Let’s move on from Ronaldo, the GOAT, politics, diversity, Southgate and talk football

Editor F365

The Mailbox has talked and talked about the World Cup and has already started on 2026 but can we move on now?

The Premier League is back soon. Send your views to theeditor@football365.com


Five things we can stop talking about now
There’s a few subjects that we really can give up talking about now.

1. The GOAT. It was massively boring when there were arguments to be made. It’s done now.

2. Politics. Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers has now been covered extensively by everyone except the Neviller, despite his weak efforts. They appear to be getting their house in order – slowly – so let’s get on with doing the same.

3. Diversity. Inclusiveness needs promoting, of course, but chiming in about the potential 2026 US political situation is ridiculous. That’s blending the worst elements of being woke and being a hipster. Nope.

4. Potential future England managers. Southgate is staying. That anybody even mentioned Lampard or Gerrard shows just how few alternatives there are. Southgate himself should be at the head of the 365 ladder, because without him we’re stuffed. Football is a toxic mess, especially around the national side. Southgate is the antioxidant who makes the whole thing slightly more bearable.

5. Ronaldo. He won’t be missed.

Let’s get back to the actual football. The hopes, dreams, experiences and insight we have for this infernal football addiction of ours.
Tom E13

Abaya, amnesty, apathy
I’m not sure presenting Messi with an abaya would be quite the reverential compliment Eoin suggests it is, given that the abaya is a women’s garment. The word he is looking for is bisht, something that most people probably already know given the number of ‘what was the cloak given to Messi?’ articles that immediately appeared.

Can we also have an amnesty on comparisons between the USA and Qatar for at least the next 3 years? It’s not clever, it’s f**king tiresome. Yes yes, the BBC and the Guardian (seemingly the only media outlets to express an opinion, according to some) are going to be outrageously hypocritical. Or maybe they won’t. Who knows? I don’t. Neither does anyone else.

I do know that a cross-continental World Cup is a bloody awful idea from a climate change perspective, but I also know that it’s essentially a drop in a rising ocean compared to the annual impact of the likes of BP. Maybe we, as a planet, will be enacting the necessary major systemic change by then and the tournament won’t even happen. More likely, we will be continuing to ignore reality while the impoverished die from our excess.

Still, we can at least dedicate the next tournament to all those lost lives on the low-lying islands that no longer exist, to those Floridians whose homes simply disappeared, and to the countless who starved to death when their crops failed. Our ‘leaders’ can look on with solemnity for 60 seconds, before returning to their kneeled prostration before the corporations who are killing us.

In among that celebration of football, we can then spend our time arguing over semantics and laws and patriarchal hatred. For now, we may as well return to our usual position of not giving a shit about any of it. Because, let’s be honest here, most of those arguing over Qatar v USA only care about getting one over on whomever they foolishly believe to be their opposition. All the while proving just how effective divide and conquer, that glorious invention of the British empire, truly is. And when the day comes when your tired, thirsty grandchild looks to you and asks ‘what did you do next?’, you can proudly answer ‘I owned a lib’ or perhaps ‘I called them a nazi’. I’m sure they’ll be terribly impressed.

So for now, perhaps we let it go for a while? Just think of all the time you’ll save by not having to look up state-by-state law variations and abortion bans and gun Crimes, Amnesty International reports and case files, and all of those endless examples of people being f**king awful to one another.


Sorry thayden but…
Now that the World Cup has ended, it’s time to look forward to the next one.

Since football authors and fans are now also political analysts who care about the socio-political actions of the host country, there are a host of issues that they can choose and lots of armbands to choose from. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it does have some pertinent issues (I’ve limited it to current issues to the best of my ability);

-Violence against Indigenous people in Canada and the US. Around ten thousand women are deemed missing or murdered, while the authorities have done a torrid job at protecting them. (Considering historic European apathy with the crimes done on the Natives, this might be a tough sell. Look up Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls)

-The US is currently the biggest exporter of weapons to other governments (39% of all weapon sales between 2017-2021, Source: Forbes). Their biggest importer is peace-loving Saudi Arabia, who has trouble distinguishing between a steak and a human being when that human being is a journalist who is critical of the government (Khashoggi). These weapons are also directly responsible for the worst humanitarian crisis of our times (UNrefugees.org). This is my first email to the mailbox so I’m not sure how much detail I can go into about it, but please do take a read. The role of the US in this is undeniable. All those monarchies in the gulf only stand because of these weapons.

-This relates to the last point, but the US by far is the single greatest war-monger in the modern world, with 750 bases in about 80 countries (Cato.org). Their marketers say it’s to ‘keep the peace’, which is exactly what the colonialists used to say about their armies sitting in their trade companies. The country with the next largest amount is the UK, with 150 bases, another colonial power. They’re not there to throw flowers from airplanes and drones.

-While the war in $1 Trillion in Afghanistan is ‘over’, the US is not done tormenting the people of Afghanistan, holding (stealing) $7 billion of Afghani’s foreign reserves as well as making it nigh-impossible for Afghanis outside the country to send money to their relatives back home (by crippling the financial institutions in Afghanistan). This has had devastating consequences, with some analysts saying that more people may die from this action than the 20-year war itself (Voanews). The US has decided to starve people to death for their political interests.

-The internal issues in the US alone cannot be overstated, with privacy violations, free speech impairments (twitter files), xenophobia, and racism.

All of the issues brought together are at a completely different scale than what Qatar was involved. There is absolutely no sense of comparison in terms of human rights and lives taken for political ambitions. People took the face value of 6500 (out of 2 million people, which constitutes a ‘death rate’ of .325%, compared to the death rate of India which is 7% [dataworldbank]) migrant workers dying in Qatar and had no trouble saying that it was due to the World Cup with no evidence whatsoever. I sincerely hope you have the same level of concern for human rights and lives when the crime is perpetrated by people of the same beliefs and skin color as you. It’s not hard.

I for one am glad for this spiritual awakening with the intention to make football a source of good. I just hope that what we saw is not just another form of racism/bigotry disguised as human rights concerns.

Please prove us wrong,
Sal, Toronto


Oh boy, four years incoming of emails from folks like Paul K, London making sure they let everyone know where they stand on the important issues. Here’s the reality for people like Paul. EVERY country has issues. EVERY country has problems. EVERY country is hated for certain aspects of their past. Qatar got it both barrels on here for four years plus, and now it’s our turn.

I could get into it with Paul regarding some of his assertions, such as our “unlawfully” sending illegal immigrants back at the border. Someone may want to let him know what the word “Illegal” actually means. But it will fall on deaf ears. What’s really important is that people like Paul have a narcissistic need to let everyone know, “Hey, look at me, I’m fighting the good fight.” Selective outrage is the du jour social media stance but what does it accomplish? Absolutely nothing. Paul knows this too but he NEEDS to do something, anything. “I know, I’ll fire off an email to F365, that will change the world.”

I get that there are people that hate the USA and what it stands for in their minds. Reading about it for four years on a football website? Yeah, looking forward to it.
TX Bill (I expect the usual replies from the usual suspects. DO NOT disappoint me) EFC


Don’t hate on Canada
In response to Adidasmucf, there’s a few issues with their issues.

First off, yeah carbon footprint is a fair question to ask, but are we going to grant WC to countries based on country size? I’m not sure of where all the games in Mexico will be but the only venues in Canada are Toronto and Vancouver, both of which are a few mere kms (miles for the Americans) from the American border. We don’t live in igloos and the venues aren’t in the North Pole.

Under 21s can’t drink? Yes in the USA, but both British Columbia and Ontario are 19. Not sure about Mexico, but when I lived in Central America for 8 years I don’t recall there even being one…not that that’s a good thing.

As for healthcare and gun violence, both are also important issues, but this is a joint WC and both are drastically different in Canada so don’t throw us in that group. We have universal healthcare (that could be much better) and nowhere near the gun violence (or guns) Americans have.

Also a massive amount of Canada calls it football. For one we’re a bilingual country and in French it’s “le football”. American football just isn’t all that popular here and our massively diverse immigrant populations come from “football” cultures. At one point a decade or two ago the biggest immigrant population in Toronto was Scottish.

Moving on. I really like the idea of joint WCs. I think it’s a brilliant opportunity for countries to be involved that usually aren’t. Yes qualification is best based on merit, but I won’t object to seeing a couple countries added each time that normally wouldn’t get a seat at the table.

What I really don’t like is 3-team groups. Expanded amount of teams is also not great, but the departure from current format is particularly awful. I also don’t care for all games from the last 16 onwards being in the USA, but that was always going to be the case wasn’t it?
Jamin – Montreal (mufc)


Might the next World Cup be a bit rubbish?
I absolutely love the World Cup. I love almost everything about it – the diversity of teams, the wall to wall football and how much it means to everyone.

I also love going to World Cups – not necessarily to follow England but just to go and watch football with people from across the world. It’s unbeatable.

I’ve been to the past three World Cups, for varying degrees of time and watched varying numbers of games and if you were to take the best bits of all of them, I think you’d have:

A football mad host with a culture of watching the sport at all times of the day, it be easy to get around, plenty of things to see and do and, importantly, not be too hot!

I went out to Qatar with a huge amount of scepticism about the one-City World Cup but it worked really well. Russia had a similar vibe with everyone based in Moscow and Brazil had every city as a football hotbed.

I’m not sure how any of that gets replicated in 2026. It’s too spread out, and it may dilute the World Cup experience – almost nowhere will feel like a fans hub, I guess. Importantly, it’s also going to be FAR too hot in many of the stadiums. The football will be slow and laborious as a result and half the stadiums being open may make it an awful fan experience depending on when the games are played. For all of the worries about Qatar and heat, only the 1pm (local time) games had anything resembling warm temperatures – whereas we could be looking at games played in 35-40 degrees in stadiums with no shade.

I hope it all comes together and I’ll be going regardless – but after seeing a tournament of mid season (and so fresh) players in a cooler climate, traipsing around North America across multiple time zones to play in dangerously higher temperatures may feel like a drag.

Obviously Qatar shouldn’t have had the World Cup for many reasons but there were some real positives from that set up – now we’re going so far away from that it feels like a shame that the festival of football may feel less festivally than the past 3 editions.


Making money from Messi
I predicted Argentina to win from the start of World Cup. A lot of people laughed when I said i put £20 quid on them🤣 anyways my finger was on the cash out button. I cashed out on £120 then after that Mbappe got 3 goals!! To win the World Cup outright was £130.

The game was entertaining but not the best ever.


Don’t cry for me, Argentina
As I drew Argentina (and Germany) in the work sweepstake, I was pretty pleased they managed to eventually get the World Cup win in the end, despite their best efforts to throw it away. Looking back at the tournament as a whole it felt to me that Argentina grew into the tournament and where worthy winners, after a few scares. The one piece of luck they had was maybe Croatia knocking out Brazil to be their semi final opponents instead of their South American rivals. Could well have been a very different outcome had they played Brazil instead. Sliding doors moment.

For the final itself, I was fairly confident Argentina would win it as it seemed the momentum was with them, and they had a real desire to win it. France, as others have mentioned, seemed to not be able to raise their game too much and didn’t grow into the tournament as Argentina did.

Delighted for Messi to finally get the missing pieces from his trophy cabinet in the twilight of his career in winning both the Copa America and World Cup with Argentina. Like him or not, he has thoroughly deserved these final pieces to his career.

Has the manager Scaloni sold his soul to the devil? Only appointed because Argentina couldn’t find anyone else and he has won a Copa America and World Cup and no-one knows still if he is a good manager. He made brave call after the Saudi Arabia game in dropping Martinez for Alvarez, but is he the International equivalent of Zinedine Zidane as a manager.

With Liverpool being linked with big money potential signings like Jude Bellingham and Enzo Fernandez, who are incredibly talented players. I personally would love us to have a go at trying to sign Brighton’s Mac Allister. For me he was the best midfielder in the Argentina side, and exactly what Liverpool need if we don’t get Bellingham.

Great tournament, now onto the return of the domestic season with a big Man City v Liverpool carabao cup game this week.


An ode to the World Cup final
Quite a few emails in the mailbox saying the WC final was boring, as if waiting 75 mins to start on your hat trick shows Mbappe bottled it.

Look, it is easy to have a high scoring back and forth game when it’s just one game out of 38 in a season. Finals are normally tedious affairs as there is way too much on the line. Neither team wants to make a mistake, that is why finals usually end 1-0 or 2-0. For comparison, let me give you two examples from recent finals which are regarded as great.

Evidence A: Liverpool 3-3 Milan (3-2 pens) in 2005
Regarded as one of greatest CL finals of all time, oh what a comeback from being 3-0 down at halftime. I would like to remind you that basically Liverpool were abysmal for the first half, and AC Milan for the second half. But all this just added to the spectacle. Are you saying that final was boring too?

Evidence B: United 2-1 Munich in 1999
Another great CL final, remembered by lots of United fans (incl. me) as the best final in our lifetime, even though we won plenty others in the Fergie era. United were basically anonymous until the 80th minute, but those two goals in injury time changed the whole perception of this game, of this team and of Fergie’s career. Just another boring game I guess.

Which brings us to this World Cup final between France and Argentina. A football World Cup final is the biggest game in all of sport, and the one which comes with the most pressure. Add to that the legacy defining stakes for Messi & Argentina. Messi could have easily wilted under the expectations of billions (with a B) across the world. But he rose up determined to turn this steel melting pressure into a steamrolling freight train of destiny. Mbappe on the other hand, saw this unstoppable freight train and chose to rise up against all that is ordained by gods themselves. He was not going to go gentle into the good night, but rage against the dying of the light. As a 23 year old mind you.

This was the greatest game ever as we will never have such a pulsating, legacy defining moment again in our lifetimes shared by as many people across the world as it did Sunday. We would always remember where we were when the two greatest magicians in the world fought on the biggest stage there is. And all of us were witnesses.
Gaurav MUFC, Amsterdam


England keep Southgate? Hmmmm
And Southgate is allowed to continue… [Surpressed giggles from the rest of the footballing world.]
Eirik (not surpressing the giggles)


Picking holes in the Mailbox…
Yeah, all very amusing, Al McBoro, if a little overdone. The point is, however, England didn’t narrowly beat France. We never narrowly beat anyone. It’s like me saying, hah, they wouldn’t call me ugly if I was married to Claudia Schiffer, would they?

Also, it was long since been proved that the huge majority of racist insults aimed at Saka, Rashford and Sancho came from outside the UK. But don’t let that ruin your narrative.
Matt Pitt


…What a strange argument. If you take away Mbappe’s late goals – then the game was rubbish.

If you take away Michael Thomas’ goal on 26 May 1989 and Solkjaer’s goal on 26 May 1999, you can make the same argument about arguably the greatest moments in Arsenal and Manchester United’s respective histories.

Doesn’t make it so though – does it?
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London