Premier League restart unfair on Chelsea, and other Mails…

Thanks for your mails. Keep them coming to theeditor@football365.com…

 

Cherries’ picks
Reading your piece this morning on lowest PPG performing players, I was struck by one glaring question – who on earth is Arnaut Danjuma?

I was pretty shocked to learn that [Danjuma] was a flagship signing for Bournemouth in the [2019 summer transfer window] at a meaty £[13.7m], before going on to stink the place out ever since. Sounds like a very familiar story – I have added the square brackets above so that readers can handily annex any one of Bournemouth’s other terrible signings since reaching the top flight:

2019 summer transfer window – Lloyd Kelly – £13,000,000 (admittedly he’s been injured, but he’s not exactly been value for money as yet)
2019 winter transfer window – Dominic Solanke – £19,000,000 (How did Liverpool manage this?)
2019 winter transfer window – Chris Mepham – £12,000,000
2018 summer transfer window – Jefferson Lerma – £25,000,000 (he’s not been awful, but in no world is he worth that much)
2016 summer transfer window – Jordan Ibe – £15,000,000 (Does Michael Edwards have some scandalous dirt on his Bournemouth counterpart?)
2015 summer transfer window – Max Gradel – £7,000,000
2015 summer transfer window – Benik Afobe – £10,000,000
2015 summer transfer window – Lewis Grabban – £8,000,000

That list is being generous, in that I’ve not included Asmir Begovic (who at least played some games) or Brad Smith (Seriously, has Michael Edwards learned that jedi mind trick?).

If Bournemouth do tumble out of the league this year, it will be quite easy to point at the glaring problem in their strategy since promotion. Not many clubs get to have such a consistent spell of bad transfers without serious consequences. We are all well-versed in the horror stories of Leeds, Portsmouth and Sunderland, but the last ten years is littered with stories of well-established clubs getting their recruitment all wrong and never fully recovering from it – Stoke, Middlesbrough, Swansea and QPR come to mind. Even Southampton started plummeting after a couple of years of missteps (although they seem to have gotten a handle on that side of things again).

Basically, what I’m saying is that if Bournemouth don’t go down this year, it feels inevitable that they will in the not too distant future. I suspect that when they do, they won’t be bouncing back up in a hurry – which would be a great shame, because they’re a likeable bunch and they’ve done plenty of things very well.

Thanks
Jamie

 

Level playing field?
I’ve tended to stay out of the “void/cancel the season” malarkey up til now as it hasn’t had an effect on my club whether the league restarts, is cancelled or is voided. Confident as a Chelsea fan that we’d get what constitutes a good season regardless.

Obviously due to my dislike of Liverpool, I’d have found voiding funny, but as long as it’s safe to go back, I’m perfectly happy to restart and they can win their much deserved title.

What has bothered me in the last 24 hours are the rumours that Pedro and Willian may not sign short term deals past the 30th June due to the potential for injury affecting chances of a move.

I do not blame them at all for this, they want to maximise the longevity of their careers. However, how does this make it a fair league when essentially the rules have been changed halfway through?

I’ve had a United mate say, “it’s the same for everyone”. Well, it’s not, is it? Not every team is losing 2 first teamers (glad they won’t be next year) – plus potentially Kante due to Covid fears, although looking like he’s back.

Teams like Bournemouth, in a relegation scrap, could potentially be losing players like Fraser who are integral.

This isn’t the same as an injury crisis either. This would be the same as AFCON saying to the Premier league, “Sorry, you know that competition we planned next January so it minimises the impact on your league schedule? Well, we’re having it next month instead, and it’s up to your players whether they turn up for it or not”. I know a certain fanbase that would be up in arms if they lost their two top scorers for the remainder of the season through no fault of their own.

At the end of the day, I’m fully expecting that the league will carry on, Chelsea will scrape a CL place and get their shiny new toys for next year. But it’s definitely not the league that everyone signed up for at the start of the season and I can see the Premier league facing numerous lawsuits in the future.
Adam, Midlands.


Read: Chelsea have a rainy day fund just as it starts p***ing down


 

We need football
Dear Prabashni, Your letter in the F365 mailbox was a well thought out narrative and you came across as a decent human being angushing over whether it is morally the correct thing to do to restart football when the world has so many pressing issues at the moment.You conclude “NO” and I truly respect your opinion.

My conclusion is “YES” for the following reasons. I’ll get to specifics shortly but in general I do not believe that a sports ‘distraction’ as you put it prevents or diminishes peoples’ attention span for moral outrages and taking steps to stay safe from Covid. I live in rural NW Pennsylvania and my next door neighbour, white man in his forties, actively is supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement. In a ‘garden fence’ conversation this last weekend he was telling me how desperately he is missing baseball and will be devastated if the season can’t start. (People actually born in this country can be strange like that!)

We live in a relatively free from Covid area…very few cases and zero deaths so far. My son (married with 3 young children) is a front line worker in one of the original hot spots in Philadelphia and physically interacts with Covid 19 patients. A couple of Sundays ago there was looting in some big stores about a mile away from his house. His wife is stressed out because of home schooling and being shut in. We often talk in the morning when he is on his way to work. As United supporters one of the few light relief conversations we have had recently is “OK.Guess who United are being linked with now?”

I do a weekly results forecast game with some friends and ex colleagues. Every season I invent a new scoring system…supposedly designed to make me win. I never do! There are many back and forth amusing e-mails. Amongst our group is my best friend, a City fan. He is a diabetic vicar in Yorkshire whose main duty over the last few months is to preside over very low attended funerals. There’s a Newcastle fan in Ontario; a Reading fan,a United fan and a Coventry fan in Atlanta and a Chelsea fan in London. A main business contact supports Liverpool. It’s a network that provides much social interaction and much needed humour (Note; not BANTZ) and no little mental stress relief…and it’s predicated on football.

Most of us listen to our own teams’ fan podcasts and for those of us who are ex-Pats it’s a nice way to stay connected with our roots.

Anyway, Prabashni, stay safe and I hope you think that my opinions in no way disparage yours. It’s just that overall I think that restarting football, with all of its venal hypocrisies, is beneficial.
Gary (ex Pat United fan in Pennsylvania) B

 

…I was wondering how long it would take for the topic of BLM to come in to the mailbox. I remember numerous debates about how ‘Sport and Politics shouldn’t mix’ – probably in relation to a Johnny Nic article, but Prabashni this morning is right – change is on the horizon, and hopefully over the coming weeks, months and years we move closer toward that destination of true, honest equality. I don’t think

I think there’s a few reasons many voices within football haven’t raised their heads above the parapet to ‘speak out’. Firstly, there’s no football. Many of the opportunities to say something and to take a stand would probably have come from pre/post match interviews, goal celebrations, international friendlies (which some would probably have used as an opportunity to ‘take a knee’), and other general opportunities for people to speak out. Sports stars posting on instagram or twitter will just get lost in a sea of shite and hate, which is probably why many haven’t yet done it yet, apart from a handful here and there.

I also think one of the reason why more ‘white’ players and managers have not yet spoken out, is because they’re probably feeling like they don’t want to take the spotlight or dominate the platform about black issues as a white individual – which is kind of, the very thing we’re trying to address. During the past few weeks i’ve taken a lot of time to educate myself, but most importantly to listen. I don’t think BAME people (In my opinion) want to hear white voices, they want us to know we stand with them in solidarity, but in a way that does not detract from their voice. I think the term for it is being an ‘active bystander’ or something like that. What I am using my voice to do is challenge outdated and ignorant opinions from people within my social networks, which honestly has me baffled at times – how can people care more about a sodding statue than human lives?

I think the vast majority of us know that racism is still very much prevalent in football, but I do firmly believe change is coming. Will it go away overnight? No. But I think you’ll start to see more ‘self policing’ in the terraces, you’ll gradually see more voices being heard, hopefully more BAME coaches being given chances and a slow, but gradual shifting of attitudes.

So whilst I share your concerns Prabashni and yes, it is a worry about football coming back – it’s a managed risk and not only will football coming back give us all an opportunity to unite, it will also give some people the platform they need to make their voices heard. Maybe football isn’t the distraction, but the salvation.

Yours, in quietened solidarity.
Lee (what can I say, i’m a romantic optimist) LFC

 

Werner regrets
Good to see Steve, Stockton admitting that he’s disappointed. Always refreshing to see supporters admit they think their club’s decisions are wrong, instead of blindly agreeing to everything. Now I ‘m not saying other Pool fans were taking the “didn’t fancy her anyway” approach, and while there are valid reasons why this isn’t a big blow for Liverpool, I’m not buying the “he wouldn’t get the game game time he wants” line.

As Steve states, Liverpool fell short in three competitions, but they are still on course* to play 57 games (* that’s a big asterisk!), and Liverpool’s front three along with Werner are pretty versatile across the three positions. With Werner in the ranks, there’s no reason to believe Liverpool wont reach 57 games again next year, meaning 4 players will be competing for 171 starts. Evenly spread would be approx 42 starts each. If a player who’s potentially competing for a top tier league a champions league and maybe a domestic cup, they can’t be too disappointed with 42 starts, plus quite a few more appearances off the bench.

If I supported Pool, I’d be more disappointed by missing out on his addition, than the current front three would be with missing out on a few starts across a long tiring season.
Big D, Luxembourg

 

Boring, boring Liverpool
Enjoyed Matthew ITFC trip down memory lane but just take issue about batshite boring Liverpool. In the period I think he is referring to mid 70s to mid 80 Liverpool did pass it back but they also must have passed it forward because they were averaging 1.7 goals per game which even with all the great exciting EPL currently only 4 teams this year are averaging better.
The excitement has improved because of 3 points for win and banning the back pass but the only thing boring about that Liverpool team was their continual winning. I believe it has only been rivalled by the Man Utd team of Fergie for consistency over a continued period.
Gary in Germany

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Justice for Xabi
Here’s something that has happened in the last 20 minutes. Did I read your English and Spanish Champions XI article and get outraged that Cesc Fabregas was selected over my beloved Xabi Alonso? Yes. Did I write a long email extolling the virtues of La Barba Roja and slandering even the mere idea that Fabregas could be fit to clean his majestic boots? Yes. Was it only during the spellcheck phase that it occured to me that Xabi Alonso never in fact won the Premier League? Yes.
Oliver, LFC

 

A telegram for Pat Jennings
Loved the mail from Steve THFC.
And I’m a 42-year Gooner.
But, we’re all footy fans, eh. Respect.
Steve’s story reminded me of my own Football God.
Around ’76, I was looking for my football club. It couldn’t be Liverpool or Man U, because everyone supported them.
I loved the Leeds smiley face badge until, the day I saw the Arsenal shirt and cannon.
I was smitten.
About the same time, I saw an advertisement in a footy magazine featuring Pat Jennings.
I thought he was just the coolest dude ever.
And wouldn’t you know it, but a week later, Pat Jennings signed for Arsenal!
What a divine sign from the Gods that I had chosen my club well!
I grew up in Dunedin, New Zealand, have four brothers and sisters and Pat Jennings would become a big part of my family’s life,
I have a hand-made birthday card, from one of my siblings, circa 1980, which says “Pat Jennils is the best”.
When my family built an extension to our house, around ’85, I insisted it was called Patrick – and so it was known, for the next 30 years.
On his 33rd birthday (12 June and shame on you, if you didn’t know that), I spent two weeks’ pocket money sending him a telegram (yep) from New Zealand, wishing him a happy birthday.
Pat Jennings is the ultimate Football God.
Nigel Benson, AFC, New Zealand

 

Champions of Europe
Atletico president Enrique Cerezo has motioned that they should/could be declared Champions of Europe due to eliminating the current holders from this seasons competition.

Is there a F365 reader out there, possibly in lockdown, who has the time to find out who the lineal champions are, are a la Tyson Fury. Obviously Real Madrid were the first winners and successfully defended the trophy until 1960, they were knocked out by Barcelona in the first round in 1960/61 (no same country protection in those days!) but where does it go from there?

Obviously gets a bit tricky once the Champions League format is introduced but I suggest that you can only lose the title in a knockout phase or maybe a home/away group stage loss could count, I’ll leave that up to whomever takes this on.
Howard (hope it’s not ManU) Jones

 

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