Five reasons Man Utd should keep Ole and six reasons to axe him

Date published: Tuesday 2nd March 2021 2:34 - Joe Williams

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Man Utd

Keep those mails coming to…


Much ado about Ole
Like many United fans, I am increasingly concerned to see OGS sliding into a negative mindset. I like to entertain the notion that I am capable of balanced thinking, so here are my pro and cons for keeping OGS as manager at the end of the season:


–           The players clearly like him, and seem to want to play for him.

–           He is currently sitting 2nd in the league behind only an outstanding City.

–           He has done, in my opinion, a fantastic job of clearing out the dead wood in the squad.

–           He has bought fairly well, including Fernandes, our best player since Rooney.

–           He is actively bringing through youth players including, most recently, Shoretire.


–           He sets up negatively against the big teams, clearly taking a damage-limitation approach.

–           He sets up negatively against the small teams, always playing Fred and McTominay, and thereby limiting the creativity needed to break such teams down.

–           His squad management is poor. Telles, Van De Beek and Bailly are woefully under-utilised.

–           His in-game management is poor. He doesn’t use subs or change tactics to affect games.

–           For whatever reason (not his fault) he doesn’t have the backing of the board to buy the best players, i.e. Sancho last summer.

–           He seems to wilt in the most important games. Hence a pathetic exit from the CL and repeated losses in semi-finals.

It would be difficult to sack a manager who finished 2nd, or even in the top 4. However, I think we should try to continue the delusion that we might one day challenge for titles again, and therefore something needs to change. It is becoming clear that Ole is not going to be to us what Klopp was/is to Liverpool. I would suggest that we look to bring in a new man with winning experience, who will inherit a much better and more functional squad thanks to OGS. He can leave with his head held high and we can continue to love and cherish him for the special man he is.


Redknapp vs Keane
Yes. That Sky Sports heated debate. Redknapp says that if you play international football you are good enough but Roy Keane argues that that isn’t necessarily true. His view is that if you don’t a play international football and you are at a top team you are a bad player. Whose views do you agree with? Though I get where Jamie’s coming from, personally I agree with Keane. International players these days are average at best and for a lack at better word, are riding on teammates success. Maguire, Lindelöf, Lloris, De Gea, Kepa, Werner & Havertz (since moving to Chelsea), Jesus – these are average players and reason they succeed internationally is because they have world class players around them. France have their defence who bail out Lloris, De Gea has Ramos, At Man city Aguero, sterling, de Bruyne take away goalscoring pressure from Jesus, Man united are doomed with their defence, Giroud (an international player who somehow won the World Cup with no short on target. How? Because France had Giroud & Mbappe who supplied the goals) They are not bad players but average at best and certainly not the quality players Redknapp was making them out to be. Again, if you play for top clubs around Europe, you receive automatic call ups at the expense of players from small clubs; who remembers Hudson odoi & Loftus Cheek getting call ups after call ups last season when Calvert Lewin & Grealish who were in the form of their lives was preparing for vacations. I think Keane was spot on and Jamie Redknapp was stuck defending Dier & Anderwereld. Seriously? I would say even some or even half of the top players from the top 6 are way overrated because they are international players and players from smaller clubs (the other 14) are way better because they have the work ethic. Yes, I’m going there. Digne > Shaw, Chilwell; Zaha > Willian; Vardy> Abraham, Giroud, Werner and the list goes on. But we also should also stop pressuring players from the so-called lesser clubs who have one good season and all of sudden the pundits and the media are all over the place saying, “He deserves an England call up?” Or, “He’s what Manchester united need.” Because they are over hyped and they are not really at that elite level yet. What does the mailbox think?
VSA, Nairobi


Then and Now
I was about to write an article using Roy Keane as an example of what is wrong about ex-player pundits today and then read of Ian St. John passing and Jamie, Eire, letter.

There is a world of difference between Keane and St. John. St. John was an all around class act both on and off the field. RIP Ian.

Keane does what many people, even those who are successful do, and relate everything to their past experiences – regardless of how relevant that experience is in the current world. There is a way to view expertise called the Hierarchy of Competence. There can be two types of people who are successful – conscious or unconscious competents. Keane falls into the latter bucket. He played in winning teams but truly doesn’t know what made them a winner and puts it all down to passion and drive. It’s why he failed as a manager and why he fails as a pundit.

Utd were successful when he joined because Gill was prescient and saw the future that the PL entailed. Utd had the brand and resources to ride that wave early. WIth Ferguson behind the wheel they dominated the early PL. Utd were to the PL, what Bayern still is to the Bundesliga. Roll onto today where the rising tide of the PL lifted all teams who could now afford players beyond most teams outside the PL bar a few of those at the very top. Then, with the rise of technology that allowed clubs to monitor their players’ health, and analytics to monitor players for acquisition and finally, foriegn investment, the current PL is very, very different to 20 years ago. But that is where Keane lives – in his head.

Can you imagine the dressing room during or after a tough game. Players trying to understand what was happening, walking through individual tactics, how to alter the shape or make changes. Then have Keane rage, spittle flying all over the place, bullying those that are easily bullied. It would make him feel better and perhaps play better but….

The PL is far more tactical, coaching staff has far more nous, players have far greater core skills, the grounds are in far better condition, the player conditioning is at an extremely higher level. No wonder many of the younger players under his tutelage looked at Keane as some kind of football caveman. He couldn’t understand why they didn’t ‘understand’ him. They did. It was just that beyond rage, there was not much else.

So sorry, Jaime, most fans have moved on from the raging bull pundit lambasting players for not showing enough pashun. Perhaps, coming from Eire, you are still used to the Dunphy, Brady, Giles triumvirate that specialised in that kind of drivel that is classed as ‘telling it like it is.’ Most football fans have moved on with the sport. We want to understand the tactics, what actually happened and how it related to the outcome.

Right now we have this anachronism where the media in general is caught between two worlds. The ones that they can rile up with ‘pashunate’ articles or they can write something articulate. The red tops will fall to the former as it’s easier to produce. The latter hole was initially filled by independent sources like podcasts, Football365, Patreon sites, etc. Gradually some of the media saw the way things have turned and are changing. Meaning, saw a way to make money beyond simply raging to cause hits to rack up the Google ad dollars.

St. John was the conscious competent. He understood why he and Liverpool had been successful (and not) and was able to parlay that into insight that fans had not heard before. St. John was able to change his game, as the Liverpool team changed which showed his nous and recognition that things don’t stay the same. Sure, he had drive and pashion as all the great players do,  its just that his game and thinking were not based on it.

Let’s hope more readers, more fans look to more than pashun to drive our game forward, otherwise we will live forever in this cycle of trite reporting, rage and then abusive blowback.
Paul McDevitt


City v West Ham
The result always colours the subsequent narrative about a game. City extended their winning run against West Ham but anyone watching the game must have seen how poor City were – they created very little and scored two goals from set plays. West Ham created far more  and should have scored three or four but didn’t and lost. That’s football but City were fortunate.

Dan Malin


Ruthless Everton
To respond to Shappo about whether Everton are ruthlessly efficient or have incredible good fortune.

It’s neither.

It’s Carlo Ancelotti

Happy to help
Fat Man (he’s even worked his magic with Pickford)


Does Levenshulme Blue think FSG own the New England Patriots?
Hi there,

Levenshulme Blue accuses “fading champions” (which is probably fair) Liverpool of being owned by an ownership group that was found to be cheating in the NFL? Fenway Sports Group have a number of sporting interests, including the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool FC and a NASCAR team, but they don’t own an NFL team. I THINK that LB is thinking of the New England Patriots, who have been involved in a number of alleged cheating incidents. They are, admittedly, based in the same city as Fenway Sports Group, but have no commercial relationship with the owners of Liverpool.
Dara O’Reilly London


Levenshulme Blue doesn’t like his club being criticised. That’s the main takeaway from this morning’s mailbox. Lots and lots (and lots) of words that ultimately boil down to “leave Britney alone”. The thing is Blue, you’ve begun your mail by comparing a sports journalist being abused for asking questions, to the collusion in the British press with the pro-Brexit politicians and their lies. These are not comparable. You’re suggesting it is okay to pile onto a rugby journalist for provocative questions because our right-wing press and politicians manipulated the nation. How does that actually make sense in your mind? I met a Swedish person who didn’t like cheese. Obviously I immediately set them on fire because of the Nazi actions in World War 2.

Moving away from Blue and his nonsensical jump-off point, to the actual reason he wrote in. And once again we see Blue demonstrate a remarkable sense of false equivalency. Hey guys, it’s been 13 years. Forget about it. I’m sure the families of all of those killed under that charming torturing regime have moved on now, so maybe you should too? Whatever your thoughts are, keep them to yourself, like Blue does. Unless you’re praising the club/sport-washing tool of murderers. Sorry, I forgot about the whole 13 years thing.

Weirdly, the way Blue writes about the ownership of other clubs seems to suggest he doesn’t think highly of those owners. Has it not been long enough yet? Give it a few years then it’s okay, right? I’m assuming that’s also why you’re criticising Saudi actions in Yemen while ignoring those of the UAE? Just time, yeah? Come 2034 it’ll all be fine for the Saudis too, right? Hell, let’s be realistic here: by 2034 there won’t be any Yemenis left to complain. Blue will like that, fewer unfair, unbalanced stories about a regime that tortures and imprisons at will.

Equating enslavement, torture, and murder with arrogance and dismissiveness is a highlight for me. It’s always a hard call; to insert the bamboo under the fingernails, or to disregard someone’s educated opinion because you feel you know best. Both leave such terrible mental scars. But City’s owners built a lovely training ground, so who is the real evil here?

Blue, enjoy your club’s success. But bear in mind that the mindset that makes your success okay no matter the cost, is not a million miles away from those delightful Brexiteers who couldn’t care less about the damage being done because of a pathetic desire for ‘sovereignty’. You’re on the “yeah but Saville also did a lot of charity work” path right now. Ask yourself if that’s really where you want to be.

In short, Rees-Mogg and your owners would probably get on like a house on fire, watching poor people suffer from the privacy of their wipe-clean cubicles.


Levenshulme, feel better getting that off your chest mate? Got no particular gripes with what you’re saying vis a vis City getting a skewed treatment (fwiw I think you’ll find a fair chunk of fans are pretty ambivalent about City compared to a genuine dislike of Chelsea) but feels a bit like that, plus the other mails is kinda missing the point about the abuse.

The correct response if you think that you’re not getting the right coverage is not to slate the journalist responsible personally and potentially violently/graphically.

I don’t think Johnny is really advocating that sports journalists should be a protected species, more than they’re uniquely vulnerable (even within the journalism sphere to an extent) to the particular kind of maliciousness and tribalism that sports fandom brings.

The Karen Carney thing earlier this year is pretty similar (relatively innocuous comments whipped into utter frenzy) in that it’s one thing to disagree with a journalist, or even complain about them not being great and the actual abusing of these people, and whilst reasonable people conflate them or feel their forum for critiquing is being attacked when people talk about abuse, they’re going to be in the way of helping solve the issue.

Don’t help the trolls and social media abusers here. It’s not about you and it’s not about silencing criticism. It’s getting rid of the scum of sport which are making it worse for us all.
Tom, Walthamstow


Dear Ed (and any fellow City fans),

Look, I get it. We’re the best team in the country (again). You want to see the adulation from all footballing corners – nobody can blame you for wanting that. If the winner of the beauty pageant stood at the front of the stage and was met with the lights being shut off as opposed to a big bouquet of flowers, she would feel aggrieved too. But it’s not the media’s fault that our owners obviously need to be scrutinised! It doesn’t make you less of a blue to admit that, and it winds me up that City fans would rather wage a war on THE WORLD OF JOURNALISM than just face it: our owners stink. And you defending it just makes it so much worse – it’s what they want!

City fans hear the word “sportswashing” and are personally offended by it, instead of considering exactly what it means. The criticisms aren’t always borne out of jealousy – it’s criticism out of necessity, because without it would just be City fans eulogising about the benevolent and generous figures that also coincidentally are in charge of one of the most oppressive dictatorships in the modern world. “Sheikh Mansour, my lord, Sheikh Mansour” to the tune of ‘Kum ba yah’, anyone?

Yes, City have comfortably been the best English club of the last 10 years, and a 5th title in that time is going to just ram that home. Admitting that the people that run the club helped facilitate a cruel war in Yemen doesn’t negate from the fact I dreamed of days like this in school. Yes, they have helped build hundreds of homes in East Manchester, created hundreds of jobs at the best-in-class Etihad campus, built a school and are funding construction of a whole entertainment venue right next to the City stadium – but it’s all part of their plan to make people like Levenshulme Blue fight the fight for them. Other clubs have horrendous owners too, but none of them have diplomatic – and business – interests in making sure the West sees them as investing money from the good of their hearts.

If the penance for our Glory Era is that we also have to stand up for those who are subjugated to a famously cruel regime, then that’s fine by me. Drop the blind tribalism.

Also readers, if your response to a journalist writing an article about not wanting to be abused is to reply to that article with a chunder of abuse – I beg of you: please do better.
Sam (We’ll still bottle Champions League, obviously), Gorton


Levenshulme blue does a fantastic job on whataboutery against all the other clubs then ask why the press have an agenda … and we should realise what is going on.

The only thing that I can realise is going on is that a club which has been going over the last 117 years and they have won more major trophies in last twelve than the previous 105. This is of course has nothing to do with the significant state investment during that period it is all terrific management scouting which has miraculously turned up for the love in Manchester for this amazing project.

Almost everything to do with this modern iteration of Man City is directly linked to the state investment, yet you have a go at journalists lying on other subjects but wish them to overlook this inconvenient truth.

Man City & PSG would be also rans without significant state investment can that be levelled at Man Utd, Liverpool or Bayern Munich.
To add balance from a football perspective their standard of play is excellent.
Gary in Germany


I’m not arguing the point of the mail just pointing out that it’s wrong when you say Roman Abromovic hasn’t stepped foot inside his own football club in months because he isn’t a british citizen, the end part is true, but he is an Israeli citizen which allows him into the UK to get inside his own football club as you put it.
Aaron CFC Ireland


Response to Johnny Nic
I’ve just finished reading J Nic’s article on the abuse of journalists and, while I do abhor abuse in any form, I was surprised to by the startling lack of self-awareness in the piece.

I imagine most journos see themselves as a Robert Redford or Dustin Hoffman type, tenaciously digging for truth in a dishonest world. In my view, today’s journalists are far more akin to J Jonah Jameson’s crusade against our friendly neighborhood spiderman. Modern journalism is about division.

Ever since the demon rolled up to Fleet Street and broke up the then traditional newspapers the media has played an increasingly divisive role in society. Social Media isn’t some pandora’s box that we suddenly can’t close, its an extension of campaign that private media has been running for decades.

The double-think used for this division is engagement. What it actually is a determined effort to point out the differences, to pick at the weaker seams of society and to create in groups and out groups at every opportunity. Why? Because it sells.

I use limited social media, personally, although I have run company Twitter, Instagram, and facebook accounts. My favourite social media is Reddit. Reddit has a functionality which is the downvote button. Content that is consistently downvoted becomes less visible to users in the algorithms. Essentially, reddit encourages nuance, humour and reason over shit slinging.

Journalists do not to use Reddit because its algorithms do not reward “engagement” in the same broad way as other social (and traditional!) media. Until journalists recognise their own complicity in creating a viciously entrenched environment for discourse I feel as though the situation regarding online abuse will only get worse.

Journalists curate their own audiences. Those that continue to appeal to the lowest common denominator under the auspice of “engagement” must accept the lowest form of conjecture.
Liam Gabriel Hoskins (Create debate not division) AFC


“Journalists” need to grow up
I’ve had enough of people whining on about abuse on social media, get off it or will that hurt your brand/income with brand deals or sponsorships as an influencer? Or stop comments as it’s not like any of them interact with people on social media as they run from any debate or do you just need the attention of others to tell you how wonderful you are?

If you watch the latest cry-babies last few interviews she badgers players & managers looking for sensationalistic responses rather than be a proper journalist or even a decent human being, asking more pertinent and insightful questions but instead seems to want to make the back pages of some god awful red top rag!

I mean who hasn’t had a threat from someone on social media or even at a sporting event in their life(or on a night out in London just for asking for directions to the tube) If you said something to someone on the street that they didn’t like they would pull you up on it but when it is social media it has to be clamped down on or even arrested? Threats should be handled by the platform themselves but they don’t need or care to do that as they only care about numbers and profits and the bad publicity is still publicity!

Also Levenshulme Blue, Manchester 19 I want him to takeover from Martin Tyler as that would be comedy gold “Today’s match is between a team who have been built using money stolen from the Russian people and whose owner has been linked to the gangster currently running Russia and who was recently denied British citizenship so has not stepped foot inside his own football club for months now and another team whose arrogance and dismissiveness of others is leading them into talks to potentially shatter the structures of European football whilst, all the time, loading their debt for buying the club ONTO that same club” AND IT’S LIVE!!!!!!!
Greg, Herts, Chelsea glory hunter since ‘86


Lighten up…
I really hope i wasnt the only one to roll their eyes at the faux-outrage mediawatch displayed towards the daily star’s front page. I thought it was quite funny, especially the mock up of ronaldo in his marigolds. I would understand being perturbed if that was the front page of the Daily telegraph or the Washington Post but serious newshounds don’t tend to trouble their local newsagents for the daily star. Lighten up a little please
Will (injured all the time despite lack of housework( CFC


More Related Articles