Paul Pogba ‘has been sold a lie’ by Manchester United

Date published: Wednesday 15th May 2019 8:50

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Pens for the lads
You really can’t beat a penalty shootout.



What’s not to like about United?
By all accounts in the media, United are screwed. Everyone says so. They have a naive manager who has lost the dressing room (or maybe just the ego known as Pogba), they are shedding a load of players, and are about to employ an inexperienced Director of Football. Madness.

But let me offer an alternative view.

United are likely to be losing a number of current first teamers, but that’s in a first team that is a shambles. Young, Valencia, Smalling (hopefully), Rojo, Matic (hopefully), Herrera, Mata, Sanchez, Lukaku (hopefully) can all be waved on their merry ways. Depending on Ole’s view of whether he’s the rot or not, petulant Pogba may join that list.

In their stead United already have Shaw, Dalot, Fosu-Mensah/Tuanzebe in defence along with Lindelof; Pereira, Gomes and Garner in midfield to join McTominay and maybe even Fred, Chong and Greenwood to play up front / wings as well as Martial, Rashford and Lingard.

Add to them a couple of big signings like Sancho, Declan Rice, Lewis Cook (oooh, maybe) and things instantly look rosier. A young team of very talented players, many who have come through the ranks or been developed by the club, who can grow together, replacing a tired and broken team of bitter, mix-matched and abused odd-balls, either playing out of position or unsuited to the style being asked of them.

Add to this a manager who trusts the younger players and wants to mould them, who plays attacking football and believes in the club.

What’s not to like? Let City enjoy their summer after just missing out on the big one again, let Tottenham enjoy their moment in saving the world from high-pitched Liverpool whining (please, god) and look forward to an exciting team of players who actually want to be there next year.


Leave Lingard alone
Of all the hot takes on Man Utd’s current malaise, “it’s Jessie Lingard and these kids on their instagrams” has to be the most embarrassing. Launching a clothing range too! I bet you can’t imagine a club legend Class of ’92 alum doing something like that…



There might be a lot to say about Jesse Lingard but he is not a cancer and it is stupid to suggest he is. Manchester United do not have AIDS or any other human ailment and you would have to be a cretin to suggest that the World most successful footballing corporate entity has.

I get the concepts of allegory and simile but seriously Bryan get a f***ing grip before you or someone you love has to deal with any of those issues.

It is this type of comment that makes the rest of the world think sports fans are idiots… Maybe they are right.


A couple of things.

Bryan, people have personalities, chill man.  Gazza once put sh*t in a mince pie and made his mate eat it and he’s the best player England produced in half a century.  If being good at banter is enough to write off one of Utd’s most gifted players then, f**k, what are we even doing anymore?

Ted, a technical director is concerned with footballing matters and has nothing to do with business or recruitment.  You can have more than one director.

The pair of you, please disregard Dylan Thomas and DO go gentle into that good night.  This season wasn’t about Utd and the season is over.  Take the next couple of months to just let it all go.  Relax.  Have hope in what the future holds and don’t dwell on the little negatives that crop up with everything in life.  And for the sake of all that’s good in the world keep your misery to yourselves.
SC, Belfast


Feeling sorry for Pogba
Paul Pogba currently ranks first at Manchester United for the following categories:

Goals, Assists, Goal involvements, Chances created, Dribbles, Touches, Passing chains, Progressive passes, Duels won, Through balls And funny enough Distance covered but lets pretend he is the reason why we are so bad.

As Patrice Evra said today, should the strikers not be asking themselves why Pogba is our top scorer this season? If he was English would he be getting the same level of abuse? Definitely not. We currently have Ashley Young wearing our captains armband – which is shameful – and a first 11 in which only two would get into the Leicester first 11 (Pogba and De Gea). British fans and pundits are obsessed with players running their lungs out and trying hard but they dismiss quality and end product. There is a reason Barcelona wanted Pogba last year and there is a reason Madrid are chasing him this year. But let’s champion Mctominay, even though he may not be good enough, because he runs hard and feels sad when we lose. How many Liverpool and City players are fans of their prospective teams?

I am actually looking forward to Pogba leaving, he has been sold a lie. On signing for United, he was told we were going to be contenders again. Ed Woodward and Jose Mourinho failed to properly build a team that could challenge, last year’s 2nd place finish does not count, finishing 20 odd points behind the winners does not count!!!. A reminder that this is a team in which Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jesse Lingard are starters.
Longsight Lad (Darren Fletcher for DOF?????????????) 


Pep? Pah
This is why I don’t care one jot about awards like this!

So, the manager with the strongest squad and reigning champions does slightly worse than the season before and is named Manager of the Season.

The manager who made up a 20-point(?) gap on the reigning champions and achieved the highest ever(?) points total for second place and his team was not as good…

I am a Man U fan and even I call bullsh*t!!
Andreas (They seem to want to get rid of Jesus, who looked like the best young striker in the world a year ago… ) Brussels


Second XIs
I presume Matt’s mail was posted to provoke reaction. Allow me.

‘You’d never trust Otamendi for a full season’

Pep did. He played 34 league games last season, more than any other City defender and only behind Ederson, KDB and Bernardo for the whole squad.

‘Swap Sturridge and Moreno for a decent forward and fullback and Liverpool have a decent squad similar to what Man City utilised this season.’

You could swap them for Robertson and Salah and I’d still give you a goal head start against the Man City 2nd XI.
Pete ‘not even a Man City fan’ B


There are two words which are never far away from the mind of this Liverpool fan: net spend. Any argument about Liverpool’s supposed spending spree over the last couple of transfer windows can be successfully rebuffed by the two aforementioned words. As such, it is only natural to contemplate what the 2019 summer window will be like.

Player sales:

1) Goalkeeper: Karius is in the middle of a 2-year loan spell. Mignolet is likely to leave and could ‘command’ a fee of around 10 million quid or so.

2) Defenders: Moreno to leave on a free. Clyne likely to leave for another 10 million.

3) Midfielders: Marko Grujic looks set to leave for 40 MILLION EUROS (unbelievable), although a move hinges on Atlético Madrid selling defensive midfielder Rodri for 70 million, and replacing him with Grujic. With Michael Edwards having sold Solanke, Ibe, Ings, and Brad Smith for a combined 60 million or so, he can pull off the Grujic deal too.

4) Forwards: Sturridge to leave on a free. Danny Ings’ move to Southampton to become permanent for 17 million (I think).

Fringe players/away on loan who might leave: Rafa Camacho, Ryan Kent, Ovie Ejaria, Sheyi Ojo.

Player purchases:

1) Defenders: A left-back and a right-back. No names doing the rounds currently. Worst case scenario, Klopp gets only a left-back, with Gomez/Milner/Henderson filing in on the right should the need arise.

2) The BBC’s David Ornstein thinks Klopp wants an attacking replacement for Sturridge. But what’s a better way to go about this: relying on a solid club source or analysing Liverpool’s needs like you are Herr Klopp yourself? The latter of, course. It is tempting to purchase an attacking midfielder along the lines of Bernardo Silva. Sporting’s Bruno Fernandes seems to be on his way to Manchester City. But, with the Ox returning from injury, Lallana (hopefully) fully fit, and young Curtis Jones looking to emulate Trent AA and make a name for himself in the first team, the space just isn’t there to get a new face for 40/50 million and kill the carefully built net spend.

There is also the small matter of the returning Harry Wilson. Wilson has got 17 goals and 5 assists for Derby County this season, and would be a great back-up for Mo Salah on the right wing. Wilson is rapid and great on free kicks. This would also allow Shaqiri to drop back and link the midfield and attack as one of three midfielders.

Sorry, David Ornstein. But some cold logic tells me Klopp does not want a ‘versatile attacker’ to replace Sturridge.

Where does that leave Liverpool’s net spend for the summer? I expect the wage bill to reduce marginally in 2019/20 (not accounting for improved deals given to players currently on the book) with Michael Edwards hopefully raising around 55 million from player sales. Unless two young full-backs cost more than that, Liverpool will not be net spenders in the summer. Take that, Daniel Levy.
Siddharth still-waiting-for-my-full-backs Upasani.


‘Plucky’ little Spurs
So before we get to the Champions League final where the giants of Merseyside with their expensively assembled squad and annoying fans who shouldn’t cheer too much but should make sure they cheer a reasonable amount under the right conditions are taking on the minnows of White Hart Lane, I wanted to explore this incorrect narrative.

Firstly some stats:-

Spurs Premier League finishing position from 05/06 – 5,5,11,8,4,5,4,5,6,5,3,2,3

NET spend last 10 years:-

City £1.07B
Utd 662m
Liverpool 324m
Arsenal 282m
Chelsea 561m
Spurs 17m

Net worth of majority/sole owner

City – Sheikh Mansour – personal 17B, family ONE TRILLION DOLLARS (pinkie on lips!)
Utd – Glazer family $3.5B
Liverpool – $2.5B Fenway Sports Group
Arsenal – Stan ‘Scrooge’ Kroenke – $8B
Chelsea – Roman Abramovich – $13B
Spurs – Joe Lewis $5B

The biggest question is why can’t Spurs ‘afford’ to keep up with the big boys ? I had a look at their accounts over the last 10 years (please stay awake at the back) and noticed 2 key things. Firstly White Hart Lane was bought and paid for so the running costs were relatively low. Provided they could bring in the revenues Spurs should have plenty of spending power. Which brings me to point 2, sponsorship income. Essentially for the last 10 years Spurs have failed to keep up with the big boys when it comes to shirt sponsorship, shirt deals and all round sponsorship income which meant Spurs have been at least £50m a season behind even Liverpool and Chelsea (the 2 lowest out of the big 5). This is a failure of management which they have cunningly reinterpreted as Spurs being just under the big 5 so what do you expect.

Onto Poch. He is like Wenger in that he is very cautious when spending money. Like Wenger he does this as he knows it means he is more secure in his job. When David Dein was at Arsenal he tells a story of asking Arsene over dinner what he would do if I gave him £100m. Arsene without a moments hesitation said ‘I would give it you back’. I suggest the real reason Wenger was fired was that he didn’t have the bottle to go for it, blow £100m and really challenge and Spurs with Poch are heading down the same route.

This season he chose (and that’s a very important word) to NOT spend any money. Then as the season is concluding it’s now a miracle (hallelujah) that Spurs are top 4 and into the champions league final. Meanwhile Liverpool are vilified for simply reinvesting the Coutinho money in one of the best keepers in the world, the best defender and a highly talented midfielder. In this scenario who has failed Liverpool or Spurs !? Who deserves more credit !?

Next season Spurs will get all that lovely corporate money from their new stadium, the premier league money is going up and up and I would like to state that ‘Plucky Little Spurs’ do not exist. There are no excuses next season. It is up to Poch to spend the money and challenge for the title and if he doesn’t he has failed, as have Spurs. The honeymoon is over.

Johan Cruyff ‘I never saw a bag of money score a goal’

Ian Williams ‘If you spend the bag of money you have a better chance of scoring goals’
Ian (Spursy are dead) LFC 


Everyone is great
I’m a Gooner … love them ….drive me mad but there you go. But I’m getting to an age where I can honestly appreciate each club for what they bring to the greatest game in the world.

Yes it’s a game but as someone said recently there are very few things in life that can make you get batsh*t mental and make hairs stand up on the back of your neck that aren’t otherwise chemically stimulated … this is PURE adrenalin …. You cant buy it at boots or off your local scumbag dealer …….

So here’s what’s unbelievable about YOUR team ( and for brevity I’m limiting to one thing that is relevant to the here and now and to PL 2019/20 );

Man City – Championes !

Liverpool – Anfield on a European night

Chelsea – Zola’s smile

Spuds – you’re better than Arsenal !

Arsenal – best forward pairing anywhere

Man Utd – there’s an army of you willing yourselves forward

Wolves –  you’re going to only get better – and you were great !

Everton – it was getting a lot better … Silva could be the man

Leicester – you lost a great man but made yourselves a great family

West Ham – settling in .. home is where the heart is and you’ll love it soon

Watford – you’re in a cup final !!!

Newcastle – never ever say die

Bournemouth – Eddie Howe and Jeff Mostyn – them two should run the country – always positive – you need that

Burnley – you can beat ANYONE – and scare most of them

Southampton – never fear – there’s always 15 kids coming through

Brighton – sunniest place to watch home games and you get to welcome all the above again next year !!

Norwich – never a dull game – average of 3 goals a game last year and you scored mostly 2 of them

Sheff utd – you can bring Yorkshire to London every other week and scare us to death – passion

Leeds/West Brom/Villa/Derby – leeds,leeds,leeds / boing, boing, boing / allez,allez,allez / …………….. there had to be one I couldn’t think of anything of …… good luck in champo and remember the good times …

And lastly ( you may have noticed they aren’t there …………..Crystal Palace ……… fair play – I take my hat off, in my view fan for fan ( on matchdays) they out support all the above, they have been there through thick and thin, never doubt, put up with all sorts of shi*, live in SOUF London (no one wants to be there …) but in general approach every game thinking they can win .. don’t moan ( usually) and have players that love them back ……. I hope Speroni gets another testimonial – I might even venture down there – I’d dearly like to see them finally get into Europe – the fans deserve it.

Anyway – think of the good things and how you’ll be full of optimism for next year ……..
Gary, Enfield


Fringe festival
Dear F365,

The silly season is practically upon us. A time of rumours, denials of rumours, hints, cryptic teases, agent agitations, players supposedly looking to buy/sell houses, wives, girlfriends and children being happy/unhappy here or there and the general clickety click of baited users online.

And we lap it up.

The one thing that irrationally sends me over the edge is the idiotic way transfer rumours are  dressed up.  I’ve complained before about ‘finishing touches’ being applied to offers as if they’re the final flourishes on a masterpiece rather than the numbers on a page in a spreadsheet as they really are.  And of clubs supposedly scouting world famous international players playing leading roles at major clubs.  Deity on a bike!  By that measure I’ve scouted 30% of Champions League starters this season.

But what has really put mustard in my teapot today is the term ‘fringe star’.  Fringe + player, sure.  First team star, maybe, but this is often overplayed and in our days of hyperbole an average player is now a star, a very good player  a superstar and an actual superstar is a hyper mega beast super duper star.  But I digress, sort of.  There is no such thing as a fringe star.

So please, please, please use phrases and terms that actually describe the scenario.

Best of luck to all in surviving the corporate gossip storm.
Dr Oyvind, turning down the hype since 1982, Earth.


Old cup finals
As we are approaching that time of year, I have found myself reviewing old cup finals of yore. Much like the Diamond Geezers feature on these fine pages, perusing the featured lineups has been a pleasurable blast from the past.

For example here is everyone involved in the 2006 UEFA Cup final. I imagine that review will provide you with a few instances of “Hey, I remember that random fella!” and “Wow, he was there? I can’t remember if I forgot that or never knew!”

Middlesbrough F.C.
Manager: Steve McClaren

Mark Schwarzer, Stuart Parnaby, Chris Riggott, Garett Southgate (c), Franck Queudrue, James Morrison, George Boateng, Fábio Rochemback, Stewart Downing, Mark Viduka, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

Bench: Brad Jones, Ugo Ehiogu, Matthew Bates, Ray Parlour, Lee Cattermole, Massimo Maccarone, Yakubu

Sevilla FC
Manager: Juande Ramos

Andrés Palop, Dani Alves, Javi Navarro (c), Julien Escudé, David Castedo, Jesús Navas, José Luis Martí, Enzo Maresca, Adriano, Luís Fabiano, Javier Saviola

Bench: Antonio Notario, Aitor Nocio, Renato, Fernando Sales, Antonio Puerta, Kepa, Frédéric Kanouté


Lee Cattermole was there! 18 years old!
Ray Parlour was there! 33 years old!
Dani Alves!!
James Morrison!!!!
Jesús Navas!
Juande Ramos!

It’s a veritable list of early millennium football character actors. Would anybody else care to share some lineups of past cup finals so that we may all take a stroll down memory lane? I would also ask people to share their stories of this final, but the 4-0 result would not seem to lend itself to too many interesting tales, unless there are any first hand accounts…
-Dan, NYC 


Ju are you?
Not sure the mailbox can cope with 3 separate submissions regarding Julian Speroni but if you ask me he deserves it. Anyway, the main reason I wanted to write in was the entry by Matt Ring on Tuesday morning signed off with ‘Do do do, Julian Speroni’, referencing the terrace chant for Jules. Well Matt, I’ve been singing that for 15 years as well, but on Sunday, his last appearance at Selhurst Park, it became apparent to me that it has actually been ‘Ju, Ju, Ju, Julian Speroni’ the whole time. 15 years. It was only when I saw it written in a number of pre-match tweets by fellow Palace fans that I realised the last decade and a half I’ve been living a lie.
Ant, CPFC (It’s also pronounced H-ulian)


Reading your out-of-contract XIs from the European leagues, two things happened. Firstly, I went on Transfermarkt and made a Czech league version (which I won’t send you, but inevitably contains Milan Baroš), and secondly brought to my attention the fact that Darijo Srna is still at large.

What a superstar.
David (and Libor Kozák, Marek Matějovsky and Jan Lastůvka) Szmidt, Brno, Czech Rep.

(MC – Please do send us that Czech version)


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