Not bad at all. Please mail us at email@example.com with thoughts on all of this and more…
We would take Klopp at Arsenal, thanks
As an Arsenal fan, I would definitely take Klopp. Or Fergie if he came out of retirement for the guaranteed league title that brings with it.
I would probably stop supporting Arsenal if Jose ever became the manager, which is fine because I know he never would. The man is a truly horrible, nasty piece of work and there is no way I could find myself supporting him.
Guardiola misses out as (like John Nicholson) I’m not a fan of tiki-taka.
Adonis (is international week over yet?) Stevenson, AFC
…Jimmy (Sounds like a rubbish game but the Arsenal fans’ answers will be interesting) Spain, has provoked a need to reply from me!
I’d take Klopp over Guardiola on the basis that I feel Klopp is more focused on building longer term, whilst I think Guardiola would be looking for another three-year project. I also would take Unai Emery over Guardiola on the basis of his excellent work at Sevilla.
Also, purely as a consequence of results last weekend, Jose just about qualifies for consideration. And after 4.27 seconds of careful consideration, his application has been stamped with a big, fat, REJECTION mark.
…I’d take Klopp at Arsenal in a heartbeat. As any Manchester United fan will tell you, replacing a great czar is a matter of finding the replacement to fit the team, rather than the other way around. (That is, if you don’t mind the years in the wilderness as the new manager reconfigures the team to his own philosophy. I for one do not wish to find out how fractious and bitter Arsenal fans can get outside of the top four.)
Like Wenger, Klopp is blindingly obsessed with attacking football. Like Wenger, the notion of defence offends him. Like Wenger, he loves diminutive, tricky midfielders. This current Arsenal squad is ready-made for him to take over. And I enjoy the qualities he has that the professor doesn’t: that boundless enthusiasm, that charming disregard for his optician’s work, that he occasionally permits himself to be photographed enjoying a pint of an evening.
Realistically, I don’t see why he’d leave Liverpool for Arsenal. This is true for Pep and Conte too, though I don’t much care for them at Arsenal. Telling him that our backline is far superior will not do the trick, for the aforementioned reason…
Sipho (perhaps offering Klopp a £1.00 raise will do the trick?), Johannesburg
…Cases for all of the managers around for Arsenal but this would be my top two:
Jurgen Klopp – F365 alluded to it the other day but it’s crucial; just look at how happy they all are right now. The players play with a smile on their face, they want to win for their manager and it’s clear from their performances. Without doubt, Klopp will win Liverpool the league within the next three years. His influence and style appears so infectious that I cannot envisage a scenario where it doesn’t bring success.
Antonio Conte – Now he’s found the system, just look at the way Chelsea are playing. Arsenal can be good to watch on occasion but we’re definitely not the entertainers we once were. Chelsea, however, are playing brilliant, expansive football and they keep on registering clean sheets. It’s a (sickening) joy to watch.
Guardiola I would obviously not turn down, whilst I really like Koeman. Mourinho would be an unequivocal no for about 93 different reasons, and Poch I secretly admire but it wouldn’t feel right.
Basically, I think we missed the boat with Klopp. Wenger could’ve walked away in 2014 after the cup final and most would’ve been quite content with that ending. I glance in the direction of Anfield with green eyes.
Joe, AFC, East Sussex
And at Tottenham…
As a Spurs fan I would take the great Arsene Wenger, not for football reasons, just for the craic.
Dave (Éire)(Let that sink in!)
Jimmy, Spain, it does sound a bit rubbish, but also a bit fun, so I’ll take you up. I’m a Hull fan, who currently (and most likely will always) sit 18th in the Prem. So teams between 15-20, I land on Valencia, and Cesare Prandelli. He’s had a long and varied career, but did wonders to get Balotelli playing at Euro 2012, and get Italy to the final, only to get spanked by a still world-class Spain team. I have nothing against Phelan, but a bit of experience might go a long way.
Anyway, I’ve always wondered how we might fare in the Prem with a manager of that standard, as opposed to Championship managers punching above their weight.
Rob (nothing personal Bruce, I still love you!) Leeds
And down in League One…
Right, I’ll have a crack at Jimmy’s game. I was considering using Zbrojovka, but if any of you can name the managers of Slovacko or Pribram off the top of your heads, you’re a liar. So I’ll do it for my home town team, the mighty Sky Blues.
Cov are currently 18th in League One and managed by Mark Venus. So the candidates are David Flitcroft (Bury), Phil Brown (Southend), Michael Appleton (Oxford), Justin Edinburgh (Gillingham), Richie Barker (caretaker at MK Dons) and Luke Williams (Swindon).
Luke Williams? Previous assistant under Mark Cooper and Martin Ling. Nope, not right now. Richie Barker I know very little about, and as a caretaker is probably not allowed for the purposes of this. Flitcroft came to Bury from Barnsley and took them from the bottom of League Two to promotion in a couple of seasons, now fairly steady in League One. Michael Appleton seems to have recovered from being Venky’s scapegoat at Blackburn and got Oxford promoted, along with an appearance in the Football League Trophy Final. Probably fine, but a bit uninspiring. Phil Brown? No ta, Coventry are enough of a circus as it is.
That leaves young Mr. Edinburgh. A long apprenticeship in non-league with the likes of Grays Athletic got him the job at Newport County who were 23rd in the Conference National. A 19th-place finish and a second-season promotion to League Two brought him to the attention of Portsmouth and Northampton, both of which he turned down to continue the County project. It was only when Gillingham approached, a league above, that he moved on. Last year, along with us, they were the surprise package and, as Cov fell away, the Gills were there or thereabouts for a long time til an Arsenal-esque injury list finally derailed their challenge and they finished up ninth.
I’d take Justin Edinburgh. Mark Venus has done a solid job of stabilising things (and winning games!) since Mowbray left, but I just feel that Edinburgh has more of a plan. Don’t know why, I just do.
David (Zbrojovka / Sky Blues) Szmidt, Brno, Czech Rep.
And League Two…
Great game from Jimmy in Spain!
Although not a fan of a Prem team, I’ll take Cambridge’s Shaun Derry. Although more interesting to me is how the Bernabeu will respond to new manager Paul Tisdale playing Ronaldo at centre-half, Bale at defensive midfield, and two home wins in a calendar year.
Terry Hall, Switzerland
The Liverpool and Chelsea advantage
Absolutely loving the over the top nonsense both Chelsea and to a greater extent, Liverpool fans, are delivering at the moment. Why bother with the rest of the season? Just make Chelsea face off vs Liverpool in a one off match for the title?
What seems to be being ignored is the significant advantage that both teams are enjoying due to being rubbish last season and not qualifying for Europe. The impact on their title rivals is tangible at this present moment. I think it’s safe to say that both teams would be suffering far more in the league if they had to shoehorn in a champions league or Europa league match every other week.
I know it’s a new season, but yet again, and without a hint of irony or humility, we hear from all corners that “this year is Liverpools year”. Yawn. See you in May.
Point of order on The Simpsons
I began reading Keg Baridi, Nairobi, Kenya mail with interest, until he stated that in Bart To The Future, Lisa was the USAs first female president. The episode clearly states that she was the first ‘straight’ female president, clearly indicating that there had been at least 1 previous female president of LGBT orientation.
Such a shoddy omission at the beginning of his mail meant I couldn’t take his prophetic tipping seriously, something about Obama taking over United and winning the Checkatrade Trophy i think. Do people think these things go unnoticed? This is The Mailbox during International Break for goodness sake.
That break does strange things to people you know, this mail being a point in case.
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
Not a fan of the Checkatrade
I thought Daniel Storey did a very good article on the absolute mess that is the Checkatrade Trophy. I’m struggling to think of a trophy being so badly treated. I’m a WBA fan and we have been knocked out having lost all three games and not scored a goal. Although we have some excellent prospects who are ready for league football, the likes of Jonathan Leko and Sam Field have been on international duty when the games have been played and other good youngsters like Tyler Roberts are out on loan. We have then effectively been fielding our U-18 team which has included 15 year olds in the line-up. I doubt the games have been of much use to anyone.
I thought the point about the expense of football already was another fine point. For our game against Gillingham on Tuesday they were charging £5 to get in. Now, it may only be a fiver but as a season-ticket holder I don’t have to pay for normal reserve games which have our better young players and some first teamers involved. Throw into the mix that this game was a dead rubber with both teams already out of the competition and it was a no-brainer for people to just not turn up. There was no need for the club to charge entry for season-ticket holders and out of principle I wouldn’t attend. Surprise, surprise only a couple of hundred people went.
Hopefully they’ll put this ridiculous experiment to bed and let lower-league fans actually enjoy this tournament again next season.
Red Bull gives me wings
I must say I’m not entirely au fait with the Bundesliga, but I can’t help but love the club that everybody else hates.
RB Leipzig (not actually called red bull Leipzig) were founded seven years ago, and are currently second in the Bundesliga.
I understand that there are things they’ve done that have annoyed a lot of people. Treating some players/staff without much consideration, rinsing other RB teams of their best players, building their training ground on an area of outstanding natural beauty, and spending loads on transfers. I also get that their level of corporate-ness is far higher than they’re used to in Germany, and is naturally a cause for concern there.
However, there’s so many aspects of the club I admire. The fact that they got the plan absolutely spot on is one of them. They picked the headquarters of the DFB, which hadn’t had a league winner in 100+ years and didn’t have a professional team whatsoever. There was a ready built 43000 seater stadium, alongside great infrastructure and the city was begging for a team to follow. They’ve managed to get 30000 fans in a match in the third division and 40000 in the second, a remarkable return for a team that didn’t exist in 2008, giving top level (now) football to people who couldn’t easily access it before. Sure they’ve spent big, and their January windows were usually the sum total of the rest of the division’s spending accrued, but they weren’t spending to the level we saw of City when they got their money, or even silly Championship teams paying £10m+ in the second division. The plan was €100m over 10 years, which is hardly ridiculous from bottom to top I don’t think.
They have a state of the art training facility now too, (beautiful scenery previously mentioned), where teams from u14 to senior train, including offices, cafe and boarding space for the youth teams.
They’re not led by superstar mercenary players, and indeed most of their current team (from what I can see) have played with them in the second division, and they’ve even brought through some young talent into senior football such as Klosterman and the magic Joshua Kimmich.
Past this, they also seem to be a relatively ‘nice’ team, donating to the city of Leipzig, and providing housing and free entry for refugees, with current manager Ralf Rangnick the child of two refugees himself.
All in all, if I was in Germany I’d be following RB, sure they’re a corporate machine (if you follow a team in England, you follow a corporate machine), but there’s just so much to like about them as well.
How the heck have they managed to get their team above others that include Marco Reus and Mario Götze, or the team that’s just beat Spurs in their own back yard? Seriously, look at their squad.
KC (they’ll go big in January I imagine)
Is Johnny a PFM?
Perhaps I’m being needlessly pedantic, but I was intrigued by a particular paragraph of John Nic’s article about the England v Scotland match this weekend:
‘There are no stand-out talents; there are no Scots in the first-team squads of Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Spurs and Manchester City. In fact, no member of Gordon Strachan’s current squad is on the books of a top-half Premier League side. Why not? It’s simple. There are no Scottish players anywhere near good enough to play for the top six.’
Well, the first part of this is of course true. But, and here comes the pedantry, this does conveniently ignore Oliver Burke who plays for the side sitting second in the Bundesliga, and who laid on the assist for the decisive goal as RB Leipzig beat Borussia Dortmund on his debut. This also ignores Scotland’s captain Darren Fletcher at West Brom, who only just misses out on being in the ‘top half of the Premier League’ on goal difference. Further down the table, Robert Snodgrass at Hull has four goals in 10 games this season and will probably be comfortably the best (or at least, most consistent) set-piece taker on the pitch across either team tomorrow (unless Harry Kane starts, of course.)
These players might not end up remembered as giants of the European game (although Burke for one has plenty of time on his side to prove that wrong) but simply put, to use the top half of the Premier League as a yardstick to measure footballing ability is to ignore two things on which F365 would usually pride itself – firstly, it’s November, only 11 games into the Premier League season, and ‘top half’ is a relatively meaningless and fluid concept at this point of the season; and secondly, that considering the Premier League to be The Greatest League Ever TM is to ignore the quality that exists outside of the Sky TV bubble.
The general thrust of the article of course carries weight, but this is then undermined by the arbitrary measure used as supporting evidence. If I had read that paragraph above without knowing who it came from, I’m pretty sure my top three guesses would have been Garth Crooks, Robbie Savage or Paul Merson. John Nic as a PFM – I never thought I’d see the day.
Terry Hall, Switzerland
We need global qualifying
In response to the question about whether England fans dislike qualifiers, for me personally it is because, often, they are pretty dull, uninspiring matches. I suspect I am not alone in this view. The problem is that we face a succession of largely interchangeable teams, usually from Eastern Europe, and then one or two complete no-hopers.
I don’t want this to come across as some English arrogance. It would just be nice to play someone different – familiarity breeds contempt and all that. I remember in the late 90s, early 2000s when we played Poland in three qualifying campaigns out of five. Nothing against Poland, but it gets boring.
The first qualifying campaign I really remember fully was for France 98, when we played Italy (and Poland…) but it was a bit more exciting. We had a big team to play, and it went down to the last minute of the last game. Similarly in 2002, when we played Germany; there was something to get your interest.
Since then (apart from the McClaren disaster years), qualifying has been slow grind of mostly good results against mostly average teams, whose gameplan is usually just to frustrate. Effective and efficient, but not much fun.
But most people usually just complain about a situation without suggesting an alternative. But not me!
Over a four-year cycle, even the best European teams will only play a handful of competitive games against non-European nations. The same applies to teams of all other continental associations – they only even play each other with one tournament every four years to play anyone else (if they qualify).
FIFA has 211 members, but most teams will never get the chance to play one other in a meaningful match. So why not have global qualifying for the WC? Suddenly, instead of the same old fayre, we could be playing Peru, or Australia or Kenya. Granted, some of the matches might still not be classics, but at least the scenery is new. And it might genuinely help to grow the game globally.
And let’s already deal with some of the obvious complaints:
Players will be tired from travelling too much – yes some European based players will have to travel further, but this will be compensated by those from non-UEFA countries having some nearby matches. Instead of Aguero having to fly to South America for every match, now he has a nice short trip to Austria.
Facilities won’t be good enough/safe enough for (pampered) England players – Why not? Every international break players from lots of countries fly home and play matches, and seem to return safely. If Yaya Toure or Sadio Mane can do it, I’m sure it will be okay for European players too.
Also, there could be some good PR opportunities. Imagine the goodwill from the news that England players donated their match fees to helping fund a hospital or school in an impoverished country that they played in.
And if nothing else, it will be funny to see the look on Jose’s face when he realizes Pogba has an international week double header away to Canada and then Papua New Guinea!
Why did you stop caring about England?
So another international break has come along, and yet again people are basically counting the days until their league team gets back in action. Lots of people feel very little for England, indeed the most fun we seem to get is criticising them.
My question is – what made you stop caring?
For myself it was the early 2000’s, and watching England fans abuse Manchester United players, not for doing anything wrong, but simply for playing for United. I’m not saying United players were faultless for England, obviously they were as flawed as the rest of the squad, but it seemed to go against the whole ethos of a national side, that fans couldn’t put aside tribal differences. I think Euro 2004 was the last time I really supported England – since then I still watch them (it’s football after all) but I can’t get myself excited about it.
Jack (Salford vs. Altrincham on Saturday – much more appetising than England vs. Scotland) Manchester
…Kevin LFC, Cork’s mail was a good one on the negativity towards international football.
There are many reasons I personally have fallen out of love with the England team. First and foremost, the consistency in which they disappoint. Qualifying campaigns have generally been alright last few years but they’re boring to watch, especially at home. Then when we get to the tournament, the players (doesn’t matter who) crumble under the weight of expectation and the same mistakes are made again. Trust me, as an Arsenal fan, I know a bit about deja vu.
Secondly, I think the team has been full of twunts down the years, making them really quite difficult to support. John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney, all not particularly likeable people and even present-day youngsters like Dele Alli and Jack Wilshere don’t exactly appeal themselves to the masses. Funnily enough, Raheem Sterling seems a likeable guy and he’s the one all of the papers hate.
Finally, England games annoy me because they interrupt with the club football, and that’s just simply what I care about more. I’m far more concerned right now with how bad Sanchez and Bellerin’s injuries are than how England are going to line up, and although that’s a shame, I’m definitely not the only one.
Boring 2-0 wins at Wembley against Slovenia are just not the same as a weekend of European club football for me. I think Kevin is right that the qualification periods need to be looked at, because the current set-up (with one break a month throughout the Autumn) is really not welcome anymore!
Joe, AFC, East Sussex
…There are many reasons, first and foremost being that England are just so bloody boring. We could win 10-0, and it’d still be so mind numbing you’d want to rip your arms off just to have something to do.
Secondly, qualification is basically a sure thing these days, so it makes it a bit pointless to watch. We’re going to win 8/9/10 of the 10 games and top our group.
Thirdly, it’s pointless topping our group because we won’t do a damn thing in the tournament that follows. It took me longer than I care to admit to even remember what happened to us in the Euros this summer. Iceland happened. Good for them.
Fourthly, as much as I’m English, and love football, I support Hull City. Don’t get me wrong, all I want from life is England to win the world cup, but it isn’t going to happen. You know what might happen? Hull might survive. We probably won’t, but we might. I honestly think it’s more likely Hull will one day win the Champs League than England the World Cup. Especially now Leicester have given us all hope.
Fifthly, and this is purely personal, none of the other games matter to me. If it were the Prem this weekend, I wouldn’t just be looking for Hull to win. I’d be looking for teams around us to lose, or at least drop points. With regards to England, it’s only really the England game that matters. With regards to Hull, the entire league matters (almost).
I’ve tried to articulate why I hate international week, but I can’t put it in to words that scratch the itch I’m feeling whilst thinking about it. It’s just s**t. It happens too often, and it doesn’t matter. England are shit, England are boring, England will never win anything or play attractive football, I just don’t care.
Does that help?
Mailbox awards ahoy
Having voted for Daniel Storey on three different devices today, I thought it would only be right to bring up the idea of a mailboxers’ awards thing since there is seemingly no other interesting football story today. I would like to us mailboxers to pat ourselves on the back for the great work we have been doing in keeping the best football site entertaining and on their creative toes. So without further ado, here are the categories which are up for contention (names included are strictly for ease of category identification and are not my actual picks for those categories):
* Mailbox Regular of the Year – EdQuoththeRaven, Peter G, Minty, Micki Attridge etc.
* Most Disciplined Mailboxer – Ant CPFC, Ben Leicester, Aravind, Jeremy Aves or anybody who doesn’t get abusive, patronising or hysterical in their mails.
* Mail of the Year – Personal favorite is still that Senderos timeline mail.
* Mailbox PFM Award – Anyone who holds onto a particular belief even when it is proved to be inaccurate or in need of adjustment.
* International Mailboxer of the Year – Peter G, Aravind, Shivhad (sic), Osric etc
Not that many categories I know, but it isn’t a formal process so we will just be showing our appreciation for those whose works we truly revere.
Greg Tric, Nairobi