Keep those mails coming to email@example.com…
The Van de Beek diaries
Today I write to you from my cozy seat on the sidelines. Ole told me to go work on my match routine, so now I have to sit an hour on the bench before warming up and entering the training game. I feel like I am ready to go now, but he thinks I need more time. Maybe he doesn’t like me, I know he wanted some player in Germany. But I’m not sure why… Ajax is just as hipster as Dortmund!
Phelan told me that Ole sees a bit of himself in me, and wants me to perfect the super-sub role he had. To be that player who is good in big matches, but not good enough week-in week-out for the league (Side note – Our team does seem to play in this way). And then in 20 years to come back to Man Utd as a manager, and maybe implement Ajax’s total football here. The super sub, who became the master. Perhaps that is his real coaching philosophy, the real goal he always had for me.
But I miss my teammates in Ajax, we always used to pass to each other all the time. Here, sometimes I pass to Bruno and he doesn’t pass back. I don’t understand why. He even passes to the other team more than he passes to me. Is this the real ‘total football’, where you pass to everyone and play with every team on the pitch!!
In other news, I was sad to hear that Maradona passed away. He was a great player. Some say he was the greatest, but I always ask them if he could “Turn It Like Cryuff”. Never saw his skills and highlights though, tik-tok doesn’t have too many videos on him.
Ok my time is up, Ole wants me to come and sub in at left back in the practice match. Is this his master-plan for tomorrow at Southampton? Or did Telles catch Covid again?
Gaurav, MUFC (Lekker) Amsterdam
Why Kevin is not truly great part three…
James, Galway has done a nice job defending Kevin De Bruyne through the use of stats. However, I feel he inadvertently raises some points that would support the recent mailbox assertions that KDB is not the greatest midfielder to have played in England.
Kevin De Bruyne is a key component for what I would consider to probably the greatest team to have played in England. The 2017-2019 city team was sensational. However as James pointed out, City have not been the same since the other world class players have left the club or their form has dipped or they’ve aged. I feel James is forgetting that KDB has the most expensive squad ever assembled around him and as a result he’s obviously going to have very good stats as he’s an excellent player. The point I raised in a previous mail was that he has not shattered records nor has he really changed the way a midfielder plays.
I find it silly to compare Gerrard and Kdb on pure numbers when Gerrard never played in a team with the quality of the man city squad. Remember this Man City team were favorites for every competition they’ve played in for the last 5 years. Considering the team that Kevin has around him, I would say that his achievements are not as groundbreaking as they are made out to be. I find it staggering that he is spoken about as an all time great of the game when he and City have failed in the champions league so spectacularly. Look at some great midfielders in the past and assess the squads around them for quality and performance in the Champions League. Has KDB reached the heights that Kaka produced in a Milan shirt with a similar squad to Man City. I would have to say he hasn’t as Kaka has won the champions league. Similarly, Gerrard, Lampard, Modric, Kroos, iniesta, Xavi, Henderson 😉, Thiago et al have stepped up and won this competition. KDB is spoken about by ardent supporters such as James as though he has led his team to 4 champions leagues in 5. I’m sure the mailbox will be quick to argue that Ronaldo led that Madrid side to greatness, however that is my point. KDB is no Ronaldo nor is he a Kaka. He belongs on a tier below the greats of the game until he does it on the biggest stage.
I would love for James in Galway or KDB’s most biggest supporters to explain why a team that is the most expensive ever assembled, has had world class players in almost every position and two in some, a world class bench, manager and the greatest midfielder to have played in England has only ever reached one champions league semi final and been knocked out in the quarter finals to far inferior opposition each year. I believe he’s an excellent player but I’m buying that he’s better than proven winners.
Ps I would love it F365 would wade in on this argument as they can articulate his greatness or lack of it far better than any of us.
Two people misunderstood my point that individual statistics arent all that important (the Zidane example should have been a clue, according to stats he’s rarely involved in goals but we all know that’s not true)
But since someone pointed out de bruyne struggle since he doesn’t have world class players around him….
Exhibit A – Ryan Giggs, playing at the tail end of his career in some pretty poor united teams he still managed to influence games and perform to a high standard when his midfield chums were, Anderson, kleberson, Fletcher….these were not world class players yet when the chips were down Giggs was still there.
Exhibit B – Steven Gerrard, you can argue that apart from the occasional world class player (Alonso, Torres ) he’s NEVER had world class teammates to lean on. Have you ever seen a worse group of players win a champs league than Liverpool under Steven? He consistently had awful players around him and in front of him and still managed to dictate and influence games almost single handedly.
Can you see KDB turning around a 3 nil deficit against THAT Milan in THAT Liverpool? I don’t.
When Liverpool played against scholes, Beckham and Giggs … I dreaded it everytime.
When Liverpool played against Henry , I dreaded it everytime.
When Liverpool played against drogba and lampard, I dreaded it everytime.
KDB never strikes fear into me and I’ve been saying it for years and for years he’s never proven me wrong. Winning a penalty by firing a pass against Gomez is the most productive thing he’s ever done against Liverpool. Maybe we’re just his bogey team.
One last thing, put Giggs, Gerrard, lampard or Zidane in man city’s “centurions” and I guarantee they will eclipse KDB no problem. To be honest KDB stats (as meaningless as I think individual stats are) are actually far less than they should be in that city team. Now Aguero…. There’s a different story
Liverpool and Man City are going to thrash their opponents this week.
West Brom to pile further misery on Sheffield United making their last season look like a fluke which it probably was all along.
Man Utd will beat the Saints and Ole stays at the wheel!
This is the game where wheels come off the Spurs’ impressive start. Hope not but can’t see it unfolding any other way.
Arsenal will get the only draw of the gameweek.
Leicester will stick 3 or more past Fulham
The Vocal Minority
Dear Editors/fellow fans,
It is interesting, as a Chelsea fan, to see Mourinho go around managing the PL big boys and see the fans cherish him and urge other fellow fans to allow him the time to mold the team in his image, the same ‘anti-football’ image they were disgusted by in another life.
Needless to say, I enjoy the work of Mourinho, not always my favorite but still a sight to behold. It is in the nature of humans, in general, and football fans, in particular, to do what MUFC (then) and Spurs fans (now) do and say when Mou is in charge of their team, despite their earlier reservations.
This brings me to my point: Would there be a time when Mou would have managed all PL teams and everyone would have no choice but revere our mighty overlord?
P.S. MUFC fans may differ with this mail about Mou but here is another theory ‘/s’: Mou needs the team he takes over (for the short term) to have a strong foundation to win them a title in a couple of years or thereabouts. Given the MUFC debacle after the Fergie years, maybe it is time to accept that no one could have done what was asked! If you disagree, ask Zlatan when he can take some time off from scoring (don’t think about the injury, doesn’t fit the narrative here ;))
Anu (please wear a mask and keep others safe)
I’m bored with lock down but I’m more fed up with this trying to pigeon hole great players and the “who’s best who’s better scenario”.
Don’t get me wrong, the Argentine left footed number ten was an absolutely fantastic wonderful footballer of which, I’m not eloquent enough to describe but still a morally questionable drug taking cheat, Paul Gascoigne (in my lifetime scored the best live goal I’ve ever seen) turned up at Raoul Moats armed stand off with fried chicken, a six pack and his fly fishing rod among other things ……….. and apparently George Best, (who, I was lucky to meet) liked to have a few drinks.
I could go on…………
I guess what I’m trying to say is that you cannot and absolutely should not put football talent into levels or tiers.
Just enjoy that player if your lucky enough to watch them because they are a rare, rare breed and all are time relevant.
For my fifty pence worth, Robin Friday was and is a god, Glenn Hoddle should’ve got 100 caps……
But that’s my opinion without bile………..
Stay safe all.
Glen Reading F.C. Mevagissey Cornwall (Tier 1)
A poem for Diego…
When I was boy
In the dreamlands
I saw you rising in the South
A star from the barrio
A champion of the youth
In your futbol you
Gave us magic
In your futbol you
Gave us hope
When you took the world
We loved you
Because deep inside we
Knew it was our lot to lose
For the boys on the road
We adored you
For the boys in the street
You awakened us
With the magic ball at
Oh thank you Diego
You will be forever
The king in the street
Oh thank you Diego
You will forever be magic
In the face of defeat
James Hearne, Drums Pennsylvania, USA
Putting players in tiers
*read Dion’s mail on putting players in tiers*
*re-read through the tiers looking for George Best*
*get irritated as I’m pretty sure I just saw Michael Ballack and (presumably Les) Ferdinand in tier 4*
*intend on sending strongly worded mail*
Herman (Belfast (Tier 3))
VAR altered World Cups…
Do you mind very much passing on to ‘Jon, Cape Town (RIP Maradonna, fantasic talent, not a great role model but always entertaining) that I entirely agree that my recent mail regarding VAR altered World Cups is complete BS. On top of that it was bollocks, stupid, ill-researched, childish, over-simplified, error-strewn and perhaps most importantly, it was rather obviously fiction.
Also, while we are at it, Jon etc. etc. might benefit from a quick definition check of ‘satire’, ‘joke’ and ‘light heartedness’ and more importantly, learn to recognise it. Perhaps if he did, he might readily see the mail was not an actual prediction, and have much healthier blood pressure and better teeth from not biting at the industrial strength garbage I send in. I mean, Jon etc. etc., I recently used the mailbox to defend refrigerators for goodness sake, so I have what you might call ‘form’ when it comes to BS.
The real world is at least 99% more boring than the ludicrous scenarios I made up. (Please Jon, don’t fact check this, it’s not actually a stat, I made it up to be… silly!)
Dr Oyvind, (RIP Seriousness, the world and football has enough already, let’s recognise absolute slapstick silliness when it’s there and enjoy it for the tiny sliver of light it is meant to be in an otherwise virus-ravaged world)
PS Jon, you got the GOAT bit wrong, too. Shaun Goater will always be the GOAT. I don’t understand why this is ever debated.