There's nothing quite like a last minute mugging to give you the biggest kick in the pants...and its even worse when you know you've deserved it.
The night of the 30th March, and specifically 60 seconds of football at the end of last nights match, could well be THE turning point in this season.
All week leading up to the game i have had the jitters. Yes, i know i normally have this anyhow, but i was more concerned by the lack of brain by my fellow United fans. Twitter and the interweb in general have been full of United pomp...fans predicting German slayings, showing total disrespect to a team that has won four European Cups. Treating them like a club with zero tradition and generally wondering which French team it would be better to face in the Semi. That sort of arrogance, fuelled by the idiotic British press, has always worried me. I understand why so many hate the supporters of Manchester United. 50% is pure jealousy. Founded on the notion that our trophy cabinet is actually a fully fledged museum. But the other 50% i feel is justified. Arrogance that we have a divine right to win everything..that we are 'better' for want of another word, than everyone else. Its a very childish way to support a team, but different strokes rule the world. I still very much remember when these big European nights were not even on the agenda. Where a 3rd round cup win at Nottingham Forest was as good as it got. So every game like last night...i respect. I respect the opposition, I respect the occasion and in Fergie i trust.
The team performance last night was in sync with what alot of the fans base deserve. It wont make me popular saying that, but you personally will know if it applies to you or not. It was a disgraceful performance. No real energy. Playing well within our capabilities without ever stepping up to the plate. It had smatterings of last years final against Barca, where several players forgot to actually turn up for the biggest match of their careers. Last night Michael Carrick was awful. For a ball retaining midfielder, he didnt....erm...retain the ball. Ji Sung Park also got completely over ran on the left. At half time i was begging Fergie to bring on Giggs for him to solidify the formation and result. Overall the defense did OK, until the last kick of the game. For an old dog, Gary Nev kept up well with one of the true marquee players in world football, but he will have countless nightmares about a handball you would have expected from a kid, not an experienced pro.
The lack of energy in the team last night was indicative of where we are at the moment. We are not blowing teams away with silky football this season, but we are showing huge amounts of application week in week out...and that may now start to tell on our stamina for the run in. For Fergie, he will have to trust his squad, but I'm not sure i do. By that i mean Berbatov. Its made me laugh the last few weeks how the 'Pro-Berba' lobbyists have been in full flow, after he has had several decent games (and yes i mean decent! he hasn't been world beating by any measure) The main saving grace for me is that when he plays central without Rooney he looks a better player. As he proved once again last night, when he is Rooneys support function, he is a pile of complete ball-bags. He has neither the workrate or desire to function at the top of a midfield. He's a glory boy..stick him up top and he may just sniff out a goal...but that's where his limitations dictate what he does. He is never gonna come on and do a 'Tevez', is he?
Tactically, the substitutions in the second half to push us to play more of a 4-4-2, were a total disaster. As i said, the manager trusts these lads, but that tactical change left a team who were hanging on by the skin of their teeth to being pushed over the edge of the cliff. In the cold light of day, an away goal may just be enough, but the fact that Bayern will start with Ribery, Olic, Gomez and Robben next week scares the life out of me. We haven't played against a front four as good as that in the Prem this year, and even though they have flattered to deceive in the Bundesliga this year, in a one off occasion, where they will be allowed to play counter attacking football to defend their lead...well...it doesn't look good from where I'm standing.
Lastly, Rooneys injury was the cherry on the tripe cake. Without him, i simply don't believe we have the firepower to win any silverware this season. So if he is out for 4 weeks, as stretching your ankle ligaments badly normally means, i have little hope. Im not one of these United fans who believes in football miracles..the great nights of my football team have come from perspiration and brilliance, not some script written in cloud-cuckoo land. Its up to Fergie to get the rest of this team to play as if their lives depended on it now..getting knocked out of the Quarters in the CL and third in the league would dictate that it has been an awful season. We walk this fine line now. Its up to the team to prove they have what it takes in the face of cruel adversity.
The man has Old Trafford's best songs. He is becoming a cult phenomenon
Park, Park, wherever you may be, You eat dogs in your home country! It could be worse, you could be Scouse, Eating rats in your council house!
He shoots, He scores, He eats Labradors, Ji Sung Park, Ji Sung Park...
Ten Alsatians, walking down the street, Ten Alsatians, walking down the street, and if Ji-Sung Park fancies one to eat, there'll be nine Alsatians, walking down the street
In many ways Park Ji Sung is the most unlikeliest of heroes at the Theatre of Dreams. A workhorse South Korean, not blessed with particularly awesome pace. Not a player with the greatest first touch. Often looking uncomfortable on the ball. But he has one thing that United fans have always admired over the years. And that is he has the heart the size of a lion's....or maybe a St Bernard's!
His match winning goal against the Scouse scum was a victory for the common footballer yesterday. The responsibility that the so called 'average players' in the United squad take is what makes United different to many other teams....you don't see the likes of Lucas or a Mikel going that metaphoric midfield extra mile to throw their heads at a ball and a boot to score a match defining goal. Park's success at United has been down to 100% application. It is to his credit that when we are involved in a must win game, that the grand master of them all gets out his teamsheet and generally pencils him in ahead of much more talented players.
Darren Fletcher also epitomises all that Ive just said above. A gangly, decided dodgy Scottish kid, who runs around quite alot, used to give the ball away with almost every pass and just looked way out of his depth. That lad has developed into one of the finest midfielders in the Premier League. Those less schooled on the game may still mock Fletch..but they haven't got a clue. He is the ugly duckling that has developed into the majestic swan. His performance against Liverpool merited the man of the match award, but the truth is it was just your average styled performance by the boy these days. He does it like that almost every week. If he was an Englishman he would be in the first eleven for the national team. He may not be fashionable in a David Bentley type way ("ooooh hes the next David Beckham..ooooh he will play for England FOR YEARS!") but then i see that as a blessing rather than a curse.
As a United fan, its our contingent of unsung heroes that makes me most proud. I will know that if we lose the title this year, that those men would have given their every fibre. Its a privilege to watch Rooney every week, but i don't get the most joy from him. Its a United tradition that the team always comes first and the Parks and Fletchers and Evras and Valencias are the type of players that epitomise what we are. None of them are "big time Charlies" None of them are pictured falling out of nightclubs. None of them risk their standing in the squad by shagging the full back's missus. And everyone of them is genuinely proud to wear that badge on their chest. In many ways, Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are the templates. Look after yourself, earn your millions of pounds, keep a clean nose, and fight fight fight for United til we win the football league. This example is thankfully all still there for the many in the squad..at least for a short period of the future.
Arsenal may yet snatch this title. Chelsea may well win all their remaining games and march away with the big silver trophy. But at United we know that we have a breed of footballer that is unique. So thank you Sir Alex Ferguson for assembling this squad. Lets hope we reach for the line in a manner that befits Manchester United Football Club
The demolition of the seven times European Champions is not common place..not in this lifetime. Its easy to say that they are in decline, and in many ways that is accurate. But this Milan side are still one of the better teams in European football..a top 3 Serie A side. They don't give seven goals away over 180 minutes to many teams. I simply cannot add anymore to what has already been reported about the match this morning. Rooney was electric, dodgy knee and all. Park and Fletcher's stock rose even further. Nani frustrated in the main..but delivered the best pass i have seen for many years for Wazza's second, that killed the tie off. And most importantly...Rio and Vidic. Together at Old Trafford as a pair for the first time in five months. They are the rock that any success that may be bled from this crazy season will come from. Keep them fit and we may just kick into an unstoppable gear. Special thanks must go to the hunchbacked Milan goalkeeper, who kept us very jolly with his kicking and eccentricities
It was also nice to see Becks treading the turf he so clearly loves for one more time. Seven years is a long time. We never got to say goodbye to each other. Its all very dramatic in a Casablanca like way..but the boy came home and we held him to our collective bosom. He shedded a tear and wrapped himself in the Green and Gold..and for a second the world was a perfect place. Being honest, before the game i cared little about his return..im a bit ruthless like that. I only cared that he had zero impact on the match. He followed my script perfectly. Word perfect. I stood with everyone and sang 'There's only one David Beckham' as he made his way on as sub in the second half, and that's because with the game effectively dead it was fitting to pay a final tribute to one of our forever loved sons of the Treble season. The fact that he did THAT with that scarf at the end shows where his heart will always be.
The final, and maybe most important part of the night came in the last ten minutes of the match. When 74,000 United fans stood and twirled their G&G scarfs around their heads..and sang in no uncertain terms what we want. Of course, we have done this for many weeks now, but with the fact that the Glazer family were present at the game, seeing this with their very own eyes..well..it would take men with the blackest, darkest hearts not to be effected by the sight. Yes, no doubt Father Money will have the biggest say when it comes to the future with what the Glazers wish to do..rumours are abound that they wish to run United into the 'next generation' of their family. What a lovely gift Manchester United will be for the grand children of Malcolm Glazer. But if there is any doubt in their minds..if there is any chance that Avram & Joel Glazer and their sibblings just have a few different business acquisitions on the go..then there is every chance that a big offer will tempt them to go elsewhere. As a family I'm sure that they do not fear any perspective Red Knight..but what they will fear is the fanbase bringing the brand to its knees. This wouldn't happen overnight, but any businessman with any sort of financial savvy would be aware and concerned.
I'm glad they witnessed all of that last night. I'm glad they witnessed the determination and hatred that they have produced in us. And I'm glad they saw us sing "We'll never die, we'll keep the red flag flying high, cos Man United will never die"
Because we believe. In Manchester United. Our club. Not theres. We were here before them and we will be here long after they are a footnote in our history.
Tomorrow i will get to the ground nice and early...I like to on Champions League nights. I love to soak up the atmosphere, maybe mingle with some of the opposition fans (God how things have changed) and generally feel the LOVE.
Luckily in the last few years, we have been almost impervious at Old Trafford. We've had some magnificent nights, turning over many a big team. However, over the last four years there have been three teams that we 'owe' (for different reasons)...and I mean in the sense that there is a score to settle.
The first team is Liverpool. They've done us three times in a row now..but more than that, they put four past us at OT last season. It is the only time in 25 years of Manchester United support that Ive left the ground early..as Dossena buried us. It was a totally heartbreaking football scenario, with Steven Gerrard kissing that bloody camera down below where i sit. Its only a matter of days before we get the chance to settle that score. It cant come quick enough for me.
The second team we owe is Barcelona. Its a bit of 'tit for tat' really. We knocked them out in the semi's two years ago..and then they owed us!!! And they got their revenge last year, by making our glorious team look like a bunch of part-timers, as they grabbed our European Cup from our very own hands. It was a bit of an embarrassing night for one and all.
And the third team?
That be AC Milan
They battered us into submission in the San Siro semi final of not-so-long-ago. It was a humbling experience. Just as we thought we were the best team in Europe again, that Ronaldo was the best player in the world, we were put firmly in our place. Yes we had injuries that night, but these things get burned into my consciousness. Luckily, it only took another 12 months to prove both those points mentioned.
So revenge plays a big part in football. It gives matches an edge. It takes the realms of a normal game, and puts a few extra heartbeats a minute into the whole situation. I remember feeling physically sick as Kaka waltzed round our defense at Old Trafford..and even though we came back and won that leg, it still sticks with me. Football fans are not very good at forgetting. I'm no different. Watching us stuff Milan in the San Siro a few weeks ago has helped exorcise alot of demons, but i crave to be there, in my seat, cheering the boys on to a slaying of Milan. I want to witness it with MY EYES.
The late goal that Milan got has sweetened the tie up. It will be a very close run thing, i think. It now looks like Rooney will be fit which is so very important. And Ferdinand and Vidic together. It could be a goal-fest if an early one goes in! I never look further than the 90 minutes ahead, but this match is about US..its about us being professional and for us to go out and win the game...not defend a lead cos we are rubbish at that!
As a side note, it will be good to see David Beckham at the Theatre again. He will be applauded. The boy gave everything for the shirt when he played for us. He is still a United fan and we will acknowledge that....just as long as he doesn't slam in a free kick into the back of the onion bag from thirty yards...right in-front of the Stretford End! My lord that would be impossible to swallow.
So c'mon lads! Its the big nights WE LOVE!! Lets give Milan what we owe them...and stride on to the last eight.
That we HATE England..the football team that is. That we WANT England to fail..all of the time.
Of course, that is rubbish. But once again more fuel has been added to the fire in the form of Wayne Rooney's knee injury and the fact that they made our players play on a pitch that was unfit for thoroughbred footballers.
As a United fan i have been cursing and berating England for putting United's season in jeopardy this last week. Rooney had the knock when he joined up with the national team. It was thought that he would train with them, and probably sit this one out. But no. He played for a large chunk of a game, on a strip of grass no better than a recreational park for delinquents, in a game that had zero significance except for the players on the fringe of the squad. Did Capello really need to see Rooney running around like a daft nutter in the hole position? I think not.
This is the oldest conflict in footballing terms. Club versus country. We are sick of it at United. The truth is Rooney should know better, and use that head of his. I don't buy all this 'oh he just wants to play' trash..A footballer of his nature is a finely tuned physical specimen. After a season where he has played a ton of games, he needs to manage himself. He isn't a 12 year old running around the local park playing with boundless energy without a care in the world. He needs to take stock of his situation and his responsibility to his employers. Yes, go to the World Cup..break bones in the cause of England winning important games, but don't go putting the Premier League and Champions League trophies at risk! No wonder why Fergie was openly furious. The boy is so important to us its unreal now. Credit to him for the way he has played this year. He will be a big miss against Milan.
The diabolical state of the Wembley turf was also bang out of order. If the FA cant get a decent field of play together for one of their matches, what chances have we really got of winning a World Cup?? THAT PITCH has already robbed us of Michael Owen for the season. People will point towards Owen's fragile state as the problem, but we had a cup final to win and the boy showed his value. Pitches that just evaporate in the manner of the hallowed Wembley turf are a complete health hazard to players. It reminds me of the pitch at Monaco's famous 'on top of a car park' stadium. We played there in the Champions League..3 inches deep of soil laid on concrete..and we lost 4 players to hamstring injuries that night. Just not acceptable in this day and age.
So it seems that everyone's just gonna have to listen to us United fans banging on about all this type of stuff while the same problems persist. And you can bet a million dollars that if a Steven Gerrard blows out a knee, or a Frank Lampard rips apart a hamstring in the name of England, that the fans of those clubs will be saying the same things that we are.
The Boy Wonder needs an operation on his dodgy hamstring and that is that as far as seeing him in United colours for 2009-10. He will be bitterly disappointed despite having only featured in a handful of games. His cameo against City will always be remembered in United folklore. Part of me wonders if we will ever see him in the Number 7 shirt again? There's a chance that if Fergie does have cash to spend, and the right deal comes along, that Owen will be surplus to requirements. The boy really has the worst luck
Owen's injury leads on to a much bigger issue..and that is we now only have two top class recognised strikers. With ten games left of the season this is highly worrying. We mustn't forget that Danny Welbeck is on loan at Preston and that Kiko Macheda has totally fallen off the radar. Which leaves a massive opportunity for Mame Biram Diouf, should he get the chance.
Luckily for United, Owen hasn't been a major player in the season as a whole. Injuries are now starting to pile up with Anderson being robbed from the squad as well. Its always in March that things start to click or not. You either get a fully fit squad, all coming into their seasons prime at the same time. Or you get what we are having here..niggling injuries becoming more prevalent.
Giggs broken arm, Rio's back, Vida's nerve, Berbatov's knee, and add to that that Evans, Fletcher and now it seems Rooney are carrying knocks, well it doesn't bode well. Lets not even start about Owen Hargreaves. But we are at the stage where these things have to take second stage. Despite his slight injury, Rooney will have to (and want to) play on..but this reminds me off a few seasons back when we met Milan in the semi of the Champions League. We had cruised there thrashing Roma by 7 at Old Trafford, and somehow edging out Milan 3-2 in the first leg. But by the return in the San Siro the squad was totally shot by injury, and they rolled us over like we were kids. I get a sort of sinking feeling when i compare that year to this.
This could be a historic year for United..3rd Champions League Final...Beating Liverpool's 18 titles..winning a historic treble of trophies..but first and foremost we need pray that we get no more injuries cos it will just be a season of 'could've beens' rather than silverware and glory. Fingers and toes are all CROSSED!
The England match vs Egypt was interesting in many ways, none more so than seeing Capello's tactics being very 'English'. A variation of 4-4-2 saw Rooney playing deep, Gerrard playing some strange free role and Frank Lampard having more defined defensive duties than he has at Chelsea. I'm sure that all of the players that played last night can cope with these responsibilities..but it is clear that if England play like they did in the first half, that its gonna be a very short World Cup for us.
What baffles me is that with England's personnel its clear that the current United model is the way forward. Rooney as a sole striker, three centrals and two wingers. Did Capello honestly think that playing Roo in the hole with Defoe was a good idea? I cringed when i saw that partnership. If Roo struggles to play with a Berbatov or Owen as a partner, and Defoe couldn't play with Robbie Keane..well its a no brainer really.
Previously i have liked Rooney playing deep, but his current form and record dictate that he is the central striker. Defoe, Crouch et al are all great options in a squad but at the moment its Wazza all the way. England have plenty of options in the wide positions so that wouldn't be a problem in a 4-5-1..Personally i think Walcott blew his chance last night..all pace and nowhere to go. No wonder why he cant nail down a place at Arsenal. With Lampard, Gerrard, and Barry as a central three..and now add Michael Carrick to that possible mix after his sumptuous display in the second half, the formation makes perfect sense..doesn't it?? (note: The Sun gave Carrick a player rating 5 for "a tired display" What utter nonsense. This is why i do not buy newspapers..full of lies)
I have a feeling that if England go to the World Cup with two up top, then we will simply not be able to cope with the better teams of the tournament. We even struggled against an Egypt midfield until Carrick started bossing them. There's no doubt that we should play to Rooney's strengths..and at the moment he is the hottest of hot strikers anywhere in the world.
The first genuine Red Knights announcement is very welcomed by us, the core United fanbase. For the first time I'm now hearing their collective 'nickname' being bounded around in the press...its a start at very least. As I've said this will be a long battle..the Glazers wont just up sticks and swim back across the merry seas. But a sustained use of the press, the Internet and a visual presence at all games will move things in the right direction.
In general, English football is in a great big turgid pile of a mess. Countless clubs have owners that are no longer welcome by their fanbases. For teams like Chester and Pompey, maybe its all a tad too late. Crippled by mis-management and now with a cross to bear that's so heavy it will probably put a full stop at the end of the sentence which is their histories. But its not too late for the rest of us.
I have always been a moderate when it comes to the way football clubs are run. I have always acknowledged that the best way for these clubs to be run is with strict business practices, exploiting financial opportunities and guaranteeing commerce. But the flip side of that is that it must all come back to one single common denominator..and that is that it MUST all be in the name of strengthening the team. Now yes, maybe for a club like United 'Brand Management' is very important, but the truth is without success on the pitch the brand is significantly weakened. The Glazers have provided for that success in recent years..the debt is now shrinking (albeit on paper if not in real terms) But the fact is the business model for the future does not give you confidence that that success will continue. The transfer well seems to be drying up post Berbatov..this could be the beginning of the end.
So now is the time for change for us..and maybe this will show the light for the rest of football in this island nation of ours.
The Green and Gold campaign has only really been here for a handful of games in real time, but has already had the impact we wished for. The message is being translated by tv cameras from Sky and the BBC by the power of a truly visual protest. This is the reason why we cant chuck those season tickets just yet. Can you imagine if every club in this country did the same thing? Rather than kick and scream and vent like naughty children, that they co-ordinated an effective visual protest as we have at United? The news that that would generate? The media interest? My God, the press would have a field day.
Match days have to be the next platform we use more effectively. We have to utilise those few hours around the game kick offs effectively. We have to hold on to our tickets and make sure Old Trafford is near EMPTY. People will say that this doesn't hit the Glazers in the pocket..well I'm convinced those pockets are pretty big..its their mentality that you must challenge.
The bad PR that it would cause the club will effect sponsorship. It would ruin the brand. They will find ways of filling OT if we are not there, even if its not completely full. But if we still hold all the tickets, that place will be a ghost town. AND DO YOU THINK ANY COMPANIES AND BRANDS WILL WANT TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THAT? This is the way forward for us, and any team that wants to revolutionise their club.
The final step will be what happens when the Glazers are gone (and i tell you now that they will go) We must make sure these 'Red Knights' are truly good for our club. Personally i still do not want 'fans' running the club..i want people who are experts in their fields, that will keep the cash circulating through the club, will improve the brand value, and are passionate about the long term future of our teams..i don't want someone that will blow all the cash on players, building a 100,000 seater Old Trafford, and then find that one bad year on the pitch sends us south like Leeds Utd. The grass isn't always greener..
So lets vote with our feet. Lets show English football what can be done. For years we have been labelled as arrogant and glory supporters..lets show that our actions can benefit EVERYONE. From our fellow Prem clubs all the way down to the Non-Leagues. Let us be the trailblazers of a new dawn of English football.
WE are Manchester United. WE will save ourselves. And WE will help save English Football.
I cant believe that there is only ten games of the Premier League season left..it seems so surreal!
After what has been mainly a 'hit or miss' year after watching us lose 6 of our 28 league games, it is mildly shocking that we are more than in the race to be champions for a fourth straight year. The rubbishness of both Chelsea and Arsenal, along with the comedy 20 odd games Liverpool had recently, have blown this title race wide open.
March will be an incredibly important month for the team. Three league games and that all important second leg versus Milan will be the pointers as to which silverware we can realistically hope for. As we stand today, the big two prizes are still within our grasp, but our manic form coupled with some worrying injuries are gonna make sure its a rollercoaster end...so scream if you wanna go faster!
Chelsea's run in is pretty bog standard. Their trip to our Theatre will be their biggest test, but Liverpool in the penultimate game of the season??..surely the scousers wont do us any favours! If it comes down to the final game with Chelsea's noses in front, i cant see Wigan doing anything at Stamford Bridge
Arsenal also have a fairly gentle run in, but must face both Spurs and City in their last five games. It will be in these games that we will see if the Goons really have the stomach for the battle. They recovered well after the horror injury to Ramsey against Stoke, so maybe they've finally located where their cahoonas are now!
I think our run in is way the hardest of the three. Three away games (Blackburn, City and Sunderland) and home games versus Spurs and Stoke. We always struggle at Blackburn..its a local-ish derby. And we know what City are fully capable of. God forbid seeing Carlos The Caveman denying us the title. But it could happen.
I think it could be a case that the team that slips up sooner in the Champions League may well be the one that steals this championship this season. The games and their results are as unpredictable as ever. Terryslagate has defo altered the West Londoners mindset. Arsenal are as erratic as a schizophrenic in a supermarket. And us? Well, we are hardly 2010's oil painting of the year. Rooney's form has carried us, as has Drogba's with Chelsea, and Fabregas with Arsenal.
The most important players at Old Trafford now are the centre backs. If Rio and Vida can find some sort of fitness, or Evans and Brown hit the form of their lives, we may just see this one through. In many ways Europe is our best chance of success now we are in the merry-go-round of the knock outs. But for me it is the title at home that means the most..
And title number 19 would be the sweetest of the lot!!
Firstly, many thanks to the thousands of you that read yesterdays article and to the small minority who left comments.
Secondly, i very rarely write response pieces to articles i write, but after reviewing how many individuals have got their proverbial knickers in a twist about my critical approach to Mr Arsene Wenger, i thought id clear a few things up.
The article was not written to be inflammatory in any way, shape or form whether you interpret it as that or not. The title "Wenger more guilty than Shawcross" is directed at which one was the more deliberate in their actions. I totally understand that Shawcross may well have ended a fellow young pro's career, and i hope and pray that that is not the case. However, in MY opinion, he did not deliberately go out to maul or injure Ramsey. It was a late tackle that was forceful. It happens every week. On this unfortunate occasion it lead to a disastrous outcome.
Wenger on the other hand is 100% deliberate in his approach and it is this that he should feel MORE guilty for. An elder statesman of English football such as himself should know better and he should know that our press will blow up everything that he says...and the point is HE DOES KNOW THIS AND THATS WHY HE DOES IT. As i watched the tackle on Sky Sports News i cringed and felt repulsed..but as they showed Wenger after the newsreel of the event i felt anger and gross disappointment. It is worth noting that had this had happened to Wayne Rooney (as many of the comments seem to wish) and Fergie had made the comments that Wenger did, i would be doubly upset and angered. I don't want to see contact eradicated from football. I also don't want refs to 'protect' players..i believe its the rule makers who have that responsibility. If in some mad way we decide to eradicate tackling, then its the rules which should protect players and allow ref to administer those rules. The fact is that currently Shawcross's tackle warranted a yellow card..but thankfully the ref sent him off as we would NEVER had heard the end of it.
Personally i want to see violent tackles eradicated by strong rule sets and hard suspensions implemented. For the Arsenal fanbase in particular, what do you think should have happened to William Gallas for his vile tackle at Bolton?? My opinion is that he should have been given a six match ban, a massive fine and a bloody great big slap. Here is Wengers dismissive comments regarding that tackle, and once again his stale paranoia regarding the sins against Arsenal football club
Nah..that tackle wasn't bad Wenger thinks..no intent from Gallas whatsoever..who does he think he is kidding?
As i said in the article all managers are biased and partisan..but this is a question of truth. I'm not expecting him not to be aggrieved that Ramsey has had such a bad injury, but he always takes the opportunity to spin the events...and people say our manager is the master of that!!
Just to make a point..regarding Roy Keanes tackle on Haaland once upon a long ago..it was a disgrace. Keano should have been severely punished. I don't care if its a United player or not dishing out the dirt..you do the crime, then you do the time.
Shawcross' tears do not negate what happened in the match. But he is damned if he cried or he is damned if he smiled. He will serve his ban, and then get on with it. If Wenger wants a massive change of rules he should harness his cult loving supporter base and get them to protest to FIFA.
And finally as they say on the news, thanks to the many that left vile personal comments directed at me, hoping for the death of myself, the death of my mother in a car crash, the many c words, f words, whatevs..you really showed your class in formulating an educated intelligent response. As a writer i know that not everything i say will be popular, but if its my opinion (and this is my blog after all) then i will write it. My conscience is clear regarding the allegations that the piece is xenophobic. It clearly is not. Also many thanks for the emails and tweets in support of the piece, many of which were from paid up Arsenal fans...So to genuine Arsenal fans that have found the piece offensive in any way then i offer a handshake..to the rest of you scumbags out there that use the internet as an anonymous way to vent your filthy spleens in the hidden environment of your parent's spare bedrooms, you know where you can stick it
Glory glory Man United
I will leave you with a very descriptive pic of Abou Diaby..once so cruely cut down by a tackle, dishing out what he thinks is a fair challenge..expect us all to go bonkers the next time a Gooner makes any sort of late challenge.
There's no doubting that when you see an injury as sickening as Aaron Ramsey's, that the competition of the game it happens in almost becomes null en void. As we've seen with Eduardo, Alan Smith and many others, when a limb is so badly contorted in the way that there's was..it seems almost inhumane to talk about the result of a match.
However, this morning the focus is not on the rehabilitation of the young Welshman (who will be out for a year with a double fracture) but is on the gob of his supposedly wise sage of a manager.
Arsene Wenger holds the opinion that his team are grossly sinned against. Arsene Wenger feels that his team are kicked off parks every week. Arsene Wenger is an utter idiot.
The way he condemned Ryan Shawcross was a disgrace. Anyone who has seen the tackle and the repeated slow mo replays will tell you what really happened..and they will certainly not match Wenger's version of events. Its very easy for one to get emotional after such a horrible event. But Wenger has to respect his position in the game. He cannot verbally attack players when the provocation is not there. It is unacceptable and makes Wenger have more to be guilty about than a young man who made an honest, yet late tackle on a fellow pro.
You could see it on Shawcross' face when he left the field. Distraught at the event he had just played a part in. Wenger claims that Shawcross "did" Ramsey..and that his players are running the risk "of being destroyed" The man should be ashamed of himself making such comments. Rather than be the wise head of the situation, Wenger appears to be becoming more petulant with old age. He seems to have an honesty problem. If the tackle had been from his team to the opponent there is little doubt the response would have been "i did not see the incident"
All managers will defend their clubs first and foremost, but Wenger has to learn that it is unacceptable to throw stones that deliberately lend themselves to aggressive forms of defamation of character.(Yes I know that Fergie is very vocal..but even he admits when his team have done wrong..as he did admitting that Vidic should have been sent off yesterday.) To suggest that Ryan Shawcross is some sort of monster, out to injure one of his many youth team pearls is cruel and callous. Yes opponents may target a more physical approach to playing Arsenal, but this is a contact sport. If we played in a league where you were not ever allowed to tackle and you also scored points for 'artist merit' then Arsenal would be league champions every year by January.
Wenger lives in some sort of mythical utopia in his head, where he is the grand master of total football, and we are all the unappreciative beasts of the English game.. and frankly it makes me sick. I respect the man for the teams that he has produced and the splendid football he attempts to play every week, but he has to stop this charade he produces in front of the cameras. He should not use an incident in a game like the one this last weekend to gain some leverage in what he feels he should be quantifying..its just not on. No one wants to break Aaron Ramsey's leg..or Cesc Fabregas'..or Robin Van Persie's..or anyones! But it does happen in this game. Severe injury is a horrible, but real part of most sports.
I hope that he issues an apology as soon as possible to Shawcross. For he has got more to feel sorry about this morning, than the young Stoke defender has..
I for one wish Aaron Ramsey a quick and complete recovery. And I wish ex-United lad Ryan Shawcross all the best on his thoroughly deserved England debut versus Egypt this week.
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'