Mails: Arsenal fans are really not happy…

Date published: Friday 5th February 2016 3:09

Arsenal fans Football365

If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at theeditor@football365.com. You might even get a Sunday Mailbox.

 

Ticketed off
Surprised about the lack of mention of Arsenals ticket price rise for the Barcelona match in this mornings mailbox. For those unaware Arsenals season ticket includes 7 cup games, Arsenal have in their wisdom viewed that as the 7th (already paid for) game is against Barcelona we have to pay an extra £10-£20. Or return the ticket.

Seriously wtf??

Generally the Arsenal entries in the mailbox are from either end of the spectrum (Arsene is god/Arsene must go) hence the flip-flop appearance of Gooners depending on the most recent result. Most of us are actually somewhere in the middle – the excellent arseblog sums up the views of me and just about every Gooner I know and even he is saying what an own goal this is in driving a wedge between club and fans.

This has to be a Kroenke decision and it has to be asked why was (most of) the club sold to him?? He’s not a fan, he’s not after success, he’s there purely to make money. Fair enough in the business world but if the directors were fans and wanted to see the club to be successful in the future why sell to Kroenke?
Spence Gooner

 

I may not be the only one to write in about this, but Arsenal have just screwed over their fans.

Last night, the season ticket holders received an email telling them there’s going to be a surcharge on next year’s renewals because the Barcelona match is a Category A game. The massive price of a season ticket is based on there being a certain number of Category A games, and the upcoming shellacking by Barca means that total will be exceeded. Ergo, dear customer, pay the f**k up.

So what, you might say. The charge is in line with the terms and conditions of sale. But there is always something called “discretion”, and in this case the suits have callously failed to exercise it. They’ve taken a look at the enormous bank balance they’ve amassed by charging us ridiculous prices and not spending it on much and thought, “sod it, we’ll make another £1m.”

The only way the club could have handled this worse is if Kroenke had announced it from his own Scrooge McDuck-style money room while wearing a Spurs shirt and a Piers Morgan mask. There’s no question it’s a PR own goal, coming as it does after announcements on frozen renewal prices, on the back of another parsimonious transfer window, with the club slipping in the league and, worst of all, at the same time as news broke that they were one of the clubs blocking the move to limit the price of away tickets (an issue Arsenal fans are affected by more than most, given our games are always in the top pricing bracket of the clubs they visit).

But this is more than just ham-fistedness and poor timing. When setting the pricing structure of the current season’s season tickets, everything pointed to the number of Category A games being exceeded. Our dismal run in Champions League knock outs had seen us drop into the second seedings, meaning that 1) a Cat A game vs one of Europe’s elite was always on the cards pre-Christmas and 2) finishing in 2nd in the group, and therefore being drawn against another of Europe’s elite, was the likeliest outcome. Basically, we’d have had to cause an upset or get very lucky with the draw to comply with the pricing structure. Put another way, Arsenal advertised a price for a season ticket that they basically knew would be false.

Putting to one side the fury/embarrassment over our decline in Europe being used as a tool by the club to make more money out of us, rather than drop its prices, or the fact our money doesn’t seem to serve an actual purpose at the club (Kroenke financing the construction of this huge stadium in LA makes me uneasy), I just hate how low-grade the club is. It’s basically Ryanair: disdainful attitude, hidden fees, and modified standards of what constitutes success.

But the major difference is if you’re that eager to avoid flying with that shower of pestilent sh*tlarks, you choose a different airline or holiday destination. Football fans – especially the ones with season tickets or in the insanely long queue for one – don’t, can’t, just choose a different club, or stop caring about their current one. Arsenal is like the only drug dealer in town, and us saps in the stands are the addicts, dependent on a product that we know all-too-well could be better.

It’s clear that while we care about glory on the field, the powers that be are motivated most by profit. My only hope is we can find a way of hitting Kroenke in the pocket without damaging the performances on the pitch. That means not refusing to go, or turning the atmosphere toxic, but boycotting concessions and not buying official merchandise. It all seems a bit meagre, but what else do us junkies have?
Will (Victoria Concordia Crescit, Hasta la Victoria Siempre) O’Doherty

 

I don’t want to write a mail moaning about this (I’ll do that pre match on Sunday), but I do want to talk about fan reaction.

For the most part, everyone appears to be infuriated by this. And rightly so, doesn’t matter if its £16 extra I have to find, it’s just a petty charge and the money they make from this (less then £1m which is f**k all for a top premier league side) surely cant be worth the ill feeling from supporters and negative press it will bring. But there were quite a few fans with the “if you don’t like it don’t go” attitude. I get told “you don’t go to the theatre if you cant afford it!”

1st of all, most kids don’t day dream about one day performing in the biggest play in the west end or pretending they’re doing a number from their favourite musical down the park with their mates on a Saturday morning. Most kids don’t bond with their fathers on a cold day watching the ballet and most kids don’t have their favourite Broadway backing dancer posters all over their room. There is no emotional attachment to the theatre like there is football so spare me that nonsense.

Look, there are plenty of cases of fans getting fed up of being treated like a customer. Liverpool are planning a walk out, Leicester AND Arsenal will be making a protest against the late change in kick off, Bayern Munich entered late to the emirates to make their point.

WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER PEOPLE! We are all football fans and we shouldn’t be treated as customers. If people are moaning at the people that are moaning about paying higher prices then we will never see anything lowered as the clubs see it as not that much of a problem.

Football clubs know you are emotionally invested into your club, they know it’s highly unlikely you’ll give up so will be forced to pay the premium. Well long term there’s a problem. If I cant afford to take my son to Arsenal, I’ll end up taking him to a lower league games fairly local (Barnet). Is he then going to have the same passion for Arsenal I had as a kid if he can’t see them live? Doubtful. Could well end up being a Barnet fan despite what I’m trying to brainwash him with. One day, the premier league bubble will burst (no time soon though) and the stadiums will be half full of day trippers and tourists while the 3rd and 4th generation fans of their clubs will have taken their offspring to a local cheaper team to watch.

I don’t need to be told I’m lucky to have a season ticket because the truth is I’m not. I got my season ticket by being on the waiting list for years, going to matches for years as a junior gunner and then cannon club member. I put in the hours, the emotions, the finance and the time in supporting the team for years before getting a season ticket.

This isn’t an Arsenal problem, this is a football problem. And we are all going to be affected by this long term.
Dave (Arsenal) Herts

 

Arsenal: Boned for the foreseeable
I whole heartedly agree with Graham Simons in this morning’s mailbox. Arsenal as a club have stagnated under Wenger, and as everyone rightly pointed out, 2 FA cups for someone paid £80 million in the last 10 years is shameful. His faith in substandard players is admirable, but it is doing damage to the club in its ability to compete. There are some uncomfortable truths that we, as Arsenal fans, need to accept. The move to the new stadium has done nothing to our ability to compete because now we are merely cattle to raise funds for Stan Kroenke. Wilshere has played, on average, the same 12.5 games a season as Diaby. We overplayed him when he was young, and we have broken him. Walcott, in 10 years, has singularly failed to kick on. Gibbs is constructed from balsa wood and spit. Rosicky will be lucky to walk again, let alone play football. Debuchy doesn’t want to be there. Flamini wasn’t good enough when he left for Milan, and now he’s back. Arteta is past his prime, Mertesacker is only getting slower, and would United have sold us Welbeck if they believed he would be a consistent performer? No. Can anyone else describe a squad with so much deadwood that is trusted in the first team?

The one manager who’d have been able to do the complete regime change we needed has just signed for City, so we’re pretty much boned for the foreseeable future. This season, like all recently seasons, is crumbling at exactly the same time because a manager who has made the same mistakes 10 years running, continues to and is never held to account. Add to that the clubs utter insanity at charging fans more for tickets within their allocation (a match where we will no doubt be emotionally violated by Barcelona), and failing to sign a striker in January when we’d gone so many games without scoring, I feel there is an air of mutiny at the club which could get noxious very quickly.
John Matrix AFC

 

Get Poch in
Here’s a thought for you. Whose to say Pochetino can’t join Arsenal? I mean George Graham managed both. Mind you there was a gap in between. Maybe that’s what he needs to do. Manage in Spain for a bit or whatever. I like him. He’d do well at Arsenal I reckon.
JazGooner (*steps calmly back out of the room*)

 

Far East awakens
I read the article by Matt Stead on whats going on in China, I had wondered what all of a sudden had stirred in the East.

The rise of Chinese clubs backed by a government obessed with it’s global image could be a true watershed moment for World Football. The migration of middle of the road players like Paulinho, Demba Ba and most notably the completely unproven Alex Teixeira for a whopping €50m will surely pave the way for genuine stars to start turning their collective backs on Europe.

If Teixeira a prolific scorer in the Ukrainian league, ranked by UEFA as the 8th best in Europe, can sell for €50m and command the tenth biggest wage in world football. What will stop the next generation of Pogbas & Martials from turning their nose up at the paltry sums being offered in Europe. Admittedly the true global superpowers of Madrid, Barcelona & Bayern will still have the wages and prestige to attract the absolute top bracket for the forseeable future. For the players who fall outside this top bracket say Kevin De Bruyne & Raheem Sterling, once they could handle the cultural shift (money helps) there would be very little sense in turning down the mega bucks on offer.

This provoked a thought in me, what if the Chinese experiment gains momentum and South America & Europes do begin the migration east, could this awaken another footballing beast from its eternal slumber. Surely the powers in charge of India’s sporting affairs would look to join the top table in the worlds most popular sport. That would be a truly frightening prospect for Europe’s elite, two countries with 1bn plus people pumping money in to their football infrastructure. The Asian Champions League becomes a battle of the financial elites of two countries with emerging middle class people looking to spend their newly acheived disposable income on watching Europe and South Americas finest battle it out in mega stadiums in Shangai and Mumbai.

I’m off to order my Guangzhou Evergrande with Martinez 9. on the back.
Cian (DC 12) McCabe

 

I often email in about Chinese football (and don’t get published) but its in the news at the moment so I thought maybe I might get in this time. Firstly, wwweeeell todays contributor Simon Clarke is an ignorant f**kwad isn’t he? Banging on about Teixeira and the biggest clubs in Europe. And I quote “He’s left a team in a decent European League with a strong fanbase to play in a league full of corruption and fans with about as much interest in the game as Graham Norton has in a Kate Upton calendar.”

He’s also left a team who don’t even play in their own stadium anymore after their country was divided by civil war…..

As for the rant about winning something meaningful, well I don’t know if Simon knows this but Guangzhou Evergrande are the current Asia Champions League holders, something which Jaingsu Suning (Suning are a massive company bankrolling this project) are aspiring to, maybe he just bought into that vision more than Liverpool, a club which has been in constant decline since the 80’s.
As for the corruption rubbish well Italy have had two major corruption scandals since the last Chinese one and it wasn’t long since my hometown club of Oldham fired Cristian Montano for offering to fix football matches so as westerners we probably shouldn’t throw stones in our glass houses.

“fans with about as much interest in the game as Graham Norton has in a Kate Upton calendar.” 60,000 average at Evergrande mate, I don’t know who you support but I bet they struggle to get that.

Essentially what I’m trying to get across in my bashing of Simon is actually that the Chinese league is growing each season with a clear vision set down by government backing and private industry investment, the people more and more are into football and my foreigners 7 a side team regularly get a spanking off the locals because they can play. Maybe just maybe we should be applauding the Teixeira’s of this world for going to pioneer football in a land thats finally embracing it instead of being a xenophobic berk who mutters on about Europe’s “big leagues” who’s probably never even left his hometown for more than a fortnight in Marbella.
Rob, Ex pat, Guangzhou

 

Like father, like son
As it’s Friday this has got to be worth a punt.

We all know of famous brothers who have go on to win the English top flight i.e. Charlton’s and Neville’s, but If Leicester win the league it will mean Kasper has followed in his father Peter’s footsteps and become a league champion.

I started watching football in the late eighties/early nineties and the first league champions I recall is Arsenal in 91 and then Leeds in 92. Now as far as I’m aware (off the top of my head) none of the players from those teams have sons currently playing professional football at a high enough standard. To my knowledge, the only other remote possibility of this scenario occurring in the relatively near future is if Tom Ince goes on to become a Premier League champion one day.

My question to fellow readers therefore is has there ever been a father and son who have won the league as players in English football?
Peepston (Sneaks in at the back post unmarked for his hat trick. It doesn’t get much easier than that Clive.) Wolves

 

Pards and Palace
Big Weekend’s comments on Alan Pardew and Crystal Palace were fair, especially when it comes to Palace reaching a plateau. Having established ourselves as a midtable Premier League club, there was bound to be an end to the upward progress. Perhaps we’ve taken a step backwards because we haven’t had the pressure of being in the relegation zone at some point. In some ways, our current spell in the Premier League has been a bit like running up a sand dune – you have to keep going at full tilt because if you don’t, you’ll slip right down.

The season we got promoted, our first XI took us to the top of the table, but our squad depth brought us down into the playoff places. I think 8 of our players played more than 40 games. A settled first team does contribute to the club’s success, but the trade-off to this is that players get fatigued, and replacement players may not fit in quite the same. You can see the same at Leicester – one of the reasons they’ve done well is that their best players have largely avoided injuries and suspensions. There is an element of fortune in this, but this is a tiny fraction of their success so far compared to their excellent play.

This season, the Glaziers started well because our first XI was very good, but when key players have been injured we’ve not had a good enough pool of reserves to draw on. This has been starkest in terms of wingers, since Yannick Bolasie got injured (according to Physioroom.com he’s back in a couple of weeks), but currently defensive midfield is our weakest spot, with Mile Jedinak our only fully-fit player – Yohan Cabaye is due back this weekend, and even on one leg he’s our best player. There are still too many players in the squad from when we were in the Championship who haven’t made an impact in the Premier League

This poses an interesting tactical dilemma for Pardew. If this were Football Manager, my instinct would be to tweak the formation to a 4-1-4-1, try to press high up the field, with just Jedinak screening the back four, and the two central attacking midfielders effectively screening him. However, in the real world, we’re playing Swansea City away. City have been a possession-based team, although there are some signs that under Guidolin they’re trying to incorporate more direct play, so my masterplan isn’t likely to work. Pardew hasn’t been afraid to experiment tactically in the past, and has held his hands up when these things haven’t worked. Here’s hoping he’s got something up his sleeve this weekend.

Regards,
The literary Ed Quoththeraven

 

The Ranieri narrative
After the 4-3 loss to Spurs on the 4th of April 2015 Leicester’s form was W-W-W-W-L-W-W-D-W for the rest of the season taking 22 points from a possible 27 or 2.44 points a game. This season they have 50 points from 24 played for 2.08 PPG. I’m loving Leicester as much as anyone and they are absolutely my first choice to win the league even as a utd fan (yes I know are chances are slim to not-a-f***ing-hope-in-hell-mate but I’ve been perched on the bandwagon since long before Christmas) but why the clamour to heap so much praise on Ranieri? It’s getting regular mentions in the mailbox (JHAruba (NUFC) yesterday morning for one) and F365 themselves have been as guilty as anyone (although Nick Millers piece at least attempted more balance). Is it just to rub it in the faces of everyone who said he’d get them relegated?

Don’t get me wrong he is obviously doing a fantastic job, has made some good signings especially replacing Cambiasso, but why the desperate need for the narrative that he turned relegation fodder into title contenders? This form clearly started under Pearson and the players really driving it this season (Mahrez, Vardy, Huth) were all their last season. They were basically the best team in Europe (O.K. Barca would have given them a game) for the last quarter of last season. Pearson must be seething and doesn’t seem likely to be considered for any premiership jobs (or any jobs at all for that matter) any time soon.

Third Paragraph
Mark (PearsonForUnited) MUFC

 

Which leads nicely into…
If Ranieri wins the Prem this season, will that make him one of the greatest managers in the Prem’s history? He built the team that Mourinho then won the Prem with, and only didn’t win the league himself because The Invincibles were…invincible. If he takes a team that staved off relegation, to a title in one season, this would surely be the greatest managerial achievement of them all.

Also, aiming to win every game and finish top of the league seems to be a very effective strategy for not getting relegated. Big Sam take note. (And stop being Harry Redknapp Mk.II; the xenophobia is embarrassing).
Gertrude Perkins, Butler and Author, London.

 

More on Leicester (and Pellegrini)
One factor I have not yet heard attributed to Leicester City’s fantastic run this season is the boost of playing with one Esteban Cambiasso last season.

I think all can agree that Cambiasso, Champions League and multiple league winner and one of the finest midfielders of his generation, is professionalism epitomised. A less pretentious person and player you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere and one of the joys of the Premier League last season was watching him give his absolute all in windy weather and sleet for the Leicester City cause. He celebrated every fine result like one of his previous title wins, and surely there must have been something about that which made the likes of Vardy think ‘hold on… Esteban’s just a dedicated footballer and nothing more and look what he’s done! What’s to stop me from matching the likes of Aguero!’ It’s all in the head!

The Tinkerman has done wonderfully, but I don’t think he would begrudge a chunk of the credit to go to the beautiful bald Argentinian.

The Stig, MUFC, wrote in this morning wondering why Manchester United fans can’t chip in money for Messi. Well, Barca fans like having Messi too so you might similarly ask why they couldn’t chip in euros and raise about One billion for a pay rise and into the club’s account so they get to keep him. The only people who’d win here are, once again, the money men. So thanks a lot Stig, for giving them ideas.

Finally, I enjoyed Sarah’s piece on Manuel Pellegrini. I’d like to add, however, that although respect for Manuel the Man has universally gone up, I think respect for Manuel the Manager has gone down a bit. Quite frankly, I think he could have done better with the excellent set-up and resources they have at City. I for one am disappointed because I genuinely thought the man was world class! He built a fine Villareal team with Senna, Godin, Cazorla, and Forlan, and he also did a great job at Malaga. I thought he was a bit hard done by to be sacked by Madrid after a record league point total but it seems now that he does have his glaring weaknesses. Riquelme was allowed to strut around as he saw fit in Villareal’s midfield, and Yaya Toure too has been spotted a few times enjoying a cigar in the City midfield, only to wake up at the 70th minute mark.

Manuel is a soft manager, and he doesn’t instill enough discipline and ruthlessness to truly be a world class football manager. He is the Demichelis of managers. A talented man, but with weaknesses in his style of play.
Yusuf Bulama

 

Pulisball
Thanks for the excellent article regarding Managerial Pragmatism because I’ve been close to writing in for some time now regarding the dross we’ve been served at the Hawthorns recently. I defended Pulis at first because after the disastrous appointments of Pepe Mel and then Alan Irvine we needed some stability and to stay up. There was always the hope last season that, ‘its not pretty but we’ll build in the summer’.

After spending £8m (!) on James Chester who has played a handful of games and £12m on Solomon Rondon we have splashed out more than we have in recent years than most summers considering Peace’s reluctancy to spend. Rondon hasn’t exactly set the world alight but I’m still refusing to hold too much judgement for someone who has to chase everything that is hoofed up straight from defence whether its near him or not. We have creativity on the bench in Callum Mcmanaman who gets the odd 5 minutes now and then and Serge Gnabry went back to Arsenal without anyone having an idea if he was any good or not. The only exception is Jonny Evans who has been brilliant, and is now shoved out to left back as Pulis refuses to play full backs.

Swansea was horrific the other night, it was freezing and until we went behind made no attempt to score from open play. Four times this season we haven’t had a shot on target all game and many fans wont go to away games anymore because they know we wont try to win. At least when Pulis was at Stoke they had the long throw-ins, we are worse.

Leciester have shown everyone you can have a go now in the premier league. They’ve been amazing and I’m extremely jealous. There is no justification for Pulis’s style anymore, he’s a dinosaur. We’ve drawn at home to Swansea, lost to Bournemouth and couldn’t score against one of the worst premier league teams ever in the Villa, along with being unable to beat lower league Bristol City and Peterborough at home.

We won’t go down but after so many years of being a yo-yo club I miss the excitement. We scored over 100 goals in each season under Mowbray and I wonder if we’ll get one in each game that comes up.

Peace won’t care about the football but will care about the possibility of fewer season ticket renewals. Whenever I see the Man U fans from India and Ireland moaning about Van Gaal, I think they don’t know how lucky they are. At least they aren’t sat in the cold watching this rubbish

Pulis out and never to be seen in premier league football again!
S Ellis, Birmingham (Berahino is worth £25m, he’s just a pr**k)

 

Grassroots football: Not romantic (The return of the referee)
Having just read the email from that grassroots referee who talked about the level of abuse he received at an U16 match it got me thinking about how this was indicative of a greater malaise in football that has an impact all the way up to the England team in my opinion. I have three children who all play football at a pretty high level with the youngest (14) currently at a premier league academy, so I’ve stood on my fair share of touchlines over the years. What has never ceased to amaze me is the level of abuse directed towards opposition parents, referees and even the kids playing the game. Ive seen poor decisions by referees but never have I ever felt a referee was cheating or making anything other than an honest decision. Yet I have heard some incredible abuse as a result of what could be be described, at worst, as a 50:50 decision.

Interestingly enough having experienced watching my youngest play for a leading academy it struck me how strict they are with the parents, far more than with the kids. Early season meetings make it clear that anything untoward on the touchline will be met with immediate expulsion of the parent followed by a season long ban for said parent if the offence was repeated. No coaching advice from the line is permitted and absolutely no criticism of play, tactics or decisions. The result is not only a great environment to watch a game but also a freedom for the kids to express talent unhindered by the reaction of a load of failed nearly men (and women to be fair).

But here’s the real question. How do we expect to develop young talent in a way that will enable top premier leagues clubs and the England team to enjoy the benefit of those talents. Every week at junior level we see abuse hurled at referees and players. Kids who are implored to “clear their lines” or “get it up to the forwards” or even worse “stop dicking around with the ball”. Never mind the arguments and fights between opposition parents. (i’ve seen at least four fights on the touchline over the years) I think the poisonous atmosphere that can be found at junior football has a direct impact on the way our kids are raised to play football in this country. And that, when all is said and done, is the future of the game we all profess to love.

I agree with the grassroots referee. The FA only want to be “seen” to be tackling the issue. Nice respect barriers and signing codes of conduct count for nothing. If they really wanted to do something constructive for the future of the game in this country they could start by addressing the problems of grassroots football. Get rid of that atmosphere with people on the ground taking action and let coaches coach and kids play the game the right way. The rest of us can stick to driving duties.
Steve Manchester

 

Leave Lawro alone (kind of)!
Amidst all the valid disdain and scorn poured upon Lawro’s head for his weekly predictions/punditry/dress sense/general grumpy old man vibe (delete as you see fit, or maybe just don’t delete any of them), I see that he has predicted yet another Leicester defeat and has us 17th in his imagined table and Mediawatch is frothing with indignation (which I am assuming is it’s default mood, either that or suicidal despair).

In reply I would like to say – leave Lawro alone! Let the man continue to ‘entertain’ us with his steadfast belief that this season is the same as any old season and that Liverpool are destined never to lose a game again. My reasoning is simple and fool proof. I suspect that he isn’t allowed to predict a Leicester win under the strict instructions of Sir Gary of Linekar. Gary clearly saw how his early predictions, that we would lose every game, was diametrically opposite to the results we were seeing with our actual eyes on the actual pitch and instructed the hirsute one to continue to predict defeats upon us and thus, our golden run has continued. The one win he has been allowed to predict for us in recent memory ended with a 1-1 draw with Villa of all teams. ‘Never again’, said Sir Gary ‘or I will pull strings and you will be commentating on FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round replays next season’. So there you have it.

In all seriousness, his 2-1 to Man City isn’t a bad shout, and I think at the Etihad a draw is the best we can expect, but long may we continue to defy the pundits – it’s working out ok so far.
Rob (by predicting our own defeat, never let it be said that us Leicester fans are getting carried away – we shall leave that to you neutrals, bless you) Leicester

 

The first APFM?
Gabriele Marcotti as the first Actual PFM? Surely James Richardson? You fools!
Jonny, (I see you baby, chicken madras), South Shields

 

Favourite time of the week; Friday. You can always tell when Mr Nicholson actually likes someone. It shines through and makes for excellent reading. And he clearly loves Gabriel Marcotti! I agree with every word. The European Football Show is absolutely unmissable!

On a slight tangent many moons ago I worked off Mortimer Street and one evening was in the One Tun. In wafted this effete popinjay with a brick of a watch and hair that would make an Afghan Hound proud! I can verify to readers of this esteemed mailbox that he is every inch as much of a c*ck in real life as he comes across. And I am not ashamed to admit I sneaked a peek when he was standing next to me in the gents… Truly, a very, very small man.

You’re welcome.
Gregory Whitehead, LFC

 

Keep it up, guys
Nothing really in particular to add , but just had to say this morning’s mailbox (‘Man United are frog in boiling water’) might be the best I’ve ever read on here. Genuinely insightful writing, a few interesting ideas (I’ve got a fiver for the Messi-to-United fund right here), and properly funny to boot (Andros Townsend being pish both then and now).

Is Peter G in the US actually Pete Gill? I watch a lot of the Premier League but his knowledge of each teams typical tactics was very impressive. Also have to say I’m in complete agreement with Maniakos on Gary Neville. I fail to see how any other pundit can criticise his work at Valencia when they would never have had the nerve to try the same. Graeme Souness was a fairly lousy manager for the most part but he remains a highly-credible pundit both for his occasional attempt at actual analysis and for his barely-contained disdain for some of his colleagues. Who wouldn’t love to see Souness sat next to Robbie Savage, daring him to act the prat?

Anyway, just wanted to say thanks and keep up the good work. There’s better football journalism going on in this mailbox than in typical broadsheets.
Alistair Gilmour, Glasgow

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