Is Mancini overlooked because he’s too much like Balotelli?

Date published: Wednesday 18th November 2020 2:30

Mario Balotelli Roberto Mancini Manchester City

Keep your mails coming to…


Klopp, Liverpool fans and humility

You don’t have to read much of what Jurgen Klopp actually says to see how important the concept of humility is to him. One of the core messages he sends to his players is that they must never assume they don’t need to work as hard as their opponent in order to win. In short, he says that in order to beat someone, the baseline expectation is that you work harder than them. It’s probably this mindset that has helped him to become successful.

Contrast that attitude with that of balloons like Emmanuel from the last mailbox, people who are writing in as though Liverpool have already won the league despite the challenges up ahead. You, Emmanuel, are the reason that fans of successful clubs get such a bad press. Do you think Jurgen Klopp has spent even a second thinking about how his potential achievement would be remembered? Do you think he’s already patting himself on the back for a job well done this season? He’d probably be embarrassed to even be associated with such smugness and arrogance. In fact,  I’d even go as far as to say that, if you were actually anything to do with the club and saying things like that, he’d probably actively tear a strip off you and tell you that your attitude wasn’t welcome.

I’m a North West based Everton fan by the way and it is very rare to meet such arrogant and deluded Liverpool / Man Utd fans in the flesh as the type that write into this mailbox. It genuinely does seem to be a small proportion of people who give others a bad name. You might also have noticed that I do appear to have a soft spot for Klopp. In fact, it’s not just Klopp: I seem to find myself with an involuntary liking of a number of their players – Robertson and Henderson are the kind of busy c*nts that it’s very hard not to like, whilst I’m beginning to think Sadio Mane might *actually* be the best player in the world. Does anyone else find themselves with soft spots for certain players they’ve been raised to hate?


A quick reply to Emmanuel on the impending coaching miracle coming up from Klopp. This is the likely lineout this weekend despite all the injuries:

TAA, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson
Keita, Henderson, Wijnaldum
Jota, Firmino, Mane

Bench: Adrian, Williams, Milner, Shaqiri, Jones, Minamino, Origi

It’s not a miracle to win the league with that team. It’s probably closer to a sackable offence if they don’t.
Gary B (First they complained that 2019 season must be finished, now they complain about injuries from over-playing in the resulting condensed calendar)


Roberto Mancini fan mail

Dear F365

As a City fan, Roberto Mancini is my favourite ever manager. Its weird how his achievements are so overlooked. Yes its true he had lots of money to spend at City, but he used that money not only to win the FA Cup and league title (and deliver literally the best moment in any City fan’s life – I just don’t see how the AGUEROOO goal can ever be topped), but he also built a proper dynasty:

Mancini bought Silva, Toure, and Aguero. He moved Kompany from DM to CB and made him captain. Mancini dropped Given and made Hart No1. That is a ridiculously good spine (and a serious upgrade on Mark Hughes’s Lescott-Robinho-Santa Cruz effort). That spine lasted for years, throughout the Pellegrini years, and when City won the 2014 league title Mancini was quoted as saying “I’m happy that Manchester City is one of the best teams in England because I built this team”. He’s right – that title has Mancini’s fingerprints all over it. Mancini’s legacy has remained long after his sacking.

The problem with Mancini was never his ability, but his personality. He just seems to be one of those guys that will always say what he thinks, and his thoughts were generally quite arrogant and abrasive. Inevitably this led to a clash of personality with the owners and he was sacked. (Notice how they picked literally the opposite personality in his replacement Pellegrini who was a kindly old grandfather figure). Basically I think Mancini is quite like his protégé Mario Balotelli – he’s clearly got ability, but his difficult personality means appointing him will always be a risk. Slightly lower-level clubs are obviously more willing to take a punt on this high-risk / high-reward, but its not worth the risk for the truly elite clubs.
Bristol Blue


The irrational mind

Hi Ed,

I’ve wanted to write in for a while about how we come to support a team or also come to dislike teams and some of the weird reasons why, so thought I’d have a go on a quiet week. There’s often snide remarks made about plastic fans and fans outside of England get portrayed as “lesser fans” because they don’t truly “get it”.

I’m in Australia and have been a MUFC fan ever since I started playing in early primary school. Reason being my Uncle supported MUFC and was the only person in my extended family who was into the sport, so that was my team too! Now being from abroad it is true that I didn’t “get it” as a true MUFC fan. For instance, the district side I played for after a couple of years had an almost identical strip as Man City….. so Man City were basically my second favourite team!! I mean they had the same kit as my own club plus were from the same town as my favourite team so what’s not to like right? Plus back then (no offence City fans) City were of no real threat so it was only in a derby game I needed to hope they’d lose.  I also had a soft spot for Aston Villa because their kit was the same as my primary schools which is fair enough. Another example of how I don’t “get it” though is that I actually like Leeds. This was purely due to Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell being Aussies that played for them many years back. Then I’ve gone and watched “Take us Home”, then they’ve entered the Premier League playing great football and nearly stuffed one up Liverpool in their first game back too, so, sorry purists but I’m finding it a bit hard not to like them. Thankfully though I’ve always had and understood the hatred for Liverpool and well let’s be honest, why wouldn’t ya! This of course gave me a soft spot for Everton who were also their enemy and then along came Aussie Timmy Cahill so my fondness for Everton grew. It was great seeing their start to this season but a shame they’ve fallen back so quickly.

A big thing I find odd is how much I can be swayed to wishing a team does well or not, purely based on 1 player. Matt LeTissier, Juninho at Middlesbrough, Paulo DiCanio at West Ham are examples of players who I thought were great to watch and I wanted to see them win. Then you had Alan Shearer, undoubtedly brilliant, but I saw him as a master of the dark arts and I just disliked him so wanted his team to lose (totally rational because Paulo DiCanio was an angel). Also funnily enough I wasn’t anywhere near as pleased with Leicester winning the league a few years back as I normally would with such an amazing underdog story and finally a new team winning the honours. I think I can only put this down to my feelings on Jamie Vardy. Again, performed brilliantly and I love a speedster, but also a shithouse that milks dodgy penalties IMO. To be honest, this was probably mostly developed in one game against Man U but that was enough to wish a team not so well in an amazing feel good story! On that note, any team that plays like a bunch of shithouses against Man U are generally wished upon badly from that point on.

So there’s my waffle for you though I did try to keep it brief. I could have added all sorts of different prejudices I’ve had at one time or another. Hopefully some of those who dismiss others as “aren’t real supporters because they never get to a game” or whatever can see how the thought process can go not being in the country, especially when the biases are developed as a young child. And I also hope they can realise that a lot of their own tribal prejudices probably started over things just as simplistic, but tribalism over time grew them way out of proportion. I’d love to hear from others any strange, funny or irrational reason they barrack for or against a team.
Jimbo D


A colonial view of England

I really wanted to be an England fan, back in the ’70s. Partly, it was because New Zealand was a bit, well, shit. And partly because that England Admiral kit was the shit. But, it was also because it meant I could like players I had to dislike, because of club allegiances; such as Kevin Keegan, Bryan Robson, John Barnes, Peter Shilton and Paul Gascoigne.

I was amazed, recently, to hear Steven Gerrard and Rio Ferdinand, talking about how their club allegiances stopped them from fully bonding, when they were in the England camp. They valued their club loyalty, above their country loyalty. Other countries rise about club parochialism, when national pride is on the line.

That is why they are successful. But, is England’s endemic problem, that it can’t? My own country, NZ, has a ridiculous record, in a game called rugby. We’re like the honey badgers of rugby and nobody really wants to play us at this game.

By rights, everyone from England, France and South Africa, to the US should be making mincemeat of our All Blacks. The only reason they don’t, is unity and heart.
The All Black mentality is one of trench warfare. You stand and die by your brothers. I was at a Sydney pub, at an Arsenal supporters night for the 1995 Cup Winners’ Cup final. Y’know, the one where Nayim lobbed Seaman. From the halfway line.

Anyhoo, the second the ball hit the back of the net, someone screamed at Seaman: “You northern c*nt!”. And it was on for young and old. These were people who were supposedly united in the love of their club, but who weren’t prepared to stand and die together. It was the “northern c*nt’s” fault. Not someone from their own village. Oh, hell no, because that would reflect on them.  Again, it made me reflect on the parochialism in English football and how it possibly sabotages the national team.

The heroes of ’66 were young men, when I started trying to like England. They’re dying of old age, now. I never expect to see England win a major tournament in my lifetime. I want my money back.
Nige. Old. NZ


Tonight’s dead rubber…

So tonight England are playing Iceland in what is a dead rubber.

What formation do we think Southgate will go for?  Five defenders, two defensive midfielders, two other midfielders and a lone attacker, or have seven in defence, two defensive midfielders and the obligatory lone attacker?  Alternatively, throw caution to the wind and go for an attacking line-up and try to play some attractive football for a change?  Answers on a postcard please, no prizes.
Steve, Bury


Grealish – not Greal enough

Gary (AVFC) wrote an excellent mail, and I certainly agree with his sentiment.

However Gary, if you’re going to use MotR piano driven soft rock to illustrate your arguments in the mailbox (and everyone really should), it’s important to be accurate.

Bruce Hornsby did indeed state ‘That’s just the way it is’ (the feelings of The Range have never been documented to my knowledge), but the 3rd line of that chorus is ‘but don’t you believe them’ indicating, one assumes, that Bruce Hornsby absolutely does not believe that ‘That’s just the way it is’, especially since the song is about the civil rights movement bringing about a change in US law.

I do hope you’ll take this lesson as an inspiration and be the change you seek in big club player gossip.  I wish you luck.
Jeremy (anything football related to say? Nope, just the Bruce Hornsby stuff cheers) Aves


Marcus Rashford

May I be the first person to recommend Marcus Rashford for the Nobel Peace Prize and I wouldn’t want to go over the top but if he is Catholic can we all start petitioning the Pope to begin considering making him a saint.
Dean WWFC (we’ve suddenly become a bit rubbish)


The only thing “null and void” is Karren Brady’s opinion

I note with interest that Karren Brady is vehemently arguing for fans to return to stadiums in the midst of this second wave of the pandemic.

The same Karren Brady who was vehemently arguing for the 2019/20 season to be ended + made null and void, in mid-to-late March.

“There are, of course, financial implications […] but this pales into insignificance as the health and well-being of everyone must come first.”

It was clearly shameless and disingenuous at the time, and is even more galling now.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva, Switzerland


Just about all of the greatest uncapped Premier League players ever were pursued by England. And only four of them were English.

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