Mails: Pogba can help Rooney be great again

Date published: Thursday 4th August 2016 2:30

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Leave Wayne alone
People do love to give Rooney a kicking don’t they?

Firstly, the smug ‘haha I’m smarter than Guy S because my opinion is different his’ bantz were boring quite a while back, they are even less funny now.

Secondly, it was a friendly. And not even one where the primary focus is the football, but is instead about raising money for a charity. So expecting free flowing football isn’t very smart, is it? Especially when it is the only our fourth game of preseason (I think) and Rooney hasn’t played in 2 of those. Do I think Rooney will be great this season? No, he will most likely be 5/10 for the majority of games, with a few outliers either side. I personally agree with the majority view, that Rooney, despite flashes of skill, shouldn’t be in the team on merit anymore.

But what I don’t get is what new and interesting insight we got from last night’s game that made it worth taking the time to write an email? We have heard this same argument a hundred times from Silvio alone (really need to get out more mate, your mails tell us more about you than Rooney) – why are we clogging up the mailbox with it?! Can we implement a rule where you can only discuss Rooney’s position in the team when you have something new to add?

I know the mailbox compiler can only print what they get sent, but why, one day before the football league actually starts (real meaningful football!) are people sending in this guff! I imagine you’re the type of people who call the manager when their out of date offer has been refused, or have a go at a smoker in a pub smoking area.
Jack (As for selling him to China or the US – what makes you think he would leave?) Manchester


It’s absurd that the first thoughts of many in the morning mailbox is to criticize Rooney for his performance during his testimonial. I understand fans being upset at him not turning out to be “the while Pele,” but it’s about time they get a grip. His English and MUFC goal scoring records speak for themselves. His bicycle kick against City is enough for him to get into heaven from my perspective.

These testimonials, originally set up to provide for a footballer in retirement, now appropriately providing for charity on the player’s behalf, are the most friendly of friendlies.

So, in the essence of a true testimonial, I want to remember Rooney’s greatest attribute: the enormous back on which he carried the English footballing ego for more than a decade. Bravo, son.
Kevin, USA, MUFC


Rooney, Pogba and…
Today I shall try to ensure less of a litany of errors… but the subject and question is simple: what is Rooney? Related questions are “what is Pogba?” and “what is wrong with the United midfield?”

On the first, let’s start with what he’s not. He’s not a classic striker/goal scorer. He’s not a creative ball player. He’s not a deep midfielder or a winger. He’s not really a dribbler or a trickster. Thing is, he can do most of these things to a better level that most but it’s not who he is, he’s just ended up doing them because no one else has.

He can pass over distance with more accuracy than Gerrard. He has quite quick feet when required, and still has a turn of pace. He can shoot from range or from close but is pretty average in 1 on 1s (so many missed chances vs keeper). He can win and hold the ball under pressure. He can link up with players and read the game well, brilliant at reading the pass from a team mate, the cleverer the flick the better. Basically his entire game is based on his instinct, which is really quite brilliant. However, give him time and he’s a dogs dinner.

As far as our midfield, the problem is a lack of ownership. No one takes the game by the scruff and does anything much. Then because nothing happens Rooney comes deep in frustration and no one has the balls (or right) to tell Wayne to stay forwards.

So what is Pogba? Well, he has an ego and reputation. He has the ability to make something happen or facilitate others to weave magic, and the capacity to be a proper midfield general.

At least, that’s what I pray. Because Rooney, brilliant though he is both in his role and capacity to take responsibility, is not the player to make the plays. And I’m tired of defending him for trying to cover the failings of other players like Herrera and Mata.
Guy S


No striking options available?
Just quickly wanted to say watching Leicester vs Barcelona, I don’t think Wenger can lament there not being any strikers available.

Musa last night took his chances extremely well (all you need with the attacking flair we have). Available for £16.6m, he seems like a bit of a bargain if you ask me.

Janssen at $19m, Milic (who looked awesome at Euros) £27m, Embolo £23m and Dembele £12m are just a couple of the names available this summer that Arsenal could have signed who would all have added something to our Striking options. That’s not including attacking midfielders like Schurly (£25m), Gaitan (£21m), Nolita (£15m) or Pjaca (£19m).

I love Wenger but saying that you have to pay silly money for top players just isn’t true. I’d happily have taken Musa or Milic at Arsenal…
Rob A (still hoping Mahrez comes though…) AFC


Just sign a defender
Was just thinking that Man City are buying the same player (Nolito, Sane, Jesus) three times, rather than addressing the fact that they have no centre backs and 30+ year old full backs.

Of the 10 outfield players, around half will be defensive and half will be attacking, so it makes sense to devote 50% of your kitty to defensive players – more than 50% if your team is lacking defenders.

Fair enough I don’t care as i don’t support them and it might be fun to watch. But looking at the top teams, how many of them are actually buying defenders rather than playing FM 2016/17 and buying fancy attackers.

Klopp seems to be on board with the signing of Matip and Jose loves a defender and bought a big’un in Bailly. You could include Poch buying Wanyama and Pep buying Gundogan if you want. But overall, the top managers aren’t bothered.  Do they think that they can outgun each other, or is it harder to them to recognise good defenders, or are they happy with their lot, or maybe they arent sexy enough to be put in the shop window by agents.

Just wondering?
ma.solebo (just one…. more….. week…..)


Tony Pulis fan club
I must admit after a damp squib of a season for West Brom and that Iceland shambles, I am not quite mentally ready for the new season yet, I can’t get the passion going.  That is until Ben the Baggie fired me up yesterday.  I’m going to go ahead and assume he’s related to Tony Pulis somehow, for that’s the only explanation I can come up for that mail.

We can disagree on footballing aesthetics, for me setting up every game with the sole intention to grind out a clean sheet at all costs, whatever the opposition, sacrificing any attacking intent in the process isn’t a thing of beauty, but if that works for you more power to you I suppose.  However, Johnny Evans is certainly not a world class centre back (If Arsenal actually sign him I would be amazed).  He’s a very good one, I can’t say if Pulis has improved him because he’s barely played centre back for us.  Evans has largely played left back or even centre midfield.  He is not a centre midfielder in the same way I am not an astronaut.  Craig Dawson scoring a few headers from corners doesn’t make him a full back either, for the record.  Hence four centre backs.  Its not a myth, trust me I’ve lived through it.

If you actually think Pulis has been nothing but supportive of Berahino then I don’t know what to tell you!  Every 5 minutes last year he threw him under the bus to the media under some pretty paper thin disguises of ‘being supportive’.  Pulis has single handedly talking his value down by £10m, and apparently convinced Ben hes not all that (he is. Technically very good, quick, great finisher.  Pulis clearly had no idea how to use him so wants rid).  But he can’t head a ball, so that’s ok I’m guessing……

On the contrary, don’t lay off Pulis.  I actually think he gets a pretty free ride from the media (notably the PFMs of course) given the turgid style for exceptionally mediocre results he churns out.  Pulis greatest achievement has been convincing some of the Albion faithful that this is the best we can ask for.  Its not.  We certainly don’t have the poorest squad (adding ‘by a mile’ is clearly absurd) and wouldn’t have gone down with any other manager.  I seem to remember Steve Clarke and Roy Hodgson having us comfortably mid-table with the same core of squad and actually playing football.  And without the many millions Pulis has spent.

Open your eyes man
Adam Taylor


Early transfer awards
A little early perhaps, but hey, we’ve not much to talk about at the moment, right? There’s still the guts (blood and skeleton) of a month left before the transfer market is closed and there’s been some great buys so far. Was going to just rate a few of my favourites but where’s the fun in that? Maybe a “transfer awards” is a more f365 way to get through it.

Best Free Transfer
Andrea Zivkovic to Benfica

Niko Krancjar to Rangers

Winner: Ever Banega to Inter (Why did Sevilla let him leave on a free? Would love to be enlightened)

Sofiane Feghouli to West Ham

Kevin-Prince Boateng to Las Palmas

Best Young Transfer
Sane to Man CIty

Winner: Lo Celso to PSG (For a fraction of the price of Sane, PSG have what looks like a special little player here. Cannot wait to see him tear up Ligue Un with Veratti, Pastore, Ben Arfa, Di Maria……)

Pierre-Emile Hojberg to Southampton

Andrea Zivkovic to Benfica

Bartosz Kaputska to Leicester

Best “My Club” Transfer



Any f**king left back

Winner: Manninger (A surprise winner, but really, what in the name of footy is this guy still doing playing?)

Personal Favourite Transfer
Winner: Steed Malbranque to SM Caen (what’s not to love?)

Ben Arfa to PSG

Bartosz Kaputska to Leicester

Juan Zuniga to Watford

Worst Transfer
Sadio Mane to Liverpool

Martin de Roon to MIddlesbrough

Jordan Ibe to Bournemouth

Andre Gomes to Barcelona

Winner: Bebe to Eibar (Clubs should not be paying money for Bebe. Special mention to Qatari international Akram Afif, who I guarantee will be the Qatari Freddy Adu. I’ll eat many of my hats should he find even moderate success at this level)

Akram Afif to Villareal

Best Transfer
Winner: Nicolas Gaitan to Atletico Madrid (A close call between Nicolas and Ever, but 15.5 mil for a young, technically brilliant player with bags of European experience is unheard of. Incredible stuff from Leti.)

Pione Sisto to Celta Vigo

Kevin-Prince Boateng to Las Palmas

Ever Banega to Inter


Football is a theatre and a soap opera
For many years now I’ve taken an unusual amount of pleasure in the rage others feels towards aspects of football. Even when the rage is understandable, I can’t help but feel a type of schadenfreude coursing through me, a sort of sick joy. Let me explain…

I hail from Twickenham, where the rugby comes from. Rugby often happens on a Saturday afternoon (‘Quins or an international at Twickenham Stadium) and as a result the pubs are rammed early on and rugby takes priority in practically every pub with a TV in Twickenham/Richmond. This has always meant that the 5.30pm Premier League game begins with the pubs being relatively empty but filling up by the end of the first half with pot-match rugby fans, who by the way mostly look like rugby players but older and wider.

You can almost count the seconds before the criticisms of footballers and football begin: Soft, overpaid, flash, rude etc. Criticism of football by the wax-jacketed home-counties white-privilege brigade becomes tedious very quickly, even when valid. After a while I began to want poor behaviour, OTT haircuts and, most of all, diving. Lots and lots of diving. Rugby fans *hate* diving. Add in some rolling and feigning of injury and they’re incandescent…and it is f**king hilarious.

Quite why their distaste for actual distasteful sporting behaviour amuses me so much is still unclear. Not that I expected these guys to like *our* game, after all I find rugby formulaic, slow and as though its only progression has been the video decisions. I can’t see any equivalents of the fluid formations we have in football, I don’t think they have false nines and I’ve certainly never seen a Bicycle Try, nor do I think it exists.

So now here I find myself, enjoying things I probably shouldn’t. The outrage fallout from a £100m Pogba deal will act a twofold shot of this sweet, sweet schadenfreude: On one hand the rugby types will hand-wring at the money in football, and on the other hand ideological Manchester United fans will be confronted with the truth that their club too is just like Real/Chelsea/City. Beautiful. How could that double-whammy of value-system shattering not be enjoyable to you considering the sanctimony of the parties it will offend? As if there was any real innocence left to lose in this world anyway.

You might say that there’s something wrong with me. Perhaps, I used to let my old boss make mistakes just because of the thrill of watching him fail (he was a d*ck and you would’ve done the same). And don’t get me wrong, I take pleasure in the good things in football as well, the football, the winning, even the losing can enjoyable at times.

But ultimately it isn’t real life, it is theatre, a soap opera and I’m allowed to like the baddies, to allow a bit of the darkness in and enjoy it. I’m not sorry, and I don’t feel like I have to be.
Stu (TK421), London


Managers > coaches
I admit to being more than a bit confused about the division between manager and coach in today’s footballing terms. Even TV commentators interchange the terms quite readily without really understanding what they are saying. No surprise there then!

Today, and if you take my own Manchester United club as an example, we have the likes of Ed Woodward in the background at Old Trafford making the decisions as to who will join the club and for how much and for how long. And we seem to have Mourinho left to purely coach those players who remain on United’s player list. And I’m not at all sure how much say Mourinho has in all this, if any. Would he prefer not to sign Pogba for 100 million, for instance, even if Woodward really likes the player? And does he (Mourinho) maybe have his sights set on two or three other players? And does Woodward have the final say in all this? And  if so, why?

Well, I suspect we’ll never know until Mourinho leaves United and writes his memoirs.  This may be an over simplification but, at its core, it’s fairly representative of what goes on in today’s football. How did this happen? Is it a good thing? Why isn’t Mourinho, for instance, left to run the club in its entirety – specifically including transfers in and out- as he sees fit? Isn’t that why he was appointed? Who exactly are these people like Woodward? Or like Kenny Dalgish with his appointment as Executive Director of Liverpool, or whatever.

But let’s compare what happens today with, say, Busby’s United. Busby was involved with all things United to the extent of choosing the type of tea in the tea-lady’s urn, to the type of shoe polish the boot-boys used. Well, you hopefully get my point.  Look, I’ve obviously exaggerated this and deliberately so but I believe the role of a manager, any manager, has changed greatly over the years.

Simply put, I don’t like any appointments above the status of manager. More simply put, let the manager manage. Because, let’s face it, if a team bombs, it will be the manager who gets it in the neck, not the likes of Woodward.

Those Mailbox enthusiasts that have good memories may recall a mail of mine some years back where I recalled a conversation between Busby and Bill Foulkes, an absolute hero of the 1968 Semi-final against Real Madrid in the then European Cup. Bill’s contract was  up for renewal and he was sat in Matt’s office when Busby passed the proposed new contract across the table, fully expecting Foulkes to at least read it. Instead, Foulkes didn’t even look at the paperwork and said something like “Is this the right contract for me, boss”? And he signed it without reference to a battery of lawyers or, even worse, a player agent.

This sort of thing doesn’t happen anymore and, if you think I’m an old fart because of what I’ve just said, then more fool you.

Clubs revolve around their managers (and I mean that in the Busby or Bill Shankly or the Nicholson sense) and I doubt the wisdom of appointing the likes of Woodward to deal with transfers in or out. Just look at the mess up with Fellaini. And is it a good thing to be proposing a world record fee for Pogba? Remember, this is probably Woodward behind this deal so it will probably go belly-up.

I say let managers manage. Let managers also coach. Let them manage all of it. And the likes of Woodward can just go away and piss off.
Jonesey Melbourne


Why can’t lightning strike twice?
I understand that what happened last season seems like a complete freak (as it was to the bookies and fans of all clubs including Leicester !).

However, I can’t understand the general opinion amongst the majority of supporters that they won’t come close to achieving that again this oncoming season. Times have changed. More of the ‘lesser’ clubs have a great deal more money these days (the fact that Leicester can offer Vardy a contract offering something like £140,000 a week to keep Arsenal’s paws off him speaks volumes, would they have been able to do that a few years ago ?).

On top of that, Leicester haven’t had a mass exodus as expected, instead the ‘Tinker Man’ is making a few very astute signings to bolster his squad. He’s purchasing players not a lot of us know about but look good (almost like the Wenger of old).

So don’t be surprised to see Leicester up there fighting to regain their crown.
Chris Wrightson


A victim of the meritocracy
Quick response to Mere Godled from this morning’s mailbox on the “disrespectful treatment of Schweini by José”.

Football, at its heart, is a meritocracy. I was as excited as anyone when United signed Schwiensteiger, but on the whole he has failed miserably to live up to his previously well-earned reputation.

Unfortunately, none of us are privy to what goes on behind the scenes so we do not know how he has performed in training or how fit he really is.

I’m not saying he shouldn’t be in the first team squad, but based on last season he really has no right to be ahead of others who are fitter and have played better based purely on him being a an icon.

I would love him to recapture his previous form and fitness and start every game for United but, sadly, this seems unlikely.

I can only hope the same meritocracy is applied to everyone (cough, Wayne).

Rob, Brighton


I agree with Mere Godled, MUFC, Nigeria , how can a manager not give a player of Schweini’s calibre a chance to impress? For the record our last season’s FA cup win was largely down to him, in the match against West Ham (in the Quarters) when we were a goal down (at home, not that it made much of a difference back then) and looked nowhere close to scoring, he came on for the last 12 mins and changed the dynamics altogether and was instrumental in forcing in the equalizer.

What baffles me even more is how a slow slow player like Carrick is still there in the line-up and Bastian’s not. I remember in the Euro’s he came on as an early substitute against Italy and was the best player on the pitch for large periods of the game, keeping the game ticking. This is a player who wanted to play for us, being a fan of the club and left his comfort zone to come and play for us. Mou’s re-affirmed my hatred toward him by his treatment towards Schweini, while still keeping slow turds like Rooney and making him undropapable. Surely it’s not a player’s fault for being injured for around 4 months. Heck, even the big tree got a chance to impress(which he partially did in my opinion) after spending most of his first season on the side-lines. I know that he just turned 32 but that doesn’t mean he’s not useful, he’s a natural leader and he’ll be a good mentor for the young lads coming through. I’ve already started hating Mourinho and i’m sure it won’t be the last time. The misery never ends.

And to think I haven’t even written about Perreira/Januzaj/Pogba
Haank United (Remember that goal against Leicester when he wrestled Okazaki to win the header and score!!) Fan, Mumbai


Some stats on Basti’s disastrous debut PL season:

United with Schweinsteiger (18 matches)
W 10
D 6
L 2

United without Schweinsteiger (20 matches)
W 9
D 3
L 8

Yeah, he looked a bit chubby and slow, but he obviously contributes something to the team–tactically, mentally, or whatever. Food for doubt.
Ben, Netherlands


Poor Premier League winner
No Nathan Dyer on the ‘like a new signing’ list?! Strange that.



Huddersfield for the play-offs
In response to Jon (Enough of the Pogshit), NUFC, Guangzhou email asking for a pick on a promotion chasing rival….I’ve a hunch Huddersfield are going to get into the playoffs this season. Was disappointed when they were only 8/1 with a bookie to be promoted I thought they may have been a bit longer. Then I looked at the rest of the odds for teams in the  Championship to get promotion and realised the bookies don’t have a breeze who will join Newcastle although they sensibly have Villa & Norwich as their closest rivals

Mon Huddersfield…..prove me right.
Gough, LFC, Dublin (Would love to get the opinion of a Huddersfield fan)


Forest thoughts
I thought I’d chip in with a word or two on how Forests season might pan out.

On the plus side, we have signed Swiss international midfielder Kasami on a season-long loan, plus a Polish international (Perquis) and a young Benfica loanee (Pereira) in defence. Britt Assombalonga is fit (and hopefully firing) again, and in Philippe Montanier we have a manager who has considerable experience in Ligue Un and La Liga. So all good there.

On the down side, our stadium capacity has been reduced by 20% due to an administrative clusterf**k (, but worst of all, the club might be sold to this guy ( who, depending on the outcome of legal proceedings, may be jailed for 10 years! Yet, he would still be likely to pass the ‘fit and proper persons test’…..

On the field, things are looking good. Off it, the potential exists for things to go badly, badly wrong…..
Jim G (NFFC)


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