Mails: It’s fanciful to suggest Man United will win the title

Date published: Tuesday 8th August 2017 4:01

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Predicting United as title challengers is delusional?
Reading Gary Neville name the 3 players key to Utd’s title challenge made me think. At what point are we allowed to turn around and say this is fanciful, borderline delusional nonsense?

Since they last won it they’re on their 3rd manager and 100s of millions spent without even having a sniff of a title challenge and only making top 4 once. Hell, Liverpool have made more of a go of the league than Utd in this time and if we talk about league chances we’re branded instantly delusional.

Last year, they put together the most uninspiring unbeaten run in recent memory that took them from 6th to 6th. They’ve lost the fella who bagged a third of their league goals, a fair amount were just through his own brilliance or whacking it from distance. A lot rests on Lukaku coming in and at least matching or besting Zlatan Ibrahimovic. OK.

We keep getting told that Utd will be in a title fight and they are more like a “insert manager X” team or a “classic Utd” team but these title fights just don’t materialise. Maybe people just think Utd are what they were and can’t accept what they are.
Kris, LFC, Manchester


Some grief for Jonny Nic…
So much wrong with Jonny Nic’s Monday column on PSG. I dare not delve into it in detail as it would entail far more effort than was clearly put into the article.

Briefly, if PSG’s spend on Neymar makes them small time, presumably they join the likes of Real Madrid’s Galacticos and the most iteration made up of expensive recruits Ronaldo, Modric, Bale, and James which went on to complete La Decima and become the first team to retain the Champions League? Or will the small time mark be washed away should PSG go on to win the Champions League? I suspect, though I am more than happy to be corrected, that Jonny Nic’s real problem is with the owners of PSG. Which is fine, but just say you’re not a fan of the Qataris and spare us the torturous analogy.  Speaking of which…

Yes the bloke in the Maserati may have been stuck in the same traffic jam as the bus but (as if this isn’t blindly obvious to all rational people who are not irked others’ success or automatically characterise them as douchebags); i) he gets to sit in his own luxurious space surrounded by whatever ambient sound he chooses rather than having to tolerate bus wankers and the mind numbing chat of others, ii) he gets to go where he wants without unnecessary stoppage or detour, iii) you know nothing about the bloke and indulging in that kind of communal pre-judgment based on appearances is what really comes across as really quite small minded.
Nii (Spell check people. Use it!) Gooner


Let’s not jump the gun…..yet
Regarding MJ’s ‘Harbinger of Doom’ email, I thought it would be worth adding a counterbalance.

Firstly, Chelsea wouldn’t be ‘doing a Leicester’. Leicester did a Chelsea. Hopefully we can buck the recent trend of terrible title defence.

Firstly, I think it’s a little harsh to judge Morata on less than 20 minutes of football on Sunday. Especially considering that the majority of the time Morata was on the pitch he was completely isolated upfront due to Pedro’s sending off. Furthermore, in his only start during Chelsea’s pre-season, he started on the left of a front three which isn’t his most effective position, so let’s give him a chance in his favoured position before we write him off shall we? Whilst Morata doesn’t have the ability to bully defences in the way that Costa can, I think that his interplay with the likes of Pedro, Willian, Cesc and Hazard (when he’s back) will be excellent and his technique is definitely better that Costa’s.

Regarding the weaknesses in our team, we are desperately in need of cover in almost every position (other than CB and GK), however there is still three weeks of the transfer window left so it’s not all doom and gloom. If it was the end of August and Chelsea were in this position I’d be worried, but there’s still time to address the deficiencies in the squad.

That being said if we sign Drinkwater as a direct replacement for Chalobah and Matic I might have a little cry.

Tom (CFC)


Annual Predictions
– Who will win the league?City

– Rest of the top 4?
United, Chelsea, Liverpool

– Which 3 clubs go down?
Bournemouth, Burnley, Brighton

– Which club will do lovely things?

– Top Scorer?

– Best signing?

– Flop signing?

– This season’s Marcus Rashford?
Dominic Solanke

– First manager to leave?
Slavan Bilic

– English club to go furthest in CL?
Liverpool (form vs top sides…)

– Who would you like to see fail?
Jose Mourinho (for so many reasons)
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland 


No St Totteringham’s Day this season
Go on then…

Winners: Man City, because they’ve spent more than the GDP of approximately 140 countries already, seemingly because Pep doesn’t fancy coaching. But moving on from my incredibly sour grapes, you just can’t look past their incredible attacking options all over the park. And they’ll clearly spend another £300m or something on a midfielder for the above reason.

Top Four: United, Spurs, Liverpool. United because they were already solid, but Lukaku, Matic and a second season Mkhitaryan will all be excellent; Spurs because we will probably improve again and seem to have figured out Wembley, plus four 20+ goal players still about; Liverpool because they’ll just about win out their scrap with Sanchez-less Arsenal and drastically weakened Chelsea.

Relegation: Brighton, Huddersfield, Burnley because none of the three has anywhere near as much quality as the rest.

LOL of the season: Chelsea being rubbish because of their poor squad planning.

Best signing: Chicharito – Wham have been crying out for a goalscorer. Hopefully not though obvs.

Worst signing: Got to agree with Morata – Chelsea are so much weaker with him instead of Costa (LOL)

Top Scorer: Gabriel Jesus – the boy is just scary (and not just because he looks like a naked mole-rat)

POTS/YPOTS: In spite of the fact that I’d be delighted to see them fail, it would be lovely for Silva to get POTS. And Alli surely has YPOTS nailed on again.

When will St Totteringham’s Day be: not this season lads.
Alex G, THFC


Summer round-up
1.       “Winning” the transfer window. Whenever I think about this I laugh out loud. Honours are awarded at the end of the season, not in the summer and not in January. Obviously the media loves some year round interest – but real football fans should no better, really.

2.       PSG/Neymar (The end of Football as we know it). No. The world hasn’t ended. But this transfer did make me think about the origin of the idiom about “a coach and horses through it” which was a phrase that emanated from the wild west in the US because a coach was usually drawn by six horses (the phrase originally was a “coach and six” – but I digress, image was of something very big). Main point, PSG have driven such a massive hole in FFP I doubt it will be able to be put together again also (wild west? – sort of describes the transfer window right? Yee Haw)

3.       Player Transfers and salaries (Post Neymar). First, the controversial part. Neymar’s fee is not that expensive (wait, don’t walk away…) because of weird football finance that allows clubs to amortise (write off) player transfer fees over the years of a contract (5 years in this case), it’s a somewhat respectable £40m a year. I’m sure we could find a premier league club with the finances to rent a Neymar for £40m a single season. It’s the salary which strikes fear into me. Why? Not because of Brilliant Joe – but rather the downstream impact on Average Joe. I also follow NBA and there James Harden signed a $228m deal and Steph Curry signed his $201m deal. Both are worth every penny – and that is with a salary cap. But there are the Mike Conley’s of the world ($153m) whom I’m sure no one has even heard of (and no, there are no shoes named after him). I’m a spurs fan, and I’m sure Kane could make a good argument that he’s half a Neymar – half a Neymar is £14m a year (£270k a week seeing that footballers are the only well profession that calculates its salary in weekly wages).

4.       Spurs (the anti-PSG): Another NBA analogy, The Golden State Warriors didn’t buy any players before they won their 2015 championship. It may sound romantic but money is not everything

5.       Spurs part 2 (the fattened calf): There is something strange about the way fans worry about their club being sold. Football clubs are (mostly) businesses and those are bought and sold all the time. So as an institution over 100 yrs old the current ownership will sell at some point and the story will be picked up by someone else. That is – as Agent Smith in the Matrix says – “inevitable”. To the Levy and ENIC (re)moaners (edit. Lol) when you look at the investment in the training centre and stadium and the quality of the current side history will probably judge this lot as the best period of ownership ever (before the Bill Nich fans write in to yell at me think about how despite all that success nothing robust was built out of it).

6.       The Spenders (Man City/Chelsea/Man Utd/Liverpool): The quick review. City = buckets of talent, no idea whether they will be consistent. Chelsea = pants attacking without Hazard/Costa. Man Utd = funny what a focussed transfer strategy does. Liverpool = Have they learned to defend yet?

7.       Lukaku vs Moratta: Too many fans are getting way to emotional about this. “football intelligence” like “flat track bully” and “cultured left/right foot” is yet another football idiom/phrase that means nothing much (basically these words are handed out to pundits that don’t have journalism degrees so they can sound knowledgeable about football). Bottom line – Lukaku has a relatively long history of scoring goals in the premier league with different teams, Moratta does not. On that basis alone one might conclude that Lukaku is less of a risk than Moratta – football intelligence, whatever that is, doesn’t come into it. This does not mean that one is better than the other – whatever ‘better’ might mean. We have a glorious 9 months ahead to find that out.

8.       African supporters: It will probably come as no surprise to hear that the two biggest drivers behind African support are (a) a familiar player to follow (e.g. Kanu, Amokachi, Yeboah, Adebayor, Drogba etc) and (b) winning (i.e. it is a 2nd team – yes we have local teams in Africa – so glory hunting is allowed). In Nigeria, amongst older folk, Liverpool reigns, the premier league years made a lot of Man Utd fans and more recently the winning plus Drogba connection sparked the rise of Chelsea (also: note signing the next anointed Okocha in Obi Mikel helped loads).

9.       Coutinho: Adios?

10.   Is it our year? (the Arsenal/Liverpool edition): Man Utd/City and Chelsea aren’t included in this as they’ve won a title in recent memory. Spurs won their last one in the 60s so no sense of entitlement there. In one word, No. I expect both will have their moments and attacking-wise will entertain but as the old saying goes “defence wins you championships” and both are lacking in that department.

What a long email. Next time, why don’t you guys just give me a column.


No shambles at Chelsea
Long time reader, first time contributor.

Having read this morning’s mail on chelsea, I was compelled to write in. This transfer window has hardly been the shambles that everyone seems to believe it is. We have bought younger ( and arguably stronger) players to replace the ones we had already with a month of the transfer window still to go. This was a team that was written off before a ball was kicked last season too but the deadline day signings of both Luiz and Alonso were pivotal to us winning the title ( and notching up a record number of wins along the way). This blinkered narrative of trying to convince anyone who would listen that chelsea are doomed to fail has been the mantra for each new campaign and seems tired, derivative and meaningless clickbait from the opinion mongers (messrs Carragher, neville who profit from peddling needless melodrama.

Sure the incoming signings are taking longer than usual but that is because we refuse to be extorted out of princely sums for bang average players. I would suggest to defer all judgement after the end of the transfer window and keep the faith in the manager and the board.

Anish,CFC, India


Expect more signings if Liverpool qualify
Hey Guys

I think Jurgen is waiting to see if we qualify for the champions league. He doesn’t want a huge squad if we don’t qualify.

I just don’t understand our lack of defensive purchases. One or 2 injuries and we have academy players on there. We even user Lucas last season and he is now gone



A mail on Swansea
Dear MC,

In response to Darren’s email discussing Swansea, Neymar and Wenger, I have to agree with his view of Swansea. They were lauded upon promotion for playing attractive, passing football and not being overawed by established Premier League opposition (see also Bournemouth), yet the goodwill amongst the media has seemingly evaporated over the last year or two, and they are, as Darren says, routinely served up as relegation fodder in ‘Season Preview’ articles. I’d guess that this coincided with the sacking of Gary Monk, which changed the narrative from “plucky club with its feet firmly on the ground” to “ruthless Premier League corporation”, and as the Football Ramble constantly state – narrative is everything. It’s odd, as they usually continue to play good football and have entertaining matches (aside from the eye-gougingly dull 0-0 v Sunderland), and they may well lose their most creative player, but they still have time to find an able replacement and there are a fair few worse teams in the league.

As a note on his largely accurate dissection of the amortisation of a transfer fee, the wage has to be taken into account as part of the asset expenditure, as described in this highly informative article (although I imagine driving traffic away from your website might not be the best way of getting my mail published):
Mark (over 10% of my daily business is done via email), MUFC


A poem
Transfer plans in the bin
Van Dijk sad and wants to win
Coutinho silent as the wind

Klopp all smiles
While we in denial
Will a deal get done?
Brian (cautiously optimistic) LFC

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