The Mailbox brings you its hopes, dreams, predictions and absolute certainties for the 2023/24 season. Plus, ‘bored as f*ck’ watching Manchester City, Moises Caicedo and lots more…
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Stick your mortgage on it
Inspired by your predictions for the upcoming season, I have decided to go one further and compile a list of absolute certainties. They may seem fairly obvious but you could stick everything you’ve got on it and not break a sweat all season.
1. Either Man City or Arsenal will win the league.
There is a 0% chance of anyone else coming out on top. Manchester Utd, now they have a proper football manager, will improve again but they are still at the relative start of their cycle. Even Pep took about 18 months before he could whip City into shape and it will take Ten Hag another 12 months and a couple more transfer windows to get Utd to title challenging levels.
2. Haaland to be top scorer.
With Harry Kane moving to Germany this is a no brainer, Haaland could have 6 months out injured and probably still do it. There is just no challenger whatsoever. Arsenal have no out and out goalscorer and even if they end up winning the league, they will do it by sharing the goals around. Man Utd’s big new signing up top wont actually be good for another two years and there are no other outstanding forwards in the league capable of hitting 25 plus.
3. Tottenham and Chelsea to miss out on the top 4.
City, Arsenal and Utd are certainties which leaves one spot open. Liverpool have to get better this year and if they can sort their midfield out quickly, they will probably do it by fighting it out with Newcastle. Chelsea and Spurs haven’t got a hope in hell. Poch is clearly an elite coach so he’ll get a tune out of Chelsea but even he can’t pull off that level of improvement that quickly. Spurs are spurs. They’ll be lucky to get into the top 6 and I can see Villa giving them a run for their money. They’ll probably never do it again to be honest.
4. An Arsenal player to with Player of The Year.
Even if City win the league and Haaland is the top player in the division, people wont want to see him win it two years in a row. Arsenal will be good again. It may take a few games but the synergy is there and they’ll get a lot of plaudits. Smart money would be on Saka and Odegaard but I wouldn’t bet against Martinelli really moving into that top bracket of world class players this year. Declan Rice is the outsider. It’ll be one of those four.
5. Vincent Kompany to leave Burnley.
Burnley will have a really solid start to the season and every single team that loses/ sacks their Manager will want Kompany. De Zerbi gets snapped up, Brighton will go for Kompany. Postecoglou is useless, Spurs will go for Kompany. West Ham finally see sense and sack Moyes, West Ham will go for Kompany. Everton, Fulham, Palace. Kompany, Kompany, Kompany.
I’m proud to offer your readers these hand-drawn predictions for the season. Each one is absolutely, positively, one hundred per cent guaranteed to come true.
*A Manchester City fan will claim they are bored of football early on in the season. They will spend the international break learning about self-awareness.
*Birmingham City will be accused of supplying underinflated footballs for a home game.
*Crystal Palace will find it tougher to replace James McArthur than Wilfried Zaha.
*David de Gea will win more trophies this season than Manchester United.
*Every time a men’s England squad is announced, two groups of people will say “what has Lewis Dunk got to do to get a call up?” The two groups will be Brighton & Hove fans, and people who only notice Dunk when he plays against their team.
*Frank Lampard throws hit hat into the ring to succeed David Moyes at West Ham. “He knows the club,” impartial observer Jamie Redknapp tells his Sky Sports colleagues.
*Gary Lineker develops the ability to read a message praising his podcast without retweeting it.
*Harry Kane’s proudest number 9 will be the GCSE grade he achieves in German at evening classes.
*I will be the most divisive mailbox regular. Not least when people spot how I’ve formatted this mail.
*Jordan Henderson will be the subject of “haven’t heard that name in years” memes before Christmas.
Hopes and dreams
It’s Premier League Eve (at least it would be if we didn’t have matches on a Friday now!), so for the final mailbox before it all kicks off in earnest, here’s what I’m hoping for:
1) Anyone but City to win the league. As much as I want it to be Arsenal, I’ll take anyone. Although the danger is that encourages Pep to stay!
2) I think almost anyone in the Top 8 could make a push for the league, and I think everyone will drop points against others
3) I hope VAR is implemented well. I have no issue with the tech as a concept, but just implement it properly, transparently and admit to mistakes. We all make them
4) No injuries to our home nation lads, I think they have a great chance at the Euros
5) Stand out players signed for peanuts. For all the disgusting figures being bandied about by clubs, I want another Mitoma, someone who just appears like a mystical fawn in the woods
What are things the mailbox is hoping for this season?
John Matrix AFC
The Clarets and the Blues
City fan here. Well, no real surprises from Turf Moor last night. Two goals from set pieces meant that Burnley restricted City’s chances really well, which is very much to their credit. The flip side, obviously, is that the rest of the PL will be taking a close interest in both of those points.
On another note, can’t praise Burnley FC enough for identifying the gutless pr*ck who threw a lighter at Rico Lewis, had him arrested, and were able to announce that fact before two thirds of the second half had been played. Absolute class from the club and their staff. I don’t recall any other PL club, including mine, that have done that so swiftly and efficiently when such things have occurred.
Minutes later, some other utter knob entered the pitch but, again, was swamped almost immediately by security. At the time of writing, not sure if that was football related or yet another ‘JSO-type’ attempted protest. Either way, gold standard from Burnley in dealing with unwanted crap like that right there. Kudos.
Big neg for City? KDB off injured. Again. Something, I fear, that will be repeated this season far more than us City fans would like. (Sigh).
Mark (That red was harsh). MCFC
Half time in the opening game of the Premier League season. Last year’s treble winners against the Championship winners, at Turf Moor. Two clinical goals. And yet I’m bored as fuck. It’s like chess on grass – clinical but soulless. Can we please abandon possession based football and get back to ‘blood and thunder’ football that gets the fans’ passion and voices roaring, or have I just got old?
(Even brackets are boring)
Just worked out that if United can offload McT, Maguire, Donny, Hendo and Fred, along with what’s already gone, they will have shed 66M from their wage bill from last year. That drops to 63M is McT stays, which appears 50/50 at this point, but the rest are almost guaranteed to go.
Incomings have only added 20M to the wage bill, with a new CM and CB likely to replace the above. If that turns out to be Amrabat and Pavard, that’s perhaps 12M added on.
All-in-all, that’s give or take a 32M saving, which is pretty damned good for what appears to be a better squad.
United have gotten the shit together, and I don’t feel the need to whisper it.
Calvino (The Mailbox was hilarious this morning, nothing like seeing Liverpool fans dive head first into a maybe situation)
The one thing that truly excites football fans…
As the we reach the business end of the transfer season – the most tedious season of them all- it inevitably get one thinking about the one thing that truly excites football fans- money. This isn’t one of those sermonising diatribes about how pure our beautiful game used to be- it’s more a thought exercise people’s capacity for self- delusion, and a denunciation of one of the worst traits in football fans- the desire of some to denigrate the success of others. City fans, bear with me.
Many football fans out there will scoff at the likes of Manchester City.They have a point. Sheikh Mansour could have bought any club out of England’s top 40, hired the same manager, made the same investments, and enjoyed the same success. On the day Mansour bought the club, there was just one factor present at Manchester City that contributed to their subsequent domination- the fanbase. Ultimately though, it is still just Sheikh Mansour’s success – albeit with a Manchester City badge on. The same is true for Chelsea, slightly less so, and will certainly be true of Newcastle should they break through.
Of course clubs like Liverpool & Manchester United also spend big. How? Because they are big clubs from big cities. Because they hired great managers & signed good players, which brought success and kicked off a virtuous cycle of even better managers & even better players- and dominated English football as a result. Of course they can spend- they earned every penny.
But- what actual difference does it make? For most of us, these are are not our local village teams- we’re not putting out the cones, most of us are just sitting on our arses, telling ourselves that 11 strangers winning on a football pitch is somehow also our success. Nothing wrong with that- life is all about highs and lows. But we know we’re kidding ourselves. That’s why I say City’s fanbase is a factor in their success- without millions of us participating in such mass self-delusion, poor Sheikh Mansour wouldn’t have anyone to sportswash his image. He’s able to bring success because thousands of people are willing to celebrate it. We’ve all just agreed that yes, for whatever reason, this all means something- maybe it does. In doing so, we’ve agreed to tell ourselves lies. Some of us need just need to lie a little more than others.
It’s a game. Somebody else is playing. Just enjoy it, and allow others to enjoy it too. It doesn’t matter if they “earned it”, or “bought it”. None of us ever did. Most of us never will.
The real price…
Just reading there that it appears Chelsea are about to steal back Caicedo from Liverpool.
Great news for Liverpool fans. I’m sure they are all rejoicing as this will protect their net spend. Which we all know is the real and only measure of success in football. Trophies are nice, but what’s your net spend ???
Typical nonsense out of those on Merseyside. Absolute drivel. The only place that metric has ANY merit is in a boardroom. The only people it is relevant to are board members.
In sporting terms if you spent 200m on players then you got 200m of talent. If that doesn’t work out you don’t get to mitigate it by saying it was only 100m net spend.
Liverpool have broken the world transfer record for Gk, defenders and we’re about to break the British one and buy a Mf for 110m.
Ye’ve bought a unproven striker last year for 70m, spent another 70m on a midfielder this year and there’s a a few 40 and 50m players thrown in their too in the last year
So Please stop giving the rest of us the poor mouth or better yet shut up about net spend 😁
This might all be moot by the time this is posted, but:
Step one: Chelsea bid more than Liverpool for Lavia (liverpools top target)
Step two: Liverpool outbid Chelsea for Caciedo(Chelsea’s top target)
Step three: Liverpool don’t actually want to pay the money for Caciedo so offer him below market wages which are rejected
Step 4: Chelsea match liverpools bid and sign Caciedo
Step 5: Liverpool match Chelsea’s bid and sign lavia
Step 6: Southampton and Brighton celebrate getting more than their asking price for their players
If hie comes to Chelsea now he will be a legend for the duration of his 15 year contract 😎💙💙
£110m? You’re having a laugh? What are Chelsea thinking? Total waste of money.
Note: dear F365 editor – please delete email I sent yesterday titled: “What a signing – this year is our year!!” – thanks
Mike, LFC, Dubai (I moved back)
To think of the shit arsenal fans got over the club paying 105m for established international established premier league player/captain and trophy winner Declan Rice now Chelsea or Liverpool about to pay even more for caceido after one good season. Sure you get a laugh!
Mark Burton, Belfast gooner (off to the forest game today, tf football is back)