Photographs from Carrington immediately after Ryan Giggs’ appointment showed ‘Happy Valley’ under new management. Players were laughing and joking, Paul Scholes was back in the fold, even Bryan Robson put an appearance in to show the United family were all, um, united. I’m always suspicious of these photographs; they look like something TASS would have put out before the Cold War went warm. For all my suspicions of these photographs, there’s Continue reading Under New Management – Manchester 27th of April 2014
Being in the Bullens Road stand at Goodison Park is like stepping back in time. We found ourselves right behind a pillar propping the upper tier. We swung our heads like people watching a game of tennis to see what was happening on the pitch. We bemoaned the fact that we had a lousy view of the pitch and about sixty minutes into the game, we were very grateful for the same reason. For all the poor view, there is something quaintly old fashioned about the Bullens Road stand. The concourse was tight and before the match beer was being served. When Kevin Mirallas put Everton 2-0 up just before half time, we had the consolation of knowing we could have a pint or two at half time to anaesthetise us from the shite we had just witnessed. A stream of reds went down to the concourse, every one to a man gagging for a pint. Getting there, we found that Police had banned the sale of alcohol for half time and for once, I don’t think they were acting out of order. This was down to people with beer prior to the match throwing it indiscrminately on the concourse. Just to clarify, people were paying £4.00 for a pint of beer to throw it around like they were at an Oasis concert. I’ve been boozing since the late 1980s and trust me, I can think of far better things to do with a pint of lager that’s cost £4.00 (or even £2.00 come to think of it) than throw it around. I do wonder sometimes what kind of dickheads we have following United, who in their right mind would want to throw a pint of beer up in the air? There was similar goings on in the Wetherspoons Continue reading Watching A Game Of Tennis – Manchester 21st April 2014
The transfer window provided the opportunity for the eternally talentless Jim White, of SKY Sports News, giving us a helium-fueled night of tedium on what is understatedly called, DEADLINE DAY (please shout this out loud as you read it.) Rarely has a man with so little to say, said so much. On Friday night, he had even less to say than usual, but still said too much, too loudly with all the reserve and control of a five year who’s been given carte blanche to drink Red Bull.
Staying cool: Jim White alongside Simon Thomas on DEADLINE DAY™ 2009
David Moyes said last Summer that he’s “more than happy with what we’ve got. I’m very happy with my squad and the options we have”. Continue reading Every Cloud Has A Leaden Lining – Manchester 2nd February 2014
United fans were in loud and boisterous voice at a virtually full Stadium of Light. When Wayne Rooney scored a header from a Phil Jones cross on 20 minutes after some shocking marking by Sunderland, it was no more than United deserved. Ten minutes later, Rooney hit the bar from 18 yards and then four minutes later, missed one of the easiest chances he’ll ever have from an Antonio Valencia cross. Apart from a period early in the second half, United were full control of this game but there’s always a feeling of vulnerability when only a goal in front. Today was actually United’s best performance in a few weeks; there was a professionalism to the defending and midfield play that if it had been observed in recent matches would have probably given United the title.
There was a similar potential ending in season 2009/2010 when Wigan Athletic went to Chelsea on the last day of the season and we were hoping Chelsea would drop points while United played Stoke City at Old Trafford. As expected, United beat Stoke comfortably (4-0) but what I clearly remember is Chelsea having the decency to wrap the game up against Wigan good and early, eventually winning 8-0 to extinguish any vain hope that might have been travelling around Old Trafford. This didn’t happen today. Going into injury time with United winning 1-0 and City losing 2-1, I wasn’t getting carried away with any premature celebrations. I’ve seen United recover too many impossible positions over the years to take anything for granted in football. We dared to dream but when word got back that Edin Dzeko had equalised for City, I had a feeling that with City throwing the kitchen sink against a beleaguered QPR, who’d been reduced to ten men, they would score. One thing that does make me proud is that SKY TV desperately searched around the United section in the Stadium of Light looking for somebody squawking – well done to all the lads and lasses who went their today and kept their bottle and dignity.
So now it comes to pass, the moment I felt in my guts coming after the Everton match at Old Trafford. This is the day I never thought I’d see, City are champions. It’s almost a relief. As John Cleese said in the 1986 film Clockwise, It’s not the despair, I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can‘t stand. The Sergio Aguero goal was a sickener but to me, the real kick in the balls came with Steven Pienaar’s late equaliser at Old Trafford three weeks ago. Despite United blowing an eight point lead, only the most red eyed United fan would deny that City aren’t worthy champions. The most annoying thing to me was that in the early part of this calendar year, United had done the hard bit and come early March, compared to City, had a very favourable run in. Having said that, any team that puts six past United at Old Trafford would deserve the title. Any title chasing team that blows a two goal lead in a home match, so close to the season’s end deserves what they ended up getting. It’s been pointed out repeatedly recently by people in the pub and on the internet that if it wasn’t for refereeing mistakes, United would’ve been four points clear of City going into this weekend. That may be true but to be clinging to straws like that is embarrassing and to my mind, the kind of behaviour that we’ve been taking the piss out of City fans for years. This is not like Blackburn Rovers in 1995 or Chelsea in 2010 when United were robbed of the title by a side who had no right winning it, this season United have only themselves to blame. All those City fans we saw jumping around outside Eastlands four years ago with tea towels wrapped around their heads have finally seen what they were dreaming of. No longer can City have the peculiar affection that the English are so good at giving to the eternal losers and that their fans have inadvertantly thrived on for years, in compensation for being shit. Welcome to our world Berties, try not to embarrass our proud city too much, from what I’ve seen over the years, I fear you will. Just remember one thing, you’ll no longer be the darling of the neutrals.