Send your Friday afternoon thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Best team ever?
Sorry this is driving me ******* crazy.
City are a deeply wonderful team, playing fantastic football and their winning run is astonishingly good.
But even the bloody Times are asking today if they’re the greatest English team we’ve ever seen.
Arsenal’s Invincibles or their very best sides of the late 90s. Tottenham’s Double winning team. United’s 1999 Treble winning side or for personal taste their first Double winning side. Right team of edgy buggers who could seriously play. Any number of European Cup winning Liverpool sides. Though the 87/88 League winning side is a favourite – John Barnes was just so damn good.
Things they have in common? They bloody *won* something – in some cases quite a lot!
City will almost certainly win the League, they will deserve it and *then* they will deserve this kind of chatter.
But not until then please?
James, Liverpool ( that Tony Cascarino disagrees with me is proof enough of my point )
I am quickly losing patience with
1. Man City winning all their matches.
2. Everyone calling ManCity the best team ever.
3. ManCity being well funded and super efficient in transfer markets.
4. Mourinho being backed financially but being lame on pitch.
5. Chelsea not backing Conte financially in transfer market.
6. Liverpool being flat track bullies.
7. Spurs being spursy.
8. Sam Allardyce being super boring.
9. West Ham winning against Chelsea and new found defensive steadiness!!
10. Bottom half of the EPL not putting up a fight against Top 6, esp ManCity.
11. Chelsea unfortunate CL draws.
For heavens sake, hope that all of Chelsea , ManU and Spurs spend some money in January and at least make it feel like a fair competition.
A message to United fans
Well, here goes my 3rd post Manchester derby attempt at getting into the mailbox. I’ll warn you this email contains a fair few generalisations, but that doesn’t make them wrong. When a club has anywhere between 659 Million to 2 Billion supporters, I reckon I’m capturing anywhere between 658 Million and 1.999 Billion of them with these generalisations.
I’ve read a few emails from fellow City fans since the derby, and in keeping with most emails from City fans I’d suggest they’re generally well put together (present company excepted). Contrast that with the bile, hatred and attempts at discrediting generally on display from United fans when talking about Citeh and how they’re ruining football.
In the past, even back before football was invented in 1992, City fans generally accepted the abuse and banter that came with our lot in life. We never hid from the clubs failings, but we weren’t supporting City to bask in a reflective glory, or if anyone was they seriously needed to reconsider their decision making skills. We just loved the club, the feel of the place (Maine Rd as it was), the tribal bond that comes from large crowds of Mancs, with similar accents, supporting a Manchester team. We always showed up to work on Monday morning and faced the inevitable mockery dished out by high-brow United fans eager to twist the knife, but who hadn’t been to their own game due to an inability to get tickets. We generally did it with good grace.
Now that we’re successful, we’re enjoying it, and make no apologies for it. We ‘deserve’ it no more than any other club…but no less either, and that’s where we differ in general from United fans. They chose to align themselves with a successful club in order to bask in that reflective glow to make themselves feel better. Now they’re upset that the glow isn’t quite as bright, and so are attempting to discredit others achievements, in order to make themselves feel better. They’re like Mini Donald Trumps.
So, United fans. Say whatever you want to say to make yourself feel better. If you take solace in an empty seat, go for it. The 30+ thousand we used to get in the 3rd tier couldn’t care less how many are there, as long as they are. If you think our recent luck getting an owner is somehow less deserving than your more historic luck getting an owner, fill your boots. If you think we ruined football spending 25M on David Silva, have at it.
Finally, a plea to United fans. Whatever you do…
Don’t stop disappearing after losses and or losing your United shirt.
Don’t stop re-appearing after victories after finding your United shirt.
Don’t stop moaning at the unfairness of our success.
Don’t stop telling us you’d love to go to Old Trafford but can’t get a ticket.
If you do manage to get a ticket, don’t stop singing songs about Citeh in which you gladly acknowledge your own father is a ****.
Don’t stop mocking our Manchester accent.
Don’t stop telling us you support United because your Grandad was from Manchester.
Don’t stop telling us that Paul Pogba is worth the money.
Don’t stop telling us that Macheda, Cleverley, Wilson, Januzaj, Rashford is the greatest young player in the world
Don’t stop telling us that you’re falling out of love with Football.
Don’t stop telling us that we have no history.
Don’t stop doing things you used to mock other clubs supporters for doing.
It makes us all warm inside, and makes us thankful that we are City fans.
Pep and Jose did not start on a level playing field
Steve, I think you’re drastically missing the point here. This isn’t two elite managers with the same ingredients, one making Michelin star food and the other serving up prison slop. If you can’t see that City were miles ahead with the quality of their team when both managers took over then you’re deluded.
United had three pretty woeful years under Moyes and LvG. Infact, most of the players van Gaal bought are no longer at the club. The first thing Jose did was ditch the dead wood and buy a new spine for the team. He’s had to rebuild a winning mentality while trying to improve every area of the squad bar the GK.
Now let’s go over the blue side of Manchester. City didn’t need an overhaul. They needed fine tuning. Peps first year yous were awful at times, flying under the radar, never quite getting the criticism that other top teams got when they played poorly. Dumped out of the Champions League by some idiotic management, eased into third place like an old man getting into the bath.
So then Pep done the most astonishing thing iv ever seen in football. Even eclipsing the great title win of Leicester. He signed Bernardo Silva on a free, Walker on a free, Danilo on a free, Ederson on a free and Mendy on a free. Magical stuff. Oh wait? He spent £60 million on Silva who can’t get a game. £50 million a pop on two full backs Walker and Mendy. Then with his full back loyalty card buy two get the third half price for Danilo. After buying a shiny new goalkeeper last season he decided he needed another one this season. See where I’m getting at? This City team is at least 18 months ahead of United. Hats off for 15 games won on the bounce, cos when yous hit a blip and yous will. We’ll be right behind yous.
I read Steve’s email in the mailbox this morning, and noted his comment about Walker, which seems reflective of a wider narrative suggesting Pep’s worked miracles with Walker.
Walker was part of the PFA team of the year last year. He was the best right back by a distance. His WhoScored rating over his last two seasons at Spurs was 7.29 and 7.2. This year it’s 7.0 – in line with or below his score since his break out season when he was voted PFA Young Player in 2012.
Any Spurs fan claiming Trippier was better than Walker was deceiving themselves. Walker’s more athletic, a better attacking threat, more solid in defense with greater ability to get up and down the flank. His absence is part of the reason Spurs have struggled this year.
Pep has done wonders with City, building the confidence of players like Sterling, improving Delph and demanding more from older players like Silva. He’s clearly a great coach. But let’s not pretend Walker is anything other than a 54M-pound player playing at the level he attained at Spurs, and one of the reasons why City’s defense is as solid as it is.
Dan – “Davies/Trippier =/= Rose/Walker” – James
Tunnel of hate
Every time you publish that now infamous “Tunnel Of Hate” graphic taken from the pages of the Daily Mail, it puts me in mind of the opening sequence of Grange Hill. I can’t help but picture the Sunday stramash at Old Trafford in a comic-strip fashion, with the flying fork-in-a-banger replaced by a flying milk carton clumping Mourinho on the noggin and all hell breaking loose!
I cannot wait for United’s next encounter with Etihad FC. Assuming they both win their Carabao Cup quarter-finals (with the greatest respect to Leicester and Bristol City), I hope they are paired together for the two-legged semi-final. Those games could be absolute humdingers, bound to be feisty grudge matches and a chance for Mourinho to exact a modicum of revenge on Pep’s boys without having to wait until April’s PL reverse fixture, when City may well have the league title confirmed.
This has to happen! It’ll be “what the sponsors wanted” and, as Graham Simons alluded to earlier in the week, the old “Milk Cup” references will go into overdrive! On second thoughts, maybe that’s not what Carabao would want…
Lee, guzzling milk
In response to Lindsay Bell, Dublin, finally someone has figured out where the problem is when it comes to time-wasting…. the referee!!
Teams indulging in this nefarious tactic are routinely lambasted, but whingeing at inferior teams continually trying to disrupt the rhythm of better teams is missing the point. Moan all you want but they will keep doing it as long as they get away with it, much like criminals operating in a lenient justice system will continue to do so.
Nothing grinds my gears more than watching a referee running over towards a player ushering him to hurry up when getting subbed off, whats the point in even talking about it! Or even eventually showing a yellow card! Just appear to do nothing but add on a minute or 2 for each infraction… simple as. The ref has plenty to worry about and timekeeping is something that could be done by a 4th official or someone else in the stands, all he has to do is give a knowing glance at the timekeeper and signal for time to be added on by raising his middle finger (+1 minute) or flicking a V-sign (+2 minutes).
It can even be modified if the time-wasting team do end up conceding. Let’s say United spend the whole of the 3rd round FA Cup tie time-wasting against Derby at Old Trafford (Mourinho preparing for CL knockout stages) but as the ref prepares to add on 12 minutes injury-time the 5 United centre-backs simply cannot contain Andy Weimann any longer and he scores to put Derby ahead. United will now chase an equaliser but the 12 mins added-time they have caused is withdrawn and the ref blows up just as Fellaini gets ready to be subbed on.
A simple yet effective solution, which renders it unlikely to materialise.
Shotgun Kev, MUFC
Defending FIFA…kind of
I love reading F365, it has brought me so much enjoyment over the last 8 years so please understand this is only a minor gripe.
In short, STOP BASHING FIFA, the video game that is, the organisation is rancid so abuse them all you want. F365 writers making relentlessly snide comments about FIFA/Football Manager shows a lack of awareness of your readership and is utterly irrational given that these are effectively football simulators……. Yes, FIFA is ‘just a game’ but so is football itself and both are great fun.
Contrary to what your writers often imply, FIFA does give its players a massive insight into the sport through (obviously not perfect) player stats, historic kits, stadium names, foreign teams, etc. – obviously it’s not the same as actually playing or watching the game but it still augments your understanding of the sport through an entertaining and immersive video game. It is the most iterative and highly developed game franchise in the history of gaming and as such it is a fantastic vehicle for getting new people into the world of football. This is particularly the case in the US where I’ve met quite a few people who play FIFA over the NFL or NBA equivalents as it is a far better game. In the end they all end up getting hooked on the sport itself, they need to stop calling it soccer.
FIFA (again I’m talking about the game) helps fuel our sport and while I have no idea how this could be measured, I’d confidently bet that FIFA gaming has a significant impact on overseas Premier League viewership and as a result helps pay for David Silva…… this cannot be a bad thing.
If you play a lot of FIFA and have a (very good) memory you will learn the name, position and general attributes of pretty much every relevant professional footballer across the major divisions, if you don’t play FIFA (or Football Manager) you probably can’t say this. Not a boast just a fact. This knowledge in turn means that if you are abroad you can turn on Eurosport (or whatever) and draw significantly more enjoyment when watching 2 random German teams playing as you already have an (admittedly shallow) understanding of who is on the pitch.
I’ve noticed the condescending tone that F365 take towards video gamers over the years and to be honest, to a degree, I get it. Lots of annoying kids play FIFA. Some morons think that playing Football Manager makes them a football manager. This is annoying as f*ck. That said, comments like this from Daniel Storey are a bit embarrassing: “David Silva is, to be frank, not the type of player FIFA enthusiasts want in their team.
Be as frank as you want Daniel but please don’t fear what you don’t understand.
Before writing gamers off as ‘not real football people’ it is worth mentioning that pretty much every premiership footballer plays a shit load of FIFA, they love it and genuinely consider their FIFA ranking as a yardstick for their season on season progress. (More for bragging rights than as sport science I would imagine!). Watching players react to their newly unveiled FIFA rankings on YouTube is super geeky but quite fun if you fancy it. They all have sh*t chat.
The length of this email is actually also pretty embarrassing given that I’m writing in to defend the honour of a video game – I’ll leave it here.
James (Xbox ID: ‘bark5triker’ if anyone fancies a game) Barkstriker
Putting players off
Wanted to ask the expert mailboxers where they think the crowd are best at putting off the opposing team. Naturally the atmosphere, aura or just sheer size of a stadium can have an impact on the away team, but I’m talking about the close-up interactions with players.
For example, watching the Man U Bournemouth game yesterday, Bournemouth’s first corner was zoomed in on, and there were plenty of empty seats and even the ones taken looked like tourists with their coffees (top left corner as we look from the tv angle). One of West Ham’s main gripes with their stadium is the distance between players and fans. On the other hand, I’m sure there are grounds well-known for hurling significant, off-putting abuse to the visitors – can anyone help?
The Big P
Don’t make this a thing
Following on from the Bald XI a few weeks ago, as we’re closing in on Christmas, I present an extremely unbalanced 3-5-2 Christmas XI, some real bad ones in here….
GK: Pepe Reindeer
Defence: Walker in a Winter Wonderland, Per Mertesack of Presents, Jingle Bellerin
Midfield: Santa Clausola, Dennis Wise Men, Paul Ince Pie, North Paul Scholes, Baby Isco-ld Outside
Forwards: Demba Ba Humbug, Andy Caroll
Bench: Van de Star, Frankincense Lampard, Matt le Tinseler, Fabian Elf, Snowzil, Edin Dzekorations, Ruud van Mistletoe
Manager: Ho Ho Jose Mourinho
Owner: Snowman Abramovic
Jimmy (sorry) Sham
Isn’t it ironic?
On an unfootball related note, last night I was at work (a hotel bar) where I was setting the tables up for breakfast, which involved me walking around with a handful of spoons. Meanwhile, a co-worker was tasked with checking under the tables for gum.
She encountered a rather tricky piece which she could not pry off with her (gloved) hands and as I was setting the table above her she asked me for a knife. “I can’t, I’m holding about 10,000 spoons”.
I laughed so hard at my own joke, which nobody else got, that they all think I’m a weirdo now. Cheers f365/Alanis Morrisette
Shelley, (embarrassed but chucking), Dublin