Mails: Still bitter at Batistuta, 19 years on…

Date published: Tuesday 20th February 2018 3:27

Anything to say? Tell us all about it –…

City are back
It’s all my fault. I said yesterday, ‘I hope we don’t get a replay….’

Well at least my wish came true. And any other City fans still think we might collapse and win nowt this season?

Oh Cityitis, how I’ve missed you.


Pep’s excuse: Jose is worse
As soon as I heard Pep was involved in an altercation I was waiting for the Utd fans to start up with their “If that was Mourinho” rubbish & they didnt disappoint.

Anytime any manager does something it’s “imagine if that was Jose there’d be uproar”,if there’s a storm “imagine if that was Jose”…I assume v Chelsea when he yet again antagonises Conte he’ll unveil a Ballotelliesque “Why always me” tshirt??

Pep didn’t exactly cover himself in glory but it hardly compares to Mourinho’s long list of histrionics in England, Spain & Italy. He forced Frisk into early retirement after wrongfully accusing him of colluding with Barcelona, he gouged a coach in the eye with his finger, he bullied a female employee, he has been sent to the stands more times then the other 19 managers combined in the Premier League..& this is just a tiny fraction of his vile behaviour.

Don’t forget at Stamford Bridge last year he admonished Conte for having the temerity to celebrate his teams fourth goal & earlier this season accused City of diving & then whined that refs were pro City as the ref didn’t give Herrera a pen…which was a dive.He also whines when teams park the bus yet consistently does it himself with a ridiculously expensively assembled squad.

That was City’s 3rd defeat in all competitions all season,Pep has had no reason to act the muppet as they are winning week after week after week.Yes,he behaved badly last night but to compare his antics on one night to Mourinhos long, long, long list of histrionics over 14 years is unfair,pathetic & shows how far Utd have fallen as a club..Special One indeed.


Aguero aggro
I can’t believe that Sergio Aguero isn’t facing a ban for breaking into that supporter’s workplace and taking a swing at him.

What’s that you say? Actually, the supporter was the one who wasn’t supposed to be there? And he approached Aguero, not the other way around?

Well, that puts a new complexion on things, certainly.
Dara O’Reilly, London


The circle jerk over Pep has been hard for United fans? Boo hoo. Grow up.

United building one of the biggest clubs in the world completely organically? Please – how much money have you spent from shirt sales in Asia?

Saint Pep’s global rim job and SAF never received the same – are you kidding? SAF has been lauded as the greatest manager of all time since the late 90s

Also, great straw man re: Pep and Aguero’s actions and what we’d be saying if it was Mourinho and Pogba – have you not been online or read the papers today? Everyone is fairly up in arms about it mate.

To be fair though – you’re not at all wrong about Pep being a bad loser. Some of his comments were completely embarrassing. While not on the level of Mourinho as you stated, he needs to grow up.
Tom, London


Why bother?
Following last night’s incredible FA Cup tie, I found myself listening to the post-match radio coverage. Clearly there was plenty to discuss: the red card, the pitch invasion and subsequent unsavoury scenes, the reported half-time tunnel fracas, all of which was discussed by the pundits and commentary team. These exact topics were then put to Guardiola in his post-match interview, and returned in a straight-bat fashion that would have had Geoffery Boycott purring with satisfaction. A string of monosyllabic answers to repetitive questions resulted in a dull and unspectacular interview, completely at odds with the events that had unfolded on the pitch just minutes ago.

Pep cannot be at blame here; obviously he’s going to be disappointed, but he’s an intelligent man who isn’t going to risk commenting on a referee and suffering FA disciplinary action as a result. My question is why waste this valuable time with questions that are designed to catch a manager out? All it does is create a sense of distrust between the media and the managers/players, and fans lose out as a result. The manager knows what is coming, surely the interviewer knows what is coming, so what’s the point?

How refreshing would it be to ask some questions that actually have something to do with football? Did Wigan employ any tactics that you weren’t expecting today? Was there any particular area that you tried to exploit in their approach? How did you adapt your tactics to playing with 10 men? Any of these questions would provide fans with an insight into the mind of one of the greatest tactical minds in the world, yet all we get is “What did you think of the challenge?”. No wonder Uncle Roy got all ‘old man hard’ with that reporter a few years ago! Still, at least they’ll generate a headline once every few months, so maybe I’m the idiot.
Mark (you simply have to be on email these days) Powley, MUFC


Bitter at Batistuta
The Top Ten players never to win a Champions League was an interesting read. It also bought back memories of attending the Arsenal v Fiorentina game at Wembley you posted the video of.

Batiatuta’s goal was sensational but I remember being bitter for a long time afterward that he was even on the pitch as he hacked down Lee Dixon with a horrendous two-footed challenge early in the game.

Still we were rubbish at Wembley most of the time back then and Overmars had perhaps the worst game of his life so its not like we deserved anything from it.
Mark (bitter at Batistuta since 99)


Worst players to win the CL
Fantastic article on the 10 best players not to win the Champions League although the two Arsenal players are not a surprise (wish we’d won a CL…)

Your mention of Djimi Traore got me thinking. How about the top ten worst players to ever win a Champions League? That could be fun
Dave (Gooner, Amersham)


Jonathan Hogg…
Makes the honourable mentions list in the fun-to-read Top 10 best players to never win Champions League list. Wonder who wrote that article. Keep up the awesome work Winty. Love it!
MK (LFC) Philippines


Postcard from Germany
Thought I’d share some news from the Bundesliga.

Last night saw the debut of Monday night football and the extension of the weekend’s Bundesliga fixtures to cover four full days from Friday to Monday. The DFB argue that this is to afford teams involved in European competition more rest days between fixtures, the fans on the other hand say it is about the continued and rampant commercialisation of the game and is purely due to the league wanting more money in exchange for televising matches. The truth, as so often, probably lies somewhere in between.

What we were treated to last night though in the Frankfurt – Leipzig match was a well organised and clearly orchestrated protest before kick off and before the second half got under way.

Several hundred fans were allowed out of the Ultras block where they then unfurled huge banners on the advertising hording running the entire length of the pitch (in addition to the banners being held up in the end behind the goal.) Kick off was delayed by about 5 minutes and eventually got under way with those fans still pitch side.

The second half was delayed due to several thousand tennis balls being hurled onto the pitch, which were subsequently cleared up with leaf blowers and brooms. Again – clearly orchestrated with the club as ordinarily there is a huge net behind the goal that would prevent anything being thrown from reaching the pitch. And who just happens to have 30 leaf blowers handy?

The 90 minutes of football were played out to a non stop cacophony of whistling with absolutely none of the usual singing and chanting that accompanies every match. I have a headache today that won’t go away and suspect the ringing in my ears will probably last until tomorrow.

It was a truly strange atmosphere and I suspect for those watching on telly it was an excruciatingly annoying experience -. which was of course the point.

I think we are so used to Premier League football being played whenever Sky and BT Sport dictate it must be played that the point behind the protest is probably lost on a lot of people. But consider this:

Kick off was at 8.30pm last night. The last direct train from Frankfurt to Leipzig left at 8.15pm, which isn’t much use to anyone. Thereafter every train journey would have resulted in what would ordinarily be a 3 hour journey taking anywhere between 8 and 9 hours with multiple changes in the middle of the night in sub zero temperatures. You would have arrived in Leipzig some time around 8am this morning. By road the journey takes about 4 hours. So either way, the travelling support last night (and I reckon about 300 made it) wouldn’t have been home until stupid o’clock this morning. Presumably the DFB doesn’t think football fans need to go to work on a Tuesday…………

Frankfurt won the game having fallen behind and climbed above Leipzig into 3rd and we are actually beginning to think that Champions League football might be coming to the Waldstadion next season. For the Liverpool fans: Keita was absolutely rubbish all night before being subbed mid way through the second half.

This morning we woke to the sad news that a fan died at the end of the match having suffered a heart attack in the closing minutes of the game, which rather puts the whole thing into sharp and poignant perspective.
Jon Cardy


Waiting Ward
Before the mailbox gets flooded with Champions League reactions over the next few days I thought I’d muse on an albeit niche subject: a stalled career.

Danny Ward was purchased from Wrexham 6 years ago and arrived at Liverpool as a Welsh youth international. After a period in the u23s and an emergency month-long loan to Morecambe he was shipped north of the border to gain first team experience at Aberdeen. After impressing in the SPL his loan was cut short after 6 months to provide keeping cover to the first XI and he even played in handful of games towards the back end of the 15/16 season as Klopp rotated his league side in preparation of an ultimately doomed assault on the Europa League. Klopp must have seen some potential as the following season he sent him to continue his development in the Championship with Huddersfield under his great mate David Wagner. Once again he impressed, particularly his penalty heroics in the play-offs and by all accounts Wagner was keen to keep him for Huddersfield’s foray back into the Premier League. Klopp had other ideas and wanted Ward to stay at Liverpool and compete with Mignolet and Karius for the number one spot. this challenge did not end up well for the Welshman who, after starting in the Carabao Cup loss to Leicester (if I recall correctly) has largely spent his time chewing gum in the bench behind the substitutes bench and warming the starting keeper up.

While I can hardly blame Klopp for wanting the strongest squad available to him, I can’t help thinking both Ward and Liverpool would be better off had Ward had a full season as a number 1 at Huddersfield. For Ward the benefits are obvious but for Liverpool they would get to see their asset week-in week-out playing at the highest level. Either his performances would strengthen a future push for a starting role at Liverpool or his value would increase (of course he could also have dropped a couple of clangers early doors and get dropped but that in itself would have been revealing).

As it stands I expect Ward to shuffle quietly out of Liverpool for a moderately low fee to a Championship club come July and try regather the momentum of his stalled career.

Thanks for indulging me,
Osric the Brave, Cape Town


Divisive players
Interesting read about players that divide fan opinion in the morning mailbox. I like the point that certain players get favourable treatment when they actually played worse than panto villains such as Sissoko. But sometimes the anger comes from a belief that the player, whilst consistent, is not actually good enough for the team.

At Palace there are several players who different segments of the fanbase have rather conflicting views about:
1. Jason Puncheon. Some see only the current incarnation, bereft of form, losing a yard of pace, no stamina and unable to play wide or centrally because of this. Others see the local lad who for 2 seasons was one of our best players and scored some very important goals. A guy who cried when he scored against Norwich to effectively seal safety and a guy who scored, what should have been the winning (but for Mark Clattenberg), goal in the Fa Cup Final.

2. Wayne Hennessey. Some think he is nervous, slow to react, should be dropped for Speroni and nowhere near good enough to be our no.1. Others believe he is the best we have, plays okay from time to time, isn’t always at fault and should be supported until the Board pulls their finger out and finally signs another keeper. (Guatia pre-contract and a deadline day bid for Ronnow to come this summer)

3. Joel Ward. Some think he is nervous, slow to react and neither good enough offensively or defensively to be a starter. Others think he is better than Fosu-Mensah because he is more disciplined and is a committed pro who does a lot of charity work due to his Christian beliefs.

4. Julian Speroni. Some see the club legend who refused to leave us when he could – and arguably should – have left to bigger and better things, a guy who should be No.1 and can do no wrong. Others see a guy who is past his prime and it is painful to watch him be a shadow of his former self. The Buffon of SE25.

5. Martin Kelly. Some see a guy who is never first choice, regularly played out of position and usually plays when the team is in the middle of an injury crisis and low on confidence. A guy who tries hard and can play well in the right circumstances and with the right partner (tail end of last season partnered with Sakho). Others see a guy who regularly gets beat, outmuscled and nervously gives away the ball.

Personally, I there is no right answer, it all depends on how you view your club, almost whether you are a pessimist or an optimist. It doesn’t matter whether it is Mousa Sissoko, Wayne Hennessey, Granit Xhaka, Marouane Fellaini or Kyle Naughton, if you are an optimist you would think that with the right support and tactical formation the player can, and does, do a job and is okay until someone better arrives. If you are a pessimist, you might think the guy should be nowhere in the team and should’ve been replaced ages ago or never signed. It is two sides to the same coin and part of the reason we all talk, think and rant about football all the time.


…Just a quick thing re. Chris Warner on Moussa Sissoko.

In my view Sissoko is, quite frankly, such an inept footballer that I wonder how he manages to find employment at any level of the game.

This aside, I would argue strongly that Spurs fans, particularly at Wembley this season, have been incredibly kind him. He has never given any indication that he can pass/shoot/tackle/run in anything other than a straight line, so if anything, most Spurs fans have given him a relatively easy ride. Perhaps this is largely due to the innate comic value in his (7/10!) performances.

I would also argue that Sissoko is not a divisive player. Vedran Corluka, Erik Lamela, Ryan Mason were divisive. Sissoko is sh*t.



Pog’s box
I’m never that curious to know what Man United fans think about anything in the same way I’m not that curious to know what the food waste bin smells like by Sunday evening but I would be curious to get their opinion on this one; As things stand, which was the most erroneous, letting Pogba go as a kid for nothing or buying him back for what was then a world record fee to play for a manager in a system that he plainly does not suit?

Had United not bought him back and this particular version of Schrodinger’s cat had been left in its box, their fans could have continue to mythologise about how great he could have been for them without ever knowing if he would have actually ever been any good. Instead, the box is wide open and its not a pretty sight for either the player, the manager or the football club which while it has all the branding in the world, now lacks any kind of tangible identity where it matters- on the football field. Pogba should have been a catalyst for a new, post-Fergie era United and instead, he is a walking (when he should be running) hashtag that no-one seems quite sure what to do with.
Kevin Walsh, Luimneach


In defence of James McClean
Not sure what to make of Richard from Cambridge and his assertion that serious questions be asked about McClean’s international manager should he be picked for his country again. I assume he must follow the Irish national team with about the same amount of regularity and interest as I follow West Brom. McClean is consistently one of Ireland’s best performers, has scored 6 goals in his last 23 games throughout 2016 & 2017, including the winner against Wales in Cardiff to get us to the play-offs and was voted RTE Sportsperson of the year by the Irish public, most likely for the pride and passion he exhibits when wearing the green jersey. So I think it’s fair to say that McClean shouldn’t be too concerned about his place in the Irish team just yet.

A more valid question Richard needs to ask himself is why a player who has recently excelled at international level, is not performing (if we take Richard’s word for it) at club level. Maybe the fact he’s playing alongside a bunch of pished up jokers who are winding down their careers whilst still pocketing taxi loads of cash? Or maybe the fact he’s playing under a widely disliked manager with a very ordinary managerial history?

Seriously Richard, after all that’s just happened at your club, your main gripe is with James McClean, Jake Livermore and Tony Pulis???
Mick, Dubai

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