Part 2

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I have to get behind this lot, it’s important for national unity and all that. The staff of my local all have England shirts on and I get the message. There are players I would love at United, most of them have decent hair cuts already so it would make the move to Manchester easier for them.

England expects – some how the public expect them to win the thing. Drinkwater, a premier league winner is not in the squad… Wilshire, this generations sick note is in the squad. Chris Smalling is too. It’s not too long before I start hoping our lads avoid injury and drama. We know what happens when England crash out and it’s down to a United player don’t we? That player gets vilified. Rooney will be ok if England make him the scapegoat – United fans have been ripping into him for a while now. Taken some a while to give him credit, it has.

Woy seems to find him undroppable too. A fun tournament awaits then.

The landlord of my local thinks he has to find a white charger because his phone is white. As that example of phone racism sinks in Harry Kane puts the ball in the net but the whistle had already gone. I’m tapped on the shoulder and told by someone that he and I could beat Russia on our own. I’ve had fewer injuries than Jamie Redknapp and less operations than Jack Wilshire and he’s in France! By that reckoning I should win the balon d’Orr.

Bring on the fireball shots

See you in part 3

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Part 1

Ok so the European championships are in France this year and yet again I have to get used to seeing my boys, United boys, in another shirt playing alongside players I could swear they detest during the league season. It might be easier to get my head around this year given that there is no John Terry and no Steven Gerrard. Those England fans who detest Wayne Rooney even when he plays for England? Well done, I applaud the consistency. I hope the United boys do well, Marcus Rashford is a little genius and if I accept that Woy will play players all over the place in order to accommodate Wayne Rooney then this might not descend into a hail of sarcasm and bitterness.

They’ve got Joe Hart. I have to cheer a City player ?

Sarcasm and bitterness it is then.

First to the Wales game though. I dont think there is anyone left in Wales and the BBC have snapped up all the celebrity ones for their coverage. I see Hartson, Saunders, Savage… that’s the lot isn’t it ? And Gareth Bale. You know all the scoring pressure lies on him. The first major tournament game in ages for Wales, you knew he would score it.

The Wales fans sing ARE YOU WATCHING, ENGLAND?

England are in the same group, and this is game 1. It’s not the final of a competition Wales knocked England out of, both teams are still in it: there’s nothing to gloat at yet, Wales.

Wales win, well done… and Bale only scored one of them! Throw a national party.

I’ll write part two as England play and there may be drink consumed. Fair warning.

Strings of Life

Ferguson, Moyes, Van Gaal, Mourinho, Best, Cantona, Keane, Blind, Mata…. Zlatan

Comings and goings are part of football – rhythm is rhythm

Sunday, May 19th 2013 – the last day of the season and the last match in the managerial career of Sir Alex Ferguson; it was at the Hawthorns against West Brom and it ended five all. FIVE ALL. It was a downright bonkers match and seemingly the result of Sir Alex’s pre-match encouragement to ‘go and express yourselves’, they certainly did that. Maybe, just maybe it was the last time Manchester United showed themselves in a real attacking way.
Saturday, May 21st 2016 – Manchester United win the FA Cup final against Crystal Palace, Louis Van Gaal winning the first trophy since the end of the Ferguson era and losing his job hours later. In the intervening three years United have become a laughing-stock; David Moyes’ management made our world-class players second guess themselves, apparently his coaching methods and dossiers would focus on so many positive aspects of the opposition, the United squad would leave team meetings thinking Crystal Palace had turned into Barcelona.

sharpemcclaircantona_zpseaiktujcLouis Van Gaal came across with more promise and in the end did not deliver us to a position much higher than that of laughing-stock. It’s unfair to call him clueless, it’s perhaps nicer to say that whatever ideas were in his head never quite made it to the match day football pitch. I am glad he is gone, he had to go, it seems ruthless to do so as quickly as we did but such is life; Van Gaal knew the industry he was in.

Jose will do a lot right at Manchester United. His methods have a lot of fans worried and a lot of players are seeking assurances, sorry if this sounds cold, but all of this is good to hear. I like the idea that certain players are looking over their shoulder, I think some of them were never United quality and that some buys were only brought in because they played at a level a previous manager knew and was comfortable with. The wilderness years (they weren’t really, were they, but go with it) need to end and end now but they have changed my views on certain things.

Will he play United’s way, is he a United type? Leave all that at the door please. The men in charge of this decision saw fit to give the keys to Camelot to DAVID MOYES on the say so of Sir Alex Ferguson, the same Ferguson who had doubts about Jose. He chose DAVID MOYES. He told David Moyes that he was the next manager of Manchester United. I thank him for everything he has done in bringing my football team where we are, but he needs to sit down and be quiet. DAVID MOYES. Sir Alex has forfeited his right to express his opinion.

Juan Mata. I love Juan Mata. He comes across like he knows what playing for Manchester United is about. I’m sure he does. He’s a lovely guy by all accounts but that doesn’t change the fact that, like Van Gaal, he knows the business he got into. Jose has a history of getting rid of Juan Mata so our Spanish genius is allowed to wonder if the same will happen now. Probably. And I’ll be sad but I’ve lost Kanchelskis when I didn’t want to, Ince when I didn’t want to, Alan Smith when I didn’t want to, the man in charge decided it was time to go and they went. We will move on from the loss by buying a player of equal or better quallity. They decided to bench Best, he decided he’d move on. We moved on from Eric Cantona in terms of quality, there have been better players at OT since the Frenchman said au reviour, none have meant the same to me personally, he is the King, but we did move on from him.
Daley Blind almost made Mourinho’s mind up for him by speaking out in support of Louis Van Gaal. It’s commendable, on some level but on another more realistic level you cannot have a player appear to call out the upper level management on the way they handle anything. An ex player mouthing off is bad enough, you wish they just leave the memories alone, but a player currently on club books cannot say the things attributed to Blind. Players do grow a set when they are with their international squads, Blind’s pair appear to have gained him a first class ticket out of Manchester.

I want Manchester United to be the best they can be, I’m sorry that certain players had their Old Trafford years while we were shit and won’t taste the glory that might be about to come back – but they have Man United on their CV so I’m sure they will be fine. The same applies to Ryan Giggs, we have to leave at the door his history with us – it’s as a player for one thing, he has yet to achieve anything as a coach and he has been part of the backroom at Old Trafford during not one but two disastrous periods. He may achieve good things as a coach, but he will have to do that away from us for now. The reports that he is “disappointed” not to be considered for the main job can be believed but I have to ask, how big is Ryan Giggs’ ego for him to be thinking he was in with a legitimate shout of the managing at Manchester United. Someday maybe, not now. He may be dissapointed and surprised, I was not.

Thanks for the memories, Ryan, my God they were good. We love you.

At the end of the day, there is one thing to bear in mind; players come and go, they smack you with brilliance and then depart and most of them ride of into the sunset without opening their gobs and ruining their mystique. Managers come and go, this one will go, eventually, hopefully at the end of a haul of silverware and the start of a period of continued dominance; the foundations laid to rule Britannia, once again.

The fans are Manchester United, we will be here for every game next season and beyond – you cannot leave your football team (OK so you can, some United fans have proven that too now I come to think of it, splitters).

Welcome back, Manchester United – let’s go and sign Ibrahimovic – he’s an arrogant SOB and I’m going to love him, WE are going to love him. It’ll be a good ride, hold on tight.

Manchester United Appoint Mourinho

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That sentence felt good to write, it says a lot as it is but it packs an unwritten punch too. If you don’t believe me, just look at the reaction to all the fans of other teams on social media since it became clear that it was happening; rumours had Manchester United causing a stir and rival fans were lining up ready to tell anyone how much of a difference it wouldn’t make. “Big ego, good, c*nt of a club, they both deserve each other”, a managerial appointment can evidently have such an effect on everyone else. I don’t know any Manchester United fan who has even asked anyone’s opinion, but whether sought or unsought, we’ve got it from them. I have one word for this lot; good. Keep it coming.

Hated – that never gets old for fans of Manchester United, it’s an emotion that is followed by the equal and opposite reaction from those who bleed red and white…

Adored – you know you do, that’s why this last three years have been so painful.

The media stir since the FA Cup Final has proved one final thing… Never Ignored.

It was seemingly impossible to ignore us even when we were shit, three years of “wilderness” football that comes nowhere near the actual wilderness years we’ve experienced in our history. Everyone laughed when we appointed David Moyes, we’ve all seen the meme of David in his office, “I have no idea what I’m doing”, oh how they laughed; and they were right to do so. They laughed during the Dutchman’s reign at Old Trafford too. The ‘most memorable moment’ lists that surfaced as Louis Van Gaal was relieved of his job made humorous reading; yes he got the players’ names wrong and he had a few funny phrases which didn’t really translate very well into English, he played wingers in defence, midfielders up front and strikers on the wing, and then there’s the other Wings. Funny stuff.

It seems today that you cannot confirm a story without talking to an ex United player wearing a cap in the middle of a game of golf; Scholes and Schmiechel were amongst those asked today.

But Manchester United appoint Jose Mourinho.

No one’s laughing now are they!

 

Red and Write – A Case for the Defence

The Pedro and Otamendi deals hit the Manchester United fanbase hard. After months of replying to the every tweet from the club account with desperate pleas for them to announce the signings of these two players, they have ended up at title rivals Chelsea and Manchester City respectively. The Argentine and Spaniard were seen as the answers to the team’s main issues: centre back and attack. In the past two years, Old Trafford has seen an evacuation of experienced defenders with Rio Ferdinand allowed to leave for free and Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra securing moves to Serie A clubs. In attack, this summer has seen the once talismanic figures of Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao leave with little fuss whilst the club record signing Angel di Maria left for Paris in a less quiet fashion. At first glance it appears that there are gaps at both ends of the pitch that United must patch. However, this may not be the case.

Louis Van Gaal’s first season in charge was punctuated by defensive mishaps. The enduring images of the season will be the misguided attempt to introduce 3-5-2, the MK Dons humiliation in the league cup and that comeback by Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. The last of these seemed to have a huge effect on the Dutch manager’s attitude and from then on there was a new emphasis placed on physicality and defensive solidity. United then failed to keep a clean sheet in their next five games until Michael Carrick’s return to the team in November against Crystal Palace. This is where the case for United’s defence kicks in.

Continue reading “Red and Write – A Case for the Defence”

The Magic ‘Keeper Theory

David De Gea is becoming a subject. He was going to move, it was all but done in terms of our acceptance – I was all ready to wish him well and watch him go. I was at Old Trafford for the last home game of last season and I tell you now, not since Eric Cantona graced that stage have I ever watched a player so intensely. I was looking for anything, disinterest, too long clapping at half time, too much time looking around the stadium, I don’t know what I was looking for but some kind of indication that he was leaving. As it happens he limped off and everyone around me filed the biggest lot of conspiracy theories since Oswald ‘shot JFK’. He came back for the parade thing at the end of the match and I watched his head go back, and to the left, back and to the left, back and to the left… talking to Ashley Young. The single biggest piece of business we had to do that summer was, I thought, keeping David De Gea.

Continue reading “The Magic ‘Keeper Theory”

Seven and the Ragged Tiger

SO that was the summer. Falcao went but we expected him to be off, Nani went too but he had been on loan so long you probably forgot we even still owned him.  The pea came back, a bit hairier than I remember him and whilst it’s fair to say the break was in both parties’ best interests I am glad to see it wasn’t a break up. There may still be some United resurrection for  Javier, that is something which Angel Di Maria didn’t need, want, look for or deserve quite frankly; whether he was unsettled in Manchester or unhappy at United (tried engineering a move to the blue lot across the road, did he? Snake), I care not – it nosedived spectacularly for that boy but I do think the new number seven will be fine with standing on the shoulders of giants. For a while it did seem like no one would be good enough, Robson, Beckham, Ronaldo… who could possibly follow that? United saw fit to bring the 7 down a peg or two, in the modern world it was perhaps becoming the Raheem Stirling of squad numbers; too big for its boots, so we cleansed it, with Michael Owen. Then there was the time Tony V was too scared, we gave it to Angel Di Maria – for all of one year. Following David Beckham, Ronaldo? New occupant Memphis might be a little scared, but following that Argentinian piece of work? I’m quite sure Memphis tra la la’d into Big L’s office and said “thanks boss, I can definitely follow that!”

Continue reading “Seven and the Ragged Tiger”