Mails: Wenger has ruined Aaron Ramsey

Daniel Storey

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On Sterling and F365
I’m a Liverpool fan, there we go, it’s out there, this is something I’ve wanted to write in about ever since Sterling made his move to City. I’ve probably refrained due to a slightly stupid misplaced sense of duty. After all I support my club in every way possible and I don’t need affirmation from anyone about that.

From the moment he was agitating a move, I completely got it, 100%! I didn’t like it because it enhanced the insecurities I have had about the stature of my team for a long time, Torres, Mascherano, Suarez then inevitably Sterling. Due to my absolute acceptance of this, I wanted him to do well, not too well now, still wanted big Sakho to do him at Anfield and was over the moon when Flanagan did, but I wished him no Ill-will in his career.

I must say fair play to Daniel Storey and all at Football365 for standing up for him in the face of the utterly horrendous media slaughter that has followed. Honestly, that is something to be truly proud of guys!

You were brave enough when I wasn’t and I admire you for it. Seeing him now get off to a cracking start to the season is pleasing, he isn’t the first to get a doing by the Scum and sadly he won’t be the last.

I’ve been coming to this site for about 3/4 years now and every phone call I have with my Sky Sports only watching Dad makes me delighted I found you.


…I am a Liverpool fan and I was upset at the way Sterling handled his eventual exit from Liverpool. I am also a normal, well-adjusted (mostly) human being that saw him as a 20 year old kid who was given some dodgy advice by a reasonably dodgy agent and made some poor choices that made him an easy target. I was sad to see him leave but felt we got good value for him in terms of a fee and I moved on.

Fast forward 6 months or so and I was a bit sick at the treatment he got, especially at the Euros, and am very happy to see him having a couple good matches so far this season. I wish he was still a Liverpool player but I can’t begrudge him for moving to a new challenge, especially when he could work with Guardiola / Pellegrini and play in his preferred position versus playing under Rodgers at right wing back. That is not a tough choice if you are comparing managerial trajectories.

My guess is he partly wishes he would have stuck around to be able to work with Klopp, maybe not. Who knows?

I guess my point is, being a kid is tough. Being a kid who is picked on by virtually an entire country’s media (and a fair few of their supporters) has got to be incredibly difficult to handle. Well done Raheem Sterling for coming out the other end. You are a stronger person than I was at age 21.
Nick V., LFC


…I don’t know who that #7 for Manchester City was last night but he looked quite handy. He’s exactly the sort of player England need to have any chance of success at an international tournament.

He played really well last night, I hope he bought himself a treat to celebrate.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven


Feeling sad for Aaron Ramsey
Reading about Ramsey’s latest injury setback makes me sad. He had a brilliant summer and showed his real level, what he could offer. Add that on top of Wilshere and Welbeck, and I presume a-soon-to-be (if not already) pair of additions in Walcott and the Ox (and probably a bunch of others) it’s a curious and lamentable situation.

These are brilliant players who should be lighting up the Emirates but who instead seem to be injured an awful lot. Time after time the closest they get is the bench when they’re being hurried back from injury. It’s got to affect the ability of the squad to compete.

So, where’s the problem, what’s the cause? Is it merely that these players are weak, and if so is there nothing that could be done to help them, like Giggs and his Yoga? Is it the players rushing back because they’re desperate to play for the sake of the team or their careers and professionalism? Or is there something that Wenger and his coaches are getting wrong?

The sheer number of instances seems to point very much to the latter, especially when you look back at the number of injuries they’ve carried every year. Its the coaches role to make sure recovery is complete. So if this is the case, that the coaching staff are not understanding the players or helping them understand and improve themselves, that seems pretty negligent to me.

Wenger has a few questions over him, including his questionable tolerance for mediocre strikers and defenders; and his acceptance of 4th place as an aspiration for one of the best 3 clubs in the league (based on history). And now some further questions need to be asked about things happening under his nose, relating to fitness of his assets to do the job.

I feel for him, he has people for that within his team – and he’s been a brilliant innovative manager – but the buck stops with him and it really needs to be sorted out before we have to suffer the sad sight of seeing these players’ entire careers going by on the treatment table like Rosicky.
Guy S


Liverpool shouldn’t price clubs out of Benteke move
I think Liverpool somewhat find themselves between the proverbial rock and a hard place with Benteke. On the one hand, they know he is a good player. He doesn’t suit the current Liverpool system, didn’t suit the former system either and should not have been bought by Rodgers. However, to some clubs with a suitably direct strategy and decent wingers, he would be worth every penny of the transfer fee Liverpool paid for him, especially given the current inflated market.

Palace apparently (according to The Express) wanted to pay 23.5 million up-front, with 7 million add-ons if they qualified for CL, he played 70% of games and he scored 20 goals. That’s patently ludicrous to expect from a side coached (for now) by Chunky, so Liverpool would have seen it as selling for 9 million less than paid after one season and in an inflated market. In those terms, outright dismissal of the bid seems reasonable.

On the other hand, he isn’t needed in the squad and his value will just continue to drop the longer he sits on the bench looking miserable. I can understand making a point about not allowing players to go on the cheap, especially good ones, but Liverpool are playing a dangerous game hoping that they get another, better bid this summer. It’s really a catch-22.

Hopefully Palace come back with a more reasonable ad-ons clause, or simply up their base offer.Maybe someone else will come along waving the chequebook. I have my doubts that West Brom can pay enough, but maybe. Best case scenario is Palace get thumped by Spurs and Pards panic buys Benteke to try and distract the fans for a week or two.

Whatever happens, Liverpool aren’t being unreasonable but, at the same time, selling now has got to be a priority. And I already know for a fact that Benteke is going to fit in well somewhere else, score lots of goals and make it his personal mission in life to terrorize us every time we play him.
Eamonn (Klavan looks legit), Istanbul


Cantona luuurve
A truly astonishing portrait of my childhood hero. I might buy the book just to read the piece to anyone who so much as mentions a trawler or a seagull within earshot. (Who am I kidding? I’m buying the book anyway).

His genius was so clear to see to anyone who watched him play. What is perhaps forgotten though is how often in 95/96 United would win 1-0 with Cantona scoring – the volley against Arsenal, the run and low shot against Spurs, the volley at Newcastle. And the FA Cup Final. Notwithstanding Schmeichel keeping all those clean sheets, Cantona basically dragged United kicking and screaming to the title that year.

All in all he is one of those rare players (Bergkamp is another) whose YouTube compilations completely undersell the player. Impossible to explain to a millennial.

Long live the King.
Richard, Brighton


…Thank you Daniel for the portrait of an icon on the King, I thought I would give you one of my many memories of Cantona.

The 1992-93 season we played Blackburn Rovers on Boxing day, it was bloody freezing and we had just met Andrei Kanchelskis in the car park who through broken English told us “no play very poorly, bye bye”.

We sat down to watch with amusement Eric playing keepy uppy with Steve Bruce. Eric was not even looking, chatting to Choccy McClair, while Steve Bruce had cheeks puffed out sweat beading his forehead and fists clenched in concentration as every ball he pinged to Eric came straight back via a back heel, a flick or header all done with nonchalant ease. Poor Brucie was in the zone trying so hard while Cantona made everything look so damn easy.

I also remember Vinnie “I’m ard me” Jones trying to break Eric in two the first minute of an FA Cup tie, Cantona didn’t even flinch, he may have been a flair player but he was also hard as fu*k.
Paul Murphy, Manchester


We are all Dundalk FC tonight
I wrote an article on this site previously as a ‘mailbox regular’ (those were great by the way) about my beloved Dundalk FC and the turnaround the club had made from being hours away from going bust, to winning the league twice in a row, and ending last season with an Irish league & cup double.

Well, the journey has continued and tonight we face Legia Warsaw in the 4th qualifying round of the Champions League. Win this and we’re in the thing proper. Get through Legia and Dundalk FC, average attendance under 3,ooo, with 1 full time employee at the club, with a squad without a single international cap & players who have never had a crack at playing outside of Ireland, could be playing at Camp Nou, or the Bernabeu.

We’ve just knocked out BATE by thumping them 3-0 at ‘home’, I say home loosely because we actually had to play the game in Tallaght, an hour away from Dundalk as our home ground, Oriel Park, was deemed unfit for the game. We play on an artificial surface in Oriel yet our home game was played on a grass pitch in Dublin. No matter, BATE were played off the park. An Irish team has never played this sort of football, no lump ball, no Tony Pulis tactics, Stephen Kenny has Dundalk playing delicious football that is so easy on the eye. Captain Stephen O’Donnell, a 30 year old rejected from Arsenal who had a couple of seasons at Falkirk at the beginning of his career, is in the form of his life. Striker David McMillan, architect by day and Champions League top scorer by night, simply cannot stop scoring in Europe.

The most impressive thing about this is that we go into this game outsiders, yeah, but we are not without a chance. Not at all. Legia are a team of internationals, double winners in Poland last year, but they’re struggling domestically this season and there is a real buzz around Dundalk, Ireland even, that we can do this. Odds of 3/1 seem generous.

Tonight is the biggest football match in Irish history, bar none. Win this and the league changes forever. Never mind Leicester, this is fairytale stuff.
Ryan, Dundalk FC


What was the straw that broke the camel’s back?
Who started all this nonsense? £20m was enough for an entire midfield less than twenty years ago yet now it gets you less than quarter of a Pogba.

How can it be that in 1996 £15m bought Alan Shearer in his prime and now it’s enough for the ‘potential’ of Jordan Ibe? A recent f365 article nonchalantly blamed inflation, but that’s not normal inflation. Things don’t ordinarily become six times more expensive every generation.

Which transfer was the catalyst for this situation? £35m for Carroll? £46m for the not-incredible Hulk to go to China?

If I had to hazard a guess I’d go for the £50m PSG paid for David Luiz – a player so monumentally uncomfortable in his position he would routinely take a wander into an attacking midfield role and often look better there than he did as a CB. It shocked me then and it shocks me now.

So esteemed Mailbox – which was the straw that broke the camel’s back?
Daniel (I’ve sent a friend request to Mak Bewon because he seems very sad) Scotland


Is Pep trying too hard with Joe Hart?
Anyone else feel like this Joe Hart business at City is just a bad move waiting to happen? I don’t mean the idea of getting a keeper in who matches your “philosophy” but the timing of the deal.

Pep was announced at the start of the year and would have been aware of Joe Hart. He then would have had 6 months worth of watching him in the league, Champions League and the Euros. How come he decides now is the time to pull the trigger on a new keeper?

You don’t have to have pre-season training to know Joe Hart isn’t the greatest with his feet, so why wait until the season has started to address this issue? You’re just leaving the replacement very little time to adapt to the league (will they have ever seen a player like Jonas Olsson before?) and adding uncertainty to a key position when you’d want to be getting momentum.

I get wanting players who fit how you want to play but this just seems like a big risk. Why not just adapt to the player you have for one season? Add this to his “unique” tactical decisions and I just feel like he might be trying to do a bit too much, too soon.
Kris, LFC, Manchester


Brazil vs Sweden: A proper game
Unbearable pressure and tension, two penalties missed by the favourites and then progression secured. If you were watching the City game last night you were watching the wrong match. Brazil v Sweden in the Olympics had it all.

This was supposed to be Marta’s tournament. After silvers in Beijing and Athens and being a losing finalist in the World Cup despite being the all-time world cup leading scorer. This was the time she was going to lead Brazil to their first Olympic title, on home soil. In the end the ‘cowards’ (as Hope Solo would have it) of Sweden held them off despite a penalty miss from Manchester City’s Asllani.

The drama took place in the most iconic of stadiums, the Maracana, in front of more than 70,000 and just goes to show that the fairy tales that you are sure are going to happy, sometimes just don’t.
Micki Attridge


Yeah, we noticed this
33 minutes in and Owen Hargreaves has said the word ‘transition’ approximately 427 times!