The Destruction of Ashley Young. Who Is To Blame? It Might Be You…


There’s this fella that makes me laugh, when I catch the wrestling on the TV on the odd occasion. He has made a career out of shouting ‘NO NO NO’ as a catchphrase…to show his disdain at things he dislikes. As time has gone on, he has also cultivated the catchphrase ‘YES YES YES’…that is right, you’ve guessed it…to show his approval of certain situations. The wrestling fans love it, and it is easy to see why. Rather than be a sport, it is deemed as entertainment, and it has a direct correlation to all things showbiz: Catchphrases and manufactured anger are all part of the game…it is a pantomime for fans of a physical soap opera.

This approach to wrestling seems to be creeping into football. Hashtags and hand grenades get thrown by fans, like the faux booing you hear in the WWE. And certain players play the villains – even when the solitary thing those players desperately need is our support.

The biggest question being banded around at present is this: Is Ashley Young good enough to play for Manchester United?

It is indeed a valid question. You could in all seriousness ask it about Lindegaard, Fabio, Anderson, Cleverley…even Welbeck still has this question asked about him (those fans are clearly idiots) But the question loses its relevance when the player is on a hiding to nothing, in what appears to be a full scale witchhunt of the lad…

Do I think Young is good enough for United? – I don’t see it as a simple yes and no answer. I think: Can we afford to replace Young with a world class player – a player who will happily not play half the matches and cost twice as much in wages? For me: NO! (in WWE fashion) What I think is that at United we have two very talented young lads that might be our wide men for many years. Both Januzaj and Zaha have the raw talent to go on and be the very best. Are they ready now? Not quite. It wont be long…so what do you do in the mean time? Ashley Young is a means to an end in many ways. The boy is an international footballer. He has won the PFA Young Player of the Year previously, and has appeared in two PFA Premier League Team of the Year selections. Ashley Young is NOT a bad footballer. However, everyone and their mother will now tell you that he is. That he is poison. That he is a pile of tripe. And the sad thing is…it is United fans building the bonfire for him.

We expect our players to leave it all on the pitch for us every match, yet we cannot reciprocate this with our support. Some players appear to be immune to this. Our dearest Wayne has well and truly shut up the baying mob with his recent performances, even though he can’t even say he is ‘happy’ at United in front of a TV camera. But Ashley Young, you feel he could score a worldy from 35 yards, and a large section of Reds would call it either a fluke, or a touch of luck.

I really don’t like coming across as all Mother Teresa when it comes to fan support, but those two entities: The Fan and The Supporter…are moving away from each other in terms of recognition and similarity. The Fan appears to act like a teen boyband fan: reactionary, screaming in hysteria…as the hormones pump through their bloodstream, whereas The Supporter watches it all…wishing it would all just stop. Is this an age thing? Maybe. But it appears to be an attitude in 2013 that perpetuates aggression and celebrates failure.

I do not think Ashley Young is a great footballer, but in the standing of our squad…he has his uses, and has ability. Yesterday, I was not surprised he started at City. We needed a player who could do the dirty work down the left. I’m infinitely more in love with Shinji Kagawa than Ashley, but it doesn’t take a football rocket scientist to understand the basic tactic that needed to be deployed. As it happened, the tactic backfired. We sat deep, and City slaughtered us. Moyes must accept the responsibility for that, and I am sure he does…but would Fergie have picked the exact same team? I have a funny feeling he probably would have.

Fandom has taken over from actually supporting a football club. This is partly down to the clubs themselves, who wish to be super brands that generate cash like the Bank of England. However, the fan is also responsible. With their insatiable need to be connected to the brand and their desire too vent their opinions in a ‘freedom of speech’ world. Unfortunately many mask their vitriol as opinion – the two things are simply not the same.

I have seen so many say they would like Ozil more than Young – YES YES YES! Who wouldnt? But with our owners? When we just paid SEVENTY PLUS MILLION POUNDS out in interest payments alone, just for the privilege of Glazer ownership? – some of you need to get real. Players like Young are in the squad and will be used, whether you like it or not. Sure, criticise him when he deserves it…when he dives like a muppet, or has a bad game. But don’t kill him 24/7. Why do I say this? Because as fans we are supposed to back the team and our players: Not with blind faith, but with a siege mentality that one great Scotsman drilled into us. This is the United I know. This is the United, that at 4-0 yesterday, out sung the City home support with ’20 Times Man Utd’

Anger is not anything new in football. Once upon a time an angry supporter might have glassed you in a pub, circa 1985. Today, an angry fan tweets until his toxic fingers can tweet no more (yes I tweet alot as well!)… I do think that anger needs to be channelled though. I personally can’t stand Antonio Valencia (and this is not something I talk about in public much) I think he is a poor footballer…a player who can’t cross a ball, which is a problem for a winger! But he was definitely the right choice yesterday (even after some dreadful tracking for their first goal), and when he is in our shirt I will scream my lungs out FOR HIM…not against him. Why? Because I support the team first. It is a simple concept. Fellaini…a player all but two-and-a-half games into his United career, already has sections of the fanbase sharpening their knives for him…seriously, why would anyone want to join us when fans do that???

This could be a really long season, but I am up for it. The post Fergie years are new, and it is a chance to move forward. However, one thing is for sure: If the fanbase do not support our players, whether they are the Harry Styles of the team or not, then we have not got a prayer. Think about that. Think about what your support actually means. The club has many more trying issues than Ashley Young, so channel your aggression in that direction, and sing your hearts out for the lads…

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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. Fantastic article , I am one of the fans with the knives out for young , he is an average player but I think the frustration is we have better talent on the bench, time for your good enough your young enough and throw zAha and adnan in , its going to be a hard season and if we can get 4th that will be a start group in the summer and invest in shaw Herrera and a more mobile looking squad and let the old guard of Rio and giggs retire.

  2. Putting in bad footballing performances is one thing.

    Continual (very) amateur dramatics is another. His diving brings shame onto the club & it is just embarrassing.

    At least Ronaldo had a certain balletic (if ladylike) grace when he used to cheat.

  3. Well written, and this coming from an Arsenal supporter. You should have heard the venom spat in Ramsey’s direction in the last two seasons, or the same with Alex Song in all but his last two seasons with us.

  4. I agree. Don’t kill Young for what happened yesterday. The entire team played bad for 60 mins. If Kagawa had played on the left Zabaleta and Navas would’ve killed Evra. We should’ve packed the midfield. After Cleverley came on we were better than them. Blaming one person for our defeat is unacceptable.
    In the coming matches i would like to see Zaha given some game time. At least against weaker opposition. Even if he doesn’t perform he’ll learn from that.

  5. Well said Rob…I agree with being supportive of our players and the club. IMO Young just ain’t performing. Yes y not vent it out on Anderson, Cleverly or Valencia. Except for a few glimpses, they are overall average or above avg players. Young isn’t. He is (was) a well rounded player suited for PL and touted to be a problem solver for United midfield which hasn’t happened. Its just that Fans expect more out of him. And they aren’t wrong at that. It happens at every club. Its similar to seeing a bad game from Theo Walcott and the gunners are up in arms. Don’t care if Lucas Podolski or Aaron Ramsey has a bad game…..

  6. Good player? Yes. Good enough? Yes. Performing in these somewhat brief sporadic moments? No. Why? A number of factors, lack of confidence. due to lack of games thus lack of match fitness = patchy performance level. This can apply to a number of other good players in the squad.

    Let’s look at his history with the club:
    2011/12 – Very good debut season. Simple. Scored some important goals. Contributed with some excellent assists.
    2012/13 – A run of 8-9 games on the bounce in which he was average-ok was sandwiched in between long spells out. Injured.
    2013/14 – Bit part bench player. Unfair to judge.

    Forget the witch hunt bias rubbish. Make your own mind up.

  7. YOUNG IS RUBBISH! HE WAS RUBBISH BEFORE HE ARRIVED! HE IS RUBBISH SINCE HE ARRIVED! I never supported his signing, whatever you say I will never support him! Only world class players deserve to play in Manchester United! Not utter dross. He MUST leave ASAP!

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