And the season gets weirder and weirder by the week…battered, yes, battered 3-0 by Newcastle with two great goals and an unlucky o.g. to round out the night. No complaints, we were awful. A bus could have been driven through our midfield it was that wide open and devoid of anyone capable of making a tackle. We started with a 38 year old in the middle of the park….need I say more? Rooney taken off after 74 minutes as he looked about as interested in being out there as he would be shopping in Tesco with Colleen on a wet Monday night. We’re still only three points behind the bitters, which is a miracle considering some of our performances this season. Yet we’ve amassed a better points total at this stage of the season for many a year. Can’t figure it out. Then again, I said after the 8-2 over Arsenal that this season would be a rollercoaster and I haven’t been proved wrong yet. Loads of young exciting talent available, some playing, some not. Some making mistakes which is hard to watch but all part of the learning process. We may well end up trophyless this season. Cue the doom merchants. Well that’s football, if it was predictable, no fucker would watch it, me included. Just take solace in the fact that we helped increase the circulation of every single national newspaper in the UK this morning in the aftermath of our “meltdown” at St James’s Park. Hated, Adored, Never Ignored = MUFC.
And so the news just gets worse for our midfield. Darren Fletcher has been forced to take an extended break from football in order to try and recover from a chronic bowel condition.
I had heard rumours of something like this for a few months and the concerns at his weight loss were always going to cause a bit of alarm. Now I must admit, go back to 2005 and I wanted him out of United, couldn’t see what he was contributing or going to contribute. Yet Fergie stuck with him. And guess what? He firmly shoved my words down my throat and I am glad to eat humble pie 6 years later. In that time Fletch’s game has come on leaps and bounds and he has established himself as one of our core players. To have this happen to him at the age of 27 is just cruel, as he is in his prime and at a time when the club is literally screaming out for his services in the middle of the park.
However, football is just a game and Darren’s overall health is what really matters here both for him and his family. I wish him every success with his recovery, hopefully we will see him play for us again some day but being around for his wife, kids and family is the only thing that matters. All the best Darren.
PS - in my next post, I may (just may) discuss who we may look at signing in January…call me a sadist if you want! (LUHG).
Its nice when you stumble upon a band or an album by accident and then buy the album 2 seconds later. Case in point? Verse, from Rhode Island are a case in point. Great band who play honest to goodness hardcore and in Sean Murphy have a lead vocalist who literally makes the hair stand on the back of your neck. A great find and I’ve just found out they’re getting back together to release more music, nice one.
If you like music with a bit of passion and some balls, give this a listen (available for download on iTunes). After all its better than the fucking X Factor and won’t contribute to killing your soul…
Well, the performance at home to Wolves was mostly encouraging. For the first time in weeks we had that fluidity going forward and genuinely looked threatening every time we got into Wolves half. That being said, the defence gave away a shockingly soft goal early in the second half, Paddy Evra somehow ended up trying to outjump Fletcher at the back post, talk about an aerial mismatch. Smalling also didn’t cover himself in glory by not getting in any kind of challenge on the cross but hey ho, he’s a young lad and far from the finished article. Should be one he will learn from.
Nani and Rooney bagged a brace each, always good to see Rooney get back to scoring ways as his goals generally tend to come in bunches/streaks. Nani too looked very sharp and direct. The one troubling thing for me is Rooney’s body language. Although back to scoring ways, he hardly celebrated either. I’ve noticed his lack of overall usual zest for the game over the past couple of months, especially when he’s been forced to play in midfield. There is something going on there, not sure what it is. Hopefully he snaps out of it, I mean he’s hardly going to hand in another transfer request is he……
Other things that attracted my attention this weekend were the New York Giants come from behind win vs the Dallas Cowboys, 37-34 and a mass brawl in college basketball between Xavier & Cincinatti. The Giants, still hanging around in the NFC East. Doubt they’ll make much progress if they do make the playoffs but there still alive. Made my first visit to Giants Stadium (for an NFL game, saw United v Milan there in 2004) last year. Great experience and one I will definitely do again. As for the brawl between Xavier and Cincinnatti, if you haven’t seen it (I posted a link on twitter earlier @watpoae), go to Espn.com and have a look. It all breaks out at the end of the game and tension had been simmering all week in the lead up to the game with players from both teams taking shots at each other in the media. It starts off looking like the usual bench clearing brawl until Yancy Gates from Xavier blindside punches Xavier’s Frease on the side of the head. To make things worse, as Frease hits the floor another Cincinnati player thinks it a wise decision to stamp on him. Nice. Anyway, there has been the usual outrage from the US media, the NCAA, etc. Will be interesting to see what actually happens in terms of punishment bar the standard suspensions. From listening to the Cincinnati head coach in the post match press conference, he sounded as if one or two may never play basketball at the university ever again.
And I suppose I have to give a mention to the Madrid v Barca game on Saturday. Very entertaining game played at a ferocious pace throughout. From reading the usual lavish praise from all quarters, you’d think Barca had battered Madrid for 90 mins. Maybe in the second half but in the first half Barca gave away the ball countless times and Madrid did a very good job harassing them in midfield and winning nearly all of the 50/50 balls. Second half however, Messi really took the game by the scruff of the neck. They got lucky with their second goal through a nasty deflection but the changing point had to be Ronaldo’s shocking headed miss from about 8 yards out, with a huge gaping hole to the left hand side of the Barca goal. You know what happens next, Barca go straight back downfield and cut Madrid to shreds, Dani Alves playing in a great cross for Fabregas to head past Casillas. Game over. I genuinely think the only way to beat Barca would be to hire a sniper to shoot Iniesta pre game. Then you may have a shot.
Well that was fun wasn’t it kids? Funnily enough, I had a suspicion all week that we may come unstuck against the mighty Basel FC. And unfortunately I was right. To be honest, I’m not that upset we didn’t get through, didn’t deserve it and our casualness against Basel at OT and in letting Benfica off the hook came back to haunt us.
More pressing for me is the loss of Vidic. If this knee injury turns out to be as serious as it looked, he could be gone for months. At this stage, I’m more concerned at having a Vidic-less defence which seems to concede buckets of chances to any team at will these days than not being in the CL knockout rounds.
I’m hoping that this result really will focus a few minds in that dressing room. I’m not going to bother questioning Fergie as its fucking pointless, he’s proved me wrong more times than I can count. What I will say is that if we do continue with the current midfield options, this team is in for a long hard 2nd half of the season.
After the 8-2 against Arsenal, I said to a mate that this season would be full of surprises. Haven’t been wrong since then. We’re a team in transition, like it or not. Talk of a trophyless season seems to fill some people with dread but I can live with it if it means we see the further development of Jones, Smalling, Young, Pogba (sign that fucking contract will you?!!), Morrison, Fryers, et al.
Basel was another reminder of how mad it is to support this club. Its never dull, never boring and though they won’t admit it, our success and failures really are the centre piece of a lot of other supporters lives (I’m looking at you Merseydive and Stockport in particular).
Anyway, onwards and upwards. I’m intrigued to see who we get in the league that cannot be mentioned. A personal fave would be Ajax, a team I have huge respect for. And lets face it, the ‘Dam will make for a cracking away trip, do you really want to go to Milan again?
If you’re wondering about that photo I uploaded, that’s me pictured high above the Kuranda rainforest in Queensland, Australia earlier this year. Funnily enough, taking a pic of yourself in a cable car high above a rainforest ain’t as easy as you’d think…hence why I’m squinting and looking generally unimpressed…but it was great, I swear!
I tried doing this whole blogging thing a few years back but ultimately failed miserably as I made a half assed effort to update it and it essentially just fell by the way side.
Anyway, the web has seen fit to give me another chance.
What should you expect to find? As per the title, I’ll be posting various ramblings about MUFC, football, baseball (I’ve been a Toronto Blue Jays fan for the past 20 years), North American sports, travel (one of my hobbies) and various stuff about everyday life, which, if you live in Ireland like I do, will invariably feature such thrilling content such as bank bailouts, debt repayments, unemployment and generally how the political classes continue to make a joke of us on a daily basis.
I welcome all comments, well being truthful I’ll welcome “a” comment if any of you feel like it. Good, bad, indifferent, just throw it on here.