Man Utd are ‘negotiating their way through Europa League qualifiers’ amidst the chaos

Editor F365
Manchester United look forlorn
Manchester United look forlorn

Manchester United are on track for the Europa League as the fans have to learn to embrace the chaos.

We also have mails on VAR, tw*ts being banned and more. Send your views to


Man Utd got the job done in Istanbul
I must say, despite how topsy-turvy Man Utd’s season has been thus far (okay mostly turvy?), we’re negotiating our way through these Europa League qualifiers remarkably well. Came to Istanbul knowing we needed exactly a draw, and got it with ease with some excitement thrown in.

I must admit I was a bit nervous when we got into a 2 goal lead early in the second, but we knew what we had to do and promptly got back into the game to make it 3-3. Brilliant!
Niraj (realistic ambitions) Tampa


Embrace the chaos
What a batshit game, and group in general. There’ve been 26 goals in United’s 5 Champions League games. By contrast there’s been 32 goals across United’s 13 league games. Given how painfully boring 90% of our league matches have been this season, and the fact we almost certainly won’t win anything this year anyway, why not embrace the chaos – at least it’s fun!

The chaos makes it worth watching United for a reason other than schadenfreude.
Simon, Wales


How can you score 9 goals in 3 away matches and not win any?
How can you be so disorganized in defense and so profligate in attack?
How can you have absolutely no game management capabilities in the field and on the bench?
How can you consistently be less than the sum of your parts?
How can every new signing be worse than the one they replace?
How can a manager have no clue how to affect a game?
How come I didn’t have a mental breakdown tonight?
How come I still support Manchester United?
Tunji, Lagos

READ: Man Utd ‘silence!’ no one as Premier League’s ‘best’ f*cks it in the Champions League again


Why set up a wall that includes 2 opposition players who inevitably split and leave a gap?
Aidan, Lfc (I’m clearly missing something)


The chaos is real
Arrrgh. So infuriating yet played so well going forward. Absolutely no composure with this team. Still not out of it but my goodness, just hold the bloody ball and calm things down.

Football, bloody hell.
Garey Vance, MUFC


Why no keeper chat?
Now why is the media not asking Ten Hag about his decision the let De Gea go and replace him with a marginal (arguable) £50m upgrade every week but Arteta is still getting it close to December?

Arsenal are top of both the leagues they’re competing in and obviously United are bottom and 6th. It does make you wonder.
James, Kent


Onana, what’s a save?
From your goalkeeper piece two days ago:

‘No Premier League keeper has kept more clean sheets than Onana this season. No Premier League keeper has a better saves percentage. So absolutely don’t believe yer da when he says the Manchester United keeper is a clown.’

Turns out our da’s were right.
James Russell


Stop with the Super League stuff
The last week or so has seen a few emails going on about the big clubs heading off and having their own super league, leaving everyone else to get on with enjoying their game. This is nonsense on several levels.

If the big clubs go, the money will dry up – not a little, but almost all of it. The interest in the big clubs means that the little clubs get to eat at this table, all the way down the pyramid. Crumbs, I grant you, but it makes a massive difference.

The truth is that we have too many football clubs in this country – it is unsustainable – but take the crumbs away and almost all fold. Take these away and the most valuable game in football each May will no longer exist as anything other than the promotion to a slightly higher quality Championship. You’ll get your football back, probably for 3 years. The football leagues will be cut to 2 divisions, with regional leagues being the norm, but prize money will fly away. Imagine a poorer Championship in money and talent!

If you want the big clubs to form a league of their own, then great, but get used to watching sub-standard football at the few grounds that still exist to host it, while the rest copy the Highbury real estate design and old boys sit in pubs and tell you what it was like to stand among 1500 people on a cold Saturday, abusing a referee.

Media will follow the top level game. A super league would be fantastic – big games, lots of hype and few dead rubbers. If you weren’t a fan of one of the clubs, you soon would be, albeit grudgingly. It would be a little like Amazon – you know you don’t want to use them, you know that they aren’t fair and that alternatives exist, but they hit your needs when you need it and they know how to do it – sometimes it’s the only game in town!

They stopped the Super League, but it’s masking a fundamental truth in the game that most claim to love it, but most prefer the elite offering over anything local. If you think that getting rid of the big clubs will help, you’re deluded.
Nick in Woking


I found myself bizarrely (and worryingly) nodding along to Barry’s email about Matty Cash being a tw*t (I’m paraphrasing) given the outcome of that tackle on Bentancur and his season.

Thankfully though, Barry reverted to form and suggested injuring an opponent meant the same amount of time on the sidelines for the offending player. Whilst Cash is no doubt a tw*t, I doubt he meant to sideline a fellow pro for 10 weeks.

What happens if a player legitimately doesn’t mean to hurt someone with a tackle (is Barry forgetting Son’s tackle on Gomes against Everton?) when making a challenge? Imagine the VAR discussions in here if it was contentious. Not sure the mailbox would cope.
Jon (aware that he is still biting at the probable LOLZ Barry Fox letters), Lincoln


On all that nonsense
Banning people for injuries? It’s the standard reply every time someone comes up with this idea, but football is a semi contact sport. In Spurs’ own case, would there be a level of acquiescence if Udogie had got a ban for two+ weeks for the challenge on Gakpo in the recent Liverpool game? No, why? Because he didn’t mean it? Because it was an accident? Innocuous? Because it’s the sort of thing that can naturally happen in the game? Right, good. Fine. Sensible. I agree.

But here’s the thing (and this applies to VAR too), can you explain where that sort of challenge stops, and one facing sanctions should start?

I’d wager you can’t. And that’s where this sort of argument (and those for VAR) start falling down. The blind zealots ahead of VAR’s introduction, and the rabid cultists who still advocate that it’s just the ‘implementation’ that is at fault, can’t seemingly understand that if you bring something through to look solely at the extremes, then basic whataboutary and demands for consistency mean that in every ruling, the threshold is getting lower and lower and lower, and all of a sudden you’re expecting referees to be the thought police.

It’s here for the clear errors? two seconds later i need to understand where exactly an armpit finishes.

Every single thing on a football field endangers the safety of a player. Every single one. Even the length of grass. The amount of rain. The type of studs the player themselves chose to wear.

You can do something hideous and take someone out for a week. You can do something innocuous and take them out for a season.

In that game, Jones got sent off for something that apparently could have injured… but didn’t. Udogie’s challenge took out Gakpo for a yellow, and even that was protested.

The answer to that situation isn’t to demand a change to the world. It’s to take a breath and realise that life is shades of grey, and most of what happens on a football pitch is ‘orange’. And if orange, then a ref can rule either way. You think this challenge is outrageous. I think your former captain is a spear-tackling-and-genuinely-dangerous-oaf who could well likely kill someone by repeatedly nudging them in the air, to win a free kick.

Admittedly, I loathe ‘bring the rave on’ Pickford for a) the outright ludicrous challenge on VVD that took him out for a year, and ruined his form for a further 6+ months, and more so b) that after he did it, the cretin tried to immediately help pick up VVD so they could play on quickly whilst VVD was shaking his head and holding his knee. I’d be happy if that twerp had received a lengthy ban. But I’m glad those running the game don’t listen to us in those moments.

The other thing that the VAR dialogue has shown, was just how quickly the ludicrous can happen if you bring in absolute laws. Jonathan Wilson laughably commented that, given the criteria to review a decision, if you have a 50/50 challenge in your own box to win the ball, and break up the field, because everything in the run up to a goal is subject to a review, you may be better advised to either miss or win a corner, than score and so potentially concede a penalty. How we laughed. But then it happened.

Or how about ‘any contact with a defenders arm should be a penalty’ when that was introduced? Well in LFC v Man City, Bernando Silva accidentally punched the ball towards Trent and it hit his arm, LFC recovered the ball and had a chance seconds later (can’t remember if they scored). Should that goal have stood, or a penalty to City be given? Even the though defender handball (zero tolerance applied) was caused by attacker handball (discretion applied).

And with that in mind, what happens in a Jonjo Shelvey vs Jonny Evans style incident where both idiotically throw themselves in two footed. LFC would be very heavily motivated to conclude an 8 week absence for their bit part midfielder, in order to ensure Man United centre half misses two months. Do you want that? Because I’d bet that would happen within days of your rule being introduced.

Or, and here’s the kicker, do you want a direct disparity between lower division players versus top 6 players? Should a Fulham player ever go in overly aggressively (hey, before the end of time it might happen) on a LFC player, then Kloppo could well keep them on the recovery path for a month. Should Diogo Jota smash into someone from Forrest, in a relegation battle, aren’t Forrest going to need their better players back asap, even at 60%, 70%? After one full training session rather than a proper rehabilitation plan? So you’d immediately get a disparity of outcomes.

Please can we all just take a breath for a bit. Every team has dickheads. Dickheads should get red cards. If they do, or they don’t, happens in our favour and not all the time. But judging an absence by the outcome is insanity.
Tom G


Welcome to the ‘jobbed by VAR’ club
Sorry, been busy this week and just now got around to seeing Newcastle being royally jobbed by VAR.

I’d like to take this moment and formally welcome Newcastle to the “Being Royally Jobbed by VAR” club. Your membership cards are on their way. Remember, they don’t really do anything and no one else cares you’ve been jerked around but you do get all the other benefits of belonging in such a prestigious club, especially now that we’ve gained a prominent member in Liverpool FC. They’ve really added a level of credibility to the club that we frankly didn’t have before.

But we are glad to have you in the club. Enjoy.
TX Bill, EFC


Referees don’t want change to VAR
So, raise your hand if you think VAR needs to be changed (counting hands…1, 2, 3…101, 1001…). But guess what, we don’t count! Fans want it changed, players want it changed, clubs want it changed, and heck I’m sure if it could win them votes, politicians would want it changed. But it doesn’t matter because there is one group who do NOT want it changed. I’ll give you a hint… it’s in the name. Video [to] ASSIST the Referee!

In the 19th and 20th Centuries, when there were Flat Caps and Woodbines and rationing, football was officiated by middle-aged, overweight men where half the time you couldn’t see the other end of the pitch. Since then, the pitches have improved, the balls, the stadiums, the players’ fitness, touch and technique, the clothing, the technology, the cameras, all except one thing… those same men running around the pitch trying to keep up with athletes in the primes of their careers, now watched and scrutinized by millions. The game has changed so fundamentally that they can’t keep up, metaphorically and literally.

So we introduced VAR. It is actually amazing technology. We can analyze plays frame-by-frame, view reverse angles or overhead views, extrapolate lines and positions, but at the end of the day, it’s all still viewed by and decided by the same people who made the bad call in the first place. And of course, being human beings, the interpretations vary from game-to-game, week-to-week and it drives everyone crazy.

There exists a host of technological solutions that could be implemented. VAR calls could quickly and easily be sent to a central location and computer algorithms could run them against a database that is built up over time (e.g. this season 8 of 9 similar handballs have not been given) and the decision could be returned in seconds instead of minutes and be directly transmitted to the referee on the field. The NFL and Aussie Rules have multiple umpires, Tennis has Hawk Eye, Cricket can analyze sounds, and so on and so on.

The problem is, the referees don’t want it changed. Why? Because they will lose their power. I recall one former referee tell a former player on a TV show that “he didn’t know the [offside] rules.” How arrogant and condescending is that? We’ve all seen enough examples of the referees themselves not knowing all the intricacies. But they are like the NRA – no concessions. So we are left with 21st Century technology run by 19th century officials and we wonder why it isn’t working.
(Think about all those astronomical decisions VAR would have got RIGHT – Hand of God, Geoff Hurst’s goal, Lampard’s non-goal, etc.)