Far be it from me to criticise one of the most consistently successful football managers in the game’s history. But…
…does anyone else think Sir Alex has made some poor decisions in the last twelve months? As a City fan, I shouldn’t care less, but forgive me for enjoying recent results. I’ve been discussing this with a few people in recent weeks, and there are some common threads to the conversation – principally that getting rid of Ronaldo and Tevez was daft.
Admittedly, United may still win the league, unless City can play a key role in making sure they don’t at Eastlands on 17th April. We’ve plenty to play for, too, and with Adeboyar, Tevez and Bellamy in tune and in form, I wouldn’t bet against victory over the red scum.
I’m provoked to write this mainly by the tiresome prominence of reports this morning in which Sir Alex blames Bayern (yawn) and the ref (stretch) for United’s exit. How many times, Sir Alex, have your players surrounded and tried to intimidate referees, demanding ‘justice’ for things none of them saw? How many times did feckwit Roy Keane confront the man in black and cause him to do a high-pitched little fart – just for blowing the whistle? How many times did Ronaldo topple, writhe and wince as if opposing players had just tried to break both his legs – when they were merely defending their team’s sporting chances of success?
Let’s say it like it is, shall we? You are under immense pressure to select the right players for the game. Those that you think best match your opposition and are best suited to thwarting your adversaries’ tactics and style of play. Those that can deal with the enormity of the task their skills and salaries occasionally present them with. But as humans do from time to time, you made bad decisions, and so did some of your players, as hard as that might be to swallow. If you’d simply admit it, shake the ref’s hand and say, ‘that’s football’, we might not get so bored of seeing your smacked arse of a gum-chewing face in the papers, online and on TV. Put your toys back in the pram and get on with it.
Bayern didn’t get Rafael sent off – Rafael did. Case closed. And supposing they did sway the ref’s decision – how do you like them apples? Whether that was the key moment or not will, I’m sure, be the subject of endless, pointless, boring debate.
Which brings me back (albeit very tenuously) to the departures of Ronaldo and Tevez. Right or wrong? Very different sets of circumstances, obviously. Ronaldo was straining so hard at the leash his tongue had gone purple, and £80 million is a no-brainer – you bite their arm off. But then Fergie decides to do very little with the money. Of course, it may have been out of his hands before he could count it, but still. Was it a gamble worth taking? Until the Chelsea defeat and last night’s CL exit, it looked like not spending it might just have worked out. Oh well…
Tevez was unhappy for whatever reason. I suspect being near that unctuous little berk Neville more than twice in a season might have had something to do with it. He’s clearly in his element at City, and probably wouldn’t have been as celebrated or instrumental had he stayed at United. But – and this one’s for you, Sir Alex – might he have given you that teeny-weeny edge you so obviously rue this morning? Eh?
Escapini says, ‘My apologies to George and his highly esteemed readership for the delay in publishing. This was due to us changing to a server that didn’t wince at the traffic we’ve started pulling in.’