A good week of Mails. Now we look forward to some variation in the pre-Euros fortnight. Keep them coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NB: We get more wrong than right
I can’t remember who wrote the story, but if I remember correctly, one of you guys nailed the Mourinho signing.
It was written at the time of Fergie’s retirement that his successor would not be Mourinho at that stage. The reasoning and timeline were spot on.
Your writer said that Mourinho would not take over at United while they were at the top, because Mourinho would not want to be the one to do any worse and would prefer to come in at a time when United were struggling and become its “saviour”.
You certainly got it right. Well done, and can you now tip me some lottery numbers?
United are the story again
At the start of the 2014/15 season, one of your staff – I think, Sarah Winterburn, but I’m not sure – wrote something along the lines of, “Whether United succeed or fail under Van Gaal, they’ll still be the story of the season.”
To me that was the worst part of the Van Gaal reign. United were never the story. He made the club irrelevant – so boring that you couldn’t muster enough enthusiasm to be angry/amused by them, so slightly above average that they weren’t worth the slightest thought.
Mourinho could go either way. But at least United won’t be irrelevant any more.
Stephen O’S, MUFC
Jose looked smart, and that’s a good start
Is it just me or has Jose made a special effort to look tip top for his press unveiling? clean shaven short hair, suited and booted, like a new starter first day in an office job. Looking forward to next season now, Zlatan teaching Rashford & Martial a few things, what could go wrong? Don’t answer that it was rhetorical.
Paul Murphy, Manchester
Should Chelsea be p*ssed about Jose’s quote?
“There is a mystique and a romance about it which no other club can match,” Jose Mourinho.
If I was a Chelsea fan, I’d be mightily browned off about this quote. But it’s not surprising. He frequently spoke about his own personal success rather than Chelsea’s when he was manager there.
I finally completely lost faith in Arsene Wenger last season. I think next season will be another wasted one, while we wait in limbo before we can appoint a manager that can take us to the next level. But one thing I don’t doubt is Arsene’s loyalty.
As much as I hate Chelsea, their fans deserve more respect than Jose has shown them. For Chelsea fans, Jose is their greatest manager – I suggest he acts like it.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
If you watch games as a neutral, interest inevitably wanes
I find that my enjoyment of a game is hugely diminished if I watch it as a complete neutral.
I watch quite a lot of football and for the majority of games I will have a preference for who I want to win, however slight that preference may be it does make watching the game more enjoyable.
Whether it be because the result will have an effect on the club I support, or purely just because I like one team’s manager/players/tactics/kit/mascots better, it definitely enhances the game as it gives me something to root for. That way I’m able to feel the full range of footballing emotions that the game is all about, albeit on a much smaller scale to when my own team is actually involved.
In my opinion, watching football from a detached, objective perspective is boring. I can still appreciate the overall skill of both teams whilst still giving myself the added involvement of willing a team to victory.
Football and sick pay
Cian states that you would be p*ssed off if you didn’t get paid due to sickness or injury. Which is exactly what happens to millions of people across the UK on a weekly basis. It’s the reason that Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) exists, as most companies have any number of policies determining when and how much people get paid due to sickness. For example when I had to take 3 weeks off with a broken ankle I received SSP rather than the pay that was agreed in my contract. This was despite my employer agreeing to pay me that salary every month.
Most companies also use any number of algorithms to calculate what constitutes patterns of absence requiring investigation. Frequent “illness” can lead to dismissal and not getting paid at all. Football clubs undoubtedly use all the same algorithms for non-playing staff at the club, bet the Tea lady doesn’t get paid if she isn’t at work.
So, why do players like Wilshere not get offered no basic salary and simply get paid on a fit to play contract. I.e. if you are unavailable for selection you don’t get paid, if you are available you get paid 50k that week and if you play you get the 50k + another 50k appearance fee. The answer is supply and demand. If Arsenal offered Jack a new contract with no base salary, he would simply leave and get paid to sit in the treatment room at another club.
However, if you look at the rumoured contract Michael Owen received at United, it had a low (for a footballer) base salary and big pay incentives for him if he was fit and playing. I would imagine that when Jack’s contract comes up for renewal he suffers a similar fate as, at this point, everyone knows he is injury prone and will miss at least half of the games every season.
Colin, WFC (wonder how much less Jack would party on SSP)
On FA Cup quarter-finals
It seems to have sneaked under the radar a little but the FA has scrapped replays in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. This has been on the agenda for a while and will presumably make its way back to the third round (and beyond) in due course. Now, anyone can argue the merits of this (I am old enough to remember second, third and fourth replays) but what I have never understood is why the FA has never introduced extra time.
It seems to me perfectly sensible, before you take the radical steps of scrapping replays in one or two rounds (creating a bit of an uneven contest at the quart final stage given that someone is at home), to move to extra time in all rounds and see how many fixtures that cuts out. I always find it odd that you can have a ding-dong cup tie, someone equalises in the last minute and everyone goes home. Surely give it another half an hour before you chuck out the replays altogether?
English commentators are English-centric
Another thing to add to Paul Watson, exiled Shrimper, living in Surrey’s email is the commentators slavish devotion to telling the viewer that one of the oppo players had once turned out for an English club. Take Steven N’Zonzi in the recent Europa League final. A man with a name so common that we had to constantly be reminded it was indeed he who had spent some time at Blackburn and then Stoke. Often this is prefixed with ‘once of X’ or chortles will accompany how good is he is now versus how crap he was when warming the bench for some big club or other. Really grinds my gears!
It’s so PL centric it’s unreal. And simply downright insulting to think the viewer so poorly educated in football matters so as not to know who a player with almost 200 top flight appearances might be…
Gregory Whitehead, LFC