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...
Arsenal fans are largely positive after their top four finish, whilst one wag suggest buying Bale from their rivals. We also have an interesting final mail. Enjoy...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Liverpool And Man United Fans: Origin Of The Species
The inevitable riposte between Liverpool fans and Man U fans following the formers failure in the league, and the latter's failure in Europe is fascinating.
In one instance you have Man U fans proclaiming Man Us superiority in league titles coupled with Liverpool's current decline and period without a title, which is always contrasted by Liverpool fans' assertion than Man U should have won the European Cup far more given their financially based superiority in the 25 years since Fergie has been there, and how they have five of the cups. As sure as night follows day this will happen, and like Godwins law any conversation on any subject between the two sets of supporters will tend asymptotically towards this inevitable tit for tat conclusion.
It reminds me of a nature programme I saw between two sets of communities of monkeys who lived near one another. Due to undefined boundaries, food shortages and all number of other extenuating circumstances, one or the other sets of monkeys would perennially upset the other, the other set would start screaming, then both sets started screaming, and it concluded with them baring their buttocks and throwing poo at each other. It always ended with the poo, regardless of the cause. That's just an observation from a slightly more evolved Ipswich fan, but it's entertaining and educational never-the-less.
Liverpool fans and Man U fans. The missing link between those monkeys and us neutrals?
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
Sturridge v Welbeck
It would not surprise me if Welbeck ended up having a better career than Sturridge, but if I had to choose one player for a match this weekend, there's not even a question that Sturridge would be the right choice (IMO). It looks like Sturridge is further along in his development than Welbeck.
Oliver (If Liverpool fans don't adopt 'Danny Boy' as Sturridge's song, I will be severely disappointed) Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland
...Daniel Sturridge for me - he is the biggest underachieving English player in regards to his ability, he has great pace, movement, finishing. He really should have scored a lot more goals for Chelsea and England, I think the pool got a bargain here.
Billo. MUFC, Eire
...Welbeck's all-round play, attitude, high-top fade and lack of stupid dancing + Sturridge's finishing = Pretty awesome striker.
Simple answer...get them spliced!!
Although, if the movie 'The Fly' has taught us anything, it's that this will probably go horribly wrong and we'll end up with Sturridge's constantly snarled face, moaning, selfishness, regular haircut and stupid dancing and Welbeck's 'swing and a miss' approach to shooting.
Kev The Clarke, MUFC (wishes United would do some similar splicing with Welbeck and Hernandez) Skem
...Who's better? Sturridge or Welbeck? Dave, I've got to wade in on a point you made. 'Shown none of the ego and me-first attitude'? Anfield blinkers or what mate? For good or for bad (as many will say a good striker has these attributes) but have you been watching him? Case and point was a Suarez goal recently (Wigan?) Sturridge nearly has a hissy fit demanding a pass while Suarez continues to advance then almost looks p****d off that he scores, big ol' sulk face. That, my friend, is ego and me-first attitude.
On a similar note I congratulated my Liverpool supporting friend on a decent signing after DS started banging in a few goals. Ohohoho no my friend says, he's selfish, constantly takes shots and most don't come off. He's a highlights player. We argued. We then proceeded to watch a match where to my climb-downing embarrassment Sturridge shonked various shots over and dribbled when a pass would've sufficed. I fancy that could be where he 'flopped' (?) at City and Chelsea and Welbz started vs. Madrid t'other night. But who's better? Meh, who cares.
One shoots lots, the other runs lots.
Be Careful What you Wish For...
Does anyone else see the irony of the situation the press seem to have created regarding Wayne Rooney?
About 18 months ago he threw a wobbler about the club signing/developing better players, otherwise he was offski.
Now that Manchester United have better players, reports are that he'll be leaving anyway.
Wayne, be careful what you wish for.
Paul Watson, exiled Shrimper living in Surrey
Your columns about how very jolly Manchester United should be feeling at the moment - 'the very best way to lose', W&L about what a 'bloody good place' they're in - don't go far enough. Losing like this suited Manchester United, Alex Ferguson and the fans very well. Instead of a cross-examination of Ferguson's systematic under-performance in the Champions League, there is a red card. Instead of questions being raised about the serious dropping away in quality of the top teams in the Premier League that could see such an average Manchester United team with such a huge points lead, there is a red card. The players and manager reacted that way on Tuesday too - 'phew, we have our excuse now, we can whine about being wronged and leave defeated but with our egos intact instead of the mauling they've taken in Europe in recent seasons'. Everyone can instead settle into their home comfort zone of thinking that being best of a poor bunch (not one Champions League quarter-finalist among them) and buying Robin Van Persie is a glorious achievement. Cuneyt Cakir did two teams a big favour.
Jono Oates, Washington
Why Whipping Up Fans Doesn't Work
Lori Peri, 26, CFC brought up a really good point about the interaction between fans and their team's players' performance on the pitch. He rightly asks did Celtic play so bravely for their fans that had travelled to Turin or did their fans passion spur their players on to a 2-0 loss (without the passion Pirlo's beard surely would have won 5-0).
Numerous times we have seen players and managers praising their fans in the post-match interviews after a magnificent win, a cup shock, a last-gasp equaliser or a disappointing performance where "the fans deserved more". This praise is all well and good but it has no affect on the outcome of the game, or does it? On Tuesday night Nani saw red (bet you hadn't heard) and Sir Alex Ferguson, after throwing all of his toys out of his pram, decided to whip the fans into a frenzy. Ryan Giggs was seen doing the same thing after a well-timed tackle. But I think in these gestures was the losing of the game.
What that moment called for was calm, for the older, experienced players like Giggs, Ferdinand, Vidic and Van Persie to get a grip of the situation (calmly) and organise themselves into a solid hard to beat unit to ride out the rest of the game. This calm could not have been achieved in the cauldron of noise that Old Trafford had become. For once the fans going batsh*t crazy actually hindered the team. Modric came on amongst all this noise and calmly got the ball, swivelled his hips and skipped past an onrushing Michael Carrick and smashed a complete Thunderbast*rd (now in my everyday vocabulary) to level the game. Carrick had not rushed into a tackle in his previous 199 games for Utd (or something similar) as he is usually a solid stand-and-shadow defensive midfielder. What brought about this reckless charge?? The noise and passion of the Old Trafford crowd.
The atmosphere fans create can have one of two affects on a team. One, it can spur a team on to great deeds and two, it can make players over-excited and cause them to forget a solid game-plan. Before Nani's red card we saw the first thing atmosphere can do and after it the second. If only Fergie had kept his calm.
Ciarán (No idea what the atmosphere at the Britannia does for Stoke) Dorney, 23
Quick Note From A Madrid Fan
I've been interested in the general response to Tuesday's game, and thankfully, from a position of relief as a Madrid fan.
I'm writing to add my two cents, not to discuss the match, but rather to reply to the deluded JODO from this morning's mailbox.
You're aggrieved, I get it, the card was harsh and your team lost. But mate you do yourself no favours by thinking that 'this United are better than RM and, without Ronaldo, in a different league'. Why?:
- Your team parked the bus for two legs, clearly more concerned about stopping Madrid than playing in your usual fashion.
- After the card, harsh as it was, United spectacularly collapsed to a strong incisive side that scored two great goals.
- Ronaldo scored two goals, proved his worth, but was far from the menace he is typically vs. Barça. Consider yourself lucky.
- A goal from a corner (that wasn't a corner) and an own goal with a (tight) offside in the build-up. I'm not complaining, this is football, but I'm not enthralled either, United were not the stuff of legend.
Two good teams, no doubt, Madrid slightly the stronger in terms of quality and threat in my opinion, but in NO WAY, should you use an incident (cards do happen) to increase the merits and worth of your team in order to justify your feeling of injustice. Real were lucky, but worthy winners as well.
André (Nani are you okay?!) London
Why Sir Alex Is Not A European Failure
In response to Ssino, regarding Fergie being a failure for not lifting the European Cup more than twice. Yes I'm a United fan, but I'm also a football purist, and I always want to see the best team win. And the one thing I can say for certain is that European Cup is not always about the best team or best tactics, it has a lot lot to do with luck.
Big decisions have shaped the competition every single year - whether it be Scholes' disallowed goal against Porto that led to Mourinho winning his first CL, Ovrebo's incompetence that cost Chelsea against Barca, or Milito's offside goal for Inter against Barca that helped Inter go through.
Hence, you can hardly call Fergie a failure in Europe - four finals, two won, and two lost in the last decade or so is hardly failure. If I was a Liverpool fan, I'd focus on getting back in the CL, rather than taunting United when they've lost a game to Real Madrid, which is far from embarrassing.
Sandy (MUFC - who cares, I never get published anyways)
...One of the many criticisms levelled at Fergie is that he hasn't won the European Cup often enough during his long stay at Man Utd. Ssino (Na na na na naaa! You can't catch us - tongue out and blowing it with lips) LFC even goes so far as saying that it is 'shocking'. I don't want to comment on how easy it must be to shock him/her, but I wanted to say how unfair I have always found the tone of this criticism. I don't think Fergie's record needs defending and he's got nothing to prove to anyone, in my opinion. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to point out that his record in Europe is not as bad as people think it is.
Okay, Fergie's teams haven't been as all-conquering as Liverpool in the days of yore or the dominant Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Ajax teams of yesteryears. But looking at the teams who have reached the European Cup final since Man Utd won their first league title under Fergie (period of around 20 years), only AC Milan have appeared in more finals (5), with Man Utd having appeared four times along with Barcelona, Juventus and Bayern Munich. Looking at the winners, AC Milan, Barcelona and Real Madrid are the only teams to win it more than Man Utd (3 against 2). This suggests to me that Fergie's European record is less of a 'blemish' and more of a rather decent record. Sure, his teams are probably never going to be as highly regarded as the old teams I mentioned earlier, but his record is hardly going to haunt him. He definitely craves more European Cups. He should still be proud of his achievements in Europe though.
Jay (I noticed the irony of saying his record doesn't need defending and then doing exactly that. Save your virtual ink.), York
...The argument put forward by Ssino, that SAF should be ashamed of having 'only' won the Champions League twice in 25 years, is faintly ridiculous.
Think of it this way: SAF has had c. 20 CL campaigns (Utd, after all, didn't win the league under him until 1991). I'd suggest that there are about eight top clubs in Europe that all have about an equal chance of winning the CL on average (going through cycles of relative weakness and dominance), namely: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juve, Inter, Milan, Bayern, Man Utd, Chelsea (or whoever is second in England). Arguably you could extend this to the top three in England and have nine clubs, arguably you include Arsenal rather than Inter or Juve, but it's there or thereabouts. You'd expect those clubs to win c. 80% of all Champions League titles available, but there'll always be the odd year when you get a freak win by a weaker side - e.g. Porto, Liverpool, Ajax, Dortmund.
So 9-10 clubs. A one in 9 or 10 chance of winning the Champions League each year. Over 20 years. Two wins. From my list of 8, 4 clubs have won 1 CL, 3 have won 3, Utd have won 2. I wouldn't argue that Utd have over-achieved, but they haven't under-achieved either. About par. Arsenal on the other hand...
Tim Colyer, Chelsea fan, London
He Does Want That Hat-Trick Though
Interesting, if childish, email from Ssino in this morning's mailbox on the reason Fergie hasnt yet retired. It took me back to a story I heard/read (I can't remember which) back in 2002 as to the reason why Fergie cancelled his plans to retire at the end of the season. The reason being that Fergie wanted to go out on top and be remembered as the greatest manger in English football history. At the time he'd won seven League titles to Bob Paisley's six and had amassed more domestic cups in the process but there was one thing that continued to irk him and that was 'Sir' Bob's three European Cup wins.
This isn't an email to debate who's better, and not trying to belittle anything Fergie has done, but in the 11 years that have passed since that 'retirement' season I've seen Fergie as a man desperate to reach three European Cups and I genuinely believe he'll keep going until he reaches that goal.
PS. My dad's bigger than your dad
Apologising For Ssino
Can I just apologise on behalf of Ssino and his frankly pathetic sign-off. He probably started supporting us in the last couple of seasons and therefore is unaware of the infamous 'Come back when you've won 18' banner.
1) As fantastic as Buffon is, I can't take him seriously since seeing his penis. (NSFW, obviously http://majdad-sports.tumblr.com/ - third picture down) It looks like a rat, too me. An undernourished rat, at that.
2) Pirlo's pass for the second last night was pure sex
3) On Tuesday night I saw a man in red kick another man in green in the chest. If you think this is fine, then perhaps you should reconsider some of your life choices and regain some perspective
Paul Jiggins: A Man With No Self-Awareness
'What kind of industry is it when a teenage div in a huge pair of headphones believes he is well within his rights to completely ignore a polite request from a professional journalist 20 years his senior just because he is fortunate enough to be able to run fast or kick a ball hard?'
This showcases an absolutely incredible lack of self-awareness. Paul Jiggins, of course, is the hack (admittedly one of many) who got his jollies from painting a sorry state of 'TURMOIL' at AVB's struggling Spurs. He was the one who got pwned in a memorably amusing interview with Mr V-B concerning Hugo Lloris' apparent 'frustration' at being eased into the first-team, and subsequently made up a story about some sort of bust-up between AVB and Tim Sherwood/the players/Bill Nicholson/Danny Blanchflower/Gary Mabbutt's mum, which was later confirmed as the tosh that it was.
How on earth can this man be surprised that a teenage 'div', as he so pleasantly terms them, might not want to speak to him? They're probably fearful that Jiggins will subsequently describe the interview as an EXCLUSIVE, and make out that the player 'WANTS OUT OF SPURS DUE TO A BUST-UP WITH AVB!', despite him not actually playing for Spurs, or having ever met AVB.
Jog on, Jiggo.
Shaun (anyone else thinking that Michael Laudrup might be a bit overrated) Livingston
Take Some Of The Blame, Journos
I notice in today's Mediawatch (and previously on Sunday Ssupplement amongst other places) journalists are complaining about limited interaction with footballers whilst not accepting they have played any part in the situation.
Players now have to have training on dealing with the media, this is as a direct result of journalists' behaviour in intentionally mis-interpreting or sensationalising quotes/stories about footballers.
You can't hark back to the good old days where journos would chat with footballers over a pint without accepting journalists' behaviour has drastically changed too.
It reminds me of Fergie not accepting that his constant criticising of referees over his managerial career has made it a less desirable job and therefore lowered standards.
The Curse Of The Beard
What is Alan Pardew doing? Rafa Benitez; grew a beard, started #ranting, Phil Brown; grew a beard, pretended that he saved a suicidal woman; Roy Keane; grew a beard, signed El-Hadji Diouf, AVB; started to grow a beard, upset Jon Terrence and got sacked...
No good can come from this beard Alan...it might look trendy now, but before you know it, you'll be on ITV deriding Gareth Southgate because he wants a go at talking.
Iain, MUFC, Somewhere Foreign