Presented John Stones Roses – Liverpool 26th April 2015

It’s always good to be at Goodison Park. Along with Villa Park, White Hart Lane and Loftus Road, it’s a proper football ground in a proper footballing area. Like the aforementioned stadia, Goodison has houses, shops and pubs, glorious pubs nearby. Then we have St Lukes Church on the corner of Gwladys Street and Goodison Road, a place where you could pick up a drink and a butty for a reasonable price. I couldn’t believe how quaint and civilised it all was. Goodison isn’t perfect. The Bullens Road and Goodison Road stands are archaic, they have huge pillars which can occasionally block the view. However, compared to being stuck on the back row of the Anfield Road stand, it’s a relative minor inconvenience. Whatever imperfections of Goodison, give me there anyday over being stuck in a concrete bowl in the middle of bleeding nowhere. Like Stoke, Derby or the Riverside in Middlesbrough. Those places are so bland and dull that the rats give them a wide berth.

View from the back row of the Goodison Road stand’s upper tier

A final score of 3-0 looks bad, but to me, it was just one of those days. Manchester United were nowhere near as bad

Continue reading Presented John Stones Roses – Liverpool 26th April 2015

Attack, Attack, Attack-Attack-Attack – Manchester 18th January 2015

After a first half of such incompetent tedium, a very pissed off United following roared 4-4-2 and Attack, Attack, Attack-Attack-Attack from the upper tier of the School End at Loftus Road. This was a statement intended to ring in the ears of the United players as they walked off the pitch. Watching the first 45 minutes, it was difficult to see who exactly was in a perilous relegation battle and who had aspirations to play in the Champions League next season. It was a diabolical first half performance

Continue reading Attack, Attack, Attack-Attack-Attack – Manchester 18th January 2015

Oh Oh Oh It’s Carrick, Hard To Believe It’s Not Scholes…. Manchester 24th of February 2013

QPR last beat United on New Year’s Day 1992 in a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford, the day after Sir Alex Ferguson’s 50th birthday. It was a match that nobody who was present at will ever forget. At no point yesterday did they look anywhere near repeating that feat. On 22 minutes of what was, until then, a cagey game, Ryan Giggs robbed Adel Taarabt in midfield to feed Robin Van Persie, whose shot was parried by QPR’s Brazilian goalkeeper Júlio César. Rafael followed up with a first time shot from 25 yards which has to be a contender for goal of the season. It was a goal that reminded me of his compatriot Éder Assis. If he had been wearing his native colours of Yellow and Blue instead of the Red and Black of United, we would be seeing that goal every fifteen minutes on SKY Sports with something like Black Magic Woman by Santana playing in the background.

Continue reading Oh Oh Oh It’s Carrick, Hard To Believe It’s Not Scholes…. Manchester 24th of February 2013

Rooney hat-tricks with passes from Carrick – Man United fans blog player review 2011 / 2012

(1) David De Gea

David de Gea pulls off a save for Manchester United against Athletic Bilbao

David De Gea saves against Athletic Club at Old Trafford

By the half time of David De Gea’s first class debut for United at Wembley in the 2011 Community Shield, he’d made two bad mistakes which had given City a 2-0 lead. The following week he’d made another bad error against West Brom which had contributed to their equaliser and the knives were already out for him. Undoubtedly a good shot stopper, his lanky physical presence and his early reluctance to assert his authority in the penalty area had people thinking United had signed another Massimo Taibi. Every keeper makes mistakes but any new keeper who comes to Old Trafford is going to be immediately, unfairly and virtually always negatively compared to the two great United number 1’s of the recent past, Peter Schmeichel and Edwin Van Der Sar. De Gea made further expensive mistakes against Basle in the Champions League, Liverpool at Anfield in the FA Cup and against Blackburn Rovers for which he was dropped immediately after. A couple of weeks later, De Gea had an inadvertant stroke of luck when the solid and reliable looking Anders Lindergaard, who’d taken De Gea’s place, suffered an ankle ligament injury. I believe this was the turning point for David De Gea. Since then he’s looked a better and more confident keeper and he’s made some outstanding saves, most memorably in the last minute at Stamford Bridge from Juan Mata and at Ewood Park with three world class saves in the first half alone. For all the doubt expressed about David De Gea in the first half this season, only once has a mistake of his actually cost United points and that was against Blackburn Rovers on New Year’s Eve. As bad a mistake that was, that day, with the exception of Danny Welbeck, there was a whole team of players in red that had a stinker. I’m hoping our doughnut loving new keeper spends the summer getting to grips with his position at Old Trafford and has a long future there.

Continue reading Rooney hat-tricks with passes from Carrick – Man United fans blog player review 2011 / 2012

Cold Feet In The Warm Snow At White City, Shepherds Bush, 18th Of December, 2011

A rarity in that Manchester United haven’t had a match in eight days. Today was a potentially tricky match against a Queens Park Rangers side who’ve given Manchester City a hard game recently. They’ve also beaten Chelsea in a game that has since been remembered better for the allegation of racial abuse levelled against England captain John Terry, something that the FA are no doubt investigating thoroughly, bearing in mind the amount of time they’re taking to conclude.

I first went to Loftus Road as a young adult in January 1991 and paid £6.00 on the gate to stand on the terrace, in what is now known as the School End. Despite the small allocation of tickets granted to United in today’s game, I went down “on spec” and managed to get two tickets at face value for £60.00 each, for myself and our kid. In twenty years, the face value of a ticket at Loftus road has gone up tenfold, my net wages haven’t. What hasn’t changed in the slightest in the last twenty years is the layout at Loftus road. The stadium is by top league standards, tiny. Even allowing for the compact nature of Loftus Road, the view of the pitch, from wherever you are in the ground is spot on and due to the way the roof’s configured, amenable to an excellent atmosphere. The atmosphere today from the United end was raucous and lively.

When the match kicked off, United immediately went on the attack and within 52 seconds, Wayne Rooney had scored. The goal had not only caught the QPR defence cold, it had caught the United fans cold too. There was a split second delay in the United fans reaction to the goal, nobody had believed that United had actually scored until they’d seen the United players leaping in celebration. The header that Rooney had guided into the QPR net seemed to have been a pretty weak one but it outfoxed the  goalkeeper, Radek Cerny. Whilst that might have been a soft goal for Cerny to concede, he more than made amends for it later, with two saves in particular, the first one on 31 minutes from Antonio Valencia one of the best saves I’ve ever seen. United should’ve been out of sight by then but the linesman made a wrong offside call on a Danny Wellbeck goal on 23 minutes and an open net miss from Jonny Evans four minutes later. To my eyes, it was the only thing Evans got wrong today in what else was, an excellent performance from him. On 60 minutes, Michael Carrick scored for the first time since January 2010 when he capitalised on a Joey Barton mistake and ran through unchallenged, to slot the ball past Cerny, in the bottom left hand corner of the net in front of disbelieving and ecstatic United fans. We were stood there open mouthed at how he was able to run through the QPR midfield without a single attempt of a tackle on him. Knowing Neil Warnock the way I do, I’d love to know what he said to his players in the home changing room after the match, especially after that goal. All in all, a great result and comfortable performance from a stadium where United have sometimes struggled in the past. The only gripe I have from what was an excellent performance was United’s profligate finishing/final ball in a match where United could’ve made a good dent in City’s superior goal difference and the fact that I didn’t put two pairs of socks on as my bleedin’ feet were freezing, as I stood watching the match.

United fans, as per usual were in great voice away from home. Rooney’s goal in the first minute put the reds in a great humour too. New chants of “Thursday nights in Amsterdam”, “Channel 5 is wonderful, it’s full of…” & “Warnock for England” were added to the festive staple of “Twelve days of Cantona”, “Giggs will tear you apart” and “Jingle bells…”.

From leaving White City tube station on the Central line, for the five minute walk up South Africa Road to Loftus Road, there was a real excitement from the QPR fans for the match today. QPR fans are by London standards, a load of teddy bears. There’s no moody paranoia on South Africa Road as there would be if you were walking down Kings Road to Chelsea, Seven Sisters Road to Tottingham or the Old Kent Road to Millwall. Bryan Robson was walking down South Africa Road alongside Sam Allardyce and he was constantly asked for autographs and photographs whilst Allardyce was ignored. Robbo was geniality personified with everybody’s request. Outside the Springbok Pub, I asked an alternative ticket trader that I’m acquainted with, how it was going on the brief. Worryingly for me, he said he had none and it was nigh on impossible getting one for the United end. Hovering around the incoming United fans coaches shouting any spare tickets, yielded a big fat foxtrot alpha and half an hour before kick off, I’m making contingency plans to watch the match in a pub in Shepherds Bush. My luck changed at 11.45 when a UWS seller who’d just plotted up, guided me to a feller with a  spare who wanted face value. If I see that UWS seller at Old Trafford anytime soon, he’s getting a pint off me.