Mails: Is Tapping Up Still A Thing?

That's the question in the afternoon mailbox, which also shares some amusing anecdotes from Scottish football. Plus, intrigued by Bojan and a new fan for West Brom...

Last Updated: 06/08/14 at 15:55

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It's a bonus Saturday Mailbox, with plenty of reaction to the most alarming 0-0 draw in Manchester United's recent history. At what point do we worry about Louis van Gaal?

Why Do Man United Look So Impotent?

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It's all very well talking about formations and United's defensive problems, but shouldn't their expensive attacking options be doing better? And we talk psychology...

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I was browsing a load of nonsense twitter feeds full of nonsense transfer news when the following fact popped up:

Lee Todd was sent off for Cross Farm Park Celtic after 2 seconds for proclaiming "f**k me that was loud" after the whistle had been blown! This made me laugh which got me thinking about other stories from football that make you laugh...

I remember hearing about a Celtic-Rangers match in which Bobby Lennox had his leg broken by notoriously 'strong' defender John Greig. When asked after the match when he knew his leg was broken he replied, "when I saw John Greig running at me..."

Another was when Graeme Souness had received a nasty challenge and responded to the perpetrator by informing him that, "the next time you get the ball I'm going to break your *$%£*£% legs." When the slightly terrified guy asked the ref if he'd heard what Souness had just said the ref simply said, "I think he was talking to you son!"

What other funny anecdotes does the mailbox have?
Doug, (Hi Harry), Glasgow

Tapping Up
After reading Mediawatch I'm genuinely intrigued as to whether 'tapping up' is still an offence.

Can anyone enlighten me on this?

Chelsea and Ashley Cole is an obvious example where punishments were given. Pogba, Kakuta and NZogbia are others where youngsters were apparently poached as youngsters from abroad to the Prem. Pretty sure there was legal action taken there as well.

Countless deals nowadays are announced as the player agreeing terms but a fee still to be negotiated between the clubs. Have the actual rules changed or am I missing something? Or both?
Andrew, NUFC, Gateshead

Game Of Opinions
Apropos of nothing,

From HG Wells', A Modern Utopia [1905] - 'Gentlemen of honour - according to the old standards, rode horses, raced chariots, fought, and played competitive games of skill, and the dull, cowardly and base came in their thousands to admire, and howl, and bet. The gentlemen of honour degenerated fast enough into a sort of athletic prostitute, with all the defects, all the vanity, trickery and self-assertion of the common actor, with even less intelligence.'

From George Orwell, The Sporting Spirit [1946] 'Football, a game in which everyone gets hurt and every nation has its own style of play which seems unfair to foreigners.'

There is nothing new under the sun.
Alex Stokoe, Newcastle upon Tyne

Big Fan Of City Fans
I am always so impressed by the Man City fans that comment in the F365 mailbox. I nearly always agree with their points. They also seem to have a "it's only football, calm down" attitude which I love.

The same is true when they're interviewed on Sky etc.. I imagine they have a much more relaxed attitude because of where they've come from and the hardship they've had to endure watching their neighbours dominate while they languished in the lower leagues.

I am also a big fan of Pellegrini and the way he conducts himself with the media and believe he probably reflects how most Man City fans would react to similar questions eg: "You can't blame the referee" and "if Liverpool win 14 games on the bounce then they will deserve to be champions"

All in all as much as it annoys (because I'm jealous) of them spending millions and millions of pounds and assembling a willy hardening squad of players I have been won over by their fans and feel that the money they have at their disposal from their takeover couldn't have been given to a nicer bunch of football fans. Enjoy it you lucky swines.
Gough, LFC, Dublin (it probably helps that I don't encounter Man City fans in Ireland)
P.S. - Maybe some people living in Manchester (or the UK) can tell me I'm deluded and that Man City fans are as annoying as the rest of us?

Interesting discussion in the mailbox re FFP (esp. the mails from the City fans, always good to see it from their perspective). I wanted to suggest something that may or may not achieve the same aims as those of FFP: Put restrictions on transfer outgo, not net outgo (or some portion of the club's revenue, whichever is lower).

In the short term, this won't affect poorer clubs, and not even rich clubs who can do without strengthening expensively for a few seasons. But in 10 years' time, there will be less disparity in the value of squads. Clubs will have to invest more money (the money they won't spend on transfers) nurturing their own talent in order to have an edge on other teams. No more insane transfer fees (if a player wants to leave, he will have to go for lower fees as the buyer would have a limit to stick to).

One worry is that the transfer of youth players might become a bigger battleground than it already is. Another one is that it has to be applied Europe-wide and it will be hellish to get it approved. The richer clubs might just leave the current leagues and create their own (this is inevitable anyway). Glad to hear what else might be wrong with the above. For the record, I think financial rules should only aim to reduce the number of clubs going out of business due to bad financial management, not the incidence of sugar daddies.
Jay (Rodgers didn't really mean that about LVG. He was probably just answering a question.), MUFC

Tee Hee
Re: Mediawatch's 'Poll of the day'.

As with all statistics, the most pertinent question needs to be addressed, what was the sample size?
Anthony Kane, Milan

Intrigued By Bojan Move
Just finished reading Sarah's excellent article on the gamble Sunderland are taking by signing Jack Rodwell, however, for me, the biggest gamble this season is Stoke's signing of Bojan. So far I have heard next to nothing on the signing (although Icould have skimmed over the mails when trying to avoid talk of United's formation) but this is a player who at 17 scored the winning goal in a Champion's League quarter final and replaced Messi as Barcelona's youngest ever La Liga goalscorer. Pep Guardiola Once said about him 'There are only a few players who have a magical touch, and Bojan is one of them' yet he has just signed for Stoke City for £3 million.

Admittedly after his bright start at Barcelona, things started to go downhill. By all accounts Bojan was unable to handle the pressure that came with being suddenly thrown into the spotlight. He pulled out of the spain squad twice citing a panic attack the first time and describing himself as 'physically and emotionally shattered' the second. This was compounded by the fact that Rijkaard left around the same time which resulted in him eventually moving to Roma, Milan and then Ajax, all of which he failed to fully impress at. However, this is a player who is clearly extremely talented and it is easy to forget he is still only 23 years old!

If Bojan continues the kind of form that has meant he has moved from club to club over the past few years, he will have been an expensive failure, however, if he begins to show glimpses of the talent he clearly possesses and has started to show this preseason (2 goals in 2 matches although I haven't watched the games), the transfer will look like one of the greatest bargains of the last decade.
Louis, THFC

New WBA Fan
I have been following West Brom for a couple of years now and though they aren't exactly the most glamorous club in the world, am becoming quite a fan. Alan Irvine hasn't convinced me that he's got the ability to manage in the Premier League but then again, the Baggies don't have very high objectives for any season. Point I was trying to make is, West Bromwich Albion have got themselves a new fan. That probably makes it about seven of us in Africa.
Greg Tric, Nairobi

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Mail Box

Appalling, Slow, Pathetic, Embarrassing

It's a bonus Saturday Mailbox, with plenty of reaction to the most alarming 0-0 draw in Manchester United's recent history. At what point do we worry about Louis van Gaal?

Why Do Man United Look So Impotent?

It's all very well talking about formations and United's defensive problems, but shouldn't their expensive attacking options be doing better? And we talk psychology...

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