Mails: Who could replace Allardyce?

Date published: Tuesday 27th September 2016 2:11

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Daniel Storey? God forbid
Five other England manager controversies

OK, let’s say Sam’s a goner, shall we? What next? Here’s my proposal.

England managers have been pretty useless I think we can all agree. Fans and pundits all think they know better. So let’s get rid of the whole England manager thing, it’s not working.

Instead, the weekend before an international fixture we have a X-Factor type show, perhaps with a squad selected in an earlier midweek programme by a public phone vote.
During the show the “contestants” have to undertake various footballing (and perhaps some non-footballing It’s A Knockout type) challenges in front of a panel of judges who change reasonably regularly but always include;
1. A “cerebral” type (think James Richardson, James Horncastle or perhaps Sarah Winterburn or Daniel Storey. No foreigns though).
2. A “populist” rabble rouser type. Maybe a Custis.
3. A proper, solid ex-footballer, a PFM if you like. Must like the limelight. Pardew or Tim Sherwood. Even a Neville. Souey?).
4. Important this. An ex England manager. Preferably a bitter one!

I haven’t decided on the presenter yet. Any ideas?

At the end of the show a team of 11 plus subs (only 6, too confusing otherwise) will have been picked.

As for the match – well tactics is simple – Harry Redknapp had it right – “just f***ing run around a bit”.
The crowd at Wembley (or Sky/BT/Channel 5 subscribers for away games) have an app on their phones to communicate tactics – simple stuff like “shoot more”, “press”, “play it long”, “boo Sterling” and to do the substitute thing. The wisdom of crowds – always works apparently.

I think this is the way forward. This is the future for team England. Think of the sponsorship opportunities? Wembley will be paid off in no time, and if England inevitably fail again then we only have ourselves to blame.

OK, so some of the details need ironing out, but I think we need to make this happen!

Greg (I want the future now) in Essex


Sympathy for the devil?
Reading Matt Stead’s article on what’s happening at West Ham, you would be forgiven for feeling a bit of sympathy for West Ham fans, but I personally think this could not be happening to a better bunch. Now, I didn’t have this outlook, a few months ago, but that all changed on May 10, 2016.

West Ham were due to play their last PL match at Upton Park, and what a better way to mark the occasion than to play the biggest team in the land. It was supposed to be a celebration, a day to remember. The day, as we all know will not be remembered for the game, but the action of West Ham fans ontoward the visitors. The sight of players cowering on the bus floor as the Man Utd bus was pelted with rocks and soda bottles reminded me of scenes of some of the best hooloiganism movies I have ever watched. The actions were further exacerbated by the comments made by their chairman.

I remember thinking at the time, the West Ham players had just given them a season to remember playing some wonderful football, it was all looking up, why behave like such d*cks when everything was looking so rosy. This was a side boasting of Payer and Lanzini, why come to fight and destroy the image of the premier league instead of celebrating a final match at an outstanding ground.

I remember muttering words to the effect of, I can’t wait for West Ham to be s**t again, I will love to hear their fans moan and whine again.

Well, the gods of football have acted swiftly, because frankly, with Bilic and Payet still there, I didn’t think they would turn this s**t this quick. I feel sorry for the players, and the manager, but saying that, I’m loving seeing WestHam sat next to Sunderland in the race to qualify for the Champions-ship.
Dave (I also have a soft spot for Noble and Kouyate) Somewhere


All neutral aren’t we?
In response to Howard’s mail, as a neutral myself I think it is entirely dependent on the type of football follower you are that determines who the neutral’s choice might be. I watch football for entertainment, so naturally I like to watch teams who play entertaining football. Whilst Barcelona’s transfer dealings have been sketchy at best, they are a joy to watch. If they started playing horrible football, then I wouldn’t be particularly interested in watching them. Conversely, whilst I don’t have any particular affection for Chelsea, I enjoy the complete sh*thousery of Diego Costa (I said entertaining, not attractive).

Another point on neutrality – the comments section from that mailbox was quite dismissive of neutrals. My particular favourite was “Anyone who supports a second side doesn’t deserve football, and if you’re a ‘neutral’ then you should watch another game.” That is an extraordinary claim. I watch, on average, 3 games a weekend on TV, and then highlights on Match of the Day, Serie A, and LaLiga. Whilst not all fans are like this, I went to university in Liverpool and went to Goodison to watch a game. One fan spent the whole time shouting complete nonsense, and genuinely could not recognise different players on the pitch. I was sat 2 seats away, and could have told from there every player on the pitch – this is a guy more than likely with a season ticket, who can’t differentiate between players on a team he watches at least every other week. I’ve seen plenty of people at football games who don’t give 2 sh*ts what game is being played – they support the club because it gives them a sense of community, and an excuse to shout obscenities at millionaires. But because they aren’t neutral, they are more of a football fan than me? Bore off.

Not everyone enjoys football for the same reason, and not every neutral shares the same opinion of why they might like a certain team at any given moment. As per usual, I’ve taken the scenic route to get to my point, but there are too many elements that go into why people like football to ever agree on a neutral’s favourite.

Martin (not even a lower league club), Brighton


…There are few more tiresome debates than the yearly quest for some fans to claim a ‘neutrals team.’ It’s tiresome for the fact that there will never be a neutrals team, for the simple reason neutral fans don’t really exist.
Anyone who watches a reasonable amount of football will develop their own prejudices about the top teams, especially with the amount of TV coverage they get. I’m a Norwich fan so not close to troubling the top 5 or 6 but I still possess biases- mine are as follows-

I don’t like Man U- they won too much when I was a youth
I like watching exciting, attacking football
I can’t stand Jose Mourinho or John Terry

My experiences of Arsenal fans are generally positive, while my experience with Liverpool fans are generally negative (the local fans are decent but they have some of the worst ‘plastics’ around).

So for me, I prefer Arsenal and currently Man City over the over ‘big’ teams. Yet other fans will have different prejudices based on their own experiences- some think the money at Chelsea and City has ruined the game, some find Wenger and Arsenal fans as insufferable as I find Jose and plastic ‘Pool fans. Others love John Terry and his no nonsense, blood and thunder approach to defending.

It’s not about whether my prejudices are right or wrong but it means for every fan who loves this seasons Liverpool, there will be plenty of others who find Klopp’s antics irritating and much prefer Spurs or City. Even the Leicester fairytale of last year didn’t unite fans with plenty finding the narrative of the plucky underdogs and the fawning over totally not racist Jamie Vardy pretty nauseating. So can we please stop trying to create the idea of a neutrals team?
Charlie H


Delightful Defour
Hoping to sneak in between the mails about Allardyce’s shenanigans and assorted mails about Rooney with this one. Being a Burnley ST holder I obviously enjoyed the match last night. Great performance, better in all areas of the pitch and never looked like losing, which hasn’t happened very often for us in the PL so that was nice. The real reason I’m writing in, though, is to talk about Steven Defour.

How the hell have me managed to sign this guy? Why were there no other teams in for him? It is absolutely astonishing. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that he is easily the best player to have pulled on a Burnley shirt in my lifetime, and he’s only 5 games into his Burnley career! He has all the attributes required for a top quality midfielder, he can pass, shoot, tackle, has great vision and awareness and a lovely first touch. Fans of large PL teams may scoff at a such a glowing endorsement of a mid-level European player but it’s easy to underestimate how big a signing he is for us. The idea that he was about to sign for Al-Alhi before Dyche intervened is mind boggling.

Our last PL foray failed because, despite being organised and running into the ground each and every week we lacked that little bit of Premier League quality when it really mattered. Since he signed, we’ve scored 5 goals. By my count, he scored 1 of them and assisted 3. I have no doubt that, regardless of whether or not we survive, he will be off at the end of the season (I’d go so far as to say that letting him go for the first reasonable offer was probably a condition of him signing) and good luck to him.

As an aside, Dyche played 5 across the middle last night (two previous deviations from 442, aggregate score: 0-7) and it worked a treat. We actually saw some of the ball, unlike when we play 442 and cede possession, and put together some nice moves. Playing against such obliging opponents helped but the performances of the three main summer signings were encouraging. Sadly I can’t see this system having a future beyond Gray’s ban, but I can hope.

On Gray, I’ve seen a lot of bitching and moaning from Burnley fans about his ban but I don’t think anyone can complain. What he wrote was awful and it’s important that he take responsibility. It’s mildly irritating that it’s been detrimental to Burnley as a club but that’s life. Comments about the ‘thought police’ and about how it was four years ago miss the point entirely. I hope he has changed, but if not he sounds like a right nasty piece of work.
Ashley, Burnley


Today’s teaser
Tour slams FIFA call to disband anti-racism task force

Question of the day!

The FIFA Anti-Racism Taskforce was scrapped because:

A) It had completed its work by curing racism in the global game.

B) The cost of funding the taskforces inevitable investigation of widespread institutionalised racism at the 2018 World Cup in Russia would have bankrupted FIFA.

C) The move was to show FIFA’s hardline on not doing or saying anything to embarrass their rich influential friends who also don’t care about racism discrimination and human right abuses, especially if they are hosting future World Cups.

D) FIFA zero tolerance on all forms of discrimination also now includes not discriminating against racists as many like to play and watch football so are a key money making demographic.

E) All of the above (Except A which you obviously realised was a joke).
William, Leicester


Girl power
The question in this morning’s mailbox is an interesting one. Will we see a female player in the Premier League? My guess is that if a woman is deemed good enough, then we definitely will. Just from a financial side along, the Premier League would love the boost in profile that a female Premier League star would bring.

The question therefore is will we ever see a woman good enough? The answer to that is nobody knows. Some people would say a woman could never be good enough. They are idiots. Some would say a woman definitely could and will. They are also idiots because we have no evidence to support that claim. There is no sport I can think of, certainly no major sport, where any woman has competed at a level similar that of the elite men. However, that’s not to say they ever will. Women’s sports are growing enormously in prestige and financial backing and so the standard is only going to get higher.

A massive factor in holding back development of young girls in the past has been the age block. As recently as 2011, FA rules only allowed girls of primary school age to compete with boys. This was a huge block on girls ability to progress, as boys football is better funded and is of a higher standard. Girls who were good enough to play in the boys team and learn from playing with better players were blocked by rules. Thankfully, this rule has been changed and mixed football is permissible up to under 16s.

How much difference this has made, I’m not sure but it’s a step in the right direction. The football team you play for should not be dictated by level, certainly a youth level. What we need now is for schools and clubs to put their best players in their best team, and not dictate who can play where based on gender.
Mike, LFC, Dubai


…Interesting question in this morning’s mailbox about a woman starting a premier league match. I play 6-a-side in a North London league, we were short of a player one night and so I asked a female friend to play. The ref seemed a bit unsure about the situation, and I’m sure the opposition felt quite confident of getting a result against us. She plays for a Women’s Premier League Southern club, promptly scored a hat-trick and won ‘man’ of the match.

Obviously I’m not comparing our 6-a-side league to the Premiership, but it certainly opened up a few eyes that night to the quality of women’s football. I don’t see any reason why this isn’t scalable and there won’t, at some point, be a woman that could compete at the highest level.

If you compare football to another sport, 359 of the best male footballers in this country, plus Alberto Moreno, are on the pitch or the bench each weekend in the Premier League. I’d be willing to bet that Serena Williams in here pomp could have got higher than 360th in the men’s world tennis rankings, so why couldn’t a woman be in the top 360 football players in England?

On the other hand if this was going to happen wouldn’t you expect some women to be turning out in lower leagues already? Are there rules against it?

To sum up I have no idea whether they will or not.


The anti-PFM
Just wondering if there is an accepted term for the opposite of a PFM?

Someone who moans about ‘idiots’ and moans about the moaning about foreigners?

Someone who is quite clearly educated to a better degree than a lot of people who are paid to play or talk about football and makes sure everyone knows it?

I must admit that I find the sneering about the working class and those with a lower IQ very tiresome. I get it though. Everyone gets it. Pointing out that Paul Merton has a somewhat basic grasp on the English language was humorous at first but now it just seems bitter and boring.

So what is the term? Anti-PFM? Snob?
Danny, Glasgow


Germany look a good bet for the World Cup too…
Morning Mailbox: Are Liverpool the neutral’s side now?

Oh hello, looks like I’ve stepped back into 2014. That Louis van Gaal looks like genius with the Dutch by the way, United should definitely get him as manager.
Conor, Drogheda


Football’s favourite restaurant
So according to the reports the second of the sting meetings with Allardyce happened in a restaurant in Manchester.

Anybody else thinks he was there enjoying some cylinders of joy?
Sampath, Dallas (Is there a character limit to how much we can write inside brackets?)

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