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 add on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gareth Bale: Flat-Track Bully
Can you please shut the hell up about Gareth Bale?
He's a flat-track bully, simple as that. "Ooh but what about inter Milan" - one word: Maicon.
Seriously, why do you feel the need to go overboard?
The Premier League is the most overrated league in the world, Man Utd are by all accounts, a shadow of their former self yet they are on course to win it again. Why?
Because the Premier League is sh*t.
So please, before the w***fest becomes self-harm, wait for a performance against either a top, top team or a top, top full0back (words you may understand).
Bale just wanders all over the pitch looking for someone s**t to take on. That is a flat-track bully.
Dean, etc, Bedford
The Point At Which You're A One-Man Team
After watching the Gareth Bale show last night and absorbing some the subsequent/inevitable 'one man team' barbs being thrown about it got me thinking. What does constitute a 'one-man team'?
The phrase itself sounds very absurd in a literal sense, we all know a team cannot field a lone player for 90 minutes. Where it seems to stem from is if a player goes on a run of deciding potential stalemates or preventing losses in a dramatic fashion. This is usually done by scoring goals, the players in question are never usually issued with the 'one man' tag after a litany of just goal-line clearances, last-ditch tackles or indeed match saving/winning assists. Again it's goals that garner this tag and if the player in question happens to be a striker, well, then I think the use of it is a bit silly (or sillier depending on your view). A striker's job is to score goals, if he happens to be doing it at a remarkable rate or in spectacular fashion then it makes him a very good striker that's very good at his job. A very good striker should not be used to belittle the rest of the team as if they're useless bags of flesh just there to make up the numbers. I wouldn't call Van Persie at Man U, Falcao at Atletico or Suarez at Liverpool one-man teams right now. They just happen to have expensive strikers being paid a lot of money to score goals, they just happen to be doing that.
Where I do think the term has a bit of credence is where the player in question is in another position in the team other than an out-and-out forward. Usually in this instance we are discussing a midfielder. Their job, typically, is not to be relied upon to score goals. Sure it's nice when they do but they really should not be looked to every time the chips are down. Which brings us back to Bale. Some have started to put the brakes on the comparison between him and Ronaldo/Messi. However, it's plain to see that like the current Spanish big two, Bale is starting to shape how the team actually plays. I think when we see a situation where a team has ten players on the pitch with stringently defined roles and an 11th who is allowed ghost around and alter the shape of the team at his own behest, then we can with some justification apply the tag.
Damien (never 100% happy with these) Quill
We Know He's Going But We Love Him Anyway
"Spurs are a one-man team."
"He's too good for you. He belongs at a big club."
"He'll be gone in the summer."
Spurs fans recognise and accept all of the above. As much as we love the talent and application of our no. 11, we know he's destined for bigger things. We'd love it - oh, how we'd love it - if he could achieve those with us, but we know it's not to be. This summer, next summer at the latest if Daniel Levy gets the hump about low starting bids, Gareth Bale is likely to leave Tottenham for one of the premier clubs in world football (Bayern for preference - away from England and will help strengthen opposition to the Barca/Real duopoly).
But right now, he's a Spurs player, and we're enjoying his ridiculous talent and goal return while it lasts. I don't know a single Spurs fan who'll begrudge him that move when it happens because he's delivered rather more often than not for us, and delivered some truly sublime moments along the way - many of them in the last month alone. And although the brutal reality of paying for a new stadium may determine otherwise, I'm rather hoping that the substantial fee we're likely to receive for him will be invested wisely and give us a team that's stronger across the board, and doesn't just rely on a single player to get us out of trouble.
We know he's not going to spend his whole career at Spurs. We know he's probably outgrown the club already. Right now though, we don't care, because the most exciting player in the league, and maybe in the whole of Europe, is a Spurs player and he's single-handedly dragging us up the table. We'll enjoy it while it lasts, and because we know he'll leave sooner or later, we won't wail and gnash our teeth when he does.
But Where Will He Go?
Following on from this morning's mailbox, surely the only relevant question is: Where does Gareth Bale want to go? In my eyes Man City are simply not glamourous enough. I am sure Bale would prefer United but can they afford him? Assuming he is not interested in Chelsea, that only leaves Real and Barcelona. I think he would bring a new dimension to Barca's attack, one which does not rely on probing and patience, and he could be the key to unlock those stubborn European defences on the rare occasions that Messi has an off day. After all, it's not like Barcelona normally struggle in front of goal, but they were crying out for a more direct approach against Milan.
And quite frankly the thought of Messi and Bale in the same team makes me disturbingly excited.
Jamie Bedwell, Cheltenhamshire
Arsenal Have Hex On AVB
Haven't written in for a while, so my Mailbox skills may be a bit rusty.
First off, looking towards the north London derby this weekend. Even though Spurs are in great form, and Arsenal are in OK form in the league, I have to say us Gooners have nothing to worry about. Why? The last three times Arsenal have played against a team run by Villas-Boas, we've smacked five goals past them! 5-2 this season, 5-3 at Chelsea last season, and 5-0 when he was at Porto a few years ago (where even Nicky Bendtner got a hat-trick...has he even scored for Juve yet this season?). Although if Villas Boas is as good as everyone this season is claiming, surely he'll end this awful run against Arsenal...surely. If Adebayor starts, I'll be confident in a good result.
Watching the Spurs game yesterday, you just knew Bale was gonna rescue them again with another thunderbastard (copyright, F365), like he has in recent weeks against Lyon, Norwich, etc. Still can't believe that he was an Arsenal fan whilst growing up...no true Arsenal fan would play for Spurs. I wonder if Man City fans feel similarly about Giggsy.
Andrew M, AFC (5-4 in Arsenal's favour for this weekend...you heard it here first), Australia
This United Fan Loves Spurs
I was just wondering what the neutral consensus was on Spurs this season?
I am a Man Utd fan but can't help but admire the dignified way that Spurs have gone about their business this season under AVB.
Apart from Arsenal/Chelsea/West Ham fans is there anyone that doesn't admire how Spurs operate and play? Would anyone prefer to see Chelsea in the Champions League than Spurs for example?
They spend within their means, have a healthy English contingent of players, play wonderful attacking football, take European competitions seriously and have the most exciting talent in the Premier league since Cristiano Ronaldo.
I just wanted to say what a pleasure it is to see a team go out to try and outscore the opposition and I hope that they are able to hold on to Bale this summer and push to break into the top two.
The Premier League is a better place with teams like them and AVB must take a lot of credit for the way he has converted Bale into a false 9 this season.
Along with Swansea I think they are brightening up the Premier League.
It's St Durham's Day!
I would like to name Monday 25th February as St Durham's Day.
Most Spurs fans will remember when Harry took over at QPR that a certain plank of wood and well known Wind-Up Merchant, Adrian Durham, said...and he now denies being serious (shock horror), the following, not word for word, but the jist:
"I will say this now, Harry will finish above AVB in the Premier League this season."
This tweet came about just a day after Harry was appointed in the autumn. As of last night, QPR are now mathematically unable to finish above Tottenham, with a massive 11 games still to go. I can't remember what the points difference was when Harry took over, perhaps around 15 points, which makes Durham look like a total cretin anyway, but the gap is now 34 points with 33 remaining, after Spurs' run took them to 34 points from the last available 45.
After years of suffering St Totteringham's Day, its nice to have these nice little victories, however pointless they may be.
Bidding For A Place In The Pedantry Top Ten
I'd be interested to know if this is the most pedantic mail you have ever received.
Ross, Southampton's assertion this morning that Bale's second goal last night was (a) similar to Messi's free-kick against Atletico and (b) better than it is just wrong. Ross says they are similar in trajectory. No. Messi's was curled with the inside of his foot from the left-hand side of the penalty area into the top-right corner so it had quite an extreme trajectory (pretty much the width of the box I suppose). Bale was pretty central and he hit it with his laces into the top-right corner, not much of a deviation of the flight of the ball at all. Also Messi's is clearly better.
I've seen many players thump in screamers from outside the box but the angle Messi has is so difficult, especially on his left foot. The position he is in heavily favours a right-foot curler a la Beckham, Del Piero etc. Reminds me slightly of Cisse's wonder goal against Chelsea in that it aims for the 'wrong' side of the goal with the 'wrong' part of his foot.
Why Mourinho And United Don't Fit
Last night I watched the ITV4 documentary 'Mourinho' and within one of the interviews with the special one, recorded before the second leg against Barcelona when he was Inter, he said: "For Inter, winning the Champions League is a dream, for Barcelona it is an obsession." It's an interesting quote seeing that he's won the Champions League with both Inter and Porto, teams that would've considered winning the competition as a dream. At Chelsea, it was certainly an obsession and he could not win it. At Madrid, it is an obsession and one that he has thus far not captured.
It seems that Jose can only succeed (in capturing Europe's greatest prize at least) when commanding a team against the odds, making them believe in themselves and achieving their dream. If he went to United there would be a similar obsession to be dominant in Europe, and if he was ever to manage England, well we all know what kind of obsession English people have with any sort of silverware.
So after his stint at Real Madrid comes to an end, he should find himself a team that isn't quite on the pinnacle of greatness, but is just underneath it waiting to be elevated (Birmingham City perhaps?!). Actually, he'd probably be more suited to Manchester City than United.
Dave Timms (guess who I support!)
Schneiderlin To United?
This mail is about Manchester United's midfield (oh my God, not another!). But rather than it being about the problems we have in the middle of the park (which don't seem too blatantly apparent anymore), I want to put forth a potential target for United to look at to eventually maybe replace Carrick in that role he plays so well. Rather than throwing up names of players from all over the world, I give you one much closer to home - Morgan Schneiderlin.
Let me confess that I haven't seen a great deal of him, but whenever I have, he's looked quite impressive. He seems like a very capable player, who also provides an (albeit limited goal-scoring threat and most importantly, he has a long way to go (he's only 23). Plus, he wouldn't cost the earth, as he isn't British. It may be a bit premature to suggest that he could be a 'replacement' for Carrick, and I'd personally love to see Phil Jones make that role his own. And then there's the issue of not getting to play regularly. But it may not be the worst idea in the world to sign him on as an understudy to Michael 'I-can't-believe-it's-not-Scholes' Carrick, and as a handy squad player.
DJ, MUFC (Yes, I know that's not what the song is called) India
The Price You Pay
Due to the constant stream of football I insist is watched at home, my girlfriend recently decided that if she has to sit through 90 minutes of football a couple of times a week - I should have to sit through something I don't particularly enjoy as well.
Last night she took me to the West End to see some American musical theatre. It was two hours long. And there was no intermission.
Please spare a thought for me.
Ed (do any of the esteemed mailboxers sacrifice their manhood in order to watch footie?) CFC, London
Commentary: Ashley Cole Getting Blazed
One of my favourite pieces of commentary was a zinger on Match of the Day 2 - although I'm afraid I don't recall which commentator did the blazing. Chelsea were away at (I think) Portsmouth shortly after it had come out that Ashley Cole had been pickling his winkle with another lady, behind the back of The Nation's Sweetheart, the tiny-eyed reincarnation of Princess Diana herself, Cheryl Tweedy.
With boos echoing round the ground after his every touch of the ball, the camera did a close-up of Cole looking a bit miffed, and the commentator deadpanned: "Well, you can expect a few boos when you're playing away from home."
In a world where commentators aren't very good at commentating, and comedians aren't very good at comedianating, it was nice to see someone do both very well.
Dan, (DerekR - I've never seen The Sopranos. Or The Wire. Or Ghostbusters.) Brighton
Commentary: That Gerrard Moment
I know you are going to get a tonne (or whatever emails weigh) of these today but I couldn't let this one slip by. Today's piece on Top Ten Favourite Commentaries is the most enjoyable article I've read in a long while; only one thing I would have changed though - Andy Gray's defining piece of commentary on Steve Gerrard's screamer against Olympiakos in '05 deserves a place for me.
I'll admit its probably some part bias given that I am a Liverpool fan but this never gets old. The opening excitement as the ball strikes the back of the net is quality but its the follow up, around 0:42, that does it for me. Gray captures the moment perfectly, no words needed, all of us on the same level as fans of the game taking in something extraordinary. "Let the pictures tell you everything - this is special..."
Brian, Al Ain
I thought I should make you aware of the greatest piece of radio commentary of all time.
It was late 2001 and Derby were playing Leicester, I believe it was Robbie Savage who threw himself to the ground to provoke the comment...
"He went down like the Twin Towers, although not as gracefully."
The commentator, Graeme Richards, didn't work for Radio Derby for too long after that.
Martin (DCFC) Derby
Who Would Read A Site Like This?
We all read this excellent site multiple times a day, and there's often a lot of salient points and sage advice meted out for players (an example recently would be Scotty Parker's laughably slow turning circle).
I wonder if any Premier League footballers read the mailbox? If not then who do the mailbox think would be the most likely to read it? Maybe someone middle class sounding like super-sub Glenville Adam James Le-Fondre? Or perhaps Rio Ferdinand takes time off from tweeting inane things to read what the fans think?
Third paragraph for your thoughts, mailbox!
Calum, MUFC, Reading