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Manchester United’s transfer hopes
Hopeful: Morata gets done before the US Tour in a “cut-price” deal (this means about €50 million in 2017). Lukaku’s mate in the Man United jersey turns out to actually be Ed Woodward and the guy we all think is Ed Woodward is a front / clever commentary on racial profiling. So that deal’s done and Lukaku signs as well. Near the end of the window someone unexpected and cool joins. Say… Verratti. Or Keita, just for how funny it would be. Rooney is bought by a team who actually pays money for him.

Realistic: Morata joins before the US tour for a slightly embarrassing amount of money. Fabinho and/or Matic join a few weeks later. An unexpected late-window signing arrives when things don’t quite click after the first few games. James maybe, or a Dembele, any Dembele. Rooney, even for free, can’t find a club.

All United fans realise there’s no chance, at all, of winning the league with both that window and an ever more foul-mooded Jose Mourinho and go back to hoping the next manager sorts it out.

Arsenal: Florentino Perez pretends all summer that he doesn’t want to sell Morata, until United send three lawyers to Madrid in late August with one hundred million euro in a briefcase. The lawyers – who aren’t really lawyers, you see – lose the briefcase on the metro and United have to take Danny Ings on loan from Liverpool instead.

Rooney’s given a new contract. Martial, who missed a sitter on the opening day and hasn’t been in a match-day squad since, gets sold to Arsenal on deadline day. Fellaini’s given a new contract and made captain. Because Chelsea have an equally bad window, they ultimately refuse to sell Matic. Michael Essien comes in instead on loan. Nobody’s sure if he’s retired or not.
Stephen O’S, MUFC

This was sent in before last night
Ted, Manchester said he’s curious what Everton fans think of the much lauded transfer business so far and what kind of expectations they have created. Well here are my thoughts.

Certainly there’s increased pressure now on Koeman and the club. I’m not one to trawl Everton blogs or social media but even I can’t avoid the positive buzz this has created from the support. Money has been spent, people are excited and the club must know the quickest way to destroy that is with a poor season. Pressure. Now as is the internet’s wont, much of the chatter is outrageously farfetched with various incarnations of ‘dark horses for the league title’, ‘must finish top 4’ and ‘power has shifted in Liverpool’ splurged across the screen. This brings me to my own expectations, which I imagine reflect those of most reasonable fans.

I expect we’ll finish 7th again this season. Maybe even lower. But it’s not this season I’m excited about. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to see the new look team in action and fully hope they push the top 6 all the way. But I think it’s unreasonable to expect what will likely be 7-8 new, young players to gel in their first season together. Most fans have done their basic maths and are resigned (many excited even, which confuses me a little) to Lukaku and Barkley leaving which will mean the absence of two of the team’s strongest performers, making the above task even more difficult. So I don’t expect immediate success by any means.

But what I’ve been most optimistic about in the transfer business so far is the investment in young, promising players. The club clearly are looking at the medium to long term here and that’s what excites me. In 3 or 4 seasons the new signings will almost all be in or entering their prime, not to mention the plethora of young talent coming through the academy. They’ll have had a couple of seasons playing together so that’s when I imagine the club are hoping to see a payoff to their current investment (but I know nothing about business so…).

So while there is certainly pressure on Koeman now, I imagine the brunt of that is focused on how they see him taking the team to what they hope it will be in a couple of seasons rather than specifically the performance of this season. If that makes sense. What do others think?

On a side note regarding Joe’s email about club names. Germany often includes the region in the club name (Borussia, Bayern, Bayer). They apply this to coverage of foreign leagues too eg. London Arsenal, London Chelsea or my own personal grating favourite, Liverpool Everton.
Will Wymant, EFC

Gutted about Santi
Gutted to read about Santi Cazorla’s latest injury setback. If you’re a football fan you’re a Cazorla.

Name me another player to take as many corners with his left foot as his right foot and I’ll still say there’s only one Santi Cazorla.

Genuinely sad to hear we may have seen the last of him in the Premier League. Sad day.
Kevin Walsh, Luimneach

Errrr… Sissoko > Lacazette? (No)
Alexandre Lacazette – 26 years old, 11 caps for France
Moussa Sissoko – 27 years old, 52 caps for France

Just let that sink in for a moment.
Manners, shocked Spur

Why is Alonso so underrated?
Just read the article on players looking over their shoulder and noted two things:

1. Marcos Alonso seems to be highly underrated. Yes I’m pointing the finger at you F365 but most commentators seem to think Chelsea could do better. Its seems like the whole world of football commentary is in agreement about this, but I don’t understand it. Like Mugatu in Zoolander – I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

As Newcastle were in the Championship last year and I only have the EPL on TV here in Australia – I watched a lot of Chelsea. Alonso was the player that impressed me most. Moses and Azpilicueta rightly get high praise but the fact Alonso –who at least equalled their achievements – does not get as much credit is baffling to me. I must have watched him in at least ten games and I don’t remember a single game where he didn’t own his opposition (chipped in with the odd goal too!). Maybe the most consistent player I’ve seen in the EPL. Everyone seems to think Chelsea should upgrade their wide defenders but I honestly think they have the best full backs in the league – by a country mile. Especially so if you rate defensively ability over the ability to contribute to attack in your full/wing backs.

2. Samir Nasri is coming back to City? If ever a loan to a mid-table EPL side made sense for everyone…..Nasri seems again a bit underrated. Most people attribute this to his comments in the press rather than his ability. I do agree he seems a bit inconsistent in his performance levels but this is a guy who would be motivated to win himself one last lavish contract. I think he would have a good season away from City.
Hugo (NUFC) Adelaide

Who wants to know the etymology of Czech football club names?
I think I wrote in to the Mailbox about something similar in the Czech Republic a couple of seasons back, and seeing as Joe, FFC states that “the evil stench of commercial naming partners has nowhere been more prevalent than in Austria”, well look slightly to the north… we have that too, although not so much as we used to. Anyway, if anyone but me cares, here’s a list of the teams in the 1. Liga for this coming season and a bit of history.

Banik Ostrava – ‘Banik’ means ‘miner’. Ostrava was the centre of the coal-mining industry, so much so that they had to close Bazaly (their old ground) for a few months some years ago to shore it up as they were finding holes in the pitch from undermining. See also Gornik (miners) Zabrze of Poland.

Bohemians 1905 – Formed in 1905, they were originally AFK Vršovice, but after a tour of Australia in which Aussies found that too hard to pronounce and just started calling them ‘Bohemians’ (which was the kingdom at that point), the name stuck. Oh, and they were also given a kangaroo as a present, hence the club crest. Also the club of Antonín Panenka.

Dukla Praha – Named after the 1944 Battle of the Dukla Pass, they were affiliated with the army. Their stadium in Dejvice is still surrounded by signs warning you you’re entering a military area. The reason they won everything in the 1950s and 60s was that they could draft people for military service and then make their service ‘play football for us’. And they do have a very nice away kit.

Jihlava – It’s the name of the town. Good film festival.

1.FK Jablonec – Ditto. První (first) fotbalový klub Jablonec. Most difficult away day from Brno. There’s nothing there, the stadium only has three sides, it was March, snowing, and there were *counts people in photo* fourteen Brno fans there.

MFK Karviná – Again, Městský (city) fotbalový klub.

Mladá Boleslav – Name of the town. Home of Škoda cars and a 73-year-old Milan Baroš, standing in the penalty area with his hands on his hips.

Sigma Olomouc – They’ve been called Sigma – after joining up with a company that made, and makes, pumps – since 1966, so it’s seen as their traditional name now. Plus it sounds kind of cool.

Slavia Praha – The area inhabited by Slavs. There are a shedload of things in the Czech Republic called Slavia; hotels, insurance companies, cafes… see also Slavia Sofia and Slask Wroclaw.

1.FC Slovácko – Slovácko is a region on the Slovak border and the club was formed by merging SK Staré Město and the rather-a-mouthful Slovácka Slavia Uherské Hradiště to become 1.FC Slovácko. They play in the town of Uherské Hradiště.

Slovan Liberec – Inhabited by Slavs. See also Slovan Bratislava.

Sparta Praha – Racist, trouble-making morons. Oh, the name? Right. After the city-state of Sparta, obviously. See also: Spartak Moscow, Sparta Rotterdam

FK Teplice – Football club of…

Viktoria Plzeň – Slavic spelling of the etymology of ‘victory’. See also Victoria Hamburg, Vitoria Setubal

Zbrojovka Brno – Zbrojovka basically means ‘armoury’ or ‘arsenal’. It was the team of the weapons factory here in Brno, responsible for the Bren gun (BRno-ENfield) if you’re interested in that sort of thing. I’m not.

Fastav Zlín – Fastav is a company that builds and develops shopping centres. Thrilling. Although they used to be Tescoma Zlín, which is a cutlery company. The fans call the team Ševci, which means ‘shoemakers’. So, Northampton Town, basically.

Anyway, I hope that was mildly diverting. We’ve got Baník at home first week of the season, freshly promoted from their one season in the 2.Liga. I’m sure that, coupled with the fact that Ostrava-Brno is a big derby, will mean everything will be utterly fine. *gulp*
David (that took a while!) Szmidt, Brno, Czech Rep

…And other club name nuggets
To follow on from Joe FFC and the email about club names around Europe, I can add the following while not a lot is happening:

*French clubs using Olympique despite never hosting the Olympic games – it appears to be a French convention for when clubs of more than one sport merge. In the case of Lyon, it was an offshoot of the merger of Racing Club de Vaise and Rugby Club de Lyon. It’s quite poetic really, as a succinct, catch-all term for multi-sport organisations.

Another French convention is to use the home town/city as an adjective – Lyon are officially Olympique Lyonnais, for example, and there’s Stade Brestois. Some British equivalents would be “Glaswegian Rangers/Celtic”, though I quite like “Nottinghamian Forest”, as opposed to the other Forests, or “the Mancunian City” – insert joke about geographic location of Manchester United supporters here.

*As our Zweigen Kanazawa correspondent may be able to confirm, Atalanta BC’s Greek name is linked to heavy Greek influence on their home town of Bergamo. According to popular urban myth, Bergamo turns its face towards Greece so it can show its backside to Milan.

*Ronald Reng’s book Matchdays pointed out how important the founding dates are in German football club names. I can’t remember her name, but one presenter was absolutely ridiculed for a long time because a slip of the tongue meant she accidentally said “Schalke 05” instead of the correct name, Schalke 04. Those crazy Germans and their sense of humour.

*On the subject of Spanish teams being called Real and the king only being allowed to support one side, it’s worth remembering how many products in your supermarket are “by royal appointment” – how many different kinds of cereal is the Queen having every day?

*Finally, returning to a subject I raised the other week, there is a pub in Nottingham now called the Herbert Kilpin, after one of the founders of AC Milan.
Ed Quoththeraven

Why United are called United
Joe FFC “The use of ‘United’ to indicate some past merger is fairly unique, mind”, is kind of true, but in the case of the biggest ‘United’ it isn’t. Manchester United are thus called because when they were changing from Newton Heath in 1902, they saw how awesome Sheffield United were and (honestly, I kid you not) hoped football fans of the day would get confused.

Glad I could clear that one up.
Mike D

Born in the USA
Great e-mail on club names from Joe FFC. In the USA we have three main kinds:

Traditional American Sports Team. San Jose Earthquakes, Colorado Rapids, Portland Timbers. OK if you’re American, perhaps pleasantly exotic if you’re not. Make sure you put a “The” in front of the team name, though.

Classic Football. When done well, this is fine: DC United, Toronto FC, Atlanta United FC, Orlando City SC. When merged with traditional American, a little odd: Houston Dynamo, Philadelphia Union. When chosen without thinking much, bizarre: Real Salt Lake.

Traditional American With Singular Noun. Occasionally this works, as with Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew SC. But when it doesn’t, it really doesn’t: Montreal Impact.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA (but naming a team Minnesota Wild should be a criminal offence)

Missing the point on the 3pm blackout
Sim does rather seem to miss the point of the 3pm blackout. Instead of complaining that you can’t see your team whenever you feel like it, maybe ask yourself why it was instigated in the first place.

While the Premier League is awash with poorly-spent billions of television money, lower league clubs rely on gate receipts for their survival. If the punters don’t show up in decent enough numbers on a regular basis, the clubs they follow can’t just not afford the best players, or pay the highest transfer fees and wages; they will actually go bust and take usually hundreds of local jobs and a good few thousand fans’ team away from them forever.

The logic is that if the big teams are on the telly at 3pm on a wet wintry Saturday then several thousand lower league fans will look out the window and decide than rather than stand soggily watching their team hoof the ball about in the mud they’ll just stay inside, nice and warm, watching the Premier League live. Probably with a pint. And so nudge a number of barely-surviving teams out of existence.

You get some Friday nights, two live games on a Saturday, sometimes three in a row on a Sunday, and often a Monday night too. Plus regular midweek football. The Saturday 3pm blackout is one of the last examples of a rule that’s actually for the benefit of the whole game rather than of the big clubs, so, as someone who grew up watching lower league Scottish football every other weekend whatever the weather I’d just like to say, stop being so bloody greedy. And maybe go support a smaller team on a Saturday at 3 in between your Premier League telly fixes instead of wrestling with dodgy live streams.
Alistair Gilmour, Glasgow