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 email@example.com
Is anybody else suffering from PTBS (Post Transfer Blog Syndrome)? I'm sat at my desk and I need a break from work, 'I know, I'll check the blog and see what's happening'. Nothing. What's the point anymore?
Joe (All year window would enrage Martinez)
Despite reading the mailbox for over 2 years I have never felt the need to write in. However whilst reading today's mailbox regards the current international break, it got me reminiscing about an incident aboard a flight in 2012.
This time last year during the International break I was visiting my fiancé in New Zealand. My flight home from Auckland started on the afternoon of the 9th September and by the time I reached Dubai some 40+ hours later (via Brisbane and Kuala Lumpur) for the final leg of the journey to Birmingham I was completely shattered. As I looked round at the departure lounge filled with screaming toddlers, needless to say I was not looking forward to the 7 hour flight ahead. That was until I reached check in and to my astonishment found that I had been bumped up to Business Class.
Not long after I reach my seat and settle down with a selection of snacks and a glass of champagne trying to look as if I belong. All of a sudden on walks Stephen Hunt (employed by Wolves at the time) and his other half and take a seat to the left of me. Shortly after on walks Darren Bent and his other half and they sit behind me to the right, both players give each other a nod of acknowledgement and carry on about their business. I knew both players were injured before I left for my hols so I guessed they had been in Dubai holidaying/shopping etc.
Anyway during the flight I opted for a few more drinks and decided to flick through the listings on my giant TV and found a sports channel showing the top 50 goals of the 2011/2012 Premiership season. Not long into the show, through the corner of my eye I see someone leaning over my right shoulder to see what I'm watching. As I turn my head I see it's Darren Bent. We make eye contact and I don't know if it was the Champagne talking but the first thing that comes out my mouth is "Don't worry mate, you aren't going to be on this show!" To be fair he took it well and just laughed it off and it did help instigate a conversation about Peter Crouch's thunderbolt, which was voted number 1 and the Villa amongst other things. He told me Lambert was a good manager and that he was looking forward to getting back in the team for the upcoming game against Swansea, as well as looking forward to the season ahead. Oops!
Peepston (better than the time I sold Gazza cider before wishing him the best of luck getting a contract with the Wolves, only to find out the next morning he had just been turned down, hence the Cider) Wolves
I find that one of the biggest concerns of underage to senior level sport is the near certainty that any English player with even the slightest hint of flair or imagination will have that beaten out of them, as if its panel damage on a somewhat nice car.
It's just one small example, but during United's pre-season, new boy and flair extraordinaire Wilifred Zaha did a slightly extravagant flick that resulted in a chance for the opposition. Sure, it was in the defensive third and Ryan Giggs let him know to put that trick back in his locker, but therein lies the worry: skilful players with plenty of tricks have the 'percentage approach' drummed into them until taking a risk is too much of a risk to their position in the team.
Thus they play without the imagination or instinct that served them so well to that point and become the very blunt representation of a nation without a footballing identity, but for possibly being a bit boring and predictable.
Just a thought/frustration.
Chris Gets A Kicking
"...and by the lower-league mafia as validation of their fetish for standing on decaying concrete terraces every weekend as the wind blow and rain pours."
I acknowledge that Chris MUFC is a regular contributor to the Mailbox and the points he made in his missive concerning lower-league talent, while not entirely agreeable, deserve to be made clear for discussion. But what I don't get is this: you may be the supporter of a massive club, and you may have come to the point where you - like most supporters of your ilk - expect success to be as regular as the morning paper. But it seems Chris has little time for the rest of the leagues that provide the game with its varied, detailed and multi-faceted landscape, those kinds of 'smaller clubs' that, not so long ago had their own stories to tell (and still do).
He appears to assume that glory and success, reflected on him, has moved him up the evolutionary ladder to the extent that those who 'stand on decaying concrete terraces every weekend as the wind blow and rain pours' are but mere minions, flotsam and jetsam, who dare not breathe the same rarefied air as Sir Chris of Ivory Towers, and must keep their grubby hands off his foie gras and Cabernet Sauvignon, lest they disturb the cultivated air of his shimmering, faultless world. To give him some slack, yes, you do find that some lower-league fans do wear the monotony and dullness that can inhabit some aspects of the game at the tough end as a badge of honour (that said, you don't have to look far to the PL to find some right old crap, too), but Chris replies in kind with that same divisive, smug, stand-your-ground snobbery that's just as teeth-grindingly annoying as that posed by his lower-league counterparts. And it is snobbery.
So in summary: supporting Manchester United doesn't make you the Duke of F**king Edinburgh, Chris. You're the same day-by-day, scrabbling-for-a-living, work drone as the rest of humanity, and wearing a red shirt doesn't make you a king. And I've met quite a few dull, working stiffs who think that supporting a top club makes them invincible - it doesn't, the process works the opposite. Reasons to like them slide off them like water off a raincoat.
...On Rickie Lambert: 'He's had one decent season in the PL, and scored relatively heavily against the top six, but that's as much a result of novelty as quality.'
Along with 'double pivot', have we found the mailbox equivalent of David Brent/Brendan Rodgers? I assume the above sentence is a suggestion that the new top six 'don't know much about the big lad up top'. Perhaps at your club, as there's been evidence of the scouting system being somewhat 'flawed'.
In response to the mailbox question "is Zidane the real record holder?" I have taken a geek trip and compiled some numbers.
Since the majority of the record transfers were paid in Euros, I have accounted for Euro Zone inflation. Transfers conducted in Sterling were converted at the exchange rate at the time the transfer was conducted. The source for transfers was Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transfer_(association_football)).
The inflation adjusted results for most expensive transfers (in Euros).
1. Christiano Ronaldo 101.62
2. Gareth Bale 100.00
3. Zinedine Zidane 94.35
4. Luis Figo 79.59
5. Zlatan Ibrahimoviã 74.59
Christian Vieri's record transfer in 1999 would be worth 58.55 million today.
Guess that clears that up then. Ronaldo still holds the record (inflation adjusted).
...In response to Dave (love the site lads, keep up the good work) Dublin, the numbers are quite tight until you take into account exchange rates.
The rate of inflation in the United Kingdom from 2001 to 2013 is approximately 40% therefore Zidane's transfer of €75m in 2001 would equate to €105m in 2013. However in the same period Spain's inflation rate has risen by approximately 30% therefore in Spanish terms Zindane's value would (only) be €97m today.
The big differences occur when you look at the exchange rates at the time. In 2001 you could get €1.6 to £1 whereas now it is nearer €1.1 to £1. That means that either Zidane's transfer was only worth £47m in 2001 or Mr Levy would only have got £62m today for Bale if the exchange rates were comparable. Of course Zidane transferred from Italy to Spain and both countries are in the Euro so no conversion to pounds was necessary!
I need another beer!
...In response to Derek (Love the site lads, keep up the good work) Dublin, probably the simplest way to compare record transfer fees from different eras is to take the £ figure and use the Retail Price Index to calculate what the comparative fee would be. I have a table that does something similar (it's from last year so will be a little out) so using Wikipedia for the figures of each time the world transfer record was broken from 1893 onwards, this is the top 10:
1. Ronaldo (2009 United to Real) £80m = £88m
2. Bale (2013 Spurs to Real) £85m
3. Zidane (2001 Juve to Real) £46.6m = £63.2m
4. Kaka (2009 Milan to Real) £56m = £61.6m
5. Figo (2000 Barca to Real) £37m = £51.1m
6. Crespo (2000 Parma to Lazio) £35.5m = £49m
7. Vieri (1999 Lazio to Inter) £32m = £45.5m
8. Denilson (1998 Sao Paulo to Real Betis) £21.5m = £31m
9. Ronaldo (1997 Barca to Inter) £19.5m = £27.2m
10. Gianluigi Lentini (19992 Torini to Milan) £13m = £22m
Obviously this doesn't take into account what Real would bid nowadays if Maradona was available (went for £5m in 1984, £13m in today's money) or the fact that clubs just have more to spend nowadays because of sponsorship etc. but, because I have used a list of only those transfer which set a new record rather than the most expensive players ever, you have to remember there are players, for example, like Rio Ferdinand, who went for £29m in 2002 and would be around £42m / roughly one Ozil in today's money.
David P, Manchester
Go Go Giggsy Go
Forgive me if this is a bit out of context, but I've had a week off work and have only just caught up on the rants following the Liverpool v United game. I read a comment on a (for the sake of narcissism) inferior football website about how Giggs shouldn't be starting games because he's 'past it'. This got me to thinking, I can't remember a single year over the last decade or so that someone hasn't piped up within the first few games of the season and said exactly the same thing. Yet, every year Giggs plays a key part in the team and quite often looks a league above the younger players -- although given the inconsistency of United's current creative midfielders, that might not be a big ask.
Last year he started poorly and came into form, eventually putting in a Champions League performance against Real Madrid (to name but one) that not only belied his age but also the very concept of growing old. Granted, it's not great that we still have to rely on a player who's fast approaching forty to show how it's done, but if we're going to side with age over class we might as well give Nani a five year contrac...oh. Still, I can't help but feel every time we play badly Giggs is singled out because if he got cut in half by a defender it would take infinite amounts of Fergie time to count the rings. He's Ryan Giggs, he's not lost it, and he'll probably retire well before he does.
John (I wouldn't trust Nani to consistently clean boots for five years) Kerrison
Agreeing With Sepp
Disgusting as it is to put down words, I wholeheartedly agree with Sepp Blatter. Let's have a winter World Cup. England's somewhat valid excuse for perpetually drab tournament form has always been this: the rigours of the demand of our patented brand of Premiership kick and rush football cause fatigue and injuries over a long season which hamper our squad's ability to compete.
A December World Cup would remove that excuse.
We'd have to think of a new one.
Matt (the real reason is none of our players learn to play in overseas leagues, whilst ALL the others do) Dibble
Why Players Don't Move Abroad
It's very easy to suggest young English players go abroad, but why would they?
- Play in the best paid league in the world.
- Live near family and friends.
- Speak the language.
- Play in full stadiums.
It's all well and good to suggest they go abroad, but most other leagues are smashed broke, particularly around Europe. A midtable team English team could probably bully Valencia and Atletico Madrid in the transfer market at this point. Outside of England, how many teams in Europe could afford Tom Ince? 20/25? It's all well and good to criticize Johnny foreigner "stealin our jubbs" (southpark style) but these are strange economic times we live in.
Just think of the reasons that you work/live in your home country, then ask yourself why don't move you to Sociedad for a few years? They're probably the same as a footballers.
Ozil As A False Nine?
Has anyone considered that Mesut Ozil might be deployed at Arsenal as a false 9? Him roaming up top, playing a bit as a striker but mostly dropping deeper or wide, flanked by Walcott and Podolski making forward runs could be incredibly dangerous. A possible reason Arsene let the window close wihout a striker? Not that I think this will be his primary position but I think it is a "surprise" Arsene has up his sleeve and possibly even part of the discussion about Ozil's role for Arsenal that was spoken about over the phone.
Martin (International Gooner), Lima