Klopp is correct. And give the Ch Exec’s job to Red Nev.

Published: Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Jurgen Klopp is one hundred per cent correct. He needs a break. His team need a break. And how can the FA argue any differently?

For years the FA have wanted a mid-season break and I’ve been a big supporter of the idea. It’s a must for modern day footballers. I’ve never quite understood the argument that it will help the England team because there aren’t too many Englishmen playing at the very top end of English football! Surely it’s more likely to help every other nation in the world - most of whom are represented in the PL now? Anyway, we’re miles behind the rest of Europe in handling the needs of the modern day player. Let’s be specific - the top end footballer.

We ask too much of them. At the last count I think there were 119 suffering injuries as a result of the madness of the Christmas and New Year schedule. Kane, Vardy and Rashford are amongst the high profile casualties.

I’m not suggesting the crazy holiday schedule was entirely to blame but it was certainly a factor. The real problem is the constant expectation of these young men. When do they ever properly rest? I don’t care how fit they are. How good the quality of care is. What their dietary care is. What the maintenance is - eventually the constant demands will take a toll on even the best.

We HAVE to find a way to make room for a complete break and not the mish mash that we’re stuck with this season - 10 on one week - 10 the next - unless there are Cup replays. What a nonsense.

The only answer isn’t popular with the smaller clubs, but it’s got to happen. We’ve got to drop Cup replays. And we should go straight to pens at 90 minutes. Who really wants an extra 30?

If you think this undermines the integrity of the competition let me tell you - you’re wrong. However much we try to convince ourselves differently the FA Cup no longer matters to the majority. If you want to win the PL you’re not interested. If you’re chasing a European place you’re not interested. If you’re trying to avoid relegation from the PL you’re not interested. If you’re trying to get up from the Championship you’re not interested. If you’re trying to stay in the Championship you’re not interested. So that’s just about every team in the top two divisions. And it will be won by one of the top six - again.

if you want to encourage the odd ‘upset’ make sure the PL teams all play away from home in Round 3.

The glory days of a Hereford beating Newcastle - a Wrexham beating Arsenal - a Leatherhead beating Leicester - they’re gone. It won’t happen anymore. So adjust. Change. Oh - and drop one of the Lesgue Cup semi-final legs. All that would make a difference.

And so to the mess at Old Trafford, which is something I’d promised myself to move on from, but I’ve got one last thing to say on the subject.

Mr Ed has got to go. How long have I been saying that for? And how long ago did I suggest that Gary Neville was positioning himself for the job? 

He didn’t exactly say that he wanted it last week, but he took a first very public step towards getting it when he called for Woodward to be sacked He’s right. Woodward’s position is untenable. You can’t keep making the costly mistakes that he has and not eventually have to answer for them.

Woodward has presided over a period of constant demise at United. He’s spent a billion chasing players while appointing and sacking three managers already. Solskjaer will be the fourth. This can’t go on.

Neville is the answer. He does big business deals. He’s got advice for almost everybody in their chosen profession. He’s United to the core. He knows what players want. And his coaching days are over. As he discovered for himself at Valencia - he’s not a coach nor is he ever going to be.

But he is a leader. Anyone that can take a squad of England players to the brink of refusing to play for their country must have extra-ordinary powers of persuasion.

Woodward’s time was up before the terrible decision to appoint Solskjaer full-time. Of course what’s happening there is Ole’s fault. He’s making the decisions about playing style and buying and selling - but the decision to put him in was madness and Woodward needs to be called to account. Ask yourself this - the same question I’ve posed often - when United appointed Solskjaer which other PL team would’ve done that? The answer is not one. None. No-one. So what made Woodward think it was a good idea?

He’s good at deals but hopeless when it comes to understanding football. Neville knows both and he wouldn’t be the only X-pro from United now operating on the business side. Look at the job Edwin van der Sar is credited with doing at Ajax.

United fans shouldn’t be making vile threats to ‘kill’ Woodward. They should be demonstrating to get him out - and get Red Nev in.