Here’s a bargain everyone seems to have forgotten about…

Date published: Thursday 4th July 2019 10:13

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A bargain to be had
Hakim Ziyech of Ajax. 26 years old.

You know, him of all the goals and creativity and stuff.

He apparently has a release clause of £25million.

Why aren’t Arsenal, Spurs and United using their spare pocket change to sign the right sided forward from the most exciting side in Europe last season?
Tim Sutton


Frank Lampard’s Chelsea
Clearly Roman Abramovich has been reading F365 for as long as I have, because with this appointment, the 1% has voted Frank Lampard.

I’ll see myself out.
Madhav, MUFC


Morgan’s tea party
In response to CP, Cambridge – if referencing the American war of independence is fair play, how long until England fans’ 12 German Bombers chant goes from bigotry to cheeky?

If the war of independence is fair game now, does that mean England can add some Napoleon/Waterloo “Bantz” to their repertoire in another 20 or so years? Looking forward to it.

It probably wasn’t a Boston tea party reference though was it? Didn’t they famously not drink the tea? Wouldn’t a better tribute be to mime dumping a crate of tea into an imaginary harbour?

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t lose any sleep over it, but belittling your opponent is a sh*tty way to behave, and isn’t normally something that happens in football – a game that has a raft of other obnoxious behaviours; so let’s not add more.

Andy (MUFC)


More from Planet Sport: Meet the Wimbledon mixed-doubles dream teams, including Andy Murray and Serena Williams.


…I’ve seen multiple people aghast that Alex Morgan was mocking the English for drinking tea.

Look up the Boston Tea Party. That’s the celebration. Independence from you lot. Not miming your long-gone mid afternoon traditions. Goodness.
Mark Champion, USA, but seemingly stuck in London


…Dear Cheever Loophole, as a Englishman, born and raised here, I thought Alex Morgan’s celebration was biting, witty and bloody funny, which is, last time I checked, exactly how British people like their humour. The US team were attacked by our press relentlessly, and by cretins like Piers Morgan (someone we should be more embarrassed by). We are repeatedly told that football has become generic, with players issuing the same trite soundbites. I for one love this celebration, and shows that not everyone is some identikit media train player. As the country that invented ‘banter’, learn to take it.
John Matrix AFC


…I’m having a laugh at some of the false outrage in the mails over Alex Morgan’s teacup celebration. That was at best a chuckle/at worst mild irritation. Get over yourselves. It’s pretty damn hard to make fun of yanks any better than another yank but I’d absolutely love to see the “all americans are fat” celebration that was suggested. Easier said than done I think? But if pulled off properly it’ll get more than a chuckle from me.

Also just want to send my respect to England- not much seperated the two sides and the Lionesses are a team to be proud of. Not sure if we’ll see a final as intriguing as that matchup but I’ll be pleased if we do. The gap has narrowed as a whole and thats a great thing for the sport. Still extremely proud to see our girls almost to the finish line for a possible 4th. Come get us!
Josh, Austin


Women getting off lightly
I generally agree with Chris in yesterday’s mailbox that the women do get a slightly lighter treatment in commentary. I don’t know the name of the commentator but this little bit stood out to me in the bbc’s commentary on Germany vs Nigeria. Basically a Nigeria player makes a remarkably bad backpass straight into the path of a German striker. The commentator only goes so far as to complement the finish which was, at best, routine. It could be argued that, in its current state, the finishing in the women’s game is less “clinical” this means that the mistakes are slightly less of a problem. That being said commentators, fans and the media in general are pretty harsh to the men in an extremely competitive sport which is won and lost on tiny margins – I would welcome a slightly more positive approach.

From what I have seen Jonathan Pearce has actually been pretty good at calling out the mistakes in the women’s world cup at a similar rate to the men’s game (although I missed the better part of last nights game). For the Cameroon game Pearce was being particularly antsy regarding all the shenanigans and he was happy to call out some dives in USA vs France. Last night he might have been taking pity on the England team yesterday who were falling agonisingly short or maybe he didn’t want to be too harsh given that the game was watched by 11 or so million many of whom won’t have watched much football before.

Also, I thought that the teacup celebration was her pretending to smoke a joint. Equally as lame.

Hate hearing people saying “USWNT”

James Warren


United’s plan
After my last email about Rashford, Wan Bissaka and De Gea, I realise that some of my points may have been a bit thoughtless, as I would just like to reiterate to Jarron, MUFC that I am not hating on the Wan Bissaka signing at all, I just think its an excessive amount for a player who is inexperienced and 21 years old…but in the cases of De Gea and Rashford I do see your point.

One thing is for sure though, and it is the fact that United are making the same mistake this summer as they have in previous transfer windows. When the club signed players like Di Maria and Falcao 5 years ago and more recently on players like Pogba, Sanchez, Fred and Lukaku, what exactly has been the 3-4 year plan that follows afterwards when forming that team? In the last 3 season United have finished 6th, 2nd and 6th. The lack of consistency has been laughable. It is as if United have become a rubbish version of the Real Madrid team from 2003-2006 where Galactico after Galactico was signed by the club without a solid plan.

The club have become a team of very average individuals, but I cannot entirely blame the players for the poor performances recently. The emotional intelligence and man management of the coaches, staff and managers in the last few years who have worked with the players day in day out in developing these players has been pitiful. The coaching staff must take the same level of responsibility as the Board, Ed Woodward and the Glazers. The clubs scouting system is laughable too. The fact that United made a £70 million bid for Harry Maguire in which got rejected is really embarrassing. I now would not be surprised If United end up signing Maguire AKA “Slab-Head” for £90 million in meeting Leicester’s demands. It goes to show how much of a pushover club United have become.

Also how have United not sold anyone yet? Surely Ole has got to turn around to some of the players and say “You are not in my plans for the next season” or simply state “You had your chances and are made of glass, it is time to move on”. Perhaps the club cannot sell them because of the wages they are on. Disastrous situation to be in financially and in the long term too. Good luck Ole, you’re gonna need it!
Rami, London


Offside isn’t binary
Ashley Metcalfe says that offside can’t be “marginal”. Respectfully, I disagree, and if you’ll permit me, I’ll explain why:

I still don’t understand how “when a ball is played” is interpreted: Is it as the boot connects with the ball, is it mid-strike when the boot is connected with the ball (the ball will be compacted at this moment, much like a golf ball is during the clubhead striking the ball), or is it as the ball leaves the boot? Aside from the confusion over the literal meaning of that phrase, the problem is confounded further by how frame rates play a role in what we are seeing.

The primary cameras at a football match are shooting 50 frames per second (50fps) and we see those images at 50fps, so it looks normal speed. Slow motion cameras are also used and these will be shooting anything from around 120fps to 1000fps. When the slow motion footage is called on, it’s played back to us at 50fps thus giving us slow motion.

Let’s go back to the ball-striking question: At 50fps there are likely 75 or so frames to choose from in terms of the footage of the pass being hit, but at 1000fps we likely have around 3500 frames to choose from when determining when the pass is played – and, as I said, it’s still not clear which of the three aforementioned “states” of the pass we are actually taking as “the moment the ball is struck”.

All of the offside graphics and techniques used in a broadcast are concentrated on the attacking player who is to receive the pass, whether it’s the lines drawn on the screen or the editor “scrubbing” through frames to determine the player’s position in regards to the defenders. There’s very little attention paid to the actual pass, which apparently is allowed a margin of error not permitted to the player most forward.

Now let’s put this in human terms: Our eyes see in roughly 120fps. I know, it sounds like a slow motion frame rate but we don’t have the ability to recall those 120fps in a lower frame rate: We can’t review our sight in slow motion. This means that we see that 1.5 seconds (or thereabouts) it takes to make a pass in those 1.5 seconds, and for me that is how that “moment” really ought to be judged: A human moment in a human game, with the benefit of the doubt given to the elite (an indeed human) footballers who have just played a move in real-time.

We don’t live in slow motion and footballers don’t play in it, so to judge the accuracy of their play in a 1000fps replay is to expect something unrealistic of them and is, in a sense, not real life. Moreover – and indeed more importantly for me – this particular implementation of VAR is detrimental to the flow of the game and the experience I have watching it. It also presumes that the linesmen can’t judge any call correctly, which not only calls into question their continuing role in running the touch line but also unfairly dismisses their almost-superhuman talent for looking at two things at once and making the right call the vast majority of the time.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the use of slow motion and most other types of innovative broadcast technology in football and it’s important to have a variation of aesthetic textures in the overall presentation of a game on television. But until there’s clarity in regards to my initial question there will indeed be “marginal” looking offside calls, and even if/when there is clarity…it’s not in the spirit of the game as far as I’m concerned.
Stu, London


More VAR
The problem with VAR and offside is that it has broken the spirit of the offside rule. Offside was intended to stop goal hanging and it is very effective at that. However, it wasn’t meant to prevent a striker being 2mm closer to the goal than the defender.

I’m a huge fan of VAR and just like cricket and tennis had with technology there will be teething issues. The answer isn’t to throw our toys out of the pram and scrap the system. The answer is to address the issues and find solutions.

In this case, the answer is pretty straightforward. In games where VAR is available the rule should be that if any part of your body is onside then you are onside. This means we would essentially be reverting back to the briefly trialed ‘daylight’ rule. The benefit of this is it makes the decisions far clearer, gives the advantage back to the attacker and prevents offsides being given simply because of the body positioning of the attacker and defender (the leaning offside issue).

I look forward to seeing strikers hanging right on the edge of offside trailing a leg or arm behind them to stay onside!


Suarez’s clause
A little bit of revisionist history from Jayraj (MUFC) which needs addressing. So like Neymar at the edge of the box, let’s dive in.

Liverpool did not act ‘roguishly’ with Arsenal’s (sorry, not sorry, still hilarious) £40,000,001 bid. Arsenal had been incorrectly advised that there was a minimum bis release clause in Suarez’ contract, as Arsene Wenger admitted in 2017. (John W Henry admitted there was a clause but Liverpool chose to ignore it – MC)

Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard convinced Suarez to stay, with the promise that if he gave Liverpool one last season of his best he would have his pick of Real, Barca & Bayern. That’s coming from the horse’s (rather bitey) mouth this year.

Basically Arsenal made a bit of a mess of the negotiations. There was never going to be a ‘court case’ from Suarez, Liverpool didn’t have to sell, and in the end the player chose to stay anyway.

As for why the £1 sweetener was and is so funny? Because it failed, spectacularly.
ShaneO’ (LFC, Ireland)



…Jayraj (MUFC) shares his wonderful insight on how contracts are managed at LFC. The reason the question of what they were smoking was raised was because someone, clearly, fed them false information which led to Arsenal making a fairly derisory bid for an excellent player. Never heard of them doing that before or since on the plus side…

Football clubs (and players) don’t get to just ignore contractual obligations when it suits them; it’s why De Gea is still at Man Utd (they activated his one year extension) and it’s why Sánchez gets paid £300k a week.

Speaking of transfers, I find it a little weird that everyone is courting Zaha again. He struggled the first time round at Man Utd. Maybe he thrives being a bigger fish in a smaller pond?

Finally, I wonder if Benitez has taken the job in China as a final gig before retirement. I always hoped he would take a job managing a national team because he’s not bad at inspiring a cup run. He would definitely drag England to a World Cup final.
Minty, LFC


Pulisic and VAR
Just a couple of quick thoughts: I’m by no means a Chelsea fan, but watching the USA semifinal vs Jamaica, but it’s hard not to be impressed by Pulisic. He isn’t going to morph into Hazard, but those who have foregone YouTube compilations, will surely be impressed.

And a quick thought with VAR – it’s going to cause havoc in the premier league next season and will probably add more controversy than correct mistakes. Problem is, across all platforms (women’s World Cup, Copa America, MLS) it’s wildly inconsistent. It needs to be refined and will go through growing pains but those will be tough to swallow. In three of the last four games, Toronto FC has had FIVE VAR penalties awarded against them. Four of them at home. I can just imagine the outrage when there are 4 PK’s awarded at Old Trafford in the span of a few games.
Nick C. (Replay sucks in ALL sports!) Burlington, ON


…So last night we had the last semi final conclude for the CONCACAF Cup and it was USA with a 3-1 win over Jamaica, with two goals from new Chelsea signing Pulisic.

Which means the final will be contested between the USA and Mexico, after they were taken to extra time by my favourite surprise of the competition Haiti, sadly it wasn’t meant to be for the nation of around 11 million people, but what a story they have been and to miss out on the final by losing to arguably the favourites and that was only due to a penalty, it has been an incredible successful competition for them and they should be proud of what they have achieved.

Mexico will be playing in their 9th CONCACAF Cup final this coming Monday at a very early 2am UK time, the final most expected and I for one am looking forward to it.
Mikey, CFC (Pulisic could be something special at Chelsea)

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