Somebody mentions Paul Scholes and everybody writes in with those quotes from Zidane etc. Dull dull dull. We've ignored them. There's plenty more to enjoy here...
It does seem logical that the best thing to do with the best players is to play them from the start, when they have the most time to make an impact, rather than the last 15 minutes...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank You To Sir David
I don't think this registered on your site but after announcing his retirement, I'd like to say a big thank you to my country's record goal scorer David Healy.
This man has given me some of the best nights of my life. I wasn't born in 1982 and don't remember the 1986 World Cup so for people of my generation the best moments we have had following Northern Ireland have been that goal against England, his hat trick against Spain and the winners against Sweden and Denmark, those last three games being in the Euro 2008 qualifiers when he set the record of 13 goals in qualification matches for that competition.
So good luck in your retirement Sir David and hopefully you will have a successful coaching career and some day you will be back to manage Our Wee Country.
Sam, Northern Ireland
A More Apposite Comparison
With the recent Ozil vs Higuain debate, creator vs poacher, playmaker vs finisher etc - wouldn't it be more apt to ask Arsenal fans who they would prefer to have between Ozil and Cesc Fabregas? Assuming fabregas apologises and all is forgiven - hypothetically.
Jamo (hypothetical Arsenal fan till "we"/"they" win the title) Nairobi, Kenya
I'm not bald!
Stewie abides my friends, and I'm still here but what's left to say? It gets boring commenting over Groundhog Day. I see the excitable folk are moist in the testicular region because of Arsenal's start. Must be high from those hazardous fumes from victories over errr, Norwich, Palace and Fulham!
We've been here before of course, in 2008 when Arsenal were 4 points clear in January. The indicator for me this year, was the sight of the Arsenal players soiling themselves at the very sight of Old Trafford. The sores from the 8-2 molestation still fresh in their minds!
Arsenal won't win the league, no chance. Jose will reel them in as ever. I'm going to say something truly controversial though: I hope Arsenal win the league. Truly. Because if they do, I believe that Monsieur Mental Strength will be gone.
Truly enjoying watching Aguero, Suarez and Chamakh this season. Great season in store with Allardici's catenaccio, Hughes' 1970s Ajax possession football and Mourinho and his "false 9" system whereby he has over £60 mil of strikers, but all of them are false. Then there's Moyes, taking ManYoo to a whole new tactical level with the concept of a false midfield, epitomised by a human traffic cone, also known as a Cleverley. As for AVB well it's a team of false pros at the mo - mind you, still beats a team of false management like QPR eh Arry?
Merry bloody Xmas
Stewie G (false Casanova)
Just a quick word on the Palace Fans last night.
Neil (and no flare or smoke bomb in sight !) Surrey
...Crystal Palace beating West Ham last night was great, although it does mean that I will sit anxiously waiting for updates from the Fulham v Spurs game tonight, hoping for Fulham to lose by 2 or more goals (as well as Sunderland failing to be Chelsea) so that the Glaziers reach the dizzy heights of 18th. However, I am now worried that Chamakh's goal means he will be picked again regularly. Every silver lining has a cloud, or something like that.
Ed Quoth the Raven (if you're ever going to find a silver lining, it's got to be a cloudy day), CPFC the Glaziers, Notts
Does anyone else out there think that Utd, if they receive a suitable offer, should sell Hernandez? I watched the spurs game on Sunday and when he came on as sub i felt absolutely nothing. He is a great goal scorer undoubtedly but surely only when Utd are dominating possession i.e. when Carrick plays, but not when it is an evenly fought game or when Utd are the team under pressure. His first touch isn't great with his back to goal, he isn't remarkably fast and lacks a physical presence to trouble central defenders when the ball is played up to him. When Utd are dominating a game then great get him on quick and get a goal but at the minute Utd aren't doing this. Maybe this is more a criticism of Utd's creativity and ability to dominate games than it is of Hernandez. If he is happy to sit on the bench and be an impact sub then fine but not if he starts to get itchy feet and post veiled threats on twitter etc. RVP and Rooney are better than him, Welbeck is better at playing wide than him, Kagawa is more creative than him so where does he play? Against Spurs he was only marginally better than Young as a sub. I wanted Fellaini to come on and play upfront with Rooney as he would be better at holding the ball up.
I totally get that he could play tonight, score the winner and make me look stupid but i'm just putting the thought out there
Kevo2424 (sell him for 20 mill and bring Keane through from the youth/reserves)
On Lloris And Dropped Bollocks
Umm sorry to piss on your pommes frites Alex G, THFC (was totally joking about the reverse mindthegap thing btw, well done for noticing) but taking out Welbeck was definitely not the 'one' suspect moment in Lloris' recent past. Without thinking particularly hard I can recall a certain recent trip to The Etihad, a pre-seasoner against Monaco and a World Cup qualifier (first leg) against Ukraine that left your square headed 'keeper with a fair bit of egg on his angular face.
Don't believe the hype - he can drop bollocks with the best of them.
Chris, London (My money's on 7 withdrawals from the next round of friendlies now) CAFC...I have to contest the load of tripe you've put forward there.
First of all, clubs pay footballers wages - they have every right to withdraw players if there is any doubt about their fitness. After all, England won't be paying any of Sturridge's wages for the next two months while he lies on a treatment table and watches us fall down the league.
Furthermore, footballers aren't smart human beings - they say things like "I just really want to play" and this is why there are physios and coaches to manage these players. So given how many internationals Sturridge has missed and how keen he seems to be to go to Brazil and experience losing in the second round it was inevitable he would lead out with the "I just really want to play" line. To go a step further, he's also a young man and possibly a bit naive about what he can and can't do at this stage in the game (that possibly also explains some of his more optimistic decisions in games)
Roy has said something classically idiotic and if I were Moyes, Mourinho, Pellegrini or any other manager holding a lot of key England players I would be totally unwilling to let someone go for another friendly with England with even the slightest niggle given that Woy clearly doesn't care about protecting players despite advice or words from the clubs who are lending their players to the international team. Why would I want to risk sending a player out for a meaningless friendly when it might be the difference in a tense title race if that player misses the rest of the season because Woy fancies "testing his resolve" again?
Oh but that's fine, because then it just means the eventual starting XI for England in Brazil will have nearly no game time together before the tournament...well I doubt a group of people kicking a ball around together actually improves team performance right?
...Chris, London CAFC is absolutely correct that Hodgson has every right to call up Sturridge and pick him if he so chooses even if injured.
In modern times many players do miraculously recover from 'injuries' that have kept them out of midweek international games in time for their club's weekend match and as a Northern Ireland supporter it's particular hard to see double digit numbers of withdrawals every game given our lack of players.
However if he truly thinks Roy was perfectly within his rights and entitled to 'test his resolve' by playing him while injured I'd ask Chris one thing.
What more did Roy learn about Daniel Sturridge's 'resolve' by playing him while already injured in a meaningless international friendly against Germany in November that may or may not have contributed to him damaging ankle ligaments and being out for 2 months than he did when he played him while already injured in a meaningless international friendly against Ireland in May which definitely resulted in him damaging ankle ligaments that meant he missed all of pre-season?
It's Actually 'Thhhhhhriker', But The Point Stands
In response to Chaz (essex), forget thunderbastard, worldie and screamer
- The only truly appropriate response to a sublime goal are those generously provided to us by Sir A. Partridge; particularly 'TWAT'
'SHIT' and, my personal favourite, 'STTTTRIKER!'
For those yet to be inducted into this glorious sub-set of footballing terminology, look no further.
Lewis, Cambridge (MUFC)
Coaching More Important Than Immigration
Very interesting piece on immigration and Belgium today and actually nice to read something where immigration is portrayed in a positive light for once. While undoubtedly the players, both foreign born or with foreign parents have contributed hugely to Belgium's recent success, this is surely the case for most European countries, especially the historic powers; namely England, Germany, France & Spain. The article detailed France and Germany's foreign players are well documented, so I'd like to address England. Britain was the largest empire in history and as a result has a huge immigrant population. I read recently that one third of children born today have one or both parents born abroad (something I'm sure the Daily Mail were delighted to publish). This ignores those who have foreign grandparents which surely makes it a huge percentage with foreign heritage. If that's the case, why aren't England reaping the benefits of this and at the forefront of football?
It has to come back to coaching which was almost glossed over in the article as not being enough to change things on its own. Personally I think it's the most important thing by far and until England changes their footballing culture and style starting with making young kids comfortable on the ball nothing will change for them. They may produce another excellent generation of players, but they are doomed to always fall short of winning the top prizes.
Football seems to be one of the few sports with a level playing field when it comes to heritage or origin. The best player in the world can be a 5' 7'' Argentinian and even if faced with a team full of 6' 2'' African players he can still be the best player on the pitch 9 times from 10. Athletics may be dominated by Africans and Jamaicans where physique is a huge advantage but in football it seems to come down to coming from a nation with the right culture and traditions. That's why coaching is so vital to a country, no matter what the make-up of the population. Having 5 or 6 of your best players born to foreign parents is a bonus of immigration, but without the correct coaching set-up they generally don't become the best in the first place.
Dave, Olten, Switzerland
What the f**k is a worldie?
I'm assuming it is an Essex word not a football word.
Thunderb*****d is a word for the entire of the footballing world.
Mark Jeavons, LFC
...Can I just add my support to the MC over the mail from 'chaz' (really?) from essex. Chaz is exactly the type of football fan that Soccer AM has spawned prancing about in boots made from recycled stewards bibs shouting tekkers and worldie and telling people to jog on. 'Worldie' was invented about 3 weeks ago by a bunch of pundits who can't pronounce proper words or sentences.
'End of' what exactly?
I almost forgot. Thunderb*stard.
AS Camden (No harm in using punctuation either)
...I hate to cause an argument but THUNDERB*STARD (has to be in caps) is definitely a word. Years ago I was standing on the terraces at Loftus Road when one of Sir Les' shots hit the railing in front of me and disappeared out of the stadium. I was holding the railing at the time and was still vibrating 20 minutes later. When the ball is struck like the wrath of God - THAT'S a THUNDERB*STARD.
Graeme (Sir Les nearly killed me)
...Impressive attempt with his first mail for Chaz (essex), one can only assume that he isn't aspiring to get published again. As for the term Thunderb*stard I always considered it a perfectly cromulent word. Whatever next Chaz? I suppose you'll be saying the onion bag isn't actually an onion bag.
As for Worldie, which in the title of Chaz's mail you so utterly exquisitely dismissed, that too is made up but I recall similar variations around Italy 1990, although that may just be when the World Cup first captivated me. Screamer is perfectly acceptable, I met one a few years back in Magaluf.
Chris ITFC, (I come for the emails, I stay for their titles) Liverpool
More On LOTR Pedantry/Sense Of Humour
On behalf of Brian Sheehy, and everyone with a sense rhetoric and understanding of reference, can I please point out that the Lord of the Rings/Orlando Bloom reference that Jake, Lord of the Rings Fan, Bordeaux so matter-of-factly tries to pull apart is infact a reference to the way Orlando Bloom looks (probably just in general rather than as Legolas specifically), not a confusion of characters.
For the love of god, learn what a sense of humour is...
Anonymouse (LotR & Humour Fan) Canada