Mails: Man United should have bought Mahrez…

Date published: Monday 11th September 2017 8:05

We had an awful lot of mails from Man United fans and to be honest, time constraints meant we stopped opening them. Mails on a different subject to


Man United should have signed Mahrez
United really missed a trick on deadline day and it has immediately cost us two points against Stoke.

We are a better team this season and anyone who says otherwise is being silly but we are one game-changer short. The type of guy that you will back to beat his man on the regular and make things happen. If he isn’t beating his man it’s because he is occupying two.

Mahrez was that man, he was available and keen on the move too according to reports. Of course if Leicester were holding out for north of 55 then maybe its ok we didn’t go all in on that but with the league being a realistic target and four tournaments to compete in he would have been ideal, not only as another body but the kind of player that can change these tight games. I’d rather a Mahrez off the bench than a Lingard. Also he is only 26, Premier League proven and hungry for that big move.

There are plenty of games to keep the big squad happy and a winning squad is a happy squad anyway. Maybe we will get Lemar and/or Griezmann in the Summer but we could really have given it a go this season too.

It’s not doom and gloom though. Still looking forward to a good season.
Hakim, Sri Lanka


Smiddy: A rebuttal
It’s been a while since I have felt compelled to write in to the mailbox. I normally content myself with trying to sound clever in the comments sections and then suffering the ignominy of being subsequently and rightfully corrected by someone who knows more than me.

That is however until I read Smiddy’s missive in the mailbox this morning. His is the type of mail that triggers me, as the kids say, and that may be its design but I would still like to offer Smiddy a response to his condescendingly sneering mail.

Smiddy’s mail for those who haven’t had the misfortune to suffer through it this morning, details the naivety and failings of Manchester United and its fanbase. Smiddy speaks as though he is the authority on determining how much progress a football club has made and is the man with Sherlock Holmes-esque powers of perception to see through United’s smokescreen of lies and deception.

United are actually not as good as they think they are you see. And their fans think they are the best team in the league. But they’re not.

Powerful stuff I think you will agree.

Smiddy then offers his explanation as to why United aren’t as good as we all think they are with the usual dull observations, SOMETIMES IN CAPTIAL LETTERS TO EMPHASISE THAT HE MEANS BUSINESS, that United haven’t played anyone good yet. Although he later goes on to trip up over some of his own arguments, as fully detailed in some excellent dissections of his points in the morning mailbox’s comments section.

It’s not Smiddy’s opinion that annoys me so much as is the way he presents it. He offers it up from his pedestal of false neutrality, builds a strawman United supporter to take down with his not-so-pithy observations and then goes on to explain his argument with tawdry old points that have been regurgitated by 1000 football fans 1000 times over, as if it is all brand new material that no-one else has yet realised.

Smiddy – the media may have built United up as some unstoppable machine but in a world of 24-hour sports news, I am amazed that such hyperbole still surprises and annoys you and that you have then attributed this to United’s fanbase. Most United fans I know have a pretty grounded opinion on our start in that we’ve played better than we have done in a long time but there is certainly a long way to go, we are hopeful but most of us are not this imagined MUTV branded lunatic you seem to have created to argue against.

You are perfectly entitled to think United are not as good as we think they are, it is a reasonable point, yet you have somehow made yourself look like the naïve fan howling at the moon. Top marks.
Smyth, MUFC


Shut up ABUs
So it didn’t take long for the ABU brigade to burst out the cage at the first sight of points dropped for United. Did it not tick that Arsenal conceded three goals at home to 17th place Leicester and lost to said Stoke side, Man City needing a 97th minute to scrape a win against pointless Bournemouth and well documented away day strugglers Burnley getting 4 points on last seasons top 2. And they say Man Utd fans are overreacting. Man Utd won convincingly in their fixtures, more so than last year so why can’t they be positive. Moreover, it’s your typical EPL season everyone. Enjoy the ups and downs!
Wesley, London


…Whilst I am not one of the United fans getting all giddy after three matches this season, I have to assume that the vitriolic Smiddy is a Liverpool fan? Only their fans seem so ridiculously obsessed with United that they probably check our results before their own, although I can forgive them having a bit of a mardy Saturday afternoon after that mauling from our noisy neighbours. However, I would like to reflect on how ironic it is that Smiddy is using the result from a single game, a draw at Stoke to draw the conclusion that United ‘aren’t back’ after all. If United fans aren’t allowed to predict a title winning season based on three games against teams who are currently doing rather badly, why is Smiddy allowed to draw the opposite conclusion from a single game against a notoriously difficult Stoke side who have already beaten Arsenal this season?

There are always borderline bipolar fans of every club who wax lyrical about their title ambitions after every win and shout ‘XXXX OUT’ (XXXX being the name of their manager) after every loss, if you spend time listening to those morons then you’ll find plenty of ammunition to, well, become one of them it seems. If you are a Liverpool fan (go on, write in again and prove me wrong) then I would clarify that I still think Liverpool will be near the top come the end of the season, with only defensive frailties stopping them from threatening the title, I’m not writing them off after a 5-0 loss where they played an hour with ten men. The frailties I allude to were perfectly demonstrated with the ease of Aguero’s first goal, far too easy to slot a pass through the defence but I always try not to judge based on a single game, any team can have a bad day at the office.
Paul, Man Utd


…Smiddy seems like the ABU version of Stewie Griffin. Griffin showed up whenever Arsenal had a bad game and Smiddy seems to show up to hate on United and their fans if United don’t win 4-0.

So the crime of United fans is that a few of them got excited and tipped them to win it all. Apparently United fans have no right to be positive and think this fantastic team can win the title.

Then we come to the what I can only assume is the comedic relief part of Smidd’ys mail. Both City and Spurs have apparently faced the ‘tough’ Everton. But now that they are scheduled to face United they are Everton (15th).

Next up in the comedy routine is naming players teams academy players or players bought on the cheap, ignoring players like Salah, Sane, De Bruyne, Silva, Mendy, Walker, Drinkwater, Bakayoko etc. Yeah nobody noticed the selective picking and you aren’t a laughing stock.

And after all that he wants to pretend he is ‘neutral’ fan. Yes Smiddy we definitely believe you are a ‘neutral’ fan.
Jarron (Did Jose do bad things to you or your team, Smiddy?) MUFC


…It is fair to say United have been hyped up after just three games by fans (as is their nature) and media (trying to profit off said fans). It is also fair to say that United failed their first reasonably tough test. It is too early to declare or disregard title credentials. But some reactions in the morning mailbox are hilarious!

Smiddy – Even if United would have won all four games, they would still be just two points ahead. Are you suggesting that United should somehow affect results of other teams to get a 4/5/6 point lead? Revolutionary idea.

N O’Reilly – What the BT commentator said is idiotic but so is to suggest that United barely scraped into the Champions League. They won the Europa League FFS. That’s a better route than being 3rd/4th in the League surely.

But why let logic come in the way of an ABU mail?
Anuj, MUFC


…So, having drawn 1-1 with a miserable Everton side and scraping past Bournemouth courtesy of approximately half an hour of injury time, City are once again the best side in the world after putting five past ten-man Liverpool. On the flip side, a 2-2 draw at Stoke means United are once again the boring drawmasters and destined for 6th place.

Never change, Mailbox. We all need something to set our kneejerk watches to.


…Seems like there were a lot of knee jerk reactions to United dropping points for the first time this season so I thought I’d pipe in.

First of all it is not particularly fair to base United’s current position at 1st on poor opposition and then quote the positions of those teams regardless of their opposition. Leicester may be 17th currently, but they finished 12th this season and they were champions the season before that, if that’s who you call relegation fodder then surely Stoke who finished behind them last year are to, West ham also finished 11th last season, and although they have been dire this season, overall they aren’t an abysmal team.

There has been a lot of talk about United winning the league but personally I don’t think they have a good enough defence to really challenge for the title, it was epitomised in this game with Phil Jones and Bailly both allowing the goals to happen by really just not paying attention. However saying this, Stoke are an excellent side at causing issues for big teams and they executed their plan well.

Overall these knee jerk reaction are just getting out of hand, first of all we had crisis at Chelsea after one game, then Arsenal because they got tonked at pool, are United now a mid9table team again because they drew once?
Dominic (Knee-jerk reaction to a Knee-Jerk reaction?)


Oh Palace, silly Palace
Is this football?!

A complete lack of courage because we’re too afraid to miss out on the Premier League gravy train. 360 minutes of a long term strategy and we’ve decided to chuck in the towel. How many managers hit the ground running? Did Wenger, Ferguson?

This decision is baffling. After taking so much time to make the appointment, apparently interviewing 37 candidates, we have now made an unbelievably quick decision. This is schizophrenic stewardship of a football club. Do we want a long-term manager, capable of bringing through several generations of youth team in a particular blueprint and giving ourselves other options than just spending £30 million plus every window. Or do we want a short-term fix, getting good enough results to be better than three other teams each season before having to identify someone else to do the same thing 18 months later. It seems we want both and will eventually end up with neither.

We played well enough to win the game yesterday. Away at a tough ground with our best three players missing in Sakho, Zaha and Loftus-Cheek. Another manager would have the same lack of options off the bench to try and get a goal and would be equally as helpless watching his side fail to convert clear cut chances. If being in the Premier League means you are so worried at what happens if you drop out of it that you can only give a manager four bloody games then I think I’d rather give it a miss.


What will De Boer do now?
I am sure I will not be the only one emailing in about Frank De Boer, but I just wasted to ask where does he go from here? My mum is from Holland so needless to say I follow Dutch football quite closely (at least compared to the average UK football fan) and they had high hopes for De Boer following his stint at Ajax. Inter was understandable, they were doing rather odd things there at the time and going through managers quite quickly, but Palace? Four games at Palace and then sacked!

I get the feeling there must have been a revolt in the dressing room, whilst results were abysmal (first club in 93 years or what have you to have lost first four without scoring) there were only four of them. Says more about the chairman perhaps, but needless to say all will be forgotten after Hodgson comes in and gets them finishing around 12th-15th. Palace will continue to be Palace, but the reputational damage to De Boer might result in him never getting another top flight job again outside Holland.

Going back to the Dutch connection, I wonder what impact this will have on managers such as Cocu (done well at PSV) and van Bronckhorst (done very well at Feyenoord)?
Tim Harrington (QPR), London


How many England managers?
Does anyone know which club boasts the most England managers?

It occurred to me that if Roy Hodgson does get the job at Palace, the Eagles will be on at least their third England manager, with Terry Vegetables, managing them twice and Fat Sam before De Boer.

While the current incumbent never actually managed Palace, he did start his career there.

I’ve always thought of England as being the Spurs of international football but maybe we do have more in common with the Eagles.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


Love for Eriksen
I wasn’t surprised to see Kevin de Bruyne in the winners this week – a wonderful player, great to watch and backs it up with goals and assists. Depending on where you shop, he’s about an 8/1 shot for player of the year.

What surprises me though is Christian Eriksen is all those things mentioned above, but is a 33/1 shot for Player of the Year. Since de Bruyne joined City in 2015/16, Eriksen has provided 39 assists and 21 goals in one less game than KDB. Almost identical statistics and no more or less pleasing on the eye.

It England want to get the best out of Dele Alli (and Kane), they need to find a PSG-style way to circumvent the rules of football and make Eriksen eligible for England.

Perhaps he’s still being judged on his slow, slightly inconsistent start to his Spurs career (although unsurprising when AVB/Sherwood are your managers) but for whatever reason he doesn’t seem to be mentioned in the elite group of playmakers in the Premier League.

For me, Eriksen is up there with the best. My worry is it won’t be long until everyone else catches on and the vultures start circling….
Josh, London

(The ‘problem’ Eriksen has is that he is in the same team as Harry Kane and Dele Alli – very much the media darlings because of their Englishness – Ed)


How good is Harry though?
Scoring 100 goals for your club is significant. To put it into perspective; Kane joins a list which includes only three players (Keane, Defoe and Sheringham) during the PL era of surpassing a ton for Spurs. That he has done so in a fraction of the time might well say more about the other players and the Tottenham teams they played in but it’s still an excellent achievement for a player who may or may not have existed until recently.

It’s reasonable to think that there are few players more likely to challenge Shearer’s PL record, which, whilst a way off (Kane is a little under 200 goals shy of Shearer), he is only 24.

We love him for more than his goals at Spurs. He is an embodiment of what makes Pochettino such an emphatically great coach. Now he has to start scoring in the Champions League, and has a group with three fantastic clubs (there is no chance I’m dismissing Apoel!) in which to do so.
Dan Mallerman


You missed out on loser Pulis
As he missed out on Winners and Losers, Tony Pulis should have been dumped in Losers for our defeat at Brighton.

Under his stewardship at WBA we’ve played 16 games against Premier League newcomers and won just three. We have been dumped out of the cup by Derby, Northampton, Reading and whoever else. Against Port Vale, we failed to score in 120 minutes and needed pens.

It’s symptomatic of Pulis being completely unable – or unwilling – to play on the front foot against sides theoretically weaker than us.

We rocked up at Brighton – who hadn’t scored yet this season – with three holding midfielders, three centre-halves and a right-back playing at left-back (despite signing Kieran Gibbs and Chris Brunt playing well in that role to date.)

Gareth Barry, 36 years old, was our furthest forward midfielder.

The problem with Pulis aiming for 1-0 wins every week is it allows him zero margin for error. A single mistake and we have no Plan B. When all you offer is keeping it tight, when you don’t keep it tight you’re going to get stick.

I’m not anti-Pulis and I thought some of the comments again him last week re Oliver Burke were unfair, but often he really doesn’t help himself.

Pulis then blaming the players and international week was the cherry on the stale cake.
Andy Jones


A critique of this dreadful little website
On John Nic’s truly nasty little piece on Mark Hughes I think we have reached what I am going to call peak F365.

First of all, I get it I do, you view yourselves at F365 Towers as a bastion of liberal intelligentsia drowning in a sea of outdated alpha dog d**k swinging, determined to usher forth Footballs Age of Enlightenment. Elevating the passions of the filthy unwashed to a higher plane of literary reason.

This mission is so ridiculously pompous I admit I am drawn to this website like a moth to a flame. After all where else could I find so many GCSE standard essays on famous footballers which are to biography what the Tweet is to great literature. Wow you also do recommendations to Barney Ronay of the Guardian and Barney Ronay of the Guardian, so unpredictable!

As all loyal F365 readers know this is where you come for “The Truth”, your writers fearlessly take the lies and distortions of the football filth rags and filter this until its pure enough for consumption by “a different kind of football fan”. Oh if only mere mortals were as cerebral as us Jeff, they’d be no need for heaven would there Jeff?

The piece in question here accuses Mark Hughes of being a bully. A pretty horrible thing to call anybody and something ascribed by this website to the bulk of ex-professionals who had the gall to play the game then go and talk about it after they retired. The absolute chancers have never thought up a single fictional cocktail implying that Peter Reid is a horrific human being/alcoholic. Imagine that Jeff?

Am I overusing that joke Jeff? No Jeff? T’riffic Jeff.

Just checking by the way, is this the same Mark Hughes that ex-teamates describe as being quiet and shy to the point that they couldn’t believe he went into management? A Welsh player who wasn’t afraid to move abroad and test himself on the continent. A manager who absolutely never tries to indulge in the back slapping, mates club behaviour with the media that this site claims to hate so much but is now in the dock for “classic bully behaviour which lays the blame for his own actions on the victim”.

So lets look at the incident, Mourinho (famous shrinking violet of polite society) got right up on top of Hughes in his technical area and was correctly told to f**k off, end of. This is the same Jose that invented the handshake five minutes before the end of the match as he walked off in boredom routine. As Hughes freely admitted in his pretty jokey interview post match, he seems to be the problem on the sideline as he has had plenty of rows, however he did offer up a theory as to why. Some of these top manager aren’t used to bad results and don’t take it too well. Hmm, seems plausible enough to me. Or maybe we should just assume he’s a nasty unchecked bully because you know Jonny Nic sees a pattern and wants to insert a highly amusing little hand shake rant/routine into his column.
David (I have never seen an actual piece of football analysis or insight in a piece Johnny Nic has written. Much like his comedy hero and this weeks Recommended Reading Barney Ronay) Krakow

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