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Allardici has a plan
I occurred to me that the reason that Big Sam would be keen to hype up the fact that Manchester United are in a relegation scrap, is that it would leave him perfectly placed to be their saviour. I mean, if you need to stay in the Premier League, who do you call?
And then he’ll finally have that big club job (he thinks) he’s always deserved.
Andrew M, Joburg
United decided against Felix because they’re too weak in the head
I read the Athletic articles on Gomes and on Woodward and on how Uniteds player recruitment.. well I suppose I have to use the term ‘works’.
They rejected Felix for being too physically weak. And now play Angel Gomes, that towering mountain.
They rejected Fernandes for a low passing accuracy, something which genuinely makes me angry every time I think about it.
They signed Fred instead of Fabinho because Fabinho was a convert from right back. By the way, at the time? United also needed cover at right back.
They signed Schweinsteiger. And Matic. And Sanchez. And Rojo, a player under threat of actual jail time. These weren’t just appallingly bad transfers in terms of the players being either broken or batshit, they actively harmed the development of the team.
There’s no other area of employment where such repeated and egregious incompetence doesn’t result in your dismissal, other the being the Prime Minister of the UK.
Solskjaer is not a good manager. He’s not ever going to take a team of good players and make them great. He may not even be able to persuade good players to play at their natural level, but Solskjaer is not what has to be changed at United if they are ever to be back to where I and I hope most other neutrals want them to be – hated and feared and grudgingly admired.
It’s no fun when the big baddie is a fat slow old loser being pushed around by wimps.
Not all are racists by society must act
I have seen a few articles and letters asking many not to blame Bulgarians or English people or whoever for racism or disgusting acts as we should not point fingers at the collective. Like one post said, categorizing people is the issue in the first place. I whole heartedly disagree with this sentiment. Without going too in depth into the issues of racism and collective blame of each culture, it is too easy to always say “it’s just a minority”.
The collective should be ashamed and feel partly to blame. The “it’s just a minority ” is an easy way to bat away a serious issue and the problems around the world, from racism, how trump was elected (and many Eastern European leaders as well) and even many forms of terrorism. Pushing it off as societal fringes and not their own should be replaced with taking part of the blame and working to prevent it from happening. As an Engkishmen, I am ashamed and feel embarrassed how English fans act. I don’t hide behind anything.
David (cant wait for normal football to resume) Morris
Few more days, few more days and back to the PL. Oh yes…
Steve’s assertion that the abuse leveled at McLean year on year isn’t racism and is more political is a, bollox, and b, no different to the Bulgaria manager putting his fingers in his ears and denying his fans were/are racist. As someone who has experienced racism in England for being Irish first hand, it is of no surprise to me at all that Steve doesn’t get it/tries to justify it. I’ve seen/heard it all before. Even from supposed friends, ‘I only call you Paddy as a term of endearment, no need to take offence to it’. The xenophobic and racist undertones of many of the messages/threats McLean receives year on year stink to high heaven, and if you aren’t aware of that, you haven’t been paying attention, or you are an apologist.
Now, that isn’t to say (As Andy alluded to) that us Irish aren’t also guilty of xenophobic/racist thoughts/feelings towards the English (or whoever) at times. There is the quintessentially English superiority complex over us potato munchers, while at the same time some Irish look down on what they see as the backwards thieving English. That’s just how it is. Where I grew up we used to fight the lads from the town down the road for no other reason than the fact they were from the town down the road. And cos they were smelly.
While Gussy’s mail may have been a little ‘on the nose’ it doesn’t mean it isn’t mostly true. I was living in Madrid when Leicester played Athletico back in 2016. I heard and saw what some of the fans were up to in the city centre before the Guardia Civil went in and beat seven shades of shite out of anyone who looked like an English fan. Steve also says no one in England has a clue what a Fenian is. Sorry Steve, but some do. I was on a study tour in Athens, staying in a hostel, and two Arsenal fans who were staying there and who I had gotten to know invited me into their room to listen to a ‘song’. What they blared out was some anti-Irish ditty about fenians this and fenians that, and also had a pop at some guy called Bobby Sands. They then sat there smiling like the cats that got the cream waiting to see my reaction… I just smiled and laughed. Wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction, not that I even knew who Bobby Sands was at the time, had to look him up.
So while Andy thinks Gussy is trying to bash the English, he’s actually holding up a mirror. It might not be pretty, you might not even be aware of it, but trying to deny its existence, downplay it or justify it in anyway is, well…I’m sure you know that yourselves.
Just as an aside, I lived in England for a few years, some of my best friends are from there, loved my time there and have great affection for the people as a whole. However, even my best friends came out with something ant-Irish at some stage. The majority of people I knew did. It’s just part of the culture. Just like anti-English is at home. I can admit that without feeling the need to excuse it.
We all have our foibles. But if you can’t even admit they’re there you’ll never learn from them.
Paddy the plastic pool fan in China.
Business as usual?
There have been some excellent points made so far in recent mailboxes regarding the events in Bulgaria, and yet there is something depressingly cyclical about them. Racism, condemnation, finger pointing, disassociation and self-aggrandisement. By the end of this week, the current furore dies down and we, as a society, continue business as usual.
What we never do, is actually look at the demographics of racists themselves. Why? How are we surprised that these events reoccur when we actually do nothing to address them the first time around? As far as I’m aware, there is no demographic, data-based analysis of the perpetrators of hate crime. We don’t look at economic factors, political factors, social factors or even the geographical areas where racist movements are at their most prominent.
What we tend to do instead is disassociate ourselves from these groups (“they’re not fans.”) These are members of the same communities, and society as you. We share much more than we are comfortable admitting because to admit these similarities is to accept some complicity or shared responsibility. It is much easier to say “racism is wrong” or to educate oneself on racial theory than to look at how and why racism occurs.
Football is by no stretch of imagination a root cause for racist thought. But it does provide a platform for the expression and organisation of racist groups- Tommy Robinson’s EDL was an extension of organised football hooliganism. Life-time bans from FIFA is the only way to go and, like Allegri said, the technology is already there to identify the perpetrators in the stands- we just don’t do it.
From a wider society perspective, detailed analysis needs to happen. My guess, is that these people are disenfranchised, economically oppressed and left behind from modern technological society. Outside of London, there is a criminal lack of investment in business, education and welfare. The Alt Right movement is an expression of retailation against progress in society by those left behind. As long as we don’t seek to address those issues, the cycle repeats.
Liam Gabriel Hoskins (Read Susan Mcwilliams’ piece on the ethics of retailation) AFC
Republic of Ireland crying out for goals
Fascinating discussion about McClean, England fans and racist/sectarian abuse in the morning mailbox (as an Irishman who spent a few childhood years in England, I can confirm it wasn’t great fun having grown men scream abuse across the street at you if they saw you wearing your Italia 90 Ireland kit. I was 13.) But I thought I’d offer opinions on the actual football that was served up over the last couple of fixtures (novel approach, huh?)
We went into this qualifying campaign as 3rd seeds behind Switzerland & Denmark, with a new management team in place, and no time or friendlies to prepare. McCarthy and his crew were straight into the thick of it. Coming off a miserable period under O’Neill & Keane, in which we couldn’t score a goal, never mind win a match, they set about getting their house in order. And with one game to go, qualification is still in our hands.
The main reason for this is the fact that we’ve conceded so few goals. I think going into last night’s match we had the 2nd best defensive record in the competition? This is down to the fact that we’ve solid defenders (Duffy, Coleman & Stevens) who all play regular premier league football who have recently been joined by the very capable John Egan of Sheffield Utd. Add to that a goalkeeper (Darren Randolph) who comes firmly from the Gary Breen school of players who are ok at club level, but saved their best efforts for the green jersey. After that things get a bit…errrr….sketchy.
We haven’t got a single striker in the squad who’s scored a competitive international goal. Not one!!! During these past 2 matches against Georgia and Switzerland, we started with James Collins of Luton Town leading the line. That’s a far cry from Aldridge, Keane or Stapleton! David McGoldrick has played well in this campaign, showing good touches and running the channels, but he wasn’t available this week. The clamour for Aaron Connolly of Brighton to start after scoring 2 on his PL debut against Spurs was huge, but that just shows where we’re at right now. Desperate for anything to provide us with a bit of hope!
Our under-21s have been performing well under Stephen Kenny, but a lot of fans have started going overboard with hype already. When the under-21 line-up for yesterday’s fixture in Iceland was named, I read a comment on social media that said “even that team would’ve beaten Georgia the other day”. They went out and lost 1-0.
Fans and media alike need to start getting their head around the fact that we’re woefully short of talented players these days, and there’s no quick fix. With the players we have, the best we can hope for is to be in with a shout of qualification going into this final game. Sure, we may have performed better in some games if the manager had gambled and started Jack Byrne, Josh Cullen or Aaron Connolly, but those are massive gambles to take without the time to blend these lads into the team.
The fact remains we’re still in the hunt, and with a (massive) bit of luck, may well yet be going to the Euros. Get behind your team and show some support for the final fixture next month! #COYBIG
I was confused by Joe’s email this morning. It was mostly a long rant about how awful racists are (agreed, if preaching to the choir) but ended with the idea that, if all the racists in the UK were moved to a new country, “they would turn the place into Beirut in days”.
Having been to Beirut, I cant help but ask, “WTF?!” – Beirut is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and is very modernized in many ways. It’s also very expensive, on par with London and Geneva (no cheap lagers for the England away contingent!) It is seriously neither an exaggeration nor an insult to say that Beirut is ‘nicer’ than various cities in the UK. I seriously recommend visiting, despite the lack of football relevance.
Based on Brexit voting data, I’d suggest if you want to see what an area would look like if it was just full of racists, it seems you should go visit the East Midlands and extrapolate accordingly.
Oliver (no offense to the East Midlands – it’s just the data I was able to find when googling the voting data) Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland
Spreading yourself thin
Thanks Ed and SC, you make valid points. Ed you’re correct, it is wrong to question Lingards intelligence as I don’t know the lad, he could be a genius. Intelligence was probably the wrong value to measure it by, but my point being to spread yourself thin across a number of projects when you’re not performing in your main line of income, you need to look at what you’re doing and what’s really important to you. You can do what you want while you’re performing to an acceptable level but once you don’t, these are the sort of questions that are asked. SC I enjoyed your response and couldn’t agree more.
Well I never thought an email I sent would still be garnishing references 24 hours later but wow!!
My main point was how nauseating it was to see the English get on their high horse about racism when for years and years squares-& bizarrely Irish pubs-echoed to boozed up brits bellowing out vile.
This isn’t anti English…the English are doing it.If they weren’t doing it I would not be able to say it.If the Dutch,Portugese etc were the hypocrites singing “no surrender to the IRA” I would call them out.
And a second wow for the genius who said most people in England don’t understand what the Fenian in Fenian b###### meant.
What planet do you live on?This isn’t school where some kid learned a new bad word and is telling the whole yard,this is a word chanted by people who know EXACTLY what they are saying.It has been going on for donkeys years-like Boris and his “why is Vradkar not called Murphy like the rest of them” when talking about our Taoiseach(who is also a pompous gas bag who Boris would probably like)-& it’s about putting Paddy in his place.
It’s dreadful what happened in Bulgaria but when Sterling had to tweet about his own media to stop with the racist digs towards him & his family(a coloured man spending his own money he earned,how dare he)then surely you must understand why people found the holier then though attitude from the media nauseating?
We are not talking about going back 30,40 years when “people didn’t know better”,these are incident(s) that happened since 2016.Sterling was racially abused last November at Stamford Bridge for gods sake.
PS Eamon in Dublin,I’m from Cork,not Dublin.
PPS Can we abolish international breaks and just flip coins to see who qualifies. Would be more exciting then watch the ROI “play.”