Mails: The true victims of the transfer bans

Date published: Friday 15th January 2016 3:28

You know the drill by now: mail us at for a weekend Mailbox


Arsenal rising
Graham writes “It’s a true sign of how far we’ve come that we’re disappointed with a draw at Anfield.” What? How far away is wherever you’ve come from? (South London roots aside.) Have you been toiling mid-table for a decade? Or has the wage bill forced you to look longingly up toward the coveted Champions League. Where is your starting point?
Matt Carr, Spurs, Durham, NC


Emre = Stevie
If you mean interspersing the odd great performance with many bang average ones, attempting the Hollywood pass when something more nuanced would do, failing to win the Premier League in your career and generally under achieving for your country, then yeah, I’m sure he can be the new Gerrard
David, Sheffield


Rooney and The Ox
The ‘Oxlade-Chamberlain is/is not Rooney’ debate made me think.

I don’t watch a lot of football these days, but when I have seen Young Oxy, I have been impressed. He seems to have drive, pace, technique, determination and a better-than-competent level of skill. He reminds me of Theo Walcott, as he was at the start of his career. All the ingredients in place, bar the ‘X-factor’ required to make him a first-name-on-the-team-sheet sort. They also both seem to be very pleasant, hard-working, well-behaved, level-headed young gentlemen.

I am not certain that Rooney at the same age had a higher level of those footballing attributes than either Oxy or Theo. I would peg them all at about the same level, roughly. The major difference being that Rooney never seemed to be a very pleasant, hard-working, well-behaved, level headed young gentleman. Rooney did take the same ingredients and make himself a first-name-on-the-teamsheet sort.

There is something to be learned from this, though I am sure I don’t know what.
Alex Stokoe. Newcastle upon Tyne


Can you please ban the person who made the Alex Oxlde Chamberlain = Wayne Rooney statement! Yes, as we all know Wayne is playing nowhere near his best at the moment and probably has been doing the same for the last 2/3 years but to compare him to a player who has the below stats is just plain embarrassing.

Recently some damning statistics were circulating wildly on Twitter:
1) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has never scored more than two Premier League goals in a season
2) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain did not provide a single goal or assist in the Premier League in 2015.

Regardless what you think of the man, Wayne is in his 14th Season in the premier league, 2nd highest scorer of all time, played nearly 700 senior appearances for club and country at 30 years of age, Captain of Club and Country, all time record scorer for his country (hopefully as a United fan the same can be said about his club soon), 5 time PL winner, Champions League Winner.

Admittedly, as we all would agree, Rooney hasn’t fully delivered on his full potential and is in a worrying decline but to make a comparison with Oxlade Cahmberlian that reads “Kind of reminds me of a chubby fella with a questionable barnet strolling around the Old Trafford turf every week” is just lazy writing.

Have some respect.
Martin, Ireland. (Not a fan of the keyboard warriors)


Chris MUFC talks about Redondo but doesn’t mention this:

One of those moments in football where everyone is shocked by the audacity and success of something completely unexpected. This is why I watch football, not for stats or any of that boring crap. To see the best players pull of audacious tricks, right when the pressure is on
Fat Man Scouse, EFC


Time to reconsider Article 19
Like Barcelona in 2014 both the Madrid clubs have been found to be in violation of the now infamous Article 19 of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players. The same punishment has been imposed, subject to appeal. While the provision is no doubt well-intentioned I feel it is now time to rethink the rule in light of changed circumstances. In my humble opinion, it is beginning to have the effect of preventing young talents and their families the opportunity to lead better lives by creating a glass ceiling through which it is frankly impossible to break through.

Clearly the provision seeks to protect children being dragged across international borders far from their homes on the strength of minuscule odds that they will actually make it professionally. However, as noble as the intention is, the consequence is that minors hailing from outside the footballing hotbeds are effectively barred from gaining access to top quality coaching and facilities during their formative years. The provision deprives these kids from having even a fighting chance of carving out a career in football.​ This essentially means that a vast majority of the talent from South Asia, North America and Africa (regions that have produced considerable talent over the years) remains untapped and scores of kids go by without having a fair shot at doing what they love for a living.

At the same time I realize that it is imperative that this matter be dealt with carefully as the risk of things turning ugly is real and apparent. However, surely certain changes can be made that would accommodate kids who are brought into the country along with their parents. Presently, the first exception to the rule reads as follows: “The player’s parents move to the country in which the new club is located for reasons not linked to football.” If I remember correctly, employment was sought for all the parents of the kids recruited by Barcelona ​when their transfers were made. I’m sure it is the same in the case of Real and Atletico too. Surely such an arrangement isn’t so bad. However, as long as such an exception exists such arrangements would be illegal. In fact, quite hilariously Zidane’s sons have been included in the list of dubious transfers having joined Real’s academy at the time of his joining in 2003 and thus falling outside the scope of this exception.

I’m sure there are a million other factors to consider and am not delusional enough to believe that having parents move along with their children is the one stop solution to all of this. However, as of right now the legal framework in place needs refining in my view. The prospect of a highly lucrative career in sport today cannot be limited only to those who have the good fortune of being born in the right place or being economically blessed enough to migrate to the right place. The irony is that sport happens to one of the few fields where meritocracy prevails simply because it is impossible to deny the talent of a player yet the frameworks in place today means that deserving kids from less fortunate areas of the world are precluded from pursuing glory.
Pranav, AFC (have resolved to write in at least once a week to provide some variety)


Random football
Thanks Mike LFC Dubai for an interesting and well written email, I enjoyed that one quite a lot.

My story is a little different as my friends and I played in a match rather than watched, but it’s a similar theme nonetheless.

Back in the good old days I used to live in Australia. As it was exceedingly expensive for me to travel home for Christmas and other events I only managed to get back to the U.K. once every two years. To make up for this, my friends from university decided that for summer holiday each year we’d all meet up somewhere in Asia because it was kind of halfway.

In 2012 we settled on Bali as our destination. This holiday also coincided with a lot of our mates who’d been studying medicine finishing their courses. They’d been doing their elective in hospitals all over the world but quite a few were spread across Asia and Australia so they decided to join us that year. All in all there was about eleven of us in the end.

After a couple of messy nights in Kuta (it has to be done) we headed off to Ubud for something a bit more cultural. We all signed up for a cycling tour of one of the volcanoes. They drove us up to the crater for dawn and then we cycled down, stopping at luwak coffee farms, rice paddies and all the sites. Anyway, on the way down our guide gets chatting about football to us and it turned out that he played in the local Ubud football team. I’m not sure if they were the Ubud team or a team in a league based in Ubud. They were scheduled to have a training session that evening but noticing that there were eleven English lads he thought it would be a great idea to have an England vs Bali football match, and so did we.

Getting back to Ubud we realised that we needed a kit, so off we went to the market to find some cheap Premier League knock offs. Surprisingly we couldn’t find any and came back with Bali Bintang singlets instead.

We headed off to the pitch to meet our guide and his team mates. The site of both teams warming up seemed to pique the interest of quite a few people walking past so by kickoff we had a decent crowd of tourists and locals gathered to watch, about 150-200. The pitch in Ubud is close to the centre of town next to the Monkey Forest road and Dewisita road. It’s set about a metre down from the roads so whilst certainly not a stadium, it definitely created a sense of occasion for us players with all those people watching.

After a quick clean-up of the glass and cans from the pitch we kicked off.

There hadn’t been much rain in the weeks previous and the rough ground prevented us from having much success with a passing game with the ball bobbling and bouncing like a rugby ball. Combined with our forwards’ wayward finishing, the first half finished 0-0. At half time we decided a tactical change was needed so we reverted to long balls and relying on our forwards’ pace to chase the ball down. It worked and by 60 minutes we were 2-0 up. Unfortunately what followed was a collapse to rival that of anything the real England could produce. First of all I managed to give away a penalty for a handball in the area when their winger cut the ball back from the touchline and it struck my hand. Their striker put the penalty away with ease. 2-1. The momentum of the game shifted and we were under a lot of pressure. We then conceded an own goal at a corner with a shot taking a deflection to beat out keeper. 2-2. Another own goal from a sliced clearance from our other centre back conceded the victory to Ubud. So all in all we lost 3-2 but embarrassingly we scored four of the goals.

After we had few drinks out on the pitch with the Ubud team. It was great experience and I’ve certainly enjoyed reminiscing over it!
Rob (Arsenal fan exiled in Manchester)


Like all right-minded people I very much look forward to Friday so that I can read the F365 feature of football people on TV, but specifically the PFM section. Recently there have been a few references to a “TC” from the PFM alumni, and I’m not sure if I’ve missed something, but I’ve been wondering who this mysterious “TC” is? Bookies have given me the following prices (they haven’t):

Tony Cascarino 1/2 – clear favourite, a solid PFM who played football in the “proper” style and even played for the wrong country, Jeff.
Tony Coton 3/1 – no one would dare stop him taking the keys to the PFM bar and was Reidy’s No.1 at City, quite a big man to be pushing around in a wheelbarrow down the A303 at 4.27am though.
Tony Cottee 5/1 – certainly a PFM but does he have the bitterness within his heart? His small stature suggests he might be overusing Reidy’s collection of abandoned mattresses. Easily pushed around in a wheelie-bin.
Thibaut Courtois/Tim Cahill/Titi Camara/Tom Carroll all 100/1 – not likely, eh Andy?

The research continues
Kevin G, THFC, Chertsey


Bowie XI
Inspired by the late, great David Bowie and since it’s Friday, I’ve come up with an XI based on footballers past and present and some of his greatest hits. Guess which defender is number 50 on the Bowie XI ladder?

GK: Under Pressman

D: Phil Rebel Rebel
D: Fernando Hierroes
D: Ashes to Ashley Cole

M: Starmanuel Petit
M: Life on Overmars?
M: All The Ashley Young Dudes
M: Junior Hoilett’s Dance
M: Young Emre Cans

CF: The Man Who Soldado The World
CF: The Jean Deeney

Have a great weekend all,
Kieran A, THFC, London


Amusing footballer names
I was having a conversation yesterday about how amazing life was when you were a child and everything seemed much bigger and more colourful. Which got me thinking about what things I used to get particularly excited about as a youth and one of those things was collecting football sticker albums and laughing at the players names. They were always even more funny if they had a funny face to go with the name. So this in turn got me thinking, what are the ones I remember that really tickled my pickle? Here’s a short list with a little help from my friends…

Paul Dickov – Thought I would start with the obvious. Did anybody ever find out if his middle name is in fact “Mike”?

Damiano Tommasi – I think this was particuarly funny because of his hair.

Papa Bouba Diop – Should probably have been made into a song.

Mark Fish – 1 name, 2 syllables, 1 of which is Fish.

Danny Shittu – Lovely. Just lovely.

Phil Stamp – The face and name combination here is simply genius.

Joseph Desire Job – It’s kind of like poetry.

Paulo Wanchope – Often comes up in football quiz questions. Often the butt of really poorly assembled jokes by my Dad.

Nwankwo Kanu – Literally did with this name.

Pierre van Hooijdonk – So many different sounds. Just brilliant.

Please feel the need to contribute. I’m going to dedicate most of my day to this.


Bubble popped
My West Ham bubble was shattered this morning when I noticed that Degsy had backed us to beat Newcastle this weekend. I was enjoying us being in the top 5 aswell
Ross Jenkins


Monkey business
That picture of Bale on Mediawatch: anyone else think that’s what David Beckham would look like if he starred in Planet of the Apes?
Alex G, THFC

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