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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyone Should Understand Bale's Motives
Bale is 'throwing his toys out of the pram'? Really?
It's been nearly 3 years since that night in Milan. A lesser man would have forced his way out of Spurs long ago into the eager arms of whichever heavyweight he so wished. Yet he stuck around, earning less than half the money that's available elsewhere, togging out for a team hopelessly failing in their yearly attempt to shift the north London power balance, with 3 greater obstacles standing between Spurs and anything definable as glory. Spurs are not and were never going to be a club that could match his own ambitions, yet since that night Bale has logged a further 3 years of service, during which he has never flirted with Real Madrid (Modric), never bored us with his childhood dreams (Ronaldo), and never questioned the club's often faulty transfer policies (Rooney).
The man hasn't put in a transfer request, hasn't gone on strike, hasn't threatened legal action, taken to twitter to trash the club or even publicly declared his intention to leave. He has been exceptional during his time at Spurs by every measure and you cannot deny him this move by any footballing metric or rationale. He has clearly earned this move. Every football fan should understand, and every Spurs fan should wish him all the best.
So, Arsene Wenger thinks that the current Arsenal squad can win the Premier League title.
A draw against Napoli, who have a brand new coach, just like 3 of the top 4 teams in the EPL (remember Wenger saying that was going to be an advantage to him in the coming season? hasn't worked so far) and they've just lost 2-1 against Didier Drogba and a very average Galatasaray side.
If he thinks Arsenal can win the League with this squad. Maybe they can go on to win the quadruple if they add 2 more decent players.
Malcolm, (yes, the last 2 sentences are clearly sarcasm) AFC
...Having just come back from The Emirates Cup where we got a lucky 2-2 draw we Napoli I was so angry and disappointed.
Yes, Arsene Wegner, the draw papers over the cracks because throughout the game we look tactically inept; Napoli managed to get at our back four with totally ease; we lacked creativity even with Jack Wilshire at the hub and had no consistent threat in attack despite the Oliver Giroud volley and goal.
Wenger says that we can win the title. However, on this performance we clearly need more quality. I was reluctant about buying Suarez, but this must be done. We have to get Fellaini from Everton and another forward. This will not answer all our problems, but at least it will make us much more competitive this season and provide us with a platform for possible progress.
We also have to find a role and place for Jack Wilshere, who is an amazing talent. The present set up does not in my view makes the most of his skill. The team is at the moment more effective when he is not in it. Look at the results for last ten games of last season. Now it may be be a case of fitness. However, the coaching team must find an answer to this difficult problem because we are not making the best of this fantastic footballer.
Arsene we need more footballing talent and player solutions if we are to make Arsenal more competitive. Because from what I have just seen on Saturday there are at least five better teams fighting for Champions League places.
If you are not the solution...then do not sign the new contract on offer and make way for someone else.
Tony Laforce, Hackney, London
Smoke Them Out
Some fans and 'football experts' in the media are criticising Arsenal for the slow progress on the Suarez deal, citing the speed with which others have concluded transfers and the benefit of involving new players in pre-season. What they seemingly forget is that due to his chomping habit Suarez cannot play for any club in England in their first six league games. Therefore were he to sign for Arsenal and based on their current fixture list he could not make his league debut until the away game at West Brom on Sunday 6th October.
Thus from Arsenal's point of view, playing hardball over the fee for the next weeks whilst Suarez gets increasingly agitated, lawyers get involved and Liverpool sign a replacement would only be expected to bring Liverpool's valuation closer to Arsenal's £40,000,001 offer. A close to ideal scenario may actually be for Arsenal to let it run right up to the deadline when Liverpool know they must sell at Arsenal's price or face the liability of having a very angry chomping man at the club.
Arsenal get the player they want for the price they want and still have a month to let him adapt to the team, make friends, decide who is tastiest, sing his initiation song, choose his changing room peg and whatever else new players do. The risk in this strategy is obviously that another team could gazump Arsenal. But as yet with no other offers around then the waiting game seems a sensible ploy.
Jo, Utrecht (suggestions for an initiation song for Suarez to sing?)
Worst Thing To Happen
In response to Matt Stanger's piece about Arsenal not needing to rush into the transfer market, and how prudence may be beneficial to them in the long term, I want to raise a point he mentioned, namely that Man U, Man City and Chelsea have new managers. Whilst strictly true, Chelsea are not exactly hiring someone who is unproven or hasn't won anything. Mourinho is arguably Chelseas most successful manager, returning to a place where he looked most comfortable. In terms of winning the title I'd say Mourinho returning is the worst thing that could have happened at Chelsea for Wengers pursuit of success.
Also I have to agree with Luke, Red in Essex, moaning about punditry is beginning to get tedious, turn the volume off if it bothers you that much. The reason the BBC is so mundane is because the moment you begin to question tactics or decisions you become opinionated, and as soon as you become opinionated you can be accused of bias, and that is something they just don't do. They have never done it. Personally I'd like them to show more action and shut up more, but the only thing more boring about listening to them state the bleeding obvious, is listening to someone state the bleeding obvious about it.
Chris ITFC, (Fully stocked up on caffeinated tea!) Liverpool
Don't Blame The Fans
I understand your point Graham Simons, but people in glasshouses shouldn't throw stones. Are you 100% certain that your house is closer to Arsenal than Barnet? Or even Wingate & Finchley? I'm not suggesting that this valid point can only be made by a supporter of a smaller club (for examples see male feminists) however given that you choose to support by far the largest of a cluster of local clubs does somewhat smack of hypocrisy.
Yes it is sad to see small clubs go out of business, but to suggest that this is the fans' fault is simplifying the issue; there is far more at play than slightly smaller gate receipts, most importantly the (often ill-advised and greedy) business decisions made by those in charge (who are far more culpable than non-existent fans).
Someone recently suggested (correctly in my opinion) in the mailbox that football is a sport for 90 minutes on a Saturday and business the rest of the time. Whilst it's sad to watch football clubs liquidate and disappear, it is part and parcel of business (were you incensed when Woolworths closed down? Did you blame Tesco shoppers whilst sipping Sainsbury's milk?). Thankfully it appears as though Cov will survive...For now. But football clubs have been operating beyond their means for decades and have finally hit the wall; we will undoubtedly see some household names disappear.
I agree that the situation is miserable, but I vehemently disagree with your notion that fans of bigger clubs (like yourself) are to blame - I believe this view is intrinsic one and emotional, and one must be wary of allowing their heart to rule their head in modern day football.
Scott, (£25 to watch Brentford... Is it any wonder?), London
Chin Up, Cov
As a Halifax fan I really sympathise with the Coventry fans in recent mailboxes. What you are going through is terrible and hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel.
We went out of business 5 years ago as did Chester City 4 years ago. Luckily both clubs managed to regroup with the same fans and ground and have spent the last five years working our way back up the pyramid. Both reached the Conference at the end of last season.
You may not believe it but the last 4 seasons have been without doubt the best in 30 odd years of supporting my team. A better sense of club community, travelling to some great small clubs you'd never heard of before with the opportunity to explore new towns. The atmosphere at games regularly exceeded what we'd been used to and attendances were much improved mainly because for almost the first time ever we were winning games on a regular basis. There were highs and lows, as ever, but the club has truly come out of this in a far better state than the day the Administrators said enough's enough. Hey, the standard of football in the last 2 seasons has by far surpassed the utterly depressing garbage we used to endure in the years of struggling to avoid relegation from the football league/conference.
So take some solace. Liquidation may be the best thing that could happen in the medium/long term. It will hurt at the time, but within months you could be back on the road having the time of your lives. Fingers crossed it doesn't come to that and good luck for the future.
The Search For Success
I have followed the story of poor Coventry City recently and it is really painful. For me they were one of football's constants - a team you always had to collect if you wanted your sticker book complete but probably wouldn't win the league any time soon (like Villa or Wimbledon at the time). With the introduction of the Premier League we've seen clubs break the bank and go for broke trying to achieve success and they've inevitably got it wrong on numerous occasions. No wonder Wenger doesn't want to splash the cash - a few dodgy transfers and a bad season and you'll never break the moneybags love-in at the top. Look at how quickly you can tumble down the leagues if you're not well managed financially.
My main point is, though, that nobody has ever really just supported their local club. It's a hell of a lot easier to do that if your local club is somewhat successful but in my time Maidenhead United haven't really had an awful lot to cheer about. They're fun to support as a 'second' team but everyone I went to school with supported Spurs (when it was the Gascoigne - Linekar era) or whoever was big at the time. Hell I think there were a few Blackburn fans there for a while too in 1995. The smaller towns are full of people who support big clubs because there is zero glamour in going to the local match. You might look out for their result on the classified or maybe take in a game or two but that's as far as it will go.
My point is that the idea that local clubs have ever been universally supported isn't really true. Sure there might have been a few more arses in seats but that was when football was a cheaper day out. I think most people in small towns regard their local team as a novelty rather than a club they truly 'support'. It's like when players are lauded for being 'loyal' - it's a lot easier to be loyal to winners than the local losers.
Keith - Maidenhead
...In response to Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London, I suppose when you accuse all glory hunters of supporting Man Utd you feel that Arsenal are exempt from this? A few years back (2007?) I was visiting a friend in Bristol and looking for a pub to watch the Arsenal vs Man Utd game. I found one that was maybe 200 yards from Bristol Rovers stadium, yet when I walked in I found myself surrounded entirely by people in Arsenal shirts. Even in my local area of Barnet, there is probably a majority of Arsenal fans, when Barnet (now relocating to Edgeware unfortunately), Wingate & Finchley, Hendon, Borehamwood, and Enfield Town (admittedly more of a Spurs area) would all be considered more "local" than Arsenal. And to me, that's absolutely fine. People can support who they want. For whatever reasons they want.
The moral of the story is, yes, United have a large amount of glory hunting fans, or if glory isn't the defining reason then we can call them out of towners, but so do all big teams. It's unavoidable. For many, football is a form of entertainment, and people want to be entertained by the best players. Travelling an extra hour or two (or days for those who live across the world, and I include Arsenal fans in that) is worth more to some people if it means seeing great football in great stadiums. The same way for some, supporting a smaller, local team is their ideal way to follow football. To each their own.
The notion that ALL people should ONLY support their local club round the corner, whilst romantic, probably died out around the same time cars were invented.
Madrid Copying Barcelona?
In 2009, there was nothing but Cristiano Ronadlo's transfer saga. It was all over the news and everybody couldn't stop talking about it. He was the most prized player (still is) and Real Madrid had made their intentions clear and sent a strong message to Barcelona. So, in a swift response Barcelona tied up the deal to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic worth 69.5 million euros which included one of the most lethal striker Eto'o going the other way. It was a needless signing as Eto'o was equally (if not better) forward than Ibrahimovic, and not to forget Eto'o had just helped Barcelona win the treble with a 35+ goals season. Barcelona wanted to show that they could also match the financial strength and sign a player of similar calibre.
We all know how that ended for both Zlatan and Eto'o. With the signing of Neymar completed, now it's Real Madrid's turn to come up with a response. Offering over 100 million pounds for bale, is it really sensible?