One Mailer is telling us to hold fire on our Woodward criticism, whilst we also have some wonderful PFA Team of The year geekery, a well done to Vieira and much more...
Asks the morning mailbox, before hastily returning to the debate over who should replace Steven Gerrard. Plus, thoughts on Ed Woodward's spending plans and more...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
So Long. Farewell.
Some brief thoughts from a United fan (one of thousands I'm sure you'll receive):
* I should start by saying I think its the right decision. Moyes is a nice bloke, and I understand he tried hard and was working behind the scenes, but to not get Champions League is unacceptable.
* Saying that, I don't see why we seem to be doing it now. No point really doing it now, why not wait until the end of the season?
* I think Moyes would be good for a side that is looking to consolidate a 'best of the rest' position. Someone like Newcastle or Southampton *waits for Newcastle and Southampton fans to slate me*
* I think we should've appointed a huge name (but not Jose, he's too much of a pr*ck). Its easy to say in retrospect, but we needed a big name that could've steadied the ship for 2-3 years (such as van Gaal, the likely replacement) before moving onto the more long-term option. Giving Moyes that level of backing was rash and something the Glazers now clearly regret.
* It wasn't just the league position either. It was the complete lack of style and class on the pitch (about which more than enough has been said), and all the wrong words in interviews. Being pessimistic when he should've been optimistic (e.g. "we aspire to be like City") and optimistic when he should've been realistic ("we can still get top 4" before the Everton game) was a huge factor.
* The question now is who will replace him. I assume we have someone lined up - it would be madness to sack Moyes without a replacement ready. The Telegraph article that broke the story seemed convinced its Klopp, but I expect that's typical bullishness from the British press - he seems happy to stay at Dortmund, and even if he isn't he's more likely to get the Barca job, as Tata hates it there. I'd love Simeone, but he obviously wouldn't announce before the end of the season with everything still on the line for Atletico. Louis van Gaal would be good too, and he might be a more realistic option.
* It may be the worst of times at United, but it is exciting. A top manager with £150m could really change this team, and make for an exciting new period at Old Trafford. The new target has to be top 4 next year. Despite everything, I'm optimistic.
Mike, MUFC (no one ever mentions Conte - get him in and he can bring Vidal & Marchisio with him)
...Fun and games are over, chaps. Hope you enjoyed yourselves.
For all those criticising a sacking before the season is out, the fans
and board have displayed a huge amount of patience and backing until
No other club, from lower league right up to the likes of Real,
Barca and Bayern, would have accepted the sheer and sudden drop in
fortunes and complete incompetence, and most would have seen Moyes out
long before now.
Samwise (It was the Fulham game that cemented it for me) MUFC
...A few thoughts on Moyes to add to the mountain you will probably receive.
It is clearly not up for debate as to whether it is the right decision to sack him but the timing is certainly interesting. It is happening after Champions League football has become a mathematical impossibility, so possibly it could relate to a clause in his contract. I would hope there would be some performance clauses in a 6 year contract, regardless Moyes will walk out a very rich man.
I think overall, the fans have been pretty good. I reckon that most of us were maybe a little underwhelmed by the appointment but he was welcomed enthusiastically and the fans have stayed largely supportive (in the stadium at least). There was not been a toxic atmosphere at games, with the obvious exception being the nastiness at the end of the derby, but lets face it, emotions run high on derby days (especially if you are doing rubbish, not that this is a valid excuse).
I was talking of fans inside the stadium, obviously there has been a massive amount of dissatisfaction and moaning online, but that will always occur on forums and comments sections, and is also pretty much what they are there for.
I think if anything the club were overly sentimental when they allowed SAF to pick his successor, it was easy to get caught up in sentiment though, it was an emotional time. In an era of crass commercialisation and cynical marketing ploys, being overly sentimental is certainly not the worst thing done by the club and I applaud them for their intent.
The appointment has proved to be a mistake, but ultimately there is no shame in that, the real problems occur when you don't correct your mistakes and learn from them. Generally speaking the club are in a mostly excellent situation and the fans have a lot to be a happy about, we have a fantastic club, great (and massive) stadium, some great players and the resources to attract more, granted we have awful owners, a champs league break and a gaudy range of merchandise but its still not a bad lot that we have.
The Next One
...Dear Ed Woodward,
Any potential Manchester United manager must have two of the following on his CV:
Won a top level domestic league.
Won a European Competition.
Won an International competition.
The list of suitable applicants is very short, so it's quite easy to hire someone suitable and qualified. Please don't cock it up again.
The Man Utd fans
After reading the first two mails I had to write. First to Adi in Chicago, Everton supporters did applaud Moyes for his 11 years of service in his final home game as Everton manager against West Ham. If you haven't been paying attention the past 12 months, Moyes tried taking Baines and Fellaini for far cheaper than what they were worth(well that goes for MF). Act like a t**t and you will get treated like one. Don't really get what's hard to understand about the Evertonian reactions....
And to Jay in DC, Mourinho wasn't right about his forwards. He had Lukaku, who's scored 13 and has played pretty darn well, and sent him out on loan. How is this man still being claimed to be prophetic or a genius? I've seen recently he's done some nice things for people so much respect to him but how are Chelsea fans so dumb that they don't realize that their manager is the one holding them back? He's got it wrong this season a fair few number of times, that's all that can be said really. He cut his nose off in spite of his face and then becomes prophetic by saying where the problems are that he created.
Its like if BR sold Suarez and then said that we will be lacking in attack and Liverpool supporters saying that BR is a genius for knowing that we would struggle. Christ, I can't take stupidity.
Rob, "the city beautiful" LFC(I still think this is our year)
Liverpool fan relieved if Moyes is Sacked
As a Liverpool fan, I should be laughing at United's plight but I just can't muster the enthusiasm. In fact when I read the reports on F365 that he was set to be sacked I felt relieved. Why? A strange reluctance to see a great institution brought low by a one man.
I guess I know what United fans would go through if the club vanished into the doldrums. And I also feel a certain sympathy for Moyes, seemingly elevated above his footballing station at the behest of of a titan. I hope they part company before the decline goes too far for the benefit of all.
Where Has The Pace Gone?
One of the many criticisms of Man United this season is that they no longer have lots of pace. However, they have one of the quickest around in Valencia, and Nani and Young are quite fast. But these three 'quick' players are three of the most frequently criticised players for Man U this season, and with good reason considering their performances. United fans would prefer players like Mata and Kagawa, much cleverer players, however when these players are picked the lack of pace issue comes about.
I think this is symbolic of a wider issue in football, what I shall call the 'lack of clever-quicks.' Obviously this is where some players seem to find their pace mutually exclusive to being intelligent with the ball (Valencia, Walcott back in the day) and the cleverer players like Mata, Silva, even Iniesta aren't blessed with much pace.
This has, and always will be the case in football, the way to combat the lack of clever-quicks which is to have a mix of quick and clever which in recent years has been successful with Barca, where for Xavi you have Sanchez, Iniesta you have Pedro. I'd say this is what Man City have tried this year with Silva combined with Navas.
But in my opinion the game in the last year or two has evolved to favour teams with genuine clever-quicks. Bayern obviously appear to be the world's leading club team and Germany perhaps the best international team, and they contain the likes of Müller and Götze, typical of young Germans coming through along with Reus. None of these players are as quick as Walcott, none as clever as Iniesta, but if you have four of these in an attack it is hard to defend against.
This is the reason for Liverpool's success too, and the front four of SASAS and Coutinho all are pretty quick and quite clever. Obviously there are slightly faster players in Sterling and Sturridge, and cleverer players in Suarez and Coutinho, but I'd argue that all four are burgeoning clever-quicks in that their pace and decision making are roughly similar in each case.
Clever-quicks seem to be becoming very important, it is harder to defend against four clever-quicks than two slow maestros and two pace merchants, as anyone could make the through ball to anyone else's run. I'd say the lack of these type of players at Barca (apart from Messi obviously) is the reason for their current decline)
A thought on time wasting.
It's an interesting phenomenon in the game that fans become furious about time-wasting tactics. I share this frustration because it's a little bit depressing to see grown adults playing make believe with injuries ect and its probably the least entertaining aspect of a football match.
However my annoyance never hits the level of "rage" like other fans and this is for a simple reason.....as far as I can see time-wasting doesn't work.
Yes it's pathetic that players fake and injury/take forever to get the ball back into touch but as I've seen this happen more and more often in games I've also seen more and more extra time being added at the end of the match. As far as I can see, all that players are achieving is making everyone (including themselves) stay at the ground longer. The players are forcing themselves to work for longer and achieving precious little else. They are like the slow-coach at work, not getting the job done during the allocated hours so they always leave the office 15 minutes later than knock-off time.
Very rarely the refs seem to get it wrong and underestimate the amount of extra time they should award. But just as often - perhaps more so - they overestimate the amount of extra time. As for time wasting in extra time - well the refs seem to take this into account too. As every coach potato knows, the 4th official holding up a sign saying 5 minutes of extra time means you won't be switching channels for at least 10 minutes.
I do want to differentiate between time wasting when the ball is dead (which doesn't work) and time wasting with the ball live - which can work. Running the ball into the corner or playing training ground triangles across the back 4/keeper at the end of the game are a different kettle of fish to lying on the ground clutching your perfectly healthy leg. Live ball time wasting does work but its less annoying because it isn't deceitful and requires some skill - sure its ugly to watch but really, so is a lot of football in this pack the midfield age. Dare I say it - retaining possession at the end of the game seems to me to be a legitimate - if unspectacular - tactic.
So yeah, next time you feel the urge to leap out of your seat, jump the fence and commit a major crime against the millionaire pretending a legal challenge has crippled him....calm yourself, have a little faith in the man with the whistle and remind yourself that the silly play actor in front of you is achieving nothing more than a long working day for himself.
Which also begs the question...why do teams do it? But as a NUFC fan watching the team repeatedly do the long ball thing even though it obviously doesn't work at EPL level...I'm used to watching footballers do the irrational.
Hugo (NUFC) Adelaide
FIFA's Implausible Deniability
Brazillian Ricardo Teixeira became a big name in football last week. Don't bother searching for videos of more stepovers than the eye can see or him playing keepy up with a golf ball in a toilet cubicle, unfortunately Mr Teixeira's activities occur in a shirt and tie, signed off on FIFA headed paper.
In December 2010, Barcelona president Sandro Rosell signed a deal with the Qatar government ending the clubs long standing tradition of displaying no sponsor on their jersey. Eight days previous to this, FIFA awarded Qatar the right to host the 2022 World Cup. Last week, The Telegraph revealed that Rosell had deposited £2 million into a bank account, set up in the name of Teixeira's 10 year old daughter. Teixeira had full voting powers on FIFA's executive committee.
The paper has previously written about the relationship between Jack Warner and former FIFA Presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hamman, with millions being paid to Warner, apparently for non-football related business. Sep Blatter has openly accepted both of corruption, yet denies their actions surrounding the Qatar bid(Warner as VP, Hammam as a member of the bidding team). The evergreen President somehow expects us to believe that those involved in the bidding procees suddenly learned the art of bribery in 2011, but months earlier did not feel the need to, confident a football governing committee would choose to stage a World Cup in a desert country of 1 million people.
So why have I bored you with this? Partly because my complete apathy towards David Moyes wouldn't make for a great read buy mainly to shine a light on this shameful corruption. World Cups will still take place, great players will still be produced, but having this poison flowing through the veins of world football can only be a bad thing for the sport.
As football fans, by nature we get caught up in the day to day goings on of our own football clubs, but we all (this very website included) should not allow the game & the people who make it to be constantly played for fools as the FIFA boardroom grin back behind its implausible deniability.
Z Stack, Ireland
You can get 50/1 on Tony Pulis to be the next Man Utd manager.
Sweet Lord, you'd get some fantastic mails if that one comes in.
It suddenly occurred to me with the (at this point still unconfirmed) news of David Moyes sacking:
Maybe Fergie really did think Alex McLeish would succeed at Aston Villa.
Ian, LFC (if this is a dream....) Hartford, CT USA