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 and Arsenal at home, it’s a potentially tricky run-in. The fact that United have obviously raised their game against stronger opposition should hopefully bode well. It also helps that Liverpool have to visit Stamford Bridge; I’m just pleased that they somehow lost at Hull the other night. What United can ill afford is another piss poor performance like the one served up yesterday at Old Trafford. It’s all very United to play so well against difficult opposition and then play so poorly against teams like West Bromwich Albion.

Spot on from Mr Doveman and if anybody would like to make a donation to cancer research, click here

A true non-event of a first half was most memorable for the minute’s applause in memoriam of Rebecca Ellison, the wife of Rio Ferdinand, who has passed away at the tragically early age of 35. Personally, I’m not big on mass public shows of remembrance like this, but if that’s what makes people feel like they’re showing respect, then so be it. Whatever the rights or wrongs of the applause was, did United really have to make a tannoy announcement halfway through it asking somebody to return to their car? Could they have not waited 30 or 40 seconds to do it?

The debate raged over the penalty decision (photo courtesy of Neil Meehan)

The second half carried on much as the first had. United attacked with such incompetence that they made an organised and disciplined West Brom defence resemble the catenaccio era Inter Milan. It’s no surprise that West Brom have stopped the opposition from scoring on ten occasions since Tony Pulis took over as manager on New Year’s Day. All that said, I’d love to know Louis van Gaal’s thinking behind playing a midfielder further forward than two top class centre forwards. 

Me too alas

In the 62nd minute, a stupid foul by Paddy McNair on Darren Fletcher saw the United centre half booked and West Brom with a decent chance on goal. Chris Brunt blasted the ball goalward and it ricocheted off Jonas Olsson’s arse to David de Gea’s left hand side into the back of the Scoreboard End net. I knew then that United had a real problem.

I normally put a Youtube film up of the match. I cannot possibly inflict that on you, dear reader, so above is a trip down memory lane, with United’s famous home defeat to West Brom in December 1978

In September 2013, the last time West Brom played at Old Trafford, Saido Berahino scored the winner. This time, 10 minutes after Olsson’s goal, he gave United a lifeline with a handball, just inside the box. Robin van Persie walked up to take the penalty but Boaz Myhill guessed right and dived left to save. A couple of minutes later saw Paddy McNair head wide with a free header from an  corner. This just about summed up United’s day. For the third time in succession, United have dominated possession, 81% enjoyed today. The only statistics that really matter though are the goals and at the moment, with players like Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Angel di Maria, Juan Mata and Radamel Falcao, United don’t look like scoring. That is wrong, plain fuckin’ wrong.

West Brom legends reading Psalm 23

West Brom brought one of the lowest away followings I’ve ever seen at Old Trafford yesterday. Approximately three hundred Baggies bored United fans senseless with that generic bullshit of supporting their local team (in that accent too, for Christ’s sake) – that’s when they could be bothered saying anything at all. A few boing boings and a repetitive recital of Psalm 23 was all else we got out of them. The one positive thing to draw from today is that we won’t be seeing them again until the late Summer at the very earliest. The sad thing is that a decent United performance could’ve helped make that wait a lot longer

18 thoughts on “Odyssey in 2001 – Manchester, 3rd May 2015”

  1. Mutphy,

    This performance was wanker.

    No midfield tryangle (again), and ball retention like Chelsea’s firm on night out in a gay bar.

    Not even my dog Molby watch this now.

    With out the fourth place we don’t even make up for a euro away, no party, no smash up. Not good.

    Prey that we fuck up Crystal Palace. I do not come over this match but I have my Cantona mask ready.



  2. This run of results is as unexpected as the winning run that proceeded it. The reason, I assume, for putting Fellaini forward, was to try to outmuscle the crowded WBA defence. I doubt that Barca would resort to that. Also, if you do play your strikers further back, it would be an idea to ask them to take a shot now and then. The look on McNairs face after his miss tells me that he will learn from it. He looks a prospect to me. Time for another run of unlikely results. Like a win over palace, a win against arsenal and a dodgy draw with Hull. Keep the faith lads and lasses. It will come good.

    1. Slade

      Still you doesn’t reply with your number?

      My parent give the green light for massif party in my house ‘when’ the reds qualification for Champions League’ 2015/16 and receive a French team – I hope is Lyon (my home city)

      Like you saying it will come good, but why you recommend this crazy idea of the striker doing shots? Falcao miss a lot but I don’t think he’s pissed.

      We will do shots Bro.


      J (aka Fred)

      1. My personnel choice of drink was Wilsons bitter. One day, after a Sunday dinner session, I was asked to fill in for someone who hadn’t turned up. It hardly affected my game. In fact, in one incident, I cleaned their centre forward and the ref in one tackle. No free kick was given. The ref said he can’t give what he didn’t see and believe me he saw fuck all. Being pissed can help. I played a blinder in a 2-1 victory. The reason je give vous no adresse is parce you donner nothing. Maybe you send snap ‘shot’ of yourself holding you mammies hand. Then maybe we take it from there. A recent photo if you don’t mind. I’ve been done like this before. You could get your mam to hold up a copy of the Lyon Evening Trumpet, to confirm its date line. Vous compris. Kind regards Slade

        1. Slade

          When I reading this I’m not for sure that you are who you saying you are.

          is it a pseudoname?

          We will fuck up that stump from West Brom. Tell him staying away from Lyon or he will received a shoeing.

          Send me the number Bro.


          1. Pseudo name? You’re a fine one. You can’t make your mind which one to use. Jaka fred indeed. Hey we’re having our first argument. Let me make this clear. Unless you put a photograph on here, with Murph’s permission, this affair will go no further. And don’t ask for mine, cos I said it first. So there. As before, a recent one. With dated proof please. Gurney, yes Gurney Slade.

        2. Slade

          I have mated with Muphty but you is not prove so easy.

          Do you have Instagram or Facebook?

          Also I have sign up for Grinder.com

          Many Chelsea fan on this site I see.

          Your friend in France.


          1. When you mated with Mufty, we’re there any children . If there was, I’m not to get involved. I’m a children, and wouldn’t like it. No Internet links. Grinder? I sharpen my own tools thank you. And chelsea? Are you a fan of rent boys? And now we’re back to J. Are you some kind schizo? Your beginning to interest me, don’t forget the piccy, Slade

  3. The respect shown to the lady that died is ok and I did join in, but that’s where should it stop. But let’s not turn us into a maudling tear stained crowd like the Liverpool fakes. Being sentimental does no good. As above a few quid would. Nice move Murphy

  4. Yesterday was one of those infurating days where nothing went for us. I find that we really struggle to break down a well organised defence. The longer it goes on the harder it gets. Its actually easier for us to beat better teams that come and have a go.
    I have to disagree with you on the McNair front Gurney. He reminds me of a poor mans O’Shea. I fear the worst when he’s on the ball. West Brom allowed him to play it out because he didn’t have a clue what to do with it when he had the ball. For me, Blackett is a much better all round defender, who deserves a chance.

    1. Re McNair. Fair comment Lee. He’s young and we all see different things in kids. I agree Blackett is further forward. But the fact McNair goes forward, the way he does, tells me he is at least confident. He was not the only one to look clueless going forward yesterday. His inexperience did cost us, for the free kick. But we must show patience with the young uns. Warren Joyce is doing some good things with the under 21’s.

  5. I think yesterday was the smallest away contingent since Fenerbache took our unbeaten home european record in 1996, except maybe Villarreal, who fit their fans on the subs’ bench.

    Another highlight yesterday was some crack at HT waiting for the highlights to come on saying, ‘what are they gonna show? The players walking on then walking off again?’

    I’m hoping the players are stumbling over the line for the magical fourth place cup (on loan from Arsenal FC) coz they’ve lost a bit of edge due to that March run. Knowing they can be higher up the table, and now they’re just wanting the season over pronto so they can start again next year and go at it big time. As am I.

    I hope that’s it. I still wanna finish higher than the bogofs, mind.

  6. Seen some wretched games at old Trafford over the years but that was up there with worst. Neither team deserved the 3 points and it was always going to take a fluke to win it – unfortunately it was their fluke, not ours. Some guy behind me was giving Fellaini dog’s abuse but I think van Gaal must take the blame for the incomprehensible tactic of playing a midfielder as a front man beanpole like Crouch and two of Europe’s best strikers (allegedly) in midfield. WTF was all that about? As for di Maria, his half hour cameo saw him doing plenty of running at the right side of the Albion defence. Unfortunately it also saw some of the worst passing and crossing I have ever seen from a professional footballer. Still at least he and Falcao will be able to keep each other company on the way to the airport. Significantly, the biggest applause went to 2 former Reds – Rio, obviously, and how sad that news is – and Darren Fletcher, who got a great hand when he came off – not because he had a particularly brilliant game, but because he’s a walking reminder of happier times.

    1. Well talk about getting hit on the chin with a sucker punch? As the free kick was being lined up, I turned to my wife and said “if they score from this it will be a travesty”.
      I too am perplexed by some of LVG’s decisions, especially around bringing on subs. Di Maria, as per my previous rants, I just do not get. Januzai had spent half of last season taking on full backs and beating them, against WBA we were crying out for their defence to be beaten on the outside and what happens, Januzai continues to warm his bum and on comes Di Maria who I’ve not witnessed take anyone other than himself on. I read we are after Memphis Dupay but at Januzai’s expense, think long LVG. I’m perplexed by the Fellaini thing, pull him back deeper, allow RVP and Rooney to push up.
      I see McNair getting some grief but I like the lad, he looks like Beckanbaur on the ball in comparison to Evans.
      If they let 4th place slip I’ll be livid especially of it’s to the Scousers.

  7. Yep, we took a small allocation, we’re not the biggest supported club around, so what ? when did you earn points by having a big crowd ? We had 560 allocation and even then there were plenty of day trippers in there who we will never see again.

    But if you took your fingers out your ears long enough you would have heard plenty of noise from the Baggies fans all game in our accent which I for one am proud of you. Instead of sitting quietly listening to other teams fans to have a pop in your sour grapes tone when results go against you whilst proudly wearing your half and half scarf, why don’t you actually open your trap and support your team during the game. Only noise coming from Utd fans was during the applause for Rio and the booing at the end.

    Thanks for the You-Tube of the 78/9 3-5 game, brought back memories as I was there that day as well. Boing Boing

    1. “But if you took your fingers out your ears long enough you would have heard plenty of noise from the Baggies fans all game in our accent which I for one am proud of you…whilst proudly wearing your half and half scarf,”

      I was sat about ten rows in front of you so I know that you are lying through your yellow stained teeth (well, you make assumptions about my attire…). The only noise I heard (thankfully) from your generally morose lot was a cheer for the goal, followed by a recital of Psalm 23 and Boing Boing (whatever rocks your boat, live ‘n’ let live and what have you).

      I do concur that the atmosphere from United fans could’ve been better, but do you realise how difficult it is to get “up” for a match against a team that we have no rivalry with and a club supported by a collective of half wits such as your cohort on Saturday? I’ll give you one thing, there was only 560 of you polluting our famous stadium on Saturday and not the usual 12/1,500 that Villa bring, thank Christ.

      As for the sour grapes, yeah, it’s so sour that I put a video up of the 5-3 from 1978. Could you really watch that drivel on show again from Saturday? Have WBA issued a DVD of Saturday’s match yet?

  8. You’ve got some balls coming on here. West fuckin brom. The form team, just, of the laughably named West Midlands. Read on pal. If we could decipher what you no marks are shouting, we would probably ignore you anyway. If it’s like the midget minded clubs that take up that corner, you support your local team, blah blah. But the truth is hardly any one gives a fuck for your side. Give me the raucous foul mouthed and occasionally amusing scousers, over your predictable, whining noise anytime. If you have any songs that don’t expose your inferiority complex, then let’s hear ’em. Tony Pulis may have strangled a victory for you crumby lot, but that is all you can look forward to with him in charge. Scratching points from big aways. Then relegation. Now fuck off.

  9. Fucking hell Murph, I’m happy to have missed this one.

    Is the season gonna peter out into a damp squib of crappy 1-0 defeats? Hope the good work of Anfailed isn’t about to be undone against tossers like Wist Bram.

    Signing of Depay looks excellent, he’s only 21-y-o and hopefully is bang up for it next season.

    Previous imports from PSV: Stam, Ruud van Nistelrooy & Park. The omens are good on that score.

    See ya later.

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