Roy Keane wrote in his autobiography (or at least said to the Ronaldo-hating Eamon Dunphy) that even though Sir Alex Ferguson is not the best coach, he is an incredible manager of men. And he’s proved it again this season with his exceptional handling of Nani and Anderson.
On the face of it, this was a really difficult ask. Both came to us out of the blue, with big price tags and big things to live up to. The press were totally blindsided by the speed of our moves, but when they recovered our new signings were hailed as the “next Ronaldo” and the “next Ronaldinho” respectively. Everyone dug up YouTube videos proving that these guys were the best thing since sliced bread, and some even put them straight into the first XI on general principle. To make matters worse, neither had lived in England before, and neither spoke the language.
Despite all this, Fergie ensured a smooth transition which leaves us now with two genuine stars in our squad, rather than two pissed-off, burned out and frustrated starlets.
I wanted to actually title the post: “Sepptic Bladder’s Piss Poor Plan” [hope you get the pun], but decided against it at the last moment. Oh well.
So it’s official now, at least from the folks at FIFA. Some 155 members voted in favour of what could change the dynamics of the sport.
Now we usually don’t have general footy articles here, but this is certainly relevant to every club. According to the plan each club must play a minimum of six national players. So in the case of English clubs it would mean 6 English players — not British. [So the O’Sheas and Fletchers don’t count]
Does it concern you that our own Pele seems to lose it once in a while? Well, it scares the hell out of cabbage man Capello*. Actually Wayne Rooney has been well behaved considering his history. But Capello seems to fear for his England team mates because of the way he lunges into tackles. It’s always good to see a top manager talk sense into one of our star players, although it must be unnerving for Rooney to be listening to what is essentially a cabbage [for all ‘its’ merits].
Oh, and England beat the United States a couple of days ago in a snore fest. Actually it wasn’t the game that was unbearable to watch. But it was watching John Terry big up his big-match credentials in his post match that was a little hard to stomach, not to mention, the collective efforts of the whole media machine to whip up John Terry’s efforts into a frenzy. “He should courage to bounch back“, “A true fighter“, “I am a big game player“. Give me a fucking break!
That said, I don’t know why I even talked about the England-USA game on a United blog.
Two years ago, few people would have predicted Manchester United’s return to the top of world football. Ferguson had just sold Ruud van Nisterlooy and then refused to replace him with another striker, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s future at Manchester United was under a cloud of uncertainty following his antics against England in the World Cup quarter-final. Furthermore, many thought that Michael Carrick was not a solution to Manchester United’s midfield weaknesses.
But, two years on we look at what has happened since the summer van Nisterlooy had left the club and stand amazed. The departure of the big Dutchman has allowed Manchester United to develop a fast, free-flowing style of football; the jeers aimed at Ronaldo every other game in the Premier League have inspired the Portuguese winger to become the world’s best player; and, Micael Carrick has proven to be worth every penny of those Â£18.6 million spent on him.
Welcome back. We’re officially done with the 07/08 season and we’ll tread no man’s land for the next couple of months.
Thankfully, the Euros will provide for some distraction from the ennui that will surely descend on the summer. People will die — not from the heat, but from frantically refreshing news websites looking for the latest breaking news on transfers.
This is the concluding part in our three part series on Manchester United’s 07/08 season. [Read: Part I | Part II]
Today we review the defence and to clear the confusion, by defence we mean the back four as well as the ‘keepers. So here goes…
Yesterday we talked about the attack and got a good response in the comments as well. For those who missed it, head over and have a look at the ratings and do drop in your comments.
Today we discuss the midfield, and as I mentioned earlier, we mean the central midfield.
This is Part I of our three part series on Manchester United’s successful 07/08 season. We’ve broken it up into three parts: the Attack, the Midfield and the Defence. Now we must also be clear about what I mean by these; the attack comprises of our strikers and wingers; the midfield is strictly central midfielders; the defence would represent our central defenders and ‘keepers.
So let’s get on with this shall we?