Laughing at Man United as the new England in a huge Mailbox

Date published: Wednesday 16th October 2019 9:48

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Man United the new England?
Morning all

Eating my cereal this morning and I nearly choked after reading f365 article on man yoo mimicking England

Hahahahaha. Didn’t know your guys were stand up comedians

Yes, by all means it’s clear to see rashford is better on the left but that’s when your article gets silly, Greenwood has to thus play the kane role, who is going to play the sterling role, who is going to play the winks role, oh and van Dijk and matip lil bit better than Bulgarian defence but carry on

Looking forward to seeing united use blueprint of England against Liverpool. Lolz
Ade ( try harder ) Guildford


A Bulgarian’s take
Hi everyone,

I’m a longtime reader and first-time poster. I also happen to be Bulgarian. I’m not going to try and defend my “tribe” or my team. To be honest, I didn’t even watch the game, just saw the sh*tstorm that followed in the media at home and around the world.

What happened was reprehensible, but I think there’s no easy cure for it. For some reason, football attracts aggressive young men who are racist and not very bright. It happens in Bulgaria, it happens in England, it happens in Italy, Russia, you get my point.

These people are a small representation of the fanbase, yet get all of the attention. Heck, some of the guys waving “Heil Hitler” in that photo that every media is using are probably proud. I don’t see them changing their minds from a “Say no to racism” Fifa ad.

The media is right to report on such issues, but outlets often cross the line with bombastic titles that attract clicks. Doesn’t that perpetuate the problem? This raises the question – do most people really care about racism, or are we all virtue signalling while profiting and vicariously enjoying the sick show? I’d like to think that’s not the case, but sadly, I don’t see the issue disappearing anytime soon. No decisive action has been taken by us or the authorities.

To be honest, I can’t think of a perfect solution. One thing that might work is to identify these people, take them out, and ban them from further visits. Although it might be easier said than done. Perhaps FIFA’s decision to not give streakers any publicity might work if applied over time? I’d love to read more opinions about a possible resolution to the problem.

Plamen (Klopp is life), Bulgaria


Are we really hypocrites?
Britain has its issues with xenophobic chanting – there’s no doubt about that. It’s been a problem far too long and not has been done to address the abuse largely directed at Ireland and Germany by England fans.

However, as a black England fan I’ll say this for the nation. Where there are problems here, there are national debates and discussions about it. Racist abuse is on the back pages and sometimes the front pages too. It’s discussed on the radio phone-ins, all over social media and even raised in Parliament by politicians. There are initiatives and actions to address the problems as they occur. Not always enough, but there are efforts.

In much of Europe this simply doesn’t happen. Those who object to racism are in much smaller minorities and are often completely drowned out by those who see no issue with it. The authorities in many countries simply deny that there’s a problem, or obfuscate with whataboutism or references to historical transgressions in other countries. In much of Europe, racism and far-right (not just right-wing) politics is an accepted feature of following many clubs, with neo-Nazi and nationalist groups having pride of place in stadia, whilst openly displaying discriminatory regalia.

If you really don’t see the difference between these situations, then next time we see players receive racist abuse, please contrast the reaction from the British club to their own player being targeted with that of a club on the continent. Roma is one of the few clubs recently to have taken a strong stance defending their player from racist abuse. Far more often, the player’s own club will simply ignore it, or even worse, defend the perpetrators over their employee.
Nicky, NW London.


I find it really irritating how many people’s first reaction to events in Sofia were to say ‘we have to get our own house in order’ and to say English complaints are hypocritical.  Whilst no one would deny there is still racism in our game and in our society, it simply isn’t comparable to what we say last night.

It’s exactly this kind of muddled thinking and false equivalency that led to the ‘they’re as bad as each other’ argument in the US election that led directly to the election of a narcissistic, bullying, racist, mysogonistic, intellectually incurious, morally bankrupt buffoon into the most powerful office in the world.  You don’t have to think Hilary Clinton or English football are perfect to recognise the difference, just have a brain in your head.

Any racism is too much, but England and Bulgaria’s problems are on different levels
Phil, London


Unhelpful analogies
It’s unfortunate that we’ve got into an unproductive discussion of Ireland and England’s respective football cultures in the context of last night’s horrors. Those events deserve and require every inch of coverage and focus they already have received and will continue to receive. I’m not sure that this was an appropriate time for what is not a direct analogy to be raised in the first place. I’ve also seen no responses to last night’s behaviour that have suggested in any way that English football does not have its own problems with racism. Andy correctly notes this in his response to Gussy.

I agree that the comparison to the abuse McClean receives is not a helpful one in the immediate aftermath of last night’s events. I’m reluctant to contribute to the discussion for this reason, but unfortunately Steve (Agent and Redsman)’s response raises a couple of issues that require a response in return.

At a time when the results of the mind-bending ignorance of many English people towards their country’s history in general, and specifically in regard to Ireland, are playing out with disastrous consequences, this kind of example really can’t go by without comment. To say that the booing McClean receives is merely “political” is an outrageous display of ignorance and also demonstrates a baffling failure to recognize racism and sectarianism as inherently political issues, which is frankly absurd from someone who is presumably of at least voting age. Even more so from someone accusing another contributor of lacking self-awareness.

Steve also dismisses the argument about McClean on the basis that most English people don’t have a “f**king clue” what a fenian is, apparently failing to recognize how shameful and frightening a fact this is. The fact that England’s history in Ireland doesn’t fit neatly on a English school curriculum does not make the resultant ignorance any less despicable.

The snarky remark about Gussy’s supposed anti-English sentiment (“what a shock”) is also indicative of a common English attitude that Irish people should simply “get over” a history that so many English people fail to acknowledge or properly engage with- if they are aware of it at all. Anti-English sentiment in Ireland had actually reached an all-time low before that little protest vote that directly endangered the lives of those who live in the part of the country from which James McClean hails. Those endangered include many people who remain loyal to Britain as well as Irish nationalists and those who have other affiliations or none at all. Their welfare has been disregarded equally. So this “get over it” attitude is sinister and dangerous.

The abuse McClean receives is an example of this. It is generally from people who have no understanding of the context in which he abstains from wearing the poppy. McClean is not abstaining out of protest, but out of respect for his own heritage. The abusers- who always go unpunished- can’t or won’t comprehend this, just as Steve apparently doesn’t.

Whether or not you consider the abuse he receives to be “racism” is a matter of semantics as race is defined in different ways, some stricter than others. The fact remains that England, throughout its history, has regarded Irish people as either a resource to be exploited or a nuisance to be marginalized as much as possible, often through the most brutal of means. The border negotiations are the current manifestation of this attitude. This is the context in which McClean refuses to wear the poppy. The fact that this context has evolved so dramatically in recent decades is to be celebrated; ignoring the previous context is one sure way of jeopardizing that progress. Recent events have also demonstrated that in many cases, deeply insidious English attitudes towards Ireland had been merely pushed out of polite conversation rather than actually dealt with, which is why responses to statements such as Steve’s remain necessary.

I agree with the general thrust of Andy’s response to Gussy, however his reference to Irish football fans is also a problem. Of course we have deep-seated, chronic issues with racism in our society. However, focusing specifically on how these issues manifest among our football fans, I’d invite you to name one instance in which our fans have disgraced themselves in the way England’s do on a regular basis. There’s plenty of boisterous behaviour from Irish fans and some of it certainly goes too far, but I’m not aware of any instances of racist chanting or violence either inside stadiums or elsewhere in the time I’ve followed the team (roughly twenty years).

I’m not suggesting there have been no instances of racism among Irish fans in this time, but that the levels of prevalence are not comparable. Comparing the two sets of fans is unhelpful, just as comparing England’s fans to Bulgaria’s in the first place was unproductive. England’s fans do not behave as Bulgaria’s do; Ireland’s do not behave as England’s do. Andy suggests that saying Irish fans “are just as bad” would be xenophobic. I don’t know that this is necessarily true, but it would certainly be inaccurate. England’s fans did, however, conduct themselves very well last night, and deserve any credit they receive.

Perhaps the occasion will even serve as a catalyst for English football fans to redouble efforts to resist bigotry within their own ranks- there is no doubt that the decent outnumber the scum, and I and every other decent person offer them my wholehearted support.
John, Toronto (Who on earth uses the phrase “Emerald Sea”?)


Imperialism, racism and more
I initially decided against writing in with my opinions on the racism debate because people, understandably, tend not to react well to foreigners ripping on their country, but then James McClean came up.

Much like how people in the English speaking world generally are becoming increasingly comfortable with being racist in public, anti Irish sentiment is starting to raise its head in Britain again. At the top, the British media frequently refer to our head of government as incompetent and as an EU puppet. I don’t see them talk about too many other international leaders like that. I saw one right wing clown talk about his “peasant stock” Irish heritage a couple of months ago live on the BBC.

At the bottom, all the freaks you usually see on Twitter and in comments sections whining about immigrants, the people who consume that media, are bringing up the IRA and loans the UK made to the country a lot now. There’s a video doing the round on Twitter of England fans hoisting an England flag over the name of an Irish bar in Prague from this week. None of that is “political”. It’s rooted in the imperialist belief that we’re still little Paddies with a pretend country that the UK allows us to have. I’ve been to the UK many times. I’ve seen people’s faces change when they heard my Irish accent. It’s real.

It used to be a lot worse of course. British magazines used to literally draw the Irish as monkeys and neanderthals in the 19th century. ‘No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish’ declarations in ads for jobs and rooms to let weren’t uncommon until the 1960s. There was a lot of anger towards the Irish in the 70s and 80s; attitudes weren’t dissimilar to what Muslims in the UK see today. That anger went away for a while but it’s starting to come back and when it seeps into the Football365 mailbox, it needs to be addressed.

In my opinion, describing anti Irish sentiment as political is evidence of low key anti Irish sentiment itself. It implies an intellectual position on behalf of the d**kheads and as such is an attempt to justify it as legitimate but merely disagreeable. When d**kheads who’ve never even seen a gun write ‘F**k ISIS’ on their social media profiles and England flags, do you think they’re motivated by a desire to engage in peaceful protest against terrorism, or are they doing it because they’ve worked out an acceptable way to display their hatred of those different to them?

James McClean and Neil Lennon are two of the highest profile players from Northern Ireland the past few decades and are the only two I can think of who are public in their insistence that they be regarded as Irish and *not* British. What happens to both of them? Death threats and accusations of being terrorists. Bit of a coincidence, no? Maybe the people shouting abuse at him aren’t making a political statement against the IRA and are more angry about a peasant from the colonies getting uppity.

None of this is to equate the every day experience of black people in the English speaking world with what Irish people in the UK have to put up with today or ever. The two Irish players I mentioned in the previous paragraph have had bullets sent to their homes however, so it’s not like it’s something to be ignored and it’s certainly a little galling reading mails attempting to diminish the severity of the experience of one of them.

It’s also a little galling to see someone accept the problem of racism exists and then more or less defend it with a “whatayagonnado?” attitude. Sure, every country has a racism problem but sorry pal, English football fans are a special breed in western Europe. You “won’t say Irish sets of fans are just as bad” because Irish sets of fans are literally not as bad. You’re talking like 18 English fans weren’t arrested in Prague 3 days ago! Your ‘every country has them’ b*llocks is b*llocks. It wasn’t the Swedish or Swiss fans who rampaged through Amsterdam only last year, throwing people’s property into the canals. I was there two weeks later. The amount of dirty looks I got from people when I spoke in English! Other countries fans don’t do this.

No doubt racism manifests in different ways in different countries but we’re talking about football and English football has a special history with that and antisocial behaviour in general. The d**kheads mightn’t be making monkey chants en masse but they’re reading the Sun and the Daily Mail and voting Conservative. They’re still destroying cities they visit as we saw in Prague only this week. Ok, it might well be a (very big) minority of fans doing it but where are the chants from the Nice Fans? They were happy singing about the Bulgarians being racist but had nothing to say about the thugs in their own midst. Then you throw in The Daily Mail and The Sun (Britain’s biggest selling newspaper) pretending they’re not racist scumbags and Boris Johnson (a man who referred to black people as ‘piccaninnies with water melon smiles’, takes electioneering strategy from actual fascist Steve Bannon and is Britain’s Prime Minister) congratulating the team for how they dealt with the nazis, you can see why people like Gussy in Dublin got ticked off with it all.

Other countries, including Ireland, have problems with violence and racism. The UK exports theirs though so forgive the foreigners when they get a bit annoyed with it and write in to football websites to complain. Especially calm down if that foreigner is from a former colony, whose people are, or at least used to be, regularly depicted as alcoholic, violent and dumb on your tv shows and newspapers until *very* recently. Those people are going to have an opinion on racists from Britain. Just deal with it.

Also, Allegri and Poch are releasing leaks about wanting the United job! Why the hell isn’t Ole sacked yet?
Eamonn, Dublin


How to fix it
Gussy, Ireland – mate – if you have a large chip on your shoulder with the English then air it in another way rather than hijacking a conversion about racism. We were unofficially at WAR for years – you are comparing an orange to a balloon. I am Irish/English so fully understand the issue and lived in both countries for many years.

I grew up in Hackney and saw plenty of racism – going both ways – hated it – but the issue is really a socio-economic problem. It’s all about who can pis* on who from above – you are at the bottom of society – you are fed a constant racist tripe by the media you follow, the families you grow up in and the friends you have – you are not the lowest rung, that position is saved for migrants and black people (eastern Europeans are not very well liked in the UK and are next up for the racism stick).

So these bottom of the ladder people saw/see black people and immigrants below them, which means they are fair game for bullying in this way. But societal views shift and it’s the view of the majority of white people that we are NO different – but you get this mixed bag of sh*t for brain recalcitrants now seeing themselves as the lowest rung of the ladder (and they never work out it’s them thats the problem not our black or eastern european brothers and sisters) and so get even more entrenched in their views, and the more they are told they are wrong the more they refuse to acknowledge it and get worse and worse.

We not only have to fix the stupid idiots from an education (brainwashed) stand point but also from the social and economic position they use to continue this behavior. Personally I believe they should be completely ostracized from society but that won’t work so we have to work with these idiots – and by work i mean fix them. It would be great if we could stick them all in a country on their own and see how well all these bigoted idiots get on with each other – guaranteed they would turn the place into Beirut in days!
Joe (F*ck the racist’s and bigots – stop making society shit for everyone you d*cks!)


A little perspective
I’m bulgarian and I would just ask for a little perspective. I am not trying to excuse anyone or defend any point of view, but just look at a map.

Bulgaria is, and has pretty much always been the border, or on the border of Christianity and islam, slavic people and Turkish people, and many more really. Any way you wanna categorize people, that’s been happening there for a very long time. There are real issues there!

Do a tiny bit of research please. And not everyones the same. So can you please, please, PLEASE stop categorizing people. That’s the issue in the first place.
Zdravko (Canada)


Well can’t blame you for not doing research,  I can’t believe that you actually mentioned my team Botev Plovdiv. I certainly can believe that it’s about the rivalry between my hometown two big clubs. Green Street Hooligans is the aspiration.

But none of it starts on the football field, or the stands or the stadium. The big problem that Bulgaria faces with racism is that corruption is so bad, it really is a bigger problem then racism there, and only getting better veeeeeery slowly, if even that.


Wee Jesse
Dear Football365,

Two questions about John Brannigan’s mail, from someone largely ambivalent about Jesse Lingard. Well, besides a long-standing grudge dating back to him scoring the extra time winner in the 2016 FA Cup Final, which is entirely fair game.

*Couldn’t quite tell from John’s mail which of Lingard’s physical attributes in particular he believes suggests the Manchester United man lacks intelligence?

*How is Lingard running a business any more detrimental to his footballing form or general well-being than the leisure pursuits of some of his (distant) predecessors in the Manchester United team? You know, things like regular all-night binge drinking sessions or all-day stints gambling away a week’s wages in the bookies?
Ed Quoththeraven


Money, money, money
John Brannigan’s mail piqued my interest as I’d been thinking about how much money is enough money today.  If you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, Daryl Morey, the GM of the Houston Rockets, tweeted his support for Hong Kong and it’s sparked a too-ing and fro-ing of corporate America and their relationship with China.  Today LeBron James has gotten involved by saying that Morey should have thought about the ramifications of defending Hong Kong before he spoke.  Essentially, he should have thought about the amount of money they’d all lose out on if China bans the NBA.  Accounts have it that LeBron James is worth a billion dollars.  How much money is enough money?

I looked up Jesse Lingard’s net worth and it’s estimated to be between £6 million and £11 million.  The interesting thing is how they describe that – “Lingard is not likely to have amassed substantial riches”.  This is a different world that these guys live in and one that’s ultimately unhealthy for the sport and likely for the players themselves.  Values and wages are based on hype and marketing potential with Paul Pogba earning three times more than Lingard, not because of skill but because Paul Pogba earns more for United than Lingard.  This is why they’re so obsessed with their brands, it has a real substantial impact on the wages they earn, more followers means more money.

I don’t blame the players, it’s a short career and they’ve been given a one in a billion chance to live a blessed life.  I blame the clubs as they make foolish decisions and then spend years trapped in a sunk cost fallacy trying to get out of the quagmire without taking a hit.  Arsenal renewed Ozil’s contract despite him being turgid for a couple of years and playing for a manager who doesn’t want to play him.  So in order to not lose the hypothetical £50 million transfer fee they’re content to spend £50 million on wages for a player that they won’t play and simply can’t sell on.  They let Ramsey go for free because they didn’t spend so much on him in the first place.  Given all of the choices they had they made the worst footballing decision and the worst financial decision and Arsenal will likely pay for it until Ozil retires.  Until Utd can admit that Fred, Lingard, Martial, Pogba etc just aren’t working out so either sell them for a reasonable fee that their performances command or let them run their contracts down and leave on a free then they’ll be stuck where they are.  They gambled by overpaying for marquee players who aren’t marquee players.

When players would rather sit on one team’s bench than actually play football all because of image rights then we should see the writing on the wall.  We’re going to have a two tier system where overpaid and underperforming superstars dominate the media and have millions of followers while the players who make the difference go underappreciated and (relatively) underpaid.  That’s if we’re not already there.  We shouldn’t be encouraging those who think that £15 million per year in wages isn’t enough money.  Those who angle for a move every year because of signing fees and increased media coverage.  Those who are worth a billion dollars but will defend a brutal regime against the values of their own country because in sport today no amount of money is enough money.
SC, Belfast.


Boiled Rice
Always enjoy reading your Ladder feature after England games but feel Sarah Winterburn has been a bit harsh on Declan Rice this time.

Apparently he’s “far from good enough to anchor that England midfield”. Let’s remember, though, this is England we’re talking about. Although we have improved significantly in recent times I don’t think we are at a level where we can consider Rice “not good enough” after one bad performance, particularly given the lack of alternatives.

As someone who has watched the majority or Rice’s games this season, he’s often been one of the standout performers in a West Ham side that have had a decent start to the season. The Premier League is of a higher standard than international football and if he’s good enough to be a key player for a top-half Premier League team, he’s more than good enough for England. Yes he had a bad game against the Czechs but I think you can forgive the odd bad game from a 20 year old still gaining experience.

Although some would say Winks is an alternative I remain unconvinced he has the physicality do the defensive side of the game that Rice does so well for West Ham. Winks had a good game against Bulgaria, but let’s face it, they were truly awful and put no pressure on him at all. Against good sides when the pressure is on he remains unproven as a holding man in midfield, whereas Rice already excels at this at club level, to the point where the media are slapping an £80 million price tag on him.

The fact that Rice is still at no. 11 on the ladder shows that Southgate rates his abilities, and I think we will be grateful for that when England are under the cosh in a knockout game next summer.
Jamie, WHUFC


Number 50
Whenever I read F365’s England’s football ladder and I am scrolling towards the end, I giddily anticipate the inclusion of Phil Neville at no 50. It makes me smile everytime I see it and it never gets old. Never change guys.

P. S: I love how you guys always insert a bit of banter in most of your articles, mediawatch and the football gossip most especially.


Quiz time
Hello, who are the other players to have scored in both European finals. I only count Slippy G and Pedro.

Much needed pub quiz material

(MC – Allan Simonsen, Dmitri Alenichev and Hernan Crespo are your friends.)


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