Another twitchy win for United and suddenly, out of nowhere, the crisis club of a fortnight ago are in the top four. Nobody is daft enough to think United are going to sweep all before them (at least I hope not anyway) but this was a very good win today. Everton are the best side United have faced this season in what was, on paper, Continue reading Bleary Eyed, Hungover Or Just Plain Bemused – Manchester 5th of October 2014
United’s pre-season has gone well. Wins against Roma, Real Madrid, Liverpool and, mostly recent, against Valencia two nights ago, are always welcome, if not exactly an accurate barometer of what the team’s real capability is.
Looking at the match the other night, there’s clearly the need for at least one new player in the squad. Fear not though, we can be rest assured that Ed Woodward is on the case in that regard. Like the good poker player he no doubt is, Woodward will get us a good deal. On the 20th of July, Woodward told MUTV “There is no fixed budget. Financially we are extremely strong, we have funds available”. Maybe he’s right, maybe he’ll surprise us all and pull a rabbit, or preferably a marauding centre half, out of the hat.
In the summer of 2013, United were linked with, amongst many others, Cristiano Ronaldo (The Guardian), Gareth Bale (Irish Independent) and Cesc Fabregas (The Guardian). Instead of those three, Woodward ended up in a blind panic paying Everton £27.5m for the hapless Marouane Fellaini. That’s four million pound more than he could have paid a few weeks earlier if he had activated Fellaini’s “escape clause” from Everton before it expired. It is rumoured that Bill Kenwright has only just stopped laughing after last Summer’s dealings. The less said about the bid for Leighton Baines, the better. Perhaps Woodward’s biggest difficulty is that though he may be a good Hardy, he has no Laurel beside him. Continue reading He Has No Laurel
Being in the Bullens Road stand at Goodison Park is like stepping back in time. We found ourselves right behind a pillar propping the upper tier. We swung our heads like people watching a game of tennis to see what was happening on the pitch. We bemoaned the fact that we had a lousy view of the pitch and about sixty minutes into the game, we were very grateful for the same reason. For all the poor view, there is something quaintly old fashioned about the Bullens Road stand. The concourse was tight and before the match beer was being served. When Kevin Mirallas put Everton 2-0 up just before half time, we had the consolation of knowing we could have a pint or two at half time to anaesthetise us from the shite we had just witnessed. A stream of reds went down to the concourse, every one to a man gagging for a pint. Getting there, we found that Police had banned the sale of alcohol for half time and for once, I don’t think they were acting out of order. This was down to people with beer prior to the match throwing it indiscrminately on the concourse. Just to clarify, people were paying £4.00 for a pint of beer to throw it around like they were at an Oasis concert. I’ve been boozing since the late 1980s and trust me, I can think of far better things to do with a pint of lager that’s cost £4.00 (or even £2.00 come to think of it) than throw it around. I do wonder sometimes what kind of dickheads we have following United, who in their right mind would want to throw a pint of beer up in the air? There was similar goings on in the Wetherspoons Continue reading Watching A Game Of Tennis – Manchester 21st April 2014
Earlier in the pre-season, United had bid £12,000,000 for Leighton Baines and £16,000,000 for Marouane Fellaini. These bids were, according to the media consensus, ‘angrily’ refused by Everton. United have recently come back with a cunning plan, offer a combined £28,000,000 for the pair, surely Everton would fall for that. Despite what some of my fellow reds may think, most scousers are not thick and even if so, not even the thickest scouser would have fallen for that ruse. There is now speculation that United’s next move for Baines and Fellaini is to offer four payments of £7,000,000 staggered over five years. There’s clearly some real guile controlling the transfer budget at Old Trafford.
Marouane Fellani scoring the winner for Everton against United in August 2012
Difficult match in store today, Everton are not a good team and it’s been a good while since they’ve had a good team but like any team managed by David Moyes, they’re hard to beat. United started the game with plenty of possession but also play with the nervous hesitancy of a team that have recently been clobbered. In the first half, Everton occasionally go forward but even with Louis Saha, there’s no potency or feeling of danger in their attack. To my surprise, Alex Ferguson started with Jonny Evans. My surprise was twofold, one that he wasn’t suspended after last weeks sending off and secondly after his poor performance last week, he was picked for a pretty tricky away game, so soon after. Evans, whilst not my favorite defender, didn’t do much wrong today.
Javier Hernandez scored on nineteen minutes after a good cross by the recently maligned Patrice Evra to put United deservedly in the league in front of the Gwladys Street End. Rooneys presence in the penalty area distracted two Everton defenders leaving Hernandez free. United applied plenty of pressure, Rooney’s attempt at a shot from eighteen yards was scuppered by referee Mark Halsey accidently getting in his way. I also notice that Danny Welbeck has today got a leaden first touch. The only significant threat from Everton today came from a Leighton Baines free kick, just before half time which hit the bar with David De Gea a spectator.
Today’s win was more than welcome, a traditionally hard place to go to, United have ground out what could be a crucial win. The atmosphere from Everton fans was of their usual languor. Whilst I don’t doubt their passion or fervour, Everton fans, to my eyes, have got the most laid back supporters I’ve ever come across. I sometimes think that most of them have come to the ground in a car filled with vapour from exotic hand rolled cigarettes and listening to Pink Floyd or Massive Attack en route.
The linesman went down injured in front of the Park End on eighty nine minutes. To me it looked like a back injury and it took fouth official, Phil Dowd a couple of minutes to get ready to come on. Due to the linesmans’ injury, substitutions and other sundry stoppages, there was six minutes injury time allocated. In the second minute of injury time, Rooney picked up cramp which adds another unwelcome minute to the stoppage time. With there being a total of seven minutes’ injury time played whilst United are stoutly defending a one goal lead, the usual moaning of excessive injury time in a United game is strangely muted today