The Mailbox is littered with replies to the question over the apathy around City…
Keep your mails coming in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arsenal under Big Sam
One game we relegate Sam Allardyce and the next we play the complete “Sam’s Guide to Beating Teams Better Than You”.
You really can’t make this stuff up.
Admir, Bosnian Gooner (is it weird that I barely enjoyed this game)
…Well that didn’t go to plan did it? Fair play to Arsenal they’ve done the double over us for the first time since 2003, we made a single mistake and they punished us, but the reaction on social media was incredible hilarious, I saw multiple tweets suggesting we could lose two cup finals, finish fifth because Liverpool will be one point behind us if they win their two games in hand.
Yes, that COULD happen, but we could also win two cup finals and finish in the top four too, realistically I would say we will beat Leicester and Aston Villa in the league and most likely lift the FA Cup, of course we might not, but positivity would be nice to read on social media.
Can someone explain what would have happened if Smith Rowe had not scored from the errant back pass in the Arsenal/Chelsea game? The game announcers (for the U.S. viewers) said that the handball by the keeper would have been penalised with an Arsenal indirect free kick on the six yard line. Can this be right? That sounds like a pretty weak penalty. I would expect much more.
Ron Jeremias (Woodbridge, Virginia, U.S.A.)
…I’m just wondering, if Smith Rowe had not scored last night, where would the free kick have taken place for Kepa having deliberately handled, on the goal line, the backpass from Jorginho?
I’m a fully grown man with a seven-year-old daughter. She’s quite competitive so likes to challenge me to things like running races.
Normally I let her come first, but on the odd occasion I run properly to try and get her to realise sometimes in life she may not win but that’s ok.
How this plan works out remains to be seen.
What is certain though is on the occasions I ‘compete’ I do not celebrate winning and don’t feel a sense of achievement.
Nor does anyone else give me plaudits/care in the slightest. They would probably only take notice if I competed properly and still lost to a small child.
It’s an exaggerated and tongue-in-cheek comparison but for anyone wondering why no one is very bothered by City winning any of their trophies, this sort of principal is why.
In fact personally I’m mildly pleased when they do, if slightly amused by the City fans celebrating. Far rather this than Liverpool’s genuine success.
Ronnie Buzzard, Manchester
…Just a quick one on Dave Tickner’s article.
People don’t care because Man City SHOULD win the league….and FA cup and league Cup and Champions League.
They have the best squad in Europe by a country mile and one of the best managers in the world.
This is the reason for the apathy.
Any other team were/would be given a more positive reaction because you have to be extraordinary to compete with this Man City squad, Pep has spend £750m to put this squad together.
It’s almost a back handed compliment.
…So, Dave Tickner wonders why City don’t get the praise he feels they deserve. Weeelllll Dave, I’ll tell you why.
1)They’ve got more money than everyone else – Always annoying to the neutral.
2)They’ve got a backup eleven better than every other team’s first XI bar Liverpool, Chelsea and United – so obviously they’ve got a huge advantage over the course of a tough season.
3)They’re owned by one of the World’s most vile dictatorship – makes them very easy to dislike.
4) It’s clear to everyone with half a brain cell that they’ve broken FFP rules, sponsorship rules and paid staff off the books. They even hired some of the men who came up with FFP to try and get around it………FFS.
5)They’re still currently under investigation by the Premier League for breaking rules – no time barred shenanigans here so could be interesting.
6)Their huge wages and massive net spend since 2008 has distorted transfer fees and wages across Europe – and don’t give it all ‘but we’ve never broken the transfer record’ City fans. You’ve spent more than any other club in the World since 2008 and Mancini admitted he was paid off the books.
7)Because of their rule breaking the established ‘big clubs’ have done everything they can to keep up, resulting in the terrible Super League idea that would wipe away the debts of Barca, Juve, Real Madrid and even the playing field for United and Liverpool – I’m not one who wants to protect the so called ‘cartel’, but City officials were happy to break the rules and rage against UEFA until they got a seat at the big table. Once they were there, they wanted the door shut so no-one else could get in.
So there you go City. 7 things I hate about you. Personally, I don’t fancy giving cheats any credit. The football they play is amazing, if not a little predictable sometimes. Pep is a great manager, of course. The trophy count is impressive, obviously. The stadium looks nice and I’m sure the training complex does too. But, so what? You wouldn’t give a notorious gangster credit for having a nice house and a nice car when he’s broken the law and made others lives a misery to get it.
I hope that all of this comes back to bite City on the arse eventually and it stuns me that some fans don’t feel the same way. United and Liverpool fans seem more concerned about snipping at each other about who has been more sh*t recently, rather than focusing on a dangerous, common enemy. If you actually all pulled together, maybe you could do something about it for the good of the game.Whilst fans of other clubs don’t seem to be getting annoyed that City’s cheating has pushed them further down the table. Everton, Spurs, Arsenal, Leicester fans. If it wasn’t for City you all would have placed better in the league had the homophobic rulers of the UAE not chosen City for their sporstwashing project.
And there’s your final couple of points Mr Tickner. City’s owners are homophobic and they’re using the club to gain entry into Western politics and cover up the human rights violations in their country. But at least they built a few apartment complexes in Manchester right? Praise be!
David Tickner’s article is as close as I’ve come to leaving my beloved F365 in years(you once published an article saying Lewis Holtby was the missing link, that was a close shave). He actively ignores the ethical and sporting reasons Man City’s success is shrugged at and ignored. F365 have clearly made their peace with Man City’s business model but this dominance that David is so giddy about is what fans where worried about when billions of unearned income was poured into a middling premier league team.
Man City fans should enjoy it, of course they should but the trade off for their investment heavy success will be apathy.
In Liverpool’s hands
Am I right here….
Right so if I’ve got this right some f*cking how without hardly playing the idiots around us have now put this in our own hands. As long as we win all our own games because Leicester and Chelsea play each other next game we can actually be guaranteed to catch one of them.
We have to make the goal difference up. If we win all our games and Leicester beat or draw with Chelsea we overtake Chelsea. If Chelsea beat Leicester then we over take them. So as long as we win all our games and make the 3 goals up
It’s in our own hands and results have no impact on where we finish.
…Despite everything that’s happened this season, it seems remarkable that a top 4 place is still in Liverpool’s hands. Currently, Liverpool’s maximum points tally is 69. Leicester can reach 72 and Chelsea can get to 70. However, with Chelsea and Leicester yet to play, it’s impossible for both teams to achieve their maximum total.
Whatever happens in that game, Liverpool would be able to overtake one of the teams. Liverpool’s goal difference is slightly poorer at the moment but if they are winning 4 games, compared to just one game for the other side, that would be overcome.
Now, I’m not for a minute saying this will happen. For Liverpool to win 4 in a row from here would be highly unlikely. I fully expect us to lose this evening and probably fail to beat Burnley and West Brom as well. But at least there’s hope. And hope is what makes football worth watching.
Mike, LFC, London
What the Aussies can teach us
Long time reader, second time writer. I’m an Australian and in recent years I’ve done a lot more night shift. Aside from the reduced life expectancy and lack of quality sleep, another one of the benefits is that I get to watch EPL games in full while I’m “working”. For those interested, I’m an Arsenal fan.
Anyway, I grew up watching and playing AFL (Australian Rules Football). And while I’ve grown to love football (soccer) and particularly the drama and narrative catalysed by the plethora of colourful personalities in the Prem, there are two in-game customs that absolutely draw my ire every time I watch a match.
The first that provokes an almost audible exhale from my nostrils is when a player commits a foul and the opposition is given a free kick, the fouler (or one of his teammates) just kicks the ball away – and everyone just seems to accept it like it ain’t no thing. If this was to occur in AFL, people would be going ballistic. In my sport, the onus is on the fouler to:
A. If they are in possession of the ball, to give it to the free kick recipient immediately or,
B. If they are not in possession of the ball, to not deliberately obstruct or prevent the player from retrieving the ball. (I.e. don’t kick the f*ing ball away you dog)
Failure to comply with either of these result in a 50m penalty in AFL. Not sure what the equivalent could be in football, a yellow card seems too harsh, so I’m not sure there. However, the point is that this setup allows for a fast and flowing game and also limits the notion of a ‘tactical foul’ (cough cough Fernandinho).
The other thing – this one makes me take my glasses off and squeeze the bridge of my nose with my eyes closed – is when a player who has been fouled stays down (when not seriously or even mildly injured) often to the detriment of their team. Can this not be coached out of players? Why do they stay down? To try and manipulate the referee? He’s having none of it! You’re just lying there letting your teammates down. I’ve seen so many occasions where a player, let’s say a CDM, pushes up on the opposition defence and goes for a 50/50 ball, loses the contest, goes down and stays there. The opposition is now free to run at the attack without the CDM shield in place to protect the back line. How is this acceptable? Is everyone screaming at the tele ‘get up you sod’ or is it just me? I’ve never watched a game of football in an English pub and won’t get a chance to for a while (sad face). That being said, if a player stayed down without cause in the AFL it would be considered a total indictment on his character. A droppable offense.
The point of this mail is not to criticise, but rather to give an outsider’s POV. Would either of these things happen in ‘the good old days’ that I’ve heard so much about?
I would love if someone pointed out how shit AFL is – we’ll take any international attention we can get. I’ll say something nice now to finish; I think that what it takes for an individual to make it to the premier league is far greater than what it takes for someone to play AFL. Prem footballers have insanely immense amounts of skill, determination, mentality, technique, and desire (aus footballs are fitter though). I love the cultural diversity of English football, and I long hope this can be emulated one day in my little weird down under sport. Anyway, it would be nice to know if you readers agree with me or think I’m a moron.
Jack M (Melbourne, Aus – go the Footscray Bulldogs)
I did have to respond to Lewis’ mail regarding Lukaku.
While is numbers data were right and the posted players are in their thirties he is missing a couple of elements.
Italian league football is played at a slower pace with more tactical battles taking place. Older players are more experience and there is less of a necessity on the premier leagues famed pace and power.
Onto pace and power, if you watched Lukaku lately you will have noticed he seems to have more of both. He himself has said he has changed his diet and started working really hard.
Look at his highlights and some of the goals he has scored. It-is-insane.
He is not the same from United. He is faster, stronger, more lethal and you can tell he has his belief back. Which is fair, at United he struggled under Mourinho and continued under Ole.
The reason for the former is that he wanted him to be a disciplined target man( Which he is not) and the latter, who needed a poacher(but prefer Martial and Rashford.
If City or Chelsea make a move for him this year there will be no surprises. He will be devastating next year. There are very few players like him, and again, check out his highlights because my word he has scored some beauties.
Calvino (Don’t be upset when your ex is doing well, doesn’t make them look bad)
Fire and fury
What a mailbox of fury and nonsense. First things first- Sir Alex consistently rested his better teams when he had bigger games coming up. He consistently trusted youth. Jan, 2006, we lose to Burton Albion in the cup. Why? Sir Alex rested his team for the upcoming Liverpool game and League cup vs Rovers.
We lost, United fans were furious but Fergie knew the risk and always wanted to give youth a chance.
Secondly- get off the ‘United need to be punished’ train, especially Liverpool fans. While what United fans did was bad, it was completely out of control of the club and if anything, was something the police has to handle. On top of that the players were never put at risk. Contrast that let’s say with a mob of Liverpool fans assaulting BOTH Manchester City and Real Madrid team buses before a game. Punishment? Nope, nothing. Words of punishment from pool fans? Nope, nothing.
That above is a serious violation of fair play and would be considered direct intimidation. That is cheating and quite scummy. While the United fans weren’t exactly princes, they protested the biggest game of the year to make them be heard. Nobody other than a couple of policeman were hurt and no teams were intimidated. Your also forgetting United were big favorites for this game and were definitely up for not handing city the title that weekend.
Onto that point, no fan has had a mail published about United winning the league. It was extremely slim at any chance. To say we should tire out team out and risk injuries ahead of Liverpool and a first trophy in 3 years(Micky Mouse or not) is ridiculous. Expecting these professionals to put in a hard shift Thursday-Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday is bonkers. Rotation had to happen.
Then comes Liverpool’s position, as a United fan I 100% would rather this situation as opposed to beating Leicester and losing to Liverpool. Especially is if means they don’t qualify for the Champions League. United are getting closer to the top and one less challenger works.
The Premier League won’t and can’t complain either. That United team was still strong and still performed. There is some excitement amongst some United fans about the current youth coming through and the squads potential. Leicester are a very good team, are in 3rd place and just edged this game so fair play to the ‘B’ team.
Calvino (ps, Liverpool fans should start getting used to Thursday night games, they’re a hoot)
…Having read the mailbox about Man United destroying the integrity of the league and the rest of it, as a Liverpool fan I have one thing to say to everyone complaining about it, and that is get off your high horse. United have no obligation to anyone else than to do what is best for them. Was I disappointed to see a B team line-up? Sure I was, not because for the sake of the league’s integrity, but because it gave Leicester a better chance to win and cement their position in top 4. Whatever gripes I have about it, I would want Liverpool to do the same if they were in that position.
In fact, we only have to go as far back as our last group stage CL game this season, you know, the one where Klopp didn’t fully rotate the squad and Jota got injured for three months. That game annoyed me so much because it was a dead rubber and first team players should not have been anywhere near that game in my opinion.
So lets accept that Man United did what was best for them, and have Liverpool win their remaining 4 games and Leicester lose to Chelsea in the league so we will get 4th!
…Re. Oliver Dziggle/Trevor Sinclair’s points deduction proposal. That would be, politely, a terrible idea.
The best way to ensure sporting integrity in a competition is to ensure fixtures are fulfilled. Its simple as that.
Further, if the PL object to the protests causing disruption, affecting everyone’s precious match day revenue, then representing to protesters that if they force a match to get called off, their cause will be actively rewarded by getting the team in question a points deduction… completely counterintuitive.
How about this instead, the clubs will all reflect on their security arrangements and implement improvements (because it could probably easily happen at any other ground) and all the nonsense about points deductions or awarding Liverpool three points stops. Instead, everybody has to play each other twice, and the one with the most points at the end wins… sorry if that means Liverpool don’t get an artificial leg up in the top four race.
All this talk about points deductions is seriously pathetic. How many points deductions have there actually been in the top flight, like ever? There’s a reason they don’t really happen (save for financial impropriety) and that’s because they ruin sporting competitions…
…I’m reading a lot about the fixture being cancelled and Utd fielding a weaker side against Leicester. Who cares if they fielded a weaker side?As a Liverpool fan I’ve already wrote this debacle of a season completely off. There hasn’t been an area of the season that has ran smoothly, whether it’s no fans, officials, scheduling, Var, ESL or Utd fans getting games cancelled because they’re not the best anymore, it’s all just an accumulatively terrible season all round.
Should Utd be punished? Absolutely. There’s a team in the north east of England (Newcastle) that have had terrible ownership for years but you don’t see them stopping matches. Utd fans can go on about the glaziers taking dividends but they’ve also spent just as much if not more than anyone else in the league. I’m almost certain this would not be an issue if Utd were top. Has the money been used poorly, probably, but that’s tough titty as they say. You cannot stop football matches because things haven’t gone your way. Is it that Man Utd fans are angry because they can’t attract the players they once could and are blaming the board for that? Or Perhaps it’s the way they play knowing once the more possession based rivals get their acts together next season that Utds style won’t cope? Or is it purely because the plastics are furious they cannot sign rice sancho haaland messi Ronaldo mbappe all in one window?
Whatever the reason Utd fans claim they’re breaking the law for I don’t believe it makes them exempt from punishment. The premier league are setting a precedent not punishing the club. I would advise the next time any clubs set of fans who have a problem with anything, that they would protest and riot and get the game called off and continue to do so.
…Probably too late for the fallout of United resting players for Leicester but I just want to add that, as a United fan I am thoroughly happy if we have rested players solely to wind up Liverpool.
This is a part of what football is about. Clubs around the country have chants they sing about rival teams that are sung regardless of who they are playing.
Liverpool are our biggest rivals, last year they enjoyed their best season in while, whilst we had one of our worst. I’m sure they enjoyed it.
Sean (We’re all entitled to a bit of schadenfreude- the more it pisses you off, the happier it makes me)
…Chelsea make 7 changes, resting players for FA Cup final and duly lose, Arsenal now only 2 points behind Liverpool. I bet the scousers will barely mention that compared to their abuse of Ole’s forced changes.
Jon, Cape Town (Are the gooners and scousers playing for 6th place trophy now? ha ha, come on you gooners)
…A lot of letters saying that ole was right to keep his “eye on the prize” and play a weakened team against Leicester.
I think that makes sense, honestly I do. If klopp did it I’d say it was smart. Its smart when ole did it too.
I wonder though how many united fans would make the same rationalisation if Ole played a weakened team against Liverpool?
Its the exact same rationale. The game against Liverpool has no bearing on United’s season and united have a far more important game on the horizon, but my guess is that united fans will desperately want to win that game because while there is no physical benefit to united (the team) there is a big psychological benefit to united (fans) – seeing your biggest rivals lose out on something you know they desperately need.
And let’s be honest Liverpool fans probably deserve a little but of it too, we were very vocal about our successes (wait…it’s wrong to feel good about something literally 20years in the making?)
But in the spirit of being equally honest – some united fans want to see Liverpool fail as much as they want to see united succeed. So let’s not pretend you all value ole tactical genius and team management for playing a weakened side against Leicester because if he did the same thing against Liverpool for the same reason – nobody would accept it.
How quickly we forget
Just wanted to write in to say that I’m appalled how quickly everyone has given up on boycotting the blatant greed that’s been going on for too long already. As my brother mailed in on Tuesday, (and no one responded to him btw because no one cares anymore…) the proposal for THE SUPER LEAGUE provided fans with the perfect platform to show that we as fans have a say in the grand scheme of things.
Talking with him, we feel that one of the problems surrounding the idea of boycotting is that there is no common goal (at the moment) amongst fans on a global scale. The very idea of a common goal that will satisfy fans worldwide is of course impossible, but we have to try something don’t we?
Even your average, casual American fan that I have spoken with seemed to understand the notion that so much history, tradition, and fair competition was being prepared to be wiped out so impressively unceremoniously. I loved the initial strong reaction from fans, players, ex players, coaches, politicians even. But I still feel that letting these teams right back into their domestic leagues only swept these now institutionalized problems under the rug. For now.
It’s been said before by many others (rightfully so) that the greed and money involved in the game has been rampant for far too long now. I want to reiterate, this proposal of a SUPER LEAGUE provided fans with the best platform yet to boycott these human rights abusing owners that everyone always seems to complain about when one of their clubs inevitably wins something every year.
Why have we let this opportunity pass? Do we really have memories like fucking goldfish? Are our lives really that miserable that we can’t live without watching this circus for a year to show how much this sport means to us? To try to “claim it back”?
I know there will never be a common goal to unite the whole world in this scenario. I suppose I am just really disappointed that we didn’t build on the strong initial reaction to actually make a positive difference as everyday fans. Feels like it might be our last chance.
Pete, Cape Cod USA
Team of the year
Your one per team team of the year got me thinking about who was the real team of the year. Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher had interesting choice. For me I went onto whoscored to see who the real team of the year was based on performance so far based on average rating. Here are the results-
GK- Martinez- Truly phenomenal. How Arsenal saw him and training and thought Leno was better I’ll never know. One mans trash is another mans pick up.
RB- Cancelo- Coufal seems like the peoples choice but when you actually consider what a unique and occasionally devastating roll he plays for Man City it makes more and more sense. Ranked overall in 5th place. Well done.
LB- Luke Shaw- He as finally become what everyone thought he could be. Just as a footballer he is class, his touch, movement, positioning, dribbling are all amazing and that’s not mentioning that he learned how to cross.
CB- Fofana- For all of the Ruben Dias fever it is actually Fofana with the highest rated centreback. It’s not hard to imagine why if you have watched him. More surprising is how far away from the conversation he has been. In terms of achievement, a champions league place and FA cup final is pretty damn good.
CB- Maguire- again, no Dias, but don’t blame me or Maguire, he just performed better. What’s nuts is that Leicester was the first game he has missed since he signed. Something else that goes under the radar some what.
DM- NDidi- Your man, who scoreds man and my man. The best defensive midfielder in the league and potentially the world.
CM- Kevin De Bruyne- He should be in every team. The man that really makes Man City what the are. Dias is great but it is King Kev that rules the roost. Ranked no. 3 overall, and well deserved.
CM- Fernandes- As with KDB as with Fernandes. Equal on assists with KDB but loses out with a 7.41 vs a 7.56. His 17 goals vs 5 should more than make up for it. What makes him player of the year in my books in the sheer impact and magnitude of his presence to United and the league that makes him ‘the’ standout player.
RW- Son- He is more of a left winger yes, but it was between him(ranked 8th) and Sane(ranked 7th)(Same score). Whilst Sane has had 6 MoM vs 0 for Son, Son has scored and assisted 27 goals vs Sane’s 14.
LW- Jack Grealish- The winter wonder man seems to be forgotten but that should never be the case. He is a magician, a leader and an all round superstar. 16 goals contributions and second only to our lead scorer in ratings. Will step up higher hopefully next season and show the world the real Grealish.
CF- Kane- Who else. At a 7.77 he is the highest rated player in the league. You wouldn’t have known from all of the Dias talk. Scores, assists and leads. Any team would have him and only one team don’t deserve him.
Subs-( I am not a goalie on the bench kind of guy)
RB- AWB- The second highest rated defender in the PL believe it or not. Truly amazing that he is so consistently consistent. He doesn’t cross like Trent but my word he is solid. Funny being England highest rated defender and doesn’t get you near the squad.
CB- Dias- he made the list as the third highest ranked CB. Granted forwards get higher praise than defenders but we all know he deserves to be in this team. He has been flawless yet somehow ranks lower than the aforementioned duo.
CM- Soucek- You said it better than I could. What a signing and what a difference he has made.
CM/LW- Mount- The 6th highest rated player in the league this year makes the bench. That is more because of the Manchester duos quality than any fault of his own. 6th!!!
RW-Mahrez- He makes the top ten and most certainly deservedly so. He is probably the unsung hero of Man City this season.
CF- Calvert-Lewin- What a year for the big man. Scoring like never before and showing the rest of us what he can do. People keep taking Kane/Haaland, DCL would be my alternative.
Honorable mentions- Sterling, Gundogan, Rodrigues, Rodrigo, Raphinha, Watkins and Anotonio.
Calvino( Honestly, who saw AWB has the second highest ranked?!)
Hang the journo
Frankly, I am disgusted that the rumoured player swap between Chelsea and Barcelona did not appear under the headline “Pjanic on the streets of London”. Please rectify immediately.
Chris in Cardiff