How do you solve a problem like Bebe? Patience.

Bebe in action against Crawley

Enough has been said about Saturday’s performance against Crawley in the FA Cup. There has been a million miles worth of column inches dedicated to that very issue so I won’t be carrying it on. What I do want to talk about is the criticism that has been aimed at certain players, specifically at Bebe. If there has ever been a player who has been the victim of a ridiculous price tag, it’s Bebe. Let me explain.

Tiago Manuel Dias Correia was born on 12th July 1990, making him 20 years old. He was given the nickname Bebe (which means baby) by his older brother when they were kids. Despite popular belief, he didn’t play in the Homeless World Cup, but he was living in a shelter until the summer of 2009 when he signed for his first professional club, Estrela da Amadora, in the Portuguese Third Division. He then moved to Vitoria de Guimaraes in the summer of 2010 before being signed by Man United and Sir Alex Ferguson for 9 million Euros just five weeks after signing for Vitoria.

This kid has played little over 18 months of professional football in his entire career. He didn’t play at a club when he was younger, so he hasn’t been fortunate enough to have the football schooling that 99% of professional footballers have had. This means that he will be lacking some major fundamentals when it comes to positioning, timing, how to truly play in a position. He has got to where he is today through pure talent. He has also represented his country at under-19 and under-21 level, scoring for the under-21’s in his second game for them.

Forget for a minute that Bebe cost us £7m+. Imagine that he had signed for us for £50k. Fergie taking a plucky gamble at this former homeless kid who has only played 18 months of professional football. Would he have been given more time, with more people sympathetic to his story, then he is currently getting? Maybe. So maybe his performances haven’t been brilliant so far. He must be doing  something right in training for Fergie to put him in these games. Lets for a minute look at Manucho, another unknown signing. He made one solitary appearance for United, soon being banished to Hull City on loan then shepherded out of the club to Real Valladolid. He wasn’t thrown into countless games by Fergie to somehow justify his transfer fee, he was shite and Fergie knew it. In retrospect, Fergie and the coaching staff must see something in Bebe to keep giving him the vital experience he needs in these games.

If United would have hammered Crawley 6-0, if Gabriel Obertan and Anderson weren’t so drastically poor, if we hadn’t been under-performing in practically every department, Bebe would probably gotten away with a ‘he’s not quite ready yet’ comment and moved on to the next game. The fact is that the majority of journalists on Twitter took absolutely no time to condemn him in a ‘we were right and you were wrong’ attitude due to the fact United fans stood behind him we first signed him. We were willing to give him time then, so why not now? Could it be that we have been staggeringly inconsistent this season and United fans are desperate for the flair player to give us a spark? Probably.

I’m not trying to say that Fergie is perfect and never gets it wrong. I know that for every Ryan Giggs, there was a Luke Chadwick. For every Roy Keane there was a Liam Miller and for every Javier Hernandez there is a Dong Fangzhou. What I can’t understand is why United fans are writing this guy off after less than six months. These are the same fans that gave Gibson four years. The same fans who stuck by Juan Veron, despite the fact he played nearly every game looking like he was confused by our formation. I think with time and patience, Bebe could turn out to be a very good player. Training with the likes of Berbatov, Rooney and such, day in day out, week after week, this can only be good for the lad. Is he the finished article at the moment? nowhere near. Is he looking like a bigger flop than David Bellion? nearly. Has he got the talent to improve, if given the time? almost certainly.

About Steve Ferguson 886 Articles
Steve Ferguson had taken over & re-branded The Faithful MUFC website back in the summer of 2014 and is now the owner and editor of the site. Steve, from Ashton-Under-Lyne in Greater Manchester, is a 35-year-old life long Manchester United fan, travelling over the globe to see the Reds play. Steve has been lucky enough to be at both the 1999 and 2008 Champions League finals, seeing Manchester United lift the biggest trophy in the World, none more exciting than that faithful night in Barcelona in 99. The website is a blog, but also hopes to deliver the latest Manchester United news from around the internet too, linked up with our growing twitter account which is @TheFaithfulMUFC, give it a follow as we will follow you back as soon as we can.


  1. The talent to improve? Not from most people’s vantage point! Half the problem with Bebe is that everyone knows the deal stinks, go and find David Conn’s brilliant piece on it from the Guardian. The fact Fergi did not even see this kid play or even scouted him, further casts doubt on his signing. I think what cheeses a lot of people off is that there seems to be certain people at the club ripping off the fans (who pay their hard earned cash) to earn bungs from certain transfers – as seemed to have happed with Bebe. Apart from that, he genuinely does not seem to posses much natural talent – his crossing has been very poor in the games I have seen, struggled to beat a conference full back and does not seem to have the ability to take up the correct positions on the pitch. If him and Obertan are the answer post Ferguson , we are in trouble.

  2. A good article, and to put it bluntly, people are using this kid as a scapegoat. O’shea, Ando, Brown etc (who scored but did nowt else) are all champions league winners but looked like non-league players. Let’s blame them and not bully a kid who is strugggling to find his feet in England and in football. We have plenty of other s to blame. He had a tireless first half with little end product but unlike Obertan he did cross the ball, shame we only had wee little Javier in the box.
    Let’s blame the tactics, the manager and the senior players cos we underestimated non-league teams. Let’s also leave Bebe to develop, and if he flops in a year then we can sell. He may just find his feet and prove everyone wrong. Why not? Nobody probably thought that that poor homeless kid would ever manage to play at the likes of OT. He managed that. With confidence and our training he’ll settle. The ABU’s and fairweather fans will always be classless ABU’s etc. Bebe might just get there. what then… Berba did.

  3. I’m not saying this transfer doesn’t appear a bit ropey, but if it was solely to line people’s pockets then why does SAF keep putting him in? Why not do a Dong or Manucho and never use him? This kid has been a professional footballer for 18 months. He never played for a professional club as a kid. I have to disagree that he has no talent, but yes his performances have been poor. Maybe due to the fact that less than two years ago he was living in a shelter then all of a sudden he’s playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world. He’s living in a foreign country, it must be a hell of a lot to deal with. This is why I make a point of saying we must have patience with him,it may just pay off.

  4. Thanks for the comment Mark. Exactly my point, a little patience and slowly gathering more experience and this could could have it. His goals against Wigan in the reserves show this kid has talent

  5. This is becoming a huge issue for me about our fanbase.

    At our club we have always given players ‘Time’ & ‘A decent chance’ …and during this process we support them. Now im not sayin you cant criticize players…far from that. But there is a wave of opinion about certain players that has very little substance behind it. This has really happened since the advent of social media such as Twitter. Where people have what they believe is unparalleled access to absolutely everything and every bit of info. The truth is we do not know what Sir Alex sees in any of his players. It is still a mystery as it was back in the 80s. But now we believe that Bebe is a ton of trash, because of the way MUFC handled his transfer in the press, and cos weve seen him play a few times. People need to simmer down…or go and support a proper knee jerking club like Chelsea. I cant stand all of these misinformed fans who are now more of an expert than the manager to run the team. As u said for every star theres a Djemba Djemba, Liam Miller (the next Roy Keane pfffft!) etc etc. Most players do actually fail that come through the youth and reserve teams. But the ethos of the club remains that we will give raw talent a chance. Lets see where Bebe is in a year or two. Yep he could be on a Portuguese scrap heap somewhere…but lets face wasnt that long ago that most wanted to flog Nani out of the club as quick as they humanly could.

    So please stop hounding young players that clearly dont deserve it. Leave it to the manager to make the call. We have plenty of other things to worry about at MUFC as my next article will elude to!

  6. i don’t understand y r all taking his life…..bebe hasn’t been here for more more than an year….he has rarely got chances and i know he hasn’t performed…..but let us give him an chance….atleast an year where he can get chances to prove…..look at nani,berbatov….every1 was frustrated with nani before d start of d season…but now look he is one of d best players in the world now…..look at berbatov….he is leading the charts for most no. of goals….b4 dis season we were saying he is useless,waste etc…now see….we should give bebe some time to develop and under the nurturing of SAF he will become a great player…i know this….ofcourse SAF must have something in his mind so he is keeping him….and it is unquestionable to accept that SAF does everything right….so wat i say is wait…and give him chances……

  7. I think it is called not loosing face why he keeps getting in the team, if this piece was written about any other player I would not have any issue. But signing a player who the manager has never seen, on the recommendation of Jorge Mendes (and who’s transfer fee suddenly & mysteriously jumps up millions) is very strange and questions should be asked. If United had scouted him extensively then gave him a year or two of reserve/youth football fair enough but none of that has happened. So when he performs poorly I think his signing is fair game for criticism. Oh I thought his performance against Crawley was also ‘lazy’ – he could have worked much harder for the team. I do feel sorry for the kid though – not his fault.

  8. “The truth is we do not know what Sir Alex sees in any of his players. It is still a mystery as it was back in the 80s”
    I think you (and anybody else) who has been watching the game for a long while can usually identify what Fergie sees in a player. I think most can see in Smalling for example a good young player not afraid to get stuck in and hurt (hello Rio!!) but also reads the game very well.

    “But there is a wave of opinion about certain players that has very little substance behind it. This has really happened since the advent of social media such as Twitter.”
    Give over, how long you been going, certain players have always has boo boys from a section of OT – Giggs always has, I remember McClair got it for years (Usually form the South Stand retirement home, Hughes as well)

    On Bebe it is not the way the club has handled it in the press more the bungtastic nature of it (which I think is a much bigger issue than how good he is) Obertan (unlike Bebe) clearly has alot of talent just a shame he ‘aint a United player’. And I think there is a difference between raw talent (a kid bought at a vastly inflated price) and a kid bought through our system schooled the united way.

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