Manchester United v Tottenham FA Cup Preview
It seems that with United’s jaunt over to Riyadh to play Al-Hilal coupled with Tottenham’s emphatic 5-1 win over Arsenal in the League Cup semi-final has everyone purring in favor of another giant-killing, so to speak.
It doesn’t matter that Tottenham played on Tuesday and Manchester United on Monday. It doesn’t matter that the match is at Old Trafford. It doesn’t matter that Manchester United have a fit back and reliable four, something that Tottenham have not been able to boast for quite some time.
All that matters is fantasy and the charm of an upset, so on the back of the Arsenal win, everyone apparently now wants yesterday’s laughing stock to be today’s heroes.
Fair enough, and to be fair this is an excellent chance for Tottenham and Juande Ramos to show their pedigree by putting on a good performance at Old Trafford. I’d still back United for the win though, simply because Tottenham will always concede, and United have the best defensive record in the league (yea yea, save the ‘its a cup tie’ routine).
But at least it will be a competitive fixture, eh? Not like Tuesday…
Fergie sticks both feet (and an arm) into Liverpool
As you’ve heard by now, Alex Ferguson took full advantage of a question asked to him by a reporter on the current situation at Liverpool. He might just have answered a simple question honestly, but the implications of his response and the impact it will have / has had on Liverpool fans and the press is interesting.
To quote Ian Spragg:
On the surface, it sounds like the United boss is showing his support for Rafa. Managers are all in the same boat and all that. Brotherly solidarity comrade.
In reality, Fergie is dancing on the Spaniard’s grave. If you put his words into any reputable translation website and ask it to translate into English, it comes out something like this: “Ha, ha, ha! You got caught with your pants down. Rafa, you’re a dead man walking. Good riddance. United are a bigger club than Liverpool and you’ve much chance of winning the title as I have bedding Kelly Brook. It’s so funny, I’ve wet myself.”
You can read Ian’s full article here.
There has also been some media backlash for DIC, with the Guardian publishing two opinion columns talking about political and social implications of Liverpool being potentially owned by a club with a dictator as its backer.
DIC’s political backing, and indeed the human-rights and democratic record of the UAE is not the problem (although that’s how this is being played in public). The media paint a black and white story and it gets eaten up by a gullible public who have never lived in the UAE and do not realise how peace-loving and friendly the people are. Their goal is not world domination, it’s progress and prosperity.
Having said that, there’s is a vaild underlying concern that you cannot trust someone who has that much power AND could be motivated to use its assets to back his religious / political views, which may differ sharply from your country’s interests in the long run.
Here we have a wonderful opportunity for a bridge between two cultures, a perfect example of football working to unite two different people, and all we can do is keep our head stuck in suspicion and distrust.
Yes, the DIC have their baggage. And yet their track record and philosophy as businessmen (always bring in the best people, give them whatever they need (including time and money) to get the best-possible results) and their finances mean that you would be extremely stupid not to have them as club owners.
The Americans will refinance the loan and get on with things – but they won’t be able to give Liverpool the big stadium that DIC would have bankrolled, the signings DIC could have bankrolled (I hear Mascherano wants to go to Juventus?), or the sponsorships and marketing help (Liverpool will be HUGE in the region if this happens, and you cannot underestimate the positive impact of that) that DIC would bring with them.
Manchester City fans must show class
I feel for Manchester City fans – I really do. Most of them are decent (Anthony) and love football and their club, and you can never fault anyone for that.
However, we all know that there are a number of idiots in any society and football fans are no exception. Come Manchester City’s trip to Old Trafford in February, there will be a handful of Manchester City supporters who will probably, despite the exhortations of their manager, captain and the constant media attention, disrupt the one-minute silence being held in the memory of those lost in Munich 1958.
In some ways I agree with Adrian – a 1-minute applause would have been a less prickly situation, but as Manchester United have rightly decided, there is a proper way to show respect and that should not be compromised because of a few idiots.
Hopefully Manchester City fans will show respect, not because one of their own perished in the crash but because it’s the classy thing to do, and as a football club who are doing so well after a long time, they owe it to themselves, their manager, their players and their owner to be decent, if only for a minute.