…And The Living Is Easy… – Manchester 4th August 2016

Summertime…and the living is easy…fish are jumping and the cotton is high… (George Gershwin 1934)

United in blue and Wigan in white at the DW stadium on 16th July. The DW stadium by the way is named after Dave Whelan; a little known fact is that Whelan broke his leg in the 1960 FA Cup Final

After a Summer of easy living and virtually non-stop football, the new season is nearly upon us once again. So a big fat hurrah for that.

It seems like only yesterday since Manchester United’s glorious victory over Crystal Palace and the whole two minutes it was celebrated for before word leaked out over Louis van Gaal’s forthcoming dismissal. I’d love to know just what kind of knobheads we have in our support who thought it was a good idea to boo van Gaal every time his kite came up on the big screen at Wembley. Those wankers got their wishes almost seconds after the final whistle when the wholly accurate rumour that van Gaal was to be sacked was splashed by the BBC website.

Under the circumstances, very dignified

As Reds, we all pride ourselves on the United way (whatever that is) and all the righteous posturing that it allows us, but this showed a breathtaking lack of class. Whatever you or I think of the previous manager (or the monotonous football his side played) and no matter how much we wanted him replaced, as a manager who had just won the FA Cup for United, was booing the sight of him a show of fans with class? We all laughed at Manchester City fans singing “you can stick your Pellegrini up your arse” at Wembley in 2013 and at the Scousers for their open disdain of Roy Hodgson in 2010/11. Reds would never do that we all thought; we were kidding ourselves.

Palace fans on the left, reds on the right of Wembley way on cup final day (photo courtesy of Debbie Manley)

The intended appointment of Jose Mourinho was then held up by a disagreement with Chelsea as they owned his image rights. Can you imagine if they played hardball and United’s appointment of Mourinho was scuppered by image rights? Welcome to football 2016. Coming up next, a debate about Carlos Tevez’s image rights…

Four weeks after Mourinho’s appointment and the day of the EU referendum, a once-brave Manchester was rocked by a headline in the Manchester Evening News saying: “Mourinho Frustrated By Transfer Strategy”. As we nervously read through this brilliantly sourced story by the ever resourceful Samuel Luckhurst, we learnt in the 8th paragraph that he was actually still on holiday (in the Maldives). Luckhurst obviously had a hotline to Mourinho’s base on the island. While 51.9% of the country were driven to the pub in a German made car to drink Belgian beer and eat Danish bacon to celebrate “taking back control”, United fans were hiding in a cave to await the announcement of Paul Pogba’s (of France) signature. I’m not too sure as nobody has said. I’ve only just stuck my head out of a peephole after hiding for nearly six weeks – has he signed yet?

More good news was to follow for English Brexiteers when, four days after the vote, the England team decided to follow suit and free themselves from the shackles of European slavery by gallantly losing to the mighty Iceland in Nice. The players, expecting a heroes’ welcome for their bravery, were reportedly bemused by the angry reaction and being branded a disgrace by a nation that had just voted out of Europe.

In the Sun, Raheem Sterling was castigated for showing off his wealth in a private photograph, which the Sun themselves paid money for to publish. The coup-de-grace (can I still say that after the EU vote?) though, as Football365 pointed out was when the Sun sneered about Sterling taking people around a mansion before pointing out in the 39th paragraph that it might not have been his own house anyway.

Golden television, this is the highlight of the Euro’s

As if by magic, the Sun then scraped the depths (even by their own shitty standards) by putting a photograph of Wayne Rooney’s six year old son, who was photographed crying, on the front page the morning after the Iceland match.

Worse was to come however when, much to the nation’s disgust, Rooney was photographed on a jet ski in Formentera, mere days after England’s Euro exit, which is what I thought people wanted anyway. An outraged nation seethed as Rooney, who obviously should’ve stayed at home with his curtains drawn and had his phones cut off in penance, had the gall to go on holiday.

On July 1st, in the aftermath of the England exit, the transfer junkies were sated by the signing of the endearingly unassuming Zlatan Ibrahimovich. To nobody’s surprise, Ryan Giggs announced his departure from United and, reading the press, you’d be forgiven for thinking the banks of the Irwell were bursting with the tears of a Mancunian public as he sailed off into the ITV punditry sunset. (It was raining and we weren’t.)

Early June saw United also recruit Eric Bailly. Having seen Bailly in pre-season matches (I know, I know…), he looks like a classic Mourinho player. Strong, skilful and calm, he deals with attacking forwards with a nonchalant efficiency, reminiscent of Jaap Stam.

Five days after Ibrahimovich’s signing, United signed Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund.  I must admit to knowing next to fuck all about Mkhitaryan, but people whose opinion I respect tell me he’s a great signing. The Summer’s big talking point though has been the mooted signing of Pogba (by the way, has Pogba previously played for United? Nobody has said).

Marouane Fellaini waiting to come on against Galatasaray in the Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg

In much the same way that David de Gea was the football press’s runner last Summer, Pogba is it for this year. I don’t know if he’ll sign but there’s plenty of positives to him coming to Old Trafford even before a ball is kicked. Since the speculation commenced in earnest during the Euros, we’ve had Blues bleating about the possible transfer fee (no, really) and the probability of it being north of £100m (younger Reds, look up the the purchases of Tommy Taylor and Denis Law – in principle, this is nothing new).

City fans, bless ’em, shrewd economists that they are renowned for being, believe that the transfer fee is too much. It might (gasp) have a detrimental effect on football’s well-being in general. I have to concede here that City fans have a point. Last season, City spent nearly £50m signing a player who runs like a baby giraffe (with the same potency too). This is not new ground for City though. Anybody remember the pursuit of Kaka in January 2009? Don’t you remember the outcry from City fans about how the mooted transfer fee was too much? If you can’t, don’t worry, neither can I. According to Garry Cook, contemporary Executive Chairman of City (Cookey to some City fans), AC Milan, a club who have been European Champions seven times, “bottled it” when the mighty Blues came a-calling.

The 24th of July saw the press decide to give Pogba a day off once they realised that Anthony Martial’s shirt number had changed. According to the Sun (yes, them again), Martial’s shirt number had “been downgraded to No11”. That’s the No11 shirt that Ryan Giggs wore for 23 years and had previously been worn by flops such as George Best, Norman Whiteside and Gordon Hill. Worry not however, for all those people that love speculating over transfers, Pogba soon returned to the back pages (at the time of writing, he remains there too).

View for the reds in the Ullevi stadium, Gothenburg as United play Galatasaray on 30th July (photo courtesy of Martin Holland)

In the spirit of magnanimity and good sportsmanship, I feel it’s only right here to (admittedly belatedly) congratulate a feisty pub side like Leicester City on winning the title. You may have forgotten that Leicester won the title, it may even have been forgotten in Leicester once Kasabian turned up and did a gig at the salubrious stadium that Leicester City occupy. Before that show, the champions had

a celebratory open top bus parade in the Leicester suburb of Bangkok, where their adoring masses of former United and Liverpool fans welcomed them through crowded streets. Soon after that celebration, Harry Harris, erstwhile football correspondent for the Daily Mirror and Daily Express rush-released a book, The Immortals – The Story of Leicester City’s Premier League Season 2015/16. As well as Leicester’s unprecedented season, this book too had an unprecedented fate. It’s my belief that with this book being in the bargain bins before the end of June, it must’ve been the biggest flop since Mick McCarthy’s World Cup Diary in 2002.

Great insight from good ol’ ‘arry

Leicester were no doubt aided by United failing to kick on from the progress made in Louis van Gaal’s first season. City also flattered to deceive and Chelsea collapsed spectacularly after Mourinho’s appalling treatment of Eva Carneiro. Combine that with the serial bottlers from both ends of the Seven Sisters Road blowing a great chance of winning the title and Liverpool continuing their descent into irrelevance… but wait…

Over at Anfield, there’s a real feeling that this will be their year (Part 27). Jurgen Klopp is going to lead Liverpool to a glorious title victory. Next Summer we’ll be frantically avoiding the television as the Scouse mafia get wheeled out by the score to talk about destiny, tradition history ad nauseum. Now you’ve woken up from that nightmare, you can rest easy in the knowledge that they still have Cristian Benteke (a snip at £32m) and Mario Balotelli.

Shanghai Stadium, 22nd July. With United losing 4-1 to Borussia Dortmund, it’s unlikely they walked out looking as happy. (photo courtesy of Luke Miller)

The Italian is about as popular with Liverpool fans as Roy Hodgson, and yet, he is one of four players in the Liverpool squad who has a league title winners’ medal (first to name the other three will receive a £1.00 voucher, redeemable on orders over £50.00 at Malcolm’s stall on Chester Road).

Sgt Joe Mercer, Sgt Matt Busby and Sgt Don Welsh. A photo of similar bonhomie between Mourinho and Guardiola is unlikely

Should the horrific scenario of Liverpool winning the title be avoided, it’s hard to say what is going to happen next season. United now have Mourinho and City have Pep Guardiola. Both are brilliant coaches/managers who are used to winning. If you see the Gallagher brothers turning up at the Stade de Beswique, you’ll know that City will be on the verge of winning the title and we’ll be doomed to another Summer of seeing City fans all over the place wearing those blue’n’white scarves on scorching days. Your Summer holidays will be polluted with people possessing Rochdale accents in Spanish bars telling bemused locals that they’re the real Mancunians.

Jose, I’ve never liked you but if you stop this from happening, I might think more fondly of you. The awful possibility of an Oasis reunion hangs on how you do. I’m relying on you Jose. Don’t let me down Jose…

Manutdfansblog is proudly sponsored by Costa’s Cafe on the Smithfield Market. Mention the blog next time you’re ordering a coffee on a Sunday morning and the owner will smile benignly before going out of the cafe and doing a Gene Kelly routine for you

Buy the fanzines. Subscribe to United We Stand here

Subscribe to Red News here

9 thoughts on “…And The Living Is Easy… – Manchester 4th August 2016”

  1. Like you my worst nightmare is another blue(ish )moon rising or the laughable Scousers parading the PL trophy around Southport on an open top bus!! Totally agree on LVG, I wanted him out, but it was embarrassing what went on after the Cup Final. Big season ahead for us mate, Jose looks the part so please god he can deliver. Also I cant help but feel that the bitters are under more pressure than us? Only time will tell!!!

  2. George Gershwin once said to my Dad, what are you looking at you Manc bastard? True story. What’s also true, is that while we’ve been hiding behind the curtains, Mourinho has turned up and got us thinking we’re in with a chance of the title. Steady on people. Our main task is six points of the bindippers, and watching Leicester fold up like a deck of cards in yurope. A big banana skin for Guardiola would be nice too. He’s never managed in a league with this competition. EG, if United had beaten the shit that got relegated, we not city would be in yourupean champions league.

  3. Genius writing as always Tone. Even as a blue (EFC) I always laugh out loud at the humour, especially at the expense of the clowns across the park.
    Always balanced (to a degree) it’s one of the best football blogs you can get. Keep ’em coming and forget the retirement shite!!

  4. Love reading these blogs, my kind of humour, but also well written and informed. Please keep them coming, even if only occasional. Well done mate 🙂

  5. Hi Murph,

    Good to have you back, can we have more of the same on a match by match basis for 2016/17 please?

    Bailly looked good today, Mkhitaryan would look fantastic nibbling on a meat platter in the Armenian Taverna on Albert Square, plus Pogba can pick up where he left off, in the reserves.

    As for Ibra he’s already delivered, no not the goal, that’s what he’s paid to do…..the bit at the end where a star struck Kasper the friendly ghost went up to him to swap shirts. Ibra whipped his off and handed it to Schmeichel, but refused to take one in return, as if he’d want some sweaty keeper’s jersey, class!!

    As for this season, United will go well, Spurs might win it, city are shit, it’s Liverpool’s year, Arsenal think they’re involved but they’re not…..Norwich get my vote actually*.

    * this is part of my new year’s resolution to be kinder to Buckscanary.

  6. Hello Murph, this blog is good, keep doing it mucker. I know the Moyes and van Gaal suckerpunch nearly finished you off, it nearly finished us all off, but stick at it. This is going to be a a lot of fun next year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *