But it must only be used for a shot seemingly launched from a catapult with reckless abandon. We also have mails on Dimi Berbatov, Cesc Fabregas and lots more...
That's the question posed in a wide and varied Mailbox, along with several others including Lloris dropping bollocks, Stewie Griffin's return & a thank you to David Healy...
If you have anything to add on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
A very slow day has shamefully led me to reading the Sun (having already read pretty much everything else on F365 and other sites) and I stumbled upon a classic Sun article on the cars the Man U players are driving back to training in. Despite this list including the likes of Rio and Rooney, unsurprisingly the player arriving in the most expensive car is Anderson.
Just sort of hammers in the point of how much money has been wasted on him....
Manchester As Star Wars
As it's the summer and nowt much going on( in real footie terms) I thought I'd share with you my Star Wars/Manchester City theory.
For years I called them ( you know who) the Dark Side, City were the forces of good but we were inconsequential to them with only the occasional win that didn't ultimately matter to them cos they still won the league whenever we beat them.
So here goes, the last 2 seasons have been Episode 4 and 5- season 2011/12- Star Wars- a new hope( Sergio) starts to help make waves against the dark side, there are heroes aplenty ( Vincent, Yaya, Bobby Manc). So just as in the film the Death Star comes into range to blow up the rebellion ( the last match of the season, Utd winning comfortably V Sunderland), City are struggling to beat QPR. Cue Sergio's glorious swish of the right boot (Luke's shot down the exhaust port) - result; City win the league, Death Star and the empire are defeated. Cue scenes of great joy.
Empire Strikes Back- the rebellion are struggling, the empire is back, lots of injuries to key personnel to the rebellion ( Sergio) and then the real hero of the rebellion (Han Solo) is frozen in carbonite ( this is Vincent and his ever knackered calf). Luke lost the battle with his father ( I consider the cup final to be that battle in Cloud City)
It's the empire wins all the way round.
Obviously this season was going to be Return of the Jedi, City regain the title, the Emperor is vanquished once and for all, but Fergie retired, we sacked Bobby Manc.
Any other readers watch their teams and compare them to films?
Keith ( Vincent I love you, Vincent: I know) Atkinson
In reply to Jon Gibson LFC - "The ONLY time it is acceptable to enjoy a goal against your team is when it is completely irrelevant to you but directly impedes a rival."
I give you a Mr Patrick Kluivert, netting the consolation in the 4-1 defeat to England in Euro 1996. Not only a smart finish with the game already safe, it managed to eliminate the Scots at the same time. Is there a better example of this from a fans perspective?
Arguably Kluivert is also a contender for the another mailbox entry (is there a prize for this?) as an unfulfilled talent. Yes he had a career spanning Ajax, Milan, Barca (Newcastle??) but never reached the'the next van Basten' tag given to him post Ajax '95.
...How can it be that for the questions of unfulfilled potential and goals conceded that you couldn't help but clap, no-one has given the correct answers?
The player who most failed to live up to his potential is surely Lee Sharpe. He went from Manchester United, being the cool guy that Giggs and Beckham looked up to and scoring a beautiful flicked goal against Barcelona, to Garforth Town, via Braford and some Icelandic team - I can't think of a drop quite so dramatic.
And the goal that you can't help but applaude should've been easy because it was scored so recently. Zlatan Ibrahimovic's improvized overhead goal against England - a goal unique in it's invention and execution. Sheer class and probably the only goal conceded by England that actually made me smile.
Nick Hamblin, Bristol
When A Goal Against You Is Cheered...
In response to Ollie, CFC (London), I remember being at the Emirates for a Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk and I think it was the first season since Eduardo had moved on to them. He didn't start and we were already 5-0 up before he came on, but when he came on and scored I just remember the whole stadium erupting with non-ironic cheer and applause.
It was great to see a player that had struggled so much since that injury, come on and score. I'd like to think that even if he'd scored a late winner against us, although we probably all wouldn't have cheered, we probably wouldn't begrudge him the goal.
Dan, AFC, Greenwich
...Regarding goals you've been "happy" to concede, I can only really remember one. Norwich (my team) playing Chelsea in an FA cup replay having held them 0-0 at Carrow Road.
After the initial cheering from the Chelsea fans had subsided, we were shown the replays on the big screen which is when it became clear that he'd ACTUALLY BACKHEEL-VOLLEYED THE BALL IN AT THE NEAR POST DIRECTLY FROM A CORNER. Never heard a noise like it from a football crowd, gasps and oohs like a fireworks display as the replays were shown from different angles.
Just watching the goal has brought back that eerie amazement. I honestly think it's one of the best goals that's ever been scored.
You Should Never Be Happy To Concede
Jon Gibson LFC was going so well until his sign-off, in which he admitted to enjoying Liverpool conceding consolation goals that benefit his fantasy football team. The fact is I will never be happy to see United concede a goal. I may admire a goal - indeed I applauded (fat) Ronaldo's Old Trafford hattrick in 2003, and felt a little silly after my exclamation "That was a pearl to be fair" after Modric's goal last season (both occurrences had dire consequences as well) - but enjoying a goal conceded is completely against my idea of fandom.
In thinking about this point I looked up a moment I recalled from my younger days, when Malcolm Christie of Derby scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 victory at OT. Apparently this was May 2001, the third-last game of the season and Derby were scrapping for relegation with City. The match report states "The young striker showed wonderful composure to arrow the ball into the top corner and silence the United fans"; that's not how I remember it at all. I'd say around 10% of the Stretford End were cheering because a Derby win would've been disastrous for City and United had wrapped the league up already. My 16 year old self was seething.
Back to the original point - Santi Cazorla scored at OT last season. I had him in my fantasy football team: nice to have the points in the fantasy. And it was a consolation goal making it 2-1 deep in injury time, of no consequence to the match result: nice to pick up 3 points in the league. And it was a beauty, and despite being an Arsenal player I think we can agree he's quite likeable: it was well worth admiring. Was I happy to concede? Absolutely not.
Chris, SAF Stand
More Unfulfilled Talent
Still giddy with the success of being published in the mailbox yesterday, I thought I'd try and contribute to the unfulfilled players discussion.
In Summer 2011 Arsenal signed free-scoring, league-winning international winger Gervinho, an African who was so good he had a Brazillian name.
He arrived on the back of a title-winning campaign with Lille as one of the key players (alongside Hazard and Yohan Kebab). 15 goals and 10 assists in 35 league games in that successful league season suggested Arsene had got a very useful player who could contribute a great deal from the wing.
Heck, Hazard himself was even quoted as saying Gervinho was the best player he ever played alongside. Scoring in his first friendly appearance for Arsenal only confirmed to me that we had signed a devastating wing wizard (albeit with an alarmingly large forehead).
Countless poor touches, missed open goals, scuffed passes and awkward running style only confirmed to me that we had actually signed the reincarnation of Ali Dia. And to think we missed out on Mata that same summer - galling!
Stefan Pereira (maybe this Higuain fella will be alright), Arsenal
...This is one that may not ring too many bells with many F365er's, but I can remember watching Tony Grant coming through the ranks at Everton during the mid-90's and genuinely thinking that he was going to become a real top class midfielder.
On reflection, a few years of watching the likes of Brett Angell miss-kicking his way through life and Earl Barrett blowing out his arse may have sullied my appreciation for what can be considered a 'quality footballer'. One game that really stuck in the memory was his performance away to QPR in 1995, this back before they became a total disasterf*ck of a team. He pulled the strings and thanks to a telling contribution from half time sub Daniel Amokachi and a last minute pearler from Andy Hinchcliffe we won 3-2. I remember walking out of Loftus Road that afternoon and both myself and my dad couldn't stop praising the young Tony Grant.
Sadly injuries played their part and he became a bit of a journeyman, with each move becoming a little less successful. I was delighted to see the other day though that he's now taken up a coaching role at Blackburn Rovers, even if to let me reminisce for a short while on the player I thought he would become.
Jamie Maher, EFC
...Easy, I can make a top ten just for my beloved Manchester United alone.
1. Dimitar Berbatov - He could have been and probably should have been a Cantona-esque type signing. His potential was incredible at United and although he was joint top scorer one season he never really clicked with the United style of play and the 30 million price tag weighed very heavy.
To be fair to him, he might have redeemed himself if he was given a consistent run in the team but his lazy looking, slow style of play did not suit his extremely pacey colleagues.
2. Diego Forlan - He was brought in from Internacional with massive potential after firing goal after goal in Brazil however he couldn't buy a goal for United for what seemed like an eternity and he was always trying for the spectacular that usually went into row Z. He never really had any consistent run of goals which is a bit of a problem if you're a striker and yes we are looking at you too Danny 1 goal.
(Although he made up for this slightly with his heroics against Liverpool which is why fans still sing his name to this day).
3. Ashley Young - I still have a glimmer of hope for Young as it's still relatively early days but after his great start for about half a season has followed a barren spell of poor form and injuries for the last 18 months or so.
4. Karel Poborsky - Typical Sir Alex type signing, he scored 1 fantastic lobbed goal for Czech Republic and Fergie splashed out on him. Never really delivered though and was shipped out not too long after.
5. Kleberson - potential Brazilian wonder kid.. he has Brazil caps so he must be good... Utter flop... enough said.
6. Eric Djemba-Djemba - likewise, total garbage, I surely hope that whoever scouted and recommended him was punched in the face repeatedly.
7. Luis Nani - The most frustrating player I have ever seen. He shows flashes of utter brilliance and is very capable of winning matches on his own against the very best. He has in patches been an excellent player but it is just his pure lack of consistency that pains the most. The fact that he hasn't made the wing positions his own in the United team speaks volumes and lets be honest, United haven't exactly been blessed in that department since Ronaldo left. After 1 good game follows 10 crap ones.
8. Louis Saha - Explosive, pace to burn, incredible skill and technique and a thunderbastard of a shot on him. He was a brilliant player when he was fit. Unfortunately for him though that was a very rare occurrence. Injuries and lack of fitness derailed his United potential.
9. Alan Smith - was always brilliant when he played against us but a handful of brilliant goals aside, unfortunately for him, his broken leg at Anfield ruined his United career.
10. Antonio Valencia - 1 great season, 2 well below average seasons, he just about makes this list because his crosses have limitless potential with Rooney and RVP in the box but apart from the season Rooney scored a bucket load he hasn't quite lived up to it since, his leg injury against Rangers certainly didn't help his case mind.
Phil Rigby (I wonder how long it is before Welbeck is added to this list - I hope I am wrong) Salford
...In reply to Christopher Jones email re unfulfilled potential; as a connoisseur of 90's Italian football a personal fave of mine always comes to mind, that being the Uruguayan master Alvaro Recoba. Now Recoba wasn't an absolute failure he scored over 50 goals for Inter and was capped numerous times by Uruguay but for someone with so much raw natural ability you feel had he been willing to back up his skill with an equally dedicated work ethic a star would surely have been born. For all his skill Recoba was never the most hard working to put things politely, well at times he looked down right lazy.
He signed for Inter in 97 Inter spunked around £15 million on him which was a pretty hefty wedge back then. It all started so well when Recoba was bought on as a sub and scored two cracking goals on debut and you thought a star was born but alas Recoba never maintained that form over the rest of the season. A loan spell to Venezia followed where he impressed with eleven goals which prompted Inter to recall him the following season and in his first season back he did well and was rewarded with a six year deal reportedly making him one of the highest earners in world football but then things started to go down hill....
Recoba was hit with a year long ban for some passport shenanigans and also suffered a string on injuries over the subsequent seasons which obviously didn't help his on field performances. But mixed in with all the below par efforts Recoba still had the odd moment of magic showing glimpses of his ability but they were too few and far between for a player with the undoubted talent he had. You can't help but think Recoba could and should have made a bigger name for himself in Europe and ranked amongst the best to have played there in the late 90's/00's.
Take a look at these cracking free kicks for a reminder of his talent..
Nathan (Gooner, Melbourne)
I have to agree with Christopher Jones' e-mail regarding unfulfilled players, especially Jermaine Pennant.
I'm not sure if people remember, because Liverpool lost the match, but Pennant was actually Liverpool's best player in the Athens final vs Milan in 2007. Going from the most impressive player in a CL final for Liverpool, to not being picked at Stoke, is quite a fall.
Oliver (@odziggel) Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland
Not Happy With Daniel
"Without inviting the dreaded claims of lazy journalism (perish the thought), comparisons between Jack WIlshere and Cesc Fabregas are rather easy to draw. In September 2008 it was Wilshere who broke Fabregas' record as Arsenal's youngest ever player, with both midfielders lauded separately as the brightest light in the Gunners' future, forced into centre stage through a club's commitment to youth. Fabregas' saga-ridden departure to Barcelona allowed Wilshere to take on the mantle of 'next big thing'."
is the most poorly-written opening paragraph to an article that I have read in a while. Can anything be "saga-ridden"?
"Jack Wilshere's comeback from injury coincided with Arsenal's impressive late-season push. His fitness this season is vital for club, country and player..." - no it didn't. He was once again injured/being preserved on the bench for most of Arsenal's late-season push, in which Aaron Ramsey started every game.
"Wilshere's availability is of utmost importance to Arsenal this season, his ever-presence increasing the ceiling on the club's expected achievement, because in his creative midfield role he is unsurpassed at the Emirates. Aaron Ramsey improved last season but does still not have the consistency and dribbling prowess for the task, whilst Tomas Rosicky showed flashed of his pre-injured self, but again falls short of Wilshere's ability." - Has Daniel Storey heard of Santi Cazorla?
...I'm afraid Daniel Storey's piece on Wilshere is just inaccurate.
Jack Wilshere's return wasn't the difference. He came back and got injured again.
The player who made the difference and for my money who should remain in the starting line-up is Tomas Rosicky.
He's the reason we made Champions League and not Jack.
Jack is a good player with great potential but he's done diddly squat in an Arsenal shirt so far and this team needs to be picked on form and not on what they might do.
The same goes for Higuain, should we complete that signing - I say Giroud and Tomas should start with both these players having to earn their place in the team.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
See Also Wilshere Following Higuain
Long time reader, first time writer inspired to do said writing by the always excellent Mediawatch.
If you're looking for the new "Omitted from the calendar" look no further than Twitter. Nottingham Forest's Henri Lansbury started following Gary Hooper in the last couple of days and some of the more over-excited Forest fans have jumped to the conclusion that Hooper MUST be signing for the mighty Reds.
It makes me want to cry, not least because why would anyone turn their back on the Champions League and almost inevitable League title to play alongside Ishmael Miller? But at least it breaks up the monotony of the online stalking of Billy Sharp or the ominous spectre of gloating Leicester fans when Wes Morgan (probably) lines up in blue next season.
Steve B. NFFC
Surely the actions mentions in the Mediawatch story entitled "A Proportionate Response" show just how clever striker Ernest N'For really is. His club don't want to sell him, so he threatens his bosses, they sack him and now he can move to his preferred team for free!
Memorable Commentary Lines
Since lately the mailbox seems to have been all 'do you remember...?', 'who was your favourite...?', 'what's the most mental...?', I thought I would weigh in with my own poser on this sunny Friday; namely, what's the most memorable thing you've ever heard someone say during football coverage?
At this point, many people's minds will inevitably track back to Pardew's 'raking', or Motson 'putting Seaman everywhere'. However, I'm interested as to whether there are any more obscure, personal moments like this which people remember?
The reason I ask is because I was recently reminded of a match about 10 years ago in which Clinton Morrison was coming on as a sub. After the commentator had blandly announced his introduction, Mark Bright chirped up 'Here he is, Clinton Morrison. Bit of a rude boi, him'. This was then followed by a few seconds of silence - in which I could only imagine Brighty and his colleague staring at each other as if to say 'we really are from different worlds, aren't we?' - before Bright guffawed with laughter and the commentator stoically continued, unabashed. The icing on the cake was when I got into school the next day and one of my mates had heard it too. I'll never forget that.
Joe (kids are spoilt for football nowadays) O'Grady