Tag Archives: robin van persie

Lights, Camera, Action!


True Reds – Manchester United Season Review 2013/14 (2014, PDI Media, 109 minutes)

Synopsis: 20 times English football champions appoint new manager and set off in pursuit of further glory. Disappointment ensues.

Genre: Sports/Action/Disaster

Starring: David Moyes

Supporting Cast: Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, David De Gea, Adnan Januzaj, Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata.

***Spoilers ahead***

Review: Appearing to little fanfare at the start of the summer blockbuster season, this baffling movie initially promises a lot but quickly loses focus before meandering along for what seems like several hours. The storytelling is somewhat aimless – interviews with principal cast members punctuate a relentless number of repetitive action sequences and the director relies on a voiceover to make up for a lack of basic plot and narrative structure.

The scale and scope of this production is nevertheless, quite impressive. The film features an expensively hired, multinational cast, many thousands of extras and production took place over 9 months on location around England and mainland Europe. Despite this, the viewer is left with an overriding feeling of grave disappointment. Many of the actors appear guilty of failing to read the script and in a few cases, simply phoning in their performances. Indeed, former star turns such as Robin Van Persie (Robin Van Persie) and Ryan Giggs (Ryan Giggs) quite literally disappear for long periods in the middle of the feature.

Based on the evidence here, rumours that production was beset with problems behind the scenes are probably true. David Moyes fails to shine in his first starring role and unsurprisingly, was dismissed from the set weeks before filming was complete. Moyes however, brings a raw emotion to his time on screen – his range of grimaces, whether used in celebration or rueful contemplation, make for some of the film’s most memorable moments. A nod of appreciation too, for newcomer Marouane Fellaini who provides some light relief amongst innumerable harrowing scenes with his crazy haircut and gift for physical comedy.

Verdict: Avoid. A very poor sequel with a leading man who’s simply out of his depth.

True Reds is not showing in cinemas, though is available to purchase now on DVD.

Copyright Red News – June 2014


Waiting For The Man


So it began, the David Moyes era. He slipped into Carrington (sorry, the AON Training Complex) on July 1st wearing a nervous smile and a shiny grey suit that looked more M&S than Saville Row. Fitting perhaps, as unlike the two Iberian candidates this appointment was the board’s attempt to source an off-the-peg replacement for Fergie. Moyes is undoubtedly the safe choice: low on stardust but more crucially, low on potential flounces and histrionics too.

Fergie’s parting broadside at Wayne Rooney presented DM with his first major issue before he’d even started the job. I’m still trying to work out now what the sense was in making the alleged ‘transfer request’ public, surely it would have strengthened the club’s bargaining position if the details of this had been kept private? What Fergie definitely achieved though, was placing Moyes under pressure from the start and kickstarting a story that has followed him round like a bad smell all summer. ‘What’s the story about Wayne, Dave?’, ‘Tell us about Wayne, Dave?’, ‘Have you had a chat with Wayne, Dave?’, ‘Dave, Dave, Daaaaave?’ It must be driving him fucking daft.

Throughout the club, this his been a summer of BIG CHANGES. Fergie was barely on his ferry floating round Scotland (worst summer holiday ever), before Ed Woodward and Dickie Arnold (Niles Crane and Billy Bunter) joined Moyes at the helm ready to steer us through the murky, uncertain waters of the post-Wizard era. They signalled their intent by doing something which should have been done 3 years ago – they signed a world-class central midfielder. Ha! Of course they didn’t, but they did manage to open a Twitter account.

Yes, the winds of change were howling through Old Trafford this summer. Not only did the club embrace Twitter, they also opened an Instagram account and then signed up with Google+ – sensational developments, a communication revolution that heralded our nascent steps in this scary new era. Fergie might not have approved of witchcraft like the internet and signing midfielders – but he was gone and these new guys clearly weren’t phased by such prospects. So with our social media portfolio in place, new signings were surely an absolute certainty? Ronaldo, Thiago, Fabregas, Modric, Leon Osman… the possibilities were endless.

Before the signings commenced, first it was time for the ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL MAN U MEGASUMMER ROADSHOW which this year saw us schlepp round Australia and Asia for several months. What can I say? Taking in 50 billion miles and playing to 50 billion spectators, it was an enormous success that provided idyllic preparations for the squad ahead of another demanding season. Something like that, anyway.


Ed fled the tour, hotfooting it back to the UK to stalk Cesc Fabregas aka ‘urgent transfer business’ (which we knew due to the sudden open season approach to communications, with press briefings now occurring on an hourly basis) so it was left for Dickie to do the talking in his absence. It was cringeworthy stuff. “Our description is the heartbeat of Manchester, the pulse is all over the world”, “I stand on the shoulders of giants. We are every bit as much of a team off the pitch as we are on it.” Then there’s this corker of a quote which needs to be considered in its entirety to be fully appreciated…

“David (Gill) has been preparing both myself and Ed in quite some detail about the way it all works. Ed has been particularly well briefed about the operations of how we transact with players, both the fantastic ones we already have and if there is an opportunity to buy. As befits a man of his nature, David did a fantastic job in the nurturing he has given us, the preparation and the handover. Laying the flight path to the runway is all about preparation. Everyone is well aware of the change. But from the inside, in the context of having to make the change, it has been fantastically well done.”

“Fantastic” indeed. I make that rhetoric, arse-kissing, self-reverence, backslapping, a customary metaphor AND an acute case of premature congratulation. Impressive stuff – it’s no wonder the commercial departments of all these sponsors, sorry ‘global partners’ we’ve recently accumulated gravitate towards Arnold… he talks like a man with a PhD in corporate bullshit.

In fairness to Dickie, if his job is to maximise commercial revenue he appears to be an absolute master of his trade. This summer the club have racked up another 5 commercial deals taking the number of official sponsors to a mind-boggling 33. Kansai Paint are the club’s official paint partner. It’s mental when you think about it – an official paint partner. Do they contact us or do we contact them with such a proposal? “Hello, Manchester United here…just wondered if you’d like to give us a load of money and samples and we’ll say we’re errrrr… paint partners? You do?! Fantastic. Just wire the money through and we’ll sort you a picture of Kagawa holding up two tins of emulsion. Sorted then, cheers.”


At last everyone arrived home before immediately jetting off again for a quick friendly in Stockholm – a throwback to the days when United undertook a tour of Scandinavia every summer. Those tours seemed quite exotic back then, especially considering City never travelled any further than the Isle of Man tournament. Then came Wembley for the Charity Shield, a chance for early season silverware and to check out the new signings we’d been *that* close to bringing in for several weeks. We won the trophy of course, but the new faces were strangely absent – probably just a delay with the paperwork I expect.

So after a summer of stalking, sulking and waiting patiently it was finally time to kick-off at Swansea, with the club’s sideline business of winning football matches thankfully restored to the top of the agenda. Moyes got his debut win – important given the nightmare start he’s been dealt fixture-wise. Anything less than 3 points and the pressure would have been piled on ahead of today’s (Chelsea) game. Other observations? Reds in fine voice, midfield deficiencies not addressed, Giggs still starting, Rooney sat on the fringes looking mightily pissed off and Robin Van Persie absolutely brilliant.

New era? Doesn’t appear much has changed in truth.

Copyright Red News – August 2013


Halfway To Paradise

band aid

“It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid”, sang perma-leather trousered, 80’s pop heartthrob Paul Young in the opening line of Band Aid’s 1984 chart topper. A bold claim in a song that’ll forever evoke haunting images of starving, African children; and soothing words over a quarter of a century later for reds, bearing in mind Fergie’s predilection for festive squad rotation.

This year the fixture calendar looked to have been relatively kind to us. Swansea away, Newcastle and West Brom at home, followed by a short trip to Wigan on New Year’s Day. All pretty routine sounding, but then this season has been anything but routine thus far. Instead, marvellously, madness reigns supreme. Fergie seemed to signal as much pre-Swansea, despite holding a 6 point lead and with an (on paper) easy run of games, the goal was, we were told, to “make sure we are top of the league come New Year’s Day.” It sounded like he was almost anticipating dropped points.

The ‘4 games in 10 days’ barrage of football over Christmas presents a major hurdle in any title challenge, of course. The opportunity to get a shedful of points racked up before the league fixtures start to thin out a little and cup competitions come into play. Then tick the games off one by one, pray that rivals fuck up, try and keep everyone fit – before hopefully getting to the stage where you’ve got, say, an 8 point lead with 6 games to go. Ahem. Well, moving on swiftly…

Whereas the rest of Europe gets a few weeks off from the hassle and expense, football fans in this country are still required to schlepp up and down the country with transport links totally fucked, only to be greeted with a short-notice postponement if you’re really unlucky. At least we didn’t have snow and arctic winds to contend with this year, instead the weather threw up nothing more sinister than a 2 week-long monsoon.

Despite most of South Wales being under water, the pitch at the Liberty Stadium was still in decent nick and the game went ahead as scheduled. Swansea were played off the pitch in truth, with Cleverley and the outstanding Carrick running tings proper. Van Persie was unlucky not to score the winner and also, according to his manager, fortunate to escape with his life still intact. All in all, 2 points dropped but a decent enough performance…we’ll play much worse this season and win. Oh and congratulations must go to Swansea for winning the World Cup.

To nobody’s great surprise, the tombola was out on Boxing Day with Fergie aiming to ‘freshen things up’ for the visit of Newcastle. To everyone’s despair though, it meant Giggs and Scholes on the team sheet together. The fact the pair were to start in tandem was greeted by my group of mates with the now customary reaction this news brings – a chorus of sighs, tuts and ‘oh for fuck’s sake’s. All was forgiven a couple of hours later, naturally, as what we had witnessed was something of a minor classic.

dont look now

Despite all the whinges and whines we share about watching football these days, there is still no greater place on earth than Old Trafford on a shitty, rain sodden day when we’re a goal down with 20 minutes to go. The crowd wakes up, everyone’s on their feet, the collective desire gets transmitted to the players and you know, you just know what’s gonna happen. It’s fucking awesome. Even having experienced it countless times, it never gets old. An afternoon like that, coupled with news of City’s defeat at Sunderland, made for a very good day indeed.

The buzz of the Geordies game had barely subsided a couple of days later, when news came in of a stellar turn by Fergie at his morning presser. First swatting aside the bleatings of the unctuous Pardew, he then went on to quite splendidly dismiss Newcastle as a “wee club in the North East”. A line delivered with none of the histrionics witnessed on the touchline two days previous, this was Fergie at his calm, considered, yet wilfully inflammatory best – absolutely marvellous stuff.

The following Saturday’s defeat of West Brom proved to be much more routine with a rare clean sheet achieved and yet another Van Persie goal. Everyone knew he was a top player prior to his arrival, but I don’t think many of us appreciated just how good. Yeah, it was obvious he was a goalscorer – but his all-round touch, strength and ability to spot a player are attributes we’ve only come to realise watching the guy week-in, week-out. He’s top class, seeing him stick his arse out and hold off 3 defenders reminds me of Mark Hughes in his prime; but he’s arguably got a better touch than Sparky had and is certainly more consistent in front of goal – just pray he doesn’t get injured for any length of time.

The holiday fixture program was concluded with the New Year’s Day Wigan visit. The pub we frequent was relatively subdued before the game, the excesses of the previous night being felt with pints being nursed as opposed to drained. Respect is due, however, to one Red News seller who confidently ordered himself a double Amaretto livener before getting stuck into the Guinness. Numerous others only made the game at all due to the miraculous, restorative powers of Imodium and/or MDMA.

A trip to the DW has always offered a nailed-on 3 points – at least it did until last season’s visit that depressingly resulted in the start of the end of the world. This year, thankfully, saw no such repeat as United won at a stroll, Van Persie and Hernandez each bagging another brace with the pie fanatics barely registering a shot on target.

Despite a repeat of their snidey ticket scam of flogging 1000 of our tickets (with a meal chucked in at £125 a pop) via their own website, I cant help but like Wigan. There’s none of that ABU nonsense you used to get from Jack Walker, in fact where Dave Whelan is concerned it’s just the opposite. Considering the size of the place, it’s a small miracle they manage to command the respectable crowds they do, never mind survive in the Premier League year-on-year. They play good football, operate on a budget without over-stretching themselves and their excellent scouting set up consistently manages to unearth players who they can sell on for a tidy profit – I hope they defy the odds again and manage to stay up.

So with 10 points out of 12 achieved and a lead of 7 points, we look remarkably well placed at present. The season so far has been bonkers, quite frankly…we’ve looked utterly abject on occasion yet some of the football and the numerous comebacks witnessed render gripes about the state of the midfield and individuals players’ form quite redundant. Whilst not always pretty, there’s a definite spirit about the team that points to a shared determination to banish the pain experienced last May. Yep, the last few months have been a blast – here’s hoping it continues…

Copyright Red News – January 2013