Keep your mails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Arteta plan
Welcome back Stewie – we missed you!
Like Shahzad and many others I see an Arteta plan:
- Moving towards a 4-3-3, playing with the ball, building from the back
- He has 7ish first choice players who always play when fit – Leno, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey as the no. 8, ESR further up the pitch, and Saka and Aubameyang on the wings
- He’s not fully bought into Heccy B, Lacazette, Xhaka, and all the loan players who he’d probably sell if he got £20m+. The frequency of references in transfer gossip articles I think is the proverbial smoke where there’s fire
- He has little genuine depth – Odegaard and Ceballos (both on loan), Pepe (in the Pogba zone, a good rotation player massively overpriced), Holding
- Players who he would like to play, but constantly get injured – Pablo Mari, Martinelli
- He has the old heads who he’s keeping around (for now) – Luiz, WIllian, Soares, Ryan
- He identified Kolasinac, Mustafi, and Ozil as the source of the leaks / mental weakness / low cost/benefit and cut his losses
Yeah it’s all a bit 2006 (no defensive midfielder, young nucleus) – it is what it is. He’s nearly “renovated” the squad. He won a trophy to buy some time from the worst of AFTV. If we don’t qualify for the Europa League next year he will get the first 4-5 months of the season to show we are top 4 material. If not, he’s gone – and fair enough too. He’s not rubbish, I think that is self-evident. We will find out if he deserves to be in that group below the top tier of managers.
Simon, formerly of London
Sancho to be ‘prime Rooney’
If Mbappe is taking over from Messi then Haaland is taking over from Ronaldo. Disgustingly good player. Big powerful motherfupper with a hammer for a right foot and sniper level aim. Shows up in the big matches. Has the swagger of someone who knows he’s good. I absolutely love how he hates doing post match interviews as well. He’s in it for the game. He’s not trying to build a brand.
Sancho will be prime Rooney. He might even challenge Mbapppe for Messi’s crown soon. I can’t believe there were United fans saying the club should prioritise elsewhere. Whatever club he goes to next is going to be winning titles. He’s a proper special talent.
According to Dortmund themselves, Sancho had mentally checked out the summer gone. He really thought he was going to United. That does give me hope they’ll get actually get it done this summer. Madrid will be chasing Mbappe so I would hope that’s them out of the running for Haaland. Barca haven’t a hope of affording him. I doubt he’d go to PSG. If Sancho goes to United, Haaland might like to keep that partnership he’s got going with him. They should offer Dortmund whatever they want for the two of them, whatever about that fucking leech, because a front 3 of Rashford/Greenwood is a top 2 finish for every year they’re at the club.
But I look forward to reading 16 Conclusions on the night Mbappe and Haaland score a brace each to win Madrid their second Decima.
Haaland and Mbappe
Don’t mean to go against the grainy grain – in the “black is the new black” silly conversation,
but I am thinking back to Sweden in the 50`s and coming up with Kylian Mbappe is the new PELE.
Seems way more acceptable.
That then would make Erling Haaland the new Martin Clunes in men behaving badly , no, seriously the only player I can remember with a modicum of Haaland´s style is the real Ronaldo at the same age , O fenomeno I think the Brazilians call him.
On the international / world Cup stage, as an englishman and a big england fan, I had no problem revelling in the French team´s games , shouting Mbappe!, Mbappe ! to a gaggle of confused Spanish teenagers every time he went on a marauding run.
I would love to say , hand on heart, that England , led by Sterling, Sancho, Hendersons Dean & Jordan, Foden, TAA (not at right back ) Rice, Stones, Gomez and Shaw could be better than France under Dechamps. However, Gareth Southgate is not of the necessary quality . That is why I have hoped for a tournament expert like Rafa to lead us into the next World cup ( I cannot see the Euros taking place to be honest ).
Mind you Rafa´s club captain may be the way forward eh . Please do not let Fat Frank anywhere near the England camp – much obliged.
Peter (hope both Mbappe and Haaland play in England and Spain across the next 10 years ) Andalucia.
A Messi pat on the back
With Barca’s woes and Messi ‘not looking interested’, I thought I’d publicly pat myself on the back by going back to a mail I sent you on 20 April 2017.
“I thought Ronaldo was in decline at the Euros with his statuesque performances, and always thought Messi was better. But now I think Ronaldo’s morph into a taller and better-in-the-air Van Nistelrooy has turned things in his favour. He has the burst of pace, great finishing and incredible spring to suit that position. Messi is just doing a Rooney/Bale and now dropping deep, trying to play the killer ball, and getting tackled when he does run with it. He seems to have lost that yard.”
Hard to believe Messi was only 29 at that point. And now he plays like he is much older than 33.
If any club buys him now, it’s surely for the commercial value and not to make any serious impact on the pitch.
Reverse Tom Brady
Very interesting mail yesterday on Messi being reverse Tom Brady. I love cross-sport/cross-continent references. After his legendary exploits over last couple of decades, Tom Brady left the New England Patriots to go to a franchise with the lowest win percentage in the history, got his mate (and another legend) Gronkowski to come out of retirement and join him there. AND won the super bowl in the first year. This will be like if Messi went to Tottenham, got Xavi to come out of retirement to join him there, and win the champions league in the first year.
We all know Messi will do nothing of the sort. So yes, reverse Tom Brady!
Short, terrier-like player with shaved head who runs like a madman before diving into a tackle… you didn’t think Mascherano?
Good job calling him out, Jamie. Xabi was majestic.
Wik, Pretoria, (come home, Kylian), LFC
Social media horsesh*t
Just in case anyone missed it (i.e. most folks), the Australian government is asking tech companies to pay for the journalism that their platforms share and make squillions in cash from.
Today Facebook blocked any and all news sites from their platform and stopped their articles being shared as a negotiating ploy to show the effect of this potential regulation.
Next time twitter and facebook say they can’t do anything to stop racial (and other) abuse on their platform, just know they have, and have exercised, the power to switch off access to their platform for businesses who themselves make (only) millions of dollars a year in revenue – overnight.
Not saying that cancelling folks is definitely the way to go in each instance of abuse, but at least we can call out the argument that it can’t be done as complete horsesh*t
Simon, formerly of London
UEFA Europa Conference League
Next season we will have the brand new UEFA Europa Conference League, the third tier of UEFA based competition within the club game, now this will certainly give more teams a chance of silverware from across Europe, nations that are not often known to have their teams showcased on the bigger wider television stage will get their 90 minutes in the spotlight, cult heroes will be made, clubs will gain new fans or followers but for me I would prefer a return of an older competition, the Cup Winners’ Cup.
The competition was abolished in 1999, I was 6 at the time so have very little memory of said trophy, but my team Chelsea did lift the trophy twice, once in 1971 and then again in 1998, against Real Madrid and then Stuttgart, even Spurs won the trophy back in 1963, the format of the tournament used to be that it was a two legged straight knock out, each country was only allowed one club representative, the exception being if that country had the current holders of the trophy who were allowed to return to defend their title, now of course to even qualify you had to win your countries domestic cup, England’s cup being the FA Cup for example.
If the competition was to return this would first of all help out the age old question “How do we make the FA Cup special again?”, win it and you gain entry to a European competition, of course the issue would come when a team from a country has already qualified for either the UCL or Europa League, well you could gift the spot to the winners of the next cup competition such as the League Cup, perhaps even to the Runners Up of the FA Cup, sadly that is where we land into a problem, the “Runners Up” are exactly that, they have not won the trophy, so why should they qualify for a tournament featuring cup winners?
I personally do not have a solution to that issue, perhaps gifting the spot to the Runners Up would be the best way forward, or even to the Semi-Finalist in a strange one off play off style game, it would be interesting to hear what other mailboxers think of my idea and how they themselves would revamp the format of the Cup Winners’ Cup for the modern era.
PS: Quick response to Joe, at first I used to watch the game with crowd noise on, but in recent months found that i prefer it without the noise, especially after i heard Sean Dyche and Robbie Brady have their “chat” about Hudson-Odoi
Change is coming freinds…
Ah lads, relax the cacks there.
My email was not meant as a factual treatise on the history of the UK or the socioeconomic evolution as a city. It was meant as stimulating reading and encouragement to think beyond the boundaries of the premier league when thinking about this great game of ours. Of course Brexit is not to blame for all of Liverpool’s woes, that was something we call humour making such an outlandish comparison, but its ok if that is beyond your appreciation.
Reading the litany of outrage, wailing and gnashing of jaws at my lighthearted email the following came to mind.
Turkeys who voted for Christmas still squawk when brought out into the backyard. (I thought the Utd fans might draw solace from the Cantona-esque reference and dose of nostalgia.)
Change is coming my friends, whether you accept it or not.
Below the belt and the line…
Jeez…. It’s hard work at the moment being a human being isn’t it? Let alone being a football fan as well. As well as the constant diet of ‘variant strains’, ‘Brexit is good’ vs ‘Brexit is terrible’, ‘end the lockdown’ / ‘don’t end the lockdown’, masks, vaccines, the contracts for cronies scandal and arguments about how a woman should or should not be able to tell the world she’s expecting a baby (suppose a standard “oh congratulations” is out of the question…), we football fans have to put up with another hardship. Each other.
There have always been a sub-class of morons in football because, of course, there is a sub-class of morons in society at large but recently it seems so damn obvious and football frames what would otherwise stay hidden in a stark light. It seems like you can’t go a day without seeing a footballer racially abused on Twitter (today being Eddie Nketiah), death threats against players and referees and you can’t dip into the comments section on an otherwise excellent site like this without seeing ‘fans’ ripping shreds of each other for having the temerity to support a different team or be from a different part of our small and culturally homogenous country.
I have noticed a real change in the last 12-15 months (basically since it became apparent that COVID was going to be more than something that happened in China) and it’s making me fall out of love with the game more than any VAR nonsense, injury crises (can you guess who I support) or sterile fanless stadia. Whether it’s boredom or fear, there seems to have been a complete polarisation on nearly every issue in the game (and indeed every issue outside it). In a football context, this frames itself very nicely in the minute pulling apart of every single decision that goes for or against a team. Mo Salah is tugged by Ruben Dias against Man City and goes down softly. The response to this is “clear foul…maybe a red” or “gawd, Salah, what a diver” but the truth here is not black or white – was this a foul? Yes, probably, did Salah make the most of it? Certainly. Would Salah have got the foul if he hadn’t gone down? Almost definitely not.
And therein lies the problem trying to binarize things that are non-binary in such a basic way. It polarises and causes people to feel like they have to align themselves to a certain narrative less they be accused of disloyalty and in doing so to miss the fundamental issues (in this case that referees should feel safe to give fouls even if players don’t go to ground).
And now onto you, F365, or at least to your website… The comments section is a problem. Can you get rid of it? I’m all for free speech but to dip in there (and yes I’m free to not do so but I also enjoy some commentor’s contributions) and overwhelmingly see the vileness and worst of football ‘online’ fandom just doesn’t help at the moment. I am a Liverpool fan and the number of veiled Hillsborough comments (yes, references to ‘victims’ are H’boro references – they are known to upset the families and that should be enough), Heysel references and poverty shaming is actually really disheartening.
As a fan of the ‘bin-dipping’ ‘murderer’ ‘self-pity’, ‘victim’ club it’s enough for me to not want to read the site any more because it’s just so tiring. And it’s not confined to the experience of an LFC supporter – I’m sure other fans feel likewise and I know that my club has its collection of cretins too but wouldn’t it be nice if, for example, Liverpool’s title win last year was met with comments like “fair play, I don’t like your club but clearly the best side this year – hope it’s another 30 years” rather than “asterisk title win – worst champions ever” “NULL AND VOID” or “ha at least you weren’t able to actually be there and enjoy it”. I mean imagine finding joy in something as saddening as fans being unable to celebrate something monumental happening for them after a long old slog? Even Klopp’s mum dying has been used to mock the guy and Mike Dean has felt he couldn’t do his job because he feared for the safety of his family. We’re right in the toilet here if this how we are choosing to be as a collective of people who simply enjoy the same sport.
This has become a ramble somewhat but I think the message is very simple for you lot commenting below the line and for @KAI_TIMO_SZN types on Twitter. Why bother? If it brings you joy to say things that upset other people then what does that say about you? It isn’t *shudders* banter, it’s trolling and, at a time when people are struggling and being polarised on nearly every issue, can’t we let football be something that unites us rather than something which pushes us further apart?
Fake crowd noise
Joe, regarding generated crowd noises I couldn’t disagree more. Surely watching without any noise is far more eerie? If this pandemic has taught us anything about football it’s that we, the fans, are everything. Football is nothing without us.
Watching without crowd noise, fake or otherwise, is no different from watching a high quality school football match. No atmosphere equals no enjoyment for me. I simply have no interest in watching.
The only match I have truly enjoyed without fans was Cheltenham against Man City, but that’s only because I’m a Cheltenham fan so I had an emotional investment in the result which cannot be gained watching two neutral teams in an empty stadium. It also feels like a convenient time to remind everyone that we are the only team that has taken the lead against City since November 🙂
Jamie Bedwell, Cheltenhamshire
Hiding in the plainest of sight
Can I make the observation that we really shouldn’t be surprised that in a uniquely crowded season with teams playing three times a week relentlessly, the team that can “make the ball do the work” the best and force other teams to chase leather better than the rest is, after an initial burst of enthusiasm from its competitors, going to conserve its energy better and inexorably pull away from the rest.
The answer was always hiding in the plainest of sight.