) that is required of them rather than any other skill-set that he may not see the value in.

From the video that was posted about Kagawa yesterday, it's also clear that this mentality has already permeated through to the rest of the squad. Always looking to play just one or two passes to get it into the final third. This directness across the whole team is quickly draining not just RVP or Kagawa, but in fact, the entire team. Put it this way, can you think of a United player who would prefer to have a long ball hit to him, than a short pass to his feet? Vidic maybe.

And finally, will Mata suffer the same fate as Kagawa? I doubt so. While both players in my opinion deliver similar quality of play, Mata reputation as a big name player will mean that United players will still look to Mata as the go-to guy. United players respect Mata enough to trust him with the ball when he calls it, and this is something that Kagawa is lacking at the moment. It's a truly sad state at OT now that Moyes is building his entire attack around Young, Valencia. Smalling and Evra rather than Mata, Kagawa and RVP, and this frankly just looks f**ked up.

Gabriel, MUFC (And how Kagawa injected so much more fluency when he had the rare ball against Olmypiakos), Singapore.

...Further to Jonny Davison's thoughts, one thing that really annoys me about Man United's current gameplan not suiting some of their better players is that the gameplan does not suit anyone at the club. If your gameplan is to cross the ball into the area 100 times a game then shouldn't you buy players who are tall and/or can head the ball like Andy Carroll and Peter Crouch (or rather Ronaldo - fat chance!) as Man U do not have any forward players who are proficient with their head.

By the way, I am a United fan so there is no way I would want them to buy players to suit this one-dimensional easy to defend against strategy.

Fourth place is well gone for unless Liverpool have a total meltdown and we gain almost maximum points from here on in so should be an opportunity for Mr Moyes to try some new tactics. Please give Mata, Kagawa & co a game and try playing the ball on the floor - our forward players are good with the ball at their feet and I'll completely throw away my credibility by stating I think Cleverley may even be able to contribute in this style of play.

I would have much more faith in Moyes if he tried a new plan or two as this one isn't working.
Jon, Pommie in Johannesburg

Should United Go For AVB?
To Russ from yesterday morning's mailbox, the last time a team in immense need of turning around their form temporarily hired a cult figure among the fans who had a cushy job as a pundit to guide them to the end of the season, Alan Shearer got Newcastle relegated. So I'd be wary of Gary Neville. Although we seem to be safe for this season, and he can't be any worse than Dinosaur Moyes.

I propose an alternative. How about AVB? United are clearing away the seniors so that takes care of the Chelsea situation. We also seem to have a couple or more of intelligent players (Kagawa, Van Persie, Mata, Carrick) so there is no need of a complete overhaul and a disjointed squad a-la Spurs. Moreover, Juan Mata loves him, so that's always a good thing. In any case, he can't be any worse than Dinosaur Moyes.

One last word on the Cantona/Bergkamp debate. I think Bergkamp was the better player, but Cantona had the bigger impact on United and the league in general. His impact can be measured by his return match against Liverpool after that incident. He was mercurial. His mere presence oozed desire and in my opinion he was the player that closest represented Fergie on the field. Oh, and Zola does not enter this discussion, with all due respect.
AB MUFC (I have the Kagawa vs Olympiacos video on repeat. Thanks for ruining my weekend) Atlanta, Stateside

Which Do You Prefer?
*One of the best strikers in Europe on his day
*Capable of strikes with power and the most incredible control
*Charges down every single ball all over the pitch, sometimes
*Can run himself into the ground with pointless efforts to get involved where he shouldn't be
*Has games and sometimes even months where they look like they've never kicked a ball before
*Falls out with managers
*Seems to always be looking for a big contract
*Ladies and gentlemen, would you rather have Wayne Rooney or Emmanuel Adebayor?
Will Donovan, North London, THFC

Liverpool Fan Loving Life
It's ridiculous to suggesting that a disproportionate number of Liverpool fans are taking delight in this. Firstly, you're Manchester flippin' United. Secondly, there's no team in football whose fans know how you feel more than Liverpool. 20 years we've endured your put-downs, made all the more unpalatable by your success.

Someone mentioned Souness as being comparable to Moyes. I really hope the parallels don't end there. I can honestly say that however long it lasts, it will not stop bringing me immense joy. If United were somehow fall down the leagues and end up going into administration, my main regret would be that there would be nothing new to laugh at them about. It would make for an epic mailbox though...
Joel Bradley, Japan

Tony Pulis at half time yesterday: "I don't think they've tested them on crosses enough. Adebayor and Soldado are both excellent in the air, so I would be bringing Lennon on and have him and Townsend try and get round the back of them and get some crosses in."

Yes, we know you would do that - you're Tony Pulis. You didn't really have to say, we would have assumed that. Presumably that would have meant taking Christian Eriksen, the best player on the pitch, off? I had just started to begrudgingly accept that Pulis is a pretty good manager, but I think he made it clear he should never get a job in the upper echelons of football. For a case study in how 'sticking it in the mixer' goes at big clubs, see Moyes, Manchester.

One more thing - I love Ledley King, of course, but he's no pundit. He's an intelligent guy and knows his football but he seems to struggle putting his thoughts into words. Might be time for ITV to end that little experiment.
Olly Cole, THFC (feeling smug after my unpublished email yesterday on how Eriksen had to be the first name on the teamsheet)

England Omissions
With the England squad announced, it's made me wonder about some of the players left out of the squad. Adam Johnson and Andy Carroll are the obvious choices, but it surprises me that nobody has given so much as a fleeting mention to Swansea's English contingent.

Leon Britton - if we can find a place for Tom "I offer nothing of value" Cleverley, why can't we find a place for one of the best ball-keepers in the Premier League, the man with a pass completion rate of 92.2% over the last 3 seasons? That's better than Iniesta, Fabregas or Busquets, and only 1.1% lower than Xavi, the universally acclaimed pass master. (Numbers courtesy of We all know that a World Cup involves minimising effort while maximising output because you play several games in a short timeframe, so why not pick people who know how to make that look easy?

Wayne Routledge - He's fast, he's two-footed, he's tricksy as a bag of weasels and completely unafraid to run at opposition defenders. Maybe his end product is a little lacking, but surely he's better than Andros Townsend, the very definition of 'no end product'.

Nathan Dyer - possibly the world's fastest Chris Rock lookalike. What more can you ask for? Here's what: he is smart, consistent, fearless and a good crosser, and on top of that he scores goals, with an average of 1 goal per 5 games over the last 3 seasons, with better than 1 in 4 so far this season.

Jonjo Shelvey - I'm sure there's a case to be made here, but I'm not going to make it. I think he's an utter twunt. Keep your stupid glasses celebration out of my World Cup.

So there you have it. Swansea for England!
Harry, THFC. (Proud to be Welsh; does it show?)

More Band Names
The recent band/footballer name letters saved us from a dull Thursday afternoon, so we wanted to contribute the following Team:

Tim Krul and the Gang

David Dunns & Danny Roses
Bad Kompany
Black Rebel Mertesacker Club (Captain)

Tom Huddlestone Roses
System of a Stuart Downing
Leroy Fer Factory
Nicky Butt-hole Surfers
Dinosaur Junior Holliet

Wilfred Bony M
Shane Long Pigs

Manager Arsene Wenger Boys

Emerson, Lake and Carlton Palmer
Danny Blind 182
The Rolling Steve Stones
Bio Eden Hazard
Kevin Nolan Sisters

We couldn't quite make it a full metal/alternative team...
Paul, Russell, Lewis and Mike

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Are Pre-Season Tours Really A Problem?

Are pre-season tours really a problem? Liverpool went to Australia last summer and it didn't prevent them from having a good season. Plus, thoughts on LvG and keepers...

It Isn't Easy Supporting Spurs, You Know

We have a long mail about the travails of supporting Spurs, plus Friday thoughts on Marko Marin, marketing, victory v beauty, travelling and vanishing sprays...

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