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The problem at Old Trafford…
The problem at Manchester United stems from the English core at the club. Fergies first winning team had Bruce, Pallister, Ince, Hughes, Robson and sprinkled with the likes of Schmeichel, Keane, Cantona, McClair. Players that all wanted to win, all huge characters. Later on we had the class of 92 again spearheaded by keanes ruthlessness and dedication to win. Rooney, Rio, Vidic, Carrick, Van Der Sar all knew what it took to win.
There’s an English international home grown talent at the club at the Peak age of 26. Jesse Lingard. At the club since he was 8. He is the epitome of were United are at the minute, an absolute joke.
We go into the second last game of the season, last ever game at Upton Park. The home fans give us a merry welcome by attacking the bus. Instead of using that as motivation to be last team to win at that iconic ground, Lingard makes a video of the attack, laughing and joking. Embarrassing.
If you watch any interview with the younger players like Rashford, they all say J Lingz is the best banter. He’s hilarious on instagram so I’m told. The young players look up to this clown.
A first leg against Barcelona on Wednesday and a game at Everton on Sunday. Mr Lingard decides to launch his clothing line on the Thursday. Is this a man that is truly dedicated to football?
Lingard is the cancer at that club. But we also have a tumour and AIDS so what can you do!
United still manage to f*ck everything up
I spoke too soon. I thought the close season might offer some blessed respite but, fair play to United, they have defied all expectations and logic and managed to completely f*ck everything up even without actual football to play.
This latest rant comes because United are apparently planning on hiring Darren Fletcher as the technical director. Now, I don’t have a problem with Fletcher working for United in a technical capacity, per se, but where I really am flabbergasted is that this role won’t actually have anything to do with transfers. I mean, what? What the hell will the responsibilities be then?! So everyone, absolutely everybody, is telling United (Woodward) that we need to improve the recruitment process and bring in a proper qualified person/team to do so, and his answer is to bring in someone really not qualified for the job, who is still eligible to play for Scotland, to do a job that nobody thinks need doing. A go-between, the “glue” between the manager and board? For f*ck sake.
If they can’t even recruit the recruiter we need then what chance have we got of successfully overhauling a squad so desperately in need of radical change? If Fletcher is all we get this summer, and Woodward is still in charge of transfers, then we might actually be relegation candidates next season. If Fletcher is all we get then Solskjaer will not last until December. If Fletcher is all we get then the players we were hoping to get in will definitely not be happening.
I could have made my peace with Ferdinand; at least he has been out of the game for more than no time at all and has some business experience, but this would be an absolutely baffling, disastrous appointment. I had absolutely no confidence in the board up until this point but somehow they have managed the impossible and lowered that bar even further. I just haven’t got a clue what they are doing and, worse still, it seems irrefutable that Woodward does either. How are the fans supposed to keep supporting this shit?
La Lucha Libre
Thanks all for a stellar season’s work – you’ve made each my working days shorter in both the best and worst possible ways.
Just a thought on your top ten strikers list, and specifically on the Raul Jimenez donning a mask was a misstep – we can’t allow the cranks of this world to suck all the fun out of the game. Zany celebrations are an essential component of the game, and everyone I knew enjoyed that match all the more for the Mexican wrestling mask. Troy Deeney needs to stop being such a crank and lighten up – imagine how boring FIFA would be if every player just angrily screamed and jumped when they scored.
PS. Turns out your faith in Poch and Sterling was pretty well-placed!
All the best,
Liverpool’s missed opportunity
As much as I hate to admit it, I feel that the mail from Alex this morning is spot on. Liverpool have definitely missed the chance of finally winning the title. Although they were unlucky in certain games with goals going against them by literally centimetres, Mane goal vs Arsenal being ruled out, stonewall penalty vs Leicester not given and possible red cards not shown to Kompany and Maguire which turned out to be pivotal, they still had draws against Leicester, West Ham, Everton, Man United of which they needed to win. Especially considering that they were ahead against Leicester and West Ham.
While the above factors went against them, they also had a fair share of luck with Origi’s derby goal and Spurs own goal coming to mind. There were plenty of late goals and comebacks as well. I honestly doubt they will be able to repeat the points achieved this season, without a star signing like Hazard or Aubameyang, both of which are unlikely. I have to agree that they will still be good next year, but City will probably get to 100 points or even beat it next season. Which is very depressing TBH.
Anything other than a win in the Champions League final will be terribly disappointing. The Champions league is the one competition where they can possibly better City as they have an excellent record in Europe under Klopp.
Man City and sponsorship
I’m not a Man City fan and in theory I’m no fan of the massive cash investments that have been brought into a few clubs. But in reality it has helped shape the premier league into an amazing spectacle with some of the worlds best players and managers plying their trade weekly. It’s turned a top 2 into a top 6 and changed the whole league. Personally I think the league is better for Abramovich and the Abu Dhabi’s and rather than stifle competition it’s increased it. From an economy standpoint, it’s also great, get overseas money into the UK.
My email comes to the potential ban of City from the CL regarding their sponsorship. I’ve seen many messages saying that it’s obscene but when I’ve looked at the figures it pretty normal. I think the below are the items being discussed:
- 2019 – £680m 10 year Puma kit deal. This is for the entire business and includes several clubs, City will obviously get the largest proportion, but that deal still only has them 3rd in the list behind Man Utd and Barca. Real and Bayern are soon to renegotiate as well.
- 2011 – £400m 10 year naming deal. This included the stadium and the shirt sponsor. I think Man Utd have a shirt sponsor deal alone worth about £55m a year, even Spurs one is worth about £35m a year, it’s also expected we will get about £150m over 10 years for stadium naming. Arsenals signed a 5 year extension for £200m as well.
Are there other thing’s that I’m not aware of? Personally I think the Puma deal is consistent with others whilst if anything the Etihad one isn’t showing them the best value?
I did also read that the possible issue is that the Man City owners paid some of the £400m direct from their own wealth rather than via Etihad (which they also own). I can see that there could be a conflict but that’s not Man City’s issue, it’s one for Etihad to explain isn’t it?
What am I missing other than normal football rivalry descending into socio economics to try an piss the furthest?
I’ll preface this by stating that I am a firm, long-standing, FFP supporting Wengerite, and am still a fan of FFP being adhered to strongly, and fairly, for everyone. I am absolutely against clubs spending money they don’t have or earn and spiralling in to debt chasing a dream someone richer will achieve regardless.
However, as far as I can see it, Man City are doing two things simultaneously:
1. Breaching the FFP Regulations
2. Showing the FFP Regulations to be a farce
We all live our lives day to day governed by our own FFP in many ways, and that is, long and short of it, “how much do you earn?”. How big a mortgage you can get is governed by how much you earn; how much income tax you pay is governed by how much you earn; how expensive your leased car, how many credit cards and debt banks will authorise you, etc… The more you earn the more you can afford.
If someone on £25k per year in their job walks in to a car dealership and wants to lease an Audi R8 Spyder, which is circa £2000 a month, then they won’t get approved for the car. They don’t earn enough, they cannot afford the repayments, and it wouldn’t be responsible to lend them the money. Most importantly, no one anywhere is going to scream about how unfair this all is, as we all understand this concept. It’s basic FFP in our daily lives.
However what happens if that same person just won £10m the lottery and wanted to lease the same car? I wouldn’t judge that person on how much money they earned, (they may have kept the £25kpa job, or they may even have quit that job), as that would be stupid. You would judge them by how much money they HAVE instead. They can have whatever blinkin’ car they wanted.
Which, in a roundabout way, reminds me of Man City’s situation, and the farcical FFP regulations that their monumentally cash-rich owners should absolutely not be governed by. Sure, and absolutely, use FFP to regulate clubs’ credit/debt and link it to their earnings, but those rules fall down against cash.
Dale May, Swindon Wengerite
I see many pundits, journalists and mailbox contributors decry Liverpool’s lack of squad depth, stating that Man City’s squad is head a shoulders above anyone else’s and a big reason they are Champions..
Apparently Man City can put out a 2nd team that would win the league
But is it a level above Liverpool’s? Take a look.
So Goalkeepers.. Bravo vs Mignolet. Tough, I’d take Mignolet though..
Defence.. Liverpool could put out Lovren, Gomez, Milner and Moreno against Stones, Otamendi, Danilo, Mendy. Neither are going to win the league, Moreno is the obvious weakness but you’d never trust Otamendi for a full season either, anyway City edge it.
Midfield we have Wijnaldum, Lallana and Oxlade Chamberlain vs Foden, Delph and Gundogan, not a huge gap in quality, but I’d just about take Liverpool’s.
And up front we have Sturridge, Origi and Shaqiri vs Mahrez, Sane and Jesus. This is where City edge it, but I don’t think any of the City forwards have the full trust of Pep at the moment.
Swap Sturridge and Moreno for a decent forward and full back and Liverpool have a decent squad similar to what Man City utilised this season.
Anyway roll on next season (and soon please).
With relation to Johnny Nic and this mornings mailbox, I think the use of the word ‘proud’ is incorrect.
In defense of John, no, no one should be proud of the Premier League. But not for it’s overt capitalism – what isn’t these days – but because having pride in something like that is stupid. How can you be proud of a league, that without your existence, still trucks on no natter what? You are not involved, but an outsider, a dot in the rear-view mirror.
But then again, I agree with those fans who feel joy in the league being competitive and successful In Europe. I enjoy watching random games as much as my team, more so in the PL than other leagues. But that’s more my love of football, that I am knowledge enough in to have vested interest. I enjoy the game, and the Premier League is my closest top league, so I enjoy it the most.
Yes, enjoy the success, enjoy the dominance, enjoy the football. But being proud of something like that doesn’t make sense. You need to be personally involved to invoke feelings of pride, not just a gleeful spectator!
Liverpool have to get comfortable with leading
When Liverpool let go of the actual lead of the premier league table after the draw at Goodison, I saw a silver lining in that now that they were chasing rather than leading their performances would be better and stand a better chance at actually winning.
Obviously I was wrong in thinking that City would drop points, but regarding Liverpool it does ring true. You cannot say they bottled it, but their worst performances came when they were leading by the biggest margin.
If Liverpool are to win the title in the foreseeable future, they have to get comfortable being the big dog that everyone is betting on to win rather than being the underdog fighting with its back to the wall. Pep’s City team is not like other teams, they will only give one or two openings over the course of an entire season. Those have to not only be pounced on but any advantage gained must be ruthlessly maintained in the same manner that the chase was maintained in the latter stages of this season.
Earn your own praise, Arsenal…
Alright macca. In order:
A new manager should improve on a sacked manager. Else not much point, see? No hit.
You did indeed finish behind Spurs. No hit
You have indeed performed well in the Europa League- “top European teams” weren’t available for comment, they’re busy on Tuesdays. No hit.
Congrats on golden boot and goal of the season. I await the DVD lololol. No hit (great player and great goal though).
Begging for praise- this is your Jeb Bush “please clap…..” moment. Scarlet for you, buddy.
Darragh, Spurs, Ireland
Macca, Herts must be fishing, but to hell with it, I’ll bite:
- “one point behind the media’s favourite team” – Arsenal got 96 points?
- “would have finished higher” – Auntie, balls, uncle. C’mon now. Aubameyang might have bottled the retake too. These things don’t exist in isolation.
- “with basically the same set of players” – Emery’s signed six players since the end of last season, more than any of the other top six teams and as many as Man U, Chelsea and Spurs combined.
- “two top European teams” – Fair enough, Napoli and Valencia are demonstrably in the top 24 clubs in Europe and went deep into Europe’s second competition. And Arsenal did have a tough route to the last eight in the first place, battling the might of Vorskla, Qarabag and BATE Borisov amongst others. Certainly no-one as easy as, say Inter, Barca, Dortmund, Man City and Ajax, or Napoli, PSG, Bayern, Porto and Barca.
- “We also achieved the Golden Boot and one of our goals has been nominated for Goal of the Season” – If this is a team thing now, could someone let Spurs and Liverpool know, because I’d been mistakenly thinking that Pochettino and Klopp hadn’t won any trophies yet.
Arsenal performed broadly as expected, battling for top four but narrowly missing out and having a great – and not yet finished – run in the Europa League. Are Arsenal fans not excited about that? If they’re not, then don’t expect the media to be. If they are, then they should enjoy it! If they win the thing, they’ll get plenty of credit from the media and be in a healthy position for next season, with Champions League football a nice bonus carrot for the better defenders they need to attract.
Spurs, on the other hand, performed much better than expected – pre-season most pundits had them finishing sixth and even most Spurs fans accepted that top four would be a good result in a second season at Wembley, and that was before we were down to the bare bones (c) H Redknapp Esq, and ignoring that the media spent half the season insisting that Pochettino was off. The Champions League run was a huge, unexpected bonus and the dramatic nature of the last two ties naturally made for a bigger story. 96th minute goals count just the same as 4th minute ones, but they’re much more emotional. Who knows who’ll win the final and Liverpool are favourites. But damn it’s exciting still to be involved this late in the season!
There’s no media conspiracy. Stop fretting. The media still love Arsenal and one day they’ll probably get their St Totteringham’s Day back too.
Julian Speroni tribute…
There was a tribute paid to Julian Speroni in this morning’s mailbox, but I’d like to add something of my own.
Over more than 20 years, David Sheppard became one of the world’s best and most respected cricket umpires, and after he announced his retirement in 2005, he was warmly greeted by all the teams whose games he officiated. He was offered the opportunity to umpire an Ashes test match by the ICC, but declined it as he believed it would have been inappropriate for an official to have the spotlight in such a manner, so in the end, his final game was a one-day international and he retired with a quiet dignity. In stark contrast, when Dickie Bird retired as a test match umpire in 1996, he did so at Headingley, with a guard of honour from the teams and having done a lap of the outfield simultaneously waving to the crowd and wiping tears from his face. A noted character and eccentric with firm ideas of an official’s place front and centre in people’s attentions, it’s easy to imagine Bird as an influence on celebrity Tranmere Rovers fan Mike Dean.
Anyway, I was put in mind of that contrast over the weekend, with Speroni’s low-key retirement being in stark contrast to legends of other Premier League clubs – John Terry’s substitution as the clock reached 26 minutes is probably the nadir in this field of tackiness (though far from Terry’s worst crime). Barry Glendenning on Guardian Football Weekly (and on Twitter before then) questioned why Speroni hadn’t been given one last game in front of the home fans. The answer is that Speroni declined the invitation to play, insisting that Crystal Palace should prepare for their final game of the season with every bit as professionally as they had prepared for all the others, instead of needlessly picking their third-choice goalkeeper. Like Sheppard, there is a lot to admire about the dignity of this decision.
Every piece on club legends has to feature the line “the word “legend” gets bandied about these days”, so here it is. The word “legend” gets bandied about these days but there is no other way to describe Speroni. Having joined Palace in the relatively good times – when we had just been promoted to the Premier League – he stayed with the Eagles through some incredibly difficult times, as the club began to run out of money and were forced to sell player after player, usually for less than their true value. In 2010, Palace went into administration, and were almost relegated from the Championship – something that probably would have put the club out of business entirely. The game at Hillsborough, where a draw confirmed survival, has gone down in club folklore (incidentally the referee that day was a certain Mike Dean). Speroni, meanwhile, won the club’s Player of the Year award for the third season in a row. He’d win it again in their first season back in the top flight (2013-14), and be granted a testimonial against his former side Dundee in 2015 – the Dee brought over 1500 fans down for a midweek game, to their credit.
It would have been easy for a lot of players of his (and higher) calibre to have decided to move on at any point from then, that a club in a position to pay them higher wages and with more upward ambitions would have been a better prospect, but to his credit, he stuck around. It’s easy to stay put when your team is winning every week and celebrating trophies year after year, but not so easy when things are tougher, where every season is a mix of steps forward and back. In all, his 15 years at Selhurst Park have come under 13 different managerial tenures and yet through all the upheaval and turmoil, he has stayed, albeit in more recent times as a low-cost third-choice keeper. He has become so much a part of the furniture that, according to an interview for the club website, one of his off-field roles over the past few years has been to welcome new signings to the club and explain to them “what it means to play for Crystal Palace”.
In a day and age when the most successful clubs outside the elite appear to be the ones primed to cope with a constant turnover of players, and the ones most prepared to be ruthless in their upgrading of players, Crystal Palace and Julian Speroni have showed there is a place for sentimentality, for recognising that footballers are humans and treating them with decency. Speroni has left the club on a high note and on his own terms, and he’ll be missed.