Another chap in the mailbox has been keeping notes on comments made by optimistic Man United fans. Plus, Garey Vance is offering a double-or-quits on his new tattoo...
Mignolet's bad kicking is the reason for Liverpool's success, whilst one man keep notes on F365 mails. Plus England excitement, Arteta and a bad Walsall experience...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Actually, Liverpool Need More Goals
Liverpool is in a very curious position with five days left in the January transfer window. Having failed to sign a single player since the window opened, Liverpool is in serious need of player or two of quality injected into the team.
While watching Liverpool dispatch of Bournemouth while barely rising from a light jog, I came to the realization that if Liverpool do sign a player in this window it needs to be an offensive player. While a case can be made that Liverpool could do with wholesale changes at the back, that type of reconstruction is summer transfer business.
As of right now Rodgers has his men playing total football. The 'philosophy' he has drilled into his players is obviously attack is the best form of defense. The main reason Liverpool did not beat Aston Villa is not because Gerrard was played out of position. It was because Liverpool failed to outscore their opponent (I understand that statement is an -ism). If you looked at the bench it was a telling sign.
Last week Mr. Ferguson named six title challengers and failed to name Liverpool. Which is ironic because Liverpool is playing very much like United have over the past decade. Maybe not tactically, but very much in the style, flair, and guile. With one or more quality attacking options on the bench Liverpool have the ability to outscore any opponent in the league.
If Rodgers can manage to bring those players in not only will Liverpool be in great position for fourth, they will remain outsiders for the title.
Brian (Skrtel...tough as f*cking nails) LFC
No, They Need Defensive Midfielders
Rodgers seems to have changed his footballing philosophy since taking over at Liverpool.
At Swansea he was renowned for championing a passing style which frustrated the opposition and that team was built around players like Allen and Britton who are adept at keeping the ball.
Liverpool's style has now evolved into a counter-attacking style with less focus on keep ball 'tika taka' and more emphasis on directness and making chances as quickly as possible.
If he does manage to land a left winger in the Salah mould (he'll end up on the bench for 18 months) it would mean that if Sterling plays they would need prob two defensive minded players in the centre to counter the four attacking players in his side. With Lucas injury this could be a throwback to Keegan's Toon days...
Nothing Wrong With Pleasing Rooney
I don't really understand the issue about us 'giving the lot' to Rooney.
He's one of the best players in the world (yes he is, only the chipped or blinkered would say otherwise), he's having a good season and is a key and core building block around which the future of Manchester United will be built. We want to keep him, Moyes wants to keep him, and he wants to stay as long as the club ambitions match his own.
To that end, paying him big money and showing him the proof that we're looking to add suitable players shows him our ambition while also making him feel important and like the senior player he is. Making him captain puts him at the centre of the club (and he's the most suitable person for it anyway). It's not like he's the first player to get this, and it will help him feel more settled. Moyes is just more open (sometimes too much with the media) about this stuff.
In fact, the only reason any kind of thing is being made of it is that the media have been pushing the agenda that he's off to Uncle Mourinho at Chelsea at the first opportunity. Sometimes, you just have to give a player the love they need.
...A valued employee has an upcoming periodic contract review. He indicates to employer he's considering leaving the company after recent deployment in new function for which he feels under-qualified and misused. This leads to public disclosure of request and recrimination by senior management.
Next financial period in light of collective underperformance of organisation and growing list of competitors the employer actually offers bumper pay-deal to retain his services. Employee commits under improved terms with promotion and greater influence and the organisation retains key member of staff.
Is there anything 'astonishing' about the above outcome? And to pre-empt any moralists accusing the employee of being a mercenary, ask yourselves this: if your mate behaved the same way would you reproach him or enjoy a few pints at the celebration?
Not Everyone Is Convinced
So playing well for 2-3 months gets my old mucker Wazza 300k a week plus Godfather status at Man United? I've never been able to warm to him, and if this is true I wish they'd sell him. Quite the reward for three months of form, isn't it?
Silvio (Phil Neville as the main first-team coach still makes me heave) Dante
...I have to agree with Matt Stanger - the list of demands Rooney has asked of United really suggest to me that they'd be better off letting him go. As an attacking player, Rooney does not bring much that United can't get out of Van Persie and Mata, probably with more consistency. His tenacity and range of passing would be most useful to the team's midfield, but Rooney has made it clear he's uninterested in that role. While he would undoubtedly still be an asset to the squad regardless, his transfer at this stage would bring in a decent sum that could be reinvested in the squad, as would the removal of his substantial wages. It's hard not to see this as an example of what a peak era Ferguson would have termed as 'no man being bigger than the team', particularly considering his rocky relationship with the club over the past couple of seasons.
In the past I've defended Rooney over his transfer requests. Indeed the first, over United not building a strong enough squad, looks pretty accurate in hindsight. The second even is defendable until you consider - and I think I blacked out for a bit after reading it - that Rooney is approaching 30. 30! An age when many players start to play more withdrawn roles, incidentally. There's nothing in Rooney's past or potential future to suggest that he's worth the contract he's demanding, and from a cost/benefit perspective, his transfer should benefit United more than hinder him, providing they make good decisions from here on out (simple enough eh?). If he goes to Chelsea, he goes to Chelsea. Arsenal have moved on after selling Van Persie. The bullet needs to be bitten.
Also, isn't it a bit weird to demand to be club captain? Considering the armband is mostly symbolic, doesn't it lose all meaning if you aren't given it with full blessing? It's hardly going to garner you much respect in the circumstances.
...So, according to reports United are going to offer Rooney the keys to the shop to continue to play for them.
Whatever about his wages, thats the going rate these days and the say over transfer targets, this is probably never going to happen, it's the captaincy thing that bugs me.
While I believe that a number of years ago 'lil Wayne was a candiate for captaincy, his behaviour over recent years means he should never been given the armband.
He threw his toys out of the pram when he thought the squad (his teammates) were not good enought and demanded a transfer.
Then, when he couldn't get into the team because the squad was strenghtened, he did it again and demanded a transfer.
Its' all about him. And that is not what a captain should bring.
So, sign him up and play him up top.
He doesn't need the distraction of being captain, nor does he deserve it.
What About RVP?
Well I for one would love to know Van Persie's thoughts in all of the shenanigans David Moyes has been indulging in. This is a man who appears to be ready to be dumped by Moyes. A man I'm sure must blame Moyes for his injury setbacks given his well reported old school training regime.
RVP fired this same inept bunch to the league title last year and now he looks on from the treatment room to see a disruptive influence in Rooney being allegedly handed a new 300k a week contact, the club captaincy and a final say in all transfers. Granted Rooney has been their key player this season but van Persie must be thinking how long til he kicks off and wants out until he gets more money? Sounds like Moyes is ready to play second fiddle to Rooney in a gamble to keep him in the job long term.
I can't see RVP being there in the summer so I guess it will be a question of where to next? When fit and handled properly then he's still a valuable asset.
Excellent Chelsea Business
TJ (West Ham have had a decent one too - apart from Carlton). As a Chelsea fan who didn't want Mata to leave, I still can look back over this window and think we've gone about our business well. We've offloaded players in our strong position and strengthened our weak areas.
The past two years the team was build around Mata as a Barcelona Lite, trying to play pretty football hammering on Pep Guardiola's door and showing him all the small technical midfielders we have. A style of play, that has seen Arsenal who play it superbly BTW, not win anything for eight years. Football requires a mix of this and physicality, as Arsenal are now learning with Giroud actually playing the target man role well, Flamini adding some strength and Per 'Hoof' Mertesacker complimenting the side (Barce are a freak of nature team).
During our two seasons wooing Guardiola, we managed sixth and third in the Premier League. Last season we finished 13 points off the top. Our attempts at sexing him up have failed and Pep ran into the arms of Bayern, so we have looked elswhere, Mourinho wanted to rebalance the squad and Mata wasn't the player he needed and was also the most saleable asset we have. Our central midfield ('Pivot' ergh) needed a boost, Mikel is poor, Lampard is old, Essien is a shadow of who he was (and has moved to Milan), Van Ginkel could be decent but has spent the entire season out after an ACL injury. Ramires is quality but he can't do it on his own. Matic was very much a necessary acquisition however you look at our history with him, let's blame a high turnover of managers on that one.
KDB wanted to go and didn't want to fight for his place, if he'd known we would sell Mata I think he'd have stayed and I think we would have kept him, so instead we've had to bring someone in who could play in this position, in my view bringing in a 20-year-old to play the same amount of games Mata and De Bruyne played this season is exactly where we should be aiming at both financially and long term. Allowing a core of quality players playing regularly supplemented by quality potential should be the goal of every team. Rather than our old method of having £60k/week 30+ year olds trotting out for 10 gamnes a season. We know, our striker situation is dire, we need a long-term replacement for Cashley and our centre-back position needs strength in depth. It's a work in progress, but it's progress that seems to be underway and I'm patient enough and trust Mourinho enough to allow him the time to sort these positions out. I'm certainly not going to use 'transitional' to describe our season though, transitional years describe what Arsenal are doing, namely, not winning anything.
Aston Taylor (CFC)
The Cup Was Fun At The Emirates
Curmudgeonly old John Nic clearly wasn't at the Emirates on Friday, nor watching the game on TV.
Had he been, he would've seen a youthful, cash-strapped Coventry side, managed by arguably the best young manager in the country, take on a near-full-strength Arsenal side (top of the Premiership, lest we forget), and give it a real good go, bossing large periods of the second half and only being finally killed off by a couple of late goals.
He'd also have seen a rare display of footballing solidarity, when the 5000 Coventry fans staged polite (too polite in my opinion) protests against the club's owners for moving the club to Northampton, and earned a standing ovation from the Arsenal fans.
I know Coventry's plight doesn't register at the Premiership-obsessed offices of F365, but thankfully on Friday the rest of the football world was watching and thanks to the still-alive magic of the Cup, our campaign to get the club back to Coventry received a great deal of coverage and support.
Tim Russell, Bangkok
...I appreciate John Nic's comments on the Cup but I can't agree.
I had one of the most fun nights at the Emirates on Friday. The game had everything - four great goals, opposition, who reminded me of a bygone era, and the lights went out which resulted in thousands of fans from both sections turning on their mobiles to create an atmosphere akin to a Coldplay concert - not to mention a pitch invader and at the end of the game you had your whole weekend in front of you and Arsenal charged category C prices too.
I still love the cup and I miss Coventry City and its fans so it was great to play an old-school tie.
Having said all that I think ITV must have been bad for thinking Chelsea V Stoke was going to be anything other than the dire event it turned out to be. Mourinho's teams literally put me sleep so thanks for the nap Jose, but I'm glad they've drawn City so I won't have to watch a final involving them.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Ways To Improve The Cup
John Nicholson is right to say that the FA Cup is dying a slow death, but he doesn't suggest any ideas about to how to fix it. Shall we just scrap the world's oldest cup competition because it's getting a bit stale? Of course not, and I will shortly propose a few ideas of my own about ways in which we can improve it. Apart from today's media-obsessed society, and the saturation of live football on both TV and on the internet, many people are guilty of looking at the past through rose-tinted glasses. For instance, a quick Google search showed me that the third-round attendances were the highest for 34 years, which certainly doesn't indicate a struggling competition.
Despite relatively high attendances, the main problem for me are the swathes of empty seats in many stadiums. The FA Cup is a competition which is promoted to and held in high esteem by football followers all over the world. Full stadiums and passion are what make it different and better than its counterparts in Spain and Italy. It has in many ways moved with the times - the number of replays is now limited to one, for instance - but there are of course ways to make it better. Whilst it would be unfair in many ways, allowing the lower-placed team to play at home would increase the % occupancy (if not the actual attendance) of the stadiums, and would allow for a more even playing field. Despite Johnny Nich's rose-tinted view, statistically I am sure there are just as many upsets today as there were 30 years ago. The fact is that Chelsea at home to Huddersfield simply gives the away fans a 'good day out' and the club a healthy boost to their bank balance, not to mention a 95% chance of losing the game. If this game is played in Yorkshire the home team would benefit from potential TV money, a sell-out crowd and probably a cracking atmosphere, but more importantly a chance to win the game.
A Champions League place for the winner would definitely help to incentivise the FA Cup, and of course the powers-that-be must do away with the scandalous decision to play the semi-finals at Wembley. Games should be scheduled at more fan-friendly times (whose idea was it to make Liverpool fans travel to Bournemouth for an early kick-off? Pick one of the other games!) and teams should only be allowed to make a limited number of changes from their previous league game. If these moves are still not working, enforce a price cap on tickets (for instance a maximum of 50% of the equivalent seat price for league games).
Finance will always rule football, hence the fact that the biggest teams are constantly televised, club chairmen prefer to draw a big team away rather than a more winnable game at home, and the FA will absolutely not take away the semi-finals from Wembley no matter how soon they pay back their debts. These things may never change, but there are ways to make the competition better and preserve its increasingly threatened status.
Jamie Bedwell, Cheltenhamshire
n response to Nod, LFC - Donation page if anyone is interested is gofundme.com/teamgeorge, A few years back in the 2008/09 season when Rafa's Liverpool were competing for the title, the bantz between two of my local rabble, one Man U, one Liverpool, decided upon a £20 bet on the Liverpool v Man U match. In addition the loser had to wear the oppositions top for a fun day that was held yearly and for which we helped out. Of course Man U lost 2-1 and the victor got to watch the loser trawl round in a retro Liverpool top which was too small. Kind of like watching a Scouse Louis Spence. The £40 quid raised also went towards fundraising.
Incensed, but seeking revenge, the Man U fan offered the same bet for Liverpool's return to Old Trafford, even offering the draw. Somehow this escalated and the loser was also contracted to turn up the following week in a dress. Liverpool duly ran out 4-1 winners, and true to his word the loser turned up kitted out in a flowing floral number, with full make-up! Apparently he was on his way out when he was collared by his missus who refused to let him out without some lippy and she didn't want him looking like a tramp. Again the £40 (I think there may have been more due to additional contributions) went to our local charity.
It's not in the same league as the chap getting the tattoo, good luck to him, but proof if needed that football (along with beer I should add) can make you do some ridiculous things.
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
Mine isn't as extreme/incredible as the one mentioned by Nod, LFC. Still worth a mention though. Having witnessed the outstanding work St Christopher's Hospice do for people first hand as I lost three relatives in their care, I have occasionally completed challenges to raise money for them. Often a run of varied distance. Once, in order to drum up more money I made it interesting by allowing people to choose my outfit for the event. The biggest donation wins. Easy.
I work in sales - a competitive environment where people like out bidding each other just for the thrill, so I was pleased as my mini-costume-auction gained momentum.
I seemed destined to run 10km dressed in a gimp mask and full-on bondage gear before the sales director (huge gonads, it seems) fronted a hefty wedge of a donation.
A week later, there I was. Wearing a FULL (yep, pads n all) Man Utd kit.
Oh, and by the way. It was the day after they won the league, so spectators were cheering yelling 'champions' at me the whole time.
I'm a Chelsea fan. We came second that season by two points. Talk about rub it in.
Ash (Just glad it wasn't a Spurs kit), London
Women Have High Voices
I response to Francis Redhear, I think there aren't more female commentators for the simple reason that most women don't have deep voices. A deep voice sounds much better describing exciting events. Motson and Tyldesley are prime examples of male commentators who have higher pitched voices, and by god they don't half get on my wick. They just get too screechy and I don't want to listen to them. It was the same with Jacqui Oatley on Match of the Day. When she did commentary for the first time it caused debates about whether woman could do it and whether football was sexist, no one wanted to admit that her voice just wasn't suited to it. I reckon they should get Charlotte Green to have a go who does the classifieds, I think she'd be perfect for it. Although she doesn't half sound sophisticated so shouting at the actual matches would probably be far too low-brow for her.
It's got nothing to do with knowledge (which some dinosaurs still cling to), of course women can know as much or more than any man, but that's what we have co-commentators for. I've watched matches especially the women's World Cup where they have some of the England internationals as co-commentators, and they're excellent. Unfortunately sexism has morphed into more than it should be in this sort of context, of course people shouldn't be held back because of their gender, but surely we can also appreciate that certain things suit the attributes that men and women have sometimes?
There's a female commentator who has occasionally popped up on the Football League Show who's very good, does anyone know her name?
The Special Two
What are the chances of two 51-year-olds being mentioned in Mediawatch on the same day? Pretty slim, right? Therefore, I can only assume the half-naked man with a bag of dildos in the Stoke pub was none other than Jose Mourinho. I mean, he could easily have hitched a lift up there after yesterday's game.
Ross AFC London