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
Vincent Kompany said in his post match interview on SKY Sports that ‘maybe the game meant a little bit more to us than to them…’. If Kompany has ever uttered truer words than that then I’ve yet to read or hear them. This was as bad a United performance against City that I can ever remember. Just under two years ago, I walked away from Old Trafford having witnessed City beating United 6-1. I was consoled in the belief that even though City were deserved winners that day, 6-1 was a freak result. it was a result against a 10 man team that had gone kamikaze after they had scored a goal at 3-0 down with nine minutes to go. Yesterday was different. When Wayne Rooney scored what was arguably the goal of the match on 87 minutes, United could’ve been 7-0 down and it would’ve been a fair reflection of the game. That it was only 4-0 at the time was due to the fact that with some mercy, City took their foot off the pedal when they scored their fourth on 50 minutes with a far post volley from Samir Nasri. The last time I can remember a United performance as clueless and as spineless as this, was at the Riverside stadium, Middlesbrough in October 2005, a match that had the same result as yesterday. That match inadvertently saw the departure of Roy Keane for comments he made about the game after watching it whilst seething in a hotel bar in Dubai. With a bit of luck, yesterdays performance would have marked cards for certain players in a similar way with David Moyes. I can’t second guess the reasoning of a United manager who spurned the chance of signing Mesut Özil during a summer in which he also granted Nani a new five year contract. For all that, after what I’ve seen from both Ashley Young and Anderson in the past nine days, the only time I’d expect to see them in a United shirt again would be on Thursday nights at Moss Lane in Altrincham playing for the stiffs and even then, only in place of an injury to one of the kids. There are others, more popular terrace figures like Danny Welbeck and Antonio Valencia who must also be skating on thin ice too.
Two long, long weeks of of no club football but a couple of international friendlies for England, a storm over poppies, Sepp Blatters blarney and an embargo on transfers ’til January mean newspaper journalist get ever more desparate to fill their pages. The day after United beat Sunderland, a frenzy was brewing up over FIFA’s refusal to allow England players to wear poppies on their shirts for the forthcoming friendly against Spain. Amongst the usual knee jerk reaction of political correctness gone mad and such forth (waddya mean you’d forgotten about it ??). Exactly six years to the day before England played Spain, England played against Argentina without wearing poppies, there was no clamour for the team to wear poppies, can anybody tell me what’s changed in the last six years ? By sheer coincidence, prior to the poppy furore, England skipper John Terry, had been accused of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers centre half Anton Ferdinand. This allegation had taken up a lot of column inches in the national press and the FA, with admirable common sense had decided to adopt an innocent ’til proven guilty stance. I wonder why they didn’t take that stance with Johnathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer in 2001 or with Rio Ferdinand in 2003? The problem the FA have with the John Terry allegation is that, like badly pasted wallpaper, the bubble gets pressed down, only to resurface, just as bad, pretty close by. Still the poppy fury sold a few papers, got an awful lot of people wound up about something they’d forget about a week later and ended up with the farcical gesture of players having poppies painted on their boots to circumnavigate a ban that had never existed in the first place.