Mails: Another dark day for United under Jose…

Date published: Sunday 25th June 2017 9:35

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Another grey day under Jose
And so it goes, as many people feared. Our youth players realise there is little to no realistic chance of getting significant game time under Jose and leave even though they’re clearly good enough.

Is it just his reputation, or is it more what his actual behaviour around the club shows them?

We all know that Jose is a chequebook manager. If you give him the money he will buy players that will win you things, even if the football isn’t great. But that should never be enough for United. Whether talk of the United way is true or not, we have been world famous for bringing through teams of youth and building success on them. Our two best managers did this.

Right now we’re being made to swallow down our pride, celebrate winning the Europa because us covers our ridiculously poor league season. And now we see some excellent home grown talents leave because the manager won’t bring them through properly, preferring to buy in expensive players from abroad.

No one suggests that Harrop or indeed Wilson are going to be world beaters. Nor possibly Pereira, TFM, CBJ and the many others. But we should be giving them a serious chance, because otherwise what is the point of the youth programme? Sir Alex would have. Likely he’d win leagues with them. He was the self made man vs Jose’s entitled brat sitting on a trust fund. There are other managers who can actually coach and develop players.

It’s a grey day, and splashing another £300m on players doesn’t fill most with anything like as much pleasure as seeing a lad break through and make it. It’s a hollow shortlived high that sacrifices the soul of the club.
Guy S


Hard for Hornets
It’s summer, I’m lazier than usual, I’m f*cked after a long week in a new job, I’m failing all kinds of roadside tests, and I’m wearing bad shoes but fuck it. I’ve spotted the open goal that is the holiday mailbox and I’ve decided have a crack from fully 50 yards with the hope of needlessly bringing to people the news that I have decided to completely obsess or ‘crush hard’, if you will, on Watford and their potential exploits in Football: Season 25. (The one where Marco proposes to Brian)

There are many many obvious reasons. Reason numero uno is, of course, Marco Silva. That man reignited something in me that words just can’t describe. But I’ll try. Actually I won’t. Just think Samuel L Jackson saying the words “sh*tcool” and “motherf*cker” and “really looks like Sean Penn in his prime”. Then you’ll get the picture. A gift to the game and he’ll be managing at a serious title contender in a big league within 3 years.

Next up. Will Hughes. That kid was the new Gerrard not that many moons and cleverer folk than most tipped him to make the breakthrough long before Dele Alli, but he’s stayed at Derby, waited his turn and not gone down the Liverpool/Chelsea route to play under a manager/dreamboat who should get the best out of a silky little schemer like Will.

Reason the 3rd; It’s Watford, they’re f*cking mental.
Brian M. Waterford.. Oh yeah


Mbappe smokescreen
Long time reader, first time letterer here. Regarding the enthusiastic reception of rumours around the world’s most wanted wonderkid, I have to wonder if the ‘certified genuine’ interest is not merely a ploy by Liverpool to deflect attention away from the VVD disaster. While Salah has been signed, which should give armpit fizzing excitement to most fans, he’s not quite marquee enough to gloss over the VVD debacle. It is sadly the case that many fans are deliriously contemptible about actual football and are rather more invested in fidget spinners, headlines and the ideological supremacy of a club identified with the very pulling power lacking in the listless, physical abandon of the modern sports enthusiast.

Liverpool aren’t seriously considered as contenders for Mbappe’s signature, yet to seemingly be in the race thanks to a few words in the right ear allows Liverpool to both placate fans and create the illusion of prestigious allure for other signings. It’s a bit like a fella looking at a nice bicycle because his neighbour with a better job is looking at the nice bicycle and he doesn’t want to be seen as a lesser man by the village cycling club, so he looks at it in the window and even formally enquires about the price but ends up buying a BMX from a teenage stoner in a hoodie and tropical shorts.

Warm and loving regards,
Reub (LFC)


…Can Liverpool quit their shenanigans trying to get Mbappe when we all know he’ll only move to big clubs like Man United or Real Madrid? Their small-club mentality is starting to grate my nerves. The other day, one of their officials said that their pursuit of Mbappe was to make them “be in the conversation”. What kind of bullshirt justification is that? It’s like watching a dog chase a car when we all know even if he catches it, he can’t drive it….


Bizarre transfers
Owen asks about strange transfers and as it happens I’ve got one for him that always left me wondering WTF?

In the Summer of 2000 I was immensely excited about our prospects for the coming season after it was confirmed that the one time World Player of the Year, George Weah (scorer of amongst other things *THAT* wonder goal) had signed my team, Manchester City. You have to remember this was back when we were properly shit (we had been in division 2 – currently league 1 – as recently as the 98-99 season) so to sign a former World Player of the Year was quite a coup for us and certainly made our attacking line-up that bit sexier!

But, and there is always a but with City, it just didn’t work out for him there. So much so to the point that I remember him being kept out of the 1st team by non other than the ex-Arsenal legend, Paul Dickov! Two and a half months later, he trousers a half-million quid golden handshake and saunters off into the sunset never to be seen on these shores playing football again.

I never worked out what left me scratching my head more…the fact we managed to sign him to begin with or that he was somehow rated by our then manager, Joe Royle, to be sh*tter than Paul f*cking Dickov!
Andy West CTID


…In response to Owen Davidson mail I can think of a few that have perplexed.

Esteban Cambiasso at Leicester – what was that about? He played very well, had an integral part to their survival and then just disappeared.
Hierro at Bolton – There were a few at Bolton but picked Hierro for his lack of longevity.
Dugarry at Birmingham – Didn’t get that one
Mauro Zarate at Birmingham – Genuine Football Manager legend and somewhat lived up to expectation in a failed relegation dogfight.
Henrik Larrson at Man Utd – Didn’t last as long as it should have and should have happened years earlier.
Roque Santa Cruz at Blackburn – Don’t know how such a great, albeit injury prone, striker went from Bayern Munich to Blackburn at age 25. Rovers got him for his best years.
Diego Tristan at West Ham – The tormenter of United defences in the early 2000s alongside Valeron.

There are many more but I cant think of them off the top of my head. I need a life.
Oisin (massive fan of all these signings at the time) Dublin


…It’s a long time since I’ve felt any need to write into f365, but the question of ‘Bizarre transfers’ in Friday afternoon’s mailbox sent shivers down my spine. Mikael Silvestre to Arsenal. What was Arsene thinking? AW has made some odd choices, with player recruitment, over the years but this was a real low. At a time when the Utd/Arsenal rivalry was only just past its peak, this was madness.

The fact that Man U fans were a lot happier about it than Gooners says just about everything you need to know. 43 apps, in all competitions, and 3 goals and I thought I’d manage to wipe every minute from my memory. Horrible, just horrible. Easily, the most bizarre and disappointing signing that Arsene has ever made, and I do remember seeing Igor Stepanovs play. The thought of Silvestre in an Arsenal shirt (it just didn’t look right on him) still makes me cry.
Dave R (AFC, obviously)


…Thinking about bizarre transfers, one sticks out in my mind. When Vicente Rodriguez casually rocked up at Brighton in the Championship after being released from Valencia.

He was part of a Spanish revolution at the club, alongside a vast number of others, Orlandi, Bruno, Spanish Dave and Fran Sandaza and probably others, but he was the standout.

He was incredible, two footed, skillful, quick, and probably the best player Brighton have ever had. It’s even more bizarre knowing that even now we’re in the Premier League, we’re unlikely to sign anyone even half as talented as him. Just a shame about the injuries and the way Poyet treated him (allegedly).

Knockaert is fantastic for us, and he is the second most talented player I’ve ever seen in the blue and white stripes, but a championship side signing a former Spanish international, not too over the hill, and one who reportedly turned down a £35m move to Real Madrid a couple of seasons earlier? Definitely bizzaro land.
Naz, Staines


…I share Owen Davidson’s confused nostalgia about Eto’o’s time at Chelsea. Chelsea have a recent history of bizarre transfers.

In fact, I’ve put together a ‘bizarre’ eleven lining up in a fashionable 3-4-4:

Hilario (c)
Djilobodji – Ben Haim – Boulahrouz
Benayoun – Sidwell – Veron – Quaresma
Pato – Pizarro – Falcao

Manager: again we’re spoiled for choice, but I think it has to be Avram…
James Bruschini


Bale back
As a response to Dan (very excited etc etc.), I would love to see Gareth Bale back at Spurs. Dembele is one of the best midfielders in the league but he’s sadly injury-prone, so I can see Spurs lining up in a 4-1-2-1-2:

Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier; Wanyama, Eriksen; Dele; Bale, Kane

Bale gets the free attacking role he’s always wanted – can dovetail with Kane, or drop deep to run at defenders. He’d love it, the team would love to have him back, Poch wouldn’t say no for an instant and it would be a massive statement for the club. Yeah, they say never go back, and there are case studies providing evidence (Gotze being the one that most immediately comes to mind), but those are often down to it being a poor fit, driven by nostalgia. While Bale isn’t quite at the level of fitness anyone would want, there’s no denying his ability, and Spurs have been looking at a player in his mould (hence the recent sniffing around Lemar and Zaha). It would make good tactical sense.

The reason it will never happen? Wages. Bale is currently on a base rate of between €300-400k per week. That’s around three times what Kane and Lloris are making, and at least four times what anyone else in the team is on. If Spurs are haggling over paying Toby Alderweireld, the best centre-back in the league, more than £80k, I can’t imagine Levy sanctioning Bale’s wages. Still less when you factor in the discontent it would cause in a finely-balanced dressing room. Kane might be fine with Bale coming in on monster money, but can you imagine Eriksen or Lloris being so charitable?

Maybe Bale will be willing to take a gigantic pay cut. It’s possible, but extremely unlikely, and no-one can reasonably demand it of him. He’s got about six years left as a top-level pro, and I for one wouldn’t begrudge him storing up as much as possible for his family while he can.

Would love to see what he could do on that massive Wembley pitch, though… Maybe when we’re inevitably drawn together in the Champions League group stage.
Gene (THFC, please sign Ryan Sessegnon, Jean-Michael Seri and Thomas Lemar. And Ricardo Pereira if Walker leaves. Many thanks), Guyana


Just as well Kris, LFC, Manchester, isn’t running any football clubs at the moment. If he was, I would want him banned.

But just in case Kris was wondering, transfer bans don’t work that way.

The ban is on buying or brining in new players. Any player can leave. You may not want them to but it is possible.

So lets not go there.
Paul McDevitt


French fancy
In response to Richard (AFC & jolly hockey sticks) London’s question “why these organisations always use French as the language of their acronyms but basically nothing else?”

I may be way off the mark here but, as a child in the late 60’s/early 70’s my grandmother insisted I had to learn French as it was, at the time, “the language of Diplomacy and International Trade” (her words). I’m guessing that as a lot of these sports/federations originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and had (or have) their HQ in Swtizerland/France, so it would make sense that the original names/acronyms date back from then too?

I don’t know, it’s Friday afternoon and I want a beer.

Tony (f*ck I’m old, when did this happen?) Pintos – CFC


The next Zizou
In response to Sean about what current player is most like Zizou, I’d still have to say Bruno Cheyrou. I hear he’s playing with his kids these days and completely dazzling them with his combination of vision, speed, and being three times their size.
Niall, Denver


…Great question from Sean MUFC and one I have often thought of myself. I think Zizou is possibly one of the most uniquely gifted players of all time, and one who’s style is almost impossible to replicate.

The way he would stretch his legs and glide across the pitch, ball glued to his foot as though it had entered some magnetic field or orbit created by his aura, is truly a powerful thing to behold. His languid running style made him deceptively fast and then, as if his physical qualities weren’t already too much for opponents, you get the feeling that he was always 5 seconds ahead of everyone else in the stadium.

Following the icon piece this morning I couldn’t help but spend 10 minutes on Youtube and allow his majesty to take me away from it all, if just for a little while. I may be feeling a little fuzzy this afternoon as it’s Friday and I had a glass of wine with lunch, but watching the master at work is truly a breath-taking thing to behold. There has not been or ever will be another player able to express such beauty on a football pitch. He is the one true epitome of the beautiful game.

Anyway back to the original question. I think the only current player who could one day emulate Zizou’s style is Paul Pogba. I can’t think of another player who has the ingredients to match the great man. His performance in the friendly against England showcased his potential to become the world’s best in midfield and I think United fans could be in for a real treat next season. Hopefully he can reach his true potential and I’ll be gushing over the Paul Pogba highlight reel in 10 years’ time.

By then though, Zizou would have won his 8th Champions League as a manager.
Sean, CFC, South East.

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