Can we stop clubs controlling free speech?

Date published: Friday 12th August 2016 2:07

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Still missing one thing…
I know we’re all excited about the Premier League season kicking off tomorrow, and that this season has potential to be wonderful and unpredictable…but until Tim Sherwood is in the Hull dugout presiding over a 3-1 home defeat to West Brom, there’s still something missing.
Jeremy Aves


How can we effect change?
I know Friday is traditionally a fun day for the mailbox, and it should be doubly exciting cause PROPER FOOTBALL IS BACK this weekend. However, a couple of things caught my eye. Firstly, there is a letter doing the rounds where Charlton have ostensibly done some KGB / Pravda sh*t by telling a season ticket holder that they have seen his comments on social media, and that his purchase of a season ticket was conditional. This level of intrusion into the life of a fan, but also this attempt at control of speech is pretty worrying. At Arsenal vs City I recall stewards being instructed to remove ‘Wenger Out’ banners from fans. This control of the media narrative is scary, but it is the monitoring of thought that is more worrying.

For example, Wenger has just confirmed what all Arsenal fans feared, that we shouldn’t expect a striker to sign. So for 3 seasons we have failed to solve a problem that could have won us a league. How are we expected to effect change at that club if there is the possibility that they are monitoring all our social media, and will prevent anyone from expressing their opinion in a public forum? Arsenal are a fiefdom ruled by Wenger. He has allowed both Ozil and Sanchez to enter their final 2 years of their contract meaning our bargaining power to keep them from the clutches from ACTUAL ambitious clubs who want to win things will be lowered. That coupled with his own contract instability makes me think that things at the club are even more broken than first feared when we had our CEO contradicting the manager.

I concur with every pundit that this is a season too far for the club, and they will finally fall out of the top 4. The worry is that the trouble experienced by United, Chelsea and Liverpool when they fell out of the CL places will be nothing compared to a potential summer where we could lose Wenger, Ozil and Sanchez, along with Champions League place. What world class player will want to sign for the club then? What world class manager will want to not be in the Champions League? Heads won’t roll though because no one is held accountable at that club, but it will be a slow motion car crash that a lot of people will enjoy.
John Matrix AFC


Explaining crazy fees and Stones
So far in this transfer window the fees being paid have been so crazy it’s hard to tell what’s worth what. There have been articles and mails on this site trying to make sense of ‘worth’. My current view is like being on holiday with a different currency. You take the foreign currecy, you then have to work it out into pounds then check if it’s worth it. The two currencies I use are last summer and this summer. While the money was still stupid last summer TV inflation has changed so quickly we need a point of reference. So, much more money in, now means teams can spend more without players having got generally better.

The exchange rate is around £1 (old money or OM) to £1.5 (new money, NM), so basically this summer a player is worth 50% more than they would have been last summer. Pogba was £89 NM, so would have been £60m, Stones was £50m, so last summer £33m. Then people like Bolasie could go for £30 NM, but that’s only £20m OM. I know it highlights the silly money in the prem. with such mad inflation, but the money that’s been injected into the league creates that. In my mind, all these players probably are good value in OM, so in a sense are worth it in NM.

Which brings me through to the reaction on Stones. The jury is out on Pogba’s worth, with the general reaction being that’s it’s a hell of a lot of money, but there’s enough prospect for it to be worthwhile that it’s kind of a fair deal. Stones however seems to be going the way of Sterling. Every post and word about him seems to be laced with sarcasm, Smith (not that I believe any of these. Just some crazy predictions that might probably never happen) including him justifying his worth and Guardiola improving him being a crazy prediction that no one could believe?! It isn’t that crazy to see why Stones could be Pep’s guy, and him to substantially improve him and become City’s CB for the foreseeable. Conversely he could be another Mangala or Savic, or even in the middle. At the moment all things are possible. The potential is certainly there, but the pressure of people waiting for him to fail is already building as much. As F365 have said so many times, it’s not the guys fault he cost that much, so why hold that against him?
Dave (Southerner in Manchester) MCFC


Klopp the failure
Interesting view from RW
on Klopp and in particular Liverpool’s persistent desire to snatch away Southampton’s best players season after season.

I would absolutely agree that if Klopp doesn’t win the league at Liverpool then he will be seen as a failure but not because Liverpool have signed lots of Southampton’s best players over the past few years, simply because that is the expectation for Liverpool fans as it has been under Souness, Evans, Houllier, Benitez, Hodgson (LOL), Rodgers and now Klopp.

In fact, I think many Liverpool fans would argue the complete opposite to RW and say that it is because we are taking the most talented (but inconsistent or not the finished article in some way) players from Southampton, Sunderland, Aston Villa, Newcastle etc. rather than the most talented players in the world that we have been going backwards and getting further from winning titles rather than closer.

After all, while the players signed from Southampton (Lallana, Lovren, Lambert, Clyne, Mane) are all very talented in their own right, I don’t think anyone would consider them at the very pinnacle of their position in the EPL let alone the world.

If you sign the best of the rest you are highly unlikely to bridge the gap to those that can sign the best of the best.

I’d flip it on RW and ask if Southampton would have been more or less successful than they have been if they had not been provided with a profit of in the region £70m over the past three years by Liverpool and instead had managed to keep hold of those players?

For the record, I love what Southampton are doing in the transfer market and how they continually defy the traditional expectations of the media and hope they do so again this year.

Lindsay Bell, Dublin.


Klopp the non-failure
You will probably get a lot of these but I had to laugh at RW’s mail in this morning mailbox.

Klopp would be a failure if he can’t turn a few Southampton players into Premiership Champions this season, is he for real?

Let’s look at just one of Liverpool’s rivals and see what they have done in the same time. However unlikeable he is they have now appointed a more successful manager than Klopp. They have also signed a World Cup winner (Schweinsteiger), the best left back your beloved Southampton have ever had ( Shaw), the Italian right back (Darmian), a centre half for £30 million (Bailly), a Champions League winner and one of the best players in the world (Di Maria), the most expensive player in the world ever (Pogba), the most expensive teenager in the world (Martial), the German footballer of the year (Henrikh Mkyitaryan), one of the best Centre Forwards we have seen in the last decade (Ibrahimovich).

I am sure I have missed a few (I didn’t include Schneiderlin as we all agree he has been a bit pants) but surely you get the point. The above is a list of players and a manager who joined a club not even in the Champions League yet Klopp would be a failure if he didn’t come from 8th with a bunch of ex Southampton players?

If Klopp wins the League this season he is officially the second coming!
Dave K, Dublin (I still love his beautiful teethy smile)


Just the tips
So with the big kick off just hours away, I thought I’d provide a list of do’s and don’ts if you want to fully enjoy the new season. Let’s start with the don’ts.

1. Have too high expectations of what your team is likely to achieve this season. (Quit yapping “YNWA, it’s our year)
2. Think of your team as the bees knees. At the start of each season, each team starts with zero points. (Except Arsenal who always appear at the top of each new premier league table based on alphabetical order)
3. Be too exuberant when your team scores, you want opposing fans to think that you’re used to seeing your team score goals and win matches.
4. Berate Mike Dean (or any other referee) when he celebrates with the opposing team when they score. Remember, referees are only human and they also have their favorite teams. (Howard Webb welcomes back Pogba)
5. Ever give up and leave the stadium early or switch off the telly in disgust when your team is losing 3-0 in the dying moments. I’ve seen miracles happen and teams coming back from 5-0 down to level the scores. (Portugal vs Cameroon-2003 World under-17 championships)


1. Know beforehand the exact time your favorite team’s match kicks off and make appropriate arrangements. There’s nothing worse than switching on the telly five minutes into the game and seeing Man United 2 Chelsea 0…
2. Go to the washroom before the game starts and settle down for 90 minutes. No use pissing all over yourself as you rush out the washroom to see the replay when a team scores.
3. Ensure that you’re not at the pub seated in the midst of opposing fans. Get to the pub early and choose a strategic position among your own fans, preferably near the exit in case bottles start flying.
4. Remember that it’s just a game and even if your team loses 8-2, it’s not the end of the world.
5. Have yourself a merry time as we embark on yet another exciting journey to discover who will be crowned the 2016/17 Barclays Premier League champions.
Keg Baridi, Nairobi, Kenya


Sadio is no Samuel
Wait, did someone really say they genuinely believe that Mane is better than Eto?

The same Eto that has 323 club career goals and 81 assists? The same Eto that has 56 International goals? You know, that one that’s won the Copa Del Rey, La Liga, Serie A, Coppa Italia, the Club World Cup and been part of 3 (!) Champions League winning squads, including being a vital player in two treble winning sides? That Eto who has won a fair amount of individual awards including African Player of the Year 4 times?

But then again, Mane did score 11 league goals last season. So it’s a tough one.
Gaaavie (Maybe one day he’ll be better, but he can hardly be compared right now), Cape Town


Everybody wanna be like Mike
What’s with the Mike Dean hate? Because he referee’s with a flourish? I mean.. In cricket we had Umpire Billy Bowden’s lovely crooked finger to signal out and an exuberant sweep of the arms when he signalled four, and we loved it, even Sir Geoff enjoyed it. Now, it’s clear to any Anglophile that our English brothers aren’t known for excessive displays of emotion or to put it another way, “adding swag to normal moments” but the cricket folks don’t mind it, what’s the problem in football?

On a similar note, can all those above 35’s that cringe at Jesse Lingard or Daniel Sturridge’s celebrations shut it? I would never attempt the Jesse, but last New Year’s I was caught doing the Sturridge in a club instead of chatting up ladies, felt brilliant, try it.

P.S. Dear Editor, keep on not posting my mails, it only makes me write better sh*t.
Cortez(can’t bloody wait for tomorrow)MUFC, JHB


The final chants
Ok, you can stop with the chants now, here is the daddy:

Divock Origi, he’s my baby

Divock Origi, I don’t mean maybe

Divock Origi, he’s my baby

Divock Origi, I don’t mean maybe

Divock Origi, he, he he’s my baby doll, my baby doll, my baby doll
Steve (not a Liverpool fan but I’d join in), Manchester (City)

p.s I cannot believe that Chelsea don’t sell their baby sized kits with ‘Azpilicueta Baby’ printed on the back


Ever since the appearance of Leandro Bacuna in English football, I’ve been desperate for him to end up playing alongside Juan Mata. It seems like the kind of odd thing that might happen at QPR in 6-7 years time, so here’s hoping.

Bacuna to Mata,
What a wonderful game,
Bacuna to Mata,
Love that passing play
Steve, Leeds

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