Mails: Leicester fans just like United ones

Date published: Monday 18th April 2016 2:07

Leicester Football365

Send your Football365/Jamie Vardy hate mail to theeditor@football365.com. But not before you’ve read the latest Mailbox Guest. Here’s Caolan on Scottish football

 

The backlash to the backlash
It wasn’t an inconclusive dive, he saw the defender coming and comically threw his body into him. Ashley Young’s weird leg comes to mind.

He isn’t just a stereotyped chav, he had an ankle tag for beating someone up. Even that has been romanticised in the Jamie Vardy fairytale.

He called someone an obviously racist term in a casino. Repeatedly. He didn’t even look particularly drunk, he just looked angry.

And now he’s jabbing his finger in the ref’s face and calling him an effing Scunthorpe. Yes, it’s not super offensive – not least anymore – but it’s the intent that matters. It’d be the same if he was calling a flaming rotter – it’s just horrid really, treating someone with that little respect.

The alleged ‘anti Vardy’ narrative seems common sense to me honestly – long may it continue. Vardy is one of the reasons I really don’t want to see Leicester win the title, albeit that it’d be great for Ranieri, Morgan, etc. I’d much rather Tottenham win it and not have to hear the media and football fans talk about how much of a hero Vardy is for the next hundred years.
Theo, LFC, Liverpool

 

Interesting mailbox this morning…I don’t think it’s a case of whether the ‘phrasing’ of Vardy’s comments caused offence. From the FA’s website:

Cautionable offences:
· unsporting behaviour
· dissent by word or action

Sending-off offences:
· Using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures
Source: http://www.thefa.com/football-rules-governance/laws/football-11-11/law-12—fouls-and-misconduct.aspx

I’d argue that, even if a yellow hadn’t been awarded for the ‘dive’ (in my opinion/for me, the ref got that one right) that the subsequent abuse would have earned it. That level of dissent needs to be punished; it’s not okay. At St. Mary’s during the Sunderland game, a man behind me was silent for the whole game, until Kirchoff drew a foul against Matt Targett in the left-back area. Admittedly, I didn’t think it was a foul, but the language and abuse that followed was absolutely neanderthal. It’s not okay; referees are bloody well human. Why has ‘the beautiful game’ allowed itself to become so horrendously ugly? I don’t buy the ‘working-class origins’ and the like. It’s nature versus nurture. I can’t stand rugby, but could you imagine a rugby player mouthing off like that? It’s inexcusable.

This isn’t meant to be a ‘think of the kids’ email, but when is an example going to be made?

Also, I want Leicester to win the league, but f**k Jamie Vardy. Good player; prick of a human. He looks like an amalgamation of every school bully (probably answered my own question about ‘ugliness’). I hope his ban gets extended.

Cheers,
Stu, Southampton.

 

We all love the fact that Leicester are probably going to win the league, but jeez the amount of people in this morning’s mailbox defending diving and swearing at the ref is jaw dropping. Imagine if Rooney did that, mailboxers would be lining up with their pitchforks and flaming torches to lynch him. Diving is diving and shouting at the ref is shouting at the ref, both are wrong no matter who’s done it and the circumstances surrounding it. And where’s the logic in it? Is Jon Moss going to think “hmmmm, well it was a blatant dive, but gee Vardy calling me a f*****g c**t has changed my mind, he can stay on.”

What happened to the Respect campaign? We all know it’s a joke, but it’s only a joke because people do things like defend Vardy’s conduct yesterday.

Also Paul, “I have both dived and called referees c**ts before”. You’re part of the problem. I know your Sunday league match is super serious life or death stuff, but I don’t see how verbally abusing a fellow human for doing their job is justified. You’re definitely the one who should bore off.
Rob (these stoppage time goals are going to decide the top of the Championship) Hull fan in Leeds

 

Kind Regards, Christian

Your email this morning regarding the swearing was ridiculous. Of course words don’t directly hurt anyone, but it is a case of just being a normal human being and acting like a professional. If I called someone a f**king c**t at work I would get a disciplinary and rightly so, because we live in a society where certain behaviours are expected – and my work isn’t broadcast on national TV, nor am I an influential sportsman who numerous young fans look up to.

If a cricketer did that to an umpire he would be fined a large percentage of his match fee. A tennis player would be censured along the same lines. A rugby player would be sin-binned. Why do footballers and football fans such as yourself continually think it is okay to step outside these normal human rules? You are not unique or special.
NS, Burton

 

Christian Are you really offended by the words “f****** c***”?

Not in the slightest, if I’m havng a laugh with my mates in the pub, but if someone I know called me that in front of my kids then they would be quietly ushered out of the door. Thats not a mistake and it needs to be stamoed out of the game. imagine if you made a decision at work and your boss confronted you lke that??

Watching kids football, playing sunday league or any level the attitude towards referees is appalling, they mimic what they see. Kids see that, and then think thats okay. Yes its parents responsibity to bring them up in a well mannered way but when thats going on what hope is there. Vardy’s a great player, I want my kids to see him score goals of the season and put a shift in, but just Vardy’s contorted face is enough for me not to want my son (or daughter) to watch the game that I love. Pure hatred. When kids stop watching, they stop playing and then that will be that for the greatest game.
Tom

 

I thought we finished with this last week, but it has reared it’s ugly head again; the ‘Football 365 Bias’.

How dare you? How very dare you? A simple man. One of low prestige and good footballing ability. Racist? Nah, that was drunken banter. Who amongst us has uttered racial slurs while a few tipples deep? Abusing the ref? F*ck off! He was a f*cking c*nt. Another bias one jealous of my rags to riches movie plot. Every time he’s built as a hero or plucky you ram your opinions down our throats. Forcing us to read a la A Clockwork Orange. Can you just not? The man was contrite. Contrite, damn it!
Conor (Being drunk is not an excuse for doing something bad, it is an excuse to stop drinking), Dublin

 

The only thing boring about the Vardy criticism on F365 is the criticism of the criticism. ‘Done a racist?’ Really? I suppose Adam Johnson is in prison for having ‘done a sexy’? I’d also take issue with the ‘vilified more than any other player’ comment. Vilify means to abusively denigrate someone. I don’t remember seeing any evidence of this – just valid, consistent criticism of his behaviour, a criticism repeated so often only because there is so much attention on Vardy and his club this season. Sorry if one of Leicester’s star players being a racist “dampens your enjoyment” of their success, but really your issue should be with the player’s actions rather than the way it is reported.
Matt Hennessey

 

Meh meh meh-meh meeeehhhh, f*** you for writing nasty things about Jamie Vardy. I think it’s scandalous that you, the only football website on the internet, charge your readers £5 per article only to praise Leicester for being good at football but acknowledge it’s bad when players are racist and twatty. Don’t you realise this is clearly a binary issue and you can’t possibly make those criticisms when they’re about to win the bloody league? You can take your nuance and clarity and shove it.

Best regards,
Apparently everyone in your mailbox this morning.

 

It’s interesting/awkward that everyone who has written in to tell us how Vardy’s racism is not a big deal and is being over indulged by Football365 signs off with, what sounds like, white male English names.

Also, I don’t want to research myself but I remember a fair few mailboxes and articles devoted to Suarez’s and Terry’s respective racist issues. Why should Vardy be treated differently?
Minty, LFC

 

REVEALED: What Vardy actually said
Dear MC,

I can see what’s happened here. Everyone seems to have misread what Vardy said. He didn’t shout “F*cking C*nt” to the referee, he was looking beyond him at the time. He was shouting to his two colleagues to take responsibility. “Fuchs and Kante!”. And then he suggested they take control in his absence. Or something like that.
JazGooner (anyone but Spurs to win)

 

Leicester fans = Man United fans
The bias from Leicester fans and sympathisers was unreal this morning. They must have pretty quickly got used to having it easy from referees – they’ve not even won the league yet and they’re already the new Man Utd!

1. I don’t buy the argument that ‘if he gives that West Ham penalty, he has to give five, six, twelve etc penalties’. Clearly some kind of totting up procedure has taken place. Yes, these incidents do take place every week in every game, but we know that Morgan and Huth are ‘old-school’ and some of the worst offenders for it. Moss let a few go, and gave them a warning, but they continued to man-handle players in the box so they were punished for it. It’s just like when a player gets booked for persistent fouling, despite the actual incident seeming innocuous – it’s a totting up of the four or five previous ones. Seems fair enough to me.

2. Vardy dived, plain as day. I don’t know anyone can watch that and argue any different. He’s running alongside Ogbonna, then he steps RIGHT across the front of him to initiate a tangle of legs and throws himself onto the floor. Of course it’s a dive, and of course he has to give him the second yellow card afterwards. I don’t have a strong opinion on the man, I don’t think he’s much different to any number of professional footballers who you might say were less than wholesome human beings – but that is irrelevant here, when all you need to say is, he dived and was punished correctly. As for swearing at the referee afterwards – I’m sure if you look at all the red cards this season, 90% of the time the players would have sworn after being dismissed. It’s not like they’re going to be happy about is it? I doubt he’ll get the ban extended for that.

3. Moss got one big decision wrong in my opinion – and that was in giving Leicester their penalty. Carroll administers a simple shoulder barge to Schlupp, who goes flying because he’s about a foot shorter and half the weight of Carroll. That’s never a penalty in a million years. I think maybe he felt the pressure of the crowd and tried to ‘even things up’, I don’t know.

Overall I’ve got no idea why Leicester fans would be upset when the only real mistake Moss made was to gift them an equaliser from the jaws of defeat.
Olly Cole, THFC (cheering on West Ham felt so, so wrong)

 

Have that, Foxes
Leicester fans experienced something yesterday that they haven’t experienced for some time. The rules of game being enforced on them.

I’ve heard a lot of high-horsery recently about Leicester. I’ve been told to ‘give them credit’ where it’s due (which I have) and ‘stop being so bitter’ about their fluky 1-0 wins with 1 shot on target and 30% possession. After yesterday’s histrionics, I feel justified for holding the opinion about Leicester.

Robert Huth complaining about being ‘Robert Huthed’ from a corner and demanding a pen. If this were a pen, Leicester would concede a pen at every corner they defend.

Jamie Vardy got sent off trying to get a fellow professional sent off. He then proceeded to call the ref a “f**king c**t’ for having the temerity to uphold the laws of the game.

West Ham were awarded a penalty for a player being thrown to the ground. They should have had another. Another good decision.

Then the Schlupp pen. The one thing Moss got wrong, and we have fairytalists telling us ‘JUSTICE WAS DONE’. It bloody wasn’t. It was daylight robbery against a team that deserved the three points and handing one to a team that deserved none, not just for their constant bending and ignoring of rules, but for their sheer boring style of play.

It’s a story for the underdog, make no bones about it, but please stop patronising people into believing it’s a story for the purist. It’s ugly, catenaccio football that should have died in Italy in the 1990’s
Ross H (THFC and definitely non-biased supporter)

 

Defending Jon Moss
I’m not going to say Jon Moss had a blinder yesterday – the Vardy and Schlupp decisions were both debatable – but, as usual, the reaction is out of proportion. I didn’t think he was inconsistent, incompetent or the worst ref ever. There was a huge amount of wrestling in both penalty areas at every set piece, both before and after the penalty to West Ham, and Moss consistently ignored all of it. The one penalty he awarded came when Winston Reid escaped from Wes Morgan, who then chased him right across the six yard box in order to grab him again. Didn’t it seem to anyone else that this was the one time the ref could be absolutely sure which player was grappling and which was being grappled? I just don’t understand all the people saying it was the same as all the other wrestling incidents.

While I’m here, I don’t agree with the people who say that penalising the wrestling would soon put a stop to it either. If you started giving penalties for that, attacking players would do even more of it. If you gave free kicks to the defence, then defending players would do more of it. And if it was a toss-up who would be penalised and at which end of the pitch, then nothing would change at all.
Phil

 

Being a combination of a Leicester fan at the game yesterday and a sensible human being I hope I can provide some reasonably balanced view on the various controversies that took place at the King Power stadium but largely to highlight that however incompetent Mr John Moss was yesterday he really did have an impossible job. Here’s my take;

Vardy dive – watching this live, absolutely no doubt about it for me, he dived. Vardy sharply changed direction to make the contact then flipped in the air to try and engineer a penalty. Watching this on tv later, hmmm, probably a dive but was certainly pulled back by the shoulder and quite possibly was trying to shield the ball. Certainly not a penalty, but a yellow for a dive was perhaps harsh. What I completely missed at the game was quite how soft the first yellow was.

Payet dive – this didn’t even make MOTD2 but watching it live looked a pretty clear dive and second yellow to me.

West Ham penalty – watching this live, absolutely no doubt it, that was a pen. The ball got whipped in and a large crowd of 6’ 4’’ men ran towards the goal, one of these men hit the ground very hard and very fast, looked to me like a blatant push. Watched it back on TV, absolutely no way that’s a penalty – as many have already said, you’ve got to give 10 a game if you give that.

Huth penalty – watching this live, clearly a penalty. Watching this on tv, clearly a penalty.

Schlupp penalty – watching this live, never a penalty. Watching this on tv, touch and go, there’s certainly contact to the upper leg and it’s clumsy from Carroll.

The point is that at that pace and in that atmosphere 1 human (me, the ref or anyone else in that ground) does not stand a chance. Most of those decisions were hard to make with the help of 3 video replays and are a matter of opinion so to make the split second decision with 20 players and 32,000 fans on your back is impossible. He was guessing, that was very clear in the ground. Between the Cresswell goal and the final whistle there was not a decision that didn’t go Leicester’s way – his head had gone but who can blame him, I don’t believe there’s a man on the planet who would have got all of those calls right.

Football has long been in the dark ages on this, and it’s pleasing to see the green shoots of video replays coming in. It’s just a no brainer, it removes the pressure on this 1 guy to take all this flack and it is frankly ridiculous that it has taken this long.
Dan, Greenwich

 

Couldn’t agree more with Ben (PE Teacher who has to tell kids why it is bad to dive and cheat in football).

Nothing annoys me in football more than referee’s being criticised for making errors when game after game the players on the field cheat and twist the rules to gain an advantage. Referees are on the pitch, making split second decision on what they see in mili-seconds. Of course there are going to be inconsistencies/mistakes! Referees seeing the same situation from different angles, different players, etc. are never going to be standardised across 38 matches. Its impossible.

This is my main reason to back a change in the rules when reviewing a match after the game (also video ref, but not relevant to my point). The whole “Because a referee commented on it during a game, the decision is final” or whatever the legal lingo is is utter bulls***t.

You dive and ref gives a penalty? Great, you score that penalty but its a 1 match ban. You intentionally stamp on a player in a tackle but only get a yellow for the overall foul? 2 match ban for you. Imagine that.

Players don’t respect the rules, so rules cannot be enforced/punished properly. Can you imagine if we broke the laws of this country but it only got enforced if the police saw you do it and correctly punished you instantly? Wow…
Rob A (Players look like they don’t care now the titles gone…) AFC

 

Bias
I have to assume that John Nicholson’s most recent article about bias was a reaction to the morning’s mailbox that featured a slew of emails regarding the football365 coverage of Leicester and Vardy. Or if it wasn’t specifically about this mornings mailbox then it was a result of the recurring Vardy treatment theme that has run though the mailbox in recent weeks.

However, the article surely missed the point. Opinions are fine. Some believe that a man used a racial slur and he is sub-human scum, never to be forgiven. Others believe that he apologies and hasn’t done it again, so he should be forgiven. Both viewpoints are valid. The problem with bias lies in the very definition Nicholson gave us. The word is “Unfair”.

Gary Lineker may be biased. He maybe a Leicester fan. That’s fine. If he wants to cheers on Leicester and be happy when they win, that’s fine. However, if the coverage of MOTD misrepresents the game, showing for example all Leicester penalty claims and none of the opposition, that is not OK. That’s unfair. That is bias damaging the coverage of the game (I’m not saying this is happening, not watched MOTD since leaving the UK).

Anyone is welcome to take the facts and form an opinion about them. But as journalists you do have a duty to present the facts accurately. That isn’t what was done in the most recent article by Matt Stead. I’ve been fairly nonplussed by the whole Vardy coverage but that article really wound me up. Reporting that a footballer said some rude words and using that a stick to beat him with is bias at its worst. Almost all footballers swear. Almost all of them use bad language. So to specifically pick out Vardy for this when failing to criticize anyone else for it, is simply taking an agenda you have and running with it. And that is where journalists should not be biased. By all means you can think swearing is awful. But please judge everyone by the same standards.
Mike, LFC, Dubai

(MC – Almost all footballers swear, sure. I shan’t deny that. But not all footballers are painted as role models and examples of where hard work can get you. That is precisely what Jamie Vardy is held up as by many: a role model to aspire to. Each time anyone mentions the time he racially abused someone they are told that they are being unfair, unreasonable, or are missing the point of what he has achieved. He apologised, after all. In reality, the point is that the human is easily separated from the footballer. As a footballer, I rate Jamie Vardy as an absolute d*ck to play against, and a striker who has done excellently this season. I won’t disclose what I think of him as a human, but the fact remains that the two are discernible. I can criticise Vardy the human but respect Vardy the footballer. Same with Luis Suarez. Same with John Terry. Hell, same with Leicester. Just as we can both praise and criticise Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, we do the same with Leicester. Except when we criticise any of the other three it is accepted. When we criticise Leicester, we are told that we don’t get it, whatever it is.

 

Great mail by John Nicholson……….with one error. Mate, you’re a journalist. You’re supposed to write without bias. That’s the whole point. You’re expected to keep aside your personal feelings about the topic you’re writing. Otherwise there’s no difference in your articles and the multitudes of rants you surely receive each weekend.
Divyank.

 

Just wanted to say the letter from James on Jamie Vardy was spot on.
Alastair (afc), london

 

Leave F365 alone
In response to Paul, TUFC’s mail this morning I would like to defend Football365. Were you to only to get your football news and opinion from this website, then yes you could perhaps perceive an anti-Vardy agenda. However, if you look at other sources such as the Beeb and many mainstream newspapers there is clearly an effort to paint Leicester as some sort of saviour of football, as I intimated at this morning. I believe F365 bring balance and rationality to footballing debate and their articles on Leicester and Vardy are obviously an effort to lend a little perspective to the issue.

As for bias, anyone who offers an opinion on anything is automatically biased, however, a person’s biases should not be allowed to get in the way of reasoned debate or used to pursue your own agendas. This is the problem with so many footballing journalists (looking at you John Cross); they allow their own agendas and biases to get in the way of you know…actual facts. I find that, in the main, F365 is refreshingly free of this.
Alan Ewens

 

Arsenal need Mourinho or Simeone
Having watched the 4-4-3 Wenger decade (where arsenal finish mainly 4th but occasionally 3rd) it got me thinking where would this exact same group of players finish under a results manager like Mourinho?

For me the season looked fragile after losing comprehensively to Zargreb, Olympiakos and 3rd tier Sheffield Wednesday before the Christmas game spanking off 13 goals in 55 games hitman Shane Long.

A few years ago everyone said Wenger’s problems was against the other top 4 teams and physical matches against Stoke and Bolton, Arsenal could beat the teams in the lower end of the league that actually tried to go toe to toe football wise. To Wenger’s credit he seems to have addressed this however found new ways to throw away the league losing to football playing teams such as West Ham, Southampton and Swansea.

Is Wenger a specialist in failure, absolutely not, is he a specialist in finishing 3rd or 4th…I think so. Don’t get me wrong getting Champions league is an achievement in the same way as saving a club from relegation or getting a team promoted, but Wenger clearly has a ceiling.

Player for player is this Arsenal team that much worse then Chelsea’s league winning team? If at the start of the season you’d have said the league winners would be made up of a spine including a big name goalie, a past his prime lumbering German centre back, an uncapped French defensive midfielder, a diminutive muslin play maker and a striker who spent his early career outside the top league’s, 100% of people would have assumed you were talking about Arsenal not Leicester. After all this was the year that Cech was going to win the extra 10-15 points needed to get Arsenal over the line.

So this got me thinking, it is clearly Wenger that is the issue, for all his constant comments about team spirit, fight, mentality and never giving up, these are exactly the reasons why Arsenal never win the big trophies.

So if that is the part that is missing then maybe Arsenal need a Mourinho or Simeone. Will they come is the obvious question, and please don’t start with the “they don’t play the Arsenal way”, they are the nearest thing to George Graham that exists in modern day football.
Paul, London

 

Stop moaning, Gooners
The definition of insanity? Keep doing the same thing and expect different results.

I’ve heard this saying applied time and time again to Arsenal but it equally applies to fans as to Wenger.

I spent a lovely day at Lords yesterday in the sunshine, watching our opening bat plunder 175 runs.

But when I returned home, I found my local area was littered with angry Arsenal fans complaining about their lot.

No-one’s forcing you to go, so stop moaning. Just lower your expectations. I’m going to the West Brom game, not expecting a win and wouldn’t be surprised if we turn in another narrow defeat.

Nothing is going to change until Wenger is gone but quite frankly he ain’t going anywhere for at least another year. And don’t expect a whole bunch of players signed as he’s already said transfer activity will be muted.

Who would trust Wenger with a whole wad of cash in his last season anyway? Much better to hand the funds over to a new manager in a year’s time.

So expect several more groundhog days over the next year or so but stop moaning about it – it’s boring.

What will be entertaining however, is if they try to honour Wenger’s 20 years in October – maybe they’ll do it behind closed doors?
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London

 

Sturridge plus 10 kids > Liverpool without Sturridge
Jürgen Klopp is amazing, I love him, and the fact that my phone autocorrects Klopp to “Klopptastic” is evidence enough of that.

But Daniel Sturridge is my favorite player in football, possibly my favorite ever player for Liverpool in terms of enjoying watching him play football. I don’t know why managers are so loathe to praise him or give him credit (Brendan was the same), and I don’t know why the fans don’t sing his name when they have for Balotelli and others at the drop of a hat.

I honestly think that Liverpool with Sturridge and 10 reserves/kids/squad players are better than Liverpool with 10 starters and someone replacing Sturridge. He is the ultimate “enabler” to quote that excellent F365 guest article. I really hope he isn’t mistreated and underappreciated to the point of wanting to leave.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland

 

Andros, Pards and Vards
In the midst of all of the F365 bias mailbox nonsense going around, just wanted to say it was great to see Andros Townsend feature in the Winners section. I saw the game on Saturday and was really quite impressed by him for the first time in a very long while (maybe ever).

Having read F365 for a long time and therefore seen plenty of justified criticism of his Robben-lite act, it’s nice to see that you can acknowledge his improved performances in a mostly snark-less way. Most media outlets wouldn’t, and I thought it was a nice example (along with John Nicholson’s article) of why you’re a cut above and can probably afford to ignore the morons.

As a Palace fan I remember well from 2015 Pardew coverage that F365 is perfectly capable of demonstrating that being an arse and being good at a job are not mutually exclusive, and of not allowing your personal judgement of the former to cloud the latter. Shame that’s not such a problem with Pardiola anymore (upcoming FA Cup win aside), but I genuinely struggle to see what problem any reasonable person has with any of your portrayal of Vardy.

He’s a good goalscorer and a racist, and F365 have decided that one is more important than the other. Is that really a problem for people? And if anyone has any issue with the term “racist” there, please feel free to replace it with “person who furiously spits what he clearly thinks is a derogatory race-based term at a person of that race when he’s drunk.” For me that doesn’t change an awful lot, but it might for you.

Yes there are other footballers who have done bad things. But if anyone is genuinely shocked or aghast or whatever people are pretending to be that an English football website is focussing significant attention on a key player in a 5000/1 premier league winning team, then they need to walk on (whatever their race).

Anyway, yeah, good job and that.
Ben

 

Ahh, Scottish football
Up here in Scotland yesterday was Old Firm Day. With the promotion of Rangers it will again be a four times a season thrill for the nation. So the Scottish media would have us believe. I chose to watch the game at home and fair enough right enjoyable it was too. I’m a fan of neither team. Anyway a couple hours after the game I ventured out for a loaf and a pint. Unfortunately half the pubs were shut on safety grounds and my attempts at buying a loaf were hindered by numerous gangs of well oiled chaps intimidating anyone they could find, singing songs about people and events they have little knowledge of and trying to fight each other. After I managed to secure my bread (making sure the wrapping was neither predominantly blue or green) I made my way up the street deafened by the ongoing sirens that seemed to be relentless. Finally me and my impartial loaf found a pub with its doors open and I sat down hoping my pint of Guinness wouldn’t upset some of the remaining clientele. Fortunately it didn’t but within fifteen minutes it all kicked off at the bar resulting in a glassing for the barman. All this happened not in Glasgow, but in Perth, almost 50 miles from the game. Its probably safe to assume that this wasn’t the only place in Scotland where this tired archaic nonsense was occurring. If is as seems the SFA won’t move this fixture to the moon for future games and generations could they at least have the good grace to sub the rest of us a flight away from the country for the weekend?
Iain, Perth

 

Shut up, Storey
What a load of sanctimonious horsesh*t Daniel Storey has written about the criticism of referees in Winners & Losers. I mean who are in actual f**k do you think you are, demanding that it stop because you say so? Inconsistency from officials cannot be compared to that of a player and you know. it. Did you read it back to yourself?

You’d do well to check your tone. Whinging on like a mamby-pamby Guardianista, that’s embarrassing writing. You don’t need to have an opinion of ever single f**king thing in football and you certainly don’t need to write it in such a condescending, arrogant manner.
Stu, Livid with this pious cr*p, London

 

Roughhousing in the box
I remember when I played youth football (we were about under 16 level so we were all a good size and almost adult-like). Our manager wanted to teach us some tricks of the trade with regard to defending and attacking corners. To put his point across he made us practice three scenarios. Firstly the defenders could not raise their arms at all meaning that they couldn’t impede, pull or push the attackers whereas the attackers could push and pull the defenders as much as they liked. This scenario resulted in the attackers having free reign of the ball and consistently scoring. The second scenario the rules were reversed. The attackers couldn’t get anywhere near the ball. Scenario 3 found both the attackers and defenders not allowed to have any contact with each other whatsoever. The third scenario was a complete farce. Both attacker and defender found it damn near impossible to not push pull and have contact when going for he ball.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that roughhousing in the box could be seen as almost inevitable and a natural part of the game and something that is very hard to stamp out. As said by many people with common sense on this site. If you start penalising all roughhousing isn’t the box we’ll just see games consisting of multiple red cards and 8-8 draws with all games being penalties.
Mark (Spurs to draw at Stoke) LFC

 

A Villa perspective
Ah, so there it is, finally confirmed. After numerous weeks on life support (the whole season, perhaps) someone eventually put us out of our misery. Naturally now further inquests will begin, from those of us with emotional attachment to those whose only qualification is seeing some highlights on Match of the Day and declaring they can see exactly what went wrong, and when. We will hear numerous accounts from PFMs that our fate was sealed when we brought in them damn pesky foreigners and then replaced known PFM Tim Sherwood with a foreign manager, and I want to express my personal view on the demise of Aston Villa this season.

Firstly, yes the players brought in were an issue that contributed to relegation. However, to say they were the reason is beyond foolish. These are decent players, perhaps not as good as we thought, but decent nonetheless. Jordan Ayew has probably been our best performer this season (faint praise, I know…) and Idrissa Gueye’s statistics as a defensive midfielder are bettered only by Kante (or at least they were a couple of weeks ago when I last saw the stats). The problem we had this year was not that we brought in foreign players who didn’t care about the club, it’s that we lost the spine of our team (Vlaar, Delph, Benteke), and became completely reliant on these new players to fill the void and lift us out of trouble. You just can’t bring players to a new country and ask them to be an instant success that we build our team around, they need to be integrated into an established, well drilled outfit, which Aston Villa certainly weren’t.

Your PFMs will still blame these signings though, without even looking at the seemingly experienced British players who have, given their knowledge and understanding, been an absolute embarrassment. You can’t tell me that Lescott, Richards, Hutton, Agbonlahor, Richardson and Sinclair were excellent but let down by our French contingent. In fact, I remember earlier in the season when Sherwood demonstrated what he thought of the transfer committee by barely playing any of the new players signed from Ligue 1, and it’s not like we were flying with aspirations of Europe when Sherwood bit the bullet. This brings me neatly on to Sherwood, as I’ve also seen accusations that we moved too early to replace him, and that given time, he would have turned it around. There was absolutely no evidence of this in anything he did. He was everything my Tottenham supporting friends said he would be, a motivator with tactical naivety, exposed the moment things went awry. He managed one win with his time this season, one. If I’m missing some kind of football management sucker punch master class, please let me know where it would have come from.

We will of course read and hear about it every week until the end of the season now on the likes of Soccer Saturday and whatever it is Robbie Savage is doing these days, that our issues started when we bought the players who haven’t worked for us. This myopic and lazy view irritates me. Aston Villa were relegated because we are poorly run, with a lack of quality, unity, and understanding throughout the side. We have made below par managerial and appalling executive appointments, we have been a club treading water for a number of years, and we fully deserve to get relegated. Aston Villa will miss the Premier League, the Premier League will not miss the current Aston Villa.
Mike (AVFC), London

 

Low quality = high entertainment
I haven’t watched much of Norwich or Sunderland this season and after watching most of the game on Saturday afternoon I know why. It was the perfect example of why both teams are struggling. Both teams have some decent players but the decision making is awful.

Conceding a penalty from a clumsy challenge. Maybe try not stamping on somebody’s foot inside in the box.

Bassong breaking through midfield with the ball and making space for himself 30 yards from goal was impressive. Attempting a shot from 30 yards when there are several better options was awful.

Bassong getting caught in possession a few minutes later which lead to the second goal is again unforgivable.

Soon after Defoe somehow attracted 3 defenders to him on the left side of the box before turning on to his right foot leaving space open for a simple pass across the box to Borini (I think) for an easy chance. Defoe then ignored Borini and turned back onto his left foot into 3 defenders looking to take a shot. This has the same impact as a defender willingly conceding a penalty. He cost his team a goal. On a side note this is why Defoe never cut it as a top player.

When Norwich were chasing the game Sunderland had several counter attacks that reminded me of the first half of Liverpool v Dortmund. Where Dortmund were clinical and only taking 1 or 2 touches on the ball before moving it, Sunderland had no idea what to do when in similar positions. Every player was taking too long on the ball either playing the pass at the wrong time or only passing it after trying to manufacture space to shoot himself.

You might say this is the level the clubs are at and I shouldn’t expect to see the quality of a Liverpool v Dortmund tie. And this would be why we will never see a Norwich or Sunderland side at that level. Still provides for great entertainment for us neutrals.
Colin, Dublin (is it obvious from my criticism of Bassong and Defoe that I’m a Spurs fan?)

 

Football journalism has eaten itself
I read Mediawatch every day and at this point in time it feels as if the fish are lining themselves up in the barrel to make it a bit easier for you.

I grow steadily more disillusioned than amazed by the manufactured controversy, Inception style reports based on reports based on reports based on “Sunsport understands” about which player/manager might possibly join which club, the clickbait headlines and the ‘opinions’ formed in stadiums clearly listening to what some idiot fan is bellowing two tiers below.

The thing is people keep buying the papers and clicking on the links. Who are these people? Is there genuinely a subset of fan that clicks on “Liverpool on verge of world class signing!” expecting to see Messi rather than some bloke that won an award for doing the white lines on the pitch?*

Imagine if you did click on every one of those links or articles with a sense of anticipation and naive expectation only to read the usual drivel and made up nonsense every single time? That level of disappointment must not be sustainable, so the hate must be turned elsewhere.

Basically I’m saying Football Journalism is probably responsible for the Sith.

Makes as much sense as one of their opinions anyway.
Neil Armitage

*(Not Robbie Fowler that time)

 

Cech this out
After Cech’s performance yesterday have we updated his points won tally?
Orion, LFC

 

It just occurred to me that if Arsenal hadn’t have signed Petr Cech and received the guaranteed 12-15 points per season he gives you, they would now be around mid-table.

Just lucky they got him I guess.
Bradley Kirrage

 

All hail Louis
Further to your “Has Mourinho Finally Broke Ferguson” headline from todays Gossip section, I would contest that its probably LVG that has finally broken Ferguson and along with the rest of us he really cant see an alternative right now.

Of course I would be happier with Pochettino as manager and Klopp helping out as his assistant.
Plato – MUFC

 

Terrific footballer names
Apropos of nothing, I stumbled upon another entry for footballer name of the year/ever in whoscored’s Ligue Un team of the week. Step forward Billy Ketkeophomphone! Wikipedia tells me he is a 26 year old striker plying his trade for Angers, currently 8th in the league. Congrats on the team of the week Billy the Ket but also on having a surname that sounds like a synthetic drug decimating impoverished trailer park communities throughout the world.

X.
Osric the Brave, Cape Town

 

Reasonable doubt
Is writing “I doubt you’ll publish this” the new way to guarantee being published, following two such incidents this morning?

If so, I doubt you’ll publish this.
Joe, AFC, East Sussex

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