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Losing faith in Football365
A top five Spurs transfer sagas list without even an honourable mention of Vincenzo Iaquinta?!?! The man so often linked with Spurs that Spurs fan began to refer to him as simply ‘Dave’ to save time.
You make me sick 365, sick!
Raging at the media nincompoops
We are saturated every day with journalism, and pieces purporting to be journalism, each and every day, all in the good name of football. Some of it is really good, but an awful lot of it is not, and as I sit here at my desk reading Mediawatch and reading the newspapers every lunchtime, it dawned on me that I don’t get why we accept such poor levels of accuracy and discrimination from our football journalists.
Take for example the daily transfer gossip. Mediawatch points out that these newspapers use each other as sources. Someone literally makes up a story based on what can only be the flimsiest of premises, and if it’s plausible enough, the newspapers don’t seem to care about accuracy, just plausibility. In transfe -talk, plausibility clearly sells more copy than accuracy.
Using Leandro Damiao to Tottenham as an example (mainly because I’ve just read the excellent article on Spurs), where did this story come from, and how does it keep going for two years? Did a journalist, anywhere in the UK, at any point, think to talk to Damiao or Damiao’s people to confirm the story? Surely the story could have been confirmed or annexed immediately with quotes directly from the player himself, or his agent? Instead no one calls Damiao, because they’d rather not know. It’s not in their interest to confirm the fact Damiao has probably never considered a move to Spurs. If they don’t know the truth, they don’t have to publish the truth.
Similarly, opinion pieces are presented as the voice of the nation, especially when it comes to the national side. I’ve lost count at the amount of times a poor result (or series of results) has been met with headlines of (and I paraphrase) ‘For the love of God, just go, the nation demands it’. Well I for one have certainly never demanded that a man loses his job because he had the temerity to lose a couple of football matches. I may boo (I don’t boo either) but booing a terrible result does not equate to wanting a man sacked from his job in humiliating circumstances.
Plus I don’t get the agendas. I get, for example, that Rob Beasley is the journo who seems to have snagged Jose Mourinho as a pretty close confidant, and I get that if he wants Mourinho to continue talking to him then he needs to write nice stuff about him, but at the same time he’d be showing Mourinho more respect if he didn’t sugar-coat bad results. Just tell it as it is. Chelsea lost, they were pretty crud, and Mourinho’s having a tough time. Trust me, Mourinho can see what we all see.
Why would they take pictures of Jack Grealish falling out of a nightclub, drunk, on holiday, and then sit on them for 10 months, only to publish them once he breaks in to the Villa first team and shows promise? How is that journalism? I don’t even know what to call it, other than bullying, or just cruel ba*tardry.
I don’t get why we allow this level of inaccuracy and dishonesty, a lack of integrity, from football journalism when we don’t allow a sniff of it from the rest of our media. Piers Morgan was the editor who published those forged photos of British Troops abusing POWs. He lost his job and moved to the US. I don’t see the man peddling Leandro Damiao to Spurs being brought to task for not verifying the accuracy of his story before he publishes it. When it comes to the coverage of the Hillsborough Disaster, the Sun ended up apologising to the nation when the truth came out, but they don’t have to apologise for 10 years of Sebastien f’n Frey to Arsenal. The News of the World got shut down for hacking phones, but it takes the FBI to finally blow the lid on the goings-on at FIFA, one of the most obvious stories in recent years, and if a journalist broke that story with such brutal accuracy then they’d probably win the Pulitzer. You write an inaccurate story about Kanye West and he’ll sue you, and he’d probably win. You write yet another inaccurate Wesley Sneijder to Man Utd story, and we roll our eyes because we know we’re being fed a crock of poop. Why? Why are these nincompoops allowed to continue to lie to us?
I could go on, but I’m done now. Just hoping I get published as it’s a Friday! Have a great weekend folks.
Dale May, Swindon Gooner
This Spurs team better than old Spurs stars
In reply to James Barkstriker. Have you missed the point? The Spurs 2011 was a different team, for a different system. The players we have now suit exactly how Poch wants his teams to play, which is why Spurs are on a good run at the minute. Van Der Vaart would not get in this current team over Eriksen. Because Van Der Vaart can’t move. As beautiful as his technique is, he can’t run very well. Individually yes, the players we had then were better than the ones we have now. But as a team, this version wins every time.
Spurs seem to have a resilience which is unknown for Spurs, a good team spirit, a system, a smart manager, a young, exciting team. And as for the they’re only looking decent because others are failing. Well then my friend, Arsenal are only where they are because Man UTD are in transition still, Chelsea are having a terrible season, Liverpool are inconsistent as you say. You could say that for every team. It’s stupid reasoning. Sunderland only look so rubbish because other teams are doing better.
Matt G, Norwich
…I have to take James Barkstriker (great name for a wood chopping super hero) to task over his email this morning.
I agree that Poch to United seems kind of ridiculous now, but if he was to continue his upward trajectory and prove himself at Spurs, then why not United? Spurs are United’s feeder club after all!
Harry Kane’s goal vs Arsenal was a gift from Kos/Cech? If a poor attempt at an offside trap and a very good finish against a world-class keeper is a gift, then I’d dread to think what a scrappy goal looks like in your opinion. (Side Note: For a scrappy goal see Kieran Gibbs vs Spurs at the same game. Side Note: For a gift of a goal due to poor defending and poor keeping see Kieran Gibbs vs Spurs at the same game).
Alderwereld and Vertonghen as the best partnership in the league. I don’t think many people are claiming this, but since Spurs have conceded 10 goals (Arsenal and City on 9, United on 8), I don’t think it is too much to claim that they have one of the best partnerships. They are familiar playing alongside each other and they do not have any obvious weaknesses that the other three teams mentioned do. Mertesacker’s lack of pace for Arsenal, Kompany’s gaps when he steps up, Blind playing at CB/Smalling having to cover for his CB partner. I’d say that Spurs have the most balanced CB pairing, is it the best in the league? Probably not and they were pants in the air last weekend but we won’t know who is the best until the end of the season.
The part that really gripped my goat about Barkstriker’s mail was that in the admittedly great team back in 2011, he includes Saha (12 games, 4 goals) as a good thing. This was a team that was on the cusp of something brilliant but unfortunately was managed by ‘arry. Saha and Nelsen were signed in January when Spurs were massively overplaying Bale, VDV and Modric for a lack of other options and were doing well at the top of the table. ‘arry being what he is, signed Nelsen and Saha on frees because he was convinced he had the England job. As such, Spurs lost form, finished 4th by one point, lost out on Champions League because Chelsea defied everything and won it that season (Not a fan of Chelsea but loved their cup run) and the team fell apart. If rumours were to be believed, Eden Hazard was ready to sign for Spurs but went to Chelsea because they had Champions League football.
The Spurs team of 2011 was fun, they played headless chicken Redknapp football without much game plan. But I’d still have the current version, who are tactically drilled, disciplined and focussed. Eriksen would stroll in to that 2011 team, displacing VDV because he offers more than VDV ever did.
You’re judging 2015/16 Spurs as being a bit w*nk but you haven’t viewed them over a whole season. Fair enough if they plummet down the table in March and get relegated, we can all agree they’re w*nk. But right now, they’re in good form, they’re playing well and picking up points that 2011 Spurs would’ve either lost, struggled to win or lost the game 5-2.
I think I’ve lost my point, but basically, Spurs are doing pretty well at the moment and for a change, this success feels sustainable.
The Spurs cycle is complete
James Barkstriker has completed the cycle.
Two weeks ago it was ‘isn’t plucky little Spurs looking OK, with their young squad’. After we beat Aston Villa and Anderlecht and then draw with Arsenal it went to, ‘Best Side since the 80’s’, ‘Poch to Man u’ and now we finish with, ‘What’s all the fuss, Spurs are W*nk’.
You would have thought a whole season has been played out. The truth is, it is still just a good young Spurs side with a lot of potential, and that’s why us Spurs fans are happy at the moment. Since the VDV and Modric team we have had nothing to shout about and we are feeling some pride in our team again. Nothing more nothing less.
All the players that turn out to be good will probably be sold and we will be left the average ones and continue to finish just outside the top four (probably where we should based on our size/spend).
Let us enjoy the hope for now, eh.
As a Saints fan, I have rather a low opinion of ‘Arry Redknapp at the best of times, but it seems like quite a sad demise for a once ‘respected’ member of British football – at least someone who has considerable history in our game.
The rent-a-quote label is becoming more applicable each day and soon he will just be remembered as a bitter old man who blames everyone else for what he didn’t achieve.
One can hope, anyway.
Is Stewie still technically an Arsenal fan?
Someone asked the other day, how anyone could hate Arsenal? Well, that mail from James today is just further evidence. Despite his futile attempts to denigrate his work, Pochettino has done a sterling job on limited resources.
James won’t mention this, but Arsenal have a £192m wage bill. For context, that’s higher than Bayern and almost double Spurs. Yet somehow, Poch has built a squad at least the equal to Wenger’s. There was more straw-clutching with the hilarious claim Giroud ‘dominated’ Alderweireld in the air. Yeah mate, so would the Tower of Pisa. Like Giroud though, no chance it’d ever actually put a key chance away.
Objectively speaking, Poch is doing an excellent job. He’s taken a chance on youth, spent little money, converted Dele Alli into a top prospect, has a tactical plan (I understand tactics are alien to Gooners), and doesn’t forever mouth off about other clubs’ affairs. He’s also managed to beat Mourinho in a competitive fixture. And it didn’t take him a decade.
The pay-off line from James is that if Wenger wins the league (LOL), he’ll be some Genius. I repeat: Arsenal’s wage bill is £192m.
Stewie Griffin (Apparently, Geniuses fail in the same way for 10 years on end)
Taking Barkley’s side v Stead
I’m certain I won’t be the only bite here, but from reading Matt Stead’s piece on Barkley, I can only imagine he has not watched a great deal of Everton this season.
Dropped, by any other manager? Wow, I don’t intend to insult anyone, but that is a staggeringly daft conclusion, sorry. Also, lessens the chance of making the mailbox (reverse psychology on the mailbox compiler!)
Barkley has been excellent in pretty much every game for Everton so far this season. Three goals, three assists by November isn’t a bad return; that averages to about 10 goals, 10 assists over the season, which is about what you would expect from most attacking midfielders. Not everyone can be Lampard, Gerrard or Scholes in terms of scoring, nor Mata, Silva and Ozil for assists.
You compare his defensive stats to Payet, Wijnaldum, Grealish, Bojan, Toivonen who in my opinion are all inferior players who will have to have more facets to their game. (Rooney has done his best impression of an inferior player this season, and Coutinho is very much in the same bracket as Barkley.) Without going into the merits of Martinez, who is obviously a bit of a managerial maverick, these other players are playing in teams which have more rigid set-ups, are actually concerned about clean sheets and not conceding. Martinez has said he doesn’t care if we concede as long as we win. Daft – maybe. Barkley’s decision – No. All of our front three of four barely tackle, more often just press and surround and even that is done at a saunter.
But why not absolve players of defensive duties? We’re back on the argument of why do us Brits insist on running harder, longer, faster than everyone else? More tackles, more mud on your shorts, bandaged heads, screams of pride and plenty of chest thumping? It’s an ideology which is massively outdated, and frankly embarrassing. Whilst I appreciate the work of more equipped and rounded players like Milner, McCarthy, Song, Matic etc, it is far, far more exciting seeing someone leaving the opposition for dead and racing down the field, or attempting an audacious through ball.
Barkley has been arguably our best player this season so far, and has been essential in the opposition-terrifying counter-attacking football we’re playing. RM is correct in what he is saying about using him in the correct manner. In the first few seconds of us winning back the ball, we more often than not look for Ross who has then launched the counter-attack with his ability to skip past people at pace.
If Barkley had been more defensive in his role, he would have likely followed ‘his’ man into our box and then not been ready to receive the ball and break. He, and Martinez and the team, have the confidence in the defensive side of the team to allow this to happen.
We have seen he is more than capable of playing a defensive or more traditional midfielder role at plenty of times, but again I ask, why make him play that way when we are currently scaring the sh** out of teams with an exciting attacking line, engineered by Ross?
He turns 22 next month, so perhaps it is time that Martinez’s kid gloves came off. He was out for 18 months only a few months ago with an double awful leg break, and he is still learning, gaining experience. Dips in form are expected, but this season so far he has really stepped up. He rarely loses possession from being tackled as he’s in shielding the ball well, often getting us out of tricky situations and he doesn’t make the silly passes in dangerous areas he used to.
I am so glad he is a part of my team, I only pray we can hold onto him, Lukaku and Deulofeu long enough to bring us some trophies.
Dropped? Poor form? Give over!
Graeme L, EFC
(BTW, crowbarring the Stones line into the piece would be worthy of Mediawatch’s contempt if it had been any other media outlet)
…Has Matt Stead watched Everton this season? If so he’d know Barkley has been (Lukaku aside) probably their star performer.
Football365 seems to have it in for Barkley in much the same way it did for Carrick in yesteryear and in much the same way it has a permaboner for a certain chain smoking, mouthy, permacrock Arsenal midfielder who has done little to justify such lofty praise in either his Arsenal or England shirt.
It’s almost like journalists just like to stick to a narrative…
Rob, ‘lynched by Wilshere fanboys’, Guangzhou
For Dommy S…
You’ve basically epitomised how I watch every game Spurs play in. Nails bitten to the quick. Watching and feeling every tackle and pass with my heart in my mouth. No real attention paid to formation, passing accuracy or distance covered. Not more than a passing concern regarding who’s performed well or poorly. Being a solitary goal ahead going in to the last ten minutes and that final ten minutes being the LONGEST ten minutes on earth. Then the ref adds on another four minutes I’d completely forgotten to factor in. Nooo.
This is why I love watching football live, at the ground or on TV. Highlights just cannot arouse the same level of engagement, tension or euphoria.
Kudos to you for highlighting it. And from a Spurs to an Arsenal fan, that doesn’t come lightly.
…I would just like to thank Dommy S for articulating so perfectly how I often feel about football now I am (allegedly) a grown man. As a Leicester fan growing up in the 90s we had the success of the O’Neill years and trip after trip to Wembley and some exhilarating matches at our old Filbert St ground. I don’t think I ever analysed the game that much during those years, it was simply too nerve-racking and breathtaking to take in any great level of scrutiny and the awe and wonder was always there.
Despite this, I could tell you that Neil Lennon, he of the defensive midfield fulcrum position, was our most important player, and how the writing really was on the wall for that team when he left for Celtic. I cannot tell you why I thought that at the time, but it just made sense. Now looking back with my wealth of knowledge and hipster beard (not really, I don’t think that kind of fashion has reached the Midlands yet), I know it was because he dictated the play, protected the centre-backs and was generally an all-round focal point for the team.
I guess, for me, I still enjoy analysing play and reading about it on esteemed websites such as yourselves (I’ll say anything to get myself published), but there is nothing quite like getting so immersed in a game involving the team I support and afterwards only being able to articulate who played well and who played badly with no further analysis possible. So thanks Dommy S for removing the guilt I feel when I ‘merely’ enjoy a game with a sense of child-like wonder, rather than pontificating about piffling things like stats, tactics and overlapping full-backs.
And these days we have Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez in our side so that sense of wonderment is back again (there was a lot of drudgery in between mind).
Rob (I’ll see your Arsenal reference, Dommy S, and raise you a Vardy/Leicester ‘topic of the moment’ reference) Leicester
…I love that all absent feeling of regression, sadly I haven’t really experienced that since Bale whipping in a late winner against the Hammers a few years ago, but my biggest gripe is Liverpool fans justifying Rodgers calamitous signings with “we’ve only had a net spend of…”
Football isn’t (or at least shouldn’t) be about being in the red or black (it’s neither incidentally, come on you lily whites) , but just enjoying the bloody thing.
Jon, Boston, Lincs (LOVING watching the Vardy party in action)
…Dommy S makes a really good point with his mail. All too often we get caught up in the pettiness surrounding football to be able to embrace the moments where we revert to those better times when it was all so simple.
To anyone who has become/becoming ground down under the weight of stats, gossip, club rivalries, general bull**** etc that is everywhere these days my advice is simple: Try and watch a game with an actual child. None of that stuff even comes near the game, it’s just about the football. It’s brilliant.
Despite being fans neither of my sons (7 & 4) have been able to sit through more than half of a match very often because frankly there are better things they can be doing and even that point of view is refreshing. It never fails to make me re-evaluate my attitude to a result, player or referee when a small boy has chosen to build Lego instead. It’s not actually important after all.
Whenever either of them have watched, the simplicity that they view the game is genuinely humbling and I wish I could replicate it but I’m too immersed now. I just hope they can keep it for as long as possible.
Carl (“Why can’t they just pass to each other properly Daddy?”) the Welsh
Vardy = Schillaci
I don’t have time to flesh this out, but with Jamie Vardy being likened to this, that ex-player I’m surprised, actually flabbergasted that nobody has mentioned Salvatore Toto Schillaci.
An unknown plying his trade with a lesser team, one good season, goes to major tournament and does well, fade into the previous obscurity he came from.
So England fans (Yeah you three), let him be your Salvatore!
Anthony Kane, Milan
Liverpool and United fans: Peas in a pod
Poor Al (No. United fans are not like Liverpool fans. Thank God ) Regan is in denial. Liverpool fans and Utd fans are so alike. And it’s funny to see people get wound up declaring themselves to be different.
I know that getting a bit philosophical means this won’t get published (it IS Friday though so…) but the football team you support doesn’t separate you from shared human experience or from empathy. Given that I live in a pretty unique position of being a Liverpool fan in Manchester (not born here for the record), I believe I’m handily placed to observe how similar we are. Some of my favourite people to talk football about are Utd fans because we have a lot in common, such as:
We’re definitely club over country
We understand success
We know what it’s like to have bitter neighbours
We expect the best
We hate Tories
I mean, I could list more stuff but you get the idea. All joking aside, I hope that Al Regan is one day able to react to a Liverpool fan saying that we’re not that different in a way that isn’t blind refusal to even entertain it. I feel a bit sorry for him, after all, it’s only football.
Kris, LFC, Manchester
(On another note, went out with some FC United fans the other week. Great bunch of lads.)
I know this isn’t a tennis website but I couldn’t let MelbGooner09’s comparison of Rooney and Andy Roddick slide.
Roddick maximised every last ounce of ability he possessed through his career. That he remained in the top four for such a long time was remarkable when considering his far more athletic, and more talented, opposition in Federer/Nadal/Murray/Djokovic/Ferrer. Roddick should be held up as an example for any aspiring athlete.
To bring this back to football, Roddick is Gary Neville, while Wayne Rooney is more akin to Marat Safin or Richard Gasquet.
The magic of local football
Seeing as it’s Friday, international break, and there’s really nothing else that can be said about Aresnal, Utd etc. this one might sneak in.
For anyone that watches the big teams from the comfort of their living room/pub and wonders why you’d bother going out to your local lower-league game – this is why.
Some background – it’s the League of Ireland Premier Divison/First Division promotion/relegation playoff 2nd leg. First divison Finn Harps based in Ballybofey, Co. Donegal (population 4,600) with 10 players from Donegal and one from 30 miles up the road in Derry, budget practically zero, part-time players with day jobs against premier division Limerick City – an outfit with some serious money (by League Of Ireland standards) behind them. Limerick take a 1-0 advantage into the second leg.
Finn Park is as full as I’ve ever seen it – I’ve lived in Ballybofey for 11 years – and even though we won’t admit it we’re here more in hope than expectation. The Limerick fans think they’re already up and are here to celebrate. Harps score in the first half to level the tie on aggregate. It stays that way until full time. 10 minutes into extra time Harps club legend 35 year old Kevin McHugh (in the top ten of all-time League Of Ireland goalscorers) is substituted for 17 year old BJ Banda. BJ was born in South Africa to Zambian parents (his father played international basketball for Zambia), moved to Donegal aged five and is still in school. He’s doing his Leaving Cert exams next June. It’s three minutes from penalties. Proper tension. And then this –
Scenes! And a new club hero is born. The fact that new hero Banda came on to replace old legend McHugh gives the moment an almost unbeliveable passing of the torch symbolism. What the video doesn’t show is the tears in grown men’s eyes and the laughter that greets the announcer’s request that people please stay off the pitch at full time.
Conor Malone (Up The Harps) Donegal
2005, ten years ago. Ten years since one of my best friends had his first kid, ten years since the amazing 2005 Ashes, ten years since I began a relationship that would eventually lead to marriage and ten years since I’ve been coming to this site having been introduced to it during my placement year and my first real sortof job. It’s quite the milestone in many ways but despite being such a consistent reader of the mailbox and contributing often enough (my best man quoted one of my 365 mails about my fiancé at the time in which I confessed to taking her up The Arsenal…as in to the Emirate). I’ve lived through the Conor Byrne Aston Villa era, the whatever happened to Connor Byre era, countless website format changes and each backlash but I must ask…what the fk are the origins of this long running 1% Frank Lampard joke?
Like seriously, what are you lot bloody on about?! I love a comedy call back as much as the next man but this has bugged me for years!
Brian Belfast Gooner (if this isn’t a useless enough mail to make a Friday afternoon mailbox during an international week can someone from the 365towers just reply to me direct)
The origins are the 2008 European Championship and a ‘Not the Euros’ feature that allowed us to pretend that England had in fact qualified. There were always polls and 1% always said Frank Lampard. Blame John Nicholson – Ed.