Mails: What does loyalty mean anymore?

Date published: Wednesday 23rd September 2015 10:30

We have mails on Gabriel, predictably, but also the meaning of loyalty in modern football, mystery, Ferguson, Carneiro, Manchester City and Robert Lewandowski. A nice variety…

A reminder: We print the best of what we get. If you don’t want interminable discussion over Gabriel/Costa, do something about it and email


Arsenal fans: Still unhappy
Well no it doesn’t make me feel all that much better. Us Arsenal fans just wanted to know whether we were good enough to match up against a team like Chelsea, and we were robbed of the chance to find out. (MC – *Stuffs hand in mouth to avoid comment about using the last 12 league games as evidence*)

This weird (and correct) decision from the Fa just raises so many questions. How did Mike Dean avoid censure, when this verdict says, fairly officially, that he ballsed up big time.

What about all the other players who have been red carded and suspended for violent conduct, when their waving of a limb or digit at someone was anything but violent?

And mainly, will Gab still get done for his reaction to an officially incorrect red card? This farce does really need some sort of a cherry on top.
James Gooner


Gabriel: Lucky boy
The fact that the FA has overturned Gabriel Paulista’s red card has shown how little respect they have for their own rules. As a Chelsea fan i agree with Costa getting a three match ban for his behavior against Koscienly, but Paulista is just as liable for his own ban. He took it upon himself to get involved in the Costa/Koscienly mess and was rightly booked. The fact that he allowed himself to lose control and kick out, even if the kick was nothing serious, so soon after getting booked was stupid and deserved of a red card.

Mike Dean has been getting slated from fans and media all week with good reason, for a lot of his calls during the match, but his decision to send off Paulista was correct. How can the FA expect players, managers and fans to respect any decisions taken in a game if they don’t back their own rules. The lack of consistency is becoming a major issue for English football, and will only increase if decisions like this continue.
Steve, Limerick


…Does Diego Costa deserve a ban? Certainly. Not many Chelsea fans that I know are arguing that fact. He could have taken an eye out. We, as Chelsea fans, like his aggression but he needs to keep it the right side of the line and channel it in to scoring goals – something pretty much missing from his game since 2014.

But how has Gabriel escaped without any kind of punishment? The team of referees on the day saw the incident and sent him off for it. Now it by no means had potential to snap a leg but his leg moved in an unnatural position, with intent, towards and opponent with studs showing. Bit like Beckham on Simeone.

It’s a red card. But, given the input of Costa I think a yellow would have been fair. That would be his second yellow and he’d still be off. Nope. Nothing.

So the ref/lino saw it, and now the FA have said that they saw it wrong? Will the FA now re-referee every game, in minute detail? Does this set a precedent? Or is this saying to the kids involved in grassroots football “you must not be overly aggressive with hands/arms, but a sly off-the ball kick at your opponent is fine”?

Or more accurately “if your teammate is fouled and you are not involved at all, approach the opposition player, get involved, and then give him a sly kick off the ball when play is resuming. It doesn’t matter if this is in full view/right in front of the referee”?

If the ref/lino got it so unbelievably wrong – are they getting a disciplinary? Are they demoted? Under any scrutiny?


What does loyalty even mean anymore?
I was getting some abuse from one of my Aston Villa supporting mates tonight who said that he will always be loyal to Villa “no matter how crap they are” – or something like that anyway. This got me thinking – what does it mean to “support” a team in this day and age? And what are we actually being loyal to?

My friend’s Dad (who actually supports Birmingham as it happens) probably started supporting his team because he was from the area and 90% of the players in the Birmingham team were from the area too. He probably saw the players down his local pub, in the local butchers; they were like him and represented his area. When they played other teams, he was passionate about it because if his team won, then his town, his city, his people were better at football (or maybe just better) than those in the next town/city. Some people (Rangers/Celtic) aligned themselves with their team because of their RELIGION, and the players would have shared this too.

Nowadays, it is not uncommon to have a Premiership team with NO players from the area whatsoever, and we have even had English teams with no English players in the match day squad. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not as if we can say we support our teams because they “represent” us. This is why people love it so much when their team has some local talent in it (latest and perhaps best example, Harry Kane), because it is getting rarer and harks back to the “good ol’ days”.

If Villa changed their kit to green – would my mate still support them? Probably yes. If they moved the whole club to a different town – would he still support them? Maybe. If they changed their kit, their location and their name, but had the same manager and players, would he still support them? Maybe not.

Sounds crazy doesn’t it (no pun intended) but Wimbledon moved to Milton Keynes, changed their name, their kit, everything. Did any of their supporters stick with them? Who do they support now? What is it that makes a club a particular club, and what is it that we identify with in the team we support?

It made me think that most of us now support a team out of HABIT, because we always have. I support United because my mum was a huge United fan (her best mate “dated” George Best) and my Dad didn’t like football. If he had, I may have supported his team instead. When I got into football aged 6 or so, my Mum bought me and my brother United kits and that was that.

If football is entertainment (and we all enjoy something about it), are we fools to continue to “support” and spend money on and travel to watch a team that play like utter (and extremely well paid, ill-mannered, obnoxious) dross every week and perhaps still narrowly avoid relegation season after season.

As a United fan over the years I have found myself trying to defend them against every criticism: Cantona’s red cards and kung fu kickery, Keane’s red cards and general nuttiness, Ferguson’s bloody mindedness and brain farts (Liam Miller the “new Keane”, Powell/Cleverley the “new Scholes”. . .Djemba Djemba anyone?), Moyes’. . .well, just Moyes.

I wonder whether my son will support United like me. After all this, I would love it if he did (be nice to have something in common), but if he decided he wanted to support another team and had any kind of reason for doing so (“I like the way they play football, and their manager’s not completely unlikeable”), I wouldn’t stop him… unless it was Chelsea of course. City??
Nick Hughes


We don’t want mystery
I feel like Daniel Storey has missed his own point. When he says that Ferguson bridges the old and the new worlds he is exactly right and that is why the number of books and the revelation of methods is precisely what you should expect and possibly want.

There is no closed door in the modern game, we know (or we think we know) everything about the players, the club, transfers, training methods, tactics and all the components – indeed websites like your own thrive off this, we want to know the minutiae. We don’t want mystery anymore, we want and we need to know all the details, all the stories including the success and, probably more importantly, the failures.

If someone like Ferguson does open up and shares what he has done and how he has done it, does it diminish his achievements? No. Does it diminish the man? Perhaps, but only if you truly believed that he was some infallible colossus and not a man (and I’m sure there are plenty who did think that but that’s a rather childish fantasy).

I’d argue that if you understand what he has done and are able to apply that to whatever you do then surely that is a better thing than his methods and wisdom being lost (as those of other great managers may have been) for the sake of retaining your fantasy.

Perhaps I’m sucking the romance out of the game but then again perhaps it’s already gone and only by accepting that will you be able to enjoy it for what it is and not pine for a lost era.
Chris MB


‘I was wondering why everyone hated Storey, but then…’
I’ve honestly been wondering why everyone is having a go at Daniel Storey the past few mailboxes, but his article re SAF’s “Mystery Becoming History” really grinds my gears.

While I do understand/agree that there is an awful lot of SAF about lately, wtf do you expect? It’s not like he’s still a manager and has to keep these secrets secret, it’s not like SAF hasn’t always been known for giving advice to fellow managers and it’s not like you’ll automatically be a Sir from reading Sir Alex Ferguson’s book, “there are known unknowns and unknown unknowns” and that…
Cortez MUFC, Botswana


Chelsea have lost a fan over Carneiro
This is the straw that broke the camels back. I loved Jose. I loved his attitude, his cockiness, his mental strength, his desire win. Everything. Even his style of play because when you’re at this level you play to win the game. Football is no different than any other sport in that aspect. In my book he’s a genius and not the stereotypical football genius, but an actual one. However, given the news Eva has left Chelsea. I can no longer support Mourinho. Now I just hope she ends up on the Liverpool bench to make our season more bearable.
Brian (Washington, DC via Milwaukee)


A Sunderland fan wowed by City
Manchester City on Tuesday night were simply stunning.

Sergio Aguero is one of the few players i’ve literally applauded off a football field. Yaya Toure is some sort of machine, patrolling the midfield. Hadn’t seen a lot of Kevin De Bruyne but City have a gem there. Jesus Navas was tricky. Raheem Sterling was lightning compared to our defence. Fernando and the others all played well also.

Ironically reflecting on the match, Sunderland actually started brightly. But that was quickly crushed. Aguero slotted home a penalty. De Bruyne expertly fired home the second. Sterling got the fourth and the third was an OG. All in the first half.

City moved quicker than any team I’ve ever seen at the SOL and their crisp passing was hypnotic. Easily one of the best team efforts i’ve ever seen.

Usually when I find my team 4-0 down at HT- it seems to happen quite a bit these days – I’m tempted to shout, swear and generally act like a child but tonight was different. It was like watching someone from a civilised country showing a caveman how to a dial a phone. Football is a simple game but when played like that, it’s magical. Almost revolutionary.

Of course we were out of luck. The third goal went in off our keepers head and at 0-1 Borini had a goal ridiculously harshly chalked off, but that wouldn’t remotely do us justice.

Man City comprehensively outplayed us. The gulf in quality was so big even the City fans got bored and started singing “We’re Man City, we glow in the dark” in homage to their luminous strips.

City were just excellent. Brilliant football, passionate supporters and none of the BS that say Chelsea have when they play. Pellegrini is also far more likable than Mourinho, Wenger, SAF or any other manager.

They are also the only group of supporters i’ve met that still have the gallows humour of when they were sh*te. They don’t rub your noses in when they hammer you (unlike a couple of other big teams in the NW) and I think deep down a few of them would prefer to go back to the days when they couldn’t kick a cows arse at Maine Road. That may change after they become more disliked but I have to speak as I find.

Good luck to them. I’d be staggered if they don’t win the Premier League this season and they would be my pick ahead of any of the other challengers.

To watch, it was unbelievable that these two teams were in the same league. Come May I feel sadly, they won’t be.
Jack The Lad. (Still smiling). Sunderland


European thoughts…
I wanted to make a few comments on last night’s football games across Europe:

1. I think the French league is an absolute joke. The teams that PSG come up against are not rolling over for them, they try hard but are simply rubbish. PSG have a huge advantage over the rest of the sides in competitive leagues, they enter Champions League games high on confidence and with fresh legs after all their squad rotation.

2. Just when it appeared it couldn’t get worse for ol’ Brendan Balotelli decides to give him a swift kick to the gonads while he’s on the ground by scoring a sublime freekick for AC Milan, playing with great energy and guile but most notably, wait for it………smiling! With Liverpool fans and Rodgers detractors baying for blood I am sure it will make for another thick stick to beat poor Brendan with.

3. How about that fella Lewandowski? He comes on for Bayern at half time with his side trailing to second placed Wolfsburg before unleashing a brutal lesson in centre forward play – 5 goals in 9 minutes. Wow. The athleticism, hunger, and sheer skill involved in 4 of these goals was immense; rounding it off with a brilliant scissor kick from the edge of the area, leaving the GK rooted. Lewandowski has scored more goals than Liverpool and Arsenal this season.

4. Pep Guardiola’s face when Lewandowski’s 5th goal flew in.

5. My face when Lewandowski’s 5th goal flew in.

My apologies for going against the f365 rules. I think it’s obvious that my first two points were merely adding buffer to this mail, they are an excuse to give me an opportunity to exhalt the most devastating 9 mins of centre forward play I have ever seen. Lewandowski is insanely good. I felt sorry for Wolfsburg it was overkill, he could have had a sixth if it weren’t for a goal line clearance.
Mandisi, MUFC


…And European football weekends
Does anyone in F365’s esteemed readership have any recommendations for a European team to visit on a ‘long weekend’ break? I have to take up a few holiday days by December, and so I’m looking for a game in November-time. I went to the Madrid derby in February at the Calderon and was shocked at how easy and reasonably priced it all was – it came to about €350 altogether. Saw a cracking game too – Atletico smashed Real 4-0.

So yeah, is there anywhere anyone has been that they would recommend? Any teams that play good football in a nice city? Preferably Western Europe to save on flight costs.
Rustin Cohle (Greizmann will win the Ballon D’Or in 2017)


We publish the best of what we get. And well done Leicester
Is there honestly no one emailing you who doesn’t support one of the “Big” teams?

I understand if no one emails you in regarding the smaller teams then you can’t publish them but it gets a bit dull constantly reading #LvG/Wenger/Rodgers/Carneiro In/Out. At the minute the only person adding a bit of colour is that Ed bloke who supports Palace. But then he might be one of your staff for all I know. I just can’t accept that, if you get 100 emails a day 99 of them are from the “Big” teams.

For my part I’ll throw in a congratulations to Leicester last night. From what I could see they played a second string side against a mostly first XI West Ham team who play away games masterfully at the minute. Must be incredible being a Fox right now.

…Over the last few days, the mailbox has basically consisted of Man Utd, Brendan Rodgers and Arsenal. Now I know these teams garner the most support around the country but no one really cares what formation Rodgers is playing, whether Wenger should be sacked again or anything generally to do with Man U.

I remember last season there was an excellent weekly letter by a Bristol Rovers fan I believe, who did a round-up of the lower league from his point of view. Please can we have other mailbox readers carry this on as it is infinitely more interesting than the dross that people talk about with regards to the ‘Premier’ league and formations etc.

Dan, London, EFC
(MC – We’ll echo that. Send in interesting things and they’re likely to be published)


We have one fan. Get in.
Unlike sweary Croydon Gooner, Chris Wrightson, I love the new direction of F365. It seems since the shackles of corporate ownership have been flung off that the level of openness, and bitch, has been ratcheted up by 11. And I am all for that.

I visit F365 every day as they call it how they see it, and often correctly. There were as effusive about us when we were smashing allcomers as they are acerbic about us when the charlatan started to get found out.
Gregory Whitehead, LFC

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