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...
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...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Reaction To Today's Bale Rumours
£104m for Bale?
Hi, football, would you mind turning the light out as you leave? Cheers.
Si (Liverpool fans are a funny bunch, eh?)
...Just some perspective on Bale's potential sale. A player from a team that hasn't won the league since Ipswich last won the league is on the brink of being sold for more than Ipswich is currently worth.
Football as the working man's game is gone. Mental.
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
...So, when the £104.5 Million deal is concluded, am I the only one expecting Spurs to announce that they have simultaneously signed Andy Carroll for £89.5 Million, and that effectively he cost them -£15 Million.
Ray (Exiled in Perth)
... What the hell is going on in the football world? What the hell is going on in the world? How on earth is Gareth Bale worth £104.5m to any club? Think about the size for that transfer fee people! For Gareth Bale!
It's just insane. This money flowing through the game has got to be a bubble that will burst. It's boggling my mind and I work in corporate lending for an investment bank. Anybody out there think this is good business for Real and prepared to offer a few figures as to how it could be so? As football fans it is worth understanding their business rationale for this and I'm failing to do that alone.
I remember as a little kid trying to understand how football clubs paid so much money to each other for players and concluding that they must have their own type of football money that wasn't the same as everyone else's. I couldn't grasp how they could arrive at and then actually pay out the numbers. I remember that so well & I feel exactly the same today, for the first time in around 20 years.
It seems madness to me but I'm willing to be enlightened.
Mark O'D - Irish in London
Bale Exit Could Be A Blessing In Disguise
Got to say, I agree with Ross AFC's points and it is remarkably similar to the position Spurs will find themselves in now this season.
Arsenal were widely regarded as a one man team in the 11/12 season, purely because Robin van Persie saved their skin with remarkable (and somewhat annoying) regularity in the final months of the season. Lest we forget, he's a striker that is paid to score goals. This seems to have escaped some people then and with Bale last season. He was sold to United in the close season and everyone wrote Arsenal off because they only brought in Giroud and Podolski, two inferior players in comparison to RVP but arguably gave them a bit more attacking balance and removed a certain level of predictability from their play. In the end, they managed to get more points than the season before and also appeared to be a more solid unit, as Ross has pointed out.
Spurs will have the same issue to overcome this season with the sale of Bale. Everyone saw the quality he has but it was a product of consequence as Mr Levy had decided not to bother backing AVB with strikers last season and when we lost Ade to the African Cup of Nations and Defoe to injury in January, Bale was given the central role and never looked back. We were called a one man team and in some aspects we were, but it was more a 'one striker' team than a one man team. So far this summer we have brought in a top class Brazilian international midfielder which will allow AVB to play his desired 4-3-3 formation and we've already signed Nacer Chadli as a wide cover player (admittedly we'll be after others now Bale is off) and most importantly, we look to have signed a top class centre forward in Roberto Soldado. In my opinion, we have already plugged the gaps that Bale had to fill last season and we'll now have a further war chest to invest in the TEAM.
We will no longer be a side with an obvious lone danger man which could help us...also, the armchair merchants who prescribe to the 'dumbed down version of football' that is the lazy 'one man team' term and the media who think Bale is the only player capable to magic will allow Spurs to fly under the radar, despite already making some pretty decent signings.
I'm obviously gutted that Gareth Bale is leaving, but it's an exciting new era to look forward to. I could argue that Spurs became a better team after Campbell, Modric and Berbatov left, and I'm sure we can continue to improve, after all, four teams regularly finish above us and none of those have ever had Gareth Bale at their disposal. Its a new dawn and I'm strangely looking forward to it.
Ross THFC (and no, Ross AFC is not my Jekyll and Hyde style alter ego)
United Don't Need A Box-To-Box Midfielder
The point, tactically, of a box-to-box midfielder is that they connect midfield with attack, and provide the vertical movement on the pitch that allows the team to transition into attacking. This function has increasingly moved away from midfield in the past decade, and towards full-back. At an elite level, most full-backs function essentially as wing-backs, and provide their team with the vertical movement up and down the pitch that box-to-box midfielders used to. City are something of an exception, in that Yaya Toure operates in a box-to-box fashion, but generally he does so when playing either against weaker opposition, or playing as the central player of City's three behind the striker with a double pivot behind him.
What United need is a robust and tactically disciplined midfielder who would play alongside Carrick in the double pivot, free Carrick to dictate play, and free the attacking three behind van Persie. This is not a box-to-box midfielder, and never will be. The ideal is either a Schweinsteiger/Javi Martinez player, who sits in a double pivot, covers when the full-backs advance, breaks up play, and creates from deep, or a genuine defensive midfielder like Gary Medel or Nemanja Matic. Phil Jones could do a decent job in the latter role.
Whenever United fans refer to the need for a box-to-box midfielder, what they're actually doing is running back to a mythologised past and worshipping at the altar of Keane and Robson. Players of that style are an increasing rarity in the modern game, are tactically difficult to accomodate (requiring the team to be built around them), and leave their teams dangerously exposed in midfield against quality opposition. Invoking the ghost of Keano and Robbo is little more than a comfort blanket.
The announcement of Liverpool's list of unacceptable words was nicely timed with my visit to watch Celtic play a Champions League qualifier. I had the pleasure of being 3 seats away from the angriest man in Scotland (quite an achievement) who was so intense with his hatred of both teams and all of the officials that he would regularly select 5 or 6 different obscenities and scream them in one long insult. The best combination of which was:
'You are nothing but a sleazybastardcheatingf**kstick'
I've looked at the list and 'sleazybastardcheatingf**kstick' is nowhere to be seen so he'd have been fine at Anfield. 90% of the time he was a genuinely frightening mass of Glaswegian rage but every now and then, when Elfsborg had the ball and he obviously thought we weren't doing enough to get it back, he would sing 'Waaaaaaaaaaakey waaaaaaaaakey' in a disturbingly effeminate voice.
Does anyone else have any inventive/weird insults they have heard at a game that have been missed off Liverpool's list?
Toon Summer Signings
I dunno why my fellow Toon fans are panicking about the lack of activity of the incoming variety up at St. James Park...
Cisse - back from Wonga row obscurity... he's like a new signing!
Gosling - deal to Crystal Palace fell through... he's like a new signing!
Tiote - didn't get a yellow at St. Mirran... he's like a new signing!
Krul - almost back from shoulder injury... he'll be like a new signing!
Shola - scored 3 goals in pre-season!!!... he's like a new signing!
Colo - back after his friendly sending off... he's like a new signing!
So there's six players. Can we now avoid this mass hysteria that we must go back to paying over the odds for players that don't really want to wear the shirt. Darren Bent??? Dodged a bullet there methinks!
Credit To Caulker
Well done to Steven Caulker a young English footballer who is motivated by playing games and getting better rather than spending half the year sitting on a bench and flashing cash around London.
Not doubt he will be on more money at Cardiff but with so many of England's first choice 11 not being first choice for their clubs its a shame more don't follow Caulker's lead. It may benefit English football in years to come. By leaving Spurs he is only losing out on maybe playing a few Europa league matches which isn't a patch on Champions League experience and as AVB is looking to buy centre backs even if he plays well he will always be down the order on a managers own purchase.
Give This Man Credit
During a recent email clearout, I discovered the following email from August 16th last year, with the disappointing "message not sent" written above it. I am not often in a position to revel in my correctitude, and I know it's not particularly topical anymore, but publishing it would certainly give me more motivation to share my relatively average football observations to the mailbox in future. Oh... and since a question seems obligatory to get published... What prescient observations have others failed to send in and thereby lost out on the credit for???
"During all of the discussion on RVPs transfer to United, and whether he was the right transfer for Sir Alex to be investing in, there's one possibility that seems to have been overlooked - does this betray a move by Fergie to prepare United for life after him?
Well, the answer as far as I'm concerned is that I have no idea. But if he was getting ready to cut the cord how could he possibly prepare the team for probably one of the most difficult managerial transitions in history? To my (admittedly average) footballing mind, I wonder what the biggest danger is to a team when they lose such an influential manager, and I inexpertly conclude that the upheaval likely impacts on the system, and a failure of the system almost inevitably leads to loss of defensive solidity. Is Sir Alex inwardly conceding that this will be likely to happen however he prepares the team, and so is concentrating on the other end of the pitch in the hope that flair and proven goal-scoring talent can overcome the incoherence that may result from managerial change?
Strengthening the defence (or defensive midfield) would leave United with good defenders, but if confusion and incoherence follows managerial change, what good is it? However, flair players and proven poachers may produce moments of magic in a game that are not dependent on the system - United may be able to score their way out of difficulty. Ferguson may not be planning to emulate the "we'll-score-one-more" approach now, but he might feel it will be the best system when he goes. Maybe. Or maybe I should try and speculate on something I know something about."
More On The Sun
In response to Monty P on "forgiveness":
I understand what you mean about trying to move forward etc. But the S*n isn't a person, It's a company designed to make a profit. If a person had done this, understood how incorrect and wrong they were and outlined their remorse immediately and continuously, then forgiveness to that person would probably be possible. The "person" that led the story on this was Kelvin Mackenzie, and despite apologising initially, retracted that apology some years later and has constantly shown his disdain for the people of Merseyside.
The S*n is not a person requiring forgiveness. It has no remorse. If the paper tries to show this it is purely to do with gaining the Merseyside market back. And I am not willing to give it any of my hard earned money so it can print further lies about people.
Michael D'Arcy LFC