Dalglish has his stand, it’s time to give Jurgen the Kop…

Date published: Thursday 9th January 2020 3:00

The Mailbox features a call for Liverpool to honour Jurgen Klopp. Also: Loads of Ole, and Laudrup at Chelsea...

Let’s have your emails: theeditor@football365.com…


The Jurgen Kop
I’m sure someone has mentioned this but I cant actually remember it being said, It just seems so obvious..

There are not many named sections at Anfield
Sir Kenny has a stand
Shankly has his gates
Paisley has his gates and a square..

Maybe.. just maybe, if (and its and IF we don’t really want to even mention as an IF, just yet) IF, we (whisper it) …win the thing this year……shhhh.. stop it..! we are not counting chickens..

Will the Kop be re named (for 1 season at least)
From The Spion Kop
To The Spion Klopp or the Jurgen Kop… possibly as a crow bar…

Im not sure the Boers would be too upset after all that was a while ago now.. and this really really is an achievement worth naming a stand over in my humble opinion

Would love to know what season ticket holders think or very regular match day goers – Would this be heresy or would you agree, ?

May be for a trial year (until he wind the CL and league again. then he gets a statue and a stand?)
Al – LFC – not regular enough to be sure.. – Prepared for a backlash of 1 kind or another



Pellegrini, not Hart, the best example
Lots of talk recently about the difference between City & United and I think nothing highlights this more than one decision taken in the past few years. The jettisoning of Pelligrini as soon as Pep became available. Manuel was doing a perfectly serviceable job at City, was well liked, well respected and achieving ‘enough’. However as soon as an ‘elite’ manager became available City were ruthless and upgraded at the earliest opportunity.

If City were in the same position (god forbid!) as United right now I have no doubt that Poch would be hired in a heartbeat. Debates can be had if Poch is in the same elite bracket as Klopp & Pep however what cannot be denied is that he is a significant upgrade on what United currently have.

Having said all that I do hope Ole has a job for life because this really is quite marvellous!
Banjo, Prague (MCFC)


The new Ole
January 2019 – Wow Olé has really got United playing a style thats blowing the opposition away. Theres a clear plan, players are actually playing to their abilities and the camp looks happy.

January 2020 – Olé is clueless and out of his depth. But hey, this Mikel Arteta guy…he’s got Arsenal playing with identity, a clear plan and he’s truly getting the best out of this talented group of players.

3 games.

Arteta has had 3 games with Arsenal. What’s that word again…? Rhymes with tanager founce…

(Rational thought pales in comparison to a well stocked-url)

Best regards,


Ole out, Ralf in
Got to say I agree with Mike LFC, London about getting a squad builder. And enough of these stupid contracts that incentivise failure (three years for Ole? He’d never even had a transfer window).
If I was United I’d go out and get Rangnick, with a set severance package if they finish in certain spots in the league (0 if past 7th, £5m if past 4th for example), along with a long term contract with large wage increases. Say £100k, increasing by £50k a year for the first 4 years.

Work with him on transfers and make a 5 year plan on day one.

Luckily for me, this won’t happen. Instead Ole will lurch from dismal performances to satisfying runs of form, which will keep the club locked in mediocrity far below their expected position, but with the little bursts of form knocking back the wolves from Ole’s door.
KC (top spending club in Summer too, who’d have thought?)


The route back to glory
Brackets who downplayed his own email was entirely correct in his writings on the current state of play at Old Trafford. He also gives the rightful comparison between his team and the current league leaders ,who gave their own 25 – 30 year lesson on how focusing on past glories will manifestly stop sustained success on a forward basis.

The biggest reasons why clubs fail to move on is their incessant need to have links with everything that has gone in their past . Now this is perfectly fine from a stadium , kit , supporters , songs etc scenario but the problems occur when it involves structure / staff / playing style etc.

Liverpool I think first realized this with the appointment of Houllier , having gone down the old boys route of Souness and Evans who both flattered to deceive , but even then still continued to “need” a link to the past with the appointment of Thompson as assistant manager. Benitez was the next attempt to move on from past glories but still the link was kept to a certain extent with Sammy Lee and Mike Marsh ( remember him ) cropping up every now and again but more importantly the structure at the top was now not strong enough under Moores and Parry. After the debacle of Hicks and Gillette it is only under the current owners and the appointment of Klopp that the cycle looks to be almost complete with a nod to Rodgers who almost got us there. Note zero current employees in any position of influence from past teams.

United are basically going through the same thing. Ferguson leaves , inevitable dip occurs , new managers hired who are either not first choice or perhaps yesterday’s men having been successful in previous decades. Club ownership changes making fans unhappy about debt and or investment but to be fair transfer fees are still forthcoming from the owners but biggest issue is continued reliance on former players to instigate former glories.

This is Oles biggest weakness , the continued mention of what it means to play for UTD , the UTD way , the references to 99 and now the desperateness of recalling last seasons win at PSG as some kind of benchmark.

This is utter rubbish , like all things in life and particularly sport the current generation is better than the last . Stronger , fitter , faster , better diet , health , etc . You only understand this I believe when you get a little older and dare I say a little wiser although the snowflake generation bothers me greatly.

If UTD want to accelerate their progress back to the top of the tree ( and they will get there ) they need to dispense with the past . No more class of 92 , no more Carrick , certainly no more Giggs and definitely no more Ole. Their is no UTD way in the same way their is no infamous Boot room anymore. Adapt or die as someone once said.
DL , LFC , (this worries me about Stevie and 2024) Geneva


Don’t let Ole take the fall for the Glazers
As many writers in the mailbox have already alluded to, Ole is clearly out of his depth, posing a major short-term problem to Manchester United.

However, the real elephant in the room is the Glazer family. Let’s look at some of the facts.
When buying the club in 2005, Malcolm Glazer borrowed £660 million to finance the acquisition; despite the interest repayments, which have now exceeded £800 million, the net debt stands at £384.5 million – to put that into perspective, these leeches have spent 1.2 times more on servicing the initial debt amount whilst not even half of it has been repaid!!
For finishing first in the Premier League 2018/19 season, City earned £150,986,355 in total from prize money and television rights. Compare this to the £142,512,868 received by United who finished sixth – that’s a meagre difference of £8.5 million! What incentive is there for the profit-driven board to spend money on better players which would invariably enable the team to be better?! Nada, ‘cause the commercial money keeps rolling in…in droves!

In addition to yesterday’s excellent mail on Joe Hart, I’d like to elaborate by using one Phil Jones* as an example – weekly wages of £100k, equating his subsequent annual salary to approximately £5.2 million. This spread over a 5-year contract computes to £26 million. By replacing him, the club needs to spend £40-50 million on a transfer fee, a few more million in agent and signing-on bonuses, along with a similar figure for wages. This roughly aggregates to a total cost of £75-85 million; this alternative is 2 to 3 times more expensive, so keeping Jones* saves United a tremendous amount of money! All in line with the company culture of profits, profits and more profits!
*insert any one of Shaw/Bailly/Rojo/Young/Smalling/Pereira/Matic/Mata/Lingard/Fosu-Mensah/Alexis Sanchez – all either “run-of-the-mill”, or significantly “passed-it” footballers.

Despite this extensive embezzlement, there seems to be zero outrage against the owners, especially from the match going folk. How? Why? Other than the odd plane that flies over the stadium criticising Woodward, there’s zilch. It truly boggles the mind that 70 thousand odd supporters sit there, week-in week-out, and subjugate themselves to this mediocrity. It’s baffling. The “Green and Gold Campaign” was a thing, but that’s almost a decade ago. Just look at what the Liverpool supporters managed to do by organising a concerted campaign to remove Hicks and Gillette…our lot just sit there with an acceptance that there’s fack all they can do. Seriously, come on?!

Love United or loathe them (and there’s plenty from both sides of the spectrum!), these parasites have destroyed this indisputably gargantuan sporting institution.

As the Chinese say, the fish rots from the head.
SK (Harare, Zimbabwe)


…If you ask me. Ole should never have been given the job in the first place. It was a fine choice as caretaker manager but that’s where things should have ended. Or at least, Ed could have waited until the end of the season to make the decision on Ole’s appointment. It’s not like Ole was swarmed with offers from top clubs and needed to be quickly locked in.

However, now that he’s been appointed, he should be given the time to be judged accordingly. Granted, he has shown a lack of tactical acumen. However, just look at the midfield. Why are people surprised they got beaten 3-0 by City? I’m just surprised that it was only 3-1. On the plus side, Ole has United 5th on the table when they really should be much lower with the squad that they have. Yes, yes, I hear you. It’s because sides around him have floundered as much as United have. But that’s just making my point. An excellent manager in Pochettino could not stop Tottenham from sliding down to 14th in the table. And even with Mourinho back, they are just about level with United despite having a far superior squad. Chelsea started in excellent fashion but too have hit a barren run. But unlike United, they realise that you can’t put all the blame on the manager when your squad is so weak.

Other than the lack of tactical acumen, Ole’s negatives are:
– Too happy to toe the line and not putting enough pressure
– Letting Herrera and Lukaku go without ensuring suitable enforcements were secured
– The recruitment has not been stellar but still better than previous years
Ed is primarily to blame in all these areas but a good manager needs to put pressure on the higher ups to ensure these mistakes are not made. Also, Ole’s not a draw for any player.

A big plus that Ole does get is that there is some improvement in players under Ole. Rashford has blossomed. Martial has seen some improvement though remains mercurial. Daniel James has been nicely integrated. Other young players like McTominay have starred.

Also, I would happily get Pochettino in a heartbeat, but how does that address any of the other problems I identified? He’s a proven manager at playing attacking football, helping young players grow and has tactical nous even though he has been found lacking in this at times. Particularly leaving substitutions too late. He sounds almost perfect on the moment but what if he too fails. Do we hire another manager at the end of the season and keep going over the same cycle. Another problem with Poch is his transfer record is not that great either. Sure, he’s an excellent manager but I think for Poch to work, we need to have a DOF in first who handles all transfers.

I believe the way forward is for United to give Ole till the end of the season or until they look like they are not even competing for the top 4 or top 6 (depending on if Arsenal and Mojo get their Mojo beg). In the meanwhile, efforts should be to get a Director of Football and at least one if not two midfielders this transfer window. Then, at the end or near the end of the season, they can make a decision on whether to go ahead with Ole or secure a replacement. The Director of Football will need to oversee major structural changes and revamp the recruitment process. Let this season be a write off. The goal this year should be developing for next year. Pochettino looks like the best choice but given Ole the chance to properly fail first.


Suicide by sentiment
It is a fascinating state of affairs, a great future case study, on how decisions are made and then justified through collective and wilful reinforcement bias and rubbish media coverage.

Despite the evidence so clearly in our face, we have these sage readers, writers and pundits all backing Ole and demanding he be given some time, like Klopp was (as if there is any real similarity between the two). Want a good comparison? Brendan Rodgers and Leicester. People only clamour for more time when they’re basically pretty shit.

The simple point I want to make is that if you take the emotion out of football and assess the qualifications, capabilities and performance of Ole, there is no way any rational person can give him more time. If appointing managers and running a football club as an organisation can be likened to financial trading decisions… if a trade looks like it might have been a mistake and started making losses you DO NOT hold on to the stock hoping for it to turn around. You cut your losses. But emotional traders do stupid things like doubling down, or “reducing your average”, convinced that in time the market will turn around and you will make back your losses and double your profit. It’s the opposite: you do not put good money after bad. If an initial investment decision looks good you then invest more (ie give the manager money to buy players etc… to complete the analogy), even if the price is higher.

But no. I think Manchester United is a great example of a club run by people who think short term and make panic and rushed decisions and a section of the fans and media demonstrate some incredible tunnel vision, bias and ridiculous reasoning (“knows the club”) to enforce these bad decisions despite the evidence so clearly against the decision.

Let’s not go too far back in history as our heads will start to hurt…

They appointed Mourinho as a marquee manager who has a great track record but also is a clear flight risk and most likely a short term option. I will give the benefit of the doubt and say the board probably knew this was a short term thing and definitely counter culture but made a pragmatic decision to steady the ship while coming up with a long term plan. Indeed some modest silverware and a 2nd place position could point to reasonable validation of the short term plan if there was any evidence of the formation of a long term plan. On balance and on the basis of it being deliberately a short term pick, appointing Mourinho was a good decision, despite the fact that he’s a douche.

Then they extended Mourinho’s contract which my nan could tell you was a stupid decision and ripped up any notion of more viable long-term thinking. Perfectly on cue, the Grinch returned. Extending Mourinho’s contract was unequivocally a bad decision.

They then needed an immediate stop gap and found the ever so friendly fan and former player Ole. Appointing him to manage on a temporary basis was a little strange but from a strict short term morale point of view was very clever. A good decision, then. Morale improved, papers got excited, class of 99, Liverpool quaking at the boots because former players are smiling together, and results went on a slightly shockingly good run.

Then they believed their own crap and appointed Ole as a long term manager which honestly made me laugh my head off. The dead cat bounce was clearly driven by the relief of the witch being dead. Anyone could see that, but many did not and the media were the worst of all.

Today, on almost any level there is no metric that could indicate that Ole has done well. Results are not good. Performances have been insipid. Tactics have been puerile or non-existent.

Yet, like the bad emotional traders, so many people are saying give him time… Take the emotion out of it and it could not be a clearer decision. He was unqualified to begin with. Results are terrible. He pretty much looks clueless and hasn’t demonstrated any ability to outthink opponents tactically (removing Lingard was not such a great decision as that was so bleeding obvious… putting him in the first place was a terrible decision).

Having said all this… I am a Liverpool fan and I hope you give him all the time in the world. He’ll come good, guys, because he knows the club. He KNOWS the club. And he actually played and won under SAF!!! And he actually speaks to him occasionally to say hi!!!

I almost feel sorry for United fans, but after all the crap I had to endure from my United mates for so many years I can’t help but enjoy it (and yes, United fans can be just as smug and entitled as people think Liverpool fans are).

Please don’t sack Ole and enjoy the next 10 years.

Give. Him. Time.
K, London


Liverpool and United are as bad as each other
Allen (That might have been too long) – mate you need to go and talk to someone, probably the weirdest analogy that’s ever appeared on these hallowed pages.

However it is vastly amusing to watch the 2 most self-centred, most entitled sets of ‘fans’ moan and wind each other up almost daily.

Firstly we have the almost rabid Liverpool lot, revelling in equal measures about the (agreed) awesome football they are consistently playing, with seemingly a plan B for every occasion when it suits, a manager that appears to breath every goal, pass, tackle and save that his players make, alongside the misery that the Man Utd lot are suffering. However, whilst this undoubtedly (and yep I fully hope, for the sake of football that something completely freaky happens and you blow it, AGAIN) is indeed your year, it will eventually come falling down and you’ll return to your thrones as the ‘almost’ team of recent years, more so when Herr Klopp does one. You only have to find a F365 mail page from a couple of seasons ago to read about how Klopp was rubbish, and played the wrong players in wrong formation etc etc. A man much wiser than all of us (except the RH Michael Owen) once said Pride before a Fall, and trust me, every other fanbase cant wait till your house comes crumbling down, so please do revel in it whilst you can, as much as its painfully irritating, I would suggest that everyone one else wishes it was our team.

Ahhh, Man Utd and the ever growing list of armchair managers that send in their (always amusing and relentlessly idiotic attempts at logical) ideas of how to solve the ‘crisis’ (lol, crisis; have you ever actually had to worry about results of teams around you to stay up?..) at their beloved club. Absolutely no one else cares about how much you’ve spent, what % of players are available at any one time, if Ole’s really good enough (he’s not), if he needs time (How long is ‘time’ by the way?) and if it’s the players fault or not. Its laughable watching you divide down the middle with regards to if he should stay or not and your whiney little retorts about how he should change things (im fairly certain that NOT ONE manager reads these and thinks “ahhh that’s what I shoulda done”) – The bottom line is that after yours years of dominance (and yep, again, agreed you were really good over that period of huge success) that you have now become a very average team, with little pulling power other than fact that players and indeed clubs will indeed hold you to ransom because of the stupid money you are prepared to throw at any given situation in order to solve it (Sanchez, Maguire, Pogba etc etc) Its no wonder that the rest of us are pointing and laughing.

Have a nice day, get those rods ready…….
IK78 (more brackets, because they really are underrated)


Ashley old
So Ashley Young, a veritable PL OAP, was offered a one-year contract extension by the geniuses at Old Trafford Because, obviously, there is no other player, in any league, in any country on the planet that could do a better job than Grandad Ash. Natch.

But what’s even funnier is that, according to Sky, he’s turned them down! Seriously, how bad must it be when a 34 year old player wants away?
Mark (Corrie and Eastenders combined can’t compete with Man Utd at the moment) MCFC.


Continue the experiments
Reading so much opinion on Ole got me thinking. How do we assess whether a manager is successful? I think most people would look at their results, any silverware earned over the last season or so and deduce from the quality of the squad whether that constituted success, failure or somewhere in between.

But that would be wrong. Bang wrong.

Ok, it would actually be perfectly reasonable. However, there might also be another way. What if we were to look at the betting odds?

Betting companies will use extremely complex mathematical modelling, harnessing as much data as possible to produce accurate predictions over probabilistic outcomes. This isn’t so they can give you the best odds, although sometimes it can lead to this, instead it is mainly because with the best/most data and the best modelling they can be more certain they will price their bets accordingly and not lose millions of pounds, the better you understand the probability the safer your odds. The science is not perfect, the companies leave themselves plenty of room for error but ultimately that’s the methodology.

So, one such way you might judge performance is to collate the betting odds on your team at the start of a new coach’s reign, then continue charting them after every match up to the most current result with a view on what price your team wins, odds on goals scored and scored against etc. The changing predictions (increasing or decreasing odds) will give you an understanding of how all the underlying data extrapolates out. There are a few basic issues with this method. It’s a betting company for a start so who knows in what wonderful ways they are screwing the general public with their algorithms or modelling, but in principle it seems logically sound…

Really, this is not to encourage people to use betting companies to value performance but instead to stop putting so much weight in to one specific outcome, the one that happens.

Bear with me on this…

Take Man U vs Man City. First time they met this season Utd won 2-1 away. Then City recently won 3-1, also away. So who’s the better team? Well performance wise you would say City by 1 goal, but our experience and gut tells us City are far more superior than that combined score line suggests. But wait, what if Utd had won the most recent game as well? Would people be saying they are the better team? Probably, a small minority. It still would have been a hard sell. The league says City are still some way better. But results, actually watching the games, has much larger effects on us than cold stats, certainly in the short term. Yet Utd could have won. Despite Pep’s changed tactics and all of the talk of outthinking Ole, that analysis is almost entirely formed by the actual result. Utd could have won, and statistically had perhaps a 15/20% chance of doing so, yet this probability is discounted once a result has been reached. Its now impossible, yet the value of that chance shouldn’t be forgotten.

Let’s take something we are all familiar with; Everettian interpretation of Quantum mechanics (Often called the many-world interpretation) So for any of you not well read on quantum field theory, this is Everett in a nutshell. Say there is a closed system (for the sake of quantum containment) a football game. It has 1000 possible outcomes and 25 different score lines. Everett says that at every opportunity for more than one outcome to happen the entire universe splits and both situations happen. So at the end of the game there are 1000 new universes, each perfectly the same except for the specific different outcome that happened in the football game (and then that would lead to universes drifting apart because of a butterfly effect, probably…) Now I could talk about how these 1000 outcomes mean that each outcome had a 1/1000 probability yet, in-world, the probability might be 1/2, but that’s confusing and missing the point. Instead this is to try and illustrate that unlikely events happen and can distort our understanding of reality because once it happens we discount all other possibilities as now impossible, yet they weren’t.

Lets take Liverpool but split 2 universes off from ours. Universe 1 they get one result different from ours. Liverpool only wins 2-0 at Anfield and gets knocked out of the 18/19 Champions League. Their season ends trophy-less. Universe 2 they draw 2-2 with Man City at the Etihad. They now go unbeaten all season, do the double of league and Champions League and likely go down as one of the greatest teams ever. How do those two teams get perceived within their own universes? One is champions of everything and unbeaten, the other are perennial chokers and bottlers, doomed to forever fall short. The extremes are 1 outcome different to our own universe but show how results qualify so much of our understanding and opinion of teams. To repeat these are both exactly the same team. Before their universes split they were the same person or at worst their particles were in a superposition until that splitting moment. This is the same team being judged very differently. There are fine margins within the game, winning and losing aren’t opposite sides of the same coin, they are 2 separate faces on a thousand sided dice.

So what’s the point of all this, why are you boring us? Well, because the way around this problem is simple, you get more data. The more data you have the better you understand the underlying probabilities and can understand the chances of winning or losing with a manager. So I say give Ole time. Not because I think he is a good manager, not because I think he is a bad manager, but because to find out either way, you need to have more data to accurately gauge what probability you have of winning in the future.

Simple right?
Ed Ern


Nearly men
Good shout earlier about players who were robbed of their time in the league

The one that stands out for me is Luc Nilis.

And absolute goal machine.

Named by Ronaldo and Van Nistelrooy as among the best they ever payed with.

Scored on his European debut for Villa, scored on his league debut for Villa – then 12 days later a double compound fracture ends his career.

A footballing tragedy.
Doug, AFC, Belfast


…Following on from Graham Simons email on Casiraghi, there was another nearly man in the same team – the legend that is Brian Laudrup. Obviously, I had seen him play for Denmark, and heard from North of the border of how good he was (from his 4 years at Rangers… you forget how good the Old Firm were back then), but my God, I was at Stamford Bridge to see him play versus Boro in 98, and he was like silk; ghosting past players, pinging balls left and right, and getting an assist if I remember rightly. As part of a front three alongside Zola and Casiraghi, it could have been very special but for whatever reason he only played a handful of games (didn’t like London if I remember rightly although I’m sure there was probably some background shenanigans from the club at the time too) but I still remember watching him thinking he was a cut above everyone else (at least we had a true cult hero in reserve to step in for the rest of the season… step forward Tor Andre Flo!).

As for other teams, the other player I would nominate would be Darren Huckerby. The man was a menace to Chelsea during the late 90s and seemed to have all of the ingredients to be a fantastic winger but never seemed to settle down at a club long enough (maybe injuries played a part?).
JDC, CFC (the Chelsea midfield that day Le Saux, Di Matteo and Poyet – not a defensive midfielder in sight!)


The Mailbox needs a bad Arsenal
All the Ole in / out chat from United fans is mighty boring. Seems somewhat civilised and reasoned with contributors actually accepting others points of view. Really miss the Arsenal fans anger, bile and self hatred, come on Arteta make a balls up against Palace and we will see how long the honeymoon lasts.
Mel – Dublin, Berlin, HaHoHe

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