What constitutes 2020/21 success for Solskjaer at Man Utd?

Date published: Friday 7th August 2020 9:54

League consolidation with a European run? A trophy? The bloody title? What does Solskjaer need to do?

Send your thoughts on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Man Utd and whatever else fancies your tickle to theeditor@football365.com

 

Arse holes
Per Mediawatch on Thursday, there is a lot of handwringing about Arsenal’s decision to make 55 staff redundant.  My heart of course goes out to the staff concerned and having been through redundancy myself twice in my life, I do know how they feel.  But… can the Arsenal twitterati get a grip please.

Do they think Arsenal is the only Premier League club doing this?  I would suspect many others are doing the same, especially with those staff whose work is associated with matchdays (as the prospect of full stadia still seems very distant).  The other clubs are just not stupid enough to make a big announcement about it.

Do they think other businesses continue to employ people whose jobs effectively no longer exist?  Football clubs are like any other business and while the combined salaries of the 55 may not equate to more than a fraction of a fraction of a players’ salary, that’s comparing apples and pears.  See also gaslight repairmen and chimney sweeps.

Do they believe that the scouts being “let go” were the best in the business?  The same people who have spent the last few years criticising our lousy recruitment strategy and our inability to unearth hidden gems any longer are now bemoaning the fact that the very folks whose job it is to find the next Messi, are not being retained.   It may well be a super-agent conspiracy but it may also be that times have changed and those people are no longer the best for the role.

That said, it is indeed completely and utterly Arsenal to let us all feel good about our club for just a few days before unleashing the latest wave of red-tinged misery upon Gooners everywhere.
Carolyn, South London Gooner.

 

Raging that I’m sending this less than a week after celebrating an FA cup and thinking the club under Arteta might actually turn a corner.

That night, I texted a Newcastle mate and apologised for ever trying to compare the pain of f**king sh*te ownership (given the Saudi deal fell through the same day, it felt the right thing to do).

Fast forward to today. Firing 55 staff members whilst we bugger about trying to get an aging Willian to sign a 3 year deal for silly money. Disbanding our scouting department to pay a super-agent to run our recruitment like some private fiefdom. Having our new, charismatic manager – who worked so hard to build a relationship with players who are playing below their potential station to try and resurrect the team – lie to them effectively, that a pay cut would protect jobs.

F**k the people who run our club. F**k them so much. I’m not unfamiliar with managing a business, or balancing a budget, but the statement and justification is piss taking to the extreme, and we’re not going to be mollified by a 31 year old Brazillian who will decent for 6 months, get injured then be another dead weight on the club that will get more people fired as we ‘cost cut’.

Being an Arsenal fan is a unique kind of pain, because it’s a team that had, and continues to have such potential and just f**ks things up with incompetence and sh*tty decision making – a veritable carousel of w*nkers – whilst trying to maintain its reputation as a club that has principles.

It’s no Newcastle, or Coventry or whatever the f**k is going on at Wigan. That pain is brutal and heartbreaking. This is just constant weariness, a feeling you can never celebrate anything because you’ll be sucker-punched the next minute.
Tom, (so goddamn angry) Walthamstow

 

My opinion on the whole Arsenal Redundancy situation is this, they have made 55 staff members redundant, this has saved roughly £2m according to some reports, not even 24 hours later after this money saving news comes out it appears Arsenal have agreed a 3 year deal for Willian (with option for a 4th), his wage will be between £100-120k per week and he will receive a £10m signing on free.

My heart goes out to every single one of those 55 employees, can you imagine being told you have just lost your job due to cost cutting measures, only for the next day to see that Willian deal, especially that huge signing on fee? sickening to the core, even if Arsenal do a U-Turn on this redundancy news, the damage has already been done.

In Willian news, that 3 year deal with those wages I still believe strongly is a stupid decision from the board, especially when you look at how stacked Arsenal are in that position, Nicolas Pepe, Reiss Nelson, Bukayo Sako and Gabriel Martinelli to name a few, if Willian is joining as merely a squad player he is certainly a very expensive one, but if he is coming in as a starter, ahead of one of those younger players, then will be interesting to see how those players feel about that.
Mikey, CFC (Does this decision bring Arsenal’s 8/10 Pandemic Response score you gave them down?)

 

Easy to sit back and snipe from the sidelines about recent restructuring done by AFC.   Keep in mind the guy is running a business in unprecedented times.   Do you think they are the only ones making tough decisions?  Don’t be one of those guys crying the blues and pointing the finger when you don’t have anything productive to add.   If you have a better idea, I’m sure the people in charge will be happy to read your thoughts.

In conclusion, best in mind it is a business at the end of the day.  If it is run that poorly, they will cease to be competitive.
Dean A Ricci Exeter RI

 

Bit sh*t football isnt it. Billionaires making staff redundant whilst continuing to spend money on the squad. This isnt just directed at Arsenal either. It’s a dirty stinking filthy sport all round.

Billionaires toys now.
Dale (How long till theres uncovering of shady goings on between the UFC and Abu Dhabi, Dagestan, USADA. Another sport I’ll slowly lose interest in) Leeds 

 

I suspect Kroenke knew his strategy would garner this reaction from fans of all clubs and is a cynical, shameless and cowardly attempt to shame Ozil into leaving – and anyone else treading water and scooping in  £xK a week or more.
Ally, London

 

Fear and loathing in Islington
Great mails yesterday from Aaron CFC and SC, Belfast.  I was certain sure the mailbox would’ve been stuffed with like minded views, not least so that most of us could escape the purgatory of whether OGS is all that.  (For the love of God please stop already).

The other reason is that I’ve been struggling to think of any other PL club that has acted in such a disgraceful manner with seemingly not the slightest concern as to what either the Arsenal fan base or the wider world thinks.  We all know that clubs operate in (ahem) grey areas sometimes such as ‘tapping up’ players, disguising true wages by adding ‘consultancy’ fees on the side and so on.  I’m not condoning stuff like that either but, as far as I’m aware, shenanigans like that don’t usually end up with a club laying off 55 non-millionaire members of staff.  I mean, what the actual f*ck is going on?

And the reasons they give for the sackings?  Has any other club in England EVER displayed such naked blind greed whilst simultaneously proving why the old saying of “Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining” exists?  As I understand it, the savings made will amount to a maximum of £3 million p.a.  £3 million!  The arrogance and cruelty of stripping 55 people of their livelihoods whilst extending Auba’s contract and creating a new one for Willian and, I presume, others is f*cking breath-taking.

And what about Arteta?  I love the bloke to bits but surely, he can’t now command a dressing room where most of his players were conned into taking a pay cut of 12.5% to PREVENT staff losses?  How will he look them in the eye and defend the Board?  On top of that, how can he possibly be content with the club’s three senior scouting/recruitment staff being part of the cull?  If they were being replaced, then fair enough.  As far as I’m aware, they’re not.

We’ve all been in situations where our company/Boss has done something really crappy which makes you think about walking out.  But these also sometimes have a strategic aspect which stops you from ‘dying in a ditch’ over this particular issue and it may be that Arteta is keeping his powder dry for now because he’s aware of or been promised something we peasants know nothing about.  I hope so firstly because I’d hate to think he’s so desperate to be Arsenal Manager that he’d be a  Board suck-up (I can’t believe that) and secondly as, if the former were true, I’m not sure his reputation would survive in the aftermath.

Finally, my understanding is that there is a link to this stinking episode and an apparent increase in internal influence by either a certain agent or a select few.  I would be grateful if any Gooners on here could shed any light or otherwise explain what the f*ck is going on behind the scenes.

Because there is a stench of rotting flesh coming from the AFC hierarchy right now.  Capable as they demonstrably are of carrying out such a filthy and despicable act is bad enough.  To do it with such ruthless and blatant contempt for their staff, their players and their fans is worse still.
Mark (Do you think they’re doing it precisely because there are no crowds to make a fuss on Matchday?) MCFC.

 

What would represent success for Man United in 2020/21?
The debate about Ole at Man Utd that has raged since the end of the (domestic) season appears to have generated more heat than light and it seems fair to say that many (most?) Utd fans seem reasonably happy with the direction the club is heading in under Ole, especially in comparison to recent seasons, while many (most?) fans of Utd rivals seem sceptical of the Solskjear project.

As has been pointed out, what other fans think is basically irrelevant so what I’d like to ask is what will maintain that sense of optimism among Utd fans next season.  It is too early to ask, given that the Europa League isn’t finished and that Utd will clearly strengthen over the summer (to what extent is unclear as yet), but it seems a way of moving on from endless debates about points totals, money spent and which players have improved or not.

At this stage, then, knowing what we know now, what constitutes continued forward momentum for Ole next term? Consolidation in the league, ala Klopp in 2017-18, and a good European run thrown in? A trophy of any description? A genuine title challenge? A points total to aim at, given that one cannot legislate for the performance of other sides, of 75, 80 points plus?

What will make you want to keep the faith for another year or, conversely, what will make you start thinking a change might be necessary?
Andrew (LFC), Cambridge

 

United fans don’t care and we shouldn’t blame them
I really can’t believe, as a Blue, that I am about to stick up for the United fans, but I am about to. Y’see, for the past few days we have all been reading how Ole would have been sacked if he had been at XYZ, or that Fat Frank, and Mini Pep either have done better or would have done better at United. This has been countered by reds saying how pleased and optimistic they are (for the first time in years). This has been going on ad finitum.

It’s all been a bit bollocks really.

A fan of any other club is going to look at United and say “you’ve had a piss poor season, mate”, and I suppose that’s true to a certain extent. But they’ve been piss poor for years now – in relation to what we expect Man United to do – but they did get third. It doesn’t matter in the slightest to their fans if they spent a shit load, or if Brendan bottled it, or for any other reason that might be thrown at them.

United fans are genuinely happy with their lot, and the vast majority of them know full well they won’t be winning the PL next season (thank God they won’t). Maybe Ole will screw it up, maybe Bruno will turn out to be crap, maybe they will see either City or Liverpool win the thing again (please, let it be the former). But right now they don’t care, and I don’t blame them.

So for the sake of a pleasant mailbox could we all change the bleedin’ topic? Ta.
Mike D (Next season: City 1st, Liverpool 2nd, Chelsea 3rd, MU 4th)

 

But they have set the bar high
I am not sure why some of the Man United fans have gotten so precious regarding my observation yesterday. In particular Brendan GGMU and Duncan Manchester. Brendan has basically put his neck on the line by saying Man United will win the Europa league, and also asks which of our managers has scored a Champions League Final goal. Did Lampard not score a goal in the 2008 final? Against his team? Him and Duncan also display all the arrogance we have come to expect of United fans which was at least founded in the 2000’s when it was at least warranted, by looking down on Sheffield United just because a fan has expressed an opinion. Nice one lads, real classy.

It was a valid observation, based on the fact that Manchester United have spent a hell of a lot of money in the transfer market, more than anyone else, and the results are not in line with the outlay. I get it, you are are happy with Ole, he has shown progress, you don’t care what anyone else thinks. Thats fine, but that doesn’t mean that the criticism from outside will stop. Your team will certainly be judged by the amount of money spent on transfers, because everyone is judged by that stick, and when you are the biggest spenders in the country over an 18 month period, you’d be expected to at least finish better than 30 odd points behind the champions.

Now, with the Sancho transfer added into the mix, there is no doubt in my mind, that if Manchester United do not win the title or the Champions league next season, it can be dubbed nothing short of disastrous failure. Or will the United fans now attack me and say that a nice 2nd place finish and a quarter final exit will justify the biggest transfer outlay over 2 seasons in the history of English football?
Dean, SUFC

 

Woodward out again
I’ll make this as brief as possible because we’ve been here before… Much was made of Manchester United finishing in a Champions League spot as a precursor to attracting top talent from around the globe. The same was said (correct me if I’m wrong) about United, or more accurately Ed Woodward, being more dynamic in the transfer market.

So far, City have signed Nathan Ake for approx. 40 million and the ‘new Ronaldo’ tried and tested in La Liga for a fraction of that price; four more signings are promised to follow according to reports. In the football world these two signings are hardly mega money deals and United seem to have been interested in Ake for months. Enter Woodward…

Once again, United seem to be embroiled in a protracted mega money deal in the form of Jadon Sancho (it feels like we’ve been here before). It doesn’t really matter if he’s worth it or not or if Woodward is trying to act like Billy Big B@&£#!%s by playing hardball with Dortmund. Ultimately, players need to be shifted, money generated and deals signed, sealed and delivered without fanfare. City can do it and do it relatively cheaply- why not United?  Enough is enough: Woodward out (or at least shifted to the corner office next to Denise from Marketing)!
Nick MUFC 

 

Some topic changes
Christ, if I have to read one more mailbox about if Solskjaer has done a good job I’m going to top myself. Can’t we just agree that MU fans are happy, Chelsea fans are happy and Arsenal fans are happy (obv apart from about their scummy owners) but all of them will be below Liverpool and Man City again next year?

Then because this wee pandemic thing is a bit depressing, I need some proper interesting distraction. How optimistic are Leicester or Wolves fans about taking the next step in 20/21? Who’s worried about relegation? Will Everton ever do anything interesting either way (can be fun to watch but I mean moving out of 8th-12th)? How gutted are Brentford fans, are they expecting to come up next year or lose loads of players and fall away? What about fans of the promoted sides, optimistic about your chances? Who do you fancy to win the Champions League in the next few weeks? Personally I think Barcelona will be motivated – Messi needs a 5th to tie his nemesis – but Bayern could knock them out. Winner of that QF for the win over PSG in the final.
Ollie, Bristol

 

Tapping up
When Werner agreed terms with Chelsea despite a fee not being agreed, I saw many a comment/response accusing us of “tapping up”.

This week there have been reports that Sancho and Jamal Lewis have apparently “agreed terms” despite a fee not being agreed/the selling club potentially not being approached.

This begs the question, does tapping up still exist? Or has the way transfers are conducted changed? Do clubs have the right to be aggrieved when this happens with a player they don’t want to sell?

Do clubs have a right to be annoyed when clubs like United make targeted announcements re negotiations to the press like they did the other day?

Personally, I’ve never got why tapping up was ever an issue, if a player wants to leave, they’re perfectly entitled to look at their options provided the buying club stump up the cash. Just like anyone else in any other job would be allowed to.
Adam, Midlands.

 

Bring back Stevie
Brendans mail on Thursday morning got me thinking, perhaps he’s right you know, whether your manager scored in a champions league final truly is the indicator we should be looking at. So let’s ditch this chancer Jurgen and bring back Gerrard, with Alonso and Smicer as his assistants there isn’t a trophy we won’t win! Once they’ve had enough Origi and Salah will take up the mantle, thus ensuring the years of success continue. Mane also scored in a final that we lost so I’m not sure how that affects his qualifications, maybe he can put the cones out or something.

Also by your logic I hope no United fans have ever had the temerity to disparage the likes of Everton or Arsenal, both of them having far more years in the top flight than those upstarts at Old Trafford.

And 3rd paragraph, once upon a time United were so good that they laughed at us even when we had 2 other trophies to go with the UEFA Cup, so feel free to keep that humble pie and enjoy a slice or 2 Brendan, the rest of us are doing fine.
Manjo, LFC

 

Bale money
After trudging through the tedium of Frank being better than Arteta who is better than Ole but worse than Frank who is worse than Ole who is better than Arteta…… – none of whom have had as much time as Klopp and Pep, so who cares…….

But.

Gareth Bale.

You are sitting in Madrid, doing nothing.  The manager doesnt want you there.  You dont have any interest in being there, other than picking up your pay check.  But you’ve already made so much money, that who cares if you get a pay cut to go and play football at another top end club somewhere else ?  Moving to another big club, and being dropped down to, say, the horrendous idea of only £150k a week is hardly that bad.  You could even move to another city that has some top end golf courses.  I reckon you’d still be able to make ends meet, after all I’m sure you must have a few quid put away to tide you over from having to live on that meagre 7 figure yearly salary.

Sure, you’ve already won shedloads more than 99.999% of footballers could dream of, but you’re only 31 – don’t you want to play ?  In a few years time you’ll be totally done.  Finished and retired.  And the thousands, nay millions, of people who would have given anything to be able to do what you do just have to watch you wasting away your monumental talent.

Its pathetic to the point of despair.  Sure, to begin with there was a little sympathy cos perhaps you were misunderstood and whatever – but now you just look a total ****, and you’re losing the respect of football fans everywhere.  I’m by no means saying thats the yardstick that you should measure yourself by, its just a sad state of affairs that its come to this and you’re too blinkered by money to even be bothered to perhaps pay back the respect of the millions of people who have watched you and helped pay your salary.

Just a thought.
Ben (Gareth, I really hope you dont look back in years to come and feel your glass is half empty)

 

Smack my ditch up
With the greatest of respect, your ‘five players Liverpool must ditch’ article was one of the worst I have read in however many years of coming to your site. This makes me happy. Liverpool are great.
Rob, LFC

 

Come at the King
Congratulations to Ledley King for being appointed the interim manager of Spurs in December 2020.
Budhaditya

 

Great value
In response to Lee Highbury’s email earlier today…

In the summer of 2005, Man Utd signed Park Ji Sung for £4m, Van der Sar for £2m, and then followed this up in the winter transfer window with the signings of Nemanja Vidic for £7m and Patrice Evra for £5.5m. That’s a combined total of £18.5m and they went on to win multiple leagues, contest multiple CL finals (winning 1), and a few domestic cups along the way (and this doesn’t include charity shields, Club World Cup) etc. They also went onto break a few records along the way – keeping the most domestic clean sheets, the longest unbeaten CL run and generally regarded as the best in their position for a time.

Park Ji Sung went onto get 205 appearances, Van der Sar put on the shirt 266 times, and Vidic and Evra 300 and 379 respectively. That’s 1,150 appearances for the four of them, which is a ridiculous return in value considering they cost £18.5m.

Of course, we then went onto sign Michael Carrick in the summer of 06 for £16m, and that took us up another level. What a few transfer windows they were!
LeChuck, (London)

 

In response to Lee, Highbury, there is the correct answer, although I do not know if they would count as “unsung”.

For a combined £13.5 million, United signed Nemanja Vidic – £7m – and Patrice Evra – £5.5m, and both turned out to be the best transfers ever. Vidic played 300 games and scored 21 goals, while Evra played 379 games and scored 10 goals. In that time, United won 5 Premier League titles, 3 League Cups, 1 Champions League and a Club World Cup.

Clearly the best value.
Neill, Ireland

 

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