If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
What price Jesse Lingard?
Given the current transfer market, what price for a 24yo squad player at a major European club. Full international but not an automatic starter. Long contract. Popular with the manager and teammates. Hardworking and seemingly a good professional. It would be reasonable to assume the price would start at £50m.
If you don’t think the football world has gone mad, that’s Jesse Lingard valued at over £50m right there… ‘kin hell.
Lewis, Busby Way
At what point will it be cheaper to buy a footballing robot that is as good or better than an actual footballer?
Money, money, money…
A wonderful piece on the current state of transfer fees in football, which is particularly concerning bearing in mind the various reports on falling viewing figures at both Sky and BT Sport. Can anyone really envision this continuing on for much longer?
If you consider the fact the average UK consumer has seen a 10.4% decline in their real wage over the past decade, how much longer can football continue to rely on the fans to pour money in? This is not just related to football of course, it is a wider economic problem.
Can Sky/BT Sport really afford to put their prices up, bearing in mind more and more are switching off and using (mostly free) internet streams instead? With people turning off in their droves, they almost have to do the opposite to attract new viewers – lower prices. This is not a domestic problem either, it is worldwide – why pay large monthly fees for all the football when you can freely stream what you want to watch?
The recent reports of the Spurs vs Juventus friendly price tickets highlighted another trend – extortionate prices for frankly meaningless games. Of course the people putting these matches on are not daft, there is clearly demand there and tourists will flock to these games when they can – but it strikes me as ‘bubble’ type activity, similar to people paying hundreds of thousands of pounds for a parking space in London.
I just wonder how long it can continue for, football managed to almost ignore the last recession we had (it was the time City spent hundreds of millions if I recall correctly), I am not sure it can do the same moving forward and that has to be worrying considering how many clubs have large debts (not just in the EPL).
As a QPR fan I am happy we have Lee Hoos in as CEO (formerly of Burnley) who appears to be tightening our spending, because without him I expect we would be looking very precarious if another recession was to hit and finance dried up….
Thanks for a great site.
Tim Harrington, London
Maybe the Chelsea kids aren’t good enough
I read Mark, London’s mail this morning about lack of youth players coming through at Chelsea with interest, as it seems Mark is quite willing to point fingers and blame everyone at Chelsea bar one group – the players themselves.
If all these players were as talented and mentally tough as they are made out to be, then surely they would make the grade there but they don’t. He cites, not unreasonably, Lukaku but he was never a Chelsea prospect, he was bought for £18m to be Drogba’s back-up who left in search of games. Look at the true academy players and a more stark picture emerges – they aren’t good enough.
McEachren was touted as the future, but now plays in the Championship. Ake has just been sold (if he was good enough, do you think they would have sold him? They had six months to assess him and he didn’t get a kick) Bamford has shown that he isn’t ruthless enough to be a top striker and Kakuta is at Deportivo, not Real Madrid. Solanke will hardly be first choice for Liverpool next season either. At United we have let lots of players go who have shown ability, but it takes a special mentality to succeed at big clubs and obviously some just don’t have it.
The issue will be more pronounced as young players are enticed to join academies for ever greater rewards for themselves and their parents, so the question marks about hunger and desire to make it at the top of game are relevant. That said, the players have to take some responsibility along with coaches and (shock horror) the parents themselves. I heard about Gary Neville’s ten rules which hang in every youth team dressing room at United – maybe something similar should go up in other academies!
Conrad Wiacek, MUFC
Rooney no Man United legend
So Wazza has finally left and instead of being 100% delighted as I thought I would be at any point watching him in the last two years I find myself torn between being disappointed that we’re going to lose such a great player and ecstatic that we’ve finally gotten rid of his ridiculous wages.
The White Pele has been problematic for United since that day in 2010 when he dared to call Fergie and the club unambitious. That’s Sir Alex Ferguson, knight of the realm and the greatest (most winningest say the Americans) manager the club – arguably the country – has ever seen. And that’s Manchester United, the most successful club domestically and one of the biggest in the world. Maybe he thought he’d get some sympathy from the fans as the Glaziers were getting abuse for being tightwads and we had sold Ronaldo the previous year and replaced him with Valencia.
For some strange reason, against all previous evidence of Fergie’s behaviour, Rooney was rewarded (we all know the details by now). What Fergie should’ve done was sell him to Real or Barca and then spent the money replacing him and adding another player. Because, 2010 aside Rooney was on a downhill trajectory from this point. I believe the goal he scored against City shortly after sums up that turning point in his career. His brilliant beginnings all contained in the way he adjusted that oddly shaped body of his and the last seven years all summed up in him shinning it into the top corner.
All goodwill that Wazza had built back up by the time Van Persie arrived as he then used the ambition of the club as stick with which to beat them – how dare they sign a superior goal scorer and play him ahead of the spud-faced nipper (as my scouse father-in-law calls him)? His time at the club seemed over then and would’ve been had Fergie not left. Wanting to join Chelsea made the whole thing just a tad worse. Enter Moyes and Woodward. I guess Rooney could see United now had ambition with moves for Ronaldo, Bale, Fabregas and Thiago. But what we had apparently gained in ambition, we had lost in competence as Fellaini arrived and Shrek signed a ridiculous new deal. I think this is the deal that Rooney will never recover from in a lot of fans eyes as he has since been paid like Ronaldo and played increasingly like Ralph Milne.
Had Rooney left in 2010 and gone to Barca or Real United fans would have far fonder memories of Rooney. I was sat in the Stretford End when he scored that volley against Newcastle and was only really ever more wowed by Ronaldo’s hat-trick against us. But that’s tainted now by his greed and disloyalty. I keep hearing people saying he was our ‘greatest’ goal scorer. But he wasn’t our greatest just our highest. Van Nistelrooy, Cantona and Law were greater than Rooney. He just hung around for a very long time, the last four years of which he really wasn’t wanted.
So here’s to the young Rooney who really was the White Pele, you have been sorely missed all these years. And good luck to the old Rooney, may you refind your touch at Everton now your money grabbing days are behind you. Hopefully in a few years I can look back on your days at United with more happiness.
Ashley (wouldn’t even make United best ever XI) Metcalfe
Rooney deserves better
I have to take issue with the mail from Edwin Ambrose in this morning’s mailbox. He is absolutely entitled to his opinion of Rooney but some of his points just don’t add up, particularly in his criteria in defining a club legend.
He cites the date Rooney committed the ‘unforgivable’ act of questioning the club’s ambition and sought a move. Fair enough, all United fans were disappointed and let down at the time, but the reality is that he did stay. Being disloyal would have culminated in him actually leaving. People seem to feel that the threat of leaving is as bad as actually leaving the club. Based on your criteria, is Ronaldo not a club legend, despite the fact that he openly courted a move to Real Madrid? Never mind the fact that he actually followed through and left while Rooney chose to stay. Don’t forget that this is the period where the MUST and LUHG movements were at their peak, with fans openly attacking the club’s lack of ambition at every home game. But when a player does so, it’s ‘unforgivable’.
You also refer to Scholes (local lad, lifetime United fan) and Keane as examples of loyalty. Well do you know that Keane gave great consideration to moving to Bayern Munich or Juventus before signing a contract (reported pay rise from £38,000 to £90,0000 a week) in 2002? He even states his possible regret at not maybe challenging himself abroad. Despite this, I wouldn’t question his loyalty either because he actually stayed, after getting a big pay rise. Sergio Ramos did so in 2015 with Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo has done the same twice now, disrespectfully using United as a pawn to get what he wants and having no intention of coming back. Yet we all still (rightfully) sing ‘Viva Ronaldo’, because despite all this, he’s a club legend. Did it ever occur to you that in Rooney’s case, it may have been a (public and misguided) attempt by to leverage a better deal? Even so, he acknowledged his error and signed a contract.
Finally, and this grates the most, your ‘judgement on you as a Manchester United supporter’. So what, just because I, and many others, don’t agree with you, we love the club less or aren’t as die-hard as you? What an arrogant statement to make. If you listen to the United We Stand podcast or read their fanzine, many of its contributors have tweeted their sadness that Rooney has left, and I would certainly never question their love of United. Nor would I ever question any fan, just because we have a difference of opinion.
In all honesty, if you’re so bitter that you still remember the exact date that he released the statement and, after almost seven years, still can’t forgive him then that’s totally your call. But regardless of his wages, which were extortionate but he was as entitled to seek them as the next player, if you can’t recognise that Wayne Rooney is and always will be a true Manchester United legend then I genuinely feel sorry for you.
…Edwin Ambrose is entitled to his opinion but his email just reeks of bitterness and rancour.
Wayne Rooney’s goal scoring record will be there in black and white in the record books for many years to come and will most likely never be topped. Future generations won’t care a jot about whether he was involved in a contract stoush or how much he was paid. What matters is he has left a legacy that surpasses all the great players that has ever played for Manchester United. He sits on top of a list ahead of Charlton, Law, Viollet, Giggs, Scholes etc.
And that Mr. Ambrose means Wayne Rooney is, and always will be, a 100% bona fide club legend.
T Mullarkey, Man Utd, Melbourne
Goodbye Mr Rooney, whatever some might say, you’ll always be a United legend in my book and some others. You were not perfect by any means when it comes to performance or even behavior but you will always hold a special place in my heart as a player and I’ll miss seeing you in a United shirt.
I wish you all the luck at Everton, now your dad can finally watch you play in Everton vs United again. Best wishes and may you find back your form and success there.
I bet Paul Scholes would have been slightly less loyal if he happened to be playing for a massive pile of sh*t rather than one of the biggest clubs in Europe, but that’s all hypothetical isn’t it. I love this idea that somehow Giggs and Scholes are true one club men or even Maldini when the reality is they were playing for one of the best clubs in the world so why would they f*** off anywhere else when they had a realistic chance of winning something every year. Trevor Brooking was a one club man but only because the West Ham board wouldn’t let him go and I’m sure he would’ve f***ed off sharpish with double the pay packet and a chance at consistent silverware. I’m sure if Scholes had been playing for Oldham instead of United and the Reds came calling he’d have f***ed off pretty sharpish. Sorry to burst your Red tinted bubble Edwin, but most of these guys give a f*** for about as long as their team is competing or when they are looking for an extension to their contract. Want loyalty, buy a f**king dog.
(Brett, West Ham, and don’t even get me started on Bobby Moore)
The ‘black with no brains’ stereotype
Following on from Minty, LFC’s email on Sol Campbell in this morning’s mailbox, I thought I will write in to express my view on this point.
There is no doubt the ratio of black players who become managers is totally out of sync with their white counterparts. Is this coincidence? Personally I do not think so. For me this is due to perception and stereotype but not necessarily racism. It’s a general perception in football (and this applies to American football too) that the playmakers or the players who dictate play and are considered the ‘brains’ of a top team are white and that black players are good at the pace, power or dribbling stuff. The secret footballer actually talks about this in depth in one of his books and talks candidly about this. He asks the reader to think of many playmakers in a top team who are black. His view is that football managers are reluctant to entrust the ‘brains’ of the team to a black player.
Now if you expand this thinking to the appointment of managers you can see why many club owners will be reluctant to try new ex black players as their manager.
Of course I am not saying this sort of thing is right or that it is true (I am black myself). To overcome this you will need the small band of black managers there are to be disproportionately successful which is not the case. There have been a few, Frank Rikjard springs to mind, but not that many. This however does not mean the stereotype is true because to really compare there will need to be a far bigger black manager representation (and also more black managers managing top clubs) to obtain results from.
Unfortunately as the number of black managers are small and the success is smaller the perception and stereotype re-enforces itself.
Michael O, Chingford
Or maybe nobody trusts Sol Campbell
In response to Minty, LFC’s email on Sol Campbell this morning, the previous behaviour Minty doesn’t mention is that he left Spurs for rivals Arsenal.
Maybe the point has been argued to death but I think it is still relevant to how Campbell is viewed by the public. I despise Sol Campbell. I know that’s a very strong word but I do. He was our captain and best player and he betrayed us. I don’t begrudge him leaving and wanting to move to a more successful club. He had outgrown Tottenham at that time and was too good for us. This happened with many other players… Bale, Modric, Berbatov. It may happen with Dele and Harry in the future. I hope it doesn’t but I know it’s a possibility.
I don’t even care that he told us he would stay but then left us at the end of his contract on a free transfer. That is unimportant. What burns is his destination. He was one of the finest defenders in the world. He could have gone anywhere – Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Turin, Manchester, Liverpool. But he went to Arsenal and that displayed a complete of respect for the Spurs faithful who had sung his name and wore it on their backs, like I did. Leave us and go on to bigger and better things with our blessing. But not to them. Anyone but them.
A fellow Spurs fan told me that maybe it was time to let it go but I can’t. I won’t forgive and I won’t forget.
I’m not saying that his race has nothing to do with how he is currently viewed or treated. But it has nothing to do with why I, and many more football fans can’t stand him. Fans recognise integrity and respect. For Spurs fans, Campbell had neither. That sticks.
Japstarr, THFC Hackney (He’s a massive Tory too which really doesn’t help either)
Or maybe he’s a lunatic?
I think it’s worth raising something in response to Minty. Whilst I don’t for a moment dispute the issue with the number of opportunities afforded to black coaches (it is up there with the lack of Asian involvement in the British game), Sol Campbell isn’t some put upon victim here. The man is a complete lunatic.
This Daniel Taylor article (https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2015/mar/28/duncan-edwards-original-boy-wonder-greatest) highlights that old ‘Tory Sol’ must have undergone a bit of a change of mindset over the past few years – good for him, but it’s not like Sol is a famously humble individual. To say he has kept quiet on racism isn’t exactly true either. I think it was his autobiography where he claimed he wasn’t made England captain over Owen one time because he was black. It wasn’t, it was because it was Owen’s 50th cap. I can also recall Ince and Ferdinand wearing the armband.
There are valid complaints about race in the British game, and Campbell has personally suffered some appalling abuse too. But the fact is, he’s as arrogant and deluded as the likes of Terry, Giggs et al who think they have a right to a top job because of their playing careers.