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Shower of sh*te Arsenal
Arsenal really are a shower of shite bags as a club. Nothing to do with the fans or the players but the way the club is run is laughable. 55 staff to be made redundant due to covid, by a club whose majority shareholder Stan Kroenke is worth nearly 8 and a half billion dollars and posted by Forbes as the 9th richest sports team owner in the world. To then state that despite 55 people being made redundant they give assurances that money will continue to be spent on improving the team. How is it possible that a team that can afford to continue to pay the former footballer Mesut Ozil 350 grand a week to not even sit on the bench most weeks yet justify making anybody redundant? The same team that’s trying to get Auba to sign a contract on similar crazy wages? The same team that’s ready to hand out a massive long term contract to Willian on huge wages? The same team that are going to want to keep Ceballos therefore having to fork out his full wages instead of Madrid partially covering it.
It’s an absolute joke surely if a club have to start making non playing staff redundant during a transfer window the club should be banned from spending during that transfer window as a punishment for not being able keep their finances in a healthy order and to prevent them from potentially making the situation worse? If you can’t pay your staff on 30-60 grand a year how can you justify handing Willian a 4 year contract on around 180 grand a week? It just doesn’t make sense. I know Abramovic has his critics but my god does he come out of this pandemic smelling of roses compared to the shit covered Kroenke. And to be fair Liverpool and Spurs aren’t far off, last season’s champions league finalists furloughing staff was just as laughable.
Aaron CFC Ireland
Kick in the balls
I had a mail published on Sunday where I said how much I love this Arsenal team. Well that didn’t last long did it? There are so many things to say about Arsenal laying staff off and all of them should be deathly worrying to fans, other staff or players.
Arsenal players took a 12.5% pay cut on the assurance that there would be no job losses during the pandemic. This obviously hasn’t happened so are those players justified in legal action to get that money back? Are any of those players going to sign another contract? If you’re socially responsible enough to give up some of your wages then you’re socially responsible enough to get out of a club that took your wages and spent it elsewhere. How does Aubameyang sign a new contract now? How does he take his £120,000 a week pay rise? He’s worth it and he deserves it but how does he take that money when the club has basically said it’s on the back of 55 jobs?
The three most senior staff that we know have been let go are the heads of the scouting department. Where are we getting players from now then? Are we dropping the pretense that we’re not completely in bed with agents? Cedric Soares’s wages would probably have covered the wages of the staff, are we going to pretend that we didn’t take him on to please Sanllehi’s mate Kia Joorabchian?
Is there any Arsenal fan who thinks paying a 32 year old Willian nearly £7 million a year is right in the face of this news? Is Willian the difference in getting us back into the top four? Would anyone have complained if they said they couldn’t afford him?
We’re in this situation because of the corporate greed and back scratching that came in with KSE. Don’t be surprised when the Kroenke’s take their consultancy fee this year too and don’t be surprised if it’s more than they took last year.
Purely from a fan’s selfish point of view, this news coming on the back of an FA Cup win and Arteta fixing a lot of the division in the squad is a kick in the balls. This has the potential to ruin this team. It’s sickening that in an industry swimming in cash and one of the richest clubs in the world that it’s the people at the bottom that pay the price while the rich get richer.
The real five Liverpool should ditch
Have loved these for other clubs and the departures of Lovren and Lallana definitely knacked you a bit but I decided to have a little look to see if I could think of five players we actually should let go.
You were spot on with three of them, Shaqiri, Wilson and Karius need to move on for differing reasons but the end result is the same. I do have a soft spot for Xherdan the Power Cube but something clearly isn’t working plus he only seemed to play in that spell of us lining up in a 4-2-3-1 so unless that’s returning (unlikely) then he won’t. Wilson and Karius were explained perfectly, nothing to add.
So to number 4: Marko Grujic. Klopp’s first signing has been very successful and popular on both of his loan stints but not really had a chance to play at Anfield. Described as the best midfielder at Hertha Berlin in 20 years, he clearly has talent but, like Wilson, perhaps it’s better served away from Liverpool where his path isn’t blocked. Could also raise a few quid for squad improvements so win-win.
Lastly, number 5: Divock Origi. A player responsible for many a magical moment including the Dortmund fightback, the madness that was Barcelona at Anfield and so so many goals against the ev. No matter how good those moments are, there are countless others where he seems to not know what his feet are for. Seems like a nice fella and should always be remembered fondly but a more reliable and consistent backup for the front three is needed and personally I’d rather give Brewster and Elliott a chance to shine.
Anyway, that’s my thoughts on the matter. Feel free to ignore, deride and demean at your leisure.
AD – Scouser exiled in London
Top six dominance can’t possibly last
Finding the discussion around the potential for a league without the big six really interesting. One thing struck me though – I think a case could be made that a) it’s not as much of a monopoly (?) as people suggest and b) we’re suffering from real recency bias here.
If you’ll indulge me:
In the past 10 years, 5 different teams have won the league. Leicester and Liverpool (1), Chelsea (2), United (2) and City (4). If we look at other eras it’s actually not that different. For example the 1980’s – 4 different teams (Liverpool, Villa, Everton and Arsenal), the 1950’s – 6 teams (of which United and Wolves won 3 a piece).
So taking that admittedly small random sample, in terms of league wins we’re actually not really any different from what you may consider ‘the norm’. It’s normal that certain teams will dominate different periods, it ebbs and flows. Now you can definitely argue that it’s harder to break in to that group than it used to be. But there tends to be a steady flow of recycling of teams at the very top.
Is it not possible for example that teams get bought and smash through the ceiling? Look at City for example, nowhere for years and then suddenly 4 titles? Everton, Tottenham, Leicester, Leeds, Liverpool (let’s not forget the years without champions league and Europe), Newcastle, have all flirted with and been challengers to that top 4 in the premier league era. Below that you’ve had Middlesbrough, Norwich, Ipswich (although brief), Wolves and Fulham having runs in European competition and even some finals.
I think my point here is yes, at the moment it looks absolutely dominant and the balance is certainly in favour of that top six – however in case of any ‘breakaway’ all we’d have is a new Championship and de-valued European competition.
Top current 6 dominance may be boring, but it can’t possibly last, can it?
A whole lot of Ole
There has been a whole lot of hullabaloo in the mailbox regarding the relative merits of Ole, Mikel, and Frank.
One of the common tropes used to beat Ole is that “look he spent so much money”
What none of them realise is that Frank has arguably the best squad And first team amongst these 3 managers. United has the second best first team amongst the three, but the squad itself is pretty putrid. Pereira, Jones, and co are probably West Ham level players and it’s only poor planning that has kept them around IMO
When we look at the relative improvement in individual players, all 3 managers have done a decent job of improving their attacking I feel. I would rate them in this area as
2. Mikel (for usage of the kids)
3. Frank (he’s got Giroud. A much maligned individual, but an excellent team player)
Ole and Mikel, though also appear to have improved their teams defences. While Mikel has used a back five to strengthen his defence, Ole seems to have stuck with the four. Considering that United have conceded the third lowest number of goals in the Premier Leaguenthis season, I would rate them as
1. Ole (Can’t blame him for DDGs clankers)
3. Frank (some of the defending has been comical, and the issues have persisted since the start of the season)
Of course the goal posts shift next season, and I look forward to seeing the relative rankings next year.
Ryan B. Ps. Ole has spent money because he had to. Frank has also spent crap tons. Mikel is handicapped by his stingy board
The overriding idea that Ole has underachieved is unfair. Most of the comparisons are rightly made with Lampard and Arteta, which is understandable given their respective ages and the clubs they are at.
Out of the 3, Ole did inherit perhaps the best squad on paper. But, he came into a José fuelled sh*tstorm. Players not performing (Sanchez), those who didn’t fit in (Lukaku, Smalling, sadly Mata), and our best midfielder desperate to leave. Since then, Ole has brought in some decent signings, albeit overpriced and got us back into the Champions league.
At risk of sounding like a Liverpool fan, I’ll also bring up net spend and “next season”. Ole has cleared out a lot of deadwood and I suspect more will follow this summer (Sanchez on his way, I suspect Jones, Smalling, Rojo, Andreas all to follow). The real test will be if the Glazers and Woodward allow us to bring in the 3-4 quality players we need to challenge the “big two” and Chelsea.
Overall, while I don’t think Ole is head and shoulders above Arteta or Frank, the negative comparisons on this site and in the media are largely unfair. There are lots of reasons for optimism next season, and who knows we might even win the Europa..
Talking about how much Ole has spent at United is an invalid critique of him. Why? Because United always spend big. Every season. Without fail. And arguably that has more to do with Wooward than the manager anyway. Let’s face it, if we gave Fred The Red the manager’s job, United would still spend fat wads of cash. We do it because we can… and because we need to, given the recent lack of success.
And actually, you can’t really argue that spending money you can afford to, on a squad that is underperforming, is the right decision. How stupid would United be to not change things up??
Ole’s role (just as Jose’s, Van G’s and Moyes’ was before him) is to help identify players that will improve the team, and get them playing well together. In this regard, he has inarguably done very well. Maguire, Wan Bissaka, Bruno and even Daniel James have all been good value buys. And that’s the main thing we have to judge Ole on with regards to transfers.
In short; he has made our big spending look good. In fact he’s even made Jose buying Fred look like a decent investment.
Could he have identified even better players at even better value? Perhaps. I think it’s fair to say he made some pretty obvious/safe choices. United clearly have more room for improvement in the transfer market. We can be better at finding value, and a Director of Football would help. But we are undoubtedly better than the last few years, and there’s only one guy who deserves the credit…
I have to be honest in my assessment of United under Ole, some better signs in terms of the style of football and he has certainly played a role in improving the front players. I don’t think even the ABU crowd would try and dispute that Greenwood, Rashford and Martial have improved under Ole. But if I am being honest, I genuinely don’t think that he is the man to take the club higher than top four and a cup run. He has made tactical errors, poor selections and he lacks the experience required. In my opinion, to which I am entitled.
A lot of the improvement in the second half of the season is rightly attributed to Fernades coming in but Ole has brought him in, told him where to play, picked who plays alongside him to compliment him and coached the guy so he surely deserves some credit!
But the nonsense being spouted about United at the moment is laughable. I don’t know of any fellow United fans who believe that we will be in a position to challenge for the title next near. No way that is going to happen. But people like Dean SUFC stating “there is simply no way he would have finished in the top 4 if it were not for a) Leicester collapsing like a house of cards”. You do realise United finished third, and not fourth don’t you? So if Leicester hadn’t collapsed like a house of cards then United still would have finished about Chelsea and made the top 4. You completely negate your reasonable points about Ole being not quite up to the top level management required at United when you come off with bullshit like this. F365 has been spouting their agenda shitting all over Ole and that is their prerogative but it is not ABU bias, it is clickbait to get United fans riled up and spouting their own nonsense about how great Ole is and the cycle of shit continues unabated, excellent work 365!
The fact of the matter is that United have progressed a bit under Ole but if the desire of the club is to get back to the very top then the truth is that Ole is unlikely to be the man to lead that charge. If you want stability at the club, a manager who will toe the club line and not kick up a stink when players are not signed, Director of Football is not secured for yet another transfer window etc. etc. and you are satisfied with probable top four finishes most seasons then Ole is the man for the job at present. But, if you really want the club to kick on and compete for the title for the first time in 8 years then I’m afraid Ole is not the guy for that job, in my opinion.
Mangor United, Belfast
I find it a bit odd why fans of other teams are so bothered with the happiness of United fans with finishing 3rd and also our support of Solskjaer. Everything is about perspective. Ole has spent a lot, however he was also starting with a bare bones squad, filled with overhyped, over the hill dross on high wages. Most of those players were bought due to Woodwards obsession with getting big names (shirt sales).
This isn’t scenario where everyone started with an equal squad and Solskjaer then outspent everyone and still came 3rd.
I will provide my perspective for why I consider this season a success. For years United fans have been screaming about buying young talented players, who can then develop into stars at United and not buying past their prime overhyped stars, looking for their last payday. All we got was Martial (Pogba as well, but he was already established). Instead we were saddled with the likes of Fellaini, Falcao, Di Maria, Sanchez etc.
Since Ole took over, we have not chased past their prime stars, instead looked to move them all out and replace them with younger players or by promoting youth team players. And fans claiming he has not improved players must be blind. Both Rasford and Martial have scored 20+ goals this season, something they have not done previously, so Ole gets credit. Greenwood has been promoted and given an extended run and contributed 17 goals this season, which is the same as wonderboy Rooney got in his first United season. And it is not just the strikers Fred, McTominay, Lindelof, Shaw have improved significantly. Even Matic seems to have had a late career revival and Pogba seems to be finally playing like the player we thought we were getting when we paid a record fee. In addition, the football has finally become fun to watch, something I couldn’t say since SAF retired.
Last summer, every United fan knew we needed an attacking midfielder and it was obvious Ole wanted Bruno Fernandes, however Woodward’s penny pinching/negotiating tactics meant he only arrived in Jan. In the meantime Ole managed the season with a midfield three of Matic, McTominay and Fred. I doubt anyone else in the top 6 has a worse midfield. In addition, it is great to have a positive manager who takes responsibility, rather than someone who keeps throwing players under the bus, whenever the team struggles.
Most United fans I speak to are realistic. We acknowledge that the real test comes now, as the squad will face the pressure of actually challenging for the title, rather than chasing a top 4 spot. However we are thrilled that now have one of the youngest squads in the league and a manager who seems intent on only buying young talented stars (Sancho rather than Bale or Rodriquez) and has been more than happy to give younger players a chance. Maybe in a year or two it will turn out he isn’t upto the challenge, however he will leave behind a quality squad the next manager can build on and maybe take us to the title, though I do hope Ole takes us to the promised land.
JB, MUFC (Whether Solskjaer, Arteta or Fat Frank are better will be decided by their performance over the next couple seasons)
The Solskjaer mails so far seem to fall into two camps. Those that think he’s done a fantastic job (Although I’m going to assume the Manager of the Season mail was tongue in cheek) and those that write him of as a joke, someone who is taking United nowhere. It’s the nature of modern football fandom and much of the journalism really, everything is binary. A player is either a success or a flop. A manager is a success or a fraud. A team are either the best in Premier League history, or lucky and soon to be forgotten.
The truth about Solskjaer, as is so often the case, falls somewhere in the middle. He has done OK. Not great, not terrible. But OK. There are signs of progress for sure, but also a number of causes for concern.
You can’t talk about a manager without mentioning money. However much the fans of the big spenders would like to ignore it, money matters. It is undeniably more impressive to win, or improve without spending money than by doing it on a massive budget. Fans like Mark claim that United have to spend money to catch up. That’s not really true though is it? Klopp has delivered the Champions League and Premier League without outspending United and he certainly hasn’t outspent City. He hasn’t even outspent Everton. And I’m not talking about net spend, that is gross spend. If you spend close to £200m in a season, you’d expect to get better.
So have United improved? In league terms, of course they have, rising from 6th to 3rd. But why is that? Is it because United have improved or because the teams above them got worse? They haven’t improved their points total this year, and I don’t think anyone could reasonably claim that the league is significantly more difficult this year. Spurs and Arsenal both sacked their managers this year and Chelsea sold their best player and had a transfer ban. They were all worse this year than they had been the season before. Even if United had just stood still they would have overtaken their rivals.
It’s all very well praising Solskjaer for catching Leicester and Chelsea, but you have to ask yourself why were United behind them to begin with? Bear in mind, these were two teams that very few pundits predicted would finish in the top four, yet United were miles off the pace in January. Losses to Palace, Burnley, Newcastle amongst others cannot be excused just because they hadn’t signed Fernandes yet.
Of course, there is cause for optimism. The second half of the season was a significant improvement and you have to give Solskjaer credit there. The team are playing exciting football and more new signings are on the horizon. But the fact remains they finished closer to the relation places than they did the title. They were further behind Liverpool this year than they were City last year.
This season, for United to have finished outside the top four, they would have needed to have fewer points than they got the season before. With the money United spent over the year that would surely have been inexcusable.
Solskjaer may yet be the second coming of Ferguson, or he may just a bloke who has made some good signings but isn’t good enough to make the next step. For now, he is a man who has done OK. A number of steps forward, a few steps back with a massive season ahead of him At the end of it, we will have a lot more answers.
Mike, LFC, London
The recent (and not so) emotional responses from United fans in the mailbox reminded me of that old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but there’ll always be something to offend a Manc”.
I can’t help but feel that if Manchester United fans were so pleased with how things were going under Ole, they wouldn’t be sending in such touchy emails about how people aren’t being nice to him.
Dara O’Reilly, London
The debate in the mailbox on Ole vs Arteta vs Lampard is clearly getting sillier by the minute.
We can argue for length on position, trophies, points, (net) spend, tactics, experience, age, hairline, sweater vs suit vs tracks, and we still wont get anywhere.
As a Man united fan, Ole has done a decent job, deserves the next season and the scrutiny that comes with it. I am sure Arsenal and Chelsea fans feel the same. The only winner for this season is Klopp.
Lets just get along folks, the world is a different place.
Shivam, MUFC, Singapore
Man Utd bargains
In response to Lee’s mail from this morning, picking 3 for Man United would be fairly straightforward; names I reckon most fellow fans would agree with. Continuing the theme of value-for-money defensive players, I’d go with Van der Sar, Evra, and Vidic.
They were signed for just about £15 million combined (reportedly), and along with Ferdinand, they were the bedrock of United’s defence in the late 2000s. VDS in particular solved a goalkeeping problem which had plagued us since Schmeichel left.
They ended up winning 4 league titles (Evra and Vidic both won a 5th in 2013), the Champions League, a couple of League Cups, and the Club World Cup. Shame they missed out on the FA Cup though. Not to mention they played a combined (and frankly ridiculous) 945 games for United! Not too shabby, imo.
DJ, MUFC India
Man United’s bargains
Solskjaer: cost £1.5 million. Multiple league titles, champions league winning goal scorer, domestic cups.
Vidic: £7 million. Multiple league titles, champions league winner, domestic cup winner. Captain, led United as if his life depended on it.
Cantona: £1.5 million. Multiple league winner, won 2 doubles. The catalyst behind United’s success of the 90’s.
All this for £10 million outgoing.
Carl, Man United fan
In the summer of 2005, Man Utd signed Park Ji Sung for £4m, Van der Sar for £2m, and then followed this up in the winter transfer window with the signings of Nemanja Vidic for £7m and Patrice Evra for £5.5m. That’s a combined total of £18.5m and they went on to win multiple leagues, contest multiple CL finals (winning 1), and a few domestic cups along the way (and this doesn’t include charity shields, Club World Cup) etc. They also went onto break a few records along the way – keeping the most domestic clean sheets, the longest unbeaten CL run and generally regarded as the best in their position for a time.
Park Ji Sung went onto get 205 appearances, Van der Sar put on the shirt 266 times, and Vidic and Evra 300 and 379 respectively. That’s 1,150 appearances for the four of them, which is a ridiculous return in value considering they cost £18.5m.
Of course, we then went onto sign Michael Carrick in the summer of 06 for £16m, and that took us up another level. What a few transfer windows they were!
Media bias against? You guessed it
Imagine if Man United announced that they have signed a CB for 41m, who has just been relegated and was signed for 20m two seasons beforehand….. the media would be slating Woodwards, Ole’s & United’s transfer policy…. laughing at them for paying over the odds…. Director of Football blah blah blah…
City do it… nothing, barely a discussion… I have no issue with City or Ake…. the media have loved the downfall of United since SAF retired…. Even with the Sancho deal, the media love highlighting the fact City will benefit financially from the potential signing…
I know United’s record in the market has not been great and even that is a generous description but there is definitely more focus on United’s transfer dealings than most clubs.
Paul (MUFC) Dublin
Ra-Ma-Ma or Ma-Ma-Ma
Congrats to the boffins at F365 Towers. Your website has been one of the few things to make life worthwhile over the last 20-odd years.
Now, turning to the Sancho debate, I’m not quite sure why he’s such a priority or worth paying exorbitant sums for.
In 2002, Brazil had the Ro-Ri-Ro triumvirate: Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldino
More recently, Real Madrid had BBC: Benzema, Bale and Cristiano
Well, United now have Ra-Ma-Ma: Rashford, Martial and Mason.
Or even Ma-Ma-Ma: Marcus, Martial and Mason
In this context, I really don’t understand the hoo-ha over Sancho….
Judd, Kenya. Manchester United, baby!