Man Utd’s season starts here, Pogba getting his comeuppance, and how to fix VAR…

Editor F365
Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho during their time together at Manchester United.
Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho during their time together at Manchester United.

There’s little sympathy for Paul Pogba in the Mailbox but one missive on why Jadon Sancho has been mistreated by Manchester United. Also: fixing VAR; and negativity around Arsenal.

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Cool your jets over United
I am sure there are a few United fans that think similar to me, but my word the overhype on players like Hannibal & Amrabat within the media & from fans also is actually staggering. Don’t get me wrong, it is good to be positive, and I like the fact United signed someone similar to Casemiro as well as giving another youth academy player an opportunity in the first team, its important as part of the culture to keep developing these players (United have done so with Rashford, McTominay, Evans etc).

But Amrabat played 60 mins against practically Palace’s second XI in the League cup THIRD ROUND, and yes he played well, but jesus man everyone calm your tits. Let’s see how he fares and if he can stay fit firstly. I think he is exactly the kind of midfielder United needed in supporting Casemiro as well as Fernandes too in the midfield too in allowing that extra freedom for creativity, but United fans just tend to get so carried away, its bloody cringe. Watch United fans have a hissy fit if United don’t beat Palace on Saturday, will be a case of Ten Haag out, and Sancho is being unfairly treated blah blah. Oh and Hannibal has played like what, 10 games for United first team overall, and now being linked with a new contract? Given him a contract if he manages to push through the first team and deal with the level of the league during the next 6 months, then rewards him for those potentially good performances (I do have to say though, absolutely fantastic locks/afro and love his aggression too).

United’s next 6 fixtures are crucial in setting the tone for the season, and having seen the fixture list the team should be winning all of those games (Including the UCL games) apart from the City one at the end of October. I think if the so called ‘spine’ of the team in Onana, Varane, Casemiro/Amrabat, Fernandes & Rashford/Hojiland stay injury free, United will always have a chance of winning the game given these set of players have plenty of quality & experience, but performances and concentration needs to improve, despite improvement in last few games, some dodgy passing around the back at times.
Rami, Manchester/Dubai


Sympathy for the Pog?
When Mourinho was fired from United, it was widely reported that Pogba arrived at training the next day offering high fives whilst saying “he f**ked with the wrong baller”.

You can talk all you like about mental health, but the guy is a prize bell-end; I don’t need to know him personally, sometimes you can just tell. Why do you think Fergie didn’t play him more and let him go? Because he knew that for all the talent, he was a pr*ck.

So no, I don’t have much sympathy.
Lewis, Busby Way


Good old Arsenal
I note a number of negative opinions/comments being thrown about regarding Arsenal (both from our own fans and opposing fans). We haven’t been great but we haven’t been that bad.

My observation is that only Liverpool and Arsenal are the only two Premiership clubs that haven’t lost in all competions this season. Arsenal have actually won a trophy! (Tell me Citeh wouldn’t have celebrated that Community nonsense shield Neville!?).

Citeh have had a relatively easy start to the season but fair play you beat who you have to. Arsenal threw points away to Fulham and to a degree the Spuds through mistakes…..nothing to with goal celebrations.

Team well rotatated against a strong Brentford side. Welcome back ESR (would have been great with a goal!) and Ramsdale (would have dealt better with that cross v Spuds leading to their goal). Tomyasu very good, Kiwior impressive, Jorginho commanding, Harvertz (come on mate we know you’ve got what it takes!), well done Nelson. Keep it up Eddie you’re the ‘fox in the box’ Wenger wanted (two goals and two assists this season but still crucified by certain fans).

So, Arsenal one point lower than they were last season in the table. Disaster! I’ve made a couple of my opinions regarding team selections above but that is because there is a wider choice. We just need to get out of second gear and kill games off.

As I said, currently undefeated but still having to put up with the Stewie’s of thus World.
Chris, Croydon (RIP Elianne Andam xx)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta

Why Ten Hag is in the wrong
Ten Haag should apologise because he breached confidentiality we’re all entitled to, failed to back up claims with performance statistics; should follow Greenwood, take Rashford, find a better employer


Home comforts
This one’s for all the United fans who seem to think they get a rough ride from the FA.

It’s been over 2 years since United were drawn away from home in domestic cup competition…

And they still can’t win it. (except they did – MC)


Fixing VAR
Some interesting points in the Mailbox this morning, I especially enjoyed the email from E, India which reminded me of why I love football – its emotional impact is greater than anything in my life beyond my immediate family. It is important to celebrate the highs and minimise the lows though, otherwise it can just be another thing getting on top of you, sincerely hope that doesn’t happen to E.

This is part of the reason why VAR is so hated – it detracts from the emotional impact of football. The elation of a goal is tempered, and the despair of having a goal chalked off is magnified. It doesn’t have to be this way though – VAR has gotten way out of control because it is being implemented and managed by people who prioritise the rules and the accuracy of their application over the wonderful sport itself.

You can’t keep on tuning VAR – that will only make it worse and worse, which is what we are seeing. You need to limit its scope to only the glaring error, which was what it was originally sold as. How to do that? Limit it to only completely missed matters of fact – stuff that the on-pitch ref and lino missed completely. Everything else stays with the officials on the pitch – subjective calls are best made by people closest to the action, and fans have to learn to suck it up again. If VAR finds something, they just make the decision – no pitch-side monitors.

Clearly you can’t ask refs to do this, because they prefer rules to football, because they want to protect their mates, and because they have complete cocked it up thus far, with Howard Webb the Grim Reaper finishing it off while continuing to guarantee United home draws in every domestic cup. Who to save VAR then? Broadcasters – those with the kit, know-how and vested interest in maximising the emotion and entertainment of football. I genuinely think refs would ultimately prefer this too – they would moan about re-reffing games, but the reality is that they would be empowered on the pitch, and pressure would be lifted off it. You can have an actual ref in the VAR room if you want, to validate VAR decisions before they are made.

This is not a criticism of refs – we need them, football needs them. The reason why the perception is that refs are worse than ever, or have always been rubbish beyond redemption, is due to the constant unnecessary rule changes, and the scope of VAR being too great and therefore encompassing all the rule changes – this becomes an ever-growing matrix of turd, that is quite simply impossible to navigate. If you simplify the rules, and limit the scope of VAR, then refs will be able to do the job competently. Like they used to (and they did).

Before VAR, there was the occasional injustice (couple a season max) which you felt very keenly until you could shrug it off as a human error. With VAR, every game is full of injustices which you cannot shrug off because VAR is supposed to remove them.
Gofezo (re conspiracies – it is not a conspiracy that money dominates football – money dominates the entire world – we live in a global fossil-fuelled capitalist economy – everything can be tracked back to that, and won’t change until the breakdown of society as we know it)


Got any VAR?
Can you please make contact with Calvino and get them to share whatever hallucinogenic they’re on so we can all have an opportunity to try it?

While on this, if I were in the business of making synthetic drugs (which I’m not, I promise) I’d definitely market one as ‘VAR’ where the effect on the user would be an inconsistent yet euphoric sense of complete confusion.

Many thanks,
Dr Oyvind, Earth.


Third type of fan
J Belfast suggested two types of football fan and there is little I disagree with in his explanation. Other than to add a third type, in which I put myself, of folk that periodically get so utterly sick of the bullsh*t from type ones that we walk away saying we’ll never waste another moment of our short existence on such childishness, only to be sucked back in by accidentally seeing some lovely thing from a Brighton or a Napoli or a Morocco.

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