Mails on MILKGATE, PL dominance and a British Cup

Date published: Tuesday 12th December 2017 9:48

Keep those emails coming to We have midweek Premier League football!


Manchester City: Trollin’
So to sum it up:

The City players brought confetti with them beforehand.
Then they dominated and beat United at Old Trafford.
Then they partied hard enough in the dressing room to irritate Hosay to the extent that he actually had to go to them.
Then they threw milk etc on him.
Then one technical manager apparently told Zlatan – you talk a lot but move little.

It doesn’t get any better than this.


It isn’t just Manchester City who benefited from money, remember
In response to Alex and a few others. I’m really bored of the subject of finances raising it’s head every time City are successful. No one gave a crap while we were struggling and were unable to achieve much. Then it was all about how it couldn’t be done by just spending loads of money and I knew plenty of football fans who laughed City off. Then after we actually won the league it was about the success being unsustainable, the owners will get bored, and now it’s unfair and City only won because they have too much money.

Well bollocks. Every football team bar none is scrabbling desperately for money left right and centre. In the 90s United made unprecedented amounts branding lager and champagne and the like and used the stock exchange, this business acumen radically transformed their ability to buy and for the long term. Everton currently have Angry birds printed on their sleeves.

My point is that every club has an owner, with more or less money and does sensible or stupid things with it in regards to the club, but none of it has anything directly to do with football ability or management. All owners are going to bring some money in to the club and will have some sort of plan, City have been extremely fortunate in this regard, most are not, but i dont see it as an evil at all in City’s case. City are the extreme of this, or the nadir depending on your point of view, but it’s old old news which every club has to deal with and City has been run incredibly well.

I’d also point out that comparing the value of a team is ridiculous when it’s between two premier league sides who all have huge amounts of money at their disposal. It’s common knowledge that wealthy clubs pay a higher premium for players and no surprise whatsoever that they would have a more expensively assembled team.

I’m only really aiming this at those who are complaining so much, because to me the spirit of football died long long ago when it came to the financial side of things, not with City. There will be plenty other teams seeing financial windfalls in the future, City are riding the crest of the current wave. I’m just glad it appears to be a tsunami.

And the football is bloody brilliant.
David(hope it lasts)


Dominance is cyclical
I wanted to reply to Alex’s email about the perceived danger of Manchester City becoming the dominant team in England. While this may be true, let’s not delude ourselves with the idea that this is a brand new thing in England. It has happened before and we may very well be on the cusp of it happening again, but it’s largely down to a couple of factors.

First off, let’s talk history. Between the Premier League’s inception in 1992 and 2013, one team (Man United, duh!) finished in the top 2 in 18 of 21 seasons, winning no fewer than 13 league titles, with four different teams winning the others. Over the same timeframe, Real Madrid and Barcelona combined to win 17 of 21 league titles with three other teams winning the other four.

Considering Chelsea and Arsenal both won three titles in the time mentioned, it shows that there was really no reason to suggest the Premier League was some sort of free for all when compared to Spain, or ‘the most competitive league in the world’ as some would have you believe.

For those 21 seasons, with Alex Ferguson as the manager, there was a dominant force, and as a Liverpool fan I hate to admit, but it was unquestionably United. To finish ahead of United was to win the league (except when Liverpool did it). Let’s not even start with the fact that since United have fallen off their perch, so to speak, English football’s participation in European competitions has been largely anonymous.

My second point is that the manager is just as important as you would expect. If Guardiola stays with City for the next 10 years (which I think is unlikely), I fully expect them to win the Premier League at least seven of those seasons. If he leaves and they bring a new manager with a different philosophy, they will risk falling into the same trap as United. T

The point I’m trying to make here is that there are always going to be dominant teams in leagues. England has seen it’s share, with Liverpool and with United. Others have a more permanent hierarchy, but the dominance will always exist. As Alex Ferguson used to say, football goes in cycles. Some countries/teams have longer/shorter cycles than others, but inevitably a new team will come to the fore. In this day and age with football being the money making industry it is, that team can be a little harder to predict, particularly in England. Surely Rangers will make a resurgence in Scotland. As will Lyon or Marseilles in France. Or Dortmund in Germany.

These things happen. Don’t fret. It’s just the way of football, i.e. life. I’m just sitting here wondering when Liverpool will have their time again. Might have to wait a bit longer by the looks of things.
Adam, Irish/Spanish via NYC


And City certainly wouldn’t be the first team to dominate
In reply to Alex. I infer Alex that you are, like myself, a United supporter. If you are not, then I really doff my cap to you that you wrote from a truly neutral perspective.

Over the years United have broken British and world transfer records. There have been years, notably most recently under the Glazer’s ownership, and even back to Martin Edwards stewardship that the wallet remained closed on buying players. But the narrative was always to buy players that would make them head of the pack or remain so.

The boundaries and compromises, you talk of at United, are owners who, 12 years ago loaded the club up with debt at high interest rates that still needs repaying each and every year, whilst simultaneously extracting huge management fees for themselves.

It’s also a bit harsh to berate City for building the best training facilities and for having the temerity to go and hire the best backroom staff by poaching off a rival. That happens in all businesses.

As a United supporter, what gets my goat, is that United did not do what city have done. The money was there for them to do it, what was lacking was the foresight to see how exposed they had become to being overtaken by City (or Chelsea for that matter, until Abramovich tightened their purse strings a bit).

I don’t think anyone really wants City to dominate (personally, only Liverpool could be worse) , though if they end up doing that, I’ll have to remain on the side lines and keep quiet, as United winning 13 titles in 21 years was fine by me.

Now, there are five league games to be played in the next 18 days, so let us all make an offering to the great soup dragon, that City somehow manage to drop points in four of them.

And happy Christmas Alex, and to all who contribute to this site.
Ged Biglin


A self-styled ‘ham-fisted attempt at perspective’
Full disclosure, I’m a United fan.

Hands up, I concede City are a team firing on all cylinders whom thoroughly deserve their place atop the league. Simply, they’re class leading at this point in time.

But, c’mon people, let’s not lose sight of what’s happening right in front of us.

On Sunday City were one swing of the boot away from a 2-2 draw. If, buts and maybes, but if Lukaku’s shot from Martial’s cutback is six inches either side of the ‘keeper we finish all square.

All the other numbers on the stats sheet – possession, shots, crosses, corners, fouls etc – count for nowt if the two numbers right at the very top are the same. In fact, those two numbers at the top dictate everything.

City won the Derby and, more likely than not, the league at Old Trafford, but – and here’s that attempt at perspective – let’s look at the facts.

26 November: City beat Huddersfield 2-1 by virtue of a 84th minute Sterling goal.

29 November: City beat Southampton 2-1 virtue of a 96th minute Sterling goal.

3 December: City beat West Ham 2-1 by virtue of a 83rd minute Silva goal.

10 December: City beat Manchester United 2-1 by virtue of a Otamendi goal, Lukaku fluffs late chance to tie it.

For all their wonderful play and domination, the point I’m trying to make is that the line between everything and a share of the spoils has been very, very fine.

This Manchester City side will win the league, but they will also lose along the way. They’re not invincible. They’re not infallible. They’re defensively suspect. They’re very, very good, but they’re not perfect.
Sean Peter-Budge


Is Sanchez better staying out until the summer?
Interesting posts in the mailbox regarding Sanchez and whether Arsenal should sell him, I think the bigger question is why Sanchez would want to leave? Obviously he is going to leave Arsenal, but why not wait six months and join a team on a free, with a big fat singing on bonus?

With regards to him seeming ‘off’ – probably partly due to him going through the motions before leaving and also because he no longer has the World Cup to look forward to. If Arsenal qualify for the Champions League next season that’s great, but is Sanchez likely to lose any sleep over it?

There is another more cynical side to it – Ozil is currently playing really well and looks ‘up for it’, which coincides with reports that not many big clubs were interested in securing him next summer – at least for the wages he is reported to be demanding. Perhaps Sanchez has already got a gentleman’s agreement with another club and thus there is little need for him to prove himself?

Another mildly interesting point in the discussion is the fact that neither are cup tied for the CL games in February, they could both play in those, assuming the team that signs them only adds one new player to the squad who has previously played int he Europa League. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar found this out to his cost a few years ago at Real, who included Diarra instead of him in their CL squad if memory serves.

So the suggestion City or United do not need him is not necessarily true, it would just come down to whether Sanchez was happy to move in January and Arsenal would be able to agree to a fee.
Tim Harrington, London (QPR)


Juventus: On the way down
Premier leagues fans have been enviously watching the Juventus team of the last few seasons which only a year ago would have been easily among the top five teams in Europe.

Currently, Juventus sit thrrd in their league although they have performed admirably in the Champions League so far. The signals of decline are there. Out of the team that started their latest match against Inter, only 3 players (Szczesny. De Sciglio, Pjanic) are 28 or under. The remaining EIGHT players are all 30 plus or about to turn 30.

The average athlete’s peak age is between 27 to 28 years. After 29, the body starts to show a marked decline. Granted this is not 100% accurate but is generally true across all sports. Apply this logic to Juventus and you have a recipe for disaster. As the season progresses, the decline will become more apparent.

Replacing such a large number of players over the next couple of seasons is going to be a daunting situation and you can expect a Manchester United post Ferguson style decline. It remains to be seen whether they have the financial muscle to rebuild quickly.

This is good news for Tottenham and if I were a betting man, I would put good money on them going through to the last eight against Juventus. It also shows that Pogba jumped ship at the right time.
Adeel from Pakistan


An idea for the British Cup
So…it’s Carabao Cup time! It’s time for the trophy that didn’t even have a sponsor last season! There was some discussion in the mailbox during the last round of fixtures suggesting a revamp of the Carabao Cup to make it in to The British Cup. So I’ve gone to the trouble of creating The British Cup.

Round One:
Invited to participate at this early stage are teams from League One and Two in England (48), teams from the Championship, League One and League Two in Scotland, plus the Premier League in Wales (12) and the Premier League in Northern Ireland (12). We have 102 teams, but to make this format work, we need two more. Invitations are given to Wales and Northern Ireland to select one additional team each from their second tier. These 104 teams are drawn against each other randomly, with 52 teams progressing to Round Two.

Round Two:
Teams from the Championship in England (24), and The Premier League in Scotland (12), join the 52 teams who have progressed from Round One. These 88 teams are drawn against each other randomly, with 44 progressing to Round Three.

Round Three:
Teams from The Premier League in England (20), join the 44 teams who have progressed from Round Two. These 64 teams are drawn against each other randomly with 32 teams progressing to Round Four.

Round Four:
32 teams become 16.

Round Five:
16 teams become 8.

Quarter Final:
8 teams become 4.

Semi Final:
4 teams become 2. (one off fixture, neutral venue)

A team lifts The British Cup.

In this format, a Premier League Team requires six fixtures to lift The British Cup. As things stand in the current format a Premier League team requires seven fixtures to lift The Carabao Cup, and Premier League teams participating in Europe requires six fixtures to win the Carabao Cup. The British Cup doesn’t allow any Premier League manager to complain of too many fixtures. There is an extra round of fixtures, granted, but instead of a two legged semi-fnal, it is one leg only, meaning The British Cup plays it’s QF stage when the Carabao Cup plays it’s Semi Final 1st leg, and The British Cup plays it’s SF stage when the Carabao Cup plays it’s Semi Final 2nd leg. To make this work, you wouldn’t even have to change the current dates in the calendar that the Carabao Cup currently uses!

There will be the possibility extra travel of course for our Premier League contenders, but nothing like European games. And whilst the smaller clubs may find travel difficult in the first two rounds, the possibility of a game against a Premier League team for progressing through the first two rounds would be a fantastic incentive where I believe the pro’s outweigh the cons.

And finally, because I’m a romantic. All gate receipts to be split 50/50, AND, in the event that a smaller club is drawn at home to a bigger club, they have the right to switch the game to an away fixture to maximise gate receipts.

All in all, I think it would be a fantastic way of creating fixtures we’ve never seen before in a competitive environment, without adding any fixtures to an already congested fixture schedule, and giving smaller clubs a great way of generating additional revenue that would be virtually impossible without the creation of The British Cup.
Naz, Gooner

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