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Why I’m sick of City…
To Wayne C: I’m afraid to say I’m sick of Man City – as are most ‘neutrals’ I know. If they were relegated next season I would cheer.
Don’t take this personally (quite). I certainly don’t hate City: Pellegrini, Kompany, Silva, Aguero all seem decent men, the former two even admirable. The investment in youth should be lauded, as should the ‘holistic’ approach taken by the not-so-new owners. And based on personal experience and the mailbox, it’s hard to begrudge City fans their success.
But ultimately that success was bought. Bought because City activated the ‘Sheikh cheat’. Because City can now throw £30m at five players and see what sticks. There is nothing admirable about the club’s success, nothing to like. I don’t hate City like I hate Chelsea but the two stand for essentially the same: the purchase of football, the flogging of competition to the highest bidder.
I’m afraid you can’t have it both ways: you can’t buy the league twice, however thrillingly, and then wonder why your club are seen as a blight on the game. This isn’t meant as a provocation: I’m sure you’ve enjoyed your success and congratulations to City fans for retaining their humour and perspective.
But once the club spent £33m on Robinho you joined the unloved elite. And less than a decade later, you basically embody it.
Max, CPFC (no longer waving but drowning)
And you do have glory hunters…
I was reading with interest Wayne C (Man City fan)’s email until he made the bland and frankly lazy statement about Arsenal, United and Liverpool fans being ‘glory hunters’. The statement IS lazy because when you think about it, a great deal of the core (English) fan base of these clubs is because the support has been passed down from father to son. My own grandfather MAY have been a ‘glory hunter’ having started supporting Arsenal in the 1930s (when they won the league five times), but then again he did live in Dalston, a stone’s throw away. He passed the brand loyalty (to use an unwelcome modern parlance) down to my father, who passed it on to me and my sisters and so on to our kids. I’m sure many United and Liverpool fans could demonstrate that their allegiance was inherited rather than a chosen adoption.
Which then led me to thinking who are the real glory hunting fans? The obvious examples are Chelsea and indeed City themselves. Back in the 80s one Chelsea fan attending their Division Two game would have to scream in order for the person standing next to them at Stamford Bridge to hear them, as there would be that much empty space between them. Average crowds of 16-21,000 were the norm. I live in the south and have done all my life. It has always been usual to see Arsenal or Spurs shirts, but only in the last decade or so have Chelsea shirts become more and more dominant coinciding with that club’s prominence since the AbRam revolution began. They are known to fans of other London clubs as ‘plastics’ for a reason you know. As for Man City shirts…never ever would they be seen down here…until the last couple of years. Coincidence or glory hunting Wayne?
I accept that successful teams will always have a number of people jumping on the bandwagon, but analyse where you live and see if the trends are similar. If Leicester win the league for the next five years, expect to see Foxes shirts popping up all over the place!
Chris (genuinely thing Leicester deserve to win the league and hope they do) C
Just to pick up Wayne C’s point…
Are Liverpool fans still classed as glory hunters??
Thanks very much.
I know the Champs League is a biggie and the one we all want but that was 11 yrs ago…and the FA Cup was 10yrs…or is the League Cup bigger than I thought??
A mail on entitlement
Recently I have seen an increasing number of contributors taking a pop at Arsenal fans for their sense of ‘entitlement’. These digs now also pop up in mails on topics completely unrelated to Arsenal, as in the case with Phil, EFC, Wirral this morning. Wayne C labelled us in eloquent terms as ‘self-entitled glory hunting history professors’.
While there is a very vocal and rabid portion of the fanbase that you could certainly point fingers at, I don’t see how the concept of entitlement fits with this.
The frustration I feel as an Arsenal fan is related to missed opportunities to do better and be in a position to win things. I don’t in any way feel Arsenal are “entitled” to win the Premier League, but it is hard to take when we consistently put ourselves in decent positions and then just as consistently self-destruct or fade away (for example leading for so long in the 2013-14 season when Ramsey was on fire).
Recent fan anger directed at the team has been more focused on the facts that 1) the team has not been playing well at all, and hasn’t for pretty much most of the season and 2) through injuries, or underperformance, or preparation, the balance of the team hasn’t seemed right for a long time, meaning we often look quite ponderous going forward and shaky at the back. Obviously this is exacerbated by the fact Leicester and Tottenham are having a great time of it, while other title rivals have struggled, but again, I see this more as an opportunity slipping away from us than any sort of given right to win the League.
Another dimension to consider is that Arsenal’s position is unique in the Premier League for the simple fact that we have had the same manager for 19 and a half years. The next nearest is Eddie Howe with three and a half. The discussions we have (that play out in the mailbox) around Arsene Wenger’s position are completely different to that for every other club, because over the course of 19+ years you are bound to gain baggage and history, both positive and negative. It would be the same for any other club if they had the same manager for that long.
I understand that many clubs would love to be in a position to regularly finish in the Top Four (it isn’t a trophy, but a measure of consistency). The Arsenal fans I know love being in the Champions League for the big games. Regardless of all of the jokes that we can’t beat the better teams, the occasions are great and we have had some truly memorable games. But I am getting tired of other fans constantly having a go on this ‘entitlement’ charge – I certainly don’t feel entitled to anything when the team turns up to must-win games against Man Utd and Swansea and can’t deliver.
Every fan goes into the new season with expectations – some will be delirious with happiness, some immensely disappointed, some content to do what is expected.
Matt C, Hutton
Leicester COULD and HAS happened elsewhere…
Like the majority of people I am very much enjoying watching Leicester makes us all look stupid by leading the Premier League with a handful of games left.
However I am getting sick of hearing that this somehow proves how great the Premier League and that this could never happen in any other country.
Of course it is difficult to compare different clubs and different leagues. However for context let’s state some facts first. Leicester is a medium-sized city in the UK with a population of around 330,000 people, and the one-club city (LCFC) have 111 years of history in which time they have won three League Cups, have been to four FA Cup finals, have a best-place finish of secod in the top league and have only spent one season outside of the top two divisions. They also play in a modern 32,000 all-seater stadium.
For me there are various comparisons from Europe’s other major leagues in recent memory.
Deportivo from La Coruna (population 246,000) won their first and so far only La Liga title in 2000 having previously won just two national cup titles and play in a stadium with a capacity of 34,000.
Montpellier (population 268,000) similar to Deportivo won their first Ligue 1 championship in 2012 having previously only won the French Cup twice and play at the stade de la Mosson in front of 32,000 fans.
Wolfsburg (population 122,000) had won nothing and barely played in the top flight of German football before winning the Bundesliga in 2008 playing in their 30,000 stadium.
However by far my favourite story from across the pond is that of Lyon. Before 2002 they had never won Ligue 1 and only won a handful of cups. Lyon is the third largest city in France so of course this was an under-achievement however after winning their first league title in 2002 they followed it up with a further six successive championships. Honestly can you imagine Leicester not only winning the Premier League for the first time this season but then going on to win every league title from now until 2022?
Now that we look back none of these triumphs seem like shocks mainly because the teams then kick on and win or at least compete in the following years and bring in higher-quality players (not doubt bank rolled by the success). Of course the difference with Leicester is that they have gone from bottom to top in a calendar year which is unique.
However even in England you could argue that Leicester’s current achievement of leading the table towards the end of the season after only being promoted to the league is comparable to Keegan’s Newcastle. Really the two Premier League favourites at the start of the season Chelsea and Manchester City have between them won double the amount of league titles (6) since 2005 as they did in the previous 100 years.
I guess my point is if Leicester do win the title then sustain some sort of competitiveness this will look less of a shock, especially when you consider they are owned by a Thai billionaire.
As for this proving that the Premier League is the best in the world I think it just proves that the favourites can have bad seasons and if a medium-sized team perform well then they can still challenge every now and then as happens in most leagues.
Leicester’s lack of injuries: Explanations
Interesting point raised in the mailbox this morning relating to Leicester’s lack of injuries. We have had Schlupp and James out for the majority of the season, but other than that, we’ve not had many. I don’t think it is fair to say this is solely due to luck, there are other factors at play in my opinion.
The majority of our team are used to full-blooded 46-game season Championship football and have likely toughened up as a result of it.
As has been noted a lot recently, our style of play doesn’t involve having much possession. You’re more likely to get injured if you have the ball. Also, when teams play the bigger spending teams, they are more likely to dive into niggling tackles due to frustration of not getting the ball. Teams have not treated Leicester in the same way, because we’re little Leicester!
I’m sure other clubs have done the same, but our club has invested large sums of money into sports science to ensure out players maintain their peak physical condition. This is bound to have helped.
Finally, our players are getting knocks but seem to be playing through the pain barrier. Vardy had multiple injuries for most of the first half of the season. We were then fortunate to get a two-week break due to lack of other competitions to put him through surgery to sort the problem.
…As a response to Ryan, North Carolina, I thought I’d raise a few points. 1) we haven’t played as many games as the other teams at the top so are much less likely to get any strains from overplaying *cough,cough* Arsenal *cough,cough* & 2) our medical and physio team is considered one of the best in the country and the manager trusts their judgement.
Because of this Leicester have used the least number of players in the Premier League this season (23) and tend to name an unchanged 18. You may remember that Vardy was carrying a wrist injury through December. It was operated on before FA Cup third round week and he played a week later after following to the letter a plan from the physios including lots of cryogenic chamber time to hasten his recovery. I don’t see other teams getting injury recovery turnaround like this.
It’s no accident Leicester have the shortest injury list and the highest availability of players and it’s just another thing adding to Leicester’s push to win the Championship two seasons ago, the nine-game run last season and the continuation of that with Don Claudio this.
Steve Phillips, LCFC
What if Spurs finish fifth?
Just something that annoys me on a regular basis. Why is it every time Spurs have a disappointing result, everyone (pundits, fans, writers) say Spurs look/ed tired. Many know, we are probably the fittest team in the Premier League, along with Bournemouth. I know we’ve played a lot of games, but surely if were the fittest that’s what we’re built for, surely the teams not as fit as us should be tiring, not us. I don’t buy it. And how is resting them for one game going to make a difference, they’d still be doing training all week, quite intense training with Poch I imagine. It’s the same with every single time Harry Kane doesn’t score it’s because he’s tired or needs a rest. They should all be in peak condition. Now for some negative thoughts, how would Spurs fans feel if it all went completely wrong and we finished 5th? Up to now it’s been a ridiculously good season, but if that happenned, we finished outside the top four, went out of all the cup competitions very early, that would be considered a bad season in my opinion. Just an interesting and depressing thought!
Martinez IN, actually
Last couple of Mailboxes there have been some valid criticisms of Martinez. In Mediawatch you posted a recommended reading on how the Lennon-Niasse substitution wasn’t what cost us the lead. I agree – it was Mirallas’ red. But whist you can excuse one-offs, what you can’t excuse is an emerging pattern. We throw away too many leads under Martinez.
However, I don’t think he should be sacked, for the following reasons:
1. He has a long-term vision. With the players we have and their potential, we could have one of the best squads in the league five years down the line. Sacking Martinez will convince these players we don’t have a long-term plan and it will crumble as they leave. This can’t be allowed to happen.
2. It’s exciting. Yes, it’s frustrating when we lose like that, but when Martinez’s football comes off it a joy to behold.
3. Give him time. We’re in the quarters of a cup, and just recently been knocked out in the semi of another. We’re close to winning something.
The overwhelming majority seem to want him to stay from my experience, although people are beginning to grumble. I don’t want Everton to become a sacking club, giving managers time is important.
Liam EFC (If we win the cup, I’ll Mosh-iri)
Ed: Still not properly back
I just read the mailbox while sat in a soft play. Couldn’t work out if the sound of snivelling children was real or in my head.
Three things to say:
1. The Palace fan who started the petition is a c##t, and has been disowned as such by the majority of right-thinking Palace fans. We didn’t like the decision, but we liked our team’s play even less.
2. Liverpool fans will never win the world championship of self-awareness, but even so, MickT lumping all of us in with that aforementioned c##t is pretty spectacular. Surely of all teams, his own is the one whose fans have suffered the most from being tarred with a brush meant only for a tiny, tiny minority.
3. Nice try, Mitesh Desai (poetry corner)/but if you think I’m only going to write once a week you are sorely mistaken.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven
1. MickT, Liverpool – have you considered the possibility that the change.org petition may have been hijacked by fans of a certain club with a little more animosity towards Liverpool than Palace?
2. Christ that list of uncapped players was depressing. Every single one of those foreign players would make the plane for us, most would start!
3. Just realised Chelsea have hit the 40 point mark – we’re safe! Who’s laughing now eh? EH?
A Mailbox guest article: Thoughts
I think it’s a great idea by Mitesh Desai to have guest publications as articles. Not knowing the ins and outs of media I have no idea if this is easy or complicated from your side but the idea itself is solid. I have written a few emails to the Mailbox but realised they were getting too long and I should really get back to work…
Another way to do it would be to suggest a specific topic for an article and then take contributions from readers and publish whichever you feel is the best. For example, the topic could be ‘What is takes to avoid relegation’ and people could go through previous survivors, what they had and match these to the current teams fighting relegation (you can have that one).
Rob A (Leicester to win League, come mid-table next year) AFC
…On Mitesh Desais’ excellent idea on guest articles by readers, please for God’s sake don’t do it. It’s bad enough to read two mails from Ed quoththeraven every day, imagine a whole piece every week.
Bring back the quiz if you want extra articles!
…Mitesh Desai, I fully endorse this idea of mailbox contributors getting a whole article published. Mostly it’s an ego thing, the feeling of sheer euphoria I got on my first published mail was immense (even called my Dad who can’t work the Internet to tell him). So the allure of having an actual piece on the site is just phenomenal. I imagine they’d be many, many weeks of failure but to wake up one morning and see it there…boy, it would be worth it!
Dotz, Belfas. (Living vicariously through football journalists since 2012)
…Mitesh Desai raises an interesting point in the morning mailbox with regards to readers providing free content for you to publish. I think it could work if you avoid allowing fans of big clubs to just write opinion pieces. What I miss most of all on the site is the La Liga Round up that Tim Stannard would supply and even when it was being published I wished something similar existed for the Bundesliga, Ligue un, the lower leagues in England etc. I know it didn’t garner enough clicks to keep it going but if this was being provided free of charge to you it would be a no-lose situation and I’m sure grateful readers who bothered reading the articles would forgive the odd misplaced apostrophe. I’d love to hear about the latest updates coming through from the Belgian league or even about Bright Young Things in Australia and I presume a lot of readers feel similarly.
I guess though that there is nothing stopping this same content being submitted to the mailbox so perhaps this is all a moot point.
Would happily provide a weekly recap of events happening in the South African PSL but suspect that may be a bit too niche.
Osric the Brave, Cape Town
…I’d be up for doing a guest writer spot at some point in the future, even though my mailbox contributions are few and far beteween these days.
I’ll get my thinking cap on for an entertaining subject.
Matt L, London
…There are some cracking mailboxers who I’d definitely read more from. The Literary Ed Quoththeraven has has surely earned a permanent deal at F365 Towers by now.
…Mitesh Desai makes a point I’ve taken up with the esteemed writers of 365 before during an offline email row that we had over my disgruntlement of the lack of coverage afforded to Wales during their recent triumphant qualification campaign.
A splendid idea Mitesh.
Love and cuddles.
…I like the idea by Mitesh on articles by guest contributors to be featured once a week. However, I would go one step further and ask that if this is in any way possible, that the topic of that article should be rather appealing to the masses. None of the usual Wenger in/out, Martinez fashion or tactical failure or LvG associated dross. Talk about why Man City forwards have the lowest pressing rates in recent Premier League history, the different refereeing styles or why exactly Tony Pulis insists on using muscular giraffes with exceptional aerial prowess to play across the back four. Or better yet, these guest contributions should be focused entirely on other leagues or teams not within the Premier League.
Greg Tric, (I count myself out, my mails are always extremely short) Nairobi
…I thought you already do this on an almost daily basis and he goes by the name ‘The literary Ed Quoththeraven’. Joking aside, a great idea!
Paul Miller, BRFC (94-95 sure seems a long time ago now..)
(Right. What we will do is take suggestions from Mailbox regulars who are willing to write an article – and crucially, have the time. Write in with ‘Mailbox guest’ in the subject line and give us a 20-word (or so) summary of your idea. We will pick our favourite and mail you back. We will do this for as long as it actually works – Ed).
Rondon pings cr…ohhhh
Did any other regular F365 visitors find that when they went to bed last night they put their head down on their pillow (complete with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink pillow case or similar) and were struck by the following thought:
“Rondon pings cross? What the…What? Rondon p…OH LIKE LONDON KINGS CROSS!”
…and then slept a sound and contented sleep?
Took me bloody ages to figure that one out. Excellent punnage, keep it up.
Dan (hoping to win the FIFA Fenchurch Pancras award for most elaborate train station/football pun of 2016) Brighton