The great Bukayo Saka debate continues to rage on and on

Date published: Friday 20th November 2020 9:39

Send your thoughts on Arsenal and Bukayo Saka to


Pep talk
Headline – “£16Billion budget announced for defence”
Pep Guardiola – “that should be enough, where’s that contract?”
Graham Kirk (good news, keeps the best here and we get to see Messi on a cold Tuesday in Burnley) Manchester


Conn, man
Conn’s long-winded message
seems to come to a simple conclusion – being a Capitalist is inherently a flaw. His house investment point is analogous to saying people who can afford to buy stocks shouldn’t buy them because it drives the price up for other people who can’t buy them.  And so I pose a simple question for Conn – What should Rashford invest in to protect and grow his wealth for his family and secure their future???

There is no caveat for what Rashford is doing and your argument is just as frivolous though not as dangerous as the Daily Mail.  He’s doing great work which should be appreciated and supported.

End of.


Dear Editor

I had been drafting an email to you about the use of grammar and idiom by contributors to the mailbox. In my defence, the idea occurred when the whole OGS/Lampard/Arteta debate was raging and it was just SO BORING that I decided an email about people using expressions incorrectly would be more interesting: damp squid; chomping at the bit; baited breath… Anyone? No? As an aside to that, I hate it even more when commentators do it because they get paid to say crap like “he’s taken that shot from a cute angle”. It’s “an ACUTE angle” you highly paid, PROFESSIONAL SPEAKER. And as a further aside, even when “cute” is used correctly in commentary (grammatically, at least) I still hate it.

So you’ve been spared pages and pages about that – the Editor probably would have stopped reading after a sentence or two anyway (and this email might get the same treatment too).

There are quite a lot of readers here who only want to read about football and that is absolutely their prerogative. They can even complain about articles addressing football’s place in society, if they must, because it helps those with a different opinion to develop their thinking about why they think those issues ARE important. Those other readers, myself included, enjoy thinking about the intersection of football with wider cultural issues. There’s room for all of us – we need the likes of Harry Kane and Alan Shearer (single-minded machines, unencumbered by personality, or any imagination apart from “f***ing chances, goals”) as much as we need the likes of Memphis Depay, Zlatan and Cantona (weird creatures from another planet who operate under a different set of parameters), as well as everything in between.

This brings us, inevitably and belatedly, to Grauniad v Mail on Sunday v Marcus Rashford. [If you don’t like this subject matter and you’re still reading and I’ve been published (ie Sarah, you have to keep reading, regardless) then please feel free to skip the rest, and/or go BTL to tell me this is a football site and I should never share another opinion with anyone, ever.] In the comments section about GvMoSvMR someone asked if coverage of Rashford’s property purchases was newsworthy, given that lots of footballers buy property (and indeed, other people too). Someone replied “Because Rashford is in the news, and plays for England and United? Would as many people read the article if it was about let’s say, Kieran Gibbs or Ben Foster?”

Both of them have valid points. “Would as many people read it” vs “newsworthy”. Are they the same thing!? Newspapers should report what’s in the public interest, so if people want to read it then that might be considered “newsworthy”. On the other hand, we might define “newsworthy” as relevant, ie Rashford is in the news because of the school meals thing and him buying properties is relevant to that in some way.

In my opinion, both ways of defining Marcus Rashford’s property purchases as “newsworthy” are problematic. If we accept something as newsworthy simply because people are interested to read it, rather than because it is relevant to the issue, then journalism cannot operate as a fourth pillar of democracy (and mostly it doesn’t). Instead, this reporting should be signposted as advertising – “Marcus Rashford is in the news, so here are some pictures of the houses he bought as a business venture, for you to click on so we can generate advertising revenue – for coverage of actual news go to [link]”. Alternatively, his property purchases ARE relevant to the news story. In which case, the logic is that if you are wealthy you cannot ever promote the interests of those less fortunate than you unless you have first given away all of your wealth (or at least enough of it to qualify as a philanthopist).

The system is so loaded. I was lucky enough to have a privileged upbringing but I am in favour of a more equal society: so apparently I’m a champagne socialist and you mustn’t listen to me. Marcus Rashford didn’t have a privileged upbringing, but the implication of the MoS article is that because he has been successful within the prevailing capitalist system and is now wealthy, his views on equality should be ignored unless he gives all his wealth away. I could go along with that thinking if we were also surveying the vulnerable and the homeless to ask how they would redesign society. As it is, we don’t give a voice to the vulnerable and as soon as anyone has enough “prestige/wealth” whatever to promote those issues, we say they now can’t represent them. Catch 22.

If that was all a bit much, here is a poem by a relatively unsuccessful champagne socialist, born into privilege, about a successful property magnate born into relative poverty:

Marcus Rashford, MBE
Campaigns to end food poverty
For government to give for free
Some meals to kids who’d go hungry

Beset by troubles all around
Dear leader Boris gives some ground
“Some meagre morsels might be found
For those whose judgement is unsound.”

The moral of this tory tale
Is if your parents didn’t scale
The heights of print or bank or sale
You also must deserve to fail.

But Marcus Rashford, MBE
Thinks those less fortunate than he
Should maybe get some food, no fee.
“But did you know, he’s rich you see!”

“Heaven forbid! What front, what gall!
All he does is kick a ball
And buy up houses when prices fall.”
(The Daily Mail says so, after all).

Of course, they don’t pay any heed
To purchases, or bribes, or greed
Of those with class, or land, moneyed
Who lend no voice to those in need.

Marcus Rashford, MBE
A young man, merely 23
Who brought the eyes of all to see
Those failed by our society.

Who though they try to pillory
For having wealth but no degree
Tweets sharp retorts with dignity.
So here’s an ode to you, from me.
Marcus Rashford, MBE.

Love to all
Pothers [square brackets]


Adding insult to Liverpool injuries
Poor Ferg from Cork seems to have got his knickers in a twist after a little hint that injuries should be expected when there is an increased volume of games and limited pre season due to the previous season ending late.

To be clear to Ferg, there is no need for a tin foil hat as it isn’t all about Liverpool – although the reply as to a mail about Liverpool, so thats why it referenced THEM.

All clubs will/are suffering from injuries for the same reason, which will increase and decrease at different intervals over the condensed season…. or they will suffer from fatigue, as in the case of the teams that ran late into European matches too, who look a little leggy early in the season.

At least he pointed out that Leciester have injuries too, as will all other clubs at some point…. the best squad in the league beating another team with injuries too, is hardly going to be the miracle described in the initial mail is it?!!
Gary B(Robertson will play this weekend so stop crying, and probably some of the others ‘injured’ – most of it is mind games)


Saka? Sh*t
Jonny Wilkinson once said that when he took a shot at goal it made no difference to him if it was in practice or if it was to win the world cup final , a kick a kick.

I know I am using a Rugby player as an example but watching Saka (and other players over the years) he is obviously overawed by playing for England. Someone needs to sit him and down and tell him to just play like he does at his club and forget all the talk of moving up a level (which is bullshit , because most international teams are no better than championship clubs).


Saka? Good
Not sure if you’ve been watching the same Saka as I have Chris. Hes quite a well rounded player. He can play LB, LWB, CM, LW, RW and CAM. Hes good at carrying the ball, good at crossing, creates chances, hes quick and isnt afraid to shoot. I honestly dont know what you’re basing your comments on.

Nobody has taken more shots per game than Saka since he made his England debut. He has had the highest passing % in the team and has quite easily made more key passes than any other player. I got these stats form WhoScored so they’re not hard to find. Saka is a quality player and one of the few positive things about Arsenal this season. Hes defintely a better offensive player than defensive player but with his quality and versatility, hes a great option.
Dion, Donegal.


Kras comments
Juan Carlos notes how Spanish names are mispronounced by commentators. You should see attempts at Russian ones…

My wife is from Krasnodar, so naturally this season we’ve been enjoying the somewhat amazing sight of the local team playing in the Champions League (shame about the results, but never mind). The correct pronunciation is KRASS-no-dar, stress on the first syllable. Nothing too complicated, the sounds are the same as in English. But seemingly every commentator is going for KRAZZ-no-dar, a bit like going for ‘Arzenal’ or ‘Chelzea’.

In the last round of matches, for some reason the BT guys moved on to Krazz-NO-dar, stress on the middle syllable. This is like saying ‘Ar-ZEE-nal’ or ‘Lie-VER-pool’.

Not a big deal, in fact it’s giving my sons a good laugh each week. But it’s not that hard to get right.


Interesting mail from Juan Carlos (John Charles?) on his Spanish lessons. I don’t speak the language so I have learnt something factual from the mailbox for a change 🙂

Anyway this got me thinking of an annoying trait in football of why we are trying to mangle non-English names into our own language in a subjective manner? Sure James may be Hamez in a Spanish speaking country but in England he’s the same name as Chelsea’s young full back.  Anything else is pretentious B.S. Ask yourself when you last said Munchen when Bayern were playing. Or James team mate according to that reliable source of Google is pronounced Reesharrlizon. No me neither.

And before anyone tells me it’s respect for a person, does it count as disrespecting a whole city of people from Paris, sorry Pa-ree?  I have work in Europe and central America and dont care if people call me Stefan, Schteevan or other variations – their language pronounce sounds different to me, who cares?

I wonder if it’s got anything to do with, god help us, marketing. I mean it’s narcissistic enough to put your first name on the back of your shirt in the first place hey Jimmy, sorry Himmy. Or is it Hammy?

Stay safe fellow mailboxers
Steve (ex-Flixton Red ) Canada


Dear Juan from CAdith,

It was great to read your letter on pronunciations and as an Englishman married to a Spanish teacher who used to live in Spain it gave me a special laugh.

Partly because we both laugh not just at English commentators but also at all the Spanish attempts to pronounce non-Spanish players (Le Saux used to leave us in fits of laughter) but also the idea that Spain has constant pronunciations even in regions as you say. If you need an example, think of your own city where ‘s’ is pronounced with a ‘th’. Bizarre! My wife even points out people from CAdiz don’t even pronounce the ‘Z’ in Cadiz….

But, in defence of all commentators, I don’t think it would be realistic for them to learn all the rules of grammar for all the main players. We would need them to be expert in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch (OMG!), not least to mention Arabic, maybe Korean etc…Who would we hire? UN translators as commentators?!

Well, you get my point. Add in the fact that regionally different pronunciations do make a big difference and what are the commentators to do? Decide which is the correct regional pronunciation or learn 100s of regional variation by heart and try apply on players place of birth?

My friend, I say we all just sit back and enjoy the chaos. Many a boring match have been relieved by us laughing at some poor middle-aged man (Mostly) struggle with a long Polish or Norwegian name.

Take that from us and what are we left with? Well, drab football matches…god help us

Adios Amigo
Keith (Imagine years of listening to Spanish people try and pronounce that!) – London



There was a mail a while back about look-alikes. Every time I watch Mr Robot I realize why I haven’t seen Özil in an Arsenal shirt in a while. Quite busy with the hacking I guess.
From the old days of F365 Gary Neville and T-Bag from Prison Break stuck with me, it was a fine match.
Matti, Helsinki


Top work
“A club that has been collectively burned more severely than a narcoleptic sunbather in recent years….”

This is simply an outstanding use of the English language. I applaud thee, author.
Jon (Bloody accurate, too), Lincoln



More Related Articles