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Let’s be lovely about some players
In the interests of nothing other than a bit of Mailbox positivity and in honour of Lucas Leiva scoring in The Cup That Must Not Be Named, here is a list of current players that I like.
Let’s start with Lucas then. The least Brazilian, Brazilian player to ever grace our great sport. Seems to love Liverpool, and must now be their longest-serving player. Absolute joy at scoring in a fourth round cup replay, when he could be sulking about babysitting the kids on a freezing night in a League Two ground. I defy even the stoniest hearted Everton/Man U fan to watch that celebration, and not smile just a little.
Salomon Rondon. Playing up top in a Tony Pulis side doesn’t strike me as being number one on the striker wish list. A largely thankless task, involving a lot of running about, challenging for long balls and getting relatively few opportunities to actually score goals, which is what I assume strikers want to be doing. It can’t help being played as a ‘big man’ when you are actually only 6ft 1 either. It’s a gig that would break a lesser man (and I assume Berahino is still there solely because the fans like the way ‘Saido’ sounds when said in a Pulis accent), but Rondon seems to actually enjoy the experience, and you’ve got to love a player who looks like they are having a good time whilst getting paid a lot of money to play football.
Olivier Giroud. Somewhere in France there is a hair product manufacturer who specialise in some sort of mousse or gel designed for professional sportsmen, which keeps their hair perfect for the full duration of match. No loss of style, no sweating it out into your eyes, not even the hint of a hair out of place. Fair play to them, it’s a niche market but Giroud (and Benoit Paire of tennis) must be keeping them in business. Giroud, let’s make no bones about it, is a beautiful man. He could just buzz cut the lot and still make me pause for thought on my life choices thus far, but his total commitment to hair perfection goes the extra mile and shows a total dedication that’s sadly lacking in modern football and for this I commend him.
George Elokobi. Yep. I’m trying to sneak yet more Colchester content into the mailbox, but for good reason. Firstly, George is our saviour. At the start of the season he was out of favour, and was sent on loan to Braintree Town who I had previously only considered in terms of ‘being next door to the tennis club’. We went 11 games without a win and were shocking at the back which was not really any different to the previous two seasons, but being down a division the fans were expecting better. Protests against the owns ensued and Colchester United FC was not a happy camp. A recall for George, and a switch to a back three later and all is well again. We’ve won six and drawn two and are about where most sane fans thought we would be at the start of the season. Secondly though, George is one of the most happy and relentlessly positive people you will ever come across. Most footballers are crushingly boring on Twitter, but George is an endless source of inspiration and enthusiasm. As players become ever distant from the people who pay to watch them, George has managed to make a real connection with fans, including an excellent spot of drumming at the end of a 2-0 win against Cheltenham. He also still appears to be well loved by Wolves fans despite not having played for them for at least two years. Workout advice, healthy eating tips and inspirational messages – you just can’t help but warm to the man.
Honourable mentions to Gary Cahill and Raheem Sterling. And Harry Kane, for not existing.
…I’m not sure I saw any mention of it in this morning’s Mailbox, so I thought I’d write in. Did anyone else really, really enjoy Lucas’ goal for Liverpool last night? Not the goal itself, which was pretty ordinary, but his reaction to scoring. The sheer delight (or was it surprise?) on his face as he wheeled away was bloody marvellous. And this coming from one of Liverpool’s more established pros, against fourth tier opposition, in a match no-one at Liverpool supposedly wanted.
I don’t want to go all ‘magic of the FA Cup’ on people; it was just nice to see, and yet more evidence why Lucas is a bit of a legend.
Making a couple of points
Couple of quick points regarding the morning mailbox:
* Klopp couldn’t play Ojo at the beginning of the season because the boys been injured. I have no doubt that now he’s fit he’ll be leaned on heavily, especially considering one goal and four assists in 11 appearances is quite good for a 19-year-old. A lot of the Liverpool youngsters look rather handy and if Klopp keeps his promises of bringing them through then Liverpool’s squad doesn’t need a huge amount of work to become truly competitive
* Origi is quite the curious case. Last season he was becoming an excellent player, standing out in Liverpool’s run to the Europa League Final. I even remember the Everton game where he was scythed down and instantly being annoyed he wouldn’t be able to start the final. This season something changed. Even his mini streak of five goals this season looked off. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is but he has regressed.
* I actually agree there is nothing wrong with Tyler being a United fan. However, there is an issue when you have Neville as his co-commentator for a United Liverpool game. It lacks balance and whether it was Neville making comments on Can’s hair (Really Gary? Can you call anyone else greasy looking?) or Tyler trying to vocally assist Rooney at every opportunity, it all became quite grating. Nothing wrong with commentators having a bias but to have two with the same bias is quite annoying.
* F365 is great. The amount of content churned out daily has saved me from the boredom of my job. I understand people making suggestions about articles but having the cheek to complain. For shame.
Dat Guy (not a reference to Welbeck)
Advice for a Stoke trip
What to expect – cold winds, wrap up warm!
How to make the most of it – Acquire yourself a bacon and cheese oatcake at all costs. You will not regret it. There is actually an Oatcake Barge on the canal just down the hill from the stadium, that’ll be your best bet.
…Don’t want to piss on your chips mate, but Stoke is (for me Clive) the worst away day in the league. Decent pubs are few and far between (that’s if the police actually allow you to pick your own pre-match watering hole), its always freezing in the ground and you often get kept in afterwards before being forced to take a cramped bus back to the train station (which takes ages).
Would Sevilla top an alternative league?
At 10.45 this morning F365 put up the 20 richest clubs list, which got me thinking about the quite amazing feat currently being accomplished at Sevilla. Their signings are similar to Leicester Citý’s last season, plus with 10 or so squad players improving their levels of performance immensly. Most strikingly of all, the feat of being second, and just beating Madrid 2-1, would appear to be due to an excellent management team (Mister Sampaoli’s) which is the same one that bought Chile their first ever South American champions title.
This got me thinking about recognition – and for someone with more time on their hands than me, to compile a ‘top ten league’ based on well-run clubs. Using recent transfer spends, wage bills, coping with financial doping etc. using a fair system to reward excellent coaching, sensible transfer fees and reined in wage bills. To be anywhere near the big two or three in La Liga any year to me is incredulous. Off the top of my head, using points won so far, I would suggest Sevilla would top a table that would also include a lot of German clubs, perhaps Nice, maybe Napoli, perhaps Burnley with some others from Spain like Villarreal. Leicester City would have been a great example last year.
Recognition ought to be given and the fans of these clubs have the right to feel dead proud of their team’s gloriosity when they are coming out and beating clubs that spunk mental amounts of cash yet suffer ‘the mercenary effect’. So, what would be the formula that would cause the least debate around fairness to create such a league table?
If/when the top seven richest clubs finish top seven in the Premier league, this type of alternative ‘trophy’ will be a breath of fresh air
Peter, Andalucia (still bathing in the gorgeousity of Andy Carroll’s overhead kick – King Kenny no doubt smiled a rue smile)
AND IT’S LIVE
Yes he’s a nice chap yes, but I do wish he’d stop saying “and it’s live” just before the adverts prior to kick off.
I know it’s live Martin or I wouldn’t be shelling out the money I do in order to watch it. That is all.
…Following the article and letters about Martin Tyler this is just a quick to see if this bugs anyone else as much as it does me. I’m pretty sure everyone knows it, it’s that bit when Sky come back from an ad just before kick-off just so that they can briefly show the teams coming out and Martin Tyler can do his big Bruce Buffer type intro “AND IT’S LIVE!!!!”. Then they shoot off for another quick ad. Martin seems to relish this and clearly Sky think it’s a good think as he always gets to do it but it gives me the creeps! It can’t be just me can it. Can it?
Why I hate Martin Tyler
Let me just state for the record that I absolutely despise Martin Tyler from the bottom of my heart.
He is very much a ‘PFM’ inhabiting that netherworld that men of a certain age inhabit where Liverpool were the footballing pinnacle to aim for.
However as he is just a tiny part of a swathe of such folk inhabiting the media where everything has to be processed through a pro red filter I have learned to accept it as there is no choice but to do so.
My personal hatred of him however can be traced back to one solitary moment where the scales truly fell from my eyes and I realised the ‘anti my club’ sentiment was not an illusion but a very real proposition, up until the time of this event I believed that the commentator must surely be impartial, sadly not.
Witness Wigan Athletic, newly promoted to the heady heights of the Premier League versus Chelsea, a club who have climbed to the pinnacle of English football through the wealth alone of their benefactor, let’s put aside for a moment the fact that Wigan had benefitted from exactly the sort of financial leg-up, albeit on a smaller scale than Chelsea via the dealings of Dave Whelan’s JJB sports empire Wigan were the David to Chelsea’s Goliath/Hitler/Darth Vader/Polpot hybrid.
The game itself was the usual opening-day fixture, Wigan were buoyant and had certainly the best of the match and some genuine goal scoring opportunities up until the game reached the very last minute where the ball found itself at the feet of Hernan Crespo, for once not found gesticulating wildly to his team mates as they studiously ignored him in miles of open space, you know like a class striker would find, he looked up and smashed the ball into the top corner for a relatively undeserved 0-1 last minute victory.
“Ohhhhhhhhhh Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo,” followed by about 15 seconds of dead air where he realised the gaff he had made in making his feelings known to all Chelsea supporters of exactly what he thought of their dirty roubles, which in turn then was followed by, as an afterthought: “For Wigan, but err great for Chelsea.”
Never before and never since have I ever heard a commentator make plain his feelings about a game in such a way, Clive “that night in Barcelona” Tyldesley aside.
It was all joking aside a truly astonishing moment, I’m sure I’ve mis-remembered it entirely but you can find it on YouTube if you’d care to partake in my misery.
I do hate him though and hope he falls of the gantry.
An alternative Dembele of the week
Love the Dembele of the week feature, but feel there’s another common footballing name knocking about that confuses.
I propose a Traoré of the week.
Who will win the inaugural award?
Lacina Traoré? The 6f t8in striker exiled in Russia?
Adama Traoré? The left back/mid/winger with Ivory Coast at the ACN?
Adama Traoré (2)? The 21-year-old Monaco/Mali midfielder?
Adama Traoré (3)? The extremely fast (and built) Boro winger from la Masia?
Armand Traoré? The left-sider who fell from grace, formerly of Arsenal and Juve (loan), now at Forest?
Ibrahima Traoré? The (again) left-winger who’s bounced around German mid-table (now at Gladbach)?
Bertrand Traoré? Chelsea’s loan product with higher hopes for himself than Chelsea have for him?
I feel now is the time to give the first award for Traoré of the week, with the no fewer than seven included in ACN squads, alongside others that didn’t qualify, or like Adama (3), are from non-African nations.
Make it happen f365, they’re bigger than the Dembélé clan!
KC (could probably do a Traoré XI)
The Chris, Sutton Memorial XI
Excellent work in receiving a mail from professional footballer-turned-pundit Chris, Sutton.
As a tribute to this coup I’d like to offer my What If Their Middle Name Was, XI.
Jamie, Clapham and Justin, Edinburgh were dropped from the starting line-up after I realised Dion and Chris can play at both ends of ‘the park’.
Dan, (,) Brighton
Praise for Storey and the Bangla Bantams
Would like to say what a lovely piece the Bangla Bantams article was. It is a national shame that the country’s sport seems so closed to our Asian brothers up and down this land.
I’m from Leicester myself and grew up surrounded by a plethora of different cultures, languages, garments and cuisines but there was always one constant, the love of football. It is important that in such a time of division we still see that community spirit will strive to include all in the community. Bradford proves that there is still hope for unity, there is a long road to travel and yet we have begun the journey.
Just look at some of the crowd shots at the KP. Times are a changing.
…Absolutely wonderful article from Daniel Storey on Bradford City FC and the Bangla Bantams.
Bit biased on my point of view as I am also of Bangladeshi descent but the article hit the nail on the head where the Asian community can be felt as they are left out and not integrated in to the society…The work been done up in Bradford is excellent and we should definitely be taking that as an example in to many other clubs up and down the land.
From an Asian perspective, and this has been discussed many times before, there’s aren’t very many Asian players at the very top of the leagues and I think our culture and our parents ‘protect’ us from the abuse they had when they first arrived in this country so are therefore reluctant to send us out to the games in case we suffer that abuse, it’s them protecting us in their own way and no parent can deny that they wouldn’t do anything to protect their child.
We have to understand that for them it was very difficult and what they suffered cannot be put in to words, but as a new generation of the Asian community I hope that I nor my children will face what my parents did and hopefully open up new opportunities to the new generation and help this country excel at what it has always done, be multicultural yet still patriotic. I want to help my culture move to integrate with the British society but not lose my culture at the same time.
Some bigots believe you cannot be of brown skin or Muslim and support England, well I’ve lived here my whole life and have supported no one but…even when teams like Brazil and Spain were dominating world football and friends bought their kits, I refused, I’m an England fan and will never own another international kit, does my brown skin mean I cannot I cannot wear the white of England??
I’m getting off point as it’s a subject close to my heart…I’d just like to say that the more work we do with all different cultures and communities, the stronger our country becomes.
I’m also a Muslim and I’m not a part of ISIS, every single Muslim you bump in to in the street, kindly feel free to ask them about ISIS, their reaction may surprise you because you’ll get the same answer I give…”ISIS aren’t Islamic, or Muslims, we want them gone just as much as you”…
T, CFC, London
Keep up the good work
I’d just like to wade in with my tuppenyworth regarding the content of F365 discussion, as I’ve been coming here for nearly the 20 years it’s been around (well done guys) and it’s head and shoulders above anything else out there. The point I wanted to make is I’ve been a ManYoo fan since the first Red Nosed Scotsman was in charge (Docherty) and I can’t abide sites and TV stations dedicated to specific clubs, in my case for example MUTV and Republik of Mancunia (both visited just the once), as the content is so biased it just becomes dull and tedious. I enjoy reading other views such as Ed’s, Thayden and even Minty and I still miss Conor’s contribution. So unlike most other corners of the interweb it’s pretty civilized place to be and be a part of, so keep up the good work chaps.
Carl (even though I know I shouldn’t, the Sunday Supplement is a guilty pleasure) Oldfield, Southport
Restraining order for Barney?
So, after reading the mail by Barney, London (knew my creative writing degree would come in handy one day), did anyone else feel a wee bit scared for the F365 staff? Upset? Angry? Football365 colours (Really?) Life achievements? Yeah, errr, Nope.
I’d set the initial restraint at around 100 yards and take it from there. Walk around in pairs, and always make sure your colleagues know where you’ll be if you must go off gallivanting, I’m looking at you Storey. Thanks for not publishing too much about the Lincoln v Ipswich game by the way, I can confirm all the graphic details of our embarrassing yet hysterical (TM) defeat were published in abundance elsewhere, I shared Terry Butchers sentiments entirely. Muchly appreciated.
Chris ITFC (‘Leave F365 Alone!’ Reminds me of that Britney fella) Liverpool