Mails: We all dream of a team of…?

Date published: Friday 29th January 2016 10:57

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The Teixeira stuff
Good morning. I just read Daniel Storey’s article and thought it was pretty spot on. I do think he missed an angle though. Teixeira is not a rumour. The club have bid. So if you take it at face value – the club have identified him as their main priority (why else would they be bidding) and the club feel he is the player they need. Therefore, as a fan you want the club to get that number one priority (even if you are not familiar with him), on the assumption the club know what they are doing. Admittedly those last few words don’t hold up on recent transfer activity.

My own view. Liverpool aren’t in great shape, but neither is the league. Adding goals now, could well push them to a top 4 challenge. You can’t say with any certainty that Spurs will continue their current form, so are certainly catchable with a consistent end to season, however unlikely that is.


Transfer window hypocrisy
There is something about the transfer window that brings out the worst in people. The hypocrisy amongst fans is both hilarious and sad. The way some Liverpool fans are taking the latest news that the Alex Teixeira transfer is in danger of collapsing is cringe worthy.

Alex Teixeira is not worth 38 million pounds. He does not even play in a position which Liverpool need to strengthen. Admittedly he does produce goals, which Liverpool badly need, but he is not a striker.

Calls for “FSG out” are simply preposterous. Even more ironic is the rational used by some quarters saying that because Carroll and Benteke both cost 30+ (both deemed failures by those same supporters) then FSG should blow our transfer load on a player they have never heard of or seen before January.

If Liverpool can manage to work out a deal similar to that of Firmino than that may represent good business. If not Liverpool should just wait for the summer when prices aren’t as crazy. One of Klopp’s big selling points was his ability to find diamond in the rough players. Over paying the odds would just represent the failure to learn from lessons of the previous regime.
Brian (Teixeira’s unauthorized interview doesn’t exactly scream “The Liverpool Way”) LFC


One player, ten clones
My friend and I were having a drunk discussion, obviously, a few nights ago about football in general and we landed on the topic of what is more important in football, stamina or skill. I was in the favor of stamina over skill as I certainly felt that fitness is more important than being technically sound. It sounded like a fair discussion and we continued on our way. I argued that a team of 11 Milners could beat a team of 11 Berbatovs and he just refused to accept it. Why not? Milner can cover more ground, can play basic football and follow orders correctly, and can fit in anywhere/

So this my question to my fellow mailboxers (pun certainly not intended):

If you could choose just one player and clone him 10 times to make a team, who would would be that ideal player be? Lets keep it only within the current Premier League players because it is the certainly is the best league in the world and Sky Sports invented football.

My choice – Willian.

Speed – Check
Fitness – Check
Stamina – Check
Positional Awareness – Check
Most coveted point, ‘Footballing Brain’ – Check
Defending – Check (Almost)
Actually gives a s*** – Check

So tell me, who would your perfect player be?

Honourable mentions go to Wayne Rooney, Ross Barkley, Yohan Cabaye and Azpilicueta,
Rohit, Detroit (Rock City), MUFC


Since it’s the lull before the weekend action, I wondered if I might pose a question to the mailboxers that has always bothered me.

As a City fan, I have seen a fair few overpaid, average and unused players steal a living at our club over the last decade. Wayne Bridge comes to mind. A sad but true indication of how many players are happy to rot their careers away for easy money.

Nonetheless, I have always been baffled when statements such as ‘No-one else can afford his wages’ appear in the media, seemingly suggesting that a metaphorical brick wall is preventing a player from finding a new club.

The image brought to mind is that of a player desperate to get on the pitch and resurrect his career but deemed untouchable because a pay-cut is out of the question.

I get it in the ‘real world’ where there are expensive mortgages and bills to pay off, or it is seen as a backwards step to take a hit in wages. Even in football before the meteoric rise in wages started, I could see why it was a barrier. But now?

Am I missing something? Is it a pride thing? Is it keeping up with the Jones’ (Rooneys)? I was under the impression that football wages have long since passed the point where it really makes a difference, at least enough of a difference that a player that loves the game would not consider taking less money to get back on the pitch and revive his career.

That is why I am glad to hear stories like that of Joe Cole where a player has just said ‘pay me what you can afford. I just want to enjoy the privilege of playing this wonderful game and getting payed to do so’.

Quackeththeduck (Wage caps anyone?)


Managerial weaknesses
Some more managers and their obvious flaws:

*Claudio Ranieri – foreign.

Took over from Nigel Pearson, who’d done a great job there and was then harshly sacked by a foreign owner.  He doesn’t even do arrogance about how he expected the team to be doing this well because he’s so brilliant – he seems every bit as amazed as the fans that City are that good.  We can’t be doing with that, what do fans know? They’ve never played the game.  Can he bury his head in the sand? My guess would be no.

*Alan Pardew – mental images.

This is because we have to keep using the word “streaky” to describe his teams’ results, and because of all Premier League managers he does seem the most likely to run across the pitch with no clothes on.

*Eddie Howe – too likeable.

This will only lead to tears, sighs and wistful remarks of “but he seemed like such a nice man, I thought he’d be different” when he eventually snaps and lets rip at a referee.

*Jurgen Klopp – poor vision.

Because his glasses got broken the other day.

*Remi Garde – his players.

No amount of tactical acumen will make up for the fact that he inherited a mess of a squad from Messrs Lambert and Sherwood.

The literary Ed Quoththeraven


Once again a very good article from F365 this time on weaknessess

I. Just want to ask what has r happened to King Louis he used to be known for attacking sides like that Ajax team plus introducing xavi and iniesta and the recent recommended reading from Uli hesse highlights how he helped shape this great run from Bayern

I m starting to hope it s a sign that he s building from the back and will finally figure out the balance does anyone else have thoughts on this


Defending Arsene
I feel Mr. Stead has made a rather glaring error in accrediting Arsene Wenger with naïveté as a weakness when it is the players, more than the manager, who deserve such a characterization. While the argument can be made that what the players do on the pitch reflects on the manager’s work off it, applying such a sweeping summation to Arsenal and Wenger this season would be a mistake.​ Regular watchers of Arsenal this season, and in fact the past couple as well, will know that Arsenal’s style of play has undergone some fundamental changes, signalling a marked shift from the previously prevailing thinking at the club.

Earlier the club, manager and fans were too busy posturing as ideologues undeterred in their quest for beauty to be bothered with such trivial pursuits as glory and silverware. Now, however, the thinking has changed and Arsenal are capable of approaching games with a focused game-plan rather than with a song on their lips and a prayer in their hearts. The performances have been far more mature this season and the performances against Manchesters United and City illustrate that. Furthermore, the result against Bayern Munich is conveniently omitted from Mr. Stead’s piece but credit is certainly due for a result obtained with the sort of pragmatism one rarely sees from Wenger in a high-pressure situation with qualification for the Round of 16 at stake. Instead the defeats to Chelsea are used to make the contrived argument that Wenger’s wide-eyed naïveté is no match for Chelsea’s mastery of the dark arts. This of course ignores the fact that both games were severely impacted by dismissals brought about by sh*t-housery and an individual mistake, respectively. Blame can hardly be laid at the feet of Wenger.

The Zagreb and Olympiacos results, the capitulation to Southampton, the defeat to West Brom are, in my view, the consequences of disgustingly poor performances from the team. I would also file the draw against Tottenham (good on paper, but that was hard to watch), the draw with Stoke and both games against Liverpool under ‘terrible team performances’. As Mr. Stead says, “Nobody does Arsenal quite like Arsenal.” Twenty years as the club’s leading light has made Wenger synonymous with Arsenal Football Club but it would be wrong to blame him for the naïveté of his players. He’s procured results against the ‘big’ teams and while he is not without his failings I think Mr. Stead has not given him credit for changing the way his team approaches games. Valid doubts remain as to the mental strength of the players and that is something Wenger along with leaders like Cech and Mertesacker need to instill. There’s plenty of other things to blame him for, if that’s what you need. Overplaying Sanchez, somehow letting Flamini and Arteta stay at the club for so long and persisting with Walcott when literally anyone else would be better are at the top of my list. But credit where it is due, the man has wised up and has forsaken his romanticism in a genuine quest to win us the title.
Pranav, AFC


More love for Gary
Is it too late to write in praise of Gary Lineker, whose inclusion among the icons, I imagine, probably caused more consternation than any of the previous objects of Daniel Storey’s affection?

Beyond the skillset that will hardly get chins stroking, Lineker offered little by way of iconic persona: he had none of the anti-hero qualities of Maradona, the vicious streak of Cantona (or even Bergkamp, and his impeccable elbow game), the verve and artistry of Zola, or the hair-trigger rage of Souness or Keane. But like George Weah, he broke new ground. Yes, he went off to Japan in search of money and joined Barca in search of glory, but as a player whose response to the banning of English clubs in Europe wasn’t to join Rangers, he and Cunningham, Hoddle, Waddle and Hateley, in his pre-Rangers days of course, were pioneers whose path has been trodden all too rarely since.

It’s things like the Japanese move that suggest Lineker was a bit different from his peers, and while so many still phone it in from the pundit’s chair, he has set himself apart as a TV professional, not a former player. England’s best performance in the 2014 World Cup was Lineker’s Lynham-esque presenting for the BBC. He’s not relinquished the Brazilian mojo yet, even if he does insist on that terrible facial hair.

But really, the main reason why he’s so bloody great is another World Cup, 25 and a bit years ago. It would be simplistic to say Italia ’90 single handedly altered the trajectory of football in the general public’s imagination, but it was seriously important in drawing a line under the bad old days of the 80s and laying the foundations of the culture defining Sky years. It was probably Gazza’s England really – and what an icon he’d have been if things hadn’t turned so cruelly – but Lineker was the captain, the dead-eyed penalty taker, and the other source of unrelenting hope; the player that you knew gave us a chance, as long as he was on the pitch. That dramatic lurch to bittersweet defeat in Turin conjures up many memories, but just as important as Platt’s volley, Waddle’s blaze, Bobby Robson’s jig, Gazza’s tears, Umbro’s unbe-f***ing-lievably cool shirt, and New Order and Pavarotti’s all-time great backing track, was Lineker’s “have a word with him”, the left-footed smash last Bodo Illgner, and, yes, when he shat himself against the Irish.

Wayne Rooney may have scored more goals, but there’s no way he can match all that.


Loved the article on Gary Linker, as a Spurs and England fan in their 30’s (40 sadly in a few months but still…) Lineker is one of my most loved players, His broken arm, golden boot at the WC was without doubt my highlight but the Italia WC as well really captured my imagination and is probably why I still prefer Country over club. I loved it when he went to Spurs and felt honoured that he was with us, especially in that semi against the ‘them’. I travel to Japan regularly and he’s still very fondly spoken off there as well, maybe that’s just as I go to Nagoya but still, he’s been gone a long time but seems well liked.

The purpose of this post is about a comment on the article, it got me thinking about those players who we all tend to love, or at least appreciate and respect who have little to show for it club honour wise. Those players like Sol Campbell who has a large trophy haul and can only be described as one of the most successful and best CB’s the country has seen, but in a life after football does anyone really think fondly of him as some kind of icon? Compare to Ledley King who is trophy wise a lesser player but seems to have more respect and warmth directed to him from all quarters. Lineker vs Van Nistelrooy, Gazza vs Pires etc etc. Not comparing who are the better players but as individuals I wonder if any of them would actually swap the accolades they were part of for their club and replace them with some kind of affection from people. Is success as important individually as we probably think?

Maybe we should just test it out. If you saw one of them tripping over, would you secretly laugh or go and sympathetically help?

Steve (.)(.) THFC.


I just wanted to write in to say I loved the Gary Lineker article. Having been born in 1987, I don’t remember from personal experience what all the fuss was about, but Gary Lineker is actually the first footballer whose name I remember, and was my first footballing idol. I don’t remember what tournament it was for, but Pizza Hut at the time were doing a promotion where there were stickers or something like that and I got a shiny Gary Lineker sticker, and he was my first footballing idol from then.

Daniel (still can’t believe he didn’t play more for England) Cambridge


I really enjoy the portrait of an icon feature since it’s sprung up, since there are a lot of players featured who I’ve heard of and seen very little of due to my age, or seen only in the twilight of their career. I’d like to nominate an article on Park Ji Sung, who has been a long-time favourite of mine. I don’t want to seem biased as a Manchester United fan, but Park really does fit the billing of icon, especially to Asian fans around the world. My first memories of Park are bossing a game against the AC Milan of old, and while at Manchester United he had a habit of scoring important goals in big games.

Others may have been more skillful, others may have been better finishers, better tacklers or stronger or faster, but Park’s work ethic allowed the whole team to play. When he was playing I never felt he got the recognition he deserved, possibly because he was Korean rather than South American or European, and even when he was signed, people thought that he was just a marketing ploy – I think he definitely proved those people wrong. He deserves a bit of spotlight.
Daniel (Park! Park! Wherever you may be…) Cambridge


Nick Hamblin’s email on Bristol City a few days a ago definitely pushed me into writing this email, as I had the terrific opportunity of doing some physiological testing on the City team around pre-season last year, on my placement year. Have to say that the City boys were a loud humorous bunch, as you’d come to expect most football ‘lads’, but pretty well mannered and receptive. Aaron Wilbraham has the characteristics of a 46 year old chain-smoking pub landlord than a professional footballer (socially anyway, he still packs decent stamina), and i definitely wouldn’t want to mess with Aden Flint or Adam El-Abd. One of the funniest things that happened on the day was when one of our staff members left a huge bag of Maoams on the reception table, and when he went back for them they had all but vanished. Next thing you know, 11 footballer’s stroll into the testing lab chewing on Maoam’s, this before their final pre-season fitness testing, who needs your fancy shakes and that ey! As I’ve spent the best part of three years in the east midlands, where teams with massive tradition and history depending on which exit you take on the A42 are situated, I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting much from the Bristol/West Country area in the way of football fandom. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out how passionate the Bristolians are about their football, and don’t even get started on the derby! Rugby Union is certainly huge in that part of the UK (Bath,Exeter,Gloucester,Bristol), but in Bristol you are most certainy either City or Rovers
John Luke (LFC, Bornean in Lufbra). Up the Gas (convert)


Hermann Quashie
Being Friday a thought I would ask the mailbox a question that has vexed me for a while.

Who is the king of being relegated? The most I can think of are the mighty Gary Breen’s 3 premier league relegations and Neil Redfern went down two years in a row.

This is open to all leagues and eras. Is there a bad luck charm in the lower leagues that fans curse when their team sign because it means certain doom or is there an international specialist in going down?

Have a great weekend everyone


Townsend enters a perennial cycle of cutting inside and shooting?
Spurs need a win last game of the season away at Newcastle to ensure a Champions League spot (or title?)

Andros Townsend picks up the ball on the edge of the area….. We all know the rest already.
SC, Peterborough


Yeah, f**k you, James
In the mid 90’s my West Ham supporting mates son decided to forego the struggles of the happy hammers and support a winning team. He chose Newcastle. Hows that going James, you tw*t.
Paul Chicago


F365 sources
Any chance the F365 sources who got the inside scoop on Joe Allen’s potential fee could start linking Gary Cahill to Everton for £5m (and not in a player exchange for Stones).

Cathal McS

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