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The debate rolls on
Mike’s screed against Paul Pogba was completely all over the place and once I was done laughing at it, I decided I needed to respond.
He is really mad that someone in the mailbox claimed Pogba has played well everywhere else except United so sets out to dispute this and he does this in some hilariously illogical ways.
-Pogba at Juventus- he demands proof that the person watched those games, then assumes they simply watched youtube highlights then finally states that Serie A was crap during that time anyway. Does this address the issue of whether Pogba was good or not? Nope.
-Pogba with France- the evidence against Pogba playing well for France is that he…brags like he won the world cup on his own? When did he claim this? Then we have some weird comparisons to other players winning titles and then the usual insinuation that he looks good because he is playing around better players. Only the last claim comes close to addressing the issue at hand and coming so soon after Pogba’s excellent Euro 2020 it rings hollow to say the least.
I’m not a United fan and don’t even particularly like Pogba but it’s curious how the anti-Pogba crowd need to devalue his achievements elsewhere to fit in with their (correct) assertion that he has been disappointing for United.
Turiyo Damascene, Kigali, Rwanda
Pogba: myth v reality
I think that what a huge number of Utd fans will agree with is that he represents a period in the life of Utd, most fans would rather not have had:
Ed Woodward, appalling short term appointments, Stagnant football, and a manager who thought he was bigger than the club.
Here’s the truth. He was and always will belong to Mini Raiola and in Jose Mourinho’s Man Utd dream (nightmare) team.
Fergie (throughout his reign) kept a very close eye on the reserves and junior squads. He knew all about players and their families, and identified Pogba as one that didn’t fit the club, and went against the demands of his agent and another player power he couldn’t be bothered with, particularly as his own career wound down.
As Mike correctly said, anyone can put together a YouTube showreel. Juventus fans have also identified the same levels of lethargy that lives within his play.
He now seems destined for the perfect marriage to PSG and a league which is perfectly suited to his style. Let Donny have his place. To this day I have never heard him say how he wants to play for Utd.
Right now I’m thrilled it’s still July and we’ve wrapped up Sancho and (hopefully) Varane.
Chris- Happy Red.
I’m feeling pretty good today and like any football fan I can’t just enjoy the moment but have to air a petty and pathetic grievance. I’m a small man and I know it.
I wanted to take you back to Sarah’s article about how imperious France were and her comments about Varane and Utd.
“while Raphael Varane may have played himself out of a move to Manchester United. He is too good for Manchester United.”
I can’t help but take a great deal if pleasure in remembering what happened to France and the news that Varane is about to sign for Utd.
The world is a slightly better place this morning when shoving words back down someone’s throat.
Smug Tom… A very little man
In response to barnesbarian, Is Varane the deal of the decade? No. No its not, he is a bit sh*t.
I haven’t written into the mailbox for sometime but always an avid reader of some cracking opinions on the site. I remember a time when F365 wrote a featured article about how Man Utd could never attract world class talent in their prime in the transfer market hierarchy. I happen to agree but not for the reasons stated by the writers at the time.
The reason is actually that other clubs have always been willing to pay more whether its 5 million more or 10 million more. And this is down to the ownership of the Glazers who have not until now been willing to pay what is required for that extra bit of quality and now only because they are being held at the wrong end of a loaded barrel.
Now I’m not saying Lindelof is a knock-off but there is a difference between elite and Victor. What has happened this season shows what a competent and actually “willing” recruitment team at Old Trafford can do, instead of those willing to coast on rumours with no intention to actually spend money.
The club deserves better stewardship. They can be a better “pull” than Bayern, or Juve or Madrid but the owners have constantly settled for the cheaper version. Sorry for the long mail.
Simba(This fully shows how Ed and co have been looking busy for sometime)
Dennis the menace
Bergkamp was a Hoddle fan – not a Spurs fan as a child.
Saying Arsenal remained a dogged side under Rioch does a massive disservice to the man. His was a thankless task – he was the bridge between Graham and Wenger but it was under Rioch that we moved to a 3,5,2 reduced our reliance on Wrighty and managed to integrate the two arrivals from Italy – Platty and Dennis. Arsene actually retained Rioch’s formation for a season.
Bruce Rioch is a lot like Blaze Bayley of Iron Maiden. Few laud or remember his time with any affection but in retrospect he was crucial to future success.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Surge mentioned the lack of coverage of any world football outside of the UK or men’s European football, which is a fair comment. I was actually going to email in about the Olympic football tournament anyway, but I suspect it won’t be the sort of discussion Surge wanted.
In short, I think it’s time men’s football was taken out of the Olympics, or at the very least radically overhauled. It’s an underage tournament masquerading as something more, but nobody really places much emphasis on it.
There’s an argument that if the Olympics isn’t the pinnacle of the sport, it shouldn’t be in the Olympics, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Other sports, such as tennis and road cycling fit in well, but the difference between them and football is that the biggest names in those sports tend to compete in the Olympics.
If I’m not mistaken men’s football is the only Olympic sport which limits competitors by age, which means we’re not seeing the best players on show. That’s where men’s football falls down in the Olympics. Of course, being in almost direct competition with the continental competitions means we probably wouldn’t see the biggest names anyway.
For example, the following five clubs contributed a total of 76 players to squads competing in the Euros and Copa América this summer: Manchester City (E 15, CA 3), Chelsea (E 15, CA 1), Juventus (E 12, CA 4), Bayern Munich (E 14, CA 0), and Manchester United (E 10, CA 2).
Those same five clubs are contributing just 2 players to squads competing in the Olympics, Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo (both Ivory Coast) from Manchester United. I wouldn’t like to guess, but I suspect if the Africa Cup of Nations hadn’t been moved from this summer to next January, Bailly and possibly Diallo wouldn’t be in the Ivory Coast squad.
Obviously, given it’s held the same summer as the various continent championships are meant to be held, it’s never going to attract the biggest names. So, if the best players aren’t going to be involved, why have it at all?
The other option is to go the complete opposition direction and only allow amateurs. Have a proper international tournament with qualification tournaments, etc, but none of the players are professional footballers (or signed to a professional club as an underage player). You would probably have to put in place some rule around players who were once professional, i.e., you don’t want Ronaldo retiring and turning out once or twice for the local club and leading Portugal to the Olympic title. Maybe something along the lines of years played as a pro against the level reached, but it’s definitely doable I believe.
It would also benefit the smaller countries, I think. I mean, a half decent player in England is likely to make it someway up the football ladder if he really wants it, whereas the same guy in Ireland is unlikely to do likewise because there just aren’t the same opportunities available.
PS to show how far down the Olympics are considered, the Messi fanboys nevered used Messi’s gold medal from the 2008 Olympics as a retort to the Ronaldo fanboys when it was pointed out that before this summer Messi had won nothing internationally.
I just don’t get sports that have much greater professional tournaments appearing in the Olympic Games. Football being one, but also golf, tennis and basketball. Likely a few others too – road cycling perhaps. I should also say I am not sure about made up sports in Olympics – by that I means sports that only exist as an Olympic sport – such as Ski Jumping, Skeleton etc. Who actually ski jumps as a normal daily sport!
But back to the main point which was predicated by Surge’s email regarding watching these ‘great’ football competitions. Football at the Olympics has always been compromised. Compromised by the club sides who don’t want their players injured and compromised by the IOC that didn’t want a bunch of highly paid professional sports people picking up Olympic medals and devaluing the ‘spirit’ of the games – which has frankly loooooong gone – aptly demonstrated by putting on the games during a pandemic so the IOC doesn’t have to pay back sponsors.
There seems to be no rhyme or reason to what teams can enter the Olympics and what players, so we end up with a smorgasbord of players and teams. The overall quality is low as teams have less time to prepare and either play basic systems or rely on individual brilliance. Having to follow on from the Euros places it in stark contrast.
Don’t even get me started on the Gold Cup. One of the weakest ‘conferences’ in FIFA (only Oceania is worse) with 3 teams in the top 50 of the world rankings. The invitee, Qatar, actually brings the overall quality up, but this is a team that won the Asian Cup but drew 1-1 with Ireland, who are far from tearing things up. Again, following the Euros, the Gold Cup looks pretty poor. The fact that the overall level is low means the games look competitive but they are still low quality. Like the lower tier of the UEFA Nations League. After a season of club football, soon followed by the Euros, the last thing we need to watch are low quality football events. There is enough high quality sport in the summer – even without an Olympics- that we don’t need these two events.
Interestingly enough, the women’s football at the Olympics is normally pretty good but seems lacklustre this year.
As an aside, wondering what Everton will be thinking when Richarlison misses the beginning of the season and then ends up crocked the first game he plays and is out for the rest of the season after being exhausted with all the summer football?
The purest type of goal
Good question Mike D,
The purest type of goal cannot be distilled into mechanics. It has nothing to do with the sweetness of the strike, the bullet in the header, the speed of the counter or the 50th pass into the net.
It has everything to do with the whoosh of collectively exhaled breath, the sudden leap to your feet, the unexpected urge to clap the opposition, the waving of a ‘burnt’ index finger and the pure undiluted exhilaration of football.
When you know, you know.
(PS: Welcome Rafael, this should be fun!)
Like all fans I, naturally, love a good goal. While not answering Mike D directly may I be allowed to be an old man and list 3 goals from the 1970’s that some younger readers may not be aware of…actually that’s really patronising, they probably are aware of them I just want to talk about them!
Ronnie Radford, Hereford v Newcastle
The original and still the best thunderbastard.
Terry McDermott, Liverpool v Spurs
An incredible passing build up finished off by the original permed hair scouser’s head. The best team move seen since…
Carlos Alberto, Brazil v Italy
The perfect goal in my mind, wonderful build up, a bit of showboating, ridiculous nonchalance from Pele to roll the ball into the path of the right back to absolutely smash it from just outside the box.
Along with everyone else I get a bit wound up about the game sometimes but those goals, particularly the look on Radfords face after he realises what he has just done, remind me that it is meant to be fun and those goals always leave me with a little smile on my face.
Mark Jones, LFC, Liverpool
Just a pure strike from outside the box and the pure joy of scoring an absolute thunderbastard. Added points against Wimbledon for the little juggle looking like he lost the ball, control and then BAM!
Probably still two of the top ten premier league goals.
In response to Mike D the best kind of goal is the first time strike from around the edge of the box that curls, but with power, into the top corner. It’s so aesthetically pleasing, skilful and displays incredible confidence – I love them.
Think Eto’o against Panathinaikos, Trezeguet against Italy or Raul’s first ever Real Madrid goal against Atletico.