Gerrard slip was Rodgers’ fault? And other old school debates

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Old school debates
Dear Sir

A question for the mailbox on a no work Friday – do any other readers still have year old debates regarding an aspect of their club?

Let me share – as a Liverpool fan after a few beers the topic (at least once a month) between friends often reverts back to Gerrard’s “slip” against Chelsea.  A mate of mine believes that it was B Rodgers fault for the slip – and that if we weren’t not chasing the game it would have happened, and that BR was naive in his approach against JM and that we should have played for the draw, beat Palace and then Newcastle – because life’s just that simple

My view is – we have just won 11(ish) games on the bounce, we were not chasing the game as it was in the 46(ish) min and it was a simple pass that Gerrard had received all season, and the goal was conceded was Gerrard slipped and mis-controlled.  It had nothing to do with BR

I can see us debating this point for years to come – I am wondering if anyone else has a years old argument about a team, goal or other sporting aspect that can sometime end up in a searing debate

Happy xmas
Ian H


Loaning Ozil
Looks like Ozil is on the way out. Can’t say I’m super surprised considering his recent performances bar that one game against Leicester. It is a pity though, I thought he was great for the first two seasons. Breaking Premier League and Arsenal records in terms of stats and assists.

Now it just feels like he’s only capable of doing anything as one offs rather than on a consistent basis. Don’t forget, Arsenal pay this player almost 350k a week. That is as much as Alexis Sanchez gets paid at Manchester United.

Sending him out on loan though? That’s what you get when you succumb to a player’s ransom demands. Performances dwindle, attitude starts to stink out the dressing room and you end up with a bunch of prima donnas on inflated wages who don’t even end up starting your biggest games. *cough* Pogba *cough*

Always remember, the player should give in to the demands of the club and not the other way around. In this day and age it feels like football exists to serve the players rather than the clubs they play for. It’s so sad to see that the majority of the players paid the highest bucks in the Premier League have been churning out despicable performances as of late.

I liked Ozil but it doesn’t look like things are going to get better and Arsenal have ended up with a player on 350k who they can’t ship out because no one is willing to pay the wages based on the performances. So we end up with a 30+ year old player being LOANED out.

How sad.
Malcolm, AFC


Pogba – Caption this!
Honestly Pogba’s photo was the easiest thing in the world to caption…I visualised 200 million United fans muttering in unison “you can effing do one too”.
Aussie Red


Dear MC,

As an Arsenal fan, I have more pressing concerns given that Unai Emery has seemingly decided that neither Ramsey nor Özil suit his “system” (whatever that is), but I also feel the need to offer my two cents on United and more specifically Paul Pogba.

I understand that the man attracts a lot of attention but I find it utterly fascinating that so many United fans are convinced that he needs to go at this time. Clearly, he’s been inconsistent and has underperformed this season but he isn’t the only player in the squad doing so. Even the best player for the last 4 seasons is throwing the ball in his own net this season. The highest paid player hasn’t managed to play a good 90 minutes all year and he gets much less vitriol than Pogba.

It’s a tad asinine to have an awareness of how tabloids function and the context of United’s season and conclude that Pogba needs to go anyway – despite one of the more obvious problems finally being “solved” in the form of Mourinho’s exit. We seem to acknowledge that anyone would underperform under a boss that constantly belittled them and cultivated a sour, passive aggressive atmosphere but Pogba is supposed to be exempt?

I’d suggest that those insistent on Pogba’s exit take some time to consider exactly what their problem is with the man.

Idris (Gooner and Essplayn Army Skeptic), Houston


Paul Pogba – The most hated player on the planet!
Balotelli, Icardi, and Neymar all come to mind but no player makes my blood boil the way Paul Pogba does. Is there any player on the planet that has mismanaged his career so poorly? Between the departure from ManU, the return to ManU, the dancing on Instagram, the penalty run-up, the haircuts, the high-fives and the latest “caption this” post he really has become unbearable.

So I have to ask – has Pogba now overtaken Sergio Ramos as the most hated player in the world football?
SB (I am also boycotting all Adidas products for their role in trying to cover-up the story and protect this clown)


Christmas list for Arsenal
Dear MC,

On the back of two fragile performances from Arsenal and the recent sacking of Jose, I would like to make a suggestion. With the sale of Ozil (or not, I’m not bothered either way), we actually need more creativity up front. Being linked with Isco does funny things inside me as I can honestly see him being the missing link.

However, back down on earth is there a possibility we could get Martial? Him playing with Laca and Auba would be quite simple wonderful. As would replacing my favourite Arsenal player Welbz with another nicked from United.

Also, we desperately need personnel at the back and so why not chuck in a bid for Bailly? If Emery can make us all forget how rubbish Mustafi is then think what he could make Bailly become?!


Do legends become a liability after a point?

So I just finished watching Stevie G’s documentary on Amazon and followed it up with Juve’s own on Netflix. Something that’s common among both of them (and Franceso Totti too) has been bothering me since years and would love to hear what F365 community has got to say about it. One of the reasons we may have blown up our chance in 2014 may have to be the desperation Stevie G had to deliver the title. I maybe wrong here but the difference if we eventually get our hands on the title would be that burden that’s gone. Don’t get me wrong, I have idolized Gerrard and continue to do so but I just feel that what he gave us all those years, it compelled the players to give him back. I believe the same applies to Juventus (Bianconeri fans are welcome to add).
Would love to be enlightened to this!
Vikas, LFC, India( Praying Gomez gets back ASAP and Robbo doesn’t hurt himself)


United in stupidity
Here’s a theoretical for us all:

You support a huge club who have had a bad 5 years through mismanagement at all levels, culminating in the ridiculous hiring of a manager whose playing philosophy is alien to the club and its players, and whose MO is to attack and demean his own players and stifle individuality and creativity on the pitch in favour of bland collectivism.

Somehow during this period, your club manage to sign a young World Cup winning, Serie A winning midfielder approaching his best years, who despite being shackled and attacked by his own manager for simply being the creative individual he was signed to be has been arguably the best player in his position in the league for the last two seasons. (Whoscored, not me say this)

Finally, after he has inflicted huge damage to every single aspect of the club, comprehensively crushed all the players and been a caustic burning pain to them both professionally and personally,  your club get rid of the hugely damaging manager.

Players and fans all celebrate the ending of a self destructive time.

Here’s the theoretical: How STUPID do you have to be as a fan of this club to now demand the club also get rid of the midfielder?

Pretty damn stupid, in my opinion.
Tim Sutton (serves you right when he goes to Barca and runs the world)


Stopped clocks

I’m no Spurs fan but Conor, MUFC, Dublin has chosen a fairly specific time period to have a pop at Tottenham’s solidity. 17 years. My goodness.

If Manchester United are genuinely courting Pochettino, then surely it’d be better to focus on the period where Utd have had their own problems – since Ferguson’s departure in 2013. Since then, Spurs have had Tactics Timmy in the hotseat for what was clearly stated as an interim managerial role. They then appointed Pochettino in 2014, having taken him from Southampton with the lure of a job at a bigger, more stable club.

And Pochettino has progressed fantastically well in the four years since – they clearly didn’t fall “ass backwards into a good manager”, as Conor says. They took a gamble on a manager who was an unknown quantity a Champions League level, and it paid off. They clearly did their homework on him too – happy to hire a manager who had a track record of getting good results from young English players. Lest we forget, this was a manager who was readily available to United at the same time but they chose to appoint the more commercial, bigger name, Louis Van Gaal, instead.

United, by contrast, have had five managers, interim or otherwise, in that same period. There’s been a growing media circus surrounding the club, with talk of player unrest; a cliquey, unfocused dressing room; naivety at Boardroom level; and a fanbase that watches as its 2 main rivals challenge for the title in spite of massive money spent.

Conor also mentions managers leaving “on bad terms” – well thank God that doesn’t happen in Manchester, eh Conor? People in glass houses shouldn’t throw “stopped clocks”.



Player power at United
Man United have joined Chelsea and Real Madrid in being a club that positions players above the manager. The sacking of Jose confirms what we already knew from the summer; that ultimately it is the big names who shape the future of the club rather than the head coach.

Pogba should of gone in the summer. The fact they kept him in spite of his turbulent relationship with the head coach was the beginning of the end for Mourinho and to be honest neither he, nor pogba, really performed at all well this year.

Bringing in Solsjaer to replace Jose just stinks of a marketing decision rather than a football one. You can imagine the PR team licking their lips at the prospect of #babyfacedassassin, #OleOleOle and #Supersub etc etc.

If it was me in charge, I would have brought in Roy Keane to stick a rocket up Pogba et al and teach them a lesson about player power. Don’t like mean Mr. Mourinho? Here’s Roy for the rest of the season. I’d pay good money just to see the look on Pogba’s face when the new man rocked up to the training ground.
Liam Gabriel Hoskins (High Five, High Five, High-Fi—–oh) AFC


Poch to United?
Ok Darragh, what’s the analysis on Tottenham’s current trajectory?

they are currently third and don’t look anything like challenging City and Liverpool for the title. Last season they finished third, and didn’t look anything like challenging for the title. The season before that they finished second (and, I would say, didn’t really look like challenging for the title). That trajectory could be generously described as a straight line.

Tottenham are a great side, but they look to me like a team that have hit their ceiling. Pochettino has just seen what was a pretty comparable Liverpool look at themselves, the gaps in their squad and the competition around them and back their manager to the hilt – now they’re challenging for the title. Tottenham didn’t back their manager and they are in the same place they’ve been for a while.

You may believe that they didn’t back him because they were paying for the new stadium and it will all change when its open but, and I do not know the details of Tottenham’s finances, I would presume that it has been funded at least in part through debt, so I don’t see why next year, or the year after, will be materially different. How long after the Emirates open was it before Arsenal were allowed to loosen the purse strings?

Finally, the season before he took over, Spurs finished sixth, a place above United, the following year, they were a place below, and back and forth it goes – so lets not pretend there is some sort of insurmountable chasm between the two. United have had a bit of a nightmare this season but I would back him (and I reckon he’d back himself) to get more out of those players than Mourinho managed (possibly by making little adjustments like actually coaching them, not telling them they’re sh*t, or similar).

I may be looking through United coloured spectacles, but by taking over at United he would get his hands on a talented squad and the sort of resources to build the team that Levy can’t, or won’t give him. Stop laughing at the back, but I genuinely believe that he has a much better shot at eventually winning major honours at United than at Tottenham.

Finally, the money. He’d earn way more money at United, which is a major factor for anyone taking a job.

So in summary, if you ask me whether he’ll be at Tottenham or United next season…the answer is probably Real Madrid.
Andy (MUFC)


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