Can Manchester United rip it up and start again (again)?

Manchester United could lose players this summer but that might just be a good thing. Send mails to


Manchester United clear-out is an opportunity
Just a quick thought on the back of James, Dublin’s concern – I look at the departures situation a bit differently. If Pogba (£290k a week), Cavani (£250k), Martial (£250k), Ronaldo (£510k) and Lingard (£75k) all leave. There’ll be substantial room in the wage budget to replace them. Chuck in Mata too (£160k) because his contract is expiring.

That’s £1.5m a week, or about £80m a year, or £400m spread across a typical 5 year contract that you might give to a new signing (who isn’t a 37 year old stop-gap). If they pick the right, hungry young replacements United should be able to pay them less than half of what their predecessors earned – leaving the rest for transfer fees. There will be budget to sign new players.

United’s squad is extremely bloated with overpaid, underperforming players. Yes, most of those players above will be leaving on a free and, taking Pogba as an example, you might think he’s a valuable commodity leaving for nothing – but there is no scenario at all where United could retain Pogba on a sensible salary that another club would be willing to take over and give United a transfer fee. As a financial asset with resale value (which isn’t a nice way to think of a person), Pogba has been worthless to United for at least a year – the hit of losing a player they bought for £89m is inevitable. So the only reason to keep him at a massive salary is if you think he contributes enough to the team and the new manager’s system to justify tying up a reported 400k a week of wage budget – I doubt he does.

So, my take is that United’s squad needs an overhaul. United’s players all earn too much money relative to their ability, to be sold for a profit, so the best they can hope for in most cases is to lose them on free transfers. If they are sensible, there is an opportunity in those contracts expiring to replace the players in question with cheaper (in salary terms), but equally good players that actually suit the next manager’s plans.

Those players leaving isn’t a disaster. It’s an opportunity to make structural change… which, you know, United won’t actually seize.
Andy (MUFC)
(P.s. I very much doubt Ronaldo will leave in the summer. Who else is going to pay him that much?)


Enough about rebuilds
Can we stop having United fans writing in about rebuilds as an excuse for being rubbish?

The core of the City and Liverpool players will be 30 with a few exceptions.

Chelsea’s central defence is in its final year of its contract.

Spurs will need to upgrade.

Every team needs to change a few players stop moaning and upgrade the attitude otherwise we will never achieve what we need.
Timi, MUFC


The United Way
I wrote in a couple weeks ago to comment on the fact that Utd finished with 40% of outfield players that had made it from the academy into the first team.

Last night, despite the shortcomings of the first half, we went on to win the game with goals from Elanga, Greenwood & Rashford.

Three academy players scoring away from home in the premier league to secure a win.

There’s a lot not to like about this season as a Utd fan but scorers from last night and their route into the first team is something all Utd fans should be proud about.

Could any of the learned folk at F365 let me know if that has been done before?


From a Brentford fan
You always get the perspective from “big club” supporters who watched the game on their sofa, so here is a perspective from a small club supporter who actually went to the game.

We are so infuriatingly inconsistent at the moment! Maybe it’s to be expected, playing in the PL in our first season and competing against sides with budgets several orders of magnitude greater than ours. But if we can just get ourselves up for every game like we did in the first half last night, we’ll be top 10 easily by the end of the season. On the the other hand, reprise Southampton (away) and we’ll be crossing our fingers the bottom 3 don’t start picking up points.

In the end, we were undone by a more clinical team last night, that can bring on experienced England internationals such as Rashford and Maguire to finish the job off. No disgrace in that. But with a bit more luck and, of course, better finishing, we could have been out of sight by half time. Man U should be thankful that our chances kept falling to players that cannot shoot!

It’s also interesting, now we’ve played all the “big” clubs at home, I’ve witnessed first hand the different qualities of each. And the only positive thing I can say about Utd is that they’ve got some good finishers and are quick on the counter attack. They are soooo far behind City it’s actually embarrassing given their comparable budgets.

And finally, I’d like to say United’s away support is absolutely top drawer and not befitting of their current team. Non-stop singing, original chants, self-deprecating humour, and not spending the whole time trying to goad the opposition fans. Refreshing, even though it was quite irritating that they never shut up!
Rob, Surrey, Bees fan


On those false positives
As per Dan Critchlow from the Daily Cannon summarising Simon Hughes’ piece in the Athletic today on false-positive-gate: “Liverpool submitted an unnecessary request to postpone based on tests that weren’t required, the results of which they didn’t yet have, for players that weren’t infected…”

After the event, Klopp publicly announced that it was on account of false positive LFDs and subsequently false positive PCRs. However, Simon Hughes has determined that there were no false positives – the PCR results were “erroneous” and the false positive LFDs were invented.

It’s worth noting that the lab Liverpool chose to run the unnecessary PCR tests was at one of its own discretion, not the EFL’s choice, and it is managed by Kenny Dalglish’s daughter.

It’s also worth noting that in addition to Klopp publicly stating that there had been false positive LFDs, that “club sources” separately stated the same thing to Simon Hughes and the club chose not to correct this assertion either before or after Simon Hughes published his 10 Jan article, despite being offered the opportunity to correct any inaccuracies.

The disparity between the reaction in the media to this incredible situation and the reaction to Arsenal’s legitimate request to postpone is extremely telling and concerning.
Ben (London)


The tale of Derby and Wycombe
For starters, I do not mean to gloat. On the contrary, I’m actively against any of Wycombe’s attempts to gain monetary compensation from Derby. But I write this out of understanding with Derby’s situation.

In 2012 Wycombe were on the face of bankruptcy, which resulted in a trust takeover. In the 2013-2014 season we nearly dropped out of the EFL entirely. When the Couhigs took over in February 2020, they immediately settled debts of 2.2 million that the club owed as well as making 1 million available for other debt is necessary. And we were miles away from the sort of deals Derby made, we survived on free transfers and loans for the majority of the past decade, we were not fighting for Premier League promotion.

A few years before the Couhigs had taken over, Mel Morris assumed ownership of Derby, and unlike the Couhigs, who have stressed slow growth within the club’s financial means, Morris seemed happy to, let’s say, splash the cash. Vydra for 8m. Waghorn for 5m. Bielik for 7m are just the biggest examples of a period of extensive spending. And then let’s not even mention wages to go along with this.

Meanwhile, Wycombe’s largest signing money wise that has been reported on, as far as I’m aware, is Daryl Horgan, at just 50k.

And Derby fans, by and large, were happy to spend. They achieved promotion playoffs multiple times, I wouldn’t blame them in any sense to have supported those times. I probably would have too.

But when you’re looking through rose tinted glasses, all the red flags just look like flags. Massive spending, egregious wages, a vaguely dodgy stadium deal and a global pandemic exasperated fundamental issues with the club’s finances.

I write this because recently, Derby fans have taken issue with the Couhigs attempts to seek financial compensation. Firstly, I do too, but our trust only has 25% ownership, if the Couhigs want to, they can do it. I would be more than happy, and was happy, to leave it over the games of the championship, being relegated by one point after claims we might be one of the worst championship teams ever wasn’t a bad little feat.

But what must be understood is, Derbys Owners, (and I stress owners), used a number of unfair financial tricks in order to ensure they could avoid FFP *before COVID*, with amortization being deliberately miscalculated, the stadium being sold with the express intention of ensuring a profit was posted for the club, and as far as I’m aware, Derby Ownership deliberately slowing the process of investigation by the EFL to ensure points would not be deducted for the 20/21 season, which resulted in the loss of a significant amount of money on Wycombes behalf, estimated at some 5-10m. When our clubs profits stood at just 3.2m in the 20/21 season, and the Couhigs net worth around just 10-20m, that’s a significant amount of money to lose.

So, while I understand, and do sympathise with Derbys fans plight, for a small club like us, *you* must understand how such financial misconduct has not just cost us a place in one of the most competitive leagues in Europe, but also a hugely significant amount of money that could have contributed to the club enormously.

So Derby fans, I do feel for you, and I do genuinely hope the Couhigs drop these attempts to gain compensation, but, see it from our shoes. It makes a lot more sense then.
DaraghJohn, Wycombe fan

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