Give it Big Dunc ’til the end of the season, and other Mails…

Date published: Monday 17th January 2022 9:01 - Editor F365

Duncan Ferguson mural near Everton's Goodison Park.

Who next for Everton? Get your thoughts on that, or any other subject, in to theeditor@football365.com

 

Pre-Rafa’s sacking
Last time I wrote a mail about staff changes Brands was sacked. Here’s hoping the curse strikes twice: Benitez has to go. Disastrous appointment from the start, which some fans were willing to try and make work, and some would never make work. The man has us set up like a gang of clowns knocking it about on Stanley Park. Players who’ve flourished under other managers (Keane, Godfrey) suddenly look like National League cloggers on ice. The players, equally culpable through their conspicuous lack of effort, are clearly not motivated to play for this man, who’s heyday is well over 15 years ago.

So who do we get in? If the rumours are true, managers have turned us down due to not being able to hire their own staff. I’m praying that the rumour that’s the reason Galtier turned us down is fake, because if that’s true I’d genuinely consider not renewing my season ticket. I love Big Dunc but between him and Galtier, you wouldn’t find me agonising over that decision. I think we have to just swallow our pride here and give it Ferguson for the rest of the season, on the stipulation if we go down he leaves the club.

What a thoroughly f*cking depressing season this has been.
Joe M, EFC

 

A couple of hours later
I am all powerful. Fear me.
Joe M, EFC

 


Premier League winners and losers (incl. Premier League)


 

Super Sunday
One of the better days we’ve had recently. A very comfortable win against Brentford in the end, though we made slightly heavy weather of it. Again the value of Mane and Salah was reinforced in their absence, to the surprise of absolutely nobody.

I wish I knew what Salah was asking for in his contract demands. His worth is obvious to absolutely everyone, surely it’s not complicated to just give him parity with the high earners in the division? He’s the best player in the division at this time, so play him as such. Simples. But apparently not. It needs resolving before it starts effecting his play, the noise around it is already getting wearisome.

Across the city, Agent Rafa has been hoofed out, but only after doing God’s own work at Everton. Christ knows it was an absolutely idiotic appointment but for the first time really in his history, Rafa made the least out of the resources he had to hand, and underachieved , even for Everton. Have his methods suddenly become outdated? Or has he achieved the mission he was assigned by FSG? Being a rubbish manager at Everton is scarcely mission impossible but he’s been more rubbish than most.

I love all the options I’ve heard as his replacement. Lampard isn’t going to achieve anything there, certainly without money. Martinez has failed at Everton once already and the club he left was in far better shape than this one. And Wayne is just so far lacking in experience for a job like this it’s untrue. So hire any of them. Everton are still going down at last, the club is rotten to the core.

Watching Everton struggle isn’t quite as amusing as watching United lurch from one calamity to the next. But considering the jealous, cretinous, vitriolic s**t they repeatedly give us, it’s still very bloody funny indeed.
James, Liverpool

 

Watch Grealish next season
I see people in the mailbox as well as a number of people on Twitter still moaning about Grealish being a flop that City didn’t need to sign. Do people not realise it can take to adapt. He hasn’t been bad either, he’s been fine. Just like Cancelo, Bernardo, Mahrez and many other signings took a season to get going, I expect the same from Grealish. Why do we write players off and call them flops do quickly these days? Sancho is the same. Grealish is a quality player capable of playing in many positions. If he doesn’t improve next season then fair enough but I remember the same being said about previous signings too.
Dion, Arsenal.

 

City rule all?
I agree that the major dominant force in English football right now is City, that is beyond doubt.

However Dave LFC suggests this is something new.

Before the start of this season, City had won as many league titles that United had at the arrival of Sir Alex Fergusson as manager.

Assuming (not much of a stretch) that we win the league this year, we will have won 6 titles in the 14 years of our current ownership.

In order to get close to the dominance of that era of United, we would have to win, after this season, the next 6 league titles.

I do not think a single person honestly thinks that that is the case.

So while City are undoubtedly in a period of dominance, this dominance is nothing new in English football, and it will not continue, especially since that dominance has been led in large part by one excellent manager who will not stay forever.

Sit tight people, our period in the sun will not last.
Dan MCFC

 

It’s over
Good to pick up a win yesterday, but realistically, it’s over. And here’s why:

If Liverpool win their game in hand, they’ll be 8 points behind City with 16 games to play to go. For the purposes of this scenario, let’s assume Liverpool beat City, at the Ethiad. They’ll have to do that. That would put them 5 behind. From those other 15 games, I’d be shocked if City win less than 12. Let’s say best case scenario (for Liverpool) is that City win 12, draw 2 and lose 1. That would be 7 points dropped.

In other words, for Liverpool to finish ahead of City, they would need to win every single game. To be level on points, they would have to win 15 and draw 1.

It seems unlikely. Maybe City will suffer an uncharacteristic loss of form. Maybe they’ll have an injury crisis. I doubt it. As far as I can see, it’s over.
Mike, LFC, London

 

Prem embarrassment
Normally I’d be skating arsenal for calling a game off because of one Covid case. Yes, they let three players go out on loan, yes they have suspended player, yes, they have injuries.

But why oh why is the premier league buying this? Under 23s play a full game on Friday for arsenal.

Liverpool did it
Newcastle did it
Spurs did it
Leicester did it
Boris Johnson did it

Can’t wait to see the January break ….
Ade (7th is coming , Guildford)

 

…So Arsenal get the North London Derby called off because of one case of COVID, “a host of injuries, suspensions”, AFCON (which has been played every 2 years since 1957), and because it looked a bit cold outside.

Meanwhile, Leeds had 8 first team players injured, 1 suspended, and Rodrigo plus 8 U23 players (including a 15-year-old) on the bench against West Ham (who have 2 points more than Arsenal). Not a complaint from the manager, just a gutsy performance and a win.

And until Sunday, I thought I couldn’t feel luckier or prouder to have Bielsa as manager of my team!
Simon
p.s. kudos to West Ham by the way. They never gave up.


…Recent game cancellations (which seem to be less about covid and more about other factors which clubs should factor in such as injuries and international tournaments) has made me think – is it gamesmanship, moaning or a genuine belief that they don’t have any sufficient players to play regardless of age, status etc?

Gamesmanship – if the authorities will cancel some games, then why not ask? Its a valid approach but I don’t agree personally. Blame the rules not the clubs.

Moaning – a gripe about reduced squad numbers but you can still play regardless.

Insufficient players – if the majority of your registered squad are affected then fair enough but if you have insufficient senior players and just don’t want to play/trust your youngsters then that’s on you, so tough luck.

Points 2 and 3 are interlinked but beg the question – what’s the point of a registered squad if you deliberately don’t want to play a certain number of them (I.e. the youngsters) so you can seek a cancellation? You’re effectively saying that some players aren’t good enough or aren’t worth supporting to take that next step (which is how Giggs, Gerrard etc. got their chance). How would that make these young players feel?

The solution is to let clubs extend their registered squad numbers to say 30, for additional cover. Yes, points 2 and 3 would still occur but teams would have sufficient numbers and if they have to rely on youngsters, tough luck. In this case cancellations would only occur if a club couldn’t field 14 outfield players plus 2 keepers. With this solution, cancellations would occur in drastic situations and not be the norm.

Certain premier league managers who have large squads but still seek cancellations could learn a lot from other managers – stop moaning, use your squad and use this as a chance to blood youngsters or play out of favour players.

Thanks
Tom, Leeds fan in Newcastle

 

A collection of thoughts
Great win for us, hopefully the goal comes in Nick of time for Minamimo; the lad needed a goal for his own good after the FA Cup miss. The first 35 minutes were probably the best we have played in a long time but the ease with which teams get behind our back line will be a concern to Klopp although the clean sheet was an additional boost.
Sad for Rafa but he had to go. Teams struggle with rotten luck but Everton didn’t look like turning it around. Curiously though, he might be better off as a DoF/ Technical director going forward considering the structures he put into place while being manager at Liverpool. At Newcastle too he had identified what needed to be improved to function as a whole on club level. A solid coach but one who has been left behind on tactics.
Not sure how much Tim Sherwood is rated over there but we have him on every weekend on prematch shows and proves the point time and again that ex players shouldn’t have the monopoly on punditry. Shearer made a good point reg the structure of a club: If you’re unsure of how long the manager will last, why sell one of your best players? He was shipped because he had a fallout with Benitez but he has left barely a week later, pointing out the sheer lunacy of administration. Sherwood’s counter? The same old rhetoric of a results based business, manager has to own up, etc etc. Surely, no pundit worth his salt would have peeled the issue further.
The 16 conclusions reg NLD were much needed. I realise my club is no saint but if you’re postponing because you’re players are on loan/sold/international duty then surely Leeds and Southampton might want to have a word
Finally, in response to Bryan, tactical setups have their phases. Remember tiki-taka? Peak Barca had Xavi and Iniesta and did produce some truly wonderful moments but was it beautiful all the time? And when Ronaldinho was at his peak, all around us we had 4-4-2. I am not sure the quality of football was better than what we have now. Hopefully we can have something better when it’s time for Gegenpress to move on, but the game will still have its beauty regardless
Vikas, LFC, India (Is it me or Danny Rose and Johnathan David Washington look eerily similar)

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