An apology to Liverpool fans, naughty numbers…

Date published: Sunday 24th May 2020 10:05

Liverpool fans

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I’m sorry
Dear Liverpool fans,

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for suggesting the greatest team from the purest club in the history of football might have a terrible run of games.

I’m sorry for even contemplating that they could drop points away in their city derby against a team managed by Carlo Ancelotti in the game that immediately followed them meekly surrendering their European crown against the team sitting 6th in Spain.

I’m sorry for considering the possibility that even if that did somehow happen, that result and the one that preceeded it might affect them mentally against Manchester City.

I’m sorry for thinking lowly Arsenal and Chelsea might be able to beat them.

It was also deeply offensive of me to think Manchester City might be able to win ten in a row. I mean, City finished last season winning 14 in a row but to suggest 10 in a row could happen with their best centre back returned from injury and possibly smelling blood with having beaten Liverpool as well, was completely ridiculous. Again, really sorry for implying that.

I’m sorry that some Liverpool fans think you can predict human behaviour with statistics and maths.

I’m sorry that some Liverpool fans think that a statement about the possibility of them losing a game is a “prediction”.

I shall say 3 Hail Mary’s, 4 Our Fathers and I’ll start a petition to have Liverpool start every season 22 points ahead as penance.

Also, if anyone could give me an idea of how much I should bill F365 for keeping the mailbox going for 3 days, I’d appreciate it.

Yours, in shame
Eamonn from Dublin


Time to address the Hypocrisy
Its been an entertaining few weeks in the mailbox. There has been a rage filled shaming of Liverpool fans, a rage filled response to that shaming, and then my favorite part, a rival fan trying to legitimately argue that Liverpool’s title is not guaranteed (I can still smell the lovely odor of desperate clutching at non existent straws).

I’d like to address the very obvious elephant in the mailbox, which I’m surprised that no one has spoken about (maybe the have and I missed it). Have you noticed how angry rival fans are about Liverpool ever since Project Restart has officially resumed? I certainly have, and it is not just in the F365 mailbox either. I mean, I respect the great humanitarians that have been writing in with touching concern for lives, but I am going to be honest, you are fools if you think you are fooling anyone.

I’m not saying you are terrible people and don’t think lives matter, but that is not why you are writing in to an F365 mailbox with so much hate and venom. You are not writing stuff like “lives come first” and “void the season” because safety is your primary concern. It is because you thought that perhaps, you were pardoned from the torture of suffering the Liverpool title celebrations, as it seemed the season may be voided. I bet some of you already started working on memes and gifs, ready to go the moment the season was declared voided. Now however, your worst fears have come to fruition again, and you are furious that this hilarious snatching away of Liverpool’s title will no longer happen. So, you hide behind the excuse of safety and lives, in order to present your true argument, which is that you do not want Liverpool to win the title.

I know I said you all were not terrible people, but you kind of are for dressing up tribalistic footballing rivalry in a false cloak of humanitarian concern. Shame on you for exploiting a global disaster that has resulted in a crushing loss of lives, as a tool in your rivalistic banter. Is this the new underhanded from of banter? Saving lives is not the primary reason that YOU want the season to be voided. YOU just don’t want Liverpool to win the title. And you are only kidding yourself if you try to argue otherwise.

In the words of the rightful King of Westeros, Stannis Baratheon, “Hard truths cut both ways, Ser Davos”.
johnnyWicky, Toronto


Nothing matters more than lives…
Dear Sir With respect, Im a Liverpool fan . AND Nothing matters more than peoples lives, but the issue is simple, 1, Do u  Void the rest off the prem., 2, Do you finnish the season as the teams stand or do u finnish the season ,at a Safe later date. Us reds fans are worried that the team with the biggest lead in Europe, will be denighed the title.

Even if you give the reds the league ,Technicaly they have not won it, and teams will be religated ,who might not have gone down. There is only one Sensible way to solve the issue, Suspend next years league ,Until u can finnish this years , in Saftey. THE context off the argument is Not that any fans are being disrespectful  . The present pandemic is So very Serious, but many people outside the sphere off football are breaking the rules.For me the one mistake in Britain is its iether a lock down or Not, until we have defeated this terrible thing.


Naughty numbers
Why non-accountants bother going into the detail of clubs’ financial reports is beyond me.

Steve from LA’s rant at Man Utd’s is silly (as a heads up Steve – Utd’s finance costs haven’t gone up £20ish mil because they paid more interest; it’s because they have debt denominated in USD which they have to account for in GBP. If the dollar becomes stronger, then the GBP number for that debt increases and the increase becomes an expense in your net finance costs).

The simple thing is this – when clubs have a single owner, they’ll whatever they want to do. If they want to run the club like a cash cow (e.g., Man Utd, Arsenal) then they’ll do that. If they want to run it like a play-thing or a reputation- booster (e.g., Man City) then they’ll do that.

Getting angry with their accounts without even understanding them just doesn’t help.
Ben, London


I have never written into the mailbox and generally enjoy just reading the letters. Steve’s email and pure ignorance has changed that.

His email epitomizes the era of keyboard warriors and google experts. Here are my thoughts:

– There is an army of auditors that undergo a rigorous process to audit the FS. More emphasis is placed on the fact this would be a marquee client for the audit firm. Yet Steve from Los Angeles knows best!!! There are the exceptions, Enron and Lukin coffee, but statistically those are the anomalies.

– Steve starts off talking about the debt increase then mentions the fiance cost increase. If your debt increases $127.4M YoY, your interest cost will increase too! Funny how that works.

– Revenue is recognized on an accrual basis (when revenue is earned- match plays out )and not on cash receipts, this is accounting 101. The cash from the ticket’s sold for cancelled matches   wouldn’t hit revenue and the sales are being refunded so a liability would be recorded. Additionally there would be lost revenue from TV rights and match day sales items. Ergo the there is a decent hit on revenue.

Steve probably reading this and calling me a c*nt for not agreeing with him but stick to the football mate.
Scott (CA in Canada)


To reply to Steve from Los Angeles email on United finances, I’ll give my two cents. I have a qualification in finance but I’m not an equity analyst so I stand to be corrected but as I see it there’s no mystery really. It’s all down to Maguire’s head.

First off the £127m jump in net debt does sound alarming. It’s a big jump in one year it would seem. But crucially it’s a jump in net debt not gross debt. Bit of an explainer:

net debt = gross debt minus “cash and cash equivalents”.

This just means you take what you owe (gross debt) and you are given some credit for the cash you have in your bank account since you could theoretically pay down said debt with the cash you have. The idea of looking at net debt is, all else equal, a company with loads of cash in the bank is better placed than one that owes the same amount but has no cash.

So let’s look at gross debt. This is the borrowed money the Glazers used to buy the club. It was £495m last March and now is £519m. That increase is due to the currency effects the report mentions. The debt is borrowed in dollars but the United accounts are done in sterling so when the currency moves they have to revalue the debt as it goes. The change is an increase of 5% which makes a lot more sense. The currency impact isn’t anywhere near the size that Steve jokes about but I’ll give him credit that the earnings report does a terrible job of explicitly stating this. What it does state explicitly is that the gross amount United owe in US dollars hasn’t changed. So the jump in net debt is only partly due to the debt side of the equation. And even then it’s just an accounting change due to currency swings. it’s not important.

Now let’s look at the cash and cash equivalents. United had £193m in cash last March and this March its £90m. This £103m fall in cash explains the majority of the £127m rise in net debt. United have less cash in the bank and thus net debt has risen.

So what happened since last March for United’s cash to drop so much? Well Harry Maguire, AWB, James and Bruno Fernandes is what happened in the last year. United spent more on players than got in from Lukaku etc. That explains the drop in cash in the bank. There’s also probably a bit to do with less revenues meaning the cash in the bank was dipped into to keep things going.

To conclude then, the gross debt hasn’t risen in any meaningful sense but United have less cash in the bank because they bought some expensive players thus net debt is higher.


I don’t think that Steve understands Net Debt, and to be fair I dont blame him. Financial instruments are so convoluted these days.

Net Debt = All Debt Owed by the Entity – Cash Reserves by the Entity

Essentially what United announced was that the overall debt stayed stable over the last year but their cash reserves fell due to the purchases of Maguire, AWB, James and Fernandes.

Naturally United had depended on broadcasting and merchandise revenue to even this out over the course of a season but we haven’t had one so the books are gonna look bad.

Looking at a company rather than a football club all they did was issue a profit warning in a global pandemic, seems reasonable.

The club is fine, if all else fails we can start charging more for the tractor sponsorship.
Steve (Man U) Malta


Just wanted to applaud this article, great read.

I’m a die hard United fan, used to watch them in the Fergie years, though never been since. It’s been painful viewing recently, on pure footballing matters… but I have wondered at where the green-and-gold brigade has gone.

The issue of United’s debt is amazing, a sort of crazy experiment with a historic institution. Everyone else goes for a foreign sugar daddy pumping steroidal levels of investment, whereas United sit being inflated by a parasite that never goes away, only rolled over by new tranches of bonds.

I noted that they told investors some $25m might have to be repaid to television rights-holders. Each match brings $3-4m, so that only accounts for for $8m max in Q3. I have been to dead rubber Champions League games, and I can’t imagine a pointless faux-Uefa Cup game breaking into the debt greatly.

They have a wage bill of $400m, and a complete write off of Q4 gate earnings and TV money to set against them. Add to that the fact that UK government advice indicates another 6-12 months of social distancing, the fact they are rumoured to have around $100m cash in the bank seems to start to pale.

Some companies quarters of this period will probably kill them. I can’t wait to read your next piece. Keep it up.


Some Spurs thoughts on “that” 4-3
Mike Woolrich, LFC – you wanted to know Spurs fans’ thoughts about the infamous 4-3 vs Man City. Strap yourself in…

I was on holiday with the lovely woman I’m now happy to call my wife, but was at the stage my relatively new girlfriend (new enough not to understand what being a Spurs fan meant pre-Poch). And it was her birthday. Yeah. We planned to watch the first half in a bar, go for a nice meal afterwards, and have a lovely relaxing evening. Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

We got to half time, 3-0, and Joey Barton does a Joey Barton and gets himself sent off at the interval. Being a long-suffering Spurs fan, my immediate thought was not “hey, this is great, what a start to the evening, things can only get better”. It was “I need to get out of here before the second half starts, I don’t wanna be here if it all turns to sh*t”. 3-0 up against a piss-poor City side down to 10 men, and I just knew we were going to Spurs it up.

Unfortunately, said relatively new girlfriend needed to use the facilities before we left the bar. And by the time she came back it was 3-1 and the evening was rapidly going the same way as her recently-evacuated gin and tonic. The original plan was to deny the existence of football itself for the rest of the evening, but obviously that was never gonna happen from that point. Cue repeated WAP goal updates throughout the meal that got more and more depressing as they got less and less surprising.

But on the up side, it does mean that I’ve been able to provide 15 consecutive years of better-than-that birthdays since just by not being a distracted sulky man-baby. So result, kind of.


Inflation or not…
Hi Gary Vance, MUFC,

I’m aware of inflation, but quite honestly, I really couldn’t be bothered. I was bored and just wanted to see if what the previous person said held water. I couldn’t even be bothered to look at other clubs (Spurs, Arsenal, Man City, Everton for example).

However, you critiqued my figures and accounted for inflation and came up with the same result: United have a greater net spend trying to win the title in 7 years than Liverpool in 30.

Thanks for backing up my point.
Rob, Brighton


Stone jaws/PFM
Has f365 had an article on “Top Players Who Could Take A Punch” yet?

One of my own fav players growing up was the big Swede (a walking stereotype in everyway bless him) Johann Mjallby at Celtic. Twice I remember him taking a well thrown punch to the face from a frustrated oppo and no greater response than a smirk/stare.

Tried finding a clip of either punch, but these memories are from the dark ages of late ’90s/early ’00s tractor-league football so had no luck from Mr. Youtube sadly.
Calum, Scotland


Test results are back football is doomed

I woke to see beeb headlines “ two positive in latest coronavirus tests”

This was bad news surely…

This was designed to make me click .. obviously

How can football resume if there are positive tests all of the time !?

And then I read it’s 2 out of 996.

One day in the not too distant future this need for sensationalist click bait headlines will stop.

So, it turns out maybe just maybe football will come back after all.

Or more fuel for those who want to stop everything for ever until anyone stops getting ill. Sorry if that sounds flippant but life is a bit dull without sport.
Ade ( hope we don’t bottle it ) Guildford


We could not keep away from the camera for long so we made a Football365 Isolation Show. Watch it, subscribe and share until we get back in the studio/pub and produce something a little slicker…

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