At least he wasn't in Bayern's defeat to Real Madrid, says one chap in the mailbox. Plus, more excitement over Van Gaal at Man United and thoughts on FFP...
Man United fans know who they want to replace David Moyes, with Louis van Gaal the favourite to take over at Old Trafford. Plus, thoughts on Real Madrid v Bayern Munich...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let's Hit City Like A Train
You know what, screw Ziggy and his depressing negativity. We're top of the table and probably going to stay there when we play City. I say we go for the jugular and throw everything we got at them. It's arguably the perfect time to face City too. WIth Aguero out injured and that porous defense (without the amazing Zabaleta) probably sh**ting bricks at the thought of facing Suarez; another massive away win is not out of question. It would boost our confidence immeasurably and show Chelsea and Mourinho that we don't fear anyone. Conversely sitting back with ten men behind the ball will betray a lack of confidence in the players' ability and maybe even a sense of insecurity. The reason we're doing so well is the freshness and lack of fear the youngsters have infused in our squad. So go on Brendan don't change tactics now - play the same team that desecrated Spurs at the lane and send a message to the rest of the league that Liverpool could well and truly be the team to beat this season.
Ian Rosario, LFC (Ziggy can write to a fat man in a red suit for a Chrissy present like every other deluded fu*k)
Chuffed With Liverpool Actually
As a Liverpool fan I'm delighted with progress this season. I also agree with Eamon from Limerick that they're likely to be fifth after the next two games.
However, even in the worst-case scenario Liverpool will be only six points behind the leaders after the Chelsea game, and will have played all of the top teams away from home this season. I'd have taken that in August, and I'm more than happy with that now.
...what is also encouraging is that if Liverpool can get something at Man C and Chelsea - at least two points would be perfect - we will then have played all 19 teams, plus we would have played our away games for the season at five of the six current 'big boys' and we could still be top!!
We will only have Man U away in the second half of the season, with Man C, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, Everton and Newcastle to come to Anfield.
That's almost having our destiny in our own hands to some extent, with our 2013 Premier League home record.
W13 D3 L2. Played 18, scored 44, conceded 10.
None of the other big teams will have that level of home game bias in their favour, and four of them will have Champions League to contend with for at least two more games.
Not one of those teams will relish coming to Anfield.
...The mail from this morning might be correct. It might not last and I fully expect us to be facing a tough battle for fourth by the end of the season and maybe even losing that battle.
However, for us Liverpool fans, I'm just enjoying that we're back within the top teams and looking threatening. The last time we had kept pace with United, Arsenal, Chelsea etc, was 2008/09 when we came second. We all knew what was coming after that season. H&G bled the club dry and we were trying to keep pace with these teams, while having absolutely no money (and almost going into administration). After a massive recovery from this (plus the Purslow and Hodgson debacle), the club has been completely turned around.
Whatever you might think of FSG (they have a number of critics in Liverpool) or Rodgers, the club is back competing near the top now. We haven't been perfect this season, we still have a long way to go. But the fact that we're a work in progress, with a number of younger players and we're still top of the league shows how much optimism we can have as Liverpool fans. This might not be our year, nor the next, but at least we're moving forward and can actually be proud of the performances on the pitch.
So whatever happens at the end of the season, I will be happy with the progress we are making and will continue enjoying this football.
But, as I also said after we narrowly beat Stoke in the first game of the season, let's overreact!!! We're going to win the league!!! (because it's just not fun any other way)
Michael D'Arcy, LFC
Is That Extent Of United Ambitions?
Setting aside the p***-weak 'Suarez will go to Real Madrid' copy and paste trolling, Eamon Ryan's best shot at winding up Liverpool fans is his prediction that Utd will only be two points BEHIND us after we play arguably the two hardest fixtures in the League?
It's so desperate it's almost sad.
...A United fan in this morning's mailbox hoping for a best-case scenario which will see United two points behind Liverpool at the turn of the year.
How the mighty have fallen...
Dave, Olten, Switzerland
...United beat a toothless, bordering on sterile West Ham and all of a sudden they'll win every game?
Take a second, breath slowly, maybe pour yourself a stiff drink and realise that this isn't the Utd of old. A run of eminently 'winnable' games means nothing under Moyes and you can't bank on those points.
The fact remains that even if we lose to both City and Chelsea and you somehow beat both Hull and Norwich away, you STILL can't go above us.
Our most difficult run of games all season so far (I did not see us top at this point) and you still can't touch us if we falter.
Meanwhile, I'm going to grab a beer and enjoy being on top (at least until tonight) and knowing that, even if the worst happens, you're still a bit rubbish.
Kris, LFC, Manchester
Helping The Media With Spurs
Thought I'd save the tabloid media a bit of time and write a few lines for them. These can be used at various times during Tim Sherwood's tenure as Spurs manager. Feel free to fiddle around with them, add in references to tradition and the challenges of the 'toughest league in the world' where necessary. Apologies for the lack of festive cheer in advance.
- When the story breaks, compare it to Barcelona's practice of the assistant taking over the first team. Ignore anything that suggests this isn't quite the same thing. DO NOT mention Steve McClaren. Or Sammy Lee.
- When Spurs have a bad run of form in February-March, explain that this is natural and that Sherwood 'needs time to settle and shape the team'. Ignore all articles written during the first few months of Andre Villas Boas's Spurs career. It's totally different.
- When Adebayor is sold or goes off the boil and is dropped, remind us that he's always been like that. Of course Sherwood dropped him, it's not his fault! DO NOT mention that his goalscoring oddly coincides with transfer windows and contract renewals.
- When Spurs finish sixth and fail to qualify for the Champions League, see point two. Fail to mention that Spurs were two wins off the top when Villas-Boas was sacked - just say they were seventh.
- Moussa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen are sold in the summer, and are replaced by Gareth Barry. Brilliant! Congratulate Sherwood on signing an honest professional and experienced Premier League player. Unlike Gareth Bale, these players didn't really have much to do with Spurs success, and neither are particularly fast. Dawson's a solid British defender, and should more than make up for the loss of Vertonghen. A British spine is integral to a team's success.
- Scramble in horror as Sherwood is sacked two months into the 2014-2015 season, as Spurs sit a comfortable 13th. Mention that he 'needed time for the new team to gel' (say it as if it just happened, rather than Sherwood actively selling good players and affecting the team's ability to attract better players). Question how young managers are supposed to build a squad if they aren't given a few seasons to assert themselves (ignore AVB ignore AVB ignore AVB).
- Question the ability of Spurs new foreign manager to manage in the Premier League. Probably not worth giving him credit for taking Spurs from the bottom half either. After all, fourth is only the minimum Spurs should be expecting with the cash they've outlaid. He's lucky to have kept his job.
- Credit Harry Redknapp for keeping a promoted, cash -aden QPR in the Premier League in a respectable 17th position. Punt for Jamie to take his place and dedicate a good week to platitudes and made up awards to celebrate Harry's retirement.
Mark (excuse my bitterness), Warwickshire
Sherwood; More Bowyer Than Guardiola
It's quiet in the office today, and probably quiet at 365 Towers as well, so thought I'd have a go at saying why I am baffled at Tim Sherwood being in the frame for the Tottenham job.
Firstly, experience. Tim Sherwood has been a coach at Tottenham since October 2008, and has now been caretaker manager for two games, with a record of played two, won one, lost one, scored four, conceded four. Tottenham Hotspur are currently seventh in the league with 30 points from 17 games, and ostensibly targeting fourth place. Without wanting to re-open last week's can of worms, compared to most of the clubs in England, Tottenham are huge. They are regularly involved in European competition and only three years ago were in the Champions League quarter-finals. I find it hard to see how Sherwood's (lack of) experience would make him the right fit for the job.
Secondly, qualifications. Tim Sherwood (as the media have made very clear to us) does not have the UEFA Pro Coaching Licence. This is required for anyone who wishes to manage a top-flight club in any UEFA league on a permanent basis (caretaker managers are allowed 12 weeks without the licence). The course to obtain the licence takes one year. As such Sherwood (whether rightly or wrongly) is not qualified to manage a club in the top flight. There have been exceptions to this rule - namely Glenn Roeder at Newcastle, Gareth Southgate at Middlesbrough, Avram Grant at Chelsea and Paul Ince at Blackburn Rovers. Arguably, none of their managerial reigns were entirely successful.
Thirdly, emotion. Sherwood has been vocal in the media that Spurs are 'his club' and that is why he should get the job 'long term'. Ignoring the argument that if this were the sole criteria then Glenn Hoddle would be much more likely to get the role, let's instead look at Sherwood's history with Spurs. 93 games sounds solid until you compare it to the 246 games he played for Blackburn - odd that he never claimed Blackburn as 'his club' when they enquired about his availability to manage them last season? Also interesting to note that his time as a player at Spurs came to an end following a rather bitter row with Hoddle who was the manager at the time - if I were a Spurs fan I'd be e-mailing this article to Daniel Levy on a daily basis as neither man comes out of it even remotely well.
Fourthly, whether Sherwood is 'the new Guardiola'. A few media outlets have suggested that Sherwood could be 'Spurs' Guardiola', astutely picking up on the fact that Guardiola was a coach at Barcelona before he became manager there, and that Sherwood was a coach at Spurs, so therefore they are exactly the same. This is so full of holes it is hard to know where to begin. Let's start by asking generally, any time anyone is described as 'the new so-and-so' or 'our answer to whatshisface', how often does this actually come to pass? Can anyone think of even one (and no, I'm not counting Wayne 'the white Pele' Rooney, before the United fans start). But even on more objective terms, Guardiola started his career at Barcelona and graduated to the first team through the Mestalla academy before leaving them for the majority of his career. He returned as a coach, first managing Barcelona B to a lower-league title before being rewarded with the top job. He knew the way Mestalla worked, he proved himself as a capable manager of a team, and was thus rewarded with the job he wanted. How is any of that comparable to Sherwood? I think it's much more likely that Sherwood is Spurs' Gary Bowyer.
I really don't know why this has annoyed me as much as it has, maybe I'm just rebelling against the fact that 'Arry and 'is mates are pushing him for the job.
Terry Hall, Switzerland
More Fear Of Sherwood
I think one of the most baffling things about the Team Sherwood campaign is this notion that he knows the club inside out, and that Spurs are in his blood, etc.
When he says he's 'not prepared to be a No 2', does he mean he literally is not prepared, because, erm, he's never actually done it?
To be fair, I'm sure he's done a decent job doing...whatever it is he's doing...as Technical Youth Director of Footballing Matters and Operations and Also Making Sure the Pies Taste Alright, or whatever it is, but he's hardly Tottenham through and through. From memory, we signed him when he was about 30 when he was no longer any good, as part of a time-honoured policy we had in the 90s of signing Players Who Used To Be Good (off the top of my head, Les Ferdinand, Tiger Tim, Nicola Berti, Steffen Freund, Gus Poyet), and he won nothing with us, and was pretty mediocre for us.
All of which is fine; as I say, he might be good at what he was doing for us before he got the temporary manager's gig, but does he really know the club inside out? When you put Bentaleb on (yes, he played well) simply because you know him better than Capoue, an established first-team player, is that really someone who knows the club inside out? Or is it someone who knows one specific part of the club inside out? You wouldn't put the guy from accounts in charge of the whole company just because he knows accounts inside out...
Some of the things he says genuinely concerns me. He seems to want to 'give youth a chance' solely because he knows the youth players, and because the current first-teamers aren't playing that well. Reminds me of the idiots who say 'get the whole team out and replace them with Jimmy Bullard on his own!!' when England lose a game. Just because the current players aren't playing brilliantly doesn't mean younger more inexperienced ones will. And just because an experienced manager hasn't done that well, it doesn't mean it's time to get someone in who hasn't ever managed a team before.
Shaun (if you could just convince Adebayor every six months that we were actually a new club, maybe change the name of the team or something, or revamp the canteen, we'd have a real player on our hands) Livingston
...'Na na na na naa na' sang Emmanuel Adebayor as he danced all over Andre Villas Boas' managerial grave.
Three goals, all decent, in two games tells a story. Rumour has it that the sight of Ade running around with the stiffs whilst picking up his obscene pay cheque was one of the chief irritations that led Levy to pull the trigger-trigger finger and call time on my favourite Portuguese gnome's managerial career at White Hart Lane.
Manu was great against the Spam and Southampton; he's a physical phenomenon and gave Spurs a focal point yesterday. I think Soldado looked better for having someone to play off. As you said in your article - three chances is like Christmas for him this season and if he gets three a game, he'll end up with 10 - 15 goals.
I read the usual 'he's playing for a move' comments with a sigh. So what if he's playing for a move or a new contract? No-one other than Spurs is mad enough to buy him. Yes, he's arrogant, lazy and quite dislikable. But he can be unplayable. Has anyone ever thought that he might just be misunderstood? All he needs is a proper football man to explain the game to him. Preferably someone in a tracksuit, who waves his hands and moves pointly fingers about in a 'you, swap with you' motion. Someone, ladies and gentlemen, who knows football is a funny old game. I give you Tim ' Why do I need Zidane when I've got Tim' Sherwood.
He's already getting on my nerves. Watching Tim and Sir Les on the touchline yesterday sort of reminded me of watching 'Do I not like that' with Tim as Graham Taylor and Les as a sort of Phil Neal character. I felt cringy watching them. It was sort of like they were doing all of the things that they knew managers do, but at the wrong time. I can imagine conversations like this took place:
"Sh!t Les, they've scored. Run down to the box thing and point at the goal."
"Tim, nothing's happened for a while: should I got down to the box again and fold my arms?". 'Good initiative Les, you will go far'.
I sat on the sofa and felt sad. The thought of Tim Sherwood being in charge of the club long term made my heart heavy. I can't really explain why. When he played for Blackburn he had one of those mop haircuts I hated, and still do. Maybe that's got something to do it. Maybe it's the everyman, 'I know football' persona he is creating. Maybe it's because he looks like he only buys his clothes from Sports Direct (five pairs of socks, £5). Maybe it's because he is overplaying the 'I know this club' card. Maybe it's because he is displaying the largest set of spuds I have seen since I watched a Channel 4 documentary about a bloke with 50 stone nads by saying that he doesn't want the Spurs job as a temporary fix but forever.
Actually it is that. Tim, before AVB left, you were a 'Technical Coordinator'. You have been asked to step in to fill the void whilst we search for a new manager. Perhaps until the end of the season, so we can get a really good one. AVB was not ushered aside to make way for the son of Shankley, the fils de Ferguson, the greatest tactical mind since Napoleon, but more because we don't have many options. Please, please get on with the job. Don't get all Big Sam on us.
What was wrong with Steffen Freund anyway?
Mario Di Gregorio
A Christmas Wish
I know it is late in the day for Christmas wishes but please hear me out. I would like sherwood to stay as Tottenham manager until the end of this season. I would like sherwood to sneak a cup or even fourth place (obviously not at the expense of Arsenal! ) I would like Levy to be forced to employ Sherwood on a longer-term basis due to his lucky success from the season before. Then I would love to see the demise of Spurs with this idiot at the helm and Levy made to look like a t**t.
Dave (strangely akin to the Di Matteo situation), Arsenal
Sherwood Is Fun Though
There's a lot of Tim Sherwood hatred in the mailbox. "He's just a new Harry Redknapp" seems to be the complaint, as if Redknapp's Spurs team were anything other than a joy to watch.
I know that, for some people, league tables and statistics are the be all and end all, but Spurs have been so horribly boring all season I'd almost given up watching (yeah yeah I'm not a real fan whatever). Seeing the full-backs bombing forward yesterday was a delight and the 3-2 scoreline represented a refreshing return to what I love about football.
Also, I don't watch the post-match interviews. That helps my enjoyment enormously.
Johnny's gleeful dissection of Glenn Hoddle, Tim Sherwood and the 'proper football men' culture which is still at large in the English game was fantastic. Much better than his attempts at Hunter S Thompson-esque gonzo rambling about Las Vegas, or his frequent nostalgia-tinted discourses about Middlesborough in the 1970s. Could Jonny continue to turn his giant spotlight of rage upon other vagaries and irritations of modern football?
...May I just suggest a compulsory, universal, Football365 clap for full-time journalist/part-time rock sex dietary critic demi-God novelist John Nicholson.
What in God's name is a 'football man'? Can somebody please, please, please tell me what this means, what this hints at, what this suggests, why it is regurgitated by popinjay press guffpeddlers and why it is intended as a compliment?
Is it suggesting some sort of salt-of-the-earth baker boy cap doffing street urchin that sneaked into the games as a young ragamuffin, typically the son of docker or something like that, rose to the top and is the last bastion of pwoper lion-hearted (and chimp-brained) Englishness? Defying the foreign influx corroding our blood and thunder game?!
Or is it just suggesting somebody who very much likes football and whose life's great vice generally revolves around the sport? In that case, we all are. We are all football men, fellas. And football women, of course.
For comparisons in other walks of life, please see the following:
Sports hero Johnny Wilkinson, Rugby man
This Morning host Philip Schofield, Presenter man
Gardener Alan Titchmarsh, flower man
Murdering scumbag Charles Manson, crime man
Actor Michael J Fox, Back to the Future man
Coronation Street's Hayley Cropper, might be a man
And last but not least,
Journalist Ian Ladyman: Ladyman.
Merry Christmas folks,
Jack, 19, London (you're twisting my melon, man)
Why Saints Aren't Marching Anywhere
In response to Minty, LFC's mail - you are 100% correct that our (Saints) form has dipped in the last few weeks coincidentally with Boruc being injured, but you might call the situation more of an injury crisis rather than a dip in form. The injury list as of the Spurs game included Artur Boruc, Kelvin Davis, Victor Wanyama, Luke Shaw, Nathaniel Clyne, Danny Osvaldo, with Jose Fonte, Maya Yoshida, Adam Lallana and Morgan Schneiderlin returning from injury.
All credit to Spurs, mainly Adebayor, but this defence has been breached three times by Villa also, so let's not jump the gun with Sherwood being touted as being the saviour of Spurs top-four finish just yet.
Likewise, do not rule out Pochettino and the Saints just yet. We may be in the worst form of every team in the league, but we have given a game to every team we've faced so far and can't get any worse. The return of Boruc, Wanyama, Shaw and Clyne will certainly shore up the defence to the expectations it now has.
Even more so, the loss of Hooiveld, Gazzaniga and Danny Fox is a welcome one. I don't think Gazzaniga has made a save yet.
Quietly Happy With Newcastle
Following another confident win by Newcastle I thought to myself (as I had done a few times this season) 'ooh look where we'd be if only held on for the win against Hull earlier this season'. But then I thought that the loss against Hull was actually a big lesson learned by this team at a good time in the season to get it. It gave us a slap on the arse which has helped spur the team on to some great results so far. I doubt we'll be able to sustain this pace over the course of the whole season (although I thought that too two seasons ago) but it's great to be looking at score updates and Match of the Day without wincing and dreading what felt like inevitable disappointment last season. You couldn't even say our current postion is a result of a kind fixture list with most of the teams above us all out of the way already.
I am still curious about Ashley's long-term vision for the club - we seem well and sustainably run at the moment but is he happy to take a swing at Europa League qualification from time to time and avoid relegation or will there be a return to risky investment to take a punt at the top four (like the good/bad old days)? For me I think our current level is about all we can hope for as there are enough rich and/or well established top four teams to keep us at arm's length even if one or two of them fail - a top four of Arsenal, City, and two from Liverpool, Man Yoo, and Everton (sorry Spurs fans) looks unbreachable by us.
Still for now, with last season's memories still fresh, I am pretty damned thrilled that we learned from our mistakes and are kicking on (it'll surely be months before we hear the term 'eight-year contract' again).
Derek from Dundalk
It's Okay To Know Your Place
Andrew (just a mid-table writer), the point about clubs knowing their place is retaining realistic expectations. For example, a club like West Brom's place is lower half of the Premier League, but that is not to say that they cannot and should not aim to do better than that, it is more that fans should be very happy when they are in the top half. Spurs are currently about the right place however they are unhappy because they have unrealistic expectations of where they should be. Swansea are currently massively overachieving just by being in the Premier League so their fans should be ecstatic.
I am a Leicester fan and we are currently third in the Championship, slightly above our place (mid to top end of championship) so I am pretty happy at the moment.
Football fans are generally a moany greedy bunch who are rarely satisfied but retaining a sense of perspective about their clubs place should allow fans to enjoy it a bit more.
Joel (It's CHRISTMASSSS!!!!!)
Merry Xmas From Malaysia
Having never picked up a British newspaper in my life I'd just like to say I really, really love Mediawatch. There really is nothing quite like it on the web (don't correct me if I'm wrong) and long may you continue to highlight the idiocy of your national sportswriters.
I happen to remember quotes of the week as well, so how about mailboxers submitting what caught their attention that week every Friday afternoon? What, some of you have lives? Fine, I'll go:
"This is a great f***ing website and I wish all the F365 staff & family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. OMG it's 2014 a WC year FFS AAAAAAAHHHH" - Me
AK, Cyberjaya, Malaysia