Mo Salah being selfish at Liverpool ‘is a bit of a myth’ as the Mailbox rates Erik ten Hag’s signings since joining Manchester United. Plus, curious football statements, Europa Conference League is ace, Scottish football is sh*t and more…
Get your views in to firstname.lastname@example.org…
Money is pointless – you can’t replace Salah
Interesting comments on Salah in the mailbox this morning, and I agree with a few points from Oliver Dziggel. There certainly were incidences where Salah could and perhaps should have passed (as with most strikers really)
For the record I would fall down on the Salah being selfish is a bit of a myth – I think there’s a negativity bias there with some high profile incidents with Mane for example. But overall I would say Salah makes the right decision 95% of the time. There’s also a consideration that Salah doesn’t shoot for the sake of it – he shoots because he thinks he is in a good enough position to score – I would describe that opportunistic rather than selfish.
One point of strong disagreement though, has to be the idea of selling Salah. I can’t say this strongly enough. The money would do nothing for us. You simply can’t replace those goals and assists with one other footballer – they are not out there now, and are unlikely to be in the future (and even then they would need to want to play for Liverpool). We have to wring everything we possibly can out of him. Of course, age is a consideration. The argument of £150m for a 31/32 year old normally makes sense. But not in this case. He is irreplacable.
There are ways to manage a top class player as they age, look at how Rodgers handled Gerrard, or how Dalglish managed himself, similarly for Barnes, Rush and Hyypia – you can adapt and support to ensure that quality is not wasted, and it’s usually a better alternative than trying to splash out on a replacement who will inevitably fold under the overwhelming pressure to ‘replace Mo Salah’.
Luis Diaz is brilliant, and potentially the closest we have to his level across those forwards, but I mean no disrespect to a player who is top class, when I say – he won’t get close to Salah, for consistency, for influence and let’s be honest, for availability.
The club can always make more money, you can’t make another Mo Salah.
Signings under Ten Hag & Plan B or C needed
Given Manchester United have conceded 3 goals on the bounce in the last 3 games for the first time in 1978, it is safe to say Ten Haag is bringing out Moyes vibes when he took over from Ferguson in the 2013/14 season, breaking many unpopular records. It seems like the club have lost all control of the media with/against them as well, and its becoming a very similar story now when Mourinho started throwing some players under the bus because well they were kind of shit.
So I think the bad performances this season are ultimately Ten Haag’s responsibility, especially given the fact he has been given a LOT of money since arriving last summer, but lets run through the purchases made that are apparently a lot of his say:
- Lisandro Martinez: I would say he has been good at best. His first 6 months were brilliant, but the last 6 months have been a bit worrying. He may be aggressive and put in a good tackle, great with the ball at his feet very calm, but his positional play is pretty atrocious at times. He suits partnering with Varane too, so one of the better signings.
- Antony: I think has only recorded 2 assists in his time at United. He has potential, but only has one signature move and it doesn’t even work half the time. Poor signing overall, March or Kulusevski are much better right wingers, are stronger and can actually pick out a pass (Probably could have signed either one for £50 million)
- Casemiro: Probably the best signing to date. People mugging him off this season need to remember how bad the United midfield was beforehand, he has experience and a goal in him, plus when he plays well, he plays VERY well.
- Christian Eriksen: An underappreciated player in my opinion, and given he had cardiac arrest less than 2 years ago and we got him on a free, not a bad signing at all. He puts in more of a shift then Rashford and McTominay and he had a fucking heart attack recently.
- Mason Mount: Has only played 2 games for the club, so give him time, could potentially replace Fernandes if he leaves.
- Andre Onana: Worrying start to be honest, his shot stopping seems pretty bad compared to De Gea, but have to give him time to see how he does.
- Rasmus Hojiland: Already looks more useful than both Martial & Sancho. Works hard, hungry and hoping he can at least grab 15 goals this year.
- Johnny Evans: No comment
- Sergio Reguilion: Ok-ish cover for Shaw, but defensively looks incredibly vulnerable. Good going forward, but what good is a defender if he can defend/stop a cross from coming in?
- Sofyan Amrabat: Can hopefully bring some toughness to the midfield along with Casemiro and learn off him too. A good signing, but time will tell how United will be for him.
So yeah, out of all these signings, I would say half of them are pretty good, but Mourinho mentioned before that investments from the past compared to other teams (Remember that famous ‘Football Heritage’ press conference) have been pretty dire to say the least, so its either give Ten Haag time, and go through some spells of mediocrity, OR employ a manager (like Conte for example) who can get stuff done in the short term.
I would say if Ten Haag is smart, he needs a Plan B or C and fast, because some of the defending this season and last season has been really bad and unacceptable at times. If Ten Haag wants to play this total football of his, he needs to make sure its done right or if it can’t be implemented well on matchday, play safer and hope to nick a goal or two on the break because counter attacking does seem to a lot of players in the team.
Never Missed The Mailbox And Never Will
Just seeing the mailbox from Sara HTFC, it reminded me of how difficult it was to achieve my great accomplishment of never missing a mailbox for over a decade now.
How possible is that? you may ask.
Well, I made use of technological tools to ensure multiple browser tabs were opened down while I come back to read with some lasting for a week or more.
Sometimes, I get excitedly disappointed when I meet zero or one new mailbox daily and over the moon when I meet 3 new mailboxes in one day (mailbox special)
This enabled me to have my top 10 mailbox ranking which changes every week.
I will only share my top 3 to make my mailbox entry shorter (permit me as I may not remember the author, but I think Fat Man owns one)
3. The European relationship: a mailboxer compared clubs’ journeys in Europe to love relationships
2. Klopp sold his soul to the devil: our PL winning season (19/20)
1. The downtrodden men: during the 2018 world cup (women commentary)
Cheers to more cracking mails!
Jay, West Africa (T& As in the recently concluded women’s world cup definitely in my top 10 in case you were wondering – what a fitting end after the mailbox author set the tone)
Curious football statements
I thought id talk about something different today. Things people say in or about football you wouldn’t hear elsewhere.
1. The big clubs should help the small clubs when it comes to money –
Why? Do we expect Tesco to help your local corner shop? Do we expect McDonald’s to help your local takeaway ? So why do we expect big clubs to help small ones? That’s the system we live in, big city teams will always generate more money than small town ones.
2. 3pm black out is to help small club gate attendance – how? If I can’t watch Liverpool at 3pm on Saturday it doesn’t mean I’ll drive to Rochester to attend their game. It’s not helping anyone at all. Similarly it punishes non resident fans or fans of teams who’s stadium can’t actually hold more fans for live attendance (looking at you anfield). Which leads me to….
3. You should support your local team, not doing so is heresy and makes you a glory hunter – Ignoring that nobody can tell you your own likes a dislikes it’s a stupid statement. What if we also said you’re only allowed to enjoy movies and music made in your hometown too? Only allowed to eat food from your hometown ? Sounds silly right. But you’re not allowed to like a team not from your town. Also what if you’re born in a country that doesn’t have national or club football – are you just not allowed to like the sport?
4. Bad decisions even themselves out over a season – no…they don’t. Sure getting an unfair penalty against on one week and one for you in another sounds like balance but all decisions are not made equal. If city get a penalty Vs united at 0-0 one week and United get one when they’re 3-0 up against Luton the next how is that even close to being even? The only way to make that situation even is in the return fixture united get a free penalty at start of game and even that ignores how the timing of a penalty within a game can affect the outcome.
We shouldn’t be relying on hoping that bad decisions even out anyway, the goal is to reduce them to absolute minimum, you do that with more accountability for referees. A manager has to be interviewed to justify his decisions , players have to do, why not referees? They’re too sheltered now from criticism and there’s not much in the way of punishment. If you mess up you just referee less glamorous games for a while.
I think part of the issue is the lack of nuance in referee options. Yellow or red. Love it or hate it US sports gives refs many more options with penalty boxes and rugby does the same with sin bin. Allow them to temporarily remove a player from play instead of permanently. For things like a tackle which looks genuine attempt to win the ball but does constitute a red card technically a yellow card with 15 minutes in the box for example would probably feel much more fair.
Gives refs more options and also make them publicly explain themselves.
5. The owners need to put their hands in their pockets – this one is mostly used by United fans but I’ve heard Liverpool fans, Chelsea fand, arsenal fans and spurs fans all say it as well.
Y’all realise the owners can’t right? They’re not allowed to individually fund teams by pumping money in. No matter how much you hate the glazers they’re not allowed to just inject 1 billion into the club to spend. In accordance with both league and European rules clubs are (in theory) supposed to support themselves. It’s why city went to such great lengths to pretend cash injections from their parent owner were sponsorship deals – because the parent is not allowed to just inject money. So stop saying it, it’s stupid.
If you want to criticise a lack of spending then really youre criticising your clubs inability to be more commercial since that’s where the biggest money comes from.
Can anyone think of any other curious phrases in football which don’t hold up under the microscope?
Europa Conference League is ace…
So my mighty Villa team were humbled by a fantastic performance by Legia Warsaw and I’m still grinning from ear to ear. The atmosphere in the ground seemed amazing, the whole place was buzzing and I had something to do on a Thursday night. Some great goals, abysmal defending and a full throttle game played in the right way.
Look, we played a second string team for obvious reasons and it’s going to take time to get the balance right between domestic and European football. While I’m guessing Emery might have a few regrets regarding team selection I don’t think he came up with the ‘no marking opposition players’ policy that some of the defenders were trying to implement.
It’s a learning process that it seems Brighton might be going through too. We are playing teams from other countries that are not only relatively successful in their leagues but are bang up for embarrassing a Premier League club – and who can blame them? It made for a great game last night.
Anyone who thinks European football of any kind is just a ‘distraction’ needs to put some silky panties on and start enjoying their life again. Even in defeat I can see this is going to be fun for however long it lasts.
Liverpool as Pink Floyd
Graham Simons writing about how Arsenal make an appearance on two Iron Maiden albums reminded me of how Liverpool FC fans/Anfield was sampled as part of Pink Floyd’s song Fearless.
I don’t know if Liverpool as Pink Floyd is a better or worse comparison than those offered by others, I’m not particularly a fan nor a music buff. But I did find it funny to see their “Years Active” on Wikipedia listed as: “1965–1994, 2005, 2007, 2013–2014, 2022” – it’s almost absurdly on-the-nose.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland
…Colchester United are Catfish & the Bottlemen – brilliant in the late 00’s, but no one has given us a second thought in years with the exception of Steve Lamaq who still loves us.
Jeremy (our one celebrity fan) Aves
Scottish football is sh1t
RE: Scottish football is sh1t
Scottish football gets a bad rep “Farmers League, kick and rush / route 1 football…” and the results from other Scottish Clubs in European competitions this week bear that out (especially in the Champions League). This is largely due to the lack of competition (2 massive clubs win almost every trophy), but also due to the relatively low TV money (Scottish Premiership c. £32M / year compared to e.g. the English Championship c. £120M / year, or the English Premiership c. £2.2Bn / year).
When faced with this mountain, it really highlights Rangers result last night against Real Betis which was phenomenal. Equivalent to a cup-run by a diddy team and put into perspective by poor results from Aston Villa and Brighton with 10x the resources.
No this is not sustainable, but it’s part of why I love the beautiful game.