21 Dec 2015

Van Gaal is a dead man walking

Amongst the boos and jeers at Old Trafford following the shambolic defeat to Norwich, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. This was the day that Louis van Gaal lost the majority of supporters who are still baffled as to what his famous "philosophy" actually is.

The body language the Dutchman displayed as he made his exit from the pitch suggests he knows he's a dead man walking.

To grant him more time to turn things around would be ludicrous, simply because there have been no signs of a big improvement since the days that David Moyes was sat at the helm with his Manchester United mouse mat, and he didn't spend £250m.

Out of the top 4, out of the Champions League, out of the Capital One cup, why continue to let the rot set in? It makes no sense at all? Some climb above their high horse and claim he needs time?

Others say we're not a sacking club and point to the time it took for Sir Alex to turn things around. The wonky nosed Dutchman is halfway through a 3 year contract that he has no intention of extending, thankfully! So why back him financially again when he'll be gone after next season?

Some spout about us requiring a manager with longevity, someone to build a dynasty, basically, another Sir Alex Ferguson. Stop living in the past, football has changed. All the top European sides change their manager to freshen up the ideas of team. We were lucky that we had a manager who spoilt us for 26 years. Ultimately it's a results industry, and if you're not succeeding, you're gone, that's just the nature of the beast that is modern day football.

Louis van Gaal's is a dinosaur, his methods and brand of football is outdated, he has failed miserably at Old Trafford after blowing £250m on new recruits. No other manager would get away with this in top flight football.

The timing of this disastrous and embarrassing run of results couldn't have come at a better time, following the Russian crooks decision to hand Jose Mourinho his P45. Mourinho has already stated he has no intention of taking a break from football, a wounded Jose could be just the tonic.

Mourinho's obsession with Old Trafford could be the key. The fact he would bring confidence, an ego, and a CV showing he wins trophies makes it a match made in heaven.

Questions will be asked about his failure to promote youth from within, but you get the impression that given the job, he'd adapt to this, he'd know what the club and supporters would expect of him and I believe he would respect and honour this tradition.

He could be the closest thing to Sir Alex Ferguson, the way he deals with the press, that "it's us against the world" mentality, that ability to piss off every other rival manager and get under their skin. Mourinho would make us hated again, but never ignored.

A criticism of Lois van Gaal has been his inability to get off his arse during games, he doesn't lead the team from the sidelines or bark instructions, you'd get the complete opposite with Mourinho. I recall the time he put his finger to his lips against Liverpool celebrating a goal that Chelsea had scored, what's not to like about that kind of carry on?

Stick with Louis van Gaal and run the risk of finishing outside the top 4? No thanks. Appoint Mourinho and with the players actually playing for him and willing to impress, we could get ourselves back into a title charge. That's the Mourinho effect, he would relish the job and the supporters would take to him. Rival fans see him as a bit of a twat, but he'd be our twat.


27 Feb 2015

Rooney's talent wasted in midfield role

How exactly has Louis van Gaal got away with playing Wayne Rooney in a central midfield role this season? Would Manuel Pellegrini play Sergio Aguero in that position? Only a person heavily under the influence of recreational drugs would argue that indeed, the Chilean would.

*cue Dizzee Rascal song 'Bonkers'*

We've had to witness Rooney, a talisman figure at Old Trafford, participate in games that he has had little or now effect in, and this is a player who only last season, was well on course to become Manchester United's all time top goalscorer before hanging up his boots for the final time? Maybe the Dutchman has placed a wager on the serial increased-terms contract seeker not achieving that honour?

United occupy 4th spot in the Premier League at this moment in time, with some very difficult fixtures to play in the coming months.

Rooney has cut a frustrated figure this season, he's been playing with a ball and chain around his ankle, unable to have little influence on games, he's not been able to express himself and let his talent flow because he's being asked to play a role that's not familiar to him. It also doesn't help him that he's coming up against players in the Premier League who are far more experienced and superior to him in that midfield role, Rooney has looked lost in some games.

Rooney is the club captain, I certainly wouldn't fault his commitment and willingness to perform in the centre of the park, the book has to stop with the man that is wasting a player who broke onto the Premier League stage as one of the most exciting English talents we'd seen, since the days that Paul Gascoigne announced himself to the world.

Only recently, Rooney registered his first shot on target from open play in 2015, that tells it's own story. We've now become accustomed to him spending his game time chasing after referees, disputing decisions. Maybe he feels that as captain of the club he needs to air his views, I'd much prefer him using his passion and anger in the final third of the field, use it on opposition defenders, use it on the ball like that time against Newcastle at Old Trafford in 2005, when Rooney unleashed a thunder bolt of a volley in frustration after decisions had gone against United.

In 2004, Alan Smith joined Manchester United from Leeds for £7m. He signed as a forward, a promising English talent at the time. Smith started well, scoring goals, but was soon changed to a central midfield role, Sir Alex Ferguson wanted his commitment and tough tackling style to flourish as a midfielder. It never really worked out for Smith, he ended up at Newcastle, then MK Dons, he now plays for Notts County. He was a player who had big potential but found a switch of role difficult at Old Trafford.

Rooney is a player who should now be at the peak of his career, that 18 year old lad who stood out at Everton should be the key to Manchester United's attack, creating and scoring goals. Comparisons with Paul Scholes are very wide of the mark.

Louis van Gaal has been getting away with it this season, the football has not been what we expected when we were told to wait for his famous 'philosophy' to kick in at the club, 9 months in and supporters are still waiting anxiously for it to announce itself. His stubbornness is his downfall, and playing players out of their natural position. Only recently, he has played Rooney in his natural position, hopefully the 'tinker van' keeps him there and finds him a player who can feed off him, because a top 4 finish is vital for Manchester United this season.


23 Jan 2015

Supporters Unconvinced With LvG's 3-5-2 Formation

Under the guidance of former Manchester United manager David Moyes, we were left with that hangover feeling, Louis van Gaal was effectively our paracetamol, but, as we find ourselves at the halfway point of the season, do supporters believe the Dutchman's 3-5-2 formation is the way forward?

Much has been said about the way Van Gaal sets up as a tactical unit. Too defensive? No width? Yes, the  formation goes against United's tradition of attacking teams using wide players. Granted, United play with wing-backs, but the players performing these roles are being asked a huge task to both attack and defend.

It's been the subject of debate between supporters, pundits and the media. It does seem that the majority would prefer a switch back to a flat back four. It's blatantly obvious that three at the back is not working, especially when you take into account how poor the current defense are technically. It's a system that almost breeds nervousness.

Personally, the wake up call for me was against Southampton at Old Trafford, a game United lost 1-0. The formation offered nothing as an attacking threat, the fact United failed to register a single attempt on target tells its own story. Leaving Falcao out of the squad baffled most supporters and pundits, sparking stories of a bust up. United managed to keep possession of the ball against Southampton, but it was pointless possession, it's a statistic Van Gaal seems obsessed with.

Van Gaal maintains that he will stick with his formation, supporters are still waiting for signs of the horribly over used word 'philosophy' to kick in. Signs that the setup is not to the taste of the fans was evident at Loftus Road, as they chanted '4-4-2' and 'ATTACK'. Van Gaal made the change and United ended up winning the game.

Perhaps the most bizzare thing at Loftus Road that day, was witnessing Phil Jones on corner kick duty, what next? De Gea taking penalties? Rooney on goal kick duty? Falcao to be the new Old Trafford ball boy?

Van Gaal is the man to take the club forward, his 'It's us against the world' swagger, and the way he deals with the media is a breath of fresh air compared with the previous manager, But it's been a strange season, a season where we have won games that we probably shouldn't have, a season in which our goalkeeper has easily been the most impressive player out on the field, on a weekly basis. 

There is an argument that Van Gaal doesn't yet have the correct players to fit into the system he believes will one day flourish, but, at this current moment, Champions League qualification is vital for Manchester United, it would be a realistic step in the right direction that we can then build on next season. If Van Gaal persists with his current tactical formation, he could jeopardise that early season target.


12 Sep 2014

Manchester United Ruining Football?

'Panic buying', 'paid over the odds', 'they've only signed for the money', 'ruining football', 'lost their identity' ........ Just a few of the things Manchester United have been accused of since the transfer window closed in September.

It was the media who reported that Manchester United had a '£300m war chest' at their disposal, they claimed that was the sum of money required to get the club competing again for Premier and Champions League titles, so when £150m of that reported transfer kitty was invested in the squad, the knives quickly appeared? Shocked? No, not really, United help media outlets to shift newspapers off the selves.

United have signed 7 players this summer, the fee they paid for them players is regularly touted around as if the club has committed a crime, but we never hear about the outgoings do we? A total of 11 players left in a mixture of sales and free transfers and 7 were loaned out, so that's 18 departures.

Former Manchester United player Mike Phelan, who also was Sir Alex Ferguson's assistant at Old Trafford, has recently criticised Louis van Gaals spending spree, claiming that the club have overlooked youth in order to get back to the top, he said: "The club's priority now is to win things so, unfortunately, other things take a step back."

The priority is always to win things isn't it? As for abandoning the history of the club which involves developing and giving youth players a pathway to the first team, why is there no mention of Tyler Blackett and Jesse Lingard? Both products of United's youth development system who started the first Premier League game of this season against Swansea at Old Trafford?

During the transfer deadline day deals, Danny Welbeck was sold to Arsenal for £16m, it's a transfer that divided opinions between reds' supporters, personally I'd have kept the Longsight lad. The press quickly arrived at a conclusion that the arrival of Radamel Falcao, meant that Welbeck had been pushed out of the club, there is probably an element of truth to that, but, they never mentioned that teenager James Wilson, a product of the clubs youth academy was quickly promoted to the first team squad following Welbecks departure?

Yes, United have invested heavily this season, but they required this injection of new blood, they needed some world class quality, they achieved that when they acquired the services of Argentine Ángel Di María and Columbian Radamel Falcao. How anyone can say that these two players were 'panic buys' is beyond me? The Falcao loan deal was a consummate no brainer.

'Panic buying' is the term people usually label teams with if they sign a player on deadline day, and when David Moyes signed Marouane Fellaini in the final minutes of last seasons window, I fully agreed that it was a panic buy, even though the club tried telling supporters that Fellaini was always the number one target, we all knew deep down that he wasn't.

The only panic buying United were involved in this season, was probably when the learned that Radamel Falcao was a possibility, and even then, the only element of panic, would've been rushing through a deal in time to make sure all the necessary paperwork was completed to obtain one of the worlds top goal scorers.

United smashed the British transfer record for Di María, yes, the club paid over the odds for the player, £59.7m is a pharaonic amount, but overpaying by roughly £10m for authentic proven world class talent is nothing for a club like United when you take into account the commercial revenue they generate.

Liverpool have splashed around £100m on new arrivals this season, but because they received £75m for Luis Suarez they don't get criticised like Manchester United? It's off the field deals that have ensured that United can compete competitively in the transfer market, football is sadly now a business and the team from Old Trafford tick all the boxes when it comes to complying with the newly introduced financial fair play regulations. Yes, they are in debt, but it's a debt that is serviceable and the club are on track to rid themselves of that vile loan in the future.

As for rival supporters suggesting that these players are only signing for United for they money, well yes, they are being rewarded with riches, who isn't in top flight football today? Manchester United is much more than that, the fact they are not in the Champions League has had most people outside of Old Trafford suggesting that it's all about the money for these new arrivals. Louis van Gaal has been instrumental in these signings, I doubt David Moyes could've attracted a Falcao or a Di María.

Under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United ticked along smoothly, when he retired, the main component was removed. He was responsible for getting all the parts to work at their maximum potential, he even managed to get average parts to go beyond the call of duty, they'd have ran through brick walls for him, under Moyes, the intensity dropped and those same parts decided to start walking around the brick walls.

A lot of the bitterness aimed at Manchester United recently has come from the blue half of Manchester, which is quite ironic really, especially when some Chelsea and Manchester City supporters claim that 'United are trying to buy the league' and that players are now joining the red half for financial gain, maybe this financial fair play ruling is the real reason City supporters are so outraged?

Manchester United ruining football? A chucklesome comment at best. Especially when you consider what other European greats in the game spend like Real Madrid and Barcelona, but they're not ruining football are they? No, just Manchester United. Oh and yes, I was being facetious if you hadn't already worked it out.

There will never be another group of players at Old Trafford like the ones that graduated in 1992, but I guarantee that United will continue to blood youth with the already established players they decide to purchase, history suggests that, but could you really say the same about those over at Stamford Bridge or the Etihad? It's a bet I recommend you avoid, you'd have a better chance of a return backing the blind three legged horse in the 3:30pm at Wolverhampton next Friday.


15 Aug 2014

Rooney Captaincy Divides Opinion

With the dawn of the 2014/15 Premier League season in sight, there has been a shake up at Old Trafford ahead of the new campaign. Out went tactically challenged David Moyes and in came assertive Dutchman Louis van Gaal who now has the task of picking up the pieces as he attempts to install the fire back into the bellies of the fallen champions.

New additions Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw have arrived to bring youth and creativity to the team, but the recent announcement that Wayne Rooney will succeed Nemanja Vidic as the full time club captain (with Darren Fletcher as vice captain) has divided opinion hugely between the reds' supporters.

Some will say that Rooney was the obvious choice, that's when you take into consideration the experience United have lost this summer, Ferdinand, Vidic and Patrice Evra have a left for pastures new, also Ryan Giggs hung up his boots to focus fully on his job as Louis van Gaals assistant. But the Rooney appointment divides opinion and this goes back to that day in October 2010 when he handed in a transfer request, news that tore through Old Trafford like a tornado, it seems a section of fans simply can't forgive and forget that moment.

Although Rooney performed a u-turn which subsequently made him the clubs highest paid player, the manner, and the fact he was preparing to swap red for blue, left a bitter taste, you could probably compare it to being cheated on by your missus.

When Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, he took a parting shot at Rooney by claiming in a SkySports interview that Rooney had once again asked to leave the club, a claim that has never really reached a convincing conclusion as to whether he actually did, but it certainly added more fuel to the fire.

It seemed, like some supporters, Sir Alex simply could not forgive Rooney for his act. It's the reason he overlooked Rio Ferdinand for the full time captaincy, instead choosing Nemanja Vidic, Ferdinand's 'coincidental meeting' with Peter Kenyon in a London restaurant ensured that he wouldn't wear the armband on a regular basis.

On the pitch, Rooney's commitment and attitude simply can't be faulted, he's a player who gives his all and is desperate to win and succeed, it's the transfer request that has tarnished his career at the club, this is sadly the reality of modern day footballers, who let agents control them like puppets for financial gain.

Many though Louis van Gaal would choose his trusted country man Robin van Persie, he was seen as the most experienced and obvious option, but his decision to choose Rooney will be based on what he has seen in training and his influence at the club he has been at for 10 years.

When Wayne Rooney leads Manchester United out this season, it will be viewed as a symbolic moment, yes, he's worked hard to achieve this, but in the back of your head you just wonder if things don't run smoothly under the new management, at what point will the captain look to jump ship, AGAIN?


14 May 2014

The Year Liverpool Nearly Won The League

As the curtain came down to signal the end to the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League campaign, Manchester City were deservedly crowned champions of England, but I cant help but think, that this year, will be remember as the season that Liverpool nearly won the league, maybe even the season that Liverpool threw it away.

I'm a Manchester United supporter, so putting this into words is not the easiest thing I've ever done. Liverpool and Manchester City are our fiercest rivals, so I didn't take much pleasure from watching this seasons conclusion to the season, following a very disappointing season at Old Trafford.

Perhaps, the only thing that put a little smile on my face, was the fact that the majority of Liverpool supporters, ex players of the club and the media, had Liverpool crowned champions in their minds with a month of the season to go.

Now there is nothing wrong with being confident, there is no shame in believing that your team will win the title, but you sensed with a month left of the season, that the way the Liverpool supporters were acting, that they were setting themselves up for an almighty fall, and fall they did.

March 27th, 2014, Liverpool supporters lined the Anfield Road in their hundreds before kick-off against Sunderland on a Wednesday night. As the Liverpool coach arrived, flares were set off, flags were waved, and the 'We're gonna win the league' chant, filled the scouse air, all that was missing was the open top bus and the Premier League trophy, it was like a circus.

The chants and celebrations were a sign that Liverpool supporters believed, they were confident they could land their first ever Premier League title, a first league title for 24 years, but it was very premature to be chanting those words in March, it was like they knew something that we didn't.

In the 1991/92 season, as a school kid, I was experiencing my first ever title race as a Manchester United supporter. My old man planted in my head from an early age, he'd wisely tell me: 'Don't count your chickens before they've hatched'. It's something that has always stuck in my mind, even with QPR leading at the Etihad back in 2012 on the last day of the season, I still sat watching it expecting City to score, I didn't shout 'Champions', like a friend of mine did, in our local pub, the rest is history as City scored 2 late goals to win the league on goal difference.

United lost out on the league title that season, Leeds were crowned champions, my dad told me: 'the best team always deserves to win the title.' Which brings me onto the supporters and the journalist's who claimed 'Liverpool deserve to win the league this season.'

TalkSports Adrian Durham wrote a piece for MailOnline, on 12th November, 2013:
'If there is one set of fans who deserve to win the title this season, it's Liverpool supporters. Liverpool last won the title a year after the Hillsborough tragedy. Those fans have been lied to, Hilsborough police changed their stories to try to pin the blame for the tragedy on Liverpool fans.'

He added: 'Liverpool fans were blamed for an appalling tragedy that wasn't their fault, they've had to endure the pain and lies of all that followers for years, for decades, it's time those supporters had something to shout about. If there is any justice and sentiment left in football, Liverpool will be champions come May.'

Now, I'm not disrespecting the Hilsborough tragedy in any way here, being a Manchester United supporter, I can relate to the pain and anguish that comes with something so cruel and sad, and I sincerely hope the families of those who died, get the justice they deserve. The Munich air disaster in 1958 is a dark chapter in our clubs history that will never be forgotten, but why did so many people believe that Liverpool deserved to win the league?

I'm trying to highlight the word 'deserve', my dictionary says the definition of that word is: 'To merit or have a claim to reward because of actions, qualities.' The only way a team would 'deserve' to win a championship, is when it becomes mathematically possible for them to be so. Surly you can't deserve it because of tragedy? It's what you do on the field that will rightfully see you lift the top prize in England. You deserve it if you win it.

It's clear, that Liverpool simply got carried away. Greeting the players' coach with chants of 'Were gonna win the league', was a symbol of this, the hysteria would hit boiling point on the day that Liverpool faced Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday, 13th April, 2014, a game they won 3-2, which meant their destiny, was now in their own hands.

The scenes at the final whistle that day, you'd have been mistaken for actually thinking that the league title had been won, which goes to show naivety and the clubs inexperience in a title race. With Steven Gerrard in tears, his decision to round up his troops for a team-talk on the pitch, is something that as a captain, should have been done in the privacy of the dressing room. There was still 4 games left of the season at this stage.

I know both Manchester City and Liverpool supporters. The contrast between them is very different. Even when the destiny of the title swung in City's favour, the blues I know remained grounded, they never sung about winning the league at the Etihad, mainly because of that 'City tag' that is attached to them from their past. They'd also been in this position before, they knew how to handle it.

That team talk would come back to haunt Steven Gerrard, TV camera's clearly picked him up screaming: 'This does not f****** slip now', in the group huddle. The following week, you got the impression they thought they simply just had to turn up against Chelsea at Anfield. The man who mentioned the slip reference, would slip at the Kop end, allowing Demba Ba to score.

Following that defeat, Liverpool supporters turned on Chelsea's Jose Mourniho, claiming he parked the bus? Liverpool's inexperience would finally catch up with them at Selhurst Park. They were 3 goals up with 11 minutes remaining, each time they scored, they priced the ball out of the net, they were trying to work away at the goal difference, the match ended 3-3, and how ironic, that the man who loves kissing camera lens', would push away a camera to deflect attention from a distraught Luis Suarez.

Brendan Rodgers, he's the man that some say, 'reinvented football'. The media love affair with Liverpool this season has been an eye opener. They backed the opinions of former players, Jamie Carragher, Robbie Fowler and Graeme Souness, who all claimed that: 'Nobody deserves a Premier League winners medal, more than Steven Gerrard'. If I had £1 for everytime I heard that comment, I'd be richer than Sheikh Mansour. He deserves a winners medal, about as much as I deserve to win this Fridays EuroMillions jackpot.

Steven Gerrard was voted the second best player in England this season, why? I could name 7 players who should have been named above him, Ya Ya Toure, Hazard, David Silva, Willian, Adam Lallana, Fernandinho and probably even his Liverpool team mate Jordan Henderson.

The media lavished praise on this Liverpool team for blowing teams away, but Manchester City did exactly the same thing, they just didn't get the praise that media darlings Liverpool got, and in a season that Manuel Pellegrini won the Premier League and Capital One cup in only his first season with the blues, Brendan Rodgers is names League Managers' Association manager of the year, and Tony Pulis named Premier League Manager of the year?

Pellegrini has matched, what Jose Mourinho did, in his first spell in charge of Chelsea. The media don't seem to acknowledge this? The Manchester City manager has done a great job, he's also remained tight lipped, refusing to respond to Jose Mourinho's mind games and even Alan Pardews 'Old c***' jibe. He's conducted himself very well this season.

So this season will be remembered as the year that Liverpool nearly won the league. Heaven only knows how the media would've reacted, if Brendan Rodgers had done what Manuel Pellegrini did this season? I imagine the press association would be addressing him as 'Sir Brendan', at next season's first pre match press conference.


6 May 2014

Old Trafford Set To Salute Legend Giggs

It's set to be an emotional evening at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening against Hull City, as the Old Trafford crowd prepare to say their farewells and salute a club legend Ryan Giggs, who will step out at the Theatre of Dreams for the final time as interim manager in front of the home crowd, it's possible it will be the final time as a player too.

Media speculation suggests that Giggs will name himself in the starting eleven, and who would begrudge him that decision if it's correct? This is a man who has represented the team he grew up supporting as a child, as both a player and a manager, the list of honours are endless, he's a living legend.

13 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, 9 Community Shields, 2 Champions Leagues, 1 Super Cup, 1 Intercontinental Cup and 1 FIFA Club World Cup, add to that the individual awards that Giggs has won and it starts to tell the story of the most decorated player in English football history.

I'm lucky to have followed Giggs' career from the early nineties when he first broke into the Manchester United team as a raw 17 year old. His pace and ability to run with the ball made him an instant favourite with supporters, who made early comparisons to the late George Best, it was easy to see why, so much talent and potential at such an early age.

Giggs has left us so many memories that it's hard sometimes to put them into some sort of order, but if we are talking about the early days, you instantly think back to White Hart Lane and a Premier League game against Tottenham in 1992, when Giggs announced himself to the world, it's the goal that got people talking about him.

The goal he scored that day was sensational, he used 3 touches and lightening pace to rip apart Spurs. He took the ball past Dean Austin after his slip, nutmegged Jason Cundy and rounded Ian Walker, it was simply breathtaking from a player who had only just turned 18 years of age. He would repeat this in 1994 against QPR with a goal which was remarkably similar. 

So many great moment, I'm unsure that my computers hard drive would allow me to mention them all, but if you had to sum up one moment when you mention Ryan Giggs, no, not Imogen Thomas, I mean Villa Park in 1999, a vital moment that is an important part of Manchester United's historic treble winning season, without it, who knows how that season could have ended up? 

We all know it, Patrick Vieira misplaces a pass in extra time to Giggs, United are down to 10 men following the dismissal of Roy Keane. Giggs receives the ball and runs at an Arsenal defence who's legs have gone, they retreat, Giggs manages to get past Lee Dixon and Martin Keown before unleashing a shot from a tight angle into the roof of the net past David Seamen. 

The madness after that finish is probably one of the most iconic goal celebrations in football as Giggs removed his shirt and swung it around his head to reveal that hairy chest.

That goal continued the clubs momentum and belief that they could achieve the treble, and in Barcelona's famous Camp Nou on Wednesday, 26th May 1999, that dream was realised as Manchester United defied all the odds to score 2 goals in injury time to beat Bayern Munich and lift the Champions League trophy. They are still the only English team to complete this feat to date.

Ryan Giggs has managed to adapt to the demands of the game season after season. His ability to reinvent himself as a player has been incredible, starting out as a flying winger, to playing that central midfield role where he uses his brain and range of passing to hurt teams.

He is the only player to score in every season since the Premier League started back in 1992, it would be a fitting tribute if the 40 year could add to that incredible record against Hull City at Old Trafford.

Giggs' future with Manchester United remains unclear, I personally think that we need to keep a person at the club with his experience and knowledge. If the new manager does not find a place for him in his set up, Giggs will be another clubs gain. 

So many of the powerhouse teams in European football surround themselves with ex players, players who understand the clubs philosophy and tradition, hopefully the hierarchy realise this and offer Ryan Giggs a role at the club assisting the new manager.

Until that decision has been made, lets just enjoy and celebrate the career of an unbelievable talent, we will never see the likes of Ryan Giggs again, 13 Premier League Titles, that will be difficult for any other player to come close too. It's the reason I believe the club should look at honouring him, when he does finally hang up his boots, by retiring that famous 11 shirt.

Ryan Giggs, tearing you apart since 1991.


30 Apr 2014

Too Soon For Giggs To Take Full Control

When Manchester United announced that they had parted company with David Moyes after only 10 months at the helm, they moved to install fans favourite and club legend Ryan Giggs as interim manager until the end of the season, a player who was part of the famous class of '92, a glorious chapter in the clubs history.

It was a romantic gesture, a move that was sure to give supporters a lift after a disappointing season, Giggs quickly added Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt to his staff t to assist him, but lets be realistic, is Ryan Giggs really ready to take on the huge task of leading Manchester United on a full time basis?

Giggs' first press conference as interim manger was impressive, compared to the David Moyes regime over the last 10 months it was the total opposite. Giggs is a man who knows the club inside out, he said all the right things, he was confident, there was no mention of 'we'll try our very best'.

Giggs' first game in charge, was a home game against a poor, struggling Norwich team who are contenders for relegation. The reception he received as he stepped out with the team was never in doubt, it was a well deserved ovation for a player who has spent his full career with the club ensuring legendary status with its supporters.

Marouane Fellaini didn't even make the squad for Giggs' first team selection, some were surprised to learn that club record signing Juan Mata only made the bench, it was a clear indication that he was setting up with width and penetration, a mixture of experience and speed.

As the final whistle blew at Old Trafford to signal a 4-0 win, the media and supporters were both quick to state that this was because of Ryan Giggs. Social medial platforms were buzzing with 'give Giggs the job now' comments, however, I feel, that perspective is required at this moment.

The feel good factor had clearly retuned at Old Trafford against Norwich, you have to question those players who put in a shift for Giggs,, the same players who let David Moyes down to a certain degree.

Giggs is clearly respected by his fellow professionals and staff at the club, but I'd prefer him to gain experience working along side a top manager first, before taking the job on a full time basis.

It's been widely reported that current Dutch coach Louis van Gaal will be handed the task of rebuilding the red side of Manchester, it's a job that requires a big name, van Gaal has an impressive CV, he certainly ticks all the boxes.

The Norwich result didn't flatter United, it could have and probably should have been more than the 4-0 scoreline suggested, but Norwich were poor.

It's against the top teams this season that the club have failed to make any impact on matches, and a top coach is required to pit his wits against the Premier League elite coaches, it's too early to install Ryan Giggs as the full time manager, although it's a nice thought at this present time, let him learn his trade first, then, in the future, who knows?

Giggs would gain experience as van Gaal's assistant, or as part of his coaching team, and the Dutch man does not have youth on his side, so within 5 years, it could be that the masses get their wish, and see Ryan Giggs handed full control of first team matters, at this moment, I believe it's too soon for him to make the huge step up right now.


2 Apr 2014

United Midfielder Is A Ticking Time Bomb

Football has changed incredibly over the years, so much so, that £27.5m ensures you secure the services of a Premier League/International footballer who would probably struggle to make any kind of positive impression on a Sunday league encounter down on Hackney Marshes.

This 6ft 4" Belgian would enjoy the aggressive side of Sunday League football, he'd get away with his off the ball elbows, that's if he could get anywhere within touching distance of the players who are using their Sunday morning run out as a means of sweating the previous evenings alcohol consumption out of them. If the penny hasn't dropped yet, I'm talking about Manchester United's hideous haired misfit Marouane Fellaini.

Fellaini joined Manchester United during the final hour of the September 2013 transfer window, David Moyes stated shortly after completing the deal that: "Fellaini was always my main target", I smell bull faeces Davey lad, the words 'Panic' and 'Buy' instantly spring to mind. Why didn't the club sign him the week before when his buy-out clause was reportedly £4m cheaper?

Chief Executive Ed Woodward spent the summer of 2013 stalking Barcelona play maker Cesc Fàbregas, United made more bids for the player than Anderson has had fast food take aways, and that's quite a few.

When Woodward finally got the message and accepted that Fàbregas was not seduced by his charm, the panic button was pressed and United became the laughing stock of football as they placed bids for players like one would on Internet auction site eBay. As time ticked away, and Manchester United in danger of failing to secure a signing for David Moyes, he went back to the club he once managed, knowing that the Fellaini signing was easy and achievable.

The bushy haired Belgian signed on the dotted line for United just in time to register him for the 2013/14 season. Going for Cesc Fàbregas and ending up with Marouane Fellaini was underwhelming to say the least, it's like planning to eat at San Carlo and the settling for a kebab and chips in a backstreet fast food takeaway.

Marouane Fellaini has been shocking on the pitch for Manchester United this season, he resembles an intoxicated hippy stumbling around the centre of the midfield letting games pass him by. Some will say that assessment is harsh, 'give him time' will be the defence from some supporters, I don't subscribe to that theory and questioning a player does not make you any less of a fan, it's criticism I believe he deserves.

His elbow on in the Manchester derby on City's Pablo Zabaleta was disgraceful, and proves that the Belgian is an accident waiting to happen, he's a walking red card who does not think about the consequences of his actions and the pressure that he could put on his team mates, his comment that Zabaleta ran into his elbow was pathetic.

He has failed to impose anything in United's midfield, he often looks like the school bully in the playground who goes around kicking all the other children.

Against Bayern Munich in the first leg Quarter Final of the Champions League at Old Trafford, every player apart from the ticking time bomb put in 110%, they showed passion, desire, fight, Marouane Fellaini was a hindrance, a handicap, playing the champions of Europe was always going to be a tough task, Playing Fellaini was like playing with 10 men, he had absolutely no effect on the game whatsoever.

£27.5m is a huge amount of money for a player who has contributed absolutely nothing so far in his first season with the club. A Manchester United fanzine run a story a while ago about playing staff being baffled by Fellaini in training, claiming that some sniggered at the Belgian because he's that poor. I found it hard to believe at first, but on the evidence so far, there is probably some element of truth to that story.

Manchester United are stuck with Marouane Fellaini, they would recoup nowhere near the fee they paid for him if they ever tried to offload him, but who would want him anyway? Everton must be laughing. I never thought I'd see a worse player than Anderson in that central midfield role at Old Trafford, Fellaini is quickly overtaking the Brazilian and must be a firm favourite to claim the wooden spoon.


26 Mar 2014

Giggs Could Succeed Clueless Moyes

Angry Supporter Confronts Moyes
A week ago, Manchester United overturned a 2-0 aggregate score against Olympiakos to progress to the last 8 of the Champions League. 

It was a result that papered over the cracks at Old Trafford, then Manchester City arrived at the Theatre Of Dreams and stripped off every layer of paper revealing the true extent of the reds' mounting problems.

Papering over cracks can make you feel good, it's pleasing on the naked eye, but we all know that it's a short term fix that will rear it's ugly head again at some stage.

Tuesday 25th of March 2014 was a harsh reality check for Manchester United and it's supporters. Back to back Premier League home defeats to bitterest rivals Liverpool and Manchester City by the same score of 3-0 has highlighted United's spectacular decline as the champions of England.

As the travelling Manchester City supporters triumphantly celebrated their win in the closing stages of this one sided game, Manchester United stewards rushed towards the pathetic 'Chosen One' banner to protect it from sabotage, it highlighted the growing consensus that supporters are now finally losing belief and patience with David Moyes and the direction the club is going in.

Moyes' post match excuses have become so predictable that they have become a source of entertainment between reds on social media platforms who try to guess in advance what excuse he will use, here are a few classics:

'We were unlucky'
'We didn't deserve that'
'We'll do our best to turn things around'
'It's going to take time'

Moyes' post match derby comments would've felt like a dagger piercing through the heart of any passionate red Mancunian who heard it, he said: "We've played a very good side and it's short of standard and level we need to try and aspire to get ourselves to at this moment in time".

When you dissect that quote, Moyes is claiming that Manchester United aspire to be like Manchester City, however true he feels this might actually be, he shouldn't be paying a rival team such a huge compliment, it's like he's admitted defeat in a power shift in the City of Manchester.

Comparisons between Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes will be made, and although I think it's unfair in some circumstances, you must admit that Sir Alex Ferguson would've never admitted that the blue half of Manchester had overtake United as the supreme force in the city, psychologically it's a huge boost for the blues.

Assessments by ex reds Paul Scholes and Gary Neville on Sky Sports really hit home United's problems, they were things we already knew, but it really struck a chord to hear it from two former players who graduated from the famous Class of '92, players who passionately support the team they once represented.

Once you lose the respect and belief of your playing staff, you're finished as a manager, there is no turning back from that point. It's a romantic pledge to claim that your manager will be given time to build because that is the history of your club, but modern day football has changed, time is money and you wonder at what stage the Glazers will step in, this is not a football club to them, it's a business, missing out on the Champions League will have huge financial implications. 

Like the Liverpool defeat, supporters stayed behind after the humiliation of the Manchester derby to sing, it's clear that this is not a display of support for the manager, it's for the team and to symbolise the clubs history and achievement. I'm yet to personally witness a 'Moyes Out' chant at Old Trafford, but if United continue to free fall you get the feeling it won't be long before certain sections of supporters turn and vent their anger via the method of chant.

David Moyes is not the future, but there is a player currently on his coaching staff who would instantly have the trust and respect of the players, simply because he's already earned it, he's set to become the first man to complete his UEFA Pro Licence during his playing days, don't bet against David Moyes leaving Manchester United by mutual consent and club legend Ryan Giggs stepping in as interim manger to help steady the ship.