Mails on ‘hard as nails’ Henderson, Spurs’ greed…

Date published: Thursday 2nd April 2020 9:26

Keep your mails coming to…


Henderson’s growth
Not sure I strictly agree with your article on Henderson. It seems to willingly ignore that under Kenny Dalglish he was consistently played out of position on the right for an entire season when he joined. If you actually want to see what Henderson could’ve been from the outset then rewatch Liverpool Vs Chelsea at the end of that season in the league. It was his first game played through the middle and he was pretty glorious actually. We had just lost the FA Cup final to the same team and I think we were all left wondering what could’ve been.

Under Brendan was when he first properly flourished. Brendan Rogers was quoted saying that he knew we couldn’t win the league the moment Henderson got sent off against Man City. That was a game we had just been totally inspired to make a comeback and the manager left it feeling that despite having Suarez, Sturridge, Sterling and Gerrard he needed Henderson to make it all work.

I’d argue that Henderson is the classic +1 player. Every time we have signed a midfield who I imagined replacing him, he finds the room to grow and improve to be just that bit better and ensure he remains. I think if we signed Roy Keane in his prime tomorrow it would be a platform for Henderson to improve even further.

But finally, Henderson is hard as nails. Do you remember Diego Costa trying to agitate him? Henderson is stood there looking genuinely dangerous and Costa backs away realising he’s not the scariest or biggest boy on the pitch.

Finally (really this time) – this season Henderson missed one game before his injury – a win over Newcastle. Then is the three games we just beat West Ham and Bournemouth and got humbled by Watford. Klopp, I think it’s fair to say, knows a great deal more about football than all of us combined and has seen fit to substitute Henderson 9 times in 25 games. In a worse team that would be a criticism; the guy you remove to try and impact the game. In this team, which was unbeaten before his injury, that’s a compliment; he was the midfielder that Klopp was seeking to protect, despite all the adulation for Fabinho/Gini it was Henderson who Klopp must’ve seen as irreplaceable. Obviously you can spin that in different ways but it’s how I am seeing it given that Fabinho has missed more games through injury than Henderson.

Basically, I love Henderson.
Minty, LFC


Spurs’ greed
Daniel Levy is a greedy little goblin. There is no excuse for Spurs to be using tax payer funds to be paying their non-playing staff.

Leeds United’s players have deferred their wages to ensure the club staff get paid. These players will be in a fraction of what the Spurs players are.

If I was a player at that club and my family worked there I’d question this decision. It doesnt sit right.

Anyone who agrees with it needs to re-evaluate their moral compass.
Dale (Leeds)


…In the UK, the minimum wage for someone over 25 – as of April 2020 – is £8.72. Assuming a worker who earns that much works a 40 hour week, 52 weeks of the year, they will earn £18,137.60 per year, before tax. The national living wage in the UK is £9.30, or £10.75 if living in London, which work out as £19,344 and £22,360 per year (before tax) respectively, using the same assumption math.

Spurs are not one of the four (FOUR!) Premier League clubs that are accredited with paying the living wage to all of their staff. So while I doubt Spurs pay all of their non playing staff – matchday and non-matchday – minimum wage, we know they don’t pay at least the living wage to all, so we have to assume there are some staff who are paid minimum wage. With that in mind, let us look at a few figures;

– Harry Kane (highest paid player) is paid £200,000 per week. That would pay the yearly salary of 11 minimum wage workers, 10 of the national living wage, and about 8.5 of the London living wage.
– If the 800 staff that were cut were all payed the minimum wage, that amounts to £14,510,080 a year. Harry Kane makes £10,400,000 a year.
– The wage bill for the squad, based from the start of the season, was £81,978,000. If you took the £14,510,080 from that, you would be left with £67,467,920.
-If you took 20% off all the total wage bill – thus putting them all on 80% time off, you would be left with £65,582,400.
– Daniel Levy makes £7,000,000 a year, which comes to £5,600,000 after removing 20%. The difference could pay the yearly salary of 77 minimum wage workers.
– 80% of a yearly minimum wage salary for 800 workers is £11,608,064.

While all of the above may look arbitray, the aim is to highlight that a Premier League club should not be availing of a government scheme to use taxpayer money to pay their employees, when they are a multimillion pound company that literally pay tens of millions to some employees. They can afford to pay their low earning staff their full wage, while still handsomely paying their extremely high earning staff with a few cuts. The money that is being paid by the government can and should used better, for companies and causes that really need it.

I must add, that while I do not agree with the amount of money that many footballers make as a whole, I have always agreed with the percentage they make of a multibillion dollar industry. Without them, there is no business, so they should earn their fair share of the pie. However, given the privelaged position that they find themselves in, they should be doing more to help the people who carry so much in order for them to play and earn as much as they do. They should be offering to cover the differences, or taking cuts in order to help finance the wages.

But this goes beyond footballers, and while they can and should help, they alone should not be scapegoated for not putting their hand in their pocket. They are part of a corrupt, money grabbing, souless industry that cares little for the backs of the workers that they need in order to put themselves in their position. It should not come to a situation where footballers have to decide if and how much of their wage to give up. The people in charge should be doing more. The PFA, the FA and the Premier League. The chairmen and billionaire owners. They all should be doing all they can to help those struggling financially within their industry, and not trying to take a handout to save themselves a few sheckles. Sure, they are hurting financially too, but they will survive, and then thrive again. But the clubs further down, the players and staff further down, they won’t and they’re the most vulnurable. If every Premier League player got a 20% wage cut which went into a fund for staff, and every Premier League club paid 5% or 10% of their profit margin – while not insignificant, it’s not enough to damage their long term future or lively hood, but would be much need to those further down the pecking order. They would be helping to keep the smaller parts of their industry alive, while allowing the government to use the money better, to help more people outside of the football bubble, which can afford to take some of the burden for the forseeable future.

This came out longer than I thought, and branches into further arguments that don’t really pertain to football – or more aptly, they do, but I don’t have the time or energy to delve down that particular rabbit hole now. The bottomline is, the Premier League, their memeber clubs and their players can do more financially to help the very structure that helps them to thrive, and they should be doing so. The bill should not fall at the feet of the fans, who already pay so much to be taken for granted, to bail out those too greedy to do it themselves.
Néill, Ireland*


…I have visited this site for many years now and since moving halfwau across the world enables me to keep up with more than just the games.

I have not sent in to the Mailbox for years now and so far have never been published however recent topics have got me to a point where I feel I need to add my voice to the conversations.

This letter will address two points so please bear with me.

Full disclosure, I am a Tottenham supporter and have been since 1974 when I was taken to my first ever game of football.

My first point regards the whole to void or not to void question. My take on this is that the Premier League will do what works best for them Financially. Fans, Supporter groups etc will not even enter their thinking it will purely be a monetary decision as they know that to many people their weekly dose of Football is almost like a drink to an alcoholic so we will always come back and spend our cash whatever happens.

Is it easier to void this season and pay back TV revenue for 9 games to the likes of SKY, BT and overseas companies or possibly continue this season and have to not play next which would mean lost revenue for 38 games, I know which choice I could see them making.

Anyway we will all have to wait and see when exactly this pandemic clears to a point that we can actually have a number of people congregate in the same space, and I am only thinking of the teams let alone the fans on matchday.

My second point in this longer than expected mail relates to Mike LFC (London), Andrew (Woodford Green) and others who are showing their shock and Ire at Tottenham and Daniel Levy.

Firstly Newcastle are doing the same thing that has been reported as Tottenham furloughing backroom staff and claiming the government scheme.

Now I am not employed by the Spurs, nor know their inner workings so do not know if the players have been asked to take a pay cut, or even if they have already done so as good news storys very rarely sell papers! Also there is the matter of the PFA and I am sure that should players be made to forfeit anywhere from 20% to 75% of their wages I am sure will make some very loud noises.

Now Mike LFC should be more aware than others of a unions power within its membership and I am sure that Levy and possibly the players have factored in the damage that the PFA could cause when and if we return to normal.

I also know that my club, whilst far from being completely benevolent, have done a lot of work in the community and also at this time turning part of the stadium over to food charity’s and other services. From a player perspective Toby Alderweireld has donated, at his own expense, a large amount of iPads so that people in quarantine in hospital can keep in contact with their loved ones. I am sure there are many other initiatives from all clubs and players that we do not hear about but I would ask one thing. Check the full facts before you decry any club of being the most vile in the world, I would have thought that as a Liverpool supporter being on the end of a number of false stories in the press you would at least do that before throwing stones.

Anyway I have bored you all enough now, and this ended up being much longer than I intended.
David Clarke (Day 12 of self isolation), Sydney


Black Cats on the box
So who else is watching the second season of Sunderland Till I Die on Netflix?

I’ve personally just finished episode two and my quick takeaways are director Charlie Methven I do not like him, his personality seems like one of those who could get under the skin of just about anyone, even Mr Nice Guy Juan Mata, second takeaway is Josh Maja was playing in a league he was far to good for, the opportunity of Bordeaux came along, huge opportunity, better contract and a chance to develop into an even better player (which hindsight suggests has happened).

You can’t fault a young guy for taking the risk, opportunity can come and pass us bye, you have to take them when you get the chance.
Mikey, CFC (I do love a good football documentary, any other suggestions?)


When football will get back to normal
It will be 2024. Maybe 2025.

This season is already screwed up. Almost certainly so is next season, so season 2021-22 has at best about half a chance of being unaffected by the coronavirus knock-on effects. Then season 2022-23 has a November-December-world-cup-shaped elephant in the middle of the room so it’s either going to have to start early or finish late, or both. It doesn’t look very likely from here to be starting early so the best we can hope for is season 2023-24 starting on time with a truncated pre-season, so by May 2024 the players will be too knackered to know what day it is. And then there’s a European Championships that summer…
Richard (isolated but not isolating) Pike


All the mails trying to figure out how to end the season and even have the time to worry about next season during a global pandemic have a really rosy view of the future.

We might just be in this for the long haul. Normal life may resume soon but the days of packed stadiums and contact support may take a little while longer to come back.

If vaccines are likely to take almost a year, there is a possibility football wont even return till then so just resume it all next season in March from where we left off.

End the 2020 season. 2020/2021 season never happens. We get the Euros and the regular football calendar starts from August.

Neat and clean.
Shehzad Ghias, mufc, karachi (Don’t kill the messenger)


…So, amidst all the permutations and combinations being worked out by people on how to finish the season, here is my rather silly take :

Why not play the remaining games behind closed doors?

Now, I know this has been covered before including in the earlier mailbox, but surely the risk of players and a small set of support staff contracting the virus is much, much lesser than the risk of 40,000 fans queuing up inside a stadium.

I mean, any other league would do the sensible thing and play the remaining games behind closed doors even though it’s not the ideal situation to be in since football is supposed to be ‘all about the fans’ and ‘the matchgoing experience’.

Imagine this (admittedly unlikely scenario) :

August/September 2020
Players and staff are quarantined and show no signs of the virus, are fit as a fiddle and are raring to go – This would be the perfect time to just get this season over with and play the remaining matches behind closed doors.
Once done, they can consider starting the new season in the near future.

Now trying doing the same thing WITH fans inside the stadium – It would be an absolute nightmare. The statistics are just too crazy to take the risk of even letting 100 fans inside a stadium for a match.

Sridhar (Bangalore, my humble two penneth)


No solution in sight
Void the season:

Every team in with a shot to achieve their objectives would be hard done by which would be unfair.

Let the season begin with the fixtures left for this season which will count towards both seasons:

How does relegation work here? If the previous season standings is undecided at the start of the season, how do we *fairly* decide relegation/promotion? How do we generate a fixture list when 3 of them would’ve been relegated? Wouldn’t it be unfair to just tinker with the relegation so that big boys stay happy?
Problems other than at the Big 6 are also valid problems.

Let’s wait it to end and finish the season and let’s start the new one a bit (inevitably) late.

COVID-19 and the aftereffects ain’t going anywhere soon. That would mean a shortage of time in comparison to the fixtures resulting i modified formats, lesser games maybe or whatever they work out. However, wouldn’t it be unfair to newly promoted teams that when they finally got their shot at EPL, the rules were changed? And not just them but others too. There will be similar complaints come at the end of the season about the changed format.

To sum up, there is no solution, let alone a perfect solution to this.

Why not let those in power decide who don’t care about our opinions anyway?

I’m all for hearing opinions and that’s what mailbox is for but some are so vehemently deriding others’ opinions and championing theirs like there is one true solution. There ain’t one.

Have fun writing in different ways to end the season. Just don’t be a dick.

Also, probably write in detailed season reviews or how narratives changed around your team and players across the season so far and what were the key turning points. Now that would be something to read and enjoy. I would do it mysely but mine is so depressing, I’d rather not during these times.
Another Bored Fan


This means more
I don’t have a problem with Liverpool being awarded the EPL title. In fact, it makes a lot of sense and anything else would leave me feeling a sense of injustice.
However, all season long, I read Liverpool fans’ mails signing off with not believe till it’s mathematically secure. Guess what, it still isn’t.
Why the tune has been changed to they deserve it now?
Guess my problem isn’t with title to Liverpool, it’s with the pretentious bunch among their fans who irritatingly kept repeating “not believing till it’s in the bag” when no one was really asking.
Another Bored Fan (Not Utd or City or ABL of any form)


I do appreciate the economics lesson from Kellen as to where and how sovereign governments get their money, it doesn’t really alter the fact that if a government wants to pour bucketloads of money down the gaping maw of sports franchises who are paying – let’s take a random example – Alexis Sanchez 300,000 sovs a week to not play for the club, then someone eventually has to pay for that.

And that someone is – yep, me. And you.

Sure, the UK government can crank up the Royal Mint and print off a tidy stack of billion pound notes, but unless you balance that with clawbacks (read taxes) then you’re asking for rampant inflation and wheeling home your paycheck in a barrow which is worthless by the time you get it to Lidl.

So let’s not confuse tangible wealth with zeroes on a spreadsheet, otherwise every government would award everyone a 100% pay raise, slash taxes to zero, bask in the adulation of public applause and then go all Great Depression on us.

Just a little common sense would be nice. If Spurs (or any club) want to pay a player more in a week than a nurse could earn in 10 years, that’s their prerogative, but don’t come wailing for government bailouts just because their unsustainable business model has just taken a beating.
Steve, Los Angeles


Game for a laugh
In response to Mikey CFC, one of the funniest moments in the Premier League has to be the epic slip by Stevie G, giving Demba Ba a clear run at goal and ruining Liverpool’s title hopes. What made it even funnier was hearing Gerrard speaking to his teammates in a group huddle telling them, “..we do not let this slip”. Mega Lolz!!!
Ded Revil


…The final two emails in the mailbox yesterday (Alex, London and Mikey, CFC) brought a smile to my face and got me thinking about football moments that have not only tickled me but stuck with me.

For jokers, few can rival Gazza. I’ll never forget him after that FA Cup semi in 1991, interviewing like a four year old on Sunny D and amphetamine cocktails, pulling a face and shouting “EEEHH” into the camera after shouting about getting his suit measured. Or with England, the interviewer asking if he has anything to say to rivals Norway – “Aye, fuck off”. Definitely funnier than his mince pies filled with cat shit. Or his personalised comedy breasts-and-beer-belly combo (or are they so unfunny that they’re funny?)

For pure funny football moments there’s the classic of Micky Phelan, sat next to Fergie, bursting a balloon, Fergie shitting himself and turning around with a point-blank F-bomb before Phelan pisses himself laughing. If you haven’t seen it, check it out here it’s worth 17 seconds of your life.

Difficult of course to beat the legend Kammy commentating for Sky on Portsmouth v Blackburn and not noticing Vanden Borre get sent off. When Stelling asks for an update on the sending off and Kammy just comes out with a high-pitched “Has he? before explaining through collective laughter that he “saw him walk off but thought he was being subbed” – it still creases me every time.

You’ve got to love a good comedy word mangle too and Alan Shearer has always been good for the occasional beauty. My fave was on MotD when Andy Carroll was first playing for West Ham and Shearer was asked “How do you think the defence handled Andy Carroll?” Shearer’s response: “I thought they handled Andle, er, handled Andy Carry, er, handled him well…”. Punditry gold.

After a Charlton game when Alan Curbishley was at the helm there, Big Al finished up with an assertive closing gambit of: “We’ll see what Mr. Curbleshey thinks about that.” Vintage. I’d love to hear more from other mailboxers.

I’ll finish with a reminder of the actual funniest football moment of all time, way back in October 1974 – Jimmy Hill’s timeless MotD closing words and reminder about the switch to GMT later that night:

“Goodnight – and don’t forget to put your cocks back”. Yes, that really happened.
Bennett (tell Matrix I’ll be ready), Val Verde


Mistaken identity
Here’s a story with no point other than it’s related to football. My twin brother and I (non identical) played for the same local club from aged 10. He was much, much better than me and I started very few games.

One morning when we were about 17 I did get to start and was actually doing pretty well until I twisted my knee and hobbled off. As the pitch was about 50 yards from my house, I went home and got cleaned up and limped back over to watch the second half.

When I got there, I was walking down the touchline where the opposition subs and a few of their supporters had gathered when a chap who I could kindly describe as rougher than a badger’s arse stopped me and asked me why I wasn’t playing. Surprised that he even knew I had been playing, I told him about my knee and his exact words in reply were “it’s a shame when the game is deprived of a talent such yourself.”

What a compliment, I thought beaming inwardly and out. I thanked him for his kind words and told him to enjoy the game and he said “you too, hope the injury heals up quick, Conor.” My name isn’t Conor. You can guess whose is.
Alan, Córdoba.


Brook v Lusardi
Yesterday, I referred to Kelly Brook and Linda Lusardi. Firstly, a shout out to those in the comments section who discussed it. You made me both laugh out loud and a little sheepish over how grim the main body of my mail was! (Still think it’s true though).

What I failed to do was clarify that I meant Miss Lusardi in her prime (although I’m sure she’s still lovely!). If, like me, you were a schoolboy (or maybe girl) in the ‘70s, then the woman repeatedly voted the best page 3 girl of all time will almost certainly have a warm place in your heart.

If not, but your Dad or (gulp) Grandad was, and you’d like to see them squirm, ask them why they would REALLY look forward to their Mam’s new edition of either the Littlewood’s or Freeman’s catalogues landing on the doorstep!

Stay home and stay safe folks. May your God bless you.
Mark (Realised just in time that suggesting a Page 3 XI would be a sexist pig step too far) MCFC.


Thin up top
You suggested it, yes I am that bored, and I suspect I won’t be the only one. Here’s my Bald Premier League XI. I’ve tried to go for slapheads as much as possible. It’s four-four-f**king-two of course.

GK: Brad Friedel

LB: Stephen Carr
CB: Jaap Stam
CB: Vincent Kompany
RB: Paulo Zabaleta

RW: Arjen Robben
CM: Gary McAllister
CM: Lee Carsley
LW: Freddie Lunjberg

ST: Ian Wright
ST: Wayne Rooney


Tim Howard
Frank Leboeuf
Temur Ketsbaia
Thomas Gravesen
Dion Dublin
Andros Townsend
Gianluca Vialli

I know Arjen Robben is a bit of a cheat since he still had hair at Chelsea, but can you really picture him any other way? As for Rooney, well he’s the one who cheated baldness.

And although Thomas Gravesen inspired this XI, I’ve benched him for his Everton teammate Lee Carsley, since he was the man Real Madrid reportedly wanted to sign, only their scouts couldn’t tell the difference between the two.
James, Donegal

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