...what happened to the fourth Champions League place the last time an English team won the thing. Plus, who would want to pay £60 to watch the current England team?
A Sunderland fan in the mailbox is surprised by Jack Colback's call up to the England squad. Plus, thoughts on Welbeck and Liverpool's Champions League draw...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Curse Of The Triple Name
Reading the mailbox yesterday and seeing Louis van Gaal being referred to as 'LVG' got me thinking, have any triple named managers been successful in the Premiership?
I had a think of all the three-pronged managers there has been and come to the conclusion that on the whole, they have not done well. In fact, the majority have been bobbins. Let's see how many the readers can get. On the list we have;
In my opinion, all have flattered to deceive (though some have won trophies, granted). If anyone can come up with a anagram containing all the letters, I'll personally post them a Crunchie.
James (Procrastinating) Liverpool
Liverpool's Season Surpasses Arsenal's
The question was posed would Liverpool fans trade their season for Arsenals and vise versa. Winning the 4th place trophy and the FA cup is a nice accomplishment but I would not trade Liverpool season for Arsenals.
Watching players like Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Willlian, and Diego Costa (players that may have pushed us over the finish line) slip through our fingers last summer because we couldn't offer Champions League football, combined with the threat of Suarez leaving made for a nerve-racking season.
Watching Liverpool put in a title bid while putting the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, and Spurs to sword and playing some of the most eye pleasing and fluent attacking football in Europe made this a season to remember.
The past season and a half dictates that Liverpool will continue their top 4 form. In fact with the right purchases this summer there is no reason why we shouldn't be able to pull off a league and cup double this season considering Liverpool pulled off going from 7th in the league to 2nd (which was unprecedented).
Liverpool is back in the Champions League for the first time in 5 years. We have the personnel and now the prestige to attract top talent from around the world, while also having owners that will open up the purse strings for the right signings.
I know that at the start of the season our fan base will be right behind our players and our manager. For Arsenal however, the honeymoon period of winning a cup will have passed and the fans will bemoan the manager, players, owners and whatever else is this to complain about.
Don't get me wrong standing on an open-top bus singing about how s**t Spurs are sounds like a wonderful Sunday. But I would not trade my season for Arsenal's.
Brian (Cup wins are temporary, Class is permanent) LFC
Laughing At Yaya
Some rather disturbing noises being made by Yaya Toure's agent today (oddly enough Toure himself doesn't seem to be saying anything)
Comparing this to Anzhi giving Roberto Carlos a Bugatti for his birthday is, frankly, ludicrous - look where giving Bugattis away willy-nilly landed them!
He goes on to say that all they (he) wanted from Man City was for them to shake his hand and say 'we congratulate you' - not the customary 'Happy Birthday' but 'we congratulate you'. Congratulate him for what!? Not dying?
In a normal working environment it is the custom for the Birthday Boy, or Girl (i.e employee), to provide the cakes for His/Her colleagues. Is Yaya Toure not just an 'employee' of Man City. Players and their agents might do well to remember this from time to time.
Andrew ' I don't really go in for the Birthday Cake thing' Steer, MUFC
...Dear Yaya Toure,
I am really incredibly sorry that Manchester City forgot your birthday. I hope they can reward you with a £240,000 a week contract to make up for it.
Yours, with seething rage,
Richard (don't forget the candles), Cambridge
...I sincerely hope that Yaya Toure and his agent are taking us on a ride through banter land with their latest outburst, because if they aren't then how much more pathetic can the modern footballer get?
In April he claimed he didn't get enough recognition and now because the club didn't wish him a happy birthday and shake his hand he is considering his options.
The reason for all this? well that boy Roberto Carlos down the road, well, he got a Bugatti for his birthday a few years ago and poor Yaya got nothing from his rich employers.
Get a f**king grip, what is the world coming to. A guy on hundreds of thousands of pounds a week is crying over not being given enough attention on his birthday? Jeez.
Poor old WahWah Toure.
Brave Little Toaster
Right from the off I'm just going to say that I do not care that Arsenal won the FA Cup. Not bothered.
My sole reason for writing in is to pick apart most of what Sakthi, Singaporean Gooner said this morning.
Really Sakthi? You might well be a fine and nice chap, but you must be looking at the world a whole lot differently to me.
"A squad he has groomed and not bought". Just checked the line up from Saturday: Ramsey, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Coazorla, Arteta, Giroud, Ozil and Podolski. They all local North London lads are they?
I don't pay enough attention to know about the other two, but how was van Persie disloyal?
"The fans who have so little". So little what? Football isn't real life. That kind of line really annoys me. "Boo hoo, the football team I support hasn't won something for a while". Am I supposed to feel sorry for them? I assume you mean so few trophies, but even that is only by the standards you yourself have assigned the club. Arsenal have one metric shedload of trophies, FYI.
I have other grievances but I also I have a meeting to go to. Stop trying to paint the global juggernaut that is Arsenal Football Club as the Brave Little Toaster (which, incidentally, I remember being as a terrible film).
Good To Hear What Refs Are Thinking
I'm only about 20 minutes in, but Sky's Collina programme is already fascinating. Hearing Howard Webb's communication with his assistant ref and seemingly pointless 5th official completely changed the way I see refereeing. Both assistants were clear and confident in their decisions, with no doubt and 100% clarity, which meant that what looked like a clear penalty went the other way. Of course, it's easy for the assistant to feel confident when it would be Webb that received the flack had the decision been wrong, but what a difference it makes hearing how the decision was made.
I don't understand why these conversations aren't available at the very least to managers, if not the general public. Every bad decision players and managers make is torn apart, and it's infuriating that some refs don't have the balls to make big calls and they're under no obligation to explain themselves. Referees would be respected a lot more and be seen as actual humans who understandably get things wrong if they allowed their communication to be made available.
While reading through Adam McGee's mail, he mentioned something about this all being a part of the plan. For a while before Moyes' appointment, the general consensus of the people writing into mailbox was that eventually he'd come good. A few had their doubts however and said that its best to follow the man who followed Sir Alex.
The observation Adam made was that if a top class manager (which Moyes wasn't) failed then the position would be a poisoned chalice. What if Louis Van Gaal fails? I fear the situation might be much worse. While United may be able to attract a top talent again, they may have to pay over the top prices for both the manager and the players that are bought in. We might even find ourselves out of the Champions league for the entirety of Van Gaal's contract and the prices will just get astronomical.
All in all, I am not excited by the appointment. I also noticed Van Gaal's contract ends in the 2017 season as does Diego Simeone's. One can only hope.
Vinay Bhatt MUFC Chennai
More Atleti Praise
Great mail from Paul on how we should assess what Atleti have done this season against all odds. To put it in context both Real and Barca each receive four times the TV revenues. Atleti's wage bill is less than half of QPR's and the starting eleven that lined out on Saturday against Barca cost less than £33 million! I would argue this is akin to Stoke winning the Premier League. Or even Southampton.
It is the first time in 10 years that a club other than Real / Barca have won la liga and the massive inequity in how those 2 clubs get the lion's share of all the cash means it'll be at least 10 years before it ever happens again. More's the pity. What Atletico have achieved under Simeone is a minor miracle with a threadbare squad carrying so many injuries. Win this Saturday against their plutocratic neighbours and for me the miracle will be major. It would be a victory for the ordinary Joe's against billionaires. And I think fans of the lesser clubs everywhere should applaud
Raz (Vamos Atletiiiii !), Dublin.