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 Manchester United-related news and blogs – Media Digest.
Another week, another comeback: fitting not only to the season so far, but to the occasion, as United unveiled Sir Alex Ferguson’s statue. A lot of praise mixed with some disapproval in this week’s digest, as the heroes of the past returned. Although she once sang that “blue [is] the most human color”, our hostess this week is Regina Spektor.
“The sculptor’s marble sends regards, They made a statue of us”
There are times fans may disagree with Ferguson, and even feel ashamed of his behaviour at times, but the manager means a world to United fans. “Love” would be too strong a word for some, as they quite simply do not forgive and forget when it comes to Glazers, but the chant of “Every single one of us loves Alex Ferguson” is still sung loud and clear during games.
Indeed, whatever your views are on how Fergie handles the press or whom he supports, there is a sense of gratitude for what Sir Alex has done for United.
The Busby Way quotes Sir Bobby Charlton: “we didn’t in our wildest dreams think that it would last as long as this. He’s just a sensational manager, I keep repeating it, [but] others must look on in envy.”
Last Friday marked a special occasion, as many United legends and greats – including Bryan Robson, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Eric Cantona – came to Old Trafford as special guests for the unveiling of Ferguson’s statue.
“Normally people die before they see their statue. I’m outliving death!” the boss jokes, with a humor both light-hearted and dark. The fire is still burning despite being just a month short of 71-years-old. Certainly, as Republik of Mancunia reports, Ferguson didn’t need a second invitation to fire a first shot at newly appointed Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez this week.
Obviously, many blogs reported on the statue unveiling, featuring pictures and videos, but The Peoples Person offered some of the best content. Apart from an excellent multimedia-heavy post, the blog also featured a nice tribute to “The man who made Manchester United”, The Peoples Person:
While other teams have sometimes been much more pleasing on the eye, Manchester United were often called “the worst United side to win the league”. It is this ability to constantly defy critics and bring the best out of the players brought in that truly make Sir Alex the greatest manager of all times.
Meanwhile, The Busby Babe looked at Fergie’s time at the club from a different angle, asking readers to vote on the greatest United player of the Sir Alex era. King Eric might be on the article’s featured photo, but he’s not leading the poll!
“They’ll… later say it’s all our fault, Then they’ll give us a talking to”
Howver, life wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows for fans. Once again, United failed to impress in the first 60 or so minutes of the game against Queens Park Ranger, owing the positive result to QPR’s mediocrity. With United topping the league table, and in the knockout stage of the Champions League, there’s no need to panic, but with so many bad signs, nervous are many fans.
At Daniele puts it in “Will the real Manchester United please show up?”, Red Rants:
While in the end the result rewarded United, their tendency to forget tempo and pressure in the dressing room is a problem that a world class team can’t afford, let alone a team like United whose shortcomings appear with alarming regularity. Fans must be wondering which one is the real United – the shockingly bad one of the first 58 minutes or the blood and thunder one that scored three times in 10 minutes?
There is no doubt players under-performed against the Hammers, but it’s the manager who’s often held responsible for team’s failures. Has Fergie become too sentimental to let some players go? That’s what a number of bloggers argued.
Indeed, Shane looks for answers in “Going Through the Motions – Is Fergie Going Soft?”:
Whatever Fergie and Gill claim publicly the tightening purse strings have denied us the opportunity to make the changes clearly needed. The gaping hole in the centre of our midfield would be visible to my partially-sighted grandmother, looking through a telescope from the moon. Fergie is one of the best managers in the history of the game. A glaringly obvious lack of quality in the centre of the pitch is not something that is likely to have just passed him by. He just can’t do anything about it. Or is it that he just feels obliged not to, out of loyalty to a couple of his most trusted lieutenants? Has Fergie simply got a bit softer with age?
Meanwhile, Jon Wilmot echoes some of the thoughts, as he tries to find the right formation and players for the rest of the season.
“Ne Me Quitte Pas, Mon Chere”
Remember how this song goes? “And think about how things were right, / When they were young and veins were tight, / And if you are the ghost of Christmas Past / then won’t you stay the night?”
Well, for United fans Christmas comes a little earlier this year. In “Celebrate The King, CANTONA”, Stretford End Flags reports on #cantonaweek:
Manchester United supporters will be showing their affection for Eric, with a special week of tributes to pay homage to the great man. #cantonaweek kicks off with a supporters charity evening in honour of Eric, at The Bishops Blaize pub on the Friday night (23rd Nov). Hosted by Pete Boyle, tickets are £2 and are available from The Bishops. A special tribute message from Eric himself will be played on the screen during the night… Prior to the West Ham game, a supporters Cantona march will take place before the game.
The latest issues of popular fanzines Red News and United We Stand also featured Cantona related stories and both have the Frenchman on the cover.
“Hey, open wide, here comes original sin”
The brilliant “Deadly Sins” series continues on ManUtd24, as Gluttony takes stage in “Manchester United’s Seven Deadly Sins: #3 – Gluttony”, ManUtd24, featuring Fergie, Juan Sebastian Veron, Laurent Blanc, Darron Gibson, Roy Keane – and drinking:
The refreshingly blunt Keane would remind this group of Liverpool players that they were indeed underachievers, going at them like the wooden targets in a shooting range, one by one for verbal practice. Phil Babb would get it. John Scales, too: “You’re rubbish as well, with your England B cap, you’re nowt, rubbish.” And then Redknapp who, like Scales, tried to make peace and failed. “What the hell have you done in the game?” Keane would ask, most likely rhetorically.
Meanwhile, Devils of Manchester notes an interesting example of hatred. In his book My Premier League Diary, Swansea City defender Ashley Williams writes that he’d love to knock Suarez out. Amazingly, as if the Being Liverpool television series wasn’t embarrassing enough for the club and Brendan Rogers… [the book] “was actually sanctioned by Brendan Rogers during his time as Swansea City manager.”
With United already through to the knockout phase of the Champions League, The Busby Babe offers a breakdown of the Reds’ possible opponents.
Sam from The Peoples Person is concern about Joshua King’s loan deal, which is potentially a permanent one, and laments that United is selling the wrong striker.
An early Manchester derby took place at the Manchester Arena on Saturday, as Vyacheslav Senchenko, Ukrainian boxer and United fan (Daily Star), defeated Ricky Hatton, a huge City fan. The Busby Way has a photo of Senchenko with a United shirt near Old Trafford.
Red Flag Flying High reports that Ferdinand and Evra made the FIFA FIFPro World XI shortlist and are among the top 20 defenders to be considered for the final eleven.
Finally, Scott from Republik of Mancunia is enraged by United ripping the fans off. Apparently, the club thinks it’s okay to give away City away tickets to random businesses, rather then ensure fans get them.
Mancunian Matters - quotes Jose Mourinho, who calls Sir Alex “incredible, amazing, unique”; features a video depicting ugly scenes in Istanbul airport prior to United’s arrival earlier this month; and offers a Kenny Morgans obituary.
The Guardian - praises Nick Powell, although the author notes that “there are currently no truly outstanding teenagers in the United academy ranks”. The paper also runs a nice career-in-video article on Eric Cantona. Finally, The Guardian reports that “United stand accused over a low level of corporation tax paid”.
The Telegraph - becomes yet another outlet reminiscing over Cristiano Ronaldo, featuring a gallery dedicated to former United player. It also reports on graduates of the Ferguson school of management.
Daily Mail – another week, another brilliant article from Gary Neville, this time on Ronaldo. The outlet also quotes Tony Pulis, with the Stoke boss claiming Berbatov is the signing of the summer.