Man Utd need more than a few pairs of designer spectacles…

Joe Williams
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Man Utd

Thank you as always for your wonderful mails. Send your thoughts to


Meat Pie & Sausage Roll DNA
I didn’t know that Southgate’s fabled DNA is based on the 1980s meat pie and sausage roll approach to the game.

The concrete evidence of it only showed for a couple of minutes before Walker got his marching orders – but as far as I can tell rather than trying to break down an uber defensive opponent holding their shape he didn’t opt to add a Grealish or Mount to the mix in place of Ward Prowse. Instead of adding extra technical guile that could help Foden to commit opponents and influence their shape he took off said City youngster and added Ings, thus creating a vintage 4-4-2 with a couple of workhorses in the middle of the park and speedsters our wide. How that’s meant to break down a team holding a rigid shape who knows but it was interesting to see a manager who we see as intellectual turning to his inner Mike Bassett (which includes keeping a clearly knackered Harry Kane on till the last knockings of the game)


Slice of luck…
Just a quick one to say what a slice of luck we’ve had where we could’ve been listening to Big Sam every time England play. Can’t even imagine the starting 11 today under those circumstances.

Southgate may not have the tactical acumen to turn a semi final around but a good amount of English players are excellently coached at their clubs and England fans are reaping the benefits .
Peter. Andalucia.


Stead-y On
Has Matt has one too many Chardonnays whilst scribing the player reviews for Iceland vs England today? The title of his autobiography, the ghosts of past football memories, Hermes and Ings tribute show to the invisible man all delivered with the catty insolence so becoming of Dutch courage.

Either way, brilliant penmanship and thoroughly enjoyed the read.
Alex, Reading. 


Man Utd need more than a few pairs of designer spectacles
I read my brother’s letter yesterday suggesting Man U need three Liverpool players with interest. And yes, he is my real brother – we have the same parents.

Although I see the point, I think he’s missing a much bigger point. Liverpool are more than a collection of great players. They are more than a team. From the bottom up as a club they are years away from Man U – infrastructure, transfer policy, ethos – I could go on.

United need a visionary with the strength of personality (and the right personality) to change the entire club  – like Klopp. Even if they have the courage to appoint such a visionary it will take many years to turn the club around. United don’t have the courage – they will simply keep on buying expensive furniture when the whole house is on the wrong foundations. What’s the point in buying designer spectacles if all you’re going to do is stare at a brick wall.


33 points…
Let me start with a preface – I’m a United fan but what is about to follow is not a statement that I think they are going to win the league next season…

I see a lot of people refer to large points gap to suggest that one team is substantially better or worse than the other. Ted, Manchester – for example in the Friday afternoon mailbox pointed out 33 points between United and Liverpool. Though this mail isnt intended to give an opinion on whether Gary Neill was right that United will leapfrog Liverpool (he wasn’t), so instead i’ll talk about the 18 between Liverpool and City

That’s still a big number, a very comfortable win, but it is not a direct correlation to their quality.

City were excellent in a lot of respects last season. A huge and comfortable lead in goals scored and a not that much worse goals conceded, definitely able to beat Liverpool on their day (the reverse is also true). They had some specific issues though. Once they concede they struggled to get their head up and turn the game around  Whereas Liverpool were a machine, often winning by small margins. They were the better side…but not by that much.

City correct their soft spine issues (which they appear to be doing), or Liverpool go off the boil a little bit, and that could result in  big points swing.

What I’m getting at, is that very fine margins can lead to big swings. A small adjustment that sees you concede 5 fewer goals could turn five games you would have drawn one season into one goal wins and you’ve netted yourself 10 points.

To my mind, City were hovering just below a line and Liverpool just above it, but that can lead to an exponential change in points gathered.

By way of metaphor. If both teams’ performance level was an infectious disease – City had a reproduction number, or ‘r’ of 0.9 – a big number and one to be taken seriously, but a flat or even declining points haul. Liverpool had an “r” of 1.1. A tiny margin but gathering exponentially more points. Either could easily shift a tiny bit one way or the other and the pattern reverses.

In summary, (1) Liverpool are very good, but not so much better than some other teams as a raw look at points haul would suggest. And (2) with a Covid-19 ‘r’ hovering back around the 1 mark, wear a mask and stand two meters away from me in the supermarket queue, thank you very much.
Andy (MUFC)


What does success look like for Chelsea this season?
With the money spent and talent signed by Frank this summer, will anything outside of a league or champions league win be a monumental failure?
Luke Byrne


Young player shortlist
That PFA YPOTY shortlist is very good reading for England fans – 6 out of 6 is an outrageously good indication of the number of players getting into teams across the country. Considering that this list doesn’t include Reece James, Phil Foden, Dwight McNeil, Aaron Wan-Bissaka or (the still qualified) Dean Henderson, things finally look quite rosy going forward. Now give us back Jack Grealish, seeing as you clearly don’t need him.
Jamie, Ireland



Dream teams…
Happy Sunday chaps and chapettes!

Reading through the mailbox on Friday I found it quite reassuring that after such a contentious mail from William, Leicester there were well-written, articulate, and level-headed responses from both sides of the camp. Makes for better reading than who is the most annoying set of supporters. What I would say is that if you don’t like an article, don’t read it… however I do also feel it is the right of people to write in and demonstrate their unsatisfaction at the site / particular article / writer. Free speech and all, fair play to F365 for publishing both sides.

Anyway, moving onto a reply to Mikey, CFC who has lit a fire I feel in the mailbox with a cracking question. My tuppence:

Development: Bristol City – lived in Bristol for a long time, love the city, always so close yet so far from the playoffs so a relatively low expectation
Big Move at 21: Celtic – same reasons as Mikey boy (iconic side, would be a huge challenge to help compete for the title)
Big Move at 24: Leicester – there’s something exciting about that club, including that season
Big Move at 27: Liverpool – seems a good club to be when nearing / at your peak (also my club)
Three Clubs After 30: Juventus (slower paced but guaranteed a title), LA Galaxy (star studded history and the weather), Newport County (live nearby now, would get free chips down the local chippy)

A little twister question I’d like to ask (and answer) is what manager would you like to most work under for each of those age brackets? I’d have to go Howe > Rodgers > Hasenhüttl > Klopp > Ancelotti > Zidane > someone likely named Jones.
Steve (LFC, Liverpool > Wales)


Oh boy, oh boy, what a beautiful Friday challenge Mikey, CFC. It’s like trying to choose from the world’s greatest buffet… I want it all!!! A perfect way to while away the last hour or so in the “office” as the beers chill in the freezer. I chose the following:Development: FC Copenhagen – who can resist the cult of players with a Scandinavian heritage. Kits packed with sponsors badges, a cauldron of a stadium, european football experience and an amazing city.
Big Move at 21: Athletic Club Bilbao – A few years cutting your teeth across the stadiums, glitz and guts of La Liga while playing with this cult institution of world football in the Basque country
Big Move at 24: AC Milan – the black and red kit, the San Siro, the epitome of football.
Big Move at 27: Man United – Happy to grace my club with my best years
Three Clubs After 31: B Dortmund (Black and yellow – the wall of sound, the passion), Boca Juniors (the ticker tape South American insanity in La Bombonera), and I’ll finish out my career soaking up the Mediteranian sun on in Marseilles (the blue and white shirts evoke similar memories of 80’s and early 90’s AC Milan).

What a career… why oh why couldn’t I have just made it as a footballer! Can’t wait to read other people’s choices…
Austin (While we indulge in make believe, every kit will be made by Adidas Originals)


Thierry Henry
Loved the article about Henry and as a non-Arsenal fan from Ireland, I’d say I have no problem with him at all. He reacted as any professional athlete would in that situation and I truly believe that the reaction of the FAI to the incident was a national embarrassment. I believe FIFA compensated us for that match and shame on them for that. We were rubbish in the run up to that game and France were at a low ebb in their history. I believe that whoever emerged from the game was destined to embarrass themselves in Africa- Thierry Henry made the decisive action and we dodged a bullet! So Henry should never feel that we harbour any ill feelings. He was a superb and beautiful footballer and I’m glad to see him celebrated as such. His Arsenal career was exemplary and the French team that won the Euros in the early 2000s were close to perfect!

Michael, Ireland


EFL likes EPPP
A few responses to Tom Reed:

– EPPP is there as a trade because of the Solidarity Payments the EPL gives. The EFL clubs knows that, the EPL ain’t getting those players for free and more importantly those payments. The payments are also reliable and stable, meaning they don’t have to plan getting a good player out of the academy to get it. The EFL can easily terminate the arrangement but they won’t because its beneficial to them as it is easier to plan when you have stable predictable revenue.

Would a direct free player trading arrangement be fairer? Actually yes, and I think it would be better for rewarding development of good players for England. But the EFL didnt want it pre-COVID and they will be even worse off getting off EPPP post-COVID, and they as a collective membership deserve some blame for it and not just the EPL.

– Quite frankly, the EPL don’t have to care about spreading the wealth through the lower leagues, nor would I want them to. I mean the EFL aren’t exactly big fans of it either given Championship gets 80% of EFL TV money out of the three divisions. Each league, including the EFL looks after its own.

– Not sure what 13 foreign owners in the EPL have to do with anything? The EPL has been a global league for a long time and readers like me and many others across the nations reflects that globalism. I thought Anti-Brexiteers like yourself are supposed to be more accepting of us internationals? Or is that just talk for when things fit your narrative? You can be better than that. Its not like foreign owned clubs are the only ones with non-English players either.

The EPL is a globalized league with players from many different parts of the world. Personally I say that is a good thing, but maybe I’m just a biased foreigner of a former British colony.
Yaru, Malaysia


Boo John Nicholson…
Ive always wondered why people who don’t like something continue to consume it.  Did I miss a trend in getting Ludovico technique chairs installed in living rooms and offices?  I like the majority of Johns articles, but some I read a bit, don’t find them interesting and then stop.  I like most of the mailbox entries but when I recognize the prose of Ed Quothraven I scroll quickly to the next mail.  So to the people railing against Mr Nicholson, did you dislike the article and continue reading right to the end to confirm your dislike, working yourself into a masturbatory frenzy of self-righteous rage and then expel that fury all over your keyboards contaminating the mailbox with your money shots.  Wow to have that much free time.
Matthew Leaney


Football and politics…
The likes of William, Leicester and John (I remember brackets being a thing) Ellan Vannin don’t actually mean they don’t want politics on Football365. What they really don’t want are mention of politics that they don’t agree with. I’m sure if there were articles decrying the BLM movement in football and arguing that Brexit will be the best thing to happen to young English players in the league, they’d be quite content. They want to silence things they don’t agree with.
Tom, Vancouver


I still like you…
Personally, I love the editorial line that F365 takes. In the sporting world there are very few outlets that are so open about their leanings. If you want bland, go to the BBC. If you want the other end of the spectrum, read the Mail or the Sun. Simple. John Nic may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he gives his honest opinion and seems to be a dreamer. These are both wonderful things. He, like the F365 team in general, seem to genuinely care about more than just clicks. They take risks because they believe in what they say. I salute them.

Just on William’s ridiculously assumptive and incredibly inaccurate email, I’d like to touch on the comment that “Nobody actually supports a particular club because of its politics”. FC St Pauli would suggest otherwise. William probably won’t like them though. When people complain about the presence of politics, it sometimes feels as though they are actually annoyed by the presence of the wrong politics. For those people, there’s Chelsea.

Al, the apolitical LFC fan, was the real shocker. It’s like saying you don’t care about gun control while being shot in the cock, then sued for stealing the bullet.

Keep rocking F365 gang.


The response…
Dear Editor,

Well it seems like there are at least a few readers of this site that somehow love politics being in football because its their politics but that was not a surprise.

I can’t believe some people are stupid enough to think when I say politics has no place in football that I mean the politics involved in the bureaucratic governance of football. This politics is not very interesting most of the time but has a place in football (and footballing journalism) or the capitalist behemoth that is modern football wouldn’t exist at all. Its just a bunch of suits in boardrooms so not the ideological politics that has no place in football that is being shoved down our throats. 365 can talk about football governance all they want just don’t think it will interest that many unless its another FIFA scandal.

This really needs to be stressed. Marcus Rashford’s campaign was not ‘political’, others made it so. Rashford never made it ‘political’, he didn’t seem to even want to do interviews about it or receive plaudits at all which I thought was great. He was just using his fame to do a thing he thought was morally right. Wanting kids to have food isn’t a right or left thing its just the correct thing to do. The fact the government had to be involved to make his campaign successful was the only political part about it, there were no party or ideological lines drawn so not ‘political’ in the sense we are really talking about here.

Let just address this plainly since others have clearly drawn the political lines in the mailbox I was trying to avoid. The politics currently taking over football and football journalism is cultural Marxism, an ideology that among other things seeks to divide everybody on racial, gender and sexual orientation grounds. Voicing dissent against it can see you get banned from social media even if you haven’t broken any of the T&C’s, lose your job or even be questioned by police for something that isn’t a crime in this country. Football has long been trying to tackle racism and homophobia within the sport so why would it invite in an idealogy that just wants to flip the discrimination onto different groups rather than solve it? How does anything like this have a place in football? Can anybody explain why it should be part of any area of football without accusing me of being right wing or a racist? I think not.

Imagine if a footballer came out and said they voted Conservative, liked Donald Trump, wanted stricter immigration laws or a club refused to have a political statement replace the player names on their shirts for any reason. They would be destroyed by the media then probably forced to make some kind of apology because their career might be over or club branded an ‘ist’ (or ‘phobic’) of some kind if they don’t. This event has never happened precisely because of the results I just mentioned. No opposing views are allowed now, you just have to bend the knee or face the consequences, no club or player has the guts to do otherwise right now.

People have said politics is in everything, well true but its the bureaucratic type (death and taxes so to say) not ideological politics which is the divisive part that has no place being in everything especially in football (and kids tv shows, schools, fast food restaurants, dog ownership, the list could go on forever). Letting the far-left into football will be the worst idea the suits ever made but not just as it will lose them money but because it will perpetuate the negative elements of the sport they have been trying years to eradicate.
William, Leicester