Who’s got it worse? Spurs with Levy or Man Utd with Woodward?

Will Ford
Daniel Levy Tottenham

Keep your mails coming to theeditor@football365.com.


Bale to Spurs. Hmmm. 
It’s ‘Taxi for Maicon’ and all that. It’s Solskjaer, it’s Blitz parties, it’s Brexit. Nostalgia 101. But could it be a success?

Now there are a lot of reasons why it didn’t work out for him at Madrid over the last couple of seasons.

Last season he scored a disallowed wondergoal against PSG and didn’t do an awful lot else to play himself into a team that included a lot of young players and didn’t – Vinicius aside – have the same elemental energy that he could bring. Zidane was ultimately proven right as the team looked a lot better without Bale in it.

The year before he found himself side-lined as a succession of pretty awful managers tried to replace Ronaldo’s 40-odd goals a season by starting the dressing-room (i.e. Ramos) friendly likes of Luca Vasquez. Vazquez is a tidy but limited player who has never scored more than 8 goals a season and the transitional year was a huge and predictable disaster, despite Benzema stepping up in the way that Bale probably should have.

Now I’m actually a huge Gareth Bale fan and the Spurs move could yet work. But can he show some of the talent that helped him outshine Ronaldo in 3 or the 4 Champs League finals they shared? Perhaps.

Although I think it is a concern that he wanted to go to China last year – seriously, how much money is enough for some people – I’ve not seen a particular lack of effort when he plays for Madrid, more that he just seems to gets isolated from the play by his teammates’ tidy midfield possession game. No danger of that at Spurs.

He should get on well off the pitch with the likes of Harry Kane, who seems to be similarly easy-going and the new, slightly deeper Kane should dovetail with him nicely on the pitch.

Bale’s direct and physical style of play is also very, very Mourinho plus Spurs have been missing a threat from free-kicks since Eriksen left. If he’s fit, and if Mourinho can overlook his limited defensive contribution, he should be a hit.

But that’s a big ‘if’. The problem with Gareth Bale is that he has a fitness record that makes Ledley King look like Wolverine. This is partly why managers have preferred less gifted but more reliable players and why instead of the ‘sunlit uplands’ of a Champions League spot there’s just as much chance of a half season of crocked Gareth Bale hauling himself intermittently around the pitch between injuries.
Quarantino Asprilla, Chairman of the Bored, ITFC


Levy handicap
Things successful clubs don’t do: (1) Sign very expensive 31 year old players who have patchy injury records, (2) appoint Jose Mourinho as their manager, (3) have a midfield of Hojbjerg and Winks.

Tottenham have all of the ingredients to be a club that can compete with the best. They have a large stadium, are located in a great city where top players and managers would like to live, and have the financial muscle to buy and pay star players. Yet they are utterly handicapped by Levy’s decision making. Signing Bale is a massive mistake. It’s an emotional purchase to placate a manager who surely is not going to be there in two years time and the fans. It’s the type of nonsense that Woodward and Man Utd would do – yet they have far deeper pockets to stomach such garbage transfers.

Frankly they would be far better to save the Bale cash and concentrate on getting the club management sorted. That means attracting and appointing a manager with a vision and finding a sporting director who can actually identify and sign top up-and-coming players. As a general rule of thumb, you are signing the wrong player if Robbie Savage thinks it’s a good idea.
Oliver, London


At the mercy of Woodward
Hello all suffering MU fans
We, the millions of MU supporters are at the mercy of Ed Woodward and the Glaziers. When someone mentioned the transfer of Edwin Van der Sar to take over the player management side of the team, I totally agree, but Edwin is a great manager, and unless he was given total control of player movement, he isn’t coming.
Man United are moving in the right direction, but too slowly. Just look around at Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool and Arsenal. Big steps, not baby steps. Man U are improved, but very thin in a lot of positions. A few untimely injuries and they will be lucky to finish in the top six.
A powerful Striker, a right winger, a CDM, and a left back are needed in this transfer window. If nothing gets done, try Dan James at left back. He could outrun his mistakes and it is better than riding pine.

New ownership that love the game and want trophies is what is needed most at Man United. Here’s Hoping
Brent Pickerill 


Man Utd perspective
Please for the love of God, can all Utd fans just calm down a little over the transfers.
We don’t want Bale (after the Sanchez sh*t show) and certainly don’t want a young player to invest in only for him to go back to Spain in 2 years.

When they’re pictured wearing the shirt, then you can get excited. But you really shouldn’t be expecting great things! I personally predict Telles and one other loan signing…and here’s why:

Anyone with a brain cell can see that the transfer market is normally the ultimate game of sh*thousery between agents hyping up their players to get a better deal, and the biggest ever game of poker for the owners, with clubs holding out for maximum money,  who desperately need it. Jesus, even the press have given up in the last few years and just go with publishing the latest twitter rumours.
Sky’s abysmal transfer rumour page is the ultimate example. Look at their sources for Christ sake! They never had an inkling about Donny VDB until it was announced from Holland. (To give Ed his due, that was nicely handled but typically little has followed).

If I had a pound for every Romano prophecy over the last few months….currently We would have 16 players signed between May and now. To date Utd have 1 completed deal. This is the real world.

Ed thought he was being clever stating the world market economy and securities would lead to Jadon Sancho being made available at a reduced rate at the end of the season , and it came as no surprise to us fans who know that that’s total BS for a 20 yo who is happy where he is, and I would typically have bet money that at about 6pm on October 4th, we are going to submit the bid that BVB rightfully want, and the yellow ticker tape will blast it everywhere in capitals, as this is now Ed’s recognised modus operandi…..but not this year.

The truth is this summer is that the really tragic world issues are having the enormous knock on effect we all knew was coming, and football on the continent is teetering on a knife edge. We can’t be too far behind.

The money men all know this. Forget poor Macclesfield going to the wall….it’s never been more terrifying for the Super clubs where there has been no guarantees from their respective governments to protect them.
But it will be the same at home if fans can’t return soon. At about the same time as this window closes, so does the UK Government furlough scheme.

Woodward, does indeed have a greater pot of money than some, but I can’t imagine that a US owned franchise with its routes in Far Eastern fans and sponsorships with Airlines, Cars from Detroit, and other industries falling on their arse, would be writing blank cheques right now.
How many people can honestly say they can keep happily affording to be shelling out for “entertaining” piped in crowds on BT & Sky live games much longer, when the food banks have never been in such high demand.
This cannot and won’t be sustained and those clubs which have always relied on the TV revenue package to get them through another year are properly looking over their shoulders.

The other entertainment industries know this too. Nearly everything scheduled for the cinema has been moved at least twice from an intial release date, and if you look at what you can watch between now and Christmas at the cinema, in the UK, it’s Tenet from now until Bond in November …..if that goes ahead. Everything else has been pulled.

It is not going away anytime soon, and the vast majority of fans need to see this.

If you think Utd being unable to shift reserve standard players is bad, look at what’s happening in Spain, especially Barca who are forced to get first team players off their own hyper inflated self inflicted deals or risk implosion.

Juventus are cancelling contracts for players who would be sold in excess of 8 figures in any other window before this. Utd’s most shrewd bit of business this summer was to pay Sanchez off.
Madrid dare not and cannot put their toe in to the market. Same with the other Super Clubs. That’s why you knew Pogba could not, and would not move, this summer.

Chelsea have proven for years they are slick operators on the market but they too saw the immediate effect of what was to happen and tied up deals for players at rates and initial down payments, which the German and Dutch leagues would have bitten their hands off for, and credit to them. But it truly does sound immoral for Utd to pay a 9 figure sum at this time! Don’t get me started on Mbappe moving for 150M….

The biggest laugh I have had all summer is when some cheery old deer calls from Utd each month asking us if we’d like to renew our membership. She sounds surprised and even confused when I tell her “no” …..perhaps this is how Ed tells all his employees to act.

Perhaps I’m being over pessimistic here, but let’s be honest, there’s sod all sign of a vaccine in the UK; the one thing which will move the world forward, and the one thing you didn’t want to happen looks inevitable now. I for one am betting the Premiership winter break lasts a little longer than programmed.
Chris (realistic) Utd fan.


De Gea a United legend?
Saw Van Der Saar on the United Podcast and after I got done wondering how he looked younger now than he did when he was playing for us, I started thinking about De Gea.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Van Der Saar is a bona-fide United legend.

De Gea has now been at the club for four more years and played close to double the amount of games than Van Der Saar but I don’t think of De Gea as a United legend.

Granted Van Der Saar won 4 Premier leagues in his six years and a Champions League but De Gea also has a Premier League, a couple of FA cups and a Europa league under his belt.

That compared with being the number 1 for a decade and being the player of the year for a good 5-6 years would make him a club legend at any club, so what’s stopping me from thinking of him as one?

Is it because at a club like United, the benchmark is much higher and without a Champions League win or multiple Premier Leagues, he can’t be one, whereas a Bale is probably a club legend at Tottenham, or even a Tim Cahill at Everton.

It can’t be because De Gea is still playing for us because Kane is already a bona-fide legend for Tottenham.

If Henderson was to oust De Gea as our number one this year, I wonder what his legacy at the club will be – a shining light through our worst period in the Premier league era, or a forgotten player.

Also Romero would be an upgrade on the keeper for most Premier League clubs. He’s criminally under rated. Martinez went for 17 million off of his run of form, Romero has been great for us for years, even winning cup competitions hardly making any mistakes. He’s easily worth more.
– Shehzad Ghias, mufc


Who likes Michael Owen?
After talking to a Manchester United fan friend of mine he brought up a name that could be added to the list of “Players who did well but are disliked by the fans”, that being Owen Hargreaves.

Hargreaves made a huge contribution to the 2008 Champions League winning side (great memories as a Chelsea fan, just great), suffered knee problems and faded away, then he ended up at Manchester City which seems to be the easy way to become disliked by United fans, makes a lot of sense really.

Now from one Owen to another, that point about Michael Owen that other mailboxers have mentioned is also quite true, he played for the likes of Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester United, won some big trophies with those clubs, well apart from Real Madrid, which you would expect them to have cleaned up in that 04/05 season, honestly just look at the squad list for that side, crazy depth in quality and they also had Gravesen and Woodgate, nostalgia right there, and yet do any of those clubs have fans that like him? I didn’t give it much thought till now, this guy won a Ballon d’Or, he was world class at such a young age, prolific goalscorer and injuries did hit him hard sadly.

I suppose this is where i ask are you a Liverpool, United, Madrid, Stoke or Newcastle fan, what are your views on Michael Owen?
Mikey, CFC 


What are they waiting for?
I dont understand why clubs wait till the last minute of the transfer window to try and get deals done.

Surely it makes it less likely that the selling club will agree to a deal as they won’t have time to find a replacement.

The only positive I can think is they might have more money to spend as they will have had more time to sell players, but since everyone is waiting till the end, that is unlikely to be the case

Surely waiting till late only has negative outcomes for the buying club, so why do it?

What am I missing?
Adonis Stevenson, AFC


Havertz, the lithe Zidane
Totally agree about the Havertz patience. I should say first though that it is way too early to even be thinking about critiquing him. Far too soon. I myself was caught up in the buzz of how exciting the front line were going to be in Chelsea’s match, but sometimes that doesn’t happen first time, and we’re spoiled in our sport by how much it does so we kinda expect it more than it happens, cause it’s just so good when it does.

But yeah, Havertz is like a lithe version of Zinedine Zidane, only more pacey and attackey.  It took Thierry Henry, an explosive world Cup winner at the age of 20, about 2 tears to really become the player many hoped he’d be and he became. Henry was very ‘Henry’ for a while but it was more sporadic in his earliest Arsenal years, but in no time he became the main man among a bunch of other main men. Havertz is an absolute baller. In two years he’ll be his final form and we’ll be looking back at what a freak he was laughing at the very idea he would have struggled.

I’m looking forward to the mutual masturbation when he takes over from De Bruyne as premier league god.

The lads also a kid leaving Germany for the first time, in an era where going to a new country must be f****ng weird.
Electric Lemonade (He’s unorthodox but magical), Dublin


Agent ransom
Anyone else remember being sick to their stomach when the 4 scum bag player agents met up in London for a dinner to discuss how they were going to stop UEFA imposing a 10% max fee on player sales ?

So I’ve been wondering what can be done ? We all must be sick of having our clubs rinsed by agents on an annual basis ? I have to admit I still don’t understand, when given I can call anybody in the world, connect with anybody in the world, find anywhere in the world and buy anything in the world from a small electronic device in my hand, how 2 multi million dollar organisations (or let’s face it every football club) is not able to contact another club and say ‘We want X player, how much do you want for him?’ Then negotiating players wages and bonuses I understand the agent is required but that’s it surely ?

If you’ve seen all the old football documentaries the managers all have stories of phoning up their counterparts and asking ‘Oi Harry, d’you fancy selling Trev ?’, ‘Million quid mate’, ‘you’re on pal, TREVOR, get your coat son you’re off to Forest’.

The way these agents can hold clubs to ransom and demand ever exorbitant fees as they control a majority share of all the players almost sounds like a cartel. Now if this is the case then surely a complaint can be brought by someone to the EU commission?

Illegal contacts and agreements
These agreements are known as cartels. They are forbidden because they restrict competition. They can take many forms, and need not be officially approved by the companies involved. The most common examples of these practices are:

Price fixing
Market sharing
Agreement on customer allocation
Agreement on production limitation
Distribution agreements between suppliers and re-sellers where, for example, the price charged to customers is imposed by the supplier
Do not fix prices or other trading conditions
Do not limit production
Do not share markets
Do not exchange strategic information about your company
Any lawyers out there want to help file a complaint ?
Anybody got Ed Woodward’s number ?

Feel free to tell me why this will never work. Otherwise, let’s get the ball rolling….
Hong Kong Ian (Liverpools defence is fine) LFC


Community solution
As John Nicholson points out, many clubs could follow Macclesfield to the wall, leaving many communities without a focal point, fans without a club and all of the problems that that entails.

Whilst it is inevitable that some clubs will go under whilst their owners/chairmen fight to stay afloat, the worry is that other less scrupulous owners will allow the clubs to fail and then sell off the stadium land that many of them (rather than the clubs) own.

To combat this, why can’t all football stadia be automatically granted status as an asset of community value?  Granted, this will undoubtedly still be opposed by owners greedy for real estate cash, but it would be a great weapon in the armoury of communities who oppose the sales and who are, ultimately, those who are worst affected by such actions.

It would be easy, surely, to automatically decree that every stadium above a certain tier (national league north / south, for example) is automatically assigned ACV status, thus providing a certain level of security and a disincentive for investors to buy clubs with one eye on acquiring the stadium for its real estate value.

Not a perfect solution, but a pretty simple one and a pretty powerful tool with which supporters and local communities can fight plans that negatively impact the existence of their clubs.
Cheers, Rich