One Liverpool supporter thinks this could be Fabio Borini's year, whilst we also have thoughts on the Red Bulls, Welbeck vs Gervinho and Paul Lambert's new deal...
That's one idea in the morning mailbox as the Arsene Wenger debate rumbles on. Plus, comparing Welbeck to Gervinho and some advice for Greg Dyke and the FA...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I remember his debut. we were playing terrible and being the know all I declared he simply was not good enough to play for Manchester United, not now not ever. come half time he was replaced and my point seemed to be proven. What a waste of money!
Patrice I'm sorry for ever doubting you. Marginally second only to Dennis Irwin on my all-time dream team but what a hell of a player for us you were. the latter years people have forgotten how strong as a defender you were, it was only recently you started scoring goals and not tracking back. thanks for the memories you'll be missed, a true legend of OT.
AJM - MUFC - Melbourne
...I just wanted to say thanks to Patrice Evra for being a great servant to the club. He played with immense passion and pride every time he pulled on the shirt and will be sorely missed. I for one wish him all the best and if we play Juventus again at any stage would hope he gets an almighty roar of a cheer.
Good luck on your Italian adventures Mr Evra!
Tom (Quietly optimistic for the new season)
Make Baines Captain And Ox His Vice
So, Stevie G is to stand down as England captain to concentrate on Liverpool who finished second in the Premier League, and the most likely replacement for England is Wayne Rooney, who is likely to be dropped as captain of the side that finished seventh in the Premier League. Progression innit?, or is it bowing to media clamour, or is it just lazy?
Before my Grand Ideé, does Rooney now win the Golden Generation Tontine now? If so, then to the victor go the spoils whatever they may be, and consigned to history goes a tag never to be uttered again in relation to the England team. Anyway, we now must shake our etch-a-sketch vehemently and start anew. With the departure of Gerrard I had a look at the squad that went to Brazil, and couldn't really see a stand out captain among them. Rooney is not captain material. Wilshere is not captain material. Hart is not captain material. Not for me Clive. In all honesty none of the regulars from the top 4 look fit for the job.
Personally I would look at two things. Is Leighton Baines going to be a regular left back, and is Oxlade-Chamberlain expected to be a long term first choice, and if the answer is yes to both there are your captain and vice captain for the next 2 years leading up to the Euros (we hope). Baines as a regular in the side who is solid if unspectacular, Oxlade-Chamberlain as the prospect we will invest in and hope will take over that role. Focus on the symbiosis of the team and less on 'Leaders' and with the greatest of footballing acumen here are my reasons for them both
The first doesn't come across as a gobsh*te, and the second at least comes across as reasonably articulate. Blinding isn't it? Not wanting to irritate Johnny Nicholson I appreciate this is some blue sky thinking and if I may plagiarise a commenters post we are about to 'undertake a body of work that will take us on a journey of change and discovery'. As noted, despite this being bull, and despite our current malaise, let's take the disappointment and let's look at who are replacing the likes of Gerrard and Lampard and Cole as opportunities, and let's do something, well, different, right from the start. Let's not Hem, Let's Haw, let's go find our cheese.
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
Another Loss To Depression
In the last day or two my attention was brought to an incident that occurred on Saturday Morning. I was idly scouring through the footballing sites and gossip columns looking for my summer, post world cup, footballing fix as I oogled and fawned over the transfer rumours. I stumbled across an article about someone whom, I had never heard of until then. Andreas Biermann. A professional footballer in Germany, who had mostly plied his trade in the lower leagues of the Bundesliga. Sadly he took his own life after a number of years battling depression.
I'm aware that this mail won't appeal to any Banter Panthers or footballing tactician aficionado's. I've often written into this site myself about a transfer travesty, the ecstasy of beating a near rival or botched opportunities of claiming a league title (Liverpool fan). I've chuckled at mails commending Pirlo's Beard and people wincing over their tally whacker after reading the non - footballing story of the day.
I love football, It gives me an immensely enjoyable distraction as real life dramas play out on the pitch, as you will your team over a long season to go one better than last year. Over the years, players have become celebrities as they now occupy the front and back pages. Generally I try to avoid the non-footballing stuff. Wags and wages don't interest me. However, every once in a while, there is a story that makes you take stock.
The reason why this story had caused me to take notice is that I had experienced depression myself. I don't want to write this mail lamenting a sad and tragic death. I just wanted to commend a young man of 33 who wanted to try and break a taboo. After the tragic suicide of Robert Enke ("A life too short" - an excellent read if you haven't yet done so), Biermann publically came out and informed whoever was willing to listen that he had struggled with mental health issues. He wrote a book (Depression: Red Card) detailing his struggles and attempts to overcome those struggles.
Depression is still a dirty word as people still tend to shuffle uncomfortably and awkwardly look the other way when they hear it. A normal and natural reaction as generations have swept this issue under the rug and chosen to ignore it until recent times. It reminded me of Gary Speed, Someone who was immense as a player and afterwards during his short career as a manager. A player and a person who had a lot of impressive and admirable qualities. Unfortunately it takes tragic moments like that for people to step back and take note.
The fact that there has started to be a conversation within football in recent years about these issues is hugely helpful. These people are my idols and heros. When these people reveal their struggles and weaknesses around depression and anxieties it lessens the shame. A struggle with mental health is a tough burden to carry, which is multiplied numerous times over when you make a huge effort to hide it for fear of being judged negatively. Because of the conversations that started in football it eventually made me feel ok to start talking to a small number of close individuals about my struggles. There is still a stigma there, and I don't go shouting it from the rooftops and would only feel comfortable announcing it publically behind the veil of anonymity of an email but the truth of the matter is, that I feel that perceptions may be perhaps improving. There is still a way to go but as long as people like Andreas Biermann and Stan Collymore etc.... have this conversation it can only help to lessen the stigma, because it is stigma and shame that are the huge factors when it comes to these issues.
I don't mean for this to be a morbid mail. I just wanted to acknowledge someone's bravery. To carry a conversation that may have made people shirk and look the other way. I'm sure his candid honesty helped people and saved lives, as his story made them feel less alienated. It's just unfortunate and sad that he couldn't save his own. RIP.
Does Gerrard Really Care About 'Most Capped Outfielder'?
I know (or hope) you're going to get some good emails about Gerrard and his England career, both complimentary and critical.
I think it takes a man of some integrity to retire on 114 caps, just a single cap short of going into the record books as England's most-capped outfield player. He probably had a good chance of overtaking Shilton's record of 125.
Looks as though Rooney is likely to end up with that distinction isn't he.
Joel Bradley, London
We Don't Get The Hype
It's almost here and i am buzzin at the thoughts of its return.
You all know what i'm talking about..........FANTASY FOOTBALL!!!
In a list of my 5 most hated things in this world at least 4 of them would belong to this game.
1. The inevitable transfer out of a player because he has been absolute dirt for 3 months only for him to go and score 5 goals
at Stamford Bridge in what is being called the most ridiculous result in history.
2. Trying to be cute with your choice of Captain who inevitably scores 0 points when he is substituted before 60 minutes having picked up a booking.
3. Having the player who was the obvious captain choice then go and score a hat trick with 2 assists and you were the only spoon in your league who thought this wasn't inevitable.
4. Your first substitute plays an absolute blinder and picks up a double figure points haulage. One of your outfield players is on the bench and your in the 4th minute of extra time and sitting pretty. Oh what's this, the manager(does he not understand the rules of this game) decides to bring said player on for the last 17 seconds of the game. This leads to a feeling in the pit of your stomach like nothing else and your family start wondering why you have suddenly lost the f**king plot and are shouting expletives at the television.
If I'm being honest all 5 of my most hated things in this world would involve this game and yet every single year we live in hope that the pool of cash will be ours at the end of the season.
Dreams are beautiful things
Cricket Bantz In The Mails
Totally unsurprised to see the England captain moved on yesterday. Let's face it, recent results have been shambolic and he looks years past his best. Hasn't really been on form for England since 2012 and his position as captain of the national side has become untenable. We should remember him as the great England player he was - with a huge number of caps to his name - but the time is right to move aside and let some of the younger blood through.
Wait, Gerrard's retired? So Alastair Cook's still in a job?