Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Manchester 19th of October 2013

The weather forecast had been universally grim. It was supposed to piss down constantly throughout the weekend but that wasn’t how it ended up being. A stuttering United performance was nicely concluding into a hard fought victory when Southampton got a corner on 88 minutes. After a game of cat and mouse between referee Michael Jones and Saints midfielder James Ward-Prowse, over the pinching of inches and placing the ball out of the D of the corner flag, Ward-Prowse floated a corner in to cause a chaotic scramble in the United six yard box. This resulted in a farcical equaliser for Southampton, which was eventually accredited to Adam Lallana. Moments later, what had been an elementally very agreeable day turned very dark very quickly. It was if the goal itself had given the Lord the royal hump and he thus, decided that there was going to be a downpour of rain which was of biblical proportions. Driving home down Chester Road I saw a rainbow gracing the Hulme and Moss Side sky in front of me. Somewhere over the rainbow in sight is an interesting and potentially turbulent time for United.

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Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Photograph courtesy of Kevin Gallagher)

There’s a whole philosphical argument about whether a United side should be shutting the shop by swapping a centre forward for a centre half with three minutes left and defending a one goal lead. This appeared to be David Moyes idea today when he took Wayne Ronney off for Chris Smalling on 87 minutes. After booking his day in the sun to Rio the other day, Smalling himself could do with having a good look in the mirror for his part in the Southampton goal. Whatever the United way is, can be debate for another day but if you’re gonna shut the shop, it’s a good idea to make sure that it is actually fucking shut. When Southampton equalised, United were short of forwards. After Lallana cancelled out Robin Van Persie’s brilliantly taken goal, the expected injury time siege on the Southampton goal never materialised. Indeed Southampton looked more like scoring after they equalised than United did. As for defensive minded football and the United way, I remember similar mumblings of discontent when Alex Ferguson played five at the back in a home match against a very good Everton side in February 1987. United lost that match and on that dark and freezing late winter afternoon, four months into Fergusons tenure as United manager, there were similar grumblings of discontent and rhetorical questions of whether he was the right man for the job. There is a similar feeling being mooted by some reds at the moment. They may be right, but Moyes is also four months into the job and has to be given at least two seasons to be found suitable or not. United, despite being champions, are not a great side and haven’t been since 2009. The sheer force of Sir Alex Ferguson’s managerial brilliance has won the title on the last two occasions. Moyes has been left a side that whilst incumbent champions, needs dismantling and rebuilding. Not something he’s going to be able to do in four bleeding months.

Rain sodden United fans on Chester Road in Hulme, en route to a welcoming pub on Deansgate (Photograph courtesy of Kevin Gallagher)

The moaning at the full time whistle by some United fans were of a similar relentless nature to the rain. Reds are obviously going to be pissed off about conceding a last minute equaliser, I was too, but the mard arsed baloney coming out of some United fans walking down Warwick Road after the match was as clueless as potentially embarassing. There’s a train of thought amongst some United fans of my acquaintance that a barren season or two wouldn’t neccesarily be a bad thing. The idea being that it would get rid of the muppets who have jumped on the Man U (sic) bandwagon in the Ferguson era. Whilst there will obviously be an exodus, to what degree is to be ascertained. Anybody who remembers the garbage served up in the latter part of the Ron Atkinson era and the early part of Ferguson’s will remember Old Trafford being a pretty depressing place. Some people talk with misty eyed nostalgia as if it were a halcyon period of relentlessly noisy, loyal and passionate support from the cauldron of United Road and Stretford End terrace. It’s as if Old Trafford in that era was predominately populated by a core of knowledgable and hardened reds who rolled with the punches (so to speak). That’s complete bollocks. There was a similar ratio of know nowt, mard arsed knobheads at Old Trafford in that era as there is now. There were some great days, the league double over Liverpool in 86/87, the heroic 3-3 draw at Anfield on Easter Monday 1988 against a brilliant Liverpool side and giving Liverpool and Arsenal a good leathering in 1989, but it was pretty dire apart from that between 1986 and 1990. Some people wanted Sir Alex Ferguson sacked in 1989 and 2004, other people wanted rid of David Gill, they eventually got what they wanted (well Sir Alex retired, but you know what I mean). The way some people are talking about Moyes, they want to be careful what they wish for. Liverpool have, barring the odd exception, been a pretty average side since they last won the title in 1990. Is Anfield now populated by hardcore and knowledgable fans? Ask any honest or proper scouser that question (trust me, they do exist) and they’ll give the same response about Anfield having a similar proportion of clueless wankers that Old Trafford has.

12 thoughts on “Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Manchester 19th of October 2013”

  1. The major concern murph is that in todays climate, being out of the top 4 and not in europe has massive financial implications. Particularly thanks to those yank gimps running the show, if we dont get into europe then that debt is going to grow which means we cant afford the top players and culminates in a spiralling decline. I dont think its about moyes, more about the players having a good look at themselves and asking are they giving everything for this club. I reckon throughout the whole squad only a handful can stand up and be counted.
    Time for everyone to pull their finger out and put a shift in

    1. In regards to the finances, the thought of United not finishing in the top four doesn’t bear thinking about for the parasites in control of the club. It will probably force the Glazers to sell a chunk of the club, preferably the chunk they have yet to pay for.

  2. What Lee said. To add to that if we had not lost (ok we drew but it felt like a loss!) with the negative substitutions the sinking in that Moyes is not the manager we hoped is terrifying. Negative football, lack of use of the squad (a new signing who hasn’t gotten his start in Zaha ) and the lack of use of a creative outlet in Kagawa point to a manager who values Fellainis brawn over flair. Ok they play different positions but I get the feeling moyes is so used to operating with a tiny squad he doesn’t know how to apportion playing time . Take risks, give players 15 min here and there to change the game. I truly am terrified with how things are going as it only takes one or two bad seasons for great players not wanting to come and the good ones we do have wanting to leave . I will forever remain a united fan even though a disgruntled one!

    1. Kagawa’a card looks well and truly marked to me. He’s looking more like Veron with every passing day. Like Veron, he’s a brilliant player respected by team mate and opponent, he just can’t fit in with what’s around him. As for Fellaini, I’m hoping he’s still finding his feet. I also believe that whilst Fellaini isn’t the best player in the Premier League in his position (Yaya Toure is), he does at least add a bit of desperately needed aggression to United’s midfield, something we’ve been screaming for since Roy Keane left in 2005. He’s also to my eyes, a far better player than Anderson and Tom Cleverley, his main competitors for his position in the United side. As for Zaha, read Kagawa. He impressed me on pre-season performances but it’s blatantly obvious that David Moyes doesn’t rate him.

  3. Food for thought there mate. I’ve only ever known unparalleled success at United, thanks to Ferguson’s efforts. Come what may – and although football fans are fickle – I can’t foresee a time coming in the next 10 or 20 years where United aren’t the best supported team in the country. The comparison to Liverpool is apt although I think the doom-mongering (by some) is premature in the extreme! If support does wane – I’d personally welcome the opportunity to buy tickets for our away fixtures without having to beg, borrow and steal. Can’t see it unfortunately.

    1. In regards to the numerical level of support for United, a fallow period would obviously see a decline in numbers but United have been consistently (though not consecutively) the best supported team in England since the end of World War II. As for the procurement of away tickets, I can remember a time when it was relatively a doddle getting tickets for away matches. I even remember the odd away match being pay on the gate. I’m sure the last time that happened was at Notts County in January 1992…I’m gonna get my handkerchief out now and listen mournfully to a Mary Hopkin record 🙂

  4. Driving home down Chester Rd Murph??????? Lazy bastard, it’s only 5 minutes walk, max. As for the debate above, read Spleen in this month’s Red Issue, he nails it perfectly, we were gifted the title last year and there was always going to be a period of realignment when someone, whoever it turned out to be – Moyes/Maureen/John Gregory – took over and got to grips with the job. The other ‘massive’ issue which hasn’t been touched upon here: loss of Gill, replaced by the almost universally derided Ed Woodward. I’m not sure anyone rates him, let alone Moyes. Compare and contrast that fish out of water scenario with the Fergie & Gill power base. Either way, give me a 20th place finish with zero points and Fellaini up front and Kagawa in goal every week than being forced to wrap a tea towel round my head and go to the Boo Camp with 20,000 other Stockport denizens. It’ll come good, keep the faith.

    1. I had to drive home. I saw the weather forecast on Saturday morning and I knew that the weather was going to play havoc with the perm I was having done. These things don’t come cheap you know!

  5. I can remember, standing on the scoreboard, terrace in the early sixties. Listening to some disgruntled older fans discussing the sacking of Busby. Heresy, I hear you mumble. No, just Uni’ed fans of the day expressing their doubts. This was before a match against Fulham. United won that day 3-0 and Busby was afforded the time to re-develop the nucleas of a team that was to win the FA Cup, the League twice and culminating in winning the European Cup in 1968. Knee jerk sackings of managers is not the United way. Time must be given to any appointed manager to develop his ideas for the team and not to panic when there’s a slow start to the season. Some reds need to get some bottle

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