No sign Solskjaer can make his vision a reality…

Date published: Tuesday 3rd December 2019 9:26

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The United Way
I do not think I have read anything more wrong-headed on F365 than Dan Wardle (MUFC since 83)’s defence of the so-called United way.

Apparently ‘playing attacking football’ and ‘bringing through youth prospects’ and ‘giving them a chance to breathe’ and ‘playing for the glory of the game, taking a chance on flair and inspiration, working your balls off and not boring the other team to death. Attack attack attack blah blah blah’, were all invented by or perfected by Manchester United.

A few points for Dan:

All teams play attacking football, otherwise they would never win – some are just better than others

All teams bring through youth prospects, otherwise they’d all be playing 80-year-olds

All teams play for the glory of the game – whether they are shit of not (*cough United cough*) is beside the point

Even the worst teams in the country work their balls off

At least he is right about not boring other teams to death – United have given me plenty of laughs so far this season

A team having ‘a way’ will only take you so far, then it becomes a burden. As a Liverpool fan, the fabled ‘boot room’ has, in the past 20 years, been a millstone around our necks – that clinging to a mythical past, to Shanks, and Paisley and King Kenny, had to be jettisoned for the team to move.

Perhaps United fans need to wake up to the fact the ‘United way’ and the tedious ‘Class of 92’ are no more than half-assed PR marketing bollocks that only the densest of bricks would fall for.
Stan, LFC


…When saying a team has a DNA it doesn’t say how it can skip a generation – like a degenerative illness.

Of course teams don’t have DNA – united played attacking football using a youth model in the late 50’s and 60’s and the early 90’s. There is a significant period of time in the history of that club where this didn’t happen, which suggests that these were anomalies to the norm.

I’m a Spurs fan, our DNA would, in the past thirty years, be something left on someone’s curtains after an ill advised knee trembler. That said, we felt that under Pochettino the semblance of what we still consider to be Spurs DNA – Arthur Rowe’s Push and Run, Bill Nich’s glorious double winners and first British team to win a European trophy. Hoddle, Gazza, Waddle, Gina, Klinsmann and Ardiles, was returning. Now we have Mourinho perhaps we’ll win something of significance using his DNA. The spoilt youngest child who inevitably turns into a petty shit.

Arsenal’s DNA spent many years as the fingerprints around the neck of football as Don Howe, George Graham and Bruce Rioch strangled the joy out of watching the sport. Just because the 30’s and about ten years under Wenger were joyous (not for us Spurs fans mind) goes some way to denying those bleak if successful years of hoof ball.

What teams have is a fondness for the times when good things were happening, and they want that to be how they are perceived. It doesn’t constitute DNA.


The Utd way = Playing attacking football, bringing through youth prospects and giving them a chance to breathe, playing for the glory of the game, taking a chance on flair and inspiration, working your balls off and not boring the other team to death – as defined by Dan Wardle

So essentially the same as every other team who has had a decent manager and some good players at some point.

At Everton we have the school of science with the holy trinity and so it seems every club has their own bollocks to get old men misty eyed about days of yore but it is exactly that, bollocks.

Playing the Utd way, I would propose, is the way that every team in the top flight (or more) has played in at least one of their seasons whilst existing. Surely at it’s peak, you’d lose to the “Arsenal way” anyway?

Now I hate to agree with John N these days but this one was correct. There is no Utd way, no Arsenal way, no school of science, no spurs way. It’s all horseshit so idiots can fling shit at managers they don’t like. I mean, who in their right mind would say “yes my team’s way is to be all Pulisy or Allardycey?”

So shut it Man Utd fans (or maybe just the one who responded this morning), your “way” is just the same as everyone else’s when they were successful. Just because you have more recent success you think it’s somehow better.

A few more years without success and Man Utd fans will eventually forget about it. That’s essentially what having a prolonged period of mediocrity does to a team, it removes your head from your arse
Fat Man


…As a die hard liverpool fan since the early 80s, nothing warmed my heart more than to see Dan Wardle (MUFC since 83) declare a United way.

I used to think we had one too, and it led us down Graeme Souness, Roy Evans and Kenny Dalglish 2.0. Other than a couple of league cups and fa cups, they never won the big one.

It was the foreign coaches, Houllier, Rafa and Klopp, who brought their unique brand of football, that got us challenging and winning. (Between them, winning a uefa cup, two UCLs and making noise in the league).

Roy was close, but Kenny wasnt and neither was Graeme. In fact Graeme was awful, and he was part of the Boot Room tradition. Ole’s in the same Graeme category now.

Nothing would make me happier, as a Liverpool fan, than to see United continue to promote/ persist / link themselves with yesterday’s champions such as Rio, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs…

Nostalgia is great, but cling on to it too much and it becomes an impediment to seeing reality and making the necessary changes. I know, i’ve seen it happen at my club.

Pretty telling that the past champions of the EPL since Fergie: Pep, Manuel, Conte, Mancini, Mourinho, Ranieri… none had anything whatsoever to do with the clubs they managed. Lampard seems the exception than the norm. Rodgers, part of 2 title challenges, didnt have legacy with Liverpool and Leicester either.

United seem mired in the past, just like us Reds in the 90s and 2000s. Long may it continue. Oops, have i said too much…
Gab YNWA (I loved KD2.0, and he’s been class acting as a club ambassador after getting fired. He bleeds lfc red for sure).


…“Personally I was pleased to finally bring an end to the Fergie era”

Mailbox has peaked.
Simon (was really sh*t winning the title in April) MUFC


Ole’s vision
I keep reading about how United won’t sack Ole despite performance after shite performance because he has a vision. He needs time etc. I have an issue with this.

I like to draw now and then and occasionally paint. When I start out doing either, I have a vision of what I want to produce. However a prodigious lack of skill prevents me from doing so. This I believe is Ole’s problem. He doesn’t seem to have ability to make his team do anything other than be dull. Chucking loads of kids onto a pitch in a Europa League match is not a statement or whatever, it’s desperate.

Then there are coaches who can execute a vision, or project, in current football lingo and others who can take whatever they are given and produce good performances and or results, much like talented artists who can take whatever materials and make them into SOMETHING.

Also the idea of making Ole into a DoF on the basis of spunking 130 million on Maguire and Wan-Bissaka is as ludicrous as giving him the managerial job in the first place. Maybe I’m wrong about all of this and he just needs to bring in more of his own players but I’m highly doubtful.
Alan, Córdoba.


Ole upstairs?
In response to Daniel Solomon and many others who feel that Ole as a DoF would be perfect- I dont think it’ll work. It wont work for the simple reason that he has been the manager. He would be too invested in the team tactically and would struggle to build a team that is in the mould of any other manager.

Also his own aspirations clearly lie in team management and not Boardroom management.
Akshay V (Keep Ole on as manager I say !)


…In reference to Daniel Solomon’s idea of pushing Ole into the Director of Football position because of his “transfer market nous”, lets just clarify what Solskjaer did in the summer. First off, he wanted to revamp Utds defence. Not a bad idea so he went looking for a right back which has been a problem position for them all decade. In Wan Bissaka, Ole paid £50million for what this site described as a ‘90’s Full Back’ who was a good defender but not what Utd needed – which was a full back that can play in a 4-3-3 and create and defend tirelessly. Then he buys Harry Maguire for £80million. A deal in which Brendan Rodgers must laugh himself to sleep over every night. Leicester have the best defensive record in the league despite selling their ‘best’ defender last summer while Utd look susceptible every time they concede possession in their half. The supposed leadership and stability Maguire was meant to bring, a la Virgil Van Dijk, is a myth and instead Utd have an overpriced, lumbering centre half with no mobility and no vision.

He failed to replace Ander Herrera, instead relying on the raw McTominay who to be fair, looks like he could be decent but is still nowhere near the required level to get into the top 4. Compare McTominay to Fabinho, Gundolan, Jorginho or Ndidi – current occupiers of his position in the CL spots and he’s just not on their level while Fred clearly never will be. He sold Lukaku which didn’t seem to be a bad idea as its hard to figure a player like him into that fluid front 3 which Ole clearly wants to play, emulating the current best teams in the world. But what was his solution? Martial, who when he bothers seems like he’s good but too often plays like a guy with no expectations or weight on his shoulders and just wants to do a neat little trick or flick for a highlight reel – when he isn’t injured. Or Rashford, a player who can’t lead the line properly but is a very good left sided attacker who has pace, guile and a finish. Daniel James is the successful purchase here because he was bought at a good price and does indeed look the business, but will he be another 2/3 years to get to the level Utd demand to be in?

So, he bought two overpriced players who aren’t making the required difference (they are currently 9th on 18 points compared to 7th on 22 points this time last year). In Wan Bissaka he’s bought a player who won’t fit the system he wants to play and in Maguire a player who is bluster and physicality rather than calmness and leadership. He let one of their best midfielders go for nothing, got rid of a striker without replacing him (who incidentally is having a grand old time over in Italy) but hey, at least he signed James and got rid of Alexis Sanchez! And that, in some Man Utd fans eyes, is apparently good enough for a promotion to a position that will shape the future of the club. If United’s underbelly is this soft and their fans so complacent to think that this is a good idea, then yes, have your Ole Gunnar Solskjaer nostalgia trip where he will make the purchases. Then you can get Rio ‘Ferdy5’ Ferdinand in as kitman with diamond studded Lucozade bottles, David May as head dinner lady (he can make 4 different types of chips) and Jaap Stam as head of Sports Science (death stares are a type of science). Perfect! Keep mining the past to hide the stagnant, terrifying and all too real present. Now I hear there’s a new Star Wars film out shortly after the General Election which I understand will wipe away all our concerns and bring hope back to the country…
Andrew, Dublin.


Woodward’s waffle
Regardless of what is happening on the pitch (8 points off top four at this stage is not a disaster, all teams above will drop points and United could easily go on a run), this lifted verbatim from F365 on Monday is why United are f*cked;

“It’s a multi-year squad evolution analysis,” Woodward fanzine United We Stand.

Utter, utter nonsense from someone who doesn’t care as long as his enormous pay cheque clears every month. I won’t say I feel sorry for United fans as I obviously don’t but welcome to Liverpool circa 1993 chaps, it’s going to be a long ride.

Mark Jones, LFC, Liverpool


Liverpool taking over the world
Yah, Virgil is probably not feeling great this morning. Especially after realizing that Messi already knew the result last night; is this normal? Well done Messi, I’m just pleased he’s now got one more than CR7, that’s just the right order of things.

But that’s not the point of the mail. If ever there’s a sign post for Liverpool’s progress, it’s the fact that we had 7 first teamers in the top 30. 3 in the top 5. THREE IN THE TOP FIVE?! That is incredible. Klopp must be ecstatic. And Allison rightfully took the goalkeeper prize. Nothing tops this.

I lie. Rapinoe’s father calling it the ‘Balloon Dior’ takes all the biscuits.
Barry, LFC, Cape Town


Liverpool hiding from Man City behind Leicester
I have seen a few mails with other Liverpool fans showing some concern over Leicester and their propensity (similar to our own) of pulling out wins at the moment. This might be an unpopular opinion, and I don’t mean any disrespect, however I would much rather have Leicester (and Chelsea) on our coat tails in this title race, than Manchester City.

If that means Leicester win a few games on the run, then so be it. I wouldn’t mind if Leicester kept the pace with us while building a lead over Manchester City themselves. This would give Man City another obstacle to deal with in terms of retaining their title, and occupy their minds with two rival teams results, instead of just ours. I guess what I am trying to say, is that for the time being I am content with Leicester creating a buffer between us and Man City. I really hope I am not made to look foolish for this, but I don’t see Leicester maintaining this form through the whole season, and especially not during the really ‘squeaky bum” time towards the end of the season. Man City on the other hand have proven that they can easily win 15+ games in a row. So, if Leicester can build a healthy lead over Man City during this period, and we can maintain or hopefully build on our own lead over Leicester, then I would feel comfortable that we can see this league title out to the end, as opposed to having City being the ones directly behind us. Of course, as is customary now for us burnt Liverpool fans, I won’t count my chickens until they are lifting the Premier League title.

I am not too concerned about Leicester’s winning run, and on the flipside, see a massive positive in it as it provides extra distraction to Man City. Once again, this is not meant to pose any disrespect to Leicester. They have won the Premier League title recently, we have not, and that alone merits respect. However, when dealing with a rival that has proven to be as fearsome as City, and considering the level of form we have shown ourselves over this season and last, I don’t see Leicester achieving that level just yet. It is more a mark of respect for City and their achievements over the last couple of seasons, than underestimating Leicester. Perhaps Chelsea can also join this disruption party and also sandwich themselves in between Liverpool and Man City.

I would be interested to hear if any other Liverpool fans feel the same way, and how confident Leicester fans actually feel about challenging Liverpool to the wire?
johnnyWicky, Toronto


Freddie out
What a terrible team to pick for his first game – has he not been taking any notice of the issues since last year?
Why Mustafi at Right CD when thats where chambers should be? Why Mustafi at all – he is really poor, his defending was a joke – we do have other options Freddie and all better than Mustafi
Why Kolasinac instead of Tierney – Tierney even 2 thirds fit is a mile better than Kola, and playing him and Chambers in those positions really unbalances the team
Why Xhaka – he is still slow, turning circle bigger than the titanic and he can go f*ck off where Emery went to
Our midfield (no matter who he uses) seem clueless at the moment and whoever he plays in defence will not cope as we are not good enough – sort that midfiled out first Freddie – has he been walking around training and in the matches with his eye’s closed…
No Pepe – oh FFS – is Freddy Emery in disguise… I am now really worrying
Why not Toreira instead of Xhaka – he is gone or going where as we want to keep Toreira, thats really worrying!
What were the substitutions – they were really odd – do they rate Freddy highly in the same way (until last week) they rated Emery highly….
Oh s*it we are f*cked – get Patrick Viera now, please…..
Joe (Back in a world of pain after the Emery sacking – Freddy is NOT the answer – he is another Emery but worse – he has NO experience)


Peak Arsenal
I have no dog in this fight, but I’ve never seen anything more ‘Arsenal’ than one incident in the Norwich game on Sunday.

Aubameyang’s somersault after scoring a penalty he had missed once already.

It’s a retaken penalty from an already inexplicable handball, surely you just get the ball in the net and get back to halfway for kick off to go on and win. Turn the screw on Norwich. One point in this game isn’t going to be a big help.

No coincidence that, after goading Krul and then doing gymnastics, Arsenal played pants in the time immediately after they scored (on both occasions._

Sums up Arsenal for me. No pursuit of excellence when just ‘good’ is good enough.


The correct way to fall
Sam, Newtonabbey raises an issue I’ve often pondered. He’s right to say that players absolutely have the right to jump out of the way of a flying boot/tackle to avoid injury rather than have to stand there and let it smash them in the shin. And referees/pundits should be better at acknowledging these incidents as foul play too in my opinion, rather than pander to the “contact = foul” brigade.

But, is there not a way in which to avoid a kicking which doesn’t result in players landing chest/knees first on the floor, body fully stretched out as though diving forward full length???

Surely the way to avoid a swinging leg is to jump up and then land back down on your feet; or at very least, make an effort to try to land on them – you may well stumble having been thrown well off balance; but at least your intent will have been clear!

From what I saw yesterday, Chilwell was making limited attempt to avoid being kicked but still carry on playing football afterwards, and was rather, “looking for some contact to justify a penalty appeal”. If you do that, and none is forthcoming, I think people are within their rights to say you dived!!

And yes, Harry Kane and Dele do it and it equally annoys me when it happens then too! Likewise, Bale was expert at it in his Spurs days!! Unlike many, I’m not so tribalistic as to ignore the faults of my own!!
Paul (Spurs) T.Wells


…Thanks to William Ransom for taking the time to contribute the ‘Hertfordshire XI’ to the earlier mailbox. However, William should pop himself in the nearest bin for including Iain Sodding Dowie ahead of Luther Blissett up front. I trust, William, that you have since taken some time to reflect on this and that this, therefore, needs no further explanation.
Alex, LFC


Gillespie’s hat-trick > Watson’s
As James (Kent) is probably well aware Steve Watson played much of his career in midfield and indeed was playing there in that hat trick scoring performance against Leeds. The record still belongs to Gary Gillespie who was actually playing in central defence when he completed his against Birmingham
Justin, Dublin

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