The Mailbox suggests that Jack Grealish’s doubters can’t all be wrong while bracketing the £100m man with Gazza. Also: how sanitised do we want our stadiums?
Get your views in to email@example.com…
Too much doubt over Grealish
Lot of debate at the moment about how good Grealish really is, is he worth £100m, is he delivering etc. Pep says so Souness says not but others not so sure. Personally for me its VERY simple. If it’s even a discussion then I’m afraid they’re not delivering. We had exactly the same discussions about Sancho, Pogba, Rashford, Balotelli, Gazza etc etc. Where maybe 60/40 think they’re ‘world class’ or whatever terminology you wish to use. I’m afraid if 40% aren’t convinced – they’re not all wrong even if you dont think it.
Weirdly I don’t recall these discussions about De Bruyne, Salah, Scholes, Shearer, Henry etc. Why? Because they ram doubt down the critics throats where its not even a discussion.
Some fair points from Rob in his email re: fan behavior. Any racism should be stamped out immediately. This isn’t complicated. There’s CCTV everywhere. Ban the clowns for life. Easy.
As for Eric Dier’s situation… yeah its of course personally horrible for any family members to hear people abusing their handsome multi-millionaire footballer brother/sister/son. But in the grand scheme of things, id suggest its not the end of the world, though there are of course lines to be drawn.
But to what level do we want to sanitize the experience. I’ve no issue bringing my kid to a game where the crowds are telling the ref he is sh*t. It’s a bit naughty, it’s a bit silly, but if Rob is offended by that, then I suggest he doesn’t leave his house or go on social media ever. Its ok to use a little bit of bad language. It’s kind of fun. Try it Rob.
Then there’s the chants… a cornerstone of the footballing experience. These are sometimes witty, often fun, sometimes pushing the boundaries… Do we want them gone? Do we want them replaced with chants of “GO TEAM, PLEASE TRY YOUR BEST BUT WINNING ISNT EVERYTHING #BEKIND”. Some may say the recent chants of “Lizzies in a box” were tasteless, shocking and should be banned for fear of offending people. Others may say they were a natural reaction to the death a figure that was the ultimate representation of inequality. An actual way for everyday working-class people to voice their disappointment at a system they feel doesn’t represent them. Gallows humor often has an important point being made…
As for booing national anthems? I think it should be allowed. 100%. It gives nations with a false sense of superiority the opportunity the demonstrate that they have never read an actual history book and allows the world to see exactly how that nation sees itself. Hence why this booing is done primarily by the English fans…
Who gets to draw the line on what’s acceptable? Will it be the same people who introduced VAR? If so, I’d suggest the people making such decisions have no idea what real football fans want.
I’ll be bringing my boy to the next Ireland game. I may let him curse a tiny bit just as a release as he’s been in school all week (no F Bombs). We’ll be a little boisterous, we might even boo the opposition team (though not the anthem). It’ll be a bit of silly fun and ill remind him that football doesn’t really matter when we get home. Then back to school/work in the morning. Hopefully this won’t upset too many people.
…I agree with Rob from Gravesend’s point. I was in Marseilles with England in the Euros and people there included a lad about 18 running round with a toy plane chanting 10 German bombers.
I went to my local team at the weekend sat behind a Dad and his young son and the abuse coming from people behind me I could tell the Dad looked uncomfortable. The worst was the abuse the linesman got for making correct decisions why would you bother?
Not sure what the answer is and I know going to a game is a way of letting off steam and I may have been guilty of similar behaviour in the past but people need to get a sense of realism
Simon (Hopefully Stockport will stay in the league!)
Should I stop supporting England?
I was wondering whether I should continue supporting England today. As a result of airing my anti-monarchist views over the last couple of weeks I’ve been “invited” to leave the country I was born in. I’ve also had people rush to tell me that I’m not actually English. Granted, I have mixed ethnicity. However, I was born in England. Honestly, people are more ready to call a Balti pasty made in Truro Cornish than myself English. I was born and raised in north London. I wasn’t brought up in a football-supporting family but I took it upon myself to support England. I’ve suffered with the nation since Euro 96. I celebrated when our women won in the summer. I’ve been to Wembley to see England play and belted out the national anthem. I wonder how Anglo-Saxon (read: Germanic) England supporters feel about people like me who helped England get to their first final since ’66. And, I’m not just talking about Saka and Sterling. What about Grealish and Rice? What about that song we all love singing that’s co-written by a Jewish Chelsea fan? If you get offended by England fans who don’t want to sing God Save the King before England play I ask that you engage with them with civility. Ask them why. Please try and understand that although we’re all proud England fans we can have very valid reasons to not support an establishment rooted in social superiority. Yes, an old woman died, and that’s sad. But, please, don’t use that as a shield for some deep-seated xenophobia. To every angry Anglo-Saxon England supporter I say this; every cup of tea you drink should be a reminder of why you’re not 100% English either.
Simon, Norf London Gooner
The famous F365 ladder – Arsenal edition
As we take a break in Premier League action, I thought I would reflect on the start Arsenal have made to the season by replicating the famous F365 ladder. As always, this is my opinion on the thoughts of Arteta rather than my own. Here goes:
(1) Jesus – Game changer.
(2) Partey – This squad has no able deputy. Must not break.
(3) Ramsdale – See above.
(4) Xhaka – Who would have thought it?
(5) Martinelli – The most improved player in this squad of the last 12 months?
(6) Zinchenko – This squad was heavily dependent on Tierney last season, but now absolutely isn’t. Which is a huge compliment.
(7) Odegaard – The fact he’s only 7th is recognition of how well this team are doing.
(8) Saka – See above, but 8th.
(9) Gabriel – We know Arteta loves a leftie at CB, and he’s the only one.
(10) Saliba – As fantastic as he’s been (and he really has) you get the feeling White could shuffle across, Tomiyasu could come in and the team would be fine.
(11) White – Tomiyasu is waiting and Saliba is already playing.
(12) Tomiyasu – Here he is. And he’s fucking ready.
(13) Tierney – So is this dependable warrior.
(14) Nketiah – Proving to be a reliable squad player worthy of minutes.
(15) Vieira – Probably won’t be hanging around this part of the ladder for too long.
(16) Smith Rowe – Needs to not be broken.
(17) Holding – Absolutely fourth choice CB.
(18) Lokonga – The Deadline Day pursuit of Luiz was damning.
(19) Marquinhos – Probably won’t be hanging around this part of the ladder for too long either.
(20) Turner – Will get more Europa/Carabao minutes and will need to look more convincing.
(21) Elneny – Broken, otherwise would be higher.
(22) Nwaneri – Busy revising for his GCSEs.
Just to echo the email from Steve in this morning’s mailbox about Eddie Howe. The biggest difference between Newcastle in September 2021 and September 2022 isn’t necessarily points, it’s style.
Yes, we’ve only won one game, but we’ve missed 3 of our best players for half of those games and have played the big 2 within that. You could also make a case that we could have won (not should – Brighton battered us but Wilson will feel unlucky to have been penalised for high foot) all of the matches we’ve played.
A year ago, we were bottom, winless and hopeless. Howe has transformed us and we’re on the right track. We still lack quality in key areas and as backup, but with ASM on the pitch we probably beat Bournemouth and with Wilson we beat Palace (maybe). Then we’re up in 5th and everything looks rosy.
This is an odd season – it’s all about progress. Stay well out of a relegation scrap, a cup run would be nice and then build for next season with a bit more depth. Eddie’s doing a great job and you’d be hard pushed to find many Newcastle fans doubting him.
We don’t talk about Barca
Tim Sutton (Mitro 6 – 1 Nunez) don’t write negative things about Barca’s finances, their delusional fans will have a tantrum. Also definitely don’t mention forcing current players to take huge pay cuts and agree to deferred wage agreements (for wages they will never get short of suing the club) so they can sign new players and pay them the same crazy wages the current players used to be on might not be the best idea for team unity.
With fixtures cancelled and the international slog ahead I’m that bored that I’ve taken Ged’s absolutely pointless ‘who’s played who’ table to a further extreme of futility.
I’ve ranked all teams in terms of their xG for this season and for xG conceded, added these together to get a team difficulty rank then calculated the average difficulty for games played in terms of that rank. All the usual small sample size caveats apply, penalties skew these numbers as does playing City or not.
ARS – 16.8
MCI – 17.2
TOT – 16.3
BHA – 12.6
MUN – 9.8
FUL – 9.0
CHE – 12.8
LIV – 15.4
BRE – 13
NEW – 13.2
LEE – 12.6
BOU – 10.5
EVE – 10.3
SOUT – 12.8
AVL – 12.7
CRY – 7.8
WOL – 11.3
NFO – 11.2
LEI – 8.3
Arsenal with the second easiest run would sort of back up the ‘not played anyone good yet’ argument if this table wasn’t pointless. United not doing too bad with the 4th hardest run but sitting in 5th, might make me optimistic if this table wasn’t…
Dave, Manchester (so very bored)