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Using Jose’s logic…
My son will be born in two months. He and 52-year-old Jean Pierre Papin should complement each other amazingly as a striking partnership.
Some Jose/Man United thoughts
* Getting straight to it, I strongly agree with Daniel Storey’s article. Jose was like the new employee who isn’t excited about his cubicle and new ID card. He knew the colour of the files that were going to mount up at his desk and he is unfazed. He made a few sounds around destiny and a big job when he was announced, but now he’s just in work mode.
* Players aside, after Leicester’s achievements and Ronald Koeman shifting – we’ve got Conte, Koeman, Jose, Wenger, Klopp, Guardiola and Pochettino all in the same league. It promises to be one of the most competitive seasons ever. But, at least in Jose, we have someone who knows the Premier League like the back of his hand. He won’t need f*king meetings with Ryan Giggs making a presentation on why Stoke City are a tough team to play away from home.
* It was very heartening to see him speak optimistically about Zlatan and Rashford’s potential partnership. It means that it’s on – Marcus is going to get a full season now. He may not play week in week out, but considering we play the Europa League – Thursday-Sunday matches and when cup games come in, the squad will be tested.
* I’m going to say it – I’m still sceptical about Mkhitaryan. We signed van Persie and Kagawa in the same season. A lot of sounds were made about signing the Premier League and Bundesliga’s respective Players Of The Season. The Dortmund team was built around Shinji and his creativity, chance-creating exploits and hype much resemble the hype surrounding Mhkitaryan. What I can say is Mkhi looks like he could physically boss the Premier League with his impressive stats around stamina.
* Rooney is in trouble. I sincerely mean it. As much as I love and adore him, I do think that Jose will not exhibit the same patience as van Gaal did when Rooney’s form drops. Herrera is a proper Jose player, has the legs off the ball, and ability with it similar to Oscar at Chelsea. That Jose has made it clear Rooney won’t be in midfield, Rooney will now have to fight Zlatan, Rashford, Depay, Herrera, Lingard and Martial for two or three spots in the line-up. Right now, he’s firmly at third or fourth in that pecking order.
* I’ve been telling a friend of mine, and while I’m aware this is wildly optimistic – but Jose so far is known for Chelsea and his achievements there. But the massive sh*thouse that he is, if we get behind him and pick up two league titles, two-three cups and perhaps a Champions League (or strong runs in Europe), it’s on. The plan for the 25-year-tenure successor to Fergie is on. I trust the club, its fans, the stature and all that jazz to do what Madrid, Inter and Chelsea failed. No encroaching owners, a massive club and a plethora of resources for you to build squad after squad.
* I’m interested to see how Zlatan fares. This is his first season in the League. He’s going to have defenders roughing him up, midfielders sliding in from behind, and all of that. Considering how vastly van Persie deteriorated after *that* season under Fergie, and relationship between him and van Gaal (akin to Zlatan and Jose) took no time to sour, I refuse to see beyond 2017 for Zlatan at Old Trafford.
Akshat Pande, Man United fan, Mumbai
Loving serious Jose
I think Mourinho looking not very excited about United in all the photos is pre-planned. He doesn’t want to look like David Moyes did, doesn’t want to look like he finally got what he was dreaming of all along. He’s playing it down – massive manager for a massive club with no need for getting serious wood. I’d like to see him looking remotely happy but it’s ok, it may be 3 years too late but we finally got the right man.
It’s also great to see he noticed Rooney only plays well with acres of space, that should bring Wazza down a peg or two. The end is nigh, thank f**k!
Silvio (Not ready to come down from the giddy heights tonight. Come on Wales!) Dante
If you can’t be with the one you love…
As an Aston Villa fan, I have to agree with Sudarsan Ravi’s point. Sometimes you just gotta learn to love the unloveable. Just in my (reasonably lengthy) lifetime, these are some of the horrors who have strolled through the door of the office marked ‘Manager’ at Villa Park:
John Gregory (odious man)
Okay, the last one was before he fell from grace but, crucially, it was after he gave me a nasty look when I interrupted a conversation he was having with Arthur Albiston to ask for their autographs.
Can any other fans boast (is that the word?) a more unsavoury roll-call of previous managers?
What are Dortmund doing wrong?
Borussia Dortmund seem to have a serious problem with players leaving either at the end of their contracts, or during the last year. Their best players too. If you look at the four big ones they lost over the last few seasons; Lewandowski, Goetze, Hummels, Mkhitaryan, you’re looking at £120-200m of talent just left, only one for a decent fee. They seem to suffer from this far more than every other top club in Europe and what is doubly surprising is that they seem a popular club, with the players who leave and with the footballing community in general. Maybe their contract department needs to take a look at itself.
Ian, Stavanger, the real Vikings
The End of predictability
It’s been coming for a while but I feel we are now firmly out of the age of top few clubs controlling the league and are now completely in the age of unpredictability. To prove this, I could posit a top four next season of clubs that weren’t in it last year. Say Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool and West Ham. Could you see that happening? Club bias aside, you probably could, if you were honest.
Leicester winning the league last year was the final nail in the ever-descending coffin of the status quo. There could be a situation where the divide between first and eighth is at its smallest next season. Everything to play for. Nothing to lose.
TV money means that clubs throughout the league can get players who hitherto wouldn’t have ever entertained joing a club outside of Europe. Talent is being distributed across the league a lot more evenly. Sure, the big money transfers can still happen but there is no certainty in transfers. £32.5m for Benteke was nowhere near as effective as £500k for Mahrez. The lottery of purchasing still exists and is no guarantee, especially as 2/3 of the league are shopping at a similar level now.
You can see that a lot of clubs have recognised this and are now trying to solidify their place in this new world by getting the very best coach they can. Not since the advent of Benitez and Mourinho has the league been so flush with talented coaches. City went and got Guardiola. United got themselves Mourhino. Liverpool got Klopp. Each is hoping that they can establish themselves in an age of uncertainty, that the cutting edge will be provided by superior coaching. However, last season shows that even a coach who was a figure of fun can achieve if they have a clear vision, squad cohesion and that little bit of luck.
Predictability is dead. Long live uncertainity.
Kris, LFC, Manchester
A blatant Arsenal trolling attempt
Between a resurgent United and City, young and improving Spurs, Chelsea team led by Conte and who won’t be anywhere near as bad as last year, and Liverpool after a summer learning the ways of Klopp, there’s surely a decent chance this is the year that Arsenal drop out of the top four?
Why poke Arsenal when we’re irrelevant?
What is with Jose and his passive/aggressive barbs at Arsene?
Arsenal isn’t any threat – we’ve done what we usually do – sign just enough to paper over the cracks and not do what’s necessary for the club to mount a challenge.
For the first time since I was a skint new graduate, I’m really thinking about not renewing – not because I hate Arsene – more that I’m just so very, very bored with this annual effort to muster the enthusiasm to support Arsenal.
I can’t be the only one that feels like this so why does Jose have to knock Arsene when he’s the manager of a club whose motto should be to quote the Simpson’s Barney Gumble “Don’t cry for me – I’m already dead,”?
Happy Wednesday everybody!
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
What if football was like boxing?
I recently moved in with my girlfriend and she has no interest in football. Like anyone who lives with someone who dislikes football, she can’t fathom why it never ends. As Mitchell and Webb brilliantly pointed out: “The football is officially going on forever! It will never be finally decided who has won the football! There is still everything to play for, and forever to play it in!”
This made me wonder: What if football was like boxing? What if you had one champion per competition (initially decided by the winner of that competition) who then only defends their title in that competition? If it’s a draw the champion retains their title and anything AET or in a penalty shoot out don’t count.
You’ll be massively relieved to know that I’ve done some intensive research at work and I can now let you all know who is actually the current champion of each title. I’ve also noted key stats.
Uefa European Championship Champion (14 different champions)
Current champion: Switzerland
Longest reign: Spain, 1964 to 1980, 5838 days (they didn’t enter it a couple of times)
Most consecutive title defences: Netherlands, 5 (2000 to 2004)
Most times champion: Czech Republic, Portugal and Spain, 2
Fifa World Champion (28 different champions)
Current champion: Netherlands
Longest reign: Uruguay, 1930 to 1954, 8739 days (they didn’t enter the second one and then Hitler did some bad stuff)
Most consecutive title defences: Brazil, 12 (1958 to 1966 – taking in two actual World Cup wins, undisputed champion twice)
Most times champion: West Germany, 4 (Germany and West Germany, 5)
European Cup/Champions League Champion (70 different champions)
Current champion: Bayern Munich
Longest reign: Manchester United, 1969 to 1994, 9302 days (didn’t qualify for the competition between the two years)
Most consecutive title defences: Barcelona, 15 (2011 to 2012)
Most times champion: Real Madrid, 7 (including 3 undisputed titles)
Premier League Champion (English football was invented in 1992) – 84 different champions
Current champion: Sheffield Wednesday
Longest reign: Sheffield Wednesday, 2000 to present day, 5897 days…and counting
Most consecutive title defences: Nottingham Forest, 22 (1995)
Most times champion: Manchester United, 8
This assumes I’ve made no errors in the data and Soccerbase has all the correct scores…
Mike, Lincoln (I don’t fully expect you to post this, because it’s quite nerdy and a tad nonsensical)
Exploding the kids football myth
In reply to Jon Andrews. Kids football in the UK has had different rules for different ages, these include reduced team numbers so each player gets more time, smaller pitches, smaller goals and smaller balls (ahem), a modicum of research would have told you that. The recommendations continue up to the U16 level and only at that point do they just look to play on full-size pitches.
Now, it may well be that those who are doing the pitch markings for matches, which is often parents aren’t completely aware, although all that I have seen are fully aware and do the smaller pitch markings.
Some multi-use clubs don’t have smaller goals but, again all those that I have seen do have them. My knowledge is just based on my own kids and the way they train and the games they play. But you are very much wrong in your assumptions. Qualification as coaches for kids teams also isn’t particularly expensive, sure at the higher levels it can be but if you don’t fail a CRB (Or whatever it’s now called) check then there really are very few blocks to being a qualified FA coach.
And whilst I’m at it, Shehzad Ghias. Once defenders are required to also get involved in attacking play they will always be required to chase, tackle and block, it’s part of their skillset and a key requirement for a quality defender, Your aim may well be to avoid having to but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Terry is a great reader of the game as was Rio and Campbell, they would have been quite at home in those Italian defensive teams which seems to be the benchmark.
There, that’s it. Bit grumpy now.
Steve. (English but genuinely hoping Wales do it) THFC
Never-ending Storey praise
What a piece on Totti.
Hoddle actually said that?! Hahaha. Wow.
Yeah and Le Tiss was really just an average player too, I mean, staying at the Saints!
I may as well stop here actually, no use me trying to illustrate what would drive a man as gifted as he to be, well, as loyal as he has been. But I will say I am in total agreement.
I do Love the one-club player, and in that spirit…vheers again Ryan, what a lad you were on the pitch. We will see you again of that I am sure.
Manc in SA (JOSE!! What a lovely press conference I cannot wait, time to be hated again I think)
…After enjoying another excellent and insightful Icons piece this afternoon (and having my eyes opened by Totti’s under-heralded brilliance), I felt compelled to compile a ‘Best one-club men XI’.
GK: Lev Yashin (326 league appearances for Dynamo Moscow)
RB: Jamie Carragher (508 league apps for Liverpool)
CB: Franco Baresi (531 league apps for AC Milan)
CB: Giuseppe Bergomi (519 league apps for Inter)
CB: Paulo Maldini (647 league apps for AC Milan)
RW: Lionel Messi (305 league apps for Barcelona)
CM: Daniele De Rossi (355 league apps for Roma)
CM: Paul Scholes (493 league apps for Manchester United)
LW: Ryan Giggs (672 league apps for Manchester United)
FW: Francesco Totti (600 league apps for Roma)
FW: Matt Le Tissier (443 league apps for Southampton)
Notable exclusions: Tony Adams, Gary Neville, Billy Foulkes, Nilton Santos (an eye-watering 718 league apps for Santos), Andreas Iniesta, Ledley King
5,399 total games played between them for eight different clubs, with it set to soar over the 6,000 mark provided De Rossi and Messi remain injury-free and don’t move clubs. During my research, I was disappointed to discover that Javier Zanetti didn’t qualify, and totally forgot about Del Piero’s stint in Australia.
A notable trend though is the Italian propensity to produce ‘loyal servants’. Is it a sense of national pride bred into them at a young age, or something more deep rooted?
Not a bad team though especially considering how Tony Hibbert can’t even get on the bench!
Brian (love random Wikipedia research sessions), Wexford
And bravo to Steady
In a world where we criticise too much and praise too little, it’s not surprising that the (still) ever-entertaining Mailbox reflects that.
So having just finished the Chris Coleman article I felt compelled to write in and congratulate both Mr Stead for that particular article, and you all for the wonderful things you write on a daily basis.
You make my one-hour lunch seem like 10 minutes (and I hate you a little bit for it, but wouldn’t have it any other way).
I’m not writing this to be published, I just wanted to say thanks, and keep it up (that’s what she said).