The Monday morning mailbox asks why Ukraine would want any part of Qatar 2022. Also: the likes of Pogba and Shaw are welcome to permanent respite from Man Utd.
Send your mails during this bleak international break to firstname.lastname@example.org…
Spare Ukraine the ignominy of Qatar
So Jim White thinks Wales and Scotland should step aside and Gareth thinks Qatar should give up their place (Mailbox, 26 March). Neither are going to happen but they represent a nice gracious generosity, I suppose. Except let’s consider for a moment what happens if Ukraine do indeed make it to the World Cup finals.
We would have a situation in which a nation currently trying to fight off an existential invasion from a recidivist oppressor with an appalling human rights record, has to compete for a trophy and smile and cheer and say pleasant things in press conferences for their hosts; who happen to be an oppressive regime with an appalling human rights record; oh and one that asks them to play their tournament games in stadiums which 6,500 modern-day slaves died building.
Yep, nothing wrong with that at all.
I was born a few years after ’66. It is my absolute dream to see England win a World Cup. But this next episode of the tournament isn’t worthy of our shared international footballing history. I can’t even believe we’re still discussing competing in this morally bankrupt attempt at sportswashing.
I won’t watch a game in Qatar. I won’t pay a single penny towards this World Cup or give it any attention. If we win it, I won’t consider it any kind of ‘second star’ after 1966. We should boycott it. I hope Ukraine are spared it.
Father Dave, Maidstone
Chatty United stars
Quick note for Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba and seemingly half the dressing room at Old Trafford who have found some welcome respite during the international break from the terrible hardship of being paid hundreds of thousands of pounds a week to play for the biggest club in the world, copy and paste Instagram apologies and wander aimlessly around various Premier League grounds all season.
Bon voyage. Jog on. F**k off.
The next manager has an unenviable job on his hands, I must say, in clearing out almost an entire squad of wasters.
United right to take their time
Dave, Manchester: I think you may be confusing what the club are doing behind the scenes with the guff the papers are writing every day; and you don’t get a pass on this lack of insider knowledge by citing unconfirmed ‘briefings’, as though that word alone is enough to conclude the conversation. Every journo HAS to write about United every day because those stories get the most views; every journo HAS to cite ‘club insiders’ because it gives the story more credibility, even if it’s untrue, and every journo is now competing with endless blogs, youtubers, podcasts and pundit clips for readers limited attention spans. As such their ‘stories’ have to become more attention seeking and dramatic.
I get that the fact we haven’t yet appointed a permanent manager is frustrating, but let me remind you that all the candidates mentioned are currently in jobs. It’s not “arrogant”, you simply can’t do it, certainly not to appease a frustrated support. In fact I’d go a step further and suggest this is is clear attempt to learn from the ill advised Woodward strategy of appointing the best available at the time and hope it all works out. Giving Rangnick the task of getting us to the ending the season then getting the man we really want, along with a full insider briefing from Ralf may be the smartest thing the club have done in years.
Justice for AWB
What a weird list you’ve managed to compile. Do you genuinely think that Southgate is more likely to call up Sam Byram than AWB. Like honestly? Sam Byram is 28 and has played 6 games in 2 years. You even have Joel Ward ahead of AWB. He’s 32. It’s just nonsense. Fair enough you can say that Southgate isn’t keen on AWB and he probably won’t call him up… But what are you on about? You know fine well he has a better chance of getting in than those two. He’s 24, plays for Man Utd and is a good player. It’s just nonsense to suggest Southgate would actually select those ahead of him. There’s no logic or basis to it.
What could’ve been
A work colleague and I were chatting about the numerous players with massive talent, but in our opinion, a poor attitude to maximising their career. The list was thus (with some caveats):
Pogba – could boss that man utd side and cant/won’t. Gets his gobshite agent to leak comments that don’t endear himself to fans or team mates (I reckon). Needs/wants constant changes of system and has looked better in other sides due to them being better sides. Stories of recent unhappiness may hint at something more serious which may be affecting his performance but overall he should have done better for man utd.
Bale – legally and technically doesn’t have to take a pay cut and yes Real Madrid were daft to pay him so much but the fact he doesn’t want to leave Madrid for regular football and less money bugs me. Could and should have swallowed his pride and accepted it is over but as a dad myself if he wants to set his family up for life when he retires in the next two years then fair enough.
Neymar – acts and seems like a knob. Lots of talent but no hard work from what I’ve seen (never runs back to help defend and has a paddy when he doesn’t get his own way). Like Pogba could boss his club side and be a real leader. Also has annual leave during the club season to visit his sister which is both nice and creepy at the same time.
I accept all the above have won big trophies but they still could have done more.
A few of my own:
Any Chelsea loanee on perpetual loan – don’t keep signing contracts if you aren’t happy. Understand the money aspect but like Bale, surely you’d wanna play.
Adebayor – decent career but i think could have done a lot more with his talent. Was he not trusted at his clubs or did he have a poor attitude?
Anyone else come to mind?
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