He is one of a number of solid shouts for players that look old before their time. We also have the final words on lovely D-Beck and a rejection of end of season playoffs...
That's one opinion, but others give their thanks to the man. We also have ideas for a relegation playoff, happy memories of the season and a defence of Liverpool's campaign...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Moyes At United? No Thanks
David Moyes to succeed Sir Alex? No, no and no. It's one thing achieving slightly more than mediocrity with a club with low expectations (not a sleight at Everton, their finances dictate this), it's another being the manager of one of the biggest clubs in the world and going into every single match and (realistically or not) expecting to win.
Moyes, good as he is, is a nearly man, he may 'steady the ship' at United but he wouldn't win the title, he isn't a natural winner, if he was he'd have taken a top job before now and proved it, he's found his level at Everton and he knows it.
Mourinho may be a short-term fix but he's the best short-term fix there is and would see the club through until a) the debt is paid off and/or b) Solskjaer or another long term option has enough experience to take over (he may even settle down for once, after all he has nothing else to prove, except in international management).
The other option is to take a bit of a gamble and go for Pep (proven winning mentality, good at youth development but unproven outside Barça). Both are gambles, Mourinho brings pretty much guaranteed short-term success but thus far he hasn't stayed around long enough to sustain it and hasn't been good at bringing youth players through, but the main attraction is that he is the only man in world football to have big enough balls not to be intimidated by Ferguson's legacy and that's why I think he's the best option, for Moyes read Atkinson/Sexton/Docherty etc. good, but not good enough.
United Need To Win. Full Stop.
Jay (apologies for mixing up building and ship analogies there), York: I do hope Roy Keane wasn't reading your mail. Especially the bit where you said you wouldn't care less if Utd never won anything again. He'd have picked up his sturdy Dell laptop and smashed it to a million pieces saying in his lovely Cork accent, "If you'd be happy not winning anything again, go play for Liverpool."
Post that night in Barcelona, he heard a few of his teammates utter something similar which infuriated him. The bottom line is that his attitude is in a big way responsible for Utd's success not only during his time there, but also the effect it had on others around him even after he left. I'm not saying we should start knee jerk hysteria when Fergie leaves and we don't win the league but surely as one of the biggest clubs in the world we should be aiming to win everything every year. Of course that's implausible but you have to want to win, not sit back and say thanks for the memories.
I enjoy watching Utd, both when we win and when we lose I still support them. I can think of nothing worse than this great club falling into a trap of lethargy, languishing in mid-table, flirting with European qualification and relegation in the same season. How sad would that be? I'd prefer to challenge.
Dave, Melbourne (two Liverpool gags in there, did you get the second one?)
Klopp For Arsenal
Jay from York's email on preferring Moyes to Mourinho is as close to a reasonable thought I've heard from a United fan - is he really a United supporter?
Anyway, it got me thinking on my own club's prospects when Arsene Wenger eventually stands down, (and it will be stand down as he will never be sacked). Some Arsenal fans have cited Guardiola as the man to take over due to the football and results he achieved with Barcelona. However, I disagree. I feel much of the success that Barca achieved was already within the squad and players they had. He had very little to do in order to achieve results, in fact if Wenger had the likes of Messi, Iniesta and Xavi in his squad I doubt we would even be having this conversation. I feel that the wages Pep would demand would be extortionate and there are better managers available at a far more reasonable price.
The ideal man for the job, in my eyes, would be Jurgen Klopp. At 45 years old he is old enough to handle the pressures of an elite club and yet young enough to establish a long-term reign. He has for the past five years successfully managed a previously struggling Dortmund team, bringing them domestic success as well as recognition worldwide. Dortmund were originally floundering under Thomas Doll before Klopp took over, immediately marching them up the table. He did this with a young and vibrant squad, bringing exciting football and results collectively. He has an eye for transfers, bringing in players such as Kagawa, Lewandowski, Subotic, Hummels and Barrios; all of whom have been pivotal in Dortmund's recent success.
More importantly, he is a manager who is in the middle of a football revolution. Wenger was originally so successful because he had many contacts in French football were a lot of his most successful ventures into the transfer market came from; I believe Klopp would have a similar effect with his knowledge of the German league and players surrounding it, such as Poland and Belgium, two nations currently on the rise at international level.
I think his brand of football would suit the Arsenal ethos and he would be a likable character, (who doesn't like ze German humour?). So Mailbox, I put it to you, if you have to do away with your manager, which manager would suit your club the best?
JR, Saigon, Vietnam, Arsenal
Wenger Should Change Some Tings
I initially dismissed Harry Ingleby's proposed 3-5-2 formation, as I thought it smacked of pandering to the players, instead of getting players to fit into a desired formation.
But as I pondered more about this, I thought: isn't a manager's job all about getting the most out of his squad?
Arguably, Ferguson has been the master of this for the longest time, with last season and this season serving as prime examples of dragging a supposedly-limited squad to remain at the top of the table.
While I wouldn't count on Wenger doing something so drastic, drastic may well be what we need at this point in time. Teams would have to rethink how to play against us, instead of simply copying what several other teams have done in beating us.
Lastly, I always thought Walcott would thrive in a 'BigMan - LittleMan' attack, which was quite the fashionable thing in the 90's and early 00's. With a target man like Giroud (we could even bring back Bendtner for this!) to aim high balls at, Theo could have a field day picking up on the flick-ons and loose balls that would inevitably come his way.
Aaron, Singaporean Gooner
Man City: Rough
What seems to have been missed (with the exception of F365 numbers and stats) in the post-weekend analysis, was the rather cynical approach which Man City took to stopping Jack Wilshere. He was fouled more than any other player in any other game so far this season and almost all of the challenges were deliberate, cynical challenges by a beaten man. A tug of the shirt, a pull on the arm or a trip to stop a quick break.
Man City despite playing almost all of the game against 10 men, picked up four yellow cards and it really could have been more. I've seen people comment that it was not a game that warranted six yellows - speaking as a referee...a game doesn't have to be full of 'blood and thunder' to result in cards. I am sure that the Kompany tackle was viewed in the context of what had gone before - not just the red in the first half, but the series of fouls committed on Wilshere leading up to Kompany's tackle.
I thought Arsenal acquitted themselves quite well (post the moronic Koscielny wresting) and towards the end, Man City looked like Arsenal sometimes do...rocking on their heels and seemingly unable to put the game to bed. Had Arsenal been able to get one back, I could have seen City crumbling.
Pete Ford, Snowy Norfolk
How Was That Red Rescinded?
Question: How many Arsenal players will have to have their legs broken before something is actually done about dangerous tackles?
There's nothing wrong with tackling per se. Football is a contact sport. (Occasionally, yes, players get hurt.) We all like to see a well-timed tackle, a last-ditch effort, a full-blooded challenge, whatever. No problem. But when players launch themselves, off-ground and studs up, at opponents, then I think the line has been crossed. I don't recall Bobby Moore, for example, having to do that in order to relieve someone like Pele of the ball. Buffoons on the radio saying that decisions like that are destroying the noble art of tackling are talking rubbish - it seems we have to wait for yet another (Arsenal) player to be left with his ankle hanging by a thread before someone like Mr Claridge says "ooh, that was a bit strong". Dangerous tackles have no place in the game.
No-one could honestly accuse Mr Dean of showing any favouritism towards Arsenal on Sunday, and particularly not towards Jack Wilshere who was fouled almost every time he got the ball. So when he sees something which causes him to go straight for the red card, you have to think it troubled him. The decision to rescind this red card, in my opinion, undermines the referee's authority on the pitch and simply encourages players to behave in a reckless fashion. It's only a matter of time before another player's career lies in the balance, whereupon there'll be the usual brief period of hand-wringing and cries of 'something must be done'. We shouldn't wait for that.
Are People Hating Chelsea Less Now?
Now, after all the Chelsea hate, from our boring football under Mourinho in our back-to-back title-winning seasons, to the vilification (and rightfully so I would say) of our Brave English Lion John Terry and Ashley Cole, it seems that maybe the hate is coming to an end. Pre Abramovich, we were a lot of people's second teams. We had lovable characters, Zola, Desailly, Poyet, Gudjonsen to name a few and whilst every Chelsea fan thought that 'this season will be our year' (now simply a Liverpool trait), everyone always knew that when it came down to it, we would concede a goal in the last five mins of every important game and finish between third and sixth. That was a given. Then we got money, started playing boring football, and the key to the hate of every football fan outside of the Bridge, we started to win things regularly. This season however a lot of this has started to change.
After reading your excellent article on Luiz and his sheer enthusiasm and joy for the sport we all love, I got thinking as to why people were softening towards us? At first I was thought it is a combination of a younger more likeable squad and the old players of the old regime being increasingly sidelined by the management/board. Then I thought it could be the lowered use of JT (admittedly simply through injury), just having him out of sight may allow people to watch Chelsea and not be physically repulsed. However could it be that we are not playing exciting football with some of the best prospects in Europe in our team, Oscar, Hazard, Mata and Luiz to name a few?
The answer is a much simpler one however. We are the old Chelsea again. Inconsistent, a little bit of a joke and beatable. That is the key. Once you become beatable people stop fearing you (obviously..) and therefore the hate dissipates. Now I am sure there a lot of you who hate Chelsea for other reasons, but I think the neutral hate is subsiding, but will only be gone for good if we continue to not be a realistic challenger for the league. Here is to hoping the hate returns, because the only reason it will do so, is if we make a decent push on the Manchester duopoly.
Lori (too much time in work doing nothing) Peri, CFC, London
Welcome Back Nani
In light of the often-touted problems of Valencia and Young, I for one can't wait to see Nani back in action tonight.
I have always been a massive fan as he is our best winger in my opinion, in that he actually has the ability to retain the ball and dare I say it beat a man. This is more than can be said about the other two previously mentioned wingers.
Not only that, but the invaluable goals he can produce from his outstanding talent is something Utd. have been missing as of late and will profit from going in the run-in.
When was the last time you saw Valencia/Young beat a man and rifle a shot in? Or deftly chip the keeper from a very tight angle?
Rather have flair and skill over consistency any day.
Handbags At Dawn
I'm a Chelsea fan, champions of Europe blah blah but I'm fascinated by the talk about the northern clubs - looks like Mourinho is destined for Man U (although wouldn't think would be till Alex went in three years) and Pepe for Citeh.
I'm only a girl so what do I know?
Stick Or Twist? Ultimately It's A Guess
The managerial roundabout is often derided for its absurdity, with managers being the ultimate scapegoat when things go wrong with a club and often their sacking is the easiest way to appease the often delusional fans. It's a generally accepted idea that if a club stands by their manager for the long term then they'll be rewarded on the back of the stability it provides and the fruition of the managers' long-term plans, with Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes (and previously Arsene Wenger) being cited as proof.
However, this shouldn't detract from the fact that standing by the wrong man will ultimately hurt the club long term. It could be strongly argued that Venky's are the main culprits in the rather dramatic decline at Blackburn Rovers, but for the majority of Steve Kean's reign, he had a good squad at his disposal that should've been capable of avoiding relegation that many other good managers (like Sam Allardyce for instance) would surely have achieved and a strong argument emerges that the owners waited far too long to cut the cord.
Perhaps with similar fears in mind, Wolves disposed of Mick McCarthy last season when relegation looked possible, going on probable. Maybe the gamble would've worked if they'd identified a proper successor, rather than the likable but ultimately unsuitable Terry Connor, but now most would agree that they should've stuck by Mick and accepted that Wolves' standing meant they may well have been bobbing between the Premiership and Championship for a couple of years before establishing themselves.
One debate that could well fire up before the end of the season is the position of Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool, for reasons well observed by F365, though perhaps there have been enough glimpses of quality to suggest that sticking with him could reap rewards.
In review it seems as though there's no correct answer as to whether any club should opt to stick or twist when it comes to their manager - often it's one big guessing game.
Nick Hamblin (confident that Bristol City's decision to 'twist' is the right one), Bristol
While only the most naive supporters of a Championship team would think their side had a chance away to Stoke, you know it's not going to be your night when Jon Walters manages to score twice in the right end.
Also, if Sir could hurry up and buy Zaha fairly soon, that would be great. Some of us have four months of listening to Ian Holloway inevitably moaning about the chairman selling his best players and not giving him money to replace them to be getting on with.
Ed, CPFC, Notts
Just wondering F365 am I the only one who mis-read the 'Wee Gordie' headline as 'wee Geordie' and immediately envisioned a very short and fat man from Newcastle - bare-chested of course - in the dug-out for Scotland's next game, bellowing orders at a bunch of slightly bemused players?