That's the real problem they're going to face next year, says one Man United fan who's already looking forward to the end of this campaign. Plus, thoughts on neutrality...
Liverpool fans in the mailbox are not too worried about sour grapes from United supporters, but one admits he's scared the Reds could end up selling their best players...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
This Made Us Laugh
Can I please petition F365 to start referring to Tom Cleverley as 'Cleverle' - the last letter is totally redundant as the first thing anyone thinks when they see his name on a team sheet is 'why?'
Terry Hall, Switzerland (he's going to score now, just to make me look a t**t.)
Roo Must Be Kidding
During International week and with the World Cup just around the corner it's probably safe to assume that the nation's favourite tabloid will up the jingoist rhetoric by several decibels probably culminating in a crap song sung by Terry Venables.
I have to say I find international friendlies entirely tedious and I think it's far more interesting to check whether said tabloid could set a new world record for the concentration of headlines substituting the word 'you' with 'Roo'? I always laugh out loud like the first time I saw it when I see that wonderful play on words. I personally can't wait to see it 500 times in the coming months.
Steve McBain, Singapore
Put Your Shirt On It
I have stumbled upon something. It's so obvious that I cannot believe it's not been discovered before. It's the answer that categorically and clearly explains why England aren't as good as Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany, Italy and Chile!
It's nothing to do with technical ability. It's shirt Numbers.
When Oscar players for Brazil he will always wear No.11 and Neymar No. 10. This is regardless of whether they start or not. Mascherano No. 14. Buffon and Casillas always wear No.1. Ozil No.8, Lahm no.16, Mata no. 13. Alsono 14. Why don't England follow this trend? It's quite clear that these small things makes you a great team. Roy sort this out and we'll be world beaters.
Neil (sort the small things and the big things take care of themselves. or something or other!) Surrey
Putting Us Right On Ruud
David, P: No, selling van Nistelrooy to better accomomdate Ronaldo and Rooney is not comparable to selling van Persie to accomodate Januzaj. Platinum-coated b***locks.
Januzaj, at present, is unproven. Exquisite, hugely talented, dedicated, but highly inexperienced. And van Persie is, firstly, in the best form (and shape) of his career, and secondly, a technically gifted, mobile player who can play across a front three, and pass and create.
Ronaldo, by the end of the 05/06 season when Ruud was sold, had played 137 games for United, scored 27 goals, had over 20 national team appearances, and was beginning to show a physicality and consistency that would explode in 06/07. He was in the 05/06 PL team of the year, and had been in the Euro 2004 team of the tournament. He was already one of the most coveted young players in Europe, with the experience of four seasons competitive football. Rooney, by the end of the same season, had scored 36 goals in 91 goals for United, had nearly 30 international appearances, was FifPro Young Player of the Year in 2005, PFA Young Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006, and United's player of the year in 2006. Meanwhile, van Nistelrooy was increasingly injury prone, had lost his acceleration pace, and required United to play solely to his strengths as a finisher. United simply could never have played the mobile, fluid football of 06-09 with van Nistelrooy.
A much better comparison would be selling a certain fat, over-celebrated scouser for the greater good.
...David P, Manchester praises Sir Alex's ruthless streak, likening the release of Van Nistelrooy in favour of Rooney and Ronaldo as 'the equivalent of him getting rid of Van Persie in favour of playing Januzaj'.
When Van Nistelrooy was let go in 2006, Ronaldo had scored 32 goals from 168 professional appearances over 5 seasons. Rooney had scored 53 goals from 168 professional appearances over four seasons. Both were getting better year on year.
Januzaj has two goals from six appearances, so let's ease up on the hyperbole.
MC in DXB
Zlatan For Arsenal Or United? No Thanks
As a right to reply over Zlatan,
So you idiots would be happy to sign a player who turned you down when you had Bergkamp, Henry, Vieira and Pires in your ranks?
His ego would be a problem as we have a settled squad and if your hero thought he was above playing with the aforementioned quartet - what would he think of playing with our current crop of players who have yet to win anything?
The likes of Messi can play in any team because Lionel isn't an arse - and ironically I don't want arses playing for Arsenal.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
...A little late, but a point still worth making I feel.
In order to succeed at Arsenal, Wenger would need to tailor his team to the whims of one man, and pretty much ditch his footballing philosophy. As eight footballing years sans pots proves, there is more chance of Satan going to work on a pair of skis than there is of Wenger changing. (I know he offered Zlatan a trial, but taking a 18-year-old to train up compared to a 31-year-old world-class player are two very different things!)
The other claim is that Zlatan would be ideally suited to life at Manchester United. Someone start up the ROFLcopter. I would actually pay good money to watch David Moyes and Zlatan have a conversation about tactics, playing styles etc. - 'We need you to defend from the front...' 'Who are you? Where is Fergie?'
Never. Gonna. Happen.
Conrad Wiacek, MUFC
But He Could...
Is the prospect of Ibra coming to England really ridiculous? It is probably as likely as say, Ozil joining Arsenal. Yes it happened and this could happen too. Zlatan is the self-proclaimed best player in the history of the universe, a poor spell in Spain coupled with never playing In England means he has failed to make his mark on the two biggest leagues in the world. Now that is most definitely a pet peeve of his.
A certain man from Salamanca claimed it is slightly more likely for him to sign for Bayern over United. May I remind you who their head coach is, Pep 'Coward' Guardiola. Something tells me he won't be in a rush to sign Zlatan again. A January move might be out of the question but it would not surprise me to see Zlatan playing outside of France this time next year and England is his most likely destination.
David (Has Jesus ever scored four against England? I didn't think so) Belfast
Johnny Carried Away? Surely Not
I strongly disagree with John Nic's article suggesting international friendlies are a waste of time. Many of the reasons he puts forward for getting rid of them are valid, but I think he may have become slightly carried away with himself. I agree that they can never replicate the pressure of a World Cup game but would argue that they are necessary for experimenting with new players/formations/styles of play. For every Andros Townsend vs Montenegro moment, there's a Scott Carson vs Croatia. The truth is that much of the time, the England manager simply can't afford to experiment in World Cup Qualifying games - there's just too much pressure (see: Steve McLaren, 2006-07).
I don't care that England lost the other night. Adam Lallana has rightfully earned another chance against Germany - a chance he probably would not have had if we didn't bother with friendlies (Although it looks like Roy wants to play him on the left, which is frankly unfair).
And there's one more reason - one which for me is more important than any of the rest - I love watching England. Yes, we're rubbish. Yes, I complain when Milner is named in the squad/Gerrard mishits every other pass/Lampard plays/whatever, but at the end of the day, I genuinely enjoy it. If nothing else it's an excuse to sit down with my old man and enjoy being patriotic for a couple of hours. For me, there are never enough England games in a calendar year. I don't care if they're friendly or competitive, or how badly we play, I just enjoy them, like a football fan should.
The Sorry Tale Of Rashidi Yekini
kernowpete wanted to know if there was any evidence of players suffering from plots hatched amongst their own teams. Dear friend I do have such evidence. The year was 1994, Nigeria, fresh from the African Cup of Nations triumph, had the best team representing Africa at the World Cup in the U.S of A. One player who was very instrumental to achieving the fearsome reputation Nigeria had in those days was a certain Rashidi Yekini, goal poacher/striker/finisher extraordinaire! The gangling forward was truly devastating in the box and had a ferocious and unstoppable shot. (In fact it was known that he never missed a penalty kick, he never changed his technique too, he usually pointed to the direction he was going to place the ball and dared the keeper to save it) such was the confidence he had in his ability. He won the golden boot in three successive African Cup of Nations tournament. He scored 37 goals in 58 appearances for Nigeria, 90 in 108 appearances for vitoria settubal in Portugal from 1990-1994. He duly won the African Footballer of the Year award in 1993.
No doubt, going to the World Cup he was the star of the Nigerian team, the World Cup was supposed to launch him into the global consciousness. Alas! this was not the case. Yekini alienated his team mates with his iconic celebration in the Bulgarian net after scoring Nigeria's first ever World Cup goal. Certain young elements in the squad led by Daniel Amockachi and Sunday Oliseh felt the teammates did not get due acknowledgement for their service (of the 5 goals he scored to win the Afcon golden boot, Oliseh directly assisted at least three). In addition to this Yekini had a reputation of being somewhat of a loner not interacting much with the new squad members. The older players understood this and could tolerate him because of his undeniable talent. However after that game and celebration, with the new influence in the team shifting towards the younger generation, it was curtains for Yekini's career. Then began many instances when Yekini will find himself in great positions and he wouldn't be fed the ball. The midfielders had agreed not to pass the ball to him, and Yekini was effectively useless without service. He was a finisher in the most literal sense of the word albeit a very good one!(think of a very tall Robbie Fowler).This was most glaring in Nigeria vs Italy, the game could have been wrapped in the first half had Yekini been fed on at least two occasions. Well, he wasn't and Nigeria Lost the match, Italy went on to play in the Finals. Many believed had Nigeria won the game, the path to the final might have beckoned. Yekini never scored again for Nigeria after his goal against Bulgaria.
Most of the 'facts' became public knowledge following the national outcry that greeted Nigeria's ousting with the FA setting up an inquiry to determine what really went wrong in the US. Yekini sadly passed away last year aged 48.
Woyin (1994 doesn't feel that long ago) Tianjin, China
The Best In The World Cup?
Chris' idea of basing World Cup qualification on the rating of a nation's best player is a frankly quite brilliant idea. Based on the Ballon d'or shortlist of 2013, there are 15 countries represented. So these 15 (France, Netherlands, Germany, Argentina, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Sweden, Germany, Uruguay, Portugal, Wales, Ivory Coast, Italy, Colombia, Belgium, Poland, Germany and Germany) automatically qualify. This would leave England's tournament hopes resting solely on the shoulders of Wayne 'Wazzer' Rooney. And how has that gone recently?
Chris (Basel) AFC
Incongruous Football Shirts
As an Irishman I have become immune to the standard mouthy glory supporting Irish Man Utd and Liverpool fans. Many are good friends of mine and there is no grudges held. Most people here are supporters of those clubs. They are sticking to the status quo. It's the beginning of August and the fire inside my belly is beginning to return as The Arsenal will be back soon. The summer's barren days of nothingness are coming to a close. Anyway it's the Monday morning (like in Dundee) in the sleepy seaside town of Clonakilty in Co.Cork and I awoke full of enthusiasm. Breakfast check, Gym check, Walked the dogs check. It was the most productive morning all summer. Anyway as the day was going well I decided to treat myself to a nice lunch in a casual restaurant in the town. As it was a nice day I decided to sit outside and take in the sunshine. Then what happened ruined everything. In strolled two middle-aged men in their spanking new Liverpool kits. Nothing too unusual there but when the men sat down on a table near me I saw the most amazing two prints on their shirts. One had 'PACHECO 12' while the other had not 'BORINI 29' but 'FABIO 29'. The mind boggles and the world can be a strange, strange place at times.
Niall 'Dench' Barrett, AFC
...Great mail by Francisco Garcia about the Frimpong shirt. I have similar bizarre story about a good mate of mine. It was the first day of the 2010/11 season and Arsenal were travelling to Anfield. Myself and my brother were Arsenal fans in the away end while my other mate was a Liverpool fan seated in the Kop. Before the game he decided to get the new replica shirt of Liverpool. Being too proud to venture into the Club Shop I waited for him outside the shop assuming he would have a jersey bearing the usual suspects of Torres or Gerrard et al. To my astonishment and to every other Liverpool fan who passed him, he had the name Amoo 46 emblazoned across the back of his shirt. He was delighted with the choice. To cut to the chase Amoo went on to make 0 appearances and score 0 goals for Liverpool. He went on to play for Tranmere last year and is now at Carlisle Utd. The hilarious thing is that my mate still loves Amoo and follows his career wherever he goes. He also puts him in his team in Fifa for Liverpool every single season and still sports the shirt on match days even today.
However the most bizarre thing was that for my mate's birthday earlier this year he wrote an e-mail to Tranmere Rovers requesting could David Amoo attend his birthday, and he would pay for all his expenses for the trip to Dublin. The club responded to which David Amoo himself got in direct contact with my friend to inform that he couldn't make it as he had just embarked on his holidays. Absolutely baffling stuff. I wish I was making this up but really I am not.
Peter (Amoo Who?) AFC
...With regard to Francisco Garcia's mail about out-of-place kits, I'd like to share about the peculiar cultural phenomenon of football kits (especially those of PL clubs) being widely accepted as casual wear in South East Asia.
As most would probably know by now, the PL is a huge industry in Asia/ASEAN. People gather every weekend night to watch games at home or on large screen TVs or projectors at the pubs and mamak stalls (most popular option due to sense of community and economics).
Naturally, football kits both authentic and otherwise are a common sight, adorned by toddlers to laborers at construction sites. Curiously enough, the UK stigma of wearing football kits when not at the stadium or when football is on, does not apply to South East Asia. One could wear a kit to social events or even to less formal workplaces and no one would bat an eyelid. Perhaps this stigma exists in the UK due to the proximity of the source?
Nevertheless, every now and then, you're bound to come across a kit so obscure or aesthetically appalling that it is a mystery why or how the owner decided on acquiring it. As I was driving to work in Kuala Lumpur this morning, I glimpsed upon a rather rotund lady in her 30s on the street with one such monstrosity; a bright yellow Spurs kit (2007-8 third kit, http://soccerlens.com/tottenham-07-08-kits/1715/) with their previous sponsor, Mansion, emblazoned on the front. Also, she had tucked the kit into her too-tight leggings, wearing it with such natural nonchalance that it could not have been mistaken as an act of ironic expression.
There were a few thoughts going through my mind at the time.
1. The kit was an imitation one without a doubt, evidenced by the disproportionate sponsor logo and overall poor construction. Why would anyone bother producing an imitation version of THAT kit?
2. Why, of all kits, would this lady have bought this yellow b*stard of a shirt?
3. Does anyone else own this kit? If so, I'd love to know how many pairs of eyes have been blinded every time you step out in it.
Nigel Lim, CFC (proud owner of Chelsea's gray and tangerine disaster from the mid-90s), Subang Jaya, Malaysia