In this Mailbox it's England v Algeria in 2010 that is seen as the nadir, but there's potential for worse, surely. Plus, one man says we should praise Rooney's honesty...
The morning mailbox ponders Luis Suarez's current predicament, cool footballers, the Lion City Cup, Spurs' transfer policy, Kanu's absence and lots more...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Was that a near-perfect away performance from Inter last night...?
Well that was a fine Spurs performance and a well-deserved victory. We seem well setup to dominate cautious teams, however last night still showed a couple of major flaws in the team make-up. Defoe was lively but he spurned about 4 chances to put team mates through on goal; from an amazing start this season he seems to have gone back to his selfish ways of previous seasons and I suspect he got a rollicking from Lennon and Bale at full time.
Inter cannot play that badly again and it will be a different game at the San Siro, however with Inter forced to come out and attack I'm confident we'll score even without Bale. Given how much of a complex we appear to have given them about him, perhaps its time to give a first team start to Bale's look-a-like from the reserves Kenny McEvoy.
The next few league games are the real focus of the season though, we've got a horrible run in but if we can continue to play like this we've got a damn good chance of finishing in the CL places.
Given that I'm feeling like this, it's now time for the inevitable Spurs end of season collapse.
Matt L. London
That Is Quite Interesting
I found this quite interesting (sad I know). Spurs currently lie sixth in the number of goals scored and have the fifth best defence. Yet we are third in the table.
Like I say, interesting.
John THFC, Saigon
Spurs Are Keeping The Season Alive
I thought this season was dead. Killed by Man Utd's underestimated pretty-bloody-goodness, Man City's overconfidence to the point of ridiculousness (I wish Hart had been worried when we were still in the title race, rather than annoyingly and deludedly 'still believing' when we've already smegged it all up), Arsenal's typicalness, and a Turkish referee's line of sight.
But it's not. I love Spurs now. What's not to like? Spurs have kept my season alive. At 25:43, 2-0 up, the season is back on. Dembele is my favorite.
Ben (how dare you accuse me of smelling of beer?), MCFC.
AVB To Man United?
OK, I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere, so I'm going to claim it as an EXCLUSIVE and get all the internet money that comes in once other people realise it is genius.
We all know Ferguson won't be going on too much longer, even if he doesn't get a third Champions League title I would be very surprised to see him in still in charge in another 3-5 seasons. He has also stated that he intends to move upstairs into a director role at the club; to me this means that UTD cannot go for a huge name , such as Mourinho, since it would lead to a clash. I know Bayern have now managed to achieve this, but I think I'm right in saying it took them a long time to get their system properly sorted out, and UTD don't need another distraction alongside a new manager for the first time since Jesus.
Therefore, we should be looking for a younger, less experienced coach; coach being key here. Ferguson has been at the club for too long to be replaced by one person, since he does a number of roles. The best option to me would be have him upstairs guiding Villas-Boas!
Think about it; AVB did excellently at Porto, he has experience of a few leagues under his time at Mourinho, he has bounced back from his troubles at Chelsea (commonly viewed as a good attribute to have fallen short but risen again), and is currently doing very well at Spurs. He will likely lead Spurs into the Champions League, is doing well in the Europa League (can juggle more than one competition), and if he could spend a couple of seasons finishing in the top four, progressing in Europe, and potentially mounting a title challenge, I can't see any problems with it. He also likes his teams to play in a similar fashion to how UTD do currently (in our most common guise, although, due to squad size, we probably have a couple of extra options), and he doesn't seem like he would have a problem with working 'under' Ferguson, i.e. - being the coach of the first team, rather than dealing with all aspects of the club.
He could be gradually phased in, and seems nice therefore Sir Bobby will like him. Of course this all depends on him maintaining his form over this season for a few more years, but as long as Levy decides to build around Bale for a season or two rather than sell him I think Spurs will only get better under his leadership.
Jack (Take it back to elementary school, na na, boo boo, we hate you to) Manchester
On Diving And High Horses
Can everyone get off their high horses about diving.
Why is it more acceptable for Huth to try decapitate his opponent at least once a month but yet when Bale, Suarez, Rooney, Young or Gerard take a dramatic tumble there is an outcry?
Yes diving is cheating & yes it would be nice to rid the game of it but football is full of cheating between handballs, jersey pulling, stopping a player taking a quick free kick etc
If the authorities want to clean the game up let's start by banning players from screaming at refs every week.
Dave (note to the Bale & Suarez bashers that other players do it as well) Walsh LFC
...As Mr Stanger so eloquently implies in his article this morning, until someone can adequately explain to me why diving is supposedly so much worse then appealing for a corner you know isn't a corner, I will continue to treat the whole issue with bemused indifference. In the history of the Premier League for example, I would wager that many more goals have been scored from incorrectly awarded corners and throw-ins then penalties won by diving. Until someone dives against the mighty Watford of course, at which I'll proclaim that diving is a poison attacking the soul of British football...
Mark (Walter Gargano was pony), Watford
...Having read Stanger's piece on his indifference towards diving (to which there will be undoubtedly be an awful backlash), I have one simple question:
When someone dives to "avoid injury" and are thus morally innocent of tryng to gain an unfair advantage, why do they then proceed to roll over 5 times as if they were just hit by a car?!?
And while we're on it, whenever a player rolls over many times, you KNOW they're faking it. If somebody gets hurt, they'll lie very still, trying not to move the injured part of their body, waiting for the pain to subside (I'm not talking about writhing which would be small side-to-side movements, but rather 3-5 complete body-rolls. It's ridiculous!). You're welcome to injure yourself and test that theory.
...Ridiculous article about whether or not diving matters. Its cheating, and in my view apart from players deliberately going in hard and late to hurt an opponent, it's the thing I dislike most about football. I would include diving and feigning injury as being more or less one and the same. There is plenty being said about Gareth Bale's performances at the moment, and rightly so, and it seems that up until last night he had cut out the play acting. But after being booked for last night's dive he against looked incredulous and protested his innocence. Given he's now been booked about a half dozen times for diving in the last couple of years, has he ever actually held his hand up and admitted to any of them?
In response to Matt Stanger's article on diving, I'll explain my reason for disproportionately disliking diving.
It's quite simple, really. If I were to dive in our weekly 5-a-side game, where there's no referee, the defender that "fouled" me would rightly punch me in the face. So when a player dives in an officiated game, there's essentially an authority on the pitch to stop said punching from occurring. That's why it's so annoying.
It's the equivalent of that kid at school who would get all cocky when there's a teacher around but wouldn't dare act so punchable after school around the back of the shops.
LJ, MUFC (So instead of a yellow card, just let the wronged defender have a free shot to the chin), Slough
...After seeing Gareth Bale go down without reason for the umpteenth time I got slightly annoyed with the obvious reaction that will come from the media and fans of other clubs. Diving is only seen as a negative by those who do not benefit from it. The Robert Pires flop against Portsmouth many years ago is a prime example of a club getting behind someone who is so clearly in the wrong.
If all goes well then my team, Watford, will go up this year, but it may be through the Play-offs. If the score is 0-0 after 90 minutes and Metej Vydra takes an unfair tumble in the box to win a penalty, then I'll be happier than Harry Redknapp on January 31st. If the opposition were to do the same then I would be seething, happy to tell anyone who'd listen that the game has gone to twonk and that I won't be participating in any more footballing activities ever.
This is all because we are more than willing to allow our own sides to abuse the system wherever possible. I couldn't care less that Watford have eleven players on loan this year, or that we may have a completely new squad next year if the chairman see's fit. I enjoy seeing Holloway cringe at our use of the loan laws, but I also know that if another side did the same (Hull with Egyptians is getting close) and Watford were at the bottom of the table, I would be complaining as much as Ollie.
Bale's diving will not cease, just as other clubs, players and managers will look to abuse whatever rules and regulations that they can to gain an upper hand. People can complain as much as they like, but until the fans of those who are abusing the system voice concerns, there will be no change. And I like that.
Dan Hayward (If Watford don't go up I blame Cuneyt Cakir, he's clearly a swine) Watford fan exiled in Plymouth
...Bale was actually not very forward thinking taking a tumble against Inter this evening. Spurs were at home, 1-0 up and comfortable. He should have made every effort to be honest so everyone focussed on the healthy parts of his game. That way he might have had more of a chance of winning a penalty when Carragher inevitably drags him to the ground at Anfield on Sunday.
As things stand, the referee, whoever it may be, will surely have Thursday night on his mind if Bale finds himself on the floor looking up hopefully in front of the Kop this Sunday.
It's Friday (over here) and Kev The Clarkes email on splicing players got me thinking (a generally dangerous event in any case) about the hypothetical of combining various players attributes/limbs to build a superhuman footballing machine. Something along the lines of Gerrards right leg (obvious reasons), RvP's left (again obvious reasons), the torso of Giroud (we've all seen the dreamy photos), with the chest of Berba (he seems to control balls on that thing like its magnetic), the head of Vidic (its size may make this monster a bit lopsided but it sure could dominate an aerial ball), and the brain of Xavi (they call it vision in FIFA).
I thought Crouchies right and Agueros left would be a comical combo largely due to the 1"3' difference in length. Honesty call though, I reckon some of the esteemed mailbox contributers could do much better than I.
George (sufficient use of brackets above) AFC, Wellington, NZ
p.s. I know this probably isn't kosher to say (on this site) but NZ are doing alright in the cricket huh?
The End For Fernando?
Ever since Torres joined Chelsea, I have been one of the thousands of fans that has supported him no matter what. The countless times that he missed an open goal, the various occasions that he squandered an opportunity because of a lack of confidence. Either way, I have supported him. However, tonight finally showed me that no matter what, Torres will never become a Chelsea great.
The belief and support that the fans have given him over the past 2 years is unbelievable. Any other player would have been shunned and booed by this point. However, the Chelsea fans do not give up. And i hope that is something Torres will keep with him for the rest of his life. By now, he should realize that all he is doing to Chelsea is damaging their progress in any game they play.
I will always support him and hope he one day goes back to his former self. Yet it is clear that it will never happen for him at Chelsea. So i wish one last piece of good luck to him. I hope that we make it to one final, whether it is the FA Cup or Europa League, I hope that in one of those finals, Torres scores the winner, and leaves with his head held high. I hope he feels like he has achieved something, and moves on. Hopefully next year, once he is gone, he can look back fondly on his time with Chelsea, and admire the progression that Lukaku and Ba have made without him.
I know I should lower my expectations to the lowest human possible level when it comes to football commentary/punditry standards but even if I did I think I would still be shaking my head in astonishment at Clive Tyldesley's "I think he has worked out football management" reference to AVB last night.
John Nic's superb article summed up the AVB situation with regards the press perfectly but Clive's comment is almost a new low for me - Borderline Aspergers will always be the winner there.
Apparently because John Terry and Frank Lampard didn't like him and succeeded in getting him fired AVB didn't have a clue about football management until now - the unbeaten season with 4 trophies at Porto meant nothing.
Dear oh dear - please just kill me now.
On CL Winners and Rooney
I was rather surprised by Tim Colyers suggestion that 80% of the Champions Leagues were won by the suspected eight and that the other wins by for example Porto, Dortmund, Ajax and Liverpool were freak results caused by weaker sides. Porto won the Champions League rather convincingly, doing a treble that year. Dortmund only lost one game in their Champions League-season when they won it. Ajax '95 is remembered as arguably one of the best football sides ever, going through a whole season unbeaten, winning all possible prizes and only losing their title to Juventus in the '96 final, making them one of the few sides that almost retained their CL-crown. These three won their cups more comprehensively then most of the aforementioned eight by Tim Colyer, of whom I can't believe he puts Chelsea in the same bracket as seven other big teams. However, the term weaker sides is what struck me most. They may have been clubs that you wouldn't expect as Champions League-winnners (although back then, they weren't THAT surprising), but they weren't weak sides. Liverpool and Chelsea, both coming in fifth in the league and winning the Champions League, that is a freak win by a weaker side.
Anyway, I wanted to mail in about Rooney, the above was merely a reaction to an ignorant e-mail. Wayne Rooney appears to be on his way and there have been several clubs named as potential destinations, but what about Arsenal? It would be a perfect match. Arsenal is craving for a superstar to boost morale and a striker who can drop deep to allow players like Podolski and Walcott to move to the centre (as pointed out in Alex Hess' excellent article). Wayne Rooney is/ can do both and has the technical abilities and the awareness to fill in the role in a manner as Arsene Wenger would want. Wayne Rooney has been rather complacent at United when another superstar was accompanying him upfront. However, when everybody was looking at him to make the difference, he delivered. At Arsenal, he would become the absolute leader of the attacking line. Arsenal has the money to buy him and pay him and it would be a transfer of great significance. Is it a completely ludicrous suggestion?
Michiel Jongsma, The Netherlands
This Guy Loved Thursday
I'd like to know what EJD does in his spare time. Bloody hell, I followed his 'link' yesterday to see (what I thought would be) an outline of Buffon's 'rat' through his shorts on a team photo. What I got instead probably broke my company IT policy (which is monitored - Sorry Mr HR Director) and an eye full of erm well...naked 'Buffon Rat'! How the hell did EJD find that? What was he searching for when he stumbled upon Major Dad's Naked Sports and what made him bookmark it??
On a more sensible note (and within our IT Policy), Chris ITFC, Liverpool - I doff my hat sir! What a great post and a brilliant analogy at that! As one of said club's fans who has (metaphorically) thrown plenty of 'Poo' in the way of Liverpool fans, I found it rather amusing and somewhat accurate! City doing well or not, Liverpool are still our greatest rivals as far as I'm concerned and I relish the opportunity of showing my arse to them...
Andre (Nani are you OK?) London, also wrote a great post. For the record, I agree with him. I do think Madrid are (and were in both legs) the better side, though without Ronaldo, I would question that. I hope Madrid go on and win the Champions League. Class team. Class Manager - and hopefully, United's next Manager...
Top mailboxes on Thursday F365.
Chris Wilkinson MUFC