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Everyone Wants To Kick Manchester United



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I’ve had enough of ignoramus critics, journalist hacks and piss-minded football fans taking potshots at Manchester United.

It may the case of the last straw that broke the camel’s back, but Rob Smyth’s asinine piece in the Guardian on Monday has got to be the worst case of kick-em-while-they’re-down BS that I’ve seen.

The article, in case you are wondering, is a scathing attack on Alex Ferguson and his role in the recent ‘downturn’ of Manchester United’s fortunes.

The man has taken half-truths and lies and turned them into a saga of a man hellbent on destroying the very club that he had put on the top. It makes for a pretty story, and undoubtedly sells more papers, but not only is it not true, what readers will invariably fail to remember is that:

  • A football writer is biased – and this one is biased against Manchester United
  • and….

  • This writer is framing his beliefs for the sole purpose of serving his argument

Where is responsible journalism?

Look at the article rationally, you say? Well, let’s do that

First things first. Is United in a crisis?

The answer depends on your perspective of United’s potential and ability to produce results. We’re in a position for which most other fans would kill for. We’re better off than Arsenal, and I dare say that we have a better team (though not a better midfield) than Liverpool. Carrick’s signing, expensive and misguided it may be, has given the squad balance in its attack. We need to sign another midfielder and possibly a striker (although we could get away with the ones we have).

There are several lies Rob Smyth perpetrates in his quest to prove that United are in a crisis. First, it’s his statement that “No matter how many people they move in for – and if reports are to be believed, United have made offers for dozens of players – nobody wants to go near them”.

Here’s a list of players United have made official bids for this summer:

Michael Carrick and Tomasz Kuszczak. We signed Carrick, and decided not to sign TK when Bryan Robson asked for players plus the 4 mil on offer. Despite the rumours linking us to several players we have not bid for them or even approached their clubs. We have talked to Villareal about Riquelme, but no bid was made. That is IT. Ferguson has been after a creative and a holding midfielder, and he got one of them, and he’s close to getting another.

Surely a columnist from the Guardian has enough resources and knowledge to check his facts before hiding behind the cover of “reports”?

Second, it’s United ‘letting Duff’ slip through our hands. Duff? Hello? Why would United want Duff when they already have four wide players in their squad, 3 of them for the long-term and 1 (Giggs) their most experienced midfielder?

But the BS doesn’t stop there. Next, Manchester United’s second-place finish is criticised on the grounds that Arsenal didnt play well enough and Liverpool and Tottenham are getting much stronger so it is unlikely that it could happen again.

I think we heard the news about Liverpool ‘getting stronger’ last year. They still came third. Despite their improvements to the squad I don’t see them overtaking us next season simply because our squad needs less tinkering. United under-acheived last season, but you wouldn’t believe it if you knew that our first choice central midfield was John O’Shea and Ryan Giggs – a utility defender and an attacking left winger remembered for his runs and goals rather than his bossing of the game.

Two more points that made me boil – one was his attack on the current crop of United players, calling them spoiled and arrogant.

Were you born under a rock? United players are no different than the players at any other top club – overpaid and well-stuffed. They still manage to win games. The players he singled out – Richardson, Ferdinand, Rooney, Ronaldo and Wes Brown – form the core of United’s best starting 11, and are without a shadow of a doubt 5 of the most hard-working players on the field. Ronaldo has his quirks, so do Ferdinand and Rooney, but then Gerrard has this need to be the center of attention, Cole likes to dive, Lampard goes AWOL and Terry can lose concentration.

Players today are well-paid and their quirks are magnified because of the constant media spotlight. It doesn’t change the fact that they are there to play football, and that they are willing to bust their chops to win.

Ferguson was at fault for not reinforcing the midfield last season – but considering that he had Alan Smith earmarked for that role, had Keano and Scholes there already, plus O’Shea and Fletcher to back them up, I don’t see how Ferguson could have predicted Smith’s injury, Scholes going blind, Keano being kicked out, Fletcher being injured and both O’Shea and Giggs (our replacement midfield) being injured. This led to an emergency pairing of Ferdinand and Rooney (two of our best players).

Surely you cannot plan for 6 midfielders being injured at the same time?

Ideally we could have brought in someone else instead of Park last summer (but we needed to plan for Giggs leaving), or a midfielder instead of Evra (we had no left-back with heinze injured and Silvestre needed in the centre of defence). Injuries were a major problem for United last season, yet all people can think about is that we are in a crisis and don’t have any players.

The crisis came and went last season. We survived it, and are stronger as a result (despite the loss of Ruud).

Some valid points were raised about Ferguson, but the author chose to barrack him with baseless accusations instead of listing concerns truthfully. I’ve already covered most of them in this article, so go read that.

The second point was how the writer compared the current crop of players to the ‘men’ of the 90s – Robson, Cantona, Keane. All the talk about Ferguson being from a different era (especially if you throw in Strachan’s rant about how Ferguson didnt treat him right at United) is justified, but are you fuckin’ kidding me? This guy would turn at the drop of a hat and call Cantona a cheating, kicking, flying maniac and talk about all the deliberate tackles Keano made if you gave him the right context. Now he’s singing their praises.

I don’t like Ferguson for the way he’s treated some of our best players, but the fact is that he’s what we’ve got (just like Glazer is what we have) and at the end of the day, we have to make do with what we have. If the old man can knock Chelsea off their fuckin’ perch (as he did to Liverpool), I’ll be the first to bitch-slap every piss-taking United-hater that I see for one whole year.

I’m out.

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Ahmed Bilal created Sportslens in 2006. He is a business consultant and entrepreneur who helps businesses identify and overcome their biggest challenges. He’s also the founder of Football Media, an online advertising agency that specialises in sports and male audience targeting, with a monthly reach of 100m+ sports fans in the UK and US. He’s also the previous owner of Soccerlens.com – a sports news site that reaches 3m+ readers / month.