The sooner Manchester United stop playing these pesky matches and get down to the game we’re all in it for, the transfers, the better.
Transfers are way more exhilarating/exciting/uplifting/euphoric/devastating/disappointing/earth-shattering than the football we have been served up for most of the last two seasons. Remember that Falcao chap? Man, that last-gasp deal was a rush. Walking on sunshine I was. And then we put him on a football pitch and asked him to control and kick a ball and stuff and it became clear that during his long layoff following a devastating knee injury he’d also caught polio and lost 90% of the feeling in his lower body. He’s worked so so hard, bless him, but every time he receives the ball he either falls over or staggers around until he runs in to someone. One of the best transfers ever for sex wees, one of the worst ever for football. But as I said, the transfers are way more fun and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Angel Di Maria too. I can’t remember for the life of me who broke the news of a possible deal. Those are lost days that I’ll never get back. But when I saw his gaunt little face in the back of a Chevvy, with a sh*t-eating-gurning smirk from Jorge Mendes in the front seat, man the rush. Who cares that it hasn’t worked out yet (it will), that day was like pure amphetamines. Duncan Castles was made to look like such a d*ck head. So many others too, since the Glazers stopped razzing all of our moola by giving it to banks, lawyers and themselves, and started to spend it on building a vaguely respectable football team. Mata was wonderful; the helicopter, the suit, just wanting to hug him and tell him what he’d actually let himself in for, Moyes looking even more spaceman than usual. I’ll forever hold a piece of Jason Burt in my heart.
Ander Herrera was über-fun times too, particularly after the ‘three wise men’ debacle twelve months before. Ogden assured us that this one wasn’t happening, but in the course of 24 hours Ed Woodward sprayed down the Basque Country with money, Athletic pretended to be in control of the whole ‘operacion’ and we pilfered the lovely, cuddly genius. Such a rarity for United, an orgasmic transfer saga that is followed up by the player actually being really good at football too. Fergie got a bit sidetracked on that latter point in his final years, Van Persie aside. But, as I said, it’s not essential. Rojo, Shaw and Blind were also fun in their own unique ways, even though, for various reasons, they haven’t blown us away as footballers yet.
And we’ve got a lot to look forward to this summer. Yesterday we got a shot of Memphis Depay’s ear in the back of a car being driven away from Carrington. Liverpool wanted him, so did PSG, and we won the transfer! These are wonderful times in comparison to those dark days of Hazard and Lucas Moura. Apparently United have wooden chests full of gold coins at Glazer HQ, stored for use during wars, and are willing to use them as weapons in daring ‘raids’ on other clubs. Basically aggravated burglary. To ensure that there are no mistakes Woodward and his minions have been ‘tracking’ their prey for months and intend to ‘sensationally swoop’ when the time is right. Just in case of failure they have back-up plans, have been ‘keeping tabs’ on alternatives and have asked to be ‘kept informed’ about their whereabouts. Ed is great at planning.
He’s also great at ‘offloading’ slabs of meat he doesn’t want. Every twelve months he has a car-boot sale and flogs ‘stars’ for 50p each. Occasionally no-one is interested and he goes home cursing having given them a new five-year big money contract for absolutely no reason whatsoever other than because he got bored. But he’s got a problem this summer. He plain forgot to renew David De Gea’s contract. It happens of course, but it could cost his cuddly bosses a lot of money and United will be left without a world-class goalkeeper to play in those pesky matches. Bad one. This is one transfer we don’t want to happen and can’t laugh at Liverpool about. But the highs are greater because of the lows, so we just have to suck this one up. But hey, don’t hate on the guy. He’s single-handedly got us Champions League football next season, potentially worth about £70m to the club, and I defy any of you reprobates to spend four years living hundreds of miles away from his piece of skirt. And he hasn’t even said he wants to go yet. STAND DOWN.
I suppose I better briefly summarise the match from the weekend. United played rather well for 55 minutes and with more attacking quality and power could have been three goals up. But still, it was fun to watch whilst we were scouring Twitter, waiting for news about transfers. Ander Herrera, he of the aforementioned very satisfying transfer saga, scored the goal and was generally super-special, as was Ashley Young who, despite performances, the haterz are always gonna hate. But United lost impetus in the second half and it all got a bit didgy. Louis Van Gaal, probably having had a bit of a ‘senior’ moment, brought on Tyler Blackett at the exact same time that Arsenal introduced Theo Walcott. Social media shouted “CAR CRASH” as one. And the car crashed, and it was very disappointing. The manager was very philosophical in his post-match press-jobby and pointed out that his team can’t kill teams off when on top or satisfactorily defend a lead. He’s right. These are things I expect him to rectify in the coming months, after we’ve caused uproar by not trying very hard at Hull and relegating Newcastle. I love a bit of Premier League integrity-spoiling me. On Sunday, we also got an opportunity to see Victor Valdes as De Gea was subbed off with an injury, after which he put on his best transfer poker face ever. Valdes conceded a goal and that was about it. 1-1. Meh. This season. Meh.
Fortunately United already had a top four place assured after Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool lost to Crystal Palace in Steven Gerrard’s farewell game at Steven Gerrard’s Anfield. Steven Gerrard’s fans were quite quiet throughout and Steven Gerrard looked a little aghast to be Steven Gerrard as each embarrassing minute spoiled Steven Gerrard’s big day. But make no mistake, Steven Gerrard has been a club and league legend, single-handedly winning the Steven Gerrard Champions League, the Steven Gerrard FA Cup and assorted other minor competitions. These do not include the Very Definitely Not Steven Gerrard’s Premier League. Steven Gerrard will always hold a place in all of our hearts for what is now known as the ‘Steven Gerrard slip’ and the ‘Steven Gerrard red card’ and for going out in a blaze of incompetence. Like Steven Gerrard’s Sky Sports and Steven Gerrard’s BBC I will desperately miss him, because without Steven Gerrard what fun is there in beating Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool? I dunno. I’ll miss you Steven Gerrard. Godspeed you bringer of world peace and an end to famine you. Xxx
Anyway, back to Sunday. As Louis left Old Trafford after a quite short but funny address to the fans on the pitch post-match, he was kind enough to sign autographs in the car-park. At the request of the assembled throngs he sang “Louis Van Gaal’s Red Army”, in the most strangled, high-pitch, dog-torturing voice known to man. What a guy. And it’s because he’s such a LAD that fourth place doesn’t seem so bad and why he’ll improve us again next year, because he and Ed are going to win ALL of the transfers and this summer will be a sea of sun and sex wee. You wait.