Sunderland away.

It’ll naturally take time to sort out the team and squad but the most worrying thing about yesterday was its familiarity, the fact that but for the camera frequently panning in on Van Gaal and Giggs, you could be forgiven for presuming Moyes was still sat in the dug out. It doesn’t take a genius to tell you that the movement on and off the ball and how we use it, is excruciatingly slow and ineffective but you can talk all you like about systems and styles, the fundamental issue is the ability of the players; individually and collectively. How Di Maria is supposed to fix the back 3 (or 4), plug the wide empty space that would otherwise be occupied by a midfield, fit into a formation that doesn’t involve wingers, and impact on the development of Januszaj is anyone’s guess, but at somewhere between £60-£70m+ it’ll put Van Gaal’s reputation fully on the line. It’s been a long held suspicion that United’s transfer policy lacks direction and cohesion; an enormous fee for an albeit outstanding winger when our more pressing concerns have to lie with the defence and midfield do nothing to dispel that view. 

 

Glazer’s.

It’s ironic, how 9 years after the club’s demise began and it’s acceleration into “a recognised global marketing platform” (the club’s words, not mine; from promotional literature to existing/prospective partners) really kicked into gear, that we’re seeing the first discernible rumblings of anti-Glazer sentiment since Milan in 2010. It’s of course justified given that we’ve been forced into being the most debt-laden club in world football and little more than a glorified cash point for owners who have no interest in our club or city, but their spend over the last five years, as pointed out by Sky Sports, is second only to PSG, which somewhat undermines the timing of the recent change in tide.

The identity of our owners and that their financial priorities centre largely around diverting the profits of the Stretford-based ‘United brand’ to Florida is of course a significant problem but the reckless use of the money that has been made available is as relevant as that which hasn’t. It’s a systematic failure to replace the quality of the players we’ve lost with those we bring in, a downward force that’s been going on for years. It’s replacing Cristiano Ronaldo with Ashley Young, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand with Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, Gary Neville with Rafael or Antonio Valencia, and Roy Keane & Paul Scholes with Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley and the £28m misfit, Fellaini.

What the Glazer’s have done to a cherished institution, the biggest, best and romantic club in world football is abhorrent and for that they deserve all of the rage and disgust we can collectively muster, but to blame them solely for the current malaise, in a summer where we’ve spent more than in any other in the club’s history is mistimed, misplaced and ignores a key component of the mess we find ourselves in.

The times they are a changing.

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The ‘chronic lack of investment’ line is well trodden but we’re beyond simple (and expensive) fixes now. Vidal and Hummels could come in (well, in a mythical world where we have a competent chief exec whose MO stretches beyond obsessive pursuits of instant noodle partners rather than actual footballers) but it won’t solve what are deeply entrenched problems in the wider squad. The remedy of course, is time and money, of which I suspect Van Gaal has neither.

Cardiff away.

Worrying that we were again outplayed and outfought in midfield, even more so when you consider the standard of the opposition. Whether or not Fellaini reaches the standard expected of him is more far reaching than what he produces on the pitch in that the transfer fee barometer has been set now. Anyone we go for in January, or next summer – if they’re better than him (which lets face it, would provoke a combination of disappointment and amazement if they weren’t) the starting point is £27.5m and we go up from there. Whether the Glazer’s would sanction this, Moyes has the confidence to dip back into the market at that level and/or a player of the requisite class becomes available and isn’t cup tied, looks unlikely. Frustratingly it looks like we’ll have to make do with what we’ve got, which, it appears abundantly clear, won’t be good enough to keep us in the hunt.

Liverpool away.

Great day on Sunday despite featuring one of the worst first half performances in recent memory. The team was wrong from the outset, emphasised by nani getting dragged off at half time. You’ve got to wonder how many chances he’s got left and at what point fergie starts viewing him less as a winger and more as the cash to bring in the desperately needed holding midfielder.

Smart away end aswell. High concentration of vocal lads, who understood what Liverpool away means and what’s required from their section of the anfield road end. Hostility is a welcome and fundamental component of this fixture regardless of what Sky, the tabloid press or the self-important and morally disordered Stan Collymore would have you believe.

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Del Piero.

Loves his club, knows his history. Absolute class.

In an interview earlier this afternoon, Claudio Pasqualin, Del Piero’s Agent, confirmed that Liverpool had made enquiries, and revealed the reason why Del Piero rejected the approach.

“He [Del Piero] said no to Liverpool out of remembrance and respect for the the Heysel tragedy.”

“I was 11yrs old at the time of the Heysel disaster. I was watching the game together with my parents at some friends. I remember that when my dad realised how serious the incidents were, he sent me and my friend out to play football in the yard.”

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Fulham.

Changes were made over the summer but Saturday in many ways said more about last season than our hopes for this. Good options going forward and a team we should have steamrolled counterbalanced by general defensive frailty. This of course isn’t helped by De Gea’s hesitancy with pretty much anything lumped into the box, albeit as he showed at Goodison, you’d have to go a long way to find a better shot stopper.

3-2 though is an unfair reflection of a game which, for 88 minutes, we dominated. Through necessity rather than choice Rooney’s recuperation will go some way towards helping Fergie work out his best starting XI which, oddly, might not include him. Van Persie has got to be the pivot with 2/3 behind him. On form that has to be Kagawa, Valencia and/or one other. With Carrick, Scholes/Cleverley behind it’s not immediately clear if and where scouse will fit in.

Everton away.

Never felt like the balance in the team was right last night. The movement and interchanges in midfield were promising, particularly from Kagawa, but we were always going to be up against it physically against Fellaini who ultimately ran the show.

Wellbeck can never be accused of a lack of effort but playing him out of position just to squeeze him into the starting XI isn’t doing anyone any favours, particularly when the required juggling results in our most effective winger playing at right back and our most natural right back sitting on the bench.

That kit by the way, Jesus. I thought we’d reached our nadir with that grey effort they left in Southampton…

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Moura.

Well then, Moura to PSG. No real surprise that he didn’t come to us (did we ever even need him?) particularly given the money involved (£35m being a ludicrously inflated transfer fee/agent cut) but I can’t help wonder how the negotiations went. PSG came from nowhere, it was us and Inter and has been for the last 6 weeks. What were we doing? Surely you either meet the asking price, get there or thereabouts, or pack it in!?

If we genuinely wanted him and Sao Paolo wanted rid, why would they accept what I imagine was our usual Delboy ‘lets split the difference’ style negotiating tactics; ‘how much? £30m. How about we give you £15m now, £10m spread over the next 20 years, £5m when the kid retires and a few pairs of Mickey Phelan’s shorts?’

All a bit ridiculous if you ask me, and after going public on it, makes Fergie look pretty daft. Which will of course intensify if Van Persie goes anywhere other than OT. On an imminent flight from Dusseldorf apparently. Ignore Mancini and expect the berts to have a car waiting around the corner with a boot full of cash.

Today’s NYSE valuation comes in at $3bn. Don’t make me laugh. Oh, and we’ve got 600m fans around the world; that’s another good one. Who did the sums, the same clown that had 250,000 berties on the hill at Blackburn…?

Bolingbroke

http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/sport/football/manchester_united/s/1585436_fair-play-rules-will-help-us-manchester-united-tells-potential-flotation-investors

Another desperate attempt to give the IPO credibility from another faceless suit. The FFP rules could well play into United’s hands but only because if operating properly they would curb the spending of the nouveau-riche that have slipped in while our backs were turned. They would do nothing to trigger the much needed investment in the team, give credence to further shameful attempts to line Glazer pockets or legitimise jeopardising anything of value to the club as security against debt.

His line that “the regulations ‘will act as a deterrent to new wealthy owners acquiring clubs’. Potential investors are also told to expect annual net spends on the transfer market of £20m-£25m” is an interesting one, and another without any evidential justification. This is exactly what the Glazer’s promised when they took over but, as with most of their promises (the IPO being an obvious recent example), it simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. The following is our net spend figures since 2005, the average of which is £8.225m per season :-

2005: £1m
2006: £4.1m
2007: £26.55m
2008: £33.75m
2009: -£64.5m
2010: £13.55m
2011: £38.15m
2012: £13.2m

The argument is often rolled out that the Ronaldo money in 2009 distorts the figures; it does but that doesn’t invalidate it as being accurate or necessary. But even without the Ronaldo transfer fee, our average net spend comes to £18.6m with only 3 of the 7 years featuring a net spend in the ballpark being talked about. Are we now looking at a genuine shift in transfer policy or could it be that the Glazers are now lying to the stockmarket as they have done everyone else?

Alex Ferguson,

To Alex Ferguson: have the Glazer’s taken £500m out of a club that generated it themselves (no need for Arab billionaires here) yes or no? Does this have a direct impact on how the club is run and how you as manager operate in the transfer market, yes or no? Is there a correlation between that and the fact that Stoke City and Sunderland have a higher net spend over the last 5 years, yes or no?

Defending the parasites in that context is nothing short of embarrassing and to resort to the childish and spectacularly misplaced snipe; that the anti-Glazer camp ‘aren’t proper supporters’ demonstrates how detached from reality he’s become and how desperate the whole situation is.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2176993/Sir-Alex-Ferguson-defends-Manchester-United-owners-The-Glazer-family.html

Berbatov.

Class.

“Because I am tired of speculation, i am telling you this. I read the papers and I see they say 10 million pounds is my price”

“I go and talk with Sir Alex, and he says to me 5 million…So who is telling the truth, what do you think??”

“The truth is, I love this club, but I am not going to be useful to anyone, if I am not playing.

“And I want to play, I want to help.

“But for unknown reasons its not going to happen, or my chances will be limited, so it’s better for everyone if we say goodbye.

“If not, I am professional and I will keep doing everything I can, to help my team and my teammates, whenever I have opportunity to do so.”

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