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Frank Hovis

Football - Leicester & Man Utd

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Firstly let me say that I am delighted by the success of Leicester with their cheaply-assembled mostly British sqyad sweeping all before them, the last time we had anything similar was Notts Forest over thirty years ago.

Secondly I am very pleased by the continued failure of Man Utd. Not because of the team itself or their genuine supporters, no I don't take pleasure in their suffering, as a fan myself I go through that and it's not nice.

No, it's for the southern or foreign fan who has zero connection with Manchester, couldn't find it on a map, has no intention of ever going to actually see them play, and yet has bored me stupid Monday morning after Monday morning analysing "their" team's performance.

Why they support this particular northern team, as opposed to Carlisle or Hartlepools, is for one reason and one reason only: their success.

If that evaporates and "their" team is no longer on regular rotation on the satellite football and (one can hope) no longer even on Match of the Day then they may finally stop pretending that they support them. Because pretending is all that it is.

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As with everything there are peak and troughs...Now its Man U's time to suffer, after having nearly 25 years of continuing success..I got sick of "fergie time" and the constant 96th minute goals they got....I think some refs were intimidated by him to some degree, so it wasn't a fair playing field....Interesting though, is that their profit margins are continually growing, even though they've been in the doldrums for the last couple of seasons...

I think the last time on of their FA cup games wasn't shown on TV, was around ten years ago...800 of them even paid 71 quid to see the shyte they played today...Pity fool them...No game is worth that...

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There's been a few occasions I wanted to bring something up, but I thought we weren't allowed to talk footy on off topic. I suppose it won't last, but it would be nice if just buying all the most expensive players has finally run its course.

But are we now moving from an era of celbrity players to an era of celebrity managers in the Premier League?

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I no longer care enough about football to get that worked up about it the fate of Man United. That said I do confess feeling both regret and anger at yet another round of proposals to gut the history of English football by downgrading the FA cup yet further. Of course, the Premier League like their European Champions League counterpart is following the logic of all sporting leagues by entrenching and protecting the position of the current elite teams while attempting to make it both financially and physically impossible for smaller clubs to win anything. By that logic all knockout cup competitions have to be neutered because they raise the possibility that in a one off encounter the rich boys might be found wanting and lose. Football really is no longer a sport but a mirror image of the financial industry with certain clubs like banks deemed too big to fail. In that respect most fans would be better advised to ditch their season tickets and the endless tedious analysis of meaningless Premiership and European matches in favour of an annual subscription to the stock and bond markets.

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It's brilliant. The gift that keeps on giving.

The next humiliation for many fans will be if Mourinho takes charge after such vehement invective and feelings against him.

Yank owners = rentier ownership and no trophies.

Villa, Liverpool, Manc U....year on year they get weaker and weaker.

All the United supporters I know, and there are many, are desperate to see Mourinho take charge. I remind them that he ordered Chelsea's medical staff to keep the paramedics waiting outside their changing room after Petr Cech had fractured his skull, and then criticised the NHS for their slow response; he smuggled his dog into the UK from Portugal thus breaking customs laws, and he has lied and cheated his way to the top. I ask them if their self respect would allow them to accept his as United's front man.

They reply that he's won a lot of stuff.

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That said I do confess feeling both regret and anger at yet another round of proposals to gut the history of English football by downgrading the FA cup yet further.

No one's been interested in the FA cup since the 1970s. I was thinking recently, it might make it more fun if they had a winter break in the league, and held the FA cup over a few weeks then. Or a couple of rounds before season start, a couple in winter break, and the finals after the end of the season.

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Yank owners etc. etc.

You can't argue with the Glazer's investment or thei record of winning trophies whilst they've been the owners. I was dead against them taking over at the time, but it has to be said they haven't been disastrous.

On Mourinho - The guy knows what he's doing. It's obvious. Yeah he's a dick, we all know that, but he's a winner. The accusation that he's lied and cheated his way to the top is nonsense. He started at the bottom and worked his way up with results. Not like the ex-player old boys network that saw the likes of Gordon Strachan in continued gainful employment as a manager when it was clear he didn't know his **** from his elbow. The only mistake was in not employing him when Fergie retired.

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No one's been interested in the FA cup since the 1970s. I was thinking recently, it might make it more fun if they had a winter break in the league, and held the FA cup over a few weeks then. Or a couple of rounds before season start, a couple in winter break, and the finals after the end of the season.

Doubt they will..Huge money spinner for the premier league...People are off work over christmas (so they can cram in games), and all the other leagues have their winter break...

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No one's been interested in the FA cup since the 1970s. I was thinking recently, it might make it more fun if they had a winter break in the league, and held the FA cup over a few weeks then. Or a couple of rounds before season start, a couple in winter break, and the finals after the end of the season.

What you mean is no one in the EPL or the promotion action of of the Championship is interested in the FA Cup. It is still a very big deal both as a matter of prestige and financially for smaller clubs. Of course, if the 4th European Champions League spot went to the FA Cup winners rather than the team that could not even get a Bronze in the EPL then it might focus the minds of some of the larger clubs to try a bit harder.

BTW I think most of the guff about the benefits of mid winter breaks can be ignored since all the evidence I can see is that EPL clubs jet off to play exhibition matches the moment they get a break now so I would expect them to do the same in any mid season rest period.

Anyway sporting leagues are about protecting the interests of the incumbent status quo and always will be. It is no accident that so many of them have the words 'Premier', 'Elite', 'Champions' etc in their titles. In that respect it matters not a jot how crap Man United are at the moment because the FA and the EPL will always ensure that sooner or later they will be winners again just like the BOE and the government ensure that the big banks won't fail. For example, the financial consequences of the likes of Man United getting relegated as they did in the 1970s from the top league would be potentially so disastrous financially for the EPL and the FA that I simply don't think it would be allowed to occur whatever the current rules. I suspect that they would simply reorganize the EPL on the closed or license model used by many U.S. sporting leagues making promotion or relegation virtually impossible.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Promotion_and_relegation

It will be that rigged.

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What you mean is no one in the EPL or the promotion action of of the Championship is interested in the FA Cup. It is still a very big deal both as a matter of prestige and financially for smaller clubs. Of course, if the 4th European Champions League spot went to the FA Cup winners rather than the team that could not even get a Bronze in the EPL then it might focus the minds of some of the larger clubs to try a bit harder.

BTW I think most of the guff about the benefits of mid winter breaks can be ignored since all the evidence I can see is that EPL clubs jet off to play exhibition matches the moment they get a break now so I would expect them to do the same in any mid season rest period.

Anyway sporting leagues are about protecting the interests of the incumbent status quo and always will be. It is no accident that so many of them have the words 'Premier', 'Elite', 'Champions' etc in their titles. In that respect it matters not a jot how crap Man United are at the moment because the FA and the EPL will always ensure that sooner or later they will be winners again just like the BOE and the government ensure that the big banks won't fail. For example, the financial consequences of the likes of Man United getting relegated as they did in the 1970s from the top league would be potentially so disastrous financially for the EPL and the FA that I simply don't think it would be allowed to occur whatever the current rules. I suspect that they would simply reorganize the EPL on the closed or license model used by many U.S. sporting leagues making promotion or relegation virtually impossible.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Promotion_and_relegation

It will be that rigged.

The US system is actually pretty good. People see no promotion or relegation and assume it's a closed shop and bad, but the draft system ensures that teams have a level playing field (or a much more level one than European football at any rate).

It's exceedingly rare for a side to win a competition 3 years in a row in the US.

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It was never supposed to happen that a small town club would ever get a title again, so Leicester's lead is significant. to be clear it has only been achieved four times since world war two.......

1962....Ipswich Town

1972..Derby County

1975..Derby County

1978..Forest

(Clough twice with two clubs, Bobby Robson and McKay)

And Derby did it twice on a shoestring and a ground and pitch falling apart. Here having Man City for breakfast in 1977.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdFwl11WUAg

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It was never supposed to happen that a small town club would ever get a title again, so Leicester's lead is significant. to be clear it has only been achieved four times since world war two.......

1962....Ipswich Town

1972..Derby County

1975..Derby County

1978..Forest

(Clough twice with two clubs, Bobby Robson and McKay)

And Derby did it twice on a shoestring and a ground and pitch falling apart. Here having Man City for breakfast in 1977.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdFwl11WUAg

You're missing one.

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When I first started watching the FA Cup final in the early 70s, the final was one of the few games shown live on TV. The FA Cup started to lose it's glamour once Sky started broadcasting half a dozen live matches every week.

Also, playing at Wembley used to be a big deal. Only a few teams got to play there. Once the FA started using the venue for Semi-finals and play offs, then the thrill of going to Wem-ber-lee, was diluted somewhat.

The expansion of the Champions League is another massive influence.

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Why they support this particular northern team, as opposed to Carlisle or Hartlepools, is for one reason and one reason only: their success.

To be fair, it wasn't just the success. Man Utd under Sir Alex played a brand of football that was just massively exciting to watch (by and large). They also had some of the finest (and often most charismatic) players in the world, and a lot of them were British. Success isn't enough if the football is boring, the team all foreign etc etc.

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The US system is actually pretty good. People see no promotion or relegation and assume it's a closed shop and bad, but the draft system ensures that teams have a level playing field (or a much more level one than European football at any rate).

It's exceedingly rare for a side to win a competition 3 years in a row in the US.

Agreed.

Strangely the US with its capitalist winner take all mentality runs its sports on vaguely communist lines with ability being distributed according to need

Of course, the reason is that this handicapping system guarantees closer results just as it does in horse racing so improves the entertainment value and ultimately the saleability of the product. It is all about making money for the owners. It helps that the US system is designed to stop the players and their agents ripping all the money out the game

Not sure how the supporters of some of the top EPL football clubs would respond to such a system but it would probably be popular with owners if they could remove the financial risk of relegation.

The problem is that if one was forming an EPL as a pure marketing product one would not have the likes of Stoke, Watford or Bournemouth in it. It would be constructed to represent a distribution of regional population centres so for example would almost certainly have one club from the major Yorkshire cities unlike at preent

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Guest eight

Also, playing at Wembley used to be a big deal. Only a few teams got to play there. Once the FA started using the venue for Semi-finals and play offs, then the thrill of going to Wem-ber-lee, was diluted somewhat.

I remember Kevin Phillips being asked about his thought on playing at Wembley (presumably prior to the 1998 Championship playoff final). He replied that it would be good to match his sister, who had already played there.....

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Guest eight

Leicester City actually remind me of a Fergie era Man Utd, breaking in numbers and trying to overwhelm the opposition from start to finish. It looks to me that a number of top teams and coaches have somehow managed to think themselves unable to play to win. There's a lot of negativity out there disguised as "tactical thinking".

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I watch Scottish football these days if its on the TV and a choice with the EPL. I genuinely find most of the games more interesting and exciting. Not always of course.

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I watch Scottish football these days if its on the TV and a choice with the EPL. I genuinely find most of the games more interesting and exciting. Not always of course.

Not as corrupted by money and far more competitive if you ignore the Old Firm (I know Rangers have had a temporary exile but normal service will be resumed I'm sure).

I used to laugh at Scottish football with its pathetic crowds but now I am a teeny bit jealous; those low crowds protected it from the money men that have been the ruination of the English game.

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I will be very surprised if Leicester manage to retain Mahrez. He is clearly good enough to play for a really top team.

Errm... This is sarcasm surely? Is it possible to be more top than Leicester are?

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Not as corrupted by money and far more competitive if you ignore the Old Firm (I know Rangers have had a temporary exile but normal service will be resumed I'm sure).

I used to laugh at Scottish football with its pathetic crowds but now I am a teeny bit jealous; those low crowds protected it from the money men that have been the ruination of the English game.

Their few years out of the top division have been the most interesting and exciting for football in general up here for decades. No co-incidence.

Those in charge of the game up here think we need the OF up here - the opposite is in fact the truth.

Shame those in charge of the game up here are a disgrace.

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There are still quite a few games to go and Man U are only 12 points off the top. That said their performances have been abject this year so I can't see them turning it around but you never know.

To be fair, it wasn't just the success. Man Utd under Sir Alex played a brand of football that was just massively exciting to watch (by and large). They also had some of the finest (and often most charismatic) players in the world, and a lot of them were British. Success isn't enough if the football is boring, the team all foreign etc etc.

Yes, I actually had a grudging respect for them. Entertaining, didn't mess around on the ball, aggressive, etc. My respect only increased when compared to Chelsea and Man City who went from obscurity to winning purely due to massive cash injections from overseas owners.

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