‘Get well soon Johnny’ even from the Brexiteers as the Mailbox pays tribute

Editor F365
John Nicholson is a legend
John Nicholson is a legend

In case you missed it elsewhere, F365 columnist John Nicholson has had a stroke and is hospitalised. We have been cheered to see the response on social media and we also have e-mails.

You can send your good wishes but also thoughts on other subjects – especially if you don’t Stick to the Football – to theeditor@football365.com


Get well soon, Johnny
Get well soon Johnny. Those articles about rock ‘n’ roll and football won’t write themselves.


…Being a Brexit-supporting Tory voter I’ll admit some of Johnny’s columns have had me grinding my teeth at times but they’re far outweighed by the many absolute corkers he’s produced, particularly remember one about League One being the melting pot where ex -Premier League teams meet ex non league teams.

My father suffered a series of (thankfully) small strokes a couple of years ago, and apart from a slightly gammy left hand, which, with one twitch once caused him to lob a bacon sandwich across a motorway services, he’s made a full recovery.

Wishing Johnny all the best and similar recovery, look forward to being wound up and nodding my head in agreement within the space of a few sentences in the near future.

All the best fella.
Mark PFC


…Please add me to the list of warm regards for JN.
Finlay x


…All the best to Johnny Nic in his recovery. I don’t always agree with what he writes, but at least he has the balls to say it and stand behind it. Long may it continue!
Oli (AVFC)


…Just wanted to send my best wishes to John; he’s been part of F365 for about as long as I’ve been reading it, from his early hard-rocking wildman era to the current angsty pinko one. The world is a better place for his lowlife opinions and his windbag wisdom.

What’s a stroke anyway? Should be able to run it off easily.
Dara O’Reilly, London


…I’ve been writing to your esteemed website for 20 years.

It’s been one of the few constants in my life through job changes, friends coming and going in my life and even a move from Highbury to the Emirates.

I’ve bought a couple of F365 t shirts – I still wear the Rocky one at the end of March each year, had back and forths with Stewie and have come in from criticism myself – mainly Brian from Waterford – it’s all good Brian, I never takes these things personally.

And through it all has been the ever present John Nich forever annoying the right wing and haters of women’s football. Get well soon buddy. I’m looking forward to reading more of your articles in the near future.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


…Just wanna send my best wishes to John, top effort in writing that column and we all hope that you are back up fighting fit very soon.


…I have been reading (and writing occasionally) to Football365 for 22 years. John Nicholson is my favourite writer. Especially in the early days. He nearly inspired me to take up writing at one point. I loved his tales from his Rock & Roll days. He would somehow splice his crazy Cali days with the football topic du jour . I found it highly amusing, enjoyable but informative at the same time . I would literally laugh out loud.

Suffice to say his style drifted . Not always my cup of tea but I respect him trying to highlight different angles. Jonny has always been a contrarian adding his Northern twist to his outside of the box thinking. The guy who studied at the University of Life.

Get well soon Jonny.
Ben (you have lived one hell of a life, more to come I am sure, but reading your early missives read like a Jonny Depp movie) Howarth


…Sorry to read about John’s stroke, hoping he is out of the hospital and up and about as soon as possible.
Philip Walter


…If there’s one columnist that can make me nod in strong agreement then a paragraph later mutter “don’t be so ridiculous” it’s John Nicholson. Often insightful, sometimes infuriating but never dull, his columns are always worth a read. A man whose passion for the game is evident, and gets under the skin of people who say things like “woke brigade” which is a big plus in my book. Get well soon and never stick to the football.
Mike, LFC, Dubai


Ba dum tish
I noticed in Glen’s mail yesterday about TAA that he referred to him as Alexander Armstrong.

Is that because he’s Pointless in midfield… Pointless, geddit?

I’m here all week, try the fish.


Clone wars
Reading through the Euro 24 England Ladder, your comments on cloning Sir Jude got me thinking.

If each International team could clone just one current player ten times, to make up a starting XI…who would win the next World Cup?

This could be a great leveller for smaller nations on the world stage, that happen to have a world class player but don’t have the supporting cast around them (Norway/Egypt perhaps). But then would you trust a team of strikers or wingers to have the discipline to defend?

I can’t honestly think beyond an England XI of Bellinghams (partly because I’m too tired, but also because he is too bloody good). Big enough to play GK, tenacious tackler, quick, powerful and got goals in those legs.

Though I’d love to see a Brazil XI of Neymars have a collective meltdown 10 minutes into a game. Pure comedy.
Andy, CAFC (no, not Charlton – Crewe Alexandra)


Ditch the minnows
​Off the back of their 14-0 hammering, Gibraltar last night bravely fought to lose just 6-0 to the Netherlands. Ensuring they finish with 8 games played, 8 defeats, 41 goals conceded and none scored. What is the point?

Their record in the last 5 campaigns is 46 games played, 0 wins, 0 draws, 46 losses, 12 goals scored and 218 goals conceded. Who does that benefit? No one, apart from players padding their stats and semi-professionals getting to tell their grandkids “Once I was absolutely schooled by Mbappe”.

Surely this is completely ridiculous, that teams of this quality continue to be put in groups with countries who are actually able to field an XI of fully professional footballers. Every other confederation (bar South America who have far fewer teams and no minnows) has some sort of pre-qualifying stage. Why can’t UEFA?

Some former “minnows” have developed their teams really well. Iceland being the prime example. This is not about denying teams like that, or holding anyone back. Iceland is miles away from Gibraltar (literally and figuratively).

Gibraltar, Andorra, San Marino and Liechtenstein and the Faroes combined have a smaller population than Iceland. They each have a smaller population than the Isle of Man. They are never, ever, ever going to be remotely close to being competitive in international football. Time to end the nonsense and make some changes to qualifying.
Mike, LFC, London


Your least favourite ‘home’ pundit?
As we wash the taste of another dire international break from our mouths (has the excitement of the Premier League been more at odds with the mediocrity of international football), who are everyone’s least favourite ‘home’ ex-pros who seem to get unlimited opinions/digs/grievances against their supposed own team in the media.

As an Arsenal fan, I genuinely think in William Gallas we have the worst. Somehow he gets repeated opportunities to comment about what Arsenal are doing, despite him having clearly no affections for the club, insight into anything that is happening or anything of value to say.

Clearly you could say well he’s more Chelsea/Spurs, but he talks at least twice as much about Arsenal, assumedly because Arsenal fans drive engagement like nothing else.

At least when Evra or another United bod has a dig, it’s entertaining.

Professional morons (your Jamie O’Haras/anyone with a regular Talksport spot) excluded. Also blatant ‘other team’ fan boys (e.g. Darren Bent obviously loves Arsenal).

Anyway, other clubs, fill your boots. Who really pisses you off that you have to listen to their opinion and it’s somehow given media credence?
Tom, Walthamstow


The fate of the boy who chose Manchester City
See the boy, six years old, naively making a decision – little knowing the rollercoaster he’d just stepped onto. Did he make the right choice?
The pain, the joy, frustration, exhilaration, the pain (again), the apologetic discomfort.


The first time walking down the Kippax; wide eyed, drinking it in. The awesome power of the crowd.

17 (seventeen) yrs old, crying in a Spanish nightclub because we’d been relegated to the third tier.

The p*ss*ng down rain in the uncovered away end, shirtless, singing: “Your ground is f*ck*ng sh*t, Oldham, Oldham..” for the whole second half. (It was a different time! And sorry Oldham.)

Running up and down the street, accosting strangers to say, ‘ did you see it?’ after Aguerooo!

People used to smile and become open when I answered, ‘Man City’, to *the question*.( It’s the price of entry to choose a team and stick with them – thick or thin.)

Er.. I don’t support the regime?; I supported them in the 2nd, 3rd tier?; theological dictatorship is bad, really bad: these and other qualifiers have to be added to my answer now and the response is…muted.

Believe it or not it’s not that great when your team wins a lot ( yeah, I know… I can hear the ‘smallest violin ‘) and is part of the imposition of neo-feudalism on the world but what’s a boy to do? Support Forest Green? Start a campaign demanding an independent regulator because the prem now involves international politics and is beyond the same stuffed shirts, old boys club serving their own agenda?

I mean really – they make, investigate, prosecute and judge on the rules. They seem to have an agenda; protect their prestigious sinecure. They recognise no higher authority and hear they’re own appeals. Considering the stakes, this is unacceptable.

I’m convinced we create the future with our imaginations and emotions. I’m filling mine with joy and gratitude and hope.

Maybe one day the rollercoaster will go down – they’ll leave – and when I answer ‘City’ to the stranger watching the game, they’ll respond with a warm smile; and the 6yr old boy will smile back and believe he made the right choice.
Hartley MCFC Somerset (instead of fight each other – let’s get together and demand an administration fit for purpose)


It doesn’t look great for Man City
The Man City-Everton(& Chelsea) debate has claims been interesting, and I decided to have a refresher. Looking through each of the 115 charges, what happened with UEFA and what the PL may do, combined with precedent on these issues, and I have to say, it doesn’t look good for City.

Being given a two year CL ban, and a 27m pound fine by Uefa is no small ruling by any stretch of the imagination. The fact they were saved by statutes of limitation, and Der Speigel being UEFA’s only source of proof, doesn’t warm the “we are innocent” boots. Yes, CAS ruled in City’s favor, with witnesses defending City believed to not be lying – despite email contradictions. In spite of the CAS ruling, UEFA still said they blatantly obstructed the investigation, and still hit them with a 8.5M fine.

Everton just got a 10 point deduction for being 20M over their spend limit. QPR were given a 40M fine for having a wage bill twice that of its turnover. West Ham got a 5M fine and 18M compensation payable to Sheffield United for shady transfers involving Mascherano and Tevez.

Looking through the 115 charges by the PL, they can be divided into six categories:
1. accurate financial information
2. full details of manager remuneration
3.full details of player remuneration in its relevant contracts with its players
4. requiring a member club to comply with UEFA’s regulations
5. Signing Underage players
6. requiring a member club to cooperate with, and assist, the Premier League in its investigations

This, in total, is far more than all of those listed above, and some. The leaked documents and emails shown on Der Speigel (Worth a look) show some very hard-to-explain pieces of information. It appears the UAE directly funds City – despite them saying this is not the case. Club sponsors in Abu Dhabi are suspected of having provided only a portion of their payments to the club themselves, with the majority apparently coming from Sheikh Mansour. Who was apparently circumventing rules by disguising direct funding to the club as sponsorship payments.

In an email to CFO Chumillas, board member Pearce made it clear that Etihad only had to pay 8 million pounds of the total sponsoring sum of 67.5 million pounds. According to the mail, the remaining 59.5 million pounds was extra – presumably paid by Sheikh Mansour.

In 2013-2014 season alone, the supplements from Abu Dhabi added up to 92.5 million pounds. As head of finance, Andrew Widdowson stated, “We mustn’t show the partner supplement if it is going outside the club,”.

Next, comes the details of how Roberto Mancini was rewarded for his time served. When Mancini signed, he was to be paid a base salary of 1.45 million pounds per season, with another 4 million pounds in performance-based bonuses on top. On that same day, Mancini signed an apparent consultancy contract with Al Jazira. That deal promised him an annual salary of 1.75 million pounds.

Between 2010 and 2015, the Sheikh’s company apparently paid at least 4 million euros and 4 million pounds to a company belonging to the agent of club legend Yaya Touré.

The club were also getting creative to work around rules and hiring kids. They detail the transfers of two 14 year olds – Jadon Sancho and Brahim Diaz. The documentation indicates that ADUG(Abu Dhabi City Group) paid the money to a company in Barcelona, which then forwarded the money onward to the Spanish club. This was for compensation for Brahim, but it couldn’t be on the books as it showed rule breaking.

As the British Courts have ruled in 2021 regarding the investigation into City “It is surprising, and a matter of legitimate public concern, that so little progress has been made after two and a half years – during which, it may be noted, the Club has twice been crowned as Premier League champions,”.

This statement, combined with the previously stated actions enacted by UEFA, indicate a team that is not being overly cooperative – despite their self claims. An independent investigator was hired in March to rule this November on Everton’s situation. This is on a much grander scale, with a more formidable force to charge for the PL, but if , or more likely, when they do rule on this, City are in for a tough time using this layman’s eyes.
Calvinho (Going Brazilian)