A belting Mailbox. Your reward is a midweek Premier League programme. Keep them coming to email@example.com
If you’re not anti-Van Gaal, you’re anti-United
Since we’ve had another terrible performance and there’s been some negativity (justified) about Louis van Gaal, can we now expect his defenders to clamber together with the usual excuses?
How do you expect him to win against a third tier team when he hasn’t been able to bring in his own squad of 25? Obviously he can’t beat Sheffield United if he hasn’t got Messi or Aguero. It’s a process, look how solid in defence we were against Conor Sammon, we’re going to be amazing.
It’s sh*t. Van Gaal is sh*t and anyone defending him is an idiot. Lets be clear, if you’re not anti-Van Gaal, then you’re anti-United.
It’s staggering that there are still people gobbling down the sh*t sandwich we are force fed every week with a grin on their face and rubbing their bellies.
He has shown consistently that he cannot get decent performances or results from this strong group of players against any level of team. His excuses and patronising nature in the face of that is offensive. His ‘philosophy’ is so bloody easy to play against its unreal. It’s not going to get better and he won’t change. If you’re supporting him, you’re signing your name behind United becoming mediocre.
Call it what you like, philosophy, process, whatever. But, as Shakespeare would say, a steaming turd by any other name is still a steaming turd.
AS Camden (just to clarify, van Gaal out)
Really very low on United’s prospects
It isn’t yet entirely inconceivable that Van Gaal will turn things around in terms of results, but in terms of the football this United team are unwatchable, they define sterile possession, even more so than the past decade of mostly impotent Arsenal sides.
A manager can approach a job in a few ways, he can take the players he has and try and adapt his system to get the best out of them, these sort of managers tend to be pragmatists and are better at getting quick results, like Mourinho, Ancelotti, Hiddinck etc.
Then there are managers who have a system and prefer to sign players to work with that system, this is what Van Gaal is trying to do at United, and it does appear that this is what the team are doing, like Moyes before him (until very near the end), the players do seem to be performing as instructed but for whatever reason it just doesn’t work in England, possession for possession’s sake is dreadful to watch and ineffective, a toxic combination. Van Gaal has made good signings, in my opinion, but he is failing to get the best from them, an unsustainable position.
Rooney I think is past it as a top level forward under any way of playing, but Van Gaal’s system shines a spotlight on his weaknesses.
It’s all so disappointing. I’m old enough to remember Van Gaal’s Ajax side, they were excellent to watch, and effective, United are neither.
The fundamental mistake was not appointing Mourinho when Fergie retired. Fergie was irreplaceable, United’s board and fans need to accept this fact rather than destroying the club waiting for the messianic figure of the ‘next Fergie’ to appear. Appointing Moyes was a laughable decision, the club may well pay the price for many years to come.
Giggs is not the answer, not ‘until the end of the season’ or ever until he has proven he’s a top calibre manager, it’s almost as if Wilf McGuinness never happened. Giggs might be half decent manager some day, but right now he’s no more than a reckless gamble, Guardiola has given people unrealistic expectations, he is the exception, not the rule.
Mourinho is free, Guardiola is going to City, the football is terrible. I think now is the time to act. The transfer window is open, a place in the top four is looking very doubtful and the football is unwatchable, United should swallow their pride and get the man they should have got in May 2013, at this point what have they got to lose?
Fred, Belfast (No stupid scarves though, that’s just embarrassing)
It’s time Van Gaal resigned
I don’t think that sacking him is going to happen anytime soon but if the man had any self-respect or dignity he would be handing in his resignation this morning.
Poor, poor performance and even poorer post-match comments. The team have given up, the coaching staff have given up and he even looks like he has given up. I gave up this time last year but nobody noticed or cared.
Plato – MUFC
Enjoyed Conclusions, not so much United
I must congratulate you on your “watching United is a pastime of endurance, not enjoyment” comment in 16 Conclusions. Sums it up very well.
I’ve never been so dejected to be a Manchester United fan. At least with Moyes there was a certain sadomasochistic frisson that came from seeing something so successful and long-established become awful overnight. With Van Gaal, it’s just hollow-eyed existential emptiness, as if every player is Anthony Hopkins at the end of Remains of the Day watching a symbolic freedom bird fly off into the English countryside and us spectators are, well, people watching Remains of the Day, I suppose, and bored by it.
That’s the most incredible thing about Lou-nited (I’m putting it out there; it might catch on). It’s not how much Van Gaal has spent without a return, or that the standard has dropped to the point where his own fans are ironically cheering shots on goal, or even that his job is so secure after such an abject first half of the season – it’s that everything is so boring, you can’t even muster the energy to be annoyed with it.
Stephen O’S, MUFC
Some more FA Cup conclusions
We’re told the FA Cup Third Round weekend is a time for nostalgia, and so it proved:
*Being a n*rrative-free game, Soton versus Crystal Palace was relegated to a Football League Show style highlights package, showing goals and chances free of all context. This also meant a return to the good old days of relying on Twitter trolls and a slow BBC website live feed to find out what was happening.
The flipside of this is that it’s nice to see some lower league clubs given the proper treatment.
As such there isn’t much to comment on for the Glaziers, other than to point out Joel Ward’s run in support of Jason Puncheon was deserving of more praise from the MotD gang, and Wilf Zaha’s finish was very well taken. Also, Southampton deserve praise for the way they kept us under the cosh right to the very end.
*I don’t watch Channel 5’s football programme, hence my ignorance, but one of the minor pleasures of third round weekend is getting reacquainted with commentators and/or players you’d forgotten all about. Can anyone beat Marvin Sordell at Colchester United in League One, or Nyron Nosworthy, plying his trade for Dagenham & Redbridge in League Two?
*Because of the media attention on lower league sides, third round weekend is a bit of a shop window for players down the pyramid. There were some spectacular goals and assured performances. My personal favourite was Jake Gray’s goal for Hartlepool United against Derby County, but there were plenty to choose from. I would choose him though, he’s a Palace loanee.
*Congratulations to Ricky Holmes of Northampton Town, recipient of this year’s “he’d only got two all season before today but doubled his tally in a matter of minutes” commentary. Nice one Ricky, especially as your goals came against Franchise FC, so were celebrated by all of football.
*The most nostalgic moment though was when Manchester United played Sheffield United, and required a stoppage time penalty to win the game. It was the 1990s all over again. Like most neutrals, I was gutted for United, they worked hard in defence, restricting their opponents to the barest minimum of chances, and the nature of their defeat reflects better on them than it does on Manchester United.
Maybe that penalty was divine intervention – after all, the last thing anyone wanted was a replay of a game that awful. Still, United can concentrate on the league now and continue their push for a playoff place.
*During the MotD highlights package, Michael Owen attempted some elegant repetition by referring to Wayne Rooney as “the England man” twice in approximately four minutes. Just seemed like an odd thing to say once, never mind twice.
*Fraser in the Sunday Mailbox mentioned the Yugoslav team that never was, including Dragan Stojkovic. As is obligatory, we cannot mention Piksi without also linking to this effort.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven
Coming dangerously close to Rafa > Pep
Yaya Toure’s agent has claimed Pep Guardiola is over-rated as a manager, and maybe he’s right. Even my Granny could win titles with Bayern and Barcelona
What Klopp did at Dortmund is being raved about, but isn’t Rafa Benitez’s achievement of taking Valencia to two titles better? And look how his seen by everybody bar Liverpool fans.
Are we over rating managers like players now?
Some thoughts on Liverpool’s goalkeeping coaching
Having read Piers, Bristol’s mail and snarky question on whether Liverpool indeed have a goalkeeping coach, I felt compelled to write in because it is, I feel, a genuine issue. The current goalkeeping coach, John Achterberg, was promoted from academy coach to first team goalkeeping coach in June 2011, in time for the 2011-12 season.
Now there’s a bit of a story to this. Pepe Reina, in his book, is adamant that when FSG purchased Liverpool, as a gesture to keep Reina on side (the club under Hicks & Gillett having unceremoniously rejected a 20 million pound bid from Arsenal for him in the 2010-11 season in order to keep some marketable ‘liquid’ assets for when they sold the club), they offered to bring in Reina’s choice of goalkeeper. Reina opted for Paco Ayestaran, who he had worked with for the first, very successful, years of his Liverpool career (when he received three straight Golden Glove awards), and also with for Spain. Somehow or other, the promise was retracted by FSG, who appointed Achterberg instead, presumably on then manager Kenny Dalglish’s say-so (Achterberg having had a playing career mainly at Tranmere).
Reina really didn’t like Achterberg’s style, and although a successful playing career doesn’t necessarily mean a successful coaching career, there have to be serious questions about Achterberg’s credentials to coach a side aspiring to be one of the top 10-15 clubs in the world, having spent 80% of his career in third tier football. Readers will recall that Reina’s excellent form in Benitez’s final ill-fated season had deteriorated so badly that in Achterberg’s second season Reina was so down on form and confidence that Rodgers felt compelled to sign Mignolet, despite Mignolet’s lack of ball playing ability, a key tenet of a “Rodgers goalkeeper”, and farm Reina out to Napoli. It’s a reasonable argument that Mignolet hasn’t kicked on as expected after promising displays at Sunderland, and Bogdan, man-of-the-match against LFC in the FA Cup last year, and a very decent shot-stopper, has also regressed.
The constant among all this? John Achterberg, who despite the sackings of two managers, three assistant managers (Clarke, Pascoe, O’Driscoll) and three first team coaches (Keen, Marsh, McAllister), has remained, seemingly untouchable. Something is rotten in the state of Massachusetts.
Really not enjoying the FA Cup
Every January I am reminded anew of how I loathe the FA Cup. It stands as a perennial symbol of the arrogance, inertia and incompetence of the FA themselves. This silly little competition first lost its glamour in 2000 when Man U decided they couldn’t be arsed to enter.
Since then, it has becoming more irrelevant with every passing year. Even the so-called upsets are nothing of the sort these days – did Exeter really draw with Liverpool? Of course not, they drew with a bunch of trainees whose names most of us have never even heard of. Okay, it’s a route into Europe but so what? So is a cross-channel ferry.
Anyway, my point is this: what have the FA done about all this? What measures have they taken to make the FA Cup set pulses racing again? Answer – nothing. Not a thing in over 15 years. Various suggestions have been made – abolishing replays, playing midweek under floodlights, relocating the semis away from Wembley etc.
It could be that none of these are a good idea. That’s not the point. They are ideas, at least. The FA’s solution just seems to be to bleat on about how it’s the oldest cup competition in the world, wax lyrical about Ronnie Radford and, basically, pretend there’s not a problem. Idiots.
When’s the Prem back?
The new Sloop John B?
Sheffield United at the weekend were the latest fans I’ve heard singing the following chant:
“We’re the *insert club name/location here* boys, making all the noise, everywhere we goooooo”
I know that many terrace song tunes go in cycles and many teams supporters use the same tunes (albeit usually with different lyrics specific to their club), but I’m sure I’ve heard Tottenham, Villa and a few others use that exact song this season. And I’d bet there are many more singing it throughout the football league.
I mean, surely they can’t all be making all the noise everywhere they go?
Someone had a liquid Sunday lunch
Has F365 football got any rival? Unsure if I can mention the names of your rivals, but F365 is far above them, on every issue, from reporting, to the site set up.
The best thing to happen to F365 was to leave Sky.
Keep up the good work.
Arsenal: It’s *an* opinion
N’golo Kante. 30million.
Chicharito. 50million. (MC – You’ve added an ‘0’ there, big guy)
Isco loan deal.
That would pretty much ensure that Arsenal win everything there is to win.
Comparing international strikers
After watching us scrape through with a well deserved but still fortunate result, and knowing Rooney would be slated for it, I thought I’d pick myself thinking about supposed better strikers. So I compiled a list.
This is just a selection of those with astonishing and similar scoring records but vaguely interesting. Particularly how good Van Persie actually was (better than Messi and Ronaldo?), and how phenomenal Neymar has become…
Messi 49 in 105
Ronaldo 55 in 123
Rooney 51 in 109
Neymar 46 in 69
Van Persie 50 in 101
Klose 71 in 137
Henry 51 in 123
Podolski 48 in 122
Ronaldo (Bra) 62 in 98
Batistuta 56 in 78
Klinsmann 47 in 108
Voller 47 in 90
Maradona 34 in 91
Pele 77 in 91
By contrast, though a brilliant and legendary player, who knew Totti had such a meagre return of 9 in 58!
Guy S (makes you almost thankful for our once in a generation player doesn’t it…?)
(MC – But these are just international records?)
Something smells Fichajes
Nothing really to say about whether Gotze could go to Liverpool or not, but that e-mail from Brian read like a Fichajes report put through Google Translate.