Mails: Everton pulled Levy’s pants down over Dele Alli deal…

Editor F365
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy and Everton manager Frank Lampard.

The Mailbox reckons Everton have pulled off a masterstroke with the structure of their deal to sign Dele Alli, while Man Utd are criticised for not signing a midfielder.

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No excuse for Man Utd
I do understand how the window was overall a success for United – some basically pointless players shifted, and with an unforeseen absence added to that, there is plenty of football for the players that remain, Lingard in particular.

But there was no reason we couldn’t have picked up a CDM too. To cement any chance of CL football – something required to capture the names the board really want – it was a vital investment. Again, their lack of any footballing awareness may cost the club.

Getting one in didn’t mean there wouldn’t be money for a bigger target in the summer and would save us the inevitable anxiety as the board hopelessly chase Bellingham and Haaland all across the summer, before making a late bid for Rice that Chelsea simply offer better terms on and capture and starting next season without any sort of CDM at all, again.

People mock the narrative of the United way, but if the last 10 years has anything to say on the matter, embarrassing transfer activity that comes to nothing is probably be the closest to being it. Yes, we landed Sancho (a year late), landed Varane while he enters the injury phase of his career and Ronaldo who has at the very least caused waves across the squad. I wouldn’t call that a universal success.

But I guess at least we aren’t Tottenham, Arsenal or West Ham.


Every Premier League club’s biggest squad weakness


Football and institutional racism
I’m a proper, old school leftie. I’m anti racist, anti-sexist, anti-fascist, anti-homophobe…in fact, if it involves discriminating against someone because of their demographics, then I’m probably anti-it, whatever it is.

But being a grumpy middle aged man, I also think that in the quest for treating everyone with respect, the pendulum might swing a bit too far the other way. I’ll give you an example: I don’t like Raheem Sterling. I don’t like Lewis Hamilton either. My reasons for disliking this pair are myriad, but the fact that they are black does not form part of my thought process. However, to espouse my dislike for them might well see someone implying that I am a racist, and this has happened, by and large because, rags like the Daily Mail pick on young, rich, successful black people in a disproportionate manner which has led a lot of liberal thinking person to feel protective of them. I get that, but if I pretend that I like them because I am worried that someone will call me racist, then I am forming my opinion on them because of the colour of their skin, which, IMO, would be actually racist, albeit in a slightly weird way.

I have said all that because I want to talk about the possibility of institutionalised racism in football.

I’m going to cite Frank Lampard. I am not much of fan of Frank Lampard, terrific footballer that he was. I am certainly of the opinion that he has yet to earn his managerial stripes, yet he has just been appointed to Everton, who despite a lack of success in the last three decades, are still a big, established and relatively powerful club in the English game. He is taking the reins as the club is in the doldrums, and in a proper relegation battle. And he is clearly not qualified to do this particular job. Now, he may do enough to keep them up – it’s a crap shoot, where the sh*tter teams go down, as opposed to better teams staying up. There has been many a shit team that has clung on. I can’t say that he will fail, but I can’t see how anyone can really put much faith in the fact that he will succeed, if you look at what he has “achieved” so far as a manager.

Watford want to stay up, so who do they appoint? The erstwhile retired Roy Hodgson. Are we so bereft of talent?

In the last thirty years, there have been ten non-white managers in the top division. Ten. I’m struggling to find a figure of how many managers have worked in the Premier league, but in the 2010s alone it was 103. So a figure of around 250-300 seems to be a fair guess, but I’m happy to be corrected.

There’s something wrong with this picture, obviously.

I am not saying that Everton or Watford are racist. I am saying that the system that has developed within football is institutionally racist, and that means that non-white people are not being afforded the same opportunities as their white friends.

It’s time for the Rooney rule, or a version of it. In simple terms, it forces employers to interview people from demographics that are statistically under-represented. It doesn’t stop those same employers interviewing white people, it just means that non-white people must be given the opportunity to be considered? And what this seems to mean in reality is that sometimes, non-white people are the best candidate. Who knew?

I think we all did. Well, most of us, at least.

It’s time for a change, isn’t it? Tell me I’m wrong. Or explain to me how Frank Lampard has got next to f*ck all experience and two of his first three jobs are managing rich clubs in the Premier League.
Mat (to be fair most that will disagree with me are already blocked)


Levy’s pants pulled down
Bit late to this party but I keep seeing the Ali transfer described in glowing terms by Spurs fans as if it’s a great bit of business. Personally I think Everton have pulled Levy’s pants down on this one.

From what I understand the £10m fee becomes active after 20 appearances, there are then multiple clauses regarding performance, goals, England call ups, and crucially a threshold of 80 appearances to reach a top figure of £40m. Obviously this will be staggered based on how well Ali does.

Considering there are only 18 league games left in the season and Ali is cup tied then the 20 appearance number can not be met till next season at the earliest, most likely in September/October. Everton usually end up with around a 50 game season so the 80 appearance threshold can not be met till the season after at the earliest. So to get the full £40m Ali has to become an almost guaranteed starter for 2 full seasons, basically become the teams best performer in terms of stats, and get another England call up. If all that happens Everton will be giddy at only having to pay out £40m. Considering market inflation over the next 2 years that extra £30m will look even better.

Alternatively, he doesn’t play well, doesn’t get in the team, doesn’t meet any of the fee thresholds, and Everton move him on without having to pay anything to Spurs. Yeh great business that.
Dave, Manchester


Window whinging
I have to be honest, I was reluctant to get involved in the debate over who won the window. The whole concept of winning a window seems ridiculous but especially deciding this before any of the transferred players have even played a match for their new sides (although you can’t really blame Spurs fans for trying to claim they won something for once. At least this time it’s ambiguous).

What I did want to say was that I am very glad that despite the criticism that Arsenal have taken for selling players and not replacing them, they seem to have behaved quite sensibly. It has been apparent for a while that Arsenal have needed a rebuild and that just bringing in the latest expensive short term fix for the sake of it has not worked. The club removed the players from the wage bill that were not playing and that were not good enough to take the club to the level it strives to be at. They did this with a ruthless efficiency that had not been apparent at the club for a long time. The calibre of player that Arsenal need to be looking at to replace those sold wasn’t available in this window (or decided to go elsewhere like Vlahovic) so instead of panicking they took a long term view to what needed to be done to make the club competitive again. They have kept their powder dry. No one is under any illusion that the squad will need to be beefed up in the summer but Arsenal have the money and the time now to make sure that they get things right rather than just sign up whatever they could to keep fans happy in a limited January market. If this costs us top four this season but allows the club to target top class young players in summer that can grow with the excellent core that we already have to make us competitive for the next decade then people may look back at the decisions made in this window very differently.
Jazzy AFC Hertfordshire


Bowen’s call is coming
Something that I constantly see on social media platforms is stuff like “What does Jarrod Bowen have to do for an England call up?!”. I’ve seen it frequently over the last two months. There have literally been no England international fixtures over this period when Bowen has been right in form. People will moan about Sancho getting in ahead of him even though Sancho was dropped from the previous squad. Rashford is another target. The thing people don’t understand is that you don’t switch up international squads willy nilly. You want cohesion and chemistry. I believe that in order to drop someone they ought to be playing poor for a consistently long period of time. Sancho has been. And vice versa, Bowen is now playing well for a long period of time. He’s shown it’s not a purple patch. Im pretty confident he will get called up in March. Players build up enough good will that the manager can ignore poor form. I seen people demanding Toney be selected ahead of Kane a few months back suggesting Southgate has a bias towards Kane. Nearly as if he’s been the best English player over the last 7 years. Not many would’ve had Sterling near the starting 11 last summer because of how much they look into form. It genuinely blows my mind. AWB was literally being compared to Trent last season. So can people just calm down about the Bowen stuff. He will get called up because he’s been good for nearly two seasons now, like Sancho had been doing for 3 years in Germany including in the CL. Rashford likewise.
Dion, Arsenal.


FSG are getting it right
Just a note on the rumblings at Liverpool and the great triumvirate of expiring contracts.

First of all, what a front line it has been – I don’t think they are finished just yet, mind – but Mane, Firmino and Salah will be talked about in 20 years’ time no doubt. The relationship the 3 have developed is unbelievable and the football at times unsurpassed.

I think there is a great deal going on behind the scenes with Mo Salah’s contract, and I’m torn on whether they should just ‘pay him what he wants’. People also need to calm down a bit on this one, it’s not as if the top-line salary will be the only issue – Salah is a unique global brand (this must be considered in the modern game), there will be negotiation on image rights, personal vs club sponsorship, freedoms to pursue other interests that can boost his personal profile etc. I imagine these things take months for many lawyers to discuss and iron out. Signing Diaz probably strengthens Liverpool’s hand but mainly as evidence that they can challenge for the next 4-5 years that I imagine the contract will run for.

Jurgen Klopp will likely leave in two to three years. He will leave behind probably, Salah, Jota and Diaz as the forwards. Whoever comes in will have their own style of play, their own thoughts on how it should run and above all else, it’s likely the 4-3-3 high press will be even less effective by then that it is slowly becoming now as tactics continue to evolve. The players coming in (Jota, Diaz) can play that high wing or inside forward, or as conventional wingers. There are options there. Firmino and Mane look the most likely to leave. But I would love to have all 5 to choose from in Klopp’s final few years, that would also mitigate the ‘everyone turning 30 at the same time problem’ – imagine a world where Liverpool can rest Mane or Salah for once?

For me, the next window we will see some more midfield recruits come in, around the £20-40m mark at most. Nothing outrageous or spectacular, just a solid, manageable strategy for sustained success/potential for success.

Some people hate FSG, and some arguments have merit. Yes, Liverpool are a very rich club, and yes, we have international pull. But I would rather the staggered and low risk approach than invest a hefty budget in one player to sate the irrational calls for ‘major’ signings. Should Salah sign a new contract I’m sure it will suit all parties, that is the very sensible nature of FSG’s management of Liverpool. And I am here for it.


Actually, Liverpool should bow to Salah’s demands
Ed Capstick doesn’t make a TERRIBLE point in saying that, very often, when you give a player at their ostensible peak a massive massive contract it can go wrong, and the examples he uses are reasonable. However, I think the phenomenon he mentions is not so much that players get their big contract and rest on their laurels, but that players in the process of negotiating their last massive payday occasionally raise their game to superhuman levels, and thereafter what happens is a reversion to the mean. I think this is definitely the case with Salah; the fact that he is negotiating this massive contract with Liverpool has spurred him to his current outstanding form.

I’m not as concerned about a dip once he signs it, though: though Salah comes across as (and to some extent is) a humble and modest man, he’s clearly more motivated by status in the game than he his by money in and of itself. His various gnomic utterances on the new contract have referenced players earning more than him, who he clearly considers his inferior. He’s certainly very miffed about the way in which he’s been overlooked in the various World Player of the Year awards, and with good reason. Liverpool don’t need to worry about the contract, |I don’t think, but they do have to keep hoping that France Football continue to screw him over in the Ballon d’Or reckoning, to keep him resentful and motivated.
Dara O’Reilly, London


Waiting for Saliba 
Wow on they bang in France about Saliba and what a standout defender blah blah – I have watched 6 full games he has played in and he is quick but does get out of position for crosses and constantly uses his pace to get himself out of the trouble he got himself into by being poorly positioned with the rest of his backline.
He is good but not a walk in to the team good – Gabby and Ben(jamin) are better and make better descions – he would leave us exposed as he is a bit naive still – but then he does have a great tackle – but he could end up being a good version of Mustafi (always on the slide no matter how far away from the ball he was LOL)

We will see hopefully next year – big problem is I am not sure Arteta trusts him so we could see him sold (like everyone else!)
Micky (AFC)


Misogyny, thy name is Raith Rovers
Once again the sheer decency of F365 has brought tears to my eyes Ian King, your piece on the shameful situation at Raith Rovers could not be bettered. Thank you for highlighting how deep this problem runs in the football

Many women like me love the sport and regularly attend games. But we recoil every time we hear a rendition of a “she said no [insert alleged sex offenders name here]” song or something similar. It’s a straight line from that sort of behaviour by fans to the directors of Raith Rovers thinking they could sign a rapist and nobody would mind.

I applaud you F365 for highlighting this, as you have so many serious issues in the past. Thank goodness for you.
Carolyn, South London Gooner.


An alternate view
Read Ian King’s article about Raith Rovers and wanted to share a probably bit controversial and alternate view on it. First of all, as a person not familiar with your legal system, it seems tad confusing. How can you be guilty and not guilty at the same time? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have only one court system, like our country does, where you are either guilty or not. Overall, it just seems to leave a question if the accused really did the crime or not. But I digress.

The real question I want to ask is what does Ian and others with similar views suggest we do with criminals, convicted or found guilty only in civil justice? How should they be treated after suffering their punishment for the crime? Let’s take a similar case in some other profession, for example software engineer. Should we allow that person to continue his profession after he has been suffered his sentence? Do we label the company and the industry that hires him as misogynist? Or is football somehow special in this sense? Then there are numerous examples of other violent crimes, assault of other player etc. What about those? Should they be banned from their profession ever after? If not, what sort of message does it send, that it is ok to hit a man, but not a woman?

These are genuine questions and I don’t claim to have the right answers. I fully understand the seriousness of the crime mentioned in the article and don’t condone it in any way. I wouldn’t have hired him personally but at the same time it’s hard for me to judge the ones that did as I don’t know any of the people involved personally. Has he changed? Does he have remorse? Did he himself suffer abuse growing up? Or is he just laughing about it with his mates?

The thing I am arguing is that we have a legal system, like it or not, and once you have suffered your punishment, you should be able to continue your life as part of the society, not left outside. This is not only because of sympathy for the ex criminals, but because I don’t think it does any good for society to leave them outside. It will just make it much more probable they will do crimes again.

I don’t know how misogynist football is in your country, I only watch the games. I just don’t see the definite link between this incident and misogyny. If a player would be banned from football after assaulting a man in pub but not when assaulting a woman, then it would be a clear sign. However, there are lot of examples footballers continuing their career after violent incidents, regardless of sex. Should football as a profession seen different from “normal” professions as it is in public spotlight? Difficult question and as I said before, I don’t know.