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.


@KevinAshford7


26 Mar 2014

City Inflict Derby Day Blues

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.


@KevinAshford7


5 Mar 2014

Has Moyes Bitten Off More Than He Can Chew?

The media have been circling over Old Trafford like vulchers ever since Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement and departed Manchester United. Their prey is his successor David Moyes, who has the huge task of trying to stamp his own style and authority on a group of players who have become accustomed to winning honours every season at Old Trafford, but has David Moyes bitten off more than he can chew? Is he really up to the task?

It was always going to be tough replacing Sir Alex Ferguson, a manager who has left a huge legacy at Old Trafford, the manager who installed his own methods and winning mentality at the club, Sir Alex arrived at Manchester United already a winner, success at Aberdeen earned him a shot at the big time in Manchester, the chance to make a sleeping giant great again and attempt to knock rivals Liverpool off their perch.

David Moyes arrived at Old Trafford on the strength of his predecessor, Sir Alex choose him as the man to take the baton and continue his work at the club, Moyes arrived at Manchester United with no major trophies to his name, a manger who did a good job at mid table team Everton, but surly the club should've gone through the managerial job interview selection process before making such a huge decision? The strongest candidate for the job should've surly been appointed despite Sir Alex's recommendation?

Moyes' lack of a winning mentality has had a huge effect on the group of players he has inherited, some of the blame for United's faltering and lacklustre season has been placed with the players, claims that the players are under performing can be interpreted in many different ways, but it seems more likely that the current squad don't have trust and confidence in the new manager and his techniques, and like me, were probably very underwhelmed by the managerial appointment.

I always envisaged Sir Alex's successor to be in some ways a ready made replacement, a winning manager who has tasted success, who has charisma, someone who is comfortable with the media aspect of the job, who has a strong personality, not daunted by the task ahead, somebody who would stamp his own mark on Manchester United and bring new and fresh ideas to the squad.

There would've been no shortage of managers who would've fancied the Old Trafford hot seat, and I certainly don't blame David Moyes for accepting the job and trying to make the step up, but I think the job is bigger than he could've ever imagined, he often looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights.

The honeymoon period is over, I've seen little to convince me that David Moyes is the correct choice. Those who argue against this and beat the 'give him more time' drum must surly now see that Moyes has no style of play? He seems to have no tactical knowledge, there never seems to be a game plan and his 'Plan B' usually involves pushing Fellaini further forward and encouraging the team to knock the ball into him so that he can hold up play, something he regularly did at Everton, this is not the Manchester United style of play.

Moyes never looks comfortable with the media, I often cringe when watching his press conferences as he stutters through them trying to fit in all the right things to say as if its scripted. His after match assessment of Manchester United defeats this season has been nothing short of comical, it usually goes something like: "I thought we were unlucky today, we didn't deserve that, we'll do everything we can to turn things around".

Comments like that are fine if you genuinely were unlucky, but you make your own luck in football and it can't be used as an excuse every time your team suffers a defeat, Moyes' downfall has been his niceness, his willingness to tiptoe around the changing room without trying to be his own person, maybe he is in aura of the squad of talent he is now in charge of?

I hope David Moyes proves me wrong, suggesting a manager should be replaced after not even a season in charge will probably seem harsh to some, but my opinion is that David Moyes is not the manager to bring Manchester United forward.

I'm well aware that this goes against everything that Sir Alex Ferguson told us when he stood on the pitch after the Swansea match at Old Trafford last season, when he told us that our job now was to stand by our new manager, I would happily do that if I had seen something to give me hope that he was the correct choice, but Iv'e seen absolutely nothing to convince me in the slightest, its not like you can see a certain style of play developing, something that you know will click together in time.

David Moyes is a manager with very little Champions League experience, if he is given another season in charge that experience will not strengthen in any way, as the club look set to miss out on a top four position for the first time since the English Premier League was formed back in 1992, David Moyes is breaking records at Manchester United for all the wrong reasons, has he bitten off more than he can chew?


@KevinAshford7



15 Jan 2014

Workers Fear Axe As "Popular Customer" Heads Abroad

Manchester Is Red was recently contacted by workers of a fast food chain (that we can't name for legal reasons) who are living in fear that they will lose their jobs very soon.

The fried chicken outlet are allegedly looking at making huge cut backs following the news that they are soon to lose a very popular customer who is responsible for a huge chunk of the company's massive annual profits.

Manchester Is Red spoke to workers of the Manchester based fast food chain, one source said: "We are really fearing the worse, this customer has kept our branch ticking over nicely, losing his custom is bound to hit the company very hard and we are all fearing the worst."

Another employee told us: "I'm scared, January is always a quite month, but losing this client will make things very hard for us to keep our jobs", he added: "our manager has pencilled in a staff meeting for tomorrow, my fear is that we will be told that we are being made redundant, so soon after Christmas".

Its not just the fried chicken store that are fearing the worst, over at a well known Brazilian restaurant in the city centre, a source told us they are "disappointed" to learn that their "best customer" was leaving Manchester and heading to Florence, she also said: "this will hit us hard, we've had to re-forecast our predicted turnover for 2014, and it makes for grim reading, I would be surprised if we were still actively operating as a business come March this year".

We also caught up with the branch manager of a bakery chain in Manchester, he was downbeat on hearing the news: "Its a real sucker punch, we are fully stocked up in anticipation of the Brazilian customer purchasing it, we are going to be stuck with stock we can't sell, we will lose out big time".

On a positive note, owners of fast food chains and restaurants in Florence were said to be delighted on hearing the news that Fiorentina had agreed a loan deal with Manchester United for Anderson, "it will give the economy a huge boost in Florence" said the owner of a small fast food shop.

There was pandemonium and scenes of madness in the city centre just seconds after the Florence based football team announced that Anderson was on his was over, as locals began panic buying from fast foods chains in fear that supplies would plummet after his arrival, a spokesman for one of the company's said: "There is no need to panic, we have upped our order accordingly after a meeting with our Manchester based area manager".


@KevinAshford7


9 Jan 2014

Come On Fergie's Boys, Play For David Moyes

The Old Trafford faithful continue to passionately sing 'Come On David Moyes, Play Like Fergie's Boys, We'll go Wild Wild Wild' to the tune of Slades 1973 hit 'Cum On Feel the Noize', I think it's time that Fergie's boys starting playing for David Moyes.

It's not been the smooth transition at Old Trafford that some had imagined following Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to call time on his incredible management career at Old Trafford, David Moyes was the chosen one, but only 6 months into his Manchester United managerial stint, the media and some supporters are already calling for his head, is David Moyes entirely to blame?

Moyes inherited a team of champions, a squad that won last seasons Barclays Premier League title with ease, now that exact same squad with the addition of Adnan Januzaj and Marouane Fellaini, find themselves struggling in the league and knocked out of the FA Cup.

Losing a manager like Sir Alex Ferguson was always going to be tough, he was responsible for greeting that extra performance out of players, he was probably worth an extra 10 to 15 points a season, Moyes is not getting the same from this squad, you certainly have to question the players in the current situation, he's getting mixed performances from players who are paid astronomical amounts of money to perform for Manchester United.

As Manchester United manager, David Moyes is taking all the criticism for the teams current problems, but let's not forget how that disastrous and embarrassing summer transfer window has shaped the clubs season.

Ed Woodward took over from David Gill as Executive Vice-Chairman, Woodwards job is to work closely with Moyes in acquiring new players in the transfer market, and whilst he was attaching numerous ridiculous bids to the legs of his carrier pigeons, time slipped away and with time ticking away on the last day of the window, United uncharacteristically involved themselves in the transfer deadline day madness, signing Marouane Fellaini, a player that they could have signed for around £7m less the week before, when his set fee buyout clause expired at Everton

Then we were told that the bushy haired Belgian was 'always the first choice target'? Yes, course he was, that's why United left it to the last 10 minutes of the window to sign him! This was a panic buy, Woodward had a series of embarrassing transfer knock backs during his summer world tour, feared a backlash if he failed to acquire a signing, Fellaini was the easy option as he'd previously played under Moyes at Everton.

Manchester United started the 2013/14 season with a good squad, a squad of champions, the real problem was their failure to strengthen when all the top teams around them did, this meant that their rivals were always going to steal a march on them once the fixtures started coming thick and fast.

What has been surprising, is that those same players who won the league last season, have worryingly showed little fight or desire in the majority of games this season, maybe now that the Fergie fear factor has gone, they've fallen into the comfort and relaxation zone?

It's David Moyes who has to address the media after these defeats whilst the players head off to the changing room, they then head home to their mansions with their fleet of super cars that us, the supporters, have contributed towards, in return we expect entertainment, desire, fight and passion, sadly we have been denied of that too often this season, the players need to stand up and be counted, they have a responsibility when representing our club.

The strong majority of supporters are firmly behind David Moyes, and although I will admit I was stunned by the news he had been installed as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor, mainly because he won nothing at Everton and lacked Champions League managerial experience, like most who heard his predecessors speech on that final day last season in the rain against Swansea, it was always going to be a case of standing by the new manager, this was the man chosen by Sir Alex Ferguson, he is going to need time to adjust to his new surroundings.

My main criticism of David Moyes in these first 6 months, is that he has not totally got to grips with the squad rotation policy at the club, this is something he's clearly never had a problem with managing a small squad at Everton where he had a strong first team, but not a strong squad of players, this will come with time.

Moyes continues to be let down by the players he selects, yes, he's had some injuries to key players that have not helped his start in the Old Trafford hot seat.

Although we are told Moyes will be given time, it does make you wonder at what stage the American owners will hit the panic button, at the start of this season they would never have envisaged a scenario that the club would fail to make Champions League qualification, if that was to happen, it would have huge repercussions financially, the last thing the Glazers would want, is to be refinancing the already mind boggling debt and loan deals that they took out to purchase the club in the first place.

It all makes for an interesting summer when Moyes will be expected to really stamp his mark on Manchester United, a clear our is needed, new players are desperately required to freshen things up, some players at Old Trafford have put on their slippers and pulled out the pipe, and as always, you'll find Anderson doing what he does best, eating fast food and continuing to baffle us all as to how he ever blagged his way into the world of professional football as a footballer.

So come on Fergie's boys, play for David Moyes.



@KevinAshford7


24 Sep 2013

Outfought, Outplayed, Outclassed, A Harsh Lesson For Moyes

It's a horrible feeling losing a Manchester derby, much more so at this current time, because this fixture has more importance and significance when the curtain is brought down to signal the end of the Premier League season.

Also living in Manchester, means you can expect a little bit of stick from a few City supporters who you are friends with or work alongside , it's part and parcel of a local derby, local bragging rights are at stake.

As the ink started to dry on the freshly printed Premier League fixture list, we knew that after a quick glimpse at the first 5 games, that this was going to be a difficult start.

Manchester United are traditionally a bit slow out of the traps, so many of their past title triumphs under Sir Alex Ferguson involved the team putting in incredible runs around and after the Christmas period, there would be no easy start for David Moyes as he set about the toughest job in world football, the impossible dream.

At the Etihad on Sunday, David Moyes took charge of his first Manchester Derby game, it's a game he will want to erase from his memory, but one that realistically, he will never forget.

To be brutally honest, United were outfought, outplayed and outclassed on every single blade of the Etihad grass in this match, it was heartbreaking as a Manchester United supporter, this was a game we were never in, as a contest it was more or less over as Howard Webb blew into his whistle to signal the half time interval.

It was a huge blow to lose Robin van Persie to injury prior to the match, but United should have the strength and depth in their squad to deal with it, but as I drowned my sorrows at half time at the Etihad with a pint, I got the feeling there was more to come from City, they were a team with the bit between their teeth.

It was clear Moyes needed to change something, but you just had the feeling that City were more up for this, they were winning the battle all over the pitch, it's not often I would question commitment, but City certainly seemed to want it more, YaYa Toure took the game by the scruff of the neck, bossing the centre of the park, leaving recent United signing Fellaini chasing shadows.

Things went from bad to worse as 2 goals in the first 5 minutes of the second half, left United with an impossible task, 4-0 with 40 minutes of the game left was disastrous, it could've been worse in the end, a late Wayne Rooney proved little consolation, this was an embarrassment, too many players simply didn't turn up for this game.

Probably the saddest image of the day, as a United supporter, was David Moyes, head slumped in his hands, looking like a man who had been well and truly beaten, some would try convincing you that it was the look of a man totally out of his depth, I don't subscribe to that opinion, he is only 5 games into his managerial career at Old Trafford.

This was a harsh lesson for Moyes, tactically he was completely outwitted by Manuel Pellegrini, it won't get any easier for the Scotsman, the media are gathering like vultures, waiting, hoping for him to fail at Manchester United, it's how he responds from this that will be an interesting spectacle.

United have some winnable fixtures in the pipeline, its been a very difficult start for David Moyes, he will learn from this lesson, and looking at the bigger picture, United are currently 3 points behind the 2 teams that I would've expected to be challenging for the title come the start of May 2014.

Moyes, during his time at Everton, never had the luxury of having such a strong pool of players to choose from, one of Sir Alex Ferguson's strengths as a manger was rotating his squad and keeping players fresh and happy, this is something that his successor quickly needs to get to grips with, it's part of modern day football.

United have already played Chelsea at Old Trafford, and Liverpool and Manchester City away, the disappointment, that they have only claimed a single point from those fixtures, these are fixtures that prove to be most important, there is a long way to go in this Premier League season.

It's only just got started, lets put this down to a very bad day at the office, a lesson that David Moyes will learn quickly from, this could be the wake up call Manchester United need to kick-start their season, next up, it's the small matter of Liverpool in the Capital One Cup at Old Trafford.


@KevinAshford7


27 Aug 2013

When Mourinho Parks The Bus It's Tactical Genius

"Tottenham might as well have put the team bus in front of their goal. Sometimes when you are a big club, a very small club comes to your stadium. Tottenham got a point they shouldn't. 

We wanted to play. They didn't. We wanted to score. They didn't. Every time they just kicked the ball away.

It is frustrating for me, my players, for every Chelsea supporter and for every football supporter.

Because people don't pay to see one team play and the other team falling down, demanding to see the medical department. We finished with all our strikers on - Kezman, Duff, Drogba and Gudjohnsen. You don't finish with so many attackers on if the other team are also trying to win it." 

Those are the words spoken by media darling Jose Mourinho back in 2004 following a home draw against London rivals Tottenham at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho was angered that the team from White Hart Lane, departed with a point, claiming that they "parked the team bus" in front of the Chelsea goal, a sarcastic and bitter jibe at Tottenham.

Fast forward to 2013, and Jose Mourinho now in charge of Chelsea for the second time in his managerial career, named a team at Old Trafford that did not have a striker in it, deciding to go with a 6 man midfield, the word hypocrite comes to mind. 

What was so different from what Tottenham did back in 2004 at Stamford Bridge? That day they defended heroically, against a solid Chelsea side, but at least they had Jermaine Defoe upfront as an attacking option. 

This is the same Mourinho who nullified the attacking flair of Barcelona with all-out-defence tactics on his way to winning the Champions League with Inter Milan in 2010.

The English media's love affair with Jose Mourinho is pathetic, cringe worthy, it seems that the egotistical Portugese, self proclaimed 'Special One' can do no wrong.

Mourinho says that he feels at home in England, probably because our country's press are happy to constantly massage his ego whilst gazing at him seductively, they hang on his every word, feeding that huge ego by laughing at comments that aren't even that humorous.

It was a completely different story during spells at Inter Milan and Real Madrid, the Italian and Spanish press never subscribed to the Mourinho love affair, clearly, their media see Jose Mourinho for exactly what he is, a circus act, it does make you wonder why the English press adore him so much.

It seems Mourinho can do no wrong, he seems immune from media criticism. The morning after setting up a hugely negative side at Old Trafford in a 0-0 draw, the media have concluded that this was some sort of Mourinho tactical master class? Flooding the midfield with 6 players and not naming a striker is surly parking the bus isn't it?

In 2009 Mourinho apologised to the Inter Milan supporters who witnessed a goaless draw in a Champions League knock out game against Manchester United at the San Siro, saying - "It is a shame for the fans who have come here and seen a 0-0".

The Daily Mail praised Mourinho the following morning claiming his tactics were 'cautious', not a single mention of the word negativity, which just goes to show that the media find it difficult to pick fault or criticise the Portuguese eye gouger.

Can you imagine if this was the other way around, and David Moyes had fielded a Manchester United side at Stamford Bridge with a 6 man midfield and no upfront outlet? The media would have come down on Moyes like a ton bricks, suggesting that the he is killing football, playing negatively. 

At Old Trafford, David Moyes named Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck in his starting XI, yet the Independent print a headline that reads - 'Jury still out on David Moyes whose selections hint at industry over art', not a single mention of the negative team selection that Mourinho put out at Old Trafford.

It was clear from the first whistle that the Mourinho circus set up his team for a point at Old Trafford, it's just a sad shame that our Jose obsessed media are portraying David Moyes as the clown following this negative act at Old Trafford, pathetically, when Jose Mourinho parks the bus, the English press report it as tactical genius.


@KevinAshford7

5 Aug 2013

Success On The Field, Breeds Arrogance Off It

The start of the much anticipated 2013/14 Barclay's Premier League campaign is fast approaching, and it's been an eye opener as far as negativity and arrogance are concerned when it comes to discussing new Manchester United manager David Moyes and the clubs transfer activity, or shall we say lack of it.

Social media has intensified and fuelled transfer rumours, it seems that some people simply can't get enough of it, it makes it very difficult to identify what is true and what is simply fabricated to help the sale of newspapers from our local convenience store.

This season, is the beginning of a new era at Old Trafford following Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to bring down the curtain on his astonishingly successful 26 year spell at the club. Supporters always knew that this day would come, when it did, and David Moyes was installed as his successor, some were a little underwhelmed by his appointment, these supporters simply don't understand Manchester United's values, the tradition, the history, David Moyes is the man who Sir Alex himself, decided would succeed him, who are we as supporters to question that?

The sceptics were out in full force, "David Moyes?", "Why didn't we go for Jose Mourinho instead?". The appointment of David Moyes is typical of a club like Manchester United, they are looking at the bigger picture, looking at the long term project, there will be no quick fix, no Mourinho circus arriving and pitching up at Old Trafford for a few years to enhance the so called "Special Ones" CV and ego, Moyes will also carry on the tradition of promoting youth from within the club, something Mourinho has never really seemed to be interested in.

Another big change at the club this summer, was also the announcement that Chief Executive David Gill would also be stepping down from his post after 10 years with the club, his replacement was Ed Woodward, a man who has been missing since the 17th of July when he returned from Manchester United's per season tour in Australia to take care of "urgent transfer business".

The new regime at Old Trafford, has seen United making transfer activity public, announcing bids for players, something that never happened in the Ferguson era. Chasing high profile players was always kept on the quite until recently, some sceptics believe it is being used as an advertisement to sell the remaining season tickets at United, I don't believe that for one minute, I actually think its quite refreshing to know what players the club are chasing and are showing an interested in. So what if the deal doesn't happen? Nothing ventured, nothing gained right?

This has been highlighted by United's well publicised pursuit of Barcelona player Cesc Fabregas, with 2 bids already batted back into the Old Trafford court, the media believe United are considering playing a forehand final offer back to the Catalan giants, but why? Most supporters have already come to the conclusion that Fabregas doesn't want to come to United, they don't see the point in the club getting another knock back, they fear the rejection, fear that supporters of other clubs will gain a laugh from it, so what? Rise above it, get over it, the club will move on.

Why would a club like Manchester United be bidding for Cesc Fabregas if they had not had some kind of encouragement from the Spaniards camp, that if a transfer fee could be agreed between the 2 clubs, then Fabregas would be willing to make the move to Manchester? Why also have we heard from every other player and manager on Fabregas' future, but we've heard nothing from the player himself?

It's the media who are hyping up transfer activity, top names will always be linked with Manchester United, it's annoying that supporters show such cringe worthy arrogance suggesting that its unthinkable that a player would turn down the chance of playing at Old Trafford on a regular basis, football has changed dramatically, money has played a huge part.

David Moyes has come in for some unfair criticism in the medial and on social networking sites, these are obviously the supporters who don't attend Old Trafford but seem to have the most ridiculous opinions. Last May for the Swansea match, Sir Alex Ferguson's last game at Old Trafford, Sir Alex passionately spoke into the PA system after the game and told the United faithful "Your job now, is to stand by your new manager", a huge cheer went up, I stood teary eyed in the Stretford End as I threw a fist into the air like most did, yet with only a few "friendly" games under his belt, Moyes is already being criticised?

If Ed Woodward can successfully navigate his way out of the Bermuda Triangle, I'm confident that a big name will arrive at United. Transfer activity is usually kick started by a player leaving, Wayne Rooney's departure could be the spark that gets the transfer fire burning. United would be stupid to let a star player leave without ensuring they have a replacement, that's what could be holding up the club announcing David Moyes' first signing as Manchester United manager.

Success on the field, breeds arrogance off it, maybe some Manchester United supporters have just simply been spoilt over the last 20 years, dont write off David Moyes before he has even managed a competitive game. 

@KevinAshford7


21 May 2013

United Hold All The Aces In Rooney Card Game

Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement, David Moyes was named as his successor, Paul Scholes also brought down the curtain on his Manchester United career for the second and final time, and in other football news a certain Scouse lad who goes by the name of Wayne Rooney, once again stated his desire to leave the club, proving that lightening can strike twice in the same place, it's groundhog day.

We've been here before haven't we? Its a case of déjà vu. In October 2010 Rooney issued a statement in which he questioned the club's ability to attract top players and indicated he wanted to leave because he didn't feel that United could match his ambitions, Just over 2 years since that first written transfer request, why has Rooney once again stated his desire to leave United? Has he lost his desire and fight to try and regain his title as the clubs talisman?


Rooney admitted in his autobiography that handing in a transfer request to Sir Alex Ferguson was one of the biggest regrets of his life, 2 days after that 2010 transfer request Rooney performed a dramatic U-turn and signed a new five-year contract at Old Trafford, its now Manchester United that hold the strongest hand in this card game, they will dictate Rooney's future, not the other way around.

Let's be honest, the majority of United supporters have probably let the Rooney 2010 transfer request pass them by under the bridge, some buried their head in the sand, we all have different ways of dealing with situations like this, but at the end of the day, nobody put a gun to Rooney's head and forced him to ask for a transfer did they?

The Manchester United supporters who buried their head in the sand, are the ones who took the "Wayne Rooney was badly advised by his agent" bait, hook, line, and sinker. Lets not forget that Rooney would have had the final say on any decision to go public with his first transfer request, Rooney would have had to give his agent the thumbs up after reading the statement that us United supporters would have to painfully sit and listen to, they do say it takes two to tango don't they?

Rooney's 2010 transfer request could not have come at a worse time for Sir Alex Ferguson. Rooney was the talisman at United back then, and following the departure of fans favourite and club legend Cristiano Ronaldo the season before, the loss of Rooney that season would have sent out mixed message's to supporters, as it would have portrayed a club who were cashing in on their best players and taking a backwards step.

What was more worrying at that time, was that Rooney was considering a move across to the blue side of Manchester, it was reported that he liked the project, and the money on offer at City and was preparing to team up with former United player Carlos Tevez, a move that would have sent shock waves across, not just Manchester, but the world, it would have been a huge statement by Manchester City at that time to acquire the services of Rooney, who was Uniteds's star player and main attraction, he was considering joining a blue moon that was evidently on the rise at that time.


Some people subscribe to the theory, that a visit from a group of United supporters dressed in black clothing, to Rooney's Prestbury mansion in Cheshire, was a huge contributing factor when Rooney performed his transfer u-turn in 2010, does anybody seriously believe that? Rooney is a grown man who is capable of handling himself, he also has 24 hour security at his house, so fingers have to point in the direction of the improved contract he was offered as the main reason, money talks.

A sign of how Rooney's importance and popularity has changed amongst United supporters are clearly evident, when you consider that the 30 strong mob that previously payed Rooney a visit to his home address to ask him why he wanted to leave, do not feel it's necessary to the same this time around.

Is that your dummy on the floor Wayne next to your Shrek teddy bear? It does seem that you are throwing your toys out of the pram, what is ironic about this latest transfer request, is that the reason is supposedly because of his lack of first team action in the second half of the season, well unfortunately Wayne, this is a club that is struggling to find a place in the starting eleven for you because of something that you wished for in 2010 when you questioned the players Manchester United could attract, whatever happened to trying to fight for your place in the team? Or do you think you are bigger than the club now?

The signing of Robin van Persie last season, was a huge statement of intent from United following the huge disappointment of losing the Barclays Premier League on the final day, on goal difference. van Persie hit the ground running at United, instantly installing him as the first name on the team sheet, something Rooney was once used to, not anymore.

The second half to this season, was a case of trying to fit Wayne Rooney into the team, that was until the manager realised that he did not have to try and create a role for him, United no longer need Rooney in the team to make them tick. This was clearly evident in Champions League games against Real Madrid this season, when in the second leg at Old Trafford, Sir Alex dropped Rooney. What is sad, is that Rooney seems to have lost that hunger, that fight, that desire, hes not prepared to try and get into the team off merit.

Rooney is not, and never will be a player in the world class bracket, you simply can't mention him in the same breath as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. World class players are unplayable, they produce moments of breathtaking magic on a regular basis, after watching United this season, it's proved that Rooney is no longer a vital component at the club, It does look like we have had the best out of him during his 9 years at the club.

How many United supporters have you heard say "I can see Rooney dropping in and playing that midfield role like Scholsey"? Well I've heard a few, and one thing I know from watching Rooney play that role is that he is not, and will never be a central midfield player at Manchester United. He's done a job in that central role against a few teams this season, but not top opposition, he would get torn to pieces against a decent midfield in the Premier League or Champions League. Imagine Wayne Rooney in a midfield battle against the likes of Bayern Munich midfield general Bastian Schweinsteiger? Scary thought indeed.

What is strange about this transfer request, is that Sir Alex used his last ever Old Trafford post match interview as manger of Manchester United, to inform the world that Wayne Rooney had handed in a transfer request that the club had declined. Sir Alex could have kept this within the club, choosing to publicly highlight Rooney's request was surly a parting shot? Maybe Sir Alex's wounds have not fully healed since 2010, when he sat and addressed the media looking like a broken man, confirming that Rooney wanted to jump ship.

Sir Alex was asked by Sky Sports in his last Old Trafford interview as manager, if he thinks Rooney will still be at Manchester United next season, Ferguson laughed and said "Its not my decision now", obviously suggesting that its now David Moyes' call to make.

The day following United's last home game, when they lifted a historic 20th league title, the players left Old Trafford parading the Premier League trophy on a open top bus, as it left the stadium and turned into Chester Road where I was stood, I could see Rooney, he didn't look in the party mood like the rest of the squad, he looked a little distant and distracted. 

I later found out off a friend, that just previous to me catching a glimpse of him, some abuse had been fired in his direction from supporters venting their anger at his transfer request, apparently it didn't get any better for Rooney as the bus went down Deansgate and approached the centre of Manchester, but what did you expect Wayne? You brought this on yourself, it's the second time supporters have had to deal with this transfer request, this time, the majority seem to have lost all patience and want a quick end to the negativity you spread throughout our club.

It's up to Manchester United to decide if they want to keep Rooney this time, we as United supporters have always been told that no player is bigger than the club. United refusing the transfer is a simple reaction, they don't want to agree to it, as it will lower Rooney's stock, clubs will think they can get him on the cheap because it will give the impression that he's unsettled.

There can be no transfer u-turn this time around, its now time that Manchester United offloaded Wayne Rooney, use the money to bring in someone who is willing to fight for his position in the squad, and realise the honour of representing and playing for such a historic club.

United cant be tiptoeing around a player in fear of them handing in a transfer request, thanks for the memories Wayne, but its time to say goodbye, we only want players at Manchester United who have the desire and fight when wearing that famous red shirt, it seems that sadly you no longer have either of them attributes.


It's now Manchester United who hold all the aces in this Rooney card game, you lost the power to dictate Wayne, when you last held the club to Ransom. I don't expect to see Wane Rooney at Old Trafford next season, well, maybe once, as an opposition player, he will probably kiss the badge of his new club after scoring against us, once a blue always a red Wayne? Don't make me laugh.

I've witnessed you kiss 2 different club crests, one of those gestures was aimed in the direction of the supporters who's club, presented you with the chance to showcase your talent to the world, the team you supported as a child.


@KevinAshford7


15 Apr 2013

Half And Half Scarfs, A Sad Symbolisation Of Modern Day Football

Half and half scarf seller at the Manchester derby
Astonished, ashamed and disappointed, these are just a few clean words I can conjure up to decribe my feelings about the growing popularity of the Premier League half and half scarf, it's a sad symbolisation of how football, and supporters in general, have changed over the last twenty years or so.

Half and half scarf sellers are now reaping the rewards of travelling supporters who attend their teams home fixtures, the scarf is purchased as some kind of medal of honour to symbolise their day out, I'm sure the words 'Day-Tripper' will sound very familiar to any supporter who attends home games of the elite clubs in the Premier League.

Look up the definition of 'Day-Tripper' in the dictionary and it will tell you that: 'A day-tripper is a person who visits a tourist destination or visitor attraction from his/her home and returns home on the same day', sound familiar?

Attending Manchester United home games over the last 18 years, I have spotted my fare share of these characters, not surprisingly it's something that has become more popular as the club have become more successful. 

The Hillsborough disaster in 1989 changed our match day football experience as a supporter, the introduction of all seater stadiums had a knock on effect, some will argue for the better, some will say for the worse, the argument for safe standing sections has recently gathered momentum with many voting in favour of the idea that has proved successful and popular in Germany. 

"Get your half United half Liverpool scarfs"
All seater stadiums limited how many supporters teams could have in a stadium, this affected the price of tickets that has gradually risen each year pricing your average local man, woman, or family, out of attending games on a regular basis.

The top teams in the Premier League, in particular Manchester United, also tapped into the corporate market, making certain areas in the stadium business meeting areas where company's wine and dine clients hoping to clinch or maintain business deals and contracts, this has had a huge effect on the Old Trafford atmosphere. 

Success on the field will always attract new support from people in other country's, Manchester United's success over the last 20 years has attracted support from all over the world, Manchester United is no longer a football club, it is a brand that has tapped into a global market making it the most profitable sports team in the world. Forbes estimates Manchester United is now worth $2.23 billion, 19% more than No. 2 Real Madrid, which is worth $1.88 billion.

Football has changed incredibly over the years, there are lots of factors that have contributed to a change in our overall home match day atmosphere, 10 or 20 years ago, half and half scarf sellers would have been laughed at and probably kicked off the forecourt outside Old Trafford! It's the sellers of these repulsive items that are laughing all the way to the bank, as travelling day trippers snap them up.

Half and half scarfs have always been a popular item on the continent, in particular when your team is playing in a European competition, I can certainly except a person buying a scarf that is half, for arguments sake, Barcelona and half Manchester United, it's something to look back on in years to come, but a Premier League one is wrong in my opinion.

At Old Trafford this season, I've witnessed people purchasing half and half United/Liverpool scarfs, and half and half United/Manchester City scarfs, something I consider to be a crime as passionate Mancunian United supporter, why would you want a rival teams name and crest around your neck?

It's simple really isn't it? The clientele that the half and half scarf sellers have exploited, are the thousands of supporters who attend Old Trafford for a day out, supporters who turn up expecting to be entertained, they view football as some kind of show, they're probably attracted by the Old Trafford 'Theatre of Dreams' slogan!

Man City day-trippers photograph Rooney celebration
I can hear the laughter of Manchester City supporters who will probably think this is hilarious, you're not immune from the half and half scarf debate! My sources tell me that there is an ever growing army of overseas support attending the Etihad these days, and they love the half and half scarf accessory too!

This was probably most evident in this seasons Manchester Derby when Wayne Rooney scored and slid on his knees to celebrate in front of the City home supporters, the proper hardcore support were suggesting via a visual wrist action that one masturbates, a few v-signs were also aimed in Rooney's direction too, but the far eastern men on the front row with half and half scarfs on scrambled for their cameras to take a picture of the Manchester United players goal celebration! These supporters were clearly not regulars at the Etihad, this was a day out for them.

As much as the majority of us detest Premier League half and half scarfs, we can only painfully accept that they are a sad symbolisation of how football has changed, this is our modern day game of football, we adore our team and worship the players, but don't you just hate certain elements of our match day experience?


@KevinAshford7

(Whats six foot long and keeps a dick warm?   ........................................... A half and half scarf!!)