We think the Mailbox Guest series went pretty bloody well so let’s open this up again. If you’re a Mailbox regular with an idea for a piece that we wouldn’t or couldn’t write, mail us at the usual address with a short description of your proposed piece. We will only pick you if you can genuinely write. We would welcome suggestions from those published before. Put ‘Mailbox Guest’ in the subject field. Thanks.
Oh and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your usual Mailbox contributions too…
Why racist Suarez cannot be best in world
I’m sorry but your piece on Suarez, although a great footballer, is just wrong. He can never be called the best in the World while being a nasty racist cheat, you berate Jamie Vardy for his indiscretions yet are lauding one of football’s worst offenders ever, he shouldn’t have even been on the field of play to get Barca back into the tie. Surely Football365 to be sure of not being accused of double standards you need to mention his racist comments, you know like you do on every piece you ever wrote about Vardy and Leicester. Lots of footballers can be accused of having a dark side that rears its ugly head every now and then, with Suarez it’s every damn game, diving kicking little niggles trying to get people sent off, the guy is just a bloody horrible snidey git.
And he still hasn’t apologised to Evra because in his mind he did nothing wrong.
Paul Murphy, Manchester
Pepalona vs MSNalona
I enjoyed the (ongoing?) debate between whether Pep-styled Barcelona is a more preferable watch to the current Barcelona side being led by the superpowers of world football that are Messi, Suarez and Neymar.
Manchester United had the pleasure of gracing the same field as Pep’s side on a couple occasions and at both times, while I was rooting for United, Barcelona left no doubt as to who the superior team was. And they did that every single week. Yes there was lots of play-acting and other such ‘dirty’ tactics but when the ball was at the feet of the Barca players there was never any doubt who the better team was on every occasion. That’s what Pep did. His play was based on minimal human error committed by his players. The passes were always perfect as were the runs that met them; the players’ positioning was always perfect; the off- and on- ball movements were spot on; you get the gist. That is how such a criminally weak back line could be carried through game after game because of the perfect organization of the men in the second and third thirds of the field. That Messi was playing striker (when he clearly doesn’t seem cut out to be one) as a ‘false 9’ is the epitome of the ‘perfection of the imperfections’ of Pep’s style.
The current crop is majestic too but not just because of their own doing. There was a spectacular team, system and structure left behind by Pep that struggled for a season or two there when the man left. Then they signed Neymar and Suarez (amongst many others) to compliment Messi. Now, as a United fan, I’m not allowed to bang the drum of ‘they bought their best players’. But as a football fan, if three of the five best attackers (in the world right now, if not the 21st century) are in the same team, how can you ever beat them? And it’s not like they were all clean purchases. All their dealings of the last few years seem to have illegal/under-the-table clauses in their transfers; too many players are tax-dodging bast*rds. And then, there’s still the play acting and dirty tactics (is it too early to call for an investigation into Barcelona’s relationship with La Liga referees?).
Somewhat crucially (and this is my entire argument): they are not often the best team on the field anymore, instead getting by on simply the ability of their front line. And there’s nothing wrong with that, except that doesn’t make you close to the title of best-ever TEAM. When I think back to those two UCL finals, Barcelona left United with no answer whatsoever. Nowadays, too many teams have learnt how to play against Barcelona but the three magicians running around up front are more than enough to shut anyone up.
Emad, MUFC, Boston
Loving Renato Sanches (but not at United)
If I had a football team and a lot of money I would pay Benfica any price they wanted for Renato Sanches. On a pitch with Bayern Munich (and every time I’ve ever seen him play) he just jumps out of the screen. I’m getting increasingly apoplectic at the idea that he’ll end up in a Man United shirt. I don’t think it’s the tiniest stretch to declare him Portugal’s next global superstar.
He possesses the perfect build for a footballer and he runs like an NFL Running Back, low to the ground with a natural, perfect balance both brutal (like when he casually shrugs an opponent onto his back) and graceful (figure skating’s loss is football’s gain).
I am going to break the internet device I’m using or the television I am watching the day he gets confirmed at Man United (yes I apply this level of poised perspective to all facets of my life).
I wish I had Portuguese mob connections, not for the money, women, wine or weather, but solely so I could ensure Benfica sell him to Liverpool. Of course then I’d need a Merseyside-based construction crew capable of building an Egyptian Pyramid (or, pulling out a finger wedged into the ‘Transfer Committee’ harder than Yellow is wedged into the Sun).
Ian, LFC (before you judge me think of how many hungry children could have been fed with ‘Ok, 35 million for Andy Carroll, it is!’) Hartford, CT USA
I couldn’t help but think while reading the various odes to Ferguson’s ruthlessness when it comes to players. Among all the cries of “he tamed Cantona, Keane” and “he discarded players that didn’t toe the line”, one particular player kept popping in to my head:
Cheer up Daniel
Mr Storey: Why don’t you like football anymore? You’re sounding like the new Pete Gill. Lighten up, man.
Stu, currently in a cafe on a beach in Koh Samui
Arsenal’s biggest What Ifs
Having a look through Twitter yesterday I came across a question that is sure to bring up many interesting opinions. The question posed was what is the biggest ‘What ifs?’ For your club in the last 10 years or so.
As an Arsenal fan there are almost too many to list but here are a few that stand out to me.
– What if Arsenal had agreed a contract with Vieira? Not only have Arsenal struggled to replace him in the 11 years since his departure, his presence may have led Arsenal to Champions League glory in 2006.
– What if Jens Lehmann wasn’t sent off against Barcelona in 2006? Even with 10 men Arsenal led Barcelona until late in the game. If we were on top for large parts a man down, surely we’d have won the trophy if it was 11 v 11.
– What if Eduardo didn’t suffer that injury against Birmingham in 2008? Playing the best football in the league and on top, all that momentum was sapped from Arsenal’s title challenge in one painful afternoon. The injury definitely contributed to the dropped points and the faltering title challenge that followed.
– What if Arsenal had beaten Birmingham in the League Cup final and what if Robin van Persie wasn’t sent off vs Barcelona in 2011? The defeat to Birmingham was the catalyst for yet another collapse but it may have been different if events in the Champions League had gone our way. With complaints about refereeing favouritism for Barcelona this is very relevant. 3-2 up on aggregate having scored a priceless away goal RVP got a second yellow, for shooting. A crazy decision and holding out with 10 men proved to be too much.
– What if Arsene had just spent the money for Suarez in 2013? 31 goals in 33 games in 2013/14, Suarez produced one of the greatest individual seasons in the league’s history. Surely with Suarez in front of Ozil, Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey in the form of his life, Arsenal may not be sitting with a 12-year title drought.
Before anyone gets annoyed saying I’m complaining about the past, this is simply a look at how certain moments had such a major effect on games, seasons and the years to come.
What are the biggest ‘What ifs’ for other clubs?
The best 1-11 in the Premier League?
After a heated discussion with a mate of mine recently about which position should wear which number (I was clearly right – #4 is a holding midfielder, #5 & #6 centre backs OBVIOUSLY) it got me thinking about the holy grail for OCD football fans – a team put out wearing only numbers 1-11, and in their correct positions!
At some clubs I know this isn’t possible, my own team United for example don’t have a 2, 3 or 6. So for United I’ve subbed in the next three players in numerical order from that point and come up with the following: De Gea (1), Smalling (12), Carrick (16), Rojo (5), Blind (17), Depay (7), Jones (4), Mata (8), Januzaj (11), Martial (9), Rooney (10).
I’m aware that Jones and Carrick should swap but THAT’S NOT THE RULES HERE. So my question is, which team in the Premier League (or further afield) has the best #1-#11?
P.S. I know nobody cares. Leave me alone.
Not all clicks are created equal
You currently seem to be putting a lot of work into Top X lists:
Buried amongst them is ‘Portrait of an icon: Ferenc Puskas’.
The amount of joy/satisfaction I get from learning about Mr. Puskcas is infinitely greater than all the others. I’ve been reading the site for more than a decade because you can produce these articles. I’ll probably be quoting this article in another decade when I’m trying to explain to some kid how there were footballers before Dele Alli.
So thanks for the great articles, especially the recent ‘icon’ articles.
I’m hoping your bosses measure retention and reading time higher than click-rates.
Turn the sound off
Lately there have been a few complaints in the mailbox about this or that football commentator. Here’s my take: turn the sound off.
I watch something between 99 and 100 percent of athletic events without the sound. For football, particularly, where so much is going on at any one time, it allows me to focus on the things I want to focus on, not what the commentator wants to emphasize. I can follow the game as it develops much more closely and intensely without the distraction. You lose the atmosphere, and maybe a tactical insight or two, but on the whole it’s a big plus.
Because, let’s face it, TV football commentators are by their very nature superfluous. The camera shows us all the action. It’s a very rare voice that can add something to the experience. Most just get in the way, some are flat-out offensive.
As for the ones worth listening to — I like Jon Champion and Peter Drury – if you’re recording or have recorded the game on a DVR, or watching it on certain types of internet stream, you can always go back and listen when a goal is scored or an important incident takes place. So you get the best of both worlds. But most of the time, my best friend is the mute button.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
The worst home record ever
Just read Mediawatch, and couldn’t help but have a little chuckle at the story around Everton having the worst home record. Being a Sunderland fan, and becoming a season ticket holder the season after finishing with a then record low 19 points, I can offer a retort to that particular statement. During the wonderful season where we were once again relegated, with another record low points total of 15, we won one, single solitary home game that season. That on its own would have been bad enough. However, said game, against Fulham I believe, was actually a replayed match. The original match I had done a 12-hour charity walk to get to, only for it to be called off after 20 minutes due to a blizzard. During which time we’d gone 1-0 and the weather had caused George McCartney to run into Rory Delap resulting in a broken nose. Please feel free to try and top this.