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Ferguson’s shadow over United
Will Manchester United ever move on from Alex Ferguson? It’s all well and good to remember the man who helped brought you to where you are. That’s why you name a stand after him. However, it’s becoming very clear that after trying to move on with new managers Moyes, Van Gaal and Mourinho at the helm, United have decided to say “screw it, let’s go back to the old way.”
United fans clearly couldn’t care less and are screaming for Solskjaer to get the job but is it really his job? Fergie coming back as a consultant and even coming to the training grounds a few times to be involved in training is worrying long term. They haven’t broke free from the Fergie years. Instead of once again trying to branch out, try new ideas and move Man United forward into a new era they’ve decided to go throwback.
Fergie’s shadow still looms too large over the club, for example Arsene Wenger after 22 years at the club has nothing to do with Arsenal now, yes Kenny Dalglish is at Liverpool games and is on tv but he has no real impact on the team. I get it Fergie is an ambassador and now a consultant and all that. He helped United win an unprecedented amount of trophies and presided over the most dominant era of the clubs history but he won’t be around forever, the club will.
They say a player is never bigger than the club but the club has basically conceded and pushed the fact that Fergie is bigger than Man United. They’ve delayed the inevitable necessary evolution needed to sustain future ears of dominance. You can’t replicate Fergie’s style or success nor should you look to former players to carry on that tradition.
Gary Neville said nobody should come into Manchester United again and try and force their own philosophy on the club. But that’s more Ferguson’s philosophy, not the club’s. United have decided to learn later than sooner that you should evolve or die.
The dark days of United aren’t behind them, they are just delayed.
Ross Coughlan, Ottawa, Canada
Ole’s lucky, but is he any good?
Napoleon once remarked ‘give me lucky generals’ and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the very definition of lucky. His treatment by the media, the ex-pro network, the Unitedfans and the club has been almost pornographic to watch in recent weeks. I have rarely seen a new manager given such an easy, uncritical time with everyone falling over themselves to laud and praise him.
Thankfully that all came to an end on Sunday evening and reality was restored. Quite a few of those people praising Ole as the second coming of Sralex in recent weeks should take heed of the immortal warning of Winston Wolf to ‘not start sucking each other’s dicks just yet.’ Arsenal were by far the better side and fully deserved their win. Predictably, almost instantly, the media narrative started (via one G.Neville) that United must be ‘tired’ after their mid-week heroics and that their sluggish start was what cost them the game. Nonsense. They were also by anyone’s standards incredibly fortunate to beat PSG the other night with one of the most dubious VAR decisions most people have yet seen.
Fans should absolutely celebrate victories but always maintain a healthy dose of realism. We get it. You’re giving him an easy ride because he’s an ex-United playeryou’re fond of and he doesn’t rock the boat. It was plainly obvious to everyone that, with the star players United have, any halfway competent manager with an aversion to personal conflict could have got a tune out of them. That’s what has always seemed to be lacking from United supporters throughout the years. Instead of combining their jubilation with sagacity understanding that they ‘got away with one’ they treated it like a Premier League winning ‘Agueerrrrro’ moment in their club’s history.
Ole was lucky in the Camp Nou on that ‘historic night in 1999’ and he’s been lucky over the last few weeks.
Napoleon requested lucky generals. Ole is certainly lucky … it remains to be seen if he’s actually a good manager.
Maybe he’s not the Messiah, just a very Norway boy.
Great news for Spurs
Yesterday’s news about Zidane is mana to Messrs Levy and Lewis. They don’t have to worry about spending money on the squad to keep Poch happy.
Why should they? Where will he go now?
David Harris – Sydney
…It almost goes without saying with Ole at the wheel at United, and Zidane returning to Madrid, that Mauricio Pochettino is destined to be engaged to Spurs for a while longer. Currently without a house or dowry, Pochettino is doing a fine job of making the relationship work in trying circumstances; Zidane just may be the gift needed to prolong the union and ensure it is a wonderfully happy marriage.
It is common knowledge that Zidane and Gareth Bale are not bosom buddies. I’ll come back to that later. For now, we know Christian Eriksen is out of contract in 2020 and almost certain to leave; it makes sense to cash in on Madrid’s interest and sell arguably Spurs’ second most valuable asset. He would command upwards of £75m.
So, how to spend the funds? There are three prerequisites for investment; improve the squad, bring in experienced winners, and increase the dwindling homegrown quota.
The first option is obvious. Jack Grealish is long sought after, and ready to step up to the big time. Unlikely to be sought after by other top six clubs, (where he will be either unneeded or rejected for sexier targets), he is the perfect replacement for Eriksen to play a similar role. He would cost about £40m.
To win trophies, though, what you ultimately need is players that know what it feels like to win. Which brings me to Fabian Delph. Underrated, but kept out of the Man City side thanks to Fernandinho and the Silvas, he could do a job for any other top 6 side in the midfield. Cost? Out of contract in 2020 and unneeded, so £20m, probably less. An absolute snip that would improve the quality and depth of the midfield.
Which brings me back to Bale. This is the ultimate test of Levy’s transfer market savvy. Can he concoct a deal to make it financially viable for a return to Spurs? Can he tug on the heartstrings of Bale, a player who has won it all at Madrid, and bring him back to a club where he is loved, and would help instil a winners mentality in to the squad? Whatever the cost, it would surely be paid back quite quickly in shirt sales and success on the pitch.
A strike force of Bale, Kane and Son would be as good as any in the world. And right now, it’s actually a real possibility. So thank you, Zinedine, for helping to create conditions that could take Spurs to the next level.
…So that’s Zidane back to Madrid. Assuming Ole is going to be the next United manager then can the press shut the f@ck up. Actually can Poch shut the f@ck up as well and get on with managing the team, getting the season back on track starting with giving Eriksen a kick up the hole !!! Love Poch, it’s been unreal being a Spurs fan, hopefully he’ll stay for years to come but just get on with it man !!
Mike Spurs Dublin
Hands across the Mailbox
Mark, MCFC – I applaud you.
Sometimes, when you think the world has gone completely and utterly mad, and that the lunatics have finally taken over the asylum… a Mark pops up, to reassure us all that normal, level headed thinking is still out there and we are not alone.
If only words like Mark’s would actually sink in.. would actually make a difference. If people would actually sit up and go ‘yeah.. shit.. listen to Mark. Mark is bang on the money there. Let’s all stop acting like total arseholes and start behaving like the responsible adults we actually are’.
Let’s not forget.. frighteningly, some of these utterly vile people are parents.. and I dread to think what kind of children they are bringing up in the world. But, I guess, that is the root cause of the self perpetuating problem.
Thanks Mark. Honestly don’t recall a better read in this here mailbox.
Seamus (though my memory is a bit sh*t, like)
What, no Roy Hodgson in the ‘Top Ten Managers to Land on their Feet’ feature?!
A manager with 35 years experience at the time of his Liverpool appointment, yet not a single trophy of note. A man who had failed miserably at his only previous big jobs (Blackburn, Inter x 2) and was given the Liverpool job after a solitary impressive campaign with Fulham (where he matched the great Steve McClaren’s achievement of reaching a Uefa Cup/Europa League final).
Hodgson’s appointment was a monument to the jingoistic folly of the Little Englander press pack who ran a concerted campaign to get ‘one of their own’ into one of the best jobs in the game, despite a complete and utter absence of qualifications. If that’s not ‘landing on your feet’, I don’t know what is….?!
(see also, Hodgson, England)
Paul C, Dublin
Mustafi must go
Surprised at the lack of mails on Arsenal 2 United 0. Instead of Simmons and Griffin fighting in the mailbox maybe they can agree on this?
There is one main problem at Arsenal: Mustafi.
He wasn’t anywhere near the team yesterday and we didnt do anything stupid. What a surprise.
Our center back pairing of Sokratis and Koscielny is the best at club. Anybody following Arsenal knows Emery has been trying to avoid playing him but we just haven’t had any luck with injuries. In fact, Mustafi is the one who has barely been injured.
Our worst defensive performances against the top 6 have all included that hapless “defender”: Man United, City and Liverpool away. Also you might recall, he played Pedro onside (I think) from almost their half early on in the season.
He’s absolutely brainless and unlike Man City with Mangala, we can’t just go out and drop millions on a quick replacement.
If we can avoid playing him for the rest of the season we can make the top 4. Our defensive record has gotten so much worse since he signed. And it’ll get so much better once he’s gone.
Finally, absolutely no sympathy whatsoever for United fans over the penalty. That’s a pretty large glass house you’re sitting in. I love the fact it was soft. See last years game at Emirates where two stone wall penalties were denied (Rojo rugby tackles Lacazette on the line) and Welbeck chopped down late on. Also, in that game we created about 427 chances and couldn’t beat De Gea or the post, so the we created more chances brigade can sit down too.
Strevs, AFC, Canada (12 points better off, I’m fully behind Emery and what he is trying to do)
Mentality not inequality
Johnny Nic was going swimmingly until he tried to lay the “inequalities of society” at the doorstep of bad behavior. Unfortunately, it’s clear that mental illness is the cause of these sorts of issues rather than my neighbor having a larger home than me or having a larger paycheck. I understand that I make more than many people and that many make more than I do. That doesn’t give me carte blanche to have a go at my fellow man. Rather, I ought to work hard and create benefits to society and myself. Stop with the inequality rants. It’s tiresome and smacks of nothing but jealously and envy.
TX Bill (only Everton could cough up three in one half to Newcastle after controlling the first half…..sigh.) EFC
Some interesting points in yesterday’s mailbox on MOTD commentators seemingly being able to predict goals and potentially recording their commentary post match (I think MOTD have denied this in the past) It made me think of a couple of things that annoy me about MOTD.
1) when an innocuous and random yellow card is shown and captioned, despite plenty of other yellows not being shown, you know that this player is going to get a second yellow and be sent off later
2) when a big team dominates a little team with for example 25 shots to 4, MOTD will show all 4 of the little teams chances in some attempt to distort the narrative of the game as some kind of even contest where the little team have the big team problems. Think this plays to the English psyche of supporting the underdog but I’d rather see a fair reflection of the game
There must be loads more small quirks on football coverage that annoy football fans with too much time on their hands
The solution to pitch invasion is actually really simple. Just add a simple line to the T&C when selling a ticket, invasion of the pitch at any time will be punishable by a penalty of 10,000 pounds or more, depending on severity of the invasion (punch or no punch etc). Lets see how many people feel like doing it once a man has to sell his house to pay the 50,000 pound fee?
Implement the fines, assure you the idiocy will reduce. Hit them where it hurts, the pockets.
Aman (Would love to see an invader slip and fall face first into a goalpost), MUFC, India