Pep Guardiola gets a kicking for fat-shaming and Rodri reliance

Editor F365
Pep Guardiola with Kalvin Phillips and Rodri
Pep Guardiola with Kalvin Phillips and Rodri

Pep Guardiola is being treated hypocritically, according to the Mailbox. He should be condemned for fat-shaming and and over-reliance. Plus, views on Dan Ashworth and more.

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Kicking Pep
A comment from the Winners and Losers article regarding Moyes and West Ham really caught my attention and made me recall Big Sam’s famous “If my name was Allardici I’d be a top four boss” comments, made many, many years back.

The actual line was referring to the Hammers’ dreadful form since the loss of Paqueta. The line ran something like “An overreliance on one player betrays a failure in coaching.” Now, whilst I can agree with the thought, I wonder why this same logic is not applied to Pep in relation to City’s form without Rodri.

‌Every time Man City’s reliance on Rodri is mentioned, it’s mentioned in a way that suggests that Rodri is an indispensable player and is miles above any other player in the league, and no piece I have read has ever mentioned it in the same way that Moyes’ reliance on Paqueta is mentioned, who I believe is as essential to the Hammers as Rodri is to City.

Pherain, AFC, Johannesburg


…Dear F365, I doubt you’ll post my email as I have been a fervent critic of some of your contributors. But there’s always a chance. Especially as it would mean breaking my F365 cerise 🙂

I’d like to address the recent apology from cheque book pep. ( I can already hear the howls of derision from citeh fans globally ! Truth hurts though eh ! )

Here is a manager who PUBLICLY fat shamed a player he hardly ever played and quite possibly only signed to stop rivals purchasing the talented midfielder.

Let’s play a game of hypotheticals here ….. Let’s say a male manager of a female high profile team came out in a press conference and stated that one of his players had come back from the summer break overweight/ above their target weight set by the club.

Firstly, do female footballers actually have target weights ? I’d imagine this is a skull and cross bones warning / no go area as it would open up a can of hysteria from the purple haired, pierced section of society.

Secondly, I’d welcome views from other readers as to what the headlines might consist of ….. I’ll start

1. The Guardian – Outrageous fat shaming slur from Johnny Smith towards Lioness hero(ess ?)
2. Daily Mail – JOHNNY SMITH MUST BE SACKED claims Sarina Whiegman !
3. Pink News – Misogynistic Manager Must Go
4. The S*n – ‘ Johnny Smith publicly fat shames Lioness hero (ess?) after 10 year affair , 3 kids and a side affair with the maid ‘

Who thinks CBP has got a way with this because Kalvin is male ?

Interested to hear opinions…
Yopaulie Swinetown

READ: Predicting every Premier League club’s next manager: Arteta to Manchester City, Simeone at Newcastle


Dan Ashworth: Head-hunted or tapped up?
Just a quick question – Can you only tap up players?

I know tapping up has long not actually been a thing .. But how has no one mentioned the pursuit of Dan Ashworth by 1 of the ‘red cartel’?

All reports say that after 18months of being in a job with a 4year contract he has asked to leave..

This is seemingly because Man Utd don’t want to speak to Newcastle Utd.. and have fully cowarded out of negotiations so have got the patsy to do his own work?

Doesn’t seem like the proper actions from the new saviour (who still hasn’t actually purchased his 25% if I am correct but who has been dick waving for some months now..)

I would suggest full compo package of £20mil seems about right..

Oddly, for me (Clive), only Newcastle seem to come out of this with any pride or sense of right (I know I know..)

Ashworth looks like ya classic – highest bidder mercenary that Man Utd have been way too guilty of hiring in the last 10yrs and more (mainly in the playing staff)

Man Utd still look like they are trying to be billy big bolox and just paying for the ‘best’ perceived option. (In their defense I think he probably is as good as anything out there, not like Antony….)

Ratcliffe looks like he’s making decisions to appease fans left and right with out actually having paid a penny yet.. (fair play to the fella..)

But no one has complained, even Newcastle? to the FA or Prem League or PGMOL or whoever letters mean most this week, about their star man absolutely and totally being tapped up by Manchester Utd without denial or pretence of that not being true.

I don’t get it ..

Maybe headhunting and tapping up are different?

Playing staff and err… staff… are counted as different for the rules purposes

Or maybe tapping up has never mattered?

Enjoy your garden Dan
Well done Newcastle.
Al – LFC and none of my business really (come on Brentford lets have a reaction…Tony 3 – Haaland 2)

READ: Man Utd won’t pay for Dan Ashworth? He’ll cost a quarter of an Antony…


Is it wise to pay up though?
I totally get the logic in Ian Watson’s piece today. United are used to wasting money on rubbish players so why shouldn’t they drop what I assume is a world record fee (for a high level appointment) on Dan Ashworth? And there’s definitely some sense in saying a competent sporting director is more important than a single footballer so they should cost more. It could be the best £20M ever spent.

But this is Ratcliffe’s first test of his and INEOS’ ability to make deals so just paying up seems like a bad idea from a strategic point of view. We need the sporting director, yes. But it’s a long term appointment. Do we need to spend £20M to get him now and potentially ruin our ability to negotiate down the line because everyone knows United panic and just pay up in the end (see Antony, Mount, Hojlund)?

The word from United is that we’re prepared to wait until his Gardening Leave expires if we don’t get an appropriate deal and I think sensible United fans would back that, particularly if the appointments below him can take place in the time we wait for him.

That approach is likely to be a negotiating line, which you’d expect, as United try to get that price down. Realistically, £10-12M is more a palatable figure at which I can imagine a deal being done at.

For Newcastle’s part, they seem to want the £20M AND not have him start until after the summer window. I don’t think the two things are realistic. If I was INEOS I’d only be willing to pay anything if he can start in time for the Summer window. Newcastle’s hand has also been weakened by Eddie Howe pretty much saying Ashworth hasn’t done anything since he was appointed. Oh so you can do without him lads?

You won’t mind him starting early then? Forfeiting any sort of fee and paying someone of know use to you for longer (restricting your own recruitment ability in the mean time) just so you can stop some knowledge of your transfer plans from passing to what you perceive as direct rivals for one window seems daft to me.

Being patient isn’t in most United fans vocabulary but this feels like a good point in our history for the people running the show to demonstrate they understand when to act with urgency and patience in equal measure and not blind panic as we have done for so many years. Doing so will bode well for the way the club is built from here on.
Ash Metcalfe


Hojlund before time
Select Group of United Supporters: “Darwin Nunez is the single biggest flop in football history” (paraphrasing a number of quotes)

Also, Select Group of United Supporters: “It would be no exaggeration to say Hojlund will be one of the best for years to come. No exaggeration at all.” (actual quote I saw yesterday)

Nunez first season all comps: 9 goals, 3 assists from 1695 minutes (GC ever 141 mins)

Hojlund currently all comps: 7 goals, 2 assists from 1465 minutes (GC every 162 mins)

Now don’t get me wrong, Hojlund on current form may decrease that figure of 162 pgc to even better than Nunez’ respectable but not earth-shattering 141 mins in his first season), but he’d sure have to go some to get it so far below Nunez that it’s not comparable.

It’s worth noting as well that Nunez came off the bench quite a bit in his first season (only 19 starts from 29 appearances) and most-commonly plays from the wing as opposed to Hojlund who is central when he plays.

That said, the comparison from a vocal minority bares scrutiny. A comparison point between two young players both of whom showing promise in a first season where detractors have seen none, both cost a lot more than they were initially worth.

Many (sensible and non-sensible alike) United supporters would be in dreamland if, in his 2nd season next year, Hojlund were to match Nunez’ numbers in his 2nd, this year, of a goal contribution every 91 minutes from the wing that’s for sure.
The Everpresent Harold Ezekiel Hooler


Man Utd are chaotic…but winning games
Another day, and another victory for Utd. That’s five-in-a-row, and scoring six-on-a-row for Hojlund. When you consider the form of both for the first half of the season, that’s an impressive turnaround.

In my eyes, it was a great game and a good result. 2-0 up very early with Hojlund scoring twice was far more than I expected at that point. Luton got lucky with a bounce to equalize, but that gave them impetus and helped create the game we saw.

Utd kept going for the third, whilst Luton kept pushing for an equalizer. It was everything you hope a PL game to be, but Utd should have finished the game off sooner, instead it kept Luton belief high enough to continue.

No team this season does chaos like Utd. Their games are very end to end, rarely having control. I’ll admit that’s probably not a good thing, but when you notice the quality of chances teams get given, it’s rarely that worrying other than the frequency and ease. Like allowing sandcastles to be built at will, but only in areas where the ocean will be.

Hojlund does it again – becoming the youngest player ever to hit six on the bounce. Not bad for a complete waste of money. I must add that Onana had a great game too. Back passes are met with calm and direction, as opposed the panic that we saw last year. His CL mistakes are still being used to beat him, but there is only one keeper who can claim to be better this year in the PL.

Luke Shaw being injured is such a pity. He brings so much to the team with effort and ability. It’s tragic he has been struck again. A man growing into that mould is Dalot. He’s got some right foot and is now looking like he is pushing himself. He’s making runs that would make Sancho look useful, and has somehow summoned his inner AWB.

Can’t praise Utd without mentioning Mainoo, but my word – what composure this kid has. Remarkable. Hendo is probably nervous. Absolutely shocked he was booked. The mailbox yarned about it, but I’ve never as fan seen them get so many yellows for either doing nothing or winning the ball. Mainoo wins it? Booking. Cas doesn’t touch him? Booking. Dalot complains? Double booking. AWB wins ball? Booking.

That said, Luton were made look like Real. All credit to them for their efforts, and the stats(states?) are behind them, but it felt almost too easy at times, despite rarely looking like scoring. Hearing their starting team cost about £10M vs the £500M Man Utd, and how even it was, really show how beautiful the game is.

My numerations of Man Utd’s odds of making to top 4 have dramatically increased since I wrote in about it. They’re still in the ‘unlikely’ category, but luckily teams are learning how to beat Spurs, and Villa are running out of steam, so the hope is still on.

MAILBOX: One Man Utd player sums up the madness and the magnificence


Frank for Liverpool?
Any other Liverpool fans be happy if Thomas Frank had a crack at the Liverpool job? Is there a reason why he isnt being mentioned? I like him. He has a few years experience of the Prem now and lets be honest has done wonders at Brentford to the point where no-one is questioning Brentfords existence in the division.
Steve H – LFC


Remember the Bruce love
It’s always great to see a Johnny Nic article, his hyperbole and direct writing always provokes commentary.

So I guess I’ve been reeled in over the David Moyes article.

‘There has never been such disparity between fan base and the media….’? I give you Steve ‘how’s the bacon did you say?’ Bruce.

As a Newcastle fan I had to watch his ‘chums’ on the various podcasts and pre-kick off shows defend him.
No matter what he did or how loud the cries were we’d be told ‘careful what you wish for’, ‘statistically Rafa wasn’t better’, ‘who are Newcastle realistically going to get’

We’ve had some terrible managers (Carver, Gullit, McClaren, Kinnear) but Bruce was the only one I ever thought *I* could do a better job.

We can laugh about it now as our road is looking at a brighter destination….. but we won’t forget.
Rob G


Ba dum tish
Credit where credit’s due…bravo for gag of the week from Matt Stead within this article.

5) Spurs (Gennaro Gattuso)
But as implied, the eventual appointment of Postecoglou as Antonio Conte’s permanent heir was not a patch on Daniel Levy’s laughable Jose Mourinho replacement scramble of summer 2021.

Keep up the good work and awrabest to Johnny Nic
Paul Healy, Glasgow ( bracketed comments are so 2023 darlink)