...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
I've just read the latest gossip that Man United have pulled out of the Vidal deal because they were unwilling to meet the £32-34 million asking price. After signing a sponsorship deal with Adidas worth a minimum of £750 million over 10 years. I appreciate this is all of course completely speculative, however....
What the shuddering f*ck?!?! Someone have a whip round, he's got to be one of the best defensive midfielders in the right now, in a team seriously lacking in defensive midfielders.... AND THEY ARE TURNING HIM DOWN BECAUSE OF A FEW QUID??!?!
Adam, Reading (Obligatory 'rant over' post script)
£750million to wear a shirt for 10 years? With my dusted off Economics A-level I can safely say that deal is among the best ever brokered, if not the best. Man U as a business are truly becoming a global behemoth and they should be congratulated. In terms of football its utterly obscene. It's actually ****ing ridiculous, but I'm trying to curb my cursing. It's roughly akin to giving Man U a world record player at the start of every season for the next ten years. Fancy a game of football? Ok, line up. Man U, you pick first. Man U, you pick second. Man U, you pick third, etc (I was always picked about middle-ish to last, so this may be repressed memories talking).
Don't get me wrong, given the financial clout of the likes of Chelsea and City (and not forgetting Liverpool and Arsenal) you can see why this is necessary to compete at the very top, I understand the market forces that have led to these kind of deals being made, but market forces do not always guarantee healthy competition, and this will absolutely help Man U compete at the top but the top simply becomes more distant to the league. I said it in the comments, surely the 5 teams mentioned here must be getting bored relentlessly taking money, points and players from the smaller kids, there can be no gratification from it surely (if there is, then that may be indicative of a bigger issue).
I was actually thinking the other day that one of the attractions of this site is that most of not all of the writers are fans of honest clubs, i.e. lower Premier League if not lower divisions (correct me if I am wrong) and as such there is no tub thumping, just observed perspective (except from the comments section, that's like the prime minister questions time sometimes, harrumph). Surly you must agree this is batsh*t mental and unsustainable. A tenth of that would effectively pay off my clubs debt, which is crippling my club. For teams in League 1 and 2 a tenth of this would provide whole club stability for around 2 to 3 years if not more. Its madness I tells you, madness. Utter madness, and I don't think I'll ever feel as comfortable wearing my retro brown and cream Adidas top which is a shame for me, but maybe not for others. Madness.
Anyway, congratulations again on the deal Man U Brewster, genuinely. Don't spend it all at once now.
Chris ITFC (Madness), Liverpool
We'll Get Right On It
Next up in your "who needs what" series is Man Utd. Gulp. I expect a Daniel Storey tried for a sick day to leave the tea-boy to tackle it. But to aid his cause, and it's a little from left-field, but it probably should be considered that Van Gaal was what United most needed. Moyes was so poor, that I reckon this piece of business alone is worth 3 league places.
As an aside, now that the World Cup has concluded, can you guys get cracking on the "who's in, who's out, who's being talked about" annual feature. I'm losing track without it.
Arsenal To Challenge
I still can't get over the link to Sami Khedira. If we sign him we can have a run at everything next season. It really hasn't been since 2001 since Wenger has looked this intent on creating a competitive squad.
One does wonder what all of this means for wee Wilshere. It's amazing how this guy's star has fallen. He has gone from being Arsenal and England's great hope to being a second string certainty for both squads.
I just don't know where we play him if everyone is fit. Last season he wasn't getting into the first team but if we sign Khedira with the competition for places I just can't see him getting into the team.
When a squad becomes more competitive you begin to lose players the fans really loved. When Wenger took over he moved Jensen on who was one of my favourite players.
I can't help feeling Jack will end up at Sunderland going out at weekends with Adam Johnson after getting stuffed in consecutive weeks by their previous employers wondering where it all went wrong.
Jack's gone from being the man to being the man nobody's that bothered about.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
In Defence Of Podolski
I disagree with Harry (Saints over his view of Lukas Podolski's actions during the post final celebrations. Here's why:
1. Anyone who has paid attention to him, even just during his time in England knows that he is an irrepresibly happy guy. He is constantly doing absurd and wonderful thngs. Case in point, dumping a barrel of gatorade on a 64 year old man.
2. Unlike John Terry, he is not John Terry and therefore deserves the benefit of the doubt.
3. Also unlike Terry, he actually was in the matchday squad.
4. Finally, and most importantly, Podolski has been part of the German set-up for a decade. He has 116 caps and 47 goals for his country. This is his first and probably only major tournament win.
....and he's supposed to behave like some sort of monk and rein n his joy just because he didn;t play all that much?
It seems to be the genral consensus now that players under-celebrating goals is artificial and stupid.
By that logic, how stupid would under-celebrating winning the World Cup be?
Harsha (I realise I'm over reacting a bit, i just really like Poldi is all) Arsenal
Before we move on from the World Cup I think it is vitally important that there is some commitment from FIFA and possibly even the English FA on their own to address how blows to the head are handled. The news coming out about Christoph Kramer not even remembering going back in the game is extremely disturbing.
And there were several other high profile incidents during the World Cup, including one player who appeared to be knocked cold, Alvare Pereira, from Uruguay. The player should never ever be the one to determine his ability to continue, And team physicians are too often of the mindset to say ok to allowing the player back on the field. Part of the answer must be development of a cognitive baseline for players, and ideally an independent examination be given before any player is allowed back on the pitch. FIFPro has called continually for greater action to be taken,and I hope FIFA does so, but I would also hope the FA takes it upon themselves to act as well.
David in California
Buddy, Come On!
In response to 'Crookster' "Set-Up is nothing without talent"
This is easily the most ridiculous twisted version of 'Chicken/Egg' logic I have witnessed regarding football. You even contradict yourself several times.
I am sorry, but nothing in this world, least of all success comes without training, working hard, learning from mistakes, and becoming better at what you want to be successful at. In football this logic comes to life in the form of education and training.
The art of teaching is aiding discovery, and through inspirational coaching that is widespread and consistent in Germany since 2000, they have been able to inspire and allow children to discover an interest, and then develop the subsequent talent that comes from enthusiasm.
Your reasoning that "talent appears in cycles' is half true, but through high standards of coaching to a singular aim those cycles become larger in depth and more frequent.
You even ask "Why cant people just accept that every now and then a country produces an array of genuinely talented players" There! You said it yourself "a country PRODUCES". Not accidently finds, not stumbles upon, but PRODUCES.
You go on to say that it is a "favourable coincidence" that "they refined their youth system at the exact same time a bunch of young players of sublime quality manifested" - Buddy come on!!! Can you not see how ridiculous that is!
Look, the first time you rode a bike, tried to spell, played x-box, or chatted up a girl you were not as good as you were after practice and repeated attempts. Football is no different. Germany had a plan, they reacted to defeat with a plan to improve standards across their country. This inspired a new generation of young players, educated coaches and teachers to recognise the talent in enthusiasm and transpired to produce a production line of talent. This was no coincidence.
Also, to respond to Oscar (Innovate not immitate) you are so right about England, but we do need a hollistic approach with a long term goal....not a goal to win Euro 2016.
Ben (PE Teacher....bet you could have guessed), Aylesbury.
...In response to Crookster, re-reading Joachim Löw's statement, I can't find the bit where he suggested they'd found some magic bullet that completely transformed his country's fortunes. He did seem however, to suggest they were part of a much larger plan to change a mindset which was damaging the country's success internationally.
So maybe, a bit more to it than luck and good timing? I've certainly got the impression from watching Germany in the last few tournaments that there has been more to this win than just magicking Gotze out of their ass at the right time.
I also don't think it's superstars or bust. Some very journeymen players have had a huge impact in winning sides. From Dunga to Deschamps, some players may not have 'a gift' in the same way that a Romario or a Zidane have but they have been schooled and nurtured to still be integral to a winning team's DNA.
Anyways, a country's approach to football is probably a fair reflection of cultural differences. Germany identify a deficiency, plan a long term strategy to first address it and then build on established strengths whilst developing others to deliver success, whilst we Brave Tommys stand lagging it up on the sidelines making w***er hand gestures and singing the Dambusters theme.
Rooney could walk into any team in the world you know...
...Six months before the world cup, the Germans built a camp in the small village of Bahia in Brazil. No Germans were hired for this project. The camp included a hotel, a health center, football field and peripheral infrastructure like roads. As they leave Brazil, all this has been left for the locals and will be transformed into a school for local children.
After beating Brazil 7-1, they apologized to the hosts via social media and thanked them for their hospitality.