Everton would be ‘bust in a year’ without the Premier League big boys, and Andre Onana is a powerless pawn in the Manchester United ‘crisis’ narrative.
Life without ‘big’ clubs
Just a quick one in response to Jeremy.
This isn’t a moral judgement, but the ‘big’ clubs drive all the revenue, not just on television, but also through advertisers keen to get coverage. That’s why the television deals can kick cash down the pyramid. Take that cash away and most will fold. Lose the marketing of the top tier football and the offerings lower down will become less attractive. Further, the wonderful rise of women’s football means that the ‘family money, that doesn’t appreciate the toxic abuse at most men’s games will further take audiences away – it is a more wholesome and marketable product to be associated with. Wages are not as flexible and any ‘talent’ will move abroad.
As I say, there are too many clubs and to think that they could survive as businesses in the event of a super league is fanciful. You think that Everton and Spurs could cut their cloth quickly enough? They’d be bust in a year, and then what? Will everyone be on PPV for Forest vs. Leeds? As I say, it’s not a moral judgement, but having big and successful clubs doesn’t mean you should not love supporting your smaller teams – just appreciate that without them they likely won’t exist as the market economics has long-since turned against them.
Nick in Woking (not a Tory, by any means)
The Man Utd ‘crisis’
Football is all about rivalry, but in these tribalistic times, I find people are beginning to take more pleasure out of misery than they are out of joy. This is evolving then into narratives – many of which are toxic. Some of the narratives have truth, some are true on the surface, and some are just continuously pushed by people in hope of misery.
As you reported this week about a LFC supporting journalist:
Smith began: “A big week – because it’s Newcastle after – I know every week, you’ll know by now after 18 months, every week feels like a big week. But this feels an important week for you at a point where the season can really improve or another crisis as we like to see from the outside.”
To which a shocked Ten Hag replied: “Ah, you like it?”
Smith hesitantly added: “Well…yeah.”
I find it interesting as he tries to paint a narrative of a crisis. I find no other club is in such a crisis more often than United. They’re the only team who can be 6 points off top (4 Off LFC), the ‘in-form team’ and in a crisis. The only team who can have the current league’s leading keeper by rating, clean sheets and save %, and he’s in a crisis. Have Maguire nominated for player of the month but he’s a crisis, have a coach dealing with many major issues, still getting results and he’s in crisis and should be sacked, all the while Chelsea treading water, $1 billion invested in 2 years, losing often, with less games to worry about – shh not a crisis to see. Newcastle a point behind United but are ‘booning’, “venom Vicario”(lol sky) is flying despite conceding 8 in his last 3 – all losses. LFC currently lead the way as the team with the most errors leading to goals (2- TAA, 1- Alisson).
Granted, Onana made some mistakes this CL campaign – Last season’s top CL keeper with a decent defense – but he’s been very good in the PL since the Wolves error (That cost the team nothing). There, he has made 0 errors leading to a goal in the PL – De Gea made 4, and in fact, has prevented 3.7 goals – Second to only Pope.
The Galatasaray game was a great game, and they were very fortunate to come away with a point. United’s CL campaign has been extremely unlucky this year. Onana made some uncharacteristic mistakes, but his mistakes are getting an unusual amount of air time. The first goal he should save, but we have all seen a keeper step one way and the freekick lands the other. The second ‘mistake’ he made would have been tough for anyone. It looked like the defender would head it – didn’t- and then it bounced last second awkwardly just before him. The third goal Gala scored was a world class pass, followed by a world class touch and finish – I’ve seen Onana criticized for that too somehow. Had United’s attackers been sharper with their shooting, this all would have been irrelevant, but it didn’t, and it wasn’t.
United now face Bayern at home to hope for any chance to go through. There is a 6% chance of them finishing second, so I won’t hold my breath. But the Gala result and how they performed against Bayern away last time does give me hope they can get a result, and perhaps keep their European adventure going…most likely in the EL.
It’s also crazy how much better United have looked with Luke Shaw back. Almost as if missing key players might affect team structure and performance. It’s even more crazy how the same fans can look at United and blame Ten Hag, and look at Spurs, Chelsea, Newcastle and blame injuries. Maybe it’s truth, maybe it’s only true on the surface, maybe I am a “dummy” or maybe some people like to maintain a narrative of misery based on their assumptions.
Calvinho (ETH melts MM’s head and is not in his hands) (Eoin – Well played sir)
Man Utd transfer shortcomings
Probably worth noting in that article about not buying British that for some teams (City, Liverpool), it is an active policy for others.
Arsenal, in buying White, Rice, Ramsdale were happy to pay something of a premium to get players they knew were ready and homegrown.
Add to that their ‘Premier League first’ policy for other recruitment (Trossard, Jorginho, Zinchenko, Jesus, Raya, Havertz) and arguably the best buying team of the last 3 seasons (ok maybe tied with Brighton) has definitely seen value in certainty, which given United’s mess buying high profile/cost players from abroad might not be a bad thing?
Also, United historically have succeeded buying (and even overpaying) for British talent historically – Ferdinand, Rooney, Carrick etc etc as well as mercilessly plundering Prem clubs (Cantona, RVP, Berbatov, Tevez) and you could argue things only went sideways when they started going outside and exposed their real scouting shortcomings/transfer nous at the executive level.
And let’s be clear, they really should have bought Kane this summer.
So I dunno, I don’t think they have the qualities and make up organisationally to beat City and Liverpool at their game, but they have a shit ton of money and the most clout domestically, so maybe lean on that and just accept that their success as it stands has a higher cost (which again, they bafflingly remain very capable of swallowing despite hilarious mediocrity).
Red cards for serious injuries
David Horgan should probably open up Youtube and refresh his memory of the incident, because his recall is lacking. Why? Well, because Son didn’t break Andre Gomes leg. His tackle was the precursor and knocked him off balance, which lead to the leg break. The red card was issued solely because of the severity of the injury, hence the widespread criticism of the decision both at the time and after the game.
If you are so keen to say something, at least say something accurate. The difference between the situations is vast. To be clear, this is obviously not in support of Barry’s nonsense. We should try to avoid perpetuating falsehoods just because we want to argue about something. Hell, we employ Romero – it’s not hard to find examples of Spurs players being a tad over-excited.
Cash intentionally booted a player, as many others have before and will again. The consequences for us were massive, and the benefits for them equally so. But it felt like a yellow card foul, and unless the rules change it should be dealt with as such. However I will also be more than happy if he experiences the same against another opponent, with the same end result for his team. If you want to be that kind of player then you have to know what that means for you too, and if you seemingly instruct your players to be rather physical (which is also perfectly fine imo) then you should be prepared for the consequences of that approach.
It’s a shame that villa are still reverting to Gerard’s big strong man tactics of booting teams into submission. Smaller clubs tend to get away with it though, so it’s no surprise.
Lee, the idea that Keane on Haaland is the sole occasion on which a player intentionally injured another is absurd nonsense. While I am sure they don’t fly in thinking ‘Now if I hit him in just the right spot I’ll do his ACL and put him out for 9 months to a year’, they absolutely do go in with the intent to hurt.
When they choose to follow through, they do it to hurt the opponent. When they kick them to the ground well after the ball has gone, they do it to hurt the opponent. Flailing arms and elbows? Standing on someone when you get up? Little nudges to send them flying over the hoardings? You’ve guessed it.
Pretending that footballers are so deeply concerned with each other’s welfare is odd and disingenuous. Most might not want to dish out a broken leg (most, but not all) but plenty don’t have the suggest concern about putting a player out of the game. Doesn’t matter how many of them you know. Strangely enough, people tend to be a little dishonest about their violent tendencies and intentions. But every one of us have, at one time or another, watched one of our players cause intentional harm to an opponent.
Obvious problem and fairly simple solution to the handball nonsense.
The idea is that the punishment fits the crime but that’s where football has the problem with handballs in the box. Under the current law there is only penalty or no penalty. Hence the high stakes and layers of assorted contortions around intent, natural position etc.
There is a clear risk, when wearing hands whilst playing football, that one of them could be inadvertently in the way of the ball. Judging level of intent is not within the capability of the time and technology at disposal, so take the easy option – indirect free kick for the ambiguous handball. It’s still an attacking set piece but not the near certain goal. So punishes careless defending, but not disproportionately.