Thank you for your mails. As ever. Send more to firstname.lastname@example.org
Football has won!
Amen to football returning on June 17.
Null and voiders, aka United fans; next year’s your year, eh? You tried your hardest to derail this season for nefarious reasons but football won.
Given CoViD-19 isn’t going anywhere, you get another chance. I’ve even written a playbook for you:
Wait three months to see where United are.
If you are challenging thanks to Dynamo Bruno, football is the saviour, it’s more essential than doctors and food.
If in sixth place (more likely as Bruno’s new club bounce dies), scream from the top of your lungs “Lives matter!” and trot out the null and void battle-cry again.
In the immortal words of Mo Salah’s t-shirt, Never Give Up.
A pleasant surprise?
Harry (not Kane), THFC, asked which players have been a pleasant surprise. My player is easy: Thierry Henry.
I can recall the exact day we signed him. My family was on holiday in France and I was scanning a copy of L’Equipe for football news (no internet on your phone in those days, Kids). I said to my Dad “I don’t know why we signed him. He’s just a sh*t Nic Anelka.” I remember the exact phrase because it was said to me after nearly every one of his 228 goals for Arsenal.
Definitely a pleasant surprise. Definitely an improvement on Le Sulk.
John (can’t wait to celebrate goals again) Porter
Overrated is overrated
I think we can all agree, for once, that the topic of “who is overrated” is itself massively overrated. If it never comes up again, it will be too soon.
On the topic, though, I cannot believe that nobody begins the debate by actually trying to define how rated a player is (+ by whom), and to define what “overrated” and “underrated” therefore actually mean in concrete terms.
If people truly insist on discussing “overrated” and “underrated” players, they should only be allowed to nominate overrated players from the club they support and underrated players from clubs they dislike. I – picking examples off the top of my head – would nominate Mo Salah as overrated, and Lucas Digne is underrated.
Oliver (I still don’t see the point, though) Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland
How to fix Barcelona
So today will be full of ‘Premier League is back’ mails and fair play, I’m sure many were excited to hear the news, then realized they had to adjust their dormant FPL teams quite quickly.
Thought I’d mix it up today though by saying how will Barcelona cope without Lionel Messi, he turns 33 this year and soon they’ll not have arguably the greatest player to play the game, how do we all feel they will approach this eventual task in replacing him and what would you do if the President of Barcelona?
Personally they need to stop spending big money on players like Griezmann and Coutinho and focus back on their academy, it is what made them great after all, it would also stop talents like Thiago, Xavier Simons etc leaving to get game time elsewhere.
Where England have gone wrong
In response to Keith in Worthing, I thought I’d offer an outsider’s view on the England team and their supposed underachievement at major tournaments.
‘Golden Generation’ – They really had a collection of terrific outfield players – especially during the Sven era – but many people don’t seem to grasp the fact it takes a lot more than that to triumph. One thing I also noticed over the years is that as a collective, a team of English players together give the ball away too often and against the better sides often have to wait a long time before getting it back. This fault tends to be masked at club level when playing amongst foreign players. A crucial component also missing from the golden generation (and from subsequent squads) was a good goalkeeper. I can’t actually remember the last time a ‘Golden Generation’ won a tournament, Portugal (2004 was their big chance), Czech Rep. (2004 was their big chance), perhaps it’s a poisoned chalice.
Luck – Doesn’t matter how good you are, all successful teams and individuals need a slice of it along the way. In England’s case, if there was no bad luck there’d be none at all. At certain moments they have been really unlucky and I can’t think of a time where they’ve ever had any. Sol Campbell has had more bad luck than most countries put together, disallowed goals against Argentina in ’98 which was largely forgotten in the midst of the Beckham witch-hunt, and the dying moments against Portugal in Euro 2004 (you can lump in Lampard’s ‘equaliser’ in against Germany in 2010 although highly unlikely they would have progressed in that match, just watch David James in the highlights). Joe Hart’s howler against Iceland in 2016 wasn’t bad luck, just crap. And going out on penalties is not just not down to luck, they are a severe test of nerve and technique. But on the whole Lady Luck has been against them.
Media – Ah the press. Manipulating people’s psyche all over the world since the dawn of time (it seems). In this case building up the nation’s hopes that are often pinned on a particular player who is rushed back from an injured foot (Beckham and Rooney x2). England’s results at tournaments have been portrayed as an underachievement but a quick scan of the 15 tournaments played since 1990 gives us 3 semi-finals, 5 quarter-finals, 2 round of 16’s, 3 group stages, and 2 DNQ’s. Considering the absolute dearth of good luck and the goalkeeping situation, it’s not a bad record. But due to the level of expectation drummed up, it must feel like failure.
So there you go, plenty written lately on the level of hate and antagonism in the mailbox so here’s an Irishman pleading England’s case. And for the record, as a United fan I’d like to say that Liverpool have simply pissed all over the league this season and whether the league is cancelled or whatever, they are worthy champions. Perhaps the world has gone mad 😉
Kevin P, MUFC
Hating the plurals
Just to add to Johnny’s article too, I hate when pundits or journalists pluralise individuals. Pretty sure someone off this site done it last week but that’s the only time I seen it (thanks guys). I mean when Neville or Souness says things like “your Roy Keane’s, your Ronaldo’s and your John Terry’s”. They don’t even do it broadly when speaking about ten year period, Neville was talking about the 08 United team and said “your Tevez’s, your Ferdinand’s” and named basically the whole eleven. There’s only one of those players. Why pluralise?
Also, there was a mail about underrated teams and I think Ancelotti’s Chelsea team is never mentioned when in reality, they were an incredible side. They scored goals for fun and were strong in every position and could give any of the great PL sides that get consistently talked about, a run for their money.
A ‘not that kind of player’ XI?
I’ve loved all the different team selections, fair play for making so much great content when there’s nothing actually happening.
I was thinking about an 11 that hasn’t been covered yet, a team of players who “are not that kind of player” surely managed by Sir Tony Pulis. Would be too churlish to leave it at classic Stoke? Can your contributors or readers with better memories than mine come up with a team?
Regards and stay safe all.
Louis in Dublin
We could not keep away from the camera for long so we made a Football365 Isolation Show. Watch it, subscribe and share until we get back in the studio/pub and produce something a little slicker…