...what happened to the fourth Champions League place the last time an English team won the thing. Plus, who would want to pay £60 to watch the current England team?
A Sunderland fan in the mailbox is surprised by Jack Colback's call up to the England squad. Plus, thoughts on Welbeck and Liverpool's Champions League draw...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Restrictions Won't Help
Considering all the debate regarding the number of foreign players in the Premier League, I thought of an interesting comparison that can be drawn in Economics; specifically regarding protectionist trade measures.
Some countries have tried to implement these protectionist measures either by raising entry barriers to foreign companies and also subsidising their local businesses. The point of these measures are to 'build-up' their domestic businesses so that eventually, once the international trade barriers are dropped, the companies will be able to compete on a world wide scale.
However, what typically happens is the opposite. Due to lack of domestic competition, firms become less competitive and less efficient. Meaning that even when the barriers are dropped that are still massively disadvantaged compared to the fiercely competitive multinationals.
The point being that competition should be embraced as it drives innovation and improves performance. So rather than shunning foreign players, we should embrace them as they allow our home-grown talent to learn from them. This should also lead to only the most talented English youngsters developing as they relish the challenge of competing with the best, which should only benefit England. Incompetence breeds incompetence, so English players playing with each other in a limited talent pool will only increase the pool of talentless players to choose from.
I guess the question is; would the FA prefer to be able to call on a small number of highly talented individuals, or a larger group of mediocre talent?
Probably not the only mail you'll get about this, but I am amused to note that a fallacy is defined as being "a deceptive, misleading or false notion or belief; a misleading or unsound argument; or any of various types of erroneous reasoning that render arguments logically unsound."
I'd say Ziggy, LFC's "Sunk Cost Fallacy" has the perfect name.
Terry Hall, Switzerland
...Something Ziggy LFC forgot to mention was that Andy Carroll actually cost Liverpool £-15m, as I remember. So with selling him for £15m, Torres for £50m and Dracula for £80m, and they've made £160m on strikers recently. Not bad.
Coming up next week - scouse gravity: why Steven Gerrard didn't actually fall over and scupper his only chance of winning the league.
...Ziggy, LFC. The 'Sunk Cost Fallacy' is defined as thus... The idea that a company or organization is more likely to continue with a project if they have already invested a lot of money , time , or effort in it, even when continuing is not the best thing to do: Economists would point out that the sunk cost fallacy is irrational , and could be described as " throwing good money after bad ".
I appreciate that this is business orientated definition, so I have attempted to transfer its principle to football. If you have bought a player for £35million, hardly use him, and sell him a year or so later for £15million you have lost £20million on him. As this is widely accepted as economics a comparative 'Footballing Sunk Cost Fallacy' would be to continue to try and somehow manipulate the numbers to show that it isn't a £20million loss when it quite clearly is.
Football fans would point out that the 'Footballing Sunk Cost Fallacy' is irrational , and could be described as " trying to forget your team made a massive cock up". Liverpool fans, you'll make money on Suarez, just accept Andy Carroll was a mistake and end this 'Scouse Math' madness.
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
Big, Bad Wesley Brown
Much as I agree with a lot of Vik M's morning email, the slur against Wes Brown was viscious. John O'Shea may well have been the platonic example of a squad player (albeit also a nutmegger of Figo, and scorer of wonderful late goals in front of the Kop), but Wes Brown was far, far more talented. But for his tendency to serious injury, he'd have spent the last decade as one of United's two first team centre-backs, and his performances when consistently fit and playing (see the 2007/8 season) were exceptional.
I see that Low trotted out the old line about Mr Foreigner's presence in the Premier League bringing the England team down. To my mind, it seems that this view is completely missing the point.
The majority of English representation at the World Cup came from the Premier League, which is billed by the Man as the biggest and most OMGest league in the world. On top of that, certain players also have European football, which also attracts a rather high level of attention.
Is it too much to believe that an England player perhaps sees the domestic and European competitions as the pinnacle of his career, rather than the World Cup? FIFA's shindig isn't paying the bills, is only on every four years and is at the end of a knackering season. At the end of the day, being in the England team is a perk of the job and there is no tangible downside to losing. Can we really be surprised if there are poor performances, if this is indeed the mind-set of players? "Ah well, never mind lads, see you at Old Trafford/Anfield/the Emirates next year." Hardly a booby prize, is it?
Contrast this with the USA. Few players have European experience (I may be wrong and I'm too lazy to check) and the World Cup genuinely is the pinnacle of their careers. Once they lose, some of the players may not be seen on the world stage until the next World Cup. Everyone is lauding them as heroes now. I realise that this is a pretty sweeping generalisation and there a number of factors such as national attitudes, media pressure, etc. which affect a team's performance. However, I strongly believe that as long as the Premier League continues to have the profile it does, the England team cannot succeed.
So I guess we have to choose: domestic success or international glory?
Where's The Fun?
This is an argument that is usually used for Premier League clubs in European competitions but was today used by Phillip Cornwall in respect to international tournaments: The idea that a side should cheer on their bitterly hated rivals in the hope of possibly receiving an easier qualification passage or group stage opponents in the future, because their success will alter the numbers a governing body will use to calculate rankings n sh*t.
I really struggle to think of a more joyless way to look at football. I think trying to work out which Premier League playmaker completes the most key passes per 90 is pretty bland, but at least that's done with the intention of giving you some thoughts the next time you watch Ozil or Mata strut their stuff. Coefficient watching really involves taking any possible reason to have an emotional attachment to anything in football - love, hatred, longing, rivalry, hope - and replacing it with maths.
"Alright mate, you going to watch that horrible lot down the road play Bayern tonight? Hope Muller and co destroy them. I want to see loads of shots of sullen, disappointed fans."
"No, I hope they win tonight and go on to achieve the success their fans long for. Maybe in 2-3 years if we actually qualify for the Champions League we'll be more likely to be put in a higher pot and face much smaller teams in the group stages"
Will, THFC (aware this was not entirely what Mr Cornwall was arguing)
I cant be the only Liverpool fan thinking this. Yes he's a total c**t, yes he's damaged the clubs reputation and yes he will most likely cause negative headlines again....but who are we actually going to replace him with? Who is as good, available for transfer and willing to make the switch?
Martin (if Blackpool need an over weight, mediocre midfielder I'd be happy to help out, since they're so short on personnel. I'll even bring the oranges) Jackson
Vik M, MUFC states that Arsenal have famously lost Ashley Cole for £5,000 a week and Vieira and Campbell for not offering longer than a year-long contract.
It was previously policy at Arsenal to only offer one year contracts to players over 30 (a policy that was good enough for Bergkamp, by the way ) but this had no bearing on the Vieira/Campbell moves. Vieira was sold before he was 30 and was never subject to the one year contract issue. I was a calculated decision from the club (although not one I agree with) - here's Wenger's quote: "When Cesc Fàbregas was 18, 19, I would play him in a 4-4-2 with Patrick Vieira and I saw it did not work. Then I had the decision to make about letting Patrick go, because Gilberto Silva and Vieira worked, Fabregas and Silva worked, but I could not play Fàbregas and Vieira. But Fàbregas was 19 and if he did not play I knew he would want to go, so we risked destroying everything, all the work we had put into this player."
Campbell had gone AWOL mid season and had something of a breakdown - his head just wasn't right and (if memory serves) we actually cancelled his contract to let him go. Neither of those players went because of the one year thing. I agree with a lot of what you say in your letter - how can you quantify flair for instance. But in those two cases, I think you're mistaken.
Doug AFC (In brackets I'll remind everyone: Sol Campbell, 644 senior appearances with 4 different clubs, across 20 consecutive PL seasons winning 1 League Cup, 2 Premier Leagues, 4 F.A. Cups = £0 in Transfer fees. I think that's weird) Belfast
These foreign players clogging up the Premier League and preventing young Brits from progressing: They represent their national teams, they thrive in other countries. Why aren't the young Brits travelling abroad for work like the young Portuguese and Spanish? Those young foreign trainees coming through English youth systems, why isn't that happening in Spain with young English players? There are greater cultural factors at play here. People are not thinking outside of the box.
Graeme Souness reckons Ashley Cole is moving to play games rather than for the money. If that's the case can I suggest he rock up to St. Mary's Stadium, Odemwingie style. Considering they just sold their main LB they should deffo have room for him.
That no clubs have snapped him up yet beggars belief. Spurs could do with anyone but Danny Rose, Liverpool could do with some competition for young Flanno, and he'd be the best player at Newcastle, West Ham, Aston Villa etc. There's even a small chance I'd let him play for us instead of Ben Mee.
Nick P, (I met Danny Ings this week!) Burnley FC
With all this talk about £80m for Suarez, stupid money for England players and net spend. Just wanted to say that I saw earlier today that Pompey fans have raised £100,000 towards a £250,000 target they need to improve facilities for their academy.
The football world isn't all bad.