Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. And make them good.
Since we’re in a “proper football” lull, I thought I’d set some homework for the mailbox…
Read the questions carefully and choose ONE topic. Additional marks will be given for clear and concise arguments. Word limit: 250
Explain why you love/hate fantasy football (10marks)
Who will be Real Madrid’s next purchase from the Premier League, and why (10 marks)
Suggest a realistic England manager who you would feel positive about (10 marks)
Ronnie (I’m not even a teacher) MUFC & Barnet
The Leicester perspective
As a Leicester fan, and in response to the noise already around what now looks like the inevitable break up of our team, I thought I’d write in with my thoughts, for what their worth. Firstly, I’m a realist, we had our day in the sun last season and we’re not going to repeat it again, a top 6 place would be phenomenal this season and if you throw in getting out of the group stage for the champions league today, I’d have your arm off. Last season was founded on putting square pegs into square holes, having a very clear plan for each game (contrary to popular myth we didn’t just have a plan A) and keeping the discipline to execute it. Of the three stars of last season it looks like we’re only going to keep Vardy but he’s the one I’d most want to keep, he’s the soul, the talisman and represents (as a player, not necessarily as a person) all that we were about last season. Chelsea have got a bargain with Kante for £32m which will make the £105m, if it happens, that Man U are talking about paying for Pogba almost comical. Regardless of what the PFA says, he was the player of last season and his stats whilst at Caen suggest that he won’t be a one hit wonder. He will be hugely missed. Quite why he went to Chelsea is a bit of a mystery, they’re not in the champions league and I think that their day has gone and not sure they’ll be returning anytime soon.
Mahrez is the third muscateer and unlike Kante he really came from nowhere and his performance in the first half of the season was just sensational. However, he went missing too often in the second half and if someone is prepared to pay £40m+ for him then we should take it as I just can’t see a repeat of his early season performance again. The biggest hit to us though is the loss of Walsh as assistant manager and scout. Everyone talks about his ability to pick a player but it’s his work on the training pitch that has really marked him out over the last couple of seasons. Good luck to him though, it’s a promotion and puts him nearer to his family.
Anyway, my point is that players come and go, the club still goes on and quite frankly if we get relegated this season I could live with it. Last season was magical and there are no other fans that have experienced what we did, and really that’s what it should be about isn’t it, an emotional experience heightened by the sheer lunacy of it all!
Bring it on.
Rich “Ok, CL final is what I’m really hoping for” Brighton
Mata and Walcott to the champions
Nothing can be won or lost in the transfer window. Nevertheless, a club can get a bit of a jump on others with some good dealing. After a quick flick through your transfer round up and with half an eye on players that may wish a move, I postulate this: despite recruiting quickly after Kante, Leicester may lose Mahrez as well. Arsenal are wasting a couple of English players who need game time and the Special One has his favourites. Therefore, Mata and Walcott to Leicester. What’s not to love? Mata back in the the blue that suits him better, pinging passes to the quickest front two in the Prem.
Not a LCFC fan (my team is much further down the food chain), but wish them a good Champions League and League defence.
Stu (North Yorks)
Grujic will be a revelation
For years it has been bugging me when people choose to say ‘Liverpool has’, not ‘Liverpool have’. Which is correct?
I think as a collective of individuals, it is the individuals that should be referred to; ie Liverpool have. Not the collective being referred to as a whole (Liverpool has).
Presumably all you journalists over at F365 Towers have a far more rigorous understanding of the English language than I do, so which is correct?
On a side note, I reckon Liverpool have a great signing in Grujic. I genuinely think that he will be a revelation alongside Can and contrary to an earlier mailboxer’s opinion will be a first teamer before the season is out.
Ed – It’s have. Unless you’re a cretin.
Forget Wijnaldum; get Carvalho
Setting aside the idea of Yaya Toure as a “midfield destroyer” along the same lines as Matic or Kante, I agree with Brian that Liverpool could use a real specialist defensive midfielder.
If rumors are to be believed and William Carvalho is available for £30M and being targeted by Everton, surely Liverpool should scrap their interest in Wijnaldum and bite off Sporting’s hand. He’s a good tackler and very physical, with an eye for a pass. In short, he’s exactly the sort of presence that Liverpool has lacked in midfield, and I think his inclusion could completely change the fortunes of this team. Certainly he’d offer more value than a 7th attacking midfielder.
As for Chilwell, I’m less bullish. Yes £3M is a relatively small difference in valuation given the market, but, if he really wants to move on from Leicester, he’ll be available to sign for a tribunal fee (which will certainly be less than the current asking price) in another year. He’s also 19 years old and has a grand total of 11 appearances in the Football League and Cups. Let’s not go anointing him as the next coming just yet.
Andrew English (LFC in Saigon)
An unworried Liverpool fan
Wow! Just read Brian, LFC, letter and couldn’t disagree more. Brian says Matt Stead’s article was good but then writes a letter that essentially voids all the points Matt made.
If there was one thing we saw from this year’s Euros and from the teams that were successful last year in the Prem league it was that balanced teams – teams set up to play in a specific way – that married players abilities with team tactics – succeeded. Teams built out of one-off ‘marquee’ buys fared less well.
To make the argument, as many do, Brian posits a statement as fact. That the successful teams all have a midfield destroyer and cites Toure, Kante and Matic. Well, Toure has never been a midfield destroyer. In fact, it is only when he is going forward, driving the team forward that City have played best and he has played best.
If you look at the two Manchester teams. Both spent wads of money on name players. In the case of City, most of those players didn’t fare well (De Bruyne being the exception), in the case of United they didn’t fit or blend well together at all. They were still in the top 6 but given the money they spent, were not at their best. And Chelsea. Well Chelsea just fell apart – big names all.
All through last season Klopp said he could get much more out of this team by being allowed to spend more time coaching them. By having several training sessions a day to get across his ideas and show them how they could contribute better.
Klopp knows what he is doing. If Klopp were on the bandwagon saying he’s not getting the funds, he’s not getting the players, that he needs big name signings, etc, then we should be worried. But he isn’t.
Paul (unworried) McDevitt
How is Colchester’s transfer window going?
In response to Eddie Q’s request for non-SEO clubs transfer window updates, here’s how Colchester have been doing.
Surprisingly well, is the short version. Our best 2 players, Moncur and Gilbey, have left…which fans of big clubs might view as disastrous but this is the 30th summer in a row I’ve seen it happen so it just becomes pretty standard – once relegation was confirmed, there was no way they were staying (side note – in Gilbey and Powell, Wigan might just have signed up an outstanding midfield for nothing). A whole bunch of other players have left, few will be missed. Well done to Marvin Sordell for convincing Coventry to give him a contract. He’ll start brightly before fading away into listless mediocrity, which will very much fit with the club ethos. Fans of bigotry and banter will be thrilled to learn we have also recruited Iain Moody, some fans are much less thrilled by this news.
So far, all pretty standard. But where it gets weird, is that we’ve signed a load of players. In positions we needed to strengthen. Really early in the transfer window. We even paid money for two of them. This never happens. This is the time of the year where fans of the small clubs should be wondering if the starting eleven will include most of the U17 side, some catering staff and the mascot (see, Athletic, Oldham). After years of fighting an inevitable relegation before succumbing in hilarious fashion last season, I start life back in league 2 rather optimistic. I’d forgotten what that was like.
After reading about Stoke’s interest in Berahino, I had a look at their squad and noticed quite a few outfield players over 30. Is this the case for other teams in this season’s Premier League I hear you say..
Well Stoke with 7 players is above average but not the highest number of over 30s, that award goes to Man City with 9. And the least over 30’s? Undoubtedly Spurs, who have none but Southampton have two while Bournemouth, Liverpool and West Ham have 1.
What does this tell us? Well mainly I should get a hobby. These players are mainly defenders, who typically peak later and play at a high level for longer. The oldest is Wasilewski at 36 but the oldest non-defenders are Gareth Barry and Peter Crouch, both at 35.
Of course, if you’re good enough, you’re young enough. Looking forward to seeing Zlatan do his best Berbatov/Cantona impression for as long as his legs hold out.
Players 30 or older
O’ Shea 35
Spurs currently have no players 30 or older
It’s always nice to read Palace fans’ thoughts about Wrighty.
He played for them first, they came up with the Ian Wright, Wright, Wright chant and illegibly he still calls Steve Coppell “boss”.
You get players who are loved by the fans but few players love the fans as much as they are loved.
I’ll always remember Patrick Vieira, upon his return to the Arsenal, as a City player looking bemused and embarrassed at the reception he got from gooners – I was there and it was amazing.
But Wrighty, well Wrighty has always loved us back. One of my best mates has met him twice and got a picture with him both times, while he turned and gave me a thumbs up after I repeatedly sang Ian Wright, Wright, Wright at him while he was on Champions League duty for BT.
There’s a story he walks with a limp these days due to him taking injections to play in the 1993 final but recently he quit Twitter over his treatment from Arsenal fans.
I love Ian Wright – there’s just nobody like him. His favourite Arsenal goal, one against Everton in ’93 was the first I saw at Highbury, I had always missed them up until that point, and I also saw him break the record in the Clock End. In these days when I’m really not that bothered about next season – I will renew but won’t be going until Christmas, I would love to see Arsenal sign an Ian Wright. That would be enough to get me through the turnstiles on the opening day but it’s not going to happen and I am passed complaining about the club’s inaction.
You can only be disappointed if you have expectations and I don’t have any about Arsenal. Ian Wright, on the other hand, was someone you expected to score – oh for the days of watching a match on teletext and seeing that name came up with the minute he scored.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Suggestion for made up Football Whisper – John Terry to sign for Arsenal because:
· He wants European football
· Wenger wants a leader at the back
· Conte doesn’t think he will fit into a back 3
· I dunno… WAG’s?
Jack (makes more sense than some other rumours) Manchester
Love for the Portrait; love for Mr Arsenal
I’m a huge fan of the ‘Portrait of an Icon’ series, like everyone on here probably. They’re always moving, but I have to say you’ve outdone yourselves with the piece on Tony Adams.
As someone who’s been affected by depression both personally and through my family, I feel a great deal of gratitude to people like Tony Adams. He was brave enough to publicise his issues and has helped to remove the stigma from the illness; there’s still a way to go, but it’d be an even more debilitating thing to live with if people couldn’t see that they’re not alone.
So thanks for making me all emotional before work.