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Why are Man United selling all their strikers?
I have stated that UTD were on the right path on these very pages with their signings of Maguire and Wan-Bissaka, and with several teams around them in flux tipped them to finish 4th this season which would have been decent progress basis form at the end of last season.
But what on earth are they doing now? Selling Lukaku is a mistake or at least selling Lukaku and loaning Sanchez is , he may not be the all round centre forward they desire but his goal scoring track record is proven. UTD don’t need the money , they’re UTD after all so it makes no sense, particularly when Martial’s best form has been when played wide and Rashford is still yet to prove he can be the 20-plus-a-season goal scorer his potential hints at but has yet to be truly clarified.
Now Sanchez has been a flop we can all see that (3rd big club syndrome) but why on earth loan the guy out and apparently pay half his wages to do so. I appreciate the fact that Ole wants to give Greenwood minutes but he can do that whether Sanchez is there or not. How is it possible that the richest club in England and arguably the world are one injury away from having a teenager lead the line for a season.
Greenwood might be the second coming of Owen or Rooney who knows but that is a massive risk that is totally unnecessary to take.
Now I fully understand why UTD fans complain about Woodward, or is this Ole trying to show he’s the boss? Either way it’s crazy and now it looks like another long difficult season ahead…
DL, LFC, Geneva
Man United have problems beyond the midfield
I have been watching a few different Man Utd fan YouTube channels etc., to get a sense of what Man Utd fans think is wrong with the team at the moment. Their general opinion is that it’s the owners fault. I don’t want to talk about the owners because there is nothing you can do about them so I’ll talk about football matters.
Utd fans feel let down in the window, that their second best midfielder let go for £0 and didn’t replace him. Also the complete lack of creativity from the midfield. I think this is short sighted from the Utd fan base and a get out of jail free card for the poor form of Rashford but sussh nobody is allowed to say he’s crap. I hear the Utd midfield are not providing Martial, Rashford and James with enough chances to score. This is half true but the full truth is that your strikers are stupid with great physical attributes that need to be spoon fed. This gets blamed on the midfield.
Liverpool have a very practical-minded midfield, not packed with magicians but yet still create about 30 chances a game. Liverpool do not have a Pogba that can put a ball on a stamp from 40 yards. Wake up Utd fans! Your front three are not good enough! Yes the midfield can be better but the front three are tragic as well. To summarise, Utd front six are a lot less talented than they are perceived. Spoon feed Martial and Rashford and you might get a decent return but they are not at the level required to compete with the best. Presuming Utd are still trying to be no.1.
More credit for Matip please
Tomorrow the always eagerly anticipated group stage draw for the European Cup will take place, and alongside and during it UEFA will give out its various player gongs for last season’s competition. As a Liverpool fan I had a quick peruse of what this was all about given that as the winners of last season’s comp our players would probably feature prominently.
I discovered that the UEFA Technical Study Group, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ , names a 20-man squad of the season to erm, content themselves, possibly. And that the eventual nominees for the overall Player of the Season, and in each of the four positions, is voted for by the 32 coaches of last season’s teams and 55 members of the ‘ESM’ (European Sports Media).
And so obviously, being an arsey so and so, I immediately started to take issue with significant parts of it. The squad only has space for two keepers, Alisson is there obvs, but the other was Ter-Stegen. Feels harsh on finalist Lloris for me given that he made a vital penalty save v City in the quarters and had no glaring bloopers in the rest of the ko stages despite Spurs shipping a few. My abiding memory of Ter-Stegen was that he should possibly have kept out Wijnaldum’s first in the semi second leg and him applauding his defenders for having done nothing as TAA’s corner was literally crossing his path on the way to Origi’s right boot.
I’ll come back to the defenders, but in midfield incredibly the ‘TechStud’ boys declined to include Fabinho, preferring new Spur Tangy Ndombells for having reached the last 16, as well as a load of tippy tap merchants from a couple of provincial outfits called Ajax and Manchester City. I don’t know what they’re smoking at The House of European Football.
The forwards are fair enough, Mane’s there (also given the honour of finishing 3rd in the forwards vote behind the obvs pairing), but in truth Firmino and Salah (despite the pen in the final) were not at their best, or not always playing, in the semis and final, so no complaints there. Messi and Ronaldo continue their nomination streaks (both in the squad and as forward and best player nominees) going back to the Boer War, and at first you think ‘a fix’, ‘it’s about their brands’ etc, but then you recall that as usual they both averaged a goal game or better over 4 or 6 games in the knockouts and always showed up (apart from at Anfield, arf).
But contradictions with the forwards between the TechStud Group and the coaches/journo cabal starts with the fact that the former had Lucas Moura in their squad, but he doesn’t make the Top 10 in the voting system. Harry Kane is =8 though. I’d imagine possibly in both cases Heung-Min Son is saying ‘WTF’? Just the three goals over two legs against City. Tadic made both the squad and the Top 10 vote which is fine, as he’s different. Lewandowski also made the Top 10 vote for a combination of group stage flat track bullying and ‘did he actually play?’ in the last 16. Apparently some fella scored twice in a semi-final 2nd leg classic and the clincher in the final? Raheem Sterling was considered a midfielder in the squad but made the Top 10 of the vote for forwards ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .
Back to midfielders, Moussa Sissoko made both the squad and the Top 10, so good for him, but he didn’t get in the Top three to contest the Best Midfielder prize, that’s between Frenkie De Jong, and Jordan Henderson and Christian Eriksen, neither of whom made the TechStud midfield squad. Purely on the word ‘technical’ I might be able to understand Hendo’s omission, but again ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .
Right the main point the defenders. The squad only had room for five, VVD, TAA, Andy Robbo, De Ligt & Vertonghen (good player, but Spurs were muy leaky after the last 16). Obviously all of them made the Top 10 vote. Also in the Top 10 vote were erm (and remember this is last season’s Champions League) Sergio ‘out in last 16 after deliberately getting himself suspended’ Ramos, and Kalidou Koulibaly, the lad’s a good player by all accounts, but he went out in the group stage.
Do you know who didn’t go out in the group stage? But didn’t make the squad or the Top 10 vote? Hmm? Joel fkin Matip, that’s who. Kept a vital clean sheet whilst Koulibaly was being done by Mo for the winning goal in the last group game. Kept Lewandowski in his pocket whilst partnering Fabinho playing at CB for one of the first times in his career, as LFC kept a 1st leg clean sheet in the last 16. Stopped Messi, Suarez & co registering that one crucial goal in the iconic 2nd leg then topped it off with another blemish free display in the final.
So on behalf of Joel Matip I would just like to say to the UEFA Technical Study Group, the 31 coaches minus Jurgen Klopp, and the 55 hospitality guzzling chancers of the ‘ESM’ – you’re all scum, sub-human scum.
Yours, Nasty in a Nutshell Bobby
Is a 92-team system really sustainable?
I know this is going to be controversial and I do have sympathy for the plight of Bury and Bolton; however, it is also time for us to reflect on how likely this was to happen.
Ignoring the deplorable people who have taken over these clubs we have to acknowledge how and why clubs further down the pyramid may be struggling.
The truth is the idea of sustaining 92 professional football league clubs is unsustainable in the day and age of 7 days a week televised football, social media, and wall to wall coverage. The Premier League is a global behemoth and it is so unlikely for new fans to support a Bury or a Bolton over a Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Utd, etc.
100 years ago you walked to your local ground and supported your local team. Now going to watch football is a day out, you might drive to the ground from 30mins to 3hrs away. Kids can watch their favorite players on youtube. Most kids’ first football experience is watching Sky Sports not going to their local team’s 3pm game.
Some will say the money should filter down from the Premier League. Perhaps so, but at the end of the day, most Football League clubs are playing in half-empty grounds already. I know the tradition and the reasons why there is so much connection to these clubs but it may also be time to accept that 92 is too many for a country of our size with the dominance of the Premier League.
Is there a demand for two Sheffield clubs? Can Charlton, Leyton Orient, Brentford compete in London? Do Bristol Rovers and Bristol City both struggle to survive when one club could do so much better? Blackburn, Wigan, Bury, Bolton and Rochdale are all struggling/have struggled at different times in the shadow of City, Utd & Liverpool.
These are tough questions and clubs like these have rivalries going back generations. Yet, perhaps its time to embrace the more connected era we live in and build new rivalries as cities with one club compete against their nearby rival city. Our local football clubs might be a bit too local to survive.
Mark, London, MUFC
P.s – One of the best things about the way US sports largely have one team per city is how the whole City is cheering on the team. I was in Toronto for the NBA finals and the whole city were in it together. It feels very similar to how the country supports England at the World Cup.
You have to cut your cloth
This may come across as nothing more than a rival supporter adding salt to the wound of the Bury situation but it is not.
As a Rochdale fan we have lost the biggest came of most seasons and a game to truly look forward to, that and it is a big money spinner for Rochdale as it’s usually the only game a season where the ground is full. I also feel for the fans as it isn’t their fault and they are the ones who ultimately suffer.
However, Bury football club has been in this precarious situation about seven times and have always seemed to have gotten rescued at the 11th hour. I know being a club in a part of the world that has many much larger clubs within about 40 miles cant help, but there is still a place for clubs like Bury, Rochdale, Oldhametc you just need to learn to live within your means. This is something Bury has failed to do for decades and this time there is no way out, they haven’t learnt their lessons from previous situation.
Bury has always paid over the top for its wages, as a direct comparison with Rochale (both clubs are very similar in size) Bury’s average player salary last year was £2.4k, Rochdale’s £1.1k despite being a division higher at the time. The club was struggling for money yet brought in Jermaine Beckford, previous seasons it’s been Nugent, Nardiello, Bishop etc They have never learnt.
There is a place for clubs of Bury’s size, they just have to know what size they are and work within that, al la Rochdale.
Yes, this site is going to go on and on about the ills of evil football, but Bury really brought this on themselves, sad but true.
Luke RAFC (do not know much about the Bolton situation, but I am guessing Anelka, Hierro, Okotcha etc were not cheap either)
Should we have a football relief fund?
It is a deeply sad day for not only people who follow Bury, but football fans and sports fans in general. It breaks my heart to see the images coming out of the distraught fans, their stories and their sadness. I cannot imagine if suddenly the club I support locally or internationally would shut it doors. It would leave a big hole in the life of any fan. And all this, when there is such an easy and sensible solution to this.
ENGLISH FOOTBALL RELIEF FUND.
Taking off the 1% charity started by Juan Mata, the Premier League clubs should donate a small % (0.5-2% should be enoug) out of pure goodwill into this fund. This will be a non-profit organisation headed by a board of directors consisting of ex-pros, retired businessmen/ex club owners and people with actual care about the state of English football at their heart. Each an every transaction should be transparent to the very last cent.
I would assume a fund like this would have at least £20m in its coffers at any given time, and they can take over the runnings of a football club in its dying legs for a period of 6-12 months, set it back up, turn it and sell it to a bidder for a profit which will then be reinvested into the club. Its basically the concept of flipping a house. A team comes in, clears out the debt, makes the club a little more profitable, and then buys the club time to find a suitable buyer. It literally saves a club from extinction.
There are certain requirements for this to work:
1. The team that comes in will be paid a salary, but their work should be out of pure goodwill and aiming at success.
2. The clubs in trouble cannot look at this as a failsafe and prance around destroying clubs, and then use the fund money to bail themselves out. There need to be certain fines levied at owners who are mismanaging the club, and not fine the club itself.
3. The EFL/FA should have the right to remove any owner convicted of any kind of mismanagement by a independent commitee/court
4. The board of directors of the fund, should have the goodwill of football and fans at heart, and work towards the betterment of football
For me, this fund and team would be footballs version of ‘THE A TEAM’. Wherever there is trouble, they step in, clean up the mess and are then on their way. I am sure you lot may find a million flaws, but my thought process is: If a club, and the lives of thousands of fans can be improved with what Sanchez earns in 3 weeks, why should they not get that help ?? Premier League is awash with cash, and to save a club like Bury, it would require spare change from them. In my head, I had a fantasy that a club like United, City or Liverpool would step in to save Bury and Bolton. If not for the love of the game, then purely for the immense and amazing PR and goodwill it would create that would cost them around 10-15 million if they paid for it anyways. Its a goddamn shame that it did not happen.
But then there are moments like these…
Last night I watched my local team Crawley Town host premier league new boys Norwich City in the Carabao cup that no-one cares about. Although as Crawley won against a Premier League team for the first time ever, you better believe that the Carabao cup is a big deal in a small corner of Sussex.
The Reds were going up against a team that made 11 changes from the Chelsea defeat however still featured players with Champions League experience in Ralf Fahrmann and Timm Klose along with some up and coming talent in Ben Godfrey and Man City loanee Patrick Roberts. Crawley put in an excellent performance and came away with a 1-0 win, and fully deserved to be in the next round. The looked exactly liked they were – a League Two team playing a Premier League team – but they fought, they ran , they nicked a goal via Bez Lubala (on loan from Birmingham , now scored five in seven games and looks like a cracking player) they defended like their lives depended on it and a some great saves from their 20 year old keeper (also on loan from Birmingham) kept it at 1-0, and could have almost nicked another near the end. Norwich looked pretty decent and hit the post and the bar but Crawley hung on for a very famous win.
I’ve lived in Crawley for over 30 years and going to school in Crawley in the 80’s, everyone supported Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs , we even had a Blackburn fan and a Newcastle fan but no-one really supported Crawley as such, they were non-league back in those days. We’d go along to games as it was a few quid to get in, but you never saw anyone in a Crawley Town shirt and they’ve never had massive crowds. Crawley has a population over about 100,000 but its close to London, close to Brighton, and Crawley Town can’t compete with the lure of the big boys, never has been able to . So it was very heartening to see such a big crowd and the club can certainly use the money from such a big draw.
And then I got home buzzing after such a great game and genuine underdog performance, and saw the awful news about Bury and Bolton. Crawley themselves have had their share of bad ownership from about 2005 to 2010 and were very , very close to being wound up in May 2010 however they were saved at the last minute. They then won promotion to the ELF for the first time in their history, in 2011. Since then they have bobbed about League 2, had a brief flirtation with League 1 and seemed to accept that they are a League 2 side and stuck with it. And it struck me that if anything did happen to Crawley I would genuinely be gutted . As I’ve said when I was a kid everyone supported one of the big boys, myself included I’m a Spurs fan who has been to plenty of games at WHL and the new stadium , but I’m also a Crawley Town fan. I can park my car at my old family home where my mum still lives and walk 10 mins to the stadium , have a pint at a decent price and a burger of dubious origin then walk back , have a cuppa and a chat with my mum before driving 15 mins back to my own house. I can rarely ever even get tickets to see Spurs, however I’m sure last night was the only time I can remember Crawley Town tickets selling out at home.
I really, really feel for Bury fans and I hope Bolton don’t go the same way, there needs to be something to ensure this does not happen again, the fit and proper test is frankly rubbish. There are examples of phoenix clubs of course, AFC Wimbledon, Parma in italy who are back in Serie A after being reformed as Parma Calcio 1913 and coming all the way back up from Serie D .
And as was so eloquently put this morning, we are Bury, we are Bolton. We are with any club suffering at the hands of its owners – we are Blackpool, Coventry, Portsmouth, the list goes on and on and on. Banter is one thing, but we need the clubs to exist in our leagues to gently take the piss out of each other.
Jeffers (CTFC ! Red Army!)
Football unites us
Mark Danger Endicott, BRFC’s story in this morning’s mailbox reminded me of the time I flew from Yogjakarta (Indonesia) to Singapore back in 2007 when traveling SE Asia. As the Indonesian airport guy checked my passport upon getting on the plane he asked if I was any relation to Matt Le Tissier (I share the surname and am also from Guernsey). It brought a smile to my face that even with thousands of miles separating us, football can bring about a conversation about with an absolute stranger. I gave it the big one and said “yeah he’s my distant cousin”, even though I have no idea if we’re related. Sorry Indonesian man if you’re reading this, I’ll buy you a Bintang (very tasty Indonesian beer) if I ever see you again.
Tiss, THFC (regretting not naming my FF team after Pukki)
…I read the letter from Mark this morning, and in response can relate two similar tales.
My wife and I were in Australia a few years back for our 25th anniversary. One morning we did the sunrise visit to Uluru (Ayers Rock), after which I fulfilled a life long ambition to walk all the way around it, about 6 miles. I set off with my camera and a bottle of water, and unusually for me, wearing a Spurs shirt. The tranquility was beautiful as I strolled along in the warm morning sunshine. About half way round, out of the profound silence came a yell of ‘Come on you Spurs’. Approaching in the distance was a guy wearing the away Spurs shirt that matched my home one. We stopped and chatted, and got a photo, and then went our separate ways, he curiously was Norwegian.
A few weeks later we were transiting the domestic terminal at Sydney Airport on our way to Adelaide. I was standing looking out at the aircraft, when I thought I saw a reflection of a guy walking behind me who seemed to be wearing a Spurs shirt. I dismissed this until i saw a second one. At this point I wandered down the terminal, where I saw nine guys standing around wearing Spurs shirts!! I went over to one guy, and asked him was he a Spurs fan. In the broadest Ocker accent he told me he had no idea who Spurs were. Eventually an explanation arrived. The party were heading off on a ‘bucks weekend’ (stag weekend) to Adelaide, and the organiser was a Spurs fan, and he had organised the shirts. On arrival in Adelaide we all met up in baggage reclaim, and by now I had donned my Spurs shirt, and we got a ‘team photo’ which sadly I have lost.
Previously, when we went on holidays with our 3 lads, we always had a competition to see how many football shirts we saw, and nearly always it was United or Liverpool that were the most common, sadly the one time Spurs won, the boys weren’t with me, bit like the title 🙂 which was sadly long before their time
Jim French (Spurs since ’59) Herts