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The Glazers are to blame
I know that looking back right now is about as useful as a chocolate fireguard, but I’d put the blame for the current situation squarely at the feet of the Glazers.
Not because of how they’ve financed the club, not for underinvestment over the last decade but for one simple reason: They allowed Gill and Fergie to go at the same time.
Even now I simply cannot understand how they let this happen. No other business of the size of Utd would allow their two most senior and most influential people to leave at the same time. This was an absolutely criminal corporate decision. It genuinely baffles me whenever I think about it. Sure, they can’t hold someone hostage, but I’m sure something could have been worked out even for a shortish period of time.
Given the potentially cataclysmic departure of SAF, it was vital that we kept some kind of continuity – some form of credibility in the market. That was blown out of the water when they let Gill go at the same time and replaced him with Ed.
It’s not really Ed’s fault he’s found himself in this position. I’m sure he did a really good PPT presentation and everything. He’s just woefully out of his depth and is definitely not someone to inspire confidence
How to protest? Boycott’s won’t work. They never do. If they didn’t when the green and gold campaign was in full swing then they won’t now.
How about 70,000 fans on Sunday singing, “We’ve only come see the Arsenal”
…that’s got to smart.
Marky B. MUFC.
I’ve messaged in before to say this, I will say it again….
The Glazers bought their way out of the Green and Gold campaign by signing RVP and winning the league. Every element of protest went away with that trophy. In reality, nothing has changed since. Get your Norwich scarves back out. As for asking for sympathy (somebody did, I can’t be arsed looking through the Arsenal Leicester mailbox monopoly sh*te again, to find who), not until you are rotting with Leeds and Portsmouth!
Adam, LFC, Belfast.
Or is it Fergie?
I guess we’ve finally come to a point where we must slow down, lay back and ask certain questions concerning the ridiculously rotten form of United. While so much blame has been laid at the feet of LVG and Ed woodward, I think there are some legendary feet at which much of those blames should be laid down. Sir Alex ferguson is, and will always be a legend and saviour of manchester united; countless titles both on domestic and continental fronts, loads of skinny teenagers he’s turned into legends of the game, and, a winning mentality that was second to none in world football. But they say: “success without adequate succesion is definitely a failure in waiting.” The timing and state in which sir alex left the team can be nothing but wrong, insensitive, and ridiculous. We all know how much united struggled to compete with the league’s other midfield set-ups at the tail-end of the scottish man’s reign as manager. It took a retired Paul scholes getting ‘unretired’, a resurgent carrick at his best, and a £20mil proven goal-scorer to finally get that 20th title; but the cracks were boldly written all over the wall. Letting pogba go the way he did, not signing a decent replacement for either scholes, ronaldo, tevez and the ageing backline of vidic and rio, keeping wayne rooney in the club at all cost, and allowing david Gill vacate his post as executive head at the same time; simply left the next man with a little too much to do:
( Bola.. A concerened but relaxed red devil)
Or United fans?
The general feeling amongst United supporters seems to still be that at least Van Gaal isn’t as bad as Moyes. One mailboxer this morning went as far as to say Van Gaal has recovered the from Moyes (where was he hiding it?). Surely the clusterf*ck that has been your past couple of seasons has shown you that actually Moyes didn’t do anywhere near as badly as it first appeared (relative to what’s happened since rather than what happened before) and actually his downfall was far more to do with having the media/ fans on his back than his performance relative to the merits of his squad.
He didn’t have enough time – maybe 6 months of commitment from fans, media and board alike and 4 months of tolerance from the board whilst everyone else laughed/ cried – to really change the squad and you could argue that Van Gaal has done more damage to the squad than Moyes ever did. I know there’s an argument about him blooding youngsters but as the experience of my club shows, playing the kids can do more harm than good if they get beat too often.
So, to pose a counter question to yesterdays’ sympathy one, is it time for united fans to admit that their hysterical reaction to David Moyes is at least partially to blame for their current struggles?
Matt AFC (backs slowly out the room)
Old Trafford, the footballing graveyard.
Di Maria, Falcao, Barthez, Schwinsteiger, Veron and now van Gaal. What is it with world class footballing figures turning into no-hopers at Old Trafford? Whats the link? The fans? Maybe.
The Man United fans’ sense of entitlement results in true talents getting bombarded with abuse if they don’t pull up trees right away. They don’t live in the real world, like the rest of us where we expect things to go wrong constantly (and it usually does). Kicking off left right and centre because they are only 5th in the league. 2 wins away from a Champions League spot. Still in the FA Cup and still in the Europa League (last night getting a vital away goal, I fully expect them to hammer Midtjylland at Old Trafford – putting them in the last 16).
van Gaal has been a massive success EVERYWHERE he’s been, even taking outsiders Holland to 3rd place in the World Cup only a few weeks before taking up the Manchester United post. Whats different about Manchester United to every other job he’s had? Spoilt brats. You don’t know how good you’ve got it.
Quite a few United fans seem to be pointing the finger of blame at those that put LVG in charge. Maybe I’m mistaken, but I’m sure these same fans were talking up the new man as the right choice when he was announced to come in after Moyes.
As a non-United fan the run under Moyes was funny at first, but then got a little sad. THE giant English football club of my football watching life was struggling, their usually gloating fans were humbled, it seemed like they were seeing how good they’d had it all those years. Poor buggers, reality bites.
Then Van Gaal was announced and the classic arrogance of United fans returned, they were back, they would challenge, everyone else could piss off, they had money and players and yada yada yada. Now that they are flopping (still in 5th tbf) under Van Gaal too, it is funny again and, as I know any humility from their fan base will probably be shortlived, I am going to find it funny for as long as it lasts.
James (Just how I remember it, might be talking nonsense) Smythe
F**k Chris Smalling
It’s a Friday morning match report on a Europa league game so I didn’t expect so much frustration to be gushing through my body. However one of my main bug-bearers of this season has raised its head again
Chris ‘Balling’ – I’m reminded on a weekly basis by Man United fan’s and the media (are these the same thing?) is one of the top centre halves in the league. I am absolutely not having this.
I usually revert to F365 for some considered and impartial analysis. This is why your line ‘Chris Smalling has looked a shadow of his former self of late’ has blown me over the edge.
I’m sorry now but, (for me) Chris Smalling’s former self is an awkward, error strewn defender. Thus Chris Smalling looks exactly like his former self of late. The exception to this was the start of this season when he looked good because he didn’t actually have to do any defending. United played 2 DM’s and had 80% possession. Couple this with the fact you have David De Gea behind you and well, you could question if centre halves were even required. Granted he looked comfortable on the ball and picked up the odd goal here and there but this is nothing Michael Dawson or Steven Caulker couldn’t do in the exact same scenario.
So enough of this ‘Balling’ rubbish, it truly is a reflection of how far United have fallen that he is being lauded as their shining light.
United: Rubbish at poker
When I was at uni there was a kid that we invited to one of our poker nights. He was a good lad, but he was pretty rich and clearly had never played poker before. The plan was to go paintballing over the weekend, but students being students we had blown our money the previous night on shots of a different kind, and so we created this ruse to basically get him to fund the trip. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out so well for us, as he sat there with his chips, a print out of all the combinations, and won hand after hand after hand. I had never seen anything like it, but he had some kind of magic beginners luck where flipping the last couple of cards gave him the exact combination he wished for. We spent that weekend in the library instead.
A few weeks later, and after a little bit of convincing he managed to organise another poker night, telling the lads if he won again the drinks were on him. This time things didn’t work out quite so well. You see it’s all well and good hoping for the same outcome every time you place a bet, but more often than not you need to assess the players and the situation before you make your decision. Whenever I see United/Ed Woodward persist with a manager, simply because giving Sir Alex time worked out so amazingly well, it reminds me of this very same mate that ended up paying for all of our paintballing trips. It’s time United realise that Fergie was not the rule, he was the exception. Hoping Van Gaal can magically turn things around (and at this point it’s nothing more than hope, because it’s evident he doesn’t have the skill) is foolish to say the least, because it just isn’t working out. At this rate we’re not even going to finish in the top 6, and it would be pretty difficult finding a United fan that actually believe it would be undeserved.
What I’m saying is, Ed Woodward, stop f**kin gambling with United and get rid. If not, at least have the decency to buy everyone a couple of rounds the next time they’re at Old Trafford, because we’d all rather be drunk when we watch United play.
Pats (Maybe there’s a reason we don’t have an Official Casino Partner yet…)
Think of the academy
A full blown crisis would be an understatement when attempting to describe the current situation at Manchester United. The club should never have been in the predicament that it currently finds itself and decisions since Ferguson decided to retire have been nothing more than short-sighted and naive. These decisions have meant that the club has severely stagnated over the past few years and is in serious danger of becoming rotten from the bottom up.
Ferguson’s decisions to retire was his own and no fan will ever deride him for this. The greatest manager to grace the game went out on his own terms after a successful season, however, I would strongly argue that he left a squad for the incoming that was both ageing and unbalanced. Surely Ferguson himself could see that with many players approaching the 30 years old mark and with a lack of natural central midfielders the squad was in serious need of fresh, young talent. However, he neglected this issue. The only player he signed before the end of his reign was Zaha, which when I look back at was bizarre considering the need for central midfielders and possibly two defenders. Some will argue that it wasn’t Ferguson’s responsibility to sign these players but I totally disagree, he should have left the club at its strongest but instead left David Moyes to inherit one of the weakest squads he ever assembled.
This brings me onto Moyes. I wasn’t overjoyed at his appointment but I was glad that another British manager was given the chance to prove his worth with a world class club like United and I was more than happy to back our new man but he made he first and largest mistake in his first weeks in the job. Moyes oversaw a systematic reshuffling of a successful coaching unit and brought in his own men to replace them. After making such a large step up in quality you can only question the logic here of why he did this. The staff that Ferguson left behind would have been able to guide Moyes through his first and even second season so that he could eventually remould the team into his own. But this never happened, he decided to attempt to radically change both the coaches and training in a matter of months whilst expecting results and performances to remain as they had under Ferguson. The rest is history.
My final gripe is how the club has allowed a once precious resource in its youth academy to become a chronically underfunded and neglected component of the club. Apparently it’s ingrained in the clubs ethos, you only have to look at the fuss that is made over the class of 92 and the Busby babes to realise that Manchester United really care about giving opportunities to young players. If this is all true then why on earth are United spending less money on their academies than arch rivals City and Chelsea. Why are we falling behind the likes of Everton and Southampton in terms of youth production and why has it taken the departure of McClair to prompt the club in to action. If the academy really is the beating heart of the club then fucking take it seriously for goodness sakes.
I love the club, I always will. I don’t believe that the club’s history means that we are entitled to success but what I do believe is that after all of the past success the fans deserve for their club to be treated with the respect that it deserves from the hierarchy and the owners. For the past few years the club has furthered its business interests with vigour but has neglected the aspects which make it Manchester United.
I want my team back.
It was a good result…
I don’t know what everyone is complaining about with United last night – I thought it was a great result.
We, the plucky underdogs, couldn’t even name a full substitutes bench, so the fact that we managed to come out of it with an away goal and only a one-goal deficit is impressive. Especially against the reigning Danish champions – we could only finish fourth in our league last year. I mean, they were charging £71 a ticket and the stadium was still packed, so they’re obviously big hitters.
Not only that, but they were so much better rested than our boys. Our last game was Sunday, whereas Midtjylland had the last 70 days to prepare for this game. Their squad was full of senior players too, whereas our squad has to be supplemented with the youth team, so meagre are our resources this season.
Of course, I’m being facetious, but what’s the point of getting irate? Expectations are currently so low that a 2-1 defeat away against a team in their off season – and having won only one of their previous nine games – can only be seen as ‘par for the course’. That they looked the far superior team to us is a bonus embarrassment in itself.
The five stages of becoming Liverpool
The 5 stages of becoming Liverpool
Loving the mails recently from some United fans. The stand-out fear from some is that of “becoming Liverpool” (that would make a good documentary title). I now for many of you this is a shocking potential scenario so I feel it’s at this point I need to introduce you to the Kübler-Ross model on the 5 stages of grief.
Denial – we’re United, we’re too big to do a Liverpool
Anger – For the love of God, LVG is ruining my club, we’re at risk of becoming Liverpool. #LVGOut, #WoodwardOut
Bargaining – Please Jose, please. We’re desperate
Depression – Everyone is injured, nobody is trying, if we tried that penalty it would go Rooney, Carrick, De Gea
Acceptance – 18 Feb 2016
You’re there now guys. Shhhhh, it’ll all be OK. You’ll go to the same nightclub as all the other boys and watch them pick up all the pretty girls/boys, occasionally you’ll get lucky too but mostly you’re now in that “funny mate, friend zone” category.
I know this because I’m a Liverpool fan. I’ve been there. I laughed (a lot) when you went so long without winning the league, chuckled at your bang average signings, got concerned when it looked like the times were a-changing but we hadn’t got the memo, looked aghast as other clubs took what I thought was rightfully ours. Welcome to your future.
Is it that bad?
I just wanted to check…
Manu only have to win 1-0 at home against midget land to progress next week right?
There are still 5th in the league?
Only its sounds like they have just been knocked out of the Mickey Mouse league (oh the years I have had to listen to that) and that they are in a relegation scrap.
Do we all now agree that Fergie had EVERYONE in his ‘fear pocket’ and that as soon as he left NO ONE was scared anymore, press, refs, let alone opposition teams and managers, sadly (for Manu) it doesnt matter who you get in to manage, as the cost of Fergie selling his soul to the devil in order to control the entire league and its make up, allegedly (I believe I legally have to add) will cost you years of shite to follow, regardless of money spent / players bought / managers.
Its just someone elses turn to own the Pick of Destiny for a while thats all..
But ffs you arent exactly doing bad..
Al – LFC – Wishing we played that bad and got that many points in the league every year!
Who feels sorry for them?
It might seem harsh, but I really find it hard to feel sorry for United fans. You, in most cases, chose to support a non-local team that win most trophies. Which was all great when they were winning, but probably not so much fun now that they are not (still doing pretty well though!).
For those with no actual ties to Manchester, use this as an opportunity to go and support your local club. Treat the Man United supporting as a phase and follow Preston, Plymouth, Peterborough or wherever else you are from. They will care about you a lot more and you will appreciate victories a lot more rather than expecting them all the time.
For the rare breed of true Mancunians, it will get better. I’ve been impressed by the amount of youngsters coming through. Martial, Lingard, etc are only going to get better with age and experience. You’ll get a new manager in the summer and no doubt a new philosophy. Things aren’t that bad anyway, still a chance to win two trophies and get European qualification. A lot of other clubs would love to be in these competitions still (though I do admit, most clubs wouldn’t enjoy the dreary football this year).
Toby (We’re staying up) Mitchell
FA Cup changes
Instead of picking the FA Cup and trying to radicalize the competition, the FA should in fact be looking at ways to improve the attractiveness of the Cup and helping those who are in European contention.
For starters, moving the competition to mid-week is an absolute no-no. It would further devalue the competition, and make it look like the Football League Cup. Scrapping replays would also be the wrong move, taking away more than the magic of the competition, and denying lower League clubs some extra windfall. However, converting the Quarter-Final to just a single game and being decided on the day would be a good idea. It would be a quick and simple solution to sorting out the congested calendar, especially at the end of the season, when prizes are up for grabs.
Another idea worth considering is the Football League Cup being open to Premier League sides who are not competing in European competition. For those who are competing in Europe, not taking part in the Football League Cup would free up much needed space on the calendar. The winners of the ‘’new-style’’ League Cup would automatically qualify for the UEFA Europa League.
In the 3rd round, football clubs that are competing in Leagues, below the 2nd tier (Football League Championship) should be seeded at home and avoid each other in the process. For example, Northampton Town – who were the leaders in Football League Two at the time of the 3rd round – play the current holders Arsenal at home. Should it go to a replay, there should be a rule, stating that the visitors pocket up to 70% of gate receipts, as well as 60% of the TV money, should the BBC or BT broadcast the replay. I also think that replays should revert to taking place 3 or 4 days after the original tie.
The semi-finals have been exclusively held at Wembley, since 2007-2008. This is due to offset the cost of the building of the stadium. The new Wembley had cost 750 million pounds and the FA maintained that the deal for the North-West London stadium to host semi-finals would remain for the foreseeable future. However, this has diluted the Final, and spoilt the much-celebrated build up to the Final itself for football fans. The semi-finals should be reverted back to neutral venues, such as Old Trafford, Villa Park or even the Olympic Stadium – West Ham United’s new home from 2016-2017.
As for the Final itself, reverting to the traditional 3:00 pm kick-off would be a good move and another link restored in keeping the traditions of the competition. The move to a 5:15 pm start from 2012 provoked anger from Liverpool fans, who were unable to get trains home from London, while feelings ran even higher in the following year, when both Manchester City and Wigan both travelled down from the North-West. At the time of this highly controversial decision, the FA were of the opinion that the tea-time kick-off would generate more viewing, particularly for those in the west coast of the USA, but in reality, it only served to upset the fans, who felt they were being taken for a ride.
The reward for winning the FA Cup could be described as peanuts – automatic qualification to the UEFA Europa League. The prize on offer should be much more enterprising, such as qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.
Speaking of qualifying for Europe, some changes can be implemented. The FA Cup winners, along with the top two in the Premier League secure automatic qualification to the UEFA Champions League. The 3rd placed team go into the Play-Offs.
If the FA Cup winners be in the top 3, the 4th placed team would go into the Play-Offs instead.
Should the changes above be implemented, it would go a long way in safeguarding the FA Cup, helping teams that are contending for Europe, as well as players who would be picked to represent their respective countries in the World Cup, or European Championships.
A number of the recent PL trends (the rise of smaller clubs, the influx of huge money etc) have got me thinking about the general direction of the league and its teams, as well as how this fits in the context of European football. Largely due to the massive amounts of money being pumped into the Premier League, it’s quickly becoming the dominant league in the world. The fact that it’s being done despite not having any of favorites for the CL (and thus best European teams) makes it feel different from years past when different leagues took their turns at the top. This could be because, as a league, the Prem has probably best capitalized on football’s globalization. Coupled with the explosion of money, this puts them in a powerful position to consolidate this dominance for the foreseeable future.
What sets the PL apart from other leagues is the more egalitarian distribution of money. This naturally leads to a greater parity in team strength, and thus increased competition. But because of the increase in total money relative to other European leagues, what we are starting to see happen is that mid to lower level PL teams are able to compete with top teams from other leagues for players (outside of the 5 or so truly elite clubs). The result of this is already starting to be felt with the attraction of top players to less prestigious PL clubs. If the talent generally follows the money, then this trend will continue, leading to more top players and managers coming to the Prem. Because this is only starting to happen, the comparative advantage hasn’t quite had time to take effect, but it does sound like excellent news for the PL (but very worrisome for many other mid tier teams from around Europe). I mean, who wouldn’t want more players of Payet’s ilk throughout the league?
This trend could also be of concern to perennial powers in the PL such as Man U who are in a difficult period. Because the financial disparity between them and the other clubs has lessened, a team’s attractiveness hangs more on other factors such as team strength and participation in Europe. Additionally, because of the increased talent, and the generally slim margins in football, it becomes easier to envision other clubs stepping up as Leicester and Tottenham have done, thus making it harder for the biggest clubs to break back into the top echelon. For example, if Tottenham are in the CL next season and Man U and Chelsea are out, which is the more attractive option for an incoming player? The question is becoming less clear by the day. (United fans should be very worried, but although they are in trouble, they could still get out of the woods. They do have things like historical prestige and boatloads of cash to help out.)
I’m also interested to see what happens with player movement within the league. Will the trend of top talents getting snapped up by the rich continue? Players such as Mahrez, Payet, Lukaku, Alli, etc would have easily been snapped up by the richest in years past (and still may be), but the increased ability of their clubs to offer big money contracts must decrease the appeal of a move. The result will probably be somewhere in the middle, with different players choosing different priorities, but it would be fun to see the top talent more evenly spread. It will be interesting to see where things go, but until then, let’s enjoy this wonderful season. Even if it is only a transition, it really is great to see a league of top quality where any team can win on a given day. We can only hope for many more seasons as unpredictable as this one.
-Philip AFC Ajax
Champions League viewing figures
As a respite from the bleating Manyoo fans (it makes a change from the Arsenal vs Leicester nonsense I suppose) I thought I would write in about your article on the CL viewing figures.
Firstly, I don’t think anyone was be too surprised. There were a lot of raised eyebrows when BT paid what they did for it – mine included. My eventual response though was that they must have done their research and they knew what they were doing. Clearly they didn’t.
Firstly, did it not occur to them that people watched it on Sky because they already had Sky due to their superior PL package? Watching Real Madrid beat BATE Borisov (or whoever) 8-0 is a nice to have, but I wouldn’t pay £18 a month for it.
Secondly, as has been mentioned before, the fact that one game a week was on terrestrial TV increased interest in the competition. People had an idea who played for the European teams and were interested to see more of those players. Now that there is no free coverage, this interest is gone, meaning people are less likely to pay. BT Showcase doesn’t count as it’s easier to find a live stream of Barnsley vs Burton Albion on a Tuesday night than the schedule for BT’s poor excuse of a channel. BT have shot themselves in the foot with that one.
Then there is the cost. Football just costs too much all round. The cost of tickets has been highlighted recently but the cost of watching on TV is just as bad. Many people can’t afford to pay for 2 premium services and Sky just offers more. BT are pricing themselves out of the game. Or maybe the game itself is pricing the fans out. Perhaps this is the start of demand going down, which will hopefully bring prices down.
At the end of the day, UEFA took the highest bid even though it meant there would be no free coverage of the CL. They can be as disappointed as they like but they cause the situation with their greed and they will be punished for it when they can’t get as much money out of their advertisers once interest in their premium product is waning.
I would be interested to know if any other of the big 5 countries have a deal where there is no terrestrial coverage and if they are experiencing a similar catastrophic drop in demand.
Adonis Stevenson, AFC