The mailbox is very much split between Arsenal fans saying 'f*** you, we got through' and the doom merchants. We also have a mails on Chamakh for Chelsea and...
More on the great Keano debate this afternoon, and who is and who is not bitter and so forth. Plus, a footballer who became a WWE wrestler, and Gaius Julius Caesar...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Baines = Konchesky?
I am sure this is very wrong to think, but I cant help but be reminded of when Hodgson started at Liverpool. He made the shrewd move of bringing in an experienced left-back he had previously work with in Konchesky.
Ask 'Pool fans how that one worked out.
F365 As Homework
I am a Physics student about to enter my third (and final, thank god) year of my degree and a daily reader of your site. It's about the time of year for enrolling onto modules for next year and, as always, this involves searching for a ridiculously easy and irrelevant elective to bulk up the number of credits to that required. I thought I'd let you all know I've managed to pick one from the business school named "The Football Business". The syllabus includes "Economics of the football industry, transfer valuation of players, revenue streams for football clubs", etc. As such, reading the words of wisdom shared on these hallowed pages can now be classed as homework and a key part of my education; bet you've never heard that one before! Keep up the good work everyone, lots of love.
Dan from Grimsby (I'm going to fail aren't I...)
Arsenal: Technically The Most Decorated Side In The Last 20 Years
I've notice since Andy Murray won Wimbledon for Britain for the first time in 77 years, there's been a bit of a backlash stating that the media have 'ignored' the four female British winners in that time, the latest of which was Virginia Wade in 1977, and that this is some sort of sexist crusade.
Ignoring that fact that the Men's competition is regarded as the marquee event in tennis and indeed in most sports; Should Arsenal fans therefore stop moaning about their trophyless run, given that their Ladies' side have won 59 trophies in the last 23 years?
Even Sir Alex can't match that...
You Can't Blame Benteke
It's a lose-lose situation for footballers. Every summer we get a saga, Fabregas to Barcelona, Bale to Madrid, Suarez to anyone who will have him etc. One of the main complaints is that the player in question will not hand in a transfer request because he does not want to forfeit loyalty bonus or something like that.
Now, we hear that Benteke has handed in a transfer request, to remove one of the obstacles to a potential move and speed up the process. You could call this being transparent, honest, up front. Certainly better than fluttering your eyelashes at every club but saying nothing publicly just in case you cant get a move. No, this morning the attitude to Benteke is 'How does he think he is' 'Billy Big Bollocks' and 'One season wonder'. In short they can't win.
He was brought to Villa to score goals. He did so at a rate of 0.56 goals per game. Impressive. He was not being paid high wages while on the treatment table. He was paid to do a job and did so exceptionally, probably being the difference between relegation and survival. So he is entitled to try and better his lot as any over performing employee in any industry would. You can't have it both ways.
Kev (cracking day out)
...I'm not surprised Benteke handed in a transfer request. Firstly he's a rarity in actually handing one in. Secondly he probably thinks he should strike while the Iron is hot, his star may have dimmed by next Summer which could hamper the range of clubs he could move to. Also in a World Cup year he'll not want to have a his future undecided around then. He'll want to be settled in a club with no issues about his club and moving country etc.. to sort out.
So from his perspective I do understand his handing in of a request. But what will be interesting is if we have no received a bid matching our valuation by the end of the month. How will he react to being informed it's too late to consider letting him go with the new season about to start, we can't then sell him and try get in a replacement during august when season has started. It's how he reacts then that will be interesting.
If he accepts that the window was there, he was in the shop window front and centre. Price was stated at a not unreasonable £25mil given his age. Nobody came in for him and now he has to accept that and get on with knuckling down and playing for Villa. It's how he reacts then, along with any talking to media, not returning to training etc.. that could damage both club and player.
Let's hope we get our price, shake hands and bid him farewell. All by the end of the month
Have A Glass Of Wine
Reading the vies on my fellow Arsenal 'fans' this morning has made me infinitely more sympathetic to the sane and non-hyperbolic Liverpool supporters (however many there are) having to read all the craziness associated with their club.
FFS, its July 9th. 9th! Have a glass of wine, take a bubble bath, smoke a J, do whatever you need to in order to avoid the inevitable coronary that will result from this transfer window
Fez (JHB Gooner)
Whilst I understand some of the fretting over Arsenal's transfer activity, I think there's an element to which we Arsenal fans are "being played" a little in the coverage attached to our dealings thus far. Whilst it's clear we're in for Higuain, we can confidently say that at least 90% of what has been reported on the negotiations so far has been inaccurate. How many reports have you read that the deal will be sealed "in the next 48 hours"? How many of them have been correct thus far? Do you remember The Times reporting that Arsenal had "met Fellaini's release clause"? That was four weeks ago now. So it was clearly bullplop. The fact is, deals of a certain level take longer to complete. Robin van Persie's move to Manchester United wasn't completed until days before the beginning of the season last year despite them being the only club he wanted to move to. Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona wasn't completed until early August in 2011 either, despite also being the only club in the running following a concerted 2 year 'campaign' to sign him. Nasri moved to Manchester City after Arsenal had already played 3 games that same summer.
Going back even further, Chelsea sealed the Cole deal in the final seconds of the deadline day in 2006 even though they're richer than Richie Rich. Real Madrid sealed the Anelka deal in the first week of August back in 1999 despite Le Sulk's resolution to leave. Remember Wiltord? He didn't join until two weeks into the season back in 2000 and had to go on strike at Bordeaux to force the move through. Gervinhos and Chamakhs tend to be signed up rather earlier in the summer. Those deals are easier to complete. (Not many other clubs want them). Deals for the top end level of player which, touch wood, we seem to be looking for are a little longer in arriving. (Cazorla too arrived in August last summer).
Those deals also attract much more media coverage, much of which is a lethal concoction of guesswork and bollocks, which makes things seem even more torturous. The misinformation is perfectly exemplified by Chris Gramtsadt. Arsenal didn't miss out on Alonso over £1m. Benitez said himself he wouldn't sell Alonso until he had sealed the Gareth Barry deal, which he couldn't, ergo he wouldn't let Alonso go. That information is public. Arsenal didn't so much dither on Mata as get diddled. Conveniently, Mata's agents made Arsenal's interest nice and public and conveniently that alerted a much richer club who came in and conveniently offered a gargantuan signing on fee for Mata which conveniently made his agents quite a lot of money. Convenient, eh?
I have been a Gooner for my entire life, I'm 31 now, and I'm getting the feeling I won't enjoy another trophy winning season before my early 50s at best. While Yaya Sanogo's signing should be an exciting one, it actually depressed me; reminded me of Park, Chamakh, the world's best striker (Bendtner), Campbell, and my all time favorite Gervinho. Fiorentina have signed Mario Gomez for €16 million, Atletico Madrid have signed David Villa for €5.1 million, and we are chasing Higuain as if he's the ultimate game changer (and he's not by the way), and instead we couldve easily grabbed both Gomez and Villa for a smaller combined fee (than the €30 million quoted for Higuain) and used the rest for wages.
Moreover this obsession with a marquee striker signing is on the verge of the obscene, we have a terrible backline and a hollow defensive midfield; with all due respect but Mertesacker, Jenkinson, Vermaelen (judging by form), Miguel, frimpong, and Coquelin are not players that you can depend on week in week out and expect to win a title. A good right back and another center back should be a priority as well; not to mention of course the death defying act of continuing to play Arteta out of position (although he's performed admirably) waiting for the reserruction of Abou Diaby; Defensive Cover should be a prioroty.
Let's be realistic the current Arsenal squad is not close to winning a title, and will never be close. Looking at Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, even Tottenham, Arsenal's squad is at a severe disadvantage, not necessarily in terms of numbers and depth, but definitely in terms of talent pool. We have been very lucky to scrap in to the Champions League for the past couple of seasons, but I am quite sure our luck will run out very soon. This is a squad that needs a proper overhaul, needs established players; the club needs to have a word with its deal makers, if we've signed Sanogo and left out bargains like Villa and Gomez, I am positive these people are not doing their jobs.
Mohammed M. Fahmi
...I never write, in, I just lurk, and every once in a while when I'm feeling low, I read what deluded Liverpool fans have to say, and suddenly, my life doesn't suck so much. Having said that, WENGER MUST GO! Seriously, it's the same old story, and now names like Gareth f*cking Barry and error prone Ashley Williams (who I suspect is Titus Bramble in disguise, I've never seen both in the same place at the same time). Anyone who's played any competitive football can identify crap players in the same way normal civilians can identify a ferrari, they stick out.
Anyways, sign Rooney or Higuain and we can tolerate another season of impending disappointment. And how the f*ck did a goal monster like Mario Gomez just go under the radar? Even Spuds look a better side, how could we let them take Vertonghen. The Arsenal hierarchy is an old dictatorship, we have billionaires on the board, and can't make any sort of statement on the transfer market. Something's got to give. If Wenger signs Barry, we riot.
The reason Ashley Young has failed to such a catastrophic (although eminently predictable) extent at United isn't because he went there too young. He was nearly 26 when Fergie, for reasons known only to himself and the instinct that also burdened United with Liam Miller, Djemba Djemba and William Prunier, spent somewhere between £15m and £20m on Ashley Young's over-rated right foot, non-existent left foot, and obviously vacant footballing brain. That's not young in the slightest. Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi had won the Ballon D'Or by 25, and most attacking midfielders are at somewhere near their peak then.
Ashley Young's problem isn't that he went to United too young, it's that he simply isn't good enough to play for them, and never has been. He flourished under O'Neill, when he had a team largely built around him in attack, and then (after a decade or so floating around Championship and mid-table clubs) found himself confronted with far, far superior players, and looks terrible. Ashley Young could have gone to United at any stage of his career, he still wouldn't have been fit to lick Nani's boots clean.
And I suspect that being bought for a fee between £15 and £20m has hardly helped. Despite being consistently awful, Young still struts around the pitch and plays with a selfishness that only a player of Ronaldo's quality can justify, and I'm confident that much of Young's ego derives from moving to United for a "big fee". By the way, to provide some context, Madrid bought Mesut Ozil for €15m , City bought Jesus Navas for £15m, the wonderful Kagawa cost £17m, Mata cost £23.5m, Ljajic cost Fiorentina €8m, and Marco Reus cost Dortmund €17m. Young has been a complete waste of money in comparison, and would have been whenever he was signed.
Playing for clubs like United and City brings pressures and challenges, technical, tactical and psychological, that players from lesser clubs simply cannot experience. Perhaps if major clubs were allowed to play B teams in lower leagues, and expose young players to competitive football without compromising on environment or training, this issue might disappear somewhat.
p.s. If you're reading Ashley (if you can read), please leave. I don't care where, but please free up the £80,000 or so a week you're paid for a player whose performances are more deserving of the money.
The Self-Hating Football Fan
This is the way it goes - "I am football fan, but I am not one of THOSE football fans. How can I prove I am not one of THEM? I know! I will compare football to that most noble of British summer time sport, Tennis. I mean, sure, I did write in last summer comparing football to our Olympic heroes (I forget all there names now however) but I need to really emphasise I am not one of those lager swilling football fan louts seen in dingy pubs circa 1983."
Come off it lads, I understand the attitude of players is questionable in the footballing world, but think of the sheer volume of coverage the average footballer gets. The average tennis player (anyone outside of the top 50 or so) or also ran Olympic athlete will be barely making one week's wages of a good premiership footballer. Of course the attitude is different.
As for a dress code....you know that is only the toffs at Wimbledon who enforce that right to ensure a certain type of clientele don't enter their precious lawn tennis club?
Lori (can't stand middle class whinging about football) Peri, 26. CFC, London
Another Thing On Tennis/Football
And the Lions, the Olympics, Cycling, etc. - Play as GB rather than individual home nations. The ridiculous continuation of football representation in major tournaments as England, with the non-participation of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, does no one any favours. GB would have been a dominant force in world football in the 1980s, a major player in the 1990s and even now would be a serious contender for major tournaments.
Tim Colyer, Chelsea fan, London
Apologies if anybodies brought this up before but reading F365's recent piece on buying young and cheap and selling high got me thinking about financial fair play.
Am I right in thinking that currently club owners cannot own multiple clubs within the same league but they can buy clubs across different leagues as long as they're not competing in UEFA competitions and even then this can be circumvented as with Abramovich and CSKA Moscow.
Therefore what's to stop Abramovich or anyone else buying a cheap team in say South America or one of Europe's lower leagues and using it to manipulate the transfer market.
Got a black hole to fill in time for the next financial check up? Simply take an older injured or retiring player and sell him to your other club for 50 million. The player gets a nice little retirement type package, you chuck something the agents way and everyone is happy.
Is there any reason this couldn't be done?
Ben (Anelka at the Albion might be a gamble but What a gamble, surely better than £8.5million on an unproven guy) Baggie is spot on about this ridiculous youth player development strategy brought in at the behest of premier league clubs.
Far from encouraging the best young players towards the best facilities, all this system does is create surpluses of players at big clubs, many of which will then be lost to football. In the meantime, smaller clubs have little to no incentive to develop players.
I used to watch Wycombe Wanderers (for various bizarre reasons), which for a club of its standing has proved quite adept at developing both youth and young players, such as Matty Phillips and Jordan Ibe. The club was forced to sell these two players for well below their true value because they would have received even less for them once the system came in. Margins are tight in a fan-owned, League 2 club, so the decision was taken last season to close the youth development scheme. I believe Yeovil Town have followed suit, simply because the rewards of developing players now fall well short of the expense.
How drying up the conveyor belt of talent and draining small clubs of vitally needed funds is good for football is beyond me. But of course, it's not - its good for the Premier League clubs, and a small number of Premier League clubs at that. People wring their hands over England's lack of success at youth level, which of course is made up of failings at many levels. This however, may do the longest term damage.
I see some commentary stories still coming in. My favourite radio bit:
One Saturday afternoon at LBC some years ago.
Studio: Fifteen minutes gone and its over to Steve Tong at Highbury.
Steve: This is possibly the most boring match I have ever seen
Twenty minutes later
Studio: Time for an update at Highbury. Steve, what's been happening? (one minutes silence) Steve? (more silence). Steve!! Are you still there Steve?
No more coverage from that game that afternoon. Possibly a 0-0 draw but now we will never know.
...Hilarious nonetheless - I can remember no details at all of teams or participants, nothing but the magnificence of Sir Richie of Benaud, doyen of the box, god amongst mere mortal commentators.
The batsman had just been struck a particularly painful blow in the cods by a quick bowler and as he was doubled over, trying not to vomit or show too much distress, the wicketkeeper wandered past and gave him the sportsman slap on the arse, to which Benaud commented "Ah, that's nice, that'll drive them back into place" and then seamlessly continued with the game commetary.
...Any chance of one more funny commentary moment? Worth a go. This one came during the Leicester-Watford fiasco in the playoffs last season, where Guy Mowbray (I think) understandably lost his head and shouted "Do not scratch your eyes!!!". I think he was going for a 'do not adjust your tv' style remark rather than asking Watford fans to keep things in perspective, but it was very funny and added to the craziness of the moment for this neutral.
Footballers As Popsters
I was talking with a friend the other day (the only one's that's not imaginary) and we started comparing footballers to musicians/singers/people who are neither of these but have somehow managed to sell records. This is what we came up with.....
Robbie Williams and David Beckham - One of the most famous in their field, loves being in the press and have people talk about them and lots of glamour to them. However in terms of what they're supposed to be doing pretty average.
Phil Collins and Alan Shearer - Very good but mercifully boring. Which makes them both legends.
Michael Jackson and Diego Maradona - In the 80s was peerless but personal issues that spiraled out of control made it all come crashing down. As far as I know Diego doesn't have young boys in his bed but he may however go to bed in a Young Boys strip which would work.
Liam Gallagher and Craig Bellamy - Very good but not as good as they would have you believe. Also both are prone to a real dickheadish moment.
Pete Doherty and Joey Barton - Both think they are a misunderstood genius. Sky Sports understands they are both complete morons with a reasonable amount of talent.
Freddie Mercury and Cristiano Ronaldo - They both ponce about and you think oh come on are all those histrionics necessary? But when you see what they can actually deliver then yes it's all necessary.
Justin Bieber and Luis Suarez - Is known world wide yet statistically only 0.3% of the global population like him and they're all Scousers.
Olly Murs and Robbie Savage - Both think they're a cool cheeky chappy type. They're both not. They're both irritating weasels.
Elvis and Wayne Rooney - Both were anointed as the King. Both started eating too much burgers and cholesterol and it did for them both. (Please note Rooney is not dead, but then neither is Elvis)
I look forward to seeing what others can come up with.
No Penis Severage Here
From the non-football story in today's Mediawatch..." " When the police knocked, the woman answered the door and admitted she'd been shouting, but said it was because "her boyfriend had continued to pass gas, and she was yelling at him to stop,"...and then Mediawatch? ...and then?