The thing about Ferdinand that really appeals to Man Utd…

Date published: Tuesday 30th April 2019 1:50

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Rio’s grand?
…Apart from being an ex-football, albeit quite a good ex-footballer, what has Rio done to scream excellent sporting director?

This is an ex-footballer who defended Mike Ashley, when non-ex-footballers can see he’s a terrible owner. Who’s to say that he wouldn’t agree with Woodward & the Glazers, and is only being hired to steady the nostalgia ship.

I’m not saying that this won’t work, or that he won’t be a brilliant appointment, I’m just not sure why Paul thinks it’s great? Hell, Roy Keane makes more sense by that logic given his ability on the pitch and his career off of it. (don’t go for Roy Keane)

United need a plan. They need to sit down and decide what they want to be, how they want to ge there, and find people who want/can achieve similar. They need to stop throwing money and names at the problem, and hoping it will sort itself out!
Néill, Ireland


…So, Paul Murphy, essentially your argument for appointing Rio as DOF at Utd is because he is a Proper Football Man?

As I said last week, just putting anyone in there is not going to work. Especially putting Rio “merked” Ferdinand in there. He is just as old fashioned as everyone else

Please show to us what experience he has, how he has negotiated contract terms and transfer fees, where he has held a similar post and how successful he has been at that. Where has he identified players with all the right skills to fit the “philosophy”, where has he convinced players to join their team?

It’s just another post-Fergie circle-jerk and I really can’t understand why so many utd fans think it’s a good idea to keep trying to evoke the past. It’s great for everyone else though so carry on as you were.

Fat Man


…Paul seems very sensitive to United criticism when it comes to the possible appointment of Rio as the club’s sporting director. However, I think it’s far from “childish” to criticise the appointment.

United are in a mess. A complete mess. The club has fallen to the point where it is more likely they will be overtaken by Wolves next year than overtake one of City or Liverpool. The squad is a shambolic group of overpaid or past it players and needs a complete reworking.

United need a serious team to get them out of this hole. A sporting director who can identify the top talent in world football, including hidden gems for great value. A manager who will be able to motivate the players that don’t leave, quickly bed in new signings and bring forth and develop players from the academy. coaching team that can work to help bring all that together. They need the best.

Now, what would annoy me if I were a United fan is the idea that the best available for the position of manager, assistant manager, coaching team and sporting director, all just happened to have played or worked for United before. There is no one in the world that would do a better job than those they have appointed.

OGS may be a good manager, he may not be. But what he definitely isn’t is the best manager in the world available to Man United. Rio Fedinand may turn out to be a good sporting director. But I think it is highly unlikely that he is the absolute elite.

This desperation to appoint those that ‘know the club’ smacks of the errors Liverpool made in the 90’s and if United are not careful, they will suffer the exact same fate.
Mike, LFC, London


Get rid of them all
Thank you for this. At last the truth about Arsenal the club I supported from 1969 until 2017. I gave up on Wenger. Let’s be honest it was all downhill after the unbeaten season.

Emery Should be putting in his resignation after last 3 results
2-3,1-3,0-3!!! What’s next 0-4? I won’t be surprised.

He has no hope with that lot! Give up there is no chance of any manager world class or not achieving anything with that team!

No money for transfers because its all being paid to useless so called “professional” footballers!!

Sack the lot get a new wage structure in and a new manager who can produce a new winning formula.

Emery has tried with Wenger’s woefuls time for him and all the woefuls to leave!!

A new board would be good too. More interested in stocks and shares than building a great team?

I am now happily supporting local non- league football the teams Hythe, Folkestone Invicta and Dover Athletic much more enjoyable to watch!



North London dilemma
From your ever excellent Big Midweek article, I spilt my coffee reading the following:

‘For all the talk of the Europa League being the ugly stepsister of the Champions League, you would rather be an Arsenal fan winning in Baku than a Spurs fan losing in Madrid’.

Would you? Really? As a Spurs fan, counting down the hours until I get to leave work for the airport to fly in for tonight’s semi final (the 1st one since 1962!) I can’t wait! Not saying I would not be grateful for a Europa League trophy but this is the big one! This is Spurs who should be 6th in England not in the top 4 in Europe. If this is as far as we go then so be it, this is the furthest we have been in a lot of Spurs fan’s life times. Every Champions League game I go to, I make sure I make the most of it as there is no guarantee we will be in the competition the next year.

Yes I know I am saying we would rather lose a final than win a trophy but surely the comparison is similar to winning the Championship or losing the Premier League. I for one would rather be in Liverpool/Manchester City’s shoes (and come second) than Norwich or Sheffield United’s (and come first). The game is about glory after all…

Over to you, Arsenal fans. Would you swap that Champions League final defeat for a Europa League trophy?
Ben, Jersey Spurs


… In relation to Sarah’s midweek preview, as a Liverpool fan that has seen us win and lose Europa League finals, and win and lose Champions League finals, I’d rather be in the final of the Champs League all day long, over the Europa League, even if we lose. The journey I’ve experienced getting to finals we have lost trumps the memory of winning the UEFA cup, 100%. You can try and talk up Arsenal’s season, but lets not pretend Spurs fans will be jealous of anything they achieve this year.
Tom, London


Fading appeal
Just reading a few of the emails this morning and I noticed the theme of mentioning players from the past.
Be it the possibility of Rio coming back to Man Utd or The way John Lukic berated Steve Bould in classic game between Liverpool and Arsenal.

So many fans seem desperate to have these old/former players around the club, Solskjaer recent appointment been a fine example, or when damming their own team they love to use the analogy of ‘so and so wouldn’t/would have done that back in the day’.

I think we need to wake up to the fact that football and the primer league even more than most is just a money making machine that turn around playing staff and managers every few cycles and this is the way it will be for the foreseeable future.

Can we really see Klopp and Pep staying on for another 2/3 years where they are? Klopp maybe but Pep will be gone, regardless of having won the CL or not.

I would happily place a big wad of cash on two of Sarri, Solskjaer or Emery not been with their respective clubs by this time next year, and smaller wad on that been true by Christmas.

Social media around football as well is just a place to rip into your rival team or poke fun at some silly incidents in football, mostly in jest but some nasty stuff can come from it too, its become an odd, almost completely removed and irrelevant sub culture of what the game really is about.

As a fan of Football and a child of the 90’s Nostalgia I find myself some what numb to the up and downs of the modern game, don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the Champions league Knockout this year and I watched nearly every Match of the world cup last year, but I find myself caring less and less about who wins the title, who makes the top four, who’s going to get relegated and I have a feeling I ain’t the only one.
Don from Ireland


Warning signs
When I read Stewie’s rant yesterday I felt a pang of nostalgia. You see it was the first of his since around 2006 that I actually read rather than swiped down. Sorry Stewie!

But I reckon it takes a hell of a fan to keep banging his head metaphorically against a brick wall every week for 15 years until the rest of the world catches up with him. Hats off to Stewie.

But one of the points he made was around the various signposts you see along the way that tell you your club is on the wrong track. 29 years and counting into The Drought (TM) I can really relate to that, although less at the minute. The major ones for me have been

– Appointing Souness who couldn’t coach a dog to be dirty.
– Houllier’s disastrous post 2002 WC window. Omg. Ged really??!!
– Chelsea and ManC zooming past us however the funding. Hurt more than any United trophy for me.
– Gillette and Hicks
– Leicester winning the league. This one really cut. I bet it did for Gunners fans too.

Stewie, something tells me you’re gonna have a lot less to complain about shortly. Apart from 98-100 points being the new benchmark of course…
Aussie Red


FA makes a Blue see red
It’s never a good time to write in when pissed off but here goes.

As I’m not on the Cup Scheme at City, I had to wait until non-cup Scheme season ticker holders were allowed to buy a ticket for the FA Cup final before I could get my own ticket. I always sit in the cheap seats (£45!) at Wembley and was expecting to pick up one of those but, unhappily, all the £45 and £70 tickets had gone so made a decision to break my own rule and buy a £115 ticket and I’ve never stopped moaning about it since.

However, I’ve just found out that Watford cannot sell all their tickets (WHAT? They could WALK there, it’s that close!) and so have returned 2000 tickets which the FA have sent on to City. This means that cheaper seats are now available again. I rang City to get my ticket changed and I was told that as City are basically selling the tickets on behalf of the FA, they aren’t allowed to do that!


I’m just utterly ticked off that City are now selling cheaper tickets and I have to sit here and wait for a couple of days whilst a ‘manager’ calls me back to discuss the situation, whilst all the time, the cheaper tickets are flying out of the window. The FA have my money now so I can do one, is that it? This situation is just not on. It’s bad enough that we have to travel to Wembley for semi finals (I’ve been to Wembley 10 times out of 11 games, non Charity Shield) and now I have an unnecessarily expensive ticket which I can’t do anything about. Me and the many others in the same situation.

It just feels wrong.

No doubt, the haters will appear with their snide comments but I just find this situation untenable.

Levenshulme Blue, Manchester19


Looking the other way
I wrote in to the mailbox yesterday trying to be as honest in my view of the relationship between Man City and their owners as I possibly could. I half expected the subsequent debate to polarise in some childish fashion around the idea that as a City fan I was admitting something. But I was pleased to see the level of discussion was on the whole pretty reasoned and reasonable, irrespective of allegiance. Just a couple of further points (and in no way intended to sound like a right of reply rant) – Ged, you mentioned that ‘…surely cannot blind yourself to where the funds for your club are coming from’ – I think I pretty much said the same thing to be fair. I don’t intend to blind myself to anything and I don’t expect anyone else to do the same thing. Also you mentioned I’m in the best position to do something about this as a fan. Not sure that is true and I think we all have some moral responsibility to do our bit where we can and when we should. My chief point was to question the motivation behind criticism and the extent to which we are all prepared to examine and be examined in turn. I don’t necessarily believe football should be exempt either, but I’m certain that pretty much all of capitalism is founded on dodgy ethical ground, you just need to look hard enough. However if football isn’t exempt, does that mean business and government should be. We live in a world of realpolitik, so should football just be as accepting as industry and commerce or does emotional engagement heighten our sense of injustice when it comes to human rights abuse. Or is it, as I suggested yesterday, just a convenient stick at hand. If it is that, it shouldn’t be.

if football wants to dig deep into everything then maybe we should, but let’s do it all together and see how the cards fall. And let’s be clear about what moral standpoint we all agree on first. There were several comments and emails about the validity of other cultures and how we should just accept some people are different. I don’t actually agree with this viewpoint. I believe there are universal morals that underpin our culture and which should be universal. If they are broken then we should address them and seek to change things through reasoned means. But I personally don’t think the answer is to not engage. On that point there is a whole other intellectual debate around the benefits of working ‘with’ rather than ‘against’ other cultures to facilitate change but it’s veering into self-serving territory again here.

I’m all in favour of an even playing field. But having one is complicated and the quest for universality, as noble as it sounds, might require more nose holding than we’d like.
Steve MCFC Manchester


…Hoping to squeeze this in to a mailbox before champs league dominates.

The homo/death/Man City issue to me at least seems simple, countries that have decided that people should be executed for who they were born to be are free to do so, but we are also free to ban them from our society. Whether through not staying at their hotels, insisting they cannot own soccer clubs or through any other protest.

I ask the predominantly straight audience of this august site to imagine for a moment that who you are is punishable by death, maybe because you have brown hair, maybe because you are too short, maybe your eyes are the wrong color. All traits as controllable as homosexuality, now imagine the same for your son.

We must stand up against this barbarism in all and any ways. Not Man City players or employees fault, but surely people who execute according to who you are, and not as punishment for choices/crimes cannot have a place in our society.
Matt (United, NYC)


N’Golo Kante wants a word
From the Top ten Premier League central midfielders of the season
“To question Premier League footballers for recency bias, simplicity and one-dimensional thinking is to criticise an unattended child for smearing faeces all over the wall.”
Also, from the Top ten Premier League central midfielders of the season…
Joao Moutinho

“There has been no more impactful Premier League bargain in the last decade, never mind this season.”

One would imagine N’Golo Kante might take umbrage at this statement considering Matt Stead was smearing his s**t all over an opinion piece in the preceding paragraph.
G (14/34 appearances on the wing for the best cm in the league) AFC

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