Mails on Clutch Bobby, Premflix and Dirk Kuyt’s six-incher…

Date published: Tuesday 11th February 2020 8:35

Send your mails to Please. This is going to be a long week.


Clutch Bobby
Really like the article giving Roberto Firmino the respect he deserves. There are indeed still people who laugh and say that he is overrated due to his goal tally, but this is ignorance and totally oblivious of his actual role in the team. Only a person who has not watched Firmino play at least a full game of football, would think that his goal tally is relevant to his quality. It is not, it is the complete opposite.

I’d like to point out though, that inspite of not scoring alot of goals this season, it’s important to note that of the 10 goals he has scored this season, please see below for their value

Winner against Southampton
Winner against Chelsea
Winner against Crystal Palace
Opening goal in the away drubbing of Leicester
Winner against Spurs
Winner against Wolves
Winner against Monterrey in club world Cup semi final
Winner against Flamengo in club world Cup final

8 out of the 10 goals scored by the man this season have turned out to be winning goals. Can somebody say clutch? Oh and did I mention, every single one of those goals were away from home? He scores goals when they are most needed in difficult circumstances.
johnnyWicky, Toronto


Not ruing Rom’s exit
It’s truly getting annoying, the coverage on Romelu Lukaku and how United fans must be crying while washing their babies, thinking about his 17 goals playing for yell-y Conte.

Not for a single day, or game, do I rue letting him leave. Man was a professional, dealt with the unfair criticisms from “fans” and got us important goals. But he wanted to leave. Many many many fans wanted him to leave too. Him going to Italy and scoring tons of goals was obvious to all of my United friends and general soccer watchers with a brain for individual thought.

Please please please stop though? It’s so tiresome.
N.V.M (focus on the positivity of a man enjoying a potentially career year, and praise him instead of make articles for no one about no one)


Premflix rules!
Hi all at F365 Towers, fantastic site, I’ve been on here daily since the early 2000s and it’s still my go-to site! Now that I’ve complemented you, you’ve got to print this.

On the whole Premflix issue, it’s a great idea. This season here in Canada we’ve had all the Premier League games on a streaming service called DAZN (other people have mentioned it on here before). Honestly, it’s fantastic. All games. ALL GAMES, available to stream. They also have select Championship matches, Champions League, Serie A, 6 Nations, and a few other sports (NFL, MMA, etc.)

It really has been a game-changer for me. Once my daughter was born and we got into the cycle of swimming/dance lessons on the weekend, I was unable to watch the football. I was left to sit with various chat threads with mates watching the games giving me commentary. However, now I can bring my laptop to the dance studio/pool, sit in the cafe with the free wifi and a cuppa and watch all the football I want. Highlights from the day before or live matches.

Long live streaming!


…Admittedly, I found John Nic’s article a bit hard to follow, mostly because he doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about, but lets take a stab. Before that, I’ll explain how it works in the United States.

NBC owns the rights to the Premier League. They broadcast it through a Saturday noon(last game of the day) game on local broadcast NBC (a freely aired channel), on NBC sports (a cable/satellite) channel, and through a streaming subscription called NBC Gold, where for $100 a year, you get streaming and replay rights to every EPL game. It seems to work just fine, and the fact that nobody in the UK is aware of this isn’t really hurting you, although I could suggest you get a VPN for about 40 bucks a year, buy NBC Gold, and save yourself about 800 quid a year…

Back to Nic’s, his whole argument seems to revolve around the belief that this will lead to a super league. If there is no super league, there is no problem, because the EPL bargains for broadcast rights in every market (as they already do), sells their product, and distributes income equally (or near enough) to all 20 teams. But with a super league, these teams would sell their own rights and the EPL would lose out.

But why would they do this? First, a super league would almost certainly require another collective bargaining agreement (like the current leagues) and not allow Liverpool,United, etc to individually sell their games (could only sell their home games anyway). It is doubtful it would make them more money to bargain individually. The whole point of collective bargaining is strength in solidarity. It is easier and safer for Liverpool to accept a share of the large deals the EPL gets rather than risking the fluctuations base on the difference in their yearly performance. United/Barca/Real are probably the only teams that could assume to dodge that sort of variance, and in a post Fergie world, it’s looking like United couldn’t even benefit from selling their own viewer rights.

This is similar to the argument for Mens/Womens Tennis being paid the same as well. The story is something along the lines of old white men in charge of Tennis didn’t think the women deserved it, but it was shown that there is an ebb and flow to each league, and that the women can actually generate as much or more than the men depending on the year. It is therefor good business for all parties if men and women are paid equally, instead of trying to adjust payments based on popularity in a give time period.

But again, why would these teams be resistant to a super league? Almost certainly because a super league wouldn’t benefit them as much as people think it would. In this instance, it is almost certainly better to be a big fish in a smaller pond (the EPL), than a small fish in a larger pound, even more so when you consider the other teams who would be invited to fill out the league, like Inter/AC/Athletico/Leipzig/etc. Are they really going to agree to join a league they know they can never win?

In terms of revenue per team, the EPL is only slightly behind the NFL as the leading sports league in the world. Do you really think there is that much room to grow, and at what cost? In a super league, you’d either be shafting these smaller throw away teams through an unequal sharing agreement (do they even join then?) or you are risking not being as successful in a much harder league (I guess Arsenal is already in a relegation fight…) and maybe not even being as well off as you were before? And where does all that sweet sweet Champions League money go? If all the usual suspects are just in a super league, does the Champions League just become the FA Cup, and do people even still really care about it?

For Nic’s to be right, you’d have to assume there is so much money in bucking the EPL, it unquestionably makes up for the loss of constantly being at the top of your current league, having a very lucrative European league already, and carries no downside in the realist event you aren’t anywhere near as dominant in this new format, all so that you can give up what is basically the best current setup in the world anyway. If it were as amazing as journalists and pundits wanted you to think it was, the money men for these clubs would have done it already. There is a certain safety to club brands in not having to play every top team twice per year, get pounded, and lose fans and income.
Jacques, Oxford (Or I have no idea what the hell I’m talking about)


…Wow. Another thoroughly confusing article from Johnny ‘PFM’ Nic, as pointed out by prior mailboxers. I am already using ‘Premflix.’ I am a Brit currently in Canada and have had different ways and levels of access to PL games over the years. Clearly related to whoever owned the current PL broadcasting rights.

Last year I had access to all the Saturday games through my cable subscription. The cable company had some of the US broadcasters who held the Saturday rights. But somebody else held the Sunday rights and I would have to have subscribed to that channel on top of my other subscriptions to see those games. Then there were some games (Friday and Monday) that I could access through yet another subscription. Occasionally there are games I would have to pay per view – to see that one game – the FA Cup, for example.

This year DAZN owns the rights to show the PL games. All the PL games. So this would be the equivalent of Johnny Nic’s Premflix model. I can pay a monthly or annual fee (discount for annual.) Just like Netflix. They also show other sports like rugby, golf, darts, american football etc. But it is a mixed bag. Rugby is the Pro14 and Six Nations. But even though I could watch ALL the PL games, I don’t. I watch my team’s games and some of say, City or Spurs – usually when the top 6 play each other. I wouldn’t watch Watford vs Palace, for example. I watch a few extra games early in the season to check on the new teams and because suffering a littel football withdrawal but this reduces as the season overloads coming into the xmas period.

The point is that there are many ways to consume football today from subscription (the Flix model) to pay per view to subscribing to an overall provider who provides channels to watch.

Richard Masters is a marketing guy and probably thinks he knows it all as a result but the operational side of setting up and managing a proper, Netflix-like streaming service is non-trivial. DAZN has issues with quality. Sure using AWS or Azure can ease the burden of providing scalable cloud storage and delivery closer to the clients but many companies have still failed to do this well with video. Real-time video. Plus, you would be making enemies of your former customers who would no doubt happily compete with other services.

Existing providers of video have had challenges and that is with people who have experience in that area. Screw up the roll out of Premflix and you would destroy the brand overnight. But we have seen that kind of thing before where a new ‘CEO’ comes in and thinks they need a statement idea to be seen as the new great leader.

But my issues are related to the operational challenges they would have and not the model itself – as Johny Nic appears to.
Paul McDevitt


Blackout bullsh*t
Aman Sheth doesn’t quite have it right with respect to watching football in England. Although the subscriptions are expensive it is possible to watch games via streamed services like Sky Go and BT Sport’s App. Sadly these services don’t play ball in foreign countries but in the UK they are excellent quality.

The real issue with English football on TV is the 3pm blackout. If the country is so worried about people not attending their local clubs then either move all Premier League fixtures to Sundays and put them all on TV or abolish the outdated law entirely. It’s utterly nonsense that in Argentina last week I was able to watch a Liverpool game on ESPN that I would’ve had to stream illegally in the UK despite spending nearly £100 a month on TV Subscriptions + Amazon Prime.

In almost every other aspect of life we are free to make our own choices in the UK; including stupid ones like smoking and drinking until you die. How we can’t be trusted to make a choice between watching a game on TV at 3pm or supporting a local team is beyond me.
Minty, LFC


Plans in chaos
I’m sure there are a ton of reasons why which I’ll be glad to be educated about, but why was the Man City v West Ham game on Sunday not simply postponed for 24 hours?

I assume the West Ham team and staff were already in situ and just needed to find a hotel for the night. Not so simple for the travelling supporters, I see that, but rather than buggering up the fixture list for the rest of the season, why not just stand down, check with the weather blokes and know that Monday would dawn fine and dandy for a game that afternoon?

Instead both teams have cocked up their winter break with an unforeseen day off when they’d rather be playing, and now face an extended period when the rust will set in. In West Ham’s case, already set, ready to seize. Maybe David Moyes will treat this as “going to Manchester City and coming away without a loss” in his mythical fixture list.

On another note, again there are surely a ton of reasons, but as I’ve asked before, why are substitutes not ready to play? Another comical episode at Everton when Djibril Sidibe noticed that he was only wearing one sock when he was summoned by Ancelotti. Do these people need a minder before they get to the bench? “Got your shirt”? “Check!” “Got your boots?” “Yep, wearing them both”. “Got your pants and shorts?” “Check, check!” “Wearing socks”? “Yep, there’d one and there’s …. oh fuck …”.

I don’t know how these people get themselves to the ground unaided if they can’t put on two socks.

Bemused …
Steve, Los Angeles


Barrel scraping
Rob is correct in saying that a moment of genius or a mistake in any given game can change the overall outcome and therefore a ‘points lost/gained from winning/losing positions’ metric might not be relevant. However, if it happens often enough across a season or two thirds of it then it becomes a trend and noteworthy. I think that is the point of the metric and why it was used in Winners/Losers… that or F365 are really scraping the barrel due to the winter break.
James (Here all week – unfortunately) Kent


…Rob, as Oscar Wilde once, said: “To lose a one goal lead may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose many looks like carelessness.”

Ok, I paraphrased, but the point stands. Yes, any team can drop points from a winning position, but if it happens multiple times it’s no longer bad luck, its bad game management. The best teams do not relinquish the lead, once they have it. They can grind out a 1-0 if needed, dominate possession and overwhelm the opposition or sit deep and hit on the break. If a team drops lots of points from winning positions, it shows they are unable to do this, and the statistic is a relevant one.
Mike, LFC, London


Nugent’s six-incher
Barry, Capetown I’ve not got my tape measure out but I will stake my life on it being Dave Nugents one and only international goal! Not sure what was funnier how happy he was with the worst goal ever scored or the look of disgust on Jermaine Defoes face.
Edward Canhands (Don’t actually own a tape measure)


…In response to the question from Barry, Cape Town about the shortest goal. What immediately came to my mind was the Dirk Kuyt hat-trick against Manchester United. Suarez cut in from the left dribbling past a few players and got a slight touch past the keeper with the ball rolling slowly towards the goal line. Kuyt simply helped it over the line as it was going over. Has to be the shortest one I have ever seen. Do any of the other readers remember anything shorter than that??
Lloyd, Jozi


…Well I’m not sure the official shortest goal ever scored, but I’m going to guess it belongs to Dirk Kuyt, way back in the 2010/11 season, Luis Suarez weaved his way through several Manchester United players  – Planet Football did an article on the very goal recently where Dirk Kuyt kindly takes the goal away from Luis Suarez, yet celebrates like he had done all the work, it’s brilliant to watch.

Side note, crazy to see Lowestoft Town mentioned by Joe who responded to my windy goals mail, as recently my local town played them in a league match, the world is a very small place it seems.
Mikey, CFC


Answering the call
The plea for e-mails earlier made me sad, so here’s a token effort.

1) What are the most wonderful striking combos that never happened?

For me, Bergkamp x Batistuta (Older Millennial checking in).

2) Who are the hardest (no ostentatious, adolescent, displays) players you’ve seen take a punch and…just take it (laughing or steely eyed – no theatrics).

For me, Johann Mjallby twice took – PFM standard – punch to face while playing for Celtic and just stared at the puncher (1 of whom I remember was Colin Cameron at Hearts).
Calum, Scotland

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