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I’m prepared to give ‘clueless’ Solskjaer a chance
I began watching football in 1998 aged 8. My primary school science teacher would tell me about Beckham a few years later and my interest in the EPL started around 2001. I watched one Manchester United game that day and immediately I loved the team. I have been an ardent Man U fan ever since. I have bee spoilt by success since then to 2013. For this reason, I feel sad on how we have fallen. Despite this, there is this nauseating trait of Manchester United fans complaining about virtually everything. Take an example.
1. Moyes gets hired and we all call him clueless. He gets fired. We forget that Moyes inherited a past it team and maybe if we gave him time, he would have created his own team.
2. LVG comes with his philosophy of possession football and we also call him boring. We further forget that he is the same coach who gave Rashford,Martial and Lingard (the cornerstone of our current attack) their chances. He found the likes of Di Maria and Falcao not the right cut. All he needed was time to build his team in his own mould and get his players. Actually when you look at his record against the big six, it was clear he would succeed. In his final season, he had the second-best defensive record. This is even after playing Blind at the CB position. This same Blind has been found weak and short and not good enough by fans and the English media. But with his ball playing abilities and intelligent mind, we needed not have sold him. Look at his performances for Ajax. Is he really bad? The answer is no. Blind is possibly better than all CBs we got.
4. Then comes Moutinho, my best of the bunch. Moutinho says that the team has players who don’t give the best for the team. His coaching philosophy is players should give their best for the team first. He wants midfielders who are all round and attackers who track back. He wants defenders who play through the pain barrier and give their all. This was the cornerstone of his Chelsea and Inter Milan success. Mou played Eto’o, a top CF on the wing and he never complained. He took Ramos from RB and made him the top CB he is. He ejected Pepe from the team and gave Varane a chance. He felt Casillas was on a wane and made Lopez his first choice. The press felt he was harsh to Casillas but after he was gone subsequent coaches felt that Casillas was done. He left for Porto gradually. Mourinho created the foundation for the Real Madrid team that won 4 UCL titles recently.
Mou felt Pogba doesn’t give it all to the team. He felt Rashford needed to bury his chances more. He criticized Shaw for not giving his best. Be bought Bailly to be his leader but his inconsistent form and injuries made him tired. Just like Van Gaal, he found Young a better alternative than most players and hence made him a first choice. He also found Martial too inconsistent along with the likes of Herrera. He was blamed for being too negative. He leaves and the team has the same issues be identified- same old Pogba, Same old Rashford and Martial, same old defence and same old midfielders.
5. Now to OGS. For one I don’t rate this guy. He appears clueless, doesn’t have a plan B and his freezing of foreigners appears suspect. However, I support him for one main reason: He needs time to build his team. If we don’t give him time, he goes like Moyes, LVG and Mou. Would 4 managers be all wrong? Doesn’t seem so. It would appear the issue is with the team Ferguson left, player apathy, lack of genuine talent and class in the team and bad transfer policies. Take an example from the last two results. Is it the fault of OGS that two players can’t bury penalties, a top goalkeeper can’t keep a simple shot out, Lingard is playing like a headless chicken, Pogba and DDG appear disinterested, Sanchez can’t fire,Rashford can’t take chances, Lindelof can’t win a simple header knowing he is the final guy, players keep getting injured (Shaw and Bailly yet again) and a team with 72% possession loses a game. Cut the guy some slack.
Let him make a team in his identity for even a season. For once let’s stop blaming managers and let’s blame players. And as fans can we stop whining always like babies and enjoy football!
Let OGS be.
FFP needs beefing up to protect clubs from themselves
Thankfully, there were enough people out there to poop all over Mark, London, MUFC’s (how cliché is that by the way?) idea of combining clubs from the same city that I don’t need to rake over it further, though I’ll just throw in that not only is it patronising, it wouldn’t be a solution either.
In the wake of Bury’s demise, I’ve seen plenty of comments pondering why rich Premiership clubs like Manchester United (London’s Pride and Joy) didn’t help Bury out, which would only encourage other clubs to spend uncontrollably themselves as a precedence would’ve been set that you’ll simply be bailed out if finances spiral out of control. There are also many saying that the Premiership should be sharing more of its wealth with clubs in the lower divisions.
Though there may be some merit in this, in itself it’s not a complete solution either. The issue is that, in the competitive nature of football, clubs can be tempted to stretch their spending beyond their means in order to achieve success, and having more money available will simply up the stakes and increase the wages of players, rather than sit in their bank accounts waiting to pay for things like staff, operating costs etc.
For me, strengthening the Financial Fair Play rules is the way to go. A wage cap might work if it were appropriately calculated, but I can’t imagine a situation where it could be introduced as what legal right would the Football League have to tell clubs and players the maximum they could pay/earn? You certainly wouldn’t see that in the business world, so why should it be different here?
That said, it could be indirectly implemented through doling out punishment for those clubs whose wage bills exceed a defined percentage of their income. Say for example this is taken to its extreme and the rules were to state that the total wage bill of a club cannot be more than 80% of revenue, otherwise that club would be ineligible for promotion, regardless of where they finished. That way clubs have the strongest incentive not to gamble their future on promotion as it would be a closed avenue, all clubs would be in the same boat, and, as a direct result of this, organically the going rate for player wages will go down as clubs will need to offer less to adhere to these rules.
There may be an argument that this will unfairly favour those with larger revenues, but I’d suggest firstly, do they not already enjoy an advantage as a result? And secondly, if you’re a club with gates of a couple of thousand, it’s foolish to base your spending on competing with a club with gates of tens of thousands. Fans may demand it of their clubs’ chairmen, and many, being actual fans of the clubs they own, feel pressured to pay out more than is sensible in the name of ‘ambition’, only to be villainised when things go wrong, regardless of their own right or wrongdoings, so by having these strict rules in place, there’s the best reason out there for fans not to encourage overspending.
Such a move would need careful definitions. We’ve already seen this season a number of clubs exploit loopholes to escape punishment under existing FFP rules, with Derby County an excellent example, where they ‘sold’ Pride Park to its owner and leased it back, as well as Red32’s involvement in paying for Wayne Rooney’s wages. These ‘creative’ book-keeping techniques need to be taken out of the equation as much as is possible, maybe by counting only ‘regular’ income, such as tickets sales, TV money, merchandise and player sales, with sponsorship also counting but being heavily scrutinised to catch out disproportionately high deals used as a way of private investment.
It may initially sound a bit extreme and not fit the seemingly sensible thought of ‘just have the rich share their wealth’, but to me, the key is creating an environment where clubs can look after themselves without bailouts and without the pressure to gamble by overspending. Football clubs are important parts of communities and shouldn’t have their futures determined by whether a metaphorical roulette wheel falls on red or black.
Nick Hamblin, Bristol, tiny insignificant Bristol City, soon to be Bristol United apparently
Obviously, I wasn’t suggesting Arsenal and Tottenham etc merge into one team. Or indeed, one team per city.
And as a Maple Leafs fan with a Canadian wife I know the cost of tickets to the Maple Leafs having gone twice this year. It sucks and it doesn’t help that NBA/NHL arenas only hold 20k.
The point I was trying to make is that the genie is out of the bottle. Football isn’t going to disappear from our TV’s. In all likelihood, we are less than 10 years away from every Premier League game being on TV or a streaming platform.
What do you think will happen to the clubs further down the football pyramid then? Maybe fewer clubs will be better moving forward enabling more competition throughout the pyramid as each team would have bigger fanbases. Or perhaps we need to build in some safeguards around live broadcasting of matches.
For example, in order to preserve more football clubs we could introduce the following:
– Institute the 50+1 rule from Germany or similar. AFC Wimbledon and FC Utd are great examples of fan-led club ownership. I’d love Man Utd to be owned by the fans.
– Broadcast 9 Premier League games on Saturday at 4pm and one Sunday game at 3pm. Switch football league games to a 2pm kick off. That way local fans could watch their local team and still make it to the pub/home in time for the Premier League games.
What I mean to do with my mail was spark a debate about the issues beyond bad ownership which is hurting lower league football. I don’t want to move to a 20 team franchise system but at the same time persisting with a model started in the 19th century is also out of date and unrealistic.
Time to regionalise
Whilst Mark, London, MUFC one club one city idea is frankly ludicrous it is worth looking again at the English League structure and how it could be improved to perhaps help clubs in the lower divisions to be more sustainable. Surely the answer has to be a move back towards regionalisation below the Championship. Essentially combining Leagues 1 and 2 into League 1 North and League 1 South.
The benefits are obvious – less travelling for away games, potentially more derbies and the chance for more local rivalries to develop which would likely only have a positive affect on attendances. It goes without saying that you will get a bigger crowd at Swindon V Oxford or Oldham V Bolton than Plymouth v Carlisle. Bigger crowds means more income which clubs can use to improve facilities or simply make sure they have more money to run without the need for an owner with deep pockets. It could even run on a semi-professional basis if needs be to help manage costs.
It would need a bit of a debate of how promotion up the Championship would work, would suggest 4 up, 4 down with the Champions promoted automatically and positions 2-5 contesting play-offs with finals at Wembley (South) and Old Trafford (North) for the last 2 spots but think the pros outweigh the cons here.
Want to give my two cents on the Mark MUFC 92-team mail.
Like others in the previous mailbox, I don’t think the idea is practical because of the local neighbourhood and history. A lot of fans certainly do not want it. Forcing a club to close or exit the league because there is more than one I don’t think is a good policy.
That all said, I’m in agreement with his assessment that the 92 professional club is not economically sustainable. As an example, the secons English tier Championship may be exciting but they just don’t draw the same eyeballs as EPL, and I presume gets worse down the ladder. This goes for both ticket sales and television revenue.
So the way I see way I see it, the current system is mostly okay, if very imperfect. Economics will drive out the clubs that couldn’t survive, while anybody is still free to create their own football club and the association with it (including phoenix ones). It is really hard to rise up practically but the freedom to create a club and not it be limited because another club is already there. And even if a club never rises very high up, the sense of community and the idea that they COULD is important. The US System of clubs existing solely at the discretion of the league I don’t think will be well received in England.
This is also not to say that the current system cannot be tweaked, like some of the mailbox ideas about stricter ownership tests and upfront collateral might have some merit. It will not prevent total failures because of the economics but perhaps work better to incentive sustainability than it currently does now.
Enjoyed the kicking Mark got this morning; more amusing for being a United fan in London (because of course the logical extension of his argument really is you should support the club you’re closest to geographically as well).
But his mentioning of American sports again brings me back to my favourite hobby; drawing lazy analogies between my favourite sports either side of the pond.
In this case, he mentions that Premiership clubs have money and can’t expect it to filter through to the Football League.
Set up something like the luxury tax that the NBA has. Put a soft cap on salary and transfer spending for the Prem and make them double their money if they get carried away. Stick that in a pot and use it to support failing clubs or fund the Football League generally.
I mean, in principle I’d prefer it if they did proper ownership due diligence and created robust rules to stop the silly bollocks like selling your ground, but since that never seems to happen, maybe a bit more money in the pot would give lower league clubs a bit of backbone to stand up to the feckless Bassini’s and Dales of the world.
Regarding Everton’s DVD worthy win at Lincoln City.
‘There certainly won’t be many harder ones than this away day in Lincolnshire.’
Lay off the glue sniffin’, Nathan.
John Mac, Cork. (setting up a petition to see the Prem renamed ‘The Hyperbowl’. The Yanks would lap it up).
Someone asked where Peter Goldstein had gone in this mornings mailbox. I spoke to him a month or two ago, he has had a couple of health problems but is on the mend.
He did say he has retired now so was hoping to come back a do a few more things for the site in the future.
We all miss his statistical genius.
Graham Kirk, Sunny Manchester