FourFourTwo - - UP FRONT - Aaron Sut­cliffe, via email Mark An­der­son, Trim­ley St Mary James Viney, via email

LIFT THE STIGMA I’ve just read A Life Too

Short, de­tail­ing the life – and death – of Robert Enke. Foot­ballers are easy tar­gets for their ‘amaz­ing lives’, and yet no money or fame can over­come the dark­ness that be­falls some­one with de­pres­sion. We need to do more to un­der­stand the sever­ity of the ef­fect that men­tal ill­nesses can have on ev­ery­one, so that peo­ple can get treat­ment in the same way as for an in­jury with­out the stigma that makes them feel the need to fight it on their own. Brad Peter­son, via email


Peo­ple tried to dis­credit Pep Guardi­ola for his short­com­ings last sea­son. While he did in­herit some un­be­liev­able sides at both Barcelona and Bay­ern Mu­nich, the foot­ball his teams play is at an­other level to any side in the world. Since the turn of the cen­tury, his Barça team have been the true dom­i­nant side of the era for their in­cred­i­bly at­tack-minded style. Some have doubted whether he is the best in the world, a ti­tle that he’s never once given him­self. How­ever, la­belling him a fraud, as many did last sea­son, was be­yond stupid – those peo­ple are my big­gest bug­bear in foot­ball at the mo­ment, and Guardi­ola’s def­i­nitely the best at­tack­ing man­ager in the world.


I re­ally en­joyed the re­cent striker spe­cial is­sue [FFT 282]. It made me think back to a time grow­ing up when Eng­land had Alan Shearer, Chris Sut­ton, Teddy Sher­ing­ham, Les Fer­di­nand, Andy Cole Rob­bie Fowler, Dion Dublin, Ian Wright and so on at their dis­posal. Nowa­days Eng­land re­ally strug­gle to select four top-qual­ity for­wards. For­eign im­ports have ob­vi­ously had an im­pact but the con­trast from back then is im­mense.


The Scot­tish Chal­lenge Cup is at a very in­ter­est­ing stage at the mo­ment. The gulf in qual­ity means not even English League Two teams en­ter­ing would be fair, re­ally. The big dif­fer­ence in qual­ity be­tween English teams and sides from the rest of the British Isles is a shame. Is there a way that the Isles coun­tries could ben­e­fit from hav­ing joint league ven­tures in the fu­ture? The ‘Celtic and Rangers in the Premier League’ idea has been talked about for many years now, but that would only plum­met the Scot­tish foot­ball level even fur­ther.

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