Solskjaer is just Moyes with more money…and more mails

Date published: Wednesday 15th July 2020 9:54

Send more thoughts on Man Utd, the futility of human existence and anything else to theeditor@football365.com.

 

Davey Gunnar Solskjaer
So we all know that Moyes, Mourinho and LVG were dreadful at Utd and Ole can do no wrong. Let’s have a little look at the records of each manager:

David Moyes: Played: 51 Won: 26 Drawn: 10 Lost: 15 Points: 88 Points Per Game: 1,73

Louis Van Gaal: Played: 103 Won: 54 Drawn: 24 Lost: 25 Points: 186 Points Per Game: 1,81

Jose Mourinho: Played: 144 Won: 84 Drawn: 31 Lost: 29 Points: 283 Points Per Game: 1,97

Now here comes the record of Ole – lovely, smiley faced Ole since he took over as permanent Manchester Utd manager….

OGS: Played: 64 Won: 32 Drawn:16  Lost: 16 Points: 112 Points Per Game: 1,75

So you’ve got a slightly better Moyes and OGS has spent a hell of a lot more than Moyes was ever allowed.

Now the argument will be ‘We’re playing more exciting football now blah blah blah’. That’s fair enough but if you want entertaining football and not much to show for it, you could have had Kevin Keegan. He’s a nice bloke too.

You could argue that Ole has built a much better team than Moyes had (yes, I know SAF handed over champions, but that was SAF in charge) and Ole’s still only slightly improved on Moyes’ record.

Basically, before Utd fans start talking title challenges and ‘next year is our year’, things may not seem as good as you think.
Sam (Not sure I’d like to see Maguire in Kevin Keegan team, absolute blood bath) Hobbiton

 

More United thoughts
Have seen a number of knee-jerk reactions after the Manchester United-Soton game, ranging from being called bottlers to the players themselves believing their own hype. For anyone who had actually seen United play this year you can easily tell that the team is very different from the team that started the season

1.) Southampton deserved a point just for trying right till the very end, for United this was a lesson that the game isn’t really over till the final whistle and the margins for error are really low right now so switching off even for a minute is not something we can afford.

2.) That being said, United were by far the better team. The players had a great reaction to going a goal down with United back in the lead within 15 mins of conceding. We could have easily had another 3-4 goals if we were more clinical in front of the goal. Martial missed an easy 1-on-1, and had a great run from behind the halfline only to blaze over. Rashford had a goal ruled for offside and McCarthy had a great save at almost point blank range from Rashford. On the brightside, Martial is looking hungry and is finally gaining the consistency that has been missing from his game (8 goals in last 10 games and 5 goals in the last 5, and had a couple of assists as well). Rashford is again showing the explosiveness from his pre-injury run

3.) Maguire is no VVD but anyone can see he has improved our defense. Through all his mistakes people tend to forget we have the second best defense this season. Unfortunately for him, some of his errors have led to goals but De Gea was more culpable for the goals conceded against Bournemouth and Spurs. Any CB can hope for that much support from his keeper, De Gea’s form has been one of the few blips for United this year

4.) I have not seen Shaw make such marauding runs since his horror injury in 2015. His end product and crossing still needs to improve but he has been a constant in the run of 18 unbeaten games and that is nothing to be laughed at. Still 24, he has room to grow and make LB spot his own.

5.) As it stands United still hold CL qualification in their hands. Win all 3 games and we will be atleast 4th. Chelsea and Leicester still have to play Pool, Spurs, Wolves, and Sheff. Utd (3 of them still chasing Europa league). Leicester are without “better than Harry Maguire” Soyuncu for the rest of the games and Chelsea’s defense is still as leaky as ever.

6.) Someone already pointed this out but how great was it to see the manager not throw players under the bus, have a humble and positive outlook at the end of such a game and have good words for the opposing manager. Mou would have buried Shaw for not playing through his injury, said something about not having heritage and thrown a fit at refereeing decisions. OGS’ in game management and substitutions were not ideal in this game, but credit where credit is due – he has transformed Uniteds attack. When was the last time this United team would come from behind in a game and stake a claim to win it. Almost 60 goals among 3 forwards (avg age 21) – things don’t get more exciting

7.) This game definitely shows that though results have improved the squad depth still needs improvement before we can challenge for the PL. A RW is essential and will give Greenwood time to develop at his own pace. Also needed is a creative midfielder who can atleast provide backup to Bruno and Pogba, and a DM/CB if we can find value in the market.
Yash, MUFC (Hope Shaw and Brandon both recover soon!)

 

Just wanted to give a response to some things in the afternoon mailbox. I know what Thomas (MUFC) Cape Town means when he says that a Jose team might have held on for the 3 points but I disagree. I seen United too long with Jose in charge be 1-0 up with twenty minutes to go and bring on two CB’s and Fellaini, then the match finish 1-1. I’m a big believer in that it should be the last resort to soak up pressure and I think Ole got it wrong last night. If United didn’t switch to a back 5 and don’t soak up pressure, they might not concede the corner and then end up drawing.

I also couldn’t agree more with the writer’s of the Ole interview – it was brilliant. No excuses but no blame. I think Klopp and Guardiola are exceptional but it really does bother me how petty they get when things don’t go their way (Klopp complaining about the ref and their inability to put Burnley away, rather than Burnley being brilliant; after the Atletico games). I love Wilder and Dyche for their assessments: truthful but never blaming someone else. Wilder said himself that it might even be to his own detriment that he doesn’t complain more.

Back to the game though, I do think Ole got it wrong in team selection. Matic has been very good lately but Fred should have started. Mostly Ole has got this thing right but Southampton were always going to press, and Fred is our most energetic midfielder and while not as good a passer as Pogba, is better at stepping out of a press with possession. Matic’s positioning sense doesn’t overcome Fred’s energy in this game. That said, it wasn’t this result that cost United top 4 if that is how it plays out, it was the first half of the season and those draws and losses in games that should have been won. Southampton did deserve something from the game.

Also, without wanting to sound tribal, why do Liverpool fans and journalists get so aroused by Liverpool’s net spend? I’m sure Juve have a low net spend over the last few years but their wages are enormous. Liverpool’s income also means they can spend more on scouting and analytics than most of the clubs in the league and their wages and prestige meant they were always a good destination for any player that wasn’t seeking the payday that maybe only a handful of other clubs could give them above Liverpool. As an example, I’m sure Wijnaldum would have had offers from clubs below Liverpool in the league when he got relegated, but Liverpool could attract him to them. That’s not to say it isn’t tough to get transfers right, but that Liverpool have been in a position for some time to get them right.

If City had spent on one or two centre backs and won the league this year, would any Liverpool fan care about their net spend? Or would you tell Klopp to reinforce the squad when the money is there? Beyond being happy with academy players, I genuinely don’t care how much United spend. I don’t think Liverpool fans care how much VVD cost and I don’t think PSG fans would care how much Neymar cost if they won the Champions League.

Liverpool are outstanding, they are, but thirty years waiting for a title maybe skews some people’s thinking. I’m not surprised when any of the big teams with large incomes, in any league, win a title. The resources are there, they just have to be used properly. Liverpool were 4th at the end of the 16/17 season, Sheffield United won League One to be promoted to the Championship and are now 7th in the Premier League. That’s arousing.
James, Galway

 

The beautiful game
Lots of gnashing of teeth and wailing about Citeh and the FFP appeal but I’d like to offer a neutral opinion if one is possible.

I love football. It is a beautiful game when played beautifully and it has been an absolute pleasure to watch Citeh at times over the past few years. I don’t really care about FFP when I can watch De Bruyne, Silva, Sergio and Raheem playing with such skill and grace as to make your eyes bleed. All orchestrated by a brilliant coach who brought the same beauty to Barca. I know there will be partisan, one-eyed nay-sayers out there, but is there anyone who loves football who hasn’t at some point almost purred as they watch some of the Citeh football? At times, they are art. They are beauty. They are everything a football team should aspire to be on the park. There are few teams that come remotely close in these terms and I love to watch them when they are on song.

I appreciate it is all in the eye of the beholder, but compare them to the dross served up elsewhere in the name of football and for me, the oilmen can throw what they like at football, so long as we all get to enjoy the beauty of the game.

Never been to the Etihad (been to Maine road years ago), watched it all on telly, but that doesn’t detract from what I have seen. So stop moaning and enjoy the game.
Bladey Mick (Football – it’s beautiful…….enjoy it)

 

A sensible City take
Well I’m a City fan so you can skip ahead if you want but you might be interested to know that I am not happy with the idea that City can do what they like.

The media reporting the news is agenda-driven at best and we all have our own club agenda in mind when we pick what side of the fence we fall down on and who the ‘victims’ are.

I try not to be too influenced by it all but it is nigh on impossible to stay impartial when people start slinging accusations back and forth. A lot of the comments would have us believe this is football’s equivalent of Starwars with their side cast as the Jedis. Personally I see this whole FFP thing as I would an episode of Game of Thrones. Morally grey characters trying to get one up on other morally grey characters with shady deals and alliances.

I don’t believe City are innocent in all of this. Whatever the case conclusion, there is no smoke without fire. However there is plenty of smoke coming from UEFA and the likes of Der Spiegel too.

Anyway, I was writing to suggest firstly that FFP is not fit for purpose (no surprises there). I, like many believe it is in place to protect the interests of the big clubs and efforts to hide this by cobbling on the noble cause of saving clubs from  themselves only washes with those whose club benefits from the throttling of ‘new money’. Don’t take my word for it. Ask Gary Neville, a man who gets sick at the thought of ever playing for City, giving his take on Monday. FFP wasnt even governable as a solution practically, making it even more flawed.

Football was very much heading in the direction of strengthening superpowers like Madrid and United long before Abromavich showed up. The whole system was anti-competitive.

Any system in place should a) stop the likes of City from outspending their way into dominance but it should also b) allow for modest levels of investment for clubs that can attract suitors, c) prevent superclubs like Bayern hoovering up the talent of their nearest rivals to guarantee continued success and d) should be transparent and easy to govern.

My proto-idea would be to have a spending cap for wages+transfers made up of a number of elements-

a) profits from net spend – essential for clubs to not be penalised for selling.
b) standard transfer allowance. Flat allowance across the league. Can come from marketing/TV money or external investment. Needs to be modest enough so as to not give certain clubs a big advantage.

Of course there are a number of massive flaws/hurdles in the way but I would be genuinely excited at the idea that leagues across Europe would all have a visible pathway to success so that any decent sized club could challenge at the top with good club management and innovation. The idea that clubs spending shrewdly, managing well and doing things right could actually usurp richer clubs who dont have a plan other than to chuck more money at the problem would be very satisfying. Pull an Andy Carroll/Mangala/Sanchez? Pay the consequences.

Any thoughts?
Nic

 

The riposte
There we have it boys and girls, sportswashing in action from Levershulme Blue:

Parroting the Abu Dhabi PR line about emails being hacked and taken out of context? Check

Deflection of the discussion away from City’s transgressions by Whattaboutery? Check

Warped description of FFP leading to conspiratorial assertions about it’s implementation? Check

I’m not sure the ‘out of context’ argument holds water when the emails literally discuss the sponsors paying a small proportion of the sponsorship funding with the rest topped up by ‘His Highness’ or ADUG. Perhaps you could propose an alternative context in which this didn’t amount to City disguising equity funding as sponsorship contributions.

And surely, surely if the emails were fabricated by Der Speigel’s Chief Feature Writer they would’ve been sued to f**kery by a regime unafraid to use whatever mean necessary to protect the brand?

It’s quite amusing that you accuse me of missing the point. I believe the technical term is ‘projection’.

Now assuming that Levershulme Blue isn’t a pseudonym for Rabin and you’re not a paid shill for the regime how naïve do you have to be to believe that there’s been no wrongdoing from City? A medium sized fanbase and no pull outside Greater Manchester, let alone internationally, has genuine commercial income that dwarfs that of some of the most popular clubs on the planet? That allows them to spend £1.39bn (or £1.069bn Net which is more than double that of the second highest Net spender Barcelona….I wonder if they’re internationally popular?) in the past 10 years without falling foul of FFP? And that’s before we talk about the wages paid to ensure that a highly valuable squad is content to sit on the bench in many cases without agitating for a move for more football elsewhere.

You ask why FFP doesn’t talk about debt? Very simply; debt is an accepted by-product of business the world over and when it’s manageable there is no ill effect on a company’s operations and solvency. Companies can still post huge profits whilt managing debt e.g. Manchester United. If their owners got bored and walked away their business would still be able to operate despite the hundreds of millions in debt because their revenues are so high. If a club is solely reliant on owner funding and that owner walks away for whatever reason the club goes to the wall because it’s financial obligations ae no longer sustainable.

Although that raises an interesting question:

City are apprently operating within FFP. If City’s owners walked away do you think the business would continue to operate as it does today with the same commercial revenues?

Hope this helps too.
James Outram, Wirral

 

The absolute States
As a City fan it has been both entertaining and illuminating to read some of the reaction to the CAS decision from supporters of other clubs – and certain sections of the media whose buffoonish incompetence, haughty hubris and self-destructive personal prejudice against the club and it’s supporters has been laid bare for all to see in brutal fashion (hello Delaney, MacKenna, Syed, Herbert, Corbett, Conn, Panja, Evans, Nakrani, Glendenning and pretty much any hack with the surname Harris).

Much of the reaction has been depressingly predictable. Blinded by tribalism and self-interest to even the most cursory reading of the factual decision of an independent judicial body, many are clinging vainly to the ‘time-barred’ element of the judgement as some sort of consolation prize – while choosing to ignore the fact that CAS also found that many of UEFA’s allegations- for that is all they were – simply were not supported by the evidence.

We all await the full detailed ruling with interest, which may hopefully shed some more light on the issues rather than the heat generated by hysterical smacked arses over the last 48 hours, but for CAS to come down so firmly in City’s favour would at least seem to suggest that the club refuted those of UEFA’s allegations which were not time-barred with some ease.

So it follows that there is nothing to say that those specific allegations which were not discussed at CAS by virtue of being time-barred could not also have been dismissed in similarly perfunctory fashion by City and their legal representatives.

If you’re hoping for a smoking gun to prove your “got off on a technicality” consolation tales, lads and lasses, then you may be disappointed.

Perhaps now the UK sports media, including the aforementioned rabble, might use this episode as an opportunity for reflection. To consider the fact that engaging in witch hunts and pile-ons against an individual club or fanbase (“sewer rats”, anyone?) does both themselves and their profession a disservice. That their journalism should be fair, honest, balanced and evidence-based, rather than churning out emotion-fuelled clickbait to appeal to rival supporters from the Meme/BANTZ generation.

They could perhaps start by asking who pressured UEFA into pursuing what City and its supporters knew all along was a doomed endeavour, a spiteful tilt at a windmill?

The old G14 may no longer formally exist but it is naive and disingenuous in the extreme to think that these old, long-standing political alliances between the entitled establishment clubs don’t exist and, indeed, continue to flourish today (see Agnelli’s shameful recent comments about Atalanta’s Champions League qualification at Roma’s expense as just one example).

Most Tory MPs and Peers have long ago left Eton and Oxbridge but does anyone honestly believe that the alliances and connections they forged at that time don’t influence their conduct and values in later life? Same thing.

The media could ask those rival Premier League clubs (aka ‘The Hateful Eight’) what on earth possessed them to write that ludicrous letter to UEFA demanding City’s immediate punishment despite the fact an independent due process had yet to run its course? Quite why the likes of Leicester, Wolves and Burnley got involved with the red-shirted mob is beyond me. They are fully deserving of scorn.

Finally, the media could just stop being so credulous and gullible. They could apply the principle of ‘cui bono’ – who benefits? Who had the most to gain from this grandstanding  pursuit of an upstart rival?

Enter American-owned LFC, MUFC and Arsenal. There is an infamous photograph doing the rounds for a while now of their owners and senior officials all laughing along at a dinner table. It’s not a massive stretch to imagine that using the blunt instrument of FFP to fatally damage a rival might have been a subject for chit chat over the breadsticks.

With compliant mouthpieces in the press and broadcast media, extensive lobbying operations and even reports of murky connections to social media dirty tricks and disinformation campaigns, the redshirts and their owners have managed to convince a depressingly large constituency that while white American hedge fund money is good, brown Arab oil money is bad.

Persuading the gullible to “Look over there at what those nasty Arabs are up to” means nobody is looking too closely at their own values and conduct. Leveraged buyouts. Huge debt levels which they convinced UEFA to exclude from FFP. A cultural desire for sport as a closed shop – a cosy system where promotion and relegation on sporting merit is utterly alien and something to be resisted at all costs if it threatens the flow of money. You could even throw in the proven on-field cheating culture apparently condoned by other sports clubs in their broader organisations. Or perhaps the hacking of a rival club’s databases and the personal information contained within – criminal offences under the Computer Misuse Act and the Data Protection Act. Instead of disciplining those responsible, they get promoted instead. How does that work, la?

I would suggest that these factors mean US owners pose a great existential threat to football as we know it than any amount of upstarts from what their glorious Commander in Chief referred to as ‘shithole countries’.
It is a classic bait and switch and a great many people – journalists and rival fans alike – have been taken in completely. Completely conned like the doomed rubes who still think they can beat a street corner card sharp at Find the Lady.

There might be a sucker born every minute but there are literally thousands of them tweeting every second. And that just goes to prove that this cabal of septic Americans have done their job depressingly well.
from Scooby D, Manchester 

 

Rover and out
Jack Walker. Balckburn. League Champions. British transfer record broken.

How on earth was that not a chairman, injecting money, buying the league, for a team who without the money would never have stepped up to the plate and had such success? And for me, that’s fine. It is what it is. If this doesn’t happen, if apple carts aren’t upset, then we basically have American Football ‘leagues’.

But Jack, injecting money, giving a club and its community a sudden, welcome, unexpected and, if you support them great, unbelievable, life changing boost… To me, it sounds a bit like what happened at, you know,… Chelsea, Man City, PSG.

I missed the outrage at the time v Jack though. The hatred for Blackburn for buying a league must’ve passed me by.

Did anyone cry for FFP or an equivalent? Question the source of his money? Change the rules to slap down the arrivistes? Or put the upstarts in their place…

But it seems fine when the established European hegemony of clubs do this, and call it ‘Financial Fair Play’, no one bats an eyelid.
The_M_Rod

 

Jose? No way
In response to Thomas (MUFC) Cape Town who claims Jose wouldn’t have conceded so late on. I contend that if Jose’s team went a goal behind he would have struggled to bring us back into the game. Sure we wilted a bit thanks to the injury to Williams and a bit of tiredness in the rest of the players after the great run but we’re allowed a bad night.

The reaction to this really speaks to the pressure that United are on compared to other clubs, in part fueled by fans and the press (whose websites the fans will happily click into). We went on a really good run and played some good football and everyone got rightly a bit giddy. But then one hard fought point on an off night and the headlines are all over the top, United bottled it, we were wrong to build them up etc. It’s an off night, plenty of teams have them. Let’s just chalk it down as such and avoid constantly constructing a narrative.

Also, I do seem to remember Jose’s United conceding an equalizer to Chelsea in the dying seconds last season.
Stu London

 

African all-time team
E. Elhadary

Lauren, R. Song, L. Radebe, S. Kuffour

Y. Toure, J. Okocha, M. Essien,

S. Etoo, D. Drogba, G. Weah.

Subs K. Toure, P. Aubameyang, Q. Fortune, V. Wanyama, M. Salah, S. Mane, R. Mahrez, Abedi Pele, Rabar Madjer, Seydou Keita, Roger Milla
Emmanuel

 

I do love a good XI creator mail, Brian from Wexford talked up about an African and Asian XI, so with the same rules he used, apart from World Cups for obvious reasons here is my attempt;

Africa, 3-4-3;

Essam El Hadary; Radebe, Kuffour, R. Song; Mane, Abedi Pele, Yaya Toure, Salah; Etoo, Drogba, Weah
Subs; Grobbelaar, Lauren, K.Toure, Essien, Aubameyang, Milla, Kanu
Ballon d’Ors: 1
Champions League Titles: 12

Asia, ; 3-4-3

Mohamed Al-Deayea; Nagatomo, Abdullah Zubromawi, L.Neil; T.Cahill, Ji-Sung Park, Kagawa, Nakata; Son, Ali Daei, Cha Bum-Kun
Subs; Kalac, Viduka, Kewell, Nakamura, Honda
Ballon d’Ors: 0
Champions League Titles: 3

Well we knew from the start how much stronger the Africa XI would be, so many iconic names over the many decades, you would assume they would comfortably beat the Asia XI over 90 minutes, but it would be an incredible match up for sure to see all those players at their peak.

I wonder who will be the first player from Asia to win the Ballon d’Or?
Mikey, CFC 

 

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