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As Boehly increases American influence, are we directing our ire at the wrong owners?

Football 365

The Mailbox wonders if sportswashing has distracted us from the dangers of American owners. Also: which teams from the past would thrive in today’s Premier League?

Get your views in to t[email protected].


Manager of the year
Klopp won it. Personally I think he is a worthy winner. I obviously have a bias but there is a good reason why he is a worthy candidate.

I’m saying a candidate and not the candidate for a reason. There are a few people who I think would be worthy. Eddie howe and Conte would be the othe two.


Well for me manager of the year should go to the manager who exceeds expectations, not the one who meets or falls below it. When we started the season many people didn’t even expect Liverpool to be top 3 never mind a title challenge due to our season last year. Many people expected klopp to exit both cups early, because that’s our MO. So klopp by mounting a title challenge AND winning the two cups he never gets past the first hurdle he has exceeded expectations in this country.

Eddie howe was given a very tough poisoned challice and told that taking a sip would kill him. He necked the whole thing without breaking a sweat. The goal was – don’t get relegated. He ended up closer to the top than bottom and transformed the team. He exceeded expectations.

Mob boss Tony Conte took over an awful spuds side which leaked goals and couldn’t string 5 passes together. Nobody expected them to qualify for champs league yet here they are. He exceeded expectations.

Pep guardiola was likely told to win the league, and he did it. I imagine given his squad and budget he was also told winning a domestic cup or two was also expected since city have a history of winning them. He didn’t. At best pep met expectations and more likely very slightly underperformed.

True it’s a bit unfair because how can someone over achieve with the goal of win the league. But heavy is the crown right?

I’d have been perfectly fine with any of the previous three winning manager of the year as they all exceeded expectations. Anyone saying a manager who wasn’t expected to win the league or cups and ended up with two out of three didn’t exceed expectations is a liar because I remember fans on here at end of last season saying Liverpool were a one season wonder who only did well because of covid ( that was city by the way, they won a covid title, not that it matters to me) and would return to fighting for 4th again. So you have to choose, if you don’t want to admit klopp exceeded expectations then you’ll have to admit you were wrong about Liverpool being a flash in the pan and we actually are good enough to be expected to win the title from season the next.


The Chelsea takeover will be a step into the unknown for all European football


Misdirected anger?
Reading Ian King’s article about Boehly’s imminent takeover of Chelsea, it has me concerned for the future state of the game. Ian touches on the fact that the incoming changes to the Champions League likely won’t be final change we see to the setup of club football’s premier competition. Probably introduced to satiate the ravenous hunger for MORE, MORE, MORE from Europe’s biggest clubs, it wouldn’t be remiss of the sceptics among us to suggest that the Super League will eventually return.

We have been told – or led to believe – that the primary instigators for the Super League idea were the Spanish clubs and Juventus. I wholeheartedly believe that England’s ‘Top’ 6 clubs were huge contributors, too – despite how much City and Chelsea’s fans celebrate being the ones who caused the thing to fail by being first to pull out. Nothing to be proud of, lads. Lest we forget ‘Project Big Picture’, the Super League’s little brother. The leaders of that particular project we have been told were the American owners of Liverpool and Manchester United.

Now, whenever City, Newcastle or PSG purchase a player, the whole of footballdom love to scream that “this is everything that’s wrong with modern football”. Is it though? Because I posit that owners coming in and attempting to change the fundamental structure of our game is everything that’s wrong with modern football. The world laughs with glee when Manchester United fans fume and riot about their owners. They know they are bad for their club, and they know they are bad for football, too. So why the mockery? Encouragement for these protests, and the curtailment of owners’ powers is what’s needed.

“Sportswashing!!” is the cry whenever City’s success is mentioned – with good reason, too. Please don’t let up on that. But that is giving the other self-appointed governors of our game a free ride, too.

Leading back to the start of this email – the takeover concerns me as now 4 of England’s largest clubs are now in the hands of American owners. This amount of influence on our domestic game is scary, and I haven’t read too much concern about this outside of Ian’s piece. Am I over-reacting, here?


Destined for greatness?
I’ve heard quite a few people reference the fact that this Arsenal side are by far the youngest in the league now, with the implication being that of course the team will go on to improve over time as those players mature. So genuine question for the mailbox, are there any modern examples of young teams that went on to be great teams?

As a Spurs fan I’m going to count ‘modern’ as after 2000. I might be blinded by bias but it seems to me that the majority of promising young teams ended up falling short (Pochettino’s spurs team) or being dismantled over time (Monaco’s 2017 team).
Louis THFC


Timeless teams
Some interesting comments at the bottom of the mailbox yesterday regarding comparison between past and present teams.

I have no doubt that the 99 United side, a side with likes of Keane, Scholes, Giggs and Beckham, would have had the power and pace to handle the modern game, let alone the 07/08 side with Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez and possibly our best ever backline.

Critically, both of those sides achieved more than either current Liverpool or City sides have done.

If I was an Arsenal supporter, I would be delighted to see the 2003/04 Invincibles side line up in the current league, and I would fancy them against the current City and Liverpool sides. Yes they didn’t win loads, but then neither have this peak Liverpool side, and their attack was virtually unstoppable, Henry and Vieira incredible players.

Yes, the modern game has changed, but those players were still incredible. Would Maradona not work in the modern game? Brazilian Ronaldo was a beast and I’d have him over Haaland or Mbappe in a heartbeat.

Would you really take De Bruyne over Scholes? I wouldn’t.


Easy run?
Unbelievable that people are calling Liverpool’s Champion’s League run easy. Just look at it:

AC Milan (Champions), Atletico (Last season’s Champions), Porto (Champions), Inter (Last season’s Champions), Benfica (Last and this seasons RU) and Villareal (Europa League winners).

For comparison, here’s City’s run:

RB Leipzig (second), Club Brugge (Champions, but Belgium), PSG (2nd), Sporting (third), Atletico (Champions), Real Madrid (2nd)

Or Real Madrid:

Inter (Champions), Sherriff (Moldovan Champions), Donetsk (Ukranian Champions), PSG (2nd), Chelsea (4th, but previous winners tbf) and City (prone to a spectacular European collapse)

I mean, seriously, people are fully blinded by the fact we played Villareal and not Bayern. Who erm, lost to Villareal.

Jealously is not a great look, is it?

Looking forward to Saturday. Think it’s going to be touch and go. Up the reds!



What’s the point of Spurs?
…the same as the point of any team: they’re there to entertain football fans.

Some teams happen to win more than others – some of those wins eventually result in trophies…many don’t.

Should we write off the ‘point’ of every club in the lower reaches of league football? What about non-league? At it’s very core, it’s a stupid question to ask.

Ultimately though, it’s meant to be fun. And, (seeing as I’ve bitten) I’ll tell you this: I reckon it’s more fun supporting Spurs right now than Arsenal.

Moreover: what’s the point of supporting a team, if the sole purpose of supporting it is watching them win? What does that say about WHY someone watches them?

Someone who should read less football, and do more work

Antonio Conte smiles after a win
…I’m not going to dignify clickbait nonsense like Andy, AFC’s rant about what the point of Tottenham is, but even Ian King’s more sober piece said the suggestion that spurs are ‘a bumbling clown car of a club’ was not without merit. I think a little perspective is in order.

It’s generally accepted that financial power is the best overall predictor of on field success, and over the last decade or more spurs have been clearly the 6th biggest club in England by financial metrics like wage bill, comfortably behind 5th and comfortably ahead of 7th. In the last 13 years, Spurs have finished in the top 4 8 times, 5th twice more and finished 6th, 7th and 8th once apiece. They’ve reached a champions league final in that time. That’s a phenomenal record for a team with their resources, so my question is this – if spurs are a clown car of a club, what the hell is everyone else?
Phil, London


…Before I answer his question, can I just ask Larry what is the point of supporting Arsenal from 6000 miles away? Your question seems to be solely predicated on the “content I consume”. I grew up in Tottenham, and my Dad initially took me to Highbury, more Irish players there. He told my mother he didn’t think I enjoyed going to football, when she checked with me, I said all my mates went to Tottenham. Here I am 63 years later still a Tottenham fan, I still have a season ticket and I still meet one of my mates, from primary school days, at the matches for a beer. We have had some great days out, and some really awful ones, when we go, we just want to see the players on the pitch do their best.

When Spurs have a good result, I am really happy, as are my sons, we have some gentle ribbing with fans of other teams, which we get back in our turn. In my time as a Spurs fan I have been lucky enough to see them win 1 title, 3 european trophies, the FA Cup 6 times, and the League Cup 3 times. Over the years I have had friends/colleagues who have supported all manner of teams, across the majority of them they probably couldn’t muster that number of trophies between them, but they support their team and enjoy their successes just like I do.

My sons grew up in the days of Alex Ferguson and the United years, and most of their school friends were ”Manyoo” fans, even though most of them would struggle to point to Old Trafford on a map, whereas my three went (in turn) with me and their Grandad, and enjoyed the outing, even the defeats. The happiest day of my Spurs supporting life was when I let my 3rd son have my ticket to Wembley, which meant my 3 lads were there to see the League Cup win over Chelsea. It’s the only trophy they’ve seen Spurs win, but they have a really happy memory to treasure.

Because they currently have more pressing financial issues than buying Spurs tickets, we occasionally meet at local non league grounds. My eldest has just named his son, my first grandson, “Hugo Patryk”. At the recent North London derby, Pat Jennings (Look him up Larry) appeared at half time in the same goal as Hugo Lloris had been in, I was quite emotional as the two keepers my son had name checked were in the same goal on the same night.

Thing is Larry, my sons and I are what are disparagingly known as “legacy fans” we don’t just “consume content” we actually, you know, go to football matches. I have tried to briefly highlight some things in my life which have given me an enjoyable distraction from the grind of growing up, earning a living, br…

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