May 8, 2021

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Well done Manchester City – the lesser of two evils

Manchester City v PSG prompted some e-mails – though not many about the actual football.

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A single conclusion
Usually love Champions League involving any teams, but mother of god. Just can’t stand watching two cash injected clubs with all these top players rolling around likes gobs. Jesus is this what the champions league has come to. Two of the most unliked clubs going, makes the game seem so shit.

Anyway that’s my single conclusion.
Chris, Ireland, I may stick to hurling


Pochettino and PSG: A romance
You can take the manager out of Spurs, but you can’t take the Spurs out of the manager.
Mandip S


…If I was Pochettino, I would have those children running sprint relays and doing burpees all day long tomorrow until each and every one of them has either thrown up or collapsed in an exhausted heap. Then I’d do the same again the next day. And then I’d bench every single one of them for the next competitive match.

A more ill-disciplined bunch of spoiled brats I cannot recall seeing. Utterly pathetic. I’m embarrassed on their behalf. Which is a good job really, since they seem to have no shame themselves.

Fair play to City. You can say what you want about the amount of money they’ve spent – and I’ve said plenty – but so too have PSG and the difference in attitude, discipline and desire is like night and day.

I still don’t want them to win it mind. I haven’t gone completely soft in the head.
Jon Cardy


…Once again PSG bottle it, once again they prove they are a bunch of spoilt brats.

They are a bunch of ordinary players who are lucky to be playing in a poor league and lucky to have Mbappe. Without him they are so average. Outside of possibly Marquinhos, I wouldn’t take one of them. Verrati is so overrated, Di Maria showing once again what a tool he is. Poch is now seeing what Tuchel and Ancelotti had to put up with.

There are two incidents in the match that shows the difference. For Mahrez first goal, Kimpembe makes a token effort to block, in second half Dias throws himself in front of a shot to block it.

The sooner Mbappe gets out of there the better it will be for him.
Ken, Cork, Ireland


Name a Mah underrated player
Is Mahrez currently the most under-rated player in the game at the moment? He definitely doesn’t get the same amount of plaudits as his team-mates. He has been equally as important to City’s historic season as De Bruyne and Gudogan, but both of them seem to be in the conversation for Player of the Season ahead of Mahrez.

Speaking of majestic players, watching Ruben Dias throw himself in front of every shot brings to mind peak-Vidic. In an era when centre-backs are expected to be able to play the ball out of defence, it’s refreshing to see that there is still room in the game for no-nonsense defending. He must be Jose’s wet dream.

Manchester City may get stick for their unlimited funds and general lack of home-grown talent, but as someone who only saw the tail-end of Gazza’s career, Foden is the best English player I have ever seen.

As an United fan, it feels dirty wanting City to win, but when you see the theatrics and pure filth of PSG at times tonight, the lesser of two evils certainly prevailed.
Brian, Wexford


Money, money, money
So in case Manchester City finally manage to win the CL, is someone totalling up the transfer fee spend (or net spend if it’s a Liverpool fan) under Pep Guardiola to show how much they spent to win just one CL?

No? Good because only a petty person would do that.
Ashish Singh (Can’t stand Guardiola)


…City have shown what happens when Skynet takes over the system. AI football is here – dominant, unrelenting, technically perfect and ultimately pretty boring because of it.


VAR from the worst thing
It’s 25 minutes into the Man City v PSG game and Man City are looking good at 1-0 up. It probably won’t get a mention in any news reports or in the mailbox this morning but one of the reasons VAR was introduced to erase terrible decisions like that early penalty given to PSG for handball.

Without VAR, PSG would likely be 1-0 up through a penalty and this tie would have a completely different look to what I’m currently watching. The mailbox would be full of moaning emails if Man City were then to be eliminated based on that decision.

They say things even up over time. Maybe this evens up the late goal chalked off against Spurs in the semi?
Ross (Foden, what a player…..) NorwichSpud

But then…
My girlfriend doesn’t watch football, she begrudgingly lets me have it on (in return I sit through the likes of Glow Up and Sewing Bee) but doesn’t take much more than the most passing of interests in what’s going on.

Foden just broke through and no sooner had he fired his shot straight at Navas, the referee blew his whistle and the commentator remarked how the assistant had raised his flag.

“Why did he raise it so late?” came my girlfriend’s first remark about what was happening on the TV since more than 10 minutes previously when she complained about how repetitive the adverts were at half time.

“For VAR. If it turned out he was onside and they gave it as offside he’d have lost the opportunity to score but if they let the game continue and it turns out he’s offside they can still give the free kick.” I replied.

“Well, wouldn’t that be the reason everyone’s complaining about so many goals being disallowed?”


This is someone who, but for healthy compromise in a relationship, wouldn’t watch any football whatsoever, yet she can still comprehend what so many people who watch and work within the sport every day fail to grasp. The main reason we see so many goals disallowed under VAR is that many of the opportunities wouldn’t have materialised if the technology wasn’t in use.
Glenn SWFC (dreading Saturday but we don’t deserve to stay up)


Get them off the TV please
Why are people like Graeme Souness allowed anywhere near a microphone? Why is Michael Owen allowed near a tv camera? Why I’m I still allowed to post on the internet by F365? These things should have been stopped a long time ago, and still they persist. Pep finally made it to a final after, a non-sense semi. This should be huge, but the only thing worth talking about is ESL.

I see it becoming more interesting than whatever they are showing u as at the moment.
Dave (Show us Switzerland, at least it’s scenic), Somewhere


One owner broadly the same as another
Regarding Ek, I think I broadly agree with Martin, BRFC although given a straight choice as current owner, I think I would prefer Ek.

In essence, the idea Ek’s potential purchase, or even one by Aliko Dagote (who for a multi-billionaire, also seems like a clear cut above a Russian oligarch/petro-dollar country from ethical standpoint) would represent a tangible improvement systemically seems odd to me.

Any purchase of Arsenal will likely represent huge borrowing. The vanity purchases of the 00s are not possible any more; the valuation means it will be debt paid, and likely debt paid by the club. Which naturally puts a limit on what the club could spend or operate.

Kroenke has been a bad owner from a management/decision perspective (which isn’t really in keeping with his US sports ownership), but I have no issues with his ‘run as a business’ approach. I don’t want an owner that throws millions against a wall, I want a club that smartly identifies affordable talent and turns them, along with academy products, into world-beaters. That’s the only sustainable model that can exist.

So would Ek or Dagote do this? Is there any evidence they see this as the way to improve the business? Does bringing Vieria and Henry add anything? Speaking to the AST and having fan representation on the board is all well and good, but it seems pretty empty as far as promises go.

I think I’d much rather fans coherently tackled the system through political pressure on the government. Some kind of share/buy scheme (which would ideally be the target of the fan review) would create the right incentives (billionaires can still invest <50% and use own expertise to drive up revenues/value if they want). A model driven by fans that prioritises community engagement and development. That properly funds and supports the women’s team.

It might seem pie in the sky, but I think it’s a better policy than each fan base going it alone.
Tom (analysis of Kroenke Rams too simplistic also; move from St Louis was understandable and returned Rams to LA home, there are far worse owner moves in NFL) Walthamstow



Which halcyon days?
Can I ask those self-proclaimed paragons of football virtue (Man U fans as otherwise known), who’ve taken it upon themselves to act in football’s best interest, which ‘golden period’ would you like football to go back to in the best interests of football? I’ll give you some periods that you might want to avoid?

1 – Slightly at odds with the Green and Gold theme, you might want to avoid going back to Newton Heath days? Newton Heath basically went bankrupt, but got bailed out by some wealthy benefactors, forming Utd in the process. Hardly a glowing indictment of good football governance, not to mention having a wealthy owner paying his own money in to set you on the path to glory. Perish the thought.

2 – Period from MU formation up to 1927, when you again nearly went bust, and were again saved by a wealthy benefactor. Might be some awkward conversations to have with your kids if you go back that far. “But dad, you said someone putting their own money in is bad for football?”

Let’s come to more recent times;

3 – The time in the 80’s, when you, along with Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs and Everton threatened a breakaway league (sounds familiar?) that ultimately resulted in more power for you and the abolition of sharing of gate receipts (a 100 year tradition), to the overall detriment of a ‘level playing field’ (and therefore football I presume)…or further when in the late 80’s you negotiated your own TV deal with those same clubs. Might want to avoid that period, doesn’t look good…especially as there weren’t any protests at the benefit you gained back then.

4 – the time when you all gleefully cheered as the first official full kit wan#er (Michael Knighton) did ‘keepy-uppies’ in front of an adoring Stretford end, all giddy at the thought of his promised (and non-organically earned) cash injection, that would give you a chance to buy players and win the trophies. Steer well clear of that “showing of your knickers”.

5 – The time SAF broke transfer record after transfer record paying higher wages than anyone else, off the back of aforementioned monopolising changes that benefited Utd, that wouldn’t pass FFP these days, but ultimately formed the basis of your most successful period.

6 – The time you publicly listed, and raised a ton of money from outside investors to blow everyone else out of the water on players/wages, placing yourselves in prime position to benefit on the timing of the Premier League, which you’d had a significant part in establishing. That way, you won’t have to explain why getting money from lots of investors/shareholders is morally different to getting lots of money from 1 investor/owner?

7 – The SAF glory period. I expect you’re torn on this one, as I suspect this is the period you secretly long for, but you can’t have it both ways…and it’s hard to ‘un-name’ a stand. You can’t bemoan City dominating football having won 5 of the last 10 premier leagues, when you won 7 out of 10 off a historic platform of benefactors, selfish bullying, threats and ultimately paying more than anyone else. I grew up in Manchester, and either I slept for a very long time and missed it, or there wasn’t a single complaint from you paragons of virtue about football being broken when you were winning everything. Nope…nothing to see here. All good. City and a host of other clubs were suffering some criminal ownership, but all was good with the universe as United were winning.

So, when should we go back to?

I can’t say I have much sympathy for United PLC, who’s modus for most of my lifetime has been to make more money than anyone else to gain advantage, for the fans to revel in the success resulting from said advantage, and then getting bought by someone who’s intention is to make money as a result of the vehicle that created the success.

The Glazer complaints you have aren’t about the good of football…they are squarely about the good of Man Utd.

Don’t fall for it folks…the current incarnation of ‘selfless utd fans’ are the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They just think it’s unfair they aren’t top dog. What’s the point in glory hunting, if there’s little glory to hunt!!

It’s just not fair…

Wayne (MCFC)