E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your views – but go and read Mailboxer Matt Hennessey on Fever Pitch first. It really is excellent…
Why has Mourinho been let off the hook for Chelsea?
I don’t think Jose Mourinho has been given nearly enough criticism for the way things have turned out for Chelsea this season.
Everyone is rightly talking about Leicester City but that means that Chelsea (and in particular Mourinho’s clownish antics) have somewhat slipped under the radar. Make no mistake about it, their autumnal capitulation was one of the most comprehensive in Premier League history. Even Man U under Moyes weren’t that bad.
Not only has it slipped under the radar but a F365 mail from a Chelsea fan a few weeks ago which discussed ‘where things have gone wrong this season’ didn’t even mention Mourinho’s name. It’s as if Chelsea fans and the media have experienced a collective amnesia over what actually happened.
Chelsea won 15 points from 16 games under Mourinho but 29 in 17 with Hiddink since then. If their form under this buffoon had been repeated by Hiddink they would be in relegation trouble. But if their form under Hiddink had been shown in the first half of the season they would be challenging for a Champions League place! And who knows what could have happened if they had had that to give them extra motivation over the last few games. Mourinho is a complete wally who literally took a championship-winning team and turned them into relegation candidates.
Firstly, he lost the dressing room. The media breathlessly built him up as a managerial genius but he’s far from it. It was obvious that the players weren’t putting in 100% effort but it’s the manager’s job to motivate them and the manager’s responsibility to make them feel comfortable and happy. I expect they were just tired (as we all were) of the toxic ranting and raving, the abusive treatment of Carneiro, the grandstanding and egocentric behaviour, the demented insistence that referees had a ‘campaign against Chelsea’, the irritating use of the third person etc, etc.
Secondly, he made massive mistakes in the transfer market. Letting Lukaku go was huge, everyone makes mistakes sometimes but that was a beauty. And bringing in Falcao was just dumb, he didn’t score any goals for Man U so what made him think he could do it for Chelsea? Chelsea have really only had one recognised striker (Costa) all season as a result. Simply inept.
This paranoid Portuguese fool wins the Worst Manager of the Year award, legit, if Hiddink had been there from the start of the season then Chelsea would be challenging for the league again. Of course he was a great manager in the past, but his unsettling behaviour and his incompetent managerial performance this season should seriously damage his reputation. It should be a massive black mark against him.
The slavish, fawning attitude of the punditocracy towards him used to really get to me. Even now they always, always give him the benefit of the doubt. But I feel that at least he’s finally had his comeuppance this season, and the pundits have had theirs too.
Leicester far from certain…
Whilst driving home last Monday night, I had the dubious pleasure of listening to the Monday night football discussion on Radio 5 Live which contained the important views of Chris Sutton, Steve Claridge and some fella from the papers.
Each of them said unequivocally that Leicester were nailed on to win the league. A cursory check of the bookies when I got home backed this view with 1-12 for Leicester and 5-1 for Spurs. Having heard their comments I duly put £10 on Spurs.
The reason for this wasn’t that they clearly are one of a multitude of annoying pundits (although I do quite like Sutton’s belligerent style), it was that they used the logic that it was (1) far harder for Spurs to be chasing Leicester – it’s better to be leading and (2) Spurs always play after Leicester now each weekend. For me they were completely wrong.
Is it me or is their view a shift in views and mentality from prior years? Surely it has been proven on numerous occasions that getting over the line, especially when leading is the hardest thing to do. It was only really the good Arsenal team ten years ago, Fergie’s better teams and Chelsea last year that disproved this (although they were never really pushed). And I’m sure the difficulty in doing this was always the view of most pundits?
Leicester are in a strong position but Spurs are still the form team. They had just stuffed United the day before that show whilst Leicester had some close 1-0s on the prior couple of games. When it matters most form is what will win you matches and their form is not as good as it has been through the season and nowhere near that of Spurs. Plus Leicester still have to go and get results away at Chelsea and United.
I would still love Leicester to prove me wrong, as would every neutral but it seems like even the bookies and pundits were buying into the dream pretty early and they might just be wrong.
Liverpool are marrying up…
He’s too good for us…
(To the tune the Spuds’ Harry Kane, he’s one of our own) I really think that way. It’s not kneejerk or typical Scouse giddyness. I truly expect him to be somewhere bigger and better in two years time. He really is that good. I’m just enjoying every minute of him whilst we’ve got him to be honest.
Gregory Whitehead, LFC
Hailing the Rafa effect
Just watched Newcastle v Man City and I can’t remember the last time I saw a Newcastle team work harder to get a result, and one that was thoroughly deserved.
Multiple times two Newcastle players actually seemed to be battling each other as to who could get a challenge in quicker.
They were compact, closed down in the right areas and looked dangerous on the counter. I’m sure for Newcastle fans that was fantastic to see after the disinterest and malaise under previous managers.
Benitez seems to have gotten his ideas across quickly but I fear perhaps not quickly enough for them to stay up as their home performances haven’t been matched by the away ones and they are running out of games. A month earlier and who knows but at least they are fighting for their survival.
As an aside I find it fascinating the criticism that their approach to transfers has garnered over the past 18 months-two years by sections of the media on the basis that have been buying young, foreign talent with the promise of selling them on for big profits once they’ve proved themselves. The suggestion being that it has introduced a mercenary element of uncaring players with no experience or heart. It’s interesting that it’s the exact same system and ethos and people (Graham Carr) that garnered such praise when they finished fifth.
Lindsay Bell, Dublin
Newcastle v City conclusions
The linesman should be sacked immediately. Never seen anything like that in my life.
This Newcastle team is nowhere near relegation material. It’s criminal Rafa wasn’t brought in days or weeks after his sacking from Madrid.
It’s also criminal that it has took an injury crisis to play Anita at full-back when he is clearly the most capable. Janmaat hopefully played his last game for NUFC.
As great as Rafa is, he still hasn’t got his team nailed down as Wijnaldum would have been key to an actual victory in this game. Ten mins cameo nowhere near enough.
Townsend is a class act. Also a nice bloke. Harshly treated at Spurs by the looks of it.
Cisse is still beyond hope of actually scoring a goal.
Newcastle are still alive.
…do I need to talk about City??
Rare view from a Man City fan
Last night’s game was in essence why we aren’t winning dis ting. So inconsistent.
I know Kompany is a god an all that but why change the centre of defence when we have just kept two clean sheets. Something we have hardly done all season.
Yeah he needs match fitness, but I just feel Pellegrini should have played Otamendi and Mangala again and maybe bring Kompany on as a sub.
Newcastle were really up for it and it was nice to see their fans getting loud and proud again.
Just a shame the players didn’t show that level of fight and desire all season, as they would be nowhere near relegation.
That Lacelles (excuse the spelling if it’s wrong) looks a very good player. Heard a few peeps on here mention him but last night was the first full game I’ve seen him in. You need to build your defence around him. Especially if you stay and keep Mr Rafa.
What will it take for Aguero to get a penalty? It seems like because he hasn’t been a serial diver, he isn’t allowed a penalty.
Knocks me sick all the crying over Leicester not getting one, when they have had the most this season.
Still penalty calls aside, we just weren’t good enough on the night.
Can’t grumble too much as next Tuesday I get to watch my team play Real F***in Madrid in a Champions League semi-final!
DANNY B – MCFC – MCR (Love Football, Hate Nonsense)
I don’t know who’s the worst football pundit in British television but Thierry Henry has got to be in the top three at least. His post Man City-Newcastle ‘pundit performance’ was simply abysmal. My face is still stuck in a weird painful grimace hours after. Overreaction aside, am I the only one thinking he’s quite dreadful?
Hi all (waves Dele Alli style),
Seems to me after the result last night that Arsenal are again hot favorites to win the fourth placed title. I hope they have enough space on the side board.
Dr Oyvind, Earth
Just read the following line in the morning gossip –
‘Roma’s Francesco Totti is set to snub Leicester and make a sensational switch to MLS side New York Cosmos’.
I don’t know about you, but I’d think it was a lot more sensational if we saw Totti househunting in Leicester munching on a packet of Walkers, excitedly looking forward to playing with Wes Morgan and Andy King.
Baresi the last libero? Nein
I really enjoyed the latest instalment of the fantastic ‘Portrait of an Icon’ series. There was a great anecdote from Gary Lineker after the 1990 World Cup third/fourth play-off that he had run so much that he had lost nearly a quarter of a stone due to fluids lost through sweating, yet when he swapped shirts with Baresi, Baresi’s jersey was bone dry and smelt of Aramis – you’ve got to love that.
I do, however, have to disagree that Baresi was the last great libero. Surely Ballon D’Or winning Matthias Sammer – who was an absolute titan at Euro 96 and the most significant figure in Dortmund’s great side of the mid-late nineties was the last great libero? Given how tough it is for a defender to win the personal accolades – as alluded to on this site in the piece about Cannavaro and more recently about Toby Alderweireld – surely Sammer is worthy of the title ‘great’ despite his longevity being cut short by injury. He even spawned a theory amongst my friends that the only Germans it was ok to like (forgive us we were 13 at the time and victims to a media that still referred to the German national team as the krauts on their front pages) were ginger ones – Boris Becker and Sammer being our case studies.
Rich (theory later disproved by Klinsmann and Claudia Schiffer and me marrying a German) Malballs
What a player.
Still, he was no Paul McGrath.
Doug, AFC, Belfast
We are the bourgeoisie
From reading the mailbox, Mediawatch, articles etc. I’ve come to the conclusion that F365 is the most middle-class football news website around.
Sean, (That’s not necessarily a bad thing) Dublin
The chap who referred to Brian Clough as a ‘floored genius’ really made my day. Keep them coming chaps!
(Personal favourite is any player being referred to as a ‘pre-Madonna’ – Ed)
Mailbox: How times haven’t changed
Whilst browsing the web for no discernible reason, I came across a site that archives billions of Internet pages, amongst which was F365. Dated 21st Dec 1998, I decided to read the mailbox and amongst the general chatter were mails on the following:
* The need for reinforcements at United, particularly of the ‘world class’ variety (I’m certain they went on to do something in 1999, of which escapes me right now)
* What changes should be made to the Liverpool line-up in the hope that next year would be their year.
* Whether or not the Premier League is the Bestest League in The World Ever!
And then the motherload:
* How a move to a larger stadium became the undoing of Arsenal.
* How an Arsenal midfielder had a run-in with the police.
* And finally, how soft and injury-prone Arsenal players were.
Not so much nostalgia, more a bingo card of mailboxes to come.
James F, BCFC KRO