Embrace the positive: Lovely things about 20 PL clubs here…

Date published: Friday 8th February 2019 2:57

Thank you for your mails this week – mail us at theeditor@football365.com


Let’s be nice
Thanks to Paul in Brussels for being nice. Makes me long for the days of Feelgood Fridays in the mailbox from whatshisname in the Czech Republic. So here’s a list of nice things about every club in the Premier League.

1) Man City. You’re top again. You have the best manager in the world, probably. You have the best squad in the world, maybe. You have basically unlimited funding for your team and owners that are actually doing a lot of work to improve the local area, regardless of the source of that income. At times your team has been absolutely breathtaking to watch over the last two seasons.

2) Liverpool. You’re genuinely challenging for the title with a great squad, great manager, great owners, improved stadium, and you paid £8m for possibly the best left back in the league. Last year you made the Champions’ League final and you’ve got a shot of doing it again. The future looks bright.

3) Spurs. You’ve got the Manager Most Likely to Wildly Overachieve. You’ve got the best goalscorer England have had since Alan Shearer, and he’s one of your own. You’re still in the title and the Champions’ League. You’ve got a swanky new stadium just around the corner and no shortage of promising youth prospects.

4) Chelsea. You’ve got Eden Hazard, and Olivier Giroud is very handsome. David Luiz is usually good for a laugh or a stonking through ball out of nowhere, and you know even if this season goes wrong you’ll probably just win the league next year instead.

5) Man United. You’ve got rid of Mourinho, Solskjaer is lovely, you’ve won 9 out of 10, the players look happy again, it’s all looking wonderful. You might even get top 4, which not so long ago looked impossible.

6) Arsenal. You got rid of Wenger, which should make at least half the fanbase happy. You’ve got two top quality strikers. You managed to ship out Wilshere.

7) Wolves. Literally everything right now is wonderful. I am yet to see an unhappy Wolves fan this season.

8) Watford. Nobody thought you’d be this far up. You might actually have the same manager two years in a row. You got £40m for Richarlison and Pereyra looks like he might have been better the whole time. You’re finally starting to build sustainably and it’s actually working. Go Watford.

9) Everton. You’ve got a top-notch Director of Football and a squad that should be able to challenge anyone. If Silva can figure it out, you’ll do great. If not, the next guy has what looks like a great shot.

10) Bournemouth. Eddie Howe is a gem who could be at a much bigger club but just loves you guys. Fraser, Wilson, Brooks and King have the potential to be as good a front line as much more expensive teams. Lots of talented young players to build a promising future.

11) Leicester. You’ve beaten a couple of the big boys, and there’s always the memories. Maddison and Chilwell look like the real thing, and the way your club came together in the aftermath of tragedy was really something.

12) West Ham. You’ve finally got some youth products coming through, you’ve got a good manager and some exciting players with a massive stadium. If you can keep hold of everyone and pull off the same calibre of signings next summer, you’ve got a decent shout at a place in Europe for 2020.

13) Brighton. Chris Hughton is lovely and a little while ago your club almost folded. In fairness, Brighton fans seem to be aware of this and have retained their perspective. You guys are good, carry on.

14) Palace. You’ve got the best right back in the league, a hometown hero manager, you’ve taken some big scalps and you’ve got a generally decent and likeable squad.

15) Newcastle. You finally got a new record signing! And Rafa loves you lot. Longstaff looks a good prospect and everyone looks a homegrown talent.

16) Southampton. You got rid of Mark Hughes, which may be worth more than everything else on this list. The fact that his replacement actually knows what he’s doing is just a bonus. Redmond is finally looking like he might fulfil his potential, you’re scoring goals again, as long as Hughes hadn’t done too much damage before he left you should be looking good for next season.

17) Burnley. Tom Heaton’s back, which means your defence can function again, and as a bonus you’ve shown up Joe Hart as inadequate for the top level. Shame for him, nice for England fans. You’ll be fine.

18) Cardiff. You might actually survive, which would be hugely unexpected. Warnock is a love/hate figure but it seems like you love him. Getting a win for Sala was a huge moment.

19) Fulham. You own Mitrovic now, and the Championship was more fun? Not a lot to be happy about here that I can see. Sorry.

20) Huddersfield. It’s been a wonderful adventure, your chairman has planned well, you should be able to handle the Championship and I’ve never seen a more amicable split from a manager from a club marooned at the bottom. You guys seem nice.

Anyway, happy Friday everyone, best of luck with this weekend’s fixtures, stay positive. Life is good.
Harry (ran out of steam towards the end, sorry Fulham fans) THFC


Oh Ole…
Wow Ole was doing such a good job and then went and extended Phil Jones’s contract.
Hakim Abdulhussein


…What is Ole playing at? He gets everyone’s hopes up of a clear out of the dross at Man Utd, notably selling Fellaini, and then gives Phil Jones a new contract? Jones, Smalling and Rojo are not good enough for the club. Valencia needs to be shuffled out to a) allow Dalot to get game time or b) a replacement to be introduced. Young should only be kept around for a year/rolling contract to help mentor Pogba/Herrera into the Elder Statesman role (De Gea would be great too but I don’t think it suits his personality).
Daniel (will give McTominay the benefit of the doubt) Cambridge


A Noble defence

I’ve bit…

You got me.

I assume the recent articles including Mark Noble (Worst 11/Clubs Outgrown Them) were designed to elicit a response from a one-eyed Hammer. So here it is.

Despite your stats (read “damned lies”), Nobles overall influence upon West Ham seems to be overlooked by everyone that isn’t an Iron.

Those that watch us regularly will know we are an infinitely better team with our Captain in the side. He plays a selfless role that enables other (better?) players to shine.

The ‘stats’ will also show that we fall apart when he is absent. From January 2015-May 2017 our record without the skipper reads:

Played 11
Won 0
Drawn 4
Lost 7
Scored 10
Conceded 22

(7 points from a possible 33)

Pellegrini also dabbled with the idea phasing the captain out at the start of this season. Wishere & Co helped us to 0 wins in 5, before Mark took the helm and did what he does best.

‘Scores penalties…. one of us… can’t believe he’s not been capped… etc’.
RA, Sydney


Defending Unai
Dear Chas…You seem like a decent guy. But that article on Arsenal’s defence was a shambles.

There is so much wrong with it that I need to do a list really.

1. I know you should always play the ball and not the man. But it is relevant in this case that you were one of the most vocal supporters of sticking with Wenger. With that little dig at supporters who wanted him to leave, you’re saying it’s hypocritical that those same fans are calling for patience. To paraphrase Father Ted explaining why some objects look bigger – eight months…ten years of gradual decline. That’s why fans have more patience with Emery now than they did with Wenger last season, who the fanbase only really turned against him in the eighth season of decline. It IS too early to judge.

2. It feels a little snide to wait until after the City match when we fell to sixth to put this article out there. The first time we’ve been in sixth all season. And, most importantly, far closer to top four than we were at the same stage last season. And last season it got even worse from this point.

3. Is Emery responsible for the new signings or not? If he is, then he deserves massive credit. Torreira and Guendouzi are our best value signings since arguably Koscielny. And Sokratis has been a success. If he is not, then how can you blame him for ‘his summer signing’ Lichsteiner? Who. Was. Bought. Before. Emery. Started.

4. Then have a go at sending Chambers on loan and bemoaning having to rely on Jenkinson and “his summer signing” Lichsteiner. Other than it being Chambers’s choice, he’s relying on Jenkinson because Wenger gave him the second most destructive contract in Arsenal’s recent history. And Chambers is a dreadful right-back. He’s excelled in defensive mid for Fulham – an area we are actually looking ok.

5. Again, a little snide on the Mustafi thing. He tried to drop him. But then we got a load more injuries. He is another legacy left from the last regime.

6. Emery ignored the defence in the Jan transfer window? Have you paid any attention to the state of the club’s finances? We literally hadn’t a penny to spend. Putting Kroenke’s failings on Emery is beyond unfair.

7. “What the frig is going on?” you ask, re the 5-1 defeat to Liverpool. If you don’t understand what the frig is going on, you can’t have seen Arsenal away in the last five years. At least now it looks like the outlier rather than the norm.

I could go on. I’m not even a massive Emery fan – I’m on the fence – but there are so many problems with this article that I felt the need to defend him.

And F365- It says something when a non Arsenal fan like Daniel Storey understands the team a lot better than an Arsenal fan you’ve asked to write a piece especially.
Jaimie Kaffash, London


Not the death of banter, no…
Touchè Conor, MUFC, Montreal, its not lost on me that we all either were are still subconsciously are part of the problem.

That only serves to give further credence to the lesson there is to be learned as a result of Daniel Storey’s excellence. We need to be an example to the next generation not perpetuators of this toxic vitriol.

Is it the death of banter? Of course not, but its probably more sensible to employ these types of responses to poor results for the rival teams on days such as 24 February 2019 when a head to head encounter brings sense into the question, “Why do it?”. Well its obvious isn’t? It had a direct impact on inflicting the poor result and it places us in better stead at your expense.

Our gaffer (the latest in a long list of part-time frauds) appeals to the Anfield faithful as well as his squad, to look only at ourselves and not what the other horses in the race are doing, we’ve bought into this belief that it is in our own hands and for the moment so it is.

If you inspect my letter a little closer you’ll find that I’m actually signing of with an illustration of a lesson learned just south of the little jibe.

I haven’t thanked you as you’ve also mentioned that you’ve found my contribution intriguing which is very flattering, so thank you.

Its only the second I’ve had published. The first was a letter praising Ted, Manchester for a contribution he had made to the mailbox in which he called for fellow United supporters to know their station within the present state of affairs in the league and to drop the sense of entitlement, granted that was under the guidance of The Special One and he may be singing a different tune.

With that said I bid all the readers and writers on here a lovely weekend, enjoy the football in a way I’m certain you can recall you used to.
Rudi (Pseudo-intellectual tone?) LFC


Is relative transfer value really higher?
Dave (Arsenal) Herts got me thinking, is the transfer market really that much more expensive to teams relative than before? In absolute numbers it has but what about compared to revenue?

I looked up the total revenue of the England’s top division over at Statista.com.and decided to check out this year’s (2018/2019) to 20 years ago (1998/1999]. The numbers are in Euros unfortunately which means an extra conversion step to pounds (and potential careless error), and then compared them to the EPL’s transfer expenses (not net spend) in the respective years from TransferMarkt.com. For this year’s currency conversion I used an exchange rate app called Currency while for 20 years ago I used XE.Com’s historical table dated June 1st 1999.

For this year (2018/2019), the EPL has spent 1.487 billion pounds on transfer expense against a projected revenue of 4.94 billion pounds (about right given numbers from last few seasons). That works out to 30.1% transfer expense-to-revenue ratio.

For 1998/1999, the EPL spent 0.331 billion pounds on transfer expense against a total revenue of 0.6642 billion pounds. This works out to a 49.83% ratio, IE it was a lot higher twenty years ago.

Transfer expenditure per player also went from 1 million to 4.4 million, certainly a big increase but not exponential.

While transfer expense has obviously gone a lot more expensive than before, as a percentage of revenue however they have apparently gone for the league. These numbers of course don’t take into account other expenses like player wages and other costs. It also obviously doesn’t cover inequality between teams either.

This is not to say that high transfer prices is not an issue, after all that TV and ticket money after all comes from us. But it would explain why the clubs don’t seem to mind them as much as they should and keep splashing them around, because compared to the overall money coming in, it does seem a lot lower.

This is not to say that they love wasting money but if your income is growing faster than your costs, you wouldnt be as desperate to lower your costs compared to if they were. In addition, they are competing with each other for players in many cases so that will also drive up the price. Not all of them can employ Daniel Levy either.

Afterall, while we sigh at high prices we tend not to be happy if our clubs is seen as being stingy when it comes to going after somebody or reinforcing the squad or catching up with rivals. That may change though if the ratio grows again.

Anyways here are the links to where I got the data if anyone wants to double check. My methodology was noted earlier in the mail.

EPL Revenue in Euros

Transfer Expenditures

Yaru (hope I didn’t made a bad error somewhere…), Malaysia


Geezer love
Morning! I haven’t written to yous in over 10 years, been happy to lurk ever since. I do now feel compelled to write in and say how much I’m enjoying the Diamond Geezers Championship Manager series. The nostalgia is so strong I can smell the teenage desperation all over again. Pass on my kudos to the author.

Keep fighting the good fight.
Ciaran ((Double brackets due to inflation, back in my day you only needed one set)), Belfast


Red arse anyone?
No discussion of ball games is complete without mentioning Red Arse. The most brutal and unforgiving of all makey-upey sports.

It works like heads and volleys, header worth 3 points, volley 2 etc. (bicycle 5 FYI), with the score counting up to 21. The hook was that if you hit the ball wide (not over, which led to many a ball being taken home in anger) you were in goals, and the score carried on from whatever it was at.

You did NOT want to be in goals when the score hit 21. At that stage all the other players take a penalty on the trembling keeper. After the shootout, all of the people who missed line up with the keeper on the goal line, drop the togs, bend over and clench their teeth. Each of the scorers gets a free shot from 5 yards.

The terror and tension as the points hit the 16/17/18 mark is something I’ve never felt since. For a brief insight and a bit of schadenfreude, check this out:

Ryan, Coillte

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