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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Why Not Indeed
Given this is my first post to the mailbox why not start with an opinion on the biggest upcoming match in Europe? I think what the slavish stat men comparing the two sides fail to realize, despite numerous mentions by the excellent Tim Stannard, is that Real Madrid are in turmoil off the pitch. Therefore it is rather academic posing ridiculous little comparisons between Ozil and Alonso and Cleverly and the utterly appalling (this season compared to last) Antonio One Foot.
To update Real Madrid have dropped more points this season then during the entirety of last season. Ronaldo is sad, and though he will never elicit sympathy, is not unjustifiably querying why he is not in the top-five paid players in the world when he is unquestionably the second best player in the world. Iker Casillas was dropped recently for the first time in 10 years for political reasons, as was Sergio Ramos earlier in the season. Big deal you ask? After all Rooney is dropped every Xmas after his annual kebab and Marlboro Lights session. But, much like Xavi and Puyol for Barcelona, these two players embody Real Madrid and highlight just how far Mourinho has alienated his squad.
And finally to Mourinho himself, the man simply cannot hold a team together for a long period of time. He appears at a loss to fix Real this season despite having the second best squad on the planet, his big summer signing, Modric, is completely out of his depth, and his comments in the press suggest he is fighting a full-on war behind closed doors. He has already conceded La Liga, which is understandable considering Barcelona could lose 5 games between now and the end of the season and still win by a point, and could be out of the Copa by the time Man Utd visit...
And to Man Utd, and these supposedly worse players? Perhaps individually yes, but as a team, as a collective, with a manager rumored to be in his final season despite comments to the contrary they should qualify comfortably.
Unless Welbeck plays.
Sturridge: Not A Reject
To exiled Neil indicating Sturridge as a Chelski reject, would you swap Suarez for Torres on the basis that Torres is staying at Chelski, so must therefore be better? Didn't think so. Sturridge has a better chance conversion rate than Suarez and Torres, while constantly being played out of position (to assuage the need to keep Torres happy) so not sure things are as clear cut as being a reject.
And to those indicating Rodgers doesn't have the 'stuff' to manage (I get that he can turn you off with his prattling) but having the balls to move his top player out of position to accommodate Sturridge in what he considers his best position, show more moxie than Chelski managers have. Really, the fact that Chelski are willing to sacrifice any other forward at the feet of the once very good but now very average Torres is more worthy of comment, than saying Liverpool can't succeed buying 'top club's' rejects'.
Finally, I hope Sturridge is a huge success at 'Pool to shut Ian McGarry up. He has to be just about the most annoying pundit I have ever heard. And hearing him go on about how Sturridge is crap because he has it from his great sources at Chelski, and shouts down people offering decent observations and commentary. Mind you, given that last line, suppose nothing will ever shut him up!
Not Messi, Arsene...
....... For a start, there's not enough quality in the side to allow him to flourish.
Very disappointed with Arsene Wenger's comment that Arsenal fans want a marquee signing and are not happy with 'promising' players.
It's a very sweeping, unfair and disrespectful statement.
First, maybe some Arsenal fans want that, but not all. Wenger needs to realise that for every numpty at the Emirates, there are many more rational and knowledgeable fans.
Secondly, the fans have been more than happy to accept 'promising' players. This season, Giroud and Cazorla have been more than welcomed into the Arsenal fold but were hardly household names. Not to mention the stream of players coming through the academy. Indeed, i'd go as far as to say that Arsenal fans are extremely good at spotting talent and going beyond the call of duty in giving it a chance. I obviously can't speak for all, but I'd rather see Frimpong back in the squad than a new signing that takes two years to fulfill his 'promise'.
What we won't accept are players that are clearly poor quality being given the chance to develop their talents in the first team. I hate to pick on the guy, but Gervinho is the most obvious example. I am of course just a fan who cannot possibly have any understanding of the game, but I find it hard to accept that a player who has no first touch and who can't even strike the ball is a professional footballer - far less a Premiership player and even further less an Arsenal player. I don't even see the fundamental skills that would have him signed as an apprentice for a non league team. (I'm reading that again thinking I shouldn't exaggerate or the effectiveness of the point will be lost, but I genuinely dont think I have done.)
As far as I'm aware Gervinho and Chamakh are the only two unproven players Arsenal fans haven't really taken to, so I'm guessing these are the promising players we won't accept. If those are the manifestation of Arsene's 'promising', then I suppose he is right. But so are we. And it's also true that there is a swathe of levels in between 'promising' and Messi which most Arsenal fans would consider an improvement to the current squad.
To suggest it's one or the other says more about the disregard Wenger has for the fans than it does about the fans themselves.
Quite A Few Of These
Using Hugo (NUFC) Adelaide's Logic that United have no chance whatsoever against Real Madrid due to being beaten by Athletic Bilbao, surely this means Inverness CT, who beat Celtic, who beat Barcelona, would be flying at the top of La Liga? Big teams up their games against the other big teams, and regardless of how strong a team is, anything can happen on the day.
Admittedly, if a first XI were chosen from both teams, it would be mostly compromised of Real Madrid players, but Fergie's United are (to use a term we're all sick of), far greater than the sum of their parts, and the tie will more than likely be extremely close!
Ryan (MUFC), Derry
...Ok this is getting ridiculous. I am referring to the argument in the mailbox, which has now taken a turn for toilet town courtesy of Hugo (NUFC) Adelaide.
You can't take individual games and use them to contrast the pedigree of teams from different leagues. You say that EPL sides are no better than the top Spanish and German sides and you use Bilbao as an example. Ok, how about this example: Chelsea.
You remember them right, they sort of beat what many regard as the best Spanish and German teams, at least the two teams that are leading their respective leagues right now, to become European Champs.
Using last year's results are pointless, using 2-leg ties is pointless. No one believes that Chelsea is a better team than Barcelona (which incidentally would mean United and even QPR are also better than Barca...), but the nature of Europe is that any team can beat another on their day.
I am not saying English football is as good as it was say 5 years ago, but that doesn't mean that United can't beat Real in a 2-legged tie, don't be daft! If we believed that then no one would watch any game cause it would be a foregone conclusion.
Manchester United are still a team with great players and a legendary manager. Whilst I am sure Fergie is very concerned by the star talent from Madrid, that doesn't stop Jose from worrying about the strike power of Rooney and Van Persie....agreed?
Steven (that feels better) Mervis
...I'm not sure if Hugo (NUFC) Adelaide gets how this comparison of leagues works. (Basically, it doesn't, such comparisons are mostly meaningless on a season by season approach, but more accurate over an extended period).
He asserts that Barca and Real are streets ahead of all Premier League sides. Which has just a couple of minor flaws. First, Barca lost to Chelsea in the final of the biggest tournament in club football, while Chelsea failed to win the league. Second, Real have been caught out by Celtic (a team that would be in mid table at best in the English league) and were almost undone by City who are not winning the league at the moment. I don't really see why that should scare us.
On record this year, Bayern are nailed on winners, being that Dortmund were the best out of them Madrid and City, but trail Bayern by a good margin in their league.
He does have a point about Bilbao though. They caught us out completely and embarrassed us, but that kind of thing can happen sometimes. Just ask Barca and Real.
Finally, if we manage to sign Fellani (the chances are good, as no one is mentioning it) then suddenly our "oh-so-weak" midfield will be a monster. At the moment, I'd say the game is 50:50.
Guy S (seriously, Ba over Sturridge? Give me a break...)
...Is this the same Real Madrid that have struggled to defeats in La Liga this year against the mighty Getafe (10th position) and Sevilla (14th position), as well as drawing at home to the 9th best team in Spain, Valencia?
Remember, you can prove anything with stats.
A Geordie On Ba
I'd just like to give a few points from a Newcastle fan's perspective on Demba Ba's exit, and the comments from the morning mailbox about Pardew's contract.
Firstly, I don't hold any ill will towards Ba for leaving. He may not have been with the club for a long time, but he has given us great service in that time. As well as the bucketloads of goals he's scored, he has always worked hard for the team, been great with the fans and genuinely seems like a nice guy to boot. Any striker of his pedigree deserves to have a chance to compete at the top level so good luck to him. Ever since his release clause had been revealed everyone has known an exit was likely, so from a Newcastle point of view it is good to get it out of the way early in the window unlike the Carroll sale where we had no chance to spend any of the cash generously donated by Liverpool.
This will be a true test of whether or not we have really 'turned a corner' in terms of running the club. Not many people, particularly Newcastle fans, will deny that Mike Ashley & Co have made mistakes, the issue is whether or not they learn from them and so far it seems to be the case that they do. The imposed director of football model and extravegant contracts handed out to players like Xisco (Sigh, yes I remember him..) led to huge losses after suffering relegation, but the response was to put a sensible and sustainable wage structure in place. After selling Andy Carroll too late to reinvest to profits, they made up for it with the summer recruitment mentioned in Minty's mail. Now having failed to build on an impressive 5th place finish last season with new signings in the summer, I hope that they will recify this with enough sensible investment this January. The early signing of Debuchy certainly looks promising, assuming it gets tied up soon that is.
Now.. Pardew's contract. Apologies if this becomes a bit of a rant but I can't be the only one bored of the financial assumptions being made about it, or the fuss over how bad our form has been since it was signed. The latter is probably a coincidence though even if it has in some way had an effect it will most likely be minimal compared to other things like injuries/suspensions (how often have Cabaye/Tiote started together, how often have young players like Santon been allowed a rest), odd tactical decisions (Shola was playing central midfield for the last 15min or so of Arsenal.. ) and other outside influences. Financially though, this is Mike Ashley we're talking about, spunking money up the wall isn't in his M.O. Pardew is reportedly one of the lowest paid manager's in the league in terms of basic wages but his contract was loaded with performance related bonuses. It's not a stretch to imagine there is a clause in the new one that says if he gets us relegated or doesn't meet a certain target then he gets a vastly reduced payoff. £10mil? If he gets £1mil I'd be surprised.
Oh, and 12 million for Sturride only for Chelsea to get Ba in for about 7? It's not hard to find an angle for a little chuckle at Liverpool's expense.
Ian, Durham (Sorry, that last part's just petty)
Minty: in reference to the potential cost of sacking Pardew the word is he has a clause that any dismissal guarantees one years wages. Admittedly without a lawyer reading the whole thing it's hard to argue that he couldn't sue for the whole term but I'd imagine Newcastle aren't as stupid as you're thinking they may be with that massive contract.
It's things like your email I love. While admittedly Liverpool are a long, long way off from challenging at the top end of the table a mid-table side they most certainly are not. Want proof? Despite having an extremely difficult opening five fixtures WITH a new manager, some new players and a crucial cog in our machine (Lucas) missing we are still only five points behind Everton; a club whom everyone is raving about being in stellar form and eight behind Spurs who apparently are one or two players away from being something "really special". Conversely our form is being described as at best patchy and at worst a result of mismanagement.
This is not the reaction, from fans of the club to the media, one would expect of a mid-table side. In fact West Brom who sit only TWO points ahead of us can barely believe their luck they are so high up the table!
It really beggars belief as a Liverpool fan all we hear is either to stop living in the past or that a club of our standing should be doing better. Make your minds up! We should be doing better and eventually we will precisely because we are not a mid-table side.
Oh and unfulfilling career? I suppose winning everything under the sun bar a league title and a mock world club tournament is a wasted career then? Good to know; he may as well throw out his two European medals and numerous domestic honours so.
Sami Magoon, Pato was regularly injured and very overrated. 12Mil is too much for most clubs to chance on a guy with the knees of Abou Diaby.
Also maybe some young players actually want to do more with their careers than sit on the Chelsea bench, maybe they want to go home to a growing economy, to the upcoming Olympics, to a wage much higher than he could have earned at the same club when AC Milan whisked him away as a lad. I think we'll be seeing a lot more Brazilian players stay put or go home and hopefully the Brazilian team will once again become ridiculously attacking, full of flare and full of players you've never heard of but can dribble passed 6 players and back heel it past Joe Hart.
Luca James Sparks
We Sh*t Ye Not
"Sunderland striker Fraizer Campbell is keen on a £7million move to Hull, where he had a successful loan spell five seasons ago"
Sorry just thought I should point out this glaring error to whoever edits your website....
...what's that? For real?
You're sh*tting me?
If Fraizer Campbell leaves Sunderland for that fee, we should cancel football. £7m? Imagine what we could do with that. How many lives could you save? Why on earth are people paying that amount for a guy who'd be very very fortunate to be worth £1m?
On Michu And Hindsight
Having read the usually excellent Mediawatch today, I noticed yet another spot in which a manager is lambasted for not taking a gamble on Michu this summer. This time Wenger was laughed at for suggesting Michu's career hadn't been up to much prior to signing for Swansea. It got me wondering what Michu's career had been like prior to his golden season with an unfancied team... well, it's not been great has it? The majority of his career in the lower leagues without scoring more than 7 in a single season hardly the sort of stuff that would have had Wenger watching him I imagine.
Now whilst he didn't cost a lot, and £2m might have been worth a gamble, Arsenal are hardly crying out for attacking midfielders and there are a number of players who've had one great season in a big league with a smaller team then failed to follow it up in the following seasons (Marcus Stewart, Roque Santa Cruz etc.)
So whilst I bet most managers in the league are kicking themselves for not signing Michu, let's not pretend that he was always going to be a surefire hit this season and that the 19 managers that didn't sign him are some how incompetent.
Chamakh, Carroll and Cole on the same team. Sigh. My thoughts are with Hammers fans worldwide.
Greg Tric,(A Bundesliga XI would beat any other XI hands down) Nairobi.
Just a small niggle with Mark Hillmans rather incendiary mail this morning, in particular the following sentence,
"Stevie mate, you've no more chance in your ultimately unfulfilling career now to win the league, and will never win the Champions league again."
Surely he meant PLAY in the Champions League again.
Carl (got the same bad feeling about West Ham I had in 2001) Oldfield, Mufc Southport
If a striker can be classed as a "False 9" or "Floating 10" can a 'keeper with a predisposition to dart off his line or go up for the occasional corner ala Jimmy Glass be described as a "False 2" or "Floating 1".
Anthony (monkey rush anyone?), Kilburn