Mails: Who really gets a kick out of transfer bullsh*t?

Date published: Tuesday 20th June 2017 2:13

Keep the mails coming to Please…

Rule changes
Seeing as rule changes are up for discussion at the moment, here’s one I’ve been thinking about for a while, that I would like to see attacked by the mailbox.

So, the ball hits a defender’s hand in the penalty area. It wasn’t deliberate, but his team have benefitted from it. Give the penalty, and it’s harsh on the defender, who couldn’t have done anything to avoid it. Allow him to clear it, and it’s not fair on the attacker.

My solution? An indirect free-kick from where the ball was kicked. Basically, it says, to the attacker, ‘your cross/pass/shot was blocked unfairly. Have another go.’ It would end the debate around whether a handball was deliberate, the arm was in an unnatural position, or whether the player could have moved out the way – if it hits your arm, it’s a free-kick. Cynical/deliberate handballs that prevent goalscoring opportunities should still result in penalties.

Effectively, this rule punishes bad technique rather than foul play, in the same way that you concede a scrum in rugby by knocking the ball on or throwing a forward pass. If the ball hits your hand in football, even if accidental, then you have gone against the very literal point of the game. So whilst conceding a penalty in such an instance is too harsh, you should at the very least concede possession back to your opponent.


…While I understand the concept of shortening a match to 60 mins and having strict time stoppages, doesn’t that feel like TOO big a change?

The only reason you’ve got a suggestion like this is because of teams time-wasting from minute 1 of games. Now I’m not moralising because all teams take time out of a game, and I’m all for it when you’re trying desperately to kill off a niggly 1-0, but some teams have taken a noble act like time wasting and taken it to the extreme.

From kick off against some teams, they’re doing everything they can to make the ball dead for as long as possible. What I’d rather see is referees bold enough to enforce the rules from the first minute (which I could also make the case for across all the rules) and start cracking down on these shithouses.

Send a keeper off for continual time-wasting. Book everyone taking ages to throw the ball in. Honestly believe these teams will shape up if you start to sanction them.

We pay to watch this game, it would be nice if we actually go to watch teams play for at least a bit, right?.
Kris, LFC, Manchester


…Dear Tom Saints and everybody else who cares to read. The proposal to change the game time to 30 mins but stop the watch everytime the game is interrupted will not change the way the game is being played. I would expect even bigger breaks as the time is stopped anyway so we can take our time before we continue and maybe even use the break for some promotional work (read adverts on TV, or some cheerleaders jumping over the pitch… or what ever)

The fouls would still happen because they are designed to break up the play of the opposition and the players will still stay on the ground rolling around, simply to disrupt play and seeing the time is stopped anyway there is no need for anybody to hurry….
Gordon, Germany


Please, not David Moyes
I’ve just read (on the Daily Mail mind you) that David Moyes wants the Scotland job if Gordon Strachan leaves, which he will, when we fail to qualify for the World Cup. Regardless of the efficacy of that reporting, it’s hurtfully plausible and underlines exactly where the SFA are at the moment.

By any metric, by any standard, Scotland haven’t been good enough. Maybe we can’t expect to be on Wales’ level and be in the semis of the Euros, but Jesus Christ. Northern Ireland got to the knockout stages. With a pool of less than 100 professional players. So Strachan goes. And in comes David Moyes, before the end of his 6-year United deal and 2 sackings and a relegation under his belt since then. David Moyes who looks frightfully outdated in the Premier League and I can imagine would look frightfully outdated in the Championship.

Would he be able to establish a proper, trusted number 9 for Scotland? Can we trust David Moyes to improve on Gordon Strachan’s arguably commendable effort of giving call ups to players a little bit left of center (McGinn, Tierney, Armstrong, Anya, Ritchie, etc)? Will he sort out our frankly outrageous defensive issues? Can he instill a fight in Scotland that would be more than Scotland have shown in games against England, Ireland and as far back as Croatia? I’d be bloody astounded.

Meanwhile, genuinely talented managers like Alex Neil are out of work and available – his Norwich career ended badly but he went undefeated in away games in his first stint in the Championship with Norwich to get them promoted, he got Hamilton to the top of the table for a minute in the SPL, and he’s out of work.

You suspect that the SFA haven’t binned Strachan for a better option because of the costs of it, no doubt the association don’t have terribly much money so why, god why, would we then spend money on likely high wages for David Moyes? All the while they’re patting themselves on the back for league attendances rising by 15% (LITERALLY BECAUSE RANGERS ARE BACK?) and the European coefficient is dropping by factors of 900 every season, etcetera etcetera.

Please help us Alex Neil.
Matt (CFC), Glasgow


Bullsh*t season
Whilst reading your ‘should Manchester United sign Ronaldo’ pieces the other evening, I wondered at what size and level of football club the ‘must fill a void’ news cycle cuts off. At one end you obviously have the huge clubs and huge players which will fill the sports pages with guff in the manner of a flatulent uncle in a wedding marquee. At the other, you have the league two clubs. Generally the media don’t really want to cover league 2 when there’s actual football happening, so June updates include fixtures releases and then a whole lot of nothing until Mid-July unless you happen to sign someone that people might have heard of. I quite like it. Even twitter is mostly quiet, with the occasional ‘I hope we sign someone’ and the odd ‘should we re-sign Gavin Massey?’ (“No” is the correct answer here). Even when people are really trying to talk football, with more open ‘who should we sign?’ questions, the answer is mostly ‘I dunno. There’s hundreds of out of contract players who I suppose we might be able to afford. I’ve never seen them play more than twice and have no clue if they’re any good.’ Again, I quite like it. You actually have to wait for the first few games of the season to assess you signings. Ronaldo won’t even sign for United and the transfer has already been picked through in fine, made up, detail and rated accordingly. Add in the occasional ‘I’d prefer Bale/Kane’ levels of insanity and I’m positively revelling in total obscurity.

Is this just a Premier League thing? Or does it depend on size of fan base? Are there dozens of forums, twitter accounts and chatrooms dedicated to Leeds United transfer gossip, but relatively little going on with Burton fans? Have Huddersfield fans embraced their new top flight status and are tweeting the club account with ‘ANNOUNCE DE ROSSI’?

I suspect once you get past the top 8ish Premier League clubs, we all get relative peace in the summer to get on with our lives outside football, but I’d love to be wrong. Send in the most outlandish player linked to your club that you’ve seen this summer – top prizes for the best*.
Jeremy (*subject to availability and me not being entirely untrustworthy) Aves


…My Mum just saw Wazza at the Paris / Milan gate at Manchester Airport. Seems strange for a man to be taking a holiday just a day after he started early pre season training.

I do have to point out that my mother is highly unreliable, however, which makes her a strong candidate to be the first of your ‘F365 Sources’.
Andy, Houston TX (Looking forward to Rooney’s Franco-Italiano-Scouse medley)


Return to the bad old days?
Yesterday’s mailbox posed a fair question about whether Man City fans were keen to go back to the good/bad old days before the money took over and the overwhelming response this morning (well one email anyway) was an emphatic ‘no’.

I’d extend that question to my own club, Leicester, (a question you have all been dying to ask I am sure) seeing as we have also been taken over by a foreign billionaire, albeit one with ‘only’ a few billion in the bank, sadly, rather than endless petro-dollars.

We have, obviously, had a rather successful couple of years, but this was certainly not expected given the overall level of investment compared to the big clubs, especially Man City. So discard our title win and glorious champions league run and imagine we have had a similar record as Southampton or West Brom in recent seasons and, even then, you would be hard pushed to find a Leicester fan harking back for the ‘glory’ days of League One.

The aspect that makes me realise how blessed we are is that we could easily have found ourselves taken over by an absolute madman and you only have to see the plight of similar sized clubs like Leeds, Blackburn and Birmingham to wake up in a cold sweat at what could have been. Indeed it is a case of what still could be – I thank our lucky stars now but there is no reason why we couldn’t ‘enjoy’ a similar trajectory as fellow surprise PL winners Blackburn namely: title win>Mid-table obscurity>beneficent benefactor dies or loses interest>Basket case multi-millionaire takes over>slow ignoble descent down the leagues to wide-spread disenchantment and despair. I’m a glass half full guy, but this could easily play out for us in a few years if the wrong decisions are made.

I suppose the only people who might prefer the return to bumbling around the championship as opposed to bumbling around the PL are those who hanker for the days when men were men and tackles from behind were actively encouraged, even by the refs. Or perhaps supporters of a relatively ‘small’ club who have found themselves unexpected dining at the top table and being disillusioned by the razzmatazz and money involved and simply wish to return to the sort of level they signed up for. Like a lottery winner returning to their council house, rather than living in the glitzy mansion they purchased with their winnings.

Having said that, we could end up with a few seasons playing like Stoke, never achieving anything, yet never looking remotely like relegation candidates. It must be utterly dull being a Stoke supporter these days and maybe a relegation and the grind of the Championship will bring a perverse level of joy into the soul of Stokies everywhere.
Rob (getting ideas above his station), Leicester


Following up on World Cup glory
I’ve been wanting to write in for a while about the U21s World Cup glory but haven’t got round to it. I’m surprised that the mailbox lasted only a day or two on the topic, and yet Cristiano’s Man Utd flirtations could overake that.

From my POV a couple points came out of the mailbox discussions or lack thereof. What does this mean for these kids next season? Is this a golden generation? Will the seniors step up? And also who cares?

I’ve worked at a football academy and can tell you that the answers to the first 3 questions are entirely reliant on the personality, commitment and temperament of the players. At youth level it’s much easier to be a brilliant player, but selfish and a bit of a d*ck and get away with it. Mainly because other kids around you haven’t yet learnt how to deal with that sort of behaviour, or how to overcome their deficiencies.

The atrocities that some of these teenagers and children get up to in the academies is another mail altogether but the kids that make it are the kids who try hard and concentrate on their game. As an example there was a player who I tried to coach, he was brilliant on the ball, quick and could pick out a pass with either foot. However he knew he was good. He wouldn’t work for the team, barely worked out in the gym or did any extra practice. In the U18s and U20s games it was fine, give him the ball and he can dribble round a few slower players and score/assist, a personal glory to stroke his ego. However 3 training sessions with the seniors, a lack of commitment, interest and air of superiority meant he was demoted back to the U18s and then released at the end of the season after a further few months of sulking. Last seen working in IT.

My point is, the players from the U21s that will make it, are the ones who will try, regardless of stature at their current club. Personality and enthusiasm for improving yourself (a la Ronaldo) will mean the cream will always rise to the top. One of the players also promoted at the same time as Mr I’m Too Good to Run is now playing regularly at one of the top 6 in the Premier League and is integral to his countries chances of qualifying for Russia.

Youth football itself, in my opinion, was in disarray 5-10 years ago, with children over promoted, and over indulged in all walks of life (they used to get free accommodation with all food provided staying with members of the seniors on top of a hefty wage). Now though, theres much more discipline, the children are taught for now and the future. Many are told that hard work is the only way to achieve success and now there seem to be less egos and more personalities. The problem now though lies not on the pitch but in the boardroom where senior success at all costs has negative connotations for all academy youths.

So, who cares? Well it feels like clubs don’t, fans don’t and most importantly, a lot of UK sponsors don’t. Will we see these winners again at senior level? Maybe, but don’t count on it happening soon.
SJ, London


With people recently reminiscing fondly of the days with the lookalikes, I was wondering will the Friday quiz make a return? Always found it tricky.

Otherwise does anyone have any footballing head scratching trivia that’s not a straight forward Google search to answer?

Questions on a postcard.
Anthony (Ronaldo is a week older than me, I wasted my life) Dublin


Literally everybody has pointed this out
In light of Mr Ronaldo’s imminent return (or not) to United, I’m wondering why so far apparently nobody has pointed out that United’s number 7 shirt is currently unassigned, in a classic case of 2 + 2 = 5.
Nigel Downs, Geneva

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