Zidane won’t boss Man Utd, and all the reasons Kane is disliked…

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Zidane to United?
Someone should make a website that collates all the stupid transfer claims made by newspapers and ranks the various writers in real time on their bullsh*terating.

Then whenever one of the hacks is rolled out on the BBC or ShoutSport yet again they should have their bullsh*terating league position graphically imposed on their forehead, and the simpering host would not be allowed to ask any questions without first bringing up a bullsh*tery the hack laid.

I’ve felt this for a while, but the Zidane to United bullsh*terating is so moronic that a line has been crossed.

Zidane wants to manage France. He knows the job is his once Deschamps steps down. He does not want to manage Manchester United or even manage a competitive football club because he wants to be free to manage France.

He wants to manage France.

He does not in any way consider United. At all.

Also I wrote in a while back (unpublished) defending Sam Matterface.

In the light of “more records than haitch MV” I would like to revise and retract.
Tim Sutton (United will win nothing with Solskjaer)


Is Zidane the only manager for Ronaldo’s Man Utd?


England perspective
All this talk of Southgate’s England being substandard, and people questioning Kane’s continued present in the England squad/starting 11 …. you all need to brush up on your history! I’ll start with the last great tournament performance I truly remember …

Euro ’96 – El Tels lot were largely brilliant (maybe a bit of nostalgia!), semi-finalist.
4 great forwards …
Alan Shearer – About to become an England legend
Teddy Sheringham – Top quality 2nd striker.
Les Ferdinand – Shearer light. Another absolutely quality forward.
Robbie Fowler – Some even consider him a deity, but he was certainly a bloody great forward.

WC France ’98 – Glen Hoddle (great coach, not a nice person), all very ‘meh’, round of 16.
Still 4 great forwards …
Alan Shearer – Legend
Teddy Sheringham – Top quality 2nd striker.
Les Ferdinand – Shearer light. Another absolutely quality forward.
Michael Owen – Wonderkid.

Euro 2000 – King Kevs lot were dreadful, out in round 1.
5 good forward options …
Alan Shearer – Legend
Michael Owen – Now a legend
Emile Heskey – Meh, apparently did some other stuff other than score or assist.
Kevin Phillips – Scored a bucket full over a couple of seasons playing big-man-little-man with Nail Quinn.
Robbie Fowler – Quality Striker.

WC 2002 Svens mundane England make the quarters …
Still a strong forward line …
Robbie Fowler – Quality Striker
Michael Owen – Still young, relative uninjured, but still just about international quality.
Emile Heskey – Meh, apparently did some other stuff other than score or assist.
Teddy Sheringham – Even at 36 considered a good option.
Darius Vassell – yeah, we all forgot that happened.

Euro 2004 – Svens mundane England make the quarters (again) …
50/50 on the forwards …
Wayne Rooney – The new Michael Owen
Michael Owen – Actual Michael Owen
Emile Heskey – Meh, still doing some good stuff without scoring or assisting.
Darius Vassell – Had to check this wasn’t a typo, yes he made 2 squads!

WC 2006 – Svens mundane England make the quarters (yet again) …
Pretty weak up top …
Wayne Rooney – Now a legend.
Michael Owen – Now a perma-crocked shadow of his former self.
Peter Crouch – Love the guy, but let’s say he was a ‘plan b’.
Theo Walcott – 17yrds old, didn’t play. High hopes he would become a great footballer. (Spoiler alert, he really didn’t).

Euro 2008 – England were so bad we didn’t qualify. (Didn’t want to be there anyway.)

WC 2010 – Capello proves Sven was no fluke, another ‘top manager’ couldn’t get a tune out of a ‘golden generation’ of England players. Crap all the way to the round of 16.
Now it starts getting really ropey …
Wayne Rooney – Now a legend.
Jermain Defoe – decent EPL striker at best.
Emile Heskey – See above.

Euro 2012 – Uncle Roy somehow gets dreadful England to the Quarters.
The is the absolute nadir for England’s forward line …
Andy Carroll – Jesus wept. Let’s never talk of this again… unless you’re a Reading fan.
Wayne Rooney – Aging legend.
Jermain Defoe – decent EPL striker at best.
Danny Welbeck – Played OK for England to be fair. He barely got game time at UTD but England were desperate.

WC 2014 – Roy helps dreadful England fail to get out he group stages.
Still a piss-poor forward line.
Daniel Sturridge – Could’ve, should’ve, would‘ve. Didn’t.
Wayne Rooney – Aging legend at 28, played like he was 38.
Danny Welbeck – He made back-to-back tournament squads, that’s how bad it was people.
Rickie Lambert – Had one brilliantly timed season. Lucky boy. Lovely bloke mind you, fair play lad. (In case you can’t remember, he was a very average journey man).

Euro 2016 – Roy gets us to Round of 16 playing bloody awful football.
Forward line starts to look a little better …
Harry Kane – Remember when we thought he was a 1 season wonder?
Wayne Rooney – Got there on reputation alone.
Jamie Vardy – Goal machine
Daniel Sturridge – Could’ve, should’ve, would‘ve. Didn’t.
Marcus Rashford – England’s new hope.

WC 2018 – Garrys first tournament and England finish 4th … that’s progress whether you like it or not.
5 forwards from a defensive manager, hmmm. Mix of Young, talented, inform players.
Harry Kane – Goal Machine with patchy form.
Raheem Sterling – Wiki says he was a forward. I guess if we’re counting ‘wide forwards’ ok.
Jamie Vardy – Goal machine
Danny Welbeck – Actually playing football and reasonably well, actually deserved to go to this one. (Danny ‘3 tournaments’ Welbeck? Amazing!).
Marcus Rashford – Playing and scoring semi-regularly for half decent UTD team.

Euro 2020. Southgate takes a young hungry team to the final, finishes 2nd.
Harry Kane – Still a Goal Machine with patchy form.
Raheem Sterling – Form, pace, support play. (Still a terrible decision maker mind you), but scored the goals.
Marcus Rashford – Playing and scoring semi-regularly for half decent UTD team.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – Kane light, playing and scoring in the league.

So next time you moan on about England folks, please remember we’ve have been sh*t for a really really long time, even with ‘great managers’ and a ‘golden generation’ thrown in. We’ve had some brilliant strikers (and some absolute stinkers!) … and never done well at a tournament since Euro96. In short … get some perspective!
Dave Moore (My first email in 5yrs … sorry, I had a lot to say).


Why Kane isn’t liked
I can’t talk for any other Liverpool fans but my personal dislike of Harry Kane started when he attempted to claim that ridiculous goal he never touched to try win the Golden Boot a few years back.

Club loyalty always leaves you a bit one eyed about these things. I’m not arguing that Mo Salah gets away with plenty of stuff – of course he does. Christ, I used to defend Luis Suarez when he played for us, which really had its challenges. I’ve no particular issues with Spurs though.

There’s just a particular kind of really stupid arrogance about Kane that really grates with me. Claiming his decision this summer was in his hands when he’d just signed a daft long contract. Trying to get a better contract straight after failing to blackmail them into a move. Claiming goals that aren’t his. Sulking for nigh on 6 months like an overpaid baby. Insisting to Southgate he played against San Marino just so he could pad his record. Trying for his country but not his club. Disappearing in the *really* big games. Using his idiot muppet clown brother as an agent rather than getting a grown up to do the job. I really could go on and on, but I’m sure there’s a word limit for these mails eventually.

There’s worse than Kane out there obviously but he just presses my buttons. When Luke Shaw scored in the final he barely celebrated, because he wasn’t the one getting the glory. Kane had his chance to step up but just as in the Champions League final, he went missing. Increasingly he plays like his legs are cased in cement.

I wasn’t particularly aware any other Liverpool fans had an issue with him, but I’m sure they have their own reasons.

Kane is just bloody lucky the Spurs fans haven’t turned on him. He’s one of their own, until it didn’t suit him.

I’ll stop now , my new baby daughter would rather I focused on feeding her than hoofing repeatedly into Harry Kane. Kids eh?
James, Liverpool


…In response to Steve (Cordon, Blunt, May), it’s pretty clear why a lot of fans don’t like Kane. And I don’t think it’s just Liverpool fans either. It’s because in countless situations he’s actively looking for the free kick as the incident plays out. He’s got such a sharp footballing brain, second to none in the PL I would say. However he looks around and if he doesn’t think anything’s on, he’ll force minimal contact and fall over, often exclaiming loudly for effect. It’s the utter blatancy of it that riles me.

Even as Liverpool fans, Kane was the example I used to my son about a player who, when he misses, knows he’ll get a goal soon and keeps his head up and keeps trying. He’s not the example any longer. As his injuries have caught up with more, and the little pace he had has diminished, he’s like a rugby player waiting to be tackled for territorial purposes.

And I think that’s the problem. To me, it’s premeditated cheating, and a big part of his game. I agree with other posters about diving – every team has them up front, but even defenders do it. The only way Nicolas Ottamendi stopped Andy Robertson from stealing the ball from him, on Robbo’s famous one man press in Liverpool v Man City a few years ago, was to fall over! But lots of that’s of the moment and (sadly) instinctive. And I agree Salah and Mane have had some soft pens over the years.

But Kane takes it to another level, and that to me is why there’s so much dislike for him.
Michael LFC


…I suspect part of the hate for Harry Kane is that he is just the continuation in a long line of golden boy England strikers who everyone else gets a bit sick of. Shearer, Owen, Rooney, now him. All excellent players but all had a side to them that put a lot of people off for whatever reason. This is then compounded by the fact that the national media would have you believe they could do no wrong and were universally adored.

Plus on the backing in thing – it isn’t just a couple of times and its actually quite dangerous. Don’t really give a shit about diving but when you’re putting the health of an opponent at risk to win a freekick you’re a bit of a dick.


…Salah-baiting aside, the reason Liverpool fans dislike Harry Kane is because of the 2-2 in 2018 when he had one penalty saved, scored another (given dubiously), and then went to the cameras after and said “You don’t give me two tries”.

Theo, LFC, Liverpool

Seeding and minnows
I do like John Nicholson. But sometimes I feel like his political views completely cloud his ability to look at sport rationally. I get that he is anti-elite and pro the masses but his article about minnows misses the mark on several points.

Firstly, seeding. According to John, seeding is a system designed by the imperialist overlords to ensure that the big teams always qualify and the minnows are stuck at the bottom where they belong. But that isn’t true. Seeding is there to ensure that the best (not the biggest) teams make it to a major tournament. That’s how it should be.

Consider a random draw where Germany, France and England are drawn in the same group in qualifying. But only 2 can go through. One of the best teams in the world would be denied access to a major tournament through random luck. How is that fair? John says that ” A proper competition should have a random draw at its core.” but that’s not what qualifying is. It’s not a competition, it’s a means of qualifying for a competition.

He also misses a major point. Seeding is based on merit. Seeding doesn’t ensure the big sides are kept apart, it ensures the best sides are kept apart. San Marino are not bottom seeds because they are a small nation. They are bottom because they are rubbish. They have the opportunity to rise up the seeding rankings but they don’t, because they’re not any good.

Iceland were 5th seeds for Euro 16 qualifying and 2nd seeds for Euro 2020 because they improved. They earnt that second seed place. Denmark are not a ‘big name’ nation but they were top seeds this year because they earnt it. 10 years ago they were 3rd seeds. What about Wales? Not a big or a glamorous nation. 2nd seeds. In most World Cup years they’ve been seeded 4th. They earned that spot through hard work and improvement. Would it be fair if Wales were drawn with Germany, England and France? No. They have earnt the right to have a more favourable group.

Literally every sport in the world uses seeding. It’s used to ensure the best 3 athletes make an Olympic final or the best two tennis players face off in the final, not round 1 of Wimbledon. Note: the best. Not the biggest names, the best. I genuinely can’t think of a single sport that doesn’t use seeding in some way.

On a final point, I do find it interesting that someone who wrote an article bemoaning the effect of football on climate change and decrying fixtures like Chelsea v Krasnodar is more than happy for England to fly to San Marino (and by the same logic further afield) so that their players can get a romantic story to tell about the day they saved a shot from Harry Kane. Something to think about.
Mike, LFC, London


…Watching the debate over the merits of scoring against ‘minnows’ got me thinking about this debate of whether teams like England should see fit to play them. For what it’s worth here are my (hopefully balanced thoughts):

It doesn’t really negatively impact the bigger teams. A match against San Marino for example gives the manager a chance to see players play together, it’s low risk, unlikely to lead to great levels of fatigue, easy pickings to build some confidence.

It provides amateur/semi pro players the chance to play against some of the best – think FA Cup third round – who are we to deny them?

Minnows are often significant nations, looking to develop their football culture, ok this might be an extreme example – but Lithuania for example has a similar population size to Wales, the discussion there might be more around facilities, money and investment, but look at what Wales have achieved over the years. There is always potential, and to block the pathway to the big game would surely be a bad thing?

They are European nations, with established national teams and history – they deserve to play, it’s football, the people’s game as they say. Do we want to create a quasi-class system where some nations are beneath the others.

Where is it going? Are any of these nations actually showing any signs of improvement? One of the debates around 6 nations rugby is the potential for promotion/relegation – and I think it applies here. If we were to start a system where teams needed to qualify for qualifiers, would that be beneficial or not? In rugby, people have been debating how well Georgia might do vs Italy. Unfortunately we’ll never really know. They are locked out and their game is frozen as a result. Would we not be closing the shop a little? The same teams over and over are likely to come to the fore.

The games are a waste of time. Do the players actually benefit? But then, do we want every game to be hyper competitive? Say, for example England played Germany once a year on average – a likely outcome of making qualification tiered with smaller pools to choose from, does anyone really want that? Would it not diminish the big occasion? And would it not increase fatigue for the players?

For what it’s worth, I come down on the pro side. But I think there needs to be a serious conversation on how to improve/develop football for smaller nations. Anyone can play football, and anyone should have the chance to represent their country. It means as much to them as it does to our players.

UEFA, the FA, FIFA, they are the ones with the power to stop it being embarrassing. The money is there, the will maybe isn’t. Access to coaching, money for facilities etc. could turn those 10-0’s to 5-0’s and who knows maybe even the occasional 1-1 in 30 years time.

Marc, London


Postcard from Canada
I know there is less interest on this site on all things not happening in the immediate vicinity of the UK, but I wanted to share how amazing this year has been for Canadian soccer. Our women won gold at the olympics and now our men are shocking the world (including us Canadians) at how amazing their qualifying campaign is going.

They have bonafide professionals in the side: Alphonso Davies (Bayern), Jonathan David (Leading scorer for Ligue 1 champions Lille), Cyle Larin (Besiktas), Atiba Hutchinson (38 year old captain also of Besiktas), Tajon Buchanon (Club Brugge) to name a few. They are playing expansive, attacking football and remain the only undefeated team in the Concacaf qualifying final stage.

After last night, they’ve taken 4 out of a possible 6 points off of Mexico and did so with the dubious award of “coldest world cup qualifier in history” at roughly -15 degrees celsius. Despite the cold and snow, 50,000 showed up and sang their hearts out. What shocked me the most is that this 2-1 win didn’t come off the back of a Mourinho-esque park-the-bus/low block and counter that we are used to seeing with an unskilled and inferior Canada, but rather, we actually outplayed the Mexicans. Remember, this is a team that is (historically) notoriously bad. Last making it to the World cup in 1986 (where we scored 0 goals) and last in the final stage of qualifying in 1996. We have justifiably been an afterthought in the Concacaf and international men’s game (Our women have always been good, just not the best). This time is different. We currently sit top of the table with top 3 guaranteed qualification.

This squad has belief, is well organized and has some truly skillful players. They are exciting to watch!

With qualification looking like a real possibility for 2022, I am genuinely excited to finally have a nation to cheer for at the World Cup that I don’t just follow because that lad plays for my club team.
Wasif, Edmonton, Canada (I still chuckle imaging the Mexican players landing in Edmonton during the snowstorm thinking “where the hell are we”)

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