So we have some mails and we also have a trail for five Mailbox guest articles. If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can stick your funking banner up your Arse
We would not be Arsenal if the main talking point after a 4-0 away win wasn’t some wa*kers with a banner. They make all Arsenal fans look really stupid, but they make their own cause appear even worse. Although I’m not one who demands change in the top offices at AFC, I recognise there are good reasons for frustration on the terraces. All these are now eclipsed because people see this is how we celebrate a big win.
In the actual football match some great performances from Chambers, Flamini once he got to full-back and Iwobi once we had a lead. Some flash skills from Jeff Reine-Adelaide too.
The injuries, always the injuries. I celebrated our draw last Saturday as we found an apparently functional system where two robust midfielders in the centre are complimented by Aaron Ramsey drifting in from the right. Looks like he’s a few weeks out, so thank the lord that Joel Campbell is one of the most hard working and decent squad players around.
Bad result against Watford on Sunday, then Barca and Everton in league the following weekend will end our season. Managing this squad continues to look like a game of whackamole, just as our strikers have remembered where the goal is, rebalancing the midfield with limited numbers is the next task.
Is a banner really better than a plane?
I’ve just seen the Arsenal fans’ banner stating ‘Arsene, thanks for the memories but it’s time to say goodbye’ and two things occurred to me; firstly, is this comparable to flying a plane over the stadium with ‘WENGER OUT’ trailing behind (is it worse because you can see the chaps who are delivering the message?)? Secondly, and this may have been touted already in the mailbox so apologies if that is indeed the case but, maybe it’s a case of better the devil you know? Look at the state of Manchester United now that their long serving manager has gone. Can things really be different at Arsenal?
The Flan, north London
Is there anything worse than Arsenal fans?
Serious question…is there a worse bunch of fans in the country than Arsenal fans? You’ve got weeks left of the season, are in touching distance (despite a few recent losses) to the top of the league, in the FA Cup Q finals and only going out in Champions League knock-out to the best team in the world. Your team is 4-0 up away and you unveil a banner saying you want your manager (who has guided you to 14 straight Champions League finishes) out. If you end up winning the league, you’ll genuinely not know what to do with yourselves will you? You’ll want to be happy, but your twisted hatred for your manager will override that feeling of joy and you could possibly spontaneously combust as a result of this mental conflict.
Winning the league ain’t east in an era of Chelsea, United and City dominance. Be grateful for what you have – you bunch of spoilt little kids. Pathetic.
Glorious failure on the way!
Don’t think I’ve ever felt lower after a 4-0 victory for my team. They did well to comfortably put the tie to bed in spite of some ridiculous peak-Arsenal injuries.
We may well go on to win the cup which I’ll be pleased about but what’s frustrating is we’ll do what we always do now. We’ll win every remaining game in the league and it’ll still be Leicester’s at the finish. We’ll also probably beat Barca 2-1. Glorious failure again!
Questions need to be asked about why we only demonstrate any resilience when the opportunity has gone. There can be no calling this mental strength and this weakness demonstrated over and over with different players can only be coming from the manager…
Elazar The Glorified
Walcott: Championship superstar
So now we know how good Theo is!
He could be the ‘Messi of the Championship’ if only Arsenal gave him a chance and sold him to Fulham.
Overheard on the train…
On the train this morning, and I heard the following ludicrous line about Spurs having to play Chelsea and Man Utd in the run in: “Well, if you’re gonna do it, you may as well do it the hard way!”
What, as in by playing all the teams twice, home and away in a random order? By having to play supposedly ‘difficult’ teams despite being second in the league and the other two miles back fighting to just get to the Holy Grail next year??
It took all my might not to have a word, and also got me wondering – anyone else heard anything as stupid on the train recently, and anyone dare to step in and correct them?
Who should Villa keep?
I read Matt Stead’s article about the top 10 players who stayed after relegation – with the added suggestion for fans of the Premier League’s current bottom four to remain positive – and it got me to thinking after a season of watching Villa, who would I keep from the current crop of largely insipid failures. Firstly, I’ll state that following Villa this season is the stuff of nightmares for most football fans, we’re mostly looked on from a distance, not with mockery so much as pity, with most fans seemingly pointing us out to their children and stating that life isn’t always as fortunate for others, so to count your blessings. Watching us notch up our – however many its been – defeat of the season, while our players casually strolled around the pitch watching on with apparent awe as Man City passed the ball successfully two even three times in a row whilst also moving towards the goal was another afternoon spent wondering why the hell this (exciting for virtually everyone else) season won’t bloody end. There’s literally no point us even fulfilling our fixtures at the moment for all the application the players put in, so who would we keep for next year?
Well for one Agbonlahor will stay regardless, if only because I think he lives at the club, he’s a local lad come bad, and he’ll be here forever, occasionally to be seen sprinting the ball out of play at the corner flag wondering where Ashley Young and John Carew are. The fact that he stopped to pull his socks up whilst Man City were playing the ball in and around his general vicinity, eventually scoring from the move, speaks of the levels of desire that he’s putting into the cause, and he’s the one club man, the local lad fan who has been our captain at various times, If his body language, effort and desire are that non-existent then what’s to be expected of the rest of them? It was our season in a microcosm.
So who would I suggest we keep? Well, I happen to like Idrissa Gana and Jordan Veretout, all too often this season they’ve been the only two players who seem willing to keep going, to keep chasing the ball, to keep trying to make tackles and interceptions, a fact that is shown in the fact that Gana has made more interceptions than any player in the league (thanks whoscored) including potential MVP (I know we don’t do that here) N’Golo Kanté (albeit in more minutes played). Gana has admittedly got a few clangers in him, but he seems a willing worker, and with better players around him I think he’d be a decent enough player, unfortunately, he is severely missing out on that particular outlet. Gestede was good in the Championship before we signed him so maybe there’s hope for him yet, despite his inability to control any pass unless it’s a cross directed at his head six yards out, which is maybe once a month at the moment. Jordan Ayew looked promising before being sent off at West Ham, and now he looks a bit sulky since returning but he’s still regularly our biggest threat if you want to call it that. Carles Gil is a nice player if bigger boys don’t stand too close to him or a particularly strong breeze wafts past, so maybe he could develop further. At the back I’d keep Okore and Richards, Okore is a pretty rugged basic and relatively solid centre-back, and Richards seems to be the only player whose body language suggests he’s interested in a fight, or at least professionally embarrassed by the state of things.
Other than that I’m struggling, I’ve stated since it’s started to become truly apparent that we were going down, and that a large number of the senior players had downed tools, that for the remainder of the season we should be bringing through more academy players to have an opportunity to play. They may not be any better, but it’s hard to imagine anyway they could be worse; at the very least, young players hungry to take their chance and play first-team Premier League football – albeit for just a few more months – would have a desire and a work rate that is desperately lacking in the first-team squad. Ultimately, if players have given up and aren’t giving their all anymore, then don’t play them, play someone who will want to do something other than mope around, and although there’s a risk that you damage their development or confidence if they continue to lose games, at the very least you can see who has the potential to make the grade for next season, and begin at least bedding them in for the future. I guess it all depends on whether Rémi Garde is still the coach next season or if he’s booked a year off for a counselling retreat. I’d like to say I’m optimistic for the future, but with every passing painful press conference where Garde or some other player comes out to state the obligatory “we need to keep fighting (which implies that you were or are currently fighting) or we’re all in this together (read scrambling for the nearest exit)” my hope dwindles.
Jamie (See you on Sunday, Spurs, for the next leg of the farewell tour) AVFC
Why does anybody outside of Leicester care about Leicester?
I’m sorry, but I’m finding this season’s bonhomie towards Leicester a bit difficult to take. As a United fan, if we’re not going to win the thing then as long as it’s not Liverpool or Leeds, I don’t give a monkey’s chuff who wins it. The whole idea of a league system is designed to favour the team that’s playing the best football, which this year happens to be Leicester. Why everybody other than Leicester fans are getting their knickers in a twist about it is beyond me.
And what’s with the free pass City fans get. The ones I know used to be a humble bunch with a dash of humility that was only brought about because there team was complete cack and they couldn’t for shame be anything but. Now they’ve got some money and a half-decent squad they’re a bunch of Billy Big B*llocks with mouths the size of the Sheikh’s bank balance and can be heard lauding it from here to the streets of that there London. The Colin Bell End Stand (it exists in my mind) at the Council House is full of day trippers from Stockport who outnumber the oh so righteous City fan, the ones who were there when they were a whisker away from getting through to final of the the Leyland Van Commemorative Vase final, by 3 to 1. Enjoying the ride my arse.
And don’t get me started on those melts that say ‘I support X but also like Y’…
Andy Race (this mail is in no way a reaction to United’s trophy room having more cobwebs than trophies….again)
The unloved elite? Should City care?
I sort of got what my fellow Blue, Wayne C was getting at yesterday, but knew that mails would arrive to take umbrage with some of his points, and sure enough they did indeed arrive.
Blues can be split into three different categories, so if you would allow me:
We’re Nice – well, yes, most of us indeed are, and as Max, CPFC alluded to, the majority of us have retained that gallows style sense of humour we’ve always been famed for. We still keep it real even though we are essentially a dirty great big tank steamrolling around throwing even bigger piles of cash at things than other clubs have done in the past (that I guess is another argument for another time).
F@ck ’em – the sh!t many of us went through, both on and off the pitch, has led to many simply not giving a f@ck what other fans now think of us. We paid our dues for decades and yet we still turned up in our tens of thousands to witness the dross, but now? Now we’re a big beast, that is only going to get bigger. Good. Let the haters hate.
Couldn’t Name Three Players In The Squad – these folk are inevitable due to our recent success, living vicariously through the club. These people didn’t pay their dues (OK, some have made an effort), and as such can just shut the hell up.
The thing is, whatever other fans think of Manchester City is really irrelevant; soft spot, hate, envy, admiration, it doesn’t matter. These differing views happen to all successful clubs (will Leicester City experience this?), just as many are now all laughing at the hilarity at Manchester United. That’s football for you.
…You very kindly published a mail of mine last week, so I thought why not try again? The thing that caught my eye in the afternoon mailbox was Max, CPFC’s email about my beloved City. Max, yup football’s a business now and success is and has been bought for some time. The romantic idea that everyone could build a team from local talent and their youth systems to challenge for the league died long before City and even Chelsea got their money.
This entire idea of a Top Four is down to money. Why do teams care so much about getting into the Champions League? Is it really the thrill of being up against Europe’s elite? Or is it down to the ridiculous amount of money they get? And if you can sustain a run of a few years with that money you can strengthen your team enough to further sustain such a run. It’s one of the reasons we care so much about our precious European coefficient. That extra Top Four place and the money it brings.
For a club like City the only way to break into the old top four was by having a rich owner and spending big in an attempt to bridge the gap between the then top four and us. Look at Aston Villa, they tried and failed to bridge this gap. City are a product of the existing system, we didn’t suddenly ruin football, nor did Chelsea, and neither did Man United when they floated themselves on the stock market so long ago. Football has slowly and gradually been ruining itself for a long time.
Like many other entertainment industries – the moves spring to mind – football is as much a business as anything else. And while spending doesn’t equal success it certainly helps tip the odds in your favour. Football has moved on from what it was 60 odd years ago. I remember my granddad telling stories of living in the same street as United and City players… how many of us could say that now? What hasn’t moved on is the fans, the tribalism, the fact we deeply care about our clubs despite the fact that most of them only care about our money and see us as consumers not fans.
You say City are a blight on the game? I assume Chelsea are too, but what about Arsenal, Liverpool, Man United? Are they okay? Was the game blight-free before 2008? Ultimately what people dislike is the idea that the playing field isn’t level and that certain clubs have more money and therefore the power to buy better players than others, although as City among others have proved actually managing those players does come into it rather more than people would like to admit.
The fact is the playing field hasn’t been – if it ever was – level for a very long time. Whatever you think of City surely we’ve made life more interesting for the neutrals having shaken up the Top Four? Admittedly I’m sure there’s a certain amount of jealousy out there too. And as a City fan I’ve enjoyed Leicester and Spurs shaking up this season and long may it continue!
Wayne’s back with a few points
I’d love to have the time to respond in depth to each of Max, Chris, Al and Matt, but I don’t, so here’s a potted response.
Max, I did have CPFC in my original list of preferred top four, but swapped them out for Newcastle. I don’t know why, but looks like it was the right decision in hindsight ;-).
Chris (Arsenal), of course ‘glory hunter’ was a generalisation, but as football generalisations go it’s a pretty well-founded one. There are always exceptions.
Al (Liverpool), yes you are still glory hunters…1, because you were mostly ‘attracted’ when you were glorious…and 2, because glory is always coming next year, and I distinctly remember you celebrating winning the 2014 Premier League?
Matt (Arsenal), the entitlement ‘barb’ is aimed at a large core of Arsenal, United and Liverpool who feel that because you’ve won it in the past, it gives you more right than others to win it in the future, hence the attempted belittling of those with less trophies in the cabinet.
Why do we wear shirts?
Reading Chris C’s mail, in which he cites the increasingly familiar sight of a Man City shirt in London as an example of a growing (plastic) fanbase, made me think: why do we buy football shirts?
I for one buy them for the player not the club (or at least a combination). Much like a Carhartt beanie or a moustache, names on football shirts are a great way of expressing your personality. I once saw a Chelsea fan wearing a Romeu shirt on a train in Dorset. My cousin owns an Adrian Mutu shirt (purchased pre goose-gate but arguably more of a collector’s item because of it). Not that I/my cousin are advocating Adrian Mutu’s lifestyle choices; I just think it takes an interesting fan to buy one. Probably shouldn’t wear it though.
Sorry I’ve digressed…
Skinnyman (London) CFC
No fan is better than another, you know…
I hope you get more than just me writing in to laugh at Chris C’s suggestion that Liverpool, United, and Arsenal fans are all proud Englishmen whose grandparents supported the club, while City and Chelsea supporters are a bunch of tourists with half-and-half scarves.
Now, I won’t disparage Wayne’s credentials in the same way he does entire swathes of other supporters. I’m sure that Arsenal’s success over the past 30 years has no effect on his attachment to them, and that if his grandfather had happened to grow up near Cleethorpes, Wayne would be writing in about Grimsby Town instead.
And while his insinuation that the tens of millions of people who like Arsenal and United on Facebook do so because they’ve have blood relations who regularly attended matches in the past, and not because those are the teams that have won loads of matches in the past 20 years is quite amusing, I don’t have any inclination to prove it one way or another.
Instead, the point I’d like to make is this: people support teams for many different reasons, and when it comes down to it, any one reason for deciding to yell at a bunch of millionaires wearing a certain set of matching clothes is as ludicrous as the next. You’re not special, you’re still cheering for a billionaire’s plaything, and the more seriously you try to take it, the sillier you look.
How good are Burnley?
I’m positively in dreamland with Burnley at the minute. Two years ago we were tipped for relegation and against all the odds we came second in the Championship and won promotion to the Premier League. Our team and squad wasn’t quite good enough and we were relegated instantly despite a famous win over Man City. Three of our four best players were picked off by bigger guns but we’ve completely regrouped and arguably have a stronger squad/team than two years previously.
We’re currently unbeaten in the league since Boxing Day conceding only four goals with 10 wins in 13 games. We’ve just completed a league double over our rivals, B@stard Rovers and we’re top of the league by four points.
Last night we went 1-0 up to 2-1 down at half time. We came out in the second half and won 3-2. That’s proper resilience. Further, Hull got a smashing in their game against Arsenal, and Middlesbrough lost to 22nd place Rotherham. Jordan Rhodes hasn’t really worked out for ‘Boro with only one goal in eight appearances and we’re seven points clear of Hull.
We might well win the league here!
Nick P, Burnley FC (love Joey Barton!)
Loving Nakata, loving Storey
Long time reader, first time stander-upper
Storey’s piece on Nakata was a huge (pleasant) surprise. Growing up in Japan and Hong Kong, watching Nakata in Italy and during the 1998 World Cup made every Asian child feel that we could also make it in the big leagues (still waiting for my phone to ring.) When he retired I remember being devastated, knowing inherently that Sun Jihai, Li Tie and, Inamoto Junichi really couldn’t keep the torch aflame. Just happy that Nakata got his recognition as an F365 icon.
E Fung (LFC and HKG – we might qualify for the World Cup ahead of China!)
Right, so we have chosen five mailboxers to write guest articles, based on three criteria:
a) We recognised the name of the Mailboxer; we will start with real regulars.
b) The mailboxer is not a moron or illiterate.
c) The proposed article is something we probably wouldn’t or couldn’t write ourselves.
We will then gauge reaction and decide whether we continue with this experiment. So in the coming days you can look forward to…
‘Niall, Denver’ on the MLS physical freaks made for the PL.
‘Name withheld’ on the ‘Respect’ challenge in youth football.
‘Alex Stokoe’ on the Faustino Asprilla myth.
‘Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA’ on when DC United were MLS kings.
‘Stuart Willsher’ on the joys of Chelmsford City.
Imagine if they’re sh*t though…
Remember the anguish of missing a penalty? I’m assuming 95% of contributors have played competitively and have missed a penalty right? That’s sending in a mail to the mailbox and not getting published.
Now, imagine you get your 20-Word (or so) summary of an idea approved by F365, you work hard on it all night and day, send in your article, and you don’t get published, because it’s utter bobbins. That’s John Terry in the 2008 Champions League final anguish. Be mindful of West Ham. Careful what you wish for.
(Mine would be on the complete and utter dejection of hoping Ipswich could hold out for a win and not concede 97th minute penalties, but it would be too painful to write)
Chris ITFC, Liverpool