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 listened “to the little boy inside of me“. He was instrumental in United winning the title in 2013. When he first came to Old Trafford, he resembled a Rolls Royce, as United finished the season to the soundtrack of The Courteeners. By the end of last season he looked more like a Reliant Robin, without the reliability. When all’s said and done, I’m grateful for his pivotal role in United’s most recent title win. Moments like the one he provided at the Stade de Beswique in December 2012, will live long in the memory.

Gratitude to Robin van Persie for this glorious moment at the Commonwealth Stadium. Watch the entire video and you get the added bonus of a blue with a truly amazing hat, falling flat on his arse as he approaches Rio Ferdinand to scream abuse

After reading enough bullshit to fertilise the entire state of Texas, my big question is, did you survive it all? (I only just did.) It makes me grateful for the legally dubious transfer window’s existence. Because of it, we’re spared this bollocks most of the season. The relief however is that we’re now in the final throes of the transfer window. In a couple of weeks, Jim White will once again hyperventilate for DEADLINE DAY on SKY Sports News; the garish yellow tie he always wears will turn brown and then, at last, we’ll be out of the woods ’til January.

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United against Tottenham last March. The real start of United’s resurgence last season after a plethora of dull mediocrity. We’ll find out soon enough if it was a false dawn

Perhaps the nadir of the close season transfer speculation came when a Spanish journalist, searching for news on David de Gea spent hours camped outside a Carrington training ground, only problem being, it was Sale Sharks training ground, which is next door to United’s. In desperation, according to Andy Mitten, he took to quoting any United staff member he could get hold of there, including canteen staff. Meanwhile, over in Madrid, to the surprise of only the most gullible, Sergio Ramos used United as leverage to get himself a better contract at the Bernabéu. Having witnessed Barca’s Dani Alves pull exactly the same stunt six weeks earlier, it leaves me wondering if the Summer transfer junkies will ever learn.

The middle of July suddenly saw things really happening. In their shiny shoes, Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin’s arrival for sure gave sugar to Reds. Nobody knows who will be the better signing. We all know Bastian Schweinsteiger’s quality. He’s 30 and in this day and age, with the way footballers look after themselves, there’s no reason why United can’t get three to four good years out of him. Morgan Schneiderlin has been a stalwart at Southampton since he signed for them in 2008, helping them from the second tier to become a side that came two points away from qualifying for Europe last season. The two occasions United played Southampton last season, he was, for my money, the man of the match. These two signings will place Marouane Fellaini’s long term future into doubt. The big Belgian did relatively well last season. He resembled the nuisance that we remember him being at Everton and his strength in the air was used properly. He brilliantly got up Jack Wilshere’s nose at Arsenal and gave a far better showing against Yaya Toure than during the previous season’s embarrassment. However when all’s said and done, the last day of the season and that tackle on Paul McShane (wasn’t he in Hi-de-Hi!?) shows that he will never be a United player. If he was any more limited, he’d be quoted on the Stock Exchange.

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Angel di Maria taking a corner at the Abbey Stadium in January. I’ll be surprised if he takes another one for United

As any Liverpool fan will ruefully tell you, Brendan Rodgers spent the best part of eighteen months trying to lure Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven, only for United to nip in there towards the end of last season to buy him from the Dutch champions. Matteo Darmian also came to M16 from Torino, a skilful attacking full back, reminiscent of Patrice Evra. He will be a direct replacement for Rafael, a player Louis van Gaal clearly has no time for.

Our nearest geographical rivals spent £49m on signing a boyhood United fan who bears an uncanny resemblance to Arnold from Different Strokes, a few days after his Mam had phoned him in sick at Melwood. They then signed Fabian Delph from Aston Villa in a “will he, won’t he” saga to rival birthday cake-gate from May 2014. These are quality signings that Manchester City have made, be in no doubt about that. They are not to satisfy any FFP home grown rules. Rules that incidentally were drawn up specifically to sabotage City’s wholly organic and purely Mancunian growth, by a cabal that included (amongst others) Michel Platini, Sir Alex Ferguson and the IMF. You read it here first. Truth be told, I have to agree with our Blue cousins here. If you manage to discount the Busby Babes, Red Star Belgrade side of the late 80s, the class of ’92, the Ajax side of the mid 90s and a few others that I can’t recall at the moment, then I’m sure you’ll agree that City created the best youth team ever in the whole history of football in 1986.

Meanwhile, over the other end of the M62, our favourite enemies and main rivals have been quietly and prudently going about spending the Raheem Sterling money. Last year, Liverpool did what can only be described as a plunder on Southampton. It was ultimately a success too as they finished two points ahead of the Saints in the final league table to clinch the last Europa League spot off them. This Summer, to maintain that advantage, Liverpool have again taken another player from Southampton, Nathaniel Clyne, in a bargain £12.5m deal. Perhaps Liverpool’s biggest coup of the Summer came when they won a fiercely contested battle with nobody, to snap up Christian Benteke from Aston Villa. A real snip at £32.5m.

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Liverpool reveal their transfer policy and hopes for the new season

Another moment of the close season which sends the press and social media into a frenzy is the release of the fixtures in the middle of June. What we learnt this year was that United have to play all sides in the Premier League, home and away (would you believe), at various points of the season. Once unveiled, there was all kinds of confidence flying about, particularly about the run-in. I had to agree when I saw them; it is easily the kindest run-in United have been granted in the last twelve months. The first fixture most Reds look for is when we play Liverpool and the greatest surprise is that it’s a 5.30 kick off on a Saturday night. I can’t believe the Bovril squad haven’t objected to that one. Another away trip Reds were keenly looking at was Bournemouth. There was a groan of disappointment when we realised that we were taking our buckets and spades there in the middle of December. I reckon the South Coast will see its biggest invasion since October 1066, when Duke William II of Normandy brought his firm down to sort out Harry Godwinson’s boys. (Proper naughty, claret everywhere.)

United fans celebrating the winning of the 19th league title at The Fernhurst in Blackburn in 2011. Hopefully it won’t be too long before these celebrations are repeated

United may have reached saturation point in the States. Last Summer saw United play Real Madrid in front of 109,318 in the Michigan Big House (oddly enough, we have a well crowded big house in Manchester too). It was a different story this year, when United’s fixture against the San Jose Earthquakes was moved from the California Memorial Stadium (capacity 62,467) to the Aveya Stadium (capacity 18,000). This was supposedly for “travel and logistical requirements”. The distance between the respective stadia is 46 miles, give or take, the same distance from Old Trafford to Elland Road.

A few days after United found their way to San Jose, (try not thinking of that magnificent song, you can’t, can you?), United played Barcelona in San Francisco at what the MUTV commentator called with great wit, the Theatre of Jeans. The performance from United against Barcelona (admittedly, sans Lionel Messi) was very encouraging. Against the European Champions, United looked fluent, confident on the ball and seemed to have an idea of how to attack. Four days later, United lost 2-0 to Paris St Germain in the Chicago Soldiers Field to relinquish our proud hold on the International Champions Cup. The defending for the two goals conceded (shown below) was comically inept,

Now that United’s pre-season is complete, we’re looking forward to the opening match against Tottenham, a club I’ve always had the utmost respect for and a match that I always look forward to. Spurs usually bring the most impressive away support to Old Trafford, certainly for noise and a good number too. It has historically always been an exciting fixture and as a first game to the season, it’s a belter. It will certainly give United’s new signings a great introduction to Old Trafford. It will also give us a good indication of how United will properly look next season.

Let’s hope for another controversial moment like this. The sound of whinging Cockneys and apoplectic commentators was the sweetest harmony

Like the production of Austin Allegro, United having a Financial Director called Robin Launders, the common use of carbolic soap, motorcycle sidecars, nicking empty pop bottles from a shop’s backyard and taking them back in for the 5p deposit, all these things eventually had to come to an end. So it comes to be with this blog. To paraphrase John Cleese, “this blog is no more. It has ceased to be. It’s expired and gone to meet its maker. This is a late blog. It’s a stiff, it rests in peace. It’s rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-blog.” Thanks to everybody who has read and enjoyed it since 2011. To all those who don’t like it, I ask (a) what are you doing here now and (b) you’ve left it a bit late to start moaning, haven’t you?


35 thoughts on “Joined The Choir Invisible”

  1. Murtphy

    What the fuck are you talk about?

    You don’t stopping the blog as all my family and friends in Lyon now reading – I am translationing.

    Also my relation with my true bro Slade is flourish.

    Get the grip.


  2. So this is the end of your entertaining slot. Like many, I’m going to miss it. Just like to say, I’ve enjoyed being a small thread, in this tapestry of pisstake. Is there a reason? Or are you just fed up with our banal mutterings. Whatever, I feel you may pop up elsewhere. If so, please make it known. To my invisible pal, J the Red, au reservoir. (With acknowledgement to the Anglo/Gallic gendarme). I’m gonna miss that coward from dog shit alley in Leicester, Monty, not to mention the bucking Canary molester. Here’s to the next time, lads and lasses. Keep the faith. We shall overcome. Parting shot, to our Liverpool cousins, regarding youze and your club. You make want to vomit. To think that the club that the proud Bill Shankly built, has turned into. You are now, nothing more than a self centred, self pitying, self destructing laughing stock of the northwest. Now go and build a monument to that. Good luck Murph.

    1. Mutphy – I beleave you decision is a sniderlin.

      I will changed your mind about the retirement of the blog with an update of the animals in my garden.

      I have purchase a companion for the Pug called Pugba. It is a dog called Dogba.

      I have also now a crab called Wilkins and a very fat cow called Anderson.

      As well a pig who I name Swinesteiger.

      He like to play with Rodgers the rabbit, this bunny have very white teeth for the garden project.

      See you soon Mutphy, I will move in Manchester.


    2. Did I never tell you what happened to Monty, he ended up in one of Bernard Matthews turkey twizzlers, along with Buckscanary. No idea what happened to my favourite scouser Baz Hill

  3. If, J you’re moving to Manchester, could you bring some accommodation brochures. I fancy a change myself. And our long distance ‘relationship’ could continue. Nothing personal. I could also look after your menagerie. Yours, in animals Gurney

  4. Hi Murph,

    I am appalled and find your decision staggering.

    Joking aside I enjoy getting home from the match and actually seeing you identify the bits of the match i’d have noticed myself had I not been totally smashed, trying to aggravate the nearest steward, and/or asleep.

    Your blog or its disappearance is going to leave a hole, and in itself was providing a nice post Red Issue outlet.

    Maybe reconsider?

    If this is to be the last one then a big shout out to Baz Hill, Bucks Canary and anyone from Leicester – you are all cunts.

    Finally, in a possibly final twist, have you left a clever but amusing clue as to the identity of everyone’s favourite Frenchman??

    J The Red = Murph.

    How have I worked this out?

    Your final clip is Loony Tunes Bugs Bunny ‘That’s All For Now Folks’, almost instantly followed by J The Red recruiting ‘Rodgers’ The Rabbit for his jardin.

    A subtle but clear confession? I think so.

    You’ve had us going all along, Murph. RUMBLED.

    From now on you are Murph The Red.

  5. Sorry to see the end of this Murph. I always enjoy reading them, not just for the acuuracy, fairness and astute knowledge of the current game but also, of course, the wit with which is was written. Always entertaining this blog will be sadly missed.
    Thanks again,
    Macca 🙂

  6. Lionel, your red herring regarding J the Red. I smell a rat here. I too had my thoughts on it. But your strenuous attempt to stick it on Murph, has left you open to a conspiracy. That woger wabbit link was a bit tenuous, to say the least.Yes, your smoke screen has blown away. And who stands naked to all?You’ve got it. It’s you right. Come clean. It’s the only way. You’ll feel better for. How will you sleep nights if you don’t? Come to think of it, you and J have never been seen in the same room together. But if it’s not you, soooorreeee. Gurney

  7. Gurney,

    Wrong on all counts, plus Murph has already previously exonerated me from all wrongdoing or any possible involvement in the supply chain of J The Red’s thoughts and demands

    I can categorically assure you I am not French, nor is my name Jeremy.

    I am not Jeremy, I am Lionel.

    Murph has spun us all a richly entertaining yarn all this time.

    You should ‘send him your number, bro’.

    I can always send you Murph’s number if it makes things easier?

    Unless of course Gurney, you are building up this defensive wall around ‘J The Red’ and then claiming it was someone else’s fault it collapsed because in fact, I’m mistaken about Murph’s part in this, AND YOU ARE THE J THE RED?

    It’s one of you two, of that I’m certain.

    Which one is it?

    1. “Murph has already previously exonerated me from all wrongdoing or any possible involvement in the supply chain of J The Red’s thoughts and demands”

      I remember doing no such thing Loonel

    2. Only you can tell us Lionel (J) thou doth protest too much. You wave your finger indiscriminately at myself and Murph. You wriggle, you duck and dodge. There’s no shame attached to your alter ego. On the contrary, you have amused me and others for months. So out of the closet you come. Easy does it. Blink your eyes a bit. That’s it, look in the mirror, recognise your self? You’re not Lionel. I AM !!!! Right here’s what we do, all back in the darkness. Jumble and shake our selves about a bit and Hey Preston we’re all back too where we started. To you Murph. Is there any truth in the rumour that you will be featuring in one of our august fanzines? If so, let us know. Once again thanks

  8. Lionul

    What is you problem?

    Do not accusing Gurney or I fuck you up

    I am not obligation to make these post but I have the view of loyal United fans but only in Lyon

    I am not Mutphy or Gurney.

    Can you get me 2 ticket for a Swansea away ?


    1. “Can you get me 2 ticket for a Swansea away ?”

      No problem, I’ll tell you what, you can have them free of charge too. Pop by to Malc’s stall next to the phone boxes on Chester Road next Saturday and tell him I sent you there for your Swansea tickets.


  9. Mate you can’t finish writing this blog. It’s the one thing I look forward to after watching the game itself.

  10. I started reading these blogs before I knew it was you writing them, so you can’t be all that bad. In a way it’s a kind of blessing, as people just couldn’t get it that I’m a City fan but I post your blogs. Well Murph, as you’d probably say in your typically dry style, “Fuck ’em.” For me it was always about the footy, and I respected both your writing and the fact you went to every game. You don’t see that much these days.
    Looking forward to sharing a single malt with you when you pop up to these parts again.
    Good luck, and as J would say, “Chow for now.”

    1. I am hoping to be up your way before September. I remember saying that I was gonna be up there in May but to use the quote attributed to Harold McMillan, “events dear boy, events”, got in the way of that. I’ll be in touch about it soon anyway mate.

  11. Murph,

    Stop making us all squirm and agree to continue the blog, often it’s far better than the match itself. Good post from Bradscorner by the way.

    To you J The Red – pas moi Monsieur, and the way you rushed to Gurney Slade’s defence, like a group of women from Bolton on a hen night deciding to attack a vulnerable target, makes me even more certain of le culprit.


    1. Eureka !! It’s been there all the time. I couldn’t see the wood for the splinters of bullshit. Lyonel and lion, get it. Bingo, conclusive proof at last. Now that I’ve solved that, beyond any more none sense from Lionel the Red, from Lyon. (Sounds ok that does) Now let’s check KvN out. Mein leader? Surely it’s mien Furher. Your spelling is almost as bad as Lyonels when he’s on a flight of bull. Nice try tho’. Incidentally the surf name Nutter is quite common in NE Lancashire. So klaus back on your pendle express, think of summat else. Gurney

  12. Was is this terrible news that the Blog vill not be continuing? Just as Mein leader Schweinsteiger is plotting the domination of Poland, Czeckoslovakia, France, Spain and holland. With the air raids of Fellani. Who is this Lionel man? He will pay for this

  13. Klaus,

    Button it or I will feed your bratwurst to Murph’s dogs Pugba and Dogba.

    Anyway, hiding behind a pseudonym isn’t cool or funny.


    1. If you three didn’t show like the Three Stooges, I would think I was dealing with a schizo. Keep twisting and turning like this, and you will disappear up your own sausage pocket. But seriously, if I am you, and you me, we should all be together, I’m the ape man oo coochie coo. Your turn to bat Lionel, J, Klaus. PS as I wait on your next reply Aus are currently 42-7 at Trent Bridge. Oh happy days

  14. Slade

    You are confusioning me – can you send me the number Bro?

    I see you have wroten numbers in last message, this is a clue? 427?

    I am from France but true Red – I can prove this. I will send photo….Murtphy is possible to making uploads?

    Who is this ape man? Ooh ooh aah aah. Oochie coochie coo – in my jardin we have an ape call Keown, ugly brute and he don’t hold his position nr the tree were I tell him to stay.

    Either way I gonna see you in Villa and Swansea.

    J The Red (ton frere)

    1. Spurs? How did it finish ? I’ve been reading up on schizophrenia. I’ve not got it. But denial of its presence is one of the most obvious characteristics. So you one, two or three speak help. Here’s my advice. Go to Blackpool, visit the pleasure beach, I know your ahead of me now. Yes, in the hall of mirrors, walk around a bit. Then one of you make a bolt for the exit. When outside, put the afore mention bolt, firmly on the outside. Then, get few pints and give your head a wobble. If that doesn’t work. Get back on here. We’ll think of summat else. By the way, chop chop, why don’t you sprinkle you fairy dust on the games. Futures Dr Slade (Gurney)

  15. Murph
    I hope you have a change of heart, I’ll miss my weekly badinage and view form the terraces.

  16. A win is a win. Not the usual fare that made us famous. The swash is buckled at the moment. I will settle for two wins and two blank sheets early doors. The midfield looked in control of things last night. But the ability to give the ball away, at times must be eradicated from our play. What do you think lads and lassies?

  17. Slade

    Your comment are not usual. Why you are not happy?

    Don’t worry be happy.

    I take a new job (Spanish waiter) and do not see live the Spurs match, but in Villa and Bruges i sea LVG philosophy.

    Perhaps you are not understand this analyses tactics that I make, but in France we have the deep understands of football.

    I have also been in Blackpool to the hall of mirror last year – I say to the mirror truth:

    I am not a man, I am Jeremy.


    We will have soon my prediction comes true:

    Fellaini in centre back. Better than the massive signature of Otamendi and better hare.

    Can you get 6 tickets for Swansea away? I never been in Whales

    Send me the number Bro.


  18. Mutphy

    No Fellaini no party.

    We are in the pub in Lyon pumping euros into duke box.

    I spend my wages on the tunes of a famous Mancunian singer Sophie Ellis Bextor, her best tune

    Murderers On The Dancefloor



  19. Murgphy

    Greet from Bruges.

    Tu pense que votre moustache est la mode!

    Do you or Slade or any other reeder come this match?

    We will have the proper smash up.

    On the pitch the air raid of Fellaini and the midfield tryangle of Carrick, Schneiderlin and Mata means we have too much strongth.


    ps. les Belges they are like Alan Shearer – Stink of piss.

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