Monday, 18 August 2014

Not so quiet desperation

It has been brought to my attention that many of my social media buddies found my exasperated twittering about the plight of my beloved Manchester United last season highly amusing. Gary, aka @Gerrarrdus, was still chuckling about it when we met up for a pint in Norfolk last week. I had been looking forward to this season as a fresh start; an opportunity to tweet away about victories secured under the new management of Louis Van Gaal, culminating in posting a picture of the MUFC squad parading the Premier League trophy around the Theatre of Dreams in May 2015. There was promise in a pre-season build up which included a very successful and no doubt lucrative trek across the U.S.A. finishing off with victory over Liverpool.

Then the new season kicked off on Saturday and it was like last season's nightmare hadn't come to an end. The only saving grace was that I was driving during the first half of MUFC v Swansea and was thus prevented from venting my spleen on-line. All the old failings were there: the lack of precision in passing; the lack of pace in attack; a defence that didn't seem to know each other's names; a midfield wandering about mindlessly as the game passed them by; reversion to crosses into the box in hope rather than expectation; a squad ravaged by injury and depleted in talent; a manager looking dumbfounded at the mess unfolding before his eyes; a Belgian basket ball player masquerading as a footballer flailing his arms about in opponents faces; Wayne Rooney despairing at the mediocrity around him; promising youngsters overburdened with expectation while over-paid internationals ran down dead ends, fell over and looked like novices.

The MUFC gravy train executives had promised that we would take this summer's transfer window by storm. We were encouraged to expect record breaking, championship winning, top ranking heavy weights of the international game to be filing through the gates of Old Trafford. Instead, we have had to watch bemused as one by one our targets head off to join our chief rivals' squads. Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has one job to do and a couple of weeks left to do it in and that is to sign some players fit to wear the MUFC shirt. So far Woodward seems hell bent on replicating his performance last summer, when he panic bought at the last moment and overpaid for a player who wouldn't even have made the bench under Sir Alex's reign. I'm beginning to think Ed Wood would have made a better fist of things.

Of course behind Woodward sits the Glazer family, who purchased a financially sound club in a leveraged buy out and saddled it with astronomical debts. They have treated MUFC as their private piggy bank and the weakness of the current squad reflects their parsimony in the transfer market. Only the brilliance of Sir Alex's team management covered the problems lurking beneath the surface and the consequences of the Glazers' ownership are there for all to see.

So I anticipate another season spent in not so quiet desperation, as I am forced to watch our main opponents disappear out of sight at the top of the table and I dread fixtures against teams who a couple of seasons ago feared MUFC and now lick their lips at the prospect of picking up points.

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