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

Tremendous Scenes Brian – Manchester 17th May 2015

The footballing silly season has already commenced. Constant speculation about David de Gea’s long term position at Old Trafford (clue, there isn’t one), Jake Livermore of Hull Tigers has tested positive for cocaine and this morning, the Daily Star had a front page lead about a player who had been keeping his teammate’s wife company. But none of that could beat yesterday’s drama.

This is a moment where rivalries are transcended, a moment where the football family come together to pay tribute to a legend. Steven Gerrard’s Continue reading Tremendous Scenes Brian – Manchester 17th May 2015

Looking At A Bear – Manchester 9th May 2015

With City and Arsenal now assured of top four, Manchester United and Liverpool are now locked in a battle over who is the worst of the best. A sort of consolation prize that modern football and it’s obsession of finishing top four now sees as more important (financially at least) than winning the FA Cup. A contest that should’ve been all over now, is still in play, due to United’s infuriating habit of doing the hard bit, then ballsing up the relatively easy bit. At St James’s Park two years ago, there were pictures of the Arsenal side celebrating coming fourth with more vigour than how Liverpool celebrated their last title win in 1990 (if they knew what was to come, I’m sure they wouldn’t have been so blasé). With United beating Crystal Palace today and assuming that Liverpool somehow beat Chelsea tomorrow, United still need three points to be guaranteed top four. Should United get back into the Champions League next season, it will be good to see the reds back where I believe they belong. That said, having watched the Barcelona V Bayern Munich match the other night, United are a year or two off having a serious stab at winning the thing. Should the qualification happen (and it really should now), I don’t want to see any of triumphant photographs, à la Arsenal. It’s the minimum requirement.

At Selhurst Park last season, the literally untouchable Michael Oliver, Continue reading Looking At A Bear – Manchester 9th May 2015

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

Take No Prisoners – Manchester 11th of January 2015

I had a late night last night and an early morning today, leaving me somewhat foggy-headed. With that in mind, it was very decent of United to turn out a performance of such clueless tedium, that I’m sure I managed a nap during the match. It was either that or I can simply recall nothing of it until Southampton substitute Dusan Tadic put the Saints in the lead in the 69th minute after Graziano Pelle’s shot had come back off David de Gea’s near post.

A rare United attack from a di Maria corner on six minutes

After that, United, who’d previously played as if they were defending a 3-0 lead away in the Camp Nou, started to actually play better than before. Continue reading Take No Prisoners – Manchester 11th of January 2015