Gary Neville ‘turning into a left-wing Trump’ as Liverpool supporter drops Man City ‘guilty’ verdict

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Gary Neville slammed Mailbox
Gary Neville and Khaldoon Al Mubarak.

The Mailbox reckons Gary Neville is ‘turning into a left-wing Donald Trump’. Plus, Manchester City’s ‘guilt’ and Bruno Fernandes should be like Kobbie Mainoo.

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Neville is at it again…
I see Gary Neville is at it again with his words of wisdom, demonstrating yet again the political nous, foresight and general chutzpah for which he’s becoming renowned.. .

“Those six owners who were willing to destroy the game in this country and around Europe, they’ve been let off scot-free. It’s disgraceful that they’ve been let off scot-free; it really is.”

“They get fined £3m quid each, they should have been knocked out of the league, the lot of them. What they did was an absolute crime.”

Yes, Einstein, and what do you think the upshot of that would have been? How do you think these six, highly profit-focussed, multi-million pound businesses would have reacted to that? Would they, a. Have taken their punishments with good grace, resolved to mend their ways and served their time in the Championship before returning, poorer but wiser, to the Premier League happy to be competing again on a level playing field. b. Clapped their hands with glee*, realising that Christmas had come early, spun the situation to present themselves as victims of overzealous regulation and used it as an excuse to forge ahead with their original plans bringing the inevitable destruction of ‘the game in this country’ forward a decade.

Gary, engage brain as well as heart before speaking. You’re turning into a left-wing Trump.
Stef, Medway


FFP moralising is way out of control
Crikey, Calvino and brevity are not good friends. It’s hard to respond to such a long meandering essay. Especially when there are so many retorts to things I didn’t say, but I’ll have a go.

My overall point from my last letter was that the moralising over FFP is way out of control. FFP is a recent thing that has been gamed by the biggest clubs to keep their monetary advantages in place. Advantages that caused other clubs to overspend so they could compete even before FFP was in place. FFP isn’t sacred text handed down by the gods, so enough of the hyperbole for a flawed anticompetitive system. The real cheats are the G14 clubs who stopped other clubs being able to compete by modifying FFP.

And your binary view of Big Red club style owners versus rich owners is flawed. Regulation can easily mandate that owner investment can’t be debt on the club, to resolve the issues of them walking away. What we need is for clubs to be able to progress and compete with legacy clubs and stop entrenched hierarchies. And a modified version of FFP could do that.

It’s too late now for shared gate receipts even enough that allowed provincial clubs to compete with large city clubs. That is actual financial fair play where a leveller playing field is created. As that can’t be brought back then rich owners along with planning, scouting etc is the only way to compete at the top with legacy clubs.

You seem to agree that FFP and football club mobility is broken but don’t advocate for any change. Instead you give lots of examples of non football situations to keep the status quo. And for someone so keen on credibility and English pride, it’s a shame you can’t see that real FFP change would help this situation.

And the Man City fan reaction isn’t Trumpian, but a weariness at the double standard along with the FFP hyperbole, while ignoring the gaming of the system. Like most things context is important and this seems to be missing, hence my last letter.
Andy D. Manchester. MCFC.

READ MORE: Six ways to separate Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City in the Premier League title run-in


Man City guilt
I’m a Liverpool fan, so naturally I want City to be found guilty on all charges, kicked out of football entirely and their entire infrastructure dismantled/demolished. Lev Blue is right tho, we all need to wait until the case is completely finished and we know what’s what before the arguing should start.

However, where he is wrong is his assertion/belief that pleading guilty or being found not guilty are the same as being innocent. OJ Simpson both plead and was found not guilty. Was he innocent?

Harvey Weinstein, Epstein, Gary Glitter and a whole host of Nazis at Nurenburg all plead not guilty. None of them were innocent.

Unless Man City are making some sort of power play, dragging all this out to prove something I can’t think of, then they are guilty. ”We have incontrovertible evidence we are innocent, but we’re not showing you.” That’s guilt.

That is all.
Clive LFC


Kobbie Mainoo
Liverpool fan here, I watch a lot of united games because my housemate is a united fan and we watch the games together most of the time.

The dude that said mainoo is all hype has not watched him play. He is not Zidane, scholes or Gerrard and nobody is claiming that he is. But from the first time he stepped on the pitch he had composure and belief which are two of the most valuable attributes in football and stood out in what is a pretty composure and belief stricken united team.

At 18 he looked like the senior player that fernandes is supposed to be. He has good close control of the ball and crucially – very rarely wastes it while progressing forward.

He is nowhere near the finished article but then it’s his first season so expecting him to be is stupid. I dunno what team the guy who posted that supported but I’ll wager he’s not a united fan. Neither am I but I can admit a rival player is good when they are.

READ MORE: Mainoo bolts into the famous F365 Euro 2024 England ladder, which has a new No. 1


Big club bias
We always hear about big club bias. That referees favour big clubs and big clubs get most of the decisions at home.

Is it true?

you could look at which teams are awarded the most free kicks and say that those teams clearly are favoured by referees and this season the teams which are given the most refereeing decisions are as follows –

Spurs 384
Villa 360
Newcastle 358
Brighton 340
Luton 339

Huh? Shouldn’t this list be arsenal, city, Liverpool, man united and Chelsea? How weird.

But wait the team which concedes the most fouls will definitely be the bottom teams, newly promoted right? Because they get picked on by refs…

Bournemouth 371
Wolves 342
Liverpool 340
Palace 340
Everton 340

So Liverpool aren’t in the top 5 for refereeing decision for but ARE in the top 5 for decisions against? And assuming all decisions are correct since when I pointed out the fact Liverpool are bottom of the VAR table every year people commented that those decisions only reflect correct decisions. So even assuming refs get it right Liverpool (or any big club ) are not favoured by refs at all.

Another weird stat over the last 10 years the visiting team is almost twice as likely to get a penalty at the following grounds, anfield, Emirates, stamford bridge… And 3 times more likely (this actually blew my mind) to get a penalty at old Trafford. So the big teams get less penalties than visitors at home and in general get less referee decisions overall. If anything looking at the data suggests a bias against the ‘cartel’ it makes it even more strange when you consider all of the big teams spend more time in the opposition box too so SHOULD be more likely to get penalties and decisions.

But I’m sure some small club fans will now do some mental back flips to say how I’m wrong again (despite the fact so far every data point refutes the big bias hypothesis) so fire away.


Time to chill about Eddie Howe?
Jeez, maybe Tickner ought to chill about Eddie Howe?
He’ll be sacked eventually, and probably in a dignified, perhaps non-contract-renewing sort of way. But you really should also be aware — as the board seems to be — that Howe faced an unprecedented injury-and-suspension crisis this season, and before it reached its worst, United handed out a number of impressive narrow wins and outright thumpings, one of which was served to actual PSG. Howe will surely start next season as manager of NUFC, though he’d probably be advised to be high on the table come November.

The season’s long list of injuries has made for difficult reading, especially as it has revealed a number of truths about Newcastle’s squad. The majority of the squad’s value is concentrated in players bought by the Saudis. Among the ten most valuable players in the squad as estimated by Transfermarkt, Joelinton (€42m), Willock (€35m) and Longstaff (€25m) are the only ones who weren’t purchased with Saudi money. I’m ignoring loanees like Ryan Fraser and Jamal Lewis as negligible quantities in the market, mind.

The first thing you should notice there is that Sean Longstaff is among the ten most valuable players at the club (yikes). The second is that however much I love the lad, neither Longstaff’s presence in that top ten list nor his €25m valuation is evidence of a club operating at an elite level. Manchester City’s tenth most-valuable player is Kevin effing De Bruyne (€60m). At PSG, it’s a tie between Vitinha and Lucas Hernandez, at €45m. That’s what elite looks like, though it might not be exactly what I want my club to look like.

I think it’s easy to misapprehend Newcastle’s financial situation because its owners are literally the richest people on earth. But excluding the Saudi owners’ buys, most of whom we would obviously love to keep, there’s only so much player value in the squad. Mike Ashley’s 13 remaining signings represent only about €173 million of the squad’s €646 total value, per Transfermarkt. That’s roughly half the value of Manchester City’s €1.2b squad, for context, but only about €150m less than Manchester United’s rabble. PSG and Real Madrid’s squads are both worth about a billion.

To make matters worse, Newcastle have a shockingly high proportion of our costs going to player salaries. Meaning that the club are paying players top dollar, even when they have little transfer utility. If Newcastle ignored fears of gutting their midfield and somehow found buyers for all three of Joelinton, Willock and Longstaff at Transfermarkt’s valuation, it would net us about €100 million…in a market where replacing even two of those players with better quality could cost at least that much. But among the players below them in that squad value list – players like Murphy, Almiron, Lascelles, and Ritchie, (i.e., the ones we’d happily sell) there’s neither much demand nor much profit to be had.

Newcastle want to be an elite club, but however much money waits to be spent when this summer’s fiscal tap reopens, that flow is likely to remain obstructed for the foreseeable future by The Rules – which are not entirely unjust or ill-intentioned, but also definitely represent the former richest clubs pulling the ladder up behind themselves – and which are likely to keep the club operating near the edge of the loss limits, slowing direct investment by ownership to a trickle. New commercial deals will provide new, rule-friendly opportunities for revenue though, and the club has already closed its team store and gotten permission for a temporary location across the street to operate during Adidas-driven renos to the existing store.

I’m no P&S accountant, but I suspect the big new Adidas deal will put at least €30 million on the balance sheets. However, the deal represents almost the biggest credible marketing opportunity that Newcastle could ever have access to except naming rights for SJP, which would stir some ill-will. So management is surely looking anxiously for new ways to generate revenue. Because with a hard-to-sell (or don’t-want-to-sell) squad, only growth in commercial revenues can really provide flexibility under P&S rules that essentially limit new investment by ownership to paying down £35 million in losses per year. Also, owner loans are now a no-no. So, absent player sales, that €30 million also probably resembles the club’s transfer budget for next summer to an uncomfortable degree.

It’s not hard to imagine Dan Ashworth understanding these facts and realizing that while his job is as luxuriously cushy as any club executive’s, it would be quite some time before Newcastle had the commercial income that would provide the kind of freedom to act that he’d have at, say, Manchester United. I don’t really blame him, but I do rather dislike how the club are still paying his salary while so unable to trust him to do his job that he may actually be gardening.

The upshot of all this is that predictions that Newcastle would challenge for the Premiership within five years were probably very optimistic indeed. At the rate of €35 million of investment a year, it would take the club almost two decades to catch up to City in terms of quality, and that’s if City stood still. But that doesn’t make me particularly unhappy. Football limits its fairy godmothers these days, which makes what Reynolds & co. are doing at Wrexham all the more remarkable (though seemingly under different rules). I don’t need – allow me to engage in a bit of ironic cultural appropriation here – a genie to make my club the bestest ever in the world. I just want my club to compete, and maybe win a trophy once or twice.

The other upshot is that Bruno will be likely be sold in the summer, probably in Spain. That banks perhaps as much as €70m in profit, giving us the elbow room we require to improve.
Chris C, Toon Army DC (I actually started this as a comment to Tickner’s latest manager rankings, but it sort of grew in scope as resentment gave way to thought. So, well done I guess, Dave.)

READ MORE: Klopp was not Liverpool’s first choice either… Mourinho, Wenger offer Liverpool hope after Alonso ‘snub’


Jordan Pickford
Pickford has been the most solid England no1 I’ve seen in my lifetime.

He may be starting his descent but the world Cup the Euros, he has been phenomenal. Im sure there are some other, maybe one or two, other level headed England fans who can definitely agree.

After years of howlers, through Seaman, Green, James, he has been so reliable which seems to go against his persona and a plus, he loves being there, which as a fan makes me warm and fuzzy.

I’m 34, and being from Coventry I throw myself behind England, as I dont get to support world class players otherwise.

England’s defence in general has been great for years, this tournament may be the end of the era, as through age, absence and incompetence, I feel it’s going to scupper us, but in years to come that backline and especially Pickford should be held in the highest regard.
Sean, Canada eh. So defence is actually DeFense


Name game: Vulgar edition
The name game mail got me thinking of a vulgar version of the name game, which always makes me laugh out loud today when i think of those players, as in my local language (Hindi) or in normal English, some names just convert into hilariously vulgar language. For example:

Malouda: Maa lauda literally translates into mothers penis in hindi
Makalele: take your mothers : translates into fuck your mother in hindi
Lundstrom or anyone with the surname Lund: Translate into penis in hindi.
Anyone named Randy or Rand: Translates into a prostitute
Danny Shittu: pretty obvious
Fuchs: obvious.

Any other player names that translate into hilarious bad words in your local language?