Millionaire managers can’t park morals and ‘stick to football’…

Date published: Monday 14th March 2022 9:12 - Ian Watson

Eddie Howe is unveiled as Newcastle manager with Amanda Staveley.

It’s a wide and varied Monday morning Mailbox, with managers’ principles in the spotlight, along with Arsenal’s Ozil heir, Salah’s agent, and doomed Everton.

Get your views in to


Managers and morality
I have empathy for the fans of clubs when they are purchased by countries or individuals with murky backgrounds, but only to the point that it is a damn pity that something they like is now tainted. I don’t have sympathy or a sense of empathy if they continue to prioritize their own entertainment over the harm they indirectly buy into through continued support. If your club is owned by people who murder political rivals or start wars, you have a moral duty to disassociate yourself from the club. There is no middle ground or passive way to engage with the club when it so closely connected to evil. You may have to suffer a loss or sense of identity through the process of decoupling, but you have suffer it because the moral responsibility demands it.

Football managers who become temporarily unemployed millionaires are beyond privileged and are in the position where their wealth affords them time and choice in what they do next. They can take their millions and literally follow some of the Steve Harvey/ Shaq hustle culture and investment advice videos on tik tok. Even pull a Gary Neville and run a hotel or become a pundit. If it is about money, it’s already been made and if it is about a love of the game, go give back to the grassroots, dare I say it, give back to the ordinary people who can only dream of such wealth and privilege. No wonder football is in such a sorry state when men who continue fail in their professions keep getting to fail upward.

Unemployed managers at the top of the sport have an abundance of choice and that makes their selfish choices so glaring and indefensible. To get into bed with the bad guys to fuel ambition and ego has all the feel of a Shakespearean tragedy four centuries after bloody daggers, ghosts and witches tempted honorable men to their demise. These Macbeths of the football world think that a little water will wash the blood from their hands and they can avoid questions or give quirky answers about driving the bus. However, they cannot distance themselves from the human suffering which will haunt them in life and tarnish their achievements when they are gone.
Jamie, Eire

Barclays blinkers on as Havertz lights up game of shame


Sportswashing isn’t working
“The game of shame”. The usual sanctimonious, holier than thou group of football journalists have been in their element this weekend as Newcastle visited Chelsea.

It must be said first, that as a lifelong NUFC it makes me uncomfortable and sad to see us owned by a Saudi sovereign wealth fund. However I am excited from a footballing perspective – no doubt someone is waiting to tell me that isn’t allowed. Nothing I write here should be seen as a defence or an excuse for the Saudi regime.

What has really grated on me though is said sanctimonious journalists questioning Eddie Howe on executions in Saudi Arabia. Not only did they question him but they have sneered at his decision to stick to footballing issues. Firstly, Howe is not accountable for the actions of the Saudi government nor their domestic rules. Secondly, NUFC is owned by the investment fund and the listed director at NUFC is a banker, not a Prince or part of the family. He can be fired like anyone else. The uncomfortable question should go to him (Yasir Al-Rumayyan). What kind of situation are we in when the Newcastle United manager, not the Prime Minister, not the Foreign Secretary, but the NUFC manager is the only person in the country being pressed on Saudi policy?

That’s not to say we should put our fingers in our ears. These issues need raising and highlighting but done in a proper way. How would Miguel Delaney respond if pressed on why his boss was deemed a national security risk by the security services? Of course, he’d say “look I’m just a journalist who works here, ask him directly”.

In accepting the NUFC job, Howe should be prepared for these questions in the same way Guardiola will be, but don’t give him a hard time for not answering it.

The final point I want to make, is that despite perceived efforts, sportswashing clearly is not working. How often would football fans normally be talking about human rights, executions or unreported wars? The fact we are shows that on the whole, sportswashing fails. That’s to the credit of some of the aforementioned sanctimonious journalists…they’d just do well to remember who to ask the questions to.

NUFC fan


Roman’s gifts
Roman Abramovich’s reign as CFC owner is about to end. I’ve been wanting to write thoughts on the issue but realized it is futile as there is too much of a black and white view out there amongst most people. So, let me say something else. Roman has saved his two best gifts for Chelsea for the end.

1. Emma Hayes
2. Thomas Tuchel.
Aravind, Chelsea Fan.


Heir to Ozil
I wrote in a few weeks ago to say that Martin Odegaard was the bargain of the season and the heir to Santi Cazorla. I was promptly ridiculed in the comments section.

I would like to thank Odegaard for once again providing evidence that he is the bargain of the season with his performance against Leicester. However, he now reminds me of a Ozil/Cazorla hybrid!
Ash (London)


Odegaard dazzles sorry Leicester as Arsenal glimpse a golden future


We’re going down, we’re going bust
We’re going down. And not just that, it’s all over for us as a club. In 18 months we’ll be asking for re-election to the Football League. And the Kopites are going to win the league.

I’ve never felt so low over football.
Aidan, EFC, London (did meet 6 bishops yesterday, so that’s something)


Walsall fan here (yes we are still in the league).
Are penalties not allowed to be given against Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City anymore? Is it law 18?

GM, Thank God we’re in league 2


…God I hope Newcastle get relegated by a point

Nothing against them, but given their unlimited resources, if they did, surely they would sue the shit out of the EPL, the PGMOL (?) and anybody else they could AND win. Only then would the governing bodies hold the absolute shit show that is currently ruining the game to account. Football has rules, they are not that difficult to understand, but apparently really difficult to implement, even with the aid of technology,

It’s not just incompetence, it’s blatant cowardice.

Scrap VAR until there are people capable of using it because at the moment it’s embarrassing. Will there be an end of season award for “worst VAR decision of the season”, there’s a lot of contenders.
Howard (it’s varsical) Jones

United’s problems
Ok Ronaldo looked like a beast on Saturday and he IS an issue for united but there’s so much more to address than him. Any top team nowadays carries precisely zero passengers. Not. A. Single. One. Bayern, City, Liverpool – not one player in those SQUADS plays unless they sprint, tackle, challenge, press and generally do the dirty first. Foden must be 8stone of bone and barges into people, tackles, sprints and is an absolute nuisance so defenders cant relax and play out from the back. Even the keeper probably does 8k a game playing as sweeper so the defence can push high and the gap between defence/midfield and attack is minimal, a real collective.
United however, De Gea does not leave that 6yrd box, EVER! He also cant really kick a ball with any great distance or accuracy. So thats one player you’re carrying. Defence cant push up because of the space in between that Maguire will never cover. So the Midfield has a choice, either support the attack or help the defence. Damned either way. Bruno (love him) puts in the yards – but without any tactical nous so he goes wandering half the game chasing when he shouldnt. Rashford and Sancho havent won a tackle or header all season. Ronaldo you’ve come to accept isnt going to do that. Pogba will not sprint or close down and overplays.
So some pretty basic analysis will show that if you have De Gea, Ronaldo, Rashford, Sancho, Pogba and Fernandes not doing specifically what the great teams do – what do you expect?! Thats half your team!! And anybody who says – oh but what about the goals and assists and saves they produce has lost the plot. If you conserve every bit of energy and only focus on the bit you enjoy doing then yes, every now and then you will produce something – doesnt mean it works for the TEAM.
Its some manager that can get a 30yr old keeper to learn how to play sweeper and a 28yr old Pogba to run like De Bruyne or get a 24yr old Rashford to do what Sterling learned in half a season at city. I’m afraid a reset is required – these players cant do it. Get players in that will do the hard yards – no passengers anymore!!
Johnny Omlette.


Ralf’s a good egg
I don’t believe I’ve seen this anywhere, but I am quite sure that Ralf comes across as the most level headed, articulate, in his second (or otherwise) language, gentleman, manager in the prem.
He seems to have the perfect balance of intelligence, warmth, normalness and enthusiasm .
I could listen to him 365 days a year and always be engaged.
I’m sure he’d be fascinating as a manager and a genuinely all round good egg.
Peter ( then again , I always thought Jose was a true gent away from football ) Andalucia.

Brighton v Liverpool
State of agents
If I was a betting man, I would bet on Salah leaving Liverpool this summer. There are only a few clubs that can really afford him, and I would think PSG would be at the front of the queue. It will say a lot about Salah if that’s the direction he chooses, because he is at the peak of his powers, and would be wasted there. But if his main concern is zeroes on his bank statement, then he will surely be Paris bound.

I did say if, though.

I’m a little torn here, because obviously I want Salah to stay, but I can also see the sense in Liverpool not wanting to break their wages structure. The devil is in the detail, though, and I doubt anyone reading this will know any more than I do about the actual minutiae here. It’s impossible to get in the head space of an elite sportsperson. They already get paid obscene amounts (well, they do if they are male, but let’s not go there right now), so they obviously don’t need to dig their heels in and squeeze every conceivable penny out of their employers, yet they invariably seem to do this. Yeah, I now, Paul Scholes. But he is an outlier.

Which is where the curse that is agents comes in. Ramy Abass Issa (had to Google that, obviously) is Salah’s agent. He has history for mischief making, and his latest delve into Twitter saw him post seven laughing emojis in response to Klopp’s statement that it is in Salah’s hands now. How did we get to a position where a grown man, acting like a 12 year old child for all to see, has such influence in the modern game? How does a tweet as puerile as this get to publicly represent Salah’s position on the contract talks? How does it help the situation at all, except to push Salah a step or two closer to the door?

Salah will have to be careful here, because he runs the risk of staining his time at Anfield. Before he played for Liverpool, he was a player of great potential, but it was unrealised, pretty much. He has become a contender for best player on the world a) because he works hard and has the raw talent, and b) because he plays for Liverpool under Klopp. Obviously, we don’t get to see the sliding doors reality had he gone elsewhere, but I think it’s a fair guess that he could hardly have been any more successful somewhere else.

Issa will want him to leave. He’ll get a sizeable payment for negotiating a new contract and transfer elsewhere, and a bigger income from the higher salary that Salah would be on. But if he keeps up these kind of childish tactics, then it will start to drive a wedge between Salah and the fans. And Salah has to take a little responsibility for this. His agent is his representative, and if his agent wants to carry out these kind of tactics, then Salah has to realise it reflects on him.

If they can’t agree a contract, but can not agree in an amicable manner, then it might all get a bit Sterlingy. If they can agree to part ways in a friendly way, then the Liverpool fans will still love him forever, with the club presumably £80-100m better off. But if Issa keeps up representing Salah like this, then it runs the risk of getting nasty. And if he goes to another PL team (that can only be United or City, can’t it?), then it will be carnage.

Personally, I hope he takes what is on offer, becomes the club’s greatest goalscorer and has that statue that Coutinho missed out on built, but it seems to me that we are on a certain path, and that his agent is in the driving seat.

Christ, the game is a proper fucking mess, isn’t it?
Mat (time to be philosophical, Chelsea fans. You’re not the victims here)

More Related Articles