Welcome to Reader Mailbag: Questions about the Premier League and English Football

Today starts a new regular feature at EPL Talk — a weekly mailbag where you can post questions, and we’ll pick the best ones out to be answered in future columns.

All your comments and opinions are greatly appreciated and we want to hear more from you. So that is why we will be introducing a weekly mailbag so that you, the readers, can become even more engaged with the site. You have a question or a comment? You want to know our opinion on a situation, a transfer scenario, or a rumor in the EPL or English football? Or maybe you just want to talk football?

Go ahead and post it in the comments section below, or e-mail it to readermailbag@epltalk.com.

Don’t worry, there are no dumb questions or comments, so please don’t be afraid to ask us anything at all. We are here to serve you, the readers.

As with any good mailbag make sure to keep it civil, fun and clean. Make sure to include your name (or nickname that you would like to be addressed by) so that we know which reader to credit when we’re answering. And don’t forget to write ‘EPL Talk Mailbag’ in the subject line when contacting readermailbag@epltalk.com.

This week’s reader mailbag question comes from Augustine George who asks:

Q: “I am baffled. Why over the years have players such as Kevin Phillips and Danny Murphy been overlooked by the English select?”

The Gaffer: Great question. The same can be asked right now about why an England manager hasn’t selected Danny Graham or Grant Holt for the England squad. Wayne Rooney has scored 20 goals in the league this season, but Graham and Holt are the next highest English goalscorers in the league — with 10 goals each, tied with Frank Lampard.

Unfortunately, a lot of it is due to timing. Phillips scored 113 goals in the league for Sunderland and played for England 8 times during that part of his career (1999-2002), while Danny Murphy played for England 9 times between 2001-03 despite having netting 25 goals for Liverpool during that timeframe. Unfortunately neither Phillips or Murphy played for England’s 2002 World Cup squad — during the height of their playing careers. Danny Murphy was initially selected for the squad but had to drop out due to injury. Phillips played 8 times for England but was unable to find the net, although he never had a full 90 minutes on the senior squad. For the 2002 squad, England manager Sven Goran-Eriksson went with Michael Owen, Emile Heskey, Teddy Sheringham, Darius Vassell and Robbie Fowler instead.

How many goals did those forwards score for England that summer, where the team made it all the way to the quarter-finals until losing against Brazil? Michael Owen scored two, Emile Heskey scored one, while the other forwards scored none. Could England have used a Kevin Phillips in that World Cup? I would certainly think so, but we will never know what impact he may have had or not.

Together we can make this a fun feature on the site. Thanks in advance for your participation. And as Kartik would say, enjoy your football.

27 thoughts on “Welcome to Reader Mailbag: Questions about the Premier League and English Football”

  1. Since you asked….

    In the “Recent Comments” section you used to be able to click the poster and it would go immediately to that post. Now, if you do it, it simply takes you back to the article. If it’s one with many responses it’s a real pain to have to sift through them all again to find the one you’re interested in.

    Can that be remedied?

    1. I definitely noticed when this switched back however many weeks ago. It’s tedious to have to scroll and basically look for a needle in a hay stack, unlike before, with the perma-link or whatever it’s called.

    2. Guy and Todd, I’ve asked my developer to take a look at this. Thanks for pointing it out. Hopefully he can get it fixed soon.

      Thanks for your patience.

      The Gaffer

      1. Guy and Todd, this has now been fixed. The developer for EPL Talk wanted me to pass along this message: “Please encourage readers to continue to provide feedback. They are a part of EPL Talk, not just spectators. Thanks.”

        If you or others see other things need fixing, just let me know in the comments section. Thanks.

        The Gaffer

  2. If Great Britain fielded a football team under UEFA would England be the world powerhouse it has always dreamed itself of being?

    Or… why in the world are Wales, Scotland, and Ireland putting up so much of a fuss (or are they even doing this?) over the Great Britain Olympic team? Do you think Great Britain’s Olympic team be disbanded and forced to compete as the four associations in future Olympics for all Olympic sports, i.e. no more Great Britain?

    1. Lyle

      If a Great Britain team was selected that would be the end of the England, Wales and Scotland teams. They would have to play under Great Britain all the time. It would also end the different leagues as there would have to be one league for England, Scotland and Wales rather than having an EPL or SPL.
      Although it could be done and would know doubt create a stronger team (Even if Scotland and Wales were only offering one or two players) it would be unlikely to ever happen, politics and pride would win out. Plus the fact 3 leagues would have to merge into one would also create a lot of problems.

      It would have helped the team through the years as both Scotland and Wales have had a few very good players at different times and those combined with the English players could have only been good for the team overall. As for world beating, who knows, but it certainly couldn’t have done any harm to have had the likes of Souness, Dalglish, Giggs and more recently Bale playing with English players all in one team.

      In my opinion, if it was going to happen it should have happened in the beginning, it is a bit of a mess both in football and in the wider world having 3 countries (four if you include NI) trying to act as if they are one country while each one holds on to their own identity, plus it makes it complicated for people outside the UK to know the difference between the UK, Great Britain and England which usually get used in the wrong context.

      That’s my 2 pence worth, maybe others have additional feelings on it.

      1. Yeah, you’re right of course. I totally understand why the association setup is the way it is, but like you say it is a mess.

        I just wanted to throw out the idea of running either way with it… i.e. 1) Doing away with all the associations and just having Great Britain football. or 2) Doing away with Great Britain in international sports and having all four associations compete separately in any kind of internationally sanctioned contest.

    1. Good catch Tommy. I should have known that! Thanks for letting me know. I’ll fix the article.

      The Gaffer

  3. Will the Tottenham/Bolton game Tuesday be started over or picked up where it was left off? If it is tied at the end of 90 do they go to a replay or to extra time?

    1. Since the column is a weekly one (next set of Q&A will be next Friday), let me answer this one now :) The match will kick off from the first minute (90 minutes will be played). If it’s a draw after 90 minutes, it’ll go to 30 minutes of extra time. If the game is still drawn, it goes to penalties.

      The Gaffer

      1. Hey gaffer, as I understand it, this is still the first match and will go to a replay if it’s a draw. I haven’t seen anything about the match being decided at WHL. Unless you have better info? Linky? I’ve been trying to find out what’s going to happen for days!

        1. Tom, you’re correct. Good call. Since it is the first match, if it ends a draw, it would need to go to a replay. As long as the replay concludes by April 15, when the semi-final is scheduled, then the winner will play Chelsea.

          Both Spurs and Bolton will be wishing someone wins the match next week. Otherwise, there will be fixture congestion for both clubs.

          The Gaffer

  4. Is there a possibility that the SPL could merge with the EPL, I mean that would be awesome to see the Celtics and Rangers in the EPL.


  5. Gaffer

    If Fox and ESPN could listen to you and fix 3 things about American game coverage, what would you get them to fix?

    1. Harry,

      1. Start the coverage from the ground 10-15 minutes before kick-off so fans can enjoy the passion, excitement and build-up before a game,

      2. Figure out a way to show BBC Match of the Day in America on a Saturday night,

      3. Improve the half-time and post-match shows.

      The Gaffer

  6. I’ll also throw in a question/discussion to the site. Would Football be more popular in the States if it wasn’t so popular outside of the States? I always get the feeling that people in the U.S almost refuse to get into football because it’s not the American game or because America is not the best at it.
    I think the US likes to be the best at things, whether that’s having the best military or winning the most gold medals at the Olympics, do you think this is the reason or a reason or do you think there is more to it?

    1. It’s not that we refuse to go…but when you have 4 other major sports such as football, baseball, basketball and hockey deeply entrenched, it’s kind of hard for anything else to make a breakthrough here.

      Not ot mention the system governing soccer such as how players are purchased or promotion and relegation doesn’t quite gel with the way the draft system/salary cap works in American sports.

  7. Also, how much do U.S football fans worry about what other fans think of them? They always seem to get angry if their kit looks crap or even if their badge looks crap. Is it to do with how other countries view them or is it as simple as not wanting to spend money on a kit you’re not too happy with.
    Do you think there is a stigma against U.S fans and players and if so, do you think that puts people off getting more interested in the game?

  8. What makes you get up in the morning to watch a game on the other side of the world? I have watched and played all my life but I don’t think even I could be bothered to get up at stupid o’clock in the morning to watch? Do you really like the game that much? and how much does wanting to be different from the norm play in your decision to follow football (soccer)?

    1. There is this thing called a clock…and ummm…weeeellll.

      It rings.

      If you are going to ask that question you may as well ask how people who live in places like Greece, Turkey and China stay up so late to watch a game taking place in the mid afternoon.

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