Mails: How will Zlatan be remembered in Manchester?

Date published: Tuesday 27th March 2018 8:24 - Daniel Storey

Come on guys, don’t disappoint us. The international break is when we must all come together, and you must Mail. Send them to…


How will Ibrahimovic be remembered?
Now that Zlatan has completed his brief but eventful sojourn in the Premier League, its hard, as a United fan, to think of what might have been.

Clearly signing a striker at age 34, we were never going to get his best years, but I am left wondering what if United had signed him 5 years earlier, when he left Barcelona, or even 4 years earlier when he signed for PSG.

Cant help but think he would have made a massive difference, and was the type of player Fergie would have loved. He would have made mince meat of David Moyes, but if he had stuck around, him and LVG would have had some craic, and probably would have had a decent enough punt at the title.

He is not the only one in Uniteds recent history that I wish they had signed earlier.
Laurent Blanc, Edwin Van Der Sar, Henrik Larsson and Robin Van Persie are all players that I wish United had picked up at least 5 years prior to when they actually signed, all for varying reasons.

I am sure every club has players like these, so as its international week, lets have them. Can’t be any worse than dissecting a friendly for the next 5 days.


An England follower emails (and emails well)
Following on from several letters regarding the England fans in Amsterdam, just mails thought I would add an opinion from someone who attends pretty much every England away game

1. The media have some part to play. We have an on-running joke that whatever city England play in there’s always a sky news headline that begins with “trouble flares as England fans…”, which is followed by a lot of looks of confusion as nothing appears to have happened. Since following England away (over the last 4 years), the only game where I thought the behaviour of England fans (bar Marseille) was seriously bad, was this one.

Yet every game, there are constant stories that either fabricate trouble where there was none or make out that 1 arrest for drunkenness is the same as mass hooliganism. Against this backdrop is it a surprise that people who want to come and cause trouble have started coming back to England away games? Barney Ronay wrote an excellent piece after Dortmund about how young England fans increasingly act in a certain way because ‘that’s the way England away fans act.’

Who is it that’s pushing these stereotypes? Journalists looking for easy stories and so it’s no surprise to me that against this backdrop, people have believed the hype and piggy backed onto a trip despite having no interest in the football, with the specific intention of causing trouble.

2. The narrative of ‘I hope these troublemakers get sorted out in Russia’ is absolutely disgusting. This is the opinion formed by lots of people, who have very little idea what makes up England’s travelling support.

There is a reason why England’s travelling fans have recently built up a reputation for being exemplary in far flung locations, and problematic at easy to attend games. The England fans in Russia (myself included) will be people who want to make the most of the opportunity to see a new country and explore some new cities (when else am I going to go to Volgograd).

The idea that because some idiots threw some beer off a bridge onto a boat, that other England fans deserve to be attacked on the streets is repulsive and unbecoming of anyone spreading it.

3. England fans have to do more. Contrary to the narrative, the vast majority of us in Dam enjoyed ourselves and didn’t throw bottles at police or boo the national anthem. However there is an acceptance and a bit of a shrug when these things occur. “They won’t be in Russia” I said to my mate, which is a) true and b) missing the point.

When things such as anthem booing take place, other England fans need to do more to call it out. It’s ridiculous, is frowned upon by 90% of the travelling support and openly harms out reputation abroad in front of a huge tv audience

On top of this, I genuinely encourage all F365 readers to try to follow England away if they can/ have a vague urge to. It’s an excellent way to make new friends, see new cities, have a few beers and watch the football.
James, Leeds (Like many others, warming to Southgate)


England’s problem is a lack of family fan culture
It was a good mailbox yesterday afternoon discussing the English in Amsterdam issue, a few different angles were expressed. I think that Hugh from Dublin hit on something particularly in the lack of self-policing. Its hard to stand up to mates acting like idiots, I can’t say there haven’t been times in my history where I chose to be polite over actually caring for a friend by telling them the truth about their behaviour. I wonder about just walking off though? If you watch those videos of the fans by the canal you can see some uncomfortable looking guys watching with an expression on their face which suggests they are not comfortable with what they are seeing. Maybe just walk off rather than providing an audience if your mate is acting the clown?

On the issue of if it’s just England fans or others, I can’t say for sure but I have noticed some characteristics of English men abroad which do seem different to other cultures. The England football team hasn’t ever come to sunny Adelaide that I’m aware of but the barmy army does descend every few years for the Ashes. Their behaviour is not anti-social and they aren’t unwelcome but it is “different” to fans from other cultures.

What I notice about the barmy army is a) they are all men b) they tend to gather as large groups rather than just as friends c) they like attention.

Indian fans for example, come to the cricket mostly as a family group (mum dad and x number of kids) or a group of 2-3 friends. With England cricket fans women are rare, as are kids and the groups tend to be ten or more friends. They sing which is fine – good even, the songs are not offensive when it’s the barmy army and they occasionally actually make me laugh. But they have this look on their face, excitedly watching to see who is watching them, who is laughing. It’s not just support, it’s a performance.

Now take those cultural traits and apply it to a different demographic group, one with a bit more aggression, and those traits – no families, groups of blokes, wanting to make a scene and get noticed– suddenly become very sinister.

Now of course most of the fans we saw in the Amsterdam video simply wouldn’t have been there if they had a nice girl or family back home – but perhaps it would have been less likely to be a problem if they’d been hanging around Amsterdam as groups of a couple of mates rather than setting up their England areas around the town.

Perhaps there is something cultural in England that makes people want to form big groups? I remember an interview with Fenway Sports Group when they mentioned the big shock of being involved with football was the crowd demographics, where are the women? Baseball crowds are mostly couples. What is it with English football fans?

And I do say English football fans because when I went to an Adelaide United match recently it was my wife, her brother and I. Next to us in our row were families with kids. Sat in front was a family with kids. Not just dad with the kids, the family. But when I watch the EPL on TV – crowd shots are almost all of men. What’s with that?
Hugo (NUFC) Adelaide


Lad culture, not football culture
Can I offer a quick anecdote, which I think is related to the issue of England ‘fans’ abroad?

When England played Italy at about 11 o’clock at night in the 2014 World Cup, I went to my local in Cheltenham to watch the match with a friend. It was packed with people looking forward to England’s opening match. Behind us stood a group of half a dozen lads (lads lads) absolutely belting out the national anthem. In a pub. Ten minutes into the match, they’d turned away from the screens to play pool.

They weren’t football fans, they were just boorish twats. These are the people who jump at the chance to watch England in Amsterdam.
Neil. Cheltenham


A cunning plan
Should we not be encouraging as many football hooligans as possible to go to Russia ? With a long stay in the gulag or a right good kick in from either the Russian Police or other Russian thugs the most likely result of any trouble, would that not be a favourable result for the rest of us ?

Kind regards,
Jonathan “tongue firmly in cheek” Sheffield


On Salah and Real Madrid
Some people are made for certain teams. As a Liverpool fan I am pretty sure that Bobby F would not have found as much form/goals playing for another manager. Klopp likes his work horse methodology and encourages this.

Added to this as people have pointed out recently, after analysing Mo Salah recent positions and comparing that with Bobby F, Bobby does Mo’s running, he drops deeper and that allows Mo to get into those goal scoring positions.

Now, if Real Madrid want Mo Salah are they going to buy Bobby F to play with him. No, as they have Ronaldo and Benzema. Will both of them drop deeper, chase back and allow Mo to get into the goal scoring positions and take all the glory? Hell no. Ronaldo is the No.1, everyone else plays second fiddle to him, and rightly so. He is the high maintenance player, he has the need to be looked at worshiped and adored.

So the question for Mo over the next few years is does he want to play second fiddle to someone else’s ego, or stay at a team that will be loyal and get the best out of him?
Ian “LFC” H


Does Lascelles do too much defending?
I’m probably a bit late to this but since it is still international week and even the papers have given up pretending things are happening I thought I’d thrown in my thoughts about Lascelles’ England SNUB.

I think he is suffering from what I have dubbed ‘Smalling Syndrome’. When Van Gaal was at United a lot of people were running out of superlatives when they talked about Chris Smalling. He looked incredible and was not just England’s best center half but one of the best in Europe. A few years later he is out of the England team and wouldn’t be in many people’s top 10 league defenders.

The problem was he was playing in a team that almost exclusively focused on defending. The entire set up was designed around not conceding goals and in this system (with the almost total support of his team) Smalling looked really good. When the system changed so he wasn’t as protected then cracks started to show.

I wonder if this is on Southgates mind when looking at Lascelles. Newcastle don’t really play with an idea of how they are going to score goals they mainly focus on not conceding them. Every players primary responsibility is to defend and in this system Lascelles reigns supreme. He isn’t a defender that is enabling his team to attack, he’s a defender that is helping his team defend. This is in contrast to the likes to Maguire, Stones, Walker. Even Tarkowski has a mean pass on him and Swansea (for Mawson) play with attacking freedom that isn’t there at Newcastle.


Beckham in open play
Excuse me, Aaron, London? No one has a fond memory of Becks in open play? Mate, please, grab your own coat.

Firstly, Wimbledon might disagree with you. I cannot actually believe that you could compose a mail about Beckham, regarding his public standing, without even being aware of the (Open play Aaron) event that truly catapulted him into the national spotlight.

His chip in 1996 in the Community Shield against Newcastle was also rather lovely, and from open play.

In fact, I feel that most United fans who watched Beckham deliver with class throughout his United career would take issue with this assertion of yours, but I will keep my few examples here to the 98/99 season for brevity sake.

I cannot think of Dwight Yorke scoring (twice actually!) with a header against Inter, in our quarter final without very fondly remembering the man who delivered the absolute peach of a cross, both times.

Nor can I forget the ball coming to Beckham on the edge of the area, Spurs leading 1-0 at Old Trafford on the final day of the league season, and he looks up, and rifles it past a diving Ian Walker, following which Cole lobs Walker and the title is secure.

I can also still clearly see the ball coming to Beckham in the middle of the Arsenal half, and his brilliant first time long range strike in the replay of the 1999 FA Cup semi-final, another memory from open play of Beckham being quite wonderful for United.
Manc In SA


The sort of sh*t we have to deal with
Dear Sir/ Madam,

What utter nonsense you have written today about Jose Mourinho. What is even sadder is the fact you get paid to write such utter trash.

You obviously don’t know or like Mr Morinho or you would not be writing this nonsense, just to sell your rag.

Embarrassing and pathetic, for you as so called journalists, or hacks as I prefer to call people who try to ruin people.
David Richards, United till I die.
(MC – Please don’t email in response, we can’t be arsed with it)

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