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An antidote to the nonsense
I have seen the cr*p spouted about Sterling recently and it greatly upset me.
I too happen to have an exclusive about the ‘blinging’ Sterling family – Raheem’s mum is a nurse at my Grandad’s old age home in north-west London and has been looking after him and a floor of similarly bedridden and incontinent 90-year-olds for years.
You can imagine that any job like this takes immense courage, dedication, patience and kindness. Raheem’s mum has continued to do jobs most of us dread, despite Raheem’s immense wealth and success. She is dedicated to those under her care at the home and ensures that the residents (some of whom are Holocaust survivors) live out their final years in dignity and comfort.
It amazes all of us that she works long hours wiping up, feeding and cleaning old people, beside the fact that she and generations of her family will never need to work again. Perhaps none are more amazed than my Gran, who has developed a bit of an obsession about Raheem, cutting out the positive articles about him in the paper and giving them to his mum who then passes them onto Raheem. Raheem was touched by this and sent my Gran a thank you letter which she treasures. This a 90-year-old lady who had an ace WWII fighter pilot brother. When my family visit Gran, barely a visit goes by without mention of Raheem.
I just thought I would write in to add a counter voice to usual sh*te and distortion in the media, now desperate for scapegoats in the England squad. Hopefully this story can relate with the good readers of F365 about the reality most of us live in – where people just try to get on with their lives, do the best they can as human beings, and make other people a bit happier if they can manage it.
Ryan ‘Shout out to the COYS whatsapp group’ Jacobson
Jose is winning the window
Zlatan and Micky are proven stars playing their best football and are coming to United.
And after the fiasco of the Moyes window (when we did not have anyone meaningful join), it is clear that the pull of Mourinho is key for them to join a team not playing Champions League football.
Largely, I think it also has to do with United’s relationship with agents, Mendes and Raiola. Increasingly becoming key to getting your hands on top talent.
I expected Mou to make a lot of noise with his talking with little action. So far, it is exactly the opposite and I am impressed.
How is Bailly? Any mailboxers with insights on this kid?
The world’s most arrogant manager. The world’s most arrogant player. The world’s most arrogant fans. The world’s most arrogant club. What could possibly go wrong?
Portugal show us what might have been
Watching the match last night, particularly the second half and extra time, it struck me that you can go quite far in this tournament without being anything special. The overriding feeling was of sheer disappointment that if England weren’t complete bottle jobs then they could have reached the higher echelons of this competition. After all Portugal are into the semi-final (which would have been deemed a success for England) without winning a match within 90 minutes. Yes they have a special player in Cristiano Ronaldo however apart from his fight back showing against Hungary he hasn’t really shone at this tournament.
Portugal have got to this stage by being a well-organised unit that can hold their nerve when push comes to shove, a team littered with what-might-have-been’s in Nani, Quaresma and Moutinho. England were supposedly littered with top young talent in Alli, Kane and Eric Dier, however without organisation, spirit and nerve that counts for nothing, England’s problems are that of the psychological type and are most definitely deep rooted, this all leaves me wondering at 25 years of age will I ever see a showing at a tournament from an England team that I can be proud of.
My final note is could Portugal go all the way? It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen a team go all the way by being well organised and gritty, remember Greece? I’m sure Portugal most definitely remember…
Kieran (LFC) Ellesmere Port
…So Messi and Argentina cruised to the final of the Copa without breaking a sweat and then lost it. Ronaldo and Portugal have reached the semis without winning a single game in normal time. In the entire tournament. They’re gonna win it aren’t they?
Lawrence (really hope I’m wrong) South Korea
England need a man who can manage egos
The current club managers for the England team are as follows; Wenger, Pochettino, Guardiola, Mourinho, Klopp, Koeman, Conte, (and Ranieri). Top managers with wide international experience managing the best players in the Premier League.
Then the players turn up for England, and get Roy Hodgson – he of Fulham, West Brom, and failing at Liverpool fame…someone who has no successful experience of managing Grade A players.
So which group is Sam Allardyce and Steve Bruce in – have they got experience in managing ‘top six’ players, European campaigns, innovative tactics against the best teams, motivating egos/superstars – in short, no…
Managers that have this experience include Laurent Blanc, Rafa Benitez and Guus Hiddink.
If our players were lower Premier League/Championship standard (ie Republic of Ireland) – Big Sam/Steve Bruce would be a perfect fit…
And for all those people who STILL don’t think the manager makes the defining difference – you haven’t been watching the Euros closely enough…look at Northern Ireland, Wales, Italy, etc (and England)…it’s pretty obvious.
A Proper Football Man?
Not sure if anyone listened to the Poland/Portugal game on the always-excellent Radio 5Live last night but if you didn’t you missed Mark Chapman ask John Hartson what a ‘Proper Football Man’ was. The underlying disdain in every one of Chapman’s words was palpable, and then Big John duly obliged by answering “someone who has seen it and done it…they’ve been in the dressing room and know what it’s about”.
God I really hope we don’t get a PFM in charge.
Gavin (Mark Sampson should be included in the chatter if the FA wants a start-again approach to English football) Hill, Malton
Let’s ask the players what went wrong…
It appears that the England football problem is endemic. As someone in an earlier mailbox mentioned: England have only won six competitive games in 50 years. Let that sink in. 6/50.
Yet after every tournament, it’s the same response. Get knocked out, blame the manager, blame the players, blame the FA, place hope in a new manager, lather, rinse, repeat.
I’m not saying that Hodgson did a good job, or that the certain players shouldn’t be dropped. However, I do think that instead of repeating the same cycle, some introspection is needed. Rather than rant, rave, huff and puff, why don’t we suggest that the FA directly ask the players what happened? In an attempt to try to prevent the same from happening again.
There seems to be a huge psychological component to England’s failures. Typically, the best attacking player goes missing (Kane this time, Rooney in the past), with significant individual defensive errors – you cannot win anything if your goalkeeper concedes ~50% of shots on goal.
Now, I would be more understanding if the players had poor seasons and then had a bad tournament as status quo would have been maintained but some of the English players (many in fact) had excellent seasons. Kane – top scorer, Vardy – a close second, Hart – good goalkeeping record, Alli, Walker (look at the last ladder). Such a sudden drop of form should warrant investigation at the very least. Not ‘hang them because they were sh*t’.
Further, the pre-tournament criticism and then pinning of the nations hopes on the shoulders of a few players might be doing more damage than good. Followed by the microanalysis of the players and managers every move clearly does more damage than good. From my experience managing people, some people respond to harsh criticism well, others need to be guided with a softer hand, others are motivated by their peers.
Support the lads like they need to be to inspire success. Do not pin your all hopes on them, and then tear them to shreds afterwards.
I’ve read a few suggestions in the past few mailboxes and comments sections that are frankly stupid. 1) Go back to route one football (the England way): Tried it, didn’t work – stupid. 2) Wholesale clear out of squad – who are you going to bring in that is better? This isn’t club football – stupid. Play worse English players so opposing teams attack more so we outsh*t them to victory – Ridiculous.
There is clearly an underlying problem with the English player psyche that needs to be fleshed out and addressed. I say we spend more time analysing the problem than making stupid recommendations and player bashing. Obviously this will not happen and we’ll see the exact same at WC 2018. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Pey [Exceptionally clean hair]
Cheering on Wales
Just a quick few thoughts regarding Wales and their celebration. I don’t mind how they reacted. I have spent a lot of time in Wales in my life and their reaction was unexpected to say the least. As Storey rightly pointed out England are the annoying cousin with their flash cars – I get that. England (although the media are prime offenders) are complacent and many of the players are spoilt. The only criticism I would make of Wales and particularly Bale and Ramsey was their overly aggressive and personal comments regarding an entire nation prior to the England game. Coleman on the other hand was a statesman and a gentleman.
I do think this tournament had made a mockery of the oft-repeated criticism of England how often mention 1966. How many times have we heard 1958 mentioned this last few weeks? So anyway, I wasn’t offended by the celebration. It’s only football after all. Ramsey’s hair was more offensive.
Final point – I would say that most of England want Wales to do well, while it is quite the opposite in our neighbouring country. Pubs in England generally cheer when Wales score. Wales have chosen banter over being supportive of neighbours – I am fine with that, have embraced it and I look forward to supporting Belgium (watching with my Welsh girlfriend) this evening. Considering the law of averages and considering the size of populations, it is only natural they do better than England once or twice a century…