After a disappointing end to his three years at Real Madrid, could Jose Mourinho struggle to bring immediate success if he completes his anticipated return to Chelsea?
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...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I Don't Wanna Be The Bad Guy No More
As a Chelsea supporter ahead of tonight's game against Swansea, I'm facing a bit of a dilemma: part of me is secretly (well, not so much anymore) hoping we don't win the tie. This has nothing to do with spiting Benitez or disdain for the League Cup, but rather Bradford's sensational progression to the final last night.
I'm tired of us being the bad guys. If we got to the final, I genuinely don't know if I could watch. Of course I want us to win trophies, but somehow celebrating if we were to beat the Bantams would just make us seem even more soulless than ever. Particularly after cheering that they made it so far. But at the same time, I can't actively will my own team to lose. Though I guess I kind of already am...
Of course, this is all pointless speculation anyway, since Swansea will probably tear us a new one.
Mimi (Mata, will you marry me?) CFC, London
For all the doom and gloom around football. With all the sniping about money, greed, racism, loyalty and the such like, can't we all, just for once sit back and say: "A 4th division team have made it to a cup final." Let that sink in, 4th division. They knocked out my team at full strength, they knocked out other teams. They beat premiership opposition over two legs, so didn't fluke it. I hate to say the old cliché, but that is the magic of the cup.
So screw the rest, congrats Bradford, you earned it, and I would love you to win it.
John Matrix AFC
A Good Point
So some Villa fans want to sack their current manager -- a man who delivered back-to-back promotions from the third tier at his last club before keeping that side in the PL in his first season -- for the recently sacked Nigel Adkins, who delivered back-to-back promotions from the third tier at his last club and was on course to keep them in the PL in his first season. Why's that, exactly?
Angry At Fellow Fans
First off, congratulations Bradford, genuinely hope you go on and win the Cup, it's a monumental effort to knock 3 Premier League teams out, Phil Parkinson looks a good, good manager.
Season ticket holder of 20 years, travel up from London for every game, it saddens me to see us at the bottom of the league with all these troubles, last night was no doubt embarrassing, but the thing I find most embarrassing every home game are a big section of the "Supporters". I don't doubt we have problems, but the poisonous, toxic atmosphere at Villa Park when the chips are down is horrid. The fans were brilliant last night in general....until we conceded. I'm sick as the next guy at the amount of set piece goals we have conceded over the last 3 seasons (yes it's really been going on that long), but the way the fans turn and abuse their own is ridiculous.
The treatment of Barry Bannan last night was completely uncalled for, I'm of the school where booing someone who is wearing your shirt is not on. As soon as we let in a goal the players become scared of making a mistake, the fans' negative atmosphere transcends onto the pitch. If the fans maybe just once got behind the side when we went a goal down, they might just see a turn around.
Lambert being sacked is not the answer, he is a talented, young manager who is learning the hard way at the moment, much like the younger players.
Sometimes you get what you deserve, and last a lot of the people in the ground got just that, they don't deserve to support this great Club.
Daniel Bardell ( Still behind the manager and the players) Sutton/London
Any Money On?
After Greece's improbable Euro 2004 victory I've always though "I bet some patriotic Greek with more money than sense stuck £20 on them to win". Don't quote me but I hear they were 200-1 at the start to lift the trophy.
So, in light of long odds and fairy tale endings...show of hands Bradford fans - who's got the bookies by the nadgers if you win the final?!
Simon (hope we're there to rain big blue droplets all over your parade) CFC
No Excuses Left For Pardew
Now that Newcastle are making all of the signings Alan Pardew has asked for and that players are coming back from injury, he will no longer have any excuses left.
*He won't be able to use them to cover up why the defence has a shocking lack of any organisation whatsoever.
*He won't be able to use them to avoid explaining why the attack is void of any ambition, especially at home, in getting in behind teams and going out to get the win rather than just try and fall over the line.
*He won't be able to use them to mask the fact that this is the best squad he has ever worked with as a manager. and ever will once he leaves, and is without doubt stronger than last seasons. Remember Cisse, Ben Arfa, Anita, Marveaux and Santon weren't even in the team for one reason or another for the first 4 months of last season.
*He won't be able to use them to lie about what formation he uses and how it has contributed to our dire season up to this point.
*He won't be able to use them to weasel his way out of explaining why he continuously plays players out of position, who are not performing in any way, but yet has no intention of changing this unexplainable issue. I'm thinking of you Jonas.
*He won't be able to use them to cover up his own monumental failure as a manager who has overseen a group of players, jam packed of quality internationals, be embarrassed by being forced to play hoofball tactics and find themselves in the company of Championship players in a relegation fight. When they should be left to play proper football and challenge the top 6 like they should be.
...although saying all of this. The Europa League starts again next month so he may have something to hold onto after all when Newcastle's season fails to change in any way shape of form.
"The Europa League is killing us". No Alan, the Europa League has been the perfect platform for our fringe players to get competitive games in which they did well, as the Premier League players got the night off ready for the weekend.
"My complete lack of any strategy, organisation or ambition is killing us" would be the correct thing to say.
Vive Le Revolution! Vive Le Toon!
There is a great little segment on the Liverpool website called "The Tennis Ball Challenge." Players have to do as many keepy ups with the tennis ball as possible. Current leader is Jordan Henderson with 77 which was a bit of a turn up for the books (Suarez only has 19). It got me thinking about who is the best at those sort of things in the prem and then got me thinking about Aussie Rules Grand Final Day. Each year they have a player from each club not involved in the final come down on final day compete in a sprint.
I would love to see something similar for FA Cup Final day. Have it in the run up to the match, each prem team sends a player for a sprint comp (walcott v bale would be awesome), a keepy uppy comp and target competition or something. Winner take all. It would be something for the fans to come down early for and really make a full day of the final plus i'm sure a few players would like to get some bragging rights over some other players
Any idea who i'd get in touch with in the FA to put my idea forward?
Brian, LFC, Ireland
(I think Bale would have him)
re; Andrew English
Much as I agree, deeply, about Pogba (although his hair cut is bloody stupid), why is it that Cleverley seems to have inherited the mantle of Andy Cole, Gary Neville and Michael Carrick as the ludicrously under-rated United player the rest of the league laughs at?
Sorry for bringing the whole diving thing back but I was playing football last night and everything became crystal clear to me.
Diving is perfectly acceptable.
Diving is a retaliation to every push in the back a defender gives you as you jump for a header, every time he's snapping at your heels, every time he uses his arms to knock you off balance with the ball, every time he pulls you back or cynically fouls you once he's beaten. All these things, like diving can be punished if you make them obvious yet go unnoticed by the official when you do them well. It's just another skill set. When a defender employs one of the many cheats above it's seen as him 'applying good pressure' or some other Townsend-esqu guff but when an attacking player cheats to get an edge over his opponent he's the anti Christ.
Luca James Sparks (I don't expect anyone other than my fellow strikers to understand)
On Liverpool Brains
Just read Paul Little's article about Dr Peters and his effect on the mentality within the Liverpool camp. Very good read and highlighted the successes he'd had with the GB Cycling Team.
However, I do have to add that it wasn't just his work with cyclists that led Rodgers and the backroom staff to bring him on board. That would actually be a result of his work with Craig Bellamy.
Bellamy had started to consult Dr Peters to try and get the best out of his game a few years back. It would come as no surprise to anyone that Bellamy has had his fair share of issues that have affected his game (namely his first stint Liverpool) and sought help to improve this.
Peters saw a man that didn't feel he could succeed, that believed he shouldn't be allowed to succeed. No matter what you think of Craig Bellamy, you can't disagree with the fact that Dr Peters did amazing work as Bellamy really impressed with City and Liverpool under his care.
He did such a good job Liverpool actually asked him what he'd done to him. This eventually led to him being brought on board in his current capacity.
Turns out shrinks are good for you. Who knew?
Kris, LFC, Manchester