£35m Carroll: Football’s watershed moment

Date published: Tuesday 12th July 2016 1:26

It’s another delightful Mailbox. Keep it up and mail theeditor@football365.com.


Not being a Ronaldo fanboy is fine
There’s nothing wrong with disliking arrogance, being adverse to egotism or criticizing petulance. I don’t dislike Ronaldo as a result of jealousy, my favorite footballers earn equally stupid amounts of money. I dislike Ronaldo because he doesn’t display the attributes I admire in a person, humility, modesty or class. He just takes himself too seriously. I find it odd when anyone other than Portuguese or Real Madrid fans worship him, there are so many more interesting and amiable sports people out there. Equally, hating the man is beyond my comprehension, you’re doing something wrong if you care that much about another mans career. At risk of taking football too seriously myself I have to point out I don’t ‘hate’ the guy, after all, he’s just a footballer. I just like him a whole lot less than the Totti’s and the Pirlo’s of this world.

Ronaldo is one of the best footballers of our generation.

Ronaldo is a bit of a di*k.

The two are not mutually exclusive.
Sam, Dublin


Ronaldo: The worst kind of teammate
I don’t blame people for defending Ronaldo to an extent from the excessive criticism he received in yesterday afternoon’s mailbox, particularly with regard to him crying and showing emotion. But I also think that Ronaldo deserves 90% (ish) of the criticism he receives.

There are plenty of reasons Ronaldo deserves derision, but the one that matters most to me is that he is such an utter d**k of a teammate. He demands the ball at all times, he demands to be the focal point at all times, he visibly and publicly berates his teammates when they don’t live up to his standards – which, by the way, doesn’t even necessarily mean they actually even did anything wrong. We have seen countless examples of Ronaldo being visibly upset at a teammate shooting themselves instead of laying it off to Ronaldo for a tap-in, or even worse, Ronaldo getting angry at one teammate passing to another teammate, instead of passing to Ronaldo. The fact that Ronaldo does this at Real Madrid, with players like Bale, Benzema, James, Modric, Isco and others playing around him is mind-blowing, and shows that it isn’t just a byproduct of him playing for a limited Portugal team.

When I play football and if we are picking teams, I’d rather the Ronaldo-esque best players present get assigned to the other team rather than mine. (Not to mention that those sorts of players typically end up being more of a hindrance than a help to their teams, due to their general douchebaggery.)

To answer a few defenses offered by Ronaldo supporters:

* We can enjoy/appreciate the controversy offered by personalities like Ronaldo, while simultaneously acknowledging he’s a d**k.

* There is a difference between Ronaldo being caught on camera encouraging his teammates, and Ronaldo doing his best to make sure that this is caught on camera.

* Nani is Robin to Ronaldo’s Batman, of course he put the effing armband on him.

* Ronaldo “trying to keep the team focused and organized from the sidelines” would be acceptable if the team’s actual Manager had dropped dead, but as it turns out, that job was already being performed by someone else. Also, should every player on every bench get up and start yelling at teammates from the sidelines, or just specific narcissistic d**ks that got injured in the match?
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland


The real problem with stupidity
Howard reacting to John Nicholson’s article was my favourite Mailbox moment in a while.

I actually agree with the idea that most English footballers are dimmer than the average bear. But I don’t think that this is a problem for the players on the field (Howard makes 9 excellent points here). The issue is that the manager need to be the intelligent, problem-solving force in the dressing room. Pep Guardiola, a fine player, is one of the most intelligent guys in the game. Likewise Mourinho, Wenger, Ferguson, Ancelotti. Pochettino also impresses me in this regard, as does everyone’s new favourite Slaven Bilic.

But I see no upcoming English managers on this list of fine thinkers and well-read souls. I mean the England Under 19 squad, kicking off its tournament in Germany today, is managed by Aidy Boothroyd. Yes, the same Aidy Boothroyd who, in a moment of self-reflection, declared that “I know what my strengths are, and I know what my not strengths are”.

If our most intelligent and articulate players are sucked into punditry (Carragher) or bats**t crazy first appointments (Neville) then we’re stuck with Big Sam and ‘Arry. And we will lose.
Richard Dale


Interesting read, Howard

So, Diego was great, and a bit thick, so that invalidates John Nic’s article?

As was Gazza right?? So then, It looks like we have a clear conclusion then…but do we?

Well aside from the introduction, where the article clearly uses a caveat to explain the nature of the article, I think that we can take the article as a guide to future success. Not a review of past success.

And therein lies a crucial difference in how to interpret the article.

My understanding of the entire piece is that, much like the questions we find facing us in society at large, we do not need to be mistrustful of intellect, or accuse those who cherish intellectual discussion as “not the sort” for football.

Because despite empirical evidence to the total contrary, the section of people doing that have no right to police football in this way.

It’s merely another institution being held on to in the mistaken belief that everything and everyone was better back then, which history totally proves to be True! I mean come on now it’s clear, right?!

Looking forward, by first looking around to the present group following or implementing a “best practice” of sorts is how you climb out of a hole, that you maybe didn’t even realise was a hole.

So when Spain and Germany look to have stellar youth systems, where education and having more than thought in your mind is cherished, why would England not want to follow?

It surely cannot be because of base-instinct pride, where “England shouldn’t be following anyone in football” could it?

Footballers are citizens of their land too, so despite the immense wealth they may accrue and the different life path which they will likely walk, it is of only benefit to society in the long run to have this hugely popular figures be able to add true value to the society in intellectual ways as well, in addition to the various great acts that footballers already do to improve the lives of others.

And yes mate, having a sharp mind, with the ability to implement rational, critical and lateral thinking will actually help win a game of football.

Specifically when, you know, you have run of ways to attempt Plan A…
Manc in SA (It needn’t become the rocket science club lads, but the enhancement and encouragement of an intellectual environment wouldn’t hurt.)


Howard’s actually a friend of mine in the real world, but I have to take the bait here, in the 10 minutes I have before an important meeting. Top priority here.

1. JN is often very politically overt. What separates F365 from most football websites is the range of opinions among its writers, and these opinions often provoke interesting articles. You don’t have to agree, but that particular article was a great theory on why England always seem tactically inept. You have to admit, there’s always been a suspicion that footballers are a bit thick here.

2. ‘Wales voted Brexit and did well, so your whole theory is wrong’. I reeeeeally don’t want to start a political debate, but I think F365’s opinions (which can be expressed, they’re not a purely factual site) were that a lot of people decided without much intellectual thought. There were decent reasons for both sides, but most campaigning focused on scaremongering which convinced a lot. Intelligence was hard to come by.

3. The intelligence to cope with tactical nuance and opponents’ changes is inherently a massive part of being good at football. If you don’t have that, of course you panic. Similarly, Howard seems to have struggled to cope with the nuance of a multi-layered argument, and panicked into shouting at Johnny Nic. He’s not saying that being thick is the only reason England are sh*t.

4. Spurs have people to think tactically, and they’re not English: Dembele, Eriksen, the whole defence. Given a whole team of thickos though, tactical thinking is hard to implement.

5. Howard seems to have taken the mantle of F365 quality control with a few mails recently. Lighten up, buddy! Pint soon?

In response to Howard’s mail about John Nicholson’s article, if you think David James is intelligent you need to watch this

Shane (I thought it was a great article, I’d fully believe it), Ireland


Andy Carroll for £35m was the watershed moment
So the Euros are finally over and in keeping with the rich tradition of the summer transfer window, the inflation in the cost of footballers is growing. This year however, with the Chinese clubs deciding they want as many has been premier league strikers as they can get and with the new TV deal, prices have risen exponentially. For any footballers reading this, exponentially technically means by orders of 10 and if you’re still struggling with that then it means lots and lots.

I feel that we are heading towards a footballer crash. I estimate that maybe next year, a manager with some sense (probably educated somewhere other than the PFM College) will be installed at one of the major clubs and the media will subsequently pile pressure on that club to sign the latest “world class toddler” who can dribble with his dummy in his mouth and onto both feet and can pass wind at a rate of 95% successful non-solid completion. He will be touted at 200 million Euros and just before signing the cheque, this manager will suddenly have an epiphany. He will step out of the bubble of football and will realise that 200 million is enough to build about 1000 houses or feed most of Africa for a week and then this visionary will stop and think. Instead of buying a new car, he will build a car factory. He will spend 200 million smackers on optimising a well-oiled machine to produce the most efficient of talent, then, in 5 years, that’s when the crash will happen.

Some random Premier league English Footballer will accidentally score 3 goals through the ball ricocheting off his back (at which point the media will decry the premier leagues lack of vision in employing girth as a tactical weapon) and will subsequently be valued at £50 Million at which point all the clubs will turn around and say…..no. All footballers will then be produced local to their clubs and buying players from a county that’s more than 10 miles away will be considered un-british. At this point, the Portuguese, Dutch and Spanish economies will collapse without premier league clubs buying their sub-standard players at inflated prices and an invasion will take place (post brexit fall out) to liberate English football clubs from the chains of producing their own talent. This fits nicely with my conspiracy that Europe doesn’t want England to ever win a major tournament as this will clearly indicate that they don’t need to buy from abroad as much.

In 300 years perhaps, when we integrate with aliens and most of our recorded data and history is considered archaic and children dig up random USB sticks from space age primary school playgrounds and watch videos of the original Ronaldo performing impressive feats of football without posing and winking, they will take history lessons where they will point to the sale of Andy Carrol for £35 Million as the watershed moment when this society collapsed. I assume Nigel Farage will still be around then (if video games have taught me anything, it is that nothing that evil can really go away, his face already looks robotic anyway). He will try and claim that it was actually his own campaigning that lead to European collapse but history will always point to Andy Carrol, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba as the reasons that Europe descended into anarchy.
Nu (Conspiracy theorist Extraordinaire)


Alternative Team of the Tournament
Firstly, thank you for a great website.

Secondly, is it possible to alter the setup of the comments so that non-Facebook users can comment? I have no love or use for Facebook.

Thirdly, that ‘team of the tournament’ – my goodness.

You have no doubt had many responses to the naming of the team but herewith my views.

Just because Portugal fluked the tournament, all of a sudden they have so many players in the squad? This screams of bias to me. Ronaldo only got picked for his past club performances, he was average at best.

My team of tournament is as follows: (3 – 5 – 2 formation)

Keeper: Buffon

(didn’t make the final but far better than Patricio)

Defenders: LCB Chiellini CB Bonucci RCB Barzagli

(this trio was head and shoulders above any of the defenders at the tournament – complimenting the keeper behind).

Midfielders: LW: Bale CM: Pogba CM: Kroos AM: Ramsey RW: Payet

(Pogba didn’t perform very well in the final but he was the heartbeat of the team throughout the tournament. Bale carried his team all the way, along with Ramsey. Kroos and Payet are automatic inclusions)

Forwards: LCF Griezmann RCF Giroud

(This combo was vital to France’s success in the tournament)

A word on Clattenburg: He is usually rubbish on a weekly basis in the premier league and proved no different in the final. Perhaps the FA greased some palms to get some English representation in the final. He mistook Eder’s hand for Koscielny’s, are you kidding me?

Keep up the good work.
Don Preddy

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