After a long old summer there are plenty of gloomy fans around at the close of the transfer window. Daniel Storey has a top ten to try and focus on the positives...
Real Madrid may have made bold moves of their own in recruiting James Rodriguez and Kroos, but the departure of Di Maria and Alonso has left a sour taste...
What's Up With LvG?
Any other United fans reading the gossip and half wishing Moyes was still in charge? At least Moyesey would have chopped off a bollock to sign Kroos and Fabregas. How can Van Gaal not be interested in them?
Silvio (You can slag off the English United contingent all you want, saves me a job) Dante
Swapping Suarez For Bale
If this Suarez to Real thing is going to run all summer, I for one would like Liverpool to fight back by saying that the only way this is ever going to happen is if Real agree swapsies for Gareth Bale.
I suspect Suarez will go, and fair play to him as I'd probably want to go in his position. You only really get one chance to play for a club like Madrid at the peak of your career. Having a vast transfer fee for him is only any use if it's well spent (see Spurs last summer), but if we got Bale instead we'd be swapping one megastar for another, one player who can turn a match for another and one proven Premiership player for another. They've even got a similar taste for free kicks and falling over.
If they want Suarez more than Bale then fine. If they don't, they can shut up and Suarez will know he'd be joining a club where he'd be at least third in the pecking order. Plus Bale, Sturridge, Sterling and Coutinho sounds pretty good to me.
You heard it here first.
Rob Phillips, LFC
Roy Spot On
I can't help but think Roy is spot on with his treatment of Barkley.
We need to learn the lessons of these past two decades or so. Both Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney were promoted to the first England team as very young men and Owen saw his career curtailed and Rooney, well he's not had a decent tournament for 10 years has he?
United benefitted from allowing Giggs to develop at the right pace when he was young and the return was a player who has only just retired putting in a stint that there's no way in hell Rooney will match by the time he hangs up his boots.
You only have to look to Arsenal to see what happens when you promote youngsters too early. Their highs and lows are way too pronounced so you have to play them intermittingly so as to harness the high when it's clear the player can add something to the team. Wenger appears to have learned the lesson in that while the likes of Cesc was overplayed at an early age Gnarby could well develop into quite a player developing at his own pace. I'm not saying Cesc is crap by the way - just that maybe we would have landed a few more trophies if we'd hung on to Vieira longer so Cesc could have learned from him about being a captain and a top midfielder.
We do seem to go all Jo Whiley when it comes to our young players - convinced we've found the next big thing - only to discard them as rubbish when the inevitable poor run of form comes along - think Andros Townsend. There's no doubt the class is there with Barkley but we'll probably get the most out of him through bringing him on - hopefully with Chambo in the latter stages of the competition if we get that far. He'll be a starter for England in future but we shouldn't be in such a rush.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
To Uzzi (Already dreading the Can wordplay), South Africa: What? Actually, let me rephrase. WHAT?!? Liverpool are clearly strengthening. But let's look at what's happening at the club, if you don't believe me.
First, the players in/might be in. Emre Can is young, but unproven? He's got champions league experience, and experience in racing for European places.He fills a need for us, a midfielder who can go forward AND backwards well. Moreno was wanted by Real Madrid as a replacement for Marcelo and has just won the Europa League. I agree Lallana is overpriced, but he's a capable player, has grown better with each season, and should improve further assuming even half of what Gerrard says about Rodgers' man-management ability is true. Lambert is class - consider the number of goals and assists he churns out and 4 million is a bargain for a man who will play against teams from the bottom half (teams he has consistently scored against) when the first choice are being rested for European games.
Looking at the finances, we're supposed to only have a war chest of 60 million. I think it's likely we will spend a little more than that, but not too much. So far, if the papers are right, we've spent 4 mil on Lambert, 10 mil on Can, and we're looking at 18 mil for Moreno and 25 mil for Lallana. That's 57 mil total. Assuming we get a CB as well (for about 5-10 mil) we're roughly on budget and we've added bodies about as equally talented as our current first choice players, who I think you'll agree are basically up to scratch. Liverpool didn't need to focus on massive improvement (except at CB, lack of activity there is a little worrying...) but on getting in more quality players to bolster our paper-thin first team. We can't be in European games looking at the bench after Coutinho picks up an injury saying "It'll have to be Moses". But 'depth of quality' doesn't have to mean 'massively expensive galacticos'. Indeed, it's against FSG's 'sustainable' growth model for the club to buy such players.
Finally, who exactly is available that we would (a) want and (b) could afford? Cesc, yes, but that's half(ish) the budget gone on one man who doesn't slot easily into our current set- up, assuming the preferred diamond shape stays this year. What other 'genuine superstars' are available to us to buy? None of Bayern's team are going anywhere, neither are Chelsea's superstars. City players aren't leaving and Utd don't have any players I'd want except Januzaj, who isn't an option. Same story with the Ox and Arsenal, Barclay/Baines and Everton. Barca and Real players stay til they're pushed and PSG/Russian League players are on lunatic money, so we've no chance there.
Our only option is to unearth some diamonds. What the money and Champion's League berth gives us is a chance to scrub througha better class of rough, so we're taking less of a punt on the players coming up nicely. That's it. I think Rodgers and FSG have been excellent for the club and deserve all LFC fans full support in whatever decisions they make this summer. They've earned it.
Matt (Send the Ox a Horse Placenta!) Hare, LFC
Not Begrudging Villa
Dave, Dublin - it's exactly because of the career David Villa has had that I don't begrudge him his big(ger) pay day in a smaller league, and don't find it depressing. He's won just about everything there is to win, playing an integral role for every team he's played for along the way.
Given his trophy haul and goal scoring record - he almost guarantees you 15 at least goals a season - I'm amazed he's not spoken of as highly as other world class strikers.
If anything, it's people like Heskey that you should be annoyed at - an average player with an average record (note I didn't say bad) who's landed himself a big contract for no apparent reason.
More World Cup Memories
I too have a fairly random player who was my favourite as a child. Dominique Rocheteau. I can't really explain why, I remember he had great hair (although so did lots of players at Mexico 86.........showing my age) and he had a cool name. I'm not overly sure I can even remember Rocheteau doing anything on a pitch ever but he was a hero of mine.
Looking him up now, I'm happy with that choice, he seems pretty cool, if maybe a little too right on.
...After reading the mailbox, lots of good points on various topics but I gotta say. Simon needs a hug, such a sad story.
We are there for you, that shouldn't happen to a young boy during his first real WC.
I have vague memories of the 82 World cup, I would have been 7 also, and my earliest recollections are an amazing Brazil side and Rossi scoring loads of goals!
Steve Limerick Ireland
...Is Michael Owen's, 1998 goal vs Argentina just really bloody obvious?
But let's be fair here, any England fan, any mid-twenties man (possibly going on early thirties too) remembers that like the absolute dream goal it was. Honestly, even to this day, when I watch the replay I still get tingles down my spine as my hair stands on end.
I also fondly remember South Africa when England scored and ITV cleverly forgot to show us the goal before cutting to an ad break. That was a nice touch.
However, I remember very little else from that tournament. Simply that at the end, my housemates and I had erected a floor-to-ceiling wall of empty beer cans. I guess that is the best thing about a world cup, as an England fan anyway, all the supermarkets put on super cheap booze deals.
SRB (I just watched it again... Sensational), London
...I remember getting into football within a week of Mexico '86 finishing. With no one in my family into football the world cup was not on my TV that year and I had barely heard of the sport (just turned 6 years old). Then a boy called Bruce from the year above at school gave me about 60 of his Panini swapsies for that World Cup as he had completed the album. The vacant stares, perms and mullets sat alongside the shinies started my journey into the sport. By Euro '88 I has hooked (3 defeat in 3 matches. Great) and by Italia '90 I was desperate for a World Cup to come. It saddens me slightly that I missed '86 but then I watched the BBC 'replay' on their website the other day and without the romanticism that your first world cup gives I can safely say that the quality of football was rubbish.
Jon, Southampton (Really weird seeing defenders pass it back to the keeper who then picks it up)
Swiss To Win It
Very interesting geography-football stat by Jim-Jos in this morning's mailbox. "The trophy has only ever been lifted by a country that shares a border with France or Uruguay." . Of course since Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay share a common border point, it would be equally correct to say Brazil or Argentina rather than Uruguay. In that case, the stat would still hold even if we got Colombia or Chile as new winners. On the 'French' side, the stat would still hold if we got Belgium and Switzerland as new winners.
So that's it then, Switzerland to win the World Cup!
On Blaming United
To quote the late, great Joseph Heller (Catch 22): "Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not after you."
It's funny really, the times when the England team play are supposed to be when partisan politics are put to one side, when we can all unite behind one banner and support the nation rather than our individual teams.
The reality is that fans of some clubs still just can't resist banging their club drum at every possible opportunity. A classic example of this, which still sticks in my mind, is the perfectly typical Liverpool fan response "Germany 1, Liverpool 5" after that game (case in point, it still actually appears on the official club website: http://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/latest-news/on-this-day-germany-1-5-liverpool)
No one can deny that United had an absolute turd of a season but what it comes down to is picking easy targets as scapegoats. A World Cup ball hasn't even been kicked and people are already lining up the excuses and blame.
Ok, they might not be superstars and clearly had a bad season, but I still don't exactly see any other players beating down the door to take their places. The chap who labelled United as a mid-table club clearly doesn't seem to have a problem with Foster, Shaw, Lallana and Lambert (ok, he's at Liverpool now but was Southampton when selected) being in the squad - and they all finished below United.
Is it any wonder that people get disillusioned with the national team, when this is the kind of attitude that gets bandied about pre-tournament? I have no doubt that when it all ends, regardless of what actually happens, it will be at least Rooney's fault and probably Welbeck, Smalling & Jones (even if they don't play!). Supporting the team doesn't come with an exceptions - support them all or don't bother.
Feel sorry for Rooney, Welbeck, Jones and Smalling they are already blamed for England not winning this world cup, shame they only wanted to represent their country!!
...I hope OX is ruled out and Cleverly gets called up so this site has something to talk about and bring down their own players.
48 years and counting
...(On World Cup memories) Remember the one where we blamed all United players when England didn't win...Oh wait still a few weeks to go!
Lynton (MUFC...Don't worry Rooney, Welbeck, Jones and Smalling we still love you! GGMU)