Joined The Choir Invisible

According to the fourth estate, the early part of Summer saw Manchester United rocked by Harry Kane staying at Tottenham Hotspur. We were shattered by David de Gea’s imminent departure (he hasn’t gone yet), snubbed by Paul Pogba and had more links than Houdini’s chains. United have been preparing, readying or launching bids for Uncle Tom Cobley, whilst at the same time getting rid of Paul Scholes’s replacement, Tom Cleverley… (having written that sentence, I suddenly had a choking fit).

In early July, Nani left United for Fenerbahçe. The Lisboan arrived in a huge fanfare of expectation in the Summer of 2007; some people claimed that he was better than Cristiano Ronaldo… (oh Christ, I’m off again). Nani looked like Michael Jackson but played football like Janet Jackson. A player of undoubted skill occasionally, he will always be remembered by me as a winger who took worse corners than Mads Timm and whose crosses would’ve been comfortably dealt with by a blindfolded Jim Leighton. To use the words of Brian Clough, he floated like a butterfly and he stung like one.

A seminal moment from Nani at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica da Luz in 2010. Cristiano Ronaldo turned Gerard Pique inside out, his exquisite goalbound shot from was gliding over Iker Casillas’s head and into the net. Nani decided to add the finishing touch, from an offside position. Ronaldo’s reaction was priceless

Another player joining Nani in Kadiköy is Robin van Persie, who has left United after three seasons. He came to Old Trafford having turned down a better offer from Manchester City (quelle surprise), and Continue reading Joined The Choir Invisible

After The Lord Mayors Show – Manchester 4th April 2015

So, it’s back to the old routine after the last match at Anfield, where there were so many stamps, The National Philatelic Society are thinking of opening a branch there in commemoration. From that magical afternoon, we went straight into an international break, which to me are a bleeding nuisance. During that two weeks, boyhood United fan, Raheem Sterling, gave an interview to the BBC, Continue reading After The Lord Mayors Show – Manchester 4th April 2015

American Soldiers In Vietnam – Birmingham 20th December 2014

The run up to this game saw an unnecessary frenzy for United fans caused by Aston Villa over match tickets. Villa had put the tickets on open sale over the internet about five weeks ago, just like they’ve been doing for years, only this time, they rescinded the tickets bought by anybody they suspected of being a United fan. Through a friend who has lives in the middle of Liverpool, I’ve been getting tickets for Villa in this way for a while now and I have never seen any problem at Villa Park when United have been in the Villa part of the ground. I always thought Villa were grateful for the revenue visiting reds gave them, I was wrong. This time, Villa tried using the United game to sell half season tickets. You’re not famous anymore indeed!!

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A photograph that magically captures the madness in the Witton Lane stand seconds after Falcao had equalised (photo courtesy of Neil Meehan)

While Villa had a cull of people buying tickets for the game, they didn’t fully succeed. There’s nowt more resourceful as a travelling United fan* (please see the bottom) getting into the match. When Radamel Falcao equalised in the 52nd minute, there was a slew of reds in the Villa section next to the segregation line, who started celebrating the goal. This wound up a nearby crew of stewards to such a degree that I am now convinced (having been there many times) that they are compulsorily prescribed amphetamines before United’s fixture at that ground. It’s either that or they’ve watched too many films about American soldiers in Vietnam. If they are sane then I know where there’s a house full of people like them. The lad who had his Steve Gerrard banner stopped at Old Trafford last week on Health & Safety grounds was told today to not pull it out under any circumstances. This was at exactly the same time that a huge banner was being unfurled across the Holte End in a forlorn attempt at rousing some passion out of Villa fans. Unlike last week though, the Gerrard banner was briefly seen on live television worldwide, seconds after Falcao’s goal.

Shall We Fill Your Ground For You?

The irony of Christian Benteke putting Villa in front in the 18th minute should not be lost on any red. United have done a few smash ‘n’ grabs lately and now with this, Villa’s first attempt on goal, United had fell victim one themselves. There was no other threat from Villa in the first half but early in the 2nd half, Benteke forced a great save from David de Gea. There has been a fair amount of disquiet about Radamel Falcao recently. Once the initial excitement of his signing had calmed down, he’s only scored two goals since his loan was confirmed on Transfer deadline day (© SKY Sports News). He hasn’t had a great return of goals but the two goals he has scored have been worth four points to United. When he was allowed a free header from six yards soon after de Gea’s save, a centre forward of his quality was never going to miss an opportunity like that. That the cross for the goal was provided by Ashley Young, relentlessly booed all afternoon by the half wits that occasionally populate Villa Park, made the goal even sweeter.

In the 64th minute, Gabriel Agbonlahor was harshly sent off by Lee Mason for a challenge on Ashley Young that was in my opinion, a yellow card. The fact that it was a foul on Ashley Young which had resulted in the red card, caused an apoplectic reaction from the Villa fans. The local Police must’ve been relieved Ashley Young didn’t score the winner, even though that was what the more mischievous reds were praying for. I reckon they could have had a repeat of the Handsworth riots on their hands, just in time for the festive period.

 Actually, come to think of it, he has a point

At the full time whistle, we walked away with a 1-1 draw, probably a fair result. I now know that Louis van Gaal, Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney have expressed disappointment that United didn’t win. I’m disappointed too, especially playing against ten men for nearly half an hour but United have had some good luck in recent weeks so I just go with it. We could be far worse off. Think of last season.

What this result will hopefully do is calm a few people down. Some of the garbage I’d read in the media after the Liverpool win was understandable in that they were doing their job. Winding up the more gullible amongst United fans. What has surprised me was how may people got wrapped up in that excitement. Sure beating Liverpool and Arsenal over a six game run are great results, it doesn’t meant that United are suddenly in serious contention for the title.

Thanks to Neil Meehan and Ciaran McMullan for their help in writing this  

*full respect to those City fans in Moscow who nearly got into the ground that night, only to be grassed up by their own stewards

A five goal thriller at the Villa – Aston Villa V Man United 10th of November 2012

I knew today boded well when word got out just before kick off that Leeds United had lost 6-1 at home to Watford. It doesn’t matter where that club is in the League pyramid, to hear that they’ve not only lost but have been annihilated is always very gratifying. Leeds could be at the bottom of the lowest league possible and it still would be too exhalted a position for me. I later hear that Mikel Aterta missed a last minute penalty as Arsenal drew 3-3 at home to Fulham. I wonder if Arteta was accosted by Fulham players the same way that Ruud Van Nistelrooy was by gloating Arsenal players like Lauren, Ray Parlour, Martin carthorse Keown and Ashley Cole (hiding behind Sol big boy Campbell) in 2003?

Take that: Aston Villa's Stephen Ireland (left) is fouled by Manchester United's Paul Scholes

Paul Scholes lucky to escape a booking for a foul on Steven the truth Ireland early in the game Continue reading A five goal thriller at the Villa – Aston Villa V Man United 10th of November 2012