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...
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...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Conundrum solved, Lampard and Gerrard can play together - it only took a decade.
Everybody Loves Rickie
I don't want to get too excited, given that he's only played in a friendly and a match barely deserving of the title 'competitive', but it's great Rickie Lambert performing so well for England. I've never bought all the criticism that England managers get for ignoring lower-table strikers. The likes of Holt, Davies, Phillips, Beattie, etc. weren't ignored because they played for unfashionable clubs; they were ignored because they don't have the necessary quality to play international football. But it's been clear since he arrived in the top flight that Lambert is different: although he does have physical aspects to his game, he's also technically excellent and has incredible vision. Andy Townsend, for once, got it spot on in the commentary when he likened Lambert to Teddy Sheringham.
I'm seriously worried, though, that as soon Rooney, Sturridge et al are fit and available that Lambert will be back on the scrap heap. Worst of all, I can even imagine Hodgson picking a fully fit Carroll ahead of him, despite Lambert offering everything Carroll does plus a lot more. The other problem is that, even if Lambert is in the squad, because he and Rooney are probably too similar to play together, Rooney will always get picked ahead of Lambert because of his (undeserved) reputation as England's golden boy, no matter what their respective form and fitness. So while Rooney is again failing to live up to the hype at a major tournament, we'll have a potentially far more effective player on the bench or on the beach.
Incidentally, can anyone who watched much of Lambert in the lower leagues explain why he's developed so late? Did his attitude suddenly improve? Was it that his talents weren't recognised by lower-league managers (who looked at his size and played him in the 'big man' role)? Or was he just a late bloomer? Sheringham played for England until he was 36, so I'm hoping we can get a good few years out of Lambert yet.
...Presumably if Welbeck had put the ball in the net, as ex-Southapmton winger Walcott did when he clearly knew he'd already been called offside, he would not have got booked.
Meanwhile you could see the confidence draining out of Southampton's Rickie Lambert as his goal drought for England continued into the second half, to the point that Hodgson ended up bringing him off.
That's 45 minutes he hasn't scored for England now.
Mort Snort, Saints
Two conclusions from England v Moldova:
- Stevie's still got it. Shame it wasn't in a more crucial game but no keeper in the world was stopping that...unless they were a teenager showing their disdain at being stuck in nets by having a cheeky fag while leaning on the post.
- I am never going to say that Welbeck can't finish again. Not because of the deft touch, more that I'm pretty sure his back muscles could beat me in a fight.
Aidan, Irish Liverpool fan in London (too unimaginative to think of more than 2, so I'm certainly not coming up with anything funny to put in brackets)
Trap: The End?
After watching our hopes of qualifying for Brazil 2014 disappear last night, will the FAI finally admit that offering Trapattoni a contract renewal before the Euro 2012 tournament was a huge mistake and replace him? What was the rush anyway? He wasn't going anywhere! To be fair he never did in this job, sitting in his Italian home watching highlight DVD's of our players! Yes it was great to qualify, true but look how we did it! Beating the minnows and drawing or losing to any of the teams of note!
His tactics of building a strong defensive unit that doesn't concede goals worked for a period of time but you need to score goals to win matches! Basic 101 stuff...Planning to set up shop and try to knick a goal from a set piece might work once or twice but it's never going to work as a legit strategy against superior teams in every match...his record against the better teams is terrible! (Don't bother googling it, the only important stat is 0 wins!)
It was bad enough to be hammered in Poland on 3 consecutive nights but at least we could agree the teams we played against were far superior, because they play football with 11 players, Trap seems to think we should play with 4 defenders who are rarely allowed past the halfway line, 2 strikers who don't play well together, 2 strikers on the wings instead of the natural wingers in the squad and 2 centre midfields to act as a net in a game of CB tennis! (And before it's pointed out he played McClean or McGeady on several occasion etc. look at the amount of times he didn't choose a natural winger and played Walters or Cox! Walter's did at least have some experience on the wing though...)
The lack of ambition to develop a strong team based on actually playing football to win games rather than not to lose them is why I don't understand what the FAI were thinking! I don't think you will find many Irish supporters that would argue that our team is made up of the highest skilled players but lets be fair there are a lot of EPL players in there so they can't be all that bad either, and I'm pretty sure they know how to pass the ball around a lot more than Trap's tactics allow for...
Do we all agree it's time to give another manager a go? Someone that will use the players we have in a system that will get the best out of them rather than only choosing players to fit with a system which clearly doesn't work!
Jonny, Dublin (Shane Long not passing to Keane in the box was atrocious! Without a doubt it cost us a point and at least a few more weeks of delusional hope!)
Let me just add this:
We all understood by now that an English man is an inferior race of footballer compared to spaniard, french and so on.... Why should we not accept it and cherish the idea that we are the best in the world at watching football, drinking while watching football and (unrivaled) betting on football?
Time we all celebrate our achievements
Re Hamish. We're probably about the same as we've always been.
It seems we've got an inbuilt habit of falling at the first significant hurdle in front of us, and without the safety net of a play-off or a larger tournament it just happened sooner. Those England teams were probably as rubbish/good as the team we've got now.
We narrowly missed out on qualification to Germany 74 to Poland (who finished 3rd) 76 to Czechs (who won it) and 78 to Italy (4th) In 84 it was a superb Denmark side.
The only difference is it's easier to qualify now. Only 4 sides competed in the Euros until 1980, and only 8 until 1996. Similar story with the World Cups only 16 teams (incidentally the perfect number for a proper tournament) until 1990.
Perhaps Rio was wrong, we do have an identity. Just a side that goes out against the first decent side we play.
Cristiano Ronaldo is quite simply the greatest player to have ever graced the game. I watched him tonight, I've watched him for years so I know what he can do and he has done it consecutively over the last 4 to 5 years, he just wins games on his own, full stop.
I apologise to any Messi fan I may have offended with this but it's my own opinion and I have had this opinion for a long time, he's a more complete player than Messi and could play in any team on the planet and still excel.
Oh and just to add I hate Madrid with all my heart due to political reasons and I've enjoyed watching Barcelona since the days of Rivaldo.
Leon, Basel. (Rivaldo.. What an overhead kick)
Will Egg Find Out About Milly And O'Donnell?
Hopefully Alex Ay could put down his Discman and turn off Twin Peaks and join us in 2013 as clearly he is trapped in some Quantum Leap time warp and is living in the 1990s. He states that in England, "the media have driven you to feel entitled to this grandiose national team who stroll through continents taking PoWs as they go." Alex, have you seen an English newspaper in the last twenty years? The national pastime is playing a game called "thinking of reasons why we are we so sh*t at football." Why do some non-English still have this idea that we English believe we are any good at football? We do not. We are sh*t and we know we are. The idea that in England we believe we have a team capable of strolling through anything is about as dated as the New Romantic outfit Alex is probably still wearing (I know that is probably the 80s, but couldn't think of anything iconic from the 90s).
This Will Never Happen
Aaron Brackets (Friday mailbox) hits the nail right on the head. International football is interminably dull because there are so few meaningful games. So allow me to propose an alternative.
There are six (I'm guessing here, international football is so uninspiring I can't even be bothered to check so we'll go with six) weeks set aside for international football each season, each allowing a super exciting double header against teams like Rooslavia and Boristan. So there's availability for up to twelve meaningful fixtures each season.
UEFA should set up a league system, each division with 10 teams playing each other home and away, with two teams promoted and two teams relegated at the end of each cycle. It would play out over two seasons, and every team would get 18 meaningful games against teams of a similar level. They could still run a summer championship every four years, with the top 16 or 24 teams from the league system qualifying. Kind of like the how the league runs in parallel with the FA Cup.
There would be no more dreadful games between mismatched teams. There would be no more 4-6-0 formation abominations. There would be no more dubious injuries that keep players out of international games - players would actually want to play in the games. And think of the rivalries that would develop. And the clamour of fans to get tickets for the games. And the anticipation leading up to each match. And the fall out afterwards.
In fact you could drop the Euros altogether, UEFA could generate a shitload of money from sponsorship brought in by the continental and even global appeal of the top division.
Just think, the TV companies would go crazy for it. The top division games would be staggered over the weekend so they didn't clash and you'd have a feast of top class, meaningful international games every round that people looked forward to. Germany at home to Italy in a crucial match in the title race. I'd watch that. England v Portugal in a relegation six pointer. I'd watch that. Spain v Germany and France v England would give Super Sunday a whole new meaning (though they'd probably end up calling it Phenomenal Friday or something even more ridiculous).
You could argue that the smaller countries would be marginalised, but who really gives a crap about Scotland (I'm Scottish and I don't) and the like anyway? Most people are far more interested in the major tournaments, and even then they are usually an anti-climax because the big teams don't generally meet until the knockout stages, and at that stage the football is usually very cagey and disappointing because of the fear of losing. In any case, it might actually re-invigorate interest in our national team if we have a chance of winning European League Division 4 and have the prospect of testing ourselves in Division 3.
Do it UEFA. Just f*cking do it.
Pete (either that or just end international football altogether) McCallum
F365 Mailbox, as the go to people in events of great distress for me I thought I'd share a dream I had last night.
For some reason I was playing for Barca against Levante. Oddly enough so was Gareth Bale. Soon enough though I'd received the ball in the centre on the halfway line and I started driving up the pitch on the counter attack. Then Gareth Bale started running closely alongside me knocking me off balance. This continued till I reached the penalty area and tried an outside of the boot shot (I had just the keeper to beat). At that point I was knocked completely off balance by Bale and the ball scuffed far away to Iniesta who promptly wellied it into the net. I asked Bale why he was being a dick and he replied, saying that today was his first day in Spain that no-one had asked him to sign an autograph on his hand and that he was really worried about this fact. Even a taxi driver didn't ask him this slightly bizarre request which was particularly galling for Snr Bale.
To conclude; Bale is a complete twunt in both real life and dreams.
James Earl Jones (Grant Holt was playing for Levante as well, standing around not doing anything on the pitch), STFC
I'm no dream expert but I would think Stu from Chiswick's weird dream was something to do with burying the hatchet regards the Suarez-Evra incident.
The Patio represents Scousers (erm...stay with me). When I think of burying someone under the patio I think of Brookside and Trevor Jordache. If Stu is a similar age to me (30-something) he'll probably subconsciously think of scousers when there's talk of burying a body under a patio.
Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory represents logic - reasons should be obvious to anyone who has watched the show.
Patrice Evra represents erm...Patrice Evra.
So, in Stu's mind, logic has prevailed and scousers have buried the hatchet with Patrice Evra...Or alternatively, Logic has killed Patrice Evra and he's buried under a scouser (Think I prefer that one)
I would be interested to know whether Sheldon used a hatchet to kill Patrice Evra.
Richie, Wakefield (Seriously has nothing better to do with his time apart from analyse dreams?!)