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Pochettino to Real or Man Utd before Christmas
Big shout by I think both Manchester United and Real Madrid will sack their managers BEFORE Christmas.
Its seems silly to say that there is huge expectation at Real Madrid this season, but a plethora of new signings, the return of Zizou and Atletico arguably producing a better rebuild really does build the pressure. Zidane is already losing control at Madrid, he has lost the Battle of Bale, Pogba looks no closer to joining, and I don’t care if it was a friendly, 7-3 to your local rivals will always ring alarm bells. Alternatively, Allegri seems the perfect fit for Madrid, a manager happy to allow the board to wheel and deal (did you see the amount of midfields they went through at Juventus!!) with the ability to get a result. Style of play seems secondary at Real, only winning counts and Allegri would be perfect for them.
Ole’s at the wheel, but not for much longer. Positivity and pride will only get you so far. The promise last season to clear the deadwood has seen…erm…well none of them leave. It is unbelievable that Jones, Smalling, Young, Rojo, Darmian are still at the club. Wan Bissaka finally addresses the right back problem they have had since crowbarring Valencia there, but they need massive changes to that squad to have any chance at Champions League qualification next year. Having said this, United are not far away from challenging, they just need the right set up. They have the money and are willing to spend. With the right manager and staff above him they could be challenging sooner rather than later.
Why would Mauricio Pochettino leave? New stadium, record signings blah blah. Well, the appeal of reviving a fallen giant. Real has won La Liga twice in the last 10 years and have a lot of young and exciting players at the club. Poch would be perfect to come in and bring them on as he has done at Spurs. The same with United, the next manager that delivers the League for United would instantly be Legend and the best thing since Ferguson at that club. I’d argue that Man Utd supporters would swap positions with Spurs at this current moment. Spurs challenge every season, have Champions league football consistently and play good football. Winning the FA Cup, Europa League and League Cup is fine, but it papers over the cracks of a club that should be at the top of the table, or at least fighting for it.
TJ (Lampard will be sacked within the year aswell!)
Unbelievably hyped for Pepe
With news that it’s basically a done deal, here goes…
Watching any/every Nicolas Pepe video I really don’t see the Robben comparisons – who was much more a winger with a unique goal scoring threat.
Instead I see Thierry Henry.
We’ve never come close to replacing Henry and arguably there never has been a centre forward like him since. The effortless poise, the nonchalance, the surprising strength, height and power, that odd gallop which destroyed ground, the way he used to open his body up to shoot on his left, those dreamy ey….
Anyway, watching Pepe, it’s there. The ball control, the humiliating randoms with deft touches, the neat interchanges and assists. Accelerating away from players like they’re not there and calmly slotting the ball home.
Aubameyang is fantastic, a gem. But he isn’t really Henry’s successor. He’s a sprinter and poacher (and guilty of shocking misses).
Pepe could be the true inheritor. And after consigning myself to a gloomy summer and faffing about over Zaha while getting nowhere, I’m ludicrously excited again. If he’s even half the player Henry was, he’ll be fantastic for us.
Tom, (no way this backfires) Walthamstow
Top 10 worst decisions – Liverpool
Ten quick-fire decisions I can think of. Basically ones that I have a personal gripe with.
10 Appointing Hodgson as manager
9 Signing Paul Konchesky
8 Selling Mascherano – see no.10
7 Letting Moreno near a football pitch for the last two years
6 Playing Sterling RWB
5 Pushing gorgeous Xabi out the door
4 Wearing the Suarez shirts
3 Signing Balotelli
2 Making Karius no.1
1 Appointing Michael Owen as club ambassador – no.1 by a country mile
Conor G, Flat Deece, Dublin
Not just Gareth Bale
I fully agree with JN’s latest article and agree that there are few sporting reasons to go China and earn a bit more cash – £1m a week for kicking a ball round a park in an extremely easy league is obscene. However, where exactly do we draw the line? At what point do footballer wage increases go from reasonable to ridiculous?
This should be quite simple for us to figure out. The average wage in the Premier League is now over £50k a week which obviously covers everything from United throwing more than the average house price at Sanchez every week down to the youth players (Declan Rice was on £3k a week before his break through). The top 1% in the UK earned £166k in 2016/2017 so we would probably be safe to say that all established first team players on the Premier League are sitting in the top 1% already.
That is not necessarily interesting in and of itself as these are elite level performers and the Premier League makes an extreme amount of money. But if you look at the 1st centile the average yearly income is £11,200 rising to £23,600 at the 50th. The rise from 50-100 is over 11 times larger than the rise from 1-50. Again not surprising as there’s no cap on earnings. But, if we take Wan Bissaka’s wage rise as he joined United as an example, he went from £10k a week to £80k a week, or from £520k per year to over £4m. Or from the 100th centile to the 100th centile. Had anyone earning the average salary in the 1st centile had their wages multiplied by eight they’d have flown into the 96th centile immediately and it would have brought about a dramatic change in living style AWB may well buy a nice new car but he’s not exactly moving from poverty to comfort (and that’s before we start talking about how footballers get paid more in a week than most of us in a year).
So yes, Bale is being greedy. He really doesn’t need such a huge increase in wages. But then, very few – if any – elite level footballers do. So I argue that they’re all greedy. It would be good to see wages capped and tied to a structure that everyone could see perhaps related to performances. Something that would make the player of the year the automatic highest paid player every year. A lot of people (Tories mostly) would complain that footballers bring in the money so deserve to get paid but I’d counter that most of us would rather see a bigger portion of the money to grass roots facilities and generally through taxation on things like the NHS. Maybe F365 should do a poll?
Liverpool local lads
I’ll pick up the Scouse baton and play, Lee not from Manchester.
I’m off to a bad start as I can’t find a local GK who made any impact whatsoever, so I’m going to cheat (the only time I promise!) and travel a couple of hundred miles across the Irish sea to begin my XI:
GK: Elisha Scott – the Belfast stopper is LFC’s longest-serving player of all time, his career spanning 22 years and also the First World War, which prevented him amassing more than his 468 appearances and 2 league titles.
RB: Chris Lawler (549 games/61 goals) the Silent Knight had a great goalscoring record for a defender considering he did not take free kicks or penalties. Lawler won 3 leagues, 2 FA cups & 1 UEFA cup.
LB: Jamie Carragher (737/5) Carra played LB in the famous cup treble winning season of 2001. He is 2nd in the all-time appearance list and won 2 FA cups, 3 league cups, the CL & the UEFA cup.
CB: Tommy Smith (638/48) the Anfield Iron won 4 leagues, 2 FA cups, the European cup & 2 UEFA cups without shirking a single tackle!
CB: Phil Thompson (477/13) Thommo won 7 leagues, 1 FA cup, 2 league cups, 3 European cups & 2 UEFA cups, and famously took the European cup down his local pub with him in the boot of his Granada after lifting it as captain!
RM: Ian Callaghan (857/68) Callie won the second division with Liverpool before going on to become their record appearance maker, winning 5 leagues, 2 FA cups, 2 European cups, 2 UEFA cups and the World Cup along the way!
LM: Steve McManaman (364/66) Shaggy may have only won 1 FA cup & 1 league cup with Liverpool but his exciting style of play lifted the Reds during a fallow period.
CM: Steven Gerrard (710/186) 3rd in the all-time appearance list 5th in the all-time top scorers list, Gerrard won 2 FA cups, 3 league cups, 1 CL & 1 UEFA cup, and is I believe the only player to have scored in the final of all those competitions. He drove Liverpool on for years with little support from other players at times.
CM: Terry McDermott (329/81) A classy midfielder capable of scoring sublime goals, Terry Mac won 5 leagues, 2 league cups, 3 European cups and 1 UEFA cup.
ST: Robbie Fowler (330/183) The Toxteth Terror, or God as he was know to team mates and supporters alike burst onto the scene when scoring all five goals in a league cup tie against Fulham at Anfield. Fowler went on to become Liverpool’s 6th top scorer of all time, winning 1 FA cup, 2 league cups and 1 UEFA cup in his time at L4.
ST: John Aldridge (104/63) Aldo scored in 10 consecutive games for Liverpool, creating a new league record. He won the league and FA cup during his fairly brief stay.
Subs: Gerry Byrne (274/2) Famously played on in the 1965 FA cup final with a broken collarbone including extra time! Along with that FA cup he also won 2 league titles.
Steve McMahon (271/50) Macca won 3 leagues and 2 FA cups at the club
Jimmy Case (269/46) A tough unrelenting player, Case won 4 leagues, a league cup, 3 European cups and 1 UEFA cup.
Jack Balmer (312/111) Famously scored a hat-trick of hat-tricks in consecutive games, scoring 10 goals across the 3 games in total. Won the league title during his time at the club.
David Fairclough (154/55) Supersub’s most famous goal is the winner against St Etienne in the 1977 European Cup quarter final, and indeed 18 of his goals were from the bench. He won 3 leagues, 2 European cups and 1 UEFA cup.
I wonder if anyone can come up with a team with more major trophies? Perhaps the aforementioned Lisbon Lions of Celtic as I’m guessing they probably won a shit-ton of medals in Scotland.
Vinny (LFC obviously) Colchester
Same again next summer?
Oisin is dead on, United still need a centre half, two centre midfielders, and a genuine right-sided attacker.
But to complement those signings, (and almost more important) United need to trim out 2 Full backs, 3 Centre backs, 2 central midfielders, and a Sanchez.
Never going to happen in 10 days, so looking forward to a rejected last minute £80m bid for our 7th CB, and a 2019/20 squad of 12 defenders, below-average midfielders. Sanchez being like a new signing (again), and hoping Pogba and Martial fancy it.
Ashley Cole’s market value
I love a bit of nonsense as much as the next man, passes the time etc, but RVP was sold knowing we had Giroud and Podolski. Both players were not purchased to play with him at all – no intention…both left footers too – a lot was made of that at the time to make the transition easier for the rest of the team. They were bought knowing we were letting him go.
Fabregas wanted to go, his performances had dipped and the price wasn’t bad for the time, £40m probably would have been better – bigger loss was Nasri that Summer who looked primed to take over the play maker role and had played a much better season prior to that summer.
And if ever a player was sold for less thasn market value it was Ashley Cole.
The final bad decision was abandoning the tiki taka light with young players that was getting Arsenal so close to trophies and with an identity and replacing it with ‘Get the ball to Ozil as quick as possible’. Only now does the club once again seem to have an idea of what they may want to do prior to getting on to the pitch.
If you want to pin point it, it goes back to 2005 when Wenger first off loaded a player for the players benefit and to keep wages as low as possible.
Edu was allowed to leave because Valencia would give him the wages he wanted – these were not astronomical and he had been key for us and had slotted in well when Vieira was injured and about to be sold. The following year he did the same to Pires who is still a club legend and could have been retained but was allowed to leave at just the age of 32.
The trend then continued for 6-8 years.
Favourite football-related song?
We’re still playing the waiting game for actual football so I wanted to throw this question out to maiboxers.
Which is your favourite football related song from a team you DON’T support?
As a gooner, I’ve always loved the B side to 1998’s Hot Stuff – You’d Better Believe It – an over the top so bad it’s good scorcher and World In Motion but my favourite song from a team I don’t support comes from the very same World Cup.
It’s Ireland’s Put Em Under Pressure – that guitar riff is all kinds of 90s goodness!
So what’s yours?
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Greetings from Poland!
Just want to thank you all for the messages and comments of support we got from all around the world after our mail was published last week. So we had our Polish Cup (Puchar Polski) match on Sunday evening against SF Fairant. It was an incredibly hot and humid day (33C at kick off) and this had be worried about the conditioning of our team especially as our opponents actually have a sugar daddy benefactor who has been paying for them to have preseason sessions 4 times a week in comparison to our once a week. We were unfortunately missing our Irish centre back as the Irish FA had been asleep at their desks and had not given him international clearance (he had been calling 4 times for 2 weeks).
We expected the opposition to be tough as they have experience in the league system (as well as the huge budget mentioned before) but we decided we’d still play in our style and spend the first half conserving our energy by keeping the ball. The team played brilliantly and we started well winning an early penalty, which was put away with ease. One of English lads then dribbled through their midfield and played a neat pass through to our polish striker who buried it with ease to make it 2. It was a good lead for us at the half though we made a few adjustments to what each of the players were doing and we suspected that Fairant would be dead on their feet due to the heat and to how intense they had been trying to press(unsuccessfully).
What we suspected came to pass as in the second half as we stepped up a gear and they lacked the energy to combat it. We ended up winning 6-0 (with around 100 people turning up to watch) and it’s a great start to the season, we play a team in the 6th level of the pyramid next(we’re in the 8th) in 2 weeks. You can see highlights of the game on our Facebook or on Youtube thanks for the support!
Ash, Krakow Dragoons