Killing Me Softly

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Hmmmm. You can tell that something’s amiss when you reach an international break and instead of thinking ‘dammit, no football for 2 weeks’, instead you’re thinking ‘hooray, no football for 2 weeks’. We’re within touching distance of the top of the table and on course to get through the CL group stages – a scenario I would’ve happily taken if presented with a couple of months ago. Instead, it all feels pretty hollow. I’m afraid there’s no getting away from the fact that watching United has become a deathly dull pastime of late.

When I first had a whinge about Van Gaal a few weeks back, I was quickly shot down by a handful of smartarses who were quick to point out we’d gone top of the league after consecutive wins against Liverpool, Southampton and Sunderland. What could possibly be my problem? It’s not just about results though – this team is always going to be good enough to win more games than they lose. The problem is down to the mentality and the possession-at-all-costs approach. It’s suffocating. It may well successfully bore the opposition into submission but it’s also making me lose the will to live.

Van Gaal, clearly, will not change. I’m not giving to start insulting the guy because he’s only doing what he’s always done. His approach may well ultimately bear fruit… it’s entirely possible in this oddball season where Chelsea have sunk without trace and City look brittle shorn of Silva and Aguero. Silverware will be more than enough to appease the majority of United fans but in 30+ years of attending games I’ve never been as consistently bored as I am right now. I had to smile the other week though, following Louis’ “don’t boo the team, boo me” instruction. Louis mate, they were booing you.

Thing is, I’m not even suggesting that something drastic needs to happen. I don’t think binning Van Gaal at this juncture would be beneficial in the slightest and I’m fully in favour of giving him more time to fine-tune things. It’s just… well it’s just proving deeply uninspiring waiting for things to click. If we had some topsy turvy 3 -3’s to amuse ourselves with whilst adjustments took place it might prove a little more bearable, but 3 x 0-0 draws in a week was slash-your-wrists gear. No more of that United, please. Anything but that.

Is anyone else getting a bit overwhelmed by the unerring omnipresence of the Co92 currently? Seeing Beckham back in town doing his UNICEF ambassador bit this weekend made me realise that we’ve come full circle and reached the unlikely stage where he can no longer be considered the most rampant self-publicist of the group. You literally can’t switch on the telly or open a paper without hearing from Gary Neville at the moment. Pundit, coach, commentator, columnist, hotelier, club owner, champion of the homeless… the bloke is absolutely relentless.

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Since retiring from playing GNev has transformed himself into some bizarro world hybrid of Donald Trump and Tony Wilson. Where is it going to stop? Is he hoping to usurp Gary Lineker as the new face of Walkers Crisps? Would be a seismic event for sure, but such a coup isn’t beyond him given his burgeoning media profile. Does he have political aspirations I wonder? Mayor of Bury seems an attainable target but that’s a position for a man of advancing years. What about in the meantime? Leading Manchester Council, buying out the Glazers, re-opening the Hacienda, becoming a Tory MP, playing bass when Oasis re-form… he seems hellbent on doing absolutely everything that pops into his head.

During my mini meltdown a couple of issues back, I expressed some concern about the wisdom of spending £60M on a relatively unknown teenage striker. Thankfully, any fears I had look to have been unfounded as Anthony Martial has come in and endeared himself to everyone with both his performances and his seemingly nonplussed reaction to life in the spotlight at Old Trafford.

That said, it’s not surprising that he looks unfazed at the prospect of playing in front of 75,000 every week when you learn that aged 19, he’s already married with 2 kids! That shows some otherworldly level of maturity, that – at 19 I was sleeping ’til 12 every day and doing my best not to get booted out of college. Kids, in fact responsibility of any kind, was only something that happened to the incredibly foolish or incredibly unlucky. Still, fair play to the lad – in the context of modern footballers it marks him out as pretty much unique.

Hold on a minute. Or does it? A quick google brings up nothing whatsoever about the birth of Martial’s second child, yet an accompanying twitter search brings up a million braindead re-tweets welcoming the latest member of the #mufcfamily. Sample quote: “nigga be scoring on and off the pitch!” Jesus Christ. Who in their right mind thinks, ‘nothing much happening today barring homicidal maniacs running round Paris with machine guns, I think I’ll announce that Anthony Martial’s missus has had another kid’? I suppose this serves me right for ever having anything to do with social media. It’s full of absolute imbeciles – me included.

Looking at the upcoming fixtures, it looks like we’ve got a bit of straightforward run now so the perfect opportunity to cut loose and go GOAL CRAZY presents itself. Anyone else fancy a bit of cavalier football? Remember that? Passing the ball fowards, having a shot, a bit of excitement perhaps… With Watford, PSV, Leicester, West Ham, Wolfsburg and Bournemouth incoming there don’t appear to be many potential 0-0 boreathons on the horizon. If this season is ever going to burst into life then now is surely the ideal time. Please let it be time.

Copyright Red News – November 2015

www.rednews.co.uk

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