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Marcelo Bielsa to Manchester United…
Alright, if no one is calling this (yet to read morning mailbox), I’m calling it first. Marcelo Bielsa is available (likely) after his excellent (but atypical of his sides, tired) Leeds lost the playoffs. The man is revered by the greatest of football minds. Believes in principles that center on connecting with supporters, playing attractive football, and giving it all the entire game. The man can begin the healing process that United are direly in need of. Yet, would Woodward have the guts to radically sack Ole and hire Biesla? Would be inspired (like Leeds did), but won’t happen (as Biesla cant be used to get commercial deals). Just sticking my thoughts out here! What do United fans think?
Aravind, Chelsea fan
Don’t be daft, look at Leeds United
Steve in Los Angeles really doesn’t know a thing about the United situation, does he? The only bit he gets right is the Woodward part, in that he is obviously ill-suited to being in charge of a football club, for football reasons. Wishing for relegation in the hope that the Glazers disappear is optimistic in the extreme. In terms of owners, I would far rather have the Glazers, who leave the manager to it other than to sanction purchases, than an Abramovich who has reportedly bought players and insisted they play. The Glazers have been pretty good at giving the manager freedom, other than quite rightly preventing Mourinho from spanking another load of dosh on yet more centre-backs.
The Glazers used a leveraged buy-out model, which should be illegal in my book but what do I know, to buy a football club they couldn’t afford so they could ‘manage’ it and extract £20m a year in fees for themselves. The fact that United’s fortunes have fallen on the pitch is not because of the Glazers but more Woodward and a succession of rubbish managers. Ole is not the Messiah but at least he might put a bit more steel and willing players on the pitch, as all can see that the current crop are not giving anywhere near 100%. The Glazers will sanction purchases as long as the books balance, minus their annual ‘doing the square root of **** all’ fee of course. Unfortunately, as Woodward is obviously good at the commercial side, the Glazers are likely to keep him around, I can only hope he gets someone in the Director of Football role and sticks to attracting the next official United bog-roll partner.
Relegation? Don’t be daft, look at Leeds United, that turned out well, didn’t it?
Paul, Man Utd
Full of hope for United
Having read F365’s excellent features on who/whom Man United need to ditch/save it fills me with hope for the summer, hope I know Ed Woodward will crush, but genuine belief that Man United are not as far as the people/media would lead us to believe.
If we can start next season with Ashley Young nowhere near the first team, Sanchez out on loan or sold, Pogba either committed or gone and a pre-season where fitness is greatly enhanced and new ideas worked on then top four should be achievable with a couple of key signings and a belief and confidence that these players are world class/whether they are or not, they need to believe they are good enough to play for Man United.
Ronan O’ Gara of rugby kicking fame once said “kicking is 90% confidence and 10% talent” and anybody can see that this United team is severely lacking in confidence. With respected coaches like Mike Phelan, Kieran McKenna and Michael Carrick to train the players and work on tactics, then all Ole needs to do is motivate the team and instil a confidence back into a squad that have been told by LVG and Jose that they are not good enough to be able to complete with the top teams. The effect of this beat down of the players by previous managers and the media/fans should not be underestimated.
Ole instilled that initially and they went on a run but then made the crucial mistake of setting them up defensively against PSG and Barca and the doubts creeped back in and once the doubts get back in, well we all saw what happened! The same happened for Jose, he had United on a good run in his second season and then they played Liverpool and played 6 across the back-line and they were never the same team again. That game was the beginning of the end for Jose.
Add in a top class centre-back, United only need to look 30 miles up the road to see what a different a calm assured presence can make in a back line. While I don’t believe Harry Maguire is world class, he is assured and calm, has a big presence and can pull the rest into line, which will bring Lindelof on leaps and bounds and Lindelof is a player who could be world class. Once a team believes they won’t concede a goal then the forwards don’t feel the extra pressure when through on goal and can just let instinct take over.
A nitty gritty centre midfielder (Herrera) to play along with Scott Mc and Pogba/attacking midfielder then this United squad is the match of Arsenal/Chelsea/Spurs and can reach top 4, from where the next step can be taken.
Eoin (It’s the hope that kills you) Roscommon
A lot has been said about the shit show that is utd. I’m not here to delve into it we all know it is what it is. That being said, the change required to this team isn’t all that drastic according to me, they need to trade up in 4/5 players to get this starting 11 to compete again. let me explain
De Gea – needs to be kept. Even if he made a few mistakes towards the end of this season, the team was a shambles anyway and this man has single handily won us more games in the past 3 years than any out field player.
Shaw – start him at left back next season, hope he stays injury free.
Lindelof – Seems to be a player in there somewhere, he deserves another season as the starting CB.
New CB – ok so the options here are Koulibaly (too expensive) Varane (not happening) Godin(gone to italy) Maguire (possible) Alderwield (possible) Skrinar(possible). Seems to be an option of going for youth or experience. I would say youth, so go with Maguire
New RB – Dalot is good but he will need support, Wan Bissaka is a great option here.
CM – Pogba – keep him. He is the highest scorer and the fulcrum of the team going forward, yes he switches off, but people have to allow for that, look at the teams where he was successful and compare the midfielders he had around him. Pirlo Vidal marchisio (Juve) kante matuidi (france) in Manchester the only good midfield support he has had is Herrera who is no longer there. Getting the best out of pogba means getting good midfielders around him.
CM – options: Milinkovic Savic(expensive), Ndombele(expensive), Bruno Fernandez(expensive), Witsel(available), Parejo(available), Ndidi(available), Rabiot(available), (any of the first 3 would be excellent long term additions. I think Witsel would do a good job stabilising the midfield for a year or two, Rabiot would bring in elite experience but he would probably hold out for a better club, Parejo has proven himself this season, or maybe Ndidi of Everton to add bite to the midfield)
CM – Rotate Mctominay and Fred
LW – Martial or youth player
RW – options: Jadon Sancho(expensive), Jao Felix(expensive), David Neres (available) Hriving Lozano(available) Nicolas Pepe (available). Here I would really like to see us go for Neres or Lozano. I know what people say about players who come from the Eredevisie and not being able to cope with the premier league, but these two players are quick, skilful, and brave and I think would work well with rashford and martial.
Get rid of: Sanchez (at any cost) Young (at any cost) Lingard(sell to Newcastle of Everton) Matic, Jones, Darmian.
Keep Lukaku and Mata for another season.
So the key targets should be as follows: Maguire, Wan Bissaka, Savic, Neres.
Those are my thoughts at least. I tend to believe there is a good core group of players already available at the club as well as good young prospects coming through the academy (Gomes, Garner, Chong etc). Just need to add 4 new players to the starting line up and things could look up earlier than expected if all pieces are put in place soon enough. We don’t need to break the wheel, just tweak it.
KC (dreaming of a new midfield of Savic – Pogba – Ndombele)
Were Arsenal fans duped?
I am writing in with an observation/question of sorts for Arsenal fans out there. They won’t like it but it needs to be said.
First off, Mauricio Pochettino is a magnificent manager – this much is self-evident. There’s a wider point to be made here though: Pochettino has worked wonders on a nothing budget. Spurs have spent nothing on transfers for well over a year. Their wage bill is minuscule compared to Arsenal’s, always has been. Pochettino’s salary isn’t enormous. The new stadium they’ve built is in London and cost an absolute fortune. Unlike Arsenal under Wenger, Spurs did not have 18-20 years of CL television revenue to give them a kickstart. Arsenal built the Emirates in 2006, banking over £3m per matchday – in addition to all that CL money. So a 13-year financial headstart on Spurs. Huge.
Unlike Spurs they also spent big on eg Arshavin, despite the move.
In a couple of weeks, there is the very real possibility that Pochettino will prove once and for all, that Wenger and Kroenke, conned Arsenal fans in concert for over a decade, if he wins the CL. The Wenger/Kroenke ruse, was that building a new stadium meant you had no choice but to sell all your best players (Spurs still kept Kane and Eriksen on far smaller budgets), and apparently meant you should lose 10-2 in the CL and get knocked out at the last 16 stage.
So. If Pochettino wins the CL with Spurs, can we all officially acknowledge that not only were Arsenal fans duped but, Spurs would officially, with a superior stadium, superior pulling power and crucially, a European cup (Arsenal has zero)…will Arsenal fans be graceful enough to admit that Spuds would finally be a bigger club than Arsenal? I’ll wait.
Stewie Griffin (mature enough to admit that MoPo would have moved Spuds above Arsenal. #MerciArsene!)
Misunderstanding FFP and economics
I have recently seen a misunderstanding of the meaning of FFP, by writers in the mail along with the writers of some articles.
FFP inherently is a largely undefined and flawed system currently with enough loopholes and caveats that its impossible really to currently efficiently operate it.
But I will instead look towards the ‘idea’ behind the proposal of FFP.
FFP is to create sustainability within the footballing business model. Think of this as a monopolies board in essence.
The monopolies board in economic terms oversees the big world corporations and their mergers to attempt to prevent situations where a monopoly will form, this is a danger to the consumer as the monopoly may then drive prices up and control market mechanics as they see fit and supply and demand forces no longer apply calling to the invisible hand principle.
In terms of Football, FFP should be running along the similar principles, its an attempt to prevent a single football club becoming a ‘monopoly’, if City owners could pour all of their cash without concern into Man City, you wouldn’t see another team win the league for an eternity. This would reduce the attractiveness of the league and the sport in general, American sports have a different function, they apply a luxury tax principle and a draft mechanic to their sports to maintain the competitiveness of the sport while also allowing most franchises to have a ‘marquee’ player the embodies their branding, small towns and cities will have smaller markets but they can still function and provide some form of sustainable economic development for their communities.
In this FFP should be effectively preventing clubs from ‘buying’ their way to the top, which is a healthy manner in controlling a competitive sport scene regardless of thoughts.
Another thing I have seen is ‘ if its the owners money they can do what they want and how they do it is of no concern’ well actually it is, see most countries ‘companies act’ contain numerous sentiments for sustainability and debt write off procedures as money flooding and owner debt writing is an unhealthy practice in any company. It is in these acts that numerous policies, reforms, resolutions and dictations are laid out with how businesses are allowed to govern themselves. The King IV and King V reports also dictate healthy business practice and community development to all listed corporations or large corporations. Normal business would not accept losses, just because that business has an owner who can take on those losses or absorb them does not mean it is healthy for that company nor the market, it would be like Mac Donalds buying a video game chain and outlet, subsidising all the costs so that it makes losses and kills its competition then once the market is dead to entry it raises its prices to guarantee market share. City would effectively be doing this should they be allowed to just let the owner invest what they want or any club for that matter ( out of personal belief I think the debt situations of the two Spanish clubs are also largely ignored and that is also unhealthy) City could accept losses absorbed by their almost unlimited wealth and once the market is dead take their claim.
We then have to proceed with the ‘how it was done’ principle. The fact that Man City haven’t directly just pulled the money in from their owner but instead have opened 15 registered priopritary limited companies indicates they know they are circumventing numerous principles. Again not just in terms of the FFP but in terms of the companies Act and King IV and V. This example is called related party shadow fraud and it basically is a roundabout way of distributing and in some cases hiding profit ( like how Google somehow only get taxed 10% on their net profit by being in 17 countries ) although in this case City are using it to financially dope.
‘Its your money you can do what you want’ doe not really work when you have enough money to shatter entire markets and alter corporate environments.
I think at the end of the day Man City are just the easiest example in football as so that means they are the scapegoat if you will but as FIFA have shown, financial fairplay and all sorts of financial shenanigans are going on all over football.
Lastly since I put my thinking cap on:
Someone the other day said ‘ Tottenham are actually a company and so owned by numerous shareholders which is why their owners won’t put in money’
This is true but it is also true of all the other clubs who are either Business Trusts or listed Companies, in fact every single club has numerous shareholders.
FFP is arguably a system to prevent the elite of europe from being taken over.
This is not entirely false, EUFA have very very very clear tendencies to protect its big clubs and keep them happy to make the champions league the TV money behemoth it is. However Clubs can still break into the elite even acting under FFP.
Liverpool, Spurs and yes United ( whose corporate behemoth status still stands) all make money to operate just below City/ on par, some punch above through coaches and players but a good manager and a good scout will always arguably save you money in football.
While we on the subject of money in football, an interesting article I would like to see or maybe a discussion is how the premier league and its excessive football money could eventually render the rest of its competitors mute. This is evident by the FA constantly being the least enthusiastic whenever super europe league plans are presented or champions league alterations to protect Spain and Italy. The premier league constantly consumes and grows larger and larger wordwide, this season will only have pushed next season immediately into the picture as people wonder how Liverpool, Man City, United, Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea will all get on. with the rise of Everton, Leciester and wolves and watford we may begin to see Italian football and Spanish football start proposing more plans to secure their forms of financial wealth. Imagine the Spanish league when Messi retires ? whats your draw card without an Mbappe or Neymar ? In Italy, their own economic crisis mirrors the growing issues with football, chinese owned clubs can’t seem to operate too well against premier league money and realistically target wages and buying up whats in the league. This means Premier league football will continue to be the Nexus of Global football interest and with European football being more and more penetrated by the Premier league contingent ( notice I keep saying Premier league not English ) are we not witnessing a rise that is also sustainable ? 2008 money was not like 2018 money, Ronaldo may have stayed for 600k a week like Sanchez. Aguero hasn’t considered leaving City ever…
So if F365 can call up their footballonomics mate and give us a tasty insight that would be nice.
Cole (Last mail before the final and if we lose probably the last one sent from this phone before it hits a wall)
About last night…
I thought you may like to hear from a Derby fan after last night’s antics, even just to break up the Utd monotony. People may have recency bias regarding incredible comebacks, but for context no team had overturned a 1st leg home loss in the Championship play-offs before. We had also lost to Leeds in all 3 of our previous games, so there was that mental baggage also.
We also had the “worst possible start” in conceding the first goal. It sucked the life out of our vocal support and gave the Leeds crowd, who had been somewhat quietened by our good opening 10-15 minutes, a huge lift. What followed was a classic Championship ding-dong. A goalkeeping error to let us back in. A scuffed finish to give us a 2-1 lead. A stupid “heads-gone” penalty converted to put us in the ascendency. An immediate, angry strike back to level up the tie (it was offside, but even with my bias I didn’t realise until Sky did about 5 minutes later). All this happening in the space of only 20 minutes. Then, as Leeds swarmed, a red card for another player whose head had gone as they felt momentum slip away. A glorious opportunity to win it spurned against the post by our top scorer, making pens feel inevitable. Moments later though, Derby kept their heads and would not be denied. A charge from our captain, his 1,000th of the season, finally yielding something beyond comedy – and a brace secured from our super sub. We even had time to have a player sent off too to make sure you got Championship bingo. I didn’t even mention all the last minute blocks and huge dollop of a particular type of housing from both sides.
Ultimately nights like this live so much longer in the memory of a fan who has famine rather than a feast of them. I do feel for Leeds, who were better for around 135 minutes of the tie, but the pressure did seem to get to them the longer the tie went on and ultimately that made the difference. Credit to Frank, who you can see is still learning (the immobile Huddlestone on at 3-1 was a huge error that almost cost us) but is brave enough to make big calls that have the potential for the biggest pay off. Like going for it completely when Holmes went off injured and playing about 5 up front.
I’d like to pretend to not care what happens at Wembley and call the season a success either way… but three of our most important players are on loan and likely to not want another year in the Championship. And Frank is being touted for the job with West London Blue sooner than we’d like, so it does feel huge. If we don’t do it now I think it’ll be much harder next season, so despite being the underdogs I hope we really go at Villa. Either way I think we’ll see a hell of a final.
People saying Liverpool bottled the league on 97 points need to get a grip.
If you want to see the true meaning check out Leeds United season 2018-2019.
First after Christmas, lose a crunch match against second place Norwich and proceed to give up 1st for 2ndplace although still comfortably above the chasing pack.
Proceed to lose a crunch match against 3rd place Sheffield United and a shocking run of form sees Leeds slip into the Playoffs in 3rd, barely above West Brom in 4th.
According to the commentary Derby had the best home record in English football outside of Liverpool (I think). Yet Leeds take a 1-0 first leg win back to Elland Road.
Second leg, Leeds take a 1-0 lead on the night and lead 2-0 on aggregate.
At this point in time, no team in the history of the playoffs has ever won the tie after a first leg home defeat.
Not since 2007 has a team that was top midway through the season failed to be promoted.
Step forward Leeds.
Concede one of the most calamitous goals ever after keeper Kiko Cassila and defender Liam Cooper fail with the most basic of clearances, leaving Marriott to score in an open net just before half time giving Derby a huge needless confidence boost.
40 seconds after half time Leeds decide conceding another is the best route to the final.
Leeds defender Cooper while basically stationary decides to pull on a Derby shirt rather than make any attempt at defending. Penalty converted, 3-2 down.
Dallas (top player) pulls a Leeds goal back with a moment of brilliance before Leeds defender Berardi decides 11 men is too many and makes not one but two red card challenges in a row to see off his night.
Down to ten men, Leeds decide over committing players forward (still tied 3-3 on aggregate at this point) is a smart move and leave themselves so open at the back that derby defender Keogh has space to saunter forward to play Marriott through for his second.
All in all great game management.
Any other suggestions for ‘biggest bottlers of all timeTM’.
Bigman, LUFC (Patrick Bamford is a professional footballer…)
Arsenal transfer targets
I keep reading reports on how Emery will have very little money to spend in comparison to the other top 6 side mangers, regardless of qualifying for the CL via the Europa league final.
If this is the case then to get any decent kinda reinforcements in key positions its got to be a case of ‘shop smart’. in that respect I think Arsenal need to take a leaf out of Liverpool’s book and instead of looking over seas and young, cheap untested players, they would be better off looking below them in the league.
Arsenals defence is and has been their Achilles heel for a number of seasons now, so instead of trying to covet 60 million + Harry Maguire why not go for some one like Shane Duffy?
He may not be a passer like John Stones, which is what all clubs want now, but what he will give you is a strong aerial presences and the right attitude towards protecting the goal.
He would be coming from a team where he is used to having to defend for the majority of the game so he’ll also have that mentality from the off and as a bonus he would give the team a treat at set piece from an attacking point of view as well, and for all that you would be looking for half the price of Maguire and probably the same for a player with similar experience coming from abroad.
Ryan Fraser has been linked and I’d put that in the same category of thinking, ‘who is succeeding at a lower premiership club and half the price of a more higher profile equivalent’
Any Roberson is the lead example of this working and again as I said, Arsenal, with their reduced transfer money and holes in the squad to fill, would do well to follow this model.
Just a thought.
Don. Cork, Ireland
Seems as if Barca are once again trying to nab our star player.
How should Arsenal react? Simple – tell them we will not sell Lacazette under any circumstances unless they also take Mkhitaryan, Mustafi, Jenkinson and Xhaka.
Job done – who needs Edu?
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
I really want to comment on the disgust surrounding the City players/staff members singing a song that includes a line about Liverpool fans being attacked in Kiev but I am struggling to find a way without people thinking I am trying to belittle the incident. As a City fan I can see how people will just see my comments as blinkered and I really truly do not want to absolve the group of players/staff who sang the song from blame. Likewise I do not want to gloss over an incident in Kiev that led to fans being attacked, that was a terrible incident that I would wish on no-one, and this really is not a “they started it” email or “now we are evens’ email so I hope I manage to do this in a way it is intended and provoke reasonable response and not more anger. Anyway, here goes my thoughts on why it happened and why I feel these players/staff have a dislike for Liverpool fans and a reason to mock/have banter with them. They are singing a song about a group of people who attacked them on the bus in April 2018.
To hopefully put some context to my point, on 8 January 2010 Togo team bus including City forward Adebayor was attacked, where gunman rained bullets onto the team bus, with 3 people being killed with more injured. Adebayor upon his return to City spoke about the incident and the fear he felt during the attack and there are a number of backroom staff still at City who helped Adebayor after this incident. On 11 April 2017, the Borussia Dortmund team bus was attacked by roadside bombs and defender (ex Barca) Marc Bartra was injured. Batra is well known to City ex Barca contingent as well as playing alongside David Silva for Spain. So my point is when the City bus was rained down with missiles from the Liverpool fans and the City players were being told to lie down on the floor by their security to avoid injury, they had no idea what missiles were hitting the bus. Yes it was bottles but they would not have known that. All would have been in fear of their lives, some would be thinking of what happened to their friend Barta and some (admittedly less) would have remember what Adebayor went through. This would have had a major effect on the City players and Liverpool fans knew that by unsettling the players on their route in it would help their team that night and that, along with some excellent football, won the tie for Liverpool. Was there any regret from Liverpool fans on the incident or were they just absolutely ‘buzzing’ that they had helped their team hammer City that night?
So a year later, the City players/staff have beaten the team who their ‘attackers’ support.. There has been no punishment for those attackers from what happened from the people who are suppose to protect them (Police through to the Football Governing body) so there is a feeling that they got away with attacking them. So at the point where the players/staff are ‘buzzing’ with joy over winning the league, beating a team who had been bloomin’ brilliant and they were clearly more than a few beers in, were they thinking?…’you attacked us, you made us fear for our lives and we beat you….we have some payback….we beat you even though your team had their best season ever……so f##k you!”
As I said I really hope this is taken in the context its meant for and to show that it feels to me a reaction, a reaction that is regrettable, that was just human. I was attacked once and when I saw the attacker in court I felt nothing but disgust and anger towards him and honestly even now I would love to have some sort of power over them. That was/is my human reaction, so can we just accept that footballers are human too.