Sorry but there were a lot of very long mails about the 48-team World Cup that we simply could not face editing. Mail on something other than that or the FA Cup to firstname.lastname@example.org
Schneiderlin: Simply not good enough
Daniel (doesn’t care that Fellaini scored a goal) Cambridge, the reason we’re selling Schneiderlin rather than keeping him as Carrick’s long-term replacment is because he’s nowhere near good enough.
Last season Schneiderlin fell from favour, didn’t play in any of the later FA Cup games, didn’t play in key league games and was generally bland and unexciting when he did play.
If he was anywhere near good enough to be Carrick’s replacement he’d already be doing it seeing how he’s quicker, younger and fitter than Carrick and at 27 should be at his best.
This season our play has been crisper, our football much more entertaining, and Schneiderlin has barely played a minute. If there are spare minutes to go round, Fosu-Mensah should be getting experience. I’d rather see Schweinsteiger get time too.
Schneiderlin is surplus to requirements, not good enough to replace Carrick and no better than several other options in the squad. I know he’s ungainly and, in certain quarters, unpopular but Fellaini has clearly impressed Jose with his attitude, application and willingness to learn and to follow instructions whereas the opposite is also clearly true of Schneiderlin.
In summary, decent player, wish him well, won’t be missed.
It’s just business
Daniel from Cambridge will likely be called correct next season, Schneiderlin will be a better player than Fellani in a footballing sense.
But this is a football team with an official tractor partner. Manchester United, have an official tractor partner.
With Champions League football not yet secured, the wages of Rooney and others will be burning through their official partner sponsorship cash, so selling a marketable player sat unused makes good business sense in the short term. Carricks replacement is a problem for the summer transfer window when they know their final league standing.
This is just how a business thinks.
Feeling sorry for Sakho
With it seeming very likely that Mamadou Sakho will be leaving during this transfer window, I’d thought I’d write in to share a musing that I’ve had since the start of the season and express my sadness for whenever he does leave.
I’ve long had an affinity towards Sakho, started during the early days of the Football Manager series when he was an attainable, highly talented 17 year old that I’d always try and bring when you started the game (along with one Henri Saivet, oh time makes fools of us all). When Liverpool signed him, I was fairly chuffed that we got a French national and PSG captain Although his performances sometimes reminded you of a baby deer learning to kick wearing ice skates, he often was assured and composed and last season seemed like he would become integral under Klopp.
Then he got banned for a drugs offence that turned out not to be an offence and nothing came of it. To me, this charge is the reason Sakho’s career has stalled. He missed the rest of the season, the Europa League Final and the European Championships; all to be told that “Ah, it’s grand. We messed up” by UEFA.
Yes, I know it was/is attitude problems that was/is the supposed reason for his isolation from the first team, but could it not be possible that a young man, stopped from playing in one of his more successful seasons to date for a reason that was not even a reason to begin with might me a little missive and have a little attitude that may need to be worked out?
Maybe it didn’t at all and he did take Klopp’s kebab instead; but it’s just something that I’ve thought for a while and thought I’d share. I wish him the best of luck for wherever he moves and hopefully he can kick start is career.
Conor (Great shout for the article in the Telegraph by Rory Smith on British/Irish managers. Maybe we can shove it down Merse’s throat so he can finally stop talking shite) Dublin
I would really miss Mertesacker
Arsenal aren’t going to loan Per out. I simply won’t let it happen – so there.
Per may lack pace but he reads the game better than any of our central defenders and also adds an aerial threat.
It always annoys me when people have a pop at Per. It’s easy to forget he scored the goal that got us back into the semi against Wigan. We simply wouldn’t have made the final had it not been for Per.
He’s also one of the only Arsenal players, other than Jenks, that when he says he supported Arsenal as a kid and loves the club, I believe him.
The guy gave up international football to concentrate on his club career – surely he deserves better than this?
I’m sure lots of people will say Per’s best days are behind him and I’m being unduly nostalgic but to win silverware you can’t have a team of Alexis Sanchezes – you need a few Ray Parlours or Martin Keowns to make it work. If Per goes, I for one, will really miss him.
On the other hand if we sold Alexis tomorrow and bought a proper striker I wouldn’t be that fussed. Yeah I know that’s controversial but it’s just my opinion that Alexis answers a question nobody asked.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Chinese football = a fun run
In response to Peter Cafferkey (Why should a Brazilian (or any South American footballer) be that enthused about winning the European Club Championship?)
…??? Because it’s the most highly skilled football competition in the world and anybody who wants to call himself one of the best would want to play in it? Your argument is like Mo Farah saying, “Nah why do I want to win the Olympics over in foreign-land, I’ll just keep running my local 10k fun run thanks.”
It’s not racist to be sad about Oscar and Hulk
In response to the backlash at Toby Sprigings’ article questioning Hulk’s motives and career choices, I thought I’d add my two cents. Firstly, I don’t think it’s racist to doubt the quality of the Chinese Super League or to wonder if spending such massive amounts on players’ transfers and salaries is such a grand idea. If MLS were doing the same thing, I’m sure the reaction would be the same.
There is also a limit on the number of foreign players allowed per team, so unless the quality of Chinese players increases exponentially in the next decade, I don’t see their league competing with the big European leagues any time soon. So Oscar and friends can probably forget about being trailblazers.
The comparison of players chasing the cash to Chelsea or Man City has some merit, but these clubs, despite at the time not being members of the footballing elite, were clubs with a hundred years of history. Some of these Chinese clubs are little more than a decade old. It’s not exactly the same thing. And both of those clubs offered (or could claim they would soon offer) Champions League football. (That’s not to say these Chinese clubs shouldn’t be allowed to sign marquee players, just that the comparison is a little off.)
And this brings me my main point and one that someone raised in the morning’s mailbox; that kids from Rio grow up dreaming of playing for their local clubs, not Bayern Munich. Well, I lived in Brazil and I can tell you that’s simply not true. Maybe not Bayern Munich specifically, but Real Madrid and Barcelona definitely. The chance to play in the Champions League (which is seen as the pinnacle of club football) and the chance to win the Ballon D’or, which is a massive deal in Brazil. To compete and test yourself against and alongside the best.
I’ve got not problem with players chasing the money (despite the fact they are already set up for life), but let’s not pretend it’s about anything else. And let’s not say we can’t pass judgment on them based on other criteria without being called insular, selfish or racist.
Football is a business, fine. But it’s also a sport. It’s not supposed to be only about money. It’s also supposed to be about glory.
I think it’s okay to be sad at the sight of players like Oscar and Wittsel giving up one in the pursuit of the other.
Why do we judge the pursuit of money?
Reading Toby Sprigings’ article on Hulk, the maim criticism I took from it was not the attack on his career, but our obsession with chastising players for moving for money.
In (almost) every other profession, moving within your chosen career for greater pay is not only seen as smart, but is also encouraged, yet in football it is seen as one of the biggest taboos. Admittedly, in most of those other professions, more money and career progression are seen as one in the same, but who are we to decide what career progression is for footballers?
Looking at Oscar, someone who was vilified within the mailbox for his move, what is wrong with him moving for obscene amounts of money? He is my age and I would jump at that chance, as I assume most people here would too, to play football in China and be paid handsomely for it. Apart from the money, there are so many reasons to join, one of the main ones being that he was not getting his game at Chelsea. China offered him regular first team football, the chance to be one of the biggest stars within the league, the chance to be a ‘trailblazer’ (as one mailer suggested), the opportunity to live on a third continent within an entirely new culture. The money is just the cherry on top of the cake. He was won a plethora of trophies throughout his (relatively) short career, and now has the chance to win many more. Is that not career progression? Or is Europe the only place where one can earn a ridiculous amount of money and not be seen as greedy?
Finally, just to touch on Rob A’s letter about ‘doing it for the sheer job’. Why should they do it for the job and not their pay cheque? In a world (read: PL) where xenophobic pundits openly ridicule foreigners, the teams slightest hiccup is met with a chorus of boos, players are vilified by the media and fans alike, and players are banished from the first team by managers for no apparent reason, why should they do it for the “sheer job”? We expect players to owe us something because there was a time when we paid the wages, but that time is long gone (at the top level), and the players are just doing what everyone else within a corporate world does; looking out for number one!
Who can afford to host a 48-team World Cup?
The aim of the 48-team World Cup is to make it more inclusive and offer greater opportunities for nations that would rarely have the chance to be involved in the tournament.
Whilst this will be true in the sense of playing in the tournament, I think this will now mean that countries such as South Africa and Brazil will never have the opportunity to host again.
With the amount of games increasing from 64 to 80, more venues will be needed as well as a stronger travel infrastructure in the host nation which I can’t foresee any of the poorer nations being able to afford. Yes, the added tourists will boost local economies but the up-front cost of renovating and building new stadiums will be too much for most countries who don’t already have the facilities in place. South Africa and Brazil, especially with the Olympics have seen public outcry from the money wasted on hosting the tournament and the legacy which was meant to be the result of the spending has never come to fruition.
As a selfish English fan this is great news as we become one of the front runners to host every time, but as a football fan, it’s brilliant to see weird and wonderful countries host the World Cup and see different cultures, and now I think the most varied culture we will get to see is China or the oil rich countries such as Qatar.
An expanded World Cup: Simply not fair
My two cents on the 48 team World Cup:
I’ll start with something Jay, Morecambe said in his mail this morning:…I am not sure I have ever seen a team play for a 1-0 defeat.
I’d have to ask Jay if he watched Euro 2016. Specifically, Northern Ireland v Germany. Northern Ireland had the advantage of knowing the final standings in group A. They knew that if they finished with a better goal difference than Albania, they would go through. Losing 1-0 would do it. Obviously, they played for a 0-0 and when they conceded, they played for a 1-0 defeat. That is not a dig at them, but it was very unfair on Albania who didn’t have the advantage of knowing what they needed to do.
This is the problem with 48 teams. I can handle the extra teams and it might be interesting to see teams who don’t normally make it. The idea of a last-32 knock-out round sounds tremendous. But my fundamental problem is that the tournament will not be fair, as whoever plays last in the group will have an advantage.
Let’s imagine a group with Germany, Ivory Coast and Costa Rica.
We start with:
Germany 2-0 Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast 1-1 Costa Rica
For the final game, Costa Rica know what they have to do to go through. Lose 1-0 and they will be fine. Alternatively, if they go 2-0 down, they now know they need to throw everything at it. Put the keeper up for a corner at the end, because if they score, they go through. That is surely an unfair advantage.
Germany 2-0 Costa Rica
Ivory Coast 0-2 Germany
The result of Ivory Coast v Costa Rica will decide it. But hold on, haven’t Costa Rica had an extra three or four days’ rest? Is that fair?
The fundamental principle behind a tournament should be that the rules are fair for everybody (unless you are FIFA where the fundamental principle is making a shed load of cash). This world cup will not allow that and that is my main gripe with it.
Mike, LFC, Dubai
Big teams play negatively too
Let me remind you of the goal stats for the last three World Cup final matches:
1-1 after 120 mins, 1-1 at 90 mins.
1-0 after 120 mins, 0-0 at 90 mins.
1-0 after 120 mins, 0-0 at 90 mins.
That is four goals in 360 minutes or two goals in 270 minutes. Now to add some context to the stats.
These final matches were contested by France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Germany and Argentina. These are among the so-called football superpowers. So why weren’t we treated to attacking master classes?
Some of the players who started those finals include Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, Andrea Pirlo, Francesco Totti, Andres Iniesta, David Villa, Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Thomas Muller, Miroslav Klose etc. All these attacking stars and only four goals in 360 minutes? Why?
I’ll tell you why. It’s because your bloody big teams played conservatively with so much at stake. They weren’t interested in entertaining you with goals. They were hell bent on not losing.
So if your reason for opposing a 48-team World Cup is because ‘the small teams will play negative football’ or ‘the knockout rounds will be dull’ or ‘teams will hold out for penalty shoot-outs’, then we should just scrap it all together because the big teams do it all the time.
I say expand it and let the ‘small teams’ have their day in the sun. To partially quote the San Marinese director of communications, ‘football (in this case, the World Cup) is not owned by the big teams but by all of those who love it, among which, like it or not, teams of lesser quality are included.’
Franklin, (I thoroughly enjoyed Daisy’s take down John Blakeway) CFC, Lagos
Some Mailbox thoughts
* Speaking as a Liverpool fan, part of the FA Cup’s problem is the conflict with the League Cup. If Liverpool gets knocked out of the League Cup early, by early January I’m very looking forward to it. But if Liverpool are in the semifinal, as has happened this year and the last, I’m secretly hoping we get knocked out as soon as possible. Most clubs do not have the resources to compete on 3-4 fronts. Perhaps clubs who reach the League Cup semifinals deserve a BYE to the 4th round of the FA Cup? Just a thought.
* Regardless of the number of teams in the next World Cup or European Championship, the important thing is the way the qualification from group stage to knockout round works. The farce of France 2016 and USA 1994 with some-but-not-all third-placed teams qualifying is not acceptable. Personally I think groups of three is a perfectly OK solution. Others might prefer groups of five, or sticking to groups of four but expanding the tournament further to 64 teams. But third-placed teams qualifying based on comparing their group results against different opponents is nonsense.
* I very much enjoy Peter G’s mailbox contributions and his series of stats articles – each is interesting on its own, and the way they work as a series is particularly good writing I think. But I don’t agree with his assertion that three team groups would lead to ‘much less drama, more negative football’. There are too many ‘moving parts’ to accurately predict with certainty how it would play out, but in my mind the format provides permutations that provide more drama and more incentive to go for a win, rather than play for a draw.
* As someone who loves his job but works in a country he doesn’t enjoy and wishes he was instead working in a ‘world class’ city/country, primarily for financial reasons, I can relate to the plight of Hulk, Oscar and other footballers who have moved to China.
* However, I don’t think F365 and readers are fair to point out that this is a waste of their careers, just as I think to myself every morning that this has been an utter waste of my 20s. It’s a fair perspective. On the other hand, Hulk and Oscar et al are not bad people, they don’t deserve scorn or vitriol or accusations of ‘greed’ – they’re just disappointingly unambitious. Like myself… *bangs head on wall*
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva, Switzerland
Can you blame Henry?
So I got a bit of flak for my mail about Henry and his love for Arsenal. Yes he left for Barcelona. I’m not sure I can blame a player at the top of his game but injuries and age starting to play a part for wanting to win new trophies in a new league. For wanting to play with the best players in the world and probably his best chance at a Champions League medal (after we lost in the final, I felt the same as him, I imagine).
Did he sniff around though? As far as I remember, he did the standard line of “if I played for another team it would be someone like Barca”. According to David Dein, offers from Barca were rejected at the time he signed a new contract with Arsenal and supposedly he only left following Deins departure and uncertainty over Wenger’s future (similar to Ozil).
Sorry to throw out another clip, but here is Henry crying at the unveiling of his statue outside the Emirates:
Blinkers or no blinkers, you can see and hear the emotion for yourself.
Rob A (hoping our scouts spot me on a Wednesday at 5-a-side) AFC
First of all, I’m sorry United won another football match Brad Smith. I know everything was a lot more fun when dithering Dave and Louis were overseeing things but United are actually a half-decent team now.
This campaign against United you talk about, I think you are confusing it with the campaign Jose claimed was against Chelsea, he hasn’t once used the C word in association with United – that’s you who has.
These ‘joke penalties’ you speak off. It will surprise you to learn that United have received the least penalties (1) in the league this season, so again you have made something up to get angry about. You also fail to mention the many decisions that have gone against United this season, David Luiz tackle on Fellaini, blatant penalties turned down against Palace and Burnley and Mata’s goal wrongly ruled as offside against Palace to name a few.
My suggestion is to take a nice lie down and a cup of tea after a United win and just accept it for what it is. There’s a good lad.
Fanmail for Daisy
I think I just fell a little bit in love with Daisy Fraczek; firstly for her footy knowledge, but mainly for the use of the phrase ‘supercilious bell-end’. Superb.
David (and for having a Polish consonant cluster) Szmidt, Brno, Czech Rep.
…Just wanted to say, and at the very great risk of sounding patronising, that was a smashing email!
Munty, Dar es salaam, Tanzania
…Daisy, I love you.
Martin ‘fan of sarcasm’ Ansell
…Can I just say that in all my years reading this illustrious website, never have I had the pleasure of laughing at a contributor’s retort as I did today with Daisy ‘Sorry if this sounds patronising’ Fraczek blistering take down of John Blakeway’s mansplaining.
Bravo dear lady. I’d throw my coat over a patch of mud for you any damn day!
Skye (A guy with a girl’s name), AFC
…Can I just say what a lovely rant my Ms (Mrs) Daisy, can I get a petition going for her and Thayden (where has that ray of sunshine been?) to create some hybrid ball of Joy and Laughter?
Duncan Armstrong (Hugs and kisses)
…You’ll probably get loads of these, but that was a belter of a retort from Daisy ‘Sorry if this sounds patronising’ Fraczek. This is why F365 has me reading every lunch time.
Jim G (off to call my boss a supercilious bell-end)
…Please can you encourage a greater number of patronising males to write into the mailbox? I really would like to read more of Daisy’s takedowns. Absolute gold.
Neil (I stand with John Nicholson in the fight against idiocy in football) Weatherston Sharma
…He he – love it!! She’s right too.
It also reminds me of a day when I was almost killed..
I’d had a few drinks and the missus had to drive the car home. Trouble is my allocated parking space outside my flat at the time was a real nightmare due to people parking where they shouldn’t. Anyway I decided just to keep quiet / not ‘help’, and let her get on with parking it.. after about the 6th attempt the silence was massively intense… I think she did it on about the 9th go – at which point the beer devil owning my mind told me to say well done, and I patted her on the head.
Dave (the head-pat detonated an atomic device), Winchester Spurs
There’s always one…
Daisy ‘Sorry if this sounds patronizing’ Fraczek, calm down love. Now, milk two sugars, off you pop.
Andy Race (she can’t get me, can she?)
Is it because I is a girl?
No it’s the nonsense you write.
Harry Sideways Winks? Errrm, what?
Supercilious bell-end? Classy.
It’s nothing to do with the bristols, it’s largely the attitude.
Disagreeing for football reasons
Erm…why is the concept of a player who’s been playing in England for three seasons being more suited to the league than a young player who came here from France four months ago? It’s not exactly PFM talk to say that a number of players from abroad – particularly young players – need a period of adaptation to a league with a different style of play and different level of intensity (as acknowledged by our own manager). Whilst incredibly excited by the prospect of GK N’Koudou getting more pitch time, I also understand that, of all people, Pochettino understands how to manage young players. They apparently consider him a ‘game changer’, so he will get the game time when he’s ready, and will doubtless benefit from this careful management.
Also, the Winks thing: it’s possible that he will end up like Mason and in spite of early potential not amount to much, but he’s younger, far more in experienced and at an earlier stage of development, and a more intelligent player than Mason was when he started. I don’t see much Modrić in him, but shades of a certain Xavi Hernandez in how he plays (note: NOT comparing ability, before you all get excited). A lot of sideways passing, yes, but also a good range of more vertical passing and a great deal of purpose to his play unlike, say, a Tom Cleverly. Another very exciting prospect.
A final pedantic point from yesterday: rugby inside centres are usually slighter and tend to have good ball control as they kick a lot.
Alex G, THFC (this shouldn’t need to be pointed out, but I’m disagreeing because I think Daisy is wrong, not because she’s female)