Mails: Worried about the Man United talent drain…

Date published: Wednesday 25th October 2017 7:19

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Worried about the Man United talent drain
I am a very worried Manchester United fan; Mourinho is driving so many talented players out of the club who will more than likely go on to become world beaters in other clubs.

He seems to have his favourites who can do no wrong and get chance after chance and be nothing above average (see Daley Blind, Fellaini (slightly harsh, but he has only moved from terrible to average), Lingard. Because their ‘attitude’ is right.

Young players need to make mistakes and be allowed to, to improve, fans will understand this and afford them time.

Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial are the two I am especially worried about as I have a feeling in three years’ time I will be watching them excel in another team thinking what could have been. Swapping Martial and Rashford may have been ‘working’ but neither player is getting a consistent run, and in games like Huddersfield it shows as they never get a chance to develop a plan B to their games.
Duncan Clowes


Will F365 be a mess of semen after the weekend?
My thoughts turn to the weekend games and as an avid reader of this site and follower of Manchester United (boo, hiss!) of course I’d like us to give the Harry Kane team a good pasting on Saturday, for obvious reasons.

But if Poch the Messiah can get one over on Evil Emperor Jose, the fallout on here would be unbearable! I would fear for some of your staff w**king themselves blind, the offices exploding in a tsunami of semen, such would be the level of ecstasy at having a full week of bragging rights, bigging up their beloved Spurs and sticking the boot into Mourinho simultaneously! F365’s HQ could well end up looking like the end of Ghostbusters on Saturday afternoon.

Still, at least Gerry McCreevy, that huffy tosser who pops up in the comment threads might make good on his constant threats to never frequent this ‘anti-Jose’ site again, so perhaps it wouldn’t be all that bad!
Lee, fearing the worst


The only way Jose’s United will win…
I read the headline ‘Manchester United need to send out a message against Spurs’ and knew what people would be saying:

United need to show Spurs how good they are.
Jose needs to improve his record against the big teams.
He should attack and not go for a draw.
They need to play expansive football.
Etc. etc.

Can we all just get a bit of perspective, settle ourselves down and realise that no matter how much we want to see a great game of football on Saturday, it just will not happen. We can bitch, scream and moan about how United should play well but this is a Jose Mourinho team so expect:

A soul-sucking game of Tottenham pressure
United hoofing the ball up the pitch 1000 times
Lukaku will get one chance which he will fluff
Kane will probably nick it at the end
Two or more Lindelof errors.

If anyone thinks we will get anything different is practising Einstein’s definition of insanity.

And let’s be honest, Spurs are flying and United are not, the only way United would win is with a classic JoMo 1-0.
Mik P


Will Lukaku be judged on this?
Will it be to early, too harsh to judge Romelu if he fails to score against Spurs and Liverpool?

Not scoring against the big clubs is the main area for critiscism of this very expensive forward.

Perhaps we will get to see him play (with Pogba) against a good European side after Christmas and if he´s still not getting on the score sheet against the better teams then Antoine and someone else will need to be brought in. I´m not saying Morata would have been a better fit and Mbappe evidently refused to play in a team with the style of Mourinho so there weren´t so many other options out there. Just, the bar is raised so high that there is no room for what people like to label a flat track bully. I reckon Lukaku will be in Big wWekend but Spurs will grab the three points and Pochettino´s stock will go even higher.
Peter (is he letting the Belgium team down?) Andalucia


Arsenal romance is addictive
Yesterday was a difficult day as an Arsenal fan. It was a reminder of how frustrating an entity Arsenal is to support. It reiterated how deeply flawed Wenger as an individual is despite his huge contributions to the club. It was also reaffirmation of the belief that we are far too away from the glory days that all Arsenal fans yearn to relive.

However, yesterday was also a reminder of why it is so great being an Arsenal fan. The new kid on the block (literally) came on and completely changed the game. He was quick, intelligent in his movements, and scored twice for us. It was heartwarming to, once again, witness a new prospect coming in and making an instant impact. For an 18-year-old, this would be an unforgettable day. His both goals not only changed the course of the game (we actually took control!) but also completely changed a result. How encouraging would have been for Nketiah to hear the home crowd chant his name? If I were a player, I would not need any further motivation to make sure I put an effort to improve my game as much as I possibly could and get a first team berth.

At the end, I was surprised to find myself not angry at the more experienced players featuring in the particular matchday. Surely the display was a wretched one. Surely, we took undue advantage of some poor (biased?) refereeing decisions. We absolutely didn’t deserve to progress further in the competition. Yet, it was heart warming to see another talent who could (if he doesn’t go down the Theo/Jack/Aaron path) potentially be a big star for us. It was a the marvel of the unknown, the miraculous contribution of a ‘nobody’ that made me forget the deeply rooted flaws of this Arsenal team. I am a realist and fully aware that Arsenal is nowhere close to winning the competitions that really matter (PL, CL). However, I also know that no other manager would give me such moments where the romanticism of the sport becomes more satisfactory than the urge to lift a trophy. I know that if we had someone like Mourinho in charge, I would never know the feeling that I was experiencing at that moment in time. And for that, I am grateful to one Arsene Wenger for being such an integral part of how the Arsenal model has evolved. As much as I would love to win another title, and finally get my team’s hands on a CL trophy, I wouldn’t want to do it at the cost of employing a ‘spend millions, win a trophy, get sacked in two/three seasons’ approach.
Ahmed, Pakistani Gooner in Turkey


Getting too cynical for such romance
Let’s put this into perspective Nketiah scored against Norwich of the Championship.

This sort of reaction is typical of Arsenal in recent years. We know we’re not going to achieve anything meaningful season after season so we celebrate any success like we have won the World Cup or celebrate any great new hope as if they are the new Ian Wright.

The boy did well last night and deserves the plaudits for now but let’s not get carried away particularly as under Wenger a direct striker who is good at getting on the end of crosses is more than likely going to have that coached out of him until he’s passing the ball pointlessly like the rest of his teammates. Kieran Gibbs looked a prospect when he first broke through having been taught how to defend properly by Bould in the youth team and look what happened to him.

Having said all of that I dread to think what Theo Walcott is thinking right now.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


Will Tottenham’s stadium really make a difference?
All this talk of Spurs’ new stadium and how that will allow them to compete financially with the very biggest boys has me wondering – are people guilty of overestimating the impact of the new stadium? Yes, Arsenal and United make a lot of money from their respective stadia (£100m and £107m last season, whereas Spurs made £43m). That is potentially £60m left ‘on the table’ that Spurs are not benefitting from. A huge uplift no doubt.

But if you take a look at the breakdown of these clubs income, you quickly see that the gate receipts are fast becoming less important to clubs’ income compared to the TV money and their commercial activity. As you would expect, Man Utd lead the way here by some distance. £107m from match day income compared to £408m from TV/Media & Commercial activity. That is a huge difference. Where once gate receipts were the lifeblood of clubs, a combination of smaller gates (post Taylor Report) and the massive expansion of TV money, combined with clubs greatly increasing their global reach and appeal has meant that gate receipts, whilst very nice to have, are not the be all and end all for Premier League clubs anymore.

Obviously United, as I said, are streets ahead of anyone else in the league when it comes to commercial activity but this is a split which is seen more clearly across the league – if we look at Arsenal (£100m match day; £254m other); Liverpool (£62m match day (pre new stand); £240m other) and Spurs themselves (£41m match day; £169m other) then it is clear that TV and commercial income is much more valuable.

Yes, there is the appeal of having a bright and shiny new stadium to showcase your team and show yourself as being one of the biggest clubs in the country and arguably the world which may be a factor when it comes to attracting new fans and possibly even new players. That in turn can lead to increased income elsewhere (and is presumably a major driver for the decision to build the new stadium) Levy’s determination to ‘monetise’ the stadium with NFL franchises, cheese rooms and a micro-brewery is impressive and entirely in keeping with his reputation as a shrewd manager of money and is all part of a wider plan to increase the appeal of Tottenham Hotspur to a new generation of fans and investors across the globe which may, in turn, lead to increased income elsewhere.

The real point of this email, of course, was to discuss wage bills as a percentage of turnover. Using the same three clubs to compare to Spurs – Arsenal is 55% (£195m); Liverpool are 69% (£208m) and United are 45% (£232m). United are actually lower than Spurs who are £100m or 48% of turnover. If we assume that Spurs can reasonably expect to increase their gate receipt income to £100m (I think it unlikely that they’ll get close to United’s £107m given that Spurs’ new stadium will be smaller than Old Trafford) and immediately pass that along to the playing staff via wages (a 60% pay rise for everyone!) without increasing commercial activity, their wages as a percentage of turnover will increase to 59%. Still lower than Liverpool’s (frankly absurd) 69% but getting up towards dangerous territory from a prudent management of a business point of view. If it is generally assumed that the likes of Kane, Alli, Alderweireld and Eriksen (and others of course) are currently being paid about 2-3 times less than they could earn elsewhere, then 60% increase in wages is unlikely to cut the mustard if they truly want to maximise their earnings potential throughout their careers. In that the case, the stadium alone will not suffice to cover this increase (far from it) and they must rely on improving their £59m commercial income – it is less than Arsenal (£82m), Liverpool (£116m) and United (£268m).

That, of course, is the aim and the old adage (/cliché) about speculating to accumulate has a degree of truth to it but, make no mistake, a bill of £750m and facing years of constraint given debt servicing costs is an enormous risk when you consider that the pay-off is comparatively small and uncertain.

NB – all figures are from 2015/16.
James, LFC, London


We have to sack Slaven
I don’t disagree for a second that the ‘worst’ Premier League XI of the season so far should feature four West Ham first-team regulars out of the 11. It could have even been five if you had judged the other Ayew on the criteria of actual footballing ability (it’s none, by the way). Or maybe even six if you had judged Chicharito on the criteria of pre-season hype to actual on the pitch results.

Season after season statistical analysis of teams and players improves (as you would expect), so much so in fact, we’re able to estimate how many goals a team should have scored in a game and then a whole season based on shot position.

ALL of the statistics that I have seen so far this season point to the fact that we are performing badly, or at best wallowing in the heavy belly of the other mid to low table teams… Some picks of the worst include:

Penalties conceded – 4 (1st)
Goals conceded – 17 (4th)
Long passes – 686 (1st) Regardless of if they are aimed at anyone.
Long pass accuracy – 50% success. For the glass half empty types, that’s half of the long balls we play are given to the other team.
Key long passes – 3.3 (1st) Goes along nicely with the “lump it long” tactic.
Short passes – 322 (14th)
Short pass accuracy – 83% (15th) For the glass half empty types, that’s 17% of the short we play are given to the other team.
Key short passes – 5 (16th)
Successful tackles – 64% (17th)
Distance covered – 944.1km (20th)
Sprints – 3938 (20th)

So, we’re handing the opposition lots of chances by giving away 50% of our long passes and 17% of our short passes, failing to win the ball back, letting them score plenty of goals and then giving up running after the ball, before inevitably giving away a penalty just for fun.

I like Bilic as a person and he has achieved by keeping us relatively stable during a period of transition, but the fans have turned, the players are turning and we’re only a few games away from staring relegation in the face. Despite many of the players under performing as highlighted in the article this morning the buck stops with Bilic for constant formation adjustments, lack of player fitness and example after example of poor man management (Arnautovic will be next mark my words!). Everton have oddly similar statistics and look equally poor but had to pull the trigger on a manager who has (had) the ambition to work for Barcelona after some terrible performances.

Some people use the argument of “show me the manager who could do better” for keeping Bilic. Perhaps the question we should be asking ourselves is “show me the manager who could do worse”. Time for a change.
Scott, London


Best and worst managers to take over from
With all the manager chat at the moment, got me thinking who the best and worst managers would be to take over from?

Koeman may have benefited from coming in after Poch at Southampton – team very fit, coherent and well trained. Can keep that up for a bit but a weaker coach eventually fades.

Anyone who follows Pardew on the other hand struggles. Big Sam pointed out how unfit the players were and Newcastle certainly had the same issue.

Not sure if following Jose or Sam would be good or bad… Following Moyes is probably easy as expectations low.

Thoughts mailbox?
James (NUFC, London)


Unofficial weekly awards. Don’t take them seriously.
Premier League Player of the Week – Harry Kane
Two goals and an assist to take advantage of Liverpool’s generosity. He plays the way any of us would if we were footballers, only a million times better.

Football League Player of the Week – Samuel Saiz
He bagged a brace as Leeds United crushed Bristol City, causing so them so much anguish that they would surely be easy pickings for their next opponents. Oh.

European Player of the Week – Sami Khedira
Khedira had already put Juventus 2-1 up away at Udinese when his side were reduced to ten men. He then scored twice further as Juve emerged 6-2 winners, earning a Whoscored rating of an incredible 9.48. For someone who is not renowned as a goalscorer (his highest tally for a league season is 7), this was a remarkable example of stepping up when it counted.

Premier League Loanee of the Week – Jack Payne
On loan from Huddersfield Town, he scored for Oxford United following a neat one-two.

Best Tactical Move – David Wagner
Huddersfield Town were in danger of floundering, or being found out, as their impressive start to the season had been curtailed. Then they played Manchester United and reclaimed their status as neutrals’ favourites with a performance that showed a willingness to work collectively, and then undo their opponents with an old-fashioned long ball over the top, that the defence failed to deal with.

Worst Tactical Move – Jurgen Klopp
Starting Dejan Lovren. Withdrawing Dejan Lovren after 31 minutes. Neither of these things solved the real problem, that Klopp has so far failed to recruit and/or develop defenders of the required quality to match Liverpool’s ambitions.

Best Goal – Sofiane Boufal
There’s lots to love about a player firstly dribbling past several opponents and secondly causing two of them to run into each other.

Best Header – Ade Akinfenwa
As shown on the Goal Rush, Akinfenwa created a chance by controlling the ball through several small headers to himself. Unfortunately he couldn’t get enough power on the shot to beat the goalkeeper, and so was denied a world-class goal, but should be praised for his technique and ability to improvise.

Statistic of the Week – Liverpool
Liverpool have conceded more goals in Premier League away games this season than Crystal Palace.

Celebration of the Week – Eric Lichaj
The Nottingham Forest full-back celebrated a rare goal with a lap of the field. He doesn’t get many, and it was well-taken, but it was still an insurance goal in a 2-0 win.

Inevitable Managerial Applicant of the Week – Harry Redknapp
Just pipping Ryan Giggs making it known he’s interested in both Premier League vacancies is Redknapp publicly discussing his interest in becoming manager of the Syrian and Scottish national teams.

Pundit of the Week – Chris Ramsey
Ramsey was on the Totally Football League Show this week, and I found him very interesting.

Mailboxer of the Week – Dan (Tuesday afternoon)
Sour grapes, ‘gender neutral toilets’ and an incorrect use of ‘myself’.

Dembele of the Week – Siramana Dembele
Assistant Coach of SC Braga, who won away at Moreirense and are now fourth in the Primeira Liga table.
Compiler of the Week – Ed Quoththeraven


Judging the Premier League
We’re now a quarter of the way through the season so I thought I’d do a mini review of the league so far.

Man City – Flying. Pep’s got them performing and they’ll storm the league. I know it’s early to say, but the league is theirs to lose.
Man Utd – Before the last two results I’d have said Man City would have some competition but cracks are beginning to appear.
Spurs – Standard doing well in the league. Hopefully they’ll will win a cup or something to get people off their backs.
Chelsea – Beginning to find form but second season syndrome hurt their start. Rumblings of disquiet in the ranks and we’ll probably see Conte leave at some stage soon.
Arsenal – In their favourite new league position. 5th.
Watford – Arguably the biggest overachiever. No-one predicted this. Silva has done really well so far. Will they maintain?
Newcastle – Another overachiever. Especially as they’ve only just come up from the Championship and barely bought anyone. Still…Rafa. He’s ace isn’t he?
Burnley – I’m biased but this is definitely the biggest surprise of the season. Especially considering who we’ve played.
Liverpool – Enough has been written but let’s be frank; they’re hugely underachieving and their title race is run already. Another pointless season for them.
Southampton – There or thereabouts where they should be.
Huddersfield – Another overachieving team. Who’d have thought they’d beat United eh? And be mid-table?!
Brighton – More surprising than Huddersfield for me. I’d have imagined they’d have been rooted to the bottom of the league all season. I don’t rate Hughton as highly as I rate Wagner.
West Brom – 13th. Probably about right isn’t it? Mid-table. Unlikely to trouble the European places and unlikely to be relegated. As it ever was.
Leicester – Difficult start considering the teams they’ve faced but mid to low place in the league seems about right as mentioned on this site a week or so ago. Their next managerial appointment needs to be spot on or calamity could ensue.
Swansea – Not in the relegation places so probably about right.
West Ham – Bilic will be next to be fired. They should probably be mid-table based on size but they’re not. Underachieving.
Stoke – difficult start to the season and lower than they’ll be in the league when the season finishes. Hughes needs some time and easier fixtures and everything will be fine.
Everton – Biggest underachievers of the league but in my opinion they were wrong to sack Koeman. A bit more time should’ve been granted considering his win record for them. Too big to go down.
Bournemouth – Again, just my opinion, but I think they’ve been overachieving for years and the Championship is where they belong. Howe’s reputation won’t be harmed but they will flirt with relegation all year.
Crystal Palace – Probably expect to struggle in the league but not be relegated. For me, they’d be no big loss but I do like their Ultras! I’ll bet that Hodgson won’t last the season.

All in all it’s gearing up for an exciting season at the bottom of the league. Less so at the top. As usual. I’d bet that top five is how things stand at the end of the season. Unless Mourinho self-implodes…
Nick P, Burnley FC

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