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


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!


Rooney, Songs and Perfect Jogging

The pomp and occasion that would meet the occasion of United’s first home game under a new manager missing a little on Monday night. Maybe it died a death in a shallow grave under the Wayne Rooney issue, because I don’t buy that it was a sleepy affair because it came so soon into the season. You watch United against Liverpool and see whether that’s even remotely half arsed. In fairness it got better in the second half and wasn’t as sleep inducing on the television as I remember it being in person but still.

Wayne Rooney was professional, nothing more. He was cheered though and the Chelsea fans clearly enjoyed adding his name to their repertoire. Whether they actually want him I don’t know but no team in their right mind would turn him down. He makes a squad or a team stronger. The fact he played at all and was subbed, said a lot. I think United have done what they needed to do here. A lot of fans seem to think anyone will stay at their club for reasons mirroring their own dedication to the team. In this day and age that is unlikely. Wayne Rooney will not have found a deep love for Manchester United if he hasn’t already got one. He’s probably not had an epiphany, he’s had a look at his contract and counted the bonus he is on for loyalty and not submitting a formal transfer request. That story is in the Daily Mirror and I have no doubt that it, or something like it has dawned in our number 10’s organically stitched previously marble melon. He thanked us for our response, but we are a smart lot and we realise that unless horrifically injured, Wayne Rooney in your side is better than Wayne Rooney out of it; whoever he was trying to make the point to.

Monday night put that boy Wayne centre stage and yes he ran everywhere and tried, but it shouldn’t mask the real team issues. When will we leave Ryan Giggs on the bench as a coach and give the job of ignighting the team’s spark to someone else? Pip Nev has retired so we won’t see him in there if Anderson ever puffs out his cheeks and needs to depart the action, knackered, by the sixth minute mark. The fact that Ryan hasn’t retired and we can still call on him, doesn’t mean we always should. It’s a double edged sword, like in music where you may agree that no one will ever get close to the impact of the Beatles but that realisation might also make you a little sad. Can no one even get close by now? Not to his record or his legacy maybe but, someone needs to step up and create their own.

‘Tis the season for change, after all. GTS

Faster Sooner Now

YEARS ago I remember thinking that pre season was the time that the squad got back together; the new players came in and you’d end up watching something that resembled the team you followed, in some poorly attended friendly in the rain at Marine FC.

Then it was like pre-season got all polished and United are invited to open Wolves’ new stadium (very impressive it was too) and play a team that included former United player and manager’s son Darren. Former as in, he used to play for United, not that he stopped being Alex’s son, you understand. I’ll move on!

Before you know it pre-season gets positively glossy, and we end up with Manchester United visiting South Africa for games against the Kaiser Chiefs (who later faired much better when they decided to focus on the music). Who remembers the year we went to Ireland for what must have been positive money spinners against teams like Shelbourne? Now the jet set Pre season is almost as hectic as the regular season itself. Commitments to fly here, there and open this stadium, and that car door, can weigh a team down.

Continue reading “Faster Sooner Now”

“Play For The Shirt, Lads”

A season of fantastic highs and occasional lows essentially came to an end on Sunday with Chelsea’s draw at the Arsenal confirming Manchester United as the champions of England for a ninth time in the Premiership. Manchester United fans all around the world deserve to shout it out loud and truly revel in this moment because this has been a well earned success when few outside Man United actually predicted it. The ‘special one’ himself at various times in the season predicted that the table was false and that his Chelsea team would eventually topple United from the top and eventually win the league. They got close on a few occasions especially when our injury list got longer, and I actually believe that if we had been removed from top spot, Chelsea would have gone on to win the league. That they didn’t says an awful lot for our players, the ones that get the headlines and the ones that do not. I’m speaking specifically here of Darren Fletcher, who I have been critical of in the past but who, even I will admit, has risen to the challenge in recent weeks. Such players may not be first team material on a week in week out basis and there were times I wondered why we kept such average players around even for the bench. The fact that we did shows why Alex Ferguson is the manager and I am not. We built a team mentality that was not based on superstars in every role, but was instead based on players playing for the shirt whenever and wherever they were required.  You do not need twenty two headline grabbers!

Continue reading ““Play For The Shirt, Lads””

It’s Not the Size of the Gap, It’s What You Do With it That Counts!

In this, the season of good will to all men and fellow supporters in this wonderful league of ours, I thought I would make a return to Mancunia to say thank you to all the rival fans for their reaction to our own Cristiano Ronaldo. After the world cup we wondered if we had seen the last of Ronnie in United red. So did Sir Alex, according to an exclusive interview done by Rollin Reds (the magazine for United’s disabled supporters), after that incident he was texting Cristiano and receiving no reply. Fergie feared the worst, agents getting involved, not being able to speak directly, the news was saying that Ronaldo was ignoring his club and for a second Sir Alex believed it. Then he realised that he had been texting his old number!!!!

When he did get in contact with him it was clear there was never any intention to leave our club, and so he just had to prepare himself for the reaction from rival supporters. We as United fans have been through this before with David Beckham and we watched him grow and grow into a player that the world would know. Ronaldo is following the same path (by all accounts a move to Real Madrid at some point wouldn’t be too out of the question for him either) and the lad seems to thrive on all the boo antics. Against Aston Villa he scored a goal didn’t look too far removed from one that Ryan Giggs may have scored a few years back, or George Best (back when he could be arsed to play) and all round he is playing the best I have seen from  him.

Continue reading “It’s Not the Size of the Gap, It’s What You Do With it That Counts!”

…Than Be A City Fan!

Job done in the derby, Stuart Pearce tried some half arsed mind games with his “this means more to City fans” comment. I think he was right, though not for the reason he thought. It meant more to City fans because it was one of their two chances each season to drag themselves up and feel good but for us it was just another hurdle in our way, the opposition did not matter. I was not as geared up for aManchesterderby so much as I was for the chance to put Chavski under a little bit more pressure than usual. Slick Rick Jose said there was no pressure and that it was a fake table because they have games in hand. Funnily enough I remember another such occasion when the tales were reversed and we had games in hand and Jose stood there cool as ice and said that games in hand did not matter, to have the points in the bag was the main thing. What a difference a year makes. Managers everywhere are guilty of the rose coloured spectacles on some days, Arsene Whinger more than most and much as I like Jose, it’s nice to know that we are messing with his head if only a little bit.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Michael Carrick deserve mention from Saturday, they both continue to impress me in their roles and Carrick spread a few passes around as yet more proof that he is settling in. Ronaldo’s supply is better than it has been and the end product is there. It wasn’t one of Wayne Rooney’s great games but on his worst days he is better than many rival players so he can still add to our team.

For one brief moment on Sunday I began thinking that it would be possible for Arsenal to do us a huge favour. I didn’t expect anything for them fromStamfordBridge and fully expected the gap to be closed by a maximum points haul from that lot, starting with the Gooners. However, Arsenal went for it and at least caused a stumble in the Champions. Credit where credit is due their equaliser was some goal, and a two points dropped is better than nothing.

I think that Jose’s post match comments were interesting, telling everyone who would listen that the gap would be five points on Thursday morning and that Newcastle, as good as they are, should expect a spanking. I agree with Jose, Newcastle will crumble.