Keep your mails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org
Are Scotland good? Well…
A few weeks ago in the mailbox I fearlessly proffered the question, ‘Are Scotland good?’. And I think we all know the answer.
Wow. I mean it was hardly ‘Jocka Bonita’, but it might just have been the nation’s finest victory since Robert the Bruce developed superpowers after being bitten by a radioactive spider.
Despite injuries to Fraser, Jones and Wilson, it was great to see the likes of Declan McKenna and Lloyd Griffiths step up when needed. The Scotch tossed those burly Serbs over their shoulders like a caber.
Was it enjoyable to watch? Not particularly. The predictable tactics of getting Robertson to cross it in and hitting Lyndon Dykes up top turned into one of those jokes that first goes stale and then somehow gets better by repetition. But there was also a lot of assurance in their play too. For much of the match, the role of ‘Scotland’ was being played by a nervy ‘Serbia’.
Of course it was inevitable that the replicant Luka Jovic would score. After those missed opportunities, the stars were aligning towards a sickening last-minute equaliser from a frustrated talent keen to make an impact from the bench. They probably shouldn’t have given him a free hit though.
The way the game went reminded me a lot of England vs Colombia in the last World Cup. Do just enough to sweat through extra time and recover your composure for pens, where the stage was set for Nandor the Relentless (I’m not saying that Alexander Mitrovic is a fictional thousand-year-old Vampire, but seriously, check out the likeness) to fire his penalty at David Marshall.
With Scotland’s having two games at Hampden Park in next year’s Cup of Euro Nations and a clash with England at Wembley in the middle, last night’s win has lit a fire under what could have been quite a beige group had Serbia won.
Greyfriars Bobby, Deep-fried mars bars, Kestrel Super Premium, Michael Gove. Your boys… actually did OK.
Quarantino Asprilla, Chairman of the Bored, ITFC
For me, Clive
Glad to see that Dave Tickner picked up on the weird sub-commentary on Dominic Calvert-Lewin last night. I don’t tend to scrutinise commentators to any degree at all, but not every commentator has been involved in the breaking of Clive Tyldesley’s heart.
Last night was my first time listening to Sam Matterface since Clive (I think we can all agree that we are all on first name terms with him) was stood down as ITV’s senior commentator. He was fine but I have to say, I didn’t feel it. Sure, it was an eerily empty stadium and the boys in green continued to leave me with little to no hope for the future of Irish football (absences aside), but I feel like Clive Tyldesley would have spun far better and more emotive narratives around a match between Ireland and the old enemy. Don’t tell my English wife (who exists) that I said that last bit.
I would be genuinely interested to hear if some other readers see the new guy’s appeal? I’m almost definitely being sentimental to a large degree, but if you are asking me to choose one to listen to commentate on a match, for me, every time, it would be Clive.
Ved Sen makes a reasonable riposte to an argument that nobody is making. It’s not “not buying Sancho” that is perceived as bad business per se, but continuing to pursue Sancho, and briefing everyone that they were going to sign Sancho when they’d been repeatedly told that the price they wanted to pay and the timeline they wanted to sign the player in was utterly unacceptable to the club that the player currently plays for. It’s as if Ved kept going back with the same rejected offer for the dream house he can’t afford, but at the same time prematurely changing his shipping address on ebay and Amazon for the property he doesn’t own.
If your negotiating approach is based on a belief that the other guy will blink, and then the other guy doesn’t blink, then your approach has failed. If you hang your transfer business for the window on the signing of a marquee player, and you don’t sign that marquee player…..
Dara O’Reilly, London
So apparently not paying over the odds for sancho is united’s worst transfer business. The flipside to this is that if united had signed sancho for a record fee and if he did anything less than setting the world on fire,if he did not have bruno fernandes like impact on the team he would still have made the list. For me the worst transfer business for united was not to sign a DOF. Anyone care to argue against this?
On the house
In response to Ved Sen.
Your house analogy is a good one, but you appear to be labouring under a misapprehension. What people are not criticising Man Utd for is not going above their budget for a lovely house they need. But what they are criticising is putting in an offer for below the asking price, it being refused, and then spending the next 3 months not looking at any other houses that ARE in budget and assuming the vendor is suddenly going to lower their price. and ending up with a 2 bed bungalow shaped Donny van de Beek.
No use complaining
I’ll leave the blaming, whining and bitching to others. And the fact that Liverpool are down to one, sometimes fit centre back is tough. Though it helps that Matip is our second best centre back (by some distance, sorry Joe). But it means that, at some point over the next few months, we will see two of Nat Phillips, Rhys Williams, Sepp van den Berg and Billy Koumetio as our defensive partnership in a serious, for the money, game (though two of those are also injured right now).
And while that makes our chance of retaining the title much smaller, it also will likely be madly entertaining. Bright sides, y’know?
Andrew M, Joburg.
Here is a question for the mailbox, what is the worst injury/illness crisis that has hit your club? As a 31 year old Liverpool fan I can’t remember anywhere close to this amount of first team players being unavailable at the same time so was just wondering how bad has it got for you guys. If this gets published the answers should get us through another international week mailbox 🙂
Blue, dabadee dabadi
Does someone want to tell Mark, MCFC what colours the three lions are on the England football badge? That might have something do with why many of our kits quite often have, y’know, a little bit of blue in it.
Not saying I like it, mind. Bit too Chelsea for me.
Lee (tribalistic about England kits since ’88), LFC
Mark, MCFC is perplexed by England playing in a blue strip last night. I can assure him that it was equally weird seeing Ireland play in white at Wembley.
But also, a round of applause for a deceased legend is a bit crap when there’s about 60 people in the stadium, isn’t it? Maybe they thought a minute’s silence would be too easy in the circumstances.
Perhaps they could have asked the fake crowd to do the minute’s silence: a few coughs, a couple of random drunks being loudly sssssshhhed, late arrivals coming through the tunnel and suddenly falling silent in mid-sentence as they realise what’s going on, people embarrassedly whispering “excuse me; excuse me” as they move along the row towards their seat – that sort of thing.
Dave Lillis, Dublin
Just one thought on VAR. Any chance that it can get COVID and go into self-isolation for a few weeks?
Jason G, Montreal
A couple of months ago I was in a pub in Twickenham watching Man Utd V Copenhagen in the Europa League. I ended up sharing a table in the smoking area with a guy called Stu who had kindly given up his table to another group of people who had come in. I wonder is that the same Stu from Twickenham in this morning mailbox?
Edward Canhands (Oh friend. Twickenham Football friend)