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

Oh How We Suffered – Manchester 26th December 2014

This could’ve been tricky. Newcastle have a lousy record at Old Trafford but on their last visit here, just over a year ago, they beat United at Old Trafford for the first time since 1972. The protests that were raging against Alan Pardew’s incumbency a few months ago have gone somewhat muted in recent times as Newcastle had built up a good run of results which included beating this seasons likely champions Chelsea, a few weeks ago at St James Park. Such was the revival in Newcastle’s fortunes that paper handkerchief manufacturers were in serious danger of laying workers off due to the fact that Geordies weren’t crying in the stands, their broon ale or threatening to burst the banks of the Tyne with their relentless squawking after a bad result. A last minute goal from Adam Johnson the other day for Sunderland and United’s eventually easy win today should see normal service resumed for Kleenex pretty soon.

United players celebrate Robin van Persie’s goal in the 53rd minute (photograph courtesy of Neil Meehan)

Without dominating play, Newcastle made a lively start. Continue reading Oh How We Suffered – Manchester 26th December 2014

See You At The Other Side – West Bromwich 20th October 2014

Thank God the football is back. Since United last played a match, a 2-1 win against Everton on what seems like a lifetime ago, Roy Keane has released a book every bit as blunt as everybody expected it to be. Everybody seems to have forgotten Rio Ferdinand’s relatively bland tome released just prior to Keane’s second memoir. The most interesting thing to emerge from Ferdinand’s book was the shocking revelation that David Moyes had banned United players from eating oven chips the day/night before a match. It’s fair to say that Keane’s book has been a little bit more interesting than that.

First half at The Hawthorns as West Brom attack the Smethwick End (photo courtesy of Daniel Burdett)

We also had two sleep inducing matches where England won on their march to inevitable European glory/first round knockout in 2016. Last Sunday saw The Sun on Sunday with the startling revelation that Antonio Valencia is as good at delivering photographs of himself to the right place as he is delivering a cross. Continue reading See You At The Other Side – West Bromwich 20th October 2014

An Overcast Day And A Sultry Night – Manchester 14th of September 2014

Up to and including the match against City on the 2nd of November, there’s only one United match that is not being shown live on television. That is United’s next home match against West Ham in a couple of weeks. By then, United’s first six games will have been shown live on television. That is quite something for a side that finished 7th last season. No matter what is going on at Old Trafford, for good or bad, United are the biggest show in any town it happens to be.

The obituaries had been written about United over the summer, Continue reading An Overcast Day And A Sultry Night – Manchester 14th of September 2014