Mails: Don’t leave us with Redknapp…


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Loving genuine breaking news
Although I can thank the giant football media coverage for getting me through many of the hours of work. I often, with rose-tinted glasses, look back fondly on the genuine surprising football news of my younger days. Chelsea being taken over by a Russian billionaire. Tevez and Mascherano signing for West Ham. Robinho to a newly rich Man City. Events that no one saw coming and genuinely shocked you to see unfold on Sky Sports news.

Now you read the rumours, the tweets the endless opinions on why it would be a good/bad idea if it happened. By the time anything is announced it feels like being Christmas Day after sitting in an office where the decorations went up in November.

Then, today out the blue. Neville the new coach of Valencia. Brilliant. Didn’t see it coming along with everyone else. Makes things far more exciting, whilst not working in an office that have had their Christmas decorations up for two weeks.
Heavy D, LFC (anything you hear keep to yourself F365)


Missing him already
8th April 2011 – I consider cancelling my Sky Sports subscription when they appoint the Dirty Red Gary Neville!!

2nd December 2015 – I’m almost in tears that my beloved pundit Gary Neville has left Sky Sports!!
Mark (Liverpool fan who also can’t forget f**king losing against Crystal Palace)


Proudly ABR
I’m sure you’ve had a string of emails with a similar sentiment but on behalf of all MNF viewers…

Anyone but Redknapp – hell even Davie Provan would be welcome (though let’s not get ideas, Sky)
Jim Barnett


The Spanish PFMs are in uproar
Bloody English, going over there, taking their coaching jobs. What about all those homegrown Spanish coaches who never get the opportunity.
Matt, Manchester


A very British protest
I’m going to show my dissatisfaction about Sky Sports best pundit/co-commentator leaving in true modern day football fan style.

I’m not going to switch on Sky Sports 2 on Sunday afternoon until five minutes after kick-off. Ten minutes if I’m feeling really angry. All whilst still giving them lots of my money.
Simon Fitzwilliams (Good luck to him though), Cambridge


Good luck fella
Well, that came straight out of nowhere! But, big congratulations to Gary Neville! A good stint at Valencia would open plenty of doors for him. Hope he does well!
Dan (going to miss his punditry), Manchester


…Wow, seeing Gary Neville appointed as Valencia manager is really a fascinating appointment to be honest. When I first read about his appointment, I thought that it was quite a strange call given Gary Neville probably doesn’t speak spanish but then I realized that Peter Lim was the one making the decision and it’s seem pretty logical now.

However, I do think that Gary Neville will turn out to be a really good tactical manager. Watching MNF many times over the years and being everyone’s favourite pundit, I was really intrigued by the way he analyzes the game and explains it to the audience. This I can see him explaining to the Valencia team and making them overall a much better team. He has an abundance of leadership and experience at the top level that will hopefully serve him well and I’m really excited to follow his progress over the season together with his brother Phil already at the club.

That being said, I really hope it does turn out well for him and the club and maybe in the future he could return to United to take over as manager.
Lee, MUFC, Singapore


…I am sure you will get many e-mails regarding Gary Neville’s appointment on Valencia. But I would like to wish him a good luck in Spain.

After retiring from Manchester United, he started a career in punditry. Fair to say, he has been one of the best pundits out there. He gives insightful view about football which helps the fans to appreciate the game even more (apart some of his bad judgement on Rooney’s performance or ManUtd – Man City match as one of the best games this season. Seriously?). Let’s see if he can replicate what he wrote and thought about football in the media into action!

English football fans in general should hope that Neville will achieve decent results in Valencia. We are all eager to find great managers who are successful abroad. Imagine if Neville is successful in Mestalla, the domino reaction will occur: he may be offered greater jobs as English national team manager or even his beloved Man United. Other than that, many more British managers will not be afraid to go overseas. And also, if he’s successful, imagine so many pundits will consider to take the managerial role in the future.
Vincentius, Cambridge


Oh brother
Did Gary really just call shotgun over Phil at Valencia?

Sucks to be a younger brother I guess.
Lindsay Bell, Melbourne
Ladder talk
If Gary Neville works out at Valencia and then, a few years down the line, takes over the England job…will Phil finally rise to the hallowed spot of 40 on F365’s England Ladder?
James Tong, GFC, Brighton

(No, he’ll drop to 60 – MC)


A few Neville conclusions
Gary Neville’s the new Valencia manager. In a world where everyone ‘knows’ what’s going to break next, it’s genuinely fun to be surprised by some ‘Breaking News’.

Just a few thoughts:

Phil must’ve had a word (jobs for the boys).
Imagine if Valencia drop out of CL and get Liverpool in Europa.
Anyone else considering putting a fiver on him being at Utd’s next manager?
Kris, LFC, Manchester


The big Neville question
Forget his tactics and his style of play. The burning question is, will Gary Neville be a suit wearing manager or a tracksuit wearing manager?
John ‘Crashes the La Liga Barca/Real Madrid cartel, and the United job is his in 18 months?’ Morgan, Kingsbury


Picking Rooney…
As a Liverpool fan, I always select a player from a team that I dislike as the captain in my fantasy football team (under the impression that my bad luck will jinx the player and thus help Liverpool through nose cutting/spite reasoning). This year I selected Rooney, fully aware that he was the only real striking option for Man Utd (until they signed Martial) and his best days are behind him. Unfortunately, this has worked too well as he’s beyond useless and my team are rock bottom. I’m still not going to drop him though – that’s how dedicated and stupid I am.
Merry Christmas, Skinny, Leamington Spa


They’re fattening the Rooney sheep for slaughter aren’t they?
From ‘Rooney is sh*t’ to ‘Rooney needs pace around him’ to ‘Rooney is sh*t’! Rooney’s current run of form has definitely divided opinion, for proof just look at the Mailboxes this year alone. As much as I too think Rooney is past it, his goal drought is the reason for my conclusion. The truth of the matter is that on the pitch Rooney has not been an elite striker for about five years now. He has scored some important and wonderful goals within this five-year period (that bicycle kick was class!), but he has not been banging them in in numbers as an elite striker is expected to. Rooney’s importance has stemmed from his work-rate and his ability to lift his team singlehandedly. THAT season under Moyes was horrible but during it Rooney showed his importance with quite a number of never say die performances. Today’s Rooney, however, can’t even kick a bloody football in a general direction! This is why he must be taken out of the team, because that work-rate and determination to carry the team has gone along with his touch!

This begs the question why LVG continues to play him regardless of him not knowing how to play. My suspicion is that the powers that be at United know just like we all do that Rooney would is hampering the team but have resolved to brave his poor form and keep him on the field, and thus in the spotlight, so that the lovely people over in China can see that commercially he is still ‘Wayne Rooney’. The Chinese league is screaming out for a marquee signing and Wayne Rooney, even past his prime, is exactly that.

LVG has been known for his iron fist, just ask RVP and Victor Valdez. This fact alone makes it very hard to believe that he has rose-tinted glasses where the old Roonster is concerned! United are just inflating his commercial appeal by keeping him on the field so they can sell him off to China, thereby taking the noose off from around this United team’s neck and making a bucket-load of cash while they’re at it!
Buchule, East London (not that East London, the colonial one)


Carrick > Schweinsteiger
Carrick a World Cup winner? No, I’ve not been supping the dregs from Reidy’s cocktail bin of joy, so I know that Michael Carrick has not won the World Cup, but reading in this morning’s mailbox about Schweinsteiger being a decent signing for United got me thinking.

Michael Carrick is better than Schweinsteiger. If Carrick was German, he would have won the World Cup, and not as part of the squad, but probably in place of Schweinsteiger. And the English would be talking about how we do not make players like him.

He offers the same calm authority, defensive discipline and positional sense as the uber-decorated German but he does one thing much better – pass forward. I remember Carrick being described as the guy who gets the most assist assists. He may not play the final ball but he often gives the ball to the guy who does. That was because he passes forward with accuracy, pace and timing. He is two-footed, has incredible awareness of what is going on around him and while he wouldn’t break the defensive line, he would bust open the midfield line.

I am convinced that if he plays more, United would not be the turgid pile of eye-bleach that they currently are. He is still the most under-rated English midfielder of his generation and the fact that he has so few caps is a disgrace. He should have been the anchor of the English midfield for years – the question would then have been who out of Gerrard and Lampard would play with him because while they have their own talents which Carrick doesn’t posses, neither do they have his skills.
Andreas (I know I’d be more likely to get published if I said he was better than Frank or Stevie rather than different) Hunter


United’s problem: Part 1.427m
Having watched United play this season they remind me of when Homer Simpson became a boxer. They can now take a lot of punches due to a good defense but their only hope of winning is if the opposition become exhausted and make mistakes.

In attack United lack two things: Pace and players who can beat a man. Mata, Rooney, Herrera, Young, Lingard, Fellaini and Memphis cannot beat a man with a trick and a bit of pace but yet they seem to try and fail repeatedly to do so.

If you lack these abilities in your team then you need to change how you attack. You need players to execute quick and accurate one-twos with the players ahead creating space/gaps for runners. You need to risk losing the ball and here lies the problem with LvG’s tactics. LvG does not encourage this but maybe he knows/thinks that with the exception of Mata, Martial and Herrera the attacking United players do not possess these qualities.

Rooney, Memphis and Fellaini at the moment look like poor Sunday league players. Horrible first touches, questionable fitness levels, hospital passes and so so predictable. I can see Memphis cutting in on the right and shooting the second he gets the ball. I know when Rooney gets the ball he will try the Hollywood pass outwide or his first touch will be off and I know as a defender if I can get close enough to Fellaini when a cross comes in he is going to foul me or take it on his chest and lose the ball.

Tactics are a framework on how a team plays. They should not restrict a player from making the right pass, the right run, a proper first touch and not fouling an opponent. United players need to take responsibility for their blunt attacking performances. I guarantee if United score a slick counter-attacking goal LvG will not be giving out.
Paul (Why can’t we be friends?) Dublin, MUFC


Just accept it, people…
As a United fan and all I hear from our lot these days is the same moaning drivel:

‘stale possession blah blah blah… Van Gaal needs to let them play blah blah blah… Imagine if Sir Alex had this squad blah blah fucking blah’

I don’t like the way the team is playing at the moment, it’s not entertaining, but you just have to accept that this is the way it is. I don’t believe this squad is capable of playing a highly entertaining style whilst still maintaining positive results. Just look at the PSV game, as soon as Schweiny was taken off to accommodate The Fellbow going up top Schneiderlin was exposed and PSV just walked through midfield looking most likely to score. It’s the same any time he makes changes to push for a goal.

Too many times last season we dropped points due to a poor defense even with De Gea playing out of his skin. Van Gaal has addressed this in his typical mad hatter polar opposite kinda way by constructing a Franco/Deutch wall in front of the back four, but you can’t deny is hasn’t worked (De Gea does very little these days).

Also, while I’m ranting, will you please stop going on about Fergie. He’s gone, he’s not coming back, deal with it! You sound like the widower who never stops harking on about his dead wife, there’s a reason he never gets remarried. There is no way any manager will ever live up to the comparison, you’ll always be disappointed so just f**king stop.
Dave, (even the scousers are displaying reasonable expectations these days) Manchester


Inler for Arsenal?
It’s really Gokhan Inler isn’t it? Played blinders, against us several times, at the right age to replace Arteta and Flamini, hasn’t played much this season so he’d be itching to prove himself in the Premiership, and he was linked with us several years ago but never materialised.

Ranieri doesn’t need him.

And he’s the right age not to usurp The Coq as the main DM, unlike Bender and a whole bunch of touted replacements et al.

You’re welcome.
Jason (second time lucky), Singapore


For Fuchs sake
I finally caught up with MOTD on the iPlayer thingy, and whilst watching the highlights from the Leicester vs United match I heard something that for some reason hadn’t noticed before.

Christian Fuchs.

The commentator and those in the studio pronounced his last name as ‘Fooooks’. This is incorrect. If this were true his last name would be spelt ‘Füchs’ using the umlaut to make the u soft sounding, which it clearly isn’t.

It is actually pronounced ‘Fucks’ (fʊks).

Childish giggles aside, this mispronunciation for some reason grinds my gears, although I can imagine that when he was signed from Schalke, those at the BBC (and elsewhere) had a meeting as to whether they should say his name correctly or change it for ‘decency purposes’. Amusing but still gear-grinding.
Mike D


You can’t stop kids liking gits
I enjoyed Jim, Norwich’s mail and I also have young boys who are just getting into football. I too said that I will not allow my boys to treat footballers as role models and I have always questioned the use of the phrase, when discussing players.

I’m a Chelsea fan and have told my eldest (7 and half – that half is vital to him) that John Terry isn’t a particularly nice man, BUT no amount of me explaining this can persuade my son to not want to be like him, like him or look up to him (he wears his socks over his knees…much to my consternation!)

He of course far too young to understand or fully comprehend the morality of such issues of racism, adultery, drugs or GBH (not that Terry has been accused of all of these things – just using a broad example of players past wrong doings), he only sees a player who captains his favourite side and who lifted the Premier League trophy recently. That’s all that counts in his seven-year-old eyes.

Jim, regardless of the fact that we (adults parents) want to believe that Footballers aren’t role models and may hate the thought of it, unfortunately to the young and immature, they most certainly are.
Neil (fortunately he also loves Willian, who’s seems a decent human being?) Surrey


Some love for Rivaldo please
I love your Profile of an Icon articles – some of the best work seen on this site. A small request (I’ll plead if needed) is that you do one on the great Rivaldo – a player who seems to have been excluded from most conversations about the all time greats but surely deserves a place at that table.

The mailbox also got me thinking about the good old days and although the current team is pretty special, a Barcelona team with Rivaldo and Figo on the wings still stirs the blood. I did a quick search to see whether I imagined how good he was and both his stats and YouTube compilations confirmed how special he was.

A monster of a left foot made by God to create thunderb*stards which could also bamboozle international defenders at will. He also loved being able to chip goalkeepers from 25 yards plus which made me think – when was the last time we saw a decent long-range chipped goal in the Premier League? Have I missed them?
Andrew (Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho… wow) H


Mediawatch points
Three thoughts on today’s Mediawatch:

* Paul Merson on Sky Sports: “You don’t throw your bib at somebody if you like them.”

You do if you’re still at primary school doing a mixed PE lesson – it’s like pulling a girl’s hair, the meaner the childishness the more he fancies her.

* ‘The lowest attendance for a game last season was against Fenerbahce with a crowd of 56,271, but according to the Metropolitan Police there were only 44,779 people at the game.’

Like anyone who’s ever been on a demonstration, I was shocked to see the police’s figures show the number of people in a crowd to much lower than everyone else’s.

* First ‘technical experts’ and now ‘eagle-eyed trackers’ – whatever happened to the ‘boffins’?

The literary Ed Quoththeraven


Man writes sense
So. Paddy from Ireland doesn’t care what footballers do off the pitch as it has no direct effect on him.

That’s an interesting concept. Does it only apply to footballers or could we also not care about what people who work in Asda do away from their shelf stacking and pizza making duties?

Equally, I’m sure most of us used to love watching Jim’ll fix it, so perhaps we should have just glossed over a certain sh*tstorm of ahem, ‘dubious’ behaviour. After all, it’s not like I was directly affected by said person.

The idea that certain levels of behaviour can be excused because someone plays professional football is pretty much the saddest, most pathetic, apologist nonsense I have ever had the misfortune to read.

Andrew, Huddersfield