Up In Middle Earth Today – Burnley, 30th August 2014

Another confused performance from United brought a 0-0 draw against Burnley. United had plenty of possession and, with the likes of Juan Mata, Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and new signing Ángel Di María on the pitch, should have posed a better goalscoring threat.

Dave Jones hits the bar with David de Gea well beaten in the 3rd minute

United’s problem was the age-old one of a poor final ball and a nervous hesitancy to attack. At one point in the second half with United attacking The Cricket Field Stand, Antonio Valancia found himself in possession with all his team mates in front of him. He couldn’t pick a United player out with the ball so he gave the ball to David de Gea to hoof upfield.

Within seven seconds, United had gone from attacking Burnley’s left full back flank to giving the ball back to the keeper without a single challenge being placed on a United player. The whole afternoon was like that. A frustrating game of football against a side that had not gained a point before kick off. If United were in serious contention for the title, this would be a terrible result but, as it goes and with other results this afternoon, it shouldn’t be too bad.

A house close to Turf Moor with a hole in the roof but a Burnley flag hanging proudly out of the bathroom window

Support from Louis van Gaal is at almost 100% on the terraces. There are always dissenters no matter what’s going on; the pillock near me today who was screaming “What you doing Van der Gaar?” when Van Gaal took off Di Maria for Anderson in the 67th minute is a classic example. Just in case we didn’t know though, today emphasised the job that Van Gaal has on his hands.

Wayne Rooney with a captains tackle on Matthew Taylor

The problem with United players seems to be an understanding of what they’re supposed to be doing. With three at the back, there were times yesterday when Jonny Evans and Tyler Blackett were almost on the touchline. Combined with a well organised Burnley defence, the only way United would have scored was would have been if Chris Foy had  given a penalty. Something he should have done twice yesterday after Ashley Young was fouled by Kieran Trippier in the 44th minute and Ashley Barnes handled a Young shot in the 86th minute.

Jubilant Burnley fans in the Bob Lord Stand at full time celebrating a 0-0 draw. Steve Armstrong from United We Stand fanzine said that there were “biblical standards of local giddiness up in middle earth today. They’ll go mental when they get the internet”

Many years ago, a workmate of mine, who is from Bolton was talking about Burnley people and he described them as hillbillies. You know things are bad when somebody from Bolton is calling you a hillbilly but this fella was spot on. God knows what it’s like to live in Burnley. Looking around as we went to the ground, it resembled a place that had not as much seen better days, but had no idea of what a good day is. The club itself won the title in 1960 under the auspices of manager Harry Potts and autocratic chairman and local butcher, the despicable Bob Lord. It has not done anything of note since. Burnley itself has no identifiable claim to anything. It has no delicacy of offal or a currant/sultana cake that puts it on the map. It is a place that nobody will relish going to and it’s not due the fervour of the fans, it’s just due to the fact that there’s nothing there. Before the match around the ground before was akin to being in a Lowry painting and yesterday, the weather was reasonable. What this place is like in the middle of November when it’s pissing down with rain doesn’t bear thinking about.

Burnley Cricket Club pavillion with United fans. The away stand backs onto the cricket pitch and the left hand side of the picture has the James Hargreaves stand in view. Home of the gobby Burnley fans

Burnley had former United keeper Tom Heaton guarding the goal today. Apart from a great save from a Robin van Persie shot in the 15th minute, he wasn’t given an awful lot to do. Back in Manchester, another former United player, Mame Biram Diouf, scored Stoke City’s winner at the Ashton New Road stadium. Watching that goal was jaw dropping. Diouf looked completely out of his depth at Old Trafford during his time there. City’s defence made him look like Diego Maradona. Diouf ran nine tenths of the pitch unchallenged to score a winning goal away from home against the league champions. With good sides like City dropping daft points like they did, it can happen to anybody. United have dropped seven points this season when the majority of people, myself included, expected United to have maximum points at this stage. United have made slow starts to a season before and ended up winning the league.

Turf Moor before a Burnley/United match in February 1967 which ended in a 1-1 draw. The place has barely changed since then

Three years ago this week, United beat Arsenal 8-2. United looked unstoppable. but an international break interrupted that momentum and United were not quite the same again that season. United fans normally view international breaks as a pain in the arse but with England’s forthcoming matches Norway and Switzerland, I don’t believe an international break has come at a more convenient time for the Reds. It will give the squad time to get familiar with some of the much needed new arrivals and hopefully get back to some fluidity. In the meantime, Monday will see the vapid Jim White on SKY Sports, desperately screaming into a camera about a loan signing that Port Vale have just announced and Harry Redknapp giving interviews with his car window wound down. I’d advise to avoid this baloney on Monday and from recent experience, I’d give the England matches a swerve too, unless you’re looking for the cure for insomnia. Hopefully soon, United will stop resembling the aforementioned cure.

Bollocks to that

9 thoughts on “Up In Middle Earth Today – Burnley, 30th August 2014”

  1. Hi Murph,

    Couple of points unrelated to the match –

    1. The National Treasure that is John Cooper Clarke reckons that Burnley is a place where the locals still point at aeroplanes.

    2. Secondly, in the 1970’s I had a mate who was a rep for the Virgin Records label and Burnley and all those Colne Valley towns were on his patch. In Burnley, he was introduced to a local delicacy known as a ‘Growler’. Available from all the local chippies, this was composed of a barm cake wrapped round a meat and potato pie, with the whole grisly mess then slathered with brown sauce.
    It got its name from the noises it provoked from the consumer’s lower abdomen about an hour later.

    As for the match, seems to me that we have the front end of a Rolls Royce with the back end of Morris Marina, although Van Injured looks a bit off the pace but we’ll see if he improves. Evans, on the other hand, looks as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs and De Gea needs to play the sweeper far more consistently than he has been doing. Overall, I don’t think the 3-5-2 thing is working very well at all – perhaps LvG needs to look at 4-3-3 instead.

    Seems appropriate that Anderson made what will hopefully (please God) be his final United appearance at Burnley as I’m sure he will have taken a few Growlers home with him for his tea.

  2. Frustration is the only word for it. Possession means nothing when a hard working team, the league is full of them, like Burnley are prepared to run, cover, and run again. You pointed out one occasion, but there were many. Tho’ not as obvious. Similar to tuesday the link up play was not to be seen. Rooney being the only one that seemed to know what was missing. Time will improve these things. The quality needs time to hell.

  3. Another good observation Murph first Burnley is like going back in time and second Bob Lord was an utter cunt who hated Man U with a passion !!!!

    As for the game yet again it left more questions than answers !!! Where are we going with this formation ? we looked completely ill at ease with this system and I am not to sure if we can carry on much longer with it before the players become totally frustrated with it !

    On the other hand we must understand that this is not always going to our back four !! Shaw Rojo and Blind still have to come in it yet !!!

    As for Anderson ?? We are taking temps on in the baggage handling section at the Airport if United are willing to off load him !! Come to think of it that’s hard work so he would probably make a great Trolley Pusher !!!!! Important 24 hrs ahead me thinks

  4. A pile of shit. You talk about Burnley like it is some kind of backwater. I suppose Manchester is what? The big smoke (that is assuming you live in Manchester and not London like most manure supporters). Man U are not even the most famous club in its own city anymore. Get used to being second fiddle you loser! The rest of the country is loving it

    1. Few things here Jimmy:

      1. I appreciate you’re going for the big cliches here, but you missed a tap-in (“United aren’t even from Manchester”)
      2. The author does live in Manchester
      3. Manchester United are, by any measurable means, more famous than Manchester City
      4. You’ve contradicted yourself by saying most MU supporters live outside Manchester – then saying that the rest of the country is loving our struggle for form…which is it?

      In summary, you’ve had a mare.

      1. All a bit hackneyed and cliched. God, save us from arrogant faux “Big city ” types.
        Burnley as a founder member of the football league was head and shoulders above the dross of united for decades.
        We were in Europe as you johnny come lately’s were still arsing about in division 2.
        Manchester itself is a vaccuous shitehole. Look at Collyhurst and then comment on Burnley!
        Just because you have a few big shops hardly makes you some cultural oasis . We are a relatively small town and have just got back into the top flight. Oh, and while we’re on the topic, 2009 ring any bells? Robbie Blake? what a tosser you are mate.

  5. Some interesting observations regarding the town and people of Burnley, which is a smokescreen for the absolutely clueless shite you support! You were outplayed, out thought and played without passion. Slag off Burnley, the people and our team but take a look at your own city and team, alongwith the fuckwits that attach themselves to what was a great Man Utd team. Get used to mid table obscurity because that’s where you’ll be for next ten years. Your team were shite and so us your pathetic smoke screen!

    1. Midtable obscurity eh. If your pokey little club achieved that, you and your shit kicking hillbilly pals would shit your selves happiness and not notice the stench. How dare you get these pages and assume you know where every United supporter comes from. Based on media propaganda, and your own weasely attempt to annoy us Reds. Now whistle your sister and get cracking. Losers indeed. Great piece Murph spot on

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