Keep those lovely mails on Man Utd or anything else coming to firstname.lastname@example.org…
I am generally pleased with the way United’s season is going.
Having said that, am I alone in thinking that a major factor in the away wins and comeback victories is the absence of fans?
How many of those teams that grabbed a one goal lead would defend it better with thousands of people cheering them on?
How many referees wouldn’t have given that penalty at 1-1 for Pogba yesterday – which was in the “clear foul, but relatively innocuous” bracket that historically didn’t get punished as much as it should – with a hoard of angry fans calling him a w*nker…
My feeling is that a decent wedge of those 3 points from losing positions become 1, or none… certainly enough for them to at least to slip back into the pack of people jockeying for the final champion’s league spots…
I think the absence of fans has been a boon to United, taking away a major facet of the game that has allowed their superior man-for-man quality to most (not all) teams to shine through. But, for all the praise Ole’s half time team talks are getting, they are clearly doing something consistently wrong in their prep for games in terms of being ready from the start. It will cost them if it happens during a “normal” season.
Football clubs don’t want to play games of football
Another weekend and another round of managers moaning, erm sorry, complaining, about fixture pile up. This time the managers in question, Moyes and Klopp and are not even moaning, sorry complaining about their own teams’ fixtures, but rather the fixtures of another side, Manchester Utd. This despite being fully aware of why the Man Utd / Liverpool match was postponed and that it needed to be squeezed in on another date. The only alternative would have been to award the match to Liverpool, something I’m sure Moyes not been happy with.
This made me think of F365 article about the Europa Conference League as the one European competition that no one wants to be involved in. But is there are competition that modern football clubs do want to be involved in?
Teams continually and relentlessly harp on about the number of games they have to play in their domestic leagues, they put out weakened sides in the FA Cup because that is another nuisance, the League Cup isn’t even worth bothering with unless you get to the semi-final. Sure, they all want to play in the Champions League but now even that is a ISSUE because the 12 teams that were part of the ESL are not happy to play anyone other than each other.
As John Nicholson has pointed out football clubs really seem to resent having to play games of football. The ideal scenario for these clubs appears to be that supporters and broadcasters to give them billions of pounds and there should be no requirement at all for football clubs to pay any games at all. Freed from this burden perhaps they can produce great works of art, or find a cure for cancer or end world hunger, then again perhaps not.
A crumb of comfort
After reading through another excellent Winners and Losers (must-read for a Monday lunchtime) the last point struck a chord: after 30 years and 1,057 matches it has finally happened. Sam Allardyce has finally been relegated from the Premier League. It is quite the record, especially given some of the clubs he has managed over the years. As an Arsenal fan watching my team play teams coached by the big man, I have had to suffer the years of ‘they don’t like it up ’em’ punditry from lazy Sky Sports ‘experts’ conveniently ignoring Mr Allardyce’s frankly terrible record at the Emirates. So, to recognise Signor Allardici’s acheivments I’d just like to say: arrivederci, è stato l’Arsenal a relegarti.
Exiled Gooner (is May 9th now St Allardici’s Day?)
Let’s see the players not the managers
Watched the Derby v Sheff Wednesday relegation match. As tense and exciting as you could have hoped for. Especially with the late news of poor Rotherham conceding, thereby giving one of the teams a lifeline. Turned out it was Derby who took it, meaning agony for Wednesday.
So when the final whistle went, the first thing I wanted to see was the player’s reactions. But it has always been an annoyance for me that in every game the tv cameras go straight to the managers. Totally wrong decision in my opinion. They always are seen to be true professionals and all we get are polite handshakes with all members of the management teams showing minimal, if any, emotion. It must have been at least 30 seconds before the cameras showed player reactions. But I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I wanted to see their immediate reactions at the whistle. To see which of the lucky winners go totally mental and, unfortunately for them, which of the poor losers collapse in devastation. And to see if any of the winning team immediately go over to commiserate (eg, always had huge respect for Kompany but was even more impressed when City beat Liverpool in the 2016 Carabao Cup Final. Instead of running off to celebrate with Caballero et al, he immediately went to console the Liverpool missed penalty takers. Legend).
Maybe another mailboxer knows someone in TV production teams and can ‘have a word’ and get them to focus on the players and not the managers! So instead of a calm Pep & Tuchel CL Final emotionless handshake we get to see the player’s reactions. As we’ve recently seen from the fans, emotion is what football is all about.
Mike Woolrich, LFC
Who is more underrated than Jeffrey Schlupp
This was a good weekend for Crystal Palace fans, not just for our own result, but also for Coventry City thumping Millwall, Charlton Athletic narrowly missing the playoffs, and Lewis Dunk being Lewis Dunk.
*Roy Hodgson promised a more attacking outlook for his side with Premier League safety on the cards. We can only speculate as to how this might have arrived sooner if his side had attacked more in previous games where they had looked apathetic. Still, offering something he knows people want but he has no intention of actually delivering was a nice nod to the London mayoral elections – on its own, it’s unlikely to win him his deposit back, but he would probably have got more votes (first and second choice combined) than Laurence Fox.
Then again, Sheffield United are the worst team in the division by some distance, so if anyone was going to tempt Hodgson into a less defensive mindset, it would be them. Palace lined up in a 4-1-4-1, with Luka Milivojevic in front of the defence and effectively a five-man attack featuring the returning Jeffrey Schlupp. The Ghanaian is possibly the most underrated player in the Premier League – anyone who looks at his goals and assists tally, or Whoscored ratings, will not think he is anything special. However, he combines intelligently with his teammates in a way that enables them to play far better; the sort of player every good team needs one of.
*Eberechi Eze is good, send tweet. He lit up the game and was able to dance through the defence to set up Christian Benteke for the opening goal. Much was made of the Belgian scoring more in this season (7) than he has in the previous three combined, but even adding those together he is still two goals short of matching his tally for his first season at Selhurst Park. The Athletic is running a piece today about Eze being a vital player for Palace, but not someone to build the team around just yet. The thrust of the piece seems to be that he dazzled last year against Championship-calibre opposition, and did so again on Saturday, but hasn’t quite shown the same levels consistently against superior opposition. One could argue that this isn’t helped by an incredibly defensive-minded manager unwilling to give him (or Wilfried Zaha) opportunities to run at or around defenders.
*Following the game, the Eagles reach 38 points and cannot be caught by Fulham. Perhaps unkindly, it feels like they’ve spent the whole season inching towards this point, instead of attempting to stride towards and beyond it. This mentality can work in a fan-free environment but will not be tolerated for long once supporters are allowed back into grounds in relatively large numbers.
*For managers who “just want consistency” when it comes to VAR, Aston Villa versus Manchester United was ideal: after all, what’s been more consistent in the Premier League era than controversial decisions going in favour of Manchester United? Dean Smith was furious about how decisions had been reached, but his moaning just came across as the typical loser mentality that has held back managers (particularly British managers) from the very top jobs for a long time. His player was shown a second yellow card for attempting to deceive the officials into awarding a penalty, something the VAR looked at and upheld. Noticeably few of his teammates rushed to his defence.
While Smith has valid complaints about the amount of times Jack Grealish gets kicked, niggled and fouled, they are jarring because he seems to have no truck with his players carrying on in the same way. On at least one occasion during his time at Villa Park, one of his players has lifted an injured opponent from the ground, something the Rugby Football League, for example, considered worthy of a four-game suspension. Either it has to be acceptable both ways and you don’t complain when it happens to you, or it’s not acceptable at all and you tell your players to clean up their act.
*On Sunday F365’s man in Japan and I watched Zweigen Kanazawa v Renofa Yamaguchi while on Zoom. Renofa took advantage of some lax defending to take an early lead, Zweigen took their time to grow into the game and did look threatening at times, but didn’t have too many proper chances. They’re comfortable with passing the ball across the back four and to a holding midfielder, but there isn’t a lot of dynamism; very little movement between the lines, not a lot of overlapping runs, and barely any successful through balls. Disappointing, but not unfamiliar to a Palace fan.
A bit late but…
Following the quite frankly ridiculous decision not to allow owners of Football clubs to start new leagues willy nilly in the American fashion, I’d like to highlight how much better and attractive the EPL table would look to exotic foreign types if all teams adopted another American practice of naming sports teams using random animals, things that are dangerous and outdated stereo types.
This re-branding will speed up ridding these philanthropic club owners of the grubby locals which hitherto have blighted their lives by attending games, funding their debt and generally being making the place look untidy
FC Sporting White Wash
Leicester Hypertension caused by excessive consumption of potato snacks
Hammers Gambling Addiction
Liverpool Ram Raiders
Spursy Cocks (poultry not genitalia)
Liverpool Car Jackers
Crystal Palace Rugby Football team
Sports Direct.com Wonga Money Lending Bastards Magpies
Southampton Nueva Ponies Bosque
Fulham Tyrannosaurus Rex
West Bromwich Albion Nuclear Holocaust
Sheffield Steel Pigs
Just a note to Andy, Cheshire.
The team of ‘Stiffs’ who played at the weekend, cost over £506m.
Either way you look at it, it’s not great recruitment for half a billion.
I am not sure why you felt the need to publish the non-football illiterate nonsense of Lee.
He says: “capitalism has lifted many (white people) out of poverty that is correct. But you didn’t finish the sentence so allow me – capitalism has lifted many people out of poverty by causing more poverty to other people.”
I am not sure why he feels to need to say white here. Many many millions of Asians (Japan, Korea, arguably even China) have been lifted out of poverty – are they white or non white? I would agree though that poverty levels are higher than they should be in Africa or LatAm – and why? Because there has not been widespread capitalism in both continents; socialism and crony capitalism is not capitalism, hence, guess what, poverty. Horrendous, death inducing poverty.
Also, capitalism does not cause poverty for some when it lifts some out of poverty. It does make some people richer than others, but it does not take money away, ie. Reducing wealth, causing poverty. We can argue if large companies pay a fair price for goods and services they purchase, but so long as they pay, then the receiver is better off receiving some money than none. If Lee is suggesting that Western companies need to pay more to non-western counterparts, then he needs to direct (some, maybe all) of his ire to the Gvts in those countries. With a proper rule of law and a proper fair legal framework, capitalism can help sellers and producers.
He says: “The only reason capitalists get wealthy is by exploiting people and things. “
Have you heard of free will? Capitalists don’t force people to buy things, that’s the whole point: Choice. Its not communism or socialism, with directed production and forced participation. Its about using resource efficiently to align with demand. Its just the most ridiculously naive myopic view of the world to think that companies making a good is exploitation, but the same good made by Governments for twice the price is great. We have to make things/food/etc to survive as a species. Those things have to made either by Gvts or by companies, its either exploitation by both or neither.
He says: “This is why they cry about minimum wage being raised – because without paying people non livable wages the business fails.
This is why they cry about taxes – because without paying their fair way the business fails.
This is why they cry about unions – because without dividing working people their business fails.”
Capitalists dislike high wages, unions, taxes etc because capitalists get rewarded by profit (directly and indirectly), hence any drag to profit is disliked. That’s it. Its called pressure groups. Doctors dislike working long hours, so the GMB lobbies for shorter hours. CEOs like making more money, so lobby for lower wages. Companies don’t fail if they pay tax or pay wages – what a proposterous thing to say, and the evidence is the 1000s of viable businesses in operation. Taxes and wages are fair by the way, as decided by numerous elections on these exact issues.
He says: “Incidentally capitalism has only flourished because governments have created the infrastructure to do so (something which continues to happen today). Capitalism only flourished because governments give them money in the form of grants, tax breaks, and subsidies which reduce their costs and make the industry more attractive.”
We all pay taxes (too much in my view, I suspect too low in his) so that collective goods (infrastructure) can be built, that wouldn’t or couldn’t be built by companies or would be built many times over and thus be inefficient. Companies do then use these collective goods to make money; but that’s the point of those collective goods: wealth creation through collective action. I thought as an anti-capitalist he would approve of that!
Grants and tax breaks are provided to make it easier for companies to survive, because guess what, companies surviving is the best way to generate more wealth for society. Tax breaks are grants is the counter to higher wages and shorter work hours – lobby groups again. That is the prism through which he needs to see this. Plus also it’s a way of Gvts to compete against other Gvts obviously in a global marketplace for company location.
The irony of course is that people who dislike capitalism, think that companies are a lot more robust than they are. They think that companies can be hit hard by higher wages, more regulation, and still survive, and provide employment. As a company owner myself, I know how fragile business can be. I know that entrepreneurs need help and support. Human individual endeavour will always be better, more nimble, more innovative than bureaucratic Gvts ravaged by group think and factionalism, but they still need help and support.
Yes, rules are needed; yes humans if left unrestrained will do horrid things to each other (under communism or capitalism or socialism), but as a system for creating wealth, providing freedoms and lifting the masses out of poverty (the elites do well in all systems), capitalism has no peers.
Anyway, I still don’t know why you published his embarrassing collection of ill-thought through rubbish . Unless he was making an oblique point about the ESL and how capitalism is exploiting football (massive eye-roll). Please stick to football emails going forward.
That Ipswich fan who said that Ed Sheeran isn’t guilty of torture has obviously never heard Galway Girl.