It's all very well having a go at David Moyes (and a few more do), but just who else would they get in? Plus, England in the Group of Death, Pantilimon and the helicopter...
It's the Mailbox all but United fans have been longing for, with Davey Moyes copping so much stick. Also have love for Martinez, Luis Suarez and Southampton. Enjoy...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Maybe Villa's Age Is A Plus?
Good article on David Villa from Daniel Storey, except as a Spurs fan very excited by the transfer it's now put the fear into me! There is a concern - and of course someone who a few years ago was the best striker in the world who's been injured (while he's struggled to come back, it was a one-off bone injury rather than a more worrying muscular one..) about to turn 32 and suddenly willing to make a big wage cut doesn't quite sound like a player who's really going to hit their peak, especially in a new league.
But there are two points I think are pertinent here: firstly I don't think that Villa would be the end of our transfer dealings up front, nor will he be our main forward next season. He's done well cutting in from the left, and hopefully would work well with Bale, potentially switching positions. It seems that Spurs are still trying to find another target man forward too. Secondly: we are assembling a young team who will improve in the future, but there's a loss of experience in that too. We've fallen away towards the end of the season three years in a row to varying degrees. We've not been able to close it out. Villa's won pretty much everything it's been possible for him to win, including the World Cup. He's been around teams and players who've won everything for the past six years for his country, and nearly as many for Barca. We will need a player or two who see Champions League as the minimum requirement, and who can show our younger players how to win trophies and keep winning them. The idea of a winning mentality can be overstated, and I may be doing so here, but a calm figure who understands what is required to pick up trophies and see out the end of the season - or getting through a rough patch - could really help steer our young side.
Will Donovan, THFC, North London
Bring Back Sandro
It is a cliche associated more with their neighbours but Spurs are in the position that their most important signing might be the good old Arsene special of 'a player return from a long injury lay-off being like a new signing'. I am, of course, talking about The Beast. The biggest blow to Spurs's top-four ambitions last season was the loss of everyone's favourite karate-kicking, pain inflicting, Mr T wannabe and the replacement with the ponderous Parker.
If you are looking for a solid base to build a team of attacking intent in a 4-3-3, a pair of Brazilian powerhouses who can run all day, break up play, pick a pass and score the occasional 30-yard screamer, then Spurs have what they need. Now, a left and striker before August 17th and they are laughing.
Kev (football needed. STAT)
Arsenal: Not Actually Spending
In your gossip column you make the statement 'In this summer when Arsenal are actually spending money, it's frankly anyone's guess' (referring to the alleged Suarez bid). Ignoring the fact that the bids for both Higuain and Suarez are both well short of the (non) selling club's valuations and therefore both never likely to happen!
From where I'm sitting 'Arsenal are actually spending money' is about as inaccurate a statement as one can make...especially as they have merely purchased an out-of-contract promising Frenchman with a poor injury record...so no different to any other year so far!
Talk and posturing does not a big spender make! Let's face it the Spuds are more pro-active right now in getting deals actually sewn up!
Chris (hoping to be proven wrong but not holding my breath) Charteris, Brighton
Blame England's Woes On Youngsters Moving Too Soon
On what will probably be another quiet day in the office, I thought I'd re-visit Richard Scudamore's assertion last week that the Premier League isn't to blame for the supposed decline in England's fortunes. First of all, I don't see any real decline in England's fortunes just yet. However, I think it may get a little worse before it gets better. The reason for this? I don't believe there is any real talent, with the exception of Jack Wilshere, on the horizon.
That leads to the obvious question of why the talent isn't there, and it's easy to point the finger at the nasty Premier League with all of its foreign players taking the places of English players. In my opinion however, there is a more obvious target. The players themselves.
Now, this will perhaps invalidate my argument somewhat because he seems to be a figure of fun, inexplicably. Arsene Wenger has often said that the most important stage of a player's development is between 18 and 21. Whether or not you agree with him, it's blindingly obvious that the number of potential England players who are playing regularly at the top level of this age are almost none. Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott are the obvious ones from the last few years, and you might throw Raheem Sterling in there. Maybe.
There seems to be a worrying trend for young players to move to a bigger club when they are still at a fundamental stage of their development. Is it the money, the lure of trophies? I don't know, you'd have to ask them, but playing one game in three rather than being a regular starter seems to me to be a sure-fire way to stifle your development as a young player. Phil Jones is an obvious case in point, as is Chris Smalling, but there have been countless others over the past few years. Surely these guys would have benefitted from staying at Blackburn and Fulham for another couple of years? It's almost guaranteed that Zaha is the next one to fall into the trap.
There is nothing that anyone can do about this in terms of bringing in new coaching methods, or transfer restrictions. It has to come from the players, a culture shift where playing regular top-flight football (at home or abroad) between 18 and 21 is imperative. If you're still good enough at 22-23, the big move will still be on the table. Of course, this won't apply to everyone. There are many young players who should be playing reserve team football at that age. This is more aimed at those guys who have broken in to supposedly smaller teams at 18, 19, and then pack their bags for United, City, etc. The only other solution would be for clubs to be more far-sighted and be more prepared to throw the younger guys in at the deep end, but in the footballing world we live in right now, minimising risk is the name of the game, so I don't hold out much hope.
As an interesting aside, Spain are starting to experience a similar thing, with a horde of talented 20-21 year old players who can't get in at Barca and Real coinciding with the first hints at chinks in the armour of the national team. I know they won the U21 Euros at a canter, but Thiago et al really need to get games under their belts, or they get to 23/24 and they have less than 100 games to their name. That's half your career and a shedload of potential. Gone. I watched Thiago in 2011 at the U21s, and he was the best player in a team that contained Mata, Javi Martinez and De Gea. Compare and contrast.
It's very easy to point the finger at Germany, and look at what they did, and I know the coaching reformation came first, but look at the number of guys they had playing regular Bundesliga games at 18, 19 four to five years ago. Look at them now. They have a core of a national team that is aged 23-25 and they all have 40+ caps. What's more, there is another wave of players behind that who have had the same sort of progression. It's not easy, clearly, but it's something to aspire to.
Sorry Chris ITFC, Liverpool, but football could learn a thing or two about Andy Murray's win.
We need to ship all our decent talent out to Barcelona in their teens so instead of relying on their physical prowess they can actually learn how to play the game and return years later actually able to win things! Worked for Murray...
Luca James Sparks
What A Waste Of Fabio
I'm going to jump the gun and ponder the potentially heartbreaking conundrum of Fabio (twin brother of the excellent Rafael and still with plenty of time to prove me incorrect) of Manchester United. While his brother has gone from strength to strength and looks to be a mainstay of this United team for many years to come, Fabio has stalled and spent a less than encouraging spell on loan at QPR last season with Hughes and Redknapp preferring the chuckle brothers Traore and Bosingwa as full-backs. Fabio was always talked about through the academy as being the more talented brother who was destined to surely make it at the club. But having only made fleeting appearances and a run of injuries that hindered his progress was shipped out on loan to gain first-team experience. I presume the plan was for him to become a stand-out full-back in a poor squad but this didn't come to fruition at all! I actually saw him a few times and he was shocking?
Watching his brother conquer all before him must be a bittersweet sight for the man and painful indication of what might have been. Fabio may be a victim of circumstance with Patrice Evra's presence in the team fairly solid as opposed to the post Gary Neville right-back slot. But the purchase of Buttner (who from what I have seen seems like a very decent attacking full-back although quite horny in defence) and desired acquisition of Baines indicate that maybe Fabio is not the great successor to the left-back position, as his brother appears to be at right-back? My gut feeling seems to point towards a Brazil squad of 2018 with the majestic Rafael at right-back who has already won it all at MUFC and is the subject of €25 million speculation from Real Madrid and Barca; while Fabio is currently floundering about at Real Zaragoza, nailing a starting berth but failing to do anything of note for the last five years bar throw darts at a picture of his twin brother in his room. Surely this would be a terrible situation at family occasions? They will both obviously be classed as successful by their family but the green eyed monster will surely be seething behind Fabio's eyes.
PS Fabio married at age 18....another reason to be envious of Rafael?
Dan (Having my mailbox hymen broken), Dublin
Big-Ups For Johnny
I agree 100% with John Nicholson's article regarding the power of the media, and people's inability to think for themselves. How moronic.
Tom, (Jonny Nic for England manager) Halifax
On The Holt End
I couldn't let the almost certain departure of Grant Holt pass without comment on this hallowed forum. I can empathise that for the neutral he was perhaps a divisive figure; ex non-league journeyman living the dream and sticking it to the Man in the Premier League versus fat, cheating, lumbering wind up merchant. To us Norwich fans, he really was our Captain, Leader, Legend (but in a genuine, unaffected, he's-in-no-way-a-bell-end kind of a way, you understand), playing a starring role in one of the most exciting periods in the club's history. We even forgave him for putting in a transfer request last summer, the second highest English scorer in the League clearly believing he was destined for bigger and better (re. more lucrative) things. Be careful what you wish for, Grant. Wigan have got themselves a bargain, and I sincerely hope the big fella does the business back in his native north-west next season, particularly against Ipswich. Thanks for the memories, big man.
Richard, NCFC, London
Why City Should Sign Pepe
Looking at the transfer rumours and all that guff and was thinking about players you'd actually like to see signing for your rivals, the latest case in point being Pepe linked with Man City. I'd be all for that because I think he's a bit crap to be honest - anyone else of the same opinion?
El Clasico Reject XI
Did anyone else get the feeling when reading Tim Stannard's piece on 'Ten players who should leave Spain's big two', that he should have just named it 'el Clasico reject XI"'and sent it in to the mailbox on a off-season Friday?
Well, I will take it upon myself to perform Tim's expected journalistic duty...
GK - Diego Lopez
LB - Coentrao
CB - Albiol
CB - Pepe
RB - Arbeloa
CDM - Song
LM - Thiago
RM - Callejon
CAM - Kaka
ST - Tello
CF - Villa
What a reject list that would be, by the way.
Elias (not sure how Coentrao and/or Albiol didn't make the list) Johannesburg
I remember as Hamilton Ricard blazed over for the umpteenth time for Middlesbrough, Alan Brazil on Sky announcing, "I don't want to be harsh on the fella, but he's by far and away the worst player I've ever seen."
...On the subject of most memorable commentary moments, mine has to be the below. Had me in stitches for 30 mins straight.
I don't even know what league, teams, commentators or the channel was? All I know is it was in 2006, maybe 2007?
Commentator #1: "The defenders have it easy, he (the striker) has got to run the channels more."
Commentator #2: "I don't think he likes France very much..."
T, CFC, (stitches could have been due to the curry!)
...I have often considered doing a 'Cassetteboy' with football commentary (for anyone unfamiliar with that, please check out Cassetteboy vs The Apprentice' on youtube - awesome). However I have neither the time nor the patience.
One that did the job for me however was England Germany Euro 96 when McManaman was dribbling his way out of our box with a certain German striker blocking his way, Motson declared 'McMamanan's got Kuntz in front of him'.
...I believe that it was Jon Champion who, whilst commentating on a Man Utd game, exclaimed "that's a fluid exchange between Rooney and Giggs".
I put it down to excessive team bonding.
Warming To A Theme...
Mid-coital defenestrations should replace penile severance as the running theme for Mediawatch's non-football story. I'll be very impressed if you find as many examples...
Harry (Hey everyone, they 'fell in love'! Ah? Ah?) Gooner