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Friday, January 16, 2009

One Random Post + KAKA Madness

Robinho is at Manchester City, soon to be followed by Kaka. Denilson is now at Bolton, and now Tottenham want Adriano? That. Is. Mint.
Harry, Manchester

Smug United Fan On Kaka
As a Man United fan for the past 17-odd years (I'm sorry, I have only lived for so long, so this is as far as my life experience goes. Sure, I've seen pictures from the 80's and heard of people like Mark Robbins and Jim Leighton but its difficult for me to decipher the real from the imaginary. So bear with me.) I have come to accept certain patterns as simply inevitable.

For example, Liverpool will always make loud noises about challenging for the title, they may even remain in contention up until February but they will always fall apart miserably.

And Man City, no matter how many false dawns, and seemingly bright opportunities on the horizon will always collapse pathetically. Last season was a particular case in point where they seemed all set to challenge for the top four, with a top manager and some top players but ended the season hopelessly mid-table and getting humiliated at place like Teeside.

Maybe, I am tempting fate here, but even if they do manage to lure Kaka to the Temple of Doon (naming rights patent: Sir Alex), they will I feel somehow manage to screw it all up again.

It is always fun to watch though.
Hugh 'Smug in Cork' O'Reilly

Is This What Citeh Fans Want?
Would signing Kaka for £100mil and paying him £500k a week be a good move for Man City or a bad one? Do City fans really want their club to be more wasteful with cash than Abroamovich? To have a club more reliant on its owner than Chelsea? This plan is not sustainable, all this rapid splashing of the cash is evidence of an impatient owner wanting to have his fun and success now rather than build season after season.

Look at Chelsea, Abramovich has other things to worry about now, he's lost his interest and they're stuck losing money with an old and aging highly-paid squad. Wouldn't building a team in the same fashion as Martin O'Neill has done at Villa be better for the club in the long run? It's more sustainable and you don't have to offer crazy wages to attract players to your club. As your club progresses and you're competing at the top end of the league players will want to come to you to win things.

The name of the game is building a team. All the successful managers have done that, building a team doesn't happen in one or two transfer windows. It happens over time, piece by piece. Attempting to build a big ego, highly paid new 'Galacticos' in Eastlands will bring some initial success. But in the long term building that success patiently and sustainably would mean you could try follow the Manchester United model rather than the Chelsea one.

I know I'm glad the way Martin O'Neill has rebuilt Villa.
Conor Byrne

...What good can possibly come of the amount of money Citeh are talking about spending on Kaka? They're already reached the situation of spending waaaay too much on the wages of certain players (or Wayne Bridge, as his mother probably calls him). When Abramovich bought Chelsea, they were a couple of players away from challenging for the league. Yes, they spent silly money, but most of their big transfers were at least credible in isolation from each other. The super-silly bids did not materialise (there was a rumour of 90million for Raul, I recall). City are a couple of players away from being a Championship side (in the other direction, mind.)

How is any City manager going to persuade the players he needs to stay on when there's people earning this kind of money in the team? Lampard and Terry are probably earning 30k a week more than anybody else would have considered paying for them over this exact situation occurring at Chelsea - on a fraction of the scale!

You can bet City will have the same problem when they look for a midfielder to actually tackle people for less than Robinho earns, which is of course why Makelele left Madrid.
Andrew, Ireland

Well, This Fella Doesn't...
The guy behind me, a Man City fan, has shown to me that he knows nothing of the game outside of England. He doesn't think Man City should sign Kaka, because they need more 'hard-working' players like Roque Santa Cruz and Craig Bellamy (!) in their team. He feels that 'namby pamby Brazilians' would have no place in the Man City team, reason being that he couldn't stick the cold in Manchester. Ignoring the fact that Milan, and indeed most of Northern Italy, gets very cold in the winter. Doh...

When we pointed out Kaka is one of the best players in the world he said, 'well, he might make Robinho play better'! We suggested they should sign Vinny Samways and Peter Atherton, or indeed Tim Sills from Torquay United, but it went a bit off the rails after that!

Can anyone else think of a reason a fellow fan has come up with not to sign a world-class player that beggars belief?? Usually along the theme, 'Johnny Foreigner doesn't like it up 'em'??
Matthew (not a fan of this work lark) Bowden, LFC, Somerset

Spare A Thought For Luton
As Premiership fans read the latest story linking Ronaldo with a move to Madrid, and the obscene rumours about Kaka, I would like to get a mention into the Mailbox of the achievement of Luton Town finally wiping out the 30 negative points issued at the start of the season with a draw away at Chester last night.

Despite the odds still clearly being well stacked against the prospect of us staying up, in the face of such great adversity we are almost on target to miraculously do so, should the second half of the season take a similar course to that which has already gone by, with a 'net total' of 30 points won that would in real terms see us sitting comfortably mid-table. Without the spectre of the deducted points putting off potential players at the start of the season, who knows how the season may have panned out? But that's all hypothetical - we're in the situation we're in, and it would be fantastic to see justice be done in response to the Football League's harsh punishment (and to win their trophy with a trip to Wembley is also a nice ironic possibility...).

And just a quick word of warning to fans of Chelsea and Man City - if you're not already concerned, be very wary about these transfer fees and salaries that could easily be the death knell for the club/business if the owners lose interest, as is reported this morning in Chelsea's case. If a buyer is put off by the debt, there's only one way you're going. I know it's a completely different world to the lower leagues, but the same principles still apply...
Nick Stafford, LTFC

On Tottenham's Decline...
As the papers dissect Harry Redknapp's run of bad form, it has not been lost on me that our run of bad form began to occur once we lost Tommy Huddlestone to injury in the middle of the park. The formation employed by Harry with Zokora and Huddlestone sitting in the middle worked extremely well in a number of games and prevented many teams attacking us right down the centre, which has always been an easy target on us.

We're home to Pompey and Stoke in the next two games with a relative six-pointer following against Bolton at the Reebok thereafter. Seven points is a pre-requisite to climb out of the mire or begin the climb, but we should be aiming for nine pts. No more excuses, the talent is there and the motivation was there when Harry arrived so it just needs to be refound.

Harry's reference to the lads coming in for big money and not performing must be Bentley (in general), Pavyluchenko (away from home) and possibly Bale. Bale is getting murdered down the left flank as he is mostly double-teamed and on his own. Lennon is not great defensively and Bentley always ends up in-field leaving him exposed. Modric has been the only one in the middle of our park that has showed genuine willingness to get on the ball at every opportunity and bring others into play. If we had three more like him we'd be laughing. And I'm sick to death of pundits saying "I dont think he's up for the game here, his stature is not right". How about you watch a game for 90 mins and then make judgement afterwards, instead of talking in slurs like you're still drunk - yes Merson I'm looking at you.
Karl '3pts are a must against Pompey on Saturday, or we're really goosed', Dublin

Answering All Tuesday Afternoon's Questions
I think I've managed to answer all the questions from yesterday's mailbox, please correct me if I'm wrong, here goes:

Why is CR7's head and face always so shiny these days? Does he polish it? - Yes, with Ferrari wax.

(re: James Beattie) I mean, what would he look like in hoops? - Fat.

(re: the mailbox) What happened to the witty banter and inciteful football analysis? - Still there, on the whole.

Can anyone think of a player whose number at four or more different clubs has been a prime number? - Neville Southall.

Is anyone so interested in the views of Paul Hayward (Telegraph to Mail to Guardian), Patrick Barclay (Telegraph to Sunday Times) or the aforementioned Martin Samuel, to actually buy the Guardian instead of the Telegraph or switch from the Times to the Mail? - No.

I was wondering if any other Mailboxers were disappointed to not get a player, only to then find out you were hopelessly wrong to ever want them in the first place? - I thought Liverpool missed out by not keeping Scott Carson. I was wrong.

Is there anything to stop that sheikh who owns Man City from buying debt -idden Valencia for €1, then selling David Villa to Man City for two bags of peanuts and a mankini and then declaring Valencia bankrupt? - Yes, there are rules regarding dual ownership of football clubs, hence Roman Abramovich could not own a majority in CSKA Moscow and Chester City owner Stephen Vaughan was forced to relinquish his interest in Barrow FC. There is nothing to stop the Sheikh's 'best friend' from buying Valencia however. You cannot buy a Football Club without evidence you have funds to avoid placing the club into bankruptcy in the short term. Similarly, you cannot place a club into administration for the sole purpose of wiping out that club's debts, as Ken Bates found out at Leeds United. There is nothing preventing peanuts and mankinis being used as part of a transfer.

(re Rooney/Giggs free-kick) Can anyone else think of any examples of clever inventiveness on set pieces? That Pires/Henry penalty a few years ago that went horribly wrong. Wasn't that clever after all and we all laughed.

(re Bolton) Did they actually bring any fans to the game? Yes, but not many (call Arsenal FC for official number).

How ridiculous can this country get? - There are no limits.

That is all.
Dr (Liverpool, Fiorentina, and Sivasspor) Wang, Lancashire

The Shininess Explained
It's obvious why CR7/9 has a shiny face, he's changed his moisturiser to Olay regenerist to fight the seven signs of ageing.
Shelly, Fulham

Some Random Questions
With the '09' plate soon to be with us, which footballer do you think will go for the reg CL09GER ?

Roy Henderson

...Just wondering if this has been mentioned before.

Does anyone know why when players are shown arriving to the ground before a match they are wearing such massive 70s style headphones?
Mark Rushforth, Dublin

Some Set-Piece Funnery
In response to the query about innovative set-pieces - the 'Sheringham corner' routine was used fairly regularly by Anderton and Sheringham at both Spurs and England, and always seemed to flummox the opposition, despite being really not so complicated to fathom.

Smartest set-piece I ever saw, I grudgingly admit through gritted teeth, was Argentina's vs England at World Cup '98, on the stroke of half-time - lad in the wall nips out, receives short pass, scores: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_06AkZvjgxU

Cunningly done, yet never mimicked (apart from me and a mate once in the park).
Michael Lacquiere

...I remember one incident from an under-17 or under-21 World Cup, where the Portuguese did something quite brilliant. Two players shaped up to take the free-kick. They then began to argue about who would take it and grabbed each other's shirts and were pushing each other around. When the opposition players ran forward to stop the 'fight', a third Portugese player took the free-kick and scored!!

We tried the same thing in our local team, but the 'fight' became a real one and turned into a brawl.
Tim ('polite applause') David, Gooner

...Best ever was Sweden's free-kick in the '94 World Cup when they throttled Bulgaria. Guy on the end of the wall spun around and they dinked it over the top to him and he smashed it past Mihaylov. Cheeky!
Bret (H) McCormick

...In response to Dave Dineens 'clever inventiveness' by Man Utd I can remember one set piece in particular.

I forget who we were playing but Beckham had a freekick on the edge of the area and he took the usual pose that he takes before bending it into the top corner. He ran to smack it but instead dinked it over the wall for a neatly placed Denis Irwin, placed a foot behind the wall, to smack it in passed the diving keeper. Unfortunately, Mr. Dependable scuffed the shot but a neat piece of inventiveness to distract those keepers who spend hours studying the Beckham freekick!
Andy Gaynor

More On THAT Corner
Following Declan Kelly's email yesterday I felt moved to write with my own views on the United corner at the weekend.

Firstly, whether the goal should have stood is a moot point. The minute Giggs took the ball, the linesman flagged for an infringement. The very fact that he did that led the Chelsea players to behave in a different manner to if the ball had been genuinely live. Some of them would have relaxed, knowing the play was going to be called back, some would have been focussed on making sure the referee saw the linesman's signal. So, no-one can categorically say that the goal would have in fact resulted if no linesman's signal had been given and Chelsea had reacted to what they 100% perceived to be a genuine threat.

As to whether the corner is legal or decent, I'd liken it to another example. It is perfectly within the laws of the game when the ball is played into touch to allow an injured player to be treated for the team with the throw-in to use it to their advantage, as Arsenal did against Sheffield United in the FA Cup. However, in both instances it is basically unfair advantage through deception. What saddens me if that this is illustrative of football in general and the United of Rooney and Ronaldo. That, by their own admission, United were practising on the training ground not to beat their opponents by being the better team, but by trying to engineer a situation where they could pretend the ball wasn't in play and gain an advantage over their opponents, reflects badly on players and manager alike.

The player I feel most disappointment for is the one 'World Class' player involved in the move - Ryan Giggs. The other two are demonstrably professional only in the contractual sense of the word, and certainly not sportsmen in any sense. Giggs, however, is one of the few players to have shown genuine class and loyalty, and come through the last two decades of football and footballers excesses with dignity. Here's a player used to performing in a side which feared no-one and brushed opposition aside by simply being a better team. I think and hope it stuck in his throat a little when he approached that ball with the intention of pretending it wasn't in play, with the sole intention of cheating his opponents and gaining an advantage.
Duncan, Sheffield

Primed For A Response
In response to Joe in Oxford, I would like to propose a player whose number at four or more different clubs has been a prime number.

Edwin van der Sar has used the number 1 shirt at four different clubs now (Ajax, Juventus, Fulham, Manchester United) and the number 1 is of course the first prime number. I hope this makes Joe happy.
Simon (1,2,3,5,7,11,...) Gill

...Whilst we're at it, I'll answer this prime number conundrum, one Super Bobby Pires is the answer...Prime Number 7 at Metz, Marseille, Arsenal, and Villareal...even with France.

I thank you.
Thomas, Newport

...Re Joe, Oxford and prime numbers. I am pretty sure that Pat Nevin wore prime for Chelsea, Everton and Tranmere. If he did the same for Clyde or Kilmarnock, then there's four at least.

I'm probably wrong, but I can't resist the Statto high. At least I resisted serious research.

Yeah, get a girlfriend. I know.
Jon (he could switch wings, that little so-n-so) Marten

...In response to Joe, Oxford and his damning of the rather interesting (not quite interesting, that would be Stephen Fry) stat produced by one Paul Bushell. As a student and the future of this country I felt it my responsibility to find the answer to his rather strange but completely reasonable request of whether anyone could think of a player that had played for four or more clubs wearing prime numbers as their squad number. Albeit done while drunk I believe I can offer an answer. Michael Ballack of Chelsea fame. He wore:

3 at Kaiserslautern
13 at Bayer Leverkusen
13 at Bayern Munich
and 13 at Chelsea
And there we have it.
Will (student with too much time on his hands), Notts

..I totally agree with Joe from Oxford! Can anyone else think of any emails sent in with which they agree?
Suresh, Winchester

And Back To The Colour Theme...
I have always found it amazing that no-one else seems interested about Jan Aage Fjortoft's apparent obsession with red and you have given me the opportunity to mention this.

He played for....

Sheffield Utd
Eintracht Frankfurt

He is probably better known for that awful celebration though!
Ed (Mailbox twice in two days? Go on, do it) Radwan

And The Next Question...
I have my own one, after seeing this season that Rafael Van der Vaart is wearing the number 23 for Real, I was wondering if there has ever been a better succesive trio of players, in the days of squad numbers, that have worn the same shirt number than Real's one of David Beckham, Wesley Sneidjer and now Van der Vaart...if you get what I mean.
Niall, Libpool FC

Close Shaves
Rich in London, there have been a few players over the years that I wanted for Southampton and didn't get, and they turned out being poo. For instance, in 2004, both us and Blackburn were chasing the highly-rated (if not ageing) AMLC, Real Sociedad captain Francisco Javier De Pedro. It turns out we couldn't afford his wages, so he went on to Blackburn where he was ****.

Other close calls include that ringpiece Didier Drogba (from Guingamp), Emmanuel Adebayor (from Monaco) and Tomas Rosicky (Sparta) who all turned out to be utter...hang on, gone a little wrong here.

Just another quick musing, has anyone else noticed that Stoke seem to be trying to build up a team of ex-Southampton players. Currently they have Rory Delap, Danny Higginbotham, Andrew Davies, Ricardo Fuller and now James Beattie. Has no-one told them the reason we are where we are is because we're crap?
Simon 'We play better football than Stoke though' Goddard, SFC

...In response to Rich, London, might I suggest Mr. Ronaldo de Assis Moreira aka Ronaldinho back when United sold David Beckham. While he definitely didn't turn out to be bollocks (back then anyway, can't say about now), I believe it turned out to be a blessing in disguise in the form of another Ronaldo...
Justin, MUFC, Malaysia

...In response to Rich, London, I remember reacting with disappointment when Liverpool didn't sign El Hadji Diouf after his impressive 2002 World Cup performances, instead opting to sign Nicolas Anelka, who I felt that despite having had an excellent season for us, did not have the temperament to fulfill his potential and succeed at a big club. I was relieved in the seasons following however, when El Hadj Diouf only scored three goals in as many seasons for Man City and was generally regarded by all as being a petulant little s**t. Anelka on the other hand formed lethal partnerships with Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler which led to Liverpool building on their second place finish from the previous year and winning the league title. Oh wait, no...

Yours and still bitter,
Cormac (what do ya mean let it go?) Kelly

...Following Rich's mail yesterday, as a Liverpool fan, it was interesting to have a think about players we missed out on signing only for them to turn out to be a pile of sh*te. The ones that come to mind after slipping through Liverpool's grasp are

Silvestre to United from Inter. Now don't go quoting me all his honours, he is utter dung.

Boumsong to Newcastle from Rangers. No comment required.

Downing to ? - doesn't matter who he signs for, he is going to be tripe, happy with Riera.

Lee Bowyer (eventually) to West Ham from Leeds - OK I cant even pretend I ever wanted him but it four examples is better than three.

Lenny, Belfast

A Very Low Low
For all those Man U fans complaining about Nani, Arsenal fans about Bendtner and Chelsea fans about Malouda, let me put things in perspective for you.

Last night I hit a new footballing low when Birmingham played the whole of the second half against Wolves with Nigel Quashie playing up front! Surprisingly we did not manage to overcome the 1-0 deficit at half time, I can't think why...
Daniel Zakis

And Finally...
If an away team turns up and is clearly only playing for a 0-0 draw, and then the home team scores, could the home fans not sing 'nil-nil and you f#%&*d it up'?
Peter, LFC, MVFC, Melbourne

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