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United’s only hope
Ian Watson hits a lot of the right points regarding the situation at Manchester United. It’s clear to almost everyone that the problem stems from Woodward and the Glazers, not the players, nor the coach. The contrast between the Liverpool chairman Tom Werner praising the club and the fans for a “magical season” and the glum banker could not be more of a 180.
The sad fact is that nothing will change at United while the TV, sponsorship and merchandise revenues are still pouring in. We all know that matchday revenue is a drop in the bucket compared to the wealth of the gravy train that keeps delivering hundreds of millions of dollars into the club coffers. Who cares how many suckers turn up to actually watch a game?
Comparisons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are apples to oranges. There is no relegation in the NFL, otherwise the Bucs would have been relegated all the way down to playing flag football in a Miami park many years ago. The Glazers still pull in the revenue-share money, and don’t care about the product on the pitch. The same, I’m sure, applies to Manchester United. As long as they stay “top three” in the Deloitte league table, corporate life is fine.
The only hope for genuine Manchester United fans is the club is relegated. I’m old enough to remember them playing Division Two football, when I could pay 50p to watch my local team Southampton at the scruffy, lovable Dell play the mighty United. Nottingham Forest took the plunge, Leeds United are lucky to be alive, and those three teams were league champions and European trophy winners. Don’t believe in “too big to fail” – wasn’t that the hook line for Enron, one of the biggest corporate collapses ever? The corporate hubris at United is only reinforced by incredible roller-coaster peaks and troughs in results that lead them to believe success is just around the corner.
The best thing for Manchester United – the club, not the revenue-generating ATM for the Glazers, is to be relegated. Watch the fire sale as the Glazers beat a retreat and maybe, just maybe, the club can be bought by an owner or a consortium who believe in the football, the spirit and the history. I know recent history of dominance lives large in the minds of the fans, but this is not something that can be fixed by invoking the spirit of Ferguson Past.
I’d like to be proven wrong, but I doubt it.
Steve, Los Angeles
Liverpool defeat not acceptable
I’m not sure what the dictionary definition for ‘blowing the title’ is but I gather it revolves around a well reasoned argument that a team had put themselves on course to finish first, only to inexplicably finish somewhere other than first. Title blowing narratives usually make reference to some form of collapse, someone ‘cracking up’ or Steven Gerrard falling over but if any repackaging of facts can present the third highest points tally in Premier League history as a failure then it’s failure I can cope with.
Arguments can be made in seasons gone by for a team having ‘blown the title’ and it’s usually not Liverpool; yes in 13/14 it was in our hands with a couple of games to go but we were unfancied at the start of the season and 5th at the turn of the year. We went on an incredible run and were simply found out in the end but Chelsea blew the title; finished 4 points off City, took 6 points off City, led the table for 9 straight weeks from mid February but somehow lost to Villa, Palace and Sunderland in their last 9 games to finish 3rd. That’s ‘blowing the title’ but most journalists bought Mourinho’s bollocks about little horses and missed it. Kevin Keegan on the other hand was never as good at manipulating the media message…
The climax of 11/12 has been mentioned a lot recently, but most forget Man United blew the league; yes City tipped the momentum with a Kompany inspired derby win with three games to go, but it was losing at Wigan and throwing away a finished game to draw 4-4 with Everton in the preceding weeks which did the damage for United – who should’ve had it done with a game to spare.
They told us we’d blown our biggest chance in 2014 when Stevie fell over but who predicted Jurgen Klopp, Mo Salah and 97 bloody points back then? It just proves such soundbite comments are generally pointless as nobody actually knows what’s going to happen – which is good. Be pointless if it were predictable. What seems to have stumped everyone is the fact there was no late twist; had we drawn at Newcastle and Kompany not come up with a worldy against Leicester then you may be able to accuse Liverpool of ‘bottling it.’
Previous Liverpool runners up never sustained a challenge into the following season for various reasons, but this Liverpool side is different. Providing we don’t do something really stupid like lose Salah or Mane to La Liga this summer and we build on what we’ve done with a couple of worthwhile additions then we’re not going away but I have one very stern caveat to all of this; part of this building process must include a 6th European Cup. Failure to beat Spurs in this final under any circumstances would be a failure to live up to the standards Jurgen Klopp has now set and lives by.
The pressure is firmly on Liverpool in Madrid and rightly so. We’re not plucky potential, we’re favourites. Great things are now expected of us and we must deliver; Liverpool and Klopp should not be forgiven if they return empty handed.
Time to go.
A marvellous game, evenly matched, highly skilful and tense to the end. And then a poignant moment from the victorious Derby supporters. Putting to one side for a moment their jubilation of a hard fought victory and seeing their team make it to a Wembley final they found time to acknowledge the sad loss this week of Doris Day with a heartfelt rendition of Que sera sera. Sheer class!
Denis Cohen, Cambridgeshire
What an incredible Play Off Semi-Final Leeds v Derby was, 6 goals and 2 red cards, Frank Lampard has certainly done an incredible job at Derby this season and I’m sure one day he will likely have a chance at the Chelsea job.
On a side note, finding out Ashley Cole turns 39 this year made me feel very old, very quick.
We’re all as bad as each other
Some interesting points on how Man City are pure evil – did someone really compare human rights violations to climate change denial? I think they did.
My point is what the hell are City supporters supposed to do?
Say “yes mr and mrs righteous, I will forgo my right to support the football team I’ve been supporting all my life because some snowflakes think that the money has come from an immoral place”?
No, everyone has a right to choose who they support but because we’re so embroiled in the bullshit of identity politics and extremism, it seems that no-one can just go “meh” anymore. It’s either over the top sycophancy or outrage.
My take is that you are all immoral. If you have an iPhone then you are immoral due to the suffering of the child workers in the Shanghai factories (trust me, I’ve been there). If you have ever driven a diesel car then you are immoral because you are killing our children vicariously. If you shop at Tesco then you are immoral for suppressing the local farmer’s profit margin and family’s prosperity.
Essentially you can turn anything you want into a moral argument and no-one, and I mean NO-ONE is above reproach (sorry for shouting).
So why don’t you just all get over yourselves and just enjoy football for what it is, a really f*cking good game to watch and play.
Fat Man (peace and love is the order of the day)
So after the City players sing a song about Kompany injuring Salah, Hillsborough, and Sean Cox being violently attacked and put in a coma, Manchester City have seen fit to respond.
Apparently they were gleefully singing about Liverpool fans getting attacked in Kiev, and not Mr Cox, and they weren’t singing about Hillsborough. Oddly not a mention of glorifying their captain injuring a opponent. How can this possibly be an acceptable response from the club?
And if you don’t understand the history of the ‘victims’ label and how it is always sung most vociferously on the anniversary of Hillsborough then I can only assume that you too will be desperate to learn more about the nazis.
Manchester City’s response is possibly the most disgusting thing about this shameful incident.
…David Mooney was right the other day, supporting City has become a battle between loving the team and batting off arguments about despot regimes. However, I think the furore over the “Allez, Allez” chant is something we as fans can easily affect positively.
Firstly, I don’t know who came up with the lyrics and so I don’t know if they were specifically thinking of Hillsborough or Sean Cox, but I doubt it. And these tragedies are definitely not being referenced by our supporters when it’s sung on mass. But offence doesn’t have to be intentional for it to cause offence.
The “victims” line I’ve never been comfortable with anyway – not least cause it’s something United fans would say – but is worth looking at to try and understand Liverpool’s reaction to this song/video. As a set of fans they do seem the best at being upset and offended – see their reaction to Wolves fans not necessarily wanting them to win the league – but they are absolutely right to be ultra defensive over any use of that word. The survivors of Hillsborough and the families of the 96 had to take on popular opinion, rag newspapers and a whole government cover up that tried to blame them for the biggest sporting tragedy in memory in Britain.
Therefore, I don’t think just because to all of us at the Etihad it doesn’t have anything to do with Hillsborough or Sean Cox we get to ignore the reasonable concerns from the people affected and harmed by these events. And those people are more than within their rights to be upset by videos of millionaire footballers singing these words. The club got it wrong in their statement, a simple apology was warranted.
Now maybe as fans we can get the next bit right. And, as it is a catchy chant, simply change the lyrics again to something about “7 points” and “14 in a row”?
Ben, NZ now, MCFC
…I like many others have read the reports of Man City players singing a song which can be described as , banter , disrespectful , funny , or shameful depending upon your point of view and or club allegiance.
Unfortunately we have all sung songs in the past which would be deemed inappropriate at best …. i don’t mind admitting my own personal faux pas was on football tour some 35 years ago to Germany.
What possessed us to sing two world wars and one world cup i don’t recall but lets just say we thought it was ‘funny’ but our teachers didn’t and the opposition having welcomed us just looked well , disappointed… this was mid 1980’s but thats not an excuse.
Most of the footballers singing this song are extremely well paid mid twenties in age superstar footballers. They were exuberant after winning the title , perhaps had had one or two drinks too many and one of them thought it was ‘funny’ to sing the song… others i presume just joined in rather than it being premeditated. Honestly i just think its youthful exuberance , a few too many beers and a lack of self awareness nothing more so lets not make it into anything more than that.
By and large football clubs and supporters have got better at this over recent years … although the ‘ sign on’ song directed at my own cub is beyond tedious this days. There are like in any large group in society one or two rotten eggs who will always go over the top with songs about Munich , Hillsborough etc , although once again this has got better in recent years.
A major part of going to football is about the singing and the banter between opposing sets of fans , several times i have laughed out loud at a witty response from one set of fans to an action on the pitch or another set or supporters songs.
This has been an amazing year of English football particularly , can we all just ‘ calm down’ (see what i did there) and enjoy it.
DL , LFC , Geneva
Bale should stick to his guns
Now that the season is done, the predictable noises about Real exiting Bale. The narrative seems to be that if he really wants to play football he should take a pay cut and go somewhere else. We’ll hear the same drumbeat about Sanchez and Ozil.
But why should Bale do anything other than stick to his contract? Nobody held a gun to Real’s collective heads to sign a contract to pay him 600 large a week to 2022, but they did anyway. Surely if ZZ wants shot of him the onus is on Real to find him another club and pay enough of his wage as required to meet his existing contract?
Making Bale out to be the bad guy for Real’s dumb negotiating choices – having a laugh.
Whatever my opinion on the sources and unlimited nature of City’s funding, they seem to run a highly disciplined wage structure. Similar to the Barcelona model they lifted. Real/United/Arsenal take note.