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United’s easy passage
Don’t worry, I’m not going to ramble on for 16 conclusions; just a few points on last night’s game. First, it is really refreshing to see us completing routine victories. Under Ole, we’ve had plenty of good results against the bigger teams but victories against teams that we “should” be beating have been sporadic at best. We’re now starting to put so-called lesser teams to the sword, without making it look like an uphill struggle and, very occasionally, it’s starting to look like we don’t need the opponent to have an off-day for us to win; we’re playing how we want to and that seems to be enough.
I’m just going to say it: I love Ighalo. I was one (of the seemingly very few) who was pleased about his signing and didn’t think it was a damning sign of the times but a shrewd, low-risk signing. The other stuff that goes with it – him commemorating his sister after his first goal, the stories coming out of Nigeria about their support for him, and just his overall demeanour on and off the pitch – has been a good news story for United, something of which there has been a noticeable lack of late. In a footballing sense: he might not have the ability to glide across the pitch, he might not be an absolute brute, and he might not be a scorer of spectacular goals but he knows where to be and when, and he has been scoring the kind of goals that have been missing from our game for a long time – poachers goals.
All that said, I don’t think we should sign him on a permanent deal necessarily. If we have prior targets that seem achievable in the summer then I think we should still prioritise those first; we needed a short-term fix in January that wouldn’t disrupt our long-term plans, and in Ighalo we seem to have found that. If his presence and performances change the long-term plans then great, sign him up, but if the plan is still to play fast attacking football with young, mostly home-grown talent then I think there are probably better alternatives for us.
I’m glad to see that Luke Shaw is having something of a renaissance but I’m not counting any chickens just yet. We’ve seen this before; he just starts to get himself into some decent form and then something, usually an injury, comes along to disrupt that. If he can stay in this kind of form and, more importantly, stay fit until the end of the season then I’ll admit I was wrong – and I hope I am. I still prefer Brandon Williams but he’s got time on his side if Luke Shaw can keep him out of the team on merit.
It’s great to see the Premier League have banned the pre-match handshakes in an attempt to mitigate the risk of coronavirus – I’m glad they are taking it seriously. Oh, look at that, isn’t it nice to see Wayne Rooney going round the United lads, shaking hands and hugging them all…wait…Seriously, what was the point in banning the pre-match handshake if all the players just going round doing the usual post-match niceties? Once again, the football authorities are proving that they are completely incompetent, incapable of seeing and addressing the whole problem. Is it any wonder our game is still riddled with racism, homophobia etc. if this is how they deal with stuff?
Anyway, I’m not getting carried away with things; the City match is going to be really tough. Previous form suggests that we have a decent chance of getting a positive result, but we’ll need to play much better than we did against Everton if we’re going to get something out of it. At least we’re going into that game in decent form, for a change.
Eye for an eye
I can’t understand why anyone, I’m looking at Mike, WHU, could think that it is ‘reckless in the extreme’ for sympathising with Dier for heading into the stands to confront his (brothers?) abuser. Maybe it’s just me but why should any person, regardless of their chosen profession, be expected to accept any level of directed abuse while going about their job.
Nowaday’s, almost all Public Transport, Post Offices, Airports, Banks, etc. have, in addition to an employee behaviour policy which informs their employees of how they are expected to conduct themselves when representing the company, a clearly posted Customer Charter which informs their customers that abuse, both physical and verbal, will not be tolerated and if breached the customer will always be asked to leave.
In football terms, this abuse doled out by real fans (not so-called fans) is never likely to result in anyone being ejected from the stadium and banned from returning UNLESS something like Dier happens. I fully expect the fan to be identified and banned from attending future matches.
My opinons on similar cases are this:
Cantona was well within his rights to kung fu kick that numpty for the level and content of abuse that he spewed, and equally it was right that Cantona got a long ban for what was essentially assault witnessed by millions. Not sure what happened the numpty but I assume he and his offspring all got banned from attending football matches for life?
Zidane was well within his rights to headbutt Materazzi for some grotesque shithousery, but equally it was right for Zidane to be sent off in his last ever France game. Materazzi got to lift the world cup, so from his perspective I guess it was Job Done.
But my favorite was Zakora kicking Emre in the balls. Emre racially abused Zakora the during a match, was caught, reported, but somehow only got a 2 game ban. 2 months later there was a return ficture and Emre got an almighty kicking from all of Zakora’s team mates, with the pinnacle being when Zakora ‘caught them both’ with a vicious kick to the goulies. Zakora was well within his rights to enact revenge and was surely expecting a Red Card minimum, but somehow the ref just booked him and no further punishment could be meted out. Perfect revenge.
Kerry Culchie (like a kid who hits his sibling and goes straight to the bold step in one fluid movement #worthit), Ireland
Two decades of ENIC
Dier’s attempt to break into the stewarding industry the other night also diverted people’s attention away from a significant anniversary coming up for the Joe and Daniel’s comedy ownership show.
We can all celebrate 20 years of ENIC later on this year reflecting on the following:
1)20 year ownership and 1 trophy out of a possible 60 domestic trophies;
2) 17th in Premier League Net Spend for last 5 seasons
3) No transparency as to how stadium build was financed with the club saddled with the debt facility
4) Tavistock Group owner of ENIC have invested in the property around the ground as part of the redevelopment –
the club won’t reap the financial benefit of any sale of the property
5) Jose is ENIC’s 10th full time appointment in 20 years
6) Levy is the highest paid chairman in the Premier League
7) ENIC paid £21m initially to Lord Sucre (as he is known in Monte Carlo) to buy the club
8) ENIC want £2bn plus to sell it.
I’m a lover of the 90s but not 90s Tottenham and that’s where we are heading back to.
David Harris in toilet roll shortage riven Sydney
Dave Tickner’s piece (been enjoying everything by him, good stuff Dave) on Harry Kane´s potential summer move got me thinking about contracts and wages and all that malarkey. As we know, Kane signed a massive contract when Spurs were their best under Poch. Perhaps he believed at the time that they were destined to become truly elite. But as the piece points out, he´s more or less f*cked when it comes to getting a move. My question for the mailbox is, has any player ever accepted a lesser contract than what they truly believed they were worth so as to avoid being stuck in limbo like Kane is now? What would mailboxers do?
Say for example I´m an up-and-comer at Everton (sorry about the hyphens, don´t hurt me mediawatch). I have two brilliant seasons and fire the Toffees to the Champions League and maybe an FA Cup final. The board offer me 200K a week for 5 or 6 years as a result. Every Premier League club is cash rich and doesn´t need big sales, therefore, if I agree, I´m at Everton for the duration, barring a massive offer or some sort of gentleman´s agreement to sell me for a reasonable price should a bid come in. Being canny, I say no that´s fine, I´ll take 100K for three years so my future is more or less in my own hands. I know it´s a pretty vague question but I´m reminded of Alex Ferguson getting one more big year out of Ronaldo before agreeing to a sale.
Alan (this is definitely a mail for a Friday), Cordoba.
Being as the FA Cup is center-stage this week and with everyone appearing to lose their collective sh*t over Liverpool, Manchester United and Eric Dier, there’s a few things about the tournament that have disappeared which I do wish would or could come back:
* Saturday kick-offs for the original ties, and, although this horse has long bolted, 3PM across the board
* Unlimited replays until one side gets knocked out through attrition or sheer exhaustion
* The Final live on both free-to-air channels; Grandstand and World of Sport devoting four or five hours to the pre-game, including cameras showing the teams leaving their hotels and getting on the bus. These being the days when outside broadcast cameras didn’t come cheap, you NEVER saw the teams except when they were on the pitch unless it was Cup Final day.
* Neutral-venue semi-finals (not Wembley)
* At least one player from the winning side putting the lid of the cup on his head, and someone dropping the plinth
* If the Wembley final was tied, a replay at Old Trafford, none of this penalties lark. Of course I might have rose-tinted glasses on about this one, because Chelsea beat Leeds 2-1 in the first Wembley final that went to a replay.
On a non-cup-related subject, the Pools Panel sitting when a number of games were postponed due to weather (usually waterlogged or frozen pitches) and then James Alexander-Gordon solemnly intoning “Home Win”, “Draw” or “Away Win” while reading the results. By the way, someone wrote in the mailbox, I think this week, about the Pools Panel only sitting during the winter of ’63 – not so, they were often called into action.
It was also quite fun to watch the results coming in on a Saturday afternoon across the wires with a camera focused on the teletype machine while David Coleman did the voice-over.
Steve, Los Angeles
Hall of infamy
“Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me.” (Williams, Kenneth: Carry on Cleo, 1964)
The Premier League is launching a Hall of Fame. So F365ers how about a Hall of Infamy to honour all the bad boys? Who to include?
I know he hasn’t played in the premier league but I am inducting Sergio Ramos for services to International Shithousery across many years and multiple teams. Micky Thomas of Man Utd of ‘wink to the camera’ fame as he dived is an admirable must as seen on the Match of the Day opening reel. Micky was cheekily ahead of his time.
The more obscure the player you hold a gripe against the better.
Happy weekend for all those attending the footy.
Dear Levenshulme Blue, Manchester 19 (Just trying to help, as ever): There are reasons Klopp has basically fielded sh*t teams in the cups. He hasnt spent £1bn pounds building 2 or maybe 3 x first teams that your squad can field. You have 3 x £50m plus FB’s FFS, we have 2 that cost £8m, snd James Milner for cover. At best we have 14 first team players, the rest are pretty rubbish or kids. You have about 30 and you are still 22 points behind!. So I suggest leave it out. City really felt the pressure from last season that they basically got scared and gave up to compete this season especially with no leadership (Kompany) it makes it a lot tougher, we know as Henderson has been injured the last few games and there is no one to fill the void.
The only reason we piped up was because you are so abject in the league and we are 22 points ahead, if the gap was 5 points we would have welcomed a defeat as our squad depth is still pretty crap.
Your argument holds no weight. The PL and CL will always be a priority until like you we can spend £1bn and field 2 x first teams.
How do you like those apples?
Stat of the week
Stat of the week, concerning the relegation race:
1) We’re in the final 10 weeks of the season;
2) This weekend’s games have the bottom seven teams all playing away.
The math says the combination of 1) and 2) should take place approximately once every 72 years. Enjoy!
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA (no, I don’t have anything better to do)
Makes you think
Why is the prop for the mailbox segment a mail bag?
Just a quick mail to say I’m very much enjoying the more regular features on clubs outside of the Premier League on F365 recently. Even as a Man United fan myself I grow tired of the same articles on the same clubs (particularly given my current clubs plight) so it’s refreshing to read about clubs who aren’t often given much attention on mainstream web.
I look forward to more of the same!
For some bizarre reason, the F365 Show still hasn’t been cancelled. So we’ll be back every Thursday with more
irreverent nonsense intriguing insight. Subscribe here.