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On watching the excellent documentary “The Vietnam War”, I was reminded of the term “frag”, used to describe the action of deliberately killing an unpopular senior officer with a hand grenade. Given the performances of his troops at Man United, Chelsea and (possibly) Real Madrid prior to and after his termination, is it fair to say Jose is the most fragged leader in football? Or can anyone suggest a better example?
Dave J (2nd letter syndrome)
…Many of us have been there, you start a new job and find it’s not quite what you expected, work for years and eventually grow tired of the role or feel that you’ve worked your arse off and got no support, so have to move on. Whichever scenario, each of us like to feel that we’ve put a decent effort in, done what we could and can leave with our head held high. Then you hear that the YTS bloke you were training up has taken your role and is smashing it out of the park. The work you were struggling with is done, dusted and the customer is overjoyed. The role you were sure could not be done any better than you have done is being lit up from all angles and no-one can even remember your name.
Congratulations, you are Jose Mourinho. I mean, just how shite a job was Jose actually doing? The most expensive jigsaw in the Premier league, should have been a Rembrandt once the pieces were assembled and Jose somehow created something I could have done in five minutes in MS Paint with a hangover and 3 pints of coffee making the DTs even worse. Any club that offer him a job now get exactly what they deserve. A big wage bill, bigger transfer bill and a mardy middle aged has-been.
The Solskjaer bubble will probably burst at some point but I am just loving the smiles at the club, on the pitch and even occasionally in the commentary box.
Paul, Man Utd
…Jose Mourinho must be kicking himself that he got the sack just before this group of Manchester United players clicked into form. Unlucky.
The Flan, North London
…Just watched United beat Arsenal tonight. Since Solsjaer took over they have become watchable again. Not afraid to take risks, moving the ball at pace, great to watch. Just want to make a point about three players who haven’t been starting under Solsjaer.
First one is Romero. I hate to say it but he is wasted at United. He is probably one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League and would probably be number one for most of the teams in the league.
Second is Lukaku. Great first half tonight but second half showed why he isn’t a top class striker and I will take Rashford any day over him. He doesn’t have the football brain to be top class. There was one situation in the second when he could have played Sanchez in on an overload on the full back but instead of playing it to his feet as he was moving, tried to play behind the full back. The full back was always going to get the ball first as that is what he was expecting. I was screaming at the TV to play the pass but he just didn’t see it.
Third is Sanchez. Great finish for his goal but I am afraid his legs are gone. He has lost his pace and just cannot get away from players as he used to.
Still great to be watching an entertaining United again and hopefully they can give the PSG game a right go.
…As I see it there are four main questions you have to ask as a manager:
How do we maximise our strengths?
How do we target the opposition’s weaknesses?
How to we guard against the opposition’s strengths?
How to we mitigate our own weaknesses?
The best managers manage to find a balance between these four questions, and that balance depends on how strong the strengths are and how weak the weaknesses are. Fergie used to say we focus 75% on us and 25% on them, which is just another way of interpreting the above.
In my view Jose’s greatest failing was that he focussed almost solely on the latter two points. He felt our weaknesses were so great (i.e. the defence) that he was unable to place any emphasis on playing to our own strengths or targeting the opponent’s weaknesses. This is just a reflection of his cautious nature; he’s always been that way and he wasn’t going to change his spots now.
Ole on the other hand has focussed almost completely on the first two, maybe three points. He’s saying “we’re Man United, we have outstanding attackers – you score 2, we’ll score 3”. That is exactly what was needed at this moment in time – it’s got players, fans and board on side. Man United are fun again.
However it remains to be seen how effective this approach will be when our attackers lose form, confidence etc. (inevitable at some point), and our defence is still relatively poor. The questions then will be: Can he organise a solid defence? Can he coach a masterful defensively tactical performance against a clearly better attacking team (Liverpool/City)? How will he cope when an unhappy/disruptive player pops up?
I think when those questions (along with others around long term vision, transfer market abilities etc.) are asked we will have a clearer answer as to whether Ole, along with the coaching team who also deserve immense credit, is the man for the long term. For now I’m enjoying the ride.
Seriously, did Dimitar Berbatov run over Gregory Whitehead’s dog or something?
The guy left United six years ago and he really wasn’t that bad, he played 108 times and scored 48 goals (which puts him more or less half way between the performance of Fernando Torres at Liverpool and Fernando Torres at Chelsea over pretty similar numbers of games) – neither exceptional or woeful but he did just fine.
But then I read a bloody boring 8 paragraph missive from Gregory which was just a set up for his trusty go to “Dimiflop Berbaflop” punchline that really gets the crowd laughing!
The thing is, it’s not at all funny, or in the least bit witty so why on earth have you been bringing it up over and over again for the better part of a bloody decade? Did you get a laugh out of it down the pub one time and convince yourself that if you say it enough times it’ll get another laugh one day? Or more likely, given the level of sophistication, did you get said laugh at a nine-year-old’s LFC themed birthday party?
Well, for the love of god, please stop because it really isn’t working. In fact, I would go so far as to say that when it comes to giving people funny nicknames, you’re pretty much a Gregorflop Whiteflop.
See – it works just as well with your name, which is to say, it doesn’t work at all.
I know Gregory W is just trying to troll, but I just can’t resist.
Berbatov won 2 Premier League titles and a golden boot at United (with a PL goals to game ratio of 0.44%). I was never his biggest fan, as I felt his style was completely opposed to how we played, but he was hardly a flop.
Plus I was slightly surprised he managed to look past Andy Carroll as Liverpool’s worst signing. £35m transfer, £5.83m a goal, 0.14% goal to game ratio. In one word, Crap.
Big MUFC (Manchester)
…In response to Gregory Whitehead, LFC, I’m actually a little bit sickened at my desk reading the suggestion that Berbatov at United was even close to the biggest flop in the PL era. While he may not have hit the heights that we expected of him, he shouldn’t even be in this discussion.
48 goals in 108 games, not too bad considering he wasn’t an automatic starter.
Top goal scorer in the league in 2010/11, leading United to a 19th league title (maybe that’s why you don’t like him?)
A hat trick against Liverpool (maybe THAT’S why you don’t like him)
One of five players to score 5 goals in one PL game.
Four hat tricks in four seasons at United.
And a first touch so delicate that he could control an egg dropped from a second floor window without breaking it.
Put some respect on the man’s name.
…Not sure what Gregory Whitehead’s been smoking.
Liverpool have had bigger flops than Djibril Cisse.
And of course, the mercurial El Hadji Diouf.
And that’s just in the striking department.
Also, Berbatov’s scoring rate for Man Utd was better than 1 in 3. All of the above did much worse for Liverpool.
Bryan Chua, Man Utd, (Adam, Aspas, Aquilani…)
Gregory Whitehead, LFC. Without doubt Roque Santa (Stinky) Cruz (17.5m) and Jo (19m). Both were emphatic Sparky Hughes signings with the first scoring just 2 (I think) goals and the second just one. Now there’s value for money.
Oh, and I can’t mention signing World Player Of The Year and Ballon D’or winner George Weah at 33 years old as I’ll have to get back into the bath with the vim and scrubbing brush (the REALLY harsh one).
Mark (Oh the shame). MCFC
…In reply to Gregory Whiteheads question: Most people will say Torres but I think that Roberto Soldado was an even bigger flop. Despite this I’m going to say Adrian Mutu.
Jack Feival, NYC
Very much enjoying the nostalgia trip of Mike Paul’s Diamond Geezers, and as I read the latest instalment I thought I recognised the name Delroy Gordon for some reason…
He never made an appearance for Rushden before leaving for Kettering and seemingly had a decent career in non-league football before returning to AFC Rushden & Diamonds later in his career. None of this is why I knew the name though…it was because in Football Manager 19 I’d just appointed him as a Chief Scout for Boston United!
Oh and to make this a bit more relevant…I actually quite like the FA Cup and am looking forward to this weekends games, shocks (or not) and all – please note sent before Spurs visit to Selhurst Park (and forgetting last night at Stamford Bridge too…)
Dave Kingston – London
Nev and Keano wouldn’t recognise a bad manager
Ashley (lets hope they don’t turn it off again though) Metcalfe made some good points, but missed one of the most important ones regarding former players like Neville and Keane as pundits. Neither ever played for a bad manager (Clough and Ferguson) so how would they know how to properly evaluate the job? Consider your own line of work. You have opinions on your current manager that are mostly made up through the lens of your former managers. Your current one is bad because they don’t exhibit some trait that your former favourite did. Or the new manager seems really competent because they check in with you to get your input just like that gem of a guy Jonathan used to do. How are Gary and Roy supposed to understand the full spectrum of manager quality when the only bad managers they can reference are themselves?
Fred: ‘Liverpool fans are utterly unfamiliar with, & seemingly completely immune to: Bad Luck. I sincerely hope you’ll get to experience some bad luck, injuries, unkind deflections, bad refereeing decisions etc. then you’ll know how the rest of us feel!’
Off the top of my head, and in no more than 5 minutes, here’s a totally non-comprehensive list of examples:
Bad luck: Willian’s equaliser at Anfield last season came from a shanked cross going into the top corner in a 1-1 draw – two points dropped
Injuries: Our best player getting injured in the first 20 minutes of the 2018 Champions League Final
Currently being without four right-back options (TAA, Gomez, Milner, Fabinho) leaving an 18 year old winger (Camacho) and a 16 year old kid (Hoever) as the only viable options (or Alberto Moreno)
Unkind deflections: Darren Bent’s beach ball goal vs Sunderland
Newcastle’s goal in the 1-1 draw at St James last season coming from their only ‘shot’ on target, courtesy of a Matip tackle which deflected off Joselu’s shin and into the bottom corner – two points dropped
James Milner’s own goal vs Roma in the Champions League semi-final – this one’s actually pretty funny
Karim Benzema’s interception of Karius’ rollout going into the bottom corner in the Champions League Final to open the scoring
Bed refeering decisions: Raheem Sterling being given wrongly offside (the BBC match report called it a shocking decision) when scoring against Man City in December 2013, costing Liverpool one point and earning Man City two points. Liverpool finished two points behind Man City that season.
Two offside goals allowed for Watford on the opening day of last season in a 3-3 draw – two points dropped
Everton’s penalty at Anfield in a 1-1 draw last season was questionable, as were the two Spurs penalties in the 2-2 draw
Mane’s goal vs Arsenal being disallowed for offside at the Emirates this season in a 1-1 draw – two points dropped
…OK Fred. I’ll bite. You say Liverpool never have bad luck, injuries, unkind deflections, bad refereeing decisions etc. Firstly on injuries this is pot luck every team gets them. Spurs are having a bad run with injuries. I sympathise. But then again I’d be blaming your chairman and back room staff for not having better back up. You knew Son was going to the Asia Cup months ago. Why not sign a couple of players on loan? As for bad luck well since 2012 Liverpool lost an FA Cup final after being centimetres from getting back to 2-2 with that Carroll header. 2014 they lost the league title because of firstly Sterling was wrongly flagged offside in the Christmas Man City game when he was two yards onside! A crucial and awful refereeing decision. Then of course Gerrard’s slip. A piece of such awful dire luck that at matches fans of other teams still lampoon Liverpool about today (even when they aren’t playing Liverpool!). 2018 CL final our best player gets injured after half an hour and is forced out of the game. Our keeper then goes to throw the ball out and it deflects against an opposition players leg and even though it could have gone anywhere it goes exactly into the corner of the net! Oh and not sure you’ve read this but there’s proof of our general bad luck last season in the study commissioned by The University of Bath and ESPN which concluded Liverpool were the unluckiest team in the league and should have had 12 more points but for poor refereeing decisions. Not for one bit moaning about these decisions but pointing out that bad luck happens to every team. Yes we’ve probably had more good luck than bad luck this season but I think by this stage Liverpool have earned some good luck! I like watching Spurs. They play good football. You should have a bit more faith and maybe your luck will turn. Its frustrating when you feel luck is against you. Believe me I know how that feels. Chin up!
Derek, LFC, Dublin
…Is this Fred guy who wrote in on Friday afternoon the same Fred who made a tool of himself the other day on the fixture conspiracy? I’m no Liverpool fan (in fact, behind Spurs, they are my least favourite fan base), but a Spurs fan complaining about how unlucky with injuries they are is surely idiotic trolling. Fred, check the number of games which Kane and Alli have played together over the past 3 seasons. It is something around 95% of all games played. They have almost never been out of the side. Any sane objective person would in fact rightly believe that Spurs have in fact been the luckiest team of any over the past 3 seasons with injuries. This has masked their terrible transfer policy and kept Levy from being strung up. Wafer thin top quality first 11, but they never get injured. Until now. Welcome to the real world Fred. I would discuss my own team’s unbelievably bad luck with season ending injuries by way of comparison but I wouldn’t want to dilute or detract from the ridicule which hopefully Fred will be subjected to for his un-F365 worthy crying and bedwetting.
Did a Scouse fan just write an email claiming that Spurs fans were obsessed with Liverpool (and not the other way round) by referencing and gloating about a game 5 years ago that no Spurs fan could remember.
It’s most definitely like rain on your wedding day.
Gareth (Phoenix marching on for the A League), Wellington
Radio Ga Ga
To Wheeler LFC: I never cease to be utterly, utterly bewildered by anyone suggesting, implying or plain old simply stating that they ‘like’ Talksport.
I have never.. ever… ever… ever heard such total and utter folderol, wish-wash, trumpery and drivel, as you get from the those bunch of sapheads.
So when I read Wheeler confirm that Talksport’s belonging to News Corp “hasn’t affected the quality radio they offer “… I can only assume it was a minor typo and should read “hasn’t affected the quality of radio they offer (i.e. it is still total and utter, utter, utter bollocks)”