If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Get In The Bin
Oh dear, Conor.
No. Any success enjoyed with Suarez wouldn't be tainted.
Why would it be?
Oh, right. A "mega club" didn't come in for him cos he's a nasty character.
Does this matter?
No. It REALLY doesn't.
Get in the bin.
Kris, LFC, Manchester
Gerrard The New Robson?
With Gerrard's words regarding how he would feel if he never won the title during his career, it brings to mind a thought I have had on this subject before. Is his career following a similar path to that of Bryan Robson, in that for years he was the best player at the club without ever winning the league, just the odd cup, and just as he got towards the end of his career, he plays a somewhat reduced role in the title winning side and retires just as his club begin a sustained period of success. Though Liverpool may not win the league this year, if they keep improving as the have done recently ,they may well do soon,even as Gerrard's influence is less evident in the pitch , as it surely will be over the next few seasons. For anyone too young to remember Bryan Robson the player, rather than the unsuccessful manager, he was f**cking brilliant, he really was.
Gary, North Devon
This Man Ruined The Usual Suspects For The MC
As I started to read Damien Quills mail about footballing egos I was instantly hooked. Damo sets out the mail like a football writers Dan Brown, this guy was a pro. He'd sown the seed for the grand finale in the first paragraph. Damo was about to expose Lionel Messi, everyone's favourite footballer, as the monster that only Damo knew. I was transfixed, every reader was, all we had to do was get to the killer paragraph, the money shot. Damo had the big scoop, he knew it, and now we knew it. This was big, REAL BIG. HUGE.. Damo was going to be the Julian Assange of the football world, the truth teller, the martyr who would die for us.. This was going to be better than finding out Kevin Spacey was actually Kaiser Soze in Usual Suspects. I couldn't wait, all I could hear in my head was "Messi is Kaiser Soze, Messi is Kaiser Soze" as I pictured Lionel shooting his family in their faces as a drug Mexican cartel looked on in horror.
I was losing it, foaming at the mouth. I no longer cared if my boss saw me farting about on the internet, this was bigger than this. This was worth the stretch in the HR managers office again. This was worth another official written warning, football wasn't going to be the same again, life wasn't going to be the same. If they fire me, they fire me, I thought. Damo was going to out Messi. All sorts of images were going through my head, all involving Messi, blood and dead children. But it was bigger than this, I could feel it in my bones. If Damo took the time to carefully construct an email for the educated readers of F365's mailbox it had to be bigger than that, he couldn't let us all down. Damo wouldn't do that to us. The F365 editor wouldn't do that to us...
Then it came...
Messi made fun of Pep after he wasn't allowed a can of coke.
At this point my boss came to my desk and asked for my monthly report. I sat there with my head in my hands, quiet... motionless.
Brian Sheehy (next time don't bother Damo)
...I was shocked to read Damien(he has a coke when he wants)Quill's nonsensical criticism of Leo Messi in yesterday's mailbox, whose "public humiliation" of Pep was entirely the opinion of an MLS manager who has probably never met either person.
Messi has been one of the most famous sports stars in the world for the past five years. Yet in all that time, his biggest "ego show" is drinking a can of coke!? Think of players who get far less attention than Messi that we know dozens of stories about them being a douche.
Someone told me a couple of years ago to google "Messi diving", sure enough such a clip exists on YouTube. This is not evidence that the player cheats, even Phil Neville clumsily fell once every 500 kicks he received. Googling "Alan Shearer howler" will no doubt yield similar results. If you put anything under a strong enough microscope you'll get to the cracks.
In an age where we are blessed to be able to see arguably the greatest footballer ever to lace a pair of boots, it seems such a waste to focus on a can of coke.
Z Stack, Ireland
Why Read When You Can Listen?
Don't know if you're still fielding responses to Henry M's 'Where's Our Freak?', but I wouldn't mind chiming in briefly to see if it's worthy of posting.
We don't really 'do' freaks, true, but we do produce them once in a while, and I can think of two examples worth mentioning.
I've been reading Sid Lowe's excellent 'Fear & Loathing In La Liga' for the last couple of weeks (I say 'read', it's the audiobook because that's the only way I've got time to take in literature these days, bloody modern urban existence), and Henry M's question reminded me of one particular bit I read the other night.
Sid (look at me using the author's first name like I'm his bezzie mate!) got the chance to interview Alfredo Di Stefano for the book. Di Stefano is unquestionably one of the greatest players ever to lace up and who featured in one of the greatest teams ever. He's played with, and against, some truly incredible players and it's fair to say he knows a thing or two. Anyway, whilst talking about former greats that he'd played against, the old man's eyes apparently lit up as he mentioned one name:
It's very easy for us to forget the likes of Matthews, Lofthouse, Billy Wright etc because they were from our father's/grandfather's era. We never got to see endless slowmo highlights of them on Super Sunday at the press of a red button. We've only got grainy Pathé/BBC footage left. But the amount of old players internationally who cite Stan Matthews as one of the greatest is incredible, and he truly was a freak.
But a bit closer to our own time, there's one other England player that I would cite as at least having a sustained Freak period earlier in his career, Steven Gerrard. I would honestly say for about 18 months, Gerrard was simply the best in the world. Before that time he was just a very good player, and after that time he was just a very good player, but he pretty much single-handedly won us the European Cup in 2005 (the "What a hit, son" goal against Panathaniakos, the first goal and 'penalty' he earned in the final, amongst countless other moments), despite having to play with Djimi Traore. As well as the FA Cup final the following season which he pretty much won on his own as well. He was a true freak because, Xabi Alonso aside, he really didn't have much of a supporting cast, AND YET through sheer force of will, got us those trophies.
Anyway, the TL;DR version is we do produce freaks, just usually one a generation. But I'd certainly class Matthews, Charlton, Moore, Keegan, Hoddle, Gascoigne, Gerrard and Rooney as English freaks (but like Gerrard, I'd say Rooney's Freak period is behind him, he's just very good now).
Al (I think you actually treat us LFC fans pretty fairly), Nottingham
The freakiest of all the English footballers I ever saw was one Matthew Le Tissier, and just look at how well England utilised him!
...I've just read this afternoon's mailbox and nobody, not one person, mentioned the chap who is possibly the most naturally gifted player we've had in the last 20/30 years (conservatively): Matthew Le Tissier.
Absolute genial player, magic with the ball, didn't bother with any of the gritty stuff but that was always fine for the likes of Stoichkov and Romario, but no, not on these shores sonny Jim, we'll have Geoff Thomas and David Batty instead!
Paul Lennon, Liverpool
Zlatan Is Too Cool
I can't answer why everyone sort of crushes over Zlatan, it's simply one of those things.
He's... He's just a pretty cool sort of guy. The swagger, the cockiness, the talent, the fact he's a bit if a rebel; the fact he's a bit of a dick. Essentially, he's the antithesis of the Everyman.
He carries on the way he does and the man in the street or on his stool at the pub idolises him because of it: he gets paid an outrageous sum of money to play football, he scores ludicrous goals that make everyone reflect on how brilliant he is and treats people around him like garbage. Now, I'm not justifying the last one, but most of the time we all want to do the first two and every so often we wouldn't mind treating people like crap. He just does it on a day to day basis.
Perhaps, in terms of justifying the affect he has on people, it's a similar sort of situation as Henry Winkler and the Fonz. There's no conceivable reason why a guy in his mid thirties, greying on account of his age, playing someone in his early twenties should be so cool, but he just was. It's that unquantifiable charisma that so few have.
Finally, I had the pleasure of being at the Stade De France on Tuesday night. A passionate, PSG supporting Parisian (he had a PSG towel with him for some reason - he was using it as a make shift flag at times) was seated next to me. He was listening to the radio, getting scores from around the grounds. When Zlatan scored his first he raised a clenched fist into the air and said just one word: "ZLATAN!"
When the swede scored again he raised both arms in the air and bellowed "IBRAAAAAAAAA" with some gusto:
He was in his late 50s, had a distaste for several of the players representing his country, but simply adored Ibrahimovic. It's just the way it is.
In reply to Andy, London (England Don't Need To Get Their Freak On), I'm sure the Italians, with their 4 World Cup wins and 2 Finals appearances, European Championship win and 2 Final appearances, Confederation Cup win and 5 Ballon d'Or winners are definitely looking over at England and thinking 'my word, what our midfield really needs, to compliment Pirlo, De Rossi and Marchisio, is a tubby man who shoots all the time and has helped his national side to the square root of f**k all'.
Also, to everybody slating Zlatan, just look at the guys scoring record in every league he has played in, it is absolutely unreal (227 in 407 & 48 in 96 for Sweden, thanks Wikipedia). Yes, he frequently says he is amazing but it is totally acceptable because he actually is! And I think he is awesome even though he played for dirty, cheating Juve!
CB, Gloucester, FORZA ROMA!
Joe Cole: Not That Good
Isn't it a little bizarre that so many people, such as Dale May, have stuck with the idea that Joe Cole somehow became a lesser or at least less exciting player when played 'out of position'?
Played in his apparent position, West Ham were relegated, England went from 2-1 down and chasing to 4-1 down and floundering in THAT game against Germany, and Liverpool ... Well, after a quick lesson in not using scouting reports from 4 years previous, Liverpool didn't play him at all.
Played out of his alleged position, he was an instrumental figure in a monstrous double-title winning side, single-handedly destroying Manchester United to clinch a title and scoring one of England's most breathtaking tournament goals ever.
There's a reason a skint Ken Bates chucked £11m at West Ham to get a fattie the fans there despised but the infinitely richer Abramovich only needed half of that to prise the new Gascoigne away from an adoring club- it's because Joe Cole, although a brilliant footballer, was never the footballer many thought.
I love Joe Cole, even to this day. But he was a far better and more exciting player for being coached 'out' of his exuberance. It's hardly as if the likes of Messi and Ronaldo don't put a shift in, is it?