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.
It's A Shame About Colin
Firstly: having heard so much about Neville's analysis - can Sky do some kind of catch up around it? Half the time I'd rather watch his contribution to Monday Night Football rather than the match.
Secondly: I know that Colin Murray wasn't a hugely popular appointment to Match of the Day 2, but if the news of him being removed are true I'll be disappointed. His style is fairly jovial, but he also uses it to push people and doesn't constantly toe a party line. Fighting Talk on 5 Live is a very enjoyable show, in which he demonstrates a great passion for and knowledge of a wide range of sports while allowing guests to voice their genuine opinions. It's not as controversial and against the grain as it likes to make out, and neither is it a place for tactical dissection, but it gives honest assessments, and he takes his. His ability to cover several sports for the Beeb demonstrates this too. I'm admittedly not the world's biggest darts expert, but I always enjoy his hosting on that.
What sticks out for me is the Mail's claim that Alan Hansen apparently took serious issue with Murray criticising players, claiming he should leave that to the pros. This for me shows the closed shop, old boy's club nature of the BBC's football coverage now. Their best pundit, Lee Dixon, got sick of it and moved to ITV - who now have the best regular panel in Dixon, Southgate and Keane, and it would be great to see Linekar hosting them every Saturday night.
Gary Neville has raised the yardstick of punditry on Sky, but even before he got the main gig there was a change in the air. I felt that Jamie Redknapp improved after the sackings of Keys and Gray, he seemed to do more research and not fall back on so many cliches. The complacency left. The trouble with BBC's coverage isn't the hosts, it's the pundits who fail to offer anything beyond bland plaudits and stating the obvious. And they are the ones who need the safety net removing.
Will Donovan, North London, THFC
...Poor Colin Murray. Another victim of questioning the ex-pro network at the BBC and he's paid the price with his job. The Beeb in their infinite wisdom have replaced him with Mark Chapman - a man who amongst his sins of sharing a name with the scumbag who killed John Lennon and being a United fan, is referred to as 'Chappers'. Chappers! Say that again. In Danny Dyer's voice. It's just this sort of 'ey up, working class, merked bruv' nickname coupled with Chapman's refusal to question the knowledge experts such as Hansen et al that has seen him cement his position in the coveted MOTD 2 presenting slot.
Well, because the national broadcaster turned its back on the national sport a LONG time ago.
The truth is they picture their audience as a bunch of Danny Dyer wannabes and think that Hansen, Shearer and all the other 'say something while saying nothing' experts are fonts of knowledge.
The truth is if the Beeb actually cared about their audience they would give James Richardson the job in the morning and they would populate the panel with experts - people who actually know about new developments in football, who are passionate about the game and who aren't just living off past glories. They would give their audience a bit of respect and assume that they have some intelligence and can understand such wild concepts as 'formations' or 'new tactical approaches'. The truth is they don't. That's why they get rid of anyone who doesn't toe the party line. That's why we're stuck with Chappers.
MOTD v MNF
Whilst I certainly can't argue with the proclamation that the Neviller is an outstanding pundit, it is somewhat unfair to compare him to the likes of Shearer and Hansen as they do slightly different jobs.
MOTD is a Saturday night effort on terrestrial that caters to casual fans and is funded by the public, whether they like it or not. As a result, it will be watered down to reflect the viewership. This contrasts to Neviller on a sports subscription channel, 30 minutes before what are often unappealing games to the 'casual fan'. The analysis has to be more detailed as the viewership is likely more informed than those that have stuck MOTD on after the X Factor finishes.
There's also the fact that MOTD is on air approximately five hours after the 3pm games finish, even less than the 5.30pm game, so this must be contrasted to Neviller's MNF where he has had a whole weekend to work on his case. It's probably not a co-incidence that Hansen's once very good analysis has fallen off with the increase in popularity of the Premier League and MOTD going from having a few 'feature' games, and just showing the goals of the rest of the games, meaning he had more time to analyse the games that would be spotlighted.
Obviously, his breakdown during HT and FT of live games shows that even considering all this the Neviller is the better pundit, and personally I prefer MNF but there are too many factors to consider to compare the jobs they do given the circumstances.
I have to ask Rowan, Red Devil Dub if he has actually watched us play in the last year and a half or if he still bases his views on the younger less consistent Jonny Evans? His mistakes have been few and far between this year, and I don't remember thinking recently that we have lost or drawn a game because of him. If I am wrong then someone can enlighten me.
Rowan compares him to some of the greats we have had over the last two decades including Bruce (26), Pallister (24), Johnson (27), Berg (28), Stam (26), Ferdinand (23) and Vidic (24) - the numbers in brackets show what age those players were when they signed for United. Is he suggesting that these defenders were/have been infallible and have never made a costly error? I don't think I'd be wrong to state that they found their greatest consistency around the age of 27/28. However, Jonny has only just turned 25 and has improved immensely over the last 18 months. His defending and positional sense will continue to improve. He also scores important goals and his distribution is excellent at times - he brings the ball out well and can hit a raking 60 yard cross-field pass with pinpoint accuracy.
As Rowan said himself, he probably has the ability to become very good. If Vidic and Rio can play every game then so be it, if not then Jonny is more than capable of filling in when needed. And by the time either of them leave or retire we shall see what level his game is at; although, if he continues to improve at the rate he has done then don't be surprised if he displaces one of them before then. I'll not get carried away and state that he will definitely make that position his own, but by the same token let's not write him off just yet.
Yes this has been a relatively poor defensive season thus far; but to suggest it is because Evans has played regularly is just a fallacy. Should we just forget about last season when he was a regular and only City conceded less goals? I'd give my own reasons as to why we have conceded more this season, but I have rambled on enough. Remember Rowan, Sir can spot a decent centre-half (with the exception of William Prunier).
Gary Vance, MUFC
De Gea > Valdes
All this talk about David De Gea leaving Manchester United is just getting out of hand now. Every daily gossip column is filled with rumours of his possible departure to Barcelona or Real Madrid and then his possible replacements are lauded by the press. So far I have seen Pepe Reina, Iker Casillas and Asmir Begovic touted as replacements, however, today the rumours went too far when Victor Valdes was named as a potential successor to De Gea. Valdes is possibly one of the most overrated goalkeepers ever to walk onto a football pitch. I've watched him play for Barcelona countless times and I've never been impressed by the guy and I have often wondered why Barca have never invested in a solid keeper.
I highly doubt De Gea will be replaced due to a few errors in his game which can be rectified with some extra hours with the goalkeeping coaches, plus, I believe he will develop into a solid all round keeper.
If United were to bring in Valdes (mostly gossip I know) then they would be bringing in a 30-year-old who is even more unpredictable than De Gea.
I imagine this entire mailbox will be directed at bashing your head in, and I'd like to contribute.
Please take your pole and dip it in some other sport, maybe Aussie Rules Football (unless there is a Kiwi version). You sir are not a football fan, and I'm not sure you can even be classed as a plastic. That's low.
Divorce is unacceptable in football. One does not just give up on ones team and choose another, muppet! Here are your two options:
1. Completely give up on football and never watch another match.
2. Go down the polygamy route. Continue to support your team, but choose a second (third, fourth, etc.) team to appreciate when you're not watching your first team.
For the second option, there are a number of rules that I haven't completely sorted out yet, but the main rule is supporting your primary team over your secondary team.
I've probably wasted my time composing this email anyway...
Bobby FW (One new Manyoo fan coming right up!) SAFC and LFC
...In light of your email I've decided I would also like to make some changes in my life. I've decided I would like to change my nationality (I fancy being Spanish today), religion (let's give Buddhism a try), and I'm not crazy about my height (I think I'll become 6 foot 2 tomorrow).
In case you're wondering that was an analogy as to how for most fans their club is part of their very being and not something we can switch on and off at a whim (since you like analogies so much!).
Lazarus (draw the line at changing my sexuality though).
...I'm a Liverpool fan, I don't want you anywhere near my club with that attitude, and your analogy was ludicrous. If we all changed clubs like we did women then Jack at my work would have gone through the entire 92 clubs in the league and probably moved onto La Liga and Serie A by now.
My suggestion, just change the sport completely preferably where there are hot women involved at least you'll have valid reasons for changing teams otherwise you just come across as a bit of a lightweight, disloyal and without a backbone, the kind of guy who would run away if his mate got jumped rather than fight with him.
I'd like to flip that analogy on you, your club isn't the GF you left but the wife you gained - together for life and through thick and thin...not for a wet finger behind the bike shed at school.
Ash, LFC (grow some balls)
...The fact that you've decided to drop your team because they're having a tough time kind of speaks volumes.
I'll try to put it in terms you might understand: it's like dumping a girlfriend because she's put on some weight. All the other girls have seen how you treated her and don't want you and now she doesn't want you back.
Might I suggest you follow American Football or something. They seem to be more like the swingers group you are after.
Now p*** off.
Romesh the gooner
...So let me get this straight. Your top-six football club that you randomly support from 4,000 miles lost 2-1 to the champions of Europe, and your dumping them for another team? I suggest a) Find another sport or b) Become a Blackburn fan. We would love to be 6th in the PL, have bags of money and have champions league football. As it is, we have chicken farmers as owners, a 'global advisor' that advises us to hire dodgy managers, relegated from the Premiership, fans who won't turn up to the games and are a laughing stock. Want to swap? No, thought not.
...I met my wife when we were 17. We had a passionate but fleeting affair for all of one month because she dumped me. Apparently I was too boring (ha!) and I drove too fast. Eight years ago, and after playing the field (far too much for my liking - slag), we bumped into each other again. I had always remained in love with her, even to the extent that I showed a photograph of her to an intermediate girlfriend and said 'here, that's who I'd dump you for'. We hooked up again and within two years were married (now with two children in case you ask).
I guess my point is, Snelly you are a moron and your wife will probably leave you if you are that shallow.
Yesterday, a Manyoo fan in the mailbox was ridiculed as being what is wrong with modern football. Snelly, Nelson, NZ is another excellent example of this phenomenon. You want to change your team because they are not very good? If we all did that, then everyone would support Man Utd. I live in Surrey so you'd think that had already happened, but it really hasn't.
Even Stewie Griffin still pretends to be an Arsenal fan for goodness sake. Snelly needs to hang his head in shame and no amount of analogising will hide that.
On the plus side, as an Arsenal that has been around since before the Premier League, I'd be glad to be shot of him. Enjoy your new addition Man Utd fans!
Adonis (disillusioned by my team but Arsenal till I die) Stevenson, AFC
...I feel like I should rush to the defence of Arsenal as Snelly's eyes wander, but I couldn't care less. More than that, I hope there are more people like him - ideally some of the toxic pr*cks that seemingly turn up to games just to abuse the players.
Arsenal are a club in need of many things, and a purge is one of them. A purge of the international fans that the board can court at the expense of lifelong domestic fans, a purge of the anti-supporters that make the Emirates the confidence drain it can be, and a purge of the owner who is most likely intent on reaping the benefits of tv and commercial deals with moderate investment.
We can scream for the removal of the manager and overhaul of the squad but while we're saddled with a parasitic owner and some of the c***iest fans in sport - whether they're in New Zealand or sat behind me for every European and FA Cup game (if we progress any further, I might be forced to commit murder) - we, quite honestly, have some even more fundamental issues to deal with.
So Snelly, don't let the door hit your arse on the way out.
Come And Support Spurs...
Many years ago I faced a similar problem to Snelly. The difference is that I didn't really support anyone before, I just decided that I should choose someone!
My weekly football fix had previously been served up by Channel 4's Football Italia and in the early 90s that meant Milan! Now I needed someone who was a little closer to home.
I wanted a club who were well run, played attractive football and one whom for supporting I would not be called a 'glory hunter'.
Thus, Snelly, I suggest you depart your sinking ship and join the fun bus down the road to Tottenham. Do an anti-Sol and come and enjoy the never-a-dull-moment madness of your former arch rivals!
Otherwise, I hear that Del Piero is doing well down under, maybe find something closer to your own timezone!
Snelly, Nelson, NZ, believe me, as a Chelsea fan for 31 years and 6 months there have been some testing moments in our relationship, but I can't imagine my life without her.
Perhaps I have found my wife, as stressful as she can be.
I must admit to admiring glances to other fancies from time to time, but that's all it will ever be.
Those fancies, well...
- West Brom and Swansea. This pair of beauties are up there on my list for their lovely display of freedom and abandon;
- Fulham. Although a neighbour of my wife and I, this lady works tirelessly to be family centric and appears dependable; and lastly...
- Everton. There's a fire in her belly, she can look lovely at times, she's understated, she goes about her business in a proper manner and perhaps most importantly she has an utter hatred for the nasty skank across the river.
I hope this shortlist has helped you Mr Snelly. God speed in your search for a new bit of fluff. I hope you find happiness.
@Ch3dd3r5 (I heart Oscar, London)
...In response to Snelly, Nelson, NZ, I was actually talking to my brother about this the other day, albeit in a slightly different context. His question to me was "If City didn't exist anymore and you had to support another Premier League club, who would you choose?"
My answer, without doubt was 'Wigan Athletic'.
My reasoning is that they remind me of everything City used to be before we were taken over and given a big pot of gold and hope...
Struggling by each season, a friendly and charismatic manager (although we had several), chairman who can't keep his nose out (e.g: like Swales & Lee), relegation battles, the relief and joy when you eventually win after a 5+ match losing streak, players who lack ability but care about the club, even down to the crap kits that you like anyway!
The only difference is the lowish average crowds at Wigan, compared to City who still regularly reeled in 30k+ in the old second division (With occasional exceptions, I admit!).
...And nobody will ever accuse you of being a glory supporter, you'll experience almost every single emotion following a club like Wigan, just like me and my brother have supporting City for the last 20+ years!
Or you could just follow Man United and be dead behind your eyes for the rest of your life.
I hope no Wigan supporters feel disrespected by this...that isn't my intention.
Rob Preston, MCFC
Go Local, Man...
Snelly, Nelson, NZ probably doesn't want this answer, but the only acceptable choice of club to abandon Arsenal for is his local club. My research shows that Nelson, NZ is a 35-minute flight away from Wellington, where the Wellington Phoenix plays. It is probably possible to fly in and fly out on the same day, without needing overnight accommodation. It's a new club and could use as much support as it can get.
Otherwise, what's the point of abandoning Arsenal for someone else, who will also go through a massive eight years without winning a trophy (probably finishing below fourth from time to time, unlike Arsenal)? You'll just end up jumping ship to a more successful club in a few years time. This means you would need to support a club who has little chance of failing to win a trophy (United/Real/Barca/Bayern pretty much).
But really, what's the point of pretending you are a football supporter when you are willing to change clubs? Why can't you just watch football on TV without pretending to have an 'allegiance' to a club that you will inevitably give up when the times are rough?
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva, Switzerland
Is Pogba That Brilliant?
I had this discussion with a fellow United fan yesterday, we agree that Fergie should have tried harder to keep Pogba especially after all the trouble we went through to get him in the first place. Of course he pointed to Pogba's two-goal performace at the weekend. However maybe he pulled a Morrison and wanted United to break the wage structure for him, and we all see how this has turned out for Ravel so far.
Also has Pogba made a champions league appearance for Juventus yet?? If he's that amazing he should have started all six group games for them.
Finally, Michael Bradley who was utter garbage at Aston Villa looked great for Chievo and now looks great at Roma, so maybe, just maybe the standards in Serie A are not that high overall.
James, MUFC, Bermuda (I hope Wells scores again tonight vs Villa)
Newchâteau Has Some Fans
Whoever came up with Newcastle's new name should be awarded a knighthood. Love the name Newchâteau, could not stop laughing while picturing Mike Ashley sitting on his throne with Pardew in his jester cap while all the players are dressed in that ridiculous 16th century French outfits as worn by Eric Cantona in some movie which I couldn't really care to look up, BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!
C (I am sure some UTD fan will point out the name of the movie for me)