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
Where Do You Hate Going?
Seeing as its a Friday...
It's Scottish League Cup semi-final weekend (stop laughing!) which this year means a trip to Hampden for St Mirren and Celtic. The discussion in the office concluded that everyone hates going to Hampden. The combination of bad view, terrible location and general rubbishness was echoed by all parties.
With this in mind, my question to the esteemed contributors is - Which (rival) ground do you dislike visiting the most? And why?
Craig ( this trips to hampden for league game are particularly bad) RFC Glasgow
What Happened To Bacary Sagna?
Re. Hoges email about Sagna's ability to repel the ball before it's passed to him.
Granted, Arsenal have been generally sloppy this season, but to blame their passing in general on his absolutely shocking form is just wrong.
I've never seen a player become so crap so quickly in such a short space of time. He can't control the ball. His crossing is woeful, just terribly bad. He's forgotten how to tackle. I'm surprised he can still remember how to run. By far, the stand out worst performer for Arsenal this season.
I don't know what's wrong with him. Maybe he's lost his heart, or he's just turned crap. Either way, I'm past caring now. Thanks for your services. Please leave this summer and make way for Jenkinson.
Kiraldo (and I was annoyed with him when he decided to leave my FIFA team a few months back)....
What Makes A Good Goalie?
Watching that Scott Carson howler will bring back some really bad memories for Baggies fans. Carson was perhaps one the worst goalkeepers to ever grace the Premier League. In nearly 3 years at the Albion he made one memorable save (in a 2-1 win against Liverpool) and gave a goal away nearly every week. So many times I have I witnessed him standing there with his hands on his hips looking mystified as he has thrown yet another goal into his net. He used to make me so angry and I am glad he is safely locked away in Turkey and that we now have the fabulous Ben Foster. He is fabulous. Truly tremendous.
However the fact that Carson was ever allowed to become a professional just shows how little is known about what makes a good goalkeeper. De Gea is a case in point. Any fool can make the odd tremendous save by throwing their body around. Good goalkeeping is all about technique. Since January how many goals have Man Utd conceeded where De Gea has parried directly out to a striker. Getting to the ball anybody can do, disposing of it safely i.e. to the side requires technique. De Gea is not and never will be a good goalkeeper just like Carson because ultimately they have no technique.
David Seaman was a brilliant goalkeeper. More often than not he did not need to make a brilliant saves because his technique and positioning was so good that he was in the right place. Yes there were a couple of errors (Nayim & Ronaldinho) but even the best will get it wrong occasionally. Joe Hart is a quality goalkeeper and yes his arrogance may have led to a couple of errors this season. But, a good keeper must be arrogant, to be able to stay calm, hold the ball and have the belief that if they come off their line they are going to get the ball.
There is way to much ignorance even from the media about goalkeeping. The wrong skills have been valued. Best goalkeepers I have seen:
Russell Hoult, David Seaman, Ben Foster, Jussi Jasskeleinen, Brad Friedel, Petr Cech, Andy Goram, Shay Given,Nigel Martyn. All a certain type and please do notice why I left Schmeichal off that list. Overrated and actually has a lot to answer for with standard of many current goalkeepers. Even Schmeichal fans would describe him as un-orthodox.Well a good keeper can't be un-orthodox because good keeping is about technique. Schmeichal was lucky to play with people Gary Neville who were always there to whack the ball away after it had bounced randomly off him. Kasey Keller who was a far better keeper, would make save after save only for one to bounce off him and for no defender to be there to clear. If Schmeichal would have played for Leicester or Southampton he would have been found out for the sub par keeper he really was.
Ben (I could have included Alan Miller and Stuart Naylor in my good keeper list) Baggie. Still laughing at the Villa.
Zaha: Not The Man?
I'd rather have bought Isco or James Rodriguez. Even Viktor Fischer or Alen Halilovic, if real youth were required.
Hate to say it, but Zaha looks an awful lot like a cheap-and-cheerful version of a Champions League quality attacking midfielder.
On a similar theme to Jack in Manchester about Berbaflop on the BBC, I'd advise people to take great care with spreading Football365 and football forum culture to the outside world.
Last year, against my better judgement, I ventured on to the Daily Mail website to read a heartwarming story about a girl with no legs, who bravely battled back against illness to gain a place on her school football team.
In the comments section, I asked the question I presumed would have been on everyone's lips:
"A truly inspirational story, but could she do it on a wet Tuesday night at Stoke?"
Hundreds red arrows and messages of hate followed. Most probably all deserved.
Jamie (Never Again) Doherty
I hate to point out the obvious but yes, Arsenal have underperformed over the past eight years or so and yes our former players have gone on to win stuff with other clubs.
You may have missed this but Arsenal have a bloody great stadium to pay for.
We have a stadium to pay for and have a debt but then so do United and every season we are farther down the road of clearing that date so I'm afraid there's bugger all chance of Wilshere following so called Arsenal fan Robin Van Persie.
Sorry to burst your bubble
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Earliest reference I can find to Berbaflop was a Spurs fan http://spurs.theoffside.com/team-news/dimitar-berbatov-you-prick.html (understandably) annoyed after a summer of Berbatov batting eyes and making pretty at potential suitors.
More interesting was Jol's quote in the piece "Gifted, yes. But he is not a fighter. Perhaps you need others who are fighters to balance out the team"... Astute observation from the Dutchman.
Sam (wishes we'd have spent the 30m on Bale), Sydney
Mike, Chelsea, based in Auckland you're wrong about a lot of those players. I'd love to know what you're criteria for success of flop is because frankly I find the following from your list of flops a bit puzzling; Pogba young player who left the league to get more regular football hardly a glittering failure, Deschamps 1 year at the end of his career won an FA Cup wouldn't call him a resounding failure, Barthez 2 Premier Leagues in four years and overall some good performances while the United GK jersey was still a poisoned chalice from memories of Schmeichel, Dacourt was a fans favourite at Leeds where his performances established him the French team and only left because of a falling out with Venables, Koscielny inconsistent yes and prone to brain farts but he has had a good Premier League so far
I could question a few other 'flops' you've listed based on age, your clear dislike of Arsenal players. I would question however why the players I've listed above are considered flops as opposed to players like Franc Quedrue (mid table journey man), Giles Grimandi (pretty average) Flamini (one really good season) who are 'hits'. If you're going to list off who's been a success or not gage how long they lasted, the level they played at or the trophies they won. Don't just base their success in the English game on whether you like them or not. Oh and Stéphane Sessegnon is from Benin. Not born there and plays for France. Was born in Benin and plays for Benin. You could have at least bothered your hole paying attention to the nationality listing seeing as you were on Wikipedia any way instead of lazily going with 'sounds French must be French'.
You said your selection was biased but forgot to forewarn us it was idiotic .
On a constructive note if we're going to base this on success rate then the best contenders are countries with relatively few. Here's some of the best (success rate in brackets are surely)
Zimbabwe (100%); Benjani Mwaruwari, Bruce Grobbelaar, Peter Ndlovu
Oman (100%); Ali Al Habsi
Just a small, pedantic point, in response to MagnumPIG (£10m on Coutinho is a waste however)
The reason the likes of Benfica and Porto pick up steals from South America and sell them on for huge profits is probably actually to do with work permit regulations. Exciting stuff huh?
In short, our regulations here are much stricter than in some other European countries. Another mailboxer may be able to tidy this up with exact figures, but I believe that for someone outside the EU to qualify for a work permit, they need to have played in a certain number of internationals, or an 'exceptional case' may be made for a player on appeal, usually involving a manager appearing before the Depratment for Work and Pensions, dropping to his knees and begging.
In Portugal, these rules are a lot looser, and the presence of a Portuguse great great grandparent may help swing it too. I think British clubs know about some of these players, but the combination of language, culture and immigration rules mean Portugal (and Holland) are seen as better proving grounds for young South American talent before they take the next step to the 'big leagues'.
Conrad Wiacek, MUFC
Adam Shortland. It costs a significant amount of money to televise a football match, and typically television execs., sponsors, clubs, players, et al. all want to achieve the highest possible ratings, and present the best possible spectacle, when a match is televised. Unfortunately, in a milieu in which the FA Cup is widely broadcast abroad (no idea why, it's a joke of competition), that therefore guarantees that matches including United/Chelsea/Arsenal/City etc., particularly when against decent PL opposition, will be televised. It's in the interests of all concerned parties, and present a much better advert for English football than watching a lower league team defend desperately, hoof the ball, and try and score a scrappy goal, on a crap pitch against superior opposition.
...Could Adam Shortland in this morning's mailbox please let me know how to watch the Arsenal game this weekend, cos I'm pretty bloody sure it's not on telly. It's also a potential cup upset, which simultaneously backs-up and destroys his argument: if it was on telly it would be the kind of banana-skin tie he wants to watch. But it's not.
...I agree with Adam Shortland about televised FA Cup matches. Man United have had their last 37 FA Cup ties televised. Yep, 37. In a row. This weekend makes it 38.
Even as a Liverpool fan, this is in no way the fault of United, but of the appeal to the masses scheduling methodology. Broadcasters bang on about, "The magic of the cup" yet refuse to show it. In fact, United's last non-televised match was against Exeter which is exactly the sort of game that should be shown!
Lee (as long as it's not on ITV though) LFC
We were in Tenerife having a meal and the guy responsible for the bill was the spitting image of Ronald Koeman, he was Belgian so the flemish accent only enhanced the restaurant owners belief that here was the guy who had scored the winning goal at Wembley for his beloved Barcelona delivering their first ever European Cup win, he couldn't have been more excited!
The guy, lets call him Jacques, happily posed for photographs and signed autographs, talked about what a great moment it was for him and how much he loved his time at Barca. He graciously accepted the complimentary bottle of wine and liquors that followed.
Then the bill arrived and he sheepishly turned to me and said "can you get this, I can't ruin this mans evening and the story he'll tell for years by handing him my credit card with Jacques DeClerq on!", knew I shouldn't have ordered the Chateaubriand!
Howard (and we didn't get the business!) Jones
...In response to Phil Pearce in Thursdays mailbox...
I too have an unexpected recognition story resulting in a random persons embarrassment. Unfortunately it's nobody of such great standing as the greatest Ginger Ninja of all time.
Afew years ago my favourite great uncle passed away, and had the brainwave of making me executor of his estate because he deemed me to be the next 'man of the family'...being only in my twenties, when it came time to go through probate, I found myself attending the meetings with my mum as she had a clue what it was all about, and i was the obvious clueless idiot...
Being in Manchester city centre early on the day all the forms were being finalised, we decided to pop for a coffee in one of those 'poncey sofas n armchairs style rip off coffee establishments'. While mum settled her arse in a purple Chesterfield, I did the honours and got mugged for 2 mochas. While stood there all suited n booted with the added suave of black leather jacket (not my usual daytime attire so was feeling unusually cool), I noticed my mam pissing herself in the corner. Once coffees were purchased and my wallet suitably lightened I went to find out what the joy was about on this sombre day. Turns out she'd been observing some poor woman wandering past, spot me from behind in the queue, freeze, dive into her bag for her phone and ring her fella/dad/son/male friend. Through the medium of lip reading mum observed this conversation...
'Hi it's me, no no shush listen. I'm on Deansgate n I've just seen ******* ****** in a coffee shop, I'm looking at him now...no honest I am!!...OK, what shall I say?...OK, yes I've got a pen...ok I'll ask...yes it's definately him!!...OK I'll ring you back.'
Blissfully unaware I'm still queueing for my expensive hot chocolate, apparently she got through the door and within a few steps of nervously tapping me on the shoulder, then I stepped forward and placed my order. Apparently the realisation of my mancunian accent not bring the expected French stopped her from actually making me aware she was stalking me for an autograph...the moment of my half turn, to look at mum laughing she retreated,silently, with a face turning beetroot and quickly scurried off outside...I sauntered over to have my cool destroyed forever, my mum was laughing because I'd been mistaken, from behind in my defence, for the handsome ladykiller that is.... Fabien Barthez :-( the shame
Jeff, Manchester MUFC
...In response to Phil Pearce email the other day about dooplegangers, I was at the villa/Bradford game on Tuesday just gone. Just got into the ground, waiting just past the tunstiles for my mates.
A little kid and his dad passed me, and then lad looked up excitedly and said to his dad 'is that Alan Hutton?
Thankfully his dad put him right straight away but I was absolutely gutted.
Of all the big bald blokes, over all the sh*t footballers, it had to be him. Alan Bloody Hutton!
This very much set the tone of the night for me.
Alex (RIP AVFC) Sheedy
So, according to Steven Howard no-one would be stupid enough to call their son 'Drew Peacock'? (Mediawatch, Fri 25/1)
Perhaps this little chap has just picked a team and learned to write rather early.
...Cheers Mediawatch, appears I've achieved fame at last! Just wait til The Sun hears about my mates Ivan O'Toole, Dick Palmer, Don Kiddick and my long lost cousin Buttplug McReacharound.
Drew Peacock - MUFC, Manchester
We Like To Make It Hard For You...
What's the story with the quiz lads?
Trying to make us all feel stooopid? Or is it just me that only managed to answer 5! Jeez!!!
John Whelan, Dublin
I just stumbled across your article where Iniesta discusses Victor Valdes' decision not to renew his contract with Barcelona. My eyes were immediately drawn to one quote in particular however:
"He's overcome difficult moments and has won five Zamoras (trophy given to the goalkeeper with the lowest goals-to-game record in the Primera Division)."
I think I see what they did there...
Chris (MUFC) Barnet