It’s an international weekend. Don’t pretend you’ve anything better to do than send a mail to [email protected]…
How a Man Utd 'experiment' could provide 'England's backbone …
The curious case of Aaron Wan-Bissaka
The curious case of Aaron Wan-Bissaka. We spent a lot of money on a young full-back, for that there is no doubt. He is an amazing defender, no doubting that either. Unfortunately, he does have some, already well documented, limits to his game, in the attacking third that might see him never make it to the top bracket of world-class full-back that United need.
I do see him as already being a world-class defender though. Why not make the most of his strengths and not waste time focussing on the things he is not naturally great at? Make him a center-back at Manchester United. He already has the pace and defensive instincts. He is the best tackler in the league. Furthermore, it’s not like Maguire/Lindeloff is a rock-solid partnership anyway that cannot be broken up.
How a Man Utd 'experiment' could provide 'England's backbone …
His pace would actually be the ideal cover for Maguire, who would then be able to take charge a bit more and play to his strengths too. Maguire would also be the ideal candidate to help guide AWB through the transition as well.
United could then make room to play Dalot at right-back. Dalot has what it takes to make it. He is great going forward can develop into a great offensive threat, especially knowing he has AWB behind him to cover. If Dalot recovers from his injuries and is fit for a run of games this is definitely worth trying out.
We have also seen with Trippier this year that it is easier to develop defensive abilities and discipline than it is to develop attacking skills, techniques, and instincts. AWB and Dalot can develop the defensive skills required for their positions in time without any tradeoffs to their strengths.
If the Maguire/AWB experiment works it could also be England’s backbone allowing TTA and Chillwell to do their thing on the flanks knowing AWB can move wide and cover.
Election Sunday, not much to do in Colombo.
Hakim, Sri Lanka
Why is anybody surprised that Joe Gomez was booed because he had been attacked by Raheem Sterling? That’s the level of many football fans in England, whether it’s club football or the national team. Opposition national anthems routinely get booed, opposition cities get ‘taken’ when English team play there, songs about wars are sung, songs about tragedies are sung at league games between hated rivals. Racist abuse is dished out. Then Patrice Evra gets relentlessly booed throughout a game for West Ham at Anfield because 4 or 5 years previously he had been the VICTIM of racist abuse by a Liverpool player (I watched that whole game live on TV, and whilst I expected something, I was still shocked at the level of it). Rio Ferdinand was regularly abused by Chelsea fans for being RELATED to a VICTIM of racist abuse by John Terry. Wayne Bridge was abused because his partner allegedly had an affair with John Terry. Marcus Rashford has a bad game and gets racist abuse. And countless more examples.
Here on F365 we are generally (although not always – see reaction on here to Suarez/Evra in 2013) blessed with reasonable fans with differing opinions. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is what all football fans are like. Unfortunately we’re the minority (although a large-ish one).
Sundin, Bury FC, Exiled in Toronto.
To all those bemoaning the boos dished out to Gomez (one of “England’s brightest stars”? HAHAHA!), would you care to reflect on the treatment dished out to England’s Raheem Sterling in the recent past? The poison dished his way following England’s limp showing at Euro 2016 was just *outrageous*. Or, really, did he just deserve it?
All the best,
Levenshulme Blue Manchester 19
One past player to help England now
Jon, Cape Town……. Not everyone’s favourite, but that team is missing someone to play the role of the Guv’ner, Mr Paul Ince.
How we came to support our clubs
An interesting email from Private Tabonga, wondering why we support teams. The genesis of such a decision can always be varied and interesting, but the ability to stick with it should never be in doubt.
In Ireland at least, it usually starts because of family, friends or your fun uncle who was football mad. In my case, I was born into a United supporting family. My 70+ yrs old parents both supported United, even before they met each other. My sport fanatic mum tuning in on the radio in her youth and my Dad being fascinated by Matt Busby and all things United in his. My brother, sister and I, simply had our decision made for us.
Things were a little tougher for my older brother, Liverpool dominated, where at 36 years old I was lucky enough to experience our best era. Support was handed down, it’s inherited. I could never understand a child friend loosening their parents grip on the team they supported. “Dad supports Stoke but I support Chelsea?”. My Dad would have whipped me blue for following anyone else. At age 4 I asked why we didn’t support Liverpool like all my friends, I even went so far as to ask for a shirt so I could fit in. The collective roar from my father and brother and the threat of living on the street ended that conversation quickly.
The thing is, it would never cross my mind to support anyone else as an adult. It would be like giving up your child to love someone else’s. I don’t know this kid, I have no memories of this child, I am in no way invested in their past, present or future. They’ve provided me with no memories and their dominance or otherwise has zero appeal to me. There are people who do, and I dare say I have zero respect for these types of people. Like people who support players, not teams. An ex housemate of mine did it with Basketball and supported any team LeBron James or Kobe Bryant played for – pathetic!
Sport goes deeper than any hobby. We usually derive consistent pleasure from our hobbies and for the most part we control them. We decide when to start, when to stop and dictate our interaction with it. But sport and supporting a team is like having a loved one or a family member. You can’t control them, you can only watch on as they do what they do and love them warts and all. Rejoice at their success, lament the falls and carry on regardless. You simply do not have a choice. Poor decisions, lack of appreciation, greed, poor performances, extortionate spending, no spending e.t.c, you can’t not love them, even when you hate them.
So if you ever do meet a person who has defected from a team they used to support, walk away from this person, never speak to them again, and if you are forced to, never trust them. They just don’t get it, and they are terrible human beings.
Rowan, Red Devil Dub
…According to the old song, we in Liverpool have a cathedral going spare and indeed there are two religions in the city of Liverpool: Liverpool Football Club and Everton Football Club. You’re indoctrinated at an early age – when I was a kid, around the rest of the country it was “Are you a punk or a mod ?”, but in the republic of scouse, the question was different: “are you red or blue ?” Generally with a gang of hefty-looking lads glaring at you and daring you to get it “wrong”…
So I’ve been a Liverpool fan for the last 45 years or so, ever since my first visit to Anfield – growing up in spitting distance of it meant *my* 50:50 question was far more like 90:10 so it’s not as though I really had much choice, but I have no regrets. I’ve been there for the highs, and I’ve been miserable through the lows (oh, for *so* long now – to quote James: “Now I’ve spun back down again, it’s worse than it was before … ore”) but there is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s possible (and I use the word advisedly, it’s by no means certain or even likely IMHO) the mighty reds could transform butterfly-like from the might-be reds. We’ll see.
It’s with no little surpise then, that I read Tabonga’s mail this morning (it’s 7am where I am)… Five years ? What’s that ? It’s nothing. There’s some mitigation for the geography of the situation I suppose, but from my perspective, you choose your club, and you stick with it through thick and thin. Being made a laughing stock by the great Alex Ferguson for a decade or two didn’t (and shouldn’t) change my perspective. To add another quote, this time from a … well known … Liverpool manager: some people think football is a matter of life and death, I assure you, it’s much more important than that.
So chin up, get behind the team which (for better or worse) you’ve aligned your life with. There are sparks of life in the murk that is Manchester United’s football, and the fans “job” is to fan those flames and not give up; “fan” is after all short for “fanatic”, which means your support that team beyond all reasonable hope. Get on with it man, and the second-best of luck to you.
…Private Tabonga Moyo makes a good point, which gets at the heart of the issue with football today. On the one hand, it is a business etc., players get paid “market value” because people pay silly money to buy Sky / BT (which I do), go to games (which I try to do given I’m fortunate enough to live here now, but is really f*cking hard), and buy kits, tracksuits etc.
On the other, it is much harder for football fans to take their business elsewhere. Sure you can follow rugby instead, or decide to support Liverpool / Manchester City when your team isn’t very good anymore (hellooooooo international Arsenal and ManYoo fans!). But it is not at all like the free market where I would usually choose a substitute good or service instead of continually having a negative experience. I enjoy watching football, and for whatever reason I support Arsenal, even though both those things aren’t great (thanks to VAR and Arsenal being Arsenal)
I guess this is Jon Nic’s point when he say we (local supporters?) should be angry that the game was taken away from the people – put behind paywalls by the Entertainment industry and clubs “bought” by millionaires from the UK and abroad. People who watched their local team growing up, and had a deep connection to it, are now disenfranchised because of the football industry which has sprung up around it. This industry thrives because suckers like us are emotionally bought into a group of 11 people wearing specific coloured outfits chasing a ball around.
At the same time I’m sitting here in a corporate office not too dissimilar from what Arsenal HQ must look like, an Australian who arbitrarily picked a team despite having no connection to the area, and who pays more than most to keep the whole thing going. I don’t know whether acknowledging the issue means I’m a tiny part of the solution, or whether I’m just virtue signalling at the same time as I feed the machine and make it worse.
Simon (I took a fun question and made it boring didn’t I…), London
…Tabonga Moyo, I couldn’t even bring myself to finish reading your mail. Please go and support any other football club than Manchester United, if you have considered jumping ship to Liverpool then you were never a fan in the first place, real fans support through the “dross” not look to escape it. Liverpool have had enough dross of their own to put up with for a number of years (See, Voronin, Babel, Xavier…) and I didn’t notice an influx of ship jumpers.
Ben, Manchester (I don’t think Liverpool would have you either)
…Tabonga Moyo asked why do we support the clubs that we do in Friday’s mailbox and why don’t we simply jump ship to another team in our lives, well my point is that you usually grow up supporting a team, maybe it is due to your parents who are supporters of said club, you live close to the ground or you idolised a player who played for that team.
Supporting a football club is like being part of a family, you don’t leave just because the times are tough, you stick with them through the good and the bad, that is one thing I love about lower league football, the clubs really do have a sense of community about them, all football clubs do, however I have always seemed to have felt it stronger in the non-league section, which is why I try my best to attend my local town’s ground whenever they are at home.
As mentioned in the mailbox before, the first footballer that I id idolise was Kaka, that is why I will always have a soft spot for AC Milan and keep an eye on their results, however the club I support is Chelsea, the reason behind that is because I went to a car boot sale saw some football training tops and with my pocket money I bought the Chelsea 02/03 Away Jersey with Fly Emirates wrote across it, at the time I was around 9 years old and the only football I remember was the 2002 World Cup, it is not an exciting story but that is how I got into supporting the club I do, even though I do not live in London.
Tabonga Moyo’s mail asks why folks stick with clubs that don’t win constantly – or that constantly bring us misery – and I suppose I’ve always thought it obvious: because if you’re changing allegiance based on results, you’re not really supporting anything but the wins. I’ve supported Newcastle United since November 1995, when I moved to England; I lived there from 1995-96, and although Newcastle were flying when I chose them, my choice was honestly based more on their kit (which to an American, looks amusingly like a referee’s) and sponsor (Newcastle Brown was my first English beer), their play style, and their characterization as a surprise package, rather than on their success. That first year season led to heartbreak, and from a winning-trophies standpoint, so has every season since: some more than others. The two times I’ve managed to see them play in person, they lost. I made long trips to see them play in two FA Cup Finals against Arsenal via CCTV, and they lost both times. The Toon have been relegated twice since I became a supporter, coming close to relegation more times, and winning the Championship after that is little more than a bitter pill, once the moment passes. I know suffering, though it’s not as though I’m a Wimbledon or Chester City fan: those folks, and many others, have lost their clubs entirely.
I stay with them because love the club, and the “suffering” has nothing to do with that, unless it deepens the love Every setback and disaster I’ve been through with the club will make it that much sweeter when (Yes, when! You looking for a fight?) we finally win a top-level trophy. Also, it would shame me not to stick with them: what kind of person – besides a professional footballer, I mean – changes clubs because he or she wants to win? It’s bad enough to support a club because you expect them to provide reflected glory every year; I’d have little but contempt for a supporter so fickle and, well, selfish as to back out of that implied contract. Perhaps Tabonga can’t change clubs because he’s become a true supporter? Though if that’s the case, I wonder why his club winning both an FA Cup and a League Cup in the last five years has brought him no joy.
Chris C, Toon Army DC
Joe, You are a customer of Arsenal and not an employer of the players in the same way that I am a customer at the Queens Head and not an employer of the staff there.
If you can’t understand the difference then I’m not sure your opinion is going to be altogether valid.
Steve (loyal LUFC customer since 1970)
Joe, an employer is a person or an organisation who employees a person or people for money, known as wages.
When you shop in Tesco, you don’t become an employer there, and when you pay to watch the Arsenal, you are most certainly not an employer. You are a customer or, at best, a subscriber.
You pay money to avail of a service. If you don’t like it, don’t pay. Or keep doing it. Either way, just stop calling yourself an employer.
Xhaka booed by his own fans and then telling them to F’ off.
Sterling gets booed
Gomez gets booed
Poch is now useless and has to go
Emery is now being ridiculed in some Fawlty Towers ‘Manuel’ waiter-esque way because he can’t pronounce his words properly and so has ‘lost the dressing room’
F365 has become VAR365
We’re arguing over 1/10th of a second photos and some young millionaires armpit
Rashford is world class, no he isn’t
What is Fred !?
Seriously what are we all doing ? I’m reading a book at the minute by Andy Rooney called Common (non)sense. It has some wonderful stuff in it:-
‘Loyalty is an admirable trait, even when a person is loyal to something that doesn’t deserve it’.
‘The only thing that has saved professional sports from being abandoned by the fans they have abused so badly is the thing that makes being a fan such a good off-duty activity: whatever happens doesn’t make one damn of difference to your real life.’
For me (Jeff), it feels as if the more ticket prices have gone up, the more Sky Sports costs, the more drenching media and social media has become, and when we see players earning more in a week than most of us would earn in 5-10 years what we are actually looking for is the impossible dream……perfection.
Apparently Granit Xhaka is ‘sh!t’. He isn’t sh!t, he’s a professional footballer who has made some mistakes and maybe isn’t good enough for a top 6 premier league team. How can you scream for loyalty when a good player wants to leave and be screaming blue murder when you want someone out. Do you understand that makes you a hypocrite!?!
Do you want to be entertained was F365s latest contribution.
So you have to ask yourself what are you a fan or a customer ? The argument that ‘I pay your wages and so can abuse you if I like’ is madness. If you worked in McDonalds and messed up an order would you expect an angry mob and cacophony of boos as you left work? Would you just accept it and wander off thinking ‘well they pay my wages so I have to just take this’ or would you get on the bus and start flicking V’s out of the back window before texting your boss telling them to shove the job, the aggro isn’t worth it.
You have to ask yourself (not just Arsenal fans) what are you ? Are you a ‘supporter’ or a consumer. What is your expectation when you go to a game, to be entertained or to support your team to help them win the game ? Ideally both!? A lot of people get annoyed when you say ‘We’ won on Saturday, no you didn’t, a group of highly trained professionals paid an exorbitant amount of money won on Saturday. You met up with your mates, had a few drinks, went to the game and celebrated / shouted / abused your team and then left. It’s why so much respect is afforded to fans lower down the leagues, it’s a test of endurance, a small band of people who travel all over the country to see their team lose, why do they do it ? I’d suggest because they can claim to be special. No glory hunting plastic fan free flag wavers there. Just loyalty and a habit forming bond which is tough to break and thus can be admired by everyone.
I don’t like fans abusing the opposition, I don’t like fans goading the away end, both of these things are cowardice, there are no consequences for you, the players will get banned and vilified and the police will stop the opposing fans attacking you. What are you doing !? Why is this necessary !?
Everyone needs to stop judging everyone else, look in the mirror and judge yourself, remember that in actuality the football result does not actually affect your life. By all means enjoy it, care about it, love it but remember what it actually is and then just chill…..
Hong Kong Ian (real life is happening in Hong Kong right now) LFC