Mails: So long Louis, farewell and adieu

Date published: Friday 19th February 2016 10:54

Louis van Gaal Ryan Giggs

We won’t lie – that’s the kind of result that makes a mailbox. Mail us at theeditor@football365.com

 

Dear Mr. Woodward…
Your choice of manager has ruined my beloved club. He has taken the club backwards, even further so than Mr. Moyes. What more does he need to do to get fired?
Fiaz (not worth it anymore) South Africa

 

…Please, for the love of God and the club, let that be that. This cannot continue.

Injuries aren’t to blame; it’s the job of a manager to select and manage his squad as far as positional cover, tactical flexibility and – critically – fitness.

If it must be his managerial epitaph (and it surely must be now, before it’s entirely too late) then Van Gaal did a lot of good for United. Got rid of a lot of deadwood, brought in some quality players and gave youth a good chance. He recovered the club from Moyes and gave it a strong hand.

But tactically on the pitch he’s way off, and we desperately need a manager who has a style that works in the modern game. And maybe one who doesn’t destroy or alienate a squad before they reach it too.

So long Louis, farewell and adieu. Hopefully.
Guy S

 

…If there is even a shred of dignity in either the manager or the chairman – there will be a resignation announced shortly. If there is even a shred of work ethic amongst the ‘players’ – they will hold up their hands and reimburse every fan who watched that game live.

Death of a superclub. Leeds in the early 2000’s due to financial mismanagement. Newcastle a decade later. And joining them shortly – Manchester United.

Amazing to think that Sir Bobby Charlton and Fergie can sit there and take this without doing something about it. I know United were pants in the 70’s and 80’s but they weren’t the richest club in England then.
Budhaditya

 

…I’m writing this after just witnessing United lose 2-1 to FC Midtjylland and I really wish it was an angry letter, but to tell you the truth I’m not even mad or sad anymore, this feeling is starting to become the norm now. I don’t even blame LVG anymore, deep down I think he knows that he can’t turn this around, so the question is why has he still been allowed to try. How many more losses and terrible performances will it take, is the board waiting for Arsenal to embarrass us again and give him the sack? The season is as good as over, we’re not gonna make top four and judging from tonight’s performance, we’re one foot out the Europa League door. Better to start preparations for the coming season. And what’s annoying as well is I bet you LVG will be happy because we “created more”.
Saladinho (I’d give it Giggsy right now)

 

How long? How long? Get rid.
I feel for the number of readers who complain about the submission of too many Man Utd emails, well, it’s quite inevitable right now, so just bask in the happiness of this joke of a Man Utd side.

Firstly, credit to Midtjylland, they club has done a great job to reach this point, and deservedly picked up the win. That being said, how long do I have to sit through watching f*cking Van Gaal manage the team? He’s been given more than enough chances, but of course the spineless Edward Woodward will keep affording him more so that he’ll eventually come good and prove everybody wrong, thanks Ed. What scares me now is that we have as much of a chance, if not more, of finishing in the bottom half- the six points that separate United from City in fourth, also separate them from Everton in 11th – and with form that places us 11th in the entire league over the past 20 games, I wouldn’t even be surprised.

The name of the club Manchester United itself held so much prestige and allure up until recently, even last year, when we could attract top-class talent like Di Maria and Falcao (poor lad’s probably in worse shape than us). Now the only we could attract a Bale or Neymar is by turning their heads with money, so what better does that make us than City or Chelsea? Van Gaal has almost single-handedly driven the great name of this club into the dirt, and needs to get the boot up his arse right now so we don’t end up like Liverpool.
HJ (Jose was not the answer but is turning into a necessity), MUFC

 

Incompetent is the word
‎What has happened to Manchester United?

Pathetic performance of the highest quality last night. I won’t buy that excuse of players having injuries. Even when everyone was fit, I still expect United to make changes to the original 11 and use some fringe players. And have a credible result. But this is certainly a new low. Smalling, Mata, Blind, Martial and Lingard started the match…that is almost half of the first 11 and still lost.

And United keep finding new creative ways to achieve incredible levels of incompetence.

A moment in the match came when Smalling should have directed his header goalwards which would have been a nailed-on goal for United instead he decides to flick the ball to no-one.

That single action embodies what has happened to Manchester United both at boardroom level and on the pitch as Matt Stead perfectly summed up.

Incompetent is the adjective to describe United at this moment. The current United team is plain average. The manager too is just preoccupied with perfecting the ‘Philosophy’ which I assume to be – Play a soulless brand of possession-based football with no attacking intent whatsoever, Write in a clipboard, decide not to stand up to urge the team on because he believes it in no way contributes to the final result, face always flushed pink. (By now I understand it’s all part of the Van Gaal package)

LVG have somehow perfected the act of losing to oppositions perceived to be inferior. United might still have a lifeline, in the second leg but I’m left wondering what has happened to this once dominant club. The future certainly does not seem bright at Old Trafford with this squad of average inconsistent players.

With Pep already confirmed at City and United fast becoming a club clearly living on its past glory, United needs to play its trump card fast‎ if any.
Smith (Midtjylland deserves credit for their performance and win. Biggest match in their history)

 

Quick conclusions
I never bother reading people’s 10,000-word dissertations on the previous night’s game so here’s some concise thoughts on Man Utd…

– First and foremost, confidence looks shot. Even Smalling looked scared.

– Romero is just not good enough. Made a couple of decent saves but generally looks so shaky. Surely Valdes was/is better than that?!

– Apparently Mata played. I don’t think I saw him do anything the whole time.

– United need a Keane/Vidic-style leader on the pitch. They are just spineless.

– United’s passing and first touches were dreadful. My old man commented that it was like watching League Two, and he’s not wrong.

– Until they learn to hold the ball, United will continue to lose games they should win.

– Lingard was lively and I reckon Love has a first-team future. Depay had his good moments too.

– That aside, this system doesn’t suit these players.

– The contrast with the much-criticised Valencia who played later on is massive. Not saying Nev is the man to take over but his team played much more like the United of old.

– BT Sport’s monopoly on European football forced me to watch the game in a pub where the only free seat was practically underneath the screen. My neck hurts and the game was not worth the sacrifice!
Alex, Leeds

 

…Well that went well! A good thing I don’t put bets on Man Utd winning.

Where to begin with that game?

1. Juan Mata – What’s Spanish for part-timer? A feeble attempt to tackle leading to the second Mdojdjidjijdijdijdjidjdland goal.

2. Ander Herrera – What’s Spanish for track back? He offered nothing going forward or defensively tonight. I see why LVG doesn’t trust him there.

3. If LVG doesn’t trust Herrera there, why put him there? The injury crisis has really hit hard.

4. Chris Smalling has lost his composure. Over the past couple of months it’s been getting worse, leading to more desperate shirt pulling, grappling and running out of position.

5. Daley Blind – What’s Dutch for lead boots? This lad wears them every week. Not a left-back, too keen to bomb on is the Dutch O’Shea (just miles more handsome).

6. McNair really is a midfielder converted to CB. Decent passing and alright going forward, just not great at tackles or defending.

7. Memphis and Martial starved of decent service all night, having to rely on their own talents to fashion chances.

8. Donald Love held his own tonight pretty well and showed willingness to attack, much like a certain Brazilian sold in the summer…

9. On the whole, the players new to the team were the only ones seemingly interested in winning.

I think LVG has a problem in his squad not from injuries and squad depth, but of mental hurdles. Too many players are lacking composure, determination and attitude. Sadly some may just have given altogether and want the season to end now I can only think LVG has a huge payoff clause in his contract if he’s sacked early, because this rot needs to go now.

This competition will be won by either Napoli, Dortmund or Liverpool.

I’m starting to wish LVG would hand in his resignation and force the issue of installing a new manager. I’ve given up being pragmatic.
Ben, Cheltenhamshire
PS. Midgetland were really good, to be fair.

 

Where’s the kicking and screaming?
Losing games doesn’t reflect badly on a club as a whole. Even losing as consistently as we have done, to teams as poor as those we have played, doesn’t necessarily reflect badly on the club as a whole. However, the truly damning thing about United this season is the willingness to quietly accept repeated losses, with the implication that they are acceptable to the club hierarchy. The calm resignation of the manager and players, and the silence of the club’s executives, reflects the sad reality that United is no longer competing as a club at the top level, and that’s OK. No kicking and screaming either on, or off, the pitch. No acknowledgement that results aren’t good enough. No attempt to remove the disease that is LVG. Just an acceptance that a top-half finish is the best we can do, and that United are no longer a team that is expected to beat the Midtyllands, Bournemouths, Norwiches and Sunderlands of the world regularly. Degradation of expectation is the death knell of a successful football club. This is how it ends.
RQT (MUFC)

 

It all makes sense now
No wonder Liverpool are so irritable if this is how they’ve been spending their Thursday nights.
Simon P, Dublin

 

How to get the Glazers out
The problem with Manchester United, as many fans will tell you, is not Van Gaal, the players, or our injury list: it’s Ed Woodward and the Glazers. The former doesn’t know how to run a football club, the latter just care about their pay checks. We can moan about it all we like, but there are only two ways to get them out of the club and turn things around. One is a stretch (but possible), the other not very possible. The latter would be a mass boycott of the club: match day tickets, merchandise, the works. In my mind, this is too difficult to organise and hence not very possible.

The other solution is to offer the Glazers a superior investment. All they see in the club is a regular pay check and an asset that appreciates in value every year. Unfortunately, a franchise in live sports is an incredible investment in this age. However, with the breadth of our fan base, I am sure there are some influential, intelligent money manager types who can take up this challenge. Jim O’Neill, ex head of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, is just one example. However, the ‘Red Knights’ endeavour he supposedly led to arrange a buy-out for the club didn’t solve the Glazers’ problem of ‘where is the income stream going to come from if we sell?’ Giving a rich guy cash is sometimes giving them a problem because they tend to have itchy fingers or other issues that make them want to hold (illiquid) assets instead of cash. Many tend to have surplus cash anyway. Offer the Glazers a better alternative to Manchester United and there’s little reason why they wouldn’t go for it. All they care about is cash flow, it’s not like they enjoy going to games.

Owning a club like Manchester United may have certain commercial advantages that help them with their other businesses, which could add to the complexity of this challenge. However, this is the only way we can turn the club around. Boycotting could help, but we could never achieve it at a scale that would make the Glazers take notice. In other words, we’re so screwed right now that we have to depend on a bunch of banker types to save us. It’s come to this!
Ali (“we’re f***ing sh*t! we’re f***ing sh********t!!”), Geneva

 

This is not the Man United I love…
It all started in 1983, I think, F.A Cup final replay against Brighton. 4-0. A brace for Robbo, one off his knee, I was hooked. It’s been United ever since.

I remember the pre and early Fergie years, playing second fiddle to the Merseyside clubs, briefly Everton. Mainly Liverpool, and thinking we would never win the league.

We had some good cup runs and that sustained us. Hopes were always high even if expectations were low in the League.

We had the 10-game winning streak under Atkinson when briefly it looked like we could finally unshakle the burden of league failure every year. That came to nothing. That was United then.

The sickening capitulation in 91/92 when Leeds won it. The Anfield crowd goading us as they smashed us 4-0 to hammer the final nail in.

It hurt but I dealt with it. United were my team. There was always next year.

As it subsequently transpired, there was next year and about 20 to follow that. I loved it because United were my team.

This team however, they are not my team. These imposters. This manager. This style of play.

I’m old enough and pragmatic enough not to get involved in the hyperbolic reaction to every defeat. I realise that he is a very clever guy, astute and clearly was a brilliant manager. He has also been really unfortunate with injuries.

He will know that he can’t rescue this situation. He is waiting for the axe to fall. He will continue to wait. Why wouldn’t he?

We are all probably naive to think that Woodward is not constantly reassuring the clubs “commercial partners’ that there is a plan. They want a return in their investment. This is not it. He is not sitting behind a locked door with his phone off. There will be steps taken…eventually.

The problem is that he has utterly failed the club and the fans (as if we matter) in not taking the decision to replace the manager when the season could still have been salvaged. United are not in the position where we can write seasons off. Van Gaal was his appointment and if his ego prevents him from acting in the best interests of the club, then he should not be the man calling the shots.

This team, or more accurately, this collection of individuals managed by this manager are not worthy of representing my team. No direction, no heart, no responsibility. No hope.

And this from a man who has seen Colin and Terry Gibson as our main attacking threats!!
Marxist8

 

Trying to be calm
Following Manchester United’s latest loss (that’s depressing to type), I thought I’d offer a few words of calm amid the inevitable backlash coming up.

First off, The Europa League is not over. This game was simply a well-rested team playing Pulis-ball. It also helped them that Carrick and Smalling were the only players who are strong enough to win a header. An away goal (and hopefully a big moment for Memphis) is a decent return with the home leg coming up.

But this game-by-game revision is not something a team like United can do after every loss. Wins need to be stringed together right now. The injuries are valid excuses but made less so by the fact that injuries dominated last season too and should’ve been dealt with in the summer.

The effects of this chronic under-confidence, bad luck and subsequent injuries are going to sabotage LvG’s greatest asset: his youth policy. Youth players, as well as squad players (which includes Martial, Memphis, Herrera too) will struggle to step up in such a toxic environment and thus, LvG will soon lose his whole dressing room. Assuming that’s not happened yet, that would be the point where Van Gaal has to walk.

Europa League is United’s best chance to salvaging this season, and it would be fun to win too. The dressing room is shattered (in more ways than one), but there are still games left to play and big games too. For fans to abandon the players and the team now could be detrimental to everyone.

Mancunians and Old Trafford go-ers, I urge that we stick by the team now more than ever. The fans could genuinely carry the team through the remainder of the campaign. The players are young and the man leading them is openly admitting that the fans are right to sing “we’re f****** s***”.

Boo them in the PL (don’t), do as you please. But for the Europa League, lets create a fortress at the OT again. Smaller and worse teams have done it before. If the 11 broken men on the pitch don’t inspire fear into the opposition, let’s have the 80,000 people behind them give it a try.

Full focus on the Europa League so long as we don’t get relegated in the PL. This season is not over.
Emad MUFC (please don’t break Martial) Boston

 

Sympathy for those who travelled
I’ll be the first to admit I may be a little rusty on the classics, but I do believe it was Plato who once said ‘This surely must be the tipping point where we turn from figures of fun to figures worthy of the wider football world’s sympathy’.

To the travelling fans who paid good money to watch that team turn in that performance I would have to say yes, you are no longer figures of fun in my eyes and are deserving of great, great sympathy. However, to the other half billion of you who have had it too damn good, for too damn long and for next to no work, I would have to say no, we have not reached the point where this is no longer funny.
Simon (eight points away) CFC

 

LVG is their Souness
I do love the fact all these United fans in the mailbox claim they’re too big to do a Liverpool without realising they’re already doing it! And in quite some style too! Rapid fall from top billing – check. Throwing big money at players with poor attitudes and poor fit for manager’s style – check. Previously successful disciplinarian losing the dressing room – check. That my telly-clapping, glory-hunting, know-nothing friends was your Northampton moment.

Not too late to pretend you’re all life-long Leicester fans; you know!? We know it’s vicarious success you seek.

You’re welcome.
Gregory Whitehead, LFC

 

Will China kill the MLS?
With the Rooney to China rumblings out there, and recent big money transfers to China as well, I pose the following question to the mailbox:

Would you rather make more money, live under the spotlight, and play in a less competitive league (Chinese Super League) OR make presumably less money, live anonymously for the most part, and play in a more competitive league (MLS)?

Just wondering if the rise of the Chinese money will keep players away from the MLS. If this money was there last summer, do the likes of Gerrard, Giovinco, Kaka, Lampard etc go across the Atlantic?
Nick C, Burlington, ON

 

One e-mail about Liverpool
It is so annoying. What is important in European Knockout football? Away goals.

Liverpool’s European knockout away record since the crazy 2008-09 CL 4-4 at Chelsea?

2009-10 Atletico Madrid, Lost 1-0.
2010-11 Braga Lost 1-0
2012-13 Zenit St. P Lost 2-0
2014-15 Besiktas (aet score) Lost 1-0

There’s a theme here. And sure enough we went out over two legs every time.

Not saying we are now going out, but is so frustrating that there seems to be no urgency, desire. Every time it seems like “Well, they’ve got to come to Anfield, so we’ll be fine, who needs away goals”. With the record above and our Anfield form, hmmm, I’m not convinced. And Augsburg have done really well in their EL away, so we have to be careful. And, no, Brian (second coming) LFC, I’m still hopeful, just wary. But if we are really thinking about CL qualification this way, then we seriously have to re-assess our away mentality. Valencia, Sevilla, Dortmund, Leverkusen, Bilbao, Tottenham, Man U (they will be fine) etc score away, cannot be treated the same.

Sorry, rant over. We are just so inconsistent it’s infuriating.
Mike Woolrich (should have saved one of sunday’s goals) LFC

 

Where’s the mighty Boaz?
An interesting article this morning regarding the five best stand-in stoppers, was totally ruined by the omission of Boaz Myhill. Myhill was superb this season and oversaw so many clean sheets and has put in some massive match-winning performances. Indeed, his performance at Old Trafford last year when he saved a penalty and kept a clean sheet was one of the finest displays of goalkeeping I have ever seen. Myhill is a proper goa keeper but because of his silly first name and the fact he plays for Pulis he has been overlooked. With Foster and Myhill the Albion have two of the best keepers in the Premier League. Let’s face it they need to be with the players in front of them.
Annoyed in Halesowen (Boing Boing Ben)

 

Mills: Pasty saviour
Another excellent footy people on TV but the best fact about Danny Mills, that you seemed to have missed out, is his involvement in the pasty industry.
EGV. Putney, Spurs

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