Keep those lovely mails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org…
How could you not feel optimistic about Liverpool?
The race for the top 4 is going to be interesting again – as a bloke in his late 30s it’s still odd that high 60s points will do it when it used to be 75 minimum, but that’s the (welcome) effect of the big TV deals making everyone stronger versus the days of the big 4 in the 00s.
Anyway, the point of the mail is to say that, whatever the outcome of this season, Liverpool look by far the best positioned for next season to challenge the not-really-playing-by-the-financial-rules-champions. Wijnaldum may go and Mane may agitate for a move, but otherwise there will be funds from selling Origi and Shaq and we own two of the top 4 assist makers in the Championship. In defence, we have accidentally discovered that we have two young CBs that can deal with most-comers, if not all. Next season we will welcome back the best centre back in the world and one of England’s most promising. And Matip. And Kabak maybe – weirdly we could have 5 or 6 centre backs the manager and fans trust. Even the young back up keeper Kelleher looked better than Dean Henderson or Kepa. There is now some back up in the full back positions too, even if they will probably need game time in the cups. In midfield, Thiago is starting to look his best, Henderson will be back and Curtis Jones is the best under 21 player outside Foden.
Long story short, put your money on Liverpool to finish in the top 2 next season, probably behind the team with 15 squad members that cost over €40m, and their genius manager that can make amazing players play amazingly, but sometimes not.
Only one team was in it
I know there’s always a keen interest in reading all manner of outcomes from the United v Liverpool game but the reality is that United played the game with all the focus and intensity of a mid-table team that has avoided relegation and knows Europe is out of reach. With the exception of Cavani, Lindelof, and AWB, every single player seemed switched off. Whether it was the comfort of 2nd place, or the disruptions to preparation due to the protests, it was really a no-show.
Pogba was at his very worst, continuously losing the ball, and singlehandedly contriving both to give away a free kick and also to make a hash of marking Firminho for the resultant cross, in a masterclass of shooting yourself in the leg. This was also the worst of Fernandes, who despite the armband, set a particularly bad example spending much of the game writhing around on the floor for imagined and marginal fouls. Neither was able to offer Cavani much service, to even trouble the relatively raw centre halves. Rashford took his goal well but missed another sitter, and with yet another opportunity could have found Cavani in space. Luke Shaw was directly culpable for the 3rd goal. Fred and Matic unfortunately played into their narratives by giving the ball away at critical moments leading to the third and fourth goals.
You could see the confidence ebb in the team as the backline couldn’t find a pass for 20 minutes to get out of their own half. Still, in a game where we gifted 3 goals to Liverpool, and could have scored another 2 or 3 – including Cavani’s early miss and the goal line clearance from Greenwood, the game could have gone either way. Its easy for us to sit and comment on the players, but I’m going to say that focusing yourself through an intense season like this takes its toll and I’m quite happy to put this game behind us, and say well played to Liverpool, who turned up, were sharp to a man, and did what they needed to. They even managed to create a decoy bus to get past the protesters.
PS if the goal was given to Fernandes, then the assist would be AWB.
Ved Sen (MUFC)
An open letter to the Glazers:
You are in the business of making money. It is a thoroughly legal pursuit and, to be fair, many people judge success by its accumulation. Yet even those who have achieved enormous wealth do, at some point, come to understand that true fulfilment comes via giving. Furthermore, doing so leaves a legacy of goodwill that is far more gratifying than simply leaving millions that heirs will do doubt bicker over.
In light of recent events, I suggest that taking certain actions can not only help bridge the divide between yourselves and Manchester United supporters, but indeed bring transformation in both emotional and physical terms. Yes, better communication, refurbishment of Old Trafford, and a more regular presence in the city is needed. However, I propose one specific project that would truly give you a positive legacy while at the same time make Manchester United an even more famous and respected club: use your wealth and influence to regenerate United’s original home, Newton Heath.
Yes, instead of avoiding the green and gold, embrace it. Newton Heath has been left on the sidelines when it come to Manchester’s regeneration projects. A humble, proud, working class community has been left to suffer. No longer is their a local market, bustling high street, or needed refurbishment of the iconic church. In an area in which, other than a few streets named after former players who perished in the Munich Air Disaster, there is nothing to link United with its birthplace, a new partnership is waiting to be embraced.
Make it your project. Pump money into the local coffers. Help establish child care centres, install football pitches, spruce up the local parks, build and staff a job training site, create excitement at the renewal of the club’s ancestral home. And by all means take credit and put up signs acknowledging this rejuvenation. Then make the third kit permanently a green and gold heritage kit.
Full disclosure: I have spent most of my nearly sixty years living in California, but was born in Newton Heath. But, for me, it is still “home.” As it is for the club itself. But, this is an opportunity to prove the supporters wrong. Embrace it. There are only so many possessions to accumulate before they become meaningless toys. Making a tangible difference in the lives of people who often feel hopeless and neglected – priceless. Your move…
Bill (California Manc)
Pretty much every team has at least one player who goes down easily and pushes the boundary on gamesmanship in the premier League.
Liverpool have a couple, we all know who they are.
I don’t like it and I wish that referees would give freekicks when players stay on their feet then they’d be less likely to be dramatic (stats show refs do give more decisions to dramatic behaviour though)
But never in my 25 years or so of watching football have I ever seen a player do what Fernandes does.
After a very tame tackle from fabinho he threw himself to the floor and screamed loud enough for us to hear it. It actually made me break into laughter because he sounded like an old lady being pushed off a cliff.
I hope he keeps doing it because I genuinely find it funny, but id be embarassed to be his teammate or fan. Roy Keane commented after the game that Fernandes screaming was annoying him, and I imagine it annoyed more people too because it is embarrassing to see a grown man not only fling himself to the floor (that’s part of the game, I accept it) but to also literally scream like a woman in child birth as well.
Like I said I’m not absolving anyone else from gamesmanship, they all do it. But that screaming like a girl thing…that’s specifically a united trait.
Riddle me this…
Why do United fans only do the mass protest against the Glazers when they are playing Liverpool?
They may have been outsmarted last night (it probably isn’t too difficult to outsmart a group of football fans to be fair), but they clearly tried to stop the game being played again, and as there doesn’t appear to be any consequences for successfully doing this, who can blame them? At least none of them glassed a public servant last night, so jolly well done boys.
Mat (The Glazers are here to stay get used to it or stop supporting them. It’s a simple as that)
This is getting circular, so if f365 want to draw a line under this and not publish, I would fully understand. But I’m going to try and get my right of reply to Oliver…
FC Scion were given a points deduction for fielding ineligible players signed during a transfer ban. I’m sure there are lots of mitigating factors that I have not looked at but the fundamental point is that they were found guilty of fielding players who were not allowed to play for the club in twelve matches. That is cheating at football. It wasn’t the fans’ fault, or the players’ fault, it was a thing that the club did and the club was punished for it…
My point in citing the Tottenham riots, which fine, happened at the same time as the FC Scion incident, is that mass civil unrest is (i) rare; and (ii) extremely difficult to bring under control, even with the resources and powers of the state. I’m citing a 2011 incident as an example of something exceptionally rare, you’re using it as a precedent for something that should be deployed more commonly. I don’t think you’re making the compelling argument you think you are…
You meant it as a dig, but I happily confess complete ignorance of other points deductions for non-financial matters… I’m not aware of a single example in English football (and it is the rules of English football, not Swiss, we’re talking about), other than for insolvency scenarios (which I think is very harsh, incidentally). You say there are others (without giving the benefit of an example of your superior knowledge). The only other similar events overseas that spring to mind, such as title stripping and relegation, are reserved for matters such as locking referees in cupboards (again, cheating).
United did not cheat. You think they’re at fault for failing to control their fans, and there are rules in place for that. Again, I would point out that United would probably argue that they are the victims of a crime, a crime that in reality they did not really have the power to prevent.
Whether it’s your proposed rule, or an existing crowd control rule, there are realistic limitations on what United could possibly do, and if they do have an obligation that they have failed to honour, there is such a concept as a contractual obligation being relieved because of being frustrated for reasons beyond their control. I’ve explained several times why I think a mass protest of unprecedented scale and aggression was beyond United’s control and won’t repeat them.
As for the other punishments for the club, again, I think you’re missing the point (wilfully, I think). Points deductions, fines, away fan restrictions, whatever you want to come up with – punishing the club would incentivise more disruptive behaviour… not dissuade it.
I’m not advocating for turning a blind eye. You cite the point that capitol rioters are now being held to account – by being prosecuted for their crimes, and that is the solution. People who commit crimes are the police’s responsibility, not the football club that was a victim of said crime… I think the club’s role in that is about dialogue with their fans to diffuse the situation or, you know, the Glazers selling…
Fanatics make the game billionaires ruin it
A football team must spend if the need arises to improve deficient areas but it cannot be driven only by this ideology. Man city cannot maul every other team in the division with astronomical financial layouts,year in year out and expect a loud ovation when they win eventually.
The sweetness, the joy of winning in all human affairs lies in the point where the odds were never in your favor to win but you do so anyway.
Imagine the son of Bill Gates at an event or in a book explaining how he achieved his successes via several years of hard work and scheming, he will not get much plaudits even if in fact he made such commitments because the odds were always in his favor to achieve such heights.Which is why success stories all conform with the ‘humble beginnings to stardom’ narrative. Because this is what we all consider to be success in all spheres of life.
I do not want my team to win like this if I’ll constantly have to argue that the team has other values and sporting qualities to desire.
This new era of football teams been driven largely by finance is destroying the sport. (I’ll refer you to this article years later when the impacts, or let me say when the stench of the rot becomes suffocating). Teams like man city set the pace years ago and having achieved so much success, many other teams have followed the same path. Which was also the ideology that gave rise the formation of the failed European super league. Some of the greatest teams in Europe coming together to device a purely financially driven agenda wherein they can create endless dynasties at the expense of the other teams in Europe and even the game itself as we all knew it and loved it.
The bundesliga is a classical reference and a prototype of a football system that is fated to fail. Bayern remain unmatched after years of plundering from the other teams in the division. They are consequently champions again for the ninth straight edition and still look unstoppable. Which is exactly why nobody is interested in the league.
The la liga is another classic example. For decades the league had operated a perfect duopoly featuring two of the biggest teams in world football. In the past both teams would have at mid season already drawn a 15-20 point margin between the rest of the teams in the division leaving the majority of the league winning fate to what occurs when the two teams meet which explains why the classico garnered it’s status as the biggest matchup in club football. But in the year where the both teams find themselves in some sort of cash troubles we finally see a very competitive league.
But now the situation in England is diametrically opposed to what we are currently witnessing in spain and its own identity. The EPL was renowned for its stench competitiveness and gross unpredictability. This why the English top tier competition became the most loved and watched football league in the world.
Teams must cease from or be stopped from continually threading this dangerous path set by new, greedy, football club owners. I personally cease from celebrating the successes that these philistine standards produce.