Newcastle’s Best Hope Is In Weakened United Team

Sunday will see a truly bizarre sight. If tradition is followed, Hull will come out onto the field and form a guard of honour for Manchester United.

Milking the applause, in amongst, will be Zoran Tosic, Corry Evans and Lee Martin.

However, I’m frankly amazed at the backlash Fergie is getting this week for suggesting he’d field a “squad” team against Hull.


Against opposition who are scrapping for their very lives on the last day of the season, when United have nothing to play for and a Champions league final three days later.

Newcastle United are furious. They need Hull to drop points on Sunday to aid their quest for safety. They quite rightly want to see United’s strongest team against Hull. What of the integrity of competition, they wail!

But stop for a moment. Put yourself in the sparkly boots of Cristiano Ronaldo. How do you approach the game? Are you really going to go out there and give it your all knowing that George Boateng is going to kick you six foot into the air the first time you get anywhere near the football? Fancy a 50-50 with Ian Ashbee? Of course not. You’ll hide, wrap yourself in cotton wool and count down the minutes until the final whistle.

But Darron Gibson is possibly one massive performance away from a place on the bench. Corry Evans and Danny Drinkwater have names to make. Lee Martin is in the last chance saloon and United and will be putting himself into the shop window. Zoran Tosic needs to prove that he exists, and wasn’t just brought over to cuddle the real Serbian talent, the Kaka-esque Adem Ljajić.

These players will be out there, playing Hull with true passion, desire, and most importantly, a reason to go out there and win.

The only thing Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo would be aiming for on Sunday would be the hot tub after the final whistle. So let them stay all day. Geordies, your best hope is for United to field their second string, because their effort will be first rate.

Ben Johnston can also be read on

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