Young’s corrosive shame eating at United’s centre

November 7, 2013 Tags: Reads 14 comments
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In the furor that surrounds Ashley Young’s dive against Real Sociedad on Tuesday night there must also come a mea culpa. The confession that Manchester United has benefited from cheating; that other United players have also and will also cheat; an acknowledgement that in different circumstances the outrage might be felt for very different reasons. United might, probably will, lose a game this season as the result of similar dubious tactics and equally malicious intent.

It is the game that we play.

It doesn’t have to be though. Young was under no obligation to “fold in half” as La Real coach Jagoba Araste so eloquently put it on Tuesday night. Nor did David Moyes have to so publicly back his player either; not after admonishing the former Aston Villa winger for similar theatrics earlier this season. And certainly not after spending much of the last decade as a strong voice in the campaign against diving.

Yet, Young goes on. Cheating, seemingly at will, and defying his managers with every turn and fall. It is, after all, far from Young’s first offence – the 28-year-old has been warned not solely by David Moyes, but Sir Alex Ferguson too. And in that Young’s tumble at Anoeta during United’s scoreless draw with Sociedad was barely believable, yet all too familiar in the collective memory.

Pundits lined up to add their voice to the general invective over Young’s antics. But none more so that United supporters, whose general sense of  disenchantment rang loud. Young is not only an embarrassment, and a fraud, but – and here is the rub – mediocre with it.

Herein lies another group confession. After all, Adnan Januzaj was cautioned for simulation earlier this season, while Wayne Rooney and Nani have been known, on more than one occasion, to eat grass with the best of them. Few have found the spotlight quite as intense as United’s Stevenage-born winger. Not from the home crowd at least.

“Pathetic,” said former United midfielder Ray Wilkins. “This is as bad for me as all these over-the-top tackles we’re getting at the moment because that is a conning of the referee.”

“He’s conned the referee there,” added Roy Keane. “If you are a Manchester United player and you see a player getting tugged back you want him to go down, but Ashley Young has obviously gone down too much over the last few months.”

Yet, there is something about Young’s manner that grates more than others. It is the shamelessness of it all; the total failure to acknowledge his conceit. The charlatan whose audacity extends to a bare-faced refusal to speak out. An impostor in the famous scarlet shirt.

In that Moyes is culpable too. Words really do come so very cheap, not least if Young is selected to face Arsenal this weekend in the most crucial match of the Scot’s short time at Old Trafford.

United’s top man was certainly in no mood to lay blame on Tuesday following the Reds’ bore draw in Spain. It does not augur well.

“I’ve seen it and the boy certainly tugs him in the box,” said the new United coach. “The referee is two yards away from it and decides to give it. The referee is there and he gave it.”

In that Moyes brought forth a charge of duplicity – disingenuous outrage against diving in one corner, a blind eye in the other. After all, Moyes once advocated for retrospective punishment and even fined hil Neville for hitting the ground too easily. Not this time – it serves not the man on whose shoulder’s the club’s on-the-pitch ethic resides.

“I’m of the view that retrospective viewing of diving should be more important than some of the technology they are talking about bringing in,” said the Scot last season.

“I think it would make the referee’s job an awful lot easier if that was there. If you do it and you get banned for it, it wouldn’t take long before you cut it out. I think it could be easily done.”

So too, it must be said, might an internal review of his player’s actions. Young does not have to face Arsenal next Sunday, nor Cardiff City two weeks hence. Nor, for that matter, Bayer Leverkusen in Germany towards the end of the month. There are many supporters not keen on the Englishman’s return at all such is the monotonous regularity with which Young has brought derison to Old Trafford’s doors.

It is not as though Moyes is short of options either with Januzaj, Nani, Antonio Valencia, and Danny Welbeck available. Nor has Young conspicuously delivered during more than two years at the club. He probably never will.

Although one wonders whether punishment might ever get through – that Young is too callous, or too shortsighted, for the message to fully resonate. Certainly if Ferguson’s rebuke served no lesson, then what might?

“Going to ground too willingly was not something I tolerated,” remarks Sir Alex in his recent autobiography.

“Ashley ran into trouble against QPR in the 2011-12 season, when Shaun Derry was sent off and our player was accused of diving. I left him out for the next game, and told him that the last thing he needed as a Manchester United player was a reputation for going down easily. Ashley did it two weeks in a row but we stopped it.”

Seemingly not.

Young also serves as a reminder to those supporters whose stance includes a matter-of-fact assessment. It is, they say, just part of the game. Penalties are won, and lost, depending on a player’s momentary decision to stand or fall.

They are, but this is surely a zero sum game. Young’s gain could so easily be United’s fall. Inconspicuous, or decisive, there is little merit in defending the indefensible. It will only come back – kismet’s inevitable last stand.


MarkHawes - November 8, 2013 Reply

While I do agree that Young went down far too easily and not really liking the man as a footballer there is also a larger problem in football too. By the letter of law as soon as a defender tugs a players shirt then it’s a foul, or a penalty if in the area.
You see it in every game now where there is a corner or a free kick the players are all over each other, pulling, holding, bear hugging etc. The referee should just start giving a penalty every time this happens. For the first few games there would probably be about 10 penalties per game but after a while the penny will drop and defenders will stop fouling strikers, who in turn won’t have as much opportunity to dive.

john - November 8, 2013 Reply

The fact of the matter is that young is not a good enough footballer to get away with diving!!! How quickly do we forget how much of a cheating b##stard Ronaldo was or Even that janazi has gotten a yellow for diving this season already!!, the simple fact is if you are world class you can get away with diving if not you will be condemned like young!

Godders - November 8, 2013 Reply

I’m so sick of that utter fraud! Moyes is just as bad on my opinion. As soon as the cheat dived against Crystal Palace he should have subbed him. After this he should be fined two weeks wages and then stick him on the transfer list. Yes, other players have dived but at least they’re good at it. The last thing I saw this clown do as a football player was a screamer for Enhland. Unfortunately, because of his abysmal first touch, he had no other option but to hit it and hope for the best! Totally sums up his career!!

Denton Davey - November 8, 2013 Reply

His shirt was pulled; he went down. That should be a penalty – just like TheBigFella’s persistent ankle-tapping was given a yellow and then a second yellow.

I’m no fan of AshleyBloodyYoung – and I’d like to see him moved on (BUT who would take him and his ridiculous weekly-wages ? However, his shirt was pulled and he went down two yards in front of the referee – he didn’t “con the ref”.

In fact, the referee should be complimented on making a tough decision and awarding UTD the penalty although I was somewhat “happy” that RVP slammed the ball into the post ‘cos I wouldn’t want to be rewarded for Young’s theatrics. What I want is to see TheLads win, no questions asked BUT that won’t happen as long as the manager insists on giving this guy playing time.

He’s simply sub-standard and that’s why he continues to be AshleyBloodyYoung. And for those who would point out his excellent cross that was flubbed by the striker (RVP ?), just remember that a broken clock is right twice a day.

twat - November 8, 2013 Reply

Yes, his trouble is obviously two-fold: a poor cheat and a poor footballer. He is unlovable.
But, would everyone feel so anti-Young if he did a swallow dive in the 93rd minute to earn a penalty in the Champions League semi-final, for example? Or would we hypocritically overlook that particular incident and brush it under the carpet, claiming ‘we got what we deserved’ or similar bullshit?

Hard to answer because the situation is so very unlikely, but the point is there…

Damian Garside - November 8, 2013 Reply

A nice question: thing is — that it’s all hypothetical, isn’t it?– we are going to get nowhere near winning a Champions League semi-final, and no where near appearing in one, for that matter.Sadly, there are at least half a dozen teams in the Championship who will just blow us out of the water. Even more sadly, this group probably includes Manchester City who, if they carry on demolishing teams in thew way they have been doing the last couple of weeks could win something this year, maybe (alas) more than one thing.

Remember the time that we were the team feared inb the Champions league — when we could expect to get into the final minute of a semi-final defending or attacking like crazy in order to get into the final? Or coasting — thinking of whether our likely opponents could conceivably cause us any problems? For this team to get into the CL final we will need more than the odd sneaky dive in the final minute of added on time in the semi-final. We will need the whole team flopping around like performing seals during every round of the knock-out stage.

twat - November 8, 2013 Reply

Yes, agreed. I thought twice about writing what I did but in hindsight I probably should have put ‘FA Cup semi-final’ to make it more credible! Ultimately, my point being that football supporters tend to have adjustable morals which change when there is a change in circumstance, team or player. Anyway, Young’s still shite!

Hobo - November 8, 2013 Reply

We really need to sell him. Even if you ignore the diving antics his general form since arriving has been woeful. I can only remember a few exceptional performances which usually involved him cutting in and blasting a shot in the top corner, but he doesn’t do that anymore.

Ship him off to Cardiff or back to Villa, get £8 million for him and put it towards a proper left winger like Reus.

Denton Davey - November 8, 2013 Reply

Hobo @ 1:08: “get £8 million for him”

Yeah, but keep on dreaming – who would pay that much a 28 year-old with a huge weekly wage AND lousy form.

Much more likely scenario is that UTD give him away AND pay part of his wages, either in the form of a weekly subsidy or a golden parachute payment to get him off the books.

mongoletsi - November 12, 2013 Reply

Well done DD! You made a perfectly valid point, and without using the stupid nicknames that you, and only you understand. Keep up the good work!

Dayus D red - November 9, 2013 Reply

Ed i wonder if you would’ve written this if it were Rooney, RVP, or even little Januzaj. Young is an easy target for some fans and the ABU bcos of his off form. He may have been giulty in some instances, but the question should be, was he tugged by the player? If yes, who determines the severerity of the tug? The ref of course. We didn’t hear any uproar in the medial when Barca was awarded a penalty against AC milan in a CL @ camp Nou even before a conner kick was taken bcos of shirt tugging. We have seen United players carded for diving even when replay showed they were fouled. For once Moyes has been consistent. He will rebuke his players only when they dive without contact. Lets leave wether its minimal or not to the ref.

Ed - November 9, 2013 Reply

Can’t agree with you. Young is a serial diver; repetition magnifies the crime. Let’s not muddy the debate with talk of Barcelona. This isn’t some media conspiracy. Young cheated. Simple. I can’t wait for the next time somebody cheats to gain a penalty against United. There are a lot of fans who’ll change their argument pretty fast.

Dayus D red - November 9, 2013 Reply

@Ed. Have you seen Ramirez pen?. Why are the ABU or the so called ex-players turned pundits/experts not debating it like they did in the case of Young.?

Ed - November 11, 2013 Reply

Because United is news – as always was

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