Farewell, Berba, you beautiful, underrated b*stard…

Date published: Friday 20th September 2019 2:35

Dimitar Berbatov Manchester United

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Bye bye, Berba
I’ve just read that Dimitar Berbatov is retiring. What a bloody great player. I’ve been a Manchester United fan since 1994ish and he’s probably my favourite player from that 25-year period. He was one of those players who had preternatural levels of skill (particularly controlling the ball – it just used to land on him and stick, like someone had thrown a wet sock at him), but was still relatable in that he actually seemed to enjoy playing football, like pretty much everyone does except professional footballers, and sometimes couldn’t be arsed to run about, again like pretty much everyone except professional footballers. And he scored a lot of goals, too. In terms of cult favourites at United, for me he’s up there with Andrei Kanchelskis, John O’Shea and Javier Hernandez, although the best player out of all of them (yep, even better than John O’Shea).

Not sure how you can win the Golden Boot, win the league, and still be massively underrated, but there you go. Maybe ‘running around a lot’ still counts for more than you’d think.

Cheers,
Dan, (apparently he smoked rollies the whole time too, although that might not be true) Brighton

 

Are the kids really alright?
Lots of references to “these days” etc but what I would posit is “thanks to social media, do you really think kids are ready to handle the pressure, the abuse, the scrutiny and money that football fame gives them?”

I would suggest that they never have been but having seen so many instances of mental health go un-checked, I would say they’re never going to be. So why not keep them in the youth setup to actually give them a chance to build some resilience?

I think it’s a great idea. How many kids have been the next best thing hyped beyond belief only to fall on their arses a couple of years later? I think your point on Bojan is a salient one, the guy ended up at Stoke FFS, Stoke!

I’m sure you’ll get replies saying that the kids are our future etc etc, but I would counter that by saying that kids are only what we adults train them to be. How you coach them, bring them up, what you expose them to, is all done by schools and parents so, like Greta Thunberg, kids are only used to further adults own campaigns and virtue signalling.

Do you think Greta has her own mind? No, it’s been coached into her by her parents and schools to further their own agenda. She is now the media face of middle-class rebellion and will end up, no doubt, on the mental health scrapheap in a few years just like Mr Culkin.

Despite how people have tried to make this world into one that is safe for kids, it really isn’t and I believe we need to protect them more now than we ever have because they are anxious, self-obsessed narcissists driven by excessive exposure to social media. Not a basis for a stable mind.
Fat Man (king of the stable mind, probably)

 

16 conclusions on Man Utd

…Cheese and rice, who pissed on Ashley Metcalfe’s chips? I don’t know how it looked on TV but from the stands the only thing I found disappointing was that we only had one clinical finish. Some conclusions:

  1. Sergio Romero is a decent back-up ‘keeper but I can’t shake the feeling that he’s got a major blooper in him, though none appeared last night. He didn’t have a save to make, but a clean sheet is always welcome.
  2. Dalot did well enough on his return to action, though you could tell he was short of fitness in the last 20 minutes. He’s a bit more attack-minded than Wan-Bissaka and while not all of his crosses were pinpoint accurate, he kept plugging away and did create some good openings.
  3. Tuanzebe was our best defender. He looks really calm and composed, whether with the ball at his feet or confronting an opposition striker. He is really good in the air, pretty strong and surprisingly nimble. If either Maguire or Lindelof was unavailable for any reason then I would have no qualms about Axel coming into the team.
  4. I can’t say the same about Jones. He’s good at two things: putting the ball into touch and pulling ridiculous facial expressions. He makes everything look like it’s the hardest task in the world; I can’t imagine anyone was in for him this summer. Fourth choice CB at best.
  5. I also thought Rojo was pretty decent on the left. He did, in fact, put in a number of good crosses, at least two of which Rashford should have buried. Having a natural lefty in that position is always preferable to a right-footer, in my opinion. Young is still ahead of him in the pecking order, but Rojo is capable of doing a job (in certain games).
  6. Matic wasn’t anywhere near as bad as he was against Leicester. There were typical Matic moments, where he lost possession and failed to keep up with the subsequent attack, but this isn’t a new phenomenon. If he moves on in January/next summer then I wouldn’t be disappointed (assuming we signed a replacement).
  7. I thought Fred was very good. He continued where he left off against Leicester and showed some good touches, decent vision and movement, and wasn’t far away from finding the net with a long shot. It wasn’t a perfect performance but there was far more good than bad.
  8. Angel Gomes was, in my opinion, our best performer on the night. He showed attacking intent from the off, good touches and movement, really good link-up play with his fellow attackers, and never shied away from the ball. He actually seems able to take a set piece too, which is a wonder for United. He looks mature beyond his years and, as I’ve said before, looks the most capable of making the step up right now. He contributed more in his 68 minutes than Lingard has since December.
  9. Chong was a little disappointing. It never really came off for him, his touches nervy and his approach a little tentative. It won’t be his last chance, and there is a good player there, but a confidence boost would definitely be welcome.
  10. Greenwood spent most of the night out on the right wing but when he came into the middle he was taking up excellent positions, showing good predatory instinct. The biggest problem was that he never received the ball in those areas, but I feel that he would have if James had been playing. His goal was very well taken and it was fantastic to see him make the chance for himself. More starts please!
  11. Rashford was probably the biggest disappointment of the night. He could and should have scored at least three in the first half but, through a combination of ineptitude and good positioning from their ‘keeper (who played pretty well, I thought) it wasn’t to be. He’s just not a striker and I doubt he ever will be. In the second half he spent more time out wide and instantly looked more menacing, where his pace is more of an asset.
  12. The subs were uninspiring but that is no surprise given the paucity of options. Lingard managed a shot at least, but is guilty of playing too many needless passes so that someone else can take responsibility. I’m not convinced Mata has much to offer this squad beyond his experience at this point, as much as I love him his influence on games is virtually non-existent at the moment – hopefully that will change as the season goes on but the early signs don’t look good. Young was just normal Young – solid 6/7 out of 10.
  13. If you were counting, that was eight players making their first starts of the season, three of whom had just 1 senior start between them before last night. Scoring goals has been a problem all season (except the fluke Chelsea game), so it was no surprise that continued last night. However, we did score and, even better, it was a young player making his European debut who did it.
  14. Astana offered very little going forward and are a fairly limited team but that’s a good thing; we need to figure out how to break down stubborn defences like theirs, because it’s something we will continue to encounter regularly. We did break through while looking solid enough at the back and, while there will be sterner tests to come, I was happy enough with how we did.
  15. There’s still obvious gaps in the squad that need to be filled – central midfield continues to look light on quality/numbers, as does our forward line (either a striker or a wide player is needed, depending on what the plan for Greenwood is), but if we can give some of these young players more chances then perhaps it’ll be alright. It’s a shame Garner didn’t get on, but there was no real need for a midfield change last night, so hopefully he’ll feature against Rochdale next week.
  16. Overall, I don’t know what people were expecting from last night. We have a pretty small squad, which is already hampered with injuries and some uninspiring rotation options, so it was inevitable that it was a bit disjointed. I’m chuffed that we gave youth a chance though, as these lads are never going to improve if they aren’t given a platform to prove themselves. A 1-0 win flattered Astana but we won and played well, so I’m happy. Consecutive wins and clean sheets, while resting a couple of regular starters – going into the West Ham game this is a much better position than the one we were in prior to the Leicester game.

Ted, Manchester

 

 

…Footballing opinions are amazing things, in this morning’s mailbox you have people lamenting United’s performance as pedestrian and poor yet I saw some of the kids get a run out, 3 points, hitting the woodwork twice and their keeper making 3 or 4 excellent saves. Playing against any team with 10 players packed into the box isn’t easy for any team so to berate a team who actually managed to find a breakthrough and played a patient passing game to try and break them down smacks of the usual knee jerk reactionary bullshit we get every time United don’t score 5. Rojo wasn’t as bad as people make out, Matic is slow but we already knew that so why get your knickers in a twist when he does exactly what we thought he would do. All in all it was a good night, Greenwood scored and will get more game time, Gomez looked like he can really push on to get some first team action and Phil Jones showed Ole why he should be nowhere near the first 11, chill out people we won.
Paul Murphy, Manchester

 

RIP, Ricksen
Scottish and indeed European football suffered the sad loss of Fernando Ricksen on Wednesday.
He sadly had motor neurons diseases, when he was diagnosed he was given 18 months to live. That was 6 years ago and typified the character of Fernando, a real fighter.
I sat behind him on a plane to Valencia a couple of years ago and it was heartbreaking to see him suffering so much.
He was a colourful character and really matured into a cracking player at Rangers, becoming captain and winninh many trophies at the club and sharing player of the year one season with John Hartson.
Fernando with the help of the club raised a lot of money to help fight this heinous disease and hopefully one day they will find a cure to stop people dying whilst in their prime.
There have been some wonderful tributes to Fernando , from club legends and a touching one from Celtic manager Neil Lennon who had many battles with him in Old Firm matches. But with Fernando being Dutch when Feyenoord came to Ibrox last night for their Europa league tie it was always going to be emotional . After a minutes silence in the 2nd minute the fans started applauding and the players from both sides actually stopped playing to join in. Before the referee made the players continue. But it was a truly touching moment.
My thoughts are with his wife and young daughter. RIP Fernando you fought it like the lion of a player you were.
Neil, Glasgow

 

Citeh break
Can people stop using the word “Citeh” when talking about Manchester City. We’d all know which team you’re talking about if you just used “City”. It’s not like you spell every other club as if being spoken by a local (e.g. Liverpule, Noocastle), so why do it with City? You actually voluntarily type an extra letter! I’ve managed to bite my tongue long enough, had to get that of my chest, doing my head in. Sorry for the rant.
Tiss, THFC (in a North London accent)

 

We can but hope
I wonder if there’ll be weeks of “Why can’t the rugby players be more like the footballers?” if the England rugby team doesn’t get to at least the semi-finals in their World Cup? 🤔
Matthew, Belfast

 

Mediawatching F365
Dear MC,

Never mind woke, that was the most meta I’ve ever seen F365 be in the 15 years I’ve been visiting the site. Bravo!
JazGooner

 

…Noticed this morning an interesting contradiction of the ‘F365 Says’ articles. Right next to each other were ‘Children shouldn’t play adult football‘ and ‘Give Mason Greenwood more chances‘.
I appreciate that the editorial pieces are subjective and are based on each writer’s opinion but such a contrast made me think a debate-style piece could be interesting.
Rather than the writer having a monologue to the audience, getting them to discuss the issue and pick each other’s argument apart could be compelling and might allow a deeper look at a topic.
Just the musings of a man sat on the toilet at work but interested to see if there is appetite for this?
Richard, DRFC

 

The real premier league
Squeezing in JN’s article late on a Friday afternoon so there’s no time for people to give it a good panning in the mailbox in the hope it will be forgotten before Monday?
Finlay x

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