Somebody mentions Paul Scholes and everybody writes in with those quotes from Zidane etc. Dull dull dull. We've ignored them. There's plenty more to enjoy here...
It does seem logical that the best thing to do with the best players is to play them from the start, when they have the most time to make an impact, rather than the last 15 minutes...
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Chelsea Back In 2004
I read a mail a couple days ago about the Mata transfer leaving a bitter taste in your mouth.
I couldn't agree more. Over the years, Abramovich has brought in various players/coaches in order to get Chelsea to play expansive, attacking football. This past season, he brought in Mourinho with the promise that Chelsea would start playing (and winning) this way, the right way. This is exactly the type of football that Juan Mata was birthed for, the very reason we bought him in the first place. And we've just sold him. To a rival.
I find it ridiculous that after years of trying to change the very ethos that Mourinho left behind in the first place, we've reversed 360 and find ourselves back in 2004: we're now back to being a tight defensive unit, and hitting the opponent on the counter-attack but with less position and excitement.
We've already won the league this way and it wasn't enjoyable. We all hear about Chelsea changing its footballing philosophy and how it's a long-term project, but here we are ten years later and we're right back to where we started. And it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.
Kris (don't leave us Juan, I'll always love you), CFC, London
Wenger is poking his nose in again? Why does it (Juan) matter? Surely Wenger should be more bothered about loan deals which prevent the loanee being played against his parent club (twice in a season)?
Anyone would think it was just because this move is a win-win for one of his rivals and Manchester United? At least it indicates that someone who knows about football reckons it's a singnificant enough improvement to United's squad to speak out about it...
Well, I look forward to some rapier-like witticism from both Mourinho and Sir Ale...oh, sorry, and some more flaccid tripe from Moyes.
Chris (does genuinely find this whole thing amusing as well as deflating), Manc
Give That Man A Job
Tomorrow's 'Worst Headline of the Day': 'JOSE DOESN'T MIND OVER MATA'.
...I'll see myself out.
Jamie (CFC), London
Mata: A Statement
Mata is a truly world-class player, not to mention someone who would lift the squad. But...it doesn't sort out the main problems. The lack of an enforcer in the midfield. The lack of a competent back-up to Evra. Undoubtedly we are short on creativity at present, as the Sunderland game showed. But will Moyes actually use Mata properly, or treat him like he has Kagawa (who was unbelievably sh*te last night, but that's another story) as in, put him out to the left side more often than not. Don't get me wrong, the signing is very exciting and it would be a massive coup. I just worry that it seems more a 'statement' purchase than addressing problems in the squad.
Those through balls though.
Adam Kravetz, 18, MUFC (How the hell do you keep finding those type of articles for the Non Football story of the day?)
Mata: A Smart Investment
So over the last 24 hours, many of my mates have been questioning how wise it is for United to spend close to £40m on a player who on the surface doesn't look to fill a priority gap in the current team. Here's why the deal makes perfect sense for the Glazers:
If United end up finishing 7th this year, the following would happen:
1. £10m loss in broadcasting revenues due to finishing 7th vs. 1st last year in the PL.
2. £30m loss in broadcasting revenues from not being in the Champions League
3. £14m loss in match day revenues from on average 5 less home CL games.
4. Likely increase in expenses of between £10-£20m due to signing higher contracts to retain existing players and attract top-quality players to return to Champions League next year.
That is a loss in operating income of £60-70m relative to last year. Obviously, this is likely to be partially offset by increased commercial revenues from the many sponsorship deals the club does, as well as the higher TV broadcasting deal that is going to kick in. Moreover, United could recoup some of the losses if they at least made it to the Europa league.
So, assuming even just a 50% decline in operating income relative to figures above, ~£35m, given the multiple at which the company trades (18x operating income), it could translate to a ~£600m lost in market value for the Glazers.
Spending £40m on Mata does two things:
1. Increases the chances of United finishing top four, and thus avoiding those aforementioned losses at a relatively lower cost.
2. Gets the club a popular player with a great reputation and brand potential, which is bound to increase our shirt sales, and thus subsidize the purchase. Are United fans globally more likely to buy a Welbeck or Fellaini shirt, or a Mata shirt? Heck, Mata is the only Chelsea player my girlfriend even knows.
Thus, let alone the fact that this would be a great crowd pleaser and morale booster for the team, the deal makes perfect financial sense as well.
Sandy (MUFC, the financial analyst)
In response to those Liverpool fans who are asking when United's plight will move from being funny to becoming sad, I for one am still laughing (quietly and politely, but in a heart-felt way). And I would imagine that most of the rest of Merseyside, as well as Highbury, Chelsea and whatever bit of Manchester City's core fans are based in are doing likewise.
I started secondary school round about the same time that Liverpool started to head south and United started to dominate the English league. That was about 25 years ago. And I don't recall many United fans feeling sorry for Liverpool during that period. I have received plenty of text messages from United supporting friends following embarrassing Liverpool defeats to support my view! Whilst many of the reasons that I disliked United in the past have subsequently retired, for those Liverpool fans of my vintage they are still our bitterest rivals and even Chelsea's efforts to replace them in that regard during the Benitez years never succeeded.
I should add that I feel sorry for Moyes himself as he inherited a team that is a long way short of what it was a few seasons ago. It seems to me that Ferguson had ceased to have a long-term plan for developing the team over the past few seasons and was only interested in adding to his own legacy.
I also think that Mata is putting his desire to get playing time so that he is part of the Spain squad in Brazil ahead of his long term career - unless United are going to go on a shopping spree in the summer, he could surely have moved to a more rounded squad that will challenge for titles once this season is over.
Paul (Schadenfreude is underrated) H, London Red
...Man Utd nicked our captain.
Man Utd thrashed us 8-2 at their place.
Man Utd's Patrice Evra has sought to put the boot during our eight trophy-less years whenever given the opportunity.
If I watch Arsenal v Man Utd in my local - half the pub are Cockney Reds.
On the Stroud Green road (the very same road where Arsenal boozer The World's End stands) one of the local residents has seen fit to fly a United flag from his window - though can't say I've seen it this season.
There's only one thing worse than a bad loser and that's a bad winner and United have been the worst winners of the past 20 years - moaning even when they were winning - think Chris MUFC's missives to the mailbox.
So while there may be some misguided Liverpool fans who think Man Utd have suffered enough. I don't. I hope their fall is worse than Liverpool's. They've had this coming for decades and I for one intend to enjoy every minute.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Will you all just stop it? We are six points ahead of them with almost half a season to go, our defence and midfield are falling to pieces and they're about to sign one of the league's best players while we spend the entire month chasing a winger we don't need instead of the CM and LB we desperately do. There's a long way to go and some of you are just asking for it.
Jon Gibson LFC (1-0 up after 55 minutes and you're already singing YNWA)
United v Sunderland Thoughts
I'm sure all the United jeering and criticism will be well covered by others so there's no need to repeat it but I just want to highlight a few things from last night.
1. It is obvious that David de Gea is not a bad keeper, but I genuinely think he is one of the most overrated goalkeepers I have ever seen. I'm still baffled how he was in the team of the year last year despite Begovic, Hart, Cech and even Reina who had a fairly poor year gaining more clean sheets. Feel free to correct me, maybe I'm just biased, but every time I watch Man U he completely backs me up and proves me right.
2. How f***ing good is Adnan januzaj. He can shoot with both feet and whether he's one-on-one with a defender or surrounded in the corner flag by three men he always looks like he's going to dribble right on through towards goal.
3. A 4-3-3 with Mata playing as an ATM Januzaj and Zaha on the wings and Rooney/RVP up front would probably walk United back into the Top 4 but I can't see Moyes doing that. I think when he has his full squad Moyes has to sacrifice one of Rooney and RVP because two in midfield is just not working. However, it looks like 4-4-2 is his plan A, B and C. Also I think Cabaye to United to play box-to-box beside a holding midfielder and behind Mata is now the most obvious transfer since Tony Pulis bought Peter Crouch.
4. Is it just me or does Marcus Alonso look like he could potentially be a world-class LB. He managed to stop Januzaj from completely destroying them, he's got bags of pace and always looked like he had the ability to get round Rafael and pick a decent cross. With our current struggles in that position BR could definitely do with getting on the blower to Fiorentina. (The last time we signed an Alonso it turned out pretty ok).
5. And finally, quite simply, what a match! Are we finally seeing the Carling Cup becoming a pretty serious competition this year?.
Pierce Dunne (Anybody else feel like there stuck in a high school movie, where the bully(united) after years of making everyone else miserable for no apparent reason are finally getting their comuppance while the geeks (Arsenal,Liverpool) get the girl and go to the prom... No?Just me?) Liverpool
Moyes: Bad Teacher
I am a secondary school teacher. When I was in my first couple of years of teaching, I had some tricky classes. If I'd turned around to a senior member of staff and said 'that class is mental, they never do any work and they're not hitting their target grades. However, it's them, they're behaving below my expectations and I just don't think the students and I are a good fit', the member of staff would probably have said 'right, well that's not an excuse, other teachers can get them to work so you need to do the same.' And if I still hadn't managed it then they would be given to another teacher and I would be regarded as a failure.
I think the same is true of Moyes. I understand that the players are underperforming and in many ways letting him down, but sadly that's not an excuse for poor performances; it's the manager's job to motivate them to perform. Ultimately, it's more sensible to sack a manager than an entire squad of players.
Joe (Kagawa looks crap because Januzaj is the only United player good enough to play with him) MUFC
Five-Point Plan For United
1) Moyes out now
2) Fergie in as caretaker for the rest of the season
3) Get 4th place on goal difference
4) Hire a top manager (like every other top team does)
5) Fergie writes another book
A Sobering Thought
Excluding add ons, Phil Jones cost the same as Alvaro Negredo. Just let that sink in.
Mark (Moyes In) LFC
One nickname that used to really, REALLY boil my p*ss was the thoroughly detestable Clive Tyldsley's insistence on referring to Manchester United (who once played a game in Barcelona, I think) pirate look-a-like and £28m flop Juan Sebastian Veron as 'Seba Veron', pronounced with an exaggerated Thpanish Lithp. Every time he got the ball. Never 'Juan Veron', never just 'Veron', always 'Theba Veron'. I've never heard anyone, before or since, refer to him by this moniker so have always put it down to being another example of his awful 'I'm a United fan, me' chest-beating.
Hearing Fat Sam Allardyce and Colin Warnock referring to contemptible phlegm-propeller El-Hadji Diouf as 'Dioufy' also made me do a sick in my mouth.
Steven (What's your footballer nickname? Stick an A or a Y on the end of your surname. Job done. Top bantz.) Mole
Nicknames That Delight
Nicknames that have always cheered me up in football are normally Italian. In comparison to The Divine Ponytail (Baggio), Growl (Gattuso), and The Professor or Mozart (Pirlo), Stevie G, Wazza, Lamps, JT, Becks et al. sound like rejects from a Beano comic.
Anything But Initials
I think this request was sent in by someone else a while ago, but it seems to be persisting, so...
Please can I ask that you all put a stop to the enormously irritating trend of referring to a player by their initials + squad number? It's just gone on for far too long now and it was rubbish before. I don't care if players have it as their Twitter account, it makes you sound like those twats who talk in postcodes ("Yeah, I was out in WC1 the other day, the price of Bellinis has really gone up" etc).
Okay, I'll admit that PV4 was quite cool, once. Bloody hell, ok TH14 if you must, as he was a bit good. But AR16? AV25? AY18 for feck's sake? You sound like you're typing the e-mail with the club's wiki page open next to you.
I take great pride in the fact that I've never referred to JT26, FT9 or AC3; although I'll admit that FL8 does sound a bit rude.
PS. Well done Sunderland!
More Kim Casey News
If the news that Harriers legend Kim Casey scored 73 goals in one season and now is Area Manager for an insurance company isn't enough, I'm reliably informed that in a remarkable twist of fate his wife is in fact also called Kim.