Rangnick is here to smooth transitions, defending Rashford and tipping points. Keep your mails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Rangnick is here for
When reading comments online about how it would be a failure if Ralf didn’t get us Top4, or playing with the intensity and vigour that Timo Werner built his ever declining reputation on; I have a feeling that we may be missing the point in what the newly appointed football aficionados at United brought Mr Rangnick here for.
The club has been a complete mess since Fergie left (Obviously), and the changing of management every three years, usually replacing the last guy with someone who plays an entirely different style of football, means that we seem to be going through a complete factory reset every few seasons, trying to squeeze players of different shapes and sizes into some holes that they were not made for.
I see the interim appointment as a way for Ralf to understand and learn the club, its vision for the future, and start to implement ideas of how clubs like RBL or Liverpool train and run their footballing side of the business.
Once the summer months arrive, Ralf will happily move into his consultancy role, becoming a mentor for Fletcher (who doesn’t have the experience needed to occupy the position he holds but does have a connection with the club that I think we are keeping him around for), and help those in charge select a manager that can quickly introduce their style without shocking the players with new methods and ideas.
As we advance, changing managers every few seasons becomes less of an issue, thanks to the new structure to ensure seamless autonomy, which will also make player recruitment easier by targeting players for the future that fit the mould that is currently being set.
I could very well be wrong, and we will continue to embarrass ourselves for many years to come, and everyone will enjoy laughing at the dying giant.
Still, my optimistic head says that we will go back to some kind of competitive state at the end of Ralf’s two and a half year contract. It’s just a shame that all of this didn’t come sooner, but that’s what you get when you put a money-focused tit in charge of the biggest cash cow in modern sports.
Joe, Englishman in Canada
United midfield problems
Just to underscore the point, United haven’t had midfield problems since Scholes retired. They’ve had midfield problems since c. 2005. In that time they’ve spent well over £200m on central midfielders, and the only unqualified success has been Michael Carrick. Carrick, and an unexpected Indian summer from Giggs and Scholes, allowed Fergie to paper over a failure to recruit properly or bring through academy players. But with that exception players have either been unmotivated (Schweinsteiger), unfit (Hargreaves, Anderson), unsuitable for United (Matic), or frankly not good enough (Fellaini, Fred, Schneiderlin, Gibson). And Pogba is spectacularly annoying – outrageous talent, and almost brought to the club on false pretences, but clearly can’t be arsed. Herrera gets a pass for low-level shithousery, but was essentially a Poundland Thiago.
If Rangnick can bring anything to United, building a stable and coherent midfield would be the most important. Until then we’ll continue indefinitely to rely on individual attacking virtuosity, and on De Gea.
I cringe at how much attention my club gets (on every platform) compared to others. With that, each report is only gushing out criticism. Does anyone actually have tactical solutions to Man U’s mess? (Without gagging up transfer targets).
Rashford simply out of form
Can I first of all apologise for some of the United fans in the mailbox? The vast majority are not complete idiots and don’t all think the same way, or support our club in the same way. The criticism of Rashford is out of order from any real United fans, he’s out of form, along with many other of our players, but he hasn’t turned into a bad player overnight (For comparison’s sake, Beckham scored 85 in 394, Rashford already has 91 in 285, Rooney, fair enough he’s our all time leading goalscorer with 253 goals).
The majority of us realise we are a bit shit at the moment, and morale seems to be at rock bottom, but it could be a lot worse. Maybe in a few years, we will be good again, or not, hardly the end of the world.
On tipping points, I think mine was just my age. I still watch pretty much all of United’s games, but since around 2015 I’ve stopped taking it to heart and getting so frustrated by it. We might never be the same team as when Fergie was manager and we might always be a bit shite, just look at how Leeds have turned out…
I was delighted to see Jones play the other night. Harshly treated in the media and hope he does well for the rest of his career. Always great to see a Preston lad doing well!
Klopp, Pep would take Rashford
As a football fan who’s not supporting Manchester United, it’s obviously very entertaining to watch all the mud-slinging going on between the club’s fans (And if rumors are to be believed, between the players as well). Meanwhile, it does grind my gears to see that Marcus Rashford has now become one of the favorite scapegoats for some of the so-called fans. To me, there’s no doubt that he’s an outstanding young man, with high values, as also pointed out by many other mailbox contributors. I would also venture that if coached and managed optimally (and not forced to play through injuries), he’s one of the biggest talents in the English game. It’s not his fault that the club (aided by pressure from large parts of the fan base) stuck with a totally inept manager for three years.
Ask yourself this hypothetical question: If Pep, Tuchel, Klopp, Arteta or Conte were told that they could pick two players from the current Man Utd squad for 50M – any two players – I’m fairly certain that Rashford would be one of the two in each case. (Greenwood would probably be the other)
Tom K (I think we can safely rule out Maguire and AWB being picked by anyone – great Ole buys, as also lauded by the fans at the time…)
Rob G, for me it felt like football changed around 2006 or 2007. That was when the money from the sale of the Premier League’s TV broadcasting rights (domestic and international) jumped from around 1.3 billion previously to 2.7 billion pretty much in one fell swoop.
Clubs were now suddenly flush with cash and they started throwing it about everywhere. Players, wages, stadium, facilities, the lot. I remember Sunderland paying 6 million for Kenwyne Jones and feeling utterly shocked at the price, especially for a player of his calibre and quality. Andy Cole, a player who’s many magnitudes better than Jones, moved for 8 million just a few years before for comparison.
From then on there was just no way back, and the money kept growing and rolling in. And here we are today.
Rob G, I suspect that football changed at a different time for everybody depending on how old you are. For me, it was vaguely around 2012 when xG was introduced, social media really took off and all clubs and players became brands, and financial disparities widened to such a degree that the top leagues in Europe, even the Champions League, became basically foregone conclusions with lesser teams having next to no shot of success, never mind sustained success, barring financial doping. Coincidentally, I was also entering the humdrum world of work and coming to the realization that I probably wasn’t going to make it as a pro player.
To see how I believe this is all reflected on the field, I like to cite this article from 2018. According to Opta, one team had 70+% possession in a match 3 times in the first 3 seasons that such stats were recorded (03/04-05/06). In 16/17, it happened 36 times. At the time of the article, halfway through 17/18, it had happened 37 times. Unfortunately I can’t find similar stats for more recent seasons, but I have the feeling the trend hasn’t reversed. Matches have become more and more lopsided as the gulf between teams grows wider, and wider, and wider. Most of the teams in the Premier League can’t even hope to compete against City for example- they just camp out in their own box and hope to clear 95 corners and possibly, just maybe nick a point. It is becoming routine to see and frankly is quite boring.
Paul, Gooner (not quite sure what a Page 3 girl is, but I’m guessing the 90s equivalent of an Instagram model?)
Slow mailbox week for Rob G’s email to be top of the mailbox. What is he asking? What does “when did football change?” mean? Different countries dominating in Europe is not “football changing”, it’s just the way it is. Barca and Real are still more or less seen as the ultimate ambition, they just aren’t doing that great this season or last, but that’s happened before.
We watched channel 4 to see Baggio and Bierhoff because that’s what was on TV. Of course Sky changed football- that’s not a debate piece, but it changed football in the 90s. Where we are today is just evolution. I don’t like it as much, but I don’t like today’s music as much, or that kids would rather stay at home playing computers than drinking white lightning up the school fields. But I’m just getting older, and as people get older they don’t like modern life as much. That’s not a lead email in F365 Mailbox material.
It’s just evolution. Kids today will feel the same in 20 years time and so on forever until Covid has us on permanent lockdown in case Barbara next door gets a cold.
The money in the game is crazy, clubs don’t feel like local teams and part of the community anymore, but people were saying that when I was a kid.
What I do miss is teams like Wimbledon, and more recently Stoke, being shithouses and doing quite well. I think the worst change in football is every team playing the same way, the lack of over the top one on ones and passing the ball out from goalkicks regardless of how much better the opposition are (looking at you, Swindon). Maybe it will go full circle, and some maverick coach will realise that John Fashanu up front with Vinny kicking people in the middle and big fucking defenders smashing the ball up field is the way to counter the same boring tika taka everyone plays.
Anyway, didn’t answer any questions, quite drunk