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The Dark Side



Hello to all friends and foes in the Red Rantiverse.  Yes I’m back and I must say that returning to Red Rants is as much a shock to me as it is to you.  When I left some moths ago, I was determined to stay away for good as it had become quite clear to me that many of you had grown tired of my rants and the truth.  A few months have passed and to be honest I never really missed the place.  Insults and abuse tend to do that but still, RedRants has always been and still is a part of my DNA.  I feel that I am one of the people who helped define this blog and who instilled to it a specific personality and voice unlike other United sites on the blogosphere.  Still, it was not my intention to return but a funny thing happened on my way to the forum.  Ian dropped me another line asking for my presence.  After much consideration and trepidation, I return with a weekly column.

On a few occasions over the past few months Ian contacted me to let me know that there were some of you who sincerely missed my miserable presence and malodorous personality on the blog and to those let me say thanks for the support.  As for the others who either cannot stomach my views or who just hate my guts, well all I can say is tough break, life is full of disappointments and we all must learn to deal with them.

Now why have I returned after I swore I was gone for good?  Again credit must go to Ian as he was quite aggressive and seductive in his attempts to convince me to return.  He heard many of your cries and he also realized that now that the blog is shaping up much in the manner he wished for from the beginning, one thing was missing, “The Dark Side”.  Basically he feels that the blog needs some hard-core material a view from the other side of the tracks.

Yes I know am negative and highly controversial as well as overly critical most of the time, but above all, I see things as they are and I cannot be mistaken for somebody who has no foresight.  Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson have not failed to live up to all my expectations.  The recent embarrassment against Liverpool this past Saturday is a good example of what I speak of.  Finally, after three years of screaming and crying bloody murder, it appears that many of you naysayers (I won’t mention names) and anti-Grognard advocates have finally come around to my way of thinking and are starting to see, feel, experience and smell the rot which is emanating from within the one time hallowed confines of Old Trafford.

The truth hurts and reality often hits us like a runaway train but the fact is that Manchester United is indeed in a desperate struggle for survival.  No, not when it comes to it’s position in the standings, well not yet anyway.  The struggle is from within, it’s financial and it threatens to destroy the rich heritage and history of success and the dynasty that has been carved out by such legends as Sir Matt Busby and of course Fergie himself.   That is why Fergie’s actions over the past few years are even more distressing, regretful and unforgivable.  The club no longer can take pride in showing up every game with a predetermined attitude to win and to succeed.  No longer can hubris, hard work and passion carry us to victory after victory.  Today much of our talent has been stripped away, gotten old or underachieved.  Today the club suffers from an affliction that is new and unique to United fans who have followed the club during it’s almost twenty year dominance in the Premiership  Now we must prepare ourselves for mediocrity and even worse, the lack of commitment from the ownership and manager to better the side and help ensure our success for the future.

Blasphemy, treason, bloody murder lies lies lies you say.  Once again Grognard has returned with his fork tongue and his spewing of anti-Fergie sentiment you say.  Well…………………yes that’s true, but wait, now I am no longer alone in my views.  Recent history seems to have done to many of you what my predictions, words of wisdom and foresight had failed to do.  Recent history and actions, or should I say inactions of Fergie have yet again proven the old Grognard right.

Grognard is a wise old Sith Lord who is powerful with the Force and it’s time many of you just surrendered to the fact that despite the fact I am long winded,  arrogant, egotistical and self righteous, what I am most of all is an astute student of the game and right more often than not.  In fact I am quite often dead on the money right.  For example, I remember saying well before I left that we could all forget about Fergie dabbling in the transfer market come January and to not discount the possible return of Paul Scholes.  True I said it in a tongue n cheek manner but I did so because I would not put it past the old man to do exactly that.  Then I wake a few weeks ago to see us play and notice Scholes dressed as a sub.  All my heart and mind could muster for a response at the time was two words, “fucking typical”.

So I have returned if for no other reason than I truly believe this blog and the online world of Mancunia needs a voice from the wilderness that will call it like it is or at least point out the corruption, lies, deceit and those flaws and errors that plague this club that many die hard loyalists are unwilling to admit or unable to contemplate.  I mean really, how many times must Patrice Evra screw up defensively before you all see what I have been seeing for years now?  Ask Dirk Kuyt what it’s like to attack the goal against Evra marking?  I’m tired of that bastard playing for my beloved Reds.

Yes, I am your reality check, your dose of smelling salts, your slap in the face or just plainly your wake up call and your call to action.  Many on the blog have accused me of disloyalty and a lack of appreciation and respect for the club, the manager.  Many are blind and are nothing more than see nothing, hear nothing, smell nothings fan loyalists.  The feeling that I have shown no respect to Sir Alex and disregard all the years and great service he has turned in for this great football club is understandable but not completely true.  Not true at all.  I used to love Sir Alex and greatly respected him.  But I am not a wallflower and I am not a blind loyalist.  Above all, I was born with something greater than a pea for a brain and I was given the power and ability to formulate independent thought and in no way do I fall prey to the demands and delusions of the mob.

When I feel insulted, feel ripped off, I seethe in anger and when I’m injured I bleed and feel pain and so the action and or inactions of our esteemed manager over the past few seasons and especially during the entire ownership tenure of the Glazer family has been nothing short of shameful and reprehensible in my not so humble opinion.  There I said it.  I have gone from loving and respecting the man to absolutely despising him and every disgusting lying word that he mumbles out of that gum chewing mouth of his.  Every time I see him I see Michael Gambon playing a villain in many of his movies.  For me the resemblance is striking.  I am long past forgiveness and giving it up for the man because of all he has done.  I presently reside in the “What have you done for us lately?” club.  I no longer care about the fact that he manages to perform parlour tricks with a useless line up, inadequate depth and no midfield while somehow managing to keep us in contention for the league every year.  For me it’s about so much more, it’s about him outliving his usefulness and about betraying our trust in him.  About him supporting Glazer’s over the fans and about turning United into the cheapest bunch of misers in the Premiership despite the fact this club reports itself as the richest club in the world.  What a colossal load of BS.

Now to all of you who are feeling angered and enraged by my harsh words let me apologize for antagonizing you.  I’m sorry but please understand, this is how I feel.  What is different from you and I is we see things differently and our criteria for judgement is also very different.  Keep in mind that I am not born and raised in Manchester and I never inherited the love and passion for the club that many of you from Salford and other areas South West of the Wastelands have.  I am just a long distance but long time fan of the club who I chose to follow and support from afar back in 1976, simply because I liked the way they played the game.  Passion, pace and positive play embodied United’s style of football even if the talent wasn’t always there nor the results.  For me winning was important but playing United football was everything.  Even through the down periods of the early 70’s and mid 80’s the club never betrayed it’s mantra and always put entertainment and passion at the top of their to do list.  Above all the club represented itself as a top team and showed it by being ambitious in it’s pursuit of players in the transfer market and never ever settled for mediocrity and a lack of commitment to reach for the top.  After watching them collapse again at Liverpool and watching them play with very little passion, pride and discipline over this season, it has become clear as day, that something is very very wrong at Old Trafford.

As I write this article we are only a few days from the close of the January transfer window.  Rooney, Nani, Jones, Vidic, Carrick and many others are hurt and struggling with form and yet Fergie shows no panic and no inclination to buy players to not only improve our club, but to fill the void that is evident from our distressing lack of quality depth.  Along with the fun factor, we can count the Champions League as a memory this season as well as both domestic cups.  All we can shoot for now is the league and an embarrassing run in a European competition that should be considered way beneath us.  Can I honestly say that we have all the tools and ability to keep challenging Manchester City for that title?  I don’t think so.  Mediocrity, a lack of ambition and an alarming lack of spending for players have left Fergie and this club handcuffed and their collective backsides exposed to the elements.

The United that aggressively bought Bryan Robson, that bought Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo and set records signing the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Roy Keane, Juan Sebastian Veron, Wayne Rooney, Ruud van Nistelrooy and others has become a joke in that arena.  The check book has been closed and now we have to scrounge for spare change or sell players or free money from retiring players in order to afford players like Ashley Young, Phil Jones or a blind as a bat Spanish goalkeeper.  Where has our purchasing might gone?  Where is our arrogance and allure and our mojo?  Now more often than not, players who are even wrongfully linked to our club often come out and are quoted over a lack of interest in joining us.  All one has to do is look at many on the Manchester City roster who were linked with us but who chose to ignore any interest and signed instead with the potential usurpers to our throne.  Toure, Silva, Aguero, Dzeko and Nasri all chose City over us.  Why?  Money, yes, they are mercenaries but then few footballers today are not.  They chose City because the allure of Old Trafford is not what it used to be.  Oh they all respect the history, the manager and many of our players but what they see above all else is diminishing return and a slow but assured fall from grace brought on by selfish greedy owners who are not acting in the best interest of our club, bottom line, and those who refuse to acknowledge this fact are suffering from a massive case of denial and naiveté.

Many doubt what I am saying but when I see world class players hemming and hawing about signing with us and either choosing Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Manchester City to go to, it brings a feeling of disappointment and disenchantment that makes me angry and when that happens I point the finger at the owners but I also point it straight at Fergie as well.

In his own way Fergie has had a lot to do with turning many players off from a potential transfer to Old Trafford.  How has he done this many may ask?  Simple, the negative, boring and uninspiring football we often play, especially in Europe would surely not seduce many flamboyant and attack oriented stars into plying their trade for United.  Our cheap wage policy is just not competitive among the elite teams in European football and his willingness to support the cheap penny pinching ways of the owners and not demand serious money to coerce players into playing for us has severely damaged this club’s ability to compete for the top silverware.  Tactically we are too old school and our coaches come from an bygone era.  Modern world-class players have little interest in playing Mike Phelan football, believe me.

Where is Manchester United headed?  Well that is a wait and see scenario for all of us to contemplate.  What I will be doing however, is reporting on the situation and trying to interpret what is really going on and why.  I do not profess to know it all or to always be right but I do feel like I am generally more astute than the average bear and Fergie and his minions cannot fool an old goat like myself with cheap parlour tricks and words.  Not with a club that continues to show large cracks in the foundation, which make it seem that the end is closer than a new beginning.  Things must change.

A regime change at the very top is vital for our club’s future.  The Glazer’s must go.  Be forced out if it comes to that.  No longer can we United fans sit back, watch our club lose it’s standing in world football, it’s hubris, pride, it’s mojo and above all, it’s soul while Malcolm and his boys continue to extort millions from the club’s coffers.  It’s not just about results on the pitch, it’s about a lot more.  So I am back, simply because somebody has to call it as it is and not be afraid to step on toes and sacred cows.  This club needs wholesale changes up top and several changes on the pitch for it to regain it’s position as a top three world football power.  Right now Fergie has neglectfully allowed the club to slowly disintegrate and fall from it’s perch simply because we no longer seem to have the same commitment for excellence that clubs like Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern have.  Settling for the plain girl is what we are all about these days.  Has it really come to this?


Jan 29, 2012



  1. Moscow is my heaven

    February 1, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    It’s great to have you back Grog. This place hasn’t been the same without you.

  2. DAN19L

    February 1, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    “Toure, Silva, Aguero, Dzeko and Nasri”

    The only player we went in for out of that quintet was Nasri and we rejected the chance to sign him after he stalled on the deal due to the money City were offering him.

    I find what you’re saying to be extremely rich and cowardice. You despise the man who has overhauled Liverpools 18 titles. Who plays boring football in Europe even though we’ve been to 3 of the last 4 finals. The manager who’s team beat Arsenal 8-2 this season? The same team that is joint top of the league even though it is ravaged with injury? The same team that put 7 past Roma in a QF? That scored 6 goals in its semi final last year? You despise the manager and the hierarchy? The man who has reinstalled the never say die attitude into our team that results in last minute ecstasy for millions of fans a dozen times a year. You want us to have the same standards of excellence as Real Madrid??? The most grotesque football team in the world with in house politics and player power? Or like the bunch of rapists they harbor and protect over in Bayern? Would you like us to be like Liverpool as well the Grand Protector of Racists? Your long winded article was boring and solely served to feed your own ego. Your Star Wars comparisons are embarrassing and quite possibly the proof that you are nothing more than an arm chair cynic who has not kicked a football in his life.

    Perhaps your tone will change next season when financial fair play comes in and United will officially be the biggest spending power in world football. Per chance you only consider your dark room conspiracy theories in a jaw droppingly negative form instead of contemplating what is actually going on. We haven’t made any huge signings or paid big wages because of the fact that when the new rules kick in there will not be a club even close to us who will be able to spend and attract like we will (fact). The tax rates for sports stars in Spain is a lot lower hence the attraction there but that is now due to change as well.

    Perhaps more research before you go on another self praising embarrassment of a ‘Rant’ again….

    Toure? ha! Good one

    • Grognard

      February 2, 2012 at 9:15 pm

      @DAN19L: Better learn the definition of cowardice mate. I fear nobody and especially not you or anyone like Fergie. Perhaps you should stop speed reading and go over my article again. You will find that at one time I had loads of respect for the Boss and followed and believed in his every move for 20 years. But since 2008 I have seen a side to him that I for one do not like, trust or admire. That’s my prerogative to feel that way. I feel he has acted liek a miser, who is just going through the motions and padding his legacy while having virtually conceded the fact that his team cannot match or even come close to Barcelona. For him, winning the league is all that matters and as managers go, he has always been a master at preparing for long marathons.

      Fergie has worked wonders with a very mediocre team over the past three seasons. I am not overly impressed with our talent level or our bench depth and we have enormous holes in the midfield, and at the fullback positions but we still win partly due to the watering down of quality in the Premier League (United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea are clearly all in decline) and due to the decline of top teams, we have bene just good enough to maintain our dominance. City is knocking on the door this season but I still would not be surprised if we won the league because City is far from the finished product and their lack of experience could be a real problem for them. Fergie has his strengths but telling the truth and supporting the fans and not the owners are not part of his repertoire. I am disappointed in the man because he supports the owners and he does nothing but lie regarding the club’s needs and position.

      This season we have been completely decimated by injuries and if there were ever a season to buy in January and not to loan out or sell in, this was the season for it. Instead we bought nobody, again (yet another of my predictions is right). I am tired of his dog and pony show and I am tired of his support of ownership that doesn’t give a rats ass about you me or any other supporter.

      So fine, put me down for not taking it up the ass, that’s fine. You keep on conforming and kissing Fergie’s ring finger like he is some kind of deity. For me he is only a football manager who’s time has come to hang it up and allow young ideas and a more aggressive personality to take over. I thank him for his tenure and for all his success but I like to think of the future, and not hang on the past. Cowardice? I think not. Cowardice is not confronting the problems of this club and instead singing in your mind while covering your ewyes, ears, mouth and nose and ignoring the realities that are facing this club and it’s future. But WTF, who cares as long as we bore our way to another unworthy EPL title right? 🙄 And enough with the financial fair play BS. If you think that is at the core of what is going on, then you are more deluded than I originally thought. Now lets stop arguing and anticipate the next out and out bore fest from United as they manage one scoring chance at Stamford Bridge while Fergie plays the cautious approach once again. Spin the wheel to see who starts this week. 😆 😆

  3. Manila Red

    February 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Well son I am from Manchester and have been watching United since the 60,s.
    Wish SAF would have been our manager for 50 years and not 25. He knows players and he knows how to run a team.
    Who do you buy – who is available and with the ability to fit into the current squad and who is more skilled than who we currently have.

    Answer that question and i will forward your name as SAF’s replacement.


    • Ian

      February 1, 2012 at 11:46 pm

      No, fair play Manilla, you’re right, we have all the best players in the world and there’s no one available to play for the biggest club ‘in the world’, not in any position. God damn it, I wish I’d realised we couldn’t improve this squad before I read your comment, it would have stopped be thinking that our midfield is weak, our fullbacks *could* be better (more specialist and capable of defending in Evra’s case), our £30m forward doesn’t fit in and our keepers are an experiment and a calamity waiting to happen.

      Please forgive me?!

      Oh!….and wishing SAF had been in charge for 50 years suggests you didn’t rate Sir Matt Busby… there anything you’d like to share with us?


      • Daniele

        February 2, 2012 at 11:21 am

        It seems to me that many Reds confuse “availability” with “willing to join the club”. Shearer was available, yet he decided not to join us and signed for Newcastle. I 100% agree that it’s the Glazers’fault if we cant sign players of world class pedigree,because we can barely afford them. But, if a player decides against joining United, it’s not Fergie’s fault. Can we criticise his defensive approach towards the yankee scum?Sure we can, but we can’t be so arrogant to think that just because we’ve made an offer we have the god given right to sign a determinate player. Leave that attitude to Real Madrid, Chelsea or Citeh.

    • Grognard

      February 2, 2012 at 9:16 pm

      @Manila Red: You have got to be kidding, right? Seriously, are we talking about the same team? God give me strength. 🙄 🙄

  4. Muadh

    February 1, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    I am new to this Blog but hell I am liking you already!

    • Craig Mc

      February 2, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      @Muadh: Welcome to the board Muadh – all newcomer input makes for good and balanced rant commenting 🙂 .

      • Ian

        February 2, 2012 at 4:22 pm

        Muadh makes the wallpapers and the images we’ve started putting on in some articles and on Facebook.

  5. Daniele

    February 1, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    Great to have you back Grog. Fantastic read but I beg to differ on a few points.
    Ian warned me that, with you back, the comments will be flowing, so here we go…
    1) I totally agree with your position regarding the Glazers. They’re worse than a cancer and it’s painful to see how the Green and Gold protest seems to have lost most of its momentum. Call me naive but, for a while at least, I had thought we could ride the wave of the protest and finally get rid of them.
    2) We can’t flex our – virtually non existent – economic muscles. Well, competing with moneybags such as the bitters or PSG is out of question, furthermore I wouldn’t want United to be sold to some rich arab tycoon. We would become everything we utterly despise and it’s a road I do not wish the club to go down to.
    3)”They choose City because the allure of Old Trafford is not what is used to be”? What sort of allure does a club that hasn’t won anything for 35 years have?And i’m not talking about a club that has gone through a dry spell but with a successful history behind them either. Nasri,Dzeko and the lot chose City because of a big fat fucking paycheck. No OTHER reason.
    4)” The negative, boring and uninspiring football we often play, especially in Europe would surely not seduce many flamboyant and attack oriented stars into plying their trade for United.” That negative, boring and uninspiring football has led us to win the Champions League as well as playing in other 2 finals in the last 4 seasons. As far as i’m concerned we could have done much worse and that, whether you like it or not, it’s down to the greatest manager of all times.

    It was a great read Grog and it’s a pleasure to have you back! Looking forward to many, long and interesting debates!

    • Ian

      February 1, 2012 at 11:58 pm

      Boooooo to the nasty man who doesn’t think we haven’t played uninspiring football! I think we have mate, we’ve played a functional style for the most part of the last few years with the odd smattering of brilliantly eye-catching performances along the way, I also think that’s why we have reached those finals – because we wouldn’t have got there playing an over-confident, swashbuckling, extravagant brand of football with the players we’ve assembled over the last few years that’s for sure.

      • Daniele

        February 2, 2012 at 11:15 am

        we used to play in Europe the way we played in England. Which is why we used to be knocked out by the mighty Rotor Volgograd, Galatasaray, IFK and so on. I’d love to see us putting Europe to the sword mate but it simply won’t happen. Barca and, to a lesser extent, Real Madrid are probably the only two teams that can carry their domestic swagger onto the continental stage.

    • Grognard

      February 2, 2012 at 9:26 pm

      @Daniele: Thanks for the support mate. Regarding finances and ownership, seriously, what do we stand for? The landscape of professional football is changing by the second mate. If we hang on to some old ideal from the past on how we spend and how we attack the transfer market, we are doomed for future failure and great disappointment. To compete at the highest level today you need money and lots of it and you need to spend it annually, not just once every four or five years. I could care less about the City’s or PSG’s of the world. All the power to them. What I care about is that our team is rich beyond any of these teams yet has nothing to show for it in it’s bank account or on the pitch. We are living on the past and on the hope some of our reserves become Xavi’s and Iniesta’s. The truth is they won’t and the fact we have no money to spend should be getting fans pissed off beyond belief unless they support City or Liverpool.

      United is about more than buying high priced players but then again we have through our success created a situation that is untenable for our extortionist owners. We are at a level that requires spending big on talent regularly in order to compete with the Barca’s of the world. Anything less is not the United way but it certainly suits the Glazer’s fine.

      And on the issure of allure, it is hard for a die hard United fan to ever pbelieve that any player would not love to play for this team. Of course most of thenm would but the reality is they know United cannot afford their salary demands and they also know that the club’s ambitions are being compromised by poor ownership as well as negative tactics by the manager. And really, I cannot see a Sneijder or an Ozil wanting to really play for us only to be rotated every game. These reasons have made United lose a lot of street cred when it comes to seducing foreign talent.

  6. Craig Mc

    February 1, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    OH DEAR!

  7. Opti

    February 2, 2012 at 1:55 am

    “A few months have passed and to be honest I never really missed the place. Insults and abuse tend to do that but still, RedRants has always been and still is a part of my DNA. ”

    And I stopped reading… Typical Grognard. Never offering a solution or methods, just negative slime.

    Great to have you back! 😀

    • Grognard

      February 2, 2012 at 9:28 pm

      @Opti: My first article mate, what did you want a novel? I have plenty of solutions and I will offer them up in the future but then again will that make a difference with you? Probably not as you will shit on my efforts anyway simply because you love to do so.

      • Opti

        February 2, 2012 at 10:23 pm

        @Grognard: I commend your efforts, but s**t on your views of Darkness. Your writing style is entertaining but the content is just so negative that a “death to Fergie” chant seems to be snuck in-between every line. Such is your vitriol (to me).

        Is Evra really garbage? On his day, he is the world’s best defender and in last couple weeks has improved dramatically (barring the Kuyt defensive poo-poo).

        Surely, having Scholes come into team in January is disappointing when we should spend wisely (given Glazer budgetary constraints) on younger and upcoming stars (e.g. Shaquiri — spelling TBD), but you go on about how United is incapable of attracting big names and that they are opting for City because of the future Rise of the Blue Moon or Real Madrid/Barca/Bayern.

        That, Groggy, seems like an extremely naive statement. Players go to City PURELY for money — Nasri, Silva, Toure, Adebayor, Tevez, etc… all went for money. Dissing United, as was expertly pointed out, happens and we move on: Shearer (rejected United even at our club’s peak in 90s), Ramsey, Ox, Bale — it’s not evidence that our club is in decline.

        Also, you completely neglect the impact FFP (which is rather complicated as of next couple seasons) over the long-term… is City/PSG/Madrid/Barca taking a gamble by splashing all that cash they don’t earn?? You completely neglect the downside of heavy spending in the FFP environment.

        I am truly happy you’re back (the site is a bit stale without continuous discussions, which you amply provide) and I am looking forward to future discussions — IM SERIOUS! 🙂

        • Grognard

          February 3, 2012 at 12:58 am

          @Opti: First off mate, good to hear from you. Now about Evra. Sorry he is total crap and the faster he can be placed on a cart and wheeled out of Manchester the better. How many mistakes of his do you need to see before you get the hint? Seriously mate, he is hot garbage.

          As for Fergie, I’m not sure what you want from me? I have said many times that I respect the man and appreciate greatly his accomplishments and what he has brought to the team up to 2008. Look around you mate, married couples divorce all the time and siblings kill each other after a fight and I am supposed to watch my q’s and t’s when it comes to Fergie? I don’t think so. I do not appreciate his lies and deceit and I offended at the position he has taken in supporting the Glazer regime. People forget that United is bigger than all of us and even Fergie. He is no sacred cow in my books because of those betrayals. I can live with the negative tactics and Rafa style rotations as the games and results right now are not my biggest concern. My condemnation has to do with the big picture. I simply don’t trust and do not believe in him like I once did.

  8. PissedOffRed

    February 2, 2012 at 2:34 am

    Perhaps Grog can direct some of the nastiness to the shitty fans that gets lost in here sometimes….

  9. godzilla

    February 2, 2012 at 7:25 am

    always good to have grog back. i have always agreed with most of your views. i am also of the belief that when we are man united why should we be happy with mediocrity and plain janes. why should we be happy with mediocrity and cutting minor financial corners. notbing wrong in wanting and demanding more all the time. that does not make me a lesser fan just because one speaks about the dark side or sees that the glass is half empty so we can do more.

  10. jeet

    February 2, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Just when I was actually liking this, and thinking of reading and posting again…(I did post for a few days, but jeez, did I get disgusted with the grog!)
    Like to read eddy and jaywire – balanced, insightful, without a trace of megalomania. Carry on the good work, can’t see myself coming back for bile.
    And, ohh, Ian, you’ve done a bloody brilliant turnaround job with this blog. Congrats, mate.

    • Ian

      February 2, 2012 at 9:16 am

      Thanks, really appreciate that, but don’t let one persons articles put you off reading and commenting though, there’s a big team assembled now so everyone will be catered for, each to their own mate and you’re free to choose what to read. Plus, in the months or years to come, Grog *could* turn out to be right…..there’s always two sides to every story as they say.

      • jeet

        February 2, 2012 at 2:45 pm

        @Ian: Ohh thanks for pointing that out. I will probably read some of Jaywire’s stuff defo – quite brilliant. And I’m not one of the blind Fergie boys. For instance, I do believe we are rapidly on our way to becoming tactical dinosaurs in Europe. I did think we were skint, but was pleasantly suprised when we splashed out in the summer. What I can’t tolerate is the ad-hoc bandwagonism, the belief that United should win 5-0 in every match, and least of all the abusive style of communication. I can criticize without losing respect, and I like that in people. I just can’t tolerate the “me” obsession and the abusive style. Anyway, said much more than I intended. I do hope grog doesnt stoop to reply, cos if he does, I certainly won’t. Frankly, couldnt give him the time of day – wrote this only as a reply to you and cos you sound like a nice bloke, and like I said, I guess I’ve said too much already. Ta, and thanks!

    • Craig Mc

      February 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      @jeet: Mate you should continue to post, because all alternative opinions make for a very good board. So come and keep on making your opinions known – regardless of whether we all agree or not. No chance of affecting peoples opinions if you just RUN – stay and say your piece 😀 .

  11. ash is the man

    February 2, 2012 at 10:58 am

    I have to ask is this an article on man united or the bitter truth about your love affair with Sir Alex? I mean you do like to talk about yourself? I am not inspired or the least bit impressed with this article- or if I may rephrase article to ATTACK……

    Upon reading the above article all I could consume was that you are attacking the club and our management. We have not had the best of seasons and going out of Europe so early was pretty bad- this I would agree on- however by no means is it a disaster. We are currently going through a mini transition and having a shaky season is expected and, if havinf one shaky season sets us up to a brighter future than so be it. The fact is Sir Alex knows what he is doing and he will always know what he is doing. This is not me being a ”blind” fan as you so put it. This is me taking the facts which are ( 3 european finals since 2008 and having won 19 titles with a chance this year to win another EVEN though city spent another fortune) these are facts that I go by and I defend fergie. Its laughable to suggest anything other than the ract we are a GREAT club. The only other team to get the better of us in recent seasons is barcalona- and that is no embarrassment.

    Also while on the subject of embarrassment- How could you call our defeat to liverpool a embarrassment? We lost by one goal in a game we could so easily have won and missing a good few players I may add. You really have to realise not everything has to be negative and the best thing is to support our team.

    ”Rooney, Nani, Jones, Vidic, Carrick and many others are hurt and struggling with form and yet Fergie shows no panic and no inclination to buy players to not only improve our club”

    On that quote all I hav e to say is Fergie knows what he is doing as we have players like berb, chico and pogba on the bench so why would he go out and by a player in a panic when he trusts his squad. And I am highly confident whene an the summer comes we will have an extra player or two.

    On the exellence madrid and bayern……. PLEASE 🙄

  12. colver

    February 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Good to see you back Grognard.

    I don’t think anyone can seriously dispute that we are weak in central midfield and need competition for Evra (if not a replacement).

    We do have some promising youngsters coming through. But the problem with keeping average player in place until the promising youngsters finally come good is twofold 1) They may not come good (EG Anderson/Gibson) 2) Until they come good you are stuck with mediocre players and if there are enough of them a mediocre side.

    The most competitive areas of our team are upfront and in defence. Ok defence it is because of injury problems. But then again we had injury problems in central midfield and Pogba didn’t get a sniff with Rooney, Rafael and Park all doing turns in midfield.

    Upfront a forward line of Rooney and Berbatov was broken up by Hernandez and then Welbeck. Despite an outlay of £30 million on Berbatov he has proven to be absolutely zero barrier to the breakthrough of young promising strikers such as Welbeck and Hernandez.

    So how on earth does the argument work that buying someone like Sneijder would block the development of Pogba and Cleverley? Sneijder would give us a few good years as part of a rotation system and then when Pogba and Cleverley reach full maturity Sneijder would be phased out the same way Berbatov was.

    OK you may say £30 million sounds a lot of money! But Berbatov won us the title last year making a vital contribution in the first half of the season when Hernandez was still finding his feet, Rooney was reeling from the sex scandal and hangover from an awful world cup and Welbeck was off on loan.

    The least competitive area of the team is central midfield. Which also happens to be the weakest area.

    • Vida Dollar

      February 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm

      @ Colver I do not understand why we all seem to agree that central midfield is our achilles yet week in and week out there are praises sung for one Michael Carrick…Monster performance here, Mr consistency there blah blah…Please can someone break it down for me. It seems someone is working very hard within the United propaganda machinery to make us accept Carrick as a world class midfielder. He features consistently in every poll on the official site for shortlists for player of the match/month even though he rarely wins any of them.

      • Craig Mc

        February 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm

        @Vida Dollar: Vida – I truly believe Carrick is very good when he has space to play in MF, he is excellent at spraying passes which more often than not reach their intended mark. Yet like Scholesy when in a very tightly marked opposition MF – he is denied space and doesn’t do as well in that situation, as is same with Scholesy. Very tight marking cramps their style 😀

        • Vida Dollar

          February 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm

          I have my answer Craig. Just counting how many top teams will give us a lot of space in Europe 1.Basel 2.REal Madrid 3. Barca… Ok get it thanks. 😆

        • Craig Mc

          February 3, 2012 at 10:28 pm

          @Vida Dollar: 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 – get it 😀

    • Grognard

      February 2, 2012 at 9:37 pm

      @colver: Good to hear from you mate. This season has been a real nightmare so far and yet, we are tied for first. One has to give it up for Fergie that even with all the nonsense, the enormous amount of injuries, poor play by many stars and the ongoing financial issues, the old man has us competing for the EPL title again. He does it with mirrors I’m sure because I seriously doubt it’s due to our overwhelming talent or his outdated tactics. For me the real reason we are tied for first is due to a decline in the overall quality of all the top British clubs and this fact has helped some of the middle of the road and and minnow clubs to compete better.
      We are not really that good and our performance in Europe showed us that. Losing in both cup domestic competitions can come down to our lack of depth and to our injury woes as a packed schedule really hurts a club that is playing on one leg.

      Kudos to Fergie for somehow putting us in position for a 20th title but still, he is dead to me as his lies, and Glazer loving allegiance is something that will never allow me to appreciate and warm up to the man again.

  13. Vida Dollar

    February 2, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Great for the Grogman to come back but I feel your timing has really screwed you. Over the christmas period during the Blackburn/Newcastle debacle you would no doubt have found a few friends here but after the Arsenal,liverpool and Stoke games a lot of us have gotten a bit of insight and perspective on what SAF is trying to do with the meagre resources at his disposal.I will not waste time on our attack which is as good as any and the stats are there for everyone to see. We have scored at home in 42 consecutive matches and this season in EPL have only failed to score at Newcastle. Our defence is also competitive barring injuries and of course we do have a problem in Goal.

    Midfield has been our achilles but after watching Tom and Pogba play clearly the manager knows we have the solutions to that area but we need a few months to get there.This explains thye rationale for the scholes deal.( All we need is a few months and we will have a yound and talented midfield) The injuries have also been unkind to us and we have been unforgiving largely because unlike his Economics friend at the Emirates SAF does not whine that much about injuries. As we speak SAF new headache with everyone fit will be the central midfield. Scholes,Carrick,Fletcher,Anderson,Cleverly,Pogba,Park,Jones. Suddenly we have an embarrasment of options.Because these players have never been available at once it has been difficult for the gaffer to form a consistent nucleus for those positions which clicks but the way he keeps giving Chicha and Welbeck a run it is clear that he is closing in on a definitive transition. I therefore see many of the names above becoming more rotational options while Pogba and Cleverly man that area. Carrick is clearly living on borrowed time and I see us disposing Ando next season. I disagree that pour football is overly boring I think in the early part of the season when the younger players were all fit and in the preseason we played glorious football but with time our passing in the middle of the park let us down. Rafael,Fabio,Smalling,Jones,Cleverly,Pogba,Young,Nani,Welbeck and Rooney…Boy doew our future look bright!!!

    So to the Grogman and all the likeminded Black and Bullet Prophets of Doom I say we have a great future!!We cant win them all but surely we are on the right track with the little money we have.

    • Ian

      February 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm

      In that case Vida, Grig will revert to his ‘the world is a wonderful place’ persona then…he does both you know…..remember ‘United’s Pitch-Kreig’ anyone? 🙂

      • Grognard

        February 2, 2012 at 8:58 pm

        @Ian: Many on here suffer from SMD ‘Selective Memory Disorder’. I get roasted over the fire regardless of whether I am positive and negative. I seem to have that affect on many members of this blog.

    • Grognard

      February 2, 2012 at 9:44 pm

      @Vida Dollar: Patience mate, patience. Trust me, Fergie will find a way to get everyone all upset and bent out of shape again and once again everyone will sound like me for that period of woe and heartache.

      One of the ever so observant writers on here acvtually referred to me as short sighted, yet I was the one who constantly referred to my concerns with United being more for the future and not the present. We could beat Chelsea 4-0 this Sunday and it would only mask the problems that the club are facing. As if Chelsea with all their money don’t have their own. My gripe with Fergie is more about his lies and his allegiance to the owners and less about his constrictive tactics and rotation policy. Fact is the man has perfected the term ‘winning ugly’. He just continues to get results despite the clubs best efforts to totally derail him. Wenger, Vilas-Boas and Dalglish have all got greater immediate concerns and have to watch for their future as managers, but not our Fergie. He can win ugly till he croaks as far as the Glazer’s are concerned because it will allow them to extort money and hardly throw a dollar towards new talent. Fergie is a dream come true for them.

    • Grognard

      February 3, 2012 at 1:08 am

      @Vida Dollar: In the modern age of football with money being the difference between winning and losing, I do not see how you can be so optimistic about a club that has no money to spend on players and is massively in debt? Please help me with this. ??????

      • Vida Dollar

        February 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm

        @ Grog did you read anything I wrote at all??? I am saying our team aint really that bad when you look at the future.Dont be fooled one bit into thinking that we have the monopoly on financial problems. Unless you are funded by an Oil rich or Mafia sugardad finances will continue to be an issue in view especially of wage inflation. We hear a lot of noise that Arsenal is so financially healthy but I tell you straight away that is a lot of smokes and mirrors because if the money was there the club would buy someone worth more than 5 million pounds. All the top teams Barca, Real have documented debt issues. So sorry mate we really do not have the patent for financial dire straits. :mrgreen:

  14. Moscow is my heaven

    February 2, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Anyone who wants the wonderful, rainbow loving Grognard, just have a read of the comments section of this thread:

    He even praised Anderson 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯

    • Grognard

      February 2, 2012 at 8:53 pm

      @Moscow is my heaven: I must have been high when I wrote that. 😉 😉 Seriously though, thanks for pointing that out to some of these critics of mine. I have written many a positive rant and article over the years on this blog but they are quickly forgotten. People instead love to remember and get all bent out of shape over my “dark materials”. That’s fine. I get very little praise or agreement whichever way I lean. I just rub people wrong I guess and that was my number one reason for leaving. I came back because Ian asked me to and because this blog needed a writer who wrote from a different perspective. I will do so and it is a privilege to do so, but still, it is difficult when you get hate spewed at you or you are insulted or wrongly pigeonholed by readers and even the odd staff writer.

  15. Eddie Griffin

    February 2, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I’m compelled to leave a simple ‘LOL’ as a comment, because the reactions here are as I thought they would be, but I won’t.

    I’ve never fully agreed with him, in part because I think he’s a bit short-sighted on some of his opinions, but I’m glad to see him back, because it goes without saying that there isn’t anyone else like him on RR, and he’s a longtime big part of the community, like some of the other regulars and some who used to be regulars. It might not always appear that way, but those who’ve been around here for a while know that deep down, he wants what’s best for United.

    Welcome back bud!

    • Grognard

      February 2, 2012 at 8:44 pm

      @Eddie Griffin: Short sighted? 😯 😯 😯 You have got to be fucking kidding. I’d expect that from others but not from somebody who has been writing for this blog for a while. All my prognosticating and predicting and all my concerns for the club’s future and welfare makes me short sighted ehh. REALLY!!!! 🙄 🙄

  16. Grognard

    February 2, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    @ash is the man: Not interested in the article yet you took the time to read it and respond with a long reply. Perhaps we should be discussing your love and affection for me, not mine for Fergie. 😉 😉

    Seriously though, my opinion is mine alone and I’m just sharing it because I love and care about the team. Regardless of what you or some others feel towards my anger and accusatory tone, I respect your right to think differently than me so we will leave it at that.

  17. ash is the man

    February 2, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    @Grognard: I never said I wasnt interested. I believe I said I was not ”inspired”
    However like you said we will leave it at that with respect for one anothers opinion………………

    • Grognard

      February 3, 2012 at 1:21 am

      @ash is the man: And that is all I ask. I realize that my views are not shared by all or not shared even by the majority but I still stick to my guns. And whether I agree or not with you or anyone else on the blog, I do respect other people’s opinions and on occasion, some even make me see the light and change my point of view. Rare, but it has happened. I also do not profess to always be right. But at least I take a stand and belief in what I am saying until proven wrong. And for the sake of United I have no problem being proven wrong.

    • Grognard

      February 3, 2012 at 7:56 am

      @ash is the man: I don’t write to inspire, I write to inform and offer my particular take on things. Honestly, my weekly thread is called ‘Dark Side Chronicles’ and you came here for inspiration? Forgive me mate if I shake my head a little and chuckle. The only thing I could possibly inspire with my articles is anarchy against the Glazers.

  18. Craig Mc

    February 2, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    The paps are saying Lil man will be back for Chelsea game – Oh I hope it is true, as I miss him when he is out. I thought he was out for 8 weeks – but if he is back all good and well in the Craigster camp 😀 . I mean he’s genious, exciting, devilish, expert dribbler, best NON defending defender according to master statistician Jaywire, Lil man is dynamite, entertaining, moaned at and abused more than any other United player, yet never as Phelan says ever drops his head down, gives in or sulks. All in all nobody like him – and don’t any of you deny it 😉 😉 😉 😉 – 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 . No thumbs down on this post comment, or I will seek you out with Nani’s hairdresser and make you get the Nani haircut 👿 . You’ve been warned lads 😆

    • RedDevilEddy

      February 2, 2012 at 11:36 pm

      @Craig Mc: I really wanna thumb down that comment, a free Nani-lookalike haircut?! Me want! 😆

      Hope the Lil Man is back, we desperately need him. Together with Carrick, Valencia, Rooney and Rio he is our most important member to this team… Hope this injury has given him the little bit of rest he needed, and he can be back doing what he loves- Playing Football!

      • Craig Mc

        February 2, 2012 at 11:55 pm

        @RedDevilEddy: 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 I can just see you Eddi with side head shavings and the letter E emblazoned on the remaining hair 8)

        • RedDevilEddy

          February 3, 2012 at 12:04 am

          @Craig Mc: Would be stealing the ladies from the Lil Man, would be good for him though, having settled down and all! 😆 😆

        • Craig Mc

          February 3, 2012 at 12:12 am

          @RedDevilEddy: If you are thinking of stealing his women – hope you have plenty of money mate – because footballers dames are HIGH maintenance – and that is more than a RAFA fact 😀

  19. Craig Mc

    February 2, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    You can tell I am bored can’t you from the above post 😉 – hurry up and come sunday, and lets get at Chelsea! I miss midweek games when there are none!

  20. Grognard

    February 3, 2012 at 1:17 am

    It’s a funny game. This weekend we travel to Stamford Bridge with what I firmly believe is our worst team in twenty odd years and yet it may be our best chance for a win there in the past ten years. That isn’t saying much for Chelsea now is it. 🙂

    • Craig Mc

      February 3, 2012 at 4:12 am

      @Grognard: Yeah it is a funny ole game – football eh bloody hell 😆 . Hope you are right about our best chance of winning – we need those 3 points. I am so high that Arsehole Cole won’t be playing – couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. How’s your health doing by the way Grog – I hope you got it sorted and you are better now! 🙂

      • jos

        February 3, 2012 at 5:47 am

        @Craig Mc: Didnt Tony give him a hiding last time we met, to Cashley? The only United Winger who could never embarass him was Christiano! Take that.

        • Craig Mc

          February 3, 2012 at 10:35 pm

          @jos: 😆 😆 😆 – I guess so mate – I won’t disagree 😀

      • Grognard

        February 3, 2012 at 7:46 am

        @Craig Mc: I’m feeling great mate, thanks for asking. I’ve been doing fine for a while now ever since I shook off that lung infection.

  21. Nuevo

    February 3, 2012 at 4:35 am

    Welcome back Grog…i just wish you had come back before the shitty match you too could have dished it out to the wastelanders a couple of weeks ago. CraigMc and the others were great but how i missed your presence then you have no idea 😈 😈 😈 😈

    • Grognard

      February 3, 2012 at 7:49 am

      @Nuevo: Thanks mate. If I had returned after the 6-0 drubbing we suffered from City I think I would have mad tons more enemies and would have been banned instantly because my words would have been poison. That was a tough one to stomach but I was more upset losing to Basel and being knocked out by such a minnow in Europe.

  22. Spangle

    February 5, 2012 at 12:15 am

    It’s easy to criticise the finances, but football has changed, teams can no longer spend millions on players, especially foreign ones, UEFA has put paid to that with FFP, we need to grow more home talent and go back to the ethos of the babes, even if it does mean buying 17 yr old French kids and taking a punt on them. a new forum for United fans

  23. Humanoid

    February 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    This might be a cliche’d response, but I’m pretty sure scum like you will be proved wrong when this team becomes unbeatable and one to fear. Just like the previous one, the one before it and every side Fergie has built since taking the reigns. Everyone doubted us in 2004 and 2005. WE SILENCED THEM ALL. And we will again.
    And again.
    And again.
    And again and again and again. Fergie has done it before, and will do it again.

    AND. And all this crap about not signing “DA WORLDZZ BESTEST PLAYAZ” without realizing that ALL clubs are holding back their spending nowadays. And without realizing that we DID spend a lot of money and we have made signings of people that weren’t stars. Yeah, that’s because United turns you into a star. Was Vidic a high profile signing of an established media hyped talent? No. Was Schmeichel? Was Solskjaer? No. United has always had the balance of big spending and small spending, and I’ll admit that it did have some drops in quality when we had to cope with crap like Liam Miller and Djemba Djemba. If Evra is crap, then you dont have your head straight.

    What a load of utter bollocks, this article. Scum like you are more suited to organizations dedicated to conspiracy theories and making money off them.

    • Ian

      February 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      Just so we know……

      Who exactly are you, Humanoid? Your first comment within this community and it’s seriously offensive, I wonder what drives people to behave like this with complete strangers. Can you explain it?



      • Stephen

        February 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm

        @Ian: Ian there are a lot of people who would find Grogs comments about Fergie offensive, if you dish it out he has to expect to take it back.
        Grog is a big boy and knows what he is doing and you well know what he is posting is provocative, so this is a rant site, let people rant.

  24. Stephen

    February 5, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    What have you done for us lately?”
    We are the Champions, that is what Fergie gas done for us.

  25. tonymontanna4united

    February 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    My internet has been playing up for weeks now, so havent been on here a while, so imagine my surprise when casually looking through some of the articles ive missed, i see the grogster is back.
    Great to see you return mate, place just hasnt been the same without you. Hope its a permanent return and not just a one off.

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