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Why Mourinho > Giggs
Having been forced to read endless emails from Utd fans regarding should it be Jose or Giggsy, I have as a result decided to form my own opinion. Utd fans will probably feel a Villa fan has no right telling you who you should go for, well if that’s the case, you shouldn’t be arguing about it in front of us all.
I got thinking about it and decided that, of the two, Mourinho is your best bet. The main argument appears to be instant success vs. gradual improvement and giving youth a chance, however I really think the latter is a huge risk, and not just because your manager might not be any good. In this day and age, players are incredibly fickle (short career etc, who can blame them), and history and club traditions count for not that much in comparison to where you are in the grand scheme of things. For instance a Tottenham team in the Champions League regularly will be much more appealing than a Utd team not, as difficult as that may be for United fans to swallow. The problem is, if you take Giggs and he gives youth a chance, and some of these players look the real deal, but in a struggling United team can’t do enough to get you back into the elite, what do you think will happen to the players showing signs of being potentially world class? They are not going to stick around and wait for possible success, when other perhaps less reputable but stronger clubs are in with a chance of Premier League trophies and Champions League victories.
There have been numerous comparisons between Man Utd and Liverpool from the 90s, and although it’s not quite that bad yet, it appears the early signs are that they’re on that trajectory. Liverpool have had some fine players over the years, but when a larger club comes calling, they can seldom keep hold of them, despite their history and tradition. I admit some of these have left for the big Spanish two (Owen, McManaman, Xabi Alonso, Suarez, Macherano) who would get most players anyway, but few Liverpool fans would have been happy to see Chelsea (Torres) and Man City (Sterling) take players who were going to get them back to the big time, given the relative history and traditions of each.
This is why Mourinho’s instant fix to get you back there, even at the expense of youth, is a must if you want to get back to where you feel you rightly belong. Once there, then have a look at long term plans and bring kids through, but I see it pointless to do so when your current position makes long term planning a very dangerous game indeed.
Mike (AVFC), London
When will Van Gaal break Martial?
Any bets on how long before van Gaal has broken Anthony Martial by playing him in every match for every available minute?
Fans holding Man City back?
On the back of a couple of mails stating that we as City fans are still rational / grounded – is this hindering us on the pitch?
First off, I’m a city fan in my mid twenties. Grew up at school surrounded by united fans, and began my football journey when we were in what was then Division Two. It’s nice to hear that many other fans recognise that we are still grounded etc., and it’s a stance I can completely relate to. What we are witnessing now is a fairytale as City fans. Whilst expectations are inherently rising, it is always so easy to look back and realise how lucky we are.
I do, however, have one question about this – is it good for us? I go to a fair amount of matches, and we all know the boring “emptihad” jokes etc. etc. I have been to matches with a great atmosphere at times, and it could well be down to the fact that I haven’t experienced other grounds other than on Sky, but I do really think there is a lack of atmosphere at the Etihad (beyond the one section of the ground – many claim it’s the same in many grounds these days). I have always pinned this on it being a “new stadium”, but perhaps it is the supporters’ outlook that adds to this so much, and in turn affects us on the pitch with a quiet and sedated ground. Or is it just down to the design of the Etihad?
The easiest examples which spring to mind are the big Champions League matches. Are we as supporters too easily jumping to the narrative of “well we might be about to / are losing to Barcelona, but it sure beats playing Colchester United in Division Two”? This could be creating a lethargic atmosphere in the ground which translates on to the pitch. Then all of a sudden Aguero will come up with some magic (God bless him) and there is faint hope, the crowd kicks into life and it’s a nearly story.
Long about way of saying, is it sometimes useful for the team to have entitled, whining fans that expect a win because it can create a bigger atmosphere? Or does this too quickly turn toxic?
It’s a possible theory, of which has only just struck me, so thoughts welcome.
J (will I be accused of being a traitor with this question?) Morril
With these reports coming out of a preliminary agreement between Chelsea and Conte, I’d be interested to hear what other Chelsea fans (or anyone, really) think(s) about the matter.
I don’t think I’m alone in thinking Guus deserves a full season at the very least after this latest interim rescue job.
Certainly some of the players seem to agree too.
He’s a likeable guy, with little of the stress of the previous regime. We actually get penalties now. And let’s face it, the standards have picked up massively.
Mostly, it just feels like the right match now – a proven quantity and a low key appointment.
Conte is undoubtedly a fantastic manager and if he is confirmed, I’ll be really excited to see what formation he plays, as he’s used both 3-5-2- and a variant of 4-4-2 in the past.
But still, he won’t be available until after the Euros, and given our disastrous pre-season last year, it would make sense to have some continuity this summer.
Anyway, I’ve rarely anticipated a season more than the next one – Klopp, Guardiola, Wenger and Mourinho (surely) in the same league plus whoever Chelsea throw into the mix. And hopefully the first non London/Manchester champions since Blackburn!
I’ll just come out and say it. How about Mourinho for Arsenal when Wenger retires? That would stop him from beating us every single time. He could see what it’s like being a voyeur. We’d more likely win the league. As he’s a short term option we’d then be able to replace him in three years time with Luis Enrique. After all he is the long term goal for Arsenal.
JazGooner (No red cards tonight please. And no goals from Suarez. Thank you)
Some interesting responses to John Nich’s column but I think we need to define what is actually happening.
– Someone throwing a coin is not driven by hate. They are driven by rage, anger, helplessness, immaturity, irresponsibility and stupidity.
– Hate is actually healthy. It is a human emotion. Eg I absolutely fucking hate Liverpool and their fans, but that doesn’t mean I want to fight them, throw coins at them or murder them. That is because I am a rational human being and can control it. The hate becomes fun and we all have a laugh about it.
– Hate gives us bantz. Who doesn’t love the song “oh Manchester, is full of shit, full of shit, shit and more shit…..” ? Where would that be without hate?
Hate is essentially fine, it’s just immature, stupid and irresponsible men who can’t control themselves because they feel that it is acceptable to become feral when attending a football match.
That is not hate, hate can drive you to do something remarkable and the last time I checked, disliking or hating something is not a crime. In this facebook controlled world, we do not have to like everything, let’s just all grow up instead eh?
Fat Man Scouse, EFC
Steve from Los Angeles raises an interesting point about people writing online having to expect their work “might attract a little vitriol”. I’m seriously scratching my head as to what could get people so upset about a crossword blog, but then again, it sounds like Steve is too.
Has anyone ever thought about how and why this phenomenon started?
As far as I can tell, it began when Georgina Henry developed Comment Is Free for the Guardian, as somewhere for readers to be able to discuss opinion pieces with writers in “below the line” comments. When media companies took note of how much internet traffic this generated, and ad revenues became a more important source of income –before they moved, F365 noticed the difference in traffic between have BTL comments and not – they started using SEO and techniques such as deliberately provocative and slightly misleading headlines to reel more people in. Sites such as Mail Online cottoned on to the fact that if you wind people up, they will head to the site in droves, and leave a message expressing their hatred, to the tune of click after click after click.
Over time, it’s as though people have been conditioned to assume the very worst of everything they read. This site isn’t afraid to take a firm stance on an issue, and argue it strongly, but it is a world away from the excesses of other places. In effect, F365 is showing readers they have a stick, while other sites are poking the reader in the eye. Clearly, if you’re being poked in the eye, you have every right to react to it. However, over time, the latter has greatly outnumbered the former, so much so that there merest glimpse of stick gives people a Pavlovian reaction that they are about to receive a painful optic injury. This is the only way I can rationalise why so many people react to slight criticism of their side by threatening to bite someone’s face off or defecate in their hair.
Where I do disagree with Steve, however, and it may be my interpretation of his phraseology, but he does seem to suggest that by putting themselves and their thoughts online and in such an environment, columnists are inviting the hate upon themselves. This sounds awfully close to suggesting they were basically asking for it, which is a dangerous can of worms to be opening.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven
Great piece by Johnny the Nic. It comes at an interesting time as I have recently felt the cold sting of football’s hate culture. After disagreeing with the chosen method of protesting Liverpool tickets prices (the walkout) on twitter I received over 200 notifications, most of them with shouts of prejudice with colorful language, or encouraging me to kill myself. My favorite being “you are a first class c*nt. And you know nothing. go strangle yourself with your half n half scarf you wool.” Most of these messages liked or shared. Also worth a mention that these all came from Liverpool supporters, not opposition fans. It was like being on the end of 1984’s two minute Hate.
Unfortunately I don’t see an end to this hate culture. As Johnny pointed out the worst of it was in the 70’s and 80’s but these behaviors trickle down as highlighted by this morning’s email with the Chelsea curmudgeon and his teenage son. No doubt that young boy will one day take the mantle of his fouled mouth father simply because of his up bringing.
Nurture aside, there is also a nature aspect that lies within the game itself. Football is a contact sport adrenaline and testosterone soars in the players and emanates in the stands. Add alcohol and pack mentality of humans in large groups and you have an explosive cocktail. What is most interesting is that this mentality has spread to the virtual world, which has caused an infinite loop of ignorance and hate, especially on twitter where there is no regulation.
Football in England is especially explosive because of how close together but different the cities around the country are. Manchester and Liverpool is a prime example of how culture and history of both cities manifested itself into the hateful rivalry of the football clubs.
Football thrives on the hate culture, which comprises most of the fan base. In honesty it’s not so much the individual, but the horrible cusses we become when placed in large groups.
Brian (The fact that the coin thrower wasn’t immediately pointed out speaks volumes) LFC
JN’s article was the first I’d read on F365 in some time that really made me reflect on my 25 year love of British football. I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on things in my life and how I’ve always been unconsciously willing to accept, even if some of them are morally reprehensible to me.
Football is probably the most cheat-riddled sport one can watch. Every game has players directly feigning injuries in order to have their fellow sportsmen sent off the field and to gain a competitive advantage by illegal means. It is totally endemic in the game and frequently ignored by analysts and pundits who are supposedly there to offer insight into what’s happening on the field of play. Diving is so acceptable and glossed over now that occasionally it’s as if it didn’t even happen, even though your eyes clearly saw it. In the first half on Sunday Costa threw himself to the ground with his arms in the air simulating a foul in an effort to win a penalty. The ref ignored him so he got up and continued to battle away and eventually won a corner I think. On BBC Danny Murphy didn’t even acknowledge the clear cheating and referred to ‘the very good tussle…’ or some such. This is the state of football – to cheat and deceive in order to gain advantage is just ‘part of the game’ but why should it be accepted if it’s outlawed? If somebody is committed to truth in their life then it cannot sit comfortably to watch that and not scream “CHEAT!!!”. Where’s the f**king punishment?
I don’t blame Costa or any of the other 100+ players who will deliberately cheat this weekend in the league to gain advantage. It is obviously accepted by the ruling authorities of the game and therefore it has spread like a cancer – the protective bodies of the game do not care for it and so the disease runs riot. It’s actually very sad.
John’s article refers to the West Brom coin throwing incident. There are mails in this morning’s mailbox comparing the congregation at football matches to house-parties with date rapists in attendance. This is just the way it is, there’s always going to be one or two because of the numbers involved type thing. I say that’s rubbish my friends… I was at two or three games in the Rugby World Cup this year and the vibe I felt between players and all fans alike was cheerful and MUTUALLY RESPECTFUL. That’s the f**king key. There is a positive energy between the people involved and not the constant spitting of hatred towards other ‘different’ groups – whether that be fans or players etc etc. Football is riddled in hatred.
For the record the same positive atmosphere of love, decency, respect for each other and the sport can be enjoyed at Gaelic football, hurling, golf, tennis, the Olympics, snooker, even the f**king darts. But in football the spewing of hatred of each other is part of what it means to be a fan of one particular club versus another. Burn the scousers bla bla bla.
I always loved playing football and watching Fergie’s Man United as a child in the 90’s filled my imagination and heart with wonder and joy. I probably went 20 years of my life without being able to sleep at night unless I had a long fantasy about playing for, managing or owing man united and all the happiness it would bring me (my position in the club changed in the fantasy as I aged). Football is a beautiful game to watch and it’s something Britain should be proud of having invented. But it has rotted from the inside out and my bond with it is breaking slowly (I just know I’m not the only one) because of that. I mean just look at FIFA for God’s sake!! It’s a sport’s governing body equivalent of North Korea – toxic and inhumane.
I’m in recovery and the way to fight a progressive, chronic illness of the mind & spirit is to commit totally to a life of truth, decency and to do the right thing in every situation, not the easiest thing. It works I swear it and football needs to take a long hard look at its core values and culture and somehow start to weed itself of the hatred, cowardice, dishonesty and cheating that defines the modern game or ultimately it will be left with nothing but coin throwers in the crowds. For it will have made us all such.
Howareyouboy – Irishman in London
Heroes to zeros
Well done on your list of heroes to managerial zeroes. I was talking about this very subject the other day with a colleague (based around the potential of Giggs at ManYoo and Zidane just in at Real Madrid). We both agreed that we could not think of a single former player of a club who has become their manager and succeeded (read: not been ruined and sacked). Examples: Di Matteo, Gullit, Vialli, (note the Chelsea theme here…) Dalglish, Keegan, Hughes…
We picked out Pep and Ancellotti as the only ones who have actually been successful as ex-players. So in conclusion, Zidane and Giggs will be ruined. Same for Stevie G.
Theo (COYS), Enfield
Leave King Kenny alone
Including Dalglish and Souness on the same list is nothing short of bonkers. Mr Storey, not only have you been on an incredible Vardy-esque run of literary form lately, you’ve rarely prodded the bear intentionally.
For everything Dalglish got “wrong” in his second spell, no one could be more revered, loved and respected than King Kenny for his first spell as a manager. He probably could have caught, killed, and cooked a Liverbird in the centre of Anfield and received a standing ovation for his efforts.
Sure, he bought Andy Carroll, but he also bought Suarez and if I’m not mistaken he’s beyond incredible currently and was during his tenure (despite his well publicised failings). I’d have taken a team of ten Carroll’s and a single Suarez, just to witness his magic week in, week out.
If you can find a fan who would ever rate Kenny as a “Zero” post his second spell (especially after the tripe Hodgson served up, and the lack of trophies from Rodgers) I’ll happily post you a £10 note and a Koala key ring from here.
Barry (Englishman in Sydney) Marelli
…nine minutes later
Actually, please don’t publish the last one. It doesn’t do him justice.
For everything he did for the club and fans post Hillsborough, plus his trophy record as a manager (first time round), and the fact he still represents the club in a Ambassadorial role (in spite of everything) completely excludes him from the list.
Can’t you just stuck Souness in your list twice? He bloody deserves it.
Love for the new routine
Long-time reader of the site, but first-time mailer. I don’t want to go into United conclusions from last night’s game or the terrible season or anything else United-related this season (deep, spiraling depression awaits such analysis).
The most refreshing part of the game was that genius (albeit, copied from Mid-sh*t-land) 3-man attacking wall to block the keeper’s view, contributing to Mata’s goal. Add the 4-5 man defensive wall, and the entire space in front of the keeper was a blind spot. Mata mentioned in the post-match that the free-kick would be deemed legal (by the refs in Denmark), as long as the attacking wall runs into an onside position before the ball is kicked. Replays suggest that United actually f*ed up, with all three players offside, and got lucky!
Coming to my main point: While football has descended into a world of detailed analytics and statistics, with most players and managers sticking to tried-and-tested methods, it is lovely to see someone (credit to Mr. Thorup) taking the time to think of and execute something new! Is it a coincidence that this was tried in an obscure league (sorry Denmark), away from the all the spotlight and scrutiny? Maybe some other tactical gems await us in other leagues? Don’t think something like this happens very often in the Premier League. Maybe I am completely wrong and fellow mailers can correct me and come up with a list!
Bharath (can anyone trace the origin of these brackets?) India
Champions League wildcards
I’ve just read that the Barcelona president believes there should be a Champions league wildcard for big teams who have bad seasons. He says that this is for the good of football to have the best players in the competition.
I don’t think I have any vehemently disagreed with anything more. The top three/four teams in the “big” European leagues are already given qualification. If a “big” team cannot finish in these places, they absolutely do not deserve any benefit from the Champions league. They do not deserve the additional TV money, gate receipts, reputation to get players by virtue of prospect of CL football.
Perhaps I am missing the point or I’m interpreting his comments incorrectly. If so, please can someone explain to me how this is good for football.
My team, Leicester, have an actual chance of Champions League football next season. The wonder of this would be somewhat diminished if another team was given a wildcard to get in.
Toby (Top of the league!) Mitchell
Arsenal v Barcelona. Juventus v Bayern.
I, for one, am very excited for this match day. Not only are these teams the best in their respective leagues (sorry Leicester/Spurs), but they could also be the four winners in the league this season in England, Spain, Germany AND Italy come end of May. All playing in one night in one competition. Everybody says it is harder to win the Premier League because you play each team twice but I don’t care. Give me the Champions League any day (night).
Greg Tric, Nairobi.
With all the talk of #BREXIT I was wondering if it would impact on football in any way. For example, looking at the Bosman ruling on wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosman_ruling it specifically mentions teams operating within the EU. If the UK do opt out, would the home countries have to revert back to the Transfer Tribunal days?
“Prior to the Bosman ruling, professional clubs in some parts of Europe (but not, for example, in Spain and France) were able to prevent players from joining a club in another country even if their contracts had expired. In the United Kingdom, Transfer Tribunals had been in place since 1981 to resolve disputes over fees between clubs when transferring players at the end of their contracts. The Bosman ruling meant that players could move to a new club at the end of their contract without their old club receiving a fee. Players can now agree a pre-contract with another club for a free transfer if the players’ contract with their existing club has six months or less remaining.”
Any legal eagle football fans with better knowledge on these things?
I found it interesting at the weekend seeing Alan Shearers reaction to Manuel Pellegrini resting players this weekend as it didn’t seem unreasonable to me and fairly common in years gone by. Shearer basically said he can’t see why he rested them they should be okay to play 3 games in a week and that Barcelona managed it so why can’t he. He also said he can’t understand why resting is a big issue in our country.
So imagine my suprise last night when I put a dvd on that I have ‘History of Football’ I happened to put part 4 on called ‘Club and Country’ and would you believe who popped up when the subject of asking players to play more and more regularly in the modern game and how the feeling it is too much was growing…. Alan Shearer! And guess what he was saying… Yep, that 3 games in a week is too much for anyone!
Shearers exact words in the video .. ‘you can’t expect a footballer to be in peak condition for every game, saturday, wednesday, saturday.’.. ‘When a boxer has a fight he has 3 months to get ready’. He ends with.. ‘we need to be ready 3 times a week to perform at the highest level, it’s impossible to do that.’
It’s 34:50 into it if anyone wants to see, probably on youtube somewhere.
I know this is rather late, but I suddenly remembered it while brushing my teeth this morning and now it is beginning to drive me mad.
Did Tim Sherwood really say in reference to a 50/50 penalty decision on MotD a few weeks ago (sorry, can’t remember the game) ‘If that had happened anywhere else on the pitch it would have definitely been a penalty’.
Someone help, this is really bugging me and I know it shouldn’t….
Stan (why is no one putting Tim’s name up for the Man Utd job?) LFC