Keep those mails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org…
Thanks for the memories, hand of God and the best goal in World Cup history all in one game sums up your genius and madness.
…He was not one of the greatest,
He was the greatest.
…Diego Maradona, an enormous inspiration
To any skilful footballer, no matter what their nation.
With shimmying of hips and with some $hithousery
He ended England’s World Cup hopes in Mexico City.
“Golden Kid” (translated from, El Pibe de Oro)
Bore aloft hopes of a nation too well versed in sorrow.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Pinochet, of Thatcher and the Falklands.
Well Maradona’s feats were an “up yours” to all those morons.
At Boca Juniors, Barcelona and at Napoli,
His success was felt at home, enjoyed vicariously.
After a career like his it’s not that hard to see
That normal life would be no more than mediocrity.
Let’s not ignore his frequent gaffes, nor be too quick to judge.
His skill brought joy, it’s just a game, no need to hold a grudge.
Instead remember goals he scored, his dribbles and assists,
And that in every pirouette his influence persists.
…On the passing of El Diego, for the younger readers who may be confused as to who is the greatest ever, please understand (little) Ronaldo & Messi have been afforded levels of protection & playing surfaces that would be incomprehensible & completely incomparable to what Pele & Diego experienced.
So they are great, yes, but not GREAT.
So the final question is who? Pele or Diego?
Well Diego made someone famous for trying to tackle him (The Butcher of.. google it), dragged Argentina singlehandedly to a World Cup triumph, won two Serie A titles for Napoli & established them as a club. He also was a misogynist, adulterer & serial drug & alcohol abuser. ( also little Englanders believe he somehow grew a hand out of his head), Pele on the other hand is an unreliable narrator (made up goal stats) and a prick.
Ivor LFC Oirlan (Seriously he was the greatest ever, just fall down a YouTube hole, what a life!)
Thierry Henry was better
I already see the pundits and various articles calling Maradona (after his early passing away) the greatest of all time, a genius, etc. etc. Was he really? Maybe I missed this…….granted, his 2nd goal in Mexico vs England was good, but it was one goal. He captained his country well that year too. But apart from that, what made him the genius and best of all time as many say? Was it because he was also as a mad as a bag of toads? I honestly don’t know. I would say players like Thierry Henry as an example were far better and I could list countless others but maybe I am missing something here. And I am not some youngster who doesn’t remember some of the greats. Readers of F365, help me out here….
Simon C, SFC
VAR-corrected World Cups
With the passing of Diego (why didn’t he ever hook up with and ideally marry Madonna?) Maradona, and his excellence and infamy, it got me thinking… how much differently might some World Cups have turned out had VAR had been born.
And just for the legends in Mediawatch, to add to the delicious clickety-clicks from my blatant shoe-horning of Maradona and VAR into this mail for purely SEO reasons, you might like to consider something else: according to unnamed sources close to Manchester United and Liverpool, the top brass are reportedly fuming that due consideration is not being given to World Cup qualification that could allow club teams to compete. This injustice will prevent an angry Paul Pogba and Jurgen Klopp from exclusively transferring their club quality to the international global stage.
My not really Top 5 VAR Corrected World Cups.
5. 2010 World Cup Qualifier, France v ROI. The flagrant cheating of Thierry Henry is caught by VAR and the goal disallowed. Ireland go on to be eliminated at the group stage as were the basket case French side ‘led’ by Raymond Domenech. No change to the world cup, but to Henry a much different story unfolds. The shame of his cheating forces him into early retirement meaning no New York Bulls swansong. He takes up managing, making a total hash of it in France before retreating to far flung Cana… oh wait, that pretty much did happen.
4. 2010 World Cup 2nd Round, England v Germany, the score is 2-1 to the Germans. Fit Frank’s long range thunderbastard non-goal is reviewed by VAR. After 36 camera angles and 22 minutes the goal stands. 2-2. Immediately the German team is led from the field in a dramatic fit of pique by a teary Philip Lahm who was only guessing what Michael Ballack might have done had he not been injured. Galvanised the Three Lions wreak havoc on a hapless Argentina routing them 5-0 (even Emile Heskey scored) before surprising Spain 2-0 to reach the final where… the Netherlands win on penalties after a Stevie G slip.
3. The whole 2002 World Cup and the filthy, cheating local hosts. Long before Son Heung-Min brought Korean joy to our lives, and when they hosted the World Cup, Korea was a political backwater and insane pariah state led by a crazy dictator later befriended by a giant American orange bringing an end to the saga, and Son to our football pitches. (Sorry, what, there are TWO Koreas, oh well, too late now I’ve done my research.) So anyway, pick any of South Korea’s very stinky results to see VAR gloriously overturn them all, but whatever you do, focus on the Round of 16 versus Italy. In a VAR world, Totti is not sent off and the earlier Italian goal is not disallowed. Italy win 3-2 to progress and steamroller Spain before hitting a giant German wall of steel where they fall heroically (and beautifully) before rising up in glorious defeat to squash Turkey for an anthem-raising 3rd place.
2. 1966, Geoff Hurst. VAR says… NO GOAL!!! West Germany win and no songs are ever written about ‘it’ ever coming home ever again. Oops.
1. We have to summit here in sunny Mexico City, 1986. Walk Like an Egyptian, the global number 1 hit by The Bangles, rang out at the almost appropriately named Azteca Stadium (assuming any ancient civilisation can be substituted for another) as the players strode onto the pitch. Inspired by Top Gun, self-style maverick Diego Maradona takes all before him, scoring that goal. Until… VAR! Overturned. Handball. A second yellow because he would have already had one for some other earlier indiscretion no one remembers. England brush what is left of Argentina aside, Belgium the same and in revenge for 1966, a 45 year old Geoff Hurst scores the winner to give England the World Cup they long craved.
Dr Oyvind, VARth
Liverpool fail the depth test
There are currently 2 minutes left in the Liverpool game as I start to type this, and although I’m disappointed I can’t say I am totally surprised. I wouldn’t go so far as to say this has been coming, but I think the points rival fans and the media have been making about Liverpool missing all these players and wondering how they will cope have not been without merit, they have just beem expressed a bit prematurely. Of course, the recent defensive stats notwithstanding, any team in the world would miss arguably the worlds best central defender, but while we have been able to field at least 1 senior centre back we have generally coped ok. Same goes in midfield, we obviously miss Hendo, and I’m sure Thiago will be a certain starter once he recovers, possibly Keita as well, but we have had enough players with enough experience to not notice a drop off in quality too much, provided we didn’t have to make too many changes in other areas of the pitch. Ditto up top, where Jota has exceeded all expectations and meant we haven’t missed Salah while he had Covid.
The problem arises when the players that have been brought in to cover the first team need a rest, like tonight. This should really have been a game when Matip, Gini, Milner etc were brought in to get some minutes. Instead they have been playing regularly already and so the players that have been rotated in are either novices like Reece and Neco Williams, or players that may generously be described as last resorts, like Origi. It is then, when the depth of squad is really tested, that we get a performance like tonight. Against some teams, you may still get away with it, but when a team comes already having something to prove having been tonked 5-0 by us at their own place, they’re fired up. Then they arrive and see the Liverpool team sheet and think “these aren’t taking us seriously”, which probably makes them even more fired up. Then the game kicks off and any trepidation Atalanta may have been feeling is eased in the first 10 minutes or so when they realise the Liverpool players who have come in are short of match practice and therefore playing ultra-safe, fearful of making a mistake, and it allows Atalanta to grow in confidence to the point where they are on top, which is where they stayed for the remainder of the game.
Atalanta deservedly ran out 2-0 winners, and although it is by no means a hammer blow to Liverpool’s CL hopes, for me it is the first genuine stretching of the Liverpool squad, the test of depth where you’re not just playing a number of second choice players, but 3rd and 4th choice players with multiple changes all across the pitch, and it’s here where Liverpool, perhaps understandably, have come up short.
…I am not sure if Klopp is banging on about injuries and fixture congestion and moaning about the tele after that pants- down spanking, but if he is he might wanna be reminded of a couple of things;
1. A quick look at the tables shows that all 7 English clubs in Europe are top of their tables. Simply put – our teams are sharper and better than almost all the continent.The group stage is a minor inconvenience these days to our biggest and richest. Why ? Competition. Our teams never get a match off. And that’s what the TV loves. That’s why our clubs get minted. The teams get cash. They buy the best players. The fans watch. So the tv pays. And so on. It’s a virtuous cycle that all other leagues dream of.
2. Perhaps if Klopp hadn’t beasted the bejeezus out of his first 14 last season when they were 25 points clear – trying to stay unbeaten and fluff his own ego while pretending he didn’t even know the record was still on – they wouldn’t be dropping like flies. They were incredible for 5 months. They built a buffer. But it’s taken it’s toll. Wenger made the same mistake in 2004. The invincibles could have won a treble if wenger had risked losing 2-3 games in the league.
Bottom line is it’s hard to be brilliant all the time and in all competitions. Gotta be prepared to take a punch or two when you drop your gloves.
In short, 90 odd clubs would kill for Klopp’s issues.
…Wow we really don’t want to qualify from a group comfortably with games to spare do we? Oh well that’s just the way we do it I suppose. At least we bother to, yano, win the thing every now and again
An idea for the Champions League
In an attempt to imbue the competition with a little more unpredictability while still bearing in mind that the prime motivator for UEFA and the ‘big’ clubs is maintaining the status quo and ensuring that nothing is allowed to impact their bottom line, I have come up with the following:
There are two sides to the draw (let’s call them the Champions League and the European Cup)
On the Champions League side are 20 teams – e.g. the top 2 teams from the 6 top leagues (England, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Russia) and the Champions of the next 8 top leagues (Portugal, Netherlands, Ukraine, Belgium, Turkey, Austria, Greece, Denmark/Hungary/whomever) = 20.
They go into 5 x 4 groups with the only draw restriction being that two teams from the same country cannot be drawn together. The top 2 from each group progress (10) while third place finishers (5) go into the knock-out stages of the Europa.
On the European Cup side, 64 teams (giving a total of 84 teams in the competition which is only 5 more than the current 79, and therefore includes everyone who would normally qualify) are split into 32 top seeds and 32 bottom seeds.
32 bottom seeds play each other in two-legged ties, leaving 16, plus the 32 top seeds = 48
These 48 play each other in two-legged ties = 24
These 24 play each other in two-legged ties = 12
These 12 play each other in two-legged ties = 6 teams who progress while the 6 losers go into the Europa knock-out stages (5 + 6 = 11 into Europa)
This leaves 10 teams from the Champions League side of the draw and 6 from the European Cup side of the draw.
The competition then proceeds as normal through the Round of 16, Round of 8/Quarters, Semis and the Final.
On the Champions League side teams would play 13 ties while, depending on whether they were in the top or bottom 32 seeded teams, those on the European Cup side would play either 13 or 15.
Look forward to hearing the Mailbox’s thoughts/opinions/counter proposals.
Reason number 6 why Spurs will win the league – the years ends in a “1”. I know that hasn’t been a thing for, like, 30 years, but still.
30 years?!?!?! Jeez, I feel old now. Des Walker’s extra time o.g. seems like yesterday. And even I don’t think Spurs will really win the league.
Chris Bridgeman, Kingston upon Thames
In Kane’s corner
I was going to start this mail with asking why you even publish such drivel as Fat Man’s assessment of Harry Kane as a ‘decent player with a good mentality’ who apparently doesn’t make his team better, then realised I’m answering my own question by rising to the bait, but let’s do it anyway.
The thrust of the argument seems to be that Kane is only doing well because Son is scoring goals, with the best but being this gem
‘My point is that most forward players need other good players to fulfill their potential. Remember, it’s not an assist if the other person doesn’t stick it away.’
This seems to ignore a couple of obvious points. Firstly Kane is one of the greatest scorers in PL history. He’s already in the top 10 at just 27, at the second best goals per game ratio of that group, a fraction behind Aguero. It’s also worth wondering who the hell Fat Man thinks is laying on those passes to Son if Kane didn’t. The guy has 16 combined goals and assists in 9 games. The idea that he doesn’t make his team better might be the stupidest suggestion I’ve ever seen in your mailbox, and that is not an easy accolade to achieve.
Why KDB is struggling
I just wanted to wade in on the De Bruyne argument in the mailbox. Sean, and others, are basing their argument against him that he doesn’t hit the numbers of Messi, Ronaldo, Suarez or Salah; that might have something to do with the fact he’s not a forward and they are all forwards. He’s a midfielder. You judge attacking midfielders on passing (assists, key passes, chance creation), dribbling and work rate and the occasional goal. No one looks at Iniesta and says he wasn’t that good because he didn’t score as many as Messi, because that wasn’t why he was there or what he did. It didn’t mean he wasn’t world class. Modric or Kroos never got anywhere close to Ronaldo’s numbers because that’s not what they were there to do. It’s a different position, so a different judgement. I can’t say Van Dijk isn’t world class because he doesn’t score as many Lewandowski.
Also, it’s odd that you left out the 100-point season in your season comparison where De Bruyne was not injured for most of it. The levels of domination City have enjoyed are impossible for any one player to carry. Even the years of Ronaldo and Messi’s best seasons were spent when the rest of the team were functioning properly. Messi or Ronald could not have gotten the same numbers without multiple world class players around them. Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos, Modric, Varane and Benzema for Ronaldo; Pique, Puyol, Alves, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Suarez, Sanchez, Villa and Neymar for Messi.
Not having as gifted a striker in front of him (Aguero), an infinitely better CDM behind him (Fernandinho), another world class creator on the other side to give him more space (Silva), have impacted the team and De Bruyne’s performances.
Since you seem to be a Liverpool fan, I’ll prove the crux of this argument by saying that Jota never led or carried Wolves, but as he has said himself, with better players around him, he is able to play the best stuff of his career. That doesn’t make him any less good a player.
…I could be wrong, but I think I was the first to say KDB was way overrated. The moment that mail was published and subsequently laughed at, I watched man city matches and KDB closely in matches just incase my perception was off, and I’ll say this, he is a very good player, but he is not the best player in the league. Sorry f365, he is very tidy, a good passer but I personally don’t see the impact he has. Whatever he does doesn’t stand out, he is reliable, but reliable shouldn’t win you best player award.
Having said that, I feel I should then nominate some players who should, well, are actually better than KDB impact-wise. I’ll start with Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, Bruno Fernandes, VVD, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Trent(TAA). All these players have more impact than whatever KDB has or people assume he provides.
Dave(the choice of Jordan Henderson as player of the year was a joke, fire all the people who voted for him), Somewhere
Say my name
It is now over 7 years since Kevin de Bruyne made his debut in English football and the mailbox is still debating how to pronounce his name (to be fair, commentators and pundits haven’t figured it out either).
As a means of settling the debate, here’s a video where Kevin pronounces his own name.
I’d like to think that if all footballers posted a quick video on YouTube where they teach the general public how to say their name then that would fix this problem entirely (and can even use a whiteboard if it’s difficult like Cesar “Dave” Azpilicueta did), but that sort of approach didn’t work for Jordon Ibe.
Dave Lillis, Dublin
I’m a busy man, so I hoped I wouldn’t be the one to have to do it, but regarding your earlier article: whoever found the photo to accompany the ‘City Firing Blanks” headline deserves a raise.
My inner child loved it.
Big D, Luxembourg
Southpark, Season 20, Episode 5, Douche and a Danish: Gerald Broflovski on trolling… “it’s not about one person. It’s about pushing people’s buttons so that they’ll react in a way that pushes other people’s buttons. Look, you don’t just troll a woman with cancer to get a reaction from her, it’s all about the group of people that are gonna come to her defense. They’re gonna be so self-righteous that another group of people will eventually find those people totally annoying. You’re just setting them against each other. It’s like the fission reaction that sets off the fusion explosion. The Internet does it all, and you just sit back with your glass of wine and laugh.”
Liverpool fans… “it’s not about one person. It’s about pushing people’s buttons so that they’ll react in a way that pushes other people’s buttons. Look, you don’t just troll Ole to get a reaction from United fans, it’s all about the group of people that are gonna come to his defense (greatest tactical mind in Europe – Ha). They’re gonna be so self-righteous that another group of people will eventually find those people totally annoying (every other clubs fans). You’re just setting them against each other. It’s like the fission reaction that sets off the fusion explosion. The Internet does it all, and you just sit back with your glass of wine and laugh.”
United fans… “it’s not about one person. It’s about pushing people’s buttons so that they’ll react in a way that pushes other people’s buttons. Look, you don’t just troll Liverpools failure to sign a centre back, it’s all about the group of people that are gonna come to their defense. They’re gonna be so self-righteous that another group of people (United fans) will eventually find those people totally annoying. You’re just setting them against each other. It’s like the fission reaction that sets off the fusion explosion. The Internet does it all, and you just sit back with your glass of wine and laugh.”
The comment section & mails on F365 recently seems to have turned into this, whether its John Wick with his ranking of Ole, Lampard, & Arteta or Ken Kratz and his views of Liverpool’s decision over the summer to buy a central defender it’s all just gone a little bit trollish and then to top it all off F365 themselves get in on the action with the recent Prick of the Week No. 10: Liverpool’s army of Buzz Killingtons
Dave (you’ve got to get some Tegridy)