How Fergie stole Mancini’s Christmas

“Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.”
Jim Morrison

When referee Michael Oliver blew the final whistle to confirm Manchester United’s first draw of the season, it was not hard to imagine Roberto Mancini gleefully rubbing his hands. Manchester City’s last-minute winner the day previous proved to be even more valuable after United, in a forgiving Christmas spirit, failed to score a much-needed second goal in Swansea.

Despite Mancini’s rivals sitting comfortably on the top of the Premier League table as the weekend kicked off, the Italian was just one of many cheering United’s result, waiting for the pressure to increase on Sir Alex Ferguson’s team as the packed festive season began.

However, much of the post-mortem ado had little to do with game itself, or even the narrowing gap in the title race. United’s missed chances, questionable individual performances or the timing of Sir Alex’ substitutions are lost amid the ridicule and outrage caused by the United manager’s post-match interview. Even United’s dropped points have been lost amid the hysteria.

“Robin van Persie is lucky to be alive,” blasted the Glaswegian in his post-match interview. “It was a disgraceful act from their player and he should be banned by the FA. Robin could have had a broken neck.”

On the surface it looked like Ashley Williams intentionally slammed the ball into van Persie’s head from just yards away, although few people were as concerned about the Dutchman’s life as Sir Alex. Fan’s take on Ferguson’s interview differed, but whether supporters considered the manager’s words strange, funny or embarrassing, it takes a drama queen to second the manager’s fears.

Indeed, van Persie proved to be very much alive seconds after the ball struck the 29-year-old; a case could even be made that the striker is lucky a slip of the foot came between him, Williams and a certain lengthy ban. The avoidance of death seemed a very long way from the action in that moment.

While many have taken on board a glorious opportunity to ridicule Sir Alex, it is not difficult to spot the great Scot’s true intentions. It is, after all, Sir Alex all over – what he always does after a bad result. And what do you know, the great British press have gladly taken the bait.

The Daily Mail featured a match report and one, two, three articles connected with the van Persie incident and Ferguson’s reaction to it – each has attracted more than twice as many comments as the actual match review. SkySports went further, leading with four pieces on the controversy to date.

Meanwhile, many other outlets – ESPN, the Guardian, BBC included –  feature at least two articles dedicated to the affair, often simply commentary on the FA’s inaction. Cheap copy – after all, who really wants to see Williams banned? It’s what stands for a mainstream media article these days, diverting attention from far more important issues, in football and the wider world.

That is to say nothing of the legion of wannabe experts for whom Sir Alex has brought an opportunity at their fifteen minutes this Christmas – a river of anger, hate and and retweets only an army of ABUs can deliver.

Flash forward to Wednesday; another day, another game and whatever some supporters may claim, Ferguson can’t buy games. But the legendary manager is always able to buy himself time. As for the critics? Ferguson can take the slings and arrows. To keep the team out of the dramedy is result enough.

The irony is that our nation’s media, and the fans that read, revels in a swathe of “Fergie’s lost the plot!” headlines. Few can deny themselves the pleasure of composing yet another list of supposedly outrageous actions by United players, simply because the opportunity is present. “In your face, Sir!” comes the cry.

Yet, as opposition supporters indulge in a game of hate the real winner, as always, is Ferguson. Those who have cried the loudest since Saturday provide the most compelling evidence that Ferguson still owns the plot. And unlike the Scot’s method of dealing with media at his weekly press conferences, this time fans can make jokes without that feeling of embarrassment.

Ferguson’s media theatre won’t make United defend better, but it is nonetheless impressive. Press drowning self-righteousness; ABUs going wild; Piers Morgan outraged.

But of course the only plot that really matters has United four points clear on Christmas Day. Despite the hysteria, life for United’s supporters is good. Roll on Wednesday and Newcastle United at Old Trafford.

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Comments

  1. Mongoletsi says

    Taggart is the master at this. It wasn’t long until we realised Mourinho was doing this (and lauded him for it). Fergie on the other hand has it down to an art form.

    That aside, when I saw it I thought “filthy foul!” and I still think Williams did it on purpose.

  2. Mr Bluesky says

    Christmas presents.. that’s the best Feegie can expect. Where Utd are top of their game City haven’t got out if 2nd gear yet.. I think you’ll find everything changes after Christmas.. Enjoy !

    • AnonPayn says

      While I agree City haven’t gotten out of 2nd gear yet, United are no where close to being at the top of their game (and still managed to comfortably brush City aside). Vidic’s return is only the beginning of United’s real ascent towards top quality football. Kagawa and Nani, along side Rafael and Anderson, will soon return to leave United on the brink of a full squad for the first time in almost a year and a half. And lest we forget, City haven’t played out all their toughest away fixtures yet. United have.

  3. DannyRed says

    United on top of their game?? For 45 minutes against you bitters that’s all I’ve seen of our top gear. Get real mate, no where near it and top at Xmas usually means top in May! Fact!

  4. DannyBlue says

    We’ll see, took the title last year and by May we’ll be way ahead of you. You can score goals but your defence is dire, another goal leaked! Wouldn’t surprise me to see City top by the middle of January!

  5. Mr Bluesky says

    I think we all know boys who has the strongest squad.. loose RVP and ur finished. As for tough away fixtures surely the 1-6 hasn’t been erased from your memory already it was only a few months ago ? As for comfortably brushing City aside.. You’re Obviously a match of the day armchair fan.. some of us were there.. Game could very easily have swung City’s way.. we were unlucky is a more accurate description.. enjoy and make the most of your Christmas present, unfortunately the blue nightmare is not going away.

    • John says

      Should’ve been 3-0 up and cruising mate. If you were there and deny that then you are one blind mofo. Despite the ref giving you an opportunity you couldn’t take it and good triumphed over evil yet one more time. United are not at their best yet but let’s be honest, if they don’t win the league this year it’ll be a travesty, they’re the only proper side challenging.

      • Talha says

        united don’t need to win the premier league this year to prove they are the best. they have won 19 premier league titles and city have won four and arsenal 13 and liverpool 18. any ways united being top of the premier league doesn’t mean history can’t change it is not impossible for city to defend the title. Borrusia dortmund defended the german title.

    • says

      Take RVP away? What a shit comment, practically the same as saying “your finished without a team” … Plus, how many points did you win it by last year ? With no RVP in our squad?

  6. Coach Herbie says

    Merry Christmas to all you great guys. United we stand.
    The title is already in the bag. Must bring in a holding defensive hard tackling midfielder in January.Real Madrid will not be an easy task.

    • Talha says

      The title is not in the bag yet because it is only a four point gap not a 12 point gap like real madrid had over barcelona and real madrid when on to win the title. But united where 8 points clear last year and still lost on goal difference.

  7. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Just ignore Mr Bluesky… last year they were the “noisy neighbours”… but no one’s listening anymore, and the pissy twat’s decided to come knocking… “eh, you lot, look at me, look at me”…

    They’re not called “the Bitters” for nothing.

  8. Glowey says

    As a City fan, I can only applaud Fergie for once again, deflecting all the media away from his teams poor, points dropping performance, by making yet another outrageous statement.

    Can’t believe they fall for it so often

  9. Dean Jackson says

    Merry Christmas everyone. The only site to have real arguments, great banter and honest opinions. Hopefully another title in 2013

  10. Mr Bluesky says

    I brought up the 1-6 thrashing.. No one has commented yet, ha I wonder why. Have a nice Christmas top of the tree.

    • Dean Jackson says

      I’ll gladly comment; City deserved their win and Man Utd should have accepted defeat instead of attacking.

      As we are talking about the past though:

      Champions League/ European Cup: 1968, 1999, 2008

      Premier League: 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011

      First Division Title: 1908, 1911, 1952, 1956, 1957 1965, 1967

      FA Cup: 1909, 1948, 1963, 1977, 1983, 1985 1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004

      League Cup: 1992, 2006, 2009, 2010

      European Cup Winners Cup: 1991

      European Super Cup: 1991

      Intercontinental Cup: 1999

      World Club Champions: 2008

      Charity/Community Shield: 1908, 1911, 1952, 1956, 1957, 1965* 1967*, 1977* 1983, 1990*, 1993, 1994 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011

      Comments?

  11. Mr Bluesky says

    Memories are always nice to cherish, so don’t forget those days, they are an excellent achievement and ones you’ll probably never repeat again.. like our 1-6

  12. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Commenter said:
    Memories are always nice to cherish, so don’t forget those days, they are an excellent achievement and ones you’ll probably never repeat again.. like our 1-6

    That 1-6 is really important to your lot, isn’t it?

    I suppose every team needs it’s high points to look back on… and your pathetic bunch needs them more than most…

    By the way… doesn’t having to suck oil baron cock to pay for your team, leave a bitter taste in your mouth?… just curious…

    Manchester United… even with a blood sucking leech on our backs, we still pay our own way.

    Man City will never be able to do that… cause you’re just second rate fans, supporting a second rate outfit.

    1-6… pfft… good for you… what else you got?

  13. steggo says

    Perhaps Talha should consult his own teams website that clearly states THREE (3) titles (1936/37, 1967/68 and 2011/12). Christ, what sort of “fan” do they encourage at the council house?

  14. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    Commenter said:
    Perhaps Talha should consult his own teams website that clearly states THREE (3) titles (1936/37, 1967/68 and 2011/12). Christ, what sort of “fan” do they encourage at the council house?

    The kind that only money can buy.

  15. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    Commenter said:
    Perhaps Talha should consult his own teams website that clearly states THREE (3) titles (1936/37, 1967/68 and 2011/12). Christ, what sort of “fan” do they encourage at the council house?

    do you use the utd website

    i thought only benders and chinese peopel used it

  16. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Pfft…

    Typical Blues… I bet your women get sick of you spunking all over their bellies before you even get them wet… amazing you even manage to breed.

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