We have one Chelsea fan who recognises the job done by Rafa Benitez while there's maths from Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester. And Shawcross to Arsenal? Nah...
You might notice that we haven't included a single mail about teams in pubs, because most of them were terrible. Instead we have a disgruntled Fulham fan and Scouse maths...
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Can we overthrow the FA? UEFA? FIFA? The failure to take any action against McManaman after that challenge while not so long ago Nani received a red card for controlling a high ball without actually injuring anyone (just to contrast two incidents) should be the final death knell of all these official bodies. Their utter inconsistency and inability to actually mete out justice appropriately makes my blood pressure boil. And in this case, not even after the opportunity for video replaying of the incident is present.
I mean, what do they even exist for?
"The FA does not wish to re-referee matches." Yeah, sure; no doubt they'd be singing the same tune if it was Suarez or Barton.
Of course, since they're not actually elected by us, there's not much we can do. It's really about time someone did something to shake them up. I'd write them a letter, but I suspect the only way they'd take notice is if it was stapled to their forehead...
Guy S (off to B&Q to by a staple gun)
Why McManaman Escaped Punishment
Listening to TalkSport yesterday on the way home from work I caught most of an interview where the presenters (Darren Gough and professional moron Adrian Durham) were speaking to Darren Bailey from the FA. The interview was essentially an opportunity for Durham to try to badger Bailey into agreeing that the FA are a hopeless organisation that have no effect on anything.
However, this backfired spectacularly when Mr Bailey explained very clearly exactly what the policy is, and how it came into being. What he said was that before the start of the season, the FA spoke to all the major stakeholders in English Football: the PFA, the Premier League, the Football League, the LMA, and others. In these talks they settled upon a policy where if any of the match officials sees an incident, then it will not be reviewed after the game. Bailey said that in this case the first question that had to be asked was did an official see the incident - as soon as the answer was "yes", there was nothing more to be done.
Bailey was at pains to make the point that once the rules have been set, it would not be a good idea to change them just because all of a sudden the media and supporters are baying for blood. I absolutely agree with him on this point. The rules must remain consistent throughout the year. By all means tweak them between seasons after further consultation, but what more could the FA have done to give every stakeholder an opportunity to be involved in the consultation process?
A related point that Bailey made on a couple of occasions which was glossed over by Durham was that once you start refereeing decisions, it immediately makes it more likely that referees will shy away from making controversial decisions because they will be thinking that they have a safety net to apply punishments that they haven't already doled out. A similar situation has appeared in cricket where umpires have started giving more lbw decisions since they think that if they have made a mistake the DRS will correct it for them.
Ian Towns, MUFC
To make a disclosure, I am a Newcastle United supporter but I hope I make an important enough observation where that is ignored.
To paraphrase Marcus Cicero; "where there are too many laws, there is not enough justice." Haidara has not seen justice because the FA focusses on legislation, clauses, processes and other behaviour that should be contained in corporate boardrooms and over-loaded court-rooms.
For every law they write, they make justice harder to achieve; everytime they wheel out their bloated procedures the more ridiculous they become. They have forgotten themselves.
I disagree with Newcastle United beginning legal proceedings against Wigan Athletic but we have to remember that a football pitch is as level as an inner-city alleyway. If Haidara himself demands justice and football will not give it to him, who can blame him if he presses charges? You can argue about the damage it may bring to the game or whether he would win or not but when the sport cannot dispense justice, whether it is a tackle, racism or homophobia the court-rooms will inevitably get busier as the wronged demands vengeance.
Would Haidara be forgiven for when he lines up next (hopefully) against McManaman that his vengeance is carried out in a manner more associated with an inner-city alleyway? Who here would rule it out completely if they were in his position?
In a year when The FA has taken great delight in highlighting its history, its heritage and its permanence - it has forgotten why it was founded and why it exists. Fairness, justice, protector of the game. When McManaman takes his place on the pitch of the home of The FA, he should feel very fortunate indeed that The FA instead of dispensing justice, made the Barbarian at the gate feel very much at home.
I deeply apologise for the length of mail and pretentious quoting of Greek philosophers. Sorry.
Andy, (Assulin, Haidara, who next for the 'not that type of player'?) London.
...The FA's statement on the McManaman incident states that they want to 'avoid the re-refereeing of incidents'. Why is that something we want to avoid? Is the FA not acknowledging that officials make mistakes from time to time? Re-refereeing of incidents is precisely what majority of the footballing world wants, so as to correct the errors committed by officials, who are unable to do better given the lack of time and technology at their disposal.
The FA further states that due to one official seeing the incident, 'retrospective action cannot be taken'. A more accurate answer would be that 'retrospective action won't be taken, because we aren't willing to change our rules'. Changing the rules may result in a lot more work generated for the FA in reviewing incidents, but it would go a long way to righting many of the wrongs suffered by players and clubs today.
Lastly, it might reduce the likelihood of brainless fans sending threats to referees, if they knew the FA could (and probably would) overturn such decisions within a few days. But then again, brainless fans don't think the same way you and I do.
Aaron, Singaporean Gooner
More On EMO
So, Michael Owen 'officially' retires. I say 'officially' because he certainly stopped playing, as we once knew him, ages ago.
And, yes, Richard Malpass and all the others (all pretty good mails, by the way), his far past record was excellent but it's his more recent sense of self-entitlement that leaves some of us a bit disenchanted with him. Nobody disputes that Owen was a goal threat - what some might even call a weapon - and it had certainly been some time since England had anyone that scored goals quite like Owen did so it's easy to see why we looked upon him as some sort of saviour. I do acknowledge that. But Owen still doesn't seem to realise that those days were well behind him and he continued to talk as though he were still a major threat, feared throughout Europe, even as he grew older, slower and more prone to injury.
And, no, I'm not anti-Owen, far from it as I used to be a big fan of his. I had hoped that Ferguson had pulled a rabbit out of the hat by signing him but it wasn't to be. It's hard to see how it could have been! At that point, Owen may have done better had he agreed to drop down a division and, once again, become the scorer of mighty goals that he once was. Who knows, maybe he would have enjoyed playing football again? But Owen's ego would not allow that.
But more to the point; let's pity the poor substitutes who have inherited his subs' car seat (that doesn't sound near as good as 'the subs' bench', does it)? They are all going to have to get their sanders out to grind down Owen's personalised 'arse-crack' that he must have left on various seats for various clubs over the years. You know, those really comfortable grooves that you get from time spent in 'your' chair, especially leather.
When Owen joined United, Ferguson took most of us by surprise. But to hear Owen talking about rejoining the England squad just afterwards, as he apparently believed was his right, was the ultimate in a player just fooling himself. Everyone loves goals but we don't always like the player who scores them. Owen spoke as though he was still playing as he used to, banging in goals and playing more than one game on the trot. Richard Malpass and the others all seem to realise that there was a big difference between the Owen of old and the Owen that left Liverpool. Sadly, Mickey didn't and probably still doesn't and probably never will.
...I was never his biggest fan (more of a Robbie Fowler man myself), but I've always thought people were generally a bit harsh on Michael Owen. There is obviously a fair amount of people who dislike him - partly for the clubs he chose to play for and their respective rivalries, but a lot of it seems to be because he chose to be a bit-part player at Man Utd rather than be a regular at a lower team. Its seen as some sort of snobbery and elitism by Owen but I have to say his decision always made some sense to me.
Owen is a striker that has always relied heavily on service - you give him decent chances, he will score goals, and generally a fair few of them. However, with his size and stature, and particularly once he lost a yard of pace, he was not likely to create many goals from nothing for himself. Bit of a generalisation, but modern strikers, particularly at the lesser clubs, tend to be bigger guys - guys that can scrap and fend for themselves - not particularly prolific in terms of scoring, but can hold a ball up while their team unpark the bus, or chase down long balls all day.
So, he could move to a lesser club, chase long balls, feed off scraps, get frustrated and not enjoy his football, or he could move to someone like Man Utd, where he is likely to receive some of the best service in the business, and see if he could force his way into the first team. I'm not saying its the option I would necessarily have chosen, but I can see how he came to that decision. I thought he maybe got a taste of this frustration when he was at Newcastle (although a brief taste given the number of appearances he actually made) and this maybe goes some way to explaining why he never looked happy there.
I also think his injuries played a part - again, he could move to a lesser club, play every week and have his body let him down regularly, or he could move to a bigger club and try and do a job from the bench - keeping the toll on his body down to a more manageable level.
Doesn't really explain the move to Stoke I guess, but given that he is obviously quite a committed family man and has always played for clubs (other than RM) that he can commute to without uprooting his family, I'm guessing his options were pretty limited.
Anyway - good luck to the bloke.
No, You Grow Up
What a terribly disrespectful and absolute nonsense of a column i read this morning on F365. Michael Owen was a massive talent and exciting to watch in his early years, gave us hope that he could go on to be something great, which obviously didn't happen probably due to injuries and choosing to go to Real Madrid which kind of halted his career.
Never the less, he appears to be a pleasant, intelligent, nice guy who keeps himself out of the limelight and just gets on with his life for the most part. Something that is very rare today in celebrity footballers. So what if his twitter posts are dull, I'd hazard a guess that anyone who has time to read footballers twitter feeds probably have even duller lives themselves! Simply put, the joke is on your if you even bother to read them and then become unhappy with their quality.
He clearly had talent, even after moving to Real, when he was on the field he still did what he was paid to do, and score goals. I'd also hazard a guess that you don't know the intricacies of his contracts with clubs, so to then speculate that he was a bizarre signing is ridiculous. The people who signed him are probably more qualified than Sarah Winterburn to decide whether or not someone is worth taking a chance on at the price (which you have absolutely no idea about) he comes at. But yeah, maybe Sarah should be advising Man Utd on their transfer policy, maybe they might win some trophies that way.....
Complete garbage column and when his career, professionalism and love for England should be celebrated upon his announcement of his retirement you prefer to try and sour it.
P.S. I watch and enjoy Match Of The Day (with the exception of Shearer) but even he wouldn't come out with such classes words as are found in this column.
Good Point About Spurs' Coefficient
Actually, qualifying for the Champions' League will make the balancing act easier for Spurs by virtue of the simple fact that more money will mean that they can buy more players and have a larger squad (not merely replace the current players with better players, but still essentially have a small squad). This larger squad will very obviously make the balancing act easier to manage.
Regarding the requirements in terms of improving quality, Spurs are arguably better now then they were when they played Champions' League 2 years ago, and they didn't do too badly, so they shouldn't do too badly this time if they use the money to merely expand their squad while retaining (not necessarily improving) their current standard.
They did beat Man Utd at Old Trafford this season. And they beat Arsenal (yes, they're rubbish but they beat Bayern). Plus, there are plenty of beatable good-but-not-great opponents in the Champions' League every season that should see Spurs perform to an acceptable level.
So right now, Spurs need to focus on growing their squad more than improving it, which will theoretically have the snowball effect of consistent Champions' League qualification for the foreseeable future, which will bring more cash every season, which will be used to slowly improve quality over time.
Not too shabby. Also, doing well in the Europa League now will lead to having a better coefficient come the Champions' League draw.
...I took my son to watch his first spurs game last Saturday - we live on a rock in the middle of the Irish Sea so quite an expensive trip. He loved it, apart from the result. I have promised him a trip to the Europa league final if they get there. Then reading today's mailbox, another email about how the champions league is so much more important than the Europa league, and basically saying that its worthwhile giving up on winning a cup to be able to qualify for a cup that spurs can't win, purely for the cash benefits.
I coach kids footy and winning a league or a cup at under 13 level is a big deal for both players and supporters (parents anyway) What happens to these kids to make them turn into football supporting adults who then care more about balance sheets than silverware. I bet most spurs supporters can remember where they were when they won the league cup a few years back, and will tell their grandchildren about it. How many can remember where they were when they clinched 4th under Arry.
So for all of you who have fallen for the champions league hype, go and support an accountancy firm. I understand there is a "Big Four" in that too, and you can celebrate getting that big audit account from one of their rivals. Leave those of us who love the game for what it is to be able to get tickets without costing a fortune
John (at least if spurs don't get to the final I will be financially better off too) Fraggle Rock
Feeling Sorry For Blackburn Fans
For those regular footy watchers residing in South East Asia, I don't think any of us have quite got over the fact that a professional football club (and a Premiership one at the time) hired Shebby Singh in any capacity other than as a matchday programme seller.
Whilst we all fancy a bit of Championship Manger and writing to F365 with our informed opinions, I could honestly say that I wouldn't have the first clue how to run a football club, but at the same time I would maintain I know more about football (certainly in the UK) than young Shebby.
I have nothing against him personally (in time I went from unadulterated hate of his ridiculously opinionated and downright stupid punditry to the sort of fondness you'd reserve for a slightly berko Gran Aunt) but you merely have to see the stream of incredulous looks on Steve McMahon's face when he's alongside him to see exactly what he thinks of it all. Shebby's only qualification for working in UK football seems to be that he is a passionate Spurs fan (not sure if the Blackburn faithful have been told that either).
We will continue to watch the lunacy at Ewood from afar with a degree of mirth but I have to say I feel hopelessly sorry for the poor Blackburn fans as they watch their club get flushed down the toilet. My sympathies go out to them in spades.
Steve McBain, Singapore