Rant once enjoyed Fantasy Football. That was until 599 of the 600+ league entrants topped Rant’s score in last season’s league. Now Rant is taking its ball and heading home. While nobody at Rant HQ is giving up the day job, there’ll be another mass Rant fantasy league this season, with the Premier League starting on Saturday to kick off what is likely to be one of the most competitive competitions for years.
“The safest bet is the one you didn’t make.”
Each week, in United Rant’s match preview, we lay a £1 bet on an event in the coming game. It could be as simple as a scoreline, but more often its a little more ambitious than that. Last season Rant ended up £4.50 on the season. Big money! We’ll record all bets on this page. Join in below by recording your selections in the comments section. Rant bets actual money; your wager is up to you.
Game 1 – vs Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League
Rooney, Memphis and Kane to all score @ 16/1
Season total: £-1
Game 2 – vs Aston Villa, Premier League
Memphis to score @ 6/4
Season total: £-2
Game 3 – vs Club Brugge, Champions League
Memphis and Januzaj to score @ 9/2
Season total: £-3
Game 4 – vs Newcastle United, Premier League
Memphis to score twice @ 9/2
There’s a difference between fantasy and reality. No really, there is. Rant enters the following into evidence:
That David Moyes could ever be the ideal replacement for Sir Alex Ferguson was a fantasy. That David Moyes was the worst possible choice as United manager a stark reality. That “this year is Liverpool’s year” is the perennial fantasy on Merseyside. That this will very much not be Liverpool’s year the amusing reality. Angel Di Maria signing for United was a fantasy. The same player going on strike to join a 44-year-old club with a sovereign wealth fund for a sugar daddy the sad reality.
Still, in Di Maria’s absence Louis van Gaal might just call on you next Saturday. That 90th minute winner is guaranteed. Right? If not, there’s always fantasy football.
Producing a fanzine is hard and mostly thankless work – especially when it comes to putting together the old fashioned multi-feature designed kind. We know here at United Rant having put heart and soul into six editions of Rant Monthly a few years back. That’s to say little about the effort it has taken to produce this site over the past decade. But mostly it’s the magazine that produces cold sweats and nightmares.
It’s one reason Rant is so pleased with the launch of Utd Way a brand new fanzine featuring the very best in Manchester United content – interviews, analysis, match reports and United culture. In the first edition of what is sure to be many editions Lou Macari discusses his time at Old Trafford as a player and hip-hop legend TQ reveals his love for United. Great stuff, keep it up!
It’s that time of year when Rant Towers is decked with bells and holly, the staff swap gifts with loved ones and everyone gets rip roaringly drunk. So whether you’re celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, (the end of) Chanukah, the Anglo-Saxon feast of midwinter, or simply enjoying the build up to tomorrow’s fixture with Newcastle United at Old Trafford – have a good one.
Thanks for reading, listening and contributing throughout the year. Here’s to a successful 2015!
That one second that changes everything. The sudden rush of ecstasy. The complete loss of inhibition. The wild celebrations. There is no better feeling than a stoppage time goal.
The Art of Football’s crafted designs emulate the beauty of those moments never forgotten, capturing the energy, passion and euphoria that erupts from that one magical goal. Limited in number, each design, like any good piece of art, is completely original.
Rant has two T-Shirts to give away in this week’s competition. First prize is “All Hail the King” – a moment of Eric Cantona beauty. Second prize is “Winning in Style” – Wayne Rooney’s last minute overhead against Manchester City.
To win tell us about your favourite Manchester United moment. Comment below or on Twitter (@unitedrant #rantcast) to enter. The best answer, as chosen by Rant Cast presenters Ed & Paul, gets the Cantona T. Competition closes Saturday 22 November, 12 noon.
The Art of Football Manchester United collection can be found here.
Rant knows what you’re thinking. After the David Moyes ‘era’ almost anything is now a fantasy; Louis van Gaal’s rapid Old Trafford revolution more than but a dream. Fear not friends, for while the Iron Tulip is very real, there is little to beat the annual United Rant Fantasy League. More than 600 teams strong in 2013/14, Rant remains one of the more competitive leagues in Fantasy Football.
“I talk of dreams,” William Shakespeare once wrote, “which are the children of an idle brain, begot of nothing but vain fantasy.” Ah, but the Bard didn’t have Fantasy football – an idle brain not required.
The United Rant league is accessed, as usual, at fantasy.premierleague.com. Register, submit your team and the joined the Rant with the code 1246542-294031. Entries are free and scoring starts on the first weekend of the Premier League. Good luck!
The response to United Rant’s ‘Subbuteo Art’ competition was resoundingly positive, with hundreds of suggestions, ultimately spawning over 60 unique and novel ideas. Many iconic moments, including Matthew Simmons’ attempt to headbutt Cantona’s boot, were proposed on countless occasions, so those who came up with the new idea first were entered into the competition. Many more suggestions had already been Subbuteised by Terry Lee, craftsman par excellence.
It proved extremely challenging to judge the winners, and in all honesty, any three of the 63 – individually listed at the bottom of this article for those interested – could have been selected. Determining an ‘iconic’ moment is a particularly subjective matter for any football fan, with specific episodes holding places in our hearts to varying degrees, and for differing reasons. It might be a moment witnessed live, shared with someone special, or a during a fond period in our lives.
The winning entries are based loosely on the following criteria;
- Images indelibly imprinted into the minds of the majority of Reds
- Important moments in the club’s history
- Images of players or moments that do not already belong to Terry’s impressive collection
- Images that would be visually appealing in Subbuteo form.
Congratulations to the trio of winners, who will all be sent their customized (first-of-its-kind) Subbuteo piece by the end of February.
1. @gobble17 – Lee Sharpe’s corner flag celebration!
Sharpey was probably the first glamour player of this generation’s formative years. Sandwiched in between Danny Wallace and Ryan Giggs on the left, Sharpe came to prominence during the 90-91 season, fast becoming one of the most enthralling prospects on the scene. Even when a Giggs assumed the mantle on the left berth, many fans were adamant that Lee could have potentially proven an equally majestic player. Alas, his career was cruelly hindered by a combination of injury and illness.
But the majority of Reds remember Lee with endearment, not only for his raw footballing ability and cultured left-foot, but also his joie de vivre, manifested most vividly through his imaginative goal celebrations. When he wasn’t devising his own dance routines such as the “Sharpey Shuffle” – the ’90s infinitely more creative version of Gangnam Style – he was impersonating Rock ‘N’ Roll royalty, inventively supplanting corner-flag for microphone. Oh how we “Love Lee Tender.”
Whilst his reputation as a bon vivant away from the pitch ingratiated him to the fans, it may ultimately have proven his undoing with the head honcho. Lee was famously scolded by Sir Alex Ferguson for leading a fledgling Giggs astray at a house party. It’s amongst the numerous anecdotes Sharpe recounts with aplomb if you get the chance to attend one of his guest speaker appearances.
2. @Benny_Red – Paul Scholes/Gary Neville kiss!
This amorous embrace transpired following Scholes’ last minute-winner at the Etihad Stadium versus another team in the vicinity who like to make a din. Marvel at its majesty; an instance of platonic puckering up that animated even the most heterosexual of United fans. It doesn’t matter how alpha you are, you cannot but enjoy the sight.
The two men from the “Class of ’92” are polar opposites personality-wise, but shared a passion for their club and everything it represents. G Nev elicited from Scholesey this manifestation of love for United, which ordinarily remained latent, and we are eternally indebted to Gary for it.
3. @teddiehenson – The Schmeichel cartwheel!
It was a spectacle to behold at the culmination of the ’99 Champions League Final: 6’3″ Peter Schmeichel defying gravity by making his own mammoth frame revolve 360 degrees – to mark the most dramatic comeback in the beautiful game’s illustrious history. It was an explosion of sheer cartwheeling joy from The Great Dane, perfectly encapsulating the unadulterated relief experienced by every single United fan at the precise moment, whilst leaving us more rotund Reds to stick to our metaphorical internal cartwheels of elation.
- @TusharMUFC Sir Bobby hugging Sir Matt after we won the 1968 European cup
- @eirebadboy What about Cantona on the goal post after his penalty return V L’pool
- @hothorseherbie George Best celebrating his goal, European Cup Final 1968 or Eusebio applauding Stepney same game
- @Andrew_Kenyon MACHEDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA (Winning goal versus Aston Villa at Old Trafford)
- @bigG1511 Gary Nev Kissing Badge after rio’s late winner vs liverpool
- @RohanKrishna27 Robin van Persie hugging Sir Alex Ferguson (versus Stoke City)
- @doleary02 RVP last minute goal v City. Just as he’s striking it. Perfection.
- @Benny_Red Scholes/Neville kiss! (Etihad Stadium after Scholes’ last minute winner)
- @WoodZRC berbatovs over head against Liverpool
- @MonarchyofKiko Danny Welbeck. Just being dat guy
- @RohanKrishna27 Evra pretending to bite a prosphetic arm thrown at him in jest by Red at OT (Evra’s Luis Suarez reference)
- @Joe_Cooper_ O’Shea nutmegging Luis Figo
- @StretfordEnd361 Solksjaer’s winner vs Liverpool in the FA Cup, 1999. First time I properly lost it for a goal.
- @akachesterseven RONALDOOOOOOOO pic.twitter.com/9gMZcJ2njM (Ronaldo’s free-kick celebration)
- @dannyj14 This #Moscow pic.twitter.com/62aHhq1lZ (John Terry head in lap following penalty miss in Moscow)
- @MochineGun Keane heading 1st in the revival vs Juve ’99 semi-final
- @NicholaMoreland can I have this please #keano pic.twitter.com/hNqRkkpdxL (Keane stamping on Gareth Southgate)
- @lanodnugg how about @NormanWhiteside after ’85 cup final goal.
- @Benny_Red my 2nd & last. Not as famous but the Evra/Rafa celebration – loved that! pic.twitter.com/KtJ8oZUXdX
- @akachesterseven VAN PERSIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEE pic.twitter.com/am5XGl1Gs1 (RVP striking superb volley versus Villa)
- @666bungle Hughes celebrating after goal in the Cup winners cup final v Barca
- @Tubs0161 Fergie bowing to the away end at West Brom last season?
- @1markcollard Beckham after scoring from half way line
- @lanodnugg or how about Fergie & Kiddo celebration v Sheffield Weds in ’93?
- @lanodnugg one more…Robbo on fans shoulders after Barcelona in ’84
- @MUFCMeash what about Ronnie collapsing to the floor in tears post Moscow shoot out win!?
- @AdamRoss7 solakjaer celebrating his first goal after injury at Charlton away
- @FalseMidfield Owen celebrating after scoring 4th in 4-3 derby win
- @furno_ooo Strachan, equaliser at Anfield 3-3 … smokin’!
- @UnitedBeforeFergie Stuart Pearsons trademark fist clench goal celebration
- @finchy2385 sparky’s last minute volley vs Oldham in the fa cup semi (as Hughes is striking ball)
- @_tom86 Scholes celebrating after his CL semi final winner.
- @jackkholt Always sticks in the memory. pic.twitter.com/69wxLSVt5C (John O’Shea and Rio Ferdinand celebration following John’s last minute winner at Anfield ’07)
- @p1zza_face Cole’s goal against spurs in 99
- @n4lum How about this?? #unitedrant pic.twitter.com/ZWuTlfOjEI (Giggs standing over Patrick Vieira)
- @killalldippers How about a recreation of this? Surely one of the beautiful moments in world football. #unitedrant pic.twitter.com/rrKpmPkpdJ (general Eric Cantona glide)
- @AdamRoss7 was also wondering about a keane and scholes one like this… pic.twitter.com/VFfX2gWErH (suited and booted holding trophy at CL ’99 final)
- @MUFCMemorabilia Giggs and Ince shocking goal celebration :- pic.twitter.com/stE90ASAJA
- @barafundler Jimmy Greenhoff celebration after his goal in the 79 SF replay at Goodison
- @petejacksonjr Peter schmichaels last minute penalty save vs arsenal fa cup semi 99
- @teddiehenson the Scmeichel cartwheel ! (’99 CL final)
- @JonathanShrager SAF holding a tea cup in one hand, hairdryer in the other
- @JonathanShrager The United Trinity #UnitedRant pic.twitter.com/WwvZAF9SW6
- @Andrew_Kenyon Eric FA Cup goal ’96 (moment he strikes ball, body position, technique)
- @Alex2PointZero http://t.co/K3VSAHZv1k (John Terry slipping as he’s taking a penalty in Moscow)
- @treble99united Sharpey Shuffle
- @RedDevil93 Van Nistelrooy’s celebration vs Arsenal after scoring the pen in unbeaten breaker
- @Andrew_Kenyon O’Shea’s chip at Highbury
- @dezoduck FUCKWHATISAIDBEFORE! This should win EVERYTHING #unitedrant pic.twitter.com/uMXu2aNsBi
- @faredealing cantona’s crowd surfing at palace! #seagulls
- @dezoduck Or this #unitedrant pic.twitter.com/n8MUAjy2q6 Becks wearing LUHG scarf post-Milan game
- @gobble17 Lee Sharpe corner flag celebration!
- @pram_head Keane tackle on Haaland
- @kiani93 http://t.co/AP4jWBJPsp Rafael and Fabio celebrating together
- @kiani93 http://t.co/1ogNKjQKAr Scholes ’08 CL semi-final strike
- @teddiehenson The Babes all lined up on pitch in that iconic image
- @ ’08 CL final team lined up on halfway line reacting to winning penalty
- @joepetruccio how about his run in with Vieira in the tunnel?
- @john_simps Rooney and Ronaldo celebrating towards Kop http://bit.ly/1d2D06y
- Tom Parkinson: VDS CL winning save/celebration ‘08
- Anirudh Agarwala: Ronaldo’s goal (with Rooney’s assist) against fulham in the opening game of the 2006-07 season. Has to be the moment when I knew united were back in the running to win titles again after the long drought (relatively)
- philip young: Hughes open armed celebration at Maine rd after scoriing against the scousers in 85
- @MilkyJoe1974 last shout and it’s Adnan scoring the winner today
Over the past two decades the average age of supporters inside Old Trafford has been on a steady incline. The price of tickets, and the ever ‘ageing’ population of season ticket holders, has served to generate a changing demographic of match-going Manchester United supporters. Indeed, surveys conducted by the Premier League suggest that the average age an adult match-goer is 41 across the country. United is no different.
Increasing price increases mean that teenagers now struggle to attend matches as they have in the past, whether this as part of a group or with the family. This pattern has a negative impact on the development of United’s next generation of Reds, and reduces the matchday atmosphere, which is often more lively when younger fans are encouraged to attend.
It’s a challenge that could impact on United’s commercial business too. After all, young audiences are keenly sought by major global brands, and United could well alienate a key demographic, negatively impacting the club’s strategy. This is a rare area where supporters’ needs and commercial reality are very well aligned.
Yet, there are measures that can be taken – and some clubs are ahead of the curve in realising the long-term risk of disenfranchising the young. United Rant, in collaboration with Republik of Mancunia and other fans groups, is calling on United to introduce an area at Old Trafford which is designated for teenagers only. We believe that ticket price for this area should be considerably lower than the rest of the ground to encourage take-up.
It’s an initiative that can offer only upside for fans and the club – as rivals have found out. Arsenal have introduced a similar area for 1,000 teenagers this season, albeit for specific matches, at a cost to the club of just £400,000 in annual revenues. Tickets in this section cost no more than £10. Other clubs, such as Fulham and West Ham United, offer a ‘kids for a quid’ scheme. Even Manchester City regularly sell League Cup tickets for £5 to teenagers.
The average age of residents at Rant towers may also be on the increase, but we remember well standing on the Stretford End for less than £2 in the mid-1980s. That’s a little over £5 in today’s money. Prices are unlikely to drop that far today, but the club can do something about making the game just a little more affordable.
If you’re similarly minded you can sign this online petition, which will be delivered to the club in due course.
There have been, believe it or not, four variations of the United Rant forum since the website’s birth in 2004. The first iteration, live between 2004 and 2007, became an infamous and somewhat rabid den of all that is iniquitous and unholy on the internet. Fantastic entertainment for around 5,000 users in other words.
Then between 2009 and 2013 Rant’s forum was reborn for a new more successful age, but with no less passion. And finally there has been a double-upgrade this summer. Rant now finally embraces the modern and has upgraded to the most feature-rich forum platform hosted on the site to date.
And you, dear Ranters, are invited to join (or rejoin) at www.unitedrant.co.uk/ranton – a site fresh off the printing press. Rant On!