Mails: Woodward is the real villain here

Date published: Tuesday 26th January 2016 3:23

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Hughes for United. Why not?
The season has been appalling, but that we all know. The passion the drive and the excitement only glows when discussions of Fergy time and the class of 92 are mentioned. But if Van Gall goes it should be noted that in the summer the spending was awful. One recognised striker and an expensive gamble on Martial was not the building blocks for a successful campaign, but I digress.

I feel that there is one name which hasn’t been mentioned for the job who would be an excellent replacement and has learned from the school of Ferguson. Of course this man managed the competition but his transfers during that time were fairly decent (Vincent Kompany the big one)… Mark Hughes.

Why I like Hughes for the role is that all of the teams he has managed have been built on their core skills, Blackburn – tough tackling, QPR – relegation, Stoke – efficiency. But what is changing at Stoke is the style, not every manager is able to create teams that transition well (take note Ed). But where Moyes and Van Gaal will probably end up failing is building a team for the short and the mid-term. Stoke now have a wonderful attacking line-up and are fluid on the ball. And if he can still pull of shots like this on the training ground (, then maybe he can get Wayne playing again.

But I doubt he will or would be offered, but I like the sound of Sparky back at Old Trafford don’t you?
Tom (If Van Gaal stays, Europa disappointment is the best we can hope for) P, MUFC


It’s all about the shoes
Mourinho has gone from incapable of handling the pressure of the Premier League to potentially saving Man Utd a la Ferguson because he is going to walk BAREFOOT into Old Trafford.

If only Roberto Martinez would take those f**king brown loafers off, we might start defending leads.
Dave (imagine the stink from PL dugouts) Allen, IoM
Woodward: The real villain
Amidst all this talk of whether LVG should stay or go I find it strange that Ed Woodward has so far escaped any criticism, to say that I’ve been less than impressed by his leadership thus far would be a massive understatement.

In his short time at the club Woodward has managed to balls up a couple of transfer windows and his singular desire to sign a “galactico”, instead of concentrating on achievable targets that we actually need, is part of the reason why we have such an unbalanced squad. Of course discussions will have taken place between LVG and Woodward over new signings but does anybody actually believe we have any hope of signing Bale, Muller or Neymar? No chance.

When Fergie retired a lot was made at the time of the huge void that he would leave at the club but I think Gill going at the same time was a major mistake, he should have stuck around for another season or two to oversee the transition from SAF to whoever while mentoring Woodward and teaching him the dark arts of transfer negotiations.

The way that United now operate looks increasingly amateurish which is entirely down to Woodward, yes LVG has made mistakes but I actually (want to?) believe that he does actually have a plan and just occasionally you can see what he is trying to do with the squad.

Under Moyes and LVG’s first season our defence was a shambles and we had a lot of dead weight in the squad which needed to be shipped out. LVG has shored up the defence, got rid of most of the dross and we look the better for it. Yes I would love to see more attacking football from United but you cannot build on shaky foundations and LVG needs to find the correct balance between attack and defence which hasn’t been helped by the multitude of injuries we have suffered (again!) and the piss poor form of our alleged “star” man Rooney.

Anyways…I’m in no rush to see LVG sacked and Giggsy given his position nor do I want to see Jose come in and rock the boat even further, Mourinho’s time at United should have when succeeding Fergie, not now.

So, give LVG until the end of the season and lets take it from there. You would hope that the club are speaking with Guardiola regardless of what is going on at City. If rumours are to be believed that Woodward et al aren’t convinced because Pep has no Premiership experience and if that’s the case then they should be taken outside and shot.


Respecting Van Gaal’s morals
In my opinion, Louis Van Gaal is a dinosaur by modern Premier League standards and has been found to be missing the key ingredient that Fergie states he has/had, the ability to adapt to the ego and persona of the modern footballer. Ruling with a rod of iron is only effective if the players believe in you and your ability, otherwise they might just think you’re a bit of a p***k.

On a positive note, if the rumours of Van Gaal resigning are true then I respect the man for realising that the job is too much for him. I know that, had United let him, Moyes would still be there, rabbit-like as the juggernaut of another disastrous season bore down on him, headlights forcing those eyes ever wider while he remained frozen to the spot. Van Gaal has allegedly stepped out of the way and is potentially allowing a bigger rabbit with better skills to take over. Yeah, OK but you get my drift.

So thanks Louis for the brief foray back into the Champion’s League, for bringing in Martial and Depay who, I believe, could still do very well under a better manager and for being honest enough to not just stay until fired and collect a big pay-off. You have my respect for your morals, just not for your managerial ability on this occasion.
Paul Milton, Man Utd


Farewell Ramires
As Ramires looks set to leave I wanted to be the first (only?) Chelsea fan to write in and offer my two pence.

There’s no doubt that selling him for £25m after a couple of below-par seasons is a shrewd business decision but I think most Chelsea fans cannot help to be sad to see him go. For a couple of seasons he was to my mind one of our most important players, in particular the 2011-2012 season when his attacking contributions (12 goals, including that lob against Barcelona), energy and defensive interventions were a big factor behind the Champions League and FA Cup wins (plus a bit of luck as well!).

Ramires arguably doesn’t have the same natural talent and skill of your average £20m Brazilian footballer. His first touch is not that great and his passing is sometimes atrocious. What I love about him though is that he shows how hard work, teamwork and focusing on your strengths can still make you a favourite with the fans and the manager. He made the most of what he had to give and his dynamic displays became a huge asset for Chelsea (especially when the other midfielders alongside him were Lampard and Mikel…).

The comparisons with Essien are inevitable – both had a similar style of play and a similar role as part of hugely successful teams. I think both players faded more quickly than Chelsea fans would have hoped. I suppose that’s what happens when the physical aspect of your game is so important. Essien is still only 33, but his dominating midfield performances are distant memories now. Distant memories but treasured ones.
James Bruschini (Ramires did get a bit too red-cardy I have to admit)


Where was David Speedie?
Really enjoyed your piece on b*stard strikers

However, I can only assume you decided David Speedie was some sort of attacking midfielder rather than a forward.

Nastiest, most horrible, sh*tty little b*stard I ever saw on a football pitch by a country mile
Rob, Bristol Gooner (Bergkamp’s still my all time fave, despite ‘occasional’ b4st4rdry)


Zidane was a b*stard
Loved your b*stard top 10 but how did you manage to omit one Zinedine Zidane?

One of the finest players to ever grace the game, 14 (fourteen) career red cards including that headbutt in a world cup final no less. Surely worth a mention for equalling his majesty only with his bast*rdry.

Honourable mentions to Eric Cantona and Sergio Ramos.
Sean, CFC, London


Two minutes later…
Just realised the list was exclusive to strikers. Humble apologies.

Although, could this become a running feature?
Sean, CFC, London


Fellaini could be less alienated
Absolutely love the proposal this morning for Warren Joyce to take over the Manchester United first team for the rest of the season. It could be a massive success, it could be a spectacular failure. But the idea of integrating a team of younger players into the first team together… I love it.
On another note, how ridiculous is that report about Fellaini feeling alienated? Seriously, the guy is basically van Gaal’s favourite nephew. As for costing him a place in Belgium’s squad for the Euros… a few less elbows and some more actual football might help.
Alex, Leeds


The Wimmer takes it all
This morning, Tottenham have announced that Jan Vertonghen will face a spell on the sidelines having damaged knee ligaments on Saturday. Now we all know that Toby and Jan have formed a formidable partnership in the centre of our defence this season. But I for one am fully confident in Kevin Wimmer’s ability to step up when needed.

He hasn’t had much game time which is understandable when we have a settled and successful defensive partnership in place. But Wimmer is top class and I predict that Spurs won’t miss Vertonghen as much as many might think.

I have a good friend who is a big Cologne fan. When it was confirmed Wimmer was coming to Spurs, my friend was devastated. Wimmer had been an absolute star for them. Having seen Wimmer play a few times this season, I think he is well suited to the premiership. Quick(ish), strong and very comfortable on the ball. Vertonghen Mark II if you like.

He’s been very patient and some other players might have sounded off about their lack of minutes on the pitch. But now his time has come and I wish him the best of luck. He’s got a chance to show everyone what he can do. I’m sure he will take it.
Japstarr (I’m sure Kev is reading this!) THFC


Stop blaming managers for not signing Charlie Austin
I can’t help thinking that Paul McDevitt, in the style of many a contestant on The Chase, has the right answer for the wrong reasons. Alan Pardew is a good manager, and few people other than Chunky himself think he is great, but sticking the boot into him for not signing Charlie Austin is not exactly fair. As F365 pointed out last week, Austin wanted to move back to the South Coast to be nearer his family. No amount of wishing is going to make Crystal Palace a South Coast club, so any attempts to sign Austin were doomed to failure.

Also, on the subject of price, Austin’s transfer fee was reported as £4m, but what won’t have been reported so widely are the wages he will be on at Southampton (likely to be more than Palace were willing to pay) and the amount that it will have cost to buy out Austin’s contract. The transfer fee is lower than it might have been because QPR have the spectre of FFP looming, and likely accepted a lower fee than other clubs might, for the trade-off of getting a highly-paid player off their wage bill.

Alan Pardew’s managerial career has always been streakier than Danepak. His teams can catch fire for a few games and start knocking on the door of the European places, but his managerial style when things were a bit grim was a bit like driving on ice – if you start to slide, often efforts to correct/counteract it make things worse, so all you can do is sit tight until your car comes to a stop on its own, and hope that you haven’t sustained too much damage.

Paul is right that the Glaziers could have used a player of Austin’s calibre, but there was never any chance of them signing Austin himself. Paul also deserves praise for his maverick nature – I don’t think many other people saw Soton beating Manchester United as a moment of schadenfreude for Palace.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven


ANOTHER Burnley mail
Since you decided when you got your fancy new layout that any leagues below the Premier League no longer existed, and since I love the mailbox but can’t face another seven consecutive mails each about Arsenal or Man Utd (seriously, I’d rather you printed the junkmail you inevitably get if there are no mails about anything else) I thought I’d write in about Burnley considering our massive result last night against Derby (which you unfortunately haven’t covered).

Pre-season started badly with us losing arguably our three best players (including our influential captain) from the past two seasons in Ings, Trippier and Shackell (Trippier in particular is huge miss as almost all of our good play used to go through him down the right) although we did manage to hang on to Tom Heaton which was an exceptional piece of business as I think he’s easily a Premier League quality ‘keeper. Started the season in awful form performance-wise, largely down to having one fit central midfielder and zero-goal-hero Lukas Jutkiewicz up front, but picked up enough points to keep pace with the ‘market leaders’ whilst going absolutely mental and more than doubling our record spend on a player by signing Andre Gray (I still think £9million was a ridiculous amount of money but he’s been banging them in so I’m not complaining).

Performances were still largely shocking but we kept chugging along picking up points, added Joey Barton (who I was unsure about but has proven to be an excellent signing, leading by example and bringing some composure and experience to our midfield) and seem to have found the magical formula over the New Year period with an aggregate score in our last five games of 25-5, including last night’s 4-1 drubbing of Derby.

It was a strange game last night, we got schooled a little in the first half but defended excellently (as we so often seem to do, credit to Dyche and his team for that) and managed to go in level at the break. I thought the second half would just be more of the same but after Gray did well to win a penalty Derby capitulated. They could barely string two passes together and I think we were deserved winners based on that second half performance.

If we can keep this up and extend our good run into March I think we’ll be in contention for automatic promotion considering we still have ‘Boro and Hull to come at home. ‘Boro are a very good team but hopefully their little wobble will develop into a Derby style meltdown, Derby are in the midst of their annual bottle job from a good position and I don’t think Brighton will keep it up long enough to be a serious threat on that front. Hull, on the other hand, look very strong and if we finish above them (and/or ‘Boro) we’ll have done very well. As for Sheff Weds, Birmingham and Ipswich; who knows?

Would be great to hear what the fans of some of the other Championship play-off challengers think about the season so far, it would certainly be far more entertaining than yet another amateur 16 conclusions on the latest United game…
Ashley, Burnley
(MC – Please keep your Football League mails coming. The more you show you care about them, the more we can write)

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