Mails on Project Restart risks, Chadwick’s grief and CGI ultras…

Date published: Thursday 21st May 2020 8:44

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The in crowd
Having seen the recent spookduels/ghost games from the Bundesliga and the baby steps in artificial crowd noise and goal songs, how long before broadcasters simply CGI in a crowd? And as viewers if we can accept a “canned crowd” would you be willing to accept a faked crowd?
Jon Cooper (expert in German football since May 2020)


Risky business
For all the talk of testing twice a week etc players are still all living at home. Their families will be going to get their weekly shopping etc and therefore the chances of catching the virus. For all the social distancing of the last two months we have had six positive test results already and I am sure there will be more to come. In Germany players stayed in hotels for a week before the first game but how long can you realistically expect players to live in a hotel rooms by themselves until the end of the season? What about next season I can’t see players wanting to be away from their families for months at a time. Clubs can control what players do when they are at work and test them to their hearts content but unless there players are watched and isolated 24/7 there risk will always be there.


Let’s get it on
I’m a bit confused as to what the big issue is here with the Premier League taking steps to restarting football in a month or two’s time.

Having watched the Bundesliga this past weekend, which went off without any hitches and kept the same quality it had prior to this pandemic, I can’t see why we can’t have football restart if it is safe to do so. No fan issues were reported and players seem relived to finally getting back to work and providing some much needed entertainment during this.

As a fan of the UFC I have also watched them put on three shows last week. There isn’t a sport with more contact than MMA. They paid for testing upon arrival of all fighters and coaches and kept social distancing to a minimum at the media events. One fighter was tested and recorded a positive result. He was sent home immediately and removed from the card. The rest of the fighters and their teams were not infected and so were allowed to work. It allowed fans worldwide the joy of watching a sport they love whilst doing so under safe conditions. The fights were just as, if not better(!), than usual.

I think we can learn a lot from this. Playing at a neutral venue would be workable but there is no reason it cannot be done at clubs own grounds providing they have the support of the police and local authorities. As one previous mailboxes said, we could wait for this virus to disappear but who’s to say it ever will? Do we put our lives on hold indefinitely?

In my opinion it’s not about titles, promotion or relegation; it’s about trying to get back to normal as safey as we can and by taking baby steps to getting us back to where we were post covid-19 with full stadiums and electric atmospheres.
Tim (glorious day today)


Punching down in comedy
Very important piece by Johnny Nic and, being old enough (few years younger than Chadwick), I found it quite stunning looking back and remembering how acceptable it was back then for a mainstream BBC program to target an individual with such cruel bullying.

The problem isn’t with cruel ‘comedy’ IMO, but with the power of the individuals responsible and the platform they are given. Deny people the opportunity to be subversive, or attack taboo subjects, or even to be outright cruel, and you gut comedy.

However, it’s one thing for a standup to show off his repertoire of edgy humour in a local club – they have to face the intimacy of the crowd and the consequences of any badly judged joke (see Jerry Sadowitz getting punched in the face in a Montreal Club for opening with “Good evening moose fuckers!”) – but quite another for someone with the power and privilege of being an establishment comedian on the BBC to do so.

It’s the fact that the jokes were made by such privileged and powerful types that the mocking of Chadwick and – more recently – the jokes from Frankie Boyle about Rebecca Adlington’s looks and Katie Price’s son Harvey were such perfect and despicable examples of what Johnny rightly terms ‘punching down’.

I’d always wondered what had happened to Chadwick, given he was a very exciting and promising winger when he emerged and looked set for a first team Utd career. Can only imagine what he might have achieved if he hadn’t been terrified of maintaining a social life, let alone stepping onto the pitch, due to the BBC endorsed bullying of his looks.
Calum, Scotland


…To F365,

“It doesn’t mean we can’t have a laugh”. Thanks, John – I was worried there for a second.

I’m 31 and I saw and heard the Luke Chadwick jokes when I was a kid – I remember feeling properly sorry for him at the time, but also laughing at the jokes. The man took some serious abuse. I agree with John that things in that respect are improving slowly but I’m glad Chadwick is not an 18yr old in 2020, social media would have made it a million times worse.

Dawn’s take is not an uncommon one – “You wouldn’t like it if they did that to you, it’d upset you”, but I don’t think it’s true for a lot of men.

I had some insecurities as a kid and, like almost everone I imagine, received unwarranted grief over something at some point. Alright, I was a hairy little bastard. The jibes from the dickheads hit me right in the feels (they weren’t very witty – “oi mustachio boy”) but I got over it quickly because I got the same abuse from my friends. And also there were a couple of other boys in my year who turned Diego Costa overnight, cheers for taking the heat off, lads.

My point is, as soon as your mates start gunning you for whatever it is you’re embarrassed about, and as soon as you see that it’s not that serious and that they are still your mates, and they have things that they’re embarrassed about that you can laugh at, and you haven’t been left abandoned, friendless and hairy – you stop caring as much and you grow a thicker skin, instantly.

‘Banter culture’ can fuck off, and being bullied by strangers or celebs on the internet or tv is obviously not good – but learning to laugh at yourself and not take things too seriously at a young age is a great tool for your mental health. Being very sensitive isn’t, and it’s all about being happy at the end of the day, Clive. What happened to Luke Chadwick was horrible but it’s worth considering the above. You can’t control what others do, only how you react.

Dan (QPR fan in Berlin)


Alphabet Cup

F365 Alphabet Cup – B-Team v C-Team 2nd Leg

C-Team XI: Petr Cech Jamie Carragher Sol Campbell Seamus Coleman Ashley Cole Michael Carrick Joe Cole Philippe Coutinho Tim Cahill Eric Cantona Andy Cole

Subs: Willy Caballero, Ben Chilwell, Gary Cahill, Andreas Christensen, Santi Cazorla, Andy Carroll & Peter Crouch.

Manager: Antonio Conte

Venue: Craven Cottage

B-Team XI: Fabien Barthez Slaven Bilic Steve Bruce Henning Berg Leighton BainesDavid Beckham Gareth Barry Michael Ballack Gareth Bale Dennis Bergkamp Dimitar Berbatov

Subs: Artur Boruc, Hector Bellerin, Ross Barkley, Phil Bardsley, John Barnes, Mario Balotelli & Peter Beardsley.

Manager: Eddie Benitez

Match Report The tie kicks off with a score of 5-2 to the Cs. Cantona takes the first shot of the game, a poor one. Ashley Cole does as Ashley Cole does/did. Cantona then does a few stepovers and Bruce does well to intercept. The ball then works its way to Tim Cahill to smash home. 1-0 on the day, 6-2 on aggregate and the Cs must be through now.

The C-team continues to dominate but the Bs grow into the game as Bergkamp has a header caught by Cech. The next wave brings a blast from David Beckham into the same top corner as the last round from a similar position, also from a Berbatov assist. He certainly turns up in second legs! 6-3.

Tim Cahill then volleys a Coutinho cross past Barthez after poor marking from Barry. Hopeless; its 7-3 with 20 minutes of the game gone. Beckham then robs Ashley Cole in his own half, keeping the ball in play very well, before laying off Bergkamp to slam home! Breathless, this one. 7-4.

Cantona drags a Joe Cole pullback wide. Coutinho fouls Beckham near halfway. The Bs switch play well and Bale wins a corner. Nothing comes of it. A litany of blocks, niggly fouls, play-ons and clearances ensue. Carragher is prominent. Bruce almost scores a quite passive own goal. Beckham is booked for one of those niggly tackles, ages ago. Cantona wins the header but it is no trouble to Barthez.

Nearly half-time now and Ballack then plays an amazing through ball, cutting between Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell, to Beckham who crosses for Bergkamp to head home, again! 7-5! The B-Team takes the lead on the day for the first time and needs at least two more to take it to extra-time and with their firepower, it can categorically not be ruled out! Half-time.

The Bs are in the ascendancy at the start of the last 45 minutes. Beckham is chopped down by Campbell but wins a corner. Benitez is up in arms. Cech plucks the cross out of the air. Cahill has a header comfortably saved. Campbell then acrobatically clears a Beckham ball to Bergkamp six yards out. The Bs are swanning around the Cs now and Ballack tees up Bale to slam home! 7-6! Somehow the B-Team are still in this tie. Conte screams some Italian C-words at non-discriminate players’ mothers. Benitez is wistful, hoping for a three-goal comeback threepeat that would top them all.

Bale is hooked for John Barnes in search of glory. Cech intercepts a Berbatov cross that Bergkamp was swinging for. Ballack barges over Andy Cole. The Cs squander possession and Bergkamp is played through in acres of space by Berbatov but Cech saves well! It’s happening isn’t it?

The clock ticks past 70 minutes with the B-Team wasteful in possession. Cantona blazes a shot from 30 yards out at the top corner which Barthez saves very well indeed. Barthez catches safely and the B-Team advance with Beckham and Berbatov both having shots blocked in last-ditch efforts from close range. Ballack shoots from range, caught by Cech. Berbatov is played through on the wing and crosses for a Bergkamp header from just too acute an angle. Barry then blasts it at goal but Cech saves. They’re turning the screw.

Ten minutes to play, and Bergkamp teases Coleman and lays off to Baines to cross but Cech punches clear. The Cs advance but lose it and Beckham ends up slipping Berbatov through who smashes it home in emphatic fashion! They’ve done it!

However, familiar defensive frailties resurface as Cantona misses a gild-edged chance from yards out. Coutinho then finesses a lovely shot into the top corner; Barthez stranded.Game. C-Team 3 (8) – (7) 5 B-TeamMOTM: David Beckham 9.7/10


Pissing contest
I know it’s hard for Spurs fans to get their collective heads around but your team is a small team in the grand scheme of things, United are one of if not the biggest team in Europe, you may of had a good couple of seasons under Poch but stop deluding yourselves if a player wants to better themselves then they will leave Spurs, if they want to stay in London then they will go to Arsenal or Chelsea, Spurs are on par with Palace when it comes to prestige. As for the “Ole” comment are Spurs not currently sat in eighth? Do they not have a manager Spurs fans loath? Like it or not people United may be in transition but they will always be a bigger draw than Spurs.
Paul Murphy, Manchester


Dolphins are returning to Venice. Meanwhile, back at F365
Thomas, Cape Town (Next up: Jack, 16?)


…Has thayden forgotten that the fans of clubs have decided absolutely nothing when it comes to the league resuming? 20 clubs, FA officials and the government did that, not Liverpool fans. I think he’s directing his anger at the wrong people completely. Perhaps had your government acted a little sooner there wouldn’t be 50,000 dead people.
Mark (Toronto)


The Richard Hammond to thayden’s Clarkson
Well that was a rollercoaster of a day in the mailbox wasn’t it? Found myself horrified by probably the worst letter ever to be published in the mailbox (hmm, you must’ve had your reasons F365) but thoroughly agreeing with the twisted author’s opinion of the UK’s governance, then the kind of opposite with Clive’s response. But also slipped in amongst the understandable outrage at theydon was a little lecture to us all from Eamonn – who, again oddly, I agreed with re: the toxic effects of neoliberalism and the men running the world.

However he does remind me of Stewart Lee’s comedy routine about Top Gear, where Lee explains why despite Jeremy Clarkson being the one to air the bombastic, offensive opinions, he actually dislikes Richard ‘The Hamster’ (not a real hamster) Hammond more, as he’s the one who slyly condones Clarkson with his own reactions, whilst simultaneously acting like butter wouldn’t melt.

Firstly he let’s us know how he loved and delighted in a letter full of outright falsehoods and one sarcastic reference to Hillsborough (if anyone can give me another reason for referencing funerals and LFC, please do), then proceeds to deliver a sermon to us all about the morality that should be being shown in the football community.

And I am sorry Eamonn for you and your dad’s situation in all this, but I dare say large numbers of people who have been writing into football mailboxes and discussing football on social media all throughout this crisis, are facing similar circumstances. My old dear is a 72 year old widower and has an underlying condition, and I live abroad. Believe me she curses me for choosing to reside in a foreign country and a lack of grandkids, but she isn’t giving me grief for still maintaining an interest in football and chatting about it with my mates.

The thing is you could’ve continued the rest of your letter regarding why in your opinion football must stop, without several more negative insinuations and digs exclusively about Liverpool. If you feel a few divvies on social media are wholly representative of LFC’s fanbase and have typed too often for your liking about Liverpool being given the league, or given the chance to win the league on the pitch, then apologies again, but don’t come with the continuation of theydon’s guff that this is the driving force behind a potential restart. And it’s been noted that in all the Premier League discussions the club themselves have kept a respectful counsel and not pushed for any particular outcome.

Personally I don’t care for the integrity of the 2019/20 season in terms of its completion as a) I feel football is being used as a pawn in the Tories’ sick game of distraction, and b) contrary to your often given opinion (you know, you the guy who just wants to ignore football) I believe Liverpool are 100% legitimate champions even if another ball is not kicked. I would be fully behind the restart if it were likely the saved millions in TV rights were going to be used to aid the lower parts of the game’s pyramid, but that would seem doubtful as this is modern football after all.

Now given as you have shared (twice) with the readers of F365’s mailbox as to why you believe Liverpool shouldn’t be declared champions, allow me a rebuttal. Your actual reason is quite the giveaway of your disingenuous scribblings. Liverpool shouldn’t be made champions based on form and fixtures? Ha ha ha – are you high?! I mean, just sidestepping the fact they’ve nine games to get the required points not eight, and that actually just beating City alone would clinch it. But form? Seriously? Over what stretch of time is this form? What I could be arsed doing was this, I looked at the BBC’s last five games coloured cubes on their table and do you know what it told me? Liverpool have the best record of all teams over the last 5 games prior to lockdown. And the thing is, the only other relevant team (to finishing ahead of LFC) form wise is City, so where do you think they were in the form table? 2nd? A smidgen away? Well no, equal 5th with Wolves, Burnley and Palace actually.

Also I don’t believe in my heart, sentimentally, or because it means more, that Liverpool, trophy handed over or ney, are rightful champions. I’m satisfied in my mind, due to the evidence of the 38 game Premier League era. Liverpool’s current record, after only 29 games, would’ve been good enough to have won 7 of the previous 24 seasons. 82 is a proven league winning points tally on multiple occasions. Additionally Liverpool’s average points tally of a combined 2018/19 and (curtailed) 2019/20 stands at 89.5. Only 8 sides have beaten that in a 38 game season to win the league. I’ll take this info over your inaccurate numbers and ridiculous suppositions thanks.

So you rage away all you like Eamonn, which you needlessly clarified for us was nothing to do with United 20 – Liverpool maybe 19, thanks for that, but definitely to do with the sheer immorality of the whole thing. However if the league restarts or not, and if Liverpool are declared champions, it is my sincere hope that all fans celebrate it in the understated manner that is naturally required in these unprecedented times.

‘Responsible? No one’s acting responsible. Fuck responsibility, are you kidding me?’,a quote from The Big Short, a film about the previous world rocking event, the financial crash in 2008. Football even more so now than then, has been left to fight for the existence it’s become accustomed to (in a quite probably immoral, corrupt global system) like so many other industries in these events. I note that the Premier League have confirmed that they’ve paid out of their own pocket for all the required Covid-19 tests from a private, foreign supplier. This merely reflects what the wealthy and influential members of our society have been doing since the crisis emerged. What’s good for the goose etc.

Just to be clear, i’m not saying that football should feel good about attempting to restart because they can conveniently follow the selfish example (so often) set by others. But it is also an industry in which many people on regular wages work, and so if given this opportunity to quickly start to re-establish itself (as long as all involved maintain good health) is it not duty bound to at least try? In the current climate it’s inevitable it will, whether in people’s souls they think it’s for the right reasons or that it matters or not.
Cheers, Rob.


Silver linings
That Arsenal backline hasn’t conceded in 3 months. Porous and mentally fragile my a##e.



Get your Coates, Mediawatch
I have to take exception to the last snippet at the end of the piece on Simon Jordan. The Coates family have actually made a sizeable donation to the local NHS trust here in North Staffordshire (running into millions) and the Bet365 stadium is used as a testing centre. They have also treated their staff at Bet365 impeccably throughout these hard times and actually, I’ve never heard anybody who has worked within their call centres complain about the conditions.

Also, a shout out should go to the other club owners within the city, port vale whose owners run the port vale foundation who have been going above and beyond for the local community. Players calling up fans and participates in community events to check on them and food parcels and meals being delivered.

I suppose that in this era of football it’s unusual for two League clubs in a city to both be locally owned by fans of the clubs and both run so well. Maybe there is a lesson for the wider community. And yes some stuff from both clubs are on furlough but the clubs are making up the money.

Phill Booth


We could not keep away from the camera for long so we made a Football365 Isolation Show. Watch it, subscribe and share until we get back in the studio/pub and produce something a little slicker…

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