Mails: Man United fans smug, Liverpool fans worried…

Date published: Friday 18th August 2017 9:00

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It’s pretty cool being a Man United fan right now…
Are Man Utd fans allowed to be satisfied at the moment without coming across as gloating? C’mon, it’s been a few years. Look, I’m not pretending to myself that we’re the best around… but after a few years of turmoil in pretty much every facet possible, it is quite nice to able to read the news/features/mailbox without weeping, here on the love of my life – F365.

Liverpool are slowly losing their best player and Klopp is talking in riddles. Chelsea’s goal-getter is seemingly off. Spurs have signed no-one at all (literally). Man City have signed a new team – again – and they’ll find fantastical ways to mess it up. And Arsenal still have Wenger.

Mourinho has got a grip on the nonsense – any that there may be, is being kept in-house again (ala Fergie). The football we’ve been playing is watchable – don’t mind losing as long as the players look like they’re trying. We could do with getting a winger, but it’s not essential…and best of all…Zlatan will be back for the business end of the season.

What’s not to like about all that? I hope to be gloating again soon, but for now, it’s just such a nice change.
Joe Donohoe


Defending FSG
There seems to be a growing number of Liverpool fans who are becoming disenfranchised with FSG’s rule at Liverpool and I personally cannot see why, so wanted to put it to the mailbox for their reasons? Liverpool supporter or no.

Hicks and Gillet really wasn’t all that long ago and is certainly still fresh in my mind as a stark reminder of the sort of dangers a club the size of Liverpool can get into. Remember that spade in the ground? Remember the 15m+ spent on design plans? Remember Roy Hodgson and Paul Konchesky?

FSG came in and effectively saved Liverpool; I know there would have been other companies and conglomerates willing to do the same but FSG made the most attractive offer at the time, were prepared for the BS Hicks and Gillet were going to throw about and set about creating a sustainable and solid business. A new stand has been built increasing our capacity and the area around the stadium has and is being developed. All things that definitely were not happening under the previous owners.

I can see how its frustrating when clubs such as Chelsea and Man City go out and spend big bucks on a raft of new players every summer but we’re simply not that type of club. We’re in the Arsenal and Tottenham bracket of clubs that have decent money but are ultimately run as business rather than passion projects by two of the richest people on the planet. We also suffer from the fact that we’re not based in London so anyone who is impartial (ie most players) would probably live there than say the Wirral. That’s debatable but I do feel plays at least a small part when clubs are competing for a similar group of players.

People might say that by not spending huge amounts of money we’re not being ambitious enough which I don’t get really. Some of our best players have cost small amounts of money compared to some of the big buys which have turned out to be utter dross. Like has it ever crossed your mind that you could spank £80m on Naby Keita and then it wouldn’t work out?

I feel they’ve been correct with their managerial appointments. Rodgers did seem genuinely great at one point and they didn’t hesitate on pulling the trigger and find a very desirable replacement when the time came.

So what is it that you would change about them?
Matt (This summer has been total washout to be fair)


Injured? Yeah right…
Coutinho doesn’t play in the CL qualifiers, therefore meaning he wouldn’t be cup-tied if he moves to Barcelona.

Back injury? Phooey!
Ben, The Bournemouth Red


Coutinho = Draxler, Seri and a centre-half
Coutinho buggers off to Barcelona for close to, if not upwards of £100 Million.

Liverpool sign Draxler, Seri and one more CB with that money

Everybody wins. We lose Coutinho with a heavy heart, but if you offered me the above in return I’d have to say yes.

Make it happen.
Lee (The player I’d want back? A 37-year old Luis Garcia), LFC


Player power? What if they’re dropped…
Just wanted to chime in with my own two bob on the issue of player power, brought up by Matt Stead today. Aside from swelling revenue figures and a new found determination, perhaps clubs and the people in charge of them realise that players, especially those at the level of van Dijk, Costa, Coutinho and so on, can’t fake injuries and go on strike forever for two reasons:

It reduces their attractiveness to the buying club once the window closes, and more importantly, at least for this season, it is a World Cup year.

Pretty sure all the ‘back problems’ and ‘frustration’ will be sorted easily enough if the likes of Coutinho and van Dijk fail to make their national squads for maybe the first set of friendlies.

And special respect for Mahrez, who has remained professional and conducted his business in a very decent way when it has come to a transfer!
Vishal (nothing witty to say), Delhi


A thought on crazy transfer fees
Remember when a few years back Brendan Rodgers famously declared that after spending £100million Tottenham should be winning the league? In reflection that comment looks all the more silly in 2017, when a) that sort of money can only buy you 1.8 Kyle Walkers or half a Neymar, and b) many people feel that Tottenham should be winning the league after spending roughly £0.0million.

However it was my feeling of “meh, that’s probably fair enough” regarding Gylfi Sigurdsson’s £45m transfer to Everton that got me thinking how ludicrous it is that these kind of sums just feel normal now. In 1996, the PL goal-scoring machine that is Alan Shearer was bought by Newcastle for an astonishing £15m. With that in mind I thought I’d see what £45m would have bought you in 1996. I’ve also adjusted their values to take inflation into consideration, so the prices in brackets are what these players would have cost in 2017:

– Alan Shearer (£26m)
– Romario (£8m)
– Zinedine Zidane (£5.5m)
– Clarence Seedorf (£5.5m)

So there you have it – Gylfi Sigurdsson is officially as good as Shearer, Romario, Zidane and Seedorf combined. And yes, that’s ‘as good as’ rather than simply ‘as expensive as’ because according to the gospel of Rodgers it’s how much you spend, rather than what you spend it on that should dictate success.

Of course all this waffle probably only means something to readers in their 30s… I’m sure those in their 60’s are thinking that one Alan Shearer’s in ’96 you could have bought 48 George Bests, 17 Eusébios, Lev Yashin and an emerging Nwanku Kanu.
P.S. And for Kyle Walker’s fee you could get all the above plus Davor Šuker (£9m) chucked in for good measure.


Barca need a coach like Pep
Long time reader, second time mailer. Never published. I have been a Barcelona fan for close to twenty years now. My take on everything that is happening is that we simply have not been wise in our investments and have not had a coach since Pep that actually improved players. We still have a pretty decent team, who when performing at their best are unstoppable (Yes, even with the team that played Madrid, at their best should do better if not beat Madrid).

I try to follow the Barca youth teams and must say there are quite a few talented players not being given chance principally because the managers we have had have not been able to improve on them. We have also failed to guarantee youngsters that want to join us game time. Dembele reportedly decided to join Dortmund because Barca was unable to guarantee him enough game time, now we have to fork out the entire health budget of a small country to get him. If Pep had never decided to bench Yaya, Busquets might have left. The number of players Pep gave an opportunity was great to see.

Barca are after Coutinho, an amazing player but have on their book Dennis Suarez who we play as a forward, Rakitic, Rafinha, Sergi Roberto (a midfielder not right back), Andre Gomes (give him time) and Sergi Samper. Our B team and youth teams also have players ready to start competing for first team opportunities. Barca are at a precarious position, they either spend on big names and maybe succeed or invest for the future. Madrid took the first option, it yielded very little by way of success, the last few years they have spent wisely and are reaping the benefits.

Someone should look into the Barca “almost signed list”, it is almost as good as Wenger’s “almost signed list”. Luis Suarez is losing pace, Mascherano should not be starting games, Pique, Iniesta, Messi and Busquets are nearing their twilight years of playing football and there is no sign of the next generation of Barca players to make the grade. When we do buy youngsters, it is not to give first-team opportunities but so that other teams should not buy them. Look at Halilovic, Mboula, Adama (yes, most dribbles in top 5 leagues and nobody is looking to improve him), Thiago…
Josiah, Zambia


It’s not all doom and gloom…
It’s not fair to say that Barcelona’s golden age has ended yet and there are numerous reasons for it.

1) Messi, Iniesta, Pique, Busquets and Alba are the veterans who are still there in the ranks. Although Messi and Iniesta are in the twilight of their careers but they are still there.

2) Barcelona’s form was patchy in the start of Lucho’s era too. It was not until the middle of the season that they found a near-perfect game plan and things started working for them. In the same way we need to give time to Valverde too. Even Lucho didn’t had a CV full of trophies but he justified his selection later by winning the treble.

3) It’s true that Barcelona got some of their signings wrong but there are reasons behind that too. Throughout Lucho’s era the front three of Barcelona was nearly untouchable. To be honest, MSN was class apart and the stats do speak in their favour. In such scenario it was always going to be difficult to attract top players since they demand first-team football. In the presence of MSN, that was always going to be difficult. Barcelona wanted to stick with MSN for another season or two but Neymar ended up abandoning the ship all of a sudden. Barcelona might have received a huge amount of money in return but when they go out for a replacement the opponents do know that they are desperate to find one and ask for huge sums of money. Its a very difficult situation to be in. Barcelona not only needs to find a suitable Neymar replacement but also efficient back up players.

4) While Barcelona has struggled with transfers recently, Real Madrid has done some excellent pieces of business. They have built a squad with mind-blowing depth. Almost each player is performing at highest level. Just take the example of Kovacic and Assensio. Both of them are squad-rotation players right now. But when called up, they performed brilliantly.
Usama Muhammed


Perspective needed
We sit here, on the 17th August, not even two weeks into the season yet here we are, straight into knee jerk reaction territory. Already, we have seen two of the league’s top managers written off in Klopp and Conte. The questioning of Jurgen Klopp has been particularly bewildering. Liverpool have drawn one away league game and won away in Europe in their only two competitive games, yet here we are, already questioning his managerial credentials.

And don’t get me started on Barcelona. Reading about their ‘demise’ and the ‘crumbling of an empire’ this morning almost made me spit out my cuppa!

They have lost one of their best players, who they will surely replace, have suffered injuries and have lost the Spanish equivalent of the Charity Shield, however already I am reading that ‘the Barca job may be too big for Valverde’. Surely such sweeping statements are premature?

Why can’t we all find a bit perspective here, wait and see how the transfer window plays out, wait until teams settle down and you know, actually give managers a chance to manage their teams before writing them off.
Steven, desperately trying to find some perspective, Gateshead

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