That’s a bit better. Hopefully the Manchester United and Tottenham fans have settled their differences. Keep your views coming to firstname.lastname@example.org. Oh, and read Mailbox regular Andrew Rawcliffe on ‘Enablers’ and ‘Burdens’.
This morning’s Mailbox
So to sum up this morning’s mailbox.
– Spurs fans shouldn’t dare to dream and should instead accept their rightful role nipping at heels of the big boys and snapping up the occasional League Cup-shaped crumb from their table.
– Manchester United have a God-given right to do whatever the hell they like in perpetuity, despite playing some of the most dismal football known to man.
– Some bloke in Houston who thinks being needlessly verbose is a substitute for an argument doesn’t like Spurs because, well, who knows.
– We’ll all be much better off once normal service is resumed and the ‘big’ clubs (how many of these exactly are there?) wrest back control.
Honestly, what a lot of horrible, vindictive, spiteful mailboxers this morning
On behalf of Spurs fans everywhere, we couldn’t give a stuff what you think. Go back to celebrating wildly the next time your squad of overpaid no-hopers scrapes a 1-0 result they don’t deserve
Rob Davies, THFC
The Spurs view
As a Spurs fan, I have been reading the current sniping between my fellow fans and Man Utd fans with some bemusement and interest.
What occurs to me whilst reading these is that fans of other clubs do not understand the current situation at Spurs, why would they? They don’t support the club and won’t read or keep tabs on Spurs so I want to try and illuminate some other readers as to why the majority of our fans are confident about the future of this this club.
1) Forget Pochettino and the players at the moment, lets look at Spurs as a whole. The finances are run very very well, sometimes too well for a fans liking. But there is no denying that Levy knows how to handle money and even with the new stadium being built, the club will not be out of pocket like Arsenal were.
We also currently have, arguably, the best training facilities in Europe. The England squad train there and I’m pretty sure Real have too for overseas training. With the new stadium on the way, which is going to be state of the art, rejuvenate the area and with NFL money coming in too, barring a catastrophic event, the infrastructure of the club is secure for foreseeable future.
2) As pointed out by Jayraj ‘the cynic’, MUFC, Pochettino is the driving force and I am also sure he is right, he is not a lifelong Spurs fan. However he is currently working on an exciting project at Spurs. As pointed out above, the infrastructure is being put in place at this moment in time and Pochettino know this.Sometimes money isn’t everything. Some of Poch’s interviews have said as much. What would constitute as more successful? Making a nearly club like Spurs constant challengers and maybe winners or taking an already trophy laden club like Real and making them just as successful as they already are?
Poch also thrives on developing youth players and has no time for egos…don’t think Real would back that stance personally.
3) The atmosphere at the club. If you read the interviews from the players and management, you can see there is genuine affection there. There’s some serious bromance between Dier and Alli, players such as Rose, Kane, Mason and Dier have gone to watch and support the Under 21’s. There is very much a unity at the club unlike anything in my lifetime. Yes certain players will move on, but others can take their place.
4) Levy. The guy has changed. He spent a long time in the summer of 2014 researching and looking for the right guy. After coming to the conclusion of Pochettino and employing him, he has done everything Pochettino has wanted. Deadweght players like Paulhinio, Kaboul and Chiriches were moved on quickly and cheaply, no haggling, no messing around. After falling out with management, Lennon and Townsend were moved on. Paul Mitchell was brought in and the scouting system completely changed on Pochettino’s insistence. Having done all this, there is no way Levy would let him go cheaply and would do everything in his power to keep Poch at the club
I’m not saying that we will finish higher than Man Utd, or that we will win anything this year or next. What I am saying is that this season is not a flash in the pan. There is a lot to be positive about for Spurs. Whereas some clubs like United are struggling with identity and managers (yes you are one of the most successful clubs in England, but you’ve also finished beneath Spurs twice in the last 3 seasons (this season pending)) Spurs are now stable and can move forwards and can challenge with confidence.
Richard (Find’s it ironic that a Liverpool fan calls Spurs fan delusional) Riley
The United view
I am angry and I shouldn’t be. Why am I angry? Because of the level of stupidity in the mailbox seems to be on a Leicester-esque trajectory.
I bloody hate the way many fans pass off their armchair theories as fact, which I am sure it feels like it is in their tiny craniums, whilst discussing what may or may not happen in the transfer market over the next six months. Theories such as ‘Player x won’t go to club y because his current club will pay him more’, ‘Manager x will go to club y because they’re better than his current club’, ‘if player x goes to club y, player z will leave’. What the actual f***? Unless any of you lot is in direct discourse with player x, player y or club bloody xyz then you don’t have a ****ing clue. By all means come up with theories to occupy yourselves during a boring work day, I know I do, but please don’t peddle them as fact. Start a sentence with ‘In my opinion’ or ‘I hope/think/dread that this will happen …’ but not ‘This WILL happen…’ unless you have actual quotes.
If you must persist, at least label it as an ‘Exclusive’ and then go work for The Sun.
Now where’s that valium.
Paul Milton, Man Utd
Does Klopp trust his squad?
Following the Saints comeback against Liverpool I’ve been wondering exactly what could’ve prevented this unlikely occurrence. Obviously not letting Skyrtl anywhere near the pitch would be a start.
As much as I hate to admit it, LVG might have had a point. Liverpool’s exhaustion must have played a part. How to remedy this? Rotation. There was some rotation (Allen playing for example). Still it doesn’t look like Klopp trusts that many of his squad players to step in and therefore just keeps using his trusted employees until they are pretty much destroyed.
The conclusion, prepare for a summer of buying squad players, not superstars.
Happy Hammers speak
Well Paul in Brussels, speaking for myself and not all West Ham fans (if there’s one thing that can be sure it is that football fans of the same club cannot be lumped together too easily) I am delighted about this season. After the last few years of Allardyce anti-football it was just enjoyable to turn up to a game to see a team with attacking intent and verve.
I know this sounds odd as I’m writing into a football site’s mailbox but apart from the obviously good purchases and the new manager’s clear passion for an attacking game I really do not try to over-analyse what goes on on the pitch, I just want to be entertained at a game and it’s what’s happening while we sing and cheer in the stands. Look at all of the arguing in the mailbox between all the deluded fans who think they have any say in what goes on behind the scenes of their football club, on the mercenary feelings of footballers, of history and the future. I love the pantomime that is the footballing world and I love these arguments but I personally won’t be drawn into them if I can help it. No way will we want Payet to go, it’ll break a good many young fan’s hearts just as the club is looking to move and expand with so many more seats to fill but if they got a big bid from someone will they sell? The business of football will go on, there’s a lot more money for all the clubs nowadays so with a club’s successes they may hang onto their better players, who knows? Certainly not all you mailboxers, though I have no doubt you’re passionate in your feelings about it.
Looking to the end of this season, we’ll be deliriously happy to get into the Top 4, that would be a massive achievement for a first season with a new manager, but like Bilic I’m more excited about the FA Cup, I will be on the edge of my seat for all those game (or game at least).
Oh and everyone, I hope you stay safe, football is a shared delight in these, occasionally horrible, times.
Will Goodey (COYI!)
Paul in Brussels, firstly, I hope some normality is returning to your City after the events of yesterday.
The West Ham fans are hear don’t worry about that, we are sitting here, happily waiting to see what the rest of this season may bring, and then once it’s over we are going to sholve it down the throats of every single member of the “be careful what you wish for” (Arsenal fans take note).
Should we not make the top four I do not think many fans will be too upset. This season has been great fun (we had forgotten what that felt like). Bilic will rightly take a lot of credit but the owners and scouting network also deserve high praise. There has been a change of policy when it comes to recruiting players, gone are the days of well travelled ageing has beens, Di Natalie, Mido, Tristan. We are now recruiting younger, hungrier players with a desire to prove their quality, Cresswell, Kouyaté, Lanzini, Obiang.
Whatever happens between now and the middle of May, under the current management we know it’s going to be exiciting, after all……….We’ve got Payet.
Paul, in Brussels. I think the reason you won’t hear from any West Ham fans is probably the same reason Citeh fans were not seen on here until a couple of seasons of sustained good form had passed.
I don’t think we can all believe it to be honest. We’re all just waiting for Payet’s legs to fall off and Bilic’s neck bolts to become loose and him to wander off into the sunset!
Joking aside it is awesome but shhhhhhhhhh, we don’t want to bock it.
Steve (Amma since 1981) Coatsworth
I am writing in response to Paul in Brussels’ ‘Where are the West Ham fans?’ question.
The reason we are under the radar is perhaps because this is very different for us, and maybe we are struggling to comprehend what has gone on. I know I am.
I’ve supported West Ham for 40 years, and in that time have watched us under-achieve, lurch from self-inflicted crisis to self-inflicted crisis, and yoyo between the top flight and Championship. As such, as Super Slav and the most promising team I have seen in all my time as a fan exceed all expectations, a number of spectres and ingrained pain prevent me from getting too carried away.
Glen Roeder, Tevez-Gate, selling Rio and replacing him with Rigobert Song and Titi Camara, the signings of Boogers, Breen and Ruddock, the appointment of Avram Grant, going down with 42 points, losing 3-2 to sodding Wigan to be be relegated. This is why I find it hard to get too carried away. We have a history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, so instead of looking up I actually found myself smiling that we were mathematically safe last Saturday.
But, apart from that. A light has gone on inside me. For the second year in a row, our signings have all come good. First with Cresswell, Kouyate and Sakho, then with Payet, Antonio, Obiang and Ogbonna. These in turn have lifted a core of talented players such as Tomkins and Noble, while Collins and Reid have also raised their game. I was sceptical of the appointment of Bilic, as I didn’t rate his track record. I knew Allardyce had run his course, but thought staying in the top flight had to be our priority so was worried about the new guy. 40 years of let-downs kind of does that to a man.
But Bilic has been brilliant. We are playing good football, the team are united (witness Antonio waiting for his chance rather than sulking and asking for a move), and he knows how to shift things around if we are labouring. In short, he is a proper manager – something we have never really had. Pardew had glimpses, but looking back at the likes of Curbishley, Roeder, Zola and Grant, none had the team on side like Slaven does.
That said, the ghosts of West Ham past keep me grounded. This could be a one-season aberration, and I still cringe every time Dave Sullivan talks about the likes of Benteke while pimping his God-awful Kray films in interviews. But with Bilic in charge, a team pulling together, a new ground, and Tony Henry pulling the transfer strings instead of Sullivan, there is reason for optimism. I just can’t bring myself to consider it yet, though. It’s too soon.
Yours, the Eeyore of fans,
I’m sick and tired of people saying teams will ‘strengthen in the summer’ and thus the league will be ‘much harder next year. Absolute codswallop.
When Liverpool ‘strengthened’ with Markovic, Lambert and Lallana, did they really get any better? No. When United ‘strengthened’ with Blind, Rojo and Schneiderlin, were the fans pleased with the results? No. And when Leicester perservered with the near-relegated Vardy, Mahrez, Drinkwater and Morgan – was that considered ‘strengthening’? Absolutely not.
People need to realise that sometimes keeping the same squad but with a different attitude, tactics and coaching can actually result in a stronger team – or indeed not. Sometimes splashing all the BT/Sky money on the next hottest property does not mean that your team or the league itself is any ‘stronger’. Hi Newcastle. Hi Citeh.
There certainly ARE teams who have spent money well – West Ham, Stoke, Southampton – and been far more competitive, but its not a guarantee. So please – change the narrative. Change the adjective.
Must be a Carve up
A good list of ‘eleven failed Premier League mid-season managers’…
However, how can you forget the legend that is John Carver who managed Newcastle from January – June 2015???
The way he brought Newcastle from top half team to relegation fight with an amazing club-record of eight defeats in a row?
Still, he claimed he’s one the best coaches in Premier League and saved Newcastle from the relegation!
And what about the Jewell?
This is my first time at emailing in so we’ll see how this goes. After reading the 11 failed midseason manager changes, I’d like to put forward a missing name; Paul Jewell. He took over from the Billy Davies in November at my possibly (ok, definitely) already doomed Derby County in the somewhat disastrous 2007-2008 season were we ended up with 11 points over the course of the season. A figure that even Villa have managed to beat this season.
After messing up automatic promotion the previous season after some poor January signings (a theme continued to this very day) and having to fluke our way past West Brom in the playoff final, the team put together by Davies over the summer hardly screamed we’re going to give this a go. Claude Davies, Eddie Lewis, Andy Todd to name just a few. But the additions made in January by Jewell were somehow even worse. Mile Sterjovski, Hossam Ghaly, Laurent Robert and Robbie Savage to again name a few. We went down with a whimper, the earliest a side have ever been relegated, with the lowest ever points total. Jewell failed to win a game all season and didn’t get his first win until September the following season against Sheffield United. He oversaw such defeats as 6-1 Chelsea away, 6 nil to Villa at home and 6-2 to Arsenal at home. Fair enough the players were poor but the lack to fight, tactics and pride, supposedly instilled by the manager was what stood out.
As I missed our only Premier League victory due to Sky moving the game I didn’t see a Derby victory from the playoff final in May 2007 until that United game. It then took Nigel Clough 4 years to sort out the mess left behind by Davies, but mainly Jewell.
It’s just painful reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007%E2%80%9308_Derby_County_F.C._season.
Chris, Stockport, DCFC.
And Pardew? Bugger off
Enjoyed the “Eleven failed mid season managers” piece but the inclusion of Alan Pardew is ridiculous.
He remains the first – and only – Newcastle manager to be named Manager of the Season in 2012 due to Newcastle’s 5th place finish (their highest for a decade). Cabaye, Ba and Cisse were all signed under Pardew. At one point the man was the second longest serving manager in the league! He wasn’t even sacked by the club but left of his own accord.
I’m no fan of the man but how Pardew qualifies ahead of either Neil Warnock at Palace (appointed August 27, sacked December 27) or Harry Redknapp at QPR (relegated, 12m on Christopher Samba) is beyond me.
A Noble cause
If, as Mediawatch suggests, the answer is always Noble, should we update the old joke to read “1% said Mark Noble”?
Cards on the table, I’m a West Ham fan, but as much as I can agree with some of the points in today’s Mediawatch re: Mark Noble (lots of West Ham fans in the media, the tedium of the ‘we won the world cup’ brigade), I have to take issue with the following:
‘he’s not quite good enough…’
This is the default line trotted out when Nobles lack of a call up is questioned. ‘He’s not quite good enough, not international class’ etc, etc, ad nauseum…
A pretty simple retort to that, how exactly do you decide on that being the case if the player is never given the chance to at least show if he is?
I don’t think many realistic West Ham fans would be expecting Noble to be the centerpiece of an England midfield, but it’s understandably frustrating when the player is just written off without being given an opportunity.
Likewise, I take no umbrage at the likes of Shelvey, Mason etc getting a call up in comparison, quite the opposite, it’s what international selection should be about. I think it’s right that players are given the chance to show what they can do (we play another turgid friendly’s for them to do so…), and as such, Noble should have been given at least a chance by now.
Add to this, the continued selection of players who are woefully out of form/overrated/past their best/don’t really offer anything… but play for the ‘right’ clubs (Walcott, Lallana, Rooney, Henderson etc…), and you can see why it feels more than a little unjust that a good player (admittedly, not a world beater), is not at least given the opportunity, if only to prove people right.
At least it would then be based more on fact than a lazily formed opinion, and we could all then agree that ‘he’s not quite good enough…’?
James (WHUFC), London
At the Guardian Football Weekly live show last night it was mentioned that Brendan Rodgers is the first man to pick up the phone to a recently sacked manager to wish him well. It got me wondering how do all Premier League managers have each other’s phone numbers. More importantly are they all in one large WhatsApp group?
Are former Premier League managers included? I think yes because Wenger as the admin is too soft to remove a sacked manager.
What is the group profile pic? Surely, as a piss take, it’s the portrait of Brendan Rodgers that he has hanging in his house. Rodgers believes this is a sign of the high esteem he is held in by his colleagues.
Harry Redknapp’s messages read like the email you receive when you win the Nigerian lottery – barely legible and full of sh*t.
Pochettino arrives back from European away days to 600 unread messages. Levy is still in negotiations with Tesco Mobile to get a cheap data roaming package.
Big Sam, Pardew and Pulis have formed a splinter group of “real” Premier League managers where they blame foreigners for diving, cheating, top knots, inner city violence all everything else that’s wrong with the world.
Bosses in one season
Hugo – not a top flight team but QPR had five managers in one season
Steve Gallen (caretaker)
Paul Hart (could make grass growing seem interesting)
Mick Harford (caretake)
We survived relegation after an unbelievable free-fall from pre christmas and then the following year we got promoted
(Flavio was a genius)
To Hugo, NUFC’s question about clubs with three managers or more in one season, may I present this season’s Palermo. I know Serie A is a different beast to the Premier League, but Palermo’s case is completely insane. They are on (arguably) their 8th manager of the season.
In November, Beppe Iachini (1), manager for the previous two years, stormed out after the chairman, Maurizio Zamparini, publicly criticised him. He was replaced by David Ballardini (2), who lasted two months. He was then replaced by Guillermo Barros Schelotto (3), who was publicly announced as manager before it emerged that he didn’t have the requisite coaching licenses and promptly disappeared again without leading the team out for a single match. Then followed three different caretakers (4,5, & 6) in a little over a month, before Zamparini somehow convinced their original man, Iachini (7), to return to the helm. Needless to say, that didn’t go well. Iachini’s second stint lasted from 15th February to 10th March. He has now been replaced by Walter Novellino (8), who has so far survived a whole two weeks without getting sacked. Looking good so far.
After all this hassle and confusion, Palermo sit 18th in Serie A on 28 points, behind Carpi on goal difference alone and only a few points back from Udinese and Sampdoria. And, surprisingly, only 8 points off the top half. Check back in a couple of months to see if Palermo can become the least stable club ever to stay up, and if Zamparini can reach double figures for the season.
Must admit I am a little surprised at the lack of Chelsea related mails this week.
Oh no wait, we’re a complete irrelevance nowadays aren’t we? Never mind
Simon (where on earth has this Tottenham/United thing come from??) CFC
Keep this on the down low
In regards to Ankur (Gunner) Ghosh’s mail about your office blocking F365: There may be a solution.
At my last job my total n*bjockey of a manager decided to have www.football365.com blocked in my last couple of months at the company. I’d been viewing the site since mid-2006 and had made it all the way to June last year before he apparently decided that was the right time to block my most visited site. This, despite my near-on ten years service to the company, excellent sales record and exemplary reputation with clients. The day I realized F365 was blocked cut me deep: There was no way I was going to comment on stories etc on my iPhone, that just wasn’t the F365 experience for me.
The manager’s sales record had been poor for two years. His authority was frequently undermined by the rest of the team and his response was to have these pathetic little power trips. Thing was, he was an idiot: He may have blocked the F365’s homepage, but he hadn’t blocked the Mailbox, Mediawatch, People On TV….basically I could forward slash anything I wanted to and read it as normal. The idiot.
Anyway: I found a new job doing much the same as before but with way more money and authority, no more tw*t manager and now I can read F365 anytime I like. Moral of the story? The are ways around blocking. And if that doesn’t work, jack it in and work somewhere that isn’t run an uptight a*sehole.
Bloody hell, Storey
Just shed a tear at my desk reading the article about George Weah.
Bloody hell Storey.
Lovely piece by Storey. However I can’t shake the feeling that there is something he neglected to mention about FA-Cup winner and Tottenham-destroying Chelsea legend, George Weah…
Very nice to see an icon piece on my favourite player of all time, George Weah. He signed for Milan just when I started supporting them and bridged the gap between the classic players who I never saw play live (or at least very rarely, such as Maradona) and what was the mid-late 90’s world of football that I fell in love with. Weah was always my focal point in football and will always be my number one (although Shevchenko’s 175 goals for the club did at least make it competitive.)
There was a nightclub I used to go to in Ireland which had a playstation with Fifa 2000 and I used to play randomers for a pint a game. I was always Milan & gleefully used to score solo goals starting from the halfway line with Weah in an undefeated summer in that nightclub in Galway. Free pints for a summer when I was 18 understandably only made him even more of a hero to me.
I haven’t heard of him in a while, so it’s great to hear he’s still a God in Liberia. I actually remember being gutted when they missed out on qualifying for world cup 2002 by a point.
Given the level of Serie a at that time, and the impact it had on stranieri signings (foreign) such as Ibrahimovic who claimed that Juventus & Capello “knocked the Ajax” out of him with intense finishing drills; I can’t help feel that if Weah had been spotted a bit younger and arrived a bit sooner, he would be remembered as a true giant of the game with more than just the one Ballon D’or to his name.
Regardless, thanks F365 for a celebration of a great player & a great man.
George Weah you are an all round great
Turf Man, Donegal
Icons 20 years from now
Enjoying the latest (wonderful) Portrait of an Icon got me wondering – which of the current generation of footballers could be consider ‘iconic’ were the feature written two decades from now?
It’s a tricky one to predict as obviously iconic is more than simply being really, really good. Neither Messi or Ronaldo qualify as, frankly, both are far too dull and ‘product-y. Ditto much of the current crop: Suarez, say, is a magnificent villain but icon he is not.
As for the contenders: Zlatan for obvious reasons. Thomas ‘Space Interpreter’ Muller seems well on the way. Mad Mario Balotelli would be nailed on if only his on-pitch exploits could match his off-pitch legend. From an English perspective Sir Harry of Kane looks a good shout, although it would be difficult to write a factual feature about someone who isn’t actually real.
But surely the ultimate still-playing icon is Gigi Buffon. World Cup winner, stayed with Juventus after relegation, arguably the world’s best goalkeeper at 38 – a Man in a game of man-childs. (Men-children?) Unlike most footballers Buffon would have thrived in any era. One can easily imagine Gigi whirling a broadsword on some medieval battlefield, his hawkish face ablaze with the joy of combat as hordes of vanquished Wayne Rooneys flee in terror.
If anybody has better / younger suggestions fire away.
Max CPFC (Bolasie is a final, very biased shout)