The Premier League season has only been over for about 20 hours and already we're well into the summer-type Mailbox. Plus, a shout for the 2014 player of the year...
Arsenal fans are largely positive after their top four finish, whilst one wag suggest buying Bale from their rivals. We also have an interesting final mail. Enjoy...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign Him Up...
Did you see that Modric has been voted worst summer signing by supporters in Spain? Sign him up Fergie.
Gav MUFC Bristol
Why United Are Being Doubted
Everyone's getting very excited about United being really rubbish/great depending on who you read. Here's the deal...
United are currently the best side in England and comfortable favourites for the league, but they're by no means a classic team. Looking at the last 10 years of Premiership champions they're pretty low down the list. They've got to this position largely because of the absolute botchjob Mancini/Abramovich are doing at Man City/Chelsea. The amount those 2 have spent and the teams they've put in place over the last few years they really should be dominating English football but their mismanagement coupled with SAF's incredible ability of building teams stronger than the sum of their parts means that United are currently the best in England.
Where this becomes an issue is in February of 2013 when they make the trip to the Bernabeu. The likes of Evans, Rafael, Evra, Carrick, Cleverley, Scholes, Giggs, Young, Welbeck and Hernandez will see you quite nicely through a trip to the DW or the Hawthornes, but when they come up against Real Madrid those players don't cut the mustard. United are currently 6th favourites to win the Champions League (when has that ever been the case going into the last 16!?). Even if they somehow get through the Madrid tie (not inconceivable in a 2 leg affair with away goals/penalties etc) then they're likely to come across Bayern/Dortmund/Barcelona along the way to a final. The group stages of the Champions League and the Bilbao ties last year were proof that when a well organised talented team come to town United will be found wanting. That's the real reason why United are being doubted.
Dan Cunnington, Greenwich.
Don't Get Carried Away
A couple of points for (mythbuster) Hamzah, MUFC, Manchester for no other reason than it's my first day back at work and I've got very little to be getting on with.
1) Don't get carried away with a 4-0 victory over Wigan, it tells you f*ck all. Wigan have played 16 Premier League games against ManU; won 1, lost 15, scored 5, conceded 50.
2) You contrived to throw away an 8 point lead in the final 6 matches of last season so crowing about a 7 point lead with 17 matches to play would seem a little premature and inadvisable.
Whose Ting Would He Sign?
So Walcott is playing hardball with Arsenal, but if they don't agree anything where would he go? I can't see either of the Manchester Clubs or Chelsea taking him. So anything else in England would at best be a sideways step for his career. Would he fit in at Tottenham, Everton or even want to move north? Or he could go abroad. Maybe Arsene should call his bluff?
Rob (Expecting 100 goals for Swindon this year!)
A Boro Fan Defends Newcastle
Thanks for your Demba Ba insight, Chris M, CFC, New Zealand. Jesus - your email was one of the most self important, arrogant, patronising pieces of offensive guff I have ever read in this mailbox.
I will copy and paste your first bullet point for the sake of those reading that they might have an immediate point of reference should my mail be published:
"Coming from a side like Newcastle, whose aspirations are seemingly to stumble from one season to the next, pleased with simply being good enough to be mediocre, would Ba be able to step up to the level of pressure and expectation from a top club of Chelsea's calibre? The phrase 'big fish in a small pond' comes to mind. "
Allow me to respond:
- Mediocrity is all relative. For many clubs in the premier league, simply surviving is a monumental feat. To finish mid table can require the same effort and dedication as another side needs to win the league. Don't for one minute think that your club and the rest of the top 5 strive to greater things than the rest of the league. The simple fact of the matter is that you have a sugar daddy who provides you with mind blowing levels of investment so you can buy success. Newcastle do not. You forget yourself. It wasn't that long ago you were in the same position as the rest of us. Newcastle are certainly not "settling for mediocrity."
- Oh, and this "mediocre" club that you speak of? They finished above you last season, just outside of the top four after spending a mere fraction of the amount you have spent on players and managers in the last 10 years. In fact, only a few seasons ago they were in the championship. I would suggest that it was Chelsea's performance in the league both last season and this season that would best be described as "mediocre" given how much cash you spunk. Newcastle, on the other hand, with their canny investment in exceptional players were a revelation.
- Newcastle get around 50,000 watching most games. Chelsea can't even fit that many people in the stadium.
Honestly, it's like you forget that the only reason and I mean the ONLY reason you have been allowed to enjoy the success you have is because of one guy and the dirty energy money he decided to spend on his new plaything (your club) when the corrupt Russian government decided to take it from the people and give it to him. It certainly has NOTHING to do with your club operating on a higher plane than the rest of the "proles" and striving for something more.
AP, Boro fan (defending Newcastle!)
Joe, LFC, not quite sure if this Spurs team will match up to the Liverpool 2008 team. Arguably at the time, Reina, Carragher, Mascherano, Alonso, Gerrard and Torres were up there as the best players in their respective positions in the entire league. Reina/Carragher are clearly the most dubious of those but they were both pretty exceptional - highlighted by the fact we conceded the least goals in the league that season and Reina had the most clean sheets. I think Bale and Dembele are probably the best in the league in their positions but struggling to pick out any other Spurs players who I think are a class above everyone else...Possibly a bit harsh and maybe Defoe, on current form, is worth inclusion but would you really prefer him in your team over RVP/Suarez? Whereas back then I don't think there is a single striker you would have feared more than Torres.
You also need to remember that we delivered to Man Utd their heaviest defeat at home in a long time (I appreciate Man City took this away from us but they did go on to win the league so fair play to them). It was always the first time all season that Man Utd had scored first at home and not gone on to collect 3 points. Keep in mind this was a Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Utd, and I hear he's not too bad at this football lark. Not sure Spurs really qualify as comparable to that Liverpool team also given in their big games they have only beaten Man Utd but lost to Arsenal, Man City and Everton. That season that Liverpool were good, I think when looking at the mini table showing just the big 4, we were top.
I miss being the top of tables other than "Shots which have not led to goals" and "Players with Tattoos".
One Thing For Each Team In 2013
Arsenal: To keep Theo and give him his chance. He's had a lot of chances, but chances out wide. Give him 10 games in the middle and see what happens
Aston Villa: For it to click and for the results to start to roll in. Take the 15th position and move on to next season where they can build and progress because under the avalanche of goals against there is a team in there.
Chelsea: The clapping at 16 minutes to stop. It was set up as a fantastic gesture by the Villa fans for Petrov and now Chelsea are ruining it in an act of petulance.
Everton: To hold on to Felleini. Lock him in your basement David Moyes and do not let him out.
Fulham: To bulid a team around its strongest asset, Berbatov. Focus everything around him and the results will come and they will come with style and poise.
Liverpool: Goals. And from goals will come results which will bring dignity.
Manchester City: For Mancini to play his strongest 11. The league is all they need to worry about.
Manchester United: A midfield. Yes they are top and Carrick and Cleverly are doing well, but a world class centre mid would make them unstoppable.
Newcastle United: To find Tiote of 2011. Where is that guy?
Norwich City: Keep hold of Chris Hughton. Harshly dealt with by Newcastle, teams are beginning to realise how good he is.
QPR: All the luck in world.
Reading: Some premier league quality. They are looking like a championship side and if they keep it up they will be.
Southampton: To get Gaston Rameirez on the ball all of the time. The boy can play and they need to use him as often as possible
Stoke City: To keep it going. Regardless of the style the table does not lie and with that in mind Tony Pulis deserves serious credit
Sunderland: To kick on. They have been much improved, Martin O'Neill has to use the recent results as a platform to build and climb the table
Swansea: Help for Michu. The signing of the summer needs some help in 2013 to avoid what happened to him last year. If the goals dry up what do they do?
Spurs: A world class striker to tie it all together. They've nearly got everything else in all the other departments, a 20+ mil striker would be the icing on a pretty good looking cake
West Brom: To consolidate and move on. Steve Clarke is undoubtedly delighted with the start they have made but now its time for them to dig in and hold on to what they have.
West Ham: The fans I'm sure are fairly content with how it has gone. Sam has done a fine job. From a personal point of view a Matty Taylor screamer wouldn't go amiss.
Wigan: For people to care. When Man United come to town and 20,000 people show up it must be incredibly disheartening.
I'm sure people will have their own opinions on all of this and I look forward to reading about them
Brian F, LFC, Ireland
As a Saints fan watching Arthur Boruc strut around his penalty area like some kind of goalkeeping legend after dropping crosses that quite frankly Kevin Pietersen would have caught during the 2005 Ashes Series (He dropped everything), it is even clearer that we must sign a fourth goalkeeper. We have been heavily linked with Jack Butland. This would be a great signing, I would be equally happy with the signing of a keeper with Premier League experience. I was hoping we would make a move for Carlo Cudicini but he has decided to enter semi-retirement across the pond.
As for Luke Shaw, will he/should he go? He shouldn't leave, but that doesn't mean he wont. He is in the Premier League gaining vital experience as our first-choice left back. Arsenal or whoever else can wait, he needs game time right now and moving in the winter to Arsenal would see an abrupt halt to his accumulation of first-team experience.....as much as I enjoy our apparent position as a feeder club to Arsenal.
Villa and Wigan away in the next four games. Forget 6-pointers, there are more akin to 18-pointers.
Jonathan Martin, SFC
So Demba Ba's release cause has been triggered, and his career will no doubt peter out in a damp squib of substitute appearances and Capital One Cup showings. Great! Nice one Chelsea. Scott Sinclair is probably getting splinters in his glutes from the amount of playing time he is getting.
It got me thinking about a perennial question my friends and I discuss. It is more a hypothetical situation that I would like to put to the mailbox. Which of the following situations would you rather:
1) You are a young up and coming player. After a season and a half of promise with a mid-table side, you get the chance to move to a top 4 side. They will treble your wages, but you will play 1/6th of the games for the next 4 years, by which time some new, bright young thing has come into your position, and your footballing currency is low cause you rarely played and so haven't developed. Your team has won a couple of trophies, but you have been a bit part player, and not played enough games to get a medal. You manage to get a big contract at another, slightly smaller club, but you never fulfil your promise, your team mates resent your wages, and lack of performance. You slide into anonymity.
2) You are young up and coming player. After a couple of seasons, your club offers to double your contract, and they say you are the rock they want to build their side around. You are adored by fans and team mates alike. Sure, you could earn more than that elsewhere (see above), but you will not get this kind of team building elsewhere. For the next 4 years you play every game, get an international call up, and actually win a cup. At the end though, you have an injury which rules you out for 12 months. You come back but you're not the same and have to retire. The club stand by you and give you a coaching position.
So do you choose meaningless trophies and money and fame, or do you choose slightly less money, fan love, and a smaller but real achievement.
I am not saying one is right, and the other wrong. I am just wondering what fellow mailboxers think.
John (RVP is proving he was right to leave to win medals!) Matrix AFC
Emotions With Carl Fletcher
In a bizarre way, I found it quite refreshing to see Carl Fletcher coming out straight after his sacking and fighting back the tears (which got the better of him during the interview). His record wasn't up to scratch and he had to go but you can see from that interview alone he so wanted it to work and I feel the fans did too with the amount he has done for the club. How sad it is that football managers have headed down the mercenary route with managers not caring about the clubs they are at and only caring about the money. We need more managers showing the passion of Carl and the displays of raw emotion when they lose their job. This would bring people back on board with football.
Lee 'PAFC' Hawker
...Just read a report that apparently the Bristol Rovers v Plymouth game that I gleefully cheered in an earlier submission to the mailbox actually led to Plymouth's manager Carl Fletcher getting the sack.
Can I just go on record as saying that is an absolutely atrocious decision. While I reserve the same right as any fan to cheer a defeat for the local rivals, I think that anyone would agree that Fletcher has performed a phenomenal job at Plymouth under incredibly trying circumstances - all jokes aside Peter Reid was a hard act to follow, but even beyond that Plymouth's financial difficulties are well documented and Fletcher stepped up from club captain to manager, doing so on an unpaid basis while at the same time co-ordinating local fund raising efforts so that the club could pay players, backroom staff and even the tea lady - and this at a time when the club was all but dead and gone and with no certainty that his effort would be successful in saving the club.
The move is made even more extraordinary as the club have for some time been actively seeking a "director of football" to step in and mentor Fletcher - recognising the fact that as a young manager he is working to the best of his ability, and clearly looking to combine his own knowledge of Plymouth as a club with a more experienced football brain generally. It's been some time since Plymouth have seen any consistency in the dugout, Paul Sturrock is the only man to have lasted more than a year at the club (a feat he managed twice, 2000-04 and 2007-08). For Plymouth's sake, I hope that whoever comes in next is given time to address the many problems that the club still faces as it recovers from crippling financial mismanagement and recent rapid relegation.
To tie back to my earlier reference to Mike's League Two Winners and Losers, I think an early nomination for this weeks Losers would be the Plymouth fans, who have lost a fine man and a fine manager. Without Carl Fletcher, Plymouth Argyle FC simply would not exist as it does today.
Terry Hall, Switzerland
It's A Slow Day, So...
Any chance of a favour lads and ladies?!
My Bessie pals birthday is today and to be fair to him he is probably the most committed football fan I know.
Man U fan, goes to every game he can (home and away) and I think he deserves a mention as he travels from Southampton for the games so has about a 10-12 hour round trip most weekends.
I've got respect for that.
Ive also respect him for being the only Man U fan who admits that Rooney shanked that overhead and for admitting that Scholes was past his best in about 2007. Anyone else got a more a more committed fan as a mate?
So in short Happy Birthday Phillip "I know Rooney shinned it" Thomas
I hate you and everything you stand for!
I have sent in numerous mails since I started frequenting your site some time ago, however I have only been printed once. This may be due to the fact that I lose people's interest after a sentence or two. Which leads me onto my main point.
The most comments I have had shown on the F365 homepage has been two, and until today I thought I would forever live an online existence akin to that of Austrian legend Toni "Doppelpack" Polster. So imagine my surprise to see my hilarious and witty quips occupying the three slots located on the bottom left of the page. A virtual hat-trick of sorts.
I was wondering if anyone else has managed to complete this task? Has anyone scored a perfect comments hat-trick? That would be one comment typed with the left hand, one with the right hand and the final one with your forehead obviously.
Varicose Regent (does this mean I get to take the internet home like a match ball?)
So Mediawatch has a thing for the perennially pregnant Kirsty Allsop? I feel dirty for even knowing, soiled somehow, like the time I found my Dad's porn stash and discovered he is rather into Latino women who take it in the back door.
Luca James Sparks