Moyes is lacking 'charismatic authority', Kieran Gibbs is defended, Chelsea's problems are examined and a dreadful chant attacked. It's a glorious mailbox...
Fear is stopping Moyes dismantling Fergie's team, we are told. Plus, one Arsenal fan digs at Gibbs and mails on Martinez, the Group of Death and a Spurs Christmas list...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Choosing A New Football Team
I've noticed a couple of emails recently about the general smugness of fans of the top clubs and it reminded me of a conversation I had in the boozer with some mates about six months ago. They all happened to be United fans (from Leamington Spa) and I'm a Villa fan (from Birmingham). The conversation came round where one of the lads asked me if I could not support The Villa anymore and had to choose another team to follow, support and back to the hilt who would that team be. The tone of the question was like 'you've had enough pain supporting a rubbish team mate - if you had to start all over again who would you choose now you are older and wiser'. I thought about it for about a minute and then answered Spurs or Swansea - cue a bunch of totally confused and dumbfounded faces...why not United, Chelsea or City they asked???
The thought I was a lunatic for saying that I like the idea of a team playing good football but not knowing that 90% of the time they'd win the match. I said where's the fun in that - turning up knowing your team is nearly certainly gonna win? I said give me a team that plays good football and has a real go, but who I don't know whether they will win or not, any day.
On questioning them with the same thing they all said they'd choose Chelsea and that I needed help for not choosing a team with a real strong chance of winning the league ("we're not saying you should choose United - go with Chelsea or Citeh but at least choose a good team!")
Who's the mad one mailboxers - me or them?
Target Men Peak Later
Just wanted to respond to the questioning in the last couple of mailboxes as to why it took Lambert so long to rise to the top of the game. One factor is simply that 'target men' style strikers tend to peak later then small nippy players (see exhibit a. Drogba, Didier compared to exhibit b. Owen, Michael). But the main factor in Lambert's late development was his fitness. When he joined Bristol Rovers in 2006 he was criticised for being rather rotund. In his time at Rovers he was part of a clique of players who rather enjoyed their partying and as such if a Premier League team had bought the 2006-2009 version of Lambert he would have been miles off the pace. It was only when he joined Southampton (who were also in League One - hence his lack of pace not being an issue) that he waa put on an intense fitness program to reduce his weight and turn him into a proper athlete.
His time at Rovers is where his vision and his shooting ability were perfected (anyone who thinks he's just a 'big man' needs to watch this) but Southampton was where he was pushed into being able to take advantage of his superb talent - eventually to England's benefit.
Mike, League 2, BRFC
More Defending Lambert
I'm sure you've had infinite responses to Chris MUFC's mail yesterday and I'd like to throw my ten pence in and say it was one of the most ill-informed things I've ever read.
First of all is it that incomprehensible to imagine that a player might not reach their peak until a bit later on their careers? So in your world Chris all players over the age of 30 who play in lower leagues might as well kick the bucket? Is it that inconceivable for you to imagine a player actually improving by working hard once they're over the supposed footballers peak of 27?
Maybe, Rickie Lambert wasn't the sort of player to set the world alight in his earlier years but I think that deserves even more recognition that a player earns his first call-up in their thirties than being given a standard cap at the age of 19 because on your debut you scored a fluke from the half-way line.
Then there is the fact that if you knew a bit more about the subject you were writing in to condemn in such an uneducated way you would realise that instead of just judging a player's ability by their FIFA stats and did a bit of research, heck maybe even watched said subject of your attack you would realise there is a fair bit more to Lambert's game than being a 'physically imposing target man'.
Last season Lambert was the highest-scoring Englishman in the Premier League, therefore surely he is in the team on merit as he was the best English forward in the league last season.
Did you see the game on Friday? I imagine you did, or reenacted it on FIFA with an English Manchester United eleven, you would have seen Lambert set up both of Welbeck's goals and on top of that last season contributed to fair few assists for Southampton as well.
Also, you make it sound awful that he's a good game against two useless sides. As far as I'm aware Lambert hasn't been picked in the team for an important game yet. So why don't we see how he does against Ukraine before slating him for beating what's in front of him!!
I didn't realise you couldn't call yourself a decent player having not tested yourself at a lower level than the Premier League! Something which you've slated Lambert for doing over most of his career. So in your opinion it's okay to come from a Premier League academy, get loaned out to a lower-league club, then come back and ply your trade. But if you come from a lower-league club you are sh*te. Good logic.
Plus, since when has scoring against the top six been a novelty rather than quality? I have nothing to say about that, what does it even mean haha??
This just seems a desperate attempt to get printed as you have nothing else to write about. Don't worry United will probably not have won a million-nil next weekend so you'll have plenty to bash your keyboard about then.
Phill (Feel a bit sick having to defend a Saints player) Thomas
We're Not Little Englanders Anymore
Firstly I love international football as I still believe that globally it is still the pinnacle of the game. However in England this isn't the case anymore. Is it because of this generation of fans that crave entertainment and England don't provide it? Possibly.
However at times England can entertain and I actually agree with Andy's point about if Pirlo had scored like Gerrard there would've been more drooling. The reason for the apathy more than anything though is the media. The over-saturation of these players' lives, the way the commentators still make out that when England play a team it's more like Jesus, Gandhi, Mother Theresa etc playing Hitler, Stalin, Pot, Cowell etc.
When a World Cup rolls around we don't get to find out about the development of Reus (as an example) before a Germany game, we find out the latest news on Rooney's sore toe. We get WAG news. We get Hodgson's thoughts on whether England can win the World Cup (of course he will, what is he expected to say?)
This is why people are bored. English fans are now at a point where we want to know about global football and not just English football yet the media and television haven't cottoned on to this (or just refuse to). It's nothing about being patriotic or not, it's a case of we're no longer little Englanders however the coverage is.
As a side point what happened to Man U buying Garay? That was a done deal. About ten times.
Why Do Journos Treat England Differently?
I am off work ill today so have plenty of time to read the biased, agenda-based ramblings of Martin Samuel (we get it, you like Harry...let it go) and in stark contrast the logical and beautifully worded Mediawatch (I must get published now!!!).
I love football, and I particularly love watching England. For better or worse I really do support our national team and therefore get quite upset and confused by our national press. My question is, why does their football knowledge go to pot over England? For example, reactions to anything positive about England compared to similar stories for other nations.
* England beat a shit team lots of goals to 0. Response = 'we should have done'.
Yet if Spain or Germany only win 4-0, they are lauded for their God-like football. If they 'only' win 2/3-0 then they are true professionals who brush aside small nations with minimum fuss to save effort for the bigger tasks ahead.
* Ricky Lambert scores debut winning goal. Response = 'England lack quality because 31-yr-old debutant saves England'. I find this particularly cun*ish by the way.
In contrast if another nation bring a unknown match winner to stage - 'the depth of quality is truly frightening compared to England'.
I would love to hear other people's examples of biased reactions form our press.
But what if...and God forbid...the press decided to be positive? Just imagine. Headlines read 'rough diamond shows Roy that there is hidden treasure', 'England professionally dispatch plucky minnows'. Or holy shit imagine this...they don't act as if England should win every game 10-0 just by showing up and actually consider that perhaps the opposition...don't want to lose!
My dream headlines tomorrow - 'England earn credible point(s) in a genuinely tough fixture' - not catchy but appropriate.
Ben (Love football, Rooney is all that is wrong with it)
Smaller Squads, Stupid
I find all of the rumination over English youngsters laughable. The problem could be easily solved by simply reducing squad size (I would say that the Premier League and UEFA should be aiming for first-team squads of 13/14). This would mean that an injury to a first-team player, or rotation in lesser competitions, would result in the utilisation of a youth-team player which increases (substantially) the possibility that the 'replacement' player derives from the home country (due to the rules regarding under-age players). For 'belt and braces' purposes you then tighten up rules relating to the offering of training places to children under the age of 18 - to prevent scouts from staking out La Masia or Auxerres youth training facility and you start to have a system where the domestic leagues and national teams are mutually beneficial to each other. This is not a difficult thing. More importantly, a by-product of smaller squads might be more talent spread around the league - imagine that - competition.
Iheke '...no one is listening...' Ndukwe
PS. It 'might' also bring down club costs which is an objective of Financial Fair Play.
Spare A Thought For The French
People concerned about England's woes on international level, please also spare a thought for France who are on course to break an 80-year-old record of the most amount of minutes spent without scoring a goal. If they fail to find the net in the first 22 minutes against Belarus they will have gone 501 minutes without a goal. True they faced Spain, Brazil, Uruguay and Belgium during that period, but the lack of goals is nevertheless worrying. Their star striker Karim Benzema's last goal came more than 20 hours of play time ago. Also they have just won once in 2013 which they did by beating the mighty Georgia at home. They drew 0-0 in the reverse fixture on Friday. Add that to the fact that they were already doomed to settle for second place in a group involving Spain and this makes for a very depressing year for them. Vivement 2014
Lelouche (Will merde be censored as well?) Lamperouge
One Man's Fascination With Adebayor
The reason why I clicked on your (very well-written article) about Adebayor is that he's always got something to say. I love the fact that he's going to come out with some bollocks - most of his beahviour I find really bothersome but at least you're guarenteed a good soundbyte.
Why won't I click on an article about Lampard's 100th cap? Because he will say absolutely nothing - he will open his mouth and just the same as Gerrard, all the years of media training and being rightly nervous of saying the wrong thing will result in cliches and blandness.
But not Manu. He'll be the top striker at Spurs by the end of the season he reckons. Love it. So I'm not sure it's as much a case of the under-delivering over-earners generating interest despite the fact there is something wonderful about revelling in say, Liverpool's outlay on Henderson/Downing/Caroll. Oooooooohhhh, £80m for that! I reckon it's more about the hunt for a bit of a laugh amongst most of the mediocre and boring football interviews.
Andrew, Woodford Green
The Transfer Ripple
Now the window has shut, and we are left discussing the bobbins collection of international games, I want to ask something that is probably more Friday Inbox than Tuesday-before-a-Qualifier but screw it, I want answers.
There is a concept that I would love to see much more learned fans of the game debate and discuss and it is this -
The Concept: The Transfer Ripple.
Huh?: The Transfer Ripple is whereby a deal for a player is struck for 'disgusting money'. That money is then reinvested back into the Selling club and the cycle continues over and over until someone picks up a cheeky transfer using a portion (whatever size) of the original 'disgusting money'.
Aim: Someone can piece together a legitimate series of transfers that all depended on the initial burst of money, and then look at how each fee received was reinvested.
Rules: (Probably should have thought about these in slightly better detail but here goes)
1. The deals have to be completely linear (ie a deal could only be completed after Player A moved club, so they could buy Player B).
2. You can only follow a single ripple of deals - Club A to Club B, Club B to Club C etc.
3. Extra points for deals that start off at the very top of the Premiership and see how far ripple effect goes and whether the deals end up in the lower reaches of Conference football.
4. Extra extra points for a ripple that includes a collection of well-known players too - the cooler and more hipster the better.
Or we can all say it's a bad idea, and get on with discussing the merits/disbenefits of Lambert for England...
Barry (This has been a thought process for years, I just never actually worked on it) Marelli
The Darren Bent story reminded me of an incident at Old Trafford. During the early 90's I was fortunate that my Dad had some corporate seats at United, if there were any games where clients didn't fancy it, my Dad would pass these tickets on me and my mates. I was only 15 at the time so this was an absolute result.
As ever with the corporate South Stand, the atmosphere wasn't great, as Keane once eloquently pointed out, so any conversation anyone had could be generally heard by most of the people around you.
Anyway the year was 94 or 95 I think, and united were playing Nott'm Forest, and Collymore took a quick free-kick and scored, however the ref had clearly said wait for the whistle and subsequently ruled out the goal - cue the obligatory 'WAAYYY' from the home fans. At this point an older gent in front of me turned round and told me in no uncertain terms that that goal should have stood, to which I replied, politely, that the ref had clearly indicated to wait for the whistle which Collymore hadn't. The older gent then proceeded to tell me and everyone around me quite aggressively that the youth of today knew nothing about football. I took offence to this - I was 15, and football was all I had.
Anyway as I fairly knowledgeable football fan, I knew that the older gent was in fact Mike Summerbee of Manchester City fame, as a result, delivered the comeback of "that may be the case Mike, however, I know enough about football to know that you should be sat at Maine Road rather than here".
His two friends and a few people around me seemed to enjoy this, a lot; he did not. United lost 2-1, but I had my small victory.
...Following Peepston's mail this morning, I would like to share my own tale of a footballer getting abuse away from the terrace.
I was a ten-year-old boy and my Dad had driven me to Old Trafford in order to spend my Christmas money on a new shirt. As we walked around the stadium, my enjoyment of the occasion was harshly interrupted by the sound of squealing tyres and the feeling of being dragged by the scruff of the neck to the ground. I was trying my best to stop the tears from flowing down my young face as I heard the buzz of an electric window and a voice call, 'Are you alright mate?'. I looked up to see United's new record signing - Andy Cole! The joy, the excitement, the thrill....the shame, as my Dad shouts, 'No thanks to you, you w**ker!'. Mr Cole looked suitably ashamed of his reckless driving as his window buzzed up and he drove off.
I refused to speak to him for the rest of the day. I dined out on that tale for weeks (in the school canteen).
Jim, Bali (After buying my shirt, I had a few quid to get it printed. All I could afford was 'May 12'. Imagine my joy when the fella told me that they had no 'Y's' so he would do any name I wanted for the same price. That shirt looked glorious with 'Kanchelskis 14' on the back. He left that summer. Karma)
Peepston, Wolves' post in this morning's mailbox was quite brilliant and reminded me of my own anecdote.
In 1974 I was catching the London train from Crewe station. It was very crowded; I found myself in a last-minute rush for the one remaining seat beside a tall, good-looking man with collar-length hair. It was the seventies; buckaroo! I looked up and saw it was none other than Peter Purves, it was the height of his Blue Peter career. He said, "You jammy b**tard" and quick as a flash, I replied, "Don't be blue, Peter!" Needless to say, I had the last laugh.
...I think that was mine.
Form A Support Group
I write to sympathise with Joe as a fellow Post Transfer Blog Syndrome sufferer. The condition is caused in part by a Premier League Seperation Anxiety brought about by the international break. Symptoms include misplaced belief in your national team, social awkwardness as you have nothing to talk about and a constant sense of wonder as to how Paul Green is somehow still considered the third-best Irish centre mid.
However, after years of suffering, research and failed cures I believe I have found the solution. Have the international break during the transfer window and ease all our pain.
El bandito tinto (aka Bruce Wayne) Dublin
Balls To You
Thanks. Thanks Mediawatch. I'm already sleeping in the spare room with the door locked for fear of being yet another victim of the epidemic of member removals that's sweeping the world.
I'm now also concerned that my attentive parenting of my young children, which I previously believed to be a good thing, is a result of my apparently freakish small testicles.
I don't have the mental energy to get paranoid about your bias for/against clubs, since you're making me paranoid about everything else. Is that actually your strategy?