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Friendlies: Still Meaningless
Friendlies are useful for fitness and nothing more.
They always were and they always will be. They’re not official matches and therefore never have any bearing on anything.
The media, F365 included, drive their own agenda in creating a story out of it because otherwise they have dead air.
What makes it worse are all the sheep that follow and pay attention. If they didn’t go to the matches, or watch on the TV, or read the match reports, there would be no market.
I’m not sure who’s worse, but I’m pretty sure its the people who create the demand. The same fools who share the clips, stories and pointless pieces of content which are only ever designed to sell advertising.
Whether they fail to realise they’re being manipulated, I don’t know. But it’s seriously annoying.
United Better With Wilson or Depay Than Rooney
I wrote in saying this after the first pre-season game and I’ll say it again after the Barcelona game: we are so much more of a threat with Januzaj and Wilson up front. Pace, movement, skill – they’v been fantastic and so much better than with Rooney up front. Memphis has been good too, Rooney just isn’t fast enough, he doesn’t turn defenders inside out with feints and movement like the younger lads.
To use a boxing analogy of the games, when Rooney plays it’s like Klitschko with the big monotonous jab. When the young lads come on it’s like Tyson, smacking you at speed from all angles.
Blind was class at centre back. He reads the game so well and made a lot of interceptions yesterday. A bit Blanc-esque, at the end of his career anyway.
The MUTV commentator, think it was Irwin, said Shaw took a fitness coach away with him on holiday this summer of his own accord. I think that’s great commitment and maturity from him, and it is showing too. He’s been flying forward all pre-season at every opportunity, looking very fast and sharp.
Damian has been class defensively. Right back could be sorted for the next 8 years if he keeps this up.
Liking the look of United so far.
A Takedown Of Arsenal & United Youth Stuff
I would like to thank Tom, MUFC from Friday’s Mailbox for providing us with a textbook example of selective data analysis. Not only was the manner in which he presented his facts counter-intuitive, the information he shared was quite plainly wrong. I suppose it served the purpose of his narrative, i.e. to paint Arsene Wenger as an over-the-hill senior citizen rather than the back-to-back FA Cup holder he currently is.
Firstly, I would like to point out that 10 players, not 7, who joined Arsenal at the age of 18 or less made it to the field of play in the Premier League last season, namely Francis Coquelin, Theo Walcott, Hector Bellerin, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere, Wojciecj Szczesny, Chuba Akpom (before going out on loan) and Emiliano Martinez (before going out on loan). Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ 1 minute cameo shouldn’t really be considered an appearance according to me, although Tom is presumably quite happy to claim Tom Thorpe’s 1 minute of Premier League football as a full appearance.
Secondly, of the 14 players fitting Tom’s criteria to have appeared for Manchester United last season Darren Fletcher, Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley were all sold. Tom states the number of appearances made by the United group to be 133. My research shows the actual number of Premier League appearances to be 116 (including substitute appearances and including Tom Thorpe’s majestic 1 minute on the pitch). In any case, the Arsenal group’s collective appearance figure stands at 168 (including substitute appearances).
Appearance figures, however, are misleading. For instance it is hardly fair to consider Jesse Lingaard’s 24 minutes, Andres Pereira’s 13 minutes or Chuba Akpom’s 27 minutes of Premier League football as proper appearances. In my opinion, a fairer barometer of judging the impact of the club’s products on the first team is the number of minutes spent on the pitch. In this category, the Arsenal group’s total of 11,389 minutes leaves the United group’s 6,269 minutes in the dust.
Of the Arsenal group, 6 players played more than 1,500 minutes of football last season while Jack Wilshere (732 minutes) and Theo Walcott (442 minutes) would have added to those numbers had they not been injured for major chunks of the season. By contrast, only 3 United players spent more than 1,000 minutes on the pitch (Jonny Evans, Paddy McNair and Luke Shaw).
Keep in mind that I have only scratched the surface by comparing the number of minutes spent on the pitch. I have no doubt that a comparison of actual contributions (goals and assists) by players who fit Tom’s criteria would bring out even more embarrassing realities for United. In any case, in my opinion there is no real cause to bash United for their new policy.
Seems A Big Price To Pay
I would give my life to see Zlatan at Utd.
OK, So These Are The Last…Jack Charlton
Please do not make the mistake of stopping your mundane meetings of footballers in the mailbox. In the doldrums of ITK, predictions based on nothing and general bugger all interesting happening this has kept me thoroughly entertained over the past couple of days.
So I want to take you back to 1995 in on the misty Derbyshire dales. I was on a nice walk with the family and as we approached a gate to move onto our next crusade a man came out of the mist like a spectre from another land to hold the gate open for us. Upon gazing up at this mysterious giant with a flat cap it was the only and only Jack Charlton. As I passed through I said ‘Thanks Mr Charlton’ and he said ‘you are welcome’
I remember this clear as day. I wonder if he sometimes thinks about me to.
Michael ‘take me home, Highfield Road’ Gilbertson
I once walked past Emmanuel Adebayor in Mayfair, London after work. He was with 3 of his mates and didn’t really say anything when I said hello. I saw his car, took a picture and put it on Instagram. He liked it.
That is all.
Anderton And Hooiveld
In around 2001 in Bar Med in Bournemouth I saw Darren Anderton. I said to him “when you back from your Injury?” and he said “about 2 months” in a slightly irritated tone of voice before he walked off to stand about 10 feet away.
I also saw Jos Hooiveld at the zoo. I didn’t speak to him but I did tweet him later that day to ask him what his favourite animal was. He didn’t reply.
I drove in a garage on Washway road in Sale. As I pulled in to one side of the pump another car pulled in to the other side. As we both got out I was stunned to see Nobby Stiles. I blurted out ‘f**k me, Nobby Stiles!’ To which he replied, ‘I’d rather not son.’
I was so embarrassed I got back in my car and drove off, sorry Nobby…
My story is from 1972 (when I was a mere 10 years of age – an Arsenal fan). My dad was playing in an amateur football game at a ground somewhere in North London. I was with my three brother watching.
At half time we all went on the pitch for a kick. A long haired lad came over to us and said that he would go in goals for us. Looking at one of my brothers and recognising this person as Charlie George, we asked him. To which he confirmed (with his finger to his mouth in a shushing motion), “Yes, but don’t tell anyone, I am not supposed to be here”.
So we continued the kick about with Charlie George as the goalie for the half time break. To me, this was an incredible event and something that I recall quite often. My family moved to Australia (Tasmania) at the end of 1973 (but not before I saw Charlie smash a winner from outside the penalty box at West Ham).
On my return to the UK in 2010, I arranged a tour of the Emirates Stadium with Charlie George as our tour guide. When I mentioned our meeting back in 1972, surprisingly, he did not remember it. But after hearing what he said to me, he said, “That sounds like something I would have said”.
Charlie was a fantastic and gracious tour guide and the meeting with him back in 1972 will stay with me forever.
Scot Harrison – Tasmania
Many years ago, when I was a lad, legendary Newcastle United utility man Steve Watson spent an evening at my boys club presenting various trophies and medals to us aspiring footballers. I had the honour of being awarded the coveted “Most Improved Player ” award and Steve handed it to me with a cheery “Well Done” and the firmest handshake I have ever experienced, before and since.
The very next day I was absolutely buzzing when I saw him again in the Shell Garage on Beach Road. “Alreet Steve?” I said. He looked at me without saying a word, bought a Milky Way, got into his BMW (black) and wheelspinned out of the forecourt.
Neil, ex Whitley Bay Junior Blue
I was in a bar in my home town of Largs some 10-15 years ago when a few of the Rangers legends (McCoist, Durie, Goram) were drinking, including the gaffer, the great Walter Smith.
I plucked up the courage to have a quick word but given my nervousness the best I could manage was: “You’re a lot taller than I thought Walter”
His response? “And you’re a lot smaller than i thought”
Zinged by a legend. No complaints.
Waiting for the wife outside a clothes shop in Covent Garden about 12 years ago.
Ashley Cole and a few of his mates walk by.
I nod and go ‘alright, Ash?’
He nods back and says ‘alright?’
I continue waiting for the wife.
I used to go to a gym frequented by Middlesbrough reserve players and the odd injured first teamer.
On day I was casually eating a chicken burger at a table there when Jonathan woodgate pulls up a chair and nods at me. This was cool.
Then his chicken burger arrived and he lifted it like you would a pint when toasting someone to acknowledge that he too was eating a chicken burger. I raised mine back in recognition and nodded.
Not a word said between us, just two men enjoying some poulet in each other’s company.
In the early 90s a pre-teen me wandered into the Romford branch of Littlewoods whilst wearing an Arsenal beanie, not paying the slightest attention to my surroundings.
After bumping into someone in the doorway I mumbled the obligatory half-arsed apology and only looked up when my victim replied “no worries – nice hat”.
Discovering that I had inadvertently assaulted Gooner royalty in the gangly shape of Tony Adams, my personal hero as local boy and fellow defender with a reputation for being just a little ungainly, I did the obvious thing – stared gormlessly at him until he looked visibly uncomfortable and walked off shaking his head.
I’m not sure what dates that story more nowadays; the absent of Littlewoods on Britain’s High Streets, or the fact that I made physical contact with an Arsenal player and he wasn’t declared injured for three weeks.