Off The Back Of A Fag Packet – Preston 16th February 2015

Yet another poor United performance, particularly in the first half, has been covered by the fact that on the appearance of the scoreline, United won easily. Truth is, United only got going after Scott Laird had given Preston North End the lead early in the second half when his shot deflected off Antonio Valencia’s left foot through David de Gea’s hands.

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The happy chaos which greeted Marouane Fellaini’s goal in the 72nd minute

What a sight it was that greeted us after that goal. As we stood on the Bill Shankly Kop, to our left in the Pavillion stand, we were greeted by the biggest bunch of let me at ’em merchants witnessed since we last played Stoke City. Suddenly, we were subjected to the truly frightening spectacle of fourteen year old lads from this Blackpool overspill being held back by coppers and stewards. They were gesturing as to the dreadful fate that awaited us when we dared stepped outside their stadium. The possible consequences of a Preston victory would have been horrific. Could you imagine for example, how unbearable the already annoying Mark Lawrenson would’ve been in the aftermath? As for Preston themselves, I’d love to know why for a match that had such huge demand for tickets, they had the first five rows of seats at each end of the ground covered by an advert for a finance company. The mind boggles.

It was eighteen minutes before United equalised with a goal from Ander Herrera in the 65th minute. It was a goal which seemed to take forever to cross the line. Seven minutes after that, Marouane Fellaini did the one thing he is good at and made a nuiscance of himself in the Preston box, to eventually give United the lead at his second attempt. In the 88th minute, Wayne Rooney won a penalty from Preston keeper Thorsten Stuckmann, that was at best debatable. He took the penalty himself to make the score 3-1 and send most of the locals home after they had been to their first and probably last match for the two years. Maybe it wasn’t a penalty. If it had been given against United, I wouldn’t have been happy. Still, it all aided a moral victory for Preston and a real one for United. Next up in the quarter finals is Arsenal at Old Trafford. United better play better against Arsenal than what they did tonight.

It’s been an eventful week or so at Old Trafford. Last Monday saw Louis van Gaal rise to a blatantly provocative remark by Sam Allardyce in a way that Sir Alex Ferguson would never have fell for. The press and opposition fans had a field day, comparing van Gaal’s robust defence to Kevin Keegan and Rafael Benitez’s infamous moments on the television. The most important thing about Benitez and Keegan’s respective meltdowns is that it eventually cost the clubs they were managing the title they were in serious contention for at the time. This not something for Louis van Gaal to worry too much about this season. Some people mocked van Gaal for having a dossier done. Anybody with a remote idea of how van Gaal works will know that he has dossier’s prepared for every conceivable thing he encounters. He’s famous for his diligence in that respect and it’s the reason United employed him. They must think Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho worked off the back of a fag packet. Van Gaal’s biggest mistake was to share the contents of this dossier in his defence for Allardyce’s risible remarks with the media. The British press were always going to side with Allardyce in this respect. They wouldn’t want to burden themselves with the labour of looking at it too closely at it and Allardyce generally gives them good copy.

Does anybody seriously think that the video above compares with video below?…

…does it bollocks

On Wednesday night, United beat Burnley 3-1 in what has got to be one of the worst games of football I have seen in a long time. Bearing in mind the amount of shit witnessed watching United over the last couple of years, that maybe some call but I stick by it. Louis van Gaal said after that performance on Match of the Day that we could now forget about this game. I don’t believe he has made an observation more shrewd than that whilst he has been United’s manager. The football maybe bloody awful to watch at the moment but I’m clinging to the memory of that Ajax side that van Gaal nurtured in the mid 1990’s. They took time to come together but when they did, they were a great side to watch. I believe that in time it will be the case at Old Trafford, even if some of his decisions in regards to formation (eg, Rooney in midfield and Juan Mata on the bench) defy common logic. Sir Alex wasn’t averse to some bizarre decisions on where to play his best players, however he usually got what he wanted in the end even if to this day, some of still makes no sense. Van Gaal is an experienced manager with a track record of getting great success at the biggest clubs in Europe.

Saturday sees United at Swansea in what can be loosely classed as our Euro away this season (well, it’s not in England is it?). Hopefully the Euro aways will return for real next season. I believe they will, keep the faith

This is from a Liverpool fan. When they’re saying this, you know the referee’s ballsed up

23 thoughts on “Off The Back Of A Fag Packet – Preston 16th February 2015”

  1. Enjoyable read as ever Murph. We keep plodding on and we’re in the next round once again. Hopefully see you on Wembley Way in the merry month of May… 🙂

  2. Moyph, that was a great read. “Beyond Entertainment”. My favourite bit of the Van Gaal video has to be the face/grimace of the woman, as he gives her the dossier to pass to the press.

    1. That’s Karen Shotbolt you’re talking about. She’s United’s press officer. If van Gaal is still at Old Trafford next season, it will be interesting to see if she is still in the same job. Could you imagine if she did that with Fergie? 🙂

  3. They say football is a game of two halves, thank God for United it is. The first half was dire, as you say Tony they came alive after Preston scored. I could have done without the penalty as 3-1 didnt suit my result bet. If United can climb over Arsenal, they have surely won this cup.

    1. So late for a 2-1 bet to go down the khazi as well. Annoying isn’t it? 😉

      As for getting past Arsenal, that will be tricky but with Liverpool still around, anything could happen, especially when we play each other.

  4. I considered that United played a whole lot better when Young came on, but after reading this I do agree with you- they changed their game after Preston went ahead. To be fair, it was one of those clichéd games that ‘needed a goal’. Prior to that, Preston had no bottle to deal with anything in the United half with more than a blood-rushing ballong that was never going to trouble De Gea, and their poor defending was papered over by this inexperience. United’s forward pushes were little better than that.
    This cup has United written all over it this season, fear not Murph for come what may I believe they will prevail. Don’t get me wrong, for I’d love it, I would LOVE IT if someone beat them on the way, but I actually think that Van Gaal can find enough of a game in each tie to get them to limp somehow over the line, and blow the beautiful game and United’s dazzling heritage; winning ugly is still winning.

    1. I’m not buying into all this name on the trophy talk that I’ve been hearing from people since City and Chelsea were knocked out. I actually think that van Gaal is more concerned with United finishing the season in the top four. The FA Cup will be comparably a bit of window dressing. The harsh realities of modern football eh

  5. Magnificent to see you are now bowing to the wishes of french readers and are supplying the blog online at the alternative address of

    Bien fait le Murph

  6. Checking the fixtures building up to the Arsenal tie, we have Newcastle away and Arsenal visit QPR. I was hoping Wenger’s men would have a CL game the following tue/Wed, but this is not the case. So this game gets even tougher, hopefully Carrick will be back and RVP and Rooney are played in their proper positions. Fellani is a great nuisance player and fully deserving of his minutes. So hopefully LVG will pick a team of players playing in their favoured positions. If not, we could get over run by Arsenal’s slick passing and movement. PREDICTION 1-0 utd

    1. United could get overrun by Arsenal’s admittedly very pretty passing game, but there is a reason why Arsenal went nine years winning foxtrot alpha, it’s the same reason that United robbed them at their stadium in November. They have no spine. It’s no coincidence that ever since Patrick Vieira metaphorically shit himself in the Highbury tunnel when confronted by Roy Keane (video linked below cause it’s so funny), Arsenal have looked vulnerable when up in a physical match. Arsenal are certainly good enough to beat United, but if United play to their strengths (for once), United will win.

      1. Murphy I do not like that music. You need better pictures on the words. I did not see you at the match last night, will you be at the Swansea?

  7. Couldn’t agree with your sentiments more. Having supported Utd since the mid 60’s I’ve seen some tremendous highs and some awful lows and sadly poor performances and standard of play remind me more of the latter. Is Di Maria really Ashley Grimes in disguise? How can £60m not get a player that can trap a ball and pass to someone in the same shirt? If that’s a £60m winger, what prices Steve Coppell or Gordon Hill?. I’d be happier if we actually went for it, 4-4-2 and wingers going balls out.
    I’m not enamoured with LVG and am very sad that we are going to have his turgid teams for a few seasons to come.

    1. I only have vague memories of Grimes, Gurney Slade might be able to give you an answer on that.

      As for di Maria himself, he’s definitely gone downhill since his halcyon period of the late summer. It’s a well known fact that di Maria preferred Paris St Germain, it was the financial fair play regulations that prevented that move from happening. The problem is to my eyes is that di Maria is playing like a man who’s heart is in Paris. It doesn’t help that some scumbag robbed his house the other week, scaring the shit out of his family. Stuff like that doesn’t bode well for di Maria’s long term future at Old Trafford.

      1. Re Ashley Grimes. I remember him well. Covering every inch of grass. Grass on the pitch was hard to find in those days. Grass of the other kind was too. Unfortunately he hardly ever did it with the ball. Just running around. I suppose it’s easy to take the piss, but he genuinely tried, unlike some of today’s lot. Bottom line, he was a good lad, an honest pro, who ended making a living in the lower leagues.

  8. The game changer for me was when LVG finished his crossword and started watching the game. When we play the slow passing game, it’s too easy to push up, hence the back pass. The quick give and go makes them stand off and our superior passing would cut through these plodders. The penalty? The evasive action by Rooney was justified. An injury awaits the fool who doesn’t get out of the way. What wasn’t justified was Rooney paying homage to Lampards mam. He never knew her. The away support again magnificent. Them Preston twats went through the bullshit bingo song book quicker than most. Clueless and where will them arseholes be when sCUNThorpe turn up? Your guess is as good as mine. My money is on them licking bus shelter windows. Missed your views on the Burnley match. I need your words to rub on me ‘ed after a game like that.

  9. Hi Murph,
    Glad you got in. Sounded good on tv, so much so that the BBC even commented at how loud the Preston fans were (as ‘from the banks’ was being belted out…)

    You did miss the treat that was Martin Keown’s co-commentary, however. What a complete tool trying to re write the laws of the game as he sulked.

    On the pitch it certainly improved with wingers, was good to see the wingers almost tag teaming with the full backs, like the old days. Maybe that leaves us bare in the centre v Arsenal or someone, but it’s a hell of a lot more exciting.

    1. Avoiding Martin Keown and some of the other clowns at the BBC is great incentive to actually pay to travel to these games, rather than pay for a new TV set after I’ve put my foot through it after listening to the crap they come out with.

      On Sunday, during the Aston Villa/Leicester match, the commentary choices on the BBC red button were the TV (with Jonathan Pearce and Robbie Savage), Radio 5 (with Alan Green) or Blue Peter commentary (I have no idea who). I swear that the Blue Peter coverage was more informative and witty than any of the rubbish spewed out by the names previously mentioned.

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