The key signing Man United have to prioritise going forward

Date published: Thursday 1st October 2020 9:44 - Matthew Stead


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Mata of fact

Juan Mata is a bloody delight and I’m so happy to see him playing football, even if it’s the Carabao Cup.
Daniel (wanted to send an email full of positivity) Cambridge


Bailly, Bailly baby

After Manchester United lost to Palace, I wrote a post here and lamented how OGS must be ruthless and bench non performers. It is fair to say Lindelof has been poor. What is the justification in starting him and when Baily plays he is flawless! Baily is our best defender. Save for the ghost penalty he conceded last season via VAR, I can’t see man mistakes he makes. He is stronger, faster, better and has more tactical awareness than Lindelof. Why does this Swedish clown play? Yesterday’s Carabao game again showed this. Baily Must start!!!!!!!

Other notable observations

1. Van Der Beek has a good understanding with Fred. Play them more!
2. Mata must play more. Classy player.
3. Williams is a better defender than Shaw! I would start him LB currently..
4. Start Ighalo ahead of Martial till Martial stops sulking and comes to his senses that the season has commenced.

Basically OGS must make use of his big squad. If a player isn’t performing, drop them!
Abner, Kenya. 


It’s a mess

Manchester United really have their work cut out…

If you look at Liverpool and City we are just so far behind them it’s ridiculous. Literally every position.

Martial is a lazy waste of space.
Rashford is one of the most overrated players I’ve ever seen. One trick pony.
Pogba is a lazy arse show pony that only ever shines when everyone else does the hard work for him.
Maguire is a slow arsed mediocre defender and is somehow better than our other centre backs.
Matic is too slow, Fred is just the answer to nobodies question and Fernandes just looks lost. Like he is the only one trying

Tedious much? I will continue…

Ighalo was a panic signing and he is only still here because we feel guilty.
James is quick. That’s the entire list of his skills.
Bailly is a disaster waiting to happen.
Lindelof is a mediocre defender full stop.
Greenwood is a very exciting prospect. Waiting to be shunted to the right wing forever because we haven’t got anyone else and haven’t since Ronaldo/Beckham

Luke shaw is still living off his U18 performances and has regressed. Dalot should be good but isnt because we don’t have a decent coach in sight of the club.

Wan Bisakka is so one dimensional that even the Mona Lisa wanted a 3D upgrade.
What the actual f#k happened to DDG? Used to be decent and all of a sudden is really crap.

Pereira, Lingard, Jones, Smalling, Rojo, even Romero now Henderson is back. What the f*** is going on with player recruitment/sales at Manchester United? We have been in pause mode since last season ended. The only surprise is that VDB arrived. He seems ok but seriously wtf else is happening ED????
Phil MUFC Salford (I never envisaged it getting this bad)


Sancho hope

I hope for the sake of football that Manchester United do not sign Sancho before the end of the window. Not because I think they are going to get a quality player and ruin his career like they do with every other world class player they sign and offer stupid money to, see Di Maria, Sanchez, pogba.

The reason I hope this does not happen is because of what Dortmund have said. The deadline was set, the deadline was not met and all of the noises out of the club suggest that it’s too little too late. If this transfer happens it just makes a farce of everything so please Dortmund stick to your guns.

At the end of the day poor Sancho will be shot uo to the highest heights and then shat out like something out of the arse of a border folly like every other English player who showed promise when they were young. See Fowler. Robert, Owen, Michael, Ali. Dele, Barkley, Ross et all.


Identity fraud

Would the person who emailed in as Mark Danger Endicott, MUFC to yesterday morning’s Mailbox kindly fess up please? DD – Was it you? Is this because I didn’t commend you on your choice of Sausage?

Thoroughly enjoyed the parody of my writing (and life) style, and I am truly flattered you took the time to piece together something for everyone’s amusement on my behalf. You literally could’ve picked any of the slightly unhinged Manchester United fans to imitate, and you went for this lemon. I’m honoured.

You nearly had me down to a tee, but come on old chap, there were two minor give aways it wasn’t me:

1) ‘Messi Lingard’ – I am not a teenager, and am therefore duty bound to refer to him by his proper name. I also think he’s toilet.

2) You picked Daniel James – I have previously referred to him as a competition winner in the Mailbox. I genuinely wouldn’t pick him in a playground.

Anyone else had an impersonator steal their Mailbox moniker?
The real Mark Endicott Endicott, MUFC

Director of Football

I read an excellent article on the telegraph website about Monchi, Sevilla’s DOF, in which he gave an interview about what his job entailed and how he organises his department. It was so eminently sensible my immediate thought was that, as a Manchester United fan, we should prioritise him in the transfer window.

Like many a Manchester United fan I am perplexed by our approach to the transfer market. In the good old Sir Alex days we’d win the league and announce new signings that nobody had heard of before practically the next day (Wot? We’ve signed a Nanny and ‘er son?). Now we seem to announce to the press who we intend to buy and boast about how we are going to exploit the market due to Covid (Ole August 4th). Well if the definition of exploiting the market is to negotiate with players and agents (Sancho and Telles) BEFORE!! contacting the clubs they play for to see if they actually are willing to sell them Manchester United are doing a bang up job. With De Beek I put it down to VanDer Sar’s doing not Judge or Woodward.

Apparently we have put in a bid for 90 mil or so for Sancho which Dortmund have turned down. Why it’s taken so long for the bid to come in (brinkmanship?) I don’t know but were I in charge of the dealings from United’s side I wouldn’t go any higher. If Dortmund are banking on keeping Sancho for a year in the expectation that other clubs would come calling to push their asking price even higher then they may well be miscalculating as I do not think the virus is going to disappear any time soon.

Stay safe everyone whomever you support (Yes even you City, Liverpool and Leeds fans!)
Gary (ex Pat United fan in Pennsylvania)B

P.S. Stop calling us ManU or Man You…its United or Utd…anything else is totally unacceptable


Mourinho as Warnock

Yesterday’s late mails were a bumper crop. I particularly enjoyed the “Mourinho is now an Englishman” one.

I think there is a point to your correspondent’s reasoning, but it’s not an unusual phenomenon. Plenty of foreign players have been embraced as “one of us”; managers not so much, but that’s probably because foreign managers tend not to spend 10-15 years in the Premier League (Arsene was an exception, but of course the aloof Frenchman would never become “one of us”).

The thing about Mourinho is that he’s a character – always has been. I haven’t watched the famed Amazon documentary, but I could bet the film would be 99% less interesting with Pochettino as its star.

Now, I’d much rather have Carlo Ancelotti, a genuinely competent and nice man, in charge of my club. But I’ll give Mourinho this: off the pitch, he is the most entertaining manager of them all. I don’t exactly wish him success, but I hope he hangs around the Premier League for a while.


What separates the average from the elite in this world is the commitment and obsession the elite put into their work. Just look back at what happens in school. The people who get the best grades are the people who dedicate most of their time into their studies, even geniuses who are well known possess this trait the hunger and drive to be better at their various fields. Many will have talent or the brains but the people who get furthest in the end are the people who put in the work.

This all is the prelude to Jose Mourinho, I mean you got to admire this man. If given a choice I’d always have him in my corner. Starting up with the recent matches, the diss he gave Lampard, and the retort to Ole’s woodwork claims . This is a guy who not only analyses games for tactical reasons but also to spot anything he could use to his advantage. He went over the footage of West Brom saw Lamps in his state at 3-0 down and waited till the most opportune time to use it.

This is a guy who seems to have compiled all the useable disses on all managers he can find, you never see him using generic responses to a criticism he already has something on the other manger. All to get an emotional and a mental edge on the opposite number. That is why he is among the best he wants to gain advantages all over the field and he makes time to do just that. Lest we forget how he riled up Pep back in their heydays.
Mourinho’s number 1 fan (Chelsea, Kenya).


Assorted thoughts

Hi all, new writer here.

1. “I think it makes more sense to associate Pep with the failings of Mourinho (than compare him to Klopp)”-Donp, LFCWhat failings? While Klopp and Guardiola are incredibly talented managers in their own right, with Mourinho’s trophy cabinet (?), shouldn’t he still be considered a class above? (Also, you don’t… have… to always… use ellipses… all… the time.)

2. So, from what I’ve read by Andrew, LFC, Johannesburg and Del, the handball rule should be:

An (indirect?) free kick is given when:

-The player is not aware of the handball
-The player not able to avoid a handball
-The handball stops a shot on target

A penalty is given when:
-The handball stops a shot that’s definitively going in

3. I think Minty’s mail is the most aggressive I’ve seen in a while. Also, wouldn’t the hardest start to the season award go to West Brom (Leicester (1st), Everton (3rd), Chelsea (9th)?
Andrew, Australia, CFC


Flexible criticism

For the longest time I thought Guardiola got a bit of a free ride and his guru-like fawning from the media was a bit sickening when he first arrived.

But lately I think he is a no-win situation, which seems to be the English way – once successful, you are now prime meat to be chopped down to size.

He really can’t win when he vilified for not changing formation and for changing formation. When he changed his formation in the CL – and lost – the essence was that he bottled it and always overthinks things.When he didn’t change his game plan, it was because he is too inflexible in his footballing philosophy.

Seems to be the way of things these days.   But I’m not going to shed a tear over it, as not a City supporter.
Paul McDevitt


Roll of the Dyche

I read with interest the response that John Nicholson wrote to the comments that Sean Dyche made on the proposed bail-out of the EFL clubs by PL clubs. John accuses Sean of false equivalence, but it’s really John who is peddling a fallacy.

Just as an introduction: – Football has the classic sausage problem. If you love sausages, it’s probably best you don’t really know everything there is to know about it’s production. Most people who dare visit such places end up never eating sausages. So, if you love football, you’d better not get involved in the administration of the sport. Nothing will kill the daily enjoyment of football for a fan, cures you of all the romanticism of organised football,  than getting involved in running it.

Firstly, the premise that top flight football only exists because of the pyramid beneath it Is false. Football exists because there is great interest from individuals in society in the sport. In fact, all the money that football makes comes from that individual interest. John has vigorously argued on that point here before. If my local plumber, roofer, electrician gives up on playing Sunday League and cancels their subscription, then the local team where I live will simply cease to exist. The purpose of the footballing pyramid is simply to give structure to the enjoyment of the sport.

Secondly, if John feels that football has an inherent meaning and value that gives the community self-identity, then he could easily extend that and be talking about any particular leisure activity that communities have undertaken at various times in history. Theatre and acting once used to be the center of communal spirit, at another stage it was the Church, at one time it was gladiatorial contests, in some countries it is martial art studios. The list is endless. Football is not unique in currently occupying that space. And there is no reason to expect it to do so indefinitely either. Societies evolve and what gives them meaning and cohesion changes over time, so football has no special right to be treated like a holy cow that must be saved for the sake of community.

Thirdly, the idea that giving a couple of million quid to a lower league club should not be a big problem really exposes great ignorance and naivety or just an attempt/agenda to be misleading. As we saw earlier, all the money actually comes from the individual interest – from the grassroots. -either through purchase of merchandise or access to entertainment. Therefore, where does John want the couple million quid free grant to come from? After all, all the clubs in the pyramid have access to the same grassroots. PL clubs are also carrying huge liabilities in a limited income situation, who should shoulder those liabilities? Also, the actual source of the problem and therefore responsible for solving it, is the FA not the premier league plc.

Fourth, please John, don’t stoop to the level of accusing those who disagree with you of ignoring the problem and not offering solutions. You know better than most that there are real solutions to these problems, but they are not easy to sustainably implement. Just like free aid to 3rd world countries has never helped create a more equal society, so bailing out lower league clubs will not either.

Fifth, statements like were Burnley going burst at the bottom of league two…alluding that Sean’s comments are purely due to his location on the pyramid are really just emotional blackmail. If we want sensible sustainable solutions, then we need to avoid such propaganda speech. If money is to be pooled and offered, it should be repayable interest free loans and predicated upon re-organisation of the whole footballing structure nationwide.

Football is only a sport if you are on the pitch playing it, or on the stands supporting it. To everyone else involved, it is primarily a business. That business part is what allows the on field and community parts to function no matter how small or large the club becomes. LFC offers you the best example of that. In 10 years, they have gone from a failing business, uncompetitive on the pitch and community eyesore to the current first class business, Champions on the pitch and drivers of local community progress. Fan groups may want us to believe that they were the main drivers of that change, but the truth is that the difference only occured due to business decisions made at the very top with zero supporter/community/player input.
Drew (Dublin)

Specific solutions are beyond the scope of this letter but I’m more than happy to discuss them with John


Any chance we could revisit last week’s Prick of the Week and swap Frank Lampard for Sean Dyche?  I don’t think JN’s article goes far enough.

“Does that mean every hedge-fund manager who is incredibly successful does that — filter down to the hedge-fund managers who are not so successful?”  That’s literally Burnley you’re talking about Sean.  That’s literally where you get your money from.  Nobody’s giving the Premier League billions because of Burnley.  You’re taking money earned by the big six.  Rather than be concerned about how unfair it would be to help out the EFL Sean should be more worried about the time when the big six decide it’s unfair that they prop up the likes of Burnley.  The next time the big six angle to get a bigger share of the TV pot I’ll be waiting for Sean to come out and say how it’s only fair that they do.  The next time Burnley get relegated I’ll be waiting for Sean to say how they shouldn’t accept the parachute payments.

This is all cod economics anyway, shallow thinking by a man who thinks he knows more than he does.  The Premier League isn’t in competition with the EFL.  The EFL are suppliers to the Premier League and you can be guaranteed that if Apple’s supplier was going bankrupt they would be incredibly worried and they would help them out.  “Rule of thumb” is a bad thing Sean.  It’s what lazy and stupid people do when they can’t understand the complexity of the situation or the consequences of making a rash decision.

Before anyone misunderstands this, Burnley deserve the money they get from being in the Premier League but they have to realise that they’re as reliant on the big six as the EFL is reliant on them.  All football is reliant on each other, break the chain in one place and eventually the whole thing unravels.

Ironically Prick of the Week Frank “the Tory” Lampard is in favour of helping lower league teams.
SC, Belfast


Are Scotland… good?

It’s said that sportsmen die twice, first when they retire, but surely that extends to three times for the poor Championship player that realises his only chance of international football is to declare for Scotland.

In my heart, my brave heart, I’ve always had some sympathy for the Scotch people, perhaps on account of some limited ancestry which manifests itself chiefly in my naturally fish-white flesh and tiny flecks of ginger facial hair. Sure, it’s still hilarious when they mess it up – Patrick Kluivert nutmeg et al – but the last few years have shown that their proud country has indeed been ‘colonised by w*nkers’.

This time round, it looks like Scotland has, for once, the makings of a good team. Perhaps they’re just a Jack Charlton or Robbie Keane away from being actually properly decent. I would argue just a Brendan Rodgers away from success. I mean it’s arguably the best Scottish squad in my lifetime.

Is Scotland good?

Look at the evidence. Robertson is world class and Tierney is clearly Premier League quality. McGinn and McTominay both have a touch of class and real endeavour about them and that’s before you consider that Billy Gilmour (remember him?) will be back soon.

OK, so you’re asking a lot of Ryan Fraser and Oliver Burke to provide a bit of zip in a slightly stodgy team that needs to mix it’s League One stylings with some more assured possession football.

Despite the usual Championship and SPL mulch, there are some solid support staff too. Liam Cooper, Stuart Armstrong and John Fleck now look like they could have solid, if unremarkable careers at the top level or thereabouts. Oli McBurnie and Callum Paterson may not be top class but opposition defenders wouldn’t want to see those two coming at them through a bothy.

Now I appreciate that there’s a very small window of opportunity to get the point about Scotland being decent across before it dissipates in contact with reality. A window that will probably slam shut with the inevitable witless hoofba defeat against Israel.

But maybe with a bit of luck they’ll survive through to getting monstered by the Brylcreem goomba and force of nature that is Erling Haaland in the next round. With a lot of luck they’ll win the play-offs and be facing off against England on 18th June at Wembley in a mouth-watering clash in front of thousands of fans (‘rona permitting).

Perhaps by then the Scottish Men’s National Team won’t be the punchline we’re all expecting.
Quarantino Asprilla, Chairman of the Bored, ITFC


Best Champions League group ever

It’s Champions League group stage draw day, who doesn’t love that right? We get 45 minutes of filler content before some people pick bingo balls out of a bowl for our enjoyment, us football fans are weird right?

Well I thought with that in mind I’d bring this question to the Mailbox, over the years what has been your favourite group stage of all time and why?

This can be a surprise group that turned out to be quite entertaining or the group in which 4 League Champions faced one another when City, Ajax, Madrid and Dortmund all were put together before the rule changes.
Mikey, CFC 


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