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Paul Pogba’s Biggest Club In The World
As the dust settles on Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United career, one of his last press conferences highlighted the importance of winning trophies as the genuine gauge of club success. This has obviously been examined a lot in the last week but a couple of wider aspects of this argument seem to have been overlooked.
Manchester United have seemingly forever marketed themselves as ‘The Biggest Club In The World’. While this has always clearly been a dubious claim in terms of actual silverware, fans of the club have perennially pointed to ‘most commercial’ and ‘richest’ as the reasoning behind this title.
With that in mind, surely it’s remarkable for the same fans to criticise Paul Pogba for using the ‘Most Commercial Club In The World’ as a platform to promote his own brand. It clearly makes business sense.
Granted, they wanted him to join the club to carry out his footballing responsibilities in a dedicated and responsible manner. But he’s arguably just using the club in order to milk the exposure for his own highly-marketable image and make himself a fortune.
And as frustratingly pathetic as that is, it’s similar to the club constantly and erroneously milking the ‘Biggest Club In The World’ title in order to make a fortune from sponsors in spite of being nowhere near worthy of that title in terms of actual trophy success on the continental stage.
Are United fans that gullible?
Drafting in two club “legends” despite both having horrific managerial records?
I would draw parallels to Liverpool’s inglorious 90s were they desperately tried to recreate the boot room despite the fact the team had been utterly decimated by age and by dreadful big money signings.
The glory days are over, and no harking back to the days of Sir Alex are going to change that.
Solskjaer got Cardiff relegated and then was sacked, Mike Phelan got sacked with Hull rock bottom of the Premier League.
At least come season end they will not have to sack these two, but will Pochettino or Zidane really want to drop down to the Championship?
Brendy (loving this) LFC, Belfast
Joe Cole – not that good
It’s possible – just possible – that the sainted Joe Cole didn’t become this supposed imagined great because he wasn’t actually all that.
It was pretty easy to look good in a sh*te West Ham team, and I’m sure his early days were a YouTubers dream, but he struggled with injuries – allegedly because he wasn’t exactly a consummate pro anyway – and clearly, to a certain extent, because he wasn’t exactly the toughest kid on the playground (physically or mentally). He had some good seasons for Chelsea but he played the most times in 05-06 for them, under Mourinho. He literally never managed that many games again, and Mourinho left about 17 months after that season finished – it’s hardly like he should have been in a terminal spiral by then.
Little Englanders love to bang on about unfulfilled potential and blame big bad Jose for ruining him, but the simple fact is that the best players make it big and the less good ones don’t (barring truly terrible injuries). Ronaldo struggled with injuries and his record looks OK doesn’t it? Robben, who played under Mourinho at Chelsea as well, also struggled with injuries and he’s still going strong. Giggs had dodgy hamstrings and we all know how he turned out. RVP,Even Michael Owen had a more fulfilling career in many respects and his injury problems were at least as bad as Cole’s.
This is a very English thing – we make excuses for people and then are surprised when they fall short, because we can’t bring ourselves to accept that sometimes, they aren’t good enough. “Natural talent” doesn’t mean a thing – Cole was older than both Rooney and Ronaldo and their output absolutely dwarves his because (despite of the unkind comments about Rooney’s lifestyle, some of which were justified later on) they worked their arses off to be successful. It doesn’t sound s sexy or as romantic, but the truth to greatness is through absolute graft. Do you think many footballers have ever worked harder than Ronaldo or Messi?
There’s also this infernal romanticising of the “number 10” position, some kind of “make no tackles, do no running, string-pulling legend” which is also a load of old b*llocks. The best players contribute all the time, because they work extremely hard. The reason Riquelme ever achieved the truly elite level he was capable of was because he was bone idle. Joe Cole is basically a younger, more injury prone version of him. 10/10 for skills, 3/10 for consistency, a generous 8/10 as a player overall.
Still, scored some nice goals I suppose. And he can do things with a golf ball that….
Jonny, MUFC (not a Mourinho disciple by ANY means – but tired of the excuses for English averageness)
What would Pirlo do?
With the report of Pogba high-fiving team mates because a man got fired. Can the FA/UEFA/FIFA all incorporate a rule that simple states that before any action that can be reported on, all players (midfielders especially) have to say out loud…
“What would Pirlo do?”
What’s happened to professionalism?
Huge moment for Levy
Lots of opinions on whether Poch would leave Spurs for Utd and for me it doesn’t come down to personal reward, new stadium or loyalty but actually might come down to one player. Christian Eriksen.
He hasn’t yet signed a new contract at Spurs and whilst Pochettino would probably tolerate Alderweireld leaving next summer, Eriksen would be absolutely irreplaceable.
It’s time for Levy to step up, give Eriksen what he wants and maybe even push the boat out for Alderweireld. If not I fear not only Poch but also Eriksen and Alderweireld could be heading north next summer and that really will be a crushing blow for Spurs fans.
It’s called decency not SJW
I just wanted to write in to note how disappointing the last few lines of William, Leicester’s mail were this morning. It’s a depressing sign of the times that defending a man against blatant racism is willfully reduced by someone as “this whole SJW thing”.
William, it’s not a “SJW thing” it’s called common decency.
To the journalists at F365, keep doing what you do. You’re a beacon of civility in the often murky world of football journalism.
Michael, AFC, Crawley
This is why is despise the papers/journos
Not long ago they were all about their exclusives of “Jose is 💯 % getting sacked after the weekend/if they don’t beat XYZ”.
This story ran more than once on a few occasions
Yet I didn’t see one outlet predict anything was gonna happen before Xmas. Spring/summer even!!!! Even though they were on a shocking run, and blind man could see they wouldn’t get anything out of the Liverpool game. If anything, they seemed to do a U turn and say he wouldn’t go until it was mathematically impossible to qualify for CL (due to the pay off etc). And that the board would NOT pull the trigger.
The papers know “F*** all” and are full of s***. I’d wager they have no actual (legit/credible) sources at these big clubs. they just make s*** up day by day. It’s embarrassing. I’d rather sweep the streets than put my name to a story saying “Madrid want rashford”. How do they sleep at night.
I’d love to see a Sunday supplement with them all sat round scoffing their croissants and saying to each other “lads. How did none of us catch this one?” Will their editors not haul any of them over the coals for not having the slightest inkling on this? Doubt it. As it’s just one big boys club.
I think the last time I took any notice of a transfer/gossip rumour involving spurs was when I was 12. And even now I’m still embarrassed
Jay Q. Streatham. THFC
For what it’s worth; my two penneth on Man Utd
Man U are paying the price for hiding behind their manager for 20 odd years. As the rest of the Premier League evolved and progressed Man U didn’t bother. Fergie was winning them titles and another one next season was all they were interested in, as if the manager would last forever, to, they now discover, the detriment of all else. And with each trophy he won they became ever more myopic and relinquished another little piece of the club to him until, by some point early in the 21st Century, Alex Ferguson was Manchester United. They let him get away with whatever he wanted, whether it was a boycott of the media, the systematic bullying of referees or selling their best defender because of something he’d written in a book. They worshipped the ground on which he walked and gave up all control to him, making him bigger than the club itself, which perfectly suited Ferguson’s ego but had rival fans aching for the inevitable day when he retired, in anticipation of the wholly predictable, rudderless mess they now find themselves in.
During his tenure, Ferguson became the only person at Manu who knew how to run a football club because the clowns who should have been running it were only too happy to take a backseat and hand him the keys and free reign to do as he pleased. So powerful was he that even when he left he was even allowed to choose his successor – a disastrous decision that saw Fergie put blatant jingoism before his supposedly beloved United. United fans tried half-heartedly to convince themselves that Moyes was the man but everyone – surely even Ferguson – knew he was out of his depth and nobody was surprised when he was shown the door: His time as Man U boss went pretty much exactly how everyone expected.
Then they didn’t know what to do because there was no one left who knows how to run a football club. So desperate were they they appointed rookie manager Ryan Giggs, who was dogshit – not disimilar to when Newcastle ran out of ideas and let Shearer take them down. That’s right; so lost were Man United as a football club they actually copied a Mike Ashley idea.
Then they remembered who they were and got their cock and balls out and waved them around in a bid to remind us that they are the mighty Manchester United, and they made the kind of appointments they should have been looking at as soon as Fergie announced his retirement. Van Gaal, Mourinho – the world’s most sought after managers. Of course, they couldn’t offer any support to the new managers – they have forgotten how – instead just expecting them to come in and be another Ferguson from day 1 (totally overlooking the fact that Ferguson didn’t own Manchester United until he had been there 10 years or so). So of course, they both failed too.
Now they have gone back to the Mike Ashley model of getting a playing icon in to manage them without bothering to check his management CV. Solskjaer was utter gash at Cardiff but they haven’t let that put them off, simply because they are clueless.
I am greatly enjoying the soap opera that Manchester United has become. The comedy of it actually makes me laugh. And not just the shambles that the club now are but also the reaction of their supporters. They are as lost as the club. You can almost hear them asking, “but… but… where’s Fergie?”
I don’t think Solskjaer will even last the season. He will be sacked or step down when it becomes apparent he can’t even muster a top half finish. The state Man U are in at the moment; they need a real manager who can manage the whole club, not a former playing hero with limited management experience and a relegation to show for his only season managing in the Premier League. They may as well have hired Bryan Robson or the never relegated Mark Hughes.
United are looking for another Fergie; someone who will take over the running of the club AND bring them success. Someone who takes all the decisions out of the board’s hands while winning trophies. Someone who gets the unanimous backing of the fans because he brings home silverware. But there isn’t another Fergie and things have moved on since his appointment 32 years ago.
There is a delicious irony to the fact that they allowed the one man who always insisted that no single person should ever be allowed to become bigger than the club, to become bigger than the club.
They didn’t fix the roof when the sun was shining. All their problems are of their own making.
They are living in the past and long may it continue.
Mort Snort, Saints
What could have been
The Totally Football Show did a Mou special yesterday and there was an interesting discussion about how he’s just not moved on, both tactically but also in man-management styles. They brought up the players at Chelsea (Lamps, Terry, Drogba) and put them up as the sorts of characters who run through the proverbially brick wall to be successful. Comparatively, the players of today are a bit more molly coddled and don’t respond as well to the approach Jose takes to motivation (shouting at you to do better, in order to stimulate a “I’ll show you” response).
Coupled with a missive in this mornings mailbox about how United desperately wanted him in 2013 but didn’t get him till 2016, this got me thinking. What if Mourinho had got the nod from Fergie. Instead of crying in to his paella, he would have been managing a team with:
Ferdinand; Evra; Rooney; Vidic; Carrick; Fletcher; Chicharito; Valencia; Young; van Persie.
There’s a couple on there who’ve already had mini resurgences with Mourinho and the rest all look to be the type of player that would respond well. I think Fletcher could be the most archetypal Mourinho player out there – technically good, solid but unspectacular. He’d sure as shit keep Pogba out the team.
He was 3rd with a not as good Chelsea team that year and won the league with few changes the following year. I reckon he’d have done something similar with United. Crucially though, he’d have imploded in 2016 just as the new crop were coming through. This would have allowed someone to come in minus the pressure of following Ferguson, and likely with a good team who just need a cuddle. Boom, another league with the morale boost from Conte! The whole post-Fergie era could have been a fairytale!
Is it too late now to say Sarri?
I have seen the comments by Bruce Buck condemning the actions of “a few mindless individuals” and emphasising the extent to which the club, and particularly Roman Abramovich, want to stamp out this kind of behaviour. All very sensible so far, until you look at the manager they appointed in the summer, and his use of homophobic and (allegedly) racist language in a confrontation with Roberto Mancini during his time at Napoli. Seems that the message they are sending out to supporters and the media is not the same one used internally when they are so desperately chasing success on the pitch.
This could have been planned better…
I am more a pessimist than an optimist and I hate to burst the bubble after the witch is dead so I apologise in advance to United fans who are still giddy with excitement at the appointment of Ole. My friend and mailbox reader regular Deepak skips mailboxes when I write in to bemoan United’s plight – but I feel like I should play the devil’s advocate here.
We’ve been down this whole route before. With the whole ‘United way’ of football and ‘United ethos’ and everything. And it’s lead United nowhere. Sure this is a temporary job for 6 months – and it’s probably a rehab camp for players who’ve been mentally exhausted and bullied by Jose. But wasn’t this a perfect opportunity to take this month to finalize a long term manager and give him an extra 6 months to sort the squad out? The same free pass that has been afforded to a club hero could have been given to the new manager. There’s no expectation left from this season except perhaps the plea to play attractive football again. So why not take this month to talk to potential candidates and make a decision by next month? Sure you probably couldn’t do this if Poch was your main target but other targets like Zidane and Jardim have nothing better to do.Six months gives the new manager enough time to identify the deadwood, identify potential transfer targets and get a good summer training camp prepared. Would also give him a taste of Europe, a feel for the league (if he’s not Poch) and I can’t really see a downside.
Didn’t Liverpool make a similar mistake in succeeding Dalglish with Souness? That set them back by two decades and it’s taken them a good chunk to get back on track under Klopp. United really can’t afford to fall back any further.
I have nothing against Ole’s appointment but I just feel that this damage control by appointing a club hero could have been planned better.