That's if reports that Calum Chambers cost Arsenal £16m are to be believed. The English premium shows no signs of disappearing. Plus, worrying about poor Southampton...
Some supporters sound oh so confident on Louis Van Gaal's excellence. Plus thoughts on shirt sales, best signings, football sevens and a good deal more besides...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wouldn't it be funny if Liverpool finish 4th but Man United win Champions League?
Nick C, Burlington, ON
In the Premier League era can anybody remember a managerial appointment going so disastrously wrong in the first season, with the team regressing and underachieving, only for the manager to slowly turn it around over time and ultimately be regarded as a success? Anyone? Has it happened?
As a United fan, I am not bothered by last night's result, I'm not bothered that Tom Cleverly started, I'm not bothered that I see Phil Neville on our bench every game, I'm not bothered that Old Trafford is no longer the daunting fortress of yesteryear, heck I am not that bothered that for the first time in my lifetime Liverpool will finish ahead of United.
What really bothers me is that my beloved United are currently in 7th place, 8 points behind at Spurs team managed by Tim F*****g Sherwood!!
Arron (Things can only get better, right?) Kildare
...Fifth, with the best away form in the division. Seven points of the top of the league and just three (and a half) points off CL place in mid-February in spite of our comically unsettling season. Adebayor on a one man mission to launch us up the table, and Timmy Sherwood even deciding that a holding midfielder isn't just for those fancy foreign teams.
Anyone mind telling me what the f*ck is going on?
Alex G, THFC (must not get hopes up, must not get hopes up)
Judged By His Timness?
I, as well as many others, has been constantly expecting Tim Sherwood to fail miserably at Spurs, confident in my belief that he is a tactically naive buffoon not worthy of being taken seriously. However the longer Spurs excellent form goes on the more I'm having to question not only my initial thoughts, but also try and understand why I had those thoughts in the first place. Yes I know's he's said some quite silly things early on but no more than any other manager has done in my opinion.
So anyway, I was trying to come up with reasons as to why I never gave him any credit and then it struck me.... It's his name! Tim is just not really a footballery type name is it? it's just a bit too middle class and poncey.
Now before any Tim's reading this get offended, I must point out that I am a long suffering Tim myself (I'm on your side brothers, but we must accept and confront our shortcomings if we are to move forward as a people!). I've always noticed how Tim's are represented in popular culture and have always found that Tim's in popular fiction are generally a bit.. well... they're never the guy that gets the girl and wins the fight are they?
Off the top of my head... fictional Tim's i can think of are Timothy Uppam from Saving Private Ryan (weedy translator who just stands there and watches his mate get slowly stabbed to death), Tim from the Office (whilst quite clearly the most well-adjusted character in the show, he's basically a man in his 30's that still lives with his mum!) and Tim 'nice but Dim' from Harry Enfield and Chums (idiot toff). I could go on but I'm conscious that Mr MC is unlikely to want to give up too much room, if any at all, in the mailbox to this bilge.
From my extensive research over many years of watching Tim's on the telly I have concluded that the name Tim, is just not really considered a particularly blokey, macho or cool name is it? And I've thought that perhaps this perception is also prevalent in the subconscious of the modern day football fan? 'Tim' just doesn't have the same clout as yer Gary's, yer Frank's, or yer Jose's does it? (I will be punching myself in the face for that previous sentence by the way) and might be a reason for the lack of respect given to Sherwood. Or maybe I'm just paranoid and need to have a word with myself
Will Self discussed this phenomenon in an article in the New Statesman once (or at least I think he did, I could only understand what 1 out of every 6 words actually meant) and he termed the affliction 'Timness'
Is it now so prevalent that even me, an actual 'Tim' is subconsciously discriminating against Sherwood because of his 'Timness'?
I have been a victim of Timness in football myself, whenever I join a new team (I've moved around a lot in the last few years) I find that people's reactions when I introduce myself as a Tim give off the impression that they aren't expected too much from their new teammate (it might also have something to do with the fact that I am quite obviously, despite my best efforts, very middle class). Obviously as soon as they see me play their fears are found to be more than justified by my complete lack of ability, but that's beside the point. I have already been judged and my Timness has been held against me.
So I suppose my question is this... Is the name 'Tim' just a bit too middle class to be taken seriously in football in this country? And will Sherwood forever be underappreciated because of it?
Thanks for your time, glad to get that off my chest.
A, quite obviously, very paranoid Tim, EFC.
S**t, Or Get Off The Pot
Such is the awful, cringe-worthy stream of quotes our Davie seems to volunteer you might as well just start Moyeswatch.
I've been a 'give him time' guy, but I won't lie, it's been very difficult to justify recently and I keep thinking we've potentially 5 more years of this. The poor performances are one thing - sometimes clubs/players do genuinely go through bad periods during a changing of the guard - but what's really worrying is that his quotes often reveal a guy who sounds like he expected to just come in, take the wheel from Sir Alex, watch as United inevitably romp to the title like he's seen from afar, and finds it utterly baffling it's not happening. Like a child sitting in a parked car getting annoyed it won't go when he's pressing the pedals exactly like he saw dad did.
Take the quote from last night for example: "If there is one club in history who have been great at winning games in the second half of the season...it is Manchester United" - constantly referring to our history. He did it defending 81 crosses the other day ("it's in the DNA of this club"). It's as if he just keeps telling himself, "this is Man United, we all know they'll win in the end", casually ignoring the Scottish, red-nosed elephant in the room.
So David, please stop referring to what we have done, and talk about what you are GOING to do. The bloke responsible for all that stuff has gone and it's up to you now. To that end, comments like "I don't know what we could have done to win that match" will not help or inspire confidence in the team or the fans. Nor does responding to the question of why are we 21 points worse off than last season despite having basically the same group of players with: "Well, I was at Everton so I wasn't 21 points worse off". Are you 10? What does that even mean? Are you trying to make it even more clear that the one difference here is you? You do realise where you were is doing better without you?
This is the biggest job in football and it's time to sh** or get off the pot mate.
David P, Manchester
I am getting sick of the Moyes apologists, I really am. Just because Ferguson said give the man time, doesn't mean we should. This season has been an absolute disaster, there is no progress, no positives no ambition. Last night just upset me off even more. A 0-0 at Arsenal is not a bad result if a) your challenging for the league and it's about making sure you don't lose to your rivals (like Chelsea or us most seasons) or b) if you're a mid-table team looking not to get beat and hoping you can grab a goal...its not ok if you play for a draw, and hoping you would nick a goal, when you are 7th and desperate for a win so you still have a small chance of champions league...unfortunately we played like a mid-table team AGAIN!!!!! - I wouldn't have even minded losing if we had showed some guts and enthusiasm to win the match...but we had 2 shots on target in 90 minutes!!
All we did was narrow the pitch so all Arsenal can do is cross the ball or shoot from distance, which Vidic and Ferdinand were able to deal with no problem , and then break but with no pace, no intensity and no variety....How we can have a team with Mata, RVP and Rooney in it that can't create chances and goals regularly, I don't know what the hell is happening...how can Moyes continue to play the same formation, the same tactics every single match and expect a different performance, I don't know....nothing changes. Try a 3-5-2, try a 4-3-3 , try Zaha, try Januzaj - just stop playing the same underperforming players in the same bloody formation hoping it will change every bloody week!!!!
Top 4 is pretty much impossible now, because not only do you drop points to average and poor teams, but also because on a night that was make or break, you didn't have the guts to make a real game of it...for god sake, Arsenal are wounded, we have some great attacking players, play Januzaj, Mata, Rooney and RVP and go for it...fine we might concede, or even lose - but we might also win, and look like we want to win...you would think the way we played that a draw would help us...we have 12 games left, it WONT HELP US!!! We are out of both domestic cups - to Sunderland and Swansea for god sake, lets just give everything we can in the league, lets go all out and try and win every match, but no...
RVP is obviously unhappy, not the same enthusiasm and effort as last year. Only a handful of players are playing to standard and the tactics are not befitting a team of Man United's status...fine if we were winning we would accept it with the hope it will become more dynamic over time and with new faces...but no, we lose to Spurs, we lose to stoke, we lose to Swansea, we lose to Sunderland, we draw with bloody Fulham...for god sake...will someone just remove this man ...We are Man united, we don't have a right to win every match, but we should be trying to win every match, looking like we want to win every match. We should be able to break down nearly every team in the league , we haven't just lost all the players that walked the league last year - we have added to it!!!!!! Why do people keep saying United fans should stop moaning - would any other team in the world accept winning the league 1 year to struggling in 7th the next year??? Would Madrid? Would Bayen? Would Chelsea? Would Barca? Would Juventus?????? A resounding NO, so why do we?
I like Moyes, I respected his work at Everton and I really hope (hoped) he can (would ) succeed...But he is not the man to take us forward. It was too big a jump from Everton to United , the players aren't scared of him, probably don't respect him, half the team want to leave, the football is dreadful, results even more so...can we please just relieve him of his duties, bring in an interim until the summer to give us a chance of a) doing something in the champions league and b) actually give the club the best chance of a higher league position as possible and c) give the players their enthusiasm back
Imagine you are in a bus in the middle of the forest. You are on a path and you don't know where exactly it goes but you know that you need someone to drive. The group takes a vote and everyone agrees on David. He's a good honest man and he tells everyone that he once went mountain biking in a smaller woods but that he thinks it's pretty much the same thing. Fine.
So off you go. Immediately there are a few bumps and everyone giggles nervously but agree that it'll be fine. David's a good honest man. Sure he doesn't have a driver's license but who cares? You agreed when you made the vote that you would stand by this man so that's what you're going to do.
Another bang or two and you hear a tire burst but David keeps his foot on the accelerator and mumbles that "our luck will change". Someone looks out the window and notices that the path is no longer there. Somewhere, David took a wrong turn and he's frowning in the driver's seat as you barrel deeper and deeper into the woods.
"What are we doing boys?" says Tim, a nervous passenger who is sat in the back.
"Quiet!" shouts Gary. "We picked our driver and we'll stick with him."
"But we're going deeper and deeper into the woods Gary. The longer we leave this go on without stopping him then the longer it will take to get us out."
"Shush, I said!" says Gary. "We picked our driver."
The bus trundles on...deeper and deeper into the big dark woods. The path is a distant memory and the passengers sit silently as another tire bursts and David presses harder on the accelerator.
"You don't understand," he says as he stares vacantly through the windscreen and into the oncoming abyss. "None of you understand."
John (Please remove the driver before it's too late) Murphy
I'm sure this has been discussed in the mailbox before but I wanted to bring it up again. There was this moment in the second half of the Arsenal- Man Utd match where Luis Valencia received the ball on the right hand flank. As I rubbed my eyes (I live in India and it was 3 in the morning here) and sat up on my incredibly uncomfortable couch, Valencia cut past the first defender and moved towards the gunner's box. He swept past another defender and it opened up on his left foot. Come on Luis, have a pop with your left. Surely, a professional footballer playing for arguably the biggest club in the world can shoot using his weaker foot from 20 yards? Oh no, Valencia stopped, turned awkwardly and passed it back to someone in the midfield. The move died down and the match moved towards its incredibly drab conclusion.
So, Wikipedia tells me Luis Antonio Valencia plays for Manchester United and is a regular for Ecuador. He's been a professional footballer for a while now, and before his move to United, was wanted by Real Madrid. Real f**king Madrid. I have been seeing Valencia play for almost 5 years now. He's probably used used his left foot a grand total of 3 times. Surely, things cannot work out like this.
I wanted to know whether there have been other players, who've been so successful with great clubs but have been utterly inept with regards to an essential footballing skill?
Arjun MUFC, India
I'm sick to death of fellow Liverpool fans saying things like "we have consistently failed to do the job against the teams we should beat." It's tired, lazy and, for the past 2 seasons at least, it's incorrect.
Using the excellent Stats section Football365 shows:
This season Vs Bottom half sides Liverpool have more points than anyone (38: W12 D2 L1) and are highest scorers by 9 (42). Last season Vs Bottom half sides Liverpool were 4th , behind United, City and Arsenal.
By comparison, this season Vs Top half sides Liverpool are 6th and last season they were 8th, behind Norwich amongst others.
They aren't perfect but they are obviously improving on both aspects and I'd take an 80% win percentage against the bottom half every season, even if people still think we struggle against the lower sides.
Gary Orford, LFC