Mails: Football is forcing kids to support players over clubs

Date published: Friday 26th January 2018 9:59

Keep your emails coming:

Kids have no choice
Nice article on Fans in the Digital Age. Perhaps a bigger question is around what are the options for young fans for following their team? I am a soon to be 50 year old who is a Liverpool season ticket holder. As a youngster and regular attender in the 1980s me and my mates could go to the match with a 60p all day use bus ticket (thanks Deggsie) and get in the Kop on the day for about £1.80. We could arrive separately but we always had our spot. A portion of chips for another 30p, so £3 just about did it. Even back then that was do-able. For my first game I was taken by my sweet dad in 1976 to Liverpool v Newcastle. Malcolm Macdonald rattled the wood-work for them so hard I was transfixed. I don’t remember the actual result but remember Macdonald’s thunderbolt. That visceral moment helped hard-wire a footy addiction. A TV experience may have had the same visuals but without the visceral it was only virtual. If I had been born 30 years later actually going to a game under my own steam would be an impossibility. So whilst I commend Football 365 for challenging racism, sexism and homophobia, there is also another (but not the only) profound discrimination based on money which also let’s face it = age. Sky have their part to play in this cultural and financial apartheid. I wouldn’t put it past them to have created a critical voice… smoke and mirrors and all that


January joy
With the Transfer Window still open, there are various questions yet to be answered. Will Arsenal meet Dortmund’s asking price for Aubameyang? Will Newcastle purchase a striker who can battle for the no.9 shirt with 30 goals a season Joselu? Will Chelsea continue their hunt for that elusive big man or just accept the reality that fitting Niall Quinn with remote controlled robot legs is the cheapest and most effective option? Whatever does happen, I do feel like this has been the most interesting and active January transfer window in my own memory. Also, the increasing self-awareness (online at least) and meta-humour presented from different clubs is a lovely addition to my football life. We had a few years leaning overly heavily on bland platitudes and corporate talk. Even if stuff has the potential to be cringe-inducing, it’s a welcome change.
Tom, Galway


Ditching points for goal difference
Bradley Kirrage wants the title decided on goal difference because he thinks it’ll make the league more exciting, but personally i think it’d do the opposite. When a top of the table clash likely to end 1-0 or similarly tight is worth less than tonking Stoke 7-0, you’ve got a recipe for big game 0-0s all day long.

Instead, how about a bonus point system that keeps losing teams going, and big teams to keep smashing the opposition? I propose a bonus point for every three goals scored in a single game. Win 2-0: 3 points. Win 3-2: 4 points. Win 6-3: 5 points, and one point for the losing team.

In this situation at 2-0, both teams will keep hammering away, if the games gone, fine, but you could still grab a bonus point knowing that the other team is going to attack away. Similarly, 4-0, time for a rest usually, but instead the team will keep going to try and grab that sixth.

Now your 7-0 against Stoke potentially gets you a two point advantage over your rivals (who have also won), but the top of the table clash is still a six pointer (10 pointer if you’re Arsenal).
And two points each for a bottom of the table 3-3 ding dong to pull them both out of ther relegation zone.

Most importantly the amount of permutations available means teams always keep fighting because you never know when you’re safe.

Failing to see any negatives to the system.
KC (I’d cap it after 6 goals though)


…After reading the various thoughts about a goal difference league, I thought of a different way to revamp and increase the competitiveness again, which is to copy the Scottish approach, and split the league after 19 games.

The season would start as normally, with each team playing 19 league games, with home/away fixtures alternating every second year. After these 19 games, the league would ‘split’ at the 10th/11th mark, with the top 10 playing each other home and away, and the ‘11th – 20th League’ (suggest a better name) teams playing each other home away. Points from the first halve of the season are accumulative, but like the Scottish system, you cannot go lower or higher than ‘10th/11th’.

Now the exciting part! In the Top 10 League, first place wins the league and a champions league place, with 2nd and 3rd getting the other automatic places in the CL. 4th place would get the qualifying Europa League spot (Unless one of the top four places won the FA Cup, then 4th would get the automatic place and 5th the aforementioned place). In the other league, 11th place wins this ‘league’ – which could mean a trophy, I don’t mind – but gives them the third qualifying CL spot. 12th wins the third qualifying round spot for the EL. This is taken from the League Cup – which removes PL teams, and replaces the prize with automatic promotion (the play off spot) for which ever of the three leagues they’re in. Relegation would continue as normal.

While this might seem unnecessary, I think it would give the PL extra excitement, and somewhat combat the rise of the ‘big 6’. It would give teams who normally would be fighting for mid-table mediocrity something, as well as letting other teams get access to potential European money, talent and experience, helping them to become better, and hopefully do better and challenge for the Top 10 League. A 2nd half of the season where teams play teams more accustomed to their own level would increase competition and interest. The added interest and importance of each game could mean that Sky and BT can compete for extra TV and media hype, meaning Super Sundays everyday of the week, and the chance of increased TV revenue because of the increased interest in a more competitive league with more to fight for. The revamped League Cup could give that extra excitement too and a renewed interest in it. And finally, for those math aficionados, the 37 games and lack of League cup would mean a less congested calendar without changing the Christmas schedule too much for the traditionalists.

While this isn’t a perfect system, it’s just an idea that could revamp the competitiveness and rise of the dominance of the Big 6.
Néill, Ireland


…I do like the idea of a league table based on goal difference but I have to agree with yesterday’s mailbox and think that some teams would park the bus in a lot of games just to keep the GD as close to zero as possible.

I would just reward teams for scoring more goals. How about an extra point for every 3 goals scored, win a game 3-0 get 4 points, win 6-0 get 5 points etc.

This would reward attacking teams much more, 2-0 up with minutes to go lets attack and get the third. Plus it would also give a greater reward for high scoring draws 3-3 = 2 points each.

You would also get the extra point even if you lost so a team losing 4-2 with a few minutes to go would still go for the extra goal as it would get them a point.

The last few games of the season could be massive if you’re a neutral. Just imagine it’s the last day of the season and the team in 5th are playing the team in 18th they both need as many point as possible, one to get in the UCL and the other to stay in the Prem. All-out attack v all-out attack!

I decided to create a new top 6 of this year’s table with the extra points and it just shows that City are class and would be even more points ahead. The big movers are Liverpool now hot on the heels of Man U for second.

Extra points and new total.
Man City 15 80
Man U 8 61
Liverpool 12 59
Chelsea 7 57
Spurs 8 53
Arsenal 7 49

Like all of these systems you can’t really apply them to previous seasons as teams would have played differently but I did 2016/17 any way.

Last year’s table would have been the same order but 3rd, 4th and 5th would have been separated by goal difference only. Plus just how boring were United last year in the league!

Chelsea 16 109
Spurs 16 102
Man City 11 89
Liverpool 13 89
Arsenal 14 89
Man U 7 76
Fenspur (I didn’t realise how many extra points Stoke would have given the top six under this system!)


…Reading all the talk about going for only goal difference reminded me of my email that was published a few years ago . It was an idea to change the scoring. I think it might still be relevant today with a lot of people raising the same questions. While goals are important we cannot forego the importance of actually winning a game.

My scoring system is this.
1 Point for a win.
No points for a draw or a loss.
1 Point for every goal scored.
A deduction of half a point for every goal conceded.

The above system increases the value of a goal. A 3-3 draw will give a team 1.5 points. A 0-0 scoreline will give you nothing. Exactly what you deserve for your non entertaining football. A 1-0 will give you 2 points. A 4-0 will give you 5 and so on.

I went through the last few years data to check how it would affect the table. With an exception of a team or two every year no team position changes by 3 places.

In 14/15 top 3 remain the same except teams but City pip a Jose Chelsea to a title. Remember City scoring 7 past QPR in one of the last few games. Villa and Sunderland are relegated instead of QPR and Hull.

In 15/16 Leicester still win the league. Arsenal drop out of the top 3. Manchester United finish 8th. West Brom get relegated for Newcastle.

In 16/17 Spurs pip Chelsea to the title by half a point. Imagine the last few games with this scoring system. The bottom three remain the same. They were abject last year.

With an exception of a team or two every year no team position changes by 3 places. This points to the fact that this might be a fair scoring system. I do understand the teams didn’t know they were going to be scored this way and would’ve played differenly had it been so. This is why this idea excites me.

With such a high point swing possible every weekend, teams might just stop settling for 1-0/2-0 wins. No taking the foot off the gas. Going for a goal will be rewarded. You will always have a chance, always have something to play for. And GOALS !! loads of GOALS !!! Thats what we all want, don’t we ?

As an obvious downside, English teams might suffer in Europe due to their gung ho approach. Though the managers might be pragmatic enough to avoid that. I’m sure there are more upsides and downsides to this idea. Worthy of a discussion ??
Manmeet Jaggi, MUFC, India.


Wilshere excitement
Can’t believe people are still spelling his name wrong it is WilSHERE. So that is the first thing I noticed wrong in your mail but certainly not the worst mistake claiming that Wilshere is third in the premier league for dribbles. Now you don’t specify if this is attempted or successful but when I search for successful dribbles per 90 mins Wilshere falls tenth of any player to play more than five games.

Still quite an achievement but not the third best in the league. That honour goes to Sofiane Boufal with 4.2 successful, Wilshere a full 1 behind at. 3.2 successful.

No point in pretending Wilshere is the key to an arsenal or England revolution he is playing well for now let him get his fitness and confidence back, and learn how to spell your d**n players names, Google is your friend, you are going to have a hell of a time Mkhitaryan



…A note in response to yesterday’s mailbox and the general line of questioning aimed at Jack the past few games asking if he is in “dreamland”.

I think you would struggle to find an Arsenal fan who is surprised to see him performing the way he is at the moment. I for one expect this and more for the next 5 years at least.

I would question the memory of those surprised by his recent form. He has nowhere near hit his best form, nor will he until probably this time next year with (fingers crossed, I am fully aware) a full year of regular top flight football behind him. He plays his best football in a fully flowing team and after a long run of games. This current Arsenal team is nowhere near the level of the one of ‘That night in Barcelona’. Playing alongside Xhaka must infuriate the p*** out of him being an Arsenal man and having played with Cesc, Rosicky, even Diaby, and dealing with the movement of the likes of Iwobi compared to RVP.

If the Aubameyang deal gets over the line (in my opinion it won’t, it has £40mill + £1 written all over it), I genuinely think that we will see the best of Jack and for that point the rest of the team. It is paper over the cracks and addressing an area in which we are hardly lacking comparatively to the defensive side (CDM, CB, GK) but with him, our front 4 with Jack behind will be one of the most fearsome in the world.

I am so happy to see him back and long may it continue, pay him what he wants and sign him up. He is England’s best midfielder in my opinion and anyone who thinks otherwise is a highlight watcher. For Arsenal and England’s sake I hope his injuries are behind him.
Oli, Bermondsey


Zidanes y Pavones
David, London, wants Chelea to “create a core of players that grew up at the club… and invest in the big names”. Real Madrid circa 2004, then??
James, Zug


Arsenal v Chelsea pissing contest
Dear Harry in South London… “We won more in the 14 years before Abramovich than you have since.” Well that isn’t true is it Harold. In the 14 years before 2003, Chelsea won:
1 x Cup Winners Cup
2 x FA Cup

Since Abramovich arrived, Arsenal have won:
1 x League Title
4 x FA Cup

Admittedly, I don’t think many would argue that Arsenal are the better team over the last 15 years. How we laughed at your ‘Proud of our history” sign last night though. Protesting too much?

…It’s not my fight but the sentence “It may be that Chelsea struggle to win major silverware for a period of time” in the mailbox this afternoon made me chuckle. Probably because I’m old(ish), but my first thought after reading that was “Chelsea struggled to be in the TOP division for a period(s) of time”, in fact I’d venture to describe them in the 70’s and 80’s as a yoyo club, ah but ‘tis ancient history I suppose.
Carl (is it STILL January) Oldfield MUFC Southport


Get to work, Winty
I’ve been thinking this for a while, but it would be great if the f365 England World Cup ladder could be updated regularly throughout the season, rather than only at the end of international double headers.

Without doing that, you get letter like that from Rob A (admittedly Chelsea weren’t amazing in those 3 games) AFC in the Thursday afternoon mailbox. He’s quite rightfully asking whether Wilshere would be in the squad if it were chosen today, but then starts talking about the Ox and mixing his deep midfielders with his forward midfielders.

Anyway, Rob, I have the answer. England’s preferred formation will be 3-4-2-1. There are two deep central midfielders in the 4 and two attacking midfielders in the 2. In deep central midfield we know Henderson & Dier don’t work together. So we’ll have one of them in the team as the defensive midfielder and one in the squad as cover. Alongside him, in the middle of the 4, we’ll have a more creative midfielder. It’s now looking like this position (and its cover in the squad) will be taken by Wilshere and Winks, or vice versa. It’s Delph that drops out of the top 23 in the most recent ladder to make way for Wilshere.

For the two attacking midfielders, the four squad places are currently taken by Sterling, Ali, Lallana and Loftus-Cheek. Lingard is challenging strongly and may have nicked Loftus-Cheek’s place. And with Rashford likely to be in the squad as one of three strikers, we have a fifth player that can challenge for those two positions.

But, yes, this is why I’d like to see more regular World Cup Ladders.


Sorry about that
A random thought occured to me today: as discussion over the suitability of Phil Neville as England Women’s manager continued I got an image of some FA suits, whilst performing their “background checks,” googling his name. Upon clicking search, up pops dozens upon dozens of hits on a football website talking about World Cup and European Championship ladders.

“Looks like there’s a significant clamour for this man to be involved with England,” one says.

“Look how popular he is his, the public must love him,” another replies.

“This guy is definitely our man,” they agree. “Now let’s call him and see if he’s interested.”

So, F365, I’m afraid that this whole thing is, in fact, entirely your fault.
Conor, (finally time for a new number 50) Drogheda


What goes around…
I think the sound of Chelsea fans crying about not being able to “compete financially” with the Manchester clubs (despite spending over £250m in the 17/18 season alone) is one of the sweetest I’ve ever heard.


Nev controversy
Enjoyed the piece in Mediawatch on Neville.

Glad to see that for the most part, people are taking the historical texts with a grain of salt, and looking more at the man for any proof of vileness, which in turn fuels the more lenient reaction he has experienced, compared to say a person like Joey Barton, who might have a long list of transgressions wheeled out at this stage, to the final detriment of this appointment.

That said, the great work in the piece comes from breaking down the poor work being done when comparisons are being made by some sections of the media with other not-entirely-relevant success stories, to justify their going beyond the call of duty here for Phil, and not only defend his humanity, which is more than fine, but to claim he is a good coach and quite the catch.

Which brings me to a point I tried to make in an unpublished mail a few weeks back, which was around the Rooney rule reaction, which for the record again demonstrated that large elements of the community are not quite grasping that to elevate others to your level of opportunity is what is being discussed here.

And yes that does mean that a chance needs to be taken on someone, at some time, without that person having the ‘experience’ and ‘track record’ that often accompanies these appointments.

Namely because you need the exposure to gain the experience, at anything in life to be fair.

Essentially, seeing more coaches and managers from all walks of life in the game will not be a bad thing, or the end of anything.

The example which I used in that mail was of an Asian woman, say from either Sub-continental or Far-East Asia, managing a BPL team.

Just imagine that for a first…and new frontiers being established by virtue of smashing the old ones.

The more varying experiences and opinions, coming together within the safe house that is meant to be football.

After all, it is a game, and there is a beautiful joy in watching kids, as the best example, ignorant of anything else but the fun which they are having with each other while running around in pursuit of this little leather ball and the glory that comes with making that impossible save, last ditch tackle or scoring the goal that wins the playground game.

Surely this is the spirit we need to carry with us into the game as adults?

By the very nature of the game, it should be an open door for anyone whom wishes to participate, the same way a young girl can kick a football around the yard if she so wishes, so should a women be able to tackle the highest and most glamorous levels of the game, and of course that applies to minorities as well.

The same way that Male coaches always can within the Women’s game in other words.
Manc in SA (reverse the genders here, assigning an unproven Lady to coach the 3 Lions chaps…and I bet the outrage would have been FELT. That’s my only point actually, to move with the times and just chill out and enjoy the game.)

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