Mails: Man United are frog in boiling water

Date published: Friday 5th February 2016 11:01

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Would you take the money like Teixeira?
For all the calling Raheem Sterling greedy at least his move can be justified in terms other than money. Moving to a Champions League side, more chance of silver etc. What motivation other than money then is there for Alex Teixeira joining Jiangsu Suning after interest from big European Clubs? He’s left a team in a decent European League with a strong fanbase to play in a league full of corruption and fans with about as much interest in the game as Graham Norton has in a Kate Upton calendar.

Even if he was getting a million pound tax free, when he lies in bed at nightafter a meaningless game, will he not think to himself ‘I’m good enough to play for a top European club, to win some of the most competitive competitions in the world, and be remembered as a truly great player, what the f*** am I doing in this footballing wasteland?’. It’s understandable when players make the move to these leagues at the end of their careers for one final pay day but to make the move at 26 after the best half-season of your career is just completely mental.

And if people try to defend him by saying ‘well if you were offered that much money you wouldn’t turn it down’, I like to think if I was in his position I would. Shakhtar are a very rich club anyway, so I’m guessing he was already on a pretty significant amount, in a position where money is really not an issue. It’s not like a minimum wage worker with four kids to support being offered a higher salary to do a job he wouldn’t be proud of. In that scenario you could understand the motivation. In this instance however, an extremely talented player with bags of potential and the chance to forge an illustrious career in one of the top leagues in Europe and win caps for Brazil, turning it all down to play in a footballing backwater for obscene amounts of money, is just pure greed.
Simon Clarke


We could have got more for Paulinho…
With all these big-money moves to China, is anyone else thinking that Spurs got mugged by only getting £10m or so for Paulinho?

I mean, he wasn’t worth the ten but maybe Levy should have held out for twenty, just to see if Guangzhou would pay it.
Ohio Joe, Spurs


Man United are a frog in boiling water…
This is my first email ever to Football365, even though I am an avid reader of the mailbox. So you can see that I am pretty placid and not many things annoy me enough to bother writing in.

However, what’s been grinding my gears more and more lately is the misplaced sense of entitlement that many Utd fans have displayed on this site (and other forums). What is this sense of entitlement? Well, Andy NI is typical of this type of Utd fan (mailbox 4th Feb – ‘Poch for Utd’.)

United fans bang on ad nauseum (rightly) about Liverpool fans having a sense of entitlement that their club has a God-given right to be successful just cos they were great once upon a time.

However, Utd fans like Andy are now falling into the same ‘trap’ – that just because they are the mighty Utd., Pochetino and half the Spurs team will automatically jump ship and move en masse to the ‘Theatre Of Dreams’ this summer.

Well Andy, don’t hold you breath. I am willing to bet that there will be no movement of personnel from WHL to OT anytime soon. And please don’t give me the lazy journos analysis that ‘Spurs always sell their best players to Utd’.

That was absolutely correct in the past, but that analysis fails to account for the fact that Spurs are a very different club now, in terms of finances, ambitions, infrastructure (world-class training centre, state of the art stadium on its way), player recruitment and development etc. Not to mention the fact that the club is being “fattened up” for a sale to a super rich organisation or individual, and which – in my opinion – will happen once the stadium is complete. At that point, Spurs will be a massively attractive global proposition – A London Premier League club, with world class facilities also in London and a stadium that will be a host to NFL games – you can imagine the exposure that will give Spurs in the biggest and richest sports market in the world (USA)…and hence the club will be a very attractive promotional vehicle for the world’s top brands and organisations as well as for the ego of a mega super rich individual – a bit like Man City and New York City as a promotional vehicles for Abu Dhabi/UAE.

But for all this to happen, Spurs need a successful team on the pitch. So the reason ENIC will not sell their best players and the best manager that they have employed in many years, to Utd., is not because of sentiment, but because they need a successful team to maximise the sell price and hence realise a maximum profit on the investments that ENIC have made over the years. (For those who don’t know ENIC – it’s the investment vehicle controlled by Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy and which owns Spurs.)

And all that is even before we look at the league table this season – sure, Utd could still finish ahead of Spurs this season – but then again Spurs could also realistically win the title. So even you Andy with your rose tinted Utd glasses will acknowledge (I assume) that there certainly would be no chance of Pochettino moving from a title-winning team to Utd.

IMHO what you need to worry about is that this sense of entitlement seems to have permeated Utd’s senior management – how else would you explain the apparent lack of planning in the last years of Alex Ferguson, to manage the transition successfully, instead of the rudderless drift that Utd seem to have embarked on. Pep Guardiola certainly didn’t fancy it…Pochettino won’t either.

Of course Utd still have the resources, worldwide appeal etc. to survive a few lean and chaotic years and recover…but there is no guarantee. The Roman Empire and the British Empire can attest to that – Nobody has the God give right to be at the top forever, and it takes continuous intelligent planning and hard work to stay at the top – an obvious statement, but it’s funny how many powerful empires forgot that and time overtook them.

In the eighties, there was a popular corporate management analogy that was doing the rounds as a metaphor for lazy and complacent organisations and management who went down the pan because they failed to plan for a changing world, despite being dominant once upon a time (Nokia, for example), and if Utd don’t learn quickly, then in my opinion that 80’s metaphor may well apply to the Red Devils: “If you put a frog in a beaker boiling water he will immediately jump out. However, if you put a frog in a beaker of cold water and then gently heat the water and bring it to a boil slowly, then the frog will boil to death.” In the second scenario the frog does not notice the environment slowly and radically change around him, does not take appropriate corrective action and perishes.

One last thought – how many Utd players would get into the current Spurs first XI?

The mere fact that a Spurs fan can credibly even ask a question like that today just shows you how the Premier League is a changed environment now, and just like the frog, you for one certainly don’t seem to have noticed…
Kirit, North West London (The future is Lilywhite – can we have De Gea as a back up to Lloris please?)


Why don’t we club together and buy Messi?
“An abso-f**** lutely genius idea.”

This is my first contribution to the site, and I’ve always been the guy sitting on the sidelines, extensively reading product reviews on Amazon, but never contributing myself. I never intend to change that, but I did decide to contribute because of this brilliant (probably not so brilliant) thought I had.

I’ve always been a massive football fan, and my dad being from Manchester, I kind of followed his footsteps when I got my first Cantona jersey. But then again,I love football, I love the passion, I love Dortmund, I love Atletico Madrid and like a every Athletic Bilbao fan, I raise my hat and applaud good football wherever I see it. Except Mourinho. F*** that guy.

I love football so much that I got into a lot of trouble to watch a game I couldn’t afford to miss. In boarding school, military school, boot camp, deployments, everywhere. And now, I’m lying in my tent, dirty, tired, while attempting to be the first guy to walk the entire coastline of South Africa, solo, self-sustained, with everything on my back. 2400miles in a 100 days. And I’m 35 days in. And I still have time to watch highlights, and read Football365, even though I should probably save battery for a snake bite emergency. (You should follow the adventure btw, it’s called @myonionandme. )

That said, walking for days and nights on end, does give you a lot of time to think. And I was thinking a lot last night. Especially with the transfer window just ending. A survey couple of years ago showed that Manchester United, for example, had around 659 million fans worldwide. Half that, to reduce media and statistic ass-hattery, and say 300 million. So what if the fans of a club, any club, throw in £5 in a hat and say, here, that’s my contribution towards the next transfer window. And completely withhold any claim or right, no shares or nothing, as long as it is used for transfers. So, in the case of Manchester United, that will be around 1.5 Billion dollars. (I’m using Utd as an example simply because i don’t exactly have statistics at my fingertips.) I don’t know about everyone else, but I would definitely pay five or even ten bucks to see United sign Messi.

So, question, is this possible? What would be the implications on the club/financial rulings? Can fans of a club get together, maybe through the official website, drop money in the proverbial hat, or raise enough cash, and tell the board, here you go, 1 Billion! – Go sign Messi!

Can they?
Stig, MUFC (I would pay £50 to see Fellaini not play.)


For Liverpool fans crying about ticket prices…
YOU asked for this. After the world saw what foreign ownership did for Chelsea everyone wanted a sugar daddy. Liverpool fans in particular were ready to sell the club to any Sheikh whose name came across the rags. Unfortunately for every Roman Abramovich there are 10 Steve Morgans.

If, for one second, you thought that getting a brand new £150 million stand would not cause ticket prices to rise you were kidding yourself. Welcome to the world of foreign ownership. Welcome to the world of global sport.

You know what’s worse than paying £77 for a ticket? Your team getting relegated because they fell into administration. That almost happened to Liverpool. That is until FSG came swooping in a wiped out over £300 million in debt. For a team whose supporter’s bang on about history, this important piece of information seems to get swept under the rug.

If I’m being honest Liverpool’s home support has been miserable for a year and half now. Most of the time I can barely hear Liverpool fans past the opening YNWA. That is until the first misplaced pass, than the groan is audible all the way here in the states. If Liverpool fans spent a quarter of the energy they do complaining about FSG and used that to support the players, maybe the team would have more confidence and, you know, do better.

FSG are trying to build a sustainable model. Liverpool’s commercial profits are as high as they have ever been and globally the club has never been bigger or more recognizable.

The times they are a changing. No, FSG doesn’t care if your family has had season tickets since 1892 because the Jones who just got into ‘soccer’ are patiently waiting to buy your season tickets so they can be on their phones the whole time and talk through the game patiently waiting for a touchdown. Those 15,000 additional seats are not for your mates in Bootle. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but this is what you wanted the minute you asked the Moores to sell up because you wanted/needed foreign ownership.
Brian (Not saying it’s right. Just saying how it is.) LFC


Why is nobody talking about the Europa League?
Is it just me or is there a complete lack of coverage in relation to the fact that the Europa League offers an extremely viable entrance straight to the group stages of the Champions League? I have been listening to several podcasts and reading articles and scanning the internet and no one seems to give a rats over the fact that Liverpool, Man Utd and to a lesser extent Tottenham are nine games away from a group stage berth in the CL through the fairly winnable Europa League.

I would have thought Liverpool fans would look at this as last chance saloon and as a Man Utd fan I see it as our best hope of reaching the CL as ten points to Leceister seems like too big of a bridge to breach.

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this because as far as I am aware no one seems to care!
Oisin P (Are we all waiting for Rooney to get injured prior to the Euros and scupper any chance of England winning the Euros?…Nobody. No. Oh Okay.) Irish person living in wellington New Zealand


Thoughts on this weekend’s games
* Newcastle-West Brom: A very big opportunity for Newcastle. Tony Pulis usually plays for a point on the road, which means the Magpies’ vulnerable defense may not be that seriously tested. Maybe the home side can cut loose and take three much-needed points.

* Tottenham-Watford: Not likely to produce a lot of goals, but very interesting tactically. In their first meeting, Watford played a true 4-4-2, only to be shut down by Spurs’ three-man back line. Will Pochettino stay with the three? Will Flores drop Deeney into a deeper role, as he has done quite often? On the other side, Watford tend to defend narrow and Spurs tend to attack narrow. So how will Tottenham handle a congested midfield?

* Southampton-West Ham: Although it comes later in the day, the undercard to Manchester City-Leicester City. Right now, these are the two sides most likely to finish sixth, so this could be for a Europa League spot. West Ham’s lin-eup picks itself these days, but given fitness doubts, who starts at striker for the Saints: Long, Pelle, or Austin?

* Liverpool-Sunderland: Judging from their midweek performance, the new boys just might turn Sunderland’s season around. Jan Kirchhoff, moved from centre-half to defensive midfield, was man of the match, cultured and intelligent. Wahbi Khazri was lively, creative, and useful at set pieces. Lamine Koné looked like the mobile, powerful player the back line has needed for so long. With Klopp’s men struggling, this is in no way a mismatch, even at Anfield.

* Aston Villa-Norwich City: Pray for both sides.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA


Arsenal need to lose Wenger to move on…
I’ve often thought it must have been far easier to support a different club over the past decade.

The glass has largely been half full if you’re a Chelsea fan as the club has delivered trophy after trophy and half empty if you’re a Spurs fan, as aside from the odd league cup and Champions League adventure the club hasn’t quite delivered what it should.

As a gooner, we’ve been somewhere in between and we haven’t known how to react. You can adopt gallows humour if you’re a Spurs fan or arrogantly shove silverware in other fans’ faces if you follow Chelsea.

But at Arsenal – we show great optimism until February, then go overboard tearing into the club, before calming down as the crocks come back and we tell everyone next year will be different.

Everyone knows our story and it’s boring. This is only going to change when the club makes a change and I’m afraid it’s the manager and some of his players that need to go.

Next season is Wenger’s last on his contract and while I don’t think he’ll renew and has earned the right to go out on his sword, can Arsenal really afford to being playing under a manager we know is quitting at the end of a ‘limbo’ season?

What we’re looking for next season is a squad of 22 + maybe three youngsters. When everyone’s fit (I know, I know) I’d say we’re looking at currently 22 players in the squad with Iwobi promoted to the reserve team and Biyelik, our youth keeper and one other prospect.

We need a proper striker as evidenced by recent results which puts Giroud in the reserves and makes Rosicky, who will no doubt retire, Debuchy, Walcott and Wilshere surplus to requirements.

But would Wenger ever concede the English duo need to be sold on? Not on your nelly, so for me that means we need a new manager to get rid of the deadwood in the same way Wenger moved on JJ and the Merse back in the mid 1990s.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


Farewell Tomas
News has just broken the Tomas Rosicky ruptured his thigh muscle and is expected out for three months, so will never play for Arsenal again.

An amazing player who’s contribution to Arsenal and the global stage of football has been hampered by injury since almost the beginning of his career. My first T-Ros memory was him scoring at Highbury for his prague team aged 20, my last him effortfully hobbling around last Saturday.

Some might say fitting injury has deprived him of contributing to the only genuine title shot of his time at Arsenal. Not fitting at all actually. He dragged lesser Arsenal teams over the line into fourth more than once, would have loved him to have helped push us to genuine success. Let’s hope he has a decent last hurrah somewhere next year.
James Gooner


Newcastle have bought English (and sh*te)
As a Newcastle United supporter I am worried, angered and bored in equal measure. I watched the Everton game the other night and I was not one bit surprised at the incompetence of our new signings. Shelvey and ‘Dross Townsend showed the frankly amazing away support exactly nothing to justify their combined 24 million price tag.

So when the pundits were collectively cupping McLaren’s crotch and declaring him a good little boy for buying English (even though it’s Ashley’s Newcastle and Schteve bought nobody), I was ripping my beard off my face in frustration. I knew exactly what we were buying; homegrown pap that will only serve to lengthen the tenure of yet another sub-par manager.

But really, I’m not delusional, I know we’re sh*te and have been for years, so it wasn’t so much the performance that irked me, but the excuses that were made for us by the commentary team (no idea who they were and don’t care), simply because the guy with no techincal ability, but can run really really fast, was squeezed out of his mother and landed directly on the British isles. The point I’m trying to make is, being sh*te is fine when the “experts” call you on it. It puts pressure on the manager and chairman by generating unrest among that percentage of fans that need to be told what to think (every club has them).

When you call mediocrity stunted greatness because you can’t bring yourself to criticise homegrown ‘talent’, you simultaneously hinder progress and heat my urine to boiling point. “One game. Give him a chance”, I hear you cry. I’ve watched him for years stinking up WHL. He was pish then and he’s pish now.
Jim NUFC (Just once I’d like to hear an English commentator say: “F**k me, that Andros Townsend bloke is a honking pile of utter bo**ocks)


Leicester are what happens with freedom…
Further to the question posed in yesterday’s Mailbox from a Newcastle fan, the big difference at Leicester seems to be a complete freedom from any expectation of where they will finish this season.

I’ve compared notes with a few Leicester fans over a beer or six across the season, and the feeling of joyful disbelief shines through. Anything above last season’s relegation scrap is all a bonus, so there was no whining that they’ve stuffed up their one chance of glory when they dropped off the top spot at the end of last year, no complaining that any dour performances were not the ‘Leicester Way’, no complaining when they lose that it’s ‘peak Leicester, typical to lose just when they looked like winning something’, no demands for January signings to save their season, and absolute confidence that their very, very wealthy owners (google them) could turn down any January transfer bids and make sure that they hang on to Vardy and Mahrez for the rest of the campaign.

In fact, as the realisation has dawned this side of Christmas that they might actually get a European place because the expected slump hasn’t happened, the conversations I’ve had is that if they can’t win the Premiership then they’re better off finishing in the Europa places to get a bit of European experience rather than coming second and getting absolutely stuffed in the Champions League, as they all expect to happen should they qualify for a seat at the big table. Imagine wanting to finish fifth rather than second – take that Wenger!

Other than a few nutters on 606 (as if I have to specify that anybody ringing 606 needs a few more IQ points) the overwhelming feedback from the fans is that it’s been a brilliant ride and they’re having the time of their lives, even if they don’t end up winning the league.

Which has to translate to the players and the manager. No pressure to win, no pressure to entertain, just complete freedom to go out and play football. And if they do fall at the final hurdle, nobody will be blaming Ranieri for bottling it for years to come. The manager doesn’t seem like the type to give anyone a good b#llocking after a poor performance does he? I assume he just tells them to forget about it, they’ll try and win the next one. He’s certainly been very vocal in playing down any title aspirations.

Forget tactics and players and managers and club finances and anything else you can’t control, maybe if Newcastle fans just turned up and let the players know that they’re having a great day out and the result wasn’t important then they might relax a bit and just play football. It’s got to be better for their mental health than the alternative, surely?

As a Chelsea fan I can appreciate this attitude to live in the moment and enjoy things. It became pretty obvious from the first few weeks of the season onwards that we weren’t going to make a challenge for the Premiership, so I’ve sat back and not worried about it – we’re raining Champions for a few months yet and we should enjoy that. I’m not going to feel suicidal because we don’t win a few games. It’s not that I don’t like us to to play well and win, but I was a supporter back in the ’80’s when we were sh#t, and all these trophies are a huge bonus, they really are.

I fully realise that I may be the only one. Although I suspect that any Man City fans of more than ten years standing know exactly what I’m talking about, and won’t be feeling suicidal if they don’t win anything this year (although that may also be down to the Pep euphoria and being like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting for next season).
Monkey Steve


Defending Gary…
Well, well, well.

He made you tune in to Monday Night Football, your ears unable to believe the quality of analysis coming from what has so often been a source of worn-out cliches and observations an eight-year-old would make.

He delivered that moment where you realized that it was not arbitrary for post-match analysis to be an assortment of ‘no sh*t sherlock’ quotes. He single-handedly raised the standards expected in post-match analysis, leaving the likes of Souness and Shearer behind in the evolutionary process from ape to footballer to man.

His bantz with comic book nemesis Carragher drew you in, you felt yourself chuckling for a change instead of hurling epithets at your screen. You no longer found yourself amazed at the shallow understanding of ex-football players who were supposedly at the top of the game. Your estimation of the average football player’s IQ was raised by a few points. The shock factor could only be matched by one finding a fully clothed chimp in the olive oil section of Tescos, with the chimp reciting bits from Alan Partridge.

We all enjoyed his time on TV, Mancs, Scousers and neutrals alike. So rarely has a divisive character brought his former ‘haters’ together through the appeal of his personality.

And then schadenfreude, as this website so often alludes to.

The man showed balls and took a huge challenge in what are the most unfavorable circumstances for a rookie manager. Sic-month contract, no managerial reputation of note, Johnny English in a macho-driven Spanish playground. Replicate his situation at your workplace and you will notice that you have little fear or willingness to sacrifice for a short-term boss.

Point being, the man took a huge leap into the abyss under circumstances that even Pep wouldn’t consider and now he is being thrown under the bus by the same media that adored him. A bunch of coyotes hiding in the shadows, waiting to pounce on a man who had the audacity to test himself in a new challenge.

Show some understanding please, encourage your fellow man who is trying to develop his skills in a chaotic environment. There is no enjoyment in watching an honest and ambitious man fail at what is a steep learning curve.

That is all.
Maniakos, a Cypriot in Thailand


It’s Football on TV Friday
Favourite time of the week; Friday. You can always tell when Mr Nicholson actually likes someone. It shines through and makes for excellent reading. And he clearly loves Gabriel Marcotti! I agree with every word. The European Football Show is absolutely unmissable!

On a slight tangent many moons ago I worked off Mortimer Street and one evening was in the One Tun. In wafted this effete popinjay with a brick of a watch and hair that would make an Afghan hound proud! I can verify to readers of this esteemed mailbox that he is every inch as much of a c*ck in real life as he comes across. And I am not ashamed to admit I sneaked a peek when he was standing next to me in the gents…truly, a very, very small man.

You’re welcome.
Gregory Whitehead, LFC


Grassroots football: Not romantic
Hopefully the Premiership football reaction has died down enough for this to squeeze into the mailbox. I’ve written before about my travails as a youth football referee and last weekend really was as bad as it gets.

I’d already dragged myself out of bed on a Sunday morning for a 10am KO which went really well. Two evenly-matched u13 sides and the game played in good spirit. Pleasant parents, friendly coaches and a nice atmosphere. My afternoon game was rather different. Two u16 sides, one rock-bottom of the table with a single point to their name (Home) and the other one of the region’s largest youth football clubs (away). From the outset, the away team appealed every touch, argued every decision and moaned and whined pretty much constantly. The language was a constant stream of swearing and abuse. I may have mellowed slightly in my ageing years, but by half-time I’d cautioned two of the away team for dissent (when I could easily have dismissed them both for foul and abusive language).

The soggy, muddy pitch was proving to be a leveller and the home team had a deserved 3-2 lead going into the 70th minute. A challenge between the home team full back and the away team winger looked 50:50, but the away coach didn’t see it that way…”You f@£king cheating b@stard’ he yelled from the touchline. So I jog over to explain my decision and try to calm him down (unsuccessfully I may add). One of the away strikers decides to get involved, shouting abuse at me. My instant response was to tell him he was dismissed…so this delightful young man (he is 15) responds by spitting in my face.

I’m a (nearly) 43-year-old man and I’m standing there with teenage gob dripping from my face. I think it was only shock which enabled me to stay calm In the melee that followed, I was kicked and abused by a further three feral teenagers. Needless to say, I abandoned the match.

My point? These lads weren’t bright and their parents who ran across the pitch to join in are hardly setting a great example…but when will the FA accept that the failure of officials in the professional game to deal with unacceptable behaviour just ripples out until it reaches some poor sod like me? No TV cameras here, no thousands of pounds fines, no points deductions…just a middle-aged guy trying to help kids play football and being rewarded with a face of spit and bruised shins.

Based on what I and other referees experience every week, the Respect campaign is an utter failure and it’s embarrassing that the FA pretend they even care.
Name Witheld

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