How selling Kane is in Spurs’ best interests, postcard from USA, and more Henderson…

Editor F365
Man Utd transfer target Harry Kane
Harry Kane waves to fans in Bangkok during a pre-season tour.

The Mailbox features many more views on Jordan Henderson’s big move to Saudi Arabia, and why Tottenham need to say goodbye to Harry Kane this summer…

Get your views on any subject to theeditor@football365.com

Postcard from Atalanta
A few days ago, I wrote about my experience seeing BRE-FUL and NEW-AST in Philadelphia, so I thought I’d offer another inordinately long epistle. I flew down to Atlanta on Wednesday morning and met an online friend for BHA-BRE and NEW-CHE at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. First off, that place is magnificent. It’s just a great place to watch sports, particularly with the roof closed and the AC on in mid-summer Hotlanta. Bars overlook the field from great vantages at many points, which is just great. The Chelsea fans seemed to have the fantastic away end, with its giant window behind them, entirely to themselves, dammit. Newcastle supporters got the sun in their eyes.

Atlanta United are really fortunate to play in that venue, despite its hitherto-artificial pitch. My season-ticket-holding host was almost stunned when I pointed out that the pitch for this match was in fact grass. I think he was even more pleased when he realized that he could now sell his tickets for Miami United’s visits for even more, as Messi is well-known for refusing to play on artificial surfaces. You have to wonder if his arrival in MLS didn’t prompt the change, which will surely please the Falcons’ players too.

The one niggle is that the high placement of the lowest seats means that two corner flags are entirely out of view from nearly every seat in the place. They did, however, open up all the seating sections, which they don’t do for most Atlanta Utd matches. Capacity is 71,000, and they claimed over 70,000 in attendance. To be honest, it never looked anything like that full. Certainly some people only arrived in time for the NEW-CHE match, but there were always thousands of empty seats visible.

As far as the match goes, Chelsea looked far more like a team than they did at they end of last season and created plenty of chances. The single goal they scored was similar to two of the goals we conceded to Villa; that’s concerning. However, Pope returned in net and was his usual clear improvement on Dubravka; he made a lot of basically routine saves. Miggy’s equalizer was really well-taken and greeted with a gigantic roar from what amounted to his hometown crowd. Newcastle have evidently been based in Atlanta for this entire trip, and they put Almiron out there a lot at fan events to let him soak up all the love; it could do wonders for his confidence going into the new season. Sandro Tonali, when moved out of the 6 role he didn’t cope well with in the first half, was much improved in the second. Bruno took months to bed in; I think it will happen a bit more quickly (if less smoothly) for Tonali, whose fitness is already pretty impressive. Bruno himself was again somewhat anonymous; but then, he found himself doing a ton of defensive work even when playing 8. Lewis Miley was kind of phenomenal. It seemed every time I looked up at the ring of inward-facing LED screens — visible from anyplace in the bowl of the stadium except perhaps the center of the pitch — he was involved in the replay. For a 17-year-old, his physical presence was remarkable. Bruno may have made him look good by drawing so much attention.

So: a claimed 70,000 attendees at a Premier League exhibition event in one of the most diverse of the US Deep South’s cities. That’s not bad, even if it’s counting no-shows. I got tickets to a pre-match NUFC event at a local pub that has showed soccer on its screens since at least the mid-90s. The place was absolutely mobbed with black and white (and any splashes of blue). I arrived a half-hour before the start and the best spot I found only allowed me to see or hear Shay Given and Shola Ameobi (legends both) by furtively crouching behind someone’s chair and in front of somebody’s knees. Happily, Shay rolled up to the bar just as I was waiting for a beer, and I got a photo with him. Solid bloke; remains impossibly good-looking. Wish I had gotten to meet Shola, though. I honestly just wanted to hug him.

There were a lot of Chelsea shirts in Atlanta that day; nearly every one of them that was worn by someone under 20 said Pulisic on the back. Sad face; I’d have taken him at NUFC for that money. But my Arsenal-supporting buddy thought NUFC shirts (largely Almirons) outnumbered them. The North American market for the EPL is growing enormously, and Atlanta in particular seems to be a budding hotspot of NUFC support, thanks to Miggy. NUFC merchandising support has been poor in the US during this tour though, from what I’ve seen. I never even saw a Newcastle shirt or scarf for sale in Philly, and in Atlanta I did see home shirts, but they were the first thing to disappear, and that was long before the queue was short enough to consider entering. It might have been be a real missed opportunity to drive the club’s commercial income and ease FFP restrictions.

All-in-all, another great day. I saw members of the US EPL and NUFC teams at work at various points in the day and in online videos from league and club events I wasn’t able to attend; they each seemed to fill different roles at different times, maintaining the energy and engagement required for those jobs magnificently. They all deserve credit for their hard work.
Chris C, Toon Army DC (Holy smokes, though, ATL airport is a security line nightmare. If you must use it, do absolutely anything you can to mitigate the hassles: CLEAR, Pre-Check, Global Entry, whatever!)

 

More Henderson fallout
It really is this simple: Jordan Henderson did a great Gary Neville impression and made being quite good look actually half decent through a tremendous work ethic and desire to succeed. He won everything and seemed (even as an opposition fan who can’t abide Liverpool) like a decent guy, earnt millions & said he cared about LGBTQ+ rights.

Then he went to play in Saudi Arabia, for no other reason (let’s be honest, unlike Jords) than to make himself obscenely, disgustingly and vomit inducingly rich, whilst simultaneously proving that he was either a whopping liar or just utterly & treacherously gutless, regarding what he purported to believe in and stand up for. And people say you can’t buy class…

Reason 22,793 why the game could actually be gone.
Sesh Juan, UTFR Brixton

 

…There’s absolutely no point me wading in on the Jordan Henderson saga, as both sides of the story have been flogged enough. But just felt like pointing out one of the most ludicrous things I have read in these hallowed pages, and there have been some whoppers over the years.

“For years Hendo has been massacred on all online platforms every time Liverpool lost a match. Did the LGBTQ say anything in his defense?”

To be clear, we are talking about a footballer being criticised (not literally massacred) for losing a football match. Most of which he probably never read or cared about, and most of which was written by armchair analysts such as myself. Yet Dominic expects the LGBT movement to take to the streets with rainbow Jordan Henderson flags, given ‘this means more’ no doubt, and forget their own cause for a just one damn moment to support Hendo (puke) as he comes to terms with some online criticism about another sub-standard performance.

What a bunch of selfish hypocrites eh? Presumably he’s been reading the mailbox this last week (feels longer) and drying off his tears with his wads of Riyals. Poor Jordan, lying wailing in his diamond-encrusted bed at the futility of his plight, praying the LGBT movement is gathering a posse to go risk life and limb to comfort him in his new Saudi palace.

Deary me.
Garey Vance, MUFC

 

…So many high horse riders in the country at the moment. People acting like they don’t buy clothes, phones, Temu tat, etc, put together by kids under forced Labour. Pretending they don’t consume animal products that are derived from livestock that are kept in utterly appalling conditions. Partaking in this charade that our country doesn’t sell weapons to nearly 80% of countries that are subject to restrictions by the department of international trade.

Do we lambast all Newcastle/Man City fans, players, or even those who watch these teams for assisting “sports washing”? Do we stop buying productions from every country with poor human rights records? Do we shame all of the many thousand’s of LGBTQ+ people who go to places like Saudi to work?

Probably. In the meantime, people should get their own houses in order before they start giving it the big’un about a fella going to play footy in a country with a sh*t government.
Mike, St Helens

 

We all have a price
Years ago, a young woman attended a very well to do party, full of rich people, hoping to start building her way up in polite and privileged society.

As the evening wore on, she found herself sitting with a quite elderly gentleman. He was very charming, and as the wine flowed, they got on very well. The conversation took a turn:

“Tell me, my dear, would you consider spending the night with me for £20000?,” said the man.

She blushed, quite taken aback, and thought about his proposition. She could use the money for sure, and he really did seem to be a gentleman.

“Yes, I think I would,” she replied.

“Excellent,” said the man, “now tell me this, would you spend the night with me for £100?”

Offended, she replied, “No, of course not, what on earth do you think I am?”

“We have already established what you are, my dear. Now we are negotiating on a price.”
Matthew (All of us are whores, it’s just a matter of money)

 

…I can’t believe I am going to defend a Liverpool player but here goes…

All this hand wringing about the Arab States reminded me of my Philosophy Professor in College once telling me “Morality is relative and contextual, and we all have our price for everything.” I’m sure most of us would return a wallet if we found it, but what if we found a suitcase with $2M in it? Would some of it slip out into our pockets? We probably all abhor violence and killing but how far would we go to protect our loved ones? How many Footballer have left boyhood clubs because they “wanted to win trophies” yet the unspoken subtext is that they can make more money. Similarly, how many clubs cannot sell a player because no other club will pay their exhorbitant salaries and they sit on the bench every week earning thousands of pounds? We can discuss all we want about the shifting morals and values of players but the bottom line is, as the saying goes “money talks…” We are all aghast that a footballer went back on his word? The shock! The horror!

Now I don’t know the exact figure but I believe Jordan Henderson is going to be paid 750,000 pounds A WEEK. So that’s his price, his 30 pieces of silver. He’s not being asked to out or persecute anyone, just keep quiet and play football. To imply his behavior is akin to the average German who remained silent during the 1930s quite frankly is insulting to both Henderson and those who were powerless in those times.

Maybe I was on vacation at the time but I don’t recall the same wailing and gnashing of teeth when China started their Super League or any consternation about players joining the Turkish League, etc., etc., etc. Even Australia’s record concerning the Aboriginals is hardly exemplary.

The Henderson family have 750,000 reasons every week to justify the decision they made for their family and I doubt they will lose one hour of sleep based on the views of the Court of Public Opinion.

I’d sincerely like to hear from someone who claims they wouldn’t do the same.

Adidasmufc (So Gerard gets a free pass because he wasn’t such vocal advocate for the LGBT community?)

 

…This mail is for seb and Clive or anyone else claiming everything has a price.
They are ok with Saudi money… if the price is right.

What other money are they ok with if the price is right?

How much would it cost for them to run a nazi concentration camp?
Just think, so that for a few years and your family will be set up for generations… so what is the figure?
Everything has a price, so surely they would be willing to kill millions of people for the right amount… what is it?

Seb has badgered jn for a response to his hypothetical questions, I hope he doesn’t dodge this one and tells us all the exact amount to gas people.

Clive, maybe you will gas millions to save your kids? Or maybe for 100m.

I am really curious to know, given everything has its price.

Of course if this is a bridge to far, can we stop with the emails about “everything has a price”? Unless you are willing to name it… it doesn’t.
Liam

 

Kane can go
First of all, I need to counter Dominic, lfc on his line on personal (sexual) choices. My nephew is gay. My whole family could tell he was from a young age, he knew from a young age. But he could not fully admit it to himself throughout his teens until he was in his 20s. He got so badly bullied at school because other kids (rightly as it turned out) assumed that he was gay that it took a massive toll on his well being and mental health. He hated himself, he thought himself a freak and he internalised all that bullying into his own homophobia and cut himself from friends and family because he didn’t think that anyone could truly love or even like him. He did not choose that. Most people would not want to choose that! You do not choose to be gay or to be attracted to people of the same sex. You are born with it. Whether you are black, white, Asian, European, African or from the Middle East, you don’t choose your sexual preferences.

To try and keep this email football related, I’ll talk about one Harry Kane. Spurs should sell him, as per your site’s brilliant article the other day. I hear the arguments, look where we would be without him, his goals are invaluable etc etc. To a certain extent I understand. He is irreplaceable. But, it is time Spurs tried to move on and I think a big part of that is fellow Spurs fans recognising that Top 4 is unrealistic and top 6 will be a battle. With City, Arsenal, Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle all in the mix, I don’t think it’s hard to argue that Spurs are one of the weakest in terms of squad and first 11 with or without Kane (especially at the back!) Chuck Villa and Brighton into the mix and it’s going to be tough.

Spurs need a complete rebuild. That means ushering out the old guard, including Kane, and changing our philosophy and style. Richarlison won’t replace Kane, no-one is saying that he will replace Kanes goals or passes and assists that he brings. But if he is the main striker, between him, Son, Kulusveski, Maddison and maybe the likes of Lo Celso and Solomon, we should be able to cope to still compete for a European place.

Once fans can re-align their expectations and get behind what Postecoglou is trying to do, it makes sense. Let him go, get the money and re-invest it. Thanks for the good times but now it’s time to rebuild and start afresh.
Northern Spur (please Levy, get some bloomin defenders in!!!)

Read more: Looking for potential Man Utd strikers in top 20 finishers list headed by Harry Kane 

Prem predictions
Two weeks till the season starts and no predictions????
These are much more fun than the Saudi League and who is or isnt a hypocrite

Who will win the league?
Arsenal as strengthened their weaknesses from last season. When anyone from the first XI was unavailable the drop off in quality was too great. Additions of Rice, Havertz and Timber has addressed
City seem to have weakened their squad without yet getting in replacements so fingers crossed for a hangover from their success last year
Rest of top 4 in order, that no one ever gets right
Liverpool – Despite a poor 1st half of the season still came 5th almost stole into 4th
City – After a poor 1st season like many under Pep, Haaland to come good but hangover from last season to keep them just below their normal standards
Chelsea – Good manager and a good squad surely can’t be as bad as last year
Three picks for relegation
Wolves – What is going on there? Weakened their squad and seem to be sleep walking to relegation before a ball has been kicked. Good manager, made a massive impact last season, but why would he stay and put up with this seemingly lack of support
Luton – The fairytale will be enjoyed and suprise a few but will end in disappointment, although seem to be preparing themselves for a better tilt in two years
Everton – Please God, finally get rid of them
Which club will be a pleasant suprise
Luton – As said above the fairytale will be enjoyed and they will bloody afew noses too….maybe Nathan Jones will come back at some point too
Who will win the golden Boot?
Martinelli, because putting Haaland will be cheating and Kane will be banging them in for Bayern
Which new signing will have the most positive impact
Havertz – More natural for the Xhaka role last season who is very dangerous from deep as he has shown for Germany and Leverkusen before being played out of position at Chelsea
And which one will turn out to be a massive flop
Onana – feel there will be a great compilation of his errors over playing this season
Who will be the biggest bloody bargain
Kluivert, because of his Dad and just want him to be awesome and deliver on the potential he showed when first came on to the scene
Who will be named pfa player of the year
Saka will be recognised as the best right winger in the world by seasons end hopefully followed by the winning goal in the Euro final next summer
First manager to leave their job
Lopetegui, because why would he stay at that fustercluck of a club trying to outdo Everton
Champions league winner
Real Madrid because no one will handle that midfield – Bellingham, Tchochameni, Camavinga ably supported by Modric, Cruz and Valverde
In five words tell us what your most excited about this season
Stewie and Barry Fox Brainmelts

TDLR – these will all be wrong, except for Saka comments
Liam C, Stevenage

 

Team of Rooneys
In response to Paul’s email about player 11s I reckon a Rooney 11 would have the best chance. Goals will not be a problem (man utd and eng top scorer for a while), assists won’t be an issue (top 3 assists in the premier League). Defence- would be ok.. Innumerable times when he has chased the opposite forward and recovered even as the last man. And for goalkeeping skills I’d point you to the nike advert from a long time ago (cantona, Ferguson). Best of all- he can even manage his own 11- with his managerial experience.
Nitz