The Mailbox offers Liverpool a carrot to dangle in front of Mo Salah. Also: who would take Bruno, and plenty of missives on women’s football.
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How Liverpool could sway Salah
Full disclosure: I think Liverpool should avoid breaking their wage structure to keep Salah. They have shown they know how to spend money wisely. If Coutinho was replaceable in a 7/10 talent squad, Salah is even more so in a 9/10 squad. Also, my theory below doesn’t account for Ronaldo although is one reason I think Messi would have shaded him for the GOAT if he hadn’t been forced to PSG (although maybe the fact he was forced may matter to future generations). In the end it’s just a theory of a silly fan to start a conversation so no need to take it too seriously.
With that out of the way, I wanted to ask the Mailbox’s opinion on short-termism in football players. In the U.S. I have observed a minor difference between the greats and the almost greats being that the former tend to build their legacy by staying with one team and making it great. I understand Jordan went to the Wizards and Brady won a Super Bowl with the Bucs, but those decisions were in the twilight of a career. Jordan is a Bull and Brady is a Patriot at the end of the day. They built those teams and stayed with them until the team’s time at the top expired. They will rightly be celebrated as legends as a result. On the other hand, look at someone like Kevin Durant or Matthew Stafford. They may win rings, but they just aren’t going to be considered legends. I think players like Mahomes and the Greek Freak realize their greatness is tied to staying and building something over time. If you leave early, you forfeit greatness in the eyes of fans. You can always make more money somewhere else, but true greatness seems to come with more money over your entire career and not just your playing days. Maybe it’s ownership or just advertising, but Michael Jordan will definitely out-earn Kevin Durant in their lifetimes. If Salah decides to take more money at Real Madrid, that’s absolutely fine, but Liverpool should be very clear with him that he’s giving up his chance to be an all-time great by not sticking around and seeing out this team’s era he’s been integral to ushering in.
Niall, Bethany Beach
Who would take Bruno?
The mailbox Bruno love-in was a bit strange. It’s almost as though people don’t want to accept that a player they like may not be up to scratch.
Passing percentage stats were thrown around, where Bruno is 6% shy of KdB. That’s quite a lot actually. Especially in a world where the ever-abused McTominay has 86% and the narrative is about how he always gives the ball away. Take his penalties away from last year and Bruno’s stats weren’t that great, or if they were, Rashford should be held in the same esteem as he did better.
The issue with Bruno is that he isn’t where his team-mates expect to find him. And when he does get the ball, he too often wastes it. At least 23% of the time, in fact. Almost 1 in 4 passes.
Now that’s not all his fault, although his preference for a Hollywood pass doesn’t help – and yes, short sideways passes are a vital part of football, even at the sharp end, it opens angles. Other players around him aren’t functioning well, the system hasn’t been fluid. But the biggest change is our striker. As a previous mailer pointed out, the side overall has scored a lot fewer goals. We can debate all day as to what specific change has imbalanced things, but the cause of the change is undeniable. It isn’t Sancho.
We all have players we get attached to, and Bruno seems a nice bloke and a decent footballer, although his whiny and petulant behaviour gets my goat. But the question you have to ask is, what big club would sign him?
Real, Barca or Atleti? No.
Liverpool, City or Chelsea? Nah.
PSG, Bayern, Dortmund? I don’t see it.
Maybe sides in the Italian league, and clubs like Arsenal or Spurs (sorry).
I think that says it all.
In Shz’s case, the main problem isn’t trying to excuse why one person would watch one kind of of women’s sport over another but the fact that for a long time many women’s sports, specifically football, were not carried on ‘free to air’ channels, thus helping to promote the game.
John is exclusively focusing on football and claiming there was some massive conspiracy against women’s football, presumably by men. Herein lies the problem. Men avidly watch sports, but every man doesn’t watch every sport. But there was a lot of pressure to replace a sport that was being watched with a sport that, at the time wasn’t (women’s club football.) While international football was watched, women’s club football had smaller gates and numbers and broadcasters would extrapolate accordingly.
What was missed was how to get more women to watch sports. Women tend not to be that interested in watching sports, even while they play sports. My wife, for example, plays more sports than I do, but never turns on a sport to watch and only watches football if I happen to have it on – but even then will go about and do other things. The irony being that women make more purchasing decisions than men so would be an ideal audience to sponsors and advertisers, should you work out how to market those sports to women.
Running any business on an ‘if you build it they will come’ model only works in fictional movies. Also the quality has to be of a certain level. The idea that Shz makes regarding women playing competitively against other women in tennis making it watchable is true. But misses the work put into selling women’s tennis to women way back, including setting up a women’s only tour with sponsors. The WTA was set up in 73 by Billie Jean King to address the lack of control women had in tennis, the fact they were paid far less than men and the then tennis controllers were dropping women tournaments. The point is that by controlling their own destiny, controlling their marketing and marketing it to women, they were successful.
Berating men for not watching or wanting to watch a women’s sport as the way to increase viewership and the future of a sport is not the way to go. So spouting survey results built around that idea, does not get underneath the real issue. In the long run women’s football will become successful when women have more control over how it is organized and marketed. But because football is run under the auspices of the FA and within an existing men’s structure, that may not be possible. For tennis it happened because a few top women tennis players took control.
…Shz, you’ve spent a long time explaining why watching women compete in athletics, tennis, or UFC is acceptable, yet seem to be ignoring your own logic when it comes to football. You’ve said it yourself: in the other referenced events/disciplines, the women are not as strong nor fast as the men, but other factors add to the value. Such as drama, excitement, rivalry, and the good old sense of occasion. None of which apparently apply to any football matches involving women.
It’s remarkable how often these chaps who do not watch women’s football know everything about women’s football. It takes quite the vision to be able to commentate on the quality of something you do not watch. Because surely nobody would lengthily dismiss something without actually watching it, right? It’s just a coincidence that the cited reasons are the same tropes dragged out whenever someone wants to give the game a kicking.
Also, can we stop with the pretence that people are just overloaded with great football and spend hours watching it each week? Most of us only watch our own team. That’s why viewing figures are broadly terrible for football, despite it being the national game. So the question becomes ‘why wouldn’t you watch your own team?’. Do you only watch your team when you are good? If your centre back miscontrols a pass do you switch off? And who the f*ck is supporting lower league clubs? It’s rubbish football, right? Nobody wants to watch that.
Shz, sport is either interesting because the opponents are at a competitive level to each other or it isn’t. You can’t just say its okay for athletics but not football. That makes no sense. Oh, and if you’re going to bring up the U15s, maybe have a look at the athletic equivalents. Because Flo Jo only ran faster than the fastest 15 year old boy on two or three (dubious) occasions. Freeman is in a similar boat. And that is with the absolute best coaching available.
Essentially Shz, you’re chatting sh*te. Loads of justification that doesn’t add up, arguments that hold no water, and twisted and broken logic all over the shop. It seems as though you took that article very personally. Funnily enough, every time John writes about women’s football someone always does. In this instance, the article was about the growing TV audience. Wouldn’t have expected such a precious reaction to that, but it rolls out regardless. An article saying ‘people are watching this’ should not lead you to writing a long diatribe. Nobody was trying to convince you of anything. You took it as that. Ask yourself why you felt it necessary to go on the attack against something that wasn’t even happening. Do you write articles about how sh*t lower league football is? When F365 publish Championship W&L do you write in saying nobody watches it because the standard isn’t high enough? Or do you ONLY do that when it’s women’s football? Still reckon you don’t have an issue with it?
F*cking hell, the way people bang on about the quality of the football makes me wonder what sport they were watching up until the early 90s, because the football in this country was f*cking terrible. I’m guessing everyone was just watching Ajax every week, right?
…I wonder how men’s football would get on if it was banned for 50 years like women’s football was between 1921 and 1971.
Would any boy bother kicking a football around a park if he knew it would never lead to a meaningful career playing a sport he loves?
Would the men’s game produce the likes of Messi or Ronaldo if there was no major investment in the game for half a century?
Would the men’s game even be sustainable if there were no fans coming through stadia gates every Saturday at 3pm?
Given the women’s game was only restored 50 years ago, I think it’s doing fine.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
…I think the letter by Shz was pretty interesting. And fair.
I remember seeing that clip of Andy gray and Richard keys laughing at that game of women’s football, and I laughed as well. Though it wasn’t because the players were women, it’s because they were sh*t. The same thing happens for many poor male players.
In fact in the 90s nick Hancock produced a series of VHS tapes specifically mocking sh*t players in men’s football. Right now some players are walking memes because of their performance (Timo Werner for example)
This bring me to equal pay. Women shouldn’t be paid equally to men for the same reason the national League isn’t paid the same as the premier League, the product is inferior. The gender is irrelevant.
Women’s football isn’t popular enough because it isn’t good enough. Of course it isn’t, it’s only existed for a couple of decades and the men’s game has been around for a hundred years. It’s had billions and billions of pounds pumped into and they have been playing for a hundred f*cking years. In 100 years maybe the women’s game will be where the men’s game is right now, the talent and spectacle will be there and it will attract big sponsors, investors etc. But right now…it’s mostly not very good.
That is subjective of course and I’m sure someone will talk about how awesome the game is. Great. But you’re the minority in thinking that, if you weren’t then the game would be bigger. As for equal pay, sports pays what sports generates. Ronaldo gets ridiculous sums because he generates it. asking for equal pay would be stupid. In tennis it was super stupid because women don’t even play as much as men so they actually get paid more than men in effect.
The gender pay gap pops up a lot and it has some merit but people conveniently forget some facts when it does pop up. Things like women getting paid more per set than men do in tennis. Like Gwyneth paltrow getting paid more the Robert Downey Jr for iron man despite him being the title character and Michelle Pfeiffer getting paid more for batman returns than Michael Keaton despite him being the title character.
Is that sexism? No of course not. Because in entertainment you are paid in accordance with your bankability. Well.. except tennis I can’t think of a good reason why women get paid the same for doing less.
So if women want to be paid more in football improve your bankability by increasing the overall skill level of your sport. There’s tons of female billionaires these days, get one of them to become the women’s fa version of that Australian blood sucker who perverted the men’s game beyond recognition.
Is Sa’ad having a laugh? Complaining about David De Gea, who is literally saving Man Utd’s season.
He’s made 92 saves this year which is 12 more than the second placed Illan Meslier.
If De Gea was even half way up the saving charts, it would mean that Utd would be 30 goals worse off.
Where would that put them in the League?
Neil, LFC, USA