The afternoon mailbox has plenty more views on the fixture list. Plus, a sublime piece of skill from Emile Heskey, more cool 'ballers and dull football matches...
A Gooner in the Mailbox seems to genuinely think that the world/fixture computer is against his team. Sigh. That, plus more cool footballers & Mike Ashley: Supervillain...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the weekend, a friend of mine, who happens to be a Liverpool fan made an astoundingly accurate remark about Joe Allen. He claims that Allen, as much as a man can, looks like a piece of Rizla. It's hard to argue, he is thin, gaunt, and vaguely translucent, but I thought I should share this. In fairness, this is the same man who is campaigning for a fight with Audley Harrison, despite having no boxing experience, so perhaps a pinch of salt is required.
What Have You Missed?
With Paul Gascoigne being in the news again recently, I began to think about arguably his most famous moment on the pitch: THAT goal against Scotland at Euro 96. A wonderful goal, I'm sure we can all agree. Fantastic technique from a great talent and against an old enemy like the Scotch. What a moment...
And I missed it. Yep, I was in the toilet. When that spectacular goal was hitting the back of the net, I was in the lavatory. I thought it was safe to go! I thought Seaman saving McAllister's penalty was the big moment of the match. So, as I'm in the khazi all I hear is this mighty roar, so mighty I think I missed the target for a moment. It was my father, who was watching the game downstairs. I knew from that noise I had missed something special. I finished my business in the toilet and ran down the stairs as fast as my little legs could carry me. I burst back into the living room, only to see my father with his hands on his head in amazement. I asked him what had happened. Now, knowing full well what I had just missed, you might think my dear dear father would have softened the blow a little. Nope, he proceeded to shout at me, his youngest son, who loves football, "YOU JUST MISSED THE GREATEST GOAL EVER!" An exaggeration, granted, but it was one of THOSE moments. I saw the replay. We've all seen the replay, multiple times, but no matter how many times I see it, I still know I missed it. I didn't see it occur in the moment. So that goal doesn't mean as much to me as I'm sure it did to many. On reflection, I should have just p*ssed my pants.
I was just curious to know if anyone else has a similar tale of "I missed THAT goal" woe?
Si (International breaks can eat my balls.)
Reading through comments on various websites (I know I shouldn't), you see a lot of people criticising anyone who dares to claim Jack Wilshere is a decent player. The majority of these detractors spell his name Wilshire or even Wiltshire.
Just an observation, draw your own conclusions.
Ross, AFC London
...There has been a moderate amount of chatter in the media today on the (re-)emergence of Jack Wilshere as a special player and his future importance to England (including on this site - couldn't agree more with the article; can't wait to see them play together in this form). Then there was a contributor a couple of weeks ago who wrote in questioning if the hype around Jack was justified, which sparked a bit of debate. I think question was the wrong way round, it should have been, 'even with all the hype are we still under appreciating Jack's talent?'.
I will come clean, I love Jack (to a really worrying extent in fact) and I'm hoping someone will be able to persuade me of why it is wrong to do so and break the bubble of this obsession. I'm an Arsenal fan and over the years have obviously had strong feelings of warmth and admiration to a host of brilliant players, but with Jack it is different; I can't decide if I want to go gay for him, be his dad, or him be my dad!
In my opinion he is almost already the complete footballer;
- his dribbling is a joy to behold and he rarely loses the ball;
- his passing is crisp and accurate (I do a double take when he puts one astray);
- his vision for a pass (and where to be to stop a killer pass in the opposite direction) is fantastic (not just for his age, just full stop);
- he never stops running for the team and tracks back consistently well (spotted him in the right back position a few weeks back, leading the back four in a perfect offside hand raise and was so proud);
- he seems to love pressing the opposition, harrying them like a little terrier, almost as much as he likes having the ball. He also appears to do a weird 'shimmy' when pressing, which I assume makes the intended target uncertain; although I can't see how this helps that much, I like it!
- he is one feisty, die for the team type so-and-so. See his reaction to any foul on an Arsenal player (Mickey Owen most recently) and squaring up to Ollsson? who has to be a foot taller a few weeks back. While obviously he is going to get sent off a few times with this attitude, he generally channels it well and it seems to rub off on those around him.
- not that tall (seems to win a lot of headers against bigger men all the same);
- his shooting isn't all that, but I give it 2 years injury free and he will be banging them in like Lampard in his pomp.
So Mailbox, am I wrong? I await feedback after the England match tomorrow - don't let me down Jack!
(Long time reader, second time contributor (last one was on the evolution of the double pivot at Arsenal a couple of years ago, which nobody in the Mailbox seemed to find at all interesting and didn't really work out how I envisaged, what with Jack's injury and Song turning a bit lazy and then buggering off).
A Spot Of WUMing On Liverpool
Having read the mailbox for many a year now, I have the following question to ask Liverpool fans... From what I have read, they have:
Reina - Best distribution in the premiership
Johnson - Up there with the best full backs in Europe
Agger - One of the best defenders in Europe
Skrtel - Makes the best defensive partnership in the Premiership with Agger
Wisdom - Future England captain and superstar
Lucas - Only behind Busquets in terms of a defensive midfielder
Gerrard - Legend, still one of the best players in the world.
Sterling - Wonderkid
Suarez - Only behind Messi and Ronaldo for best player in the world.
That's 9 players up there with the best going; then why is your team so average?
Dan, London, EFC
A Spot Of WUMing On Welbeck
Tony, London this morning sought to defend Danny Wellbeck, but i struggle to see that he will ever become a first choice ManUtd Striker...can ManUtd fans really see him leading the line when Rooney and Van Persie have left...if that was the case I can see Utd fans being up in arms.
This is not to say he is not potentially a very good player who could lead the line for a feeder club like Arsenal? Maybe he could be included in the deal when Utd buy Jack Wilshere.
I wonder if part of the problem isn't also Welbeck's natural deference. Welbeck routinely passes (particularly to Rooney, Evra, and van Persie) when he might shoot, run or attempt more progressive passes himself, and this is probably simply natural deference to more senior players, whom Welbeck has experienced as the central figures at the club for the majority of his time there. Unlike Rooney, Ronaldo, Messi et al., Welbeck plainly doesn't have the intrinsic, steel-plated confidence in his ability that would allow him to disregard other, better options, and try to score from 40 yards. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, it makes him more reliable and tactically useful, and allows him to serve an apprenticeship with exceptional players.
He isn't having a particularly good season, but I think he's having a useful season for his long-term development. As others have noted, Welbeck has the requisite skill, technique and mentality to be an excellent player. By playing across the attack, Welbeck is having a genuinely diverse education, whereas played as a striker his game is likely to be confined to stretching the defence and creating space for more senior attackers.
The comparison between Rooney and Welbeck playing on the left is inaccurate too. Rooney c.2008 played as a left sided attacker, who was typically deployed in a front three or four, and level with the oppossing full-back. Welback, by contrast, plays as a genuine wide midfielder, and so is playing further away from goal. Welbeck also isn't playing in a particularly good United side. Rooney had the advantage of Ronaldo or Tevez inside him, Carrick, Hargreaves and a non-tubby Anderson in midfield, and the opposition far more scared of United than they are of today's pygmies in red.
One last point. Falcao, at a similar age to Welbeck, scored 3 goals in 20 league appearances for River Plate. Drogba didn't trouble the European elite until c.25. Players don't all develop at the same rate, they aren't all superstars at 18.
Chris MUFC (written from my sickbed)
...I wholeheartedly agree with Tony, London's assertion that Danny Welbeck is a really solid striker, although I wasn't that aware of Welbeck being subject to much unfair criticism. I think the reason for any sniping at Welbeck can be attributed to the way that City and United in particular stockpile their strikers. This stockpiling also explains the alarming void of striking options visible at all the other clubs challenging for Europe (and Liverpool) in comparison to the top two.
Welbeck is a really good player but there there are just too many stronger options for him to be anything other than peripheral at Utd. The result is that he doesn't play to his full potential, he doesn't even play every week, and so the criticism starts to creep in. If Welbeck moved to Spurs over the summer both he, and Tottenham, would start looking like a far more dangerous prospect.
The only obvious precedent for this that my goldfish-like attention span allows me to give is Danny Sturridge. Chelsea didn't exactly have a surplus of strikers when they sold him but they are completely spoilt for choice when it comes to goal-scoring attacking options. Like Welbeck, Sturridge had to remain peripheral and he drew plenty of criticism. Even sporting that Prince-inspired facial hair didn't help. Now at Liverpool, it's early days but, he's already looking a far better player. The biggest teams in the PL take advantage of their prestige and their coffers not only to buy the best young talent but to keep it away from everyone else. And quite right too. They have no incentive to operate any differently.
Angus, LFC, Oxford
Right-Backitis And Walker Going Backwards
I'm not quite sure why Tom G feels the need to tell Spurs fans to 'jog on' - in a Tim Lovejoy voice presumably - over Kyle Walker.
You won't find a single Spurs fan who'll tell you Walker is the best right back in the country, at least not one who has watched us this season.
After a great season last year, Walker has gone backwards at a rate of knots. His positioning is atrocious, his passing slapdash, and I'd be willing to bet that he has played a part in at least 20 per cent of the goals we've conceded this season. Some 'fans' have even taking to berating the lad loudly every time he makes an error, which I certainly wouldn't condone.
It's sad to see because he clearly has great potential. AVB is keeping the faith for the moment, but that can only last so long. As things stand I'd play Kyle Naughton there ahead of him. Hell, I'd play Dean Austin ahead of him at the moment (one for the over-30's out there).
I really hope Walker gets back on track because he has the physical attributes to be a great player. At the moment, pacy as Walker may be, he's stuck in reverse gear.
Rob Davies, THFC, modelled on Spain 2012 since deadline day.
More Keeper Talk
Minty LFC. Wow. Hell of an effort you've made there with your mail. Fair play.
But may I suggest to you before you catch breath that the list I made was my interpretation of who is the best keeper in the league. If I wanted to make a ladder based on stats and numbers then I would have. However, like you point out any joe public can do that so what's remotely interesting about that? Nothing.
If I had a choice of any keeper in the league Tim Krul would be my number one choice. I based this one what I have seen this season. That is all.
I wonder if Alan Dunne understands that 'cosmetic' changes to a football club are not results of the soul crushing capitalist 'Modern Football' movement. Many clubs have undergone 'cosmetic' changes in their times, for good or bad, but the club itself doesn't change.
Off the top of my head, in my lifetime, I can remember numerous clubs moving stadiums (Middlesborough, Southampton, Arsenal, Man City, Hull etc), a club changing its crest (Man U), but can't seem to remember a change in colours. However, a quick look on Wikipedia (I know) suggest that numerous clubs have changed their colours in their history, and no one seems to really care now. In fact it appears your beloved Tottenham haven't always played in white, or even always at White Hart Lane.
Has the magic disappeared for you now?
Personally I support my football club, regardless of what colour they play in (as long as it's not green and yellow), where they play (as long as it's not in Norfolk) and what's on the badge (as long as it's not a yellow bird - an alive one that is). Maybe that makes me fickle, but I'm along for the ride, for good or bad, even if we are playing in League 2 wearing bright pink with a badge depicting a dead dog covered in glitter.
Yes football is now a business, but it shouldn't stop anyone supporting their club.
Daniel Storey's piece on Cardiff was very interesting, and actually echoed a discussion I'd had last week about their current position in the Championship. The loss of tradition in pursuit of mega money and the success it brings is clearly a grey area; I understand both sides and wouldn't begrudge anyone their views, but it must be said that there aren't any moral or ethical concerns there. You may get upset or angry about it, but no one is going to get hurt through this action.
However, if someone takes charge who was an arms dealer or instigator of appalling human rights as you put it, then no amount of financing could redeem the situation. I would be gone and never look back, and I'd expect many would be the same. There is a tipping point, I hope it would never get to that stage and doubt it anyway, but there's no question. Everyone has personal limits; changing the badge, kit etc would be too much for some; some would still support their club if Jack the Ripper was in charge. The tipping point is different for everyone but eventually, most will have had enough.
Discussion = Not A Legend
In the hope of ending all this Rooney legend nonsense there is a simple rule to follow. To be a legend at a club you just have had to do something that was really good and because of that thing all supporters at the club agree that you are a legend. Seriously it's that simple. Even if you never saw them play, it's just a known fact at your club
Dixie Dean at Everton - all Evertonians without fail agree he's a legend as he scored 100's of goals.
Jimmy Glass at Carlisle - he scored just one goal for Carlisle but you'll not find a Carlisle fan who won't call him a club legend for that goal.
Bill Williams at Stockport - a legend for the Hatters, partly because he excelled in defence for many years and partly as he left the club for a large fee when they needed the money to buy floodlights before returning a year later on the cheap when he had much better offers elsewhere.
Carl Griffiths at Leyton Orient - all O's fan love him more than Matty Lockwood for his goal scoring exploits, some even went regularly to see the non-league team he managed when his playing career ended.
The fact you are arguing about whether Rooney's a legend or not simply means he is not. How many of you are arguing about Charlton's status at the club? None.
Gaviny On Nicknames
Footballers and the sh*t knicknames they have for each other has always been a bit of annoyance. I've noticed over the yrs that one of the worst offenders, due his complete lack of imagination, has been John O'Shea. He basically adds a "y" or "sy" to the end of someones name. Indeed i think he himself is referred to as "Sheasy". In an interview with him ahead of tonights Irelands game its like someone's made a bet with him to see how often he can do it, as players bored at tournaments sometimes try to drop song lyrics unnoticed into interviews.
In the space of 4 or 5 paragraphs O'Shea calls 'keeper David Forde "Fordey", Ciaran Clarke "Clarky", Richard Dunne "Dunney" and best of all for me, for Kieran Westwood he's called him "Westy". I was slightly disappointed though as I had hoped he'd say "Westwoody". Even "Woody" would have actually been ok in this instance but he couldnt even think of that. I despair. All that free time to work on their bantz and this is the best they can do!
Rafa v Zaba
I would take Rafael. If needed, you can easily get spare parts from Fabio.
James Clarke, ( just hoping Boro can hang on to the play off places ) Dundalk