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The Manchester United friendly has prompted some reactions, while we also have mails on England’s ethnicity and more…
Send your views to firstname.lastname@example.org
Do friendlies matter or not?
F365: friendly games don’t matter.
Pick a lane guys.
…F365 says: Manchester United and Spurs fans so desperate for clues that training has become news.
Preceded by – F365 says: Ten Hag baby steps as Man Utd thump Liverpool in Bangkok.
Matt Carr, Spurs, Wilmington, NC
Well, we’re getting relegated.
Niall, LFC, Annapolis
Ronaldo will stay after that
After watching the mighty Man UTD utterly destroy, ruthlessly expose and completely humiliate the hapless LFC, Ronaldo has withdrawn his transfer request. In fact, his agents are now actively pursuing an extension to his current deal according to inside sources. Oh, and de Jong has already packed his bags while waiting for Barcelona to get their sh*t together…
Ronaldo probably has no choice
I take a certain amount of glee from imagining the slow realisation in Ronaldo’s head, the truth exposed to him only after the thick layers of vanity and denial have been eroded by each ‘sorry not interested’ message relayed from Mendes. Like a recycled debutante he expected a swath of eligible suitors baying for his hand but one by one they’ve all turned away.
The elite clubs of Europe have spoken and Ronny just aint worth it anymore. To be fair he wasn’t worth it last summer either but found a home with a once betrayed lover who wanted nothing more than to rekindle some of their lost passion. I would hope the rejection would bring him some humility and rededication to a shared goal but no, of course not. Instead we get the painful haughtiness of ‘well actually you lot are coming up to my level now so perhaps I’ll stay’.
Though I take pleasure in his apparent misfortune it’s a double edged sword. There were a few days there when I actually believed he would go. There was a brief hope of what this season could be, some random little known forward flourishing in a dynamic pressing attack, Rashford and Sancho revived with freedom to express themselves and Garnacho getting a load of minutes. But now that hope has gone and United will be proceeding into this new season with a weight around our necks, like a skinny white teen sporting an oversized gold chain and a rhinestone bejewelled CR7 pendent swinging back and forth.
Here’s hoping we have the wits to palm him off on the first wealthy 50-something divorcee who comes along looking to bolster their ego
Maybe Martial will be better for Man United than Ronaldo
You see, generally, football fans are of two types; those that live in the past and those that live in the present and depending on the circumstances, one can become one or the other.
The ones that live in the present rarely speak of the future, for them, all will continue to remain the same till the end of time. So Man City have won the last four league titles? They will win the next 10. Liverpool have been the only real challengers for a while? It will be between them and City for the next 7 years. Arsenal have not challenged for the title in a while? They will not challenge for 10 more years. Martial has been playing terrible for a while? He will never be a top player.
I recently sent a mail saying if Ronaldo wished to leave, then he should be allowed to do so. I tried to convey the message that Martial was far more compatible with United’s other attacking options, certainly 100x more so with Rashford and Fernandes than Ronaldo. That even if he was not as good a player, his complementary nature made him far more suitable and valuable to Utd than a guarantee of goals who scored in 17 out of 37 games last season.
That even if they felt Martial wasn’t the man, Sancho had played reasonably well as a false 9 for Dortmund. I was put off by the title that made it look like I was saying Martial will replace Ronaldo. How can you replace someone when you were there long before him and you are already an option available to the club. As for players to replace Ronaldo, I have no interest in discussing hypothetical transfers. So do indeed laugh, for here is a man saying that Martial can score more goals than 18 in a season, here is a man saying Martial can score in more games than 17, here is a man saying that Martial is not done for, here is a man saying that Utd are better off without Ronaldo, here is a man saying that Martial can help his teammates score more than a combined 39.
Manchester United’s summer business is odd
As a United supporter, I don’t go into transfer windows with a huge amount of confidence. Woodward has done incredible damage to the ‘brand’ in terms of transfers, so repairing that is not going to be overnight, and this is only exacerbated by the performance of the team last year meaning we don’t have the big competitions to attract to.
However, this window seems particularly strange.
Barca need to slash costs and generate income, and find money to pay players what they are already owed, but at the same time are making bold promises of signing players for bigger sums. They are playing hardball over selling De Jong, but are seemingly haggling over a few million here and there. But until they do sell, they can’t sign Lewandowski or Raphinha, meaning Ronaldo can’t move to Bayern either, meaning that freed budget isn’t available for other signings.
If United finally do walk away and sign one or two of the many other probably equal options available, then this whole house of cards shitshow falls apart. Yet part of me is suspicious that this is exactly what Barca want. They want to bully players into settling for wage cuts and lost money, they want to maintain their ego bubble by refusing to sell players in a very European way. You know they’ll suddenly find the money they need to carry on down the back of a sofa even though any club in the British leagues in their situation would be threatened with huge points deductions and relegation, not just permitted to roll ever onwards, in a similar way to Platini and Blatter escaping justice.
However, while I have no idea how the remains of the window will go in terms of personnel movement, I am confident that our squad and indeed league will be in a better shape than how we ended, and with improvements to some sides (and weakening of others), it should be an exciting season ahead.
On a completely separate note, how are the FA able to get away with being so utterly misogynistic towards the women’s national side? Buy a load of blue shorts, or demand Nike provide some, and acknowledge the oversight that comes from a fundamental gender blind-spot, maybe even fix it going forwards. Still a dinosaur organisation that is incapable of reacting or representing the country properly. Like Parliament, these institutions need fixing.
Pick your lane, Klopp
Just been listening to Klopp making the case for players needing a rest, what with heavy fixture schedules and a World Cup plonked in the middle of the season. He fears they become more susceptible to injury and can’t operate at their peak if they are constantly drained by non-stop matches.
Quite right I thought, another sensible comment from the Klopster.
Then I realized he was talking from Thailand where Liverpool had been dragged for some pre-season kickabouts – presumably for lots of money – and finally understood that he wants the Premier League or FIFA to give the players a rest rather than doing the right thing himself. A bit hypocritical really. Do as I say, not as I do. Then I saw they got humped by the Mancs. Oh dear, not a good day for Jurgs.
Come on Klopper – you’re better than this.
Bladey Mick (Money, money, money)
Happy enough at Palace
A few weeks ago F365 put a graphic on Facebook listing the Premier League sides that were yet to make a signing. By coincidence, these were largely teams who recruited heavily last summer and signed players to multi-year contracts, one of which was Crystal Palace.
It’s been a quiet summer at Selhurst Park/Copers Cope Road, largely because of last summer’s activity, but also because of how settled generally the first team is. The biggest signing of the summer is Cheick Doucoure, joining from RC Lens for a fee that makes him one of the club’s most expensive ever signings. I don’t know a huge amount about him beyond what I’ve read since he began to be linked with Palace, but Matt Woosnam of the Athletic described him as “a perfect fit”. In a marvellous turn of phrase, Woosnam quotes Doucoure’s former teammate Seko Fofana describing the Malian as “working in the shadows”. While this is a broad brushstroke comparison, it sounds a bit like he’s an N’Golo Kante type of player; at least, he will be replacing Cheikhou Kouyate instead of Conor Gallagher, as the Senegal midfielder failed to agree a new contract.
Elsewhere, the players who have joined the Eagles this summer seem to have arrived with a view to competing for a starting place instead of walking in to one: Malcolm Ebiowei and Luke Plange arrive from Derby County with lots of potential, but it looks like at least one of them will be out on loan in the Championship at the start of the season. The other arrival is something of surprise: at 29 years old and on the fringes of the England squad, Sam Johnstone has made a bold call to join Palace. He isn’t guaranteed to start and doesn’t address an urgent need; my immediate reaction was that Jack Butland would be moving to a club where he would start games, or that Vicente Guaita wanted to return to his native Spain (unlikely given previous comments).
The Eagles also appeared to get to advanced stages in deals for two other midfielders only to miss out: losing out to West Ham United in the race to sign Flynn Downes initially offered nostalgia for a time when United’s transfer policy was mainly looking at who Palace were interested in and offering more money. In reality, Downes grew up supporting United, so no one begrudges him a move to his boyhood club. Perhaps more disappointing was that Southampton were able to make a more convincing case to Joe Aribo from Glasgow Rangers. Objectively speaking, there is not a lot to choose between Palace and Soton, my only theory is that he will start more games with less waiting time as a Saint than he would as an Eagle.
While it’s hard to shake the notion there’s a Gallagher-shaped hole in the team, there is no cause for alarm at the moment. Perhaps shifting the dynamics a little, it looks like the starting midfield will be Doucoure alongside one of Will Hughes or James McArthur, and Eberechi Eze as the most attacking of the three. My main worry is in defence: right-back is still a concern as a long-term decision has not been made, and there is a notable drop-off at centre-back when either starter is not available. It’s a nice problem to have, I suppose, but it does make recruitment tricky: there is no point in paying the fortune it would cost to sign someone to play ahead of them, and the sort of player they would want to sign is not the sort of player who would move to Palace to sit on the bench. A specialist third centre-back would be useful, though, so Patrick Vieira could play three at the back a bit more effectively.
All in all, most Palace fans are content with this being a quiet summer. Roll on the start of the season.
On white England…
Firstly, huge congratulations to England for a fantastic result.
Turning to Ian King’s article on the ethnic makeup of the women’s England football team, I personally think that it is a little churlish (his words) for Mr King to bring race in to question; at least give it a couple of days.
I fully take on board the arguments given for why there are fewer black women in the game at international level when compared to the men’s team/squad. Where I am a little confused is to why he believes that half the squad should be black (or I guess, more accurately, non-white).
A quick Google states that at the last count 87% of the UK are white and 13% are ‘black, Asian, mixed or other ethnic group’. Admittedly this information is from the 2011 census but the latest census results will not be published until later this year. However, even with an uplift on this figure I would suggest that it is likely to be closer to the 19% of black players in the women’s game over the last 10 years (as highlighted in the article) rather than the 49% of black players in the men’s game.
The statistics would suggest that the women’s game is close to the UK average percentage of BAME individuals over the last ten years and if anything, the men’s game is over represented by quite some margin when compared with percentages of the population as a whole. This obviously does not apply to managerial roles where black managers are unfortunately massively under represented (shout out to the late, great Keith Alexander).
In an ideal world, everyone would have equal opportunities but I can’t see, based on the averages listed in the article, how the numbers stack up. I don’t pretend to be a statistician but, am I missing something?
Gwarrior LCFC (Go Imps!)
…Sure a meeting was held at 365 Towers after the England team’s 8-0 win to discuss how this could be spun negatively because people are not allowed nice things in 2022 so they came up with “England women are superb but they are all white: Why? And should this be ‘fixed’?”.
This is exactly why the UK society from top to bottom, politics to regular folk is descending into ever darker times with only one winner and it certainly isn’t the British people. For once just shut up with this woke nonsense that is destroying society and celebrate our elite sports people whatever race or gender they may be.
Please remember you are FOOTBALL365 not the BBC so stick to actual football journalism instead of far-left propaganda.
Rashford’s moral character trumps snowflakism
It appears there are many who just love to rage at someone else these days, as a way to enhance their own standing or offset some perceived grievance. The internet and Social Media initially brought great things but just as most sci-fi novels seem to show the dystopian future caused by some new technology, it seems to have created a world of grand stupidity. As one commentator said “who knew the internet would be a way to connect all the village idiots…”
The worst proponents are those that know or should know better by using it for their own notoriety and financial gain. Words like woke and snowflake are so trite, meaningless and worthless but if it gains Piers Morgan and his acolytes a few clicks, then so be it. I recall working as a teenager as a potman in a trendy east London pub. The punters all had a lot of cash working the street markets, but were otherwise illiterate. Every month a new trendy word would come to the fore, like ‘sensible.’ I kid you not. “That’s a sensible jumper mate”, “went for a sensible dinner last night”, etc. Clearly they thought it was some grand statement they were making. So while Piers et al know better, it’s their way of connecting with the un-cognoscenti.
Let’s take the idea that young footballers today are ‘snowflakes.’ What does that even mean? While big tough ‘men’ like Vieira and Keane used to roam the antidiluvian world of the EPL. People that self admittedly tried to break another fellow professional’s leg. Or we could go back to the time when they played with a bandage on their head (as if we’ve never seen that again) when they drank, smoked and essentially didn’t train hard. So essentially unprofessional other than being ‘hard.’ Compare to those snowflakes whose whole life has been devoted to proper diet, training and all having exceptional skills for what, 15 years, before they get a chance of a contract, because it is so much more competitive these days. And then find they are playing for a club whose management are the exact opposite. Have no clue how to run a club, allow a highly paid diva to run all over the coach for whom you put in every ounce of energy. Completely disrupt everything about the team.
I dare say, Ved Sen is closer to the mark about the current circumstances and it is really ten Hag’s only gambit to ensure he doesn’t let Ronaldo run all over his plans.
But let’s ignore all those who have nothing worthwhile to say like Piers Morgan and Alan Sugar, who simply use the current worthless catch phrases to drum up clicks and exposure and for their financial gain. I’d take a person with the moral character of Rashford over those two and and similar chancers!
Can UEFA help the legacy clubs?
I was thinking about the excellent documentary about the rise of Nottingham Forest under Clough/Taylor and was enthralled listening to Gemmill, O’Neill etc and it got me thinking of all the ex players from that era who played for sides that made the Champions League what it is today, it’s their legacy (the 5 in a row) Madrid, Ajax and Bayern of the 70’s, Liverpool / Forest of the late 70’s early 80’s that built the competition into arguably the biggest tournament in football.
So I suggest that, just as actors get a residual for parts they played long ago, and musicians get royalties, some sort of legacy fund is established and distributed to players from teams who contested finals before say 2000 (after which the money in football became so lucrative that most if not all would be comfortable in retirement) Some of the players from that golden era, if alive are living very modestly when set against what their achievements meant both at the time and consequently for the growth and importance of the competition as it stands now.
With so much money sloshing around European Football and UEFA’s insistence that clubs may be entitled entry into the competition because of their “legacy” it can’t be too much of a stretch to extend this appreciation of a club’s history into a practical and I would imagine, very much needed shot in the arm for the players that made it happen.
Robert H, Kilkenny, Ireland
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