We have a long mail on why Giroud isn't very good at all, plus some more thoughts on neutrality. Plus, who do you want out of you club this summer and Liverpool moving buses...
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...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
An Amusing Prospect
What odds can I get on Man Utd finishing mid-table in the PL but knocking Liverpool out of the Champions League by winning it in May?
Wouldn't put it past that Moyes fella.
Rory Johnston, LFC
Wear The Headlines As A Badge Of Honour
There's been a couple (OK, maybe more) of emails lately deriding the treatment of Manchester United and all the sail in her on this fine site. Is it over the top? Maybe. Has there been too much? Possibly. Is it wrong? No.
Picture Man Utd as a person. For 20 years now, he has been telling you that he's better than you. At everything. All those things you want for Christmas? Yeah, he's already bought them and the shop is sold out as he got the last one. Your job? Pointless. His is much better - in fact (according to him) you aspire to have his job. Ooo, you got a payrise? Nice. His was bigger. He gets invited to all the good parties, with all the cool people. When you go on holiday, everyone asks if you know him - they don't care about you. If you try to complain to someone about him, you'll only be thrown out. Your girlfriend even left you for him. And as for TV, ye Gods, he always seems to be on. Even his blog is the most popular blog on the net. Frankly, you're a little bit envious of his success and you're fed up with him being everywhere.
Except today - for today, it turns out that things may be on the turn. Nobody laughed at the last joke he told. You drove past him today and his favourite car (that one you secretly wanted) was broke down at the roadside - and his breakdown cover had expired. You bumped in to an ex of his in the pub, she told you that secretly he's a bit of an idiot. Well, well. Perhaps now he's out the way, someone else can have a shot at the big time? The best bit is, he can't quite seem to work out why it's going wrong.
So United fans, forgive us - but after all this time, we're going to have a little gloat. We're going to point and laugh, much as you've pointed and laughed at the rest of us. Those other clubs just haven't offended us as much over the last 2 decades. In a way, you should wear the headlines as a badge of honour.
Lee (I suspect I actually know him) LFC
Explanations For The United Question
I've solved your mystery over why Manchester United are good in Europe; they're not, they have a handy-Andy group.
Derek (they've actually laboured in Europe aside from one team)
...Could the real reason United are better in Europe than in the Premiership be that the standard of teams in the Prem tend to be better than Shakhtar Donetsk? No need to thank me for that one ladies and gents - you are more than welcome.
The Bitter Battles
Do the people that go on about what a douche Roy Keane is or how bitter Roy Keane is realise that they sound really bitter.
So what if he chooses Clough over Fergie? If I had two excellent bosses I would probably prefer the boss that didn't dismiss me. Why is that so hard to understand? The question was seeking Roy's opinion and surely it's no surprise that he chose the man that started his career when so many clubs didn't want him, made him into an outstanding midfielder and the most expensive signing in English football at the time. Roy loved Brian Clough and Brian Clough achieved great things with Forest and Derby. To dismiss Roy's opinion of Clough is insulting to Clough (and I am a United Fan). I've never written into the mailbox before but to say Roy's opinion is wrong just stupid! Football is all about opinions.
When Roy first came to United he joined a team of warriors. They were Roy's type of players. United went to war week in week out. Hughes, Ince, Robbo, Bruce, Pally, Irwin, Parker, Cantona, no wonder Roy has such a high opinion of these players . So is it any wonder that he might select Ince or consider him for "HIS" team. Fair enough I would pick Scholes over Ince but I certainly remember Ince being an absolute beast in our midfield. Its not like he picked Kleberson over Scholes. Same with Parker who was part of that United team that started this great period of success. No wonder Roy rates him so highly. He did mention that Gary was very unlucky not to be in the team. He also said if he didn't have to pick himself he would have Scholes in there. I would have picked Neville and Scholes but does that mean Roy is wrong. No its his opinion. Overmars didn't make Vieira's team but I don't see people complaining and calling him bitter.
People love attacking Roy, if he said his favourite Ice cream was vanilla then people would be writing in here to say "how can he not pick chocolate the bitter pr!ck". Pot Kettle people, pot kettle.
Phew I feel better after getting that off my chest
I haven't seen the Keane and Vieira programme yet, but I presume from Barry Vernon's email that he was at one point invited to select some sort of fantasy team based on who he felt were the best players he played with at Manchester United. Barry's reaction to this put me in mind of a blog post from The 73 Overs, that one-time regular contributor to Mediawatch Dr Dave Tickner wrote. In that, he took to task brilliantly the people picking holes in a team nominated by Dickie Bird as his greatest ever. Similar to Keane, this was based on Bird's time on the field, albeit as an official rather than a player.
The point Barry has missed, somehow, given he is clearly a reader and contributor of the Mailbox, is that all sports are by and large games of opinions. What Barry has also done is confuse what he perceives as mistakes in Keane's selections with some sort of grave injustice. It isn't a real team, Barry. Again, I haven't seen the programme, but I would guess that the reason Keane went for Schmeichel, Parker, Pallister and Irwin as four of his picks is that he had just listened to that Status Quo FA Cup Final song from 1994. Either that, or, like Ince in midfield, they were established first teamers when Keane joined Manchester United. In this respect it is really quite sweet to see that beneath everything Keane is a misty-eyed nostalgic like the rest of us.
Arguing with another person's choice of fantasy team - especially a person you don't actually know personally (I'm guessing) - is pretty much the most pointless thing in football. Apart from maybe trying to grab the referee's arm in the hope that physically stopping him from showing the red card will mean that your teammate isn't dismissed.
Ed Quoth the Raven (sure another F365 writer does 73 Overs, some London bloke I think), CPFC the Glaziers, Notts
Us North Londoners are contrary lot and like to take back words used to insult us.
So just as that lot up the road took back a certain word I'm not going to mention as it opens up a can of worms, I believe Arsenal fans took the word Gooner back which was originally used as an insult by our friends of White Hart Lane.
On Keane - I actually think he's right, Clough was the better manager. They're not really comparable as we're talking different eras but in the era before money Fergie was actually a pretty crap United manager while Clough could get the best out of relatively meagre resources. Winning the European Cup with a provincial small-town club like Forest would be impossible now.
Graham Simons, Gooner (now you know), Norf London
...Matt Beards asks a good question regarding the origins of the nickname 'gooners'.
Off the top of my head and as far as I'm aware, 'Gooners' was the name that the Arsenal hooligan firm gave themselves and it gradually spread across the fan base. I'm sure this was assisted by the popular chant at Arsenal games which goes 'ooh to, ooh to be, ooh to be a... goona (repeat)', which is the only song or chant that I can think of which includes the nickname, but which has been around for ages. There is now a long running Arsenal fanzine called 'gooner' and anyone walking around the ground on match day is likely to hear the call 'getcha gooner' which also re-enforces the nickname.
Whilst the word goon has connotations which you would expect to be used in a derogatory manner, it is also used to describe tough guys - think of the Krays sending their goons round to sort you out for example. It is this meaning of the word which I expect was originally intended by the hooligans.
In my opinion, its a pretty rubbish name for a firm given that it doesn't exactly strike fear into the enemy, which was probably appropriate given the reputation of Arsenal's 'firm' back in the 80's. I don't use the term to describe myself given the hooligan origins and the fact that its really quite a rubbish nickname due to the generally derogatory nature of the word goon.
Finally, given the popularity of the nickname, the club tried to trademark it a few years back, which was a pretty embarrassing episode. Although this was overshadowed by Liverpool trying to trademark the Liver bird!
Hope that helps...
City's Main Man
I expected to see a mention of it somewhere already today but as I haven't I will bring it up. Does Manchester City's win last night end the debate about who their 'main man' is? Every club has one
Is it England's number one goalkeeper/shampoo salesman Joseph Hart? No. It is Belgium's premier centre half Vincent 'Vinny to his mates' Kompany? No. Is it current African player of the year and absolute midfield juggernaut Yaya Toure? No. It is the diminutive Argentine goal machine Sergio Aguero? No
It turns out, as I have suspected for a while its everyone favourite Argentine head case yet all round good egg Pablo Zabaleta. See last night for evidence, for 16 minutes Manchester City were passed to death, hardly touched the ball and conceded 2 goals to the European powerhouse that is the current Bayern Munich side. Enter Pablo, in the remaining 74 minutes Man City scored three goals without reply at home of current European Cup holders and took all three points.
In years gone by I have stood on many terraces up and down the country through good times and bad but don't understand this call for 'safe standing' areas as raised again in Mediawatch. Every time I watch a match on TV there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of supporters standing up in the seated area. Even when seated there are always problems with lines of sight at corners etc and once the person in front stands up to get a better view so does everyone else. My girlfriend once took me to an Abba concert at Wembley for which she paid a high price for front row seats only for our view to be ruined by those who had paid for a cheap seat running to the front. We had to stand on our seats like everybody else which sort of missed the point of paying so much money.
The old Wembley had safe terracing - it was steep, wide and even if a six foot five bloke stood in front you could still see the whole pitch. The only problem at Wembley was that you needed a good pair of binoculars to see the action properly as you were so far back from the pitch itself, considering in my day there was a dog track as well. West Ham take note.
Having experienced conditions at many old Football league grounds, especially the mud bank they called a stand at Loftus Road I believe that it is not always the spectators who are at fault, but the clubs who spent considerable sums of money on executive boxes filled with crab baguettes and chilled Lambrusco rather than lavish funding on secure terracing, toilets, refreshment bars and rain cover for the ordinary fan. I have great sympathy with those fans who have spent £40+ on a seat only to sit there in the pouring rain. At least in the old days you only got your hair wet. And there was always an atmosphere and you could have a good chat with people around you, even the opposing team's supporters. Happy days!
A Glaring Omission
I read your article on successful successors and noticed, as I'm sure we all did, the obvious glaring omission. Not one to pounce on mistakes made in good faith I waited for the correction. None was forthcoming. So I ask you, what exactly do you have against the Roman Empire?
As we all know, the most successful successor in history was Octavian succeeding Gaius Julius Caesar, becoming Augustus Caesar in the meantime. Caesar, akin to Ferguson, not only restored Rome to it's former might but in fact made it a bigger and stronger state with his successful trips abroad. Surely his famous raid across The Rhine reminded everyone else of that famous night in Barcelona when Ferguson raided the Champions League away from Bayern Munich?
But I digress. Once the decision for Caesar to retire was somewhat forced upon him his chosen heir had some bother convincing people, mostly Mark Anthony, he was the right choice. Indeed limited funds caused some extra headaches for him along the way. But once he triumphed against Mark Anthony there was nothing to stop him increasing the extent of the Roman Empire at a colossal rate.
The parallels are almost too obvious I think you will agree
Nippy "next time: How Ogedei was a more successful ruler of the Mongols than Ghengis Khan" FB
In response to Craig, London via Southampton, ex-Port Vale goalkeeper Stuart Tomlinson fancied himself quite a bit and had a sideline as an erotic male model called Rupert Paddington Gomez. Not content with that, he's just signed a contract with the WWE.
Simon Lloyd, PVFC (Nar the Vale)