A varied Mailbox has missives on Mo Salah, Frank Lampard, England’s formation, illegal streaming, and the Dutch national anthem.
Get your views in to email@example.com…
Salah risking his legacy
Being a longtime Liverpool fan, many like me are indebted to Salah for what he has done for the club and there is no denying the fact he was a transformative signing for us. However, since 2021, he/his agent have inadvertently sabotaged our succession plans. And I am not sure how to reconcile the two facts. Allow me to explain.
If I have read correctly, negotiations started with him during the off season last year. He rejected and wanted a higher pay. Fair enough. But when the offer was raised, he wasn’t satisfied and yet claimed the new contract was not about money. The result? Mane was left to feel rightly undervalued and we couldn’t negotiate with him as he would have been right to ask for amount near with Mo which would have been higher than VVD, Fabinho and Alisson. Again, think of the dressing room and what it would have been. Now, Mane decided he wanted something new but with only 1 year remaining, it’s unlikely we will get a big fee. Even if his wish would have been same, there is no arguing the fact that a 4 year contract fetches a higher price. And what of Salah?
He intends to run down his contract and leave on a free, denying the club of a decent sum needed for a rebuild in attack, even as far as threating to join a PL rival. If it does happen, he would sadly join the likes of Torres and Coutinho, revered for a while but with a sketchy legacy at best.
Vikas, LFC, India (Bayern should stop calling themselves superclub if they’re going to negotiate for Mane like a League One team)
Would you rather be Milner or Rooney?
Seeing as the mailbox loves nothing more than endlessly retreading tired debates, and is currently as quiet as Spurs’ trophy room, I thought I’d bring one up that has probably already been discussed many times before. Would you rather have (or do you appreciate) Milner’s career or Rooney’s?
Wayne Rooney exploded onto the scene with an unbelievable goal against my Arsenal, becoming the youngest ever PL scorer in the process. Huge things were expected of him. Just a few months later, here comes James Milner to break the record by 4 days. Strange times for somebody just a bit younger.
Rooney’s rise was meteoric. In a few short years he had moved to Man U, won the PL and CL, and was generally considered one of the best and most promising players in the world. He hit arguably a premature decline and safe to say the end of his career didn’t match the beginning for excitement. He won everything at club level, is England’s record scorer, and now manages Derby and can often be found in memes with Cristiano Ronaldo captioned “One of these men is 1 year younger than the other”.
After Milner’s fast start, he became a solid PL player and something of a journeyman. Respectable stays at pretty big clubs. At what felt relatively late in his career (but he was only 24, surprisingly), he joined the revolution at Man City. He was an important part of a successful team there, picking up a couple of PL medals, then moved to Liverpool, not for a swan song as some including me may have thought, but to take part in another revolution. He has continued to be a valuable member of a great team, now a respected elder statesman, and snagged another PL and a CL.
So, mailbox, which are you taking? I’m guessing the child in every soccer fan takes Rooney- goals, superstardom, glory. Devil take the rest. I’m also guessing the jaded office workers that read this take Milner- consistency, hard work, selflessness. If he could make it later in life, maybe I can too.
Paul (approving of Arsenal’s transfer plans), Gooner
So I see the question of illegal streaming is getting an airing again. I illegally stream games and I don’t feel the slightest shred of guilt about it.
I’m a Man Utd fan, United family, I live in Manchester (I used to live on Matt Busby Way for Christ’s sake), I’ve been a fan since falling in love with football as a 7yo watching Italia 90. In the subsequent 30+ years, I’ve had Sky subscriptions, Setanta, BT Sport and although never a season ticket holder (have always worked weekends), I used to go to about 10-15 games per season in my 20s. I’ve spent plenty of money on the game and club I love.
But I’m 40 this year; I’m a husband, father and business owner and I don’t get to watch much football anymore. I’ll try and stream United’s games if it fits around my other responsibilities (I probably average about 60mins of each game) and I’ll tune in for the odd big match not involving United, like a City-Liverpool, if I’ve got nothing else on. There’s absolutely no way I can justify spending £75+ on the various subscriptions needed just to be able to watch some of the games that are sometimes on.
“Boo hoo”, “tough luck”, “you don’t get to watch any then”, “stealing is stealing” are the usual counter arguments to what I do, and I’d say they were fair enough but for one small detail. For a fraction of the price, in pretty much every other country in the world, one can watch every single game. I believe it’s $50 (£35-£40) in the US, and a fraction of that in many other countries. Why on earth, in a globalised system, with a league that proudly boasts of itself as “the biggest” and “most watched” in the world, is the domestic fan paying double the amount or more for less content? It’s absolutely farcical and a total rip off. The consumer wouldn’t accept it in any other market. We’d just buy it in from abroad.
If the broadcasters or clubs were to offer me a digital season ticket so that I can stream every United game, which the technology is there to do, at a comparable price to Spotify or Netflix (which I gladly pay for because they are value for money) then I’d sign up straight away. I can’t be bothered with the hassle of illegal streaming, it’s a pain, they get taken down, crash just as the ball is heading towards the top corner etc., but I’ll put up with it until they start getting realistic with the domestic fan.
I wouldn’t mind, but I think it would make complete business sense too, because I think there’s a hell of a lot of people just like me that would pay a more modest fee that aren’t doing currently. 3 people paying £25pm is much better than 1 paying £75pm because it’s potentially tripling the advertising revenue if it’s reaching 3 times the audience.
Until the likes of Sky, BT, the Premier League and FA realise it’s 2022 and the consumer wants content on demand at an affordable price, I’ll continue to use nefarious means to watch the games and I won’t feel guilty about it. There’s is a daft, antiquated model of distribution.
Lewis, Busby Way
Looking forward with Lampard?
Kevin is right to highlight the stellar contribution Frank Lampard made to young players at Derby County and Chelsea, and to suggest he could have a similar effect at Everton. However, this misses the wider context of Lampard at Chelsea: he was appointed when they had a transfer embargo and needed someone to get good performances out of young players; who better to mentor people who have come through Chelsea’s academy than a bona fide club legend?
The wheels started to come off for Lampard when the Pensioners spent over £200m on players, some of whom replaced his youngsters in the starting lineup, and the form got worse. These were players who had impressed in European club competitions or international matches before he took charge of them, and he couldn’t coax the same levels of performance out of them. To recap: Lampard with young players = good, Lampard with expensive signings = problematic. Who can spot the pitfalls for Everton?
To play to Lampard’s strengths they would have to let him give starring roles to younger players. Instead, he’s inherited a team with experienced players (28+) in more than half the starting berths, many of whom were on the receiving end of severe criticism from him. The latest transfer news suggests they have agreed a deal for James Tarkowski, a 29-year-old England international. A fine player, but more in keeping with the previous Everton way of “he’s highly-valued, he should be good enough” instead of assessing whether he will fit their system or the profile of players Lampard has a record of developing. This isn’t to say he won’t get good performances out of Tarkowski, but it will need a style of coaching that as yet he hasn’t really demonstrated. That’s not taking respect off Lampard’s name, that’s fair comment based on previous evidence, with an open mind and reserved judgement about future performance.
…Having read Kevin’s piece on Lampard, I’d have to say I pretty much agree with everything he said. And he said it much better than I ever could. I think the one thing about Lampard that Everton supporters will tell you is that we as supporters were in a very, very dark place before and after Rafa was sacked. Our going down was pretty much a foregone conclusion with a large swath of the supporters (including this one if I’m being honest.) Injuries were hurting us, VAR/officiating was hurting us, boneheaded decisions by our players on the pitch was hurting us, and absolute crap set piece defending was hurting us. There was not one ray of light to hold for the supporters to reach out and hold on to. Not one.
What Lampard did to fire up the supporter base and pull everyone together…well I haven’t seen that anywhere else in a long time. I think had that not happened, we would have certainly gone down. The effect it had on the players was certainly evident in their effort to keep us out of the relegation zone. Yes, it didn’t hurt that other clubs were having issues well. Frank galvanized Everton Football Club and brought everyone together. He said the right things, his press conferences were realistic, not pie in the sky, and he didn’t shy away from the fact that going forward, it was HIS responsibility along with the players to keep us up.
Now that we’re staying up, the jury is still out on what we can do going forward. Yes, there were times where he drove us insane by waiting too long to make obvious changes but as Kevin said, he’s still learning the ropes. Our new DoF, Kevin Thelwell has his work cut out for him as well as it looks as if we’ll have to sell to buy unless there are some attractive free agents willing to come to Everton. I’m hopeful Frank will continue to improve along with the club and that we don’t experience this again next season.
TX Bill (glad to see Forest back in the Premier League as well. It’s been too long.) EFC
…Not sure I need to add much more to what Kevin says about Frank Lampard as he covers it very well.
Most blues I know are over the moon with Lampard. Sure he makes mistakes but if you had a shite, demoralised squad to work with then he needs to make mistakes to understand how bad the squad actually is. His selection by Moshiri (the 1st decent decision he has made on the footballing side) has galvanised our love for the blues like no other manager ever has. He’s made us realise how much we love the club, asked us to show it and we responded in spades.
Our club is not run very well at all and everything Frank has done since he has arrived has been positive. Props to Kevin for pointing out the Paul Clement appointment too, hopefully with a full pre-season, clearing of dead wood, we can be a bit more competitive next season.
On a personal note, Rafa made me question my love for football, love for the club and whether I could be arsed with any of it at all. Frank has re-ignited it and I can’t ask for any more than that.
Fat Man (still a cynical old tw*t though)
…I think Kevin, Nottingham is entirely missing the point regarding Frank Lampard. The single biggest criticism of Lampard is the entitlement he is afforded and the unearned managerial opportunities that regularly fall his way. Gerrard worked with Liverpool’s academy for a year learning from the second-best manager in world football, won Rangers their first league title in a decade (a great achievement given Celtics’ stranglehold) before he got the job at Aston Villa. Patrick Vieira started with a youth development role at Man City, before moving to New York City FC (where Wikipedia says he took them from 17th in 2015 to 4th in his first season and then to 2nd in his second season), then spent almost 2.5 years at Nice in the French Ligue 1, before landing the job at Crystal Palace (which he recently led to the best PPG and table position in the past 3 years while playing attractive football). Mikel Arteta spent 3.5 years as an understudy to the best manager in world football before he got the job at Arsenal (where he has clearly improved the team year-on-year over the past 3 years). Lampard hasn’t done any such thing – he had one decent year at Derby where he took a team in 6th and finished 6th, has the worst record of any manager of the Abramovic era at Chelsea (worse points per game than Andre Villas-Boas) and has a PPG of 1.11 managing 18 games of the current season at Everton. His overall managerial record is short and frankly, abysmal.
Each of the three other managers have also developed youth players – Jacob Ramsey at Villa, Olise/Gallagher/Mitchell at Palace, Saka/Martinelli/Smith-Rowe at Arsenal. Development of young players is a nice add-on once you have accomplished your basic task as a manager, i.e., winning football games and getting points on the board. The only thing Lampard has going for him is “embedding himself in the culture and history of the club”. That trick worked this season as Everton fans were clutching at straws waiting for something, anything to be hopeful for. I can’t think of any other explanation for why Lampard’s record (20 points – 19 games) is viewed differently to Benitez’s (19 points – 19 games). No other explanation for why Lampard can make Everton play low-possession, time-wasting, counter-attacking football and get away with it.
Lampard seems immune to criticism in a way that no other manager is – remember the headlines when he was justifiably sacked at Chelsea and replaced with a significantly better manager? Frank Lampard receives all this venom because of what he represents – he represents a certain type of person or people for whom the same rules just don’t apply. He represents a group that always get what they want, whether they deserve it or otherwise, whether they have put in the hard yards or otherwise. His managerial record could continue to be sub-par next season but both he and his media friends will find a way to twist the narrative (I can already read their excuses which will likely be about Everton’s summer transfer activity). But when all is said and done, if you look dispassionately at hard facts, numbers, and data, one thing becomes objectively clear – till date, Frank Lampard’s managerial career has been poor.
Rohit, Abu Dhabi
Fix England in one move
Move from 5-3-2 to 3-5-2 wingback. That’s it. We take the midfield, wingbacks stay wide, cross in attack and drop back when defending. Options to play central or wide, possession play or break on counter and the defence has cover to be tight around the box or snuff out wingers with the wingbacks or midfield cover if out of position. I have held this opinion since 1990, I was 6. It has resolved selection questions consistently in my head. Why we never use it I’m at a loss to explain. I have never over decades found a fault with it. I’m sure I will receive criticism but I believe in this. It’s a life long hill that I will die on.
After watching the England Germany match, I couldn’t find many things to be particularly positive about, aside from one… The refereeing.
Yes, he got in the way, but the main positive was the leniency. Watching players go down and get nothing, only for play to carry on and for them to look slightly foolish did stir up a pleasant, warm feeling inside.
Looking back on most decisions, it didn’t seem like he let fouls go, but rather didn’t deem any type of contact to be a foul. This brings up an exciting prospect… What if all referees did this. What if the line was moved slightly, away from the current formula of contact + player going down = foul. I don’t mean ‘let them kick lumps out of each other like the good old days’, but just a positive move towards a more fluid game. Leniency could the way of achieving this.
Rob (Gunner looking for something to be excited about for the next season.)
Arsenal > Spurs
I’ve been having a massive issue with F365’s relatively recent (only been reading here since Covid) tendency to equate Arsenal’s problems as a club with those of Tottenham’s. Seriously ignorant stuff being written in this regard…I could go on and on about this but I’ll make this specific instance pretty simple – if Spurs really were a more attractive option for players than Arsenal then why are we the betting favorites in the Jesus/Tielemans transfer races?
Don’t even get me started on those stupid “fanbase vibes” rankings.
MAW, LA Gooner
It’ll be summer somewhere
I know people are complaining that the World Cup isn’t in summer this year but spare a thought for our antipodean friends.
If you’re an Aussie or a Kiwi, the World Cup has always been held in deep winter or whatever passes for a winter down under.
But this year – for the first time ever (I think) the World Cup will be held in their summer so they’ll get to experience all the joys of a summer World Cup for the first time.
It will suck big time for us but I’m boycotting the whole thing anyway.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
For the people criticising the English national anthem, check out the Dutch one. It refers to God, being of German blood and honouring the Spanish king. The Dutch players all sing and most Dutch people are more than happy to sing along. I guess there’s a lot less self-loathing in the Netherlands.
G Thomas, Breda
Whilst another mailer mentioned McTomanay’s rating/value to me it was absurd he was the only Scot to make the list.
Surely Andrew Robertson and Kiernan Tierney would have a far higher market value than the Man United midfielder!?!