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

Odyssey in 2001 – Manchester, 3rd May 2015

Three weeks ago, walking out of Old Trafford, Manchester United had just beaten Manchester City 4-2. The world seemed a different place. United had won and won well too. What we didn’t know at the time was that United were to lose the next three games in the bounce; something they haven’t done since a similar odyssey in 2001.

Robin van Persie about to miss his penalty in the 72nd minute (photo courtesy of Neil Meehan)

The race for fourth is still in United’s hands. With Crystal Palace away Continue reading Odyssey in 2001 – Manchester, 3rd May 2015

Presented John Stones Roses – Liverpool 26th April 2015

It’s always good to be at Goodison Park. Along with Villa Park, White Hart Lane and Loftus Road, it’s a proper football ground in a proper footballing area. Like the aforementioned stadia, Goodison has houses, shops and pubs, glorious pubs nearby. Then we have St Lukes Church on the corner of Gwladys Street and Goodison Road, a place where you could pick up a drink and a butty for a reasonable price. I couldn’t believe how quaint and civilised it all was. Goodison isn’t perfect. The Bullens Road and Goodison Road stands are archaic, they have huge pillars which can occasionally block the view. However, compared to being stuck on the back row of the Anfield Road stand, it’s a relative minor inconvenience. Whatever imperfections of Goodison, give me there anyday over being stuck in a concrete bowl in the middle of bleeding nowhere. Like Stoke, Derby or the Riverside in Middlesbrough. Those places are so bland and dull that the rats give them a wide berth.

View from the back row of the Goodison Road stand’s upper tier

A final score of 3-0 looks bad, but to me, it was just one of those days. Manchester United were nowhere near as bad

Continue reading Presented John Stones Roses – Liverpool 26th April 2015

What’s The Mata You… – Liverpool 22nd March 2015

As Steve Gerrard was warming up on the touchline during the first half, he was as expected, ruthlessly abused by United fans in the Anfield Road. Songs such as Have You Ever Seen Gerrard Win the League, have you fuck… and also And Now You’re Gonna Believe Us, You Nearly Won The League… The scene was set, Steve Gerrard, an experienced professional, captain fantastic and all that, was going to come on in the second half and take control of the game. He was going to ram United fans piss taking back down our throats and he was going to love it like Kevin Keegan whilst doing so. Martin Tyler on SKY Sports couldn’t contain his excitement. He described Gerrard as having an “encyclopedic knowledge of this fixture”, whatever the bleeding hell that means.

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Celebrating reds immediately after the final whistle (photo courtesy of Lee Thomas)

There was apprehension amongst my red brethren in the Bishops Blaize. We were wary of the fact that even though Gerrard’s legs have gone, he’s lethal from a dead ball (now for some reason, known as a set piece). Over the years, I’ve seen Gerrard have some incredible 90 minutes, I’ve even seen him have some incredible 45 minutes but this performance, all of 43 seconds has to be the coup de grace. Continue reading What’s The Mata You… – Liverpool 22nd March 2015

Dreaming – Manchester 9th March 2015

’twas the 24th minute. A dreaming Angel di Maria was gazing admiringly at Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the ball. He was dreaming of his new flat in town, he might even have been dreaming of getting a decent corned beef butty in his local shop on Quay Street. What di Maria wasn’t doing was watching Arsenal left back Nacho Monreal, who he was supposed to be marking. Monreal strolled through on the left flank to beat David de Gea on his near post. Five minutes later, di Maria partially redeemed himself when he whipped in his first decent cross since walking to the other side of the road in Prestbury last December. Wayne Rooney scored with a free header from six yards, after Arsenal’s defence somehow surpassed United’s abysmal defending a few minutes prior.

David de Gea watching a United attack in the first half (Photo courtesy of Neil Meehan)

This was the best game I’ve seen at Old Trafford this season and played in the best atmosphere. The first half, United played with some speed and attacking verve. It was far from perfect but Continue reading Dreaming – Manchester 9th March 2015