Will this be the greatest Premier League season ever? Will this be the greatest Premier League season ever?
Man Utd problems “we should be entitled to expect a ‘little’ more of this ludicrously expensive team ‘collection of players’” Entitlement, the bane of... Will this be the greatest Premier League season ever?

Will this be the greatest Premier League season ever?

Man Utd problems
“we should be entitled to expect a ‘little’ more of this ludicrously expensive team ‘collection of players’”

Entitlement, the bane of modern life. Until you accept you are entitled to nothing, you will never be happy in life. Man Utd are not entitled to anything, no one is, you have to earn it. Despite FIFA introducing FFP to try and maintain the sense of entitlement for all major teams, they must’ve known that business people are far more savvy that that. If amazon, google, apple etc don’t pay their taxes through “creative accountancy”, then what makes billionaire royals any different?

Just sounds like sour grapes to me. As a comparison, we spent £200 million last year, then £100 million this year. We are in 8th.

Give money to a child and they will spend it on their favourite sweets. Give it to an adult and they will build for the future.
Fat Man Scouse (You can either spend money like Mourinho/Woodward/Koeman/Walsh or you can spend it like Pep/Begiristain/Silva/Brands)

FFP, playing dirty and invincibility…
After reading week after week about the above mentioned topics in the mailbox, (City obviously being the central character) I was bored with people singing to the different tunes of the same boring song.So I leave the above topics for the interested lot but I have a question for City fans-
With the help of unlimited reserves of cash, ambition and capable minds… (see? I’m not  hating!)Now that your club has reached this ‘Planet Hulk’ Mode, where no matter which opposition you’re playing, you ARE expected to win, is there a whiff of indifference creeping in?
The moods amongst the PL fans is largely that
If your club are playing City at the weekend, it’s goodbye 3 points.
So coming back to the question, how do you go about during your the match ? Checking your phones, falling asleep or alternating between channels? Dare I ask, does it get boring? The all powerful villain looking for a worthy opponent?
I hope that there won’t be the cliche ‘love for the game’ kind of answers coming.
Still only 2 points behind.

The England match
England vs USA is tonight? I’ve completely missed any build-up previews.

The most interesting thing might be the formation, as I assume the “using the squad” message we’re hearing means “resting the first-choice,” but as Southgate wants to train them to play a certain way, the formation might be the same across both this game and the Croatia one.
Does he revert to a back three, or stick with a back four ? Does he play Kane (or probably Rashford if Kane is rested) up front on his own, with three creative forwards behind him, or does he try to play two strikers together?
How about Lewis Dunk and Joe Gomez in the centre of defence? I’d like to have a look at that new partnership.

and what position will he play Rooney in? Not a free role, please, and not lumbering about in midfield.
There would also be something fitting about him playing up front with Jadon Sancho -passing on from the old to the new exciting attacker. Rooney needs some pace alongside him or all of our attacks are going to slow down.

I realize I know nothing about the United States team, I imagine things have moved on since the days of Dempsey. All I know is they drew against France -indeed, France only got a late equalizer against them- in a friendly before the World Cup. So it may not be a walk in a the park for our second team. But worth watching for the intrigue and individual “point to prove” performances, I should think.
1-1 with Rooney missing a late chance, I reckon.
Paul in Brussels

In an effort to get away from FFP, blood money, Manchester….
To change tack on the current subject, I’ve been deliberating for some time whether to write in about this cauldron of feelings I’m having at the moment. But I finally am, as much because I’m procrastinating from doing a large peice of work and I’m genuinely curious to see what people think of it.

In short (bear with me), my parents divorced when I was very young (4 I think) and I was, for various reasons, pretty much mostly denied regular access to my Dad. There was (obviously) fault on both sides but as a kid I didn’t know what was going on, I just was aware of a vague figure I’d see maybe once or twice a year, when I might get a gift and he was my “Dad”.

As I got older, my Dad would wax lyrical about how Liverpool were “the greatest team” etc etc and so I started to take a vague interest in football (this was prob circa 1981) and, despite never going to a match (too far, too poor, no interest from my Mum) and of course very rarely seeing Liverpool even on TV apart from a few times a year (in the years we even HAD a TV!), I fell deeply in love with my now beloved Reds. My Dad would tell me how at the age of 4 months, I cried out at the exact moment when Keegan scored to make it 3-0 vs Newcastle in the FA Cup Final (hard to believe but I tried…).

As I got older, the affair deepened until finally, at the age of 20 or 21 and, no longer destitute, I finally managed to get tickets to a match and excitedly went to Anfield with my Dad (pre season match vs Inter Milan, if memory serves correct), which absolutely blew me away and I’m a little embarrassed to say I openly cried with emotion at finally being at Anfield and singing YNWA.

Over the years we’d watch further matches on the occasions where I’d visit him (having firmly told my Mum at 14 that I was determined to get to know my Dad, to much anger and tears….) and life continued in this way.

Until about 3 years ago, where suddenly my Dad, now getting to be an older man, became a more embittered and slightly angry at the world sort of figure and seemed to lose interest in Liverpool. He now openly berates Klopp and has (shock horror) declared himself a Spurs fan, as he likes the way they play and he likes Poch. He even sends me taunting messages when they lose important matches (eg CL Final) which cut so very very deep.

Words cannot describe how this has affected me….it feels like a deep root within me has been called into question. I feel betrayed. I feel my devotion to the Reds is fruit of a treasonous tree. I feel forced to ask of myself, how much of my devotion is/was based on a subconscious effort to be close to a distant parent?

I can NEVER imagine switching loyalties, EVER and I don’t understand for one moment how he has.

Has anyone else experienced this or similar? Can anyone explain????
JJ, Suffolk

Greatest premier league season ever
What criteria does a league season have to meet to be regarded as a all time great? A Title race that goes to the wire? A relegation battle in which a team rises from the ashes to survive from a seemingly improbable position and teams who you are never sure will go down from one week to the next? Well a year that ticks all these boxes and more is the 2007/2008 season. Now I’m not saying this season had the best title race (98/99, 94/95 or 11/12 all have had better races than 07/08) or that it had the best relegation battle (the 06/07 or 04/05 seasons stake claims for that particular title)

However what it did have was a title race involving arguably Alex Ferguson’s greatest united side, a team spearheaded but one of the greatest forward lines in PL history and one of the greatest centre defensive partnerships in the history of English football, a Mourinho era Chelsea team who’s season started with the special one walking out before it had barely begun and after such a dramatic setback the players seemingly managing themselves to one of the greatest nearly seasons in football history a late Heskey equaliser away from popping United to the title, a John terry penalty away from claiming the champions league away from the same opposition & even in domestic competitions they were defeated in extra time in the league cup final to Tottenham and lost to Barnsley in the quarter final of a utterly unpredictable FA Cup.

That’s not forgetting the best post invincibles Arsenal side that were great fun to watch for their brilliant football and their penchant for self imploding at critical moments. This seasons relegation battle contained a seemingly improbable rise from the ashes story to rival West Ham Wigan’s own comebacks (in 06/07 & 11/12 respectively) from Roy Hodgson’s Fulham who we’re 2 goals down at half time & seemingly done and dusted away to Manchester City before staging one of the all time great comebacks in PL history from which the momentum that victory generated pushed them to survival and all the way to one fo the great forgotten football stories a Europa League final against a De Gea, Forlan & Aguero era Athletico.

As well as those dramatic storylines this campaign also contained a clutch of really good mid table sides which actually gave credence to the quite rightly mocked “Greatest League in the world” monicker that was given to the Premier league at a time when it clearly wasn’t deserving of such a title however for a short time in history and in particular this year it probably was, all the English teams in the Champions league that year were knocked out by their premier league rivals and a clutch of really good mid table sides helped raise the quality of the league.

Mark Hughes Blackburn which contained 19 goal Roque Santa Cruz, Portsmouth’s FA Cup winning side, Martin O’Neil’s Aston Villa who would reach their peak a year later, a young and exciting pre-cash city with Stephan Ireland, Micheal Johnson & Micah Richards alongside the mercurial talent that was Elano producing performances that swung from the brilliant (home & away victories over domestic & European champions Manchester United) to the ludicrously bad (a final day 8-1 drubbing at the hands of Middlesbrough) & the spursiest of all spurs sides that contained a foursome of PL centurions in Robbie Keane, Dimitar Berbatov, Jermaine Defoe & Darren Bent unfortunately it also contained Alan Hutton, Pascal Chimbonda & Younes Kaboul which probably explains why scoreline such as 4-4 and 6-4 were commonplace at white hart lane that season.

On the topic of madcap scorelines has any other premier league season produced as many ludicrously high scoring fixtures as the 07/08 season, Portsmouth and reading’a 7-4 (which is still a PL record and I imagine will be for some time to come) reading & spurs 6-4 (which contained hat tricks for both Berbatov & the secret footba….sorry Dave Kitson) even the usually miserly Chelsea got in on the act with their own set of 4-4’s against both villa & spurs.

In my opinion these reasons added to the fact that it contained both statistically & literally the worst team in PL history in Derby County is why the 2007/2008 campaign is the greatest in the competitions history.

FFP is missing the point…
There have been plenty of good (and some not so good) emails about FFP, but i wanted to highlight an element that it sorely overlooked.  At least in the Premier League, cost control measures will go some way to prevent another club “doing a leeds” but still these regulations miss a critical point: the failure to prevent asset stripping by unscrupulous owners.
Too often, in the case of Portsmouth and Blackpool as two of the most extreme examples, owners have free reign to mismanage the club, enriching themselves at the expense of the fans, the squad and by implication the local community.  It’s one thing for an owner to put his own money in – it’s another thing entirely for an owner to use it as a personal piggy bank.  Over the last three years, the six Glazer siblings have taken 65M in dividends, and paid themselves 36M in salary – 100M from a club that continues to under perform on the pitch relative to its standing in the game.

Until there are measures that govern not just the source of money,  but the owners intentions and ability to take cash out of business, you’ll continue to see the owners exploit the clubs – and by implication the fans –  for their own ends. Danny Levy paid himself more than any Tottenham player last year despite not delivering any tangible success over a two decade period, and mismanaging the stadium move so that the final cost has more than doubled and Spurs now has more debt than United. And who’s to stop him? It’s about time the focus of FFP wasn’t just about stopping “upstarts” breaking into the elite, but about stopping owners sticking their snouts in the trough.
Dan James – In Danny Levy’s world he’s worth more than Christian Eriksen…

Pep vs Jose
Man City have outspent all other teams recently. But look at the roster. Has any of that money been a total waste? With the exception of Bravo (18 million euros),  Danilo (30 million euros) and Nolito (18 million euros) you can’t really claim that. That’s 66 million poorly spent.

Now look at the under-performing recent buys from Mourinho. We’ve got Sanchez (34 million euros), Lindelof (35 million), and Bailly (38 million). That’s 107 million poorly spent, and I am leaving out Pogba (and Lukaku who hasn’t been good as of late).

It is easy to imagine that if Pep had bought these players they’d be clicking. Lukaku would be a goal scoring machine, and Bailly and Lindelof a solid CB pairing. Sanchez would be as effective, as least, as Sane/Mahrez. It’s also easy to imagine many of Pep’s buys flopping if Mourinho was the coach (Sane, Jesus, Laporte, Stones. B. Silva). It’s also easy to imagine players like Sterling, and even David Silva and De Bruyne, regressing with Mourinho in charge. He doesn’t really bring out the best in small playmakers and he sold De Bruyne once of course.

Pep also didn’t inherit a great deal more than Jose (crocked Kompany, Otamendi vs. Jones, Smalling, Rojo; Aguero vs. Martial/Rashford) excluding perhaps central mid, but as I argued above, it is easy to imagine Jose turning De Bruyne and Silva into part time players, and Fernandinho isn’t really more talented that Man United DMs (if you put Fred in the City side, he’d do just fine in that role; see Delph).
Nathan, Newark

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