Ive just done my usual United NewsNow daily trawling and came across an article by TrulyReds called Some United Fans Do Not Deserve Berbatov
So rather than write a long winded reply in the comments section, I thought i would do a short blog.
The article defends Berbatov’s overall position at United, comparing his talent to Eric Cantona, and draws comparisons between the two players careers in our red shirt.
It states that: “Not all United fans, it must be said, took to his languid style immediately but only a handful of supporters remain unconvinced. A bewitching talent, Dimitar takes as much pleasure in making goals as he does scoring them and aims to “create beautiful things” every time he steps onto the pitch. And while he may not boast a strike rate as high as some strikers who have pulled on the Reds shirt down the years, Berba’s all round contribution can’t be faulted. Indeed, the stats we’ve unearthed bear out his tremendous influence at Old Trafford.”
On the Cantona comparison: “Memories can be treacherous. Human nature dictates that the best memories linger on while the rest are shut out of our mind. Nobody can possibly claim to be a bigger disciple of the great Frenchman than me but, I also remember days when he was as frustrating as Berbatov can be today”
The article finally asks the question: “are British football fans ready for the subtlety provided by the likes of Berbatov or are bash and barge merchants more appreciated by the average punter?”
Food for thought indeed! It’s a passionate defense of Berba…but is also one of the huge issues that irks me about his biggest fans.
Firstly, the comparison between Cantona and Berba are well off the mark. Yes both have the instinct for genius..and the unlikely. But let us leave the comparisons there. The main issue with Eric was his temper and discipline. Not his workrate. Not his link play. Not his effectiveness. When I hear that Berbatov’s plight at the hands of our very own fans is because “genuis tends to frustrate” it really leaves me bemused. Genius isn’t always flawed, as the cliche would have you believe.
Berbatov’s main issue is not his skill…we know the lad is brilliant. It is not also that he has a languid style. The issue is that time and again since he signed for United, he has failed to stamp his authority on games in the fashion that we know he can. Why is this? I don’t know..you will have to ask Fergie or the player himself. None of us expect him to run around like a Tevez, or score goals like Ronaldo would week in week out, but there is a bare minimum that we expect from ALL of our players. And unfortunately there are large gaps in Berba’s United CV, after he has had a modicum of success. This year his overall contribution has improved no doubt…but after a blistering hat trick against Liverpool he failed to score for weeks on end, slowly reverting to the frustrated maligned figure on the pitch, waiving his arms at his team mates and doing the famous sulk. It is not acceptable..genius or not.
However, take the derby match last Wedsnesday…I thought he was great! OK..he didn’t create much…he was rubbish in the box…but his workrate was magnificent…well for him! He worked the City backline, played with his back to goal alot, covered the pitch, defended when he had to, and generally tried to influence when he could. There was no arms waiving. No sulking and skulking around. No driving us supporters mad. It proves that he CAN do it..even when it’s not all in his favour. It’s nothing to do with being languid. It’s called application to the cause.
I often get accused of being a ‘Berba-hater’…I’m not. Yes I have ranted about him on my twitter as I tend to do (yeah…sorry bout that) but I do not criticise our players out of some misguided stereotype or presumption. I laud players that play well for the team, and I lambaste players who do not…whether that be a Giggs or a Scholes, or a Berba or a Carrick. It matters not to me. I understand Berba’s hardcore fans getting their backs up when he gets a kicking from the fan base, but to suggest that ‘we don’t deserve him’ or the like…is crass. Berbatov’s performances previous, present and future, are what will endear him to The Faithful….in the same way we remember Eric because of the countless vital goals he got us…the magnificent games and work rate he showed on a CONSISTENT basis…and the way he epitomised what Manchester United is about…theatre and passion mixed with a lions hunger for the kill.
Personally, until Berba shows he can hit a minimum standard in the majority of games he plays..well I’m afraid the detractors will continue with their assessments.We all know he has got it in him…somewhere deep inside that Bulgarian philosophical mind of his. The ball is in his court. He controls his destiny. In days gone by Old Trafford was always known as the ‘Strikers graveyard’…Whether it be a Gary Birtles, or a Peter Davenport, it has always been tough on United’s strikers to be considered a success. Berbatov’s time at judgement day will come when he has finally worn the Red for the last time. He has time to change many peoples current perception. I wholly disagree that only a few United fans remain unconvinced by him. Most fans I know still question if he really is the right player for us.
It is a similar issue for Michael Carrick. When he is relaxed and bosses the midfield like he did against City, he will get massive pats on the back. But when he consistently plays like he did against Bayern last season…then it aint gonna go down well. Darren Fletcher and Nani both suffered from similar problems with the fans in the past…and it is their actions that now make them loved by us.
A little application can go a long way.
If the genius that is Dimitar Berbatov can figure that small fact out…then he will be remembered every bit as fondly as all the great players that have given their blood, sweat and tears to the enhancement of the club we love so dearly. Do we deserve Dimitar? I think the question may well be does Dimitar deserve us? Love may well be blind, but loyalty is always earned.