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
Supporting Villa is officially as sh*t as ever.
Kevin Walsh, Luimneach
Can Lambert Stay?
Lambert cant stay in that job for long surely...if I was a Villa fan, I'd be going mental having to put up with O'Leary, then O'Neill, then McLeish, then Houllier, and now Lambert, I think Graham Taylor popped back for a spell at some point too.
No doubt I've also missed someone else there...all mediocre.
All the while seeing smaller clubs come up and play football that's entertaining, with a system in place and actually trying to win.
I'd much rather get relegated trying to win games than stay up playing for 1-0 wins or 0-0 draws on the break.
Villa v Arsenal Musings
1) Firstly Delph falls over a lot. Really a lot. He should look into that.
2) Jack Wilshire is thoroughly dislikeable.
3) The A celebration looks filthy to me.
4) If Villa do not sign a solid centre-half to play with Ron Vlaar we are in serious trouble of going down. I know the other problems we have but this is the real issue. A Lescott or Heitinga-type signing (neither will happen) would be this year's Darren Bent effect.
5) Ozil does not like playing for Arsenal. He looks like a man who has to attend a speed awareness course before he can start driving again.
6) Gabby is starting to look like a 1970's hard man.
7) Rosicky's and Baker's faces were very unlucky.
8) Apparently Lambert still doesn't get what a no 10 is unless Grant Holt has changed his game significantly in the Championship.
9) Mertesacker is immense.
10) Villa Park is still a great stadium despite not being a great home stadium..
Philip (Villa I love you but you're bringing me down) Thompson
Regarding the mails about transfer bedfellows. We (Blackburn) have a pretty solid history with signing players from Southampton. In our title-winning season, ex-Southampton players included Alan Shearer, Tim Flowers and Jeff Kenna. All very well and good.
The relationship between the two clubs was amicable until we swapped our 20-yea- old youth product James Beattie for Kevin Davies plus £7.5 million. And that was back in 1998. Just let that float around your head for a while. Ludicrous. Davies went on to score one league goal for us that season. Yes, that's ONE.
Since that ill-fated signing, transfers have included Egil Ostendad and Stuart Ripley but we never really got over Southampton selling Davies to us for ten times the amount they paid for him. People who still think Roy Hodgson was unfairly sacked at Blackburn needn't look any further than this sh*thouse piece of business.
Chris Henderson, BRFC
...In 2011 I went to Barcelona for a conference with work. It was the autumn after we had sold Cesc to Barcelona. My Catalan cab driver conveying me to my hotel immediately was interested in which team I followed in England. I told him I was a north Londoner so naturally was an Arsenal fan and quipped I bet he was happy they'd secured the signing of our Catalan captain. He told me we would have to wait and see given all the rubbish we had sold them in the past.
I'm sure there are more examples but I actually like doing business with Barcelona given I only regret the sale of three of our players to that lot.
Since Wenger came in we've sold them Overmars, Petit, Gio Van Bronckhorst, Henry, Hleb, Cesc and Song - there may be one or two I've forgotten but out of that group the only ones I miss are Overmars, Gio and Henry. Petit just turned rubbish following his sale and that last trio were a gutless group characteristic of the team that bottled the title in the year Gallas threw a tantrum.
I know Barca probably regret signing Overmars given his injuries but he was one hell of a player so I make that 4-3 in Arsenal's favour. And out of the ones we sold I think Song was probably the best piece of business.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Ribery Should Have Won
I was a bit late reading Mediawatch yesterday, and as I normally agree with you on anything regarding Anthony Kastrinakis, I think you're a bit harsh on him regarding the Ballon d'Or. Maybe some of his points are not well explained (that's his fault though), but I agree with him on the fact that Ribery should have won the Ballon d'Or.
The main criteria for winning the Ballon d'Or has always been trophies won during the year, this is why Michael Owen and Fabio Cannavaro won it recently when they were the stand-out players in teams that respectively won 5 trophies in 2001 and the World Cup in 2006.
Cristiano Ronaldo's goal record this year has been amazing. Along with Messi their record would be amazing in any era, let alone our more 'defensive' era of football, but his goals didn't win him any trophies this season.
Bayern Munich dominated European and World football this year winning the treble and the World Club Cup or whatever it is called, and Ribery has arguably been their standout player. He might not have the same goalscoring records as Ronaldo or Messi but on account of what he's done with his club in 2013 he should have won the Ballon d'Or
Xav, Mentalita Ultras', Colchester
Robert, I found your e-mail truly shocking. I see from your email that you have no idea how close we were from administration when FSG swooped from the heavens to save us. You must also have forgotten that wild spending set us back at least two years when Kenny-Comolli duo spunked 100 million on some bang average players.
I also want to note that you are comparing three teams (two of whom are owned by men who are richer than god) and the other has a sparkly new 60,000-seat stadium generating revenue. Not to mention all the teams you mentioned have been involved in the Champions league for the past five years. That's a whopping 300 mil more just in Champions League revenue than Liverpool since they have consistently missed out.
The term 'if the right players are available' is a phrase with multiple meanings. Not only does it mean players who are available to be bought or sold, it also means players that want to play for Liverpool. Now if you take the example of this summer FSG made substantial funds available for Mkhitaryan who decided to join Dortmund because they were in the CL and Costa, who also chose to stay where he was because they were in the CL.
In conclusion FSG tranfer policy is one part smart business model, as they seek to build a self-sustaining squad who can challenge for CL spots and titles. It is also one part forced because Liverpool cannot offer Champions League football at this moment.
Look at the names Liverpool have 'missed out on' over the years and how they are currently performing and you can see that FSG have been smart with their money. If a player is valued to highly a la Salah, it is not worth jeopardizing the future of the club for a player who may not work out.
Also Ozil is hardly signing of the summer. May I suggest you watch the tour de force who is Negredo some time. Huddlestone has also been a good signing for Hull.
Brian (I don't get paid enough for this) LFC
...Cannot agree with the criticism of FSG.
How on earth can anyone expect us to be competing with Man City and Chelsea in the transfer market? These clubs have access to a bottomless well of money and therefore no need to worry about such fripperies as financial sustainability. Plus, we have less to offer any potential players and so would have to go even higher than the routine £30m fees and £250kpw contracts these clubs hand out.
Our competitors in the market are more realistically Spurs and Arsenal, and I'm pretty sure FSG have spent a lot more than either since their arrival. They have provided around £30m a year for transfers since their arrival, much of this paid for through vastly improved commercial deals. They have unfailingly backed their managers' judgment even when it looked ill advised and there's been none of the unseemly haggling that saw Parry refuse £12m for Dani Alves and sign Jermaine Pennant for £7m instead. They turned down a bid in excess of £40m for Suarez in the summer - Arsenal (with their huge London stadium and perennial Champions' League) are praised for signing Ozil for the same amount but I know which player I would rather have at Liverpool.
Also money was available for Mkhitaryan and Diego Costa but both had better options. This is why you can't go from mid-table to league winners in a single year; even Chelsea with their £100m transfer windows (at a time when no one else was spending anything like that) took a couple of years to win the title. Liverpool haven't even played in the CL in four years - all of a sudden a good half a season and all of a sudden we should be ploughing in hundreds of millions to see if we can win a title? Given how close we came to complete meltdown before FSG stepped in you should be careful what you wish for.
Jon Gibson LFC (would rather earn success than achieve it through the spoilt child approach)
...Like it or not, there are now four financial tiers in English football. At the top are Man City and Chelsea to whom concepts like profit and loss and debt are just things other people have to worry about. Below that are Man Utd and Arsenal, teams who through good long-term financial management generate substantial revenues which will always allow them to compete for top players. Next come Liverpool and Spurs - wealthy clubs with large global fanbases who can invest fair amounts in developing their squad but ultimately will always need to balance this from time to time with player sales at the risk of racking up debts that would start to be a threat to the stability of the club. And below that is essentially everybody else, always working to a budget that will largely be at the whim of the chairmen, and to whom signing a player in excess of £20m will be a very rare occurrence.
Now as a Liverpool fan, we just need to accept that we cannot compete financially with the Man Citys/Chelseas in the same way I cannot compete financialyl with David Beckham. I may not like it, it's not fair, but that's just how the world works. This means we will struggle to sign the top players in the world for massive fees and wages. But in the end of the day is that such a bad thing? I would love to see us sign Messi don't get me wrong, but then I get as much satisfaction from signing a player like Suarez and Sturridge and watching them turn out to be outstanding, or watching players like Sterling, Flanagen, Kelly etc come up from the academy and excel. And in some ways it works in our favour, for example how much would Chelsea have paid for Coutinho? I suspect it might have been more than £8 million. And as this season proves, with the right approach and management (and a bit of luck), it can work out nicely.
So basically I think FSG have got their transfer policy spot on, invest in young, talented, upcoming players who we can develop rather than paying through the nose for superstars that we can ill afford to fail. The core of the Liverpool squad at the moment is under 25 which means their best years should be ahead of them.
...I just to had to point out some unbelievable (Jeff!) comments in this morning's mailbox. Firstly, Robert, LFC USA uses the examples of the likes Steven Gerrard or Xabi Alonso never being signed again if FSG don't buck up their transfer policy of buying low cost and young talent and developing it. I hate to break it to you Bobby, but that's exactly what Liverpool did with your examples, Gerrard as a schoolboy and Alonso was a £10m signing from Real Sociedad. They were developed into world-class players at the club, the same as Torres, Reina and Mascherano were for example. Rodgers is doing a great job and you can't fault him for not spending money that he hasn't got. Buying potential and developing it has been a policy at Anfield for a long time now. And if you haven't noticed, the lack of Champions League is not exactly a draw for potential signings.
The second unbelievable comment was from my favourite mailbox contributor, Daniel Benvenuto. He has regaled us with his opinion-dressed-as-fact musings before, but this takes the proverbial biscuit. He calls for Coutinho to be dropped, but says he will 'probably become a great player'. How do you propose he becomes this great player from the bench? He is far and away our most creative player behind the front and is adapting to the EPL all the time.
Rodgers now has to figure out the best way to incorporate Suarez, the returning Sturridge, a resurgent Sterling and Coutinho into a side exceeding all expectations this season. Not a bad problem to have in fairness.
Jason (A happy LFC fan) Todd, LFC, Eire
The Misunderstood Insult
Great article on the top 10 insults but you surely missed a trick by missing Appendix a) the greatest insult ever that wasn't actually an insult but was misconstrued as such.
I give you Arsene Wenger's comments responding to Ferguson saying he had the best team, "Everyone things they have the prettiest wife at home" to which Ferguson took great umbrage in thinking Wenger was having a pop at his missus!
Joff, Barton Gooner