Elko Born considers the apparent need for more passion from certain football managers…
As someone who grew up outside of Britain, some of the convictions and norms of a lot of Premier League spectators simultaneously amuse and confuse me.
Take your average British fan’s tendency to automatically question the qualities of any footballer who has ever played in the Dutch Eredivisie. Because Afonso Alves was bad when he played for Middlesbrough, the reasoning seems to go, every former Eredivisie footballer ever will always fail in the Premier League.
Recently, some Manchester United fans have started taking offence to manager Louis van Gaal’s touchline antics, or lack thereof. If Twitter is to be believed, anyway.
Van Gaal needs to get off his arse, these critics make known. How can he expect to be a good manager when he’s sitting in the dugout all the time? He needs to go and stand near the touchline so he can effectively shout at the footballers. Continue reading →
There is a bizarre nostalgia that affects people when they discuss Wayne Rooney. The prevalent view seems to be that he had all the talent in the world, demonstrated it with carefree abandon during his teenage years and then got spoiled by necessary on-pitch self-sacrifice and voluntary off-pitch self-sabotage. Now he is seen merely as a good player – not a genuinely great one, and certainly not the one we thought he would be.
This sudden about-turn in public opinion does not really tally up with what has been written and said about him up until now. Throughout his Manchester United career his performances have received glowing write-ups in the press and when he has underperformed – and it has happened repeatedly, sometimes for months on end – his industry and work-rate have seen him bundle in goals and escape the harshest criticism.
Perhaps it is a British journalism thing – “build ‘em up to knock ‘em down” and all that – but the idea that Rooney has not fulfilled his potential is quite ridiculous. As a conclusion, it is simply unfair. Sure, he has never hit the heights expected of him and his contribution to football pales in comparison to those of era-defining freaks Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but the reality is that he was never going to match them.
The problem lies not with Rooney but with us, his viewers. It is not that he never made the most of himself but more that we overestimated his talent to begin with. Continue reading →
TFN’s Piers Barber takes a look at Manchester United’s experiments with social media…
For many, the moment that Juan Mata’s transfer to Manchester United became a believable reality was when the club’s new No.8 logged in to Twitter to alter his profile’s biography. “Official Twitter account of @ManUtd’s player” read @JuanMata8 by Saturday afternoon, an alteration which occurred almost in real time as the player was in the process of agreeing terms at Old Trafford.
By the end of the weekend, his profile had been fully optimised to affirm his identity as a fully fledged Old Trafford player. Whilst his new followers – the likes of Tom Cleverley and Alexander Büttner – may not bring the highest levels of entertainment to Juan’s new-look timeline, it is significant that Mata, and those representing him, placed significant importance on maintaining an efficient level of engagement via the social media channel.
The importance Mata placed on hastily evolving his Twitter profile says much about the role that footballers and football clubs are increasingly starting to play within the world of social media. It’s an area of football marketing which only seems set to grow and grow.
Yet wind the clock back half a year and the club’s clout on the micro-blogging site possessed a far different complexion: indeed, United were the last Premier League club to embrace the potential benefits of Twitter. “We were late into social media and were worried a lot about how to approach it as a football club,” United’s Head of Marketing Jonathan Rigby said in 2011. “There will be no official Twitter site until we have satisfied a role for Twitter.” Continue reading →
With Juan Mata’s arrival imminent,Jon Wilmore speculates on Wayne Rooney’s future at Old Trafford…
It’s happening – it’s actually happening. But when the initial ecstasy over Juan Mata’s arrival at Manchester United dies down, Moyes and the boys are going to face another question entirely – where on earth do they actually play him?
The question has been raised throughout the media, with nobody quite certain enough to reach a general consensus. United have recent experience of purchasing a star player from a rival whose position was ostensibly not their weakest – a purchase that basically won them the league.
After reluctantly relinquishing the role of star centre forward to Robin van Persie last year, Wayne Rooney has seemed a man renewed in the Dutchman’s absence, thriving up top and again as a number 10 in behind Danny Welbeck. But now, it must happen again. Continue reading →
As the dust settles on a frustrating first transfer window for David Moyes at Old Trafford, Chris Francis believes the fans will have to get used to an aura-less future…
The last week has been enlightening. If you are a supporter of a team that is not Manchester United you will have noticed a change. It’s like the Wizard of Oz. We’ve been walking along the Yellow Brick Road for all these years, and instead of finding the Great Oz living in the Emerald City there is a mere mortal behind the screen. Where once was the greatest of all managers, Sir Alex Ferguson, who corralled the best out of his players and was able to convince the most explosive talents to join Manchester United, there is instead David Moyes.
Moyes of course has many excellent attributes on which he is able to draw. He has proven that he can find value in the transfer market before. He has moulded teams with superb work-ethic and togetherness. He has made consistent teams, ones on which he is able to rely. He has also found excellent leaders from within his squads, and got more out of some players than perhaps they imagined they had.
But he, and the ranked United masses, have seen that while the club structure is in place for a new manager, he is still just that; new. He is inexperienced at this level, and without the huge track record of making stellar signings. He has made big signings for Everton before – Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov, Beattie – to varying levels of success. But he is finding already that the next step up, to manage the biggest club in the country, brings its own difficulties. Clubs feel they can drive a harder bargain in the knowledge that you have deep pockets. The players you are in for will almost certainly play for other big clubs or are the stars of the teams they are at. Other big clubs will want these same players.
United ended the transfer window in a manner that we are not used to seeing. Yes, there have been close calls before but in the most obvious case of Dimitar Berbatov, he was at least the man they wanted all along. Thiago Alcantara, Cesc Fabregas, Ander Herrera, and Leighton Baines drifted through the open window and on in to the night’s sky, like the mere dreams they turned out to be. Continue reading →