Hart example is difference between Man Utd and City

Date published: Wednesday 8th January 2020 4:28

Joe Hart Burnley

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Joe Hart at Man Utd
If Joe Hart signed for Man Utd instead of Man City in 2006, he’d still be at Utd now, regularly playing games – instead of being sold, he’d be constantly given a new contract.

If Jesse Lingard was a Man City youth product, he’d have left the club about 5 years ago currently being a squad player at Burnley.

While there are many differences between the two clubs at the moment, another big one is the retention of below average players. The lack of ruthlessness at Utd for both players & managers who aren’t performing to the standard expected at a club of that size continues to set the club back year after year. A point emphasised by the fact that the club captain is 34 year old Ashley Young in his 9th season at the club. Perhaps him & Phil Jones can have a joint testimonial next year?


Maguire turned out to be the new Carroll
Back in August, I wrote in with a mail writing how Maguire was Manyoos very own Andy Carroll, an embarrassing over spending on a bang average player. I also wrote back in August that I suspected that Leicester would actually finish above manyoo this season, making the whole situation even more hilarious. This mail prompted a bunch of defiant and triggered manyoo fans to attack me for my ‘nonsense mail’ and shower me with reasons why Maguire was the second coming of Baresi.

Here we are now in January. The climax of the situation was Maguire turning slower than the Titanic as Lacazette took his sweet time turning himself and making Maguire look like a drunk elephant when Arsenal played Manyoo recently. So to all the triggered manyoo fans, cooler minds will prevail, and hopefully you all can agree with what was blatantly obvious as far back as the summer
johnnyWicky, Toronto


Getting real about Ole’s wheel
Hi all,

First time I’ve found the time, want or will to write in for a while but I have just finished picking the dried stalks of grain from my mouth after witnessing the bust up between Ole’s defenders and Worzel Gummidge in the morning mailbox. Firstly nobody expected United to beat City, even with Pogba, McTominay, Best or Charlton nobody expected United to beat City. That is the state of play.

Ole’s defenders can bang on all they want about the chasm to City. Be it finances or overall organisational structure, all of which granted are out of his control. What is in his control is how to set up a team strategically and in that he fails spectacularly.

Give him time? Can I honestly ask what you(seamlessly transitioning into rant style direct addressing) have seen in two years to suggest he has any ideas about coaching and strategy of the game at a top level that suggests he deserves it? He liberated the oppressed under Mourinho and like a substitute teacher who fills in when the bastard one goes on holidays enjoyed a brief upturn in results. Then you can point to the big teams whose noses have been bloodied by the archaic counter attacking game only to be negated by the befuddlement that ensues when confronted with a low block.

Sarah was bang on in her piece and those wishing to wave it away need to realise lowering expectations and criticising Solskjaer’s lack of strategy or tactical plan are not mutually exclusive. His team was eviscerated and were it not for City slacking off and Sterling’s gaffes it would have been 5 or 6. The gulf in personnel cannot be the only reason for this.

Ole has shown time and time again that he’s a 90’s manager on a nostalgia tour. From parking spaces to commodifying sweat. Any sane Manchester United fan would take Poch’s lemons and tactical acumen in a heartbeat(remember that show? Ole does). He’s already resorting to referencing nostalgia under his own tenure with his PSG comments. Presumably hoping for City recruit Kimpembe in the next few weeks to hand United a penalty.
Damien Quill


Give. Him. Time
I rejoice each and every time I see United fans repeating this trope about OGS just as Mik, MUFC did in this morning’s mailbox. My absolute favourite is stuff like this..

“Give him time, accept that we are in for a rough ride, but success doesn’t come quickly or painlessly….just look at that Red lot down the road, they play some good football you know and they were a bit rubbish for a few years until that happened.”

It really is just utterly, utterly wonderful isn’t it? It seems to me that Mik is actually suggesting that the recipe for achieving “some good football” is to simply start out being rubbish and wait. If you want to really accelerate the process you can think about a strategy focusing on British players (notoriously overpriced: See Maguire, H) who don’t mind how much you pay them (see Rashford, M). If it becomes painful along the way then that’s definitely a good sign as everyone knows success doesn’t come without pain.

Fans of every other club in the country are hoping that OGS remains in place for as long as possible, just for slightly different reasons to Mik. I genuinely feared he was facing the sack at HT last night if things got any worse.

Kirky D, Belfast




So many holes in the defences of Ole in the morning mailbox it’s hard to know where to start, but here goes:

Firstly Mik, it’s not just about failing to beat City, but are you really brushing of the total failure to compete with a team we beat on their own patch a month ago as some kind of impossible task? You talk about expectation, and I think United fans have gotten pretty used to having our expectations managed over the last few years, but is it wrong to expect better results and performances against teams with a fraction of our resources? A league table of the calendar year 2019 shows United with 62 pts from 38 games, 30 and 36 behind City and Liverpool respectively and only 10 ahead of Newcastle and Everton who’ve generally been in some sort of crisis for good chunks of that period. And that 62 pts includes the run of wins after Ole’s appointment! So the results certainly aren’t getting any better and my god neither is the football. Counter attacking has served us well in some big games, though last night and the Emirates suggest teams are starting to work that out, but the performances against the bottom half are pitiful. We pass it around our back 4, painfully slowly, players standing still and taking 5 or 6 touches to trap the damn thing, then eventually someone lumps it forward and we lose it. No one seems to have a clue what they’re supposed to be doing! Yet the manager sits calmly on the side lines and even praises the team afterwards. The man has been in the job a full year and seems to have no ideas beyond this inexplicable, turgid rubbish. Does this actually get practiced in training?!

As for Dave’s laboured airport analogy, he seems to have missed the obvious. Having crashed the plane, you may (or may not) get off scot-free but you certainly wouldn’t be given a lucrative multi-year contract to fly commercial aircraft! The Glazers and Woodward may have shown themselves to be inept at managing the football side of the club, but they clearly aren’t going anywhere soon and the idea that a manger who is hopelessly out of his depth should be retained until they do is nonsense.

I loved Ole as a player, and I know that sacking him won’t solve everything, but he’s not up to the job and he has to go.
Ray R, Man Utd, Manchester


You can only play the hand you’re holding
My 2c on this Ole debate. Firstly, two things can both be true: Ole is not showing the managerial and coaching required to be at one of the biggest jobs in his profession, AND, his inability to put out a first XI that can compete is not his fault.

The second point is one I wanted to touch on. People tout the huge sums United have spent since Fergie left – correctly – as a reason why United should be performing better. But, that kind of ignores a pretty massive point – Ole can only field those fit and still at the club.

United have spent about £760m since Fergie left – huge – but let’s break that down. 37% of that value is gone, no longer at the club. A further 31% is currently injured and unavailable. That leaves 32% available to Ole last night. Put another way, 5 years of transfers left him just shy of £250m worth of players to field, against a City first XI all bought in the same period worth about £400m.

Now money is not everything, but Ole is only able to put out a third of the ‘investment’ in the team that everyone harps on about.

Clearly the issue isn’t just Ole, but the lack of both coherent investment (almost 40% of purchases in 5 seasons have failed!) and also, it appears, medical staff.

United are a mess.
Ryan, Bermuda


It’s not the players
There’s two sides to the Ole debate. There are those that say give him time to rebuild and he might come good and others who say he’s not good enough and should never have got the job. Those on the “give him time” side argue that the players are not good enough. “What is he supposed to do?” they say. A key part of this argument is that other managers have come, tried and failed. It must be the players right? Wrong. It’s not the players.

United have had 4 different managers since Ferguson left, so it’s easy to assume that the payers must be at fault if so many managers have been tried. But really have a look at who united have hired. Honestly, it’s not the players.

Moyes: This should barely need an explanation but the man was plainly never United material. It was obvious to most. In 10 years with Everton, never won away at the top 4 (remember those days?). Shockingly poor cup record and  terrible in Europe. Hiring Moyes was like hiring your top supermarket till worker to run the store. Good at what he does, but not up to the top job.

Van Gaal: This is one that has always confused me. The failure of Van Gaal is seen as some sort of proof that it couldn’t be the manager. As if people wonder, how could a manager of his class possibly fail? The question I ask is why would you have expected him to succeed? He went into the United job with fans enthusiastic about the Dutch in the World Cup. The same Dutch who had one good game in the whole tournament, scraped past Australia and Mexico and only beat Costa Rica on penalties. Yes, he had won the Champions League. In 1995. His record post 2000 is shocking. One Dutch title and one Bundesliga (won with Bayern Munich). Sacked by Barcelona (they were 20 points off the top) and sacked by Bayern Munich. What in that track record was it that convinced anyone he would do a good job?

Mourinho: Speaking of living in the past. Mourinho did exactly as was expected. He was actually pretty good. 2nd in the league with 81 points (the same as Leicester when they won it and more than the 99 treble winners). That alone should prove it is possible to get good results with the squad. But then of course, it collapsed. Because it’s Mourinho.

Ole: Poor, sweet Ole. A nice bloke but clearly out of his depth.

Honestly, it’s not the players. Of course, the squad needs new blood. But there is more than coincidence in the fact that every player who has gone to United has got worse. There’s a tendency to look with hindsight and think “oh, Klopp is lucky, he started with good players or bought good players.” Does anyone believe that if Wijnaldum, Henderson, Roberton, TAA, Firminho, Mane, Salah, Ox, Matip etc. were at United they would be playing as well as they are now? I’m not saying that United’s squad is perfect but there is far more in there than the players are showing. Do you really think that if Guardiola or Klopp worked with the United squad, they couldn’t improve them?

As a Liverpool fan, I’m happy for Ole to get as long as possible, but it’s quite clear he isn’t good enough. He’s massively over promoted and he could have all the time in the world, but he’s never going to be the man to fix the sinking ship. United may have tried 4 different mangers, but what they haven’t done is tried one with any recent history of building a squad, promoting youth and developing the players that he has. Those managers are out there and the challenge of rebuilding United would surely appeal to one of them.

The fundamental job of the manager is to do the best with what he has. No United manager since Ferguson (one Jose season aside) has done that. You can criticise the squad, but United are 2 points ahead of Sheffield United. Are you honestly telling me that’s down to the squad? Or could it perhaps be the manager? You can give as much time as you like to buy never players and bed them in, but if your manager can’t get the most out of them it’s never going to make a difference.

Honestly, it’s not the players.
Mike, LFC, London


What did we expect from United yesterday?
I have seen some tweets and emails from United fans whinging and whining about the performance yesterday and although I understand their frustration as a United fan myself, why are people constantly bitching when we lose or draw matches? Are United fans so blind to see that United aren’t the team they used to be? Tough times are going to happen over the next 4-5 years if we decide to keep the same board and backroom staff in the team. It is a desperate time, as its a matter of keeping faith or going for change once again.

Just look at the City line up compared to the United one yesterday and compare the quality between the two. Rodri, KDB and Gundogan were the starting midfielders, while our starting midfield was Periera, Fred and Lingard. I am not saying these midfielders for United are bad players (Well Jesse is to be honest, he had one good season for United in his entire career), but the difference in quality was scary. We were lucky not to be 5-0 down by half time if Sterling had his shooting boots on.

Ole completely cocked up the starting line up too. Young should have started ahead of Williams. Williams did well against Traore the other day, but someone like Mahrez is different class and knows exactly what to do with the ball at his feet. Matic or Mata should have started ahead of Lingard. Oh and Phil Jones starting? Really Ole? Fuck it, maybe no one else was available. Also can we please just at least TRY and sell Rojo, Bailly and Jones? My 80 year old grandmother who is in the hospital at the moment has better fitness than all 3 combined.

I think Ed Woodward’s days are numbered now and some people in the board have to leave via protests from the fans or someone higher up making some key decisions because they are playing a guessing game in the transfer market and have done so for the last 5-6 years. Get Van Der Sar in as the Director of Football and possibly a new manager at the end of the season depending on where United finish and if they can win the Europa League.

I stopped watching the game after 60 mins yesterday, but I can’t blame the players on this occasion. They probably looked at the City players in the tunnel and were instantly shitting themselves. No leadership in the dressing room or on the pitch. Rashford was captain yesterday. Says it all.
Rami, London


Ole and finding a wife
As a successful businessman the only thing I’ve longed for to complete my life is a loving wife.
I dated a lovely well grounded working class girl who worked at Greggs. Unfortunately she couldn’t fit in with my industry colleagues and argued with them because they’re all Tories.
So I went for an older woman, she was classy, using her life experience to help me build a secure future for myself. Inevitably I got bored because I’m young and don’t want a family yet, and I cheated on her with a beautiful former high class escort whom I knew was crazy. We had an exciting whirlwind relationship but eventually her psycho behaviour came out and I had to change the locks…..

At a party I bump into my cousin, she’s not much of a looker and dribbles on herself. But she’s a nice person and keeps smiling at me. In a drunken state, and on the rebound, I have sex with my cousin and it’s surprisingly the best lay I’ve had in a while. Even though inbreeding can have disastrous consequences should I marry my cousin because she’s different to the women I’ve dated before?

The answer is no. And Ole shouldn’t keep his job just because you didn’t like previous managers, even though two of them actually won stuff.
Allen (That might have been too long)


Where can Man Utd’s unwanted go?
Like every other supporter base United’s are hoping to see some of the dross they’ve accumulated over the last few years leave the club. But where will they go?

Unfortunately, the traditional ‘avenues of departure’ are somewhat closed.

1) Sunderland – Skint & in third tier
2) Everton – Not managed by Fergies mate anymore (Moyes) and sights set higher with the money thats been  invested
3) Middlesborough – Second tier & young English manager with no ties to United
4) Mark Hughes is out of work
5) Steve Bruce at a club not recently renowned for ‘high profile’ signings
6) Ex manager Moyes now employed at a club allegedly with teenager with skills picked up playing computer games in charge of player recruitment. Highly unlikely to rate the likes of Phil Jones.

If you add this to the ludicrous wages that the other clubs know that these players are on you can see why a lot of them will be hanging around for a bit longer.
Graeme (still worried about Matic) Ware, Herts


Conclusions on Man Utd 1-3 Man City…
Just a few conclusions on last night:

There are truly no words to describe just how catastrophically, devastatingly bad we were last night. What made that first half even worse is that Pep blatantly explained prior to the match how he was going to beat us – by negating out pace – and we played right into his hands.

Just to illustrate the point further: City scored three goals in 38 first half minutes without a striker on the pitch and kept a clean sheet for 70 minutes with only one centre back. If that doesn’t highlight the chasmic gulf in class between the two teams then I don’t know what does.

And I’m not having that injuries are the sole fault of this. Jones did not have to play last night at all, I don’t care who is injured. Di’Shon Bernard completely outshone him in his Europa League (despite the unfortunate own goal) and could not possibly have done any worse than either Jones or Lindelof managed. James Garner and Dylan Levitt could not have done any worse than either Lingard or Pereira. Only Ole can take the blame for these totally inept first teamers constantly letting us down because he’s the one cotinually putting them in.

Another thing Ole has to take the blame for is the “sideways and backwards passes” he bemoaned in his post match interview. If only there was someone at the club, a figurehead of sorts, who could pass on instructions and advice to the players. Maybe even organise some session in between games where they could, like, practice things pertaining to football. Solskjaer’s main responsibility is how the team plays, so it’s more than a bit rich to criticise what his players were doing when he is the only one who can change that.

I thought both Fred and Williams were lucky to still be on the pitch at the end of the game. Fred could easily have picked up two (or more) yellows while Williams could easily have seen red for that terrifying, reckless lunge on Mahrez. Mike Dean was more than a little generous last night.

I almost wish that Rashford hadn’t scored that consolation goal because it perpetuates the tenuous idea that we are somehow still in the tie. That goal, coupled with City’s (Sterling’s) profligacy in the first half, is the only reason that we didn’t lose by six or seven – which, arguably, we should have done, such was City’s dominance. As far as I can see, unless our fortunes dramatically change for the better in the intervening period then it’s going to be more of the same in the second leg.

I felt really sorry for Greenwood, Rashford and James. Once again, all three put in more than the required effort but received absolutely no support from the midfield. I only remember Greenwood receiving the ball in central attacking positions twice and on those occasions he played a key pass to Rashford and set up Rashford for the goal, and Ole’s tactics played into City’s hands, meaning James’ and Rashford’s pace was nullified from the off. By the time City let us back in in the second half, James was absolutely knackered, having run himself into the ground trying to make something happen.

As it happens, my (tongue-in-cheek) comment from yesterday – about any other player being the right player – wasn’t actually all that far off the mark. By the way, I would argue that any of Herrera, Blind, Fellaini, Schneidlerin or even Schweinsteiger could do a better job for us right now than most of our current midfield options, especially based on last night’s performance.

Next up it’s Norwich at home, so goodness only knows what that will bring. One thing is for sure, however; if this squad is not added to in January then it’s going to be a long, shitty second half of the season, with more performances like last night a distinct possibility.
Ted, Manchester


Whose fault is it really?
To extend Dave, Somewhere’s BA example from this morning, whilst it wouldn’t be your fault, you’d still be a sh*t pilot.
KC (Ole is the worst of the lot… so far)


Players platform
Just read Dan Bridges’ piece on the Super Cup in Spain and also felt the general sense of disappointment at the Spanish federation exporting a domestic tournament for a huge sum of money. As Dan said there are many sad issues surrounding this issue and the piece articulated them very well. There was a point at the end though, which is perhaps worthy of more discussion; the players platform for speaking out on contentious subjects.

Dan writes that Jurgen Klopp sidestepped the Qatari Club World Cup issue by stating that athletes should not say anything and instead expect the organisers and associations to discuss the decisions they make. Dan obviously disagrees, but I feel this is another instance of looking at the situation in too simplistic terms. I think the point Klopp was trying to make was… organisers and associations/federations actually make the decisions, the media should start by grilling them, for they have the onus to justify their actions. In Liverpool’s case; they were invited to the competition as European Cup winners. They are expected to attend. They have zero influence on hosts, zero discussion about their thoughts or preferences, as are the other continental champions, and any complaints they do have would be expected to be discreetly directed to FIFA. Liverpool as a club have conflicting interests. They are not political. They are a business. They are not a think tank that can analyse and conduct an investigation in to the Qatari working conditions and equality within its society. Whatever comment they make will fall foul of some stakeholder party. Why, when Liverpool have nothing to do with the situation should they suffer speaking about something that itself is a highly complex situation. What is the right thing to do about a Qatari Club World Cup? Does the benefit to the indigenous people being afforded opportunity to see the games outweigh negatives around their own subjugation or exploitation? Is the media spotlight on equality, diversity, working/employment rights outweighed by the negative of those the same social inconsistencies? How do you even quantify these concerns and positives to tread a line between them, and how much expectation can there be on professional athletes to wade into these complex discussions when realistically they are not educated or experienced in the problems they would be commenting on?

Obviously, sports stars do weigh in on social issues. We have Raheem Sterling highlighting that black footballers are treated differently, much more negatively, than their white counterparts. Racism is clearly still a blight on our society and a major issue within football. He helped to address the issue, he helped to shine a light on what effect this type of abuse has on a human being. He helped to make a positive difference. But this is a type of scenario where a footballer can speak from personal experience about an issue they have experienced their entire life. He has motivation and conviction to speak about the issue, but be aware, it could have played out very differently. Raheem could have ended up as the preening, privileged sports star who expects poor innocent idiots to bottle their bigotry up inside, creating a powder keg of unpleasant emotion that explodes in their under-represented families faces. Or some such nonsense. Either way, he felt moved to put himself in the firing line for a reason, but every time a player does they run the risk of falling foul of media or public perception. Things can quickly go downhill from there.

Sports stars are afforded a valuable platform but they are not politicians. They are not awarded this position because their opinions are sought, respected or warranted. This might sound a little negative, but my perception is that plenty of footballers aren’t the sharpest pencils in the pencil case. There is nothing wrong with that, and they can be lovely, generous people, but they might not have the skillset to verbally articulate any contentious opinions they do have. They probably do not want to run the gauntlet of offending people on the whim of an available soapbox. Their media training is primarily focused around saying as little as possible, and there is good reason for that, to protect them.

We already expect our professional footballers to have whiter-than-white attitudes and actions. They are expected to grow up in the spotlight yet suffer none of the pitfalls the rest of us fall into, do we really need to add to the unfair expectation? insisting that because people listen they should provide opinions on complex social issues. I wonder whether that might create more problems than it cures.
Ed Ern

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