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 say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Third? So Embarrassing
So we're third now I see.
Wenger out etc.
Matt Wright, Gunner in Aus
Club In Crisis? Not Really
A club goes through a period of three to four games without a win, the manager refuses to bow to media and fan pressure to live beyond the club's financial means so they are then referred to as a club in crisis. A club may have a situation unrelated to actual football matters, a court case regarding a racist captain perhaps or maybe an extra-marital affair or two relating to one or more players. This club is also then branded as a club in crisis.
The meltdown at Leeds United that saw them free-fall through the divisions, the disaster at Rangers that has seen them kicked out of the SPL, the complete dismantling of what was once Wimbledon FC, the flaming wreckage of an airplane on a Munich runway that claimed the lives of a generation of players, these are instances of football clubs in crisis.
Petulant players, a few mediocre or even slightly embarrassing results or an oddly myopic French manager are instances of a rough patch, a blip, a 'testing time' perhaps, but certainly not a crisis.
A little perspective is needed every now and again, if applied it probably means your football club is probably in a healthier state than some would have you believe.
Eoin (there isn't one top-flight club in crisis)
Why Fergie Is Great And Wenger Never Will Be
By perfect coincidence, both Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger came out with quotes today on exactly the same issue that demonstrate why one is the greatest manager in British (and possibly world) football, thanks largely to a flexible and pragmatic approach to his work, while the other is a good coach who will never reach true greatness due to his stubborn attachment to a footballing ideology.
Discussing Theo Walcott's contract situation, Wenger argued that the player should sign because he owes a debt of gratitude to the club for spending so much money on him as a teenager and then devoting so much effort to his development. Wenger also discussed his belief that he should be able to assemble a squad of talented teenagers, train them into world-class players, and that they will then all 'stay together and win together'. How he can still cling to this idea after the successive departures of Clichy, Fabregas and Nasri and seven years without a trophy?
Players don't owe some special loyalty to a club. The relationship is a mutually beneficial one: the club invests time, money and effort into a player; a player repays that by his performances and a transfer fee when he is sold. At any stage the player can decide to leave or the club can decide to sell him. Neither 'owes' the other anything. And even if they do, perhaps Wenger could explain why he thinks this should be completely one-sided. Why do players owe the club loyalty, but the club can happily sell youngsters who they don't deem good enough or refuse to offer more than one-year contracts to players over 30, even if they've contributed to the club for a long period.
Then look at what Ferguson said. After learning that Cristiano Ronaldo would be returning to Old Trafford in the next round of the Champions League, he discussed the player's time at the club: 'He came here at 17 and developed himself into a great footballer. We are proud of the part we played in his career. To get six years out of a boy when he comes to us at 17, we have done very well.' Ferguson understands and accepts that football isn't about some idealistic sense of loyalty or gratitude; it's about pragmatic costs and benefits. If you can buy a teenager for £12m, turn him into one of the best players in the world, get six good seasons out of him, then sell him at a huge profit, you've done your job as a manager. There's no sense of betrayal: just a club and a player that have both benefited from their time together. Compare that to Wenger, who also bought Walcott for £12m (depending on add-ons) as a teenager and has had him for almost seven years, but clearly can't accept the fact that the player wouldn't want to stay at the club forever.
Who Do You Love?
In response to Mark (3 1/2 years on and still going strong, must have been the FM) Spurs, the player for me has to be FERNANDO TORRES.
I remember playing Pro Evolution Soccer 6 with a pal who used Spain and we were wondering who this new hotshot that was stealing Raul's thunder was? Torres scored outrageous goals, even for the Play Station, and was terribly fast.
Then IT HAPPENED, he joined Liverpool and as a Liverpool supporter I was overjoyed. Just like the P.S version he was awesome. Even after he left for Chelsea I still love him (and my P.S pal, a Gooner, also loves Torres).
Broderick Tendai Maumbe (Liverpool fan in Zimbabwe)
...In response to Mark. Spurs question on footballer idolisation for no apparent reason, I have two. One of them, Jay Tabb for Reading, purely because he looks like an excited 14-year-old who just wants to have a great game with his mates running around. But my favourite player is definately George Boyd for Peterborough. Ever since the play-offs last season where holding back from his team's attacking corner, the ball got cleared up to him. In my mind the next things to happen started with him receiving the ball a good 30 yards from anybody, trapping it, and then proceeding to do step overs with the nearest opposition player still a good 25 yards away. None of this probably even happened, but in my mind it did, and now whenever I see a player like Messi or Ronaldo doing a trick I take great pleasure in stating he is just trying to emulate his hero, George Boyd.
Marc, Leeds (unfortunately a BRFC fan)
Switching Clubs - Not Always Evil
In response to 'The Secret Mailboxer' with regards to switching allegiances, my instinct would be to say that it is perfectly acceptable to switch at such an age, as I did the same myself. My switch took a complete different direction and impacted my teenage years dramatically, causing me many years of anguish.
I switched from being regularly taken to Old Trafford by my uncle to going along with mates to support Darlington, then of League Two. Since then I have overseen play-off heartache, two administrations, two relegations and an FA decision to force us to rip up our club and start again in the Ebac Northern League. We no longer even play in Darlington. It is perfectly fine to switch teams for whatever reason but the result isn't always a glamorous upgrade. I surely deserve massive f**king hipster points for this.
...I think The Secret Mailboxer's mail on Friday was an interesting one, because that's a fairly similar position to how I find myself now.
I was born and raised a Liverpool fan; I had to be, as I found out after attempting to support Blackburn as a little kid after finding some of my dad's stuff from his time as a trainee there (he packed in to play rugby in the end), but a few years ago we moved house from the town centre to virtually the doorstep of the then Conference North side Southport FC.
SFC was a different proposition to Blackburn because they aren't direct competition to Liverpool, and we didn't go to many LFC games anyway because of the prices, but SFC season tickets were relatively cheap, so me and my brothers were allowed one each to watch the games. We all fell in love.
Southport were promoted the next year, then the one after that brought a dramatic relegation dogfight, resulting in final-day relegation, only to be reprieved thanks to the demise of Rushden and Diamonds, and the next year brought an unlikely play-off challenge, which ultimately petered out in the final five games. Meanwhile, Liverpool were on the slippery slide to mid-table obscurity. This was enough for my focus to shift to SFC for these years.
Now, however, I can put it all into perspective, as both teams are doing pretty sh*te, and next year I won't be eligible for a 12-18 season ticket so will have to pay the whole 150 quid for it. I am still a Liverpool fan and I always will be, and the crap football and the vocal clique of fans who are more interested in singing about being sick on the Trust in Yellow coach than the match at SFC are 'getting on my tits', so now I stand in footballing no-man's-land not really sure whether I should be going to the Merseyrail Community Stadium and watching the Sandgrounders or snuggling in my armchair and watching Jeff Stelling's face and MOTD on Saturdays...
Ben (Allllllllllll round the coach of TIY), SFC or LFC, Southport
Here's The Other Harsha
Harsha, (really hoping a different one) Arsenal.
My name is indeed Harsha and isn't short for anything. I'm 22 years old and I live in Chennai, India where I (We?) am/re currently seated in a chair with inexplicable (until now!) bite marks on it.
Now, if you read this in a few hours/days and discover that we are indeed the same person and are two dissociative personalities inhabiting the same body. Before we tackle anything else, can I just request that you desist from pleasuring yourself in any way shape or form until further notice? And I shall do the same.
Normally I wouldn't make such a demand of anyone but in this case it seems a bit like...playing with your room-mate's willy while he's asleep, doesn't it?
Harsha.(You're welcome Silvio, always glad to provide answers to questions that weren't, strictly speaking, actually asked) Arsenal
Young Jack? Really?
Did Jack from London really refer to himself in the third person? If you are not The Rock, The Hulk or Mediawatch, you cannot do that.
Harish, Man Utd