The reason why i sit and write these words today is in response to his comments made after the West Ham game. You know..that game where he was so polite as to score two goals in front of their fans only to put his hand up, say sorry and proceed to embrace the East London boys in a proverbial fluffy cuddle. Ah bless them all. That's how football should be....
Actually, it is all smoke and mirrors
Mr T has come out in these comments, and taken the opportunity to have his final swipe at Manchester United. He has turned the whole situation about the transfer of his flesh and bones to Man City on its horrible head.
The hoar said:
"I've decided not to celebrate my goals out of respect to West Ham. They were my first club in England and, in my heart, part of me will always be a Hammer,The professional part of me was really pleased with my first City goals at home but, personally, I would have preferred to beat another club. In the derby against United I had also decided not to celebrate our goals but, after the bad treatment I received from the supporters that day, I have changed my stance on that. If I score in the next derby then I am sure that I will celebrate."
Well thank you very much Carlitos. Your lack of understanding about the situation shines for all to see. Of course, the United haters will love this (and lets face it your new fan club fit this profile) You are a populist. You will say whatever it takes to please those paying your wages. You are the worst kind of prostitute. The one that smiles with glee as you take your money for your acts of filth.
Im soooooo glad he has finally come out with this. I was waiting for it so much. Neutrals have pointed the finger at us (United fans) for treating him bad, but respect is a two way street. If West Ham and their simpleton stance on "honour" and all of that stuff, want to clap Tevez for taking points of them (that may end up relegating them?) then that is their choice. Im sure they are all writing letters of gratitude as we speak.
So for the last time Tev, goodbye. You have bastardised every run you ever made for United. Every goal you ever scored. All that passion you wore on your sleeve was just a paid act. You make us feel dirty
Im so glad i boo-ed the f$ck out of you last week. Slag.
There is alot of bravado spoken when the subject of our football team's home is mentioned. The title 'Theatre of Dreams' (dubbed by Bobby Charlton) was once embarrassingly mentioned by fans in the late 1980's. The two words 'theatre' and 'dreams' were a million miles away from hooligan England in those days, where the reality was standing behind taller than man fences, getting sopping wet from Manchester's latest rainstorm, and maybe drinking a Bovril with a meat pie accompaniment. It was no visit to a theatre, and the only dreams we felt were a wish to beat Liverpool twice a year, and maybe end up with an FA Cup. Not such heady, dreaming days...
2010 marks the one hundredth anniversary of Old Trafford. One hundred years of Manchester United owning the keys to the doors. During that time it has been bombed by the Nazis, rebuilt from the ashes, then extended and expanded many times over stacking the stadium's build high up into the heavens. It stands above this Greater Manchester borough like a work of art. Modern engineering meets architectural beauty. It shelters all seventy six thousand, two hundred and twelve of us in perfection as we sing and dance and scream, like a pack of tribal monkeys. It truly is a theatre that puts on the most fantastic performances of dream-making wonder.
My first game at the ground was a (now defunct) Full Members Cup tie versus Everton. I was ten years old and just getting the football bug. The game was awful. I sat there with my mother, not really feeling 'it'. Then, in the last minute of the match, Gordon Strachan popped up out of nowhere, buried the ball and stole the game for us (remember, Everton were the bigger better team then!) It all clicked in my head at that moment. I understood everything.
Subsequent years passed, and i would make the two hundred mile coach journey to Old Trafford countless times, staying with our Mancunian family in the Tameside area. As i got older i would go to games on my own. In 1993 i was a sixth form college boy of 17. I would sit outside of the turnstile from 10am, five hours before kick off..these were the days that you simply qued up and paid at the gate. The earlier you got there, the better your choice of viewing. On those concrete floors i would make friends with whoever was sat with me..we were only united by our team and not our race, religion or demographic, but it superseded cultural matters. We understood everything.
I still get that Old Trafford buzz as a thirty three year old. The one i got as a kid. Without being too introspective, all of those joys we let go of as we pass from child to adulthood are relinquished without a second thought as well allegedly mature. We forget what it was like when we were more innocent. Going to Old Trafford ALWAYS reminds me of those times. That breathy excitement i felt as a kid. That trigger lives in all of us. We just need something to flick that switch. We let go of too much as the years pass. Muscle memory dictates that we should not let go of everything.
I personally hope United never leave Old Trafford. In a time where Liverpool are planning to bulldozer down Anfield, and Arsenal have turned the Art Deco masterpiece of Highbury into a block of flats, I hope our home stands as a reminder of the history of the club and our achievements in the sport of football. It IS a work of art. Because works of art are supposed to invoke something in you. An emotion. A memory. I am one of the lucky ones that get to feel that every couple of weeks or so. I sit in tier three, and i am a child once again. I'm not prepared to let that go. Not in this lifetime.
So thank you dear old stadium. Thank you for all the things i have witnessed within your boundaries...that Gordon Strachan goal. Neil Webb volleying in from 30 yards as we destroyed then champions Arsenal. Roy Keane scoring two on his home debut versus Sheffield United, and sliding on his knees directly in front of me. Ruud Van Nistlerooy beating the whole Fulham defence on his own to score a wonder goal. Slamming seven past Roma. Rooney's last minute goal to slay Milan. Scholes' blockbuster to beat Barca. Macheda's last minute curler against Villa. Our dramatic five goals in twenty minutes last season against Spurs. Owen's amazing second of beautiful clarity versus City. Thanks for all of it.
Happy birthday dearest Trafford...you may well have been Old for a long time now, but you are sure to outlast all of us.
This week in England, its been all about Adebayor, and that "kick in the face" and that "kneeslide after doing the 100 metres in 10.07 seconds" Fans and pundits alike have not stopped going on about it, for it is the sort of incident that feeds pub-talk
This weekend sees the possible return of Carlitos Tevez to the Theatre. The stage on which he was much adored (more that Ronaldo) and where he shed blood and sweat for the cause. However, we all know how it ended up. He is now a Bitter Blue, albeit a very well paid one.
Tevez has stated that he expects a good reception if he plays. I think he is wrong.
I do not hold any personal grudge against the man, but i am partisan. Former players have left United and come back the following season to rounds of applause. Just recently when we hosted Arsenal, when Micky Silvestre's name was read out as a sub, the stadium warmly clapped its collective hands (rather than the boos that were reserved for every other Gooner) Andy Cole always got a great reception at OT, as did Bryan Robson when he would lead out Middlesborough or West Brom as manager. United legends or players that gave many years of service always get a pat on the back from us (bar maybe Paul Ince)
So should a player that played 22 months for us get a great reception?
Yes he played a big part in the winning of the European Cup in 2008. That will be remembered more fondly in years to come. On the last day of last season i stood with many others as he was substituted and boo-ed my heart out...this was not a slant at Sir Alex, as the tabloids reported the next day, but we were genuinely sad that we knew he would never wear the red shirt again, and he would probably end up playing down the road for a rival. We didn't like it, so we boo-ed...before screaming and clapping and singing "Ar-gen-tina" "Fergie sign him up" & "Our Superstar Tevez" one more time. It was very emotional. As i left the ground i thought about buying a Tevez shirt from the brilliant bootleg t shirt sellers outside the stadium, but opted not to.
The reason i opted not was that, as i briskly walked up Sir Matt Busby Way, i considered how i would feel if i saw him in a Liverpool, Chelsea or City shirt next season. I didn't like the taste in my mouth. So I looked at the t shirts long and hard, and turned my back, heading off to my car. I would never wear it so why buy it? However, if he was retiring, or going back to Boca or the like, id have paid my tenner and got one.
The fact is Tevez has severed the artery that linked him to us. He wanted the cash cow, he signed his name and skipped into the arms of the Arabians. Fair enough. But I personally want to boo the fcuker out of sight. He means nothing to me now. I will not applaud him if i see him in that pale sky blue rag of a top. I will not clap him if he does a mini lap of honour, thinking the Stretford End gives two shits about him. He plays for one of our biggest rivals now. He has to take it on the chin. I feel more venom toward Tevez than i do towards Ron. We got eighty million big ones for him, and Real were his boyhood dream..plus in Spain, he is out of sight, out of mind..fickle i know. Tevez is here, in our faces. Laughing his head off with all the other mercenaries playing for a team he probably did not know existed a few years ago. That is HIS choice. And it is MY choice to show my contempt at his choice.
So whatever reception he gets on Sunday may well and truly be up for debate still. But the fact is I will scream and whistle in his face, throwing and rotating my red and white scarf above the top of my head. I will sing United songs until my throat bleeds and we will let him know what the red half of Manchester thinks..
Why? Cos i want him to fail and us to succeed. We take no prisoners. Glory glory Man United. We'll never die, we'll never die..
The lyric that Morrissey once sang has so many connotations when framing the picture of a city, ravaged at times by poverty and crime, but also glory and prosperity. After stealing the crown of "Second City"[to London]from the head of Birmingham, Manc Town now has two of the richest clubs in world football.
Growing up, Manchester City were always the poorer relation, and they used to revel in the fact. "Were from the city, you're not" "You eat prawn sandwiches, we eat kebabs (or McDonalds - take yer pick)." "We represent Moss Side and the real Manchester" The blue rhetoric was endless. So the bridge of irony that Arab funded City now pass over is not lost on me in the slightest.
The bags of cash now well and truly stashed at Eastlands has given this derby game a new twist. The luring of Tev (though he wont be there) The snatching of Robinho (Oh he wont be there either) And the swoop for the knee slider Adebayor (that's right..wont be there either I'm afraid) All great acquisitions for a club intent on making a statement. Their destruction of the Arsenal's Ladies team was very impressive, even if the scoreline slightly flattered them. All the same, a win against a big four-ish team is a win.
I cant wait for this game. Old Trafford will be rocking for this. I will be hoarse after the first ten minutes of singing and chest beating. The fact that City can now stand on some sort of parity with us is a disadvantage to them. As the true underdog, they never had anything to lose. This has shown in results that have gone their way in recent memory. In fact, nearly seven years ago, after the birth of my daughter, me and my City loving family had a bet as her first match in this world (6 days after her birth) was Utd v City..the bet was whoever won, she would have to support (no choice in these things you see) Anyhow, the morning of the match i called off all bets. I got the jitters. And lucky for me and her, the Goat got fed (as City used to sing) and they wiped the floor with us and drove us to defeat. She is now as Red as they come, and believes that Eric Cantona was some mythical warrior who strode upon our land to slay all the evil that lay in his path...or something like that..
This is Manchester City's real test. If they win this they really have ARRIVED! My opinion is that they will challenge this season. Their talented ranks dictate this. But for every City fan, there has only been one tie that really matter to them over the years...and it is the derby match. Win, and they will truly believe. Lose, and they may just think that its been all a dream
Well the Champions League is back, and it felt rather good! The tension is so different to a Prem game..it is almost like a different sport!
Anyhow, every game seems to be throwing up interesting debatable issues with concerns with the team. The manager is definitely leaning toward a formation which compliments our game with out and out wingers, something we copyrighted in the 90s. And it seems that his initial faith is in Valencia and Nani to fill these rolls
Last night explained many things about these two players, and most of these facts are already on the table
Valencia showed great promise. He got to the bye-line on numerous occasions. His pace and strength are fantastic attributes, but his crossing leaves alot to be desired. You can see that he has genuine intent..not a show pony in any sense
And talking of show ponies lets talk about the left side
We are only but a handful of games into the season and i want to shoot Nani! The boy has an obvious gift. Pace to burn and a blistering shot. However, he has an addiction to running down dark alleyways he cant get out of. His decision making isn't as so much poor, but non existent. When he doesn't know when to pass or shoot, he merely tries a step-over and then loses possession. I bet Sir Alex does his nut everytime.
I know its probably unfair on the boy a bit..for i am impatient. But i know the game (as we all do!!) If he does not magically sort his brain out, which results in him becoming a totally different player, i think his goose is cooked in a United shirt. I so want him to do well, but he totally does my head in every match. He gives me KieranRichardsonitise. Painful.
At least with Valencia i can see the simple things he needs to improve on, which with time he will. They are not fundamental changes in his football like Nani. I can see Nani going off to a Villareal, like Forlan or Rossi, and doing really well...a place where the pressure is off and his flair will drive everything. He can lose the ball as much as he likes, as long as he gives their fans something to sing about once in a while. They will love his backflips. But in our team, every mistake is under a microscope. It wont be written about but his woefully bad decision not to pass to Evra on a counter attack in the last minute of the match nearly cost us dearly, as Besiktas exploited our left back position and whipped in a ball that no one converted in-spite of out foxing Vidic. I wanted to punch the plasma at that point.
Im not starting a witch hunt on this. I want the kid to do well. But i don't want us to suffer because of it. I do not see Nani driving us to any silverware anytime soon. He is our Ryan Babel. If Fergie does not fancy Zoran Tosic either, i hope the chequebook comes out in January for Alexi Sanchez. He is the answer for the left hand side for me..
The one singular thing that pleased me most about yesterdays win at the Spurs of Hot was the goal and subsequent performance of the boy Anderson
Many Manc eyebrows were raised when United paid near on £20m for the Brazilian youngster from Porto, but it excited me. Id had a taste of player via some crap Eurosport programme that season before and liked what i saw. A dynamic bustling player..part Edgar Davids, part Paul Scholes. Progressive and cunning. I felt that maybe he could be the flair player we needed in the middle and that he could succeed where Juan Veron had failed.
We all know he has had some great performances in the Number 8 shirt in the past two years, but we all feel he needs to step up this season. No goals for a "player with an eye for goal" is not good enough. We know there's been some rumblings behind the scenes, with Anderson throwing a strop after being left out of the Community Shield team, and alleged fall outs with the Boss, but its all storms in very small tea cups really
His performance yesterday wasn't flawless, but it suggested enough to re-light that confidence i felt in him the previous 2 years. I still feel that by the time he is 23 he may well be the best central midfielder in the world. I hope I'm not jinxing him!! The goal was significant. His technique is such that he should be working the keeper more. Anyone that watches the warm up before games at Old Trafford (yes i am a sad case) will know that his shooting practicing is quite spectacular. Displays of power and an amazing ability to curl the ball, dictate that this boy has a special talent..he nails the ball past Van Der Sar, Foster and Kuszczak more times than any other player before a match..including Wazza. If he somehow manages to transfer this pre-game form into real situations, he will get double figures this season.
So, its a good first showing from our Samba dancing boy wonder. Lets hope he really does sh%t on Fabragas this season, as his song goes that we sing at Old Trafford, from the top of Tier 3
dis·ease (d-zz) n. 1. A pathological condition of a part, organ, or system of an organism resulting from various causes, such as infection, genetic defect, or environmental stress, and characterized by an identifiable group of signs or symptoms. 2. A condition or tendency, as of society, regarded as abnormal and harmful. 3. Obsolete Lack of ease; trouble.
I would love England to win the World Cup as much as the next man. To see Rooney dance around a South African pitch with that little golden trophy would be a delight. The feel good factor in England would be immeasurable and we would party like its 1999 (as Prince once sang about)
Us Manchester United fans have been accused of many things in the past. Arrogance correctly being one of those. The one you hear most is how we do not care about the England team (as we used to sing about Ronaldo "making England look shite!"). And in part, this is also true. The river runs deep when it comes to cheering on players that almost every day of the week you wouldn't throw your bottle of Evian on if they were on fire across the street.
That may sound harsh, but it is a huge part of what is the "real" English disease.
And that disease is named 'Apathy'
When England play i always want them to win. But i do not have the same gusto in the lead up to the game as i do with United. There is no silly superstitions. No having to sit in a certain place, wear a certain shirt and pants combo. No nerves. No expectations. As we know England have let us all down on far too many occasions to list here, but the important thing is that those defeats are not the reason for this apathy [towards the national side]
I live my life, like many others, wanting to see the failure of Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, et al.(Its called competitiveness!) So therefore I have zero love for Gerrard, Lampard, Terry, and erm...cant think of an Arsenal Englishman...oh! Walcott! Therefore it is difficult to cheer them on even for the National Team. Yes i want them to score. I have been known to say "Great goal Stevie G" or the like, and clapped my hands like an enthusiastic seal (The animal, not the Kiss From a Rose singer)
As i said, i want England to do well.
The problem is passion. For both fans and the players.
It irks me so, when i see players like Steven Gerrard play so casually for England. Why does he not reproduce his Liverpool superhero form for the country? It is probably because he is human, and like the supporters like me..also alleged humans, it is just so hard to get 100% enthused by the English side.
Another symptom of the disease is the way people bemoan the national side. It is painful. If England were an animal, the RSPCA would be brought in due to reasons of cruelty. If the national team were to win the World Cup, Nobel Peace Prize and Grand National all in one year, all people would want to talk about (in this country) would be Becks' new tattoo or about some WAG's new hairstyle. This is another part of the disease. Winning just isn't enough for the English..we love a good ol'soap opera..the ups and the many downs. It is "Eastenders Culture"... If it doesn't taste bad, we get suspicious. If there isn't a villain, its just not pantomime enough for us.
In part i blame the FA and Premier League football for this apathy. The focus in this country is all about club football. We play too many club games. If we had a 32 game season we could actually have time for the England side. The players could have more time together..the same as other national sides do (See South America for examples) We do not nurture and encourage this togetherness. For as we know, any sort of nationalism is frowned upon in today's society, as idiots think it fosters racism or the like. But money is king. So we will continue to play a billion league and cup games a season, and that is where all the excitement will lay.
And being brutally honest i do not mind! I have part of that disease..
I support United. I have never "loved" another team. I liked the way Juve played back in my youth, and also had a fascination with Martin Vasquez of Real Madrid when i was 12, but it was always just one team for me. I had no leanings towards Crystal Palace when i lived in the area, just as i have no love for Lincoln, where i live now. I travel from where ever i am in the country back to my Old Trafford Mecca, come hell or high waters. It is the only football that really matters to me (tho i would watch River Vs Boca, or Barca Vs Madrid, or Torquay Vs Exeter, happily if it were on the telly)
Amazon have dropped a Manchester United album full of terrace chants after an official complaint from Arsenal FC
The song they are directly referring to is the "Sit Down You Paedophile" song, lovingly sang by United fans, too the touchline on visits from the North London crybabies giants, or on the rare occasion that Graham Rix (former Chelsea coach) visits Old Trafford. Arsenal claim the song on the 'Fat Willy: Manchester United Chants' album is "defamatory" against Mr Wenger, despite the chant not actually mentioning any names, or being directly referred to the Frenchman.
"The club will actively pursue getting content removed when it is brought to our attention and will take it on a case by case basis," said a spokesman for the club. It is also thought that Manchester United have also contacted Amazon to give their opinion on the matter.
Amazon commented "Arsenal Football Club has provided us with formal notice that content within the album 'Manchester United Chants' is defamatory in nature and we have, therefore, removed this title from our website. We would not remove a product from our site because some, or many, people find it to be distasteful or otherwise objectionable. We believe it is censorship to make a product unavailable for those reasons."
The man behind the album, Will Robinson, quoted "We would certainly keep it up there because there is nothing defamatory. That track you are talking about is not directed at anybody," Robinson is also a music agent who represents acts such as Tony Christie and the Cheeky Girls. He is also planning to release a Volume 2 of the popular album in the near future. Fat Willy Records has released a number of United inspired tracks in the past.
All the big clubs in England want to sign me and a scrap for my signature begins"
Well...a boy can dream. I was lucky enough to meet the whole United team at their hotel in Selsdon, Croydon when they played against Charlton at Selhurst Park. How my parents swung it i will never know. I had my pictures taken with most of the squad that day, and Bobby Charlton who said that he had the same tracksuit that i was wearing (hopefully a few sizes bigger than mine)
I had cultured a double chin over the previous year due to one too many cans of coke, and had hoped that Fergie would mistake me for a young Paul Gascoinge and sign me, but alas, I couldn't down 6 pints of Newcastle Brown in half an hour, so my disguise failed.
It was an amazing day, and the two people i most enjoyed meeting were my hero Bryan Robson, and Sir Alex (then known as just 'Alex') In spite of the having a game that day they spent some quality time with me..something i will never forget. Robbo asked if we had tickets for the game, pulled out a wad of them from his pocket and handed us three. They had stamped "Guest of Bryan Robson" on them...i still have them to this day.
I was also offered a seat on the team coach to travel with the players to the match, but my mum said we had the car with us..if i had been the sort of kid to kick and scream it was at this point i would have done so..but i did as i was told and travelled in our Mini Metro to Selhurst Park!
A once in a lifetime opportunity missed..but so so lucky to have this day etched into my memory. Only down side: Charlton beat us 1-0.
After the much maligned tag of "The New George Best" which has dogged many a young player at Old Trafford for light year after light year, the new tag we will have to get used to is "Player X is the new Ryan Giggs" It is inevitable.
And I have our very first candidate
This Christmas, Mr Santa will deliver a young Serbian to our Carrington training complex, holding the hand of his brother elf Zoran Tosic and his big Papa Vidic.
That young man is named Adem Ljajic
Hailed in Serbia as the best thing since sliced Croatian, "Little Kaka" as he is dubbed is similar in style to..erm...Kaka. A midfielder who likes to attack, both wide and centrally, Ljajic has tremendous balance and pace. At only 17, he is considered one of the hottest prospects at Under 18 level. And at six foot tall, has the potential to develop into a bit of a beast.
Now i got a little excited previously when i saw Manucho at the African Nations Cup and thought he was going to be a diamond for us..so naturally i want to be cautious here. United have many great youngsters coming through at the moment and Adem will join this band of merry young men soon. I hope i do not jinx him by giving him article space this early on before he has even kicked a ball in English football but he looks genuinely exciting
I can sense that with all but 4 games burned in the Premier League calender, that footballing obituaries are being started to be written for the end of a certain players career.
Alas, the modern day hero we call Ryan Giggs is coming to the end of his shelf life, breathing his final breaths as a player, before he embarks on a journey into management, sitting on the Match of the Day sofa with Alan Hansen, and lowering his golf handicap to scratch.
We cannot expect him to go on forever.
Giggsy has already astounded me with his longevity. I remember sitting in the stands at Old Trafford 4 years ago witnessing what i thought was his last stand. Pace gone. Passing awkward. Petrol tank empty. And yet somehow, he manages to find a filling station, re-energise and play an important part for the club. Even at half time this last weekend against Arsenal, I and many others, were crying for the manager to substitute the old war horse at half time...not quick enough to support Rooney up front and getting mugged off at every opportunity by Diaby and Denilson...Then what does he do? He plays a sublime pass forward for the penalty, and grabs a further assist by bouncing the ball off Diaby's bonce. Magic stuff.
To be truthful, probably Scholes and Neville are the prime candidates for passing into United Legend this season, but I think the Lord Ryan will be close behind them, if not holding their hands, skipping off together to that big Sky Sports News centre in the sky. All have been amazing servants to this club, in an age where loyalty means jack to the businessman footballer.
But Giggs will be the one remembered the most fondly. More fondly than Keane. More fondly than Ronaldo. And right up there with Cantona, Robson and Best. Its amazing to think that in the very early Nineties that all our faith lay in a young lad called Lee Sharpe, England International at the age of 19, and creator of many an interesting goal celebration (Remember the Lee Sharpe Shuffle? The Elvis cornerflag routine?) It was felt that he was the real deal, and that Giggs would be a brilliant understudy. Funny how things turn out.(Lee Sharpe can now be found on a fantasy love island near you)
The man is a legend. And for that reason alone i will enjoy watching him in these last games for the club..he may only grace Old Trafford another 20 times this season and with rotation will probably play a lot less that this!
So its thank you Ryan Giggs.
Grown men and women will cry tears of respect and mourn his passing. For a player that never once shamed his club and only bestowed glory. A player that never felt compelled to go out dressed in a sarong and marry a pop star. A player that never felt the need to go out and kick someones head in with his drunken ape-like hangers on. A player who was never caught up in a sex and drugs scandal. A player who won more trophies than any other in history. A player that danced through the Arsenal team in 1999 to score the greatest United goal I ever saw. A player who forever more will own the Number Eleven and our hearts.
Lets hope that maybe his last act is lifting the European Cup above his head in Madrid in 2010..for that's how fairytales are supposed to end.
Manchester United fan since the age of 9 when he saw Norman Whiteside curl the ball into a Wembley goal in the dying minutes.
He is an Old Trafford season ticket holder in the North Stand Tier 3...and cried tears of joy, on his knees with the many in Moscow.
Rob is a contributing author/editor at Man Utd blogzine 'The Faithful'