Solskjaer doesn’t need Keane. He needs to become Keane…

Date published: Tuesday 25th June 2019 10:02

Roy Keane Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United

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Keane back to United?
Ole doesn’t need Roy Keane, he needs to become what Keane stands for.

With Keane stepping down from his role at Nottingham Forrest there is clamoring for him to join Ole’s backroom staff. It would make the perfect ying to Ole’s yang, good cop, bad cop. It sounds nice and like it could work. However, I think this would be a big mistake. Roy Keane, as much as I love him as a player and would love to have him in his pomp, or even at 75% capacity, in this United team, would not make a good addition to the backroom staff.

Yes, it would send a message about United’s intent. Yes, it would mean that no more nonsense from the players would be accepted, I’m looking at you Jesse. Football first and the team first would be the mentality he would bring to the table. My question is, is that all it would bring? For me, with Keane, the good, comes with the bad. He is a loose cannon, a leader but a crazy one. He was successful as a captain as he is a true leader by example but if he isn’t physically out there showing people that he is busting a gut for the team then all he would really be doing is instilling fear and negativity around the squad by yelling and possibly belittling players at training. Just like Jose, I think Keane would be shown as being completely out of touch with the modern day footballer.

This is not to say that what the modern day footballer has evolved to be is good, but it is what it is. Also not all footballers fit this mould, I am painting with a very thick brush when I say I think they are soft, spoiled, entitled, extremely sensitive and have priorities other than becoming the best footballer they can be. I understand they are human and have emotions and other wants and needs but overall they seem lack professionalism and drive with the work they are paid to do. The clubs are actually partly to blame for this. Clubs give in to player’s whims and fancies. Allow them to treat the clubs with a lack of respect then pay them silly money to stay anyway. Discipline is non existent and when players are reprimanded it is often a token gesture. It has gotten to the player’s heads that they can get away with anything and that clubs are lucky to have them and not the other way around.

Now up steps Jesse Lingard with his snap/instagram story. A godsend for United and Ole. This is it, this is the moment he becomes “The Boss”. This is the moment he lays down the law, sends the message that he calls the shots, it’s his way or the highway. Transfer list Lingard immediately, he doesn’t play another minute for United again. Make it public too, “conduct unbecoming of a Manchester United player”. Sell him for less than he is worth. Sack whoever it was shagging that pillow too. This will get through to the players loud and clear, this kind of nonsense will not be accepted anymore. It’ll hit home hardest with Rashford who really is a gem of a player but has had his head turned by his friend Jesse. Withdraw from contract talks with Rashford for another 6 months and see if there is an upturn in his attitude. If not you need to be prepared to cut your losses there as well and sell him to Real.

Transfer listing and properly making an example of Jesse Lingard is the single most important thing United can do this summer. Losing him is not the end of the world from a playing stand point but will mean everything when it comes to resetting the rotten mindset that the United players currently have.

Do it Ole, It’s what Fergie would do.
Hakim, MUFC, Sri Lanka


Magpies mess
I wish to tell a story that I have never told anyone except my wife.

About ten years ago my father was diagnosed with a non-cancerous tumour that would slowly kill him.

I watched this tough guy slowly get weaker and weaker until he had a stroke and ended up in a coma in our (fantastic) hospital.

Everyday I would visit him and the only time he would squeeze my hand was when I said ‘Newcastle’. Not any other of Ashley’s ‘businesses’ but the one thing that bonded us stronger than any other, the love of our club.

Imagine watching the ironic similarity of your club growing weaker every year. Stripped and destroyed by an owner who literally cannot see anything other than pound signs.

Well the Newcastle family have had enough. You can send your cronies like Wise and Danny Murphy to defend your actions. You can spin your lies about ‘every penny’.

We don’t believe them or you anymore. All we want is you gone, ride off into the sunset with £350 million and never touch our (or any other football club) again.

Stop killing our club
Rob G (Some positive takeover news may make this bitter pill a little easier


Carve up
…I am sure this mornings mailbox will be full of contenders to the ‘10 Worst Ever Ashley Decisions’, but surely appointing John Carver as manager has to make the list. Best coach in the league John Carver. Club record defeats in a row John Carver. Mid table straight down to a hideous relegation scrap John Carver. Feel so sorry for Newcastle, always had such a soft spot for a great club, but it’s being completely ruined. I hope they get a decent manager in, not Avram blooming Grant.


Hang in there
When Liverpool got rid of Benitez, Roy Hodgson happened.

“The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming.”

Hang in there Geordies.


Penny for Poch’s thoughts
Rafa leaves because he feels he is not being backed by an owner who has managed to outspend the 2019 Champions League finalists in recent years.
David Harris, Sydney


Liverpool’s left-back
At long last the ever looming threat of Alberto Moreno representing Liverpool has gone. I have been so invested in virtually every player this season, but Moreno was the exception. He’s crap at football, acts like he’s one of the lads and his best contribution to LFC has been to befriend other players. Essentially he’s been an overpaid player handler/integration assistant. So at least we got something for our money.

Anyway, now he’s offski to wherever (Barca?! Arsenal?! If Pep can turn him into a top class player I’ll support Man City full on for an entire season!). Turning to my actual point on signing a ‘Robbo backup’.

Lots of chat about how much should be spent on a back up, and how you sell the 10/12 games per season to someone worth having? Yes Robbo’s performing at a level that is up there with the best, but he’s come so far from the player we signed from Hull for £8m (uncontested I believe?).

So my message to a LB we’re looking at is that they don’t need to settle for being the backup. Yes it’s likely the first few months will be on the sidelines, like most of Kloppo’s signings, but that’s ultimately to help the player be better for the team and play in the system(s) being used. And training with Klopp has been proven to raise players performance levels by quite a margin.

Who says Robbo can’t be rivalled? The type of player we want is exactly someone that says they can come and win their place in the side with quality performances in training. Klopps demonstrated that those that train well will play. And it’s my guess having decent competition and proper rest/rotation will take Robbo to even greater levels of performance.

It’s a fantastic place to be for LFC right now, and situations like Robbo’s back up can be opportunities, not problems.
Bizzle (Jurgen the fish died RIP) London


Abolish transfer fees
Back in the day, I remember Tony Cottee leaving Man U (nope, but go on – MC), but for a stint abroad and coming back for his Indian summer at Leicester. He said he couldn’t believe how the inception of the Premier League and the Bosman ruling had changed the finances in elite football. I think he compared his Man U wage to similar to his mate who owned an electrician business (not bad, if you’ve ever had the sparky in) to mental on his return. Given it’s now only Qatari millionaires who can spend with impunity and/or the death of your club if it all goes wrong when you spend a shed load on the signatures of top players in an attempt to get out of jail, maybe the business model needs a rethink. God knows, it’s all getting a bit silly. Point is, the football league is still using the same asset investment model as they were in 1961 or whenever when Sheffield Wednesday paid 60k for some bloke and the English footballing public nearly exploded in high dudgeon. I don’t think my primary school PE/every other subject teacher ever got over Notts Forest paying a million quid for Trevor Francis in 1979. It ruined football for him. Now look where we are.

Here’s a radical idea for the future. Abolish transfer fees. Not in isolation, I hasten to add. Basically, players would tout themselves around clubs of their choice based on the wages they want to ask and what they offer. They would be hired on a notional idea of what constitutes their job description. So, a striker is hired on an approximate goal tally per season, for example. Or an attacking midfielder on assists. Whatever is the defining characteristic current transfer fees are based on and players want to display. Its how it’s done now, but in the hope that it keeps going like that for the duration of a contract when experience demonstrates it often doesn’t. If I’m a club spaffing a ton of money in one lump sum on a player, as is the current model, and they turn out to not meet the target either sooner or later, their services can be dispensed with. Mercenary? Isn’t it already? But it’s better than just benching them or worse when they could be playing elsewhere. There are a number of advantages of this system to the ever inflating transfer fee tragi-comedy that the current one has become:

1. It would take some of the heat out of the average fan’s anger and kill the tedious speculation over how much something costs. Did anyone ever have a grandparent who used to tell you repeatedly how much a loaf of bread cost forty years ago? Enough already. However, the best footballers are, without doubt, way too expensive for the market they are in. When we talk about the ‘bargain’ a player like Van Dijk is, it is only relative. When we talk a Neymar costing 200 million quid, we are talking shite. Both players are stupidly expensive and no player comes with a guarantee worth anything. Some more than others, for sure. But they are people with human characteristics. A brilliant footballer might be an absolute arsehole and trouble maker, for example. I’ll let you decide your choice of names.

2. It takes the financial wallop out of it when the assets depreciate unsustainably. Sometimes this happens alarmingly quickly due to loss of form, attitude or injury (Kieran Trippier, Andy Carroll and Fernando Torres, for example). It’s often not an investment, and ultimately a massive loss. Van Gogh’s are stupidly expensive, but they appreciate over time and, looked after properly are still a thing of beauty forever. A footballer’s worth follows a bell curve and, chances are, the team to pay the most gets the peak before the trough. A bit like that Banksy thing that self-destructed at the auction. Teams with lesser budgets not only can’t sustain the loss, they daren’t take the gamble. Unless Peter Ridsdale (and to some extent, Ed Woodward with a bigger budget) is in the boardroom. Leeds Utd are still getting over it.

3. The greatest spurious beneficiary of the one off transaction is the agent and the greatest potential loss is to the purchasing club. Players would still have agents but would pay them out of their massive wages. Agents are the player’s friends, not the clubs. Unless you’re Jorge Mendes at Wolves, but that’s up to them. More power to their elbow. That set up suggests a whole new mailbox thing about how to gainfully employ parasites.

4. It prevents players and clubs being tied long term into unsuitable arrangements as events change around the club. Examples: Gareth Bale at Real Madrid or Mesut Ozil at Arsenal. What works at the start of a season doesn’t at the end or the following season. A re-jig of the workforce shouldn’t result in a load of unused deadwood at the expense of new hirings. The players a club could buy if only they could offload players that are no longer fit for the role. ‘You were hired to score goals but you have signally failed to do so. Not only that, you have provided almost no assists, you’re made of glass and you are a dick. Your P45 is on my desk’.

5. It would recalibrate the power relationship between managers and players. While I absolutely endorse the end of the tea cup thrower (the Fergie way!), it gives managers leverage during the early and ongoing days instead of at contract negotiations. There is no reason a manager can’t agree to fixed term contracts for players who show loyalty (3.25 million for Paul Pogba before he goes to Spain, anyone? A million for Dimitri Payet to upgrade to business class for his flight home to France?) That still gives clubs the ability to plan around core groups of players. And I say planning, today’s central players are tomorrow’s misfits if a manager changes. Take Real and Zidane. Bale isn’t in his plans because he doesn’t fit the employee profile due to a loss of form, the fans hate him (which is a reflection on them rather than Bale), and Zidane’s way of shaping a team. Bale is reportedly happy to take the cash and play golf instead. Really? Terminate the contract for the sake of both parties and football generally. Oh wait, you can’t because you bought his signature on a fixed term deal based on how everything was umpteen years ago and now you’re stuck with each other. Likewise Alexis Sanchez, who I know is wages only but has a contract that gives the club zero power. The only way a player can get sacked, it seems, is if he’s a sex offender or a serial drunk driver.

6. Players will need to demonstrate worth. Many do already. But how often do we hear of the Pogba/Arnautovic/Neymar moan? Or back in the day for you old gits, Pierre Van Hooijdonk. It’s nothing new. But these individuals, regardless of putative or previously shown merit can derail a clubs seasonal hopes and long term stability. They also mightily piss fans off. Bottom line: no matter how good a player is, after a few sackings his worth will be questioned in a way that, remarkably seems wilfully ignored right now. I know most top players are millionaires in a year and aren’t shitting themselves at the prospect of the dole any time soon, but I still think most want to just play football. Maybe just not at the club they are at. Looked good at the interview, turns out it was all bullshit.

7. Clubs with less money can take a punt on high earning players because they only have to budget for the wage not the massive up front fee. Stoke City can’t afford the buy out clause on Neymar, but they can hire him for a year. I’m kidding. We don’t want Neymar at Stoke.

8. Imagine the romance. Between Italian and Spanish gigs, a top player opts to play for his boyhood club. Not for ever, but just to get them out of the shit. Better than playing golf. Spread the love, people.

9. It stops clubs speculating on players as assets for sale. Buying them low with the pure aim of selling high. Again, like buying that Van Gogh and putting it in storage for twenty years. Like the tie in mentioned above, players can lose years on a bench or in reserves. Particularly youth players. They would be so much more attractive in a lower risk market. Loans are great already at addressing this. But that system still ties players in to another employer. Those Chelsea lads are chomping at the bit to get first team football elsewhere but can’t because they are owned by their employer. If only they could just apply for a job elsewhere and leave.

10. It allows clubs to take a punt on a player who needs them to showcase talent. Risky propositions a la Nabil Fekir could be chanced on by Liverpool. Take him on with conditions – ‘This is your job role, Nabil’ smiles Jurgen on day one, ‘Try not to shatter into a million pieces’ – then if he spends the next six months on crutches he is in breach of his contract. Poor Nabil will only have earned a squintillion quid for hobbling around. Little better than Statutory Sick Pay. Or he could just be fabulous. Could he be the modern equivalent of Stoke and Demba Ba? (Damn you, Tony Pulis).

11. It stops the tedious vitriol of fans thinking they own players. One week heroes, the next week bastards because they went elsewhere. This is the new football. Your club is your club. Players may grace it’s halls and give you their passing brilliance. You don’t own them. This is the economic reality of football. Your club will still be your club when these players are buying race horses or whatever it is they do when they are no longer wanted by you.


1. Players wages would hit the roof. Oh…..hang on a minute. Actually, there would be a lot of mitigation here. Players would be in competition with each other and it would act as a restraint on excess, to a degree. Sanchez – I know he wasn’t the subject of a transfer fee – only gets what he gets because the contract he is on guarantees it and the club can’t sack him. If they could, he could (be) move(d) on having trousered a shit load of cash and take his chance on the open market. Is he too much of a risk? Not if there isn’t a massive transfer fee or a contract that protects earnings regardless of performance. And he still gets to play and fans still get to watch his rehabilitation. In fact, a player could quit his existing job and go and play for nothing. It’s only the speculation on the worth of his signature that prevents the freedom of movement. Sanchez, a fantastic player (if a bit of a knob) at Arsenal will be remembered as the worst signing in premier league history. What a shame. If Man U could have told him jump or be pushed, he could have spent the last year or so in Italy.

2. It destabilises teams and renders them unable to plan for the long term. Well, already mentioned is the core today, misfit tomorrow thing. There is no reason players cannot be rewarded with individual contracts by teams keen to offer them stability and remuneration agreed by both parties and that would be the likely model. One that might work on an untested youth player or an ageing superstar is the rolling contract akin to the one Bobby Robson had at Newcastle : unless told otherwise, every day you be got another year ahead of you. If there is a Director of Football in place, he could ensure the longer term stability of the team rather than a manager who may or may not stay the course. What player other than Mark Noble does that these days anyway? Ashley Young?

I’m sure there are others that will merrily challenge my contention. But I think it has legs so I don’t want to think that hard.

In short, players are employees who seek out the best employers for their skills in the hope it’s a good fit for both. As things change they move on or can be moved on as they no longer fill the job spec or want to try something new. No more underused great talents or promising youth players cluttering up the bench. The best 50 players in the world would still gravitate towards the same clubs, no doubt, as they will offer the best wages. But now there is a choice. A better frame of negotiation.

Told you it was radical. No…wait a mo. It’s what everyone else in a job does.
Tim SCFC (it’ll never happen).


Cameroon consequences
Alain Djeumfa said there had been a “miscarriage of justice” and that his players “showed fair play”.

Djeumfa had told his team at half-time “the referee wants England to win”.

Feudjio said: “We continued playing for our country despite the referee doing her dirty work”.

“She (White) was offside (replays in fact showed her to be clearly onside). But the referee did not even go to check the goal (by looking at footage pitchside). She gave the goal.” (correctly as it happens)

“But then our goal was disallowed (correctly as it happens) and we found ourselves in a difficult situation where most of us do not want to play”.

Cameroon coach Alain Djeumfa needs to be not only hauled over the coals by FIFA, but also sat in a room full of journalists, Phil Neville and both squads, shown the footage again, explained to why the decisions were correct, ask him to defend his players’ violent conduct, forced to admit he was wrong and apologise for his and his team’s atrocious behaviour. Both he and his team of brats should be made an example of to demonstrate to the entire footballing world that disrespect to the officials, your opponents and the game itself will absolutely not be tolerated.

If he can accuse the referee of bias and claim his players played fairly and behaved appropriately to the world, then he must also accept the public “walk of shame” at the other end of the spectrum.
Ian (I’m well aware there are many reasons why this won’t happen but what an absolutely disgraceful piece of sh*t he is)


Women’s World Cup
Good Day. Just to clarify, I have been attempting to watch the WWC to better engage in the womans game, we don’t have any other readily accessible womans football in our country and so this is as close as it gets for us, so bear with any possible short term based opinions.

First on VAR:

VAR served its function in England v.s Cameroon and did it correctly.

Yes there was a terrible ref and she was genuinely terrible, VAR is supposed to be used to clarify cases of obvious scrutiny, but looks like it shall be used for all goals going forward, that’s fine and its just one of those things, Rugby has had it for years and it works fine.

Cameroon acting like children and being emotional perfectly showed why the womans game is becoming just as equal to the mens ( shout out the guy that said they don’t do the dark arts, turns out people are people, also there has been loads of dives and false contact and faux fouls in this tournament nothing more or less than the mans game) but it has nothing to do with VAR, the nation behaved badly, in comparison to Ghana ( literally cheated out of a semi final by Suarez, who I like) its kinda appalling.

F365 recent articles have continued a trend of examining how much VAR disrupts the game and emotions, but in reality its just more crap officiating that results in an over reliance, over analysis or a lack of utilisation in the correct situtations, it will be assessed it time.

The WWC:

Fun tournament, my dads theory he could beat them all on one leg seems like a false testament spouted around the indoor pitch.

It is a womans world cup and I have no problem celebrating it for this, I quite enjoy the matches, objectively and I mean this in the truest sense, it is not at the same level as a mens professional football game, skill, physique and all included, but I think that is completely irrelevant as well and we should continue to just celebrate it as the sport it is, these are the top female footballers in the world and I think they deserve my equally thunderous clap of my hands as I do for the men ( my partner hates seeing me clap in public apparently it is like gun fire).

Although its weird how the narratives change.

‘Marta becomes best scorer in world cup history, MEN or WOMAN’

common headline it seemed

‘Lionel Messi better than any female or male footballer ever’

would that be as accepted ? I think not

my point being I don’t see why we have to skew the narrative to provide some level of credence to the woman’s game, let them develop their own legends, their own records and strive to break them over and over, Marta is cool because she is Marta, Hederburg is cool because she is Hederburg, Green is cool because she is Green.

If we want to talk about football as a sport regardless of sex I am cool with that but then we might as well not mention the french league as a weaker league, or promote the premier league as the most competitive league in the world, because those are comparative word structures and that might claim that statistically its easier to do something somewhere else ( these are examples before that one guy screams at me because, Thiery Henry never scored 4000 goals in a single game in france)

Kind regards
Cole, LFC ( started supporting from June 1st)


Happy with VAR
​VAR at the end of the day, is an “assistance” device.

And as an assistance device, it is at the end of the day bound by the users. I don’t know much about the referees behind the Cameroon England match, for all I know they are great referees who had a bad game (this is the Women’s World Cup, the penultimate in women’s football. I’m sure they didn’t drew names out of a box).

But it is fair at least to say that they had a bad game. Referees, at the end of the day are behind the system and they have bad days. You can give soldiers the best guns available but at the end of the day, they are still the ones who still have to do the aiming and the shooting. Its a tool, not a sentiant being.

I’m very pro-VAR, and I’m not saying it doesn’t have issues in the procedures. However personally even despite recent “controversies” (cos some like Lingard are overblown because people are biased for attackers despite be in correct) I’ve seen way more good from it than bad both in terms of what I think is fair as well as my enjoyment from it.

So frankly I’m glad its here to stay and I’m VERY looking forward to seeing it in the Premier League next season.
Yaru, Malaysia


…Have to echo Ed Ern this afternoon. Well I don’t have to, but I’d like to…

VAR is unequivocally a good thing. Certainly as a concept if not quite in application. The current problems with VAR stem from one thing so far as I can tell: the human resistance to change. As creatures, we do not like change. It’s a pack mentality thing and it’s one of the reasons most people, no matter how much they travel, always end up living close to their ancestral home. We particularly dislike change forced on us against our will. And therein lies the problem.

VAR is something that people have been shouting about for years. I’m pretty sure Johhny Nic was an advocate until it came in, at which point it became a little too mainstream for him and he descended back in to contrarian farce. It’s the a bit like the “wouldn’t it be lovely to Brexit…oh wait Brexit is shit” scenario. We’re all for change until things actually start to change. Then, change is bad. Particularly if we don’t feel like we’re contributing to the change. VAR has been implemented poorly. This has resulted in even more resistance to said change.

Luckily humans have another trait, which is deference. Eventually, we’ll either just accept it and believe that t’was always thus (there was no football before 1992 remember) or it’ll be done slightly differently and everyone will claim it’s sorted just to get it over and done with. I personally think the latter is the way to go but I’m already bored enough to fall under the former.
Alex, (please no Brexit responses, it was just a joke), Ayr


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