Mails: Two massive games for Liverpool…

Date published: Thursday 25th February 2016 3:49

Keep those Mails coming to


Area 51 conspiracy shot down
I’d just like to take a few lines to pick a few holes in Ted, Manchester’s email from the earlier mailbox. After all, I’ve just finished watching Making a Murderer and I picked plenty of holes in that so I reckon I’m in good form. Ted begins my mentioning the Adidas and TV deal adding extra revenue in the club, correct there Ted. At last check, United were the 3rd richest club in the world behind the 2 Spanish giants, and let’s not forget that trophies aren’t exactly the norm at United in the last 3 years (Barca and Real Madrid have taken 2 out of the last 3 Champions League’s since Fergie left), so financially that’s a club essentially punching above it’s weight.

Indeed Moyes did pick some fairly lofty targets for United to sign, but Fabregas wasn’t interested in Moyes, Bale wasn’t for sale, Vidal was being a tease and Ronaldo, well that was always unlikely to appeal to any board – a 30 year old legend with no re-sale value strikes me as a big risk.

Van Gaal did then opt to ‘trim the fat’, and as it happened there weren’t many United fans stating he was wrong for moving on Fletcher and Nani. RVP had a shocking season and Chicharito didn’t create too many transfer rumours at Madrid. Of course, that now looks pretty daft as he’s writing headlines in Germany, but that’s always the risk you take in football, otherwise Afonso Alves wouldn’t have got a gig at Boro a few years back. The signings of Martial, Depay and Shaw firmly fit with the style of transfer United fans have always demanded. For Memphis, see Ronaldo being signed from Sporting. Sure he hasn’t shown true potential right now, but there’s time for it to come good. Schneiderlin was one of the best midfielders of his type in the league last year, and United cherry picking the best talent from other teams is nothing new. See Yorke, Dwight, or Young, Ashley, for a couple of not too extravagant examples.

The Martial deal was structured in the way it was purely to protect United from signing a dud. If spending £36m on an unproven teenager wasn’t enough of a risk, if the lad comes good then both parties win, rather than the cynical view that we’ll flog him off a few months before he picks up a Ballon D’or. It’s good business, in fact more or less the thing that Woodward is good for (structuring deals, not signing players, he’s terrible at that).

And as for Giggs, United have always been a club that sees positives from promoting within. That’s not always the best call and doesn’t always have the best results, but blooding our own talent in situations above their station has done us well throughout our history. Sure, there’s every chance that Giggs might be another Roy Keane, a fish out of water elevated above his stature. Then again he might be closer to Pep, a man who knew his club, loved his club and breathed the DNA of his club. Of course, time will tell on that one.

I’m by no means the biggest fan of the Glazers, but citing our debt as reasons for poor performance on the pitch is missing the issue by a country mile.
Ben, United fan without a chip on his shoulder, Brum


Ted, Manchester, it’s an Area 51 conspiracy largely because the facts don’t support your argument. At all.

Given the money we’ve spent over the last couple of seasons I don’t think now is the time to be questioning whether it’s the debt which is causing the problem ‘now’.

You could question whether it was a factor in Fergie leaving behind such a woefully short squad, but the owners seem to have finally taken the handbrake off.

You open your argument suggesting that we should be able to afford almost any player we want due to the increased revenue. Ted, are you aware that there are 19 other clubs with increased revenue too? At least 4 of them are better placed than us right now. And that the likes of Barca, Real, Bayern aren’t exactly short of a few bob either (oh, and also happen to be in a much better position than us).

The reason we’ve not been able to sign the players you mention has nothing to do with not having money (see above…we’ve been spending more than I can ever remember), and everything to do with the uncertainty of the post Fergie reign, plus the fact that we appointed old Ed to be the point man on negotiations at the same time.

Let’s face it, why would you join an Ed/Moyes experiment at Utd when you’re playing for Real Madrid?

Why on earth would you join now when we’re not even going to be playing in the Champs League next season.

As for the Mourinho/Giggs issue. Again, I don’t think this has anything to do with money. The managers salary is a negligible amount compared to overall revenue, and certainly when compared to the difference in revenue a better manager would enable the club to bring in.

There are very well publicised reasons why the higher ups at Utd would rather have Giggs over Mourinho, and they’re not necessarily because they think Giggs would be a better manager, but more that they don’t want Mourinho full stop…and Giggs is the only alternative name being bandied around.

Personally, I think appointing Giggs would be a catastrophic decision. Even if it turns out well, it would be a strange decision for a company of the worth of Utd to make, but that’s not to say I want Mourinho either. Again, personally, I’m getting a bit sick of this attitude that Giggs should just walk into the job. Right now, I don’t even think he deserves an explanation as to why he’s not even been considered. It’s arrogant in the extreme to think he can just stick around for a couple of years and get one of the top gigs (ahem) in world football without even being seen to make an attempt of an effort to actually get himself some genuine managerial experience.

Ted, your logic seems to be – we’ve got more money coming in, but we’re not that good. Therefore must be the debt.

None of this has to do with our debt though. I find it odd that you think we’re not spending money.
Marky B. MUFC.


To answer Ted from Manchester quickly the answer is no. Man united debt is no longer an issue. (Skip the next few paras if you cry at the thought of financial analysis).

For sure, the debt was large a few years back when it clearly hampered investment in the first team. However now the debt is smaller and the club’s revenues have grown so strongly, there is little worry over whether they can pay it back.

United’s debt is around £410m in 2010 it was £780m. So debt has fallen substantially through repayments and refinancing. At the same time revenues have increased from £330m to around £500m projected for 2016. It goes even higher by default in 2017 with the new tv money. All this positive movement has meant that the debt to club value ratio has fallen to around 25%. Lastly and most importantly the interest expense a year has fallen to 22m (from 71m) a year. This is the cost of the debt. That 20m could be spent on transfers and wages of course but out of the 500m revenue United generate it’s pretty small change to pay out.

The Glazer’s buyout could have been a disaster but it went reasonably well from a finance point of view (still a horrible risk in my view). It is the equivalent of you getting a mortgage and struggling for a while but after that you get a better job, house prices go up and you pay down some debt. In a few years your finances are in much better shape. The proof is in the 250m spent in recent seasons compared with little in the previous years.

In conclusion this has been a boring finance mail when we could have been talking more interesting football topics. But the points stands, United are very strong from a financial point of view. The issue is that they haven’t recruited and spent their vast ‘warchest’ well. Woodward can’t get a deal done and in truth big players don’t want to come to United.

Also when have United really focused on youth? Eh the busby babes! And the 1968 team had Best, Kidd etc.


Biggest four days of Liverpool’s season
Confidence can do wonders for a team. Just ask Leicester City. Liverpool have 4 days to decide whether this season is one of transition, soon erased from the supporters’ memory banks, or a
transition season where confidence within the team and supporters grew allowing them the possibility to kick on the following season.

It starts tonight against Augsberg. I can’t see Liverpool winning the Europa League (there are too many teams significantly better than us), however it would be a real kick to the plums to get knocked out by a team closer to the bottom reaches of the Bundesliga and missing a significant contingent through injury. It is imperative for confidence throughout the club that we progress to the next round.

Sunday brings us the CoC final against City. City have a better team player-for-payer but may have their attention slightly divided as they continue to push for the Prem title and further their advance in the Champion’s League. The game could go either way and it probably depends on which teams show up. Will it be the Liverpool who put 6 past Villa and Southampton or the dour team who drew against Sunderland? Similarly City showed flashes of brilliance last night in Kiev but have flattered to deceive all too often in recent weeks. It would take a brave punter to bet on the outcome (although I’d put my student loan on Aguero bagging a goal at some point) but the importance of silverware should not be underestimated for Klopp. While he still receives almost complete adulation from Liverpool supporters, results since his arrival suggest that perhaps the quality within the squad was more of a factor than Rodger’s failures as a coach and
tactician than previously thought. (although Romantic Rodger’s has to take some of the blame for make-up of said squad).

Hopefully Monday morning sees me in the office, hungover after celebrating our first trophy in years and looking forward to welcoming FC Midtjylland to Anfield. Would be a nice change from listening to Keaton Henson in the foetal position with the curtains drawn.
Osric the Optimistic, Cape Town


The Ox tackle
I’ve been waiting two days, and wondering if I was crazy, and still nobody in the mailbox (or anywhere else that I’ve spotted – although I have been working a lot…) has mentioned Mascherano’s tackle on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as being anything other an inevitable result of a poor touch. Was I the only one who saw an out of control lunge catching a player mid-shin (pretty much the definition of a leg breaker) and forcing him off due to that injury?

I know that he got the ball first, but there are plenty of occasions where getting the ball doesn’t excuse the follow through. Or is a knee to the shin somehow much less bad than a boot? For me it was at the very least a yellow card, and I think there’s a case to be made that when a lunge like that results in a serious injury (which it unfortunately sounds like it did) then it should be a red.

I also don’t think the tie is as over as people think. Barcelona look very vulnerable at the back, and Arsenal will almost certainly score at the Nou Camp. I’d bet on 2-1 (or 3-2) to Arsenal, in keeping with the classic heroic defeats we seem to get every year. But 3-1 or 4-2 aren’t impossible, certainly not if Arsenal bring their shooting boots to Spain in a few weeks.
Diarmuid, Dublin


Another happy City fan
Qualify for the 6th round of the Fa Cup, you earn £180,000. Qualify for the QF of the Champions League, you earn 6m€.

Despite the romance of potentially winning the oldest Cup competition in the world, the decision to rest key players against Chelsea was easy, obvious and vindicated. City are a different side with a fit spine of Hart, Kompany, Yaya, Siva and Aguero.

Yaya was due a goal, I was rather hoping he would save it for Sunday to add to his collection of Wembley classics (United, Stoke and Sunderland)

And for those of you wanting a winter break to keep the players fresh, 2 months off didn’t go too well for Kiev last night.

Some elements of English footy I like – footy over the Xmas break and no seeding EVER in the Fa cup
Steve. Happy City fan in South France


Simon Ignoble
I refuse to believe that in the 11 worst players of the season so far our very own excerable Simon Ignoble did not make it. I simply refuse to countenance the idea that there is a worse ‘keeper in any of the 92 clubs… He really is muck!

Has the Babelcopter got a new owner with Depay’s absolutely rotten form!?
Gregory Whitehead, LFC


The James substitution
If you’re going to defend a man’s decision, a least defend the man’s decision.

James didn’t win/take the penalty. Opposition handball wasn’t it. Moot.

Ambiguous reference to another sport. So he at least didn’t do what they do in other sports and made sure he had a keeper in goals. Genius. Aren’t we all lucky that Pearce didn’t instruct his players to play the Sicilian defence and watch as they stare at each other looking for pawn attacks.

And third point, ‘Arry j Redknapp esq. did it. Seriously, a back up point.

One of the worst decisions in managerial history. Why, is it crazy to put your keeper up front, well no, no it isn’t IF the player is a decent outfield player. James hindered other players around the box, ballsed a header twice and took a week to swing his leg at a ball in the box resulting in him kicking only a player. He also had this form

That is why it was and is a stupid, ridiculous and a terrible decision with a player, a striker who can head and kick the ball at a standard high enough to be given a contract by a major premier league team, was sitting on the bench.

It’s not like history has already told us how good his decision was. Who does he manage…
Anthony (My opinion is worth dirt) Kane, Milan


Justice for Claudio
Have to agree with Stephen Tobin. I always said Ranieri would have won the league if he wasn’t sacked. The only important player Mourinho brought was Carvalho. Ranieri also brought Cech and Robben for the forthcoming season which Mourinho just inherited, along with Terry, Lampard, and Joe Cole. Obviously Jose was excellent and competent but I’m not convinced he did more for that title winning side than Claudio.
Adam Corbett


What Blatter will do next
Qatar, 2022 – World Cup Opening Ceremony:

A sea of brightly costumed dancers fills the floor of the stadium, the crowd are barely visible but for the shimmering blanket of ipads. The trumpets stop, the drums fade. The camera pans to the Royal Box where Sheikh Al Thani and his family wave to masses, but wait, one of them has his back turned, that’s a little disrespectful. The spotlight hits, the mysterious figure turns and throws off his ghutrah. Oh no, it is him…

The speakers crackle… “HEEEEERE’S BLATTER!”

Celebration by Kooland the Gang fills the air, Sepp dances like Bill Gates at the Windows 95 launch while the Royal Family clap along in amusement. The camera cuts to the newly elected head of FIFA David Beckham mouthing ‘no fucking way’. Commentators and pundits alike are dumbfounded, Joey Barton is lost for words, and audience numbers plummit as half a billion people switch off their TV’s.
Dave (looking forward to the throwback reference I’ll get when all this comes true in 6 years) Manchester


Great goals in one game
Re the question from Alex Stokoe, Newcastle

10/04/2007 Manchester United 7 – 1 Roma

All worldy’s, including the beautiful De Rossi’s consolation effort.
Mark / Dave (Ahhh, good times…) MUFC


On the subject of great goals

Chelsea v Barcelona, 1-1

Essien and then that little sh#t Iniesta, great goals and awesome game mind.
Lee, Highbury.
p.s. Ian Wright liked my dog on Tuesday night

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