The demise of Cristiano Ronaldo is getting harder to watch. Man Utd are nannying a GOAT

The demise of Cristiano Ronaldo is getting harder to watch. Man Utd are nannying a GOAT
The Mailbox is troubled by Cristiano’s Ronaldo’s struggles at Man Utd. Also: the difference between Arsenal and United; and Man City fans bite back..

Electric Emirates

Heading home from the Emirates after Arsenal 3 Bodo/Glimt 0 (which is my first game of the season) and like many have already said this season the atmosphere is electric. It feels great to have so much positivity surrounding Arsenal. Whatever happens this season I intend to enjoy these moments.

Croydon Gooner

Project v patchwork

Arsenal played a pretty rotated team Vs Bodo in the Europa League. They won pretty comfortably 3-0.

United played a nearly full strenght team, minus maybe Varane and Rashford. Against a team, who, I’ll admit, I never even heard of before. Oh and they also had Mr Champions League himself who struggled to score in a *checks note* European Conference League match.

You can tell the difference, between a project backed from top to bottom from owners, managers and players alike, and a patchwork manager attempting to make a quilt from the players of, what, 4 managers now?

Hope United do stick with Ten Haag. He’s definitely a great person who stick with. If they actually want a project. I somewhat doubt the Glazers will afford him that.

DaraghJohn, nothing better to do that criticise other teams since Wycombe are doing very poor so far this season

Ronaldo’s demise

Manchester United certainly made a bullocks of that win! If Ronaldo hadn’t been see desperate, and his teammates so keen to appease, that game would have been much less of a contest. It’s terribly sad to see someone, once so great, fall in prowess and stature so quickly. He is so far from the player he once was. It is both heart-breaking and slightly amusing.

Ronaldo’s demise

Manchester United certainly made a bullocks of that win! If Ronaldo hadn’t been see desperate, and his teammates so keen to appease, that game would have been much less of a contest. It’s terribly sad to see someone, once so great, fall in prowess and stature so quickly. He is so far from the player he once was. It is both heart-breaking and slightly amusing.

Also, why did Ansarifard not want to celebrate after the first goal?


For most people some 6, 7 years ago, it would have been absurd to think the day will come that Cristiano Ronaldo will look so pitiful.

From a Ronaldo perspective, it can’t get any worse, Messi is in the form of his life and looks as though he can carry on for 5 more seasons. Argentina look strong too, with the World Cup approaching.

But, this babysitting that Man Utd seem to be doing right now, giving him gifts to see if he can open them is adding salt to injury. Ronaldo should understand his situation, the time has come and it eventually comes to everyone. In truth, it has been here for 3 seasons now and he has punched it in the face each time, there is only so far you can go doing that.


World Cup concerns and Arsenal

I’m not really sure why people both outside/inside the club think Arsenal are destined to struggle with other teams taking our best players. This probably starts with Ashley Cole – who left more or less because of our miserly and beginning-to-get-(totally)-out-of-touch manager and board (neither here anymore). It really became a thing and gained steamed with Cesc…but he’s from la Masia for crying out loud. The problem here was Wenger gambled by making club captain a player who was always going to have a certain sense of loyalty elsewhere – not to mention loyalty to win in the trophies Wenger maybe should have known he couldn’t promise. I believe Arsene has since admitted he regrets doing so (hindsight 20/20 and all that). Once our former young captain wanted to leave, who was also unequivocally our talisman (important), it all unraveled from there. That being said, all those other players had no real attachment to the club (Saliba might be this type, admittedly), not to mention many were actually total busts after they left (Hleb, Song, Vermaelen) or kinda batsh*t (Nasri). Also, Henry wasn’t going to be kept Kane-style cause our club has dignity.

Our current young captain (Odegaard) could leave but he is not the talisman of our club and, while he’s been very good this year, ultimately is totally replaceable IMO. Our talisman would still be Saka – though no longer our best player, he is still the face of the club and everything we’re aspiring to do much like Cesc was. This time, our eggs are split into two baskets. Essentially, other than the constant allure of Madrid/Barca and certain clubs being willing/able to pay higher wages/agent fees – the previously mentioned circumstances (and probably others not mentioned but relevant) exist anymore. Pretty much a completely different Arsenal at this point (again – doesn’t mean we’re destined to win anything). Moreover, call me naive but I’m honestly not that concerned with our players leaving for City/Liverpool or any other team in England. This is really just media churning crap cause they have to and certain fans (hello, Citeh) thinking their club is bigger than it is. I thought people were saying Liverpool is on the downswing anyway? Get your story straight. Could see Saliba going to PSG, though.

 Also, regarding the whole being outspent by other clubs (fees and wages), take it from someone who lives in LA and follows American sports – the Kroenke’s are truly trying to invest and grow their organizations now that they have finished the stadium project in Los Angeles. Their finances are significantly much more in order now that they own and operate their own NFL stadium. Spend is already trending upward for the club.

Also, last thing, the people advocating for social justice and human rights in the mailbox have really been grating with me since this all really came to the fore (at least for a relatively recent reader like me) after George Floyd. And no – not for the same reasons as people like a certain person from Leicester who for whatever miserable reason just can’t stand to see people try to affect change in a world that could stand to use it. Interesting how we don’t see people like this railing about how football has for years been forcing you to sit through 60-90 seconds of people “fetishizing” products that will blow your life savings or destroy your liver. Or are you just so used to it now that you don’t care anymore? Sort of like the oppression you insist that people like me should persist with while not bringing the issue into the sanctity of your matchday/mailbox, right?

It’s funny to me when certain Westerners (I am not distinguishing by color here, more general walk of life) always want to speak up about certain issues and honestly have no idea where the issue starts. You want to b**** and moan about the World Cup? Then lobby your complaints against FIFA and, much more importantly, the governments of its largest constituents (which, for most of us here, includes mine and yours) whose empires have historically and continue to turn a blind eye to corruption within their own countries and facilitate the international corruption we are all forced to deal with. Don’t come to the mailbox with this BS. This is all bigger than any one country/player/fan/writer/corporation attending or supporting the World Cup. Do you really think it’s a coincidence the US was shocked/pissed not to get the 2022 World Cup after seeing 2018 awarded to its arch-nemesis, started investigating FIFA culminating in charges and an entire takedown of its former leadership…then a few years later we’re awarded a joint bid with Mexico and Canada?

Also, societies evolve on completely different timelines. Just because our countries already went through their mass-exploitation-of-migrants-leading-to-death phase (not to mention the actual slavery, maybe it’s like puberty for industrialized nations?), doesn’t mean the current citizens are allowed to get on high horses while still reaping the comfort and benefit of all the pain and suffering generations later. And I say that as a black man.

MAW, LA Gooner

Tale of two Citys

In reply Mark, James (MCFC), Andy D, Manchester. MCFC, thank you for all proving me right. None of you could just say “yeah our owners are scum” you had you kind of say it in the most unconvincing, mildest possible way followed by defending them, deflect by pointing at others plus the usual abuse. Where can I send your “Worst Fans” awards?

If a human rights abusing dictator bought Leicester I would stop supporting them plain and simple as my club essentially would not exist anymore. Fans act like there was nothing they could do when Sheikh Mansour bought City but the most principled Utd fans created their own club when the Glazers took over and I admired that. It says a lot about City fans’ moral compass that this wasn’t even discussed. Not that I need to say this but the Glazers are angels compared to the owners of City, Newcastle and PSG but still so many Utd fans realised that takeover killed the club they loved so they started their own, go do that maybe City fans?

Any success City may have might make their manager and players look good but it has nothing to do with the club that existed before 2008, it will not add to its legacy as you are Abu Dhabi FC now. As fans you are irrelevant to the ownership, they don’t need your money as they have their own. Your support is irrelevant too as why fill a stadium when you can fill a warehouse in Panama full of club merchandise bought by a shell company owned by Sheikh Mansour to pretend you have an international fanbase (and commercial revenue streams) that rival real big clubs like Barca, Real and Liverpool. Your owners might also be able to dupe Erling Haaland into thinking he is playing for the same club his father did by throwing stacks of cash at him. However, all the goals he will score and records he will break will not be for the same club who’s fans used to chant “feed the goat and he will score”.

City fans need to realise your club founded in 1880 with a rich history you could be proud of whatever league you were playing in died on the 4th August 2008. Now it is just a shiny trophy acting as window dressing for one of the world’s most evil and corrupt regimes. This isn’t virtue signaling, I’m not jealous and I’m not on my high horse, it is just the truth you need to accept.

R.I.P. Man City


If anybody has been watching the news OPEC which includes Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia has sided with Russia in the current conflict. Considering what happened to Abramovich shouldn’t City and Newcastle’s owners be forced to sell now with the proceeds being donated to Ukraine? I’m waiting British government, don’t be hypocrites now.

William, Leicester (Pablo, MUFC, Dublin and James Outram, Wirral I salute you!)

Some advice for those amongst us who would like to have a pop at city.

1. If you think the stadium isn’t full for almost every match, then I am sorry but this is more about you than Sheikh Mansour. Your opinions are as valid as the Flat Earth Society.

2. Similarly, if you think City have no history, then I need to introduce you to the concept of books. Familiarise yourself with the technology, read a few and then we’ll talk.

3. I have no idea how the “size” of a fanbase is measured but one thing seems unarguable. City’s is different to the other “big six” (I will wash my mouth with soap and water after using that accursed phrase) in that so many of us have seen our team play in the third division. It does give a different perspective. Bournemouth fans are, for example, perplexed to discover that City fans consider the fixture with their team to be quite important, maybe more important than City is to them. Why? It’s down to Eddie Large in 1989, the aggressive walking match in 1999 and Sergio and the Policeman in 2017. You might remember the last one of those, but the first two will lead to blank looks unless you are a Bert. But they are amazing stories. This – and these “fanbase” arguments – is of course entirely irrelevant to having a go at the currently dominant club in English football.

4. “It’s totally obvious they’re cooking the books” and “Der Spiegel proved it.” It really isn’t – as UEFA will ruefully testify – and no they did not. If they had, this conversation wouldn’t be happening.

 As a City fan I know this is going to continue. I can’t wait for the next match but I know other fans say that while playing us used to be a huge challenge that may end in tears but we’ll give it a go and you never know, it is now thought of as a trip to the dentist during an anaesthetic shortage. I get it but hope you’ll understand when I say sorry, not sorry. When I was nine we lost at Halifax in the FA Cup. When Haaland scores his 500th goal for City, I will accept that the first downpayment against that trauma has been made.

More seriously, if you want to understand City, see the enormous thing that’s being built behind the North Stand. It’s going to be bigger than the 02 in London. That and the redevelopment of East Manchester in a way that benefits the majority owner both financially and in less tangible ways is where the game now is. And yes, while Philippe Auclair has in my view an unhealthy obsession with City, he’s right about those Crypto deals. While City aren’t the only ones doing it, they really shouldn’t. Direct your ire there or we will think you are just jealous that some of our players aren’t wearing the shirt of your club.

Mark Meadowcroft

Pablo, MUFC,Dublin claims the Der Spiegler leaked emails prove city to be cheating….hmmmmm

Here lies the very problem with people believing a headline because it suits them without actually looking into it….

If you took the time to read the report from CAS as to why city was cleared you’d see that the emails in question were doctored. They wasn’t an email as such as clippings from several emails cut, copied and pasted together to create 1 fabricated and damaging email.

Manchester City told UEFA this and supplied the original emails to prove it, this was ignored and UEFA pressed on pressured by the established elite so desperate to see city punished, hoping city would just lie down and except their fate, they was wrong!!

I know this probably doesn’t suit your rhetoric Sorry to piss on your chips fella!

Also can I ask where does peoples moral high ground start and stop. So many people have a bee in their boney regards citys owners but will happily tap away at their iPhones made in a factory where working conditions are so bad they employees regularly commit suicide, turn a blind eye to that because it doesn’t effect the football team i support, ok then.

Then wander down the street in their Hugo Boss polos who’s fashion empire was built on supplying uniforms for the SS Nazis, nope that doesn’t stop my club winning the league either…..that’s fine!!

Then I’ll go home and watch the match on my Japanese manufacturered TV where the components are made in some sweat shop by a 7 year old kid on 10p a day……nope that’s ok too because i can watch my team …..brilliant

But when it comes to a rivals owners……..nope I’m not having that for one minute…..bollocks!

Rant over.

Paul, people need to give their heads a wobble, Manchester

Dear James, Pablo & Anon. Thanks for your email. Just a few points. You are obviously clued up on this as you know City have been cooking the books for years but let me please point out that over that several year period the evidence put forward by Der Spiegal which resulted in a huge investigation by UEFA consisted of 6 email. Whilst investigating us UEFA themselves were never in possession of those emails from Der Spiegal but rather just the same reports you and I read.

The allegations were also found by CAS to be unsubstantiated so ermmmm not proven without a shadow of a doubt. There was a lot of UEFA bluffing about how they had found evidence in our own submissions that proved us guilty but the allegations still referenced the same 6 emails. If I suggested in this email that I am just about to make love to the very beautiful Eve Mendes you’d likely call me a liar. Things said in emails are not evidence of those things happening.

Regarding sponsorship are you not aware that sponsors don’t just target fans of the team they sponsor? The Premier League is the most watched league in the world and as the team that has won it the most recently and been playing great football with great players and a great coach can you not accept that sponsors will pay a lot to be associated with us? Sponsors are not selling only to City fans but to everyone watching.

Let’s also drop the stupid idea that only full stadiums are worth while. If we reduced attendance to 1 then at least the Sheik would have his billion pound seat and we’d have 100% attendance. Would that make things better? The seats that are filled are the ones that have value.

Let’s also not get stuck in the weeds of discussing what a ‘big’ club is and how only those clubs are worthwhile. If only 4 or 5 clubs are allowed to compete based on past success then we may as well admit the UEFA were really out to get City by virtue of us not being good in 1999 although we were good in 1904 until we were found guilty of egregious and large scale cheating.

James, you raise some good points about ghost companies and amongst the City fans that pay attention and care then this has received plenty of criticism. But to describe this and other sponsorship deals as the most egregious large-scale and sustained example of cheating when teams have been banned for bribing match officials is extremely hyperbolic. We breached and were punished for rules that existed for a small proportion of football’s existence and which no longer exist in the same way. If we cheated at anything we cheated at spreadsheets. Also Mancini was being paid a consultancy fee by Mansour before he became City manager which is one of the reasons given for him arriving so soon after Hughes was sacked. If memory serves me correctly any payments also took place before FFP was initiated.

I’m also unsure how you’d use the investment of Silverlake as an example of our cheating. It seems like a terrible way to cheat. If I gave you £50 but you had to give me £1,000 then it would seem like you got the wrong end of the deal.

We live in a strange world where City’s owner can be criticised for spending his own money on the club when just a few miles away people are protesting that their owners don’t spend any of their money on their club.

Finally Anon. I can confirm that a good majority of City fans have always been middle aged, pretty fat and unhappy. We take enormous pride sometimes in how miserable we are. Many times myself and the other fan who was also at the Etihad have left a great home win and greeted each other with “rubbish that”. How this particular fan acted wasn’t good or excusable. I’m thankful however that he didn’t push you in a fountain, throw bricks at your coach or steal your tracksuit.

Richard (writing too many long emails avoiding work)

Weapons everywhere

To Anon. Mate, that experience isn’t pleasant and I wish it hadn’t happened, on behalf of the City fanbase, I’d like to apologise. It’s barely acceptable between adults who can make their own choices, it’s so far down the line of unacceptable when little kids are involved, it’s unreal.

But it needs to be born in mind that every fanbase contains these knuckle draggers. I’ve seen Liverpool fans, in Anfield, throw bags of dogshit at away fans. I was poked in the chest and called a “fackin Norvern CANT” outside Pompey’s ground by a genuine 6’5”psychopath who only didn’t do what was on his mind by the smart intervention of a nearby copper when all I’d done was literally walk down the street. I watched Wigan Athletic fans deliberately smash into a City fan who just wasn’t looking their way when walking along. United fans are currently in the process of defacing a, quite frankly, brilliant Pep mural on the side of a house near the Etihad. I’ve watched Stoke City fans brick our coaches. Leeds fans organise themselves on an almost paramilitary basis when the opposition fans roll into town.

Etc Etc Etc.

We’re not all like that. I’ve been for a pint with Watford fans after our FA Cup final game with them. I’ve been on the lash with Sheffield Wednesday fans, after games. I had loads of laughs with the Aston Villa supporting family that we met on holiday in Greece, recently. made My Liverpool supporting brother in law is one of my very oldest friends.

Etc Etc Etc.

What happened to you is profoundly depressing but this is the society that we’ve created for ourselves. In any city, town or village, it’s perfectly possible that downright horrible things can happen to anyone. That’s got nothing to do with football even if football exacerbates the problem, exponentially. There are SO MANY ‘wrong un’s’ knocking about, it makes you sometimes feel like you’re drowning in them.

But….we’re not all like that.

Just trying to help

Levenshulme Blue, Manchester 19

Road to Germany

I’m sure it will get lost amongst the fall out of the Champions League games, another Haaland hat trick this weekend and Liverpool’s resurgence against Arsenal (please?) but the qualifying draw for Euro 2024 takes place on Sunday. This isn’t especially interesting for England who almost always qualify, but for the rest of the home nations it could be the difference between a summer to be excited about or watching as neutral (again).

This year’s draw is actually different to most and could potentially throw up some interesting groups. That’s because seeding is based on the Nations League performance, rather than world rankings. So instead of being based on performance for the last 2 years, it’s done on the last 6 games. Hence why England (5th in the word) and France (4th) will be 2nd seeds while Hungary (36th in the world) will be top seeds.

It means the seedings are slightly more chaotic than normal, which could result in a very tricky (or easy) group. In pot 3 is Armenia, 93rd in the World. In the same pot you could draw Haaland (sorry, Norway). Pot 4 contains Turkey, who have qualified for the last 2 Euros. It also contains the Faroe Islands. In pot 5, normally the minnows, you have Slovakia. No giants, but they have qualified for the last 2 Euros. Not who you want as a 5th In other words a draw for England, Wales or Scotland (all 2nd seeds) could look like this:

Spain, Norway, Turkey, Slovakia

Hungary, Armenia, Faroe Islands, Malta, San Marino

England would probably qualify from the first group anyway, but for Scotland or Wales it would be a much tougher task. Fingers crossed the draw gods are smiling on us on Sunday.

Mike, LFC, London


Since BT Sport became the UEFA Club Competitions official broadcaster the games have been awful to watch for the world feed. It is annoying hearing a commentator ( who is clearly in some studio booth) claiming the atmosphere in the stadium is electrifying when the broadcaster has toned down or even downright muted the fan ‘noise’!

Posab, Botswana

Lucky Invincibles?

Sorry, but saying you have to be lucky to go a season unbeaten is like saying you have to be lucky to win the league.

There are a number of reasons that Arsenal team are to date the only Premier League team to go a season unbeaten.

The first reason is Patrick Vieira. The foreword to his autobiography was written by Arsene Wenger who proclaimed that Patrick hates losing. That drove Captain Colossus that season. He was immense and aside from everything he has done in his career, I maintain that captaining the Invincibles remains his finest achievement.

The second reason is the Battle of Old Trafford. Up until that game, my ‘Orko’ O2 shirt didn’t bear any name. After that match, I went down to the Arsenal World of Sport and asked for Keown to be branded to the back of my shirt. Something changed in Arsenal following that match. While I believe that without Arsenal, United don’t win the treble, without United, we would not have been invincible. The immense dislike of each other drove these teams’ performances and no club rivalry has compared since.

The third reason is Arsene’s prediction that a team could go a season unbeaten after we went unbeaten away from home in securing title in 2002. Wenger was ridiculed at the time which only drove him on to prove it could be done.

And the fourth reason is Dennis Bergkamp. You need to have a player who strives for perfection if you are to achieve perfection and Dennis remains the only player, I never shouted suggestions to from the terraces. What Dennis can imagine is a damned sight better than anyone else could.

There are numerous other reasons to explain why Arsenal achieved what they achieved during those momentous months but none of it has anything to do with luck.

Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London

Whilst Ray (MUFC, Toronto) is right that if Van Nistelrooy had scored that penalty, then there would be no Invincible season. But to say no one talks about it is ridiculous. It’s one of the most iconic moments in Prem history. Known, Gilberto and Parlour etc. A last minute penalty miss that, if scored, would have changed history?? I give you Dennis Bergkamp at Villa Park in FA Cup Semi Final v United. That would have stopped the ‘99 Treble before it even started!!! I don’t hear that being mentioned very often??? (Bergkamp never took a penalty again! ????)

Marcus (AFC, Cheltenham)

If I was a pedant, I might write in and point out to Ray MUFC Toronto the sliding doors moment of Van Nistelrooy hitting the bar is actually mentioned A LOT. Given the end of the game it’s in fact one of the most memorable in Premier League history.

James, Kent