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Subject:Quick note
Time:08:13 pm
This journal's not dead, and nor am I. It's currently on a short sabbatical whilst I stop being quite so busy, and will return during the week for appearances every other day, hopefully. It may also have a change of format. Ta.
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Subject:34 - United 1 Chelsea 0
Time:07:51 pm
Tonight's entry ate far too many roast potatoes. Again.


It was suggested by some, me included, that United would need the SAS to stop Chelsea's midfield in particular. As it turned out, that SAS was Scholes and Smith as they respectively turned in their best performances of the season as everybody associated with the first team remembered they were Manchester United and beat Chelsea.

So, let's have a look. Passion? Check. 4-4-2? Check. Ferdinand and Silvestre waking up? Check. Players taking responsibility and working hard? Check. That's what we all asked for, we got them, and we won as well. It's not a coincidence. And whilst the pervading feeling here is that this victory is merely papering over cracks that need filling with something altogether stronger, and that there are too many errors being made by Alex Ferguson compared to previous years, this victory is very much cause for optimism.

Smith's performance in particular was splendid. His tackling was robust without being reckless, married to good distribution and positional play. Like I've said before, he could develop into a very good central midfield player, but I still feel that this would have been better achieved with occasional appearances in midfield rather than him being thrust in there game after game. Also, Chelsea are not the most flexible team in the world with tricky central players such as Gaizka Mendieta. They have straight up and down players who are given a job and stick to it. I still think he could be susceptible against inferior opposition with these types of players, but it was very promising indeed.

Cristiano Ronaldo once again showed that he is at his very best against the best opposition with a compact display that provided United with a pacy outlet. Not enough good crosses again, but he kept two Chelsea players constantly busy throughout. Paul Scholes was superb with his passing and worked hard, whilst Ruud van Nistelrooy was strong as a target man and stayed on his damn feet at last. Mikael Silvestre defied his status of being rubbish with a determined display and trademark 60 yard crossfield passes, whilst Rio Ferdinand dropped the strop and hardly gave Didier Drogba a kick all match.

Wayne Rooney was absolutely splendid and is becoming every bit the absolutely divine footballer that was predicted of him with power, pace, intelligence and a fantastic work-rate. He is bordering on football genius already. John O'Shea kept Joe Cole completely in check with some bone-shattering challenges, and Wes Brown did the same with Damien Duff, whilst Edwin van der Sar produced a match-saving save and was flawless.

Which leaves us with Darren Fletcher. Much maligned and only worth 1p on Ebay apparently, he at least ensured he'd be worth the postage and packing as well now with a sublime winning goal, and although again he was left chasing shadows and his passing was largely inefficient, he put his foot in and worked hard and it was good to see him hit the headlines. I still doubt his long-term credentials in United's midfield, but I'm chuffed for the lad.

As for the post match interview conducted by Jeff Shreeves with Ferguson, I think many plaudits must go to Shreeves for having the nerve to tell Fergie not to swear any more as there might be kids watching. This coming after Fergie dismissed calls for him to step down as "Bollocks". They're not, Fergie, but today you helped yourself by helping your players play the way they CAN play.

The game itself wasn't a classic footballing encounter by any means, but it was a great old-fashioned full-blooded English encounter conducted largely by foreigners who seemed to enter into the spirit of things splendidly. I think you can tell the majority of the time the way a game is generally going to go in the first five minutes of a game. The first five minutes here saw United maintain some good possession coupled with some extremely close attention paid to any Chelsea players that recieved the ball, that suggested to me that United may well nick this one.

Paul Scholes cracked a fantastic half-volley just wide after a brilliant dinked pass by Wayne Rooney whilst Didier Drogba clearly had the teflon boots on at the other squandering some good positions on the rare occasions the United back four dozed off. Joe Cole spent much of the time bleating at the referee as John O'Shea continuously whipped the ball off his feet. Although Cole has improved over the last year or so, I still feel any chance he has of fully living up to almost unparalleled talent is at a club that will allow him consistent first team football in a position more central than he was playing in today. He was largely anonymous in this match.

United's superbly worked goal was everything their work-rate deserved, but they still could have gone in level as Asier Del Horno passed up a good opportunity before half-time. Frank Lampard inexplicably passed up two opportunities to hit free kicks at goal, but was far more threatening in the second half when forcing van der Sar into a superb point-blank range save after persistent work from Drogba. Drogba himself saw a deflected effort bobble past the post after a scramble in the United box, but at the other end van Nistelrooy missed a golden opportunity to double the lead as he smacked a Darren Fletcher lay-off over the bar.

Chelsea brought on Eidur Gudjohnsen and he ended up being Chelsea's best player on the day as he was involved in the move that saw Del Horno waste another great chance. United substitute Park Ji-Sung came on and caused Chelsea's tiring defenders immediate problems with his pace and directness, carving out a great chance for Rooney that was blocked. But United clung on until the final whistle, leaving Chelsea with only one win in their last five games, and leaving Wigan even hotter on their tail.


That is all, but you can witness a non-That Was The Week That Was article on United Rant from me here although it is just an old article I wrote on here. In a great turn of events though, the site got this link from The Guardian and has even made appearances on the BBC World Service this weekend. Good, eh?

I'm off to buy a bigger boat.
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Subject:33 - Lille 1 United 0 / Keane fallout / Saha
Time:10:18 pm
Tonight's entry just can't understand how one sky can hold so much rain.


Stop me if you've heard this one. 4-5-1 DOES NOT WORK. Ferdinand crap. Silvestre crap. O'Shea crap. Fletcher crap. Smith crap. van Nistelrooy crap. Too many players out of position. Complete lack of penetration. Just not good enough.

This record's been played more fucking times than that bleeding Pussycat Dolls one. NO, I WISH YOU WOULD PISS OFF AND NEVER SING EVER AGAIN. I just don't know what more needs to be said, or indeed what more CAN be said. I guess we just have to wait to hear Fergie explain away a pathetic performance and more pathetic tactics with lots of bollocks about being unlucky and the referee being crap. Just you watch. I'll give odds of 1/100 on it.

Chelsea await on Sunday. Smith and Fletcher versus Lampard and Essien. It's almost as if the Marquis De Sade dreamt it up.

**************************


I'd like to shake the hand of whoever it was that found out exactly what Roy Keane said in his censored interview, and brought it into the public domain WHERE IT SHOULD BE. Nevertheless, whoever is to blame for getting the interview on MUTV pulled is a complete fucking idiot. If it had aired on the channel, which is watched by my mum and practically no-one else, then there wouldn't have been half the fuss.

But no, further highlighting the vein of incompetence that now runs through the club like the River Amazon, they decided to haul it off the air thinking that no-one would notice and that transcripts of the interview wouldn't make it into the public. It's a tragic and really fucking idiotic chain of events that no-one comes out of with any credit, apart from Roy Keane, whose only crime was to actually care. His comments were, almost to a letter, absolutely spot on. Rio Ferdinand is an absolute disgrace at the moment - a phrase that is overused and rather dramatic, granted, but absolutely spot on under the current circumstances.

The only thing I can't agree on is that we should be getting rid of these players before we bring in new ones. As frightening as it may be, these are pretty much all we've got at the moment because Ferguson has become allergic to blooding a large amount of young talent at once outside of the Complete Waste Of Fucking Time Cup (or Carling Cup as it's occasionally known). So now we're waiting and hoping, with help from Ferguson not farting around with really, really stupid tactical decisions, that these players do find the form that almost all of them are capable of producing.

I'll be here holding my breath and presumably in need of an oxygen tent by the end of the month.

**************************


It's all too serious on this journal these days, so let's have a laugh, shall we?

Look, Louis Saha resumes training tomorrow! And he means it too!

Right, time to run a sweep-stake on what his next injury will be:-

1) Trips over his front doormat and breaks his toe.

2) Drops a bottle of Wash & Go on his foot in the shower, breaking his metatarsal.

3) Gets his finger stuck in the button-hole of his shirt, breaking it.

4) Gets far too excited over the reappearance of Joe Mangel on Neighbours and puts his back out shouting "LE YAAAAAAAAAAAY!"

5) Acting as the referee in a practice match, he swallows the whistle.

6) Has a heart-attack after witnessing Paul Scholes timing a tackle perfectly in training.

Place your bets!


I'm off to research the possibility of monkeys living in the Arctic.
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Subject:32 - Can We Fix It?
Time:09:38 pm
Tonight's entry would like a trick, please.


Matt Busby was a strong believer that you always changed a winning side. Why? So that players wouldn't get into a comfort zone and slacken off from the standards they had set for themselves. Bearing this in mind, what does Alex Ferguson do now, faced with his biggest crisis in 15 years? Because, seemingly, he cannot even change a losing side at the moment. Who is going to be his Mark Robins this time?

These are the main problems that I can see and that have been mentioned throughout the depressing, sprawling maelstrom of tabloid hysteria these last couple of days, and how they could be fixed - within reason.

1) PROBLEM: Formations. A basic, simple formula has given United success since the early 90s. Four at the back, four in midfield with two wingers, one floating forward player and one out-and-out striker. One or two years of a relative lack of success was no need for Ferguson to panic and start adopting systems that were completely foreign to the players employed within it. Nor was a relative lack of success in Europe. Our failings there were down to one or both of two things - an inability to sign the one or two bona fide international superstar class players that would have made Champions League success far easier, and Ferguson's lack of tactical acumen that could cover a slight lack of quality on the personnel front - a la Jose Mourinho at Porto. Or huge slices of luck a la Rafael Benitez.

SOLUTION: 4-4-1-1. Or possibly even 3-5-2. If Ferguson (and/or Quieroz) had the intention of trying to throw opponents off the scent with a formation change, then use one that plays to our strengths. Casting injuries aside, 3-5-2 would make good use of our defensive strengths. Gabriel Heinze has played in such a formation with glowing reviews for Argentina, so employing him on the left hand side of a three at the back, with Gary Neville on the right and Rio Ferdinand or Wes Brown in the middle would be an idea. It then allows two wingers to be played, and during defensive situations two of the three central midfielders drop into the back line whilst Neville and Heinze push wide. Worked alright for Middlesbrough, didn't it?

2) PROBLEM: Players used out of position. Doesn't help anyone. John O'Shea's career is folding in front of our eyes as he is shunted from one position to another. Kieran Richardson is not a left back. And Alan Smith is definitely NOT a central midfielder. His head-to-head with Frank Lampard next weekend is going to be a handicap match. Then we have Rooney being played as a 'floating winger', Paul Scholes as a holding midfielder and Wes Brown's occasional deployment at right-back. There are far too many instances of this. Like-for-like swaps mean that everyone knows where they stand.

SOLUTION: Surely Phil Bardsley's performances are a lesson to Ferguson that although resources are short in supply, that there is still enough there not to move players around so much. Stop putting players in positions they don't know or understand.

3) PROBLEM: Out-of-form players. Rio Ferdinand's sulk-riddled performances are so pathetic in so many ways that it almost makes me want to laugh, really. Grow up, you fucking idiot. What kind of cretin are you? Just signing a contract that it took you months to sign isn't going to make you some kind of messiah. Marry it to some good performances and then we can deal. Until then, take your fat cheques and piss off. And watch some videos of John Terry whilst you're at it. That used to be you. Minus the goals from corners, obviously. Paul Scholes isn't past it and it isn't ideal that he's being played too deep, but his performance on Saturday was the worse I'd ever seen from him. Ruud van Nistelrooy is showing me every reason why he is so hated by opposition fans. Things not going his way? Time to fall on his arse and whinge at the referee. Here's an idea, Ruud - why not try putting in a little thing called a 'workrate'? That might help. And stop diving, it makes me ill. That applies to you too, Cristiano.

SOLUTION: An all-round arse-kick from Ferguson. Simple as.

4) PROBLEM: Poor players. Mikael Silvestre. Am I the only person on this planet who looks at Silvestre and wonders just how in the blue hell this man garnered such a respected reputation as a defender for United and France? Error strewn, positionally inept and poor in the air, I've never understood why he is rated so highly. Just utter crap - except if you need an inch-perfect 60 yars cross-field pass. Alan Smith was not even a particularly great striker, so why would he even make a great midfielder when he hadn't even mastered his natural position? His signing was baffling. Darren Fletcher has been 'promising' for about 3 years now, but simply put he has no drive, no penetration, not enough of a physique, and a lack of confidence to dominate a Manchester United midfield. These are just the current players as well.

SOLUTION: Stop persevering with substandard players. Ferguson's stubbornness is just getting United into deeper trouble. Recall Jonathan Spector and David Jones from loan and get them in the team.

5) PROBLEM: Transfer policy. Ferguson's transfer policy makes no sense. We know we need a midfield player, so why did Ferguson pass over chances to sign Edgar Davids and apparently even Claude Makelele, as well as Mark van Bommel and Thomas Gravesen to sign Kleberson, Liam Miller and Eric Djemba-Djemba? Why does it ALWAYS have to be out-and-out youth? The signing of Davids would have made far more sense whilst we DEVELOPED a player in that position in the meanwhile. Similarly, why no approach for Michael Owen? Ferguson's persistent insistence on refusing to sign players to cover for injuries is wrong. Louis Saha and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may not even play for United again. And as for goalkeepers, why did it take so long for Ferguson to stop faffing around with a position that should NEVER be messed around with, signing untried hopefuls and misfit talents instead of solid and dependable stoppers?

SOLUTION: See a good player, sign him. Or attempt to. Dispose of the idea of strictly adhering to a set plan for a certain position.

6) PROBLEM: Carlos Queiroz. His tactics are all very well at continental teams. But in attacking teams like United and indeed Real Madrid, they fail miserably as there is simply not the personnel to carry out such tactics.

SOLUTION: "Thank you for your service, Carlos, but your services are no longer required. Manchester United thanks you for your work. Don't let the door hit you in the arse on the way out."

7) PROBLEM: Sir Alex Ferguson. A knee-jerk reaction? Absolutely not. Ferguson's extraordinary regular ineptitude in the transfer market recently coupled with an almost unheard of reliance on his assistant manager and a ridiculously stubborn attitude has rendered his position very shaky indeed. A refusal to admit he's wrong and change things is the biggest problem here, I think. It's completely ridiculous that Ferguson would much rather put his pride before the job that he is paid very handsomely to do. His stupid bickering with Arsene Wenger, outmoded psychological warfare with other opposition managers, and his babyish attitude to any media organisation that DARES to question his decisions are all the traits of a deeply arrogant man who has got his priorities all wrong. It used to be all about winning some football matches. Now he's trying to win against the rest of the world too.

SOLUTION: It's over, Fergie. Step down now and allow somebody else to rebuild their own empire. Let us remember a career of unprecedented domestic success brought through brilliant man management and a courage of conviction in wonderful young talent. But thank you. From every one of us.
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Subject:31 - Middlesbrough 4 United 1
Time:07:26 pm
Fucking hell.
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Subject:30 - United 4 Barnet 1 / Saha / Ballack / More midfielders
Time:10:59 pm
Tonight's entry is astonished at Jamie Oliver's lifetime achievement award at the National Television Awards. For achieving what, exactly? Being a sloppy-gobbed twat?


A few years ago, back when Skinner and Baddiel were funny (they were, kids, honest!) and were doing Fantasy Football League on BBC2, they did a great sketch where Alex Ferguson was sat on the bench at a match and constantly being bothered by little kids.

"Who are all these kids, Brian?"

"Oh, those are the substitutes, boss!"

This was around the era when the team full of kids that weren't going to win anything were around, and in some ways it was spot on. So after last season's assault on the Carling Cup mainly involved fringe players instead of youngsters, the youngsters were reverted to in a move that was altogether more refreshing.

So out came Adam Eckersley, Lee Martin, Ritchie Jones, Gerard Pique, Giuseppe Rossi and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, as well as Darren Gibson as a substitute, shoving aside their Duplo playsets to attempt to provide some cheer after a depressing start to the season, and very well they did too. Rossi has already signalled his intentions in the Premiership, but Pique and Ebanks-Blake will be next into the proper United line-up, I think.

Also, congratulations to the referee for spoiling the game in practically the first minute by sending off Barnet's keeper for handling outside the box whilst under no pressure. I hope you're proud of yourself, you stupid jobsworth cunt. Jeff Winter will be proud, I'm sure.

**********************


I know it's probably somewhat cruel to criticise someone for constantly suffering injuries, but really, can Louis Saha even get out of bed without getting injured?

Now, I'm sorry, but when a player becomes consistently injured like this then there has got to be a problem somewhere. Either Saha himself is pushing himself before he is ready and not fully revealing his true condition, or he's being pushed back too quickly by United's staff. I don't want to believe either, but I just can't remember a player who has suffered injury after injury after injury like this with seemingly no gap in-between. It's completely ridiculous. He's like the bizarro Cal Ripken Jr.

He might as well do something useful whilst he's in that treatment room and do what Norman Whiteside did - become a physiotherapist. Make some use of your time, Louis.

**********************


A load of Ballacks. That's what's knocking around today.

Firstly, there's this where Karl-Heinz Rummenigge gets das knickers in von twist (multi-lingual genius, I am) about Ballack's unlikely move to United. Now whilst I'm as downbeat as anyone about United's transfer market dealings, I rather object to this arse making these comments. Bayern Munich have hardly ever attracted world-class signings to their team, so he can stick his comments up his Khyber.

Secondly, this pretty good article has a good old think about the possibility of Ballack coming to United, which I still rate as 'highly unlikely'. I can't see him going to Barcelona if they're only priming him up for Mark van Bommel's spot on the sub's bench, so I would imagine Inter and Real Madrid are the strong favourites here. I guess Chelsea could sign him as well to fill one of the empty seats in their stands.

Thirdly, Franz Beckenbauer is practically shoving him out of the door and towards Real Madrid already. Nice to know you're wanted, eh Michael?

Finally, Ballack himself is making Dave from The Fast Show look decisive. It's a tough decision. On the one hand, Bayern Munich have Owen Hargreaves. On the other hand, United have Mikael Silvestre. Tough one, Michael, I don't envy you!

**********************


More midfielders linked. Yawn. And if we sign a player called Yaya then I'm emigrating to Pluto.


I'm off to watch this programme about The Omen. Argh, the dogs!
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Subject:29 - United 1 Spurs 1 / Adu, Vieira linked
Time:08:19 pm
Tonight's entry agreed with Danny Mills' sentiment that Robert Pires is an "arrogant twat".


So, after two excellent performances the early season depression set back in with another insomnia threatening draw.

I'll tell you what alarms me most about the slump in the last season and a bit, and that is Fergie's complete lack of urgency or concern about the last 14 months or so. There he is, prattling on in interviews about bad luck and injuries without even a hint that he gives a fuck about what he and Queirozzzzzz are doing with this team. Regardless of financial restrictions and what Boring Chelsea are doing, I still believe we have enough to mount a serious challenge on all trophy fronts. But it is now almost undeniable that the management pairing are stunting this opportunity with transfer market indecision, poor team line ups and completely unbelievable tactics.

Nothing. Not a hint of worry crosses Ferguson's face. Now, either he doesn't give a shit any more, which I refuse to believe, or he arrogantly believes that United can still win the title being guided to playing like they have been. If this is the case, what a monstrously arrogant fool he is. For the first time in 14 years I have lost faith in Ferguson and now staunchly believe he is no longer the man to lead Manchester United and that we need to make a change.

Guus Hiddink, Danny Blind or, indeed, Mr Roy Keane - HELP.

On the match front, the first half was reasonably good from us, but I really don't understand why we came out in the second half completely lacking the drive and penetration that we had in the first half. We handed the initiative to a Spurs side that really are being grossly overrated (that Stalteri is fucking shit, in particular) in all but the midfield areas and in Jermaine Defoe (come on Glazers, get your hands in your pockets, you useless streaks of piss), and they took it.

Barnet during the week. PLEASE put out the youngsters. Give me something to look forward to, at least.

***********************


A couple of particularly odd pieces of transfer news here. The Vieira thing will NEVER happen as much as we might need him, with Mr Roy Keane probably seeing to that. As for Adu....

Is this bloke any fucking good or what? Forgive me for being rather doubtful of his talents, but I'm not wholly impressed by the fact that he made his professional debut when he was 14. Why? Because it was in the MLS, that's why. This is the league where Alexei Lalas used to be a superstar for hell's sake. I'm sorry, but it doesn't blow my trousers up in delight at all. It could happen of course what with United's Nike and American connections, but do we actually need ANOTHER 'promising young talent' plucked out of an unfashionable league? We need players for NOW. Not some bloke who MIGHT turn out to be pretty good in the future, we've got plenty of those.

And if he was so good then Chelsea or Real Madrid would have signed him by now. That is the rule these days, after all.


I'm off to watch the Rome derby. How old is Di Canio now anyway?

Oh yeah, and my latest United Rant is up, like.
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Subject:28 - Ronaldo / Richardson extends contract / Davids / Duscher
Time:08:48 pm
Tonight's entry would like to join The Sunshine Underground.


I think it was pretty widely known that Cristiano Ronaldo was the United player being talked about in the media concerning certain allegations, so it was not a real surprise when he was finally named. I don't really have any comment to make, because I don't really think there is anything that anyone can really say until the whole matter is put to rest one way or another.

All I will say is that if he is found to be innocent, then in football perhaps more than anywhere, mainly due to imbecile fans who will do anything to gain their team an advantage, mud sticks.

**********************


Well, the contract printers at United have certainly been busy in the last couple of weeks or so, with Kieran Richardson being the latest to extend his contract at United. Excellent news, in my opinion, and certainly even more exciting than recent contract extensions for John O'Shea and Darren Fletcher.

But I must say that until his performances for United this season, mostly out of position too, I wasn't entirely convinced by him to say the least. His sporadic performances for United had suggested to me he was going to be the next Simon Davies (this one, not the under-achieving Everton one) rather than the next Ryan Giggs. I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only fan who was nearly gobsmacked by how good he was at West Brom towards the end of last season because I just didn't think he had it in him.

When he returned to United this season, I still wasn't convinced whether he could turn his West Brom form into form at United, and although he hasn't had the impact that he had with the Baggies that is hardly his fault what with being played out of position, and his form has been superb nevertheless. Along with Phil Bardsley, he has offered us much needed back-up in the full back areas.

How do you know if a player's truly 'arrived' at Old Trafford though? When they get a song in their honour. Listen out for Kieran Richardson's, Edwin van der Sar's and Park Ji-Sung's (ignoring that dog eating one) songs soon emitting from the Stretford End.

*********************


Davids turned down United, did he? What a big surprise that is. Mind you, it's a minor miracle that United even got to talking stages with him as United aren't very good at approaching world class players. Just ask Zinedine Zidane.

In fact, I've not a clue why United didn't approach him this season. Davids is still a fantastic player and too good for Tottenham, and I await his imminent bust up with the club as I predicted it will happen somewhere around November. Although United are looking for a younger midfielder, they could still have got two quality years out of Davids whilst bringing through a youngster or properly scout a replacement from outside instead of desperately scrabbling in Europe for any scraps that Chelsea haven't picked up yet. Ferguson gets so fixated on an idea for a transfer that he sometimes misses out on an opportunity like this.

Davids and Keane in midfield. Man, that would have been some quality violent water-carrying.

*********************


A HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! This would be the greatest thing EVER if it happened. Is there such a thing as a spite transfer? Wonderful.


I'm off to read some redneck agendas.
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Subject:27 - United 0 Lille 0 / The Injured Gary Neville Diaries / McShane
Time:10:37 pm
Tonight's entry imagines all the people think that John Lennon song is crap.


Back to 4-5-1 again = no goals. Fergie was clever tonight by claiming that Paul Scholes would occupy Wayne Rooney's spot directly, but there he was, tucked deep into midfield not entirely sure of what he was doing, leaving Alan Smith and Darren Fletcher not entirely sure of what they were doing either. Nice try, Fergie, but no cigar.

I really don't understand the selections either. Ryan Giggs has been largely absent in the last couple of games, with Park Ji-Sung replacing him and being quite marvellous too. So instead of allowing Park the chance to build on his superb displays and put some momentum into his United career, he's dumped back on the bench and not brought on until 10 minutes from time, during which he did more than enough to be United's man of the match. Completely ridiculous. Ferguson deserves as much criticism for this decision as he took for the formation changes, he really is completely and infuriatingly inconsistent with his selections nowadays.

He can't take all the blame though as we were awful tonight. Mikael Silvestre was far more reliable at the back although he had nothing to do, but Rio Ferdinand is nervy and lacking in confidence. Phil Bardsley and John O'Shea didn't support the 'wide men' nearly enough, whilst the central midfield formation gave none of the three players there a chance to do anything of note. Cristiano Ronaldo's distribution was abysmal and completely lacking in composure whilst Ruud van Nistelrooy was like teflon tonight.

A very poor performance indeed. Bollocks, in fact.

*************************


If you haven't seen them yet, The Injured Gary Neville Diaries are the best thing now on Football365.com. Best bit?

"N-Everton are bottom of the league - ha ha ha ha ha ha - I ring up Phil every day to tell him and send him text messages (U R BTTM - HA HA HA)"

Apologies to sincerely_me and izzles.

*************************


It seems that most of our best players this season are on loan in division one. I refuse to call it The Championship because it's stupid. It's fucking division one and it's lucky I only just stopped calling it division two as well. I digress. Paul McShane is turning heads at Brighton and suggesting a defensive future that looks very bright indeed for us.

By the way, I have patented any gags done about McShane's name with regard to Hi-De-Hi and You Rang, M'Lord? in the future, so don't even try it, alright?


I'm off to watch Hex. It's the British Buffy, apparently. If so, how come it's good and I haven't stuck my foot through the TV yet then?
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Subject:26 - Sunderland 1 United 3 / Robson on Rooney / American article on Glazers
Time:08:11 pm
Tonight's entry ate about a million roast potatoes for lunch today.


What a difference a different formation makes, eh?

The type of hit-and-run performance that United became famous for when they didn't play at their very best, this more than the rampant attacking display against Fulham stands out as the reason why United needed to reshuffle and accomodate Rooney in a central role. It was a fine performance, with Phil Bardsley once again uncompromising at the back and the best of the back four once again as Mikael Silvestre stumbled through another ponderous display. Alan Smith turned in his best central midfield display to date and was excellent, whilst Ji-Sung Park (NOT Park Ji-Sung, I'm reliably informed) was once again marvellous and Rooney quite brilliant.

The debut Premiership goal from little Giuseppe Rossi was the icing on a very nice cake. This was a Victoria Sponge, in fact - not the best cake around, but generally very pleasing if a little tough in places. What that goal will do is put Rossi on the map and wake Fergie up with regard to his undoubted talent. It was just a shame that Gerard Pique didn't get the chance to do the same. Surely, given Silvestre's appalling current form, Pique deserves a chance? A lack of experience at the back could be a good reason, I guess, but yesterday would have been an ideal fixture to blood him in.

All in all, most pleasing and finally a run of results under our belt.

************************


Thanks for that, Bobby. Not too much pressure on him, then? A completely ridiculous view this, but apparently one that would be shared by many pundits. What happened to this superstar midfield that was supposed to be the best in the world then?

I suppose in some ways Rooney is a victim of his own ability. By being so good he immediately fools people into believing that he can shoulder the burden of being United's creative centrepiece and England's forward momentum, seemingly maaking people forget how young he is. As a United fan though, in some ways I would be happy to see Rooney have a quiet World Cup. Coming off the back of a World Cup where he emerges as player of the tournament or very close to it would, in my opinion, perhaps see him retreat into a quiet couple of years for United.

Off the back of a quiet World Cup, where players like Owen, Beckham, Lampard and England manager David Beckham SHOULD be the ones who shoulder the burden of the nation's hopes, I could see him answering the inevitable critics by bouncing back and having a brilliant season next season. As wonderful as his form has been so far this season, I can't help but being concerned by what the near future holds for him.

************************


There have been literally thousands of column inches written about the takeover by the Glazer family since the story first broke regarding ther interest - as a result it's now at a point where nothing of any interest tends to get written now.

Then along comes an American article about the takeover and is one of the finest articles I've seen on the matter. An outside view of the situation certainly does shed some interesting light on the whole affair.

For instance, the claim that the New York Yankees fall well behind United when it comes to merchandising sales and franchise value. Surely that can't be true? I can't imagine that even a fraction of the people that walk around in Britain wearing Yankees memorabilia (me being one of them, but then I actually follow baseball and I'm not just wearing Yankees stuff because other people do) walk around around America wearing United memorabilia. I know this type of figure is probably calculated on a worldwide scale, but I can imagine that there is a fair amount of Yankees merchandise knocking around south-east Asia as well.

As for franchise value, I'm less surprised at this claim but still doubtful. George Steinbrenner ("We must find Costanza!") is a notorious tight arse and would surely wring as much worth out of the Yankees that he can, not to mention the fact that baseball is just a wealthier sport than football. But who am I to argue with a well-researched American chap?

Splendid article though, and offering further proof for me that some members of Shareholders United have been exploiting these recent events to further their own media profile. Unfortunately for Sean Bones, he has the charisma of an ironing board so occasional soundbites on Sky Sports News are the most he can hope for. His emotive and well-rehearsed lines - "It's our hallowed ground" stands out in particular - are those of a man well aware of his raised profile. Shareholders United have become far too concerned with dictionary masticating jargon instead of actual action. Nobody can claim to have come out of this smelling of roses. Bones can sit on his self-righteous barstool tut-tutting all he wants. Ultimately, he didn't do a very good job of organising an opposition to Glazer's takeover.


My latest weekly collection of Unitedular nonsense can be witnessed here. In the meanwhile, I shall return prior to the Lille clash. Ta.
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