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This year is their year
We are better than you, we are fitter than you, and we are pissed off. Most importantly, now we know we can win it.
Arsenal, if you’re not scared, you’re stupid. If you think 2nd place means something, you’ve clearly drunk the Wenger punch. How grateful you must have felt to eke out two draws vs us last season.
Chelsea, thank you. Even before Eden “Lazarus” Hazard woke from the dead to seal our fate, we were not about to catch the Fantastic Mr. Foxes. Now, we have our fire and our fight. And this time around, we’ll know not to cross the line. We’re Mauricio’s boys, what did you expect?
To Manchester, the City of Egos, I must say, it will be fun. Pep, you have no idea what the Premier League has in store for you. I wonder how long Ibra and Jose will stay friends. Rooney, you are a sad soft shell of your former fiery self. It all went downhill after those hair plugs. And you’re still ugly.
Leicester, congrats and good luck. Like Claudio said, last year was your only chance to do it. Despite the forward fireworks, Kante was your MVP. But I don’t need to tell you that. I’m sorry he left too, honestly. I can’t help but like you too. But I must say, now I like you a little more.
Oh, I almost forgot Liverpool.
Danny (I’m so f*cking ready for this) Hotspur
Why is a centre-half Chelsea’s priority?
Hopefully someone has mailed in about this and it’s been wonderfully answered, but why oh why have Chelsea not signed a left-back? This seems to be a position we just can’t seem to fill ever since Cashley left in 2014. We keep playing a right-footed left-back (Azpi) and we’ve just shipped off two (!!) traditional left-backs. This is even more puzzling when Dave’s deputies are either a traditional winger (Kenedy) or another right-back (Aina). What’s worse, doing a simple search (on Fifa16), we seem to only have 3 outfield players who are left-footed in the whole senior squad! Is there any other team so imbalanced?
Kris (was anyone else annoyed by Aravind using bullet point style for one flowing story?), CFC
The alternative is far worse (fan mail for Ryan A)
I see Ryan A is rather upset by the vast sums involved in football these days, it’s just a sport after all so what an absolute joke, forget economic market forces! I am also disgusted by those F1 teams who spent millions upon millions on racing a car round a track. Pointless. And those actors paid millions to pretend to be someone else?! Ridiculous! Some people go to restaurants and spend £60 for 100g of Kobe Wagyu, hang them!!!
Let’s limit the spending in football, set a cap on wages and transfers. But, I guess teams would have loads of money in the bank … so let’s limit what Sky Sports / BT et al can spend on the rights to football. What, football clubs also make revenue through merchandise sales both here and abroad? No worries, let’s limit the price of a replica shirt, £5 a pop seems fair. Oh no, I just realised the UK government is losing all those corporation and income taxes which they make from the football world, much of which comes from overseas investment. This really is a tough one, and I haven’t even got onto solving the problems of F!, actors and Japanese Steak!!! I know, let’s vote brexit (tick), ban foreign investment and become a communist state … after all, I’ve never heard any problems with overspending in football in North Korea.
Please can the sodding football start already
Dommy S (Was going to have a few beers tonight, but seems abhorrent behavior when people are starving in the world)
Can I be maybe the twentieth person to point out that Ryan A is deluded at best and insane at worst.
The annual pan European transfer spend is probably around £1 billion, lets give him the benefit of the doubt and call it £2 billion.
If the clubs only spent 10% of this (£200 million) and gave the rest to charity (which is a noble but preposterous idea) then that would leave £1.8 billion to cure all of the world’s ills.
The UK government alone spends over £750 billion on an annual basis, the US government spends over £5 trillion (with a T)
If all of the world’s problems only cost £1.8 billion to fix I think they would be fixed by now.
And if you don’t like that the world’s best football professionals are paid eye-watering sums, then don’t watch them. Your eyeballs, subscriptions or whatever, contribute to this figure. If nobody watched, the money wouldn’t be there.
Why don’t you watch women’s football or non-league? The game’s the same, not for me to say if the product is better or not.
Just a quick question for the incredibly philanthropic Ryan A….
So the football clubs drop a zero from their transfer budgets and you think that somehow “With all of the money saved we could probably solve most of our economic and social problems that are tearing apart our world.” How exactly? Are you suggesting that Man City take the £180 million they don’t spend on transfers and just give it to the government to spend on health and education? Should Palace send £45 million of spare clothes to Romanian orphans? What is in that for the clubs? Sure, they’d have a lovely warm, fuzzy feeling to keep them content, but it really wouldn’t make much economic sense for the club, would it?
At least he started the mail by admitting that it was a silly idea…
Dreading the predictions
I used to be quite good at pre-season predictions. A few years ago, there were some fairly simple rules to guide you, in addition to the general strength of each squad. Here’s a couple that I used:
1: Any foreign player who came in to the Premier League at a ‘not top 6’ club, would not be a success if they moved to one of Europe or England’s big sides. I wrote in on this one last summer in relation to Benteke…there are a few exceptions to this, but it’s pretty solid. I would therefore have confidently predicted that Kante would be a flop at Chelsea. Except, he and Leicester won the league last year. They are a top 6 team, aren’t they? Or what is a top 6 team these days? It’s all so confusing now, I’m not sure this works any more.
2: Teams tend to start the season, the way they finished the last one. Back when managers stuck around for a while, and player turnover was lower, this one worked pretty well. Runs of form can obviously be reversed, and team quality makes a difference, but (for example) promoted teams would often start well before tailing off. Likewise, teams on a bad run at the end of the season would often start poorly, and were a good tip for relegation. In theory then, Watford should be worried. But, well, nothing Watford do makes sense. They change the manager once a season, and their player recruitment appears to be run by Keith Chegwin in prime Swap Shop form (yes, that’s the pop culture reference I’m going with – screw you). With so many managerial and player changes, I’m not sure form has much to do with this season.
Nothing makes sense now. Good luck F365 writers when your predictions come out sometime next week, because as far as I can tell, it’s impossible.
I’m going with Spurs for the title, Leicester to win the Champions League with the only shot on target against Atletico Madrid in the worst final in history.
Palace are definitely down unless they sign a proper striker though.
League One big weekend
Fear not everyone – for football returns this weekend! Friday feels in complete without the regular F365 features. So in that spirit it is a big League 1 weekend for:
Sheffield United – for many seasons they have been the ‘too big for this league’ team, who have always challenged at the top without promotion as a reward. Chris Wilder is the latest man in the hotseat following his incredible success at Northampton last season. The big summer signing is Leon Clarke to partner Billy Sharp in an incredibly experienced strike force. They open their campaign away to the new big boys in the division – Bolton Wanderers, who will be hoping this season is where they arrest their decline.
Northampton Town – its worth mentioning again how remarkable the Cobbler’s season was last year. A winding up petition in October from HMRC found them facing oblivion. Somehow Chris Wilder turned the threat into a positive and led the team to the League 2 title at an absolute canter, including a club record 9 game winning streak. Now the bad news, Wilder has left for Sheffield United, the council are pursuing over £10m they are owed by the club, and they are under criminal investigation over missing money that was earmarked for developing the stadium. New boss Rob Page will need to repeat the trick of keeping the players focus away from off-field issues as they host Fleetwood Town.
Andreas Makris – Walsall broke their transfer record to bring the 20 year old Cypriot international striker to the Bescot Stadium. Having missed out on automatic promotion by 1 point last year the Saddlers will be missing last season’s top scorer Tom Bradshaw having seen the striker move to last season’s playoff winners Bradford City. Walsall host everyone’s favourite feelgood story, AFC Wimbledon, on the opening day of the season.
Russell Slade – having been jettisoned by the Cardiff City circus after an 8th place finish in the championship last year Slade finds himself at relegated Charlton Athletic with a big rebuilding job to do. However (unless my research has missed something) Slade has never won promotion with any team. He has saved a number of sides from relegation, gone on excellent cup runs, overseen great football, and faced playoff heartbreak – but promotion is unquestionably the objective here, starting with a trip to Gigg Lane to face Bury.
Coventry City – things are looking up again for Coventry City. Back at the Ricoh last season after exile in Northampton, a popular manager in Tony Mowbray, and top signings with Sam Ricketts, Marvin Sordell and Marcus Tudgay all signed on short term deals. The problem with short term deals is that it makes this year a make or break one for the squad. They travel to Swindon for the opening weekend.
Darrell Clarke – The 38 year old has been a manager for 5 full seasons. He has won promotion in 4 of those (2 with Salisbury City, 2 with Bristol Rovers). Having rejected an offer to become Leeds manager over the summer he clearly believes he can take the Gas further up the leagues with new Jordanian owners in place. Crucial to the off-field progress will be the stalled plans for a new stadium which has been in limbo over the last 3 years due to various legal challenges, as well as getting a purpose built training ground. Most of the team played in the Conference, so the risk is that back to back promotions have seen them rise too far too fast. The first test is away to a Scunthorpe side who missed out on the playoffs on goal difference last year.
Mike, League 1, BRFC
(I promise I’ll try not to bang on about Rovers too much)
Love for Rafa
Your article on Rafa summed things up pretty perfectly to be honest.
From a personal point of view the last time I felt as excited for a match as I do tonight’s, I was gripping my Dads hand in complete awe as the teams came out for my first champions league game against Feyenoord.
That’s what Rafa has brought to the table.
Paul, (£10 at 33/1 on Jamaal Lascelles first goal could make me even happier) NUFC
I just wanted to drop a line to the mailbox regarding Torquay United. Torquay have not had an easy ride over the past few seasons, and as a fan of a rival club I may have more reason than most to lap up the schadenfreude. However, I find it very difficult to do so when I recall how close my own club came to folding a little over 10 years ago, and remembering how helpless we as fans felt during that time.
Anyone who has interest in reading more on the story can find a good summary here – https://footballpink.net/2016/08/02/fair-games-and-gambles-torquays-latest-fight-for-survival/ – but suffice to say this club with over 100 years of history stands on the brink of bankruptcy and is seeking external investment.
At a time when Premier League clubs are throwing astronomical sums at single players, and when the prize money on offer for last place in the Premier League exceeds the prize money for winning the Champions League, perhaps all fans need to think more about whether the money flowing in at the top of the game is fairly distributed to the teams at the bottom.
The football pyramid is rightly seen as a prize asset of the FA. But the slow erosion of live TV scheduling, EPPP, proposals to add B-teams to lower league competitions (whether our cups or our leagues, both are a step too far in my view), and being asked to be satisfied with the crumbs from the table while the gap between the have and have-nots grows ever larger, may mean that smaller clubs such as Torquay (or Hereford, or Aldershot, or whoever will be the next club to tread the same path) will simply not be able to sustain themselves.
For any that don’t have the time or inclination to click through to the linked article, I’ll finish with the authors own words – “Back in school, George Orwell told us that the world goes wrong when we’re led to believe that all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. There’s something rotten in the pig pen, and the possible demise of clubs like Torquay, as others pay out millions on a weekly basis, is a reminder that this game’s gone badly wrong somewhere along the line.”
Terry Hall, Switzerland (at the very least, as a fan of football, why not make an effort to go and watch your local side when the Conference and lower leagues kick off this weekend)