As I start typing this post, Manchester United are leading 1-0 against their city rivals. This blog is not about the FA Cup game in-progress (well maybe a little), but a take on a fairly outrageous and borderline stupid article on Guardian Football by Rob Smyth. Smyth’s claims of United being a decaying club even if they win the double this season is hilarious and made me want to discard the article as a delusional rambling of a freelance journalist who happens to think of himself as a know-all pundit of the game. But I decided to come up with this post just to convince myself and hopefully the readers of my blog that the reality is not as bleak as Mr. Smyth wants us to believe.
Let me start with the first claim he makes: Manchester United are on their knees ahead of this ongoing match against City. There goes your credibility Rob Smyth, with the first ever statement you made in your article. Yes, United have lost to to Blackburn and Newcastle and yes they are indeed out of the Champions League. But the reality is that they are still second in the league, just 3 points behind City. Before the defeats to Blackburn and Newcastle, United had won 4 on the trot smashing in 16 goals and conceding just 1. Hardly the form of a club in decline let alone decay.
Second Claim: Every aspect of the club is decaying. Wow! United still have the core of the team that lifted the Premier League title last season and has added more quality in terms of Ashley Young and Phil Jones. The verdict is still out on De Gea, but just a season ago the youngster starred in the Europa League finals between Atletico Madrid and Fulham and was considered one of the best young keepers in Europe. It is just too early to write him off as a failure. Financially, the brand Manchester United is raking in the moolah despite reporting a mammoth £109m in losses as reported in March 2011. They still became the first club to break the £100m in commercial turnover. There hasn’t been any talks of United’s stars being sold despite the rumor mill churning out stories of Rooney wanting to leave (which unsurprisingly Smyth has subscribed to) and Nani being courted by AC Milan and Juventus. The players likely to leave are the likes of Gibson and Kuszsack. United’s links in the States and Asia are churning in revenues and despite the Glazers’ saddling the club with huge debts, there has been no talks of a financial desperation in the club.
Next Claim: In the past three years, United’s net spend is lower than that of Hull City, Blackpool and Burnley. How so very clever of you Rob Smyth! taking the transfer records into consideration from after the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo. Smyth, if you claim that the Glazers have siphoned off money to such an extent that United have spent less than Hull, Blackpool and Burnley, you bloody well talk about the net transfer spend during the entire of the Glazers’ regime ie., from the 2005 season which comes to a handy £90m which would be just enough to buy the three clubs Smyth mentioned. Smyth just don’t take all your readers for fools.
Ferguson is a miracle of longevity who has emerged triumphantly from deeper holes than this in the past, and may do so again. Yet all genius is finite. It is not just all political lives that end in failure. Ferguson has looked weary in the past two games, slumped passively in his chair when before he would have prowled the touchline, liberally applying the fear of God. His often eccentric selections have started to verge on the wilfully perverse.
Okay, that was absolutely hilarious. A manager slumps (yet to be proven with evidence) for two games and Smyth claims that his genius is all gone. If this theory is applied to practical use Arsene Wenger should be borderline lunatic and Avram Grant should be six feet under. Fergie has proven time and again that he can adopt and evolve with the times. United’s pure football play at the start of the season was a thing of beauty and yet another proof of Fergie’s continual evolution. United have been cruelly deprived of a creative midfielder in Tom Cleverly and the spate of injuries they have suffered is borderline Newcastle United pre-Mike Ashley era stuff. In spite of the depleted squad, United have not cooled off in the pursuit of the league title. A couple of shrewd signings in January and the United machine would be back on track perfectly. As I almost finish this post, Paul Scholes has returned and blundered a goal for City and United have defeated City 3 – 2. Could have been 4-1 or might have been 3 – 3 as well. But the bottom line is United won with almost 58% possession and have the psychological edge over their neighbors going to the second half of the season.
United may beat City on Sunday and go on to do the Double; it does not matter. There can be no happy ending here. Well, I believe Rob Smyth might have been a Mayan in his previous life with his doomsday prediction in 2012, but despite all your claims even if United don’t win a damn thing this season, the team is not in decline and will improve for the better.
Smyth, do football a favour and give up writing.