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Joy for the Mailbox
Just thought I’d drop in to provide you all with some much needed encouragement on what appears to be a bit of a slow day in the mailbox. For those who aren’t aware, you’ll be pleased to know that there will be no further utterly soul destroying and morale draining international breaks until the week commencing 19th March 2018. That’s over three months of regular Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup football to indulge in.
Thank. F**k. For. That.
If that’s not enough to arouse the cockles I don’t know what is!
Different rules for different players?
So, according to whoscored.com, Dominic Solanke has played 99 minutes of football this season and Jack Wilshere has played 317 minutes.
Yet, the latter isn’t selected as he hasn’t played enough.
You called it right, F365.
What about Championship pathways?
Daniel Storey’s stories on pathways for young English players has been really interesting and got me wondering where the Championship fits into this discussion. England’s second flight generates more revenue than all but eight other football leagues around the world. It has greater resources than the Portuguese, Argentine, Belgian, Polish, Chilean, Peruvian and Swiss top flights, all of whose national teams sit above England in the FIFA rankings.
Also, logically, if the Premier League’s purchasing power pushes talented youngsters out then those players should then be dropping down to the Championship, also improving the level of that division. In football money buys quality, so there’s no inherent reason why the quality of the Championship should be lower than leagues without their resources and minutes for Charleroi or Club Atletico Colon should be no less valuable than minutes for Cardiff City.
If that’s not the case then we have to start raising other questions. Is the coaching in the Championship too poor to continue developing players in their late teens and early twenties? Is the style of play inimical to honing the skills of young English footballers and why? Are players being left to sit in Premier League development squads for too long before being sent elsewhere? Perhaps there really isn’t a pathways problem, no one slips through the net and the 70+ Englishmen playing in the Prem are the best available, the rest having found their level? Either way I think it calls into question the fundamental narrative about English youth getting pushed out as a consequence of Premier League buying habits. These kids ultimately end up going *somewhere*, maybe we should look at where that is and why it isn’t producing the results we want.
The Irish are loving international week
One man’s sh*t, is another man’s gold, COYBIG!
One email in this morning’s inbox on the Republic of Ireland? We’re on the cusp of getting to a World Cup (Denmark are still favourites but us Irish fans live on the ‘we could’ and ‘maybe’) with a team from the lower half of the PL and Championship.
Anytime England play we have to go through seven days of mailboxes concerning of how poor England are, what young players should pay, why isn’t the squad cohesive, should Mark Noble get a cap, how Gareth Southgate isn’t up to the job, who should manage England. Even with the world-class teams of the last 20 years ye’ve had ye have never done anything on note when it counted.
In my years religiously reading FB365, I have yet the see the a happy mailbox after a meaning full England result. (bar beating a top 10 team in a meaningless friendly and talking up ye’re chances of winning the next international tournament). Ye even complain when ye beat small team in qualification 3-0, because ye should have beat them 10 nil.
So this brings me to my point, being an Irish fan, with a very limited international team gives us so much more enjoyment then English supporters seem to get from a team guaranteed to qualify for all tournaments!! We know we don’t stand a chance of winning the World Cup (we still dream) but getting out of our qualification group was huge, 3,000 fans out sang 30,000 Welsh supporters in Cardiff for 80 mins of the match, The Copenhagen police released a statement tanking our fans how much excitement and atmosphere we brought to the town without one incident being reported etc.) Tomorrow night in Lansdowne road in front of 55,000 fans you will see atmosphere, support and noise that Wembley stadium will NEVER see or even come close to no matter what team England are playing, even with almost twice the capacity.
The whole country will be at a standstill, every pub in the country will be overflowing and young and old will be looking forward to this match (not the quality of football).
So it brings me to a question, would you rather support a minnow, who over achieves and give you the small enjoyments of an occasional giant killing or qualification to a tournament? Or would you rather support a big team, that will be at every international tournament but always underachieve?
Either way we’ll both be out of the World Cup in last round of 16.
COYBIG. Russia needs us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
All hail the Copa Libertadores
I’ve never mailed in before and I always thought my first time would be out of blind rage to be honest but I felt compelled to mail in regarding the Copa Libertadores and lack thereof in the UK.
Some of you may or may not know that the competition has reached its final which will be played over two legs on the 22nd and 29th of November. I say may or may not as it doesn’t seem to have any presence on these shores in any way, shape or form. It’s never reported on and it isn’t on any television channel which I think is absolutely criminal. This year in particular is set to be a fascinating final between two-time winners and Brazilian giants Gremio and relative minnows and final virgins Lanus, one of the many clubs in Buenos Aires, in the shadows of the traditional super powers.
I feel there’s a huge amount of people who really get a kick out of following the competition for a number of reasons. There is plenty of people out there who are sick of the Champions league and what it stands for and especially seeing the same teams compete every year. Which is one of the joys of the tournament the last ten finals have been one by ten different teams which will become eleven this month. That level of competition is completely unheard of in our continent’s premier competition.
I know the football is of vastly inferior quality but there are certainly some top players and exciting games to be experienced. A particular joy of mine is to not only spot young talents but to spot veterans who you didn’t even know still played turn out for top club sides. An example of this is Lucas Barrios, Dortmund and Paraguay legend, who will play in this year’s final for Gremio.
The carnivals of sound and colour that greets the teams during the latter stages is also an incredible sight to behold. I know there are great atmospheres to be found in Europe but there is something unique of the drums, horns and songs of the South Americans.
Doing an admittedly small amount of research I found that this year’s competition is being televised in dozens and dozens of nations outside latin america, including such standard football outposts as Mauritania and Bahrain. Surely if there is a market in these countries there is a market here.
Anyway sorry to go on I just want to make this happen. But regardless of whether it does or doesn’t I urge everyone who wasn’t going to already to find a way of following this year’s final as an alternative to the monotony of the European superpowers.
British Cup is already here!
Last week I sent through five great ideas that never caught on, the fifth of which was a British Cup to replace the League Cup. However, little did I know it is already here and hidden in plain sight. Over the weekend I was idly watching Sky Sports News and the result Dundee United 1-2 Crusaders in the Scottish Football League Challenge Cup caught my eye. It turns out the Challenge Cup took some very innovative steps last season and invited two clubs each from Northern Ireland and Wales, as well as four each clubs from the Highland League and Lowland League. They didn’t stop there, they also invited the youth teams from each Premiership clubs. This season they went even further and invited two clubs from the League of Ireland.
They are now at the semi-final stage and the line-up is Crusaders, Dumbarton, Inverness Caledonian Thistle and The New Saints (who beat Queen of the South on penalties in the quarters). Now, I realise this is not the Champions League and might not interest most, but I absolutely love this. Rugby and Cricket seem to be able to flex and change competitions to suit changing moods and priorities (there is a Canadian team in the lower reaches of the Rugby League and two South African sides in the Pro 14) but football always seems stuck. So, congratulations to the Scottish Football League for this piece of innovation and the chance for fans to see different teams and different challenges.
Qualifying without conceding?
In response to Johnniec@m, I know of three other teams that went through at least a six-game final round qualifying group without conceding a goal:
The funny thing is that both Belgium and England finished second in their groups. Belgium finished behind the Netherlands on goal difference, and England finished behind Sweden on points. England qualified as a second-placed team, but in 1974 only table-toppers made it, and Belgium missed out.
Several teams have gone through even longer preliminary qualifying groups without allowing a goal, most of them in Asia. Japan and South Korea both turned the trick this year.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
…In answer to Johniec@m (lately) who asks if any other team has gone through an entire qualifying campaign without conceding a goal, my brain might be playing tricks on me but didn’t England do that in qualifying for Italia 90?
Morocco for the semi-finals, you heard it here first.
Terry Hall, Switzerland
Turning down England is professional suicide
I put this as a comment on the Facebook posting of JN’s article, but thought I’d send it in as a mail.
I can’t see why one would reject international football, purely because of how it would affect their CV. England seem to be stuck in a constant period of transition and a fit Drinkwater would have a chance of starting. Also, if he said he pulled out because he is not fit, why even bring up the possibility that he just didn’t want to?
If in the future a player would rather not then I suppose that’s fine, but it would be professional suicide. Yes, the little England reaction would be predictably vitriolic, but I can understand there being confusion. Patriotism aside, turning down opportunities in most jobs (but especially football) is rarely a good road to go down. It’s not about being cowed into doing something you don’t want to, it’s about thinking about what you’ve signed up for and how you can progress in your career.
On the subject of poppies, I have no problem with people wearing them or not wearing them. The only thing that grates is the fact we have to be inundated with the various justifications for why either wearing them or not wearing them is correct. Don’t bully people into wearing poppies for the purposes of being aggressively patriotic, sure, but also please don’t heavily imply that wearing a poppy is somehow a sign of supporting war, conflict and death. The poppy is a ubiquitous symbol in our culture and is received and interpreted in numerous different ways. Creating a liberal/extreme right wing dichotomy misses out everything in between, and this, crowned with the use of the term ‘numpties’, does absolutely everything to ensure that people will remain completely polarised on yet another issue.
Ed, BHAFC, Oxford (Really we should all be wearing badges of Chris Hughton’s face, all the time)
The irony of bullying people into wearing something whose purpose is to commemorate those who died in pursuit of freedom from fascist bullies seems lost on them.
Excellent article Johnny Nic, and the above sentence sums up the entire debate. No one should be forced to wear a poppy to show their patriotism. And wearing a poppy doesn’t make you any more patriotic than the person who chooses not to do so.
I sympathize with those who lost their loved ones during the war. But let’s not forget how the British colonized the US, Europe, Asia and large parts of Africa. Basically, they wanted to rule the world and establish The British Empire. We also lost grandparents trying to fight the colonialists. And we still have British colonies around the world, so maybe borders mean something…..
When Fat Man Scouse agrees…
He still labels everything he doesn’t agree with as ‘nonsense’ – which is the mating call of the self-righteous fascist, yet somehow I actually agreed with him in this article for the first time since about oooh 2001?
Well done John
Fat Man Scouse
What sort of player am I?
In response to Peter G’s mail on what type of footballer I am, I’m a committed, versatile defender. I’m left footed, so I’ve spent most of my time at left back, but I have played a lot on the other side, and have a few games at centre back under my belt. I’m not particularly niggly, but I am a committed tackler and header of the ball. When I was younger I used to be a very bad defender, but when I was 15 certain attributes of my game started developing rapidly. I gained the confidence to head the ball directly from goal kicks (I know!), to slide tackle, and developed a decent turn of pace. When I was 16 I started going to the gym, and I developed a long throw as a result of that, which I love to use during a game. There is nothing I enjoy more than to sail a throw down the line over an unsuspecting fullbacks head, for my teammate winger.
Now that’s all the good stuff out of the way, here’s the bad. I have moments of terrible uncoodination, poor judgement, passing and dribbling. Despite my love of heading the ball I lack height, being only 5″9, and in attacking situations although I often meet the ball, more often than not it is blazed over. My lack of height sometimes see’s me caught out at centre back, and because of my lack of attacking attributes barely ever contribute to an attack from fullback.
If it wasn’t for these drawbacks maybe I would’ve made First XI for school. Instead my passion, dedication and slide tackle saw me serve as the Second XI centre-back and captain, which was a great experience in itself.
Kiwi (Go the All Whites/Blacks)