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. To be truthful, it wasn’t that hard to improve on the crap served up before. Aside for that minor improvement, United did not register a single shot on target throughout the game. A United attack of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Juan Mata and Angel di Maria made Southampton’s defence look like it was being manned by Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi.

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View from the Stretford End for todays game (photo courtesy of Neil Meehan)

Prior to the game, the consensus was that this could be a tricky game. Certainly nobody was taking anything for granted which, with hindsight, was just as well. In every match United have played against the Saints since they were promoted in 2012, they have given United a hard match. A month ago, United were very lucky to get three points at St Mary’s Stadium; today United got exactly what they deserved. A couple of years ago, this would’ve been a severe disappointment if United hadn’t won this. However, we all know United haven’t been playing too well, whilst Southampton have surprised everybody after getting £49m off Liverpool in the Summer for three of their deadwood.

On Friday night, the terrible news that Red Issue was publishing its last ever edition this weekend was announced. A fanzine that I first read as a fifteen year old since it was sold on Warwick Road in February 1989, it has been a staple of my adult life. Red Issue is (was) a refreshing antidote to the anodyne crap that gets served up in the official programme. Red Issue is United and football’s equivalent of Private Eye. The bullshitters in power at Old Trafford, both now and historically, hated the fanzine, giving even more reason to lament the closure of the mag. Red Issue has an eye for satire that is both funny, true and on occasions, savage. They take no prisoners and brilliantly cut through the mealy-mouthed bollocks that has been so often served up by various chairmen/chief executives over the years. They (along with IMUSA) successfully campaigned against the Murdoch/BSkyB bid in 1998/1999 and fought the corner for United fans, particularly with the outrageous behaviour of the GMP on Euro-aways in recent times. I didn’t always agree with Red Issue. I have no great affection for Liverpool football club but I think they occasionally went overboard on the anti-Scouse thing. Then again, the very well written Through the Wind and the Rain was never big on their affection for us either so I suppose it’s horses for courses. United today put in a performance reminiscent of 1989 vintage, seemingly in homage to Red Issue. The result and performance was bad, and that will thankfully, be forgotten pretty soon. However, in the long run, the end of Red Issue for real United fans who know the score will be a far bigger loss than today’s dreadful performance.

4 thoughts on “Take No Prisoners – Manchester 11th of January 2015”

  1. Van Gaal v Moyes- same points from same number of games. A twitchy defence which looks a lot better on paper than in real life. No shots on target! And a resort to route 1, ping it off Fellaini’s head tactics- is that the part where you said they started to play better? Makes the amazing run they’ve been on look just that- amazing. Is it too early to book the plane yet?

    1. Said all along when some other people were encouraging title aspirations that there was a way to go with this team yet.

      The statistics do suggest that everything is the same now as what it was under Moyes but that’s where statistics become an anomaly. By this point last season, United were out of the top four and never seriously looked like getting back into it. This season, helped by a declining Liverpool and Arsenal side, United are in a far better position even if the points/wins totals suggest not. This is a work in progress and ultimately a top four spot is United’s main target this season. If it remains United’s main target next season, then that will be the time to be getting pissed off.

  2. Luck ain’t no lady. And on Sunday, she blew on some other guys dice. No complaints tho’. Someone did their homework on United. And no surprise it was a canny Dutchman. A candidate for the future job? Anyhow, to lose to our contenders for a top four spot is a blow. But that’s all. Not too serious and it gives us a timely warning that there is plenty of work to do. Both tactically and fitness wise. Clearly those substitutions weren’t all injuries. A victory over QPR, would be a boost, prior to a winnable cup match. Anything else could bring doubt to our recently found, tho’ brittle confidence. We shall overcome.

    P.S, Very sad that the Red Issue ceased to publish. Is there any chance of a Phoenix type of come back? Please say yes.

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