Gareth Southgate at Man Utd would prompt ‘incandescent rage’ from Keane

Gareth Southgate at Man Utd would prompt ‘incandescent rage’ from Keane

The prospect of Gareth Southgate at Manchester United is impressing nobody at all, while there are also views on LiVARpool and more.

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Ever-changing moods

Give that dude a raise. The moods was the most enjoyable read since that short-lived series on playing old Champ Man.

Finlay x

Please explain Southgate to Man Utd

I probably need to apologize, but this is a genuine question and I would like to see if there are answers to this, but I am not sure what the rationale is for Gareth Southgate being considered a Number 1 replacement for Eric Ten Hag.

Yes, he has been a relatively successful manager at International level, and before people jump up and down frothing and spluttering about the achievements of England at recent international tournaments I would ask, does that carry the same weight and or pressure as managing week in week out in clubland? Do his previous achievements at club level merit him being considered for one of the traditional big 6? (Please note I said traditional big 6 before all those who like to call out recent irrelevancy get started).

What is the criteria being used by those advocating he replace Ten Hag? I am not suggesting that Ten Hag is the answer, rather, if there is a criteria being used to push for installing him as the next great hope of Man United then please let’s hear it.

If it is the “proper football man” criteria framed around the inevitable droning that he understands the league and/or club (does he really?), he is English (Dave Sexton anyone?), has achieved great outcomes at the national level and United being the biggest English club need to go English rather than Dutch, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese etc., then that is quite the spurious criteria.

On another note could you imagine the incandescent rage and the milk-curdling facial expressions that Roy Keane would offer up after any tepid or uninspired performance by Man United with Southgate as manager? Delicious.

I suppose to then just be provocative if Southgate was seriously being considered for this role given his achievements at the national level why has his name not been mentioned with the same strength in conjunction with the upcoming vacancy at Liverpool? And, again, I am not advocating that either so the froth and bubble brigade can all calm down on that score.

I’ll leave that with you.

Loyal Weighted Pass

READ: Five reasons Gareth Southgate would *actually* be good for Manchester United

Ten Hag in. For now

Ten Hag’s future is the source of great debate at the moment. Personally, I’d keep him on, but I wouldn’t be offering a contract extension.

The results this season have been disappointing, no one is going to argue with that, but as Marcotti repeatedly says, this is an abysmally constructed squad and Ten Hag is less culpable than more than a decade of failing for that.

If the defence lines up without both Shaw and Martinez, our only players that can start in central defence that are left footed, good in possession and quick, the defence has to drop 5 to 10 yards deeper and has limited ability to play out. This then has a knock on effect to the rest of the team, especially the midfield.

Up front, it’s laughable to the point of negligence to go into a season with Hojlund, a rookie, as first choice with only Anthony “heart-of-a-mouse, knees-made-of-biscuits” Martial as a backup. Even an incredibly limited round peg, like a Weghorst, for that glaring round hole would’ve been useful. There’s a raft of other issues, but for the sake of brevity, those are the two of the most glaringly obvious.

So whilst not blameless, he’s also not entirely responsible. The players still seem to be playing for him, which is an encouraging sign, and on the rare occasions we’ve had something approaching a first XI out, we’ve been pretty good.

Then there’s the question of a replacement; in an unusual twist of events, there are a lot of top jobs available this summer. Bayern, Liverpool and Barca are all after new managers, Juve, Milan, Dortmund and others may be too. It’s going to be a competitive field and the chances are that our first choice will have a better option.

On top of that, there’s the list of candidates. I covered De Zerbi in a recent mail; no thanks. Tuchel is a good coach but he falls out with everyone, we don’t need that. Southgate is suited to international football; he’d be awful at United. Flick? Possibly, but it would be as likely to go dreadfully as it did to go well. Potter? Not got the personality or charisma to manage a top club. Amorim? I’ve no idea, don’t know enough about him but it would seem a similar appointment to when we brought in Ten Hag.

Finally, there’s massive change at the top. New CEO, DoF, recruitment department etc. Wouldn’t it be better to let them all get their feet under the table, have time to analyse what’s wrong and build working relationships before making a call on the manager?

So I think the smart thing would be to leave him place for the time being whilst we build those structures around the manager. If there’s no great strides taken next season, then we can thank him for his service and move on.

Lewis, Busby Way

Is FFP designed to keep new money in its place?

An unoriginal thought, but surely FFP is nothing but a ploy to keep the top clubs, well…on top.

Take Newcastle for example. Sure, little sympathy for the play thing of a Saudi Prince, but the fact that in order to compete at the top, they’ll have to sell Isak and/or Guimareas – their two best players – just seems counter productive. Sure, they’ll get the guts of £200 million, but it’ll be more than likely to the Premier League teams above them, your Cities, Arsenal’s, United’s etc.

Yeah, Newcastle can improve their squad in a few areas, but they need to replace those players as well. And everyone will know they’ve £200 million burning a hole in their pocket. Plus their rivals will have improved with their player best players. And what happens in Newcastle’s replacements are great, will the same thing not just happen again further down the line?

Yeah, something needs to be done to stop the rampant financial might of football and the Premier League, but at this stage is it not already a case of the horse has bolted, so why not let them all do it?

Neill, (Gary Neville’s (or the one he suggests, think it might be Steve Parish’s) suggestion might be the best solution), Ireland

Why are the government so interested in football?

It’s strange, in a way, that an industry – spectator sports – garners as much attention as it does compared to other industries, given its relatively small size. How many industries have a huge section, the back section, of newspapers devoted to them?

The average large supermarket will have larger revenues than clubs outside the EPL and, perhaps, the top 5 Championship teams (parachute payments.) I read that the worldwide combined revenues for spectator sports were equivalent to that of a single company – Johnson & Johnson, while American Football (the ‘richest’ spectator sport) was equivalent to one US paint retail chain, Sherwin-Williams.

Also, how many entire industries essentially make a loss year after year? English football does.

Football’s outsized ‘cultural’ footprint certainly dwarfs its economic ‘weight.’

And now the Government putting in a regulator.

It’s not the financial ‘rules’ that are wrong—they could be improved—but the owners who decided they could flaunt them, work around them, or complain about them. The proposed new rules may be slightly better—keeping up with the increased EPL revenues—but they won’t change how the industry operates—at a loss. So perhaps regulating the owners is a good idea.

Perhaps we would see less of the hypocrisy from clubs being currently penalized. But they all act like kids squabbling. Demanding, throwing insults, refusing to acknowledge their own failures. So perhaps it does require ‘mum and dad’ regulator to come in and ‘save’ the heritage of our football clubs.

But I don’t see the Government as interested in saving the destruction of city centres due to large retail stores or the heritage of local public services – things that impact everyone, not just the football fans. The entire country’s GDP has been dropping due to poor decisions during and post-COVID and the complete balls up with Brexit. Everyone is a little worse off (or a lot.) Trains run like sh*t, restaurants and pubs can’t find staff, even if they can keep them open with the huge utility cost increases. I could go on.

Weird. Just totally weird that with so much else that needs work – lots of work – here we are regulating a relatively small and always loss-making industry to what, save it?

It just goes to show the outsized impact football has that it completely skews rational thinking.

Does this risk alienating an even greater share of the public with their everyday economic struggles?

Paul McDevitt

Are Arsenal the kinkiest club on the planet?

It suddenly occurred to me to wonder: do any other clubs produce “fans” like Stewie Griffin (or his doppelganger Ricky R. at the Athletic)… or is this purely an Arsenal phenomenon?

Obviously there have been disappointed fans here and there (Raul Garcia says get rid of Nunez in today’s mailbox, e.g.) but I can’t think of any other club that “features” the kind of vitriolic, bitter loathing coming from inside the house. Other people hate Arsenal and Arsenal fans, sure, but Stewie hates both the club and its fans far more.

Does anyone else have a good explanation for why Arsenal seems to attract a higher proportion of this special brand of masochist?

Ciborium (gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “Premier League whipping boys”)

What about Son? Is there a curse?

Maybe an original thought now, but all the talk about Harry Kane having never won a trophy, what about Hueng-min Son?

What an unbelievably great player and professional throughout his career, an absolutely joy to watch. A scorer of great goals and a great scorer of goals, among many other qualities. As you’ve said, one of this season’s best players, but surely one of the best Premier League players in the last 5 or so years.

Not trying to say he should move on from Spurs, but imagine if he had joined Liverpool instead 9 years ago. Son man!

Neill, Ireland

Why so bitter about Liverpool, Mr Spurs?

It’s amusing to see a Spurs fan so bitter about how our season is going, I thought it was all positive vibes or something to care about our ‘luck’. Speaking of which it’s not like you guys needed an unlucky own goal to beat nine men eh?

Konate might have well been sent off but who’s to say that 10 men Liverpool don’t win that game against Everton who were also down a man. I mean we did beat Newcastle with a red card which seems to irk you for some reason.

Palace did get their penalty eventually. Jota being sent off against your team didn’t seem to bother you. Maybe Ayew shouldn’t have been ‘reckless’ and given the ref a decision to make. If Salah hadn’t scored I believe we would have been awarded a penalty for a foul on Jones.

We didn’t get battered at Newcastle, that would be Spurs wasn’t it 5 goals in 30 minutes? Maybe you should watch us less if it annoys you so much? Plus aren’t you the ones struggling to get a UCL place?


…For a supposed “neutral” casually tuning in for a weekend cup tie, Fred from London certainly has Liverpool on the mind (no doubt living rent-free in there, as they say).

From time to time I hear a certain banal expression in passing, and for some strange reason it makes me think “Spurs !” every time, almost reflexively, like a panting Pavlovian (or Dulux paints) dog. It’s that one about throwing stones whilst living in a glass house. I don’t know why I associate such an otherwise unremarkable expression with a specific club. The most simple explanation I make for myself is that whenever I think the history of the Tottenham I don’t really think football… I just think of their grounds. For it is the most prominent and beautiful glass house in all of North London, if not the greater sporting world. And it is home to an equally prominent, equally beautiful glass jaw.

Eric, Los Angeles CA (Another neutral opinion is that if Arsenal go on to lift the European Cup, it only furthers the well-tread idea that even at most generous, there is no Big Six, only a Factual Five.)

..Quite incredible that you can ride your luck for 7 years isn’t it? You would think it’s statistically impossible, but not according to Fred. Klopp is apparently some some mystical good luck charm that allows his team to win in spite of all other factors.

Fred’s mail reminded me a lot of my younger, more immature self. I always used to talk about ‘lucky’ Frank Lampard (95% of his goals were deflections don’t you know?) and ‘lucky’ Man United (so many late goals – so lucky).

Then I matured a bit and realised that they weren’t lucky, they were good.

As Michael Jordan said: “The harder I prepare, the luckier I seem to get.”

Mike, LFC, Dubai


I see this stupid narrative has raised its head again that we ride luck and ref decisions. If y’all will take a look at the VAR table you’ll find Liverpool at the bottom…again. Every year except one we have been given the least decisions by the referee.

Not that I’m blaming that for losses, when we lose it’s because we were the worst side (except spurs which was genuinely robbery) , no I’m bringing this up just to point out their either y’all are wilfully lying or you don’t bother to fact check because of the top 6 teams we get the least decisions. If you wanna say we are rubbish, fair enough. But don’t lie and say we are the referees darlings because actual statistical evidence doesn’t support that wild claim.


Nottm Forest +4

Fulham +3

Aston Villa +2

Brentford +2

Manchester City +2

Chelsea +2

Everton +1

Newcastle +1

Brighton & Hove Albion 0

Burnley 0

Luton 0

Tottenham 0

Arsenal -1

Crystal Palace -1

AFC Bournemouth -2

Manchester United -2

West Ham -2

Liverpool -3

Sheff United -3

Wolves -3


A public service announcement

Given that we’re now into the footballing wasteland that is the International break, I thought I’d remind the Mailbox about a great movie they could be watching instead of kicking their heels at home: Copa ’71.

It’s a documentary about the first Women’s World Cup (or second, depending on who you talk to). It was held in Mexico back in (you guessed it) 1971, and was organised without the support or recognition of FIFA or UEFA. The film is a tight 90 minutes and features TV footage and photos from the tournament. It also has preset-day interviews with the players, talking about the highs and the lows of the tournament, and the attitude of the public and authorities. It also deals with how FIFA, UEFA and the FA reacted to the tournament. No prizes for guessing how that went.

What makes the film so enjoyable is the amount of behind-the scenes photos, mostly shot by the players themselves, that show them having the time of their lives. Despite the repercussions afterwards, you come away with the feeling that all of them would go through it again. The soundtrack is pretty cracking too.

You might need to search this one out, as it’s not on in most of the main multiplexes. A quick search of my local cinemas shows a few showings on Wednesday 20th March but no other dates., Hopefully this marvellous movie will find a wider audience via streaming.

JD, London

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