Mails: United the new Pool (the new Villa)?

Date published: Friday 11th September 2015 9:35

Are things really that bad? One Liverpool fan says that 2015 Manchester United are like Liverpool. But what does that make them? Villa? Plus, some Sterling v Stones reaction…


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Sterling vs. Stones
MEM (Veria), London Gunner has a pretty curious take on the Stones/Sterling situation. Here’s what actually happened.

Player 1: Refused to sign a contract extension; gave an unauthorised interview in national media loudly proclaiming he wanted to leave, yet refused to give up his loyalty bonus by handing in a formal transfer request; instructed agent to make as much fuss as possible to ensure his move went through.

Player 2: Quietly notified his club in a formal manner that he wanted to leave; in spite of the fact he wanted to leave, continued to apply himself to the extent of his ability for his current club on the pitch; didn’t make any fuss or cause his club any problems throughout.

Hopefully things are a bit clearer now.
Alex G, THFC


…In response to MEM (Veria), London Gunner’s mail from yesterday, I believe the difference in the reaction to the Sterling and Stones transfer can be explained fairly easily. It’s all down to the fan’s acceptance of their teams current standings.

Everton fans in general are pretty realistic about the fact that they are currently fighting to be ‘Best of the rest’ at most and that inevitably their top players will be poached by bigger teams. Their hope being that they can get a few decent seasons out of any young up and coming player and then extract a bumper transfer fee, which in turn can be used to gradually build up the depth and quality across the squad leading to a steady progression.

Liverpool fans in general though, while they may be accepting that they are currently not in the very top elite, are firmly of the belief that they are just one or two signings from being right back in the mix. Thus any attempt at cherry picking players from them p*sses them off in two ways; 1. They resent the fact it reminds them that they are no longer the biggest players in the league and have to bow to teams with superior resources and better chances at silverware for the player in question and 2. It takes them a step backwards from what they believe is a team that is ‘almost there’. Hence they question the players loyalty given they are convinced the good times are just around the corner but the player is too eager to grab the money in front of them right now.

In a nutshell it’s the difference between the attitude of acceptance of the current reality and being optimistic to the point of near delusion, and I am typing this as a Liverpool fan myself. Unfortunately the second situation leads to a lot more vocal fringe nutters coming out of the woodwork and stoking the flames of the issue, all of which is pure gold to the current mainstream medias obsession with turning football into a soap opera that will keep the 24/7 news cycle ticking over outside of the few hours in the week when football is actually being played.

Honestly it’s all a bit tedious and I think most reasonable fans are sick and tired of it.
DaveOR (LFC)


…MEM (Veria), London Gunner kindly asked: “What the F***?”
And the answer? Liverpool fans MEM, Liverpool fans.
AS Camden (And I include their bitter ex players in that too)


…Player 1: Plays for club with a massive hysterical idiot fanbase

Player 2: Does not
Lenny, (short and sweet online, tall and bitter in real life), EFC


United the New Liverpool; Liverpool The New Villa?
Is it just me or are Manchester United muscling into Liverpool’s space more and more? This is not a bad thing.

25 years ago Liverpool transitioned from being the great team of the 80s to being the high end mediocre outfit we know and love/loathe today. We have been ridiculed repeatedly for our misplaced optimism, harping on about the past and for being a one man team (remember when Liverpool were a one man team of Steven Gerrard despite messers alonso and mascherano sitting in the back seats? , but I digress)

In essence Manu seem to be doing a lot of the things I associate with Liverpool the past 3 years:

Appoint a homely well known manager: Moyes (Evans)
Appoint a hard man to straighten things out: LVG (Souness)
Sell homegrown well loved players: Wellbeck, Rafael, (Staunton, Houghton)
Sign talented players and immediately make them worse: DaMaria, Falcao (Saunders, Michael Thomas)
Blow massive wads of cash every year with scant return
Have annoying fans who vent their frustrations on letters pages such as this (moment of insight:))
Think next year is going to be our year (admit it Manu fans you did didn’t you, Depay = pele/maradonas love child etc)
Generally be a bit of a laughing stock for the rest of the football world.

Indeed Manchester United may be the new Liverpool…but it’s not all fun and japes for me, what does that make Liverpool? The new Spurs? The new Leeds? Or heaven forbid the new Villa?

Dave Lfc (I’m here all week)


Getting Harder To Love Stevie
Steven Gerrard is making it awfully hard to continue loving him and now that the serialisation of his new book is about to hit our screens I think a certain amount of contempt will start to seep in. Lets assume we’ve all forgiven his slip against Chelsea, his stamp on Herrera or the fact that for the final months of last season it was all about how he was leaving because of everything else he had given the club. I have a sneaking suspicion the exerts we will inevitably read from his autobiography will push me over the edge. We are to believe that he would have stayed on at the club if he had been offered the position of player/coach. Here’s a novel idea Steven, why didn’t you suggest it to the club? You could see all was not right last season, the club was struggling and instead of getting your head down and trying harder you decided that was it. Nope, you didn’t want to be a substitute, playing a smaller part despite the fact that all the evidence on the pitch was that you couldn’t handle playing week in week out. It’s a similar case of what happened in the wake of our 2005 Champions League victory when he was about to leave to go to Chelsea because he hadn’t had his ego massaged enough by the club or Benitez. Yes you are important Steven, you were our leader (albeit not a full-kit w*nker leader legend) and you stuck around when you could have left but you are not bigger than the club and if you had some bright idea about sticking around why didn’t you speak to the club about it? Or were you just upset that fans didn’t start burning your shirt again, forcing you to change your mind?
Peter Stevenson LFC, Cyprus


Puncheon Above His Weight
I noticed Jason Puncheon isn’t on the f356 list of England 50. First I must state this isn’t a criticism of f365 or Roy (I hate people using Woy).

However it baffles me as to why Puncheon hasn’t played for England in the last few years. It seems that whenever I see Puncheon he is brilliant. Now I know he scores his fair share over the season and statistically he’s sound BUT when I specifically watch him he is always brilliant, Messi/Ronaldo brilliant. I’m well aware he’s not that good and I haven’t watched enough Southampton or Crystal Palace over the last few years to truly judge him but I’m just wondering if anybody has that with over players where they just always seem to be brilliant (or a good players who’s always shit maybe) when they happen to watch them?

Also his name lends itself to the pun ‘Puncheon Judy defending’ which I just love.
Rob Guangzhou, China


More On Minnows
I get Nick Miller‘s point completely and I don’t disagree with the sentiment, but I also see the other side of the argument: fixtures for Europe’s bigger guns against San Marino, Gibraltar and their peers are somewhat pointless. Further to this, Uefa has a unique problem in trying to work out a qualifying system for major tournaments among so many member nations.

My solution to both these issues would be holding a tournament every other summer among a number of the Uefa nations ranked lowest at the completion of the last World Cup/Euros qualifying cycle, with a trophy and places in the next Euros/World Cup qualifying up for grabs. As well as giving them competitive international football that they actually have a decent chance of winning in and not automatically excluding anyone from anything, it would allow Uefa to adjust the numbers according to how many European teams are going to the next major tournament and work out a sensible number of equally-sized qualifying groups instead of this “eight groups of six teams and one of five, then playoffs for some but not all of the ones who finish third” nonsense.
Richard (wants Platini’s job when he goes to Fifa) Pike


…With all the mails that are back & forthing (is that even a word) about how the smaller nations & how they shouldn’t be in the qualifying groups with all the behemoths of world football! Has everybody forgotten how 1993, San Marino lost 7-1 to England but still knocked them out if qualifying on goal difference ???
Just goes to show that they can still affect the outcome of the so called big boys!
Graham, Dublin


…I have to disagree completely with Nick Miller’s argument that some kind of romantic notion about football’s inclusive nature is why micronations like San Marino should waste the time of more established nations. The story about the injured goalkeeper might be the most patronising nonsense I’ve read about football in years.

This doesn’t mean that I think that San Marino and the likes shouldn’t be allowed to qualify for the Euros or the WC, instead I think that the qualification process should be two tiered: the first tier containing ~90% of the teams, the second containing, say, the teams finishing last in this qualifying round’s groups (or some other measure of ineptitude). Afterward, while the first tier is playing for qualification, the second tier would play a mini-league among themselves. At the end of the campaign, e.g. while the qualifying playoffs are being played, the top team of the second tier would play the bottom team of the top tier for promotion/relegation.

The way things are now, I can’t see how anyone gains anything from the games between micronations and… well basically everyone else. What micronations, like every other team in the world, need are competitive games against teams that are roughly on the same level as themselves, games they rarely get to play because of their placement in the same pot as each others when the groups are drawn. No-one learns anything important from being beaten 8-0 in every match.

What the bigger nations, and all the fans of club football in the world, need are fewer internationals, especially ones that are completely and utterly pointless.

And before anyone complains about the patronising attitude of the superior footballing nations, this is coming from someone from a country that struggled to beat the Faroe Islands – e.g. a national team that wouldn’t look that out of place in the proposed second tier.
Axel, (AFC), Helsinki, Finland


Justice For Thayden
Is it just me, because I read Thayden’s rant as satire? A tongue in cheek, self-deprecating rant. Given the reaction his email received, perhaps people missed the point – no? Just me and Thayden then?

For new mailboxers – you should see Thayden’s rant on cocaine and football fans (sorry, haven’t got the time to find it), it is up there with the very best!
Owen (Thayden, it was satire right?), London


Justice For Michael Ricketts
To the 78% of people who didn’t vote Michael Ricketts as the Greatest England Striker Ever, do you really not understand how this website works?
Naz, Gooner (and thayden, please calm down)


The Only Mails We Got On The Redesign
Whit Woo

Very Swish Football365
Adam (Cov Fan), Coventry


Dear F365,

It’s new and shiny and since I don’t like innovation nearly as much as I did in my twenties I am now thoroughly troubled,

A middle aged father of 3 (MUFC)

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