Mails: Is Valencia stripping Neville’s aura?

Date published: Thursday 21st January 2016 11:40

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Is Nev’s credibility shot?
Sarah’s article on the Neviller echoed some thoughts that I have been having recently. Does the mailbox think that Neville has compromised his position as a pundit by his failure at Valencia?

Clearly Valencia is a club in trouble over a number of issues. It seems like Neville got the job principally because he would do it on the cheap and he is mates with a billionaire. As Sarah said, having your first management gig in a foreign country is always going to be a big ask but, well, this is the choice he has made.

The punditry couch is also littered with various degrees of failure already. If they were successful they’d still be managing. Normally Neville’s dabble in management at Valencia would be water off Keysie’s back and it’d be knee squeezing all around. The problem is that he was carving himself a career as a different and unique (certainly in mainstream media) voice in that leg squeezing, foreigner moaning and generally banal world.

Does it hurt his credibility now when he is trying to take managers to task? Easy to do from an iPad but apparantly not so easy in the dugout. The next time he is having a go at a United manager, they will be well within their rights to point out that it is harder at United than it was at Valencia. Do people think that his voice and opinions as a pundit are going to be tinged with an element of ‘Well, you couldn’t do any better?’

Dan (He could well be saved by the fact that football doesn’t exist outside of the Premier League of course).


Welcome Teixeira
Its happening again despite swearing off transfer rumours for life. Generally, the crud that floats to the surface of the transfer rumour pond is bulls**t. I know this. You know this. But occasionally a well respected journalist with obvious ties to a club breaks a story which is swiftly picked up on by the rest of the media world. This is what gets my hopes up.

I’ve already started drafting a strongest possible Liverpool team in my mind and including Alex Teixeira in it. I’m telling myself that the chance to work with Kloppo and alongside Lucas, Firmino and Coutinho will persuade the forward to join us. I’m conveniently forgetting that at Chelsea he’d earn more, live in London and be alongside Willian, Oscar and Kenedy. I assume that 26 goals in 25 games this season guarantees goals and gloss over the weakness of the Ukrainian league.

We will probably be gazzumped, but for now I have visions of Ian Ayre cruising down to Florida on his Harley, Sons of Anarchy style, and getting the deal done in time for next weekend.

It’s the hope that kills you…
Osric the Brave (about to hop onto youtube and watch his goals again), Cape Town


Reds respite
In a week where Liverpool fans are tearing their hair out over Shane Long, Simon Mignolet and Daniel Sturridge, last night provided a really nice respite.

The two games in this tie gave me several reasons to smile as a Liverpool fan because, sometimes, the little things are really just great.

1. Brad Smith – two great games, finally an Anfield debut and an assist to go with it. Always good to see, especially after a turbulent few months of contract dispute.

2. Joe Allen – there are few things I enjoy in football as much as Joe Allen scoring for some reason. He has given his all in his last few games and I really hope to see him play at the weekend.

3. Jon Flanagan – 613 days after his last game for Liverpool (a front 3 of Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling played against Newcastle. Gerrard and Agger also in the team. Sigh), he made his comeback and warmed the hearts of Liverpool fans (and Cafu) everywhere. Long may it last.

4. 4 of the 5 goals scored over the two games by Liverpool were players getting their first in an LFC jersey. Smith, Sinclair, Ojo and Texeira. Sure, they may be their last too, but still…

Sure, Benteke was frustrating as hell, Enrique was captain (yeah we’ll file this in the five-year-contract file of stupid Klopp decisions) and it was ‘only Exeter’, but sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy a game, isn’t it?
Kevin, LFC, Cork


Refusing to write-off Sturridge
In the past few weeks I’ve read and heard an awful lot of opinions regarding Daniel Sturridge, and there seems to be a great number of people who believe that his best days are behind him and that Liverpool would do well to cut their losses. This may or may not be true – only time will tell – but I’m of the opinion that Sturridge is Liverpool’s best player and they should stick by him. He may well need a significant amount a time to recover, but I thought I’d highlight the story of another professional sportsman who suffered career threatening injuries but overcame them to reach the top of his sport.

Dominick Cruz was the UFC Bantamweight champion for over 3 years but had to vacate the title after a series of injuries. He suffered two ACL injuries on his left knee along with a torn groin which kept him out for almost three years. He returned to defeat Takeya Mizugaki in September 2014 but then suffered an ACL injury to his right knee which kept him out for all of 2015. Such injuries could easily have finished his career, but Cruz battled back through endless hours of rehab and eventually returned to face the hugely talented T.J. Dillashaw, the young rival who had won the championship that Cruz never lost. Most people wrote Cruz off, citing ring rust and the ravages of time spent on the shelf. However, on 17th January 2016, Cruz overcame the odds to defeat Dillashaw and once again be crowned champion.

Now, Sturridge may never be the same player that he was before his recent injuries. This doesn’t mean that people should abandon faith in the man. Who knows, give Sturridge time to heal and he may just be the player to lead Liverpool, and England, to future glory.
Daniel Whittle, Leamington Spa.


Ground wars
An interesting argument from Vincent, though I don’t think it holds water.  For the biggest clubs, matchday revenue is currently worth around 25 to 30% of their total income; the bulk comes from commercials (sponsorship and TV, primarily).  With the new TV deal taking effect from next season, clubs can expect their TV payments to almost double, further diluting the importance of matchday revenue.

The Anfield redevelopment is covered by an interest free loan from FSG so will not cost the club anything to finance: no Arsenal style debt albatross.  Spurs’ Naming Rights Stadium is being built from scratch at a cost of anything from £400-800m, depending on whom one believes, and this will have to come from the banks.  Even the most optimistic forecast would see them having to scale back investment on the playing side, as Arsenal did, for six or seven years – leaving them at the mercy of Pochettino (or whoever)’s ability to follow Wenger in keeping them competitive under such conditions.

By the time either of these teams finishes work on their shiny new stadia, we’ll be trumpeting the unprecedented £10bn PL TV deal for 2019 onwards which will see clubs pulling in £200m just for turning up, and the extra 10,000 season tickets sold in North London will fade into inconsequentiality.
Jon Gibson LFC


…Can we put this Spurs larger new stadium than Anfield nonsense to bed? Based on the revenue figures out today, if Spurs eventually end up with a 10000 bigger capacity stadium than Liverpool, which is roughly what it will be. Based on having 30 home games a season, they would need to average a ticket price of around £450 for each of the additional 10000 seats to only match the revenue of Liverpool (not counting the Anfield expansion, which will be ready sooner). Couple that with the significantly higher cost of buying a stadium versus redeveloping one.

Plus with 17 Premier league clubs in the world’s richest 30, does a bigger stadium really matter at all anymore??? It is all about TV money. Match day revenue is barely even relevant, especially when the ridiculous sums start from next season.
Adam, LFC, Belfast.


Why are injuries a player’s fault?
There have been a few mails about who is the better player between Dele Alli and Jack Wilshere but the whole argument is a bit pointless. If you support Arsenal (and are not a #wengerout) it’s Wilshere, if you support Spurs it’s Alli and if you support anyone else you don’t give a sh*t.

One point that did come out of those mails though was that Jack seems to be blamed for being injured all the time, which I find a little unfair. Did anyone actually see the “tackle” from Paddy McNair that put him out of action last season? It was late, it was reckless and it should by definition have been a red card. People like to say that it was Wilshere’s fault for holding onto the ball for too long but there are no laws in the game about how long you can keep the ball. It’s like saying it’s ok if someone is stabbed when being robbed if they don’t hand over their wallet quickly enough.
Then the injury at the start of this season (coming after some superb performances for England and Arsenal) was a hairline fracture from a bad challenge in training. Yes Arsenal players make bad challenges too, I’m not denying that. How is it his fault that someone has cracked his fibula?
Luckily he is still young and he might still be able to live up to his potential but I find it galling that he is blamed for the fact that people like to kick him.
Adonis Stevenson, AFC


Concentrate on the league
Firstly, well done to Spurs for getting through to the next round. They thoroughly deserved it last night and showed their second string to have a lot more quality than ours at present. Son in particular was brilliant. Hopefully we will build over the next few years having as strong a squad depth as they do and be regularly fighting for trophies at the pinnacle of football. The same dream as every team.

This is not Leicester’s bubble bursting though. It was fairly clear from Ranieri’s comments and team selection that he wants to focus on the league. We now have 16 games left compared to the possible 25-30 games of those around us. The way we play with such intensity, this is very welcome. I personally think we’ll get 4th, but only just.

Besides, even if we lose every game for the rest of the season, we still won’t be relegated. Saying that in January as a Leicester fan is very pleasing!
Toby (We’ll just win the cup next year…) Mitchell


City out of order
Just thought I’d write in after something I saw on Sky Sports yesterday. I write in regards to the transfer of Anthony Caceres from Central Coast Mariners to Manchester City and his loan thereafter to City’s sister club Melbourne City. Now the rules in the A League state that players cannot move between two clubs in the league for a fee and so technically there is nothing wrong with the transfer but quite frankly it stinks of the City Group using one club to boost anothers chance of glory. I would say FIFA should investigate but they’re as dirty as anyone. Anyone else find this behaviour wrong or am I just being petty?
Owen, Dublin


Sorry about it, but the DAFs (Dads Against Football)  need to stop advertising their ideal 2.4 kids stultified existence in the esteemed mailbox, and get out more.

It’s actually a sad indictment of how expensive the game is now that it’s no longer a young man’s game.  Instead the bed rock of support seem to be these iPad tapping, quinoa munching, Audi driving, child rearing daddy bores.

Can’t you see that the mailbox, this wonderful smattering of pixels and invective, is the place you can come and just talk endlessly, intelligently, about football?  And you’ve come here to tell me about your wonderful wife and kids?  Shut up mate, the game’s on – you all sound like the pub drunk that used to know how to have fun.

I’m sorry for all the DAFs out there, whose existences are so cosseted they can’t revel in this spectacular season:  The season where Stoke are playing decent football, Where Chel$ki are doing a passable impression of a Championship side? Where LEICESTER might WIN the LEAGUE!?   Where Sergio Aguero, Dimitri Payet, Mesut Ozil, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Wes Hoolahan (lol) are doing such majestic things with footballs that your heart races and you have to clutch your balls to stop yourself pissing with excitement?

Nah, tell me again about your wife and kids.  I’m enthralled.
Lawless (PNE)


…I am delighted for Dom, that he has so much going for him. I just feel he has missed the point totally. Yes wife, kids, job all massive and all ultimately more important. Although I only tend to miss Baggies games for work. The other stuff can be juggled.

Dom has found football to be not as important. Great for him! To me football is the one thing in my life, that is for me. I am not concerned that the players don’t know my name, nor that the club views me as a customer. I love the Albion. When they win they make me happy. When they lose it depresses me. It may not be grown up, but having seen them lose a lot, the win’s feel all the more greater. The high is very high.

It is not surprising that Dom supports a team like Arsenal. That is used to winning (even if not the league) that the feeling eventually becomes a bit dull. I feel his email was one of self entitlighment. The rocky road of results, being angry against injustices on and off the field, the saturated coverage (he still cares enough to email this website) are all part of it. No winter break for me and increase the Premier League to 24 teams. I love it when the Albion are playing. It is not life or death but a brilliant distraction. Yes wife, kids, good career, all excellent things but all also have stresses. With football for 90 mins you can forget about everything else. For 90 minutes nothing else matters. And do you know what, Dom, sometimes you lose. But that is OK as well, because it doesn’t really matter.

It is not grown up to give up the sport for your family. The grown up decision is to handle yourself like an adult and not take it out on those around you, when things dont go your way. I suspect that Dom’s mates are probably glad he goes less. When I go to football I want to live it. Not discuss house prices or good primary schools.

I have been attempting a dry January, but with the Baggies playing the Villa on Saturday, I am going to enjoy my usual pre-match drinks and if we win enjoy several more after the game. Yes this will take me away from my gorgeous family, but you know what, they love me  and understand why it is important. I work really hard, and try to be the best husband and father possible so yes, I deserve my football.

So Dom, I don’t think your grown up at all. I think you have been an over privellaged football fan, who has lost sight of what you used to love about the game. Watch a few DVDs of your club. Feel the romance. Enjoy the release. Please stop being a self entightled div.
Come you Baggies (Ben)


…Dear Anonymous Gooner – whilst I enjoyed your response to Dom, and agree with most of the sentiments, please let me add something to the end of the common football supporting tale of going from “crazed season ticket holder, to growing up, to realising that it is all entertainment, the end”.  Because that’s not necessarily the end.  You can actually come full circle.

I was a fully-fledged home and away Hammer for a dozen years, then started a career, went to games less frequently, got married, went even less frequently, moved abroad, went not at all apart from the odd trip back plus 2 playoff finals and a cup final, then had two kids.  Kids get adorable West Ham shirts and all the gear, start watching matches on tv, become supporters in their own right, albeit arm chair ones, watch games on tv when they can, play Football manager on their iPads so have a healthy interest in football,  travel back to UK for one game at the Boleyn (0-0 against City, but enough that they are utterly hooked).  So far so good.

West Ham leave Upton Park in four months.  I managed to get tickets to the final game.  After much discussion it was decided that I’d take my boys (9 and 12).  My brother (with whom I shared many a year on the south bank) is coming back for it, as are other friends I haven’t seen for years and years.  The West Ham media machine has been churning out old dvd’s, youtube clips of famous Upton Park moments, old heroes are on our screens and it actually made me realise again how much I do passionately love the club, and value the time I spent there in my youth, however irrational that might be.  What’s more, my kids couldn’t be more excited, and are approaching the May trip with a mixture of total awe and complete innocence for THEIR team and THEIR heroes.  They see only the good in football at the moment.  The cycle may well start again.  I hope it brings them as much joy and passion as it did for me.

What’s more, football brings us all together as a family.  Instead of them disappearing behind a Playstation or DS or Facebook or whatever other modern anti-social nonsense challenges your ability to spend time with your kids.  Now we sit down at 9am every Saturday over here and watch West Ham together, shrieking and hollering.  We share a complete passion and love for our team together, and that I must say is utterly awesome.

So while I agree that football is just entertainment, and is not to be taken out of perspective in a negative way (and that is the key distinction), and it is natural to not devote as much time as you used to, it can also be much more than entertainment.  You can actually still be just as passionate about it, live and die inside with every result, even if you don’t go to the games.  It’s a connection between friends and generations of family.  I can’t think of anything else that is quite like that.

Nice topic.  Funny old game eh!
Mike “We’ve Got Payet”, Cayman Islands


Defending Carlos
I just had to write in to correct a couple of glaring injustices blurted out by Andy, London. During his time at Madrid, Roberto Carlos (or Larcos as PES commentators used to say) was never in charge of free-kicks full time. He was behind the pecking order to the number one guys throughout his entire Madrid career: Hierro, later Mijatovic, then Hierro again, Figo, and finally Beckham. He did however get those that were too far off for the rest (30m+) and occasionally those that were far too close for the technical masters (a thunderbolt from the edge of the box can be devastating in breaking balls or finding cracks in a fearful wall).

To answer the question regarding the Tenerife goal, he had to shoot as the ball was going out! It’s one of the most amazing goals of all time! Let’s not take the merit off  due to hazy memories. While we’re at it, let’s recognise the actual king of superfluous back-heels: Guti. I’m struggling to remember more than two Roberto Carlos back-heels, but from the transexual loving blonde pony-tailed genius I can’t remember two passes that weren’t!
André (God, I love football, let’s keep these icon profiles coming!) London 


Stretching an analogy
Matt. L. London, if Shane Long is like a 90s Supra, does that analogy extend to him being a little bit rusty and maybe sometimes not working?  While it has a great engine, your Supra will be missing some of the things we take for granted in a modern car – things your new Porsche 911 has.  Your old Supra will have been driven by several previous owners. They all drove it and maintained it in different ways. It’ll likely spend more time being maintained so it performs regularly at the same standard of the Porsche.  You see, the Porsche, while expensive, is consistent and reliable.  You pretty much know what it’ll do when you turn the key.  Its exciting, modern and will draw admiring glances from your neighbours.

While the Supra is great value for money, one day it’ll out perform the Porsche, the next it might not work at all. Some people will look at your Supra and perhaps think, “I bet he wishes he had a Porsche, but he can’t afford one.”  They might find your 15-20 year old car to be rather uninspiring, even though you keep telling them how good it is. They start wondering why a man who used to drive Porsches is now in an old Supra.  They look out their windows one day and see you struggling to get it started. From then on in, you can’t shake their opinion that your Supra is unrealiable even though you’re screaming at them that it’s only happened once and that it’s a great value car.  They tell your other neighbours.  Before long the whole neighbourhood not only thinks that your Supra is unreliable and unpredictable, and they all think that you can’t afford a Porsche anymore.


Arsenal before Arsene
Following Wenger out the door when he leaves? are you taking the mick?

Your assertion Arsenal generally finished second before Wenger arrived is quite frankly nonsense. In fact even in the decade before his arrival I don’t think it happened once let alone “usually”.

Do some research – it’s not that difficult. Before Wenger, the general rule was we mounted a title challenge or we weren’t that bothered but when were we generally won the league.

And what about Mircropose Soccer?!!
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


Computer game corner
You’re all wrong!

The greatest football game of all time was Pele’s Soccer on the Atari. Using the unique and somewhat rigid 2-1 formation it was on the Atari where we could first score a virtual goal. Imagine it! Football that I control on my own TV!
Lee (far too old) LFC


…Final word on football computer games. Wasn’t there a version of FIFA where you could be Robbie Williams? Like, Robbie Williams off of Take That, the pop band, yeah ‘back for good’, those lads? Please, someone tell me this happened, because if it didn’t I really need to re-evaluate pretty much all of my life.I vividly remember making sure Robbie was on the other team so I could crunch his legs over & over whilst listening to Boyzone.
Ryan (f*** Take That) Dundalk FC

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