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United are back!
Free flowing! The United way! Red faces and chewing! Collars popped! Sponsored by Sharp! Cut to Bobby Charlton’s perennially miserable expression! Roooooney!
Stu, that London
Some Man United conclusions
They put in a competent performance and expectedly beat a team they should have. I don’t really have anything to praise or criticise them for.
– Romero’s distribution is decent. He’s a better no.2 than Lindegaard anyway.
– Depay showed some nice flashes. He was unlucky with that free-kick but some of his shooting is ridiculously wild. I’m still on the fence as to whether he will turn into the next (insert good winger) or the next David Bellion.
– Nice to see Lingard score again.
– Slightly better from Mata & Herrera.
– More of the same on Thursday please.
Dan, Ireland MUFC
It’s 2016 and Mourinho is the man
Mourinho is the right choice for MUFC. Those who disagree, are traditionalists and still affected by a dose of nostalgia!
Mourinho is a winner and if you take his C.V into account, you’d be an ostrich to say ‘no, you’re not the one we’re looking for’.
The fact he courts controversy is the main reason why he is not everyone’s cup of tea, yet everyone appears to have forgotten the antics of Sir Alex! Constantly in the grievance record for criticising and bullying referees, to almost blinding David Beckham. What about Roy Keane and that tackle on Haaland, and the aftermath of that episode? What about him rowing with McCarthy in Saipan 2002, which made headlines around the world? And how about Cantona’s kung-fu kick in ’95, which if a member of the public had done it to someone else, it would be a long prison sentence for the offender? Please tell me that ALL of these above did not put a stain on United’s reputation?
One can say that the Eva Carneiro scandal was unwarranted, but I do feel he was trying to take pressure off his team and put it all on his shoulders, having done it many times and more than times not, succeeded. However, he made a major error, as Carniero was an important dynamic in the medical staff. They are significant figures in a team’s dynamic, spending time talking to players while treating or examining them, and players realise that they can trust them. So she was very popular among the players, and therefore ostracising her was a politically dreadful move. This is WHY Mourinho lost the dressing room soon after!
Numerous pundits and opinionated people say his style of football is not made for us! Well a quick glance into the record books sees that in seasons 10-11 and 11-12, Real Madrid had banged in more goals than Pep’s Barcelona side, and that was at a time when they were winning praise for their style of play. Even in the first half of last season, Chelsea were very vibrant going forward – Costa and Hazard scoring for fun, helped by the creativity and incisiveness of Oscar and Fabregas.
Sitting back and hitting teams on the break is a classic Mourinho tactic, and one that was famously used by Sir Alex during seasons 07-08 and 08-09 (Arsenal in the UCL???). I’d rather have that, instead of the sterile, boring pass, pass, pass, with creative players unable to express themselves. Mourinho also believes the ‘team comes first’ mantra, but in no way does he install instructions that would make LvG such a happy man!
Since 2013, Mourinho has coveted the United job. You can say that he had already made up his mind to join Chelsea, or believe Sir Alex’s view, but he WANTED the Old Trafford gig, when his time at Madrid was up. Only Ferguson and the board decided that Moyes was the right man to take charge! The fact he WANTS to manage us makes me believe that he is willing to change his ways, and to fully respect the club’s ethos. He recently said that he needs to keep learning.
As far as his coaching staff is concerned, I would have no problems with Faria. He is very passionate about the game and would do more than LvG has ever done. Also, as Collymore said, putting G.Neville in his staff would also be a very smart move.
We need to accept that there will never be a Sir Alex Ferguson, or a Sir Matt Busby. The longest spell you can hope for is three to four years. Bayern Munich, Barcelona and even Juventus have all changed managers, yet success still arrives! Remember, Sir Alex still had a job in 89-90, because the board KNEW he was rebuilding the youth system AND was using it as a template for the success that was to come.
What we DO need is a Sporting Director that can help the manager and also install a modern philosophy, that would be stretched right down to the Academy. He can concentrate on getting the players Mourinho needs, and also see the progress of our Academy players. Woodward can concentrate on the commercial side, signing up sponsors and so on! In fact, we should look at the current sporting structure at Bayern Munich – check how many of their former players are on the club’s board?
As for Ryan Giggs, he’s better off going to a Swansea or Aston Villa, where he can get the necessary experience. He can even bring Warren Joyce with him! If he’s able to show something there, then he will be rightly considered as a United manager. Who knows, a trio of Giggs, G.Neville and Joyce in the dugout may still be a reality, but NOT right now!
Why do some fans enjoy the hate?
Following Johnny Nich’s article about the hate culture within football, I thought I’d mail in something vaguely relevant following my experience at the Chelsea game on Sunday.
Now this was the first game I have had the pleasure of dragging my girlfriend along to, so I thought the east stand would be a good choice for our seats. A pretty tame area of the ground, the ‘family stand’ if you will.
When we eventually got to out seats (after a solid half hour of being asked how to get there) we were sat in between two other couples, with two dads and their young boys in front of us. It seemed I had chosen wisely for my girl’s first live game. This thought was then interrupted by the burping oaf taking his seat behind us.
From the very first whistle everyone in our section of the stand had to endure the most colourful language one could wish to hear for 90 minutes. Every one of our players was a f*****g useless c**t, Hazard became a Belgian p***k, Baba Rahman a stupid t**t, John Obi (f*****g w****r) Mikel and so on. Solid abuse for our own players for 90 minutes. Even at 4-1, every misplaced pass was met with language most of us only reserve for the most tragic situations and toe stubbings.
Inevitably this man (who was with his young teenage son) would then celebrate with gusto each time our useless players produced a nice piece of skill, good play or a goal.
I had to write in and ask, as I’m sure this man is not the only ‘fan’ with this kind of attitude, why sirs do you bother spending your presumably hard-earned cash to simply hurl abuse and foul language at players who are there to entertain you? Why is it necessary to ruin for others around you what is by and large an enjoyable experience? Mostly I have to ask why you think it is acceptable to use such colourful language in front of women and children?
It seems to me that football brings out some terrible behaviour in people which, outside the stadium walls would surely evoke some kind of law enforcement. Utterly shameful.
Sean, CFC, London
(P.s. what is it about these fans giving every player a nickname? Referring to Azpilicueta as ‘Pilly’ really made me chuckle.)
A couple of points on the hate
In response to John Nicholson’s piece on the hate culture in football, I wanted raise two points.
1. Incidents like the coin throwing are sadly likely to come up every once in a while simply because of the number of people who come to the football.
If you ever want to lose the bliss of ignorance, look up the crime statistics where you live. In your average large group situation, e.g. a packed cinema. You are going to be sharing that space with many, many domestic violence offenders, methamphetamine addicts and likely at least one sex offender. Going to the football? Lots, lots, more…even if you support Bournemouth.
Sometimes the surprise isn’t that these things happen, but that they don’t happen more often. Two of the best pieces of wisdom I ever got were the classic “nothing good happens in a bar after midnight” and “never drink somewhere that serves their alcohol in plastic cups” – for reasons which should be clear if you’ve ever had the displeasure of working in an emergency department on a Friday evening.
Basically it only takes one jerk. And there’s always at least one. Why did the biggest party of the year always end up with the cops coming? Because while the majority of people there were awesome there was always one gate-crashing/fight-starting/date-raping bloke who showed up.
Perhaps it’s because of the emotional nature of football that this happens more in football but other sports aren’t totally immune. Tennis had a stabbing, pretty much every football code has racism…I don’t watch many sports besides these but I’m sure more is going on that I’m ignorant of. Most people are at worst okay to be around. A small percentage are ruiners.
2. That said football definitely has a hate culture. When you first stated going to games, I bet the older male who took you to your first games educated you in this “We hate them because they’re (insert derby team), that’s (insert player name) he’s a (insert insult) because he did (insert front page headline).
It’s probably not going to disappear soon but as a start, if this current generation decides to forgo the whole teaching our team to hate x team and x player thing and enjoy the match instead, it might be a start.
I’d say I was probably preaching to the converted by raising this on F365 (where people seem to grasp the simple fact that football is as absurd as it is beautiful) but then John’s article shows that plenty of readers mailing him aren’t the converted yet.
Hugo (NUFC) Adelaide
…Wonderful article from John Nic about hate in football, very thoughtful piece. Great point made about football giving a platform to hate, though I’d still, albeit generously, say that most actions of fans at games, and indeed comments made online, are just letting off steam. Which I am all for. After all, as a Newcastle fan living in China, I have few other avenues to grumble about how bad we are as some people locally shrug their shoulders when I mention the team’s name!
The hate part though is what I, and I’m sure countless others, cannot stand nor comprehend. How many people reading this have ever launched something from the stands aimed at a player on the pitch? I would hazard a guess (good enough for chief sports writer at The Sun, good enough for me) that there aren’t many of you, or perhaps that’s just wishful thinking. Either way, I’m not saying that we are all saints – I for one spew enough expletives on and off the pitch to make Tim Howard blush – but where the hell does this additional level of anger come from that forces normal people to become violent?
I was at a Man.U vs NUFC game many years ago (when Rooney was arguing with the ref and then turns around and scores a stunner) at Old Trafford in what I was told was the family stand – my mate got the tickets and though we were Newcastle fans, we thought it would be fine in the ‘family stand’. We didn’t give it loads or anything, but when NUFC scored first, we did jump up and give it a sort of silent fist-pump to the air. At that point, a woman with her kids either side of her turns to us and shouts, “F**k off you pair of f**king c**ts!” Classy. No implied physical threat of course, but the fact that she could come out with something like that in full earshot of her kids totally shocked me, as it was I didn’t reply for that exact reason- I didn’t want to swear in front of her kids even if she was so comfortable doing it. Later on, as United inevitably took the lead, she turned again to direct me, “You can f**king cheer now, you t**t.” Wonderful stuff, mother of the year over here…
While this particular instance might not seem on the level in terms of violence witnessed by us all over the years, it did make me think: if this mother-of-two is fine with verbally abusing another fan despite her kids being by her side (reaching such a level of intensity), it shouldn’t be a big surprise then (though eternally disappointing), for example, that a single bloke surrounded by his mates can reach the level of intensity that he feels comfortable throwing something onto the field or deliberately aiming it a player.
It’s a strange thing. I dislike many teams and players for various reasons, but I couldn’t honestly say that I well and truly hate any of them. It just doesn’t go that far…Therefore, the idea of throwing something to try and hit a player I dislike never crosses my mind. Do I fantasize about playing against them and chopping down with a well(ill)-timed slide tackle? Yes. Or perhaps imagining ‘accidentally’ butting the player as we ‘challenge’ for a header? Yes. But that’s as far as it need go.
To all those ‘fans’ that think physically harming players on the pitch is ok, let me ask you this: what would you do if someone came to your office and chucked s**t at you? Honest answer? Many might say they’d kick off and smack the t**t, I’m sure, while others more realistically might reply that they’d ‘have words’ and perhaps a bit of shirt-grabbing would ensue. In any case, you personally have the opportunity to do something about it if you saw fit. What can footballers do about it on a personal level? Nothing – and if they do get angry or have a swipe at a fan, they’d be in massive trouble and might end up with a ban. Worse still, they’d probably have to apologize for a ‘rash response.’
Not only are these acts of violence just plain uncalled for, they are cowardly actions – it all seems stupid on its face when a self-styled hardman, hooligan-type, footy fan throws a coin at a player knowing that the player can’t do anything about it.
Like John Nic mentions in his article, there aren’t riot vans outside other sporting events; I truly wish it were the case with football as well.
Jonathan R. Smith
You write? You’ll get abused
Mr. Nicholson absolutely correct on calling the coin-throwing idiot out, but he’s a little naive if he doesn’t expect that his columns might attract a little vitriol. After all, he’s a professional journalist, and there is a minor expectation that if you throw out opinion, some of what comes back might not exactly be what you would want your granny to hear. Especially if you write on an online site with ‘comments enabled’. Don’t be a naif if what you read in your comments is not what you would have written yourself.
I know this because I contribute to a daily blog which comments on each day’s LA Times crossword puzzle. Hardly coin-throwing material, right? But – I’d love to share some of the emails I’ve received over the years. I’ve never been called a c**t because this word is totally taboo in the US. However, I have been called a cocks*cker, a f*g, a n*gger lover. And this is a crossword blog. A F*CKING CROSSWORD BLOG.
So John – keep doing what you’re doing, but please don’t cry foul. The fact you’re getting such vitriol means you might just be doing something right (as you know, you’re not naive).
Steve (Shrewsbury could have shewed up today) Los Angeles
City rob us all of schadenfreude
How are we all supposed to enjoy Man City losing when all their fans are so reasonable? Part of the enjoyment of seeing the big boys lose is to read the bitter emails from entitled fans. Stop being so nice! You’re ruining it for the rest of us.
…Ha, I really do enjoy it when the City fans write in. It’s refreshing to hear some good natured, well-articulated mails that speak a lot of sense. As a Newcastle fan it can be pretty painful reading the endless Arsenal/Liverpool/Man Utd entries in the mailbox with their relentless sense of entitlement when your own team is struggling to stay relevant. The systematic breakdown of Man Utd fans over the past two years has been incredible, someone with plenty of time on their hands should go back and document the whole thing.
City fans are still grounded, and yes, I really do wish it was us. And you always beat us, always, but it’s weird how I still don’t mind them as a team yet generally hate everyone else. Silence is golden, yet by not writing in they’re apparently doing it all wrong – you’re supposed to be ANGRY and jump to conclusions every weekend. Stop enjoying being in four competitions in February, chasing titles and getting to cup finals. Disgraceful!
I know what it feels to be entitled though, we just edged Lillestrom in a friendly in La Manga.
Man City, Spurs and disrespect
Danny B asked ‘Why did we disrespect the cup but Spurs didn’t…is it because Spurs are this year’s media favourites?’
I thought it sounded somewhat more than a rhetorical question so…
Spurs rested two first team players (Alderweireld, Eriksen) by bringing in Bentaleb and Onomah. Bentaleb has 46 first-team appearances to his name. Onomah has five. They lost 1-0 and the general feeling is that we played okay but were largely poor.
Man City named four debutants in the starting line-up, Adarabioyo, Garcia Alonso, Garcia Serrano and Faupala. They also gave debuts to two off the bench (Barkery & Humphreys-Grant). Celina had five minutes of first-team experience prior to this game. They lost 5-1 and while some of them gave a good account of themselves, as a team they were second-best in every department.
The way to introduce young players isn’t to throw them all in together – who is left for them to learn from? Man City have been doing a good job blooding Iheanacho. This wasn’t ‘giving an opportunity to the youngsters’, it was holding up a white flag. I can understand it given City’s injury list but please don’t try & lump Spurs in the same bracket.
Thom, Bristol-based Spur
Goalkeepers and their near post
Graham from the Goalkeepers’ Union does make some valid points about goalkeepers and their near post. I would argue though in this instance, that as it was Martin Kelly and not Cristiano Ronaldo, the near post could have been more protected. His angle of approach was one that naturally made the far post a low-percentage target – and the near post the obvious place for a shot. Had Kelly played the ball anywhere other than high to the near post, he would been forced into a pass rather than a shot. As Hotspur’s defence had those players/areas covered, short of repeating Lionel Messi’s incredible spin shot to score from behind the goal in training, the only real option to Kelly was a shot to an area most goalkeepers typically cover very well.
I remember a few years ago, when Arsenal beat Barcelona in the Champions League, Nicklas Bendtner scored when Victor Valdes had taken a cheat step anticipating a shot to the far post (from a tight angle) or a pass across the goal. Bendtner became aware of this and made Valdes look rather foolish.
As Graham knows better than me, positioning is one of the most important parts of goalkeeping. However, just like Valdes back then, Michel Vorm appeared to set himself up to make a save that looked good for the TV cameras rather than doing something rather more prosaic that is actually a more sensible play.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven
When you’re hot…
In defence of Tactics Tim, thermodynamically speaking he is completely correct – cold is just the absence of heat.
In all seriousness though, you can see the realisation in his face as he corners himself into making such a ridiculous statement live on TV…brilliant stuff!
Paul M (He’s still more entertaining than the Villa) LFC