Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a Sunday Mailbox. Be good.
Who still buys The Sun?
I know I shouldn’t rise to it and I know everyone knows the Sun are scum but they are (somehow) the country’s biggest selling newspaper and that means they aren’t just some loud mouth on the extremities of our society and their front page today is therefore worthy of comment. Today they called for ‘jug-eared’ MOTD host Gary Lineker to be sacked by the BBC for expressing an opinion on the migrant crisis.
People might have missed it but earlier in the week IPSO ruled in favour of the Sun over complaints received over an article written by Kelvin MacKenzie… I will pause there, just to let that swirl around your mind for a second. Kelvin MacKenzie. An article in the Sun written by Kelvin MacKenzie…. Still with me, did you need to Google whether Kelvin MacKenzie is still employed by the Sun, still a working journalist, still a thing? Anyway, IPSO ruled that Kelvin MacKenzie was ‘entitled’ to attack Channel 4 News after they dared to show a newsreader in a hijab on the day a Muslim man drove a van into a crowd in Nice. The Sun’s defence was that freedom of expression is a fundamental right and Kelvin MacKenzie (yes, it’s the same Kelvin Mackenzie) had a right to express his opinion that a woman wearing an item of clothing on her head should not be seen on the same day as a man drown a van into a crowd in Nice.
Three months later The Sun has decided that Gary Lineker should be fired from a job presenting football highlights because he has expressed an opinion on the migrant crisis. On an unrelated note today the ‘Fake Sheikh’ Mazher Mahmood was jailed for 15 months for lying to the police.
I know this is a football site, I know people want to talk about Chelsea v Man Utd or Man City v Southampton, but come on. Who the f**k is still buying the Sun? Hacking the phones of victims of crime? Sure. Slandering dead football fans? No worries. Racially profiling newsreaders? Bonzer. Lying to police to secure convictions against innocent people to run a story? Okey dokey.
The S*n is (in my opinion at least) a ridiculous excuse for a paper, and the fact that it’s Britain’s biggest seller is frankly a terrible indictment of the average intelligence of Britain’s population. There are equivalent price options of far higher quality, and the internet’s on everyones phone, car and fridge nowadays, so the fact people are still actively choosing it over better news sources boggles my mind. Their stance on the migrant issue, the almost flagrant racism dressed up as some form of national pride and support for ‘normal people’ has always been sickening, and now its actions are spilling over into openly disgusting. Again.
That said, I hope it continues to attack almost totally beloved national figures like Gary Lineker for flagrantly stupid reasons – the more it does stuff like this, the faster the rest of Britain (we’ve been onto them for years in Liverpool) hopefully wakes up to their disgusting and shoddy practices and stops pouring money and influence all over some of the vilest individuals who ever masqueraded as journalists, and the better off we’ll all be.
Mediawatch was excellent, as always. Keep up the good work.
How to fix football
Daniel Storey raised an interesting point in his recent article about how football should be more gay (I assume that’s what it was about. I skimmed it, to see what great thinker of our time Gerard had to say), regarding our desire and expectation to know more and more about our footballers, and their lives.
Rather than decry this, as is the sensible and mature response, I say let’s embrace this. Football itself is mostly uninteresting quite a lot of the time – as interest and viewing figures decline, I offer you my plan to make football fun again. It comes at a great personal cost to the players, buy hey – they get paid a lot of kicky cash so suck it up fellas. Here is my 6 point plan to make the whole sorry affair more fun.
– Mic up the dressing rooms pre-match, post-match and at half time. Broadcast each so that fans in the ground can hear whichever dressing room they choose.
– Expand the use of player cams. To the 24 hours after the match, as well as the game itself.
– See above, but replace ‘players’ with ‘Tim Sherwood’ and ’24 hours’ with ‘every single second of every day until the end of time’ (estimated to be 2026)
– One fan should be granted editing rights to the player and team captions that the telly use.
– Whatever edits are made to players names, must be used by the manager during the broadcast team talks.
– All post match interviews with managers, should have someone from London/Essex/Kent standing by, so that every time a manager tries to blame the referee for the result, he can interject with ‘nah, mate – that’s b*llocks’.
Next week: How giving MDMA to assistant referees will improve the Europa League group stages.
A word of caution
In response to Joram Kioko this morning, I too have been impressed with Mustafi, and must admit surprising as it is, that the Premier League’s longest serving manager and 3 time winner, does in fact know more than Arsenal fans, (regardless of how many Twitter followers they may or may not have). That said, I do worry that the lack of a ‘Shawcross’ in the squad could hinder us in games to come. A player like Mustafi is better suited to Arsenal when we have the ball than say Ashley Williams, but the Swansea game highlighted a vulnerability to aerial balls into the box.
To borrow some stats from the magnificent @7amkickoff over on Arseblog News, Mustafi was credited as winning 3/3 aerial duels and 4/4 headed clearances against Swansea. What a player! However, Swansea also managed 5 headed shots in the Arsenal area, 3 of which were ‘big chances’ (i.e. anywhere but right at Cech and it’s a goal). This means there were 5 occasions where Swansea were allowed to shoot in the area, with neither Kos or Mustafi even challenging for the ball. Other sides will soon seek to exploit this weakness, and I daresay forwards such as Zlatan and Benteke will not direct their efforts straight at the goalkeeper.
Matt, Gooner (is it hometime yet?)
Cesc > Robin
We cannot look at salaries they were offered or their clubs they moved on to, to assess who is the snake and who is a great!! We are living in la la land if we think a player will not go to a club who are fighting for titles and offering bigger wages!!
The difference is quite glaringly obvious to me. Cesc gave all he could give in an Arsenal shirt for 8 seasons before needing a change in his career. Van Persie on the other hand spent a lot more time on the treatment table and gave us one/two full seasons. Where they moved to is irrelevant really. Those are all decisions and responsibilities of Arsenal football club to hold on to a player or let them go to a direct rival. Wenger in recent interviews has quite refreshingly admitted to selling our best players to put us in a better long term financial position. Which in turn should put us in a better footballing position. Although we could see it he has never really admitted to doing it! Ozil and Sanchez’s contracts are key to see what level AFC are competing at now.
Van Persie chose winning one league title over having legendary status. He could have had is name up on the stadium next to Vieira, Parlour, Ljungberg, Jennings etc. Instead he is not considered a legend at two giants in English football. Fabregas has his name up on a flag outside the Emirates stadium and he has earned it!!
More on Cesc and Vieira
Paul’s opinion is fair and I totally understand why some Arsenal fans defend Cesc.
But two points – Vieira was only 21 when we won the league in 1998 and Henry and Pires had yet to arrive – the squad of 1998 were good but were ageing and arguably achieved more than the sum of their parts and Paddy was a key part of that team. Also I’m pretty sure Vieira only moved after it became clear Wenger was happy to sell him.
But I do I fully concede that my opinion of Vieira may be a bit misty-eyed given it stems from the first time I saw him play.
Weirdly I was at both players debuts – Cesc when from memory he was in his teens in a league cup match and Vieira’s against Sheffield Wednesday in a 4-1 win in which he came on for Ray Parlour.
I actually like nothing better than when Wenger proves me wrong – the FA Cup win against Hull will live long in my memory as one of my happiest memories as an Arsenal fan even though it was an emotional rollercoaster.
But maybe my view of Cesc is skewed by the fact I’ve never forgiven Wenger for selling Vieira and promoting Cesc.
It’s not Cesc’s fault but back then I had huge reservations as to whether the guy could be the complete midfielder we required in the centre of the park. His reluctance to track back infuriates me even when he plays for Chelsea, and I hate their guts, as Cesc has always seemed to me to be a player that has never fulfilled his potential.
Vieira, on the other hand, has this intensity that meant at times it seemed his sheer force of personality would drive the team on, winning points in places we had no business picking them up at. One of my favourite wins of the 1997-98 season was when I believe Paddy was played out of position at Southampton in a team shorn of loads of first teamers and yet we still emerged victorious.
He was also one of the few constants of all three of Wenger’s title winning teams, captaining the invincibles in 2004.
On their day you could argue there wasn’t too much between these two Arsenal number 4s but for me, the difference is Vieira’s character.
In his autobiography Wenger wrote the foreword in which he said Vieira hated losing. There are many reasons as to why Arsenal went a whole season unbeaten – from Henry’s goals to Keown going nuts at Old Trafford to Robert Pires’s lovely hair but for me the greatest of these was Vieira’s hatred of losing and why I say he was a captain that led by example. Cesc led by example also – the only problem was his isn’t an example any player wanting to achieve their full potential should ever want to emulate.
Cesc was symptomatic of an era in which Arsenal were a nice team that rival fans didn’t mind because we weren’t really a threat – Vieira on the other hand epitomised an era in which Arsenal were a raging, robust machine determined to take the three points at all costs.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
What ever happened to the Schmidfielders?
In light of Timothy Fosu-Mensah getting some minutes in center midfield against Fenerbahce, is it now confirmed that, some-f******-how Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger are official 7th and 8th choice central midfielders at Manchester United? (Pogba, Herrera, Carrick, Fellaini, TF-M and half-a-point-for-each-of-Rooney-and-Blind, in that very order)
Poll question: how many teams would have taken United’s 7th and 8th choice Schwein-tral Schneid-fielders for the combined price of 35 million this summer? Leicester City, for one?
Emad MUFC Boston
I seriously question Johnny Nic‘s assertion that presenters are “the most important people in our football media world”. I’m not sure we need them at all. I have always wondered what Match of the Day would be like if it modelled itself on the iconic ITV music programme “The Chart Show”. No intros, no commentary, just pure product . . . I suspect it would infinitely superior to the current MOTD model. Perhaps Video from the Vault could feature a goal from Terry McDermott or Tony Currie . . .
Move over, Degsy
Alternative cheeky punt
Bmth vs Spurs: Bmth (draw no result) to beat Spurs. Whilst I think Spurs are a better team with Kane, the loss of Toby is huge. Bmth on fire at present.
Arsenal vs Boro: Agree with the big man
Hull vs Stoke: who cares. No goalscorer
Leicester vs Palace: Benteke to score. Leicester hangover from Europe again, Palace and Benteke to bounce back from last weekend
Swansea vs Watford: Swansea to win. Played well vs Arsenal. Expect a decent performance.
West Ham vs Sunlun: west ham to score in both halves. Sunderland are a shambles. (Moyes to be next manager sacked)
Liverpool vs WBA: Draw. Uninspiring Liverpool to continue from Monday night
Man city Vs Saints: Aguero to score 2 or more. In the face of today’s gossip, Kun to make a big statement.
Chelsea vs Man United: Chelsea -1. Chelsea to come out all guns blazing and blow United away, decimating Joses game plan within 20 minutes.
Sorry didn’t have time to source prices.
The Rogue Trader