It’s the midfield, stupid II

When Bill Clinton successfully beat George H. W. Bush senior to the White House in 1992, the former Governor of Arkansas did so seemingly against the odds. The end of the Cold War, and conflict in Iraq, ensured foreign policy dominated the headlines at a time of intense national pride. But in assessing the contest, Clinton’s chief strategist James Carville correctly determined that it was not the collapse of the Soviet Union, nor Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, that would determine the November 1992 election, but the dollar in ordinary Americans’ pocket.

It was, to paraphrase the sign hanging on Clinton’s Little Rock campaign office, the economy, stupid, that would send the Arkansan to office. Clinton’s win, barely a year after Bush had received 90 per cent approval ratings in the polls, was gained on a more nuanced understanding of Americans’ needs than his predecessor could ever muster.

Six weeks after Manchester United’s humiliation in the derby, one wonders whether the club, like Bush, is on the precipice of acceding to a superior force. In Europe, given the result against FC Basel on Wednesday night, United already has.

In the period since City scored six at Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side has seemingly become ever more recalcitrant, stubbornly grinding out single goal victories – domestically at least. In the face of an ever-growing injury list, with the side’s rhythm broken by recurring absentees, United’s ability to win ‘when playing poorly’ is – as the old cliché goes – the stuff of champions. Points gained now could well have a significant impact come May, even in the darkness of the ‘morning after the night before’.

Yet, United’s performances since 23 October have been mired in the kind of sparkle-less midfield performance that – aside from a short period at the current campaign’s start – has become increasingly the norm. A new emphasis on midfield structure, built around the admirable Michael Carrick, and not the injured Tom Cleverley’s pass-and-move creativity, has replaced the free-flowing football played in August and early September. In truth those memories are now long gone; August an exception that proves the rule.

This observation is not new – supporters and pundits alike have complained of a glaring weakness in Ferguson’s squad for years. Paul Scholes, ageing and increasingly pushed to the margins, always needed replacing. Roy Keane and Owen Hargreaves are long gone. Ferguson’s midfield is, even for the most optimistic Reds, at least two high-class players short.

Increasingly, Ferguson has taken to experimentation in search of a solution. Wayne Rooney, Phil Jones, Ryan Giggs and Park Ji-Sung have each been deployed in central midfield in recent games. The position is unnatural to all of them.

And so to Wednesday, when United crashed and burned at St Jackob-Park, and Ferguson’s side was sent packing into the ignominy of the Europa League. In midfield Ryan Giggs and Phil Jones made up the odd-couple central midfield.

The Scot’s outfit did almost everything bar score the required goals, but in truth most supporters will have seen this coming. And in assessing the devastating loss, thoughts necessarily turn inwards, for this has been a failure of the club’s own making.

“It is embarrassing to be in the Europa League,” defender Patrice Evra said succinctly.

“I play for Manchester United to be in the Champions League. It’s a catastrophe. We feel very sad but we deserve to go out. “It’s a big disappointment. Since I played with Monaco, I’ve never been out in the first round. We played with fire. Against Basel at home we were winning 2-0 and we drew against Benfica as well. It’s not about tonight, it’s about the competition. We threw away that qualification. We should have woken up earlier in this competition.

“It feels like a dream. I feel I will wake up tomorrow and we will have qualified. But it is not a dream, it is the reality. Even if it is a friendly, when I pull on a United shirt I do my best to win that trophy. I play for Manchester United to play in the Champions League but some players dream of playing for United in any competition and you have to respect that.”

The question now is not whether the “embarrassment” will provoke a “response,” as Ferguson put it post match – supporters can expect no less – but specifically what that might be. For surely the United manager cannot believe his side did not try hard enough, or has more to give? Many supporters will argue that the response, if there is to be one, must come in the market to address the structural problems in the Scot’s squad.

It is worrying, then, that the Glazer family is unwilling to release funds this winter for midfield reinforcements, if the word on the street, currently doing the rounds, is to be believed. It is a truism that United was interested in Internazionale’s midfielder Wesley Sneijder in the past summer, only for the deal to flounder on the Dutchman’s substantial wages. Any move for Luka Modric was ended at the conceptual stage once the Croatian’s fee was established at more than £30 million on the open market.

Across town City acquired Samir Nasri at great expense from Arsenal, adding to the exceptional talents already at Eastlands, including this season’s best player, David Silva. That City’s vast array of midfield talents contrasts so starkly with Ferguson’s meagre resources is all the more disappointing for Reds keen to stave off the rising Blue Moon. To underline City’s riches, Nasri, also a target for Ferguson in the summer, has spent much of the campaign held in reserve by Roberto Mancini.

City’s midfield quartet of Yaya Touré, James Milner, Gareth Barry, and Silva, ran rings round United at Old Trafford. Just as, one might add, Barcelona had at Wembley in May. Anderson and Darren Fletcher failed against City, just as Carrick and Giggs succumbed to the Catalans six months earlier. Benfica and Basel have demonstrated that even clubs supposedly one tier down can more than match United. One wonders how many lessons it is going to take?

How much criticism is reserved for Ferguson, who dragged his limited squad to a glorious 19th domestic title last May, depends on how far you believe he is culpable for the marked decline in his midfield resources. One version paints Ferguson as the visionary, transforming his squad through vibrant youth, and investing in Cleverley as United’s next great playmaker. An alternate casts the Scot as the Glazer family’s lickspittle; a carpetbagger’s lackey, beholden to owners that are unwilling to invest in the club’s playing resources unless costs are cut elsewhere.

Which brings us back to Clinton. In ’92 the American people, who should have been emboldened by the Cold War’s end, and impassioned with militaristic pride at the successful conflict in the Persian Gulf, instead threw out the old regime and invested in the promise of a bright young southern lawyer. Ferguson is unlikely to cast aside the dead wood in his midfield, but it is, to borrow a now hackneyed phrase, the midfield, stupid, that will ultimately end United’s quest for 20 – as it has in Europe – unless something changes. And fast.

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Comments

  1. Julian says

    A very good summmation. I can’t help feeling though that our current situaton is a combination of quite a few things. None of our key positions is settled including goalkeeper. There’s no doubt that De Gea is a great talent in the making but surely he’s too young and inexperienced to simply walk into VDS’s position? How is someone so young able to command his penalty area and bark at his defenders when they are so much older than he is and when he does not even speak the lingo either. I think this was a fundamental error. Not the fact that we signed him because clearly that should be a good long term investment but that he took the no 1 spot immediately when perhaps the more assured and older Lindegaard should have had it. As if out of sympathy for Lindegaards position, Fergie now swaps them almost from game to game and that can’t be good either if one wants a settled and confident defence. So whilst I agree with the midfield issue which, as you say, we’ve all known about for ages, its also the defence that is an issue too. Luck has deserted Fergie too but nevertheless there’s been too much tinkering and nothing is settled. Its therefore unsurprising to find us in the position we are now in and difficult to see how we can get out of it with the personnel we have. The inability to properly invest in a team which was clearly second best to Barca is mystifying. Fergie stubbornness or Glazer parsimony or a combination of both? If it is the Glazers they should either invest in the team properly and quickly or get out.

  2. Sidsidney says

    Ed, didn’t you tell me Fletch wasn’t injured, he was just being rested so he could play against Basel?

    Why dint he play then

  3. redevil_83 says

    bringing up points that have been beat down a 100x already. being aware of what needs strengthening is great, but i’m not sure the gaffer is still going to take any action to address that shell of a manchester united midfield. weak mid field aside, complacency was as big a factor last night. just look at the boss’ words before the match even began. fucking travesty.

  4. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    Commenter said:
    … Luck has deserted Fergie too…

    One definition of luck is “what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. Considering his years long failure to rebuild his midfield, Sir Alex can hardly be described as prepared.

  5. Amy says

    Nice post. We all knew wednesdays crash was coming as we all did the city thrashing. Like the person above said, it all comes down to the absolutley mystifying fact that while Barcelona killed us in the midfield, during the summer, no major midfield signing were made. GLAZERS OUT

  6. says

    i think fergie has just been outwitted by the game. in the same way that wenger is stubborn with his philisophy without compromise, so is fergus but this time it has backfired.

    it’s very simple and I’ve said it time and time again. park, fletcher and carrick are not world class talent in their core. however if they are on form, they can produce world class displays which they have done from time to time over the past 3-4 years – in some cases such as our last UCL win Carrick and Fletcher were instrumental in that success. however when form leaves them, they are awful. that is a strategic mistake and fergie failed to either acknowledge or address this.

    fergie has also failed in his purchases – bebe, tosic, ljajic, obertan, anderson, diouf have been rubbish buys.

    on the other hand jones, smalling and de gea look good so not all problematic.

    fergie has also indirectly ruined players – berbatov and mecheda, either through lack of playing time or bad management (may be the same thing). we wont get 30m for berbs nowm max 8m which is a terrible peice of business for a leading goal scorer last year.

    Fergis is now doing the same with Rooney and Jones. Do you need any more admission of a failure of his midifield policy when he did not play Fletcher in midfield but preferred Rooney to drop deep. It’s an admission of guilt – he fucked up because fletcher is in such shit form, that you would rather have Rooney in the middle that anything else – this is my point about being a good player v. a world class player; form shows you which is which.

    fergie himself also does not have the player pulling power anymore. with phelan next to him I’m not sure they look like a due to work with – esp., for top class continental talent. Fergie is also loosing his bollocks by not fucking out Gibson.

    Gill has also apparently lost his negotation art., with all our targets seemingling not available.

    Our scouts are close to shit. how on earth can Wenger unearth the likes of Song yet we pay 18m for Anderson. Lucas cost 6m and has been a sensation for the bitters. Sandro for Spuds is quality.

    Our medics are also seemingly shit – how the fuck can Hargo start playing, Wes, OShea, Saha – yet all our players are benched for months at a time. things don’t add up.

    Also, Fergies bullshits. Big time – I can accept no value – for those cunts who want to spunk 30m + on the likes of Andy Caroll feel free to bang on about the Glazers not giving Fergus a blank cheque book and Fergal not taking the bait. But for then, not to play the youth he promised is plain bullshitting.

    If Fergus the man for the job. YES 100%.
    Does he need help – YES.
    Is cash the answer – Not necessarily but yes of course money will help but you need to fix a few more things then that to get us back on track.

    Anti-Glazer bummers can look at the example of raneiri, hughers, scolari and Grant – hell even roy keane with the amount he spunked at sunderland.

    Money doesn’t mean success – it gives you the tools. this is why mancini is so dangerous – he has won a title at inter, he knows what it takes to go the course.

    for me its a combination of stubborness, poor investment and plain old delusion.

    the crime isn’t what has happened, the crime would be not to learn from it and start making some brave decisions.

    • Waxfoot says

      Lucas? Sandro? Song? I wouldn’t want any of them. Lucas, in particular, is overrated by enthusiastic scousers.

    • Waxfoot says

      “bebe, tosic, ljajic, obertan, anderson, diouf have been rubbish buys” – how anderson can sit in this list is beyond me.I am aware that he’s the scapegoat of choice at the moment (years ago it was fletch and o’shea), and he has been inconsistent and so far yet to fully deliver on the promise he has fleetingly shown since his arrival. In some performances (some as recent as this season) he has been instrumental in the type of performances we United fans live for. Granted he followed those up with some poor ones, but i’m wondering why he has sank to the level of Bebe or Diouf in fan’s hearts.
      I understnd the frustration with the player, but he just isn’t that bad.

    • DeadRevel says

      What a load of biased tosh. And if you actually believe Ferguson is to blame for Macheda being shit, you really have no right to an opinion on United. You have cherrypicked the worst of United with the best of other clubs to justify in vain a ridiculous comment. Must try harder.

      Rafael, Fabio, Smalling, Jones, Fryers all look like amazing talents and still very young. World class back 4 in future. Out of Cleverley, Morrison, Tunnicliffe, Anderson and Pogba I’m sure we’ll have at least 2, probably 3 excellent CMs. Rooney, Welbeck, Hernandez up front is fine by me. Nani / Valencia on the right wing, Young / Nani on the left? Yep, great options again.

      People need to stop whinging. Some players are not good enough for United, Macheda, Diouf, Gibson, Bebe, Evans (maybe stay as back up) etc and they will go the same way as Obertan. I’m sure Ferguson knows they are not cut out for this club.

  7. Swapnil says

    1. rio and evra are a liability and need to be shipped off asap
    2. rafael n fabio for me (i have no doubts about their talent) are never going to be 1st team material as they will never have the physical attributes necessary for the position
    3. i can’t believe how poor ashley young has been since the 8-2 day.he almost never takes on the defenders,as soon as anyone comes close to him he just passes the ball back without ever trying to do anything else,will only cross when there’s like nobody closing him down in 10 yards radius around him.
    4. rooney – its because of his 200000 a week wages that we can’t afford sneijder and he’s been the most uninspiring player in the squad.
    5. someone needs to remind the players(except for giggs and nani maybe) that things like first touch,pressing,closing down exist in footballing tactics.
    6.i always thought that the reason SAF is not buying any mid fielders is that he expects big things from pogba,morrison et al but now i am convinced that they are not as good as they are hyped to be.if they were any good they’d have been playing in the 1st team by now and not rotting in reserves
    7. its time we give up 4-2-2 and start playing 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 even if we buy some quality midfielders..

  8. Bill says

    We need to:

    1. Start buying 1 quality player as opposed to 3 just above average ones.

    2. Play our best XI more often, endless squad rotation is doing us no good.

    3. Stop playing 4-4-2 in the big games, this is an old fashioned formation which means we are certain to lose the midfield battle.

    4. Sell the average players to raise funds and wages space. Evans, Gibson, Diouf, Owen and Kusczak are not up to it.

    5. Give youth a chance more often, I’d much rather see Morrison, Pogba & Fryers on the bench than some mid 20s players who clearly nothing special.

  9. tony says

    Just something’s that’s been bothering me for awhile now.Coaching?Tactics?Have we got any?.I’m not sure that any player on the pitch is sure what they should be doing.When Nani,Young go down the wing,they are up against 2,3 players.When we are attacked down the wings,Smalling,Evra whoever seem to be isolated and on there own.I just don’t get it.Through the middle(midfield)the opposition seem to get throuh with ease where we struggle to find our players.

  10. tony says

    As good as players are ,most of them are thick!. So they need to be told what to do,where to be{positionally)What there job is.I just don’t know who is supposed to tell them(Pelan)?..Because at the moment it’s just not happening.So many players are out of position at times is worrying.

  11. dws says

    This defeat will not bother the Glazers 1%. Why should they, the real money is being earned in Mayfair the H.O. of Manchester United in fuckin London. We are getting these results because the glazers have failed to invest in a small number of top quality players, principally in midfield. Manchester City will lead us a merry dance, they have the money and some of the best players in europe. I feel sorry for Fergie 70 within a couple of weeks. Hamstrung by the bastard Glazers, at least 18 months before he can even dream of another European Cup win, its going full circle – which is probably why we will win the Premier League again !!!

  12. denton davey says

    Short memories ?

    This is essentially the same midfield that won the EPL again last year and would be five-peat winners if not for OneMartinAtkinsonMoment. Sure, Paul Scholes left but he was a shadow of his former self; Tom Cleverley might be as good as the late-model Scholes, even if he is a different player.

    ““Transition” is often used to describe this year’s UTD team – and last year’s, too, for that matter. Winning # 19 and getting to the CL final was a triumph, considering how many of the players were quite literally on their last legs.

    By the end of this season, five or six of the very best players from the last twenty years will be gone – Paul Scholes, RedNev, SirRyanGiggs, Edwin, and maybe Rio and Dimmy. While I’m no fan of Berbatov, his talent is exceptional even if he hasn’t put it to good effect in his stint at UTD. That’s a lot of “replacement” that is needed in short order. So, to my way of thinking, it’s not surprising that TheLads have fallen short in Europe AND the Carling Cup. They are “struggling” in the EPL, too – I know they’re second but they’ve been dire in far too many matches.

    Injuries (and suspensions) to key players haven’t helped but – honestly – UTD’s second-string should have had enough to beat the Young Boys of Basle. If you review their two goals, it’s tough to stomach – the first one happened after Captain Vidic smacked Chris Smalling and drew blood THEN the Shaquiri’s cross was perfectly redirected by De Gea to Streller who finished it off; their second goal was the result of an “After you Alphonse; no, after you Gaston” routine from Chris Smalling and David De Gea. Bad luck and inexperience which is understandable since neither one is over 21 and both are learning to play together.

    However, while those two goals should not have been conceded, what was really disturbing was the truly inept “attacking play” of the veteran presence: SirRyanGiggs, Ashley Young, ThreeLungPark, and TheWayneBoy. This quarter just weren’t contributing – how little defending from the front ? how many mis-hit passes ? how many times did they run into blind alleys ? how many missed chances ? THAT was just embarrassing.

    We’ve seen this before – and we’ll no doubt see it again this year and maybe next year as SAF turns over a goodly portion of the squad. Giggs should be given the heartfelt handshake and sent to join the GingerNinja in training the kids; Rio might last another year but he’s now fragile, slow, and so unreliable; Antonio Valencia and ThreeLungPark are valuable squad players but must be used judiciously and not expected to shoulder a burden

    If I was making personnel decisions then Dimmy and Ashley Young would be off-loaded so that they don’t take playing time/experience away from Danny Welbeck, KikoTheKid, Ravel Morrison and Chicharito (when he returns).

    These out-goings would still involve a significant change in the squad/first team that will only slowly reveal themselves. SAF has played a high-wire act – without a net – and he won that gamble last year; this year it doesnt look like he will be able to break his fall but I’d expect that the medium-term planning will possibly come-good next year (or the year after that). The alternative is just too horrible to contemplate.”

  13. Pikey McScumPikey McScum says

    Commenter said:
    Nice post. We all knew wednesdays crash was coming as we all did the city thrashing. Like the person above said, it all comes down to the absolutley mystifying fact that while Barcelona killed us in the midfield, during the summer, no major midfield signing were made. GLAZERS OUT

    Amy?

    Hi

  14. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    Commenter said:
    Short memories ?

    No. Good eyesight and a functioning brain are enough to tell me (and several others) that there is something terribly wrong with Manchester United. There are combinations of circumstances that will allow United to win a 20th League title this season, but, like last season, most of these scenarios involve United’s title rivals mysteriously and spontaneously combusting, imploding, or disintegrating. If it happens, however, this season’s squad will have to compete with last season’s for the “worst side to win the Premiership” award. Mediocre players playing ugly football is NOT the United way.

    • Damian Garside says

      Oh Rob I absolutely agree. Maybe what would be really cool — is not grinding out a league win and half killing the game in the process — but storminbg past City in the 3rd round and all the way to Wembley and the trophy. Historically the Cup has always been a kind of springboard for us. We can win the Cup playing with verve — but to grind out results to take us past a free-scoring City in the league — doesn’t seem on — especially if we do beat them in the Cup, then they will do whatever it takews to win the league match at the Eithad — and that means an 8pt gap — where it could have been 2.

  15. Gopher Brown says

    Vidic out for the rest of the season I should imagine. The only good thing about this is hopefully Phil Jones won’t be wasted in midfield any more.

    Having said that, Jonny Evans will probably play a lot more now. We’re fucked.

  16. Will says

    I think there are a lot of issues with the current side, as with any team in transition: the midfield, the lack of rhythm, the profligacy in front of goal, ever changing central defensive pairings and so on. For me, there’s also Mike ‘yes guv’ Phelan. United seem to be missing someone of the ilk of Brian Kidd, Steve McClaren, Carlos Queiroz behind the scenes, on the training ground.

  17. lucio4k says

    this whole problem with our team (man utd) boiles dowm to the owners and part of it is the manager.
    one the owners are only interested in taking from the club and the manager keep telling the fans how he’s got a good squad and how there’s no value in the market.the only way you get a good team is by, buying quality players and grooming them up with some youngsters.folks please tell me if am wrong there are players like,bale,modric,hamsik,cavani,subotic,gotze,podolski and lots more saf can choose from so,the only truth is the money is not there and fans are being mislead.

  18. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    sidney said:
    I’m liking the anti Glazer feeling that’s come back now we’re a bit shit
    Going to plan

    Wishful thinking Sid.
    Truth is… there are way too many fans that think just like Dannii… the Glazers are fine owners… as long as they don’t interfere.

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

  19. says

    Ffs, read what I said you thick cunt – I didn’t say they were good or not, just that you have nothing on them. You never had and you never will – until they actively say david, alex you have no cash so deal with it – you and your shithouse alter ego never will.

    The moment david and sir alex ever realise the cash is not there, they will walk.

    Fans still pay, we still watch and the show goes on.

    Carry on your crusade against whoever the fuck you want to.

    Amazing how no one mentioned the glazers when we win but when we are in the shit, its the owners fault. How convenient.

    As for you constant bullshit that prior to glazers we always bought the best, get real you bullshit artist.

    Who bought zidane, buffon, figo, rivaldo, fat ronaldo, crespo, etc … for record transfers? Guess that was united?

    Shut the fuck up. We never paid top dollar except for rio. Berba and rooney were glazer era buys and rooney earns more than any other club player in the universe – even christiano.

    Its horse shit of the highest order mate.

    Your a dope who thinks money can but success – just like 30m for carroll or 30m for shevchenko? What about the 30m for Berba. Or the gazillion for Torres to the Chavs?

    you understand fuck all about the finances, fuck all about the history of footballing transfers but will bum up the latest band wagon such as the red knights who came to your fictional rescue.

    Again, this is a fergie, scouts, medical room, phelan, gill issue as much as it cld be an ownership issue.

  20. Ichiro says

    Commenter said:
    As good as players are ,most of them are thick!. So they need to be told what to do,where to be{positionally)What there job is.I just don’t know who is supposed to tell them(Pelan)?..Because at the moment it’s just not happening.So many players are out of position at times is worrying.

    I agree. Bring back Queiroz

  21. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    rooney was not a glazer era buy and neither was ronaldo dannii

    do continue telling fat alf to shut the fuck up though

    of course in real life you wouldn’t have to because I’d have already battered the useless cunt

  22. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    danniitronix said:
    Ffs, read what I said you thick cunt – I didn’t say they were good or not, just that you have nothing on them. You never had and you never will – until they actively say david, alex you have no cash so deal with it – you and your shithouse alter ego never will.

    The moment david and sir alex ever realise the cash is not there, they will walk.

    Fans still pay, we still watch and the show goes on.

    Carry on your crusade against whoever the fuck you want to.

    Amazing how no one mentioned the glazers when we win but when we are in the shit, its the owners fault. How convenient.

    As for you constant bullshit that prior to glazers we always bought the best, get real you bullshit artist.

    Who bought zidane, buffon, figo, rivaldo, fat ronaldo, crespo, etc … for record transfers? Guess that was united?

    Shut the fuck up. We never paid top dollar except for rio. Berba and rooney were glazer era buys and rooney earns more than any other club player in the universe – even christiano.

    Its horse shit of the highest order mate.

    Your a dope who thinks money can but success – just like 30m for carroll or 30m for shevchenko? What about the 30m for Berba. Or the gazillion for Torres to the Chavs?

    you understand fuck all about the finances, fuck all about the history of footballing transfers but will bum up the latest band wagon such as the red knights who came to your fictional rescue.

    Again, this is a fergie, scouts, medical room, phelan, gill issue as much as it cld be an ownership issue.

    You… are a lying, shit headed, tool.

    Nuff said.

  23. minde says

    fergie must go. ia’m sick of him all this nonsense about no value , don’t realize that this united team is a jocke we ill be lucky if will finish 4th. fergie and glazers = same. only completely naive and deluded bel;ieves it is not. fergie looks like old arrogant banker in denial to me now and it’s very sad.

  24. Just1n says

    Its a mixture of tight purse strings and poor management. SAF has been given money and he has pissed it away on dross and his failure to get rid of Fledgings is poor form. Utd have been crying out for midfield players since Hargo got injured.

  25. denton davey says

    dannitronix: “rooney earns more than any other club player in the universe – even christiano.”

    I don’t think so, mate. In fact, I don’t think that TheWayneBoy trousers as much each week as YaYa Toure – or most of the midgets at Barcelona.

  26. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    pathetic alf, absolutely pathetic

    danni consider yourself the victor of that duel

    What duel?

    I say black and he says white… that’s fair enough… I think he’s an idiot, but that’s beside the point.

    He feels he has to emphasize his point by calling me a Red Knights bummer… which is bollocks… but call him a Glazers fanboy, and he gets well arsey.

    Dannii is hypocritical fuckhead… suck his cock if you like… makes you look just as stupid as he is.

    I’m done.

    Typing this from a pub outside Norwich… on a week long break with the family… bored as fuck and we’ve got no internet at our cottage. Probably won’t get back on till Sunday when we get home.

    Rooney and Nani back on the score sheet… get in… Chelsea done the Bitters… Get in…

    And the rest can wait…

  27. brianofnazarethbrianofnazareth says

    Alfonso Bedoya said:

    Typing this from a pub outside Norwich… on a week long break with the family… bored as fuck and we’ve got no internet at our cottage. Probably won’t get back on till Sunday when we get home.

    Ummmm…. that’s convenient, Don’t let that Danni chap bully you, you have as much right to post utter nonsense bullshit as he does….

    ** Hugs Alf **

  28. brianofnazarethbrianofnazareth says

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    of course in real life you wouldn’t have to because I’d have already battered the useless cunt

    lolololcopter

  29. squigs says

    Re: Danni,
    Unbelievable, we should thank the Glazers for the L.B.O and placing a debt upon which the club is going to struggle to recover from. Call us moany but we have been against them from the start and nothing has changed, season tickets are at crazy prices and the club’s posts record Operating profits yet it’s future has never been less secure.
    We broke the UK transfer record with Keane, we tried to again with Shearer, we did break it with Van Nistelrooy, we did again with Veron, and again we did with Ferdinand and Rooney is a pre Glazer era buy.
    We had the advantage of some great players and bought where Fergie thought appropriate, we had a stronger squad and no one could dispute that.
    Regarding Rooney and others wages,
    No, Wayne Rooney is not the highest paid player in the world, Real Madrid’s wages are roughly 20% higher then United’s based on the 2011 accounts and Barca’s 50% higher when you allow for bonuses. Of course footballers are overpaid but your fooling nobody with your claims.
    Money wins out, you compare 1-20 in the league by finishing position and then by wage bill, you have the same top 4 teams and most of the top 10 in correct order. Money and investment buy success it’s cynical but true.

  30. says

    squigs said:
    Re: Danni,

    Unbelievable, we should thank the Glazers for the L.B.O and placing a debt upon which the club is going to struggle to recover from. Call us moany but we have been against them from the start and nothing has changed, season tickets are at crazy prices and the club’s posts record Operating profits yet it’s future has never been less secure.

    We broke the UK transfer record with Keane, we tried to again with Shearer, we did break it with Van Nistelrooy, we did again with Veron, and again we did with Ferdinand and Rooney is a pre Glazer era buy.

    We had the advantage of some great players and bought where Fergie thought appropriate, we had a stronger squad and no one could dispute that.

    Regarding Rooney and others wages,

    No, Wayne Rooney is not the highest paid player in the world, Real Madrid’s wages are roughly 20% higher then United’s based on the 2011 accounts and Barca’s 50% higher when you allow for bonuses. Of course footballers are overpaid but your fooling nobody with your claims.

    Money wins out, you compare 1-20 in the league by finishing position and then by wage bill, you have the same top 4 teams and most of the top 10 in correct order. Money and investment buy success it’s cynical but true.

    sqi – no one is thanking anyone. pleae don’t start this dannii loves the glazers crap. i don’t – I’m agnostic to it, i don’t like it but i accept it as a transaction that happened because Edwards took us public – as soon as you are public you are in play. that is the end of the story. it only took the glazers to tear down the irish duo and they are at the mercy of the markets. i find it as easy to analyse as cadbury’s, mini and jaguar.

    you make it sound like a moral crusade against united. this is just a transaction and what is unbelievable is when people think that the glazers would destroy united for the sake of it.

    this is complete nuts. citeh’s owners and roman have more to loose than the glazers by running the club into the ground. the glazers have jack all cash. can we really assume they are kamakazi owners. as soon at they get to 1.8bn they will get their rate of return and skin-out and the next owner will step in.

    i disagree with stronger quad – by any measure and pound for pound and monetary terms – yo prove your point about relative value – Moscow UCK squad was our strongest and worth the most money. so that doesn’t stack up.

    no, I think rooney is the best paid player in the world. as far as I’m aware CR only gets 250k per week in his final two years of his contract.

    sure, i’m not denying total spend but it wld appear that when Fergies has the bollocks he can dip into the cash box which was there when he bought berba, bebe, msalling, jones and de gea. yet we know we went for villa and ozil but they were not available.

    i hear what you are saying but I’m not going to mindlessly say its the galzers fault when fergie plays rooney in midfield and we have fletcher in the bench and then when he does play him up front he scores – and then the next media outburst from fergie is that “he hopes he will go on a hot run”. yes, e might because he is playing as striker ffs.

    As for money, again, far to simplistic for me – Torress 50m, Carrol 30m – doesn’t translate into success – hell even Berba at 30m. for every grant, scolari, raneiri, hughes, keane, o’leary and other spend-oh-holics, there are very few jose’s.

    You can’t throw money at the issue and get success – all it does is get you a better tool kit. As for your top ten analysis that is right but that doesn not itself show that United or Fergie is pennyless which is the excuse most fans seem to roll out when we are doing shit.

  31. squigs says

    danniitronix said:
    sqi – no one is thanking anyone. pleae don’t start this dannii loves the glazers crap. i don’t – I’m agnostic to it, i don’t like it but i accept it as a transaction that happened because Edwards took us public – as soon as you are public you are in play. that is the end of the story. it only took the glazers to tear down the irish duo and they are at the mercy of the markets. i find it as easy to analyse as cadbury’s, mini and jaguar.

    you make it sound like a moral crusade against united. this is just a transaction and what is unbelievable is when people think that the glazers would destroy united for the sake of it.

    this is complete nuts. citeh’s owners and roman have more to loose than the glazers by running the club into the ground. the glazers have jack all cash. can we really assume they are kamakazi owners. as soon at they get to 1.8bn they will get their rate of return and skin-out and the next owner will step in.

    i disagree with stronger quad – by any measure and pound for pound and monetary terms – yo prove your point about relative value – Moscow UCK squad was our strongest and worth the most money. so that doesn’t stack up.

    no, I think rooney is the best paid player in the world. as far as I’m aware CR only gets 250k per week in his final two years of his contract.

    sure, i’m not denying total spend but it wld appear that when Fergies has the bollocks he can dip into the cash box which was there when he bought berba, bebe, msalling, jones and de gea. yet we know we went for villa and ozil but they were not available.

    i hear what you are saying but I’m not going to mindlessly say its the galzers fault when fergie plays rooney in midfield and we have fletcher in the bench and then when he does play him up front he scores – and then the next media outburst from fergie is that “he hopes he will go on a hot run”. yes, e might because he is playing as striker ffs.

    As for money, again, far to simplistic for me – Torress 50m, Carrol 30m – doesn’t translate into success – hell even Berba at 30m. for every grant, scolari, raneiri, hughes, keane, o’leary and other spend-oh-holics, there are very few jose’s.

    You can’t throw money at the issue and get success – all it does is get you a better tool kit. As for your top ten analysis that is right but that doesn not itself show that United or Fergie is pennyless which is the excuse most fans seem to roll out when we are doing shit.

    Fair post, I’m not saying we are penniless, but I believe minus Glazers we would be able to compete better financially. I don’t think I am being controversial in saying that of course we have won titles by having the most money in previous years. It has been done to death I suppose though this time of the evening I’m not in the spirit to go over old grounds.

  32. dozer says

    squigs said:
    Fair post, I’m not saying we are penniless, but I believe minus Glazers we would be able to compete better financially. I don’t think I am being controversial in saying that of course we have won titles by having the most money in previous years. It has been done to death I suppose though this time of the evening I’m not in the spirit to go over old grounds.

    Minus Glazers then who?
    We cannot compete with City or Chelsea unless a sugar daddy owns us.
    It’s bad that we’re in debt yes, but I’ll take the Glazers over Roman Abramovich.

  33. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    dozer said:
    We cannot compete with City or Chelsea unless a sugar daddy owns us.

    That’s bollocks.

    The Glazers have pissed away more servicing the debt, than either Chumpski or the Bitters have spent on players.

    And that’s money generated by the club… neither Chumpski or the Bitters could ever raise that sort of money from their own revenue streams.

  34. brianofnazarethbrianofnazareth says

    Tbf City don’t need to raise revenue due their impressive resources! They are a richer club than us now sadly.

  35. RobDiabloRobDiablo says

    brianofnazareth said:
    Tbf City don’t need to raise revenue due their impressive resources! They are a richer club than us now sadly.

    True, but the point is that United, unfettered by parasitic owners, generates enough income to rival and probably exceed the sums made available to Cheatski and City. We could be competing for the signatures of the world’s best players and not have to give a moment’s thought to the possibility of the Financial Fair Play rules affecting us (as if they had a chance of actually being enforced anyway). United doesn’t need a sugar daddy, it needs delousing.

  36. manutd50 says

    Well the midfield isn’t looking too shabby now is it lads! Why all the panic – Fergie knows what he is doing believe it or not…

  37. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    A midfield of Scholes and Giggs is a joke… doesn’t matter that they’re doing RELATIVELY well… we got turfed out of the Champs league cause our midfield was shit… we got hammered by the Bitters because our midfield is shit, and we’ll get hanmered the next time we play them as well.

    We are in second spot in spite of our midfield… not because of it.

    Real or Barca would embarrass us again… and the last time we lost to Barca, Fergie said… “enough, time to address our midfield problems”… we bought Young, gave Giggs another year… and when it all got depressing… we brought Scholes back…

    Stop talking shit!

  38. says

    The midfield is still in a spectacular, royally awful mess and desperately needs to be sorted.There needs to be some significant investment – I still can’t believe the fee Shaqiri is allegedly heading to Bayern for, for example, and the fee that Xhaka is allegedly available for too.

    Most people are hoping Pogba will step up – and I think he can – but I don’t think he will set the world on fire. Cleverley will prove top class but not a world destroyer.

    There again, it’s important to note you basically need a squad that can demolish 15 out of the 20 teams in the Prem week after week, and then enough players to beat the other 4 on a regular basis, and then those same players to be at their peak to smash the top European sides (2-5 clubs, depending on how you view it).

    I guess what I am trying to say is I feel we are realistically 2 players away from being back in contention at the top of Europe in midfield – as long as enough comes through from the youth team (Tunnicliffe + Pogba) to replace Scholes and Giggs in the squad.

  39. manutd50 says

    Calm down dears – Fergie knew he had Pogba coming through so if he bought one of the players you’ve mentioned – Pog would more than likely consider moving on – he’s giving the youth a chance. Scholes has been awesome since his return and seems to have cut down on the ‘hospital tackling’ which I think obstructed his game in previous seasons.

    Jones looks a natural in central midfield – whilst cleverley IS a world beater and I would have complete faith that he is up there with Xavi and Iniesta (seriously) as long as he stays injury clear. We’ve just been unlucky with the injuries thats all and unfortunately thats why we failed to qualify.

  40. Dinkinflicker says

    manutd50 said:
    Calm down dears – Fergie knew he had Pogba coming through so if he bought one of the players you’ve mentioned – Pog would more than likely consider moving on – he’s giving the youth a chance. Scholes has been awesome since his return and seems to have cut down on the ‘hospital tackling’ which I think obstructed his game in previous seasons.

    Jones looks a natural in central midfield – whilst cleverley IS a world beater and I would have complete faith that he is up there with Xavi and Iniesta (seriously) as long as he stays injury clear. We’ve just been unlucky with the injuries thats all and unfortunately thats why we failed to qualify.

    Are you drunk?

  41. squigs says

    Cleverley is a good talent but he is never going to be at the level of a Xavi or an Iniesta.

    Bringing players back from retirement because you have no midfield is Roy of the Rovers stuff in the comics. In the cynical world of Professional sports it is ridiculous. This is more papering over cracks by Fergie.

    We failed to qualify for just making an absolute hash of some very easy games. Other teams have injuries as well but not beating Basel at home when 2-0 up is unforgivable.

    We would be potentially at the mercy of 5 or 6 of the last 16 if we had qualified and if we had drawn someone like Barca we would have been embarrassed.

  42. Dinkinflicker says

    To be fair to Scholesy, he’s still cutting it. He was superb against the murderer’s on Saturday. Carrick has improved of late too.

    Need to see way more of Cleverley before I’d be willing to pass judgement. Pogba looks raw, but he may have something about him.

    We really do need to go balls out for the best midfielder we can in the summer. Or bring back Darron Gibson.

  43. manutd50 says

    I wish I was drunk listening to some of this tosh! Agreed that the 2-0 Basel thing was a joke and we deserved what we got because of it. But if Giggs and Scholes can still do it then its a no-brainer to keep them in the squad.

    I’ve seen all I need to see of Cleverley – he’s a class act and is going to be player of the year many times in the future – only thing that annoys me is that the cocky prick has his own website after playing all of 5 or so games!

  44. squigs says

    That Liverpool midfield’s best player before injury was Lucas. It’s a sign how far they have fallen.

    I’m not attacking Giggs, The guy has shown incredible endurance but Scholes retired and we brought him back at the start of January. It really isn’t an ideal scenario for anyone.

    How many top European teams would Scholes out of retirement get in to?

  45. kramer says

    scholes is fucking fantastic and has been massive for us since he returned. BUT, it was shoddy management in the first place that we need a retired player back. if he hadn’t come, we’d be fucked right now.

  46. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    manutd50 said:
    Calm down dears – Fergie knew he had Pogba coming through so if he bought one of the players you’ve mentioned – Pog would more than likely consider moving on – he’s giving the youth a chance. Scholes has been awesome since his return and seems to have cut down on the ‘hospital tackling’ which I think obstructed his game in previous seasons.
    Jones looks a natural in central midfield – whilst cleverley IS a world beater and I would have complete faith that he is up there with Xavi and Iniesta (seriously) as long as he stays injury clear. We’ve just been unlucky with the injuries thats all and unfortunately thats why we failed to qualify.

    Fergie ISN’T giving youth a chance… and that’s why Pogba probably IS moving on… he’s already flogging his wares to Chelsea and a few Italian clubs.
    And to say Cleverly is in the same class as Iniesta or Xavi… well that’s just daft… and makes it very difficult to take anything else you have to say seriously.

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

  47. manutd50 says

    Alfonso Bedoya said:
    Fergie ISN’T giving youth a chance… and that’s why Pogba probably IS moving on… he’s already flogging his wares to Chelsea and a few Italian clubs.

    And to say Cleverly is in the same class as Iniesta or Xavi… well that’s just daft… and makes it very difficult to take anything else you have to say seriously.

    Alfonso – I think you can’t see the woods for the trees. I think theres a good chance Pogba will now stay reading quotes from him in the last few days. If he has a shred of intelligence why would he leave when he is now regularly making the bench? Its only a matter of time before Fergie start giving him regular game time, otherwise he wouldn’t be in the squad.

    How can you say he isn’t giving youth a chance!! Welbeck, Cleverley, Hernandez, Jones, De Gea, Pogba !!!!! You can’t just chuck them in – Fergie is the master of putting people in when he thinks they’re ready – and you can’t blame hime for being loyal to giggs and Scholes – they deserve it! and who better to learn from for these young guys? There are a lot of plus points at the moment.

    Also – you obviously haven’t paid close enough attention to cleverley – tell me I’m wrong at the end of the season (if he stays fit)…

  48. Sidsidney says

    Fergie hints Scholes might stay on http://therepublikofmancunia.com/fergie-paul-should-stay-on/

    “I haven’t discussed Paul’s future with him but on the evidence we have seen at the moment there is no reason why he shouldn’t (stay another year),” said Ferguson. “When I said to him last year you’ll give me 25 to 30 games it wasn’t enough for him. But I think he may look at it differently now. He knew right away when he went coaching with the reserves and took part in the sessions he could hack it. He came to me and said he’d made a mistake. The evidence we are seeing now is he is right. His form has been fantastic.”

    Cal in meltdown

  49. bman says

    Alfonso Bedoya said:
    Fergie ISN’T giving youth a chance… and that’s why Pogba probably IS moving on… he’s already flogging his wares to Chelsea and a few Italian clubs.

    And to say Cleverly is in the same class as Iniesta or Xavi… well that’s just daft… and makes it very difficult to take anything else you have to say seriously.

    Pogba and Morrison situation is about money. I don’t know who’s in the right, but it’s about money.

  50. bman says

    Whatever, I’ve been a skeptic, but I’m convinced. Scholes is probably the best midfielder in England presently. Now, there’s a major asterisk there on account of certain physical shortcomings, but in the majority of matches, his other qualities override those physical shortcomings.

    Put it this way, fucking Lampard and Gerrard are looking like washed up shite already, and they’re almost ten years younger than Giggs and Scholes, who are cleaning up. That’s because Giggs and Scholes have brains on the pitch, and that shite doesn’t. That’s why you should have oriented the English national side around Scholes for a generation, and why Lamps and Gerrard are shite who wouldn’t get a look in in a quality continental side.

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