If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Mourinho’s gone…he’s going to crash and burn
Mourinho is a busted flush: A slave to his own ego and greedy relationship to agents – Man United will fail badly this year and finish in fifth place. What’s worse they won’t be able to sack him immediately and the atmosphere at the club will turn poisonous. I predict a sacking midway through the second season, though I’m not yet able to predict his replacement.
Man City will win the league in a title race against a much improved Chelsea. Liverpool will underwhelm but sneak into fourth place. My beloved Spurs will have a dreadful start to the season but improve for a sixth place and a Europa League Spot, they’ll be crap in the Champs League. Arsenal will just be Arsenal and finish third without ever really being in the running and a good six points behind second.
Leicester in ninth position but will win one of the cups. Ranieri will quit and take on the Lazio job.
I’ve tried not to sit on the fence too much here: 1. City 2. Chelsea 3. Arsenal 4.Liverpool 5. Man U 6. Spurs…9.Leicester
Is Rooney now United’s weak link?
As a United fan I am more optimistic than I have been for a long, long time.
We finally have a manager again for whom winning is everything. Moyes seemed to be preoccupied with putting his own stamp on the team and failed miserably. Van Gaal seemed to care more about his philosophy than anything else. The football under Sir Alex wasn’t always entertaining. I recall a couple of periods in particular where numerous 1-0 victories were achieved on the bounce both in 1995-1996 season and again round about 2008/2009. The football played in these matches wasn’t designed to ‘entertain’. It was all about getting the result and the edging one step closer to the end goal of lifting the league title at the end of the season.
The squad appears in healthy shape with balance and strength in depth throughout. Ideally I’d like to see a settled first eleven (assuming we can get the Pogba deal over the line) consisting of;
Shaw (fingers crossed he can stay fit and get back to his best)
Back-up players like Blind, Rashford, Mata, Lingard, Valencia, Herrera, Fellaini (certain games), Schweinsteiger and Januzaj can come in and do a job. My only worry is Rooney. Hopefully Jose can give him the kick up the posterior he needs or failing that, ship him out if he isn’t performing to the required standards.
I’m not sure about it being possibly the best United team of all time as suggested by Paul (CFC)! I think the majority of United fans would be quite content with a season of pushing for the title and qualifying for the Champions League.
On another note, and with regards to the ‘top ten most ridiculous transfer valuations’ article, our former manager at Dundee United, Ivan Golac once placed a £20 million price tag on the head of one Jerren Nixon! A decent player, yes, but his level was the standard of the SPL. This occurred in 1993 when the world record fee stood at £12 million for the talented but unfortunate Gianluigi Lentini. Utter madness. Any other ridiculous price tags placed on players by your team’s boss?
Why aren’t clubs investing in local youth?
The Pogba transfer figure of £100m has re-inflamed my annoyance at funding within football in this country.
As part of the FA’s strategy to improve English football, there is a heavy investment program in 3G pitches and coaching, with a particular focus on also promoting better technical skills at a younger age. This combined with a new approach to concentrating funding and the best coaches at younger age groups should lead to the development of better English players.
All good, but FA and the Premier League (as a whole) contribute just £10m…Annoying, but fair enough as the development of English players is hardly their priority.
However, there were some mails a few weeks back about buying and selling youth players with buy-back clauses to gamble on their development. So building on this theme, why aren’t Premier League clubs pumping more money into finding and nurturing talent full stop? Not because the talent is English, but because with transfer fees for good players going at £20m+, finding rather than buying talent really does pay off.
Let’s look at Greater Manchester and according to Manchester City Council, there are about 110,000 kids under 16 and roughly 170 schools.
United could give each school £100,000 for supporting sports facilities while funding a team of 50 professional coaches (say average salary £30,000 each for another £1.5m a year) to work across the region on behalf of the club. A purpose-built network with junior leagues, a coherent strategy across age groups and integration with scouts leading to a clear pathway to the official club. Club players perhaps even involved at some level as well?
The aim is to average the development (retrospectively) of one player a year who makes it to the senior squad. In other words, a player like Marcus Rashford on a fairly regular basis. If Rashford has another good year then combined with his age, he’s probably a £40m + striker. His development would have justified the entire costs of a large scale youth coaching scheme for the local area. He developed without such a scheme existing, imagine what could happen with it in place?
With Premier League clubs flush with cash from the TV deal. Rather than blowing £10-20m on that 1 player this summer, wouldn’t it make more sense to lay the foundation in their local region for world-class player development?
They could even set their eyes abroad with a global training networking that actively develops talent, through enabling participation in well organised and funded sports programs. These would naturally attract, find and develop local talent who can filter into the club’s youth teams.
Previously the cost of such programs would have been hard to justify. But in today’s transfer market, it makes so much sense when finding one star player a decade would fund the entire program costs. I just can’t understand why clubs aren’t doing this!
Tom Saints (It wouldn’t do England’s national team any harm either…)
We are young…
I had to laugh a little at the Mario Gotze article this morning…the guy was 21 one when he joined Bayern and in his own words ‘made a decision I regret’. I’m not sure if anyone remembers being 21 but it is pretty much a full-time undergraduate degree in making mistakes and decisions you sometimes very, very quickly regret. The Dortmund fans seem like a reasonable bunch and I’m sure once they see him on the field and working for the team, then all will be forgotten. And rightly so. It’s kind of a nice story him going back to Dortmund, I think. It takes balls when he could have probably gone somewhere else, including to his old mentor at Anfield but he wanted to rejoin the club he obviously feels very passionate about. So, for that alone he deserves a break.
But back to the age thing, its very easy to forget that these are some very young men in a high-pressure industry, living in the full glare of the public eye. The money on offer in football now is obscene and some of these guys are advised by people who do not always have their best interests at heart. It just, at times, seems to me to be a pretty mad life to be living at that age. There is a privilege to it, of course, but there is also the fact that these are young guys that are going to make mistakes and probably shouldn’t be hung out to dry every time they f**k up. I’m sure Raheem Sterling amongst others would agree.
Kevin Walsh, Luimneach
…What I’ m trying to say is, we forgive you Christian Benteke and you’re welcome back to Villa this summer.
All is forgiven.
Kevin Walsh, Luimneach
I know Rowan makes some good and realistic points about Götze in the morning mailbox.
But good lord, you’d have to have a heart of ice not to have the prospect of a rekindled Reus and Götze bromance in yellow and black not warm your cockles just a little bit.
Will (all warm and fuzzy inside) Wymant, EFC
It’s okay to take back your ex
I can see where Rowan the red devil dub is coming from but not taking Gotze back would just be cutting off your nose to spite your face. Sometimes it’s a case of swallowing your pride and doing what’s best for the club. Most fans are quite pragmatic about where their clubs sit in the food chain and if the player coming back improves them why not do it?
Would the majority of Utd fans take Ronaldo back?
Would Liverpool fans take Suarez back?
Would Spurs welcome Bale back?
I rest my case.
Ronan (I’d take a one-legged Suarez back), Galway
Another one of these…
‘It always looks a bit pathetic on the side of the person who takes their ex back, the ex who dumped them. And as for the ex, well they look like a complete tool as well.’
Hey Rowan, two words for you: Paul Pogba.
Nothing compares to international football…
Say whatever you will about international tournaments but they will always have a special place in my heart. In my mind, there’s no way Champions League football supersedes the World Cup, European Cup, African Nations Cup, Asian Cup and Copa America.
Let’s take an example of a great tournament like the 2002 FIFA World Cup. I fondly remember when Senegal, an unfancied African nation beat the defending champions France at the 2002 World Cup. Remember this was an African country making its maiden appearance at the World Cup. I also remember a thrilling game between Brazil and Costa Rica which ended 5-2. Both teams were not content to sit back and defend and this made for an excellent match. Brazil would score a few and then Costa Rica responded, but Brazil had the last laugh, showing its opponents that you score one we score two. What about that ridiculous 8-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia by Germany? And most of the goals were from headed corners. Those Arabians never learnt their lesson. Senegal beating Sweden 2-1 via the Golden Goal rule was one of the best moments of the tournament.
The World Cup brings entire families together and I still remember my mom waving a sweater in the family’s living room, celebrating when that Golden Goal went in, breaking Swedish hearts. Those sort of memories never fade. Nothing compares to international football.
Keg Baridi (Euro 2016 might be the exception) Nairobi, Kenya
Not for me, fella
I must say that I agree on Hugo’s point about preferring club football.
It’s just a higher level of the sport technically and tactically, and in terms of liking football for football against liking football for being a fan etc then I’m about 75% the former and 25% the latter. It’s a ratio that keeps one sane.
Don’t get me wrong, I love it when international tournaments are on, but put simply the football isn’t as good as it would be if those players played with each other all the time. I don’t even subscribe to the whole ‘purity’ angle of international tournaments we had from John Nic the other week: I couldn’t really care less about the money, sponsorship* etc, my enjoyment isn’t soured by that.
Just like players surely prioritise the areas of the game where they play their best (and a sportsmans pride would indicate this would be the case: Ask a tennis player if they’d rather win Wimbledon or the Olympics) then surely managers do as well? If a manager takes real pride in the tactical battle of a 20-season league, in the continuing evolution of a squad, in the technical development of players…then why would a job as an international coach be as attractive?
Stu (*unless I don’t like the font), London
Obscure shirt names
I am the proud owner of a replica Man Utd shirt from 2007 with O’Shea on the back, signed by the big man himself. I will never forget the look on John’s face when he looked upon it, with Ronaldo standing next to him.
…Don’t know if these are obscure enough but my Dortmund Shirt has Gundogan at the back and my PSG shirt has Ibrahimovic.
Both now ply their trades at the Manchester clubs.
I have a blank Juventus shirt because I was too skint to pay extra to have Pogba on the back.
Seems like money well saved now.
Demi (Gooner) Nigeria
…I have a 2006/7 home Arsenal shirt with VELA on the back. Curse you Project Youth!
…Whilst not the most obscure name, there cannot have been many people strolling about in the early 2000’s with Gary Neville proudly displayed on the back of their England shirts?
(Mostly inspired by the Neviller’s diaries in F365 at the time!)
KED (Roland Out!)
Funny shirt names, anybody?
Just an addition to the random shirt names – I’d agree that given the lack of club loyalty etc, it can be a bit of a fool’s errand to get a player’s name.
I haven’t bought a shirt in ages anyway, I’m comfortable in my vintage (old and won’t buy new ones) jerseys.
Back in the early 90’S when South Park was a cult show at 11pm on Channel 4 with a limited following, my then girlfriend bought me an Arsenal shirt with Cartman on the back which drew many a confused glance.
I’ve also had shirts with Presley, as I’m a huge Elvis fan and in 2005 I got Glazer 05 on the back of a shirt before the FA Cup Final to wind up my Utd supporting friends who were unhappy at the takeover.
More memorably I remember a fella who, back in the early 90’s, came into a local notoriously staunch Celtic-supporting bar wearing a Rangers shirt with 11, C***S on the back. It’s been done a thousand times with a thousand clubs, but back in those pre-social media days it was hilarious to see.
Anyone got an genuinely good creative shirt name/number combos they’ve seen?
Doug, AFC, Belfast
In defence of player names on shirts
I take exception to people like Naz, Gooner, asserting that “grown men who have names on their shirts have yet to emotionally mature.” To put it succinctly:
1. Football shirts always have players’ names on the back. If you’re going to buy a replica shirt, it might as well look like the ones the players actually wear. Simple as.
2. Having a players name on your shirt can simply mean that you rate him, not that you ‘idolise him’. How is that a reflection of a lack of emotional maturity? I would feel more childish if I printed my own surname on the back, as though I was pretending I played for Liverpool etc.
Full disclosure: I have a football shirt collection of approximately 40-50 shirts. This might well be an indication of other underlying psychological/consumeristic problems, but it’s certainly not a sign that I ‘idolise’ 40+ footballers.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva, Switzerland