We’re still two years from being able to judge Solskjaer…

Date published: Friday 8th January 2021 8:00

Get your mails on Solskjaer and more into theeditor@football365.com…


…..I do enjoy the post match shoulda woulda coulda brigade on every single United match. Funny but you rarely hear their opinions before the game but after a defeat and 5yrs playing Football Manager they’re suddenly clued up on the intricate details of how to manage a group of professional footballers earning more money than they will see in their lifetime. I suspect, just a hunch, that the managers who see these players day in and day out have slightly greater insight than the rest of us. Fine to voice opinion if someone is stinking the place out over the last 5/6 games but each game? Bore off. One sentence is how its a disgrace to rest Bailly when he’s playing so well, next sentence is clearly Fernandes needs a break. I know, lifes boring and there’s not much else to talk about but do United supporters not remember Moyes, Mourinho and Van Gaal?? It was DIRE. And dare I say it, I’d take this United side over Jose and Louis’ trophy winning seasons. We’re young, exciting, there’s hope. Forget the Ferguson era for now, its gone. The days of nabbing a Van persie, Ferdinand, Berbatov, Carrick from your rivals are OVER. It’s harder now. And even Fergie’s teams lost a few games, against dross. I feel like we’re two signings away from a real challenge, now is the time for Woodward to strike as players will want to play in this side and be the ones to take us the next step.


…A bit surprised at seeing my mail clumped in with Angad under the heading “Ole-out”. Personally, my views on Ole couldn’t possibly be further from his on this topic. I highlighted in my mail that we performed well even though ultimately in a losing cause to a better team. I also said that the team has been improving and that without at least a couple of key signings (especially one in CDM), there are situations where the team is limited. These are not indictments of the manager, but rather simply stating the facts as they are. We have made progress under Ole, there is a long way to go yet, and we won’t get there regardless of who the manager is unless we buy.

Angad in contrast thinks we need a ‘proper’ manager, whatever that is, and is convinced this is as good as it can get under Ole. Instead of calling this ‘peak Ole’, I view it as ‘peak Ole with this specific set of players at this specific point of time’. United have done well and gone on pretty good runs thrice now under Ole. Currently we are level on points with the league leaders and a game in hand. The question is how long can this current be sustained. Can we keep up this level of performance for a longer set of games? Admittedly we lost a big-game to City, and I get the frustration. But, to sack him now and ignore all the other good things that are happening with the team seems to be the opposite of what we should do now.

On the topic of how far we can go under him, how exactly are we supposed to tell? United currently don’t have a title-winning squad. That must be obvious. Yet Angad says we have peaked under Ole and that we will never win anything major with him. Why are we judging Ole to be inadequate as a manager when we can agree (I hope) that the squad itself needs work?

Angad also says Ole is not good enough because he’s just ‘learning on the job’. First of all, everyone does. No successful manager became so unless he or she had the capacity to keep learning and constantly improve. You can start to worry if the team stops improving and plateaus. If that happens and we are still nowhere, then by all means sack Ole as it would indicate he has stopped learning how to improve us. But I fail to see the logic in deciding now what the ceiling for United under Ole is. Why are we so quick to write him off given, when I repeat, the team has improved, and also given that there are still areas in the squad that must be addressed through signings? Far more experienced and ‘learned’ managers have come before Ole and spouted their ‘philosophies’ only to utterly and completely fail before getting the sack. I’d like to ask Angad to name a single manager on the planet that is available, willing to come to United, and is guaranteed to start winning trophies from day 1. I don’t think you can, but even if you could, that person would still have to take the team through a process of improvement, sign quality players, and will likely lose some ‘big-games’ before it happens. And that’s before even mentioning Ed Woodward.

Lastly, and I say this not to goad Liverpool fans. This has nothing to do with Liverpool. But, it took even Klopp several seasons to finally win one trophy at Liverpool. They lost that title race to City. They lost a CL final. In fact, they lost every trophy they competed in until eventually they managed to start winning. That took 4 years of improvement, and being perfect in the transfer department. Until then, they were good, but not quite good enough. How about we give Ole the same time at the very least (although he’s playing with the Woodward handicap) and then throw him out if needed.
MM, Man United, India


Transfer window snog, marry, avoid
Well after reading this morning’s mailbox it looked quite short on mails, so i thought here is a suggestion that could cause a nice discussion, after all it is the January Transfer Window, so let’s discuss it.

So for your supported club, who is a player you feel your club should buy, a player you need to sell and one that you need to loan out, you can give your reasons for each one just to add some extra opinion for us all to have a good chat about.

Mikey, CFC


Diving and the new normal
Interesting clip of Shaw/Pogba from James Outram, Wirral. Unfortunately the rules dictate that diving is more profitable than trying to get your shot off. Glad to see Shaw didn’t go for the dive though.

I guess this is now “the new normal” and players will dive more, especially when they hardly ever get booked for diving. I may be a biased utd fan but I still cringe when Martial dribbles a ball into the box and trips over an imaginary piece of string just inside the box. While I hope penalty decisions get better and teams stop getting the softest of penalties, I was thinking of an easy way to stop this – as with most of our brilliant mailboxer ideas, it will never happen but here goes anyway…

I would only award a penalty where the attacking team clearly had a chance to shoot on goal. So, a foul on the edge of the area near the by-line is not a penalty, it’s a direct free kick. An accidental handball that would currently be a penalty is now a direct free kick. This means it is not worth diving at the by-line as you’ll just get a direct free kick and the defending team will be able to put a wall of 10 in the goal, it will probably be better to stay on your feet and get a cross/pass into the box.

If this makes people stay on their feet more and we get more indirect free kicks in the box then what’s not to love?

Clearly I am not missing anything like the completely subjective nature of when an attacker has a clear chance to shoot.

Ultimately, it’s the same problem we’ve had for years – ban the cheaters retrospectively or we’ll never get rid of diving. That will probably never happen though as we can’t possibly admit that the referee made a mistake.
Jon, Cape Town
P.S. worst cheating ever was Rivaldo getting a Turkish player sent off in the world cup for holding his face when a ball was kicked in his midriff – no action taken on Rivaldo, he should have been banned for 3 matches at least – great player though he was)


Peak Spursy
Any other Spurs fans shitting themselves over the Marine game this weekend. The fear of public hilarity (more than normal) is making me feel nervous. I remember fondly when Arsenal were beaten by Wrexham in 92 and that is nearly 30 years ago, jeez I can’t remember where I left my car keys so must have made a huge impression on me. It could be a generational moment where our Spurseyness will live on.
Steve (THFC)

Big Weekend: Marine v Spurs, Villa reserves, Van de Beek


Cavani’s case
Based on the dismissive references to “public school bunch of chaps” and “cancel culture” I don’t think I’d mostly see eye-to-eye with Terry, Costa Rica, but I very much agree with the point he made in this morning’s mailbox regarding Edison Cavani’s ban.

It is established and known that what Cavani wrote was in Spanish, on the internet, and to a friend – but what is often not discussed is the where his friend is located/living. If I understand correctly, said friend does not even live in Britain, but lives elsewhere? If that is the case, what is happening here is essentially the FA taking jurisdiction over the whole internet and applying Anglophonic cultural standards across the board. This is essentially Anglophonic digital imperialism. From my point of view, this is yet another important reason why the Cavani case is different from the Suarez case, which took place in real life between two people in England. Applying Anglophonic cultural norms to something which occurred in England is difficult to argue against.

I myself am fundamentally an anglophone despite being bilingual, and view the world through the anglophonic lense. I agree with the overall conclusion that people should not call each other “negrito” or similar, even lovingly or as friends. But I would not feel I had the authority to tell others, living in other countries, speaking in other languages, that they must change to fit our world view. If people move countries, they must abide by the norms of their hosts, but applying our standards to digital communications sent to people living elsewhere can be seen as overstepping our bounds. Indeed, I have a fair number of Francophonic black friends, and this was their precise reaction to FA’s charge on Cavani when it was originally announced. (I absolutely do not wish to speak for them, or represent that their view is representative of all Francophonic black people – but I felt it was a very interesting and valid perspective worth sharing).

(Parts of) the Anglophonic world may very well be right, and (parts of) the Hispanic world may very well be wrong – but this is all worth bearing in mind while making such judgments on individuals like Cavani (and even Suarez, despite the various massive differences in the 2 cases). This will come up again with other languages and other idioms, so watch this space.
Oliver (crossing fingers that this isn’t coming across as any sort of defense of casual internet racism!!!) Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland


…Terry offers his take of Cavani and is either being disingenuous or has unintentionally missed something: a lot of South Americans have an unconscious racial bias. It is certainly true that many use the term yet are not vocally hateful nor outwardly bigoted. But it exists in the same sphere as Jim Davidson’s ‘Chalky’ character, where those with power are able to speak with impunity because it’s all just a bit of fun, nothing to get upset about. Everyone should stop being so sensitive, right Terry?

Much of South America has populations that descend from a mix of the natives, the European invaders, and the enslaved. It has not created a harmonious equal society. We white people don’t tend to do that. Racial discrimination is commonplace. Identifying a black person by the colour of their skin first is othering. Just as many are happy to identify the disabled by their disability before anything else. Terry says it’s just like calling someone chum or pal. So why didn’t he use the actual word for friend?

Terry refers to cancel culture. Terry, Cavani wasn’t cancelled. Nobody has demanded he be banned for life, kicked out of the league, or fined until the day he dies. He was given a relatively short ban, because his club failed to educate him on something eminently avoidable.

Do I believe Cavani hates black people? No. But I do believe that much of South America has the same issues with race as we do, because the white Europeans who invaded brought with them the same hateful attitudes that they infected us with. Which is why today a black Uruguayan is (on average) paid less for the same job, and is twice as likely to live in poverty than their white counterpart. These are the real-world impacts of the racial discrimination that exists in Uruguay, one of the most progressive nations in the region.

There is no such thing as an affectionate racist nickname.


…I have to completely disagree with Terry, Costa Rica. It’s not for the FA to look into each player background and decide what is culturally appropriate for that person. It is for the players to adapt to the country in which they live.

I have lived abroad. I worked in the UAE for 3 years and I taught in Peru for 5 months, where I lived with a conservative Catholitc family. In both those countries, what was culturally acceptable was different to the UK. In the UAE I dressed more conservatively in certain places. I didn’t kiss my girlfriend in public. I moderated what I posted on social media. To a lesser extent, I did the same in Peru.

It would be completely unacceptable for me to say “Well in the UK, it’s fine for me to behave this way, why should I change for you?” Whatever a word means in South America is irrelevant. What matters is what it means here. We have a culture in this country of what is acceptable and what is not. It is for players to adjust their behaviour to meet those standards, not the other way around.

Mike, LFC, London

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