14 May 2014

The Year Liverpool Nearly Won The League

As the curtain came down to signal the end to the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League campaign, Manchester City were deservedly crowned champions of England, but I cant help but think, that this year, will be remember as the season that Liverpool nearly won the league, maybe even the season that Liverpool threw it away.

I'm a Manchester United supporter, so putting this into words is not the easiest thing I've ever done. Liverpool and Manchester City are our fiercest rivals, so I didn't take much pleasure from watching this seasons conclusion to the season, following a very disappointing season at Old Trafford.

Perhaps, the only thing that put a little smile on my face, was the fact that the majority of Liverpool supporters, ex players of the club and the media, had Liverpool crowned champions in their minds with a month of the season to go.

Now there is nothing wrong with being confident, there is no shame in believing that your team will win the title, but you sensed with a month left of the season, that the way the Liverpool supporters were acting, that they were setting themselves up for an almighty fall, and fall they did.

March 27th, 2014, Liverpool supporters lined the Anfield Road in their hundreds before kick-off against Sunderland on a Wednesday night. As the Liverpool coach arrived, flares were set off, flags were waved, and the 'We're gonna win the league' chant, filled the scouse air, all that was missing was the open top bus and the Premier League trophy, it was like a circus.

The chants and celebrations were a sign that Liverpool supporters believed, they were confident they could land their first ever Premier League title, a first league title for 24 years, but it was very premature to be chanting those words in March, it was like they knew something that we didn't.

In the 1991/92 season, as a school kid, I was experiencing my first ever title race as a Manchester United supporter. My old man planted in my head from an early age, he'd wisely tell me: 'Don't count your chickens before they've hatched'. It's something that has always stuck in my mind, even with QPR leading at the Etihad back in 2012 on the last day of the season, I still sat watching it expecting City to score, I didn't shout 'Champions', like a friend of mine did, in our local pub, the rest is history as City scored 2 late goals to win the league on goal difference.

United lost out on the league title that season, Leeds were crowned champions, my dad told me: 'the best team always deserves to win the title.' Which brings me onto the supporters and the journalist's who claimed 'Liverpool deserve to win the league this season.'

TalkSports Adrian Durham wrote a piece for MailOnline, on 12th November, 2013:
'If there is one set of fans who deserve to win the title this season, it's Liverpool supporters. Liverpool last won the title a year after the Hillsborough tragedy. Those fans have been lied to, Hilsborough police changed their stories to try to pin the blame for the tragedy on Liverpool fans.'

He added: 'Liverpool fans were blamed for an appalling tragedy that wasn't their fault, they've had to endure the pain and lies of all that followers for years, for decades, it's time those supporters had something to shout about. If there is any justice and sentiment left in football, Liverpool will be champions come May.'

Now, I'm not disrespecting the Hilsborough tragedy in any way here, being a Manchester United supporter, I can relate to the pain and anguish that comes with something so cruel and sad, and I sincerely hope the families of those who died, get the justice they deserve. The Munich air disaster in 1958 is a dark chapter in our clubs history that will never be forgotten, but why did so many people believe that Liverpool deserved to win the league?

I'm trying to highlight the word 'deserve', my dictionary says the definition of that word is: 'To merit or have a claim to reward because of actions, qualities.' The only way a team would 'deserve' to win a championship, is when it becomes mathematically possible for them to be so. Surly you can't deserve it because of tragedy? It's what you do on the field that will rightfully see you lift the top prize in England. You deserve it if you win it.

It's clear, that Liverpool simply got carried away. Greeting the players' coach with chants of 'Were gonna win the league', was a symbol of this, the hysteria would hit boiling point on the day that Liverpool faced Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday, 13th April, 2014, a game they won 3-2, which meant their destiny, was now in their own hands.

The scenes at the final whistle that day, you'd have been mistaken for actually thinking that the league title had been won, which goes to show naivety and the clubs inexperience in a title race. With Steven Gerrard in tears, his decision to round up his troops for a team-talk on the pitch, is something that as a captain, should have been done in the privacy of the dressing room. There was still 4 games left of the season at this stage.

I know both Manchester City and Liverpool supporters. The contrast between them is very different. Even when the destiny of the title swung in City's favour, the blues I know remained grounded, they never sung about winning the league at the Etihad, mainly because of that 'City tag' that is attached to them from their past. They'd also been in this position before, they knew how to handle it.

That team talk would come back to haunt Steven Gerrard, TV camera's clearly picked him up screaming: 'This does not f****** slip now', in the group huddle. The following week, you got the impression they thought they simply just had to turn up against Chelsea at Anfield. The man who mentioned the slip reference, would slip at the Kop end, allowing Demba Ba to score.

Following that defeat, Liverpool supporters turned on Chelsea's Jose Mourniho, claiming he parked the bus? Liverpool's inexperience would finally catch up with them at Selhurst Park. They were 3 goals up with 11 minutes remaining, each time they scored, they priced the ball out of the net, they were trying to work away at the goal difference, the match ended 3-3, and how ironic, that the man who loves kissing camera lens', would push away a camera to deflect attention from a distraught Luis Suarez.

Brendan Rodgers, he's the man that some say, 'reinvented football'. The media love affair with Liverpool this season has been an eye opener. They backed the opinions of former players, Jamie Carragher, Robbie Fowler and Graeme Souness, who all claimed that: 'Nobody deserves a Premier League winners medal, more than Steven Gerrard'. If I had £1 for everytime I heard that comment, I'd be richer than Sheikh Mansour. He deserves a winners medal, about as much as I deserve to win this Fridays EuroMillions jackpot.

Steven Gerrard was voted the second best player in England this season, why? I could name 7 players who should have been named above him, Ya Ya Toure, Hazard, David Silva, Willian, Adam Lallana, Fernandinho and probably even his Liverpool team mate Jordan Henderson.

The media lavished praise on this Liverpool team for blowing teams away, but Manchester City did exactly the same thing, they just didn't get the praise that media darlings Liverpool got, and in a season that Manuel Pellegrini won the Premier League and Capital One cup in only his first season with the blues, Brendan Rodgers is names League Managers' Association manager of the year, and Tony Pulis named Premier League Manager of the year?

Pellegrini has matched, what Jose Mourinho did, in his first spell in charge of Chelsea. The media don't seem to acknowledge this? The Manchester City manager has done a great job, he's also remained tight lipped, refusing to respond to Jose Mourinho's mind games and even Alan Pardews 'Old c***' jibe. He's conducted himself very well this season.

So this season will be remembered as the year that Liverpool nearly won the league. Heaven only knows how the media would've reacted, if Brendan Rodgers had done what Manuel Pellegrini did this season? I imagine the press association would be addressing him as 'Sir Brendan', at next season's first pre match press conference.


@KevinAshford7


6 May 2014

Old Trafford Set To Salute Legend Giggs


It's set to be an emotional evening at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening against Hull City, as the Old Trafford crowd prepare to say their farewells and salute a club legend Ryan Giggs, who will step out at the Theatre of Dreams for the final time as interim manager in front of the home crowd, it's possible it will be the final time as a player too.

Media speculation suggests that Giggs will name himself in the starting eleven, and who would begrudge him that decision if it's correct? This is a man who has represented the team he grew up supporting as a child, as both a player and a manager, the list of honours are endless, he's a living legend.

13 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, 9 Community Shields, 2 Champions Leagues, 1 Super Cup, 1 Intercontinental Cup and 1 FIFA Club World Cup, add to that the individual awards that Giggs has won and it starts to tell the story of the most decorated player in English football history.

I'm lucky to have followed Giggs' career from the early nineties when he first broke into the Manchester United team as a raw 17 year old. His pace and ability to run with the ball made him an instant favourite with supporters, who made early comparisons to the late George Best, it was easy to see why, so much talent and potential at such an early age.

Giggs has left us so many memories that it's hard sometimes to put them into some sort of order, but if we are talking about the early days, you instantly think back to White Hart Lane and a Premier League game against Tottenham in 1992, when Giggs announced himself to the world, it's the goal that got people talking about him.

The goal he scored that day was sensational, he used 3 touches and lightening pace to rip apart Spurs. He took the ball past Dean Austin after his slip, nutmegged Jason Cundy and rounded Ian Walker, it was simply breathtaking from a player who had only just turned 18 years of age. He would repeat this in 1994 against QPR with a goal which was remarkably similar. 

So many great moment, I'm unsure that my computers hard drive would allow me to mention them all, but if you had to sum up one moment when you mention Ryan Giggs, no, not Imogen Thomas, I mean Villa Park in 1999, a vital moment that is an important part of Manchester United's historic treble winning season, without it, who knows how that season could have ended up? 

We all know it, Patrick Vieira misplaces a pass in extra time to Giggs, United are down to 10 men following the dismissal of Roy Keane. Giggs receives the ball and runs at an Arsenal defence who's legs have gone, they retreat, Giggs manages to get past Lee Dixon and Martin Keown before unleashing a shot from a tight angle into the roof of the net past David Seamen. 

The madness after that finish is probably one of the most iconic goal celebrations in football as Giggs removed his shirt and swung it around his head to reveal that hairy chest.

That goal continued the clubs momentum and belief that they could achieve the treble, and in Barcelona's famous Camp Nou on Wednesday, 26th May 1999, that dream was realised as Manchester United defied all the odds to score 2 goals in injury time to beat Bayern Munich and lift the Champions League trophy. They are still the only English team to complete this feat to date.

Ryan Giggs has managed to adapt to the demands of the game season after season. His ability to reinvent himself as a player has been incredible, starting out as a flying winger, to playing that central midfield role where he uses his brain and range of passing to hurt teams.

He is the only player to score in every season since the Premier League started back in 1992, it would be a fitting tribute if the 40 year could add to that incredible record against Hull City at Old Trafford.

Giggs' future with Manchester United remains unclear, I personally think that we need to keep a person at the club with his experience and knowledge. If the new manager does not find a place for him in his set up, Giggs will be another clubs gain. 

So many of the powerhouse teams in European football surround themselves with ex players, players who understand the clubs philosophy and tradition, hopefully the hierarchy realise this and offer Ryan Giggs a role at the club assisting the new manager.

Until that decision has been made, lets just enjoy and celebrate the career of an unbelievable talent, we will never see the likes of Ryan Giggs again, 13 Premier League Titles, that will be difficult for any other player to come close too. It's the reason I believe the club should look at honouring him, when he does finally hang up his boots, by retiring that famous 11 shirt.

Ryan Giggs, tearing you apart since 1991.


@KevinAshford7


30 Apr 2014

Too Soon For Giggs To Take Full Control

When Manchester United announced that they had parted company with David Moyes after only 10 months at the helm, they moved to install fans favourite and club legend Ryan Giggs as interim manager until the end of the season, a player who was part of the famous class of '92, a glorious chapter in the clubs history.

It was a romantic gesture, a move that was sure to give supporters a lift after a disappointing season, Giggs quickly added Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt to his staff t to assist him, but lets be realistic, is Ryan Giggs really ready to take on the huge task of leading Manchester United on a full time basis?

Giggs' first press conference as interim manger was impressive, compared to the David Moyes regime over the last 10 months it was the total opposite. Giggs is a man who knows the club inside out, he said all the right things, he was confident, there was no mention of 'we'll try our very best'.

Giggs' first game in charge, was a home game against a poor, struggling Norwich team who are contenders for relegation. The reception he received as he stepped out with the team was never in doubt, it was a well deserved ovation for a player who has spent his full career with the club ensuring legendary status with its supporters.

Marouane Fellaini didn't even make the squad for Giggs' first team selection, some were surprised to learn that club record signing Juan Mata only made the bench, it was a clear indication that he was setting up with width and penetration, a mixture of experience and speed.

As the final whistle blew at Old Trafford to signal a 4-0 win, the media and supporters were both quick to state that this was because of Ryan Giggs. Social medial platforms were buzzing with 'give Giggs the job now' comments, however, I feel, that perspective is required at this moment.

The feel good factor had clearly retuned at Old Trafford against Norwich, you have to question those players who put in a shift for Giggs,, the same players who let David Moyes down to a certain degree.

Giggs is clearly respected by his fellow professionals and staff at the club, but I'd prefer him to gain experience working along side a top manager first, before taking the job on a full time basis.

It's been widely reported that current Dutch coach Louis van Gaal will be handed the task of rebuilding the red side of Manchester, it's a job that requires a big name, van Gaal has an impressive CV, he certainly ticks all the boxes.

The Norwich result didn't flatter United, it could have and probably should have been more than the 4-0 scoreline suggested, but Norwich were poor.

It's against the top teams this season that the club have failed to make any impact on matches, and a top coach is required to pit his wits against the Premier League elite coaches, it's too early to install Ryan Giggs as the full time manager, although it's a nice thought at this present time, let him learn his trade first, then, in the future, who knows?

Giggs would gain experience as van Gaal's assistant, or as part of his coaching team, and the Dutch man does not have youth on his side, so within 5 years, it could be that the masses get their wish, and see Ryan Giggs handed full control of first team matters, at this moment, I believe it's too soon for him to make the huge step up right now.


@KevinAshford7


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

Giggs Could Succeed Clueless Moyes

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