Coutinho to Man Utd? He’s the last thing they need…

Date published: Friday 11th January 2019 10:09

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Where’s the fun?
After reading through all the opinion pieces/mailbox etc… it’s quite clear that in this modern world, a football club is wrong no matter what they do.

Man City were criticised for winning 9-0 but would have been criticised for only winning 4-0 as well.

Spurs were criticised for bringing Kane on in an easy win in the FA Cup but would have been criticised for not bringing him on.

Liverpool were criticised for rotating their squad and getting eliminated from the FA Cup but would have been criticised if they hadn’t and potentially risked injuries to their star team.

It also seems that even if Liverpool were to go on and win the league, the opinion pieces are already in place to take the shine off it by showing that they played less so by virtue, had it easy.

Where’s the fun gone from football? Why so much hate for a sport we all apparently love?
James, London


Back for more
To quote Samuel L Jackson, “Allow me to retort” and I’ll post on this no more.

In the first instance, my mail had nothing to do with City, was not an attack on Liverpool and I watched my first game at Maine Road in 1972 (ffs). Secondly, ‘obsession’ was clearly a poor choice of words. Thirdly, a large chunk of the responses referenced the fact that LFC had won 18 titles which fuels an intense hunger to win more. I get that and I know the accepted convention is to include all title wins, be it the Football League, the First Division, or the English Premier League. Respectfully, though, this convention is bollocks.

Liverpool’s first two titles were in 1901 and 1906. Of more relevance (to me) are the eleven titles won between 1973 and 1990 which better reflects the utter dominance of the club during that period. The first 2 were won by players with shorts below their knees, middle partings, full-on ‘taches and full-time jobs and played in front of 300,00 flat cap and suit wearing men having come straight from work that lunchtime. The second set was played (and watched) by flares and platform-shoe wearing curly haired blokes who were unencumbered by things such as mobile phones or the tinterweb and where every single building, vehicle or train you entered was thick with fag smoke (including 1st Div changing rooms). When live football on TV was as rare as any contemporary objections to then prime time hits such as Love Thy Neighbour or The Black and White Minstrel Show (Look ‘em up kids. Or rather, don’t).

This is the main reason why I picked the start of the PL as a point of reference. I don’t see how you can compare, for want of a better term, the ‘modern game’ to the 70s and 80s. The teams are different (durr), the money, tv, diet, pitches, stadia etc likewise. Even the laws of the game. Undiluted romance or rose-drowned spectacles aside, there has to be some form of football statute of limitations. I get we’re new boys, but I don’t refer to City as having won 5 titles because those won in 1936 and 1968 have absolutely sod all to do with Saint Sergio scoring ‘that’ goal in 2012.

To those on here and on the comments section who replied with reason and common sense (which is why I’m on F365) points taken and cheers. To those presumably still frothing at the mouth at my insolence, please take a breath and explain to me why you still feel entitled to be title contenders every season. It’s 2019. You’re not the super team that won 11 titles in under 2 decades (respect) and haven’t been for a long, long time. It’s not like Liverpool have won a title in the recent past. It’s been nearly 30 years folks. Only one other team has a more glorious history. But isn’t that the point? It’s history.

Liverpool are the team who deservedly top the league right now and have only been beaten once in that competition. As some Liverpool supporters have rightly pointed out, this might be the start of a new era and I repeat what I said yesterday, that I believe that only injuries will stop Pool winning top spot this season. If you miss out (yet again) though, please don’t tell me you deserve to be in the mix next season, instead for fighting for silverware, however much some Pool fans now think is below them, because you were Champions before the First World War.
Mark (This mail isn’t about City either) MCFC


Former footballer comes under fire after ridiculing Andy Murray’s tearful press conference – Tennis365


We do what we waaaaaant
I didn’t get the chance to read the batch of mails directly after the Man City shellacking of Burton. But I did read the next mailbox; apparently a guy called Dan wrote in and said something silly.

The big question now is surely this: how many ‘opposing’ emails is appropriate when someone writes in and says something silly? I counted 8 counter arguments to the ‘we should be kind to our opposition’. Did the editor literally post every opposing mail? Or was he/she kind and 8 actually represents a proportion of the backlash?

I think it’s imperative we know the answers. Or, as adults we could just surmise that the Editor is allowed to do what he/she wants and we get to choose whether or not to be offended.

I think that’s how it works.
Barry, LFC


Coutinho codswallop
We have endured endless transfer windows suggesting Ronaldo coming back to Utd. Then we had endless suggestions of Bale to Utd. And now we have Coutinho being linked to Utd. How are fans so gullible to click this stuff!!!

I guess this just shows that running a story linking Man Utd to each and every one of the highly rated centre backs in the world, while infinitely more feasible, just doesn’t get the clicks.

Stupid people click away. The rest of us, as few as we are, can browse the headline and move on.

Personally, I wouldn’t even want Coutinho, Bale, Ronaldo or Neymar at Utd for what it’s worth. As good as all those players are, it’s the wrong end of the pitch to be focussing on just as when we signed Sanchez as an expensive recruit to a position that we didn’t need strengthening. And before anyone tells me how ridiculous it is to say you don’t want those players, I’m factoring in that signing a galactico attacking player would cost such a large amount in spend and wages that the appetite for breaking the bank for a special centre back would be limited.

Jon (And don’t get me started on a one line tweet that manages to generate 3 separate articles with no other content)


The spirit of the offside law
In response to all the kerfluffle about the use of VAR in Spurs/Chelsea…

I’ve long secretly harbored a belief that perhaps offside is by and large viewed as too rigid a mechanism. If a half dozen replay angles and several minutes are needed to deduce that an attacking player’s big toe was an inch or two beyond the second last defender’s back heel when the ball was played, my feeling is the player was not violating the “spirit” of what the offside law was intended for. I’m very glad that linos are now being told to let play run as a matter of course and then let VAR ring it up after the fact if need be, but I think as a corollary to that, if an attacker can’t clearly and obviously be judged to have been offside beyond a quick look at one or two replays, requiring less than thirty seconds for the VAR officials to pore over, then the play should stand. I know there will be a chorus of “offside is offside, it’s the rule,” but surely if Zapruder film-level analysis is necessary to make such a determination, it was fractionally close enough that the attacker simply can’t have been gaining enough of an advantage more than if he’d been the few centimeters further back to have been onside by the black and white letter of the law. And anyway, the fewer marginal, ticky-tack offside calls, the more scoring opportunities and thus goals, which most people tend to enjoy, do they not?
Will, Pittsburgh, USA


Camera concerns
Regarding the gripe of James T, Ishikawa, Japan in relation to Sky’s camera focus on managers. Him being located in Japan is very befitting.
None of us were initially put under football’s spell because of interesting tactics, intriguing formations, OptaStats, etc etc. We were drawn in by the excitement of the game. Its ability to get our heart pumping. The joy it brought us. The adrenaline. Even the despair it has put us through.

The 1972 World Chess Championship between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky was dubbed the Match of Century. The sub-plot to this game was immense amidst the backdrop of cold war tensions. I don’t have the viewing figures, but it was big. Really big. Maybe not as big as the 1970 or 1974 World Cup finals, but not a million miles off. So why did the most highly anticipated chess championship in recent times (2016, Magnus Carlsen v Sergey Karjakin) only have about 1,500 watching online, while the 2018 World Cup final have over 100,000 times that? The answer can be found in the mountain of pre-Ole mails from Man United fans; entertainment. Entertainment is what most of us want above all else. Chess at its core, isn’t exciting. Football is, and broadcasters do everything they possible can to harness, amplify and exploit this.

“But Mr. D, watching managers getting annoyed at a mis-placed pass isn’t entertaining!” I hear you cry, and you are correct. For a lot of the time, it isn’t entertaining per se. This is where the Japan connection comes in. Anyone who has ever seen a clip of their utterly bizarre gameshows on Youtube will notice that there is often a little box in the bottom right with the face of a person (or multiple people) laughing and/or grimacing. The reasoning behind this is the same reason you are way more inclined to laugh at a stand-up comedian if you’re watching with others as oppose to watching alone. Physical manifestations, by others, of emotions we are experiencing tend to heighten those feelings and encourage our own physical manifestation of it. So, for those who aren’t as “into it” as others, this helps. Which in turn helps the bonds between all fans/viewers, which can only make the game more attractive to the casual viewer.

It may be a bit annoying to some of us, but it’s not aimed at the non-casual type of fans who write into F365, and let’s face it, not many of us are going stop watching because of it anyway. It may not seem like much, but if it results in an 0.1% increase in viewers, that could mean tens of thousands more people watching a particular game. And more people watching means more money. And that, ultimately, is the reason for every move they make.
Big D, Luxembourg


Transfer musings
Does Higuain to Chelsea remind anyone else of a certain once world-class striker rocking up at Stamford Bridge on the wrong side of 30 and being a bit rubbish?

When Liverpool sold Coutinho I thought it was good value for a player who was very, very good, but inconsistent. However the idea of him in a United shirt makes me faintly ill. Don´t do it Phil! I know you need games but just don´t do it!
Alan, Cordoba.


Hitler’s worst crime?
I’d just like to make an amendment to your otherwise excellent piece on every Premier League club’s biggest ever win. Bournemouth’s biggest ever league win was actually Birmingham 0-8 Bournemouth in 2014. Interestingly, and I use the term somewhat loosely, Bournemouth actually beat Northampton 10-0 in 1939, but die hard Cobblers’ fan Adolf Hitler was so enraged by the result that he ordered Germany to invade Poland the next day, causing the Football League to be abandoned and the result to be expunged from the record.

Best regards,
Jerard Carne


Cole calling
Can people stop bringing up United’s 9-0 thrashing of Ipswich?

That was the week I took Andy Cole out of my Fantasy League team.

I’m still bitter – not least because it would have to be all of his subsequent clubs that saw the best of Andy Cole after we released him as a youngster.

On another note, does anyone know why when a team scores seven or more when the scoreline is announced the number is spelled and placed in brackets?

I’ve always found it weird and seemingly takes the mick out of the club on the receiving end.

I mean if you’re going for that angle – why not go the whole hog a la Arsenal 8 (EIGHT?! AAAHHHHHH!) Spurs 0?
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


White Hart Pain
First, let me say that I agree 100% with Duncan in Ottawa’s email Thursday morning concerning CFC’s behavior regarding their academy, young players and transfer policies. Hopefully, more young players will see the light when it comes to Chelsea’s (and other big clubs) practices.

What prompted me to write in, however, is this line: “There may also be an issue of having no money as Brexit made the costs of the stadium double, but that is generally ignored.” If this has been discussed and dismissed already as the nonsense it is forgive me, but the idea that Brexit doubled the cost of the new White Hart Lane is a load of codswallop! A quick google shows that a THFC executive director claimed in an email to supporters that the cost of the project increased by a straight 20 percent due to Brexit. So, not double the original price tag of 400m but still a hefty increase of 80m. The idea that the fall in the exchange rate after Brexit caused a “straight 20 percent increase” is also implausible. The fall in the pound from the Brexit vote to February 2017 (just before claim above was reported) was about 12 percent and the imported material costs surely aren’t 20 percent of the total anyway.

I’m pro-remain and more than happy to bash Brexit for all kinds of negative consequences. But when club executives spout BS to cover up their own failures, the supporters need to call them out for it not exaggerate the spin even further. As a fan of another club proposing to build a new stadium, I hope our owner is paying attention!
Andrew (EFC), Somewhere near Oz


Lovren v Aguero
Bench pressing lawyer – Aguero did hit an unbelievable shot from a ridiculous angle, I’ve absolutely no argument with that. But I can’t accept that Lovren consciously had anything to do with Aguero being on his weaker foot. His position and lack of movement meant Aguero had to make the run in front of him to beat him to the ball, therefore being on his left foot, but it wasn’t as though Lovren saw the run and shepherded him that way in the same way a full-back might show a winger down the line.

Had Lovren correctly defended he wouldn’t have waited for the ball to come to him, he would have moved towards the ball, therefore cutting off Aguero’s run and preventing the chance being created. Once Aguero had the ball he still had a lot to do and my word did he do well, but Lovren’s passivity/ hesitation/ lack of awareness – call it what you will – allowed him that opportunity in the first place.

Sorry, but in my book that passivity/ hesitation/ lack of awareness is not good enough for a defender in a team with genuine title chances and I don’t think it’s applying wholly unrealistic standards. I’m sure you’ll hear high school and Sunday League coaches saying the same thing all over the country week in week out. And for Lovren I think the maxim ‘once is an accident, twice is coincidence, three times is a habit’ is applicable.

I do happen to agree with you in that he’s one of the better defenders in the Premier League, but he’s absolutely not in the very top bracket of defenders with the likes of Alderweireld and Van Dijk, or players of the calibre of Adams, Ferdinand and Stam of years gone by.

And no, I didn’t see the warm-up, but it’s not a stretch (no pun intended) to assert, given the match was only a couple of minutes old and there were no obvious signs of him over-stretching or a hyper-extension of his joints via a coming together with another player, that a lack of mobility in the muscle might be attributed to a poor warm-up, in the same way that had it happened in the last 5 minutes it might be due to fatigue.
Jonny Dance


What’s in a name?
I have one remaining FA cup question – since they changed it to the “emirates FA cup” why does nobody seem to refer to it as such? I always assumed there was some agreement that all TV and radio had to use the sponsor when referring to the cup.

Thinking about it, they might have been saying “emirates” but now, as an Arsenal fan after years of having to hear about “the emirates stadium” I just hear white noise every time someone utters the word.

If there is no rule that we have to use the official names on TV and such then can F365 and any media people who read this just start calling it Ashburton Grove – it’s a really good name.

Nice one,
James Warren

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