Football is indeed about opinions.
We all have ’em. We all have players that we favour…that we trust. And we all have players that just don’t float our boats.
If MUFC can complete the ‘done deal’ of David De Gea then that will push the clubs summer spending through the £50 million mark…and its not even July yet! We have already welcomed the prodigious talent of Phil Jones, and yesterday the ink finally dried on the deal to capture Ashley Young.
But many United ‘fans’ think this is not good enough.
They vent their spleen:…’Sir Alex and MUFC have no ambition’ ‘We purchase the wrong players’ ‘We have no chance of ever catching Barcelona unless we ‘do a Madrid’ and compile a team of Mancgalacticos’….’And Ashley Young wouldn’t have made any difference at Wembley last month’….the rhetoric is painful.
Maybe its social media to blame, but a growing band of fans have come to the fore. We’ve always been accused (and fairly so) of having a huge element of glory supporters..but this comes with the territory at Manchester United. If you are successful, the casual fan will align themselves with you, will want to wear your sparkling Nike top, and will revel in the brand that gives them sporting kudos on the streets, playgrounds and football pitches.
This is nothing new.
Recently though, a more vocal and dare I say it knowledgeable fan has been testing the waters. And as a collective their voice starts to be heard more. And more.
These fans want a sea change at United. They want to see thirty and forty million pound signings. They want something that we’ve never really done at United. And the justification all stems from this last Champions League Final.
Now yes, we got a bit of a battering. But that battering came from a once in a generation team. A midfield quality that I certainly haven’t seen before in my 30 years of watching the game. And on the night they were at their A1 level. We worked. We tried. We managed to pull them back with a brilliant Rooney goal. But ultimately we were second best.
And second best isn’t good enough for United and their fans…..right?
At United we always aspire to be the best. Always. Success is the currency we deal in..but the fabric of the club is documented in every book ever written about us. The way that Busby and Ferguson achieved success is clear. Yes you buy players…and sometimes you push the boat out for a signing. But there’s always a structure. A game plan. When you see United linked with every player on the planet…that’s because of the press. Yet this fanbase to which I refer to think this is the gospel. That we DO want to buy every player on the planet. That we WILL make signings in the bracket of the pathetic £50 million that Chelsea payed for an average Liverpool forward.
Chicharito is the litmus test here. A player that helped us win the league by nine points, yet was bought for the same value of one of Fernando Torres’ arms. The young Mexican has got world class written all over him. We recognised that..and we gave him the stage to apply and prove himself.
But we do invest… prudently. £10 million on a player like Chris Smalling shows this. A player from the non-league system. Many thought this was a waste of money. Yet only a season on hes recognised as one of the best young centrebacks in the game. I’m sure some fans would’ve loved us to buy David Luiz or Pepe from Madrid…but that is not how you build a squad from the root of the tree and reaching for the leaves at the top.
These United fans have become obsessed with the soap opera signings they are fed by the Red Top tabloids. And they have the memories of creatures swimming around a footballing goldfish bowl. As deluded as Liverpool fans who now think they will win the league because of a few signings and ‘The Kenny Factor’ ..these United fans want us to chase the tale of Barcelona by signing Wesley Sneijder. The ONLY player capable of replacing Paul Scholes. The artistry of the two players…yes can be compared. But that’s where the comparisons stop. These fans show no knowledge of tactics..of the way United play. They claim we need ‘an attacking midfielder’…do we? Do they watch how this football club plays its football?
I think the influence of seeing Madrid, Chelsea and City address their ambitions and problems by chucking money around Europe like its tickertape has poisoned their minds. They want to see us sign Ronaldo like signings. Well who wouldn’t want that! But its not the truth about Manchester United is it? Before this summer United have only spent in excess of £20 million on a player only four times in our history (Rooney, Veron, Rio and Berba) The Manager has never been backwards in coming forward when it comes to getting the chequebook out…but its for the good of the squad..and not to placate fans who really should be moving their allegiances to the blue half of Manchester if they want to follow a club that has a chance of signing Messi.
Personally I think Young and Jones are stellar signings. Why? Because they make the squad stronger. You don’t need to buy huge to strengthen a team. Its all about options. You cannot buy anyone in Europe who is better than Xavi and Ineista. So the trick is don’t try! You need to take stock of what you have, and not peek over the fence and admire just how greener the grass is on the other side. At United we have always practiced this holistic building of the squad…and we have made heroes of the players that have achieved the most from this approach.
Do these fans think Eric Cantona was a big money signing? Do they think that a young Roy Keane was the finished article when we bought him from Nottingham Forest, who at £3.75m was mega money and as a transfer is the doppelganger of the Phil Jones deal. Dwight Yorke arrived for £12 million..and was hardly a star of world football. Like Young he had talent, and Sir Alex recognised that in his team he could contribute to the charge. Good players become great players when they play with applicable talent.
For this is the United way.
I know its easy to ignore these idiot fans (and I mean that in the nicest way) But I feel I represent the United fan who has stood in the pouring rain..appreciating how lucky we were born as Reds rather than any other team. We aspire. But we appreciate. And more importantly we understand how this club was built. This new breed just simply don’t. But ultimately we follow the same team so I would rather address these fans than bury our heads in the sand when they pop up!
These fans are drunk on success. Intoxicated by the damn luck they’ve had in seeing United in three of the last four Champions League finals. Swaying in the wind in a toxic mix of winning the Premier League four of the last five times. Fans should appreciate the arrivals of three excellent talents in Young, Jones and De Gea. They make us stronger. Maybe they are not the superstar signings that other teams make. But Manchester United is unique…
Lets keep it that way.