Mails: Why are Juve being difficult over Pogba?

Date published: Wednesday 20th July 2016 2:23

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Has v have cretins
I’m sure you’ll know this but in the business pages companies take the singular ‘has’ rather than ‘have’. It’s only sports desks that use ‘have’ for clubs. In America (and probably other countries) they use ‘has’ in all instances. As the Telegraph style guide puts it: “Companies, groups and organisations etc are inanimate. They take “that” or “which”, depending on the syntax, and not “who”. They take a singular verb. (But Sport uses plural verbs for teams).”

‘Has’ is technically more correct but I suspect the plural ‘have’ is indicative of the close personal connection most fans have to their club and its playing and coaching staff, as opposed to the impersonal ‘has’ that they would use to refer to a large corporation, and so is probably to be endorsed.
Steven “Fresh Prince” Chicken


Can the editor elaborate further on why it is definitely ‘Liverpool have’, not ‘Liverpool has’.

As a professional copywriter (and amateur cretin), I’d say that Liverpool is an organisation and therefore it must be a has. Any company is always singular when in print.

Sporting teams somehow get a miss on this and I wonder if anyone knows why? Is it because people feel that football teams are a group, rather than a single entity? Or because it’s easier to engender support from a fan base by creating a community, rather than have the club as a thing?

Personally I pin it down to the Sports sections of newspapers, and your typical PFM in general having a less rigid notion of the correct application of the English language.
Tom (Keen support of Hasn’t and Waterlooville), West Hampstead


Just to let the mailbox know that while for sports teams in the UK it’s “Liverpool have,” in the USA the usual usage is “Chicago has.”

And yes, we’re cretins. Look who just got the Republican nomination.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA


Another unhappy Gooner
The only thing worse than fake transfer rumours is no rumours at all!!

It’s as if Arsenal are purposely remaining 2-3 players away from challenging for the title. With Rosicky, Arteta, and Flamini all departing, Xhaka will probably be as effective as all three put together based on last season, but we cannot go another season with Mertesacker as our main defender AND CAPTAIN and Giroud as our main striker!! Neither are key players but both are effective in certain premier league games. Not all of them! The lack of urgency to make signings and get them into pre-season is a common practice by Wenger in past season.

Why are we desperate to flog Giroud when he scored 24 goals in 54 games and there is no talk of Walcott leaving when he massively under performed last year with only 9 goals! In my opinion he has run out of last chances!

From the way the window has gone I honestly couldn’t pick a winner for the upcoming season.
Hit (Red side of North London)


Did Southampton have the best Euros?
‘Southampton built the Euro winning defence (ish)’
This only just occurred to me, but next season we will have the core of a Euros winning defence and it cost us peanuts. Fonte who we signed for a cool 800k and Cedric Soares for £4.7m. Interestingly both also only got their international debuts after joining Southampton.
In fact, I’ll go as far as saying our squad as a whole had a great euros.

Pelle (though I guess sadly he has left) was excellent for Italy, while Steven Davis and Shane Long can bask in their respective Irish teams exceeding expectations. I’ll even throw in Fraser Forster (absence makes the heart grow fonder) who must be threatening Joe Heart’s no.1 position after that shambles and arguably Bertrand was ok. Though he had the least memorable tournament and I don’t expect him to play for England again once Luke Shaw is back.

I haven’t put any thought into this, but can anyone name a team whose squad had a more successful tournament?
Tom Saints (Three things are certain in life: Death, taxes and Saints selling their best players each summer).


Juventus are being c***s over Pogba
They seem quite determined to squeeze as much ££££££ from Man United in order to agree to sell Paul Pogba. Don’t forget that this is a player who left United on a free transfer to join Juventus who should thank their lucky stars he decided to join their unfashionable outfit (winning Serie A titles aint sh*t). Now they want to play hardball because they see United are desperate to right the wrong of failing to offer enough first team opportunities to the player who then left in a huff. I say give them the money and run and never look back.
Keg Baridi (Pogba is worth every penny) Nairobi, Kenya


Do they have a Real weakness?
After reading Sid Lowe’s great article from recommended reading (isn’t he always brilliant) this seems silly to write about but challenge accepted.

Having looked at Real’s squad it’s pretty tough to spot a niche. I thought defensive midfielder and options available (Matc? ) but then remembered they have just signed Kovacic. Basing on the fact that they do sell Morata they may look at an injury to Benzema as a weakness as it would leave them with just Jese. Looking at forwards in the premier league I ended up with Lukaku. Kane isn’t good enough, Aguero played for Athletico and wouldn’t be a long term investment. Really I ended up at Lukaku by default but Real are probably more likely to buy a player for the sake of buying one rather than filling a gap so Payet will probably happen, but I think Lukaku makes sense.
CD, London


Martial the next Galactico (and more)
I think Real Madrid’s next purchase from the Premier League will be significantly more difficult to make in the coming years, due to the TV money, and the fact that the top coaches are beginning to arrive here. But, given the last two proper Galacticos have been tall, powerful and imposing (marketability), I’m going to say Anthony Martial.

– Using “have” instead of “has” is inherently English; everyone outside of the UK would use “has”. Curious that we use “have” for any large institution, not just football teams. A football club is technically singular so should be “has”, but that’s just weird, so we’ll have “have”, please.

– Spurs may well have completed our transfer business before pre-season training starts. I’m unsure how to deal with this. But lack of depth and options in key positions cost us last season, so very pleasing that we’ve recognised that. If the exceptionally talented Bentaleb sorts the attitude issues out and offers the alternative to Dembele we need, then we have real quality in depth all over the park.

– People using semi-colons instead of colons is very irritating.
Alex G, THFC


Judging new signings
Because we are all now football experts, managers reclining in our literal armchairs googling “best young players in Football Manager 2016” and checking heavily edited and out of context compilations of second long clips of them playing in the Colombian second division, we feel we can pass judgement on players before they’ve even played a competitive game for our club, never mind played a season, never mind played a second season to account for those players which may need to acclimatise. There are hundreds of examples of players playing badly for one club, then destroying the league at a different one, of a young Frenchman having a tumultuous time in the Premier League and becoming a write-off, only for him to tear up the Serie A.

To judge most players overall talent is not a simple thing to do. We only see what happens on the pitch, for 90 mins a week (180 if our team is lucky enough to be playing European football- lucky no matter what some might try to tell you is a curse). We never see what a players mental state might be, if they are coping or struggling with the language/culture, if they are happy at a club, have friends at the club and not just team mates. We never see what the coaches and trainers see, how they are being trained and for what purpose, how they are being coached and for what purpose, what their true potential is (see Joe Cole for a recent mailbox example) and how to exploit that potential, their attitude to training and coaching, their football intelligence, how easily they can drop bad habits or pick up new good ones- hell, they might have had a sh*tty day, had a bad game, then got stuck in a rut (see Rooney since Grannygate… joke… kind of).

It’s always fun to speculate which new signings might do well and which might flop, but let’s not take ourselves so seriously when doing so. The players are people, and as we all know all too well, people are complicated beings.

That being said, I just watched a video of Grujic and I reckon I’ve seen better technique down the local boys club. Just saying…
Dazza (Looking forward to Grujic proving me wrong and my mail right)


Portrait praise
Your latest portrait of an icon had me on the verge of tears. When reading the quote from Tony Adams saying that ‘if I had my way I’d just walk my dogs every day, never talk to anyone and then die’ rang true of periods in my life. In my job I have to have a very positive exterior and outlook (face to face sales). I am happily married and have two amazing children. However, in the back of my mind I always have a sense that I could be drawn into bouts of depression at any moment. Whilst I wouldn’t consider myself an alcoholic I can relate to having difficult in dealing with a lack of self esteem and confidence and have had periods of taking drugs and drinking heavily, particularly in my early 20s. I’ve certainly had suicidal thoughts.

Mostly, I’ve hidden my low periods but it can become debilitating in my job (as I’m sure it can in other jobs) as my mind can often wander. A big problem for me in the past was hiding it when I’ve been in the worst throes of depression. The feeling that I was entirely alone were compounded when my loving parents regularly described depression as an excuse for not exercising or being lazy. It’s not their fault, they just didn’t know how to deal with it, like most people don’t.

Apologies if this mail brings the regularly entertaining and amusing mailbox down a level but I imagine I’m not the only person here feeling this way. My advice to anyone feeling like this is to seek help from counselling or even Samaritans as I personally feel GPs still seem a bit behind the curve on this issue (a colleague was handed anti-depressants with her very first doctors appointment, this only seemed to make it worse for her as it didn’t address any of her underlying issues).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that depression never really leaves you, it is just something you have to understand about yourself so as to deal with it efficiently. But, and most importantly, it is something you can control and you can recover from. Don’t give up.

Much love,


Great read on Portrait of an Icon today. It’s an interesting thing to consider though – I read Brilliant Orange, which is a fabulous book, and in there, a former Dutch international mentioned how much he didn’t rate English defenders, and cited Adams as a prime example of someone he’d love to face all the time. Esy to play against, easy to read, no skill level.

Is there a major difference between what the UK and the rest of the world values in defenders? The clamour for John Stones to start every game ever because he’s fairly comfortable on the ball, despite his relatively under developed sense of the art of defending, seems to point towards a more Total Football understanding. Dani Alves, Cafu, Marcelo all lauded because of their attacking. We love a tough tackling centre half, but Fabio Cannavaro stated that he was annoyed if he had to make tackles, as it meant he’d already made a positional mistake. Wonder where defending is going.

Aidan, EFC, Oxford


Great portrait of an icon piece on Tony Adams. We had the pleasure of meeting TA in Belfast a couple of years ago when he was in town for a Sporting Chance event. He ok’ed about 20 Belfast Gooners to meet him in a local hotel and (when I’m sure he would have rather been doing practically anything else) he took 2 -3 hours out of his day to chin wag about Arsenal past and present. He was really honest with his answers and was funny, articulate and passionate throughout our meeting – not at all like he sometimes comes across on TV. In this age of disconnect with modern footballers, TA’s attitude and warmth will stick long in the memory. A god amongst men and without doubt the best Arsenal Captain in my lifetime!
McG (Botanic Gooners) Belfast


Thanks for another fantastic portrait of an icon. This really is a superb series. Obviously being an Arsenal fan, the Tony Adams one has extra significance for me.

What he did on the pitch was amazing, but I think it’s overcoming his off-the-pitch struggles that make his story a special one. We have seen some tragic results with footballers and depression (Robert Enke, Gary Speed) and it’s a great that Adams not only got past his problems but set up an organisation to help other sportsmen with theirs.

Hero is an overused word in sport but he is a true sporting hero.
Adonis Stevenson, AFC


I’m a Liverpool fan who loathes Arsenal, but your portrait of an icon piece on Tony Adams actually brought tears to my eyes. That was a magnificent piece in a truly magnificent series.
Turiyo Damascene


A very insightful and enjoyable portrait of Tony Adams this morning. I wasn’t old enough at the time to understand the off-field situation but will always remember his brace against Everton on the last day of the ’97/98 season to secure the title as the epitome of a captain’s performance. I’d like to see Per Metersaker sprint beyond the last defender, beating the offside trap to rifle a half volley into the bottom corner with his left foot. My god, I’d actually love to see that.
Harry, Semi-retired at 29, still in pajamas.

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