Keep your lovely emails coming in to firstname.lastname@example.org. And that’s an order.
Tottenham: Very, very good
4-0? FOUR – NIL? And we could/should have had six?
Who are you and what have you done with my Tottenham?
Lloyd Stiles, THFC, Vienna
Toby Alderweireld: Very, very good
The attacking players will no doubt get all the plaudits after that mauling.. but seriously how was Toby Alderweireld not on the Player of the Year shortlist!?
Think of the puppies, Roy
If Rooney starts for England instead of either Kane or Alli, I will stamp on Roy Hodgson’s puppy.
I don’t particularly mind if that’s a euphemism or not.
Tottenham are superb and those two are the main reason why.
I wish I was a Spurs fan, I really do.
Won’t somebody think of the Arsenal fans?
Tottenham are going to win the league and there won’t be enough bleach to cleanse the world after that.
Why yes, I am an extremely bitter Arsenal fan, why do you ask?
A Leicester fan has a reminder for you
Just read a few articles on Spurs, some tweets by Spurs fans and saw celebrations after the game last night. Congratulations to Spurs for winning the league, we gave you a good fight!
Oh, sorry, what’s that? They are still five points behind us with four games left? Oh dear, that’s awkward.
David (5 points clear) Smit
Have Spurs learned their lesson?
Well, I thoroughly enjoyed that.
I haven’t checked, but I imagine all our pre-season plans are finalized by now. I just hope that the club put next season first rather than chasing high profile, money spinning opportunities.
I’m sure that playing Bayern Munich three days before our first game contributed to our sluggish start to this season. After two games we were five points behind Leicester. 32 games later and …
John THFC, Saigon
Another good (and long) one on Villa
I was glad to see Mike AVFC’s points about Villa’s players and the criticism that I also feel has been mis-placed at the feet of the foreign signings this season, they haven’t been great, but there are some decent players there, ones who would likely show themselves to a greater degree in a better squad, sadly the long-standing and experienced squad they are in is not that.Villa’s biggest failures on the pitch have been their experienced heads.
Villa seem to have taken the bold approach of working in the opposite way to how a club should develop; you should identify your key, talented players, and build around them, instead Villa have taken the novel approach of selling their key players and building around the players who are left behind and who have proven, time and again, that they are not remotely good enough. Lo and behold we struggle, and get worse year on year eventually leading to this season’s embarrassment.
Across the Midlands, Leicester have proven that an astutely assembled team of driven players working together as a collective sum of their parts can succeed, whereas Villa have proven that the direct opposite approach unsurprisingly leads to the direct opposite outcome. Villa are not a collective unit and their assembled parts are largely mentally broken and/or just not good enough. However, Mike has voiced that point as well as I could hope to, so I’ll just comment on the other point he raises. The ownership.
I’ve read on a few occasions, most recently from Harry Redknapp I think, that Randy Lerner isn’t the main problem, that he’s continued to put money into the club. And that’s true, he has, but his investment record post O’Neill has been shocking. O’Neill had final say on his signings, he wouldn’t have it any other way, and he built a successful team that was stubborn, resilient and hard to beat out of some unfancied names; he signed some crap too I might add; Didier Agathe, Habib Beye, Nicky Shorey, but at least the buck stopped with him, and that’s arguably why we succeeded, it was his team, and it was assembled to play his way.
But after their very public break-up, Lerner went M.I.A, starting the process of hiring people to run his empire in his absence, as his interest seemed to wane; the dreaded transfer committees, heads of player recruitment, Business execs, PR mouthpieces, unpopular CEOs, directors of football. He made poor decision after poor decision, both behind the scenes and front of house, he has continually hired the wrong people and spent a lot of money doing it, and his succession of poor choices behind the scenes hired in an attempt to revive his ailing business, have led as much to the club’s rapid demise as anything else, and ultimately he has to be responsible for that. It’s his business.
He seems to forgotten the football fundamentals, work towards getting it right on the pitch first by keeping it simple, hire a good manager, trust them and their selected backroom staff and don’t over complicate the football side of things with too many competing opinions, after all the results on the pitch are the driving force behind where your business goes. Somewhere along the line, it seems to have been forgotten that he’s running a football club first and foremost.
Eventually the apparent disinterest, culminating in him putting the club up for sale, has finally and terminally trickled down to the pitch, and all passion and belief has evaporated from around the club. As fans, we have spent more time in the past few years working on our protest banners than believing in any on the pitch improvements.
Up until now, the squad has always had just enough talent or belief to stay up, but ultimately, you can’t circle the drain forever, eventually you’ll get flushed, it happened to teams like Wigan and further back Coventry before us, there comes a point where you have to improve beyond endless relegation scraps, and simply put, we haven’t. You won’t find a Villa fan who will state that we haven’t seen this coming or who believes that we have some divine right to stay in the division, we don’t. We’re angry yes, but I feel more a sense of frustration born out of a terminal fatigue amongst the club’s fanbase than anything else.
We’re tired of saying the same things again and again, protesting the same mismanagement again and again, tired of yet more awful and lifeless performances, of unwanted club records being set, of the relentless stream of negativity and bad news that emanate from the club on an almost daily basis. We sing “We want Lerner out” at every game, but the truth is even Randy Lerner wants Lerner out, he just can’t get out, and he won’t until he re-evaluates what he’s asking for it.
So, for better or worse (and let’s face it, it’s for worse) we’re stuck with each other, and with the seeming apathy at the top filtering down through all facets of the club, that’s a worrying situation to be in going into the notoriously competitive and unforgiving world of the Championship.
Jamie (Supporting Villa is a great way to discover new hobbies) AVFC
On defenders and current players as pundits
Tonight I started watching MNF and at first got excited to see Cesc on the show. Explaining this to the girlfriend I mentioned that it’s always great to hear from current ‘top-draw’ players as generally it’s the only other time you hear from them apart from pre/post match for one of their own games. Then you just generally get ‘fan-friendly’ or non-controversial quotes like “all the guys put a huge effort in tonight” or “we’ll have to pick ourselves up and move on to the next” etc…. Hearing Cesc talk about the systems he played at Barca for Pep and this year’s shocker at CFC was equally fascinating.
Anyhow getting back to the point of the mail, I then mentioned that its great hearing from current players as they are commenting directly on teams/players they know well and are still playing against. This got me thinking do ex-player pundits get worse as time goes on, and their career’s relevancy to the modern game diminish? While G.Nev and Carragher are excellent with even Jenas coming out with the odd gem, I think you can see Henry slowly slide into a quasi-slick french PFM of cliches. While EMO has always been a bit monotone the cliches and catchphrases are becoming more and more common…
Arguably Danny Mills was also great at first – who knows Shearer may have been great in his first season on MOTD (whoo there!). Here’s hoping that Carragher doesn’t decline like this. While I don’t want to get drawn into the Vardy ‘narrative’ too much I thought his points on the decisions yesterday were bang-on and clearly (well apart from the Scouse accent) articulated. I really rate him as a pundit and hopefully he can keep up the good work a bit like Alan Hanson.
Also – is it just me or do former defenders make the best pundits? G.Nev, Carragher, Hanson, Dixon (?), well maybe not Rio then! Midfielders are a mixed bunch, Seedorf, Mills, Savage showing a downward line of quality. Forwards are generally a bit meh, Shearer, Owen being the main culprits. If you haven’t of guessed I can’t rate Tierrry Henry – he’s so cliched and noncommittal and a fan of lingo bingo. I’d go as far as to say that if he wasn’t French he’d be out with Reidy falling out of of a Parisian nightclub called Va Va Voom at 4.30am with Miss Airport Workers’ Union Strike 1998 on his arm….
Anyway – does anyone think that this ‘positional bias’ to a ex-player’s punditry quality is due to defenders generally being more tactically aware? This is especially true in my mind of the Sky pair as neither was blessed with pace, knew it, and adjusted their reading of the game accordingly. Compare this to Owen who had bags of pace (when not injured) and frequently finished ‘instinctively’, so maybe never had to play so tactically astute?
Adam ‘please don’t let spurs win it’ CFC
Moral of the story: Don’t call the referee a f**king c**t
So, the FA decide to charge Jamie Vardy after calling John Moss a f**king c**t which then brings out former players, journalists, fans sticking up for him on the basis that everyone does it, everyone calls the ref a f**king c**t and that Vardy has been singled out. I am pretty sure that there is a respect campaign going on where we are trying to teach children to respect the decisions of the ref and to get on with the game with high profile players supposedly the role models for this campaign. If the FA don’t charge people for calling the ref a f**king c**t, what does this teach kids? That it’s fine to call the ref a f**king c**t? Ridiculous. No one should be called a f**king c**t just for doing their job. If it’s ok to abuse ref’s in this way, why should they bother reffing a game at all? What would happen to the game without them? With no refs, no game. Good on the FA for finally charging someone for abusing the ref, just because everyone does it, doesn’t make it right. I honestly can’t believe the reaction of people sticking up for Vardy.
Why players swear…
Roughly every time there’s a big to do about refs and respect, someone will bring out the line about rugby players and say “look how much respect these players show their referees, why can’t footballers do that?” (although the rugby one wasn’t trotted out this time). I think the refs have to take some portion of the blame, along with the FA/FIFA.
The reason the rugby players respect the ref is because when there’s an incident, at the break in play, the referee calls the captain(s) over along with the an offending player and explains the reasoning behind the decision, citing the rules and exactly why the infraction occurred based on his viewpoint. As one of the worst offenders for shouting at refs, I can tell you that’s all I really want. I know the ref’s make mistakes. They probably make less mistakes than I do in a match. But when I mess up, I have to explain why I did. Imagine (and I’m assuming most people here play football) you play an absolute stinker of a pass and your mate is like “what the hell was that?” and your response was to be like “no no no, not listening, I’ve played my pass”. Do that 2 or 3 times and you’d swiftly be subbed. But if you at least explain what you were trying to do with your pass, you could at least be forgiven for the intention. There’s nothing more infuriating than when a referee dismisses you off hand. Maybe it’s because they don’t know themselves why they have made a certain decision.
The FA/FIFA thing is a point that’s been made before. The reason rugby refs feel empowered to explain their decisions is that they know they can produce a card for dissent and be backed up by video/audio evidence. I know that’s also in the rules for football, but there’s no clear backing for the ref. I’ve yet to see (and I could be mistaken) anyone in the FA/Premier League come out with backing for Moss, because they’ve got nothing to go on. I’m not saying that we should broadcast the ref’s mic every game, but the whole match could be recorded and submitted as part of the match report, where the ref can highlight times where something needs to be reviewed. Simply, if a player calls the ref a f*****g c**t in the 57th minute (just an example picked at random), the ref can note that in his book and it can be reviewed after the game where the offender can be retrospectively punished with clear, solid evidence (it’s not always as clear as the Leicester game). Additionally, in incidents of controversy, a panel could review the amount of times Leicester players were warned about grabbing in the box to prove that they had fair warning that a foul may be given. With all this in mind, the ref can start giving one warning for abusive behavior to the team captain, followed by a yellow card to the next offender, regardless of previous offences. As we’ve said before, it’ll result in a lot of yellow and red cards early in the season, but if the refs consistently apply this in every game, it won’t take long for players to get the hint.
I’m not condoning it, but players will try anything to get ahead in a game. It’s been shown time and again that constantly “informing” the ref that he has made an incorrect decision eventually works out pretty well for you. In a tight game the ref, being only human, is more likely to give a 50/50 in your favour if he thinks he has been unfair to you during the game to that point. Once you engrain this at the top level, it’ll trickle down to the grassroots. It won’t be easy or fast, but it’ll get there eventually. We’re too far gone for any silver bullet fixes.
Mark, Hong Kong
Some Newcastle sense
I just wish to thank Sarah Winterburn for her article on Newcastle Utd and what they have to offer in this relegation fight. Common sense has finally been put down on paper (sort of speak)
All we hear from ‘experts’ is how Newcastle are already down and how the Big Sam or Defoe factor will keep Sunderland up. It gets a bit annoying.
Finally someone has noticed the other team down there has Rafa Benitez in charge, RAFA BENITEZ, with players teams like Norwich and Sunderland couldn’t sign in a month of Sundays.
Put it simply if Newcastle had Big Sam in charge and were totally relying on Jermaine Defoe to stay up…..we would actually be a lot more depressed than we are.
Oh, you guys
Wow! I read Monday’s mailboxes late in the day and there are a lot of people that need a hug. I feel obliged to defend F365 one more time…
I have written in and been critical of the website before (one published a few not) but the reason I come back every day is that F365 speaks to me. I generally share the same view points and the same outlook around the game. When I don’t agree I’m passionate enough to challenge it and I love that there is a forum to do that.
F365 is an opinion based website much more so than just a news website. It goes against the grain of a lot of the crap that’s in the redtops, and for me (Clive), it’s a refreshing voice. Sometimes I disagree with what’s being said, but that’s ok, it’s F365’s opinion vs mine. But generally I agree with their viewpoints.
However, in my opinion, if you think calling someone an f****** c*** with that kind of vitriol is acceptable, and you think it’s ok to brush off a racist attack with an apology and it never be mentioned again, then you’re probably shopping in the wrong place for your opinion pieces.
Yes footballers swear, and if Vardy said ‘That was a F****** S*** decision, Ref’ then not much would’ve been made of it. He would’ve been attacking the man’s decision. Not what you want kids to hear but it’s no big deal at the top level. But he didn’t say that. He attacked a man. Again. Albeit verbally, but an attack none the less. If you think that’s ok at any level and in any situation then I’m more than happy for you to have your anti-F365 rant and then preferably never come back.
Love you F365.
Guess who is compiling this Mailbox?
Just wanted to say this week’s winners and losers entry was spot on, as usual, especially on the whole Moss “scandal”. I also liked the bit on Berahino, and Spurs might as well Levy him on a bargain this summer. Glad to see a lot on Newcastle and Sunderland, it just might be a fantastic relegation battle between Norwich and them. Maybe digressing here from the hate mails, but well done F365.
Wrapping up a few things to finish
There have been a couple of interesting mailboxes over the last couple of days and I have a few comments to add to the masses.
1. Can we all just get over the whole “F365 is biased against my team” gumph? I can’t speak for everyone but part of the reason I love this site is that it is about opinion and not just pure match reports – I’ll go to the BBC or Sky for those. This site is all about opinion-based pieces as far as I’m concerned; if I start to dislike the opinions I’ll stop reading I won’t write in to moan about them.
2. In terms of Everton fans being careful what they wish for, I thought we were pretty much done with that argument after this season. I’d say that it worked out pretty well for West Ham and Leicester in a similar situation. Everton should be doing better than they are, so they’re entitled to ask for change. So long as they recruit sensibly and make a shrewd appointment, changing their manager isn’t an unreasonable thing to do.
3. The line that keeps getting rolled out about ten penalties a game for shirt pulling – so what? If there are 10 penalty-award-worthy infractions in a game, I want to see 10 penalties given. It’s the refereeing inconsistency that is more annoying than conceding soft penalties/free kicks, where one team gets away with it because of “totting up” and the other is punished the first time they do it. Yes, it would be ridiculous to start with but these daft defenders who constantly manhandle opponents in the area would have two choices: stop doing it and learn to be defend within the laws of the game or constantly give away penalties. Self-preservation would soon win the day.
4. Referee abuse is not acceptable for any reason – that’s why there are laws in the game to punish it. More referees should start to do so, and again, it would soon stop. If you can’t handle getting a red card when you’ve done something wrong, I’d suggest you aren’t suited to being a footballer. Be annoyed at yourself or even at the referee if you disagree with the decision but deal with it like a reasonable human being – is that so much to ask?