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.
International football or not, Manchester United blogs still have something for you as they catch with the popular issues from the past month.
By Far The Greatest Team – “Rebuilding Manchester United, Almost Conquering the World and Turning Down Pele”
Fortunately, though, there were atypical yet brilliant posts this week. One of them is Matthew Harrison’s article on Jimmy Murphy. No need to waste time on the quotes though: go read it.
The death that supposedly hit Murphy hardest was that of his good friend Bert Whalley, the man who was sitting in the seat next to Matt Busby on the flight – the seat that should have been Jimmy Murphy’s. It is great testament to the man himself that Murphy made a huge effort to attend every funeral of every person that was tragically killed in the disaster; the only funerals he missed were those which were at the same time as another funeral. more
By Far The Greatest Team – “When Arsenal beat Manchester United 5-2 in 1960, was the match fixed?”
Another amazing article on By Far The Greatest Team that touches on the history of United. The author is Giles Oakley…
I always loved the thrill of anticipation when emerging from the Arsenal station to find the narrow streets and terraced houses blocking the view of Highbury until it suddenly loomed into view in all its refined Art Deco glory. On the day of that United match in April 1960 I was determined to see the haughty ‘ Marble Halls’ in the East Stand official entrance foyer, and I sneaked in nervously, expecting some uniformed commissionaire to toss me out on my ear like some grubby street urchin. I wanted to see the famous bust of former manager Herbert Chapman which sat on view in an illuminated niche… more
Red Mancunian – “My worst footballing moment is yet to come…”
Chris McCluskey savours every second while Sir Alex Ferguson is in charge.
At the end of last year, Kim Jong-il played his last round of golf. If you thought the scenes of hordes of North Koreans sobbing uncontrollably, beating their fists on the ground and wailing at the tops of their lungs were uncomfortably hilarious to watch, just wait until Alex Ferguson decides to call time on his managerial career. Okay, perhaps the comparison is a little bit excessive, what with one being a sadistic, genius dictator who is known for ruling his evil fiefdom with an iron fist, and the other being Kim Jong-il; however, for the purpose of dramatic effect, I think it’s a valid point. more
The Busby Boys – “Is the diamond forever for Manchester United?”
Another week, another blogger wonders what is happening to United’s midfield.
Put simply, a top class number ten player is the most crucial to any team’s success in the final third.This player is required to do more than being in the right place at the right time (which takes some talent and work in and of itself). The number ten has to not only be in the right place, he has to be in the right places at the right times. Not many players are capable of doing that. Rooney is. And for all of the talk of how van Persie makes Rooney more expendable, I would argue that van Persie if nothing else makes Rooney more essential to United’s success. more
Can They Score – “Rooney and Central Midfield: A Match Made in Heaven”
Tom Pattison thinks that United’s diamond formation “might just be the system in which [Rooney] finally establishes himself as a truly world-class performer”.
Everything about Rooney’s style is of a player at his best when at the core of the action. In view of our abundance of options further forward, and steel deficiency in central midfield, it is entirely sensible for Rooney to concentrate his efforts on playing central midfield. One moment on Sunday underlined this for me – Rooney received the ball into feet in a tight space on the edge of the centre circle, as you would expect Tiote was instantly on him niggling away, yet the body strength of one time boxing prospect comfortably held off the Ivorian before laying the ball to Kagawa in space. more
7Cantonas – “A Robin Van Soliloquy”
Gareth Evans shares his thoughts on Robin van Plasma Screen.
I was a doubter, but I’m beginning to think it was worth it. If Dimitar Berbatov was a brilliant arthouse actor – a cultish, tormented soul – then Van Persie is box-office; a disgracefully talented scene-stealing star whose games are often scripted by Hollywood’s finest. At times during last term, Arsenal’s season read like a Van Persie soliloquy – a wonderfully cultured goal-pocked monologue, where he masked many an Arsenal shortcoming. more
Stretford-End – “Joshua King – will another Norwegian player leave United?”
Doron Salomon writes about another young Norwegian that might leave United for good.
Joshua looks fitter, stronger, faster and more mature. His reward has been a debut and place in the Norwegian national team as well as inclusion in a few United first team squads. Having joined up with the national team this week though, he’s once again reiterated that the exit may not be far away. His goal is to be a professional footballer at United but he can’t wait forever. There is a glimmer of hope though – he commented that he sees the left side of the United team as an area he could expose given his new found role. An opportunity may arise there. In fact, he himself thinks that his prospects and chances are much better now than they were a few months ago. more
The Peoples Person has a video of Ashley Young supporting United in the away end at St. James Park. Five beautiful Paul Scholes moments can be found on Beautifully Red – the site’s September Player of the Month.
Unibet – “Fergie’s Wingless Wonders Look The Real Deal”
Alexander Netherton thinks that United’s midfield diamond might just win the Reds the league.
Most surprising, though, is that Alex Ferguson has decided that his best team doesn’t include a winger. It’s early to label it, of course, but what started at Cluj continued at Newcastle, where the team used a remarkably narrow line up. It’s at odds with Manchester United’s history, but given their deficeincies, gives them a chance of producing the required consistency to win the league this term. more
GQ – “Sir Alex Ferguson on managing Manchester United”
Yes, it is GQ we are talking about here. Yes, the interview is from 2008. Yes, you had still better read it.
“No, you’re right. I have spoken to Bobby many times on that subject. But he told me the one thing he found hardest was…” Sir Alex Ferguson pauses. “He explained how he was doing this exercise with the players which involved switching the direction of play. And they couldn’t understand what he was talking about. To Charlton, who was such a beautiful, graceful player, it was a skill that came instinctively. But he discovered that his players not only couldn’t do what he was asking, they couldn’t even understand it. He told me it was at that moment that he decided this job was possibly not for him. So I don’t believe that football management comes down simply to temperament.” more
Manchester Evening News – “Dazzling Sir Bobby Charlton still a shining light”
Manchester Evening News pays tribute to Sir Bobby Charlton as he celebrates his 75th birthday.
He may have played in an era of grainy black and white footage but his exploits were writ large in technicolour and are still handed down the generations. more
Mirror – “Ravel’s unravelling: Birmingham want rid of the former Man United starlet”
Ravel: what a waste of talent.
Even though Birmingham are struggling just three points above the relegation zone, Clark is refusing to even include the 19-year-old in his squad. Sources close to the Midlands club claim Morrison’s attitude in training and around the club has been unacceptable and they want to terminate the loan agreement immediately. more
Manchester Evening News – “Andrew Cole: Chicharito can rediscover his red-hot form by following treble hero Solskjaer’s lead”
Andrew Cole gives United’s Mexican striker a word of advice.
“Chicharito has to accept the challenge and be patient because that is the only way forward, just as Ole showed. It is a challenge for everyone in the United squad. Everyone has their own battles when you have so much competition. I was the fortunate one in that era because I was first-choice with Dwight Yorke and we were scoring a lot of goals together. But Ole got his head down and worked and it came right. I know what Chicharito is going through because something similar happened to me. After joining Newcastle from Bristol City I scored goals and then we were promoted to the Premier League. In my first season at that level I scored 34 league goals and 41 in all competitions. After that season people were saying watch out for second-season syndrome and all that and I just shrugged and said, ‘Yeah whatever!’ But then you realise they were talking sense and were dead right.” more
Spain U21 coach Julen Lopetegu backs David De Gea to become a world star, SkySports reports. SambaFoot quotes Anderson on Fergie, although the Brazilian might be a few sandwiches short in believing he’ll still be at the club when Fergie leaves. Mancunian Matters reports that Shinji Kagawa has to face the goal or he will not be a threat. The Japanese is definitely not a threat to beatboxers out there, as evidenced by the new Adidas ad in Daily Mail. The same outlet also reports that Ryan Tunnicliffe was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving after crash. Finally, Sport Witness features a heart warming story about Nemanja Vidic.