Thanks. We rescued that. Now watch some football on Saturday and give us a lovely Sunday mailbox. Mail us at email@example.com
So do we, Robert, so do we…
I like football.
Welcome back football…we need you
I don’t know about you all but I could not be more excited for the return of club football this weekend. With everything that has gone on in the past seven days, from the tragedies themselves to the unbearable social media ripple effect, the return of club football allows me the chance to escape if only for two hours.
For 120 glorious minutes my anger and frustration at senseless violence and my countries elected officials dragging their feet over helping innocent people will be replaced with pure elation of seeing 11 men dressed in red walking onto a pitch of grass.
For some football is a game, but for me it’s much more than that. Whether I’m watching or playing football, the game it is a vacation, obsession, and a way of life all rolled into one.
I hope the beautiful game has a positive impact on your life this weekend regardless if your team wins or loses.
Tim Sherwood: Not a PFM
I have become increasingly obsessed with Tim Sherwood over the last 12 months. It’s not healthy, but he fascinates me. Here’s my theory. He is not a Proper Football Man.
Do you remember that kid at school? The nice middle-class boy, who really wanted to hang out with the hard lads, and thus avoid being bullied? He walked the cocky swaggering walk, but it never quite looked right. His mum nearly bought him the right clothes, he nearly got the Essex accent correct but occasionally forgot, left the estuary and pronounced an ‘H’ or two That boy is Tim Sherwood.
All his quotes, all his actions – a really good attempt at being a PFM. Favourite cheese? Not just Cheddar, but Mild Cheddar – so calculated to be exactly the correct PFM answer. Tactics? No way! At that vine…that arriving-at-Villa-kicking-the-door-release-button Vine. Tim Sherwood is really, really trying to be a PFM..but I don’t think you can become a PFM, you either are, or are not. Has he done his coaching badges? He certainly has…kept it super quiet though.
I asked leading PFM expert John Nicholson, via Twitter, if someone called Tim can ever be a PFM. His response was that Tim can be a PFM, Timothy cannot. Tim Sherwood is a Timothy. One day, he will release the shackles and become Timothy Sherwood, cerebral football manager, with pivots and false 9s and the odd explanation of Keynesian Theory when discussing a transfer fee, and he’ll be an outstanding manager.
Until then, he’s Timothy stuck in a Tim persona.
Jeremy (buy Viagra) Aves
Any PFWs out there?
In answer to Kanishka Davda’s question regarding the existence of a Proper Football Woman, I’d bet if anyone could qualify it would be Gabby Logan. I won’t go into more detail, because I hope Johnny makes her the subject of one of these articles.
MN Aditya, London
Ronaldo is Jonah
With the sad passing this week of the great All Black rugby player, Jonah Lomu, it got me thinking about the parallels between him and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Both are/were physical phenomenons of their time. Nobody had ever seen such physicality in a winger before Lomu. And nobody had an answer. He simply swept aside all opposition, who were pretty much powerless to do anything.
Ronaldo is pretty much the same in football. For years now, no defences can match his power and pace. There was nothing particularly subtle about Lomu, and Ronaldo is the same. Ronaldo has no genius footballing brain or intelligence, he isn’t the greatest passer of the ball, he is certainly not a team player in any shape or form.
But when there is a swift counter-acting break away and the ball gets to Ronaldo on the wing, defenders simply haven’t a hope of stopping him once he gets into full flow and powers forward to unleash a rocket of a shot.
Was Lomu a unique specimen of a rugby player? Unquestionably. Although it’s noticeable how there are more and more rugby players like him in the game these days, simply because physicality is the easiest thing in the world to replicate (thanks to science, modern training, diets etc). Pretty much every team in the world these days have battering rams in their backline. Just as players like Bale are replicating the Ronaldo formula in football.
Was Lomu the greatest rugby player of all time? Don’t make me laugh, not even the great man himself would ever claim such an idiotic statement.
Is Ronaldo the greatest footballer of all time? Don’t make me laugh even harder. It’s an insult to the game of football to suggest he’s anywhere near the true greats of the last 20 years alone (Messi & Zidane).
Needing England to hug friends
For all the talk lately of whether England fans should be over-optimistic or realistic with thier expectations, I just wanted to put my non-important opinion into the fold.
I am one of those people that gets absorbed by all the emotion of England reaching a major tournament and will display all the usual feelings of dismay and anger when we get knocked out of the group stage/first knock out round.
I accept this in the end as we are just an average international side. There’s only one thing I want England to do though even if we end up getting eliminated early on and that’s them to at least score some goals at important moments.
The reason for this is that watching England score a goal is a chance for me to go f**king nuts with my mates who I normally wouldn’t get the chance to do so as we all generally support a wide range of teams and spend the majority of our time taking the p**s out of each other for our supported teams shortcomings.
It all sounds rather rose tinted and yeah so what…there’s nothing better than hugging your fat, hairy stinking of booze and fags mate whilst beer gets thrown everywhere and the whole of the pub celebrates an England goal. And during for minute of euphoria every one is imagining that maybe, just maybe this is the tournament that England might fluke for once.
Mark (sentimental sod) LFC
Vardy: A fast worker
That mail this morning from Martyn made me laugh. Two assertions in particular are just plain nonsense and not based on fact.
– Kane, Welbeck and Rooney having a higher work rate than Vardy.
Vardy has run more than all three of these strikers this season (unfair on Welbeck obviously) and works harder than any other striker I have seen.
– Walcott, Welbeck and Sturridge being faster than Vardy.
Vardy is (according to Opta, whoscored, sky sports) the quickest player in the Premier League this season.
I’m sure there were other inaccuracies in the email. I’m a fan of Harry Kane and believe he should go to the Euros, but saying that he works harder than Vardy is nonsense.
…Reading this morning’s Mailbox I have apparently stumbled into a parallel universe where Jamie Vardy is not only not England’s hardest working striking option, but isn’t even in the top three.
He’s also apparently not as fast as Sturridge or Welbeck, despite recording the highest speed reached in any Premier League match this season. Personally, I’d also contend that he’s not a particularly good finisher, although he’s improved markedly in the last few months – Kane, Rooney and Sturridge are all well clear of him in that regard.
The thing with Vardy is that he doesn’t play for a fashionable club. Saturday will make it one appearance in 13 on live TV this season for Leicester (the fewest in the top flight) and as such, UK viewers see him through the medium of Match of the Day, where you get five minutes of highlights focusing on goals and chances (obviously) followed by anodyne analysis such as “he’ll be disappointed with that” or “he’s taken that brilliantly” as well as an irritatingly reductive look at the game largely through the prism of refereeing decisions.
What you don’t see on MOTD is Vardy repeatedly chasing a ball into the channel (and this does happen a fair amount in Leicester matches), invariably a ball he has no right to win, starting 10 metres behind a defender in a 25-metre race and forcing a throw-in. You don’t see him hounding defenders on the ball, causing rushed passes which allow us to build pressure over time.
You don’t see Vardy the player, you see Vardy the goalscorer, and frankly they are two different, albeit necessarily linked beasts. People talk about Vardy’s remarkable goalscoring run as if it is something which, when it inevitably ends, will see him return to the ranks of the supposedly joke player who only scored five goals last season and blagged his way into an England squad (and yes, F365 have been as made as anyone for this).
The truth is, he could not score another goal between now and the end of the season and you’d still only lose a small part of what he brings to the team (even without his goals, Leicester would still have more goals than all bar eight sides). His relentless energy and pace are absolutely essential to the way Leicester play. He leads by example, setting the tempo to which the rest of the team responds and making Leicester one of the best teams to watch in the top flight these days.
As it goes, two of Leicester’s next three matches after Saturday are on the TV in this country. Perhaps after that, people might start to open their eyes to the fact that the top flight’s top goalscorer is not really a ‘goalscorer’ at all.
Tom, LCFC (expecting fanmail from Alexandria)
It’s all about the finishing…
That’s some interesting analysis on England’s best striker done by Martyn in the mailbox. I’m not going to sit down and debate the order of who is best at which because in most cases (other than that Walcott is the quickest) it’s basically impossible to come up with a definitive answer. What I will question is the equal weighting given to finishing alongside the other categories (especially the likes of heading, something from nothing, scoring from range, etc..).
The ability to just stick the thing in the net when you get a chance is far and away the most important a striker can have. He can be lazy, slow, selfish and rotten at passing but if he scores with most of his opportunities then you can forgive anything. The fact is that most strikers these days have a decent all round game but finishing is still paramount. I couldn’t help but think of Pippo Inzaghi who would give linesmen shoulder problems with how often he was flagged for being offside, had little pace and was barely ever seen kicking the ball further than eight yards but he finished his chances and scored a mountain of goals.
So I would adjust the system to give 10x the weighting to finishing, maybe a bit more to work rate, hold up play and pace, then see where we are.
It’s all about Sturridge
Since moving to Liverpool here are Sturridge’s Premier League stats according to WhoScored:
Even at Bolton (the other club he played as a striker) he scored eight in 11 starts and 1 sub appearance. So that’s 45 goals in 58 starts and 12 sub appearances, despite always coming back from injury and having to get match fit and back into form.
That is a phenomenally consistent record. He is quicker than Kane, better at dribbling and scores a lot of headed goals himself.
I love Kane, think he is better creatively and certainly not miles behind Sturridge, but if I had to choose between the two it would be Sturridge every time as one up front: you have three creative players behind so need the best finisher (who is good enough to bring people into play, which Sturridge is – unlike Michael Owen, for example) as the striker.
That said, it will probably be a moot point because you can never rely on Sturridge being fit. I’d be very happy with Kane anyway – a really good player.
Despite Rooney playing quite well against France I think he’s done. I wouldn’t start him. Sadly again a moot point as Hodgson will never drop him!
P.S. Vardy has been incredible but look at Leicester’s fixtures compared with almost every other team and they had probably the easiest start of anyone. If he keeps scoring over the next two months playing against pretty much all the best teams then I will move from cautious optimist to optimist regarding him.
We’re pretty sure it was sarcasm, Ed….
I’m really, really hoping that Niall, Denver’s email about John Robertson was written with tongue in cheek. According to Wikipedia, assists were only adopted as an official statistic in the last 20 years or so – football wasn’t invented in 1992, but assists might have been.
John Robertson retired in 1986, at a surprisingly young age, or to put it another way, at least a few years before assists started being recorded. No wonder he never recorded any.
I don’t know how long Niall has been following English football so I don’t know what he knows of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor. However, if he is born and raised in the USA he may well be familiar with the Miracle on Ice, about the US ice hockey team at the 1980 Olympics. While the film version is highly dramatized, Kurt Russell’s portrayal of inspirational coach Herb Brooks could just as easily be channelling Clough. In one scene, a journalist suggests at a press conference that some better players were overlooked, Brooks bristles and simply responds, “we don’t need the best players, we’ve got the right players”. This sums up perfectly Clough and Taylor’s approach to player recruitment and tactics. They had a system, and through simply scouting thoroughly they found the players they needed – statistics be damned.
Niall said he’d prefer a ‘fat Wayne’ over a ‘fat John’, but I disagree. Far better to have a Robertson-type who can get into position, use skill to beat a man and precision to put in a cross, at seemingly low speed, than someone like Aaron Lennon or Andros Townsend, whose pace enamours them to some fans, who are willing to overlook their inability to cross consistently, arguably more important for a wide player than simply being able to run fast.
You can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent, 42% of people know that, but ultimately even if Opta and Prozone had been supplying data to teams in the late 1970s the way they do now, I’m fairly certain Clough and Taylor would have chucked them straight in the bin in favour of trusting their own eyes and instincts.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven
On pedants’ corner
Gary Cahill has recently defended his clean sheets? Hogwash. The logic doesn’t apply all over the park so it shouldn’t just apply in this instance.
Granted, I’ll give it you that Wayne Rooney did, indeed, ‘strike’ a goal on Tuesday, but the prevailing terminology is to ‘score’, as we all know. What verbs can midfielders use for their actions on the field of play?
Much as any player can keep the ball in play, keep the ball when the pass would have been the better option, they may also keep a clean sheet. Which isn’t to say that Cahill, or Hart, can’t defend a clean sheet. Of course they can.
Although I’d probably argue that only a team can keep a clean sheet, albeit with the goalkeeper and defence as the major contributors to it. Oh I’m all in a muddle, but I think my point stands up.
Lord I miss domestic football.
Chris (just ‘programming’ my lunch), SAF Stand
…As a combination of a Friday afternoon mailbox vibe and a kind of reply to Hugo (NUFC) Adelaide over in Pedants’ Corner I wanted to raise my own annoyance at the football phrase ‘the keeper was beaten’ when discussing a shot that misses or hits the woodwork. As far as my knowledge of goalkeeping goes, I’m pretty sure they are trying to prevent shots going into their goal, so how they have been ‘beaten’ by a shot that doesn’t go in the goal completely baffles me.
Furthermore, in the scenario where a striker has missed/hit the post and failed to score, I would say that it is the striker that’s been ‘beaten’, and yes this applies even if the keeper wouldn’t have saved the shot if ‘it was two inches to the right’ meaning it would have gone in given a hypothetical scenario…the striker has failed and the keeper’s goal remains intact.
Kevin (has anyone checked the definition of ‘stonewall’? Wrongly used for penalties) G, THFC
Ireland’s 50th man…
Did anyone else not bother reading Chris (I’d still have Robbie Keane over Rooney), Dublin’s undoubtedly elegantly crafted Euro ladder for the Irish squad which he’d spent an inordinate amount of time on, and simply scroll down to position 50 to see which joke name as an equivalent for Phil Neville he’d inserted? I was hoping for David O’Leary so was very disappointed…
…As I scrolled down Chris (I’d still have Robbie Keane over Rooney), Dublin email about the Ireland football ladder a sense of excitement grew in me. Please please please have Phil Neville at 50.
Alas this was not to be and my lunch seemed to taste a little bitter.
Luke (it’s Friday) Dublin
…Anyone else disappointed that Chris (I’d still have Robbie Keane over Rooney), Dublin’s Ireland Euro 16 ladder didn’t have Phil Neville at 50?
Gary Orford, LFC
…Surely Kilbane should have been number 50 on the Irish ladder?
…In the spirit of F365’s England ladder, I was disappointed that the Irish ladder sent in by Chris (I’d still have Robbie Keane over Rooney), Dublin didn’t feature:
50. Gary Breen.
Dave Lillis, Dublin
Even Fat Man Scouse likes us now…
I’ve given it long enough now and you guys really have improved since you left Sky. Much less moralising and more crap/good opinions and articles. You’ve gone back to what made you good in the beginning.
Nice to finally see a re-designed mobile-friendly website too.
Nick Miller and Daniel Storey are still tw*ts though, can’t polish a turd I suppose.
Fat Man Scouse, EFC
The worst thing about F365
For the love for everything holy F365, will you urgently develop an app plug-in that automatically filters out the persistent utter sh*te of omnipresent commenter, ‘Kviznoz Zub’.
I’ve no doubt that holed up in his small bedsit he thinks he’s the smartest, funniest man to ever walk the earth, but please, enough already.
Obviously nobody reads/comments or encourages anything he says, but it’s got to the stage when his presence alone actually puts me into a bad mood and it’s turning me off the site.
…Every time I see the pseudonym Kviznoz Zub, a little bit of my brain dies. Killing the comments section one idiotic ramble at a time. Please, for the love of God, stop.