Sinclair ‘is absolutely right’ that Man Utd should be punished

Date published: Wednesday 12th May 2021 2:33 - Editor F365

Trevor Sinclair Man Utd

Thanks for your mails about Man Utd, Liverpool and more. Get your mails in to…


Silly police. Silly club. Silly Mediawatch.
I largely agree with F365’s view that it is ridiculous for other clubs to complain about Manchester United’s team selection last night. I mostly agree with the points being made in Mediawatch this afternoon.

But Trevor Sinclair (and anyone else) is absolutely right to point out that Manchester United’s failure to prevent supporters from interrupting their match against Liverpool was unacceptable. The fact that it was the first postponement of a match due to fan unrest in “Premier League history” is irrelevant. While we’re here, by the way, Mediawatch and F365 readers often giggle about “Premier League era” facts and statistics and how football did not begin in 1992; I have to point out that only counting fan unrest since the Premier League began is pretty spectacular. “1980’s? Never heard of ’em!” Moving on, the idea that the police and/or the club shouldn’t have been on high alert to prevent the supporters from interrupting the match is ludicrous. Preventing fans from gaining access to restricted areas is just a normal part of event security. It’s a major security risk, never mind the COVID health risk. Mediawatch is frankly “silly” for suggesting otherwise.

More generally, given the increasingly turbulent times we live in, there really needs to be a rule in place to punish clubs for supporters deliberately getting matches suspended (if there isn’t one already) , in order to disincentivize supporters from doing so again. Ideally it would take the form of a minor points deduction, let’s say 4 points, and have some sort of provision to make the punishment still be effective for situations where clubs are “safe” that particular season. For example, “Any club failing to prevent supporters from disrupting the staging of a Premier League match will be deducted 4 points. The points deduction will take effect at the end of the current season, unless it would have no material impact on the club’s standings, in which case the points deduction will be applied prior to the following season.” Having a rule like this would prevent fans from seeking to gain an advantange for their clubs by disrupting matches, and would also protect police (and fans) from potentially violent confrontations.

Please note, I’m not suggesting that a rule should be invented and that the rule should be retroactively applied to Manchester United. The club should only be punished based on whatever rules currently exist. I’m just saying, if this turns out to have been a good outcome for ManUtd and the fanbase, there is a big risk of it happening again. Apologies for the boring management speak, but the most effective way of handling things like this is to align everyone’s interests so that they all want the same outcome.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland

PS: Oh, please also don’t think I’m suggesting ManUtd fans were wrong to protect – I think they absolutely did the right thing. It’s just that doing the right thing sometimes involves getting punishments in the short term. That’s what makes it such a noble thing to do, at times.


Are these the mentality monsters?
I was waiting for the mailbox today, just to see the piss boiling from Liverpool fans, like Leon Davies (not fooling anyone mate), but I was wondering if they would have had the same complaints if Ole had gone full strength yesterday, and then played the kids against them?

There was a Chelsea fan that wrote in as well, but I didn’t see any complaints about City making 9 changes against them over the weekend?

For those that thought City weren’t going to win one of their last three games, against Newcastle, Brighton (who have nothing left to play for), or Everton, when they have walked the league and walked the UCL, I have some magic beans to sell you.

Maybe Liverpool should look closer to home. The home they lost 6 games in a row at. The home of the Champions that was turned to rubble by relegation candidates.

We know we didn’t compete for the league because of silly draws and losses at home to Palace and Sheffield United, and for that we blame ourselves. Liverpool should do the same. To drop from 99 points to where they are this season (injuries or not), is embarrassing. Mentality monsters begging United on their knees for points. How the mighty have fallen.
IP (Kids put up a better performance last night than Liverpool first XI did all of Jan)


On Ole “throwing it away” against the Foxes
In this world of football fans, there are emotionally-fueled yet understandable complaints, and then there are infantile tantrums devoid of any rational perspective. A sizable portion of recent comments on this (otherwise esteemed) site responding to Ole’s most recent team selection against Leicester falls squarely in the latter category. First and foremost, Ole rightly has his eye on the prize: a Europa League trophy while in all probability maintaining second-place in the Premiership.

All the childish whining notwithstanding (and I can’t believe this really needs spelling out), the fact remains that, towards the end of an extraordinarily gruelling season, United’s regular first-team players had just played in Rome on Thursday (and yes, Europa League is the only realistic chance of silverware and thus a priority) and again three days later at Aston Villa on Sunday (less than 48 hours before the Leicester match). So by fielding the so-called “B Team” in full, we minimize further injuries (get well soon, Harry) and we don’t have an impossibly knackered squad to face the scousers on Thursday (in another 48 hours), capiche? Besides, with second place pretty much in the bag, it’s good to give the benchwarmers a trial run to see what they’re made of.

Finally, setting aside all talk of trophies and league position, beating Liverpool at home is always a priority, every season. If by doing so, we also keep them out of Europe next season (or, somehow even more embarrassingly, see them p*$$in’ about in the Europa Conference League), the more this season will be considered a moderate success by United fans.
Ebrahim (Here’s to Liverpool finishing beneath the Gunners next season), MUFC, Seattle


So reading mails, this was the B team, someone else mentioned they played the ‘kids’

Quick run through of the team then for the blind, stupid or agenda driven

De gea

So all but tuanzebe, Williams and elanga are international players

United as every other club in the league need to register 25 players, they aren’t designated A or B players, they are also allowed to use the youth players (which gave rise to Rashford, Greenwood, Mctominay over the last couple of years) this is a squad, nobody plays 38 league games this season (slabhead probably would have but for that injury)

The team last night showed two things for me.

1. We’ve paid fees for some players who haven’t really shown value
2. We need a bit more depth at CB

But for those saying it’s a disgrace, that United didn’t field a strong team, they were using the squad they have… if you’re going to whinge so much why not petition the league for a change to the registration rules?

This isn’t the reason Liverpool won’t get champions league football, it’s because they’ve been piss poor for most of the season, they haven’t disrespected the league.

A lot of people projecting their teams utter indifferent performances this season and blaming United today because they lost last night.
Lance Lennie


Loving the saltiness and the tears from some of your mailbox contributors this morning. The fact is, a club names a squad of players for the season for a reason – to allow them to rotate and rest players should circumstances call for it, and if 4 games in 8 days doesn’t qualify for such a situation, then I don’t know what will.

“But but but City won the league”… “But but but it makes life difficult for West Ham and Liverpool”.

So? Ole is paid to manage in the best interests of Man Utd, not West Ham and certainly not Liverpool – and City were always going to win the league sooner or later, so this narrative that Ole and Utd “let” City win it by changing the team is just facile beyond belief. Not to mention that when the final whistle went last night, Utd had DDG, Rashford, Cavani and Fernandes on the pitch, so not quite the apocalyptically poor team that the bitters are making out.

People need to stop crying, put their big boy pants on and focus on their OWN team and their OWN results, not throw their toys out of the pram because what Man Utd do isn’t perceived to be in their team’s best interests.
Andy, Portsmouth


Alot of histrionics in this morning’s mailbox.

A few thoughts:

My understanding is that the main reason the United/Liverpool game couldn’t go ahead last week was not the pitch invasion, which would’ve for sure caused delay, but the blockades at the hotels which made it unsafe for the teams to leave their hotels. United are not in charge of policing the streets of Manchester. Even if it was just the pitch thing, all these Liverpool fans suggesting that the equitable thing to do (not just to Liverpool, but Leicester, West Ham etc al) would be to de facto award their team three points for United’s appalling failure to not have better security arrangements than the actual seat of Western democracy, are talking out of an unconventional orifice…

As for the charges of United throwing away the league, Old should be ashamed, blah blah blah… you can pull the other one on that as well. United didn’t throw the league away yesterday, they threw it away weeks ago when they let City build an unassailable lead. All the nonsense about playing your absolute best team against everyone in the blind hope that City lose two dead rubber games against Newcastle and Brighton… nonsense!

Further, Ole’s selection was the perfectly rational way of going about things… its bloody hard to play three football matches in six days. Picking the same 11 for all three means (i) that the players have been denied acceptable recovery time are fatigued for games two and three, making them more likely to lose; and (ii) substantially more susceptible to muscle injuries that could rule them out of a cup final. United played a strong side in the game against a good Aston Villa side and secured as favourable a league position as they can at this stage of the season (and are very near to securing second – which is a nice to have over finishing third, accepting that the league was already lost to City).  The weaker side against Leicester was logical because it was the middle fixture of the three and the players were already fatigued and they are the weaker and more out-of-form of the two remaining opponents. It was a gamble (if you can call it a gamble when the manager has no other sensible choice) that didn’t work, but it’s not like they put out a terrible team that got blown away… they did alright…

Playing the strongest team in all three games (or a mixed quality team in both of this week’s fixtures) would’ve probably made them more likely to lose against both Leicester and Liverpool and less likely to catch City (you know, taking one in a thousand chance all the way to a one in 1001 chance…).

All the hand wringing from Liverpool fans about how they’ve been screwed over, with a dash of indignation about how United have thrown in the towel can kindly remove their heads from the abovementioned orifice.

As for a Liverpool fan saying that United should be docked points for failure to control fans intercepting busses… jaw dropping lack of self awareness… Liverpool didn’t forfeit the City game in 2018 when they threw missiles… those poor City sods just had to play through the fear… Liverpool didn’t forfeit their game against Madrid this season when they attacked that bus either… Liverpool didn’t get docked points when some of their fans attacked historic buildings with fireworks last season to celebrate winning the title… nor should they have, you’ll get orafice-holes in every walk of life…

So in summary, Ole did nothing wrong and if Liverpool don’t make the Champion’s League, it’s their own fault for not being good enough.
Andy (MUFC)


Sir Alex DGAF
It seems like a whole lot of pearl clutching from people in the Mailbox this morning.

‘Sir Alex would never have played a weakened team, Sir Alex cares about the integrity of the sport, fuming etc etc’

Who cares. More importantly, are you sure SAF cares? This is a man who fielded such a weak side against Hull in 2009 that there was talk of United getting fines for subverting the integrity of the competition (they still managed to beat Hull, which probably meant they didn’t).

They’re never catching City. Half the squad are running on fumes. Squad rotation makes sense, and clearly the team was good enough to give a full strength Leicester side a good game.

Seems like a load of manufacture outra-
Tom, Walthamstow


Proactive Pep
Of course I’m not irritated about how Leicester managed to beat a reserve XI manU; but every season a team wins the league, do we have to start with the ‘is this the greatest team ever?’, FFS. The reason Pep Guardiola is one of the best managers apart from the obvious winning pedigree and trophies, is because of his sheer drive to adapt and tweak his team to get results! All of us are busy harping about ‘being proactive’ when most of us can’t apply it in the real world, well the man is the prime example of MR. PROACTIVE. That’s one quality that will always make you stand apart from the crowd and not many can ace the quality.

Is Pep one of the greatest managers in football? Yes. Is this man City the greatest team? Nope.

Still I would stand by my view that the greatest managers of the game are as follows-

1. SAF
2. Jurgen Klopp
3. Pep Guardiola

Nobody in their right mind would challenge the first spot, but I rank Jurgen Klopp slightly above Pep is the resources with which the two have operated over the years, period.

Congratulations City, ofcourse you deserved it.
Mihir. LFC. Mumbai. (Mbappe to LFC, Sancho to manU, Haaland to City)


Pep Guardiola Barcelona Alex Ferguson Man Utd


Liverpool fans should learn to be introspective
Dr KA Bitter and all the other crying scousers in this morning’s mailbox should dry their eyes. I can see why they’re so annoyed – had we fielded our strongest team 3 games in a row, with one day of rest in between each, we’d be handing the win to Liverpool on Thursday and probably looking at a few key injuries.

Ole completely changed the team and wasn’t too far from getting points from the team 3rd in the league. Our reserve team was one badly-defended-corner away from drawing against the team just below us in the league; the reserves actually got a better result against Leicester than the first team did in the FA Cup! If we had held them at 1-1 until all the subs were made we could have easily won that game. If anything blame the league for punishing us for standing up to our owners – why wasn’t the West Brom match moved to mid-week as soon as they were relegated and the Utd v Liverpool match could have been played at the weekend?

Here’s a tip for those Liverpool fans whinging – try being introspective. Worry about why your own team put up such a feebly laughable title defence or can’t even comfortably make top 4 without needing other teams to do you a favour, instead of telling us how we should be running our players into the ground to save your own sorry season.
Garey Vance, MUFC


I’d just like to congratulate the Liverpool fans who wrote into this mornings mailbox. Despite Man City winning the league last night and Leicester taking a massive step towards the top 4 they’ve somehow managed to make it all about them. Bravo!

Please keep publishing their mails, it’s absolutely hilarious.
Dave, Spurs fan (happily accepting it’s our fault and no one else’s that we’re missing top 4)


Thanks, F365 and contributors to this morning’s mailbox for brightening my day. That was the funniest mailbox so far as a Man Utd fan. Especially the callbacks to the classics, Howard Webb and that FA Cup thing in 1999. I’ll leave it to others to surgically take apart the bitterness but I just wanted to say that it was hilarious.
Monty (as if Liverpool wouldn’t have done exactly the same thing), MUFC


Here’s a secret – of course United want to beat you at Old Trafford and end your dream of qualifying for the UCL next year. Why shouldn’t they? They would have played their first XI two weeks ago, and they damn sure are going to play their first XI on Thursday.

The simple fact is there was no way Ole could have played his strongest side 3 times in a span of 5 days. He chose to play his best XI against Villa as that was, on paper at least, the easiest opponent. Get the job done, secure top 4 and move on. That’s a straightforward decision. Because he’d done that, it’s nigh on impossible for him to play the same team barely 48 hours later against Leicester. He’d already lost Maguire to injury and I doubt he’d be keen to see Shaw/Bruno/Pogba/Cavani join him in the treatment room, especially with a Cup Final in the horizon. If United had to play Pool last night, that line up would not have been much different.

So don’t come whining and saying Fergie would be livid and that Ole is doing this to spite Liverpool. Yes, he’d be livid but probably at the Premier League for even coming up with this ridiculous schedule to begin with.

The only thing you guys should be whining about is how your team contrived to lose 6 in a row at home to put yourselves in this position.
MK, Singapore


First things first, congrats to city fully deserved the league title

Now Liverpool fans moaning about utd fielding a weakened team is peak Liverpool fans…..

Cast your mind back not to long ago to the fa cup game v shrewsbury when gurning jurgen decided he was having a week off.

Sent the under 23’s along with the coach to fulfil the fixture, ruining the tie and also costing Shrewsbury a sum in tv revenue and gate receipts. If you want to talk about disrespecting a competition and an opponent then look no further, however at the time Liverpool fans justified it by Kloppo doing whats best for his team just as OGS did what he felt was best for his team last night.

You cant have it both ways. Hypocrisy at its finest.

If Liverpool don’t finish in the top 4 its because you don’t deserve too over 38 games and you only have yourselves to blame for that (but im sure you will find someone else to blame)
Paul (Quiet the footballing dynasty they’ve built over there hey)


If you think Ole rotated and let a title slip then you are either a pissed off Liverpool supporter or a delusional one. I don’t think manchester united fans believed we were in the title race. We are passionate but not delusional (well, to be fair, some might be).

I started this season hoping for United to get into the Champions League places. Chelsea, Leicester, Arsenal, Liverpool, City, Tottenham (second season Jose) meant that getting into top 4 was an achievement. That we are comfortably second is awesome at this time.

I was excited to see us play the kids. Elanga struggled and then got comfortable. Amad behaved like he belonged. The kid who was head and shoulders above every one on the pitch was Greenwood. The interesting thing was his centre forward play. It had all the hallmarks of a Cavani performance (except the header part) outside the box. Coming deep, linking play, making the runs, running at defenders and that classy finish.

I am glad we have a manager who is sensible. He is ambitious but not stupidly so. Seems to have a high EQ to go along with his drive and desire. Cavani signed up which is a big boost. Our last manager was a world beater who prioritized winning and drama over everything else (happiness, coaching).

Last year, even with Sancho, the best we could imagine was second. Now, we are second. And, in Mason, a fantastic emerging talent who led the line. That was leadership from the boy on the pitch.

After the second 11 played, one thing is for sure. Ole has our first 11 bang on. As a coach/leader, it is important to identify the right problems to solve and then solve them correctly. Mourinho was terrible at identifying the right problems within the club to solve. Ole is good at both. If we back him with players he needs, we will get a title winning side.

Next year is not going to be our year. We have Chelsea, City, Liverpool and all of the same contenders to fight for the league. As a fan, my best hope is we back Ole with the players he needs. If we get another season in second, I am certain the year after we will have the squad to fight for the league.

And hey, our games are fun to watch.
Sudarsan Ravi


Firstly, Liverpool fans seem to be complaining a lot based on last night’s game. Here are a few points that they need to keep in mind.

1. If Liverpool beat United on Thursday, they are 6 points behind Leicester. Liverpool have 3 games remaining, Leicester have 2 (which are against Chelsea and Tottenham). It completely stands to reason that Liverpool can win all 3, Leicester lose both, then Liverpool still qualify. Why are they acting like top 4 is completely gone?

2. When you say that the kids were being played, what does this mean exactly? De Gea, Bailly, Matic, Mata, van de Beek and Telles are all vastly experienced internationals (Telles to a lesser degree). Williams, Tuanzebe and Greenwood have been in and around the first team for the past two seasons, Diallo cost us 30 million quid (there or thereabouts). So really it was only Elanga who you could say was fresh faced. So you are angry about that?

3. I imagine losing at home to the likes of Burnley, Fulham and Brighton hurt your chances of top 4 more than United losing to Leicester.

4. A full strength United team lost to Leicester about a month ago in the FA Cup. What makes you think a full strength team would have won last night? In addition, all we’ve been hearing all season is that this is an average team being led by a PE teacher. That we would be no where without VAR or penalties. Then it should be easy to beat this United tomorrow, and it would have been easy for Leicester to beat us as well.

5. Manchester City made 9 changes to their team to play Chelsea at the weekend, lost, also aiding Chelsea in the fight for top 4. Are Liverpool fans also upset about that? Or is it just United to be docked points?

At the end of the day, Ole made what he felt were the best decisions for Manchester United Football Club, which is his job. Man City were going to win the league anyway, no matter what.
Dudley, Simba & Man Utd


Crystal Palace
Dear Football365,

Another Crystal Palace midweek game, another defeat. 20 points from 25 games is the equivalent of 30 over a full season, or 28 to the current stage.

*There are a lot of things that will end up being frustrating for Palace fans. While the decision to be more attack-minded will be welcomed, we are all expecting Roy Hodgson to decide that because it didn’t result in a win this time, it won’t ever result in a win, and be the justification not to do it again. However, it wasn’t attempting to play on the front foot that caused the problems.

*Hodgson’s post-match comments touched on “players on the bench who are unsettled”, and suggested they weren’t honouring their contracts by giving their all for the club.

I don’t think he is on the firmest ground making these comments. His own contract situation will have contributed an air of uncertainty to the club, and while we do not know what gets said away from the public eye, there are some observations to make. The team have not played especially well for most of the season, but Hodgson has not taken different approaches to personnel.  If you know your place in the side is not under threat no matter how poorly you perform, you won’t be motivated to play at your best; if you know that no matter how well you apply yourself in training, you still won’t get onto the field during games, you won’t be motivated to play your best.

*As time goes on, I’m becoming part of an ever-increasing minority of people who doesn’t think Christian Benteke should be given a new deal. His goal last night takes him to eight for the season, meaning his total for the past four seasons is just one short of the 15 he scored in his first season. The BBC’s report on the game says that he “was a handful, and on another night he might have added to his tally through sheer perseverance”. He has scored twice in a game once this season (6 December, against ten-man WBA); before that, the last time it happened was 14 May 2017 (against Liverpool). Perhaps “in parallel universe” is more appropriate than “on another night”.

*We can’t discuss the match without mentioning Luka Milivojevic. The days when he was a sure thing from set pieces seem a very long time ago. Even if missing a penalty is forgivable, the rest of his performance was less so. One shot on target, one key pass, just 31 touches of the ball, 21 passes attempted, two accurate long balls, one tackle, two interceptions. For the most part, the game passed him by, and when he did insert himself into the proceedings, he didn’t or couldn’t make a positive contribution.

*The Eagles’ final three games see them host Aston Villa on Sunday in the Gareth Southgate Derby, host the Arsenal next Wednesday in the Eddie McGoldrick Derby, and end the season away at Liverpool in the Ray Houghton Derby. What odds they will appear to have put less heart and effort into those games than I’ve put into this email?
Ed Quoththeraven


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