With a quarter of the season gone - where are the Manchester clubs?

Published: Monday, 23 November 2020

It’s hard to believe isn’t it? A quarter of the season has been played already. And where are the pride of Manchester ? The former manager of relegated Cardiff and Molde has announced his clubs’ season ‘starts now’. And the other would’ve been sacked had it been anybody else. His team are 13th. I repeat - 13th. It’s staggering.

Is Solskjaer serious? ‘Our season starts now?’ What? Two weeks ago he suggested United were ‘getting better because we’re on course to beat last seasons total of three wins in our first 10 games’. Come on. It used to be nine wins from 10 - and even that wasn’t good enough. Had it not been for VAR and a bucket load of free penalties it would be a whole lot worse than four wins in 10.

They should've lost again at the weekend. The Baggies were robbed - but as Martin Samuel pointed out in the Mail ‘Never mind. It’s only West Brom’. Between them David Coote (yes, him) and Peter Bankes had a nightmare. Of course The Baggies should’ve had a pen. And United should not. We can argue all day about whether Darnell Furlong handled the ball (don’t worry - VAR will sort these things out) but it shouldn’t have been given because there was a foul in the build up. That’s what VAR should’ve been looking at - not Darnell’s alleged infringement. But as Samuel points out - ‘no social media frenzy this weekend involving United fans - so that’s ok’. What a joke. Incidentally - it really isn’t funny anymore how many pens United are getting.

One other thing that will annoy United fans - have a look up the table. Have you seen who’s in 8th place? Yep. The Chosen One. His team have already played City, Liverpool, Spurs, Leicester and Wolves. His spend since going back to West Ham is minimum. Buttons. But he might just be building something a bit special by West Ham’s standards. Now wouldn’t that be an IRONy!

Let’s not pretend. The former manager of relegated Cardiff and Molde is not the man to manage Manchester United. Granted, there are many problems those in the know will tell you about behind the scenes, but that shouldn’t be an excuse. United have to make a change. I know for a fact that Mr Ed has spoken with both Pochettino and Allegri. So what’s he waiting for? If he doesn’t move soon both will be working again. Perhaps it’s because he knows he can’t afford too many more throws of the dice himself?

Draw your own conclusions about what’s happening at City. I’ll just say this - has any coach ever spent more money and not delivered his primary target? And does anyone think they’re nearer to it this season than in previous years?

I saw Jonathan Wilson in The Guardian applauding the decision to give Guardiola a new contract - suggesting he can now build his ‘second great team’ at The Etihad. He didn’t build the first one Jonathan. Kompany, YaYa, Aguero, Silva, de Bruyne, Sterling - all the big players - they were all at City before Guardiola. How much has he spent since? Well - £500m on centre backs - and where are they now? How many teams did Fergie build - whilst still winning titles?

Have a quick look at the Championship table now. Notice anything? Correct. One and two both went down last season - and Watford are hovering with intent in 5th - two points off the pace.

Rick Parry, EFL chairman is correct. It’s not a PL of 18 clubs that would kill the dreams of those outside - or the team finishing third in the championship playing off against a PL side - it’s parachute payments. The three that went down left with money in excess of £100m. That has to give them an unfair advantage the following season. They can keep their best players - pay wages far in excess of others - even if they are half of what they were the previous season. It’s wrong. It’s got to change. I refer you back to my arguments in favour of Project Big Picture. Too much of that plan was too good to dismiss as quickly as some did.

The debate about five subs goes on. Did you notice how many Guardiola used v Spurs? Two. Just the two. And one last time out v Liverpool. Klopp used three v Leicester - one was Minamino in the 89th minute. These two are demanding a change back to five subs. Why?

And in closing - I return to my argument about letting us listen in to conversations between match day officials and Stockley Park. I watched David Coote as he went to the monitor at OT. You can see him clearly say to Peter Bankes (VAR) ‘are you telling me that’s not a penalty?’ Bankes shouldn’t be ‘telling’ him anything. He can ‘suggest’ a review - but decisions on the pitch are for the match day ref only. I won’t go any deeper into the decision - or the one at Villa, but when Peter Walton comes out against Stockley Park then you know something is seriously wrong.

I repeat the charge that refs are being ‘told’ what decisions to make as they go to the monitor. If I’m wrong - prove it. Let us listen to the conversations. What have they got to hide? It happens in other sports. It’s happening in Australia’s ‘A’ league. There is no case against the idea. Educate us. Help us. Let us listen in - fans and broadcasters alike. I ask again - what have you got to hide Mr Riley?