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We have a Mailbox Guest article today on Scottish football – Caolan argues that it has thrived in the absence of Rangers from the top flight.
It’s all about the narrative…
Does anyone else think Vardy got himself sent off to add another plot line to Jamie Vardy: The Movie?
Every film needs its ups and downs.
Bore off Football365
The whole anti-Jamie Vardy agenda on F365 is becoming really, really tedious. Yes, he done a racist. Yes he does look like a bit of a chav, yes he might have called the ref a f**king c**t after being sent off, and yes, he possibly dived. I’m not defending any of that, although I have both dived and called referees c**ts before, and arguably look like a chav (my girlfriend is Nigerian and would rip my balls off if I done a racist!!).
However, Vardy is far frwom alone in his behaviour, but is being vilified by yourselves far more than any player I remember on the site. It’s almost as if when the whole Chelsea team were arseholes, you thought “well they are a big team, what do you expect” but with Leicester you are really dampening the enjoyment of there being a new team in the mix.
Also, for what it’s worth, I thought the Hammers’ penalty was a pen, but if given there should have been nine in the match. Also, how can you claim Leicester’s pen was soft, Carroll clearly barged Schlupp, and there was no need.
Paul (…if you want a real fairytale, check out Kevin Nicholson’s reign at Torquay, 12 points from safety on 16 Feb, safe on 16 April. Nine wins, three draws outt of 15 games) TUFC
…So I thought I would contribute to the Football365 vote on who should be player of the year. After seriously considering Jamie Vardy, I chose Kante. It is very tight though between those two highly consistent performers. It seems to have been decided since January in the media that Mahrez should be player of the year although he has tailed off alarmingly in the second half of the season.
Vardy has an extremely good claim to player of the year. His 11-goal run (which you tried at the time to demean) and the goal of the season against Liverpool. He has also contributed more cumulative goals and assists than Mahrez, despite you inaccurately reporting the opposite last week. Without Vardy there would be no title.
Anyway, so I noticed that Vardy got 21 per cent (despite Football365’s campaign to make us think he belongs to the English Defence League and probably beats up minorities in his spare time) and it got me wondering what you would think if he did win. In fact, I already know – you will say it is because he is English and how sad it is for football. You already pre-empted the supposed English bias in Mediawatch last week. Your pathetic daily attempts to convince us that everyone in the media is biased towards the English is frankly boring and in the majority of cases – not true. You look for something (eg Vardy being evil) – you will find it (eg Vardy saying a bad word).
I am very sorry to bring up Vardy again but yesterday Football365 reached a new low and set a dangerous precedent. They did yet another anti-Vardy article because he dived (one of the least conclusive dives seen in a while) and he used the c word. Now I know the c word doesn’t offend you too much. Anyone who watches football see players use it all the time. It is because having decided Vardy is Satan you finally had something to say about him after a year of him just being good at football. Now I don’t recall you writing an article on Aguero getting booked for diving a few weeks ago. Presumably whenever anyone uses the c word you will be writing article on that from now on? What do you mean no? Strange that.
Now I am pretty certain Vardy would not fit seamlessly in to my social circle. However, he used a word while drunk, which he then apologised for and did everything that could be reasonably expected of him. Although I’m sure you would advocate a 10-year prison term. Your campaign against him is the most disproportionate thing I have ever witnessed in the football media. If you say somebody is fat or comment on people’s appearance in a nasty way, as Johnny Nicholson has been known to do, does that mean he is sizeist or ugly people-ist (apart from being a bully). Vardy showed contrition in public. What evidence have you got that he was lying? Only a fool would not admit there is a debate to be had on both sides.
Frankly, you have no right to criticise in Mediawatch. Mediawatch used to be funny – now it is just snarky. If a journalist comments on Mesut Ozil after one bad game you lay into him. You did exactly the same yesterday with Vardy. Only he actually had a good game but swore. Shock horror. Most of your articles are dominated by your personal obsessions and dislikes without considering the facts – Sunderland win 3-0 and you write an anti-Allardyce article. You literally called Vardy an arsehole yesterday in an article about Klopp. Paraphrasing Mediawatch. Mentions of Vardy in Klopp’s speech: none.
I very much doubt you’ll publish this but it’s nice to get it off my chest.
James (I wonder if you will call me an a***hole because I hold a different view to you. Of course you will)
Are you really offended by the words “f****** c***”?
Lately there has been a new trend of pouring scorn on this Leicester side and what they’re achieving. We all have that mate who always has to go against the grain and be different, all the time, because he’s generally just a complete t**. The problem is, they always have to shout louder than everyone else about their unique opinion and they never ever let it go. I’ve seen numerous digs now at how it “isn’t a fairytale” it’s actually all very sinister because Jamie Vardy is horrible. Do these people (Including F365) realise that nobody actually thinks it’s a Disney story. What is so unbelievable about Leicester this season is that nobody in the world could possibly have predicted it, it’s one of the most incredible things ever to happen in Football. Proven further by the fact that 5000/1 will be the highest single-winning event in history. The resources they have compared to not just one other club, but five or six HUGE budgets just makes it unfathomable. That is the story.
Since when were grown men offended by a guy calling another guy a f****** c*** ? Seriously, please a grip of yourself, who cares? If swear words offend you then turn off the TV and get back to your vegan sausages. Furthermore, why does it have to be the negative side of Jamie Vardy that has to be continually picked up on by these people, and there are quite a few of them on twitter and we’ve all seen the numerous articles on F365 now. Why not continually talk about Ranieri and how he is such a loveable character instead. I hardly ever see Mahrez get a mention. If anyone who reads this can think back to all the mistakes they made in their life, imagine nobody ever forgave you for it. What’s worse, not only did they not forgive you, they talked about it continually to spite you.
Everybody and I mean everybody knows that Jamie Vardy is a bit of wrongun. I think he knows himself. Please for the love of God get over it and stop being so easily offended over and over again.
Kind Regards, Christian
Watching back on the Leicester West Ham game, you have to question the decision to give Leicester the equalising penalty. Comes across as a complete cop-out from Moss. A few years back during Liverpool’s nearly year, a few Utd mates suggested that Liverpool were getting soft penalties. I agreed with them but this was ridiculous. Moss, seemed to let the occasion get to him but credit to Leicester, they took their chance. Seasons are won on these decisions and capitalisations.
My biggest gripe is Vardy. Calling Moss, (after a blatant dive) a f*cking c*nt and pointing in his face is the actions of a scumbag. If that were Costa (who got banned after the Everton game) or someone like Suarez, we’d be up in arms. The petulance from the man is deplorable and I sincerely hope he gets a lengthier ban for it.
Miguel Sanchez (Rashford ahead of Sturridge, Danny Mills, what are you on?)
Leicester are no Corinthians
Throughout Leicester’s rise to title favourites have found myself holding back from joining the bandwagon of support for the underdog, secretly hoping that Arsenal would reel them in (I am not an Arsenal fan, merely an eternal optimist). I could not put my finger on the reason why this was until I watched Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb on MoTD failing to really criticise Vardy for his shameless dive.
In footballing terms Leicester’s season is remarkable and even now I keep expecting to wake up, but some people in the press act like Leicester are some sort of footballing White knight, fighting back against the cynicism which plagues the modern game. I even noticed there was a profile of Jamie Vardy on Radio 4 of all places. Leicester still dive, swear at the ref and abuse Asian men in casinos just like any other team, and they have both likeable and dislikeable players just like any other team. Yes thay have subverted everyone’s expectations and shaken up the Premier League but please let’s not pretend that they have done anything more than that, because Corinthian, they are not.
At least he wasn’t racist…
To be fair to Vardy, he didn’t bring the referee’s nationality into his finger pointing tirade. Must have been in the heat of the moment. He’s not that type of player, etc.
Praise for the referee, actually
I know the mailbox will be filled with reactions/criticisms of referee Moss but I thought he did great. Few weeks ago, fans were complaining about referees giving Leicester an easy ride to the league through dodgy decisions so I find it baffling that some fans/pundits are now complaining. To the incidents:
(1) Jamie Vardy initiated contact with Ogbonna’s leg and was rightfully sent off for diving.
(2) Wes Morgan’s guilty and resigned reaction showed he clearly prevented Reid from getting to the cross by grabbing him
(3) Huth’s penalty claim after Ogbonna’s shoulder grab; I liken that to Danny DeVito hurling down Arnold Schwarzenegger. Huth being pulled down? Impossible! It was clearly exaggerated and deserves another card.
(4) Andy Carroll’s foul was rash although replay shows he got the ball. It was 50-50 and maybe not a penalty but referees have been giving Leicester penalties so another won’t hurt.
Add this to the emotions and the biased crowd demanding compensation for perceived injustice and you have a very charged atmosphere which poor referee Moss succumbed to. The referee did fine for me and is only human.
An aside, Man Utd laboured win turned out good with Arsenal’s result. However, for a coach with his pedigree and having spent £250m, the inconsistent results and performances deserve only a sack.
Osama (Leceister deserve to win the league though) Nigeria
Leicester points of view…
First of all, I had best say that I’m a Leicester fan, but will try to be as impartial as possible here.
It is fine for the ref to book Vardy if he believes he is diving. He must however be consistent throughout the game. Payet dived shortly after Vardy was sent off, this would have been Payet’s second yellow. It was the first time both players had been cautioned for diving in the game. Payet’s dive was outside the area, however the rules of the game don’t change based on where the foul is committed. If Vardy is sent off, then Payet should be too.
The incident for the West Ham penalty occurs lots in the box. It is an ugly side of football, and, again, it is fine for the ref to give a penalty. He has to be consistent though, Huth was thrown to the floor shortly after in the box with no penalty given. There is no difference between the incidents. Blatantly inconsistent.
The Schlupp penalty is probably not a penalty, I would not have been happy if West Ham had got that. This decision though does not make the others ok.
Refs have got to be more consistent as it ruined that game.
As an aside, Ranieri was class with post-match comments. Much better than Bilic.
…I’m a Leicester fan, so apologies for any bias, but that was a truly dreadful refereeing performance that thankfully only cost two points.
Vardy red. Very soft first yellow card. Then for the second, Reid puts his arm on Vardy and Vardy then gets his legs in Reid’s way and goes down theatrically. He is touched first though, so not a red for me. Having said that, it is a 50:50 decision, if it was Kane, I’d no doubt say red.
There was also a dive from Payet that wasn’t given as a second yellow. Kouyate could have had a red too. Both just as much a red as Vardy was.
West Ham pen. If that’s a pen, then there are 4-5 pens every game for each team. Ogbonna did a far worse pull minutes after on Huth and wasn’t penalised. Inconsistent and causes us to lose two points.
Leicester pen. It’s silly from Carroll and is a pen for me.
At least now we can’t be considered “lucky”. With consistent refereeing in that game and the Arsenal one a couple of months ago, we’d have won the league already. I wonder if the calls of us being “lucky” have got to the referee, he did seem to take a lot of pleasure in sending Vardy off. Oh well, we’re still in the driving seat and this will make the title win even sweeter if we do manage it.
Toby (Top of the league) Mitchell
It wasn’t a dive or a penalty…
An attacking player and a defending player are running very quickly towards a ball in the box. One of them hits the ground. There are three options here:
1 – The attacking player dives
2 – The defender commits a penalty
And the forgotten one:
3- The players come together but there is no foul/penalty
Why does everyone ignore the third possibility? It isn’t always ‘he dove’ or ‘that’s a penalty’. There is a middle ground. It does my head in to hear people say it has to be a penalty or he has to card the attacker for diving. No it very well doesn’t.
The ref? What about the players?
On my way into work this morning all the radio headlines were about referees’ inconsistencies. SHOUTsport and the idiot they have on reading the red top headlines were all aghast at the referee. All the websites I am now reading whilst pretending to work are running the headlines regarding ‘evening up decisions’ and/or inconsistency.
Nowhere, anywhere, can I see even a hint of the idea that anyone has thought ‘If players stop cheating or ‘trying to win fouls’ then maybe, just maybe, refs jobs will be easier and decisions better’.
When will it stop?
Ben (PE Teacher who has to tell kids why it is bad to dive and cheat in football)
Peter G’s weekend thoughts
* Jon Moss. That wasn’t a refereeing performance, it was a cry for help. But I’m surprised by the near-universal press support for the Vardy red card. There was clear contact by the defender’s arm, then Vardy leaned in, the legs tangled, and he went down a little theatrically. Of course it wasn’t a penalty, but I’ve never ever seen a yellow card for simulation in that situation. By that standard, they’d have to give one four or five times a game. The Morgan penalty was similarly bizarre, and Moss obviously knew it, or he wouldn’t have given the Carroll penalty. Anyway, a shout out to Shinji Okazaki: on Vardy’s goal, watch on the wide-angle replay how he draws Mark Noble out of the middle to give Kanté the space to lead the counter. Beautiful.
* It’s safe to say Sam Allardyce isn’t Daniel Storey’s favorite manager. But without the tiniest shadow of a doubt, he’s improved the team dramatically. Before he arrived they were an absolute shambles, even worse than Villa. First he made them a side that could stay on the pitch with anyone. Then he bought intelligently in the January transfer window. While Norwich City and Newcastle have been lurching from game to game, Sunderland have been consistently just short of breaking out of the pack. Yes, that failure so far is his responsibility too. But if they do survive, he should get 100% of the credit.
* Meanwhile, Rafa Benitez has belatedly figured out that with a defence like Newcastle’s, it helps to have two genuine DMs sitting in front of the back four. It’s safe to say they rode their luck a bit against Swansea, but they have two more very winnable games on the schedule, home to Crystal Palace and at Aston Villa. Plus, if they’re really lucky, Tottenham won’t have anything to play for on the final day.
* Speaking of luck, I feel for Norwich City. Since the January window it’s been clear they have the least talent of the teams in the relegation race, and with Timm Klose probably out for the season, the odds are very much against them. It’s a side of honest plodders who give their all but don’t quite have the talent. So they’ll need the good fortune they didn’t get against Sunderland. Not that they deserved much out of the game, but on another day, with another referee, it might have been a draw.
* Besides the title and relegation races, the most interesting thing to watch down the stretch (besides Arsene Wenger’s descent into madness) will be Jürgen Klopp’s team selections. With six league games left, all against sides lower in the table, Liverpool have a clear run at a Europa place. But he’ll have to prioritize the tie against Villarreal, and the final if they get there. Emre Can will be missing, too.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
Ode to a beautiful Welshman
Joe Allen! Who would’ve thought two years ago I would be writing in with love for our little Welsh fella. Looking at him when he came in, it felt a bit like signing Paul Konchesky. It seemed pretty obvious the only reason the guy is signing is that he has an inside man. There was no other justification for a signing like that. He ran around a bit but really did nothing of note at all. His passes were abysmal, and while he did chase the ball like a rabid dog players would brush him off all too easily. He took a beating from fans of all teams, he was the joke to demonstrate the fall of a once-great empire. Not to mention the way he was mocked for that ridiculous Welsh Xavi quip (which obviously wasn’t his fault, it was all because of that toothy creep).
Then they took away his inside man. This had to be it for him? A genuine, trophy-winning football manager was coming in. One that supposedly knows what he’s doing. And it didn’t seem to be going well at the beginning. Bench duty, very little minutes, the proverbial time-wasting substitute at the 89th minute.
But guess what. The (little) dude abides. He took his minutes. He ran his socks off. And unbelievably, he made an impact. Against Arsenal, against Dortmund, it almost seemed like he was an actual football player. He is reaching heights I don’t think anyone expected him to reach. Even if it does culminate in squad player and not first 11 duty too often, I still think it’s pretty remarkable. His presence is no longer a hindrance to the team, it’s actually a blessing. Watching him come on no longer puts fear in my heart. I trust Joe Allen! It’s amazing.
Yesterday I watched the Bournemouth match. He played a great (full) game. He seemed the most mature, definitely the most responsible, and possibly the best player on the pitch on the day. Remarkable comeback, may it only continue at its current pace.
Tomer, (Danny Ward was pretty bloody decent wasn’t he? hope he gets more looks from now on) LFC
Trusting Jurgen like we trusted peak Rafa
I didn’t think we were going to get beat yesterday. I thought we might labour a bit but the thought of a loss didn’t enter my head. I saw the line-up and I didn’t panic, I just thought “we’ll see how they do” and that was that.
Good performance. Scored two. Unlucky not to score more. Defence bullied a little bit by pace and power. That’s pretty much us right now. I expressed my happiness with our lot last week and it hasn’t changed, if anything it’s got stronger. For the first time in what feels like years I feel like we’re able to set up with a clear plan and adapt to the rotation necessary to win matches in multiple competitions. Not since Rafa’s prime.
We feel like one of those teams you see other people supporting. You know the ones: competent and able to set up from game to game and accentuate the strength of the team no matter the personnel (sort of what Matt Stead was getting at). From August 2014 – Jan 2016 you never knew what Liverpool you were gonna get. Now you know you’ll get a professional performance and we’ll try and give ourselves the best chance of winning. Our recent form speaks for itself (Southampton aside, hey even ‘good’ teams have weird days) and I hope we finish the season on this strong run.
Kris, LFC, Manchester
…Today was a nice example of Liverpool not being at their best but managing to win. It’s nice because it became something of a rarity under Rodgers.
A criticism of both Benitez and Rodgers was that beyond our first XI you really couldn’t trust our team. So frequently we dropped points when resting players or rotating. So it’s doubly impressive to have seen Klopp now rotate twice and both times to find the win.
Ojo was probably my favourite performance of the day because it’s great to see young players coming through and playing fearless football. What’s becoming strange is it is getting harder to work out precisely who Klopp was definitely want to put in the bin this summer. You’ve got to think Skrtel is simply not good enough and an upgrade on Mignolet is certainly possible. Otherwise you can argue that he might want to buy players to give him more tactical flexibility but not many more direct replacements.
Exciting times ahead! Cautiously optimistic.
What is the definition of insanity? Keep doing the same thing and expect different results. It follows that Arsene Wenger must be insane and has been for the better part of ten years or at least some sort of mad scientist. Has to go.
Ken ‘watching the same thing and expecting nothing different B
…A couple of weeks back, a mailboxer asked where the ‘Wenger Out’ brigade had gone, following back to back wins against the heavyweights that are Everton and Watford. Now the truth is, we were always here, but we’re not going to get published when we’re winning – we needed to wait for the next inevitable meltdown. And here we are.
I honestly believe we’re now at the stage where more Arsenal fans want him gone than don’t. Every season is the same, but this year, and most importantly, the players are utterly lost. This is a man who said on Friday that we’re going in the right direction – except the players he’s managing don’t seem to know what that direction is.
I think my main point is that I watched Liverpool Thursday and I am so jealous. There’s passion, fight, determination and a want to bloody die for that loveable bearded mentalist. None of our players care like theirs care, and I truly believe that’s because it stems for the dressing room. Klopp believes in his players and in turn, they want to do all they can to win for him. It’s been a long, long time since our guys held Wenger in that regard.
And finally, to those who warn ‘be careful what you wish for’ and ‘yeah but what about David Moyes’, all I say is ‘so what?’
If the next guy doesn’t lead us to the top four, so what, we never challenge in Europe anyway. And if our CL status doesn’t allow us to attract top talent, so what, we very rarely try and buy it anyway. At least the next guy will do something different, and that’s all I want right now.
Joe, AFC, East Sussex
Even Cech not a great signing
We don’t play that well, we miss chances, Palace literally did not have any chances. Cech concedes yet another long-range goal this season.
Cech genuinely won us around 10 points earlier in the season. Considering the games home the West Ham, Swansea and Palace he’s lost us at least seven. I think his vulnerability from long shots is why Ospina was retained against Wham. Bilic second guessed this and decided the strategy would be to play Ospina’s problem area, crosses.
I don’t know what this means really. We thought we’d bought one of the best keepers in the world, he’s turned out error prone. The only bit of effective planning Wenger did this season and it didn’t work. A considered replacement for Wenger (which would include a set of coaches and director of football) would clearly improve our fortunes, but not happening this season so it’s a pointless debate.
I also believe we’ll sign a few players, two or three of them are really going to raise eyebrows. Such is the fatalistic mind of the Arsenal fan, it’ll only bring about a slightly more amusing form of failure
Before Gary Neville: Valencia 1-1 Barcelona.
With Gary Neville: Barcelona 7-0 Valencia.
After Gary Neville: Barcelona 1-2 Valencia.
I almost feel sorry for him. Almost.
Abhinav, LFC, Chicago
Barca have basically done an Arsenal haven’t they?
Change the name to Premier League 365?
I really enjoy your website, but you really need to think about changing the name. You cannot claim to be ‘Football 365’, you are quite clearly ‘Premier League and nothing but teams in the Premier League 365’. Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, but it does look very shallow when so many of your columnists deride other pundits/websites who: ‘think football only began in 1992’. Your website is now the worst culprit for this.
Take today for example, one of the biggest games in Scottish football, an an unexpected win for the new Rangers, yet your website doesn’t have a peep of it on the front page. You used to be the bastions of writing about European football, with the odd nod up north or look at the championship along with an excellent section on Spanish football. Now, unless an English Premier League team is involved you outright ignore it – see the Europa League final last year and the scant coverage it generated on your site.
Again, nothing wrong with this, you have to cater to your core audience, but if some of your smug writers could please realise the hypocrisy of decrying other pundits for their English-centric view of football whilst blatantly doing it yourselves that would be great.
I don’t expect this to be published, I’ve written both snide emails and outright rants in the past that have never made the letters page, but hopefully you’ll take it on board even if you won’t admit to it publicly.
Alasdair Stewart (DUFC)
(Well Alasdair, you can now read Mailbox regular Caolan on Scottish football right here…)