For many, Sunday is a day spent in the company of the family and friends, reading that unfinished book, or watching a new episode of a favourite show. Over at United Rant it’s a day spent catching up on the beautiful game. Join us, in Rant’s weekly round-up of United-related news and blogs - Media Digest.
A fine lung – “Finding their own level”
The findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, albeit in some way expected, shocked not only England, but also fans all over the world. A Fine Lung draws a vivid picture of what it meant to be a match-going fan in 1980s and why every fan can relate to the horror of Hillsborough.
Anyone who travelled to Hillsborough in the 1980s as an away fan and stood on the Leppings Lane end would have recognised the potential for serious injuries or something far worse. But there was a sense that this was all part of the match day experience. As a young Red still cutting my teeth at away games I didn’t know any better… more
Red Flag Flying High – “The Truth About Today’s Anfield Chants”
“I felt like the whole world was watching us as United fans, and waiting for us to do something wrong, ” writes Melanie Hill . “And we didn’t ” The usual tension of English football’s biggest rivalry was heightened by a media pack eager for front-page news about United fans’ disrespect towards Hillsborough’s victims. As we’ve learned, if the press wants something really bad, we’re going to read about it the very next day – whether it’s true or not.
Obviously the usual songs were sang by both sets of fans, “banter” if you will, about life on opposite sides of the Mersey, but that was inevitable. This is arguably the biggest rivalry in all of football, after all. Then came the end of the game. Between 15-20 Liverpool fans stayed behind to taunt the United fans, by doing airplane gestures with their arms, and singing Munich songs. Although they were a small minority, it provoked some United fans to react by chanting “Murderers”… more
Reds Away – “Firm offered £300 away-end Liverpool tickets”
Reds Away reports on the outrageous behaviour of American Express, a major credit-card firm, which offered United away-end tickets for £300 each to premium consumer and corporate card members.
Towards the end of last week, some American Express customers received an email from a senior concierge executive which read: “Please see below for availability for the Liverpool vs Man United Game on 23rd Sept 13.30: Seats in the away section £300.00 per ticket.” Going ahead with such a deal would be suspect on three grounds… more
Red Rants – “United ’100% committed’ to rip fans off”
Meanwhile, Daniele from Red Rants focuses on the enemy within: namely, Capital One Cup ticket prices dictated by Glazeronomics.
We can safely say that the club is “100% committed”. Committed to rip us off. Considering the prices and the occasion, a crowd of 46,358 isn’t perhaps as disappointing as it would have normally been considered, but it was the perfect opportunity to bring back some of the many fans that have felt alienated from the club for a few years and it was sadly and regrettably missed. For a club so focused on delivering a strong brand image and who targets the market so aggressively, last night’s effort was really, really poor in terms of PR… more
7Cantonas - “Now or never, Ando”
Matthew Galea is inclined to give Anderson a last chance after the Brazilian’s brilliant performance against Newcastle United in the Capital One Cup. But Galea’s also afraid that the player isn’t going to pass the test. And whom could Anderson possibly blame for that except himself?
At his best, the Brazilian midfielder offers United something truly unique… Anderson…could of been, and perhaps still could be if you’re a bit of an optimist, a powerhouse. He has demonstrated, on far too infrequent occasion, an ability to grab a game by the scruff of it’s neck and kick it in the proverbial bollocks. Take his performance against Newcastle. He scored the opener after picking up the ball just within the United half, and deciding he was over this whole, trying to unlock the defence thing, drove straight at the heart of the Newcastle defence and firing a fantastic strike beyond the keeper… more
Red Flag Flying High, “Phil Jones Destined to Be Another John O’Shea?”
Nathon Woodhead of Red Flag Flying High is concerned with Phil Jones’ position in the United line-up. Or, to be precise, the abundance of roles, as the youngster often shifts from one position to another. Will it do him any good? Nathon argues in the negative.
The current Manchester United squad is one in transition – with squad household names retiring or being moved on and replaced with youth. As recently as last week, Sir Alex was quoted saying new boy, Nick Powell was good enough to replace United legend, Paul Scholes. So does this mean it is only a matter of time before Phil Jones replaces one of Nemanja Vidic or Rio Ferdinand? Ferdinand in particular, although still a Rolls-Royce of a defender, is certainly past his best… For me, the answer to this is no… more
The Peoples Person -”Shinji Kagawa has changed everything at Manchester United”
Shaun Thompson argues that Kagawa is a already crucial signing, who has brought class and the need to change the formation United plays.
I first clapped eyes on Shinji when Dortmund were playing Werder Bremen in December 2010. He went on to score and lead the club to a 2-0 victory. It was an elegant performance, and it tipped me to say that he’d become one of the best and join an English or Spanish giant in the future. Seven games into the season and Kagawa has played a part in five. Even more pleasingly, he has played in his favoured position, behind the front man… more
Stretford End Flags features a photo of the new Paul Scholes banner in the Stretford End. Red Mancunian reminds us of the day eight years ago when Wayne Rooney’s United career began in style, and features a photo of the ‘Ken Barlow’ flag made by United’s fans ahead of the trip to Cluj, while Reds Away presents a Cluj travel guide.
Like may blogs, the mainstream press couldn’t resist the dream-come-true story of Ryan Tunnicliffe’s dad pocketing £10,000 after his son’s début for United against Newcastle. Elsewhere …
TalkSport – “Liverpool fan Charlie on the Munich Air Disaster”
Liverpool fan Charlie called Kick Off to talk about modern fans and footballing disasters (audio) … more
The National – “Ugliest side of the beautiful game”
Richard Jolly opens with the controversial suggestion that some fans are the game’s biggest problem. Jolly claims that tributes to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster were tarnished by the actions of some fans.
In one sense, Liverpool and United are simply paying for their popularity. The bigger the club, by the law of averages, the more morons in their support. But this is not simply about Liverpool and United. Football’s tribalism compounds its problem; from misplaced attempts to claim the moral high ground to the playground argument of “they started it”, people are keener to find fault with others than themselves… more
Daily Mail – “Ban them for life! Hillsborough campaigner Aspinall suggests punishment for vile chants”
The Chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group Margaret Aspinall has called for lifetime bans for fans ‘mocking those who died in football tragedies’.
I hope it never creeps back in again. Any form of chanting about any disaster is appalling and it makes you ashamed. If they get caught on CCTV they should not get a second chance – ban them for life so they can never go to a match again. The Manchester United fans were very good yesterday. Obviously there were a few morons but you can’t blame the majority… more
ESPN – “Halsey Twitter abuser cautioned by police”
Following the game between Liverpool and Manchester United referee Mark Halsey was singled out for blame by Liverpool fans. One of them went as far as to tweet “I hope Mark Halsey gets cancer again and dies.” Halsey won a personal battle against cancer in 2009.
Commenting on the incident, DS Tony Lunt of Greater Manchester police said: “Clearly the victim and his family were very distressed by the extremely offensive comments posted on Twitter… As a result of our investigation, we have cautioned a man who has admitted responsibility for some of the messages. This individual was very apologetic and realises that in a moment of stupidity he posted deeply derogatory remarks about the victim and completely regrets his actions.” more
The Guardian – “Liverpool’s Luis Suárez accepts Manchester United penalty decisions”
The “victim of witch-hunt”, as he was recently called by some team-mates, Suárez offers his opinion on refereeing in The Guardian. The interview may be part of a wider strategy employed by Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers, who also spoke to referees earlier this week.
There are times when the referee gets it right and others when he doesn’t but that’s all part and parcel of the game. It’s happened in the last few games, like against Manchester United when the penalty shout on me wasn’t given and then the one on [Antonio] Valencia was. But talking about it doesn’t solve anything – the referee has a split second to see an incident. Let’s just hope that it doesn’t happen again in the future… more
The Guardian – “Arsenal’s preposterous ‘cheapest’ ticket epitomises immoral imperative”
Daniel Harris, author of the brilliant On the Road: A journey through a season, isn’t fooled by big clubs pretending to do good in the name of fans.
This weekend Arsenal, originators of the Premier League’s first £100 matchday ticket will bring in a new pricing plan, under which the cheapest seat for big matches is £62… Arsenal argue that their new pricing structure is what fans want – and no doubt there are tens of thousands with the relevant bank statement already framed on their walls – and mitigated by reduced prices for games deemed less attractive, starting at £35. Perhaps a slap round the face is better than a boot to the solar plexus, but still – that’s a lot of money to watch a game of football… more
Manchester Evening News – “Tom Cleverley and Anderson can add fuel to Manchester United’s midfield fires”
MEN looks at United’s midfield ahead of the Tottenham Hotspur test.
The sight of Tom Cleverley and Anderson on the rampage against Newcastle will have been enough to strike fear into the heart of every Tottenham player… Both players were outstanding the last time their North London rivals travelled to Old Trafford – overwhelming Harry Redknapp’s side in a 3-0 win in August last year. Anderson was on the score sheet that night as United’s young side produced a display of such fluidity and movement to which the visitors had simply no answer… more
The Guardian – “Roy Hodgson’s duty is to pick the best – so bring back Rio Ferdinand”
Daniel Taylor argues that Roy Hodgson needs bring back Rio – because, well, the defender has been the best choice all along.
Nobody expected the FA to put John Terry in stocks, find a busy spot on Oxford Street and start chucking rotten tomatoes at him, but what a dysfunctional system we have when calling an opponent a “fucking black c*nt” is worth one more game out than, say, Lee Cattermole’s red card at MK Dons on Tuesday… more
Manchester Evening News, “Manchester United taking twin track approach to goalkeepers”
MEN covers Anders Lindegaard’s MUTV interview.
Football is a dynamic process. People have been used to teams having a goalkeeper who plays in every game. But I don’t think that is possible in modern football any more. You have 50 or 60 games a season. That is a big workload physically but it is also very stressful mentally. At big clubs, you will have two very good goalkeepers sharing it. There will always be some kind of difference but in the future you will see this kind of situation more often… more
Mancunian Matters, “Phil Neville and wife team up with Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital to kick-off charity football event”
Mancunian Matters reports on a charity football competition hosted by Phil Neville and his wife. The charity helps youngsters who suffer with illnesses from an early age.
Dad-of-two Neville, whose daughter Isabella has cerebral palsy, said: “We hope lots of teams from across the North West will register to take part and that the local community will get behind us and join us for the family fun day.” His wife Julie added: “We are really grateful to Tesco for getting behind this event in support of a cause very close to our hearts. Philip and I are committed patrons of Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity and will do all that we can to help them make a difference to patients like our daughter Isabella, so hopefully we will raise lots of money” … more
Bleacher Report looks back at United’s best penalty takers under Sir Alex Ferguson. Photos of the touching moments that preceded Anfield clash can be found on Daily Mail. Manchester Evening News reports that one of David Beckham’s sons supports Arsenal. The Telegraph quotes Sir Alex on Terry’s ban and Rio’s England future.