That's the difference between him and someone like Cristiano Ronaldo - his body just isn't right. We have mails on him, Sparky, Brendan Rodgers and the Europa Lge...
Nice one UEFA, but not far enough. We have some ideas to make the Europa League better as well as more views on Wayne Rooney, Vermaelen in midfield and...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stop The Anti-Rafa Chants
I was at Stamford Bridge last night. We got what we deserved, performance wise, but what I really want to comment on was the negativity of the crowd. I'll admit, for the first few games after Di Matteo got sacked, I stood and chanted on the 16th minute like everyone else. But after the Aston Villa fans stood up and applauded Petrov on the 19th minute before Christmas, it put the whole thing in perspective, so I stopped doing it. Di Matteo didn't get Leukaemia: he got £2m and the rest of the year off!
Furthermore, Benitez, for all his faults and let's say 'history' (we all know how much Liverpool fans love history!) with Chelsea fans, isn't the worst football manager in history of the world; he has La Liga titles and a European Cup next to his name. He isn't going anywhere for the rest of the season, so suck it up. Whilst I don't expect any displays of love and affection towards the guy, the least the fans could do is stop with anti-Rafa chants and get behind the team. It doesn't matter whether "he don't care about us", he's a professional being paid to do a job, for which he has shown some ability in the past.
And as far as getting behind the team goes, chanting for Demba Ba whilst Torres is still on the pitch is not on. Torres is poor, we all know that, but whilst he is on the pitch, he should get the same support as everyone else, and at the very least you shouldn't be chanting for him to be replaced, which is just as bad as booing in my opinion. Besides, Torres wasn't the only poor player last night by any means.
The flip-side of this was the constant chanting for 'Super Frank', but it's the shame that some fans can't see the correlation between the effort Lampard puts in, and the affection shown by the crowd towards him. A little bit of unconditional love goes a long way sometimes.
M Hynes, Care Free (even more so after a pre-match Fulham Broadway Nando's: love that garlic peri-peri sauce)
Love For Michu
I'd just like to take one hot minute to wax lyrical about the demi-god that is Michu. Firstly, the man is undeniably handsome. He does not look like a professional footballer but rather a surfer-dude who wears Sarongs and makes beaded jewellery while toking on King Solomon's 'erb. Even his trademark celebration reminds me of a stoned man trying to 'hear the sea' by putting a shell to his hear. All points in his favour I reckon.
Secondly, he's a consummate finisher. Thanks to watching a smattering of La Liga highlight packages last season he has been an ever-present entity in 50 Shades of O'Shea, my fantasy football team, helping me to reach the giddying heights of 3rd in the esteemed Conor Byrne Memorial League. I've even found myself singing his name to the Rolling Stones song "Sympathy for the Devil" (pleased to Michu...hope you guessed his name) at odd moments much to my bemusement. Actually this random singing has happened before: "Carlos Vela, ela, ela" to the tune of Rihanna's Umbrella.
Finally, he plays under Messiah Laudrup at Swansea, a team that's hard not to have as your second team providing, of course, that you're not from Cardiff. Anyway, off for a cold shower-Don't know if my brain can handle thinking about Michu and Rihanna at the same time.
The Real OC (juicing at the nib in anticipation of SuperSunday), Cape Town
...After seeing yet another accomplished performance I am truly puzzled as to why no one is being linked with Michu at the moment? Is it because all the other clubs feel annoyed that they would have to be crawling, cap in hand to Swansea to pay over the odds for him? Surely his fee is sub-£20m at the moment in which case I would say.. I dunno Arsenal maybe should have a go?
That doesn't seem too much for a player who, although much of it could be down to good form, has adapted like the proverbial duck to the Premier League's fairly stagnant water. I for one would be proud if Wenger made a move for him as it would be a statement and an apology in one.
Jaz Gooner (can't be doing with Michu being the new Drogba and bullying my beloved Arsenal year in year out)
So if Danny Welbeck goes on loan to Reading, and they end up getting relegated while United win the league, would he then become the first player to both win the league and get relegated in the same season>
More Bad Ads
You surely aren't having this discussion without Blackburn Rovers ad for Venkys surely?
Michael (if the next discussion is worst football sticker of all time, I can dig out the Paninis)
...With regards to the worst football ads, I'd suggest this one starring Celtic and Korea's Cha Du-Ri. Actually I'm not sure if it's the best or worst.
In response to Chris ITFC, yes. The then greatest-goalkeeper-in-the-Manchester-area did some fantastic commercials for bacon in his prime, where he walked around dressed as a butcher (wearing his keeper-gloves obviously), played various instruments and sang a tribute to the taste of bacon.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aksrK5SaTAU and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aksrK5SaTAU
Disagreeing With Guy
By Guy S' logic (Messi taking growth hormones as a child = cheat) he ranks alongside Lance Armstrong, Ben Johnson, Dwayne Chambers and most of the East German female athletes in the 70's and 80's (allegedly).
Besides from the fact that he was a child and therefore not a professional footballer when he was taking growth hormones, they can hardly be described as performance enhancing drugs. They are usually prescribed by a certified medical practitioner for children with growth hormone deficiency or hypopituitarism which is a serious medical condition.
Is Darren Fletcher a cheat for receiving medicine to control his ulcerative colitis so he can continue his career? What about footballers with asthma who use an inhaler at half time?
There are drugs that enable you to live a normal life and there are drugs that give an unfair advantage in sport.
Simon Fitzwilliams (performance enhancing drug of choice - Lucozade Sport, gets to your thirst..FAST), Cambridge
...I'd like to take the chance to write in and respond to Guy S who has quite possibly written the biggest pile of horsesh*t I have ever had the pleasure to read in the mailbox.
Can I first clarify that Barca's offer to take care of Messi's medical bills can hardly been seen as a sweetner in the deal. Messi was severely ill and was suffering from chronic muscle problems which left him unable to play for long periods and also meant his body was unable to manage with the stress of playing football. Barca offered to pay the medical bills for Messi as his family or any other Argentinian football club could afford the costs.
Guy, if Messi had gone from 5'2 to Didier Drogba size I could maybe understand what your actually trying to get at but he hasn't. He's just an extremely gifted player who needed medical care to beat a chronic illness, moron.
...Really Guy S? really?
I'm sure I won't be the only person to bite but, Messi's growth hormones were essentially a medicine for an illness. Would you think he was cheating if he was diabetic and took insulin?
It's true that without the drugs he probably wouldn't be a professional footballer because of a lack of strength and height but neither would an asthmatic without an inhaler, everything else is down to hard work and talent.
Using an illness to try and take away from his clearly phenomenal talent is a bit churlish isn't it?
This Chap Is Annoyed
I'm not sure is it just me but could you imagine the outcry, outrage and hyperbolic clamouring that would take place if an Arsenal defender had made the two mistakes that Ivanovic made tonight. We would hear the same things rolled out like the Arsenal defence is too soft, has no leadership etc. If Per Mertesacker had comitted the two mistakes that Ivanovic committed I am afraid to imagine what would be said about him in the press and on here. I honestly don't think I'm being paranoid but even though the Arsenal defence is the 4th of 5th best in the league, any mistake our defenders make are blown out of all proportion.
Recently on RTE when analyising the Ireland vs. Germany World Cup qualifier game they pointed to Mertesacker being slow and rubbish and replayed the mistake he made for a Norwich goal last season at Carrow Road over and over again and called him an absolute liability. For some reason I doubt they would repeat the trick if Ireland were playing Serbia in pointing out Ivanovic as a weakness. It just gets really annoying and I thought you all should know.
Peter(Laudraup's hair is 2nd behind Arteta's in its perfection)
More On The City Boycott
In response to Brett 'Boycotting McDonald's by not drinking the coke-zero from my meal deal' Stirling, Zurich , does City taking over 5000 fans down midweek to the Emirates in the Carling Cup last season prove your statement that we don't have enough fans to sell out a 3000 allocation rather ridiculous? The difference was the price of the tickets. Yes some City fans have still bought tickets, but the boycott wasn't an official one. It was more of a collective coming together of fans on Twitter and Forums regarding ticket pricing.
This really is something that all fans should get behind rather than petty point scoring. City charged Southampton £51 to come to the Etihad and it cost me £50 to see City away at Carrow Road, which are both ridiculous prices. Arsenal are seeing the heat, because theirs is the most expensive away ticket and its just after Christmas and it's on TV. But all banded pricing is wrong. I know Liverpool, Chelsea, United and Arsenal have all had to put up with this for a long time.
The real issue here is that either fans can't afford to watch their team away or old and/or working class fans of successful clubs are being replaced by richer new fans, with the atmosphere suffering as a result.
I know football doesn't have the same free market economics with regard to ticket pricing, but when it is Away tickets it's even more acute. At least you can protest to *your* club if they raise prices. What can fans do if the away prices go up? The answer is what City are trying to do, and to be fair, it's got the media talking about it, so at least it's raised the profile of this issue.
In fact if you calculate the difference between £62 and £30 (assuming Arsenal charge every club that price) for 3000 fans over 19 games the revenue difference is a relatively small £1.8M. Or less than 6 month wages for Arshavin.
Why can't we have a maximum away ticket price for PL games of say £30? What is the downside to this?
Andy D, Manchester. MCFC.
...As an Arsenal member I have very little sympathy for the 'plight' of Man City's away fans. Firstly, at least you are not paying upwards of £60 a week every week to watch your team. Secondly, this is the price of success, and at least you have some, unlike us Arsenal fans! And finally, your club are mostly to blame for all this anyway, by inflating the whole world of football finances with your outrageous spending over the past 3 seasons!! Get over it.
...I'm an Arsenal supporter who attends the majority of home games. To buy a seat in my usual block on Sunday it would have cost around £75. The game is on TV and when this is added to cost of the ticket I've decided to make the short journey to my living room to watch the game instead.
Rightly so, this issue has raised various questions regarding the ticket prices for watching football in England. However, I think there's also a wider issue at play here. The fact that it's Manchester City who have raised this got me thinking about the whole reason for these ridiculous prices. Now, not for one minute am I blaming the Manchester City fans because I think this type of stand is perhaps the only way to address the problem. However, the problem, although not solely, can be hugely linked back to the way that Man City and other clubs have run themselves.
By spending upwards of £200,000 on players wages this has simply meant that other clubs, in a bid to try and keep up have looked to increase various revenue streams. One of these is ticket prices and perhaps more so than just blaming clubs for exorbitant ticket prices a closer look should be had at the hierarchies in football clubs that is pushing transfer fees, wages and ticket prices more and more out of control.
A Wee Ramble On All Ticket Prices
My local cinema does all tickets at half price on a Tuesday. Being the clever and well cultured chap that I am, I thought that a trip to the cinema on New Years Day was a good bet. Nurse the hangover and all that. Upon opening up their seating plan type thing on the interweb it was apparent that the half price offer isn't available on Bank Holidays, leading to the sale of just 12 (twelve) seats. Cue a rant from me about how silly it is for them to not want to get people through the door, 'people will buy popcorn', 'they need to turn the heating and lights on anyway!' etc.
This is the latest in a long line of personal ranting over ticket prices: the cinema, trains, the bus, the theatre (the missus likes to go...not me....honest).
Colchester United have built and moved into a lovely stadium. Only 10,000 or so seater, which will cause some of the big boys to snigger. They have been there for about 4 years now. My parents live in Colchester, so I thought 'why not go over to the Colchester Community Stadium for a match', that was until I saw the ticket prices. An adult ticket is anywhere from £18-£24. The result; an average attendance of 3,469.
3 tickets to see Southend next month for a family members Birthday have set us back nearly £60. Average attendance is 5150 in a 12392 seater stadium.
I'd much rather spend £62 a ticket to see a match contested by two of the countries finest, with some of the Worlds best players on display (admittedly most of them wearing blue) then spend £20 or so to see struggling lower league sides.
Forgive my ignorance, I don't claim to know everything about the running of a football club, and I'd be happy to be educated by any of our mailbox readers if I am missing something, but am I the only one who sees this simple solution? Lower the ticket prices, get people through the door (turnstiles) and they'll all be buying tea and beer and burgers and programmes. Kids tickets should always be less than a fiver, how can clubs hope to survive without getting a new generation of fans into the stadium?
Some of the stadia used during the Olympics football competition even closed parts of the ground because they weren't expecting to be at capacity. Why were they not giving away the spare tickets to every school in the area with a 'if you can get the schoolbuses here, we will have the seats ready' attitude. Every one of those kids would have gone there with a tenner in their pocket from their Mum and Dad ('buy yourself a programme and some sweets') and they would have left with memories of a fantastic experience, and maybe even a new love for football. Surely this would have tied into the OCC's idea of 'Legacy' and also helped local clubs in the area when those kids are old enough to spend their money on replica shirts and the like.
Matt (I'm only 27, but sometimes I feel like such a moany old man) AFC