Ready to roll out the Red carpet for Casillas…

Date published: Tuesday 23rd May 2017 3:49

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Clamour for Casillas
The rumoured signing of Iker Casillas has got me extremely excited. He’s exactly what we need, a legendary keeper (167 Spanish caps) who captained Spain and Real Madrid. He’s probably got two to three years left in him, at which point Karius will be 26 and have some better experience (or maybe Danny Ward).

Further, it shows Klopp to be a bit more ruthless than he’s appeared so far, and is willing to address the most obvious flaws head on. If you couple this with the alleged £65m available that was bid on Mbappe (he was never gonna come, but it shows the money’s there), there’s a very exciting summer ahead.
KC (I’d also suggest Atletico’s outbound Spanish striker on a free transfer)

 

Embrace the Europa League
There you have it, the English double standard on Europa League, and generally every major football competition except for quarter-final stages onwards. In the last few days words such as “failure”, “disappointment”, “Europa League Final” and “Manchester United / Mourinho” have featured in the same sentence quite often.

You go barking on quite often the Europa League should be taken more seriously by English teams as it offers them vital European experience, even if it’s perceived as “lesser” opposition to such EPL giants such as Southampton. You go barking on about how the football is losing its’ romance and there is no “true” love left in football games. How romantic is the fact that Manyoo has to play on a frozen potatofield in some obscure city in the eastern world, like in the good old days.

You go barking on about the fact the good football and good results shouldn’t necessarily mean lots of money spent and you celebrate the teams that achieve results on a shoestring. You go barking on celebrating teams over the past that have won the old UEFA Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup and Europa League, but when it comes to an English team winning it, only words such as failure and disappointment spring to your mind whenever Man United and Europa League is mentioned in the same sentence.

I get it, this happens because of a perception and expectation aspect of the whole how manyoo spent, Mourinho, the club etc. But by continuously barking on about “even if Manyoo win EL, it’s still a failure”, not even remotely trying to put s positive spin on the whole aspect, you are precisely underlying the double standards of English thinking about modern football: you are underlying the fact the Europa League is meaningless and the competition is just a distraction on the great race on who finishes in the top half of the greatest sporting competition on earth (EPL); you are underlying the fact f..k romance of football played everywhere in Europe, English teams should only play in fancy parking lot stadiums of large European city shopping centres; you are underlying the fact that Manyoo with all its’ wealth should not be denigrated in playing an European final, implying that final it’s not worth the bother financially; and last but not least your are underlying the fact the teams should not be proud of winning trophies, unless its’ the EPL top4 position.

There you have it, (unintentional) English double standards on European football. I for one (manyoo fan from Hungary since Cantona joined, being from Europe I have heard of him before he moved to England) would take winning the Europa League five times as Sevilla did, compared to finishing fourth in the league and dropping out of CL in the group stages.

Best,
Andy, Budapest

 

Defending Pep and Jose
Blimey, Sarah Winterburn really seems to hate everything Manchester, doesn’t she? I’m going to find myself defending both Mourinho and Guardiola here and not lauding Conte as the second coming of the Messiah (third if you count Brian) but bear with me.

I’ve been a United fan for over 30 years, so I do remember what it was like when Liverpool were taunting us with ’26 years without a title’ while they steadily pulled away in the 80s, then came the arrival of Alex Ferguson and the rest is history. That’s kind of the point, it’s history, Sir Alex left what everyone agreed was an aging squad in major need of an overhaul, enter the Chuckle Brothers, Moyes and Woodward, to right royally f**k that up for almost two years, followed by Looney Louis and his weird metaphors. We heard a few in press conferences, it was probably like Swiss Tony in the changing room, ‘Of course, winning football matches is very similar to making love to a beautiful woman …’ (Fast Show reference, look it up). It takes time to reverse that sort of trend and Mourinho is definitely doing that, despite the league position, which seems to be the only barometer for being disappointed these days.

Guardiola and Mourinho share something in that they’ve had less than a year in their current roles and both inherited clubs that were performing below their best, both finishing 15 points off the title in 2015/16. The instant argument is that spending a shed load of cash and having a whole pre-season to prepare should be ample but many managers have shown over the years that money is no guarantee of success and what do you learn about your first team during a pre-season that you inherited in the Far East/US where the games mean diddly? Both teams are a work in progress and both squads need work. City have done better in the league, United in the cups and both have played a lot of games this season, so I think both can claim to be headed in the right direction.

Conte, on the other hand, inherited a very good squad that had downed tools, a far different prospect to the former two, it’s to his credit that he has motivated them as well as he has but he hasn’t had to build a team yet, having brought in three players, of which one was a first team shoe in. It shows to me that Chelsea were a side in far less need of overhaul than the Manchester sides and for that reason alone, Mourinho and Guardiola deserve time to build, not to be labelled the biggest disappointments of the year.

Cheers,
Paul, Man Utd

 

Maths with Antoine
There’s a 70% chance he’s staying at Athletico, of the 30% chance he goes there’s a 60% chance he’d go to Man U and 40% chance he’d go elsewhere.  In summary there’s an 18% chance of him going to United…. Which seems about right.  Don’t know what you’re all so confused about.
Matt, AFC

 

…I wish to point out to Cian, LFC that Griezmann leaving Athletico and joining Man United is not the only outcome. In fact they can be mutually exclusive and thus the correct probability should be:

Griezmann staying in Madrid = 0.7
Griezmann leaving Madrid and joining United = 0.3 x 0.6 = 0.18
Griezmann leaving Madrid and NOT joining United 0.3 x 0.4 = 0.12

I guess what Cian may have meant is that Griezmann should be educated in Scouse Math before being paid a lot of money.
Kayes, Singapore.

 

Betting double standards
There’s a duality in the way that gambling and gambling companies are being portrayed recently, one which puzzles me somewhat.

On the one hand, the companies are evil. Relentlessly profiteering through the infamous fixed odd betting terminals, doing the bare minimum to help those with true addiction problems, relentlessly targeting less affluent areas to saturate with ever more shops, aggressively advertising just about everywhere…

Yet, when a few punters get one over on these supposedly evil empires, it’s reported as if it were a crime. Pie gate and now the Terry debacle being just two recent examples.

Frankly, if betting companies want to be idiotic enough to offer large odds on something so specific as a substitution time, they deserve all they get.

As long as no law is broken in obtaining it, I see no moral quandary in using “inside information” to get one over on companies whose whole business model is based on accruing large amounts of data and setting odds accordingly. Bet Degsy wouldn’t either!

Note, footballers betting on matches is a separate issue and very naughty. Betting on Frank Lampard eating a pie in the stand, is acceptable.
Spoons LFC (Never surrender to cowards)

 

Anyone?
Can someone in the mailbox do me a team of the season with only one player allowed from each team?

I can’t be bothered.
Rob, Dorset

 

Manchester is wonderful
As a United fan living in Ireland but as someone who has visited Manchester over 50+ times going to games im devastated by the news today. Seeing Deansgate and areas of the city that I know and love so well, closed off, and seeing and hearing all the stories of heartache on the news this morning has affected me greatly.

What I will say is this – there are no greater, kinder, loving people then the Manchester folk and they will come through this in their usual strong willed way.
Football pales in comparison when you see kids being attacked at a concert. But seeing the kind words from the football community has to give everyone some strength that those threatening what we hold dear, will never ever prevail.

As that great Manchester band the Stone Roses say “Love is the Key”
Giggsy, Ireland

 

…I was going to write in about Sarah’s latest article and how I agreed with much of what she said on her 10 biggest disappointments of the season, Jose in particular.

But the atrocity in Manchester’s city centre clearly supersedes all that. I lived my first 21 years in that fine city before moving to Australia with 2 mates as a bit of a lark, many years back. But I have retained many links with Manchester through my mother and my brother and his three daughters and their own numerous children. And I even recognised many of the TV images of the oh-so-changed Manchester’s city centre, pointing out to Mrs. Jonesey where I used to work, where I used to go for a drink on Friday afternoon, where I used to walk home down Deansgate etc.

When the news broke here – and all these things are more or less immediate through the likes of BBC World News, (still the premier news service in the world, if you ask me) – my thoughts immediately went to my brother because he’s of an age where his grandchildren might have attended the concert.

And I’ve not been able to get through to him on the ‘phone and he’s not answered my Email either. And I’m just so worried. Of course, he might be out shopping or something else mundane but, until I talk to him, how do I know? There are ‘phone numbers flashing at the bottom of my TV screen and I can call the police dedicated number. But what’s the point at this stage? I’ll just be cluttering up the lines and I think my best bet on information is to persevere trying to contact my brother.

Look, I know the chances of one of my own family being hurt or, worse, killed, are remote but it’s the not knowing that worries me. And I can only imagine the concern of those parents whose kids were actually known to be at the concert, running around screaming at the emergency services “have you seen my daughter”?

We know these bastards are going to keep doing this sort of outrageous stuff because they are terrorists, after all. That’s what they do.

But will any of us give in to this sort of intimidation? Australians were attacked in Bali a year after the twin- towers came down but we didn’t cave in. The Americans didn’t cave in when those jets crashed into those massive buildings. The French didn’t give in when they were bombed in Paris. And Brits don’t cave in under any circumstances.

This sounds sort of Churchillian but it’s not really supposed to.

But f*ck them all.
Jonesey Melbourne

 

…Just a quick one to say I think UEFA have got it right in keeping tomorrows final on. We can’t let these nutcases win.

Also, I know it probably doesn’t need saying to the readers here but remember these “people” are not Muslims. They are horrible people with no human decency who use a religion to trick vulnerable people into following them.
Bernard MUFC

 

Sanchez NSFW
Can you stop using *that* picture of Alexis Sanchez, please? I’m getting some very odd looks in the office!
Andy, London

 

B-side belter
The greatest cup final song wasn’t even an A side. It was the B side to Arsenal’s 1998 cup final song ‘Hot Stuff’ and was entitled ‘You’ll Never Believe It’.

The song is belted out by one of the most enthusiastic singers of all time and contains the line: “Arsenal’s losing 2-1 – I tell you this game isn’t over yet… from the wing Overmars, Anelka’s there to put in the net.” Lyrical genius. All of this with backing from the Arsenal squad, who really were tone deaf. Hoddle and Waddle could carry a tune sort of but Arsenal’s 1998 vintage were just terrible.

I actually had to buy two copies as my mate’s younger brother loved the song so much I ended up giving him my copy.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London

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