Mails: Come to Utd, Larry White (bring Zlatan)

Matt Stead

Keep your mails coming to They don’t have to be about Jamie Vardy.


Love for Spurs
As an outsider, I wanted Leicester to win the league for a long time. I still do. But this Spurs side is the real deal. Watching them play is a treat to the eye. Every time Harry Kane scores, it seems like he’s done something out of the ordinary. Exciting times.

With Leicester City, it’s hard to shake off the feeling that if they don’t win this year, they are extremely unlikely to have another go at it. But I think the Spurs side are here to stay and compete for a few years. That young core of players, should they keep all of them, and their young manager are the envy of the league.

I find myself wanting the gap between the two teams to dwindle and for it to go down to the last day. A deserving end to the most unpredictable season in memory.
Sasank (But then again, Chelsea giving Leicester a guard of honour is an amusing thought)


Dear Spurs fans,

I think your team would be deserved winners. If that is the case please continue to be strangely pleasant like you’ve been so far this season. Don’t be dicks about it like some of our fans would be.
JazGooner (next year will be our year. Are Arsenal the new Liverpool?)


I cannot help but seeing the resemblance between the current Spurs team and Utd’s “Class of ’92”. Young local players breaking into the first team, and clicking together like we haven’t seen but twice in modern football (once in the 90’s at Utd and once in the last 10 years at Barcelona, in a totally different context of course).

So, why would Poch ever leave? And to take it a step further, why wouldn’t Gareth Bale go back, in case he decided to leave Madrid? The ingredients are there to create a dynasty, as odd as this may sound.
Elias, THFC, Maastricht


Are Leicester rattled?
is it just me, or did the Leicester fan in this morning’s mailbox seem overly rattled?

everyone and their dog would rather be in Leicester’s position, but no-one can deny that their particular fox is old, tired and wounded and desperately looking over their shoulder at the younger, stronger, fitter hounds chasing them. if they weren’t worried, they wouldn’t have watched last night.

I personally think they’ll still win it, but if they can’t beat Swansea…then the cat is truly amongst the pigeons.
Lloyd Stiles (Dier is Dutch for animal) THFC, Vienna


My Leicester City season ticket supporting friends reaction when showing him your article about Leicester fans abusing the ref etc…

“Its a f*****g football match, not a trip to the theatre….people like you ruin modern football. This is what footballs about, I’m glad you don’t go to games as you would be offended every week.”

I think it’s fair to say that the pressure may be getting to them a bit.

Could Vardy’s dive be this seasons Gerrard’s slip?
JPS (London living Liverpool supporter)


David Smit, I can’t hear myself think due to the noise of your bum squeaking. You’re rattled mate


Oh dear. As a Leicester fan I feel a little bit shaken-up, like we have just ridden a wild roller-coaster. In recent months we have slowly and surely been soaring ever higher on the pitch, in the league table, and in the media. It reached a crescendo with a 7 point lead, bookies paying out on the title, and several warm fuzzy articles in just about every global media outlet saying how wonderful Leicester are, how great it will be for sport when such a little club to win against the big boys, or how much Morgan/Kante/Mr Vardy like walking old grannies over the road in their spare time.

Now…all over the media for the wrong reasons, replaced on the back pages by ex-Leicester bench warmer Kane who is looking absolutely awesome along with the rest of the Spurs team (with the help of a strangely supine Stoke), our most influential player probably out for 2 games*, and a lead of ‘only’ 5 points. All of a sudden the remaining fixture list looks that little bit harder.

Initiated contact happens in every game and it goes unpunished. Dissent and swearing happens in every game and it goes unpunished. That pointing photo and related articles appearing everywhere in the media sealed his fate. Not saying the 2nd yellow card and fa charge are necessarily wrong – everyone speeds in the car, but those very few that get caught have no right to complain (but everyone does…).

It has happened. Time to move on, which I am sure the team are doing. The lead is still 5 points. Claudio and team have shown throughout the season an ability to juggle the approach and style as needed. We are on a run of 6 wins and 2 draws. The team need to stay strong. Time for Mahrez to get his big boy boots back on. Time to be fearless.

Football. Bloody hell.
Phil Bert (*1st sending off in professional football + 1st yellow card was nonsense = surely worth an extra warning only? Please?) Fox


Mourinho to PSG, Blanc to United
So with PSG supposedly having approached Mourinho, what about Blanc to Man Utd? With Ibrahimovic to follow him there perhaps?

Now of course this all assumes Van Gaal does not continue past the summer, and that Utd pass on Mourinho. But please allow me to ponder. As a Utd fan I would certainly favor Blanc over Mourinho. Blanc’s record at the top might be questioned, given he has yet to succeed with PSG in europe despite a massive outlay on players. He has however won the league twice with them (granted they are streets ahead of anyone else), and his work with Bordeaux previous to PSG should also be a tick mark in the positive column. You get the feeling he is much more likely to continue bringing through the younger players than Mourinho, and certainly he likes to play attacking football. He also of course is a former player and supposedly got on well with Ferguson (not sure why that should count but despite recommending Moyes I get the feeling Feguson will still have a large say).

Ibrahimovic could also I think follow Blanc (that being said I am sure he could also join if Mourinho took over the Utd job). Imagine what the likes of Rashford and Martial could learn playing and training with him for a year or two. I think it would aid and not inhibit their development, as oppose to signing a younger striker who is more likely to be around for years to come and perhaps keep them out of the team. Blanc on his own would be brilliant. Ibrahimovic would just be the cherry on top.

All in all it would be a good deal for most concerned. Except maybe Mourinho who would be mightily vexed to say the least, if passed over by Utd again.


Just like George
Are there any other gooners (I guess I have to say of a certain age) who are having reminders of George Grahams last season or two in charge? Inconsistent results, a mixed bag of talent in the squad without an obvious direction of where the squad is going. Apparently Adams (one of few world class players we had) was considering his future and now we have Ozil/Sanchez doing likewise.

Due to his previous successes I think it was absolutely right that Wenger should have the benefit of the new finances for several seasons. That has (just about) gone and it seems like the end of an era even if not all the participants have realised it. Next season promises to be one of the most fractious among supporters unless one of two options is taken by the board:

1. Wenger leaves and is given little or no say in his replacement.

2. Wenger stays but a LOT of money is spent on new players with at least
one clear statement signing.

Sadly there seems little appetite from the board for the former and little appetite from Wenger for the latter and so next season promises to be a bit of a nightmare for all involved.
Spence Gooner.


Your time is up, Arsene
Since Arsenal’s move to The Emirates Stadium in 2006, Arsenal began a slow decline. Falling behind the bigger clubs who were able to bring out their cheque books and spend loads of cash to enforce their squads with some of the best players in the world.

When most of Arsenal’s best players were attracted to the competition because of their ridiculous wage promises and a better chance of winning the league, Arsene Wenger blamed it on financial constraints… Arsenal will not be able to win the league against these teams.

Arsenal fans (or at least a fair majority of them) believed this to be a good excuse. I mean, how can you win the league with Chamakh and Bendtner as your strike force when there were teams with Aguero, Drogba and Wayne Rooney firing their respective teams to glory season after season. No way can we win the league until the stadium is paid off.

So, since we couldn’t sign the best, we tried to make the best and started using youth. Arsene Wenger tried for over 10 years, to build a team of young players. He believed Arsenal would be able to win the league if he built a winning team of young footballers who could take the League by storm. It didn’t. His philosophy failed and he brought out the chequebook in 2014.

Well, here we are, 12 years later and the two teams above Arsenal, sitting in 1st and 2nd place, are two teams made up of the above.

In first place, we have a team of nobodies. Coached by a has-been. With a strike force made up of a man who was playing Sunday league football 8 years ago. And in second place, we have a Spurs team whose average age is 23! Coached by one of the best young managers in European Football at the moment. And both teams are going to finish higher than Arsenal have managed to do so in 10 years.

If that isn’t the biggest hint to Arsenal and Arsene Wenger that his time is up, and he can no longer bring glory to Arsenal, then I don’t know what is.
Malcolm, (there cannot possibly be anyone who wants Wenger to stay anymore) AFC


There once was a great and charismatic manager with unswerving belief. He made two very unfashionable clubs (Derby & Nottingham Forest) into top flight ‘Champions’ and steered the latter to the pinnacle of European football. He was however a floored genius and made the mistake of many great men and went on too long. As a result my memory of him is of a man struggling with himself and his surroundings, making erratic decisions, looking ill and being a shadow of his former great self. Of course, I refer to Brian Clough,

I am therefore pleading with Arsene Wenger to hang up his professorial cloak and go and enjoy the millions he has accumulated. Not because I don’t like him, but because I don’t want to remember him as a stubborn fool, repeating mistakes and burying his head in the sand by failing to recognise that the entire football world now knows how to play against his non evolving and one dimensional style of football. I want to remember him as this visionary that took George Graham’s ‘functional’ team and turned them in to double ‘double winners’ and a team of ‘Invincibles’. But dear Arsene, that was now well over a decade ago. A sprinkling of FA Cups has hidden the fact that we have lived the same season over and over again. False hope, false dawns and failures in the same areas (failure to strengthen the side with the one or two players that would make the difference, failure to defend the high ball and worst of all displaying astonishing complacency when facing supposedly inferior teams (Swansea, Watford, Palace, West Brom, Norwich, Southampton –this season alone).

The current visionaries of management in England are Klopp, Pochettino, Billic, & joining them Guardiola. Even Rainieri has evolved and has stopped tinkering and employed a high press and lightning counter attack. We may well see Antonio Conte added to this list too. Unfortunately, Arsenal are being left light years behind and could have had any of these these bosses but for the inertia of our owner/board. The one remaining managerial talent left (Simeone) is more suited to Chelsea’s personality than Arsenal’s (from the same mould as Mourinho). No doubt our incompetent board will look to the likes of Benitez to fill Arsene’s shoes.

Please don’t tarnish my memory of you Arsene. I do not want to witness the vitriol spouted at you when we draw 0-0 with West Brom! I don’t want to look at your inevitable statue and think every time…”Like Cloughie, you went on too long mate!”
Chris (why can everyone see it other than the people that count?) C.


Forgive and forget
Dave, Brixton seems to come to f365 towers for all the same reasons I do. The clash of opinions, the delicious blend of reasoned argument and partisan fanboyism. It’s glorious.

It seems Dave has his limits on the breadth of discussion though;
“and you think it’s OK to brush off a racist attack with an apology and it never be mentioned again, then you’re probably shopping in the wrong place for your opinion pieces”

I was published not long ago in the mailbox for suggesting that we should stop referencing the racism incident. My reasoning was that after the incident, he gave an apology and then didn’t repeat the behaviour in the intervening months. Please note that the important part of this is not the apology, it is the lack of a repeat offence.

This is not making light of racism, ‘the racist’ has been near-enough the guy’s middle name this season at least here if not so much in the Sun & the Mail (who are so quick to forgive racism that you’d think there were subtle xenophobic undertones held by these publications). In truth, I wasn’t even defending Jamie Vardy per-sé.

This is the way any of us would like to be treated in the wake of doing something socially unacceptable. An isolated event is a blot on our character that shouldn’t become a millstone around our neck. At a certain point, Jamie Vardy must cease to be Jamie ‘the racist’ Vardy and downgrade to Jamie ‘reprehensible human being’ Vardy.

If you really don’t like the guy (& I’m right there with you) then perhaps it is time to pick up on one of the many other character flaws he displays (to get you started try potty-mouth or cheat) but, for me (Clive), the racist incident has to be forgiven. Perhaps I’m quicker to forgiveness than other readers but I’d challenge you to ask yourselves when your cutoff is. A year? Two? Never? How long do you hold someone’s past sins against them?
Thom (hoping Jamie ‘f****** c***’ Vardy gets a long ban), Bristol-based Spur


Have some Respect
Couldn’t agree more with Bryan F’s mail… that there’s people sticking up for Vardy calling a man a f****** c*** for doing his job really shows how much work the respect campaign has to do.

If we’re serious about cutting down on referee abuse and swearing in football in general then let’s actually do something about it. From the start of next season why don’t we air what the refs microphone is picking up during football coverage. The refs already wear microphones to communicate with their assistants, so let’s hear what’s being said by them and more importantly to them during the game.

We’ll potentially get to hear the refs explaining their decisions as well as the level of abuse that they’re enduring whilst trying to do their job. Yes there will be pre-watershed swearing but the facility could be accessed via the red button or something for the first season whilst players change their ways. We could give it perhaps a season for behaviour to be fully modified, then the second season it could become the standard.

I can’t see a down side, the only ones with anything to risk are the players. As a fan I’d rather know for sure how much of a nasty piece of work one of my team’s players was than the faux nice reputation that’s cultivated by the usual media trained fluff in current after match interviews. And if it costs a few players some endorsements here and there then what’s the problem with that!? All the more sponsorship deals for footballs nice guys like lovely Juan Mata etc.

It might also help to shame some of the injury feigners as well, it’s one thing to dive on the floor and roll about, it’d be something else if we could hear them fake screaming as well!
Dan, MUFC, Stockport


First, I’ll go on record as being a Spurs fan, so anyone that wants to accuse me of bias can do so. I’ll also state that with or without Vardy, I can’t see them dropping the points we need them to.

I want to address the potential Jamie Vardy suspension as I see it. When he picked up a second yellow for diving against WH, I thought it was harsh, but only because refs generally only book previously unbooked players for simulation. I can’t recall another instance where a player got a second yellow for this offence, yet I can recall occasions when players have dived whilst on a yellow, and just been told by the ref to get up and get on with it. In this instance, it was either a bad call or a ballsy one by Jon Moss, depending on your point of view.

However, at this point Vardy has two options:

1. Take it on the chin. Leave the field of play as required, and serve a one game suspension in their easiest remaining game at home to Swansea.

2. Get in the refs face, point at him aggressively and tell him to ‘flipping call his aunt’, or words to that effect. This option comes with the potential for a couple of games more on his ban, away to Man Utd, and a tricky home game against Everton.

This seems a relatively simple choice, yet JV appears to have made the wrong one. His actions would do nothing to change the refs mind. Regardless of whether the ref is offended by the language, this behaviour can’t be tolerated, and is prohibited by the laws of the game. I can’t see the FA being lenient.

If he does get banned for 2/3 extra games, then it is his fault for failing to realise that he just can’t talk to refs like that. If Leicester slip up as a result, it is also his fault.
Dave, Lincs


To all of you openly admitting to abusing refs in the mailbox. F*** off, you f***ing c***s. That’s not ok! You are the problem!
Charlie, CFC


I enjoyed reading Mark’s missives this morning.

I play in the FA-affiliated Solent Churches league. It’s Saturday morning, competitive football, but with a prayer before each game and an expectation that you get involved in the local community. Swearing is banned, both at others and yourself. We had a lad sent off for saying, ‘Oh fu-fudge’ after a poor pass because the referee was adamant he heard him swear, even when the opposition players were backing him up by saying he didn’t. It was frustrating, and he then got extremely angry and genuinely did swear as he left the pitch. I’m not condoning it, but it is an emotional game and highly annoying when he didn’t actually do anything wrong. This is an extreme example (I fully expect someone to swear if clattered by a bad tackle or similar), but the blanket rule makes the expectations much more clear for the players.

I once got booked for wagging my finger as a teammate conceded a pen. I asked why, the ref explained ‘dissent by action’ and I accepted it. This isn’t perhaps the norm, but at the end of the day, the referees are in charge of the game and therefore, their decisions, right or wrong, should be respected. At any level other than the elite, these people are giving up their time to allow our matches to go ahead. Mark’s right in the sense that the actions of the top-level players will trickle down to grassroots level, but therein lies the problem; any dissent should be stamped out. Football’s slow movement towards the use of technology has hindered this progress. Referees are human; they will make mistakes. Why the hell do we not help them? Goals/penalty decisions and every facet of the game is available as a damn vine or meme minutes after taking place, so how can we not have someone helping the referee out?!

As for the rugby analogy, it was me who mentioned it, and I cannot stand the sanctimonious attitudes of most egg-chasers and fans. But the lack of dissent in the game towards officials is so much better. With Mark saying: ‘As one of the worst offenders for shouting at refs, I can tell you that’s all I really want. I know the ref’s make mistakes. They probably make less mistakes than I do in a match. But when I mess up, I have to explain why I did.’ That doesn’t make it okay. Why do you have to shout at someone to demand they explain themselves to you? Refs have to stick to their decisions for their own integrity; psychologically, how must it feel to know you changed multiple decisions because of your own mistakes?! You’d then get accused by players from the opposition of favouritism – there is literally no winner here. These split-second judgment calls are incredibly difficult, and as mentioned, the social-media led society we live in certainly lets the pros know when they’ve made an error.

In summary, it’s a bloody difficult job which still has human error. Our very own Name Witheld explains some of the issues they face on a pitch; why do we feel we can do it because the pros can? It’s your choice to shout or swear, no one forces you to. But you should face the consequences too. I’m certainly not saying we should take the passion out of the game, because that’s human nature too. That said, you don’t ‘need’ to abuse an official.

Stu, Southampton


But we need consistency
Just a quick one about the referee abuse discussion in the morning mailbox. The frustration that I have is the sheer inconsistency of it. I am in no way defending Vardy. It’s absolutely not OK to swear at the referee. If I had my way, any criticism of the ref would be an automatic yellow and swearing in any way at the ref, whether at him or about the decision would be a red. However, when one player gets charged for using the c-bomb and others don’t, that’s simply unfair.

We need consistency. The rules are simply not enforced and that is maddening. Week in week out players swear their heads off, but nothing is done. David, Brixton made the distinction between insulting the ref and insulting his decision. I see where he’s coming from, but that is not the rule. The rules on red card offences clearly states you can be sent off for:

Using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures.

Calling a referee’s decision F’n terrible clearly breaks this rule and players should see red for it. The problem of referee abuse would be so easy to fix but the FA just doesn’t have the balls to stand up to the clubs and do it. But please, can they at least agree on the standard for what is a chargeable offence and what isn’t, because at the moment it’s clear as sewer water.
Mike, LFC, Dubai


While I 100% agree that Vardy should not have called John Moss a f**king c**t and that these reactions should be removed from the game, I have a very bad feeling that this could have a massive bearing on who the winners of the EPL are.

Bryan F from the morning mailbox says “Good on the FA for finally charging someone for abusing the ref, just because everyone does it, doesn’t make it right”. As I have said I agree that it should not happen by why “finally” take a stand now, against the second top scorer in the league with a team who are defending a 5 (7 at the time) point lead in the closing weeks of the season (and having several black marks in your past off the pitch is not applicable criteria)? Rooney has been doing this for years and Henderson was guilty of it a few weeks before he got injured, over what he reckoned to be a corner being given as a goal kick, to the point where I actually took note of the level of abuse directed at the referee as it clearly wasn’t a corner and I was wondering why he would risk getting on the wrong side of the ref for a rant and these two are just two of many offenders in the league.

From reading between the lines it appears the FA have taken this upon themselves without waiting for the officials report, was there anything about the exchange in the report in the end?, sadly probably not as I fear a referee wouldn’t see it as worthy of inclusion.

If the FA want to end these types of verbal assaults from players (which will hopefully pass down through the different levels of the game) then at the start of a season start giving yellow cards for cursing at the referee. Players will learn quick enough then (and even the slow learners will pick it up when their manager gives them similar abuse for getting a second yellow over the direction a throw was given), but it needs to happen at the start of the season and continue, a knee jerk policy change should not a league decide.
Gerry S (Heard a few expletive rants the TV Mics have picked up and broadcast with no charge) Dublin, LFC


The Allardyce factor > the Rafa factor

ToonBano seems a bit irked that everyone writes them off in favour of Allardyce’s experience and Defoe’s goal-scoring ability.

I love Rafa Benitez, I really do, but is he the guy you want when you’re in a relegation battle? It’s an honest question and one that I’m not entirely sure of the answer to. There’s certain managers that you would want if you were threatened with the drop. The ones who know the pressures and have avoided it in the past. People like Allardyce and Pulis are the current best exponents in the league and you could include Hodgson if he hadn’t retired to manage the national team.

These guys are the best kind of mediocre, the kind that can drag anyone playing them into the mire with them and grind out results. Will Rafa and his team of “players teams like Norwich and Sunderland couldn’t sign in a month of Sundays” be able to grind out the results they need? Rafa has shown prior for being able to shut-down a 1-0 or a 2-0 and completely sterilise a game up to the 90 but he had a certain level of talent playing for him to achieve this along with his coaching.

Ultimately, there is credence in trotting out the “Allardyce factor” because he knows how to get it done with, frankly, quite shite players. He knows their limitations because he’s limited himself (despite his grandiose opinion of himself) and won’t ask them to do anything that isn’t stay back and hoof it into the channels. Which isn’t an insult because it works more often than not in these circumstances.
Kris, LFC, Manchester


Neil Warnock is having a party
To distract form all the Leicester, F365 are biased, Man Utd/Arsenal/Liverpool fans crying/celebrating (delete depending on result). I thought I would send a mail about my club Rotherham United and Neil Warnock. When Neil Warnock was appointed on 11 February Rotherham were 22nd in the Championship, having lost eight of their past 12 league matches. Since Neil Warnock has taken over we have won 6, drawn 4 and lost 2. The 2 losses were his first 2 games as manager. We now sit 21st in the table on the same points as the team in 18th place. What he has achieved with the side is nothing short of a revelation. In that run we beat several of the sides in the top 6 and could conceivably finish mid table.

He might be a w****r but he’s our w****r. Neil Warnock’s having a party all the Millers are invited!!!! UTM
Lee (the pies at New York Stadium are amazing)