Chelsea rants, Man City = Debbie McGee and more mails…

Date published: Sunday 12th July 2020 10:00

Also in your Mailbox: RIP Jack and some Liverpool titbits.

Get your mails in to


Confusing Pogba leadership with…
Daniel from Cambridge – I hear you but I wonder if you’re conflating soundbytes with leadership. If so, you’ve just summed up much of the worlds’ leadership vacuum.

A year ago, I wished with all my heart that Pogba would just f*** off to whichever club he wanted to lounge around in, next. He turned in performances against bottom end teams where all he was missing were his dressing gown and his bathroom slippers. If he was any kind of leader, he needed to do more than just pop up in an interview or social media, and say ‘attack, attack, attack’. So leader he definitely isn’t.

That doesn’t make him a bad player and today I am more inclined to recognise that he perhaps doesn’t want the weight of leadership on his shoulders. It’s not an easy job and it doesn’t suit everybody. Least of all those who have it thrust on them by strangers. Pogba’s best performances have been in Juve and for France, where he was an excellent player allowed to do his own thing and be a part of an already good team. Released from the pressure of leadership, he ironically produces the man of the match moments and performances which he did against Spurs and Villa. That’s fair enough. If he still were to leave, I believe there are others who could be found for his price and cost. But if he stays and forms a part of a winning unit, that’s nice too. He has an insane passing range, and can certainly make the difference in big moments.(By the way I’m not sure Messi is a great leader either.)

Many years back, somebody I respected at work, told me that there are 2 kinds of people. Those that want to join a successful organisation, and those that make an organisation successful. Pogba perhaps leans towards the former, and there’s no shame in that.

On a separate note, Dr. Louis, you started well but you lost me at Brazil. Ronaldinho and Cafu? From the land of Zico, Pele, Tostao, and Jairzinho? Ronaldinho is at best the new Garrincha. I suspect the rest of your list is dramatically biased towards recency over greatness.
Ved (Chilwell for United?? Really??) Sen. 


In response to Daniel’s email about Pogba, I would just like to chuck in my two bobs worth. Whether this gets printed or not, oh well. In terms of leadership qualities, I’d have to disagree. For me a leader would keep stepping up regardless, and lead. Yes it probably would have been frustrating, but assumptions on what he expected and what promises made are unfounded. For me this isn’t a slight on Pogba, it’s just who he is. I always remember the dip in the team and in Pogba after, I think his first or second season, when Utd got beat by City in the November, and there was a real dip leading up to Christmas. It seemed to me that he gave up. I agree with all the points about terms of quality in the team, and it does seem theyr’e happier with the quality since Bruno came in, a year or two on some kids and defensive buys, and that is bringing some sort of momentum. I’d like to see how they react against a set back. I also don’t think it’s fair to put Fred in the same category, new country, new team, new league, coming into a depressed environment. That’s what leaders are for. It’s looking good, they’re looking good and I’m looking forward to the games, which has not been there for a while. I still think squad size and quality needs to be added, and I think Oles been doing a good job. Thanks.


Quick response to Daniel, Cambridge: you’re confusing leadership with ambition and/or expectations awareness there. It’s one thing to know that we should be aiming to win the league, it’s another thing entirely to inspire, instruct, organise, educate, and set an example to your teammates towards that aim. Pogba was being expected to do at least some, if not all of those things prior to Bruno’s arrival. Since that, and Maguire being given the armband, there is less onus on him to do be that figure and he seems liberated by that. If those requirements are things that he didn’t feel comfortable doing, but was being asked/expected to, it’s no surprise that that particular weight being lifted from his shoulders, or at least the burden of which being shared, has seen an upturn in form and improvement in attitude. For the record, I didn’t use or intimate the word “shirk”, in fact if you read back then you’ll see that my agreement with Keane’s suggestion was entirely in a positive light.
Ted, Manchester


Football should learn from Rugby VAR
With everyone in football except man utd fans complaining about ref’s and VAR.I think now is the opportunity to make all conversations between the ref and VAR booth be broadcast in real time just like in rugby, where the officials explain how they reached their decisions.
They cannot use the excuse of being afraid of supporter unrest or inciting violence anymore as there are no fans at matches during Covid-19 period.
Sunlight is the best disinfectant for a PGMOL looking more compromised after every game
The ghost of howard webb, still haunts the premier league & stockley park. Let’s finally banish him for ever!!


The best of a nation
I like the idea of Dr Louis’ game but disagree strongly with some of his choices. So here goes, and I’ll start with my own country.

Denmark: Michael Laudrup, Allan Simonsen, Preben Elkjaer

Germany: Beckenbauer, Matthaeus, G Müller

Argentina: Maradona, Messi, Kempes

France: Zidane, Platini, Henry (as a United fan I was tempted to go Cantona…)

Netherlands: Cruyff, Gullit, Van Basten

Brazil: Pele, Ronaldo, Socrates

Spain: Raul, Iniesta, Ramos

Portugal: Ronaldo, Eusebio, Figo

England: Charlton, Robson, ? (Can’t believe it’s so hard to find a true great)

Ireland: Roy Keane, McGrath, Robbie Keane

Those look ok to me…
Kim Johannesen
Copenhagen, Denmark


Following up from Dr Louis’s mail about 3 best players from each country of all time, another simple game.

Simply pick the 5 best players of all time that you have seen play during your lifetime. Doesn’t have to be based on stats, trophies, or anything specific. Just the 5 players you have seen play who you consider the best at playing football in your own opinion.

For me, in order

1. Messi
2. Ronaldo Nazario
3. Cristiano Ronaldo
4. Zidane
5. Ronaldinho


Liverpool titbits
Watching Liverpool vs Burnley as Mo Salah cuts inside and Tarkowski blocks him and falls over him. In the replay it seems like Salah pushes his left foot up into Tarkowski as they tumble. Maybe I’m just being pedantic.
Tashen, South Africa 

I hope all those who try and put an asterisk next to Liverpool’s title win of 2019/20 also put one next to the records that stand through points Liverpool drop at home post covid, in an atmosphere-less Anfield.
Craig (LFC), Perth

From 2013 to now has there been a more important player to his team than Jordan Henderson? When he is out the team breaks down fully.
Niall, Denver


Jorginho the limpest and most embarrassing
Limp and embarrassing. Those are the best ways to describe that performance. Before I rant, I would just like to point out the pathetic performance from Jorghino. If Chelsea can get their money backfor him it will a huge an even better deal than the Werner one. I have no doubt that this match has sealed his fate. The first goal he could have done better from the throw in, letting his man get away from him. He passed sideways and backwards for most of the match, provided no passing options when the center backs needed him and failed miserably as a pivot. Mousset should have scored, exploiting jorghino’s lack of pace and strength. When Gilmour moves ahead of you in the pecking order, it’s clear you no longer have the manager’s faith, and rightfully so. He tried a number of long balls, doing his best Fabregas impression, but he failed at this too. He was also the closest to McGoldrick when they were running (jogging in his case)into the box. I have no doubt kante or gilmour would have tracked him or fouled him. Moving on. Tammy had another poor game, utterly dominated by the three center backs. Giroud had more of an impact than Tammy did in the entire game. Willian had an anonymous performance, which I’m not surprised by. Whilst I’m sure many have fallen for his recent stats, his actual performances have been decent at best. The number of points our center backs have cost us continues to climb. We played in front of Sheffield throughout the match, and what frustrated me most is that is when our pivot was supposed to shine. If jorghino can’t thrive in a match on which we have 76% possession, then then he clearly has no place in this team. We all know lampard has had an excellent season, but I wonder if the performances this season have fooled us as to the quality of our players,particularly the CBs. If we have to play jorghino for the rest of the season, our best chance of making champions league is Man City having their ban upheld. This performance was embarrassing, blunt and frustrating. These signings can’t come soon enough.
Tashen, South Africa 
(a crocked Gilmour would have done better) 


After looking at the Chelsea result against Sheffield United, I really didn’t expect them to lose 3-0 and ship 3 goals again. Could have been 4 or 5 too from the highlights I saw, defence is all over the place too. Defeats like this can happen now and then, but think it was Chelsea’s own undoing. However, I did think that Sheffield United could definitely get at least get a result, been decent all season and you would have got pretty good odds betting on them finishing Top 6. Looks like it’s between them and Wolves now!

Think Chelsea have had a good season under Lampard so far. If they came 4th and Won the FA Cup, think Lampard would take that and would be quite proud of that in first Premier League season as a manager.

Lampard will know for sure though that there is plenty of maintenance work to do, ESPECIALLY on that defence at Chelsea at the moment. With all due respect, and I am saying this as a Man United fan who has seen some woeful defences at United in recent with the likes of Jones, Smalling and Rojo (and United defensively are still a bit too smart/arrogant on the ball) But for sure, Chelsea have got to be ruthless this summer and make some decent funds on some defenders. I think with some of the recent performances after the break, it goes to show that 2-3 players aren’t good enough to play for Chelsea at the top level in terms of consistency and Lampard is going to demand a ton of that to say the least.

The only two defenders who seem quite vocal or has signs of that leadership in terms of organzation are Rudiger and Azpilicueta. I think Lampard as manager does have to take majority of the responsibility for goals let in, a good few of the goals they are letting in are from set pieces and crosses so perhaps they aren’t working on that enough in training sessions? But at the same time, you see some of the goals they let in and think fuck me these errors are painful to look at. The one today where Mousset was through on goal for Sheff U and missed with his chipped effort was poor and could have easily been 4-0. Centre backs were split like butter, and wing backs were bombing forward with no care what was behind them. Dangerous sign when the game was practically dead and you are 3-0 down already, but I would be fuming if I were Lampard and something has to change there. Let in 3 against West Ham too and that shouldn’t have happened either!

If I were Frank this summer, talk to the board (and Roman?) and sell at least 4 players this summer, 3 of which should be defenders. Think Jorginho will leave, Lampard doesn’t seem to fancy him in the team and odd choice starting him against Sheff U. But think Chelsea have got to get rid of Alonso, Christensen & Zouma. Could probably wrap up a good 50 Mill from that depending on who would be interested. Re-invest it into a very very good CB and LB.

Think Lampard will want to get rid of that so called ‘Player Power’ particularly at Chelsea where he was part of a dressing room that chopped and changed managers when results weren’t going too well. Lampard will of course be given that chance to learn and his potential as a top-class manager is actually quite intimidating. Still got lots to learn though and fast, particularly on how to play with different systems and be much more tactically aware in changing a game when its going badly.
Rami, London

For next season I best clear my schedule on Thursday nights.
Mikey, CFC


Man City = Debbie McGee
When I think of this whole Man City FFP saga I am reminded of the time when Caroline Aherne’s alter-ego Mrs Murton asked Debbie McGee ‘so why did you marry the millionaire Paul Daniels?’

It was an unlikely marital partnership as Daniels was certainly not a ‘looker’ in comparison to his assistant the lovely Debbie McGee. Daniel’s was though at the time the ubiquitous magician on UK television. An abrasive guy who had worked and fought his way to the top and didn’t mind liberally sharing his right wing views and being quite nasty about various people a lot of the time. It was as if Debbie was there not only to complete the magical illusions on stage but also a personal perceptual transformation for him with the public at large. Or how could the lovely and likeable Debbie McGee be with horrible Paul Daniels? He can’t be as bad as the papers make out surely? The magical equivalent of sports-washing. Why Debbie why?
I have previously written in to say how many Man City fans are some of the most passionate and loyal there are. Especially those from before the 2008 refoundation. Fans for the people. Yet I am always left with this nagging unanswered question. So why did you marry the squillionaire state that owns you?
David lfc (they’ll defo get off)


RIP Jack
Desperately sad to hear of the passing of Big Jack Charlton. He is literally the dictionary definition of an “honourary Irishman”.

While I myself am too young to remember any of his tenure bar when he left, his legacy will endure forever. To put it into context, Ireland were a bit of a laughing stock at International level before he arrived, with no appearances at any major international tournaments. That all changed with Jack, and while in hindsight the football wasn’t the most entertaining (three draws to get through the group stages in 1990, and a penalty shoot-out win over Romania after a horrendous 0-0), he brought immense joy to an entire nation- something that not many other managers can lay claim to.

They say Jackie’s Army kick-started the Celtic Tiger, a period of economic prosperity in the country. We never had it so good. Who knew it would take an Englishman to revive Ireland’s fortunes, eh?

In the lead-up to David O’Leary’s seminal winning penalty vs. Romania at Italia 90, RTE commentator George Hamilton proclaimed “the nation holds it’s breath”. Well today a nation mourns as one.

RIP Jack and thanks.
Brian (will blare out “Joxer Goes to Stuttgart” in tribute later on), Wexford


For those Irish amoung us of my generation (40ish) today’s news of Jack Charlton passing I’m sure has hit us hard. It’s difficult to explain just how much of a profound affect he had on us not only directly during the heady days of early to mid nineties but also, in my opinion, the trajectory of a nation in the preceding decades.

I am not a Bournemouth fan. Not sure too many people outside Britain are. But who can say no to a great underdog story. The biggest compliment to this Bournemouth team is that in the past few years they have been so good that the very tag of ‘underdogs’ has been questioned when used on them. But Bournemouth were underdogs throughout; with their stadium, their budget and their players it was never a team meant to come up and then stay up for the next five years. So as Deeney scored his second penalty today, I couldn’t help but suppress a little sigh. A sigh of grief and a sigh of equal awe that we sit in 2020 discussing whether Bournemouth could stay in the premier league a seventh season in a row. As relegation looms, now is not the time not to criticise Bournemouth. Now is the time to stand back and applaud Eddie Howe, his men and their faithful fans. Now is the time to say goodbye to the premiers leagues oh-so-good underdogs.
Anns Mahboob


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