United’s pre-season has gone well. Wins against Roma, Real Madrid, Liverpool and, mostly recent, against Valencia two nights ago, are always welcome, if not exactly an accurate barometer of what the team’s real capability is.
Looking at the match the other night, there’s clearly the need for at least one new player in the squad. Fear not though, we can be rest assured that Ed Woodward is on the case in that regard. Like the good poker player he no doubt is, Woodward will get us a good deal. On the 20th of July, Woodward told MUTV “There is no fixed budget. Financially we are extremely strong, we have funds available”. Maybe he’s right, maybe he’ll surprise us all and pull a rabbit, or preferably a marauding centre half, out of the hat.
In the summer of 2013, United were linked with, amongst many others, Cristiano Ronaldo (The Guardian), Gareth Bale (Irish Independent) and Cesc Fabregas (The Guardian). Instead of those three, Woodward ended up in a blind panic paying Everton £27.5m for the hapless Marouane Fellaini. That’s four million pound more than he could have paid a few weeks earlier if he had activated Fellaini’s “escape clause” from Everton before it expired. It is rumoured that Bill Kenwright has only just stopped laughing after last Summer’s dealings. The less said about the bid for Leighton Baines, the better. Perhaps Woodward’s biggest difficulty is that though he may be a good Hardy, he has no Laurel beside him.Continue reading He Has No Laurel
After a transfer window where David Moyes struggled to sign an autograph and United’s skills of negotiation made the notorious Garry Cook look the model of professionalism, we are now thankfully back to the real football of United after every small town inbred’s favourite side played Ukraine and Moldova. As we all know, United eventually signed Marouane Fellaini after Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright showed United’s new Chief Executive up for the amateur that he is. Apart from the Warwick Road swag grafters, I can’t think of anybody who’s first choice midfield signing would have been Fellaini, but what I have no doubt about is that he’s a vast improvement on Anderson and Tom Cleverley. For Anderson, it may be a cruel coincidence that he chose yesterday to have possibly his worst ever game for United (there’s some stiff competition for that). It took me ten minutes to realise he was on the pitch, when I first noticed him he gave the ball away in midfield and proceeded to do that for the rest of the first half. When Palace midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi conceded a very dubious penalty on forty two minutes, Anderson was running to the referee Jon Moss, like a coppers nark mithering him to send off Dikgacoi. Strictly speaking, seeing as the referee believed it to be a foul and Young was the last man, the sending off of Dikgacoi was the correct decision but it sickens me to see any footballer trying to get another footballer booked or sent off. When I see a United player doing it, it disgusts me. As dubious as the penalty was, a half time lead for United was a fair score. Robin Van Persie despatched the penalty with aplomb having been thwarted by the crossbar nine minutes earlier. On the hour, Anderson applied the coup-de-grace to his afternoon by tripping over the ball. Next time the ball went out of play, Anderson instinctively looked over to the United bench expecting to be substituted, it was his wisest move of the day. Fellaini came on to a rapturous welcome and parts of Old Trafford resembled a shebeen on Claremont Road in 1978, such was the abundance of afro syrups springing up in homage to United’s new Belgian signing. Wayne Rooney sealed the game for United on 78 minutes with a well taken free kick from thirty yards. Any result other than a United win would have been a travesty even if Uniteds first goal was never a penalty. Crystal Palace were a game and plucky side but they only threatened United’s goal once, when Dwight Gayle wasted a great oportunity on 41 minutes after ghosting past a napping Rio Ferdinand.
Earlier in the pre-season, United had bid £12,000,000 for Leighton Baines and £16,000,000 for Marouane Fellaini. These bids were, according to the media consensus, ‘angrily’ refused by Everton. United have recently come back with a cunning plan, offer a combined £28,000,000 for the pair, surely Everton would fall for that. Despite what some of my fellow reds may think, most scousers are not thick and even if so, not even the thickest scouser would have fallen for that ruse. There is now speculation that United’s next move for Baines and Fellaini is to offer four payments of £7,000,000 staggered over five years. There’s clearly some real guile controlling the transfer budget at Old Trafford.
Marouane Fellani scoring the winner for Everton against United in August 2012