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The Scope 1.4 – The Telescope – January 2012

1. Life in technicolor

I’ve discovered that the word “vintage” is a polite synonym for irrelevant. Any studio that releases a motion picture in technicolor, in this age, is deliberately looking to be bankrupt. The 3-D, IMAX, CGI monstrosities, released in this day, will destroy you at the box office. Any football team, employing tactics that make people like Steve Bruce or John Barnes, nostalgic, in 21st century European football, is desperate for an early exit in the Champions League. Or a severe hiding from noisy neighbors. Manchester United seems to be currently free falling on the technical standard meter.

We are now witnessing the return of the technical age in football. The money age is rapidly fading and the target is now technical standards. A technical race has been going on in the football world, and the football community has been on overdrive, desperately trying to dethrone FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team, since 2008. Sophisticated techniques and complex player roles are being formulated constantly. The “false 9”, interiores, inverted wingers and other exotically named roles have become prevalent. Brazil legend Carlos Alberto famously declared the new formation as 4-6-0. No conventional forwards. No traditional wingers. Interchangeable tactics,ironically made famous by the 2006-2008 Manchester United, are no longer an optional style, but an absolute necessity for all top teams.

In all this,United has been going retro. Particularly with traditional wingplay and most importantly, the casting away of the holding role. Box to box midfielders, a zonal marking system based on pre-00s defence techniques, have been a grotesque sight this season. Defenders don’t just become awful overnight. Rio Ferdinand,Evra and Jonny Evans, have all come under heavy scrutiny as soon as United concede a goal. However, the archaic form of defence being employed, which leaves all defensive duties to designated defenders, leaves them outnumbered and under constant pressure. And therefore the math demands that they should succumb to pressure. If Patrice Evra decides not to attack, the play down the left will come to nought. But if he attacks, he leaves a massive gap in his and the LCB’s quadrant. It’s a lose-lose situation. By the same token, Ferdinand and Evans in their centre back roles have faced probably 5 times more action than the likes of Pique, Kompany and Pepe. Jonny Evans has had the best numbers of all the defenders, but has been guilty of a few lethal errors. David De Gea, is actually the best goalkeeper in the league in terms of saves and ground 50-50s. At the end of November, he had saved 79 percent of shots faced for a Premier League high and remains the only top 3 goal minder to have saved a penalty. By that time, he had made 50 saves against the 35 made by both Joe Hart and Tim Krul(who plays behind the league’s best defence).

If the players are doing so well individually, then how come the team as a whole is faltering? It’s elementary stuff. The team is being structured incorrectly. But by whom?

2. From Portugal with treachery

It may sound rather sensational to call Carlos Queiroz a traitor, but from a biased point of view, he looks just that. He came to Manchester United a well respected technocrat whose thesis and philosophies, particularly on building a team from defence, were widely acknowledged within football’s technical community. And that’s what he brought to United. Gradually bringing the team on a par with continental technical standards, his work cannot be overemphasized. A coach of details as Gary Neville recently revealed in his autobiography:

“We had never seen such attention to detail. ”

In the week prior to the famous 180 minutes of a semi-final against FC Barcelona, he would lay down sit-up mats on the training ground to mark exactly where each player had to be to the nearest yard. Neville recalls this:

“We rehearsed time and again, walking through the tactics slowly with the ball in our hands.”

It is as clear as day that such attention to detail and tactical competence is out of the picture right now. But CQ knew exactly the state he was leaving the club in. He knew the steady decline in technical standards would accelerate rapidly after some time. He was certain, promising raw talent would not be adequately developed. But he still left. Treason.

3. Ambition is a disease

Wayne “Mr Ambition” Rooney would make a great book or film. One of football’s most incredible creatures, and trouble is never Far Far Away. Regardless of anyone’s opinion, he is a great talent. But lately, his influence on the pitch or lack of it has made United’s attack blunt at times. As much as tactics were contrary at Basel,his sloppy play and seeming disinterest in such a big game, may be indicative. The frequency of his appearances in tabloids for non-football issues, may not be complimentary to the team’s recovery plan( it’s also debatable if such a plan actually exists).

Most importantly, it does nothing for the other more professional players. Like Dimitar Berbatov. It is very difficult to find football reasons for Berbatov’s quarantine. When called upon he has delivered, but you just have the feeling the next bad game would be his last. Danny Welbeck has added something new to United’s attack- i.e ability on the ball. His link up play shows great intelligence and his hunger for goals is evident. Fast, skillful and strong on the ball, he is Berbatov with a British heart. A combination of the two may prove a shrewd one, particularly with proper utilisation of Nani. Javier Hernandez, because of his trampoline ball control and the fact that his ass rotates on the offside axis, should be behind both. Rooney, may need quarantine until he is cured from his indulgences.

4. All things are not necessarily possible

*Not much success is gained by employing an accountant to design a city or a florist assigned to fly a commercial airline. Some actors can sing, some singers can act, but not all 21 year old fullbacks can play in central midfield. Especially with an 18 year old super talent, central midfielder out of contract this summer and pursued, again by Europe’s top clubs, pulling splinters out of his backside.

Success is also minimal with part-time, generalized players. A 19 year old, who is never sure what his role would be on the weekend, is a successful formula for certain failure. We can all see he is not designed for central defence or disciplined midfield roles, which makes him either a right back or an attacking midfielder based on his attributes. Not both.

Keeping Nani, United, may soon become an impossible task. But to blame the player is gross ignorance, considering his handling by the manager historically. Without a doubt, he is the club’s best talent, but negotiating him with Bayern Munich in July, says very little about confidence in the player. Limiting his talent on the pitch will have gross repercussions in the next transfer window, particularly if he impresses, as expected, in Poland-Ukraine.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. I don’t fully believe that, but there’s a lot of truth in it. You can’t play defenders in midfield and forwards on the wings or suppress the super talents of a highly regarded young midfielder in the Reserves and expect no reaction. The day of retribution may well be on it’s way to Old Trafford.

5. New Year’s Resolutions

Michael Carrick should be given back his wheelchair and should be close enough to the goalkeeper for gay rumours to emerge. Mike Phelan to be reassigned to the museum section of Old Trafford, given his appreciation of archeology. A midfielder should be hired in January and yes, that excludes 37 year old R.E.D.’s. Carlos Queiroz to be kidnapped in the Middle East as soon as Vidic is fit enough to limp. The physios and doctors to be charged with fraud and gross misrepresentation. Sir Alex Ferguson to heed the instruction of ex-Red goalkeeper Mark Bosnich and “pull his finger out”.

The So Far Awards:

1. Best Team Performance

2nd Runner Up
vs Wolverhampton Wanderers 10 December(Old Trafford)

[Total passes: 422(81% accuracy), Ball Possession: 51%, Shots(on target): 20(12), Corners: 8 Tackles won: 17, Interceptions: 17, GS: 4 , GC: 1]

1st Runner Up
vs Wigan Athletic 26 December(Old Trafford)

[Total passes: 475(84%), Possession: 60%, Shots(ot): 20(8), Tackles won : 24, Interceptions : 13, Corners: 10, GS: 5 , GC: 0]

vs Fulham 21 December(Craven Cottage)

[Passes:500(88%), Ball Possession : 57%, Shots(ot): 18(8), Corners: 10, Tackles won: 23, Interceptions: 11, GS: 5 , GC: 0]

2. Individual Performance

2nd Runner Up(joint)

Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans vs Wigan Athletic 26 December

Evans[Passes completed: 42(88%), 3/5 long balls, 3 tackles , 1 interception, 10 clearances, 1 shot blocked, 8/12 aerial duels]

Ferdinand[ Passes completed: 25(81), 6/8 long balls, 0 tackles, 2 interceptions,20 clearances,0 shots blocked, 12/15 aerial duels]

1st Runner Up
Darron Gibson vs Wigan Athletic 26 December

[Passes completed: 76 Pass rate: 95% Long balls: 7/7 Shots(on target): 4(1) Key passes: 1 Assists: 1


Luis Nani vs Fulham 21 December

[Passes completed: 40 Pass rate: 77% Through balls: 1 Key passes: 4 Assists: 2 Shots: 2 Goal : 1]

3. Shocker

2nd Runner Up

Crossing tactics vs Basel 7 December

1st Runner Up

Team selection vs Blackburn Rovers 31 December

Defence: GK- De Gea, RB- VALENCIA CB- CARRICK CB- Jones LB- Evra
Forwards: Berbatov, Chicharito


11 first team injuries- 31 December

4. Mystery

2nd Runner Up

Paul Pogba, 0 first team appearances

1st Runner Up

Dimitar Berbatov quarantine 2011


Michael Owen health bill and credentials of Manchester United medical facilities and personnel.

5. Quote

2nd Runner Up

“I don’t like playing in central midfield at all. I am an attacking player, not a central midfielder…better a second striker than a central midfielder.”

Wesley Sneijder showing United actually DO need him. Watch out Mr Rooney.

1st Runner Up

“When they took a 2-0 lead, it seemed to me they maybe didn’t take us seriously enough. But we know they’ll take us seriously now…”

Basel captain Mark Stroller’s conclusive remark is off the mark


Mr Evra: “Why did you kick me?”

Mr Suarez: “Porque tΓΊ eres negro”(Because you are black).

Mr Evra: “Say it to me again, I’m going to punch you.”

Mr Suarez: “No hablo con los negros.”(I don’t speak to blacks)

Mr Evra: “I’m really going to punch you.”

Mr Suarez: “Dale, negro, negro, negro.”(Okay blackie, blackie, blackie)

Extract from “Uruguay: The Tourist’s Guide to friendly chatter”

[Statistics and Analysis excludes Carling Cup matches]




  1. Traverse

    12 January 2012 at 14:23

    There is a bit of talk doing the rounds that we’re involved in a covert operation in the style of the Hernandez signing to sign Douglas Costa. If it happens he’ll join in the summer.

  2. [OPTI]Madschester United

    12 January 2012 at 14:29

    Pretty gloomy forecast, Mr. Jay-dubs! Well-written of course, but lacks the humor from Part 1 to prevent me from become depressed about United’s future…

    Your comments on quotes are they meant to be funny or serious… can’t tell with certainty. Also, is that ACTUALLY what was said between Evra and Suarez or are you having a laugh???

    Hope it turns around…. in the summer with Pogba, Nani, and Berba staying and reinforcements brought in.

  3. Jay wire

    12 January 2012 at 15:11

    OPTI- Those are the actual quotes from the investigation. No joke. All the quotes I put up are actual official quotes. Gloomy forecast yes, but very diplomatic. You don’t wanna know my real opinion. But have faith regardless. It’s an inevitable phase, but we always pull through somehow.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      12 January 2012 at 19:43

      @Jay wire: I am always keeping the faith… my optimism gets tired…

  4. colver

    12 January 2012 at 17:28

    A bit harsh to call Quieroz a traitor. We knew the deal. He wanted to be a manager. Same story with McClaren. It is our fault for not hiring a competent replacement.

    I don’t think it is a coincidence that the two occasions we won the Champions League are when we had very good assistant managers in McClaren and Quieroz. McClaren gets a lot of stick but he is one of the few English managers who has succeeded on the continent. Similarly Quieroz may have sucked as a manager but there is no question that he was instrumental in creating the amazing football we played when we won the Champions League.

    Ferguson is a great manager. But tactics have always been his achilles heel. That is why he needs a good number two. Phelan is a total joke.

    We always have a shot at the Premier League title with Fergie. But we risk getting left behind in Europe

  5. Jay wire

    12 January 2012 at 18:49

    Colver- “From a biased point of view”. That’s the thing. Calling him a traitor had nothing to do with common sense and logic. It was mockery tbh. But you’re absolutely on the mark about him and to a certain extent McClaren. I totally agree. Both are poor managers but good coaches and tacticians. In CQ’s case make that excellent. Most probably any replacement was gonna be a downgrade, but we didn’t have to go to the uttermost parts of the junkyard. It’s becoming a bit embarrassing really, to watch a United game with friends from other teams. Some of my Barca, Madrid friends, look perplexed at the football on display. They don’t even laugh because they’re quite confused since to them Manchester United is a top club. They’ll be asking ” who’s the screen? Why’s there no pressing? Etc”

  6. Traverse

    13 January 2012 at 01:35

    Rumour doing the rounds on twitter is that Ravel Morrison has been caught stealing from the first team dressing room. Haven’t found the source on it yet, and nothing from the club, but it’s worth noting.

    • Ian

      13 January 2012 at 01:53

      For the first time in a long time mate someone’s just surprised me Re: Ravel! If that’s true Chris he could be finished anywhere let alone United.

      Must admit, I’ve not even heard any rumours let alone any trusted story. Hope it’s a rumour, for his sake.

    • Ian

      13 January 2012 at 02:23

      Oh, and speaking of stories I heard a great one the other day:

      Apparently the flight home from Newcastle last week was hairy as fook in the bad weather.

      At least two players were in tears and a couple were praying!

      I’m working on who it was exactly but doubt I’ll get that.

  7. Jay wire

    13 January 2012 at 07:24

    Right now to be quite frank, I really hope Spurs win the league should we fail to. Makes things more competitive too and I’ve always liked their style of play. I don’t think I could watch football for a year if City win it. Spurs have been thoroughly impressive this season, but everything depends on Modric and Bale. VdV has also done well, and if Scott Parker and Sandro return, they’ll be boosted. I’m no longer confident about our chances given how a trip to Old Trafford now seems the fixture everyone is anticipating to get 3 points from. So I’ve accepted it would take a miracle to win anything,and much better Spurs than City.

    At the same time, City appear to be faltering a bit. The loss of Yaya Toure is not a minor one and I hope Ivory Coast make it all the way to the final. Still I don’t see us taking advantage of that, but Spurs will. Also don’t see any sense in selling Gibson now. We’re busy playing Carrick in defence because of shortages in midfield. He may not be everyone’s favorite, but he is a trained central midfielder. I’d rather him than Rafael and Park in midfield. Sorry to keep bringing this up but I’ll never get over it. I’ve never been more shocked at the lows we’ve hit technically. A part of me thinks it’s sabotage.

    But perhaps the most tragic thing this wretched season, has been young players. Both Morrison and Pogba are out of contract in June. Both players, are highly regarded talents who have a combined 5 appearances for the first team. From the bench. All of them League Cup. I don’t know much about Morrison but I know Pogba. He is light years ahead of Rafael in central midfield. On talent, I’d say he’s ahead of all our midfielders except Scholes and Carrick. Yes I’m including Cleverley. I’ve watched him play and have to say if he’s not ready then we should shut down the Academy tomorrow. Fabregas started playing for Arsenal’s first team, before he turned 16. Barely fresh from Catalunya. Wilshere has already played and started in a Champions League quarter final. Against Barcelona.

    Messi has already won WPOTY 3 times and is just 24. He started playing for Barcelona’s first team at 16. Does anyone actually believe he would have achieved this if he had waited until he was 21? He hasn’t even peaked yet. Ronaldo, Rooney,Walcott etc have all benefitted from first team experience before their 18th birthdays. If Pogba isn’t ready, why is AC Milan monitoring the situation? What do they see in him? And how is he going to be ready by sitting on a bench? There’s an old an incorrect adage that says “experience comes with age”. No, experience comes with experience. It’s about making mistakes, being nervous, ecstatic,rash,scared, excited,intimidated,kicked, jeered at. He has to experience these things and be helped along. Not put in a cocoon experiencing nothing but splinters, watching his counterparts elsewhere, some of them younger, making headlines around the globe. We’re going to regret this dearly.

  8. colver

    13 January 2012 at 11:32

    Too late Jay Wire. We’ve sold Gibson for 500K.

    But it doesn’t really help Pogba. Ferguson has shown he’d rather play the following players in central midfielder than Pogba:

    Carrick, Cleverley, Fletcher, Anderson, Giggs, Jones, Scholes, Rooney, Rafael

    Pogba may well be tenth in the pecking order in Ferguson’s mind and that is absolutely ridiculous.

    Ferguson is full of crap. He used Pogba as an excuse not to buy a central midfielder this summer. Does Pogba play in the pre-season? NO. Does Pogba start any Carling Cup games? NO. Does Pogba get any substitute appearances in the league when we have a three or four goal lead? NO

    As I commented a few days ago even with the youngsters from the Beckham era they only really got game time in their early 20s.
    Most of the teenagers we’ve played were bought for big money EG Rooney, Ronaldo. The twins are the only contemporary example I can think of that involves us promoting reserve players to the first team while still in their teens

  9. Moscow is my heaven

    13 January 2012 at 11:40

    Gibson is sold! Rejoice!

  10. Traverse

    13 January 2012 at 12:46

    Right. Fergie has spoken out on Ravel.

    “His (Ravel’s) agent has been working hard to get him another club. We’ve offered him terms which he has refused. His demands are unrealistic as far as we’re concerned. We’ve rejected an offer from Newcastle. It’s all down to how that progresses.”

    • Moscow is my heaven

      13 January 2012 at 14:46

      @Traverse: A couple of years from now, when he is in a prison cell, he will ask himself, ‘What went wrong?’

    • tonymontanna4united

      13 January 2012 at 16:11

      @Traverse: Fucking agents, tossers the lot of them. If were still desperate for ravel to sign though, we should just lock him in a room with vidic, who will just point at the contract, say “you sign now” and you can bet he’ll do it pdq. No one messes with nemanja you know πŸ˜†

      • [OPTI]Madschester United

        13 January 2012 at 19:52

        @tonymontanna4united: Agent’s don’t make much money when players stay at a club… hence they itch for large (and often) transfer fees… disgusting!

        Rafael and Fabio played early in their career because of injuries to Brown and Neville.

        Pogba should be signed up ASAP and thrown into a midfield with Carrick.

        Morrison should beg Fergie to sign him up and stop being a thrashy human — grow up, YOUNG MAN!

  11. Craig Mc

    13 January 2012 at 13:02

    United fans should start to ASK why Fergie is lying to us. He gave the reason as Jaywire said, that buying a MF last summer would have IMPEDED and held back Pogba. I am sure that Pogba was very encouraged to hear that, and looking forward to getting opportunities and experience playing in some 1st team games. What a letdown eh? Fergie would rather play square pegs/round hole players out of natural positions than give the youngster a real chance. I was most vehement about Tevez when he said that Fergie was a liar etc, you all know I was – because I have always been Fergie faithful, but now I think maybe Tevez was telling the truth when he said that Fergie LIED to him continually. He certainly has lied to the fans about Pogba getting his chance, sad really. Scholesy was a world class player yes, but I think bringing him back for 2 years as is being said now will SLOW United down and hinder our young star opportunities in the process. Can’t understand why Scholesy would even want to do that!

    • RMJ

      13 January 2012 at 13:18

      @Craig Mc: I think it comes down to two things actually while in context of what Traverse said above…first agents trying to squeeze more money. We always have run a tight ship with a pay hericahy and these kids might be fishing for more money. Secondly, they were put up on a pedestal so much that they believe they should be in first team now…i think at the start of teh seaosn both ravel and pogba would have gone on loans which would have meant they would become a better option for the first team than they are now..but my guess is they both refused to do it due to their oversized ego(no doubt we all played a role in that in our nonsensical praise)

    • tonymontanna4united

      13 January 2012 at 15:59

      @Craig Mc: At the end of the day mate, regardless of whether its popular or not, the buck ends with fergie, hes the man in charge, and in this case i agree he is firmly in the wrong.
      I find the pogba situation a total embarrassment myself, and i have to say, i think alot of it is to do with fergie getting on in years and surrounding himself with yes men to whom, he can do no wrong, thats partly to blame.
      When your young, you dont mind taking risks. The older you get the more controlled you become.
      Throwing in kids whose inclusion may be a master stroke or a complete and utter failure is too much of a risk for fergie these days it seems. Pogba might totally suck up the joint, give away a goal through his inexperience, thus resulting in dropped points, and less chance of winning the title.
      Its better therefore to go with old reliable, giggsy and carrick, maybe try jones out in midfield or whatever, rather than resort to a very raw young lad with potential. You know at the end of the day, what your gonna get with giggs and carrick, not so much so with pogba.
      I dont personally agree with this, as jay wire said above, its the experience of playing a game at OT in front of 76k people, making mistakes and how you recover, going to the likes of stoke and other hostile grounds, and how you react to that thats going to determine once and for all whose gonna make the grade and whether they have a future, not leaving them to rot in the reserves.
      As ive said on so many occassions before its been absolutely pathetic how slowly weve introduced some of the kids in comparison to the number of chances wasters like diouf and gibson have had, even just wasting a space on the bench regardless of whether they came on or not which could have been filled by a young lad.
      Diouf gets a valuable spot on the bench nearly ever week despite the fact we all know he has absolutely no future at this club, for the simple reason that he needs to keep his confidence up, and possibly his value, in the event he is sold.
      Its all total BS really, and quite frankly the return of scholes from retirement i reacted to with genuine disgust and anger, that these days we seem to think a 37 year old retiree is the answer to our problems. What does that say to pogba at a time when hes still deciding whether he has a future at this club when we’d rather resort to a 37 year old whose legs went years ago.
      It really needs to now be a case of giving the young lads a fair crack of the whip, or if not, then bloody well getting the cheque book out and spending some of this money, cough, we have sitting around waiting to be spent.
      No bollocks about waiting for top class players becoming available or there being no value, theres plenty out there, top class or not, who would be a damn sight better than some of the options we currently have.
      But we all know whats in store really dont we. Scholes back in the starting line up most weeks, contract extended for atleast another year in the summer, calls of no value because the euros have meant the market has gone crazy πŸ™„
      I can understand pogbas frustrations tbh, because im bloody well experiencing them too.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      13 January 2012 at 19:54

      @Craig Mc: Fergie vs. Tevez… please don’t pick the midget without the red nose.

      Tevez is a lying c*** who deserves 0% respect. Don’t fall for their tricks.

      “edited: check the rulebook Opti, a certain word is prohibited.”


      • Craig Mc

        13 January 2012 at 20:13

        @[OPTI]Madschester United: You saying Fergie hasn’t been continuously deceiving United fans then – because I and others on here are already disagreeing with you mate!

  12. gator

    13 January 2012 at 20:04

    play the kids.

    i think previous comments are correct on fergi. He could very well be scared to let citeh win the league and feels he can keep them at bay with his older players and that the youngsters are too much of a risk. just play the kids and see.

    how is tunners doing on loan???

  13. Craig Mc

    13 January 2012 at 20:17

    Anybody else watch Fergie’s press conference on MUTV today? He looked really down and uneasy, and body language like he didn’t want to be there. Maybe Fergie is feeling lack of funding as much as we are – although he can’t say it can he? Please tell me some of you watched his news conference!

    • Ian

      13 January 2012 at 20:34

      Saw it. Not sure he meant to say “it’s a pity they’re not out there’ when asked about Utd’s experienced crowd benefiting the team between now and May. It was a definite sign to me that SAF knows his players don’t have the experience of other squads gone by, but he looked like he regretted saying it… we’d all just read his actual thoughts or something!

      I think I did and he was right tbh! Doesn’t trust this squad ONE BIT!

  14. Vida Dollar

    20 January 2012 at 07:46

    Tbh SAF has served us with distinction over the years but these past two seasons he has really made some uncharacteristic and ridiculous decisions which are not adding up and may be symptoms that the club faces bigger but as yet undisclosed problems. I suspect it has everything to do with the financial books which should be very far from balancing. The publicised new package being put together for the gaffer tells me our bankrupt owners are desperate to keep fergie quiet as there continued stay can only be perpetuated by SAF.I dont understand the following decisions:-
    1. Taking Orbertan on tour and selling him early in the season.
    2. Holding on to Pogba and Morrison and not sending them on loan with no intention of playing them.
    3. Holding on to a player like Diouf who has failed to make the Senegal national team
    4.Selling Gibson at the height of midfield woes (I suspect though he was making a statement as Gibson was the weakest link of the 3 revellers who broke curfew before the blackburn game.)
    5.Re signing Paul Scholes with Pogba on the bench and having said he has never signed anyone over 35 in response to rumours Beckham was coming back.
    6.Sitting red faced in the dugout while United his players endured humiliation at the hands of City, Basel, Crytsal Palace, Blackburn and Newcastle.
    7. Not really apologising to fans for some of the defeats above.

    TBH I fear for the worst.

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