Mails on Swansea City sadness, a Chelsea plan, ‘having a go’…

Date published: Tuesday 19th December 2017 9:26

Keep those thoughts coming to It’s nearly the barren wasteland of Christmas week…


An excellent (but sad) email on Swansea City
More Swansea City misery. Any other season that result would have been par for the course. Given what has happened at other clubs recently we absolutely had to draw that game at a minimum, especially after going 1-0 up. As much as I don’t blame Clement for our predicament per se, I do believe that he is not helping the situation. Now for the explanation…

A lot of people have been talking about the Premier League’s new found pragmatism in games against the top six. Swansea have taken this one step further and had this approach against all teams. We started playing a midfield diamond a while back to accommodate Sigurdsson and Llorente. That was all well and good as they were clearly our best two players. However it entrenched for the first time a feeling that individuals are more important than the team.

Our success was always on finding a system that worked and then finding players to replace the ones that inevitably left for bigger things (with our blessing). Width, passing, possession, all words that nobody would associate with us now.

Clement has finally realised we need width but hasn’t played wingers for 12 months and is surprised that they’re all horrifically out of form. I went to the first two home games but can’t bring myself to go any more (I do also play on a Saturday but our home form isn’t making me want to skip games).

Essentially I’m just disappointed because we sold out. You look at Burnley now and the fact what sticking with your ideals as long as performance levels match expectations can do. No little irony that we sold them Cork and replaced him with Porno Tache Mesa. News today is there is no less than 31 people involved in the consortium that owns the Swans including hilarious American actors with a clear knowledge of UK football…

I’m past anger and now apathetic. This may sound whiny and a lot of you might think we are ungrateful for the ride we had. We don’t expect to be a Premier League team and would have enjoyed our only expected season in the top flight. The anger is that we’ve sold the club to asset strippers after being the model for a community football club. The previous owners never made us think this would happen. Just bear in mind we’ve had this a lot with past players, managers and owners.

We’ll always be a stepping stone club and be happy with that, the memories are worth it. It’s the self inflicted, ruinous, opportunist behaviour with no respect for the fans that we can’t accept. If somebody offered me top 6 in League Two to go back to the club we were I’d bite their hand off. Those were fun days!
Darren, Swansea (Zaha must be licking his lips for next weekend)


I’m done with Paul Clement
Getting physically sick watching the Swansea City and Everton game. Why is Wilfried Bony not playing in this game right now? Oh wait, because he tweaked a muscle playing in a game that was as close to a guaranteed loss as you can get (man city). Oh wait, he tweaked it again. Who the hell could have seen that coming!?

I’m done with Paul Clement. He should have had the guts to sit Bony against his old team and rested him up for a key game that was incredibly within reach.

A coach needs to have the vision, heart, and testicular fortitude to lead no matter what, and man did Clement get this wrong. It happens frequently now with him.

Damn I hate this beautiful game.
Dave in Chicago


Chelsea should buy Sanchez and Aubameyang for the bench?!
With no offence to Zaha and his resurgence in form at Palace, he is not what Chelsea should be looking for. For lack of better description I consider him to be form player who thrives on confidence and support from entire team.

Given that it’s certain we are going to get rid of Luiz and Batshuayi, I would suggest we sell Willian too for pretty money. I do like Willian quite a lot but don’t think he is being allowed to play at his true potential and maybe he won’t reach it at Chelsea. I think with Pedro we have good backup (or equal) talent. We should sell Willian at north of 60mill to make money for new buys.

What Chelsea needs right now is not squad players. We need world class players who are probably game changers. Imagine Chelsea lining up 3-5-2. As in: Courtois, Azpi, Christensen, Rudiger, Mahrez, Alex Sandro, Kante, Fabregas, Ozil, Hazard, Morata. Bench/Reserve: Pedro , Zouma, Cahill, Zappacosta, Alex is Sanchez, Aubameyang, Willy, Moses and Bakayoko, Alonso, along with academy players.

I think this team will give City a run for its money. With Auba and Sanchez we will have two amazing players ready to replace Hazard and Morata when needed. Game time will not be an issue given injuries and four competitions we are in.

I think we are going to generate at least 120-130million from Sales of Willian, Batshuyai and Luiz. We should get Ozil and Sanchez for 20m each. Alex for 60million and Mahrez for 30. While I accept this is probably not going to happen, it is a perfectly reasonable expectation given the money we have and the availability of the players.

If we need to be at the top we should stop mucking around with average squad players like Zaha, Barkley, AOC, Lorente and go for the best players only. We have enough academy players to make up numbers if it comes to that.

Given the City situation, it does not look likely any team let alone Chelsea will be able to win PL for next 2-3 years, unless we go all out and get worldies.


Managers get a rough ride
Football365, the Mail, the Sun, the Guardian, Radio 5 Live, Fourfourtwo, Football Focus. All football media outlets except Match magazine circa 1996. All of these to some extent discuss the performance of managers. They strongly imply they should go never to be employed again or they eulogise them almost beyond what is rational for one human being to achieve.

Now I looked at the table the other day and loosely the league looks how it should. The teams with the best players are nearer to the top. Everton notably are slightly behind after a poor start but making up ground fast. Burnley of course are the massive outliers, as were Palace up until recently.

Now managers obviously can overachieve and underachieve. Sean Dyche and Pep Guardiola are the biggest over achievers so far this year. I think Man City have the best squad but not by the extent they are at the top of the table. I think that football journalists of all types maybe should take greater note of the importance of players. Take the curious case of Gyllfi Sigurdsson.

Gyllfi scored a beauty yesterday against his old club. Last year I think Clement deserved the mild credit he got for keeping Swansea up. But only that – mild credit. It was creating a system for Sigurdsson and Llorente to shine that he deserves any credit. The majority should go to the players themselves. I don’t think Clement deserves the sack now. He is performing at exactly the same standard he was before. But now he has the worst squad in the league. Before owners or journalists or fans or anyone else criticise managers they really should consider where the teams should be in the league if their players were left to their own devices.

Now you recently had concerns – I won’t get into the reasons for this – about the employment of Moyes, Allardyce and Pardew. Do you know who I think has done best out of these 3? It’s Chunky. I would say Allardyce and Moyes are only doing what they should be with those players. West Brom have deserved points against 2 of the top 4 and a resurgent Palace. They have conceded 3 goals. Have you seen that West Brom squad? You know as well as I do it’s awful. Pulis had constructed a team with no attacking threat at all and I’m afraid it’s not Pardew’s fault.

Managers are screwed and almost all will eventually fail. Before kicking them let’s just consider what they have to work with. Anyway that’s my thoughts on managers and players and possibly being a little more sparing on speculative criticism. Ciao.


The Bundesliga is nailing VAR
A busy few weeks at work came to an end today so I began catching up on all the highlights from the various leagues I had set to record. While watching Bayern vs. Stuttgart at 1-0, a Stuttgart player appeared to be fouled in the box in the dying minutes of the game.

Over the span of ~30 seconds, the referee ran over to a little booth on the sideline, peacefully viewed a replay of the foul, determined that it was, in fact, a penalty and pointed to the spot. The entire episode was seamless and resulted in the correct decision being awarded in a matter of seconds (penalty was saved though).

I’m not sure if work has had me living under a rock, but the German league should be commended for 1) their adoption of this technology, and 2) facilitating the viewers by setting a blue print that allows for the quickest route for the correct decision (and the whole process did not take anything away from the energy and drama either – in fact it added to it).

Long way of asking – are other leagues viewing the German league’s use of this tech and hopefully find it successful enough to adopt?
Humza, Arsenal, New York


Well done to teams who have a go (even if it doesn’t work?)
Imagine my delight this summer when the Wembley effect of trebling your potential weekly attendance made the Tottenham Season Ticket waiting list open up as wide as the Stoke City defence. I duly ticked something off my bucket list by shelling out for a seat in block 551. Good view too!

But I’m not sure I’m all that impressed and it’s not because Spurs haven’t continued their form of last season into this. I don’t say this every day… in fact, until yesterday, I’ve never said it – but I read with interest what Phil Neville had to say on the BBC website when he bemoaned the fact half the league seems so afraid of losing, they don’t even try to win.

Having now watched nine home games at Wembley, I am sad to say that there is no Wembley curse for Tottenham beyond the fact that more than half the league have no interest in actually playing when they come to the “home of football”. Burnley, Swansea, Bournemouth, Palace, WBA and Brighton all set ten men behind the ball and showed close to zero attacking intent. Watching Spurs trying (and mostly failing) to break them down has been miserable.

What mystifies me even more is that when we did eventually take the lead in some of those games, Burnley, Bournemouth, Palace & Brighton still didn’t have a proper go and try to get back in the game until the last five minutes! How on earth do you expect to get back on level terms or even win games if you never try and have a crack at the opposition?

I know you’ve since sacked your manager, but if I was a West Brom fan, I would be fuming at having to watch that amount of spoiling, time wasting, procrastinating, parking the bus, boring, unambitious drivel.

I think you could also add Chelsea to the list of teams who didn’t really have a crack because they came to Wembley and had exactly the same game plan. The difference for CFC was that it was a tactical masterclass of defensive football and when they had chances, they took ‘em. I still can’t quite work out how we managed to lose that one.

So, with that in mind, can I lead a rare round of applause for Stoke City? They were awful. Don’t get me wrong. But at least they tried to give us a game. Liverpool, Dortmund and Madrid all went on the front foot as well, but you would expect that of the ‘big teams’. I’m now rooting for Stoke to get themselves out of the mucky mire – I’d rather see teams stay in the league by trying to win games over those who are trying not to lose them.

As the great Danny Blanchflower once (almost) said “The game is about… going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom.”
Dave (amazing how a Season Ticket can make anyone an expert) in Kent


A really bloody good stat, this
All this talk of Kaka retiring made me realise that Ronaldo and Messi have been so dominant for so long, that there are no other Ballon D’or winners still playing professional football.

Two of the best players of all time sharing a decade of Ballon D’ors has been amazing to watch and i doubt we’ll see it again for a long time.
Craig (The one before Kaka was Cannavaro and that was a lifetime ago) Belfast


Nicknames are bad names
Craigy asks in important question, and there are rules about nicknames. Otomendi will be called “Mendo”.

The nickname rule states that if your name already ends in a “y” sound (Rooney, etc.) your nickname will end in “-O” (therefore Roon-o). You can drop the ending completely and add an “S” instead (Roons). You flat-out can’t be Rooney-y. If the nickname sounds awkward (Terr-o, Terrs) you can use the first name instead (John-o) or, more recently, go to initials (JT).

I think the Football League has the full rulebook somewhere at Lancaster Gate, but two syllables and -Y or -O covers most of the cases.

Of course, the rules are different for foreigns. The PFM’s just use “The” + country of apparent origin + “Lad”. Hence Diego Costa is “The Spanish Lad” even though he’s Brazilian.
Steve-o, (Last name sounds awkward under the John Terry clause above), Los Angeles


He literally messaged me asking if I’d seen it he was so proud
“With managers, as with sub-editors, great ones can rectify the errors of others, but only the best can corect their own.”

Was that a delightfully clever joke in Matt Stead’s Silva piece, or am I just being an ass highlighting his spelling mistakes?
Néill, (Where’s Walcott?), Ireland

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