Mails: Can Rodgers beat Mr Potato Head?

Date published: Friday 25th September 2015 10:02

If you can’t beat Tactics Tim it’s time to start looking for another job, says one Mailboxer. We also have mails on Jose Mourinho, Sunderland, football trips and lots more…

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The Beginning Of The End For Rodgers
Reading Daniel Storey’s excellent piece on Brendan I can’t help but feel a slight degree of sadness. Not because I like Brendan, quite the opposite in fact. Having seen a proper world-class coach manage Liverpool (Rafa Benitez), it’s easy to see Brendan doesn’t quite make the cut. The Capital One Cup certainly has marked the beginning of the end for him at Liverpool. The players aren’t fighting for him and for all his talk about taking risks, the players appeared scared versus a League Two side. He has been given a long enough rope and can have absolutely no excuses.

However I would still like to see the man going out on his terms. Attending press conferences and using “outstanding” and “character” some 27 times rather than ducking out of them. Playing 3-1-3-3 or some such crazy formation that only he would play. Giving youth like Ibe, Rossiter and Origi a proper chance in the first team.

Brendan won’t survive this season, that much is clear. But when you are going down, you may as well go down fighting.
RV (hoping to see some fight from Rodgers), India


If You Can’t Beat Tim…
So, I realised that this weekend’s game between Liverpool and Aston Villa is the ultimate managerial acid test. If you can’t beat Mr Potato Head you don’t deserve to still be employed. If you can’t beat Tactics Tim it’s time to start looking for another job.

A draw might see them both out of work by Monday.
Nikolai (talk about a must-win) V


Where Does Jose Go Next?
I was watching a football show today on TV and they were talking about Diego Costa (SURPRISE!) and then Chelsea and then, of course, Jose Mourinho and the controversy with Eva Carneiro. So, all boxes ticked there, good job.

But what caught my attention for a minute is when they mentioned Jose’s ‘third season syndrome’. It looks like Chelsea probably won’t retain their title this season. Add to that, the negativity that’s been looming over Chelsea (Eva Carneiro, Diego Costa, Terrible start to the season, Terrible transfer window, etc.). It’s quite possible that unless Jose turns things around miraculously (which he well might, given it’s Jose Mourinho), he could very well be looking for a new club to manage in 2016.

But the question is … where will he go?

Mourinho is not a manager who will, at this stage of his career and given his humongous ego, go to any club that isn’t amongst the biggest clubs in the league. Spain is out of the picture, Real are unlikely to re-appoint him and Barcelona certainly won’t. Germany isn’t a great option either, considering Bayern is the only club he might consider, and the brand of football they play is quite against Mourinho’s first instincts. France and Italy don’t really have the international profile to attract him (given that Juventus have lost their sheen this season, and are quite likely to lose Pogba at the end of the season, too. And no other club in Italy is good enough to attract a world-class coach). In England, the only other club he would consider managing are the Manchester Clubs.

Now I quite like Pellegrini, and I think he offers dignity and a sustainable model for Manchester City. I think the hierarchy at City are likely to want to retain his services. Manchester United won’t sack LVG next year (unless we fail to make the top four), especially since he’s promised to leave in 2017. Also, it appears as if Giggs is being primed to take over from LVG (a scary prospect, but for another mailbox perhaps).

I think I’ve rambled on a bit. But genuinely…where can Mourinho go from here? It appears to me that Mourinho is (or at least should be) desperate to make it work at Chelsea for the long term.


Come On Cohesion
You forgot to add Arsenal’s player Cohesion in the Big Weekend section. Sanchez and Cohesion have gone missing in games so far this season. Mighty big weekend ahead for them
(Customary parenthesis) Kwanman


How Long Can Sunderland Get It So Wrong?
Thoroughly enjoyed the Mailbox this week. So good to see other clubs covered and a real variety to the content – I hope this keeps going into the next few weeks because it’s nice to hear about other teams to distract me from my own one (Liverpool…)!

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to send this for weeks and kept forgetting but I wanted to ask whether there is anyone in the top few divisions of English football that are as consistently badly run as Sunderland? For as long as I can remember, one of the old ladies of English football seems to be spending considerably large sums of money on absolutely nothing with very little end result.

Prior to the cash boost of the last season or two, Sunderland typically spent more cash than anyone else in the bottom half and have a very high wage bill. A quick Google shows me that in April 2014, they had the eighth highest in the Premier League, some £70m a year. More than Everton, West Ham, Stoke, Southampton, Swansea, Palace and a few others.

This is likely to have changed in the time since – I presume they’ve slid a little down the table anyway – but the point remains the same. Is there any club that is seemingly as directionless, badly run as Sunderland? The scattergun transfer approach that pulls players out of hats, sends some major cash in the opposite direction (Borini and Coates cost HOW MUCH!?) and leads to more of the same – slipping and sliding around the bottom of the table.

I don’t know how the fans put up with it, but it really seems like there is no coherent organisational structure at the club. They might survive this season but, again, it will be because a few other sides are worse, not because they are PL standard in my opinion.

Pantillimon is certainly a PL standard ‘keeper, and Jermain Defoe, Jermain Lens and a few others will likely keep turning up at PL teams, but it really is a collection of Championship standard players, never-weres and has-beens isn’t it?

A recent trend on Liverpool fan forums is to indicate that Swansea is so well-run that anyone could succeed there (might be true tbf) but Sunderland look like the opposite, don’t they? I think without some serious internal reviewing, or a change at the top, the cycle will continue until eventually, they slide out of the Premier League. When teams like Leicester, Palace, Watford, etc can come up in the last few seasons and adapt so quickly, time will certainly eventually run out for the long-term fixtures that have been making a mess of it for some time.

After Sunderland, is it Villa? Newcastle? West Brom?
Kevin, LFC, Cork


Mail From A Talent Scout Geek
At the end of the 2013/14 season and just before the World Cup, I came up with a system of identifying players that was published in the mailbox, so I thought I’d give it another go to see whether your clubs might have potentially found a dependable 7/10 player, and whether the player your club is being linked with in the January window should be one that excites you. Here’s how it works:

1. Select players from teams which have had a winning season. Simply put, they have won more games than they’ve lost. This is because you’d want a winning mentality as opposed to a player whose confidence may be shot by a season-long relegation battle. Only league games are used for this exercise.

2. Select winning teams from the top seven leagues according to UEFA’s co-efficient. These teams must have two successive winning seasons to be considered. This is to measure consistency and weed out the one-season wonders.

3. Select players who have started at least two-thirds of all league games for two straight seasons. In a 38-match league, they’d need 25 starts, in a 34-match league, 22, and in a 30 match league, 20. These players can be said to have their manager’s trust, and are an integral part of a winning team. They’re also considered relatively injury-free and don’t spend a lot of time out suspended.

4. All players have to be no more than 27 years old (born in 1988 and after) as you’d want a player that would potentially have their peak years ahead of them.

A total of 102 players fit the profile (last year it was only 80): 13 goalkeepers, 38 defenders, 34 midfielders and 17 forwards. *Note that some of them may have already moved on from the stated clubs below during the transfer window just closed.

Premier League: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Hazard, Matic (Chelsea), Sanchez (Arsenal), De Gea, Blind, Mata (Man Utd), Mignolet, Moreno, Coutinho, Henderson (Liverpool)

La Liga: Koke, Greizmann (Atletico Madrid), Busquets (Barcelona), Carvajal, Rodrigues, Benzema (Real Madrid), Balenziaga, Laporte, Muniain (Athletic Bilbao), Vitolo (Sevilla), Asenjo, Costa, Gaspar (Villarreal)

Bundesliga: Boateng, Lewandowski, Muller (Bayern Munich), Farhmann, Neustadter (Schalke 04), Leno, Toprak, Bender, Son (Bayer Leverkusen), Knoche, Rodriguez (Wolfsburg), Jantschke, Korb, Herrmann, Kramer, Xhaka, Kruse (Borussia Monchengladbach)

Serie A: Pogba (Juventus), Florenzi, Pjanic (Roma), Higuain (Napoli), Neto, Savic, Tomovic (Fiorentina), Jesus, Ranocchia (Internazionale), De Vrij (Lazio), Darmian, Glik, El Kaddouri (Torino)

Ligue 1: Kurzawa (Monaco), Kjaer, Gueye, Roux (Lille), Lopes, Umtiti, Gonalons, Lacazette (Lyon), Thauvin (Marseille)

Eredivisie: Cillissen, van Rhijn, Veltman, Klaasen (Ajax), Clasie, Boetius (Feyenoord), Bjelland, Ziyech, Castaignos (Twente), Zoet, Bruma, Willems, Depay (PSV), Nordfeldt, van Anholt, de Roon (Heerenveen), van der Heijden, Propper, Vejinovic (Vitesse), Kappelhof, Kieftenbeld, Chery (Gronigen), Alvarado, Gouweleeuw, Gudelj, Ortiz, Johansson (Alkmaar)

Portuguese Liga: Gaitan (Benfica), Patricio, Oliveira, Soares, Jefferson, Carrillo, Silva, Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon), Martins-Indi, Danilo, Alex Sandro (Porto)

Worst place to shop? Ligue 1 with only nine players that fit the profile. Best place? Eredivisie with 27. Best clubs to go hunting at? Sporting Lisbon with 7, while Borussia Monchengladbach and AZ Alkmaar are tied with six players each.

Some clubs will already be quite pleased with their new captures such as Darmian and Depay at Man Utd, Son at Spurs, Danilo at Real Madrid and Alex Sandro at Juventus. We’ll know for sure at the end of the season which of these unlikely names above has made a splash, and could potentially take the Euros by storm.
Sanjit (Griezmann – while still at Sociedad – was the hidden gem from last year) Randhawa, Singapore


Justifying Having A Second Club
I was raised (see we’re all doing it) as an Everton fan because my dad was one. I don’t recall having a choice just that it was probably nice for your young son to cheer along with you reading the winning result on teletext (no sky back in the early 90s).

However, growing up in Southampton territory and only going to Goodison once to see Everton lose to Newcastle 3-1 in ’95, then moving to Australia can cause a disconnect with the club.

I lost interest somewhat in football due to various teenage reasons but then along came the grand rise of Portsmouth in the 00s. A successful – perhaps over-achieving club and having sexy players like Shaka, young Yakubu and err… Steve Stone.

Anyway the point is I was from Portsmouth and owned shirts from both clubs. Depending on where I have lived since has had people think I support Everton OR Pompey. But I continue to want both to do well and I think that’s healthy for a football saturated lifestyle. Good for me.
J. Sleep, Canberra


On Local Non-Rivalries
I wasn’t at work yesterday so I’ve only just caught up on the Mailboxes to find myself the recipient of some top top bantz. Anyway, before we move on fully from the League Cup, I’d like to say this:

* 8th in the Premier League beat 15th in the Championship 4-1. This is hardly news- nor gloat-worthy, but it was local rivalry as Crystal Palace beat Charlton. Fraizer Campbell even scored. Dwight Gayle got a hat-trick too.

* A small group of Charlton fans were allegedly throwing horsesh!t at Palace fans after the game – they must have thought Nick Miller was there following last week’s Profile365.

* Palace and Charlton are ostensibly local rivals, but it doesn’t always feel that intense because in recent (i.e. last 15 years) we’ve had large stretches of being in different places. In a similar vein, I can look out of my office window and see both the City Ground and Meadow Lane, yet there isn’t that big a rivalry between Nottingham Forest and Notts County. Forest more famously hate Derby and to a lesser extent Leicester, largely due to being in the same place for most of their history, and for the transfers of players/managers between them. As for County, I don’t know who their rivals are – nearby Mansfield seem more preoccupied with Chesterfield, and have been since the miners’ strike, and the Magpies have been up and down the divisions so much they don’t seem to have been anywhere long enough to annoy anyone, Munto Finance aside.

This got me thinking – are there any other places in the UK where there are two (or more) teams in the same city/area who co-exist peacefully or through mutual apathy, and are in effect local non-rivals?

Based on no actual research, I did wonder about Bristol, but I’d be interested to know a) if that’s a good example and b) if there are any others.

The literary Ed Quoththeraven (any mailbox without me has to be good), CPFC the Glaziers, Notts


Questions To Answer
The quiz is back! Welcome back old friend.


A Football Trip
Dipped into the mailbox there and everyone’s sharing lovely stories about foreign football trips, so I’m sticking my beak in and going to share mine.

Last November, and a stag do lead us to some bitterly cold Europa League action from the bowels of central Europe, in the sh*thole that is Štadión Pasienky. It’s Slovan Bratislava v Young Boys, a sparsely populated home support who couldn’t really give a toss and had more craic booting the seats out from their fixings.

A group of lads we spoke to who were very decent chaps, told us the ‘not arsed’ attitude was due to mismanagement of the club by the owners year after year, hence no money for players and a decrepit pi*s-poor old stadium. But still, we had a grand old time.

The undoubted highlight was the impromptu game of keepy-uppies when the ball sailed out of play into our section. Whilst the swiss fans were bouncing up & down, celebrating their 3-1 lead, our biggest cheer of the night came when one of our lot went arse over tit chasing a volley. Great stuff.
Stew, Norn Iron


On Rooney And My Girlfriend…
While Silvio Dante will no doubt hate this mail, his own missive reminded me of last week when I was sat next to my partner (IQ 140, Independently wealthy, great *rse) watching Wazza clogging around, sadly to little effect as usual these days, against Southampton.

Now, my partner (Sicilian, amazing eyes, raven hair, knows her football) casually mentions (as she’s appraising PHD papers) that “Rooney looks like he’s totally shot his bolt and should be farmed out to Everton to get his fat *rse off the United wage bill.”

We were in a very good moment.
Jay Tea


Another Favourite Combo
Charlie (CFC) asked about favourite combos where two players make each other even better… I can’t see past Pirlo and Gattuso for AC Milan! Brain and brawn combined to make the perfect central midfield.
James Bruschini


Mailbox XI
There’s been some debate about who should be the number 9 in the Mailbox XI. Surely there’s only one candidate for the role: is Harry Kane real?
Simon, Belfast


Scrotum Search
Am I the only one gullible (stupid) enough to have googled the ‘the Manchester Scrotum Studies Institution’ after Matt, Manchester’s email in the Thursday evening mailbox?
Wiggsy (not creative enough for these brackets) MUFC

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