He is one of a number of solid shouts for players that look old before their time. We also have the final words on lovely D-Beck and a rejection of end of season playoffs...
That's one opinion, but others give their thanks to the man. We also have ideas for a relegation playoff, happy memories of the season and a defence of Liverpool's campaign...
If you have anything to add on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Flawless Plan
I read that Argentina legend Diego Maradona is "one step away" from being named coach of the Iraq national team.
Yeah, that can only go well.
Chris Mac (The Bolton version of Sturridge would be a good signing, buy that one), LFC/FCB
Our Instinct Is To Say No, Of Course You Can't Switch
Two parter here:
On the matter of Chris' I've been obliged to dislike you all, due to the teams you all support. Can another Chris please come forward to claim my favouritism? I'll explain why with the rest of my question - you can probably work out why.
As a Liverpool supporter hailing from Norwich, I have a dilemma. My dad is a Liverpool supporter and he hardly ever took me to any matches in Norwich because he wasn't a supporter (fair enough as he's from Essex) and seeing Liverpool on TV a lot, I picked it up as well. I've grown up a lot since then, and started going to Norwich matches myself with friends when I can. In recent times, I've found my support of Liverpool dwindling a little bit, but my support of Norwich has grown a lot. My question for you guys is this: "Is it acceptable to switch allegiances from a potentially glory hunting team whom I supported for 12 odd years to a team that is my local team, but has only recently come good again (would this be glory hunting?)." Where do you guys stand? I need a moral ruling.
The Secret Mailboxer (Merry Chris-mas everyone < (sorry, couldn't resist))
Oh, As It's Christmas (Again)
Doubt there'll be a Friday box but just giving a cameo appearance a la Christopher Walken in Pulp Fiction (although I've never had a gold watch stuffed in my anus) to say Merry Christmas to the hoi palloi at Football365.
Don't contribute much anymore, but I still read! Have a good one you sexy sexy bastards.
Jack, 18, London (nobody puts young Jack in the corner)
Don't Go, Scholesy
Ever been so heart broken over a girl that you get back with her, knowing it's a only a short term fix and that you're merely postponing the heartbreak? You can never be together in the long term, but don't care. You want her back. You want to smell that sweet smell of her hair, you want to see those succulent breasts and once more get a firm grip of those buttocks that you swear must have been made in heaven. You get that, but you know it can't last too much longer.
Paul Scholes, I'm so glad you came back, but all you've done is made my heart grow fonder. Can we not postpone the heart ache for 12 more months? You may not be able to move as much as the younger lads, but you are better than them. You will still get enough starts, but you'll be so important to bring on for the last 30 minutes when we need the best midfielder Xavi has seen for 20 years. Ultimately, it's better than helping to coach the reserves, isn't it?
I love you, Paul. Please don't leave me again.
Silvio (Giggsy will come back into form, and Rio has just been absolute class the whole time. Stay, all 3 of you) Dante
P.s At first I was delighted to not be the United fan addressed in this mornings mailbox, but then I felt like a forgotten man. Thanks for the language lesson Harsha, but more importantly, thanks for remembering.
United Fans Would Welcome Ronaldo
Absolutely I would welcome him back. The fact he moved on to his boyhood fantasy club does not detract from the fact the boy won us what felt like millions of trophies during his time with us, particularly after the 06 world cup ;) when he also returned to Old Trafford a hero after getting his mate, Wazza, sent off.
Not to mention the £80 million we bagged for him
... I totally understand the point Ross (Cavan) makes about Ronaldo and the reception he will get at Old Trafford, but I will give him a great reception when he graces the Old Trafford pitch again. He's not a hero and he did anger me when he mentioned feeling like a slave when the tug of war was in full flow between Real and Man Utd to acquire/retain him.
But, for me, I never ever thought he would stay at Man Utd for a long time. From the day he signed, I thought, he is bound to leave us at some point in his career (worryingly, I feel the same about Rafael) and if he's brilliant, hopefully we'll make the most of it before he goes. And boy we did! He joined us as the Abramovich project was starting at Stamford Bridge and his breakthrough season coincided with Utd wrestling back domination of the Premier League from Chelsea. He was far from a fringe player for the next 3 seasons and I have always thought that he was the main reason we managed to claw back our way to Chelsea's level who were relentless until that fateful 2006-07 season which started a series of 3 consecutive domestic titles and a Champions League title.
This is probably going to sound controversial, but I think he was a part of the best Utd team in history, if not the driving force of that team. He would win matches on his own. He was entertaining and Utd fans absolutely loved the fact that everyone else hated him. His desire to join Real Madrid, or indeed, the months of speculation, arguably fuelled by his agent and himself, although annoying, is never going to overshadow his enormous contribution to Utd's successes when it seemed like we were going to lose our dominance to Chelsea. For me at least, he's still the young boy whom we made into a superstar and, just like David Beckham, I think I will always adore him despite the split, because he's our golden boy. I hope we do give him the rousing reception he deserves in my book.
Jay (I absolutely wanted Real in the draw. Won't win, might as well get to see a European giant at Old Trafford), York
...In reply to Ross (Cavan)'s question, "it has been said Ronaldo will return to Old Trafford to a heroes welcome, but will that be the case with all Manchester United fans????", the answer is yes, the man is an absolute legend. I won't even hate him as much as I should when he scores the inevitable late winner against us.
Apart From The Ones That Won't
I for one will not be welcoming Ronaldo back to Old Trafford. Was he a brilliant player for United - yes. Did he help united win trophies - undoubtedly so (Virtually singlehandedly won the league in his final season). The reason I won't be fawning over his return was he reminds me of a beautiful girlfriend I had. I knew deep down although it pained me to admit it that she was too good for me and constantly flirted with a better looking more successful workmate. Eventually she left me for him and she got more beautiful when she stepped out with him. My point is the winker flirted constantly with another club for 2/3 years and he left us with his peak years ahead of him having grown at United. He's world class but he's also a world class prick!
From reading the usually excellent Big Weekends and Winners and Losers articles this season I sense that since David Bre...I mean Brendan Rogers took the Anfield hot-seat there has been quite a bit of criticism of Roberto Martinez and how actually he's not really that good because Wigan always scrape just enough points at the end of the season after a rotten first 3 quarters.
Well I think this criticism is a tad harsh.
For a start he's working with Wigan players and not Suarez, Gerrard, Sterling et al so he'd have to be a managerial hybrid of Ferguson, Jose, Clough, Sacchi, Alf Ramsay to turn Wigan even into a mid-table team.
But my main defence is for the implication that winning points at the back end of the season don't seem to hold as much value than if they were spread out over the season. A team isn't lucky if they score a winner in the 89th minute because a game lasts for 90. Therefore winning the vast majority of your points in the last 10 games or so isn't against the rules. OK they looked like relegation material from August to March but the season finishes in May and if you get enough points by May to stay up, you deserve to stay up.
His directive is to keep Wigan in the Premier League. He did. It doesn't matter if you win most of your points in August/September or April/May as long as after 38 games, you have more than at least 3 other teams.
Man United are well known for not being at their best before Christmas and then go on a points scoring orgy afterwards and winning titles with Ferguson hailed as a genius.
Simon Fitzwilliams (please print this for the 3 published from 3 submitted in 3 days hat trick), Cambridge
Idols For No Reason
In response to Mark, Spurs, I always find myself watching Newcastle games to marvel at Ben Arfa's incredible dribbling and ball control. Also I get to watch Jonas Gutierrez, who has the worst first touch in this solar system. He also somehow has less skill than Antonio Valencia/Kevin Davies! Who would have thought possible?
Greg (I always avoid Villa games, no reason why)Tric, AFC, Nairobi.
...In response to Mark (3 1/2 years on and still going strong, must have been the FM) Spurs: a player I idolise for no good reason? As a Fighting Talk devotee I remember one particularly entertaining episode in which a listener mistakenly gave two points to 'Gary O'Neil' instead of panellist Gary O'Reilly. At the time I had no idea there was a skinny tattooed man playing for Boro with the same name, and was just amused by Colin Murray running with what shouldn't have been a funny joke but still makes me chuckle today.
A few years later, watching West Ham - Hull at Upton Park, who should be announced, but - Number 32, Gary O'Neil! I cheered! Had I willed this man into existence through sheer number of podcast repeats? I will now happily rate him as one of my top three West Ham players, cheer him loudly whenever he's announced, and still can't hear his name without muttering 'point off for Gary O'Neil' under my breath and then sniggering.
Ella (running with other people's in jokes far longer than necessary), MUFC
...In response to Mark (3 1/2 years on and still going strong, must have been the FM) Spurs, it has to be Kevin Doyle. As a child, for some unknown reason, 'Doyle' became slang for idiot and so you can imagine hearing '...the cross comes in.....Doyle!' when he first appeared in the prem, has made my day many times.
Jonny Kay,(its fair to say my days are generally quite poor), south shields
...Mark, the Spurs chap.
Funny you should mention a West Bromwich Albion striker, as I have an unhealthy and irrational bromance with the one and only Peter Osaze Odemwingie.
I do believe it started a few years back watching a Locomotiv Moscow game (as you do) when I was completely bemused by the commentator's antics. He continually said this incredible word that I made out to be 'Oh-dun-wingy' - and for a few minutes thought it was some new lingo that had done the rounds and passed me by.
When I connected the dots (commentator says 'Oh-dun-wingy', the same player touches the ball), it dawned on me that not only was this Oh-Dun-Wingy a great human being, but a great footballer also.
Then it began. Years of looking out for him, checking up on his performances.
This year it has gone public - because of PL Fantasy Football. My team is led (heroically, might I add) by Odemwingie. He is often my captain despite scores of 2, 1 and even 0. My team is called 'Oh Dem Wingers' and continues to rise up the leagues. I can only put this down to Odemwingie's confidence-instilling banter in the dressing room, as he hasn't been raking in goals and assists as I would have liked.
Long live Bro-demwingie.
Ben (Michael Carrick: is he an experiment? Or an actual footballer?) MUFC
...In response to Mark (3 1/2 years on and still going strong, must have been the FM) Spurs, and fitting in nicely with the recent F365 article on poachers, the player I love for no good reason whatsoever is one Filippo "Pippo" Inzaghi.
To many he is the offside merchant, frail lady-boy of Milan who only has an impressive scoring record by virtue of playing in two of great Italian sides of recent years with the likes of Zidane, Del Piero and Kaka providing him service.
To me he is a glorious, magnificent footballer who gets so infectiously happy ever time he scores that it makes my heart sing. I remember many an argument during my University days when I insisted on changing his stats in Pro-Evo to better reflect his overall brilliance as the coders at Konami had clearly made some mistakes. He has 50 Champions League goals, has maintained a presence at the top of the game for over 15 years and is generally awesome.
Oscar THFC, Geneva
...Mark (3 1/2 years on and still going strong, must have been the FM) Spurs, not a player obviously but I always keep an eye on Cowdenbeath's results. I really have no idea why either.
On another note I'd like to say thanks to the F365 team for such a great website on which I waste much time (especially the forum) and Merry Christmas to you all and my fellow readers (except for any Bradford fans, grrr).
Cliff Mallinder, AFC
Did anyone else read Chris, efc, London's email and just want to give him (her?) a big hug?
For that mail alone, you're my new favourite mailbox Chris, by a country mile!
Tobes, (Sorry, Chris ITFC) PFC
Since my name is Harsha, I am an Arsenal fan and regular mailbox reader, and since the shortening of the name Harshavardan to Harsha is very rare, and since the Josef/Pep thing is something I knew but didn't write in....
I am getting the sinking feeling that I have multiple personality disorder. So could the other Harsha, Arsenal please reveal his name and location?
Harsha. (Really hoping a different one) Arsenal