Mails: Would Wenger have broken Suarez?

Date published: Tuesday 1st December 2015 2:55

Tim Sherwood has broken the internet. If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at


The last word(s) on Vardy
Firstly, it was a joy to read the sensible and knowledgeable riposte from Chris Morton to Tim Sherwood’s latest diatribe.  Fleetwood Town Juniors are lucky to have a genuine football man in a position of responsibility rather than the banter-ridden facsimile that Timbo and his ilk represent.

Secondly, Adam Corbett, there is never ever any excuse for racist behaviour, provoked or otherwise. Not poverty, lack of education, ignorance, inebriation… nothing.  And please never mention Malala Yousafzai’s in such a context again.
Carolyn, South London Gooner.


Football’s moral conscience is a blurry thing. There are many players who have been found guilty of all kinds of indiscretions, with Jamie Vardy front and centre in the recent list. This email isn’t condoning Vardy, or Suarez, Terry or any player found guilty of any racial slurs but I want to raise a few questions and concerns about the role the media (F365 included) play in this.

Let’s take Vardy as the recent example. In August Jamie Vardy racially abused a man. Let’s take the whys and where’s out of it as there is no excuse for that behaviour. After the incident he was rightly lambasted for this within the media and Vardy escaped being sacked and issued an apology. Nothing new to see here, that’s the lifecycle of a scandal.

Weeks and months passed and this story was indeed swept under the rug. But then Vardy came back into the headlines, this time for all the right reasons, as his goal scoring exploits continued. But y’know what? I didn’t see Vardy’s name appear as a ‘Losers’ in F365’s ‘Winners and Losers’. He was a pure Winner. His racial slurs were never mentioned after he scored his 5th, 6th, and 7th goals. But low and behold he breaks the Premier League consecutive goal scoring record and there he is in the ‘Losers’ section with Storey pointing the finger at Vardy and at Football’s acceptance/rug sweeping of such incidents.

What annoys me is that these opinions only seem to pop up when there’s a narrative to it. I guess that’s’ journalism for you. The question is though, if the media can pick and choose when to care about a subject then why should the world of football be any different? If Vardy should still be criticised for his racial behaviour then why wait until now to bring it up. He isn’t more of a racist now he’s front page news, His name is just selling more papers and getting more clicks.

In my opinion F365 has been found guilty of talking up its moral conscience when it fits a narrative. So when Storey points the finger he has to look at himself as part of the problem. I accept that this is the nature of the beast but it’s a sad sign of the times that this is the case. I also accept that if Storey banged the ‘Vardy is a racist’ drum continually it wouldn’t reflect well on him and Vardy would become the victim.

(MC – We’re not going to continue this ad infinitum, but the reason Vardy’s racism was attacked in this week’s Winners & Losers was not through some click-hungry desires, but because Vardy breaking the record (which happened this weekend) has led to him being called a ‘hero’ and role model’. It is these descriptions which particularly grated, not Vardy’s goals. As the column ended: ‘Those labelling Vardy a hero would do well to at least recognise that there is more to a reputation than an ability to score goals’).

But how to solve this? When writing about Footballers do journalists put an asterisk next to their name and at the bottom of the article list out all their indiscretions? Obviously not, but I do find it difficult to accept that media outlets talk passionately about these things being swept under the rug when they have so much power to keep these things in the spotlight.

I would be genuinely be interested to read F365s views on the difficulties of writing and reporting on these subjects versus industry and public expectations.
David, Brixton


‘Arry will be proud
Dear Football365,

Here’s some Private Eye-style number crunching on Tim Sherwood’s signings at Aston Villa:

13 – players signed by Sherwood at Villa
8% – proportion of players who came from lower league (1/13)
62% – proportion of foreign players signed by Sherwood (8/13)

I thought all this sounded familiar but wasn’t sure why.  Then I stumbled across this quote, from Mediawatch in the wake of Harry Redknapp’s book being published:

“As always with Redknapp, there is a weird dichotomy between words and actions. Whilst bemoaning the increase of foreign players, it’s worth remembering that QPR’s squad consists of players of 13 different nationalities, and that 51% of the players he has signed since joining QPR are non-British.”

All of which suggests Tim Sherwood’s quotes were top, top PFMery of the highest order.  I’m sure his best mate’s dad is very proud of him.

The literary Ed Quoththeraven


Would Wenger have broken even Suarez?
I’ve been thinking of late that one of the things that sets the best players in the world apart from pretenders to their throne is their robustness. This season aside with Messi, despite being kicked from pillar to post in every single game, they are almost ever presents. Their energy levels and most of all availability are second to none. It is what separates the Suarez’, Ronaldos, Messis and the like from yer Robbens. It’s no good arguing that the result would have been changed by a bit of magic from said player if that player is not actually on the pitch.

And (getting to the point here) had Suarez not correctly asserted that moving to The Library MKII would have been a sideways move and not delivered the top level European action he so craved you just know that Wenger would have knackered him. There can be no doubt, Wenger and the Arsenal staff would have made Suarez lame. There can be no greater scathing review of Wenger’s ineptness other than to steadfastly know Suarez would have been on the treatment table for the past year after a minor pull keeping him out for a Wenger “couple of weeks at most”…

Gregory Whitehead, LFC


Guy <3 Rooney
A very good Winners and Losers.

The importance of the base of midfield is laid bare, by the loss of Matic (to form) and Coquelin (to Arsenal). It makes an interesting counterpoint to the situation at United.

“Precisely, Louis; United are hard to beat. They are solid at the back, but uninventive in attack.”

Couldn’t agree more, but I stand by my view that it’s not so much the players as the approach. It’s so defence- and possession-first it’s maddening and frustrating to watch. Sometimes we look so good, but then we revert back to 5 in midfield and close it all up, slowing play, cutting the oxygen to the engine of the team.

All it does of course is play into the anti-Rooney messaging as though it’s his fault there aren’t enough chances being created for the attack.

“Is it not worth even considering a change, Louis?” Who for, exactly? Do we have Cavani or Lewandowski hiding on a secret bench? Maybe it’s not him, but the supply that’s the problem? Have you ever considered that? That’s why he ends up being pulled back into midfield, entirely missing the point that it still leaves us with one wing-forward / striker who’s slightly worse than him in the role.

There was a moment a few games ago, where we had the players in the right places. It’s almost there, but held back by a manager who prefers the possession approach.

Depay, Martial, Rooney, Herrera, Mata… plus Schweinsteiger and Scheiderlin behind, and a surprisingly well organised defensive unit. A great array of attacking opportunity. I would give my right nut to see Sir Alex in charge of that group right now. Tell me that you don’t think we’d see an entirely different proposition then…
Guy S


Almost Arsene
points out how, once again, Wenger has told us how he almost signed someone.

I always presumed that it was a given that any half decent young players in the UK and Ireland had been scouted, and probably talked to, by most of the Premier League and Championship clubs. There are plenty of reasons why a player would chose to go to one club over another, but you would have to assume that they have all had a look.

The same goes holds true for good young players around the world. Obviously not all clubs can afford to have huge global scouting networks, but I would imagine that if there is a promising young guy in Brazil or Argentina, the biggest clubs have all heard about him and have reports on him.

I am guessing if you could get access to the scouting reports of Man United, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern, Juventus, and AC Milan to name a few you would find reports on Messi, Pogba, Ibrahimovic, Ronaldo, Toure, Varane, etc from when they were teenagers. These guys don’t just appear over night.

It’s easy to laugh at Wenger when he says these things but the fact is I would be very disappointed to discover that players like Messi or Ibrahimovic were able to develop without Man United knowing about them. Thankfully, given that two of the players mentioned were at United, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

I don’t know why Wenger feels the need to do this so often. Maybe it has something to do with his length of tenure at Arsenal, a sort of a Sliding Doors thing: ‘if only things had gone differently I would have had a team of Messi, Ronaldo, Ibra, Cesc, Pogba.’ Given most other managers rarely stay longer than 3 or 4 years at one club that sort of thinking mightn’t strike them? Then again Fergie rarely indulged in this.

Either way someone should pass on the memo to Wenger: we know Arsenal are scouting all the best young talent, it is what is expected of you.
Jerry (hoping he’ll produce all the stats used next time he does this) MUFC


I have to take issue with Mediawatch’s calling out of Arsene Wenger and his litany of “near miss transfers”. What have the following players got in common: Paolo Maldini, Paul Gascoigne, Ronaldo (Brazilian one), Ronaldinho, Tony Adams, Petr Cech, Didier Drogba, Thomas Muller, Sergio Aguero, Lucas Moura, Mario Balotelli.

Give up? They’re players Sir Alex Ferguson either publically chased or admitted in his autobiography that he tried to sign as United manager. And how many times has Harry Redknapp claimed to be offered a triffic player for peanuts years before they made it big? I think it’s fair to accept that, these days, every hot young player is on the radar of every club, there’s far more unsuccessful, near-miss deals than solid transfers, and who ends up signing for which club is often just a matter of timing and luck. With such massive networks of scouts (as the excellent morning mail about Fleetwood can attest), it’s naive to think the clubs aren’t trying to sign these players at the earliest possible stage. Yes Wenger doesn’t do himself any favours but he’s only admitting what everyone else does but no other club and manager will own up to.
Ben, AFC (Kingsley Coman is probably just a poor man’s Serge Gnabry anyway)


Rooney a disappointment? Really?
Read “Top 10: Surprise disappointments of season”, and was shocked to see Rooney at the top. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m not born English, but the biggest shock to me has been that Rooney has been able to stay in a top team for this long.

Rooney has always had the physique of a middle-aged football fan rather than that of an elite football-player, when he was about 23 I made a bet with a friend that he’d be “fat(ter) and over the hill by age 29”. Well, he’s fatter alright, but he’s only started walking across the summit of the hill around now.

The signs have always been there: the portly, flabby build, the poor attitude (transfer requests etc), never being quite as good as the English media would have the public believe. Had Rooney been non-English, he probably would have been moved on during the Ferguson era, and earned a fraction of what he does now.
/ Wille


Bamford a disappointment? Really?
I have reading  for up to two years now I must say I have been impress by the  quality of you analysis but a player can not be called a disappointment when he does play,

Patrick Bamford was the player if the championship last season because he plays actual football which hasn’t been case since his loan move to crystal palace, if only pardew can have the balls to give him a run of games we all might see new the new Alli or vardy or at least the poor man’s version.


F*** you, Brian
Couldn’t help but raise a gentle chuckle at Brian (I feel Sturridge’s Liverpool tenure is coming to an end) LFC when i flicked through the mailbox this morning.

I don’t know any spurs fans who would state that they’re confident of a top 4 place this season. We’re playing well, we’re pleasantly hard to beat. Did I want 3 points going into the chelsea game: yes. Was it a bit -meh-: yes. Do we struggle after away games in Europe: perhaps so.

But as this here site here pointed out: “In a mini-league since Klopp’s appointment, only Leicester, Tottenham and Man United have won more points, only five sides have scored more goals and only three have conceded fewer.”

Not sufficiently wound up to actually do the research but I make us scored 21 conceded 7 in the last 10, are we doing better in all 3 categories since the normal one bowled up? (MC – Yes)

I’d worry less about how we’re going to finish this season and concentrate on next year. Should be yours, after all.

On a less antagonistic note (sorry Brian, just feeling a bit spiky this morning i guess..) Some years ago I read that if you order the league by goal difference once all the christmas fixtures are out of the way- you get a pretty good approximation of how the table will end up. I’ve applied this for a few years and I’ve yet to see a better indicator. Sure, most seasons a couple of teams ‘normalise’ and a couple go on a blinding run, but if you use it to work out who’s going down and who plays where in Europe – any deviation from this model usually has a story behind it..

So with that hard-hitting-analysis in mind: if I were to have any feeling that this was ‘our season’ (to finish in the top 4) it would be based on the fact that we’re 10-15 goals better off than normal at this stage.
Dan (should probably know better than trolling in the mailbox, sorry..)


For Foxes sake part 2
Further to my E mail yesterday.

“let us not pretend that the goal scored was a genius plan that had undone the defence. It was a hopeful pass that a player was just too lazy to try and cut out.”

Always the other team playing badly, never Leicester doing well.

In my opinion it was a great counter attack and the pass from Fuchs was first class and exactly where Vardy pointed he wanted the ball.
Simon Eaton


Data, data everywhere
This may be a slightly pedantic point, but I feel it is worth mentioning in the context of the data discussion.

David (numbers never lie apart from my age when out on the town) Morris is wrong – data cannot give context. I work with data day in, day out (sponsorship data since you ask) and while we may have all the numbers in the world, without someone interpreting what those numbers mean, they are simply just numbers.

In a football context, anyone can look at a spreadsheet and see who has run furthest, or fastest, or most often. As Ali Tabari correctly pointed out, someone them needs to then analyse those numbers and provide meaning. There is skill in analysing data to understand what you are looking at and an even greater skill in then explaining that so other people understand it. I think that is Tim Sherwood’s frustration – despite having analysts and data statisticians, he still couldn’t get it, hence why he harks for the days when a scout would tell him that the big lad upfront ‘facking runs about’ as he can understand that. Just like his mentor.
Conrad Wiacek, MUFC


The remix to transition
How  long have Liverpool been a “team in transition”?
Matt Carr, Spurs, Durham NC

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