‘Man United are an absolute shambles of a club’ and more hard-hitting opinions

Editor F365
Man Utd star De Gea
Casemiro and David De Gea with the Carabao Cup trophy.

Are Man Utd in a mess despite a half-decent season? Would anybody buy Harry Maguire? We have views on this and more.

This is your page – mail us at theeditor@football365.com


Man United are shambolic
Man United are an absolute shambles of a club and a joke in every aspect including the fans (myself included).

What an absolute mess, a squad so jam-packed with terrible players on stupid wages that we never manage to sell anyone. 95% of the players we buy are triple their actually value and massively lack to impress. Have no actual approach to a transfer window and panic at everything. Must’ve signed 20 midfielders since Fergie retired, Casemiro aside we still need three midfielders (jury’s out on Eriksen due to injury).

Linked to absolute nonsense again this window, £60 million for Mason Mount? A year left on his contract, average at best and swear he must be a blood relative of Southgate to get near an England squad.

We’re all deluded, we tell ourselves Rashford is world class, but he’s not even class – 30 goals last year? Yes, embodies everything a United player should be? Yes, local academy loves the club? Yes – but how many chances does he need? Last week for England, scored, two minutes prior misses the same chance, and a minute after Saka (who took his chances) rifles one into the top bin, gets put through and just fizzles out…… Saka went on to score a hattrick from about three shots.

We didn’t have a good season last year, we were just consistent against the bottom half, Coca Cola Cup win was great but from then on we plummeted, if it wasn’t for Liverpool’s even worse season we’d have been Europa League again. Against any half-decent side we were ripped apart and embarrassed.

Imagine not actually selling your house after someone offers to pay above the market value. Imagine getting your new kit leaked by some cheeky chappy who probably wouldn’t know real rap if it hit him in the face at Glastonbury festival. Imagine offering your goalkeeper a new contract on massively reduced terms who then accepts and you withdraw it to offer him less so you can free up money to overpay for another absolute bag of garbage.

If that all appeals be a United fan. Absolute laughing stock of a club. Yet because we spent £80 million on a £35 million centre back 4 years ago, we can just blame everything on him as he wasn’t the Paolo Maldini we paid for.

I’m just as deluded mind as I’ll go to every game next year and get excited when we score three in the first 15 minutes of a cup match against Woking who rested 6 of their usual starting 11.
Dean Rowland


Who would take Harry Maguire?
I just read Will Ford’s piece on Harry Maguire being United’s most saleable asset and I’m sorry to say but it’s complete and utter rot. What Will has glossed over, apart from his reputation that’s so tarnished he’s been booed for England, is that he’s on the best part of £200kpw. There’s very, very few clubs that are going to be able to cover those kind of wages and shell out a proposed fee of £40m for a 30yo. Those very few clubs are not interested in Harry Maguire. If he does go, which he needs to do for his career, it’ll be for half that amount or on one of those loans like Lukaku’s to Inter.

Our actual most saleable assets are Elanga (£15-20m), Dean Henderson (£20-30m), and most of all, Scott McTominay (£30m+) who is four years younger and on less than half the wages. Those are players that mid-table clubs can afford and would want. Sell those 3, plus the likes of Telles, Williams and Fred and there should be enough for the striker, keeper and midfielder that we need.
Lewis, Busby Way


Do Man Utd fans care enough though?
There was something quite funny about someone called “Adidasmufc” writing in to discuss boycotting Man United’s associated brands. The irony aside though, I want to suggest why that won’t work: Most United fans don’t care that much.

Most of the 350 million United fans don’t live and breathe United. It’s not the most important thing in their life. They’re not sitting up at night thinking about the Glazers. They are not going to alter their lifestyle because the football club they support is owned by people that aren’t running it that well. And they’re certainly not going to write to sponsors telling them why.

Do you honestly think Dave in Swindon is going to refuse to buy some Adidas trainers because of the Glazers? Hank in Texas isn’t going to get the new Chevrolet? Bill in Chipping Norton is going to go to the bother of cancelling his Betfred account? Haruki in Tokyo will refuse to buy Metal Gear Solid because its made by Konami? Liam in Dublin turns away from all Cadbury’s chocolate?

It’s just not going to happen. For most people their football club is just something they support. A bit of fun. It’s not the most important thing in the world. And certainly important enough to take the action you’re describing. Nor by the way, should it be. If you’re going to go to the bother of organising a boycott, there are far more important issues in the world you could be thinking about.
Mike, LFC, London


How do you make the transfer numbers make sense?
Honestly, it’s hard to wrap my head around the top-end transfer fees mooted for players like Kane and Rice. 350 million quid sufficed to prise NUFC from Mike Ashley’s fat, clammy fingers. That is, 350 million bought the entire club, all its players, its staff contracts, its endorsement contracts, its training ground, its equipment and accoutrements, and St. James Park itself.

So how can a single player possibly be worth 100 million pounds? Yes, yes, I have a basic understanding of capitalism: price is determined between the buyer and seller and is not a fixed value; if somebody will pay a price, the price is appropriate. But I don’t feel like buying Harry Kane for five years would increase NUFCs value by anything close to 100 million pounds, so how does it make sense?

I can’t think of a legal and fair way to set up controls on player fees, but surely this sort of wildly inflationary spending by ultra-rich clubs will end in tears. And the tears are likely to be shed by fans of selling clubs; Arsenal, Chelsea and the Manchester clubs (or, more widely, Real, Barcelona and PSG) will be the last clubs to feel the effects of the changes they’ve wrought. But when that time comes, I worry there will only be top-flight clubs left.
Chris C, Toon Army DC


I see your Patrick Vieira and I raise you…
Graham Simons
, I have two words for you – Jaap and Stam. And if it’s not him, it’s got to be De Bruyne or Salah jist because of how good they’ve gone on to be.

I would argue that Arsenal’s mistake wasn’t selling Vieira, who did well in Italy but was definitely past his best within a year or two, but losing a lot of experience in quick succession without bringing in older heads to replace them – Pires, Campbell, Bergkamp, Parlour, Vieira, Cole and Keown all left within 24 months of each other I’m pretty sure.

Jaap Stam left a very specific hole that wasn’t filled for five years. That was five years of watching Blanc, Silvestre, Brown and, occasionally, one of the Nevilles play centre half.


Who would you have loved to see in the Premier League?
I have a question…Who is a retired player that never played in the prem but you really wish they had done?

Please don’t be boring and say Pele or Puskas, at least try to keep it to the Prem era so they realistically could have signed for a club in the past 30 years. Also don’t pick someone obvious like Paolo Maldini, Ronaldo Luis Nazario, Ronaldinho or Diego Maradona, sure there isn’t a single person that didn’t want to see any of them at their club.

My personal pick is Marcelo Salas, the 248 career goals Chilean striker who scored that sublime finish in a friendly against England at Wembley once. He was pretty short at 5’9 but strong, quick, a top class finisher with his left foot and surprisingly great in the air so had all the tools to succeed in England. He won the most of his honors at Lazio including a Serie A title and a European Cup Winners’ Cup. He was linked with Utd and Chelsea while at Lazio but opted for a switch to Juventus instead.

Sadly a serious knee injury ruined that move and he ended up back in South America for the rest of his career. Without that injury I definitely could have seen him signing for Chelsea at some point but it was never meant to be.

Now for Brian Morrissey. Waterford. Ireland as your wish is my command. So the whole ‘never buy Italian’ was even a thing back in the 90’s so much it was even coded into Championship Manager 3 98/99. So you are playing as a top team like Utd, Bayern or Barca, Buffon and Cannavaro are both out of contract at the end of season so you offer them inflated deals to make sure you sign them, they are 2 of the games best after all. Then the moment they actually join your club your excitement is extinguished as both become unhappy because they cannot adapt to life in your country. Waiting is a waste of time as I tried this for two seasons with Buffon and he could still not adapt.

Now anybody who has played the game knows editors exist (cheating I know) but I went and changed these players adaptability to 20. This in theory should fix the issue as it does for any other player. Much to my surprise it doesn’t, like there is secret code in the game that makes Italian players who have only ever played in Italy unable to adapt abroad even if they have 20 for adaptability.

There are of course a few exceptions that do adapt fine, you can buy Paolo Maldini but only if you can afford his wages which pretty much only leaves Utd. Definitely buy him though as you get at least 4 seasons with the best left back on the game. Alessandro Nesta is another one that usually adapts but never ever buy him whoever you are. His stats suggest he should be the best defender in the game but he only gets a 6 or 7 rating most games and never above an 8 which is rare anyway, it makes no sense. Just buy Steve Housham from Scunthorpe Utd even if you are Real Madrid, he is far better somehow.

If anybody would like more tales of Championship Manager 3 98/99 geekery please let know. It is actually superior to much more lauded 01/02 version. If you disagree lets argue about it. To kick off the bloodbath 98/99 Andri Sigþórsson > 01/02 Maxim Tsigalko + Cherno Samba, yes I said it so bring it on!


Colombians worse than Italians
I note the comments on Italians not being very good when they play in the Premier League. As others have mentioned there are many notable exceptions, however I think one of the key missing points is that Serie A is still a relatively strong league, it has not got the same financial wealth as the Premier League but in terms of depth they’ve had 4 different champions in the last 4 years, had 3 finalist in each of the European competitions and before the Premier League big 4 then big 6 in Italy you had the 7 sisters which were the 7 largest clubs hence Italian players did not need to leave. Finding Italians that have been successful anywhere is a struggle although there are exceptions.

However, my point was that in terms of a nations whose football exploits have failed in the Premier League I’d offer up Colombians. Initially the likes of Angel, Rodallega and Ricard did well in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Asprilla was iconic although I’m not sure how successful he was.

However, latterly you’ve had high profile failures including Falcao, Cuadrado and James Rodriguez along with overpaying for average performers like Sanchez and Mina. They’ve not all been terrible of course, Diaz looked good before the injury and I don’t know how the likes of Sinisterra at Leeds, Duran at Palace or Lerma at Bournemouth (now Palace) fared.

However, Falcao, Cuadrado, James, Sanchez and Mina all succeeded abroad before coming to England, I know there are different reasons why they failed so probably more down to coincidence.
Paul K, London


Chelsea should sign Neymar
We all know the Americans like a Franchise player/marquee signing.

Currently Chelsea have Enzo (too young), Silva (too old), Mount (too gone), Sterling (too crap?). Nothing really screaming global franchise.

And despite spending obscene amounts of money, they still have a sizeable hole “upfront”.

Add in Potch’s Neymar bromance from PSG and the Saudis riding in like the US cavalry to clean up the Chelsea books and create wage budget, and suddenly you have a perfectly sized Brazilian hole to fill.

As Fabrizio Romano might say (or possibly Marvin Gaye)… let’s get it on!!
Matthew (ITFC)


Where it all began…
Obligatory intro…..long time reader, talking from the days Mediawatch always seemed to finish with a leg crosser, first time writer.

Me born in Canada to an émigré Dad who was brought up in Highbury. Football ran deep, even if it was always a case of not quite but almost dreams. My dad had trials with Arsenal back in the day, (family legend being the club even got him what were then quite novel contact lenses), but his eye sight was shot so no joy there. His Dad had played in some army teams with pros during the war but real life meant he never had a chance to follow his dream and ended up in a new town. My aunt still lived in Highbury when we returned, a 70s kind of squat/student digs place, and if memory serves I used to sort of be able to see a bit of the pitch from her top back window. Could definitely hear the crowd on match day, I certainly remember that.) In short the Arsenal ran pretty deep.

Family moves back to England in ‘74 and we stay a couple of months at my Dad’s folks, who even had a TV. As a special treat I’m allowed watch the highlights of the Arsenal game that night. Huge deal for me, not least as my older brother wouldn’t be getting this honour, (to be fair he hated the beautiful game), never been up so late before or seen football on the telly, probably in that order. End up wrapped in a big old blanket on a chair of my own, (no sharing = double bonus), half asleep and struggling to go the course, but mission accomplished. Happy chap gets carried to bed.

Morning comes and over breakfast my Gran asks if I supported the winners or the losers? Like most 4½ year olds, and it seems most mailboxes, I lived then in a very binary world, goodies and baddies only. She proceeds to tell me Liverpool had actually beaten Arsenal so if I support winners I must support Liverpool. Made sense to me, and for the record, I have no doubt she knew what she was doing.

Being very much in that pig-headed contrary phase didn’t help the subsequent days of begging and attempted bribery from my dad and grandad. I’d never had so much attention or power. The harder the push the harder the resistance.

We ended up settling out of town in Surrey so I wasn’t alone in being a glory hunter plastic Liverpool fan, still am.
JayTeeTee (A favourite memory is listening to the midweek games on a radio that you had to warm up to get a signal, (tech wasn’t Tech back then and our landing was freezing cold).

PS On Italians, I remember getting disproportionally excited when a post Clough Forest bought a couple of players from Serie A. It was so exotic back then.

PPS From memory they couldn’t do it on a wet night in Stockport and left.


As much as I am sure everyone is loathe to see it, I need to reply to MAW.

My previous response was not motivated by your terrible choice in football teams, I can assure you of that. We seem to be broadly on the same page when it comes to our views outside of football, but there are some areas where we seem to be coming from different angles.

As far as the status quo goes, as the child of disabled parents I have seen and experienced more than enough to make me know that the status quo is something to stand against as much as possible. We live in despicably unfair societies, shaped by people who despise us. We receive our news from people who think we are fools, and unfortunately far too many people are quick to prove that point.

It is not that I believe in the status quo, it is more that I have no belief in people changing it. We know racism is an ever-present in the world. We know inequality grows ever worse. We know that the planet is being destroyed. And yet…

Unfortunately a lot of people are either stupid or selfish. Privilege has corrupted those on the ‘good’ side to such an extent that I fear that far, far too many will never be prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to benefit all. When people use the phrase “It’s just being done for the sake of equality” as a NEGATIVE it highlights the self-interest that will drag us all down.

Injustice is rampant; shoplifting used to justify the murder of a child, drug use given as an excuse for public execution, kids being shot at traffic stops for non-compliance. And this is the scary part of the status quo. Things like this have been normalised to a terrifying extent. We are seeing open fascism in real time, racist rhetoric and declarations from people with power and influence; why? Because if we fight each other we are not fighting them. And they are our enemies.

But nothing will change. People will continue to hero-worship those who would burn them alive to protect their own wealth. People are pathetic. Not every single soul on earth, but the vast majority. That is the issue that burns in me above all others. And I do not exclude myself from that. For all of the words I have written here and elsewhere, none will change anything.

I’m writing this from hospital. Over the past few days I have encountered many wonderful people of various nationalities and ethnicities. Every one of them working exceptionally hard, underpaid and under massive pressure, as part of a healthcare system that should make every person in this country proud. And yet you need not go far to find countless criticisms and damning articles about waiting lists, about migrants taking GP spaces, about failures here and there.

I’m not trying to make this a hero narrative – every workplace has its coasters. But these days have been a sad reminder that people are so easily led, or rather misled. Some are quick to follow a hateful narrative because it supports their own internalised bigotry and anger. Others are slow to question if what they are reading/hearing is true because they just don’t want to know. The same underpins the lack of reparations for the countless victims of the slave trade, and exceptionally polite and genteel way to refer to mass kidnapping, rape, torture, and murder.

Throw a little suggestion that it might take a few pennies out of your pocket – because heaven forbid the continental rapists pay the price themselves – and people are very quick to resist the idea, or to get very angry at the concept. “Why should THEY get something for nothing?” people ask, while ignoring both the nonsense of the question and the raw, horrific facts that would answer it.

MAW, you seem like a good soul. Keep pushing back dude/dudette. And when the shades are lifted from your eyes and you see the light, you will be welcomed into the Spurs fanbase. Life is a struggle, and no other club can prepare you for that pain as well as mine.

That makes it a football letter, right?