Selling Wembley would only have been a short-term fix

Date published: Thursday 18th October 2018 2:06 - Dave Tickner

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I find it frustrating to hear people criticising the decision not to sell Wembley, implying the sale would help solve grassroots problems.

I’ll try and make this short: the sale would not solve the problem.

Whilst there would be a larger investment made, these investments would be on parks, something councils traditionally own (and currently don’t have the funding to maintain, let alone subsidise the cost for). Any improvements would be with the intention of a 10-12 year life span. 3G pitches usually need maintenance every 5 years. Basically, we’d have new pitches and facilities now, but unless we plan to sell Wembley 10-12 years down the line again, we won’t have the same investment for maintaining them.

It’s apparent there is no sustainable business plan for reinvestment.

What worries me is if Wembley was sold, then any investment into grass roots would be an analyst’s wet dream. Targets would be set, monitored and reviewed. This sounds like a standard business approach, however from experience of stats analysis (it’s my full time job, coupled with being a part time football coach), the targets become unsustainable and they go through cycles of booms and dips. This would be no different. It will see a rise in its 4 year target, then afterwards, once the funding ran out, you’d see the drop in numbers.

Selling Wembley would not solve the long lasting problems, nor should it. County FAs can do more to support the running of clubs (as many train and play on the same pitch, which inevitably ruins the grass quicker), by liaising with Councils and looking at joint ventures with other National Governing Bodies for multi-use facilities and better facilities, with a business plan in case for future maintenance.

Sorry for the boring rant, but if people think that by throwing money at a problem will solve it without knowledge of, or attempting to resolve, the root cause, then you’re doomed to fail. (I’m looking at you too Jose!)
Steve, Cautiously Confident Gooner


Na na na naaaa, Giiiirrrrooouuuddd…
I don’t understand why all of a sudden Giroud is being referred to as a “non scoring striker”. At Arsenal in the premier league & champions league he played 126 games scoring 54 goals (2.3 games per goal). Certainly he was no Henry but it’s not a bad strike rate. If he is not getting goals for Chelsea I think you need to ask is he suited for the system they play?
Paul Norris


…One of the worst things Arsenal did (amongst many) was to let Giroud go.

I have always shared Daniel Storey’s view of the HFB (Handsome French Bloke) because he is bloody good at what he does.

I suppose I must have a man crush on Olivier because I shed a tear when he left AFC.
Andy (AFC)


…An article on a non-scoring striker who’s utilised more for his presence, ability to hold up the ball, and bring others into play, you say? Pah! Olivier Giroud isn’t a patch on Steve Fletcher. Yes, I know Big Fletch spent most of his career in League 1 with Bournemouth, averaging a goal every 6 or so games, but as a target man he was second to none. Such a nice young man, too.
Jerry, Bournemouth


Gotta Lotta Bottle
I was reading a US Sports website yesterday and came across an article where the journalist picked his 21st Century NBA Wine Bottle Team.

What’s a Wine Bottle Team? Well, we have all picked our best ever Premier League XI’s, Best Club XI’s, Best England/Ireland XI’s etc, but this is a slightly different take on this. It’s a team picked of players, but the best version of those players. When they were at their peak, or vintage if you like.

Like wine. Get it?

So, with that in mind, I present to you my Manchester United Wine Bottle XI.

I have stuck to the Premier League era as, given my age (39 thanks for asking), it gives me the best frame of reference.

I was too young to really appreciate Bryan Robson and his ilk, and never saw Best, Law, Charlton etc.

That said, here goes (4-3-3)

Peter Schmeichel (1996)
The big Dane had a huge impact at OT when he signed, but none more so than in the 95/96 season. It seemed like he was unbeatable in goal and was the base of the spine of the team with Steve Bruce, Roy Keane and Eric Cantona surrounded by a bunch of kids that never amounted to much. United went on to win the double that year, with Schmeichel the man mountain in goal. The Newcastle game where they won 1-0 being the stand out.

Denis Irwin (1994)
Mr 8/10. So consistent throughout his career, the 1994 season Irwin is picked purely because of his Free Kick in the 3-3 draw with Liverpool in Anfield. There was no-body in the box as the Corkman stood over the ball. No matter, he smashed it into the top corner past Bruce Grobelaar. He only got 2 goals that season, but for a 15 year old Irish Boy like me, that was the stuff dreams were made of. Well that and 1994 Pamela Anderson (Baywatch Era)

Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic  (2008)
These two come as a pair. F365 described them this week as silk and steel and nothing could be more true. Together they were tremendous at centre half and United have struggled/never replaced them since they left. The 2008 season is picked as the club won the Champions League that year in Moscow, cementing their status.

Gary Neville (1999)
The 1st of the treble winning vintage, Sky Sports Gary Neville is picked at right back. His overlapping partnership with David Beckham was fantastic and as above, this season is picked as it culminated in the treble.

Roy Keane – C (1999)
Coming back from a cruciate ligament injury to captain the club to the treble. The driving force at this time before it all went a bit sour. I will leave it to Sir Alex to fill in the rest on that performance against Juventus. “It was the most emphatic display of selflessness I have seen on a football field. Pounding over every blade of grass, competing as if he would rather die of exhaustion than lose, he inspired all around him. I felt it was an honour to be associated with such a player.”

Paul Scholes (2003)
So many seasons to chose from.

Ryan Giggs (1994)
Like a dog chasing a silver paper in the wind, this was Giggs at his electric best. Old enough to have some experience, young enough to take risks. Still had electric pace at this stage. Like actual wine, he seemed to get better with age.

Cristiano Ronaldo (2008)
The season that secured his record move to the Bernabeu. Everyone knew he was leaving, but he still powered the team on that season. What ever happened to him?

Eric Cantona (1996)
See P.Schmeichel. Came back from the Crystal Palace incident to guide United to the double and be the catalyst for the younger players to prosper. My favourite ever United player.

Robin Van Persie (2013)
Ultimately f**ked over with Sir Alex leaving, but for that 1st season it looked like he was born to play for United.

Edwin Van Der Sar (2008)
Jaap Stam (1998)
Wayne Rooney (2012)
David Beckham (1999)
Patrice Evra (2012)
Michael Carrick (2008)
Ruud Van Nistelrooy (2003)

Sir Alex Ferguson (1999). Football, Bloody Hell

Makes quite a decent Red I think!


Little bit of politics
I was just reading the article on the 3pm TV blackout and I was astounded.

F365 managed to write about something that isn’t to do with what happened between the white lines of a football pitch without getting preachy, sanctimonious or political.

I may be being greedy here, but long may this continue to start happening.
Matt (End the blackout), MUFC


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