Send your thoughts to [email protected].

Of course it’s our money!
Jerseys that cost a fortune with little to no quality pay that money! Manufacturers pay team, we pay manufacturers. (Would anybody pay £50 for a non football related t shirt made of the same fabrics?). Likewise with any other overpriced club licensed products.

And before you tell me its sponsorship, those companies add their marketing budget to the product cost. We pay for those logos and naming rights too. “Fly Emirates” and your helped pay to name “The Emirates”.

That’s why (until next year, hopefully) subscriptions to sports on TV are near unattainable for most people and Sky have had to rethink their whole platform.

We have hit breaking point as a customer base and if Sky/BT/Eir don’t bring in X from our subscriptions, football won’t be paid Y. Equally, if we weren’t so easy to manipulate with shiny advertising companies wouldn’t spend so big on it. Transfers and wages will have to drop and with any bit of luck football will get a semi-sense of reality.

Not only is it our money, we are the cause of massive transfer fees and wages.
Paddy, Ireland

Club and international football dilemma
In response to Rob, Leicester; Anyone who says the Premier League is a bonafide plonker.

The quality of the Bundesliga is extremely high, whilst nearly every match I’ve watched (usually lower reaches of the division) have been incredibly entertaining. Whilst there is the behemoth that is Bayern Munich dominating at present it is unfair to belittle the rest of the league just because they are so incredibly outstanding (in a group of 4 clubs Europe-wide; Barca, Real and Juve being the others). There are a couple of duff teams, as in any league, but below Bayern I would suggest that the Bundesliga is actually far more competitive and equal than the Premier League.

On top of that the possibility of actually celebrating national senior team success on a regular basis?? England went into near hysteria when we got to the semi’s in 96, imagine what would happen if we got to a final?

The Premier League is an over-moneyed monster, where the standard is far lower than the money being spent by clubs would suggest, and the entertainment doesn’t really justify the cost of going to a match. As for the national team, I think most English people view them with a level of apathy or anger at how poor they are.

Also, I sent a mail a few days ago showing the tournament performance stats for England and Germany at Youth and Senior levels. I wouldn’t go all green-eyed about any youth success Germany are having – this summer alone our youth teams have performed better all told. It’s at senior level that is where the Germans are lightyears ahead.

Bundesliga/Germany all the way.
Phil (bored at lunch again), Devon

Give X-Ray machines footballers wages
One point that Fraser Mullen touched on in today’s mailbox that I think resonates with the large majority of those people that have such an issue with player values/wages, is this comparison of footballers’ wages to those in the public service sector, such as nurses and more recently/topically firemen and the armed forces, or to their job in particular.

This herein is where the issue lays. Footballers are effectively brought by their club as an asset, tied into contracts whereby if the club wanted to, they could force the player to pay their way out of their contract as the only way of leaving prior to their contract expiring. Nurses/firemen can leave their jobs when they want (with due notice). I am not saying that this contractual right makes up for the millions of pounds shortfall in wages, but more using this as one reason as to why a footballer’s wages is not directly comparable to, for example, a nurses. A closer comparison would be to compare them to a new X-ray machine a hospital may purchase or to Trident.

Footballers are paid large sums of money because there is a high demand for their ability, they bring in significant revenue in the most part for their club, with high profile players usually paying off their fees in the matter of days from signing, and are an investment in the hope that they bring success to the club.
Aaron, Basingstoke

Irrational love
…I (irrationally?) loved the mails about unorthodox favourite players. Recoba absolutely rings true (foot like a traction engine), and I’ll add one or two to the list.

Ivan Zamorano – perennially looked about 40, and harder than Glaswegian coffin nails. Strike partner for (the real) Ronaldo and Raul at Inter & Real respectively so he was no slouch, but never truly appreciated. Pioneered the 1+8 shirt number, now sadly outlawed.

Lubo Moravčík – a bit of a sore one this. I’m an Aberdeen fan through and through, and Lubo had a habit of spanking us. Signed as a 33 year old for £300k, Scottish football had a hearty laugh at this Celtic signing in 1998. Within weeks he’d proven to be an absolute bargain. I’d urge you to check out his highlight reels. The variety and technical quality of his goals is astonishing, and his game wasn’t even about that. A wonderful creative player, and part of the very strong Czechoslovakia 1990 world cup squad. It was a privilege to watch him play live.

Arda Turan – I won’t have a bad word said against him.

Alex Mostovoi – brilliant player who somehow didn’t have a brilliant career. Glorious latter stages with Celta Vigo, which reminded you of the time when Russia produced amazing players.

Moreno Torricelli – a footballing mentalist. Looked like a Soundgarden roadie and had an agricultural but completely full throttle approach to the beautiful game. You’d want him at your club.

Heroes all.
Fraser, Edinburgh

…Are we still taking mails on irrational loves? If so I must share mine. Chesterfield and Bolton legend, Kevin Davies.

Despite having the waistline and look of a bloke who belongs in a tool belt and not a Premier League football kit he was, in my opinion, was the main reason Bolton stayed in the premier league so long. Unfashionable but didnt care. Throwing his considerable weight and elbows about, winning so many aerial duels and scoring vital goals (away at Bayern Munich being a famous one), often fouling any poor centre back who got in his way. If a last minute corner was floated in poorly he’d bundle his way through three players to get his head on it. The man for whom the phrase “not afraid to put his head where it hurts” was surely invented.

Completely wound Arsenal up, telling them to basically man up in one interview. When the ball got launched to him from the back or a Kevin Nolan long throw you knew he was getting on the end of it and/or receiving a yellow card. I used to bang his drum for an international call up saying that your Sergio Ramos’ and Gerard Piques wouldn’t be able to handle a fifteen minute onslaught of big Kev at the end of a must-win semi-final. Was so happy when he finally did get a call up, only to get twenty minutes no goals and a booking. As a Chelsea fan I’ve been lucky to see Zola and Hazard in their pomp but there is as nothing visceral as seeing as tough b*stard like kev getting stuck in. Also I believe he was the player who not only received but also committed the most fouls. Surely a double record that will never be broken.
Will (miss Bolton in the top flight) CFC

…I wanted to share my (what can only be described as indefensible) love for Connor Wickham. After spending years slating Emile Heskey for being a lump up front who should be nowhere near a football pitch I find myself arguing with everyone about the greatness that is Connor Wickham. To the point I was genuinely gutted Crystal Palace bought him without Chelsea even being interested. No touch, can’t score, no pace, no talent but I can’t help but love everything about him.

Every year I buy him on football manager and believe he’s the guy to build champions league winning teams around (tend to get sacked a lot), in my mind it’s an insult he hasn’t got at least 30 England caps by now which I have no argument for why he should but it’s an injustice.

Also a mention for Khune, his kicking alone makes him world class in my eyes…
Aaron (yes, very deluded when it comes to talented footballers) Cornwall

…Daniel Amokachi, don’t really know why but after USA 94 I was hooked.

He’s best summed up by his Wikipedia page:

“Amokachi ‘s playing style has shed light on Turkish Football History. The black player’s attitude reflected in the coming years as the result of Amokachi’s effective and positive game in Turkey. He lifted the ball tribunes he had taken to his feet, giving fear to the rival Fans. The Black Bull and Black Train adjectives he had received were also the main focus of the game. When he took the ball to the feet and the opponents of the squad found a correct position, the castle would reach the bottom of the castle. Amokachi, who came to the forefront with his assistants, gave his teammates a stylish and creative goal pass. While driving the ball in the game in the game, disturbing by doing the line of the defensive line alone was wearing.”

The castle would reach the bottom of the castle, indeed.
Matt, AFC

…Am sure I am not alone in having “certain feelings” (steady) for players which I developed not from seeing them play but from managing them on certain well known computer games….

To name but a few –

Alfonso (Barcelona) – This is going back years! He always scored for me! Always!
Montella and Candela (Roma) – Just great players! Montella was the one for last minute winners!
Capi, Joaquin and Denilson (Betis) – You just have to love them! Denilsons player dot seemed to move at 3 times the pace of the others!
Isaac Okoronkwo (Shakhtar) – Absolute beast of a defender!
Honourable mentions – Jose Julian De Le Cuesta, Freddy William Thompson, Evandro Roncatto

I’m sure there are plenty more! Anyone else?
Wilf (surely too young for the VETS team? – no? Oh damn)

…It’s been touched on by recent mailboxes but wondering if other people irrationally support one team from a city/country and automatically dislike their rivals??

For instance, I have always preferred Real Madrid to Barca, mainly for the mad-arsed galacticos policy and basically trying to form a 1-1-8 formation and being truly surprised when it did not work out.

I have also always held Inter to be ‘my Italian team’ as they always had the talent in their ranks but an innate ability to also shoot through both of their feet. Therefore I always held Milan to be nothing but robotic cyborgs who could not embrace the more mercurial side of the game despite their trophies and what not.

Anyone else?
Matt J (also PSV>Ajax, Dortmund>Bayern, Sporting>Porto), Saints

Forbidden love
…As a Liverpool fan I pretty much dislike everything about manyoo. But there have been a few players over the years that, despite my huge self loathing, I have liked (loved?) and enjoyed watching play.

Ole Gunner Solskjaer. Look at his face. Look at it! He’s 12 years old. Why did you have to play for them??

Dwight Yorke. Similar reason to Solskjaer. He had the worlds best smile.

Peter Schmeichel. World’s best goalkeeper. I would say ever. So frustrating. How can you spread out that big?? Always respected him.

Gabriel Heinze. Only because he wanted to join Liverpool and that really upset the manyoo fans I knew and AF.

There are a couple of players I hated when they were playing but then weirdly liked once they had retired (or moved to the usa). David Beckham. And Eric Cantana. What a genius.

Anyway, this is hurting too much so I will end.
Peter. LFC, Namibia (I know saying manyoo will also wind you up)

Pointless matches
A bit late on this (Hello Sunday mailbox!) but there’s been quite a lot of pointless, purposeless 2nd leg matches in the Champions League last 16 round played at the Emirates/Nou Camp/Allianz Arena over the past 10 years or so with the most pointless one being last season.
Simon Fitzwilliams (if only YouTube was around in the late 90’s, Recoba would have broken the transfer record based on his highlights reel) Cambridge

Great goals
Finishing Saajid’s list of 5 best Chelsea goals, I´d like to add these 5 great efforts:

1) Drogba vs Bolton: some of the best build-up play I’ve seen. Between Anelka, Deco and a brilliant back-heel flick by Lampard before Drogba’s smart finish the ball never hit the ground inside the box. Beauty.
2) Ramires vs Barcelona: a vital goal for our CL win, the through ball from Lampard was inch-perfect as was the lob over Valdes.
3) Ricardo Carvalho vs Manchester United: Answering another mailbox question, Carvalho was a player I irrationally loved. He was one of the League’s best defenders (even the best at some point probably) and a Mourinho favourite, even though he wasn’t a physical beast. This goal helped us retain the title in 2006, he recovered the ball in our box, strode forward with pace, played a one-two, was picked out in the other box and finished with aplomb. He was just so good.
4) Essien vs Arsenal: what a hit, the ball looked to be going wide for everyone except Essien himself, who started celebrating before it even hit the back of the net.
5) Hazard vs Everton: Personally my favourite goal of the season, the one-two with Pedro, who backheeled the ball back to his path, before bamboozling Ashley Williams and shooting left-footed to the base of the near post. Stekelenburg never moved.

At least that’s how I remember them.
Rd Mexico