Mails: Pochettino would be United’s Rodgers

Date published: Thursday 12th November 2015 3:32

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Poch to United? Same as Liverpool hiring Rodgers
Alex (please god no not Giggs) Australia, MUFC thinks Pochettino is the guy to follow Van Gaal? Bit of a gamble that, really. Not one I could see them making.

For all the turgid/dire/insipid (delete as appropriate) football served up under Van Gaal, the thing that has given him leeway is his CV (no matter how long ago any of those acheivements actually were). When things weren’t going great at the start, he had support because “he’d done it elsewhere” so needed time to make it his team. Hiring Pochettino, who to this point has achieved the sum total of sod all, is a hiding to nothing.

Fans need something to believe in, first and foremost. Some Utd fans would welcome the Pochettino Project, believing it’s a chance to build a new dynasty. Some would be on his back from the start with shouts like “What’s he done to deserve this? We should be after the very best! What about Giggsy?” and any faltering form would be proof that he isn’t up to the task. Even if he showed signs of success, say a credible title challenge or cup run, any setback would be met with bile and calls for someone with more experience/a better CV/who gets the club.

Utd fans and Liverpool fans aren’t very different at all. Pochettino to Utd would be like Rodgers to Liverpool. And we all know how that worked out.

Plus, it’ll probably be Giggs, won’t it?
Kris, LFC, Manchester


…Just read the mail from Alex, who was praying it not to be Giggs. Its going to be Ryan Giggs.

And if it pans that way, then I am extremely happy. It means that after the Moyes debacle, where one man’s personal choice was given the utmost priority (and deservedly so, Sir Alex earned it) the club thought 3 years ahead wishing to start another legacy. It shows the management gumption to think long term while having the strength to sacrifice short term. Cant find a better philosophy to work with as an employee.

And it has to start with a person who putting aside is off field issues, has been United’s hero on it for the best part of 20 years. The management has planned and are executing a well laid out plan for him by giving an experienced manager who has won it all, 3 years to mentor, to bring in youth and give them necessary exposure so that they mature and give us results in next 5 years. and if we can land a league title in his term, mission accomplished.

With respect to his education and lack of experience, an assistant coach at United for 4 years is allright, not bad. I am not making any comment or judgement on how it will work out with Giggs, but I remember the last games under him when Moyes was gone and United were cool. I feel the 3 years that he is going to spend with this team learning from LvG about what to do and what not after having passed 20 years with Sir Alex is good enough education and experience if one has the habit of learning from every mistake.

All in all, the best part about what is happening at United is not on the field but behind it. Without knowing anything for certain, I am hoping this to be the case as it would the finest case study for management graduates of succession planning in 5-7 years.
Sagar Deo, Mumbai


Hands off MP
…It’s very nice of Alex (please god no not Giggs) Australia MUFC to recognise the great work that Pochettino is doing with my beloved Spurs, helping to reconnect the fans to the club in a way that has been absent since the days of Big Martin Jol. Very proud and happy with what I am seeing this season now the chaff has been removed from the squad and those who can take instruction from the manager remain (maybe not Townsend after January!).

However, whilst I have enjoyed watching LVG and United struggle to deliver the success expected of him with the dour style of football belonging to the mid 90’s it’s the sense of entitlement from Alex and others (a good friend of mine who is also United has a £50 bet which I accepted that Harry Kane will be a MU player at the end of next summer because after missing out on Shearer they can’t afford to do so –and he belongs there…the irony!) which makes me annoyed.

A reset of expectations is required from all United fans regarding such ideas as 1. Daniel Levy would’nt do business with you given past history and 2. Why not Giggs? Who knows, he could become a legend as a manager also developing young players like him and the class of ’92 were by Sir Alex bringing some of them in to help as they understand the club, its culture and what the fans expect. Will he get the opportunity? Probably not as expectations for a quick fix will take priority with sponsorship deals to keep the Glaziers happy.

The difference is in the way Spurs are developing a culture, building a stronger mentality to win than we have seen for a long time (perhaps since the 80’s and integrating younger players into the squad and team with care the last 18 months whilst United have thrown a quarter of a billion pounds at trying to fix the problem with experience but not much to show or feel connected to the club about. Do United fans feel a connection with these players and the club since Sir Alex left? I’ll leave that to them to answer – or do they just want souless, boring football and 1-0 scrapped wins? I know which one I want.


Come on, Ireland
Massive game for the Republic of Ireland tomorrow away to Bosnia.

With England, Wales & Northern Ireland already there it would be great for the Republic to join the party.

Wales & Northern Ireland fans I’m sure will agree that the lift the country gets from qualifying for an international tournament is immense.

I feel the tournament is not enjoyed by some contributors to the mailbox who throw in a comment along the lines of “when we get eliminated after meeting a quality team after the group stages”.

This misses the point. The tournament is a celebration of football. Yes it’s nice to win the thing. It’s more than nice. It’s fantastic (I assume) but isn’t it also a brilliant feeling when you get together with friends, families, colleagues maybe even strangers and watch the national team play in tournament football knowing that anything can happen and that you are all together cheering on your country in the hope that you can win this game. It’s the hope that kills you? No. It’s the hope that makes you feel alive.

While all around me the mailboxers complain about the international break I can’t help but feel sorry for them. I have a huge game to watch tomorrow. It won’t be pretty and to a neutral it’ll probably be a dour affair but to me and my friends, family, work colleagues and the strangers with me in the pub it will be enthralling and we will all be in it together.

The assignment is massive the rewards are great. Ireland will not be crowned kings of Europe in 2016 but the country will be absolutely rocking should we qualify.

The party will start on Monday evening and who knows when it will finish. Roll on Bosnia.

Gough, LFC, Dublin. (We all dream of a team of Gary Breens)


Rating Roy
It’s international week so thought this might be a bit of discussion (because like many I’m not overly interested in talking about Arsenal)…

How would you rate Roy Hodgson’s tenure as England manager so far? He has now had 2 international tournaments and 2 qualifying campaigns (although I know the first Euro’s weren’t really ‘his’ team) so it seems a fair time to pass comment.

I think there are a couple of notable positives, plus one major failing. Firstly he has helped to manage the transition from an ageing and underperforming squad by phasing in new players (Sterling, Kane, Clyne etc.) while still keeping England at their previous level (this is maybe debatable but I certainly don’t think we are worse compared to the last 2 years under Capello). This has had the knock on effect on making the England team a bit more likeable to me, and he does seem to be able to pick (squad) players on form rather than reputation (bringing Delph when he was at Villa and now Vardy at Leicester as two examples). Indeed, just not being the gobsh*te ‘Arry is a major bonus to me – I’ve accepted we aren’t likely to win anything anytime soon and being exciting at a tournament even seems beyond us, so not hating the manager (or previously senior players like Terry) seems a boon. We have also just enjoyed a strong qualification campaign, at a time when the talent pool for England seems rather shallow…

…However, this leads to the elephant in the room – performance in the World Cup, which was abysmal, and gave me no hope that he will be able to improve it in the Euro’s (for those who have blotted it out, we were seriously bad). And nobody talks about good qualifying campaigns if the tournament performance is under par, so it is really worth it? Roy does still seem conservative in some of his team selections, basically picking Rooney regardless of form, who shouldn’t be in the team in merit. Maybe Roy needs to grow some balls in this aspect? I know I praised him for bringing in some players, but the Rooney issue needs highlighting.

So, any thoughts?
Jack (Parentheses are a classic look; like a good suit, they will always have a place) Manchester


Rooney content to cruise
Looking back to when Rooney and Ronaldo first burst on to the scene the perceived wisdom was that those two, plus Messi, would be dominating world football for years to come. It’s fair to say Ronaldo and Messi have not only lived up to that hype, but have blown it out of the water.

Rooney on the other hand was perceived to have failed to live up to his potential. Now looking at his records at only 30 (top scorer for England, joint second top scorer for United, 10th most appearances for United, 5 PL & 1 CL titles), it could be argued that we think Rooney failed to live up to his potential simply because his two peers from his youth went on to achieve more than anyone thought possible. This season has definitely put paid to that line of thinking anyway.

I recently read a story by Alistair Campbell in his book about watching United in training back when Ronaldo and Rooney were starting out. He was talking to a coach about the two of them:
“I was saying how special they looked, even when training. But the coach said to me: ‘Ronaldo could become the best player in the world. Rooney couldn’t.’

He said that Ronaldo never ever stopped believing he could improve, whereas Rooney ‘thinks he’d made it.'”

It makes you wonder, if the coaches at United could see it then, and presumably tried to motivate and work him to keep improving, how deeply set was the belief that he had done enough? And why did United keep rewarding that ‘second best is good enough’ with better and bigger contracts?
Jerry MUFC


Defending Rooney
I don’t usually mail in, but felt compelled to after reading Kev, Dublin’s stance on Rooney and Ronaldo. I’m not exactly Rooney’s biggest fan, but neither do I feel it is fair to slate him to the extent on show here.

I agree with what’s said about Ronaldo in the mail – he’s extremely dedicated to his goal of being the best in the world, (even if it is occasionally detrimental to team play). You cannot question his professionalism.

But to state that Rooney’s lifestyle is “not conducive to a prolonged career” is slightly redundant considering he’s already had one at the top of the English game. His form varies wildly, though in the last few years he’s become pretty ordinary, with a baffling loss of his first touch. I admit this, but just because he doesn’t compare favourably with arguably the best in the world (though it’s Messi, for my money), it doesn’t mean he’s skiving off training to have a smoke round the back of the bike shed.

“Rooney comes across as a player who, for a long time, decided that he reached his pinnacle.” “Rooney seemed happy with his lot.” In the next year or so he’s going to be record goal scorer for Manchester United and England. Just think about the players he has eclipsed there. Not a bad height to reach, by any means.

I think what gets my goat about this is that it’s perceived that he hasn’t worked hard at all to get where he is. The image of him as some sort of “street kid turned good”, who didn’t have to practice at all or put in any effort in training to become better. “He has done nothing to improve his game since he emerged.” That statement, quite frankly, isn’t worth the time it took to write.

Rooney has been a professional since the age of 16, (mainly) leading the line for Everton, Manchester United and England. Constantly under pressure, the spotlight always on him. The signs of wear and tear are showing: his pace is going, he was a good player in a variety of positions, and as a result, not the greatest in any.

When he retires, I think we’ll look back on Wayne Rooney as a great player who peaked early, and that will always be slightly unfulfilling – you’re constantly told that a striker’s best years are around 28-30 – so there’s a sense of what might’ve been with Rooney. Perhaps through the amount of football he played, his best years came earlier. But let’s not pretend that he hasn’t worked his arse off (and maybe back on again a couple of times, sure) to get to where he is now.
Joe, London


Rules, OK
After reading the new rules in yesterday’s mailbox from Charlie in Somerset I like to offer my view on his ideas:

1. Indirect free kicks were s**t. The defense could easily block any shot as the wall was closer than 10 yards and any attempt to play around was swamped by 5 defenders. It was terrible, good riddance. If your’re that bothered about the amount of penalties a more sensible solution would be to make the box smaller.

2. Sin bins is a terrible idea for football. Your’re argument is that a red card ruins the game. When actually it only ruins it for the team with 10 men and rightly so, one of their players broke the rules enough to get a red, the team SHOULD suffer. Sin bins also make yellow cards more acceptable which will only lead to an increase in cynical fouls like those that thwart counter attacks, which is bad right?

3. Putting mics on the refs seems a bit pointless. They don’t really get bullied by players anymore and are actually quite good a sending aggravated players away whilst they talk to the captains. I don’t think anyone really cares if footballers swear and if you watch rugby all you can hear is the bloody ref talking throughout the game. I dont want to listen to Mike Dean prattle on with himself for 90 minutes, do you?

4. I agree getting a yellow for taking your shirt off in celebration is stupid. I’m pretty sure this comes from sponsors who want their logo to be clearly visible for all the close up shots after a goal. Considering what shirt sponsors pay (Chevrolet pay United £47m a year!) you can’t really blame them.

5. Do you really think giving Jose Mourhino more freedom to talk is a good idea? The rule was introduced because refs got shit on by managers who wouldn’t admit their own failings (they still don’t but at least refs get a bit of protection), I don’t want to go back to that.

6. Offside should be automated, I agree. Linesmen would still be needed however. Whatever high tech camera/hawkeye type system is used it would not be able to differentiate between active and inactive players. Ideally the lineman receives a signal from the system if a player is judged to be offside, the lineman then makes the judgement on if the player is active and confirms or cancels the systems decision.

In the end we must remember that if rules are introduced to simply improve the entertainment value then we’re no better than the NFL
Dave, Manchester


…I always enjoy a constructive discussion on The Rules Of The Game(tm), so I appreciated Charlie’s e-mail this morning.

I’m happy to be corrected if I’m wrong about this, but I believe that the reason behind yellow cards for removing shirts during a goal celebration is actually quite depressing: Apparently sponsors were not happy that players were removing their shirts during celebrations, and hence robbing them of the moment when their logo was most prominent to the viewers (zooming in during a celebration) and eventually the rule was changed to keep the sponsors on board? Unfortunately, money talks so that rule won’t be rescinded any time soon.

I would also imagine that some of the dirtier players would gleefully take advantage of ‘sin binning’, and that literally nothing will stop players from crowding and swearing at the ref (particularly if Charlie’s other suggestion of not punishing managers for accusing bias is brought in), but other than that I enjoyed the e-mail.
Adrian (increasingly but wearily optimistic Coventry City fan)


Sneaking in some Arsenal
Considering the dearth of AFC related opinions in this weeks collections of mailboxes (*ahem*) I thought I’d chip in with some utterly exciting what if’s regarding Arsenal’s next few weeks.

It was heartening to hear the rumours that Alexis might get a rest soon. Anyone watching the Spurs game knows he needs one, no idea what Chile’s coach means when he says he’ll ‘be careful’ with Alexis. These are Copa qualifiers, he’ll play 180 minutes before the 12 hours flight back to London.

With more rumours that the Ox, Ramsey and Bellerin are to be fit for the West Brum game, I’m liking the idea of reuniting our functional right side axis of Rambellers, then having the Ox on the left. I’ve said before I think/hope/blindly dream that Oxlade might go ‘full Bale’ soon, I think this might be most likely to happen from the left.

The dream is that this works and Alexis is given the rest he needs, while the squad get more confidant without the main men, and we can rest him again in the future too. Playing like one of his pet Labradors last weekend, chasing down without guile or penetration will not win us that league. My fear is that realistic replacements are not fit by a week Saturday and he gets injured playing, or else we’re uninspiring and panic him back into the xi, just like we did in August.
James Gooner


Forest fondness
Just a thanks to Mediawatch for the link to the article regarding Clough and Taylor’s Nottingham Forest team of the late 70s.

I remember visiting Barcelona’s Nou Camp stadium in 1992 (I think) and doing the tour.  We were ushered into the very impressive trophy room which was full of silverware from countless league and cup successes going back a century.  Centre stage was the European Cup, in all its glory, in a specially made glass cabinet.  And all I could think was ‘You’ve only got one.  Nottingham Forest have won that twice’.

It was a great team from a wonderful era and I’d love to know what Forest’s trophy room looks like – or even if they’ve got one.  Maybe I should arrange a visit to find out.
David (can’t believe Shankly gave them the team talk!), LFC

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