Archive | November, 2011

Fergie a Fitting Tribute?

5 Nov

 

 

Fergie’s achievements at United don’t need to be repeated or shouldn’t to genuine fans. He is a United Legend, a football God he will go down in history as one of the greatest if not the greatest manager ever. He is loved, adored, worshiped by many including myself and those who know me personally will know how loyal I have always been down the years to the great man.

However I confess I do feel uncomfortable with the latest honour the North Stand named after him.  When Busby took over United we were probably not even the biggest club in Manchester, our trophy hall was pitiful and we didn’t even have a fully functioning ground. City were kind enough to let us use Maine Road due to Old Trafford suffering major bomb damage during the war. Busby it has to be said created United with Jimmy Murphy, we became under them the team everyone wanted to watch, most people’s second favourite team. We won titles, FA Cups and were the first English team to win the European Cup despite may be our best ever team being virtually destroyed due to the Munich disaster.

The legacy Busby passed on was that we were the biggest club in England and the best supported. Players wanted to play for us, managers wanted to manage us. Clough once said he would walk on his hands and knees to manage United.

Busby of course has a statue and a road leading up to Old Trafford named after him. However these events took place after his retirement. Busby built United I feel that naming a stand after Fergie before Sir Matt doesn’t sit well. Sir Alex will no doubt  have countless honours bestowed on him after he retires and has passed on from this earth and rightly so. But no one has ever had a stand named after them, it has to be one of the biggest tributes in football, I believe that honour should have been given to either Sir Matt first or two stands named at the same time after the two great men.

I apologise if my timing is wrong or I upset anyone, if you want to respond by abuse in the comments I will take that and allow it without editing.

The response I’ve had so far on Twitter is that the majority disagree with my opinions, but agree or disagree it is a belief I hold strongly and genuinely!

Without Busby,  Fergie would almost certainly never have joined United.

Do you have an opinion?

Advertisements

Give Ravel A Break!

4 Nov

No doubt there will be many who say he has already had numerous chances and he should realise how lucky he is, he has the world at his feet. Who wouldn’t want to be where Ravel stands today? How many times have we read I would give anything to be in your position

Let’s be honest why do we care about Ravel Morrison? I’ve never met him, probably never will, I certainly don’t know him. But thousands if not millions of us care about him because we know he has a special talent. We know he has that wonderful gift in him that can lift our day and make us feel great. Help our team win titles, and may be even Champions Leagues and to get those hairs on the back of our neck tingling, to take our breath away with magical moments. In other words we know he has the power to improve our lives! We have already seen him do this and know we could be seeing him do this for the next decade and a half. This is why we care about Ravel, it is purely selfish.

If we accept this should we not take a few minutes just to think about life from his perspective in general and be a bit more understanding? Like every other teenager he is going through the process of trying to understand himself and why he thinks and feels as he does. And to change things about himself he may not want, but this is not easy and in fact most of us still haven’t been able to stop us feeling things we wish we never felt.

On top of this he has to do it under the microscope of the media  due to his talent. I’ll be honest I couldn’t have coped if virtually everything I did was known by tens of thousands of people. And it must be very frustrating to him that people think they know him due to a few public actions.

Dealing with emotions and feelings that are intense is very difficult.

Being critical of people can also be a way of boosting our own ego’s. Ravel may have the talent but emotionally and rationally I’m on another level to him. Well perhaps you are, I’m not!!

Ravel take your time, develop at your own pace and don’t be too hard on yourself and remember you owe no one but yourself. You learn and try to be the person you like, the rest doesn’t matter!

 

George Best once said I find football easy, natural, it is the rest of life I find difficult!

Rooney in Centre Midfield

3 Nov

Midfielders can come in many different types, holding, defensive, box to box, attacking, man marking etc. And the attributes can even be more diverse, reading of the play, dictating the play, tone and pace of the game, keeping the ball, playing the best available option, link up play, changing a game, opening up a game with a defence splitting pass, energy, drive, assists, goals. The list is considerable. I often believe people look at certain attributes and think they would make an ideal midfield player. This was done to Smith who could tackle, win the ball, had real guts and desire to win. Those attributes unfortunately did not mean he was a Roy Keane. While few if any are good at all these skills a top class midfield has to be brilliant at a number of them and good at the vast majority of the rest.

Why  the clamour to play Rooney  in that position. He is probably the best number 10 in the world. He can play behind the main striker link up with the midfield and play the critical ball where it really counts and hurts the opposition. He is a good finisher and if injury free will get 25 goals plus every season.

Playing just off the main striker in a relatively free role he can find space, lose defenders, drag them in to positions they do not want to go. It is a natural means of changing systems constantly during the game.

Playing in centre midfield would in truth take him 2 years at least to learn properly while his passing is suited to that position why would you want to see him spending much of his time defending on the edge of his box? His tackling isn’t great and his ability to set the tempo, knowing when to play the Hollywood ball and link up play and reading of the game in that position would take time, that is if it ever came off.

Some have likened him to Scholes but Scholes didn’t take up what many believe his natural position was due to Cantona having the position wrapped up. Scholes also was one a brilliant reader of the game, he cut out so many passes just knowing what was happening and what was planned.  He could slow the game down up  the heat, his timing of runs late in to the box at his peak was sublime. Moreover when Scholes was eventually tried in the number 10 role behind RvN he hated it and never felt the was his best position.

Over the years I’ve seen many strikers move successfully to centre midfield  especially Macari and Whiteside but question marks were asked about Lou’s size as a forward and Whiteside’s lack of pace. Can Rooney do a very good job in centre midfield without doubt. However the reason is not that Rooney is ideal for that position the truth is we are relatively poor or certainly not as strong as we need to be in that position.

Rooney played some fantastic passes yesterday but he can do that just as well behind the main striker, he also gave the ball away, his positional play was naive and our strike force looked lost against in truth a pretty poor opposition

The problem is not new we have needed a top class midfield player or two for years. There isn’t an excuse why we haven’t bought that I can think of as it has been a priority on most fans wish list for a long long time. We need an experienced World Class player or close to that level who can run games, change games.

Supporting United through the lean Years Part 2

1 Nov

Supporting United through the lean Years

Busby had grown tired and let the team get old between 1964-72 we only bought 3 players. Moreover the players who had come through the ranks were not up the required standard. Law and Charlton were far from the players they once were and while Best was still good enough to take fans breath away, win games virtually on his own he couldn’t do it for a full season. And the football we played was the worst I’ve ever witnessed at times. Naturally there were some wonderful memories the 3-3 draw at Maine road Sammy Mac’s debut. 4-4 boxing day at Derby.

Being a red at that time, looking back wasn’t easy on the field. The closest we came to winning a trophy was in the League Cup 1970/1 which we previously had not entered.  Aston Villa beat us in the semi final.

Best’s antics, Law leaving, Charlton retiring, poor and tbh at times boring football. And on the face of it worse was to happen. We got relegated the great Manchester United were no longer good enough for the top English division.

I say on the face of it because with the benefit of looking back at history it could be argued that the season we spent in the old 2nd division was the most important in the history of the club. I am in the process of completing an in-depth analysis of that season so I will explain more at a later date. However the team were re-energised we were playing all out attacking football, new exciting players had come to the club and I cannot tell you how important this was the fans were different, these were 70s fans.

We had hope, we enjoyed life we enjoyed being loud, in your face and we believed we were back, we had our own way of dressing and we knew United were back. We grew in enormous numbers it has been estimated 20,000 reds went to Hillsborough to watch a 4-4 draw against Sheff Wednesday the crowd was 35,000. The Red Army was born, I am not going to defend the antics of the hooligan people can read about that elsewhere but boy did we get behind our team.

Supporting United was fun again, yes the results were brilliant but virtually everything about the club was on a high. You knew you were going to have a good day, a laugh, a joke, a sing song, feel very passionate, watch a team play great football and you had thousands of mates for the day.

We were the best supported club in the country despite being in a lower division. The following season was equally as good for the same reasons. We finished 3rd and an FA Cup final against Southampton waited.

While not good enough to win the title we were good enough to bring great European nights back to Old Trafford. In those days while the European Cup was still the main one to win, the EUFA and the Cup Winners Cup were not far behind. And games were decided on two legs, any team could be drawn against any other.

Of course it would have been wonderful to have won the title in those days but for many of us football was never just about winning trophies. Life is about moments the best atmosphere’s I’ve ever witnessed at Old Trafford AC Milan 1969. Ajax and Juve 77 Porto 78 and Barca 84.

I think in those days a win was more exciting teams tended to be more equal and victories were more difficult to achieve. Today and for the past 18yrs I expect United to win virtually every game, I don’t get the same buzz because it has become routine.

Today many fans have developed as United fans based on the enjoyment from winning trophies at the end of the season. While many of the seasons I watched United after a few months it was obvious we had no chance of the league and I just went to OT to enjoy the game.

I know so many United fans who talk with passion about the WBA when we got beat 5-3 at home. It was freezing but the quality of football from WBA especially was stunning. Would you get United fans today talking that way? Personally I doubt it. I’m not saying they are wrong not to see it that way I’m just trying to explain the differences.

The Doc who it could be argued for a short period was the most loved United manager ever was replaced by Sexton and to a degree that changed things. There was a flatness around Old Trafford, we were more negative we finished the highest we had for a decade 2nd but crowds continued to dwindle.

Part 3 will discuss the 80s