One Mailboxer may have spent lunch in the pub in suggesting Van Persie could go back to Arsenal. Also, some Premier League meh-ing and a fine Acewatch suggestion...
Even the lesser teams have players like Luis Suarez and Romelu Lukaku so it's all bloody good fun. But mostly the mailbox features United fans being told to grow up...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Before I get accused of being a negative Arsenal fan and all doom and gloom let me tell you I'm more often than not a positive fan on my beloved Arsenal but I feel compelled to write in during these early days of this transfer window.
People may argue we are only nine days into the window so don't panic but my fear is Arsenal once again will miss the boat with their top targets . It's no good if come the start of the season Wenger says 'we tried for Higuain, Jovetic, Suarez, Rooney' etc . For the fifth or sixth richest club in the World to not be able to buy any of their top targets is unacceptable, this of course is made worse with Gazidis telling the World we are loaded and we are going to splurge .
Ok Rooney and Suarez are a bit tounge in cheek but surely a bench warming Higuain or a non-Champions League Italian side ( Fiorentina ) Jovetic should be able to be lured to a super-rich London based Champions League side? It may be the clubs are playing hardball over fees but did we not do the same with RVP, Adebayor, Fabregas and the like.
As Fergie has proven in the past identify targets early and secure them and the gelling of your new side will start earlier. Yes occasionally you will have to wait till late on but with Arsenal that is always the case and we are already out of the title hunt after the first 5 games! Not saying we would win it with just a few more players but I bet we would be a lot nearer if our business was done early.
Lee Lisno (Ahh David Dein please come back)
...I hope I am wrong but experience tells me the below scenario could be in play:
Arsene Wenger - doesn't want to change his approach. He'd still, despite the lessons of the last 8 years, rather spend money on young potential. Think small fees, obscure players, fat non-incentivised pay packets
Stan Kroenke - pleased at hearing good financial figures (to be massively increased by tv money, continued CL qualification and good commercial deals) is non-plussed and probably (hopefully?) plotting when to sell or if not enjoying the good life of taking away a nice salary for minimal input.
Ivan Gazidis - despite being beholden to his boss Stan and his unofficial boss Arsene, he has performed well with the off-field commercial aspects. His comments I believe earlier this summer were aimed at encouraging Arsene to dig deep and show ambition in the market. He will not however over-rule Wenger on wages and transfer fees.
Arsene's ploy therefore:
*Make a couple of sizeable bids that are just enough not to look insulting but no way near likely to be accepted - Suarez (£30m), Fellaini £20m etc. Historically see Alonso (not signed because of £1m....aarrgh!), Jones, Cahill etc
*A couple of rumours won't help so a comment here or there, coupled with a wry smile, have greeted enquiries in the past about Rooney, "no-bid" Higuain or Cavani
*In the unlikely event a bid is accepted dither and dally until someone else nips in - Mata (that worked out well).
Result: No marquee big signings and another chance to prove everyone wrong by succeeding on his terms. Only problem is he hasn't. He has managed the transition well from Highbury, but its been ages since we have had the excuse of financial constraints. Someone please tell him its quality not quantity we're after. Even after the outgoing loans and transfers we still have Ryo, Frimpong, Gervinho, Chamakh, Park, Bendtner and Campbell on the team page on the website.
We'll probably sign one decent player for about £12m and a couple more kids. We'll then be told that the team worked tirelessly all summer trying to seal a big deal....at least we showed intent etc?
Needless to say I hope I am very wrong and that I develop a nasty facial rash after a severe dosage of egg and custard pie faceplants courtesy of the AKBs.
Chris Gramstadt, A gooner a long way down the garden path
...Is it just me, or is Arsenal's pursuit of Higuain beginning to resemble that episode of the Alan Partridge TV show where "Roger Moore is approaching the Chiswick roundabout!?"
Benteke Should Stay
Does Benteke think that by going to the likes of City/Arsenal and scoring goals - Belgium would automatically pick him to lead their line at Brazil? I fail to understand the difference between scoring a bagful of goals for Villa and for the likes of Arsenal or Spurs? If anything I would say that being in a team like Villa (no offence to Paul Lambert and his squad) and yet having a better conversion rate than the likes of Van Persie or Suarez is pretty amazing in itself. If he did stay, he'd go on scoring goals against some of the best defenders in the country whereas if he goes - well scoring a hat trick against Cardiff is not the same as scoring a brace in a 3-1 demolition of Liverpool (again no offence to Liverpool fans). I thought the role of a striker was to score goals and to pick a striker you'd look at his conversion rate as well as number of assists etc.
I would really like him to stay. Lambert has been working hard to get his young squad to perform and there is a lot of talent in there. With some decent buys, they could actually do well and for that, Benteke is pivotal to their plans. He could stay another season and help Villa cement their place in the League and then move on to greener pastures.
...One good season and Benteke thinks he has made it. I f*****g hate footballers.
£20m and Lukaku would ease the pain though!
Mignolet Will Replace Reina
I thought Matt Stanger's article was very fair about Liverpool. Our summer transfers are often much more exciting sounding than they ever turn out to be (I'm looking at you, Sinama-Pongolle).
The one thing I didn't agree with was to suggest that Mignolet and Reina are basically the same keeper. However you cut the mustard, Mignolet is a better keeper in my opinion.
He conceded more goals because he played for a worse team (ok maybe this is the most important piece of info but keep reading). But he averaged more saves per goal than Reina, and saved a higher percentage of the (larger number) of shots he faced.
It's interesting that this season Liverpool faced the third least shots in the league but didn't concede the third fewest goals. Reina and Skrtel have both been vilified throughout the season for their errors leading to numerous goals and I've had some doubts in the past about Johnson, particularly because when he attacks he inevitably leaves in space behind, and of course Lucas is recovering from injury and hasn't been at his best....
God there are so many factors which could explain why we've been utter turd at the back. Let's just hope you're wrong, Stanger!
People often talk about how the value of English players is inflated. I didn't think it was possible for this be more evident than in the transfers involving Jay Rodriguez (£7 million) and Dirk Kuyt (£1 million) last year. Sure, age comes into it, but that's a load of old guff, surely? Well, no, not compared to this anyway: David Villa is apparently £1.5 million cheaper than Dwight Gayle. Really, football? Really?
Ed (how much for Welbeck?) Woodhouse, BHAFC
Big Club Bullying
The problem that will lead to English footballs demise. The FA brought in a new academy structure. Fantastic, standardization ensuring the best players end up in the best academies.
So far so good, I am sure we all agree. One of these spend on infrastructure and secure the highest grading academy is West Bromwich Albion. At the end of this season academy product Izzy Brown became our youngest ever player when he made his debut against Wigan.
Again so far so good. Izzy Brown is very highly thought of. He is at a club that knows how to use and develop young players. Look at Lukaku, on loan from Chelsea, a superb young talent, but he was not played into the ground by Steve Clarke, he was nurtured, developed and allowed chance to rest. I think we can agree that Izzy is in a good place at a club that has already shown they want to give him a chance, but that will not finish him before he has even started.
Now Chelsea have decided they want him. Apparently due to the way the system works if Izzy wants to go they can have him and it won't cost them more that £200,000.
Izzy Brown the next Kakuta. Lost among the stars and other promising players. If we ever hear the name Izzy Brown again it will be a miracle.
As for the Albion doing everything right and no protection when a money bags club wants to poach a player. A young English player that will now not get the chance to develop.
Sort it out or the well run clubs will cotton and stop producing the young players.Jeremy Peace is the most astute chairman in the country and will not suffer bad business like this. He will act accordingly.
Ben (Anelka at the Albion might be a gamble but What a gamble, surely better than £8.5million on an unproven guy) Baggie
Too Much Too Soon
In response to Andy, London's mail, in which he quite rightly points out that England players have a tendency to move to a big club too soon, and their development is stifled. I would say I do agree largely with his argument.
However, some players have waited, and eschewed the big move when it first became available, and still haven't quite made the grade. Two obvious choices would be Ashley Young and James Milner.
Both of these two were playing excellent, consistent football with Aston Villa and waited until they believed they could get into the first teams of bigger clubs. I don't think anyone would say that their moves to opposite sides of Manchester have been as successful as they'd have hoped, particularly Young's. On a near appearance basis (i would say weekly, but we all know he doesn't play weekly), you hear Man Utd fans moan at his inadequacies.
With Milner, he moved after an excellent season in the centre of midfield where he was being heralded as a future England captain and stalwart. He made his move to City and has since only ever been a winger which it is painfully obvious that whilst he tries hard, he is not an international class player in that position.
Both of those show that even when players wait for the right time to move, their development can still falter.
Perhaps another is Stewart Downing, he stayed with Borough right until they were relegated, went to Villa (to near - enough the same effect) and now at Liverpool, we all know what has happened there.
I agree, many of these younger players move too soon and end up playing reserve team football in the colours of a big club. Perhaps the way to solve this first team football problem is to essentially ban the transfer of players below 21, but to allow clubs to essentially buy the "option".
Ie, when a wonder kid, like John Bostock appears, and all are frothing at the mouth to sign "the next big thing", actually what they purchase is first refusal on him, a down payment, a deposit. This could essentially be a much needed injection of cash for the academies in lower leagues in the short term, with a promise of even more money to come. At the same time, the young player knows he has earned the potential of a big move and essentially knows his future is secure, but will still continue the core years of his development playing football.
I don't think this idea is flawless, but I'd be curious to know the thoughts of other mailboxers.
Josh, Villa fan.
There's Always One
I know yesterday's Mailboxes pleaded for no football/tennis comparisons, but I think I can offer something a little different to the standard "football = bad, other sports = good" handwringing available in your choice of national newspaper. I believe football can learn a bit from tennis:
*Dress code for fans. The BBC's website coverage was constantly pointing out instances where "patrons" had to be reminded that shirts must be worn at all times. This is something Newcastle United could usefully employ.
*Dress code for players. There is something about watching tennis players wear all white (or predominantly so). In some cases it looked little more than an expensive PE kit, but in others it was reminiscent of a simpler time, like retro kits. Perhaps this is something football clubs could produce, rather than ridiculous third kits (looking at you, Liverpool).
*Dress code for players (2). Roger Federer did a wonderful thing for his sponsors by wearing trainers that, in the eyes of the All England Tennis Club, were not white enough. Insert joke about composition of Wimbledon crowd here. While Nike were glad of all the attention of their new, orange-soled trainers, the rules are that footwear must be predominantly white, rather than in a multitude of colours. Were football to adopt this principle, it would mean an end to the coloured boots that so many people get a bee in their bonnet about.
*Developing players. Fail to develop facilites and training programmes, forcing young players to go abroad to become world class.
*Managing expectations in the media. A 19 year old woman ranked 38th in the world makes the last 16, and this is rightly considered an achievement. Andy Murray was ranked 2nd in the world and seeded 2nd in the tournament. Winning Wimbledon, while an incredible achievement, is not something that should have been a surprise. The tennis media seems to have learned from years of overselling Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski, although Murray is a better player than those two ever were. England are a team who go into a tournament as anything between the 5th-8th best team. Making the quarter finals should be expected, making the semi-finals is overachieving, and failure to win the tournament should not be seen as abject failure.
*Playing conditions. If all else fails, ensure victory by cultivating a turf that causes top foreign talent to injure themselves, clearing the path to the final for home favourites.
Bonus "what football can learn from cricket" moment: it was announced the other day that Trent Bridge has banned the Barmy Army's trumpeter from playing his instrument during the impending first Ashes test. While the man in question had the backing of the Barmy Army, and the ECB, the final decision to ban his noise pollution rests with the individual grounds. Your move, Wembley Stadium.
Ed Quoth the Raven (I love how many tennis fans I know dislike petty things about Andy Murray), CPFC Notts
More Funny Commebntary
Funniest commentary ever. Channel 5's insistence on getting the commentators to announce the shows that follow the match.
"Well, the Aston Villa goal has been under siege tonight (pause) and someone else who's Under Siege tonight at ten o'clock is Steven Seagal which follows this match..."
So to add a slight spin on this subject, what are the weirdest non-football comments you've heard from a commentator during a match?
TJ (Football Manager is soothing during the close season)
...In response to Dom Littleford enquiring about a football commentary compilation. Well, Casseteboy did it about 5 years ago.
I have no clue at all as to why or when Shearer gleefully shouted 'stinks of a man!'
Chris Henderson, BRFC
...I know its cricket but is there a greater commentary gaffe than Brian Johnston in 1976 as the west indies faced england "the bowlers Holding the batsmans Willey" ...
For Fantasy Football
In response to Aaron, my fellow gooner's dislike of fantasy football, I use fantasy football often to soften the inevitable pain of defeat or draw.
Once I was told of a man who held strong political beliefs, so every election he would put $20 on his adversaries to win the election. If his preferred political choice won, then great, if not, at least he won some money. It only seems logical to apply this to my obsession of choice, football. When Arsenal play on a cold Tuesday in Stoke or against basically any team in the top 6 I generally include at least one player who annoys me the most from the opposition, sadly, this technique has been quite successful. It does soften the blow by earning me bragging rights over the other competitors on our fantasy football league.
In response to Chris (hoping to be proven wrong but not holding my breath) Charteris, Brighton assertion that Arsenal aren't spending. We are 9 days into the transfer window, take a breath, relax and don't go all Gervinho on us.
Raj, sleep deprived Australian Gooner