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Introducing Utd Way fanzine

February 6, 2015 Tags: , Shorts 6 comments
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Producing a fanzine is hard and mostly thankless work – especially when it comes to putting together the old fashioned multi-feature designed kind. We know here at United Rant having put heart and soul into six editions of Rant Monthly a few years back. That’s to say little about the effort it has taken to produce this site over the past decade. But mostly it’s the magazine that produces cold sweats and nightmares.

It’s one reason Rant is so pleased with the launch of Utd Way a brand new fanzine featuring the very best in Manchester United content – interviews, analysis, match reports and United culture. In the first edition of what is sure to be many editions Lou Macari discusses his time at Old Trafford as a player and hip-hop legend TQ reveals his love for United. Great stuff, keep it up!

Utd Way is available on the web, iPhone and Twitter.

Utd Way

Fans’ Forum January – the FA Cup

January 8, 2012 Tags: , , Opinion No comments

Fans’s Forum appears each month in Rant Monthly.

James, A Kick in the Grass

Fans and pundits ask why this famous competition has lost its gloss. The answer to that is, sadly, the FA Cup has been ruined by the pursuit of money. Not just by the club’s, but also by the hapless FA. A quick look at the numbers tells us part of the story: United earned £46 million for reaching last year’s Champions League final; in contrast, this year’s FA Cup winner will receive just £1.8m (excluding money from ticket sales). No wonder the FA Cup has lost its shine as far as the clubs’ are concerned.

As far as the fans are concerned, we have been systematically ripped-off by the FA for decades when paying for Cup final tickets. Despite the sky high cost of final tickets there was never any shortage of buyers – not least because the FA have always had an unfair ticket distribution system for the finalists.

But now the situation is in some ways much worse, because we are being fleeced to pay for the rebuilding of Wembley. Gone are the days when FA Cup semi-finals were played at neutral grounds – and that decision was taken for one reason alone – to pay for those scandalous Wembley rebuilding costs. FA Cup semi-finals used to be played at neutral grounds. United fans have many fantastic memories from stadiums such as Villa Park, Hillsborough, Maine Road and Goodison Park. No more, all FA semi-finals are played at the final venue…the new Wembley.

The competition was dealt another major blow when the decision was taken to scrap FA Cup semi-final replays – who will forget the epics with Arsenal in 1999 and before that Liverpool in 1979 and 1985. The FA Cup is no longer the competition it once was, the clubs are partly to blame, but the biggest culprits are the FA themselves. The FA Cup should mean a lot to me, but that simply is no longer true.

James, Written Offside

I started supporting United in the early 80s so the FA Cup became a realistic goal each season bearing in mind the dominance of Liverpool in the league. It will always hold a special place in my heart for a number of reasons. Firstly it was the first trophy I saw United win – the 1983 final against Brighton. I must have watched the game a hundred times or so as I could recall John Motson’s commentary for years afterwards. Subsequent victories in 1985 and then 1990 are also special for a variety of reasons.

The win over Everton due to the never say die spirit exhibited following the ludicrous dismissal of Kevin Moran culminating in Whiteside’s delicious curled effort past Southall and the triumph over Palace due to it kick starting the dominance we have been privileged to experience under the leadership of Alex Ferguson.

The FA Cup also transcends the sport – it is known throughout the world as the oldest cup competition. I have fond memories of the anticipation of the third round draw and the family huddling around the radio to hear who Ipswich (my local team) were drawn against with me secretly wishing they would meet United so I could go to see the mighty Reds up close. In recent years the lack of importance placed in the competition by the bigger clubs has saddened me.

Personally I would like nothing more than to see United lift the trophy once again as it has been too long but with those rich neighbours of ours standing in the way on Sunday, expectation will go on hold for 90 minutes.

Doron, Stretty Rant

The strength and intensity of the Premier League has seen the FA Cup somewhat devalued recently; no longer do the two competitions feel in sync, rather the league is given preferential treatment. I went through a stage of certainly feeling that way, articularly when Chelsea were winning the FA Cup – I saw it as a consolation prize.

Given how much success we’ve had since we last won it, it’s surprising United haven’t done better in the competition. Moreover, the fact we’ve come close and gone out rather controversially a few times simply adds to the desire to win it again. It is a great competition and despite new Wembley’s flaws there’s still something special about being able to sing “Que sera sera…”

Oli Winton

It’s been over a decade since United allegedly ruined the FA Cup. Only a few months before we won it (the most times any club ever has) scoring THAT goal on the way. Devaluing it my arse. The FA Cup does mean a lot. We grew up with it as Reds in our DNA. It was what we clung on to in the 80s, 1990 may well have saved Fergie, and many of the victories since have been exceptional. Yes the Champions League is now our preferred cup, and yes that’s changed the relevance of the domestic cups, but not to the extent
some like to make out.

I was on cloud nine when Eric slotted home against Chelsea in 94 (not to mention the Hughes last gasp equaliser in the semi), we all remember his goal two years later, and many of the other matches along the way stand out too. Coming back from two down at Villa; the various semis against Arsenal; trips to random places Northampton, Burton and Exeter; larger allocations of Reds following the team around the country; and of course many of the losses hurt too. Did the FA cup matter when we lost to Leeds? Or when we lost to a Crouch goal at Anfield? Or to Pompey and West Ham at OT? Of course it did, of course we cared.

And, most of all, we will care about the result of our third round. The win would feel as sweet as any other victory against City, but equally a loss will severely sting.

The genuine, non sarcastic, magic of the Cup

January 8, 2012 Tags: , , Opinion No comments

The Paul Ansorge column appears each month in Rant Monthly.

Once upon a time the magic of the Cup was a term with very different usage. 2012’s FA Cup will see that phrase used by television marketers to add glamour to ties that see the elite clubs of the land field third string midfielders away to League Two sides, or used sarcastically by those for whom the cup is a distraction from the business of staying in the top flight, or qualifying for the Europa League, or making an extra couple of hundred grand by finishing 11th rather than 12th in the Premier League. Once upon a time, though, the magic of the Cup was real.

In the 1980s, the FA Cup was really the only football I ever saw on television, outside of major international competitions. I was too young to stay up late and watch Match of the Day, and anyway, I didn’t care who won the league. The league was boring – it went on forever and then at the end of the season, Liverpool won it. The cup though, that made sense to my small brain. You won a game, then you got to play another one, until May when you’d play a really, really fancy game, and get to release a pop song.

United were a great FA Cup side. I learned that we had won it a lot, almost as many times as Tottenham! My first memory of watching football is Norman Whiteside scoring the winner in the ‘85 cup final. If I close my eyes now I can see exactly where I was. I was eight years old and immediately after the game I phoned the editor of this esteemed publication. He told me of how he had jumped up and down and cheered when the goal went in, and I told him I had done a backflip.

This was not true, I had been watching perched at the bottom of my dad’s bed and had jumped and flopped backwards. For some reason, I felt justified in calling that a backflip. I can see the goal now, from years of seeing it on VHS (that’s like youtube for old people) but I know that I didn’t understand how it was scored at the time, I just remember who scored, the net bulging and the celebrations.

I remember nothing about the game at all, except the feeling of relief and elation that “my” team had won. Winning the double was an incredible achievement – only the best teams had ever done it. United are often accused of devaluing the Cup because of pulling out to play in the World Club Cup in ’99/00 (as I’m sure most United fans know, this was at the request of the FA, hoping to drum up support for a bid for England to host the World Cup – how did that one turn out?).

However, I think that one of the reasons the Cup has been devalued is that we won the double three times in a span of six years – it just started to look easy. Of the three years we didn’t during that spell, Arsenal did. The FA Cup became a sort of appendage to a league win.

It has played an absolutely crucial role in the Ferguson era. Much is talked about the Mark Robins goal which kept Fergie his job. We went on to win that cup, then the Cup Winners Cup, and the era of success was born.

There is a goal, however, which felt like even more of a turning point – Mark Hughes’ staggering volley, an equaliser just moments from the end of the ’93/94 semi-final against Oldham Athletic. It is another moment in time I remember every detail of. I watched the game at a friend’s parents house and it felt incredibly important. It was such a wonderful goal – Lee Sharpe chips the ball towards the box, it’s headed out by the Oldham defence, Nicky Butt heads the ball towards to Brian McClair who hooks an absolutely perfect pass to Hughes. Hughes’ volley, under significant pressure from the defence, was just vintage Sparky.

The Red Issue caricature of Sparky, even, attempting flying volleys given the slightest opportunity to do so. Although we finished the season eight points clear of Blackburn Rovers, the era in which we just assumed we would win anything had not yet begun and I remember so clearly, as soon as that Hughes goal went in, that was it, we would win the lot. It showed incredible spirit, the spirit that became our hallmark in the decade that followed.

My memories of football are by and large formed of a collection of moments – any coherent narrative super structure is added later, further up the cognitive process tree, away from the buried subconscious collection of individual passages of play and heightened moments in time. I think that’s why I loved the FA Cup so much – those moments were so simple and vital.

“Score now or you’re out”. “Score now and you get to put the top of the trophy on your head during the lap of honour.” Of course it isn’t the same any more, it can’t be. The magic of the Cup is associated with other things of childhood – people and places and a time long passed.

I didn’t pretend to anyone that I did a backflip when Ronaldo scored just before half-time when we beat Millwall 3-0. It’s much more perfunctory nowadays. But one of these days, I would like to see the Da Silva brothers putting the lid of the trophy on their heads and dancing around on the lap of honour.

None of us will ever be a kid again, and the FA Cup won’t ever be really important again, but sometimes it’s nice to remember that stuff, and add to that collection of moments.

Paul Ansorge is co-host of Rant Cast, and he can be found at Twitter – twitter.com/utdrantcast

Rant Monthly Issue 6 – January 2012

January 8, 2012 Tags: Monthly No comments

Welcome to the sixth edition of Rant Monthly, our high-quality mix of original Rant editorial that comes to you completely free each month.

Issue 6 covers the latest topical analysis over more than 40 pages, including an in-depth look at Sir Alex Ferguson at 70, Michael Carrick’s recent improvement in form, United’s history in the FA Cup and Liverpool’s attempt to set race relations back 30 years.

Also in this month’s issue: the Europa League, Phil Jones, James Gibson 80 years on, player performance stats for December, Fans Forum, Paul Ansorge and our mid-season report.

Issue 6 is available in two flavours for your reading pleasure: high and low image quality. Right click > “save as” below. For PDF aficionados, Rant Monthly is best read like a magazine, two-up, showing cover page (View > Page Display). Or help destroy the environment and print it!

Your feedback on Issue 6 is very welcome. Please comment below.

Rant Monthly Issue 5 – December 2011

December 6, 2011 Tags: Monthly 1 comment

Welcome to the fifth edition of Rant Monthly, our high-quality mix of original Rant editorial that comes to you on the first of each month. Or shortly thereafter in December!

Issue 5 covers the latest topical analysis, including an in-depth look at Manchester United’s financials, Sir Alex Ferguson’s potential replacements, Tomasz Kusazk’s questionable behaviour and the Reds grinding out 1-0 wins. With contributions from Ajay Smith, Dan Bowman, and Sean Geraghty.

Also: a focus on youth, including a profile of Robbie Brady, a look why Ferguson has held back his young stars, and new signing Andreas Pereira.

There are all the regulars: Ed Barker, Paul Ansorge, Fans’ Forum and the EA Player Performance Index.

Issue 5 is available in two flavours for your reading pleasure: high and low image quality. Right click > “save as” below. For PDF aficionados, Rant Monthly is best read like a magazine, two-up, showing cover page (View > Page Display). Or help destroy the environment and print it!

Your feedback on Issue 5 is very welcome. Please comment below.

Rant Monthly Issue 4 – November 2011

November 4, 2011 Tags: Monthly 1 comment

Welcome to the fourth edition of Rant Monthly, our high-quality mix of original Rant editorial that comes to you on the first of each month. Or shortly thereafter in November!

Over 42 pages, Issue 4 looks in depth at Sir Alex Ferguson’s 25 years as manager at Manchester United: the personality, the key moments, his best team, the quotes, the numbers, and the infamous arguments. With contributions from Zack Hann, Ajay Smith, Will Tidey, and Paul Ansorge.

Also: a profile of Ravel Morrison, a look at Tom Cleverley, Javier Hernández and Jonny Evans, and a celebration of Nemanja Vidic’s international retirement!

There are all the regulars: Ed Barker, Paul Ansorge, Fans’ Forum Q&A and the EA Player Performance Index.

Issue 4 is available in two flavours for your reading pleasure: high and low image quality. Right click > “save as” below. For PDF aficionados, Rant Monthly is best read like a magazine, two-up, showing cover page (View > Page Display). Or help destroy the environment and print it!

Your feedback on Issue 4 is very welcome. Please comment below.

Rant Monthly Issue 3 – October 2011

October 3, 2011 Tags: Monthly 6 comments

Welcome to the third edition of Rant Monthly, our high-quality mix of original Rant editorial that comes to you on the first of each month.

In issue 3, we look in depth at United’s 55 years of European adventure: the triumph and tragedy of competing on the contitent, the players and the events. We look at two key players in United’s excellent start to the new season: Anderson and Phil Jones, and ask what the future may bring for each. And, new to Rant Monthly, we analyse United’s player performance in partnership with EA Sports. Plus all the regulars: Ed Barker, Paul Ansorge and the fans Forum Q&A.

Issue 3 is available in two flavours for your reading pleasure: high and low image quality. Right click > “save as” below. For PDF aficionados, Rant Monthly is best read like a magazine, two-up, showing cover page (View > Page Display). Or help destroy the environment and print it!

Your feedback on Issue 3 is very welcome. Please comment below.

Rant Monthly Issue 2 – September 2011

September 1, 2011 Tags: Monthly 3 comments

Welcome to the second edition of Rant Monthly, our high-quality mix of original Rant editorial that comes to you on the first of each month.

In issue 2, we look in depth at United’s youthful revolution this season – the personalities, the football and the tactics. We delve into the Glazer family’s proposed IPO in Singapore, asking what the autumn flotation will do for the club, and fans. And we look back on Wayne Rooney’s October Revoluton and ask how it changed the relationship between player and fans.

Issue 2 is available in two flavours for your reading pleasure: high and low image quality. Right click > “save as” below. For PDF aficionados, Rant Monthly is best read like a magazine, two-up, showing cover page (View > Page Display). Or help destroy the environment and print it!

  • High quality – It’s a big file but worth every megabyte.
  • Low quality – If your bandwidth constraints are tighter than Uncle Malcy’s wallet.

Your feedback on Issue 2 is very welcome. Please comment below.

Rant Monthly Issue 1 – August 2011

August 1, 2011 Tags: Monthly 16 comments

Welcome to Rant Monthly, our high-quality mix of original Rant editorial that comes to you, well, monthly! In time for the new season Rant Monthly Issue 1 offers a comprehensive preview of the new first team and reserve/academy season, a look at the summer transfer market, Andy Green’s analysis of why Sky’s cash might be bad for English football and Fan Forum, together with our regular columnists.

Issue 1 is available in two flavours for your reading pleasure: high and low image quality. Right click > “save as” below. For those PDF afficianados, Rant Monthly is best read like a magazine, two-up, showing cover page (View > Page Display)

  • High quality – It’s a big file but worth every megabyte.
  • Low quality – If your bandwidth constraints are tighter than Uncle Malcy’s wallet.

Your feedback on Issue 1 is very welcome: what works, what doesn’t, what regular content would you like to see in future issues? We had a lot of ideas for Issue 1 that didn’t make the final cut due to time constraints. Please comment below.