Mails: Feeling nostalgic for attacking United

Date published: Monday 16th November 2015 10:33

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One of many
Only a club like Liverpool re-signs ex players. Instead Man Utd brings them out of retirement.
Martin (LFC)


Can United cross it like Beckham please?
Beckham’s charity game at Old Trafford on the weekend left a bittersweet taste in my mouth. As I watched Beckham getting the ball in the box creating chances, Scholes running the show and getting shots away, with Giggs and Ashley Cole flying down the left at every opportunity taking people on…it really emphasised the state United are in now.

When Phil Neville just managed to keep the ball in play down by the corner flag on the right-hand side, if that was United in 2015 it would have gone back to Mata, who would have passed back or sideways, and it would have gone sideways again, probably eventually ending up at De Gea’s feet. What happened on Saturday? It goes back to Beckham, who first time (from fairly deep) puts in a wicked cross that curls around everyone and meets Scholes’ head. 1-0.

Van Gaal has improved United undoubtedly and I feel silly for calling for his head in the mailbox a few weeks ago (never been wrong about Rooney though) because he’s sorted the rest of the side, he deserves the chance to finish the job and get the attacking right. However, anyone who saw that goal can’t tell me that trying to score goals isn’t a much better way of playing football. No dicking about. Quality crosses, quality through balls, lethal finishing. That’s all we want.
Silvio (Can’t Beckham coach our wingers to cross? Phenomenal) Dante


Anybody actually like their rivals?
Long-time reader, first time (hopeful) contributor.

From Sunday’s mailbox, after reading Udoeka (from Nigeria)’s mail, Udoeka mentioned ‘Arsenal fans don’t hate Spurs here whr actually like them..and their white Jersey’. Now, this got me thinking, I’d reckon that most Arsenal-supporting north Londoners would be shocked to read that statement.

As an Irish Man Utd supporter, I have a dislike for Liverpool, now this would have been due to sibling rivalry, not down to the traditional rivalry between the two cities of Liverpool and Manchester. However, I have always have had a soft spot for Man City, due to Niall Quinn and their sky blue jerseys. (Also have a soft spot for Coventry due to Robbie Keane, and their jerseys, you may begin to see a trend)

What I’d love to know is if any of your esteemed readers of the mailbox  actually like their club’s traditional rivals and the reasoning for it. Hopefully avoiding the classic rebuttal of domestic and foreign fans.
Gavin (COYBIG) Dundalk, Ireland
P.S. Keep up the great work guys, have been visiting the site for years now, despite hating every website upgrade I usually get over it once I get used to it


England are Palace (and I feel fine)
Presumably only word count and the need to be interesting are what stopped further comparisons between England and Crystal Palace being shown to hold up, but there are a couple more:

* Both teams came very close to winning a trophy in the early 1990s and have had slim pickings since (England’s Euro 96 semi-final aside).

* Both teams have had good players who have only really gone on to show their true abilities playing for someone else – in Palace’s case, the strongest example is probably Ian Wright, but there are many more; for England, see any player from the Golden Generation who reaped huge success in the Premier League or Champions League.

* Both teams’ victories over the bigger boys live long in the memory because of their unexpected nature.  England’s 5-1 win over Germany in 2001 is probably the high water mark for anyone currently in their early 20s, because few would have predicted it, but as the game went on, the more deserved such a scoreline became.

* Both teams provide supporters with an insight into supporting a “proper” team.  I realise Crystal Palace are not quite so “proper” in this context as a team in the Football League, or non-league, but my point is this: when people ask me why I’ve convinced my son to support the Glaziers too, I say I’m teaching him a life lesson.  Specifically, that sometimes you win, but most of the time you lose; as such, you should enjoy it when you win, and there’s no point getting upset when you lose, because it happens a lot.

Much of the frustration with England underwhelming either in friendlies or knockout rounds of tournaments tends to come from supporters of the top (top) teams – people who aren’t accustomed to being on the losing side (apart from Chelsea fans, obviously) and therefore can’t shrug off the disappointment quite so quickly.

* One final point, if I may: on Wednesday, Mediawatch rightly called out Neil Ashton for his brazen Glaziers cheerleading in calling for several Palace players to be included in the squad, but rather sniffily dismissed one call with the line “and who do you drop for Jason Puncheon?”

How about the player described after the match as ‘so far out of his depth that he could no longer see the lighthouse’? I’m not necessarily suggesting Puncheon is a better player than Lallana, just that one of these players has veered between woeful and anonymous this season, and the other is Jason Puncheon.

The literary Ed Quoththeraven


Choose England. Choose life
I have avoided this for a long time, but now… I must speak up.

I hereby publicly commit myself to being an ever-optimistic lover of England National Football Team.

I hereby choose (love is a choice as much as it is a feeling!) to believe that Barkley is the new Gascoigne. I believe that Wilshere & Ox are good enough for Barcelona. That Rooney WILL perform at a major tournament, that Smalling will be a world beater, that Sterling is worth all that money and that Kane is the new Shearer. I believe that WE CAN WIN EURO 2016!

I know the pain. I’ve cried at my local pub. I’ve cried at home. Yes, the hope seems to kill you as we embarrassingly and excruciatingly concede woefully simple goals at the perfectly wrong time. But I will not become bitter! I don’t want to be that skeptical old man that tells my kids “If you only you knew that we would never win a trophy… then you’d quite all your excitement.” No. I am taking a stand. I say get the face-paints out. No, get the body-paints out. Put stupid England flags on your cars, pretend you can remember 1966, wear your undersized England training kit from 2004 and DREAM.

When we win it…yes, WHEN we win it… It will be glorious. And I will not say “Oh look, they actually did it. About time we got some luck” – I will say “I knew it!! I told you!! I always knew they would do it!”, and I will lose my mind. I will frantically remove some clothing and run. Losing all inhibitions, I will run screaming into the summer air, crying happy red and white tears, knocking over prams and launching traffic cones into unsuspecting garden parties.

I’ve chosen my path.

Come. On. England.
Ben Doherty


Ozil: Everybody’s assistant
You might not aware of this, but actually Ozil has assisted you.

How? You see one good thing about him is, he divides opinion.

On one camp, he understands football completely and brilliant, whilst on the other side of the fence, he did not work hard enough for his team.

How is this information beneficial? Well you can save yourself and don’t have to hear any more football insights from pundits who falls under camp number 2.

Hope this information is helpful.
Syfq Amr, a biased Gooner


Cobblers and Sanchez
I’d like to highlight the plight of The Cobblers, NTFC. Although things are going very well on the field there are big problems off, with missing millions, incomplete east stand, HMRC unpaid tax, winding up hearing, failed take-over rescue packages, etc. Things could be nearing for the club. Hopefully all goes well today….

Also as a fan of lower-league football I do enjoy watching Arsenal. Usually entertaining football and goals at both ends are guaranteed. But Sanchez does seem to escape criticism unlike Ozil. As highlighted in your negative stats table, Sanchez is a great footballer, but not the smartest footballer. I think the reason Barca let him go is that maybe he’s a bit greedy? Always tries to dribble past everyone, when after getting past a couple of opponents he could be laying the ball off to someone who’s standing in open space. Always ends up losing the ball in dangerous situations, which against Watford is not a problem but against Bayern it means big problems.
Jas, Northampton


Lessons from a football book
First off a big thank you to F365 for recommending the biography ‘Trautmann’s Journey’ by Catrine Clay. It was a great read and managed to combine his footballing life with the historical backdrop. I probably don’t need to explain to F365 readers but I will anyway; Bert Trautmann was a Nazi youth who fought in the war for five years before becoming a prisoner and being shipped to England, eventually he became a legend of the game while playing for Man City and beyond. He probably did more good for the ‘World Game’ than Blatter.

There are some interesting passages about Trautmann’s experiences as a POW from 1945-8 which seem applicable today. The British government at the time made a huge effort to re-educate the Nazi and German POWs before allowing them to return to Germany but it was as much the efforts, compassion and good humour of every day Britons that made the biggest impact on Trautmann (understandably not all Britons wanted to extend a hand of friendship to the German POWs but a large number did, 20,000 demonstrated when he signed for City and much later 47,000 turned up in the Manchester rain for his testimonial game). Many Britons at the time took POWs into their houses for Christmas and New Years celebration. Played football against them and then supported local POW teams. It was contact with everyday Britons that did much to make the POWs realize that everything they had learnt under a German dictatorship was wrong.

I can’t help thinking about now. Syrian refugees are pouring across Europe and there are two ways to treat them – one is as an enemy sub humans to be rounded up and stuck in detention centers and blamed for every evil going (pretty much my country of Australia’s response to refugees and the National Front’s or whatever they call themselves now approach) or the other is to help them, understand them, treat them as humans with dignity and pretty much educate them about us (which seems to be the way of many ordinary people in Europe). I know which approach will be more effective in the long run in defeating terrorism and which will only lead to more radicalization, mistrust and violence. Yes I am a bleeding heart liberal but history has taught me who wins in the end and it is never the haters. But lets put it in terms that us football fans can understand, treat the refugees well and who knows one day one of them might just lead your team to FA Cup glory and be a club legend.

I would like to hear from other readers on football related books that they would recommend and why. I would recommend Trautmann’s Journey because it is exactly that – the story of one man’s journey of redemption. I would also recommend ‘Fighting for Football: From Woolwich Arsenal to the Western Front – The Story of Football’s First Rebel: Tim Coleman Stood Up for Players’ Rights and Became a First World War Hero’; if just for a reminder that once upon a time football stars didn’t earn 300,000 pounds a week, were actually normal people who had to go on strike to earn a minimum wage; and also that it is only a sport and not the same life and death struggle that being in a first world war trench was.

Looking forward to your reading recommendations.
Murray Whiteford

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