This really is a mixed bag of a Mailbox taking in Jesse Lingard, England, the European Super League and more…
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Lingard to Liverpool makes no sense
Cowlick bizarrely suggests that Liverpool should take Lingard on loan to cover the loss of Salah and Mané for the AFCON.
I describe this as a bizarre suggestion for a number of reasons:
1) Of all the clubs in England or Europe, why would Liverpool turn to Man United to source a player specifically to act as temporary cover?
2) Of all the possible destinations for Lingard in the winter transfer window, why would Man United even consider sanctioning a loan to one of their direct rivals in the league?
3) Lingard came up through the United academy and, presumably, harbours ambitions of playing for United again, why would he risk having the fans turn against him for a half season loan move to Liverpool?
4) Salah and Mané are going to miss 2 league matches, possibly a third if either of them makes the final of the AFCON. They’ll also miss 1 or 2 FA Cup matches, which they probably wouldn’t be expecting to play in anyway. Why would the Liverpool manage risk bringing in a player who is unlikely to be backed by the supporters to cover a maximum of 3 league matches, especially considering this isn’t a surprise to anyone?
Liverpool are scheduled to play Brentford, Palace, and Leicester during the AFCON. Salah and/or Mané will only miss Leicester if they reach the final. If Liverpool can’t handle Brentford and Palace without Salah and Mané, then they really are in trouble.
Feeling for Donny
I think it’s a disgrace that OGS has not used Van De Beek. The way he us being treated, he should be ashamed of himself. Why did they buy him. At least give him a run in the side as McTominay is out. Let him show his worth.
England are really not far away
Megan Manchusta sent in a long email with the overall message that ‘England is s**t. Megan notes correctly that England never look comfortable against the big boys. I don’t know how to break it to Megan but that’s the whole point of there being elite teams – they are harder to beat and games between elite teams rarely see one team look comfortable against the other. Why would ‘looking comfortable’ be the key metric here?
Italy at Euro 2020 is a perfect example – they were deserved winners for sure, but once they blitzed through the group stages they didn’t exactly set the world on fire. They needed extra time to beat Austria in the last 16 (exactly the kind of result Megan would mock England for) and were evenly matched when beating Belgium. Spain dominated against them in the semis but Italy prevailed and even against England, Italy only took the initiative in the second half and needed a scrambled goal from a corner and a penalty shootout to win the game. Taken as a whole, it doesn’t exactly suggest that there is a huge gulf in class between England and Italy. This isn’t to say that England haven’t underperformed over the years-of course they have- but this particular criticism is one I find strange and it’s doubly strange right after they reached an international tournament final for only the second time in their history.
Megan also thanks Muller for England’s win against Germany presumably because he missed a chance. Lord knows no one missed chances against Italy right?
Turiyo Damascene, Kigali, Rwanda
Which club would you join?
Another solid question from Wigan Dave in regards to transfers – his question of “Where Would You Go Now?” Of course has many variables as he said.
If you want the money then of course a move to Manchester City or PSG would be a smart move and you’d certainly win trophies but depending on ability you may not see much first team action.
Personally I would choose Borussia Dortmund if I was an upcoming talent because of so many factors, the it stadium, fanbase, their jerseys and of course they truly do develop players into a better version of themselves.
If we are talking about which club has the pull to sign just about anyone and everyone then surely it is Real Madrid, they may not be the behemoth they were a few seasons ago but their history is a lure, it is Real Madrid after all, for me I’ve always been a Barcelona person due to their history, culture and I just really like the city of Barcelona.
The Admin @ At The Bridge Pod
Football to follow cricket?
Just read Harry De Cosemo’s article about Wenger’s World Cup and some of the comments following it (I skipped through the usual sniping and tried to pick out anything of interest). The main problem is obviously the fact that if we have the World Cup every two years, then we need the euro’s etc. every two years. You’ve then got the Nations League and what ever other ‘regional’ world tournaments are played. Adding in the league and domestic cups obviously means this will leave the calendar saturated and probably leave punters bored/skint.
So, could an answer to this be something like what happens in cricket? Players who get called up by their country, only play for their country, with the parent clubs being compensated for by the countries FA. If they get dropped/injured, they return to their parent club. It could even lead to the playing field being levelled a bit as the top clubs wouldn’t be able to take the cream all the time – they are playing for their countries so domestic teams might become more evenly matched. Maybe the answer to Johnny Nic’s missive doesn’t have to come from a breakaway domestic league, but a breakaway World Cup of Nations League sponsored by Powerade
I haven’t really thought it through so there may be massive holes in this, but still…….
Sam (bored at work. Let’s not copy England cricket’s love of a collapse)
Disagreeing with our John Nicholson
I have, for a long time, believed one of the major problems facing the Football League clubs is, there are simply too many of them.
The pot is spread too thin. I understand there are over 100 professional clubs in England. That leads to competition, not only from a sporting perspective, but a financial one.
If I had a column on a highly regarded football website, would I then pen an article highlighting this? Would I shout that Bristols City and Rovers should merge to form Bristol United? Let’s just amalgamate Blackburn and Bolton, make Hartlepool, Middlesbrough reserves or forget Barrows 48 season exile from the Football League and chuck them together with Carlisle? (I’m aware they’re an hour and a half from each other but I’m making a point here!)
Of course not!
John says ‘but they must realise that they are not supporting the club they used to. It trades under the same name but it is just one more asset in a portfolio of global capital investments’ and he may be correct.
From an absolute literal point of view this is the reality we live in. But tell that to Liverpool fans belting ‘you’ll never walk alone’ from the Kop, or Chelsea fans when they lifted the European Cup or Arsenal fans when they….. erm, well, last finished 4th (?).
The point is, to fans, the clubs are not an “asset in a portfolio”. They are a huge parts of our lives, for better or worse.
So, just turning around and telling fans of these clubs, their club should cease to be an English league club is well ‘not cool, man’.
There are solutions.
Barcelona have been a source of humour for many of us recently (De Jong and Braithwaite anyone?), however, their plight comes from La Liga’s salary cap. OK, their financial mismanagement has been laughable but the wage limits have highlighted this.
Limiting the size of the wage you can pay across your playing staff, is perfectly legal and in a sporting context legitimate goal.
It would have to be complex, involving a total salary cap, including ‘per month’ wages, performance bonuses and loyalty payments.
It would be a long overhaul, taking 5-10 years of repeatedly lowering the cap.
The next obvious aim, is a limit of agents fees. This could also be a on a ‘squad basis’. This could and should be done now!
Uefa will never implement these things. It would have to be done by collective agreement of the top 5 Leagues (probably the rest too, Ajax may become dominant with an investor).
The rather long winded point is this, the answer is to reform the financial side of football, not tell its fans the clubs they love, will have to go.
…I’m normally a fan of Johnny’s articles but I must say this latest one is a phenomenally bad take.
Yes, football isn’t the same as it was before the Premier League began and yes something does need to be done about ownership (as a United fan I’d like to see the end of leveraged buy outs the likes of which has happened to both ourselves and Burnley) but this just seems like it was written to create controversy during an international break.
I think some of the changes that can be made and should be made include owners not being allowed to sponsor the club (see Man City and the Etihad stadium), clubs who have debts being forced to pay these before they can buy players, owner investment being banned (except for when purchasing a club and using the investment to pay off the debt) and a salary cap based on both revenue and a league wide limit. An example of this would be every team can only be allowed to spend 60% of revenue on salaries but at the same time Man Utd would only be allowed to spend 20% more than the team with the lowest budget.
As I said, I feel this was written to create an argument in the mailbox and so it looks like I’ve fallen for it, but as Johnny himself says, football isn’t the sport it used to be so he needs to stop pining for it to return to that way.
…To begin with, I wish JC would make his mind up whether he wants/doesn’t want an ESL. That being said…
(JC as in Jesus Christ? – Editor)
Everyone and their dog has always known it would happen, I recall talk of it back in the 00s, and now that talk is louder and louder. So this mail is to, on a very basic level, discuss if it is going to happen.
Right, so we have the motley crew (crüe?) of clubs; that bit is sorted. Now what of the domestic leagues? As JC says, replace each missing club with those from a lower division, and repeat until all through the pyramid is done, based upon finishing positions. Easy peasy.
Yes, money will be reduced – maybe by 60%? – but there will be a more level playing field. Or will there be?
Of those in the PL, I would say the likes of Leicester, Everton, West Ham would become the new Big Boys, and as such would continue the bullying of others. This would only be exacerbated as time went on. In a few years time it would be just a repeat of what we have now, albeit on a lesser scale. So now all these new Big Boys across Europe want in on the closed shop that is the ESL.
Meanwhile over at the Filthy Rich table, clubs are wanting even more than the billion they get each season – we all know they will. So they get together and wonder how they can scrape more pennies in. Someone suggests relegation.
After five full seasons of a closed shop, relegation is on the table (2? 3? 4?? a season). This adds excitement, which the clubs equate to more money. Bayern, Spurs Juve, whoever, get relegated back to their respected leagues and replaced by the Champions (unless of course they refuse, which I suppose could open itself up to accusations of bribery to stay put “Just wondering Wolsberg, where did that €100m come from?”).
But can these ESL clubs play in their domestic competitions? Would it be fair? Is it fair now? Maybe ask Division 1 and 2 clubs for an answer to that one.
Will it happen? Yes, yes it will. Will it happen in the latest incarnation? Not a chance.
One last point (please): JC said something about fans not wanting to play Barca and Chelsea every week. I kinda say “bollocks” to that. Fans of Sunderland want to be playing the PL teams every week, not who they play now (romantic fans aside), so what’s the difference?
TL;DR it’s happening, but will just cause another problem that’s different but the same.
Attn: Matt Stead
Trent’s best quick corner? Yesterday’s wasn’t anywhere near close to the corner vs Barcelona. The goal that put LFC through, versus a meaningless one against Andorra!
(Oh Matt, how did you forget that one? Fool – Editor)