Mails on Paul Pogba, Man Utd, Liverpool fans and…

Date published: Wednesday 4th September 2019 9:45

If you have anything to add on any subject, you know what to do – mail us at theeditor@football365.com

 

It turns out that Pogba IS the problem
I’ve been an hard defender of Pogba over the years, defending him against plenty of other supporters who I thought used him as a lightning rod for all of Manchester United’s problems. That was until I saw the Southampton game and thought to myself ‘Pogba gives the ball away a lot’.

Pogba losses the ball an average of 5.6 times per match
Wijnaldum loses 2.0 times
Isco 3.0 times per game (2.0 in last season, amazing for an attacking mid)
Kevin DB 2.7 times
(not controlled for number of passes)

Now, I’m convinced that Manchester United cannot achieve anything substantial with Pogba playing anywhere in midfield and it’s easy to see why fans and especially Mourinho got so frustrated with Pogba, as many of his passes happen in his own half presenting immediate goalscoring opportunities to the opposing team.

He gives the ball away almost three times as often as a typically very good midfielder. That makes him too much of a liability.

No team that has any serious title aspirations can have a player like that in their midfield.

Unless he plays as a second striker, he is far too risky.
Pey, Mexico
(Interestingly, when he played for Juve and plays for France, he gives the ball away at ~2.9 times per game)

 

How can anybody think this Man United can compete?
On Monday, I wrote a mail saying that some United fans were myopic and, accordingly, also in the main river flowing through Egypt when it came to acknowledging just how deep in the crap their club is in now courtesy of Mr Woodward. Just 24 hours later and Paul Murphy, Manchester, without the slightest trace of irony, has a two-paragraph mail printed the second of which reads as follows (Any grammatical errors are his):

‘On to United and perversely I am quite enjoying the process from Ole, the shipping out of the old guard and bringing through exciting youngsters he will need 2 or 3 more transfer windows but I for one will stick by him as the Glazers and Woodward are to blame for the situation we are in and not the manager. I have a feeling we will still make top 4 as well as win one of the cups (possibly Europa League) and as a fan I will be happy with that, lets face it we were 2 missed penalties away from having a possible 10 points.’

Top four and win a cup. This United? THIS United? The United that have won three out of their last 18 games? The United whose forwards are struggling to get shots on target let alone score? The United whose midfield has zero creativity and is flatter than a pint of Stella that’s been left in the Sahara Desert for seven days? A defensive unit that includes players that will legally qualify for a bus pass fairly soon? And, finally, a former ‘worldy’ GK that must now have MUFC playing staff putting a hand to their chins and looking over at Joe Hart going “Hmmm?”. I presume Paul hasn’t seen any Leicester or Everton games so far either? Oh, and not forgetting that neither of the latter have European fixtures to worry about?

Personally, I think this was a mail that Paul sent in 10 years ago but that those fools at F365 only found it yesterday lying around in some inbox and stuck it with the rest.

Either way, and following on from mine on Monday, “Prosecution rests M’Lud,”
Mark (Seriously though?) MCFC

 

Should there be a coach transfer window?
I was just reading about how OGS is a ‘Championship’ manager and it got me thinking if there should be a transfer window for managers and head coaches. I mean, think about it, what better way to test someone when they aren’t worried about getting sacked tomorrow or the day after? They can concentrate on doing their jobs and figure out how to turn things around. Also, this forces the club chairman, or whoever who hires these managers, to really do some due diligence when hiring the person who will be in the dugout. We then see less feelings but more facts when it comes to hiring “the boss”. I know what some of you are going to say: “feelings is what football is, not numbers and charts, you’re not playing ChampMan. Yes, I’m not saying the chairmans (chairmen?) hire purely using facts. They could of course go with instinct and trust their feelings and that’s why i made my first point on pressure-less periods. Seriously, why are we not funding this? Discuss…
Jason from Malaysia

 

Some more Premier League influencers
I really enjoyed Seb Stafford-Bloor’s listicle on the top 10 influencers on the Premier League yesterday, it was just a shame he had to stop at 10. If you’ll indulge me here are a few a feel unlucky not to make the cut:

David Beckham
The goal from the half-way line, the boyish good looks, the pop star wife….as much as I agree with the points made by Seb on Eric Cantona, David Beckham was the first player of the Premier League era to transcend the sport and a genuine pop culture icon. Possibly the first to have come from these isles. His popularity saw the start of footballers as celebrities, helped expand the global reach of the game and for 20 years he seemingly decided what hairstyle every boy aged 5 to 35 would deem stylish. I could go on but it’s probably easier (and more enjoyable to track down his portrait of an icon article).

Euro 96
A strong England team with some stand out moments set to the backdrop of arguably the greatest ever football song was a watershed moment. For the more casual observer it was proof that the hooliganism that blighted football through previous decades was over and made football far more accessible for the general fan. It also helped to win over a huge number of new followers (10 year old me included).

Roman Abramovich
I’ll just quote Ken Kratz from the comments ‘Roman Abramovich should be top of the list, he completely changed the make up of the league. He artificially drove up player wages and transfer fees by pumping billions of outside money in, broke up the Arsenal/Man Utd duopoly and oversaw the downfall of Arsenal, brought Mourinho to England, and was a big reason for the financial fair play rules being brought in. Abu Dhabi and the rest followed in his footsteps.’

Peter Ridsdale
“Doing a Leeds”. Plus maybe I’m reading too much into it, but we saw less insane squads like ’97 Middlesbrough and the upper reaches became more of a closed shop as owners stopped mortgaging their future on a shot at the title to settle for more modest aims.

Man Utd
I agree with Seb’s points on Sir Alex, that his greatest strengths were in adapting and overcoming rather than being a trailblazer. The club as whole though arguably defined what it meant to be a fan of a Premier League . With Liverpool declining Man Utd’s unrelenting success gave overseas fans an everpresent superclub to latch onto, with the top of the league otherwise featuring a rotating cast of challengers until the turn of millenium. On the flipside their wealth, feisty manager and the inevitability of their success (plus having the devil on their badge) gave opposing fans an obvious antagonist, and the birth of the ABU. That’s all a bit simplistic but the polarising nature of early Man Utd helped to define the Premier League as a soap opera both here and overseas.
Kevin (Michael Owen just feels sad and irrelevant now), Nottingham

 

On the worrying response to Bobby Duncan claims
There was so, so much that was problematic about the Liverpool fans’ responses to John Collins’s mail about Bobby Duncan that it’s really hard to know where to start.

But I think the one thing that really encapsulated what bothered me about the replies was the first few words of Tom, Liverpool’s mail:

“*Sigh* Ok John Collins WWFC, London, I’ll bite…”

Because of course, the only reason an opposition fan would question your wonderful club’s handling of a sensitive issue is to wind you up, right?

It’s quite possible that Liverpool have done nothing wrong here, and that the agent is indeed making baseless allegations. But when someone is said to have been unable to leave their room for a number of days due to their mental state, people can and should start asking questions.

And regardless of the truth of the matter, Liverpool’s response, an unsympathetic, self-serving statement issued by the club which made showed no concern or even made mention of the player’s alleged mental health struggles, was really quite unsatisfactory. As was the character assassination of Duncan from the club’s ex-players, and the army of keyboard warriors who’ve gleefully done the club’s mudslinging for it online.

As far as the mailbox goes, spouting platitudes about how you take the issue seriously while simultaneously inferring that the player is lying, constantly making references to how much money he makes, and dismissing his situation as being ‘hardly torture’ doesn’t really cut the mustard either.

The point here isn’t to infer that Liverpool are guilty of mistreating this player, but their fans’ unwillingness to even consider it is worrying, and just the sort of attitude that will make it harder for players who actually do suffer from these kinds of problems to be open about them. It is possible, you know, to support your club without just blindly believing that everything they do is whiter than white.
Unknown J

 

…Why is it Liverpool fans more than any that cannot abide the slightest criticism of their club. If there is ever an email that fails to refer to them in glowing terms, you can put your house on there being at least three or four responses in the following mailbox. This reached its nadir during the Suarez/Evra affair, but it still goes on today. Clockwork.
Tom, Vancouver (expecting a few replies if this is published)

 

Man City have bought success!
Nelson, Lagos. Man City have spent £100m more than the next biggest spenders in the league over the past three-four years.

I can’t believe you don’t think that defines ‘buying success’…

That amazing background infrastructure you allude to – they bought that too.
Minty, LFC

 

…In response to Nelson from Lagos, there is a major difference between the way Man City have built their team compared to other teams in England. Your simplistic look at the situation is laughable.

Man City have spent the most money on transfers in all of Europe since 2010, not just England, all of Europe. They sit top of the tree at 1.47 billion euros, with the closest being Chelsea in second place at 1.31 billion euros. The majority of that money has been spent by Guardiola at a total of 909 million Euros. That’s 909 million euros since 2015-16, over the course of four years. Klopp and Guardiola started in England around the same time, so the comparison is simple. During that time, Klopp has spent 563 million euros, 38% less than Guardiola. Now, also consider, that Guardiola had inherited a team that won the Premier League twice in the four years preceding his arrival, and when they didn’t win the title, finished second. Klopp inherited a team that finished 6th the season before. There is simply no comparison between the squads each manager inherited, they are worlds apart. So Guardiola, with an already vastly superior squad to start with, has outspent Klopp since then by almost 40%.

Now, a bit of net spend talk. During the same time period, that Klopp and Guardiola have been in England, Man City have dwarfed every other team in Europe when it comes to this. Their net spend over Pep’s tenure is 627 million Euros. Klopp’s during that time? 121 million euros. The transfers of VVD and Alisson were largely funded by the sale of Coutinho 6 months prior. What is clear, is that Pep does not have to sell to spend money, while Klopp certainly does to some extent. This is why Man City have been able to accrue two squads of international and world class level players. At Liverpool, the squad depth is comparably light to Man City, however still they kept up till the last day of the season in the title race and won the Champions League, something that eluded Guardiola in 4 attempts, and make no mistake, is the primary target for the owners. The praise for this goes to Klopp and Michael Edwards, who have recruited intelligently and wisely, buying the players they need and finding affordable solutions to first team issues such as Andy Robertson for 8 million pounds.

The only part I agree with you is that money alone does not guarantee success, there are certainly many other factors in this, however in most cases, it does guarantee some level of success. The top spending teams (in order) since 2015-16 are Barcelona, Juventus, Man City, PSG, Manyoo(lol), Real Madrid, Liverpool, Bayern Munich. With the exception of Manyoo, the mediocre outlier, all the other teams on that list have picked up major trophies(league title or champions league) during that time. You can question PSG’s Ligue 1 titles as “major trophies”, however the reason why they walk to that title every year is because, you guessed it, they spent a ton of money.

In conclusion, money certainly is a major factor in winning. Please, do not compare Man City’s spending with Liverpool so lightly, as if its a difference of a couple of euros. The reason people tend to say Man City are buying the league is because they have spent the most money in England during Pep’s reign by some distance, and have not had to sell any players to balance the books. However, I myself don’t care about that too much, it’s just a fact of life and the way football is now. The statistics are clear though, the chasm in spending is huge.

Source for transfer information: www.transfermarkt.com
johnnyWicky, Toronto

 

Managing Pompey on Champ Manager
Hello!! Great site – I still love it after all these years. Checking my sent mails, I first sent an email to theeditor@football365.com in 2009 and I had definitely been reading it for years before then!

In response to John’s email: Portsmouth FC. During all the financial woes I once specifically bought Football (Champ) Manager because someone had commented on a news article “Imagine how hard they will be to play with on Champ Manager this year”.

It was basically impossible because you couldn’t sign anyone as there was no money and no players. I ended up pumping in about £20 of my own money (I seem to remember five real pounds = 1 million in the game) to get them to a state where it was at least playable. To my shame after a few seasons I think I got them promoted and then made the jump to a bigger team.
Pompey Stew (Not the sc****rs obviously), Hampshire

 

Thank you F365
As someone who works at a laptop all day, I tend to have Twitter permanently open in my browser. I know it’s my own fault for even being there, but the level of football discourse seems to plumb new depths everyday. More often than not, it’s someone making a blatantly idiotic statement about a rival player and then saying nonsense like “dub” or “W” (me neither) when the fans of said player’s club react to it.

And then of course, players are either “shit” or “world class”, and lo and behold – they have the stats (sans context) to prove it! Basically, football chat has largely become thoroughly unpleasant, almost completely devoid of nuance, and generally irritating overall.

All this is to say a big thanks to you wonderful folks at F365. Thank you for providing us with a daily dose of quality football content, that has wonderful depth, humour, and insight. I don’t always agree with everything I read on here, but at least your main purpose isn’t to simply wind people up. The Mailbox and Mediwatch have been staples for me for almost 10 years now, and I hope that will continue for a long time to come.
DJ, MUFC (not sucking up, I mean every single word of it) India

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