With All The Finesse Of Dave Clark – Manchester 23rd February 2014

Before this match, there was a hell of a lot of hype about Eric Cantona masks whipped up by Her Majesty’s press. Sami Mokbel reported in Friday’s Daily Mail that Palace officials “will stop any supporters wearing a Cantona mask from entering the ground, while those who try to put them on during the game will be told to remove it or face ejection”. With this in mind, I’m interested as to what may have happened if Eric Cantona turned up at the match yesterday. Would he have been turned away from the turnstile for looking like himself?

I’m confident that the overwhelming majority of United fans who went to Selhurst Park yesterday would have given you a quizzical look if you had dropped the name Paul Nixon in front of them. What we have learnt in the last couple of days is that any United fan who was going to wear an Eric Cantona mask at Selhurst Park was supposedly doing so in contempt of Mr Nixon’s memory.

This wasn’t helped on Thursday when Ed Maylon, the Daily Mirror’s online Deputy Sports Editor said, “The problem lies in Man United fans who don’t realise that the Eric Cantona incident resulted in the death of an innocent football fan”. I never realised when Eric Cantona attacked a man who was a proven racist, that he would be held partially responsible for a tragedy that would happen two months later and approximately 120 miles away. According to Paul Collins of the Daily Mail, “Palace fanzine ‘Five Year Plan’ (for it is they, no less) voiced its disdain over the plans to wear the mask, believing it was in celebration of Nixon’s death almost 19 years ago”. James Orr of The Independent didn’t want to be left behind in the race to be outraged. Orr described Cantona’s attack on a man who was racially abusing both him and his mother as a “disgraceful attack”.

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Just like an El Classico

The Palace side came out to the dreadful “Glad All Over” by the Dave Clark Five. In a way, this was appropriate due to the fact that they had a fan in the Holmesdale Road stand, banging a bass drum with all the finesse of Dave Clark. The first five rows of Palace fans in the bottom right hand corner of the Holmesdale Road were jumping up and down in a choreographed German style attempt to build an atmosphere. In the 26th minute, they decided that Wayne Rooney wasn’t being paid enough by United so they started throwing coins down on him as he was preparing to take a corner. Rooney showed his appreciation by chipping the ball towards the far left corner of Julián Speroni’s goal, only for Palace centre half, Damien Delaney, to head the ball off the line. Three minutes later, Adnan Januzaj had the ball in the Palace net, only to be correctly disallowed for handball by referee Michael Oliver. In the 43rd minute, Marouane Fellaini shot a good chance high and wide into the Norwood sky. It was a moment which neatly summed up his career at Old Trafford to date. The second half would be different for both Fellaini and a pathetically toothless United side.

Photo: Highlight of the first half

 The highlight of the first half

The second half saw an improvement from both Felliani and United. Whilst Fellaini hasn’t yet reached Roy Keane’s level of imposition, he was busy and more importantly, confident in possession. United gradually asserted their superiority and, in the 60th minute, Marouane Chamakh fouled Patrice Evra as he was ran into the Whitehorse Lane penalty area. Two minutes later, Robin Van Persie sent Speroni the wrong way from the resulting penalty to put United deservedly into the lead.


In the 68th minute, the formerly angry and confused Wayne Rooney sealed the game with a volley from a Patrice Evra cross. There’s been the usual consternation over the supposed wage deal Rooney has signed. The usual emotive nonsense is wheeled out about firemen and nurses. The main problem is that they can’t attract 75,000 people to watch them perform their undoubtedly very worthy work every fortnight.  According to Michael Calvin in yesterday’s Independent, the Glazer takeover “cost United £410,000 a week in assorted debt-related charges”. Nobody appears to bat an eyelid on that.

A good win for United in a potentially tricky match. United haven’t played at Selhurst Park since March 2005. A similar gap between now and our next appearance there will bring no complaints from me.

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Robin Van Persie celebrates scoring his penalty to put United 1-0 up

7 thoughts on “With All The Finesse Of Dave Clark – Manchester 23rd February 2014”

  1. I didn’t quite understand the comment there as regards to firemen/nurses being on call once a fortnight and if you equate kicking a ball around to saving lives,I can only say WHAT SAD TIMES WE LIVE IN. I only hope that if I have a heart attack or any family or friends house is on fire, ROONEY doesnt turn up to show his ball control.

    1. Vic, it’s the same tired point made by the eternally clueless when moaning about footballers salaries. The fact that firemen, nurses and other people involved in first aid and medicine perform a more important role in society is beyond dispute to me. The fact is though that in the harsh financial terms, they (as a singular) don’t generate the money that Wayne Rooney generates so they don’t get rewarded the same way. That’s not fair, but who said life was fair?

      As for kicking a ball around equating to saving lives, where exactly did I say that?

      Regarding Rooney himself, what is he supposed to do when his representative demand and subsequently get £300,000 a week? Turn it down?

  2. Re Vic. The entertainment industry has, and always will be an important part of society. We need it. ENSA. for example. How much an individual is paid is down to supply and demand. If a fireperson or hospital staff were to be offered that kind of money, they would be foolish not to take it. As a city fan, that I believe you are, where would your beloved club be without the ( obscene ?) funds accrued by the oil rich parasites that live of the industrialise world ? So Vic if you want to have a pop at football injustice, look a little closer to home. Without it city would be mid table at best. Unless of course, the city players are playing the maximum £20 a week. Have a look before you cross the road.

  3. Murph you bully. I am outraged by your outrageous comments about doctors and nurses.

    I can just imagine you at half time, letching at those poor underpaid nurses who you took a vile and exploitative picture of, as they were forced to flaunt their bodies in front of 3,000 bladdered reds, just to make ends meat.


    I would write more but I’m too outraged to type.

    I am boycotting this blog from now on.

    Ps. If anyone wants to buy any Ken Barlow masks we have them back in stock.

    Cheers, see y’all in Athens

  4. The outragessness on here is understandable. But I’m pleased that someone actually mentioned the early promise that United are showing (for next term of course). The Rooney signing is a message to any one with inclination to play for United. Euro glory is a major part of a footballers wish list. So is making your families welfare financially secure and United will be in business as I push these buttons. And for the socially concious Vic. Not like you. Pull ya kex up you’ve just been……..

  5. In danger of lowering the tone…although you did start it…I cannot get the image from my head of my precious house and belongings on fire, and Wayne Rooney, pie in hand, turning up to put it out…knowing my luck he’d probably bring the equally overpaid Edin Dzeko with him!!! (and yes, I’m outraged!!!)

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