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The Mailbox wonders what the cost could be for Manchester United if Anthony Martial finally pulls his finger out this season. Also: Chelsea’s academy products; and fans policing other fans.
Get your views in to firstname.lastname@example.org…
I think we all know that Martial is a talented player. That’s never really been in doubt, it’s his attitude and application that’s been the issue. With some of those who would been a negative influence having left, there’s a chance that we may finally see him break free from the self-imposed limitations and be the player he looked he looked like when we signed him. And that’s a very good thing for United.
However, there is a negative. Joel Glazer refused to sell the player because he is a fan, even when it was clear he was not performing. If it turns out that his evaluation of the player was correct, he’ll believe that he should have a view on other signings.
Is it worth the cost of having Martial “like a new signing”? Probably. Just as long as Joel doesn’t get to veto the manager’s signings…
Big club b*llocks
Just wanted to come back to Lee’s comments yesterday on Man United fans. Now I’m not really sure if there is a shared definition of what a ‘Big Club’ actually is but I would consider both Man United and Liverpool to be one and that they always been big clubs throughout my near 35 years of watching football. Lee is seemingly of the opinion that trophies dictate this label whereas my definition is more encompassing, good to know however that Lee thinks Liverpool have been a small club for most of the 21st century.
For years now I’ve read similar comments that take the piss or disparage fans for their perception of their own club and I find it hard to understand the motivation. I would say being a fan of a football club, especially to a degree of interest which would get you writing letters here, is definitely a more emotional rather than logical experience. I don’t watch United because they are the best, I watch them out of love and obsession. They are far more a family member to me than the many of my relations. I’ve grown up with them as a permanent fixture of my life and I care about them. I’m aware this is very much a one sided relationship but that’s the same for all football fans. As I assume many others will feel a similar way about their own club, why laugh at each other for it. Of course we have emotional reactions, of course we put logic aside sometimes to indulge in a fantasy, of course we have a slightly tinted view of exactly where our club stands in the official hierarchy of excellence.
I don’t really know what point I’m trying to make but this sort of thing feels wrong to me. Like when fans and team get laughed at for celebrating a victory that others don’t perceive as important or special. It’s bloody football, the point is to enjoy it.
…If Lee put the same effort into actual fishing that he does fishing for bites in the Mailbox he could help solve world hunger. One wonders why he has a tendency to write in about such a small club (United). I suppose it’s nice of him to give us the airtime as it helps to keep us relevant. Without people like Lee we’d just be yesterday’s news and our worldwide fanbase of around 1 billion would dwindle away to nothing. Ho-hum.
The most encouraging thing I took away from our 4-0 mauling of Liverpool, given the result means very little (even though it seemingly did for a lot of them in pre-season 2018 when they beat us 4-1; one of the few thrashings they have dished out to us recently, truth be told), was our work off the ball in terms of pressing and intensity. We were exposed at times as Liverpool broke through the press, Diaz in particular looked really sharp, which shows there is work still to do but Rome wasn’t built in a day. I do have concerns about how Maguire will perform, given how high our back line will have to be to squeeze play, but no doubt Ten Hag will give him a chance to show if his reading of the game makes up for his relative lack of pace. And the system can be created in such a way to provide some cover, because his height and experience is likely to be needed in certain games.
Long way to go to but the early signs, and everything that’s being said by Ten Hag, are encouraging. De Jong (hopefully), Martinez and one more signing this summer will hopefully give us a decent squad to build something with. Hope springs eternal eh?
Garey Vance, MUFC
Lionesses and race
My apologies for another mail referencing Ian King’s article but I had to comment on Jim O’Donnell’s ignorant mail. Jim said to “Go back and read the article again and all will fall into place. While doing it, keep social class in mind.”
Jim is obviously yet another left wing racist who thinks all black people in England are lower class and all white people are middle and upper class. Also if class plays an issue this suggests obviously none of the white players in the England team grew up lower class in the inner city, I’m very sure this isn’t the case so that argument is just nonsense.
Football be it the men’s or women’s game is a meritocracy therefore the best players end up representing the top club sides and England. We won 8-0 and are joint favourites to win the competition so these current players must obviously be the best we have despite their heinous melanin deficiency right?
I’m just waiting for France to win the thing then it be declared it wasn’t because they had the best team (this would factually correct if they lift the trophy) but because they were the most diverse team (a woke delusion).
One other important point to be made here is why are other races not focused on in the article or anywhere trumpeting this garbage? There are twice as many South Asians in the UK than black people but it doesn’t seem to matter that they aren’t represented in Football in either the men’s or women’s game. I guess the woke don’t care about them as people of Indian descent specifically in the UK are on average the top earners in the country so obviously aren’t “oppressed” enough to warrant virtue signalling. South Asian men in general also seem to prefer cricket to football which might explain why there are so few in professional football and why it is never raised as an issue. This begs the question: maybe black women in the UK that are talented enough to take part in elite sports are just more interested in other sports, like maybe for example athletics where they are clearly represented very well and have been for a long time. Seems like common sense to me.
I wanted to address a hot topic amongst the Chelsea fandom at the moment, specifically, the ‘rumour’ that we are considering selling 19-year-old Academy prospect Levi Colwill this summer, as we look to bring in Kimpembe and Ake to further compliment Koulibaly,Silva and Chalobah.
Online at least, there seems to be a sharp divide between those who want the Football Manager fantasy of a homegrown XI (guilty) vs the Fifa fantasy of Neymar, CR7 etc.
I’ve even seen some 50k+ follower accounts claiming that Tuchel is just Mourinho MK2 and doesn’t care about the youth etc.
Chelsea has a poor track record here – Guehi & Tomori should both still be part of our squad, it was a failure at the boardroom level to back two older players with expiring contracts (Christensen & Rudiger) and ended up costing us all four players in the end.
This is exacerbated by what happened at RB, losing Livaramento & Lamptey who both look like class additions to the lower/mid-table teams they joined.
I’d argue that we’ve actually been relatively sensible in our approach-academy players are shown that whilst it is very hard to get into the XI, it is possible when following the loan pathway : Christensen, RLC, Chalobah, Mount, James, Gallagher (will play this year imo) as examples.
If there is not a route for them, we will sell them and not prevent their career from developing properly as has happened with some other players (Henderson at Man Utd springs to mind).
Centre backs almost never start at the elite level (Talking title challenge here) at such a young age and whilst writing this I genuinely can’t think of one as an example who did in a top 4 league, certainly in the PL over the last two decade the closest is Kolo Toure when Arsenal still had a good team.
If we want to win the league then we need top quality at the CB position and Silva, Koulibaly, Kimpembe, Ake plus Colwill & Chalobah is pretty good for a team looking to compete across four competitions.
Liverpool have Konate, VVD, Matip, Gomez, any of whom would start in most other teams XI and City have Dias, Laporte, Stones, Ake.
At the end of the day, Thomas Tuchel is not stupid and if Colwill is good enough to play then he will earn those minutes over the season, if he decides that he wants to play every game at a lower level like Marc Guehi then fair enough, let him go for a decent fee and if he develops then presumably we are smart enough to include a buy-back clause at an affordable fee.
Personally, I hope Colwill stays but will be pretty happy if we get Ake and Kimpembe as both are superb players that would add needed depth to our squad.
Apples and oranges
So Liverpool sell Nico Williams to Forest for 18M and it’s rather a lot of money and well done Liverpool. Lille sell some geezer to Newcastle for 33.3M and it’s sensible business from Newcastle.
Matt Carr, Spurs, Wilmington, NC
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