Bizarre Love Triangle (Spurs P2)


We knew the knives would be out following the Tottenham defeat but I felt a very real sense of togetherness and pride. Don’t get me wrong, I would prefer for that sense to swell within me after a 5:0 victory where United have literally played the opposition off the park (Arsenal 8:2, Ipswich 9:0, City 5:0) and it feels bizarre that such a stirring comes after a loss but that’s where we are. We got a performance to be proud of; if any of Lukaku’s chances go in it’s a different game. On a different day at the very least we’re either a goal up thanks to Rose’s back pass or we’re level seconds after Harry Kane’s superb header found the net.

“I wouldn’t be worried if at half time we were winning three nil, at half time the result should be three nil, three one, two nil, we were so so so much the best team in the first half”
“When you play the way you play, when you create what you create, when you miss the chances that we missed… at half time everybody was frustrated but totally convinced that we were going to win the match. Even with the unexpected two nil, the way the team kept playing until the third goal arrived. My message to the players has to be a positive message and I’m really happy, humbled, by the way the supporters reacted to the boys.”

It seems that most of United’s support that night were reading the same script; Jose spending some time applauding the Stretford End was the moment we needed. It felt like a turning point. It felt like a man thanking the core support for staying to support him and the team, despite all the questions they probably had, all the confusion they all felt, and all the anger they wanted to direct somewhere. Remove yourself from the he makes more money, I need more money, I want a centre back he won’t let me have one BS ; take away all the drama and we have a defiant manager and fans willing to stand with him.

There is no brainwashing involved here. We know Jose isn’t perfect, the rational amongst us aren’t saying he’s the messiah but the issues aren’t all down to him so pardon me for thinking that men in ties in the boardroom should shoulder as much if not more blame than a coach who seems to have been crucified for at one point believing there might be a United player in Victor Lindelof. This week I’ve heard from our own fans that the board were correct not to sanction moves for any of the players Jose wanted and Victor is one of the poor sods they always mention. Perhaps in another team in another season he would have been able to acclimatise in the shadows but he’s shown a weakness and it has been exploited. If opposing players are cash strapped students, Victor Lindelof is the broken cash machine that keeps paying out. When they get so much joy from him, our opposition will continue to ask questions of him. He’s been crushed in front of us, and as much as the staff will shield him, he’ll have to improve in front of us too.

Publicly though, Jose is refusing to put that weight onto Victor’s shoulders. When asked about him, Jose built a wall;”My team played so well and strategically we were so so so so good and you want to try and transform this press conference in a situation of lets blame the guy.” before going on to ask the media what they wanted from a Jose Mourinho team;

“I’m sorry, you have to tell me what is the most important thing because I don’t know. When I win matches I come here many times and you are not happy that I won matches and you say that the most important thing is the way of playing. You need to make a decision because I need to know from you… if it is to play well or it is to win matches, play offensively or for a certain result.”

When the press asked him what went wrong on Monday night, he asked them if they had seen the goals. What else can he say. They asked him if he knew what his best back four was at this moment in time, Jose’s answer here too was direct and to the point; “No.” He did then elaborate on the partnerships he’s had to mix and match, Lindelof and Bailly, Jones and Smalling, there is a suggestion that Rojo comes back into the side as soon as he is available but Jose is working with what he has available.

Some would suggest that Jose cannot be trusted with the money, but that idea is alien to me. It suggests that a manager is clearly no longer able to make purchases, try them and move them on if they don’t fit in as expected. Every manager makes what turns into a bad move transfer wise, for every Eric Cantona and Ole Solskjaer there is a Nick Powell, Jordi Cruyff, Adnan Januzaj, Garry Birtles.

SIR ALEX FERGUSON SIGNED BEBE for crying out loud!
The United board have to back him now, they should have backed him in the transfer market. Offering a manager a new contract and telling him they don’t trust his ideas for new signings is bizarre but this circus is what we are all having to deal with now. For his part I think Jose’s reaction has been outstanding. He went over to Luke Shaw and he applauded the fans, Jose knew the cameras were on him and yes it was done partially with that attention in mind because it put him with us. He’s not been shy in laying the blame for the lack of new signings right at Ed Woodward’s door, he spoke the words, we saw the action and now it feels as though he’s standing on our side of the picket line.

“My message was the same as the supporters”, said Jose afterwards, “the message that the supporters gave to the players was my message, was the same.”

Jose told the media he was happy with the attitude of his team and he was (mostly) correct. He was full of praise for the fans and he was correct there too; “Goals are an amazing vitamin, or an overdose of fatigue.”  The players are with him, the majority of fans are with him, the board are backing him (now), in reality this could be an uneasy truce, I’m sure some journalists will continue to right sentences about insiders and use phrases like “it is believed” but I want to believe we are United.

“One thing we know”, says Jose, “the team is United”.


The bizarre love triangle continues, the results will come. GTS

(if you want more, try these from the archives)

True Faith

United: Love it or Leave It

© 2018 Simon Andrew Moult / Moultymedia. Many thanks for your support.

They Cancelled Eldorado

man-utd-chief-ed-woodward-1005548Wanting to leave United should NOT be the deciding factor in becoming Captain.

We need One Choir singing from  One Hymn sheet not an out of key Choir Boy!

Enough soap opera. They all represent Manchester United and need to remember that.

It’s a tale as old as time. Big money movies, small screen soap operas; men in suits think they have a winning idea, they stick loads of money in it, make it look more glamorous than anything you have ever seen, they really stick the full weight of the machine behind it; so convinced are the men in suits that this is going to win everyone over and make a connection. But it the grand plan doesn’t connect with people! Do you know what happened next? Flop! King Arthur, flop! An English soap opera set in Spain, all the glamour, who cares about anything else! Well the BBC cancelled Eldorado.

Manchester United is the latest soap opera to hit your screens; the disconnect between the board and the manager and arguably the players has been rivotting or painful to watch and much like Manchesterford’s finest, Acorn Antiques, we have had key players failing to follow the script. At least Victoria Wood’s world within a world was funny – what’s happening at Old Trafford is not.
The he said, they said, he said nonsense shows no sign of going anywhere and I’d rather not discuss it but I will because it’s indicative of what is going wrong at Manchester United.
Last week, James Cooper goes on Sky Sports reading a statement; United are “insensed” at rumours of a bust up between Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho, “they are telling me there was no bust up” says Cooper who then goes on to suggest that idea is “nonsense” and that the “relationship between the two is good”.
For his part Sun Journalist Neil Custis was of the opinion that this was an attempt to “knock down” a story under orders from the United press office. The journalist seems to suggest that if James Cooper had spoken to Custis before going on camera armed with the red tinted defence, the story may well have been different. Neil Custis stood behind his story, the rift is clear and present; manager and midfielder are at odds.
Jose Mourinho takes to the microphone at his Friday press conference and tells the press not to make up lies. Jose is pretty clear; there was apparently No fight, no exchange of words, no problems at all. Jose cannot say enough nice things about the world cup winner and captain of his team; “I cannot demand more from him, I cannot ask more from him I want him to play well, I want him to play for the team.”
In days gone by if there was a sniff of a story and our manager gave that kind of reponse, the story would have died and we would have all been able to concentrate on the football but we are in different times. When Jose comments on the HUGE news that David De Gea is committing his long term future to Manchester United he says “it was a collective situation involving the player, the agent and Manchester United. The agent didn’t create a war to achieve his objectives. He respected the club, he respected the player.”


Jose might well have heaped praise on his captain, but in praising his goalkeeper and the conduct of the agent (Jorge Mendes, by the way, who also represents Mourinho), he also managed to park a double decker bus at the door of Paul Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola. This ability to aim a verbal laserbeam with pinpoint presicsion in this way was a thing of beauty in one respect becuase i’ve always wanted to believe Paul Pogba wanted to be at Manchester United specifically and that his head was being turned by the agent. I’ve supported Manchester United long enough to know that I’m naive in this respect but I never want to lose this naivity; representing Manchester United should mean everything to anyone lucky enough to do so. So I want to believe it means the world to Pogba, and I want to believe that because he’s ‘one of our own’ it means as much to him as it meant to players like Paul Scholes or Denis Irwin, players for whom contract negotiations seemed to be the player asking the chairman for a pen.
The fact that Manchester United told the world they were angry is a giveaway that there is something to know, but the manager does not need to get on with a player in order for them to do a job . Sir Alex and Eric Cantona may have had the arm round the shoulder relationship but Wayne Rooney and Sir Alex did not. Rooney told the Telegraph in 2015 “it’s not just me who has had a fall out with Alex Ferguson. I think many players have. Some have left some have stayed”, this after it was revealed by Rooney that he spoke to his manager about looking for a move if Sir Alex’s plans no longer included the striker. When the issues are no longer repairable, and say, a football boot is kicked in the face of our poster boy, poster boy is soon in Madrid doing keepy uppies in the sun or Jaap Stam signs for Lazio and looks very happy about it… not.
No one is bigger than Manchester United and while they represent that shirt they have my support because I want to believe that they know what it means. I want to believe we are singing one song, from one hymn sheet.

On Sunday quite a few of the choir boys were off key and instead of being cancelled the soap opera was commisioned for another week of episodes. It was within their power to put it all down, regardless of the issues, everyone had said the right things and the team had the ability to fire a message to Neil Custis, James Cooper, Kevin Palmer, everyone; IGNORE THE SOAP OPERA IT IS THE FOOTBALL THAT COUNTS.
There is no distraction from the tension now because on the pitch we were poor. Defensively we switched off. Ashley Young stepped up to shadow Solly March but backed off him, he found enough space to find Murray, with a flick of the boot Brighton were a goal up and questions were being asked of Viktor Lindleof. Within minutes it was 2:0, Gross with the corner, United failed to fully deal with the danger and Duffy finds the corner with a strike better than it has any right to be. United very quickly not just on the ropes (the back four certainly were) but in danger of being out for the count before the half time break. This fear was realised with a 44th minute penalty; Eric Bailly brought down Pascal Gross who took the penalty and may well have been lucky given that it struck De Gea’s legs, next week that bounces to safety perhaps but on Sunday it put United 3:1 down. Forgive me for not focusing on the positives because I couldn’t find any.


Jose’s post match comments were centred around making “too many mistakes” and those mistakes giving “happinness and confidence to Brighton, taken from us” he also told reporters he would not go in the direction of being critical to his players, when elaborating he said that he had in the past been too honest and open and would now only speak about his players when they have had good days.
On Sunday Jose “was not expecting big mistakes” but his captain Paul Pogba told reporters “the attitude that we had is not like we wanted to beat them”, before putting himself first in the firing line for that criticism; “I put myself first, my attitude wasnt right.” Of course, I put myself first could be a staggeringly self aware moment of clarity from our midfielder, but I think he means it more as the buck stops here.
I like the fact that Jose is doing all his negative / realistic work behind closed doors and I like the fact that in the wake of this response another hopefully more succesful shut down will occur but his captain mentioned attitude three times in his Sky Sports interview and the press are quick to pick up on his crumbs that the team was not correctly prepared. Pogba suggests a “big lesson” has been learned after that defeat. United were humbled many times last season, we all had to pick ourselves up and hope for better next time, Brighton clinched survival on the back of our bad day at the office last season in this same fixture.
United have had embarrasments; yesterday shouldn’t have been a big lesson, anyone who needed to learn another “big lesson” should look at themselves in the mirror. Are they really good enough to play for us?


We need United players who are going to turn up and try – and collapse on the floor at the final whistle because they are feeling the dissapointment of every supporter. I thank Paul for stepping up and taking the bullet with his it starts with me comments, I agree – it does, but there are plenty who watched yesterday and think he doesn’t give a crap. There are plenty out there who thinks United’s is just the fattest pay cheque and if he’s not taking ours it will be someone else’s. I think Paul makes a good captain, he would have made a better one without all this going on because now it’s reactive not pro-active. I long for the days when allegedly wanting to leave Manchester United was not the key factor it getting you the armband.
We are years away from winning the league but I want to believe that Paul Pogba wants to be part of our rebuilding. There are those that suggest otherwise. I want to believe that Jose Mourinho is part of our rebuilding, there are those that suggest otherwise. Love him or hate him Jose needs the players to do better. But not one person comes out of Sunday’s horror show with any credit, Jose bought the two central defenders that were ripped apart, Paul Pogba is again the focus and off the field is again where the story lies, Ed Woodward shoulders monumental blame too.
The Spanish transfer window closes on August the 31st and United are soon to appoint a Director of Football so the moves Ed Woodward makes next are going to tell us how this soap opera ends – roll credits.


All That They Have

THIS summer, thanks to England and the World Cup we all got taken on a fantastic ride, whether we truly believed ‘it’ was coming home or not, I don’t know, but it is easy to be sceptical and game by game all of that went. I wouldn’t say club colours fully disappeared but I enjoyed the sense I felt as I watched England progress. I thought the season’s positivity might some how bleed into the Premier League season and that it might benefit Manchester United.

How wrong could I have been? Well it turns out some people place huge importance on Pre Season, who knew? We beat Real Madrid, and we lost to Liverpool (I think, I can’t honestly tell you, but I remember the reaction to our pre season was in the main quite negative). It felt like we were being written off before a serious ball had been kicked: written off by fans in the same foxhole as us.
I support Manchester United. Not a group of players, not a specific player, not a specific manager. Jose Mourinho is the manager of my football team, therefore he is my manager. The fact that he seems to boil the piss of our rivals is humorous, the fact that he admits that the match-day battle commences at the pre-match press conference is glorious. He makes mistakes, he has made mistakes and he will no doubt make more in the coming season but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with anything he has said during pre-season.
We have a football manager in charge of a brand, and it feels as though while our manager and our coaches are on the pitch trying to make us successful on the pitch, he and they are coming up against men in suits, their only job is to continue the success of the brand. It seems as though success on that green stuff is a long way down the list. Not so long ago I did wonder how far I would like us to go to get rid of that brand mentality; maybe losing a few games isn’t that bad, would relegation be that bad? It might well lose us a few of the overseas fans and possibly when the men in suits see that we aren’t flogging much merch in Hoboken and LA then we wouldn’t be beholden to the sponsors in that area and we wouldn’t need to go over there and keep them all happy. Brilliant. So let’s get relegated right? That would solve everything wouldn’t it! Yes, wait…what?
I snapped myself out of that staggering frame of mind pretty quickly once I had followed that thinking through to its conclusion; supporting the self harm of your football club is not the answer.
Jose and his ability to work with those above him will determine whether and for how long he stays at Old Trafford. His ability to work with those in his squad is not as fragile as some might have you believe; Luke Shaw delivered a performance to be proud of on friday night, he has admitted himself he feels free to attack more and be the player Manchester United saw when they bought him. Paul Pogba talks about needing to be trusted to be happy, Jose made the man captain on Friday night and Paul responded with an 80 minute performance to impress everyone. He also spoke after the game about moving on from the world cup victory, and working to get better. If the fact he has a world cup medal in his garage at home is “not enough” and he wants to achieve more, then we want him at Old Trafford. We need the confident Pogba who told Sanchez that he wasn’t taking the penalty, even though “I know what I hear after if I miss!”
Bailly did well, Shaw, Darmian, Pogba even Andreas Pereira, I don’t care why they are performing so well only that they are. If they are doing so to shut Jose up then so be it, Manchester United benefits.
Jose has a vision, after the victory on Friday night he spoke of seeing “glimpses of the football we want to try and play” and how they “dealt with problems as a team”. Leave all the I make more money than you do, board room bullshit out of it; we can be happy.
There’s a way about certain United fans these days that seems to think it’s impossible for anyone to complain about how things are because the ‘bad’ they speak of isn’t anywhere near as bad as it has been in the past. When performances have been bad, and Dad and I have driven away from Old Trafford and he looks at me and says “it’s not as bad as when we were relegated”. For the modern generation of United fans this is a slump, even though it’s not a down period with the drama of the past that’s fine, I’m not sure younger fans need to experience United in the conference leagues in order for their opinions to be seen as valid ones. It’s perfectly okay to moan, but moan when the season starts – and moan when they give you reason.


While there were of course things to work on from Friday night, the team played well, questions were asked of players by the manager and they responded.
“I asked them, give me what you have.”

It’s all any of us ask. GTS