Mail your views to firstname.lastname@example.org – and read about Peter G’s obsession with fan podcasts here…
Unlawfully killed. It’s taken 27 years for the truth, the real truth, to finally be heard. The families and supporters of those 96 men, women and children who have spent 27 years fighting this state sponsored cover up should be rewarded for their services to society. And anyone who takes their own children to a football match today and enjoys the comfort and safety of an all seater stadium without fencing and without being treated like feral scum owes a debt of gratitude as well. May they now, finally, find some peace.
And for all those neanderthals who continue to bang on and blame the fans I simply offer this:
QUESTION 7: Behaviour of the supporters
Was there any behaviour on the part of the football supporters which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles? Yes or no.
Was there any behaviour on the part of the football supporters which may have caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles? Yes or no.
QUESTION 6: Determination on unlawful killing issue
Are you satisfied, so that you are sure, that those who died in the disaster were unlawfully killed? Yes or no.
May they now, finally, find some peace.
27 years of lies and smears.
27 years of fighting and not letting it lie.
27 years. 27 YEARS.
It’s easy to see the families of the 96 as campaigners but they were just people like you and me who wouldn’t let the truth be ignored. They truly are some of the most incredible people and people that I have no end of admiration and respect for. Imagine the pain of having the media and the police try to shift the blame onto your dead loved ones? To have their names be dragged through the mud for the better part of 3 decades?
They never stopped. They couldn’t. They worked so hard for so long. Their work led to the prime minister issuing an apology for the deaths of the 96. Their work led to the inquest that has just wrapped up today.
96 people unlawfully killed. The police and the FA will surely now have questions to answer. And all because a group of ordinary people wouldn’t bow to the slander and libel that was propagated by the powers that be.
Justice for the 96.
Kris, LFC, Manchester
I’m sure you’ll receive plenty of mails on the subject but I had to get my thoughts down on paper (or equivalent) after listening to the Hillsborough inquest verdict.
I am a Liverpool fan and remember the day well despite being only nine and ever since the feeling of injustice has been palpable whenever the occasion has been mentioned. I have no direct connection to the tragedy (my cousin should have been there but thankfully decided not to go), I have never met any of the survivors or the families of the fans tragically lost. Despite this I was in tears in my car when listening to the verdict.
In my opinion Today’s result transcends football and its rivalries, it’s so much bigger than that. It should be lauded for what it is: A victory for justice. A victory for perseverance in the face of almost insurmountable odds. A victory for humanity.
Carl (jft96) the Welsh
It is about time! The joyous scenes of the families of the 96 souls who were lost that dark day, and the rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone outside after the verdict must have be heartwarming for any football fan or person to see. Hopefully nothing like this will ever happen again, anywhere to any person.
The Kopite (#JFT96)
Reality check, Gooners
If last summer you’d have offered me Spurs finishing 2nd in the league and finishing above Arsenal I’d wouldn’t have just bitten your hand off, you’d be left akin to the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
One thing I definitely wouldn’t have said would be: “Well, I’ll take it depending on who finishes first”! Yes, I would have assumed the title would have gone to one of the regular big-spenders, but the fact that it’s Leicester doesn’t make it harder to take. In fact I’d much rather they won it than City, United or Chelsea!
Some of the posts in this morning’s mailbox from gooners (celebrating that we’re likely to finish above them… ahem, sorry I mean celebrating that we’re likely to *only* finish 2nd) shows a typically embarrassing lack of self-awareness.
Face it, Arsenal fans wouldn’t have bitten my hand off if I’d offered them finishing 2nd because, myopically as always, they were convinced they would win the title this year (with a front line of Higuain & Benzema no less)
How’s that working out for you?
Vincent, THFC, Hackney.
How the hell can Arsenal fans possibly be laughing at Spurs?
Unlike us, they know how to defend. Unlike us, they have a proper striker. Unlike us they also have a proper manager and the stadium they’re building is bigger than ours.
They also have a Champions League adventure to look forward to, while we, if we even qualify, face our annual last 16 exit because let’s face it – Wenger ain’t going anywhere for at least another year.
Unlike us, Spurs fans are also proud of their manager and their team – I just feel a resigned sense of disappointment about our manager and players.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
In response to the above-mentioned feature, it has become even more clear that Arsenal fans have little else to talk about at this stage of a season other than: their position compared to that of Spurs (St Arsenhole’s day is just round the corner after your most recent poor show against Palace); their seemingly incurable belief that they are still a club to be discussed alongside Real, Barca, Man U and co; and whichever other side’s poor performance can be magnified to hide the truth that their season’s show is yet another bunch of a**e.
I am fed up of the self-agrandising Gooner view that they deserve to be labelled with such honours as “best-run financial club” and “Barcenal” and wish that that they would begin to accept that Wenger, rather than being the reason why they are not scaling the heights of PL championships of years gone by, is in fact the only reason they are going to manage to cling onto a top 5 finish this season.
Giroud couldn’t finish in a kid’s egg n spoon race, Wilshere has the stamina and strength of a used tea bag, Walcott is just a sprinter who trips up whenever a ball is thrown at his feet and Mertesacker is just a poor man’s Huth.
Get over yourselves and don’t try to persuade yourselves of anything other than the fact that Spurs have a better defensive, attacking, chances created and points per game record than you this season. Period.
From Niv (COYS – next season maybe we can beat Arsenal to Champo again)
Leicester strolled past Swansea without even a minor hiccup (aided immensely by the plonker Ashley Williams), which evidently persuaded our players that the title was gone: the opposite effect of the weekend before. We didn’t win it because of not turning up for the first month of the season, not because of any perceived “bottling”, no matter how much our perennially underperforming neighbours will it to be true (bet they wish they’d had a chance to “bottle it”).
We have the best and most loveable Spurs side of my lifetime to watch, are one win away from guaranteed top three and CL football, and have got to watch one of our own turn into one of Europe’s best strikers. Pretty much the opposite of Spursy, in fact, so you won’t catch me complaining. No Sir.
But it wouldn’t be Spurs without a slight Spursy element. So, let’s revisit 21st March last year. We saw an hilarious Spurs defence concede three goals against Leicester and leave them immensely frustrated not to win the game. And guess when their ridiculous run of form began… yup, the very next match. So we effectively kick-started Leicester’s march to the title at our own expense.
And that, my friends, is truly Spursy.
Alex G, THFC (we’ll be back next year)
Arsenal fans attempting to call us ordinary this season is laughable. This is not the only chance of winning the league we’re gonna get in the recent future as much as you’d like to believe.
We’re gonna get a lot stronger in the coming years. Just look at the improvement every single player in the squad made as the season progressed. And the results have reflected this. We had no wins in the first four and just six wins in the first sixteen matches. Since then thirteen wins from the nineteen matches. The future is certainly bright and I can’t wait for next season.
My advice to the arse fans would be to worry about the state of their own club instead of celebrating us dropping points. Think about what would happen if Wenger finally decides he’s had enough of your ungrateful fans and goes to manage Barca/Madrid.
Nabil (Eriksen > Ozil) THFC, Bangladesh.
The Arsenal view
I’ll start this mail off by saying that I am an Arsenal fan and I enjoyed West Brom’s result at WHL last night. I really, really enjoyed it.
But the gloating gooners writing in to the mailbox this morning just come across as w*nkers. Our season went down the toilet in a typically Arsenal fashion, which leaves us with rather little to gloat about with regards to Spurs. They are still going to finish above us and have looked like a side with a coherent game plan throughout the season, and have played exciting football to boot. Which cannot be said of our team.
So by all means enjoy the (probable) fact that Spurs aren’t going to win the league for the first time in the era of colour television (I’m allowed one little dig after praising the scum right?), but don’t start publicly gloating and tarring the rest of us by association. You’re the reason why so many other fans think that Arsenal fans are by and large bellends.
Spurs are currently better than us so save your “banter” until we actually have a good reason to mock Spurs.
Jakey Boy, SE London
It ain’t over ’til it’s over
Whilst it was obviously great for us that Spurs dropped points against a tough West Brom (took points of us too at the KP). I’m still not letting myself believe that this is job done, contrary to many of the mails and media I read this morning.
Ranieri and his team have been so brilliant managing the players. I didn’t see a single social media post from a Leicester player last night about the title. They are so focused on their own jobs and beating United on Sunday, exactly what they should be doing.
Regarding Vardy, he got a fair one game ban for swearing at the ref. I agree with this, regardless of whether it was a red or not. The Respect campaign would look ridiculous if they didn’t ban him. Hopefully this will be a turning point and players will stop verbally abusing officials.
We still need three points or Spurs to drop points before anything is won. Poch is playing mindgames, making us think we’ve won the title already. We haven’t. Massive game this weekend, cannot wait!
Toby (Top of the league) Mitchell
So here’s how it will go.
On Saturday Leicester will lose away against a Man Utd team chasing fourth.
Buoyed by that result, Spurs will win away against a Chelsea side competing for nothing.
Not unlikely results – lead down to 4 points – 2 games left.
Here’s where the Leicester players will f**k with their minds. They will know that they need one win from two games, and they definitely won’t want to go to Stamford Bridge needing a win. So Everton becomes a must win game. The pressure will cause them to lose against an Everton team under no pressure. Spurs will have a tough match against Southampton but won’t miss another chance to reduce the lead.
Slightly less likely results – lead down to 1 points – 1 game left.
Leicester playing at Stamford Bridge while Spurs playing away against Newcastle. A lot will depend on Newcastle’s status at that time, but I wouldn’t bet against Spurs winning the league if this situation comes up.
What I’m trying to say is that for a while now (last match aside) Leicester have looked one loss away from caving under the pressure. They haven’t lost in nine games, I’m afraid of what will happen when/if they do.
HB (pessimist hoping to be proved wrong) Iceland
I think United will beat Leicester, it’s a game made for Van Gaal to sit back and safety first play 11 defensive midfielders and let Rooney brainlessly chase the ball like the chubby little scamp of a bulldog he is.
Then assuming Chelsea carry on playing in flip-flops against Spurs, Leicester still need 3 points, but from two games.
Everton at the King Power is next, and that should be that.. except the weight of pressure will be massive. MASSIVE. If a stumbling Leicester get a draw then its down to the final day at Chelsea, still needing a win.
It could still be an even more absolutely epic end to the season than we think, so long as Spurs can get the wins coming.
Also, Rooney is not as good in midfield as Barkley, nowhere NEAR as good in midfield as Alli, and not as good in a holding role as Dier. (who isn’t as good as Drinkwater, but the Spurs axis is a compelling argument.) Can we please not ruin the England team just so Rooney can be rubbish again for England?
The Leicester journey
Since then there have been plenty of ups and downs. I fondly remember the League One season – some great away days, the kind where you can see your car parked up in a field from your seat in the ground. The big and little strike partnership of Matty Fryatt and Steve Howard (his last minute winner at Leeds particularly memorable). Some solid young players earning their place in the team and subsequent promotion back to the Championship. Lloyd Dyer and his ridiculously fast legs. We had the promotion push with Pearson, a disappointing playoff defeat to Cardiff in controversial circumstances. The new owners and controversial departure of Pearson. The short-lived and awful Paulo Sousa reign, followed by Sven and his mercenaries ala Jermaine Beckford and Matt Mills. Then there was the reappointment of Pearson and playoff heartbreak of Watford. Promotion the following year looked certain to be followed by a swift return to the Championship. Even after the joy of that we had what looked to be a calamitous summer with sacking our manager and lots of off the field controversies followed by a manager appointment that made us the focal point of many jibes and relegation favourites.
What has happened in the past 15 months is genuinely difficult to put into words. You all know the story by now. Every time I look at the table I can’t help but smile. I recognise how ridiculous it is and like to think I would take some enjoyment out of it happening to any club in our position. But to see it happening to our team is so difficult to comprehend. So proud of everyone associated with the club for what is happening right now.
I know we’ve won nothing yet, it’s so important to keep grounded and see the job through but we have got such a good opportunity to go on and do it now.
A note on Spurs after seeing the negativity in this morning’s mailbox. Even if they don’t go on to win it I feel people are missing the point about how staggering their development has been this season. Certainly I didn’t see anybody expecting them to be in a title race at the start of the season. No doubt the future is bright. Surprised to see Arsenal fans of all people having a dig!
A note on Vardy – no defence for what he did and the additional game ban is fully deserved, regardless of the circumstances of the sending off. To be honest now the pressure is off somewhat I’m delighted at the prospect he has to sit in the stands for what could be the game where we win it. That will hurt more than any ban and hopefully prompt him to think about what a horrible little c*nt he has been! The other players have their platform now and we can afford to go to Old Trafford and play without fear. The most fitting end to the story that I can see would be a certain Andy King to come off the bench and score the winner, nothing could make me happier.
Ben (Now you’re going to believe us!), LCFC
Pointless comparing points
I see Spetsnat’s logic used all the time, and it’s honestly as dumb as that old joke of wearing elephant shoes to keep all the elephants away (“but there are no elephants!” “exactly” “lol!”).
Spurs aren’t really all that because they’ve got less points, whereas Arsenal got more points once, so they must have been better.
To COMPOUND Spurs’s failure, ALL THE BIG TEAMS HAVEN’T GOT MANY POINTS SO THEY MUST BE TERRIBLE TEAMS!!!
This reasoning rather conveniently forgets that to get points, you have to beat or draw against some of those other teams in the league you’ve heard about. You know, teams like Stoke, Watford, West Ham, West Brom, yeah, you know, those teams that you accidentally find out about if you mistakenly click just below your team on the bbc football website. Whoops! West Brom?? What even is that? Is it a thing?
Now I know it’s confusing, because I’ve suddenly introduced “other” teams into what was previously a very simplistic equation, but stay with me on this. If these “other” teams are better than they used to be (are they? Stoke have Shaquiri, Crystal Palace have Cabaye, Swansea have Ayew. Wonder if this coincides with teams having more money.. oh it does!), then it becomes harder to get points off them, resulting in less points for the real teams, such as Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal and Leicest… wait, who are Leicester? And why isn’t it pronounced Les-Ester?
But to be fair, Spetsnat could be right. It could be that “Man United and Chelsea have been awful (Chelsea have only got just over half of their points total from last year), City have massively underperformed, Arsenal have been worse than last year when everyone called them bottlers, and Liverpool have been nowhere and changed their manager early in the season”, so ALL the good teams are now terrible, but if you like to use evidence to make assertions, then could it not be that with the explosion of TV money in the game, the league has just got a bit more competitive, so the big teams find it harder to get points? Surely that’s a better explanation than “all the good teams have gone rubbish” – because that would be a bizarrely staggering coincidence. And even if that was true, why are Spurs getting a beating for being rubbish but less rubbish than the other good team who have gone rubbish?
It’s partly F365’s fault for desperately trumpeting the amazingness of AVB (who was far from amazing) by trotting out the “records point total” nonsense, ignoring that you cannot compare points totals in one season to another, but can people please stop doing this now. It is really silly, and quite annoying.
A few have made mention over the past few weeks with regards to Leicester & Spurs’ points tallies and how they compare poorly with previous seasons. It is not an unfair comment in isolation but it fails to take into account the increased level of competition within the Premier League which is only set to increase over the coming years.
Small teams have often managed to overturn the big teams over the years but this is happening more frequently now. Increased money in the Premier League & the saturation of squads and the fickle nature of scouting mean that the biggest teams no longer have the monopoly on unearthing the best talent or even on retaining it. Good tactics, organisation, work-rate and the all-important luck play an even bigger factor these days because player ability is more homogeneous than ever before. Kevin De Bruyne is probably the best player in the PL but Christian Eriksen (£12m) and Riyad Mahrez (£350k) aren’t bad imitations. Stoke City signed Xerdan Shaquiri for God’s sake! Stoke City! This isn’t even about rich investors anymore, the TV money going to PL clubs means that they all have cash to burn.
The point is that the gaps are narrower now than before, money can buy you the best but when the next best are only 1-2% behind, money is less of a deciding factor than something else that can make up that difference (and more). The big clubs will still have the edge with more established scouting networks, the lure of a great club history & grander stadia but the fight just got a lot harder to stay at the top. This is a good thing.
Thom, Bristol-based Spur
Great piece by Sarah Winterburn on Dele Ali,
I agree entirely. There’s a fine line between aggression getting you into Gerrard’s Olympiakos ‘drag the team by the scruff of the neck’ moments and Joey ‘putting the tw*t in tw*tter’ Barton – lest we forget also a very talented footballer who let his aggressive side shine beyond his talents.
The most infuriating thing about Ali is how pathetic he was when Tomovic got up off the deck. Sure, act hard if you are, but don’t kick someone then look around the stadium for your mummy the moment he gets up. Check it out on YouTube, very funny.
No place for it in the game. All defence of Craig Bellamy went out the window when he swung a club at my beloved Johnny Riise. Be a skilful footballer with panache and charm, like Le Tissier, Litmanen or Gary McAllister
In response to Sarah Winterburn’s great article on Dele Alli’s ‘devilment,’ I would just like to add my own tuppence. I agree wholeheartedly with Sarah’s condemnation of the media in general, and ex-players in particular, condoning Alli’s behaviour through the guise of it actually making him the player he is. This particular brand of PFMing (as your own website would label it) in supporting a young English player against the ‘dark arts’ of Johnny Foreigner (in the form of Claudio Yacob) is typical in our game, but in analysing this we must be careful to use the same source of praise as the likely explanation for this particular form of skulduggery Alli sometimes reveals.
For young Dele is 20 – and just turned at that. How can we praise him for his composure and footballing intelligence, particularly in light of his years, and then not be surprised when he does something that, well, you’d expect a 20 year old to do (ie not very clever, a bit rash, and unlikely to be repeated at 25?)
Of course this is a huge risk going into the Euros, just as it has proven to be a big risk for Mauricio Pochettino, one that has paid off handsomely, even factoring in a potential ban now as a result of the Yacob ‘punch.’ But sod it, if we don’t take risks, we might as well pick a team of James Milners, and then offer faux-surprise when we get knocked out at the groups stage after producing a trio of nil-nil bore draws.
May I also hold up the shining example set by Zinedine Zidane – an experienced player who really should have known better – as proof of the pudding that anyone can be wound up, providing the right provocation. And well…he was Zizou!
Of course we all hope young Dele reins in this behaviour, and I’m sure he will as he grows up. But Sarah is spot on – we don’t need a host of ex-pro’s giving him the thumbs up every time he tw&ts someone.
Steve Paget, Cork
(and in light of me being critical previously about teams with nothing to play for offering up pathetic resistance, despite the fact it has destroyed all my dreams, may I offer Tony Pulis and West Brom all credit for turning up and putting in a major shift).
As a self appointed moral compass for its readership where is football 365’s Dele Alli rage? Imagine if Jamie Vardy punched someone…..
Rob, (rather be called a name than punched in the ribs), Guangzhou
(Ed – If only you’d waited a couple of hours, chief…)
Emad asked wtf happened to Pereira. I have been wondering the same all season.
Every time I have seen him play in the reserves, he is pure quality and he has held his own in all of his first team substitute appearances. He is a little light weight for the Premier League but he can be a prolific chance creator.
Sure he has not set the world alight but Mata’s dip in form this season surely warranted giving Pereira more of a chance in the first team. It is not like LVG is afraid to blood in academy players. He is probably seeing something in training every week that the audience is missing.
I really hoped Pereira would be the next big thing at Manchester United but LVG does not seem to trust him and if Mourinho comes in there is no way he is picking him so it seems like his future is away from United. Could be the signing of the summer for a mid table team or could be another one of the ‘not quite’ players.
Certainly seems like a better prospect then Cleverley though.
– Shehzad Ghias, mufc
In defence of West Brom
As a WBA fan, I had to take umbridge with Wilson Beuys’ character assassination of West Brom following our point at the Lane on Monday night.
Cards on the table – I know we are a horribly tough side to watch at times. We are incredibly negative and workmanlike. We have committed the most fouls in the league this season. However, we didn’t get much change out of the ref on Monday night. Alli punched Yacob and Walker booted Rondon in two unprovoked moves, neither or which saw yellow cards. Yacob also got 6 studs in his leg from Dembele and got a free kick given AGAINST him. The free kick Spurs scored from was incredibly soft. The erudite Alan Brazil and Harry Redknapp on SHOUTSport this morning claimed Yacob was asking for a punch because as a South American, he probably said something to Alli in the first place!
Not a Pulis fan by any stretch of the imagination, but our second half performance does deserve some credit, especially seen as in the last few games since hitting the 40 point mark it did look as though we were on the beach.
Up the Baggies!
Seriously Wilson “endless ‘leaving the foot in’ challenges (cleverly shared out so that no one person got booked) that are so typical of Tony Pulis’s horrible teams” Seriously!
Do you even watch Spurs play? They have 61 yellow cards this season, the same number as West Brom and more than all but 2 other clubs. Its a deliberate tactic used by Poch as part of the high pressing game to break up opposition attacks.
They are even experts at sharing them around so no-one gets sent off (no red cards yet this season). And you know what.. Its brilliant. Screw any talk of fair play and nasty tackles, they’re using the rules of the game to gain an advantage. Thats how you win. That Spurs were out done in that regard last night and more so that you got all whiny about it is sublime.
Dave (Spurs did screw me on an 8 game accumulator though, bloody chokers) Manchester
Rooney in midfield? Pah
Jesus, all the Rooney/Scholes talk is back then?
He’s been a master at the bait and switch over the last few years. He starts playing poorly as a striker and persistently drops deep, people start calling him Scholes II and saying he should be in midfield. He plays in midfield, we lose and he plays badly, suddenly he says how he’s always preferred being a striker. This has been repeating for a while now where he says one thing, his performances let him down and then he starts talking up a different position.
I can’t believe people (and F365) are saying England and United need to have two midfielders in there next to Rooney to help carry him. Isn’t that just admitting he isn’t very good? He doesn’t have the brain for it, his first touch is always 5/10 yards backwards or he turns into trouble. He can’t play in tight spaces like Busquets. He was a bulldog who would burst through a defence – without that he doesn’t have much to offer. He won’t be playing on that huge Wembley pitch against a Martinez defence every week.
So you make a list of the Top 10 defenders complete with 3 left backs.
Rose & Fuchs I shall give you. However you heap praise on Aaron Cresswell for basically just being in West Hams team and mentioning ‘only two left-backs have scored more goals (two), and only another two have provided more assists (four).’
What you fail to mention is who these other left backs are. Charlie Daniels (according to WhoScored.com) has in fact 3 goals and 5 assists to his name and has been a key member of the Bournemouth story this year. I’m lucky enough to see this lad every week and he has been THE best left back in the league.
Obviously playing for little old Bournemouth goes against him especially when a London club like West Ham happen to have a decent season.
Cresswell over Daniels is completely laughable to be quite honest. Its like picking Fernando over Kante.
Does Peter G do requests? If so, I’d really like him to write a mailbox guest article on how on earth he manages to watch the MLS, seemingly every single Premier League game, and listen to multiple fan podcasts.
I’m pleased with myself if I manage to watch any match in addition to my Colchester fix, and stay awake enough through Match Of The Day to remember the Premier League scores on Monday morning.
Slightly concerned that his next one will be an depth analysis of rivalries within the Estonian league, which he’s been following closely since its inception, and I’ll have to start disliking him due to jealousy.
Jeremy (a vastly inferior football fan) Aves
Just read the Top Ten Goalkeepers and Defenders of the season. Not an argument to be made with either of them. We’re ramping up towards the strikers and the ultimate question, where will Theo Walcott place in the top 10?
Seán (Tongue firmly in cheek!) Dublin