The Mailbox features missives on Newcastle’s progress, fans’ boorish behaviour, Barca’s finances, and rivalry in north London.
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Toon reality check
The increasing focus on Eddie Howe and the job he is doing at Newcastle is baffling. We are a work in progress and were never going to immediately hit the ground running. Yes we have spent close to £200M in two transfer windows but we are still playing catch up with most top ten teams after a decade of under investment. We have a first 11 capable of beating most teams when fully fit but one or two key injuries and we will suffer as we do not have the squad depth. This will take time and a little patience is needed. Eddie has transformed our style and approach to games, we look solid defensively and we are committed to attacking teams, just need to put the bloody chances away! There is an argument that we could have won most of our games so far but for some shocking decisions and a bit of bad luck. Saturday’s game was the first time where we struggled to get into the game, Bournemouth defended really well and were organised and we struggled to break them down. Due to the fact we are seen by some as contenders for top 6 (not even close in my view) there is an approach by some fans and maybe even some players to treat us like the current big teams in the league. We are nowhere near these teams, yet. Bournemouth defended against us like they would a team like City or Liverpool but we don’t have the ability or experience yet to work out how to overcome this. Let’s have a bit of perspective, I would have bitten your hand off last season to be 10th in September! This is an accurate position to be in, we are a mid-table team with ambition and we are going in the right direction both on and off the pitch, we have waited decades for success another couple of years wont hurt. Give Eddie a break, he has connected with the fans, improved our players and represents the club in the right way.
Steve (Still can’t get over that decision against Palace) NUFC
I was very interested to read Eric Dier’s comments on the fans in England. My first feelings were quite deflated. But then I remembered what it was like in the eighties with hooligans, a problem much of Europe still has with Ultras. Which are hooligans by another name. In England it’s great to see women and children in stadia these days. A positive result of all seater stadia and something to be treasured, very different to the eighties. Something to be proud of. But we can’t rest on our laurels. The recent increase in stadium aggression, misogyny, racism and generally poor behaviour is such a let down to the football community. If you can’t behave like this in your local park in front of the playground, why would you think this is ok anywhere? I’m pretty sure there are no warnings on the front of stadia about bad language and behaviour. Cricket especially has advanced in leaps and bounds promoting a family atmosphere in limited overs games. Why is football going backwards? It’s not funny shouting/singing the referee is shit if a seven year old is sat two seats away. You paid money to watch football not to say what you like. Just don’t buy a ticket. We won’t miss you, someone else will buy that ticket. Don’t get me started on the morons throwing things and lighting flares. I could go on about anti Munich or anti Hillsborough songs but quite frankly if you celebrate the death of anyone who wasn’t Hitler or Stalin and do it in a football stadium then you need help. And even celebrating the deaths of those two see you next tuesdays playing Germany or Russia would be wrong (yes even now, they are not representative of all of them). While I’m on the subject, I don’t like England fans booing the opposition’s national anthems. Let other countries do that, let’s show some respect. Really didn’t know this email was going this way. We are better than this.
Rob (Giving up paragraphs for lent), Gravesend
Hands across north London
In terms of size there’s not a lot of difference between Arsenal and Spurs.
If you walk around North London, you’re just as likely to encounter a Spurs fan as an Arsenal fan. You can’t avoid them meaning you’re likely to have a friend or family member that supports the team from the other side of the Seven Sisters Road.
While the Emirates is starting to show its age, in terms of capacity at least, there’s not much difference between the respective club’s stadia.
And while Arsenal are way ahead in terms of silverware, for right now, there’s not a great deal of difference between the club’s current standings in the league.
Spurs have been winning ugly while Arsenal have added some significant flair to their play but there’s not much difference in the points return.
I’m not even sure either club is aiming for the title as City are bound to win the thing come May. But just now both clubs are where they want to be – in the top four.
And you know what? I hope both clubs do make the top four as it’s good for North London – just so long as we stay above Spurs.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Who’s played who
In an international week, I feel F365 have missed an …